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YAA Interview: Irene Branders.

October 4, 2012

1. Name:

Irene Branders.

2. DOB:

23 June.

3. What style of yoga do you teach?

Transformational Yoga and Ashtanga Vinyasa.

4. Where do you teach?

Yoga Odyssey Johannesburg/ Fourways Gardens Estate Phase 1 Park.

5. How long have you been practicing yoga?

7 years.

6. How long have you been teaching yoga?

4 years.

7. Who have you trained with and where?

I spent many years in Singapore, Dubai and Delhi before moving to Johannesburg last December with my husband . It was in India that my love for yoga blossomed and I embraced the opportunity to delve deeper into this beautiful art of living. First I graduated as a Yoga Siromani in the field of Raja Yoga at the Yoga Studio New Delhi under the guidance of Seema Sondhi. During my last year in India I also started teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga at the Yoga Studio. A natural progression from here found me completing a 500 level teachers training in Transformational Yoga under the guidance of Sri Swami Vidyanand. I also became a teacher at his SriMa International School of Transformational Hatha Yoga, teaching 200 level teachers training. Ongoing studies in the art and science of Ayurvedic healing resulted in a further qualification as an Ayurvedic therapist.

9. What led you to yoga and at what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?

Initially I saw yoga as a pure workout, nothing more nothing less. Only when I moved from Singapore to New Delhi, I realized I needed something more. Living in India has its challenges. It is very stressful so I needed something that could help me to cope with this hectic and unpredictable environment. I started practising with Seema Sondhi and very soon Yoga became a daily routine. The classes were very challenging and at the same time she added a lot of spirituality. And finally after 17 years of corporate life I had found my personal call, becoming a yoga teacher. My hobby became my job!

10. What do you love most about teaching?

Several things; I feel very happy when I see students progressing in their practice. And by this I don’t only mean progress in their Asana practice, but the realization of the benefits yoga has in their entire life. And that they realize that yoga is not only about Asana and Pranayama. Once they start feeling and becoming aware that yoga works on much deeper levels is for me a sign that as a teacher I am going in the right direction. Helping other people progressing in their spiritual growth and improving their physical and mental health is one of my main goals as a teacher. ( I don’t like to be called a yoga instructor).

Some other things I love about teaching is connecting with all kinds of people and seeing that they walk out of the class with a happy smile!

11.Is there a focus in your teaching style?

When I teach Ashtanga Vinyasa I mainly work on alignment, corrections and breath. When I teach Transformational Yoga I focus on working simultaneously on the major 7 chakras and 5 bodies. As the chakras are purified transformation happens automatically. A lot of specific pranayama and chanting is added to the practise. Meditation is also an essential part.

11. What do you love most about yoga?

The feeling of joy it adds to my life, becoming more and more conscious about life, the purpose of life and the endless learning.

12. What is the greatest challenge you have overcome with the help of yoga?


13. What advice do you have for people who have never tried yoga?

– Try several yoga styles and pick out one or two that you like.

– Decide what your expectations are.

– Never compare yourself with other yogis, let go, it is you on your mat, it is not what you can and can’t do. We all started from 0.

– Don’t give up when you feel you are no longer progressing, this is part of progress. One day you will see a big change in your practice and that feeling is so unbelievable. It just happens when it supposed to happen.

14. Do you have a regular practice?


15. Favourite Asana?

Half moon.

16. Strongest Asana?


17. Least Favourite Asana?

Warrior II.

18. Any religious affiliations?


19. What are your other interests?


20. Any thank yous?

  • To my Guru Sri Swami Vidyanand for his spiritual teachings, for his trust in me as a Transformational Yoga teacher and to be his Yoga Alliance International Ambassador to South Africa.
  • To Seema Sondhi and team, my “first real Yoga Teachers” and friends.
  • To the Aurobindo Society for my further progress in Yoga philosophy.
  • To Cassandra Collins of Yoga Odyssey for giving me the opportunity to introduce Transformational Yoga in South Africa.
  • To my husband for the support.
  • To my dear students!
2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2012 5:54 pm

    So very grateful our paths have crossed….beautiful insights!


  1. Transformational Yoga in South Africa « Yoga Awakening Africa News

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