Bonnie has been a Yogi for 38 years. She has been a teacher for 28 years, both in Australia and internationally. In her decades of practice she has never stopped learning and studying what she calls the ‘inexhaustible wisdom of Yoga’.
She has completed over 38 years of study and 4 years of Iyengar teacher training. She is also a fully qualified IYTA teacher, with 1.5 years of study with the International Yoga Teachers Association.
Bonnie holds a BA in Biology and Anthropology, as well as 3 years of study in Fine Arts at New Mexico State University, and a Certificate from the New Mexico Herbal Institute: a lifetime of study with wisdom teachers from different traditions, cultures and countries.
She has completed a number of courses:
Yoga for Back Care;
Yoga as a healing modality;
Yoga and meditation for stress management;
Yoga as therapy courses; and
The Awakening Joy Buddhist course.
Bonnie holds a keen interest in neuro-science and neural plasticity, particularly in relation to mindfulness, Yoga and the contemplative practices, and how they can be useful in our everyday lives.
She attends silent retreats every year as part of her Yoga practice and studies.
She received a scholarship and attended a silent retreat with Tara Brach in Washington DC, and attends the Insight LA meditation group with Trudy Goodman and Jack Kornfield. In addition, she maintains regular study with other Buddhist teachers.
Bonnie is practicing the Lojong training known as ‘The Training in Compassion’ as taught by Zen teacher Norman Fischer, as well as undertaking continual study with her teacher Francois Raoult.
When in California her main teachers are Iyengar teacher Christine Stein and ex-Iyengar teacher Manous Manuso.
She has recently completed a year sabbatical during which she took an extended Yoga trip around the world, studying with some of the most profound and accomplished teachers of our time.
Whilst during her first decade of yoga practice Bonnie undertook many courses outside of the Iyengar tradition, it ultimately became very clear to her that Iyengar trained teachers were the most knowledgeable, the best trained and, by far, knew how to teach with a depth, a precision and an understanding she found no where else in the Yoga world. In addition, she found Iyengar’s philosophy of Yoga as a mindfulness/meditation practice and the importance of alignment for the benefits of healing and good health to be unsurpassed in its wisdom.
The teachers she will continue to study with are all Iyengar trained teachers, (though some no longer call themselves Iyengar teachers).
She has chosen the same, by combining her Iyengar and Anusara training and her wisdom teachings, to humbly offer all that she is able as a teacher in a bid to ignite the love of Yoga in her students, and to stay as true as possible to all the teachings she has been given. In deep appreciation to her teachers, she intends to continue to learn and study.
Bonnie's Personal Story:
"I offer this story. It is not about my qualifications, but about my love, and why I have a total commitment to this ancient science and art.
"I showed up to Yoga overweight, dull, lethargic, undisplined, miserable in my own body and longing to be at peace in my own heart.
"After my very first session of Yoga I began to change my life. It was the most profound experience for me. It was as if I had finally found something I was looking for, and I began to apply myself immediately. I sometimes jokingly say to first time students: “today could be the beginning of a whole new life”. We always laugh. But in my case it was true! There were very few teachers in these years. Thankfully I found a teacher in Samantha Seigel. I studied with her for over 7 years and she also was the teacher who gifted me the honour of teaching.
"I still had much to learn, so I set out to learn with every Iyengar teacher I could get to, in addition to my other studies. I got to study with Patrica Walden, Bobby Gold, Ramanand Patel, John Friend, George Satchel, John Schumacher, and others who time has erased their name, but not their teachings, from my life.
"I moved to Australia in 1991 and continued my Iyengar studies, and it was in this time that I travelled between teachers in Australia and Los Angeles, studying within the Krishnamachariya lineage of: Iyengar, Patabi Jois, and to a lesser degree, Desikachar; and I studied out of the lineage all together with other non-lineage teachers. This period really solidified my commitment to the Iyengar traditon. In this time I was fortunate enough to study with Judith Lasater, as well as other highly accomplished and notable teachers such as Godfrey Devaroux, Allan Goode, Peter Douglas, Geeta Iyengar. Max Strom, Eric Schifman, Annie Capenter, Hala Kouhri and Desire Rumbaugh.
"In 1998 I began my study with Senior intermediate Iyengar teacher Peter Scott, and kept attending any other Iyengar teachers I could access, given the constraints of my life as a householder with 2 small children and a husband. I started my 4+ years of Iyengar Yoga teacher training around this same time.
"In these years with small children and trying to be a Yogi and a householder, I was also in an unhappy marriage. I felt afraid to leave: I was in a foreign country with no family and no job and no money of my own; it seemed like I could never get out. I was in teacher training and getting up at 4am to practice for 3 hours before waking my children for school, and then in the afternoon when they were at school or napping, I would practice again. I was in teacher training and this is what was required of us.
"I did not realize in the beginning, but Yoga was transforming my life. I was getting mentally stronger and finding my way back to my own inner strength. In the ending year of my Iyengar training my mother died. This had such a great impact on me that it was then I decided I would leave my marriage and create a peaceful loving home for my 2 daughters, and I would try to become the best Yoga teacher I was able to become. And in time I prayed we would all heal.
"It was with a very small inheritance I made a gamble on opening the Sacred Cow Yoga Studio. It was all I had, but I had all my heart in it. If it failed I had no idea what I would do. But I knew I had the love of my children, the love of Yoga and a desire to create a studio for the students of Ipswich.
"And this is how the Sacred Cow Yoga Studio and community came to be.
"My year sabbatical was to have some down time to study, to practice, to play, to heal, to become a better teacher, I hope and I pray.
"I bow to you all. You are all my teachers. I am so grateful for you all."
Namaste - Bonnie