Sanga Gathering – Cammeray

18 November 2023 – Birthday of Sri T. Krishnamacharya

Come gather with community of The Yoga Institute, as we celebrate the birthday of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, enjoy a variety of practices, discussions, sharing and a healthy ayurvedic breakfast.


Date: Saturday 18 November 2023

Time: 7:30am – 11:00am

Where: The Yoga Institute, 498 Miller Street, Cammeray

Cost: $35

Included: Yoga Practice, ayurvedic breakfast, sharing circle, philosophy lesson/discussion & thanksgiving for those who came before us

Hosted by: Director of The Yoga Institute, Michael de Manincor

Who is it for? This special online gathering is for our special ‘Yoga Institute Family,’ including past & current students, teachers and friends of the centre.

Do I need to bring anything? No, just your beautiful self! You are welcome to bring your favourite yoga mat and anything else you wish to feel comfortable, but be assured mats, blocks, bolsters, cushions and blankets are all onsite.

Come reunite with friends and find more members of your spiritual family

Breakfast will include options for common dietary restrictions

Why We Honour Our Forebears

On 18 November, we have the extra pleasure of celebrating the birthday of Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, a key figure in the unbroken chain of yoga knowledge and the source of our teachings here at The Yoga Institute.

We acknowledge, honour and give thanks to those who came before, who helped to pass the wisdom of yoga on. By honouring those who came before us, we can better be a link in an unbroken chain of yoga’s rich and healing traditions.

Honouring lineage connects our practice to something greater than ourselves, strengthens our ‘gratitude muscle’, and helps protect us from the hazards of over-associating with individual ego. 

Honouring a lineage is not like joining a club, nor does it disregard the many other key figures in the modern history of yoga, or indeed anyone’s right to resonate with wisdom teachings from any source. Such thoughts can only lead to separation and the human tendency towards judgement: ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, ‘my way’ and ‘your way’. These are not helpful thoughts.

Krishnamacharya himself discouraged the tendency to want to separate categories of yoga. He described all branches of yoga as connected pieces of the same picture, they were all part of an integrated and holistic approach to wellbeing, and indeed to spiritual liberation, stating, “There is no jnana yoga without bhakti yoga. There is no bhakti yoga without hatha yoga”.

He and his son TKV Desikachar even leaned away from the over-use of the teaching approach terminology ‘Viniyoga’, in recognition that labels can lead to separation and judgement, and preferred to view it all as simply Yoga.

We offer acknowledgement and gratitude for Krishnamacharya’s life’s works and his synthesis of so much wisdom for the betterment of humankind.

Read more about Krishnamacharya here and more about our lineage here

Staying Connected

Know a friend who might benefit from studying yoga?

Our 100-hour Teacher Training Foundations course and our 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course will both be back in 2024 and enrolments will open soon. Please feel welcome to direct loved ones to us here

Keen to deepen your own knowledge and stay close to community?

We will be offering more sanga gatherings plus more local and international retreats in 2024! Plus, after a hiatus, many of our much-loved Continuing Education Courses will be back in the future. If you’ve not already, make sure we have your best email address for our newsletters here to be amongst the first to know.

Would you like to teach in our Cammeray studio?

We particularly welcome members of our beautiful community to hire our studio space for their own business activities such as workshops or ongoing classes. Contact us for a chat at

How else can we help you?

Would you like to feature on our Blog and promote yourself?

We are happy to follow you on social media

Teacher Training graduates, please do keep us posted where you are teaching so that we may be able to connect you to future students

For all of the above, contact us a for a chat at

Heart Of Yoga Retreat – Save Your Spot Here!

Ready to fall back in love with your yoga, take your practice deeper and feel nourished? Join us to journey to the Heart of Yoga, 27th – 29th October, 2023.

Please read cancellation Terms and Conditions below.

Enrolments for retreats in 2023 are closed. Please join our newsletters to stay in the loop of future retreats.

Online Sanga Gathering & Reunion  – 21 June 2023 – International Day of Yoga

Gather with fellow graduates and students, past and present, to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, and the birthday of TKV Desikachar, to learn and share, and to reinvigorate your yoga journey to living a life in yoga.

Join Our Free Online Reunion! Meet, Re-connect, Cherish

Maybe it’s been a while? Perhaps a lot has happened since we saw one another?  

Let’s get back to the core of Yoga’s transformational power and be strengthened by our collective presence.

Gather your favourite warm blanket or shawl, your favourite candles and cup of tea and let’s create a unified a space for love, learning, community, sharing and oneness in a place free from the requirements of physical proximity.


Date: Wednesday 21 June, 2023

Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Where: Online via Zoom (register to receive link)

Cost: FREE

Hosted by: Director of The Yoga Institute, Michael de Manincor

Who is it for? This special online gathering is for our special ‘Yoga Institute Family,’ including past & current students, teachers and friends of the centre.

Register here:

We will be sending you a Zoom link shortly. (Don’t worry if your registration processing appears to freeze, this can happen sometimes, but we can see your registration and we’ll be in touch soon after with the Zoom link!)

What You Will Enjoy On The Evening

During this free online event we will

  • Commemorate the International Day of Yoga,
  • Remember our direct bridge to the extraordinary wisdom of Sri T Krishnamacharya: the gentle and wise TKV Desikachar on the day of his 85th birthday.
  • Share energy during a group mindfulness practice,
  • Enjoy a talk from Michael, and an opportunity to share life’s gifts and hard-won lessons over recent years, and
  • We will get back to the beloved yoga philosophy – Together, let’s explore how we can live the way of the Yoga Sutras.


  • Importantly, we will re-connect and acquaint with the very special group of people that is the inner-community of The Yoga Institute.  We get so much joy from all of you, we want you to be able to receive this joy from one another too and to be a circle for each other, inspiring, supporting, and helping one another both personally and professionally.

“Mutual aid, social cooperation, civic activism, hospitality or simply caring for others: these are the kind of things that go to make civilisations”  (David Wengrow, Professor, University College London)

Not Just An Aussie Sandwich! What Is a Yoga Sanga?

Sanga (or ‘sangha’ as it may also be spelt) means community.  While our yoga practice is a personal journey inwards, the exquisite irony is that the deeper inwards we go with our practice, the greater the connection we feel with other people and other living things.

From ancient wisdom to more modern scholars and philosophers, we know that social connection and a sense of community are essential components of holistic wellbeing.

In a yogic sense, what connects us is greater than geography, shared experiences or even whether we think the same on various issues. 

It is the quality of connection: It is about a sense of unconditional belonging and acceptance; helping and encouraging one another continue along the path towards our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, while providing a sanctuary-like space of non-judgement, support and care through life’s ups and downs.

“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher” (Oprah Winfrey)

We are a spiritual tribe or spiritual family for each other. Cultivating community connection allows us to:

  • Experience the comfort and joy of inclusion and acceptance
  • Learn from one another and feel inspired by one another
  • Practice qualities such as non-judgement, compassion,  gratitude, and being fully present
  • Practice self-expression and using your voice
  • Set aside individual ego and contemplate the collective consciousness

“There is something very powerful about being surrounded by people who will not judge you for whatever you are feeling or expressing in the moment.” (Lesley Kaminoff, YogaAnatomy)

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of TKV Desikachar

TKV Desikachar (1938 – 2016) was the son and one of the students of the man known as the father of modern yoga, Sri T Krishnamacharya, the source of our teachings here at The Yoga Institute.  

Countries like Australia and New Zealand benefitted greatly from Desikachar’s deep understanding and patient transmission of Krishnamacharya’s extraordinary knowledge.

Our own Michael de Manincor was fortunate to be taught and mentored by Desikachar and today we use Desikachar’s seminal book, The Heart of Yoga, as a key and cherished reading that we guide students through in many of our flagship courses.

Why We Honour Our Yoga Forebears

We acknowledge, honour and give thanks to those who came before, who helped to pass the wisdom of yoga on. By honouring those who came before us, we can better be a link in an unbroken chain of yoga’s rich and healing traditions. Honouring lineage connects our practice to something greater than ourselves, strengthens our ‘gratitude muscle’, and helps protect us from the hazards of over-associating with individual ego. 

Read More about Desikachar’s life here, and more about Michael’s personal connection to Desikachar here, and let’s celebrate the birthday of this kind and wise spirit.

International Day of Yoga

Since 2015, the 21st of June each year is recognised as International Day of Yoga under the auspices of the United Nations (UN).

Yoga’s international acknowledgment under UN recognition correlates with yoga’s increasing prevalence and acceptance as a healing modality, and its integration into more mainstream healthcare, helping prevent and treat the burgeoning array on non-communicable conditions plaguing humankind such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, preventable cancer, arthritis and of course deteriorating mental health.

The UN also recognised how Yoga helps humanity live in greater harmony with nature, and could play a role in helping humankind deal with issues such as climate change and biodiversity loss.

Ready For An Amazing and Uplifting Evening Together?

What better way to spend the International Day of Yoga than with your Yoga Institute community in the spirit of family, learning, and care. Many members of our beloved teaching and mentoring faculty will also be online with you, and they can’t wait to see you too!

Register now to receive the Zoom link – we are so excited to see you!

Want to have a chat?

We’re here to help Tuesdays to Fridays


“The friends I made during my time at The Yoga Institute will be life long. My yoga community is a special and vital part of my life.” (Anne, graduate)

Stela Zlatanova

Yoga Teacher & Retreat Host

Leaving the corporate sector in her 20s, Stela was drawn to the centering and healing power of yoga as a source of sanctuary, which included living in a traditional yoga ashram for some years, immersing herself in the pursuit of personal learning, self-enquiry and service to others.

She went on to undertake her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training with The Yoga Institute, formally qualifying as a yoga teacher, and credits the mentorship of Dr Michael de Manincor as a pivotal influence on her yoga journey.

Stela is passionate about yoga for mental health and yoga for the support of women and children who have been exposed to trauma and violence, and loves offering a personalised support for everyone’s unique circumstances.

Along with other faculty members, Stela provides a loving and nurturing presence for our yoga retreat attendees.

Carol Karam

Yoga Institute 500-hour Graduate (2013), and Yoga Institute faculty member

Carol completed her Diploma of Yoga Studies and Teacher Training with the Yoga Institute Cammeray in 2013 and continued on to complete her Advanced Diploma in 2015. She went on to found a yoga business Yoga In Light, on Sydney’s central coast.

We are grateful to have Carol’s caring guidance & experience support our Teacher Trainees as part of our mentoring faculty at The Yoga Institute.

Annie Kirkman

Yoga Institute 500-hour Graduate (2016), Agile Coach, and Yoga Institute faculty member

Introduced to meditation as a teenager to help navigate the challenges of adolescent years, Annie later also became drawn to the physical asana practice of yoga.  But it was yogic philosophy & breath work that most piqued her interest in those early classes and lead her to pursue a deep dive into yoga studies with The Yoga Institute: Annie completed her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma with Michael de Manincor and the team in 2016.  

Since then, Annie has continued to regularly practice and teach yoga classes.  She’s found that her real joy is helping newer students to explore the many incredible, multi-faceted, often subtle and deeply enriching benefits of yoga… and seeing how the practice can create a strong bedrock for beautiful positive change as we learn to integrate the teachings into our daily lives… 

Her breath-centred classes offer an opportunity to move the body through creative asana sequences and also gently cultivate an awareness that offers a genuine sense of calm, gratitude, kindness and a greater sense of balance… both on and off the mat..

In 2023 Annie joined the faculty at The Yoga Institute.

You can join Annie in the studio on select Saturday mornings (in conjunction with our other faculty members)  at 7:30am. Read more here

Laurin Vassella

B AppSc (Exercise Physiology, Pre-Med), Yoga Teacher, Yoga Studio Owner

Laurin started working in a rehabilitation hospital as an Exercise Physiologist in 2003. She had been practicing Yoga for many years at that point. In 2010 she completed The Yoga Institute’s Teacher Training programme, and after teaching on Sydney’s north shore for some years, she opened Bend It Like Buddha Yoga studio in 2015.

Laurin’s background as an Exercise Physiologist aids in supporting students with injuries and gives her deep insight into human anatomy. She holds a firm belief that there is a yoga to fit everyone, and her favourite quote is “If you can breathe, you can do yoga” – Krishnamacharya.

Benefits of Retreat

If peace and calm are always found from within, why go on retreat? Well, there are actually oh-so many ways that a retreat can benefit your overall health and spiritual journey.

The Difference Between a Holiday and a Retreat

Holidays and retreats can both offer important health benefits to humans as a potential circuit breaker to the cycle of stress, and they can share some characteristics. For example, both may be immensely pleasurable* but the key distinguishing factor is this:


  • A holiday in the traditional sense of the word, is an escape, rest or distraction from our day-to-day life. If it actually does permit us to hit pause on our problems and relax, those problems will likely still be there when we return to our real life. We’ve all heard friends bemoan the loss of the ‘holiday feeling’. Like a wave on the shore, the thoughts that make us suffer come rushing back.



  • Retreats are sometimes called ‘wellness holidays’ or the like, but a retreat’s purpose is to give us our best chance of returning to our lives a slightly different person. Relaxation and inner work are not left to chance, they are vital elements of a retreat. It’s a chance to shed some of the weighty layers we unconsciously put on ourselves that cloud of vision of what’s truly real and rob us of a peaceful life.

* Pleasure?! Yes, we said pleasure! Yogis need not eschew pleasure. We simply do the daily work to have the wisdom to not mistake cravings, temporary pleasures and dopamine hits, with sustained contentment, joy or bliss. There is a huge difference between consciously choosing to enjoy a drink or watch a movie for example, and being a servant to unconscious habits and patterns. Indeed at the heart of Yoga, is our ability to remove the veil of the unconscious, conditioned mind and use our free will with clarity.

Spartan and monastic retreats can play a role at certain points in life, depending on the lessons we most need to learn at that point.

Think of a comfortable retreat the same way you would think of creating a comfortable environment for savasana or meditation. For example, when we put on a jumper or blanket in savasana, we remove the distraction that cold may cause us, giving ourselves our best chance to stay relaxed and focussed.

Sometimes the kindest thing we can do for ourselves is allow ourselves to be comfortable, in an effort to minimise unnecessary distractions as we prepare to go inwards.


  1. Give your yoga practice a new lease of life
    It’s useful to plug back into teaching sources that resonate for you, to fall in love with yoga all over again, re-energise your sadhana and extend both your intellectual and experiential understanding to deeper levels. Learning is a lifelong joy.

  2. Precious time for self-care and reflection
    We all know that self-care and reflection are not luxuries, they’re important. But we’re all works-in-progress and some days are easier than others. Sometimes we all need circumstances that feel like time stops for a bit so we can remind our body, mind and spirit what self-love and self-reflection feel like, and re-kickstart these elements of our lifestyle practice…..connecting with our thoughts, feelings and actions without judgement, and sending a message to ourselves that we a are worthy of love and care.

  3. Healing effects of Nature 🍃
    Science backs up your intuition that spending time in natural environments is beneficial for our physical and psychological health, and make sit easier for us to experience elevated emotions.

  4. Change of Scenery & Routine
    Your brain loves routine because it’s energy-efficient (and we can use this fact to our advantage if we practice establishing healthy routines). But we need only recall during the pandemic’s lockdowns how monotony played tricks on people’s brains, the days blurred into one and many people’s mental health suffered.

    Your brain needs a shake-up to routine now and then for optional functioning. Diversifying what our five senses take in each day and exploring new and novel experiences stimulates the hippocampus area of the brain, important for emotional regulation. Switching up our daily routines may also foster greater chances of breaking old habits.

    Being out of our usual environment can also be helpful for inner-work where we endeavour to address our attachment to identity (ego). Without our job title or usual tasks, without our immediate sphere of people, without all the things that we use to anchor ourselves to an identity, we can explore what it feels like to not have try and be the good worker, good boss, good spouse, good friend, good parent, good child, good neighbour and so on.

  5. Digital Detox
    Our devices trigger the same chemicals in our brain as gambling, explaining how we can get addicted to our devices. A time-out can help break the cycle so we can be more conscious of technology-usage. There’s also evidence that it can improve sleep, assist with some depression and anxiety symptoms, improve our eyesight, and give us a greater sense of life satisfaction.

  6. Balance The Nervous System & Heal
    Practices like asana, breathwork, meditation and mindfulness can switch off the body’s stress response and allow our sympathetic nervous system to move into rest and repair. This is the state necessary for cells to repair.

  7. Spending Time with Your ‘Tribe’ of Like-Minded People
    Connecting with people who lift you up, accept you as you are, encourage and listen to you can have a very real effect on physical and mental health.

  8. Positive Changes To Brain Chemistry
    It’s perhaps no surprise that retreats can switch off the hormones of stress and release the feelgood hormones, but science is curious to learn more about what makes people report feeling greater perception of their own health and wellbeing, and elevated emotions that endure after retreat, making space for healing, compassion and creativity.

How Can We Help You?

Savour Italy 2023 – Read More

Local Retreats –Read More

Yoga classes at Cammeray – Read More

Ute Koehler

Senior Yoga Teacher

Ute’s passion for Yoga began in her teenage years. After completing her first teacher qualification, she continued her studies with The Yoga Institute in Cammeray where she completed the Advanced Diploma of Teacher Training under the direction of Michael de Manincor.

Ute’s understanding of Yoga and my personal practice have since been strongly influenced by the classical Yoga teachings as translated by Sri T Krishnamacharya.

As a yoga teacher, her main aim is to help others to find physical and mental health, as well as happiness and peace through this healing practice. I am committed to teaching and sharing Yoga, making it accessible for each and every individual.

In addition to being part of our teaching & mentoring faculty, Ute also offers publically-available classes in our Cammeray studio, referred to as Cammeray Yoga.

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The Yoga Institute acknowledges the Cammeraygal people of the Eora nation as the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our centre is based.

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