Anjali-Mudra-The Yoga Institute

Why develop a gratitude practice?

by Brigette Keeble*

Anjali-Mudra-The Yoga InstituteThe fields of yoga, mindfulness and psychology converge in that they all encourage the practice of positive intentional activities to improve one’s emotional health and wellbeing. Why is it so important that we spend time practicing mindfulness and cultivating attitudes like gratitude?

We now know that how we direct our lives – our intentional activity is responsible for 40% of our level of happiness. Just 10% of our happiness level comes from life circumstances such as our living conditions, careers and possessions. The remaining 50% is a natural set point we are born with.

This means we personally have the power to determine our own level of happiness day to day. What we think, our attitudes and subsequent behaviors all have a powerful impact on how we feel and how we perceive life.

The Yoga Sutras of Patajanli, yoga psychology and philosophy dating back thousands of years, express this point beautifully according to Edwin Bryant:

true happiness comes from a deep contentment with whatever one has, not with thinking that one will be happy when one gets all that one desires.”

This raises the question for us ‘what attitudes lead to greater happiness?’

According to leading positive psychologists of our time (Martin Seligman, Sonya Lybomirsky and Robert Emmons), one of the most powerful actions we can initiate is opening up the doors to gratitude. Gratitude bolsters self worth and esteem, enhances one’s ability to cope with stress and trauma, and enables positive relationships and social bonds.

The mental action of gratitude is a profound self-care activity to refine oneself (the niyamas) and to cultivate our own sustainable inner happiness. It is the act of being grateful for who we are and what we have. This mental activity helps us to:

  • Manage negative and stagnant thinking (a natural characteristic of the mind)
  • Seek alternative perspectives that make us feel good and foster a sense of appreciation
  • Increase our resilience to cope with day to day frustrations that arise

People who practice gratitude say they experience more positive emotions, relish good life experiences, enjoy improved health and build strong relationships.

We all face times when gratitude can be hard to cultivate – sad life experiences, negative emotions, periods of loss to name a few. These experiences are still important to acknowledge and gratitude can help provide some relief at these times. Emmons showed that consciously cultivating gratitude builds a ‘psychological immune system’ that cushions us and makes us more resilient in times of stress. At these times in can be helpful to cultivate gratitude in partnership with self-compassion, caring for how we are in the moment.

Practicing gratitude does not have to be arduous. It can be as simple as setting an intention (sankalpa) of gratitude for your yoga practice or reflecting on three things you were grateful for each day. What is important is practicing regularly and consistently. We then receive the greatest benefit for our emotional wellbeing.

Ways to practice gratitude

Some ideas for practicing gratitude from Sonya Lybomirsky:

  • Caring for yourself physically and emotionally – gratitude for self
  • Practice yoga and mindfulness that focuses on gratitude
  • Gratitude journal, regularly write about those things for which you are most grateful
  • Count your blessings before sleep – 3 things you were grateful for throughout the day
  • Express gratitude and kindness to others verbally
  • Write a thank you note to someone you love
  • Practice living in the present and enjoying the positive qualities moment to moment rather than focusing on past or future events
  • Avoid overthinking and social comparisons – focus on and be thankful for what you have
  • Volunteer as a way of expressing gratitude for those within your community

* Brigette teaches the Embodied Mindfulness course at The Yoga Institute on Tuesdays 8pm-9:30 pm. Join her this month to explore how the yoga sutras guide us in cultivating a peaceful mind.

6-week Mens Yoga Course Sydney

BROGA: Yoga for Men

6-week Mens Yoga Course SydneyReal. Men. Do. Yoga.

Guys, this yoga class is man-friendly!

No need for lycra leggings or rubber-like hips. We will harness our strengths, accept our stiff points and learn to unlock our mental and physical potential to feel more open, grounded and at ease.

Most importantly this is an opportunity for men to share a yoga practice in a comfortable and down to earth setting.

Today’s yoga world is led by ladies, with wonderful results, but in the name of balance here is a class that may help the blokes out there to feel more in tune with this transformative practice.

No prior experience is necessary, just come along with a can-do attitude!

The class will include:

* Essential yoga postures (asana)
* Breath-centered approach
* Breathing practices (pranayama)
* Deep relaxation techniques

When: Tuesday evenings (Starting Tuesday July 7th)

Time: 7:45pm – 9:00pm

Where: Classes will be held in the Annexe Room at The Yoga Institute, Level 1, 498 Miller Street, Cammeray.
Teacher: Paul Slotwinski

Leslie Kaminoff Workshop in Melbourne – 23rd & 24th March

Leslie Kaminoff is a renowned yoga educator inspired by the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar. Leslie has been teaching yoga for more than three decades and is the founder of The Breathing Project, a New York City based educational non-profit dedicated to teaching individualised, breath-centered yoga. Leslie speaking to class

Join Leslie for a two-day workshop in, Melbourne to deepen your knowledge and experience of breath-centred yoga practice.

Melbourne: Monday, March 23 – Tuesday, March 24

VenueAbbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford

Time: 9:30am – 5:00pm

Cost: Each workshop is $395 inc. GST

Click here to book tickets for the Melbourne event.

Practice Workshop

Please Click here to download the brochure to read detailed descriptions of all of the modules.

Day 1
AM: Intro to Healing Through Breath-Centred Yoga, Breath Technique and Bandhas in Asana Practice
PM: Stretching the West – Forward Bending PLUS Better Backbends through Breathing

Day 2

AM: The Warrior Series
PM: Headstands: A Model of Vinyasa Krama

Click here to book tickets for the Melbourne event.

Foundation Module – Intro to Healing Through Breath-Centered Yoga

All of the workshops will begin with this module introducing Yoga practice in the tradition of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar which exhibits many distinctive principles and practices not found in other Hatha Yoga lineages. In this visually rich lecture-demo, Leslie will review Krishnamacharya’s teachings from a historical, practical and therapeutic perspective. He will also discuss Desikachar’s contribution both to his father’s tradition and Leslie’s education, as well as the history and integration of Eastern and Western healing systems.

Module Descriptions

Please Click here to download the brochure to read detailed descriptions of the other modules.

Leslie will also be in Sydney and Perth as well as presenting at the Yoga Australia conference.

Sydney: Saturday, March 28 – Sunday, March 29

Perth: Saturday, April 4 – Sunday, April 5

Terms & Conditions:

Cancellation policy: If you need to cancel your booking for the Leslie Kaminoff workshops prior to the 28th February you are eligible for a refund minus a $55 administrative fee. Cancellations received after the 28th February are not eligible for refund. You may transfer your registration to another person at no cost, however please notify the program host in writing prior to commencement.

Please email in writing for cancellation notifications.

Additional Leslie Kaminoff Intensive LAB Sydney – 27th March

Leslie speaking to classIn response to the huge demand for Leslie Kaminoff’s workshops during his Australian visit we have added a new one-day workshop in Sydney.

This will be an intensive LAB that has been developed for the upcoming New York Yoga Journal LIVE! Conference in April.

Date : 27th March

Times: 1:00pm- 7:00pm

Cost: $195.00

Venue: Mosman Art Gallery 


Leslie-Breathing-webRe-imagining Alignment: Asana Lab will include: 

Lecture, demo, asana practice, and clinical observation

In this creative, interactive lab environment, learn how to work individually with your asana and vinyasa practice – even in a group setting. Starting with clear and simple principles that govern musculoskeletal function, you’ll learn to put your yoga on a solid foundation literally from the ground up and from your head down. The intensive will be divided between two led practice sessions and an interactive lab focusing on individual modifications, teaching methodology, clinical observation, and audio-visual presentation of anatomical imagery.


Topics include:

  • Functional principles of alignment
  • Breath-centered, anatomically-based cueing
  • The relationship of bandha to support and movement
  • Why instructions like “tuck your tail,” “lengthen your spine,” “square your hips” may be doing more harm than good
  • The use of gazing (drishti) and imagery to foster increased neuromuscular integration

Bring your mat, your practice and your questions. Time will be devoted to individual concerns. Although geared to teachers, therapists and experienced practitioners, anyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend.

Book your place here

Terms & Conditions:

Cancellation policy: Bookings for the Leslie Kaminoff workshops made after 28th February, 2015 are not eligible for a refund. You may transfer your registration to another person at no cost, however please notify us in writing prior to workshop commencement.

Please email in writing for transfer notifications.

A Day of iRest® Meditation and Self-Inquiry with Richard Miller – April 19th

Richard Miller in Australia

Navigating the Landscape of Spiritual Awakening

Date: Sunday April 19, 2015
Time: 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
Price: $195.00 (inc GST)
Place: Yoga Institute, 498 Miller Street, Cammeray, NSW, Australia

Online Bookings click here
Inquiry: contact us at Yoga Institute – Phone: 0477 021 219

Richard Miller won’t be coming back in 2015, so don’t miss this precious opportunity to learn directly from the founder of iRest!

Navigating the Landscape of Spiritual Awakening involves two essential movements, one that is evolutionary, that restores us to the realisation of our essential nature, and one that is involutionary, during which we learn to integrate our realisation into everyday life.

During the evolutionary phase of meditation, we recognise and experience our essential nature as nondual awareness, the ground of being from which the entire cosmos is born. Here we learn to abide as awareness, where all boundaries of separation, self, and other dissolve and we experience our birthright of peace, joy, well-being, and freedom from suffering.

During the involutionary phase of meditation, we learn how to embody our essential nature as awareness, equanimity and well-being amidst the ever-changing circumstances of our ordinary everyday life, in all our relationships with friends, lovers, children and co-workers, while we are at work, at play and at rest.

Dr Richard MillerAbout Dr Richard Miller

Richard C. Miller, PhD, is a spiritual teacher, author, yogic scholar, clinical psychologist and researcher. For the past 45 years, Richard has devoted his life to awakening to andd integrating the ancient nondual wisdom teachings of Yoga, Tantra, Advaita, Taoism, Judeo-Christian traditions and Buddhism with modern Western psychology.

Richard is the founding president of the Integrative Restoration Institute, co-founder of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and founding editor of the peer-reviewed International Journal of Yoga Therapy. Author of Yoga Nidra: The Meditative Heart of Yoga (Sounds True), iRest Meditation: Restorative Practices for Health, Resiliency and Well-Being (Sounds True) and The iRest Program for Healing PTSD (New Harbinger), Richard leads meditation retreats and trainings internationally, and serves as a consultant studying the impact of meditation with diverse populations experiencing issues such as PTSD, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and chemical dependency. Richard’s interest is on spiritual awakening and the effectiveness of meditation for enhancing healing, resiliency, well-being, and compassion in everyday life.

Please visit

Beginners Yoga Cammery

March 1, 2016: Beginners Yoga Course – Tuesday Evenings

Beginners (1)The Perfect Start to Yoga

In our beginners course you will learn the foundations of a yoga practice. The 6 week course will include:-

* Essential yoga postures (asana)
* Breath-centered approach
* Deep relaxation techniques
* Simple yet powerful breathing practices (pranayama)
* The Power of Now in yoga-mindfulness practice

Central to our approach to yoga is individualising yoga to meet the needs of each person. Everyone welcome. Please advise the teacher if you have an injury or health concern. Classes sizes are kept small to ensure personalised attention, so bookings are essential. If you’d like to know more about what you can expect, please read below!

Next Course Commences:
Tuesday March 1, 2016 – Tuesday April 5, 2016 6:00pm – 7:15pm with Annebelle Van Tongeren

Bookings are essential and prepayment is required. Limited numbers available. Book online below.


A Beginners Guide to Yoga

Firstly welcome to the Yoga Institute. Here are some FAQ’s about getting started with yoga which we hope inspire you to give it go!

“I’ve never done yoga, what’s the best way to get started?”

A beginners course is the best way to start, this way you will receive guidance through the foundation poses and basic breathing techniques. Alternatively a one-on-one private session if you have a injury/ specific health condition. This way you can get a practise that is personalised to meet your needs.

“I’m not flexible, I can’t touch my toes, can I do yoga? ”

No problem. We are all different. We will happily modify postures so they are appropriate for you. Also practising yoga regularly will improve your flexibility, so you will notice your toes getting closer and closer….

“What should I wear to a yoga class?”

Wear some comfortable loose fitting clothes, perhaps a t-shirt or singlet top that allows movement and pants such as dance tights, tracksuit pants or shorts.

“Do I need a mat? Where can I get one from ?”

You can buy a mat from us or you can use one of our mats at the centre. We are offering a discounted yoga mat to our beginner students and we also sell eye pillows and yoga mat bags.

“Should I do anything special to prepare before a class”

As yoga is best practised on an empty stomach, please refrain from eating for at least an hour and a half before the class.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes before the class starts.

“How will I know what to do in the class?”

Our trained teachers will lead you through the practice, carefully explaining and guiding you through each pose. Also we encourage you to listen to your body. If a posture does not feel right or hurts, please let the teacher know so it can be modified to best suit you.

“Why should I practice Yoga?

Yoga can help to calm the mind, strengthen and bring balance to your body, increase your self awareness and an overall sense of wellbeing.

March 17, 2018: Leslie Kaminoff Workshop Sydney

Continuing Yoga Education with Leslie Kaminoff

A 2-day Interactive Yoga Workshop that will inform, inspire and transform both your personal practice and teaching

Leslie Kaminoff, co-author of the bestselling book “Yoga Anatomy” and creator of, is a yoga educator and internationally recognized specialist with four decades’ experience in the fields of yoga, breath anatomy and bodywork. His approach to teaching combines intellectual rigor, spontaneity and humor, and is always evolving.

Join Leslie for this continuing Yoga Education workshop in Sydney to deepen your knowledge and experience of breath-centred yoga practice.

LOCATION : The Grand Hall


Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th March, 2018


Session 1:

9:30am-12:30pm: Intro to Breath-Centered Yoga and Demystifying The Bandhas

Yoga practice in the tradition of Krishnamacharya and Desikachar exhibits many distinctive principles and practices not found in other Hatha Yoga lineages. Details of breath sequencing, coordination with movement and spinal action are just some of the subjects we will explore in this highly interactive, experiential and informative session. The relationship between the bandhas and Krishnamacharya’s unique theory of kundalini will be covered, as well their connection to the practice of inversion (viparita karani). Additionally, myths and misconceptions about yogic breathing and the diaphragm will be addressed and clarified using a variety of audio-visual aides — including unique animations and x-ray images of the breathing muscles in action.

Session 2:

2:00-5:00pm: Healthy Spines: Range of Motion, Support and Breath

Are forward- and back-bending asanas about moving forward and backwards in space or are they about changing the shape of the spine? What role does the breath play in entering into and supporting us these challenging poses? How we answer these fundamental questions will determine our goals and experiences when we practice. Unfortunately, some of the most common alignment cues do not produce evenly distributed spinal movement, resulting in a perpetuation of chronic tightness in the very areas the poses seek to release. This workshop will provide a solid grounding in details of the anterior and posterior lines of the body from both an anatomical and a yogic perspective. We will practice a variety of breath-based movements and healthy alignment strategies.


Session 3:

9:30am-12:30pm: The Warrior Series – ” A Hands-Free Vinyasa Practice”

If you like a strong, flowing, breath-centered yoga practice, but have done more than a few too many down dogs, up dogs and chaturangas, then this is the class for you. This practice-heavy workshop will lead you through a specially-designed vinyasa that strongly works the legs and moves the spine in all possible directions, all without putting any body weight on your hands. The first half of the session will focus on the basic movement and alignment principles of the sequence.  Additionally, the use of breath cueing will be explained. In the second half of the session, we will practice the full sequence of poses in the Warrior Series with an emphasis on flowing through it non-stop. Afterwards we will review possibilities for individual adaptation.

Session 4:

2:00-5:00pm: The Sage’s Seat – The Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga, Meditation and Pranayama:

Drawing inspiration from Patanjali’s royal eight-limbed path, this workshop will explore and illuminate the embodied basis of seated meditation experiences. When our relationship to gravity is at maximum efficiency, our body’s inherent structural equilibrium provides sufficient support so our metabolic requirements draw a minimum of resources from breathing. This eclectic session covers topics that range from anatomy and physiology to effective preparation for sitting postures to chanting and visualization techniques.

Date: Saturday 17th & Sunday 18th March, 2018

Venue: Mosman Art Gallery, Corner Art Gallery Way and Myahgah Road,Mosman

Time: 9:30am – 5:00 pm

Price: $465.00 (AUD)

LAST TIME WE OFFERED THIS EVENT IN SYDNEY TICKETS SOLD OUT,  we recommend early booking to avoid disappointment



* no pre-requisites or prior learning required *

Terms & Conditions:

Cancellation policy: If you need to cancel your booking for the Leslie Kaminoff workshops prior to the 17th February you are eligible for a refund minus a $100 booking fee. Cancellations received after the 17th February are not eligible for refund. You may transfer your registration to another person at no cost, however please notify the program host in writing prior to commencement.

Please email in writing for cancellation notifications.

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