Graduate Story: Marion Just – Graduated 2020

Yoga teacher trainee

From Gym Junkie to Aerobics Instructor to Yoga Teacher

Written by graduate of the 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training Diploma, Marion Just

It was in my early 20s that I embarked on a path to get healthy and fit, learning about good nutrition, eating less and exercising in the gym…. ALOT!  I was a serial gym junkie.. even becoming an aerobics instructor for a few years.

Then one day (still in my twenties) while working in the city I checked out the Adyar Bookshop in York Street where I discovered an entire wall of yoga books.  Intrigued I decided to try this yoga although there were very few studios in which to practice.  I dabbled in a few classes, but it didn’t excite me enough, so I stuck with sweating out in the gym until my late 30s.

It was at that time I discovered the first Australian Bikram studio had opened up near my home on the northern beaches.  I knew about this Bikram yoga as it was the only book I purchased at the Adyar Bookshop.  So I gave up the gym for another sweat filled room in Bikram’s studio -aka- the “torture chamber” for almost 10 years.  Then another type of strong and strenuous yoga landed on our shores – Vinyasa Yoga.  Woohoo!

When I realised yoga was more than just physical exercises

After some 25 years of sweating it out and contorting the body in hot yoga rooms I felt there must be more to the practice than just asanas. 

During those years, Sanskrit words were sporadically used to describe asanas.  Words such as the ujjayi breath, the bandhas and drishti were mentioned.  What did it all mean anyway?  Who was Patanjali?  What were the Yoga Sutras and the 8 Limbs?  Did Patanjali have 8 limbs?  What had I been practising all those years?

What brought me to teacher training?

I can’t really pinpoint what compelled me to seek out teacher training.  There were many opportunities to sign up for teacher training at the heated yoga or the vinyasa studio, but something intrinsically kept holding me back! 

Then one day, I was ready to finally put all the pieces of the puzzle in place – to learn more about yoga’s history and philosophy. 

Oh My Goodness – I signed up!

After scanning the internet I found The Yoga Institute, phoned them, attended the information session and just like that – I signed up! I was very excited. And then the excitement turned to fear.  

What followed were feelings of anxiety, hesitation, regret, uncertainty that I had embarked on an intensive course of which I knew very little and which required a huge commitment. 

My fear rapidly subsided when I had my first session with my fabulous mentor who re-assured me and helped me focus on an important component of yoga – breath control and chanting with a little bit of asana to keep the mind focussed!  Wait…what?

Initially, the practice of chanting, pranayama and gentle asanas to help me release thoughts of attachments while quietening the mind seemed very strange and I didn’t take to it immediately.  I quickly realised and felt the benefits of slowing down and practising breath awareness.  My mentor knew best. 

I learned the importance of not only practising asanas, but also to learn and practise the entire 8 limbs of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  No, not Patanjali’s limbs – the 8 aspects of the Yoga Sutras – a philosophy about how to live life harmoniously.

Post Teacher Training

Since completing my training, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to go back to where it all started for me and to teach a yoga class on Mondays for a short time in the Cammeray Yoga studio, back on the premises of The Yoga Institute!

I currently have a home studio set up where I teach my corporate clients online via Zoom, as well as group classes, and one to one personal yoga training. 

How does yoga fit in my life now and how has it changed me?

Many stages of my life have been filled with sometimes overwhelming challenges.  If I had found yoga in the early stages of my life, I believe I would have learned how to better handle these challenges – I’m certain I would have been a calmer, less stressed person for it.

Any obstacles and annoyances that I encounter now are a lot more manageable when I stop and take time out to practise pranayama and meditation.

To anyone considering doing Teacher Training at The Yoga Institute

I am so pleased that I chose The Yoga Institute for my teacher training.  Each of the teachers are world class, incredibly supportive and thoroughly knowledgeable. 

The co-founders, Dr Michael de Manincor and Lisa Grauaug studied for many years with the son of the father of modern yoga (Sri Krishnamacharya) TKV Desikachar.  My assigned mentor studied meditation with A G Mohan who was a personal student of Sri Krishnamacharya for 18 years. 

The best part of the journey for me has been learning to sit quietly, drawing inwards to meditate, learning to become un-attached to things that aren’t so important, to gain contentment within myself and to connect to my inner light of consciousness.  Hopefully one day I will attain the 8th Limb of Yoga, SAMADHI – to experience bliss and enlightenment!  YES!

You can contact Marion via her website Just Yoga By Marion


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