Session Information

Welcome ceremony

“Mihi whakatau” A welcome ceremony acknowledging those present and an introduction to members of the Yoga New Zealand Council.


Hauora Yoga Conference Keynote Speaker: Dr Jane Hardcastle 

Professionalism and Yoga

What does it mean to be professional as a yoga teacher? Is this different from being a professional yoga teacher? If so, how, why, and what does that look like? We each have different perspectives, beliefs, and values when it comes to our profession. You may not yet be convinced that teaching yoga is a profession. Perhaps to you, yoga is a vocation, a calling, or a hobby. Perhaps yoga will always remain a practice – whether personal or professional. 

Our keynote address this year will explore perspectives, questions and considerations around our extensive field of practice, our influence as teachers and how we, as a New Zealand yoga community may choose to portray, uphold and practice integrity.

Jane will draw on experience in professional practice in the disciplines of nursing, clinical management, mentorship, professional development, postgraduate education, developmental strategy, yoga teaching, teacher training and yoga therapy to present ideas, thoughts, and questions around professionalism in yoga.


Experiential workshop with Donna Farhi

Sequential Flow: Origins of Alignment 

Through learning to initiate impulse from the ground and allowing this force to move unimpeded, we rediscover the organic origins of asana and its intimate relationship to the oceanic flow of the breath. As we learn how to use the ground as a springboard for movement, we begin the process of directing force clearly through the structure of the body, while keeping the joint spaces open and fluid. The ability to intelligently sequence force through the body is the foundation of what we call “alignment”; alignment of the structure of the body; alignment of the energetic pathways that support the movement of prana and breath and an ultimate alignment of the human being in relationship to ground, gravity and space. 


Presentation – Live online with Carlos Pomeda

The Bhagavad Gita: Turning the activities of body, intellect and heart into spiritual evolution

What is the relationship between the emotions and yoga? What is the relationship between yoga and our daily activities? And knowledge? The yoga tradition developed since its beginnings various approaches that are capable of providing meaning, depth and joy, not only to our practice, but to the rest of our lives as well. This seminar explores the answers of the yoga tradition since its beginning, through an exploration of the Bhagavad Gita, one of its fundamental scriptures.


Presentation – Three perspectives

How to be a successful yoga outlier: Working against populist yoga expectations

10.30am-11.00am with Veronica King 

With a set plan to become a yoga teacher, I found myself over the years reinventing myself. In a series of circumstances Yoga Nidra found its way back into my life and is now the focus of my teaching. In the wake of losing some key part of identity, perhaps a job, a relationship, a home, belongings, it can feel like there is nothing left. As practitioners of yoga when challenge is presented, an emergence is possible. A reclamation of the ‘authentic’ self. My hope is that sharing how to adapt and reinvent teaching style and platforms, will inspire anyone at a crossroads to keep going. Letting go of the popular definition of a “successful yoga teacher”, becoming a yoga outlier has made me a much better teacher and ultimately has brought me joy and profound peace. When you are in alignment with your true path nothing can stop you

11.10am-11.40am with Derek LeDayn

We see popular expectations of yoga in media photographs of practitioners — young, lithe, hyper-flexible women, in demanding asanas. Against these expectations I am an outlier — not young or thin, not a particularly flexible man, quiet asanas. As practitioners and teachers how are we affected by these popular representations? As teachers, how do we work with and against these popular expectations: deciding what we offer and do not offer as teachers, promoting ourselves to attract students, working with students, and determining our scope of practice? Using as a case study some of my story, this presentation will discuss my teaching practice of Yin yoga with mindfulness, as an example of slowly getting clearer about what I teach, and the collaborative exploration between teacher and students, of what they want and what I can offer. Participants will be invited to reflect on their own circumstances as a practitioner and as a teacher, and to consider what they want to do as a teacher.

11.50am-12.20pm with Daneil Peter Cunningham and Mark James Hamilton 

Daneil and Mark have been developing their Para Shakti Flow for the past 3 years. It gathers their learning, which totals to over 48 years of research. Mark created the sequence of actions that form the practice as a synthesis of his discoveries from working within South Indian movement and classical art forms. Together, he and Daneil have developed this synthesis as a practice for diverse people. Their point of reference for this process is the vision of Jerzy Grotowski. He sought the creation of an active culture for contemporary life – a way of making an embodied journey into life’s deepest questions. Para Shakti Flow was first shaped to assist Daneil’s creation of radical performance works. He asked Mark to develop a ‘container’ that could help him prepare to enter dynamic processes of change through his creation of art. The metaphor might be that a cosmonaut would definitely need a spacesuit to safely exit the spaceship. The practice is like a space suit for embodied exploration of one’s self. It also offers a way of connecting to deep ecology. It is transformational in its repetition. Mark and Daneil feel it is important to share aspects of how they arrived at such a practice; it didn’t appear magically. They are devotees of the holy woman Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi. She resides in South India at the Amritapuri Ashram, and is widely known as Amma. Para Shakti Flow is rooted in ancient Hindu practice and Daneil and Mark look to Amma for guidance and inspiration.


Asana Class with Tilak Raj 


Yoga is a method for  finding freedom in yourself, something that you may not have thought ever existed. This session will be presented as contrary to what is seen on social media. Yoga is not supposed to be pretty. Yoga is supposed to be intangible. Yoga is supposed to be you. Yoga Is supposed to be timeless and boundless. Yoga is what you experience, rather than what yoga – the practice looks like. There are moments when we fall and look tragic. In this session, embrace the imperfection in you through yoga and know that you are working towards something that no-one but you can see.  

Please bring to this session, two blocks and one strap for each individual, and feel free to bring any other prop(s) for your practice.


Experiential workshop with Swami Karma Karuna

Yoga and the art and science of gratitude

The science on gratitude is out and it is good for us at every level; enhanced well-being, deeper relationships, improved optimism, more release of the feel-good hormones, increased happiness, stronger self-control, better physical and mental health, an overall better life and more. With these amazing benefits, gratitude should be a requirement. However, it can sometimes be difficult to experience in the hustle and bustle of life and a world full of challenges like a pandemic and global warming. Thus, like anything in life that we want to become good at, we need to practice it. The yogic tools merged with gratitude practices give us a powerful way to walk in the world with more attention on the silver linings of life. Learn about the science behind gratitude, how and why it supports our health and well-being, why it can sometimes be difficult to practice and explore tools to cultivate this important quality. Leave with inspiration on how to set up gratitude habits. Bring a pen and paper for a gratitude exercise, experience a gratitude meditation and some heart opening yoga practices.


Presentation from Aaron Marshall 

Yoga: Panacea or risk of injury?

In this session, we will cover common injuries, what causes them, how exercise/yoga can be used in conjunction with conservative management, what to be aware of when working alongside a treatment plan and when to send someone on to a clinician. A self proclaimed “yoga-novice” with over 20 years of experience in the Health and Health & Fitness sectors, Aaron will guide you through muscle, joint and ligament injuries, what the common mechanisms are that can cause these, and how these can relate to yoga. With the growing body of research supporting exercise and movement strategies as rehab for a large portion of musculoskeletal pain and injury, the session will also cover the possible and likely role that yoga, and you as the instructor, can play in this journey for your clients. Fair warning, Aaron takes an evidence based approach to rehabilitation, so come along if you are interested in growing your understanding, challenging some of your biases and learning how important “staying in your lane” can be to ensure a good outcome for your students/clients.


Experiential workshop with Daneil Peter Cunningham and Mark James Hamilton

Para Shakti Flow

Para Shakti Flow is a daily mat practice developed by Mark James Hamilton and Daneil P Cunningham. Informed by their combined forty-eight years of studio experience, the practice is rooted in the modality of hatha yoga —aligning breath, posture and awareness through flow. Uniquely, the practice integrates aspects of bharata natyam (South Indian temple dance), kalaripayattu (Kerala’s ancient martial art) and Tai chi chen. Para Shakti Flow (or The practice) is dynamic and meditative. It especially nurtures a creative engagement with the surrounding space and can readily be practiced outdoors. There are six phases to the practice, each using precise actions to initiate energetic changes: pranama – embrace the Earth through namaskar (salutations); pranayama – develop ekagrata (one pointed focus); kriya – activate kundalini (life force); payattu – awaken shakti (inner power); nada – resonate your chakra (energy centres); nritta – embody Nataraja (Siva as Lord of the Dance).


Experiential workshop with Sàraseva Sawyer 

Freeing the inner voice

Self-expression can be affected by so many things including numerous conditioned responses and expectations from within ourselves and from those around us. Yoga asana and meditation practices help clarify perceptions of our true self and can be enhanced by voicework and chants, which carry a positive vibrational harmony through the whole being. For centuries, yogis have practiced devotional chanting as a means of harmonizing the whole self. Combined with modern science and simple practices that can be woven into every aspect of our lives, these ancient principles can be brought into even the busiest of lifestyles – empowering us to live in a way that is true to ourselves. 


Presentation from Jeanette Ida

Role of the bandhas in stabilising the pelvis and spine, with yoga applications

A workshop taking a deeper dive into the bandhas, including an anatomical look at the stabilising role of the bandhas on the pelvis and spine. The practical component is made relevant through asana and pranayama. Attendees will learn about the anatomy of pelvis/lumbar-sacral region/cervical spine, explore practical applications of bandhas through asana and pranayama and link anatomy with functional movement to appreciate the complexity of the bandhas in relation to chakras, energetic awareness and trauma.


Experiential workshop with Chaitanya Deva

Ego: The great death for more life!

Explore the concepts of the ego. What is ego? How does ego develop? What is the function of ego? Where is the line between self-care, the guiding voice of a true self and the deceptive mind masquerading as a spiritual ego? In this session, discover what belief patterns you have chosen to take on and how they form your ego structure and sense of self. Learn tools to break through to the impartial witness, true awareness and towards freedom in life.


Experiential workshop with Ali Hale Tilley 

Pairs & partners

This workshop offers Hauora  participants interesting and easy-to-follow sequences. Pairwork invites you to work collaboratively with your yoga buddy, moving safely into postures, while exploring a comfortable range of movement within each pose. The oxytocin buzz, a natural neurotransmitter from nonsexual body contact, will leave you feeling uplifted and engaged. This workshop shows you that by mirroring postural symmetry with another person, your alignment and proprioceptive awareness is enhanced.


Presentation by Felicity Molloy 

Chakras in yoga work

This session incorporates presentation notes and interactive practices to draw out anatomical features of fascia and energetic explanations of chakras. Together, we explore a deeper intimacy with yoga alignment and practice motivation. By the end of the session the student will be able to recognise fascia anatomy in light of yoga chakras, develop yoga practice that incorporates the feeling of chakras at work and explore instructional methods for energetic feeling when practicing and teaching yoga.


Closing ceremony

The day concludes with a Poroporoaki, a farewell speech from the Yoga New Zealand Council.