About our Principal Liz Coon
About our teacher Helen Bourke
About our teacher Dennis Harvey - Now retired
About our teacher Anne Hasson
|About our Principal Liz Coon
Elizabeth (Liz) Coon is the Principal of the Harmony School of Yoga.
Liz commenced teaching in 1978.
In 1983 the school became known as The Harmony School of Yoga.
Liz has been practising yoga for 40 years, and has been teaching hatha yoga and relaxation for 38 years, and meditation and esoterics for over 37 years.
Liz has a Masters Diploma in Yoga Teaching, a Masters Diploma in Meditation, and a Diploma in Relaxation from the British School of Yoga, and a Diploma in Relaxation from Associated Stress Consultants.
Liz studied yogi philosophy/esoteric studies for 2 years with the Gita International School of Yoga under Lucille Wood and Di Lucas, and then for 15 years under the founder of the Gita School of Yoga, Margrit E. Segesman.
As well as teaching many weekly classes in Hatha Yoga at beginner, average and advanced levels, as well as relaxation, esoteric and meditation classes, Liz also conducts a two year yoga teacher training course and a one year relaxation therapist training course.
Liz is also Director of "Harmony - The Corporate Yogi".
On a personal note, more about Liz??????.
What are the reasons that brought you to yoga?
When I was a small child I became ill with rheumatic fever and after being bedridden for around 13 months was left weak and with absolutely no stamina. I was unable to play sport or swim even though I wanted to. Doctors told me as I grew up that I would be in a wheelchair before I was 30 and that I could not think of having children as I would die in childbirth. My heart was not strong enough.
I first learned about yoga at the age of 17 from an exercise book (not even a yoga book!) and I would perform these strange exercises. I found I could do them quite easily but had no idea what it was all about. When I moved to Melbourne in 1972 , I heard about yoga classes being taught at the Eastern School of Yoga in Glen Waverley, and being so intrigued but knowing very little about it I decided to give a yoga class a go and thoroughly enjoyed it. Yoga very quickly became a way of life for me, my way of life.
What are the reasons that have made you stay with yoga?
I love yoga and I enjoy teaching. In the beginning it was something that I could do easily without getting so tired, and as time went on I could see and feel the benefits of what I was doing and as a result, today I am stronger and healthier than in my earlier years.
How has yoga or at least the perception of yoga changed over the past 40 years since you first started practising yoga?
Yoga was previously regarded as weird or offbeat, whereas now it is widely accepted as being a way of effectively managing tension or stress. I think one of the main changes is where we do yoga. Yoga always used to be done in a yoga school or in the teacher's lounge room. There were very few schools around then, whereas today yoga is everywhere. Now the gyms teach yoga but essentially it is a watered down or restricted form of yoga and often the teachers are not fully qualified yoga teachers.
Yoga was always considered a little bit weird or something that was so gentle and undemanding it put you to sleep! That perception has certainly changed since the introduction of Ashtanga Yoga, Iyenger Yoga and Bikram Yoga; of course yoga has always been strong and energetic; it is as challenging mentally, physically and spiritually as you allow it to be.
What can yoga offer in today's fast lived, fast paced, pressured and stressful world where people are time starved and energy depleted. Is it relevant?
It has never been more necessary or relevant. We live in a world where,because we lead complex, fragmented lives and are simultaneously subjected to a seemingly non stop bombardment of multi media stimuli, there is a relentless and constant overload on our senses and central nervous system. Little wonder we feel stressed, conflicted and tense. A yoga class once or twice a week (more if possible) really does help to address the side effects of stress, to relax the body and mind and reduce anxiety and panic.
Who was the biggest influence on your yoga journey?
There have been many influences in my life, but the one who had the most influence on me was my dear teacher Margrit Segesman.
In 1954 Margrit Segesman established Australia?s first time full yoga school, The Gita School of Yoga.
Margrit taught me many skills in yoga and how to live, how to be tolerant of those around me and now not to mind about things that happen to me or about the things I cannot change.
What has been your greatest challenge as a teacher?
I think my greatest challenge as a teacher is training others to teach yoga. Everyone thinks it is easy to teach yoga until they start to teach in training courses. I believe anyone can teach yoga. But to teach well and with integrity and to teach selflessly is an ongoing challenge.
The Harmony School of Yoga is a well established school with over 300 registered students?.so how much time do you have to devote to your own personal yoga practice?
My daily practice is 2-3 hours of personal practice and 4-6 hours of conducting classes 7 days per week. I meditate every day. For me this is not hard as yoga is a way of life. Yoga is self discipline which leads to self awareness. I either do my practice late in the evening or early morning and I meditate mostly early in the morning but sometimes in the evening too. I try to attend a yoga class as often as I can fit it in, because it is essential for a teacher to keep up their own practice in order to be able to teach the most effectively.
How would you describe or how do you interpret your own yogic path or purpose?
To educate and share with others the wonderful life enriching skills and ways I have been taught. I view the school not so much as a business (although it must be run that way to survive) but as a centre, a welcoming sanctuary which provides a way to a healthier lifestyle, a sense of wellbeing, acceptance and open friendliness to those who come through our doors.
What personal ambitions or goals would you like to see achieved or realised?
To work towards hatha yoga and meditation being incorporated into our schools' standard curriculum.
Finally, who and what is your "favourite":
3. asana (posture)?
1.My favourite guru?..I have two - Margrit Segesman and Paramahansayogananda.
2.My favourite books are of course the most inspiring "Wings of Power", by Margrit Segesman, and "Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansayogananda.
3. My favourite asana is ardha matsyendrasana - the spinal twist.