What does the Young Yoga Institute teach?
Adopting the path of Hatha Yoga means to adopt a responsible and compassionate attitude towards life, to yourself and to others.
Secondly to bring the body to it’s full potential through the practice of asanas, and to gain breath control through the various breathing techniques.
Thirdly, to train the heart and mind for contemplation – a state of tranquility and silence, undisturbed by the activity of the senses or the distractions of one’s own wandering thoughts.

What happens in this school of Yoga?
Activities are confined to the teaching of the asanas, the art of relaxation, basic breathing techniques, contemplation and meditation.

Does Hatha Yoga deal only with the body?
Hatha yoga brings body, mind and spirit to a state of equilibrium.
“YOU” are more than just a body ….
“YOU” are a body, mind and spirit.
These three entities make up the human personality. As yoga aims to bring you to your full potential, to make you a “complete” human being, yoga must, of necessity, affect not only your body, but your mind and spirit as well.

Is Yoga a religion?
Yoga is not a religion but because dedicated practice affects the entire person in body, mind and spirit, it may have an effect on the yogi in religious spheres. Any spiritual beliefs held by a yogi are deepened and strengthened.

What are the advantages?
Muscles are toned. Vital organs are rejuvenated, kept in place and enabled to function correctly. The body is brought to a state of good health where it can cope with disease.
A state of tension is transformed into a more relaxed attitude to life. The body reaches it’s full potential because avenues of communication are opened up between the brain and the body.
One achieves a state of awareness, not only confined to the self, but also one that reaches out to embrace everyone and everything that comes within one’s orbit.

Is there a spiritual aim?
Yoga enhances your own spiritually or your personal religious belief.

How does it work?
Disciplines the body; clarifies the mind; steadies emotions; raises awareness from the mundane towards a more spiritual way of being.

Where does Yoga come from?
Yoga originated in the East, many thousands of years ago. It was a means of bringing people to God.

Has this been proven?
Yes. Many thousands of yogis testify to the fact that once they took up yoga, they were brought back to an awareness of the spirit and to a better way of life.
Yoga does not dissuade people from their own beliefs.



A message from the principal:

Dear Young-sters,

As I craft my final Forum letter as Principal, the words of Emerson come to mind: “So shall we come to look at the world with new eyes. Nature is not fixed but fluid. Spirit alters, moulds, makes it. Every spirit builds itself a house, and beyond its house a world…” And what a world we have seen in recent months. We have seen a pandemic infect the world and it is not just a virus that has spread, but a sense of uncertainty and fear that has also contaminated our lives. No one has emerged unscathed. Seemingly healthy people have succumbed and died. We have witnessed job losses, violence, despair, grief, panic, misconceptions, conspiracies and so much despair.

Yet, despite this, we have also witnessed phenomenal resilience, a willingness to change and adapt. We have seen the courage of our ‘builders’ – people willing to create and challenge and rise above adversity. We have accepted the (sometimes resented) technological advances – the realities of Teams, Google, Zoom – and done our best to harness their power for good. We have taken solace in our yoga, and done our best to share its innate wisdom and calm, with those in our circles, and beyond.

Jeanette, I know you have served the YYI for many, many years, and in many, many ways. You have been immeasurably supportive and I feel utterly unable to fill your shoes. But I will do my best to pass on the traditions, insight and care that you have so willingly shared. Your candle shines brightly, and with it, you have lit many more. I know you declared you’d never be a tutor, but in some ways, you have tutored me, and our committee, keeping impeccable records, and remembering details of meetings and members. Bless you and thank you.

Isabel, your meticulous attention to detail is most enviable. You sort through the finances, keep things ticking, and ensure that in challenging times, the YYI is financially afloat… which is pretty impressive for a non-profit organization! You have also served the YYI in many roles over the years. I am so glad that you are teaching once more, and I know that you will hand over the baton with a measure of relief, as you spend more time traveling and with your beloved family.

Etienne, Tatjana and Cynthia, our trusty Gauteng Trio, I thank you for a wonderfully healing March retreat. I am sad that we are not to have  La Verna ‘reunion’ this August but with all the fear-factors, and waves and levels, perhaps it is wiser and safer to pause.




To Karen and the KZNers, I am sure that Winnie would be elated that the leadership of the YYI is once again on ‘home turf.’ I know that you have many wonderful, innovative ideas and I wish you every success for your term of office.


At many official ceremonies, whether they are graduations or weddings, there is a moment for a toast: “To absent friends.” And this is my toast to Graham Hankin:

When I first chatted to Graham, it was to ask him to co-host a La Verna, with two other YYI ‘manne” – Etienne and Stephen. Do you remember that wonderful “Boys’ Weekend”? We had a braai and superb workouts, and a movie night – with WInnie gracing the screen and admonishing us to get “smartly up!”

Behind the scenes, Graham had been working on digitising all of WInnies’ books: he sorted out the graphics, sharpening, redrawing, and ensuring that the wording matched the drawings. He liaised with the printers and Jenny, changing the formats, updating and refining. His dedication was undoubted. At workshops, he shared his in-depth knowledge of anatomy, together with his zest for yoga, practised with precision and a heightened awareness of ‘what is best for YOUR body.’ Last year, when we had Jabula Day in the park, he introduced himself by saying, “Hi everyone. If you don’t know me, I am Graham. I have been told I am an acquired taste…..” What an honour to have “acquired” Graham in the YYI. He shared his time and expertise in a selfless and generous manner. I am sure that he is helping the angels to unlock their hips, align their spines, and keep their necks in neutral. May he rest in peace and know how much he is missed.

To all in the YYI family,

Take care of yourselves, and when these challenging days threaten to overwhelm you, “Remember. Think again. Remember the afflicted when your world seems dull and drear. Remember and be thankful that you can walk and see and hear.” These words from Jeanne Assheton-Smith remind us of our blessings. A meditation app I use, called Omvana, had a meditation on gratitude, and the guide reminded me that it is impossible to be depressed and grateful simultaneously. Thus, gratitude has to reign supreme, if we are to overcome.

I wish you strength, resilience, faith. May we journey beyond chaos and insecurity, emerging wiser and kinder.

Bless you and thank you all,






Karen Carr


Ulinda Pembrooke


Amber Tubb


Helen Charlesworth


Jenny Gough

Tutorial Director

Our Favourite

When you want something,
the entire universe conspires to help you achieve it.

Paulo Coelho

Words fail to convey the total value of yoga.;
It has to be experienced.

BKS Iyengar

When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach
I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist.

BKS Iyengar

Yoga releases the creative potential in life.

BKS Iyengar



It is a great honour, and certainly long overdue, to award Honorary Membership to the YYI, to Jeanette Mayhew. Throughout her long and esteemed membership, Jeanette has been willing to attend classes, teach classes, and run retreats. These have been done with consummate care and meticulous attention to detail. Jeanette has also served on the Young Yoga Institute’s local and national executive, offering many members the benefit of her wisdom and efficiency.

I remember the first time I visited her studio for my yoga tutorials with Doreen Smit. I looked at the pristine studio, pale green walls, robust ropes, forest green carpeting and framed certificates, neatly spanning the wall. I was in awe of its energy, space and light. Once I came to know and love Jeanette, I realised that place reflected personality. The owner of this wonderful studio was also calm, soothing, strong, neat, measured, light. Her generosity of spirit has extended through generations of yoga-lovers, and many of her students attend classes because their mothers, and even grandmothers attended classes.

Her records are both digital and on paper. Everything is neat, accountable and detailed. If I were to chide Jeanette for anything, it is that she never became an official tutor, for I know that she would serve as an inspirational, exacting and rigorous tutor. I don’t know that all our YYI members realise what an effective ‘unofficial’ tutor she is. When someone is struggling in yoga, there is Jen. When someone flounders in tutorials, there is Jen. When we need a venue; an additional examiner; a workshop; a coffee; some insight; an update to membership details; a reminder about what was decided in an AGM, how to handle Jabula Day, La Verna challenges… there she is. So, Jeanette, you really have been an enlightening candle, in multiple realms.

Somehow, she knows what is happening to our members – who is sick, just got married, has an injury, who is mourning, who is the best person to help, advise, fill in, consult. Her hugs are legendary. Her friendship undoubted.

Jeanette has served the YYI for decades and it is time that we as a community (sun and moon) salute her: We thank her for her input, insight, hard work and diligent leadership.

Blessings and salutations,

Love, light and namaste to our very own, most honourable, Jeanette Mayhew.

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