I did yoga in my twenties, had three children in my thirties and returned to yoga in my forties. All the while gaining a medical degree and going on to sub-specialise in Anaesthesia. I now work full-time in a pressured hospital environment where surgery is performed. The benefits of yoga seem so much more precious to me now, it may be due to the busyness of life and the appreciation of good health. I am grateful to regain the strength and flexibility I had taken for granted in my twenties. Spending the time just twice a week at yoga sees the de-stressor benefits flowing into my work life. The various patterns of yoga breathing provides physiological benefits of calming the body, and the physical strength of holding yoga positions gives me confidence in my own strength. I now envisage myself practising yoga...for the rest of my lifetime.
Dr. Soo-Im Lim, Specialist Anaesthetist
As a medical professional who works with children and families at a very difficult time in their lives, it is very important for me to stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. I have always exercised regularly and tried to take care of my spiritual needs, but towards the middle of last year, I found I was becoming more and more stressed by my work life and was struggling to maintain a positive outlook. I recognised that I needed to make some changes in my life as there was a risk my stress levels would start interfering with my ability to help my young patients and their families deal with their devastating illnesses. I was also concerned about the negative impact the stress would have on my own health and the aches and pains that were becoming more regular after my exercise classes. I had tried yoga several times in the past and never really connected with it, but wondered whether starting a regular practice would help my sadly aging body and help to still my very active mind. I went to other classes before a friend suggested I try a beginners course at Tamara Yoga. While I hadn't felt comfortable at the other studios, I quickly settled into the classes at Tamara. The teachers were friendly, encouraging and kind and I felt the wonderful energy of the space from the outset. I am a rather driven person by nature and I hate being bad at anything, so it was daunting to start a new practice when I knew I would struggle even with the simple poses. Surprisingly, my lack of flexibility has not hindered my ability to enjoy the classes and the calming and soothing effect of the meditative aspects of the practice have changed the way I see and interact with the world.
Having taken on a new role at work recently, I should be more stressed and frazzled than ever, but I can honestly say that I am calmer and more centred than I have ever been. I am able to focus on the important things and am not sweating the small stuff in the way I used to. I attend at least 2 early morning classes a week and I take a joy and happiness to work that can only benefit my patients.
It sounds trite, but my yoga practice has changed my life and I owe that change to Tamara and her wonderful teachers. They are all teaching me to be 'diligent, but kind' in all aspects of my life and remind me to immerse myself in unlimited potential and saturate myself in unconditional love.
Angela Alessandri , Clinical Paediatric Haematologist/Oncologist
I have been going to yoga for the last 10 years and i hope to continue to do yoga for the rest of my life. I don't really have a 'clinical' or 'evidence based' reason to do yoga I just do it because it makes me feel good. I frequently suggest that my patients try yoga if they have trouble relaxing particularly if they suffer from anxiety. I have also included a session on yoga for my medical students which Tamara teaches which has 2 purposes , one is to encourage them to practice self care and the other to expose them to something 'alternative' to conventional medicine. It is a very popular session with the students!
Lucy Gilkes, Associate Professor
Special big thanks Tamara for being so inspiring. I love your sense of fun, humility and how you make each and everyone feel so special.
I love how you frame the yogic philosophy and teachings in a practical way that is directly relevant to us in western society. You suggest ideas, asking us to consider them without forcing ideas on us: a great communication tip for me to try to replicate!
Hello. I was in Perth for a few days and attended two of your yoga classes. Please thank Tamara for an inspirational class – in the short space of one hour I felt the power of Tamara’s teaching and I am very grateful for the experience. I’m still thinking about it!
I am a triathlete and have mucked about and talked about yoga for ages, but it always comes a poor second to my usual training. I am now inspired to practice yoga and give it priority. Unfortunately we do not have such a facility as yours where I live, but I will visit you next time I am in Perth and try my best with a DVD! Thank you.
Hi, Bree here. Just wanted to thank Tamara for a really special class yesterday. It was emotional, peaceful, challenging and rewarding. I loved the chant and the dedication, it was really very moving. I am so grateful to have found Tamara Yoga, and have such an amazing teacher to learn from. Thank You Tamara.
Love Bree xx
Hello gorgeous Tamara, Just wanted to share my very happy news with you. Over the last two weeks I played 5 rounds of golf (and practiced several times) taking part in the Lake Karrinyup Club Championships. I played my best golf ever and went on to win the Championship Plate event….anyway I know I am bragging but I am very excited and proud to have beaten a lady, who on handicap and past experience was a better player than I.
The final day started with Perry driving me out to the golf club. She was very conscious of me doing my deep breathing trying to control my nerves! I couldn’t think of anything else but the game ahead – not very good I know because I wasn’t staying in the present!!
During that match (and the previous 4) I was consciously “speaking” to myself and thinking of your and Hasser’s teachings relating to Manifesting along with BREATHING! I said to my caddy at one stage “my yoga teacher would tell me to breathe at this point”!
So all in all I attribute a large part of the win to the fact that I have learned so much from your always interesting and informative teachings. Thank you.
I found that as I was leaning over a putt, it was really beneficial to take time, take another breath, settle and believe in my ability to get the ball in the hole!
I am so grateful for your contribution to my life and my new found “on the circuit” golfing career!!!!!!?????
Tamara, you are inspirational and I look forward to spending lots more happy times with you.
With love from Dawn xxxx
A student moving interstate from Perth wrote to us:
“I was a bit sad today; because I feel so at home at Tamara Yoga; and I am so thankful for everything that I have learnt, shared and experienced. It has reshaped my life and bought me much happiness. I am so grateful...
Tanya Wilson, Designer
FEEDBACK FROM NEW YORK
I met Tamara in 2004 when I moved to Greenwich Conneticut, USA, to open a yoga studio. Before I knew she was a teacher I was struck by her presence. Tamara fills a room with her light. As a teacher myself I could see by her practice that she had been studying yoga for a long time. It didn't take me long to inquire if she was a teacher and lucky for us Tamara soon started teaching at Yoga Samadhi!
Tamara is one of those rare yoga teachers that has it all. She has a depth of knowledge of the asana and pranayama and is able to demonstrate them well and can teach to all levels. Her command of yogic philosophy and her ability to weave the philosophical theme throughout her class is beautiful. She is one of the most encouraging and loving teachers I have ever met. She creates a safe space and invites you to try new things and before you know it you are practicing asana and variations you've never done before!!
Her warmth and laughter are infectious. Tamara will often have a theme to her class-it could be philosophical, spiritual and/or based on the asana. Her classes will often lead up to a certain grouping of asana that I always feel appropriately warmed up for and mentally ready to try. She is adept at explaining how to get into a new pose or trying a new way of getting into a pose we've done a million times. Her practice is exquisite so her demonstrations are inspiring and provide even greater clarity for understanding the pose. She also provides safe and informative assists deepening my experience of the asana.
As stated above I am also a yoga teacher and most often I take Tamara's class when I'm at my studio. I mention this because it is sometimes hard to turn off that I'm at work and release myself into my practice. It's never hard to do when I'm in Tamara's class. She is such a seasoned teacher that the energy of the group becomes transformational.
Tamara paces her classes well. She holds space in a way where the whole group feels supported and yet the individual gets the appropriate attention they need. This is not an easy thing to do and Tamara pulls it off effortlessly. I watch Tamara with her students and I am deeply touched by her presence and how naturally compassionate she is with them. She is gifted in the ability to challenge her students physically (when appropriate) and yet able to hold the space for what may arise emotionally for the student. Students will often say "I did my first (fill in the blank asana) with Tamara."
I have learned so much from Tamara as a yoga teacher and also through who she is in this world. This might sound corny but I have learned from her the power of modeling Love.
Stacey Bell, Yoga Teacher
From 2001-2004 it's been my pleasure to attend yoga classes taught by Tamara Graham. In that time she has led me from being a complete yoga neophyte to a competent practitioner whose love for this ancient art form has grown stronger each week.
Tamara is an incredible person, and those qualities which make her a wonderful individual also serve to make her a superior yoga teacher. In fact, it's hard to separate them from each other. Is she a great person because of yoga? Or is her personality perfectly suited to the practice of yoga? I'm not sure, but they are so intertwined that it's no wonder that she has had a devoted following in Rye, New York.
Tamara accepts all people where they are--no matter their abilities or limitations. Better yet, she helps them to accept themselves as well. A constant theme in Tamara's classes is this: Be in the moment and compare yourself to no one but yourself. She has taught us to set an intention for our yoga practice and to silently remind ourselves of that intention when the going gets tough. Her tender corrections during class have helped me learn so much about proper positioning. Her soothing voice for me has become mantra-like as I breathe through tough asanas. And with her gentle prodding, I have tried yoga poses I never thought I could do. I thought I'd given up backbends in high school!
I notice that when she is explaining a pose to the class, she demonstrates it, and explains it very clearly. I love the way she walks around to everyone and assists those who need it, while simultaneously praising their efforts. Over time, her classes have become more challenging, both physically and mentally, as Tamara is often explaining the positive effects of each asana on various body parts and organs. It's been quite elucidating to listen to her seemingly endless supply of knowledge about how yoga relates not only to the physical but to one's psychological state as well.
If you are lucky enough to be taught by her, you will never be disappointed. She has never disappointed this student.
Andrea Hessekiel, Writer
I am new to yoga, having not started until Tamara began teaching. The fact that I even do yoga is a testament to her skill as a teacher and her completely welcoming aura. She has completely changed the way I think about everything from breathing to walking; for one thing, I think about those activities now!
I cannot say enough about Tamara's teaching and communicating ability. She is patient, empathetic and kind and completely non-judgmental. In fact, a central theme of her teaching is that we need not judge ourselves. Her physical demonstrations and verbal instructions show that she has closely studied not only human anatomy, body systems, etc. (I cannot get over her knowledge in these areas), but also the natural fears and difficulties we all face when trying something new and difficult. Her corrections are effective and instructive. While pacing the class appropriately for the majority of the students, she simultaneously teaches individually to those who are more or less advanced or have special needs.
All in all, I cannot say enough about Tamara's incredible teaching ability, and I know that many others (in fact, everyone I know who has ever attended her class) share this feeling about her. She has an inner light that absolutely shines when she is teaching; she is truly inspiring.
Beth Davis, Lawyer
I have been studying yoga with Tamara Graham for three years -- she is an inspiring, supportive, spiritual teacher. I had previously studied with other teachers, who were all wonderful in their own ways, but could not match the totality of Tamara's special gifts as a teacher.
As far as technique goes, Tamara explains and demonstrates every asana very carefully, with clear direction. She demonstrates the poses, talks us through them and walks through the class to give personal assistance. Her knowledge of anatomy and physiology is complete, easy to understand and relevant to every pose we practice. Her knowledge of the astral/energy/subtle anatomy is equally impressive. The rhythm and pacing of her classes are just the right mix of relaxing and challenging, with enough variation in each class that students never get bored. She also accomplishes the difficult task of teaching a multi-leveled class where students can challenge themselves as much or as little as they feel comfortable with. And everyone, no matter what level, feels welcome in her class.
But all of these words cannot do justice to the true beauty of Tamara's teaching technique and her totally loving spirit. So let me try again to rephrase just how special she is. She is totally giving of herself, presenting an ego-free role model that lives up to the true teachings of yoga. She reminds us to set an intention at the beginning of each class, supporting us with inspirational quotes or just her own spiritual musings; yet she is never heavy-handed and always displays a delightful sense of humor. She often reminds us of why we are doing yoga and all the physical and spiritual benefits that can be reaped; yet she is never judgmental in any way. For me, her classes have been physically challenging, psychologically soothing and spiritually uplifting - and I will miss her greatly.
One last thing, she has a shining presence: everything she says and teaches rings with authenticity. And she has the most beautiful soothing voice. It is a great loss to her students here that she is leaving Rye, but the fact that she will bring her light to others is solace in itself.
Tamara Graham changed my life. I am forever grateful for what she has shared with me: her wisdom, her love, her pureness of spirit.
I started taking yoga classes about 5 years ago with another teacher. I say that I "took" yoga classes because that is what I did. I was not practicing yoga. At the time, I did not know the difference. All I knew was that something was missing. When I started practicing yoga with Tamara, my eyes and my heart were opened. It is a gift simply to be in her presence. Her pureness of spirit shines out in every class. Her voice sooths, her touch reveals. Little did I know how much I would learn from Tamara.
Tamara's classes are an experience for the mind as well as the body. She starts classes with a short period of meditation and kriyas. Before practicing with Tamara, I had long struggled to understand what meditation is. I was afraid to fail and therefore afraid to try. By emphasizing that yoga is a practice, Tamara helped me accept my efforts and not judge them. By freeing myself of judgment, I allowed myself to practice meditation. Now, anyone can simply say the words, "Practice unconditional love for yourself and others. Free yourself from judgment." These words have meaning because Tamara truly exemplifies a loving heart. She radiates a light that is undeniable.
On other days classes begin with Tamara reading a passage from a spiritual leader. Some days we chant. Every day she gives us something to think about. "Model happiness," she would say on a day I felt irritated with the world. "Remember, this moment is perfect," she would say as I struggled with myself. "Love yourself."
During class we practice various asanas. If I find the posture easy, Tamara always challenges me both physically, with variations of the asana, as well as mentally, with encouragement to focus on my breathing. I did not understand the mind/body connection at first. "Feel the ground beneath you. Your feet are like roots of a strong tree. Your arms are like branches reaching up to the sky. Receive the grace." Receive the grace. Receive. And breathe. Instead of pushing and straining, I had to shift my mind to breathe and receive. My consciousness awakened.
While my body may be flexible, the defenses around my heart are not. Every day, in every class, Tamara speaks so very gently, like a mother whispering to a child, "Open your heart." It brings tears to my eyes as I struggle to practice yoga with my mind as well as my body. For others, the struggle is a physical one. Tamara encourages us to try our best and reminds us to relinquish any judgment of the results. She applauds all of our efforts. Her adjustments are subtle, yet profound. A light touch and yet a world opens up.
And a world has opened up. When Tamara demonstrates an asana, it looks so effortless and perfect. Some students greet the challenge with doubt. But she gets us to cast aside our doubt and just give it a try. Yoga is a practice. Whatever the outcome, it is perfect. And so we try. And sometimes we surprise ourselves.
Tamara has taught me to look at the world through the eyes of love and compassion. She is a gifted teacher and an incredibly beautiful person. I am blessed to have had Tamara in my life. She has changed my life forever.
Young Kim, Designer