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My Grandmother - Celebrating and Retracing her Yoga Journey

My Grandmother - Celebrating and Retracing her Yoga Journey - Yogi Peace Club

Mother's Day is a day to honour and celebrate the amazing women in our lives, who have given us so much. Whether it's your biological mother, a stepmother, an adoptive mother, a mother figure, or a grandmother, it is a lovely time to honour their impact on our lives.

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga
Doris Green : My Grandmother at the age she started her yoga journey

This Mother's Day, I am honouring my paternal Grandmother who had a dedicated yoga practice. Her name was Doris Ruby, she was at the forefront of wellness in Melbourne during the 1960's and had a regular yoga practice at the first yoga studio in Australia, Gita Yoga in Collins StreetMy Grandmother was a Yogi in every sense and had a deep connection to the planet and nature. Even before pollution and environmentalism was a known phenomenon, she was was profoundly aware of how precious our planet is, always recycling, composting and reusing and instinctively knew how delicately the environment needed to be treated and cared for.

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga

Doris Green : My Grandmother at the age she started her yoga journey

My Grandma grew up during a time when women had limited exercise and movement opportunities.She never let the limitations of convention hold her back and as an empowered thinker, thought beyond what was. Curious to find something that explored a deeper philosophical offering, she found yoga. Grandma was uplifted by the practice and savoured her time at Gita Yoga studio. My Father recalls Grandma taking the train to the Gita studio, which is still operating in Melbourne today, and reminisces that in her late 80s, whilst residing in a nursing home, she would impress the nurses with her hamstring flexibility by lifting her leg over her head in bed.

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga

Gita Yoga : Gita Yoga Advertisement in the Age 1960's

Margrit Segesman was the founder of Gita Yoga studio, located at 21 Alfred Place, a lane off Collins St, Melbourne. I recently completed reading Margrit's beautiful novel "Wings of Power" published in 1973, which tells the story of her life and how she brought Yoga to Melbourne after spending several years in India with her Guru. 

Yogi Peace Club my Grandmothers story Margrit Segesman

"Wings of Power" published in 1973, tells the story of Margrit of how she brought Yoga to Melbourne after spending several years in India with her Guru. 

Margrit was my Grandmother's Guru and teacher, you can read more about Margrit and her fascinating story in her book, link provided for purchase from Gita Yoga.


SHOP HER BOOK ON GITA YOGA




Margrit was my Grandmother's Guru and teacher, her story is fascinating. She was one of the first European yoga teachers to establish a yoga school in Australia in the 1950s. In 1921 Margrit (known within her family as Gita) contracted a virulent form of tuberculosis and began treatment in a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps in 1922, remaining there for six years. During her illness, Margrit’s interest in breathing and relaxation techniques led to an exploration in the expansion of consciousness, a subject she had discussed with Carl Jung when they met in the 1920s. He went on to suggest the study of yoga and yogic philosophy and reading The Science of Breath by Yogi Ramacharaka.

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga

Margrit Segesman : Founder of Gita Yoga

Margrit Segesman brought yoga to Melbourne in the 1950's and her School of Yoga opened its doors at the ‘Paris’ end of Collins Street in 1960. The Gita School of Yoga was Australia’s first full-time yoga school with its own permanent premises, offering classes each week day and night. My Father clearly remembers Grandma coming home post yoga class, feeling so good and elated from the movement and the poses.

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga

For me the yoga space is sacred, it is a place where women can come together without ego, competitiveness, inequality or fear. It is a space where women can simply be. Back when my Grandma was practicing, taking on an activity such as yoga, that was not well known, would have been a courageous and challenging step, particularly as being a 'foreign' entity during the 60's. 

My Yogi Grandmother retracing her steps with Gita Yoga

In her spirit, I feel like I am following in her footsteps. Her courageous qualities have inspired me to follow my yogic journey and become a yoga teacher. I strive to have the same dedication to yoga and perseverance that my grandmother embodied in her practice. I can feel her presence now when I practice and teach yoga. I am grateful that she paved the way for my life's passion for yoga.

Emma Barr from Yogi Peace Club

Research for this blog:

Gita Yoga Blog: Dr Fay Woodhouse Melbourne Uni
https://blogs.unimelb.edu.

Research on Gita Yoga School:
gitaworld.international/home