Mary Girishaa Westley
I was in my early 40’s when I first realised that there was more to life than just ‘doing’ it. Reaching a crisis point in my life at that time led me to Yoga and Ayurveda, and 15 years later these 2 Wise Women have redesigned me and my life in a way I never could have even imagined.
When it all began, I had been working as a Human Resource Manager in major teaching hospitals and community services. An unsustainable, stressful lifestyle led me first to meditation, then Ayurveda and finally yoga. Fifteen years later I have completed formal qualifications in them all studying with a variety wonderful teachers in India, Thailand, America and Australia, had 10 years in my own practice and 2 1/2 years of ashram living.
Along the way I have transitioned through a lot of what life has to offer as a woman: a mother of 3 beautiful daughters and now a grandmother (3 so far); a long-term marriage that sadly ended; years working fulltime while balancing study and family; pre & post menopause; caring for elderly parents; and path changes that saw my career and nearly everything else in my life change…not once but twice!
My approach to working with people is very practical and compassionate. My aim is to share what I have learnt through my own life journey, plus the wisdom of Ayurveda and Yoga, in a way that inspires and empowers them to discover their own power to create a life that is meaningful and happy.
One of the guiding principles of my first Ayurvedic teacher was integrity, “to be able to pass on this knowledge you must live it”. So whatever I am teaching and sharing I live. In doing so I fully appreciates what is involved in adopting a healthier, more fulfilling way of living, while navigating life in today’s world.
After finishing her Social Work degree in Perth in 1982, Coralie went on a holiday to NSW.
Thirty three years later, having not quite made it back to Perth, she now calls Newcastle (and Perth) home. It was as a Social Worker in Newcastle in mental health in the late 1990’s that she went to her first yoga class since high school. The experience was life-changing and led her down the path of becoming a yoga teacher. In between studying for her Diploma of Satyananda Yoga Teaching she completed a Research Masters in Social Work.
For the next 16 years she taught yoga and practiced social work. In 2007 she took over the Newcastle Yoga Centre (where Satyananda Yoga had been taught continuously for over 20 years). In 2008 she took a lease on a shop-space in Islington and opened New Living Yoga with a vision: To bring Satyananda Yoga to the community in Islington. That vision sometimes seemed remote especially for the first couple of years as the nocturnal inhabitants of Maitland Road Islington continued to offer their particularly unique brand of street life. A cup of water poured onto the steps of the studio at the beginning of each class served as a powerful deterrent to street dwellers and it was during this time that Coralie gained insight into The Great Truth. That one thing that unites all humans: The desire for a dry bottom.
Using Coralie’s canny knack of understanding human motivation and behaviour New Living Yoga became a hub for the yoga practitioner in Islington and surrounding suburbs. Not only did she bring Satyananda Yoga to the community in Islington but the yoga students became a community. Friendships were forged, meditation groups and massage therapists used the space. It was a space for visiting yoga teachers and others with a spiritual message. The collective effort of 6 years of dedicated practice created a space with its own beautiful energy that seeped out into the street and into the spaces around.
Having attained her vision Coralie realized that her time at New Living Yoga was at an end and she closed the studio in 2015. Her new mission is to facilitate intensive workshops and courses to provide people with the space in which to pause, the tools and skills to reflect and the knowledge to reconnect with their inner wisdom.