Coralie and Mary first met in 2009 when Mary approached Coralie to use her yoga space to host a workshop with one of her Ayurveda teachers. It wasn't long before Mary started yoga classes at New Living Yoga and their friendship developed. One day Coralie asked Mary if she was interested in running a retreat in Bali. Mary politely said yes but if truth be told really had little interest in going to Bali. Fortunately, Coralie took her at her word though and it became a reality.
In 2014 they headed to Ubud for their first gig. Mary fell in love with Ubud, they both fell in love with Narasoma retreat centre and 7 years later the retreats are still running. The concept of 2WiseWomen was hatched a couple of years later in a guest house in Ubud, Bali where Mary and Coralie were holed up for a few days while Mary nursed a badly sprained ankle. Taking this opportunity to look at how they could continue to share their love of Yoga and Ayurveda with others, the name emerged. It captures their love and respect for these two sister sciences and they see themselves as their humble reps...sharing the wisdom.
Mary Girishaa Westley
I was in my early 40’s when I first realised that there was more to life than just ‘doing’ it. An unsustainable, busy lifestyle plus a whole lot of unhelpful beliefs about myself and life took me to the edge and led me first to meditation, then Ayurveda and finally yoga. Over 20 years later these two Wise Women have redesigned me and my life in a way I could never have imagined.
Moving from a background is in Human Resource Management working in major teaching hospitals and community services I have completed formal qualifications in both Ayurveda and Yoga studying with a variety of wonderful teachers in Australia, India, Thailand and America. I was Newcastle's first Ayurvedic practitioner and practiced for over 10 years before moving to Mangrove Yoga Ashram to complete my yoga training.
Along the way I have transitioned through a lot of what life has to offer as a woman: a mother of 3 and grandmother (5 so far); the ending of a long-term marriage; years working full-time 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!
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 appreciate what is involved in adopting a healthier, more fulfilling way of living, while navigating life in today’s world. I love to share what I have learned about Ayurveda and Yoga, not just through my studies but on my own life journey, by far my greatest teacher.
My dharma or calling is to inspire and empower you to create the life that has meaning and brings happiness to you. I continue to do that with our 2WiseWomen retreats and am now able to offer additional support to my local community in the form of private consultations and treatments at my Wellbeing & Awareness Clinic at 96 Collier Street Redhead, Newcastle and Lifestyle Yoga Classes & Courses at Redhead Surf Club.
After finishing my Social Work degree in Perth in 1982, I went on a holiday to NSW.
Thirty seven years later, having not quite made it back to Perth, I now call Newcastle (and Perth) home. I was as a Social Worker in Newcastle in mental health in the late 1990’s when I went to my first yoga class since high school. The experience was life-changing and led me down the path of becoming a yoga teacher. In between studying for a Diploma of Satyananda Yoga Teaching I also completed a Research Masters in Social Work.
For the next 16 years I taught yoga and practiced social work. In 2007 I took over the Newcastle Yoga Centre (where Satyananda Yoga had been taught continuously for over 20 years). In 2008 I went a step further and leased a shop-space in Islington opening 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 I gained insight into The Great Truth. That one thing that unites all humans: The desire for a dry bottom.
New Living Yoga became a hub for the yoga practitioner in Islington and surrounding suburbs. Not only did Satyananda Yoga come to the community in Islington but the yoga students became a community. Friendships were forged, meditation groups and massage therapists used the space. It became a space for visiting yoga teachers and others with a spiritual message. This 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.
In 2015 New Living Yoga closed to support my new mission 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.