yoga training Testimonials



Ange Simson 

Dear Madonna,  

You’ve been in my life since I was a tiny little human, teaching my mum aerobics with the two of you in lycra dancing around while I sat in the creche and played.  I’ve been in and out of yours as you have been mine, but you’ve always left your mark on me, either in me walking away smelling like a new essential oil or the feeling of relaxation from a yin class filled with your signature style of relaxation.  

At the beginning I resisted.  I woke up the mornings of training and stressed about getting everything I needed.  Breast pump, food for me, breast feeding friendly tops that also were yoga friendly, jumpers and tissues in case I cried (which I did).  I stressed and would count the moments until the lunch breaks when I would see her for a cuddle and feed.  But about half way through I figured out what you meant. Because once I pushed through the resistance, I felt so inspired.  It wasn’t about the flexibility, it was about doing this not only for how I could help others but how it helped me.  Because Yoga isn’t about the movements, it’s about how we show up in life and as I told you on our last day, what’s happening in my life is always reflected on my mat.  Whatever I was feeling in life was amplified in my practice.  If I felt unsure, I wobbled.  If I felt flakey I wouldn’t focus on technique.  But when I felt strong, I stood tall and when I was grounded in my choices you couldn’t push my over with any amount of might because I was strong.  

Yoga taught me how to go within again.  Yoga taught me to focus on myself again.  And not only was it good for me as a mother, it was beneficial to my family because of who I became through my training.  

You gave me this gift, you help me and supported me, intuitively knowing what I needed.
Thank you for giving me that Yoga Retreat feeling in my everyday life!



Sarah Chalkley 

My Yoga Teacher Training experience has been a journey to greater self awareness - inspiring more discipline -  eating better, sleeping better, daily meditation, greater self care and finding more inner quiet and calm.

It couldn't have come at a better time - a firm reminder to slow down, to be still and quieten the mind. An amazing opportunity to surround myself with like minded souls who are equally on a journey of self growth, learning and discovery.

My eyes were being opened as we learnt yoga anatomy and philosophy. Yoga for me has never been just about the physical - it is reawakening in me my deep inner interest in philosophy and history and my desire to spend more time in eastern cultures.

I am learning more and more about my own self esteem, my own abilities and the power to heal and love myself. It is a course that could see me change the nature and focus of my work away from busy corporate life to something more gentle and meaningful. In the meantime it is offering me awareness of the need to change, grow and relearn so that one day I may dedicate more time to helping others through yoga and mindfulness.

I am so grateful for this opportunity - I don't want it to end. The caring, authentic and thorough guidance from Madonna and Alysa is so compelling and nurturing. And I am so appreciative of the friendship and care of the beautiful, wise and gentle souls in my class.

I feel so lucky and so grateful for this wonderful, loving and fulfilling experience.



Adrienne Kenafake

For 5 years i have considered studying to become a yoga teacher. Thanks to Zen soul life and the passionate teachings of Madonna and Alysa the dream is becoming  reality! From day one the whole experience has felt like coming home to a house that was always waiting. Open arms. welcoming and warmhearted. 

The yogic teachings, practical and theoretical, have been absolutely fascinating and empowering, delivered in a truly nurturing environment. This TT has taught me so much about what it means to truly embody yoga and what it feels like to truly belong. I am so thankful for the deep connection and loving friendships formed within the TT tribe.

The love and support from my fellow trainees and our incredible teachers has literally changed my life.

This journey has been transformational, emotional, challenging and intense but so worth it as I feel I have found my place in the world - on a mat - helping others feel good. 



Kym Holmes

What I have noticed and learnt most about my physical self since I started Yoga Teacher training is that I have far greater flexibility and range of movement, this is especially noticeable in stretches and certain poses. This is very satisfying as it means to me the understanding that practice does lead to progress! Also for me the belief that there benefit for me in every attempted asana, just going a little further to the edge of my ability.

I am noticeably stronger, with considerably more stamina than I had previously and actually happier in my own skin....very grateful to my body for what it has given me. I am certainly more aware of my posture both on the mat and in everyday life. I try harder to actually look after myself physically more than ever, not taking anything for granted and taking time for ‘self care’ which was not even a word in my vocabulary 6 years ago. I know that by continuing with my yoga practice I am building a physically and mentally stronger and more peaceful me and for that I am truly thankful.

Since my training  I do feel that I have grown in my ability to remain calm and non-reactive when very difficult, challenging and stressful situations arise. I am also very conscious of remaining without judgement and with understanding and compassionI also genuinely feel the incredible energy from our teacher training group and classes of kinship, gratitude, peace, love, happiness, belonging and fun. Again I am truly thankful for the journey.

Yoga’s important role is to help everyone, no matter at what level, age or stage in their lives to become more balanced, flexible and strong in their bodies and clearer, calmer and more focused with their minds. Yoga is the union of body, mind and breathe.

I trust that I too will grow more confident and focused with continuing practice. ~ Kym Holmes



Natalie Martinot

I’ve noticed a shift in my emotional patterns during my YTT course as I am finding myself way more forgiving towards family members and friends when things don’t go my way. I’m finding myself stepping more and more into ‘their shoes'. I’m also less judgmental towards others who live a different way to the way I do. I seem to be acknowledging the humanity in people more and more. One of my greatest challenges I think has been stepping into fear but I am finding myself doing more and more of this and actually enjoying the process. If something  scares me now I am tending to “ step into it” and embrace the challenge.

Yoga philosophy has opened my mind to the fact that yoga is not just asanas/postures ….that it is taken beyond the mat and it is a way of living your life. I have also learnt about the vedas and the Upanishads and Atman ( my spiritual existence). I have learnt about the Bhagavad Gita and the story of Arjuna and the yoga sutras . I have learnt the concept of Anitya (impermanence) and that I need to find permanence ( nitya) within myself which transcends the changes in the material world. I’ve also learnt that the practise of yoga helps to quieten the mind and I’ve learnt a lot about transcending the ego to find your truest/highest self. I have learnt about the 5 sheaths of the body and about the mantras and chants and that the power of them is not the words but in the sound vibrations.  

Probably the most important role of yoga is to create stillness in the mind; to bring us back to ourselves, to connect with ourselves again. To find our true nature devoid of the ego so we can express the highest version of ourselves and be of service to the whole of consciousness.

I trust that as a yoga teacher I will teach authentically and from the heart and I will be guided by the universe as to what my next step will be if I just stop, tap in to the divine/ into nature and listen with my heart. 

Rose O'Connor

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I've learnt to not judge myself but instead to change myself and to change how I see others. To not take the actions and words of others personally and to be compassionate to others who are suffering in any way. To listen, to hera and to speak with love. Not to feel inadequate when you cannot help someone but still to help by giving time and compassion.

 I remember the first day when we were all sitting n mediation and my legs always felt like they were cramping. As the weeks rolled on I noticed that cramp feeling subside until eventually it was gone and I could sit for much longer in one position. Holding postures along with more breath awareness and melting into postures came more naturally and gently. My strength improved and my spine felt more flexible and lengthened. I felt taller and lighter. My weight has dropped by 8kgs and I feel comfortable in my new skin. 

I've learnt to be open to joy and to celebrate others achievements. I've accepted how I am and where I am at in life. I receive the gifts of nature with so much gratitude.

Tat tvam asi - You are that which you seek. Consciousness is ever present, not a state of mind or being to be attained. Rather our true self is simply revealed by identifying and putting aside all that is not our true nature. 

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Andrea Stoeckl 

What I learnt about my physical body during the past 6 months. I always knew but I am wiser now - how important it is to honour and care for the needs of my physical body. I have challenged my body in withdrawing some so called drugs from it - coffee - yes here she goes again:) Of course I noticed some good effects, which was better sleep:) One day I'll get there. I also noticed a more confident physical body.  I also noticed how my physical body gets lighter when I look after my mental self. I sometimes even allow my body to rest now and let the world go by. So I have learnt to better listen to the needs of my body. I have also learnt that I am very lucky to have a strong and healthy body. 

Yoga Philosophy has opened my mind to a better understanding of Yoga, meaning Yoga is a lot more than physical exercise. Yoga Philosophy also reminded me of the importance of a balanced body and mind, which can be achieved through this beautiful practice.

'In the end only 3 things matter, how much you loved, how gently you lived and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you'.

I've felt a shift in emotional patterns: I am learning not to take words or actions personally. Conversations that would have easily thrown me out of balance and upset me before my YTT seem to not faze me anymore. I surprise myself with the calmness that I now react to such instances. I sometimes even smile to myself and think: This is much better... maybe it wasn't targeted at me all along;)

My first thought about Anatomy is how important the diaphragm, our breathing muscle is during Yoga Asanas and Meditation. I have learnt to take this awareness to my every day life at home and at work. The most common feedback I get from my colleagues at work is how calm and in control I stay in often very stressful and demanding situations. I have also learnt to be aware that through Yoga we can change the strength and flexibility of our muscles but that we have to listen to our body in restrictions to bones and joints. I am also very aware of my Bandhas - my core muscles and I have become smarter in engaging these Bandhas in order to protect foremost my spine.  I have been especially amazed by the complexity of the hip joint and its actions and muscles. This topic hit home, knowing that Justin has been through multiple hip reconstructions and hip replacements on both of his hips. After covering this topic I came home and just looked at him in amazement and with new respect.