Getting to Know … Lyn Keogh of the College of Therapy Yoga

Lyn Keogh is the CEO of the College of Therapy Yoga (COTY), specialising in training yoga teachers, remedial yoga therapists and zen shiatsu massage therapists. The college runs accredited yoga training programs in Gladesville, Double Bay and Richmond. COTY’s yoga studio, The Yoga House, has classes for beginners to more advanced and one-on-one yoga. Lyn maintains that remedial yoga is key to her own personal happiness and loves seeing the changes yoga brings to others’ lives.
 
Tell us a little about yourself.
I always feel a little bit weird answering this one, preferring to have the spotlight firmly focused on others and the yoga I teach every day, but here goes!  I am a grateful 53-year-old mum and wife who has been teaching yoga for nearly 20 years. I suppose I am not your typical yogi, carting around a few extra kilos and enjoying what life has to offer, but after all this time and thousands of classes I think I can say I am a diehard yoga lover. I’m fortunate to come to a job I love and go home each day feeling better than when I started. I am also very proud to be the CEO of a registered training organisation, the College of Therapy Yoga (COTY), which specialises in training yoga teachers, remedial yoga therapists and zen shiatsu massage therapists.
 
What did you do prior to becoming a yoga teacher?
Following the birth of my son, I realised that I did not want to return to my previous field as a customer service manager in the software industry. After a number of equally stressful jobs in smaller companies I found myself at the door of a yoga studio and I have never looked back.
 
How did you get into yoga in the first place?
Stressed out and a little on the hysterical side at times, I came across a quirky little studio run by an amazing lady (who is now my business partner). She showed me that yoga was not necessarily about not eating meat, chanting at dawn and performing unnatural postures on mountain tops! Yoga should be about you – not your teacher, not your family, but about you. I soon learned that yoga made me better, able to feel good about myself again.
 
What services does COTY offer?
We run accredited yoga training programs alongside a wonderfully peaceful studio in the heart of Gladesville in the Inner West, Double Bay in the east and Richmond in the north west. We offer classes that include pre- and post-natal care, seniors, kids and special needs.  We have workshops and short courses to expand your knowledge of yoga and other natural therapies. If you are looking to gain accreditation to teach and practise, you are sure to find something that suits.
 
What can clients expect from a class at your studio?
Remedial Yoga Therapy (RYT) is a powerful healing practice where you are encouraged to listen to your body and respond accordingly. If something is hurting, we want you to stop. Pain does not always lead to gain. This is what we call mindful exercise. If you can balance on the right leg and not the left, it usually indicates that the right leg is stronger. In RYT we ask people to feel and acknowledge which side is working and which one is not. Once that has been established, you only need to work on the side that is NOT working. These body-balancing movements will improve the areas that are not working whilst giving the side that has been doing all the work a well-earned rest. When you come along to one of our yoga classes, our highly trained teachers will encourage you to take back control of your healthcare maintenance, not merely pay a therapist to do it for you.
 
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Nothing is more rewarding than walking in to a room full of people who may be a mixture of stressed, cranky, tired, etc., and then seeing them all walk out smiling, relaxed and genuinely happier. How can you not love a job that makes people feel good?
Changes do happen on the mat. Whether it is an elderly lady who loves that she can now get in and out of the car more easily or a mum of four who can now come home after work with energy left for the kids and sleep through the night.
 
As a mother yourself, what advice can you offer new parents?
Be kind to yourself! None of us is perfect, so why do we beat ourselves up about things that we have no control over or have read about in a book? All we really can do is try our best and focus on being a family, hanging out and enjoying each other. I found that a few hours of yoga was the key to my sanity and therefore a key to happiness in my home. One of our students the other day said it plain and simple: ‘Yoga makes me a better mum!’ What more do you want?
 
Have you ever read a book that has changed your perspective or path in life?
I can’t say that a book has ever changed my life, but as an avid reader I like to think that I take on the ideas that I feel are right for me and leave behind those which are not. It is our ability to make a choice that makes us human – our ability to decide what is good for us and what it not. I might not always get it right, but I would much rather live a choice that turns out to be a mistake than just read about success stories.
 
Favourite places in the Inner West?
I lived in a few different parts of Balmain over the years, so I suppose my heart will always be there. I love how the Inner West is always changing, and change is a good thing, keeping everything new and exciting. Change is the way of the world, so embracing change has got to be good for us all.
 
Image (left to right): Genevieve Paton, Lyn Keogh and Lisa Masters
 
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