Background of FinY Course
In August 1991, Cherry Ray, a yoga teacher trained with the IYTA held a yoga day, at which she invited the participants to join her in forming a yoga group, whose sole purpose was to promote yoga (any branch, style) by whatever means was appropriate. In this aim she was encouraged and supported by her friends. This was the beginning of a group, which was known throughout Perth. The organisation had two ‘branches’. We ran regular yoga weekends with both our locally trained teachers and interstate presenters; we held yoga days, as well as supporting our local Integral Yoga Centre with its days. Every month or two we enjoyed social activities, open to all (not just members), which ranged from picnics to cinema outings to winery visits.
The other ‘branch’ was and still is concerned with the running of a Teacher Training Course (since 1993), which was started (at the prompting of Isobel Kerley) by Joanna Wakefield, Heather Drayton, Isobel and Cherry Ray. A number of teachers over the years have been involved in running the monthly workshops; presenting workshop sessions; setting assignments and marking them; overseeing practical work and helping to open the ‘door of knowledge’, just a crack, enabling students to feel confident by the end of the course, when they start teaching their own classes. The course was and is still Perth based. The Correspondence Course, organised and taught solely by Cherry started in 2003, prompted by a real need for remote and rural yogis to access teacher training. The Perth based course was continued by Michele Hendarwin.
At the FinY AGM in February 2009 it was decided to wind up the organisation, but to continue with teacher training. The Correspondence Course has now been melded into the Perth course with exactly the same content but slightly changed delivery. Joanna Wakefield ran the course from Jan 2013 until July 2016, and it is now being overseen by Cherry and Michele
The training course is now the only part of FinY still operating and successfully “spreading the word”.
Ethos of Friends in Yoga
The original concept of Friends in Yoga is the same today as it was when it started. Although we only exist as a training organisation now, the spirit which characterised us from those early days still exists. When alternative therapies were beginning to become more widespread and accepted, yoga groups were being pressured into becoming formalised, in order for them to become regulated ie receive accreditation by peer groups, health funds, insurance companies and government bureaucracy. The topic of student injury and who might be responsible for that (student, teacher or yoga ‘school’) became prevalent.
Those running FinY during this time began to work towards government accreditation, with both Michele and Cherry completing their Cert 4 in Workplace Training and Assessment. But it soon became obvious to both that the formalisation of the teaching of yoga would lead to restriction in who, what and how yoga could be taught, something that we totally disagreed with. The tradition is that the teacher shares information when the student is ready, not according to an external authority. In recent years we joined Yoga Australia to gain their recognition, for FinY as a teaching organisation, once again wondering if their endorsement would enhance what we are offering. We have decided that it does not. The cost to join is not insubstantial and the gain is only that we belong.
The FinY TTC has been running, without a break since January 1993. Each year our graduating students are asked to complete a survey about the course content, its delivery, the teaching and their experiences while undertaking it. We ask for feedback so that we can make any changes that would improve the course. Negative comments have been negligible. We work together and have been successful in carrying on the tradition of close connection between student and teacher leading to a high level of satisfaction for all of us.
Please contact Michele or me if you’d like to be put in touch with a past graduate for further information.
NB: Graduates from the FinY TTC who wish to register with a Yoga association are still eligible to do so.
Cherry Ray – Founder & Coordinator of FinY TTC