Namaste Members – As I sit here contemplating a suitable introduction to this Bulletin I cannot help wonder if our founder Wilfred Clarke could have foreseen how much yoga, meditation and mindfulness would be needed in the fast paced digital world in which we all now live.  Along with this stratospheric growth of yoga, new yoga systems have emerged with their related organizations and training courses.  Could Wilfred have foreseen that these yoga organizations would need to abide by Child Protection Laws, Data Protection Regulations, Enhanced European Data Protection Regulations and possibly National Occupational Standards for yoga.  Could he have foreseen that yoga teachers would need to register with organizations such as REPS and CIMSPA in order to teach in spas and health clubs – probably not.  Wilfred’s vision for Friends of Yoga was that it was an organization to be run by the members, for the members, for the good of yoga.  As its present Chair I see myself as the driver, steering a dedicated Executive Committee, Administration and Area Officers.  They are the glue which keep this organization together upholding our founder’s wishes.  They are the hard working core of Friends of Yoga.  Without them we would have to look outside for paid help which we can ill afford.  The Executive Committee are elected by the members to make decisions on behalf of Friends of Yoga.  Sometimes these decisions are not always popular but they are made with the intention of preserving and promoting Friends of Yoga and giving our teacher training courses the marketing platforms they deserve.

A new website is underway which will make it easier to find information.  We have instructed a new designer, local to Zoe and Jo Standen who are heading up the project, and he is building in automated systems for us to relieve some of the administrative work – mainly subscription renewals which have become unbelievably complicated.  At the recent Executive Committee meeting Jo Standen presented  a draft plan of the proposed site map.  We want to encourage members to use the new website as their main source of information.  The digital newsletters will appear in book form as PDF documents for those members wishing to print the pages they find interesting or useful to use in their teaching practice.

New European Date Protection Regulations
Most of you will be aware by now that there are new European General Data Protection Rules coming into force on 25 May.  Many of the main concepts and principles are much the same as those in the current Data Protection Act, however, there are new elements and enhancements which are listed on the Information Commissioners Office website under:

If you hold data on any of your students I urge you to make yourselves aware of the new GDPR rulings as there are hefty fines for non compliance.  As an organization we are taking the necessary steps to make sure we are complying with the new rulings.  Very soon you will be receiving by separate e-mail a communication giving you the option to tick box your preference to continue receiving e-mails from Friends of Yoga.

The sponsored CPDs are proving very popular and Training and Standards are encouraging Area Officers to find venues large enough to hold thirty attendees.  Initially members were only able to attend one of the sponsored days per annum but the Executive Committee have agreed that those members wishing to attend more than one can waitlist for available places to be released 4 weeks before an event.  Sheila Coombes and I are organizing a CPD weekend in Devon in early September.  The first day is a sponsored day for the SW (but members from any region are welcome), the second day is a regularly priced day presented by Bill Woods.  Training and Standards are receiving offers to present sponsored days in other regions. All details of CPDs can be found on the website (currently under Membership, CPDs).

Teacher Training Courses
Our teaching tutors remain very busy with forty two students graduating across our three teacher training courses this summer with another eleven due to complete at the end of 2018.  Amanda Coulson in Windsor, Berks (, and Sheila Coombes ( in Devon will be starting foundation courses in September. Helen Sutcliffe ( will be commencing her foundation course in Derbyshire in November.  Our tutor on the Isle of Wight, Nikki Short, will shortly be commencing a foundation course and is planning a 500hr course to start in September 2018.  This course is for all teachers wishing to develop their yoga further.  It will focus on the three aspects of teaching students, developing your own sadhana and running yoga teaching as a wellbeing business.  The course will be spread out over ten months and will include a residential weekend and four one day workshops.  Although based on the Isle of Wight, for many this will be an easier and cheaper access than travelling to London as transport to the Island can take as little as ten minutes on the hovercraft!  For further details and to register please contact Nikki (

The buoyancy of our teacher training programme, along with the retirement of our longstanding Practical and Theory Assessor Kathleen Pepper. has meant that we needed to recruit another Theory Assessor.  Vikki Bedford, who is a teaching tutor and already a Practical Diploma Board Assessor with Friends of Yoga, has accepted an offer to join the very experienced, hard working theory assessors.

Helen Sutcliffe is running a retreat at the Coldwell Centre in a beautiful area of Lancashire on the weekend of 15 June.  The cost is £200 all in.  Helen uses the homely Coldwell centre on the Pennine way as it is a charity supporting the essential work of young carers.

Yoga Show and Advertising
Due to a number of reasons Friends of Yoga will not have a presence at the London Yoga Show 2018.  The Independent Yoga Network has chosen, for their own reasons, not the take a stand there this year. Instead of the Yoga Show Sheila Coombes is representing Friends of Yoga at Colourfest and Buddhafield festivals this summer and will be using the newly printed pull up stands to promote us.  Other marketing is supported by advertisements in Om Yoga Magazine and Yoga Magazine plus, for the first time, the London Om Yoga Show Guide which all have very high distribution but are quite different in their approach. The June issue of Om Magazine will focus on teacher training and I am pleased to report that Sheila Coombes has had an article accepted for inclusion in this edition.

Executive Committee Vacancy
The Executive Committee post of Treasurer will become available later this year when Nancy Driver moves back to Canada.   If you would like to be considered for the role of Treasurer (basic book keeping knowledge required) please contact me on  If you would like to know more about the role please contact Nancy on This is a chance to get involved with running Friends of Yoga and helping to shape the future of our organization.  As with all Executive Committee and Administration roles with Friends of Yoga the post is unpaid.   I would like to take this opportunity to thank Nancy for her work on the Executive Committee and wish her well in her move to Canada.

Don’t forget the date of the bi -AGM on 22 September at The Reading Quaker (Friends) Meeting House, 2 Church Street, Reading RG1 2SB.  The guest speaker will be Alexandra Rigazzi-Tarling  Last month I was able to attend one of her relaxing sound healing evenings so I am looking forward to her presentation in the morning.  If you expect to attend the AGM, which as before is a Friends of Yoga CPD day, please let Chris Clist know ( so we have an idea of numbers.  Attendance is free.

I look forward to seeing members on 22 September
Have a lovely summer.

Om Shanti and x

Friends of Yoga