Sep 26, 2020
#018: Simon Borg-Olivier
Scott talks to Simon Borg-Olivier on his 50 years as a
teacher and practitioner of yoga. Simon Borg-Olivier is a maverick
and someone who has truly done his own research into how yoga works
Simon Borg-Olivier has been studying
traditional forms of posture, movement and breathing for over 50
years. He has worked as a research-based scientist, exercise-based
physiotherapist and a university lecturer. He has over 33 years
experience teaching yoga, inspiring people all around the world. He
co-founded Yoga Synergy in 1984 with Bianca Machliss, leading daily
yoga classes, workshops, teacher training courses and international
His passion for his work has brought him to understand the
interconnectedness of the world around us, and the belief that we
can make the world a better place by acknowledging and enhancing
the connections within us and around us. The purpose of a yoga
practise for Simon is to ‘lovingly encourage the circulation of
energy and consciousness’ in the body, so that we can be in greater
harmony with everything around us.
You can find out more about Simon’s profile and teaching
schedule here and his
teacher training courses here
Simon also has a new online Ashtanga Yoga course. You
can access it
Finding The Real Yoga – Simon Borg-Olivier
Scott and Simon have an incredibly expansive conversation on
SImon’s 50 year exploration into yoga and movement and his search
for the ‘real’ yoga. Simon shares incredible stories of his time
spent with some of the leading teachers of modern postural yoga and
shares how he has formulated his unique approach to yoga teaching
In this inspiring conversation Simon
- How he was introduced to breathing techniques when he was very
- His fascination from an early age with the connection between
yogis and nature.
- That for him, meditation is a deep deep process of the body and
mind based on circulation of the blood in the body.
- How his approach to meditation resonated with the Iyengar
- How meeting Professor Bim Dev Malik inspired him to see the
possibilities of what yoga can achieve.
- That meeting Shandor Remete in 1985 really deepened his
knowledge of Iyengar Yoga and sent him to meet BKS Iyengar in
India, leading him to understand that only BKS Iyengar taught true
- How he learnt Ashtanga yoga in 1985 from Robert Lucas, Cliff
Barber and Danny Paradise.
- About meeting Pattabhi Jois in the 1990s, and w he’s still
inspired by Ashtanga yoga.
- How he met TKV Desikachar, who was an influence too.
- How seeing and learning the Malakam practice in India inspired
- Learning dasaran in Malakam was challenging but a way to
connect with the Indian boys in India.
- The similarities between yoga postures and martial arts
- About his time working in an Indian hospital.
- His decision to teach yoga rather than become an academic in
- How, as a result of a friend having a bad accident, he
presented yoga exercises to doctors to help rehabilitate
- That training to be a physiotherapist was about being able to
present yoga to doctors as a valid rehabilitation process.
- How becoming a physiotherapist changed his way of teaching
- His views on how easy it is to become a yoga teacher now, and
why he set up his own teacher training programme.
- How Yoga Synergy became a system that could help benefit a wide
range of people, basing it on traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga and
adapting it for the modern body.
- How he healed from a back injury by changing how he moves as
well as how he teaches, and how this non-traditional approach has
been healing for himself and others.
- How care needs to be taken with yoga cueing so that their
meaning and helpfulness doesn’t get lost or misunderstood
- How he met his teacher, Master Zhen Hua Yang, in 2007, who he
continues to train with.
- How he sees his role as a teacher as learning from his mistakes
and doing better job with his students than he did with
- That the ultimate purpose of yoga is to realise that we are all
one – a manifestation of connected consciousness – which we can
start to realise by becoming physically connected with ourselves
- That, for him, the aim of yoga practice is to generate loving
information and communication in the body by freeing good energy,
and becoming yama and niyama in action.
- That, ultimately, it’s all about love.
Simon talks about:
‘To me Simon Borg-Olivier is a teacher’s teacher. A
modern day icon and maverick in the yoga world. He is a visionary
and has never rested on his laurels, always learning…
This conversation get’s behind how he has become the
yogi we know and love. An essential listen for all modern day yoga
practitioners who are on a quest for real yoga….
Scott Johnson – September
If you enjoyed this podcast then you might also enjoy
Scott’s conversations with
Ann Weston, and
Dr Matthew Clark.