Yoga Australia's Reconciliation Action Plan


The Yaan Circle

The role of the Yaan Circle is twofold:

  1. To connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander yoga teachers and provide them a space within which they can meet and share their experiences, opinions and ideas.
  2. To help our yoga community look over initiatives and provide culturally aware guidance to make sure that we operate in appropriate ways. This includes providing assistance regarding approaches to Reciprocity and assisting in rolling out Reconciliation Action Plans.

We are delighted to be supported in our work by a number of yoga teachers who are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples from Countries across Australia. We hope that this circle will grow as we are able to more widely disseminate this initiative across the country. If you or a yoga teacher you know are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and interested to join this circle we’d love to hear from you. Just drop us a line at [email protected]

To be introduced to our Yaan Circle and more fully understand the Yaan Circle’s role, please take a look at their website.

Currently our Yaan Circle is held by these wonderful yoga teachers. 

Ella Noah Bancroft

Bundjalung Woman

Emma Ceolin

Yirrganydji woman

Ros Fogg

Darug woman

Ros Fogg IYTA 50th Anniversary
Welcome to Country

Jem Stone

First Nations Woman

Gemma Lloyd

Dhungutti and Yuin woman

Eve White

Wiradjuri woman living on Eora land

Kirt Mallie

Torres Strait Islander man living on Darkinjung Land

Scarlet Barnett

Palawa woman living on on Wurundjeri Country

Leisa Marie Hicks

A proud Kamilaroi living on Dharawal speaking country


Trish McNicholl

Living on Kaurna Land

Laura Florence Sterling

Proud Barkindji, Woman


Kaylene Dyinawili Wombat

Proud Mirning, Wirangu, Kokotha woman 

Shelia Rose

A proud Wiradjuri woman, born in Ngunnawal country.

[email protected]

What is Reciprocity?

Upon the Yaan Circle’s suggestion, it was decided to refer to this process of respecting, acknowledging, listening to, holding space for and supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander yoga teachers and their communities as Reciprocity. This approach recognises that the word reconciliation means “the restoration of friendly relations”. Given the initial absence of a post-invasion relationship, Reconciliation is seen as a bit of a misnomer. Reciprocity instead implies we start from the beginning to develop a robust and reciprocal relationship based on goodwill and respect.

Yoga Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan

Yoga Australia has committed to the development and actioning of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) assisted by Ngungwulah Aboriginal Corporation (ICN 9263). Due to this process being held by Reconciliation Australia, we are unable to use the word Reciprocity in the title, but all of our actions keep the sentiments of this adjusted perspective at their heart.

Yoga Australia is proud to have launched our Reflect RAP. A Reflect RAP clearly sets out the steps you should take to prepare your organisation for reconciliation initiatives in successive RAPs.

Committing to a Reflect RAP allows an organisation to spend time scoping and developing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders, deciding on their vision for reconciliation and exploring sphere of influence, before committing to specific actions or initiatives. This process will help to inform future RAPs that are meaningful, mutually.

You will soon be able to explore Yoga Australia’s RAP, developed and instigated on behalf of our entire Australian Yoga community, on Reconciliation Australia’s website. In the meantime, you can find the RAP here.

After completion of our RAP, we will move successively into the next three phases of Reconciliation, as per the Reconciliation Australia guidelines.

How has Yoga Australia moved towards Reciprocity to date?

Below, we have outlined the work that has been done by Yoga Australia relating to the RAP. We will continue to communicate progress through our, social channels and publications.


Acknowledgment of Country cards are available to all members. These, along with an accompanying information sheet provide guidance on the how, what and why of Acknowledging Country prior to class, and providing Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremonies at more important events. You can download these documents here.


Two articles have been written specifically for Yoga Today magazine to help raise awareness of the work we are doing in the space and other initiatives that are taking place in communities.

In the teacher training edition of Yoga Today, Cate Peterson wrote an article titled “Teaching Yoga In Australia is Different”. This article outlined our plans for the RAP and discussed ways in which our members could get involved. The article explored the question of how we best engage all Australians in yoga in Australia. You can download the article here.

In the April 2019 Yoga Today, themed ‘Beyond Asana’, Sara Jones introduced us to the ancient wellness practice of Wayapa. Download Yoga Today Beyond Asana to read Why Yoga needs Wayapa”

Past Events

24th November 2018 – Tas State Meeting 

Ruth Langford shared ways that as Yoga teachers we can mindfully bring connection to Country and Culture not only to our practice but also into our daily lives.

27th May 2019 – Miriam Rose Foundation Tour

A group 9 yoga teachers visited Miriam at Daly River to more closely understand Dadirri, the Aboriginal experience of mindfulness which is fundamental to Culture and being with Country. DADIRRI (Official Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Video).

June 2019 – WA 

A special 3-day event was held: Being of Service in Remote Australia – The Rewards & Challenges with Tarryn Sirianni assisting us in bringing this Kimberley immersion experience to our members.

May 2020 – Yoga Australia National Forum

Attendees experienced three ways to deepen their Acknowledgement of Country with Eve White, Jem Stone and Cate Peterson. There was information about the historical and current understanding of this practice and how you might best incorporate it when sharing your yoga practice. The benefits of a Yaan Circle and the traditional mindfulness practice of Dadirri were also discussed. The forum replay can be accessed here.

November 2020 – Yoga Australia NAIDOC Week Forum

As we celebrated NAIDOC week and gave deep thanks for our Yaan Circle, we invited Joelle Low, the RAP Program Manager for Training and Capacity Building with Reconciliation Australia, to share with us the benefits of undertaking a Reconciliation Action Plan. The forum replay can be accessed here ( Emily please insert)

March 2021 – Yoga Australia presents Wayapa Wuurk

Jem Stone and Sara Jones of presented the modality of Wayapa Wuurk in the context of yoga practice and led a session. The protocol of Wayapa means that this session was not recorded but there are continual opportunities to attend or train in this modality.

How to get involved

  1. Apply to join our Reciprocity Group on Facebook. and follow Ngungwulah on Facebook. Be part of the conversation
  2. Acknowledge Country and Culture prior to each yoga class. This brings people into a state of connection and reverence prior to starting practice.
    For guidelines is speaking Acknowledgement of Country, imply Acknowledge from your heart and in your own words eg :

We recognises the continuous and deep connection to Country, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this nation. In this way we respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of this land, sea, the waters and sky. We pay tribute to the Elders past and present as we also respect the collective ancestry that has brought us all here today.

  1. Hang a place card at your studio, add an Acknowledgment to your email signature or purchase a Splash Page which Acknowledges County loud and clear from, the beautiful work of Yaan Circle member Scarlet Barnett.
  2. Check out this non-exhaustive  list of Aboriginal festivals around Australia to which the invitation is open ABC List of FestivalsNorth Qld Festivals, Tasmania Festival, South Australia
  3. Consider bring a Cultural Awareness training to your studio or attend one online.
  4. Open the conversation with your local Traditional Custodians and community.
  5. Sustainably offer bursary classes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members at your studio and if you run Teacher Trainings consider opening a position up for free to support Community and build relationship
  6. Make purchase choices that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and that speak to your commitment to heal this country.

Resources and Connection Points

Gambay : Australian First Languages Map

Acknowledgement of Country  Resources

Wayapa WuurrkWakai – Daly River Strong Young Women

Dadirri – The Deep Inner Spring Inside Us

Kanyini – Documentary on local Yama

Sign up for Our Newsletter