Golden Flow YTT experience

I feel blessed, grateful and nourished from experiencing Golden Flow Yoga Teacher Training with Aeven, her teaching team and my student sisters. This training opportunity was perfectly timed in my life in conjunction with a desire to strengthen my commitment to yoga and to share the benefits within my community.

The self-directed study is a practice of regularly learning yogic aspects, which I plan to continue cultivating throughout my life. The Golden Flow workbook is a simple guide encouraging deeper exploration into yoga history, philosophy, human anatomy and physiology, pranayama breathing, meditation and of course the asanas.


The 13-day immersion was certainly life changing. Having the long days and dedicated space to truly focus on learning and practice was ideal and without distraction. There was also much time for reflection on everything that was going on, even outside of the practical lessons ie. Unique group dynamics, fascinating satsang discussion topics or the incredible dinners that Linda served up to warm and nurture us. All the teachers brought valuable and diverse offerings such as heart songs, deep ecology, chanting and a fire ceremony. Aeven’s intuitive holding of the group space offered a safe, supported environment for honesty, trust and emotion. There was a lot of fun had also. I often noticed the room was fully lit up with our smiles and happiness…not to mention the freely flowing dance and air guitar moves.


I feel ready with knowledge and practical experience to begin my journey as a yoga teacher.

Thank you Aeven for encouraging us to become our best selves, to embrace our journey along yogic pathways. Your passion for yoga is inspirational and your guiding us to be great teachers is so very much appreciated.


I whole heartedly recommend Golden Flow Yoga Teacher Training.


Toni Hutton of Golden Bay

Reflections and revelations

We’ve been doing this yoga teaching thang for 9 days now and the learnings are coming thick and fast.

Physically, I’ve had a lot of pointers on how to improve my own asana practice (yoga poses). It turns out I’ve been standing sub-optimally for years. I vaguely recall previous yoga teachers asking the class to “microbend the limbs to unlock the joints” in down dog but I never clicked what that actually meant in practice, or that the advice applied to me personally.

Until our teacher Aeven showed me that I unconsciously lock my knees and elbows – it affects how I stand and it affects my yoga practice by weakening the core and causing strain where there doesn’t need to be strain.

  • Lesson one: listening is different to understanding. I never ‘got’ what a microbend or external joint rotation was til this week, despite hearing yoga teachers refer to these movements for years. So us teachers need to be careful with our wording, or students can get lost in meaningless jargon.
  • Lesson two: awareness is the first step towards change. I spent the past week adjusting my standing posture and easing into asana, ensuring I’m not locking my joints anymore. I already feel stronger, leaner and less achey in my lower back. Our students, however, may choose not to act on things once they are aware of them. That’s ok too. All we can do is shift the awareness and the rest is up to the individual.

We’re not here to do yoga, although we do a lot of it. About 3 hours a day, on average, but that’s beside the point  We’re here to learn how to teach yoga. Important distinction.

  • Lesson three: you don’t need to be a super-bendy-pretzel person who can contort into headstands to be a yoga teacher. Guiding students through an asana is a totally different skillset to guiding yourself through an asana. Sure, if you can do the whizzbang amazing headstand you’ll impress some folks. But it’s only one part of the whole picture.

Yoga is for everyone. Yoga is breath. Yoga is connection of mind, body and spirit. I could fill an entire blog post with these concepts but will save that thought for now…

We all have differen bodies and every day those bodies move and think differently. Flexibility in every possible sense is so important to yoga. As is being open-minded – being prepared to try new things that may seem bonkers or scary.

How you respond to the challenges on your mat reflects how you respond to the challenges of your life. Worth thinking about next time you can’t get into a pose – does the ego come out to play, bringing its buddies anger or shame? Maybe you laugh and try again. Or listen to your body in the moment and breathe, accept, and move on. Every day, every moment is different.

We are all grateful to be learning this stuff – it’s a lot to take in but will help us be more effective when guiding our own students! I’m getting excited to come back into “the real world” and start putting this all into practice.

Wellington friends, if you’d like some free yoga classes (Level 1, suitable for beginners) between now and end of July, sing out! I will need students to get my hours up over the next six weeks so I can complete the last component of my 200 hour registered yoga teacher qualification.

By Clea Marshall

What really happens at ýoga camp'



Following my previous post about starting my yoga teacher training  journey, here’s a snapshot of what I’m actually doing.

I’ve spent the past 8 weeks doing self-study in preparation for this 14-day immersion in Pohara Beach, Golden Bay.

While no two days are the same, here’s a flavour of a typical day here 

  • 6:30am-8am yoga practice
  • 8:00 -9:30am breakfast and study time
  • 9:30am-1:00pm lessons, teaching practice, discussions on juicy stuff like meditation, philosophy/history of yoga, anatomy studies etc
  • 1:00-3:00 lunch, study time, prep – this is where we either have our introvert alone time in the sauna or spa (on rainy days) or go for beach walks or shopping trips to Takaka together 
  • 3:00-5:30pm lessons, teaching practice – we teach each other and get feedback on how we can improve our instructions, assists, voice, timings, presence etc
  • 5:30-6:30pm dinner break: we eat a delicious vegan meal together outside, rugged up against the elements and under a tarp if it’s raining
  • 6:30-8:30 evening lectures or sometimes fun stuff like singalongs, brainstorming, watching educational yoga films etc
  • 8:30pm til 8am is “quiet time” aka introvert heaven.

The days are quite long and there’s a lot of information to process, which can be hard – as you would expect when absorbing a new topic. I am not complaining though: we are so lucky to be here. A 14-day immersion, while intense, is far easier to fit around work and family commitments than other teacher training options in NZ and abroad.

This Golden Bay course was also a cheaper, simpler option than other studios in Wellington who require their students to go to Bali for three weeks or Australia for a month.

Every day here I’m reminded I made the right choice for me. And it feels good.

Tonight was our eighth day here and we all started to lose the plot a bit after a full day of anatomy training plus too much chocolate late at night. This evening I ‘romanced’ Norm the skeleton (named thus as he is anatomically “normal”) and a few of us wound up cry-laughing and snort-cackling over a tiny ridiculous dog in the yoga movie “Why We Breathe” so it’s fair to say we’re cracking up a bit. In a fun way.


When we aren’t cracking up I also absolutely love the enforced quiet time. As fond as I am of my fellow yogis (who are utter darlings and I adore), I need alone time to recharge. We’re encouraged to not speak to each other between 8:30pm-8am unless necessary and to be honest it’s a revelation. I feel such a relief to have no need for the polite-but-pointless small talk people often use to fill awkward silences when living in close quarters with others.

We have so much to process and so much to do that moving silently around each other is utterly refreshing.

Each evening we retreat into ourselves and move cosily and silently around our shared cabins together. Pottering with books, hot water bottles, pots and pots of tea and our study books as we listen to weka and pukeko calls in the darkness.


Golden Flow yoga teacher training highly recommended

I thoroughly recommend Golden Flow Yoga Teacher training. I chose this training because I have a young children and can’t stay away from home for long, so an intensive training was really the only viable option for me at this stage in my life. And I am so glad I made this choice. Not only was it viable time wise but also financially and practically, not having to organise accommodation and having one nutritious meal provided every day. It was so great to be able to live on the grounds where we also where taught. The Sandcastle is such a beautiful, perfect spot for a yoga teacher training – it literally can’t get much better than this – only a 5 minute walk to the beach with a sauna and the best, most nutritious, delicious caterer around for dinners. The dinners were a highlight every day – probably every mother who has to cook every day at home would appreciate them as much as I did. The schedule and the lessons were fantastic. The teacher training was well rounded and got way deeper than I thought. The journey was well guided by Aeven and the other teachers and I really appreciated the beautiful community of other students from all over the world. It was lovely to make new bonds, share our ideas, get advice, start teaching, establishing a regular practice, be inspired every day. On my last day at the airport I can literally say that my cup felt full for the first time in 10 years (mothering is busy....) I felt relaxed, energised and just REALLY good and my body and soul felt nourished, despite a 6.30am-9pm schedule every day. I miss the daily gatherings and togetherness of other likeminded souls. And although I was nervous getting out in the real world and starting to teach I felt like I had enough knowledge on board to make a start on my journey as a yoga teacher. I will always hold this teacher training in a special place in my heart, the bond with the other students, the insights gained, the layers shed, the old stuff left behind, the new inspirations in my pocket... A huge thank you to my teachers and fellow students. I feel so blessed and grateful to have been able to experience this.
Silke Whittaker, Hawkes Bay

The inside story on the Golden Flow teacher training experience

When you’re contemplating which Yoga Teacher Training is right for you, one of the best resources can be speaking to someone who has already done that training. Of course, it can be hard to track down former trainees, so we’ve done that hard work for you.

Golden Flow Yoga is based on Golden Bay, at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s facilitated by Aeven Kelly, an advocate for teaching people, not asana.

We spoke to three women – Breanna, Rachael and Amy – who made the decision to do their 200Hr Yoga Teacher Training with Golden Flow Yoga last year. 

Why did you sign up for Golden Flow Yoga Teacher Training? What made this training stand out?

Amy: I signed up as a means of learning more about a hobby I had. I wanted to learn more about the philosophy and correct yoga techniques, however I struggled to find the time in everyday life. The course gave me an opportunity to immerse myself. I’ve lived in Golden Bay for a year now, so I knew what a special place it was and that it attracts beautiful people. I had a great feeling about who my fellow trainees would be, and I knew how great the teachers from the area are!

Breanna: I have been attending Aeven’s yoga classes for a few years and have always really respected and admired her as a teacher and a friend. When the chance arose to attend this training I jumped at the opportunity, trusting that her experience and passion for yoga would make this course well worth the time and effort to attend – and I was right.

Rachael: I wanted to learn more about yoga and to teach yoga, as well as an income source. I thought the training looked affordable, manageable and fun.

What was it like turning up for training?

Amy: It was really exciting. When I first arrived I was nervous about setting everything up, but once I met all of the other girls I knew I would be in for something special.

Breanna: Arriving on site was lovely. With the warm sunny Golden Bay climate and the peaceful accommodation, arriving felt like stepping into a dream! I felt really welcomed and supported in arriving to the space – meeting my fellow yogis was lovely and a sense of ‘community’ was natural. The opening ceremony initiated a sense of sacredness and acceptance which I felt was an amazing addition to our experience.

Rachael: Challenging, a great commitment and a lot of fun.

What was it like being on the training?

Amy: The training was interesting for me. I learned so so much about myself as a person. I didn’t expect this of the course, but it opened my eyes up to so many things

Breanna: The training was entirely amazing in so many ways. I loved living on-site for the two weeks of training, building up a real sense of sisterhood with the other attendees, and feeling the good intention and energy all throughout the course. Each day was something new and different, which kept my mind and attention span fresh and invigorated. Immersing myself in the yogic world was a great.

Learning all different styles and modalities of yoga, we were provided with so much stimulation, information and practical training, gaining skill and experience and growing in a holistic sense. Leaning about yoga in a holistic way was excellent – we were supported not just with asana practise but also spiritually, emotionally and mentally, which made for a really well-rounded, balanced and enriching experience.

Rachael: It was wonderful, inspiring and great fun too.

What was the most unexpected part of the training?

Amy: Meeting the most down to earth, beautiful people I’ve ever met.

Breanna: The laughter, community, and making friends that I can see lasting a lifetime. Also the depth of personal deep inner reflection which took place while on the training. I was prepared for some of this, but I was really surprised by the raw depth of the psychological and emotional shifts which I experienced on the course. It was life-changingly wonderful, and I am deeply grateful for this. The space for such personal reflections and realisations was held really well and I felt safe, nurtured and respected in every moment.

Rachael: The different styles of yoga we are learning and embracing.

How did you feel leaving training? Did you feel ready to teach?

Amy: I felt sad that I had to say goodbye and go back into society after being in a lovely bubble. I didn’t feel ready to teach, however I felt filled with knowledge and bubbling, so I knew that after a bit of practice I could get into the flow of it.

Breanna: I felt totally ready for teaching, yeah! I felt like a changed woman at the end of the training: my mind clear, my body detoxed, and my spirit joyous and ready for action!! I have gone straight into teaching since leaving the class. I feel my skills are strong, and will continue to get better with time, experience and nurturing.

Rachael: I felt wonderful and inspired. I am now organising a space to teach from, and I’m asking people to join me from next week. This is a fantastic challenge and inspiring too.

Finally, what would you say to anyone considering Golden Flow Teacher Training?

Amy: Just go for it! You can’t be hesitant. I had my doubts before the course but these all vanished as soon as I got there. It’s an amazing experience, and even if you don’t want to teach you learn so much, and meet incredible people who inspire you and your journey.

Breanna: I’d say go for it! If you’ve been drawn to considering this then you should listen to your intuition, trust your gut and take the plunge!! Once you’re there you’ll be so glad you allowed yourself the chance to learn and expand your horizons. Definitely recommend it to anyone!

Rachael: Go for it. It is a wonderful opportunity and experience. It is a worthwhile investment too.

Golden Flow teacher training

Golden Bay Yogi Aeven Kelly is excited.  The 200 hour Golden Flow Yoga Teacher Training immersion she’s leading this October is full, with people flying in from all over the world for two weeks of intense, rewarding training.


“I’m really looking forward to sharing this experience with people because it’s life transforming. During the course we immerse ourselves in the eight fold yogic path, combining philosophy, teaching methodology, and physiology. So we’re bringing all that together.  Some courses are physically based, some are spiritually based, and I’m so excited about the blend of all of them in this one,” said Aeven.


“It is going to be an amazing course. Anahata Retreat are going to be involved, which is amazing.  We have Brendon Sakey from Auckland, and  swami Atmavidya who is coming to talk about the history and philosophy side of things.  We’ll take the students up to kirtan and tradional fire ceremony, Havan, at Anahata for an experience,” she said.


The course is being held in the top of the South Island.  “It’s a beautiful holiday destination with all the things to do around here.  People stay for two weeks, but some are coming earlier or leaving later, to enjoy the great range of activities on offer in the region.


In a thirteen day immersion an average day involves waking at six am, with the only break being for meals.  Bedtime is between nine and ten.  Learning will continue all day and will include a mix of different sessions, different teachers. “It’s known as an intensive.  It’s such an experience.  It’s amazing to be that full in the days because it keeps you present. You’re in it and you’re filling up yourself with knowledge and nourishment,” she said.


“For me it’s really not just the teacher training material, it’s the retreat. It’s all-inclusive.  It’s the little touches that count. People come and there will be fresh flowers, the spa pool,  it’ll be fully stacked with herbal teas.  Those little things matter.” 


Trainers include Aeven herself, Emma Present, Brendon Sakey, Atmavidya, Inna Alex and Chaitanya Deva.


Brendon completed his yoga teacher training through Mangrove yoga academy in Australia, under Bihar School of Yoga. This is a traditional style that integrates all the main branches of yoga. He has experience teaching yoga in the community, on workshops and retreats, yoga teacher training courses and in therapeutic settings, including drug and alcohol rehabilitation, hospice and prison. Brendon is also a social worker.


Chaitanya has had a love and passion for transformational practices such as yoga and meditation since the early ‘90’s. His journey has led him around the world practicing and studying with a wide range of amazing teachers. He brings a very calm and present energy to his classes as well as a cheeky sense of humour.


Atmavidya has been teaching Yoga and Meditation in a range of contexts over the last 18 years (including yoga centres, ashrams, retreats, primary, secondary schools, tertiary institutions, businesses, Not For Profit and rehabilitation organisations). Since 2014 she has been running The Vishuddhi Yoga Centre in Christchurch. 


Inna is a qualified yoga teacher who loves sharing her passion for exploring the self as well as our interconnectedness through yoga. Practicing traditional hatha-yoga for over 15 years, she has also gained an appreciation for bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. Inna has been collecting bhajans and heart songs from around the world for many years, which she is passionate about sharing and chanting with others in singing circles.  As part of her sadhana, Inna has been facilitating Deep Ecology Workshops according to Joanna Macy’s “The Work that Reconnects” for the past seven years.


Founder of the Golden Bay yoga shala Bay Yoga - Emma Present loves yoga.  For her yoga is a tool she can use to see clearer, act smarter and love harder. She does yoga “to stay calm, create good karma and to be real.” She says she lives yoga to “stay flexible in mind as well as body and to stay healthy in body as well as heart.”


“Think of the toothbrush, it's a tool you use daily. Yoga is a tool that I use daily. I love its effects as much as I love clean teeth. I have been sharing yoga with the willing for a decade and have attended many teacher trainings in Vinyasa Flow Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga. I love to teach yoga to pregnant women and families and am a Hypnobirthing Childbirth Educator,” said Emma.


Aeven herself lives and teach yoga in paradise in Golden Bay and Nelson. She is the yoga facilitator for Golden Flow Yoga retreats, workshops, events and yoga teacher training.   She has 2000 hours of contact teaching, within six years, “allowing me a lot of experience to impart.”


“In 1999, following my career as a certified personal trainer, I discovered yoga and appreciated the holistic nature of incorporating mind, breath and spirit into the physical aspect of exercise. I traveled the world for ten years, practicing and learning as many varied yoga practices and lineages as possible, and strove to embody the universal yogic principles. I have immersed myself in many workshops and intensives in Iyengar, Ashtanga, Yin, Bikram, Satyananda, Anusara, Vinyasa Flow and other modalities. In 2010, I completed my level one Teacher Training with Yandara Yoga Institute, and have been actively teaching since.  In May 2015 I completed my 300hr certification with the Byron Yoga Center. I am currently Yoga Alliance registered as ERYT-500.”


Next year a Golden Flow Yoga 13 day Autumn Immersion course will take place in May in the Tasman region.  This includes full immersion in the 200HR training plus extracurricular yoga practice, teaching and study.  This is a great opportunity for an affordable yoga training in a stunning region. 



Raw reflections from a Yogis darkside

The last six months i have been struggling.  All areas of my life simultaneously presented stress and challenge, knocking the wind out of my sails.  I have been going through the motions of my life, parenting, work, yoga practice, growing a business and managing a home and relationship, as a daily grind.  I’ve been showing up as an empty shell compiling meaningless tasks, while my soul had fled and buried itself in a hole to hide from the world.

The question replaying on my mind ‘I am an experienced and embodied Yogi, how am I here struggling with my darkside?

This morning as I willed myself to get out of bed and face another day, I decided that this day would be different.  I threw on my old shabby eight dollar trainers from The Warehouse and drove until i was parked at the bottom of a very steep mountain.  I began the ascent, one heavy step at a time feeling as though I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Half way up the mountain my muscles were complaining and sweat began to drip. My fitness had suffered over the months sitting at my work desk.  Funny how being in the yoga business has meant thus far more time spent on a computer than in yoga practice!

Then something remarkable happened, well, mindfulness happened!

I felt the sun on my back and it warmed my heart space beginning to dissolve built up residue that had been residing there.  I turned around and my teary eyes beheld a shiningly beautiful view of Golden Bay and I saw hope on the horizon...  Deep breath.  As I inhaled, inspiration imbued every cell of my being.  I continued walking, feeling  a little lighter.

When i reached the top I sat in meditation and then was gifted with clear insight.

It seems that every few years after being on a positive and empowered roll in my life, i crash and burn in a pit of despair, usually brought on by a culmination of deeply challenging life situations and events.  During these periods of darkness i feel lost, confused and hopeless.  Everywhere i turn I see my reflection of the wounded feminine and it is so overwhelming.  My world seems as though shattered and i do not know how, or if I will recover.

Of course, in hindsight I realise that those episodes are perfectly Karmic, and my trauma is seeking resolve.  Each time the process is so deep that on some level I die, and each time, after the catharsis I am reborn more integrated and with clearer direction of my true path.

As I began my way back down the mountain I also decided that this would be day 1 of a 28 day challenge to wellness, in which my personal yoga practice, exercising in nature and an alkaline diet would be my priority.

By the time I had made my decsent to the base these words were pouring through me from source.

As I sit here and relay this personal experience, I am as a Phoenix rising from the ashes once again into a new phase of my life.  I am recreated through this process as an even more glorious and magnificent creature than ever before.

Gratitude and appreciation for those of you who have loved and held me through this phase.  I also thank those of you who couldn't, for the reflections.  I understand it's been difficult and hey, thats our Dharma!


Reflections on Satya

 I'm here at the computer with my comfort 'a good ol'e cuppa tea' because I'm feeling challenged within the realms of deep truth. For the purpose of a direction and focus for this blog, i will share my philosophical meanderings on my personal journey with Satya at this time.  I have some deep core issues arising to explore, accept and clear! Yes iv'e been here before, same issues different level of conscious awareness on the spiral.

At this time in my life i am aligned with so much of my truth, and i still recognize how much untruth there is in the reflection.

Satya has a multi leveled intrinsically layered meaning for me.  I'll begin with communication. How we voice and bridge ourselves with the external world. Am i speaking clearly my personal truth? how i feel, what i need!  Am i impeccable with my word as according to 'The four agreements' 'mean what you say-say what you mean, do as you say-say as you mean! This, i believe is the source of all trust {but thats another topic}.  Clear honest and open communication.....simple aye!

We also are in a constant state of energetic communication with ourselves, others and the world around us. Is our energy and vibrational frequency clear for true enterpratation?  Does our verbal and non-verbal communication match up?

Another interpretation of Satya is being truthful to ourselves and our highest potential. problems and suffering arise when we are not being honest to self about our needs and wants, and from not being honest to others about our needs and wants.  Satya calls us to follow our path. Am i fulfulling my potential and living within resanation of my highest self?  Do i use my time and energy in a wholistic approach on this path. Alignment of intention and actions/words and thoughts.  Which reminds me of a quote i came across 'The universe is intelligent and it gives us what we want'. 

So we need to be clear about our intentions! Practice gratitude, positive alignment, compassion and self exploration.  Last but not least 'clear sight', our perception of the world and truth beyond our filters and stories. Here is the 'unpacking' and unveiling of our past experiences so that we may fully experience momentary truth.

Lots of questions, food for thought, the rabbit hole is deep!


Yoga teacher training 500hrs

Almost six years ago I spent a month in Bali attending my 200hr Yoga teacher training with Yandara school  At this stage yoga had already been an integral part of my life for a decade and I was called to do the training.  I had no idea of how to find a teacher training that suited my needs. I ended up going purely on intuition as to which course to do!  The process was absolutely life changing and affirmed that sharing yoga was my Dharma in this lifetime.  The training was exquisite on all levels of time/place and facilitation.  I deeply honour and appreciated those who led the process.  I enjoyed the blend of grounded, intelligent and practical yoga aswell as the more spiritual aspects of the course material.  This created a warm and connected group of people on the course who processed together and became like family.

Since then I have been teaching classes and sharing yoga in my village in Golden Bay New Zealand.  I also had my first child which has been my strongest yoga practice so far.  I taught yoga right up until he was born and then continued when he just a few months old.  

Finally I was able to attend my next yoga teacher training this year.  I completed the course with Byron Yoga Centre  I chose this training mostly due to practical circumstances being a mum with a young child I didn't want to be absent for a long time.  I also love Byron Bay being my previous home town and I knew the course and facilitators would be professional and of high quality.  I am now about to become an E-RYT 500 as I have completed 500hr yoga alliance certified training, taught for over five years with 2000hrs contact teaching hours.

So yes I am all about yoga as my nourishment and rock in life and I cherish sharing this with others.  I now teach and assist managing Bay Yoga Shala  A lovely and connected hub of yoga and events in Golden Bay, New Zealand.  This year we are launching our first YogA teaching training RYS 200hr at the Shala and the first in Golden Bay!

Wonderful times past and present,