What I value about yoga is its ability to enrich your life in the present moment by enhancing connections. On a physical level, I use yoga to lovingly encourage the circulation of energy and consciousness throughout my body. This makes me feel more whole and enables me to be in greater harmony with everything around me. I think that if everyone took responsibility for developing themselves in this way we would all be better people and the world would be a better place.
I became a yoga teacher because I derived so much reward from my own yoga practice – physically, physiologically, mentally and emotionally – and I wanted to share this experience with as many people as possible.
What makes Yoga Synergy unique is the way Bianca (Machliss) and I have woven together the benefits of traditional yoga, science and physiotherapy. We both started by studying science, learning how to be creative yet results-driven and objective. Then we immersed ourselves in yoga and studied and travelled extensively in India, which accentuated the spiritual side of our practice. We became established yoga teachers, each in our own time. Then – armed with the knowledge of how students learn and respond – we returned to university to study the human body and become qualified physiotherapists. The result is that Yoga Synergy’s style is a unique fusion of Eastern tradition and Western science. For our students, that means practical, effective and safe traditional yoga, designed specifically for the modern body.
Simon Borg-Olivier MSc BAppSc (Physiotherapy) is a Co-Director of Yoga Synergy, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected yoga schools. The Yoga Synergy style is based on a deep understanding of yoga anatomy, yoga physiology and traditional Hatha Yoga. Simon has been teaching since 1982. He is a registered physiotherapist, a research scientist and a university lecturer. Simon has been regularly invited to teach at special workshops and conferences interstate and overseas since 1990.
Suffice to say, Simon has led an extraordinary life. At the age of six, he was introduced to yogic breathing (pranayama) by his father George who taught him to swim underwater, and the main bandhas (internal locks) through a family friendship with Rhodesian Olympian Basil Brown. At the age of 17, he met a Tibetan Lama who introduced him to the philosophy and practice of Tantric Yoga. In 1985, Simon met his primary teacher Natanaga Zhander (Shandor Remete) with whom he studied for almost two decades. He has also studied with such internationally revered Indian teachers as BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and TKV Desikachar. Since 2007, Simon has been developing his yoga practice and understanding by studying with Master Zhen Hua Yang.
During the past 20 years, as well as running a successful yoga school, Simon has continued to both study and teach at the University of Sydney. Simon has completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, a research-based Master of Science in Molecular Biology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy. As well as teaching both group and individual classes through Yoga Synergy, Simon also teaches regularly at workshops and conferences both nationally and internationally. He lives in Sydney with his wife and fellow-yoga teacher Vitoria and their children Amaliah and Eric.
- Bachelor of Science in Human Biology (1980)
- Oki Yoga Teacher Training Certificate (1984)
- Shiatsu Massage Certificate (1985)
- Master of Science in Molecular Biology (1986)
- Chinese Massage Certificate (1987)
- Iyengar Teacher Training Certificate (1991)
- Registered Physiotherapist (Bachelor of Applied Science) (1996)
- Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification ERT500 (2010)
Early on, Simon and Bianca realized the importance of understanding the human body. Not only did they both return to university to become fully qualified physiotherapists, but together they developed Yoga Synergy’s Applied Anatomy & Physiology Course of Hatha Yoga – the only one of its kind – in conjunction with the unique Yoga Synergy style of yoga. This course is pivotal to the training of each Yoga Synergy teacher and is also attended by Yoga Synergy students, and yoga teachers and teachers-in-training from all styles of yoga.
In 2007, the couple was approached to turn this course into a tertiary course to be taught as part of the Integrative Applied Eastern Anatomy and Physiology taughtat Melbourne’s RMIT University. Simon and Bianca wrote the course and have both taught it to the university’s students. (Simon continues to be the course’s primary lecturer.) The course also forms part of a new internationally recognised degree, the Master of Wellness. The main textbook used is one that Simon and Bianca co-authored called Applied Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga.
As well as teaching at RMIT, Simon has also taught Yoga Synergy’s Anatomy & Physiology content at numerous yoga teacher training courses including: International Yoga Teachers Association (1990, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006), Sydney Yoga Centre Teacher Training (1995, 1996), Yoga Arts Teacher Training (Byron Bay, 2000, 2001), InspyaYoga Teacher Training (Byron Bay, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), the Yoga Teachers Association of Australia (2007, 2008, 2009), Yoga Zone Teacher Training (Kuala Lumpur, 2007), Ysynergy Teacher Training (Kuala Lumpur, 2008, 2009, 2010), Vibrant Living Yoga Teacher Training (Bali, 2008, 2009, 2010) and Yoga Jaya Teacher Training (Tokyo and Osaka, 2008, 2009, 2010).
Simon has also shared his knowledge of yoga anatomy, yoga physiology and traditional Hatha Yoga with some of Australia’s premier dance companies including the Sydney Dance Company, Darc Swan and Bangarra Dance Company. He has lectured at the Dance Departments of both the University of NSW and the University of Western Sydney, performed in several dance productions and yogic dance performances, and regularly gives artistic demonstrations of advanced yoga vinyasa (linked sequences of postures) to music.
Simon has been a guest lecturer at many conferences, including those of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (1997, 1998), Pilates Australia (2004, 2007) Sydney Yoga Expo (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), Byron Bay Yoga Festival (2006), the Yoga and Science Conventions (1996, 2005, 2006), the Asia Yoga Conference (Kuala Lumpur, 2007), the 13th International Holistic Health Conference (2007), the Australian Fitness Leaders Network Conference (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and the International Ayurveda and Yoga Conference (2006, 2009).
- Simon’s personal history and philosophy of yoga was featured in Yoga: The Essence of Life: Eight Yogis Share Their Journeys (2004) by author and journalist Alix Johnson.
- Simon has contributed chapters on yoga to several technical books including An Introduction to Complementary Medicine (2005) edited by Terry Robson and Integrative Medicine Perspectives (2007) edited by Professor Marc Cohen.
- He also regularly contributes to magazines including Australian Yoga Life Magazine, Well Being Magazine, Australian Natural Health Magazine, Art of Healing Magazine and several Russian yoga journals.
- Photographs of Simon’s postures have been featured in many yoga books, including Christina Brown’s bestselling book The Yoga Bible (2003), Jesse Chapman’s books Yoga Postures for Your Body, Mind and Soul (2000) and Yoga for Inner Strength (2004) and James Houston’s book One (2005).
- Simon is regularly invited to speak on radio and has had numerous television appearances. He is featured in the recently released film Yoga and Me (2009) produced by Robbie Baldwin.