Melanie Cooper

I have been teaching yoga for sixteen years, and training yoga teachers for eight years. I divide my time between London and Goa, practicing and teaching yoga. I currently run the morning ashtanga self practice at The Life Centre in Islington. I run an annual teacher training at Brahmani Yoga in Goa and at Zolder Studio in London. I also run trainings at Bristol City Yoga in Bristol. I run a monthly philosophy discussion group. I have published a book on adjustments and teaching yoga. I have practiced and assisted at Ashtanga Yoga London with Hamish Hendry for many years, and I have also studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. I live in North London.

Ashtanga morning Mysore self practice at The Life Centre Islington in London

The Life Centre Islington is a beautiful, peaceful space. I aim to make the self practice session safe and accesible for everyone. The classes run from 6.30-9.30am Monday to Friday (on moon days there is no practice). For new students there is an introductory offer of 14 days unlimited classes for £20. For more details see below under "Events".

Once a month I run an Introduction to Mysore Workshop at the Life Centre. This will give you the fundamentals of the practice and the first section of the sequence to give you a head start when you start morning classes.

Booking is through The Life Centre.

Weekly Ashtanga Class

I teach a weekly evening Ashtanga class at The Life Centre Islington. The class is on Tuesdays at 6-7.15pm and is open to everyone with no need to book.

Yoga Teacher Training in India and London

In January 2014 I am teaching an Ashtanga & Restorative/Yin teacher training course in Goa, India and in London. The courses are Yoga Alliance registered 200 hours. For full details see below under "Training".

Adjustment Workshops

I also teach regular adjustment workshops. Watch this space for details.

Yin Yoga

As well as the more dynamic Ashtanga, I also teach Yin Yoga. This is a slow, passive form of yoga where postures are held for around 5 minutes in a very relaxed way. It is a very powerful and medatitive practice. For details see under "Events".

Daily Morning Mysore Style Self Practice at The Life Centre Islington

I teach the morning self practice at The Life Centre Islington Monday to Friday 6.30am to 9.30am.

Self practice is not a led class. Nor is it an unsupervised practice space. You come and do your own ashtanga practice in your own time. The teachers (me and my assistants) give guidance and help where needed. This means you go at your own pace and get the help you need. It's a beautiful way to practice and an amazing way to start the day. The class runs for 3 hours and you can arrive and leave at any time within that time. Don't worry if you can't remember the sequence - I am there to help you. There is no need to be intimidated or scared of self practice! You don’t have to be a super-yogi or remember everything. ALL levels of experience and knowledge are welcome.

There is no practice on full moon and new moon. The dates for 2013 are 3 November, 17 November, 3 December, 17 December.

There is a led class once a month on the first friday of the month. The dates for 2013 are 4 October, 1 November and 6 December.

The Life Centre is one of London's most prestigious yoga centres and is really beautiful - check the website.

Other Classes
Ashtanga Classes

I teach a regular evening Ashtanga class on Tuesday's at The Life Centre Islington, at 6-7.15pm.

I am teaching at Globe House, Crucifix Lane, London Bridge on Saturday 26 October 2013.

Classes are: Morning Self Practice 8-9.45am, Beginners/General Level 10-11.15, Full Led Primary 11.30-1pm


No need to book just come!

Yin Classes

Watch this space...


Adjustment Workshop

Adjustments and assistance in yoga asana: This is an experiential workshop on the when, the where and the why of adjusting in yoga postures. This is open to everyone interested in examining the mechanics of practicing as well as those training to teach and already teaching.

For more information or to book contact me by email or phone (07787 791 249) or check Norman's website

Venue: Globe House, 2 Crucifix Lane, London Bridge, London


Date: Watch this space...

Time: to be confirmed

Cost: to be confirmed

Yoga Holiday

For the last three years I have taught a yoga holiday at Yoga Rocks in Crete - every time it has been amazing. For a write up see the Yoga Rocks website at /events/melanie-cooper

Next years date to announced SOON.

Philosophy Discussion Group

I am running a monthly Philosophy Discussion Group. We meet on the first Sunday of the month at 11-1. Each month we choose a different topic. I aim for us to learn the important points from scriptures including (but not only) the Yoga Sutras but also to discuss how these points relate to our life and our yoga practice. For details of dates and topics please see the Facebook Page. Philosophy Discussion Group with Melanie Cooper

Back to top

Other Yoga Teachers/Centers

My Contact

Cool Yoga Stuff

Some old footage of advanced practitioners being taught by Guruji:

Derek Ireland was one of the first people to bring Ashtanga to the UK. He was my teachers teacher:

Krisnamacharya taught Sri K Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S Ivengar:

Kino MacGreggor has lots of clips on YouTube giving tips on difficult poses

Drawings of the primary series :
A website with lots of info and articles - including some by me.

Cool Stuff

Back to top

My new book

Teaching Yoga Adjusting Asana: based on the Ashtanga Primary Series

Has just been published by Yogawords. It is aimed at new teachers but would also be interesting to teachers and yoga students practicing all types of yoga.

I have written several articles published on the World Yoga Network.
When yoga makes you angry
Is this spiritual?
Yin yoga for backbending with ease and grace
Yin yoga for lotus hips

Also on Elephant Journal.

The Ashtanga Opening Chant

The Ashtanga Closing Chant

Back to top

I am very excited to be teaching on a Yoga Teacher training course in Goa in 2014

The course will cover teaching Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and complementary practices (restorative and yin yoga)

The dates are 1 February to 15 March 2014

I have been teaching on teacher training courses in Goa for around 8 years. It is always a very special experience. Students have a chance to deepen their practice and knowledge of yoga in a hugely supportive environment. India is always an experience and for most people over the years, the teacher training course has been life changing, life enhancing and a way to learn about yourself on many levels. THIS IS NOT A HOLIDAY! Be prepared to work hard. But also be prepared to reap the benefits...

The course includes:

Anatomy and physiology. This is taught by Stuart Girling. Stuart has been practicing yoga and doing bodywork for many years. Stuart makes anatomy accessible, interesting and relevant to your yoga practice.

Philosophy and History of Yoga: This is taught by Emil Wendle who is an inspiring and hugely knowledgeable teacher.

The other topics include:

Teaching methods, including an in depth look at how to teach every posture from the Ashtanga Primary Series, Important points of allignment, how to teach beginners, how to modify for injuries or restrictions in the body, how to adjust, how to teach pregnant students and how to use language so what you say is clear and succinct

For a full description of the course and how to apply, please check the website of Brahmani Yoga Teacher-Training/india-course

If you would like to email me you can contact me at

I am also very excited to be launching a new Ashtanga and Yin teacher training in London with Norman Blair

The course is a Yoga Alliance registered 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and Practitioner Intensive


2 Five-day intensives plus 8 weekends Weekends:

2-6 May 31 May-1June 2-3 August 18-19October 1-2November 26-30 November 21-22 June 6-7 September 12-13 July 27-28 September


Zolder Studio, London, N22

Cost £3000


* Spaces limited to 12

* Taught by two teachers with nearly 30 years of yoga teaching experience between them

* 26 days of tuition and training

* Experience in live classes

* Support and training after the course


This 7-month teacher training programme is designed to be a practitioner’s intensive as well as a training in the basics of teaching yoga. Our focus will be working with Ashtanga Vinyasa and Yin Yoga as tools for teaching and practicing. We will also look in depth at other practices, such as meditation, yoga nidra, pranayama, chanting and bhajans.

The teachers Melanie Cooper has been teaching Ashtanga since 1997 and teacher trainings since 2008. Her first book is ‘Teaching Yoga, Adjusting Asana’ (2013). Norman Blair began teaching Ashtanga in 2001, Yin Yoga in 2002 and has taught Yin Yoga teacher training since 2007. Together, Melanie and Norman will look in depth at the asanas – the anatomy and alignment, how to teach beginners and more advanced students, how to deal with injuries and modifications, how to adjust. Melanie will primarily be teaching Ashtanga and Norman Yin but there will be some crossing over.

Sessions taught by other practitioners: Ruth Westoby will be teaching yoga philosophy and her sessions will be supplemented with discussion groups focusing on philosophy as a way of living. In 2010 Ruth was awarded an MA in Indian Religions and Philosophy from SOAS with Distinction and has been studying Sanskrit at SOAS since 2011. She started her yoga practice in 1995 and began teaching full-time in 2007. Stuart Girling (anatomist, bodyworker and long-time yoga student) will be teaching the anatomy with a strong focus of how anatomy is relevant to asana and how we can use the knowledge in our practice and teaching.

The course

During the course, you will deepen your understanding of the asanas and their alignment, develop your own practice, and learn about hands-on adjustments, communication skills for teachers, yoga philosophy, anatomy and physiology, pranayama and meditation and good assisting skills. You will be learning the importance of reliability and skills for self-reflection, the ‘how’s’ of teaching yoga as a business and the process of personal growth arising from consistency. There will be space to evaluate and examine practice as well as receiving a qualification to teach yoga.

You will be learning not only in the teacher training environment but also be working under guidance in public classes with Melanie and Norman in London. This will give you real-life experience of teaching the public.

Although a teacher training will give you the basics, teaching yoga well is a lifetime’s commitment. After this course, you will receive support and training. Each student will individually receive three one-hour sessions of follow-up guidance and supervision. Melanie and Norman also run adjustment workshops, teacher supervision groups and a philosophy discussion group.

The course is spread over seven months with two five-day intensives. These intensives start the course off and wrap things up at the end, and there are eight weekend sessions in between. This course will be demanding and difficult as well as inspiring and insightful. This course is a major commitment of time. Yoga is a transformative practice. Your practicing will go deeper and that is often challenging and intense – so please seriously think if you are ready to make this step. There is a requirement of dedication and enthusiasm. In return, we guarantee to give you our best in terms of teaching you how to teach yoga. We are both long-term practitioners with a great deal of experience that we will be sharing with you – with openness, kindness and clarity.

Pre-Homework – to be handed in at the first session

Find ‘students’ (your friends or family or work mates) and teach them five classes. Then write a 500-1000 word report on how it went – what worked, what didn’t, what you learned.

Write a 500-1000 word report on two books from the reading list. Focus on what you liked or disliked – if you learned anything interesting, how it is relevant to you.

Homework – to be completed before the end of the course

Prepare a five-minute presentation on one of the yoga sutras. Look at different translations, how it fits into the overall structure of the sutras and how it relates to your life or yoga practice.

Prepare a five-minute presentation on your least favourite posture. Look at the reasons why you do not like it – physical and mental/emotional, the anatomy of the pose, ways of working on the posture and anything else that appears to be relevant.

Observe five classes (we can supply details of teachers who are willing to have their classes be observed) and write a 500-1000 word report of what you learnt from this observation of teaching in action.

Practice asana! As a yoga teacher, it is vitally important that you have a daily practice and go to other classes. As soon as you decide to do this course, if you do not already have one – start a daily practice. Start to use your practice as a resource for teaching. When are you inhaling or exhaling in a pose? What are you engaging? What is lengthening? Where is broadening? How can you explain what you are doing using clear, concise language? What adjustments feel good to you?

Reading List


BKS Iyengar Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Melanie Cooper Teaching Yoga, Adjusting Asana

David Swenson Ashtanga yoga: the practice manual

Leslie Kaminoff Yoga Anatomy

Sarah Powers Insight Yoga

Stephen Cope Yoga and the quest for the true self

Mark Singleton Yoga Body


Bernie Clark The complete guide to yin yoga

David Coulter Anatomy of hatha yoga

Larry Rosenberg Breath by Breath

John Welwood Towards a psychology of awakening

Gregor Maehle Ashtanga Yoga: practice and philosophy

Donna Farhi Teaching Yoga

Bruce Lipton The biology of beliefs

John Tarrant The light inside the dark

Matthew Remski Threads of Yoga

Jill Bolte Taylor My stroke of insight

Edwin Bryant The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Laurie Patton The Bhagavad Gita

Richard Freeman The Yoga Matrix (audio CD)

You must read all of the essential books and at least three of the recommended.


Assessment will be ongoing throughout the course. There will also be a final teaching assessment, and two open-book exams, one in Anatomy and Physiology and one in Philosophy and General Principles of Yoga.

Graduation will be dependent on completion of all written work, attendance to all sessions and payment in full of course fees. If you fail to attend any of the sessions, you will be required to pay a fee of £30 an hour to make up the time.


You have a consistent and dedicated yoga practice for more than three years that includes an understanding of the Ashtanga Vinyasa system;

You must have a recommendation from your regular teacher stating you are ready to attend an intensive training course;

You must be able to make the commitment to prepare yourself for the course by keeping up your regular practice, completing the pre-homework and understand that the course itself is long hours and will take a lot of energy; You must be open minded and prepared to learn different techniques and approaches to teaching and learning.

Application Form

Please write using the following headings:

Full name and contact details, including email and telephone number.

Describe your experience with yoga so far. Why did you start? What do you enjoy about it? Why do you still do it?

How long have you been practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and what is your experience of practicing Yin Yoga?

Who have been your main teachers? Also list any other teachers that you regularly do workshops or classes with.

Describe your yoga practice eg style(s) you practice; how long you have practiced; where you currently practice; how many classes you attend each week.

Why you would like to become a yoga teacher and what special qualities you think a good yoga teacher requires?

Do you currently, or have you ever, taught yoga or taught other body-based disciplines? Please give details.

This course will be limited to 12 students allowing for individual attention. What do you want to accomplish through attending this course?

This course is intensive and involves hard work and preparation beforehand. Do you see any problems with completing the pre- homework or having enough energy to get through the course?

Describe your professional background outside of yoga and any training you have had that might be relevant to this course.

Describe your level of physical fitness and clearly inform us of any physical conditions, disabilities or injuries. Please also inform us if you are currently taking any medication for physical or psychiatric conditions of any nature and if you are under care or observation for any such conditions.

Please give two reference contacts (emails please). One is your regular teacher and the other is a friend or colleague who knows you well. These references will be contacted so please ask their permission beforehand.

Payment Details

If the application is accepted, we require a deposit of £500 to secure your place. This is returnable up to two months (2 March 2014) before the start of the course. There are payment schemes available. All costs have to be fully paid by the start of training. Please email us for more details.

Melanie Cooper: Norman Blair:

Some photos of the teacher training I taught on last year at Brahmani Yoga are in the Media Section at the bottom of this website

Back to top