On a visit to… Odona Farska (Canberra, Australia)

I’ve heard about Canberra, the Australian capital while working on one of my last cultural projects. Thanks to my connections there I’ve started to learn a little bit more about the alternative and innovative city art scene and my curiosity about this place was getting bigger and bigger with the time. That’s why I wanted to do an interview with a local showing us the true colors of the city.

No matter that Canberra is the capital of Australia this city stays a little bit in Sydney’s shadow. While everyone wants to see the touristic part of Australia, today together with Odona Farska we will show you the alternative way to learn and see this part of Oceania.

I am happy to introduce the next guest part of the rubric “On a visit to…” – Odona, a yoga teacher and incredibly positive person with lots of good ideas and projects on her mind. Thanks to Yasmin Masri, my connection in Canberra, we made a fresh summer interview. Hope you all enjoy it!

How do you imagine the perfect “om trip”?

Beach, yoga, fresh coconuts, group of like-minded people, sunshine…

Is it possible to take an “om trip” to Canberra?

Yes definitely. Despite its bad reputation for being boring and conservative, I found Canberra surrounded by nature, easy to live in, interesting and friendly…

Three things which we absolutely have to take with us to Canberra in our luggage?

Warm sweater – it can get chilly, a great book to read and keep cup.

How to look like locals?

You can see lots of merino wool in winter months 🙂 down puffer jacket…or grow a beard to nail the hipster look:)

What should we absolutely try when we’re in Canberra? 

Walk around Lake Burley Griffin, go to local food markets, try to spot a kangaroo…

Where would you take us to have a cup of coffee/or tea?

Definitely to Mocan and Green Grout and Morning Glory in NewActon.

A special place in Canberra you’d like to share with us.

I like walking up to the top of Mount Ainslie…The view is great and it is a really nice walk. You can also see native animals on your way.

Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to Australia?

Australian Flora and Fauna Atlas.

We can’t miss the museums and the galleries in Canberra. Show us your favorite ones.

I love the National Gallery of Australia, especially the aboriginal art…

When did you start practicing yoga? What did you find more tempting in this practice at the very beginning?  

I was doing Bondi to Coogee cliff walk in Sydney when I saw yoga classes advertised in Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club. It was the year 2000 and yoga was not that mainstream yet. I tried a session and loved how it felt. That’s when I started practicing regularly. It was an Iyengar class with props. I didn’t find it physically difficult and I loved how it opened the possibility of exploring the mind. I think that I was instantly hooked. My background is in gymnastics and yoga was a little similar, but there was just so much more…

Where would you take us for a yoga practice in Canberra? Where can we practice yoga outdoors?

I would take you to my space for yoga, the beautiful Nishi Gallery in NewActon. For an outdoor practice to one of the pontoons on Lake Burley Griffin.

You have created your yoga studio Flow Yoga Canberra. How did you take the courage to start this project? What is the story behind it? 

I had set up Flow Yoga Dubai after flying with Emirates Airline and having my daughter Aya. I thought it was an amazing opportunity to really explore what resonates with me…and I took the time to sit with it and really think about what made me happy… I have then signed up to do yoga teacher training in India with John Ogilvie. I took my daughter with me, she was one at the time. It was the best decision ever. I met a wonderful group of like-minded people and felt really inspired. During the training, teachers taught me how to teach…and it was so empowering. It was not easy to be in India with a one-year-old on training, but through overcoming many obstacles I gained confidence, knowledge and also understanding that it all doesn’t have to be perfect…We can only be ourselves. 

When I came back from India, I set up Flow Yoga Dubai and  5 years later we made a decision to move to Australia, as my husband is from Sydney. A few months after moving to Canberra I set up Flow Yoga Canberra at the beautiful art precinct of NewActon.

I come from a small town in the Czech Republic, so I took a leap of faith and thought that I have nothing to lose…If I try and it doesn’t work out, well at least I have tried. 

I started with two people and now Nishi Gallery Classes are busy and we run workshops with well know teachers and I also run regular yoga retreats in Asia. Like with any work, sometimes I feel tired, but overall I love what I do and the amazing people I meet and get to practice with. If we follow our heart and fail and try again, and have enormous amounts of love and passion and trust, it all somehow comes together. I am really grateful and still constantly learning… 

Do you practice yoga while you travel? Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.

I usually stick to 20 minutes of yoga in the morning, just to stretch after flights. It does help with jet lag. Fresh juice also picks me up. Good sleep. All the usual really. But it works.

Your recipe for happiness.

Go with the flow. Be yourself. Be kind, its a good choice! And most importantly. Never lose a sense of humor.

Where should we go after visiting Canberra?

Sri Lanka. It’s beautiful! Heavily reliant on tourism, it will need all the help that it can get to recover. I have just finished teaching yoga retreat at Talalla in the southern part of the Island. Nature is incredible.


Odona Farska is a certified yoga teacher and is the founder of Flow Yoga Dubai and Flow Yoga Canberra. Odona runs Flow Yoga studio at Nishi Gallery in NewActon. She discovered yoga in Sydney in 2000 and fell in love with the daily practice of yoga and its benefits. Since then, Odona has traveled extensively and has practiced different styles of yoga in numerous locations worldwide – from Australia to the Czech Republic, and from the Maldives to Bali. Odona has completed Purna yoga teacher training in Goa, India; pre-natal teacher training in Koh Samui, Thailand; advanced teacher training in Pondicherry, India; and Mother and Baby yoga teacher training with Birthlight in London. Odona has a huge passion for yoga and loves organizing and teaching special events like yoga classes in the desert and on the beach, private yoga sessions, Yoga Nidra and sound meditation sessions and runs regular yoga retreats in Asia. Odona’s gentle and compassionate personality allows her to create a friendly atmosphere in her classes, where everyone feels welcome and all standards are accepted. Despite her extensive knowledge and experience, Odona keeps a light-hearted approach to yoga, as opposed to taking things a bit too seriously. Her classes are open to people of all ages, fitness levels and health conditions. After spending almost twelve years living and working in Dubai, Odona moved to Canberra. She is married to an environmental scientist, with a daughter and son and a dog called Indi.
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5 Comments

  1. travelandhikewithpcos August 21, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    Born and brought up in India, I learned yoga at very small age. Yoga is the best treatment to heal. Glad for you that you are able to make most of it while traveling though.

    Reply
  2. Streamed TV Fan August 21, 2019 at 11:48 am

    I’ve been to Sidney and Melbourne but not to Canberra. Looks like a place to check out.

    Reply
  3. awood09 August 21, 2019 at 8:48 am

    I found this article to be so interesting! I’ve only done a few yoga classes in my life but I love stretching! I think it would be so cool to experience something like this in Australia!

    Reply
  4. Melissa Rabey August 20, 2019 at 10:45 pm

    I know nothing about Canberra, so this post was a nice way to get introduced to it, while also hearing more about another yoga practicioner! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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