I had a lovely chat with Margo who is one of our long time students at Kuring-gai Yoga.

As I begin a series of articles focusing on various students who inspire me and many of our yoga students attending classes.

Margo is 89 years old and was born in Indonesia of Dutch parents and at the age of 12 she became a prisoner of war in Tjideng, Jakarta with her Mother. (all the men had been arrested earlier) For 1 year Margo was without family in the camp. This was a very lonely period until she discovered the value of real friendships that were made within the camp, which kept her going. Such a challenging time and this experience, I am sure, planted the seeds for great resilience and survival.

After the war, Margo and her Parents spent 9 months R & R In Australia, marvelling at the contrast between this wonderful country and the POW camp. Then back to Holland where Margo at the age of 16 met her future Husband Jim. Margo completed her schooling and would have liked to have studied further, but those times, so different from today, this was not possible.

Jim was at that time a secretary in the Amy and was posted to Indonesia where he and Margo were soon married.

Together they enjoyed a life in Indonesia, Holland and Canada. They had 5 children born in these various countries and Margo was very much the businessman’s wife while raising their children.

So it was in 1962 that Margo, Jim and 5 children came to Australia. Moved to a home in Turramurra filling the garden with an assortment of pets, ranging from goats to mice, and settled into Upper North Shore life.

Margo realised her dreams to study more and began at the WEA college and studied Philosophy, Psychology and Archeology.

I laughed when Margo told me that after being a mother for 30 years she “resigned” from this role and went to Macquarie University at the age of 50yrs where she gained a degree in Philosophy and Ancient History plus a Dip.Ed. Margo mentioned that as a wife and mother you can lose your sense of identity as you put the family’s needs ahead of your own. So finding a new path she looked after herself now in her educational goals and also eventually found yoga.

I asked Margo how she came to attend yoga with us at Kuring-gai Yoga.

She noticed that there were classes being held at the Church and started with Margaret North in 2001. At the time Margo was also teaching Philosophy for the U3A and mentored year 5 and 6 gifted children in Ancient History and Philosophy. She was around the local area and just realised that Yoga seemed to be a nice thing to do.

Could Margo have seen the famous ‘thick’mats that we still carry around and this was the visual motivation that gave her the ‘kick’  to find out more? Margo giggles!

I asked Margo also about what she gains from a regular practice?

Margo goes on to explain that the physical benefits of Yoga provided her with strength, flexibility, balance, endurance and stamina and the mental focuses of the relaxation and Meditation provided the ongoing belief in accepting lifes challenges and changes.  This is inspiring!

Alongside Yoga, Margo takes a walk most days, attends Aqua Aerobics on Fridays and stays both physically active and mentally active by continuing to do all the things she loves.

I asked Margo to share some of her ‘elders’ wisdom these are some examples of her response:

“You cannot change fate but you can change your attitude”

“Smile and have eye contact with others. This smile may give another person the lift they need”

“Be open to (learn) new things at any age”

“The creator is always bigger than the creation”

“Philosophy is the love of wisdom not the love of knowledge”

And I asked her what she thought was the most important thing in life.

“Be open to love, life and relationships, with wide -open arms. Accept what life gives you”

What a full and interesting life Margo has had. I am amazed at peoples personal stories and journeys and when we take the time to listen, we can learn so much.

Thanks Margo.

We look forward to seeing her on the Yoga mat for many years to come.