Narelle Carter-Quinlan, BAppSc (Biomed)


‘Stand up straight’ she tells me for the umpteenth time, pins hanging out of her mouth.
I look in the mirror in front of me, the fabric of my dance costume draped over my body, all a-swirl.

I look straight to me . . . or do I?
‘I am, Mum’ . . .

I am 13 years old.

‘Your spine is a long curving river. In scoliosis, and indeed, in all spinal terrains, it is important to sense the course of the river, the riverbanks, the surrounding country. To encounter the inflow of the tributaries of the limbs, and observe their impact on the course of the river-spine. This tumbling pebbled calligraphy of your strong, fluid spine.’ NCQ

Narelle has consciously explored the felt sense of the body’s interior and its embodied relationship with the living presence of the land, all of her life. An Australian, she grew up by the sandstone cliffs and sea of Coogee Beach, her father a surf lifesaver, teaching her the relationship of bones and rocks, sea and our interior waterways. Her mother, insisting she learnt to immerse, swim and move in water before she learnt to dance on land, inadvertently etched and anchored the fluid developmental movement patterns that underlie and support all asana work in a formal yoga practice.

Narelle has walked through the body’s wilderness in long formal academic study and teaching of Anatomy, Histology, Cellular Pathology, Clinical Biochemistry, Embryology, with post graduate research in Spinal Pathology at Queensland University of Technology. Her research explored low back and pelvic pain, lumbopelvic stabilization and the neurophysiology of postural control, in relationship with elite level dancers with and without low back pain. She has diligently applied this information to her teaching and practice of yoga, particularly in the landscape of Scoliosis. Narelle has been teaching yoga since 1988, although her conscious yoga practice began in 1963 at age four.

Her long and dedicated training as an elite level dancer, was followed by her formal, rigorous training over near two decades in the Iyengar method of yoga. She is a certified Teacher Trainer within Elise Miller’s Teacher Training, on occasion teaching the Anatomy component within, and has created and taught her own Teacher Trainings within Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the UK. She has guest taught specialist workshops for Alison West in NYC at Yoga Union over several years, applying embryological and sound anatomical principles in managing both back pain and scoliosis.

She has presented her work at international peer reviewed Conferences such as the World Congress for Low Back and Pelvic Pain, The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, The Australasian Osteopathy Convocation, the Australian Yoga Therapy Conference (twice, by invitation), the World Dance Alliance Global Summit, and most recently, The Embodiment Conference via Zoom, with three Presentations on Yoga for Scoliosis, Pain Management, and the Lymphatic System of the Body in its relationship with health.

A photographer and filmmaker, Narelle uses her images in facilitation of deep embodied process in asana. She experiences the ecosystems of the body in relationship with the tissues of the land, and facilitates these relationships in creating deep intrinsic change within the psyche and soma of the practitioner. Her work integrates the clarity, penetration, precision and directness of the Iyengar method, with support from the organic body and fluid systems, embryology and developmental movement patterns. Breath, sound and movement improvisation inform her teaching.

She is curating an online platform for folk to learn about practicing yoga within a spinal asymmetry Wild Yoga for Scoliosis, the beginnings of which are housed on her website

Narelle offers Mentoring to Teachers and experienced students in learning to work effectively and with kindness within the curving river of the spine. Sessions are via Zoom.