Sonja Varendorff, physiotherapist and yoga therapist

Sonja Varendorff


Classes: Very Gentle, Beginner and General YogaPlusPhysio Classes


I have a very personal experience and understanding of the deep power of Yoga to heal and transform anyone. As Physiotherapist with 35 years’ experience in acute and persistent pain conditions, cancer care, respiratory, post-orthopaedic surgery, rehabilitation and aged care I have accumulated some wonderful resources and knowledge. However, I always felt there was a missing link.

As a long term sufferer myself of debilitating headaches and chronic fatigue, I was on the lookout for something more. At that time I was working as a Physiotherapist in a busy Brisbane hospital as well as my own part-time private practice and being a mum of 4 children… always busy and tired! In fact, I could see my health heading in the same direction as many of my other hospital patients.

What was the missing link? As often happens when we pose a question, an answer appears.

My patients, as always were my best teachers.  In early 2007, in my own Physiotherapy practice, I had a 75 year old man who had practiced yoga since the age of 45. He told me that he had felt he was going to die if he didn’t empower himself to improve his health (this was exactly how I felt!!), and he decided to take up yoga. This man moved with amazing grace, strength and flexibility, and was unlike any 75 year old I had ever come across!  I was in awe, deeply inspired and knew I had found what I had been looking for. That day he helped me more than I was ever going to be able to help him.

In 2007 I began practicing yoga regularly and very quickly began to experience the transforming qualities of this ancient practice.  I began to understand how long term stress and emotion that I had been carrying in my body was gradually shifting me towards poor health.  I became aware that when I practiced yoga, there were immediate feelings of lightness, calm, release and joy. This kept me motivated and wanting more. I was in awe of how this practice,  requiring  a  coming together of movements  of the body, breath and the  mind, made  me feel so much better.  I noticed the gradual but profound release of tension and headaches, improved sleep, improved quality of movement, strength and comfort in my body. I was hooked, doing 3-4 classes per week and feeling more and more empowered to take this practice into my daily life.  I also began to imbibe the rich psychology and philosophy that brought shifts in the way my life unfolded.

In 2010 I commenced a two year Yoga Teacher Training course at Yoga Physio, Auchenflower. This helped me create the links between what I already knew as a Physiotherapist and was experiencing through my yoga practice. It was a wonderful course that brought further depth to my understanding of healing using Yoga.  I immediately began teaching and using yoga therapeutically in my work. I also spent time doing some training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Chronic Pain Management (Neuro Orthopaedic Institute). My practice as a Physiotherapist was slowly shifting towards a more holistic model and I began working and seeing amazing results with people suffering from chronic pain, chronic illness and multiple co-existing conditions.

These days  I  am very engaged in  my study of the therapeutic application of Yoga with Dr N Chandrasekaran of the Viniyoga Healing Foundation, Chennai, India , where  I will complete  my Post Graduate Diploma of Yoga Therapy  (Yoga Therapy Australia)  in June 2015. This includes an internship in Chennai in January 2015 with Dr N.C who is a western trained Doctor of Medicine who complements his medical practice with the powerful practices of Yoga therapy.

I am committed to helping people finding their way to better health and well-being through self-empowerment and assisting them in making small changes that can start a bigger transformational process leading to living a richer, more meaningful and healthier life.


For the past two years I have been attending yoga classes with Sonja.  Over that time my flexibility and strength have improved out of sight.  We work at our own individual levels and Sonja gently encourages and corrects us so that we get the most out of each posture.  I really enjoy the meditative side of  yoga and find it helps me cope with the general stresses and strains of daily life.   My tailored home routine is particularly beneficial after a long day sitting at my computer.  Sonja is  a very kind, encouraging and insightful teacher and thankfully she also has a great sense of humour and a beautiful Om!
— Coleen
I have found that after almost 2 years of yoga classes with Sonja I have seamlessly progressed my level of flexibility and strength. Challenges are offered and are perfectly balanced with periods of resting and relaxation. Students with particular functional issues are not neglected while the class continues to work constructively. I always walk out the door feeling empowered physically and mentally.
— Lyn