Byron Yoga Centre Teachers


Our experienced teacher trainers


John Ogilvie, founder and director of the Byron Yoga Centre, has been teaching yoga for over twenty-five years and developed the Byron Yoga Centre teacher training courses.

John encourages a light heartedness in our approach to yoga and to ourselves. Teaching regular classes as part of the Byron Yoga studio weekly timetable, his classes are both challenging and dynamic, and integrate the different yoga styles of Iyengar and Ashtanga, as well as the softer Sivananda and Satyananda practices of yoga and the energy principles of Aikido.

Stephan Kahlert, who is also known affectionately

by his students as Swami Pujan, has over twenty five years’ experience as a meditation practitioner and teacher in the Soto Zen, Vipassana, Vedanta and yoga traditions. He has taught overseas on many occasions in his capacity as a meditation teacher. Stephan trained as a yoga teacher with John Ogilvie in 2005. He teaches meditation and Hindu philosophy on retreats and teacher training at the Centre. His style is light-hearted, humorous, engaging and fun. Along with his wife Bettina, Stephan regularly travels to India to deepen his practice.

Michael Nazar - Senior teacher
has a background in fitness, remedial massage and sports injury therapy which is apparent in his dynamic Vinyasa flow-style classes. He has been practising yoga since 1990 and gained his level 1 and 2 teaching qualifications from Byron Yoga Centre in 2006 and 2007. Michael seeks to incorporate the ethical and moral teachings of yoga into his classes, as well as pranayama and meditation, and delivers on the teacher trainings as well as teaching regular general classes at the Centre.

Judy Krupp, is a senior teacher trainer and founder of The Yoga Room in St Ives, Sydney. With a career spanning over 25 years as a yoga teacher, Judy was originally trained in South Africa as an Iyengar Teacher. She now teaches a multifaceted approach, blending the science of asana practice with the science and mechanics of movement.

Her astute knowledge of the body and its movement is central to the core of her teaching to both students and teachers alike. She encourages her students to move beyond their perceived limitations, while working at an individual pace with grace and core stability. Judy is known both here in Australia and internationally, and travels worldwide teaching at conferences, retreats and conducting training programs for teachers. From her studio in St Ives, Sydney, Judy specialises in teacher training programs that are therapy based and conducts numerous workshops and masterclasses.

Hayley Warden, has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. She has been travelling the world practicing with many teachers and learning different yoga styles.
Hayley has taught yoga to students all around the world and is part of the main teaching faculty at the residential training centre in Byron Bay. After arriving in Australia, she completed her Level 2 teacher training at Byron Yoga Centre, as well as Byron Yoga Centre’s Yoga Therapy intensive course. She also teaches on all our international courses and retreats. Hayley has a beautiful teaching style, that guides and connects students to the stillness within.

Tara Fitzgibbon, was first introduced to yoga in Byron Bay in 1997. After experimenting with several different styles over a number of years she decided to become a yoga teacher in 2000 and initially trained in the USA as a Hatha Yoga teacher. After a decade of teaching restorative Hatha yoga both here and abroad, she discovered the Purna style at The Byron Yoga Centre. "I was so impressed with the teacher trainees, that I decided to take another teacher training course." In 2011 she completed her Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching at the Byron Yoga Centre and now teaches classes at their Byron studio. She is also a part of the teacher training team.

Tara's unique approach to teaching, longer holds enabling greater self reflection and introspection, attains strength through gentleness. Her style is grounded through years of practice both as a student and as a teacher. Tara uses her voice to guide students deeper into the asanas and into deep relaxation. Students leave each class with that feeling of bliss.


Chloe Thorogood, has been practicing yoga for almost ten years. In 2008, she felt compelled to travel to India and deepen her personal practice. Here she studied Hatha yoga focussing on asana, pranayama, meditation and philosophy under Swami Brahmanand (SajiRamaswamy) at Vinynana Kale Vedi Cultural Centre for Indian Arts. Chloe was able to draw on her experiences in India and offer yoga on the senior curriculum at the school where she worked as a full time Physical Education teacher. Chloe supported her studies with a yoga tools for teachers certification and began teaching regularly. It was during this time in London that Chloe knew that yoga was her ultimate passion and she decided to travel to Byron Bay to complete her 500 hours Certificate IV with the Byron Yoga Centre. Chloe believes that everyone can enjoy different aspects of yoga and likes to include philosophy, pranayama and meditation in her flow classes. Chloe teaches regular classes for Byron Yoga Centre, and at other studios in the Byron shire. She also works on the level one and two teacher trainings.


Jennifer Allen, has been expressing herself through body movement for as long as she can remember. Hailing all the way from the USA, her journey began as a professional dancer and musical theater performer. Yoga and Pilates became the channels through which she maintained her physical and emotional wellbeing throughout an intense performing career in New York, so therefore it was a seamless transition into teaching.

Jennifer teaches a variety of classes around Auckland in Purna Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, Pre and Postnatal Yoga, Yoga Therapy and Pilates on the mat and reformer. She is also a teacher trainer for Byron Yoga Center and Bliss Baby Yoga. Jennifer believes that the body is the vehicle through which we can express our deepest emotional selves, and the union of mind, body, and breath has the ability to connect us to our highest potential.



Kara Goodsell, is a senior certified teacher who trained in dynamic Vinyasa flow-style yoga with John Ogilvie, as well as regularly attending yoga workshops by other senior teachers, including Pattabhi Jois in India. She has been teaching beginners, general and intermediate classes since 2006 at the Centre after apprenticing for 4 years with John. Kara teaches yoga asana, pranayama (breathing techniques) and dhyana (meditation) safely and joyfully, giving students the opportunity to deepen their awareness and practice with integrity and fun. She is constantly updating her skills and expanding her yoga teaching experience. Kara is part of the teacher training staff at Byron Yoga Centre.

Lila Kirtana - Senior Teacher
first discovered the healing benefits of yoga 8 years ago, and was immediately entranced by all aspects of the yogic lifestyle. In 2006 she became a Bhakti yogi, and whilst managing a yoga retreat centre in Sydney she first met John Ogilvie. Over time Lila completed her Level 1 and 2 training, and moved to Byron Bay. She teaches regular asana classes at the centre, is a qualified Massage Therapist, and teaches on the teacher training courses. Lila is passionate to share her love of yoga through Kirtan [spiritual chanting], and also teaches Ayurveda on the courses.

Maria Kirsten, teaches the applied anatomy and physiology component of our teacher trainings conducted in Byron Bay. Maria has been doing yoga since 1989 and began teaching in 2000 after gaining accreditation with Yogalates. Maria is passionate about making yoga accessible to as many people as possible, especially those who don’t consider themselves to be yogis. She focuses on teaching teachers how to avoid injuries and strains and how to give alternatives and props to injured students. Maria has trained with Louise Soloman at Yogalates, Peter Clifford, Libby Nelson and Simon Borg Olivier.


Linda Newman, has gained a reputation as a leader in the Pilates and Yoga community. She is the founder of the highly successful Pilates & Yoga Styles Studio in Geelong and has been teaching for more than 25 years in the UK, USA, Asia and Australia. She has taught anatomy and physiology on Byron Yoga Teacher Trainings, lectured for the Victorian Fitness Academy on Cert IV and Diploma in Fitness and she regularly leads these nationally registered and accredited Mat Pilates teacher training courses.

Ana Davis, has been teaching yoga since 1996 and founded Bondi Bliss Yoga Studio in Sydney. Ana has been specialising in the area of teaching and training teachers in prenatal and postnatal yoga for the last 5 years. As mother to a 4 year old, Ana is passionate about sharing the benefits and joys of yoga during pregnancy and early motherhood. She teaches the yoga and women’s health sessions for our Teacher Trainings and retreats. Ana also conducts regular pre/postnatal teacher training intensives at the Centre.


Davina Kruse - Senior teacher
is a senior certified yoga teacher trained by John Ogilvie. Davina has been practicing yoga since 1998, both in Australia and overseas. She has practiced Ashtanga, Iyengar and Hatha styles. This is apparent in her classes, where she gently guides students to focus on breath awareness in order to bring about union of body, mind and spirit. Davina is passionate about encouraging students deeper into their self-practice by utilising the yamas and niyamas. Davina delivers the Byron Yoga Centre’s yoga teacher training courses as well as teaching regular classes.

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Marita Dortins, a gymnast from a young age, Marita realised early on that she’s happiest upside-down – and when she found yoga, it was love at first Downward Dog. More than 13 years after that first class she still finds joy within each practice. Marita began teaching yoga in 2002 after apprenticing with her first teacher Bernie Peterson. Bernie’s teaching was heavily influenced by the Iyengar tradition – meaning meticulous attention to alignment, and a ferocious sense of discipline! She has continued to study yoga both in Australia and India, and has spent time on the mat with Shiva Rea, Judy Krupp, John Ogilvie, among others.

When teaching, Marita aims to instill peace and happiness through yoga. By both challenging and nurturing, she teaches students to stretch and strengthen their muscles, but also to breathe, to stand tall, and to live with compassion. She is a firm believer that yoga has the power to transform lives, and aims with her teaching to have an impact on people’s lives off the mat as well as on.

Liz Dene, BHMS, is an international presenter with over 17 years experience, a master trainer for Network Pilates, teacher trainer for Byron Yoga and a senior presenter for the Australian Institute of Fitness. She has worked with organisations such as the Australian Rugby Union ‘Wallabies’, ChiBall International, Byron Yoga and Australian Fitness Network. With a degree in human movement Liz is currently studying a Masters in Human Nutrition, She merges traditional fitness practices with a holistic approach to wellbeing.

Our teachers with weekly classes


Bettina Kahlert, first did yoga more than 30 years ago and became serious during pregnancy 20 years ago. She trained as a fitness instructor 20 years ago and more recently complemented this with Pilates teacher training. Bettina has done 4 different yoga teacher trainings, most recently with John Ogilvie and has recently been studying the use of yoga nidra in rehabilitation, recording a CD in India. Bettina’s classes emphasise the core, pelvic floor and the bandhas. Bettina has been lucky to meet with and learn from several spiritual masters, including B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabi Jois, T.K.V. Desikachar and Clive Sheridan.


Kirsty Nugent, has been on the yogic path for most of her life. Yoga helped her recover from injury when she was a member of Canada's national gymnastics team. It sustained her through a globetrotting marketing career.

Arriving in Sydney in 2000 she became a student of Yoga Synergy and Dharma Shala. In 2008 she moved to Byron Bay to complete her 500 hour teacher training at Byron Yoga Centre and to teach yoga full time. Kirsty is known for her beautiful pace and well-rounded classes. She demonstrates a unique ability to challenge you physically with longer holds and inspire you with readings while her nurturing voice creates space for peace & stillness. She teaches a strengthening & energising Dynamic Vinyasa class and an Essential Slower flow class as well as deeply opening Yin and Restorative class styles. Every class incorporates a strong focus on the breath as well as elements of mindfulness meditation. Her classes are suitable for all levels beginner to advanced as she includes variations to safely support and challenge you and incorporates the use of props. She has a breadth of experience having a foundation in Ashtanga & Iyengar Yoga, practiced with master teachers all over the world and studied pilates. Kirsty teaches private classes, on retreats as well as regular weekly open classes at Byron Yoga Centre. She finds great joy and gratitude to be able to wake up near the ocean each day and to share the benefits of yoga.


Gitam Garden, has been practising yoga for many years and has been involved with Byron Yoga Centre management since 2006. Since completing her yoga teacher training with BYC she has been teaching classes regularly and particularly enjoys her involvement with yoga retreats where she offers cranio-sacral therapy treatments. Gitam was instrumental in the creation of the Byron Yoga Centre kitchen and her skills in providing trainee yoga teachers and retreat participants with cleansing, nourishing and delicious food has led to the publication of her book 'Gitam’s Garden - Healthy Sattvic Recipes from the Byron Yoga Kitchen’.


Danielle Sherlock, is a Naturopath and Remedial Sports Therapist. Her experience of yoga spans 20 years, traditionally trained in Iyengar paying particular attention to the medicinal effects of yoga with balancing physiological body systems. Danielle’s teaching incorporates a well rounded meditative approach to assist your awakening into a deeper experience of yoga. Danielle is passionate about chanting, pranayama and meditation and teaches Anatomy and Physiology on the Yoga Teacher Trainer courses.

Wong Mui Yuen, began her personal practice of yoga in 2004. After initially being drawn to yoga for its physical benefits, she became dedicated to a regular practice and inspired by yoga’s elements of philosophy and meditation. Wong began to feel the physical benefits of a consistent practice as she noticed her body becoming stronger and less impacted by illness. Her strong physical practice, combined with great admiration for her teacher at the time, and passion for yoga’s history and philosophy led her to her teaching journey. In 2008 Wong moved from Malaysia to Australia where she began training with the Byron Yoga Centre. Wong’s classes combine dynamic core work with more gentle asanas to encourage students to enquire within and find stillness within.

Jessica Humphries, began practicing iyengar yoga as a university student in 2004. She was impressed by how much stronger and healthier she felt when committing to regular asana practice and, as a philosophy student (studying western philosophy), she was drawn to the eastern philosophy that it introduced. She remembers feeling a strong connection to yoga practice and philosophy from the very first class,and always aspired to one day become a yoga teacher. This dream came to fruition in 2011 when she completed her 200 hour teacher training in Vinyasa power yoga. Jess moved to Byron in 2012 and completed the level 2 course at the Byron Yoga Centre. Jess’s classes are sometimes dynamic and melodic, but she also loves to teach a more gentle/yin style. She introduces elements of philosophy into her teaching, so that students can gain a holistic understanding of their practice. All of her classes aim to encourage students to work with their own body, to nurture themselves and approach yoga from a place of curiosity and acceptance.

Marina Pawley, has always had a passion for movement, dance and wellbeing and a desire to share this with others. Her love for this led her to leave her corporate lifestyle and travel to Byron Bay and Bali to complete her Purna Yoga Training with Byron Yoga Centre – a style of yoga that emphasizes asana (movement), pranayama (breath) and meditation. Marina brings a relatable & energetic approach to yoga, meditation, awareness and everyday well being, allowing people to work with their own bodies in a safe and nurturing environment. You will leave her yoga classes feeling refreshed and energized, creating more space throughout your body and mind for a happy and healthy life.

Becky Buckwell, teaches a dynamic flow style, incorporating the alignment focus of Purna Yoga with her love of Ashtanga and vinyasa - encouraging active breathing, opening the heart and keeping the mind present.

Qualifying as a teacher after nearly 20 years practice, Becky gained her Level 1 with Yoga Arts and then taught in Bali before returning to Byron for three months of workshops with her primary teacher, Dena Kinsberg. Becky did her Level 2 with Byron Yoga Centre and assists on the Purna teacher training courses.
Becky has studied with many inspiring teachers in Byron Bay, India, London, Miami and Asia including Dena Kinsberg, John Ogilvie, Louisa Sear, Matthew Sweeney, Simon Borg Olivier, John Scott, Kino MacGregor, plus Pattabhi Jois and Sharath.
Becky has an obvious passion for teaching and passing on the knowledge built up through 20 years experience. 

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