Byron Yoga Centre Teachers ITC
Meet our teachers
John Ogilvie is one of Australia’s most respected and experienced teachers and founder of Byron Yoga Centre. John has been practicing yoga for more than 30 years and teaching for over 28. John developed his signature style of yoga, Purna Yoga after 20 years of disciplined yoga training including practicing both the Iyengar method and Ashtanga. His yoga journey has seen him learn from various yoga masters over the years in Australia and internationally.
The Purna method John teaches focuses on correct alignment. His teaching covers the basics with additional emphasis on refining alignment, corrections and adjustments. John’s teaching style is entertaining and completely accessible. His instructions are clear and simple, always with a focus on keeping his students safe and encouraging them to listen to their own body’s needs and only work at a level appropriate to the individual, at any given time.
John encourages students at all levels to build flexibility, strength and stamina of body, mind and spirit. Many students discover, as a consequence, that yoga becomes a way of life.
Kara 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.
Davina started practising yoga in 1998 and has been teaching since 2006. Davina is a Certified Senior Teacher holding Level 1 & 2 500 hour Certificates, Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching and Diplomas in Vocational Education and Training and Assessment.
Davina’s yoga classes always include pranayama and dhyana. Davina guides students through an awareness of body, mind and breath and her teaching assists participants to explore life motivations and goals and ultimately become more fully present. Davina is also deeply influenced by the teachings of Buddha and has studied meditation and pranayama in India and Australia. Meditation teacher and psychologist Radha Nicholson continues to guide Davina in her ongoing study of the teachings. Regular yoga and meditation practice has transformed Davina’s life, cultivating a new realm of inner peace, strength and serenity.
As 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.
She began teaching Iyengar-influenced yoga in 2002 after apprenticing with her first teacher. A few years later, Marita discovered vinyasa yoga, and relished the freedom of flowing through movement and connecting with breath – her yoga practice became a moving meditation. Marita’s teaching can now be described as alignment-based vinyasa.
When teaching, Marita aims to instill the peace and happiness that she experiences through yoga within her students. By both challenging and nurturing, she teaches people to stretch and strengthen their muscles, but also to breathe, to stand tall, and to live with compassion.
Maria Kirsten is a senior yoga teacher, yoga therapist and occupational therapist. She teaches yoga for wellness, remedial yoga on teacher trainings and in specialty workshops. Maria specialises in making yoga accessible for students of all ages, and levels of experience and ability.
She uses her understanding of anatomy and functional movement to empower and educate students to modify and individualise their yoga. Maria’s special interests are in yoga for seniors and older grownups, yoga to support mental health and yoga therapeutics.
Maria’s teaching style is unconventional, practical and fun, with lots of “real life” application and a big picture approach to yoga practice. Maria thinks that being a yoga teacher is the best job in the world, and her passion is to share all her experience and learning to empower others to share the gift of yoga with others.
Michael has been practicing asana and pranayama for over 20 years and teaching for 15. He has completed a vast range of trainings including a Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching plus Diplomas in Applied Science, Remedial Massage and Sports Injury Therapy. He has also completed eight anatomy/science units at university.
Michael is senior yoga teacher and facilitates many subjects at the Byron Yoga Centre. Michael’s style is inclusive and light hearted. He has a keen interest in the physical body so enjoys sharing the anatomy and physiology sessions. He believes that the awareness of the physical form is an important aspect of spiritual practice and that asana is a way to connect with deeper levels of nature in a radical but honest way.
Michael very much enjoys bringing inclusivity and fun to all his sessions along with encouraging students to not only to learn through theory but also by focusing their attention inwards.
Alli Black has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 30 years. It is apparent in her fun, easy going approach to teaching that she loves all aspects of yoga, asana, meditation, philosophy and relaxation.
Alli has a Cert IV in Yoga Teaching with Byron Yoga Centre and is certified with Judith Hanson Lasater as a Relax & Renew ® Restorative Yoga teacher. Alli has developed a chair yoga program specifically for teaching elders and has run workshops in meditation and restorative yoga.
She has also has trained with AntiGravity®Yoga and Rainbow Kids Yoga. Alli has attended workshops with Leslie Kaminoff, Nicky Knoff, Eleanor Brower, Glenn Ceresoli, Tony Rothberg, Michael Nazar, Maria Kirsten, Jen Crecsenzo, and John Ogilvie.
Alli’s intention is to make yoga accessible to everyone. She likes to adapt her teaching in response to the students, so they can discover their own individual practice.
Jade’s classes draw on her Vinyasa, Hatha and Purna training, focusing on correct alignment, breath connection and strength building whilst offering students the opportunity to focus inward with her empowering approach.
Her practice began in 2007. Over the years Jade has completed trainings and workshops in Europe, Indonesia, India and Australia gaining insight from practicing with many renowned teachers including Carlos Pomeda, Elena Brower, Lizzie Lasater, Clive Sheridan, Gwyn Williams and John Ogilvie. Jade has completed the 800 hour Certificate IV with Byron Yoga Centre and has trained in the specialised areas of restorative, yin, pre and post natal as well as remedial yoga.
Jade facilitates the teacher trainings and retreats. With a talent for music, she brings song and soul to the classroom. Jade believes that yoga should be adapted for the individual, not the individual adapted to the yoga.
Jade’s warm, humorous and genuinely passionate nature shine through in her teaching.
Judy is founder of The Yoga Room in St Ives, Sydney. She has enjoyed a full-time career as a yoga teacher and senior teacher trainer for over 30 years, and her reputation is acknowledged both here in Australia and overseas.
Judy originally completed her Iyengar training in South Africa, and now teaches a multi-faceted approach, blending the art of asana practice with the science and mechanics of movement.
She teaches with both humour and passion and encourages her students to move beyond their perceived limitations. Judy’s teachings focus on a therapeutic approach to the practice, making yoga safe for all.
Swami Pujan (Stephan Kahlert)
Stephan 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.
Madhava Das (Micah Pilsbury)
Madhava teaches a style of alignment based Purna, transitioning it together as a slow flow. He guides students to establish a strong focus on linking breath with movement.
He is also a teacher (and a student) of yogic philosophy and weaves this learning into his yoga classes, allowing students to experience valuable insights.
Having found Bhaktivedanta Yoga 13 years ago, Madhava has since been a devoted student of Yoga. He is now a 500-hr Certified Yoga Teacher, completing both his Level 1 and Level 2 at Byron Yoga Centre.
Madhava is a very passionate soul, spending his time studying Vedanta, and practicing handstands at the beach!
Elise completed her 500 hours teacher training and her 80 hours Yin teacher training at Byron Bay Yoga Centre. She is a qualified midwife and pre & post natal yoga teacher.
As far as she remembers she always wanted to be a midwife. She saw a delivery for the first time she was 14 years old, delivered her first baby at 18, and graduated as a qualified midwife at 23 years old in Geneva – Switzerland. After the graduation she worked for a few years in the hospital then decided to train as a yoga teacher.
Elise’s teaching style is both challenging and nurturing. She teaches a powerful and soulful slow flow focusing on breath and postural alignment. She also loves guiding people through opening and grounding yin classes.
Her aim through her classes is to create space where students can cultivate a deeper understanding of themselves, leaving feeling balanced, strong and centred.
Jan teaches a traditional hatha-flow style, incorporating the Purna method of offering safe variations and modifications for beginners. He also leads meditation sessions and teaches philosophy on trainings and retreats.
Having always had a passion for sports that required nothing more than his own body, asana-practice was a natural match for Jan, who started practicing yoga nearly 10 years ago.
His developed a strong interest in yogic philosophy, especially the science of Bhakti. Jan immersed himself in studying and teaching meditation, philosophy and yoga for living for 5 years as a Brahmacari, Vedic monk in an ashram.
In early 2014 he completed his Sivananda-Yoga teacher training in Germany (RYT 200) and an Ashtanga training in Malaysia before moving to Australia to teach. He now lives and works at the Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and is a valued member of the community.
Returning to Byron Bay in 2014 after six years teaching in Shanghai and facilitating her own retreats, Caitlin has been teaching at Byron Yoga Centre for 4 years. Caitlin continues to facilitate workshops In China both independently and in collaboration with Shanghai studios.
The unique combination of Vinyasa Flow and Yin styles that Caitlin primarily teaches creates a dynamic blend of balance, strength, flexibility and endurance. Caitlin’s modality of yoga can be used for fitness, relaxation and as part of the therapeutic process of rehabilitation and recovery.
As a senior teacher at Byron Yoga her passion for diversity and inclusivity in her teaching style bridges language barriers with international students and supports their individual inquiry through the 8 Limbs of Yoga.
Special interests that Caitlin freely shares with her yoga pupils include: pre and post natal yoga, diet, nutrition and meditation.
Becky teaches a dynamic flow style, incorporating the alignment focus of Purna Yoga with her love of Ashtanga and vinyasa – encouraging students to connect to the breath, open the heart and keep the mind present.
Qualifying as a teacher after nearly 20 years of practice, Becky gained her Level 1 with Yoga Arts and then taught in Bali before returning to Byron in 2014 to undertake a three-year part time training (2,000 hours!) with her primary teacher, Dena Kinsberg.
Becky has studied with many other inspiring teachers in Byron Bay, India, London, Miami and Asia including John Ogilvie, Louisa Sear, Matthew Sweeney, Simon Borg Olivier, John Scott, Jason Crandell plus is grateful to have joined workshops with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath.
Becky did her Level 2 with Byron Yoga Centre and now splits her time between teaching and working on marketing for Byron Yoga Retreat Centre. She has an obvious passion for teaching and passing on the knowledge built up through over 20 years experience.
Eloise is a passionate and dedicated teacher trainer. A former Byron Yoga Centre graduate she has completed over 600 hours of training including courses in Hatha Yoga, Yin, Restorative, Trauma Sensitive teaching, Sound Healing, Meditation and Holistic Counselling.
Eloise’s yoga journey has been completely transformative. She experienced how yoga cultivated strength and flexibility on both a physical and emotional level and the physical asanas (postures) became an avenue for adopting a regular meditation practice. Yoga has enabled her to deeply connect with self, to tune into her intuition and to manage stress and anxiety in a healthy new way.
Eloise teaches flowing style classes, connecting movement to breath, safely building strength and with a focus on meditation and pranayama. She is passionate about introducing new people to the practice and aims to foster this passion in Byron Yoga Centre teacher trainees.
Kirsty teaches a strengthening and energising dynamic vinyasa class as well as deeply opening yin and restorative class styles.
She 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 with Byron Yoga Centre.
Every class incorporates a strong focus on the breath and elements of mindfulness meditation. Her classes are suitable for beginner to advanced. She has a breadth of experience having a foundation in Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga. Kirsty finds great joy and gratitude to be able to wake up near the ocean each day and to share the benefits of yoga.
Danielle 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.
Gitam 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 Byron Yoga Centre she has been teaching classes regularly. For some years she has attended further trainings and workshops with Donna Farhi and Judith Hanson Lasater and practises slow, restorative explorations of the body and breath.
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’.
Gitam particularly enjoys her involvement with Purna yoga retreats where she teaches guests to cook with ayurvedic spices, using foods that they have picked themselves from the beautiful organic vegetable gardens.
Caitlin teaches a slow flow focused on alignment, breath and mindfulness. Suitable for all levels, Caitlin gives plenty of variations for beginners or those wanting a gentle practice and encourages students to tune into their own bodies and to what feels right for them.
Caitlin trained in Hatha Vinyasa in Bali in 2014 and has completed her Purna Teacher Training with Byron Yoga Centre. She is one of the retreat hosts at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and loves sharing her passion of yoga, Ayurveda and wellbeing with guests.
Tabata has been practicing different styles of yoga for 13 years and combines Yoga with Astrology bringing the aspects of the stars to each yoga class. Her passion is women’s health and practicing yoga according to the moon cycle. She now works with the Teacher Trainings and assists with the Retreats at Byron Yoga Centre.
In 2010 she started a self-discovery adventure leaving Brazil for Findhorn in Scotland. She then she moved to Totnes in Devon, UK for a Master Degree where she learned more about herself and yoga, meditation and astrology. From there she travelled to different spiritual and sustainable communities on different continents.
Back in Brazil in 2013 Tabata lived at a Tantric Ashram studying Biopsychology and Tantra. From that moment on her yoga teaching started to develop and she found her personal style of teaching – the combination of her passions: Yoga and Astrology.
Nicole’s classes incorporate unity with breath and organic movement with positive affirmations. She believes that every practice is different and we need to honour how we feel every time we are on the mat.
Nicole found yoga at a young age and after 9 years of practicing she committed to a teacher training with Byron Yoga Centre. She also trained as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and is passionate about anything related to health and wellness.
Throughout her travels, she has practiced yoga with many different teachers. She draws from all these experiences when putting her heart-connecting sequences together. While she enjoys practicing a stronger style of yoga, Nicole also includes restorative yoga in her own practice to connect inwards.
Nicole is one of the retreat hosts at the Byron Yoga Centre – she adores connecting with people and her aim is helping them find inner stillness, love and to reconnect with themselves.
Elise teaches a powerful slow flow with an emphasis on body awareness, alignment and the mind body connection. Her intention is to create a space where students can connect, grow and develop a deeper understanding of themselves.
Elise’s background in personal training and holistic wellness took her on her own wellness journey that led her to yoga five years ago. Since then she has travelled to India where she completed her 200 hour Level 1 training in Hatha and Ashtanga, and more recently her Level 1 with Byron Yoga Centre. She also regularly attends short courses and workshops.
Elise is one of the Retreat Hosts at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and loves being able to connect and share her passion yoga with the guests. She believes that there is some form of yoga for every person, and it is her goal to try and help students find it.
Ross is a retreat host and teacher trainer at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and loves sharing the joy of yoga and meditation with guests and students.
Ross’s popular restorative yoga classes leave guests feeling deeply relaxed and he also loves to flow, drawing on his background of Ashtanga yoga. His classes focus on connecting students to the breath and the body, in order to calm and focus the mind.
Ross qualified as a yoga teacher in 2013 with Radiantly Alive in Bali and taught in Byron Bay and Bali before joining the Byron Yoga Centre team in 2016. He completed his Byron Yoga Centre Level 1 training in 2018, and in the same year completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy with world renowned teacher and yoga therapist Dr N. Chandrasekaran.
Ross has a passion for teaching yoga philosophy, and a variety of meditation techniques, including breath awareness, Kirtan meditation and Japa meditation.
Bettina 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.
Wesleigh began teaching in 2013 and at Byron Yoga Centre she mixes her role between the teacher trainings, studio classes and making nourishing food for guests. Her teaching style is impassioned, enlivening and inviting. Wesleigh shares a mindful, dynamic asana flow cultivating deep presence and conscious breath.
At 14 she attended an Ashtanga class and quickly became a dedicated student. Wesleigh completed her 200 hour YTT in Costa Rica with Adya and Valen, of PachaMama, a training that bridged with Shaolin arts for a holistic approach to healing and empowerment. She has also completed her Certificate IV with Byron Yoga Centre.
Wesleigh continues to find inspiration in her personal practice and in teachers including Kevin Courtney, Taryn Toomey, Elena Brower, and Meghan Currie, plus teachers at Byron Yoga Centre.
Wesleigh hopes that we can allow our Sadhana to help us re-focus our mind and finally begin having an honest conversation with our body and our heart.
Courtney is a key Byron Yoga Centre teacher trainer in Melbourne.
For over 20 years, Courtney worked as a musical theatre performer but inspired by the a positive impact of her yoga practice on her mental health and her creativity Courtney underwent her Level 1 and 2 (500RYT) certification at Byron Yoga Centre, and is soon to complete her Certificate IV.
Her many teachers include John Oglivie, Davina Kruse and Maria Kirsten as well as Shimi Nadaraja and Melissa Mai. She is inspired by the work of Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way), and uses the principal of ‘morning pages’ as a daily written meditation ritual.
Empowering people to move with their breath, safely and with a sense of enjoyment, is her primary goal. In Courtney’s asana classes, expect creative, flowing sequences with an emphasis on healthy alignment and supportive breath. When training new teachers, the same principles apply: breath, safety and joy.