Byron Yoga Centre TeachersITC2022-05-17T14:46:13+10:00
Meet our Byron Bay 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 manages the teacher trainings at Byron Yoga Centre, she coordinates the trainers, organises the timetables and creates course content.
She is a senior certified teacher who trained with John Ogilvie in 2006 and then apprenticed with him for 4 years. Kara is now a Certified Senior Teacher holding Level 1 & 2 500 hour Certificates, Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching and and Diplomas in Vocational Education and Training and Assessment and Design.
Kara has attended yoga workshops with other senior teachers, including Pattabhi Jois in India and several senior Iyengar teachers. Her own daily practice has evolved to include asana, meditation and extensive pranayama techniques.
Kara’s classes are alignment focused and give students the opportunity to deepen their awareness and practice with integrity and presence.
Davina now works in a management capacity on the Byron Yoga Centre teacher trainings. She is head of compliance and student services.
She 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 now mainly works in management, she also runs sessions for senior students in meditation and helps them to deepen their sitting practice. 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. 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 was a senior yoga teacher, yoga therapist and occupational therapist. She passed away peacefully after a short cancer illness in April 2021. We have left her bio here to honour her memory and in kindness to anyone who knew and therefore loved her, (it was impossible not to love Maria).
Anyone who had the pleasure of meeting Maria knows that she is a very special teacher and a wonderful soul. Vibrant in her nature, dynamic in her delivery, graceful and humble in her teachings and compassionate beyond measure. Maria passionately shared her knowledge, wisdom and heart with our community for many years, and reached so many people through her work, both with Byron Yoga Centre, and with her own project, Yoga for Grown Ups.
Maria was dedicated to sharing accessible yoga with all kinds of people, and that’s exactly what she did (always with a laugh, or two). She lived in integrity, gave endlessly and inspired many.
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.
Jade is an E-RYT 500 HR Yoga Alliance accredited teacher and qualified counselor. Jade’s classes focus on safe and comfortable alignment, breath connection and strength building whilst offering students the opportunity to focus inward.
Jade’s personal practice began in 2007 whilst studying Business at university. She has been teaching professionally since 2015. Over the years Jade has completed trainings, immersions and workshops in Europe, Indonesia, India and Australia, gaining insight from practicing with many renowned teachers including Simon Borg-Olivier, Maria Kirsten, Carlos Pomeda, Elena Brower, Lizzie Lasater, Clive Sheridan and Gwyn Williams among others.
Jade has trained in the specialised areas of restorative yoga, yin yoga, pre and post natal yoga, yoga for seniors as well as remedial yoga. Jade has completed 1000 hours of Yoga training, a Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching, a Certificate IV in Training & Assessment and a Diploma of Counseling.
A mother of two spirited daughters and partner to Rory, Jade has a love for music, which often brings sounds and soul to the yoga room. With a belief that yoga should be adapted for the individual, not the individual adapted to the yoga; Jade’s warm and passionate nature shines through in her teaching.
Andy is a teacher trainer at Byron Yoga Centre. He came to yoga after a long history in competitive sport and loves the balance of strength and mobility that asana can offer. His style of teaching educates students on how to get the most out of their bodies. Creating intentional and considered classes to increase your body awareness and build resilience.
He is also a practicing physiotherapist and uses his extensive knowledge about the body to teach yoga anatomy. He has a passion for taking this complex subject and making it practical and easy to apply directly into your teaching.
He began teaching yoga while travelling through India and spent extensive time in Dharamsala and Goa teaching students from all around the world. Since moving to Byron Bay he has deepened his knowledge with further training at Byron Yoga Centre and is constantly looking for ways to improve as a teacher.
Bec teaches traditional hatha, incorporating correct Purna alignment and offering modifications for students. She emphasises body awareness, functional movement and breath, intentionally guiding students into the more subtle aspects of practice.
With an effective focus on stability of mind and preparing for meditation, Bec’s calm, centred energy and teaching style facilitates a powerful depth to her classes. She has a university degree in Kinesiology, biology and psychology and has completed over 1000 hours of study with Byron Yoga Centre, Creature Yoga and The Practice Bali.
Bec primarily works on the teacher trainings and is extremely dedicated to teaching and also to her own study of yoga, energetics, ayurveda and life. She continues to explore her practice under the guidance of her teachers and loves exploring and sharing this practice. Her passion for yoga shines through in everything she does.
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.
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.
Caitlin primarily teaches her twin passions of Yin and Restorative classes on trainings and retreats. She also enjoys leading dynamic classes, offering a slow flow with awareness on safe alignment, moving with the breath and mindfulness.
Her classes are 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 do what feels right for them.
She has been practicing yoga for many years and teaching since 2014. Caitlin first completed a Hatha Vinyasa teacher training in Bali and has since also undertaken her Byron Yoga Centre Yoga Level 1 plus the Yin Yoga Teacher Training and also Restorative Yoga trainings with both Bliss Baby and Lizzie Lasater.
She is one of the retreat hosts at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and loves sharing her passion of yoga, Ayurveda and well-being with guests.
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.
Tabata has been practicing yoga for 15 years and loves to combine Yoga with Astrology to bring the stars to each class. Tabata is currently writing a book about sacred women’s yoga and Ayurveda practices. Her passion is women’s health and teaching yoga according to the moon cycle. She hosts the Sacred Woman’s Retreats in the new Shakti Temple at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and also teaches on the trainings.
In 2010 she began a self-discovery adventure leaving Brazil for Findhorn in Scotland. She then moved to Totnes in the UK for a Masters Degree and learnt more about yoga, meditation and astrology, also travelling to several 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.
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 our Retreat Manager and also works a Hosts. She 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.
Jacinta has been working as a consultant and facilitating workshops and trainings as a Naturopath, Herbalist, Massage Therapist, Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Consultant for over thirty years. She now works part time on Byron Yoga Centre trainings, teaching asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, women’s health and Ayurveda.
Jacinta read her first yoga book aged 12 and soon began practicing. She was a Raja Yogini in India from aged 19 to 24 and has since trained in a variety of styles including Sivananda, Iyengar, Prof Bhim Dev and Byron Yoga Centre. Jacinta is a founding partner in the thriving organic herbal dispensary, Mullumbimby Herbals, where she offers Naturopathic and Ayurvedic consultations, massage and specialised Ayurvedic treatments.
Jacinta has a passion for spiritual growth as well as for physical and mental well being. As a mother and grandmother Jacinta keeps a fresh outlook on life and brings this inspiration into her practice.
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.
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.
Chris started practicing yoga asana while he served in the Military. It reduced stress and was particularly helpful in processing traumatic experiences from his time deployed to Afghanistan.
After 14 years service, he left the Military and went straight into yoga teacher training, completing his Level 1 in Bali and then Level 2 and the Certificate IV with Byron Yoga Centre. He has also studied with Trauma-Sensitive Australia, Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and completed the Byron Yoga Centre Remedial Yoga course with Maria Kirsten.
He currently balances his time between family, working with Byron Yoga Centre to deliver Trauma-Aware Yoga Teacher Trainings and running Frontline Yoga which provides Trauma-aware Yoga to the Military, First Responder and Emergency Services community.
Chloe has been teaching yoga in schools and yoga studios for over a decade. She is a registered E-RYT® 500 senior teacher with Yoga Alliance and therefore any course undertaken with her can be credited as professional development hours.
As a qualified high school teacher Chloe has an intricate understanding of the education system and the practicalities of teaching yoga and mindfulness for teenagers. She has worked in schools in New South Wales and the UK with young people from year 7 to 12, exploring various techniques and practices that are simple and sustainable for both staff and students.
Chloe is currently working in schools in Newcastle NSW in a learning support and wellbeing role. She was previously working in London sharing yoga and wellbeing education in schools. Prior to this she was a trainer at Byron Yoga Centre for several years.
Dan enjoys teaching an alignment-based flow, working with the energy in the room. He weaves in breath, meditation and philosophy, encouraging his students to deepen their practice, from purely physical exercise, to embrace an overall yogic lifestyle.
He is passionate about sharing the knowledge he has learnt over many years. Having completed his first Level 1 training in India in 2017 Dan has since undertaken his Level 2 with Byron Yoga Centre plus completed an Acro Yoga teacher training in 2018. He loves seeing people grasp new concepts and become confident with new skills. This in-turn has helped deepen his love these practices.
Dan has a profound interest in Eastern philosophies and has studied many different modalities including Reiki, studying Tai Chi at a Chinese Shaolin temple, learning about Buddhism and meditation while living in a Buddhist monastery, and travelling across India to study different forms of Yoga.
Mariana De Castro
Mariana is a retreat host with Byron Yoga Centre, sharing Purna Yoga and Flow classes with our guests, as well as workshops including Intro to Ayurveda and Elements of Alignment. Her classes are simple yet powerful, combining elements of asana, pranayama, mantra, yoga nidra and meditation. Her calm and generous presence creates a space of nurturing, healing and connection.
She has been teaching for over 15 years since graduating as a yoga teacher in 2003 from the University of Yoga in Santa Catarina in Brazil. Then in 2014 Mariana completed her Certificate IV in Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultancy and has since undertaken prenatal and postnatal trainings with Bliss Baby Yoga, a Level 2 training with Radiantly Alive in Bali and a Level I training with Byron Yoga Centre.
Mariana is a mother of two boys. This ‘off the mat’ learning, being a mother, has transformed her teaching, helping her to feel more mature and grounded
Mel teaches a slow paced traditional Hatha practice, with longer holds and a focus on breath and alignment. Her sequences are crafted to cultivate specific pranic (energetic) qualities, with the intention of building stability in your body and mind and connecting you to your most luminous self.
Mel has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and has completed both her Byron Yoga Centre Level 1 and a Tantric Hatha yoga training.
Mel’s classes are a combination of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. She guides students to use the asana to connect with the breath, pranayama to connect with the mind and meditation to connect to that which lies beyond the mind.
Erin guides a holistic yoga practice and holds a nurturing space with an emphasis on developing awareness. She believes yoga is a technique for transformation and that by developing awareness, we create opportunities for shifts towards greater well-being and fulfilment.
Erin has been teaching yoga since 2010. She draws on 15 years’ experience facilitating positive change for clients in their health and wellness. Her background and educational accomplishments bring together yoga, exercise and health science (BSc), psychology (MSc Coaching Psychology), and mindfulness training.
She discovered yoga in university, finding it a compliment to playing competitive sport and studying exercise science. She later realised the importance of a dedicated practice in dealing with the adverse effects of sustained stress. She decided to deepen her yogic knowledge through teacher training. 15 years on her teaching is influenced by her mentors and the styles of traditional Hatha, Vinyasa flow, Restorative and Yin Yoga.
Meet our Melbourne teachers
Lizette has been practicing yoga for over 17 years and has been facilitating yoga classes since 2007. As well as the core Purna style, Lizette teaches a range of classes from Yin to Dynamic Flow, with a focus on body awareness, functional movement, breath and mindfulness.
A passionate student of yoga, Lizette has further studied and practiced as a Bowen Therapist and Kinesiologist to deepen her understanding of the bodies – physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and energetic. Lizette weaves her learnings into her yoga facilitation, and her sessions with the teacher trainees in Melbourne.
Lizette feels that her greatest teachers are in her relationships with her two children, partners, friends, with many yoga and spiritual teachers, herself, and of course with her students. She encourages a wholehearted approach to yoga practice, and shares her passion for yoga with joy, care and humility.
Natja has been teaching yoga since 2010. She is a fully qualified yoga therapist and kids yoga teacher, having specialising in yoga therapy for children with anxiety and special needs.
Natja teachers with great passion, working with students in a holistic way to nourish the mind body connection. She loves exploring the different styles that have influenced her practice and taking these into her teaching. Her classes include breath work and chanting. They are intelligently sequenced to include a warm-up, flowing postures with body awareness along with relaxation and meditation. Students are encouraged to smile! She likes to offer people multiple tools to feel better within and about themselves.
Natja studied to be a yoga teacher after treatment for breast cancer and this led her to learn about lymphatic yoga. Her passion is to work with people after cancer for which she founded ‘After Cancer – there is something you can do’.
Katie joined Byron Yoga Centre as a trainer in 2021 after several years as a full time career as a yoga teacher. She has a keen interest in how the human body moves and connects and her classes reflect her anatomy knowledge. She leads her students to move, breathe and feel connected to their bodies like a beautiful moving meditation.
Katie has been teaching since 2017 after completing her advanced diploma in Hatha Yoga at VIYETT. She has also completed her Level 2 in Yin Yoga, Yoga Anatomy with Tiffany Cruikshank, plus sequencing and meditation courses.
Katie is originally from the UK and has also lived in New York. You can find Katie running, if not on the mat, she says yoga helped her complete two full marathons and more recently a 50k Ultra Marathon. She is externally grateful for everything yoga has provided and sharing this passion to others is what drives and excites her.
Whitney has studied over 2,500 hours of accredited teacher trainings with schools in India, Australia, the United States and Indonesia focusing on various styles and topics: Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative, Mantra, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra.
Whitney is a registered meditation teacher with Meditation Australia, is a 500RYT, holds a Diploma in Yoga Teaching and is a Mental Health First Aider. Whitney’s classes are a meditative experience in themselves with the strongest focus being the breath and embracing the body.
Whitney has lived all over the world teaching English. Through her chaotic, but exciting nomadic lifestyle, she found that yoga was a grounding force to come back to her centre. Yoga has helped her to find the practice in all that she does. She believes that every being has the birthright to know the calm, easeful and stable part of each of us that is always present, waiting to be uncovered.