Byron Yoga Centre Teachers

Byron Yoga Centre Teachers 2018-06-29T14:38:35+00:00

Meet our teachers


John Ogilvie
John Ogilvie
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 Goodsell
Kara Goodsell
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 Kruse
Davina Kruse
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 Certificate IV in 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.


Marita Dortins
Marita Dortins
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
Maria Kirsten
Maria teaches the applied anatomy and physiology component of our teacher trainings conducted in Byron Bay at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre. 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.


Michael Nazar
Michael Nazar
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
Alli Black
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 Abbott
Jade Abbott
Jade’s classes draw on her vinyasa background, 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, and Jade has now completed trainings, workshops and immersions in Indonesia, India and Australia, undertaking the 800 hour Cert IV with Byron Yoga Centre.

Pre Byron Bay yogi life, Jade travelled all over the world, working as a branding executive based in London. Since having her daughter she has shifted focus and now works on teacher trainings, retreats and teaches studio classes with Byron Yoga Centre. Jade’s warm, funny and genuinely passionate nature shine through in her teaching.


Judy Krupp
Judy Krupp
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)
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 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 Dussans
Elise Dussans
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 Simak
Jan Simak

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.


Chloe Thorogood
Chloe Thorogood
Chloe’s signature style is an alignment focused hatha flow class. She also excels in yin, delving deeper into the therapeutic benefits of poses.

Coming from a dance background, Chloe has had a daily practice for 10 years. She has been teaching since 2007 and training yoga teachers at Byron Yoga Centre for four years. Her degree in Physical Education and Sports Science and her experience in teaching High School students lends itself to teaching yoga.

Chloe has the 800 hour Certificate IV from Byron Yoga Centre. She has studied with renowned teachers Clive Sheridan and John Ogilvie but her experience in India was the catalyst for developing yoga as her lifestyle. She studied asana, pranayama, meditation and philosophy under Swami Brahman and Saji Ramaswamy.

Chloe has taught in the UK, Australia, Indonesia, Bali, Hong Kong and Portugal. She believes that everyone can enjoy different aspects of yoga and ensures her classes are accessible for all.


Caitlin Reilly
Caitlin Reilly
Caitlin has been actively practicing and teaching yoga for the last 14 years. Returning to Byron Bay in 2014 after six years living in China, teaching in Shanghai and facilitating her own retreats in the bamboo forests of Moganshan.
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 mother of three, Caitlin’s extensive knowledge of Pre and Post Natal Yoga gives her the opportunity to support expectant mothers and new mothers. Special interests that Caitlin freely shares with her yoga pupils include: diet, nutrition and meditation.


Becky Buckwell
Becky Buckwell
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.


Anna Stawell
Anna Stawell
Anna started practicing yoga in her early 20s after holidaying in Byron Bay. She continued her yoga journey back in Melbourne, attending classes and building a regular self-practice.

In 2012 she moved to Byron Bay and completed her Level 1 Yoga Teacher Training with the Byron Yoga Centre. Anna has since been a regular teacher at the Byron Street Studio and is part of the team working at the Byron Yoga Retreat Centre.

The practice of Yoga has taught her many things, especially to be kind to herself, using the discipline as an opportunity to slow down and to reconnect to the present moment.
Anna teaches a beautiful heart opening flow that leaves you feeling grounded and ready for the day ahead.


Kirsty Nugent
Kirsty Nugent
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 Sherlock
Danielle Sherlock
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 Garden
Gitam Garden
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 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’.


Caitlin Harris
Caitlin Harris
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 Ogilvie
Tabata Ogilvie
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 Belliveau
Nicole Belliveau
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 Ottaway
Elise Ottaway
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 Adams
Ross Adams
Ross is a retreat host at Byron Yoga Retreat Centre and loves sharing the joy of yoga and meditation with guests.

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 body, to calm the mind and balance emotions.

Ross also teaches the ‘principles of meditation’ session on the retreats. His teachings are based on his experience with Buddhist based mindfulness meditation, including Vipassana and breath meditations.

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 late 2016. He completed his Byron Yoga Centre Level 1 intensive in early 2017 and is currently undertaking a Post-Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy with world renowned teacher and yoga therapist Dr N. Chandrasekaran.


Bettina Kahlert
Bettina Kahlert
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.