Byron Yoga Centre TeachersITC2022-11-08T14:10:37+11:00
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Yanyan loves guiding her students to explore the wisdom of their bodies with intelligent sequencing, mantra, chanting, pranayama, and meditation. In her classes she links movement with breath and guides students towards a flow state.
Yanyan has completed most of Byron Yoga Centre’s teacher trainings! Having gained her 200 hour, 300 hour and the Certificate IV in Yoga Teaching, she is now studying the Diploma in Purna Yoga Management. She has also completed additional teacher trainings with Creature Yoga to explore her love of vinyasa yoga, and with Bamboo Yoga to increase her experience of meditation and breathwork.
Yanyan is incredibly blessed to deepen her Ashtanga Yoga practice with Dena Kingsberg. Dena inspires Yanyan towards self-discipline, devotion, surrender and trust.
She is originally from China, has lived in the UK, Finland and now calls Australia home. She is a dedicated yoga practitioner, a devotional yoga student and a passionate yoga teacher and also a caring massage therapist.
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.
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 undertaken her Certificate 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.
Ali’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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Emma Louise Roger
Emma Grant has been practicing yoga since 1996 and teaching since 2001. She has trained in pregnancy and postnatal yoga, and has studied Ayurveda at Naturecare College (Sydney), as well as with Ayurvedic Doctors in India. She has maintained her practice of Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda throughout her pregnancies and into motherhood.
She has also trained and studied with Swami Satchidananda of Integral Yoga in the U.S., Pattahbi Jois of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Desikachar, son of Krishnamacharya in India.
Emma created Red Tent Yoga in Sept 2009 in Byron Bay, a space for women and their families. Emma currently teaches weekly yoga classes for mums with their bubs and toddlers, prenatal yoga and workshops as well as Ayurveda and Massage. She also teachers nationally and internationally on the Bliss Baby Yoga teacher training program.
Jade’s personal practice began in 2007 and she has been teaching since 2015. She has trained in the specialised areas of pre and post natal yoga, yoga for seniors as well as remedial yoga, restorative yoga and yin yoga.
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.
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.
Meet our Retreat Hosts
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.
Morgane is influenced by the styles of Purna, Iyengar and Vinyasa yoga. She believes yoga can reconnect, heal and transform. Her teaching is a mindfulness form of yoga, encouraging students to go deeper into the practice by moving and holding postures with conscious breathing, subtle awareness and focus on correct alignment.
In 2015 she left France and began a journey to the self. After exploring Australia, she travelled to Asia where she was first introduced to yoga in Cambodia. Yoga quickly became part of her daily routine and has supported her ever since.
Morgane began her teacher training with a prenatal course online through the Kashmir Shaivism School of Yoga in India. She then travelled to Byron Bay early 2020 to complete her 500 hours Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher Training at Byron Yoga Centre where she recently also undertook her Yin Yoga Training.
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.
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
Elle is one of our retreat hosts. She has been teaching yoga over 10 years and has a strong focus on alignments and core. Her classes are designed to be safe and accessible for all levels.
She originally trained as an Ashtanga Yoga Teacher and now enjoys leading more gentle classes, always with mindfulness practices as a central theme. Elle guides her students to focus on the breath and her classes are gentle and relaxing for the body and mind. She describes her classes as like a dance with the breath, calming and nurturing.
Meditation is also an important part of her teaching style and practice as she has been fortunate to study Zen Buddhism for the last 8 years.
She simply loves teaching yoga and bringing all the benefits of this ancient practice to the students so they can enjoy vitality, calm and serenity in their yoga practice and daily lives.
Meet our Melbourne teachers
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’.
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.
Nat is a Senior Trainer for at Byron Yoga Centre’s the Melbourne campus.
She started practicing yoga in her teens when her mum became her first yoga teacher and inspiration. In her twenties, when she was working in a corporate job, Nat experienced the profound benefits of yoga while overcoming anxiety and depression. The transformational impacts Nat experienced from yoga lead her to leave the corporate job and commence her yoga teaching training over 10 years ago
Now in her 40’s, Nat combines her passion for the healing potential of yoga with her Ayurvedic business, while studying both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine.
Nat completed the Certificate IV Yoga Teaching with Byron Yoga Centre plus specialist training in Yoga Philosophy; Tantric Hatha Yoga; Yin Yoga; Remedial Yoga; and the Yoga of Sound.
You can find Nat facilitating for Byron Yoga Centre’s Certificate IV, Level 1 and Level 2 Teacher Training programs in Melbourne.