Julie Smerdon, Director
ERYT 500, Level 3 – Yoga Australia
Wife & mum, perennial student, and founder of Shri Yoga in Brisbane, Julie has been teaching yoga full-time for more than a decade. A student of yoga since the early 1990’s, Julie’s practice took on a new meaning in 1999 when a medical crisis nearly cut her life short. Passionate about sharing her profound experience of yoga’s ability to heal body and spirit, Julie did her initial training in 2001 with Baron Baptiste. In 2002 she met John Friend and was captivated by the elegant methodology and philosophy of Anusara Yoga, racking up over 1000 hours of training and earning her Anusara certification in 2007. Since founding Shri Yoga in 2010, Julie has gained an Australia-wide reputation as a world-class yoga teacher and community builder. Julie is known for her unique ability to present this ancient practice in a way that is relevant to the lives of everyone. Her classes challenge the body, bring clarity to the mind, and uplift the spirit. Julie teaches trainings, workshops and retreats both in Australia and internationally, and works with the Australian Men’s Cricket Team in their offseason training program. She is registered with both Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance at their highest levels of membership.
Geoff’s classes are contemporary-traditional, with ancient Asana blended into a series of strengthening and aligning sequences which are both static and flowing; with a smile or two added to ensure it doesn’t get too serious…
Each sequence is designed to release and open specific lines of Energy (Prana)… often choreographed to music and always provided with cues which students of all levels may relate to, in order to work towards the union of Mind, Body, Spirit.
As one student recently told him “…it’s like I put on a suit of Body Armor that allowed me to open my heart.” Or; as another student said “…the way <he> described each pose and, made it flow, made me get it. I stayed in the practice from beginning to end…”
Geoff’s practice and teaching is inspired by many teachers from a variety of styles of Yoga. His study includes different forms of Hatha Yoga in Sydney, Byron Bay and San Francisco…with his primary influences coming from Iyengar and Anusara.
What he has developed is a path to obtain “Yoga” – that same union between the Mind (by knowledge and focus), Body (by freedom of movement and alignment) and Spirit (through surrender and compassion).
The intent is to have the student focus on developing their own inner awareness through Pranayama and Meditative techniques while building a solid foundation in all Asanas in order to have a fulfilled, safe practice.
Riss (Marissa) Carlyon
Riss can remember scrambling over her mother’s yoga mat as a child and the peaceful energy of being amongst people in their practice. After popping in and out of contact with yoga, it gradually became an essential part of life that guided and transformed her perspectives on and off the mat.
Undertaking teacher training in 2008 was a natural progression in deepening her knowledge of the practice which had brought such balance, energy and goodness into her life. She has been sharing this love of yoga ever since! Riss first trained with Byron Yoga Centre and has since soaked up learnings from a range of traditions, teachers and styles including: Kundalini, Anusara, Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga. Recently she studied Yoga Anatomy, Advanced Vinyasa Sequencing, Chakra Yoga and Active Birth and became a qualified children’s yoga teacher.
Riss’s work as a Speech and Language Pathologist with children and adults with disabilities has heightened her awareness of the importance of breath and its ability to enable effective movement.
Riss’s classes are fluid, playful and flowing. Each sequence is planned with thought to the underlying therapeutic benefit of the poses included. She aims for people to leave class with a sense of joy and lightness, and a deeper knowledge and understanding of their own body and self.
Keren began her Yoga journey over 15 years ago and immediately fell head over heels in love with the practice. Her regular practice led her to travel to India in 2002 where she practised a variety of Yoga styles as she travelled. Upon returning she trained with the Iyengar teachers at Bristol City Yoga, where she learned the importance of a holistic approach to Yoga. Keren enjoys sharing her love of Yoga with others, and students are welcomed into a nurturing environment where they are encouraged to gently challenge themselves, while cultivating a strong practice and deep love of Yoga.
Keren is passionate about continuing to expand her understanding and knowledge of Yoga and has undertaken Hatha Yoga training in Brisbane, studied at Jivamukti in New York and has attended workshops around the globe. In 2011 she completed her second teacher training course with Jivamukti teacher Michelle Merrifield at Essence of Living Yoga and in 2013 she become a registered Lotus FlowTM teacher after completing the Laughing Lotus training in San Francisco. 2014 will see Keren complete a level two module in Kundalini yoga with renowned teacher Guru Das. Keren also believes strongly in living Yoga ‘off the mat’ and giving back to the community. This commitment to give back led Keren to facilitate Anahata Healing, an initiative that organises Yoga classes to support those affected by cancer. For more information please check the Anahata Healing website at www.anahatahealing.com.au
Virginia discovered the power of yoga in 2001. She completed her teacher training in 2008 with Los Angeles-based YogaWorks, with internationally renowned vinyasa flow teacher and mentor Annie Carpenter. After a decade of working on Wall Street in New York and as a distance runner having completed three marathons, Virginia’s “other” life on the yoga mat allowed for calmness, breath and perspective.
Before leaving New York, Virginia studied integrative nutrition and gained a degree as a health-supportive natural foods chef. Having recently relocated to her husband’s native Australia, Virginia started Kitchen Vitality, which is dedicated to teaching people the nutritional benefits of and how to cook with whole foods. Just like yoga, food has the ability to nourish us physically, mentally and spiritually. Yoga and food are two of Virginia’s lifelong passions, but teaching others about those passions is her true love.
Virginia teaches a dynamic flow class, using intelligent sequencing that allows the body to open organically. Through her hands-on and compassionate teaching style (with a bit of humour thrown in) Virginia ensures a strong, fun and safe class.
Emma began her journey into yoga in 2003 in Victoria Canada. She completed her BSc in Kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario and during this time she attended the Moksha Yoga Level I 500-hour teacher training in 2007. The training emphasized for her that yoga is not only about improving the physical body, but also about enhancing the spiritual and emotional bodies as well.
Emma taught regularly at studios regularly across Canada until moving to Brisbane in January 2011. She is currently completing her medical degree at the University of Queensland.
Emma’s thirst for knowledge has lead her to also be a certified restorative yoga teacher, as well as to completing the Moksha Level 2 training in November 2010. Students can feel welcome in her classes, with her fun attitude and relaxed manner. She strives to teach the way that she wants to do yoga: with warmth, a smile, and an open heart.
For Sarah, yoga has always provided a sense of balance and offered release from the confines of corporate life. She has a keen mind that is always looking for greater knowledge, particularly in the areas of bio mechanics and body awareness.
A chance meeting with an instructor in Byron Bay put Sarah on a path that led to her discovery of Anusara yoga, which not only gave her practice true focus, but also provided a strong sense of community and friendship. It is this feeling of joy and acceptance, along with a slightly irreverent sense of humour, that Sarah brings to her all classes.
The true healing power of yoga has helped Sarah move from being a corporate casualty, suffering nine years of chronic fatigue syndrome, to regaining not only her energy but also an infectious sense of fun. It is through a combination of her yoga training, and own personal journey, that Sarah has gained the understanding that yoga can be truly life changing and has something to offer everybody regardless of age, ability or fitness. This is the driving passion behind Sarah’s yoga practice and teaching.
Kirsty’s desire to meet new friends in the small Japanese village where she was living led her to sign up for her first Yoga class in 2004. In 2007 she completed Yoga Teacher Training with Kate Pell at The Yoga Den in Brisbane and in 2008 she travelled to New Zealand to partake in Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with internationally renowned teacher, Donna Farhi. The themes of connection and community that originally drew her to Yoga continue to influence her teachings.
With a passion for helping people connect to their greater purpose in life through breath, movement and contemplation, Kirsty’s classes are fun, challenging and refreshing. She encourages her students to focus on their inherent strengths while challenging them to break through any self-imposed limitations. Each class is an exploration of strength and freedom, flexibility and surrender.
Kirsty continues to absorb wisdom of Yoga from her various teachers and students, while also relying on her own personal practice and observations to deepen her experience. Kirsty shares the profoundly nourishing and healing value of a precise and steady Yoga practice that has helped her overcome chronic pain associated with Scoliosis and Endometriosis.
Kirsty believes that acute awareness, precise alignment, a receptive heart and a sense of humour are key ingredients for happiness both on and off the mat.
Originally from Quebec, Canada, Kathleen recently moved to Brisbane after living in Melbourne for five years. She first came to yoga more than 15 years ago as a university student seeking balance in her life. Kathleen found in Yoga a practice that cleanses, nourishes and brings life to body, mind and heart, as well as a deeper connection with life.
Kathleen’s approach to teaching is eclectic and combines the many paths of Yoga, including asana, pranayama, relaxation, meditation and enquiry. Her approach to asana is fluid with a focus on the breath; and incorporates the principles of alignment of the body. Within a supportive environment, students are invited to open, strengthen and bring life to the body, and to deepen their awareness of the relationship between body, breath and mind.
Kathleen is a qualified Yoga teacher with an advanced diploma of yoga teaching from the Australian Institute of Yoga and is a member of Yoga Australia. Kathleen continues to study and explore Yoga and aims to cultivate grace and presence in her practice on the mat and in her whole life. Besides her love of Yoga, Kathleen shares a deep connection with the natural environment, enjoys bushwalking and loves healthy (and tasty) food.
NeLi remembers her first yoga class in London in 1992. She left the studio to drive away and had to adjust the mirror; noticing her spine felt significantly taller and her whole body felt stronger and lighter. This romance and fascination with yoga has never really ended. She completed her teacher training with the British Wheel of Yoga in England and Wales, and began teaching in 1998. Initially influenced by Alexander Technique and Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bihar and Viniyoga traditions, she continues to learn and be informed by Insight (Vipassana) meditation practice and her love of life. NeLi’s integrated approach to teaching yoga was inspired for ten years by the work of the late Vanda Scaravelli. This work is strong and gentle. Since 2011, she has been working with Julie Smerdon and teachers from the Anusara tradition; finding new delight in the precise alignment and joyful approach. NeLi is also a registered psychologist in private practice in Wilston.
Curiosity took Jasmine to her first yoga class in 2006 which was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to the practice and study of yoga. Inspired by the profound effects of a consistent yoga practice, Jasmine completed her year long teacher training with Adam and Akash Bornstein of Radiant Light Yoga in 2011.
Jasmine teaches a flowing style of yoga asana, pairing breath with movement and using music to take us on a journey. Her style is influenced by 7 years of personal practice and various inspiring teachers she has encountered along her yoga journey – both in Australia and through her travels in Asia.
Jasmine teaches with honour and respect for the ancient yogic tradition with a modern twist to suit the needs of the Western body, mind and lifestyle. Jasmine considers the yoga studio a sacred space for self-discovery and transformation; our bodies the temples through which we use movement, breath and awareness to receive the gifts of our practice. She encourages students to practice with both an open heart and a focused mind to experience the joy, freedom and deeper sense of connection that arise through the practice of yoga.
Her classes are generally quite dynamic, strengthening and invigorating, but also contain elements that are gentle, self-nurturing and deeply relaxing, always with a strong emphasis on alignment. Yoga and life are not separate,and Jasmine will empower students to take yoga into their daily lives. Jasmine welcomes all students and offers variations, acknowledging the importance of tuning into our body’s needs in any given moment. Brisbane-born and bred, Jasmine is delighted to share yoga with Brisbane’s city dwellers.
Anya Phelan is Black Belt Certified Nia Teacher. In addition to a professional background in engineering and sustainable development, she has been delivering workshops and classes in holistic fitness for over fifteen years.
Kat Reiner first stepped on a yoga mat at 16, though it took her five years to actually fall in love with the practice. After competing in run races and triathlons all through university, her coach suggested that she start a more regular practice as an antidote to a sore body and overly analytical mind. This time, the love affair lasted, and she hasn’t left her practice since.
Jade was introduced to yoga by her mum 15 years ago, as a therapy to help her recover and heal a serious knee injury. Having lived in a number of small country towns with no access to yoga classes, and impressed by how it made her feel, Jade began a devoted home practice by listening to yoga classes on vinyl records, cassette tapes and CD’s.
In 2009 Jade moved to Brisbane and it was there that she met teacher Julie Smerdon, and instantly fell in love with the practice of Anusara Yoga.
With a degree in Environmental Science Jade loves the natural environment and biology and is fascinated with the science of yoga, as well as the artistic expression that a yoga practice can offer.
Jade completed her teacher training with Julie Smerdon and is thrilled to be starting her teaching journey with Julie at Shri. Jade is registered at the 200 hour level with Yoga Alliance.
Jade’s classes are thoughtfully sequenced and interesting, with a strong focus on aligning the body well and connecting with the breath to unite the body, mind and heart.
Nickyy entered into the wonderful world of yoga about 8 years ago ‘just for fun’ and has never looked back! She began teaching 5 years ago and on her journey has travelled extensively through India studying yoga, meditation and philosophy. In 2008 she completed an advanced diploma of Teacher Training at the Centre for Adult Education in Melbourne.
Nickyy is deeply passionate about yoga and this shines through in both her commitment to the deepening of her own practice and in her teaching. She is currently immersing herself in the bright light of the Anusara tradition and hopes the path will one day lead her to becoming a certified teacher.
Nickyy teaches in the Vinyassa tradition weaving into the poses the profound practices of pranayama (yogic breathing), meditation, and beautiful yogic philosophy. She offers the student a safe loving space for the exploration and opening of their mind, body and heart.