Julie Smerdon - Founder
Julie Smerdon is a writer, storyteller, international yoga teacher, and perennial student who has been sharing yoga, meditation and inspiration since 2002. Privileged to have studied under master teachers in both yoga and meditation, Julie offers these practices as a means to empower, connect, and inspire people to cultivate a richer, more conscious experience of life. With her trademark warmth, humour and enthusiasm Julie presents these concepts in a masterful style that blends strong technique with perceptive insights that ignite the soul.
Julie has led Shri Yoga into the forefront of the Australian yoga scene as the ultimate destination for world-class yoga and meditation education and teacher development. A teacher’s teacher, Julie’s trainings have produced some of Brisbane’s best-loved instructors. In addition to her own trainings, Julie is widely known for bringing some of the top teachers in the world to Australia to share their wisdom.
Having earned certifications in both Power and Anusara yoga, Julie’s extensive knowledge of biomechanics and therapeutics has led to her ongoing work with Cricket Australia. Her work has been featured in Australian Yoga Journal, Australian Yoga Life, and InStyle Magazine.
Mabel Ang - Studio Manager
Mabel grew up under the tropical sun of Papua New Guinea. Throughout her travels, she always found herself floating in and out of a yoga class to find space and grounding. Moving to Australia 5 years ago, she immediately found sanctuary at Shri whilst completing her undergrad in Nutritional Sciences. In continuation of exploring an anusara-inspired practice, she has since then completed her teacher training in 2014 with mentor & teacher Julie Smerdon. Mabel leads an alignment-based class. Her intention is to leave students with a positive insight to their physical body and ultimately to embody the breath & awareness into the daily lives as they step off the mat.
Emma Baker - Manager, Marketing & Events
Emma has always enjoyed dance, sport and keeping active, but never looked back after taking her first yoga class in 2011. A real turning point and inspiration occurred when she completed Teacher Training with Julie in 2014, an experience that deepened her personal practice, setting her on the path of teaching. Emma loves to teach in a way that helps students to begin to weave their practice off the mat and into everyday life and this is reflected in her classes. Emma teaches alignment-based classes, is also a qualified Yin Yoga teacher and has a passion for teaching and sharing the benefits of meditation. Emma also manages the marketing and events for Shri Yoga, so you’ll see her friendly face around the studio.
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.
Sheila has been practicing yoga for the past seven years, but her journey really began when she moved to Brisbane five years ago and found her teacher and mentor. While she continues to study and practice several different styles, her training in Anusara influences her practice and teachings by providing a focus on the beauty and delight the world holds, and finding the highest self, the divine, in all bodies, experiences, and challenges that life has to offer. Through a combination of soft and strong practice, she uses music, words, and the breath, to help students tap into themselves. Sheila aims to challenge your mind and your body, and to inspire people to bring the freedom and fullness they feel on the mat, into their lives and the world.
Heather first stepped onto a yoga mat at university in 1981 when she was dragged to her first class and floated out the door. Born in Brisbane and a Project Manager by day, a love of travel and adventure lured her to SE Asia, India and Nepal where she resided for several years, studying Buddhism and learning about Hinduism – it’s Gods and Goddesses, it’s myths and mantras – from her Kathmandu family. A qualified Mountain Guide since 1985 and Certified Fitness Professional since 1990, she has an ongoing love of the outdoors, cycling, swimming and running. She has studied with Julie Smerdon since 2010 and commenced her RYT 200 teacher training certification with Julie in 2013 In 2014 she graduated from the Sianna Sherman Yoga Academy in Los Angeles with a further RYT 200 teacher training certification. Heather’s classes are challenging and informative with an emphasis on physical alignment, whilst drawing on her love of myth, mudra and mantra to guide your practice. She believes a consistent yoga practice helps you achieve your highest level of wellbeing, both physically and emotionally, because, as Heather realised after her very first yoga class, the lessons learned on the mat are lessons for life.
Erica Porter - Manager, Client Relations
Erica is Shri Yoga CBD’s studio manager and has been practicing yoga regularly since 2009 while attending Humboldt State University in Northern California. Since then she has worked at studios and retreat centres all over the world including, California, Florida, Melbourne, Costa Rica, and of course Brisbane. Erica loves being a part of the global yoga community and enjoys seeing Shri Yoga grow and progress. Erica holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Botany and loves finding where science and yoga connect. After completing an Ashtanga Teacher Training in 2012 in Rishikesh, India, she went on to study under Julie Smerdon and completed her Anusara Teacher Training in 2014 and is now enjoying the journey of becoming a teacher, as well as continuing on as a student.
Alison began her yoga journey 10 years ago, and has dedicated herself to discovering many different traditions and approaches to yoga. Her desire to learn to teach the art and science of yoga led her to Carrie-Anne Fields at My Health Yoga. There she discovered the beautiful, supportive yoga community, and began her deeper personal practice and self-study. Alison has a special interest in pre and postnatal yoga, as well as kids and teen yoga. Her classes are an upbeat align and flow style, with the occasional contemplative restorative practice. Alison is influenced by and enjoys drawing from many styles, but is most strongly guided by the teachings of Anusara Yoga. She is mentored by Julie Smerdon at Shri Yoga, and she teaches there regularly as well as conducting classes on Brisbane’s north side. When she’s not on the mat Alson is enjoying family life with husband Aaron and their three sons Liam, Dylan & Ethan.
WINNIE - DIRECTOR OF LOVE AND GOOD VIBES
Diagnosed with a love disorder shortly after birth, Winnie has found her way into the hearts of Shribees through her frequent visits to teacher trainings and staff meetings. Known for her keen eye and fast tongue, Winnie is also Shri Yoga’s Director of Security, alerting us to the imminent approach of bad guys before licking them to death.
A gentle, creative and earth-loving spirit, Napoleon escaped the corporate world after 26 years by embarking on a 2-year bicycle journey through northern India. On the eve of his 50th year he committed to secluding himself in a Nepalese monastery until he could recite all 100,000 verses of the Mahabharata by heart. Upon emerging from seclusion he tripped and injured has left arm, which was subsequently amputated with an ax by a passing rickshaw driver. It was on that journey that he discovered yoga, mastering his signature one-armed downward facing dog. Despite his uber-slim build and vow of silence, Napoleon’s shining heart makes him a powerful teacher who has helped polish the aura and increase the thigh gap of many a student.