Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Melbourne Yoga Teachers

In the many years I've lived in Melbourne and been doing yoga - mostly around the inner, northern and eastern suburbs, I've had the great privilege of meeting and learning from a diverse and divine variety of Melbourne's finest yoga instructors.
Naturally, the teachers we are most drawn to is a subjective matter and this is not a "Best 10" or "Top Rated" style post. Instead, these are some of the teachers that have inspired me to think, study and appreciate yoga philosophy, culture and physical poses. I would recommend seeking them out and making time to do a class. If time and location doesn't permit that though, perhaps their recommended reading, clothing and cafes will encourage you to connect with them beyond the mat!

Name: Joel Hill

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: My favourite pose for as long as I can remember is Utthita Trikonasana, it always seems to hit the right spots.

Must Read Yoga Book: If I had to choose one book it would be Light on Yoga by BKS Iyengar , I always find new inspiration from it and things I've previously missed, even twenty years after I first layed eyes on it.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: The Iyengars are always a source of inspiration as is my teacher Glenn Ceresoli. Their teaching inspires the way I approach my practice heavily. In the last eighteen months I have been following the American yoga teacher and Sanskrit scholar Christopher Tompkins work very closely. His scholarship has very much revitalised my interest in yoga philosophy and history, I highly recommend anyone interested in these areas to check out his online offerings.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: For me these days it's any cafe that is kid friendly, I'm very much out of the loop on this.

Currently Teaching at: Currently I'm taking classes at Gateway Osteopathy and Pilates in Eltham and am also teaching Anatomy for The Yoga Social YTT programs.

Name: Gena Kenny

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week : I’ll begin by sharing my favourite translation of ‘Asana’ which is “To find a comfortable seat within, so that no matter what is happening without, you can remain at peace in your home.”

Yoga for me is exactly that, it is finding ‘my seat’ within.  How I do that is different from day to day; some days it requires simple and mindful breath work, other days it requires more physical movement.  Over the years my work with the physical Asana has become more refined and more subtle.  I have moved into a very different practice that is not necessarily broad gross movement but instead has it’s very foundation in the more subtle realms.  I have found that through sustained and regular practice I have learned how to move into the stillness that is in between, inside and throughout all movement.    This movement into stillness helps me to deal with my day to day life interactions and circumstances with more grace and more ease.  So not a favourite yoga pose, but a favourite way to utilize yoga for a more graceful life.

Must Read Yoga Book :  Wow.. this is a difficult question for me to answer as I love so many different yoga books; some for the anatomical information, some for philosophical learning, others for delving more deeply into the ‘Self’.  So I’ll share one of each with you . J

Anatomical:
“Yoga Anatomy” by Leslie Kaminoff

Philosophical:
“Bringing Yoga to Life” by Donna Farhi

“Self-work”
“The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer

 Teacher Who Inspires Me : I am most inspired by Donna Farhi, who has been teaching teacher’s for close to 30 years. I highly recommend any yoga teacher who has not either read Donna’s books or delved into her teachings with the Yoga Teacher intensive programs, teacher training courses or retreats that Donna runs.. to do so!!
What inspires me most about Donna is her embodiment of the practices that she shares.  She has ‘lived’ her practices and embodies them in how she teaches, lives and moves through the world.   I share a quote for you here from her book “Yoga Mind, Body and Spirit”.

“If you go deeply enough inside yourself, you will find not something small but something immensely spacious”.

I had read Donna’s books for many years, but hadn’t actually been to any of her teaching intensives until I suffered a debilitating back injury whilst working as a Firefighter in the Melbourne Fire Brigade.  At that point, I didn’t know if I could ever work as a firefighter again or even complete a yoga practice without pain ever again.  But through Donna’s in depth teachings on the structure, the nervous system and movement patterns, I am now pain free and teaching yoga for spinal care.

 Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : My favourite new cafĂ© is in Albert Park and is called Zea Food Journey on Victoria Avenue (just next to Jocks Ice cream).  For those who know me, you will know that I have a sweet tooth and Zea meets that sweet tooth with a fusion between France and Greece. French style crepes with a Greek style yumminess packed inside!!  Plus they have amazing coffee and real love packed into whatever they do.

Currently Teaching at: I have my own yoga studio which is in Port Melbourne and is called Ohana Yoga.  “Ohana” is a Hawaiian word which is translated to mean ‘connections’ and that is what Ohana Yoga is about.  We  have an incredible community of students and teachers who get to know each other through classes, coffee/tea after class and different events that we offer; which include free talks on different subjects to share knowledge, insight and just simply those moments of being able to connect with others who are in the community.

We also offer a really fair teacher rate which is $10 to encourage teachers to take time for themselves and give back to themselves .. we all know that being of service can lead to the ‘sharing, caring’ people in our world sharing a bit too much, so we like to encourage teachers to give back to themselves through restorative and mindful practices.  I feel very grateful to have had the opportunity, inclination and energy to be able to create a studio that offers an enriching daily yoga practice, yoga teacher training’s and most importantly a space that is real community hub for those who have found us.

Name: Andrew Mournehis

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Savasana (Corpse pose) / Yoga Nidra.
In my eyes, THE MOST IMPORTANT ( yet often neglected) POSE in our yoga practice.
As my Ayurveda teacher and mentor would say... you WILL practice Savasana and yoga nidra for 5 mins every day for the rest of your life... the teaching has stuck!

Must Read Yoga Book: The Bhagavad Gita ... favourite translation by Stephen Mitchell. A must read for any yoga practitioner or teacher on learning how to live, love and serve.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Elena Brower... for her courage to face her shadows, live with integrity and congruence ..:and be willing to live a life of Forgiveness, Light, Love and Truth.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Oooohhh, so many, but my current fave is Merri Cafe at Ceres ... beautiful community.


Currently Teaching at:

  • Pranahouse in Thornbury Mon and Wed mornings 930am-11am
  • Workshops and intensives from "Breathing space yoga" in Prahran
  • Teacher and facilitator for TT at Academy of Yoga Learning since 2003 
  • Retreats both nationally and internationally since 2003

Details at Divine Grace



Name: William Wong

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Handstand!!!

Must Read Yoga Book: Not specifically a yoga book but The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Claudia Whitney

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne: Pana Chocolate or Raw Trader

Currently Teaching at: Power Living Fitzroy, Yoga 37, Virgin Active and Fitness First



Name: Amanda Pittard

Favorite Yoga Pose this Week: Natarajasana | Dancer Pose as it allows me to open up my body, clear my mind and breathe evenly so that I can unlock truly profound discoveries about myself, physically my flexibility and balance, energetically opens my sacral, solar plexus & heart chakra allowing me to find balance in the realm of sensuality, personal power and love & compassion, Spiritually allowing me to notice where I get unstuck, so I can release my samsara.

Must Read Yoga book: "Your Body, Your Yoga" by Bernie Clark

Teacher Who Inspires Me : Sarah Cresswell at Teacher & owner at KX Yoga Malvern. When I'm on my mat I love listening to her kind thoughts, mindful manner & positive reinforcements of how wonderful we all are & what we bring to ourselves each & every time we come to practice.

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne : The Bakers Wife in Burke Road, Glen Iris, the menu is amazing & fresh.

Styles of Yoga I teach : Vinyasa Flow, Slow flow, Yin, Yin Yang, Kids & Teens

Currently teaching at : Endless Lifestyle Balwyn, KX Yoga Malvern (assisting) Goodlife Camberwell, ReCreation Malvern, South Pacific Chadstone, Swift Fitness (kids/teens), Genesis Caulfield, Firbank Grammar Brighton (kids), Prana House Thornbury. Will commence shortly at the Habitat Space Malvern & Daya Wellbeing Hawthorn.

Name: Tania Perry

My Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Humble Warrior. I named my business after this pose and tend to incorporate it into most of my classes. It reminds me to stay strong and grounded, to surrender and let go of that which no longer serves, with grace and humility. Humble Warrior symbolises for me the strength and beauty of yoga. It requires a balance of effort, ease and courage.

Must Read Yoga Book: The complete Guide to Yin Yoga by Bernie Clarke. I have always been a Yang Yogi, this book has taught me how to find stillness and to yield in my practice, to take time in transitions and to be more mindful. I am a convert to Yin Yoga. I always try to find a balance in life, and yin Yoga brings me closer to this. Yin makes me a better Yoga teacher. This a wholistic approach, nurtures the body and softens me both on and off the mat.

Teacher Who Inspires Me: There have been so many over the years, but any teacher who connects with me personally, gets to know my practice, offers adjustments, inspires me and makes me a better yogi. I love Nicky Hanley (AYA Prahran), for her free spirit and creative sequencing. For my own professional development I attend classes with Zoltan - Swami Gopal (Yoga in Daily Life/ Fitness First), he has an authentic, calm nature and his classes always challenge and inspire.

My go to cafe in Melbourne: Combi in Ormond Rd, Elwood. The best raw treats, tumeric lattes, organic, healthy....food to make you glow, from the inside out. The raw caramel slice (sugar free/vegan) is to die for!!

Currently teaching at Om Yoga Sth Yarra, Fitness First, Sth Pacific Gyms and Humble Warrior Yoga and Wellness.
I also teach Meditation, Pranyama  and Chair Yoga at Salts of the Earth Prahran.


Name: Jennifer Crescenzo

Favourite Yoga Pose This Week: Elephant Pose - it's a dynamic variation of a wide leg forward fold that involves keeping your legs strong and feet grounded while playfully twisting your trunk!

Must Read Yoga Book: Yoga: Fascia, Anatomy, and Movement by Joanne Avison

Teacher Who Inspires Me: Paul and Suzee Grilley - I have studied with them for nearly 8 years now and through the years they have changed the way I understand and experience my own body in movement and meditation.  Whether they are teaching functional anatomy or the Bhagavad Gita, Paul teaches with great precision, passion, and humor and Suzee's boundless curiosity about movement makes the asana practice both practical and playful .  I just returned from studying Patanjali's Yoga Sutras with them and when I arrived we hugged and then they immediately started quizzing me about my Olympic Lifting and how it was influencing my body and the way I'm teaching yoga.  The way they engage with their students makes for a really dynamic and creative training environment and I always leave their company feeling simultaneously grounded and charged!

Cafe Must Visit in Melbourne:  I live and teach south side so locally I like Magic for coffee and Urban Projuice for healthy, nourishing food.

Currently Teaching at: For the past few years I've been writing and co-facilitating 200 Hour Hatha Yoga TT's at The Yoga Social and MOVE Yoga and developing and facilitating Yin Teacher Training in Australia and internationally.  I teach weekly Yin, Yin/Yang, and Flow classes at MOVE Yoga, Ohana Yoga, and Yoke Yoga.  And I'm about to rejoin the team at Yoga Flame at their new Windsor studio!  My schedule of classes and events is available at yoga.jencrescenzo.com



I'm 100% sure I'm still to meet many fantastic Melbourne yoga instructors. Come and let me know whose class you absolutely wouldn't miss on Core Integrity With Cat Facebook.



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