Teachers

Christoph Seiland

Christoph Seiland

I was 17 when I saw my all time favourite musician, John Frusciante, doing splits and some other crazy movements as a warm up for a show. Although I had no name for it, something about what he was doing touched me deeply. Up to this point, in terms of free time activities, I was very much a runner, exploring the mountains around my hometown in Austria alone or with my dog, as well as having periods where I enjoyed climbing and mountain biking as well. In addition to this, I was and still am very much into music and learned some instruments over the course of the years of which the guitar still is my favourite. I did some research and found out that what my idol was doing is called Ashtanga Yoga, which prompted me to buy some books about this topic and imitate what I saw on the pictures. It was fun and felt great! For many years this was my style of yoga and I travelled to the originating place of this method, Mysore in India, as well as to other teachers around the world to learn as much about it as possible.​ As the human body always was a subject of interest, awe and inspiration for me, I studied medicine to delve deeper into the mechanics and functions of it. I deeply value what I am learning as a doctor, however, I now also wish to share what I know through the practice of Yoga. ​Inspired by the Ido Portal method, I am currently exploring different areas of movement, such as the rings, gymnastics and dancing to distill from it what can be of use in the context of Yoga. All that exists is continually changing and expanding, which includes my knowledge, awareness, practice and teaching. I will always continue to explore where there may be more fun, effective and beneficial movements of the body to express that state of Yoga. ​An Anatomy and Biomechanics teacher on various teacher trainings. I also hold ad hoc yoga workshops in Manchester.

Gregor Maehle

Gregor Maehle

Gregor started his Yogic practices more than 30 years ago. In the mid-80’s he commenced yearly travels to India where he studied with various yogic and tantric masters and traditional Indian sadhus and ascetics. Amongst others he studied 14 months with K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, India, and in 1997 was authorized by him to teach. Since then he has branched out into research of the anatomical alignment of postures and the higher limbs of Yoga. He obtained his anatomical knowledge through a German Health Practitioner degree and has also studied History, Philosophy and Comparative Religion at German universities. In India Gregor also received eight months of mostly one-on-one instruction in scripture and the higher limbs of Yoga through BNS Iyengar, like K.P. Jois a student of T. Krishnamacharya. Additionally he studied Sanskrit under Professor Narayanachar and Dr. Chandrasekhar. Gregor lived several years as a recluse, spending his days studying Sanskrit, yogic scripture and practising yogic techniques. Together with his wife he founded 8 Limbs in Perth in 1996. Today, along with maintaining a daily practice of the Primary, Intermediate and Advanced series of Ashtanga Yoga postures, Gregor’s main research focus is Pranayama, Kundalini and Meditation. Gregor published Ashtanga Yoga Practice and Philosophy in 2006 and Ashtanga Yoga The Intermediate Series in 2009, which have been translated into several foreign languages. In 2012 he published Pranayama The Breath of Yoga and in 2013 Yoga Meditation: Through Mantra, Chakras and Kundalini to Spiritual Freedom. Gregor lived many years as a recluse, studying Sanskrit, yogic scripture and practising yogic techniques. He has published a series of textbooks on all major aspects of yoga. His mission is to re-integrate ashtanga vinyasa practice into the larger framework of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga in the spirit of T. Krishnamacharya. He offers teacher trainings and immersion in Perth and Bali.

Joe Miller

Joe Miller

My passion is teaching how the body works. I currently teach yoga classes in New York City, offer individual private sessions, and teach anatomy and physiology for yogis and yoga teachers around the country and worldwide. I also write extensively about yoga, anatomy, physiology and health on my blog and for popular websites and publications. I discovered yoga in my mid-twenties. I had spent my teenage and college years living in a way that was cerebral and disembodied. Yoga re-awakened a lost sense of pleasure in movement and physicality. I practiced other physical disciplines – running, weight training, martial arts and more – but always returned to yoga. In 2000, I completed teacher training at New York City’s OM Yoga Center. I taught there for 12 years until OM’s closing, including ten years as a teacher trainer. A lifelong interest in biology and anatomy led me to study with anatomy teachers including Leslie Kaminoff, Amy Matthews, Tom Myers and Gil Hedley, and eventually to a master’s degree in applied physiology from Columbia University. I’ve practiced yoga with numerous teachers, including Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore, and more recently, Glenn Black. I also studied Sanskrit for several years with Swami Prabuddhananda Saraswati. Prompted by Glenn Black’s insistence that asana alone is not enough to ensure robust health, I’ve become interested in incorporating other types of movement, as well as nutrition and hands-on work, into my practice. I’m a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner. The Feldenkrais method is a powerful system for re-learning integrated, pain-free movement. I offer both group Feldenkrais classes and one-on-one table sessions. I’m also certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist with the NSCA. Yoga helped to restore my health and brought me to a place of greater embodiment and vitality. I love sharing what I’ve learned with students and helping aspiring teachers develop their knowledge and skills. Understanding the way your body works can profoundly affect your life, allowing you to move with greater awareness and freedom so that you can more clearly put your intentions into action.

Karen Kirkness

Karen Kirkness

American by birth and now based in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she founded Meadowlark Yoga in 2010. Karen and her husband, Simon, love the outdoors, yoga, massage, and South Indian food. Karen started practicing yoga while at university in Florida, in 1999. Having first studied Yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore in 2003, Karen continues taking yearly trips to Mysore to study there as a long-term student of Ashtanga yoga. Through the intuitive adaptation of her Yoga practice over the years under the guidance of her teachers, Karen has healed from from a wide variety of injuries and is fascinated with the transformative powers of daily yoga practice within the body's microenvironment. Her art practice and passion for all things anatomical are the foundation for her further study of biotensegrity. After moving to Edinburgh from Florida to complete a master’s degree from the edinburgh college of art, Karen founded Meadowlark Yoga as her home studio where she works with close friends to maintain a thriving morning Mysore program in Edinburgh. After over 15 years of Yoga practice, Karen spent a year in the dissection lab learning about human anatomy at the University of Edinburgh as part of her second master's degree in Human Anatomy. Karen’s fascination with anatomy and subtle body concepts come together with her love of art to make her body painting workshops fun, informative, and inspiring. She keeps a blog at karenkirkness.com and welcomes correspondence.

Mark Robberds

Mark Robberds

I went to my first Yoga class in 1997 (it was a mix of Ashtanga and Iyengar) and was hooked from the first day. In 1998 I started to learn Iyengar Yoga from Nicky Knoff (at the time one of Australia’s most distinguished Iyengar teachers)and James Bryant, and this is where I committed to living the Yoga way of life. Later that year I started Mysore style classes with Eileen Hall and Peter Sanson in Sydney. In 1999 I traveled in north India for two months before going to Mysore to learn from Pattabhi Jois for three months. As fate would have it later that year I ended up back in Sydney and started my teaching apprenticeship with Mathew Sweeney, and then Eileen Hall until 2005. During that time I took courses in anatomy and physiology, practiced extensively with Simon Borg-Olivier, made yearly trips to Mysore, and learned from other teachers like Shandor Remete and Dena Kingsberg. At this time I was teaching the biggest Mysore program in Australia, as well as beginners courses, corporate classes, and privates. In 2005 I turned down an offer to manage the Yoga studio and decided that in order to truly understand Yoga and to reach my full potential in life I needed more life experiences. I sold all my possessions and took to the road, first to Vipassana in Thailand and then to practice with Rolf Naujokat. Over the next eight years, I taught Mysore programs in Singapore, NYC, Sydney, and Tokyo, before moving on to teach retreats and workshops all over the world. I continued to make annual trips to Mysore to study with R.Sharath and was Certified by him in 2010. I was also doing yearly three-week silent retreats with my teacher, Hatha Yogi, Clive Sheridan in India. In 2013 I attended Richard Freeman’s teacher training in Boulder, Colorado. In that year I decided that it was time to focus more on teaching workshops so that I could reach and help more people and spent the next four years traveling extensively while continuing with the yearly trips to Mysore to practice and also to study Yoga philosophy with Prof. Nagaraj Rao. I In 2015 I began to explore other movement practices – first gymnastics and handstands and then as a student of Ido Portal. In 2016 I began learning hand-balancing from Yuval Ayalon and Miguel Santana. I now integrate the movement approach into my teaching. In 2017, my wife and I taught our first one-month immersion in Bali and in 2018 made Bali home. Now, the one-month immersions are the main focus and traveling is limited. In the future, my vision is to start working with select groups in both internships and mentorship programs.

Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney

When I was young I was entranced by Star Wars and wanted to be a Jedi Knight and have a teacher like Obiwan Kenobi or Master Yoda. I began studying martial arts, which included different styles over a fourteen year period, accumulating two black-belts and one brown-belt. As a teenager I was introduced to Yoga by my martial arts teacher and continued to practice Satyananda Yoga a little each week to improve my flexibility. In 1990 I began a Zen Shiatsu course which took 3 years to complete. At the end of the latter course I completed an Oki-do Yoga Teacher Training that was being offered by the same organisation. During this course I learned anatomy and physiology, Corrective Physical Therapy, Transcendental Meditation and Meridian Theory as applied to Yoga postures. I completed my first teacher training in 1993. During this course I began to explore both Iyengar Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga and was somewhat torn between deciding to do an Iyengar Teacher Training in Poona, India, or going to Mysore and studying with Sri K. P. Jois. I chose the latter. In 1994 I went to Mysore for the first time and for the following three years stayed for 6 months each time. I returned there regularly up until 2006. Since 1998 my personal practice has included “Advanced B”, or 4th Series, and I have also explored much of Advanced C on my own. Part of my reason for staying in Mysore rather than going to Poona to study with Iyengar was the connection I had with Pattabhi Jois. On the day of my arrival he met me at his door, by chance, and told the rickshaw driver who dropped me off where I was to stay at the local Yoga student hotel. He was so kind and friendly to me (if a bit fierce, going by the thudding of my beating heart) that I loved him instantly. The Mysore method contributed greatly to my focus; it helped to define my strengths and weaknesses. After going to Mysore I felt I had absorbed an aspect of the tradition – call it living history – that I had not really grasped before. I began teaching Ashtanga Yoga in 1996 and have continued to do so for more than 15 years. Over the last decade however my teaching style has shifted somewhat from a standard orthodox approach to something that is more holistic. Although I have a great love for the Ashtanga series and its tradition, my interest is in practicing and teaching any aspect of Yoga that works. Rather than adhering to one single viewpoint I do my best to connect to every student as authentically as I can. After many years of Yoga practice I have developed my own Vinyàsa sequences that I promote and teach as suitable alternatives to the standard series. These unique Vinyàsa classes are conducted to encourage students to apply a therapeutic approach to their personal practice and to encourage an adventurous heart. These sequences are useful for students who may not be able to regularly practice Ashtanga Yoga, and also to help bring balance to the overall system. For this reason I now recommend the starting Vinyasa Krama sequences to all Ashtanga Yoga practitioners. Vinyasa Krama will add to your well being with the prospect of continuing to practice decades into the future with real harmony and joy. I have also spent the last 20 years in self inquiry, including different styles of Meditation, a number of Vipassana 10 day courses, Tantra workshops, Gestalt Therapy, Transpersonal Therapy and Transforming Cellular Memory. All of these have contributed greatly to my understanding of Yoga and the connection between the body, Self, and the Divine. I travel and teach Yoga workshops in Australia, Asia, North America and Europe and conduct 1 Month Programs in beautiful retreat locations each year.

Simon Borg-Olivier

Simon Borg-Olivier

Simon Borg-Olivier MSc BAppSc (Physiotherapy) is a Co-Director of Yoga Synergy, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected yoga schools. The Yoga Synergy style is based on a deep understanding of yoga anatomy, yoga physiology and traditional Hatha Yoga. Simon has been teaching since 1982. He is a registered physiotherapist, a research scientist and a university lecturer. Simon has been regularly invited to teach at special workshops and conferences interstate and overseas since 1990. Suffice to say, Simon has led an extraordinary life. At the age of six, he was introduced to yogic breathing (pranayama) by his father George who taught him to swim underwater, and the main bandhas (internal locks) through a family friendship with Rhodesian Olympian Basil Brown. At the age of 17, he met a Tibetan Lama who introduced him to the philosophy and practice of Tantric Yoga. In 1985, Simon met his primary teacher Natanaga Zhander (Shandor Remete) with whom he studied for almost two decades. He has also studied with such internationally revered Indian teachers as BKS Iyengar, K. Pattabhi Jois and TKV Desikachar. Since 2007, Simon has been developing his yoga practice and understanding by studying with Master Zhen Hua Yang. During the past 20 years, as well as running a successful yoga school, Simon has continued to both study and teach at the University of Sydney. Simon has completed a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, a research-based Master of Science in Molecular Biology and a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physiotherapy. As well as teaching both group and individual classes through Yoga Synergy, Simon also teaches regularly at workshops and conferences both nationally and internationally. He lives in Sydney with his wife and fellow-yoga teacher Vitoria and their children Amaliah and Eric