Committee, Staff & Advisors

Meet the minds and muscles behind the association


Yoga Australia Board

Leanne Davis – President

Since the early 1980’s Leanne has developed her interest in yoga into a career pathway through the study of Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda. She undertook teacher training in 1988 with Sivananda Yoga and Vedanta Academy in India. Alongside a continuing personal practice in yoga, Leanne commenced her second teacher training in the tradition of Krishnamacharya in 1996.

Leanne is honoured to have the opportunity to serve, along with the incredible team of Committee members and office staff, as President of Yoga Australia. She has previously participated in the association as Queensland State Representative, as part of the Conference Committee and more recently as the Queensland State Management Coordinator.

She has great enthusiasm for contributing to the profession of yoga teaching and helping to foster the practice and understanding of yoga in our community. She has a particular interest in preserving the authenticity of yoga from its cultural and textual roots while embracing the evolution of yoga into contemporary Australia.

KatieKatie Garnett – Vice President 

Katie first discovered yoga at High School in 1997. She fell in and out of yoga until committing to a regular practice from 2006. Over the years Katie has seen the benefits of yoga in her life physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Katie began teaching yoga in 2011 and became a qualified yoga therapist in 2015. She owns a boutique yoga studio in Busselton, regional Western Australia. Katie hopes to share her journey and knowledge with others so they too can benefit from the practice of yoga.

Katie is a qualified school teacher and workplace trainer who has over a decade of experience in management, education and training, and quality auditing. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to contribute to the Yoga Australia community.

CarmelCarmel Gannon – Treasurer

Carmel began regular yoga at a very busy period of her family life and noticed how she found energy and joy when she practiced. She is a senior yoga teacher, yoga therapist and ayurvedic lifestyle consultant, and has also studied yoga psychology and yoga for trauma. What Carmel loves about yoga is how it recognises the multidimensional nature of people, not only a spiritual practice but a way of nourishing physical and mental health.

Over her years of teaching, Carmel has recognised the great support that yoga is to mental health. She has been drawn to teach in many situations where students have suffered trauma or are struggling with their mental health. Carmel is currently providing group yoga for clients suffering from schizophrenia and other mental health issues, in collaboration with the Mobile Intensive Rehabilitation Team (MIRT) for Metro South Addiction and Mental Health Service in Brisbane.

Yoga, for Carmel, is about lifelong learning and growth.

Robyn2 copyRobyn Lewis – Board Member

Robyn has taught and coached movement to adults, children and athletes for many years as a gym instructor, PE teacher and representative netball coach.

She has been practising yoga for around 25 years and in 2011 she completed her formal teacher training in Vinyasa Flow (Yoga Trinity). Robyn went on to complete studies in Chair Yoga, Core Yoga, Ayurveda, Children’s Yoga and Yin Yoga.

Following a successful career in the ACT Government, Robyn now runs her yoga business full time, teaching public classes and is contracted to schools, corporates and aged care facilities. She also runs a 50-hour professional development chair yoga course. 

Office Team

Let’s introduce you to the team who provide the best of support for members, yoga schools, teacher trainees and the general public while ensuring the ‘best-practice’ management of the day to day operations of the Association.


Shyamala Benakovic – CEO

Shyamala is a qualified Yoga Teacher, having completed the Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching in 2008. She started teaching in July 2008 before graduation and currently teaches to children, seniors and corporate clients.

Before becoming a Yoga Teacher, Shyamala worked as a Management Consultant. She has over fifteen years experience in this field and has worked for local and International organisations. This experience has equipped her with strong management and administrative skills, which she brings to Yoga Australia.

Shyamala takes pride in her role as CEO of Yoga Australia. She is in the Yoga Australia office Monday through to Thursday ensuring Yoga Australia members are well serviced.

Shyamala is in the office from Thuesday, Wednesday and Thursday . 

Jackie1Jackie Rogers – Membership Manager

Jackie is no novice to membership management and customer service with over ten years experience in the role; she’s responsible for the smooth day-to-day running of the Yoga Australia Membership Department. Her responsibilities encompass many aspects of our business including memberships, billing and customer service. Her incredible organisational skills keep our team running smoothly.

In her spare time, Jackie enjoys spending time with her family          and is passionate about her health and fitness. Jackie’ s calm and happy demeanour sets the perfect undertone to our humming office.

Jackie is in the office Tuesday and Thursday’s  


Hayley Uberti – Membership Admin

Hayley has newly joined the team as our Membership Coordinator after many years of experience with customer service through a variety of admin, hospitality positions and running her own yoga studio business in Bath, UK whilst living there in 2016/2017. 

As a former professional dancer with two decades of dance training and teaching, Hayley transitioned into the yoga community six years ago after her career came to a halt from injury. 

Hayley is now a passionate yoga teacher and forever student, if you can’t find her in the studio she will be outdoors taking in the sunshine or cooking up a vegan storm at home. 

Hayley is in the office Monday, Thursday and Friday


Azita Nan Tie – Event Coordinator

Azita is in her final year at Monash University studying her Bachelor of Biomedical Science and Commerce, with a major in marketing. She brings her knowledge of both health and marketing together to help coordinate and manage our events. 

Azita also has over 4 years experience as a dance teacher and she loves to share the importance of exercise, health and socialising. She also dances internationally at dance competitions and performances and incorporates yoga practice as part of her training.  In her spare time, Azita likes to go on outdoor adventures.

Azita is in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 


Wendy Lim – Events Coordinator

Wendy is a  passionate Yoga Teacher, who in a past life was a Chemical Engineer. She takes a nerdy approach to the practice and philosophy of yoga. She personally loves the mental benefits that yoga brings and considers herself a lifelong student of yoga. Her current fascination is guiding people though inner exploration in Restorative Yoga. A personal meditative practice that she looks forward to every day with pleasure. 
Her experience organising and managing projects and her interest for yoga are assets she brings to the Events team. Wendy is a big foodie, and loves brunching her way around Melbourne and being out in Nature. 
Wendy is in the office on Thursdays.

Kylie Taylor – Client Relationship Sales Executive

With health and wellness at the forefront of Kylie’s everyday life, she incorporates yoga for grounding and mental balance. In her spare time, Kylie enjoys hiking; her favourite hiking experience has been clambering up Koko Head in Hawaii. 

As a Mum of four children, ensuring to make time for herself each day is her secret to ‘doing it all’. 

Kylie brings to Yoga Australia significant career experience in account management and business development. As the Client Relationship Sales Executive, Kylie works to provide value to members and the association by fostering business relationships with those who wish to advertise to our community.

Kylie is in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays


KateKate Beath – Marketing & Communications Manager (On Maternity Leave)

With over 5 years working in health and wellness based roles and a Bachelor of Communications and a Masters of Nutrition under her belt, Kate is well equipped to help drive growth and develop initiatives in an industry that she loves. With a background in PR, Marketing and Project Management she brings a varied skill set and wealth of knowledge to the organisation.

Kate loves all thing food and wellbeing and can be generally be found cooking, eating out, looking at recipes, doing pilates or yoga or attempting to run.


National Management Committee Members

Kym McDonald – NSW

Kym is the founder of Yogic Wisdom. Kym teaches Yoga and Yoga Therapy within the tradition of Krishnamacharya, combined with Ayurveda the science of life, for the ultimate potential for each student. The ancient Yogis believed that for an individual to reach their highest potential a combination of Yoga for the mind, Ayurveda for the body and meditation for the higher self, provides the perfect set of tools for freedom and wellbeing. Kym is also the founder of the Karma Yoga Community which provides meals daily for 250 children at the Ashraya School and orphanage in Bangalore, regular events on a donation bases are held at Yogic Wisdom in the spirit of service.

Gabrielle Boswell – VIC

Gabrielle has been teaching yoga since 2002 and her greatest passion is sharing the joy and benefits of yoga with others. She is co-owner of Bhava Yoga and Dance Centre in Warrandyte where she teaches regular yoga and meditation classes, workshops and offers private yoga therapy consultations. She runs a 12 month Yoga teacher training program and facilitates a 30 hour post graduate course in Anatomy Fundamentals.  

Jenny Berrill – ACT

Jenny is a member of the National Yoga Australia Management Committee on behalf of the ACT, and the Business of Yoga and Peak Body Working Groups. 

Jenny had a long career as a health professional (registered nurse, midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner) and in senior health policy, strategy and program management.  She has both undergraduate and post graduate tertiary qualifications.

After a period of being an academic at the ANU (College of Business) she retired from full time work and decided to move from being a student in yoga classes to one as an instructor. She also has a secret life as an actor in TV series such as Rake, and has done both TV and print advertising.

Jenny utilises the knowledge gained as a health professional to support her yoga teaching especially for special needs populations.  All students offer her challenges when preparing a yoga practice; this she finds both stimulating and enjoyable.  

Matt Jermyn – QLD

Matt Jermyn is a Yoga Teacher in the Tradition of Krishnamacharya (2016) and Bikram Certified Yoga Teacher (Jun 2010). He is currently studying a Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy with Yoga Therapy Australia (since 2014). Matt has taught full time since completion of training in Jun 2010 at various locations in Europe including 2.5 years in Stockholm, Sweden and Australia. His current focus is helping to guide the individual towards a state of yoga. To best achieve this, he follows the teaching and tradition of T. Krishnamacharya. Asana or yoga poses are just one tool in yoga and Matt is just as passionate about the others including pranayama, chanting (mantra & yoga sutras), guided relaxation (Yoga Nidra) and meditation.


Kathy Arthurson – SA

Kathy has practised yoga for over 20 years. She completed formal yoga teacher training with Gita International Yoga School in Melbourne in 2009. This style of yoga is accessible for all bodies, ages and fitness levels.  Other trainings have included as a Restorative Yoga Teacher with Judith Lasater and the Yoga Ed. teacher training program in the US (certified by Yoga Alliance), which integrates yoga for children, teens and teachers in school environments. As well as her formal training in yoga, she has held senior level positions in the public sector, completed a PhD at Adelaide University in 2002 and worked as a University researcher, writer and teacher for fifteen years.  She currently holds an Adjunct position at Flinders University where she is involved in research projects and teaching with medical students and others exploring the links between yoga, and mindfulness-based practices for health and well-being.

Lynn Romeo – TAS

Straddling the professional, creative and personal in the spheres of yoga and social work has brought Lynn to a range of offerings, ‘Making Whole with Yoga.’ Lynn completed the comprehensive Gita International Yoga teacher training course in 1991 and continues her own transformative path through parenting, perpetual practice and teaching, numerous post-graduate courses, writing and community projects. Lynn also draws on studies with the Boston Trauma Center, headed by Prof Bessel van der Kolk -pioneers in research and advocacy for the role yoga can play in releasing the blocks trauma creates. Lynn runs workshops around Tasmania, Victoria and beyond to bring together yoga teachers and human service workers and explore the ways yoga heals and create avenues to make all forms of yoga more accessible. She has been involved with informal teachers networks around Tasmania and is looking forward to supporting these through Yoga Australia.


 Council of Advisors

The Yoga Australia Council of Advisors (YACA) is an honorary group of respected leaders in the field of Yoga and related professions. We are grateful for our Advisors’ independent, authoritative opinions on critical matters related to the operations of our Association and the teaching of Yoga in Australia. Appointment to the Council of Advisors is regarded by the association as an expression of honour and respect.

  • Di Lucas
  • Julianne Wantrup
  • Suzanne Fletcher
  • Leigh Blashki
  • Paul Ellison
  • Janet Lowndes
  • Jean Byrne
  • Tamara Ogilvie
  • Deb Roberts
  • Merryn Lee Perez

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