Committee, Staff & Advisors

Meet the minds and muscles behind the association

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Yoga Australia Executive Committee

LeanneLeanne 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 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 – Secretary

Robyn has taught and coached movement to adults, children and athletes for many years as a gym instructor, PE teacher and representative netball coach. In 2011 she completed her formal teacher training in Vinyasa Flow (Trinity) and Chair Yoga (Knoff) teacher training. Robyn went on to complete studies in Core Yoga and Ayurveda and Yoga Therapy. Today she splits her working days between her yoga business and her role as senior manager in the ACT Government. 

 

 

 


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

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 Monday – Thursday 10 am to 4 pm. 

Kate

Kate Beath – Marketing & Communications Manager

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.

Kate is in the office on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

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 currently on her Maternity Leave. 

ValeriaValeria Ryavkina – Digital Marketing & Events Coordinator

Valeria has over three years of experience in Marketing, Events and Communications. Coming from the coldest place in the world, Siberia, she ensures that Yoga Australia members always receive a warm welcome when contacting Yoga Australia.

Valeria looks after our social media platforms, works on weekly newsletters for Yoga Australia members, administrate State Events and deals with marketing/advertising and other enquiries.

In her spare time, she attempts raw baking (feel free to send her recipes),  practices all kind of dancing and enjoys spending time with her friends and their pets (since she can’t have her own).

Valeria is in the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

AmyWebAmy Witnish – Admin and Volunteer Assistant

Amy has a strong background in the health and fitness industry. With nine years experience in administration, operations and business development. Amy’s skills in customer service and organisation are exactly what the office needs to ensure the Association is humming along nicely.

Amy provides administrative support to the Yoga Australia Office, and helps support and manage our enormous volunteer base.

In Amy’s spare time she enjoys cooking, making cakes, and entertaining three boys.

Amy is in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

 

Hayley Bracken – Admin Assistant

Hayley Bracken brings to our team a diverse range of skills and interests all held together by a grounding yoga practice. 
With a Masters in Communications from the University of Melbourne coupled with years of running ASCR fundraisers and her own small business; Cleanskin Cinema 
Hayley knows how to combine organisational skill with higher causes with social outcomes. 
 

 

NathanNathan Collis – Marketing Assistant

A fresh face to the world of Marketing and Design, Nathan is at his ready to support effective communication between Yoga New Zealand and Yoga Australia. Nathan is responsible for Marketing, Communications and Events for Yoga New Zealand as well as the social platforms that keep Yoga New Zealand members up to date on all things Yoga. 

Nathan is a freelance designer in his own time, though he’ll take any chance to get away from the screen and in front of the pottery wheel to whip up some handmade goodies. 

Nathan is in the office on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 am to 4 pm. 

Shamiso

Shamiso Muradzikwa – Client Relationship Sales Executive

Shamiso has practised a number of styles of yoga, chiefly Hatha, Bikram and Yin yoga. Throughout the years, she has developed great respect for the tradition of yoga and is delighted to use her wealth of business development experience in service to the practice. Shamiso brings to Yoga Australia, skills mastered from over a decade of providing customised customer care. Her specific expertise is utilizing her vibrant personality to create a memorable customer experience. She is an established entrepreneur with a background in Complementary and Alternative (CAM) medicine. When not channelling her abundant energy towards superb customer service delivery, Shamiso is pursuing her passion for integrative medicine, notably natural beauty.


Shamiso is in the office from Monday – Thursday 10 am to 4 pm

 

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.  

Kelly Hall – WA

 

Kelly is a Yoga/Health Coach and the founder of Some Time For You. She teaches Yoga, Body Work and Mindset Techniques to people who suffer from chronic pain, injury and other health limitations. Kelly assists them to connect within and explore beyond the physical component of their issue so that they can interpret their inner wisdom and be empowered to heal their body, feel their heart & transform their life.

Jenny Berrill – ACT

 

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 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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