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Our Teachers

Jaymala Sharma

Jaymala Sharma

Teaching Location: Point Cook & Westside

Founder & Director of Laya Wellness Group, Jaymala is humbly the custodian of two thriving yoga communities in the western suburbs of Melbourne:

Laya Yoga, Point Cook

Westside Yoga, Seddon

With over 15 years of yoga teaching experience in India and Australia, Jaymala blends her rich life experiences and spiritual journey into her classes.

Her teaching approach is non-judgmental, compassionate, and infused with philosophical awareness. She empowers her students intuitively, focusing on anatomy, alignment, and the scientific reasoning behind yoga's age-old wisdom.

Born in Rajasthan, India, Jaymala grew up practicing yoga under the guidance of her role model, her grandfather, who led a simple and principled life despite his remarkable career accomplishments.

Jaymala considers herself a lifelong student of yoga and has completed over 2000+ hours of training with renowned yoga schools and teachers, including Mahayogi Aksharnath, Dominique Salerno, Mark Pheely, Jenni Morrison-Jack, Simon Borg-Olivier, Leslie Kaminoff, Jo Phee, and more.

She is deeply grateful for the rich lineage and collective wisdom of all the teachers and yogis who have played a significant role in her journey of connecting to the universal consciousness through yoga. Her journey as a student has involved the following learnings and experiences over the years:

  • Masters Yoga Teacher program in Bengaluru, India

  • Advanced Teachers Training Program at AYA

  • Post-graduate program with Ihana Yoga

  • Masters degree in Human Resources and Finance

Jaymala is deeply grateful for the rich lineage and collective wisdom of all the teachers and yogis, who have contributed immensely to connect to the universal consciousness through yoga.

David Gorvett

David Gorvett

Teaching Location: Westside

I first came to Yoga while I was still living in the UK, more than a decade ago. I’d been involved in various movement disciplines all my life, from team sports to solo endeavours, and while I might have initially come for the movement, I quickly fell in love with the grounding nature of Yoga.

I became more and more interested in the improvements a mindful practice can have on the health of both body and mind, and so, inspired by a thirst to deepen my own understanding as well as a desire to share the benefits of Yoga with others, I completed my Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training with AYA. By the end of that training I was hooked, and went on to complete a certificate in Yin Yoga & Functional Anatomy with Karina Smith, as well as various other workshops and certifications.

I love continuing to learn and deepen my understanding of this incredible system, and hope that I’m able to convey some of that passion in my own teaching. In my classes, I aim to encourage a strong focus on mindfulness, on marrying breath with movement, and an understanding that we must listen to the feedback from our unique and incredible bodies and honour how they feel each and every time we step on (or off!) the mat.

Lucy Liga Ludmila

Lucy Liga Ludmila

Teaching Location: Point Cook & Westside

Lucy’s approach: to make yoga inclusive of age, ability and size. She encourages all yogis to explore past the physical posture. Lucy believes this deeper approach can help students heal and sow the seeds of opportunity, clarity, compassion and a deeper enjoyment in life.

She started practicing yoga at the age of 18.

Lucy discovered yoga as a way to gain great awareness and access insights about herself. This has helped her heal, change patterns, and live a joyful life skillfully with compassion, authenticity and kindness.

“Yoga has helped me through stressful times, work challenges and rearing a brood of three children,” she explains.

Lucy has studied mainly under James Bahuth, Amanda Hood, Dominique Salerno and Mark Pheely. She is currently mentored by Samantha Cocker-Godson and is studying Buddhism with Christopher Titmuss - she completed a 14 day vipassana retreat under Christopher's guidance.

Lucy has been teaching yoga for over three years and has cultivated her own style according to the needs of the group. She particularly likes teaching Yin and a fusion of Vinyasa/ Chi Gong. She is currently completing her Level 1 Qigong Training with Nicole Lee.

Samantha Sepulveda

Samantha Sepulveda

Teaching Location: Point Cook

Samantha’s passion for learning has taken her down some wonderful paths. For most of her life, Samantha has suffered from anxiety, and how to deal with it was always a challenge.

She discovered that moving her body helped her immensely: karate and rock climbing were positive influences at the beginning of her journey to well-being.

Samantha has walked down many diverse career paths and has worked with a variety of artists and designers. For many years, she also worked as a florist and chef.

Good food, exercise and mental health have always been her main priority, even more so since becoming a mother.

She discovered yoga 10 years ago and has found her true passion as a teacher. Always a student, she continues to expand her knowledge, and her daily practice brings her calmness, balance and mental clarity.

Samantha teaches Yin, Restorative, Meditation, Hatha, Flow & Alignment, Vinyasa, Core & Strength. She leads from her heart, with softness, love and empathy.

Her purpose as a yoga teacher is to guide her students to develop and grow not only in their yoga practice, but in their everyday lives.

  • Diploma of Yoga Teaching - Western Wellness Institute of Training

  • Yin Yoga and Functional Anatomy Training - Karina Smith - Australian Yoga Academy

  • Masterclass/Workshops with Lucas Miles, Craig Villani, Karina Smith, Lucy Ludmila

Tam Connor

Tam Connor

Teaching Location: Westside

I am a creative at heart, and an eternal student, I love learning new things. I probably teach because I have more questions than answers. When not exploring aspects of yoga, you will find me engaged in my other passions, graphic design, hanging out with my dog Maisie, art, books, travel, cooking, anything crafty or creative.

I believe that yoga is an empowering self-care practice that encourages and supports personal reflection and growth. After sporadic practice through my 20s, I returned to yoga in my 30s looking to overcome persistent back pain, but I found so much more. A truly holistic practice, yoga supports not just the physical, but also the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives.

I completed my first teacher training at Australian Yoga Academy in 2014-15 and in 2017 completed a Post Grad training at Ihana Yoga, St.Kilda. My love of learning has led me to many further trainings including Yin with Karina Smith, Restorative and Yoga Nidra with Cathie McGill, and numerous workshops with Donna Farhi, Lesley Kamminoff, Sadie Nardini, Simon Borg-Olivier, Jenni Morrison-Jack, Dominique Salerno, Les Leventhal, Mysan Sidbo, and many other inspirational teachers.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about the idea of yoga as a living tradition. While humbly acknowledging the ancient wisdom on which we all build our interpretations, this is an experiential practice that is deeply personal. Learning to trust in our individual experience and knowledge is part of the journey. I am excited and grateful to be able to share this practice with the wonderful Westside community.

Becka Mezzatesta

Becka Mezzatesta

Teaching Location: Westside

Yoga found me during a time of feeling pretty fragmented inside. Over time, with guidance and support the practice has a had beautiful way of bringing everything back together and re-affirming wholeness. I am passionate about the potential that the practice has for personal growth, within a supportive community.

My intention is to share safe, supportive space that nurtures agency, creativity and the freedom to explore and love all parts of your Being.

Jess Robertson

Jess Robertson

Teaching Location: Westside

My favourite quote is, “You are the sky, everything else is just the weather” reminding me that nothing is permanent and it is a constant practise to stay in the present moment.

Yoga for me is a chance to reconnect and re-align the body, mind & breath, either through stillness, movement and/or meditation. I believe in listening to our own intuition and using this as a guide each and every day with kindness & balance. I believe that there is this inner voice in all of us, sometimes it just cant be heard above the noise of our everyday lives.

The intention behind my classes is for students to slow down and reconnect to that intuition while getting all the benefits yoga has on the body, in particular the spine & skeletal structure & finding a sense of lightness & play along the way.

Catherine Birtchnell

Catherine Birtchnell

Teaching Location: Point Cook

Catherine began her yoga path in 2002. The attraction of linking mind, body and breath, drew her closer to exploring this personal world a little further. Having left the busy construction corporate world in 2014 she then began the journey of studies and further interest in the power of connecting your physical self and soul.

Since then, she has completed several trainings and continues to have a passion for Hatha, 26/2 Detox Series and Laughing Yoga.

A mother of 3, she understands the stresses that come with everyday life but you will discover her classes to be nurturing, yet enthusiastic and accommodating. When she is not teaching, you may find her cooking, camping, hiking and gardening.

She often goes by the name of ‘Cat’ and believes “you should come as you are, no judgement inside or out. It is your class, your sanctuary, your time.”

Sushil Atik

Sushil Atik

Teaching Location: Point Cook & Westside

Sushil has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 9 years. She later discovered her passion for teaching in 2016, completing her yoga teacher training in hatha, yin and pregnancy yoga.

Sushil is passionate about yin yoga and incorporates meridians and the chakra system in her teachings. She includes meditation, pranayama, yogic philosophy, and mindfulness in every class. You can expect to finish your class with a yoga nidra, which will leave you feeling relaxed and reconnected to your physical, mental, and energetic body.

Alongside teaching yoga, Sushil is also a massage therapist, pilates instructor and reiki master teacher. She values the importance of moving the body and stilling the mind as a means of deeper connection with ourselves.

Janelle Kingsley

Janelle Kingsley

Teaching Location: Westside

I (she/her) first came to yoga while studying at university almost 20 years ago. Growing up and as a young student, I was naturally inquisitive about the less tangible aspects of our existence. Through continued questioning, I found myself wanting to explore deeper, to bring to light parts of myself and humankind that couldn’t be studied in text books, but required further exploration and embodiment. It was through my discovery of yoga that I accessed further vitality, deeper inner wisdom and soul-fulfilling nourishment.

One of my mantras is: ‘At times a teacher, always a student’, and I guide practices including Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, meditation and somatic movement.

I am trauma informed in my approach and an Ambassador for The Yoga Impact Charity. Having undertaken various trainings over the years, I am currently continuing studies with world renowned teachers like Dr Peter Levine in Integrative Somatic Trauma Therapy.

Three words to descibe my classes are joyful, caring and connected. My personal practice is supported by my Tantric Yoga roots involving mantra, mudra, breathwork and can range from yin to dynamic flow depending on what supports me on any given day.

I love Westside as from the moment I attended my first class here several years ago, I could feel the deep roots and the care of the space and everyone involved. I feel deeply honoured and excited to be a part of this wonderful community.

Rodrigo Capati

Rodrigo Capati

Teaching Location: Point Cook & Westside

Rodrigo found yoga in his early twenties. It started off simply as a way to stretch and release tightness from his body from years of martial arts and gym training. From completing his first yoga teacher training in Rishikesh, India, Rodrigo had unexpectedly discovered its true power and ability to completely shift not only the body but also the mind into a deeper level of consciousness.

While not teaching yoga, Rodrigo also has a love for design and furniture making. The process of woodworking is also a form of yoga for him, the care and attention to detail with the need for deep focus creates a place of calm and serenity.

Rodrigo’s teaching comes rather intuitively and with a focus on dynamic movements that gets the whole body engaged paired with life philosophy that hopefully stays with you long after you’ve left the mat.

Keigo Kariyan

Keigo Kariyan

Teaching Location: Westside

Drawing on his years living at a monastery, steeped in the ancient tradition of Zen, Keigo offers a steady yoga practice, led with balance, intention and a meditative approach. Having been guided in life by the hands of gratitude and reverence, a lens that opens up his awareness to the richness and precarious nature of existence, he offers this sacred union back to the students. After feeling reconnected to your body and breath he will encourage you to continue cultivating an awakened mind well beyond the mat.

Keigo first approached yoga, over a decade ago, to prepare his body for long sits in the zendo and now further studies the practice as a way of life. His deepest purpose is to help shape the education of team sports with yogic and spiritual awareness.

Keigo completed his teacher training at Australian Yoga Academy (350hr), and continues to learn and grow through his mentors and teachers with the sincerest respect and appreciation; Hogen and Chozen Bays, Andrew and Lucy Lawes.

Tony Dennis

Tony Dennis

Teaching Location: Westside

I'm delighted to join the Westside Yoga Community!!! My name is Tony Dennis, I'm 59 years old and have been practicing Yoga for over 25 years (Iyengar, Shadow, Ashtanga and Akhanda). I have been teaching for over 10 years now, both in the northern rivers and India. I studied under my root Guru Geshe Doha at Tara Institute in Melbourne for 5 years, I studied Mahayana Buddhism, primarily on Shantidevas graduated path of enlightenment and received initiations in both White Tara and medicine Buddha practices.

2012: I completed my 200-hr training with Sahshiv and Radha Barley, Akhanda Yoga Australia.

2016: I completed my 300-hr training at my guru's ashram in Tapovan, Rishikesh

2017: Completed Advanced alignment and assist programme with Eoin Finn, Torquay.

2018: Assisted in YTT programmes in India and completed Yin Training.

2020: Assisted in running online Masters of Pranayama, Akhanda Yoga.

Shawn Lee

Shawn Lee

Teaching Location: Westside

I'm so glad to join the Laya Wellness Community!!! I have been a long-time student at Westside. As a teacher, Shawn has a passion for sharing on and off-the-mat practices through his offerings such as studio classes, workshops and retreats. Grounded in yoga philosophies and inspired by modern ideas, Shawn weaves a tapestry of wholehearted living into his offerings.

Off the mat, Shawn is a full-time executive in the community sector. He is also a clarinetist in a concert band and enjoys regular public performances. Shawn’s approach to balancing his executive career and life as a non-professional musician is by devoting his practice and teaching of living with curiosity and treading purposefully towards a harmonious existence alongside fellow truth-seekers in a supportive community.

Shawn started exploring aspects of yoga ever since he qualified as a physiotherapist in his early 20s. During his journey in the realm of wellness, Shawn laid a solid foundation in understanding the intricacies of the human body and its interconnectedness. Shawn became progressively aware of the transformative nature of yoga beyond movement and fell in love with this holistic technology.

Annie Manos

Annie Manos

Teaching Location:

I was drawn to deepen my yoga practice after struggling with regular sickness soon after becoming a mum and developing an autoimmune disease. I had practised yoga sporadically throughout my life and travel throughout India in my 20s also sparked a curiosity in me towards yoga and Buddhist philosophies.

As an isolated mother with relentless illness, the practice became an important investment for mostly my mental wellbeing and it provided a road map to healing for my mind and my body.

Yoga for me has been a vehicle for self-discovery and reflection, a tool to develop mindfulness, self-compassion, deeper self-love and love toward others, ease and clarity within my life’s challenges, recognising and releasing my ego and ultimately, learning to let go of and heal from both physical and emotional pain and suffering.

I then went on to learn more with the Australian Yoga Academy completing the 350-hour advanced yoga diploma that was the beginning of a calling to be of service and work within a caregiving framework of yoga teaching.

I am an anaesthetic specialist nurse and love all things anatomy physiology microbiology and anaesthetics, and continue to geek out over the magical human body. I have a particular interest in pre and post-natal students. Having worked for 23yrs with obstetric patients in hospitals.

My classes are a blend of the Western sciences with the Eastern practice of yoga. Providing students with an opportunity to be attuned to their ever-changing bodies, energy and self, whilst learning how to safely practice yoga and meet other like-minded mummas. My aim is that these students will move into their day feeling nourished, connected, empowered and most importantly prepared with a tool kit for their labour, birth and postpartum.

I very much look forward to spending time with you.

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