Our Teachers

Meet our teachers.

Michelle (Mitch) Gibson

I have been the proud and nurturing Director and Creator of Yogabowl and its community, since October 2005, and am passionately focused on continually offering services & events that are functional, relevant, interesting and kinda cool.

Ever since I was young I’ve always been driven to do something that involves movement. After 8 years classical ballet & 5 years of competitive softball and volleyball, my career in fitness started at Chase Fitness Centre (Chatswood) in the early 80’s– a pretty scary & funny time in hindsight. In amongst all that Lycra & leg-warmers, the very early fitness industry’s growth was initially trial and error – mostly based on how people looked and how much an exercise hurt. It was when instructing developed into a skill, and exercise began to evolve as a science that it all started making sense to me.

My fitness industry career evolved into training new generation instructors, presenting at fitness conventions nationally and internationally, and teaching fitness classes (mostly step, muscle conditioning, stretch classes and later on Pilates) for 18 years before literally coming home to Yoga in 2002. I’ve loved, lapped up & been inspired learning from and studying with some of the best in the business: Dede Daniels and Denise Klatte from Flow-Yoga, Twee Merigan, Judith Hanson Lasater, Donna Farhi, Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon & David Life, Shiva Rea, John Friend Roger Cole AND each one of my students. What a blessing to have crossed paths with you all.

My philosophy around yoga continues to evolve. While maintaining utmost respect for the original yogic teachings, my enquiring mind, sense of logic AND 30 years teaching experience strongly supports a necessity to modify poses and teaching styles for some individuals in order for the practice to be not only accessible, but functional and safe. As a generation, our body types and postural issues aren’t even close to what they were all those years ago in India.

I’ve also learned to embrace the way our practice changes over time, knowing that Yoga isn’t one-size-fits-all, that lines sometimes need to be blurred - while practicing and encouraging “listening inward” with the underlying enquiry of, "How is this practice serving me NOW?"

I enjoy the scope that Hatha opens up, so I love dipping into any combination of inspiring offerings from Vinyasa, Iyengar, Restorative, Ashtanga and even Prenatal Yoga (I''m a qualified Prenatal Yoga teacher) - always infusing traditional yoga poses with safety guidelines, making the practice safe, effective/functional and accessible to most individuals.

Restorative Yoga is a huge passion and specialty of mine. We ALL need to do less. A lot less. I''m so proud to be a registered RELAX AND RENEW Level 1 and 2 Trainer, certified by Judith Hanson Lasater. It’s an honour to be part of that lineage.

I’m hugely passionate about how and what I do, and even though much of my time these days is spent marketing Yogabowl, my first love will always be teaching. The energy exchange I experience when I teach continues still nourishes me in ways I never expected after 33 years of moving bodies around.

I look forward to your Yoga mat in my space, soon. Namaste.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a current moving in you, a joy.” RUMI.

John McWhorter

Some years ago I heard a fellow say he had been practicing yoga for 30 years and he finally understood why. And now, 20+ years into my own practice, I do too. It’s because after all this stretching, strengthening, breathing, studying, chanting, meditating and just paying attention, I’m felling quite well. I work a physically-demanding day job and take no medications. Now in my mid-50s, I give a lot of credit to yoga.

See, yoga’s not just stretching. There’s way more to it. There’s this magic, alchemical, mysterious thing that happens when we get on the mat and move our bits around in this particular way. While scientific studies continue proving it, I’ll tell you that yoga simply improves life. Over 5000 years, a lot of really smart, dedicated and passionate people have a developed a really good way of helping ourselves live better. I’ve proved it to myself and it’s right there in every class. In 60 short minutes, we can go from feeling negative and stagnant to happy and energised.

Looking back, when I first began teaching, my Ashtanga-oriented classes made people sweat. We worked hard and got strong. I believed that if some was good, more was better. That was till I damaged both knees and overstretched my back. It took a while, but I’ve learned something about limitations and acceptance and the value of experience. I offer people a safe and sustainable way of making yoga part of their life. The classes are challenging but also accessible, with options to make the practice easier or more difficult, depending on your ability and preference.

These days, I know what it feels like to live in a 50-year-old body. I’m not as bendy or strong or fast as I used to be. Still, yoga practice has helped me reduce stress, kept me physically capable, created a steadier mind and more balanced life. I believe it can do the same for anyone regardless of age or ability.

Kirralie Dillon

(Written by Mitch) Kirralie has been a dear friend and colleague of mine for years. We met in the 90''s during our fitness industry teaching days. Kirralie went on to teach Pilates - and fell madly in love with Yoga some time after that. Her authenticity on so many levels, really inspires me.

She''s the real deal when it comes to yoga; living your truth and feeding your soul. I''m so thrilled & honoured she makes time to teach at Yogabowl. This - one of her favourite quotes, sums her up beautifully: "If we make sacred space for ourselves we are replenished, and we have the energy to look around and see the joy in life..." Come and experience her unique energy and passion for teaching and the practice of Yoga.

Vivienne Dias

Vivienne discovered yoga 10 years ago and has never looked back to the life that once was, simply, yoga has transformed her life. It has provided the inspiration, pathway and tools to overcome many serious life-challenges and to live a life of balance, good health, happiness and abundance which she never knew possible. What started as a purely physical form of exercise for Vivienne, has enabled her to make a deep and strong connection with her own spirit, sense of identity,
self-love and self-worth. Yoga has been a solid and empowering foundation upon which to rebuild and grow her life and her relationships.

It is her own, deeply personal, yoga journey which drives Vivienne’s
unique, all-embracing teaching style and her passion and mission for
making yoga accessible to as many people as possible, without boundary or limitation. Vivienne has an acute awareness of the unique needs of every student in her class. She has a rare and intuitive teaching approach which underlies her ability to effectively adapt and modify asanas (yoga poses) for individuals of varying yoga experience, No matter what the style of yoga being taught, the ‘level’ of the class timetabled or the fitness level of the student, Vivienne insists on
ensuring that each and every class is an amazing experience for each
of her students. She will meet you where you’re at, guide you to ‘play
your edge’ and stretch to grow your own potential and the sense of
self-empowerment which comes with that. Watching her students ‘grow’ through their practice of yoga is her ultimate joy and reward as a teacher.

Angela Mifsud

“The greatest gift we can give to another is our full attention.
Through Yoga, we give that gift to ourselves."

Angela discovered Yoga 9 years ago to complement her running and resistance training. She soon noticed her posture improve and knee injuries subsided, whilst building strength and increasing her flexibility. The most profound benefit - the quietening of her busy mind. Yoga became her refuge. Regardless of how crazy life was – all the demands, expectations, triumphs and disappointments were left behind. 

Her passion and curiosity led her undertake Yin, Yang and Mindfulness Training with Sarah Powers. Within a few months, Angela left the stress and ''shackles'' of her corporate career to follow her dream and become a Yoga Teacher and Psychologist. 

Angela believes that life is about relationships and none is more important than the one we have with ourselves. Our health and how we treat ourselves (what we eat, how we move and what we think) is reflection of our own self-worth. By combining her yoga and psychology training, Angela seeks to empower people to discover their optimal health and feel fabulous in mind and body. We are all worthy of that.

Angela''s classes find a balance between accepting ones limitations, delving deep to expand the edges of our comfort zone and connecting with our playful spirit. Encouraging students to both honour their strengths and enjoy some sweet surrender.

Off the yoga mat Ange loves to explore the outdoors and feed her curious mind by continually learning about nutrition, people and movement.   

Deb Hennessey

I was introduced to movement through Disco dancing as a 70’s child – and I haven’t stopped dancing yet!
A brief journey into yoga started in the 90’s but didn’t fully start until the year 2000.

Yoga helped connect me to my body, then towards my breath, onwards to my mind and spirit. As humans we tend to make life complex and yoga helps me revert to simplicity and joy.

I started developing a fascination for Anatomy pre yoga days and this love continues, develops and deepens which helps me to make yoga accessible for EveryBody.
I have studied with a broad range of styles and teachers – the most influential and long-time teacher for me is Yoga Synergy co-founder Simon Borg-Olivier.
As much as I love sharing yoga with students my plan is to also never stop being a student. There is always something new to learn, integrate and share.

My hope and aim is that I can bring movement, strength and a little play into every class. To encourage some freedom of choice for the students to make an open class a little more tailored.
After finishing class with me my wish is for you is to walk out with a lighter step and some delight in your heart.

Darshna Siva.

Yogabowl is delighted to welcome Darshna Siva - who works with clients focusing on physical, emotional and energetic release. The aim of her work is simple: To bring people back to their balance, harmony and give them an awareness of the choices they have.

Her practice builds on qualifications in Yoga, as well as several modals of body work and energy healing including Reiki & Mexhika Pactli: a very old health and wellbeing practice from Mexico.

Darsh also facilitates meditations, workshops, retreats and has worked within the corporate environment facilitating meditation and Yoga programs.

With 10 years of experience - and more recently extensive study in Yoga Therapy, her intuitive treatment approach has benefitted people attempting to overcome physical & emotional challenges in their day to day life.

Jolie Brook

Yoga, for me has been the magic in my life.
This magic has not waned for over 20 years.

It''s pretty wonderful to have a practice that I was initially drawn to for it''s physical benefits (being a dancer by profession) to be awakened to much more beyond the realm of the physical. As a teacher of yoga my life is, without a doubt, enriched from the wide variety of folk from all walks of life that I connect with.
My path of teaching has taken me back into the world of pre & professional dance and to those in the far away corporate field.
A melting pot of people that allow me the privilege of teaching as a way of life.
A path I''m content & excited to continue on...

Vincci Law

Vincci started her Yoga journey 18 years ago to reduce chronic back pain and has evolved from a physical healing process into a discovery of her own spirituality, mental and emotional strength.

Her love of Yoga led to her decision in leaving a 9 -5 career and pursuing studies to become a Yoga teacher. She completed her training at Qi Yoga and has studied with various teachers including Donna Farhi, Leslie Kaminoff and Roger Cole whom have influenced her teaching style emphasising on student safety, individuality and alignment.
 
Since becoming a mum, she was inspired to add Prenatal Yoga teaching to her repertoire - being fortunate enough to experience its benefits during her pregnancy giving her the strength and tools for a calm and positive birthing experience.
Vincci is also excited and thrilled to be looking after our Teens Yoga program.
 
She is passionate about sharing her Yoga knowledge and specialise in Hatha, Restorative, breathwork and meditation. Vincci believes ‘how we act on the mat will translate how we are in life and it is an ongoing practice of self-discovery just like Yoga.’
 
When she’s off the mat you''ll find her running after her baby girl or cooking up a new recipe in the kitchen as cooking brings calm and mindfulness back into her chaotic life. She also loves being outdoors going for walks by the beach or camping with her family.

Tory Lane

I began my yoga adventure over 10 years ago and it continues to evolve. Yoga balances me - physically, mentally and emotionally. With a penchant for all of life''s pleasures and the ability to burn the candle at both ends, yoga is my trusty equilibrium.

Yoga encourages me to constantly reveal, question and embrace my physical boundaries as well as the mental and emotional clutter of my life.  I’m  learning  (always  learning!)  to  let  go  and  just be.

Teaching has been a natural progression. I thoroughly enjoy sharing my knowledge & spirit with others and receiving theirs in return. Most of all, I love the continuous learning and exploration of yoga. Just like in life, there’s  always more.

While I adore teaching and practicing Vinyasa style with its dance like flow, I have more recently been drawn towards yoga therapy and Yogalates for its care and understanding that not one physical body is the same. I now teach both yoga & Yogalates. In addition, I love bringing lightness and laughter into the class. Life outside can be so serious and laughter is a delightful medicine!
My advice...be curious about you, have fun & play with your yoga practice!!

Anne Saymontry

Anne has over 16 years of yoga practice, developed in London, India, and Sydney.
She has completed teacher training with BodyMindLife and Baron Baptiste.

Anne has taught yoga to diverse communities in Sydney, such as refugee groups in the western suburbs, to time poor mums and corporate professionals in the inner city. She is also qualified to teach kids and has been regularly leading classes for teenagers and primary aged school children.

Anne''s classes are based on a vinyasa flow style. Her intention is to get students to experience their body, mind and being, in a way that is different way to what they have before.

Cecilie Farrar

Cecilie discovered yoga several years ago whilst living in the U.K as a professional dancer, initially expecting the practice to complement her dance training with extra strength and flexibility. However she soon discovered the richness of this ancient practice.

Her formal teacher training began in 2004 in New York City in the style of vinyasa (hatha) yoga. Cecilie''s classes are a flowing style class with plenty of space and time to focus on safe awareness of postural alignment and a connection to building core strength.

Over her teaching career thus far she has really enjoyed making students of all levels feel welcome and accommodated. Whether in several Yoga studios around Sydney, or working with Corporate Yoga clients in the workplace, her students really enjoy her caring, graceful style.

Off the Yoga mat, Cec is a dancer who regularly performs with Opera Australia - and a proud Mamma.

"Beyond that which you think, is that which you are."

Mary Mathews

I’ve been teaching yoga and fitness since the early 70’s. I was teaching weight training at age 16, and at 20 was working at Rancho La Puerta - a health resort in Mexico. That was where my love of Yoga began.

From there I worked and was exposed to many Yoga teachers in California.

I went to study with Geeta and Mr Iyengar in Pune, India - where I was initially introduced to the Restorative practice. I took classes in Northern California, and learned from many teachers at the Iyengar Institute in San Francisco. I was Director of the Golden Door Health Resort in California, and taught Yoga for many years there.

Fast forward to recently, where I furthered my study in Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater, and Roger Cole - and passionately believe in its relevance. The shared joy I feel when teaching and assisting, is very special.

My aim is to allow students to discover the peacefulness, joy and fitness that Yoga offers.

Philippa Masaoka

From a young age, Philippa was drawn to both explore and deeply understand the philosophical notion of ‘suffering’ and how one could attain true happiness and inner peace.

This seeking led Philippa onto the mat and into the system of Yoga.
Since completing her initial Yoga teacher training in Bali with the ‘Awakened Life School of Yoga’ in 2012, Philippa has been teaching regular Vinyasa and Hatha style classes.

Her style is influenced by Shiva Rea (through training with Simon Park), and her practice of Sivananda Yoga - a style of Yoga she practiced overseas both in India and Austria.

After experiencing and realising that a softer, Yin Yoga practice was a wonderful complement to the more dynamic styles of Yoga, Philippa chose to complete her yin Yoga teacher training in 2015 with Melanie McLaughlin (a student of Paul Grilley).

Philippa has a background in naturopathy, which greatly complements Yoga. In both systems, the body and mind are viewed from a holistic perspective, capable of self-healing with appropriate awareness.

"My intention for teaching Yoga is to create space for one to open their heart and thereby develop a deeper and true understanding of oneself physically, mentally and spiritually in a supportive environment."

Andrea Martinez

Andrea has been practising Yoga for over 20 years and has been teaching Yoga since she completed her training in 2009.

She is a primary school teacher with a Masters in Inclusive Education and she is committed to including diverse students in mainstream classrooms, as well as bringing Yoga to diverse communities in inclusive ways.

Andrea is passionate about Seva (service to others), and her wish is to use the gifts of Yoga and mindfulness to be inspired, and to inspire others to contribute positively to the world.

Katrina Carroll

Growing up, I usually had a piece of sports equipment in hand and was all about high energy and high activity. Somewhere along the line, Yoga made an appearance and gradually wove its magic into my life, deepening my appreciation for the physical practice and expanding my awareness of the mental, emotional and spiritual gifts offered by Yoga.

Yoga is now my way of life. It balances, challenges, connects, fulfils and inspires.

Having trained as a Yoga teacher in San Diego, California, where I lived for 13 years, I’m thrilled to share the gifts of Yoga through Vinyasa-style classes, ranging from slow flow to power-based. With a deep commitment to mindfulness, strong interest in positive psychology, and love of aromatherapy, these and other inspiring wellness practices infuse my classes.

With two young children, extensive involvement in the global non-profit Kids for Peace, and as an ambassador for the schools-based Great Kindness Challenge program, my Yoga teaching naturally began to serve kids and youth. Through movement, breathwork, collaborative games and a nurturing environment, I’m honoured to support kids in growing their physical strength, coordination and flexibility, developing their ability to concentrate and to relax, and fostering positive relationships towards body, self and others, all while having fun and being creative!

In addition to Yoga, I love hiking, free-form dancing, tennis, beach days and camping trips with my husband and kids, discovering new music, and reading. I also enjoy the inner and outer journeys of facilitating women’s soul-care circles and workshops.