Body Yoga Teachers

Introducing the Body Yoga Team

Karen Oakley- Owner & Principal Teacher

I have lived in Berwick for over 35 years and started my yoga practice with the very few teachers (unlike today) that were available in Berwick in the early 1980’s, in 2001 I obtained a Certificate 4 in Yoga Teaching Training with Shanti Gowans, Australian renowned teacher, I continued my studies and went on to obtain a Diploma in Yoga Teaching, I then did further studies in the yoga sister science of Ayurveda for 12 months in 2008. I am currently studying Yoga Therapy with Yoga Therapy Australia. I teach a style of yoga that is a gentle flow beginning and ending with relaxation and is suitable for beginners to intermediate.

I feel honoured to share my enthusiasm and the knowledge I have gained to the students who come to ‘Body Yoga’ to help them build a healthier, stronger body and Immune system by encouraging them to apply the philosophical basis of Yoga so that they don’t force their bodies but rather work with awareness and breath so that their practise is both satisfying and safe.”

Anna Berkelmans – Yoga Teacher & Registered Nurse

‘I joined the Body Yoga community in my late teens and I was quickly drawn to the energizing qualities and physical benefits of yoga. I am a dedicated yoga practitioner and teach an Iyengar-based style of yoga grounded in the fundamentals of anatomy, correct alignment and precision of movement. I teach a range of classes including beginners, restorative, pre-natal, mums n bubs and kids yoga. I have a keen interest in the journey of Motherhood and cultivating mindfulness to design a better future experience in this increasingly fast paced world.

I completed a Masters of Health Education in 2008 and worked in the area of chronic disease management. Working with a population increasingly burdened by stress, rapid aging and dis-ease has motivated me to study a science that fills in the gaps of modern medicine and is geared towards thrive rather than survive. I continue to study and share the gifts of Ayurveda, the ancient body-wisdom tradition that co-arose with yoga, with my students and family.

When I’m not at the studio I work as a bank nurse at Dandenong and Casey hospital and I enjoy spending time with my husband and three kids, Sophie (8), Rose (5) and James (22 months).’

Rachel Foster – E-RYT200, RPYT, Lvl 2 Yoga Aus.

I discovered yoga in my teens and had an on again off again relationship with yoga until I reached 30. While studying for an Advanced Diploma of Holistic Counselling, yoga was explored as a healing modality. This is when I realised that there was so much more to yoga than stretching and flexibility and I found that I wanted to learn as much as possible about it and I signed up for my first 500 hour teacher training in 2008. Since then I have done various teacher trainings to increase my knowledge and advance my own practice.

Yoga has completely changed my life and I know it can do the same for others hence my passion in wanting to share it. I love the fact that yoga can be adapted to every one of all ages and walks of life and I love watching the progression of students both on and off the mat.

I teach yin classes with long holds and deep release with the focus being on taking the attention inwards and also vinyasa flow with a strong focus on combining breath and movement, creating gentle heat to allow the body to open naturally to each pose. Modifications and variations are also a strong focus of the classes I teach so each student is able to practice in a way that supports and nurtures them not just physically but mentally as well.
Yoga has made such a huge impact on my life which makes me incredibly passionate about sharing it with others and continuing to learn even more about it. I am incredibly grateful to able to do what I love as my vocation and feel very privileged to be a part of the Body Yoga team and community.

Emma Strembickyj

My yoga practice began in 2001. I remember and cherish my first experience with yoga, as on reflection, I realise how far I have come just by trusting and having confidence in myself. The teacher was taking me through my body, making me aware of the movements I was making and aware of my physical body. Being so aware of my body made me feel so comfortable and yet uncomfortable at the same time, because it made me realise how disconnected I really was in my own body. It had been a long time since I had been present in my body, and by this I mean in the ‘now’ – not focusing on the future or the past. It is so easy for us to be in our heads, letting life get in the way and distract us from what’s important. Yoga gives me the gift of clarity, it helps me to focus on my breath, be in the moment and to love and nourish my body.

Inspired by my love and passion for yoga and helping others, I decided to commence my teacher training in Byron Bay. This experience pushed me to rid myself of self doubt and instead love myself and strive to be the best I can be. I graduated from Purna-Byron Yoga Centre in 2012 with a Cert IV in International Yoga and begun teaching immediately once returning home. As the months went on I began to teach more and more classes, and my passion and love for what I do continues to thrive.

I am now teaching yoga as my full time job and dedicate all of my time to my practice, studying, teaching and learning. The style of Yoga I teach is a fusion of Vinyasa and Hatha, however I believe it is important to always incorporate alignment. I also teach meditation, restorative practice, yoga nidra and yin.

Yoga is about surrendering and connecting with our true self. It is a personal practice, it isn’t about whether you are able to do a certain pose “better” than someone else, and I understand this fear of the ability of ourselves, and the inaccurate feeling of being ‘not good enough’ is what stops some people from taking the journey. You will surprise yourself once you let go of ego and self doubt, you truly are capable of whatever put your mind to. I am here to guide you on your journey, support you and help you in any possible way I can. I look forward to sharing this experience with you!

Mary Giannos – Iyengar Yoga Teacher

I first discovered alignment-based Iyengar yoga in the mid 90’s and I was drawn to its emphasis on specific and safe placement of the bones, muscles and joints.

It’s empowering to experience the effect that even a small action, such as pressing down the mound of the big toe, can have on other parts of the body. And that a sequence of well-timed actions, together, can make a once difficult yoga pose become achievable.

I enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the practice of yoga, and becoming a certified Iyengar yoga teacher was a natural progression. Between teaching, practicing and reading about yoga, I am on the go with my young boy, and studying a graduate diploma in psychology

I began classical ballet at the age of 5 under the tuition of Kathleen Gorham.  Leaving school in my teens to pursue fulltime training I began working in the Professional Entertainment Industry both on stage and screen. I began a regular yoga practice after a reoccurring ankle injury which saw me leave the stage and venture into a new world of small business.  I opened UE agency in 1999 which specializes in Artist Management & Entertainment Consultancy.
My motivation to attend yoga was initially to replace the physical aspect of performing every day.  Athletes have a habit of telling their bodies what to do, pushing through pain barriers and injury.  For the first-time (with the practice of Yoga) I was listening to my body.
After a few years of training in various styles, and attending numerous workshops I began to feel the benefits of the practice not only physically but mentally and spiritually.  This began a domino effect of lifestyle changes for the better.  The first being to slow down. I recently completed my 200 hrs teacher training with Power Living and I hope to share this knowledge and my experience to help others to bring awareness of our connection to all things and to bring stillness into our lives.

You can experience Katie’s classes every Sunday at 9am!