Meet The A Team

Here’s your chance to meet The Yoga Institute’s talented, passionate and highly experienced Yoga Teacher Training & Yoga Therapy Training Faculty on a deeper level!

We asked each faculty member the same 5 questions, so you can truly see their unique personality, perspective, and experiences shine.

Michael de Manincor

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute?
Brief??? 40+ years worth … many wonderful and sometimes challenging teachers and experiences. 
Most significantly, studies and practice in India, under the guidance of my teacher and mentor, Mr TKV Desikachar.
Founded The Yoga Institute in 1999 (originally called Integrative Yoga, then Yoga Sanga), and have remained Director for 20 years.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice? 
Whilst I love the practices of asana, pranayama, meditation, chanting and more, the study and sharing of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras constantly keeps me both amazed and humbled about what these teachings offer us in understanding our human condition, suffering, and opportunities for personal and collective transformation.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up?
Seeing the journey of change and transformation in people’s lives.

4) Where’s your happy place?
At home, in the ocean, in a forest, or in Italy.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • BA (Hons, Psych), Grad Dip Ed, M Psych, PhD
  • Registered Senior Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist, Yoga Australia
  • Registered Psychologist, AHPRA

Lisa Grauaug

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute?
I have been involved with The Yoga Institute from creation. My involvement has been diverse – I love it this way. From being a student, to working in the office, right through to hosting an array of events, being part of the teaching faculty and more recently developing Graduate Yoga Teacher training and Pre & Postnatal Yoga Teacher training. 

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?  
I have practiced Yoga since my late twenties, initially drawn to the fun gymnastic nature of the physical postures & from here I began asking the question well what is Yoga ? I soon realised that to understand this there was further study required. I then spent many years learning from a number of amazing teachers, continually feeling inspired by the richness and depth of Yoga philosophy. I have now come to a place that the intellectual pursuit of Yoga is endless, realising that being with my own yoga practice is what is most rewarding – which has now become part of my everyday. Through my continued study, curiosity and dedicated practice Yoga has provided me with a personal unfolding, and with this it has brought many realisations. I truly hope that with the practice I will grow old with the wisdom that the children and the world needs in this moment.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up?
Teaching groups, teaching individuals. Having the opportunity to share Yoga and then seeing the benefits it brings to peoples lives. I also really value collaboration and value the diverse faculty at The Yoga Institute.

4) Where’s your happy place?
At home, being with family, friends, travel and beyond this a simple life, -I love the water and swimming.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Bachelor Applied Science (Nursing) specialising in Neonatal Intensive Care
  • Bachelor of Psychology followed with a Master of Psychology (Counselling)
  • Registered Psychologist (AHPRA)
  • Certified Yoga Teacher (Yoga Australia) , Certified Yoga Therapist (Yoga Australia & IAYT)

Kirstie Christensen

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
When it comes to unlocking the transformative power of yoga, we
all have a story. For me, a fractured spine initially led the way. I had an accident in my twenties and the residual effects of my injury were complete frustration in my inability to move, and chronic pain which was affecting my emotional and mental wellbeing. Yoga became a journey of self-reflection; a life changing place where I could use my physical body as a vehicle to improve my mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. I commenced my studies at Nature Care College, before completing my Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching at The Yoga Institute. I left a corporate job in 2014, with no plans in place. My first stop was back to my second home, The Yoga Institute. I stared covering classes, which lead to a Teacher Training Coordinator role. Being a small business I wear many hats, including marketing, mentoring and most recently the General Manager hat. I feel so grateful to work with a beautiful, supportive and inspiring team, of people.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?
Yoga is a like a toolbox, it is made up of simple, life long and invaluable tools that anyone can learn. The practice of yoga gives me clarity and calm in the chaos of my everyday life. Yoga is a gift I feel so grateful to have been given.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Life lights me up! I am a curious person, I love to learn and love to share. Teaching yoga to tween and teen girls is my latest light up! As a mother of three girls, it is my mission to empower girls to feel motivated, enthusiastic, brave and confident.

4) Where’s your happy place?
Yoga has taught me to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. I am at my happiest with my three beautiful girls somewhere in nature, we love camping in the bush, surfing in the ocean, skiing in the mountains and getting crafty in the backyard.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training
  • Advanced Diploma of Teacher Training
  • Level 1 iRest Training
  • Current yoga therapy student

Gill Kamsler

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
My first introduction to yoga was in the early 1980’s. Weekly classes and workshops quickly became an integral part of my self care.
Yoga teacher training introduced me to Krishnamacharyas’ teachings and a connection to The Yoga Institute. I discovered breath centered practice and felt like I’d truly come home.
At the Yoga Institute, as a faculty member, I have taught general classes, modules on meditation, sound & mantra- also mentoring students on the teacher training programmes. It’s inspiring being part of a team of people dedicated to teaching and supporting others brought together through yoga.
My personal path of study is ongoing, and I value sharing what I’ve learned and experienced. The classical Yoga tradition is ancient but still extremely relevant today and the depth of knowledge is to be shared- it’s not ours to hold onto.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice? 
Having raised 3 kids (now adults!) and continuing to experience the rollercoaster of life, yoga has been a lifeline- supporting me to be aware of myself & the ongoing changes around me. With this awareness comes mental steadiness and the ability to step back and form clear choices. Teaching and practicing with focus on the breath brings a deeper level of mindfulness which washes into all we do- both on & off the mat.
Yoga practice provides us with a lens or philosophy to help view and understand life, relationships and ultimately the mind. Through study of the Yoga Sutras, we gain tools to improve ourselves- to naturally be more kind, compassionate, joyful & ultimately steady of mind.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Teaching, studying and sharing my love of Yoga!

4) Where’s your happy place? 
I prefer to think of the contentment that comes from within rather than happiness- which is often based on something external that changes- like our senses. We can feel a sense of contentment in all that we do- it comes from letting go of sensory seeking & connecting to our internal quietness or steadiness. So I try to carry contentment on the Yoga mat and off.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training
  • Modules 1-7 Yoga Therapy, Sound for wellbeing
  • Win Yogic Mindfulness
  • Minding the speech
  • 4 years (plus ongoing) study of Yoga Sutras.

Lucy Karnani

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
I came to yoga, or rather yoga came to me, in the late 90’s while I was living just outside New York City. I practiced with increasing frequency throughout the next decade; predominantly by attending classes. In 2009 I learnt the amazing benefits of a daily personal practice when I was introduced to a specific pranayama, breath and mediation series which I committed to for 90 days. After having experienced a whole milieu of health challenges (some of which needed specific medical intervention) I found myself feeling truly well and vital in my mind and body for the first time in over 10 years. Inspired by this, I completed my first YTT in the USA and soon after moving to Sydney in 2011 found my way to the The Yoga Institute where I studied further with Michael de Manincor. In this last decade I have had the great good fortune to study with many teachers both here and in the USA such as Richard Miller, Leslie Kaminoff, Ganesh Mohan, Amy Weintraub, VidyaMa Caroline Dell’Uomo, Devarshi Steven Hartman, Donna Farhi, Heather Plett and many more. Given my background in the corporate world where I coached, trained and consulted in face-to-face communication skills, Michael asked if I would develop workshops in this area for yoga teachers and therapists and as such I have joyfully been part of the TYI faculty since 2012.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?  
The greatest benefit I have gained from my regular personal practice is an ability to slowdown, pause, come in the moment and be in the witness – after which I can more consciously make choices about what I say or do next. The movement and breath aspects of my practices have also helped my still sometimes “health challenged body and mind” become and stay strong, flexible and vital. I also get a lot of personal joy and nourishment from teaching yoga – both to small groups and individually.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Spending time with like-minded and like-hearted people who are curious about this journey called life!

4) Where’s your happy place? 
With my family when everyone is getting along 😀!?

5) What are your qualifications? B App Sci – Physical Education

Ute Koehler

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
My passion for Yoga started when I was in my teens. I very soon developed a love for this ancient practice and its many styles and tools. After completing my first teacher qualification in a Power Vinyasa Style, I have continued my studies with The Yoga Institute. Under the guidance of Michael de Manicor, I have completed the year long Diploma of Yoga Studies & Teacher Training as well as the Advanced Diploma of Teacher Training. Since then, I have continued my practice and the study of yoga including yoga therapy (3 year course), yogic mindfulness and the Yoga Sutras. Apart from teaching general classes, I focus of teaching seniors with the aim of healthy ageing.
I am committed to teaching and sharing Yoga, making it accessible for each and every individual, whatever their experience.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?  
My yoga practice has encouraged me to become more mindful in my daily life. A regular yoga practice is so effective in helping you with a wide range of illnesses and stressful situations. It is so much more than ‘just a simple exercise or stretching routine’. Using the breath to connect the mind and the body has such a powerful impact on the mental wellbeing. For me that was one of of the key factors that I have learned when training with Michael.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Learning more about the philosophies, world views and teachings that emerged in ancient India. I also enjoy long walks in nature and spending my time with my family and friends.

4) Where’s your happy place? 
If we try to define ‘happiness’, the dictionary would probably say that it is a ‘state of being’. I am personally not too sure about that – I would rather refer to it as a temporary emotion. Happiness is centered around what you think will bring you happiness, but as life shows, it might never be enough. Once we acquire or find what we think will make us happy, it tends to loose its meaning very quickly. So very often people spent their lives in this never ending pursuit of happiness. I therefore think that the expression ‘contentment’ is much better. Striving for contentment, a state of balance, allows your mind to focus on living a more meaningful life – not a life in constant pursuit. And that place can be everywhere.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • 200hrs Power Vinyasa
  • Diploma of Yoga Studies and Teacher Training & Advanced Diploma of Teacher Training with the Yoga Institute
  • 3 years of Yoga Therapy studies
  • Yogic Mindfulness Training
  • Studies of the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita
  • Certificate in Restorative Yoga and Meditation

Rosie Caunt

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
I have been practicing yoga for 35 years and teaching for 20 years.

I have been involved with The Yoga Institute since it was Yoga Sanga around 17 years ago. I taught a little on the teacher training course then and a lot on the Friday course when The Yoga Institute began. I taught asana pranayama meditation sometimes energetics and professional yoga teacher. I also had my own studio for 10 years or so in Lindfield then Mona Vale.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?
Yoga for me is about the way I live my life. How I interact with everyone and the environment and how I care for my body and mind.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Teaching and training mentoring running workshops lights me up. My creativity flows and I love that. I also love to ocean swim and read. I am a curious person and enjoy to keep learning

4) Where’s your happy place? 
My happy place is in the water and camping in the bush.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Cert in Education
  • B ED hons
  • Cert 4 in training
  • Cert in health yoga
  • Kinesiologist
  • Certificate in studies of death and dying
  • Yoga therapist
  • Thousands of hours of yoga training (Some with Desikachar and Kausthub Desikachar)

Kristen Melville

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute? 
I started practicing yoga in 2002 and ten years later I took the plunge and completed the diploma of yoga teacher training at The Yoga Institute to deepen my understanding and practice.

The following year I started working a few hours per week for The Yoga Institute to help with marketing. This work is small in terms of number of hours per week but huge in terms of passion and meaning for me.

Having experienced the power of personal practice and these teachings, I love being part of this beautiful team of people and putting this out into the world. It’s wonderful to be marketing something I believe in so strongly and helping more people experience The Yoga Institute.

2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?  
An ability to stay steady and grounded and connected regardless of what life brings.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
Learning more about the mind and meditation and snow skiing!

4) Where’s your happy place? 
Nature is my happy place, especially in the mountains or the ocean.

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Diploma of Yoga Teacher Training
  • Masters of Marketing
  • Certificate of Digital Marketing
  • Certificate in Meditation Facilitation

Michela CaselliMichela Caselli - Yoga Teacher, Teaching Yoga for Children Trainer

1) Please write your brief yoga history and involvement with The Yoga Institute?
In 2010 I enrolled in the Advanced Teacher Training Course with The Yoga Institute. The same year I started teaching general classes and in 2015  I joined the faculty and mentor team. My dream came true in 2016, Michael and I, with our family heritage and love for Italy achieved our dream of running yoga retreats in Italy. Savour Italy has since been an annual retreat. 

2) 2) What’s the greatest benefit you have gained from your yoga practice?  
The understanding that it’s all in my hands, that the change I desire in my life depends on me. My daily personal practice plants the seed for my transformation.

3) Personal shoutout! What lights you up? 
It lights me up to see people passionate for something and making efforts to contribute to their direct environment.
It lights me up finding the time to be in the ocean and see that every single wave is different and I have to adjust to their uniqueness.
It lights me up dancing in the lounge room with my husband and and my son.
A proper made TiramisuIt lights me up… very rare thing in Australia!

4) Where’s your happy place? My family 

5) What are your qualifications?

  • Master degree in International and Diplomatic sciences
  • Diploma in Business
  • Diploma of Yoga Teacher
  • Yoga Therapy
  • Italian Diploma of Sommelier

How can we support you?

Since 2001 The Yoga Institute has taught and mentored hundreds of students who have gone on to become amazing yoga teachers. We’ve grown a beautiful community of people who have changed their own lives and the lives of others through exceptional yoga teaching. We are humbled to have been part of so much positive change.

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