Presenter Profiles

Dr Jane Hardcastle – Keynote address

Dr Jane Hardcastle is a yoga therapist, therapeutic yoga teacher, and education specialist based in Christchurch, New Zealand. Jane is co-owner and co-director of MoveWell – a therapeutic yoga, massage, and functional movement centre. Here she works with yoga therapy and private yoga clients to improve movement patterns, relieve pain and balance mobility and stability needs with each individual and their unique presentations. Jane teaches small groups of clients in therapeutic yoga classes and develops/supervises MoveWell teachers and interns as they develop knowledge and skills in teaching therapeutic yoga. With Masters and Doctoral degrees in adult learning, Jane loves teaching teachers, clients and passionate yoga students seeking to advance their practice or move with greater ease. She regularly teaches workshops at MoveWell and teacher trainings with Awakening Arts in NZ, and Leila Stuart of Centrepoint Yoga Therapy, Vancouver overseas. Jane will draw on experience in professional practice in the disciplines of nursing, clinical management, mentorship, professional development, postgraduate education, developmental strategy, yoga teaching, teacher training and yoga therapy to present ideas, thoughts, and questions around professionalism and yoga. 

            

 


Aaron Marshall

Aaron is a Scottish born, REPs NZ registered Exercise Specialist and a NZ registered Physiotherapist who works as a trainer and physiotherapist in the Nelson/Tasman Region of New Zealand. He is the Director of PhysEx Rehabilitation & Performance Ltd, and provides mentorship to trainers and other health professionals in ethical and best practise health business approaches. As a trainer he works with special populations; the elderly, those with obesity/diabetes or chronic medical conditions, high-level athletes looking to progress in terms of strength, power and speed and those with injuries & chronic pain problems. Aaron is also a registered education provider who regularly presents evidence-based approaches to Health and Health & Fitness sector professionals and is a popular presenter at FitEx. He is well known for his blunt but well informed and entertaining approach to education. His passion is for empowering people to achieve their health, life & sports goals through evidence-based approaches. He feels that, with true collaboration between the Health and Fitness sectors, health and quality of life could be improved for all New Zealanders.

 


Ali Hale Tilley

Ali Hale Tilley is the director of Sadhana Yoga NZ and head teacher at the NZ Yoga Centre. Ali has been teaching yoga full time for 15 years and regularly incorporates pairs and partners work in her classes. In 2018, Ali completed her Masters degree at Victoria University Wellington, looking at yoga communities of Aotearoa. Her academic work ties in perfectly with her pragmatic approach to teaching yoga, making her an engaging presenter and instructor. Ali has chosen to present this workshop as an antidote to the Covid world of isolation and separation. Recent studies show that having good mental health and a sense of well being are reliant on having meaningful engagements with people beyond the limits of our close-knit social group. The Pairs & partners workshop aims to break down social barriers and forge more meaningful contacts with conference members.

 


Carlos Pomeda

Originally from Madrid, Spain, Carlos has been steeped in all aspects of the yoga tradition during more than 40 years of practice and study. He spent 18 of those years as a monk of the Saraswati order, under the name Swami Gitananda, including 9 years of traditional training and practice in India. During this time he learned the various systems of Indian Philosophy and immersed himself in the practice of yoga, becoming one of the senior monks of the tradition and teaching meditation and philosophy to tens of thousands of students around the world. He combines this experience and traditional training with his academic background, which includes two Masters Degrees: one in Sanskrit, from U.C. Berkeley (where he has taught) and another one, in Religious Studies, from U.C. Santa Barbara. He is currently working on a book on the topic of “Karma and the Journey of the Soul”, as well as an updated History of Yoga and a new translation of the Śivasūtra, an important Tantric text of the Kashmiri tradition. Carlos currently lives in the US, and travels extensively around the world conducting a variety of retreats, courses, seminars, workshops and lectures on the Wisdom of Yoga and related subjects. As a teacher, Carlos is renowned for the breadth of his knowledge and the clarity with which he conveys it. His great love of the Indian yoga traditions, his insight, his humor and his deep connection with his audiences give him the ability to transmit the deepest scriptural teachings in a way that is clear, meaningful and applicable. Studying with Carlos is an enjoyable and transformative experience.

 


Chaitanya Deva

Chaitanya Deva Senior Level 4 YNZ, E-RYT 500, YACEP, Dip Therapeutic Massage
Kindred Studio Owner Director
Levels 1 & 2 teacher training developer and facilitator, 
Evolve Festival Co-Director 

Chaitanya is the co-owner, founder and senior teacher at Kindred Studio Nelson, where he teaches weekly classes, practices therapeutic massage and created and leads their 200 and 300hr Teacher Training programs. Specialising in applied anatomy (the anatomy of movement) myofascial release and articular mobilization as a bodyworker for the last 20 years, he brings a great passion and understanding of anatomy, skeletal variation and how the body works to his classes, workshops and trainings. This combined with his thousands of hours of yoga teaching, study and 25 years of intensive meditation practice with a number of Enlightened Masters, Chaitanya has a broad and experiential knowledge base. He loves to share this with humour and compassion on and off the mat addressing all aspects of our existence, body, mind and soul. He has presented at various conferences, festivals and teacher trainings around the country. Chaitanya and his wife Bex, run Evolve Festival, a biennial wellness event in the heart of Nelson dedicated to inspire, educate and transform individuals and communities. As a member of the Yoga NZ Council, Chai is passionate about exploring the growth of yoga in Aotearoa in a sustainable way that serves us as a nation of students, teachers, trainers and business owners both nationally and within our own communities, staying with the philosophy and heritage of traditional yoga while embracing new models and research.


Daneil Peter Cunningham

Daneil Peter Cunningham is an actor-director who teaches movement and yoga for actors. He trained at Rose Bruford School in London, the Estonian Academy and Sivananda Yoga World HQ in Kerala. He has practiced astanga vinyasa, Iyengar and Gitananda yoga forms since 2014, and is currently attending the Auckland Yoga Academy. His international career includes tours to Spain, Georgia, France, Turkey and Scotland with Teatr ZAR of Grotowski Institute, Poland. As lead performer, he founded an immersive theatre company called SoundBoxed who performed across London for three years. He went on to create and perform solo work in London, Dublin and Reykjavik. Daneil has taught physical practices at four London drama schools. He led physical actor training at Identity and was daily yoga teacher for the first-year actors at Arts Ed (the UK’s oldest drama school).

 


Derek LeDayn

Derek LeDayn lives on the rough rocky south coast of Wellington, has been learning and practicing cultures of movement and meditation since 1999, and teaching Yin Yoga with mindfulness since August 2018. His yoga teacher training includes 200-hour certification in Yin Yoga with Markus Henning Giess and Karin Michelle Sang following the teaching of Paul Grilley and Bernie Clark, and another 250 hours training, following Jennifer O’Sullivan and Sarah Powers for Yin yoga, and following Anna Sandle in the T.K.V. Desikachar tradition for active yoga. He has been a student of Zen Buddhism in the Diamond Sangha for two decades, and also has training and certification as a mindfulness and meditation teacher with the Melbourne Meditation Centre.

 


Donna Farhi

Leading yoga teacher Donna Farhi has been practicing for over 45 years and teaching since 1982. As a post-lineage pioneer, Donna has been at the forefront of generating a new model for teaching that fosters self-inquiry through the cultivation of a deepening trust in one’s own perceptions. Through creating a warm atmosphere free of judgment and competition she invites her students to investigate their experience and to adapt and evolve their practice according to their individual needs. Incorporating the rigorous backing of anatomical principles for safe and sustainable practice, Donna offers progressive levels of engagement that allow people of all levels of experience and from all traditions to build their own authentic yoga practice.  Considered the ‘teacher of teachers’, people return to Donna’s intensives year after year to be a part of the inspiring evolution of her own practice and teaching. Donna’s livestream and online courses make her expertise accessible to teachers and students worldwide and, in 2021, Donna will become the first yoga teacher to present the practice of yoga to a global audience through MasterClass USA. This e-learning platform provides classes taught by some of the world’s foremost minds and experts in their fields. Donna is the author of four contemporary classics: The Breathing Book, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness, Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living, and Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship which is a curricular text for teaching training worldwide. Her fifth and most recent book, co-authored with Leila Stuart, Pathways to a Centered Body: Gentle Yoga Therapy for Core Stability, Healing Back Pain and Moving with Ease is becoming the go-to text for Yoga teachers, therapists and somatic practitioners. The book is grounded in personal experience. In April 2017, Donna fractured her pelvis in two places as a result of a serious riding accident. Her lengthy rehabilitation has given her extraordinary insights into the profound consciousness of the body and its ability to heal.


Dr Felicity Molloy 

PhD I MEd I GDHE I MNZ RMT I Registered Exercise Professional (REPs) I YogaNZ Council Senior Level 4 1000h I VCA (Dance). 

One of New Zealand’s most experienced mind body, yoga, and movement educators. Felicity danced professionally with Limbs Dance Company, and Impulse Dance Theatre. She is a founder member of Unitec’s BPASA and was amongst the early  choreographers for Body Balance, and Aeroballet, presented by Les Mills International. Felicity has been studying, practicing, and teaching yoga since 1986 with a long-term teacher training through Peter Thomson (Senior Iyengar Teacher, Australia). She is well known for her supportive approach to mentoring new teachers, studios, and the development of yoga programmes. She was the Programme Leader for Yoga and Massage at Wellpark College of Natural Therapies, curating yoga courses designed by Sridhar Maddela and Pooja Maddela. Her research about the benefits of dance movement for non-professional adults (Dance Mobility™ funded by DANZ, renamed Silver Bones), has been presented at national and international conferences such as the New Zealand Recreation Association National Conference (NZRAC, 2012) and World Congress of Physical Therapy (WCPT, 2019), Switzerland. Her most recent project, BodyStill is a community-based project about the benefits of guided practice for diverse ages and stages of health and movement wellbeing.


Jeanette Ida

Yogini, Mother, Organic Farmer – I am passionate about Yogic practices that bring a wholeness and healing to ourselves and our planet. 20 years experience as a Physiotherapist, with a strong background in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Acupuncture and Women’s Health. Completed Dip Yoga Teacher in 2016 with IYTA (NZ), and Cert Meditation Teacher from Ananda NZ. Initiated into the path of Kriya Yoga in 2016. I am a tutor for Yoga Teacher Training Diploma IYTA (NZ) and Golden Flow YTT – Anatomy of Healing – Anatomy and Asana. I have been teaching Yoga for Addiction Recovery and completed y12sr training, (Yoga 12 step recovery) and Trauma Informed Yoga Training. I am passionate about bringing Yogini practices to women to honour and embrace the Sacred Feminine. I own and operate Kokoro Studio, a beautiful Yurt situated on our Organic Farm, in Brightwater, Tasman.


Dr Mark James Hamilton

Mark began yoga at 12 and was initiated with mantra by Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi when 24. He studied bharata natyam (South Indian classical dance) from 1994-2005 in Scotland and Kerala with his guru Priya Srikumar and her master Paramasiva Menon, who took Mark to Mookambika Devi Temple in the north of Kerala to dedicate his dance to the Goddess. Mark has practiced astanga vinyasa yoga and trained in kalaripayattu (martial art) in Kerala. His doctorate explored the synthesis of yoga, dance and martial arts. Mark is experienced in Thai massage and holds foundation certificates in anatomy, counselling and te reo. 

 


Sàraseva Sawyer 

Sàraseva discovered the practice of Pure Meditation˜ Raja-Kriya Yoga, taught by Mata Yoganandaji, in the year 2000. Working as a teacher in challenging schools, she experienced the deeply transformative effect it had on her own life (stressed out, ill, tired… into healthy, energized, peaceful – or about as much as is possible in an unpredictable, full classroom!) also, amazingly, the response in her pupils (hyper and often distracted – to steady and calm … mostly!) – an effect which was regularly noted by fellow staff. She became committed to developing her practice as a way of life, believing and experiencing that any practice can only truly benefit us when we become inspired to implement it in all aspects of our daily life. Leaving the school teaching environment to live, work and train full-time with Mata Yoganandaji from 2003 until her passing in 2020, Sàraseva now lives and works at the Self Realization Sevalight Centre in Bishopdale, Christchurch. One of six Centres worldwide, the work is focused on bringing practical spiritual principles to life, and creating a loving, peaceful environment for all who wish to develop their own pathway forward at the level that they choose. Workshops held by the Centres span from individual spiritual self-development to stress management and prevention for companies.


Swami Karma Karuna

Swami Karma Karuna Saraswati is an engaging, intuitive yoga and meditation teacher, inspirational speaker, writer and IAYT certified Yoga Therapist with 30 years of experience in the yoga field including significant training in Nepal and India and ongoing training in the ashram with her teachers from the Bihar School of Yoga. She is also certified by Yoga Alliance and is a senior teacher of Yoga Australia/New Zealand. A Bachelor of Arts in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Psychology determined an early interest in working with groups and individuals. Swami Karma Karuna specialises in a range of areas such as Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga, Prana, Chakras, Yoga Psychology and Women’s Health.  She is also a co-founder and director of Anahata Yoga Retreat, New Zealand and travels throughout the world, leading workshops, training yoga teachers, presenting at international events, guiding spiritual sadhana retreats and offering therapeutic one to one yoga sessions. Swami Karma Karuna is passionate about sharing an authentic and down to earth approach, weaving together the ancient practices with a touch of psychology and brain science aimed at motivating people to live their yoga here and now. Several guided practice MP3 tracks including Hatha Yoga classes, Yoga Nidra and Meditation techniques are available through Anahata Yoga Retreat web-site and articles on a variety of subjects can be read in the Australian Yoga Life Magazine.

       


Tilak Raj

Tilak Raj is a sports scientist and qualified yoga teacher with years of experience in teaching international students and corporate clients in many countries. He uses an introspective approach to teach yoga and encourages students of all ages and abilities to dive deeper into their yoga practice. By including his experience gained in the lab on human performance and his philosophical understanding of yoga, he applies a unique combination of ancient and modern science in his teachings. He says, “yoga is simple, we humans make it complicated”, and he encourages students of all ages and abilities to lead a healthy, stress-free and active lifestyle. He initiated his studies in the early 1990s in India. He deepened his yoga practice and teaching methodology under various senior yoga teachers from India and around the globe. He studies various ancient scriptures including Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yoga Vasistha, and others in depth. He holds a PhD in sports and recreation, focusing on the effects of yoga on sports performance and health. He is also a qualified yoga teacher from various educational institutions and yoga ashrams around the world, with years of experience in teaching students in New Zealand and internationally. Currently, he is engaged in research in New Zealand ranging from sports performance enhancement to sports injury prevention, neuromuscular enhancement, and cardiovascular health implications of yoga practice. 

 


Veronica King

Veronica King is a certified facilitator of the Integrative Amrit Method of Yoga Nidra, offering regular weekly Yoga Nidra practices on Zoom and in the studio, and specialised workshops and programs to support Mental Health and wellbeing. This year she is launching www.theyoganidraproject.co.nz a place for weekly online practice, specialised courses and private Yoga Nidra sessions. A yoga teacher for the last 10 years, she has been the owner and guardian of Grassroots Yoga and Health, Christchurch for the last 4.5 years. In 2011 she began in depth study with Katie Lane and Noah Maze. Over the years Veronica has completed over 1000 hours of training and 1000 hours of teaching, giving her the E-500 HR RYT Yoga Alliance certification and Level 3 Teacher with Yoga NZ. A devout student, she has topped up her yoga studies with internationally renowned teachers over the last decade, and completed her Advanced Yoga Nidra Certification in 2021. In 2019 she was honoured to present 2 sessions at the Hauora Yoga Conference `Don’t Despair the Tear’ and ‘Yoga for Seniors’. In 2020 she was humbled to lead her studio to the Top 5 finalists for NZ Studio of the Year through Exercise NZ. “I believe Yoga can change your life”.