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Hi, I'm Kara - proud owner and team leader at Yoga Ground!
I moved back to NZ from London in 2013 after 17 amazing years working in sports marketing and travelling the world but decided it was time to come back home; to be nearer to family and friends, to pursue a more wholesome life and to be closer to nature.
I was employed by Spark PHD in Auckland as an Account Director, working in PR, events and marketing for nearly three years, but after my mum passed away I re-evaluated my priorities and realised it was time for change and to do some of the things I always wanted to do. "Operation Wholesome Life" needed a boost!
A passionate yogi for over 15 years, I enrolled in the Power Living 200 hr teacher training course. This proved to be a life-changing experience! 6 months later I had quit my job and had a beautiful yoga studio of my own.
I received the keys to Yoga Ground from Vincent Bolletta and Susan Allen (owners for the previous 8 years) in January 2016 and what an exciting time it has been since then!
With a degree in Psychology and a career background in mass participation sports I had spent a great deal of time strategising on how to make sports and physical exercise accessible, habitual and fun for people. This passion for helping people to overcome barriers to healthy lifestyles is part of what drives me to create a great experience for our students at Yoga Ground.
For me the key elements are accessibility, authenticity, and community, and having an amazing team of experienced and inspiring teachers!
Yoga can be so uplifting and transformational and we all experience our own individual journeys; but it is also about the amazing connections we make and the group energy that is experienced in a class and from the community. There is something so powerful and nurturing in being part of something bigger and sharing a love of yoga with each other.
I have trained in Yin Yoga and Traditional Chinese Meridian theory as well as Qi Gong. The power of energy flow is something of a personal interest which I love to bring into my teaching!
As a child Kyleigh shared an equal love of both stillness and movement. Just as happy to sit peacefully reading, simply daydreaming the day away, as adventuring in the native bush that was our backyard.
With a natural affinity for acrobatics, dance, trampolining and any kind of twisting, twirling actions that pushed boundaries and explored limits. Kyleigh competed and coached trampolining into her late teens until a knee injury slowed her down. It was then that she found yoga.
Kyleigh describes her first class as an ingrained recognition of coming home. A balance of her two loves - Stillness and Movement - existing simultaneously as one. "I had found my place".
For the last twenty years Kyleigh has delved into many different styles of yoga with incredibly knowledgeable instructors beginning her yoga journey in 1996 with Karel Hulshoff at Yoga Praktika and more recently practicing and studying with Vincent Bolletta.
"I am extremely lucky to have found a master of his craft with whom I can follow in the ancient traditions of the past. Information passed in a direct lineage of Teacher to Student.
I will continue to share my love of the art of movement with those who follow the same path. Encouraging my students to take their lessons from the mat out into the world. Creating a sustainable intelligent practice, allowing us all to live a life of balance and grace."
Liv first experienced yoga as a baby watching her mother do headstands on their small balcony in Barcelona. Though an ever present element throughout Liv’s life, her passion for yoga deepened while at University training as a contemporary dancer in 1998. While on a physical level yoga supported her body to be both strong and supple, it also developed a sense of inner strength and clarity which lasted well beyond the practice. Liv believes in yoga to cultivate authenticity, an awareness of one's true essence.
An ever inquiring mind, she has studied a number of different movement forms including dance, pilates, qi gong, hatha, vinyasa and shadow yoga among others. In 2010 she completed teacher training in London at the Amrita School of Yoga. She taught classes in London and Brighton, before landing back in native NZ in 2013.
In her dynamic and creative classes, Liv encourages students to let go of their expectations, tune into their breath enabling the practice to become a moving meditation.
Liv's thoughtful style incorporates asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and mindfulness. With a focus on fluidity and strength building, she brings a loving approach to her classes.
"What excites me about teaching yoga is seeing people get in touch with the deeper layers of self, a subtle shift begins to happen and the transformation can be profound"
Clare is passionate about health and wellbeing. Clare is an Occupational Therapist, she has a Post Graduate Certificate in Health Science (endorsed in musculoskeletal management).
She also has a background in the fitness industry (FIT certified). She has been practicing yoga for a number of years and began teaching following her initial teacher training with Donna Farhi in 2012. She has also completed a 200hr teacher training with Kawai Purapura Yoga Centre.
Clare is currently studying toward a Graduate Certificate in Yoga Therapy.Clare is committed to ongoing study, self-practice and developing her teaching skills. She has completed a children’s speciality teacher training with Amanda Reid of Samadhi Yoga.
Kimberly has a strong passion for teaching, with a background in dance, gymnastics and teaching English to children and adults. Her journey in yoga started while she was living in Tokyo, where she connected to the challenging physicality of yoga and enjoyed learning alongside her Japanese classmates. The quiet moments in those classes were a wonderful relief from the continuous movement and external stimulus of the busy city. Since then she has travelled the world, studying various styles of yoga for 10 years in several countries.
In 2012 Kimberly completed her first teacher training in Qatar with Valerie Jeremijenko in Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga. In 2015 she completed the Jivani Yoga 300 hour Advanced Teacher Training with Emma Warmington with a focus on therapeutic yoga, personal transformation and Mark Whitwell’s Yoga of Heart. Kimberly is currently studying yoga under the mentoring of Vincent Bolletta.
Kimberly’s classes are balanced with an emphasis on breathing, mindfulness, building strength and self-confidence and cultivating a calm and focused mind. She believes in the potential of yoga to heal and transform the body and mind. Kimberly encourages students from all walks of life to find their true inner nature through the practice of yoga.
Liana was first introduced to Yoga while studying Dance and Choreography at the Performing Arts School back in 95- 96.
Her first yoga teacher was Sharon LightFoot who taught at her dance school and was Iyengar-based. She ignited Liana's passion and interest for yoga and it grew from there. Liana still studies with Sharon on a casual basis as an apprentice.
For several years Liana worked using the Alexandra technique with Debra McCulloch which involved a lot of hands-on work with the body. She also spent time in New York studying Klein Technique - bone dance body technique which is about efficiency and integration. Both of these have influenced her approach to yoga and her knowledge of the body.
In addition, Liana has also been freelancing for 18 years as a contemporary dancer and believes that yoga has played an integral part in her dance training.
Liana likes her teaching to be playful and to remind her students that yoga can be fun. That we can laugh and just be our true selves....Her classes often include the use of the studio walls; she likes to use the wall as a reference to really help give us a sense of space.
Liana is continuing her training with Vincent Bolletta as well as learning from her fellow peers and Tima; her two-year old son who has a shining personality ... just like his mum. :)
Janine is a former dancer who traversed the stage and the corporate world to ‘embrace the unmapped life’ of a yoga teacher. To date, her life has been a rich tapestry of experiences that shook her to the core, enriched her mind and led her on a lifelong journey to bring her spirit home. For years she wanted to feel grounded and centred no matter where she was or what she experienced. Travelling the globe, she stumbled toward the yogic path. What she found was a practice that truly transformed her understanding of life and her place in it.
Over the last decade she has studied and practiced with renowned teachers and healers including Hatha training in Gitananda tradition foundation, advanced healing with David Goulet, Forrest yoga training - foundation and 9 month mentorship and many CET . She has also studied Yoga Philosophy with Carlos Pomeda and meditation with Sally Kemp and is trained in Cranio Scaral therapy, thai massage, and Reiki.
She has cultivated a powerful and compassionate practice that brings together her love of movement and fascination for both ancient wisdom and neuro-science. She is passionate about creating intelligent sequences, that will build strength, unravel tension and leave you feeling empowered, grounded and clear.
Her purpose is to provide you with a dynamic yoga practice that facilitates wellness, clarity and enhances your self-worth. Join Janine on the mat for a truly integrative practice.
Faye first came to yoga around the time she turned 40 at a difficult and stressful time in her life. From the very first class, she was instantly hooked and has been practicing, studying and learning about yoga ever since. She took an extended sabbatical in 2011 when she spent the year in India, studying yoga, meditation and the human mind. The time away was transformational for Faye, and her approach to yoga reflects her gratitude and love for the practice.
Faye is particularly drawn to the yoga practices that trigger the relaxation response and is passionate about sharing those with her students. Some of her favorites are yin yoga, yoga nidra, iRest® and the wonderful world of breathwork..
Faye is an international educator with a love for learning and sharing. She has traveled the world, lived in several exotic places, and recently made Auckland her home when she married the man of her dreams. Faye is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA oils, an entrepreneur and a real advocate for the transformational practices of yoga.
Gabi is our Hungarian import who has made New Zealand her home for the last few years. She completed her 200hr teacher training with Jennifer Allen and Jaya Yoga in 2016 and has been facilitating yoga ever since, including her own Yoga in Parks series.
Gabi is know for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style. She weaves mindfulness meditation practises throughout her classes, applying ancient wisdom to our 2017 western world in a useful and understandable way. She has a gentle and calming way and her classes will leave you feeling both balanced and blissful.
Francesca has been practising yoga for the last 10 years, and from her very first class was instantly addicted. Since then she has been learning and exploring everything yoga has to offer.
Completing her yoga teacher training with Jennifer Allen in 2016, her classes focus on the balance of movement and breath in order to unite the mind and body. She firmly believes that yoga should be accessible to all levels and ages, and that a class should leave you feeling balanced, restored and energised, and always a little bit more in touch with yourself.
Francesca also believes in your yoga mat being a place to practise compassion to yourself, as we live in a busy, overstimulated world, where we often do not offer ourselves time, compassion and space.
In addition, Francesca has great passion in the human mind and body and their connection through yoga, having studied pyschology and currently studying naturopathy in order to continue learning how we can learn to bring our bodies and minds into balance in order to live our truest, happiest and healthiest lives.
Leighia gained her Yoga certification in 2007 through Kirpalu Foundation of Meditation in Motion, Inner Force Yoga. With a background in dance she was naturally drawn to Vinyasa flow.
She lived in the States for 12 years teaching in New York, South Florida and various tropical islands.
She has experience across Inner Force Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Power Yoga, Anusara, Jivamukti, Restorative Yin and Ashtanga, studying - practising with a variety teachers; including Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Kino Mc Gregor and Elena Brower - reflecting the principles and alignment methods of different interdisciplinary schools of yoga and the sister sciences of Ayurveda.
Caroline has worked in the Wellness industry for over twenty years and started her health and wellness career as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. It was only when she suffered an injury that she discovered the benefits of Yoga.
Both her Mother and brother teach Yoga so she didn't need to look far for inspiration and, with their guidance, chose to study Iyengar Yoga.
Caroline has run her own Yoga studio on Waiheke Island and taught in community centres, corporate environments and most recently at Configure Express.
Her style has evolved over the years with her foundation in Hatha. She also has experience in Restorative, Yin and Pregnancy Yoga.
Maya has been practicing mindfulness and meditation for 15 years and teaching for the last 10 years. She spent two years ordained as a Buddhist nun. Maya is the founder of mindbalance, provider of mindfulness training and coaching . She has also worked with government organizations, businesses, community groups and individuals to help them achieve greater levels of productivity, well-being and happiness.
Maya has completed a number of long retreats and is always learning about life. She lives with her two glorious teenage children and a cat in Devonport, rides her bike about the place and enjoys playing music, doing yoga and growing veggies.
Dr Susan Crozier
Susan is an Auckland based meditation teacher and therapist. After many years of spiritual seeking and adventuring Susan dedicated herself to meditation practice in the Western Insight tradition. While living in England, Susan studied with several well-known teachers including Sharon Salzberg, Christina Feldman, Stephen and Martine Bachelor, Rob Burbea and leading Theravadin monk and teacher Ajahn Succito.
Travelling to India for the first time in 2012 Susan connected with Jaya Ashmore of Open Dharma and has been working closely with Jaya ever since. Studying the Open Dharma way has lead to a deepening of compassion and tenderness in the practice and teaching of meditation. At the heart of Susan’s teaching is the development of radical self-acceptance and connection to the flow of life as a pathway to healing and a transformation of heart and mind.
Susan loves to use poetry and inspiring texts from many traditions to support our deepening practice.
Sarah is a movement lover and was led to yoga through her early training in dance and work as a contemporary dancer. She has enjoyed an amazing relationship weaving both strands together for many years. Sarah is devoted to yoga as a creative practice and mirror of her inside and outside world.
Sarah loves to empower students to cultivate their own personal relationship to their practice through attention to breath, movement dynamics, integrated alignment, and transitions. She encourages students to approach their mat freshly every day and to move towards a creative and inspired freedom in yoga focussed on whole body awareness.
Sarah's classes flow in a Vinyasa rhythm and open us to grounding, fluidity, balance, stability, refinement and meeting one's subtle edge with ease and grace. She encourages curiosity and personal inquiry when playing with the forces inherent in the yoga journey. Sarah understands all bodies are unique and diverse and carry infinite potential for transformation.
"I danced from a very young age into adulthood. Yoga has always journeyed with me as valuable ally, teacher and trusted friend. I believe in the power of yoga to integrate and transform body, mind and spirit. Yoga combines my love for beauty and insights into the body moving, for organic and expressive movement, for stillness, and for the joy of connecting and creating relationships with myself and other beings".
Sarah completed her training with Vincent Bolletta and is blessed to continue to expand and grow as a teacher through an ongoing mentorship and training programme.
Felicity is one of New Zealand’s most diverse and experienced yoga teachers. Her teaching is based on decades of practice, and a deep practical understanding of the living human body and embodied knowledge.
Her hatha yoga practice commenced aged 16 and as an aspiring professional contemporary dancer, she drew on yoga as a way of exploring movement awareness as well as for performance injury prevention and management.
In 1982 she was introduced to Light on Yoga and by 1990 had completed a 3 year Iyengar yoga teacher training. Her main yoga asana teachers include Mande White (NZ), John Leebold (Aus) Shandor Remete (Aus) with ongoing biannual professional development with senior Iyengar teacher Peter Thompson (Aus).
She has also attended multiple meditation, pranayama and somatic workshops over the last thirty years (including Fascial kinetics, Fascial integration, Feldenkrais, Shin Somatics). At Unitec Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (BPASA), Felicity contributed to New Zealand’s earliest higher educational practices of self-awareness and experientialism (somatics), teaching yoga and movement fundamentals to new dancers.
Felicity was one of the first students to study the Diploma in Therapeutic Massage and Remedial Therapies at Wellpark College, and then went on to help develop their NZQA programmes. She is currently Wellpark’s Programme Leader for Yoga and Massage and Education Advisor. Felicity has had a clinical massage practice for over 15 years. Her speciality in treating individuals is utilising massage, craniosacral therapies and bodywork to enhance and restore physiologies of postural stress, memory and emotion.
Meet Javier! Javier hails from Chile and has been living in New Zealand for the last few years. He loves the kiwi outdoor lifestyle and when he’s not teaching yoga he can be found canyoning down our famous rivers as an adventure tour guide or spending time with his gorgeous young daughter.
Javier has been practicing yoga solidly for more than 8 years and trained as a teacher with Power Living Australia in 2014 - a dream he had held for a number of years and realised after an inspiring talk from its founder, Duncan Peak at just the right moment in his life.
Javier’s strong and simple style of vinyasa is popular with his students; as are his softer yin classes. He began his yoga journey in a hot studio at Bikram Yoga - “I did my first yoga class in my undies!” – and this has been influential in his teaching. He also credits his approach to a number of other influences such as Vincent Bolletta, Duncan Peak, fellow yoga teacher and baby mama, Connie Causa and his beloved mother.
Classes with Javier will challenge you but are also fun, thanks to his great sense of humour. When asked for a surprising fact about himself for this bio he said “I can change a horseshoe faster than a flat tyre”…. So keep that in mind next time you ride your horse to the studio! :)