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, and to pursue a more wholesome life closer to nature.
I was employed 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 community/environment. There is something so powerful and nurturing in being part of something bigger and sharing a love of yoga with each other.
I am currently studying towards my 500 hr YTT certificate with Ashram Yoga and have trained in Yin Yoga and Traditional Chinese Meridian theory as well as Qi Gong and Reiki. 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."
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 and is also trained in Pregnancy Yoga.
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. :)
Eridani's Godparents are Yoga Teachers, they had a studio and she spent a lot of time there growing up. They had lived and studied in South India with Swami Gitananda Giri.
Eventually, she followed in their footsteps, completing 1600-hour training at the ICYER (international centre for yoga research) in Pondicherry India. As part of the 6-month residential programme she learned to teach teens and children. She lived at the Ashram just outside of Pondicherry for a year, getting up every day at 4:30am and going to bed at 10:30pm, she studied and learnt all day, every day.
Eridani later went on to complete the 300-hour Jivamukti Yoga teacher training. Jivamukti is a vinyasa practice and she studied with the methods founders in Upstate New York. The Jivamukti training is an intense residential month long program with exams and practical assessments that you are required to pass in order to get your certificate.
As well as yoga, Eridani has a degree in psychology and a diploma in permaculture, She is a relaxation massage therapist and is continuing her massage study in therapeutic/sports massage therapy.
Nina is from London and has now settled in Auckland. She found her yoga practice after moving to NZ. Since completing her 200hr teacher training with Jaya Yoga in Auckland Nina has been teaching Hatha and Restorative yoga for the last 3 years and has completed further modules towards her 500hrs.
She has a diploma in Nutrition, is a Reiki healer and is the Founder of The Soul Laundry NZ, an initiative aimed at providing you with the tools to unlock your optimal well-being in mind, body and spirit. “By looking after yourself and putting your own oxygen mask on first, you are equipped to help others and fulfill life’s obligations. There is a cognitive behavioural pattern goes like this: The less you do, the worse you feel, the worse you feel, the less you do! Yoga and meditation tap into our central nervous system bringing us into a state of wellbeing”
Joti Savitri Kaur (aka Suzi Jowsey)
Joti has been practicing Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan for 24 years and gained her KRI Level 1 teacher training certificate with her original UK teacher Guru Dharam Singh and his partner Siri Sat Kaur, both long time students of Yogi Bhajan.
From her first experience of Kundalini Yoga back in the 90s, Joti knew this was a practice that could be integrated into her life for greater success and personal happiness. Today she attributes much of her accomplishments as a documentary filmmaker and ghostwriter for international film directors to the practice of daily sadhana and teaching of Kundalini Yoga.
Her classes offer a warm, safe, lighthearted experience that result in a tangible sense of elevated awareness and deeper connection to the mind, body and soul.
Laura Dueker is a German-born Kiwi. As well as teaching yoga she works as graphic designer. She started practicing yoga in 2005, and after over 10 years of dedicated practice she became an instructor in 2015.
She is a RYT-500 registered yoga teacher, trained in Vinyasa Flow, Hatha, Yin, Restorative and Prenatal yoga and teaches a variety of classes and workshops around Auckland. She continues to study and educate herself to feed her own curiosity about yoga and relating topics that delve deeper into the fascinating world of the human body and human condition.
Laura believes that there's no right or wrong approach to yoga. Some people come for the relaxation. Some people come for the physicality of the workout. And some people want to dig deep into yogic philosophy and physiology. There’s no wrong approach, which is why I teach my classes intuitively to make each class work for who I have in the room with me. Ultimately, her goal is to teach in a way that encourages her students to listen to the inherent wisdom of their own bodies and to plant a seed of self-awareness and acceptance so they can start pursuing a more fulfilling life.
You can find out more about Laura at her website - www.lauradueker.co.nz/
For Sophie, yoga is her anchor. A regular practice helps to navigate rough seas and calm waters with a steady mind. It’s not the crazy shapes or the ability to touch her toes that draws Sophie to her mat, it’s the opportunity to turn inward, and cultivate space and stillness in the mind through breath and movement connection.
Sophie spent seven years as a television and radio news reporter and understands the impact that a high-stress job can have on a person’s mind, body and soul. Through practicing and teaching, Sophie has seen first hand how yoga can nourish and help guide people towards a peaceful centre.
Sophie studied with Noah Maze (Vinyasa), Joe Barnett (Yin) and Power Living Australia (Vinyasa). Sophie’s classes offer strong sequences that build heat in the body to help shift energy. Sophie is full of heart and offers students a warm, gentle and supportive environment to practice in.
Francesca has been practising yoga for the last 12 years, and from her very first class was instantly addicted. Since then she has been learning and exploring everything yoga has to offer having recently returned from 2 years in Amsterdam where she immersed herself in yoga, teaching full time.
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.
Gabi is our Hungarian import who has made New Zealand her home. She has been practicing yoga for 6 years and completed her 200hr teacher training with Jennifer Allen and Jaya Yoga in 2016 and has been facilitating yoga full time ever since.
Gabi is known for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style. She weaves mindfulness meditation practices 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.
Gabi is continuing her training with Vincent Bolletta learning about Hansa YogaTherapy.
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.
Sophie Correia (Shieff)
Sophie began teaching Pilates and Yoga while she was at University studying Law and Psychology. She was passionate about helping others manage their stress and well-being as she knew how beneficial her personal practice had been. Sophie completed her Pilates training with Stability Plus and her yoga training with The Contemporary Yoga Center led by Vincent Bolletta, Karla Brodie, Neal Ghoshal and Dyana Wells. Sophie continued to teach corporate, studio and private classes throughout her legal career and as a senior manager of a consultancy firm.
Sophie always prioritised balancing her fast pace corporate life with slower mindful practices. In 2019 Sophie decided to wholeheartedly transition into the health and wellness space full time. She spent six weeks in the USA to expand her knowledge and learn from exceptional teachers. During this time she experienced sound healing and felt immediately drawn to it. Now she’s home and uses her modalities to create bespoke classes for groups, individuals, workshops and events. Sophie cannot wait to cross paths with you. Follow her on Instagram crossingxpaths or find out more via her website www.crossingxpaths.com
Sarah Thille (aka Shrita)
Shrita was born and raised in France, in a small town called Trept near Lyon. She has been living in New Zealand since 2014 and it is here that she was introduced to the beautiful practice of yoga and all its benefits.
She works with people every day in her career in the tourism industry looking after French travellers booking Motorhome holidays.
She uses Yoga as a daily anchor to help her find and maintain her place of emotional stability, clarity and self-awareness.
Shrita is an Ashram Yoga trained teacher. She completed her first 200-hour training in 2017. The ancient practice resonated deeply and, inspired by the incredible teachers at Ashram Yoga, she went on to complete her training at Levels 2 and 3 in 2018, gaining her 500 hour certification.
The depth and expansion that occurred for her during those courses transformed her need to practice only for myself into a strong desire to share this ancient traditional practice with others.
Zach's regard for mental/emotional/spiritual wellbeing is what leads him to the mat, both as a practitioner and as an instructor.
He began his yoga practice when he was a teenager as a way to explore his spirituality while also cultivating a healthy mind and body. As he continued to dive into his practice, he slowly began teaching yoga informally to friends. This eventually led to his beginning as a formal teacher.
He first trained as an apprentice under the teachers at Good Karma Yoga in a small southern US town, followed by receiving his 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Shiva Yoga Peeth in Rishikesh, India. He went on to teach full time in Atlanta, GA before flying into to Auckland. He also continues to deepen his knowledge and practice in meditation through various methods, focusing primarily on Vipassana, devotional chanting, pranayama, and Zen meditation teachings. In his classes, you will find hints of hatha, vinyasa, ashtanga, and Iyengar woven throughout the experience, all structured with the intention of cultivating a sense of peace and awareness.