Byron Yoga Teacher Trainings - The Ishta System - Teacher Bios
Rachel has been practicing yoga for 30 years and has taught for over 20. She discovered yoga at the age of 19 after being told by a chiropractor that yoga and meditation would help her back problems. She began her studies in Sydney, Australia but later moved to Byron Bay where her training continued in the Iyengar and Ashtanga methods. One of her first teaching engagements was as the Head of Dance at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium in Lismore, NSW. While living in New York from 2000–2004 Rachel met and mentored with ISHTA yoga founder Alan Finger which led to teaching in his studios for four years. There she co-created and coordinated their Teacher Training Program, becoming a senior facilitator and mentor. Since her return to Australia in 2005, she has gone on to create and facilitate her own teacher trainings and workshops in Australia, India, Bali, Japan, New York and in many major cities in Europe. Being passionate about Yoga and its many forms she practices Bhakti and studies Gyan Yoga (Self Knowledge) and incorporates the traditional teachings of the Upanishads, Yantra, Mantra and Mudra into her workshops and trainings with her partner and South African yoga and vedanta teacher John Weddepohl Her classes are often described as a fluid mix of creative playful sequencing, meaningful insights and lighthearted fun Rachel also co-created and produced a popular Australian Yoga Video series and a Kid's Yoga Video. She is an award-winning musician for her album of chanting and devotional song, Sita Ram, and has since produced two more CDs with Nyck Jeanes as the band Subway Bhaktis. She now shares Kirtan nationally and Internationally with John, an accomplished musician and singer/songwriter: They are currently working on their first CD together She is a published poet in several anthologies including the Poetry of Yoga, which was published in 2011. She writes for mindbodygreen, yoginit, the global yogi, travel yoga and many more online magazines and most recently has developed a passion for creating short films. Watch Rachel on YOUTUBE
John started practicing yoga and teaching in 1969 when he opened his first yoga studio in downtown Johannesburg South Africa. After completing a successful career in music he travelled to India to join his teachers with whom he has lived and studied since. It is through the grace of his teachers that he has assimilated the knowledge and understanding of Upanishadic wisdom and Yoga. Urged by his teachers to share this knowledge John teaches Atma Gnanam -Knowledge of the Self - in the Advaita Vedanta tradition and lineage of Adi Shankara and Asta Yoga of Agustya in the yoga tradition of the Tamil Siddhas.
Since leaving India John has featured on the Bali Spirit and Berlin Yoga Festivals and as a guest on Teacher Trainings and workshops around Europe, India, Australia and Cape Town where students love his quick wit, sense of humour and down to earth practical approach. Unusual to find a knower of vedanta - a Gnani - who is also a Siddha Yogi (accomplished in yoga), John together with his partner international yoga teacher Rachel Zinman conducts teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats around the world. As The Subway Bhaktas (previously Subway Bhaktis) they share their love of music in Kirtan often. Feeling pop yoga complicates a simple process John teaches Ishta-MALA a gathering of yoga adaptable for everyday individual needs, abilities and time constraints. 'Struggling to find meaning, love, and understanding in the world eventually we discover we are the meaning in everything. Long before you look for meaning or happiness, love and happiness have already found you.' Because Johns initiation into knowledge has taken many different forms from traditional healers- sangomas - in Africa to sadhus living on ashrams in Bihar, Orissa, Nepal, Rishikesh and Tami Nadu his teaching reflects these different traditions. Spending the majority of his time teaching abroad, John still sees Africa as home, where the connection between nature and the creation are still intact and unspoiled in many areas. John has a daughter Natasha and lives in Cape Town South Africa. to find out more about John visit www.theyogaco.com join him on facebook at Urb@n Vedanta and Urb@n Yogi Watch John on YOUTUBE VIDEO
She is the founder of Sacred Women’s Business, coaching women to find their unique life purpose and self-leadership style by following their intuition and deep body wisdom. Find out more at
Lisa is an experienced Yoga Teacher, Physiotherapist, Transformational Life Coach, Certified Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator, Writer and Mother. Lisa trained in the Ishta System of Yoga with Rachel in 2007 after a personal crisis moved her to explore and benefit from the profound healing effects of yoga. Since the training, she has enjoyed teaching Anatomy and Physiology for Yoga, Yoga Injury Prevention and Management and Women’s Health on numerous Yoga Teacher Trainings throughout Australia and Internationally. Lisa has a deep passion for sharing the profound effects of yoga on the mind-body interface. www.LisaFitzpatrick.com.au She lives with her two sons in a beautiful sub-tropical paradise near Byron Bay,
She studied Yoga in Poona with B K Iyengar, and also spent time at the Shivananda Ashram in Rishikesh. In 1984 Jacinta did intensive yoga, pranayama and meditation training with Professor Bhim Dev (from Kurukshetra, India.)
Jacinta McEwen ND is the eighth child of a family of ten. She was raised with practical common sense in the South-Australian bush. At the age of thirteen Jacinta found yoga and meditation and from that age spent years studying these ancient traditions in India. Jacinta was a “Brahma Kumari” (Raja Yoga Practitioner) for 4 years and in this time taught meditation and yoga as a Raja yogi. She went to Auckland (New Zealand) in 1980 and founded a Raja Yoga center there, which she managed and directed for 2 years. She has been a yoga teacher for over twenty five years, mainly in Byron Bay teaching her own classes. Jacinta also taught Yoga through Adult Education in Byron Shire from the years 1987 to1991, as well as teaching at local schools, including Ballina High school, Mullumbimby High school and Bilinudgil Primary school. She currently teaches Yoga in her home-town of Mullumimby. Jacinta trained as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital and then went on to become a Naturopath, Herbalist and Massage therapist. She then began studying Ayurvedic Medicine, initially completing a foundation training with Dr. Rajen Coopan( in 2000). Jacinta subsequently went on to study Ayurveda with Dr. S Ajit and helped his organization (the ‘Australasian Institute of Ayurvedic Studies’) to gain RTO or registered training organization approval in Australia. She has successfully completed the approved Ayurvedic Consultant Certificate 4 qualification with AIAS. She has been practicing the healing arts for over twenty five years, working individually as well as facilitating workshops and training’s in Australia and overseas. As a mother of four boys and Omma (GrandMa) of one she keeps a fresh outlook on life and is passionate about holistic lifestyle and education. After the home-birth of her eldest son Jacinta attended many births and trained as a lay midwife. She gained much experience during this time and specialises in mother and baby healthcare to this day. The Ayurvedic womens health care broadens this greatly. Jacinta currently practices out of her Naturopathic and Herbal Dispensary business called Mullumbimby Herbals. www.mullumherbals.com. As well as Naturopathic Consultations, individualized Yoga and Bodywork, Jacinta also offers Ayurvedic treatments such as Shirodhara, Nasya and Ayurvedic lifestyle support. She also teaches Ayurvedic workshops and experiential weekends and coordinates these trainings in Australia.
Thanks to her experience as a yoga translator/interpreter and her dedication to knowledge and growth, she has been immersed in various teachings including yoga philosophy, anatomy & physiology, pranayama and meditation. Currently based in Byron Bay, Australia, Kanako enjoys teaching small group classes and prenatal yoga when she is not teaching for trainings. She is grateful everyday for being a mother to her little daughter as it has been the most challenging yet beautiful and transformational yoga sadhana in life!
Through Classical Ballet, Kanako developed body awareness and the joy of using her body in expressive art, which led her to discover Yoga and Pilates. In order to cope with the hectic city life in Tokyo, she practiced yoga at home and attended classes and workshops with different teachers; however, it was when she first came to Byron bay that she has really started to dive in the depth of Yoga and meditation. Since then she’s received trainings in Solomon Yogalates and in the Ishta System with Rachel Zinman. She has been studying 5 Element Form as part of apprenticeship with Peter Clifford for more than 5 years and is also qualified in teaching prenatal yoga. Kanako has worked internationally in many teacher trainings, retreats and workshops as both interpreter (for Japanese groups) and as a teacher since 2007. www.kanashakti.com
Shortly after graduating she was fortunate enough to meet Rachel Zinman and fell immediately in love with the practice of Bhakti Yoga that Rachel shares with such devotion, creativity and passion that the heart opens and blossoms. Karen has spent many years studying with Rachel at every available opportunity and last year was finally able to fulfill her dream to complete her training.
Karen is an E-RYT 200 and a RCYT. Originally from the Uk she began her yogic journey in Thailand in 1995. She studied independently for the first 4 years under the guidance and support of Emma Lloyd a BWY teacher. Later she began to take classes in the Iyengar style of Yoga and spent three years studying with Justin Herald of the Iyengar Studio in Bangkok. Karen has a creative background holding a Bachelor of Arts in 3 Dimensional Design and is both an Artist and Art teacher and Reiki Master, and has worked with Children for most of her adult life. Combining all of her passions, Karen began teaching Yoga to children of all ages over a decade ago and came to Australia in 2006 to train with Nicky Knoff in Cairns. Karen also continues to draw inspiration from studying with both Donna Farhi and Judith Lasater. For Karen her expression of creativity is paramount in all she does and in her approach to teaching Yoga there is a sense of true compassion and humility, playfulness and deep joy in what she is able to facilitate for students of all ages. Karen teaches both Adults and Children locally in the Byron Shire where she is based and internationally facilitates Teacher Training’s in Children’s Yoga in Japan. www.creativeyogis.com
Dr Lauren Tober is a Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Teacher based in Mullumbimby. She loves bringing western and yogic psychology together in way that is authentic, joyful and meaningful. Lauren offers counselling, mentoring, workshops, courses and training locally, online and internationally. She is also the founder of Capturing Gratitude, an online photographic happiness project. Find out more about Lauren at
or join the gratitude revolution at www.laurentober.com . www.capturinggratitude.com
Nirupa's extensive background in Hatha Yoga began twenty years ago with Tias Little in Santa Fe, New Mexico. A lifetime of Dance, Healing Arts, Movement & Meditation have informed and guided her journey.
Presently, Nirupa is in a three year Training of Somatic Experiencing Trauma Work of Peter Levine.
She lives with her husband and family in the hills of Mullumbimby and teaches weekly classes in her home studio. Nirupa is the program director and coordinator of the Embodiment limb of the Uplift Festivals in the Byron Shire.
Somatic Yoga Flow is an integrated practice of Somatic Movement Intelligence ( 2nd generation Feldenkrais of Ruty Alon), combined with Hatha Yoga and Meditation. Somatic Movement Intelligence Flow classes are refined and gentle. By tracking the variations of movement from within the space of the body we are able to deeply listen from the inside. Approaching movement with curiosity and with spaciousness, we are able to explore and unwind. These classes are directly addressing our nervous systems, this is why we move at a slow pace, with awareness, thus we give the nervous system time to sense, feel, self regulate and integrate.
This mindful movement practice is an excellent addition to any yoga or well being practice.
‘When we occupy the body and are present, we have the ability to respond to our environment from a feeling of connection from within to the field around us as part of this magnificent dance of co-creation’.
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