Byron Yoga Teacher Training

in the Ishta System

2016 Dates TBA

Being a Yoga teacher is much more than an occupation- its a way of life

Be part of a teacher training that takes you through the depth of anatomy and ayurveda to the total understanding of yoga and the body. Our expert teachers not only give daily instruction on the complete physical aspects of yoga they break open the  secret meaning of yoga hidden in the texts of the Upanishads, the works of Shankara and the Sutras of Patanjali.

Imagine immersing yourself in an intensive program that enables you to:



Understand the beauty of your SELF



Inspires you to practice every day



Gives you solid skills in teaching much more than Asana



Explores the depths of who you are through the traditional teachings of the Upanishads and the Yoga Sutras



Study Adi Shankara’s definitive manual on Advaita Vedanta – Tattva Bhoda



Strengthens your immunity through knowledge of Ayurveda



Combines both a certified YA 200 hr program with advanced 300 hr subjects like advanced asana, pranayama, kriya, adjusting and more



Gives you the knowledge and experience to teach confidently



Have a lifelong career that is meaningful to you and others



Brings you into a wider community and offers ongoing support

On completion of the course you will understand the depth of yoga in the spirit and light of upanishadic wisdom – the origin of all yoga texts. This will qualify you and give you confidence in your knowledge of yoga and empower your role and ability to act as a yoga teacher.

Training teachers for the past 16 years, Our graduates have shared that this is a one of a kind course offering a comprehensive understanding of yoga beyond the techniques.

Our teacher training is registered with Yoga Australia 350 hrs and Yoga Alliance 200 and 500 hr offering top quality instruction with senior level teachers.


Enroll Today


Absolutely, hands down, the best yoga training in Australia! Thank you for offering a unique experience which not only covers the technical aspects of yoga thoroughly, but also addresses the heart of bhakti and self knowledge. The training is comprehensive and challenging, yet nurturing and profoundly supportive and has the potential to be life-changing for those who are ready!

Lisa- Yoga Teacher

This is the best investment you can do for yourself. Leave your busy life for a few weeks and surround yourself with beautiful nature and lovely people, and really spend time with yourself. You will be surprised how much you will discover about yourself and how life is so simple. If you would like to know more than just asanas, this is the course for you.

Meg- Yoga Teacher

The decision to join the teacher training was one of the most life changing ones I’ve made so far.
Before the training: I was afraid to sing in public, I thought I could never have enough knowledge to be a teacher (ever), I often didn’t know what I was doing on this planet. One year later I’m singing on stage regularly, I teach yoga twice a week in a well known yoga school in Amsterdam, and most important: I know why I am here on this planet. To all who are still in doubt; this is not only a present to yourself, but also to the rest of the world.

Irene- Yoga Teacher

I learned so much about my own body and how to practice in a way that was supportive for me and how to help students find their unique way of working in poses to support their structure and constitution. The one month course helped build a new foundation for my practice, and lay the path for my teaching.

Jila- Yoga Teacher

This is a really complete training where you learn not only about teaching asana, but about true, real yoga, with none of the branded hype. You also learn about yourself. Rachel’s asana classes really focus on safe alignment which I love, and the knowledge she shares about mantra, yantra, tantra, ayurveda and philosophy is offered at a depth not generally encountered in a teacher training.

Riana- Yoga Teacher

The blend of bhakti, mantra, mudra, tantra, ayurveda, dynamic vinyasa and now self knowledge is a true gift that Rachel and John share with all in a beautifully sacred yet practical and safe way. You will be inspired by their passion and fall deeply in love with all they share and leave this training ready to share this gift.

Karen - Yoga Teacher

What is the ISHTA System?

The ISHTA system integrates the tools of hatha yoga, tantra and ayurveda to give you a physical practice that suits your constitution and meets the demands of every day life. It incorporates vinyasa flow, pranayama, kriya and laya yoga meditations with an in-depth understanding of anatomy, ayurveda and vedanta ( self knowledge).

The word ISHTA means – That worshipful one. That which is the most desirable. The most loved.

Whatever is most important and desirable in our lives, resonating so completely with you, it’s mere presence heralds the dropping of all sense of yourself as an individual, is called ISHTA

ISHTA is not about individuality. Having nothing to do with who we are as individuals, it is in the presence of the ISHTADEV, that all sense of individuality and separation drops away leaving you with your self.

The word ISHTA derives from the term ISHVARA PRANIDANA

ISHVARA is the term used to name the named in all forms. A collective noun everyone and everything is included in it. PRANIDANA means “to surrender”

As a Yoga teacher you want a program which is comprehensive, accelerates your practice and gives you the skills to teach confidently and safely. Our Training combines both 200 and 300 hr subjects in an intensive format to give you the skills and knowledge to share yoga in any capacity

Please contact us to register your interest we accept students on application only.

Download the application here.

Course Program

Topics for the 6 weeks are:

• The technology of asana –  You will receive a detailed manual which outlines how to teach your students at any level which includes benefits for the postures, modifications, teaching points and more.

• Exploring the breathing body – learn to  practice and teach balancing and purifying pranayama’s to your students and enhance your own understanding and experience of the power of Pranayama

• Introduction to Ayurveda- learn your ayurvedic constitution and more about diet and lifestyle and how to inspire your students to live a more balanced life.

• Applied Anatomy for yogis- learn about the body in a fun and creative way and how to work efficiently in every pose as well as enabling your students to practice safely.

• Teaching meditation – develop your meditation practice through daily class sessions and uncover the true meaning of meditation as well as how to teach simple focusing meditation practices to your students.

• Vedanta ( self knowledge)- be lead through a systematic and ancient methodology to the truth of yourself. Vedanta comes from ‘Veda’ meaning knowledge and ‘anta’, which means final resolution. When these two words are joined together you have the final resolution of that knowledge, the truth that finally rests and resolves in you as yourself.

• Yoga philosophy- explore the chakras and the subtle body energy systems. Understand how knowledge of the subtle body can enhance your teaching and personal practice.

• The Tools of Tantra- learn the deeper meaning of mantra, yantra and mudra, through in depth lectures and daily practices and enjoy the beauty of  bhakti yoga

• Teaching skills-learn how to clearly guide a class and be guided to develop your teaching voice through group practice sessions

• Kirtan (devotional singing)-enjoy the bliss of singing in community

• Adjusting skills-learn how  the alchemy of touch through careful adjustment techniques

• Development of a consistent home practice-with a sequence adaptable to your and your students every day needs

• Sequencing skills-be exposed to the art of sequencing through lectures and practical application

• Practice advanced pranayama and meditation and take your practice to the next level


What will your days look like?

Sample Schedule 

6.15 arrival and bhakti practice

6.30-8.30 pranayama, asana and meditation

8.30 – 9.00 breakfast break

9.00-10.30 –  self knowledge/upanishadic wisdom teachings

10.45-12.30 asana lab

12.30-1.30 lunch

1.30- 4.30  anatomy, ayurveda tantra, chakras/practice teach

4.30-4.45 Afternoon break

4.45 -6.00 Ishta Mala practice

6.00-6.15   Clean up time

The program runs 5 days per week, 6:15 am – 6.15 pm. Each day includes a strong vinyasa practice combining Iyengar-based alignment with emphasis on the breath, pranayama, mantra, mudra, meditation, talks on Vedanta ( self knowledge) and lectures in ayurveda, anatomy, yoga philosophy, teaching practicums and more. On some of the days your practice will be the easy sequence, which by the end of the course will enable you to teach to beginner level students. This easy sequence has an emphasis on modifications and variations

The training has both an emphasis on teaching and the practice of yoga. Understanding your self and learning to balance your energy will be explored through daily lectures in vedanta ( self knowledge) and a home practice sequence called Ishta Mala, which fits to your individual needs and time constraints and balances all the doshas.

Students must be self-motivated, be able to manage their time well and able to complete homework and reading assignments throughout the training.

Please contact us to register your interest we accept students on application only.

Download the application here

Course Pre-requisites

The pre-requisite is two years of consistent asana practice in any style and a genuine desire and interest in teaching others, as well as a dedication to self discovery. A regular meditation practice is recommended but not compulsory.

On completion of this course, you will have a profound understanding of the principles of teaching yoga, however it is important to realise you may not necessarily be ready to teach. If you are already teaching or have experience in related fields this course will give you clear tools and techniques for teaching beginning students. If you are less experienced this course will help you develop the discipline for a meditation and asana practice and further your inquiry into the deeper levels of yoga. Being a yoga teacher is a vocation of the heart; your skills ripen from years of practice, persistence and inner transformation. Embarking on the journey to become a yoga teacher is an opportunity to understand your self and the nature of this word self and how to share that with others.

This course is both practical and theoretical. It requires strong focus and stamina. Some days you will be doing up to five hours of asana practice. We ask that you are self-motivated, punctual and know how to take care of yourself when under pressure. Practicing and learning yoga is a lifelong journey. Immersing yourself in an intensive course can be challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. The teachers will be available to guide you and offer support, but ultimately it is up to the individual to accept the exciting changes and challenges that yoga offers.

Please note : while onsite and participating in the course we ask that you keep your phones on airplane mode and only use them in an emergency.

This training is registered as a 200 hour Yoga Alliance course and a 350 hr Yoga Australia course.
Please contact us to register your interest we accept students on application only.

Download the application here

Course Cost

AUD 3,600 (includes teacher training manual and anatomy and physiology manual), this does not include accommodation.

AUD 3,500 (Early bird price)

Information regarding studio space, housing, and living in Byron Bay

Our studio space, The Shed  is located  at the Star Seed Gardens a living experiment in permaculture and community. The space is open and airy and is right next to a beautiful dam and lush lawns and gardens. Funky and creative artists and gardeners offer workshops and classes in nearby buildings and there is also a teahouse, which hosts music and events on the weekends. We have ample restroom facilities and a large kitchen for cooking lunches. The beach is a 15 minute bike ride  from the venue

Accommodation for the duration of the training is your responsibility however there are lots of housing options in Byron Bay. And we also offer a list of accommodation options.

As an alternative students share a holiday rental, or take a room in a house. A room in a house can cost from AUD $250 a week. You can search the classifieds in the local paper, The Echo – their on-line version can be found at

Other alternatives are: and

To apply for the Ishta System teacher training

Complete the questionnaire and return it via email  to:

PO Box 1427 Byron Bay 2481 NSW Australia

Please include one reference from your Yoga teacher describing your strengths as a student, as well as the areas of your practice where you face challenges and one character reference from someone who knows your work ethic and personality. Please include a photo with your application

Upon initial review, we will contact you if we require any additional information.

Once your application has been thoroughly reviewed, we will inform you of your acceptance into the program: at this time, we require an $500 AUD non-refundable deposit with a completed registration form to guarantee your spot in the training.

(Please note, if you are not accepted into the program we will send our feedback so that you may possibly prepare for the next training program)

Payment for the program must be received in full 3 weeks prior to the start of the program. Please review the discounts that are available for early registrants who pay in full by specified deadlines.

If you are applying to the program after the 3-week deadline, payment must be received in full within 7 days following your acceptance notification or at least 7 days before the course commences.

For general enquiries  or Ph: +61 432291918

Click here to download questionnaire and apply for the Training

Your Teachers

Rachel Zinman - Principle teacher

Rachel has been practicing yoga for over 30 years and has taught for over 20. She did her first Yoga class at 17 but became more serious about 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 atma vidya (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:

She is a published poet in several anthologies including the Poetry of Yoga, which was published in 2011. She writes for Australian Yoga Journal. Australian Yoga Life, Mindbodygreen, Do You Yoga, Beyond Type 1, Insulin Nation, A Sweet Life, Rebelle society, and many more online magazines and most recently  has been published in a # 1 Best Seller.

Watch Rachel on Youtube here.

John Weddepohl - Self Knowledge

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 join him on facebook at Urb@n Vedanta and Urb@n Yogi

Watch John on Youtube.

Lisa Fitzpatrick - Anatomy

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.

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

She lives with her two sons in a beautiful sub-tropical paradise near Byron Bay.


Jacinta McEwen- Ayurveda

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 studied Yoga in Poona with B.K.S 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.)

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 Mullumbimby.

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. 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. Find out more about Jacinta at


Kanako Yajima - Co teacher

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.

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!  Fin out more about Kanako here

Karen Wightman - Co teacher

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.

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 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. Fin out more about Karen here

Dr. Lauren Tober

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


Nirupa Hoffman

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’. Find out more about Nirupa here



Cape Byron is Australia’s most easterly point, 153° 39´ east, located on the north coast of New South Wales. With its numerous beaches, unspoilt hinterland, and relaxed lifestyle, Byron Bay is a popular tourist destination. It is also a place where artists, musicians, dancers, writers, surfers, healers and of course yogis express their diversity and individuality. The town has all major facilities: a hospital, cinema, supermarket, health food stores and great restaurants, as well as a flourishing alternative health industry. If you live in town you won’t need to drive and can easily hire a bicycle if you need to get around.

The average summer temperature is 21C – 28C, and average winter temperature is 15C – 21C, There are also periods of heavy rainfall, especially in summer. The area has a total annual rainfall of 1734cm.

Byron Shire has a population of close to 30,000, while the town of Byron Bay has a population of about 9,000.

Byron Bay is located just off the Pacific Highway, 800kms north of Sydney, 175kms south of Brisbane. Airports are located in Balina (30mins south) or Coolangatta (60mins north) and buses and trains arrive regularly.

The following websites provide information about Byron Bay and the surrounding area:  |

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Please note, the $500 AUD deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable but may be applied toward the next scheduled training if you must postpone your commitment to the current program.

If you have not paid your balance in full within a week before the training begins, your place may be offered to someone on the waiting list and you will forfeit the deposit, unless you apply it to the next scheduled training.

If you withdraw from the course prior to the commencement of the course, the following refund policy applies to the balance of the course fee (not the deposit).

If you withdraw 28 days or more prior to course commencement – you will receive the course fee balance minus an administration fee of AUD $300.

If you withdraw 15 – 27 days prior to the course commencement, you will receive 75% of the course fee balance

If you withdraw 5 – 14 days prior to course commencement, you will receive 50% of the course balance.

If you withdraw 1-4 days prior to course commencement or withdraw after the course starts, you will receive no refund.


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