Lecturers

Dominique Santana Salerno

Dominique Santana Salerno, principal of the Australian Yoga Academy, is an inspired Yoga Practitioner, Teacher and Ayurvedic Healer.

She has studied extensively in a wide range of fields including a Bachelor of Communication, Postgraduate Diploma of Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma of Holistic Counselling, Diploma of Classical, (Raja) Yoga, Yoga – Alliance 500+ hour Ashtanga Yoga and Advanced Pranayama Certification as well as a Certificate of Ayurvedic Medicine and Reiki level 3.

Dominique co-founded the Australian Yoga Academy and Blue Angel Centre For Wellbeing. She went on to develop the Australian Yoga Academy’s renowned Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching Program accredited by the Yoga Teachers Association of Australia. She is passionate about providing the highest quality professional training for Yoga Teachers at a foundation level as well as in specialist subject areas.

In addition to her many years teaching and studying in Australia, Dominique spent over 12 months in India, Thailand and Taiwan studying Ashtanga Yoga, Pranayama, Sanskrit, Yogic Philosophy and Ayurvedic Medicine. She was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and mentor with some of the worlds’ greatest teachers.

Her teachers and influences include: Robert Byrne, John Demartini, Simon Borg – Olivier, Robert E. Svoboda, Sri. O.P. Tiwari, Richard Freeman, Paul Dallaghan, Neil Barker, Jeff and Harmony Lichty, Dr. Shantala Priyardrshini, Dr. Remitha K.K. and Professor Nagaraja Rao.

Dominique is a rare individual who has the unique ability to communicate the internal benefits of practice and timeless spiritual concepts in a practical and down to earth manner. Her open heart and relaxed approach enables her to truly connect with her students, inspiring those she works with to empower all areas of their lives.

Anthony Salerno

Anthony Salerno, author of The Heart of Healing, is Spiritual Philosopher, Teacher and Managing Director of AYA.

Since 1993 Anthony has been dedicated to uncovering the universal laws of life and understanding human behaviour.

His studies have spanned a wide range of fields including philosophy, world spiritual traditions, yoga, psychology, counselling, life and business coaching, natural healing methods together with scientific disciplines such as cosmology and quantum physics.

In 2000, after three years practicing law, Anthony made the commitment to follow his calling in the mind body spirit field and founded Blue Angel Centre for Wellbeing with his wife Dominique.

In 2002, they founded Australian Yoga Academy, and since this time have dedicated their lives to assisting people to raise their consciousness, transform their lives and maximize their potential physically, mentally and spiritually.

As a teacher, Anthony shares his exceptional wisdom and understanding about life and assists people to open their hearts and minds and awaken the magnificent potential within.

Melanie Mackintosh

Melanie Mackintosh is a co-owner of the Australian Yoga Academy and Director of Education, where she manages AYA’s highly regarded Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teacher training program.

Melanie came to yoga after working for a number of years in the fields of Human Resources and Change Management. Her corporate work in industries such as banking, health and engineering has taken her all across Australia, Singapore and to London.

Just like many of her current day students, Melanie was first attracted to yoga as a way of managing the pressure of her corporate role as well as dealing with persistent back issues. She soon found that yoga was more than just a form of physical exercise, but a way of life. For over ten years, Melanie integrated yoga into her life, finding that the holistic practices of yoga including asana and pranayama had profound effects on her mental and physical well being. It was during this time that Melanie also began her studies in Naturopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Realising that she must fulfill her life purpose and work exclusively in the fields of yoga and natural medicine, Melanie completed her Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching with AYA in 2006. She commenced working with AYA as a yoga teacher immediately following graduation and joined the Education faculty, teaching the Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching in 2008. Then in 2010, Melanie left her corporate role as her first child was born, and shortly after, commenced working full time with AYA.

Melanie is abundantly grateful for the ongoing opportunity to work as a yoga teacher, helping to inspire hundreds of students, not just in asana, but in the deeper, healing dimensions of this ancient science. She considers it her greatest privilege to lecture around 70 teacher trainees each year, primarily in the fields of teaching practices and principles, anatomy and physiology, pre natal yoga and the language of Sanskrit.

Melanie is a wise and especially enthusiastic lecturer and is committed to running the most professional yoga teacher training program in Australia. Melanie is passionate about preparing AYA’s teacher training students to be the best yoga teachers in the world. Accordingly, she has tailored the AYA teacher training program to demand tertiary level quality of work and has included a structured practice teaching component to prepare students for teaching. She also regularly encourages trainees to join her in general classes for hands on assisting and adjusting experience.

Ongoing professional development is of paramount importance to Melanie, and she continues to study under senior teachers such as Donna Farhi, Simon Borg-Olivier, Nicky Knoff and Dr Rama Prasad. The writings of Mal Robbins, Ray Long, Leslie Kaminoff, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Singh Khalsa, Dr. David Frawley, David Coulter, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Jost Sauer and Prof. Lun Wong also inspire her teaching. Melanie acknowledges the renowned B.K.S Iyengar as the person who primarily inspired her to commence her yoga journey. Locally, Melanie acknowledges Anthony Salerno, Dominique Santana-Salerno, Jenni Morrison-Jack, Mark Pheely and Tony Rothberg as key teachers in her life.

Melanie also acknowledges all of her past and present students who have allowed her to help guide them in their yoga practice. Melanie considers the opportunity to be involved with so many students in both a general capacity and in teacher training as one of the greatest gifts in her life.

Heena Chauhan

Heena Chauhan teaches the History of Yoga and Sanskrit at the Australian Yoga Academy.

Heena was born and raised in Mumbai, where exposure to the Indian way of life was a part of her daily existence. Growing up, she was organically surrounded by the practices of Vedic chanting, Yoga and Hindu mysticism.

Heena completed a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration in London and after a marketing career at a major Japanese trading firm, she went on to complete her Masters degree in Marketing, in San Francisco, and Monash University, Melbourne.  In 2001, Heena became a founding director of fashion label Zayt, running production and design for the Melbourne-based label.

Being a longstanding Yoga practitioner, Heena was keen to further expand her formal knowledge and she undertook the teacher training program at AYA Prahran, completing the Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching in 2015.

Heena’s passion is Indian Mythology, Yogic Philosophy, Vedic chanting and the application of wisdom found in ancient Indian texts. She feels blessed by her exposure to both Eastern and Western influences and remains an eternal student, always eager to build on her knowledge.  She hopes to provide future teachers with a bridge between the Yoga of traditional India and its modern day practice.

She continues to visit her homeland several times a year, learning from respected teachers of Sanskrit, Hatha Yoga and Indian History.

She is very grateful for the opportunity to share her passion and knowledge with others at AYA.

Karina Smith

Karina is a lover of movement and dance, and is the eternal student.

Karina began her dance journey at the tender age of 4 years old, further exploring her craft as a dancer at Deakin University, where she completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Arts and Theatre making. After graduation she continued her performance investigations with Circus, burlesque, and theatre production. Since then she has been on a continual search for knowledge, with a seemingly unquenchable thirst.

Karina completed her Yoga Teacher training with AYA in 2011, and has since completed their Master Certificates in Pranayama, Ayurveda, and Meditation Teaching.

After her training at AYA Karina travelled to India where she completed a further 350 hour Yoga Teaching course, as well as extensive studies in Ayurveda and Panchakarma.

Upon return to Australia Karina undertook her Masters in Podiatric Practice at Latrobe University, where she gained in depth Anatomy and Physiology knowledge. She has since transferred into a Bachelor of Traditional Chinese Medicine studies at Southern School of Natural Therapies. She is currently studying to become a qualified herbalist and acupuncturist.

Karina brings a wealth of knowledge to her teaching and her lectures, and thoroughly enjoys sharing it openly.

Her yogic influences include Robert Byrne, Simon Park, Maty Ezraty, Paul Grilley, Bernie Clark, Eknath Easwaran, Rumi Gurudev Nityananda, as well as her extended AYA family.

Anne Love

Anne is a dedicated mindfulness meditation practitioner who continues to practice, study and attend regular retreats. She has been practicing yoga since 1998 and did her first meditation retreat in 2001. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training over 15 years ago. Her deep commitment to her meditation practice was consolidated while living in the USA for 6 years where she studied meditation initially to deepen her own practice and she then trained with Mindful Schools as a way to share the practice with youth and adults.

Anne is a certified Mindful Schools Teacher. She has taught mindfulness to teachers, parents and students in schools and universities in both the USA and Australia and continues to work in education, corporates and with the public teaching and sharing the benefits of mindfulness.

Anne also spent over 15 years in senior consulting roles in the area of Human Resource Development. She has a Masters of Education and Bachelor Human Resource Management. Anne has 2 young children.