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Lecturers

Dominique Santana Salerno

Dominique Santana Salerno is a passionate an inspired yoga practitioner and teacher.

She discovered the benefits of yoga in 1995 whilst studying at University.

Dominique co-founded Australian Yoga Academy in 2000 and in 2005 went on to develop AYA’s now renowned Yoga Teaching Program.

Since 2000, Dominique and AYA have opened 8 studios throughout Melbourne and have trained almost 1000 yoga teachers who are sharing the wisdom of yoga and changing people’s lives.

She is passionate about providing the highest quality professional training for Yoga Teachers at a foundation level as well as in specialist subject areas.

Dominique has studied extensively in a wide range of fields including:

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
Certificate of Ayurvedic Medicine
Reiki level 3

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 E. Svoboda, Sri. O.P. Tiwari, Richard Freeman, Paul Dallaghan, Simon Borg–Olivier, Neil Barker, Jeff and Harmony Lichty, Dr. Shantala Priyardrshini, Dr. Remitha K.K. and Professor Nagaraja Rao.

Dominique believes that yoga is a tool for developing our human potential and is a rare individual with 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, indomitable energy and relaxed approach enable her to truly connect with her students, inspiring those she works with to empower all areas of their lives.

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 in the fields of Human Resources and Change Management. Her corporate work in industries such as banking, health and engineering has taken her across Australia, Singapore and the U.K.

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. She soon found that yoga was more than just a form of physical exercise, but a way of life.

Realising that she must fulfill her life purpose and work exclusively in the field of yoga, Melanie completed her Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching with AYA in 2006. She joined the Education faculty, teaching the Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching, in 2008 and the AYA Management team in 2010.

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 brought a teacher training team together who are the very best in their respective fields.

Melanie is committed to developing world-class continuing professional development programs at AYA to assist teachers with their further education needs. She is a recognised leader in the field of prenatal and postnatal teacher training, and is a certified Hypnobithing Australia practitioner.

Ongoing professional development is of paramount importance to Melanie, and she has studied under senior teachers such as Donna Farhi, Simon Borg-Olivier, Nicky Knoff, Michael de Manincor, Lisa Grauaug and Mamashanti. The work of Mal Robbins, Leslie Kaminoff, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Singh Khalsa, Bernie Clark, Prof. Tim Noakes, Prof. Lun Wong and Dr. Perlmutter also inspire her teaching. Melanie acknowledges the renowned B.K.S Iyengar as the person who primarily inspired
her to commence her yoga journey.

Melanie acknowledges her past and present teachers and students who have inspired her in her yoga journey. Melanie considers the opportunity to be involved with so many teachers and students in the AYA community as one of the greatest gifts in her life.

 Hypnobirthing Australia Certified Practitioner

Anthony Salerno

Anthony Salerno is a lifelong seeker of wisdom. He has a deep inner calling to understand how to awaken consciousness so we can reduce suffering, live well and be all we can be.

Anthony is the author of Beyond the Emotional Roller Coaster, a guide to experiencing the peace, joy and love you deserve published in 2007, the
Yoga Wisdom Oracle, to be published in late 2021 and the Unplugged and Awake Blog where he writes about how we can develop the ability to break free, think for ourselves and live meaningful lives that contribute to society.

Anthony studied Law at university in the mid 1990’s and practiced as a solicitor for almost 3 years upon completion of his degree. However, his real passion was Philosophy, Psychology, Theology, Human Development, Yoga and Meditation which he has studied ceaselessly since.

In 2000, Anthony left the law to pursue his true calling in the mind body spirit field when he and his wife Dominique, founded the Australian Yoga Academy which they owned and operated until 2021. During those 20 years they established 9 yoga studios around Melbourne and trained almost 1000 fully qualified yoga teachers who are teaching and changing lives around Australia.

Anthony still teaches the yogic philosophy modules in AYA’s Yoga Teacher Training Program. He is an inspired teacher and loves sharing wisdom about life to assist people to open their hearts and minds and awaken the potential within.

Anthony is dedicated to following his inner callings wherever they lead. He aims to live in accordance with his inner ideal and is ever directed by this revealed wisdom.

Karina Smith

Karina Smith is a Melbourne based Doctor of Chinese Medicine and Yin Yoga Teacher, Teacher Trainer & Educator.

After a lifetime of dancing and years of working on productions, shows and festivals, yoga was an unexpected beacon of self-care and restoration. This was a time when her relationship to movement shifted from performative outcomes, to something private and sacred that was there to nourish her mind and body.

It was only a year after commencing practice at the Australian Yoga Academy in Prahran that she knew that she wanted to do the yoga teacher training they were offering.

Over the course of a year, Karina immersed herself into the training diving deeply into all the incredibly rich offerings of this ancient practice.

Following her learnings at AYA, Karina continued to pursue her yoga studies both internationally and in Australia. Her extensive studies include two respective 350hr Teacher Trainings (The Australian Yoga Academy and Shantarasa Institute, Gujurat India), and has been fortunate to be a student of both Bernie Clark and Paul Grilley in North America.

As a teacher for more than a decade, Karina has taught at numerous studios in her home town of Melbourne Australia including Yoga Flame, West Side Yoga and Estuary, and is currently a lecturer for The Australian Yoga Academy; mentoring students, and encouraging their teaching skills development.

In 2018, Karina launched her own 50 Hour Yin & Functional Anatomy Teacher Training. This new offering was the chance to combine all of her collective learnings as both a student and teacher of yoga, and also as an emerging Doctor of Chinese Medicine. Fully accredited by Yoga Alliance Australia, she continues to run her Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings regularly in person, online and now offers a modular version of the course digitally.

Her love of Yin Yoga revealed a deeper fascination for the human body and anatomy led Karina to pursue Chinese Medicine. After graduating in 2019, she now runs her own clinic in Prahran, Melbourne Australia where she offers acupuncture, herbal therapies, moxibustion and cupping treatments for her patients.

With a particular passion for women’s health, through Chinese Medicine Karina aims to be able to support women to have a better relationship with
their menstrual cycle.

Her combined loves of Yoga and Chinese Medicine make up the Yin & Yang of her work, a desire to improve the health and lifestyles of her students, patients and clients alike.

Training & Credentials

B.A Health Science Chinese Medicine Studies; Acupuncture and Herbalism Majors.
350hr Yoga TT with Australian Yoga Academy
350hr Yoga TT with Shantarasa Institute, Gujurat India
50hr Yin TT with Jen Crescenzo
50hr Yin TT with Bernie Clark
50hr Yin TT with Paul Grilley
​Health Science studies in Podiatric Practice
B.A in Contemporary Arts Dance Major

drkarinasmith.com
@drkarinasmith

Dr Andrew (Andy) Levick – Osteopath

Originally from Auckland in New Zealand, travel and people have shaped Andy’s career and path in Osteopathy. A structural based approach to Osteopathy has led him to work in many weird and wonderful places around the world. Andy is the Co-founder of Albert Park Sports & Spinal and also enjoys the practices of Yoga and Pilates. He specialises in the treatment of sports injuries, spinal conditions, as well as musculoskeletal problems that have been resistant to former treatment. Andy loves the challenge that the teaching of anatomy in the yoga space brings and cherishes the shared experience of learning with our teacher trainers at AYA.

 

Wendy Praud

Wendy is deeply passionate about expression through movement and stillness and encourages her students to become freer in their bodies and their beings. She loves Yin, Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness, Meditation, Vinyasa and Hatha and loves adding a touch of humour in her classes. Wendy is also an artist and has a background in dancing, acting, drawing, painting, writing and music.

Wendy grew up in family heavily involved in religions: one grandma is Jewish, the other one is Catholic, her mother is Scientologist, her stepmother is a Witch. She always craved to find a way to become more spiritual than religious. She found Yoga was a safe space to allow herself to be.

After her trip to India and Nepal in 2010 she realised she was meant to help people. Upon her return to Australia she enrolled in AYA’s Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching and since completion in 2011 she has been teaching at AYA and managing the studio and has since become part of the AYA’s YTT lecturing team.

Wendy runs Yoga retreats, Mindfulness & Meditation courses and workshops all around Europe and has been teaching Yoga in USA, Qatar and China.

Wendy has completed the following training:

  • Advanced Diploma of Yoga Teaching – 350hr
  • Advanced Pre & Post Natal Yoga Teacher Training – 50hr
  • Yin Yoga Teacher Training & Myofascia Release” – 25hr
  • Meditation Teacher Training – 50hr
  • Mindfulness Teacher Certification (MBSR: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) – 150hr
  • Certificate in Meditation Teacher Training – 16hr
  • Certificate in Yogic Philosophy – 12hr
  • Certificate in Art of Adjusting – 12hr
  • Certificate in Vinyasa Teaching – 20hr
  • Certificate in Reiki Master (level 4)
  • Certificate in Pole Dancing (level 4)
  • Certificate in Barre Teacher Training
  • First Aid Certificate, level 1 &  2 + CPR

Andrew Lawes

Curious and inquisitive, Andrew is fascinated by how things work and why things happen. For Andrew, the magic of yoga is in the understanding of the body and the mind, and the integration of this understanding with life off the mat. He holds a calm and considered space for each person to connect with breath, to expand their mobility, to realise their potential. With a strong influence from calisthenics and functional range conditioning, Andrew’s classes are an uplifting blend of dynamic vinyasa flows and deeper hatha shapes. His teaching offers a grounded, accessible practice while still being challenging and fun.

Andrew completed a 350hr Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with the Australian Yoga Academy, and a 50hr Yin Teacher Training with Karina Smith. He holds a Bachelors in Classical History and Philosophy, and a Licentiate Diploma of Music Performance.

Jaymala Sharma

Jaymala teaches the History of Yoga and Sanskrit at the Australian Yoga Academy.

Born in the historical land of Rajasthan, India; Jaymala grew up practicing Yoga as a child along with her grand father (an embodiment of a virtuous Yogi leading a simple & principled life despite many accolades). While a long standing everyday practitioner, Jaymala’s journey towards continued learning, as well as, teaching Yoga got reignited with meditation and chanting sessions for the elderly citizens and charitable community classes in Hyderabad, India back in 2008. She has continued with this passion of her life to be part of Yoga teaching community since then.

Jaymala strongly believes that she will continue learning throughout life; having completed her Masters Yoga Teacher program in India and multiple other courses in Yin Yoga, Meditation, Vinyasa Yoga and Kids Yoga. Since migrating to Australia in 2015, she completed the prestigious AYA Advanced Teachers Training Program in 2017. She also hold a Masters Degree in Human Resources and Finance.

To teach at AYA is such a great opportunity that came with the AYA mentors (Dominique & Melanie) recognising my love for yoga and the unique ability to blend spiritual and yogic principles into my everyday living and classes.

 

Mykah DeRose

Mykah was introduced to meditation in 2012 through her own personal studies and practice, through years of learning, Mykah grew a deeper connection and understanding to herself, others and nature itself. After completing Level 1 50HR Mindfulness Teacher Training course in 2016 under Phoebe Kiddo at Australian Yoga Academy, she continued on to complete the 200HR MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) Teacher Training. A 10-day Silent Vipassana course in September 2017 helped Mykah strengthen and understand her practice. Having completed her levels One, Two and Three in Experiential Focusing Therapy under Biliana Dearly and all levels in Reiki under Martine Salerno, Mykah recently completed a 200HR trauma-informed community based yoga Teacher Training with Yoga for Humankind. Mykah is currently studying a post graduate Psychotherapy and Counselling degree and facilitating weekly workshops and public classes around Melbourne.

“Mindfulness meditation is a skill that allows me to dive into the depth of presence. To understand and appreciate the power of simplicity. To feel fully alive, here, in the now, is a peaceful expansive way of being. I think letting go is one of the hardest things us humans have to face in our lives; letting go of pain, of judgments, of experiences- pleasant or unpleasant. We live in a world now where anxiety, depression and isolation are becoming so common in many of us. Finding meaning in this busy life using our breath, our bodies and our communities is fundamental for relieving these stressors. Meditation is a tool that helps us understand reality, connect with our true essence and be with each breath, moment by moment.” – Mykah DeRose

Beata Heymann

Beata is an active member of the yoga community with 950 hours of training in Yoga, Trauma-Informed practices, Breath-work and Sound. She is a lecturer for Australian Yoga Academy’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training. She runs Breath Circle a mindful breathing organisation, hosts workshops in Yin and Sound healing and teaches courses on Yoga for Anxiety utilising restorative movement, breath work and chanting as tools for healing and re-vitalising the body, mind and spirit.

Beata specialises in youth-mindfulness programs and has over ten years experience working in the community and non-for profit sector in Melbourne with at-risk youth. While working at Cubbies (Fitzroy Adventure Playground) she developed an intimate understanding of the challenges, trauma, stress and anxiety faced by young people and their families. This work together with her yoga teacher experience has led her to establish Breath Circle, a health and wellbeing organisation, teaching mindful breathing in schools. It empowers students and teachers to use breath awareness to support mental health, as a tool for self-regulation.

Trainings

2020 – Mindful Breathing Teacher Training, 20 hours – Breathe School – Kat and Bodhi
2018 – 2020 – Vocal training, 350 hours – The School Of Life Israel – Amit Carmeli
2019 – Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training, 60 hours – Yoga for Humankind
2018 – TCTSY Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga Training, 20 hours – One Heart Yoga & Meditation
2018 – Yin Yoga Teacher Training, 50 hours – Australian Yoga Academy
2017 – Advanced Yoga Teacher Training, 350 hours – Australian Yoga Academy
2017 – PATHS Training – promoting alternative thinking strategies, 40hours
2016 – Trauma-training – Save The Children, 20hours
2016 – Cultural Competency Training – Save The children, 10hours
2016 – Wing Chun Qi Gong Training – 50 hours
2012 – Fine Art Exchange Program – Prato University
2011 – Bachelor of Fine Art – Monash University
2009 – Bachelor of Arts, Social Science – Melbourne University