Dominique Santana Salerno

Dominique Santana Salerno, Principal of Australian Yoga Academy, 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 the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Australian Yoga Academy.

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 and natural healing methods.

Anthony has been sharing what he has discovered with others since starting Australian Yoga Academy in 2000.

Anthony is the author of The Heart of Healing, which is a guide to changing the way we see the world and healing our mind and body.

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

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.

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.


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.

Emma Louise Costabile

Em was introduced to meditation in 2012 through her own personal studies and practice, through years of learning, Em 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 Em 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, Em recently completed a 200HR trauma-informed community based yoga Teacher Training with Yoga for Humankind. Em 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.” – Emma Louise Costabile

Beata Heymann

Beata has a background studying and working in the arts, community engagement, youth advocacy and trauma-informed practices. Having trained in yoga, pranayama, qigong, meditation and sound she combines elements of various teachings in her offerings. With over ten years experience working in the community and non-for profit sector in Melbourne in early intervention with at-risk youth Beata has an intimate understanding of the challenges, stress and anxiety faced by young people and their families living in an increasingly fast-paced society. This experience lead her to combine youth-work and yoga teaching to found Breath Circle, a health and wellbeing organization, teaching mindful breathing in schools, empowering students and teachers to use breath awareness as a tool for self-regulation.

An active member of the yoga community, Beata 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.  She teaches youth mindfulness programs, regular slow flow, yin, pranayama and meditation classes and is a deep lover of sound. Beata brings a curiosity and open heart to her exploration of yoga, combining asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, mantra and chanting. Having an optimistic nature and devotion to life long learning means she is constantly exploring and engaging with yoga in daily life. Drawing on diverse teachings from Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Ayurveda, Vedic Mantra and Chanting. Sound is a big part of her practice and she loves exploring new ways to combine sound and movement.

Beata has completed her 350hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with the Australian Yoga Academy, 50hr Yin Teach Training with Karina Smith, 20hr TCTSY training with Kristen Pringle, 60hr Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga for Humankind, 350hr vocal training with Amit Carmelli, 50hr QiGong Training with Wing Chun Qi Gong, 70hr Cultural Competency training with Save the Children and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Monash University.