Studio Teachers



Jules Payne, Co-Owner & Director of Teacher Training, ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Jules co-founded Ajna Yoga in 2008 and has been training yoga teachers since 2004. Her foundation is rooted in yoga therapy, anusara, ashtanga and vijnana yoga. Jules has a special interest in teaching 50+ yoga and injury rehabilitation. She teaches group classes, private yoga therapy sessions and teacher training. Jules’ classes are an equal mix of education, therapeutic applications and fun.




Michelle Kahan, Co-Owner & Primary Instructor of Teacher Training, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Michelle co-founded Ajna Yoga and has been teaching yoga classes in Victoria for 14 years and training teachers for five years. She is trained in Hatha, Pre/Post Natal, Ashtanga and Vijnana yoga~where she completed her 800-hour training with Gioia Irwin and Orit Sen-Gupta. She teaches group yoga classes, private yoga therapy sessions and Ajna Yoga’s Teacher Training. Michelle loves to share her passion of yoga with her easy going personality. Her classes focus on alignment, pranayama (breath), and connecting to the divine self.




Jacqueline Quinless, RYT-500


Jacqueline is an Ajna graduate and is certified in Zen meditation practices based on the teachings of global spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh through the Gross National Happiness Center in Bhutan. Jacqueline is an Anglo-Indian woman whose yoga practice and spiritual philosophies are inspired by her children and the strong connection she has to her Indian family and culture. She is the founder of Mind in Motion: The West Coast Children’s Yoga and Mindfulness program that has been designed from a holistic approach to enhance children’s physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. She loves working with children in a playful and heart directed way to co-create a “child centric” approach to meditation and yoga.




Sarah Holmes de Castro, M.A., ERYT-200, RYT-500, TCTSY-F, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Sarah has been teaching yoga in therapeutic settings since 2004. Her own practice these days is geared to amplifying the steadiness, energy, presence & humour required to be mother to 2 small children. She is Program Director at Yoga Outreach and a yoga therapist at Fine Balance Yoga, offering training and mentorship to yoga teachers offering trauma-informed programs in diverse settings as well as healthcare professionals and support workers. Over the past 12 years she has delivered yoga programs in diverse settings including yoga studios, corporate boardrooms, prisons, detox facilities, mental health teams, art galleries, women’s transition houses, mothers’ support groups and more. Sarah is a certified Trauma Centre Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F), a certified Professional Yoga Therapist with Integrative Yoga Therapy and holds certifications in Functional Yoga Therapy and restorative yoga. She has also completed trainings in Pain Care Yoga is interested in yoga as a path to recovery from both emotional and physical pain. She believes a yoga practice should be accessible, sustainable, and bring greater ease, joy and resilience in everyday life.




Guy Friswell, RYT-500


Guy Friswell is a local instructor and graduate of the Ajna teacher training program. He has practiced yoga regularly for the past ten years and has been teaching for three years, including active weekly classes at several popular Victoria studios. Guy views his yoga teaching as a joyful extension and expression of his personal yoga practice. He is passionate about all things yoga and always eager to share this passion, both one-on-one and in a class setting. His practice and teaching are a fusion of influences, including the inner focus on the vayus in the Vijnana tradition, the breath-centric movement principles of Vinyasa Krama, the intuitive alignment principles of Erich Schiffmann, and the contemporary yoga philosophies of Donna Farhi and Michael Stone.




Peggy Fok, RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Peggy is a Certified Yoga Therapist and an Advanced Therapeutic Yoga Instructor. She is a graduate of Ajna Yoga College, where she received her 800-hour Yoga Therapist training which is accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapist. She teaches group (public and private) and individual classes. Her teaching focuses in wholistic yoga benefits, breath, mindfulness, alignment and balance (both physical and inwardly) in a fun and supportive environment.




Agi Mallory, RYT – 500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist), MBA


Agi brings a compassionate and gentle approach to teaching, meeting students where they are at, and nurturing gentle transformation through supported practice and breathing exercises. As a cancer survivor and mother, Agi is inspired by the subtle changes yoga continues to bring to her own practice and life. She approaches teaching with a sense of openness and curiosity, and as an opportunity to learn both with and from her students. Agi specializes in offering the therapeutic aspects of yoga to the 50+ population. She teaches Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Osteoporosis, Therapeutic Yin Yoga, and offers private Yoga Therapy to individuals and small groups. In addition to public drop-in classes, Agi has been assisting with Yoga Teacher Training at Ajna since 2016, and currently teaches in the Yoga for Healthy Aging and Business of Yoga Therapy workshops.




Mabel Chong, RYT – 500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Mabel is a graduate of Ajna Teacher Training and a 500-hour Therapeutic Teacher. Yoga has been part of Mabel’s life journey for over 17 years. She was inspired to study and teach therapeutic yoga from experiencing a knee injury that could not be surgically mended. Mabel’s teaching has a special focus on yoga for women’s health.




Janis Cooper RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

 


Janis completed her initial yoga teacher training in 2007 in the Sivananda tradition. Through Ajna Yoga, she completed the 800-hour accredited Yoga Therapy Program. She has additional training in pain care yoga and yoga for depression and anxiety. Sharing her love for yoga, Janis teaches with gentleness and compassion, encouraging each student to approach each practice as their own personal exploration.




Tanya Gita Roberts, RYT-500


Tanya Gita has been practicing for 16 years and teaching since 2011. She was drawn to yoga to help manage stress and anxiety. She completed her 200 hour training at the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga and 500 hour certification at the Mount Madonna Centre, CA. In the words of her teacher Baba Hari Dass, she “teaches to learn” and believes that her students are some of her most profound teachers. Her teaching style integrates alignment, breath, subtle body and Ayurveda. She encourages students to feel the connection between body, breath, and mind; and to allow their heart or Spirit to guide their practice, finding that place where we are all one.




Laura Benson, RT-200


Laura has always been interested in movement. She studied dance and gymnastics as a child; fitness and strength training as a teen; and in her twenties was a Personal Trainer. A decade after being introduced to yoga, it became an essential life practice that helped her heal a chronic illness. From appreciation of yoga’s profound impact, Laura shares this ancient wisdom as a way to connect back to the Self. She honours the teacher in everyone and encourages a safe, supportive and accepting environment. Certified at Moksana Yoga Centre in 2012, she is currently enrolled in Ajna Yoga’s 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga program. Laura guides yoga classes with a mix of dynamic flow and strong long holds to enable mindfulness; empowering you to Be where you are.




Nina Leibow, RT-200


Nina is a STOTT Pilates certified instructor. She completed her 240 Hour training at Ajna and is currently enrolled in the 300 Hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga. Her introduction to this experience was in high school when Nina attended her first dance class. Many years later, after a back injury and years of chronic pain, Nina was lead to STOTT Pilates. She found STOTT Pilates techniques to be effective in healing and strengthening the entire body through a safe and gentle approach. Later, Nina began to weave therapeutic yoga into her practice for a deeper connection to the “magic” of the mind-body experience. Nina loves teaching Pilates, Barre, Yoga and Children’s Dance in both group and private sessions. She brings mindful-movement, functional anatomy and alignment to her practice with compassion and joy.




Regina Pfeifer, RYT- 500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Regina Pfeifer is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and holds certification as a Ayurvedic Wellness Counsellor. Regina has taken specialty training in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC – as taught by Christopher Germer and Kristin Neff), Yoga for Cancer, Yoga for Seniors and Yoga Therapy for Pelvic Health.

Regina is known for her gentle, genuine and deeply caring support for people who live with cancer, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, Arthritis, muscle dystrophy, Fibromyalgia and other conditions involving persistent pain. She also helped persons preparing for and recovering from hip and knee surgery and is specializing in conditions related to the pelvic region such as pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic and lower back pain, organ prolapse, incontinence, prostatitis and more. You can find out more about her on her website www.centrebalance.ca and her Facebook page Centre Balance.




Janice Arnot, ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)


Janice comes to us with over 20 experience teaching aquatics, fitness and yoga classes in the community. Janice has been practicing yoga for 20 years and teaching yoga for 16 years. As a Yoga Therapist and teacher she is passionate about the therapeutic benefits of mindful exercise and breath practices. Her intention is to share tools that empower her students to feel strong, centred and relaxed. Janice is also a BCRPA certified fitness instructor specializing in fitness for the older adult and aquatic fitness and aquatic yoga.




Sarah Nelsen, RYT- 500, Yoga Therapist in training


Sarah has been practicing yoga for 20 years and teaching since 2013. She has completed over 1,000 hours of yoga teacher training and specializes in a therapeutic approach to yoga. Sarah is completing her yoga therapy certification through Ajna Yoga College. She teaches gentle, restorative and yin yoga group classes as well as 1 on 1 yoga therapy. Sarah’s classes tend to be quieter than most, with an emphasis on meditative, breath-focused movement. Expect to leave her classes feeling nurtured, grounded, and more in touch with your true nature. Visit her website to learn more: sarahnelsenyoga.com.