Ajna Yoga Teacher Training Faculty

Jules Payne: Director, Co-Founder, Primary Instructor, ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

“I began practicing yoga with the idea that it would make me stronger. Yoga did help my strength, and it also helped me slow down to live a happier life. As I learned more about yoga, I discovered other therapeutic benefits that have helped me with a life-long struggle with insomnia and back pain from scoliosis. I was inspired by these discoveries to pursue an education in Yoga Therapy.”

Jules has been training teachers of yoga since 2004 and co-founded Ajna Yoga with Michelle Kahan in 2008.  Her own training is in Vijnana, Anusara, Ashtanga, and Integrative Yoga Therapy. Jules received her certification as a Yoga Therapist with Integrative Yoga Therapy.


In her teaching, Jules is most interested in connecting people with the therapeutic aspects of yoga—guiding people to their own internal source of calm through movement, breath, and meditation. Her classes combine awareness of alignment, breath, and a sense of play.  Jules teaches  backcare yoga, yoga for healthy aging, yoga therapy for hips and shoulders, chair- yoga, and sees clients for private yoga-therapy sessions.


In training new teachers and yoga therapists, Jules believes in providing a strong foundation in philosophy, anatomy, and alignment. With this full ‘toolbox’ of knowledge, new teachers and yoga therapists have the freedom to find their own voice and own style of teaching.

Michelle Kahan: Co-Founder and Primary Instructor ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

“Yoga has been a part of my life ever since I can remember. Since my early childhood I have felt a real calling to the postures and just sitting. Yoga has helped guide me in my life and allowed me to stay focused on my path when I have needed it the most. I feel very grateful for the gift of yoga and the path of self discovery that has come about so far. I feel very blessed to be sharing this experience with Jules and the students that come to explore with us. The path of yoga leads us to the sacred connection of our true self and the divine energy of the universe. May you stay true to your path and follow your heart. Namaste.”

Michelle completed her certification through the Chakra yoga center in July 2000 and has been teaching ever since. She has taught many styles of yoga from Hatha, Flow, Power, Pre-natal, post-natal and kids yoga. In the last 8 years, Michelle has been drawn to a style of yoga called Vijnana yoga, working from a place of within. She has completed her 3 year 800 hour Vijnana Yoga Certification with Gioia Irwin. Her other inspirational teachers are Orit Sen-Gupta and Elizabeth Peckman.

Nicole Marcia, MA, C- IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

Nicole is a Yoga Therapist at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions. She holds a Masters of Arts Degree with a specialization in Yoga Therapy through Lesley University in Boston, MA, and is a graduate of the 1,000-Hour Integrative Yoga Therapy training program.


Nicole has developed and implemented yoga therapy programs for local businesses and for community, health and social service organizations. She conducts yoga therapy sessions for groups and individuals with special needs including chronic pain, addiction, mental health issues and stress related illnesses.

Elham Ansari, BFA, CAP, RYT

Elham Ansari is a teacher and practitioner of Ayurveda and Holistic Nutrition as well as a healer and social entrepreneur. Her passion is empowering people through education and taking the mystery out of health by integrating indigenous wisdom with conventional knowledge. Elham is known for her fun and inspiring approach as a teacher and healer.


She teaches Ayurveda and food therapeutics at Pacific Rim College, in Victoria, B.C, where she was the former dean of the program. She is also a clinic supervisor in the Holistic Nutrition Student Clinic at the College as well as maintains a private clinical practice at Awakening Wellness Centre, in Victoria, which she managed and directed for four years. Elham teaches Ayurveda at several institutions including Ajna Yoga College.


Elham studied Ayurveda in New Mexico and India at the Ayurvedic Institute with her teacher Dr. Vasant Lad. She has also extensively studied Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Yoga, and has a degree in Art and Design from Emily Carr University. Elham has also received Honorary Board Certification in Holistic Nutrition from the National Association of Nutritionists Practitioners for her work on their Credentialing Board.


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.

Tracy Chetna Boyd, ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

Tracy Chetna has been studying yoga and its many aspects since 1999. She began teaching in 2003 and is a graduate of the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga (SSCY), where she was certified in Classical Ashtanga (8 limb) and Hatha Yoga Systems. She has completed the Integrated Yoga Therapy training program (1000 hour level) and has been awarded certification through the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT). Tracy is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an ERYT-500.


Tracy Chetna teaches beginning, intermediate and therapeutic yoga for specific conditions such as cancer in the Victoria area, and draws inspiration from bearing witness to the transformational and healing effects yoga has had on her life and the lives of others. While she began yoga primarily a physical practice, it has become a part of everything in her life.


Her gentle approach to teaching promotes an environment that is relaxing and encouraging, empowering and fun.

Jennifer Raye, E-RYT-500, Practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Jennifer holds a Doctorate of Traditional Chinese Medicine. She is certified through several advanced multi-year yoga and mindfulness​ ​programs including ​the 500 hr. Spirit Rock Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training, the 500 hr. Insight Yoga Institute Teacher Training​ ​and the 500 hr. Prajna Yoga Teacher Training​. Jennifer continues to assist and work closely as a senior student with a number of her primary teachers.


As an E-RYT 500 yoga teacher the movement​ ​she teaches is mindful, therapeutic, and an alignment based practice, influenced by​ ​her study of anatomy, yoga therapy, Buddhist contemplative practices, and a deep understanding of the energetic body as outlined by Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.


Jennifer offers private​ ​and skype sessions, classes, workshops,​ ​teacher trainings and retreats; locally, abroad, and through​ ​her online programs.​ ​She is a faculty member of Pacific Rim College of Integrative Medicine​ ​and is the creator of Mindful Yin Yoga Online, an online training program for yoga students and teachers who want to deepen their practice and study of yin yoga.

When​ ​she’s not teaching and traveling​ ​she’s based on Vancouver Island where​ ​she lives with​ ​her husband and where​ ​she runs her private medical practice.

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

Mabel is a IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist, and a graduate of Ajna Yoga’s 500-hour Therapeutic Teacher Training. 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 teaches group yoga classes and is part of Ajna Yoga’s 240-hour Teacher Training Team. She also offers private yoga therapy sessions. Mabel has a special interest in yoga for women’s health specifically in pelvic floor recovery, menopause and spinal health.

Jennifer Piercy

Jennifer has been a yoga educator since 2004, and specializes in Yoga for rest, sleep and dreams. She supports individuals from all over the world both in person and via Skype as a Yogic rest & sleep mentor, helping them re-unite with the healing depth & wisdom of sleep, reclaim natural circadian rhythms, and live a more restful and spacious life.


She has extensive training and experience in Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga, and is most influenced by key teachers Donna Farhi, Richard Miller, Judith Lasater, and Dr. Rubin Naiman.


Jennifer can also be found facilitating group yoga naps, REST-shops, retreats, and teacher trainings, as well as through many popular Yoga Nidra recordings online.

Krista Friesen, MSc, BA, PgCPAIN, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

Krista is a yoga therapist, coach, and chronic pain educator. She holds a Master of Science in cognitive neuropsychology and has completed her post-graduate certification in pain management. She is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a certified Pilates teacher.

Krista has developed and implemented chronic pain education and self-management programs in multiple pain clinics in Vancouver, and has taught pain science to thousands of people in living with chronic pain. In 2014 she opened a private yoga studio where she practices one-to-one yoga therapy and chronic pain coaching.

Annie Martinello, C-IAYT, CYA E-RYT-500

Annie has been sharing the teachings of yoga since 2002 with her first 250 hour training with Jess Gogol at Moksana Yoga in Victoria. She has been integrating the practice of yoga therapy since she started with Ajna in 2011 and completed her training in 2014. She was drawn to yoga in her early twenties to find balance in her physical body and clarity in the mind from her very active lifestyle in Whistler. After her first pregnancy in 2006, Annie began teaching pre and post natal yoga. In her teachings she comes from the heart and from a place of being mindful, in touch with our natural rhythms, sensations and deep listening to our body messages to enhance our internal wisdom to find balance and create our own healthy patterns. Annie is a dedicated support in her community to all the new and experienced mothers creating a safe loving open space for them to explore and share with each other the world of motherhood.