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 Schroeder, 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 since 2001and training teachers since 2008. 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.

Gagan Leeka, ERYT-500

After practicing for almost 20 years and not seeing much of herself reflected in studios or western yoga culture, Gagan began her teacher training in therapeutic and trauma-informed yoga in 2017 with a vision to share yoga where people already gather, and to help make yoga more accessible to all bodies. Gagan has facilitated yoga in transition houses, with newcomer groups and frontline workers. Her approach is gentle and emphasises choice and options to help foster safety and accessibility. Her practice is influenced by her family Sikh faith and culture, Buddhist teachings, and social justice. She is also a co-founder of Sweet Refuge, a peer-led IBPOC mindfulness meditation group and a co-facilitator of Yoga Outeach’s BIPOC Core Training Program.

Sarah Holmes de Castro, ERYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

Sarah is a therapeutic yoga teacher and trainer specializing in yoga for trauma, mental health and addiction as well as an experienced non-profit program coordinator with over 10 years of experience in volunteer management and program delivery as well as curriculum development. She is certified by the Trauma Center in Brookline, MA as a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator (TCTSY-F) and a certified Integrative Yoga Therapist and Functional Yoga Therapist. Sarah is also proud mama of 3 children who inspire her to keep growing, exploring and learning.

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.

Corinne Diachuck, Yoga Therapist, E-RYT-500

Corinne is a mother, a lover of human beings, a consent and somatic sex educator, and a yoga therapist.
She is passionate about creating safe enough spaces for people to have meaningful conversations with themselves and their bodies about their needs, wants, boundaries, and limits. On the yoga mat and in all her relationships you will find her holding her heart, witnessing stories with her whole body, listening deeply for natural impulses, and finding lots of reasons to celebrate. Learn more about Corinne –

Rena Sinstadt, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)

Rena is a graduate of Ajna’s Yoga Therapist Diploma Program, a meditation mindfulness teacher and a elementary, middle and high school music teacher. In addition to her background in Yoga Therapy, Rena has always had a passion for building more inclusive and connected communities, which stems from her many years as a public school music educator. She has taught yoga and mindfulness within her school community, and loves working with people from all walks of life. Her current offerings include: yoga therapy (1:1, small group), restorative yoga and sound baths. You can learn more at

Mabel Chong, (1979-2018)

Mabel was a gifted teacher with a gentle spirit and love for learning. In her yoga therapy practice, she specialized in knee and back care injury recovery, as well as women’s health. We miss Mabel deeply and hold her in our hearts forever.