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.
Shelly Prosko, PT, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)
Shelly is a physical therapist, yoga therapist, educator, author and pioneer of PhysioYoga with over 20 years of experience integrating yoga into physiotherapy within a variety of specialty areas including helping people with chronic or persistent pain and pelvic health issues. She guest lectures at numerous yoga therapy and physical therapy schools, presents at yoga and medical conferences globally, contributes to academic research and writing, and offers onsite and online courses and resources for yoga and healthcare professionals and the general population. She considers herself a lifelong student and emphasizes the immense value gained from clinical experience and learning from the patients she serves, the professionals she teaches, and the colleagues with which she collaborates. Shelly has written book chapters in yoga therapy and integrative rehabilitation textbooks and is the co-editor/author of the textbook Yoga and Science in Pain Care: Treating the Person in Pain. She maintains a clinical practice in Sylvan Lake, Canada and believes compassion is the foundation of pain care, healthcare and overall well-being. Please visit www.physioyoga.ca to learn more.
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, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)
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.
Kaya Midlin, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)
Yoga therapist and educator Kaya Mindlin has been teaching yogic philosophy along with the “softer side” of yoga practices for 19 years and training teachers. Her background includes 3,000 hours of formal study with generous masters In the full spectrum of the Vedic Tradition, including Yoga, Vedic Astrology, Ayurveda, Vedanta and Tantra. Kaya makes traditional teachings powerfully meaningful for modern life.
Dedicated yogis and teachers resonate with her technical acumen and mothering heart which inspire them to deepen their lives, work, and practice. In person and online programs with Kaya are intricately planned and layered for dedicated yogis and teachers. She offers depth and meaning while remaining responsive to the individual needs of students in each moment.
Nyk Danu, CYA-ERYT-550, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)
Nyk has been teaching since 2004. In addition to numerous Therapeutic & Restorative Yoga intensives, Nyk is also graduate of 800-hour Yoga Therapy Diploma Program at Ajna and is C-IAYT accredited.
Nyk’s personal practice and teaching are an infusion of Yoga Therapy & Traditional Chinese Medicine. She has studied Traditional Chinese Medicine Paciﬁc Rim College for 3 years and is expanding on that training by studying medical Qi Gong. Nyk continues to study Yin Yoga regularly with her teachers Paul and Suzee Grilley and holds an Advanced 500 hour Yin Yoga Teaching certiﬁcate.
Nyk teaches Therapeutic Yoga, Yin Yoga and Meditation both in studios and in her private Yoga Therapy practice locally in Victoria, BC. She has been training teachers in Yin Yoga and offering Yoga Business Consulting since 2014.
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.
Agi Mallory, RYT-500, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist), MBA
Agi completed her 250-hour Yoga Teacher training through MokSana Yoga, and is a graduate of Ajna Yoga’s 800-hour Yoga Therapy Teacher Training. Agi is certified as a Yoga Therapist through IAYT, as a Yoga for Healthy Aging teacher through Dr. Baxter Bell, and is currently completing Yoga for Osteoporosis training with Dr. Loren Fishman.
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.
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.
Lindsay Campa, RMT, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist)
Lindsay is a Registered Massage Therapist and a Yoga Therapist. Over the years she has taught various styles (therapeutic, trauma-informed, flow, hatha, ashtanga) and worked with a wide population of students (Homeless population, people with cancer, MS, arthritis, anxiety, trauma). Lindsay teaches from a place of gentleness, curiosity and spaciousness. She encourages her students to slow down, listen to the body and feel the more subtle sensations. As a teacher, she employs a trauma informed approach and uses humour and inquiry to support the learning process.
Lindsay uses Yoga in a Therapeutic context in her private practice; supporting the process of healing from injury and trauma.In addition to her private RMT/Yoga Therapy practice in Cowichan Bay, Lindsay is on Faculty at West Coast College of Massage Therapy in Victoria, and teaches Yoga therapy tools to RMTs.
Regina Pfeifer, CYA-RYT Gold, C-IAYT (Yoga Therapist), MA
Regina offers yoga therapy group classes, workshops and private sessions. She supports people living with neurological conditions (MS, PD, ALS, PLS) and persistent pain. Her gentle, genuine and deeply caring approach supports people’s self-awareness and self-care. She believes in empowering participants through gentle strength combined with nourishment that allow for transformation.
Regina has taken specialty training in Yoga Therapy for Pelvic Health which can help with conditions of the pelvic region like pelvic floor dysfunction, pelvic and lower back pain, organ prolapse, incontinence, constipation, prostatitis and more. She collaborates with Pelvic Health Physiotherapists and teaches the pelvic floor portion of the Back-Care training module.
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.