Shawn Taylor- YogaLab Director

For the last 19 years Shawn has been a dedicated student of Yoga. After a career in snowboarding as a competitor and a coach, Yoga swiftly moved from a way to heal old injuries to a place of powerful self-reflection and personal transformation. His love for the practice naturally led him to work as an educator and teacher trainer for some of the largest Yoga communities in the United States and Australia. Shawn is trained in Vinyasa, Yin, Synergy and Bikram Yoga. He has over 1000hrs of certification is a registered Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) and holds a degree in Exercise Science Technology. He worked as a Senior Facilitator & Training and Development Manager for Power Living Australia and was on Faculty at Bikram’s Teacher training in California.  Shawn teaches with a passionate enthusiasm for life and a deep wonder of the cosmos.

What was it about the practice that inspired you to want to teach?
I felt it working from day one and knew that this was something I would do for the rest of my life. I was so blown away by the way it made me feel physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. All I wanted to do was share this practice with anyone that wanted to learn.

What can students expect in your class?
High vibes, physical challenge, support, encouragement, traditional and modern philosophy, arm balancing, lots of laughter and a tasteful plate of galactic beats. My aim is to get you out of your head and straight into your divine potential.

What inspires you in Life?
So many things! My family, my wife and our two boys, our two dogs, the wonder of the cosmos and our connection to it, nature, human beings, love, the ocean, making Bass music, Robot dancing in front of massive sound systems, figuring out how things work, my friends, Alan Watts, Terence Mckenna, Carl Sagan, insects, reptiles, marsupials, birds, fish, mammals, sunsets, physics, science, space exploration, NASA, rocket launches, stepping out of my comfort zone and others stepping out of theirs, Ultra-lightweight Backpacking, hiking, surfing, snowboarding and a good laugh.

Courtney Rolle

What was it about the practice that inspired you to want to teach?
After 7 years of practice Yoga changed everything for me.  My life style habits, the way I viewed the world and my relationships with friends, family and myself.

What inspires you in life?
People! My always smiling barista, the old ladies at the park that say hello to my dog and don’t even notice me, my girl friends who disliked children and are now the most amazing mums I have ever seen!! The fact that people have more strength, beauty and love than they themselves often realize, I see it every day in the most obvious and strangest places and it motivates me to expose it in every interaction I have with people!

What are your passions outside of yoga?
Singing loud and proud with no tonality, nature & my dog (karma)….. oh and coffee, how could I forget coffee!

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?
Love! Greater understanding for the things I still don’t understand and security that everything will happen just as it is meant to!

What can students expect in your class?
Strength, nurturing, lame jokes and the occasional profanity slip up.

Eric Schwarz

Eric Schwarz is an American yoga teacher and life coach currently residing in Western Australia.  His breath-focused style of teaching always includes extended centering and/or meditation.  Whether through coaching or yoga, he supports a way of living that is natural, creative, and empowering, embracing the full potential of body and spirit.  Eric is an E-RYT 500, has lead several yoga teacher trainings, and in 2016, was voted Best Yoga Teacher in Washington, D.C

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

I’ve been practicing yoga since 2010 when I went to Costa Rica for a surf and Spanish immersion program.  On the first day, in spontaneous vacation mode, I stumbled into a yoga class.  Eight years later, I still don’t know how to surf or speak Spanish, but I’ve been doing yoga non stop.

 What was it about the practice that inspired you to want to teach?

In a culture that discourages introspection, it takes a certain sensitivity to practice yoga in the first place.   This shows up in most of us who dive into the rabbit hole of yoga teaching.  While teaching was a way for me to enjoy yoga even more, helping others on their paths was a way for me to inspire others to find the same strength needed to reconcile what it means to stay sensitive in this world without losing a sense of self.

 What can students expect in your class?

The poses will be fun and the transitions interesting, but it’s all ultimately a backdrop for the real transformation that happens when you learn to quiet your mind and open your heart.  I love breath work, meditation, and will sometimes spice things up with kriya or partner work.  Each class has a relatable theme that we explore and integrate into our practice.

 What are your passions outside of yoga?

These days I’m really loving cooking, crafting, gymnastics, bushwalks, cold water immersion, and barefoot walking.  I’m also a RuPaul’s Drag Race superfan, in part because I’m rarely awake late enough to watch live drag.

 What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Through my practice I’ve come to understand that learning goes well beyond the intellectual, which is admittedly a crutch I relied on for most of my life.  Once I learned not only that there is a realm other than intellect, but through trust and faith in the spiritual realm, I will always learn and always grow.

 

Stacey Millington

What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach

I love the different ways in which a human body can move, and how these patterns of movement interact with non physical states of being. I was also inspired by walking into only my third class and seeing Chee Lai do a five minute handstand.

What can students expect in your class?

A sufficient dose of challenge and surrender while moving towards energetic expression.

What inspires you in life?

The fact that we exist in an ever-changing matrix of energy, and that everything in our world is completely dynamic. The constant motion of life itself is inspiring, the next challenge or stimulus for growth is always just around the river bend.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

I love things that make me feel really small and alone. Diving, surfing, bushwalking, rock climbing, travelling, going to parties on my own

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Yoga gives me a sense of being a “human animal creature”. The practice is capable of freeing me from my ideas and fears, and what’s left is an advanced monkey moving with sensory awareness.

Chee Lai

How long have you been practicing Yoga? 
I took my first yoga class in 2010. It was a Bikram yoga class – 90 minutes long, room heated to 40 degrees and the humidity felt like it was at a million percent. I remember crawling out at the end of class, sweat coming out of my eyeballs, vowing never to do yoga again. It was weird because I remember seeing people leave the class smiling, I thought they were crazy. To my own surprise, I felt great soon after and eventually found myself planning my next visit. I’ve been practicing yoga in different forms ever since then.

 

What was it about the practice that inspired you to want to teach? 

The benefits of this practise are vast and boundless. Obviously theres the physical side but mentally and spiritually, it can really deliver whatever you need. Yoga has changed my life, and I really wanted to be able to share the practise and my perspective of it with the broader community.

What can students expect in your class?
 I like to keep my classes light, fun and not too serious. We can be so serious throughout the day and carry the energy to the mat, but there’s no need! Really, it’s just yoga after all, you’re not going to hell if you take a child’s pose or laugh at yourself falling over. Yes I throw in challenges and it can get weird (especially with my bad jokes), but if you walk out of the room with a smile then that’s my job done.

What inspires you in life?

Connecting with passionate people who chase their dreams and turn them into a reality. Those who continue to break the mould, listen to their gut and follow their calling. When I see people who are stoked and having a good time, I can’t help but smile and work towards the same level of contentment.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

Being childish, attempting to surf, riding bikes, traveling, sunshine, eating food and patting dogs.

What’s the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Awareness. It’s helped me cut through the fog screen that is my mind, and allowed me to become aware of the things that were right in front of me, staring me in the face, waiting for me to open my eyes.

Meesha Stacker

 How long have you been practicing Yoga?

 I was first introduced to yoga in 2010 when I dabbled in hot yoga classes, but it wasn’t until I took a beginner’s course in Ashtanga yoga later the same year that a whole new world opened up for me. I found these sweet moments of stillness through the union of breath and movement. Since then, I’ve played with different styles of yoga, eventually becoming drawn to the more creative vinyasa style.

What was it about the practice that inspired you to want to teach?

I love sharing my passion for yoga and strongly believe it is for everyone. When I first started my yoga journey, I struggled in both physical asana practice and learning to tame my mind. Yet I noticed how effortless and peaceful all the regular students around me looked and I knew I could find this too. As I built a more regular practice a shift happened and I started to experience so many benefits – greater strength, flexibility, and acceptance of both my mind and body. I found my connection with my own inner joy and sense of ease in my practice.

My goal is to make yoga an accessible, elevating experience for students to discover their own inner world. It’s about learning to know who you are, how your body feels, where your mind is at, be accepting of it, and then let it all open up when it’s ready.

What can students expect in your class?

Juicy twists, backbends and a mindful flow connecting breath and movement. Throw in a few challenges, some tunes and a big smile and you’ll be floating out of class.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

When I’m not on my yoga mat, I’m usually nerding out in my digital and content marketing world, relishing in hang time with treasured friends, planning my next travel adventure or catching a music gig.

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Community. I’m continually blown away and inspired by all the people I’ve met through yoga and continue to meet.

Chrissie Herbert

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

I first did yoga when I was 11yo. I have a fitness background and dabbled with BodyBalance in 2008, but I committed to my yoga journey ‘properly’ in 2013.

What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach?

I did my 200hr yoga teacher training with no intention to teach. I just enrolled because I wanted to deepen my own practice. It wasn’t until I was half-way through, that I thought: “This stuff is too good not to share!”. The true nectar of the yoga has helped me grow through many tough times, it’s movement-therapy that liberates me and it’s fun. That’s what I want to share with others.

What can students expect in your class?

A bit of sugar, spice, and all things nice. I like to focus on alignment and breath, & how developing simple awareness of these on-the-mat, are simple transferable skills we can take with us off-the-mat and into our daily lives.

What inspires you in life?

My teachers. My family. Watching their trials & triumphs & travelling those paths alongside them. My own challenges inspire me too. A breath of fresh oceanic air. Travel. I have an innate sense of ALWAYS wanting to grow and be a better human being, even if that means reminding myself to be content in the present moment, & pressing pause on the ‘better, faster, stronger, wiser, more ….’ desires.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

My family. My friends. Nature; above and below sea-level. Scuba diving. Camping. Weight training. Vipassana. Crochet. Red wine, & FOOD – cooking whole food, plant based meals.

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Connection & Healing.

Oliver Francis

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

I first tried Bikram yoga around 8 years ago..!  In that time I fell in & out once or twice but I’ve had a consistent practice for 5 maybe 6 years now.

What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach?

I love the practice! –  It literally makes you use everything… I’m still discovering new sensations in muscles I never even knew I had. Also I used to get RSI quite frequently playing the drums and it has literally vanished… and never returned.  I know I’m going to be fit and capable into old age because of my yoga practice.

I like the thought of being involved in a process that helps people. It helps their bodies grow and become strong and durable.. and it helps people mentally too. It’s such a thorough therapy for the body 😊

What can students expect in your class?

Strong and motivating…

I like to work on the basics by concentrating on alignment & spending time in a posture, breaking it down and really nailing it. It gives people a chance to discover a safe practice, a deeper practice and to get out of their heads and draw their awareness to their body but I also like to throw in some fun… by trying unusual things and making terrible jokes..  it can be nice to take the seriousness out and bring in a lighter energy. It’s just yoga after all haha

What inspires you in life?

I love to see (and hopefully have myself) an energy and openness to try new things. When someone has a willingness to just go into unknown situations guns blazing – I love that. Just roll the dice and see what happens, that’s what I say.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

I guess playing in bands is my main one – playing live, writing and touring as much as possible. It certainly chews most of my free time outside of yoga and has brought me some amazing experiences and wonderful people into my life … but also music in general- I  can be such a cynic sometimes but when I hear something new (to me) that is interesting and just grabs me… I can get a bit over- excited haha… my record collection is ever expanding

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Opportunity. The opportunity to make my body strong, reliable and capable… the opportunity to go outside my comfort zone, try new things and expand my horizons.. and the opportunity to help others by sharing this amazing practice.

Jules Moore

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

I first dipped my toe into the sea of yoga during my high-school years, but my practice truly started eight years ago. Like many students on the precipice of adulthood, I had just started a new chapter of my life at university; I was stressed, anxious, unmotivated and lacking confidence. Yoga became an escape to channel my effervescent, overflowing energy and focus my racing mind. Eight years on, a degree later and yoga still plays a vital role in my daily routine.

 What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach?

I saw yoga as an avenue to help and inspire others, the way it did for me. Challenged to find focus throughout my schooling years, yoga gave me the power and techniques I needed to seize control of the mind and the life I felt was running away from me. Yoga encourages me to be fearless, to love unconditionally and above all else, to just keep B-R-E-A-T-H-I-N-G! What inspires me most is that yoga is a practice that is accessible to all whom have an open mind, and that is definitely worth sharing.

 What can students expect in your class?

I aim to bring my quirky sense of relatability to each and every flow. If people are smiling or better yet, laughing – my hearts sings. I want to challenge students to find their hidden strengths. I truly believe yoga is for everyone, but sometimes a little guidance on where to start and what to do goes a long way. Expect sweat, smiles, a sassy attitude and a practice that will fill you with energy that will flow off your mat with you.

 What inspires you in life?

Resilience and people chasing their dreams! There is nothing more inspiring than watching someone come back from adversity and chase that which fills their heart most.

 What are your passions outside of yoga?

Travelling without a plan, being pushed well outside my comfort zone and ANYTHING water-based: SUPing, diving, ocean swimming with my pup, dancing in the rain, long coastal walks and several questionable attempts at surfing. I’m truly my happiest when my feet are bare, my fingers & toes wrinkly and my hair is so salty it feels like packet pasta.

 What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

Control and a lens of positivity to view life through. Yoga provided me with a space to find clarity and an environment to express and expend my never-ending energy. It changed the way I approached my life, my relationships with myself, my body and with others, my treatment of the environment and provided me with an understanding and acceptance that everything in this fragile, beautiful life happens for a reason.

Dani Sands

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

The first time I attended a yoga class was in 2003 – as a 13 year old I walked out of that class declaring that I would never to that again. Safe to say over the following 10 years I progressed to a point where yoga was my way of life.

What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach?

I never intended to teach yoga, when I enrolled in my first YTT it was to develop my practice and discover more about myself. Casting my mind back to a particular moment during that training I had a realization that everyone needed yoga in their life and perhaps my little thing to do was share what I knew and had learnt with those around me. Then I started teaching and discovered a big inspiration was seeing the little smile of content on peoples faces during shavanasa.

What can students expect in your class?

I’m really into backbends, so anatomically you can expect that. Perhaps a little laughter and joy for the practice, a little philosophy and some creative sequencing. Definitely confusion between left and right, the dyslexic brain tends to get the better of be.

 What inspires you in life?

I have been fortunate to travel broadly and to some pretty remote places. Living overseas gave me great perspective and to be inspired by life itself.

 What are your passions outside of yoga?

At the moment all things interiors, having just bought a mortgage I’m obsessed with everything interior design – I’m a sucker for pintrest and mood boards.

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

  1. Yoga
  2. Myself
  3. Happiness

Zsusza Octaviano

How long have you been practicing Yoga?

I’ve been practicing for 8 years . The first few years were very fumbly, classic. I think practicing has always been a place of solace, but like anything we master it takes showing up and getting through the grit of the “I can’t be f-cked”. Especially to this day. A regular practice helped me through broken hearts, addiction recovery, moving interstate, feeling lost in transition and then the good stuff like expanding into my businesses, loving myself deeply and upgrades in my beliefs and consciousness. Reow!

What was it about the practice that inspired you to teach?

My own healing and discovery that there was something beyond the mundane and the mediocre.

What can students expect in your class?

Poetic Spiritual throwdown, flows that go on all angles and yummy adjustments!

What inspires you in life?

Everyday bold action.

I see it in my students, my lover, my family, my friends and the people I get the honour of collaborating with.

What are your passions outside of yoga?

Essential Oils, writing, sustainability, slowly learning how to work a CDJ (djing) and skateboarding.

What is the greatest gift yoga has given you?

The honourable hard hitting truth and the sweetness of the present. A tribe I get to connect with. Belief in my body and spirit. Connection with a Higher Power.