Sarah Parker ~ Northland
Sarah grew up in Kaikohe and feels honoured to be able to return home & share this knowledge. She feels if she can assist in creating even just a moments peace in one of her students being, it makes it worth while. Yoga for her has been life changing, and hopes it may do the same for many of the men and woman in the prison system of Aotearoa. Sarah lives in a small slice of bush paradise on the Tutukaka coast and as well as teaching in Ngawha she teaches regular classes (Yoga Bliss) in Whangarei & also works as a yoga therapist, Naturopath (Naturewise Healing) & drama Tutor.
Phone: 027 506 3000
John Sinclair ~ Auckland
He takes classes in Mt Eden Correctional Facility, Auckland South, and Odyssey Trust (Drug Court) as well as regular teaching in corporates and a local yoga studio. When not teaching yoga, John coordinates volunteers to provide literacy tuition and other programmes to prisoners, is chair of the board of a tertiary education provider and attempts to parent his teenage son.
Phone: 027 449 1858
Juan Diaz ~ Auckland
Since an early age, Juan Diaz has had a deep curiosity for ancient techniques that help to gain a deeper understanding of existence and the self. As a teenager he found Yoga and felt the depth of this practice, realising that through movement (Asana), breath awareness (pranayama) and meditation, he would be guided further into this exploration of the self and reality. He has been practicing for more than 10 years with different teachers around the world and is constantly developing his intuitive, fun and strong self-practices. Juan likes to integrate in his teaching, ancient and modern philosophy to create a space of connections within the body, mind and emotions.
Juan’s style of teaching is dynamic, challenging and fun. He emphasises proper alignment by guiding students to a safe space for their bodies to express their own unique way of embodying the posture (asana). Juan often ends his classes through a guided meditation and relaxation, accompanied by the sound of his flutes or voice making the class a holistic experience.
Jess Hastings ~ Auckland
Jess says “Initially, I was somewhat resistant to yoga, however after attending a weekend workshop with the YEPT, I became more open-minded and aware of yoga as a form of meditation, which can help connect the body and mind. Working alongside prisoners is something that makes me feel alive and I believe providing programmes to prisoners is vital for positive change. I have almost completed my degree in criminology and education, I want to use my knowledge and lived experience to benefit others and the challenges I have faced in my own life have given me greater empathy. My goal is to expand on developing a humanizing, mindfulness meditation programme with delivery focused on those who have been through the justice system. I am currently volunteering in various roles at Auckland Women’s Prison and working to challenge public perceptions of those with lived experience of incarceration and their whanau, At this point I am interested in further training, work opportunities and speaking with others who share similar goals”.
Bryan Johnston ~ Auckland
Bryan discovered yoga after being dragged along to a class as a way to stretch out after the physical challenges of playing years of rugby. From the first class he was hooked and as injuries mounted in rugby, yoga became more and more important until eventually it took over. After almost seven years of practice and experimentation in multiple styles and some great teachers he took the decision to embark on the journey to becoming a teacher under the guidance of Dyana Wells, Neal Ghoshal, Karla Brodie and Vincent Bolletta and further continuing his studies in a yearlong mentorship with Vincent. Bryan’s classes are described as physically challenging with a grounding in the work of the breath and a focus on the mind and importantly keeping a sense of fun, curiosity and play.
Tamar Weka (Pragyadhara) ~ Auckland
Pragyadhara is passionate about sharing the simple and accessible tools of yoga for all to improve the quality of life for all. Working with YEPT is a way to bring much needed self care tools to people in need and deeply appreciate them, helping them to discover and re-claim self esteem and confidence in who they are. Practices that relieve stress and help to errode negative thought patterns is what she aims to bring into the classes. Fostering in the women a belief in their own resilience through connection to their breath and deep relaxation. Pragyadhara likes to draw on a wide range of practices that address all dimensions from asana to meditation and where appropriate mantra chanting utilizing sound as a medium to focus and relax the mind.
Phone: 021 0554642
Brendon Sakey (Yogeshwaran) ~ Auckland
Brendon tried his first yoga class under some pine trees in the Himalayan foothills in his early twenties and loved everything about it and has been hooked ever since. Brendon completed a Diploma in Yoga Studies through Mangrove Yoga Academy in Australia. He practices and teaches a traditional and holistic form of yoga while remaining open to today’s modern and evolving world of yoga. Brendon teaches yoga with mindfulness as a foundation and incorporates dynamic practices as well as a focus on developing stillness and spaciousness. Brendon has experience teaching yoga classes and workshops in the community, workplaces, retreat centres and yoga teacher training courses. He has taught yoga in health and rehabilitation centres, including drug and alcohol programs, prison and palliative care. Brendon is also a NZ registered social worker, currently working in palliative care. He is passionate about the therapeutic applications of yoga and is always inspired to see yoga uplifting and empowering those who practice sincerely.
Linda Trubridge ~ Hawkes Bay
Since first encountering yoga in 1970 Linda has continued the practices that harmonize body, mind and spirit. Since then she has trained and taught yoga and art, traveled the world while raising a family, working, building, creating and above all trying to live a yogic life. While she cannot imagine how her life would have been without the physical, emotional and spiritual support of yoga she has often felt that if she lost her freedom she would still be able to practice yoga and meditation. Of course, Linda admits its not that easy and those who find themselves imprisoned are often there because their childhood did not provide them with the stability or skills to manage the freedoms she has enjoyed. Linda has always intended to teach yoga in the jails in Britain and eventually found herself in the privileged position of having time to take yoga into Hawke’s Bay Regional Prison. During seven rewarding years teaching inside she has found the prisoners exceptionally receptive to yoga; that they recognize and take advantage of this opportunity to turn their lives around. She would like to see yoga valued as a vital catalyst for change in our penal system and society. Hopefully these practices will someday be recognized and applied as mainstream classes and until then we will persevere on a voluntary basis.
Temaari (Sevamurti) ~ Turangi
After teaching community yoga classes previously in Turangi, Ohakune and National Park, and currently in Taumarunui and Raurimu for the past 17 years, Temaari has been volunteering as a yoga instructor at Tongariro Prison for 16 months. She is a qualified Satyananda Yoga Teacher.
As a teacher, Temaari feels enriched by the experience. She thinks it is of utmost importance to share the tools that yoga can provide to help people develop a real sense of awareness of themselves at a physical level and also at more subtle levels, so that they are better equipped to make positive life-changing decisions for themselves, whatever their circumstances
Tracy Collins ~ Whanganui
Tracy says; Yoga started as a way to balance my physical life style, full time gardening, running, gym, paddle boarding, tramping, generally not sitting still unless there was an injury. Through trauma I was taught Hatha Yoga from there I continued on my journey to study and now teach at the local prison. As I still do all of the above I feel can relate when teaching a class, especially as most of the boys work out, how yoga can be a benefit to working with the muscles in a different way and even the smallest of movement can have a great effect on the body and the mind.
I love seeing the boys relaxed after meditation and I hope that just an hour will help clear a few heads and help cope with the stresses of prison life. When someone says “I’ve been practising that in my cell Miss” I think “cool, seed planted”.
Chris Henderson (Atmabhava) ~ Wellington
Atmabhava came to yoga because of health reasons and the practical and scientific methods of the Anahata integral yoga style immediately made a strong impression on him. He spent 10 years living the yogic lifestyle and teaching yoga, meditation and chanting at Anahata Yoga Retreat. Now resident in Wellington, Atmabhava works therapeutically in Rimutaka prison and mental health sectors as continuing to share on a variety different topics in workshops and weekend retreats around New Zealand. He is a living example of how health can be transformed through yoga and shares his interests in Yogic Lifestyle, Diet & Nutrition, Pranayama, Meditation and Mantra & Kirtan. Atmabhava is also an experienced adventure guide with a background in ecology; he blends the techniques of yoga with the beauty of the outdoors to inspire connection with our internal nature
Phone: 021 2460391
Murray Hemi ~ Wellington
Murray started in Astanga yoga about 12 years ago after a long and tiring period of contact sports. Several babies later he discovered power vinyasa in a heated room and loved it. After completing studio-based teacher training he realised he had two teaching options to ‘show up’ or ‘show off.’ Murray completed his Trauma sensitive training with YEPT in April 2016 and, as a result, found his niche. He has since begun teaching in the Maori focus unit at Rimutaka prison.
Justine Hamill ~ Wellington
Justine is Studio Co-owner or Power Living New Zealand. A Senior Yoga teacher, Gestalt Trained Psychotherapist, vocalist as well as mum of 3 children – 13, 11 & 11. Over the past 8 years Justine has trained with Tiffany Cruickshank, Duncan Peak, Seane Corn, Suzanne Sterling and Hala Khouri in NZ, Australia, Bali and U.S.A. and also facilitates 200hr Teacher Trainings in NZ.
With training in Gestalt Pshychotherapy & as a student of Hala Khouri Justine is extremely passionate about trauma sensitive work in Yoga and creating and holding a safe space for students to explore & grow. Her ability to read and hold space as well as duty of care & boundaries with those in process is something she holds reverently.
Having grown up with a father in and out of prisons it has been a long held wish to re-enter the system and share tools for healing in this unique environment.
Jane Allan (Gyananidhi) ~ Christchurch
Jane was introduced to Yoga in the late 90’s through her own health issues with Fibromyalgia. It was through the benefits and insights she gained that she went onto study and become an Accredited Yoga Teacher. She is passionate about teaching and passing on the practices so others can benefit and empower themselves. Jane has taught over the years in a variety of areas – ashrams, retreats, primary and secondary schools, communities, special needs and prison. She is currently Chair of YEPT (Yoga Education in Prison Trust). Jane remains herself a perennial student of Yoga blissful in the knowledge that there is still so much more to learn and is indebted to all her teachers. Jane is also an Accredited Bowen Practitioner and Tutor
Phone: 021 2238838
Jasmin Dingemans (Amrita)~ Otago
Jasmin Amrita is an experienced yogini who was initiated into the powerful and practical traditions of Classical Hatha & Tantra Yoga. She learnt and developed her teaching ethos through full immersion with disciplined schedules of study, practice and teaching while living in five different Ashrams in India, Canada and New Zealand.
She has continued to learn, practice and teach around the world, including living and working in Ashrams, Monasteries and Yoga Centres in India, Nepal, Canada & New Zealand. Jasmin now lives in Dunedin, NZ with her family and takes satellite missions away every now and then.
Read Jasmins interview here. http://www.yogainprisonstrust.org/teachers-stories/
Phone: 021 1613177