Yoga for Humankind brings together an outstanding team of yoga, somatic movement and community professionals.
We draw together decades of collective knowledge and experience in traditional and contemporary yoga, trauma-informed and community based yoga, theories of social change and justice, science, and somatic and movement therapies.
Mei Lai Swan
Director & Lead Teacher
Falling in love with the path of self-inquiry and personal evolution in her teens, Mei Lai has been studying eastern philosophies and meditation for nearly 20 years, and yoga for 16 years. A senior yoga teacher, Mei Lai is a certified Embodied Flow™ teacher, with years of study and practice in Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Anusara yoga. From Melbourne, Australia, but now based on the road, she teaches in-depth workshops, retreats and on international teacher trainings around the world, with a special focus on nada (sound) yoga, somatic and trauma-informed practices.
With a BA in International Development and a Master of Social Work, Mei Lai spent many years working in remote Aboriginal communities running community development programs, before returning to Melbourne to offer psychosocial programs for people seeking asylum. She has trained in somatic-based trauma therapy and counselling, and combined these skills with yoga to deliver individual counselling, group work programs, and specially-tailored yoga programs for asylum seekers, refugees, disadvantaged youth, and people experiencing chronic pain and trauma.
She is the founder, previous CEO and ongoing board director of Birth for Humankind, a non-profit organisation providing free birth support to women in disadvantaged circumstances.
Yoga for Humankind is where her passions of yoga, community, seva, and international adventure unite, for a more just and awake world for all.
Jo teaches yoga because she believes in the power of asana and meditation to ground, to enliven and to bring us back home into our bodies.
In her experience, it’s not so much the ‘level’ of yoga or meditation that we can achieve in our practice, but rather the gentle journey towards compassionate thinking and living that is transformative.
From Melbourne, Australia, Jo brings to her yoga a decade of teaching experience – in schools, in youth centres, in yoga studios, in homes, in residential care units, in parks.
Jo teaches yoga, mindfulness and self-care programs to public and community groups (including school teachers, community sector works and young people), as well as lecturing in yoga teacher training programs.
Alongside yoga and mindfulness, she has trained in educational engagement, mental health, trauma and social justice. She holds a Master of Teaching, Post-Graduate Diploma of Teaching, and a Bachelor of Media & Communications. She is a senior yoga teacher and trainer, and a certified Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator.
Jo has worked in a range of settings from the public school sector, to the community and not-for-profit sectors, in teaching, policy, advocacy and consulting.
In addition to a dedicated teaching schedule, off the mat Jo currently runs State of Being – a not-for-profit community yoga organisation, and works as an education consultant in the community sector.
Trauma-informed & Somatic Movement
Amber began practicing yoga in 1979, and taught Hatha Yoga from 1985. She integrates her years of yoga practice into all her movement arts, practices and therapies for her work with survivors of extreme interpersonal violence. She is a passionate devotee to movement as life.
Amber’s clinical expertise is represented in many published articles and chapters, keynote addresses, professional collaborations and presentations around the world. She provides clinical training on the integration of refugee mental health, torture treatment and creative arts, mindfulness, and body-based therapies with survivors and refugees to programs serving trauma survivors, and has consulted to more than 30 of these programs worldwide, since the late 1990’s.
She originated a resiliency-based framework/embodied & mindfulness-based clinical approach (Restorative Movement Psychotherapy) for mind-heart-spirit somatic, movement and arts-based therapies with survivors of trauma in cross cultural, low resource contexts. Her most recent publications, one co-authored with Dr. Stephen Porges, are on polyvagal informed dance movement therapy, based on their collaboration, and the wisdom of whole body, moving intelligence.
Amber directs Restorative Resources Training & Consulting which regularly works with international NGO’s and Government Agencies on issues related to Refugee Mental Health and Torture Treatment. She is Executive Director of The Kint Institute Certificate Program in The Arts and Trauma Treatment.
Guest Teacher – Anatomy (Bali YTT)
Rachel is an international anatomy and movement teacher who specialises in teaching yoga students and training yoga teachers to bring awareness back to their bodies. Her personal mantra “educating and moving the world one body at a time” stems from over 24 years of hands on experience and 15 years of teaching.
A UK-trained osteopath, Rachel teaches alongside internationally renowned yogis in their yoga teacher trainings, including Les Leventhal, High Vibe Yoga, Tara Judelle, School of Sacred Arts, and Tina Nance Yoga Therapy. Based in Bali, Rachel travels to yoga schools across the globe to educate yoga students and teachers in a holistic view of how the whole body works. She combines her extensive knowledge of osteopathy, sports therapy, pilates, Thai bodywork and yoga into unique interactive anatomy and movement classes with the help of Charlie, her skeleton.
Rachel’s teaching experience extends back 15 years where she spent a decade instructing osteopath students at Unitech in New Zealand after graducating from British School of Osteopathy. She encourages her students to develop their own self-awareness and invokes in them a playful curiosity about what happens under their skin. Rachel’s down-to-earth teaching style uses storytelling and case studies, visuals of the body, interactive exercises and informative handout to make anatomy an engaging subject for all her students.
Guest Teacher – Philosophy (Bali YTT)
Bex Tyrer shares her love of yoga, philosophy and activism as one of the longest standing teachers at Bali’s renowned Yoga Barn in Ubud and through her Freedom Through Movement project, offering yoga classes, immersions and trainings with the full depth of yoga history and yoga activism.
Growing up in the highlands of Scotland and graduating with a MPhil in Development Studies from Oxford University, Bex dived into work in conflict areas and areas of extreme poverty. She learned the hard way – that no amount of research or presentations was going to solve the wars or end the hunger. This realisation precipitated a move from external development to “inner development,” and she has spent the last decade exploring all that layers in between.
A deep fascination with Yoga History and Philosophy and years of dedicated study has helped to inform Bex’s understanding of the wisdom tradition of Yoga beyond the modern day yoga studios. Travel in Tibet, Nepal and India showed her that much of what is now sold and advertised has little in common with the wealth of Yoga waiting for us to each individually activate. Her education, life journey and love for Yoga took Bex into the field of Yoga Activism, and saw her establish Freedom Through Movement projects in Kolkata, Kathmandu and Palestine.
She brings depth, wisdom and personal experience to yoga philosophy and history within our contemporary global context.
To find out more about Bex’s work, visit:
Guest Teacher – Philosophy (Melb YTT)
Full details coming soon…