OUR TEACHERS

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 somatic, trauma-informed and sound (nada yoga) 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 work unite, for a more just and awake world for all.

To find out more about Mei Lai’s work, visit:

www.meilaiswan.com

www.birthforhumankind.org

Jo Buick

Lead Teacher

Jo is an educator with an interest in body-centred mindfulness practices that promote a greater sense of ease, freedom and connection in everyday life. Dedicated to creating spaces that are accessible, inclusive and person-centered, her approach to facilitation is invitational and non-coercive, with an emphasis on choice-making, mindful contact and self-compassion.

Jo is especially sensitive to the ongoing impacts of stress, anxiety, trauma and grief that many people experience in their daily lives. She is specialised in the delivery of trauma-informed and accessible practices through her training as a Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator, a Level 1 iRest Yoga Nidra® Facilitator, and as an inclusive educator.

Prior to teaching yoga, Jo worked with young people in both community and state school settings as a teacher, an educator and a youth coach. An innovator of strengths-based, person-centered and trauma-informed program design, Jo’s work has since expanded beyond the youth space, into service design and development in local, state and national projects in the not-for-profit sector. She holds Master’s degrees in both Teaching and Education.

Currently, Jo integrates her love of education and facilitation into her roles as an education consultant in the non-profit sector, and as a yoga teacher. She is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of State of Being, a non-profit organisation that innovates community-based and trauma-informed yoga programming in Victoria, Australia.

To find out more about Jo’s work, visit:

www.jobuick.com

www.stateofbeing.org.au

Amber Gray

Trauma-informed & Somatic Movement

From Santa Fe, USA, Amber is a pioneer in the use of Movement Therapies  — Dance/Movement Therapy, Somatic Psychology, Continuum, and Yoga — with survivors of trauma, particularly torture, war and human rights abuses.

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.

To find out more about Amber’s work, visit:

www.restorativeresources.net

Rachel Ellery  

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.

To find out more about Rachel’s work, visit:

www.theanatomyschool.com

Bex Tyrer

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:

www.freedomthroughmovement.org

Andrew Mournehis

Guest Teacher – Philosophy (Melb YTT)

Andrew Mournehis has spent over 20 years immersed in yoga practice, with 16 years’ experience as a yoga teacher trainer. His greatest devotion in yoga has been distilling the sometimes complex and intricate philosophies of ancient texts so we grasp the core lessons and bring these teachings to life in the present day.

With 25 years of experience in the creative and healing arts, his rich life journey has seen him work professionally as an optometrist, dancer and choreographer, yoga teacher, and transpersonal counsellor and lecturer. Through facing life-threatening illness and serious injury, and finding a healing path through yoga, mantra and meditation, his passion is in creating transformative spaces for his students and participants to heal and become whole.

Andrew has facilitated a multitude of healing groups, workshops, retreats and trainings both nationally and internationally. He is a regular guest teacher of yoga philosophy on teacher trainings around the world, and shares his ‘Dance of the Deities’ combining dance, yoga and mythology, internationally.

Coming from a diverse and eclectic yoga background, Andrew brings a combination of Hatha, Bhakti and Tantra Yoga, which he shares effortlessly through his unique teaching style rich in philosophy, inspiration and storytelling.

He is a much loved and sought-out teacher both in Melbourne and internationally, for his depth of knowledge, wisdom, infectious enthusiasm, and heartful care that he brings to his teaching and students.

To find out more about Andrew’s work, visit:

www.divinegrace.com.au

Phoebe Cole

Guest Teacher – Anatomy (Melb YTT)

Phoebe has had a passion for discovering and unlocking the body’s potential in all aspects of physical, nutrition, body and mind. Phoebe is a Yoga, Pilates and Myotherapy practitioner based in Melbourne and is the founder of restore body. She has been a guest anatomy teacher on various yoga teacher trainings in Melbourne, and is the co-founder of Mindful Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training. She has a passion for functional and applied anatomy, that looks at an individualised and whole person approach.

Phoebe treats people with muscular pain and dysfunction affected by injury, movement or common postural strain. Phoebe’s interests extended to training in hip conditions and the rehabilitative stage working alongside orthopaedic surgeons following arthroscopy. Phoebe has also completed the post graduate training in the management of neck pain dysfunction, TMJ (temperomandibular joint) disorders, shoulder conditions and headaches. She has a passionate interest in womens health and rehabilitation and prevention of pain during pregnancy and has furthermore completed her qualification in Clinical Pilates with Dance Medicine Australia Clinical Pilates, APA Physiotherapy Certification and Pilates international, Aligned for Life diploma.

To find out more about Phoebe’s work, visit:

www.mindfulpregnancyyogatraining.com.au

www.phoebecole.com.au