We are a committed team of kind, professional and talented instructors with a wide range of skills, styles and life experience. We love what we do and are passionate about providing high quality memorable experiences at Nirvana Wellness Retreat.

Shanti Gowans

CEO, Yoga Teacher, Trainer

Our team is led by CEO Shanti Gowans, born in India. After completing her MA at the University of Mumbai, Shanti spent several years travelling around the world as an international guest speaker with global and cosmic perspectives. Whilst on the speakers’ circuit, Shanti taught and lectured with Deepak Chopra in Sydney, Australia.

Shanti also brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs which appeared on Australian national television for 3½ years on channel 10.

Shanti Gowans is truly a remarkable and inspirational teacher and has developed life-changing courses with true dedication and respect for the ancient and authentic science of yoga and ayurveda.

Hilary Sullivan

  • Grad Dip Ed., B.A. Adv Dip Yoga, Cert IV Ayur. Cert IV TAS
  • Vice Principal. Principal lecturer for Cert IV Ayurveda at the Health Institute Australasia

Hilary has a background in teaching yoga and ayurveda. She is currently the Vice Principal of the Health Institute Australasia and its public relations coordinator.

Hilary obtained her degree in Graphic Design from Swinburne TAFE, and after a career in graphic design obtained her Graduate Diploma in Education at The University of Melbourne. Hilary enjoyed 11 years of teaching computers and graphic design for the Melbourne School of Art and then went on to be course coordinator and teacher in the Adv Dip of Electronic Design and Interactive Media at Swinburn University, coordinating both Lilydale and Wantirna campuses.

After a long love affair which included ongoing studies and practice in Yoga and Ayurveda, Hilary taught yoga for The Meditation Institute, Gold Coast, where she was also design consultant and Public Relations Coordinator. From 2004-09 Hilary was CEO of City Yoga Studio, Sydney, where she was the principal teacher and practised as an Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant.

Hilary returned to the Gold Coast in 2010 when she completed her Advanced Diploma in Yoga and is currently the Vice Principal of Health Institute Australasia and its public relations coordinator. Hilary visited Indian with Shantiji and is current secretary of AAPA, the Australasian Ayurvedic Practitioners Association.

Sonja Stauder

  • B.A. (Japanese and Law). Adv Dip Yoga. Adv. Dip Ayur, Cert IV in Business Studies
  • Director of Education and Studies and Culinary Arts, The Health Institute Australasia
  • Ayurvedic Practitioner

Sonja Stauder is the director of Education and Studies and Culinary Arts at the Health Institute Australasia.  She is the current treasurer of AAPA, the Australasia Ayurvedic Practitioner’s Association.

Sonja completed her Bachelor of Arts from Monash University, Melbourne with a double major in Japanese and Law in 1982. She took up training as a Fitness leader with the NSW Department of Sport and Recreation in 1985, and has been a student of Shanti Gowans from 1988 which started her intense interest in Yoga and Ayurveda, studying several courses in both. Sonja’s hobbies are Bharat Natyam, Bollywood dancing, cooking and proof-reading Shantiji’s books on Yoga and Ayurveda.

She has visited India five times and is the current treasurer of AAPA, the Australasian Ayurvedic Practitioners Association.

Dr. Manish Patwardhan

  • M.D. (Ayu), F.I.I.M
  • Ayurvedic Studies Adviser @ the Health Institute Australasia
  • CEO Spa Consultants, India
  • Joint Director: Institute of Indian Medicine

Dr. Manish Patwardhan is an Ayurvedic Physician and Consultant and a postgraduate doctor in Ayurveda, who has undertaken studies in the medical school for 9 years.  He has been teaching and consulting for the Health Institute Australasia since 1996.

During this time Dr. Patwardhan has worked in management with the development and manufacture of natural and organic Ayurvedic products.

He has been joint Director of the Institute of Medicine, a faculty member of Ayurveda Academy, Pune, India, and is currently the CEO of Spa Consultants, the largest Spa Consultancy in the Indian subcontinent with a high profile in the training of Ayurvedic spa therapies. He is the President of Indian Spa and Wellness Association (ISWA) and the ‘Association Liaison’ of the Asia Pacific Spa and Wellness Coalition (APSWC).

A keen observer, good analyser, precise planner and an excellent executor and teacher, Dr. Patwardhan has brought Health Institute Australasia’s program in Ayurveda to newer heights. He is the brainchild behind HIA’s Diploma of Leadership and Management, specialisation Spa.

Sue Green

  • Adv Dip Yoga, Cert IV TAS
  • Lecturer for Cert IV Yoga and Life Education & Cert IV Workplace Assessment and Training

Sue Green hails from high-level management in the hospitality industry, where she has worked for over 20 years.  Sue has been teaching yoga for the Shanti Yoga Health Institute Australasia since 2010.

Whilst in Canberra, the Capital City of Australia, Sue has been involved in delivering training for the hospitality, fitness and administration sectors, working in the Fitness Industry from 2000-2010, including her employment as an Executive Officer for the Australian Council of Physical Health and Recreation (ACPHR). Before emigrating to the Gold Coast, Sue studied for her Arts/Science Degree from the Australian National University with subjects such as Politics, Cultural Studies, Psychology and Women’s Studies.

Sue started her love affair with yoga in 2001 and has been a student of Shantiji since. Sue is now resident on the Gold Coast and has been teaching yoga for the Health Institute Australasia since 2010. In her other life outside Yoga, Sue works at the Library in Bond University. Health Institute Australasia is pleased to welcome Sue’s calm, mature and well-balanced approach to life and her multi-tasking skills and contribution to the lecturing team at Shanti Yoga Health Institute Australasia.

Dalal Soltan

  • B.Ph.Sc.
  • Office Administrator, Shanti Yoga Health Institute Australasia

After graduating from Assuit University in Egypt in 2004, Dalal went back to the UAE where she met her husband, and worked (from 2005 –  Nov 2013) as:-

  • Trainee pharmacist
  • Registered Secondary Pharmacist
  • Registered Chief Pharmacist
  • Manager of a pharmacy

Dalal then came to Australia with her family (her husband and 2 kids), and she has been working at the  Shanti Yoga Centre since February 2016.

Rebecca Sinclair

  •  BA Psychology Syd Uni
  • Ayurvedic Cert 4 Lifestyle Consultant
  • Cert 4 Yoga Education, Dip of Yoga Studies and Adv Dip in Yoga
  • Adv Dip of Psychotherapy
  • Marketing Manager, Shanti Yoga Health Institute Australasia

I’m a Sydney girl born and bred and over the years I have developed a passion for Yoga, my life changed forever when I met Shantiji. In the early days I trained with Shantiji and then developed a small yoga studio which I nurtured for 9 years.

During my working life I held a variety of marketing roles both internationally and locally in small and large companies. Now I am combining my passion for Shanti Yoga with my marketing expertise as Marketing Manager.

Cheryl Anne Stubbs

  • Adv Dip Yoga, Dip Yoga Teaching, Remedial Massage.
  • Lecturer for Diploma of Yoga Teaching

Cheryl Stubbs has been a horse manager, trainer, personal dressage coach and connected with just about everything equestrian since childhood.

Cheryl obtained her certificate in remedial massage from the Health Schools Australia, Qld. in 1988, and certificates in Human Health Sciences from the University of New England, NSW in 1999. Her love of nature took her to Africa, where she obtained her certificate in Game Ranging from the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre, South Africa in 2003.

Cheryl commenced Shanti Yoga™ in 2005 and obtained her Cert IV in Yoga and Life Education in 2008, and her Diploma in Yoga Teaching in 2010 from the Health Institute Australasia. Cheryl is currently finishing her Advanced Diploma in Yoga Teaching and has embarked upon study for facilitating Meditation part 1 this year with the Health Institute Australasia. We welcome Cheryl to the team of accomplished yoga teachers.

Louise Hall

  • B.Ed Mus, L Mus A, Adv.Dip Yoga, Cert IV in Small Business
  • Artistic Director, Theatre LOTE Fantastique

Louise began studying yoga with Shanti Gowans twenty-five years ago, when she was teaching in secondary schools and performing. After completing a yoga teacher training course in 1992, she went on to teach yoga in schools and in community centres in Melbourne.

In 1999 after living and working as an actress and theatre student in the UK, Louise moved to Sydney to co-manage and teach at City Yoga Studio, Sydney.

Professionally Louise has also worked as a music teacher, playwright, composer, director, performer, and business owner of a language-based theatre-in-education company Theatre LOTE Fantastique!

Lynanne McKenzie

  • M.Ed., BA., Pregnancy Yoga, Dip Yoga

Lynanne’s yoga journey was inspired by the authenticity, compassion and guidance of Shantiji and the teachers at the Shanti Yoga Centre. She has studied Certificate IV in Yoga, followed by the Diploma in Yoga Teaching.  The traditional living principles and teachings of yoga resonate with her; in particular the principles of compassion for all living things, non-violence, and truthfulness which have been embraced as an integral part of her life.

Beyond yoga Lynanne is a wife, the mother of three adult children and has a fulfilling job in research development, supporting members of the Griffith Institute of Educational Research at Griffith University. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Monash University with a double major in urban geography and Australian history and a Master of Education from QUT.  She is currently researching in the area of distributed leadership.

Life is a journey and regular yoga practice supports and enhances that journey. Lynanne cherishes the opportunity to share this understanding and experience with others willing to grow with her.

Christine Starmer

  • Higher Art Certificate, Wollongong College of Fine Art. Cert IV TAE

Born in the U.K., Christine Starmer’s life has revolved around creative art, theatre and dance. 1n 1983 Christine graduated with a 3 year Higher Art Certificate from Woollongong College of Fine Art, where she studied painting, life drawing, photography, printmaking, sculpture and art history.

Since then Christine has travelled to London and Paris in pursuit of inspiration from the world’s finest artists and has had group and solo exhibitions in several art galleries, including being a yearly exhibitor in the Jupiter’s Art Prize and the Gold Coast City Council and Art Gallery. Her most recent solo exhibition was in 2013 at Welch Street Art Gallery, Gold Coast.

Christine has also been engaged in the construction of stage sets, costume design and masks, for performances and eisteddfod, Expo 88 Brisbane, Labrador Primary School (1997-2001), Silkwood Steiner School (2001-2005), and murals at Southport High School and Benowa High School (2005), with ongoing domestic commissions for murals.

Christine currently teaches mandala construction and creative arts at The Health Institute and Nirvana Wellness Retreat (2011-current). Christine is passionate and enthusiastic about what she teaches which is conveyed through the wonderful artwork that her students create. Even total beginners feel a sense of achievement with Christine’s encouragement.

Dr. Shilpi Bose Roy

  • BAMS

Dr. Shilpi Bose Roy BAMS is an experienced, trusted, patient-focused doctor with a long history of serving patients by successfully diagnosing and treating them with Ayurvedic medicines, procedures, lifestyle and dietary changes and exercises, suggesting and conducting panchkarma (various massages, sudation and enema) therapies as required on the basis of their diagnosis, with good knowledge of Allopathic medicines as well.

Her previous experience was in helping with general surgeries, deft in the day-to-day management of ICU (Intensive Care Unit), Gynecology and Obstetrics and is an expert in maintaining the daily report/records of patients. 

Dr. Swapnil Daspute


Dr. Daspute qualified with his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery in Dec 2005, and was honoured as a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Medicine in February 2011. He completed an MBA course in 2012, and is registered with state council of Indian Medicine.

Dr. Daspute works closely with Dr. Manish Patwardhan and is Director of  Pre-Opening, Training and Quality at Spa Consultants, India.

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