Meet the Teachers


I come from humble wee Ashburton, where I was a nail technician for a good six years.


I am a gal of many hobbies, from all things creative to D.I.Y. and rock climbing! Naturally, decided to give yoga a go one fine day and was so impressed at how quickly my aches and pains resolved themselves. I slept better, worried less and began to take better care of my body. 


Within a couple of years, yoga had hopped out of the hobby category and become a way of life! I left my job, packed up my mini, and drove toward 'the big smoke' for a year of study in Auckland. On completion of my Yoga Diploma it feels great to have my feet back on Canterbury soil and I am overjoyed to be a part of the adapted family.


My teaching style is classical (based on the eight limbs of Patanjali) and incorporates modern science to best suit each pose to your individual needs. My teachers came from very diverse backgrounds and I draw on various different styles when I teach. I love meditation and enjoy including guided relaxation at the end of my classes to reward my students for their hard work! 

Yoga Teacher

Rebecca Harford

Firstly, welcome to our Adapted family! Adapted Yoga and Pilates started when my baby Sophie was just six weeks old and, like her, we have grown and developed. We are no longer teaching classes in my garage, but the focus on using Yoga and Pilates principles and adapting the movements to help people and have fun and relax is still the same. Our Adapted family has grown (along with our second child, Jack). We feel so lucky to work with such fun and inspiring everyday people every day. Personally, I am really excited about the family and the community that continues to grow and flourish. It is great being able to attain our goals together and I look forward to new achievements with support and a lot of fun! I am really looking forward to getting to know you and working with you to achieve your goals. Namaste x

Founder, Owner and Teacher, BPHED Otago

Jeremy (Jed) Harford

I’m not a yogi, but I do head to a class when I can to stretch out and feel better. BUT if you see me in lycra shoot me please!

I’m Jeremy (Jed) and I’m Rebecca’s worse half. I’m not from any sort of yoga, pilates, health or fitness background, in fact the near opposite. I’m the beer drinking, steak eating guy from a Transport and Manufacturing management career where big hours and big stress were part of the job. But when the opportunity arose in 2017 to come across and join my wife and make Adapted a true family business I was over the moon. I really enjoy the community that Adapted has created, and the fact that as a community we can make a difference in peoples lives, and not just in the Yoga & Pilates class! You may not see me at classes everyday, but you will find me on the phone, or email, and helping the operation behind the scenes.

Not a Yoga Teacher - King of Adapted Homebase and behind the scenes guy

Vanessa O’Rourke

Hi my name is Vanessa O’Rourke.  I’m married with two children.  My son is first year at Otago University and my daughter is in her last year of High School.  I am excited to have found myself firstly starting as a member at Adapted Yoga and Pilates to now also being a member of the team.  I was previously the Practice Co-Ordinator at a busy Orthodontist for five years and during that time I continued to work part-time in my own business as a Beauty Therapist working with lovely ladies who over 28 years have become more like family.  I’ll be working in the office helping you lovely people and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Student Support

Tilak Raj

Mr. Raj has been practising yoga since his childhood and is a qualified teacher. He initiated his studies in the early 1990s in India. He studied many ancient scriptures including Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Pradipkia, Yoga Vasistha, and others in depth. He deepened his yoga practice and teaching methodology under various senior yoga teachers from India and around the globe. He is a qualified yoga teacher from various yoga ashrams and educational institutions around the world, with years of experience in teaching international students and corporate clients in India, Malaysia, and Thailand. Mr. Raj is encouraging students of all ages and abilities to lead a healthy, stress-free and active lifestyle. Currently, Mr. Raj is engaged in his research on scientific application of Yoga for sports performance enhancement and injury prevention in various sports. 

Head Yoga Teacher


Hi! I’m Julia from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I’m very happy to be part of this amazing Adapted family. I feel blessed with this opportunity working here in Christchurch, in this stunning country.
I started my career as a dancer with lots of Yoga elements for flexibility and strength. Along the years, I discovered that I needed extra training to be able to progress as a dancer so I started taking Pilates Reformer and Pilates Mat classes and I absolutely loved it!
I got deep into it inspired by my Pilates Instructor who also started his career as a dancer. I felt inspired by his adaptability to change his classes according to the students needs. 
I have done my Pilates training in Argentina for 2 years and worked as a Pilates and Stretching teacher. I believe that Yoga and Pilates are wonderful techniques to gain strength, flexibility and balance, to be able to calm down and focus on ourselves completely. From my classes students can expect a fun and focused environment where we constantly grow to become the best we can be taking care of our bodies, treating ourselves with patience and love. 

It is so rewarding helping students grow in such a lovely environment watching them leave the studio in a much better way than when they came in. Finding the way to adapt the movements to the students needs and find what suits for them.
My aim is to improve people´s life-style, to spread knowledge, to see the students getting to know themselves by understanding how their body works with a special focus on respect and honesty.
In the future I would love to continue teaching Pilates and start teaching Jazz and Contemporary Dance.

Pilates Teacher

Mike Wilson

Hello all, my name is Mike, and I’ve been with Adapted for some time now.. first as a student, then as a teacher trainee, and since December 2017, a fully fledged yoga teacher. My journey to becoming a teacher was an unexpected path- my desire to try yoga in the first place was to only improve my posture. Fast forward a year, many yoga classes (sometimes 2 or 3 a day) and exposure to yogic philosophy, and I tentatively joined up for teacher training. To think I now teach the classes that I so vividly recall nervously walking into 3 years ago is a very funny thing! To me, teaching yoga is a means to give back to others and share tools that can improve our mental and physical condition. My focus varies class to class, but strength and proper posture underpin what I teach.

From my classes you can expect a more disciplined approach, with an emphasis on correct posture and accurate alignment. Asanas are held more on the longer side, with an emphasis on relaxing into deepening stretches or looking inward to sustain more demanding postures. Advanced students will are held to higher standards and encouraged into more difficult adaptions. 

I can be found at Halswell mostly, but do appear time to time about our other venues. Beyond the yoga mat I enjoy taking swims out at Sumner (no matter the season!), drinking more coffee than is prudent, and am an army (infantry) reservist. 


  1. Focus on strength (any specifics ie core) 5

  2. Focus on balance 4

  3. Focus on stretching/flexibility 5

  4. Speed of transitions 2

  5. Education level 3

  6. Focus on breathe 3

  7. Philosophical focus 3

  8. Focus on relaxation 2

  9. Amount of adaptions for beginners/conditions 3

Yoga Teacher

Gemma Dwane

I left Ireland to travel around New Zealand for one year. That was 8 years ago!


Yoga philosophy has been very influential in my approach to life, yoga asana (poses) have helped me recover from injuries and both have aided in my recovery from depression. At the moment it is helping me get through a career change as I work towards a masters in psychology. My goal is to integrate yoga and psychology to help individuals use both body and mind to flow through life’s ups and downs. 


In 2006 I had the privilege of studying under Shivanand Singh in India and gained my yoga alliance qualification through Trimurti yoga in 2014. Those teachers, my physio and Yin yoga teacher, Paul Grilley, heavily influence my approach to teaching. They have taught me that everyone’s body and lifestyle is unique and should to be treated as such, while in the safety of community.


Your class always begins with breathing exercises to help you relax and be present on the mat. In each class, we focus on a specific set of poses. One of my aims is to enable you to discover the correct version of each pose for your body type. This is done using props or altering a pose. As my style is a little more traditional the poses are held longer. I will gently encourage you to push through the urge to give up! Usually, the class ends with Yoga Nidra which helps both the body and nervous system relax. The goal is to help you gain strength and flexibility while teaching you to understand your bodies unique limitations and abilities.


Besides being obsessed with yoga and psychology I have fallen for downhill mountain biking. It’s a thrill! However, my true love is food. I’m obsessed with food! I wish I could try new restaurants and cafes around Chch every day! AND NZ coffee is the best in the world!

Yoga Teacher

Petra Dennan

I am from the Czech Republic. I recently moved to NZ with my family after spending a decade in Dubai and Hong Kong.

My journey and deep relationship with yoga began when we decided to start a family and I wanted more clarity, to feel more centered and energised and follow through with my ideas and reach my goals. With great happiness Annie and Charlie are now in our lives.

I was very fortunate to study with Bhooma Chatanya and Swami Yogeshananda Sarawati in the foothills of the Himalaya's and since then I have taught amazing individuals and groups around the world.

I believe Yoga helps us reconnect our body, mind and self in a way that brings balance, alignment and joy, in both our Yoga practice and daily lives. I teach people how to move their bodies so they feel strong powerful, graceful and skilled.

I have an adaptive learning approach that innovates yoga postures to best serve each student. I focus on alignment therapeutic movement, inspirational and motivational language that moves people physically, emotionally and mentally.

Yoga Teacher

Samantha Arpan

Health and fitness have always been a passion of mine. From a young age my mom introduced and encouraged me to participate in every activity, from rock climbing to horseback riding, I’ve tried it all. For years I treated my body rough and with very little forgiveness which ultimately lead to injuries, some of which I am still dealing with today.

Those injuries and setbacks helped me to discover my true passion and life’s purpose: helping people through bodywork. My first-hand experience with the healing ability of yoga and massage inspired me to pass on my knowledge to others that may be experiencing mobility issues or pain.

In my class I focus on alignment, creating a strong core to support the body, and improving mobility and range of motion. Incorporating my experience with Ashatanga yoga and clinical massage therapy, you can anticipate an upbeat class for all levels that will get you moving and feeling refreshed at the end.

I am also a registered massage therapist through Massage New Zealand and am currently working towards my Bachelors in Health Studies. You can now book a massage with me through our GymMaster portal!

  1. Focus on strength (any specifics ie core) (5)
  2. Focus on balance (3)

  3. Focus on stretching/flexibility (4)

  4. Speed of transitions (2)

  5. Education level (5)

  6. Focus on breathe (4)

  7. Philosophical focus (2)

  8. Focus on relaxation (3)

  9. Amount of adaptions for beginners/conditions (4)

Yoga Teacher


I am a Yin yoga and Vinyasa yoga teacher. I have been practicing yoga for over 10 years. I find it the most nourishing practice to sustain me on a daily basis. I am a regular meditator and love to incorporate mindfulness practices into my yoga. I have also been singing and playing the piano for over 20 years and incorporate much of my yoga into my music teaching. I love music and use it in all aspects of my life and in my yoga classes. I was born and raised in Christchurch, I love the city and particularly the yoga community in it. I have studied many years of yoga, music, art and English and I am very passionate about yoga and bringing it into peoples lives.

Yoga Teacher


Kia Ora. I'm English born and bred, originally moved to NZ in 1994, and returned again this year after eight years away. I've been a nurse for over 30 years, an Energy Practitioner for seven years, and a yoga teacher for two minutes! I have, however, been practicing yoga on and off since I was a teenager. I was introduced to the books and videos of Lyn Marshall, in her bright leotard and tights, and who did a cracking 'roaring lion'!

I am Ashtanga trained and follow a more traditional but gentle practice, involving mantras (chants), pranayama (breathing), and asanas (postures). I incorporate chakra energy, stories about the postures, and therapeutic touch with guided relaxation at the end of class.
My practice can be understood in one of two ways;
Either energy based, using chakras to address energy flow deficits, or for the more scientific mind; nervous system based, using parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems to address energy flow deficits. Different paradigms, same techniques and results!
I look forward to working with you on the mat.

Yoga Teacher

Sarah Jackson

I have always been active, and played many competitive sports growing up. While studying in my first year at University in 2013, I began my Yoga practice and I haven't looked back since. I have been weightlifting since 2014, and have competed in powerlifting and bodybuilding competitions since 2015. 


I took a year off competing to ground myself after a high paced and stressful few years. During this time, I had the opportunity to complete the Yoga teaching course held by Adapted. 


I always wanted to be Yoga teacher so I could share and guide others to experience the positive benefits. I have worked as a Software Engineer full time since 2018, and the final motivational push to become a teacher came from hearing my colleagues complain about the daily pain they experienced from working in an office environment.


Yoga for me keeps me grounded, and is the kindness I give myself to stabilize my body, mind, and soul. I'm passionate movement, and introduce it to everything in my daily life - even when snacking on the couch. 


I have a strong focus on posture, alignment, strength, and form. I take an educational approach in my teaching in regards to what purpose the poses are fulfilling, and enjoy bringing awareness and balance to the body. 


Outside of Yoga, I enjoy surfing, motorbike racing, weightlifting, playing music, and hanging out with my parrot and dog. 


I will be teaching early mornings at Halswell, and occasionally you will see me appear at other venues. I am more than excited to be teaching with Adapted, and I look forward to seeing you on the mat! 

Yoga Teacher


Hari Om 

My name is Catherine. Yoga has been a gift to my life journey. It has helped me to be in the here and now, to be secure within myself and to stop living in my head. Yoga has also helped me to manage chronic pain and stress. 


My motivation in completing Yoga Teacher Trainings was simply to learn more about yoga for my personal growth. 


To be offered the opportunity to teach for Adapted is therefore very exciting but at the same time, very humbling. To ensure that I am at my best, I am committed to further learning and my personal practice. 


I am Hatha / Ashtanga trained and focused on strength, flexibility and balance. I hope you will join me on the mat soon. 




1.     Focus on strength (any specifics ie core) (5)

2.     Focus on balance (4)

3.     Focus on stretching/flexibility (4)

4.     Speed of transitions (3)

5.     Education level (4)

6.     Focus on breath (3.5)

7.     Philosophical focus (3)

8.     Focus on relaxation (3)

9.     Amount of adaptions for beginners/conditions (3)

Yoga Teacher

Please reload

Contact Us
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Social Icon

© 2013-2018 by Adapted Yoga and Pilates Limited

Level 1, 34 Yaldhurst Road, Sockburn, Christchurch NZ

Privacy Policy