waverley yoga studio

Your teachers

The owner and principal teacher at Waverley Yoga Studio is Sally Dawson. Our other teachers have been selected for their dedication, professionalism and capacity to help you to get the most from your practice. All our teachers have trained at the Australian College of Classical Yoga (ACCY) and are committed to their journey in yoga.

See below for more about our authentic lineage of teachers.

Sarasvati (Sally Dawson)


Since 2001 when she obtained her Diploma of Classical Yoga from the Australian College of Classical Yoga, Sally has drawn on her classical and hatha yoga experience as well as her Medical Science background to offer balanced and varied classes that are not only suitable for beginners, but offer some dynamic work and stronger poses for those with more experience. Her experience as a yoga teacher and understanding of anatomy and physiology means that she is well able to tailor the practice to suit your individual needs.

Sally’s ongoing mentoring from her teacher Swami Shantananda and the living lineage of spiritually-attained teachers means that she can also offer real transformative insights to assist you find the true freedom and bliss that yoga offers.

‘I aim to help you reach a state of physical wellbeing and inner freedom through yoga and meditation, so that you can be fit and healthy and the most authentic self you can be’ says Sally.

Sally has also regularly attended other yoga trainings, workshops and retreats with renowned teachers such as Swami Shankarananda, Jessie Chapman, Simon Borg-Oliver, Donna Farhi and Judith Lasater. She is a past secretary of Yoga Australia (YA) and also teaches a major part of the Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma in Classical Yoga at ACCY. Sally has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Technlogy) and Graduate Diploma in Business Administration. She also runs retreats with Swami Shantananda and various workshops for yoga teachers.

Her teacher Swami Shantananda has awarded Sally the title of 'Matharacharya' - meaning distinguished female teacher. In January 2013 she gave Sally the spiritual name Sarasvati.

sally dawson

Mary Gazzo


Mary has been teaching yoga for 10 years and has a Certificace IV in Meditation from the Meditation Institute in 2003 (Shanti Gowans) and a Diploma of Classical yoga from ACCY in 2006. She sees herself as a teacher and student of yoga. She also is interested in teaching yoga seniors and students with special needs.

‘I believe yoga can make a real difference to one’s sense of peace and wellbeing when lessons learnt in class are applied to our day to day lives.’

mary gazzo

Liliana Bosancic


Liliana has been teaching Yoga and Creative Dance for children since 1996 and adults since 2007. She has a Diploma of Classical Yoga from ACCY and has also done extra Mother and Baby training at ACCY and Yoga for Children training at Radiant Child Yoga. Liliana also teaches Mother and Baby Yoga and Yoga in the Workplace. She teaches at Waverley Yoga Studio and at various venues around Melbourne.

Liliana also has a Graduate Diploma in Movement and Dance at the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Toorak College.

‘I love the way I feel after a yoga class, and I love being able to help others feel that way too’ says Liliana.

Liliana Bosancic

Katie Macleish


Katie’s background is in theatre – both performing and teaching. 10 years ago, she moved from classroom drama to teaching Voice and Speech, where she aims to improve confidence in public speaking which involves building awareness of how the voice works. Intrinsic to this is breathing, and also release of adverse muscular tension. Yoga links in seamlessly with these aspects of her day job. Katie has been practising yoga for 15 years, most of that time with Ma Sally. In 2010 she graduated from ACCY as a yoga teacher, incorporating so much of what she learnt into her Voice and Speech classes and teaching extra yoga classes to the teachers and mums at her school.

‘Shavasana (corpse pose) is a real hit at the end of a busy school term’, says Katie. ‘Here at Waverley Yoga Studio, is where I developed a greater understanding of what yoga is really about. This understanding increased my passion for it, and led me to do the teacher training, not purely to teach, but for my own self development. I am a mother of two children, finding peace amongst the chaos through yoga.’

katie macleish

Susie Hopkins


Having been a yoga student for more than 20 years, in 2012 Susie undertook Classical Hatha Yoga teacher training course in Kerala , India , at Tulasidalam Yoga Ashram, School of Yoga Pada . She brings this traditional yoga training and an extensive nursing career to her yoga teaching to provide a safe and nurturing teaching style. Balancing the development of strength and flexibility, with practicing mindfulness throughout asana and meditation practice in class is emphasised. Currently (2014) Susie is expecting a baby so classes are especially gentle and appropriate and are very well suited to expecting mothers. She is mentored by Sarasvati.

"By investing in our own wellbeing, giving ourselves a moment to be quiet and to stretch and strengthen our bodies with awareness, we help ourselves to be able to do all the things that are important to us in our lives with more energy and love."

susie hopkins

Vanessa Hollo


Vanessa was first introduced to meditation while on retreat at Kopan Monastery in Katmanduin 1994, then discovered the power of Yoga while living in Varanasi, India in 1995. However it wasn’t until 2009, whilst walking The Camino de Santiago that she settled into Yoga as being a direction in her life that made sense.

She has a Diploma of Classical Yoga from ACCY, and has gone on to study and train in "Yin/Yang Yoga and Mindfulness" with Sarah Powers, "Prenatal Yoga for Conscious and Sacred Birth" with Janice Clarfield, and numerous creative and anatomy based Yoga workshops and retreats.

She loves exploring all sides of a yoga practice, playing with slow flow vinyasa, yin and restorative styles, body movement and intelligence and keeping it light hearted.

She currently designs and runs Yoga programs and classes for Drug and Alcohol rehab centers (her passion), is studying Nutritional Medicine and loves being a part of the Yoga community.

vanessa hollo



Our teachings are based on those from an authentic lineage of yoga teachers, tracing back to Bhagavan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri, India, and then his disciple Swami Muktananda. Sally’s teacher is Swami Shantananda and her teacher is Swami Shankarananda, a direct disciple of Swami Muktananda.

Sally is extremely grateful to have received teachings that have transformed her life and to be a part of this living tradition. At Waverley Yoga Studio our yoga and meditation classes are infused with the understandings and shakti (spiritual energy) that have come from Nityananda. We encourage and help YOU to find the freedom and bliss within that comes from truly knowing yourself through the practices of yoga.

Read more about Bhagavan Nityananda and the lineage of yogis of the tradition at www.nityanandatradition.org

Read more about Swami Shankarananda and Shiva Yoga at www.shivayoga.org

Read more about Swami Shantananda and The Australian College of Classical Yoga at www.classicalyoga.com.au

Read more about Satsang.