Yoga for the People Your Teachers

Read our bio's...

Claire Massey          Gordon Pfeiffer         Renee Reid
Jude Best   Katie Sumstine   Leon Magowan-Wilson  
Anjana Mistry   Lisa Oakley    


Claire Massey - Studio Owner

Introducting Claire Massey the new owner of Yoga for the People.

I have been coming to classes at YFTP since 2006 and fully intend to continue for the rest of my life! Yoga is an amazing discipline of mind and body – as well as being the best exercise I’ve ever done and good fun at the same time.

The people who practice and teach at YFTP make up a wonderful community and I feel very privileged to be taking the studio into the next phase.

In my day job I am a Professor of Management at Massey University where my current role is stakeholder engagement.


Gordon Pfeiffer

Originally from Germany, Gordon moved to Wellington in 2009. He has been practicing Bikram Yoga since 2007 and got into it after suffering from chronic back pain and anxiety attacks which were triggered by a spinal injury incurred in a car and a skiing accident. After a number of years living with the pain little did he know that an appointment with an acupuncturist would change his life forever. The acupuncturist advised him to build up muscles around his spine and suggested attending a yoga class. He went the same day to his first ever class and couldn't believe the change it made to his life. He was virtually pain free after 4 weeks and has never had an anxiety attack since.

In 2011, inspired by the immense healing power of yoga and how it had changed his life he decided to become a teacher so he could help others and spread the word of yoga. Since then he has attended trainings in Los Angeles, Vancouver and New Zealand and been a studio owner.

Katie Sumstine

Hi everyone. I grew up in Oregon moved to California where I lived for 8 years. At the time I was an avid runner - up and down the hills of San Francisco. I started experiencing some knee and hip pain from the constant compact. Every morning I would run past a little yoga studio called "funky door yoga" - aka Bikram Yoga! I decided to take a class.

My first class was heaven (not the normal reaction, but I absolutely loved it). I became a teacher 6 years later.

A lover of nature NZ has drawn me in completely. The picture is in my first home on one of the hills in Eugene, Oregon.

Now settled in Lower Hutt my first baby Tennyson was born on January 15th 2017.  I'm currently enjoying motherhood and excited to see what the next chapter will bring.


Jude Best

I started practicing Bikram Yoga in my early 40’s, pulling on my trousers was hard , muscle tone was non existent , weight was slowly coming on my mid drift,  Drinking a tiny  glass of wine daily,  working very long hours being self employed  , personal relationships were coming second in my life and my head was driving me crazy, sleep was virtually limited to short bursts.

When I first started yoga  I couldn’t do any of it , I had a million reasons why it was to hard, and used all of them , BUT from day one I knew it felt good , and it felt right for me and my body , I had good and bad days I progressed from the back row as I slowly became more comfortable with me myself and I.

Practicing Bikram has changed me in so many ways, mainly how I react and respond to situations. It has freed me from limiting beliefs and brought some incredibly special people into my life.

Through practicing, I have slowly eliminated many people and things that no longer serve me  today which has enabled me to move in more of a positive peaceful direction.

I am incredibly grateful to have found this yoga and I’m able to share it with others.

 My favourite Bikramizm?

‘You have nothing to lose, you had nothing to begin with.’
‘What’s the worse thing that can happen to you? You could die. You’re not so lucky. Just do the pose.’

My favourite things are being married , family, friends  , pets , food, hiking , movies, gardening, horse  racing and just getting out there amongst it all.

I live on a real sheep and beef farm in Wellington , we grow our food when we can we weather and rabbits don’t stunt the growth!  , I’ve been a Registered nurse, Events organiser, and  currently a Celebrant and yoga teacher!



Leon Magowan-Wilson

I became a regular Bikram Yoga student in 2012 after showing up to a class with a friend. I remember experiencing a deep sense of calm for days after this class. I think that this, along with the intense workout for both my body and mind is what keeps me coming back.

The wonderful thing about this yoga, and indeed our own personal yoga journey is the different layers of challenges, lessons and rewards that are revealed as we reach new levels of our practice. Through a regular, dedicated and informed practice, I’ve come to truly respect the amazing abilities of the human body – we are far stronger and more resilient than we know. This is what lead me to jet off to Mexico in late 2015 to train with the wonderful and inspiring Tony Sanchez in his Masters Core series. What an amazing experience!

I look forward to being a part of everyone’s yoga journeys here at the studio. See you on the mat! 

Anjana Mistry

I took my first Bikram Yoga class in Sydney Australia in 2009. I’d been working in the field of Advertising and Marketing in London and Australia for over a decade at that point and as with most corporate jobs, the stress was crazy. The calmness and clarity I used to feel after doing a hot 90 minute class was amazing, so I kept going back!

When I had my son Kian and was juggling not only a full time job and a toddler, Bikram Yoga was my saviour as it kept me sane and gave me a precious 90 minutes a week to block out all the “noise” and just focus on the stillness the yoga gave me.

The seed for becoming a teacher was planted in my early 40’s. By that point I had come to the conclusion that I had gained as much as I could from the Corporate world and was ready to try something new.  I wanted to do something that not only was nurturing for me, but that would make a positive impact on my family and the people around me.  And so, in December 2016 I completed my 250 hour yoga certification.

It’s so great to be living back in New Zealand in the lovely Kapiti Coast and to be able to teach in my hometown of Wellington.  For me there is nothing like a open-eyed moving mediation. Yes it’s hot, yes its sweaty and lets face it, sometimes its a bit smelly, but to be able to have the discipline to not let the heat, sweat, smell and your own thoughts interfere with your stillness, is were the power in Bikram Yoga is for me.

I look forward to seeing you on the mat soon.



Lisa Oakley

I was first introduced to Bikram Yoga in 2011 when a friend invited me along to a class – it was winter and I instantly fell in love with the heat of the yoga room.  Although some of the poses were a definite work in progress, I couldn’t wait to return the following day!

In 2013 my husband, three children and I moved to Singapore where my interest in yoga blossomed and my journey as a yoga teacher began.  My first yoga instructor qualification was gained from Vyasa Yoga in Singapore.  Following this training I studied a yoga therapy course and alignment and adjustment courses in 2015.

Returning to New Zealand earlier this year - I enjoyed the balance in my life and benefits physically, energetically as well as emotionally and mentally of using my personal Yin yoga practice with my Bikram practice.  I decided that I wanted to share and deepen this practice so in 2016 I completed a Yin yoga teacher training course.

Yin is a wonderful complement to our Bikram practice.  It’s an opportunity to unplug from the pushes and pulls of technology and modern life.   In Yin yoga we hold poses for longer periods of time, anything from 2 – 10 minutes; this helps work into our deep connective tissues, facia and sometimes into our joints.  I love the way it also gives us the opportunity to take time out from our busy schedules to slow things down and turn our attention inwards.  With practice this can help us to also deal with the little and sometimes bigger bumps that life throws our way.

I have noticed through my own practice I tend to observe more and react less, with regular practice life can slowly become a little more serene, calmer and peaceful – bliss!


Renee Reid

I walked into my first Bikram yoga class May 27th 2014 and it changed my life! I was determined to go back the next day and the day after that, and every day for a week - I felt so good! I couldn't believe it :)

I'd been recommended to try Bikram to help my running as I'd entered the Auckland marathon and was told it could help with fitness and lung capacity. So what started out as a tool to compliment the running soon took over and within a week, I knew I had to teach this healing practice.

What struck me the most was how determined you become and how your dreams inch closer and closer and before you know it- everything you want to achieve in your life is happening. I believe that just getting to class and sticking it out in the hot room ( as each practice is different to the last) gives you determination and stickabitly in your daily life.

Goals become reality with Bikram yoga, I truly know and believe this.  11 months ago my biggest dream was realised as I became a mother to a stunning little being. My big big love wrapped up in a small package, little Vivienne-Storm.

Big and great things will happen when you do your yoga.
I look forward to meeting you all and having a chat - see you on your mat!:)


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