About Us


Soul Studio Hot Yoga

Nau mai ka a tatou katoa ki tenei tepu.

At this table, everyone is welcome.

Based in a purpose-fitted, calming and welcoming studio in Christchurch, Soul Studio offers hot yoga classes, health workshops, events and more – accessible for ‘every body’.

We value inclusivity, diversity, curiosity and community, and respect each individual’s unique journey: from new souls, beginners to practised yogis.

Mauri tū mauri ora. An active soul is a healthy soul.

Our commitment is to care deeply for your yoga and health journey. To do all we can to make you feel safe and supported.

Soul Studio operates sustainably on the principals of becoming a BCorp business.  Certified B Corporation. We believe in business that balances purpose and profit and a force for good.

We offer a collaborative approach, with a community co-op and advisory board guiding our values and practices.

Our mission is to support communities in accessing yoga for enhancing the capabilities and functioning of the mind and body – and to nourish the soul.

We’re delighted to have you join us!


Hot Yoga Studio

Conveniently located on Mandeville Street in Christchurch, Soul Studio is a space to sweat, celebrate your strength, find connection with body and mind, and invest in your physical health, fitness, mental health and spirit. Our modern shala/studio includes dedicated spaces to accommodate our collaboratively designed yoga classes, health talks, workshops and events.


Soul Philosophy

We Care Deeply

About our clients, the yoga we teach, and company and our culture. That our people feel seen. Your feeling of safety matters to us. Compassion, communication and respect. We care about being consistent, inclusive, and our impact on the environment.

Every Day, We Make a Difference

Soul Studio offerings have real purpose and benefits related to community and health. We’re committed to improving ourselves and the company. Delivering value for our clients is always at the heart of what we do.

We are Transparent by Design

We value accountable, open and honest communication. Asking for and giving candid and considered feedback. Admitting and learning from mistakes. Always learning.

We Have an Abundant Mindset

At Soul Studio we have fun, are joyful and practise balance. Collaborative, and financially fair. Both sustainable and profitable. Yoga asana and beyond.


Sarah O’Connell

Sarah is a yoga teacher of ten years with over 20 years involvement in the health sector. Meditation teacher, health and executive coach Sarah is Soul Studio’s Owner, (alongside her partner Adam) Director and Lead Yoga Teacher. Sarah began her own hot yoga journey in the mid-2000s, and is passionate about making yoga accessible and enjoyable for people of all ages, fitness levels and abilities. She shares her own life experiences with stress, with burnout, of parenthood, of business and leadership and her past eating disorder to Soul Studios offering. Bringing compassion, acknowledgement and acceptance to all.

Sarah’s deep desire is that Soul Studio is a place where people feel seen, safe and supported.

E hara taku toa I te toa takitahi, he toa takitini.

My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.


Soul Studio Instructors

Lizzie Thomson

Often plagued with niggles and injury from playing multiple sports at a competitive level, Lizzie began her yoga journey when she just 16, attending classes with her mother. Yoga soon became an essential part of her life – allowing her to find a balance with sports training. Lizzie completed her first 200-hour yoga teacher training in Biscarrosse, France with Yoga Beach House in 2018 and has passion for both vinyasa and restorative/yin yoga. She loves holding space for people to be present and find peace in their day. When she’s not practising yoga, Lizzie plays premier club and representative hockey.

Kim West

Originally from Walnut, California, Kim’s personal health journey began when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 14. After years of feeling disempowered by this illness and invasive medical intervention, Kim chose to learn how to take her health into her own hands. From 2016 – 2019, she completed trainings in yoga, meditation, tantra philosophy, aromatherapy and further pilates education, and in 2020 Kim completed the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in Holistic Health Coaching. Kim joins Soul Studio Hot Yoga as teacher, studio support and health coach and facilitator.

Kate Cooksley

Having discovered yoga at the age of 16, Kate underwent initial training and then began teaching in her home region in the Manawatu. To broaden her teaching knowledge Kate began travelling internationally and gained experience teaching in multiple retreat settings, including surf camps in San Sebastian and at Kali Yoga retreat. Kate loves motivating others to improve their wellbeing while supporting the commitment of communities to their long-term health and fitness. In addition to teaching yoga Kate comes with significant other workplace skills that she is excited to bring to Soul Studio.

Alex Ballagh

Alex fell in love with yoga while living and working in Cambodia, and describes her first time on the mat as one of the most transformative in her life. Having never felt more at home in her body before, she knew she was now “on the path” and there was no going back! Alex brings with her sixteen years as a dancer and dance teacher, and is deeply passionate about offering yoga that encourages every student to dive into a self-inquiry as to how they are feeling in body, mind and spirit at any given moment.

Pele Forde

Practising with Pele you are going to be challenged – yet cherished. She is fierce and funny. She only asks of you what you can give. Pele is a force for sure. A force for good. Forthright and fair. Committed to the development of new teachers. Teaching for 9 years she is well known and cherished in our yoga community and the community of her Pacific Island people. If Soular Power and Soul Hot Flow are for you prepare to bust a move with Pele.


Gordie has practiced many different types of yoga over the past 20 years – landing with Vinyasa – and has a regular pranayama and meditation practice, which continually explores new and different meditation and pranayama techniques. As an energetic extrovert, Gordie has a deep love for connecting with people and a drive to help people be the best version of themselves. He spends a lot of time outdoors and has experienced the benefits first-hand of how a regular yoga practice is essential to maintaining flexibility while creating stillness in the mind. Gordie will encourage you to come as you are, while he creates a safe space for you to practice.

Zita Campbell

Zita started practising yoga at 12 years old. For fifteen years she has been on her mat and in June 2021 committed to completely her first teacher training. Zita loves the heat. She loves the dynamic challenge of both Flow and Power. She’s our yoga little sister and we are super excited to have her as part of the Soul team and watch her teaching flourish.

Dan is an instructor at Soul Studio Hot Yoga Christchurch

Dan Salisbury

Dan began attending yoga classes at night school 23 years ago and became hooked on the intensity and challenge of hot yoga in 2006, which aided his mental stability, focus, emotional wellbeing and flexibility. Dan trained in leading Laughter Yoga, and went on to attend Donna Farhi’s Advanced Yoga Teacher Training which taught him about the importance of safe and mindful alignment in the body. His classes are taught with care, breath and alignment with the aim of helping students to release stress, reset and practice finding a calming, easeful space.

sayaka is an instructor at Soul Studio Hot Yoga Christchurch

Sayaka Kanayama

Sayaka began her yoga journey in her home country, Japan, in 2011. She transitioned from a dance career – and her yoga practice helped her realize her own inner beauty, and to cultivate self-love and compassion. To dive deeper into yoga, Sayaka attended a 500-hour hot yoga teacher training in L.A in 2014. Since then she has taught in 20 countries world-wide and joined several trainings, including Touch-Care Therapy, Acro Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and Art of Teaching with Donna Farhi. She is passionate about sharing tools like asana, pranayama, meditation, and the practice of yoga off the mat.

Timea is an instructor at Soul Studio Hot Yoga Christchurch

Timea Anovo

Originally from Hungary, Timea began her yoga journey in Australia in 2010 having practiced gymnastics and discovered her love of movement and dance from the age of six. When she discovered yoga she felt ‘at home’, and – led by a desire to have a greater understanding of yoga poses/asanas and whilst attending a wedding in India – she decided to complete her first teacher training. Timea has continued to study anatomy, and pre- and post-natal yoga. She is passionate about working with beginners and those suffering and recovering from alcohol and drug addiction, and believes that yoga is for every BODY.

Sacha is an instructor at Soul Studio Hot Yoga

Sacha O'Connell

Having been involved in the studio since she was 6years old Sacha knows the lay of the land well. Sacha’s role is Reception/Mumma support at Soul Studio. With a passion for organisation and systems she brings both a young view and voice to the team.

Shawn Gerrity

Shawn aka Paua Man has been teaching since 2015. He trained originally in Astanga Vinyasa. Since his initial training Shawn has travelled broadly including to Italy for an Acroyoga training where he meet his partner and our much loved Sayaka. Shawn is a marine biologist ( hence the Paua Man ) and in his spare time loves to be in NZ bush hunting. He teaching style reflects his love of life and yoga. Calm, funny caring. We are delighted to have Shawn join us at Soul Studio.

Walking in to one of Sarah’s yoga classes has come to be one of the highlights of my week! Yoga with Sarah is fun, challenging, restorative and I always leave the class feeling better than when I walked in. Sarah is a highly skilled teacher, and her classes cater for all abilities and experience. I feel encouraged to explore new postures within a safe and protective space and to trust and accept how my body is different each day.

Kate Todd

Sarah is an extra special yoga teacher who exudes warmth, kindness, knowledge and humour – helping yogis access what they need from their practice, on that day. I have been a follower of Sarah’s classes for over 3 years and having her as a teacher has definitely enriched my yoga practice. However you are feeling when you arrive, Sarah brings you mentally and emotionally onto your mat with her well-chosen, thought provoking words.

Philippa Ford

Sarah’s yoga classes take me on a journey, not only physical but also emotional, where mindfulness plays a main role. Her thorough and thoughtful instruction awakens me in a variety of ways, and I always leave the room feeling refreshed and happy. She is a wonderful, caring and beautiful yoga teacher, and I have loved every class I’ve taken with her. Thank you, Sarah! I look forward to many more yoga classes with you! Namaste.

Victoria Castellanos de Escaip

Sarah, what wonderful news regarding the announcement of the opening of your new “Soul Studio Hot Yoga”. I have always loved and held in high regard your personal teaching practice over the years. Congratulations, see you in practice.

Paul Hunter


Hot Yoga Event

He waka eke noa.
A vehicle upon which everyone may embark.