Santina Giardina- Chard

Letter from Santina

Life has taught me that there is no salvation other than love. After years of anorexia, bulimia, heroin and other substance abuse, I understood that these compulsive behavioural patterns were just a means to escape the boxed-up feeling of terror, rage, shame, despair, grief and unworthiness deep within my psyche and physicality. Paradoxically, the Ashtanga Yoga and  Gestalt methods helped me to realize that whenever I wanted to escape myself through compulsive behaviour. Life has taught me to accept my foolishness and the inescapable contradictions in my character. To accept that it was not destiny to be the sort of person I would have liked to be. Life’s taught me to be gentler because not everyone is the same. Life is a process of unfurling, so it has taught me to give reverence to a person, not a position. Life has taught me that we are all only guests on this planet. Therefore, I have learned to see myself as being on a pilgrimage, to travel light, contact other pilgrims, be simple, look around and realize that God is in everything.


Santina’s journey from suffering to awareness and understanding through yoga has led her to a rich and honest study of yoga as a living practice. San’s practice embodies the Ashtanga Yoga system, and she has diligently completed the Primary, 2nd and 3rd series of this method under the guidance of Mark Togni. Santina first travelled to Mysore, South India in 2014 and commenced tutelage under R. Sharath Jois, grandson of the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and current
Director of Sharath Yoga Centre the birthplace of Ashtanga Yoga. In 2016, Santina was granted Level 2 Authorization to teach Ashtanga Yoga, by her teacher R. Sharath Jois. Santina is also a certified Master Teacher in the Nicky Knoff Yoga System.

Santina augments her yoga teaching with her work as a therapist, holding a Masters of Gestalt Therapy — A humanistic therapy focusing on sharpening an individual’s awareness of emotions and behaviours in their experience of themselves in the present moment, on revealing what really “is”.

Santina’s theoretical background enables her to insightfully and compassionately work with students of all experiences and skills. Santina intuitively customizes yoga asana programs that work for every student’s unique constitutions and capacities. Santina has had the opportunity to study and practice with some of the world’s most respected teachers, including Nicky Knoff, Kino MacGregor and Tim Feldmann, Matthew Sweeney, and Prem and Heather Radha Carlisi. She has assisted Kino and Tim on three retreats abroad.

Santina has also attended and continues to attend month-long intensives with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. Santina holds degrees in Law/Arts from the University of Melbourne, Masters of Gestalt Therapy, Clear Beliefs Coach and Diploma of Jungian Studies.