Teacher Training Scholars
Our Scholars are guest contributors to the teacher training program. They step in to lead specific portions of the training in which they are experts, and some of them have written chapters of the manual.
With nearly 20 years of a personal yoga practice and strong influences ranging from Ana Forrest and Anusara to Kundalini and 5 Rhythms dance, Aarona found her home within the playful and intelligent flow of Kula Yoga Project in NYC. Her classes infuse a range of movement disciplines grounded in a steady alignment-based Vinyasa style, encouraging students to be more in tune with the strength of their body, the brilliance of their breath, the spontaneous nature of well-being, and the intuitive power of feeling their senses. She is the founder/producer of ‘Yoga Soundscape’ – an experience that engulfs you in a live music and sound concert as you’re guided through an inspiring and thoughtfully orchestrated yoga practice. Within Yoga Soundscape, Aarona shares her love of and the powerful impact of music and sound on the body/mind/spirit connection. Find out more: www.yogasoundscape.com or www.yogaofnourishment.com.
Anandra teaches mantras and yoga to empower people to affect lasting transformation and find consistently deep inner peace. She has been practicing yoga and meditation for almost 20 years. Known for a teaching style that is practical, penetrating, and lighthearted, and she started teaching at a spiritual school in the US and Europe in 1999 and continues to offer mantra workshops, teacher trainings, and retreats in Hawaii (her home) and worldwide. She has been invited to share mantra at top yoga festivals including Bhaktifest in US, True Nature in Japan, and the International Yoga Festival in India. When not teaching, she offers spiritual life coaching via Skype and continues her study of Sanskrit, mantra, and Indian Classical music. Her life is dedicated to living, and helping others to live, the Divine life.
Annie Carpenter’s teaching has evolved into an intelligent, organic SmartFLOW, reflecting her love of both juicy movement and rigorous discipline. Known as a “teacher’s teacher,” she leads 200- and 500-hour teacher trainings, and teaches yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation at Exhale Center for Sacred Movement in Venice, California and will join the faculty at YogaTree in the Bay Area in 2014. A former Martha Graham dancer Annie has studied anatomy, kinesiology, and developmental movement; her classes are informed by the body’s structure and evolution. Annie’s classes integrate intensity, intelligence, laughter, and love. She is the author of the CD RelaxDeeply and the DVD Yoga for Total Back Care, and a regular contributor to Yoga Journal.
“My highest intention is to help others connect with their unique purpose and effectively share their passions with the world through dedicated and compassionate self-service. Only when we serve ourselves first are we free to serve others and the world. Through this practice we bring all aspects of our life in line to serve our highest vision. ” ~Ashleigh
With a yoga teacher for a mother, Ashleigh began her dedicated exploration of yoga at an early age in pursuit of healing a spine condition from birth. Now, living free from pain, Ashleigh is dedicated to sharing the healing power of yoga. She is the Global Yoga Trainer for adidas, was honored to be the youngest Certified Anusara Yoga Instructor in the world and is registered with Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 500 level. Ashleigh is a presenter at the Wanderlust Festival, regularly films online yoga classes with My Yoga Online and Grokker Inc., and has contributed to Mind Body Green, Latin Women’s Health and German Yoga Journal. Ashleigh studies the ancient healing science of Ayurveda and brings this valuable wisdom into her teaching both on and off the mat. Ashleigh strives to make the profound teachings of yoga appealing to as many people as possible and is known for her clear, concise and extremely accessible teaching style.
Inspired by mom’s Power Yoga influences, her first teachers included Bryan Kest and Baron Baptist. Ashleigh received her first 200-HR teaching certification at the Himalayan Institute with a strong influence from Rod Stryker’s ParaYoga®. Throughout 2008 Ashleigh traveled with and assisted John Friend, the founder of Anusara® Yoga, which empowered her exponential growth. After completing multiple Anusara Teacher and Therapeutic Trainings with John, Ashleigh now brings the knowledge of over 2,000 hours of global study to her teaching.
On the global circuit with adidas, Ashleigh works side by side with some of the top performance coaches in the world and regularly expands her knowledge of how to incorporate yoga into the mainstream world of athletics, health and fitness. Ashleigh’s strong focus on the therapeutic application of yoga has made her a much sought after asset in the performance world. She continues to work with members of the Chinese Olympic Team, FIFA and NBA athletes. Ashleigh regularly leads teacher trainings and large scale classes in Europe, Asia and South America.
Diverse global travel travel consistently reconfirms Ashleigh’s deep-seated belief that true transformation begins with dedicated self-inquiry and mindfulness in life’s most local situations.
Being raised in South Florida exposed to personal relationship with God since a young age has paved a path of purpose. Yes everyone has a purpose and Carrie found hers mostly as a wanderer, listening to subtle cues from a still small voice. Under the guidance of Billy Graham and countless other Spiritual Leaders she has rooted herself in healing arts as a Licensed Massage Therapist in Hawaii and Nationally Certified Massage and Body Worker for the last 13 years. She has laid the foundation of her practice with her Kumu Brenda Mohalapua Ignacio studying and assisting with Lomi Lomi and La’au lapa au, Hawaiian healing and medicine since 2001. Also working with her mentor, Dr Jurgen Klein, an Alchemist & pioneer of the SPA industry and his wife, Karin Klein, the last 7 years has gained her deep insight and experience. Having studied Thai Yoga Massage, Trigger Point Therapy, Positional Release Therapy, Somatics, Myo-Fascial Release, Pregnancy Massage, Aromatherapy and o ther modalities she blends cultural healing arts with western mind body maps for a unique session tailored to a clients specific needs. Clients ranging from Professional and Olympic Athletes to Chronic and terminal illnesses, to the neighbor next door she has built her practice on the knowledge and skill necessary for a tuned and listening hand. Her aim is to teach awareness through movement and help others filter out the influences of environment that seep into the marrow of their being. “I believe if we maintain our physical strength we are able to handle the mental, emotional and environmental changes that happen in life.”
Carrie is also a musician playing locally for Yoga classes at Power Yoga Hawaii & Paumalu Yoga Feel Good Fridays. Check out her original music on soundcloud & album Banzai North Shore Vol 1 in collaboration with Dorian Wright available on itunes.
All wisdom is not taught in one school
A ‘ohe i pau ka ike i ho’okahi halau.
Carrie Owerko has been teaching yoga and exploring the relationship between body, breath and mind for several years. She holds a Senior Intermediate Iyengar teaching credential and continues her studies with the Iyengar family by traveling to India on a regular basis, as well as by continuous and in-depth studies with her teacher, Patricia Walden.
Over the years she has performed in and co-choreographed many yoga demonstrations, including Live: Light on Life, performed at NYC’s City Center during BKS Iyengar’s Light on Life US National Book Tour in 2005.
Before studying yoga, Carrie worked as a Movement Analyst after having completed her studies at The Laban Institute in NYC. She studied theatre and dance in college and has spent years exploring human movement, meaning and communication.
Curiosity, openness, and affection are of the utmost importance in her approach to Iyengar Yoga, as is the integration of science, yoga philosophy, and the poetic imagination in the yoga practice. Most importantly, she loves to explore the relationship of discipline and playfulness and is a firm believer in the power of controlled folly.
Christa Schwind has been studying Eastern Religions since 1999. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies and is currently in the final stages of her Doctorate at the University of Denver/Iliff School of Theology. She has taught both Eastern and Comparative Religions at the University level and her academic areas of expertise include: Hinduism and the West, Modern Yoga, Yoga in North America, Philosophy, Comparative Religions, and Cultural Theory/Identity Politics. She is currently working on her dissertation entitled, Tracing an American Yoga: Identity and Cross-Cultural Transaction. The project is interested in looking at the creative identity of an American yoga, both rooted in its Indic origins and radically transformed in its U.S. manifestations. The project relates yoga to the identity, power, and knowledge dynamics of pre-modern, modern, postmodern histories and interpretations of yoga, multiple theoretical discourses, and the embodied practices of individuals within Indian and American contexts.
Beyond the academic realm she is also a devout yoga practitioner and a yoga alliance certified instructor who continues to find inspiration in the wisdom and historical complexity of yoga’s physical and spiritual dimensions. She enjoys participating in yoga teacher-training programs and workshops from the perspective of a teacher and a student and is passionate about sharing and learning from yoga in multitudinous ways.
Christopher (Hareesh) Wallis’ teaching balances accuracy with accessibility, profundity with clarity, and intellectual integrity with heart-expanding inspiration. As a gifted scholar, Hareesh holds a Masters in Sanskrit from U.C. Berkeley, an M.Phil. in Classical Indian Religions from the University of Oxford, and is currently completing doctoral dissertation at Berkeley on the traditions of Tantrik Shaivism. He is head Faculty at the Mattamayura Institute. His book Tantra Illuminated is available from Amazon and iTunes.
Hareesh also received a traditional yoga āshrams education (in the West and India) in meditation, kirtan, mantra-science, asana, karma-yoga, and more. He currently teaches meditation, yoga darshana (spiritual philosophy), Sanskrit, mantra, and offers spiritual life-coaching.
Students note that his combination of rigorous and thorough knowledge with profound love for the tradition is a rare gift.
Collette Cameron embodies the heart of Mother Earth and the soul of the Moon in her passionate teachings. Through her unconditional, nurturing ways she navigates the individual layers of the body with a goal to help facilitate personal transformation. She’s extremely knowledgeable in alignment, movement, breath work, deep relaxation, and sacred meditation practices. You will often hear her talking about her love for nature, food and community! With high energy and a thirst for fun and adventure, each class is a reflection of her true personality.
Collette is certified RYT 200 and currently has been teaching restorative and hatha flow yoga classes for 8 years, and a student of yoga for almost 15 years. She continues her lifelong studies and is involved in many retreats, workshops, and teacher trainings.
Collette discovered yoga as a compliment to her breath and body work while majoring in acting at Bennington College in Vermont. After working as a teacher for a few years and receiving a Masters in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership, she moved to Austin and decided to take her yoga practice to the next level and became an RYT. Collette strives to practice with intention — both on the mat and off! For her, this means moving with an open mind, a happy heart, and compassion for herself and others. Through teaching, she hopes to inspire a sense of community and to encourage her students to push past self-imposed physical and mental limits.
David Abookire is a Sports & Injury Specialist who has treated thousands of athletes, yogis and injured patients. His passion about preventing injuries and helping people reach their fullest potential, combined with a love of yoga, led him to begin teaching yoga anatomy teacher training programs in 2005. He has traveled the country teaching Level 1 and Advanced Level 2 Functional Anatomy and has taught to over 1,000 students.
David is an expert in alignment and biomechanics and his classes are designed specifically to show yoga instructors how to prevent injuries in yoga classes. His anatomy classes are exciting and accessible so students leave with information they can apply immediately. Prepare to be excited while learning anatomy!
David is the Owner and Director of Boulder Therapeutics at their 3 locations in the Boulder & Denver area. He specializes in Sports Therapy, Injury Rehabilitation and the relief of chronic pain patterns and often blends yoga poses into his patients’ home care programs. David was trained as a massage therapist in 1999 and has been practicing yoga since 1998. He has worked with many professional athletes and teams in the Denver area including 12 seasons as the team massage therapist for the Colorado Rapids. He has also worked with dancers at the Colorado Ballet.
Elena Brower is a mother, an author, a teacher, and co-owner of Virayoga in NYC, a destination studio for travelers and New Yorkers alike. Her first book, Art of Attention, an artful yoga workbook, is in its second US printing and its second translation. Influenced by alignment-based Hatha, Kundalini and Yin yoga, Elena offers yoga as a way to approach our world with realistic reverence and gratitude. She is always honored to collaborate with fellow teachers and thought-leaders, and her classes are a masterful, candid blend of alignment and attention cues that speak to body, mind, and heart.
As an Executive Producer of On Meditation, she’s helping curate a film that takes us into the lives of meditators to introduce and inspire practice. Writing can be found on Huffington Post, Positively Positive and Elephant Journal, and classes can be found on YogaGlo.
“I started practicing yoga as a way to relieve the physical and psychological stresses accompanying a career in dance… and a generally adventurous life. After a life of dance study with yoga techniques and body mind centering in class I went looking for the source of this information. After two years of calling Jivamukti in NY for their schedule I finally went to class. Sharon Gannon opened my heart. I attended Teacher Training at the White Lotus Foundation with Ganga White and Tracey Rich in California and started following around source teachers, from Pattabhi Jois to Ana Forrest, passing through NYC. I studied anatomy with Irene Dowd and dove into kirtans with a passion. I taught my first yoga class in 1999 and my love of teaching has never wavered; I am still amazed at the limitless possibilities the practice reveals. The most influential shift in my teaching and practice came with a visit to Krishnamacharya’s yoga Mandarim in India. In class I love deep alignment work in a creative flow with a clear energetic objective. My primary goal as a teacher is to guide practitioners towards their own power. I live in deep gratitude to all the teachers, especially my ladies at Kula, who have done the same for me.” ~ Erin
Erin is a senior teacher at Kula Yoga Project. She was on faculty at Stony Brook University in New York for 5 years where she wrote and implemented the Somatic Yoga syllabus and taught Contemporary Dance, Dance Improvisation and Butoh. Within her practice you feel her love of movement, the influence of kinesthetic anatomy, the investigative philosophy of Irmgard Bartenieff, the quiet passion of Astanga Vinyasa and the rigorous intelligence of Iyengar Yoga. Her alignment cues and energetic directives create a nurturing space for the practitioner to fully engage in an objective investigation of their physical, mental and psychical condition.
Gary has been studying and practicing yoga since 2000. He has a Certificate of Yoga Philosophy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. He has studied yoga at Esalen Institute, Parmarth Niketan Ashram and Satchidananda Ashram. He recently published his first book entitled: “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali- illuminations through image, commentary and design.” This book provides a new approach to studying the Yoga Sutras by using imagery, poetry and quotation to illuminate the heart of the Sutras.
Gary is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) and sits on a Yoga Alliance subcommittee to revise its Code of Conduct. He teaches workshops on yoga philosophy, and support yoga teacher training programs by teaching yoga philosophy, law, business and ethics.
Gary has also practiced corporate and business law for over twenty years. He has been a Senior Attorney with Microsoft and served on their Ethics Committee. He has been a partner with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP as well. Gary has written three books on yoga and the law. He has spoken at the Yoga Alliance Business of Yoga Conference, the Yoga Journal Conference-San Francisco and the Texas Yoga Conference. He represents and consults with many yoga studios, teachers and wellness businesses on a broad range of matters.
Heidi’s great love for yoga and meditation started many years ago, she began teaching in 2001. Studying with many great yogis (Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, Mary Obendorfer, Lois Steinberg and many others) she has taken what works best in her body and created a dynamic flow rooted in alignment. Heidi’s classes are energetic and inviting. Students leave feeling refreshed, balanced and centered.
Heidi teaches around the island of Oahu; Aloha Yoga Kula, Open Space Yoga and to may private clients in Kailua and Honolulu. Heidi has been the main guest teacher at Aloha Yoga Kula’s teacher training for the last four years.
When Heidi isn’t teaching she’s focused on her advanced studies with her yoga mentor, cooking healthy food for friends and loved ones or swimming in the vast ocean. Practicing yoga in all art forms is what she loves most.
Janet’s personal yoga journey began in 1996 when she traveled to India, the birthplace of her grandfather, where she met an inspired yogi and became dedicated to a conscious evolution through yoga. She blends a wealth of knowledge and experience to create a unique, vigorous-yet-sumptuous approach to Vinyasa yoga that melds awareness with movement, breath, heart, and humor. She teaches workshops, retreats, and teacher training around the world.
Janet is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, having completed the 200-hour & 500-hour E-RYT program. (E-RYTs are qualified to train teachers and to conduct continuing education trainings). She leads a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified vinyasa yoga teacher training program structured around the 5 elements, as well as a 500-hour advanced training.
Jason Bowman is a yoga teacher and writer in San Francisco. He has led many Yoga Alliance Certified teacher trainings as well as immersions, workshops, retreats and guest lecture series both internationally and around the country. His practice has been greatly influenced by Ashtanga Yoga as he’s learned it from Richard Freeman and Maty Ezraty and Vipassana Meditation as he’s learned it from SN Goekna.
Jason is well known for his ability to be thorough while maintaining a light-hearted sense of humor. His classes encourage a personal examination of the space between theory and direct experience and his love for the practice shines through in his ability to teach with a concrete yet creative voice.
Jennifer Reuter fell in love with the yoga tradition in 1998 after receiving her first copy of the Bhagavad Gita. Being certified in the health and fitness industry since 1995, it was only natural that the passion of yoga philosophy lead her to the same passion on the yoga mat. Since then, that burning desire to immerse in yoga has led her all over the world from India to Bali to Mexico. She continually travels to study with her teachers and to deepen her understanding of this path.
Her main influences include: Shiva Rea, as well as the Anusara & Pilates systems. Jennifer is currently a senior student of Dr. Paul Muller-Ortega’s philosophical based studies of yoga, tantra and meditation. Jennifer has been offering RYT teacher training studies on Oahu since 2008. She is a charismatic teacher whose signature class includes a blend of philosophy, flow and alignment.
Jillian’s highest priority is to teach from her practice and to offer what moves her – to create space in the body in order to expand the space in our lives. In addition to teaching and practicing a refined style of Vinyasa yoga called Kula Yoga flow for the past several years, Jillian’s studies have included years of Anusara yoga and therapeutics; and for the past 4 years, Iyengar Yoga and meditation. These influences have shaped Jillian’s teaching into a unique blend of detailed alignment cues coupled with original and creative sequencing. Jillian is sought out for her direct, clear, and creative approach to teaching as well as her keen knowledge of the body.
Ultimately, Jillian aims to create a class environment that is an eclectic blend of cerebralism, humor, and the synchronization of breath and movement – her students are called upon to use their minds, and then lose them, continuing that dance throughout.
Joanna Abbatt received a Masters in Biomechanics from McGill University in 1999, a B.F.A. in Dance from York University in 1981, is a licensed massage therapist (masso-kinesitherapie, member of FQM), pilates certified, NYC in 1989, gyrotonic certified in 1999 and was a professional dancer in Montreal for 14 years. She has taught functional anatomy at Concordia University, Ashtanga Yoga of Montreal, Ecole Superieure de Ballet du Quebec, ESBQ, Naada Yoga and private workshops. She has her own re-education clinic in Montreal since 1990, working with dancers, circus performers, yogis, and many regular folks. Her focus through the years has always been to keep people moving and to help troubleshoot mechanical problems with her clients.
Julien has a sustained yoga practice since 2000 and has extensive teaching and dancing experience. He is widely recoginzed for his deep understanding of positioning and body alignment in yoga postures, an aspect that is too often overlooked or underestimated by yoga teachers. Increasingly, both yoga teachers and experts in related disciplines are turning to him to help them evolve in their practice. Julien also pursues his own continuous training with renowned yoga teachers.
Today, Julien wants to deepen and share his knowledge, and Asana, the school he founded with his closest collaborators, is the means to this end.
Jyothi Chalam is a scholar of Vedanta, the philosophy of self realization. Jyothi teaches workshops on the Upanishads at ashrams, yoga studios and yoga conferences. Jyothi is also an accomplished musician of the South Indian Classical tradition. Her music is the culmination of both her philosophical meditations and deep spiritual devotion.
Kevin Courtney is recognized for his innovative and authentic teaching style, weaving classical Hatha yoga and contemporary Vinyasa sequences with the ancient art of Qi Gong, and Kundalini kriyas.
Inspired by his primary teacher Nikki Costello, and influenced by the teachings of Richard Freeman, Swami Satchidananda, & B.K.S. Iyengar, his goal is to foster an inspired learning environment so that students can explore for themselves the deeper meaning of the practice.
Kevin is also the founder of Nada Sadhana, a music project creating contemporary instrumental music for yoga and movement. Their first album, Volume I: The Brooklyn Sessions, became one of the most listened to albums in yoga studios across the country and is available on iTunes.
He teaches in New York City at the Kula Yoga Project and holds workshops, trainings and retreats around the globe.
Lara Kohn Thompson
Following a successful dance career of 20 years in her native France, Lara Kohn Thompson has been teaching Yoga for more than a decade. She is a certified Yoga teacher and trainer (R.Y.T 500 – R.P.Y.T), and a certified APOR practitioner (Approche Posturo – Respiratoire) with a focus on perinatal care and women’s health. Lara is a Prenatal Yoga teacher trainer for the Integral Yoga Institute, is on the teaching staff of Kula Yoga Project’s 200 hour teacher training program. She offers individualized physical care and training, Integrated Pelvic Floor Health sessions, and continuing education workshops for movement and birth professionals. Her practice integrates a profound understanding of anatomy through movement. In her teaching, she uses imagery, breath and postural work to access specific muscle groups. She incorporates this specific work into a holistic awareness and awakening of the body thereby enabling her students to gain confidence and strength.
Lauren Haythe became a certified Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) practitioner after studying under founder Tom Myers and James Earls in Oxford, England. She offers KMI focused on the Anatomy Trains myofascial meridians and reworks client posture and soft-tissue patterns through the Twelve Series. As a registered yoga teacher and avid practitioner, Lauren understands the importance of addressing how each client’s body functions within their individual practice. As part of her work, she designs a maintenance program for each client based upon her belief that proper anatomical alignment coupled with a yoga practice that caters to an individual’s postural alignment are critical when reeducating the body.
Leslie Dillingham Freyberg has been a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher since 1998.
Leslie’s yoga practice inspired her curiosity about the Sanskrit language, and in 1995 she embarked on the study of Sanskrit with the American Sanskrit Institute. Leslie continues her Sanskrit and Indic studies with Dr. Ram Karan Sharma at the Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY, and with Dr. Edwin Bryant. She also studies Vedic chanting with Sonia Nelson, the founder of the Vedic Chant Center in Santa Fe, NM.
Leslie is a faculty member of the American Sanskrit Institute.
She also serves on the Teacher- Training faculty of Patricia Walden (BKS Iyengar Yoga Mala) in Boston, MA. She teaches regularly in New York at the Iyengar Yoga Institute, Yoga Union, Ishta Yoga, and Pure Yoga studios.
Leslie compiled a book of chantable verses in Sanskrit, including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Entitled “Sacred Chants”, this booklet is available for purchase either by contacting Leslie through her website or through IYNAUS (Iyengar Yoga National Association of the US, www.iynaus.org).
As a result of her love and knowledge of Sanskrit and her infectious sense of humor, Leslie has become one of the most sought after teachers of Sanskrit and chanting.
Liza Dousson has studied yoga, yoga philosophy, and meditation for more than 25 years and has been teaching for over a dozen of those years. YinYoga has been her main focus since 2008, perhaps as a result of the influence of a lengthy stint in India and Thailand between 2001-2007 and on the heels of a burn-it-at-every-end corporate life! As a Thai Yoga Therapy practitioner, Liza is also fascinated by the synergy between YinYoga and Thai Yoga Therapy, both with roots in the ancient medical/healing systems of India, China and Tibet. She offers YinYoga workshops coast-to-coast, which includes Wanderlust Yoga & Music Festival(s). For more info visit www.beseeknow.com or Liza Dousson on Facebook.
Dr. Lori Kimata
Dr. Lori Kimata was born and raised in Hawaii, received her bachelors in Psychology from UCLA and her medical degree from National College in 1988. As a Naturopathic Physician, Midwife, Yoga Instructor, Author, Guest Lecturer, Sexual & Spiritual Counselor, Musician and Nature Lover, “Dr. Lori” calls herself a “Life Artist.” She has taught classes ranging from pregnancy, yoga, and nutrition, to lifestyle philosophy, women’s health and sacred sexuality, in Hawaii and across the continent. Her space in Haleiwa is dedicated to “Vis Medicatrix Naturae” (The Healing Power of Nature) and the medicines of our sacred Mother Earth, where individuals, couples, groups and corporations can cultivate personal growth, radiant aliveness and ultimately inner peace.
Manoj Chalam uses humor and personal anecdotes in his lectures and workshops to illuminate Hindu mythology. An Indian-born scientist with a PhD from Cornell University, Manoj helps individuals find their archetypes in Hindu Yogic deities and teaches the 4 ways to work with their archetype. He has also compiled a book on the symbolisms of Hindu and Buddhist deities. Manoj presents workshops on Hindu symbolisms and Tantra at yoga studios, ashrams, and universities.
Dr. Mike Lane
Dr. Mike Lane, DC is a chiropractor, soft tissue specialist and educator. His intention is to help people move, feel, and live better. He specializes in soft tissue injuries by balancing functionality, mobility, and stability. He uses Functional Movement Screening (FMS), Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA) and soft tissue assessment to evaluate and treat his patients. He specializes in the Hendrickson Method and is certified in Active Release Technique (ART). He takes great care in the analysis of functional movement, gait, and foot biomechanics and how movement or lack thereof impacts the entire body. His goal in practice is to educate his patients so they are empowered with the knowledge and tools to heal themselves. He also teaches a unique form of functional anatomy to the Bay Area yoga communities. You can check out his website at www.MobilizetheBody.com.
Nikki Vilella is a senior teacher at NYC’s Kula Yoga Project, co-owner of Kula Williamsburg, and at the helm of Kula’s 200-hour teacher training program. She strives to include the perfect alchemy of precise physical instruction, intelligence, intention, and space into her classes. Her passion for sequencing, rhythm, and hands on adjustments are clear in her teaching. Admittedly a movement junkie, she also firmly believes that in the silence of “not doing,” in a place that does not harbor our habitual distractions, we can begin to know how we truly feel and begin to see things more clearly. It is the juxtaposition of these opposites that Nikki tries to blend seamlessly into her Kula Flow classes.
Born in Manchester, Connecticut. B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic institute. Received M.D. Degree from University of Hawaii. Has practiced Rolfing and associated Mind/body therapies for over thirty years. Currently resides in Honolulu where he maintains a primary care practice in Family Medicine as a blend of traditional allopathic and complementary medicine.
Rod Stryker is widely considered one of the West’s leading authorities on the ancient traditions of yoga, tantra, and meditation. He is founder of ParaYoga® and the author of The Four Desires: Creating a Life of Purpose, Prosperity, Happiness and Freedom. He is a student of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait Ph.D., in the ancient Tantric tradition of Sri Vidya. He is one of only a few Americans transmitting an authentic, living tradition that has been practiced and handed down from teacher to student for literally thousands of years. Rod has taught for more than 30 years and leads trainings, workshops, and retreats worldwide.
Roman Torgovitsky, Ph.D is the founder of Soma System and is Harvard-educated epidemiologist and sleep scientist with extensive experience in bodywork and internal martial arts.
Roman’s fascination with bodywork started while he was working on his Ph.D. thesis in sleep medicine at Harvard Medical School. Due to intense emotional stress brought by his concurrent involvement in political activism, Roman started experiencing protracted bouts of insomnia. He tried many standard approaches to treating insomnia, but nothing was bringing relief.
His martial arts teacher has always emphasized Daoist inspired concept that stress tenses up body’s soft tissues – so Roman wondered – could it be that he needs to release muscle tension to undo the effects of stress on his body and thus improve his sleep? Being a researcher, Roman went back to medical literature trying to understand if there is any research in medical literature that could explain this phenomenon and what methods exist to release that tension. After long search he in fact found corroborating evidence in recent pain research literature that presented so-called central sensitization hypothesis. Having scientific understanding of why muscle tension could be implicated in insomnia, Roman started searching for clinician that worked with muscle tension. He found a practitioner and several months of intense treatment (6-15 hours of deep tissue bodywork per week) brought substantial muscle tension release, improvement in sleep as well as Roman’s martial arts and athletic practices.
While the effect of full body muscle tension release was startling, it was unnatural for Roman to consistently rely on the practitioner and to spend up to 15 hours per week lying passively on the massage table. His experience created a passion and raised a question: Is it possible to blend passive methods of bodywork with active methods of martial arts practice and mindfulness to create comprehensive and active practice of self-bodywork that people could practice in group settings?
This led Roman to study various forms of bodywork and to develop Soma System tools. Today Soma System team includes interdisciplinary team that includes physical therapists, massage therapists, acupuncturist, personal/athletic trainers, professional dancer, yoga teacher, martial arts practitioners and sleep and epidemiological researchers. Interdisciplinary collaboration and promoting each team member’s personal development are the core values of Soma System.
Dr. Ruey Ryburn
Dr. Ruey Ryburn is founder and director of Sacred Path Healing School, a three year program of study in spirituality and becoming an energy healer. She is a graduate and former faculty of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and has a private energy healing practice in addition to Sacred Path Healing School. She is board-certified as an Advanced Holistic Nurse with the American Holistic Nurses’ Association and certified as a Sacred Heart Yoga teacher. She is also founder of the Sacred Path Healing congregation of S.H.E.S., International Assembly of Spiritual Healers and Earth Stewards. Dr. Ryburn retired as Professor Emerita from the University of Hawaii, School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene and holds master’s degrees in nursing and public health as well as a doctorate in the latter.
Sacha Mathew (Shantidas), M. A. is dedicated to the study and exploration of Yoga at its deepest source. He is a student of A.G. Mohan and proudly carries the banner of Svastha Yoga in Canada. In addition to his traditional studies, he holds a Master’s degree in History and Philosophy of Religion, concentrating on Yoga. Sacha teaches all aspects of Yoga, as well as Indian socio-cultural history, topics on which he has been invited to lecture in universities and Yoga teacher trainings. His lectures are designed to help teachers and students delve deeper into the roots of their Yoga practice.
Sara Elizabeth Ivanhoe is the Yoga Spokesperson for Weight Watchers, most recently releasing the “Weight Watchers Yoga Starter Kit.” She began teaching in 1995, shortly after graduating with honors from New York University. She has completed the Yoga Works teacher training, a specialized Therapeutics program and is also certified by Erich Schiffmann in his Freeform Style. Sara is the instructor for the “Yoga for Dummies” series, the “Crunch Yoga” series as well as the collaboration with Russell Simmons “Yoga Live.” She had an extended run on Fit TV with “All Star Workouts” and on Exercise TV with “Yoga on the Edge.” Sara was a regular on Vh1′s “Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab” and has been featured on all the major news channels. She is highlighted in the acclaimed documentary “Titans of Yoga” and “Women of Bhakti.” Ivanhoe is one of the few teachers certified by the Green Yoga Association to teach Yoga and Ecology. In addition, Loyola Marymount University has awarded Sara a Certification in Yoga Philosophy. She is an MA candidate in LMU’s Inaugural Yoga Studies program and most recently has been appointed Student Senator of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts.
Schuyler is the co-creator of the Wanderlust festival, director of Kula Yoga Project Tribeca and co-director of a sister studio in Williamsburg. She has developed a signature style of Vinyasa yoga called Kula Flow, which integrates the breath-based flow of Ashtanga and the precision of Iyengar into a deep, sweaty and transformative mind/body experience. The opening of Kula Yoga Project in 2001 was her attempt to bring a little California vibe to the mean streets of NYC, and the studio is now a go-to in NYC for teachers of all traditions. With the festival, her two studios, and her three daughters, she is in deep need of her yoga practice; it healed her back two decades ago and now keeps her soul intact on a daily basis.
Living fully as a student, author, sacred activist, motivational speaker, and dedicated teacher of integrated and expressive vinyasa yoga, Shannon is a respected teacher and mentor of teachers. Moved by the power of words, stories, myths, the symbolic nature of Tantra and mystic poetry, she interweaves her student’s unique purpose driven inspiration into the divine play of body and breath to unlock the secret wisdom held within the heart. Her classes and trainings are dedicated to a sense of mystery, humor, and wonder within a vinyasa of self-honoring, self-cultivation, and radical self-participation. Shannon is the founder of Anjali Restorative Yoga and Bala Therapeutic Yoga. She tours, teaches, and speaks nationally and internationally.
Luminary, evolutionary yoga teacher and storyteller, Sianna has passionately and globally taught yoga for more than 20 years. She is known for her spirited and soulful teaching, which ignites passion and devotion worldwide. Sianna brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge to the forefront of yoga. Her degrees in biology and nutrition, along with her many years as a body worker and her capacity to touch the human heart through story, ritual, and devotional practice, converge into a unique blend of scientist, mystic, artist and yogini. Her dedication since 1990 to hatha-based traditions and to the lineages of Tantra influence her multifaceted approach of alignment-infused vinyasa interwoven with yoga anatomy, therapeutics, mythology, mantra, meditation, and the power of the practices for everyday transformation. She is the author of the CD Mythic Yoga Flow: Stories for your Life and the DVD Pranam. Sianna is featured in festivals, conferences, and online social media throughout the world. She is a contributor to Yoga Journal, Origin Magazine, Mantra Magazine, Elephant Journal, and the Daily Love, as well as a featured teacher of YogaGlo. Sianna is committed to helping practitioners and teachers ignite the alchemy of yoga for a lifetime of sustainable practice and transformation.
Stefanie Foster, founder of Asana with Intelligence, is a yoga teacher and physical therapist, fellowship trained in orthopaedic manual therapy. She is a knowledge sponge (formally and informally) for all things yoga, Ayurveda, physical therapy, movement, nutrition, psychology, endocrinology, immunology and holistic healing. Her mission is to merge the ancient wisdom of yoga and current intuitive intelligence of the yoga teaching community with her medical training. She does this both treating her patients and through collaboration with yoga teachers to increase their capacity to optimize the physical system of their students and keep their risk for injury low so they can keep up a lifelong practice. She also speaks to healthcare providers on the benefits of yoga and how to help their patients choose an appropriate yoga teacher for their medical needs.
Since 2002, Zachery Dacuk has maintained a successful bodywork practice informed by advanced trainings in multiple disciplines. With a particular focus on anatomy and physiology and alignment, Zachery’s practice blends elements of therapeutic massage, yoga, Shiatsu, Chua K’a (Mongolian deep tissue) and Structural Integration (KMI). Zach is a registered yoga teacher inspired by Anusara since 2003. In addition to his private practice, Zach has facilitated and taught continuing education courses for manual and movement therapists since 2004. Over the years, Zach has studied closely with renowned teachers: Tom Myers, Gil Hedley and Elena Brower. It is his intention to demystify the language of Anatomy & Physiology and offer to movement therapists in a useful and palatable manner.