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Meet the Teachers
 

Ryan Arnoldy leads yoga classes, workshops and retreats on the mainland US and Hawaii.  He was born into a family of healers and inheriting his gift as a teacher from his great grandmother, a medicine woman in the Cherokee Tribe. Ryan trained at North America’s renown yoga school Sacred Movement/Exhale in Los Angeles and studied with many master teachers including David Life, Sharon Gannon, Dharma Mittra, Mark Whitwell, Micheline Berry.  He continues to study with Max Strom and Shiva Rea.  For the past two years he has been designing, facilitating and co-leading vinyasa yoga teacher trainings as well as teacher development and mentoring programs for emerging instructors. 

Ryan's background in transforming consciousness and human potential both infuse and enrich his teachings. He completed trainings with The Mankind Project, Inner Journey Seminars, Micheline Berry’s Teacher Empowerment Intensive and Studio Serenity’s Annual Teacher Immersion.  In 2007 Ryan graduated from the Facilitator Training of Inner Journey Seminars, San Francisco.  A daily practitioner of yoga & meditation, he nourishes his musical bend with kirtan though occasionally returning to his early roots on the saxophone.

When not on the mat, Ryan can be found pursuing his love for adventure, freedom and acceleration with sky-diving, trapeze flying and motorcycling.  He has crossed the continental US multiple times as well as multi-directional.  With a degree in Global Studies and Political Science from the University of Minnesota, he originally relocated to work in international affairs in Washington DC where he stumbled upon yoga as a catalyst for social and global change. 

Class Style: Dynamic and challenging flow classes that are energizing, motivating and humor infused while always expanding a student's practice.

 
 

Katja Brandis has been a healing arts practitioner for twenty years and leads yoga classes, workshops and retreats in the U.S., Europe and Hawaii.  She is the owner of Studio Serenity and Child Birth Care and directs Teacher Trainings as well as Serenity's mentoring and staff development program. Katja studied with some of the most respected teachers in the world and holds multiple certifications; 200 hrs with Chuck Miller and Rod Stryker; 500 hrs advanced level with Shiva Rea.  Katja read her first vedic text in 1988 and began her training in meditation in 1990 at the University of Freiburg. She received a magna cum laude degree in Dance from the University of Hawaii and began teaching somatics and dance therapy in 1996. She regularly travels to national teacher trainings with Shiva Rea and assists Shiva's classes at the renown yoga school Exhale/Sacred Movement in Los Angeles. Katja is a registered experienced E-RYT with the Yoga Alliance.

As birth advocate and doula, Katja has been teaching fertility awareness, childbirth education and women’s spirituality for the past ten years. Her birthing classes have been featured on Fox TV and have facilitated over 3,000 couples in the Washington DC area.  In 2007 she completed the Peter Levine based Facilitation Training with Inner Journey Seminars in San Francisco, a therapeutic approach that assists people with trauma recovery and somatic healing.

Katja worked in the public policy field for 8 years for a US Senator and the World Bank. She has been a presenter at the Truman Foundation, Green Festival and Voice of America and was interviewed by several media outlets -Washington Post, Washingtonian Magazine, Washington Times and City Paper. A business owner of three ventures in Washington DC, she is devoted to creating a caring, loving and joyful environment for all clients, students and teachers and to serve their fulfillment.

Class Style:  Heating and high energy flow classes with complex arm balances and inversions that take you to the edge and spin the latest bhakti music.

 
 

Tasha Eichenseher began practicing yoga more than a decade ago as an undergraduate journalism student on the West Coast. Originally a way to complement, and sometimes counteract the physical strains of, running, biking, and rock climbing, yoga became transformational, both physically and mentally. In an effort to deepen her practice, Tasha became an RYT200 yoga instructor in 2006.

She continues to challenge herself through outdoor sports and races, using yoga to remain strong, flexible, and more resilient, and she's found that yoga has now seeped into many aspects of life outside of athletics, providing balance, perspective, peace, and a focus on listening to what is brewing internally.

Over the last several years, Tasha has continued to study yogic philosophy and applications, particularly yoga therapeutics, and has found inspiration from Ana Forrest, Max Strom, Bo Forbes, Rod Stryker, and many of the talented teachers in D.C.

In her classes, Tasha aims to create a safe environment where students can play with finding their edge—the place where they begin to understand and overcome physical and mental obstacles, including injury, tension, stress, and anxiety. With a focus on breath, intention, and finding contentment in the moment, Tasha’s vinyasa-style classes embrace the theory that being grounded helps you to grow.


 
 
Dan Kapner was first introduced to yoga at 14 when his family physician prescribed three poses daily for upper back pain.  A decade later, while working as a speechwriter at the UN, Dan found a regular asana practice as the perfect antidote to the busy professional life.  Yoga, he learned, could encourage deep relaxation and a sense of groundedness, improve strength and stamina, and become a channel for positive living.  As an RYT200 hour instructor, Dan invites students to explore yoga as a moving meditation, a linkage of movement with steady and smooth breath, to enhance these benefits.

When not on the mat, Dan practices law focusing on resolving complex international disputes.  He holds a juris doctor and a masters degree in international relations. 

Class style: a vigorous and strength-enhancing asana practice with an emphasis on safety and non-competition.  Classes also include breath-work to help students strive for mindfulness and wellness.

 
 

Ayelet Krieger's classes reflect her love of mindful movement, and dedication to the yoga heritage that was passed down to her from her teachers. As a yogini practicing for nearly a decade, and a 200-hour certified teacher through YogaWorks, Ayelet's classes draw on the Ashtanga and Iyengar traditions, while incorporating the fun and challenge of Vinyasa flow.

When not on her yoga mat, Ayelet works in psychology and public health research. In the past she has worked with victims of abuse and substance users, and currently works with newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Ayelet's interest in psychology informs her yoga practice and vice versa, as she strives towards a greater understanding of holistic health-- that of mind, body and soul.

 

 

Gopi Kinnicutt is an Experienced Registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance (ERYT 500). She lived in an ashram for 8 years where she studied and taught Indian philosophy in-depth, vegetarian cooking, ayurveda and mantra meditation.  She is the founder of Yoga Mandali in Saratoga Springs NY, she has been practicing yoga for more than ten years and has been teaching since 2002.  She first trained in Astanga Vinyasa, she further trained extensively with Shiva Rea and completed an advanced training with Ana Forrest.

Through her personal practice and experience, Gopi has developed her own unique teaching style. She takes her students into a dynamic multi-dimensional flow, breaking through rigidity and stiffness; she infuses her classes with penetrating mantras and breath work. She incorporates deep marma (pressure point) therapy techniques when assisting students.  She addresses individual’s needs and limitations, creating a safe environment for her students, guiding them through physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions.  

Gopi has furthered her studies in yoga therapy, completing her certification for trauma sensitive yoga.

She is certified in Thia yoga  body work, completing her training with Micheal Buck. She specializes in privates as she  incorporates marma point’s (accupresure), and Thai yoga massage techniques.

 

 

Amberlyn Mathis hopes to share with her students the experience of being fully alive and in the present moment. Daily yoga practice has been transformational in Amberlyn's life and has provided a tool for knowing and accepting herself more completely. She invites individual exploration of the body, breath, mind, and heart as she believes that each student is their own best teacher and that through the practice of yoga, all aspects of the self can be unified.


Amberlyn enjoys working with students who are uncertain about what yoga can offer them, student just beginning their journey into yoga, students interested in the therapeutic applications of yoga, and students looking to experience their practice more fully. Through careful attention to the body, her teachings offer a safe opportunity to balance and heal.


Amberlyn has a M.A. in psychology and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. She attempts to integrate the knowledge of modern psychology with the ancient wisdom of yoga and views both sets of teachings as opportunities for diminishing suffering and understanding the human condition. Amberlyn enjoys working with students who are uncertain about what yoga can offer them, students just beginning their journey into yoga, students interested in the therapeutic applications of yoga, and students looking to experience their practice more fully.


Amberlyn's classes offer careful attention to the body, the safety and alignment of the poses, and create the space for a safe opportunity to balance and heal. Classes with Amberlyn are slower paced, focus on on the breath, and are often taught without music to increase the student's attention to their breath. Amberlyn integrates the knowledge of modern psychology with the ancient wisdom of yoga and views both sets of teachings as opportunities for diminishing suffering and understanding the human condition. She completed her 200 hrs in 2007 at HOT YOGA and continues her training with Max Strom.  She is currently completing her PsyD in Clinical Psychology.

Class Style:  Instructional classes focusing on alignment. Slow pace, less flow, more modification and no music. Great class for beginners and students with injuries.

 

Karoline Neville finds peace and joy through the beauty, grace and power of coordinating movement and breath through her physical yoga practice. She is a playful and nurturing teacher with a particular emphasis on protecting the body with proper alignment. Responsive to student needs, Karoline's classes range from gentle to vigorous and everything in between.  She believes every person has an incredible inner beauty calling to be recognized and that we all have the power to radiate our joy!

An ardent believer in the physical, mental and spiritual healing powers of yoga, Karoline has spent much time studying and applying yoga as an adjunct treatment for anxiety, depression and stress-related issues.  She is currently studying and practicing Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy.  Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a facilitated self-awareness process utilizing the mind-body connection.  A therapy session consists of supported yoga postures and client-directed dialogue, which may release underlying tensions, emotions, or beliefs and result in a deepened sense of self-awareness and relaxation. 

 

 

Shawn Parell was introduced to Ashtanga's primary series at 12 years old, and has been a devoted student of yoga ever since. After countless namaskars over the years, Shawn embodies the spirit of practice – she has logged well over 500 hours of teacher training, teaches private and public classes regularly, practices shambala meditation daily, travels to India every chance she gets, and is ever-deepening in exploration of asana, meditation, and philosophy.

Today, Shawn anchors her yogic journey with the Prana Flow global collective, guided by world-renowned teacher Shiva Rea. She works as a communications specialist for the United Nations Foundation, and studies the dialogue between modern psychology and eastern philosophy as a masters student at Naropa University. Shawn is also a catalyst of the annual DC Global Mala, part of a worldwide event that raises awareness and funds for issues such as global warming, fair trade, and equal education opportunities.

Class Style: Deeply nurturing, full of humor and heart, poetic, lighthearted and challenging play, with funky or sacred rhythms to fit the mood that day.

 
 

Shannon Ramirez has been practicing vinyasa yoga since 2000. Her main influences stem from the adept and stimulating teachers at OM yoga center in New York City, namely Cyndi Lee, Brian Liem, Frank Mauro, and Sarah Trelease.


Shannon’s classes are a playful, energetic, and challenging flow to alternative music. Inspired by the connection of yoga to everyday life, Shannon places particular emphasis on the real-world aspects of the asana practice such as transitions, balance, and the interconnection between breath and movement. She aims to foster mindful awareness through a focus on the purification of the physical body as leading to the purification of the mind.

Class Style:  Playful, energetic, and challenging flow to alternative music.

 


 

Roxanne Naseem Rashedi has been practicing yoga since 2000. She was trained and certified at YogaSource in Los Gatos, California. Drawing from various styles of yoga, ranging from Power to Forrest to Yin, Roxanne’s classes are eclectic. As a developing literary scholar (B.A. English Honors, UC Berkeley), she brings in beautiful readings of poetry, making the experience of her classes interdisciplinary.


For Roxanne, synchronizing movement with breath is essential because she no longer is immersed in the crazy world of papers and term deadlines. Living in the 21st century, Roxanne feels that this can be truly liberating and pleasurable to the body, mind, and heart, allowing one to delve deep into themselves—their ways of moving, being, thinking, and feeling. As she guides her students through the flow, she hopes to provide them with the space to express themselves to their fullest potential both on and off the mat. While not teaching, Roxanne attends Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


Class Style: Upbeat, challenging, poetry-infused flow to groovy, fun tunes. Classes include arm-balances, uplifting heart-openers, and cleansing breath-work to detoxify the body.

 

 

Mimi Rieger was trained and certified by David Ingalls in Washington DC in 2003, one of the few teachers directly authorized to transmit the Ashtanga system by K. Pattabhi Jois. Her classes are distilled from years of strong personal practice in the Ashtanga system. She is the Regional Director of Budokon, an energetic practice that melds the yogic and martials arts, for DC, VA & MD and trains teachers and students in the area. Mimi believes in encouraging students to push past existing physical barriers and exploring new paths.

Most of Mimi's yoga classes are practices based upon sun salutations A and B infused with warriors, standing poses, arm balances and inversions. Come enjoy the journey.

Class Style:  Vigorous but supportive vinyasa flow class with classical ashtanga elements, frequenting some "third series" asanas for the enjoyment of the experienced palate.

 

 
 

Dahlia Shaaban, RYT and Thai Yoga Massage Therapist, first delved into her yogic journey in 2004 during her senior year at Colgate University, when a spunky visiting professor offered free yoga classes to students twice weekly. She began to appreciate yoga for the sake of yoga, as a service to the community and as a tool for cultivating inner peace. When she moved to D.C. she immediately sought out a yoga community and studied under many incredible teachers. Dahlia received her 200-hr teacher certification in the vinyasa yoga style and gravitated towards the prana flow method.  She has since studied Thai Yoga Massage with Angela Cerkevich and Vanessa King.

Dahlia offers playful, cathartic classes with a high funk factor and creates an atmosphere that allows students to channel their inner groove and, if they desire, to get downright goofy. Often working through mandalas or a circular practice, she utilizes deep assists, soulful music, and aromatherapy to create an emotionally and physically empowering experience for her students. She encourages her students to navigate through their chakras – the energy centers of the body – equipping them with the awareness to address their individual needs as yogis.


If you are interested in scheduling a private Thai Yoga Massage session, learn more....

 
 

Eric Yatar was born and raised on Guam, a beautiful island in the Pacific, Eric Yatar was instilled with a strong sense of family, community, and spiritual awareness; and it is through his yoga practice that Eric continues to revisit and experience those channels of strength and energy in his life. 

Eric completed the Studio Serenity Teacher Training Level I with Katja, and has continued his yoga studies in a variety of lineages with several well-renown master teachers.  He completed his 200 hrs teacher training at Prajna Yoga under the tutelage of Tias Little.  Eric has also completed training in Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers, and in Pre-Natal Yoga with Linda Spackman. He is currently finishing his 500 hrs with Tias Little and continues studying Iyengar yoga with John Schumacher.

Eric's classes aim to foster truth, trust, and mindful self-discovery through a focused and energetic practice – inspired by the essential connectivity of breath, movement, and foundation, and the dynamic flow of energy through the body, harnessed by the energy of others.  Eric's classes offer a great attention of detail to safe alignment while heating up the body as a preparation to explore poses in a deeper, longer, Yin like way.

Class Style:  Strength and endurance focused vinyasa class with a flavor of Ashtanga & Baptiste along with a touch of techno.

 
 
Visiting Faculty
 

Donna Farhi

Donna Farhi is a Yoga teacher who has been practising for 30 years and teaching since 1982. She is one of the most sought after guest teachers in the world, leading intensives and teacher training programs internationally. Donna is best known for her unique ability to help students and teachers embody their spiritual practice. Her work focuses on the refinement of natural and universal movement principles that underlie all yoga practice. This concentration on fundamental principles allows students of all levels of experience and from all traditions to build their own authentic yoga practice.


Donna has been the asana columnist for both Yoga Journal and Yoga International Magazine (U.S.A), and has been profiled in four separate publications on exceptional contemporary teachers of our time. Donna is the author of the contemporary classics; The Breathing Book, Yoga Mind, Body & Spirit: A Return to Wholeness and Bringing Yoga to Life: The Everyday Practice of Enlightened Living. Her fourth book Teaching Yoga: Exploring the Teacher-Student Relationship was released in November by Rodmell Press. American born, Donna now resides in Christchurch, New Zealand where she pursues her passionate love of horses.

 
 

Ana Forrest

Ana Forrest is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. Born crippled, her own life trauma and experiences, including physical abuse, drug addiction, epilepsy, and bulimia, compelled her to create Forrest Yoga and the Forrest Yoga Educational Library.

Ana took her first yoga class on a dare at age 14 and became a certified yoga instructor at age 18. In her search to become a better healer and teacher, she studied Native American medicine and ceremony, Homeopathy, Hands- On Healing, Martial Arts, Psychotherapy, and Regression Therapy.

Her philosophy and approach are unique and powerful, drawing on her vast life experiences. She is a living example of a spirit who has freed herself from the bondage of trauma, and chosen a warrior's path of compassion. Having studied a multitude of yoga styles and healing modalities, Ana's focus is on guiding the student to use Forrest Yoga in a meaningful way for the sacred exploration of truth, wholeness, and health.

Ana is a well-known contributing expert to Yoga Journal and other national wellness publications. She has journeyed to India, Nepal, Costa Rica, Canada, Japan, Mexico, and throughout Europe and the United States and currently teaches internationally at yoga conferences, workshops, and teacher trainings. Ana is on the board of Advisors for the Foundation for Athletic Research & Education (F.A.R.E. Play) and is an instructor for continuing education at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic.

 
 

Bryan Kest

Bryan Kest has been practicing yoga for over 30 years and has been teaching for over 26 years. He developed his unique, distinctive style of yoga, Original Power Yoga, in 1979. Over the years, this style, an amazing workout for the body, mind and spirit, has made him a well-known, popular teacher across the country and around the world.

His mainstream popularity is matched by an authentic foundation in the ancient practice of yoga and a long path of development as a yogi (a practitioner of yoga). At age 15, Bryan uprooted from his native Detroit home to make a life change in Hawaii. He moved to live with his father, a doctor, who understood the benefits of yoga. Like many of us, Bryan originally thought yoga was nothing more than strange contortions, but that changed when his father introduced him to a physical style of yoga called Ashtanga. This appealed to him immediately, and he soon observed great changes in himself, both physically and mentally. Yoga quickly became his passion, one that would take him to India for a year to study with the great yoga masters of the world, Pattabhi Jois. He has been continuing on his yoga path ever since.

Bryan founded three studios in Southern California (Santa Monica and Calabasas). He also teaches at workshops and retreats around the world; provides an intensive teachers training program; and is featured in his own Warner Brothers video series from 1995, as well as a newer video series and audio CD series. For articles by Bryan and more information about Power Yoga, visit www.PowerYoga.com.

 
 

Micheline Berry

Micheline Berry's Vinyasa Flow Yoga work integrates fluidity with yoga asana structure, flow with dynamic stillness, strength with deep release. Often accompanied by live world music, her yoga classes are an urban ritual experience designed to activate and deepen the flow of Shakti Prana - the sensual and vibrant creative principle that exists as latent potential within us all. You will come away from this practice feeling deeply relaxed, creatively inspired, empowered and rejuvenated.

In addition to her ongoing somatic dance and yoga innovations, Micheline’s work is informed by Prana Flow, Forrest, Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga systems. As the Founder of Zen Dancing® and the Creative Director/Founder of the world music ensemble Shaman's Dream, she has produced and facilitated over 500 ritual world music concerts, dance performances and multi-media events. Also an award-winning filmmaker, Micheline has Produced and Directed over 15 instructional yoga and dance DVD’s including her own Liquid Asana series, Yoga Works’ Sports Yoga Series and was Associate Producer on DVDs for Shiva Rea and others.

Based at Exhale in Venice California, Micheline leads yoga teacher trainings, workshops & retreats internationally including Brazil, her second Home.

 
 

Natasha Rizopoulos

As a former ballet dancer, Natasha knew she had come home when she discovered Yoga in her 20s. That moment of recognition and delight continues to inspire her teaching to this day. Now a Senior Teacher at YogaWorks, and a writer, teacher, and DVD instructor with Yoga Journal, Natasha is known world-wide for her ability to communicate the essence of sophisticated postures and ideas in ways that have a transformative effect upon one’s understanding of Yoga.

A dedicated Ashtanga practitioner for many years, she is equally captivated by the precision of the Iyengar system. These two traditions inform her teaching, creating a dynamic and rigorous blend of intelligently sequenced and aligned Vinyasa Flow. In addition to her classes in Boston, Natasha travels extensively, teaching at conferences and leading workshops and teacher trainings around the world. For more about Natasha (and to see clips of her DVDs) visit her website at www.natasharizopoulos.com.

 
 

Cameron Shayne

Cameron Shayne created Budokon International in 2000 as a functional integration system designed to approach human potential from the ancient perspective of Zen Mind. His integration of Yoga, Martial Arts, optimal nutrition and Zen meditation has established him as a true pioneer in the fields of health and wellness. Master Shayne has trained for more than 25 years in Japanese Budo and for nearly a decade in Hatha Yoga. His keen understanding of mind/body dynamics, coupled with an eye for the complex qualities of movement has made him one of the most sought after mind-body-spirit innovators in the world. He travels throughout Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States teaching and certifying Budokon teachers.

 
 

Jason Crandell

Jason Crandell was recently named “one of the next generation of teachers shaping yoga's future” by Yoga Journal for his skillful, unique approach to vinyasa yoga. Jason is the creator of Yoga Journal’s newest dvds: Yoga for Wellbeing; Yoga for Morning, Noon, and Night; and, The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Yoga. He is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal and has authored over 17 articles for the magazine. Jason teaches extensively at conferences in the United States and abroad and is part of numerous teacher-training faculties.

 
 

Tiffany Cruikshank

For more than 15 years, Tiffany Cruikshank has taught yoga throughout North America,
empowering her students to transform their lives through mindfulness and dedication. Her
classes and workshops are full of humor, heart and hard work.

In addition to teaching yoga classes, retreats and workshops internationally, Tiffany is the
Acupuncturist for Nike World Headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and runs 200hr and 500hr
yoga teacher trainings. She has been featured in various video and print ads for Nike and Lululemon,
founded sports medicine clinics and treats many professional athletes and celebrities
in Portland & NYC.

Combining her education and training in Acupuncture, Sports Medicine, Nutrition and Herbal
Medicine, Tiffany created the Optimal Health Program, a system of looking at a person's whole
body to help them achieve a personalized, vibrant state of health.

Her book, Optimal Health, for a Vibrant Life was recently published and her DVD, Intermediate
Power Vinyasa, will be out fall 2010.

For more information about Tiffany visit: www.tiffanyyoga.com

 
 

Dave Stringer

The Los Angeles Times has declared the experience of chanting with Dave Stringer to be  “a departure from ancient kirtan. Stringer’s performance shaped the experience into a far more compelling musical encounter.” Kirtan (pronounced keer-tahn) originated in India, and is currently experiencing a worldwide renaissance as a participatory live music experience. Stringer has been widely profiled as one of the most innovative artists of the new American kirtan movement in publications as diverse as Time, Billboard, Yoga Journal and In Style.

Stringer’s sound marries the transcendent mysticism of traditional Indian instruments with the exuberant, groove-oriented sensibility of American gospel, and he is regarded as one of the most gifted singers in the genre. Stringer, who is also an accomplished composer and multi-instrumentalist, has a special ability to bring people together and inspire them to sing. His work intends to create a modern and participatory theatrical experience out of the ancient traditions of kirtan and yoga, open to a multiplicity of interpretations, and accessible to all.

 
 

Gaura Vani

At the age of six Gaura Vani left the US to study sacred music in a gurukula or temple school in the timeless town of Vrindavan, India. He learned ancient prayers in Sanskrit and Bengali and to sing and play ethnic instruments like the harmonium and mrdanga. 25 years later he continues to share the magic he received and performs extensively with his kirtan ensemble, As Kindred Spirits, throughout the world from Europe, Africa and Asia, to the Americas.

As Kindred Spirits features the voice and harmonium of Gaura Vani, and the rhythms and melodies of multi-instrumentalist Shyam Kishore, along with a multicultural group of talented musicians, dancers and performers.

 
 

Dhanurdhara Swami

Dhanurdhara Swami has been a practitioner of bhakti yoga for 40 years. He took initiation into the Gaudiya Vaishnava lineage in 1974 and accepted the sannyasa ashrama or renounced order of life and became a monk in 1982.

Dhanurdhara Swami spent the last 30 years in India where he focuses on studying, writing and taking people on pilgrimage of holy places. Half of the year he spends in the west traveling, leacturing and speaking about bhakti yoga.

He is the author of three books — Waves of Devotion: A Comprehensive Study of The Nectar of Devotion,Greetings from Vrindavana, a selected collection of his thoughts and realizations from 2000–2004, and Japa Meditations: Contemplations on Entering the Holy Name, a collection of selected personal realizations on japa meditation. He is currently working on several writing projects including a contemporary book on bhakti and a book on kirtan. He is originally from Brooklyn, New York.

 
 

Christopher Tompkins

Christopher Tompkins is director of UC Berkeley’s renowned “Meditation, Mysticism, and the Mind” class.  Christopher and his team of instructors have now initiated over 2,500 students in the practice of yoga meditation. He has 3 degrees in Religion, including a Master’s Degree from Harvard and a Master’s from Berkeley in Sanskrit. His doctoral dissertation focuses on the Tantric Origins of Hatha Yoga.

Christopher is a Yoga Philosophy teacher at Yoga Tree (SF), lectures nationally and trains Yoga teachers in the history and philosophy of Indian Yoga.  He is the co-founder and co-director of the Yoga Foundation. He has also founded Yoga Sculptures of India, which imports rare and sacred Indian art for the Yoga Community.

 
 

Wynne Paris

Wynne Paris is a world beat artist/producer and musician who has spent the last decade devoted to an emerging genre of spiritual music: Yoga music and Kirtan. Wynne’s artistic sound is derived from 20 years of musical adventures and spiritual experiences.

As a yoga musician, Wynne has performed his music on such diverse stages as those at Constitution Hall, the Smithsonian music series at the National Zoo and the Millenium celebration in Washington DC; CB’s Gallery (CBGB’s) in New York, the Health and Harmony Festival in northern California, and Karmapalooza in Florida; as well as at museums, holistic resorts, bookstores, raves, churchs, temples, and private gatherings. Wynne has also performed with the Indian Saint Ammachi, and sang at a Washingtonian event that  featured  H.H. The Dalai Lama. He has recorded with many of the best-known New Age musicians, including, Shahin and Sephir,  Sophia, Bhagavan Das,  Girish, and Kim Waters of Rasa. And in 1996, one of the songs he cowrote with Maura Moynihan, “Prayer for the Pure Land”, won first place (out of 1900 entries) in the SAW National Songwriting Contest.

Since 2004, Wynne has focused his live performances on a new, spiritual kind of venue -- the yoga studio. At his live shows he sings in English and Sanskrit, he plays guitar, Sarod and percussion with dance loops, and delivers a set that includes kirtan chanting, American music (jazz, gospel, rock), world beat rhythms and raga scales. A participation mystique is encouraged as Wynne leads the audience through singing, dancing and meditations  during his performance. He has played hundreds of gigs across the country, alone or accompanying other chanters, including Krishna Das, Wah , David Newman, Dave Stringer, and Bhagavan Das.

 
 

Kamaniya Devi

Kamaniya has committed her life fully to devotional chanting. Attracted by Bhakti Yoga, the path of devotion, both Kamaniya and Keshavacharya have spent many years living in ashrams, searching for the divine through devotional service and singing. Seeing the impact of chanting on people, Kamaniya & Keshavacharya Das were inspired to dedicate their lives to sharing the universal spiritual practice of kirtan with the Western world.

Known for her joyful expression, Kamaniya's love for kirtan and Sanskrit chanting is contagious. As well as leading her own kirtan for the past ten years, Kamaniya has accompanied several well-known devotional singers, including Shyamdas, Jai Uttal, Girish, and Durga Das.

 

Keshavacharya Das

For Keshavacharya Das, kirtan is not merely a musical style – it is a way of life. Through his daily practice, he refined his natural talent for singing more and more and began to fall in love with kirtan. Desiring to go deeper in his chanting, he journeyed to several sacred places in India , staying in ashrams there and learning at the feet of masters in the birthplace of kirtan.

A life-long learner, Keshavacharya studied under renowned world music singer Jai Uttal and others. With their loving encouragement, Keshavacharya embarked on his own kirtan project. After regular concerts in the New York City area, including Jivamukti Yoga Studio, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and the Ananda Ashram Yoga Society, he recorded his first live studio recording of traditional Indian kirtan. Released in April of 2007, “Crying of the Soul” continues to be warmly received and praised.

Keshavacharya's musical and spiritual journey led him from the pristine mountains of Switzerland , to the ancient temples and simple monasteries of India , and now to the yoga studios and ashrams tucked within America 's bustling cities. He sees kirtan as a way to connect the performer and the listeners on a spiritual and artistic level, and an opportunity to create sacred space and invite others to enter into that space through the medium of sound.

 
 

Michael Schiesser

Founder, and a member of the board of directors of the Inner Journey Seminars, LLC, based out of California.  Michael has 28 years of experience in the field of facilitation in the US, Canada, and Europe.  Specializing in individual and group dynamics, he is a facilitator for The Inner Journey (outside of DC), the Human Experience Seminar, the Inner Journey Transformational Facilitation Training, and the Essential Pilgrimage courses.  

He is also a life coach as well as a consultant for organizations.

He is a co-creator of A Journey into the Soul of Leadership, a transformational course for organizational leaders. 

 
Guest Teachers
 

Daysha Hampton has been studying yoga for 7 years.  After graduating with an International Business degree, she set off on a nine month backpacking trip through India, studying in many ashrams and under many teachers and traditions there.  She studied at Yoga Vidya Gurukul under the Bihar School of Yoga and completed her US Yoga Alliance R.Y.T certification. She also completed a course in Ayurveda at Yoga Vidya Gurukul and recently completed a Yoga for Therapy course in Boise.

She began her Theravada Buddhist study in Thailand during 2005 with the venerable Thai Buddhist monk, Dr. Chatree, who opens meditation centers around the world.  She stayed and studied in monasteries and ashrams in Southeast Asia and India, including but not limited to the OSHO ashram, Amma's ashram, Shivananda Ashram, BKS Iyengar's ashram along with other ashrams in Rishikesh, India while taking time to explore Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram.  Last year, she attended the 14th Dalai Lama's Annual Spring Teachings in Dharamsala, India, at the base of the Himalayas where the Dalai Lama resides in exile and took her Bodhisattva vows.

Daysha has studied philosophy and meditation under Theravada Buddhism , Tibetan Buddhism, Hindu, Zen and Yogic traditions.  She is happy and excited to convey what she has learned around the world.

 
 
 

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