My older sister will tell you that as a little kid, I spent most of my time dancing in the living room or hanging from the cupboards — that’s what happens when you binge watch Olympic Gymnastics, Lilias Yoga and You and the Jackson Five. I was also totally obsessed with God and all things spiritual, without really understanding why or how, discoveries that would come soon enough.
I re-discovered yoga after college, practicing in the Sivananda yoga tradition. I dove into Ashtanga and then, in the late 1990s — after many visits to the NYC studio — I had a hunch that personally and professionally all roads would lead me to Jivamukti. I did the 300-hour teacher training with Sharon Gannon and David Life in 2005, the 800-hour apprenticeship under Nicole Narayani Nichols at the New York City center in 2008 and the Advanced Certification in 2012. My other yoga trainings, with Shiva Rea in Prana Vinyasa, David Swenson in Ashtanga and Lex Gillan in Hatha Yoga, were equally powerful and still inform my work today.
In Northern California my studio affiliations are Yoga Works, Yoga Tree and Nandi Yoga. I have also guest taught at Jivamukti Yoga studios in Munich and Luxembourg City.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
Sharon Gannon and David Life
I discovered Jivamukti Yoga in the late 1990s, going to the Lafayette studio on Astor Place whenever I was in NYC for work. The studio was magical, and everything about Jivamukti’s philosophy lined up with my personal and professional beliefs. Sharon and David’s dharma talks resonated so deeply and many times left me in tears. Jivamukti has gone on to become a global phenomenon, a practice threading together all aspects of yoga into a complete package. They are and will always be my foremost teachers.
Lee Wei Chao
I met Lee Wei in 2009 when a friend recommended dance classes at Alonzo King Lines Dance Center in downtown San Francisco. Lee Wei was classically trained in his home country of Taiwan, and later a professional dancer in the U.S. His classes are fast-paced, lyrical and demanding. He adds nuggets of philosophy and anecdotes about love and life, making his classes not only a visceral, physical experience but also spiritual. From Lee Wei, I learned the gift of metaphor — how to convey a technical or artistic concept in just a word or two, which has illuminated my own teaching. He embodies the qualities every yogi yearns for: steadiness, humility and devotion.
Manorama is a teacher of Sanskrit and philosophy whom I met through Jivamukti Yoga. She opens doorways to yoga philosophy and sutra study in a way that’s uniquely her own and joy-filled. Her teacher, Shri Brahmananda Saraswati, founded the Ananda Ashram of New York and the Yoga Society of San Francisco. I’ve been blessed to continue studying more intensively with her over the past few years. I feel that our bond has deepened far beyond what I ever imagined.
I was new to California when I first met H.G. Vaisesika dasa, bhakti yoga Master and spiritual leader of the ISKCON temple of Silicon Valley and his wife Nirakula dasi. Upon a friend’s invitation, I went to at the then-small temple near San Jose. As I listened to his lectures, I somehow knew I had found the spiritual teacher I’d been searching for on the West coast. Vaisesika Prabhu travels, lectures, counsels and inspires spiritual aspirants all over the world; he also gives corporate lectures quite often throughout the Bay area.
From day one, German language teacher Wiebke has helped me reclaim something very precious: my European heritage and connection to my French/German maternal grandfather. When I told her of my wish (to be tri-lingual (English/ French/ German) her response was, basically, let’s do this. My passion for languages is equally matched by her patience, warmth and enthusiam; my dreams seem possible because of her.
Yoga Alliance 500E-RYT/YACEP
Jivamukti Yoga 300 hour (2005) + 800 hour Teacher Training (2008) + Advanced Certification (2012)
Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with Shiva Rea (2001)
Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with David Swenson (2001)
Art of Assists Studies with Yoganand Michael Carroll (2003) + Raja Yoga Studies with Stephen Cope (2002) at Kripalu Center for Yoga
Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Lex Gillan (1999)