Julia Abramova, C-IAYT, ERYT500 (Ayurveda, Mentor)
As an executive, Julia always looked to find inner balance and peace. Thus began her yoga journey in 2007. Drawing upon a synthesis of Jivamukti and the Bihar schools of yoga she became a certified yoga teacher in 2012 through Shiva Shanti Yoga School.
Soon after beginning her yoga teaching career, Julia realized that there was a need to work with students on a more individual basis in order to help them find peace and balance within their bodies. This desire to help led to further studies in: prenatal yoga, The Kaivalya Yoga Method and Prema Yoga Therapeutics program. Julia graduated from an advanced 300 hour training at Pure Yoga as well as established herself as a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Julia’s passion for learning natural healing practices brought her to Kerala Ayurveda Academy where she completed Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor program towards completion of their Ayurvedic Wellness Practitioner program.
Along with learning about the inner workings of the mind/body/spirit connection through Yoga and Ayurveda, she always had a strong connection with energy healing. She would go on to become a Reiki Master in the Usui lineage, and a certified Sound Healing Practitioner through the Atma Buti Sound and Vibrational School.
Julia strongly believes that we are all capable of healing ourselves. Through her dedication to her students and a holistic approach Julia serves as a catalyst that ignites the healing fire within.
To learn more visit www.jyotiyogahealing.com.
MARY ARANAS, C-IAYT, ERYT500 (Applied Down-Regulating Techniques, Mentor)
Mary began her yoga journey in 1997 while she was an actress and a brand new mom. She earned her 500-hour certification in 2002 under Yogiraj Alan Finger and his senior teachers in the ISHTA “Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda” tradition that emphasizes the individual, ishta practice of each student. Immediately Mary began to teach full-time, with a private clientele that comprised the bulk of her workload, while also teaching classes at Yoga Zone, Be Yoga, NYHRC, Yogaworks, ISHTA Center, and other studios and corporations.
Mary joined the Pure Yoga teaching staff in 2009 and has taught Restorative, Vinyasa, Yin/Yang, Slow Flow Meditation, Pure Zen Flow, and AcroYoga at Pure. She guest teaches seasonally for Pure’s 200-Hour Teacher Training, and serves on Pure Yoga’s Professional Mentorship Program. From 2010 to 2012 Mary was senior Restorative Trainer for YogaFit Training Systems. Mary conducts Mother Mary Restorative Teacher Trainings and Yoga Nidra Teacher Trainings at Pure Yoga in New York. She also teaches Thai Yoga bodywork and AcroYoga – in privates, classes, workshops, retreats and festivals globally. Mary is one of fewer than 80 AcroYoga International certified Immersion teachers worldwide.
Certifications: C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, Reiki I + II, Thai Yoga I & II, ULC Interfaith Minister, YogaSlackers, AcroYoga Level 2, and AcroYoga Immersion Teacher.
Gabriella Barnstone, C-IAYT, ERYT500 (Functional Anatomy, Yoga Therapy, Mentor)
Gabriella has been working as a yoga therapist at Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation under the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Loren Fishman since 2015. She is a certified yoga therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), and a 500 hour certified yoga teacher. She has trained with Alison West, Judith Lasater, Juliana Mitchell, Elise Miller, Stephanie Moonaz, and Leslie Howard, with special areas of study in back pain, Scoliosis, Prenatal Yoga, Arthritis, Osteoporosis, and the pelvic floor. Gabriella has taught courses with Dr. Fishman on Yoga for Back Pain and Yoga for Osteoporosis at Kripalu and Pure Yoga West. She continues to study asana in New York with Rodney Yee, and therapeutics with Carrie Owerko.
Gabriella is happiest when she is learning. The only thing she likes better is sharing what she has learned with others.
Loren Fishman, MD (Applied Yoga Therapy)
Dr. Fishman is Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in New York City, author of seven books and author or editor of more than 70 academic articles, and a world-recognized pioneer in the treatment of piriformis syndrome and rotator cuff tear and an expert in curing back pain. He is Associate Editor of Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, on the staff at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and a past president of the New York Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Dr. Fishman has written five books about yoga and medical conditions. They are: Relief Is In the Stretch: Cure Back Pain With Yoga ( with Carol Ardman, WW Norton, 2006), Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis (with Eric Small, Demos Press, 2007), Yoga for Osteoarthritis (with Ellen Saltonstall, WW Norton, 2008), Yoga for Osteoporosis (with Ellen Saltonstall, coming in March, 2010), and Healing Yoga (2015).
After graduating from Christ Church, Oxford, Dr. Fishman spent a year in Pune, Inda, studying Yoga with BKS Iyengar, attending every public and private class and taking daily instruction. At that time, Mr. Iyengar gave Dr. Fishman permission to teach his Yoga. Dr. Fishman then went to Rush Medical School, did a residency in a Tufts-Harvard program, and served as Chief Resident in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Throughout his career, when appropriate, he has incorporated Yoga into his medical practice and has watched its healing effects. He is also an enthusiastic practitioner himself and has been doing Yoga daily since 1973.
Dr. Fishman has been included in numerous “Best Doctors” lists and has lectured in the United States and abroad. He is an officer of the Manhattan Institute for Cancer Research, and lives with his wife in New York City.
"To his patients, Dr. Fishman is a miracle worker." – Jane Brody, NY Times
Loren Fishman is "... a Thomas Edison of yoga therapy." – William Broad, The Science of Yoga
Kate Kuss, ERYT500,YACEP (Yin Therapeutics)
Kate Kuss has been teaching yoga and meditation for almost a decade. She started practicing yoga during the start of her media and advertising career in New York City. While working for top companies in the industry, Kate found yoga as a way to release from the everyday stress that came with along with the responsibilities. The more she practiced yoga, the more she was able to handle projects, personalities and expectations. Kate wanted to pass along the learnings to help others so she started teaching yoga. Her classes are non-judgmental, authentic and provide the ancient wisdom of the yoga culture. Kate teaches in a style that pushes students to break their boundaries and build flexibility and strength.
Kate has completed over 2,000 hours of yoga training that include topics ranging from the physical body to the mental and emotional bodies. She’s classically trained in meditation in the Saraswati order by Yogi Charu. Kate’s biggest inspiration for her physical classes comes from Bryan Kest whose philosophy is to do less, not more. Kate is well known for her Yin trainings and classes where she teaches in the vibe of Paulie Zink, the original Yin Yoga teacher.
Kate has a passion for training teachers and leads teacher trainings in Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra. She also nurtures new teachers and helps them find their teaching voice. Kate pushes her students and teacher trainees to do the work and provides guidance on how to live a modern yogi lifestyle. Kate is recognized for her honest approach and her personal journey of being fearless both on and off the mat.
JACOB KYLE, MSc, MA, ERYT500 (Embodied Philosophy)
Jacob is a yoga asana teacher, writer and philosophy educator. Jacob holds two Masters Degrees in Philosophy: an MSc in Political Philosophy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2007), and an MA in the History of Philosophy from the New School for Social Research (2013). While living in London, he studied Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research. Jacob's ongoing studies in Western and Eastern philosophies have included study of the Yoga Sutras with Edwin Bryant, studies in Tantrik philosophy with Christopher Wallis, and a course in the history of Yoga and Tantra at New York University. In 2015, Jacob was initiated into Neelakhanta Meditation and has since then been enrolled in Blue Throat Yoga programs under the tutelage of esteemed Kashmir Shaivism scholar Paul Muller-Ortega, studying the texts and practices of the Trika Kula lineage of Kashmir Shaivism. To augment his yoga teaching practice, he has completed over seven hundred hours of training and workshops with master teachers Nevine Michaan, Kelly Morris, David Regelin, Schuyler Grant, Tias Little, Gabriel Halpern, Zach Dacuk & Leslie Kaminoff.
During his years on the academic path, Jacob became disillusioned with abstruse armchair theorizing, as the possibility of implementing deep change in his life and the lives of others appeared remote while in an academic context. It was out of this struggle with academic philosophy that Jacob started teaching yoga and studying more deeply the practice-oriented philosophies of the East. In 2015, he founded Embodied Philosophy, LLC, an online educational platform that is committed to the dissemination of embodied philosophy, philosophy not of the mere intellect, but an integrated, non-dualistic living wisdom. His dream is to contribute to a sea change in how we approach philosophy, not as an abstract discipline out of touch with experience, but as recipes for embodiment. By implementing these often ancient practices in our modern lives, we can change our bodies and minds out of self-destructive habits of thinking and acting.
Erin Moon, C-IAYT, ERYT 500, YACEP (Functional Anatomy, Mentor)
Erin is a graduate of the PYI Yoga Therapy Program and the Co-creator and director of World Spine Care Yoga Project, an international NGO bringing the practices of Yoga to people suffering from spinal and musculoskeletal disorders, pain and limited mobility in underserved communities. She has been teaching anatomy for Yoga instructors since 2009 in multiple programs around the world. Erin has studied/continues to study with PT’s , OT’s, Chiropractors, Researchers and Neurologists as well pursuing her hunger for knowledge through deep self study. She received her first certification in 2005 from Sonic Yoga and has continued with a 300hr from Three Sisters Yoga focusing on Yoga and Stress, Yin Yoga and Meridians from Love Light Yoga, Level 1 Reiki, Level 1 Thai Massage (Om Sweet Om), Fascia training (Sati Yoga), Advanced Anatomy 202 (Yogamaze) and her 800 Therapeutics from PREMA at PURE. She also holds a 200hr certification in Applied Positive Psychology from The Flourishing Center.
Erin’s love of teaching anatomy comes from a deep passion for the continually unfolding world of science and research of the body and of yoga. She is amazed at how often the incredible intuitive knowledge of yoga is proven to be a path to good health and freedom from suffering. Please join her to dive deep into how we can mindfully create safe, sustainable and thriving practices for our clients in private and public settings. Ahimsa.
MARC NELLES, C-IAYT, ERYT200/RYT500 (YOGA/YOGA NIDRA AND IMMUNE/AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE)
Marc earned his degree in dance at the Rotterdam Dance Academy (Codarts) in the Netherlands, and had a career as a dancer and dance instructor in Europe and the US for more than 10 years.
Today, Marc is an IAYT-certified Ayurvedic yoga therapist as a graduate from our own Prema Yoga Institute, and a certified Reiki Master in the lineage of Master Usui. He holds an advanced RYT500 Yoga Alliance credential, specializing in therapeutic Vinyasa in the Krishnamacharya tradition, and tantric meditation, Yoga Nidra, and Pranayama in the Saraswati tradition of the Bihar School of Yoga in India.
He currently teaches yoga and meditation to medical personnel and staff at the Institute of Advanced Medicine at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital, New York City, and is on faculty at the UNSRC Yoga Club at United Nations Headquarters, teaching Yoga Nidra to staff and delegates.
He has also been a guest teacher in the Prema Yoga Therapeutics teacher training, presenting research on yoga and HIV and other immune/autoimmune conditions.
Marc is the founder of Mankind Yoga NYC, his own business venture that provides yoga and healing to his private clients.
Yoga and meditation facilitated Marc's transformative spiritual journey, and he is looking forward to continuing to learn and inspire, while teaching and sharing the wisdom of his lifelong journey.
For more information, visit www.mankindyoganyc.com.
Karen Nourizadeh, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 (Modern Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga Nidra)
Former New York City Litigator, Karen Nourizadeh, has embarked on a path of healing and health, after spending more than a decade practicing law and working at companies that topped the Fortune 50 list. After discovering the healing philosophy and tools of yoga and meditation, Karen was propelled towards her true calling, to inspire and heal others. Understanding the complex stress factors of the modern working world, Karen has successfully advised and guided large health, financial and media corporations, hedge funds and entrepreneurs to help alleviate mental and physical tension for the last 6 years. Cited for her expert guidance, Karen’s chapter on stress management was published in Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism to help parents of children with autism manage stress. Karen's wellness blogs have appeared in Mind, Body, Green and Elephant Journal, and her teachings have been featured in Fitness Magazine, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Daily News, Style Bistro, Shine!, The Cardoza Jurist, Off the Blue Mat, The Beauty Bean and DNA Info New York. Credentialed with an advanced meditation and yoga certification, E-RYT 500, Karen has conducted meditation and mindfulness trainings and workshops in New York City, and has traveled to India, to further her knowledge on Eastern studies, philosophy and healing techniques.
Sonja Rzepski, C-IAYT, ERYT500 (Yoga TherapY)
Sonja began her 18 year history with yoga as a way to feel whole and balanced after the physical stress of being an athlete and aerial performer. While working professionally as a physical theatre artist, Ashtanga yoga was a healing force that not only repaired her muscles but calmed her mind and lit the creative light. She studied Ashtanga as taught classically by Eddie Stern and had the honor of also studying directly with Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. She soon discovered the holistic aspects of yoga brought a new way of living and she became certified with Paul Dallaghan of the Samahita Institute in Ko Samui Thailand, this has lead to opportunities over the last 15 years of teaching with Samahita in Asia, Gaia and Nava in Europe and currently her teaching at Pure Yoga in NYC. Sonja is a graduate of Prema Yoga and is grateful for Dana Slamp's ongoing inspiration and guidance. Sonja works as a yoga therapist with a wide range of students from Olympic runners, to differently abled students, performers, and those recovering from cardiac events. She is the Private Practice manager at Pure West on the upper westside of Manhattan.Her students stories and dedication to the practice of yoga constantly remind her to move from a place of healing. She is eternally thankful to all her teachers and believes we can live in, and enter grace, physically and energetically if we move forward with patience and positive attitude. Sonja also is the program director of the non-for-profit Enter Grace Yoga which brings yoga to NYC school for both kids and their teachers.
DANA SLAMP, C-IAYT, ERYT500 (Founder, Program Director)
Dana began teaching yoga in 2005, offering vinyasa classes known for their spirit, strength, and safety across New York City. She joined the senior staff at Pure Yoga in 2008, expanding her teaching to therapeutic classes, as well as teaching in Pure's renowned 200 hour Teacher Training and Professional Mentorship Program.
Despite her love of classes, Dana saw the great need for one-on-one, specialized therapeutic teaching in the tradition of "yoga chikitsa" - "yoga medicine." In 2010, she served as Managing Teacher at Pure West, and eventually cocreated the 300 hr advanced teacher training program at Yoga Vida. Dana completed over 1100 hours of yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, and yoga therapy training with Guru Dharam, Dana Flynn, Dr. Marc Halpern and Yogi Charu - becoming one of the first certified yoga therapists in the US.
In 2012, Dana founded Prema Yoga Institute, New York's premiere yoga therapy school. PYI offers a radical collaboration between wellness professionals devoted to yoga, bridging the gaps between yoga and healthcare and academia and yoga. PYI prepares wellness professionals to provide yoga and mindfulness to diverse populations - regardless of any injuries or limitations present. (Premayogainstitute.com)
She continues to teach internationally, contributes to countless teacher trainings, and has presented at the Telluride Yoga Festival, Wanderlust in the City, and several times at the Yoga Journal Conference. She has been honored to consult on research projects and wellness programs for clinics, doctor's offices, condominiums, and corporations. Dana is a member of IAYT and currently practices in New York City. (Danaslamp.com)
Christopher Walling, PsyD, MBA, C-IAYT (Somatic Psychology, Peer Coaching, and Physiology of Yoga)
Dr. Walling has been an active leader in healthcare for nearly two decades. His work integrates the developmental, biological, and somatic aspects of the lifespan. His work in academic medicine has included the administration of multidisciplinary leadership teams in hematology-oncology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and geriatric psychiatry.
Dr. Walling’s service in geriatric psychiatry began as the Executive Administrator for the UCLA Longevity Center and Division of Geriatric Psychiatry in 2010. It was there through his work with world class physician researchers he began to explore the applications of yoga therapy in mental health. He currently serves as Chairman of the Education Advisory Committee for the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. He is a certified yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and a Certified Yoga and Meditation instructor through Yoga Alliance.
Dr. Walling is the President of the United States Association of Body Psychotherapy. His clinical focus in the behavioral sciences has examined the intersections of neuropsychotherapy, affect regulation, and body psychology. He has trained with some of the leading experts in contemporary psychotherapy including Dr. Peter Levine, Dr. Stephen Porges, Dr. Sue Johnson, and Dr. Allan Schore. His research on Proprioception and Interoception in Somatic Experiencing Praxis received the 2016 President’s Award for Research Excellence at California Southern University.
Dr. Walling is the Clinical Director of Soma Psychological Services in Los Angeles, California where he specializes in stress related disorders, trauma, couples work, and addiction recovery. His passion and expertise in resilience, mindfulness, and psychological wellbeing make him a sought after speaker for several Fortune 500 companies where he has helped executives learn how to harness the power of peak performance via the innate resources of the body.
Jon Witt, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 (Senior Therapeutics Teacher)
Jon completed his 6 month Atmavikas Yoga Therapy Teacher Training Course with Yogacharya V. Venkatesha of Mysore, India. This was an exceptional opportunity to learn the old traditions the way yoga was originally taught -one on one and in residence. Before focusing on therapeutics, Jon came to yoga from a different kind of mat. After wrestling competitively for 10 years, he turned to yoga for therapy and relief. A dedicated Bikram practice followed and he soon completed his first teacher training with Bikram Choudhury in 2002. Jon was chosen to be one of the original Pure Yoga instructors, and spent 5 years teaching in Hong Kong. He has continued to dedicate time to his yoga education, studying with teachers such as Dharma Mittra, Anthony Carlisi, Baron Baptiste, Doug Keller, Kristyan Stjerne, Patrick Creelman, and Tim Miller. He currently teaches Yoga Therapy, Back Care, Basics, Slow Flow, Vinyasa and more in New York, New York.
Lisa Benner, ERYT500, RPYT, YACEP, Hathvidya 1000hr, HHC (Guest Teacher: Classical Hatha Yoga Therapeutics)
Early in her career, Lisa Benner created a mission statement for herself: To improve her own and other people's quality of life. Much later, it occurred to her that this perspective was founded on an assumption of lack. She wondered, How would this look if she was moving from a place of abundance? fullness? perfection? Through her own therapeutic struggles, Lisa forged a road to health and vibrancy melding eastern and western techniques through a combination of yoga and other holistic modalities, such as nutrition, ayurveda, and rehabilitative pilates. Lisa spent over a decade learning and practicing, and she remains in ongoing study. After graduating from Sonic Yoga’s 200 hour Teacher Training program in New York City - a vinyasa krama training in the Krishnamacharya tradition - Lisa completed Hathavidya’s 1000 hour program, then continued with a Pre-Natal RYT, a certification as a Holistic Health Coach, and is currently registered as ERYT500 with the Yoga Alliance.
Born with scoliosis, having double knee surgery in her teens and living into early adulthood with chronic migraines and back pain, Lisa eventually turned to pilates designed for rehabilitation and yoga to seek deep healing after many other modalities provided no or only temporary and partial relief. While she initiated that healing through both, Lisa’s discovery of the deep body/mind/spirit connection in yoga won her devotion. Lisa has gained 2.5 inches in height, and not only lives pain free but vibrantly. Lisa remains dedicated to her own self-development and continues to study yoga, mantra and Sanskrit in a traditional one-to-one setting which she believes is key to remaining vital in her work and service to her students.
Lisa is the Director of the 200 hour Teacher Training for Hathavidya and leads group and individual Wellness Programs through Lisa Benner Living. She has taught in the advanced 300hr Hathavidya Yoga Training for 8 years. Lisa leads and guest teaches in additional 200hr and 300hr yoga teacher trainings as well as works with private clients at various locations in New York, across the US, and internationally. Private sessions are crafted to serve the goals and needs of the individual, whether those goals be physically focused, nutrition, dealing with conditions (such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, gut health and the microbiome, etc.), self-development, or life goals. When it best suits a client’s needs, Lisa works with a carefully cultivated network of like-minded practitioners.
In public classes, she teaches vinyasa krama from the Hatha philosophy, creating each class on a theme, and incorporating pranayama, mantra and meditation. Strong attention is given to alignment. Lisa is greatly honored to be able to share the transformations that yoga brings, to coach individuals towards their vibrancy, to teach and to continue to learn. Many thanks to her precious teachers, including Will Duprey and Dr. MA Jayashree.
Laura Brandel, C-IAYT (Guest Teacher: Down-Regulating Techniques)
Laura Brandel has a strong understanding of the principles of yoga and how to share these teachings from her heart. She is a kind and intuitive teacher with a calm yet dynamic voice. Laura has a deep focus in the importance of alignment and breath. One of her most outstanding qualities is how attentive she is, watching each student and seeing what they need as individuals. A practicing IAYT certified yoga therapist, her training was received at Pure Yoga with Dana Slamp's Prema Yoga Therapeutics Program. Currently she teaches at Pure Yoga and Yoga Vida and leads the Yoga Vida 200 hour teacher training program.
Michelle Briks, MS, RDE, RYT500, Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor (Guest Teacher: Ayurveda)
Michelle is Yoga Director of the Saw Mill Health Club in Mount Kisco, NY, where she also leads and founded the Ohra Yoga and Wellness institute, a 200/300 hour Registered Yoga School with Yoga Alliance. Michelle has 12+ years of experience teaching yoga and has received extensive training and certifications in Vinyasa and Prana flow styles, Anatomy and Ayurvedic Yoga therapy.
She received a BS in dietetics from Queens College (Magna Sum Laude) in 2002 and an MS in Nutrition & Exercise Science from CUNY Queens in 2004. Her nutritional knowledge was complemented by further in-depth study of Ayurveda with California College of Ayurveda under the leadership of Dr. Mark Halpern (100 hours AYT) and the year-long Ayurvedic wellness counselor (AYC) program from Kerala Ayurveda Academy. She has practiced as a registered dietitian, and currently practices a holistic nutritional approach with her clients. With proper guidance she encourages her clients to become proactive about their health and wellness. Michelle is passionate about empowering others to increase their strength and grace and get inspired through the practice and teachings of yoga. She is moved by witnessing her students and teacher trainees’ growth and transformation as they embrace wellness and connect deeper with their inner light.
Jessica Caplan, E-RYT 200, Sound Therapy Practitioner (Guest Teacher: Sound Yoga Therapy)
Jessica is a certified sound therapy practitioner, vocalist and yoga teacher. A yoga teacher since 2006, having graduated from Pure Yoga Hong Kong’s first teacher training, Jessica’s twin loves -- music and the healing arts -- organically merged several years ago. She completed the year-long, 290-hour sound therapy practitioner training at the Open Center’s Sound and Music Institute, studying with experts in the field, including John Beaulieu, Silvia Nakkach, and Pat Moffit Cook. She has since guided soundbaths, crafted meditative soundscapes for yoga classes and events, and led workshops, retreats and trainings in voice and sound healing. Jessica is particularly passionate about providing students both in group and one-on-one sessions an integrative, loving approach to connecting with the voice, and through that, with oneself. She is a Reiki practitioner and Restorative yoga teacher, and continues her studies of yoga, sound healing, Native traditions, shamanic practices, and classical North Indian music. Jessica is also the co-creatrix of SoundMind (www.soundmind.space), an audio meditation series combining meditation with therapeutic sound, released in the fall of 2016. www.jessicacaplanyoga.com
Lisa Coico, Ph.D., RYT500 (Guest Teacher: Research, Professional Practice)
Dr. Coico currently serves as Medical Professor of Molecular Cellular and Biomedical Sciences at CUNY School of Medicine, and is a graduate of PYI's 500 hour Advanced Yoga Certification at Pure Yoga. Dr. Coico brings more than 20 years of leadership in academic medicine with a substantial record of accomplishment and research funding from the National Institutes of Health. She formerly served as a member of the National General Medical Advisory Council. More recently, Dr. Coico has been recognized for her research on alcohol and substance abuse prevention. Lisa Coico received her Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from the Weill Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences where she was honored as Alumna of the Year in 2016.
Kirsten Collins, LMSW, E-RYT, MBA (GUEST TEACHER: Yoga for Disordered Eating)
Kirsten is a licensed social worker practicing in Manhattan. Having completed her training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) at Columbia’s School of Social Work, Kirsten regularly incorporates mindfulness practice into her clinical work at the Beacon Program, a private practice in mid-town Manhattan dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders, where she is a full-time clinician.
Kirsten has been a certified yoga instructor since 2005; initially trained at OM Yoga Center, a school practicing and teaching the traditions of B.K.S. Iyengar then later training and teaching with Ana Forrest in the Forrest Yoga tradition. Kirsten has taught at Pure Yoga, YogaWorks, and Om Factory in New York City and is co-founder of Forrest Yoga New York. More recently, Kirsten has led retreats and yoga teacher training courses at the Omega Institute and the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Kirsten has worked with the Prema Yoga Institute since 2017 as an expert in the field of eating disorders. Kirsten believes that yoga is an important tool for healing in mental health.
Alison Cramer, ERYT500 (Guest Teacher: Ayurveda)
Alison completed he firs teacher training at Laughing otus in 2003, and began teaching at Lotus the same year. Nine years later, with the encouragement of Dana Flynn, Ali created Laughing Lotus’ Ayurveda and Healing Program, acting as director and teacher, both at the 100 and 50-hour level certifications.
In addition to being one of the core teachers for Laughing Lotus’ acclaimed 200 hour Teacher Training, Ali has also been a guest teacher in other trainings, teaching workshops and retreats all over the world. She is continually inspired by how these practices bring people together and create community. In 2013, she was honored to lead the very first 200-hour yoga teacher training in the Sudan, where she also worked with therapists at refugee relief centers and in schools throughout Khartoum.
Ali writes Ayurveda columns for BreatheRepeat.com, alignyo.com, and mindbodygreen.com and is happy to be a Lululemon Ambassador. She believes deeply that the practices of yoga and Ayurveda can teach us to live our lives with integrity, balance, and grace, if we are willing to do the work.
Beret Kirkeby, LMT, RMT, ERYT500 (GUEST TEACHER: Pain Management, Therapeutic Consent)
Beret Kirkeby is thrilled to join the Prema Yoga team as a guest. She is a 500 hour yoga teacher, an RRCA certified running coach, a personal trainer, and a NCBTM Continuing Education Provider. In addition to her original college degree, she also holds a dual license in massage for NY State and one for Ontario, Canada, which has a slightingly different scope of practice than the traditional state-side massage.
Her primary education was in Ontario's regulated Provencal Massage health-care program, manual therapy and includes on and off table exercises in its curriculum. Therapists graduating from this program are focused on rehabilitation and hospital-based care. She has completed residencies in an AIDS hospice as well as in a Parkinson's clinic as part of this training. Post-graduation, she worked with severe injuries from motor vehicle accidents, workman's compensation, and prenatal injury and recovery. When in NY, she operates within the NY state scope of practice.
More recently she spent a year living in Thailand and Bali, where she began her yoga journey and studied Thai massage. She currently owns and operates a massage clinic here in New York City that focuses on science-based manual therapy, medical massage, TMD intra-oral care and Post-Mastectomy support. Besides her skills in massage and yoga, she is also a paid certified scuba diver and an avid runner. She has previously taught anatomy, pathology, orthopedic assessment, medical consent and pain science since 2011.
Millie Lee, MD, RYT500 (Guest Teacher: Cardiology, Yoga for Cardiac Care)
Dr. Lee has found her dharma by merging her experience as a cardiologist and the ancient wisdom of therapeutic yoga.
She received her Bachelor’s degree from New York University and MD degree from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in NY. She completed her residency in internal medicine and fellowship in both general and interventional cardiology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. For 20 years, she practiced cardiology in Southeastern Virginia. Working with cardiac patients every day, she witnessed first hand the effects of stress, poor nutrition and lifestyle choices on her patients’ health.
She started practicing yoga in 2007. She became a certified yoga teacher (RYT 200) in 2013 through Yax Yoga Concepts in Virginia. She studied with Dr Mala Cunningham, Founder and director of Cardiac Medical Yoga and earned her certification as a cardiac yoga teacher. She has also studied “Yoga as Medicine” and “Seeing and Understanding Bodies” with Dr Timothy McCall, author of Yoga as Medicine: The Yogic Prescription for Health and Healing , and co-editor of the first medical textbook on yoga therapy, The Principles and Practice of Yoga in Health Care. She earned her 500 hour certification from Prema Yoga Institute and Pure Yoga in NYC, after studying Prema Yoga Essentials, Ayurveda and Yoga in Healthcare.
After 20 years of treating patients with heart disease in the modern healthcare system, she realized something was missing. The traditional approach to a patient with heart disease involves drugs and procedures such as angioplasty and stents. While this approach, no doubt saves lives acutely, in the long run, it does not address the primary risk factors that lead to the acute events and to chronic disease, including stress. Now she has shifted her approach to wellness. As a health consultant and therapeutic yoga teacher, she aims to empower people to take ownership of their health and happiness. She wholeheartedly believes that health can be achieved through an integrative, holistic approach focused on nutrition, exercise, yoga, mindfulness and stress reduction. Knowledge is power. She shares her knowledge regularly on her blog, iamyogahealth.com where she writes about nutrition, yoga, different disease states and holistic approaches to disease prevention and maintenance of wellness.
Robert Lindsey, BA, (Guest Teacher: Bhagavad Gita)
Robert graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University. He completed a year of post-baccalaureate study in South Asian Religion at Rutgers University, as well as a year at the Jiva Institute of Vaishnava Studies in Vrindavan, India. Since 2011, he has been the Program Director for the India Winter Session Study Abroad Program in Hinduism at Rutgers University. Additionally at Rutgers, Robert has given numerous guest lectures on topics such as Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavata Purana, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Mahabharata, and Hinduism and the Afterlife. Robert is currently a graduate student in South Asian Religion at Columbia University where he also studies Sanskrit. He has also studied Sanskrit at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Pune, India. Robert has served as the Director of Philosophy at Yoga Vida NYC since 2015. He teaches in Yoga Vida’s Advanced Teacher Training Programs and various workshops on topics concerning premodern and modern yoga.
Erica Mather, M.A. C-IAYT, ERYT 500, HHC, Reiki Master (GUEST TEACHER: Yoga for Migraines, Developing Personal Protocols)
Erica is a natural-born teacher, who began instructing at age 17 and studies pedagogy through education, learning, and leadership. She cares most about her students' freedom--financial, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, and physical--and to compliment each concern has founded a number of programs to support this mission. The Adore Your Body system supports feeling free in the body; The Yoga Clinic educates students, teachers, and health professionals about empowered self-care; and, the Five Pillars 90-Day Accountability Program helps yoga teachers learn the fundamentals of business.
Erica is a Forrest Yoga Guardian, hand-picked by Ana Forrest to become one of a handful of senior teachers in the Forrest Yoga tribe. She found Forrest Yoga at the very beginning of her yoga studies and began practicing to treat her adult-onset migraine headaches. Her area of interest is how Forrest Yoga promotes healing of the body and spirit along a spectrum—from the very sick to the “well.” She has a flourishing private practice in New York City working therapeutically in a number of capacities helping the injured, ill, and aging gain confidence and trust in their bodies. Erica is currently working on her first book (New Harbinger, 2019) collating her knowledge about improving the relationship with the body as a spiritual pursuit.
Amber Paul, E-RYT 500 (GUEST TEACHER: Yoga and Meditation for Trauma)
Amber holds a psychology degree from Sewanee and the highest level of Yoga Alliance certification as an E-RYT 500 vinyasa yoga instructor. She specializes in teaching meditation for the modern practitioner. Amber is currently a yoga professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a guest lecturer in the graduate psychology program at Fordham University. She is on faculty at Three Sisters Yoga, where she certifies new instructors at both the 200 and 300-hour level. She has also been a guest teacher in the Prema Therapeutics teacher training at Pure Yoga. In addition to being the resident yoga instructor at Broadway Dance Center, she has taught yoga and meditation at the Chopra Center, Sonic Yoga, Yoga Collective NYC, Club H Fitness, Reflections Yoga, and for many corporate clients including Brooks Brothers and the law firm of Skadden/Arp. She taught the inaugural Yoga for Absolute Beginners Workshop at Broadway Dance Center and also donates her time to trauma survivor groups by teaching yoga and meditation techniques for PTSD. Visit www.amberpaul.com for more info or visit her yoga blog at www.amberpaul.wordpress.com.
Amanbir Singh, LMT, Lac, ERYT500, BSE, MSTOM (Guest Teacher: Acupressure, Nadis and Meridians)
Amanbir is a yoga teacher and licensed acupuncturist based in New York City. Known for his sense of humor, music, and extensive knowledge of the healing field, he offers a direct and fun approach to the healing dynamics of yoga. He has been teaching for 13 years and holds Level 2 status at the Kundalini Research Institute. Additionally, he has completed 300 hours of yoga therapy training with I-SKY, an IAYT Member School, and guest teaches in its modules.
Amanbir currently shares his in-depth understanding of energetic and physical anatomy in trainings worldwide. He serves as one of the lead teachers and directors of Golden Bridge Yoga trainings around the world. He teaches at many major yoga festivals including Sat Nam Fest, Wanderlust, Yoga Journal conference, and Kripalu.
He has produced three music albums: “Akal Groove” and "African Soul and Jaap," that capture his modern embrace of the ancient sound current of mantras. He holds a Masters of Science in Traditional Oriental Medicine and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the Cooper Union.
Stephanie Anne Ervin Vitolo, ERYT500 (Guest Teacher: Addressing Wrist Pathologies)
Stephanie is a yoga teacher in New York. She has been a certified yoga instructor since 2009. She received her initial training at YogaWorks at the 200 hour level and continued on to the Professional 300 program in 2010. The YogaWorks methodology infuses the movement of the Ashtanga lineage with the precision of the Iyengar System. Stephanie has also been certified in Restorative and therapeutic yoga through the guidance of Jillian Pransky and Mary Aranas C-IAYT, and is a graduate of Prema Yoga Institute's Therapeutics Essentials. She continues to take classes and workshops to expand her knowledge and understanding of Yoga. She has been teaching therapeutic yoga privately since 2011 and has offered several workshops in New York City.
Stephanie currently teaches classes and privately at Pure Yoga, Yoga Works in New York City. She is a senior member of the faculty at Pure Yoga and a member of the teacher training department at Yoga Works. She teaches with intelligence in sequencing that is steeped in alignment and therapeutic principles. Her generosity and fun approach to teaching is unique and all her own. She approaches each student as an individual and creates space for students to explore and experience themselves in their bodies, their breath and ultimately, their spirits. Stephanie has been a guest teacher with PYI for 4 years.