Nick Rosen is a partner, writer and producer at Sender Films. Over the years Nick’s work has covered a broad range of subjects: economic policy, civil war, yoga,
professional wrestling, and the esoterica of Welsh Corgis. Nick received his BA in political science from Colorado College, and his master’s at Columbia’s School of
International and Public Affairs. Nick began working with Sender Films in 2005, where he co-creates feature films, as well as produces programs for NBC, The Weather Channel,
National Geographic International and The New York Times online. Nick is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He is an avid climber and outdoor enthusiast.
Norman Allen grew up in Los Angeles, and later lived in New York. In the early 70’s, inspired by the anti-war protests, Norman setout to explore the world and leave America. In 1973, while staying at the Swami Gitananda’s Ashram in Pondicherry, Norman watched a yoga demonstration performed by Manju Jois (son of the Pattabhi Jois) and the future of his life changed. He became the first American to study with Pattabhi Jois and master the Ashtanga Yoga practice. In the early 80’s Norman returned to New York City, where yoga was just starting to gather momentum. Not interested in the commercialism of the practice, he took off and ended up in Hawaii where he currently lives happily as a farmer, husband, grandfather, father and teacher.
Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar (Guruji) is a living legend who has taught yoga in unique way to all his students. Named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, he finds the meaning of the yoga sutras by his practical search and regular practice of yoga. Thus, he has helped all to experience the wisdom of the yoga sutras. His style of teaching yoga is called “Iyengar Yoga” and is now being followed by certified teachers across the world. The author of 14 books, his debut work “Light on Yoga” considered to be the “Bible of Modern Yoga” was first published in 1966 an is now translated into 18 languages.
Sri Krishna Pattabhi Jois began studying yoga when he was 12 years old with a great yoga master Sri T. Krishnamacharya. For the next two years, Pattabhi Jois learned from his Guru every day until Krishnamacharya left Hassan to travel and teach. A few year later, while studying at the Sanskrit University of Mysore, Pattabhi Jois reconnected with his Guru and continued his yoga studies. In 1937, with his Guru’s approval, Pattabhi Jois was appointed to head the Yoga Department of the Sanskrit College where he taught until his retirement in 1973. In 1973, Norman Allen became the first American to study with Pattabhi Jois. In 1975, Pattabhi Jois and his son Manju made their first trip to America. Over the next 25 years, the Ashtanga Yoga practice spread through the United States, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, Israel, Chile, England, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and onwards.
Mahamandaleshwar Pujya Swami Gurusharananandaji Maharaj (Maharajji), a revered saint as well as renowned scholar and expert in the scriptures is the present spiritual head of the Karshini Ashram. He is the epitome of the confluence of Jnana and Bhakti yoga. Maharajji is a saint in the real and divine sense; he gives wisdom, insight, inspiration and divine blessings to devotees from around the world who travel to behold the divine land of Lord Krishna and to seek his blessings and darshan. He travels across India and the globe, spreading upliftment, inspiration and deep understanding of the scriptures. Further, he has undertaken crucial social welfare issues in Raman Reti.
Cyndi Lee is the founder of OM Yoga. A practitioner of both hatha yoga and Tibetan Buddhism, Cyndi is known as a nurturing and compassionate teacher with an offbeat and playful style. Cyndi is the author of Yoga Body, Buddha Mind, OM Yoga in a Box, OM Yoga: A Guide to Daily Practice, and the recently released OM Yoga & Meditation Workshop DVD (with her husband, David Nichtern). Cyndi’s frequent appearances in the media include The Early Show, Good Morning America, the New York Times, Newsweek, and Vogue. She has been a columnist for Yoga Journal and Shambhala Sun for many years.
Alan Finger learned yoga as a teenager from his father, Mani, South Africa’s most eminent yogi. Alan and his father studied together intensively for many years and eventually created a modern practice that they called ISHTA (the Integrated System of Hatha, Tantra, and Ayurveda). Alan came to the United States in 1975, founding Yoga Works in Los Angeles and, later, Yoga Zone in New York. He is the lead instructor on the Yoga Zone instructional videos, host of the Yoga Zone television show, and coauthor of Yoga Zone: An Introduction to Yoga and Yoga Zone: Yoga for Life.
Sri Dharma Mittra was born in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 1939. In 1964, following a career in the Brazilian Air Force, he moved to New York City to study yoga with his teacher Sri Swami Kailashananda, also known as Yogi Gupta. After intense study and practice of the eight limbs of yoga, he was accepted into the family of Bramacharia as a sannyasin — one who renounces the world in order to realize God. In 1975, he left his guru’s ashram to found the Yoga Asana Center of New York City, now known as the Dharma Yoga Center. Dharma Mittra has initiated tens of thousands to the path of yogic practice and teaching. He is recognized worldwide for his Master Yoga Chart of 908 Postures, and is the author of Asanas.
Devotional practitioner, translator, author and musician, Shyamdas brings the Vedic literature of India and the Bhakti Yoga of Vraja to life in the West. He has written and translated more than 20 books on Bhakti Yoga and the Path of Grace. Shyamdas specializes in classical Dhrupada music and the mystic poets of North India. Shyamdas combines ecstatic kirtan with stories and teachings from India. As a Vedic scholar and a bhakta, he shares the philosophy of non-dual devotion with authority and flair. Shyamdas’ presentations of bhakti teachings are unique, rooted in tradition, and filled with the nectars of devotion.
Sharon Gannon has been teaching yoga around the world for more than 20 years. She cofounded the Jivamukti Yoga Method with David Life and has been recognized as an “innovator in yoga” by Yoga Journal. She is author of many articles and several books, including Jivamukti Yoga and Yoga and Vegetarianism, and is also a producer of DVDs and music CDs. Since 1993 she has presented annually at various national and international conferences hosted by The Omega Institute, Yoga Journal, Asian Conferences and others. As a poet, musician, dancer and producer, Sharon views art as a means for uplifting the soul and her artistic pursuits seek to enrich the community by being both inspirational and educational. She holds a BA in Dance and has studied ballet, modern, classical and various forms of Indian Dance; as well as music, poetry, painting and alchemy.
David Life has been recognized by Yoga Journal as an “innovator” in yoga in the U.S today. Together with Sharon Gannon, and through the blessings of his teachers, David has helped create the Jivamukti Yoga Method, which focuses on teaching and practicing yoga as a means to enlightenment and is taught worldwide in Jivamukti Yoga Schools in New York, Berlin, Munich, London, and Toronto. The Jivamukti Yoga method is recognized by TIME magazine as one of the nine major methods of hatha yoga taught in the world today. He has received Kalachakra and Bodhisattva initiation from His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. His interest in yoga is supported by his artistic, literary and metaphysical studies.
Joseph Alter received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. He is a sociocultural anthropologist whose area of interest is South Asia and teaches anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research is in the field of medical anthropology on topics of physical fitness, public health, social psychology, and the relationship between health, culture, and politics broadly defined. He has recently conducted work on the symbolic meaning of the body in the practice of Indian wrestling; the relationship between sexuality, male celibacy, and nationalism in post-colonial India; and the development of scientific yoga therapy as a modern, middle-class form of public health in urban India. He is the author of five books including “Yoga in Modern India: The Body between Science and Philosophy”.
David Gordon White
David Gordon White received his Ph.D. (with Honors) from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago in 1988. He also studied Hinduism at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris, France, between 1977-1980 and 1985-1986. A specialist of South Asian religions, he is a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has been teaching since 1996. White is the sole foreign scholar to ever have been admitted to the Centre d’Etudes de l’Inde et de l’Asie du Sud in Paris, France, where he has been a Research Fellow since 1992. He is the author of three books, all published by the University of Chicago Press: Myths of the Dog-Man (1991); The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India (1996); and Kiss of the Yogini:“Tantric Sex” in its South Asian Contexts (2003). A book entitled Sinister Yogis is forthcoming in 2009.
Diamond Dallas Page
Known around the sports entertainment world of professional wrestling as “DDP”, Diamond Dallas Page was born Page Joseph Falkinburg in 1956. At 36, he became the oldest rookie in history to start wrestling. During his fourteen-year career, he captivated audiences and became a three-time world champion as well as incurring multiple injuries including torn rotator cuffs in both shoulders, a torn meniscus in his left knee, and ruptures of his L4 and L5 discs. After studying the positive healing effects and increased flexibility that yoga positions provided, he became a devotee and adapted the discipline to meet his own needs. He developed YRG Fitness System (Yoga For Regular Guys). The YRG Fitness System is a comprehensive, creative and motivational approach to longevity and better understanding of health and fitness which DDP now teaches.
Dr. Madan Kataria
Dr. Madan Kataria, a medical doctor from Mumbai, India popularly known as the ‘Guru of Giggling’ (London Times), is the founder of Laughter Yoga Clubs movement started in 1995. While researching the benefits of laughter, he was amazed by the number of studies showing profound physiological and psychological benefits of laughter. He decided to find a way to deliver these benefits to his patients and other people. The result is Laughter Yoga, a unique exercise routine that combines group laughter exercises with yoga breathing which allows anyone to laugh without using jokes, humor or comedies. Started with just with just five people in a public park in Mumbai in 1995, it has grown into a worldwide movement of more than 6000 Laughter Yoga clubs in over 60 countries: spreading rapidly in USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, South East Asia, China and Africa.
Patricia was born in Newton Massachusetts a while ago. She graduated from the streets of San Francisco in the early 70’s, where she had been a student of Murshid Sam Lewis (”Sufi Sam”). In 1976, Patricia Walden met her teacher, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyenga. She has studied with him annually in India since that time, becoming one of only two Americans to hold a senior advanced teaching certificate in the Iyengar tradition.
Natasha Rizopoulos has been teaching at Yoga Works in Los Angeles since 1997. The featured teacher in Yoga Journal’s Step-by-Step Home Practice DVD series, Natasha has appeared in magazines and on television, as well as in the book of photographs Yoga: A Yoga Journal Book. She is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal, and writes the “Basics” column, as well as the online column “Ask the Beginner’s Expert.” In addition to her classes in Los Angeles, Natasha travels extensively, teaching at conferences and leading workshops and teacher trainings around the country.
Rodney Yee has been curious about the mind and body for as long as he can remember. Upon taking his first yoga class in 1980, he knew it would be a lifelong passion. Now that his mind and body are going through midlife, he is much more curious about the spirit. His spirit is fed by his wife, Colleen Saidman, and his four children. Teaching is still a main vehicle for Rodney to understand union. He has created dozens of DVDs through Gaiam and two books, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body and Moving Toward Balance, both written with Nina Zolotow. Rodney is also cofounder, with Colleen, of the Gaiam Yoga Club.
Baron Baptiste is an internationally renowned presenter and author of the best-selling books Journey Into Power; 40 Days to Personal Revolution; and My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids. Seen nationally on the PBS special Transform Your Life with Baron Baptiste, he has trained Hollywood celebrities, Fortune 500 CEOs, NFL athletes, and tens of thousands of people through his wildly popular bootcamps, teacher trainings, workshops, and studios. Baron has been steeped in mysticism, the healing arts, and yoga since childhood, and has been teaching for more than 25 years.
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa is the co-founder and director of Golden Bridge, the premier center for the study and practice of Kundalini Yoga and meditation in Los Angeles and New York. For over three decades, students in Los Angeles and throughout the world have sought her classes in Kundalini Yoga, meditation, and pre- and postnatal care. She is the author of The Eight Human Talents: The Yogic Way to Restoring the Natural Balance of Serenity Within You and Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful: Experience the Natural Power of Pregnancy and Birth with Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, as well as the creator of three yoga videos.
Beryl Bender Birch
Beryl Bender Birch, renowned visionary and author of Power Yoga and Beyond Power Yoga, has been an avid student of yoga and consciousness since l971. With degrees in philosophy and comparative religion, Beryl has traveled extensively in India, and been a yoga teacher for 34 years. She has trained yoga teachers as “spiritual revolutionaries” since l980, and was named by Yoga Journal in 2000 as one of only seven American women in their “Innovators Shaping Yoga Today” issue. She is the director-founder of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute.
Judith Hanson Lasater, PhD, PT, has taught yoga since 1971. She holds a doctorate in East-West psychology and is a physical therapist. Judith is president of the California Yoga Teachers Association, and serves on the advisory boards of Yoga Journal and the Yoga Research and Education Center. Author of six books: A Year of Living Your Yoga, Yoga Abs, Yoga for Pregnancy, 30 Essential Yoga Poses, Living Your Yoga, and Relax and Renew, she studied with B. K. S. Iyengar in India and the United States. She teaches ongoing yoga classes, and trains yoga teachers in kinesiology, yoga therapeutics, and the Yoga Sutra in the San Francisco Bay Area.
David Swenson began practicing yoga at the age of 13 in 1969 with his older brother, Doug, as his first teacher. David was introduced to Ashtanga in 1973 by David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff and later traveled to India to learn the full Ashtanga system from K. Pattabhi Jois. Recognized today as one of the world’s foremost practitioners and instructors of Ashtanga Yoga, David has produced videos and audiotapes and written the popular book Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual. He has released five new DVDs, three CDs, and a series of laminated practice cards.
Ana Forrest, RYT500, is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in yoga and emotional healing. Born crippled, she was compelled by her own life trauma and experiences to create Forrest Yoga®. After studying many yoga styles and healing modalities, most importantly Native American medicine and ceremony, her focus has become the sacred exploration of truth, healing, and the “Great Mystery.” She is a contributing expert to Yoga Journal and other national publications. Ana is on the board of advisors for the Foundation for Athletic Research and Education, an instructor for continuing education at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic, and received the Los Angeles Mayoral Commendation for her outstanding teaching and healing work in the community.
Otto Cedeño was born in Quayaquil, Ecuador and came to the United States at the age of four, accompanied by his parents and his five older siblings. Otto considers New York his home, and he is the quintessential New Yorker, having lived in 3 of the 5 boroughs: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Corona/Fresh Meadows, Queens and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. In 2000, Otto was introduced to Bikram yoga by John Golterman, owner of the Bikram studio in Chelsea. He fell in love with the practice and immediately took a break from his acting career to go through Bikram Yoga teacher training. Otto is the Director and lead teacher of Bikram Yoga Union Square.
Goddess SoFree lives in New York City and began practicing yoga at age 65. She attends two classes a day of Bikram Yoga and has an incredible spirit.
Ravi Singh & Ana Brett
With 40 years combined teaching experience, internationally celebrated yoga Teachers, Ana Brett & Ravi Singh, remain fresh in their quest to keep innovating—with new methods, approaches, depth and insight. These modern masters are known for their ability in helping students make consistent and dramatic breakthroughs in their lives. They have authored many DVD’s and books and trained over 300 practicing Kundalini Yoga Teachers.
Sharath Rangaswamy was born on September 29, 1971 in Mysore, South India to Saraswathi Rangaswamy, daughter of Ashtanga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Growing up in a house full of yogis, Sharath learned his first asanas at age 7 and experimented with postures from the primary and intermediate series until he turned 14. Although he spent the next three years focused on his scholastic education, earning a diploma in electronics, Sharath knew deep down that he would one day follow the asthanga path carved by his legendary grandfather. Sharath is Pattabhi Jois’s only student who has mastered all five series of the Ashtanga yoga system, and is currently studying several asanas in the sixth and final series. He resides in Mysore with his wife Shruthi and daughter, Shraddha and serves as the Assistant Director of the Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute (AYRI) where he continues to assist his grandfather.
Chotta Maharaja is a wise and very old guru who spends part of his time at his ashram in Vrindavan, India, where the walls are painted with his beautiful depictions of Krishna.
Mukhiyani is a lovely saint who lives in a beautiful ashram in a remote village in Norther India. Her cooking is divine.
Deva Das spends a part of each year at his Guru’s ashram in Vrindavan, India where he offers wisdom on Bhakti Yoga and his Guru’s teachings.
Shastri is a renowned astronomer who lives in Gokul, India.
Guru Datt is a long-time disciple of Neem Karoli Baba. www.neemkarolibaba.com