Intermediate Junior III
Naghmeh began studying yoga in 1999 with James Murphy and Kevin Gardiner. She continues to study and apprentice with James, her mentor and teacher.
She has been blessed to study with Geetaji Iyengar on several occasions at conventions worldwide, and returns to RIMYI regularly to study with the Iyengar family.
Naghmeh has taught since 2002, having completed the teacher training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Greater New York, led by senior teachers Mary Dunn and James Murphy. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature where her focus of study was the epic form, a passion that continues to be fulfilled by the study of yoga, through its sources, the sacred texts, and its practice, that is rooted in tradition.
Prior to yoga she practiced Mkeka-do karate, a Japanese martial art form. She found its discipline similar to yoga where involvement is total.
Learning to practice all limbs of yoga provides her with clarifications and questions that inform living life on a daily basis with integrity and neutrality, with love and acceptance towards the self and towards all other beings.
She plays piano or paints on a whim. She also takes ample time to be a good friend to her animal companions.
Kevin Allen has studied Iyengar Yoga since 2006. He first started practicing on his own as a New Year’s resolution, but after a few months, decided to seek formal instruction. That instruction came from fellow institute faculty member Jeff Logan and Association Executive Director Emeritus Ann McDermott-Kave.
Like many new students, Kevin began practicing yoga not really believing in or understanding the lessons that a dedicated student can use on and off the mat. Continued practice not only made him a believer, but made Kevin want to help others discover what they could learn from yoga.
Every year, Kevin attends a teacher training workshop in Pennsylvania taught by Dean & Rebecca Lerner. In the summer, Kevin volunteers as a yoga teacher at summer camp on Long Island. In 2009, he attended the inaugural Northeastern regional Iyengar yoga conference in Providence, RI.
As a teacher, Kevin helps students gain insight into poses with crisp demonstrations, clear instructions, and straightforward corrections.
Kevin also works as a television news producer. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College.
Intermediate Junior III
Lara Brunn has studied yoga since 1986 and taught Iyengar Yoga since 1994. She studied in India once with the Iyengars. Her primary teacher was Mary Dunn.
Lara first encountered Light on Yoga at the age of 12. She was enthralled, and began practicing yoga within the year. At university she practiced with a Shingon Buddhist group, combining Chinese Yoga, seated meditation, and martial arts. When her teacher went away, Lara filled in. From that first class she knew she wanted to teach yoga. After receiving a bachelor of science degree from the University of East Anglia, in England, Lara moved to Brooklyn, where she founded the HipJoint Yoga Studio.
Lara worked in Brooklyn as an organizer with the Council on the Environment of New York City, where she helped hundreds of high school and intermediate school students to organize and participate in environmental improvement projects in their neighborhoods, schools, and homes. Through yoga, she believes, transformation is more tangible and personal. “As dedicated practitioners of yoga we are empowered on a very visceral level to make positive and lasting changes in all aspects of our lives.”
Lara also has room in her life to perform as a flamenco guitarist with the Brunn Project, a flamenco sextet.
Lara has an energetic presence and beautiful demonstrations, and she teaches classes that are dynamic and challenging. She serves on the Institute’s Executive Council.
Intermediate Junior III
Carolyn has practiced yoga since 1988. She was introduced to both yoga and the Buddhist dharma while living in Thailand serving in the Peace Corps, 1987-89. On her way home from Thailand, Carolyn traveled to India to learn more about the land in which both Buddhism and yoga originated. She continues to return to India to study both spiritual paths, which she feels complement each other. Carolyn regularly goes to Pune to study with the Iyengar family.
Mary Dunn was Carolyn’s primary teacher in the States. Carolyn continues to study with Patricia Walden and Gabriella Giubilaro.
Carolyn strives to teach in a way that the students feel they are doing to learn and not doing to do. She feels the Iyengar method, thanks to the brilliance of BKS Iyengar, is an amazing method to learn yoga. “We spend time with our teachers to learn. But ultimately we must learn from our practice.”
Intermediate Junior I
All human beings ultimately belong to the same family, with the capacity for fulfillment, self-realization, and liberation. Negative states and emotions are not intrinsic to the mind, which is why they can be overcome when the right conditions, such as yogic practices, are met.
Yoga can be aimed at the physical, intellectual, or intuitive aspects of human experience. Meaningful practice is a call to make hallowed use of the body, speech, and mind in order to eliminate the causes of problems, such as pride, aversion, bias, attachment, or unawareness, and to cultivate the causes of freedom, peace, and happiness.
Marcela has been a student of yoga since the 1970s, a yoga teacher since the 80s, and a Tibetan Buddhist nun since the 2000s. She’s profoundly grateful to each and all her teachers, and aspires to live by their example.
Intermediate Senior II
Bobby’s study of Iyengar Yoga began in 1972 in the UK—as did a 20-year career in animation. She was certified to teach by B.K.S. Iyengar in 1977, and has made subsequent trips to Pune every two years ever since. She considers herself blessed to have studied directly with B.K.S. Iyengar. “The profound and cathartic effect of the intensive work I’ve done with him remains with me to this day.”
At the Institute Bobby teaches levels II, as well as restorative, a women’s class, plus a class for patients and survivors of breast cancer. She also teaches workshops throughout the US, Europe and Asia (most recently in China). She contributes to the blog, www.franklipman.com.
For more information on Bobby’s blog and her teaching schedule check her website: bobbyclennell.com
Bobby’s publications include three yoga manuals—The Iyengar Yoga Glossary, Props and Ailments, and A Cosmic Body Map. She is also the author and illustrator of The Women’s Yoga Book: Asana and Pranayama for All Phases of The Menstrual Cycle and a children’s book, Watch Me do Yoga. Her contributions to Yoga Samachar include “Letter from Pune” (2008) and “Art and Yoga” (2009).
Her animated film, Yoga Yantra, which is generated from filmed footage of B.K.S. Iyengar, can be viewed here or on YouTube.
Bobby offers special thanks to Geeta Iyengar, who inspired and informed her work with women; and to Prashant Iyengar, whose knowledge of yoga and its philosophy, history, and culture has always inspired her. She also remains grateful to the late Mary Dunn for her teaching and her selfless work in establishing the New York Institute.
Of her own teaching Bobby says, “I try to help students restore the balance between the constant pull of the external world and their own, oftentimes neglected, individual heart.”
Intermediate Senior III
Lindsey Clennell has studied yoga since 1970 and was awarded a senior teacher qualification by B.K.S. Iyengar in 1977. He has travelled to India 19 times to attend further teacher training, intensives, and general classes with B.K.S. Iyengar—his primary teacher—and the Iyengar family.
Originally a medical student in England, he changed course and became a documentary filmmaker and writer, producing and directing more than 100 music videos, concert series, and documentaries, with production companies in London, New York, and Los Angeles. Among his subjects were Muhammad Ali and Mikhail Gorbachev, and he was nominated for an award for Outstanding Contribution to British Cinema by the British Film Academy.
Reflecting on one of his last film projects—which led to the release of 30 American hostages before the first Gulf War—Lindsey refers to a favorite quote from Sri Aurobindo: “All life is yoga.” Although having studied Vivekananda and Aurobindo’s writing, Lindsey points out that understanding the yoga concepts that those great men express was unobtainable for him without the realism and clarity of Iyengar’s teaching.
Since 1991, teaching full time, Lindsey has focused solely on Iyengar Yoga and its physical and psychological healing effects. A student of philosophy, Lindsey imparts the in-depth teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar’s presentation of Patanjali’s Astanga Yoga through the practice of asana and Pranayama.
Lindsey’s most recently completed film, Addiction, Recovery and Yoga, free on the Internet, is a 90 minute feature documentary on how people have used yoga as part of their journey in recovery programs from serious addiction. He is currently working with Jake Clennell on the documentary, Sadhaka: The Yoga of BKS Iyengar.
“Iyengar Yoga enables students to envision new possibilities,” he says. “It gives them a process for discovery and evolution.” He advises new students to be realistic and to “start with a short but regular practice.”
Intermediate Junior I
Nikki Costello was introduced to yoga asana during her studies at New York University as part of the conservatory curriculum for actors, which included yoga, the Alexander Technique, Jacques Lecoq Mask training and extensive vocal studies – all primary modalities for developing self- awareness. After graduation, while working as a teacher’s assistant at the Stella Adler Conservatory of Acting, she began teaching yoga to actors.
Light on Yoga was Nikki’s introduction to B.K.S Iyengar, and this text served as a guide, support and inspiration in her personal practice. In 1997, she began Iyengar Yoga classes with Kevin Gardiner whose passion, inquisitiveness and elegance made the pages of the book come alive. Ten years later she completed Teacher Training at the Iyengar Institute of New York with Senior Teachers Mary Dunn and James Murphy, who also served as her mentors through certification.
Encouraging her to take her first trip to Pune to study with the Iyengar Family, Nikki remembers, “Mary spoke about the experience as if she knew a secret that you could only discover on your own. When I observed Mary as she taught, I always felt she had one impeccable eye focused on us, while the other eye gazed deep inside to the heart of yoga, where she wanted us all to look.
“That image has remained with me always, and serves as a touchstone for me, as both student and teacher of yoga,” she says.
Nikki currently serves on the association’s Brooklyn Outreach Committee, has participated in past Yogathon efforts, and is compiling research on Iyengar Yoga for young people for IYNAUS, the national Iyengar Yoga association.
Nikki is a contributor at Yoga Journal, writing the magazine’s “Basics” column for 2013-2014.
Intermediate Junior I
Jeanne-Marie was introduced to Iyengar Yoga in 1983 through Light on Yoga, studied with Mary Dunn for many years, and with the Iyengar family a number of times in India. She wrote a book, Yoga for Menstruation, in which she illustrated and elaborated Geeta Iyengar’s teachings on women’s yoga. She also is a certified Yoga for Scoliosis teacher. In addition she is a student of Ayurveda with the California College of Ayurveda. Jeanne-Marie lived and traveled between New York and the Caribbean for many years, running yoga studios in both places, and holding retreats in the Caribbean, Canada, the United States, and Japan.
Jeanne-Marie is also a painter and considers the evolution of yoga and process of creating to be reflections of the soul, relating the two in her teaching and guiding her students in asana and pranayama to identify with what makes them original creators of their being.
“Any action done with beauty and purity, and in complete harmony of body, mind, and soul, is art. In this way art elevates the artist. As yoga fulfills the essential need of art, it is an art.” —B.K.S. Iyengar
Intermediate Junior III
Matt began the practice of Iyengar Yoga in 1994 while a student at the Juilliard School of Music in New York City, studying primarily with Mary Dunn. He practiced seriously while working as a double bassist around the United States, Europe and Asia. Matt began teaching Yoga in 1999, originally to fellow members of the touring company of a Broadway show. During a layoff from this tour, he made his first trip to India to study with the Iyengar family. On returning to New York, he continued to teach Yoga while also working as a musician, including stints performing and touring with the New York Philharmonic and various chamber ensembles.
After some time, Matt realized he couldn’t do justice to both a career in music and his growing commitment to the practice and teaching of Yoga, and he chose to dedicate himself full time to teaching. He continued to study with Mary and apprenticed with her until her death in 2008. Since then, he has continued to study with senior teachers in the United States. Since 1999 he has traveled regularly to India to study with the Iyengars, most recently in 2013.
For Matt, Yoga is an exploration of what it is to be alive, to be human. There is an affinity between the practice of Yoga and the study of music, or any art. As we work with the body, breath and mind, there is a process of refinement, of relaxation of effort, of reflection, and its expression is the fullness and freedom of one’s embodiment. In clarifying and quieting our mind, we become more attuned to ourselves and naturally experience our fundamental connection with others.
Matt is also a practitioner of Buddhism, and has engaged in formal training in the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism since 2000. Matt is married to Institute faculty member Michelle LaRue; their daughter Elena was born in 2011.
Intermediate Junior 1
Judi has studied Iyengar Yoga since 2000, and began teaching in 2003. Her primary teachers are the late Mary Dunn, and James Murphy, Carrie Owerko and Patricia Walden. She has studied with B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar during their teaching trips to the U.S.
Judi was formerly a corporate attorney. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. Judi serendipitously discovered Iyengar Yoga while seeking a tool to reduce stress and to find a balance between the demands of raising her two boys and her legal career. She was immediately drawn to the intelligence of the method, as well as its clarity, precision and layer upon layer of possibility for self-exploration and transformation.
Judi lives in northern Westchester with her husband and puppy, Peaches. In addition to the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, she teaches workshops, group classes and privately in Westchester. She currently serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York and is the Chair of its Association Teachers Outreach Committee.
Judi is dedicated to the principle that yoga should be accessible to and safe for “every body.” She describes her teaching style as clear, dynamic, challenging and joyful. She strives to live and teach the principles expressed in Sutra 1.33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, as translated by B.K.S. Iyengar: “Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.”
Anna Golfinopoulos has practiced yoga since 1975 and has taught since 1979. She has studied in India twice with the Iyengar family. Her primary teacher was Mary Dunn.
Clear communication is the fundamental component which Anna attempts to transmit in her teaching, which she describes as “simple and exacting: to sharpen the student’s perception, to emphasize awareness as the precursor to action, and to encourage acceptance of what is in order to meet new challenges.” She advises potential students to “be attentive” and “follow instructions.” She believes that interest is the most important quality a student can bring to the study of yoga. “At the very least, curiosity, attentiveness, then willingness.” The key to further progress? “Practice. It’s that simple.” Her greatest joy as a teacher comes when a student has a “realization,” demonstrating new understanding.
For Anna, the unique character of the Iyengar method is its “completeness—the clarity of the teaching.” Asked how yoga has changed her life, Anna says, ”It gave me a sense of well-being that was inexplicable. And it isn’t just physical; it’s mental well-being, too.”
Debby Green has been practicing Iyengar Yoga since 1996. She came to yoga after 30 years of ballet and 20 years as a competitive ballroom dancer, seeking a different way to be in the body.
“When I first encountered Iyengar Yoga, I recognized how profound it is, but I did not yet realize how completely it would transform me,” she says. “This is Mr. Iyengar’s genius; I see transformation, in many forms, in every student.”
In 2007, Debby completed Teacher Training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York with Senior Teachers Mary Dunn and James Murphy. She studied with the Iyengar Family in Pune, India, in 2010.
Since 2003, Debby has also practiced Rolfing Structural Integration, a form of bodywork based on the idea of fascial connection forming structure. This study deeply informs her understanding in yoga practice and teaching, and vice versa. It describes another way to speak about the kosas, the sheaths of the body in yoga philosophy.
Debby feels deeply grateful to all her teachers, beginning with Margaret Craske, her ballet teacher from the age of six, up to B.K.S. Iyengar. “All of my teachers’ voices are with me each time I teach,” she says.
A favorite epigram, taken from E. M. Forster’s Howard’s End, is “only connect”.
Intermediate Junior I
Eve was introduced to Iyengar yoga in 1992 while studying at the British American Drama Academy in London, when an Iyengar Yoga teacher stepped in to sub a class. Grateful for the relief from chronic back pain, Eve grew to appreciate the insight yoga offers into links between physical, mental and emotional patterns and its deep value as a tool for developing the mind.
While working as an actor and producer, Eve began teaching classes at theater companies and studios in New York City, and founded The Nerve of Expression, a community project offering yoga to artists with multiple sclerosis.
In 1994, she began studying with Kevin Gardiner and Senior teacher Mary Dunn. Ten years later, she completed Teacher Training at the Iyengar Institute of New York, and continues her studies with Senior Teacher James Murphy and Lara Warren. Eve has made three extended trips to India to study with the Iyengar Family in Pune.
Eve strives to communicate the possibility of being effortful without aggression, of embodying the depth of ourselves without strain. She views the practice of yoga as an opportunity to explore the nature of life and what it is to be a human being; to see ourselves truthfully, discover what is important to us, and weave that insight into the way we live our lives.
Judith Isaacs has been studying yoga since 1988 and teaching since 1994. She has studied in India with the Iyengar family. Mary Dunn was her primary teacher.
Since 1972, Judith has been a teacher of the Alexander Technique, a gentle, hands-on approach to postural alignment and unlearning patterns of tension. She practices Authentic Movement, a contemplative process in which one learns to move from the source.
Judith is also a painter and collagist.
She describes her teaching style as “earthy, challenging, and compassionate.” Her own Iyengar Yoga practice helped her overcome depression. “After some years of practice, it was no longer an issue for me. I owe this to the method’s ability to effect profound changes in the mind and body.”
She offers this advice to new students: “Stick with a teacher you connect with.” From that commitment comes “a deep trust in the teacher and faith in the learning process itself” that creates a foundation on which to develop a solid practice.
Richard Jonas began practicing Iyengar Yoga in 1990 and teaching it in 2000. He has studied with the Iyengar family in India five times. His primary teachers are Brooke Myers and James Murphy, and he studied for many years with Mary Dunn.
“Yoga helped me work my way through a disabling back injury,” he says, “while giving me emotional balance and a spiritual grounding I never had before. I teach to share with others what was given to me. The Iyengar method spoke to me from my first class. The way it tied together body, mind, and spirit made it clear this would be a worthwhile lifetime pursuit.”
A full-term member of the boards of directors of both the regional (IYA of GNY) and national (IYNAUS) Iyengar Yoga associations, Richard was Creative Director of Yoga Samachar, supervising its development into a full-color professional journal of yoga for the national community. He also wrote the website iynaus.org, including materials for Iyengar Yoga teachers to use in promoting their classes. His extensive writing on yoga for Yoga Samachar and Yoga Rahasya reflects his prior experience in advertising (writing TV commercials) and journalism (as a film and music reviewer, reporter, and editor).
Richard co-founded Children of Nowhere, which has raised more than $100,000 to fund health care for children with AIDS in Romania. Richard has taught yoga to people living with AIDS and to incarcerated teenagers at Rikers Island. His teaching style is persistent, patient, and motivating.
He advises new students: “Listen to your teacher, listen to your body. Don’t compare yourself to others, compare yourself to yourself. Watch for progress, it will come—and the watching hones your perceptions. Work with what you understand, and trust that in time your understanding will be enlarged.”
Intermediate Junior III
Genny Kapuler has studied yoga since 1976 and has been teaching since 1980. She has studied three times in India with the Iyengar family. Her primary teacher here was Mary Dunn.
Before the birth of her child, and before she began teaching yoga, Genny performed as a modern dancer; for many years she had her own company. She is also trained as an Alexander Technique teacher and is a practitioner of Body-Mind Centering.
In addition to her yoga training, Genny has studied anatomy extensively. She applies this knowledge to her understanding and teaching of yoga, directing her students toward a deeper awareness in asana and Pranayama through precision of alignment. Genny also uses the poetics of language to guide her students, and to create “a mind-state in the room that is gentle and focused.”
Through Iyengar Yoga, she says, students attain ever more precise alignment of the skeletal-muscular, organ, and nervous systems. Working towards harmony of body, mind, and spirit, they are able to move out into the world with more grace.
Intermediate Junior II
Michelle has practiced Iyengar Yoga since 1994 and has been teaching since 2001. She made her first of several visits to Pune to study with the Iyengar family in 2005. She has studied primarily with the late Mary Dunn and with Judy Brick Freedman.
Michelle began ballet training at the age of eight and performed professionally as a modern dancer for twelve years in San Francisco and New York.
Her teaching is strong and precise. She blends physically demanding asana work with clear verbal instruction. Her aim is to lead her students while allowing them to stay connected to their own experience.
She says: “Come to class with curiosity and enthusiasm. Be patient—explore the process. The results will come in their own time.”
Intermediate Junior I
Jeff began his practice of yoga in 1982 with Mary Dunn as his mentor, and now studies with Brooke Myers as his primary teacher. He has been teaching since 1992, and has studied with the Iyengars in Pune, India.
Jeff graduated from the University of Kansas in 1969 with a BA in psychology and was a vice president of a major regional Long Island bank before finding Iyengar Yoga. He founded his own yoga studio on Long Island in 2002.
Jeff has been interviewed frequently on the subject of yoga by Newsday and has contributed yoga articles to magazines such as Runner’s World, AARP and Yoga Journal. He has authored a chapter in a book on yoga and its modern day teaching that is being published under the auspices of the Philosophy Department of SUNY Buffalo.
A grandfather five times over, Jeff is known for his in-depth, yet light-hearted approach to teaching. His advice to students: “Be in Tadasana.”
Intermediate Junior I
Hugh has studied Iyengar Yoga since 1991 and began teaching in 1997. He has traveled to the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India for two extended stays in order to study with the Iyengar family. He began his studies with Mary Dunn and Manouso Manos. Since 2001, he has traveled regularly to California to study with Donald Moyer, the director of the Yoga Room in Berkeley.
His favorite quote about yoga is:
I do not think that I know It well and yet I know that it is not unknown to me. He of us who knows It, knows That; he knows that It is not unknown to him.
He by whom It is not thought out, has the thought of It; he by whom It is thought out, knows It not. It is unknown to those who discern of It; by those who seek not to discern of It, It is discerned.—Kena Upanishad, Section 2.2, 2.3, translated by Sri Aurobindo.
Hugh offers this advice to students: “Examine why you are doing yoga; stay with it and don’t give up. Iyengar Yoga makes the practice of yoga experiential—physically, emotionally, and mentally.” Hugh describes his teaching style as patient, exacting, and humorous. “Do no harm. I aim to observe the student and teach according to what I see.”
Intermediate Junior III
Tori Milner began studying Iyengar Yoga in 1996 and teaching in 2001. She has trained in India twice with the Iyengar family. Her primary teachers are the late Mary Dunn and Robin Janis.
Tori was formerly an account executive for graphic-design and public-relations agencies. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and women and gender studies from Sweet Briar College in Virginia.
In her teaching, she strives to be clear, challenging, insightful, and motivating, and to help students create greater awareness and joy in their own lives. “Having the privilege of watching students progress is very rewarding,” she says. “Also rewarding is helping students to cultivate perseverance and conquer fear and doubt.”
She advises new students to have fun. “Learn to take the practice of yoga seriously—without taking yourself too seriously,” she says, a challenge with which she is familiar. She remembers being a raw beginner herself. “I saw a friend’s 60-something year-old mother do a headstand at a party and was inspired to try yoga. It happened to be Iyengar Yoga, and I was drawn in from the beginning of my studies—amazed that I could indeed lift my kneecaps and explore strength and flexibility that I had no idea existed within my own body or mind.”
Tzahi discovered yoga early in his acting career, between rehearsals. When a friend urged him to take an Iyengar Yoga class, he was struck by its effects on his body and mind. “It was a perfect fit,” he remembers.
After completing the two-year Teacher Training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, Tzahi became a Certified Teacher in 2012.
He travelled to Pune in July 2012 to study with the Iyengar Family at R.I.M.Y.I.
His primary teachers have included Senior Teachers Mary Dunn, James Murphy and Carrie Owerko.
Originally from Israel, Tzahi is renowned for his clarity of instruction and humor. He loves sharing yoga and observing as students make their own discoveries about it. “Practice gives us a wonderful opportunity to befriend ourselves from the skin inwards to our deepest levels,” he says, “to connect to our own vitality in a way that is positive (and fun!)”
Intermediate Senior II
James Murphy began practicing yoga in 1988 and has taught since 1990. He has made ten extended trips to India to study with B.K.S. Iyengar and Prashant and Geeta Iyengar. James began his study of Iyengar Yoga with Mary Dunn and Kevin Gardiner after a ten-year career with the Alwin Nikolais Dance Theater.
Describing his experiences in classes in India, James says, “Besides gaining invaluable insights into the physical aspects of yoga, I observed how Mr. Iyengar works on a psychological level to challenge students to go beyond their limits.”
At the Institute, James teaches a full range of classes, including a class for those living with HIV/AIDS. He also does mentoring and training in the Institute’s teacher training program. Currently the director of the Iyengar Yoga Association of Greater New York, James continues his leadership role in working to create evolving programs and an active interchange of teachers and practitioners in our four-state area.
In addition to his study of yoga, James is keenly interested in people and cultures around the world. Providing yoga study and experiences in people-to-people understanding, James leads groups to such fascinating places as Cambodia, Bali, and Turkey through Yoga Out There.
A yoga practitioner of unusual integration and ability, James is featured in the Yoga Journal book, Yoga, has appeared in the Yoga Journal calendar, and has been interviewed for numerous articles in national magazines.
Through rhythm and sequencing, James creates an experience of integration in his classes that is both challenging and sensitive to the subtler aspects of the practice.
Intermediate Junior III
Brooke Myers has studied yoga since 1973 and taught Iyengar Yoga since 1987. She has trained many times in India with the Iyengar family. Her primary teachers are Geeta Iyengar and the late Mary Dunn.
Brooke’s social conscience informs her teaching. “Yoga should be for everyone,” she says. “We have to make a real effort to go where the need is.” Her outreach efforts have taken her to psychiatric hospitals and a drug rehabilitation center. She co-taught the Institute’s HIV/AIDS class for many years. Brooke has taught special classes for knee and back problems, depression, and menopause.
The spiritual aspect of Iyengar Yoga inspires her teaching style, which is simple, reverent, and aspiring. “To motivate people, you have to first give them the experience. I can’t talk to them about their breath or their inner self. I have to show them that if they learn to come back into their heels and lift their chest, they won’t feel so depressed. I have to find physical ways to show them spiritual and emotional states.”
Brooke’s previous career was in radical experimental dance and theater. Along with political causes, she is active in animal rescue.
“I’m still looking for ways to use yoga to bridge the gulf between all kinds of people,” she says. “It should be possible—one of the meanings of yoga is union.”
Intermediate Senior I
Carrie Owerko has studied yoga since 1991, taught Iyengar Yoga since 1996, and studied five times for extended periods with the Iyengar family in India. Her primary teachers are Patricia Walden and the late Mary Dunn.
Spectators at a recent “yogathon” saw Carrie express her devotion to B.K.S. Iyengar and the Institute as she performed 230 repetitions of Viparita Chakrasana—continuous flowing backbends. She performed in and was co-choreographer of the yoga demonstration given in 2005 in conjunction with Guruji’s appearances in New York and at the Yoga Journal Conference in Colorado.
“Yoga is also an art form,” she says. “To share it with others is inspiring and fulfilling.”
Carrie earned a Certified Movement Analyst degree from the Laban Institute after in-depth study of the human body and its means of expression. “That is the lens I use to analyze everything else.” She has performed professionally in theater and dance, and taught movement and theater to groups, including young children and incarcerated women.
The philosophy of yoga is central to Carrie’s teaching and practice. Without that “we’re just doing something technical with the body. Yoga in the larger context is what transforms us, cultivating that wholeness that is always within.”
Originally from Ahmedabad, in the state of Gujarat, India, Kavi began his personal yoga practice at 10 under his grandfather’s tutelage. Since 2002, drawn to the in-depth integration of science, art and philosophy in Iyengar Yoga, Kavi began studying and later teaching it.
A graduate of the Teacher Training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York, led by Senior Teachers Mary Dunn and James Murphy, Kavi continues his studies with Patricia Walden, Carrie Owerko, James Murphy and other senior teachers throughout the Iyengar Yoga world.
Kavi’s goal is to teach with precision in technique, timing and the sequencing of the yoga asanas. He aims to challenge students, to bring a sense of fun to his classes, and to explore not just the physical aspects of yoga, but also its psychological and spiritual dimensions.
“Yoga makes the information available so that each individual can become empowered to be effective and efficient in his or her daily life,” he says.
Born and raised in a Vaisnava (Krsna Bhakti Yoga) family, Kavi grew up listening to and studying Vedic literature including the Upanishads, Srimad Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad Gita. He lived in Hare Krsna ashrams in India and the United States from 1978-2008. “One of my favorite hobbies is to study rich Bhakti literatures, especially of the masters and teachers from Vrndavana, India, for example Lord Caitanya, Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Mirabai and Surdas,” he says.
Sarah started studying Iyengar Yoga in 1992 with Brooke Myers and Kevin Gardiner. She went on to study with Senior Teacher Mary Dunn, who was her mentor through her Introductory level assessments. Mary Dunn and Senior Teacher James Murphy conducted Sarah’s Teacher Training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York.
She began teaching Iyengar Yoga in 1995.
The demands of Sarah’s 20-year career as a professional modern dancer led her to Iyengar Yoga. “The wholeness of the practice for both mind and body helped create balance and stability for me while in a physically demanding and stressful field,” she says.
Sarah holds a BFA in Dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She performed for over a decade with Tere O’Connor Dance and served as its rehearsal director until 2005.
She is the mother of a wonderful teenage daughter who has happily assisted in many of the association’s Yogathons over the years.
Sarah’s teaching style reflects her calm nature. Her years of experience in studying the body in action informs her classes with clarity and understanding.
She will make her first trip to India to study with the Iyengar Family at R.I.M.Y.I. in July 2014.
Lisa began practicing yoga in 1994. She started teaching in 2003, and teaching Iyengar Yoga in 2009.
Her love for the method was inspired by Senior Teacher Mary Dunn and her primary teacher, Senior Teacher James Murphy.
She made her first trip to India to study with the Iyengars in 2013.
Lisa’s background is in fine art. She holds a BFA degree in textile design. She worked in interior design and for luxury goldsmiths before yoga became a greater passion. Her connection to creativity and self-expression now reinforces her teaching style. She creates an environment for learning that is at once dynamic, challenging and focused.
Her daily life is enriched by her son and the role of motherhood.
The practice of Iyengar Yoga continually deepens, she finds, bringing greater confidence, happiness and meaning to life. Lisa cites a favorite quote of Mary Dunn’s: “I practice for the joy of setting aside the practical demands of life and learning more about peace and the art of being.”
Intermediate Junior I
Dmitri began practicing Iyengar Yoga in 1994. In 2003, he completed a two year teacher training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York and was initially certified to teach by IYNAUS in 2006.
His teacher is the late Mary Dunn, whom he assisted for several years. He regularly travels to India, every 2-3 years, to study with the Iyengar family.
Initially drawn to yoga for its physical benefits and for the relief of back pain, yoga’s ability to steady the mind sustained his interest. For Dmitri, Yoga happens when an asana becomes less of a series of discrete actions and more of a unified whole where the various parts are balanced and synchronized. His straightforward teaching style is challenging yet sensitive to those with physical injuries or limitations.
Dmitri also earned a Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory in 1997 and he enjoys finding parallels between his two pursuits. He approaches both with a balance between practice and a turning away from the familiar.
Intermediate Junior I
Susan Turis began practicing yoga in 1999 and teaching in 2001. Senior Teacher Mary Dunn was her first Iyengar Yoga teacher and became her mentor. Susan has been an assistant to Carrie Owerko since 2005 and currently studies and apprentices under Senior Teacher James Murphy and Brooke Meyers in the Specific Needs classes at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York. The pinnacle of her study comes during extended visits to Pune, India where classes are led by B.K.S. Iyengar and Geeta, Prashant and Abhijata Iyengar.
Susan was born in Brooklyn, where she lives with her husband. She earned a degree in psychology from City University of New York, Brooklyn College. While raising three children, she co-founded businesses in real estate and mortgage and insurance brokerage, in which she holds licenses.
The events of 9/11 brought Susan to study with Mary Dunn. “The words Mary spoke brought more than an understanding of how to do a pose,” she remembers. The depth of meaning had a profound effect on Susan’s life path and Mary’s inspiration continues to influence Susan’s commitment to Iyengar Yoga. An enthusiastic student of Sanskrit and of yoga philosophy, including the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita, she attends frequent workshops with Senior Teachers including Patricia Walden, Dean and Rebecca Lerner, Joan White and Carrie Owerko. This richness of study brings her closer to the philosophy and language of yoga.
Susan is a dedicated teacher whose love of the subject and enthusiasm allows students of all abilities and levels to have a safe and complete experience in class. Her attentive instruction, thoughtful rhythm and skillful sequencing of poses help students progress over time and become aware of the more subtle aspects of yoga practice.
Intermediate Junior II
Lucienne has always had an avid interest in the body and how it functions—as a tool for artistic expression in dance, as a tool for healing through bodywork, and as a tool to sharpen the mind as a yoga practitioner.
She has been a student of Iyengar Yoga—which she began in Amsterdam while studying for her BFA at the School for New Dance—for more than 20 years. Once in New York City, she graduated from the teacher training at the Iyengar institute under the guidance of Mary Dunn and James Murphy.
In November 1999, she founded Studio Spine (studiospine.com) to offer a home to the teaching of Iyengar Yoga. The development of the studio has been central to the progression of Lucienne’s personal practice and teaching. Every year she visits France to study with Faeq Biria, and has traveled to Pune yearly since 2006 to remain close to the source.
Lucienne has also been a certified Hellerwork/Structural Integration practitioner since 2004. Working with fascial alignment as a structural principle has given her a deeper understanding about imbalances in movement patterns caused by any form of stress.
As a teacher, Lucienne will always encourage her students to practice to their fullest potential, and believes that personal commitment is key to a successful yoga practice.
Adam currently teaches at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York and PURE Yoga studios in New York City. In January 2009, Adam concluded a month of study with the Iyengars at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune, India.
Adam found Iyengar Yoga while searching for rehabilitation after being struck by a car while cycling in 1998. He has been practicing ever since. Initially using yoga to regain strength after the accident, he found that yoga not only gave him the ability to strengthen his body, but also laid out the framework to strengthen his mind.
Adam teaches the Iyengar method through his own experience, with clear and mindful instruction. Helping his students navigate through the body with the application of the mind, at the pace which the breath provides, allows them to have an experience that is full and profound. He incorporates yogic philosophy into his teaching in order to give his students the opportunity to understand that yoga is not just a practice that takes place on the surface in class, but an opportunity to develop an internal awareness that can truly transform their lives.
Coretta Washburn has studied yoga since 1989 and taught since 2002. Her main teachers are Carrie Owerko, Marcela Clavijo and Patricia Walden. Coretta graduated from the Teaching Training program of the Iyengar Institute of New York in 2004 after studies with mentors and Senior Teachers Mary Dunn, James Murphy and Bobby Clennell.
Coretta studied acting in the graduate school of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She loves to travel and has lived and worked in Prague, Australia and London. She also has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and history from Goddard College in Vermont.
Coretta believes yoga is for everyone. She brings to her teaching attention to detail and a strong focus that links clear intentions to the organs of action. Devoted to the idea of a “long, uninterrupted, alert practice” of yoga to build the foundations of a happy and healthy life, she seeks to help the student find liberation through Iyengar Yoga.
“We have to harmonize our lives. The circumstances of life are there for our evolution, not for our destruction. I am a firm believer that through Iyengar Yoga and ‘gentle’ discipline, we can achieve true freedom.”