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English Instructors

Acharya Harilalji

Acharya Harilalji completed his Yoga Teachers' training course and Advanced Yoga Teachers' Training course at Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam, Kerala, attaining the title Yoga-Acharya. Afterwards he lived and taught yoga in Sivananda Ashram both in Kerala and the Himalayas for 1 1/2 years. Furthermore he completed a seven months full-time diploma course/ practice in yoga therapy (Yoga Therapy Instructors Course) at Prasanthi kutir, Bangalore with 'A' grade. In his teaching he easily recognizes both weak and strong areas in his students physicality and accordingly can suggest different asanas or variations depending on the individual. He is also the tutor in 'Nagelil' Ayurveda Medical College in Idukki district, Kerala and focusing on bringing the different aspects of yoga together in his teaching.


Anantharavi Thillainathan

Anantharavi Thillainathan - ORGANIZATION: Yoga Arogya Kendra - Affiliated with International Yoga Federation (World Wide Yoga Governing Body).

Aanantharavi Thillainathan (M.D.Acu. /E.R.Y.T. / I.Y.R.T. / D.Y.T.) from Yoga Arogya Kendra, is an inspiring yoga master, having grown up with yoga and Ayurveda as a part of his family tradition. At the age of 10 he got his first yoga training in Hatha Yoga from his grandfather. He has mastered advanced asanas and has deep knowledge of the anatomical effects of yoga. He is an instructor for yoga and Ayurvedic Marma Massage, has taught yoga at various institutions, and is the director of Yoga Arogya Kendra in Sri Lanka.

He guides students to learn and work into poses safely, with adjustments given as needed according to their abilities and the time needed to progress with their strengths and weaknesses. He offers classes tailored for different needs: developing more flexibility and mobility for stiff bodies; meditation for those under stress; or encouraging stretching for those training with weights.

He has been teaching Patanjali, Hatha and Kriya yoga since 1993 to corporations and thousands of individuals in Sri Lanka . His main focus while teaching is to get in touch with the deeper aspect of one’s self, “ones spirit”, not just to do exercises. His style of teaching incorporates sounds and vibrations, preparation exercises, movement, and breathing techniques. His broad experience and direct personality enables him to meet people´s needs and show them where they need to go for optimal growth.


Ana Luisa Mendonca

Ana Luisa Mendonca - Ana Luisa is a famous Portuguese dancer. She has trained in classic and modern dance and ballet at the "Royal Acadamy of Dance" with additional studies of different dance styles in Portugal, London and New York.
Ana Luisa is also a yoga teacher. For many years she has successfully managed her own dance and yoga school in Portugal.


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Chandra Cohen

Chandra Cohen - Chandra has practiced yoga intensely for many years; he has also studied with both Swami Vishnu-devananda and Swami Dayananda. His knowledge of the scriptures is extensive. He has taught Indian philosophy at Hunter College in New York City. Chandra has a humorous, yet clear way to lead you to your inner truth.


Chitra Sukhu

Chitra Sukhu - Chitra grew up in the many Sivananda Ashrams. Her parents, Yogi Hari and Leela Mata, joined the Sivananda Yoga Organization when she was three years old. Since then Chitra has practiced yoga and meditation daily. She is an experienced yoga teacher, registered with the Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 500 level, and has a Diploma in Ayurvedic Sciences from Kerala Ayurveda. She is also an accomplished Indian classical dancer in the ancient style of Bharata Natyam.

Chitra has “birthed” the organization, New Age Kids, Inc. – helping children to establish a sense of self from an early age. She has twelve guided meditation CD’s to her name; some have been used in school curriculums. She has authored an acclaimed children’s book, “Elven Rhyme – Journey through Time”, as well as the playwright “To My Amazement.”


Deepak Sahay is a disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. He is a Chemical Engineer by profession, and worked both in corporate sector and later in his own business. He has an insightful knowledge of Hinduism, its philosophy and history. Other interests are Yoga, Tai-Chi Chuan, Homeopathty,literature.


Gauri Eckhart

Gauri Eckhardt - Gauri is a massage therapist, experienced yoga teacher, and director of the Sananda Yoga Center in Madrid. She has studied many yoga systems, including Sivananda, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Bikram, as well as other systems of physical exercise (Feldenkrais, Pilates, Alexander technique). Her knowledge of human anatomy is extensive. Her teaching style is clear and exact, yet light-hearted. She challenges  students; after her lessons your body will feel as though you have been re-born!


James Swartz

James Swartz - James Swartz is one of the very few authentic Vedanta teachers in the world today. He studied in the late 1960's and early 1970's under the guidance of Swami Chinmayananda, one of India’s most respected sages. Since then James has taught Vedanta to thousands of students the world over. His ability to teach authentic Vedanta in plain modern English and to present the teaching in a lively, humorous and provocative way is exceptional.


Leela Mata

Leela Mata - is a well-known yoga teacher from Florida and mother of 4 children. She has practiced yoga, Ayurveda and meditation since childhood. She has taught for more than 20 years with great love and understanding and gives seminars around the world.

Leela Mata is a very intuitive spiritual teacher. She makes complex information easily understandable, applicable, and perhaps most importantly, experiential. In her presence you can almost effortlessly let go of old attachments. Emotional cleansing and spiritual awakening happen almost by themselves and in the end you're imbued with a sense of peace and inner strength with which you can face the challenges of everyday life.


Kaivalya Meike Schönknecht is a qualified Sivananda Yoga Vedanta teacher, with various further training on breath-work and relaxation at Yoga Vidya. Her own practice and her classes are based on Swami Sivananda’s and T.K.V. Desikachar’s teachings. She lived in England for many years, where following her B.A. (Hons) in English Literature and M.A. in Cultural and Media Studies she worked in publishing for ten years. In 2013 she joined Yoga Vidya Bad Meinberg to dedicate herself more fully to yoga. Kaivalya works at Yoga Vidya’s publishing department and teaches with much joy and clarity.


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Darshanie Sukhu

Darshanie Sukhu - As the daughter of Leela Mata and Yogi Hari, Darshanie grew up in the Sivananda ashrams of Swami Vishnu-devananda. Because of this she has been in contact with yoga and meditation since childhood. At age 14, she completed the yoga teacher training course and was the youngest yoga teacher of the time. She always felt strongly attracted to Krishna and the divine aspect of joy, love and lightness.

Darshanie is a professional psychic. She has been gifted since childhood with psychic abilities. Her special gift of clairvoyance comes from past lives and spiritual work. Darshanie brings subtle levels of awareness into her teachings, which allow you to experience previous lifetimes.  Through her insights she has helped many people find healing and clarity. Her main areas of focus are past life traumas, relationships and spiritual development. She is very active and successful in seminars and discussions about clairvoyance and past life regressions.


Dr. Aruna Rajendran

Dr. Aruna Rajendran - Our Indian Ayurvedic physician completed a 6.5-year training at the University of Madras in Chennai in South India to become a classical Ayurvedic Doctor. She was educated at the Shyadhiri International Institute and at the Kottakal Arya Vaidya Sala in Panchakarma, and in  Ayurveda Therapy in Kerala. She possesses great expertise and experience to advise you in consultations, ayurvedic therapy, and in individual Panchakarma cures.


Dr. Devendra Prasad Mishra

Dr. Devendra Prasad Mishra – M.S. (Ayurveda) Shalya, Banaras Hindu University, B.A.M.S., P.D.C.R., Dip.Yoga. Teaches and consults at various national and international institutions. He is trained in both traditional Ayurveda and Western Medicine. He is a master of Ayurveda Marma therapy and Pulse diagnosis. Dr. Mishra is the founder-director of the Kewalya Nature Care Society, which is working for the propagation and development of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Natural sciences.  


Dr. Nalini Sahay

Dr. Nalini Sahay - is a disciple of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, founder of the Bihar School of Yoga. Nalini has many facets of experience. Currently she runs TORCH, an NGO working with street children and HIV/AIDS patients in New Delhi. She is a psychologist whose past experience includes teaching therapeutic yoga at schools and hospitals. Dr.Nalini Sahay has great charisma and will inspire you with her clear instructions, practical idealism and insight.


Narayani

Narayani - Narayani is co-author and model of the newly re-published best selling “Book of Yoga”. A senior disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda, Narayani has more that 40 years of yoga-teaching experience. 

Narayani’s teaching style is characterized by deep love and sensitivity. Her classes have a magic to them – with a playfulness, even in difficult variations. The asanas are complemented by profoundly spiritual stories, poems and talks. Her gentle, calm and joyful personality is simply an inspiration.


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Maheshwari Cohen

Maheshwari Cohen - A Sivananda trained yoga teacher, Maheshwari has also studied various forms of yoga with the most well known yoga teachers in America, including Vinyasa, Ashtanga yoga and Jivanmukti. She has much experience with personal practice and teaches yoga in New York City. She will be able to give you lots of additional tips. Her teaching style is marked by great precision. With her love and gentle radiance she can inspire you to new “Aha!” experiences in the asanas.


Shanmug Westley Eckhardt

Shanmug Westley Eckhardt - Director and Head of Training at the Sananda Yoga Center Madrid. Founder of the Yoga Teachers Association AIPYS. He is a graduate psychologist and a direct disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda. For 17 years he led the Sivananda yoga ashram in Canada and in the Bahamas. During his 30 years of yoga practice, he trained thousands of students.


Shivakami Bretz

Shivakami Bretz - Yoga Vidya Acharya, nonmedical practitioner in psychotherapy, aryurvedic health consultant and trained in creative therapeutic hypnosis. She worked many years in social domains. Her knowledge about yoga, meditation and ayurveda comes from leading schools in Germany and Florida. Since 1993 she imparts her wide knowledge to the Yoga Vidya centers.


Sri Karthikeyan

Sri Karthikeyan - N.V. Karthikeyan, one of Swami Sivananda’s direct disciples, used to travel round the world twice a year to perform paduka pujas, a special Indian ritual. He gave also inspiring lectures on yoga and meditation in many yoga centers all over the world. Actually he is the patron of the “Yoga Vidya” name. He has been visiting the Yoga Vidya Centers and Ashrams in May/June and December/January for many many years, right from the beginning in 1993.


Sukadev Bretz

Sukadev Bretz - is the founder of Haus Yoga Vidya and the Yoga Vidya organisation. From his adolescence he was fascinated by the possibilities of the mind, learned fast reading autodidactically and attended concentration and memory training courses. At the age of 20 he graduated in industrial management from Munich university, with a minor in psychology. In 1981 he did his yoga teachers training with the Sivananda Yoga Centres. Swami Vishnu-devananda gave him the title of “Acharya” (yoga master), charged hin with the building up of yoga centers as well as the training of yoga teachers and assigned him one of his successors. In 1992 Sukadev founded the first Yoga Vidya Centre in order to teach a yoga practice that can easily be


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Swami Atma Swaruparamananda

Swami Atma Swaruparamananda - is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda. Born in France, he was the founder and director of the Adyaita Yoga Ashram (AYA) in the USA, and more recently, Pragmatic Yoga in Europe. He has trained many yoga teachers and is a humorous, sensitive and yet demanding teacher.


Swami Bodhichitananda

Swami Bodhichitananda - Swamiji has lived in Rishikesh since 1991. He worked as the personal assistant of Swami Chidananda at the Sivananda Ashram. Swami Bodhichitananda founded the Kaivalyam Forest Ashram, an experiment in nonviolent positive being. Besides teaching Swami Sivananda’s Integral Yoga, he is an authorized Kriya Yoga Teacher in the line of Paramahamsa Yogananda. He has most recently founded and is building the Himalayan Yogis Ashram in Rishikesh.


Swami Govindananda

Swami Govindananda - Direct disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda. He began his ashram life in 1987 after studying physics and obtaining a degree in education. For 23 years he taught yoga in the Sivananda Yoga Centers around the world.  He has most recently founded and teaches at the Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham in India.  His students love him as a rare gem of integrity and truth.


Swami Guru-sharanananda

Swami Guru-sharanananda - is a master of Hatha Yoga and has earned degrees in philosophy and in the interpretation of the Upanishads. He is the head of the Ashram School in Omkareshwar, and is an expert in Vedic Astrology and natural healing methods.


Swami Mangalananda

Swami Mangalananda - Originally from America, Swamiji went to India for the first time in 1973 where he received initiation from Sri Anandamayi Ma. Since 2001 he has lived at Ma's ashram in Omkareshwar where he is devoted to meditation and yoga. He is also a teacher at the Ashram School in Omkareshwar and is the author of two books.


Swami Nivedananda - was born and raised in Kerala, South India. After his school education he joined the Sivagiri Sree Narayana Math in Kerala where he received a traditional seven year education in Sanskrit, Vedanta, the Yoga Sutras, the Gita, tantric pujas and rituals. While he was still very young he took his monastic vows. Later Swamiji also received his Yoga Teacher Training and  Advanced Yoga Teacher Training certificates through the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. During his years at the Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam, he gave countless Hatha Yoga and Vedic chanting classes. Many of his friends remember him with love as the priest of the ashram temples who performed all the daily rituals for which he was responsible for more than 10 years. In 2011, Swamiji left the Sivananda organization and has since then been teacher, pujari, and co-leading manager of the Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham Trusts.


Swami Muktidharma

Swami Muktidharma - Swami Muktidharma is a Yogaarcharya, who is able to look back on more than 35 years of yoga experience. For 16 of those years, he lived in India with the Yoga and Tantra Master Paramahamsa Satyananda, an outstanding disciple from Swami Sivananda. Swami Muktidharma’s understanding of the science of Yoga is practice orientated, as well as deeply rooted in science and philosophy. It is based on many years of personal experience.


Swami Saradananda

Swami Saradananda - is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnu-devananda and has a teaching style that inspires you to want to practice. She teaches yoga and meditation world-wide, and is the author of a number of books including "Yoga Mind and Body", "Teach Yourself Yoga", "Chakra Meditation" and "The Power of Breath". With a great love of India, she also leads frequent pilgrimages.


Swami Tatvarupananda

Swami Tatvarupananda - is a master of the vedantic art of narration and tells analogies and stories with deep humor. He comes from Kerala. He got his vast knowledge of vedanta and spiritual truth as a disciple of Swami Dayananda, one of the closest disciples of Swami Sivananda. Swami Tattvarupananda teaches Vedanta and Bhagavad Gita at the Sivananda Ashram and with Amma.


Swamiji Swamiji - Swamiji is a yoga master from Rishikesh, India. His mere presence is highly uplifting. He radiates profound peace and quiescence, causing you to connect with your true nature on a deeper level. Tensions seem to drop away by themselves; your mind turns inward of its own volition.

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