English Instructors

Acharya Harilalji - completed his Yoga Teacher training course and Advanced Yoga Teacher 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 month 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 focuses on bringing the different aspects of yoga together in his teaching.

Alexandra Rohlje - Yoga teacher, meditation trainer and Vedanta trainer. Alexandra is a longtime student of James Swartz. She discovered traditional Vedanta during her 2-year yoga teacher training at the Cologne Yoga Vidya Center. She appreciates clarity and openness for teaching and learning. Through her teaching style, she shows that in addition to purely intellectual aspects Vedanta involves at least as much heart. For her ultimately every path, every engagement with the self, is a path of love.

Ananta Heussler - Yoga practitioner since 1988. Yoga teacher and course leader, numerous further training courses in Europe, India and Canada. International yoga teacher trainer. He was also a Swami for 14 years (2000-2014) and has deep yoga practice in all 4 yoga paths. He has been with Yoga Vidya since 2020.

Anantharavi Thillainathan - (M.D.Acu. /E.R.Y.T. / I.Y.R.T. / D.Y.T.) Director from the Yoga Arogya Kendra Organisation. Affiliated with International Yoga Federation (World Wide Yoga Governing Body). He 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. 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 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.

Atman Shanti Hoche - is a very experienced and popular yoga teacher (BYV) and has been practicing yoga for more than 30 years. She also teaches in Spain and India. Especially demanding lesson she practices very well.

Chandra Cohen - combines intensive practice, years of discipleship with well-known teachers and a thorough knowledge of the scriptures. He has a very humorous and a very clear way of guiding you to your inner truth. Formerly Swami Chandra Shekarananda, he was a disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda from 1968-84. During his stay at the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh, Swami Brahmananda, a senior monk and teacher, introduced him there with a special intensity to the formal teachings of the Upanishads and Sankara Advaita or classical nonduality.

The knowledge was deepened for the next 25 years through the inspiration of Swami Dayananda, the world-famous Advaita teacher. During this time, Chandra earned a master's degree at Columbia University, which enabled him to become an associate professor of Hinduism and Eastern religions at Hunter College in New York City. Chandra's understanding has most recently been influenced by Swami Satchidanandendra, one of the most important Advaita thinkers for generations, through his only direct Western disciple, Ira Shepetin. For the past 15 years Chandra has taught Advaita in the Yoga Vidya advanced yoga teacher trainings. He now lives in New York with his wife of 20 years and his son.

Chitra Sukhu - 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.”

Christian Bliedtner - Yoga and Yin Yoga teacher. Also Meditation trainer, Asana Flow Trainer, Ayurveda Health Consultant and Reiki Master. Inaugurated in the Kriya Yoga after Paramahansa Yogananda. He exudes peace, earthiness and cheerfulness and he teaches Hatha Yoga with love and joy. His motto: Be Happy!

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. 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 - 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.

Dr. Sivakaran Namboothiri - is an Ayurveda doctor and an expert of Samaveda, the root of the classical Indian music. As one of only two people worldwide who are able to recite the Samaveda in the “Oth” tradition, he was awarded the title “Vedaratnam”.

Coming from a traditional Brahmin family he learned in the Gurukula style and memorized the Jaiminiya Samaveda Samhita by heart in his youth apart from studying Sanskrit literature, the Upanishads and Yoga. He followed his father, who was a well-known Vedic Scholar and continued the family tradition of participating in major Yajnas, like the Somayajna and Athirathra, an ancient and very elaborate and rare ritual which takes twelve days to perform. There he has taken part as a major rithwik (priest) apart from being the ritual chief co-ordinator.

His formal academic studies include a degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery as well as a Masters in Psychology. Apart from this, he is a yoga teacher, including yoga therapy, with experience in training doctors and medical staff. Currently he is working as the chief physician at his own Ayurveda hospital “Sreedhary” in Kerala (India) where he is successfully researching and developing new Ayurveda health products.

Dr. Tanu Varma - awarded Ph.D. in Human consciousness and Yogic Science in 2015. She is passionate to promote Indian culture and started with workshops “Traditional Indian Yoga” in Germany, China, Japan and Sri Lanka. She is expert in Reiki, Acupressure, Naturopathy, Hatha Yoga and Henna. She founded Yoga Dharnenendra Multipurpose Charitable Society and helps kids in Rishikesh and Nagpur for their quality education, moral values and their basic needs for holistic development.

Fernando Machado Silva - yoga teacher, vedanta course leader and vedanta meditation course leader, studied drama, literature and philosophy. Worked as an actor and assistant director for 12 years, practiced with many professional artists and techniques (e.g. BioMechanics, Butoh Dance, Clown, Contact Improvisation, Tai Chi, Chi Gong and Yoga).

Gauri - 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.

Kaivalya Meike Schönknecht - is a qualified Sivananda Yoga Vedanta teacher with various further teacher training courses at Yoga Vidya, including meditation, breath work, yoga nidra and mantra yoga. Kaivalya 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 practicing and teaching yoga. Kaivalya supports Yoga Vidya’s publishing department and teaches with much joy and clarity.

Katrin Nostadt - Yoga teacher and Yoga Acharya (SYVC, 2002, 2003), Yin-yoga-teacher (BYV 2016), Master of German philology, MBA. Katrin is a long-time student and translator of James Swartz and Swami Tattvarupananda as well as a teacher and translator in international yoga teacher trainings. Her special passion is the path of self-knowledge (Advaita Vedanta). She takes up the challenge of transferring the wisdom of the scriptures into our daily lives so that we can approach our tasks with enthusiasm and dedication. This makes her yoga classes a deep experience.

Kay Cantu - experienced freelance “Yoga nomad” and trains yoga teachers in various cities. His workshops challenges, motivates and inspires. He co-developed the cross-cultural integral concept of Xperience Yoga. Keywords: precision, variety, humor, heart opening, Vedanta, Yoga personal trainer, Meditation trainer, Ayurveda health consultant, 12 years Capoeira.

Marie Meera Karanath - was born in Czech Republic. During her interpreter studies in the university of Mainz, she concluded her Yoga teacher training in Speyer in 2006. Later she studied Yogatherapy.  In 2009 she went with her husband to India, where they founded the Arsha Yoga Centre. She lives mainly in India and she travels to Europe during summer. She has a daughter named Gayatri. Meera gives more importance to intense experience rather than to intense effort. Her goal is to teach yoga in a way that each person can find the starting point from where to grow independently. Her main inspirations are encounters with wise people from Swamis or her grandmother to the "ego-sinker" - her daughter.

Narayani - is the co-author of the book "The Book of Yoga". Her way of teaching is magical; she will guide you in a playful manner. You will find yourself doing the most difficult variations and be amazed at how much is possible. As a result of her long and intensive asana practice and more than 50 years of teaching experience, Narayani can give you excellent advice. Her calm and joyful personality is always an inspiration! This program includes little theory and longer asana classes.

Nathiba Anantharavi - studied under Swami Sithananda, Yogi Venugobalan and Sivayogi. She has been teaching Yoga since 2003, to corporations and hundreds of individuals in Sri Lanka. Her main focus while teaching is to get in touch with a deeper aspect of one self’s “one’s spirit”, not just do exercises. Her spirit of teaching incorporates sounds and vibrations, preparatory exercises, movements and breathing techniques. Her broad experience and direct personality enable her to meet people´s needs and show them where they need to go for optimal growth. She is an experienced yoga teacher in:

  • Current of Breath 
  • Yogic Art of Breathing
  • Kundalini
  • Major & Minor Chakras - structure, Nadi's energy movement, connected minor chakras...
  • Granthis
  • Vasi Yoga - Siddha tradition

Prof. Dr. Pandey - is a teacher by profession, but the search for truth is his calling. As a business consultant, he teaches humane management on an ethical and spiritual basis to leaders worldwide. He trekked through the Himalayas and Tibet in search of answers, receiving answers to his questions from monks as well as from nature. In his lectures, he combines ancient wisdom with modern insights to achieve sustainable growth and social well-being. Dr Pandey worked in industry for a long time, including as a senior executive with one of India's largest private sector corporations - Tata Steel.  Before turning to academia, he was a consultant to the Federal Human Resource Development and Employment Authority in the United Arab Emirates and held a professorship in the Human Resource Department of Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA), Chennai, a renowned business school in South India. Dr Pandey was awarded the 21st Dewang Mehta Business School Award (2013) for the Best Professor in Human Resource Management. The award is in recognition of the business school's leadership, development, innovation and interface with industry. Dr Pandey is a 'Distinguished Visiting Professor' at the University of Paderborn, Germany, where he teaches courses on cross-cultural management, spirituality and management, and also offers focused group seminars on a range of HR-related topics. 


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.

Ram Vakkalanka - born and brought up in India in the Yogic way of life, surrounded by Sanskrit, Mantras and sacred texts and music. He grew up to be a Nada Yogi, Sanskrit expert, Yoga philosopher and Kirtan artist. Ram travels around the world bringing healing music, Mantras and Yoga philosophy to seekers everywhere. So far, 20 CDs and one DVD of his works have been released. His online video course about the origin and evolution of Yoga - Deepen Your Knowledge of Yoga and How It Transforms You - is very popular for its depth and breadth of presentation. He has been featured in print, broadcast on radio and TV, and made appearances at many events such as the Toronto Yoga Conference (Canada) and World Yoga Festival (UK). For more about him, please visit www.aksharayoga.com.

Ramashakti Sikora - Ramashakti has practiced yoga and meditation since childhood, is a yoga teacher in the Federation of Yoga Vidya Teachers (BYV), yoga therapist, trainer for endurance sports, running and marathon trainer, musician and nurse with 20 years of interdisciplinary professional experience.

Sitaram Kube - Experienced Yoga Teacher and YTT Trainer with deep knowledge and a vivid, descriptive teaching style. He also feels deeply connected with nature, as you can experience in one of his nature experience or hiking seminars. In addition, he is particularly inspired by his beautiful Mantrarezitation and celebrating rituals such as Puja and Homa. During his stay in India, he was lucky to receive intensive private lessons from Swami Yogaratna in Bangalore, following the tradition of Swami Satyananda, a close disciple of Swami Sivananda, since then many decisions and personal ans spiritual development steps followed. As the former head of the Yoga Vidya center Cologne, nowadays he teaches full time for the ashram in Bad Meinberg, mainly for the YTTs.

Sudarsh Namboothiri - grew up in a traditional Namboothiri Brahmin family in Kerala. From an early age he learned Tantric rituals and Vedic recitations, which he deepened with traditional gurus. He lived in various spiritual communities and earned a degree in the science of yoga and psychology.

Sukadev Bretz is the founder of Yoga Vidya. He knows wonderfully how to transmit profound wisdom humorously.

His special ability is to movitate Yoga aspirants to practise intensely, to see a higher meaning in daily experiences and to bring more energy and heart into everyday life. Sukadev Bretz is the author of 10 books, among them commentaries on Yoga Sutra and Bhagavad Gita. He is quite active spreading Yoga via the internet in Yoga Videos and Podcasts in English and German.

Sukadev had spiritual experiences from childhood on. As a youngster he was fascinated by the possibilities of the human mind and started with regular Meditation as a teenager. He spent a few times several months in intense meditation and Pranayama.

In 1992 Sukadev founded Yoga Vidya, now one of the leading Yoga movements in Europe. Yoga Vidya has 4 major Ashrams, nearly 100 Yoga centres and 25.000 yoga teachers. Today he lives in Germany, in Horn-Bad Meinberg.

Get inspiration and energy from this dynamic spiritual teacher.

Swami Advayatmananda Saraswati - is a teacher of traditional Advaita Vedanta, meditation, and Sanskrit. After renouncing his life as a software development manager in a Silicon Valley, he was initiated into the Daśanāmī monastic order by his guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati with whom he had studied since 1981.
Swamiji established Arsha Drishti, a center in San Diego, California where he teaches and live-streams classes on Upaniṣads, Bhagavad Gītā, and related texts, as well as classes on Sanskrit and the traditional commentaries of Ādi Śaṁkarācārya.

Swami Bodhichitananda - is a Kriya Yogi who has lived in the Indian Himalayas since 1991. He was a monk in Self-Realization Fellowship, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in California, from 1987 to 1991, then joined Sivananda Ashram(The Divine Life Society), Rishikesh and took final vows in 1999 as a Swami from H.H. Swami Chidananda Saraswati, successor of Swami Sivananda. He was a personal assistant to Swami Chidananda, and Yogacharya at the Divine Life Society from 1991 to 2003. His Kriya Yoga Guru, who authorized him to give Kriya Yoga Initiation, is a Himalayan Kriya Yogi, Swami Jnanananda Giri, who walked to India in 1952 after reading Autobiography of a Yogi, was a Swami in Yogananda’s India organization (Yogoda Satsang Society), but finally retired to seclusion in the Himalayas.

Swami Bodhichitananda primarily teaches Kriya Yoga of Babaji, Sivananda’s Integral Yoga and Evolutionary Spirituality. He is founder of the Himalayan Hermitage, an eco-friendly spiritual retreat, 25 km from Rishikesh in India. His 35 years of yoga experience gives him much inner knowledge that he shares in a simple and joyful way with all students.

Swami Gurusharanananda - 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 Nityabodhananda - has gained his Vedantic knowledge since his birth, first in his very spiritual family, and later on at the Chinmaya Mission and deepening in the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam as a direct disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati. He teaches Vedanta, Bhagavad Gita and Sanskrit in Delhi and various places, and teaches his knowledge as master of the shift from non-action to action in a very impressive and loving way.

Swami Nivedanananda - 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 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 Sukhananda - lives in the Yasodhara Ashram in Canada, founded by Swami Sivananda Radha. She first met Swami Radha in 1988 and was deeply moved by her experience. She has been living and teaching yoga at the Ashram and in Europe ever since. Swami Sukhananda was formerly an adviser to governments on sustainability, environmental and organizational issues. She is a historian whose articles about Swami Radha’s work have appeared in British and North American yoga magazines. She enjoys the beauty of the Ashram and is continually inspired by yoga and by witnessing its transformative effects

Swami Tattvarupananda - an indian monk, experienced in Sanskrit and Vedanta, teaches through the traditional ways of storytelling in which he masterfully conveys the hidden truth. He shares his knowledge at the Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham in India, Yoga Vidya Germany and in spiritual centers in France, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Japan, Thailand and Russia. At the age of 18, having already studied with eminent masters he joined the Narayana Ashrama Tapovanam in Thrissur where he studied Vedanta under the guidance of Swami Bhoomananda Thirtha. Afterwards he went to the Himalayas and underwent rigorous spiritual practices with some masters living there. During this time, meeting Sri Swami Dayananda Saraswati, the renowned traditional teacher of Vedanta, was the most important event in his life. After studying the Prasthanatraya, i.e. the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahmasutras with the commentary of Adi Sankaracharya, Swamiji mastered the scriptures and the traditional teaching method of Swami Dayananda Saraswati who initiated him into the traditional Sanyasa order in 2003. In 2006 Swami Dayananda Saraswati handed over the management of the Janaka Janani Kripa Gurukulam to Swami Tattvarupananda. A institute where children from socially weak or underprivileged families are given shelter, food and clothing as well as traditional and academic education.

Swami Yatidharmananda - As a direct disciple of Swami Chidananda he has lived in the guru-disciple relationship with Swami Chidananda since the age of 7. This has given him the rare opportunity to share in the life of one of the greatest saints of our time and to learn from his humility, devotion and sadhana. He founded Swami Chidananda Sevashram, a social-spiritual organisation dedicated to the life and teachings of Gurudev Swami Chidananda. Since the death of his master, Swami Yatidharmananda has travelled worldwide to spread the teachings of Ayurveda and Vedanta. As a popular speaker, in 2015 he was given the opportunity to speak to the Parliament of the World's Religions in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Swami Yatidharmananda is a very practical and closely to life Swami who communicates the spiritual teachings in a catchy way and his enthusiastic Kirtan chants touch your soul.

Vedamurti Dr. Olaf Schönert - Yoga teacher (BYV), experienced instructor for Yoga teachers, Yoga Vidya Acharya, Meditation teacher (BYVG), Systemic Counselor (BYVG). Attracted to knowledge from a young age he studied Business Adminstration. He was inspired by systems theory. Long time university lecturer. Author of books. Studied for several years with James Swartz, the well known teacher of traditional Vedanta.