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English Instructors

Acharya Harilalji

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

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.

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.

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.

Chandrashekhar Pandey

Dr. Chandrashekhar Pandey, M.A., (Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands) Ph.D. - Shekharji, is a ‘seeker’ by choice and a teacher by calling. He has wandered through the Himalayas & Tibet, and sought answers from nature and monks. His thoughts are simple, finding ready acceptance.

He sensitizes young minds, professionals, on spiritual and ethical matters, through his seminars, retreats and satsangs. He is a ‘Distinguished Visiting Professor’ at the University of Paderborn, Germany.

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.”

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Christian Bliedtner

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

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.

Dr. Tanu Varma

Dr. Tanu Varma - Dr. Tanu awarded Ph.D. in Human consciousness and Yogic Science in 2015 and she is passionate to promote Indian culture and started with workshops “Traditional Indian Yoga” in Germany, China, Japan and Shrilanka. 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.

Gauri Agulla Castro 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!

Ira Schepetin - Ira Schepetin/ Atma Chaitanya is a student of the ancient Indian Philosophical - Spiritual tradition of Non Dual Vedanta.
For over 50 years he has studied with eminent Western and Eastern scholars of the subject. He was the first Western disciple of the popular Swami Dayanandaji and the only Western disciple of the famous Swami Satchidanandendraji.  He has presented numerous talks at international academic conferences and has published in various journals both in India and the west as well as editing and translating from the original Sanskrit books on the Gita and Sri Shankarachaya.

Kaivalya Meike Schönknecht

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

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 Hadamietz

Kay Hadamietz - He is an 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.

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.

Marie Meera Karanath

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.

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Mohini Wiume is teaching with heart and mind. She is very authentic and connects learned knowledge with her own observations and experiences. She can motivate people to sincerely choose the spiritual path. While studying history of art she learned how to look exactly at things and put the observations into words. As a literary historian she is used to approach topics in an analytical way. That is why she can formulate difficult contexts in a simple, clear and precise way. Mohini has built up Yoga Wiki for 3 to 4 years. Now she is working on the Yoga Vidya App and providing the content for the asanas and the mantras. She is generating ebooks and promoting them. Half of her time as a Yoga Vidya sevaka she is giving courses, lectures and asana classes. Mohini is a yogateacher (also for the back and yin yoga), a yogatherapist and a course instructor for meditation. She is also working as a interpreter.


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.

Nathiba Anantharavi

Nathiba Anantharavi - Nathiba 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. Catharina Kiehnle

Prof. Dr. Catharina Kiehnle - Indologist with a special passion for mantras and recitation. She has published works on Vedic philology, yoga, bhakti, in particular the Nath School Kundalini Yoga and aspects of contemporary Hinduism. With much joy, enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge she conveys correct pronunciation and meaning of mantras and kirtans.

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.

Ram Vakkalanka

Ram Vakkalanka - Ram Vakkalanka was 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

Sukadev Volker 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

Swami Bodhichitananda

Swami Bodhichitananda - Swami Bodhichitananda Saraswati 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 Guru-sharanananda

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.

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Swami Nityabodhananda

Swami Nityabodhananda - 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

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

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

Swami Sukhananda - 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 Tatvarupananda

Swami Tattvarupananda - As a spiritual seeker from a young age, he was fortunate to have met many different masters of repute. Swamiji mastered the scriptures and the traditional methodology of teaching from Swami Dayananda Saraswati. He is taking care of two gurukulams for children of dysfunctional or under-privileged families in Kerala/India. Swamiji is a master storyteller with a simple, humorous and direct way of teaching. Nobody can miss the truth when it is unfolded traditionally and teachers from traditional lineages are rare.

Swami Yatidharmananda

Swami Yatidharmananda - was born in Northindia and a primary student from Swami Chidananda. Since he was seven years old, he was in a relationship to Swami Chidananda, which a young student has to his guru. He tells with love and abandonment about this time. He is a very pragmatic and true-to-life Swami, who teaches you the spiritual knowledge in an easy way. With his simple and enthusiastic chants of kirtan he touches your soul deeply.

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.

Vedamurti Dr. Olaf Schönert

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.

Veda Chaitanya

Veda Chaitanya - Yogacharya Veda Caitanya (Ajay L. Bobade, MA., MSc.). Was born in 1977 in Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra in a traditionally established family of Brahmins (priests and scholars). He has been intensely taught since childhood by both his grandfathers (the father of his mother was a prominent Vedic astrologer and Ayurvedic practitioner (Vaidya), father of father became sadhu, ascetic in the late age). He studied Certified Yoga and Meditation Program at the Patanjal Institute of Yoga in the Pune, and conducted individual yoga programs, both public and corporate courses. After studying the indigenous healing system marma ("acupressure") in Bhutan, he studied IT Technology and worked in this field.

In 2002, he went to study in the ashram of the Swami Dajananda Saraswati in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu, South India. He lived here for three and half years, attending a residential study program focused on traditional Vedic and Yoga philosophy, Sanskrit, and Vedic masterpieces (2002-2005). He also studied with his other teachers Swamini Pramananda and Swami Siddhabodhananda. He also individually studied the technique of "joganidra" with Swami Satyananda from Bihar School of Yoga. At the same time, he studied psychology at the Annamalai Universityin Coimbatore, specializing in the psychology of religion.

After his graduation (received the name of "Veda Caitanya") he lived at Tapovan above the source of Ganga (4500 m) for half a year. Later he lived in Rishikes for a while (the so-called "capital of yoga") in Parmarth Niketan of the Ashram. There he taught Vedic philosophy and yoga in international courses for yoga teachers.

In 2005 he established Yoga Surya International - Academy of Yoga & Vedic Studies. Since 2006, he has been living and teaching in the Czech Republic. In 2007 he opened his school of yoga in Hradec Králové. He is a member of the Yoga Alliance and the International Yoga Therapy Association. He collaborates with Dev Sanskriti University, Haridwar. 

Currently he is in the process of starting a Gurukulam, residential school of Yoga. From 2019 he is planning to run one year residential courses in the Ashram near Hradec Králové in Czech republic in association with Yoga Vidya.

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