Gemma Farrell has studied various styles of yoga, including Iyengar, Sivananda, Jivamukti, Yin, Insight, and Integral Yoga. Her current approach to teaching yoga fuses the precise alignment principles of Iyengar yoga with the freedom and creativity of a Vinyasa Flow practice, and incorporates the deeper release stretching and meditative aspects of Yin Yoga. Gemma sees yoga as a vehicle for self-discovery and a means for increasing awareness of the present moment, an opportunity to cultivate wisdom and compassion, and above all, an invitation to foster a spirit of devotion and open our hearts to love and serve others.
Adam & Nirmala
Amy Guinn discovered yoga in the midst of a very stressful culinary career. She dove into her practice head first, and eventually traveled to Rishikesh, India where she received her Hatha Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Massage certifications. Amy is grateful to her teachers and most of all to her students who are constantly teaching her and evolving her yoga practice. She hopes to bring the importance of breath and alignment to the students’ practice, and more importantly, the idea that our practices are constantly flowing, changing from day to day, and that there is so much more beyond the physical practice of yoga.
Arthur (Ato) Co is a chef and martial artist who has been practicing the martial arts since he was eight years old. Originally Chinese, born in the Philippines, he studied Southern Shaolin style of Ngo Cho Kun kung fu at the Heng Han Kung Fu School in Manila. In his twenties, Ato followed his dream to become an American citizen and immigrated to the US in 1984. He owns Sakura Express Japanese Restaurant in downtown Princeton.
Brigitte Aflalo-Calderon started practicing yoga about 20 years ago and quickly became a devotee. When she realized that she was spending most of her non-working hours on the mat, she decided to become a teacher. Her goal is to help her students - ages 4 to 80 -explore asanas safely while relaxing and enjoying their experience on the mat. Brigitte keeps her language simple and punctuates with touches of humor. When she is not teaching, she is either writing or painting.
Courtney Leopoldis a Certified Clinical Yoga Therapist and an RYT-500. A dancer for 17 years, Courtney has always been driven by physical fitness and creativity. After beating up her body through dance, she sought a more holistic practice. That is when she stumbled upon yoga! After receiving her initial 200 hours of Vinyasa training in Pennsylvania, Courtney continued her mind-body studies in Los Angeles, where she received her Masters degree in Counseling, as well as her Clinical Yoga Therapy certification through Loyola Marymount University. In addition, Courtney was afforded the opportunity to teach alongside Govind Das & Radha at Bhakti Yoga Shala, Bryan Kest at Santa Monica Power Yoga, as well as obtaining her Yoga Trance Dance Certification with internationally renowned teacher Shiva Rea. Courtney's classes are infused with prana-fueled flows that combine creative transitions and therapeutics, and she often weaves themes of chakra cleansing and energy work into the practice.
Dagmar Anderson warmed up slowly to yoga. Initially considering it simply as an exciting new way to keep fit, it took many hours on the mat for her yoga infatuation to grow into a more thoughtful pursuit. In the course of her teacher training, Dagmar came to appreciate the concepts that govern the various yoga traditions and the wonderful teachers who spread its teachings and keep the practice alive. Dagmar is drawn to group yoga because she loves the collective breath and energy that unfolds in class. Beyond her 200 hour yoga teacher certification, Dagmar is a registered Radiant Child yoga instructor. Off the mat, Dagmar has been a grant officer, a media analyst, a writer and journalist, and radio producer.
For Elizabeth Scura, yoga has become a way of life. After many years of experiencing back pain from scoliosis, she realized the incredible healing benefits of yoga when she replaced her chiropractor with a daily yoga practice. It was then that she decided to become a yoga instructor so she could help others as well. Prior to teaching yoga, Elizabeth spent her time working as a preschool and toddler teacher at Princeton Montessori School and the YWCA. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and loves photography, drawing and watercolor. In her yoga classes, Elizabeth encourages students to focus on breath mindfulness, while emphasizing the importance of alignment.
After 15 years of yoga practice, Julia Ruocco journeyed to India to train with Mark Ansari in the Ashtanga lineage. This was the start of her teaching path which began in 2009. Since then she has studied with Sadie Nardini in her inaugural Core Strength Vinyasa training, with Andrew Appello in Advanced Anatomy and Ayurveda, and currently with Yogarupa Rod Stryker in his 300hr ParaYoga Master Training.
With over 3000 teaching hours Julia continues to share what she finds to be the most important aspect of teaching yoga: sharing the knowledge of the sacred lineage in a safe, accessible, challenging, and sometimes silly way.
Manisha Narang embraces the holistic approach to asana, where we fit the poses to our individual bodies, not our bodies to our poses. She approaches her students with compassion and sensitivity always, and aims to make yoga accessible to all, especially those who can’t practice traditional yoga due to physical limitations. Manisha was exposed to yoga from an early age through her grandmother. However, it was when she began her regular practice in 2005 that she realized the deep power of a meditation, breath, and yoga practice. As an instructor, Manisha is dedicated to guiding you in your path towards relaxation, peace, and good health. Manisha, MPH, RYT-200, received her Vinyasa training from Honor Yoga in Pennington.
Mecquel is a practitioner and dancer who has been teaching yoga and movement in Princeton since 2002. With her degree in Psychology and years of work as a behavioral therapist, Mecquel addresses aspects of the whole person, body and mind, in yoga practice and movement. Rooted in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, and Bhakti traditions, and influenced by the study of modern and improvisational dance techniques, Mecquel seeks to train the body and mind for freedom in movement which comes from strength, range of motion, and awareness. In addition to movement, she teaches meditation and mantra practices. Mecquel teaches at Princeton University in the Dance Department as well as other departments. She was recently featured on yogainternational.com and is a Lululemon Ambassador. Mecquel continues her studies in dance, functional anatomy, Ideokinesis and PNF patterns with Rebecca Lazier, Irene Dowd, and improvisational movement with KJ Holmes.
Nina Mongendre teaches Kundalini Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, and Meditation. Her mission is to help students connect to the place within that is all knowing, calm and joyful. Kundalini Yoga is referred to as the Yoga of Awareness. It is a dynamic, powerful technology appropriate for all that is designed to trigger an experience of the unchanging Self. In each class, Nina uses movement, sound current, breath and meditation to relax and heal the mind and body, allowing the spirit to flow freely. Nina grew up in a spiritual household, and from an early age recognized a longing to teach and share this experience with others. Growing up in France, Nina’s early teachers were the books from her parent’s library on yoga, meditation, psychology and philosophy. Later, Nina studied Psychology, Art History and Religion at Brown University, after which she moved to New York, where the connection with Kundalini Yoga was born.
Roberta Pughe is the Founder of The School of Embodied Enlightenment TM at www.schoolofembodiedenlightenment.com and the Clinical Director of The Center for Relationship, LLC in Princeton. As author of Body as Sanctuary for Soul, she integrates Gestalt Theory/Therapy, Shamanism, Systems Theory and Kundalini Yoga.
Inspired by the hypnotic, pulsing melodies and rhythms of the cyber hippie state of Goa, India is what brought Samuel Steward to the ancient science of Yoga and Inner Engineering. As a teenager his fascination with God and all things spiritual was influenced by the cultural practices that surrounded the electronic dance music movement of India’s Goa Trance Beach Parties. Through the experience of a collective state of bodily transcendence, similar to that of ancient shamanic dancing rituals, Samuel found that he was able to escape from the stress and anxieties of the common world and unlock the secrets of Love and Joy which were resting deep within his heart. To keep up with the physical demands of all night dancing he adopted the practice of Yoga Asana and soon realized that its benefits offered much more than a great set of abs and unending stamina. With the use of yoga, Samuel has transcended from ordinary living and discovered a way in which to live this life as a Magical Journey of unending Divine Observation and Self Expression. Samuel has studied with some of the most popular teachers in the world but the most powerful revelations of his practice have come from his relationships with students and the people he loves.
Sanela Solak is a mother, yoga teacher, dancer, and therapist-in-training. She is passionate about bringing together the wisdom of the body, heart and mind together, to bring more clarity, gentleness and healing into this world.
Sharon & Deva
Shirin Stave-Matias is former professional dancer with international experience, as well as a yogini. She worked in NYC for numerous years both teaching and performing. Shirin recently relocated to NJ after living in Portugal for 16 years where she performed, taught, choreographed and created numerous community based projects.
Vineet Chander is the Coordinator for Hindu Life at Princeton University and a Religious Life Leader at the Lawrenceville School. He has also served as an adjunct professor, attorney, and communications consultant. His areas of specialty include the Bhakti movement, models of pastoral counseling, and the Hindu-American diaspora community. His writing has appeared in publications ranging from the Journal of Vaishnava Studies to the George WashingtonUniversity International Law Review, and has written regularly for The Hufffington Post and beliefnet.com. Vineet lives in New Jersey with his wife and daughter.
As the nation’s first and only full-time Hindu chaplain and program director, Vineet‘s work with Hindu-American students at one of the world’s premier educational institutions affords him a unique vantage point and powerful experiences from which to draw. Vineet‘s work with the Hindu-American community is also unapologetically autobiographical– he is a second-generation Hindu American, who was born and raised in New York City and discovered his own faith calling in his youth. To further his personal and professional goals,Vineet is pursuing graduate study at Rutgers University in Religion with a concentration in Hindu Studies and Contemplative Studies, under the tutelage of Professor Edwin F. Bryant.