Teacher Bios – Teachers bios

Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen

Wambui Njuguna-Räisänen took her first yoga class when she was 16. It proved to be the therapy she needed during rigorous, professional dance training. She continued to practice different types of yoga throughout college and graduate school. 

She came across Ashtanga Yoga in 2008 when she was living in Abu Dhabi. The structure and consistency of the method was the grounded discipline she needed at that time. For the past ten years, Wambui has been immersed in Ashtanga yoga and feels deeply grateful for all what the practice has brought to fruition, both in her personal and professional life. She edited the English version of Ashtanga Yoga: The Yoga Tradition of K Pattabhi Jois and translated (Finnish-English) Nadi Sodhana: Yoga in the Tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois. Many people have started practicing Ashtanga yoga using her Half-Primary series You Tube video, which has garnered more than 1.6  million views. Wambui practices with Sharmila Desai at Ashtanga Yoga Morjim.

Currently, in the wake of #metoo and the collective shift towards decolonization, Wambui’s moved towards teaching yoga through an explicitly trauma-informed, anti-oppressive lens. BIPOC and/or LGBTQIA+ communities have been the voices most silenced, and are the bodies most left out of the healing space while simultaneously being the most impacted by systemic trauma. Therefore, creating wellness spaces that feel more welcoming, inclusive and accessible is of utmost necessity and importance. Together with her massage training (Chavutti Thirumal) and meditation advocacy, Wambui strives to work at the intersection of social inclusion, equity and wellness.

Wambui’s ongoing education has involved the following Off the Mat Into the World courses: Dismantling Racism with Michelle C Johnson; Healing Yoga for Refugees, Asylum-Seekers and Displaced People with Our Mala’s Emily Brett; and Yoga for Self-Regulation and Trauma; Trauma & Social Justice with Hala Khouri; and Accessible Yoga with Jivana Heyman.

Wambui Njuguna was born in Nairobi, Kenya to an English-Danish mother and a Kenyan (Kikuyu) father. She was raised in the United States, has worked and lived in Chile and the United Arab Emirates and is now based in Helsinki, Finland where she lives with Petri and their two sons.


Nicola Orr

Nutritional holistic chef

Having begun her career as a microbiologist, Nic realised that her true path was in sharing her greatest passions: food and yoga. With a huge calling to see the world, she used her skills to work around the world, discovering new ingredients, recipes, techniques and nutritional ideas on her journey. Consolidating this on her return with an intensive year in culinary school, she then became the chef for the Quiksilver surf team, where she was introduced to ‘clean’ eating, gluten free and dairy free – which rocked her world. Since then, she has specialised in clients requiring specialist nutrition and complex diets, and has loved developing delicious new recipes for healthy wholefood living. Her passion for the benefits of this style of eating led her to study nutritional medicine, and to share her knowledge to empower others with the joys of choosing real food which nourishes the mind, body and soul.

Herself a trained yoga teacher, with further studies encompassing a whole range of foodie fascinations from Ayurveda to the gut, Nic also turned her life around from an unhealthy past to a joyfully healthy present and teaches from the heart to share with others. She combines all this experience and learning in a practical, caring and down-to-earth approach which helps others to make genuine lasting changes for a happier, healthier life.


Scott Johnson

Ashtanga Yoga |  Mindfulness | Chanting | Pranayama | Philosophy | Movement

Scott Johnson has over 16 years of experience with Ashtanga Yoga. He is a devoted yoga and mindfulness practitioner. He is the co-founder and main teacher at Stillpoint Yoga London which has been open since 2009.

Scott’s teaching is greatly inspired and influenced by world renowned teachers John Scott, Lucy Crawford and Manju Pattabhi Jois. Scott met John in 2002 and instantly felt the deep connection to the ashtanga yoga lineage through John’s teaching of the ashtanga yoga practice. Scott’s relationship with John has lead him to become a senior teacher in the John Scott Ashtanga yoga community. Scott is also authorized to teach the primary and intermediate series of ashtanga yoga by Manju Pattabhi Jois.

In 2019 Scott Johnson co-founded Amayu Yoga, a new organisation dedicated to growing compassionate and highly skilled students and teachers of Ashtanga yoga, with consent and student empowerment at it’s heart. 

Scott has also also undergone extensive training with Clear Mind Institute, gaining their level 3 certificate in Mindfulness and Compassion.

Scott teaches with encouragement, insight and integrity to the ashtanga yoga lineage he has had access to. He adheres to the authentic tradition and lineage of ashtanga yoga, assisting practitioners in discovering how the practice can unfold, not only personally on the mat, but also in the wider context of daily life.

Heather Elton

Heather is the Founder and Director of Elton Yoga and the Course Coordinator. She teaches Asana, Vinyasa, Astanga, Meditation, Self Inquiry, Techniques and Teaching Methodology. Vinyasa Krama (or Hatha Flow), is an intelligent linking of poses – with breath and dristi – rooted in classical yogic traditions that explores the physical, mental and subtle aspects of the practice. Heather integrates Yoga philosophy into the practice to reveal the spiritual path underlying yoga and the technology to stabilise the mind and realise our true nature, working on a deep physical and psychological level. She is a believer in the ancient yogic path to Self-Realisation. She has practiced Yoga since 1986 and teaches in London and on international workshops, retreats and yoga teacher trainings. Heather has studied many different lineages of Hatha Yoga, including BKS Iyengar technique with Alaric Newcombe, Glenn Ceresoli and Dona Holleman. She has studied Astanga with Sri K Pattabhi Jois and Sharath in Mysore, and many of their senior students. She learned the Primary and Intermediate Series adjustments from Nancy Gilgoff, completed a Teacher Training certification with Richard Freeman, and more recently studied the traditional Krishnamacharya method of asana, pranayama & kundalini metaphysics with BNS Iyengar at the Patanajala Yoga Shala in Mysore. On the Vinyasa Flow side of yoga, she completed the Tripsichore Yoga Theatre Teacher Training with Edward Clark and considers David Life and Sharon Gannon of Jivamukti Yoga to be truly inspirational people and teachers. She is currently researching Tibetan Yantra Yoga. She is a serious student of yogic philosophy and is intrigued by the intersection of Indian and Buddhist tantra. As a student of the Tibetan Mahayana path she has studied various meditation techniques, including 10-day silent Vipassana meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma) and Dhamma Dipa (Hereford, UK). She is interested in all forms of non-dualism including Self-Inquiry, the direct path to liberation, based on the teachings of Ramana Maharishi and visited his ashram in Tiruvannamalai, India (2009). Her spiritual path informs the teachings and has led her to sacred sites throughout India and the world.

Dr. Andrew McGonigle

Andrew McGonigle, anatomy teacher for Nepal Yoga TTC

Yoga anatomist and physiologist

After originally training to become a doctor, Andrew moved away from western medicine to pursue a career in alternative healing, as a yoga teacher, massage therapist and anatomy teacher. His enormously warm and engaging teaching style, combined with his deep anatomical and physiological knowledge, have earned him a high-profile reputation as "Doctor Yogi".

Based in London, Andrew has been practicing yoga and meditation for 10 years and teaching strong, grounding, alignment-based classes since 2009. Currently he is a senior teacher at TriYoga.

Using his vast experience and anatomical knowledge he has created his own style of therapeutic deep fibre massage.

Andrew combines all of his skills to teach anatomy and physiology on Yoga Teacher Training courses across London and internationally.

His teachers include Hamish Henry, Paul Dallaghan, Eileen Gauthier and Kristin Campbell.

Emil Wendel

Emil has lived in Asia since the mid-seventies, studying Indian thought, yoga philosophy and Chinese classical philosophy. His many years of residency in Nepal and India have brought about exceptional insight into the depth of South Asian civilization and its underlying currents.

His study of Âshram traditions, and treasured time with Sadhus and living Buddhist masters, have brought a strong appreciation of the subjects of Mantras and Mudrâs, as well as other methods of Pratyâhâra (sense-withdrawal) and Dhâranâ (concentration), the ancient yogic tools which may, over time, bring about that delightful state of true meditation (Dhyâna).

Emil is deeply passionate about yoga, in particular, the aspects of breath and meditation in both the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Emil has been instructing teacher training courses for yoga in Japan, Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, India and the Middle-East, besides several countries in Europe.

In this course, his teachings of Pranayama follow the tradition and methodology of the Bihar School of Yoga, distilled through years of self-practice and experimentation. His philosophy course offers a glimpse into the treasures of ancient texts and their application in daily life as yoga practice and ritual. Basic meditation instruction includes discussions on liberating knowledge, to deepen the yoga practice beyond the mere physical experience.

Tonie Nooyens

Tonie Nooyens is a highly experienced practitioner in different traditions of meditation, meditational yoga and healing. He is a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and one of the lead trainers on the KRI Asia Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training Program. He travels widely, facilitating teacher training and teaching workshops and retreats throughout Asia, including Cambodia, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.

Originally from The Netherlands, Tonie has lived and worked in Asia and Africa for more than 30 years. His service includes an initiative in Cambodia, where he conducts a Yoga and Meditation training programme for Cambodians to support stress and trauma-relief activities, as well as communication and personal capacity training for vulnerable groups.

The support team

Tonie will be supported by Tali, Ronith, Tien, Fiona and Sorita. All are certified Kundalini Yoga teachers, members of the KY Asia trainer team and trainers on the KRI Teacher Certification Program. They live and teach in Israel, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Cambodia.

Venerable Dhammadipa

Bhante Dhammadipa was born in Czechoslovakia, where he studied Chinese literature and philosophy. He later pursued his studies in Jerusalem, Berlin and Paris, before enrolling at the Nalanda University in India to study Sanskrit and Buddhist philosophy. He then lived in Japan, Sri Lanka and Burma, studying and practicing as a Buddhist monk under renowned contemporary masters of Buddhism.

One of his principal teachers was the Burmese meditation master Pa Auk Sayadaw, who recognized him as his first Western disciples qualified to teach meditation.

Ven Dhammadipa’s years of training in retreat combined with his extensive scholarly background make him an ideal teacher, able to guide students in transformative meditation practice grounded in a deep understanding of the path. He has extensively taught the Dharma in both theory and practice, and led students in meditation retreats in Europe, North and South America, India, China, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. He speaks Czech, French, German, English, Russian and fluent Chinese and reads and translates Buddhist texts from Pali and Sanskrit. Ven Dhammadipa taught a highly successful meditation program at IBA in the 2013 Summer Program.


Ellen Johannesen

Ellen Johannesen had studied and practiced Ashtanga for over 20 years. Becoming an advanced student under R. Sharath Jois, she obtained authorization Level 2, which allows her to teach Ashtanga yoga intermediate series.

Born in Norway and following a career in contemporary dance, Ellen discovered the practice of Ashtanga in 1994 at Jivamukti Yoga Center New York.

A keen practitioner ever since, she has studied with teachers worldwide, was authorized from KPJAYI, Mysore by Sharath Rangaswamy in 2006, and intensively studied for two years with John Scott.

She also founded the first and still the leading Ashtanga Yoga studio in Norway, Ashtanga Yoga Oslo, where she continues to guest-teach when in Norway and which hosts top international teachers during their Norway visits.

Over the last years Ellen has dedicated herself to Buddhist studies, living mostly in India and Nepal. She trained as a Tibetan translator at Rangjung Yeshe Insitute, Kathmandu, where she is currently continuing her studies. 

Sam Voolstra

Sam has been living and traveling in Asia since 1998 and is the founder of Pranamaya Yoga in Nepal and director of Mahalaya Nepal. She loves sharing her life experiences and knowledge of Asian cultures and Buddhist and yogic philosophy.

Alix Northup

Alix began her study of the healing arts as a teenager when her mom brought her to yoga classes as an alternative treatment for her scoliosis.  She draws from her own experience of finding balance in her body and mind to assist others on their own unique path.  Her background in movement includes the martial arts, rock climbing, bicycling, hiking, and mountaineering.  Alix is registered with the Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level and is currently working towards her 500 hour certification with Tias and Surya Little of Prajna Yoga based in Sante Fe, New Mexico.  She has studied yoga for back care and scoliosis with Iyengar based instructor Elise Miller.  
After Alix began teaching yoga, she decided to deepen her knowledge of the body and her scope of practice by attending massage school at the East West College of the Healing Arts and graduated in 2008.  Her interests in the eastern modalities and culture led her to Thailand where she discovered the art of Thai yoga massage and studied at the Thailand Massage School in Chiang Mai,  Thailand.
She has since studied and mentored with Alison Longstreth Lurie of the Baan Jai Center for Thai Massage and Education in Portland, Oregon, and studied CranialSacral Therapy through the Upledger Institute.
Alix is passionate about her work and is continuously expanding her education by taking classes and workshops and through the experience of working with her clients.
She spends her free time exploring the outdoors, playing music, gardening, cooking, reading, and lying in savasana.

Doron Hanoch

Doron is a Certified 550 hour Yoga Teacher (ERYT) as well as the director of the Doron Yoga School (RYS 200 and 500). He was introduced to Yoga and Meditation in 1992 while traveling and studying in the Far East for 2 years. During that time, Doron has studied at the Osho Ashram, with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, in Thailand doing Vipassana retreats, and in Japan living and working with a Buddhist priest.

Since then Doron has returned to India many times to deepen his spiritual and Asana Practice and has practiced under the guidance of Pattabhi Jois and his family. He is fortunate to have studied with some other great teachers such as Richard Freeman (teacher training, advanced trainings and assisting), Rolf and Marci, Tim Miller, Adarsh Williams, Sheshadri,  Chidananda, as well as continuing studies and mentoring, with Mark Stephens. Recently, he became certified to teach Third Series Ashtanga under Tim Miller.

The Yoga Lifestyle


Doron is the also author of the upcoming book The Yoga Lifestyle – Using the Flexitarian method to ease stress, find balance and create a healthy life. The book will be launched in June. 

Doron’s teachings are based on the foundation of tradition with a practical and non-dogmatic way. His classes are strong, but go at a pace that allows lots of awareness and focus. He teaches with extreme detail, shares a lot of informative tips both for body and mind, and keeps the class flowing with a fun energy infused with humor.

Doron is a trained chef, a certified nutrition consultant (registered with the AADP), an artist and a long time Zen student. He uses all his skills to share a holistic experience, with keen observation and compassion. 

Doron works towards bringing the experience of yoga on the mat into all levels of life. He is a teacher of the full spectrum of yoga, creating a healthy sustainable bliss onto all layers of life.

Gain an insight into Doron's teaching by catching him in person, or enjoying some of his many videos sharing the practice, such as this one-hour vinyasa flow practice:

One-hour yoga flow class with Doron Hanoch

Matt Huy

Anatomy trainer and movement teacher

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Matt Huy was studying biology at university when he enrolled in a dance class upon the whimsical suggestion of a friend. Something changed in him during that first dance course: he discovered the joy of movement. He next enrolled in a yoga class and decided he wanted to study movement over biology.

Several years later, he completed a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University Long Beach, a yoga teacher training at a Sivananda ashram in India and a matwork Pilates training with Power Pilates in LA.

Based in the UK since 2009, Matt continues to teach yoga, dance and Pilates. His classes are dynamic, challenging and un-rushed, with an emphasis on anatomy. He gives attention to body alignment while presenting the principles of yoga in a simple, down-to-earth way. He is a Senior Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance Professionals, leading the anatomy portion of several teacher training courses and providing mentoring and CPD workshops to current teachers.

In his anatomy studies, he has been lucky enough to study with Karen Clippinger, co-author of Pilates Anatomy, and Andrew McGonigle (DoctorYogi) who has acted as a mentor to him.

Having formerly danced professionally, Matt still has a strong yoga and movement practice which informs his teaching.  

Helen McCabe

Helen McCabe is a practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in Dorset. There, she runs the morning Mysore programme as well as teaching and running regular retreats and workshops both in her studio and internationally.

She started practicing yoga in 1991 when she was working in the film industry and had just had her first daughter. It has played a major part in her life ever since. Helen completed the BWY 3 year teacher training course in 2005 and subsequently both level 1 and 2 teacher training courses with her main teachers John Scott and Lucy Crawford. She has also completed the Yoga for Pregnancy and post-natal yoga modules with Nadia Narain at Triyoga London. She is recognised by Yoga Alliance UK as a Senior Yoga Teacher.

Helen aims to bring a mindful and gentle approach to sharing this practice and the powerful tool which it can be for everyday life. She is passionate about the importance working with the breath and body’s own intelligence and understanding how to cultivate, strength and stability as well as flexibility. She shares these techniques in a way that is empowering and supportive, so that practitioners of any age and experience can have the confidence to develop their own sustainable self practice.

Her own practice and exploration of yoga is ongoing as she continues to learn not just from her own teachers but also from all the people that she has the privilege of sharing yoga with.  As a mother of two grown up daughters the involvement with the Urban Yogis UK project which looks to share this practice with young people is also very close to her heart.

"I have been a dedicated student and practitioner of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, a flowing breath movement system, for many years, and have had the privilege of studying with some amazing teachers, in particular John and Lucy, for whom I have huge gratitude. They continue to teach and inspire me in both my own practice and as a teacher to others. I have also studied with Sharath Rangaswamy, grandson of the late SrI K PatthabI Jois, at KpjayI in Mysore India."

Andy Gill

Andy has been teaching Ashtanga Yoga for over 15 years. He is a 3rd Series practitioner and has extensive experience and knowledge to teach primary, 2nd and 3rd Series asana practice in the Ashtanga method. He started teaching through an apprenticeship with Gingi Lee at The Shala in South London. His personal study has continued through practice in Mysore and in particular with in-depth training with John and Lucy Scott. Andy has continued to study with John Scott and has subsequently taught with him on several foreign retreats. Andy is a Certified Yoga teacher holding the E-RYT certification and is one of only a handful of teachers to be awarded the John Scott Yoga 500 Hr Teacher Training certification.

As a teacher and a practicing Life Coach Andy understands and respects the needs of the individual student, placing their needs at the heart of his teaching. He brings an informed and non-dogmatic approach to teaching Ashtanga whilst remaining consistent and true to the traditional method.

Andy is passionate about teaching Ashtanga in the traditional Mysore space and he draws upon his experience both as a teacher and coach to provide a supportive, nurturing and inspiring space in which he can facilitate the personal growth of his students through their practice.


Anouk Aoun Wendel

Working primarily with Asana, Pranayama and mediation in her teaching, Anouk Aoun Wendel weaves yoga philosophy into her classes, bringing Emil's teachings into an embodied practice.

Anouk seeks to guide students to establish a practice that assists them to become awake and self-observant, to center themselves in times of chaos and to cultivate a sense of serenity in life. She is fascinated with exploring what lies beyond our physicality.

Anouk teaches from a belief that respect and being kind to one another are foremost virtues in our life journey. Remaining joyous and non-dogmatic along our spiritual practice helps to cultivate a lightness of being.

Anouk has become a sought-after guest on several teacher training programmes; including those led by Julie Martin in India, Linda Madani at Intuitive Flow in Bali, and Louisa Sear at Yoga Arts in Bali.

Paul Barton (Director of Photography)

Since leaving the London College of Printing, where Paul Barton studied for a Degree in photography, he has worked non-stop in the world of stills, film and television as a photographer and Director of Photography, a job which he considers to be a huge privilege to do. His clients have included the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, E4, Film 4, FIVE, Discovery Channel, Sky Television and Rolls-Royce.
Over the years, his work has enabled him to travel extensively, to experience many diverse locations and to observe the inner workings of cultural and natural systems but above all, to meet and work with some pretty wonderful people. 
He lives in Dorset and loves being located by the Jurassic coast, which he sees as the borderline where the madness stops and nature has control again. This passion for the natural world is particularly evident in his photography. Observing the changes in plants from the root structure bringing the energy from below, the buds and their symmetry, the green leaves with their business like photosynthesis, then the brief moment of full consciousness of the plant before the seed head, and death, you can see how life systems travel the creative dynamic between order and chaos and the balancing act this requires. 
He absolutely loves this work and the people that he gets to collaborate with, perhaps more than anything because it enables him to work so closely with light, both natural and ʻdesignedʼ, to capture the most beautiful images.
Light, in all its manifestations, is at the very heart and structure of life and the universe we live in. Understanding how to work with it will always produce the most stunning images, no matter what the message might be. 
Paul uses his knowledge of light and his meditation practice to focus a raised consciousness on the connection between all things using the medium of photography. 
For Paul, love is the conscious awareness of true connection, not just between individuals but between all things. So this has to be the framework and vehicle of creative expression and the basis for his current and future art. 
Visit Paul's website and enjoy his show reel below to learn more about his work. 

Stewart Gilchrist

Stewart is known throughout the world of yoga for his popular, innovative, authentic and dynamic classes. He infuses his high energy and challenging teachings with yogic knowledge, as well as his unique charisma, politics and humour. His classes include an emphasis on breath, vinyasa and philosophy with strong physical adjustments. Stewart applies the original teachings of yoga to the modern world to create thought-provoking teachings in modern dharma.

Having trained in astanga and as a Jivamukti teacher, Stewart’s spiritual journey led him to train all over the world with teachers who have had a profound effect on his unique style of teaching.

He offers his eternal gratitude to all his teachers: Sabel Thaim, Jennifer Dale, Hamish, David Life, Sharon Gannon, Swami Niramalanda and Sri K Patthabi Jois. 

Take a look at Stewart's Ted talk and his Yoga Journal profile. 

Christian Bernert

Christian-Bernert headshot

Teaching Focus: Buddhist theory and practice

Christian Bernert is a translator of Tibetan Buddhist texts, works at International Buddhist Academy in Nepal, and co-founded the Chödung Karmo Translation Group. He teaches classical Tibetan language and Buddhist theory and practice.​

Christian was born in Vienna, Austria, and from an early age was more interested in foreign cultures than in the regular school curriculum. His interest in spirituality and search for truth led him to the path of Yoga, which he practiced with great enthusiasm for some time. Still lacking an authentic and realized teacher however, he quickly gravitated toward his spiritual home, which turned out to be Buddhism.

In 1999 he met his first teacher in the person of the wonderful Khenchen Sherab Gyaltsen Amipa Rinpoche, a senior master from the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. This encounter moved Christian so deeply that his whole life received a new direction. In 2001 Christian went to Nepal with the encouragement of Khenchen Amipa Rinpoche to engage in Higher Buddhist Studies at the International Buddhist Academy in Kathmandu. He would follow the IBA summer courses from then onward every year with few exceptions. In parallel he enrolled at the University of Vienna to study Religious and Tibetan Studies. He graduated in 2009.

​During those years Christian had the great opportunity to study Buddhist philosophy and practice, as well as engage in numerous meditation retreats under the guidance of many great masters such as His Holiness Sakya Trizin, Khenchen Appey Rinpoche, Khenpo Jamyang Tenzin, Khenpo Ngawang Jorden and others from the Tibetan tradition, as well as teachers from the Theravada tradition, mainly Ven. Dhammadipa and Christoph Köck.

After his graduation, Christian was invited to join the IBA to coordinate the 2-year School of Translation Intensive Program, which he also joined as a student. In 2010 he co-founded the Chödung Karmo Translation Group with the aim of bringing together Tibetan scholars and Western academics to produce high quality translations of important Buddhist treatises, which is one of his biggest aspirations. Christian is also involved in translation projects for the 84000 project. Christian had the opportunity to translate for Khenchen Amipa Rinpoche several times, once for Khenpo Jorden, and also once served as assistant translator for His Holiness Sakya Trizin. He taught several weekend seminars on Buddhist theory and practice at Sakya Tsechen Changchub Ling in Bad Gams, Austria and recently guided a group of people in Buddhist meditation practices for a week in Chandolin, Switzerland.

2013 The Meditator’s Nest – a Mahayana Meditation Manual. Kathmandu: International Buddhist Academy.

2014 The Ākāśagarbha Sūtra, 84000 (www.84000.co).
2013 The Sūtra on Impermanence, 84000 (www.84000.co).
2012 Khenchen Appey Rinpoche: Cultivating a Heart of Wisdom. Oral Instructions on the Mind Training in Seven Points. Kathmandu: International Buddhist Academy.
2011 The Sūtra on Reliance upon a Spiritual Friend. 84000 (www.84000.co).

Sati Chmelar

Sati Chmelar, yoga teacher trainer in Nepal

Teaching Focus: Ashtanga Yoga practice & philosophy, applied wisdom practice

Shannon (Sati) Chmelar is an American Yoga and philosophy teacher, writer, speaker, and therapist. She is the Founder and Director of Vasudhaiva Institute, a global educational institute dedicated to the study of classical Indian thought, Yoga, and Buddhism. In all of her work she strives to illuminate how ancient wisdom teachings may help us overcome our daily struggles and cultivate a more compassionate existence.​ Sati teaches in the United States, Europe, and Asia returning annually to Kathmandu, Nepal to lead various projects. She is currently based in Oslo, Norway with her husband.

Sati's asana lineage is Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in the tradition of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois and T. Krishnamacharya. She has practiced for over 10 years and is a dedicated practitioner of the complete Intermediate Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Sati is a Buddhist in the Tibetan tradition. She has received most of her guidance within the Kagyu tradition but has studied under Sakya and Nyingma lineages as well. She has a deep reverence for various schools of Indian philosophy most notably Advaita Vedanta and Ashtanga/Classical Yoga. Her strong interest in comparative religion, contemplative psychology, and progressive education inform her pedagogy and her background as a performance artist and massage therapist influence her approach to therapeutic process.

Sati's teaching consists of asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy and a series of learning exercises she calls, applied wisdom practice. Sati has been teaching for over 16 years, first in the realm of dance and performance composition and later the tradition of Yoga. Her teaching style has been described as bold, heartfelt, provocative, and humorous. In her lectures she not only conveys traditional teachings but asks students to deeply examine them through the lens of their own experience often giving assignments to assist in this process. In philosophy classes, she often uses non-traditional teaching tools such as props, drawing, and theatre to make seemingly complex metaphysical ideas simple and accessible. Contemplative writing, group and partner exercises are also used to help students become intimate with the self-inquiry process. She stresses the vital importance of finding the application of wisdom teachings in our daily thought, speech, and action. In asana classes she teaches traditional Ashtanga Yoga in mysore method classes as well as led classes of varying levels. Her extensive training in massage and bodywork influences her use of touch and informs how she therapeutically holds space for students in their practice. Sati teaches primarily in retreat formats also offering occasional classes and workshops.

You can learn about Sati at www.satiyogini.com

Christina Monson

Specialism: Tibetan translation (for the Dharma teachings), and Buddhist philosophy and practice.

Christina (Chris) Monson is a translator and interpretor who has been studying and practicing in Nepal under the guidance of her root master Chatral Rinpoche for over two decades.  She has studied religion and Tibetan language at both undergraduate and graduate levels in the United States and at the Rangjung Yeshe Institute of Kathmandu University in Nepal.  She has published a translation of the short life story of the great dakini Sera Khandro entitled The Excellent Path of Devotion.  A member of the Light of Berotsana Translation group, Chris translates for teachers such as Dudjom Yangsi Rinpoche Sangye Pema Sheba, and currently is translating some of the Treasure revelations of Sera Khandro.


Chris first studied the Buddhist traditions of East Asia as an undergraduate student in religious studies at Brown University.  Her interest in learning more about Buddhism brought her to Nepal in 1989 where she had the fortune to meet the great Tibetan Buddhist masters Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche and Tulku Urygen Rinpoche.  She studied with them, and then returned to the States to complete a graduate degree with a focus in Tibetan Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1993.   

Immediately afterward, she returned again to Nepal to continue learning from these teachers.  In 2000 Christina began working with the School for International Training’s semester abroad program in Nepal as a teacher for undergraduate students from American universities, and she continues to work in the field of international education today.  She is based in Kathmandu, and is pursuing further advanced study in Tibetan language and Buddhist philosophy from the Center for Buddhist Studies at Kathmandu University.

Translations by Chris Monson

Joey Miles

Joey Miles came to yoga after a mis-spent youth pursuing the circus, martial arts and physical theatre. At Goldsmiths University of London he directed the Yoga Society for 3 years, took up Aikido and sat regularly with the FWBO (Friends of the Western Buddhist Order). After completing his degree in Drama he became an assistant to Hamish Hendry at Astanga Yoga London.  During this time he studied annually with his Guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in Mysore and in 2004 was authorised to teach the Primary Series. From 2005-8 he taught the daily Mysore program at Triyoga, Primrose Hill, London.

In 2006 Joey began practicing Iyengar Yoga with Alaric Newcombe.  The attention to alignment, precision and subtle detail has greatly influenced his practice, teaching and perception and he regularly gets scolded now in Mysore by Sharath Jois for doing standings too wide! In 2009 Joey moved to Leeds where he set up and continues to run Yorkshire’s first 5 day a week Mysore program: Ashtanga Yoga Leeds. On a recent visit to Mysore Joey assisted daily for a month and was given Authorisation level 2; (blessing to teach the intermediate series) by Sharath Jois of KPJAYI.

Grounded and approachable, Joey's 'common sense' approach to Ashtanga stems from his deep respect for the traditional method of practice, combined with experimental knowledge of alignment and anatomy.  Joey brings a fresh pair of eyes to your practice, giving guidance on how to work with the sequence and how to make the sequence work for you.  Joey's pragmatism, humour and caring nature will leave you feeling inspired and deeply connected with your practice.


Lizzie - teaching faculty and co-Director of Mahalaya

My yoga journey began in 2006 in London. Since then, yoga has accompanied me as I have travelled, providing a constant in many varied contexts.

I completed my 200 hour Yoga Alliance accreditation in Vinyasa and Hatha yoga in Nepal with Heather Elton. Yoga philosophy formed an integral part of this training, and I was privileged to also be taught by Emil Wendel, gaining insights into the underlying philosophical current of India and Nepal – two countries which I had grown deep connections with.

I have lived in Nepal since 2012, and am fascinated by the depth of yoga’s roots here, and the way it intertwines with modern day culture and society. I teach Vinyasa Flow and love the creativity and freedom of this style of practice. I also emphasise correct alignment during my teaching and the importance of connecting with stillness and silence as a way to improve wellbeing and to gain a greater understanding of the self. For me, yoga is an exciting adventure that allows for the exploration of the physical and the spiritual. It also provides a wonderful lens through which to further explore and understand the fascinating country of Nepal.

John Scott

John Scott - leading Ashtanga teacher

New Zealander by birth, but at heart a Scott, John originally studied Industrial Design both in New Zealand and Australia to graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Design.

John is a dedicated and direct student of Shri K Pattabhi Jois since 1989. John was introduced to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga by Derek Island, while traveling through Europe. As a result, John began his studies with Guruji – Shri K Pattabhi Jois of Mysore India, and has since then continued to develop his practice and teaching with many other students on the path of yoga.

In 1995 John was certified to teach Ashtanga Yoga by Shri K Pattabhi Jois. John incorporates design philosophies with yoga philosophies, adding a very precise, detailed and colourful metaphorical presentation to his teaching.

His highly individual, analytical and sensitive approach touches deeply, the students who work with him. 

John presents workshops worldwide and has done so for the past 20 years.  John has produced a best-selling book, “Ashtanga Yoga”, and a counted primary series DVD.  John is committed to teaching the traditional counted method and has produced a Yoga App, to this end.

John is also well known for his illustrations/charts (line drawings) of Ashtanga Yoga Primary and Intermediate and Advanced Series, which continue to circulate Worldwide, having been published in chart form and then later in book form in “Astanga Yoga”, by Lino Miele.

Find out more about John and his teaching, through his website and videos.

Deepika Mehta


In 1997, a near death rock climbing accident had the doctors tell Deepika Mehta that she would never walk again. Not one to allow obstacles to deter her spirit and enthusiasm for life, she sought after alternative approaches and found the age old Indian discipline of Yoga. Practicing meditation and pranayama, Deepika then dove herself deep into years of education and practice and seeking alternative healing techniques. She initially went to the Sivananda Yoga Kendra in Kerala, where she did her Teacher Training. From there she was led to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga and to meeting her Guru, Shri K Pattabhi Jois in 2002.

She has also travelled to various parts of the world studying with various masters like Richard Freeman, Dena Kingsberg, Prem Carlisi, Lino Miele, and Rolf Naujokat. She is currently a student Sharath Jois and learning Advanced A Series with him.

Deepika Mehta has been fortunate enough to have her own TV show called Yoga City, as well as teaching India’s most famous celebrities. She has been the master trainer on the show “The Biggest Loser” in India. She has been featured as one of the three women redefining beauty ideals in India in Vogue magazine 2014, has been the face of the fitness campaign 2015 in Elle India, and has been featured in various other publications and given a Dance/Yoga presentation and talk at the TedX event a the UN Headquarters in NYC.

Mark Robberds


Mark Robberds has been studying yoga since 1997. He is a Certified Ashtanga Yoga teacher (one of the few Certified by KPJAYI) and since 1999 has been travelling regularly to India to practice with the late, legendary Guru Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois, and his grandson R. Sharath, of Mysore. He also trained as an apprentice, with Eileen Hall from 1999-2005 at YogaMoves in Sydney and taught the busiest Mysore programme in Australia at the time.

Mark has studied extensively with some of the world’s best yoga teachers including Richard Freeman and Dena Kingsberg, and he continues to learn from masters in various disciplines in his quest to reach the highest point in human evolution. His teaching reflects the essence of these influences.

In 2004 Mark realised that in this lifetime he wanted to wake up to his true purpose. A part of that journey has been to travel all over the world and to go deeper into his own love of yoga, surfing, teaching and music, and in doing so, find the thread that connects them all.

He has been teaching workshops, retreats and as a guest teacher, internationally since 2005. Mark Robberds wishes to share the teachings of yoga in a way that inspires people to develop a passion and love for the practice. He teaches each individual uniquely and is focused on helping each student to reach their full potential in life.

Petri Räisänen

Petri Räisänen (born August 13, 1967) is an internationally known and respected Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Petri started practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 1988 as a devoted student of his Guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, and was authorized to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2001 by Guruji. Petri is careful to pass on his Guru's exact teachings.

Petri is co-owner and director of Ashtanga Yoga Helsinki, one of the world's largest Ashtanga Yoga Shalas which he co-founded in 1997. Sri K Pattabhi Jois blessed the school to teach the traditional Astanga Yoga method.

In his yogic path Petri has studied with many respected Astanga Yoga teachers such as Derek Ireland, Radha Warrel, Gwendoline Hunt, Lino Miele and Eddie Stern, in addition to R. Sharath Jois and Sri K. Pattabhi Jois.

Petri focuses on integrating healing and therapy with yoga, meeting student's individual needs and guiding their progress. Petri's yoga pose adjustments are gentle, effective, therapeutic and, according to some, almost magical. They originate (besides his own practice and teaching) from his past work as a traditional Finnish folk healer and naturopath. His friendly, relaxed behaviour and intuitive perception give an open, energetic and meditative atmosphere to his classes.

In 2004, Petri wrote "Astanga - The Yoga Tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois" in collaboration with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson, R. Sharath Jois. The book introduces the primary series (1st series) Astanga Yoga method and philosophy, as well as its potential as a physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual practice. His intermediate series (2nd series) book "Nadi Sodhana" was released in 2008 and is written mostly from the interviews with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from 2006-2007 in Mysore, India. Both books are written as part of Petri's ongoing pilgrimage into Astanga yoga's inner word, with a great sense of respect towards his Guru and the Yoga Tradition.

Petri has studied raw/live food and worked in a raw food restuarant, and has attended Reiki healing workshops and passed the first two levels. From 1989-1991, Petri studied to become a Naturopath, leading him to open his own Health Center "Afrodite" in Kaivopuisto, Helsinki. Petri has gone on to study various healing methods such as Jäsenkorjaus (Finnish Bone Setting), Kahuna techniques of Shamanic healing (Hawaii), and Swedish Massage. He uses his Folk Healing techniques in his asana adjustments and teaching. 

He continues to study Indian Philosophy and Sanskrit with different teachers like Dr. M.A. Jayashree, Prof. M.A. Narasimhan, Vyaas Houston and Shankaranarayana Jois.

Learn more at www.petriraisanen.com

Julia Grant-Scott

Julia Grant-Scott - Leading Ashtanga teacher and co-teacher with John Scott

Actor, Dancer, and Yogini, at the age of 18 Julia began her yoga journey, first drawn to Iyengar Yoga and Buddhist Meditation. In 2014 however, when Julia was introduced to Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, it was apparent to her that this one dynamic practice encompassed all the magic and wonder of a mystical journey of self-expression and discovery.

Julia met John Scott in 2016 their two energies fueled a life together of adventure and discovery. Julia since has balanced two lives, travelling between countries from yoga retreat to Acting and between sets to immersion in assisting and apprenticing John. In 2017 she completed her 200 hour JSY Teacher Training.

When Julia is teaching and adjusting yoga asana, she draws from her multiple disciplines. She incorporates and integrates relationship skills so that the student feels met, held and supported, allowing for their inner expression to be articulated.

Annie Seymour

Annie is the founder of Mahalaya Yoga. She teaches Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow yoga through classes and retreats in Kathmandu, with a focus on understanding and experiencing the practices from perspectives of the workings of the mind and the physiological systems, and as a process for bringing the body, mind and spirit into alignment for greater health, happiness, gratitude and kindness.

Annie’s studies have included intensive training under Ashtanga and pranayama masters Paul Dallaghan and yoga anatomists Adarsh Williams and Andrew McGonigle, and she has assisted at multiple workshops, retreats and TTCs including those taught by Heather Elton, Emil Wendel and Ellen Johannesen. Her studies at the KPJAY Institute in Mysore and practice under some of the world's leading Ashtanga teachers including Tim Miller, Hamish Hendry, Lisa Shrempp and Iain Grysak have been instrumental in deepening her practice and teaching style. She brings an energy, warmth and accessibility to translating Yoga practice and traditions to students from all over the world and of all backgrounds.

For more detail on Annie, visit: www.annieseymour.org