RISHI SUDHIR, INDIA
E-RYT 500, SYT
Director of Sampoorna Yoga, Goa India.
Sudhir Rishi is the Director of the Yoga Teacher Training at Sampoorna – Yoga School in India. He has been involved in the fields of yoga, meditation, philosophy and Ayurveda for the last 24 years. He lived as a monk for eight years, dedicating himself to intense meditation practices. He has taught thousands of students in our yoga teacher training programs in the last five years. He also travels to different countries in Europe and Asia conducting workshops and yoga retreats. He taught in more than 75 groups of TTC 200 and 18 groups of TTC 300 in addition to meditation courses and silent retreats.
Born into a traditional Hindu family, he studied Mechanical Engineering, achieved a Master of Technology award in Quality and Reliability and worked as a Total Quality Manager in a leading automobile company in India. However, all through his career he was deeply thinking and observing life. At age 28, sudden death of his mother and inspired by Buddha and other spiritual masters, he left his highly paid job, and joined the Ramakrishna Mission as a Brahmachari (celibate monk). His quest took him to the Himalayas. Later, he joined the Swami Dayananda Ashram, in Rishikesh and studied Sanskrit, Vedic Chanting and Commentaries on scriptures of Advaita vedanta. He learnt yoga from the Balananda Brahmachari tradition and Bihar School of Yoga and did his yoga teacher training in Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore. He also learnt and practiced TM of Maharshi Mahesh Yogi, Vipassana, Osho’s techniques and J Krishnamurthy’s teachings. During the last 16 years he has made his home near Sri Ramana Maharshi Ashram, in South India, combining his time in the Ashram with the teaching time at Sampoorna Yoga.
For Sudhir, philosophy is not a theoretical pursuit but a lifestyle. For him, philosophy reveals higher truths which need to be contemplated, verified, applied and assimilated. He has had many transformative spiritual experiences and he shares his personal experiences with his students. He loves life and people. He is passionate to share his wisdom and insights with spiritual seekers. He believes, and it has been his own experience, that joy is the nature of oneself, and it has no connection to anything whatsoever, and this fact can be discovered by others as well! His simple way of teaching helps his students to know themselves better and deeper.
VEENA SUDHIR, INDIA
E-RYT 500, SYT
Yoga, Ayurveda & Meditation Teacher
Veena Sudhir has been involved in the fields of meditation and Ayurveda for more than twenty years. By profession, she graduated in Computer Software and Library Sciences and masters in Applied Psychology. By passion, she was naturally pulled into meditation, Ayurveda, Reiki and Pranic healing. She has been associated with Sri Ramanashram, in Tiruvannamalai for around thirty years and has spent many years studying meditation and healing practices.
She has been teaching at Sampoorna yoga for number of years after completing both her 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher training courses at the school. She also did two Yin yoga teacher training courses as well. Veena is now a valued member of the Sampoorna teaching team, her primary role is conducting modules of our Meditation teacher training and broadening the remit of our other training with her extensive knowledge of meditation and healing practices.
Veena brings much to the school through her passion and dedication to her subjects, passing on her knowledge to others is one of her greatest passions.
VIJAYA PAI, INDIA
M.Sc in Yoga Therapy
Vijaya has trained as Yoga Therapist for six years in prestigious Indian universities, and several hospitals around the country.
Even though she was oblivious to the scope of Yoga, Vijaya took up Yoga education for her graduation: Bachelor’s degree in Yoga Therapy and Spirituality. That’s where she formally encountered Yoga and its principles.
As a Yoga Consultant and Therapist at an Ayurvedic hospital, she discovered the ample dimensions of therapeutic aspects of Yoga, as well the clinical pathology and pathophysiology of various common ailments. This led her to pursue her Master’s degree in Yoga Therapy, where she got an intense exposure to the knowledge of science and art of the human body and the basics of Ayurveda.
Her focus -as a Yoga Teacher Trainer– is to create a safe space for students to deepen their self-awareness, inspire them to make healthy lifestyle choices and to educate them about the importance of acceptance in order to facilitate healing.
PRIANCA SHHARMA, INDIA
Prianca’s passion has always been to express her inner self through movement. For this reason, she spent over a decade in the theatre and dance industry. Yoga came into her life when all fell apart due to the stressful environment she was surrounded by. Yoga provided the healing calmness she was looking for, and since then, Yoga became the axis of her life.
In 2013, she decided to do her first Yoga teacher training, and her journey of sharing, learning and exploring the physical, mental and spiritual body began in 2014. In her classes, she tries to keep the focus on embodiment of full practise on and off the mat.
She has trained in Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Ashtanga, Pre and Post-natal yoga, meditation and chanting, and she has shared her knowledge and practice with students from all over the world. Prianca likes to use breath control, dance movement and other such tools to build a connection with our inner being. She believes that awareness and reflection are as essential to teaching as they are to practise.
According to her, poets start with words and painters with primary colours, and as a teacher she likes to hone the craft and then step back, allowing yoga to perform its magic.
For Prianca, the best part about teaching is having the hope that she can inspire and support her students in her little unique ways!
DR PALLAVI KAVHANE, INDIA
DR PALLAVI KAVHANE
Dr Kavhane is the director of the Maharashtriya Mandal Yoga School and Research Center at Vishwanand Yoga Institute, and a Yoga teacher at the University of Pune. She holds masters degrees in both Physical Education and Yoga, a masters diploma in Naturopathy, and has been awarded an honorary D. Litt from the University of South America.
Dr Kavhane has won multiple awards for yoga in her career, including the highest award, the All India Yogarjuna Award in 2000 in Kolkata, where she was a student of B.K.S. Iyengar. She is a three-times winner of the World Champion Award, in Spain, Argentina and Portugal.
She has been recognised by the Sports Minister of India, Shri Sunil Dutt, for representing India and winning the gold medal at the International Yoga Symposium for three consecutive years.
Dr Kavhane is a guest lecturer in yoga at many schools, colleges, institutes and universities and she has conducted over 2,000 demonstrations all over the world. She has contributed to multiple books, articles and seminars on yoga and was a contributor to the Sports Development Conference in 2005, hosted by Shri Sunil Dutt. She is a lifetime member of the Indian Yoga Association.
DR VISHWAJEET CHAVAN, INDIA
M.Sc in Yoga Therapy
DR VISHWAJEET CHAVAN
Dr Chavan has been practicing yoga therapy and ayurvedic medicine at the Shree Shashwati Health Center in Kothrud, Maharashtra, for fifteen years. He has a PhD in Alternative Therapies from Pune University and has diplomas in Therapeutic Restorative Yoga, Naturopathy, and Yoga and Ayurveda.
Dr Chavan is a qualified yoga teacher, and through the Sahaja Yoga Trust, he leads Sahaja Yoga Meditation camps all over India with the mission of improving people’s spiritual health.
He is associated with many charitable organisations in India, where his work ranges from working with special-needs people in Andhashala, Marashrashtra, to destitute women and girls in Mahila Sevashram, Karnataka. Every year he assists at the Rotary International Warkari health check-up camps at different locations around India, specialising in raising awareness around conditions such as anaemia, diabetes and heart disease.
Dr Chavan’s social outreach is spread further through his work with the Punya Charitable Trust, the Pune Doctor Charitable Trust, Sanjeevan Yoga therapist Association, the Shree Yogdayani Association, Ahmendnagar Mitra Mandal, Indian Medical Association, Kothrud Doctors Association among others. He is a follower of the H. H. Shree Mataji Nirmala Deviji Sahaja Yoga Meditation Technique.
DR NEELIMA NALAWADEY, INDIA
DR NEELIMA NALAWADEY
Dr. Nalawadey has a Bachelor of Education degree in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery, and a diploma in Panchakarma, from the University of Pune.
She is a certified yoga teacher from the Indian School of Yoga in Chennai and has been practising ayurveda, panchakarma and yoga therapy since 2010. She is currently teaching yoga therapy, yoga philosophy, tridosha and ayurvedic nutrition at the Yoga and Ayurveda Prabodhini in Pune.
In her spare time, Dr Nalawadey enjoys kathak dancing and kick-boxing.
MINE TAYLAN, SWEDEN
Mine has practiced yoga and meditation for almost 20 years, and started teaching over 14 years ago. In 2007, she opened the first hot yoga studio in southern Sweden, in Malmö. Since her first official yoga teacher training she has taught 6000 hours of classes.
To emphasize the constant learning process, Mine persists in calling herself a student and her students her teachers. Mine’s experience as a teacher and studio owner, and from a range of trainings that she has led and participated in, has given her a deep understanding of a vast variety of yoga styles and of each person’s uniqueness and individual needs. It has enriched her with an excellent wealth of knowledge of yoga, alignment, therapy and anatomy which shines in each of her classes. Her compassion and her quality consistent classes makes her students leave each class feeling stronger, healthier, aware and more balanced.
“As a yoga student, teacher, teachers’ teacher and studio owner, I hope to convey that yoga practice, – on top of constituting physical and mental practice- can grow into a lifelong love relationship. It’s important to me that every person feel “safely challenged”, regardless if their main interest is teaching, practice, breathing, self-realization, mindfulness, concentration, relaxation, philosophy or anything else. I want to be able to inspire, motivate and guide my students from dream to reality, whether is spreading the philosophy of yoga, learning headstand or free yourself from physical pain.”
Before her immersion in yoga, Mine obtained a degree in Psychology and worked in the Human Resources and Recruiting fields. Today, she runs a yoga studio, holds retreats and teaches Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Yoga Therapy, Meditation and Pranayama. Some of teachers Mine has learnt from are Jason Crandell, Ray Long, Paul Grilley, Raghunath, Alan Wallace, Budokon University, and much more.
ROWENA JOHNSON, UK
E-RYT 200, RYT 500
ROWENA JOHNSON, UK
Having always led an active life, Rowena first started practicing yoga asana in 2008 as a means for balancing out her many other physical pursuits. It was not long until the practice began to open up a deeper level of awareness of body, mind and spirit. Soon, yoga asana became Rowena’s main physical pursuit. After attending a two-week Ashtanga retreat with Harmony and Jeff Lichty in November 2013, Rowena returned to London and continued with a daily Ashtanga Primary Series practice, in addition to her already regular Jivamukti practice. These two intense and deeply spiritual practices triggered her curiosity, opening up a desire to deepen her own practice and gain a better understanding of what Patanjali referred to as the eight limbs of yoga. It was this desire that propelled her to embark on a 200-hr Ashtanga-Vinyasa training, which she completed at Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School India in January 2016.
Since then, Rowena has gone on to practice and study yoga under the guidance of Sharath Jois at KPJAYI in Mysore. In 2017, Rowena went on to complete a 300-hr yoga teacher training in the Jivamukti yoga method. These enriching experiences and all of her teachers are the inspiration behind the style of yoga that Rowena teaches. Combining pranayama, vinyasa and mediation, Rowena’s classes focus on awakening the senses, bringing students in tune with their bodies to reveal the strength and grace we all have inside.
ALAN ELLMAN, UK
Alan led a rather hedonistic lifestyle up until his discovery of yoga while living in Hong Kong. Although he enjoyed his job teaching English to preschoolers, there was something missing. After signing up for a free class at his local gym, he never looked back. It was the perfect way to bring some calm into an otherwise hectic lifestyle, and it wasn’t long before the shift from party to asana addict began. Yoga ignited a passion that had been previously misdirected and kick started a positive new chapter in his life.
Having been so enriched by teaching English previously, it seemed a natural progression to share his new love, and so began his journey at Sampoorna Yoga. Having completed both the 200-hour Ashtanga-Vinyasa and 300-hour Vinyasa flow courses at Sampoorna Yoga, Alan went on to train in Rocket Yoga with senior teacher Amber Gean. Alan’s style is dynamic and energetic, but playful with a strong emphasis on alignment and breath. He strives for precise technique and movement in his class, always with a focus on well-being and mindfulness. His personal practice combines Vinyasa Flow, Rocket, Dharma Mittra and just about anything that gets him on his hands or upside down, where he is happiest.When not at Sampoorna, Alan lives and teaches full-time in London.
JENNA NAIK, UK
Jenna shares the Ashtanga System of Yoga with passion. As a devoted practitioner and Sharer she weaves the philosophy and 8 limbs of yoga into her teaching and supports students with the application of this in their every day life.
Jenna has studied with her own teacher around the world and has taught numerous workshops and specialised classes in group and private settings for mental health, disability and young people across UK, Europe and India.
Jenna’s approach to teaching is steeped with compassion, reminding students that the physical practice of Asana, which literally translates ( ‘To take ones seat’ ), is a dynamic meditation, to prepare the body for more subtle states of being. She will meet you exactly where you are in your practice, giving you enough space to express yourself to go beyond your physical and mental limitations, whilst embodying the posture in your own anatomy.
Yoga begins by listening. Sometimes there is so much noice in the head; we can’t hear our own inner, higher self speaking.
KAREN MARSH, ENGLAND
Karen started yoga over thirteen years ago after a suggestion from a friend to heal a chronic back pain, due to a fast and physically emanding lifestyle. The physical benefits and challenge were the first attraction, but with more practice in many different styles of yoga, she began to notice positive and naturally occurring changes in her whole being and lifestyle; and fell madly in love with yoga.
Karen completed her 200hr & 300hr Hatha yoga teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam, Yin yoga 40hr training in London with Norman Blair and 300hr Vinyasa yoga teacher training at Sampoorna. After such a beautiful transformative experience at Sampoorna, Karen returned to learn and share more as a karma yogi.
Karen is passionate about combining and theming empowering flows, philosophy and meditation from her varied learning experience.” I hope to give students a sense of wonder and enthusiasm for the challenges of the body and mind and a desire to learn more about themselves and yoga.”
“Yoga has been so transformative for me in my whole life and being and for that I am so grateful and feel called to share it with anyone who seeks it.”
Life philosophy: be aware, be present, and face the joyful and challenging as learning and experience; there will always be both, but what you feed grows. Not every day is a good day but positivity can go a long way… it’s a practice: concentrate, practice, fall, learn, then get back up. Smile. Be persistent.
VERA BETTIOL, ITALY
Vera began practicing yoga while living in San Diego, California in 2010. It was love at first sight, and after her first yoga class she never looked back. As soon as she entered the yoga room, she knew she was home, the home of her heart. Since then, she had taken various trainings and workshops around the world. Nowadays, Vera is a 500-hours certified yoga teacher. She did her first 200-hour training with CorePower Yoga and then completed her 300-hour yoga teacher training at Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School in India. She is also a certified aerial yoga and yin yoga teacher. She mostly practice and teaches vinyasa, yin and aerial yoga.
Vera encourages her students to build greater self-awareness and peace through their yoga practice, empowering them to release, to let go and to discover themselves, in a safe comfortable ambiance. She strives to inspire her students to foster an interest in slowing down, paying attention to the subtle things, and remembering their innate ability to heal themselves. She places emphasis in breathing, safety, postural alignment while practicing in a loving-playful atmosphere. Vera believes that through yoga we can create the change we need and bring peace and joy to ourselves and others. She feels blessed and grateful to be able to share her love for Yoga with others.
Along with her yoga journey, Vera loves to travel and has visited many countries over the years. Born and raised in Italy, has lived for more than 11 years in California, USA. Before dedicating her journey to yoga, Vera worked in the field of communications and marketing. She also has a master and a doctoral degree in Business Administration.
ANNACHIARA CHEMELLO, ITALY
ANNACHIARA CHEMELLO (NAKI)
Annachiara, or Naki as everyone calls her, came to Yoga while searching for something she couldn’t really define. Always been fascinated by the human body, she was drawn to the practice by the beautiful shapes and soon realised that there was much more to Yoga than just physical movement. Since day one she never stopped praticing, something resonated deeply into her making her feel that the path of Yoga was a path she truly wanted to pursue.
Exploring the practice both from a philosophical and scientific point of view, Naki completed her first yoga teacher training in Sampoorna at the beginning of 2018 and came back to the school to dive deeper into her studies and practice both as a student and teacher. She attended and completed the 300 hours Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with us at the beginning of 2019 and has been teaching both in India and around Italy for the past years. She keeps training in Italy and around the world because she truly believes that she will always be a student, ready to dive deeper into all the different aspects of the Yoga practice.
Living with an open heart, spreading loving kindness and good energy with the powerful tool of Yoga is her mission in Life, and you will always find a supportive smile and hug with her. She also loves Nature with her whole heart and truly believes that we all are one. That’s why Naki gives a big importance to sharing and holding space for each other to grow together.
Other than Yoga, Naki studies Pharmacy at University and works online through her Youtube channel and Instagram profile, spreading love, joy and good vibes.
ATHENA CHRISTODOULOU, UK
Athena trained as a classical and contemporary dancer in 1992 continuing her professional dancing and teaching career until her forties. She ran her own ballet school and contemporary dance company in Cyprus for 10 years and a yoga studio for 5 years. She came across an Ashtanga yoga class while traveling through New Zealand in 1998 and was hooked! It was so refreshing to have the discipline that she knew her whole life from classical ballet training but at the same time without the competition and pressures of the dance world. She continued developing her self practice until she decided to take a yoga teacher training with David Swenson in 2004. She has practiced and taught since then, always continuing to learn and to explore the different qualities that Ashtanga brought out in herself and in her students.
In the last 10 years she has taken many workshops in Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga which has helped her develop her own style of teaching. She has a great interest in the anatomical side of yoga and has a great eye for alignment. She took a 200hrs Yin Yoga Teacher Training in 2018 and completed her 300hrs Teacher Training in Vinyasa with Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School in Goa in February 2019. Her classes are challenging but always with a fun element as she believes that even though she takes her work seriously a sense of humour is always necessary! She never stops learning and feels that the more you know, the more you realize the less you know!
She has also just completed a two year course in Clinical Canine Massage Therapy. This way she can fulfill her other passion which is helping dogs lead happier lives. At the moment she lives in Edinburgh with her partner and their 2 dogs and 2 cats.
STEVEN BISHOP, USA
Steve has been practicing yoga for most of his life. Although, he began practicing yoga as a way to keep his body healthy, Steve soon realized that yoga also changed the way he looked at the world.
He began teaching yoga 12 years ago and many of the students from his very first class are still taking yoga with him. His classes are themed so what is done on the mat can be integrated into our lives off the mat. While the physical benefits of yoga are evident and sought after in the western culture the hidden benefits of yoga such as inner strength, emotional control, and spiritual fortitude are possibly even more important.
Steve received both his 200-hour and 500-hour yoga teacher training from Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School India. He has also studied under a variety of yoga teachers including Bryan Kest, Doug Swenson, Ray Long, MD, and Tiffany Cruikshank. He is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, has a Master’s degree in physiology, and a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology and educational leadership. Steve’s professional career was spent in the medical field and education. Steve served as an Advisor for Yoga Alliance on the Standards Revision Project.
Steve brings his knowledge of anatomy, yoga, and psychology together to design a yoga class that safely and effectively addresses injuries and different body types while providing a fun and challenging class that benefits body, mind, and soul. He has an eclectic style that incorporates aspects of Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga yoga, Yin yoga, Piyo® and Broga®.
ELENA ORTH, GERMANY
E-RYT 200 and RYT 500
Elena discovered Yoga during her time at university in 2009, looking for something to soothe and balance out a hectic and dissatisfying lifestyle. She fell in love with the dancelike movements and the physical challenge and naturally started committing to the practice. A few years later, a round-the-world-trip brought her to her first contact with an ashram in South India, which opened up a new understanding of Yoga not only being a physical practice, but a guide for the long run to a healthy, happy life.
Being curious, she decided to come back to India in 2016 for her 200 hrs yoga teacher training and in 2018 for her 300 hrs TTCs with Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School India, parallely starting her first job as an architect in Germany. Experiencing a phase of mental and physical tension, even anxiety for a few years, often triggered by the increased body-awareness in combination with feeling overwhelmed with expectations, she clung to her practice and learned to use Yoga as a tool to get her through tough times.
Ever since, she is working on closing the gap between her work and her passion. In 2017, she supplemented her training in Vinyasa and Ashtanga with a 100 hrs Yin TTC with Markus Henning Giess. Benefiting from an analytical but also a creative mind, she likes to sequence her classes in a structured, yet suspenseful way, taking her students on a journey through playful movement to insight of their own patterns. Elena’s teaching style is dynamic with emphasis on a strong foundation, conscious breath and fluid transitions. She loves to teach and share her own experience, encouraging her students to take what they learn on their mat into their lives.
NATHALIE GRAHLERT, GERMANY
Nathalie was a ballet dancer. It was her passion. As she grow older, she felt uncomfortable with her body. She started to think she has to loose weight and has to be thinner in order to be perfect. That lead to eating disorders and other connected emotional issues. This somehow lead her to yoga at 18. Frustrated about her doubts and the pain of no self-acceptance she used this opportunity to chang herself, in body and mind leading to self acceptance. Thanks to yoga.
She started to expand her knowledge about yoga, the human body and the connection between body and herself. This lead her to India. Did her yoga teacher trainings twice at Sampoorna – Yoga Teacher Training School India. She never stopped growing! She teaches Ashtanga and also dynamic vinyasa, loves the combination of Yin and Yang in her classes.
Her method of teaching reflects what she believes and practices :
“You are good the way you are. You are awesome! No matter what”
KIRAN DEVI, UK
Kiran fell in love with yoga as soon as she stepped on the mat more than 10 years ago, and hasn’t looked back (unless doing a backbend!). Years of practice led Kiran to embark on the journey to become a qualified teacher. She is a 500-hour trained Vinyasa teacher. And has done several additional courses which include Yin Yoga training, among others.
She ran her own studio in Birmingham, UK sharing her passion and knowledge with her students. She emphasises correct alignments and gives top priority to intensity and safety.
Yoga, for her, is a regular discipline and not just an exercise routine. She loves the spiritual benefits of yoga. Through movement, she creates this inner space, a sense of freedom and happiness to the soul.
MIDYA SOFI, SWITZERLAND
After 18 years of judo, Midya began her long journey to yoga by discovering her passion for Ashtanga. Graduated from a 500RYT Ashtanga Vinyasa by Sampoorna – yoga teacher training school in India, Yin and Aerial Yoga, she develops a unique method of teaching, away from the traditional Vinyasa, adapting her own practice. Judo influenced her teaching by making it very precise and ultra dynamic. She started yoga for the physical aspect but once immersed in the practise, she pursued it for the spiritual – the balance, happiness and stillness it brought into her everyday life. « I feel I am complete when I am on a yoga mat. »
She also teaches anatomy to 200RYT students in South India, and organizes her own international retreats through Bliss Project, a start-up she co-founded. She travels around the world to share the love of yoga, and organizes hybrid experiences around wellness.
She was born in Argentina, since she was a child was very active, so at the age of three, she began to practice ballet, later she studied jazz dance, tap and vocal lessons, at the same time, she was interested in yoga, meditation and spirituality. A family friend registered her in a yoga school, were being a teenager, she meets Matahi Indra Devi, who was the first western woman to be accepted as a disciple of Sri Krishnamacharya. Because of her advanced age, Matahi was the one who led meditation, relaxation, and inspiring talks at the end of the class.
Upon meeting this wonderful teacher, she knew that her connection with yoga would be forever. After her studies in Arts, she worked as a professional dancer in numerous musicals, TV and children’s shows. Roberta obtained the 200 hours YTTC, at International yoga School (Spain), and completed her 300 hours YTTC, at Paramanand institute of Yoga and Sciences (Indore India). She made further courses in Vinyasa yoga, dynamic yoga (Geodfrey Deveraux), aerial yoga, and yoga for kids.
Initiated in Kriya yoga by Swami Mangalananda Giri, (Kriya yoga Zentrum, Austria).
During the last years she was dedicated to practice and teach Ashtanga yoga, with a certificated teacher.This practice became popular through Pattabhi Jois, who was a disciple of Krishnamacharya, closing a circle between her first and last teacher. As a teacher, she likes to transmit to the students, that yoga is more than flowing between movement and breathing, is a moment where it is possible to experience, an intimate encounter with themselves open their heart and connect with the energy, that unite us with nature, and expand our consciousness.