Michele Lawrence, Program Director
Through her own journey of Self-discovery, Michele (MBA, ERYT500, C-IAYT) has come to realize that yoga is a practice for all life situations. She believes in yoga’s ability to heal and transform, and that yoga, regardless of one’s ability, is available to all. Michele has been teaching yoga since 2005, is co-founder of Yogadurango, a successful studio in Durango, CO and the founder/director of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.
The program’s faculty includes the following top instructors in the fields of yoga therapy and ayurveda:
Nischala Joy Devi
Nischala Joy Devi (C-IAYT) is a masterful teacher and healer. For many years she has been highly respected as an international advocate for her innovative way of expressing Yoga and its subtle uses for spiritual growth and complete healing. Her dynamic delivery and deep inner conviction empower each individual, allowing the teachings to expand beyond boundaries and limitations of any one tradition enabling her to touch people’s hearts.
She was graced to spend over 25 years as a monastic disciple with the world renowned Yogiraj Sri Swami Satchidanandaji, receiving his direct guidance and teachings. She also was blessed with teachings from great Yoga masters in US, India and worldwide.
Originally trained in Western medicine, she began to blend western medicine with Yoga, offered her expertise in developing the yoga portion of The Dean Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, and co-founded the award-winning Commonweal Cancer Help Program. Her book “The Healing Path of Yoga,” and her Abundant WellBeing Audio Series expresses these teachings.
With her knowledge of yoga and her experience in assisting those with life-threatening diseases (particularly people with heart disease and cancer), she created Yoga of the Heart®, a training and certification program for Yoga teachers and health professionals designed to adapt Yoga practices to the special needs of that population.
She is now dedicated to bringing the Feminine back into spirituality and the scriptures, in her book, The Secret Power of Yoga, a woman’s guide to the heart and spirit of the Yoga Sutras and Secret Power of Yoga Audiobook Nautilus Book Silver Award Winner! Understanding the need for more love and compassion in today’s world, The Namaste Effect, her most recent book, explores a heart-centered way of living through the mystical chakras. For more information about Nischala Devi, visit Abundant Well Being.
Durga (BA, CAS, PKS, Yoga Acharya, C-IAYT) is the founder of Yoga of Recovery™, a comprehensive program that integrates Ayurveda and Yoga with recovery tools for a holistic mind, body and spirit approach for all those affected by addiction and self-destructive behaviors. Yoga of Recovery offers an integrative approach with yoga, herbal remedies, Ayurvedic body treatments, aromatherapy, detoxification, diet, color, sound, breathing exercises, meditation, and other mind-body integration methods to assist clients maintain lasting sobriety. It is currently offered as workshops, retreats and certificate courses in the US and internationally. Durga holds the RYT-500 qualification, having completed both the Sivananda Yoga teachers Training Course and an Advanced Yoga Training. She is also extensively trained in Meditation and Vedanta. She is a Clinical Ayurvedic and Pancha Karma Specialist, trained at the California College of Ayurveda and at the School of Ayurveda and Pancha Karma in Kerala, India. She is the Director of the Ayurveda Programs at the Yoga Farm in California and a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She is also a member of Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). For more information about Durga, visit Yoga of Recovery.
Maria MendolaMaria has a rich history in the field of wellness, yoga therapeutics Ayurveda. She is an RN, with an MS in Community Health with extensive work in the fields of Rehabilitation and Women’s Health. She went on to receive extensive teacher training in yoga, and then yoga therapeutics, and has both a private practice in yoga therapy, ayurvedic consultation and an extensive teaching curriculum for advanced students of yoga therapy. She teaches both nationally and internationally with Integrative Yoga Therapy, and then with her own Maria Alive Therapeutics.
Laura (M.A., E-RYT 500, C-IAYT) is delighted to be on the IPYT faculty, sharing her passion for the healing power of yoga. Laura has been following the yogic path since 1995 and is a certified yoga therapist at the 1,000 hour level; her specialities are yoga for cancer survivors and yoga for fertility enhancement, although she sees clients with a wide range of issues. Laura is also a Life Career Coach who helps yogis and other professionals build their business and increase their impact on their community.
Following her own cancer diagnosis in 2003 Laura founded Yoga for Survivors® with a mission of providing safe, accessible yoga classes to survivors of any type of cancer, at any stage of recovery, world-wide. Laura teaches, trains, and leads workshops nationally and internationally, and has started yoga programs in cancer centers, hospitals, and rehab clinics. Laura is also honored to teach Yoga for Fertility in partnership with the world-renowned Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.
Laura is based in Boulder, CO where she teaches local classes and writes a blog that incorporates her love of Formula 1 car racing with yogic philosophy.Learn more about Laura on her website.
Neil Pearson (MSc, BScPT, BA-BPHE, C-IAYT, RYT-500) is an exceptional educator, a physical therapist and a certified yoga therapist. His presentations, which focus on the interplay of yoga and physiology, are entertaining, engaging, and informed by over 20 years of therapeutic practice. Neil spends most of his time working with people with chronic pain conditions, including providing small group therapeutic yoga classes, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and yoga retreats for people with chronic pain. He is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and author of the pain-management education book Understand Pain, Live Well Again. Neil travels throughout Canada and internationally educating health care professionals and yoga teachers about modern pain science and pain self-management.
Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa
Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, PhD, C-IAYT is founder and director of the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine Humanology. A yoga instructor since 1971, she began to specialize in teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation to people with chronic or life threatening illness and their family members in 1986, under the direction of Yogi Bhajan. The Center provides direct client services and yogically based programs for people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, HIV, anxiety, depression and life transitions.
Dr. Khalsa is a RYT 500, a KRI Certified yoga teacher trainer and a charter member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She provides training to health professionals and yoga instructors on the application of yoga and meditation to the spiritual, psychological and behavioral aspects of getting and staying well.
Amy Weintraub (MFA, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT) is the founder of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute. She is the author of the bestselling Yoga for Depression and the ground-breaking Yoga Skills for Therapists, and has been a pioneer in the field of yoga and mental health for over 20 years. The LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training that she developed offers certification for health and yoga professionals, and she presents workshops for every day practitioners internationally. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is being used in residential treatment centers, hospitals and by health care providers worldwide. She is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood, and has produced an award-winning library of evidence-based yoga and meditation CDs and DVDs for mood management. For more information about Amy, visit her website.
Antonio Sausys MA, IGT, CMT, RYT, C-IAYT is a somatic psychotherapist, yoga instructor and author specializing in one-on-one yoga therapy for people with chronic and acute medical conditions as well as emotional imbalance.
He studied with Yoga masters and teachers such as Indra Devi, Swami Shankaradevananda and Larry Payne and has continued his professional development with training in Integrative Grief Therapy with Lyn Prashant, Foot Reflexology, Swedish Therapeutic Massage and Reiki.
Antonio teaches and lectures periodically at U.C. Berkeley, California Institute of Integral Studies, Kripalu, is a member of the World Yoga Council, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, the Association for Death Education and Counseling, a TV Host for YogiViews and the founder and Executive Director of ‘Yoga for Health’ the International Yoga Therapy Conference. For more information about Antonio, visit Yoga for Grief Relief.
Chinnamasta (C-IAYT) is the Director of the Yoga Therapy Center & Shiva Shakti Loka in San Francisco. With more than 30 years of experience, she is a Master Teacher and Guide in Radiant Health for people from all walks of life and in all stages of life. Chinnamasta started her professional life as an Intensive Care pediatric nurse, developing the skill to observe and interpret what the children weren’t able to verbalize. This continues to serve her today in understanding beyond what her clients are capable of seeing or telling.
After 12 years, she felt a strong calling to move into holistic healing. Over the next 25 years she studied Yoga & Ayurveda, the Eastern Medical Science of Health. While Western medicine taught her how to work with the physical structure, Eastern medicine deepened her understanding of how to help people gracefully deal with difficulty, prevent illness, and live a joyful life. By blending these two modalities, Chinnamasta guides her students and clients in how to become the masters of their own health and healing, leading to a purposeful life of deep contentment connected to the Self.
Together with her Beloved, Mukunda Stiles, Chinnamasta taught the ancient trinity of Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra in the U.S., Europe, and India. Their teachings spread the insights and knowledge that fill the pages of his books: Structural Yoga Therapy, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, Tantra Yoga Secrets and the Sutra’s of Patanjali as interpreted by Mukunda Stiles. Chinnamasta edited Tantra Yoga Secrets, and wrote a chapter on Structural and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy in the new comprehensive book Yoga Therapy and Integrative Medicine. Mukunda left his physical body February 18, 2014.
Chinnamasta continues sharing these teachings across the U.S, Europe and India, guiding people in profound healing through in-depth Yogic, Ayurvedic and Tantric workshops, personal retreats, private sessions, and apprenticeships. She also mentors yoga teachers during monthly sessions to elevate their own Sadhana and guide their clients. Her private practice is based in San Francisco.
Genevieve is a Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), ERYT 500, Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) and a Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT). In addition to Integrative Yoga Therapy 1000hr studies, her training includes, but is not limited to, myofascial studies (KMI), Adaptive Yoga (Karen Clarke, Matthew Sanford), Spinal Integration, Restorative, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Svastha Yoga with Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandarim in Chennai India, Vipassana Meditation, Mindfulness Studies, Holistic Nutrition and Reiki. She is currently studying with and collaborating with Somatics-Yoga founder Eleanor Criswell in developing a Trauma Release Protocol for Yoga Therapists. Genevieve’s professional background as an environmental research scientist (biochemistry) in the University system, before transitioning to full-time Yoga Therapy practice is evident in her approach to yoga therapy. Her teaching serves as an accessible bridge between the ancient teachings of Yoga and modern medical sciences. Genevieve is a Faculty member of both Inner Peace Yoga Therapy and Kripalu’s Integrative Yoga Therapy 800hr Professional Yoga Therapist Certification programs, as well as Community Yoga’s Trauma Informed training for Social Services. She is the Founder/Director of The Overcome Anxiety Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that offers training to those who serve underserved communities, funds Yoga programs that serve the underserved and offers the very successful Overcoming Anxiety Clinic: A Holistic and Natural Approach. Her TIYT work is extensive, with a concentration in addiction/chemical dependancy, Chronic pain, cancer care, Alzheimer’s/Dementia, care-takers, pulmonary rehabilitation, and cardiac rehabilitation. For more information about Genevieve, visit Sundara Yoga Therapy.
Indu (C-IAYT) considers herself a student for lifetime. She has been sharing about Yoga philosophy, Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda since 1999. She is inspired by and taught under Kriya Yoga, Himalayan Yoga, Kashmir Shivaism and Sivananda Yoga lineages. She has studied both Yoga and Ayurveda in a traditional Guru paramapara setting. Her teaching style is rooted in empowering and inspiring students to awaken the inner Guru. Her core philosophy is, ‘Nothing has the greatest power to heal, but Self!”
She has authored:
Mudra: The Sacred Secret
Yoga – Ancient Heritage, Tomorrow’s Vision (known as The little Red Book on Yoga)
Dr. Marisa Laursen (Sri Devi) C.A.S., P.K.S., A.Y.T, C.M.TMarisa Laursen is a Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist and senior member of the teaching faculty at the California College of Ayurveda. A past member of the board of the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, Marisa maintains a clinical practice in Nevada City, California. She is the author of the soon-to-be-published children’s book, The Adventures of Vata, Pitta and Kapha: The Quest for the Sacred Nectar. Marisa graduated from the California College of Ayurveda in 2005 and has been practicing and teaching ever since. In addition, she received certification from the American Institute of Vedic Studies and completed post-graduate study with Dr. Geetha S.R., BAMS, ND of the Sree Sankara Ayurveda Hospital in Kerala, India.
Lisa BerglyLisa Bergly, Swami Swarupananda; ordained by Goswami Kriyananda, the spiritual conceptor of The Temple of Kriya Yoga in 2009, is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), and an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT500), as well as a Yoga Therapy and Yoga Education Mentor. Lisa is a senior yoga teacher and educator in reputation and experience of teaching students, serving private clients, and educating practitioners who are seeking training to become yoga teachers and yoga therapists; having served more than 15,000 contact hours of teaching classes, workshops, trainings and retreats, private yoga therapy, yoga sadhana guidance sessions and YT mentoring over the past two decades. Swamiji shares the spiritual teachings and therapeutic techniques and application of yoga with a deeply heartfelt focus of guiding seekers and yogis on the path of remembering their true nature and creating and sustaining their life experiences with conscious action, loving self-compassion, spiritual attunement and personal worthiness to live authentically and fully.
Jessica Patterson (ERYT500, C-IAYT) has been practicing and discovering yoga for more than 27 years, during which time she has had the great privilege of exploring many methods, approaches and teachers. Her formal training as a teacher began with a 200-hour program in Colorado Springs. As her own yoga practice deepened, so too did her understanding of its profound transformative and regenerative power. She sought out more and more opportunities to learn and grow as both practitioner and teacher, pursuing training with diverse teachers across lineage and tradition.
Jessica completed her certification as a Yoga Therapist through the Inner Peace Yoga Therapy program in 2013, and has co-facilitated the Austin and Asheville programs as contributing faculty. Her work as a Yoga Therapist complements and expands what she is able to offer individuals and groups.
As founder and director of the 6-month, 200+ hour RootEd Apprenticeship Teacher Training Program, Jessica leads small intimate groups of students more deeply into the embodied experience of yoga. And in 2015, she opened Root: Center for Yoga and Sacred Studies, a Colorado Springs-based sanctuary for the community that has inspired her work all of these years.
Alex Bauermeister (E-RYT 200 / E-RYT 500 / C-IAYT) is an ever-learning awareness junkie helping people find more connection, agency and meaning in their lives. With a focus on therapeutic and trauma-informed yoga, Alex helps clients find relief from the mind-body manifestations of anxiety, depression, stress and trauma. Alex offers 1-on-1 yoga therapy in addition to teaching public yoga classes, workshops, and training programs around New England.
Alex has over 1000 hours of training as a Yoga Therapist (Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Inner Peace School of Yoga Therapy, Soulful Yoga Therapy), yoga teacher (Kripalu School of Yoga), social change activist and group facilitator, complemented by life-long apprenticeships in body-based healing and psychology. Alex’s background in social justice and anti-racism work brings an understanding of power and privilege to her teaching. She strives to hold safer space for people from many diverse backgrounds and experiences, and for those who don’t necessarily have positive associations with yoga and/or therapy. For more information about Alex, visit Intra Yoga Therapy.
In January 2007, Theresa left her reporting job at the Philadelphia Daily News to teach yoga full-time. She was driven to share the benefits yoga has brought to her life. With the support of her yoga practice. She is a C-IAYT who trained as a Yoga Therapist with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. She is trained to teach Adaptive Yoga for Disabilities, which includes instructing those with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, stroke, MS, Parkinson’s and other conditions. She operates a Yoga Therapy studio in Philadelphia and an online Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease Teacher Training. For more information about Theresa, visit her website.
Program Mentors & Assistants
Hamsa Gooderham, Program AssistantHamsa (CYT, ERYT500) has been teaching yoga for 20 years and working as a Yoga Therapist for 8 years, certified by the Ananda Seva Mission. She works in conjunction with other health professionals at an alternative health clinic in her community in southern British Columbia. Combining Thai Massage, Cranial-Sacral, and Healing Touch modalities into her Therapeutic Yoga sessions, Hamsa’s work is compassionate, intelligent and deeply connected to Spirit. Hamsa believes firmly in the transformational potential of a balanced practice as a portal to our True Nature and the Divine. Her classes are imbued with humor, spontaneity, and wisdom, energized by a conspiracy of Love. She is committed to finding ways for all people to awaken to, and embrace, the intelligence of their body-mind to facilitate consciousness evolution.She lives in the mountains of southwestern BC, on a 10 acre farm with horses and dogs.
Sarah Martin, Program MentorSarah has been diving into the deep tradition of yoga since 2001 and began teaching in 2009. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in Minneapolis, 500-hour training with certification in Yoga Therapy through Inner Peace Yoga Therapy, and has additional training in Prenatal Yoga, Kids Yoga, ParaYoga, Reiki, and Yoga as Medicine. Sarah is currently on faculty of a 200 hour and 500 hour teacher training where she resides in Minneapolis, MN. She is also a practicing Physician Assistant integrating Eastern and Western Medicine. She enjoys teaching yoga anatomy and educating others on the intimate link of mind, body and spirit in living life to the fullest.
Dr. Sue Dilsworth, Program Mentor
Dr. Sue Dilsworth is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Certified Yoga Therapist working in the Greater Grand Rapids area. Sue has worked as a psychologist in university settings, non-profit agencies and private practice for the past 17 years. Sue has trained extensively with Amy Weintraub and has served as a faculty member for the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training Level 1. Sue is also a graduate of the 300 hour Inner Peace Yoga Therapy program. Clinically, Sue is a holistic health practitioner that establishes treatment protocols that are specifically designed to meet individual needs. Yoga and yoga therapy are the perfect adjunct to her clinical practice. Sue is passionate about helping people take a break from telling their stories and finding greater meaning as they explore their SatNam through mindfulness based practices. Sue is the owner of Heart’s Journey Wellness Center in Allendale, MI.
Whitney Pasch, Program Mentor & Program Assistant
Whitney Pasch (C-IAYT, E-RYT500) is a registered yoga teacher, certified Yoga of the Heart® teacher, and certified yoga therapist based in Chicago, IL. She completed Inner Peace Yoga Therapy’s 800-hour training in January 2018. Whitney was drawn to yoga therapy after suffering a back injury that prevented her from doing two of the things she loved most, running and asana. The injury caused an anxiety disorder to resurface, along with persistent sacral pain. She now specializes in helping people with back pain, but also sees clients with various issues including cardiac disease and cancer. Whitney teaches full time through a blend of group classes, individual therapy sessions, and workshops, and she co-leads a local 200-hour teacher training. Outside of yoga, her passions include cats and the Green Bay Packers. For more information about Whitney, visit her website.