RISHI SUDHIR, INDIA
E-RYT 500, SYT
Director of Sampoorna Yoga, Goa India.
Sudhir Rishi is the Director of the Teacher Training at Sampoorna Yoga. He has been involved in the fields of yoga, meditation, philosophy and Ayurveda for the last 23 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 four years. He also travels to different countries in Europe and Asia conducting workshops and retreats for Sampoorna.
Born into a traditional Hindu family, he studied Engineering, achieving a Master of Technology award in Quality and Reliability and working as a Total Quality Manager in a leading automobile company in India. However, all through his career he was deeply thinking and observing life around him. At age 28, inspired by Buddha and other spiritual masters, Sudhir 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 Scripture Commentaries in both original and Advaita vedanta. He learnt yoga from the Balananda Brahmachari traditional teachings, in Bihar School of Yoga and did his 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 fifteen 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 studied Computer Software, Library Sciences and 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 several years after completing both her 200 and 300 hour teacher training courses at the school. 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.
HENRIK SCHMIDT, SWEEDEN
HENRIK SCHMIDT, SWEEDEN
Henrik encourages his students to find a practice they can commit to and make it a part of their daily routine. His goal is for students to practice yoga every day and not just asanas, but also pranayama and mediation. For him, Yoga is about transformation, it’s not just about the physical postures, it’s about acceptance and how to concentrate the mind. Henrik believes the most important thing is that we practice with dedication and devotion, which leads to an inevitable physical, mental and spiritual change. According to his understanding of yoga, as we get more flexible in the body, the mind becomes less rigid as well. As we grow stronger, we can stand up for what we believe in and speak up when we see injustice around us. As we gain balance on the mat, we find balance in our daily lives. Yoga has taught him not to be so hard on himself, not to take everything so seriously, and that in order to find answers; the journey needs to be an inward journey. Henrik believes that the key to wellbeing and happiness in this life lies inside of us. Having taught a lot of different classes and numerous students, Henrik has had the pleasure of seeing tremendous change in those who are devoted to a regular practice. His advice to new students is to find a teacher that speaks to them and go to the classes that work He believes that through yoga we learn that we always have a choice as to how we react to things that happen in our lives. He keeps his classes joyful, energetic, challenging, and even ‘mind-blowing’ at times.
Before embarking on his spiritual journey, Henrik worked in the financial field for several top tier investment banking firms in San Francisco and New York. He is a native Swede, but spent half his life in the United States. He teaches vinyasa, hatha, yin, partner yoga, meditation, thai massage and draws knowledge from several different lineages in his teachings. Some of his main influences include Rusty Wells, Ragunath, Tony Sanchez, and Shiva Nandi. He completed the Sampoorna 300-hour training and he holds an‘E-RYT 500’category certification with Yoga Alliance US. Nowadays, he combines his time teaching at Sampoorna Yoga and also at his own yoga school in Sweden.
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 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.
OLIVER CHARLES, JAPAN
Olivier discovered Yoga while living in London in 2003 and working as a Personal Trainer. Suffering from back pain and running injuries, yoga became an essential tool in his recovery, and later a passion in its own right. A few years later, Olivier travelled to India to pursue his first teacher training, he then returned again to complete his 500-hour Yoga Alliance certified training with Sampoorna Yoga. More recently, Oliver has completed the Advanced Yoga Anatomy course with Leslie Karminoff and Amy Matthews, building on his understanding of the body and yoga practice even further.
Over the years, Olivier has found that the key to a successful practice is honoring the physical body’s limitations – and moving fearlessly into the possibilities of greater strength and flexibility through patient and persistent practice. He has a light hearted, compassionate and playful approach to teaching, and helps his students togrow through self-observation without judgment. Having spent time teaching on trainings and retreats in India, Europe and Japan, Olivier now owns and runs a yoga retreat centre in West Japan with his wife, Hiromi. He brings an extensive knowledge of yoga anatomy, Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Ashtanga Mysore and Children’s Yoga to the Sampoorna Yoga team.
JOANNA VLADESCU, GREECE
She has a degree in Economics from National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.
Since 2009 she has completed advanced studies, teacher trainings and workshops with first generation teachers in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition including: David Swenson, Eddie Stern, Kristina Karitinou, Rolf Naujokat, David Garrigues, Manju Jois, Laruga Glaser. She has completed three teacher trainings in Ashtanga Yoga and her 300hr training in Advanced Vinyasa Yoga here in Sampoorna Yoga, India.
She has completed a 50 hour Teacher Tune-up with Noah Maze for whom she has a deep appreciation.
She’s also a level two Thai Massage Therapist.
She practices and teaches Ashtanga, Vinyasa and handstands. In her class, she emphasizes the bandhas, which are the bridge that allow us to take our practice from a merely physical level to an inner energy work. She also focuses on the breath, which is more important than the asana. “Never stop breathing”. She gives modifications for all body types as she believes yoga is for everyone – the asana is not about form but about function.
She is fully dedicated to the Ashtanga practice, always looking for a teacher wherever she is traveling. When she is India, she continues her studies with certified teacher Regina Ehlers.
She hopes to inspire people to learn and keep practicing the Ashtanga Yoga method.
She is funny, caring and she gives her full attention to the students. Her hands-on adjustments are amazing and she will definitely take your practice to the next level.
At the moment, she is working on Secondary Series of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga.
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.
CHRISTINA CHUNG, UK
Chrissie was first drawn to yoga in 2008, at first only with the intention of getting into shape. Completely unaware of how deep the practice would take her – beyond asana and the superficialaspect of the physical effort, yoga began to uncover deeper layers within herself.
She likes to challenge her students with a variety of styles, inspired by Vinyasa, Yin, and Budokon; allowing room for play, exploration, and huge smiles! She completed her teacher training at Sampoorna in 2015 and has been sharing her knowledge and infectious energy ever since.
MARTIN SITTEK, CZECH REPUBLIC
He never looked back. After first completing his 200 TTC with Sampoorna Yoga, which gave him a solid foundation to his self-practice, he continued his learning throughout his travels by attending another 200-hour Yoga training at Mahadevi Ashram in Guatemala.
The art of adjustment he learned with Kamal Singh of Tattvaa Yoga Shala in India.
In 2018 he completed 40hours Teacher Training Course with David Swenson in Italy. David is one of only handful of Westerners to have learned the full Ashtanga system as originally tought by K. Pattabhi Jois.
He attended workshops with David Robson at Purple Valley in Goa, India. He continues his studies with certified teacher Regina Elhers in India. Needless to say, Martin mostly learned from his daily practice of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga which he has been maintaining for past years. The practice is his best teacher. Martin has a great sense of humor that he incorporates in his classes.
He facilitates, encourages and inspires his students with his devotion and knowledge of the practice. It is up to the students to use those tools in their practice.
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 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 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.
MARIA MACSAY, NYC
While pursuing her dance degree in Chicago, Maria came to her mat in 2009, as a form of cross-training to help her heal a back injury.
What started as an interest in just the physical benefits of yoga, quickly shifted as she noticed that she was able to find solace on her mat during a very stressful time in her life.
As her physical practice progressed, Maria became increasingly interested in exploring more aspects of yoga. She sought out studios that incorporated, philosophy, chanting, and breath-work, and as a result reconnected to meditation which she had practiced with her mother starting at a young age.
After moving to New York City in 2013, Maria began to practice regularly at the Jivamukti Yoga School in Manhattan, and two years later embarked on her 200hr Hatha-Vinyasa training in Greece, under the guidance of Tanya Popovich.
Excited and inspired by her first training, Maria dove head first into teaching and hasn’t stopped. This past January, Maria followed her teacher Angela Jervis-Read to Sampoorna Yoga to complete her 300hr Vinyasa Flow Training, a life changing experience!
KIMBER WIGLEY, USA
Kimber was drawn to yoga over a decade ago as exercise when she was not interested in running or lifting weights in a gym. With a continuous practice, she soon realized her mat became the place with the most inner silence, her safe space, a major contrast to her chaotic daily life and struggle with depression.
With understanding the effects a yoga practice has on her mind and body, she felt a strong desire to share the practice with others. Since completing a 200-hour Yoga Alliance accredited teacher training in 2015, she has been encouraging self-exploration in others and helping them to find more silence within.
Kimber continued her education with a Sampoorna Yoga 300-hour teacher training in 2017. Her classes are creatively sequenced to provide a space to safely explore the body and mind within the four corners of the mat through fun, playful and mindful asana flows, including Vinyasa, Hatha, Ashtanga, Yin, SUP Yoga and Kids yoga. Her classes also incorporate aspects of pranayama and guided meditation, providing a well-rounded yoga experience for her students.
ALEXANDRA VAN SCHAIK,
ALEXANDRA VAN SCHAIK
Alexandra is a passionate speaker and teacher. After about 15 years living in different countries, she was back ‘home’ in The Netherlands for five years, based in Scheveningen, one of the popular surf and hangout spots in the country. Recently, she decided to go back traveling, and teaching yoga retreats and trainings all over the world.
In her life, -without even realizing this until her late thirties- yoga and meditation has been a natural way of daily practices. At a young age, she used drawing, writing and walking as a form of meditation, allowing herself to observe the world around her, and using her observations in her stories writing.
Before discovering the path of yoga, Alexandra worked seasonal jobs in tourism in southern Europe and the USA. In between seasons, she came across with yoga while traveling in India for the first time, discovering the benefits of a daily yoga and meditation practice at drop-in classes at Sampoorna Yoga. From there on, it was a natural process; curiosity towards philosophy, and the integration of yoga into the Western life, made her sign up for her first TTC at Sampoorna Yoga School the following season, but it took a few more years before she finally started teaching classes and workshops. A few more trainings have followed after that first experience; she has trained with Nicole Dechow and Johan Noorloos in Amsterdam. Alexandra also has attended many workshops with several international teachers, integrating different styles in her teachings: Ashtanga, Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin and Iyengar.
After attending to her classes, students always leave with a smile on their face, since Alexandra finds a way to let them feel good about themselves, and inspires them to become the most beautiful version they can be, while staying down to earth with her humor and her contagious laughter. Her classes are not only inspirational but sweaty, dynamic, creative, fun and unpredictable.
Alexandra believes that yoga starts the moment you have finished your practice, when you rolled up your mat and go back to your life. Her say: “What we learn on the mat, we take with us…
Mickaelis has a sports background, going from breakdance when he was a teen to various martial arts and fighting sports as he grew older. His yoga journey started in 2016 with Bikram yoga. After 10 years of training in Thai boxing and then boxing, among other disciplines, he needed a way to loosen up, calm his mind, and more importantly, to relax his body and properly stretch.
Having no idea what yoga was, Mickaelis stumble upon Bikram yoga and started practicing it 5 to 6 times a week. He enjoyed it because of the feeling he had at the end of a class, which was very close to a post-fight feeling. However, it wasn’t enough and he quickly felt the need for something more. His Sanda (Chinese kick boxing) teacher told him about vinyasa yoga and an amazing teacher in another studio. That’s were Mickaelis really fell in love with yoga.
Mickaelis practiced daily with his teacher during 7 months and gradually decreased his boxing training to the benefit of his yoga practice. When his teacher left Belgium, Mickaelis joined a 200h TT in Ashtanga vinyasa and Vinyasa in Rishikesh, India. During his training, he had a first and deep encounter with the yoga philosophy and that’s where he decided to stop competing and to fully dedicate himself to the yoga teaching.
In July 2017, after a month of intense practice and study, he Mickaelis obtained his 200h TT certificate.
When he came back from India, it took only a few days before people asked him to teach them or to help them with their practice, especially athletes and boxers. Thus it seemed only natural for Mickaelis so start sharing his experience and his teaching.
In March 2018, Mickaelis enhanced his professional experience and teaching skills with a 300h TT in Vinyasa, in Sampoorna, Goa, followed by a 50h TT in Yin yoga. In may 2018, he also completed a 50h TT in Rocket yoga with David Kyle.
Thanks to his personal trainer certification (NASM) and his studies in Physical education, Mickaelis has a solid understanding and knowledge of the human and functional anatomy.
Mickaelis has been teaching yoga in different studios in Brussels for a year and has a teaching experience in vinyasa, power flow, yin yoga, and rocket. He loves to integrate mouvements from his previous training (martial arts, mobility, dance,…) into his classes and encourages his students to step out of their mat and their comfort zone.
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 training at Sampoorna Yoga. 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.
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 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.
ROWIE GERAERTS, AUSTRALIA
Rowie’s yoga teaching story began in 2011, completing her 200-hour training with us at Sampoorna and returning in 2014 for her 300-hour TTC. Her personal yoga story began several years before when she attended her first yoga class with her father at age 15. Rowie has spent a lot of time travelling the world and has been lucky enough to train with some of the most acclaimed international teachers such as Les Levanthal, Megan Currie, Ana Forest, Pradeep Tetioa, Magdelena McWeld, Patrick Beach and Dana Trixie Flynn, to name a few.
From vinyasa flow to the slower, yin training courses, Rowie’s classes are strong, challenging, fluid and always a little different. Under her guidance, expect to find a real break from whatever else is going on in your life. Rowie believes that practicing yoga is life changing in every sense of the word. She loves that it keeps you supple, nimble, and flexible both physically and mentally. As a true believer that yoga can benefit people’s lives, Rowie is happiest when teaching.
KATIE BROWN, UK
Katie began her practice when a friend suggested it after years of battling depression and severe anxiety. Beginning with a scratched 30 minute Baron Baptist DVD at home the depression and anxiety began to be replaced by a daily window of calm and mental quiet. Physical hyper-mobility began to no longer cause chronic pain, nor did a previously broken spine.
Intrigued by the changes brought about by a short daily self-practice, Katie traveled to Sampoorna Yoga in India in 2014 to undertake her 200-hour training course to delve into the philosophy surrounding yoga. After that moment, everything changed. She returned home to the French Alps where she began teaching yoga and by that summer she was teaching a number of workshops, full time classes, retreats and a yoga festival. Katie returned to Sampoorna in 2016 to complete her 300-hour training and stayed on as a karma yogi for a month to deepen her yoga knowledge and practice her teaching skills.
Katie’s classes are strong and steady with a focus on anatomical alignment that invite a sense of play and movement. Keen to work with traumas, both mental and physical, Katie’s classes incorporate a mindful aspect striving to heal from the inside out whilst having a chuckle along the way.