2014 MASTER TEACHERS
Richard Freeman has been a student of yoga since 1968. He has spent nearly nine years in Asia studying various traditions, which he incorporates into the Ashtanga yoga practice as taught by his principal teacher, K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, India. Richard’s background includes studying Sufism in Iran, Zen and Vipassana Buddhist practice, Bhakti and traditional Hatha yoga in India. Starting in 1974 he also began an in-depth study of Iyengar yoga, which eventually led him to Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. Richard is an avid student of both Western and Eastern philosophy, as well as Sanskrit. His ability to juxtapose various viewpoints, without losing the depth and integrity of each, has helped him develop a unique, metaphorical teaching style. Richard teaches classes at the Yoga Workshop in Bolder, Colorado as well as teaching extensively throughout the world.
Manju Jois considers it a great honor to be the son of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. “He is my father and my teacher. I am grateful for both my mother and my father.” Manju’s mother, Savatri Jois, (Sathu to her family) was a beloved wife, loving mother and an expert in Indian cuisine. Sadly, she passed away in 1997. Manju is devoted to his wife Nancy and their young daughter Sathu, named after her paternal Grandmother, who was born in 2002. Sathu is a multi-talented, beautiful girl, who continues to bless the Jois family beyond measure. Manju has taught the true Mysore Ashtanga method for over 47 years. Spanning 22 countries and 21 states in the US, Manju’s world Ashtanga teaching tour is ever expanding. Manju is grateful to Gary Herlich and all of the other people who helped Manju to stay in US when he first started teaching in America. He offers Ashtanga weekend workshops, teacher trainings and intensive week-long classes. He incorporates pranayama and vedic chantings in his classes, which go very well with Ashtanga yoga practice. Manju’s intention is to teach in the way of the Ancient tradition and bring the many benefits of Ashtanga yoga to his students. He hopes to bring “better concentration and understanding” of Astanga Yoga to his students in a world full of distractions. Manju’s dedication to his life of teaching and practicing yoga has brought the benefits of the ancient tradition of Ashtanga Yoga Manju to many students throughout the world, as he guides each to “Unite with Yourself.”
Dena Kingsberg was 21 when she made her first trip to India, a student of fine art, honing her craft in the field of sculpture at the Southern Cross University. Once the journey of yoga began, the desire to return to Guruji and immerse in the practice was all consuming. Darkness slowly surrendered to light. Dena completed the fourth series of ashtanga in 1996 and was graced with certification to teach. She has now been practicing for more than 28 years. Encouraged by Guruji’s love of family, Dena and Jack were married in a ceremony conducted by Amma and Guruji in 1997. The arrival of their children, Zoli, now 13 and Izac, now 10, sealed the blessing. Dena and Jack teach from their simple shala on the edge of Byron Bay, the rainforest rimmed beach town on the East coast of Australia. Together they share workshops across the globe and return to Mysore each year. Life is full and sweet.
Tim Miller has been studying and teaching Ashtanga Yoga for over thirty years and was the first American certified to teach by Pattabhi Jois, with whom he shared a long and close relationship. Over the years Tim traveled often to Mysore, India, and hosted Guruji ten times in Encinitas, California. Tim was blessed with the opportunity to assist Guruji on many occasions during his US teaching tours, an experience that was profoundly educational. Tim has a thorough knowledge of Ashtanga Yoga, which he imparts in a dynamic, yet compassionate and playful manner. “My goal as a teacher is to inspire a passion for practice. The practice itself, done consistently and accurately, is the real teacher.” Tim teaches workshops and retreats throughout the United States and abroad, and has been the director of the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Encinitas California since 1981.
David Swenson began practicing yoga at the age of 13 under the guidance of his older brother Doug, and later was introduced to Asthanga Yoga in 1973 by David Williams and Nancy Gilgoff in Enciintas, California. At their invitation Sri K. Pattabhi Jois made his first trip to the U.S. in 1975 and David was fortunate to meet and begin study with him. Two years later David made his first trip to Mysore, India and learned the full Ashtanga system from Pattabhi Jois. David teaches yoga throughout the world and is recognized today as one of the world’s foremost practitioners and teachers of Ashtanga Yoga.
2012 & 2013 MASTER TEACHERS
Eddie Stern has been teaching yoga in New York City since 1989. He studied under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois for eighteen years and is the director of Ashtanga Yoga New York (AYNY). Over the past years, Eddie has published four books on Pattabhi Jois and Ashtanga Yoga including the translation of Pattabhi Jois’ 1960 book Yoga Mala and is as well the co-publisher and editor of a monthly Indian philosophical journal entitled Namarupa, Categories of Indian Thought. He has served for ten years on the board of directors of Bent On Learning, a 501c3 that teaches yoga and meditation to 2,800-disadvantaged public school children every week.
Nancy Gilgoff was the first western woman to study Ashtanga Yoga with Pattabhi Jois 38 years ago in Mysore, India. As a result of her long and close association with Pattabhi Jois, Nancy is able to teach with a style and touch that comes directly from Guruji. When Nancy asked Jois how she should teach, he told her to “teach the way I taught you”—advice which she took to heart and continues to follow today. Nancy’s studies have also led her to other teachers, including Baba Hari Das and various Iyengar Yoga teachers. Nancy has and continues to pursue the dharma teachings of the Dalai Lama, and spends much of her time traveling and teaching in the United States, Europe and Asia with an intention to foster loving-kindness and to share her experience of yoga with others. Nancy is the director of the House of Yoga and Zen on Maui.
2014 SPECIAL GUEST TEACHER
Dominic Corigliano is a teacher of rare breadth and depth of experience since having started Ashtanga Yoga with Pattabhi Jois in the early 1980s. This long continuous period of study under Guruji has provided him with unique insights into the Ashtanga method. Dom’s varied interests and eventful life have also helped develop a unique and balanced philosophy and wisdom, which he generously shares with his students. After many years working as a software engineer for General Dynamics, getting married and raising 3 children, Dominic began teaching yoga full-time in 1989. Then, in 2000, at age 47, he returned to Mysore to study intensively with Pattabhi Jois for much of the next seven years, during which time he received his certification. Recently Dominic has traveled and taught throughout Japan, the San Francisco Bay Area and has been a visiting teacher at the Jois Yoga Center in Greenwich, Connecticut. In his spare time, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and foraging for mushrooms and berries on the rugged coast of northern California, with his wife, Stephanie, and their 3-year-old son John.
2014 ASSISTANT TEACHERS
Diana Christinson lived in Asia for two years and began her yoga practice in Kyoto, Japan in 1987 which inspired her lifelong studies of Eastern Philosophy. In 1999, after practicing yoga for more than a decade, Diana took the first of 9 trips to India in order to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Rangaswamy at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore. Eventually, she was authorized by Jois to teach Ashtanga yoga at the first and second level. She has also studied with Tim Miller at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Encinitas, CA where she received both her first and second level teachers training. She has been teaching since 1996. Diana is the Director and Instructor at Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Dana Point, California. She received her Master’s in Psychology and has combined her deep appreciation for Eastern philosophies, Mythology and meditation practices with the Ashtanga Yoga system. Diana is also currently a guest editor for the Orange County Register. Diana instructs all class levels at Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala and conducts both international and local yoga retreats, workshops, and wellness programs.
Leigha Nicole has been teaching yoga for 29 years and taught at Yoga Works in Santa Monica, CA from its inception in 1987. Her love of Ashtanga Yoga brought her to India 21 years ago to study extensively with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and was authorized to teach by him in 1996. Leigha has a gentle approach and encourages students to embrace the contemplative aspect of the practice with attention to alignment and the cultivation of awareness. She has an intimate knowledge of anatomy that stems from a 25 year bodywork practice which enables her to address the specific therapeutic needs of her students. Leigha moved from Point Reyes, California to the spiritual town of Crestone, Colorado in 2005 where she built a straw bale solar home and yoga studio. She returns regularly to the San Francisco area for group classes and workshops.
Johnny Smith began his yoga journey over 25 years ago. In 1990, John met Tim Miller, who inspired him to pursue the Ashtanga method. The next year, John made his first trip to Mysore, India, and thereafter made almost yearly excursions there to study with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois. He is one of only a handful of practitioners in the world who has been certified by Pattabhi Jois and The Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute. John is the director of the Ashtanga Yoga program at Westside Yoga Studio in Sebastopol California.
Mary Taylor began studying yoga in 1971 while earning a degree in psychology. It was not until the early 80’s, when she moved to Boulder, CO and started studying yoga with Richard Freeman, that yoga became a central thread in her life. Before that, yoga had provided a means of relieving stress and honing a sense of focus and well being. In 1988, Mary traveled to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and began to see the overlay of yoga with her interests in food, cooking, movement, anatomy and art. Mary has authored three cookbooks and co-authored a book which explores yoga, meditation and finding one’s personal dharma as a means of bring lasting meaning and happiness. (“What Are You Hungry For? Women, Food and Spirituality.”) As the Yoga Workshop’s director, Mary has attended all of Richard’s teacher trainings and feels she’s just beginning to understand the subject at hand. She brings a deep respect to her teaching for the healing and calming effects of yoga. Her classes are engaging and fun, focusing on the flow of breath, steady movement and the feeling of completeness that can be cultivated through a lasting practice.
Shelley Washington has had a stellar career in the world of Modern Dance and Ballet, studying and performing with such legendary figures as Twyla Tharp, Mikael Baryishnikov and Martha Graham, to name only a few. She continues to work with Twyla Tharp as a Repetiteur, Setting, Staging and Directing Ballets for various dance companies. In 2000, Shelley initiated her studies of Ashtanga Yoga and dove fully into the practice. She made her first trip to Mysore, India in 2003 and has since made 14 subsequent pilgrimages to Mysore, receiving her First Level authorization from Sri K. Pattabhi Jois in 2005 and her Second Level authorization from Sharath Rangaswamy in 2010. Shelley brings a fresh and invigorated energy into the classes she teaches. Her deep compassion, humor, energy, joy and depth of understanding of movement combine to make her a wonderful asset to all of those that have the opportunity to study with her. When not traveling the world, Shelley lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Swenson, their cat, “Yogi” and 16 Koi fish.
Noah Williams began practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 1993 with Tim Miller at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Encinitas, California. At Tim’s suggestion, Noah traveled to Mysore, India in 1995 to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Noah returned yearly to India to further his studies and, in 2001, received Advanced Teaching Certification from Pattabhi Jois – one of only a few dozen Advanced Certifications personally bestowed by Jois. Noah has since studied yoga with Sharath Jois. Noah has also studied sanskrit recitation, the yoga sutras and philosophy under Dr. M.A. Jayashree and Professor M.A. Narasimha of Mysore. Noah currently resides in Los Angeles and founded Ashtanga Yoga Nilayam, teaching a daily Ashtanga Yoga Mysore-style program hosted at Studio A Dance.
Jack Wiseman was introduced to yoga by his older sister when he was in his early twenties. He took classes and workshops at various Satyananda Ashrams around Australia before returning to the north coast in 1991 where he began the practice of Ashtanga Yoga and met his future wife. He first went to Mysore in 1995 and recalls spending three months in daily fear of Baddha Konasana. That first trip coincided with the celebration o Guruji’s 80th birthday. He has since returned a dozen times. Jack teaches classes in Byron Bay, Australia and supports his wife Dena both inside and outside of the yoga room. Most years they travel together to conduct classes and workshops around the globe. Together they have built their handcrafted home and co-parent their children Zoli and Izac. Many years of carpentry and farm work contributed to a stiff body. Jack believes that his personal experience of working through his structural restrictions have given him the understanding and ability to be patient and helpful when working with others. Yoga also allows Jack to indulge in his penchant for wearing loud yoga shorts, many of them carrying the label, “made with love by grandma”.
2013 ASSISTANT TEACHER