Staff Writers

Aaron Dias

Aaron's two journeys interweave. One is diving deep within each day through meditation and ritual, listening for the wise and loving voice beyond the silence. Her other journey has been a wandering outward one, leading her to study with masters of various spiritual traditions around the world. These two paths, profoundly informing and inspiring one another, have ultimately led her to an exuberant and non-dogmatic embracing of every human's access to Truth through stillness, sincerity and fearless exploration. She teaches yoga and meditation in Brooklyn, New York. diasyoga.com


Ali McGhee

Ali McGhee has a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Rochester and a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in English with a minor in Religious Studies. Her academic research and much of writing focuses on boundary transgressions, intersections of human creativity and technology, and hauntings, both literal and figurative. Her academic work has appeared in Atlantic Studies, The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, and Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary Relations. An avid writer of fiction, she has been a finalist for Glimmer Train’s and New South‘s fiction contests, and in 2015 she completed National Novel Writing Month. She is the Editorial Director of the Asheville Grit (ashevillegrit.com). She is also a contributor for Yoga Basics (yogabasics.com) and Sensible Reason, a millennial arts and culture magazine (sensiblereason.com).

In search of a way to relieve stress, Ali went to her first yoga class eight years ago and never looked back. She completed a 200-hr teacher training at Breathe Yoga in Pittsford, NY, and is currently on the path to certification in the Baptiste methodology. She teaches at Go Yoga in Asheville, NC, where she is also the Program Coordinator. She has completed trainings in restorative yoga and studies meditation with the Buddhist Geeks as a member of their Dojo. An eternal student, Ali soaks up knowledge wherever she can get it, particularly when it comes to yoga philosophy, mythology, and history. When she’s not writing or teaching, Ali constantly feeds her imagination and her sense of curiosity, primarily through cooking, hiking, and traveling. Follow Ali on Twitter at @hoodooalphabet. 

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ALI VALDEZ

Ali Valdez (E-RYT 500) has been an avid practitioner of the Raja yoga in service to others for twenty-five years beginning with studies in Philosophy and Comparative Religion and has been teaching the full spectrum of the eight-limbed path integrating the physical practice for over fifteen. Ali Valdez is a writer and entrepreneur at heart owning Sattva Yoga Studies in the Seattle, WA area and the Academic Director of Sattva Yoga Teacher Trainings. She also founded the not-for-profit Yogapedia: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Yogis and launching the online and livestreaming Sattva Yoga Channel. Ali is a published poet, journalist, author and ghostwriter for other publishing yogis. You can read more of Ali's writings at: sattvayogaonline.com/blog or follow her via Twitter @GlobalYogini.


Amanda Harding

Amanda Harding is proud to be the owner of Prema Yoga Brooklyn, where she teaches weekly vinyasa flow classes as well as private/corporate clients across NYC & Los Angeles through her company, Karuna NYC. She is the creator of a program 'yoga on set', which provides weekly yoga sessions  to the cast and crews of NY-based film and television shoots. Currently one of Lululemon's Brooklyn ambassadors, she has been featured in Vogue, Origin Magazine and holds yearly sold out retreats to such locales as Tulum, Costa Rica, the Berkshires, Australia and more.  Her moms' and women's retreats have her heart, and she has witnessed in her own life how creating spaciousness in her body, mind and heart and truly 'walking the walk' with humility has immensely impacted her relationship with herself and others.  Her wish is to impart to her students and her two little girls the many gifts she has received through her ongoing practice and studies – a greater sense of authenticity, presence, strength, compassion and, most of all, service to others and the planet. amandahardingyoga.com 


amanda kohr

Amanda Kohr grew up on the east coast, where she relished in small beach towns, camping by the lake, and trick-or-treating. In 2013, she graduated with a B.A. from James Madison University, traveled, moved to Los Angeles, and began to question everything. She turned to yoga as a means of creating some stability, and hasn’t left the mat since.

Driven by curiosity, Amanda is determined to explore and understand the various stories, people, and places of the world. She believes that traditional yoga helps create space in the mind, therefore allowing us to remain open to life’s rich diversity. With a passion for storytelling and listening, Amanda writes for various literary magazines, blogs, and yoga journals. You can find her roaming the highways, or via the Internet at cozycaravan.com.


BE SHAKTI

Spiritually athletic in nature and practice, Be finds gratitude in movement, stillness, and transition. The Gemini in her is most clearly expressed through being an old soul, and yet maintaining a deep connection to her inner child. The balance of the two being currently explored as the sacred feminine: intuitive, loving, energetic, fierce, playful. Be graduated from NYU's Gallatin School with a concentration in Human Wellness, Addiction, and Culture Studies and completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training in Todos Santos, Mexico at the Yandara Yoga Institute.  As an ERYT, she has completed advanced trainings with Manju Pattahbi Jois in the Primary Series of Ashtanga, Hala Khouri in Teaching Yoga to At Risk Adults and Youth, Allison Eaton in Reiki Master Training, as well as through personal one-on-one mentorship with Lauren Imparato of I.AM.YOU.

Be is thankful for these teachers as well as Raghunath , Sondra Loring, Ossi Raveh, Todd Grube and Maria Cutrona for their continued inspirations and teachings on and off the mat.


dana slamp

Dana Slamp, MFA, ERYT500, completed her 300 hour Yoga Therapy training with ISKY, an international IAYT member school.  She received an Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist Certification from Dr. Mark Halpern in 2014 and is completing her anatomy training with Leslie Kaminoff.  

Dana began teaching yoga in 2005, offering vinyasa classes known for their spirit, strength, and safety at Sonic Yoga, New York Yoga, Some Like it Hot, and David Barton Gym.  She was delighted to join the senior staff at Pure when it first opened in New York, expanding her teaching to Restorative, Slow Flow, and Yin/Yang classes, as well as contributing to Pure's renowned 200 hour Teacher Training and Professional Mentorship Program.  Despite her love of classes, Dana saw the great need for one-on-one therapeutic teaching in the spirit of Krishnamacharya.  She served as Managing Teacher for Pure's second New York studio, Pure West, managing the staff of 60+ amazing teachers and assigning thousands of private therapeutic yoga lessons for members and guests.

Since then, she has taught internationally, contributed to countless teacher trainings, and presented in the U.S. at the Telluride Yoga Festival, Wanderlust in the City, and several times at the Yoga Journal Conference.  Dana is a yoga therapy educator and teacher trainer at Sonic Yoga, Ora Wellness, Three Sisters Yoga, Sequencology, and Pure Yoga.  Additional education includes Prenatal Teacher Training with Gurmukh.  She is a Yoga Therapist member of IAYT and treats clients on an individual basis in New York City.


DANIELLE STORM

Danielle is a mother, wife, yogi, constant student and editor—but first she was a writer. From her first memories, she has always wanted to write and to share her words with others. Yoga is a newer love. She began her practice over eight years ago in a prenatal class when she was pregnant with her first son. With that amazing and shocking change into a life of motherhood, and in all of the changes after, she has found solace, calm, energy, and stability in her practice. Her desire to share the impact that yoga can have led her to complete a certification in teaching children’s yoga with HOSH Kids in Brooklyn and then her 200-hour teaching certification through New York Yoga in Manhattan. Danielle is excited by the new perspectives that learning the yoga philosophy offers and is so happy to be able to blend her love of yoga with her first love of writing to share that with others. Check her out at daniellestormyoga.com and littleyogisbigcity.com.


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ERIN LUHKS

Erin Luhks is a mathematician, writer, and yogi based in Brooklyn. She studied abstract math and poetry at Pennsylvania State University once upon a time before smartphones. She's been a hydrodynamics research assistant, a non-union movie projectionist, a high school math teacher, and a really lousy barista. She now has her dream job, developing curriculum and designing software for math students. 

To appease an insistent friend, Luhks started to practice yoga in 2010. Soon she took a 300-hour yoga teacher training with Lamas Kimberley and Ted Lafferty, and asana genius Mira Shani (YSI, Arizona 2012). She studies ayurvedic and archetype theory and yantra painting with Sarah Tomlinson. 

Luhks is a founder of the Suspicious Characters Language School. She has written humor and math articles for the-toast and runt-of-the-web. She is currently studying philosophy through Rasa Yoga. She DJs and writes songs with her creative collective #FlirtClub. Her many personalities all share the Twitter account @ErinLuhks.


HALLIDAY DRESSER

Halliday Dresser is a sandal-maker and garden designer.  He studied Sanskrit at UC Berkeley, lived and studied with Advaita teacher Jean Klein for many years, and is lay ordained in Sōtō Zen Buddhism.


Jacob Kyle (Editor & Founder)

Frustrated with the rigidity and spiritual emptiness of his past life on the academic path, Jacob eventually redirected his energies toward sharing the practice of yoga - a practice that has enriched so many lives. Wisdom is not an affair of the head alone, but must be grounded in the heart and in an embodied way of living: this has been the deepest truth Jacob has taken away from his some ten years of practice. If he can play even a small role in imparting that truth to the world, his goals are met.  Jacob created Five Tattvas in an attempt to meet those goals. Jacob is a frequent contributing writer to elephant journal, teaches in teacher trainings, and hosts retreats year round at destinations both local and abroad. jacobkyleyoga.com


JEREMY YAMASHIRO

Jeremy began asana practice at the age of 16 in the mountains of Utah, and a meditation practice shortly thereafter. In 2004 he received the Bodhisattva precepts from Genpo Roshi in the Maezumi lineage. He is currently a PhD candidate in cognitive psychology at The New School for Social Research. Jeremy's research interests were shaped by a formative encounter with Gregory Bateson’s concept of an ecology of mind, in which mind is conceived as transformations of information over heterogenous, self-referencing, dynamical structures. His current research involves empirical work on distributed and extended cognition, and social influences on remembering and collective memory. He  lives in New York.


Jessica Stickler

Jessica Stickler grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has always felt an irresistible magnetic pull towards New York City, where she has been living since 1998. Jessica discovered yoga as a means to manage anxiety and depression, and was attracted to the beauty of the forms and the depth of the philosophy.

Jessica is an advanced certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher with 7 years of teaching experience, and also serves as a mentor in Jivamukti's apprentice teaching program, and teaches Jivamukti method internationally in Australia, Germany, Trinidad, and the Czech Republic.

As an undergraduate, Jessica fell in love with world philosophy and religion. Yoga has been the graduate program she's always hoped for -- we get to do handstands while contemplating the meaning of life. Jessica loves finding ways to make these ancient teachings applicable to life and practical to help us be the best version of us we can be on a daily basis. jessicastickler.com


JILL CAMERA

Jill has practiced hatha yoga since the 1970s, and has been a student of the Western Esoteric Tradition for as long. She began teaching Vinyasa yoga classes in 2001 and in 2007 started teaching Yoga Philosophy in various teacher training programs in New York City and New Jersey. She finds teaching hatha-vinyasa classes and philosophy modules a valuable balance for mind and body.  Jill wishes to thank her family, friends and students for their support. She is indebted to her teachers, who have been primarily from the Krishnamacharya lineage. 

Jill currently studies Vedic Chanting with Guta Hedewig, is working towards completing a course in Alchemical Qabalah and enjoys pilates classes at Sixth Street Pilates in her East Village hood of over thirty years. Further information and contact can be accessed at jillcamera.com.


Jimmy Nataraj

Where the body goes, the mind will follow. Jimmy's group classes are a rigorous, fluid vinyasa-based class that encourage students to use their yoga practice as a way to create space in their lives for unceasing grace. Every experience can become an opportunity to grow in grace if viewed properly. When we are able to become more present, we start to tap into the limitless qualities of our being (described in yoga philosophy as a state of satchidananda, or Truth-Knowledge-Bliss) and this gives us something invaluable to share with the world around us.

Jimmy has 10 years of teaching experience and has lead retreats, workshops, kirtans, and has directed and been on the faculty of several Yoga Teacher Training Programs throughout the east coast and midwest. A devoted bhakti yogi, Jimmy firmly believes in the purity of the original yogic philosophy and tries to stay true to that in both his classes and his everyday life. His love of teaching is evident in the enthusiastic manner in which he leads his classes. For more about Jimmy Nataraj, check out his website at www.jimmynataraj.com.


Kelly Josephs

An old Raquel Welch book on beauty, tucked away on a shelf in the public library, introduced Kelly to yoga in her teens and set her on a lifelong love affair with the practice. Kelly’s yoga practice helped sustain her through graduate study and after completing her PhD in literature and assuming a faculty position, she certified to teach with YogaFit in 2007. She later continued her yoga studies and completed her 200-hour and 500-hour certifications with Yogaworks. She has also done additional training to work with the families of addicts and terminally ill patients, a population whose need for self-care is often over-looked. Kelly believes changing people’s bodies can change their lives and so she teaches classes with an emphasis on strength balanced by meditative movement that prepares the body, heart, and mind to open to transformation. She teaches at Yogaworks and RetroFitness in Brooklyn. She can be found blogging somewhat regularly at calmstrength.net and more often on Twitter at @kbjosephs.


Lisa dawn Angerame

Lisa Dawn took her first yoga class 16 years ago and began a journey of discovery that is still ongoing. For Lisa Dawn, the spiritual discipline of yoga is a source of strength and healing. Daily practice continues to manifest physical, emotional, and spiritual insights that run deep. Study of the beautiful Sanskrit language through the Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita brings an even deeper understanding of the yoga practice.

Lisa Dawn has over 1,800 hours of training. She is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti teacher, a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa teacher, has trained with Jonny Kest and Paul Grilley, and is certified to teach Pre and Post Natal yoga. Lisa Dawn also publishes a vegan food blog called Lisa's Project: Vegan.


MARA SOBOTKA

Mara Sobotka studied with the University of Washington's Comparative Religion program, and obtained her MA in 2015. She currently teaches Hebrew and writing. Though incurably fascinated by everything, her main foci are affect theory, gender theory, and the evolution of language from scriptures to modern-day use in interpretation and activism. Her yoga practice began through self study a number of years ago, then branched out through some fortunate encounters with mentors, friends, and teachers. She has since become drawn to Kundalini, and hopes to complete instructor training in the future. She has written for the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association on the healing power of auricular acupuncture for trauma, and is currently an academic editor.


Miles Borrero

Meet Miles Borrero, yoga teacher, avid student, Master of the Fine Arts, skateboarder, horseback rider, former-actor, ex-rocker, harmonium hugger and lover, shape-shifter and peaceful warrior. Born in Sao Paolo, Brazil and raised in Bogota, Colombia, Miles is currently based in NYC, and teaches regular classes at Pure Yoga, Exhale Spa and the Bhakti Center.

Coming from a classical yoga background, Miles embraces its rigor- both in the theoretical and the practical- maintaining all of the traditional elements of a yoga practice, yet with the essence of a jazz musician. Her yoga and writing are pulled apart and reconstructed, then twisted around and flipped on their head for an artful, enlivened experience. She is most interested in awakening your sense of curiosity and wonder, engaging you to become the author of your own education through Indian mythology, philosophy and most importantly music- as she is a Nada yogi at heart.

Borrero leads retreats and teacher trainings both nationally and internationally and has recently been featured in publications including Om Yoga and Mantra. Deeply influenced by and eternally grateful to all of her teachers (Raghunath, Ana Forrest, Schuyler Grant and Phillip Askew among others), she believes yoga is an integrated science, art and practice meant to help us know and love ourselves better and more freely. Feel free to check Miles out at www.milesyoga.com.


RALPH DE LA ROSA

Ralph De La Rosa is a psychotherapist, transformational coach, and meditation instructor offering public classes in Broklyn and private sessions in NYC and via Skype. He is the founder of The Mindfulness Sessions, a weekly class devoted to blending the meditative arts with psychology, neuroscience, and real talk about vulnerability and authenticity.

Ralph has been teaching meditation since 2008. He began practicing meditation in 1995, has been a student of Amma since 2000, and holds vows within the Shambhala lineage of Buddhism. 

Ralph is a summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. He is a certificated yoga teacher through Sarva Yoga Academy, and is trained in breathwork and Reiki as well.

Ralph maintains a part-time position as a therapist to traumatized children at a community clinic in Harlem alongside his other work. For free guided meditations or to schedule a free phone consult, visit www.ralphdelarosa.com


RAMESH BJONNES

Ramesh Bjonnes is the co-founder of the Prama Institute, a holistic retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and the Director of the Prama Wellness Center, a retreat center specializing in yoga detox by incorporating juice fasting, ayurveda, and yoga in the spirit that a balanced lifestyle is our best medicine. Ramesh is also a writer, yogi and workshop leader. He lived in India and Nepal in the 1980s learning directly from the traditional teachers of yoga and Tantra. He has taught workshops in many countries and is the author of Sacred Body, Sacred Spirit (InnerWorld) and Tantra: The Yoga of Love and Awakening (Hay House India).  Tantric scholar and Professor of Religion at the University of Rochester, Douglas Brooks, writes that “Ramesh Bjonnes offers rich insight into Tantra for the current age. [He] is an important voice for the study of living Tantra.” Ramesh lives and practices in an eco-village in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.  Website: www.prama.org


REBEKAH NAGY

Rebekah (E-RYT 500) is a Brooklyn-based yoga teacher, yoga teacher trainer, writer, performer, amateur roof gardener, and Sanskrit enthusiast. Her life, work, and movement evidence a polyhistorical interest in poetic meta levels, festival culture, and 15 years of yogasana practice. Her yoga classes place emphasis on breath awareness, balance rigor with rest, and reflect a love of evocative biomechanical detail in the interest of safety, utility, and the expansion of body consciousness. Rather than telling her students what they should feel, she holds a supportive space that engenders creativity and play, allowing them to unveil their own paths to embodiment, connection, and presence. Rebekah received her 200- and 500-hour certifications in the Krishnamacharya lineage at Yoga Sutra under the guidance of Guta Hedewig. Ever a student, her continuing anatomy and kinesiology studies with Amy Matthews bridge the gap between philosophy and embodiment, and include a Body-Mind Centering approach. She studies Vedic chanting, Haitian Vodou drumming and dance, and loves to commute by bike. Her artistic work is transdisciplinary, exploring media as diverse as performance, super 8, writing, ritual, gouache, sculpture, and immersive costuming. In growing season she can be found in her roof garden, either working hard or sitting still. Rebekah lives by the hard-won philosophy that what makes us uncomfortable can also make us free. rebekahnagy.com


STacey Ramsower

I became a devoted student of Yoga at the age of fourteen when my mom bought me a VHS tape called "Yoga for Beginners With Patricia Walden."  I practiced after school, when no one was home, and I loved the simplicity and depth of each pose, I experienced a quiet I hadn't known before.  Years later I moved to Los Angeles where I met Hala Khouri, and her inclusion of Somatic Experiencing principles with asana inspired me deeply.  I determined to become a teacher.  My 200hr Teacher Training was led by yoga greats Annie Carpenter and Lisa Walford at Yoga Works, after which I completed my Nia White Belt with Helen Terry in Houston, TX.  I have completed Hala Khouri’s “Teaching Yoga To Those At Risk,” Schuyler Grant’s 75hr “The Art of Teaching Kula Style,” Mira Shani’s “Asana and Technique Series,” Yin Yoga and Meditation with Rhia Robinson and The Lineage Project’s 20hr Teacher Training Program.  I served as co-facilitator with the non-profit organization “In-Powered,” and also co-lead a 200hr TT Program called Svasta Yoga School, which offers continuing education and mentorship.  I am currently working on my 500hr TT with the Himalayan Institute.  I base my teaching on the belief that Yoga, when practiced well, can lead you to the deepest experience of your innate wisdom and true freedom.

Find me at staceymoves.com.


Contributing Writers

CAROL HORTON

Carol Horton, Ph.D., is author of Yoga Ph.D.: Integrating the Life of the Mind and the Wisdom of the Body, and co-editor of 21st Century Yoga: Culture, Politics, and Practice. Currently, she is editing a book on Best Practices for Yoga for Veterans. Carol serves on the Board of the Yoga Service Council, and teaches yoga at Chaturanga Holistic Fitness in Chicago. An ex-political science professor, Carol holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago, is the author of Race and the Making of American Liberalism, and has written numerous research reports for leading foundations, nonprofits, and public agencies on issues affecting low-income children and families. carolhortonphd.com

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CHRISTOPHER WALLIS

Christopher Wallis, also known as Hareesh, was introduced to Indian spirituality at the age of seven and initiated into the practice of yogic meditation at sixteen. His degrees include a B.A. in Religion and Classics from the University of Rochester, an M.A. in Sanskrit from U.C. Berkeley, an M.Phil. in Classical Indian Religions from Oxford, and a Ph.D. on the traditions of Śaiva Tantra from Berkeley. He received traditional education at yoga āshrams in upstate New York and India in meditation, kīrtan, mantra-science, āsana, karma-yoga, and more. He currently teaches meditation, yoga darśana (philosophy), Tantrik philosophy, Sanskrit, mantra-science, and offers spiritual counseling.

Hareesh is the Founder and Head Faculty of the Mattamayura Institute. His teachers, mentors, and gurus, in chronological order, include: Gurumayī Chidvilāsānandā (dīkṣā-guru and mūla-guru), Paul Muller-Ortega (Śaiva Tantra and Classical Yoga); Alexis Sanderson (Śaiva and Śākta Tantra and Sanskrit); Marshall Rosenberg (Nonviolent Communication); Somadeva Vasudeva (Śaiva Tantra), Dharmabodhi Sarasvati (Tantrik Yoga); and Adyashanti (Meditation). Hareesh is the author of Tantra Illuminated: The Philosophy, History, and Practice of a Timeless Tradition. tantrikstudies.org

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