Niroga Yoga Therapy Training Faculty
Danielle Ancin, RYT 500
Danielle has been teaching dance and yoga to youth and adults for over 12 years. Her desire to share sustainable, dynamic tools for resilience and youth development drives her work, which has included integrating yoga into humanitarian assistance and violence prevention programs in Colombia and teaching yoga classes in communities affected by violence in the US, Colombia, and Brazil. Danielle earned her Masters in Public Administration from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in 2009. She is now a lead trainer and curriculum developer with Niroga, and teaches regular Dynamic Mindfulness, leadership development, and dance classes to children and adolescents.
Learn more about Danielle by reading her Huffington Post Interview.
Katherine Bisharat, MD
"My passion is in the prevention of illness, using holistic principles." Dr. Bisharat enjoys working with each individual in a collaborative way to create personalized care. A Niroga-certified Yoga Therapist, she is also trained in Functional Medicine which is a system of understanding and treating complex chronic illness. She blends holistic/integrative and allopathic/Western-medical methods to restore health.
Learn more about Dr. Bishart's professional medical practice: www.drbisharat.com.
Bidyut Bose, PhD, RYT 500, Executive Director of Niroga Institute
Bidyut (BK) learned yoga from his father as a child, and later with monks in the Himalayas. A master Yoga Therapist in the Raja Yoga tradition, he is a long time student of Indian Philosophy and world religions. A teachers' teacher, his present research interests include the science of flexibility and the mechanisms of aging, and the scientific application of Raja Yoga for many common chronic conditions and special populations. Inspired by Swami Vivekananda, he founded Niroga Institute, a non-profit dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality Yoga instruction and Yoga Therapy to underserved individuals and families. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
Learn more about BK's work by reading his Yoga Service Council publication on Dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline with Yoga, and his research on The Effective of Dynamic Mindfulness Program with At-Risk Incarcerated Youth. Watch BK's 2 minute presentation at the Omega Institute on Your Genetic Code.
Baxter Bell, MD, RYT 500
Baxter is past director of Piedmont Yoga Studio's Deep Yoga program, teaches the Anatomy and Methodology portions of that program, and is also faculty for numerous teacher training programs across the country. He blends his background in allopathic medicine, medical acupuncture and yoga to teach on experiential anatomy and kinesiology, yoga, and yoga therapeutics. In addition to his teaching, Baxter maintains a holistic medical practice with an emphasis on yoga therapeutics and medical acupuncture. Baxter has also been a contributing writer for Yoga Journal Magazine and the International Association of Yoga Therapy. He is co-creator and contributing writer to his blog "Yoga for Healthy Aging". He is also featured in Yoga Journal's "Yoga for Stress" DVD.
Cheryl Fenner Brown, PYT, RYT 500
Cheryl blends traditional Hatha philosophy and alignment principles learned in the Piedmont Yoga Studio's Advanced Studies program (2004) with the subtle healing work of Integrative Yoga Therapy (2007-2011). Cheryl hopes to create class experiences that take you deep within yourself to find your own inner voice. Her unique blend of asana, pranayama, mudra, chanting and yoga nidra cultivates a more compassionate and non-judgmental relationship with yourself. As a Professional Yoga Therapist, Cheryl has specialized in working individually and in groups settings with cancer survivors and the physically and mentally disabled.
Cheryl's website, www.yogacheryl.com, is a great resource on everything from yoga for cancer, to mudra and philosophy.
Saraswathi Devi, RYT 500
Saraswathi began her yoga studies with her teacher, the great Grandmaster of Prana Yoga, Swami Vignanananda, of Rishikesh and Tamil Nadu, India, in 1974. Authorized by the Swami to teach in 1976, she studied with and assisted him until his Mahasamadhi in 2008. She teaches asana, pranayama, meditation and yoga philosophy. The programs serve students of all ages and all levels and also include yoga therapy, Thai Yoga massage, acupressure, nutrition, bodywork and reiki. Alongside the standard classes, she finds additional inspiration in working with special populations – pre and postnatal parents, infants and children and students of all ages living with illness, injury and disability. She is the Director of Yogalayam/Prana Yoga Center and the President of Yogis on Wheels.
Antonia Fokken, LMFT, E-RYT 500
Antonia Fokken is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Yoga Therapist, and Yoga Teacher. She is Adjunct Faculty for the Masters of Arts in Psychology (MACP) Program at Sofia University (formerly the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology) in Palo Alto, and also for the Integral Counseling Program (ICP) at CIIS in San Francisco. She currently works full-time for Sonoma County Mental Health on the Transitional Age Youth Team.
Mitch Hall, PhD, RYT 500
Mitch is an empathic mental health counselor for underprivileged children and youth, a peace and children's rights activist, an inspirational educator and speaker, a gifted writer, a skilled scholar, and a certified yoga teacher who graduated from the Niroga Institute training program. He first practiced yoga over 40 years ago and has deeply explored spiritual and somatic traditions.
His writings about cultivating inner and outer peace, nonviolence, children's rights, yoga, spiritual philosophy, social issues, and more can be found on his website, breathepeacefully.com.
Annika Hanson, CYT
Annika Hanson was born and raised in the Bay Area. At the age of sixteen an automobile accident left her with several spinal fractures and unable to live a normal teenage life. During her recovery a friend invited her to attend a yoga class, and she began to experience the self transformative properties of yoga and meditation. In her quest to empower others through the practice of yoga she continued her study, obtaining a certification from It's Yoga in Miami in 2004 and an additional certification from the Niroga Institute, with an emphasis in yoga therapeutics, in 2006. She is committed to raising awareness about the healing benefits of yoga and meditation. Annika is a senior teacher and Program Manager for Niroga Institute, managing programs at Alameda County Juvenile Hall and in Oakland schools.
Durga Leela, RYT 500, Clinical Ayurvedic and Pancha Karma Specialist
Durga Leela is an authorized teacher for Dr David Frawley, creating and offering a series of certificate courses taught at several ashrams in the US and internationally. She is a Clinical Ayurvedic and Pancha Karma Specialist, trained in both the US and India. Durga is also the founder of Yoga of Recovery R, 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 is currently offered as workshops, retreats and certificate courses.
Durga holds the RYT-500 qualification, having completed both the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course and an Advanced Yoga Training. She is also extensively trained in Meditation and Vedanta. She is Director of the Ayurveda Programs at the Yoga Farm in California and a professional member and conference speaker for the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She is a member of Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
For more information on Durga and her work, please visit www.yogaofrecovery.com.
Will Meecham, MD, MA
As the anatomy and physiology instructor for Niroga's Yoga Teacher Training, Will enjoys explaining human biology while connecting it with the transcendent, yogic perspective. Growing up, Will used his passion for life science to distract himself from severe childhood trauma. As a young adult he pursued undergraduate studies of ecology, graduate work in neuroscience, and medical training. He then worked as an ophthalmologist specializing in eyelid and orbital reconstruction until severe neck disease forced a change. He left his surgical career and adopted a contemplative lifestyle with emphasis on body-supportive practices. He has since worked in education, environmental health, and complementary medicine. He began meditating 25 years ago when he joined the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and he has also practiced in a variety of Eastern traditions. He has studied Chinese Medicine and completed Niroga's Yoga Teacher Training.
Learn more about Will and his work at www.mindfulbiology.org.
Tianna Meriage-Reiter, DPT, PT, PYT
Tianna is a physical therapist (PT) and yoga therapist in Alameda, CA. She is the owner of Mind-Body Movement Center, where she teaches therapeutic yoga classes and sees clients privately for integrative rehabilitation. She began her personal yoga practice in 2004 to try to heal from her own repetitive stress injuries. Discovering that yoga could bridge the science of PT while addressing the whole person, she obtained her yoga therapy certification in 2009 from Ginger Garner of Professional Yoga Therapy Studies. Using PT, yoga and integrative nutrition, she assists clients with persistent pain and women's health issues to meet their overall wellness goals. In addition to numerous continuing education courses, Neil Pearson has been an instrumental guide to learning more about persistent pain over the last several years.
Neil Pearson, MSc, BScPT, BA-BPHE, CYT, RYT 500
Neil Pearson is a Clinical Assistant Professor at University of British Columbia, a physiotherapist and yoga therapist. He works exclusively with people with complex pain problems, and provides therapeutic yoga for people in pain. Neil is a faculty member in yoga therapy training programs throughout North America, integrating knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pain and pathophysiology with yoga therapy. He teaches health care professionals and the public about pain management and about yoga as therapy. Neil has created many resources including an extensive educational website, audio CDs and a yoga DVD for people with chronic pain. See more at www.lifeisnow.ca.
Miriam Shipp, MD, MPH, CYT, Women's Health Specialist, Somatic Practitioner
Miriam Shipp, M.D. is a physician with specialties in Preventive Medicine, Occupational/Environmental Medicine, and Women's Health. She is a registered yoga teacher and yoga therapist who has been on the Niroga Yoga faculty since 2005. She has taught therapeutic yoga workshops throughout the Bay Area for over ten years, focusing on healing practices for those with back injuries, repetitive strain injuries, and other musculo-skeletal conditions. In addition, she focuses on women's health issues, including yoga for menopause, pre-menstrual syndrome, osteoporosis prevention, and other women's health issues. She maintains an Occupational/Environmental medicine practice in the East Bay, where she utilizes yoga therapy with her clients.