Niroga Yoga Therapy Training Faculty
Danielle Ancin, RYT
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 vulnerable communities 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 Program Manager at the Niroga Institute and teaches regular yoga classes to at-risk children and adolescents.
Bidyut Bose, PhD, E-RYT 500, Master Yoga Therapist and Executive Director of Niroga Institute
Bidyut learned yoga from his father since he was 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 member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).
Baxter Bell, MD, E-RYT 500
Baxter is past director of Piedmont Yoga Studio's Deep Yoga program, teaches the Anatomy and Methodology portions of that program, as well as on 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 and 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 Studios 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. Please visit yogacheryl.com for more information.
Saraswathi Devi, Director, Yogalayam Prana Yoga Ashram, Berkeley (Holistic Health)
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 Yoga on Wheels.
Mitch Hall, MA, MHRS (Behavioral Health)
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, http://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 teachers 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).
Will Meecham, MD, MA
As the anatomy and physiology instructor for the 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.
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.
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.