Teachers

Teachers

AIMEE LALLY

Aimee has been a student of yoga for 30 years, teaching for 20. Her deep thirst for learning and growth led her to study different methods with master teachers. She began with Ashtanga Yoga studying with Richard Freeman, went on to explore the creativity of Vinyasa Flow with Sharon Gannon and Rodney Yee, and then delved into the Anusara method studying with Amy Ippoliti and Emma Magenta.  For the past 9 years she has been immersed in the Iyengar Method, studying with Nikki Costello, Matt Dryfus, Amy Hamilton, and Nancy Witters.

After 9 years of rigorous study Aimee has become a Certified Iyengar Instructor. She has a deep respect for this method as its precision and sequencing brings the student to a deeper understanding of the asana and themselves, creating clarity in body and mind.  It aids in developing flexibility, strength, stamina, focus and discipline of mind and body. It’s sequential teaching moves one inward from the external body to the self with in. It adapts itself to the level of the student so that it is accessible to all ages and levels of physical condition.

Come and practice!

ANDRE WITEK

Andre took his 200 hour Teacher Training Certification from the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC for beginner, intermediate and extra gentle yoga and has been teaching there since 2000. Some of his wonderful teachers include Kali Morse, Swami Ramananda and Hamsa Spagnola at the Integral Yoga Institute (IYI); and Cheri Clampett and Arturo Perl for therapeutic yoga.

Andre was inspired by the growing therapeutic yoga field and completed specialized certification training in this area, including restorative yoga. He is currently a certified therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Andre loves teaching and taking group classes and being in the energy of the sangha, the community of practitioners. He also enjoys nature, hiking and biking and jazz.

ANNA (Amba) WINKLER, Director of Shakti Yoga & living arts,  BA, E-RYT 500, YACEP, LMT

Anna has been practicing and teaching yoga since 1989. She was originally certified through the Sivananda Yoga Organization, where she served as a volunteer staff member for over 6 years. Among many other things, she assisted in the Yoga Teacher Training courses and modeled for 2 yoga books during her time there: Yoga, Mind and Body and 101 Essential Tips: Yoga.

Anna began practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 1997 with Eddie & Jocelyn Stern, as well as other authorized teachers, including Pattabhi, Saraswati, Manju and Sharath Jois, Nancy Gilgoff, Tim Miller, and others. She began teaching Ashtanga in 2002. Anna began studying and practicing Iyengar Yoga at Studio Yoga (now Santosha Yoga) in Madison (and with other Senior Iyengar teaches) in 2007. She received her second 500 hour teaching certificate from Theresa Rowland of Studio Yoga in 2014.

Anna teaches an Alignment Based Hatha Yoga class. She has been teaching in the Maplewood area since 2001, She is the founder and director of Shakti Yoga & living arts since June 2005 (formerly the Yoga Room in Millburn).

Anna graduated from Nalanda Institute‘s Contemplative Psychotherapy Program (Compassion Module) in May, 2021. In March, 2022, she became a certified Compassion Based Resilience Training (CBRT) teacher, also with the Nalanda Institute. She completed the first Embodiment Module of the CPP, in June, 2023. Anna thoroughly enjoys sharing these teachings with the community.

Anna is honored to serve on the Board of Directors and as a teacher at the Dharmakaya Center for Wellbeing, a retreat center in Cragsmoor, NY, founded by her teacher, Trungram Gyalwa Rinpoche.

Anna’s teaching style is both challenging and nurturing.  With a dash of humor, a focus on alignment and sometimes just going with the flow, her classes will leave you feeling worked, yet tranquil and energized.

Anna is available for  Ayurveda Lifestyle Consultations, Myofacial Release Massage, Private Yoga Lessons, Raindrop Technique, Therapeutic Integrated Massage, Thai Yoga Bodywork and Thai Abdominal Massage.

ARI SILVA

Ari was introduced to yoga in the early 1980’s to better understand breathing and relaxation techniques in preparation for the birth of her daughter. Soon after, she located the only yoga studio in the city of San Diego (before yoga became as popular as we know it) and became immersed in Asana practice. Despite several relocations, including a few stints living overseas, Ari continued to practice while working in luxury management in NYC. While coaching her husband on some stretches and postures to help with his injuries, he suggested that she teach yoga.

Ari completed her teaching certification in 2013. Throughout her yoga journey she has practiced various methods, such as Hatha, Iyengar, Anusara, Shivananda, and most recently, since 2015, has been dedicated to the Ashtanga Yoga method. She has participated in workshops and classes with Tim Miller, Eddie Stern and Kino MacGregor.

Ari is grateful to Anna Winkler for introducing her to Ashtanga. “It’s my fountain of youth,” says Ari.

BEVERLY EL-AMIN, MSW, MMCT

Beverly graduated from Shakti’s Yoga Teacher Training in December 2023. She is a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher. As a school Social Worker, Beverly has been providing services to families and children for over 35 years. She teaches mindfulness at her school and observes the positive and successful impact that it has on her students’ mood, behavior and grades. Beverly captivates students with her soothing tones, and powerful healing meditations. Her meditations are a peaceful balance between joy and ease.

Beverly believes that yoga and mindfulness practices have shifted the way she connects to and interacts with others, but most importantly with herself. She loves vacationing, reading, taking nature walks and spending time with her family and friends.

Beverly is dedicated to her spiritual practices; especially meditation and yoga, which have influenced her significantly, and allow her to live a well-balanced lifestyle. She looks forward to sharing that with you.

BOB BLANTON

Bob has over 40 years of experience in the martial arts, 25 of which have been dedicated to the study and practice of Tai Chi & Qigong.

For over 10 years Bob has devoted his time to a deeper study of the principals and forms of this Art.

In addition to teaching private and group classes, he has participated in numerous demonstrations and competitions.

BOB HUDAK

Bob had an interest in yoga long before he ever stepped on a yoga mat. But, as we all know, sometimes life gets in the way. By the time he began practicing yoga at the Yoga and Healing Center in Scotch Plains he was already in his early 50’s. But, he immediately knew that yoga was something that he enjoyed and he took whatever classes that were offered and he often took multiple classes in a day.

After a few years at the Yoga and Healing Center Bob found Shakti Yoga, discovering that he really enjoyed the variety of classes offered. He sampled Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar and Hatha yoga classes. When he found out that Anna was offering a Teacher Training course he enthusiastically enrolled. Bob graduated from Shakti’s Teacher Training course in October of 2020 and currently teaches Hatha yoga every third Sunday night and is excited to be taking on the Tuesday morning Sunrise yoga class that he was participating in for so many years.

Besides yoga, Bob is also really interested in pranayama, meditation and chanting. He studies pranayama with Robert Moses and meditation with his Buddhist teacher the Venerable Duhk-Song Sunim. He is enrolled in a daily course chanting the Yoga Sutras with Andrew Hillam.

Bob lives in Clark with his wife Susan and their two cats. He has a son who lives in California. Bob has now entered his 60’s and hopes to continue practicing AND teaching yoga for a long time to come…

C-RAY MANKOWSKI

Christopheray (C-Ray), having grown to 81 years young, brings four decades of study rooted in the teachings of Swami Satchitananda and the practice of Iyengar yoga. Fueled in Buddhist sensibilities he teaches with heart, humor and clarity.

You can ALL ways be sure to have fun in C-Ray’s classes, and be taught discipline, self-study and surrender. He also includes breath work and yoga philosophy in his classes, as well as copious amounts of props..

Testimonial for C-Ray’s Class

“Light as a feather & stiff as a board, yes, he will teach you how to levitate but you must listen. It won’t be stunning, like the beautiful pictures you see of the most popular poses (ESSENTIAL I hear him in the background as I practice on). There are no short cuts, or perhaps there are who knows. What I do know is that C-Ray spends time on what’s essential, especially after the age of fifty. If you’re lucky, you’ll start before that amazing benchmark of an age, as I have done. C-Ray will help you transform your body with the assistance of props, props, and more props. He does wonders with a chair and the amazing rope wall at Shakti Yoga Studio (located in Maplewood, New Jersey). C-Ray taught me to be light as a feather.

I remember dropping my block down as I prepared for practice, and he gave a quick valuable lesson about placing the block down. During practice we at times jump in and out of poses, forgetting to be mindful and aware and missing the wonderful benefits of the seconds in between poses. Not slamming a door translates to me placing my feet down, instead of dropping my feet down. The seconds that we ignore for whatever maybe on our mind is the time needed to go inward.

As I continue to practice being light as a feather and feeling everything (good or bad); I gently move from pose-to-pose to apply the intensity or grace that is needed to find the work. Yes, yoga is work and C-Ray will guide you to it. He is truly a Mr. Miyagi (Google Karate Kid). He will even take pictures for you, after class but I dare you to ask during class. Maybe I’m being ignorant which I heard is blissful, but I have felt bad for years and now I feel good (whatever that means). C-Ray will bring you closer to yourself and blur the good and the bad to show you essential is what truly matters. If you listen to C-Ray, you will receive all the good and hopefully one day levitate. I’m honored to have C-ray as one of my guiding teachers as I practice on and so should you.” ~ Christopher Boucicault

CYNTHIA BEARISON, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP

Cynthia has been studying yoga for over 20 years. She is a 200 hour certified yoga instructor and a registered member of Yoga Alliance. Cynthia completed a teacher-training program for children with a concentration in babies through 5th grade, children with disabilities, and managing anxiety in children. She is currently working on her 500 hour certification, as well as Yoga Therapy training.

Cynthia has also obtained certifications in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Restorative & Yoga Nidra and Reiki 1 & 2. Her overall approach is focused on creating a safe and accessible environment for all and encouraging a deep awareness of the mind/body connection. Cynthia is also involved with Exhale to Inhale, an organization that provides weekly yoga classes to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Cynthia is honored to introduce tools to folks who are completely new to yoga, that can bring more health, happiness and ease into their lives.

EMILY RAMOS

Emily came to her mat ten years ago to add variety to her workout routine and ease the aches and pains caused by a decade of avid running. After leaving her first yoga classes feeling renewed, calm and truly happy, what began as a physical practice soon blossomed into so much more. During her pregnancy (which was an easy, beautiful experience because of Shakti’s prenatal classes), Emily’s commitment to her yoga practice intensified.

Soon after the birth of her daughter in 2010 she decided to take her love of yoga a step further and train to become a yoga teacher. Emily  graduated from ShaktiBody’s 200-hour Teacher Training program and is thrilled to share yoga with her community!  A former NYC school teacher, Emily loves the art of teaching as much as she loves the practice of yoga.

Emily infuses her classes with energy, enthusiasm and humor. She loves sharing how the practice of yoga is also the practice of being kind, courageous, confident, happy and patient.

GENA RHO

Gena Rho is an educator, dancer, and creative explorer. She is a Clinical Somatic Practitioner with a private practice in Maplewood, NJ.

Gena trained in the tradition and lineage of Thomas Hanna with Martha Peterson of Essential Somatics, where she is currently part of the training/teaching faculty. Gena leads training, workshops, retreats, and private Clinical Somatic Education sessions online and in person.

www.genarho.com

JENNY NAGALINGAM

Jenny has been practicing yoga for almost 18 years but had a deep pull towards yoga for even longer. As a young child she remembers watching her South Indian father performing Mayurasana in the living room and showing her how to do Nauli Kriya.

Jenny started practicing yoga more regularly after her son was born, and remembers the feeling was very familiar and comforting. At first she tried out different styles like Bikram, Iyengar and restorative classes ~ taking whatever classes that fit in to her busy schedule as a working mom. Once she found Ashtanga, she was hooked. For her a quiet room with deep breathing and moving in sync with the breath is very meditative. The sound of the deep breathing is what brings her to her mat every day.

On her journey, Jenny has had the pleasure of studying and practicing with Saraswati Jois in Mysore India; Yogi Jayadevan in Kerala; and Sarath Jois, Eddie Stern, Kino MacGregory, Anna Winkler, Deborah Williams and many more in the US. She is very thankful for all of them as her journey continues.

Jenny’s big dream is to share Ashtanga Yoga with the younger generation. She believes teens and young adults will gain great benefit from the movement, postures, deep breathing and meditative aspects of the practice.

JONI WELLNESS

Joni  has been practicing and teaching yoga since 1970, with special expertise in hands-on assists, yoga therapeutics, Back Care, Pre-Natal, is a trainer of The Great Yoga Wall, and more. She served as a Doula (childbirth support), Hospice volunteer, Nutrition, Health and Life Coach, and Massage Therapist of the Joffrey Ballet and to elite athletes and dancers.

Joni has been immersed in studying the Iyengar Yoga method since 1988, and received her first Iyengar Yoga teaching certificate in the 90’s. She was certified as a Jr-I Iyengar Yoga Instructor in 2009.

Joni has just returned to teaching yoga (Fall 2023), post-covid, and is thrilled to be back on staff at Shakti.

E-RYT200 (2)

KATI WALKER, BFA, E-RYT 200, YACEP, REIKI MASTER, SOUND HEALING PRACTITIONER & TEACHER, CHTP

Kati is a Hatha Yoga Teacher and Himalayan Singing Bowl Practitioner.  She has studied and practiced yoga and the healing arts for many years. In 2006, she completed her first 200 hour yoga teaching certificate. She continued with advanced certifications in Yoga for Breast Cancer Survivors,  Yoga for Scoliosis, and  Restorative Yoga Principles. In 2020, she completed her second Yoga Teacher 200 hour training with Anna Winkler. In Kati’s classes, she blends this knowledge to allow yoga to be accessible for many students.

During the last 20 years Kati expanded her understanding of the healing arts with  certification in Sound Healing, Ayurveda consulting, Healing Touch (Endorsed by the American Holistic Association) and Reiki.

In 2009, she started to offer sound healing with Himalayan Singing Bowls in New Jersey  and NewYork. In 2013, She received Certification  to teach the Atma Buti lineage to other practitioners. In 2018, Kati traveled to Nepal to continue her studies. Kati continues to share her talents with local hospitals, cancer centers, and retreat centers throughout North America.

All of these modalities have sustained Kati throughout her life and are incorporated in her delightful Beginning Yoga classes, that invite students to start their practice, or deepen  their connection to Yoga.

Kati also offers Himalayan Singing Bowl Meditations guiding participants through a relaxing and soothing experience.

KRYSTINA ROSANIA

Krystina began practicing yoga over 10 years ago and has been teaching for nearly as long. Now a Nutrition Coach and a 500Hr+ RYT, she completed her initial 200Hr training in Vinyasa with PowerFlow Yoga and a 300Hr TT in hatha yoga with YogaMechanics. As a life long learner, Krystina has done a number of trainings in various other yoga styles and movement modalities, all of which inspire her classes.

Yoga is to be yoked, never not connected to the world around us.  This practice offers us a way to explore how we integrate the work we do on our mat with our daily life, and vice versa,  in a way that allows us to embody the fullness of our experience.

With a passion for balance of body and mind, connection with nature, and the process of yoga both on and off the mat, Krystina teaches an alignment based practice infused with pranayama, metaphor, mobility and flow. 

LORI SMITH

Lori first encountered yoga in a class at the gym in 2001, where she loved it. Yoga gave her a greater sense of flexibility as an athlete, and since that first taste of it, she has taken classes from many teachers in the NY and NJ area. In 2012, Lori became a dedicated practitioner and student of yoga when facing some major life transitions. In September of 2015, Lori received her RYT 200 hour hatha yoga certificate from South Mountain Yoga under the guidance of Emma Magenta. Yoga has been and continues to be a source of solace and refuge for her, and cultivates buoyancy in her breath and body. For over 20 years, Lori has also been a student of Vipassana meditation, having attended meditation retreats at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, MA, and group sittings at the NY Insight Meditation Center, The Rubin Museum, The Tibet House and other places. Lori is grateful to all of her teachers, past, present and future, from whom she continues to learn, grow and be inspired by. For her, yoga is a heartfelt endeavor and she is grateful to share it with her students.

Lori emphasizes an awareness of alignment in her classes, striving to create a sense of spaciousness in one’s breath and body, weaving in a sense of mindfulness and grounding in the present moment, and deepening one’s resilience.

MADALINA BLANTON

Madalina is a Reiki Master and an Integrative Health Counselor who brings gentle care, compassion and deep attention to her work and her clients. Through her personal healing journey, Madalina learned that lasting transformation happens when we bring awareness to all aspects of our being and fully engage our soul energy. In her work, Madalina’s goal is to help people reawaken their own source of creativity, expanded energy and ultimately their well-being. She uses aromatherapy and crystals to enhance the energy flow during sessions, as well as chakra balancing techniques. Madalina is a former Children’s Book Designer, a long-time student of natural health and an advocate of green living.

Since 2016, Madalina has been studying Family Constellations with Suzi Tucker. She is now bringing this modality into her practice.

MICHAEL GOOD

Michael’s first Kundalini Yoga experience was at Shakti Yoga through the skillful guidance of Trish O’Gorman. Many years have passed since this first experience and he has had the great good fortune to experience and learn from many kind and skillful Kundalini teachers and practitioners.

Inspired by and with help from the Kundalini teachers at Shakti Yoga and his personal guru, Kathleen Good, he recently completed his Kundalini Yoga Instructor Level 1 certification at the Kundalini East studio in New York City.

Michael’s goal is to share these teachings with others and help them attain the spiritual growth and happiness that is possible through the practice of Kundalini Yoga.

MICHELE BLOOM

Michele found her way to a somatic movement class in order to alleviate chronic pain that she tried to mitigate through all of the “usual” modalities, which never worked. She knew immediately that this somatic work, in the tradition of Thomas Hanna, that addresses the body as a system instead of isolating it into parts, made sense intellectually, physically and somatically.

Michele teaches on her own and as a collaborator of SomaCurious, a group of two other Somatic Movement Educators who are committed to sharing insights and perspectives related to Somatic modalities to help others improve their health and well being.

Michele is grateful to have the opportunity to teach weekly classes, in person, at Shakti.

MILENA-AMBIKA RUBINSTEIN

Milena first became interested in yoga when she took a yoga class in college.  The class offered her the opportunity to learn about both the physical and the philosophical aspects of this ancient science. After that experience, she became devoted to exploring the many elements of yoga, developing her personal practice. After returning to yoga classes regularly, she decided to receive training in order to have a deeper knowledge and better understanding of the discipline and to become a yoga instructor to share the benefits of yoga with others. As a professional community college language teacher, she also wanted to be able to pass on the knowledge she had acquired to her college students and fellow workers. Now recently retired, she continues to find her personal practice and teaching of yoga especially rewarding and fulfilling.

Milena holds more than 500 hours in yoga training, mostly from Integral Yoga Institute. Basic, 200-hour yoga teacher training in asanas and pranayama from Integral Yoga Institute, NYC in 2011 Intermediate, 170-hour yoga teacher training in asanas and pranayama from Integral Yoga Academy, Satchidananda Ashram, VA in 2018 Gentle and Chair, 100-hour yoga training from Integral Yoga Institute, NYC in 2015 15-hour chair yoga certification from ShaktiBody, Maplewood, NJ in 2012 Restorative/Therapeutic 63-hour yoga training taught by Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal at Integral Yoga Institute, NYC, in 2012 Deepening into Therapeutic 28-hour yoga training taught by Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal at Integral Yoga Institute, NYC, in 2014 3-day Essential Somatics Hanna Somatic exercise coach training – Level 1, Maplewood, NJ in 2017.

Milena believes yoga has made her life fuller, more balance and peaceful, and that’s what she would like to share with others who decide to explore the beauty of yoga. 

MIRIAM MARSHOOD, PhD, MPH, RYT-500, IAYT-in progress 

Miriam has a solid background and extensive experience in clinical research and public health. For over 20 years she engaged in clinical research management in several therapeutic areas including cardiovascular, oncology, hepatology and central nervous system.

Miriam is passionate about the healing and transformative power of yoga. She started practicing 20 years ago after she suffered back pain and later after she was hit by a car while crossing the street. Yoga practice made a remarkable contribution to her recovery and healing.

Miriam was inspired by her personal experience and is committed to studying and sharing the benefits of this ancient practice with others. She completed her 500-hour yoga teacher certification with emphasis on the therapeutic applications of yoga and currently she is working on her yoga therapy certification.

Miriam has extensive knowledge and experience and applies these qualities to lead therapeutic workshops and create an individualized practice focused on healing. She is interested in therapeutic, restorative, accessible, and slow flow yoga. Privately she is currently working with individuals to share the health benefits of yoga as it provides a platform to explore new possibilities for meaningful quality of life.

PATRICIA VIDEGAIN, CIYT, C-IAYT, RYT500, YACEP

Patricia began practicing yoga in 1994, and started teaching in 2002. From 2006 onwards, she has enhanced her practice and teaching of Iyengar Yoga with the study of anatomy. Her anatomy studies include a teacher-training course in Yoga for the Pelvic Floor and Elise Miller’s teacher-training course, Yoga for Scoliosis. Patricia has been a student of Body-Mind Centering (BMC) since 2010 and is a recent graduate of  Structural Integration with Tom Myers’ Anatomy Trains.

Patricia became a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher Level 1 in 2016. She was a student of Theresa Rowland for many years until Theresa’s passing in 2018. Currently, she takes Continuing Teacher Education classes with Matt Dreyfus.

Patricia says, “The universe of Iyengar Yoga and the poetry of the body fascinates. I want to share that with my students, pose by pose, class by class. I believe in yoga as a tool for transformation, and yoga philosophy informs my practice.”

SEN SHERMAN

Sen is a New Jersey – based Hatha & Trauma yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, and writer.  Her yoga journey began shortly after finishing her undergraduate studies, but as her healing journey began, she found yoga to be an essential tool in her life.

Sen was called to do her 200 hour training with Yoga Blue Fitness, which has certified a shocking number of Black Yoga instructors all over. Those few months impacted her practice for the better, and she discovered that not only could she focus on Trauma-Informed Yoga, but even Trauma Informed Yoga with a focus on survivors of sexual assault and race-based trauma, which she studied with the Trauma Conscious Yoga Method. After making friends and forming a community of like minded individuals, she was encouraged to pursue her 300 hour training with My Vinyasa Practice and Reiki 1& 2 with Reiki for Reparation. It’s a humbling journey and she is so thankful to have been given the opportunity to connect and learn from these amazing teachers.

Sen’s goal is to share experiences, to tell stories, and to share what she knows and learns with her community.  She hopes as she continues to study and explore that she can provide a real treat that empowers you to harness your magic.

SHELLY PHOTIADES

SomaCurious is a collaboration between Michele Bloom, Sadie Kuwano and Shelly Photiades, who are all certified Essential Somatics educators. Their mission is to explore insights and perspectives related to somatic modalities in pursuit of supporting improved health and well being.

Shelly enjoys many physical activities including tennis, biking, and dancing, but spent decades suffering from chronic pain not resolved through traditional techniques. Essential Somatics has restored her full function and mobility, bringing improved performance and greater enjoyment to her daily activities.

Shelly is excited to share her love of Somatics with the Shakti Community.

SUMAN PATNAIK

Eons ago, Suman practiced yoga informally as a kid with her father in her parents’ living room. In an effort to be more connected to her Indian heritage and to understand the whole concept of yoga beyond the physical postures, or asanas, Suman completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification in 2023 from Shakti Yoga & Living Arts in Maplewood NJ under the tutelage of Anna Winkler, where she focused on an alignment-based Hatha yoga practice in the Iyengar style.

Suman continues to practice while working a corporate job in NYC. 

Suman loves being with the Shakti sangha, chanting mantras to create a lifted collective energy. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for 5 years and incorporates that into her yoga practice. She also loves playing intuitive instruments like handpan, kalimba, and Koshi chimes.

VICTORIA (AMBIKA DEVI) PETROVSKY

Ambika Devi is 500+ RYT Kundalini Yoga Teacher trained in the Himalayan Tradition. Her Guru, Vishnu Panigrahi of Rishikesh, blessed her to teach after two years of intense discipline and training. She taught first at the teacher training program at her ashram and now worldwide and online. She is further trained in Ayurveda and Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga.

Ambika Devi’s approach is focused on transmitting safe and effective practices that expedite the purification and strengthening of the body, and focusing the mind on meditation. She seeks to bestow the most profound experience, meet each student where they are and allow them to taste the sweet taste of their Soul.

Ambika Devi demonstrates the power of Kundalini Yoga through a safe and a very practical approach as taught by her teachers, in the most authentic form of the practice.