Teachers

Anneke Sips, RN, C-IAYT
[The Netherlands / Network Yoga Therapy (Founder)]

Anneke is a Registered Nurse (RN) and has worked in psychiatry since 1998. She is one of the first certified yoga therapists in The Netherlands (C-IAYT) and the founder of Network Yoga Therapy and The Yoga Therapy Conference in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her expertise is in yoga for mental health, especially trauma and psychosis. She designs and offers Compassion Based Yoga programs and is a bridge builder in the field of Yoga Therapy for mental health in The Netherlands. She is a student of A.G. Mohan and Indra Mohan from Chennai who were both direct students of Krishnamacharya.

Aryong Choi-Hantke
[Korea / Institute of Body and Mind (Founder)]

Aryong Choi-Hantke studied at the School of Media, Sogang University, South Korea, where she specialized in communications, cultural studies and film. She began yoga in 1996 and established Yoga Into the World and the Institute of Body and Mind in 2003. She has also studied yoga therapy in Japan since 2006. She was director of the Korea Yoga Federation from 2005 to 2007 and a referee for the Federation’s yoga instructor license test in 2008. Since 2010, she has presented papers and focused on yoga therapy for the both physical and mentally disabled, for cancer patients at palliative care centers, and for people with addictions at psychiatric hospitals.

Amy Wheeler, Ph.D, C-IAYT
[USA / The Optimal State of Living]

Professor of Kinesiology at California State University, San Bernardino for 21 years. Amy’s degrees include a B.A. and M.A. in Health Promotion, and a Ph.D. in Education and Psychology. Amy has extensive Yoga training in the Krishnamacharya Tradition and was certified as a Yoga Teacher, a Yoga Teacher Trainer and Yoga Therapist. Amy helped to set standards for Yoga Therapists in organizations such as NAMA (National Ayurvedic Medical Association). Amy is a Co-Founder of The Optimal State of Living, an organization that certifies Yoga Teachers and Yoga Therapists at the 200, 300, 500, 800 and 1000-hour levels. Amy is a member of the Board of Directors for the International Association of Yoga Therapist (IAYT).

Vyasah Kalyanasunderam
[Sri Lanka / Astanka Yoga Mandir (Chief Yoga Therapist)]

Shri Vyasah Kalyasunderam has taught Hatha Yoga, relaxation techniques, meditation and pranayama since 1992. He was initiated, taught and guided into this ancient tradition by his mother, Mrs. Selfam Kalyanasunderam, a barrister by profession, with vast knowledge of ancient scriptures and the tradition of H.H. Dr. Swami Sivananda Maharaj, the founder of the Divine Life Society, Rishikesh, India. Shri Vyasah was also guided by H.H. Swami Datta Ramagiri (India) and Acharya Swami Ram (Dr. S. Ramanathan), founder of Holistic Kirya Yoga Center, Canada. He qualified his yogic studies from S-VYASA of Bangalore, India. He is currently chief yoga instructor at the Astanka yoga Mandhir, and chief yoga trainer and lecturer at the Indian cultural center in Colombo. He is also the Chief Yoga Instructor /Senior Trainer at Institute of Human Excellence, where he is also in-charge of the diploma yoga programs, advanced yoga training and teacher training programs.

Keishin Kimura (Jnana Yogi)
[Japan / Japan Yoga Therapy Society (President)]

Keishin Kimura (Jnana Yogi) was born in Gunma Prefecture, Japan, in 1947. He graduated from Tokyo University of Education in 1969. After studying for ten years directly under Swami Yogeshwarananda and receiving the holy name Jnana Yogi upon initiation as a Raja Yoga Acharya, Kimura began teaching Raja Yoga. In cooperation with the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation, he established and instructed yoga instructor and yoga therapist courses throughout Japan. He is president of the Japan Yoga Therapy Society, executive director of the Japan Integrated Medical Society, and a board member of the Japan Ayurveda Society.

Ken Harakuma
[Japan / International Yoga Center (Director), Ashtanga Yoga Japan (Director), Athlete Yoga (Representative Director)]

Ken Harakuma is one of the leaders responsible for yoga’s popularity in Japan today. He has practiced a wide range of yoga, including Iyengar Yoga (BKS Iyengar), Ashtanga Yoga (Sri K Patabijois), Hata, Vinyasa, restorative healing and relaxation yoga, athlete yoga, and Raja yoga among others. Teaching primarily Ashtanga Yoga both in Japan and abroad, he teaches extensively in workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings. He is a yoga consultant for media, schools, and corporations, and continues to lead the advancement of yoga in Japan. He is one of the founders of “Yoga Festa,” the largest yoga event in Japan, and is also invited as a teacher to prominent conferences such as Asia’s largest yoga conference, the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong. He also is invited to Yoga Journal Thailand’s Yoga Conference in Bangkok, the Korean Yoga Fest in Korea, and Yoga Life Festival in Taipei. Author of The Spirit of Ashtanga Yoga (Goma Books), Yoga Life (Shunjusha Publishing Company), Kokoro Yoga (transl. Yoga of the Heart, Seven & i Publishing), and Yoga kara hajimaru (trans: Start with Yoga, Asahi Press). He has also appeared in and produced numerous DVDs.

Iku Suda
[Japan / Japan Yoga Therapy Society]

Iku is a yoga therapist certified by the Japan Yoga Therapist Society. She was one of the first to graduate from the Tokyo Yoga Therapist Instructor Course. She has taught yoga therapy group classes at Kohnodai Hospital, National Center for Global Health and Medicine since May 2007. She also teaches yoga therapy to cancer patients at a support group facility run by a hospital in northern Kawasaki City, as well as at psychiatric clinics and to other cancer support groups. She and patients at medical facilities organize and conduct the classes together.

Danilo Forghieri, Ph.D.
[Brazil / Sports Center of São Paulo University (CEPEUSP) (Yoga Professor and Head of Research)]

Danilo has worked as a Yoga teacher at the Sports Center of São Paulo University (CEPEUSP) for 15 years, and for the last 2 years has coordinated its Research and Teaching Sector. He has taught Physiology of Yoga and Scientific Research Methods in post-graduate courses for 13 years. Danilo’s line of research is the investigation of the psychophysiological effects of Yoga, pranayama and meditation on the aging brain and specific health conditions, such as cardiovascular and psychological ones. Danilo has extensive education in both yoga and other scientific fields including an M.S. in Experimental Physiopathology and a Ph.D. in pneumology from the Medical School of the University of Sao Paulo, and a post-doctorate in psychobiology and neuroscience from the Rio Grande do Norte Federal University and Brain Institute of Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. He was awarded with the best paper presentation of the Brazilian Society of Hypertension in 2012; twice with Kaivalyadham’s best scientific study, and once with Swami Kuvalayananda’s award at SYR 2016.

Naoto Nakamura PT, RYT500, sVYASA YTIC
[Japan / TAKT EIGHT]

Naoto Nakamura aims to make preventative medicine a reality by undertaking exercise of both body and mind. During his 12 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist in medical and nursing care facilities, he realized the immense importance of not only addressing illness, but preventing illness from occurring in the first place. To enable people to prevent illness, he established TAKT EIGHT, a yoga and Pilates studio in Hachioji. He has developed his own pilates method called “Functional Roller Pilates” and conducts teacher trainings in this method as well as walking methods. In addition, he writes articles, gives lectures on various topics, and teaches on a daily basis.
In addition to being a physical therapist, he is also knowledgeable in kinesiotherapy for scoliosis. He teaches not only group lessons but also offers private yoga instruction.
He also teaches at the Asahi Culture Center in Shinjuku and contributes to All About’s guide on Exercise Therapy.

Junko Bindhany
[Japan / Iyengar Yoga Center]

Born in Tokyo 1953. Junko met Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar in December 1981. She continued to travel every year to study under Guruji’s instruction at his Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute (R.I.M.Y.I.) in Pune, India. There, Guruji instructed her as an assistant in the Remedial Class (a class for treatment and rehabilitation). With this experience, she realized her unique perspective as a Japanese woman, and began conducting maternity yoga seminars and yoga seminars for women.
She participated in a Women’s Intensive taught by B.K.S Iyengar in 1997. Since then, she has focused largely on yoga for women, and continues teaching yoga based on Iyengar Yoga’s philosophy and principles that “by knowing one’s true self, one can liberate energy, restore vigor, and live an energetic and vibrant life.”
Junko founded the Iyengar Yoga Center in Saitama Prefecture, Japan in 2000 (www.yogamarga.com), where in addition to regular classes, she also teaches Special Care classes, where one-on-one instruction is provided to address specific needs. She began teacher trainings in 2007 and has educated many certified Iyengar Yoga teachers. Many diligent students come from all over Japan, including Okinawa, Kyushu, Kansai, and Tohoku. She supervised the Japanese translation and publication of B.K.S. Iyengar’s The Path to Holistic Health.

François Lorin
[France / European Union of Yoga, Institut Français de Yoga (Teacher Trainer)]

François Lorin attended J. Krishnamurti’s talks regularly in India and Europe from 1963 and studied with T.K.V. Desikachar from 1966 to 1987, studying the yoga sutras, asanas, pranayama, the Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, and other yogic texts. He received recognition from the Viniyoga Interantional Association as a yoga teacher. He has trained yoga teachers since 1968, and is one of the co-founders of the Institut Français de Yoga. Having experienced the non reality of the notion of self, François shares his understanding with his students as the main solution to human suffering.

Penny Roberts, YBT Dip, C-IAYT
[U.K. / British Council for Yoga Therapy (Chair)]

Penny Roberts, BA Hons Drama, took up yoga in 1980 after graduating. She later trained as a yoga teacher from 1993, gaining a British Wheel of Yoga Diploma (1996), subsequently studying for Yoga Biomedical Trust Yoga Therapy Diploma (2001), Yin Yoga Teaching Certificate (2008) and completed Yoga & Anatomy with Gary Carter (2013). Penny teaches regular Yin/Hatha yoga classes and 1-1 Yoga Therapy along with a special interest in postural & structural assessment and adjustments; Joint Replacement Rehabilitation; Healthy Aging & Breath, Stretch & Relax Classes (Chair-based for those who are older and have restrictions); Pregnancy & Childbirth Yoga; Postnatal & Baby Yoga. Penny also has a certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy and practices EFT. Penny is the current Chair of British Council for Yoga Therapy (BCYT) and a Board Member and Tutor on the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma course.

Michael Lee, MA, Dip.Soc.Sci, C-IAYT, E-RYT500
[USA / Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy]

Michael worked in the fields of applied behavioral science and education before embracing yoga therapy as a tool for lasting personal change. In 1986 he developed Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and its key processes for supporting change somatically and with a focus on mental and emotional health. His work references yoga philosophy, Buddhism, and modern psychology and many elements of it are now supported by recent neuroscience. Over 2000 yoga therapists have been trained in the Phoenix Rising Method worldwide including in Japan. Michael was a keynote presenter at IAYT’s SYTAR in 2016 and a keynote presenter at Yoga Australia Conference in 2018.

Marlysa Sullivan, PT, C-IAYT
[USA / Maryland University of Integrative Health (Assistant Professor), Center for Integrative Yoga Studies (Co-Founder)]

Marlysa Sullivan PT, C-IAYT. Marlysa is a physical therapist, yoga therapist and an assistant professor at Maryland University of Integrative Health in the integrative health sciences and masters of science in yoga therapy programs. She specializes in working with chronic or persistent pain, neurologic and orthopedic populations. Her current work includes papers on the explanatory model of yoga based on philosophical and ethical perspectives and on exploring the convergence of the gunas of yoga with polyvagal theory as a framework for regulation and resilience of the system. Her current research includes studies on yoga in the dementia/neurocognitive decline population. Information on Marlysa can be found here: www.integrativeyogastudies.com or www.muih.edu.

Toshiro Miura C-IAYT, E-RYT500, L.Ac.
[Japan / Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and Kripalu Japan]

Since 1981, Toshiro began teaching yoga and opened an acupuncture clinic. He began feeling limitations in teacher-student/clinician-patient relationships, and started questioning the tendency for dependency and hierarchy. He was deeply moved by the emphasis on awareness in Kripalu Yoga and on the client-centered focus in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. In the 1990’s, Toshiro studied and was certified in both these schools, enhancing his work as a yoga teacher and therapist. As director of Kripalu Japan, he currently conducts both Kripalu Yoga teacher trainings and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy trainings in Japan.

Lara Benusis, EdM, MA, C-IAYT, E-RYT500
[USA / Columbia University (Student Researcher)]

Lara Benusis is a pioneer in translating yoga into hospital environments. She was the first full time yoga instructor at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center where she developed their in-hospital/out-patient adult, pediatric, and employee wellness offerings. She is featured in MSKCC’s online yoga training program, Yoga For the Cancer Patient and has authored their yoga research interventions for their breast, ovarian and pulmonary medicine teams. She is currently a pre-doctoral student in Applied Physiology at Columbia University and is focused on exploring the efficacy and mechanisms of exercise and yoga on the survivorship of cancer. She has been a certified yoga instructor since 1996, has taught over 20,000 hours, has lead 40 advanced teacher training programs in Europe and Asia. 

Leigh Blashki, C-IAYT, Cert iRest® Teacher & Supervisor
[Australia / iRest® Australasia (Associate Director)]

Leigh has practiced yoga and meditation since 1968 and was the Founder of the Australian Institute of Yoga Therapy Leigh is often described as the ‘father of yoga therapy in Australia’ and is a sought-after presenter nationally and internationally. He is an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist, Certified iRest® Teacher and certification supervisor and has over 40 years’ experience as a Yoga and meditation teacher. He has served on IAYT Standards, Accreditation and Certification Committees and is a past-president of Yoga Australia. Leigh is passionate about sharing the non-dual teachings that underpin iRest® and is the Associate Director – Australasia for the iRest Institute. His teachers have included: Sri Yogendra, Swami Gitananda, A.G. Mohan and Dr Richard Miller.

Lisa C. Kaley-Isley, PhD, C-IAYT, E-RYT-500
[U.K. / Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma Course (Board Member), Yoga in Healthcare Alliance]

Lisa Kaley-Isley, PhD, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT is a clinical psychologist, yoga teacher, yoga therapist, and yoga therapy educator in London, UK. Lisa is a long-term student of Yogarupa Rod Stryker and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait in the Para Yoga and Himalayan Institute traditions. She studied yoga therapy with Gary Kraftsow of the American Viniyoga Institute. Lisa integrates her experience as a clinician, researcher, and yogini to provide yoga therapy, and she trains yoga teachers and therapists to adapt yoga to facilitate mental health. Lisa presents at conferences and has published articles on yoga for adolescents. Lisa is on the Board of Directors for the Yogacampus Yoga Therapy Diploma course. She teaches and supervises students on the course, and is Director of the Yoga Therapy Clinic in Islington. Lisa is a member of the Yoga in Healthcare Alliance, working to promote inclusion of yoga in the UK National Health Service (NHS).