AMANDA HARDING is 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. Heavily influenced by Tibetan Buddhist philosophy as well as the Bhakti yoga tradition, Amanda teaches an Ashtanga-influenced vigorous yet mindful and creative class incorporating the fluidity of dance and music/chanting with heavy emphasis on alignment, breath, patience and fun. 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 the many gifts she has received through her ongoing practice and studies – a greater sense of authenticity, inner peace, strength, compassion and, most of all, service to others. www.amandahardingyoga.com
LESLEY DESAULNIERS is known for her energizing, soulful and inspiring classes. She has been studying yoga and meditation since 1996, taking her practice to New York, Russia, India and back. In her early twenties, Lesley was a resident at Ananda Ashram in upstate New York, where she intensively studied Sanskrit, meditation, philosophy, yoga, and chanting. She was later certified by master teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life and went on to teach at the Jivamukti Yoga Center in downtown Manhattan. She currently co-owns the popular Prema Yoga Brooklyn. Lesley returns to NYC several times a year to lead workshops and teacher trainings at Prema. In California, Lesley teaches at YogaWorks and Yoga Tree. She is on faculty for the Yoga Tree teacher trainings.Most recently, Lesley was featured in Origin magazine’s “Leaders Who Inspire” series. She serves on the faculty at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, teaches ‘Transformational Vinyasa Yoga’ workshops and retreats at premier yoga destinations throughout the year, and is a Lululemon Brooklyn Ambassador. Lesley has also been featured in GOOD magazine, New York Magazine (Best of NY, 2006), Mantra Magazine, Origin, The NY Observer, Fit Yoga Magazine, YogaCity NYC, L magazine, among others.Lesley continues to study, practice, and teach daily. Her classes are imbued with a rare blend of sweaty Vinyasa, scholarly study, spiritual awareness, and good humor. Lesley feels thankful for the many wonderful teachers she has encountered along the path.
AARON DIAS: In retrospect, Aaron couldn't escape becoming a yoga teacher. From her childhood training in theater, dance and song; to her adolescent obsession with spirituality in all forms; to her teenage talent for teaching and tutoring; to her enthusiastic absorption in philosophy studies as a college student, all the of the seemingly disparate roads led straight here. It is a special honor for Aaron to teach at Prema Yoga Brooklyn, for it was through her dedicated studies here with Lesley Desaulniers that she first experienced how powerful and far-reaching the benefits of this practice could be. Students are drawn to her classes for her blend of scholarly knowledge and honest, lived-in philosophy, her intelligent and creative sequencing, her loving and well-aligned assists, and her unique ability to sustain sincere focus and sweet lightness in the room at once.
BOBBIE MARCHAND: Pursuing her love of dance, Bobbie moved from her native Toronto to NY in 2005.....though the equation of Dancer to Yoga Teacher is a common one; it was an illness that tuned her in to the power of a daily, dedicated practice.Bobbie's classes....well, it depends what you're coming for....her Vinyasa classes are creative, challenging and fun. Drawing on her dance background, the sequencing is expressive and fluid while encouraging alignment (and a healthy use of props!) Her yin/stretch/restorative classes are an invitation to pause, yield to the sense of support, turn inward and take the practice to a quiet, nourishing place; away from the external stress of our busy lives. Endless gratitude to Teachers Diana Lockett, Amanda Harding and Raghunath for their encouragement, support and loving guidance on this incredible journey.
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. She teaches sequencing that is traditional, spiritual and geometric -with boundaries of line and space that do not limit, but rather guide and show oneself - to oneself. Exposing one's strengths, as well as one's vulnerabilities. Freeing the spirit, igniting the soul. Be graduated from NYU's Gallatin School with the concentration of Human Wellness, Addiction, and Culture Studies and completed her original 200 hour 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 , Nikki ViIella, and Erika Hildebrandt for their continued inspirations and teachings on and off the mat.
CHRISTINA FERWERDA: My first priority is always to teach from my own practice and to provide a safe environment for my students. Using breathing techniques, asana, and meditation, I strive to provide a method for students to tune into their physical selves while calming their thoughts, creating a strong mind-body alignment. Using hands-on adjustments to guide student awareness, I develop students’ ability to find proper technique while moving in a way that is specific to their own bodies. Teaching private students for over 2 years and working with Free School Yoga to offer community-based yoga by donation gives me the opportunity to teach at a variety of levels and for a diverse population.
DIANE FISCHER became a life-long yoga student more than 14 years ago. She received her 200-hour certification through Laughing Lotus NYC, and has had additional training in prenatal yoga. She teaches in the vinyasa tradition, bringing together classical yoga postures, alignment, and fluidity of movement guided by the breath to purify the body and calm the mind. Diane is deeply grateful to Lesley and Amanda, whose generosity of spirit and devotion to the practice is endlessly inspiring, and is blessed to be a part of the Prema community.
ELAINE O'BRIEN: Gathering inspiration from her many teachers and students, Elaine's classes are both challenging and dynamic. Powerful sequencing, precise alignment and breath-centered awareness keep her teaching relevant and purposeful. With patience and humor, it is Elaine's intention to strengthen the body, inspire the mind and enable a sense of clarity. Elaine trained at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center, where she taught for five years. With gratitude for Lesley, Amanda and all of her teachers, Elaine is honored to join the Prema community.
JACOB KYLE: When he is not rattling on about the sweet fruits of yoga, Jacob can be found with his head in a book or writing a paper for his graduate studies in philosophy at the new school for social research. Jacob is inspired by the comparative history of ideas– especially between East and West– and the transformative experiences this knowledge makes possible. A class with Jacob is often a sweaty, vigorous affair, while also committed to the meditative and spiritual possibilities of the practice and to yoga as an embodied philosophy. He emphasizes the breath, music, creative sequencing and philosophy to leave you feeling blissed out and renewed, and perhaps a bit closer towards a harmony with the demons that haunt you — and as New Yorkers, we all have them. Jacob is immensely grateful to his past and present teachers for their wisdom and encouragement: Kathleen Hunt of Samadhi Yoga in Seattle, Ruth Lauer-Manenti of Jivamukti, Nevine Michaan, Abbie Galvin and David Regelin at Katonah Yoga, goodyoga’s Flannery Foster, and Kelly Morris, whose Conquering Lion Yoga Teacher Training introduced him to the perennial wisdom of the Buddhist tradition. jacobkyleyoga.com
JONATHAN FITZGORDON began practicing yoga at Jivamukti in 1995 and started teaching in 2000 after receiving his certification from Om Yoga Center. He owned and operated the yoga center of Brooklyn until the fall of 2009 and is now happy to be part of the staff at Prema Yoga Brooklyn. Jonathan's classes are imbued with the love of anatomy and the moving body. He is the creator of the FitzGordon Method Core Walking program that has been featured in the New York Times and on Good Morning America.
KAREN SHELLEY began practicing vinyasa yoga in 2004 as a way to integrate a healthy balance of movement and stillness into her life and, today, delivers this balance to her students. Having completed a 200-hour training under the direction of Schuyler Grant and Nikki Vilella at Kula Yoga Project in New York City, she weaves energy, fluidity, play, and tons of hands-on assists into her teaching. Whether standing on two feet, two hands, or all of the above, Karen finds a sense of grounding in both her practice and her teaching. She offers students an opportunity to find their edge, settle into their body and breath, and safely arrive home within their practice. karenshelleyyoga.com
MARCUS BERARDINO: Yoga found Marcus in the mid-90s following his arrival to New York. With a desire to be fit and healthy and to temper his new life in the unfamiliar fast lane of the big city, Marcus began exploring the ancient method of calming the mind while twisting and stretching on a purple sticky mat. Finding yoga to be more than a physical practice, he spread his wings and left the YMCA, where he discovered this ancient discipline, and began exploring the lineages of Jivamukti & Lotus Flow, among others. Following brief periods exploring Ashtanga and Iyengar, and a dabbling of meditation/spiritual teachings studying A Course in Miracles, in 2008, he decided to combine his professional skills as a Massage Therapist with his deepening yogic discipline and completed his 200-hour teacher certification in Vinyasa Flow through Laughing Lotus. He is continuing his studies with Tias Little at Prajna Yoga, working towards his 500-hour certification. Marcus’s classes combine vigorous and inventive asana sequencing with breath awareness, yoga theory, alignment, mantra, groovy music, humor and lots of heart to invoke a sense of joy and celebration of one’s body and life. He is ever grateful to all the teachers that have shared the great gift of yoga with him.
MARIA CUTRONA'S first introduction to the sattvic sweetness of yoga was by her dear brother Sada Sat Singh Khalsa and his beloved wife Sada Sat Kaur both Kundalini devotees and long time students of the late great Yogi Bhajan. It was on the mat that Maria learnt it wasn’t the title you used to define yourself, nor the kind of work you performed that mattered. What mattered most was the quality of your mind and the truth you live. Being a mother of two, a wife, a yogi, a student, teacher,dancer, business woman, urban dweller, lover of nature and art, aspirational artist, Maria is devoted to the daily practice of bringing equipoise and breath to each moment. Maria is 500hr certified thru Conquering Lion Yoga Program 2008 . She currently is on staff with CLYTT leading instruction on asana and The Art of Sequencing. Conquering Lion Yoga maintains that the goal of Yoga is nothing less than the Wish to reach enlightenment for the sake of every living being. Furthermore, it asserts that the aspirant will never be truly happy without this very special wish. One beautiful way to develop this wish is through our yoga practice; using the breath, the body and the mind together to reach that single,sacred goal. Practiced sincerely over time an unsurpassed opening in the heart of the aspirant occurs. This opening heralds the dawn of the Wish; the aspirant finally has a foot on the path. Expect to sweat in the name of love!The sequencing is flowing and challenging. Classes consist of Sanskrit chanting, meditation, breath awareness, hands on alignment, relaxation and eclectic music.
MONJA MANI is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher based in NYC. She has taught yoga across many studios in NYC, Munich and Berlin (Germany) and continues to teach workshops in Europe and US. She began her yoga practice and studies 15 years ago in Germany and has been teaching yoga for over 10 years. Monja, a former contemporary dancer, teaches a beautiful & uplifting Vinyasa flow in the Jivamukti tradition with elements from other traditions and styles that inspire her. Her classes are a unique blend of pure love, higher intention, intelligent movement and healing meditation. Monja is passionate about teaching the right alignment between breath, intention and movement and sharing her yoga experience with her students.
NAMI SOGA: My intention of sharing yoga is to deepen our connection and union with all living beings of this planet, and with divine power of the Universe that embrace and hold us all together. I believe that much positive transformation can take place in the world when we realize this sense of One-ness, and I seek to offer time and space where we can reconnect with our true divine nature. I completed my training at Laughing Lotus and took additional trainings in Prenatal and Yin Yoga. I am also a certified Reiki master practitioner, and a student of energy healing medicine including Aromatherapy and Flower Essence. I am eternally grateful for all the teachers I have found in my path for their endless inspiration and guidance.
ELLIOTTE SIMIAN was first introduced to yoga as a drama student in New York but fell in love with Vinyasa after stumbling into Lesley Desaulnier’s class in 2007. It wasn’t until she became a mother, however, that she developed a disciplined practice under Lesley and Amanda Harding. As a new parent, she discovered that for all the joy and beautiful moments motherhood brought, she felt a shifting sense of identity, and her practice became a refuge— a place to reconnect with herself. Through her classes, Elliotte hopes to create a space for students to challenge themselves and find that same sense of profound connection.Since completing her 200-hour teacher training at Prema Yoga Brooklyn, she has been teaching at Prema and privately to individuals and companies in Brooklyn and Manhattan. She is immensely grateful to Amanda and Lesley for their guidance and love and for the opportunity to teach and continue studying at Prema.
LEA HELLE was first introduced to Yoga shortly after moving to New York in 2009. As a professional dancer, she was looking for a way of moving that would balance her vigorous work on stage. At first, the concept of not pushing beyond her body's limits and focusing on the breath felt strange and unfamiliar. Drawn to the impact yoga had on her body and mind, Lea continued practicing (at Om Yoga Center with Cyndi Lee and Nature Yoga with Wade Gotwals) and found herself falling deeply in love with the practice and its profound impact on her life. Upon moving to Brooklyn, she started studying and working at Prema Yoga Brooklyn, where she finished her 200-hr Teacher Training with Amanda Harding and Lesley Desaulniers. Through the certification she had the opportunity to study with Sharon Salzberg, Kaustubha Das, Raghunath and other esteemed guest teachers. Since then she has been teaching private and corporate clients in Manhattan as well as classes at Shambala Yoga & Dance Center and is excited to be teaching at Prema Yoga Brooklyn.
MACKENZIE STROH: Born and raised in western Canada, Mackenzie moved to New York in 2003 to continue her career as a professional photographer after completing her MFA in Montreal. After a couple of hectic years in the city, she became an avid yogi, seeking some spiritual balance and relief from hauling heavy photo equipment. In 2014, she completed her 200 hour certification from Prema, where she has been continually inspired by the studio’s teachers and students. Her love of all things creative informs the vigorous, imaginative, playful, yet grounding vinyasa classes she loves to teach. Mackenzie is indebted to her most influential and generous teacher, Amanda Harding, as well as the brilliant Lesley Desaulniers, Bobbie Marchand and Elaine O’Brien.
BRITTANY SYLWESTRAK began her study of yoga while in college, where she recognized its ability to be an incredible support and recovery for a moving body. After receiving her BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois in 2011 she moved to NYC to pursue her artful dreams, while also working in a job centered on people development and coaching at a yoga-inspired company. Living in the city furthered her interest in the practice of yoga as a way of living with compassion. Brittany completed her 200 hour teacher training at Prema Yoga Brooklyn in 2014. She aims to instill choice and personal ownership in her students’ practice with a strong focus on alignment. Believing that each individual has the ability to learn and grow from every person and situation, she empowers individuals to form a true sense of community on the mat. She is grateful for the wonderful teachers in her life and is honored to be a part of Prema’s dedicated community.
BENJAMIN KENNEDY recently graduated from the Prema Yoga 200-hour training and is thrilled to have the opportunity to teach here amongst the community. As a musician, Ben continues to be drawn to yoga for its mental rejuvenation and focus on mindfulness, body alignment, strength building, and balance. He wishes he had discovered the benefits of meditation earlier in life. He also wishes that more restorative classes were offered! Ben enjoys breaking down and analyzing poses from an anatomical perspective. As yoga teachers, Aaron Dias and Amanda Harding have been very big influences. Lesley Desaulniers and Bobbie Marchand deserve a big thank you as well!
LEAH FOX: As a dancer, Leah was immediately intrigued with her first yoga class she took as a teenager. She left the class feeling two inches longer and has been practicing and appreciating the benefits of yoga ever since. Leah enjoys how grounded, open, and centered she feels after her practice and delights in sharing yoga with others. She offers students a way to discover a sense of oneness with themselves and the world around them by using yoga as a tool to quiet the mind, become aware of the breath, and connect with the body. Her classes consist of thoughtful sequences that emphasize an awareness of alignment and mindfulness. Leah received her 200-hour certification from the Om Yoga Center in NYC and her Children’s Yoga certification from Karma Kids Yoga.
EVA PINKLEY became a yoga and meditation student over 13 years ago. She received her 200-hour certification from Prema Yoga, her home away from home. Her classes are rooted in Prema's graceful vinyasa flow, with strong attention to principles of alignment. They are infused with humor, devotion, and guided by breath. Eva has immense gratitude for the teachings and guidance of Amanda, Lesley, and Bobbie and the entire Prema community. They continually challenge and inspire her on the mat and off.