John Berg is the humble "king" of SYC. Behind a quirky sense of humor there lurks a truly pure heart and giving spirit. A yoga teacher as well as a teacher of yoga teachers for many years, John's reputation precedes him as an unconventional yogi with a keen artistic sense and a child-like passion for yoga. Through SYC, John bravely steps outside the norm to breathe life into, perhaps, the biggest soul-bearing artistic chapter of his life. The gift of SYC, the manifestation of his long-held dream, John shares a modern healing center rooted in traditional yoga philosophy. At SYC music, light, spoken word and silence are used as media to create experiential pathways through yoga. The director of SYC's teacher training program, John teaches powerful classes alongside his dharma team and hosts concert-like free form yoga events, called Samyamas on a monthly basis. John credits his teachers, Iyengar legend, Ben Thomas, for his sound alignment and proper foundation. Erich Schiffmann and Max Strom, who both strongly influenced John's teaching style and approach. And finally, John's already deep respect for traditional philosophy was enhanced through philosophical dialogue and friendship with Anirudh Shastri over the years. His students find humor near their personal edges contrasting them with breath-infused moments of pause. He always leaves his students drifting effortlessly into Savasana. Enter the "Kingdom" of Samyama and experience an inner journey. Discover your own yoga... Ready for lift off?
Mimm’s decades of teaching is informed by her early years as a student of Iyengar yoga, her study of Yin yoga and teachers Gary Kraftstow (American Viniyoga) and J Brown (Gentle is the New Advanced). Her classes are known for their quiet strength, encouraging verbal cues and for providing the space in which each student can explore their natural expression of the asana practice. In addition to her basic 200-hour certification, Mimm holds a 400-hour certificate in Yoga Therapy from Niroga Institute and her 100-hour certification in Yin Yoga from Paul Grilley. An anatomy geek since her days as a sports massage therapist, Mimm’s teaching has benefited from additional study with Gil Hedley. According to Mimm, Gil’s week-long cadaver intensives are life changing.
Mimm has a special interest in working with individuals recovering from injury or those with chronic pain. Her paper on a creating a kosha based yoga therapy protocol for individuals with complex regional pain disorder is available on her website Practically Twisted.
In additional to being SYC's Assistant Studio Manager, Devin is also a Specialist on SYC's Harmonic Resonance Therapy - a return to sound via auditory stimulation and felt vibration. Combining breath work, sounding, tibetan bowls, tuning forks, acutonics and a gong bath, Devin will guide you towards increased inner awareness, physical and emotional release, movement of energy, nitric oxide production, and sublime relaxation. Like yoga, lines of connection will be made as your natural healing ability is triggered and the mind-body merges with harmonic vibration. Every session is unique and orchestrated around your specific needs and intentions. You can utilize the experience to tap into the creative power of your subconscious and fully harness its limitless potential. For the adventurous, you can become a psychonaut, a sailor of the soul who explores the world within and begins to understand the mystery of the self. When the session concludes and the journey ends, the healing afterglow will remain with you as you revisit the experience again and again.
A masterful yogi since 1995, Louis is also a "renaissance man" energized by creative ideas and beaming with character and charisma. A thinker, solo-performance artist, and Stanford graduate of history, Louis describes himself as a modern Hatha Yogi who weds biomechanics with tradition to mine the jewels of this ancient craft. Staying connected to the north and east Indian Yogis he traces his roots to, Louis offers new models for how to build practices with Patanjali's blueprint, the Yoga Sutras. His goal is to inspire a deep curiosity in human breathing and movement both physical and, more important, mental. In the laboratory of his classroom, learn experiments that challenge you to fly and to "sit with yourself" as his current mentor, Anirudh Shastri says - every moment of the day. Building on 18 years of personal practice, Louis stands on the shoulders of three more great influences: Senior Iyengar Master Ben Thomas; Yoga Tune Up Creator Jill Miller; and acknowledged Shadow Yoga Instructor Mark Horner. Come practice with Louis and divine the divine.
A mother and a gifted yogini, Hillary feels purpose in serving humanity. With people and in relationship Hillary is most alive. Since she was a child, Hillary has sought meaning and personal depth in all of her life endeavors. Graceful and grounded in her manner, Hillary speaks from her heart. She has a unique ability to recognize and draw forth inner beauty inspiring people through a down-to-earth radiance. While grateful for her Iyengar training which provided a solid technical foundation, Hillary finds peace in the gentle flowing yoga styles. Her practice has been influenced by several yogis including her mentor John Berg and Anirudh Shastri. It was Jane Austin who influenced her specialized prenatal teaching methods and Max Strom who inspired Hillary toward a more breath-centric approach in a recent teacher training intensive. Hillary shares the gifts of her heart with SYC as our sensitive, caring, and nurturing resident prenatal yoga instructor. In addition to prenatal yoga classes, Hillary offers slow flow Vinyasa classes at SYC. Content in her own life, Hillary attributes her fulfillment to the practice of yoga living a true "flow" practice off the mat.
In Hana’s classes you can expect to experience the healing power of touch and movement through a strong, breath-based flow accessible to all levels of yoga practitioners. You can also expect keen attention to safe alignment and hands-on assists.
A dedicated yogi since high school, where she became enamored by the intensity of the physical practice, Hana shares its power with the hope that, like her, students will begin to witness the mental and spiritual benefits in every aspect of their lives.
Hana is a gifted yogi and has been mentored by John Berg, Anirudh Shastri, Ben Thomas and Kia Meaux. She has in-depth knowledge of the human body through her education in Massage Therapy, Exercise Biology and Occupational Therapy. Hana completed her yoga teacher training in 2008. More recently she completed the academic portion of her Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. Her clinical requirements will be completed in December 2015. Will she rest after that? Of course not. On the horizon for Hana is two years of yoga therapy study with Niroga Institute in Oakland California.
Artful and gentle, Cheryl Hsu’s humble spirit crafts bold sequences to challenge the adept and galvanize the novice. Her Creative Flow weaves together traditional Hatha Yoga, rediscovered yogi calisthenics and modern Vinyasa that challenges both the brain and the body. With a thoughtful, intelligent touch Cheryl offers hands-on and meticulous alignment cues. The result is a practice that moves beyond posture. Cheryl guides each student to a profound place of personal reflection and inner trust.
Leaving behind her native Taiwan to study design in Japan, Cheryl found yoga while working for Yahoo as an editor and translator. Taking advise from her mom (a life-time Buddhist practitioner) Cheryl left the corporate world and a promising career in architecture to teach yoga full time. "My mom always says to wed your dreams with your job so you are doing what you are passionate about. I'm no longer living for a paycheck, I'm living to feel alive. Every day I come to work, I measure my wealth by the connection I create with every human who comes to practice." Feel the wealth. Feel the connection. Learn the tools to design new spaces in your mind and body.
Misako (E-RYT500) enters the studio with a warm heart and a sense of joyful purpose. She has set an intention for herself and her students and is a compassionate guide toward its realization. Whether it is a heart building Vinyasa flow or a soothing restorative practice, Misako brings commitment, keen intelligence and playful exploration to the proceedings.
Like many who are called to teach yoga, Misako did not begin the journey until completing her degrees in Biology and Engineering. But now, with over 1000 hours of education – including studies with Paul Grilley, Judith Hanson Lasater and Scott Blossom – Misako is qualified to teach Yin, Restorative, Therapeutic and Vinyasa Flow yoga classes. Misako’s vinyasa style, influenced by Max Strom and Janet Stone, is a playful flow with varied and creative sequencing.
Misako is trained in Thai and Shiatsu massage. These healing arts infuse her teaching with sensitivity. Misako hopes to share her belief with students the opportunities yoga offers to renew the spirit, bring vitality to the body and open the heart.
It’s about service. Being in service to her students – students who want to connect with their bodies and souls through yoga. Anfisa’s Hatha yoga classes are infused with movements and techniques to build strength, flexibility, coordination and joint mobility.
Anfisa’s own yoga journey began with her 2012 move from St. Petersburg, Russia to the United States. She began her practice by immersing herself in studying the spiritual aspects of yoga – in particular philosophy and meditation. When she added asana there was an immediate connection that felt, according to Anfisa, like “love at first sight.”
Anfisa completed her 200-hour teacher training at Samyama Yoga Center. She has also completed her Level 1 Yoga Tune Up certification. She continues to grow in her yoga practice with her principle teachers Anirudh Shastri, John Berg and Louis Jackson. Alika Medeiros is a mentor with whom Anfisa practices calisthenics, animal flow and breathing exercises.
Nicole’s bright eyes and wide smile are a welcome addition to our operations staff. With a bachelor’s degree in political science from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington and twelve-months abroad studying international politics at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, Nicole brings an extra dose of grounded, calm intelligence and friendly warmth to Team Dharma.
Nicole discovered yoga in 2008 when she and her husband were living in Santa Barbara, California. Working as a veterinary technician in a general practice, yoga was an antidote to stress and helped her to regroup from the challenges of work.
At the time her practice was primarily self-study but when Nicole, her husband and their fur-children relocated to the Bay Area three years ago, she began to study with Joanie Cartel. Joanie introduced her to yin yoga and to Samyama. Since then Nicole’s practice has blossomed and in 2015 she graduated from Samyama’s Dharma Path Teacher Training program. Nicole was especially inspired by teachers John Berg, Anirudh Shastri, Louis Jackson and Ben Thomas who continue to be her role models. Nicole bases her teaching philosophy in a simple truth: “ We all arrive on the mat with a different story,” she says. “As a teacher I hope to nurture both the physical and the mental journey.” As far as her personal journey goes, Nicole hopes to bring yoga to individuals from all walks of life. And if she can do that in the great outdoors? Even better. One of Nicole’s passions is unrolling her mat near a river or the ocean, where she enjoys the peace of a quiet practice.
When she’s not at Samyama, Nicole is at Adobe Animal Hospital where she continues to work as a Registered Veterinarian Technician in their surgery department. During their time off, she and her husband love traveling (so far ten countries and counting), camping and rock climbing.
Joanne is a Reiki Master who offers Integrated Energy Therapy, Cranio Sacral Therapy and intuitive reading as powerful methods for supporting individuals as they access and activate their healing process. Joanne is also a certified yoga teacher and a certified Family Constellation Facilitator. She is grateful and excited to be able to offer this chance for healing to others. “I am,” she says, “here to wake up, love and help others wake up to their full human potential and to move beyond the ego’s limitations.”
A recent Dharma Path Teacher Training Graduate (and previously an Operations staff), Lynn embodies a truly pure heart and a genuine spirit. A dedicated mother above all, she's adventurous, joyful and very easy to like as she lives her life with integrity and pride. Lynn received a degree in Sports Medicine from Pepperdine University in Malibu learning sports medicine, exercise physiology and anatomy. After college she worked for a bio-tech company doing clinical research and helping to develop treatments for cancer patients. Lynn is also a deep lover and a seeker, bringing a grace to her relationships and to her yoga. As a result, she's beautifully strong in her ways. She's dabbled in many styles of yoga including her favorites, Iyengar and Vinyasa. She feels yoga gives her wholeness, physical wellness and is the only therapy that has made her feel stronger physically and spiritually. John Berg is one of Lynn's yoga teachers and an example to Lynn of yoga inspiration. She recalls his classes being special and infused with uniquely memorable words, methods and approaches. Lynn vividly remembers that "aha"; moment when she finally "got it" in yoga. She feels how yoga can be a chosen lifestyle. She is able to see and experience the jewel of an embedded wisdom in the practice. Lynn is most excited about being a part of the SYC community growing inside these walls; she hopes to give people opportunities to express themselves in ways they haven't before. She feels the spirit of the center goes both ways, as working at SYC can be just as rewarding as being a student here among "the highly conscious."
Ngugi’s love for yoga comes from his understanding of the effects of the practice on him, a practice that has helped Ngugi build a consistent sense of gratitude and happiness. Yoga, Ngugi believes, draws out our ability to be physically and emotionally honest. He says that with yoga we become sensitive to the connections we share with others. Our practice teaches us that there is more to the world than what we see with our eyes and it nurtures a deeper sense of compassion and presence.
His work teaching yoga to children has taught him to be joyfully curious in his study of asana. The grounded vinyasa practice he brings to Samyama includes the foundations of what the practice means to him. It includes centering, grounding, controlled breathing and movement then finally the meditation that brings us home to our bliss body.
Originally from Kenya, Ngugi came to the US as an Engineering student. Yoga helped him find the deep connection he felt he had lost when he moved away from his home.
Stefanie has been a dedicated yogi ever since her first class in 2012. Her interest in teaching began when she learned of her father's Parkinson's diagnosis. Seeing her father lose control of his body, Stefanie was determined to help others drop in and take control of their own bodies and minds.
Stefanie is authentic in her teaching, and inspires her students to feel more and think less. She cultivates a genuine experience and allows her students to make the practice their own. Stefanie graduated from Samyama’s Dharma Path Teacher Training program, studying under John Berg and is also certified as a prenatal instructor, studying under Hillary Eason and Jeanna Lurie.
A believer of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, Shelley has been able to connect her mind, body, and soul through meditation. Through the years she has learned that with the mind you should live the life you want, with the body to liberate oneself, and the soul will guide you to happiness. These ideal root from her passion to learn, grow, and develop as an individual. Through yoga and meditation Shelley has been able to connect with herself and those around her. She is always looking for ways to improve herself and enjoy the company of those around her. Shelley is excited to be party of the Samyama Yoga Center family.
Eden traveled to twenty-four countries on four continents, swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, and graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Geography. It was in college that Eden discovered yoga and used the practice to manage stress. After college she continued to deepen her practice. Meditation and asana practice continue to be transformative and healing tools in Eden’s life - so much so that in 2018 she completed a 200-hour teacher training program. Grateful and happy to be part of the Samyama community, when Eden is not helping clients at reception or teaching yoga you might find her hiking, swimming, cooking, painting large murals, singing or traveling.
Inspired by John Berg's approach to yoga, Lourdes, as the first General Manager, was responsible for the initial operations infrastructure, accounting and boutique setup. Lourdes finds that yoga helps her feel comfortable and better able to accept things as they come. Having once perceived herself to be rather uncoordinated, she finds each progressive step on her yoga journey to be a satisfying achievement. She is perpetually growing through yoga. She feels more physically alive as a result of her practice and she believes yoga can indeed make one "ageless."
Nathan was born in San Francisco but grew up down the coast in Pacifica. Growing up next to the ocean as Nathan did influences your outlook on life, both literally and figuratively. He discovered yoga while at the University of San Francisco, where he studied psychology. In 2014 he found his yoga mothership, Samyama. Nathan is a Dharma Path Teacher Training graduate and now co-manages our front desk operations. A Bohemian at heart and full-time student of Life, Nathan’s spare time is spent taking care of his two rescue dogs, Jiminy and Cricket.