O U R   T E A C H E R S


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Happy Om

(Proud Owner of Golden Mandala) 

RYT 200

Happy Om began to teach vinyasa yoga and share Reiki in his home town of Las Vegas in 2006 after traveling in India and training in Ashtanga Vinyasa the previous fall. By 2008, Happy was teaching 12+ yoga classes a week in yoga studios and gyms, hosting weekly consciousness gatherings, and seeing private clients for energy work and life coaching. Collecting wisdom and healing techniques over the next 6 years while living in different unique places throughout California, Hawaii, and Mexico, Happy added many dharmic elements to his list of teachings and services: "AquaStretch", "Emotional Freedom Techniques" (EFT/Tapping), raw vegan diet coaching, "Contact Improv" lessons, inspirational music and kirtan, breath playshops, rich satsangs, personal consciousness evolution work and more. A lover of Ecstatic Dance, eye contact, tantra, permaculture, and sacred ceremony, Happy brings a unique joy and presence and presents a special integration of modern wisdom for the awakening and highest joy of all beings.

Since 2015, Happy has lived full time in Nevada County and now makes his living sharing traditional Thai massage, his unique range of motion body work “HappyStretch” (“Happy Shoulders”), yoga classes, contact dance workshops, Reiki healing sessions and training, as well as playing and teaching Ukulele.  

Happy has been the proud owner of the Golden Mandala Yoga Studio since fall of 2017.

More info can be found (and may even be up to date!) @ http://www.HappyOm.com/


Shari Williams

E-RYT 500, C-IAYT

(Faculty Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Training)

It is the intrigue of the human body and passion for yoga that fuel Shari’s desire to teach. Her yogic journey began over 30 years ago with spiritual study & meditation as well as asana. Her presentation of instruction is firmly rooted through education of kinesiology and Yoga Therapy, inspired by Yoga Tune Up®, Anusara, Sri Vidya Tantra, & Iyengar.

Shari’s offerings are biomechanical, alignment and strength oriented and often include surprise smatterings of myofascial release, neurological challenges, and corrective applications of Yoga Asana. All is suffused with the philosophy of yoga.

Shari’s work in the world is to serve and help humanity achieve a richer experience of their time here on earth. To assist students to feel better in their body, with their past story, or situation whatever it is. Shari holds unconditional space for all beings, and all feelings are welcome.


Matthew Sweigart

Qigong Instructor
Author of Pathways of Qi

Matthew Sweigart began his career in the healing arts in New York City in 1985. His training and practice spans a range of Asian Healing Arts including Shiatsu, Yoga, Qigong and Meditation. A Certified Instructor of the American Organization for Bodywork Therapies of Asia®, his movement, touch and meditation education classes take people deep into an experience of heightened awareness in body, heartmind and spirit with a focus on the movement and flow of life energy through occupants and classical pathways. An author and educator, Matthew's book Pathways of Qi is scheduled for release through Llewellyn Publishing in 2016.   


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Shakti Rose

Don't race against others. Race against yourself.
Through the steel of self discipline, you will forge a character rich with courage and peace. Through the virtue of will, you are destined to rise to life's highest ideal and live within a heavenly mansion filled with all that is good, joyful and vital. Without them, you are lost like a mariner without a compass, one who eventually sinks with his ship.
~Nirvana of Sivana

Shakti Rose has been studying and practicing the art of yoga, movement & spirituality for over 30 years. Integrating a life-long journey of yoga, Shakti creates a strong practice of vinyasa flow, opening each class with guided meditation, emphasizing on the breath and proper body alignment. A soft-heart-opening-vigorous-flow in an empowering energy container to keep your focus within.

Immersing herself in discovery, playing & studying in many modalities, her Journey of Discovery practices include: Theater, Art, Belly-Dance, Master Herbalist, Watsu Practitioner, Reiki Master Teacher, Certified Yoga Instructor, Goddess Circle Facilitator, Organic Farming, Shamanic Journeys & Lodge Keeper, Somatic Energy Practitioner, Sand Tray Facilitator, Dream Weaver, Storyteller and Adventure Seeker. "My passion for teaching is rooted by life experiences, my Sacred Paths; the Light and the Shadow, Birth and Death, Student and Healer, Mother and Daughter, Marriage and Divorce, Ego and Conduit, Seeker of Light and Wisdom, guided by the Most High and fueled in Spirit. I humbly offer All That I AM, to witness and fuel your inspirations to offer the I AM of YOU to the All That Is." ~ Shakti


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Anastasia Lyn

CYT 200

Tasia Lyn has been the all-star studio intern for The Golden Mandala since 2017 - she’s attended about 95% of the special events, and nearly every class at least once. The richness of her exposure to transformational experiences through this healing center/community hub has been beyond her wildest dreams.

She began practicing yoga multiple times a week with her main teacher Happy in 2015. Originally she dove headfirst into a very dedicated intermediate vinyasa practice. Around the time she and Happy moved over to The Golden Mandala, she was diagnosed with a chronic illness which left her body in too much pain to do her beloved practice. So her approach had to change - she had to bring things back to basics. By the end of 2018, she completed the Yoga Wellness Teacher Training in Grass Valley, a holistic approach to gentle yoga for “every body”. Now in remission, her focus is around cultivating Body Wisdom, through intuitive movement and deep listening.

She most enjoys those super sweet spots where her greatest passions join together. Along the never ending journeys of exploring the 7 chakra system, as well as devotional kirtan practice - she weaves a lifetime of training and cultivation of her powerful singing voice into these deep healing practices for a totally unique set of ever evolving offerings.


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Savannah Mendoza

CYT - 200

"In service - to support a life of quality for every sentient being - I hold space for self-healing, inner stillness, and undiscovered truths to unravel. I devote my practice to gently flowing with the natural rhythm of creation; to learn the steps so that I may with effortless ease dance with constancy. With a joy-filled heart and a dash of vivacity, I offer these gifts to all depths of experiencers & seekers of their essential selves."

Savannah achieved her 200 hour certification through YogaWorks, in 2016, with Alicia Cheung and Oliver Reinsch, and is trained in trauma-informed yoga through FireFly International. Currently, she is training as a Yoga Therapist with mentors Amy Wheeler & Jorge Luna, and is scholasticly influenced by the work of Gary Kraftsow (founder of the American Viniyoga Institute). She is a devote Ashtanga student, mystic Lover, and practitioner of patience, compassion, and Radical Forgiveness.


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Allison Avalon

B.Science (Ecology), MHS (Master of Horticultural Science)

Allison (Ali) Avalon, MS dedicates her life to be a Messenger of Peace. Finding the Natural Peace within ourselves enables us to effectively share that Peace with the world to make lasting, positive change. Allison was a Permaculture Designer, Teacher, Consultant and business woman for over a decade until she realized that she could not truly create sustainability until she followed the Truth within herself. Now, she fully accepts that she is a channel and so, is a full-time musician, author, story-teller, Hospice Volunteer and meditation guide. With an angelic voice and clear presence, she is a midwife for the New Earth. Her exquisite sound baths provide a powerful, portal into the depth of yourself.


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Nicole Myslajek

RYT-200 & Certified Kundalini Instructor

Nicole Myslajek has been an avid yoga practitioner for over 10 years. She has completed 200 Hr. Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with Life Power in 2012, breathwork facilitator training with Michael Brian Baker at The Breath Center in Los Angelos in 2016, a 200 Hr. Kundalini teacher training in San Marcos Guatemala in 2018 - and is currently under going her second kundalini training with Gurmukh in Berkley California.. Her intention is to assist in waking humanity up to their magic and infinite potential within as well as creating an environment in which everyone feels comfortable and at home in their skin.


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Christopher Carmichael

200 hr CYT


Christopher is a 200hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor. He has many hours of continuing education which he has obtained through Yoga Alliance Leadership Conference , 3HO Summer Solstice, and other reputable sources. He has taught at multiple yoga studios in the greater Sacramento area, has taught at festivals and helped coordinate the yoga program at the Day of Peace event in Sacramento. He is dedicated to expanding his knowledge as a yoga instructor and being an influential wellness leader in the community. He is happy to be a resident in Nevada City now and share his knowledge and wisdom with you. 


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Brigitte Levitt

Certified Kundalini Instructor

Born and raised in South Africa, Brigitte began her intuitive journey through the body as a ballerina. Her passion for teaching and body-oriented nature led her to become a personal trainer for ten years. However, finding this path spiritually unfulfilling, and already a committed yogini, she chose to undertake a year understudy in Ashtanga Yoga in 2010. Still searching, she moved to an Osho ashram in the desert of Israel. There, amidst a barren desert, she found a tiny community with a huge open heart and that which changed her path irrevocably: meditation and Kundalini Yoga. After a workshop with Gurmukh in the desert, she was inspired to become a Kundalini Yoga teacher and received her certification through KRI Asia in 2013. Since then, Kundalini Yoga has been not only her discipline, but her way. By nature, Brigitte focuses her attention on alignment and posture, however she invites students only to be conscious of Self, not self-conscious.


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Jill Lacasse

BHK (Bachelors of Human Kinetics/Honours Movement Science), RYT-200, 100-hr Sound Ceremony Certification

Jill is a health enthusiast passionate about holistic living through being conscious of the mind, body and spirit connection. Her love for health and wellness blossomed through her degree in Kinesiology, her research in social media and body image and teaching fitness classes. She completed a two month yoga internship in Hawaii and that was where she fell in love with travel and all things yoga - and knew it was her calling in life to share the ancient and healing practice. She is a free-spirited yoga teacher, harpist and sound healer that loves to bring bhakti, reflection and fun into every space she holds. She has taught in Peru, Guatemala, Canada and now in California, as she continues her yogi education through the path of Ayurveda. She finds balance and inspiration in her happy place of being in nature with instrument in hand, mantra in mind and surrounded by community. Her bold and bright spirit leads the way in helping shape her simple, community-based and nomadic life where she can inspire, teach and motivate others to live with mindfulness and purpose. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou


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Amber Joy

Amber Joy began her journey with yoga in 1997 in the Santa Cruz mountains. The inner peace and balance that it brought to her life fueled a passion to devote herself to becoming a student of health and wellness, which in turn became the pursuit of studying the integration and assimilation of life experiences in order to bring harmony to the Self and the greater community. She began teaching yoga in 2003, a background in Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, meditation, breath work, Vinyassa Flow, Yin Yoga, Qi Kung, sweat lodge, dance, and nutrition. Amber's offerings focus on using breath and movement to strengthen and cleanse the body, silence the mind, and give each of us the opportunity to come home in the heart. With ultimate compassion for ourselves we become our own best friend, which creates an upwelling of remembrance of sustained peace, ultimately giving each of us the capacity to walk our lives in balance, and to meet the situations we encounter in our lives from the place centered presence.


Our Subs


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Jasmine Friedman

CYT - 200

Jasmine has been a yoga instructor since 2002, when she was certified by the Integral Yoga Institute in New York City. She completed half of her Master's degree program in Health Communication from Tufts University Medical School, in Boston, before bearing her first child and transitioning to full-time parenting. She has also trained with an embodied yoga master in India. Jasmine has taught in studios, gyms, private homes, and corporate settings. She’s also traveled the world teaching, from North Carolina to Bulgaria. She has experience working with all ages, from babies to elders. Stylistically, Jasmine offers a holistic form of yoga, incorporating breathwork, asana (postures), meditation, and relaxation into her classes. She loves to help students find their edge in a power or strength class. She also loves to help students find their bliss in a gentle class. Her approach is one of surrender to and reverence for the practice of yoga. She considers herself to be an eternal student, always seeking new interpretations of an age-old practice.


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Ashtara Kukuk

RYT-200

Ashtara is a lifelong dancer and inspired guide of somatic healing and conscious movement. Through her own growth and learning, she has gained a rich experience in health, wellness, spirituality and mind-body connection. Her trainings & experience include Hatha-Vinyassa, Kriya, and Tantra yoga (200 E-RYT with School of Yoga Institute + staff member at Paramahansa Yogananda Center + Talking Hearts Integral Love Training Maui), Conscious Dance (SoulMotion, Contact Improv and Ecstatic Dance facilitation), mindfulness meditation (Wat Tam Wua Buddhist Monastery), and Spiritual Psychology (Internal Family Systems Therapy). She finds passion in bridging these modalities with her personal medicine path to support others living from a place of authentic Self. Axe!


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Amrita Vidya

RTT - YT 

Amrita is a Yogini, mystic, and healer. She specializes in Thai Massage, Acupressure and sound healing and performs locally as a kirtan leader and vocalist. She has studied with many world famous healers and musicians, including Tahir Qawwal of Fanna fi Allah, Bruce Burger of Heartwood Institute, Hugh Milne, and Shiva Rea, among others.
She brings a dance background as well, incorporating elements of odissi, (East Indian) and Egyptian belly dance to round out the tai chi/yoga mix.


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Jap-Prem Khalsa

Certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor

Jap-Prem considers the expression of Kundalini Yoga a part of his core identity. His journey began back in 2010 when he discovered one of the original Ashram communities, set up by Yogi Bhajan in the early 70’s, in Millis Massachusetts … just 15 miles from where he grew up.

               The discovery of a group of people intentionally cultivating awareness and clarity through Morning Sadhana and conscious living set his already passionate personal spiritual journey on a very definite and infinitely elevated direction. He quickly moved in and began his journey of deeply immersing himself in applied yogic science as well as the vibratory presence of Yogi Bhajan.

               Jap Prem believes the opportunity to relate to an elevated community is the most potent and special tool one can utilize to clear away all that stands between you and your own purely courageous reality. He holds a very supportive space, keeping students engaged not only within the physicality and focal points of the kriya, but within the subtle rhythm and flow of energy that each kriya uniquely carries and mirrors within us. Through his articulation of these teachings, the richness and subtlety of your own experience will come alive and leave you with a highlighted sense of personal direction and contentment.


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Taj O'Brien

Certified Kundalini Teacher

The path of love and transformation brought Yoga and Taj together. While seeking a way to live life as an expression of truth, Taj left the west coast of Canada where he was born, and found expansion and elevation amidst the struggles of the journey. Sure enough, with the guidance of graceful beings, he found his way in India, where he made the pilgrimage to Kumbh Mela, studied Hatha & Kundalini Yoga in Rishikesh, and began meditating in earnest high in the Himalayas. In fact, it was leading a yoga class for tiny Tibetan children in a small Ladakhi village that fully ignited his heart to teach.

The diversity of wisdom has shown Taj many paths. The ancient Eastern systems of Yoga and Qi Gong have consistently been pillars for balance, well being, and inner clarity, while the Indigenous teachings of the West, including the Inca, Maya, Lakota, Algonquin, Hopi, and Hawaiian cultures have helped Taj develop his healing relationship with the Earth in each land he finds himself. In 2009, Kundalini Teacher Training at Shuniaa Yoga in Nevada City was instrumental in Taj’s discovery of an incredibly conscious community, where the FIX for foodies became his place of love and service.

Taj’s path of a living teacher has evolved through studies in Anthroposophy, Waldorf education, and Surat Shabd Yoga (attention to the inner light & sound), finding its most current expression as a singer/songwriter of cosmic mythology, modern challenges, and ancient healing powers, a teacher of high school social studies, and a guide to Earth & Sky Yoga at The Golden Mandala.


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Chrissy Mehnert

RYT 200

Yoga snuck into Chrissy’s life after twenty years of dance study. She tagged along with a friend to a power vinyasa class at a donation-based studio in New York City’s east village. This first and most honest class startled her with its resonance, springing her life forward into opening after opening. She trained in the summer of 2009 with Yoga to The People, dove right into teaching 10+ classes a week and gaining the YTTP studios in Berkeley and San Francisco a foothold. Until 2013, she was a prominent teacher for Yoga to the People, at which point she moved out here to the foothills to study sustainable living, permaculture, market gardening and more. She has woven a unique place within the overlapping layers of community through fusion dance, yoga, thai massage, food and farming. 

Inspired by her lifelong love affair with dance, Chrissy teaches a smooth yoga flow that is energizing and grounding, and deeply focused on breath as the source of all movement. To Chrissy, a yoga practice is a coming home to breath. It is the building of the most significant companionship we have the chance to make in life - the one with our breath. From the strength of this companionship comes the self-love that leads to happiness, confidence, and prosperity.


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Daphne Carpenter

RYT 200

Certified Silver Sneakers and Silver Stretch Instructor

 

Daphne is an Artist who draws inspiration from the beauty and dissonance of the human and animal experience. She utilizes a variety of mediums and techniques to unearth and explore her thoughts, and to process her ever-shifting moods. This California native is fascinated by pulses of sound energy, unworldly naivety, beauty without logic, and free-form, wild anomalous dances.

The Ashtanga Eightfold Path of Yoga is the cornerstone of her spirituality and wellness.



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Tutku Tezveren

RYT 500


I believe Yoga is the very bridge that connects our Mind’s highest Truth to our Soul's Deepest Integrity. The practice of Yoga is to get acquainted with our deepest wisdom with the tools of the sages, through everyday human challenges in order to transform into free, equanimous, compassionate beings…

My devotion to the path of Yoga began over a decade ago, in my home country, Turkey. Hearing the calling of deep need to heal my unresolved depression and as a consequence, a herniated disk on my lower spine guided me to delve into practices that were more physical and tangible. They benefited my body so much, but I wanted more than just that. Feeling within the trans-formative power of Asana (posture), I began to delve deeper into the Pranic (energetic) aspects of Yoga and since then consistently have been practicing yoga and meditation for healing and transformation. I have begun to see that through breath and focus, cultivation of life force can repair our bodies and souls beyond limits and transcend us into freedom, peace and wisdom.

With Honor and Homage to my ultimate teacher Krishnamacharya and All my guides and teachers, I have studied and completed certified trainings under Classical Hatha Yoga 200 RYT, Traditional Astanga Yoga (Mysore Style) 200 RYT , and Intensives in Traditional Iyengar Yoga, basic Ayurveda all around the Himalayas, in Northern India.

After my return to the States, I have studied and have completed trainings in the classic tradition of Tantric Hatha Yoga and I joyfully still am a devoted practitioner and a student of Sage Apprenticeship Program 500 RYT, w/ Brooke Sullivan a system that embodies Lineage of Sri Vidya Tantra & Para Yoga (which weaves Ayurveda, Tantra, Classical Hatha Yoga of the Himalayan Sages) in California which much of my current teachings are deeply inspired from.


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Avi Burg

Qi Gong / Tai Chi Instructor

Avi Burg began studying traditional Chinese movement and exercises in 1998, and has deeply explored Tai Chi and Qi Gong under acknowledged lineage teachers from Yang, Chen, and Wu style forms. He has also studied various forms of Kung Fu and steeped in other movement traditions and therapies from around the world including: 
Feldenkrais, Continuum movement, African dance, Yoga and Bellydancing.

Avi offers a wealth of bodily experience and insight along with gentle humor to his Qi Gong students.


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Ashton Szabo
E-RYT 500

Ashton has been studying and practicing yoga for more than twenty years, having first been introduced to yoga when he was twelve years old by his Japanese Ju Jitsu Sensei, Steve Copping. He has taken teacher trainings with Peri Ness (Synergy Yoga), David Goulet (Chakra Yoga), and Leeann Carey (Leeann Carey Yoga), as well having studied with numerous other teachers and guides. He is a 200hr E-RYT through Yoga Alliance, and an LMT (having studied massage for the same two decades). Ashton was exposed to eastern philosophy from a young age, as he began learning martial arts at the ripe young age of five. His natural curiosity and drive for understanding has lead him to various spiritual art forms from traditions all over the world. Heavily influenced by teachers like Douglas Brooks, Joseph Campbell and Alan Watts, Ashton brings a universality to his teachings that extends beyond just the realms of yoga. His concern is for the opening expansion and well being of his students. Not limited by the constraints of any one particular teaching or system, Ashton strives to help each student find what is useful for them in realizing their fullest potential. His love and dedication to teaching and to his students shines through in all of his classes, as he is most joyful when he gets to share his insights into life and its practices. His knowledge of the body and a cornucopia of various spiritual teachings helps students to find ease in their mind, body and spirit.

Check Ashton's website out here: http://yogawithashton.com/


Our Predecessors



Kelly Golden

E-RYT 500, Para Yoga Level 1 Certified Teacher

(Owner and Director of Vira Bhava Yoga Teacher Trainings -- Former Co-Owner of Golden Mandala)

Kelly Golden has been a student and practitioner of yoga for over 19 years. Through the exploration of the physical, philosophical, and meditative practices, yoga has touched every aspect of her life in a positive way. She infuses her teaching with the passion that she has for the practice of yoga, both on and off the mat. In asana practice, Kelly pays close attention to the work of the body (anatomy and physiology), as well as the more subtle work of energy embodied in the mind and spirit of each individual student. For Kelly, Yoga class is a meaningful conversation between students and teacher that leads everyone closer to the remembrance of the real Self. 

Kelly is a Yoga Alliance Registered E-RYT 500 and a Certified Para Yoga Teacher. She studies and teaches in the lineage of Sri Vidya Tantra as taught by Para Yoga. She studies with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, Angela Farmer and Victor VanKooten. Kelly has written for yogabasics.com and Yoga Journal, and is the co-facilitator of Neighborhood Yoga Teacher Training program in Boone NC and was the director of teacher trainings at The Glowing Body in Knoxville, TN from 2010-2012. She is currently the the director of Vira Bhava Yoga which leads teacher trainings and retreats in Northern California and the mountains of Western North Carolina. Kelly Golden was the founder of The Golden Mandala Collective.

https://www.virabhavayoga.com/


Rachel Tuck

RYT 500

(Operations Director Vira Bhava Yoga - 
Former Co-Owner of Golden Mandala)

Rachel teaches yoga as an extension of her heart. Her classes are welcoming, playful, comfortable, and friendly. While Rachel enjoys a strong physically challenging practice, she believes that a yoga class should first be energetically soothing, well sequenced, and honoring of those who attend. " My intention in teaching is to create a class that gets folks our of their busy minds and into a space where they can process their day, ring it all out, and have some time to listen and hear whats going on behind the scenes." Her favorite quote is by Howard Thurman: "Do not ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive, and go do that because what the world needs is people who have come alive.