Meet Our Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers
We’re proud to introduce our Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers (CIYT). Certification is carried out by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS). Every teacher at IYISF continues their studies with teachers in the direct lineage of B.K.S. Iyengar. Each instructor is certified in the Iyengar Method. Earning an Introductory level of certification represents approximately 800 hours of training. Achieving Junior and Senior levels constitutes thousands of hours of dedication, study and practice. Many of our teachers are certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists as Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT), and the majority of our teachers have studied in Pune, India at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute; some have made many trips there, returning on a regular basis. More about each teacher, including who they have studied with and further details about their training, can be found on their individual websites, linked below.
You can expect precision, enthusiasm, inspiring demonstrations, attention to safety, and very clear instructions from every teacher at the IYISF. CIYTs skillfully use voice, props, and hands on adjustments during the teaching process as a means to guide and correct students in their understanding of asana. Each teacher is unique so try out a few different teachers to find the ones whose teaching style and personality resonates with you.
[photo credit of Jaki’s class above: Jolanta Suszko-Adamczhewska]
Practicing since 1986.
CIYT Level 3
I bring to my teaching a warm heart, knowledge of anatomy and well-being informed by 30 years of practicing and teaching Iyengar Yoga, plus an intention to connect with each person. The dedication of B.K.S. Iyengar, his family and the lineage of teachers inspire me to persevere daily and share what I’ve learned. Art and nature nourish my soul as do courageous people who work for human freedom and dignity. For me, yoga practice is grounding and essential – an infinite exploration that fosters a balanced perspective in all aspects of life. Among my favorite poses are headstand and shoulderstand to clear away mental cobwebs, take the load off the lower limbs, cultivate strength and stability. Sutra II:47: “Perfection in asana is achieved when the effort to perform it becomes effortless and the infinite being within is reached” guides me to do what’s possible at that moment, find the ease of simply being there, and continue on.
Virendra Naik started attending children’s classes at RIMYI when he was 9 and now as an adult teaches that very same class. He has grown up at RIMYI with the Iyengar family. In addition to teaching the children’s classes, he has taught kids in the slums of Pune and most recently is teaching online supporting 8 orphanages there.
CIYT Level 2
Amita Bhagat is a Level 2 CIYT based in the US. She has been travelling to RIMYI to study for extended stays since 2012 and continues to study with Lois Steinberg in the US. She is the former Director of Sadhanaa Yoga Studio and previously served as a board member on IYNAUS.
CIYT Level 1
Misia Denéa (they/them) grew up in the Washington D.C metropolitan area and has a background in the Performing Arts, Dance/Choreography and Theatre. Misia has been practicing Hatha Yoga & Meditation since the early 2000’s. Misia became a regular Iyengar student upon moving to California in 2012 studying with well known Northern California senior level CIYT’s Jaki Nett, Victoria Austin, Jito Yamibe and Gwi-Seok Hong (Hawaii). In 2017 Misia became a certified body positive consultant with the California non-profit ‘The Body Positive” and has served on The Association of Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH) leadership team since 2017. In Fall of 2021 Misia became a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor (Level 1).
Misia is a student of Hatha Yoga and Buddhism and recently received lay ordination as a Japanese Sōtō Zen Buddhist practitioner.
They have been part-time staff at IYISF since 2018 and have served on the IYNAUS archive committee since 2020.
Practicing since 1990.
CIYT Level 1
My Iyengar Yoga journey began in New York City while attending art school at Pratt Institute. Kevin Gardiner, who is a close friend of my father, was my first yoga teacher. After completing 2 years of the Advanced Studies Teacher Training at IYISF (with Victoria Austin, Brian Hogencamp, and Jito Yumibe) and 2 more years of preparation, I became a Level 1 CIYT. I consider myself a lifelong learner, especially in the vast subject of yoga. Yoga keeps me intrigued and compels me to be curious to learn more. BKS Iyengar uses the term Involution to describe the experience of yoga penetrating each layer of our being from the periphery to the core. This happens so naturally and effortlessly when we practice diligently. As a teacher, I bring my knowledge and heart into the details of each asana, every unique class sequence, and teaching each individual student. I aim to bring a sense of quiet focus to the mind and body.
Practicing since 1985.
CIYT Level 1
I am a Junior II Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and I have been studying Yoga since the 1980s. I go for training every other year to RIMYI in Pune, India with the Iyengars. I have been familiar with Yoga since early childhood, when I would come home to find my father standing on his head. I love sharing everything that I have learn through my many years with my students. I hold a BA degree in Fine Arts and Communications from Santa Clara University, and I was a docent and teacher at the SF MOMA for 18 years.
Practicing since 1985.
CIYT Level 3
I fell in love with yoga in 1985 and began studying Iyengar yoga in 1996. From my native Argentina, I also hold degrees in physical education and Expression Corporal (a form of modern dance). I bring to my students the joy I find in the practice, my enthusiasm with a sense of humor and a playful attitude, and hopefully some inspiration to keep going despite whatever situation we may face. There is not one pose I don’t enjoy! Inversions rejuvenate me – handstand is better than coffee.The eagerness to discover who I am brings me to daily practice. I feel inspired daily by my Guru, B.K.S. Iyengar, for the sharpness and playful mind he had till the very end, by all my teachers who show me through their examples and by my students from whom I learn. The Yoga sutra that comes to me most often because it can be applied to almost any situation is “The pains which are yet to come can be and are to be avoided.” (2.16).
Miri Aloni Rivlin
Practicing since 1998. Teaching since 2005.
CIYT Level 3
I danced for 16 years and seeked for something beyond the physical. When I found Iyengar Yoga I knew that my search was over. Since then my focus was solely established on the practice and teaching of Iyengar Yoga. Yoga drew me in because of its depth as a philosophy, science and as a form of art. I worked a decade as a costume & stage designer (M.F.A., Tel-Aviv University), and certainly saw the beauty in it.
I constantly learn through daily practice, attending workshops, and annual trips to Pune studying at RIMYI. In classes I help students build solid foundations and a dynamic approach. I try to bring them into a state of awareness & to receive a taste of this ocean called yoga.
Inspired by Guruji’s words: “Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you”, I challenge myself and students to move forward, in creative ways while keeping it friendly and joyful. Being a mother for three taught me the importance of having a positive approach, and I try to keep it in class as well.
Miri’s website: www.mirisyoga.com
Miri’s Facebook: Miri’s Yoga
Miri’s Instagram: mirialonirivlin
CIYT Level 2
Mychal A. Bryan is a CIYT practicing and teaching in Nassau, Bahamas. He has been directly trained by Lois Steinberg and has spent several years travelling with and assisting her in her teaching in North and South America. Under her guidance he has learnt how to address common ailments/issues including chronic joint pain, yoga for the menstrual cycle and pregnancy, and yoga for digestive health. He has ran an ongoing Common Ailments Clinic in The Bahamas, and has been a guest lecturer for students in the Physiotherapy PhD program at the University of Central Arkansas for 2 years. He has worked with clients both young and old to assist them in finding healing and awareness through the practice of Iyengar Yoga.
Practicing since 2005.
CIYT Level 2
Patti Martin is a warm, encouraging and upbeat teacher who inspires confidence in her students to explore their potentials. Patti is inclusive and respects differences in students; she patiently nurtures the physical and mental evolution that comes with the practice of yoga. Patti is inspired by every person working hard to be better. Her favorite poses are those that she finds difficult, but within reach—those that require focus, faith, dedication, and practice. Patti’s favorite yoga sutra is 1.33: Through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy and indifference to pleasure and pain, virtue and vice respectively, the consciousness becomes favorably disposed, serene and benevolent.
Patti is currently serving on the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California (IYANC) and previously served on the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States (IYNAUS).
Practicing since 1976.
CIYT Level 3
I am inspired by the profound and sensitive teaching of yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar and his children, Geetaji and Prashantji. My regular visits to Pune enrich and nourish my practice and teachings. I enjoy teaching advanced students, those beginning to understand the depth of practice, and those who suffer with back challenges. In the first chapter of the Yoga Sutras Patanjali gives several methods to calm the mind and prepare it for spiritual evolution – have a soft, slow exhalation and wait for awhile, witness the serenity and peace in that empty space after exhalation. I find this sutra to be quieting to my nervous system and a great comfort to deal with the stresses of life.
Practicing since 1971.
CIYT Level 3
Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500
I began practicing yoga in 1971, after a near-death experience showed me some home truths about my limitations and delusions. In 1983, I came to IYISF to do teacher training, and have been teaching continuously since 1984. Yoga practice is my passion – I look for the light in each student and do my best to transmit trust in long, steady, uninterrupted practice, through my example, words, hands, and eyes. Guruji asked me to train myself so that every action gives life, and after two major accidents, there is nothing more satisfying than expressing freedom every day through this very body and mind in yoga. As Yoga Sutra I.1 teaches, yoga is expressed now.
Practicing since 1988.
CIYT Level 2
I bring to my teaching an enthusiastic belief in yoga as a practice that can infuse each moment of our daily lives and bring gifts of personal transformation, holistic health maintenance and stress relief. I love to practice poses that I hate, like forward bends, because they remind me of the work in front of me and how much further I could potentially go. I love to practice poses that I love, like adho mukha vrksasana (full arm balance) because it energizes me and instantly takes my mind off any worries. My other roles in life include husband, father, community member, business owner, musician, and outdoorsman, and I have discovered that yoga practice supports all these roles. Yoga’s powerful effects and the continually refreshed perspective on life that yoga offers inspire me and keep me coming back to my practice.
Practicing since 2000. CIYT Level 2
I got interested in yoga when I saw someone practicing yoga on the beach with the San Francisco Bay as the background – she was an Iyengar teacher, who like me enjoyed open water swimming! I love doing Sirsasana (headstand) in the outdoors to see the sky as the ground and get a change of perspective. I am inspired by anything that makes me want to know more and investigate. As a teacher, I hope to ignite interest and curiosity in my students in yoga. My yoga practice is a “go to place” to bring clarity and to address the physical and mental challenges that life brings. As Yoga sutra I.13 says, “Practice is the steadfast effort to still these fluctuations.” Coming to a class requires the conscious effort to choose and discriminate among other possible choices to become present, directing our will, attention and energy to bring a calm and more tranquil mind.
Practicing since 2002 and teaching since 2011. CIYT Level I.
I value yoga because it allows us to explore and expand the boundaries of our bodies and mind. The short term benefits are immediate, and the long term benefits are profound. Initially I was drawn to Iyengar yoga for it’s ability to calm my mind, alleviate aches and pains, and increase my strength and flexibility. After continued practice, I found the benefits expanded. The practice helps me feel more connected to my mind and body, allows me to approach life and stressful situations with equanimity, and provides an opportunity for even greater exploration of myself and the world. I enjoy sharing this transformative power of the yoga journey with all students both experienced and new.
Practicing yoga since 1996, CIYT Level 1
Since 1996 the practice of yoga has been a daily exploration and remembrance of the value of understanding who I am. I am inspired by the Iyengar method, the heart of my practice- real, direct, simple, creative, challenging, transformative, and relevant in any number of situations and conditions. While teaching, I support and encourage each student to establish, examine and refine their relationship to themselves using yogic tools and values passed on to me by my teachers.It is my sincere hope that each student come to experience their own direct connection and love for this vast path of learning, service, and great joy!
“You must do the poses from your heart. If you don’t do them from the heart you won’t be doing your body any good. Coming from the heart the body and brain are trained. If done carelessly, without the intellect, then the body is being distorted…Don’t force – cooperate…Don’t do with great will power, but with great affection.” B.K.S Iyengar
Practicing since 1999.
CIYT Level 3
I aim to bring a spark of yoga to each student through the teachings that I’ve received in the Iyengar tradition. These teachings have been filtered through practice, study, and reflection. And I strive to communicate them with clarity and compassion. The wholeness that I experience during my practice and the positive effects that I accumulate over time continually reveal the transformative power of yoga. What draws me to practice? Its endless possibilities, obstacles and tiny insights, and balance of doing and being. I’m inspired by the intricacy of nature and discovery. I believe the joy in any asana can be found along the journey from movement and shape to silence and vibrancy. My yoga sutra study takes me along many paths. At this moment, I am absorbed in the sutras on transformation and the myriad treasures in B.K.S. Iyengar’s commentary that inform practice and life.
Practicing since 2004. CIYT Level 1
Yoga has brought joy, ease, and freedom to Magi’s life: balancing a hectic corporate life and grad school over a decade ago and the eventual departure from corporate America that she had only dreamed about as a kid in Malaysia.
In 2011, Magi found herself in two month-long Iyengar intensive in the foothills of the Himalayas with senior teachers, Rajiv and Saraswati Chanchani while on a year-long exploratory yoga journey. After having practiced other styles of yoga in San Francisco the prior decade, the deeper work of Iyengar Yoga made such an impression and change in her practice and life, she now dedicates much of her life to it.
She is immensely grateful to all her teachers, especially her mentors Janet MacLeod and Kathy Alef, as well as the many students who inform her learning as a teacher and practitioner every day. More at www.BeingMindfulEveryday.com.
Practicing since 2005
CIYT Level 1
Iyengar yoga has helped me to establish personal discipline, self-awareness, greater health and balance in body and mind. I trained to teach at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco and study regularly with local and visiting teachers. I have studied in India with Rajiv and Swati Chanchani and Prashant and Geeta Iyengar. My teaching aims to meet students where they are, as individuals with a unique set of circumstances. I aspire to share the light of yoga, in all its facets, which has been a balancing and transformational force in my life. I am also a student of Ayurveda and meditation.
Practicing since 1978. CIYT Level 3
I fell in love with Iyengar Yoga while living in London, England. I moved to California in the late 70’s and enrolled in the teacher training program at the IYISF. I infuse my teaching with the joy of yoga. I am inspired by the teachings of the Iyengar family, and I enjoy practicing all the yoga asanas and deepening my understanding of the subject by studying all the Yoga Sutras. One of the things that I appreciate about yoga is it involves lifelong learning! Born in the Isle of Skye, Scotland, I have travelled to many parts of the world sharing the light of yoga with all the students I meet.
Practicing since 1975.
CIYT Level 3
I took my first yoga class in 1975 and received my first certification in 1977 with Indra Devi, the only non-Indian female who studied under Tirumalai Krishnamacharya, B.K.S. Iyengar’s Guru. She was 77 when I studied with her and I was inspired by how light and quick she was in her movements. I said to myself, “I want to be just like her when I am her age!” I try to instruct in a way that elevates the students’ sensitivity in the poses which can transform the alignment of the asana and aid in developing a deeper understanding beyond the physical. My teaching melds my knowledge of yoga, functional anatomy, design and movement into a methodical teaching style. My goal for students is to leave the class with a deeper understanding of the focused subject. My favorite Yoga Sutra is I.9 – vikalpah: Verbal delusion arises when words don’t match reality.
Practicing since 2003. CIYT Level 1. C-IAYT
I was amazed when I found that my yoga practice helped manage both my depression and my chronic tendonitis and bursitis. Iyengar Yoga is for everyone and I practice because it makes me feel good inside and out. I try to make yoga accessible to all of my students, especially those who are inflexible and afflicted by pain. I love doing inversions and backbends – inversions reset me and backbends help me with my personal afflictions and bring vigor to my day! I’m inspired by nature, my mentors and teachers and the Yoga Sutras. My favorite Sutra is I.33, which is about being compassionate to those less fortunate, to be virtuous. It is an approach to life!
Practicing since 2002. CIYT Level II. C-IAYT
I am inspired by a quote from Bessel van der Kolk, MD: “Once you start approaching your body with curiosity rather than with fear, everything shifts.” I love to practice and teach inversions, like headstand and shoulderstand, and back extensions because they give strength, courage, and poise. I aim to teach with kindness, humor, and enthusiasm. I am also a practicing psychotherapist, and believe yoga is a space for exploration, curiosity, self-learning, and the increase of joy. One sutra that has special significance for me is I.48, ṛtam-bharā tatra prajñā, “In that place, there is wisdom, the knowledge that carries truth within it.” I have felt that glimpses of this wisdom, and truth, bring a tremendous sense of peace and connectedness. I am overjoyed and deeply grateful to teach at IYISF, to carry on the lineage of Iyengar Yoga, and to serve the San Francisco community.
Practicing since 1976. CIYT Introductory II. C-IAYT
By sharing my experience and knowledge of Yoga, anatomy and philosophy in a precise, creative and supportive fashion, I strive to help my students achieve greater health and harmony through a balanced yoga practice adapted to their personal needs. I greatly benefited from the therapeutic value of Iyengar Yoga to rehabilitate my back from a sport injury, and over the past 30 years I have helped many students with their back and neck related issues. I love spending time in nature: walking on the beach absorbed in the infinity of the ocean, biking, hiking in the mountains – this communion with nature energises my being and inspires my practice. Yoga Sutra II.47, “by relaxation of effort and meditation on the infinite posture is perfected”, especially resonates with me as a reminder to balance effort and surrender.
Practicing since 1988. CIYT Level 2
An ardent practitioner of Iyengar Yoga for more than 30 years, David’s depth and passion for the subject shine forth brightly in his teaching. He studied directly with BKS Iyengar and his family on numerous occasions in India. David is an Iyengar certified yoga instructor and has taught both nationally and internationally over the past 20 years.
David brings to his teaching a rich background in the bodymind disciplines of Shintaido (a martial arts based movement), Surfing, Vipassana meditation, and more than 25 years experience as a professional Somatic Educator.
Practicing since 1993.
CIYT Level 2
I discovered yoga after a long relationship with dance and movement and was immediately drawn to its rejuvenating properties. I’ve always been inspired by the people I meet through yoga, and I strive to encourage a sense of community through my teaching. To me, each class is a new experience; I love the way yoga adapts and expands to meet the needs of all individuals in the room, regardless of level. Yoga is my bedrock; it provides both a physical and philosophical foundation to my daily life. In my personal practice, I find yoga to be fascinating, exciting, clarifying, dynamic, and profound – it’s the way I feel after each practice that keeps me coming back. I also find strength and inspiration in the philosophical aspects of yoga. For the last several years I’ve been studying the Sutras with a group of fellow yoga teachers and examining the relevance of the ancient texts to our modern lives.
Practicing since 1983. CIYT Introductory II
As a child, I enjoyed all forms of movement. I received a Masters Degree in Dance Arts from Mills College and I danced and taught until 1983 when I found Iyengar Yoga. While remaining true to the methodology that speaks to me so vividly, I continue to find fresh new ways to engage in my practice and teaching. Currently, I am exploring ways to modify for beginners an Immune System Asana prescription Mr. Iyengar gave me years ago. My favorite Sutra, I:39, embraces an individual’s uniqueness allowing for the student to find their preferred focus for meditation. My own yoga practice is enhanced by my passion for dancing, building Temples, and sharing a vibrant life with my two children. I encourage my students to integrate their own life’s rich pageant into their yoga journey finding all manners of practice that best suits their temperament.