Sivananda Yoga Health Educator Training (SYHET) Faculty


SYHET Curriculum



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The SIHY Sivananda Yoga Health Educator Training faculty consists of a team of selfless, giving and highly-credentialed teachers, diversified in their fields of expertise and bringing many years of knowledge and experience to the program. (See Board of Directors below Faculty listings.)

Swami Sitaramananda

Director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm


Swami Sitaramananda is a senior disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda, who is a direct disciple of Swami Sivananda. She is presently acharya of US West Coast centers and ashrams, as well as Asia, especially Vietnam and China. She has been director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm for more than 20 years and has taught many international Teachers Training Courses in California, Vietnam, China, Taiwan and India and is also teaching regularly at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Nassau Bahamas. She is the author of Positive Thinking Manual, Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy (translated in Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese) and Swamiji Said, a collection of teachings by Swami Vishnudevananda in His Own Words as well as two poem books. She is responsible for the Vietnamese translation of The Completed Illustrated Book of Yoga by Swami Vishnudevananda. Some of her audio lectures on Yoga Life, articles and webinar presentations can be found on this website.

Swami Jnaneswariananda


Swami Jnaneswariananda joined the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers in 1995 and has been director of centers and ashrams in Canada and Italy. She teaches Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Anatomy, and Vedanta at Teacher's Training Courses in North America, Italy and India. Swami Jnaneswariananda took vows of Sannyas in 2001. She is currently a senior teacher at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. She teaches with great enthusiasm and humor.

Swami Pranavananda


Swami Pranavananda took the vow of Sannyas in 1995. He is a gifted teacher who is the main hatha yoga teacher at the ashram and teaches the Anatomy and Physiology section of our Teachers Training Course. He co-directed the San Francisco Center for five years. A talented musician, he enjoys leading kirtan and bhajan chanting sessions during satsang.

Swami Narayanananda


Born in London, Swami Narayanananda is now based at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. He is a disciple of Swami Vishnudevananda and has been a senior teacher of the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta organization for 17 years, teaching in countries such as India and Vietnam, and, most recently, in Chengdu, China. He has been director and teacher in the Sivananda Centers in Chicago and New York City. Swami Narayanananda teaches Yoga and Meditation and has trained teachers in Yoga Teacher Training and Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Courses internationally.

Swami Dharmananda


Swami Dharmananda is one of the main teachers of Hatha Yoga and Meditation at the Ashram. He took sannyas vows in 2013 and is assistant director of the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm. Swami Dharmananda is keenly interested in yoga psychology and philosophy, presenting the classical teaching in a practical and accessible way to people of all faiths and backgrounds.

Catherine O’Neil (Durga Leela)


Durga Leela is founder of Yoga of Recovery, a comprehensive program integrating Ayurveda and Yoga with recovery tools for a holistic mind, body and spirit approach for those affected by addiction and self-destructive behaviors. Yoga of Recovery is currently offered as workshops, retreats and certificate courses. Durga holds the RYT-500 qualification, having completed both the Sivananda Yoga Teachers Training Course and an Advanced Yoga Teachers Training. She is also extensively trained in Meditation and Vedanta. She is a Clinical Ayurvedic and Pancha Karma Specialist, trained at the California College of Ayurveda and also in Kerala, India. She is Director of the Ayurveda Programs at the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm and a professional member of the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA). She is also a member of Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT).

Arun Deva


Arun Deva is a senior practitioner of Yoga and Ayurveda, living in Los Angeles for the past 40 years. Arun travels the world to teach, is faculty for yogic studies at Loyola Marymount University, writes articles for different publications and also runs his clinic for yoga and Ayurveda in West Hollywood. He currently chairs the National Association of Ayurvedic Medicine (NAMA) Committee for Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy (AYT). Arun has also presented for the Symposium on Yoga Therapy And Research (SYTAR) on the links between yoga and Ayurveda.

Dr. Natesan Chandrashekaran


Dr.N.Chandrasekaran, M.B.B.S., is one of the world’s most experienced yoga therapist, a western medical doctor, international trainer and author. In 2010 he founded the Yoga Vaidya Śālā after more than a decade heading the Yoga Therapy Department at the Krisnamacharya Yoga Mandiram (KYM) in Chennai. In that role he conducted consultations with more than 15,000 students, with a wide range of health problems, prescribing individual practices for each. Dr N.Chandrasekaran (Dr.N.C.) has been a practising allopathic medical physician for almost thirty years and completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Yoga in 1990. From 1991 he acted as a consultant-teacher, and from 2001 held the position of Director of Therapy at the KYM. Dr NC’s experience in medicine and in the yogic healing process enables him to practice and to present an astonishingly effective blend of the western medical system with eastern traditional wisdom, helping people with a wide range of health problems.

Dr. Ramkumar


Dr. Ramkumar is the Founder-Director of Punarnava Ayurveda, an institution committed to Authentic Ayurveda for Universal Well-Being. He is a lifelong student of Ayurveda and other traditional Indian knowledge systems. Over the last 15 years, he has given talks and conducted workshops in the Americas, Africa, Europe, Australia and South-East Asia propagating health and happiness through Ayurveda. Dr.Ramkumar has also been the prime mover behind a series of International Conferences on “Ayurveda & Yoga – where science meets consciousness”. This series began in 2006 and the V edition was held in December 2015. The primary objective has been to inspire and motivate the student community to go deeper into the study and practice of authentic Indian knowledge systems. 

Dr. A.R. Ramadas  


Hailing from Thrissur, the cultural capital of Kerala, Dr. A. R. Ramdas is currently offering his services in the field of Ayurveda care and Ayurveda teaching in the capacity of Medical Director of Punarnava Ayurveda, in one of the hospital clusters at Vaidyagrama Ayurveda Village in South India. Vaidyagrama is a‘Green’ ,eco friendly Ayurveda hospital that follows the principles of an ideal Ayurveda center as prescribed in the classical Ayurveda texts, yet that suits contemporary times. He inherits a strong family tradition of a long line of ayurveda practitioners, serving the community for more than half a century. Dr. A. R. Ramdas completed his B.A.M.S graduation from Ayurveda College in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. 

Neil D. Pearson


Neil Pearson—PT, MSc(RHBS), BA-BPHE, ERYT500, CYT, registered physiotherapist practicing since 1985—has specialized for the past 15 years in pain science and pain management. Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia and a highly-regarded educator, he received the Excellence in Inter-professional Pain Education award from the Canadian Pain Society in 2012, and the Excellence in Clinical Contribution from the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia in 2011. Paul is faculty member in five yoga therapy training programs in Canada and the US, and an invited speaker at yoga and yoga therapy conferences. He is developer and key presenter of the Pain Care Yoga program.

Rami Bleckt , Phd


Hailing from Russia, Rami Bleckt is a psychologist, Jyotishi, philosopher, and doctor of psychology lecturing widely in Russia, Canada, the US, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Israel, and Great Britain. Blending ancient spiritual knowledge with modern psychological perspectives, Rami offers teachings on the Yoga of Relationships; Jyotish and Planetary Influences; and Practical Yoga Techniques for Personal Growth and Harmony.  Rami is the author of the books: Destiny and Me; Three Energies: Forgotten Canons of Health and Harmony; How to Make a Deal with the Universe; 10 Steps to Happiness;Travels in Search of the Meaning of Life

Lila Lolling


Lila Lolling, ERYT500 and YACEP, is a light-hearted and knowledgeable yoga teacher with nearly twenty years of experience in the field of classical yoga. She is a dedicated yoga practitioner who has lived and taught in traditional yoga ashrams in America and India over the course of her yoga studies. She is the founder of the DeafYoga Foundation and Saraswati Yoga School. For nearly a decade, she has been adapting yoga postures for a multitude of populations. Lila is a compassionate, honest, and sincere yoga teacher who offers all who study with her inspiration to live a life of peace, joy, and purpose. 

V.V. Narayan


V.V. Narayan is the chief Yoga consultant in charge of implementing AYUS programs for Akami Foundation in Kerala, India; and vice-president of Patanjali Yoga Training and Research Center preparing students for Yoga Therapy programs in India. He is a Yoga Therapist and Counselor trained with S-Vyasa University and specializing in hypertension and cardio-vascular health. Additional Narayan gives seminars as part of the Stop Diabetes Through Yoga campaign coordinated with S-Vyasa University; Yoga for Psycho-somatic ailments such as anxiety, fear, and depressive psychosis; asthma; Geriatrics and physical rehabilitation using Yoga techniques.


Silvia Nakkach (SARASWATI DEVI)  MA, MMT, is a Grammy-nominated musician, award-winning composer, voice-culturist, psychotherapist, and an accredited authority in the field of sound in yoga and transformation of consciousness. Nakkach holds Master’s Degrees in Psychology, Music Psychotherapy, and Music Composition from Mills College in Oakland, California. In addition to her many academic credentials, she has devoted more than 30 years to the study of classical Indian music and raga singing under the direction of the late maestro Ali Akbar Khan. For more than 12 years she was on the faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies ( San Francisco, CA), where she created the premier academic certificate on Sound,Voice and Music in the Healing Arts. She is the founder, faculty, and academic director of the International Vox Mundi School of Sound and the Voice, based in the San Francisco Bay Area with schools in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and centers in Japan and across the USA. She is the contributing author of many books, among them: Music and the Human Process,Transpersonal PsychologyMusic in Human AdaptationMusic Therapy at the End of Life, and Proceedings of the Yoga and Psyche Conference (2014). Her book isFree Your Voice was published by Sounds True (2012). She has released several CD albums. ([email protected]com)