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at Mount Madonna, California

School of Yoga

Faculty & Staff

At Mount Madonna School of Yoga, we have been training yoga teachers for over 40 years. Our signature 200 and 300 hour trainings are approved by the national yoga registry, the Yoga Alliance, and are led by an extensive faculty; many of whom have been practicing, studying, and teaching yoga at Mount Madonna in California for over 40 years. Our Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy program is certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and recognized by the National Ayurvedic Medical Association (NAMA).

Join an ancient lineage and wisdom tradition which covers a broad range of yoga theory, philosophy, and practice, with particular emphasis on the traditional Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga system as described in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.

anand brian darsie
B.A., E-RYT 500

Anand Brian Darsie

B.A. (Music), RYT 500, E-RYT 200, RCYT

Uniting his passions for music, yoga, spirituality, community, and worship, Anand brings a unique perspective to his practice and teaching. He spends time in residency at Mount Madonna, where he is immersed in yoga and community studies. He serves as a primary instructor for YTT 200 and YTT for Educators. Anand seeks to promote body intelligence through asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation. Enthusiastic, encouraging, creative, and compassionate, Anand inspires students of all ages through ancient methods delivered with contemporary scientific understanding and a playful, dynamic spirit.

bhavani siegel

Bhavani Siegel

Credential, Early Childhood Education, Cabrillo Community College, Aptos, CA

Bhavani teaches the Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga philosophy, Vedic ritual symbolism, Bhakti (devotional) Yoga, Sanskrit and sacred sound, Nada (inner sound) Yoga and children’s yoga at both Mount Madonna and Salt Spring Centre of Yoga in B.C., Canada. A founding member of Mount Madonna Center, Bhavani has continued her journey of “teach to learn” through yoga teacher trainings, seminars and retreats.


Brajesh Gerald Friedberg

Ph.D. (Political Science), Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Brajesh teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, yoga and social justice, and meditation. He designed the original curriculum for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher-Training program at Mount Madonna with Baba Hari Dass. Brajesh is a former member of the panchayat (Council of Elders) and the board of directors of Hanuman Fellowship, as well as a former principal of Mount Madonna School and past President, Mount Madonna Institute.

dayanand john diffenbaugh
B.A., E-RYT 500

Dayanand John Diffenbaugh

B.A. (Religious Studies), University of California, Santa Cruz, CA; E-RYT 500

Dayanand teaches Yoga Sutras, Samkhya Philosophy, Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, Tantra (to weave) Yoga, Nada (inner sound) Yoga, and meditation. He is editor of Baba Hari Dass’ Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, A Study Guide for Books I-IV. He also teaches World Religions at Mount Madonna School. A musician, “DN” leads kirtan (devotional singing) and Vedic chanting. Dayanand has been instrumental in all of Babaji’s projects, including serving as the Founding Director of Mount Madonna Center, as a founding board member for Hanuman Fellowship, Mount Madonna Institute, Advisor Trustee of Sri Ram Orphanage, and as a member of the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship.

B.S., E-RYT 500

Donna Rixmann

M.A. (Health Services Management), Webster University, St. Louis, MO;
E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist, American Viniyoga Institute,
Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Mount Madonna Institute

Donna received her initial training in 2002 through a 700-hour program directed by Georg Feuerstein, a pre-eminent yoga scholar. She also studied at the India campus of the Himalayan Institute and received a second 500-level teacher certification. Her yoga therapy and teaching practice are informed by the Viniyoga™ style of yoga. This breath-centered yoga improves the effectiveness of yoga poses to promote physical, mental and emotional health. With over 3,000 documented hours of teaching experience, Donna offers adaptive yoga classes for special populations (MS/Cancer) and yoga workshops addressing a variety of conditions.

janardan kieran

Janardan Kieran Farley

B.A. (Psychology and Science), San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Janardan teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, Bhakti (devotional) Yoga, Tantra (to spread knowledge) Yoga, and Vedic rituals. He serves as the head pujari (priest) of Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. “JD” is a founding member of Mount Madonna Center, serves on the board of Sri Ram Foundation and was a founding member of the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship.

E-RYT 500

Jaya Maxon

E-RYT 500

Jaya teaches Hatha (seven-limbed; to achieve balance) Yoga, and Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation. She has coordinated yoga retreats and Yoga Teacher Training intensives at Mount Madonna since the inception of the organization. She has also served on the board of Hanuman Fellowship. Jaya is a founding member of Mount Madonna Center and currently serves on the board of Sri Ram Foundation.

jen rand
M.A., RYT 500


M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute; RYT 500

Jen completed her 200 and 300 hour trainings in classical Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with Mount Madonna Institute. She is experienced in teaching students of all ages both in-person and online and works with students in Ayurveda and Yoga at Mount Madonna. Her yoga practice is deeply influenced by her studies of Ayurveda, which allow her to offer options and modifications to help students tailor their practice to what they need. She is currently pursuing her studies in Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy.

Ph. D.

Kalpana Iris Kachuck

Ph. D. (Education), University of California, Berkeley

Kalpana teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, Karma (action to reach spiritual liberation) Yoga, educational learning and teaching theory. An emphasis is on cultivating the traditional limbs of yama (restraints) and niyama (observances) to attain peace. She served on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship for many years, as well as on the board of Hanuman Fellowship and Mount Madonna School, where she served as Founding Principal. Kalpana is a retired Professor of Mathematics and Education at Evergreen Valley College, San José, CA.

M.A., E-RYT 500

Kamalesh Ginger Hooven

M.A. (Ayurveda), Mount Madonna Institute, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, YTT 700, Yoga Research & Education Center

Kamalesh teaches Samkhya Philosophy, Ayurveda, Core Asana (postures), Asana Biomechanics, Hatha (seven-limbed; to achieve balance) Yoga and meditation, and Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga. She serves as Chair of the School of Yoga; Program Director for Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy; Program Coordinator for Advanced Yoga Studies (YTT 300) and for the Certificate: Ayurvedic Practitioner and MA. She has been leading and teaching Mount Madonna Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2005. She lives in Guatemala and in Watsonville, CA.

kathy paez
E-RYT 500

Kathy Paez

E-RYT 500

Kathy teaches anatomy and physiology. She completed her 500 hours in Yin Yoga and anatomy with Paul and Suzee Grilley, fascia studies with Gil Hedley, and Sanskrit under Dr. María Elena Sierra at The University of Barcelona. Kathy is an international Yin & Vinyasa Yoga teacher trainer, with a functional approach that requires specialized understanding of skeletal variation, muscles, myofascial pathways and the subtle body.

RYT 500

Linda Marie Hurst

E-RYT 200, RYT 500

Linda has been teaching yoga and meditation for over 15 years. In 2012 she designed, and teaches, the children’s yoga component of the Sierra Foothill Conservancy’s annual field trip program where groups of 60-80 children per session spend time in nature learning Earth Science through the practice of yoga. She is the Director of Yoga Teacher Training at Old Town Yoga in Clovis, CA, and is the author of their training manuals. She is the lead teacher for Yoga Philosophy, Ayurveda, Subtle Body, pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation. Linda specialized in adaptive asana (postures), facilitating a safe space where people of all abilities can thrive. In addition to private and group classes, Linda conducts workshops and retreats. Additionally, Linda organizes and leads group yoga hikes for local conservation organizations.

lizzy gamberdella
M.A., RYT 500

Lizzy Gamberdella

M.A., Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

With a teaching career that spans over two decades, a lifetime of yoga practice, formal training in Yoga (RYT 500) and Ayurveda (Practitioner), Reiki Master-level training, and an immeasurable passion for healing, Lizzy combines her unique experiences to bring a holistic approach to health. These experiences form the foundation from which she aims to guide others toward personal healing.

mangala norskog
R.N., RYT 500

Mangala Norskog

R.N., RYT 500, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist

Mangala teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation, and forgiveness asana series, integrating sacred sound, anatomy and subtle body. She served on the Yoga Administration of Pacific Cultural Center and volunteered at Sri Ram Orphanage. As a Registered Nurse, she advocates for health, safety, and wellbeing, especially within the context of the justice system.

M.P.H., RYT 500

Manisha Deborah Wechsler

Master of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley; RYT 500

Manisha teaches Yoga Sutras with an emphasis on Kriya (ancient meditation technique) Yoga, Sanskrit chanting and Samkhya Philosophy with an aim of integrating Western sciences with yoga’s teachings on mind and body. Manisha has served on the board of Mount Madonna Institute and worked as an Epidemiologist and Supervising Public Health Nurse of Santa Cruz County.


Pratibha Melissa Queen

B.A. (History), University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Ayurvedic Practitioner, Mount Madonna

Pratibha teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques), including gentle and restorative asana. She also teaches Ayurveda and the relationship of these sister sciences. She is a founding member of Mount Madonna Institute, served for many years on the Yoga Administration of Pacific Cultural Center, and was a member of both the Institute and Hanuman Fellowship boards.


Premdas Rohan

M.A. (Secondary Science Education), San Jose State College, San Jose, CA

Prem Dass teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, asana (postures), pranayama (breathing techniques), and meditation with special attention to breath awareness, mindfulness, and postures to calm the mind. He also teaches Bhagavad Gita, sacred art of yantra (geometric diagrams), Vedic rituals and Upanishads (sitting near a teacher), and serves as a pujari (priest) of Vedic rituals at the Sankat Mochan Hanuman Temple. A musician, he leads kirtan (devotional singing) and Vedic chanting at events and retreats. “PD” was also a Mount Madonna School faculty member for many years. He is on the publishing team of Sri Ram Foundation.

M.S., RYT 500

Purnima Cathy Conway

M.S. (Nonprofit Management), Northeastern University; RYT 500

Purnima teaches pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, mudra (symbolic gestures), mantra (chanting) and sacred sound within the context of Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga. She emphasizes cultivation of the traditional limbs of yama (restraints) and niyama (observances) to attain peace. A musician, she leads kirtan (devotional singing) and Vedic chanting at retreats and events. She serves as Vice Chair of the Mount Madonna Institute Board and is the Chief Executive Officer, Hospice of Santa Cruz County.

E-RYT 500

Radha Mallery

E-RYT 500

Radha teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on pranayama (breathing techniques), meditation, forgiveness asana (postures) series, and Nada (inner sound) Yoga. Radha leads kirtan (devotional singing) and Vedic chanting at events and retreats. She is a member of the panchayat (Council of Elders) and serves on the Membership Committee of the Hanuman Fellowship, and is past Director of Volunteer Services for Hospice of Santa Cruz County.

M.A., E-RYT 500

Ratna Jennifer Sturz

M.A. (Counseling and Health Psychology), Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA

Ratna teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on meditation. She is a founding member of Mount Madonna Center and Mount Madonna Institute and serves as the Vice President of Hanuman Fellowship.

Rucha Kelkar

Rucha Kelkar

DPT, Doctor of Physical Therapy, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN. Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS), University of Pune, India 1999

Dr. Kelkar, a renowned faculty member at Mount Madonna Institute, holds over 23 years of experience as a clinician, educator, and writer. She’s the founder of Ayurbliss, a San Mateo-based integrative wellness center. With a solid foundation in Ayurveda and Physical Therapy, she’s also a NAMA Board Director. She holds a Doctor of Ayurveda degree from Pune University, India, and a Doctoral degree in Physical Therapy. Certified in Yoga and Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, she’s mentored at Stanford and introduced Ayurveda at UCSF. An award-winning presenter and author, she’s highly respected for her expertise and teaching skills. Dr. Kelkar truly embodies Ayurveda’s essence.

B.A., E-RYT 500

Sadanand Ward Mailliard

B.A. (English), University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; E-RYT 500

Sadanand teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and Subtle Body Theory. He created and taught the Values in World Thought curriculum at Mount Madonna School for many years. “SN” is one of the editors of Baba Hari Dass’ commentary on the Bhagavad Gita and has an abiding interest in exploring its relevance to modern life. He has served as the Executive Director of Mount Madonna Center, President of Hanuman Fellowship, and Vice President of Sri Ram Foundation. He is currently an Advisor Trustee of Sri Ram Ashram and serves on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of the Hanuman Fellowship.

sarada judith
Ph.D., E-RYT 500

Sarada Judith Diffenbaugh

Ph. D. (Education), Stanford University, Stanford, CA; E-RYT 500, RCYT

Sarada teaches Yoga Sutras, Samkhya Philosophy, Bhagavad Gita, Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga, Bhakti (devotional) Yoga, children’s yoga, ethics and meditation. Sarada is the founder of Mount Madonna School where the ancient system of yoga has been translated into contemporary American education. She is one of the founders of Mount Madonna Center, serves as President of Sri Ram Foundation, which publishes Baba Hari Dass’ writings, is an Advisor Trustee of Sri Ram Orphanage, and serves on the Mount Madonna Institute Board’s Executive Committee.

M.A., E-RYT 500

Sean Neesley

M.A. (Psychology), Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA; E-RYT 500

Sean teaches the Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga and Hatha (seven-limbed; to achieve balance) Yoga with a focus on asana (postures), sadhana (daily spiritual practice), and shat karma (purification methods). He is passionate about creating connection, fostering health and wellness, and facilitating experiential knowledge through his work both as a mental health professional and as a yoga instructor and trainer of teachers. Sean has dedicated his life’s work to supporting others in deepening their access to emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being. In his work, he seeks to provide a consistent dedication to empathy, integrity, and professionalism.

soma goresky
M.S., E-RYT 500

Soma Goresky

R.N., E-RYT 500, Ayurvedic Practitioner, Registered Massage Therapist

Soma teaches Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga with a focus on pranayama (breathing techniques) and meditation, in addition to Yoga Sutras. She is the primary mentor for the sadhana (daily spiritual practice) component of Yoga Teacher Training. A musician, she leads kirtan (devotional singing) and Vedic chanting at events and retreats. Soma is a founding member of Mount Madonna Center, serves on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship, and is a practicing geotechnical engineer with a Bay Area consulting firm.

B.A., E-RYT 500

Tonia Mayerle

B.A. (Journalism), University of Arizona, Tucson; Ayurvedic Health Counselor; E-RYT 500

Tonia teaches, practices, and studies the classical Ashtanga (eight-limbed) Yoga. She works as an Ayurveda Health Counselor at an integrative medical clinic in Iowa. She specializes in teaching Somatic Movement based Trauma Informed Yoga, meditation, conflict resiliency and finds daily inspiration in “teaching to learn.” She is the in-room Program Coordinator for the Online YTT 200 at Mount Madonna Center. She is a certified Somatic Regulation Practitioner focusing on regulation of the nervous system using techniques based on Polyvagal Theory, Yoga, and Ayurveda. She is also certified at the Practitioner level for HeartMath and Trauma Sensitive HeartMath Certified as well.

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