Pacific Cultural Ceneter & Yoga Institute
Yoga Institute Class Descriptions

Alice Kennedy

Alice Kennedy

Alice Kennedy is soon to be an Anusara-Inspired teacher. She encourages students to find their spectacular qualities inside and out, creating a community-filled, loving, and friendly environment. Grounded in a strong heart-body foundation, her students are surprised at how they can begin to do things they never thought possible, leading to more beauty and confidence on and off their mats. She has studied and worked at several yoga and buddhist centers internationally, and has been teaching 4 years. She has several teachers in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, as well as Darren Rhodes, Christina Sell, Simmin Joy Holland, and Kenny Graham in the Anusara tradition. When she isn't studying yoga, she is often roaming the kitchen, cooking up vegan treats, telling goofy jokes, and brewing watermelon kombucha-love! alice@yogawithalice.com



Anne Hogan

Anne Hogan

The practice of yoga has been tremendously healing throughout Anne's life. She first discovered yoga as a way to cope with anxiety and depression in her early 20's and has been continually amazed at the physical and emotional healing that comes from her practice. Anne dove even deeper into her practice during her pregnancy, finding yoga a wonderful way to connect with herself and her baby at such a profound time in her life. She decided to enroll in yoga teacher training at Mount Madonna Institute, where she received her 200 hour certification as well as her prenatal and postnatal certification.

Through yoga, Anne finds that she is able to achieve balance in her life through deep connection of body, mind and breath. She believes the key to healing and finding balance comes from truly listening to the body and its needs. Anne's goal is to guide her students to listen to their bodies no matter where they are in their practice. Her classes are always supportive, nourishing and strengthening.



Annica Rose

E-RYT500, CHT, Ceritified Yoga Therapist

Annica Rose, Certified Yoga Therapist is a gifted healer with over 40-years of experience as a practitioner and instructor of Yoga. Founding director of the Adaptive Yoga Project, Annica maintains a successful private Yoga therapy practice in Santa Cruz County. She teaches specialized Yoga classes and mentors Yoga instructors interested in serving the special needs community. Annica’s spirited enthusiasm for Yoga, her keen intuition and a natural gift for engaging students are central to her work.

Her attentiveness to the unique needs of every student helps people of varying abilities become aware of their breath, improve balance and develop flexibility and function. This is accomplished with innovative adaptations of traditional Yoga postures often using props, like chairs, blocks and bolsters...

Annica’s training is based on classical Yoga principals, Buddhist studies and a ten year western medical career. She is very grateful to have studied with Allan Watts, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche, Indra Devi and continues to study with Baba Hari Dass. annica@adaptiveyogaproject.com



Aruna Peters

Aruna Peters

"The body is a boat which carries the soul in the ocean of the world. If it is not strong, or it has a hole, then it cannot cross the ocean. So the first duty is to fix the boat." - Baba Hari Das

Having immersed herself in the study of yoga, Aruna utilizes the various limbs to navigate through life in a balanced manner. Aruna began her training in the Ashtanga Vinyasa style of yoga, with Bhavani Maki, who was also her initial inspiration into the exploration of yoga philosophy. This exploration prompted her to seek the guidance of Baba Hari Dass and continue her training at the Mount Madonna Center, where for many years she taught for their teacher training program. Her practice and teaching style have been deeply influenced by her time spent in India studying at the Tantra-based Bihar School of Yoga, as well as by a number of other master teachers from a wide variety of traditions from all over the world. Aruna has completed her 500-hour YTT, has studied Thai Massage, and is a Certified TRE Facilitator (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises). Aruna has completed her 500-hour YTT, has studied Thai Massage, has had years of training in the practice of Restorative Yoga, and is a Certified TRE Facilitator (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises).

As a student of Baba Hari Dass, Aruna has been encouraged to deepen her own yoga practice by living and sharing a holistic approach to yoga. She is inspired by weaving meditation, yoga philosophy, mantra, pranayama, bandha, mudra and ayurveda into mindful yet playful asana classes for all levels of practitioners. In addition to her dedication to her personal practice, Aruna especially loves the context and container of a group or shared Yoga practice.

In recent years, Aruna has become inspired by the Hatha form of Shadow Yoga as shared by Shandor Remete, and she currently studies the forms with Scott Blossom. She has also been deepening and sharing her love for sacred sound, especially in the form of Kirtan. YogaAruna.com



Bridget Puchalsky

Bridget Puchalsky

Bridget has extensive training and experience in both the fields of yoga and holistic medicine. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) classically trained in Asthanga & Hatha Yoga. Bridget's life's work is in assisting others to find thriving health by utilizing her expertise yoga and holistic medicine.

Her classes are an enthusiastic and full-spectrum including attention to the breath, movement and alignment. She blends a complementary ratio of flexibility, strength and balance with encouragement for the practitioner to exercise their inner intuition and breath to guide their practice. Each session will be appropriately adjusted to natural forces such as: season, time of day, and current atmosphere with a holistic approach to work on the mat a method to building awareness of our beings from a mental emotional, energetic and physical form. Classes will build a skill set that allows the student to become increasingly inspired about using yoga practice as a tool in personal wellness. Expect to find, as appropriate, detailed verbal cues, demonstrations of poses or hands on adjustments. Practice often includes: gentle warm-ups with qi gong exercises, sun or moon salutations, sound anatomical alignment refinement using props, chakra and channel alignment, gentle breath work and meditation.

She is a licensed primary healthcare provider in California with a four-year Master's in Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine and a two-year Ayurvedic Medicine training. She is an adventurer and her most inspirational influence comes through living life to it's fullest in the solitude of nature when adventuring high upon mountain peaks or in the ocean's embrace. She was raised in the Michigan, lived many years in the high Rockies, and currently lives in the Bay Area with her partner Alexi and adorable dog Lily. www.essentialhealthsantacruz.com



Danielle Barr Vaden

Danielle Barr Vaden

Danielle found yoga in 2001 when she wandered into a class after 9/11 looking for meaning. That seed grew into a practice that changed her life by opening and healing her heart, her body and her mind in unimaginable ways. She continues to deepen her spiritual and asana practice, and believes in balancing the teacher and student roles equally. Manifesting in her classes, she encourages her students to move from their own heart, healing themselves, removing blockages and striving to realize their highest self. Through asana, pranayama, meditation, mudra, mantra, union, surrender and laughter she guides classes that allow each practitioner to get lost in the present and spread their wings. Each class is unique, filled with playful, yet challenging movements, and taught from her authentic heart for the benefit of her students. Danielle believes that we can work out our challenges on the mat, and that can create a more free and love-filled life. Her greatest teachers are her two children. She is currently receiving her 500 hour advanced teacher training and is grateful for the Pacific Cultural Center community. Currently registered as a RYT 200 with Alliance, and has her certification for Pre & Postnatal Yoga from Mount Madonna Center.



Dawn

Dawn

Dawn is first and foremost a student of yoga, eager to learn and expand her understanding of the many paths of yoga. Her classes emphasize breathing, balance, and grounding as the foundations of asana and a launching pad to introduce yoga into daily life and the world. She enjoys weaving the flow of vinyasa yoga with the alignment of Iyengar Yoga in her classes and hopes that this leads students to find what her teacher calls "the flow of presence." She believes this "flow of presence" or mindfulness is the root of yoga (union), whether that be on the yoga mat, in meditation, or in daily life. For more information please visit: www.dawnhayesyoga.com



Gabriel Benjamin

Gabriel Benjamin

Gabriel Benjamin is the son of Tri Yoga® Instructor Martha Posey, who quite wisely exposed him to the practice at the age of eleven. During young adult hood, Gabriel experienced chronic hip and back injuries that drew him deeper into the path of yoga and healing arts. Gabriel has been teaching yoga since 2001 and holds four levels of certification in Yoga and a certification as an Ayurvedic Consultant. As a former competitive cyclist Gabriel understands the needs of athletes and or students dealing with injuries in yoga practice. Gabriel assists teacher trainings, teaches group and private classes, as well as workshops, in Santa Cruz, The Bay area, and Southern California. Classes are designed to have equal parts strength and flexibility with an unbroken stream of breath awareness to create a challenging, healing, and meditative flow.



Hannah Muse

Hannah Muse

Ever since Yoga found her, Hannah’s heart has been softening open and spilling over with love. Then she became a mama and her heart opened even more! Hannah’s primary training is in classical Ashtanga Yoga and she loves to combine therapeutic physical alignment and dynamic movement with conscious awareness of the subtle body through asana, pranayama and meditation. She is currently pursuing her Advanced 500 hour RYT Training at Mt Madonna Center, where she completed her 200 hour RYT Training. She has also completed Jane Austin’s Prenatal/Postpartum training.

Hannah loves teaching yoga to all sentient beings, and feels especially honored to teach to mamas and little ones. She is eternally grateful to her teacher Baba Hari Dass, and all of the other truly inspiring teachers on her yogic path in the Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar and Anusara practices. Her greatest teacher of all is her daughter Ruby Bea, who endlessly inspires her to consciously evolve, and often more importantly, to laugh.



Henry Heikkinen

Henry Heikkinen

Henry has been practicing Iyengar style yoga since 1992 and began teaching yoga in 2004. He has studied with many of the top Iyengar teachers in the area, and attended BKS Iyengar's Yoga Intensive in Estes Park, Colorado. He completed the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco's 500 hour Advanced Studies/Teacher Training program in 2009. Henry's classes provide an emphasis on alignment and self-study within the asanas. Special topic classes have included restorative, strengthening, and introduction to yoga. yogawithhenry.com



Jamie Ackley

Jamie Ackley

Jamie is a certified massage practitioner and yoga instructor who completed teacher training with Donna Farhi and through Integrative Yoga therapy. Her classes create a supportive space for students to gently challenge themselves and reconnect with their own internal wisdom through body-mind centered movement.



Kathryn Keller

Kathryn Keller

Practicing yoga since 1990 and teaching since 1993, Kathryn is a registered yoga therapist. Her experiences with yoga, mediation, Feldenkrais, and gerontology allow Kathryn to offer a diverse and non-dogmatic approach. Kathryn has personally experienced yoga to be a powerful way of learning, healing, and transformation and she encourages a playful and noncompetitive attitude in all of her classes. Her style is inspired by a blend of Anusara, Integrative Yoga Therapy, and the Feldenkrais method. As an offering she states, “In gratitude to all of my teachers, I bow to the power and beauty of the practice of yoga.”



Kelly Blaser

Kelly Blaser

Kelly's formal study of Yoga began in 1989, and she began studying with Kofi Busia, Senior Iyengar instructor, in 1995. She has a background in meditation, primarily guided by the Zen approach of Cheri Huber. Kelly began teaching yoga after her first teacher training at Mount Madonna Center in 1997. She has since continued her intensive training, primarily with Kofi, Sianna Sherman and John Friend. Kelly has been deeply influenced by the teachings of Anusara.

In addition to teaching throughout the Bay Area, Kelly has led dozens of retreats, both locally and internationally. Kelly has also taught yoga philosophy, advanced asana and yoga therapeutics modules, for Anusara Trainings and for the Mount Madonna Teacher Training Program.

Kelly is a Marriage Family Therapist Intern. The study of Shaivism, Buddhism, and Classical Yoga Philosophy has shaped Kelly's therapy practice. Despite all this rather intense study, Kelly remains mostly amused by the life experience. www.yogawithkelly.com



Mangala Norskog

Mangala Norskog

RN, RYT 500, ALC, CMT

Mangala is a student of Baba Hari Dass, and continues to “Teach to Learn” as one of the senior instructors at Mount Madonna Center since 1996. Her instruction integrates devotional intention, anatomical reference, and subtle body physiology into the classical methods of traditional pranayama, meditation, and asana practice. Mangala is enthusiastic and dedicated to service as an articulate and compassionate advocate for others’ health, safety, and well-being. Her practice bridges classical training in Ayurveda & Yoga and experience as a Registered Nurse. In addition to being a yoga teacher trainer at MMC, she leads weekend workshops in “Asana & Sacred Sound” and serves on the Yoga Administration of Pacific Cultural Center. She instructs privately and in group settings to a variety of age groups.



Peggy Galusha

Peggy Galusha

Peggy first came to her mat in 2009 having always wanted to try yoga but never really having an opportunity. Being completely inspired by that first heart opening experience and the feeling that comes from a strong alignment practice, once a week classes quickly became as often as possible.

She began attending workshops and intensives in 2011, which led her to do an Immersion/Teacher Training in 2013-14 at the Shakti Yoga Shala School of Hatha Yoga with several amazing teachers including Samantha "Shakti" Brown, Kenny Graham, Siri Cavanna, Ashleigh Sergeant, Alice Kennedy, Kelly Blaser and Michelle Nayeli Bouvier. Other trainings include The Prison Yoga Project Training Seminar in July 2014 and completing Advanced Teacher Training and Mentorship, an additional 300 hours at the Shakti Yoga Shala in March 2016.

Yoga has been a prominent part of Peggy's life since that first class. It has helped her cope with many difficult life changes as well as to simply feel better in her body. "I practice on my mat to live off my mat."

Peggy believes that yoga is for everyone, and that everyone should have access to the practice and the benefits that can come from it. She is part of the Yoga For All Movement that is forming to bring yoga to the under-served populations of Santa Cruz County. She currently teaches the men at the Rountree Jail facility in Watsonville and co-teaches the women at the Main Jail in Santa Cruz.

"With Grace and Gratitude for this practice, Namaste."



Rachael Shishido

Rachael Shishido

Rachael's class focuses on utilizing the breath with asanas to cultivate a practice that serves in bringing greater vitality, peace, and presence of mind. Her instruction offers options of therapeutic variations to classical asanas so that the student may develop on their path in a way that honors their individual body type. Variations are also used to challenge particular muscle usage. Her instruction encourages alignment and awareness. Yoga has personally been instrumental in her healing and transformation and she is grateful to share her love of the practice.

Rachael's first teacher training was in 1991 with Rod Styker and Erich Schiffman. From 1992-94 she completed her studies with Gary Kraftsow's Viniyoga teacher training. She was deeply moved by the vedic chanting taught in the Krishmacharya lineage and continued chanting and text studies with Lisa Goodwin from 1993-96.

Her passion for studying yoga continued over the years with senior Iyengar teachers as well as teachers in Pattabi Jois tradition of Astanga yoga (1st and 2nd series).

Currently she is deepening her meditation practices with Tibetan buddhist studies in the Nyingma tradition with Lama Lar Short (lineage holder with Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche and Rudrananda). This work is providing a stable ground for her commitment to evolving with greater compassion, clarity, joy and awareness in embracing our natural design of exploring, discovering, learning, growing, and creating. rachael.shishido@gmail.com / www.rachaelshishido.com



Rachel Sonnenblick

Rachel Sonnenblick

A student of yoga for over two decades, Rachel Sonnenblick has been teaching in Santa Cruz since the year 2000. She has been fortunate enough to study with teachers from many different schools of yoga. Rachel's classes encourage a mindful focus on body alignment, creating the strength to support joint health, and the integration of movement with the breath. Her playful and down-to-earth style helps to create a fun, inclusive atmosphere for her students to practice in.

Major influences upon Rachel's teaching include studying with the Iyengar Family in Pune, India and participating in numerous intensives and retreats with Ana Forrest. In addition to her 200 hour yoga teacher certification from the Ananda Ashram in Grass Valley, California; Rachel has also completed a yoga teacher training with David Swenson, attended the Yoga Teacher Training program at the Iyengar Institute of San Francisco, and attends a diverse array of local classes on a regular basis to keep herself inspired and and continually learning on her journey.



Tamara Lewis

Tamara Lewis

Yoga has been a way of life for Tamara since childhood when she was fortunate to have a father who brought her with him to classes. She certified to teach in 2003 and has been teaching ever since. A lifelong student, she continues to explore and immerse herself in understanding the varied approaches to the practice. Her teaching brings together what she considers to be the best and most effective methods while staying true to the essential, universal, and timeless teachings of Yoga.

In Tamara's classes, the grace, breath-connection, and joy-in-movement of Flow Yoga come together with mindful attention to alignment, core integration, and functional anatomy. This creates a delicious practice that energizes the body while developing habits of posture and movement to stabilize the joints, safely develop both flexibility and strength, and minimize wear and tear on the body. A moving meditation, her classes are both invigorating and deeply calming.

"From both my own experience and years of teaching, I find Yoga to offer a key to a lifetime of health and well-being for body, mind, and spirit; a beautiful means of transforming lives. I am dedicated to sharing its benefits and love encouraging people with all levels of experience and at all levels of fitness."