Yoga Faculty

School of Yoga Senior Teachers, Faculty and Staff

All of our faculty have been directly trained by Master Yogi Sri Baba Hari Dass, who is affectionately called “Babaji”. Mount Madonna is a Registered Yoga Alliance School and our faculty meets YA’s high standards of preparation and training. Our faculty accepts the Hanumān Fellowship Code of Ethics.

Senior Faculty

Kamalesh 2021 Fullsize Kamalesh Ginger Hooven, MA, Ayurveda, Mount Madonna; Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT; E-RYT 500; YTT 700, Yoga Research and Education Center.   Kamalesh teaches Samkhya Philosophy, Ayurveda, Core Asana, Asana Biomechanics, Hatha Yoga and meditation, and the Eight Limbs of Aṣhṭānga Yoga. She serves as Chair, School of Yoga; Program Director, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy; Program Coordinator, Advanced Yoga Studies (YTT 300); and Program Coordinator, 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.

Purnima 2021 Fullsize Purnima Cathy Conway, MS, Nonprofit Management, Northeastern University; RYT-500, Mount Madonna. Purnima teaches pranayama, meditation, mudra, mantra and sacred sound within the context of the Eight Limbs of (Aṣhṭānga) Yoga. She emphasizes cultivation of the traditional limbs of yama and niyama to attain peace. A musician, she leads kirtan 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.

Dayanand 2021 Fullsize Dayanand John Diffenbaugh, BA, (Honors) Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA. Dayanand teaches Yoga Sutras, Samkhya Philosophy, Eight Limbs of (Aṣhṭānga) Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Nada Yoga (Inner Sound), and meditation. He is editor of Babaji’s 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 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.

Sarada 2021 Sarada Judith Diffenbaugh, Ph. D., Education, Stanford University, Stanford, CA; E-RYT 500, RCYT Sarada teaches Yoga Sutra, Samkhya Philosophy, Bhagavad Gita, Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, Bhakti 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.

Janardan 2021 Fullsize Janardan Kieran Farley, BA, Psychology and Science, San José State University, San José, CA. Janardan teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Tantra 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 on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship.

Brajesh Friedberg Brajesh Gerald Friedberg, Ph. D., Political Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Brajesh teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, yoga and social justice, and meditation. He designed the original curriculum for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher-Training program at Mount Madonna with Babaji. Brajesh serves on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship. He is a former member of the board of Hanuman Fellowship, former principal of Mount Madonna School and past President, Mount Madonna Institute.

Soma 2021 Fullsize Soma Goresky, MS, Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Major, San José State University, San José, CA. Soma teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on pranayama and meditation, and Yoga Sutras. She is the primary mentor for the sadhana (breathwork and meditation practice) component of Yoga Teacher Training. A musician, she leads kirtan 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.

Kalpana 2021 Fullsize Kalpana Iris Kachuck, PhD, Education, University of California, Berkeley, CA. Kalpana teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, hand mudras, educational learning and teaching theory. An emphasis is on cultivating the traditional limbs of yama and niyama 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.

Sadanand 2021 Fullsize Sadanand Ward Mailliard, BA, English, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. Sadanand teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, Bhagavad Gita, Vedas and Subtle Body Theory. He created and teaches the Values in World Thought curriculum at Mount Madonna School. “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. Sadanand is the Executive Director of Mount Madonna Center, Vice President of Sri Ram Foundation, an Advisor Trustee of Sri Ram Ashram and serves on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship. He is past President of Hanuman Fellowship and Vice President of Mount Madonna School.

Radha Mallery Radha Mallery, Radha teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on pranayama meditation, forgiveness asana series, and Nada Yoga (Inner Sound). Radha leads kirtan and Vedic chanting at events and retreats. She serves on the Membership Committee of the Hanuman Fellowship and is past Director of Volunteer Services for Hospice of Santa Cruz County.

Jaya 2021 Fullsize Jaya Maxon, Jaya teaches Hatha Yoga, and Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on pranayama and meditation. She has coordinated yoga retreats and Yoga Teacher Training intensives at Mount Madonna since their inception. Jaya is a founding member of Mount Madonna Center and serves on the board of Sri Ram Foundation. She has served on the board of Hanuman Fellowship.

Mangala Norskog Mangala Norskog, RN, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA; RYT 500; Ayurvedic Practitioner, Mount Madonna. Mangala teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on asana, pranayama and meditation, and forgiveness asana series, integrating sacred sound, anatomy and subtle body. She serves on the Yoga Administration of Pacific Cultural Center and volunteers at Sri Ram Orphanage. As a Registered Nurse, she advocates for health, safety, and wellbeing, especially within the context of the justice system.

David Prisk Vishwamitra David Prisk, BS, Business and Industrial Management, San José State College, San José, CA. “Mitra” teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga, with a focus on integrating the practice of yoga into daily life to attain peace. He was a founding member of the Hanuman Fellowship, is Director of Guest Services at Mount Madonna and serves on the panchayat (Council of Elders) of Hanuman Fellowship.

Pratibha Queen Pratibha Melissa Queen, BA, History, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Ayurvedic Practitioner, Mount Madonna. Pratibha teaches the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on asana and pranayama, including gentle and restorative asana. She also teaches Ayurveda and the relationship of these sister sciences. She serves on the Yoga Administration of Pacific Cultural Center, is a founding member of Mount Madonna Institute, and served on that board and on the Hanuman Fellowship board.

Premdas 2021 Fullsize Premdas Rohan, MA, Secondary Science Education, San José State College, San José, CA. Prem Dass teaches Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga asana, pranayama, and meditation with special attention to breath awareness, mindfulness, and postures to calm the mind. He also teaches Bhagavad Gita, sacred art of yantra, Vedic rituals and Upanishads and serves as a pujari (priest) of Vedic rituals at the Sankaṭ Mochan Hanumān Temple. A musician, he leads kirtan and Vedic chanting at events and retreats. “PD” also teaches mathematics and science to middle school students. He is on the publishing team of Sri Ram Foundation family.

Bhavani 2021 Bhavani Siegel, Early Childhood Education Credential, Cabrillo Community College, Aptos, CA. Bhavani teaches the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga philosophy, Vedic ritual symbolism, Bhakti Yoga, Sanskrit and sacred sound, Nada Yoga (Inner Sound) and children’s yoga at both Mount Madonna and Salt Spring Centre of Yoga in B.C., Canada.

Ratna 2021 Fullsize Ratna Jennifer Sturz, Ratna Jennifer Sturz, MA, Counseling and Health Psychology, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA. Ratna teaches the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) 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.

Debbie Wechsler Manisha Deborah Wechsler, MPH, University of California, Berkeley; RYT 500. Manisha teaches Yoga Sutras with an emphasis on Kriya 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 is past Epidemiologist and Supervising Public Health Nurse of Santa Cruz County.

Program Instructors

Priska Priska Bitterli , MA (Orthopedics), Sehschuhle Kantonsspital, Luzern, Switzerland; E-RYT 500; Ayurvedic Health Counselor, Ayurveda Yoga Therapist, Mount Madonna (degree pending). Priska teaches Samkhya Philosophy, subtle body, somatics, and the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on asana, pranayama and meditation. She supports students finding their own personal practice and discovering the beauty of the breath, letting go of the mind, and accepting self and others through yoga.

Anand 2021 Fullsize Anand Brian Darsie, BA (Music), Indiana University, Bloomington IN; RYT 500, E-RYT 200, RCYT. Anand teaches the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga with a focus on āsana and pranayama. Anand has been the Program Coordinator for Children’s YTT for educators, bringing his background in helping children explore nature, music, and yoga to those who wish to share contemplative practice with the youngest generation. He teaches yoga and mindfulness, music and performing arts to students at Mount Madonna School. Anand is a professional musician and vocalist.

Nick Fortino Headshot Dr. Nick Fortino, PhD (East West Psychology), California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), San Francisco, CA. Dr. Nick studies Western Psychology and Eastern traditions, to foster humanity’s evolution through teaching and learning. He is inspired by Yoga’s influence on psychological development and personal transformation. His research explores natural biological treatments for mental disorders.

Paula Holtz Anima Paula Holtz, PhD, Clinical Psychology, Fielding Graduate University, Santa Barbara, CA. Anima integrates yoga theory with neuroscience and psychology. Her studies emerged from personal experience of the physiological effect of regular sadhana, study and reflection on meditation in the Yoga Sutras, and study of neuroscience research. Professionally, she worked as a clinical psychologist/psychiatric nurse practitioner providing psychotherapy with an emphasis on young adults.

Tonia Tonia Mayerle, BA, Journalism, University of Arizona, Tucson; Ayurvedic Health Counselor; E-RYT 500. Tonia teaches, practices, and studies the classical Eight Limbs of Aṣṭāṅga Yoga. She specializes in teaching meditation and conflict resiliency and finds daily inspiration in “teaching to learn.” As a military veteran, she offers yoga for PTSD and trauma.

Sean Bio Picture Sean Neesley, MA (Psychology), Pacifica Graduate Institute, Santa Barbara, CA; E-RYT 500. Sean teaches the Eight Limbs of (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga and Hatha Yoga with a focus on āsana, sādhana, and ṣhaṭ karma. He also serves as Program Coordinator, YTT 200, and as Assistant Chair, School of Yoga.

Kpy 6217 Kathy Páez, E-RYT 500. Kathy teaches anatomy and physiology. She completed her 500h in Yin Yoga and anatomy with Paul & Suzee Grilley, fascia studies with Gil Hedley, and Sanskrit under Dr. María Elena Sierra at The University of Barcelona. Kathy is an international Yin & Vinyāsa Yoga teacher trainer, with a functional approach that requires specialized understanding of skeletal variation, muscles, myofascial pathways and the subtle body.

Manorath 2021 Fullsize David Manorath Wheeler, MA, Ayurveda, Mount Madonna. Manorath teaches Yoga to transform and illuminate the path of self-development and the practice of conscious living. He applies Ayurvedic herbology, along with his extensive knowledge of massage therapy, as the manager of Ayurveda World (MMI’s Herbal Dispensary) at MMI’s Wellness Center.

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