The Light Yoga Space has an ever expanding and flowing amazing team of dedicated Sivananda yoga teachers.
Pearl Janice Frida Peter Laura Sam Vernon/Anjaneya Jaya Sarah Felix Bobbi
Dear all I am Janice Kate, yoga teacher, co-founder and soul proprietor of Light Yoga Space. My yoga story began in the early 90's when I saw some friends who had just returned from India, 'showing off' their yoga poses. I thought the poses were so beautiful and I was so intrigued and inspired, I took myself off to a bookshop and bought the first book of yoga that I saw on the shelf, which happened to be the Sivananda publication of The New Book of Yoga. For about a year guided by this book I practiced yoga in my bedroom. On moving to London I went to the Sivananda centre in Putney following the address at the back of the book and realised I had arrived home and have been a grateful student with the Sivananda organisation ever since. Here I am about 25 years later, absolutely dedicated to Sivananda yoga and believe wholeheartedly in it as a practical force for good in the world
After years of dropping in and practicing classes at the Putney Sivananda centre I took the teachers training course in the Canadian ashram in 2002 and the advanced training in Vrindavan India in 2009. Between then I dedicated most of my time to service with the Sivananda school steeping myself in the practices of Karma, Hatha and Bhakti yoga, and fully embracing the yogic lifestyle. I continued to develop my teaching skills with hours of further training and practice
I had a dream to open a beautiful live/work yoga studio, purely focused on Sivananda yoga. I wanted the studio to be light, calm, welcoming and peaceful. In 2008 I took one of Peter Vestergaard’s classes at the Sivananda Centre and loved it and asked him at the end of class if he would like to open a yoga studio with me. He said yes and the seeds of Light Yoga Space were sewn, together we searched London for about a year for the right location, finally stumbling upon the treasure that is Unit B, 100 De Beauvoir Road, our current home. The Light Yoga Space was born and Peter and I ran the studio together for 6 years until he moved on to pastures greener in Kent with his partner and I continued to run the Light Yoga Space myself.
My focus areas as a yoga teacher are self-acceptance through non-competitive practice, working with larger bodies, and something that is just coming into focus for me is the pleasure of exploring the healing potential of practicing yoga in the presence of animals. I love the way animals accept their bodies unconditionally, they are simple grounded and present in the moment. I’ve noticed the animals I’ve worked with seem to be very drawn to the gentle, healing energy of yoga and meditation, as are the gentle people I’ve worked with drawn to the healing energy of animals. I believe animals can help us evolve emotionally, energetically and spiritually with much to give us and teach us on their terms, and we are there to love and support them and certainly in this human centred society take care of them and protect them from harm. I am passionately vegan.
My background is also in Fine Art I have a BA in Printmaking and Photo-media from Central St Martins College of Art & Design and an MA in Fine Art Printmaking from the Royal College of Art. I channel my creative, visual and aesthetic skills into being, living, and thinking creatively and into making the studio and all visual output that represents the Light Yoga Space school, as beautiful as possible on the outside to reflect it’s inner beauty
Physical activities have always been a big part of Peter's life. As a child and teenager he practiced gymnastics and swimming in his native Denmark before he took up ballet and contemporary dance. He moved to the UK in 1999 to study at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. During his dance studies he discovered the practice of Yoga which became a very helpful tool to release physical and mental tensions, along with aching muscles, in this period of intensive physical training. With the passing of years the practice of Yoga became an increasingly important part of his life and began to influence his lifestyle.
After graduating from Rambert, Peter went on to take the Sivananda Yoga Teacher's Training course in 2006. He studied at the Uttarkashi Ashram in the Himalayas and extended his stay there to teach and work as a volunteer. Since returning to London he has taken numerous courses of further training both in the UK and overseas including Yoga Nidra (deep relaxation) teacher's training and Teaching Yoga to seniors.
Peter has taught Yoga to students of all levels and to all age groups. He has run community classes (including children's Yoga and Yoga for seniors), corporate classes and taught one to one sessions. In 2009 he opened the Light Yoga Space in London along with Janice Kate and co- ran the space here for six years before recently moving to Chartham in Kent to embark on a new chapter of his life. He hopes to continue delivering both Yoga and dance classes to students in and around Canterbury in the years to commutes to London every Tuesday and Wednesday to teach at Light Yoga Space
Peter teaches with warmth, empathy, humour and passion. He is convinced that Yoga has something to offer to all and this, along with his values as a person are woven through his ways of working with people. He ensures students are guided according to their level of practice, takes time to understand their goals and will challenge their self-imposed limitations which can prevent people achieving their full potential.
Adrianna is one of those quietly determined, born to be, yoga teachers, she appeared on the Light Yoga Space doorstep just under 4 years ago and in an intensive bid to own yoga we've practically seen her every other day since, she actually participated in 198 classes at Light Yoga Space between December 2014 - December 2015.
It's been inspiring to watch her transform from wide eyed beginner, to dedicated practitioner, to bright new teacher, to more experienced confident teacher. Sometimes we're pleased to say our students just catch the yoga bug and Adrianna is definitely one of those
She completed her Yoga Teacher Training in Reith Austria at the Sivananda Retreat House in January 2016 and has since gained experience teaching at several spaces across London. Adrianna keeps a dedicated asana and meditation practice which she began four years ago.
Adrianna's interest in teaching and practicing yoga explores the benefits of how a regular practice can help maintain a healthy lifestyle not only physically but also how yoga can help the mind, how it assists with depression, anxiety and stress.
Besides teaching yoga, Adrianna is an artist working in video, sound and installation, she studied a BFA in Sculpture in Canada, where she is originally from and an MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths in London. Adrianna is a Lecturer at the University of the Arts London where she has taught studio and theory based courses and is also currently studying an MA in Academic Practice. Adrianna's love for yoga and art often cross paths with each other in relation to exploring how the practice of yoga can help with opening one's creativity and how yoga can be a helpful tool in terms of looking at academic practices that embrace ideas of freedom, self-realisation and acceptance.
Jaya first started yoga after wanting to improve a knee injury. She enjoyed the simplicity of yoga and while looking for places to practice, discovered the Sivananda Yoga Centre in London in 2005. She was drawn to the holistic approach to the practice and the teachings that yoga presented. She took the Sivananda Teacher Training course in 2011 and has been teaching yoga ever since. She is keen on the notion that yoga is an inclusive practice and can be practised by everyone. Sarah also works as an IT teacher and Life Coach and is passionate about education, loves music, and dances when no-one is watching! You can follow her on Twitter at @striveandfly
Anjaneya discovered yoga in 2007 and two years later took his teacher's training course in Neyyar Dam, India. Since then he has been dedicated to practicing and teaching yoga in the Sivananda tradition. Anjaneya has spent the last 6 years teaching and serving in the London Sivananda centre whilst working as a fundraiser for an international NGO. He has returned to India many times since his teacher training to deepen and further his understanding of the Sivananda tradition, most recently completing the Sadhana Intensive course for the second time. Swami Vishnu's statement "Health is Wealth, Peace of Mind is Happiness, Yoga shows the way" has been central to Vernon's practise and lifestyle of the last several years.
Samantha personally came to Yoga – Sivananda Vedanta tradition in 2002, when she was looking for balance in her life and something to calm down her hectic tendencies, she wasn’t disappointed. She has since continued with her own personal practice, partaking in many of the Sivananda Ashram retreats and qualifying as a Sivananda yoga teacher in 2004.
She has experience of teaching a wide variety of students, including supporting those through cancer treatment. (Harley Street Cancer Clinic, London) and women survivors of abuse. (The Women’s Centre, London)
She is also a fully qualified holistic therapist, and a fully accredited Child Protection Officer she completed her Sivananda advanced teacher training course in February 2013
A word from Alex:
"Yoga sprung into my life at drama school in 2002; where my stiff, egotistical 18 year old self was encouraged to take yoga classes to help authentically connect to my body. I loved the movement, loved the focus and I loved the way I felt after a class. I vowed there and then to keep the practice in my life.
Fast forward 8 years and I found myself working as a female broker in the mayhem and aggression of the City of London - suddenly yoga became an absolute necessity. It became my salvation, my 1.5 hours where I detached from the outside world, detached from the sensory overload and connected back in with my soul. Having been an avid sweat addict all my life; chasing weights, treadmills, astanga and vinyasa, the calm of Sivananda was a revelation!
For the past 5 years I have had the joy of practising at The Light Yoga Space and was over the moon to finally take my teacher training at the Sivananda Ashram in Austria in 2015. For me, Sivananda is about simplifying my life; through a sequence of beautiful body opening postures, mind focussing breath work and deep relaxation. The practice of Pratyahara - withdrawal of the senses - is something that really resonated with me in my training. The fact is, us Londoners lead hectic, overly stimulated lives resulting in spectacular burnouts! And as a new teacher and continual student I can only hope to bring a little bit of that peace to fellow yogis in training.
Anti-burnout explorations have also led me to become a Thai Yoga Massage practitioner, training in both London and Thailand with the wonderful Ralf Marzen, as well as studying Yoga Nidra at The Satyananda Centre here in London. I offer ‘relaxation meetings’ in the office for stressed out city workers.”
A little known facts about Alex -
She has one arm 2inches longer than the other but can still hold crow! All bodies can practise yoga, no matter their shape and design!
Look whose joined the team! Bobbi is one of our very own students and we are so thrilled to have her join our teaching team.
A word from Bobbi.
'I stumbled upon Sivananda Yoga when I moved to London in 2015. The Light Yoga Space sits conveniently at the end of my road and offered a 30 day trial. Little did I know those 30 days would have such a profound impact on my life! "Bitten by the yoga bug" I attended classes most days for 18 months and felt a strong sense of calm and peace that offset the energetic hustle of London. I have always been active, enjoying over 10+ years as a basketball player, but working with pranayama and the asanas I have been able to relieve long held tension and find space in my body and mind.
In June this year I completed my Sivananda Teacher Training Course in Putney, and combining my experience working with young people in theatre, the criminal justice system and social care, I have keen aspirations to teach Traditional Sivananda yoga in theatres, prisons and children's homes. I am so happy I found the Light Yoga Space and am thrilled I am able to teach at the studio!'
'Laura has recently completed her 200 hours Teachers Training Course at Sivananda Yoga Vidya Peetham ashram in Varkala Beach, Kerala, South Indi, where she studied under internationally renowned teachers Swami Govindananda, Mani Raman, Swami Nivedanananda and Swami Tattvarupananda. She was taught according to the classic Sivananda teacher training programme and immersed in ashram life: studying yoga and Vedanta philosophy, Sanskrit, yoga, meditation, and anatomy and physiology.
The course was the second yoga teacher training Laura has completed, with the first also taken in India when she was just starting on her yoga journey.
After spending over 10 years working in marketing and journalism, she most recently worked with vulnerable adults at a London homeless project where she started as a volunteer. This experience sparked Laura into taking the Sivananda Peetham TTC, with the goal to teach full-time and share her knowledge of yoga as a way to health and happiness.
Haruka began a regular practice of yoga at our very own Light Yoga Space in 2012 after her move from Japan to London. Since then, her understanding of yoga has grown and as a result, she took the Sivananda yoga teachers training course at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Retreat House in Tyrol, Austria in 2014.
Haruka has a profound curiosity in body-movement and culture and has continuously explored body-movement through yoga, Feldenkrais, Pilates, as well as some contemporary and classical dance and performance practices.
Haruka believes that curiosity and attentiveness towards one’s own body movements allow a person to expand and deepen her/his body awareness, which is not only fundamental to human wellbeing but also to philosophical inquiry and critical thinking and she feels a sincere joy and pleasure sharing the experiences, practices and her curiosity with other people through yoga.
Francesca has always been interested in physical exercise, health and wellbeing. After completing a degree in biomedical science at the University of Birmingham, she started enjoying many different types of yoga. She initially enjoyed the physical aspect of yoga but later realised the benefits of the mindfulness, meditation and philosophical aspects. Since university she has worked in a science publishing company and for the Department of Health but after a recommendation about the Sivananda yoga teacher training decided to take the next step in her yoga journey and complete the Sivananda TTC in the Bahamas in March 2017. She is now passionate about developing her yoga practice and helping others towards health, peace and happiness.
Emma has been teaching yoga, meditation and philosophy now for more than 20 years. She took the Sivananda yoga teachers training course in Neyyar Dam, India in 1994 and her advanced teachers trainings in the Sivananda headquarters in Canada and in Rudraprayag, Himalays in India in 2000/2014.
She met Swami Vishnu Devananda, the founder of the Sivananda organisation, in 1993, and then stayed on as full time voluntary staff with the organisation for the following 14 years doing service and spreading the beautiful message and teachings of yoga.
During her time as staff she directed the Paris, New York and Delhi Sivananda centres for several years, and has an in depth training and experience in all aspects of yoga practice and philosophy. She has also been a teacher on the Sivananda Teachers Training Courses and is now a regular teacher of meditation and philosophy on the Yoga London Teachers Training Courses and teaches classes regularly in Bromley and North London and runs ongoing yoga retreats.
Emma is a qualified ayurvedic nutrition and lifestyle consultant and an ayurvedic massage therapist and guides people on all issues of health, wellbeing and positive living.
Felix's is the newest member of our team although his yoga journey began when he was just a child as both his parents are Sivananda Yoga teachers. He was born into and spent the first two years of his life living at the London Sivananda Centre when it was in Notting Hill, then moved to the countryside, returning to London at 11 years of age to live and to study in the mainstream education system. He learnt Yoga from his mother as a child and from their extended family. He graduated from the TTC in February 2017 at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas taught by Swami Paramananda and Swami Brahmananda.
Felix has a BA in Technical Arts and Special Effects from Wimbledon College of Art and has spent recent years making props and sets for various theatre productions. He currently works in a workshop in Clapton specialising in metalwork and in the future hopes to extend his Yoga teacher training to teach youth and children's classes.
Ed has been teaching yoga to adults since 2011, and to teens since 2013. He works in a school teaching languages (as well as yoga), and has always enjoyed travelling and interacting with people from different cultures. In the summertime he can often be found on a slackline or juggling in the park, and has recently take up the study of Sanskrit as a logical extension of his love for yoga and languages.
He first came to yoga while studying for his Alevels, and benefited immediately from the calming and centring effects of the practice of asana and pranayama. He has attended the Sivananda Centre in London since the early 2000s, and worked as staff for six months in Paris immediately after completing the Sivananda TTC in Reith, Austria.
Harriet began a regular practice of Sivananda yoga many years ago as a counterbalance to a busy and stressful professional life as a mediator, charity manager and fundraiser. Having left London to travel India and Asia in 2009, she took the opportunity to complete the teacher training course in Uttar Kashi, in the Himalayas, thus fulfilling her dream to teach yoga and share the benefits with others leading busy and often stressful lives back home.
Harriet has been teaching ever since. A sensitive and gentle teacher, Harriet helps her students focus on the here and now, relaxing body and mind while they actively stimulate their body's inherent well-being.
Harriet completed additional Pregnancy Yoga training in Austria in 2012 and will complete training and start teaching yoga for children in 2015. She also works as a translator (recently translating the 'Yoga for a relaxed pregnancy' book, the guide to Ayurveda and Sivananda yoga for pregnancy) and makes children's clothes when not looking after her young son.
We are delighted to have Naomi Raymond on our teaching team at the Light Yoga Space.
Naomi has been practicing yoga since 1999, and since we opened in 2009 she has been practicing exclusively Sivananda Yoga with us here in Dalston at the Light Yoga Space. Naomi practices with commitment and discipline, she caught our attention right from the start with the strength and discipline of her own practice and her obvious love of yoga.
Naomi first discovered yoga in 1999 while studying at university but it was in 2006 that she really started practicing with dedication. In 2012 she completed her teachers training course with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta School.
Naomi is a lawyer by day and draws on her yoga practice to keep her centred and focused in the office.
Tejas is a fully qualified Sivananda Yoga Teacher with over twenty-two years of international teaching experience. He has helped to run and manage Sivananda yoga retreats, ashrams and centres in India, Canada, the USA, the Bahamas and Europe giving over 3000 yoga classes, talks and workshops on subjects relating to yoga, health and diet, spirituality, meditation and stress management. He has taught on many Yoga Teacher Training courses helping many teachers to graduate and develop their own classes and centres.
Tejas is also an Astrologer in the Huber approach specialising in Locational Astrology