Meet the Faculty

Joanna Abbatt

Joanna AbbattJoanna Abbatt received a Masters in Biomechanics from McGill University in 1999, a B.F.A. in Dance from York University in 1981, is a licensed massage therapist (masso-kinesitherapie, member of FQM), pilates certified, NYC in 1989, gyrotonic certified in 1999, trained in LA, and was a professional dancer in Montreal for 14 years. She has taught functional anatomy at Concordia University, Ashtanga Yoga of Montreal, Ecole Superieure de Ballet du Quebec, ESBQ, and private workshops. Her practice combines the above techniques with manual therapy which distinguishes her approach from others. She was one of the first to bring pilates to Montreal in 1990, before any pilates studios existed. She has had her own re-education clinic in Montreal since 1990, working with dancers, circus performers, yogis, and many regular folks. Her focus through the years has always been to keep people moving and to help troubleshoot mechanical problems with her clients.

Anatomy 101October 23,24,25,26 2014

Dr. Baxter Bell

Baxter BellBaxter Bell, MD, has been actively deepening his understanding of yoga and relaxation since making the stress-reducing move from a career as a busy family doctor to that of a yoga teacher and medical acupuncturist.  He is a graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Studio’s 18-month Advanced Studies Program, and has since become Director of PYS’s Deep Yoga Program, teaching the Experiential Anatomy, Yoga Technique, and Yoga Methodology portions of the training.  He is also on faculty for several Teacher Training programs around the country, including the Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training program at the Niroga Institute in Berkeley, CA.

Baxter has studied extensively with Rodney Yee, Patricia Walden, and Erich Schiffmann, and has recently been influenced strongly by the work of TKV Desikachar and Donald Moyer. Baxter is featured in Yoga Journal’s DVD, “Yoga for Stress,” and has written articles for Yoga Journal, Yoga for Everybody, and International Journal of Yoga Therapy. He also blogs for Yoga for Healthy Aging, and Doctor’s Orders, for Yoga Journal.  Baxter is involved in the integration of therapeutic applications of yoga with Western medicine, lecturing to health care professionals around the country, as well as adding Hatha yoga asanas and pranayama to his care of patients in his medical acupuncture practice.

Baxter teaches public, corporate and specialty Back Care yoga classes in Oakland, Berkeley, Petaluma and Novato, California, as well as workshops and retreats around the country and internationally.  He teaches a healing, nurturing style of Hatha yoga, balancing our desire for action with our need to quiet the mind, emphasizing the qualities of curiosity and meditation in the practice. His students say they appreciate his clarity of instruction and playful sense of humor.

Advanced AnatomySeptember 25 (6-9pm), 26 (6-9pm), 27 (9-5pm), 28 (9-5pm)

Vickie Bell

Vickie BellVickie has been teaching yoga for the past 18 years, working mindfully with students on alignment principles using imagery and inquiry. She leads her students on an inner adventure, helping them release habitual binding and guiding them toward fluidity, stillness and greater inner sensitivity. She received her primary yoga training from Rodney Yee and Richard Rosen, and has studied extensively with Judith Hanson Lasater who certified her as a “Relax and Renew Trainer.” Since 2007, Vickie has been a member of the core faculty of the Piedmont Yoga Studio’s Deep Yoga Teacher Training Program.

Beyond teaching public classes, Vickie leads special needs classes for people with Parkinson’s Disease, enabling them to experience the benefits and joys of yoga. Committed to therapeutic adaptation of the practice, she also trains teachers how to teach students with a variety of movement disorders. Vickie travels throughout Northern California conducting workshops and retreats sharing her wisdom and humor unselfishly with both beginning and intermediate level students.

“Vickie is one of the most knowledgeable yoga teachers in the country working with people with Parkinson’s Disease.” – Richard Rosen, author of Yoga for 50+ and co-founder of Piedmont Yoga Studio

Adaptive Yoga, June 9, 10, 11, 12 2016

Ann Dyer

Ann DyerAnn Dyer has explored sound and music for over thirty years as a concert and recording artist, yoga practitioner, student of Hindustani vocalization and teacher of sound within the yoga tradition.

Dyer has performed extensively throughout the U.S., India, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada and has released three critically-acclaimed CDs, Ann Dyer & No Good Time Fairies, When I Close My Eyes, and Revolver: A New Spin, which received recognition as one of the Top Ten Recordings of the year by the Village Voice. Her music has been acclaimed for its originality and a subtle use of sound that “grabs you in the gut while it messes with your mind” (The Metro).  She has composed and performed soundtracks for two Rodney Yee DVDs released on the Gaiam label, AM Yoga and Five-Day Ashtanga.

Ann’s teaching of the yoga of sound encourages philosophical understanding, skillful practice and experiential knowledge.  Her teachings reveal the effects of sound on the material body, physiology, emotion, intellect and the realization of spirit. Topics covered include sanskrit, Vedic mantra, tanrtric mantra, bhakti yoga, naada yoga, the mystical foundations of classical Indian music and the incorporation of sound into one’s personal practice and yoga classes.

Ann is director of Mountain Yoga in Oakland, CA and is on the faculty of Piedmont Yoga Studio’s Deep Yoga Program. Her current musical project VAK: Song of Becoming is a full-length, multi-disciplinary concert built on the sound principles and practices of yoga, commissioned by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco for performance in September of 2013.

Naada 101, Date to be confirmed (end of June 2018)

Elizabeth Emberly

Elizabeth EmberlyElizabeth Emberly is the co-founder of Montreal’s Naada Yoga. A certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher, Elizabeth brings to yoga a deep sense of creative expression. She has studied extensively with yoga teachers Dharma Mittra, Darby, Allison Ulan and Richard Freeman. She is a graduate of Concordia University’ s Dance and Choreography program and blends together twenty five years of dance and somatics with Yoga.

Asana 101, SEPT 28, 29, 30, 1 OCT 2017
Asana 102, NOV 9, 10, 11, 12 2017
Assisting 101, APRIL 26, 27, 28, 29 2018
Yoga Wall,

Kreg Weiss

Kreg WeissKreg is a certified Hatha Yoga Teacher, international presenter and kinesiologist (exercise science). All of his classes integrate a purposeful, meditative quality to allow for an experience of connection and reflection while the body explores expansion and renewal.
Kreg acquired his Yoga certification in 2002 following several successful years of venturing in the wellness industry as a personal trainer, group fitness trainer, and national competitive athlete. He has been able to complement his teaching practice with additional studies in Kinesiology and Health Sciences at the University of British Columbia.

With his extensive background in anatomy and physiology, Kreg feels privileged to be able to empower students with practices that are educational, engaging and accessible. Through integrity-driven classes, Kreg aims to provide students with the tools to pursue a unique, confident practice where asanas, pranayama, and meditation interact collectively to rejuvenate and heal the body and mind.

Asana 103, MARCH 22, 23, 24, 25 2018

Judith Hanson Lasater

Judith LasaterJudith Lasater has taught yoga since 1971. She holds a doctorate in East-West psychology and is a physical therapist. Dr. Lasater is the president of the California Yoga Teachers Association, and serves on the advisory boards of Yoga Journal and the Yoga Research and Education Center.

Her yoga training includes study with B.K.S. Iyengar in India and the United States. She teaches ongoing yoga classes and trains yoga teachers in kinesiology, yoga therapeutics, and the Yoga Sutra at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. In addition, she leads workshops and retreats throughout the United States and abroad.

Dr. Lasater writes extensively about yoga. Her feature articles, columns, and essays appear in numerous books, magazines, and anthologies. She is the author of Relax and Renew: Restful Yoga for Stressful Times (Rodmell Press), the first book devoted to the supported yoga poses and breathing techniques called restorative yoga.

Judith Lasater lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.

Restorative 101, 2015.

Dawn Mauricio

DawnBioDawn is a yoga and meditation teacher with a playful, dynamic, and centered approach. She is known for her effective balance of clear, precise instruction and mental reflection. She first began practicing yoga in 2000 as a purely physical discipline. After she completed her first silent meditation retreat at a Thai monastery, her interest in the mind and body deepened. She began to experience how yoga and meditation mutually support each other, leading her to approach the world with awareness and kindness as a gateway to wisdom.

Since 2006, Dawn has received teaching certifications from Spirit Rock Meditation Centre, True North Insight, Naada Yoga, and in the Yoga Tune Up method. She also continues to attend silent meditation retreats in Burma, Thailand, Canada and the US, and to study with senior teachers in both yoga and meditation.

Dawn firmly believes that how we offer ourselves in practice reflects how we offer ourselves in life, inspiring her to find new ways to extend her practice beyond the yoga mat and meditation cushion – and encourages her students to do the same.

Meditation 101, FEBRUARY 22, 23, 24, 25 2018

Mary Paffard

Mary PaffardMary Paffard was dragged kicking and chain-smoking to her first yoga class in the early 70s in London. It was by no means love at first sight! but it was the first time she could remember feeling the possibility that head, heart and body may all be part of the same continuum. Since then, she shares her passion for, and explorations of, yoga and Vipassna meditation, in classes, workshops and teachers programs nationally and internationally.

Mary has lived off-the-grid on a collective apple farm for over 30 years in Northern California. Director of Teacher Training at Yoga Mendocino, Ukiah California from 2000-2010, Mary co-founded this non profit center and has created teachers programs for training and “un-training”! since the mid 90s. She continues to be part of the Teachers programs faculty at Piedmont Yoga, Oakland and has brought trainings to Mexico, Cuba and Europe through her Yoga Alliance certified school, Yoga for All, at the 200 and 500 hour level.

Asana 102, NOV 9, 10, 11, 12 2017

Sonia Osorio

Sonia OsorioSonia has a Master’s level training in homeopathic medicine (DHom), and is a certified massage therapist and yoga instructor with almost 20 years experience in somatic bodywork. Her training supports an integrative mind-body-lifestyle approach to working with the various manifestations of stress, disease and trauma. Sonia has completed several advanced teacher-trainings in Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga, studying with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Richard Freeman, Ramanand Patel and Mukesh Desai. She has also studied mindfulness practices with Zen Buddhist master Thich Naht Hanh, and continues to deepen her meditation studies in Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of Ken McLeod. For several years, Sonia worked as a writer and editor in medical publishing, and continues to contribute articles to various health care publications. She has also helped to develop and facilitate teaching curriculums for various mind-body training programs, and mentors experienced students in issues related to practice and teaching.

François Raoult

Francois RaoultFrançois Raoult M.A., R.I.Y.T. is dedicated to teaching yoga with awareness, integrity and compassion. He first felt the call to yoga at age 19, on a pilgrimage to the sacred sites of India. A certified Iyengar teacher until 2010, François began teaching in 1975. A year later, he started extensive training with the great yogi Sri B.K.S. Iyengar.

A graduate of the Ecole Nationale de Yoga in Paris and a Certified Iyengar Instructor, he has studied meditation with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, Ayurveda with Dr. Robert Svoboda, and anatomy with Thomas Myers. After studying architecture and philosophy, trekking and recording sacred music in the Himalayas, he completed a Masters in ethnomusicology.

In addition to directing Open Sky Yoga Center and its creative Teacher Training program in Rochester, NY, he teaches yoga seminars worldwide. Francois is also certified in Gong Yoga and in “Laughing for no reason”!
François Raoult expresses his profound gratitude to Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh, J.C. Garnier, Noelle Perez, Marguerite Duvauchelle, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Thomas Myers and Judith Lasater for their inspiration along the path.

Back Care, ONLINE

Matthew Remski

Matthew RemskiYA certification with Darren John Main in 2002. Yoga Therapy certification in 2004 from Rocky Mountain Institute of Yoga and Ayurveda under the directorship of Sarasvati Buhrman. In addition to studying Ayurveda and Yogic philosophy with Professor Buhrman, he has studied structural alignment and Marma Point therapy with Shar Lee, Yoga Therapy for Asthma and Diabetes with Dr. Sarita Shresta of Nepal, Yoga Therapy for Cancer Patients with Jnani Chapman of Commonweal, Yoga for Problems of Aging with Nischala Devi of the Dr. Ornish programme, and Applied Yogic Psychology with Maitreyi’i Nolan, Ph.D. Graduated from American Institute of Vedic Studies (David Frawley, Director) in both Ayurvedic Health Education and Advanced Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic Practitioner categories (800 hours combined). Graduated Advanced Yoga Philosophy Programme through RYA under Scott Petrie, 2008 — 2010. Studied Hasta Samudrika and Vastu Shastra with Hart deFouw, 2008 — 2010. Studied Jyotish in a gurukula setting at Vidya Institute in Toronto from 2007 to 2011.

He serves as adjunct faculty member for many of the Yoga Teacher Training Programmes in Toronto, teaching Ayurvedic theory and practice. He was the co-director of Yoga Community Canada and Co-founder of Yoga Festival Toronto. He is co-author, along with Scott Petrie, of the Yoga 2.0; Shamanic Echoes. His revisionist translation of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Threads of Yoga: a Remix of Patanjali’s Sutras with commentary and reverie, has been gathering international acclaim. Mark Singleton writes: “I don’t know of any reading of the yoga sutras as wildly creative, as impassioned and as earnest as this. it engages Patanjali and the reader in an urgent, electrified conversation that weaves philosophy, symbolist poetry, psychoanalysis and cultural history. There’s a kind of delight and freshness in this book that is very rare in writing on yoga, and especially rare in writing on the yoga sutras. This is a Patanjali for postmoderns, less a translation than a startlingly relevant report on our current condition, through the prism of this ancient text.” Matthew is currently working on a book on Ayurvedic theory and practice for the 21st century that has the working title of “Ayurveda: East and West”. You can read other writings of his on his blog.

Ayurveda, MAY 4, 5, 6, 7 2017

Richard Rosen

Richard RosenDirector of Piedmont Yoga Studio (PYS) in Oakland, CA. Richard began his practice in Hatha Yoga in 1980, and went on to train at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco. In 1987, along with his good friend Rodney Yee, he opened PYS, where he has taught continuously ever since. On January 3, 2009 Richard taught his 5,000th public class at PYS.

Author of three books: The Yoga of Breath, Yoga for 50+, and Pranayama Beyond the Fundamentals. Shambhala publishers has also just released The Practice Of Pranayama, a set of seven CD’s with over 8 hours of pranayama instruction. Shambhala will also publish Original Yoga: Rediscovering Traditional Practices of Hatha Yoga in 2011.

A contributing editor for Yoga Journal, Richard has written feature articles, book reviews, and a variety of columns for the Yoga Journal. Since 1990, he has been their audio/video review columnist; reviewing over 300 yoga videos to date.

Richard Rosen sits on the board of directors of the California Yoga Teachers Association, and in 2008 helped create its grant-making wing, the Yoga Dana Foundation, which supports California yoga teachers working with under-served populations, such as at-risk, incarcerated youth, and disabled students.

Pranayama 101, MAY 17, 18, 19, 20, 2018

Colleen Saidman

Colleen SaidmanColleen’s introduction to yoga was at the urging of a roommate who convinced her to attend a class at a loft space in New York City. It was not long after that first class, that her worn out running shoes, her basketball and her boxing gloves became relics of the past. And in 1994, after enduring back surgery, Colleen’s commitment to her yoga practice deepened.

A graduate of Jivamukti’s Teacher Training program in 1998, she has been teaching ever since. Colleen has been featured in Vanity Fair, New York Times, USA Today, New York Magazine, Oprah, Marie Claire, Allure, and has been on the cover of yoga journal, fit yoga and natural health. Colleen is featured in the PBS special called The Practical Power of Yoga. She has also been a guest on the Good Morning America Show. She is co-writing the masters class column for yoga journal for 2009. A consummate student, Colleen’s thirst for yoga knowledge is insatiable. Colleen has taught several teacher trainings, both 500 and 200 hour programs. Colleen holds a certification in Shiatsu and lived in Calcutta, India working with Mother Theresa at the Homes for the dying destitute.

Colleen owes tremendous gratitude for her studies of bhakti and vinyasa to David Life and Sharon Gannon. She studies with Richard Rosen and Richard Freeman as frequently as possible. She also offers thanks to the many other teachers with whom she has studied, as well as to her husband Rodney Yee, who remains her principal teacher.

Together with Rodney, she presents the Gaiam Yoga Studio as well as several popular Yoga DVDs. In recent years, they helped to create and now co-direct Urban Zen’s Integrative Yoga Therapist Program, a world-wide initiative of Donna Karan. Colleen lives in Sag Harbor where she is the director of the famous Yoga Shanti yoga studio. She and Rodney are raising four wonderful teenagers, and are teaching Yoga Teacher Trainings and retreats worldwide.

Mark Singleton

Mark Singleton
Mark Singleton works on the history of ideas in transnational yoga and currently teaches at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was research assistant to Elizabeth De Michelis in 2003-4, and went on to complete a Ph.D on modern yoga at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. His latest publication Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice (Oxford University Press, 2009) is based on his Ph.D thesis, and charts the development of modern modes of postural yoga practice from c.1875 to c.1940. His publications include thirteen entries on ‘Modern Yoga’ for Routledge’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2009); a guest-edited yoga issue of the journal Asian Medicine: Tradition and Modernity (2007); and a co-edited book, Yoga in the Modern World: Contemporary Perspectives (Routledge 2008). He is currently preparing another co-edited collection entitled Gurus of Modern Yoga.

Philosophy 101, NOV 30, 1, 2, 3 DEC 2017

Rolf Sovik

Rolf SovikPresident and Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute and a clinical psychologist in private practice, Rolf Sovik has studied yoga in the United States, India, and Nepal. He holds degrees in philosophy, music, Eastern studies, and clinical psychology. Former Co-Director of the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo, NY he began his practice of yoga in 1972, and was initiated as a pandit in the Himalayan tradition in 1987. He is the author of Moving Inward, co-author of the award-winning Yoga: Mastering the Basics, and a columnist for Yoga International magazine.

PsychologyJune 25, 26, 27, 28 2015

Rodney Yee

Rodney YeeRodney Yee has been curious about the mind and body for as long as he can remember. He was a gymnast, a ballet dancer with the Oakland Ballet Company and the Matsuyama Ballet Company of Tokyo, and a philosophy and physical therapy major at the University of California Davis and Berkeley.

Following the thread of curiosity about mind and body, he took his first yoga class in 1980. He went to yoga in search of flexibility and found a practice that would turn into his life-long passion and career. In 1981, Rodney began to study yoga full time at the San Francisco Iyengar Yoga Institute and at The Yoga Room in Berkeley. In 1987, after becoming a certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher, he opened the Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA, with Richard Rosen and Claire Finn. Rodney still teaches at Piedmont Yoga Studio often, but he is now based in New York, and teaches regular classes at his wife Colleen’s studio, Yoga Shanti, in Sag Harbor, NY.

In addition to teaching public classes in Sag Harbor and Oakland, Rodney leads teacher trainings, workshops, and retreats nationally and internationally, many of them with Colleen. Rodney has been teaching Advanced Yoga Teacher Training courses at studios across the country for over 15 years, and has directed numerous in-depth (18-month) teacher training programs. He and Colleen have led yoga retreats in locations such as Northern California and upstate New York, Hawaii, Mexico, Bali, Bhutan, and many other venues.

Rodney has appeared on Oprah, Good Morning America, and in the PBS special “The Practical Power of Yoga,” as well as many other television broadcasts. He contributes to a variety of yoga and healthy lifestyle publications regularly, including Yoga Journal, Self, Shape, and Fitness, and has been featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Marie Claire, Elle, O-The Oprah Magazine, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.

Rodney created and appears in over 30 video titles and numerous audio recordings produced by Gaiam, and has written two books, Yoga: The Poetry of the Body (St. Martins, 2002) and Moving Toward Balance (Rodale, 2004), both with Nina Zolotow.

Rodney relies strongly on his own practice and intuition to influence his teaching. His core group of friends, everyday students, and family are also resources for a bounty of insights. His strengths are his communication skills, his sequencing finesse, and his ability to break down postures into their essential elements.

Rodney practices and teaches yoga to bring philosophy into action and to unveil the natural beauty of our spirits. He loves the ability of yoga to cleanse the mind and body which allows for presence of being.