Faculty & Staff
A bad knee injury in 2010 was life-changing in more ways than one. This injury gave Yiwen the clarity and courage to end years of unfulfilling corporate work and to follow her calling in this life. In 2011, she took a leap of faith and founded Prajna Yoga & Healing Arts Center.
As a long-time yoga practitioner and teacher, Yiwen emphasizes authenticity in practice where the heart is open and soft. She encourages self-exploration and self-expression, and not a practice based on static imitations. Yiwen uses various limbs of yoga and/or healing modalities to move the class from a “thinking-dominant” practice to a “heart-endearing” practice. She has taught yoga for over 16 years and studied with a number of well known teachers; however, no one taught her more than the conscious experience of the “practice” itself.
Yiwen is also trained in various therapeutic bodywork and uses intuitive healing on those whom she serves. She offers these services at Prajna Yoga & Healing Arts.
Yiwen is grateful for all the great teachers, living and ascended. She is touched and influenced by the integrity, love, kindness, and devotion exemplified by her beloved Ashtanga teacher, Tim Miller. Further, it is Dr. David R. Hawkins who deconstructed her limited mind and showed her a different way of “seeing.”
Charina began her yoga practice in 2004 in a desire to find calm and equanimity in her fast paced life as a designer, business owner and mother of two daughters. From her very first practice on the mat, Charina found how yoga provided an unparalleled reprieve from stress and reminded her of the opportunity for calm and reflection during difficult times. For the past 8 years, Charina’s relationship with Yoga continues to evolve through a vibrant and varied practice, daily study of Asana and Yoga traditions and continued studies with her teachers.
Charina’s classes are focused on initiating movement with breath and utilizing playful, intuitive sequences as a form of mindful, moving meditation. Charina is passionate about sharing the healing and rejuvenating powers of yoga and she encourages her students to connect with the practice in all its dimensions to find freedom and space both on and off the mat.
Edwina, aka Eddie, has been practicing and studying Yoga for 15+ years. Her playful, friendly, inviting demeanor will have you leaving her class feeling light-hearted and open with a craving for more. She lives her dharma teaching the art of yoga in the hopes that her students reconnect with their true Self and feel good about their WHOLE BEING! Edwina encourages her students to have fun in their yoga exploration and to embrace practical mindfulness. Be compassionate and patient with yourself as you discover the amazing benefits and wonders that breath and movement offer!
Edwina’s Dance background and her expertise in Yogic alignment and its anatomical movement is an influential part of her asana sequencing and Yoga play. She inspires others to bring a mien of grace and a deep embodiment of flow into their practice while they shift beyond their perceived limitations and mental blocks. Edwina’s varied skill set include : Hatha, Vinyasa, Bakti, Iyengar, Anusara, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative Yoga, Beginning, Gentle and Intermediate levels and Pre/Post Natal Yoga. Yoga Tree alumni 2009. www.edwinaferroyoga.com
“See the world as yourself. Have faith in the way things are. Love the world as your self; Then you can care for all things.” Lao Tzo
Eileen’s journey into yoga began in 2005. The calm she discovered through the practice brought her back to her mat time and time again. She completed her 200 hr training with Daren Friesen in Chicago, and her 500 hr training with Jean Mazzei. In addition to regular classes with Jean and Brenna Geehan in San Francisco, she now studies with Rod Stryker and Pandit Rajmani Tiguanait.
Eileen advocates each pose be explored from the inside out: that what feels good in the body is good for the soul, even if it’s not “picture perfect.” Her strongest asset as a teacher is creating an environment of non-judgment for her students. She incorporates meditation, pranayama, and dynamic movement into her public classes. She hopes to help her students achieve a state of pranic balance. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it!
Ben began his studies of yoga in 1996 with his primary teacher and mentor, Yogacharya Ben Thomas. Throughout his journey, he has also had the good fortune to study with many other wonderful yogis in a variety of different traditions. Some of the yogic training courses he has attended over the years include a year of study in the Iyengar Yoga Institute Advanced Teacher Training program, teacher training with Doug Swenson, as well as living and practicing at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Grass Valley for several months as staff. In addition to his practice of yoga, Ben has been engaged in the practice and study of taiji and qigong since 1999 and has had the opportunity to study with many different masters, including Master Wong Wai Yi, his primary sifu. In his yoga classes, he draws from a variety of different yogic practices including asana, pranayama, meditation, relaxation, chanting, and yoga philosophy.
Essentially, Ben is most interested in what is here, allowing life to unfold naturally in this timeless moment. He is devoted to the light of wakefulness shining in the heart, and it is this wakeful presence which naturally guides and inspires his life and teachings. For more on Ben and his offerings you may visit www.wakefulway.org.
Aska is a registered Hatha Yoga Teacher; E-RYT 200, RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, a Therapeutic Yoga Teacher certified by Cheri Clampett, a Certified Massage Therapist, a Certified Esalen Massage Practitioner, and a Reiki Master.
Since 2007, based on her belief, “Anyone breathing can enjoy yoga practice,” she has been teaching yoga to those who think that they are not fit enough for yoga due to their stiffness, injuries, or other various issues. Her strong and comprehensive knowledge of body, mind and their connection, from her over 2,500 training hours from various styles of yoga, bodywork, energywork, and psychosomatic fields, enables her to serve both beginning and experienced students evenly in a mixed or all level classes.
Aska invites students to play their own physical and emotional edges, not somebody else’s edges, in a safe and fun class environment, so that they can cultivate deeper self-awareness and self-compassion on the yoga mat. Then, she keeps reminding them that the most important yoga practice happens off the mat; yoga is all about how to apply what we learn on the mat to our daily life.
If you have any specific concerns regarding your yoga practice, please talk to Aska prior to the class. (www.LotusSeedsTherapy.com)
Susan teaches yoga because she wants to share what has brought her so much joy and fulfillment. She has benefited most from the freedom, discipline, and sense of connectedness she’s gained through yoga. She believes that yoga is a tool which can enable us to realize our truest potential.
She has completed an Anusara Teacher Training with Sianna Sherman and Noah Maze in 2011, and is inspired by Anusara, Iyengar and Vinyasa traditions, having practiced for 13 years. She continues her studies with Sianna Sherman, Desiree Rumbaugh, and various local teachers. She teaches with a smile and a sense of fun, encouraging students to empower themselves in practice and in life.
Ranya is delighted to be back at Prajna to teach a meditative Yin class. Her classes are light hearted and playful and she inspires her students with gentle guidance, encouragement and love. Through the regular practice of yoga, students will gain: a lifetime of health tools for coping with injuries, illness and trauma; the discovery of self-awareness; the chance to heal on a deep level and in a safe way; transformation of the mind and body; connection to the truth, especially personal truth; an opening of the heart; and a vision of oneness, peace and love.
RYT – 500. Annetta’s goal as a teacher is to perceive and teach what her students need. Her classes are fun, thoughtfully sequenced and well balanced, with an emphasis on alignment to encourage students to develop a safe, sustainable practice. Annetta’s intention is to be of service to her fellows, helping all beings find more peace, happiness and freedom. To Annetta, yoga is health & balance and a wonderful means of connecting more fully to her higher self and the divine.
Annetta completed her 200-hour Ashtanga Vinyasa teacher training with Bay Area teacher Doron Hanoch. Her 500-hour teacher training with YogaWorks San Francisco was a combination Ashtanga & Iyengar training that included a six month mentorship with Melanie Salvatore-August and a six month professional workshop series taught by Masters in the field.
Karin’s first yoga experience was back as a collegiate rower when a teammate’s mother generously donated her time to lead their team in a restorative practice. She didn’t quite get it then. She wanted more movement. Fast forward several years: a good friend introduced her to power vinyasa. That time she got it. Since that fateful class, Karin has pursued her yogic journey through vinyasa, ashtanga, and alignment-based classes. Her classes tend to be high energy, but with a clear foundation in alignment. After completing her 200 hour teacher training program at Yoga Tree in San Francisco last summer, she has been bringing yoga to the students and faculty at Sequoia High School, where she has been a history teacher since 2002. She is continuing her yogic studies in the Advanced 500 hour teacher training program and is looking forward to practicing with the community at Prajna given it had been her yoga home before moving to SF!
Mia began practicing yoga as a senior in college. It didn’t take long for her practice to become an essential part of her life, both for the effects it had on her physical body and on her mental and emotional well-being. Mia completed the YogaWorks teacher training in her native Boston and studied extensively under Natasha Rizopolous. For Mia, this style of Vinyasa is the perfect blend of rigorous asana and careful alignment, and she brings this balance to all of her teaching. In addition to drawing inspiration from the YogaWorks method, Mia is inspired by the Iyengar and Ashtanga traditions, Forrest Yoga, and by other flowing styles of Vinyasa. She also teaches prenatal yoga and completed Jane Austin’s Mama Tree teacher training in 2013. She has found inspiration in her teaching from Natasha Rizopolous, Barbara Benagh, Lynne Begier, Stephanie Snyder, and Seane Corn.
In addition to teaching yoga, Mia is a private chef and caterer, and you can often find her scouring the abundant local farmers markets. She looks forward to sharing her practice and teaching with fellows students of all levels and abilities.
Emily Hite, RYT-500, loves teaching yogis of all backgrounds and levels of experience. Through alignment-based flow and restorative classes she encourages students to build awareness of posture, create space to breathe, and simply enjoy living in their bodies.
Emily began practicing yoga while she was a professional ballet and modern dancer. She became a dedicated practitioner after meeting her teacher and mentor, Annie Carpenter, with whom has completed more than 600 hours of teacher training. Rooted in classical yoga, Carpenter’s SmartFLOW method provides clear structure and fluid sequencing. Students will be guided through a rigorous physical practice in a playful, compassionate environment.