Purusha Yoga School & Community Classes

Master Teachers

Our Teachers

Yoga School & Community Classes

Joy Ravelli

Yoga School & Community Classes

For over 20 years, Joy Ravelli has led workshops, retreats, and yoga teacher training. Joy is the co-owner and founder of Purusha Studio and School in San Francisco, CA. She is also the founder of the Purusha Seva Project, a non profit organization that brings powerful yoga practices to underserved and at-risk populations throughout the Bay Area and the world.

Joy brings a powerful sense of authenticity, humor, light, and natural wisdom to her classes, encouraging students to explore, discover, and express their true-self (purusha) in a safe and deeply inspiring atmosphere.

Joy has a master-level of experience and knowledge in the fields of natural fitness, somatic movement, thai yoga bodywork, martial arts, pilates, and classic yoga. She enjoys meditating and practicing with diverse people, places, animals, children and nature, while celebrating all the connected magic in this world.

Eric Sparks

Yoga School & Community Classes

Eric Sparks is the co-owner of Purusha Yoga Studio and School in San Francisco, CA. A classically trained ballet dancer since 1982, Eric has been a company member of Boston Ballet, Cleveland/San Jose Ballet and a Soloist with Miami City Ballet. Eric is a lead teacher of professional yoga training, yoga retreats, and a continuing education provider with the Yoga Alliance.

He is known for his practical sense of body movement, flow, presence and command of intelligent practice. Eric provides students a depth of knowledge on the physical level, intuitive wisdom for your mind, and empathic support for your emotional well being. Eric ultimately creates a very unique holistic experience and relationship between himself, his connection to truth, and his students

PJ Church

Yoga School & Community Classes

PJ Church is an E-RYT 500 and IAYT certified Yoga Therapist, with specialized certifications in Aqua Kriya Yoga and Yoga Nidra.  First initiated by lineage teacher Joy Ravelli, PJ has continued his studies with other noted teachers in sound healing, mantra, tantra, and therapeutic forms of restorative yoga. PJ’s academic background draws on studies of world religion and comparative mythology.  His classes are accessible to both brand new and experienced students alike and are infused with a passion for the classic traditions of Hatha, Raja and Tantra, incorporating a wide range of techniques that refine awareness and connect you to your inner reservoir of joy and contentment. 

Silvia Sanchez

Community Classes

Born and raised in Mexico, Silvia moved to San Francisco in 2007. 

She has always enjoyed an active lifestyle. Struggling with body stiffness and pain, Silvia found Purusha. Quickly, her  asana practice became something deeper beyond the physical aspect, so she  decided to do her 200-hour training and to share her experience with other  people. 

When on her mat, Silvia constantly finds two sides of herself: a high-energy  warrior and a non-stop growing student. She is constantly trying to grow in  her own practice, and loves to offer challenging classes that incorporate  “sukha” and “sthira” – joyful and soft but strong and active poses. Her classes  are about building strength – physically and mentally – and listening to the  body. She hopes to inspire her students to trust themselves and to find what  serves them the best. That is what the practice of yoga is for her, finding balance and harmony, both  in our practice and in our lives.

Lori Pim

Yoga School & Community Classes

Lori teaches flow based vinyasa and mat pilates for all levels. She is known for her passion, unique approach, and inspirational instructing style that embodies physical, spiritual, and mental strength, with emphasis on alignment and breathwork. Since she started teaching in 2010, she has led thousands of classes, though continues to be a lifelong student of the practice. 

Lori is an E-RYT 200 and RYT 300 hour graduate from Purusha Yoga School, with specializations in Pilates and Thai Yoga Bodywork. She has been leading the Pilates module since 2014. She is inspired by the teachings of Joseph Pilates. Pilates, like yoga, emphasizes a deep mind-body connection and Lori brings this connection into each practice. Lori enjoys spending time in nature, and exploring all the beauty around the Bay Area. 

Rachel Goudey

Yoga School & Community Classes

Rachel is an IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist and Educator in the Bay Area. With an eclectic background in creative arts, dance, psychology and yoga Rachel facilitates practices that help to create movement of our mental, emotional, and physical distress to create a state of balance and harmony in our lives. A doctor of psychology and trained extensively across many styles and lineages of yoga, bodywork and meditation, Rachel creates specialized therapeutic programs for individuals and small groups who are ready to dive deeper into their healing. Her aim is to guide individuals into a state of peace and trust in their life’s story, create community, and bring the teachings and practices of yoga into various settings around the world as these practices are what have helped her cope with her own anxiety and healing growth. She is passionate about making yoga more accessible to all, bringing the teachings and practices to those who otherwise may not have access to yoga.

Rachel  is a master teacher in the YTT program at Purusha Yoga School leading specialized trainings for yoga teachers and therapists on utilizing yoga for mental health issues such as trauma and addiction.

Candace Driskell

Community Classes

Candace began practicing yoga at a little beachside studio in New Zealand in 2006. After a decade of personal practice, Candace began teaching at Purusha Yoga in 2016. She has taught Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative and Beginner’s Yoga. No matter the type of class, Candace believes in meeting her students where they are, and making the practice of yoga inclusive and available to all. Her classes are fun, lighthearted, and welcoming. As a lifelong singer, Candace incorporates chanting and sound healing into her classes to enhance her students’ relaxation. Candace has completed her registered yoga teacher 500 hour certification and is currently studying to become a certified yoga therapist. 

Victoria Lei Rossi

Community Classes

Victoria is a RYT200 certified yoga teacher, level 1 reiki practitioner, and is currently completing her RYT500 through Purusha Yoga School. Victoria's introduction to yoga was through a power vinyasa class. At first, she loved it because it was a challenging workout, but eventually she discovered that there is so much more to the practice than a physically tough flow. For Victoria, yoga has become a path toward self-discovery, self-love, self-actualization, and a continual learning experience. 

In her classes, Victoria encourages students to release their expectations of themselves, to have fun and to be curious with their practice. Her alignment-focused cues remind her students to stay focused on the body and the breath and fully surrender to the practice of yoga. She hopes you leave class feeling rejuvenated and rewarded and can't wait to be a part of your unique yoga journey.

Ryan Bach

Community Classes

I became aware of the benefits of yoga in my early 20’s after dealing with chronic pain, anxiety and depression. I worked in Tech and construction and wasn’t conscious of food, thoughts and habits, holding the belief that working hard at a job was all it took to have the life I desired. I underwent an extensive retreat at Kripalu and knew that yoga was the key to maintaining and building the happiness and success I was looking for. I began a path into a holistic lifestyle and permaculture working on various farms and working on my personal practice. After going back to work for a number of years I began the 200hr YTT at Purusha yoga to continue improving myself and pursuing the goal of helping others discover the incredible benefits that yoga has to offer through mind, body and spirit. I am currently working on my 300hr YTT certificate at Purusha while pursuing a lifestyle in guiding others on a path to heal themselves and improve their lives.

Jenya Ustinova

Community Classes

Born and raised in Russia, Evgeniya (Jenya) graduated from a Saint-Petersburg university, moved to San Francisco in 2012, and began her yoga journey in 2013. She started as a dedicated Bikram yoga practitioner and overtime discovered Purusha yoga studio, where she completed her 200 and 300 hour teacher training. She is continuing her yoga education in order to obtain a Yoga Therapy certification.

Mind-Body-Spirit connection is the key ingredient for Jenya’s everyday life and well-being. Learning to be fully present and finding gratitude for the little things that shape our lives, enjoying “the good” to the fullest and working through “the bad” with patience and respect, becoming stronger physically and mentally - these are the lessons yoga has taught and continues to teach her on and off the mat every single day.

Kathy Gehlkin

Yoga School & Community Classes

Kathy Gehlken is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Massage Practitioner and Wellness Coach in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work is geared toward connecting people to their inherent power to heal and be well through Ayurvedic medicine, yoga and nutrition. She also teaches workshops and classes on Ayurveda, modern nutrition, cooking and wellness.

Kathy studied Ayurvedic Medicine at Mount Madonna College of Ayurveda and completed the Masters program there. At Mount Madonna, she had the opportunity to study with Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. R.H. Singh, Dr. Sarita Shreshta, Dr. John Doulliard, Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, Dr. Professor P.H. Kulkarni and many other respected Vaidyas. She went on to study classical Ayurveda with Dr. Yashashree Mannur at Shubham Classical Ayurveda Academy and continues her studies there - a life long journey! 

She also is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Wellness Coach, Certified Massage Practitioner and RYT-200. 

Natalie Russell

Yoga School & Community Classes

My journey with yoga began when I was in my teens. My first class was at a Bikram yoga studio. Initially, I was attracted to the heat and intensity of the Bikram practice. It fit right in with my high school athlete mentality. Yoga came in and out of my life for several years until it eventually stuck around. My practice shifted away from Bikram and into various different styles of yoga. My own personal practice is most strongly influenced by Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga, and that’s reflected in my classes. 


I have been fortunate enough to practice under the guidance of experienced teachers in California, India, Thailand, and Costa Rica. I completed a 200-hour teacher training with Leah Gillman in 2012, and have continued my training with teachers such as Cybele Tomlinson, Kristyn Marshman, and Jason Crandell. I have a passion for women’s health, which also led me to complete a pre and post natal teacher training to support women through their journeys into motherhood. 

Yoga has given me more gifts than I can explain. I’m grateful for my practice, for the way my practice has taught me how to manage life, and for the opportunity to share my practice with others through teaching. 

Shai Plonski

Yoga School 

Shai Plonski was born and raised in Montreal Canada and now lives in El Sobrante California. He’s the best-selling author of two books including, The Joy of Giving Massage which hit #1 in 14 categories on Amazon in 2018. Shai has taught Thai Massage to more than 5300 people on three continents for the past 17 years, first as the dean of the Lotus Palm School and then after opening his own, Still Light Centre. Shai loves educating other people on how giving massage is a life-changing choice and sharing how simple and easy it is to do.

Dinorah Meyer

Yoga School

Dinorah brings to yoga a love of all kinds of movement developed through many years of studying dance, from ballet to modern to West African. Yoga appealed to her at first because of the thorough physical workout it offered, but soon she was compelled to explore it beyond the physical realm. Completing the 200 and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings at Purusha has enabled her to discover and deepen her appreciation for the many other rich tools that yoga offers.

Dinorah especially relishes the emotional, mental and physical benefits of focusing on and utilizing the breath. In teaching classes, she enjoys facilitating experiences in which students can on the one hand come to feel more grounded, connected and at peace, and on the other, enjoy moving for its own sake. She likes to bring elements of dance into her classes, along with yoga philosophy and a playful sense of humor. 

A holistically oriented career counselor with a master’s degree in Counseling, Dinorah integrates yoga concepts and practices into her work with clients at the Career & Personal Development Institute (private practice) and UC Berkeley and is available for private sessions at Purusha. Born and raised in San Francisco’s Richmond District, she feels very much at home in the neighborhood and deeply values being a part of the Purusha community.

Maya Nixon

Community Classes

Maya Nixon is a performance artist and yoga teacher in San Francisco. She has been practicing yoga since middle school, and started a yoga club at her high school. She recently completed her 200 hour training, and is currently in Purusha classes to become a yoga therapist.

Maya specializes in power, vinyasa, and yin yoga. She also likes expression yoga, bringing authentic movement and sound healing into her classes. Her focus is to work with other African American women, the non binary and queer community, and communities that have dealt with large amounts of trauma.

In her spare time, Maya makes yoga videos for her Youtube and Patreon pages, as well as other spiritual and artistic content.

Gina Iadarola

Yoga School

Gina Iadarola, MSOTR/L, C-IAYT, ERT-500, YACEP has been an Occupational Therapist for over 40 years and is also a certified yoga therapist. She has worked in a variety of settings across the lifespan incorporating OT and yoga holistic principals of mind/body/spirit while balancing work, play, rest and spirituality to fully and passionately engage in meaningful and purposeful activities. She has helped over 1500 families in their childbearing years as a midwife, doula and childbirth educator. Growing up a competitive swimmer helped Gina solidify a passion for wellness at a young age. Gina and her husband of 40 years joyfully raised their children and are now proud grandparents. Gina believes all beings deserve to live their lives to their fullest potential happily with support and health!

Al-Nisa Howard

Community Classes

My intention is to empower each person to feel nourished, centered, and connected to their true essence through mindful movement, breath, and reflection. I teach a heart centered flow that inspires and meets you on your edge with compassion. I have been deepening my yoga practice after experiencing a major loss, this drove me to provide a deep service through yoga as a support to my community. 


 

I am a graduate of the Purusha 200 Hour and I’m a current student in the 300 hour YTT program. I see yoga as a divine vehicle for connecting deeper to the heart space and cultivating self-acceptance. I am inspired by the teachings of Bhakti Yoga, my family, and my teachers Eric Sparks and Joy Ravelli. I look forward to seeing you in class.

 

Caitlin Garvey

Community Classes

Caitlin grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at University of San Francisco and completed her masters at the University of California San Francisco School of Nursing. She currently works as a Nurse Practitioner and her work focuses on chronic pain and caring for veterans. She is passionate about whole person care and utilizing physical and behavioral practices to foster health and relaxation in the nervous system. 
 
Caitlin is an RYT 200 hour graduate of Purusha Yoga School. Caitlin enjoys teaching restorative, hatha and yin yoga.
 

Olivia Heffernan

Olivia took her first yoga class when she needed more calm, healing, and inspiration. She was struck by the depths of wisdom yoga has and found it to be a very helpful guide throughout her life. Yoga helped her learn to move through emotions and find a new appreciation for her body. Olivia’s love for yoga grew even more after taking the 200-HR Yoga Teacher Training through Purusha. She is now taking the 300-HR and strives to bring her love for yoga to more people. 
 
Olivia builds heat through flows, balances, and strength poses. She helps you push yourself mentally and physically, emphasizing acceptance and appreciation for yourself and all that surrounds you.
 
Olivia is also Reiki II certified and offers healing Reiki energy throughout classes.

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