Our
Mission

Our community provides an unconditionally supportive & heart-based atmosphere to explore the entire landscape of the self, the full spectrum of our human-ness from body through to spirit. Though Our teachers and methods are diverse,we share the unified purpose of helping you home in on the vibration of your own unique truth.

Illumina East is a home and a temple. It is a container and kiln for transformation.

As we need more places of vibrational potency where people can come to re-charge, look within, explore & self empower. Illumina East’s mission is to provide just that.

Our
Teachers

Rian Bodner

Director

My goal as a teacher is to support integrity, fearlessness, and truth; all to serve your heart and your relationships. This dynamic work will enable you to better empathize with your hearts, laugh while facing adversity, and activate your dreams into reality.

Rian is a 500 hour ERYT yoga teacher, in Vinyasa and Kundalini Yoga. Having trained with Guru Dharam/ Siri Sat, Sonic Yoga and Yogamaya, assisted Elena Brower, and strongly influenced by the methodology of Katonah Yoga (Abby Galvin). Rian’s teaching is “skilled, sensitive, and strong.” His work has also been called “impeccable, heartfelt, and accurate”.

What you can expect: You will learn how to direct your energy in the most potent way possible. Expect to explore your blindspots, and gain deeper awareness of how your mind operates and how the body responds. This yoga is the mastery of reverse engineering that process to elevate your mind and spirit.

Johanna Bell

Co- Director

Johanna is known as a teacher of teachers and an inspiration guru who mentors countless yoga instructors on their ever expanding journeys. She is a sequencing specialist devoted to the infinite creative and connective stream of each individual’s truth and is the founder of the Full Spectrum Sequencing Approach. Her classes incorporate poetry, moving metaphor and music in a rich orchestral way that guides the student on a soulful, sweaty journey into the heart of what it means to be human. As a counselor and healer, she is recognized for her ability to see the light, wholeness and infinite potential within everyone she meets.

Johanna’s yoga journey started when she was a wee tot, dancing to express the things that had no words, writing to find the images that evoke… These loves carried her through years of training as a classical ballet dancer, a degree in theatre with an emphasis on literature and a successful career as an actor, singer, dancer, choreographer in New York and on the road. Her dabbling into yoga turned serious when she discovered Sonic and the expressive joyful, forgiving energy of the space. She graduated from the 200-hour program under the guidance of Lauren Hanna and Jonathan Fields and soon realized that the teachings made sense of everything she ever believed in and brought all her separate pieces together. She’s never looked back…becoming teacher and manager of the 2nd Sonic Space in Westchester almost immediately…guiding that studio through it’s transition to Quest Yoga Arts, Joining The Sonic Training Faculty and ultimately stepping into her home base in NYC as Co-Director in 2009, serving Sonic and all its training programs in that capacity until 2014. In the midst of all that, she was blessed with a 500-hour certificate under the guidance of the incomparable Sri Dharma Mittra and has continued to be inspired through the lineage of Shiva Rea, the wisdom of the Tantra, the Pneuma System and ancient Shamanic wisdom. She is a Reiki Healer and has studied under Guru Dharam Khalsa for her certificate in Kundalini Yoga Therapy. She is married to the most magical man and fellow Yogi, Jim Bell. They reside with their daughter Lucia in Carmel, NY.

Hannah Gruber

Assistant Director

I came to yoga and Ayurveda from a stressful, jam-packed life, with debiliiating allergies, asthma and digestive issues. Tired of medication, inhalers, doctors, caffeine and not enough sleep, I was willing to try anything.

I decided to stop believing the myth that feeling terrible was my fate. I didn’t want to walk around with a smile on my face while my body was in pain. I wanted to OWN my body and my health. I wanted to take care of myself.

I believe that great health is a holistic matter: when your body, mind or emotions are out of alignment, it throws the whole system off. However, the more you come into balance, the greater your magnetic potential, purpose, meaning, and love in life.

Hannah Wendel

Originally from Seattle, I come from an extensive dance background and received my BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. As a mover of all types, I fell in love with yoga 8 years ago after going through a hard time and since then it has been an integral part of my movement practice. I love the investigation of asana, anatomy, meditation and mindfulness. I received my 200hr at Laughing Lotus, where I have taken supplemental trainings in Ayurveda and Sequencing and am on my way to completing my 500hr. I am interested in free flowing movement, energy in all forms and have taken courses in Body Mind Centering, Qi Gong and am Level 1 + 2 Reiki Attuned. I still dance professionally for a couple of small companies, produce my own work and host improvisational jams called spacejam.

What to expect:
A quicker paced vinyasa class. Classes are typically dharma focused with an emphasis on the energy centers (chakras) of the body. Expect flowy sequencing with a steady metronome of breath and movement. I love finding music I like to move to and I use my dance background, eye for detail, and alignment training to find seamless sequencing and integration of more challenging postures. There will be core strengthening, lot's of standing poses, and a few restorative postures to cool you down out the end. Let’s breathe, sweat and flow!

Illumina East | Elisabeth Crisci

Elizabeth Crisci

I began studying yoga as a child with a gymnastics injury and an interest in mysticism. I didn't realize I was starting a life long journey, I just thought it was fun to move and stretch and that I felt good after class. It was in high school that I started meditating. I was seeking relief from stress and anxiety, like so many of the students that I work with now. I continued these practices through Photography study at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and during this time did my first teacher training with Alan Finger and Jean Koerner at Be Yoga in 2006. I was seeking information since much of my practice was at home with books and DVDs, instead I found a passion for teaching and studying yoga and my journey as a teacher began.

My appetite for information has never been satiated. Since 2006 I have participated in dozens of trainings as a student, assistant and teacher. I have met some incredible teachers and they have all taught me much. I am so grateful for Alan and Jean, Jillian Pransky, Cyndi Lee, Manorama and for Elena Brower who I have been studying with since 2013 when I attended her Art of Attention 100 Hour Advanced Training. She introduced me to Katonah Yoga, and after returning home to Brooklyn in 2017 I have had the privilege of connecting with Abbie Galvin at the Studio where I've continued learning this wonderful method.

My classes are an evolution of my own study. I bring everything that inspires me to the mat and to my students. My teaching is very precise and practical with a flair for the mystical. I'll gladly teach you about the Full Moon and your Pelvic Floor. I am so thankful to live a life that keeps me inspired and to continue meeting incredible students and teachers. Thank you.

Illumina East | Deena Berger

Deena Berger

I’ve been on my journey practicing yoga and meditation for ~10 years and continue to learn more each day. I am inspired by my students and in the extreme abundance that exists in New York City, yoga is my grounding, my balance.
I am passionate about making this practice accessible (and fun!) for every body - and mind. My goal is to create a space space for individuals to connect with their body, mind, and soul so they can more fully connect with their community, environment, and beyond.
Love and gratitude for these teachings, my teachers, and to each and every one of you.

What you can expect in my class:
Mood music meets intelligent sequencing as we dance the delicate dance between softness and strength.
A vinyasa style yoga class using asana and pranayama as vehicles to heightened awareness. Through practice we find balance physically, mentally, and emotionally, allowing you the opportunity to release tension, old patterns and behaviors creating space for growth and transformation.

Illumina East | Stephanie Battle

Stephanie Battle

Originally from NJ, but Brooklyn devoted, Stephanie received her 300-hour yoga certification from Sonic Yoga under the direction of Lauren Hanna.
She has specialized training in Children’s Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Restorative Yoga and received her certifications in those modalities under Shakta Kaur Khalsa, Mona Anand and Marlie McGovern respectively.

What to Expect: Her classes are rooted in the Vinyasa style with an emphasis on alignment and breath awareness. With a background in dance, creativity and self-expression are an integral part of her classes, incorporating mantra, explorative movement and meditation. She is most interested in exploring the harmony of opposites, and creating balance in the body-mind and spirit.

Bhajan Akal

Bhajan Akal Singh, born and raised in New York City, is a Certified Yoga Instructor registered with Yoga Alliance, a Sound Healer and Life Coach, dedicated to exploring the various dimensions of the Soul, Mind and Body, through interdisciplinary healing modalities.

Bhajan is insanely passionate about the Healing/Creative Arts, Magic, Symbology, Eastern Ritual Musical instruments, Chocolate and the deep sacred art of Humor.

Recently, while traveling through Europe, South America, Thailand and India, Bhajan developed Amaru yoga, a powerful hybrid of Kundalini-Tantra yoga, Ecstatic Dance, Breath work, Gong Wash and Art.

Recent engagements include facilitating Sound Healing concerts and private healings at a Kundalini Research Institute teacher Training, in South Bali. Bhajan was honored to have performed on the Sacred Sound Stage which made its debut at the 2017 International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh India and provided Gong- Singing Bowl support for Sukhmandir Singh Kalsa.

Bhajan participated and completed a 30 day work-study program at Casa Kiliku, a Tantra Shamanism school in Tumbaco- Ecuador. At Casa Kiliku Bhajan received his Certification in Tantra Yoga and Mindful Nutrition, while teaching daily Kundalini yoga classes, Sacred Water Purification and Cacao Ceremonies for students from all over the world.

Bhajan received his Kundalini yoga teacher training in 2017 from Guru Dass Khalsa, Rachel Sat Siri Dougherty, and Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa.

In 2015 Bhajan studied Dr. Joesph Micheal Levry’s Naam- Kundalini, is certified in Tantra Yoga / Mindful Nutrition and a practitioner of the Universal Kabbalah. Bhajan was very fortunate to have worked-studied under two Sundancers (Taino,Lakota Lineage) Salvador Bolivar and Roman Guaraguariox Perez, providing support at traditional healing ceremonies.

In 2013, Bhajan studied and completed a level one Thai Yoga Massage course with Master Thai yoga Healer, Therdchai Chumpoohpon in Chang Mai Thailand. Bhajan In 2016 received a Himalayan Bowl Therapy Certification from 3rd Generation Singing Bowl Grand Master Healer, Shree Krishna Shai in Nepal and is Currently collaborating-mentoring under GongMaster Sanjay Hall.

Illumina East | Sarah Ireland

Sarah Ireland

Sarah Ireland is a certified 500-hour Yoga Teacher, 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and has been part of the NYC yoga community for over 10 years. She has studied with teachers like Manorama, Jonathan Fields, Shiva Rea and Lorin Roche. Her level-headed, light-hearted approach to the time honored practice of yoga comes through in her instruction, which is filled with clarity, humor and compassion. Sarah brings the practice down to Earth, makes it accessible, and is passionate about applying yoga mindfulness to aspects of everyday life.

Jackie Foley

Jackie first discovered yoga many years ago while standing on the precipice of a deep
journey of healing and becoming. Yoga served as a dear companion and teacher during
this time and quickly began to unfold beyond just a practice, but rather a way of living.
She holds yoga as saying ``yes`` to the dance of the wholeness of life. A beautiful
invitation to be in conversation with each step, each breath of the journey – the joy, the
heartbreak, the confusion, the clarity, the simple, the complex, the awkward and
messiness, the gracefulness and peaceful ease. To maneuver riding the edge between
what is no longer and what has yet to come.
Jackie is a 500 Hour registered yoga teacher (ERYT 200 & YACEP) having received her
certifications through Sonic Yoga in New York City. Additionally, she is Reiki attuned and
currently beginning study in Celtic Shamanism. She has the privilege of teaching
privately and in studios, leading retreats and in teacher trainings across NYC and
internationally. Jackie teaches from a profound connection with surrender, unfolding,
strength in vulnerability, and radical authenticity. She believes one of the most beautiful
things about being human is our ability to be found by the world and thus holds the
intention that her classes provide the space and container for students to grow and
become more of who they already are. Her heart sings living a life that serves others in
their journey, all the while inspiring the art of being fully alive.
Illumina East | Raj Karam

Raj Karam

Raj Karam Singh (RYT-200) has been practicing a variety of tantric, hatha, vinyasa and bhakti yoga styles for over 10 years, and meditation for over 20 years. He was introduced to Kundalini Yoga in early 2016 and immediately fell in love with the technology. Within a few months he started his level 1 teacher training with Sat Jivan Kaur and Sat Jivan Singh, and has subsequently completed Divine Alignment® training with Simran Kaur and Level 2: Mind and Meditation in Española, NM. Kundalini Yoga has led to a deep interest in the healing power of vibration and sound, having now completed Levels 1 & 2 Gong Resonance Training with Crown of Eternity. Expect to be challenged physically, mentally and energetically in his classes as he goes deep helping you to push past your limitations and manifest your deepest intentions.

Swaranpal Kaur

Patricia (Swaranpal) Hart is a certified social worker, educator, and yoga teacher who has been providing therapy to families and children for over 20 years. She began practicing yoga 10 years ago, as a way to de-stress, and quickly began to understand the power inherent in yoga as a modality for healing. She has studied numerous forms of yoga including Hatha, Vinyasa, and Kundalini. She assists world renowned teachers, Gurmukh, Gurushabd, and Guru Dharam in teacher training level one, Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga Therapy. She specializes in yoga for: children, pregnancy, fertility, addictions, and is available for one on one Yoga Therapy. She has studied various forms of energy work including Kundalini Yoga Therapy, which employes the understanding of the Chinese meridian systems, Ayurveda, numerology, Kundalini and the esoteric. She has studied Tibetan Healing, Kabbalah, and Sound Healing. She draws upon this vast array of methods in her esoteric approach to energy work.

Tanya Birl-Torres

Tanya Birl-Torres is a seeker of clarity and truth both on and off of the mat and sees yoga as an opportunity to open up to life, allowing it to flow freely as a direct connection to all that is. Tanya has been a student of yoga for over 15 years and as a trained dancer, has found her practice a source of grounding and embodiment throughout her decade long career as a Broadway performer. She is RYT-200 certified while currently completing her 500 hour certification under the direction of Johanna Bell and Illumina Yoga. As a teacher she leads her classes with curiosity, creating a space for students to unlock their potential of authentically stepping into who they are. With lightness and grace Tanya's intention is to land the principals of yoga in a way that rings true for each student on their journey. Tanya is the mother of four year old Noemi who teaches her everyday how to boldly stand in her dharma.
Illumina East | Raj Mantra

Raj Mantra

Raj Mantra Singh is a RYT in the Kundalini Yoga tradition as taught by Yogi Bhajan and a member of IKYTA.

He completed his Level One Training at Kundalini Yoga East in New York City under the supervision of Sat Jivan Kaur Khalsa and Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa and Level Two-Lifecycles and Lifestyles at Hari, NYC with Hari Kaur Khalsa and Krishna Kaur Khalsa and Mind and Meditation at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram in Espanola, New Mexico with Deva Kaur Khalsa, Devinder Kaur Khalsa, Ravi Kaur Khalsa and Nirvair Singh Khalsa.

He is also certified in Divine Alignment by Guru Prem Singh Khalsa and Simran Kaur Khalsa.

In addition to Kundalini Yoga, Raj Mantra has also completed both Level One and Level Two Gong Resonance Training with Crown of Eternity’s Mike and Gallina Tamburo.

What to Expect: Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of awareness. Having the experience to find the YOU in you. Each class is taught with integrity and authenticity as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Holding a safe space for you to Poke, Provoke and Confront yourself to unblock subconscious blocks in order to Elevate yourself and explore your Infinite (unlimited) self.
Each class, you will be challenged through Kundalini Kriya’s (A prescribed set of exercises) consciously using Pranayam (Breath), Asana’s (Postures), Mudra’s and Meditations. Be prepared to have YOUR experience.

Gabrielle Johnson

I practice to get out of my head and into my body. To learn about myself. To balance my energy and emotions.
I teach to share what my teachers have taught me -- tools for a balanced body and a full, present life.
Illumina East | Hansa Bergwall

Hansa Bergwall

I am an entrepreneur, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher and co-founder of the WeCroak App—that uses the ancient practice of death contemplation to create more mindfulness and happiness. I’ve been a daily meditator since fall of 2016 and it is what helped me move into the life I said I wanted. With time, my daily practice has become a refuge and oasis. Often it’s the place that feels the best every day and I look forward to it. Other times, it is deeply challenging and helps me find the grit and tenacity I need for living. Daily meditation is a rich and ever-changing journey that I love sharing.

Louie

A true Yogi in every sense, Louie is deeply committed to keeping his students focused on the little things. Taking time to smell not just the roses, but the grass, the curb, the post, the fence, take it all in and don't take yourself so seriously.