Alumni Voices

Daniel Pinedo, Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2010

Daniel graduated from Naropa in the spring of 2010, with a BA in Traditional Eastern Arts, with a concentraion in Yoga Teacher Training. He is currently attending graduate school, studying clinical psychology at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California. He is a yoga therapist, teacher, and herbalist (http://echosamadhi.com). In his own words: "the yoga teacher training program, and the traditional east arts major, are the center of the mandala of contemplative education at Naropa University. Here you learn the history, philosophy, practice, and discipline of yoga presented in an integrated manner by teachers who deploy and transmit their knowledge using only the best methods of storytelling, dialog, and embodied practice."

Luna Valin, 2016

The yoga program at Naropa is a journey wherein self-awareness is cultivated and translated into genuine knowledge and authentic engagement with the world. This program gave me the skills to let the most startling challenges with our humanity and our planet touch and impact me. Meanwhile, Nataraja Kallio guided me in developing the tools to remain a steady catalyst for growth, healing, awareness, and compassion. 

This is a program steeped in history, theory, philosophy, and experiential practice; intimately tied to its most ancient roots in the east. Integration of this knowledge involves radical renovation of our ways of engaging with ourselves, each other, and our world. By fine-tuning our own lens, we become adept at meeting others where they are. In this way, being a student of this program and lineage yields the teacher, and becoming a teacher continuously reshapes oneself as a student. 

This program gifted me with the lineage of yoga. I carry it forth as a humble beginner each day, while this knowledge informs an empowered life in service of many.

Dennis Kerr, 2016 

I am most appreciative of the comprehensive information given in the yoga program. Though my first introduction into yoga was through an asana class, my continued interest in yoga has been more comprehensive. The fact that we received an introduction into all avenues of yoga leaves us with an opportunity to explore yoga in any way we want to. Our yoga certificate says the study of Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Sanskrit, Anatomy, Ayurveda, and Yoga History, Theory and Philosophy. Those words on our certificate says that our life is set if we choose to dive deeper into our practice. I am thankful that my personal practice and work in this society can be one and the same. Many thanks to Nataraja and Naropa University for giving me the opportunity to expand my practice and serve others in a wholehearted fashion. You can stay connected to my work here: https://www.denniskerr.com

Lauren Barrett, 2016

My experience in the Yoga Teacher Training Program at Naropa University has been a journey of a lifetime! The wisdom passed down to the students manifests on and off the yoga mat, into all aspects of life. This program offers the experience of yoga with its roots in meditation, and we practice working with the breath to work with the physical postures. As we listened to and practiced teachings in yoga philosophy, I found myself in daily contemplation regarding the power of the breath and the mind/body connection. Personally, this program has made such an impact on my life because it showed me not only the skills to be a yoga teacher, but the confidence it takes to get up in front of a group of people and teach, and be yourself. In the beginning of the training everyone is getting comfortable with one another, and by the end you feel like family due to the amount of support and encouragement students give and receive. We work together, we learn together, we practice together, we teach one another and we always communicate in the spirit of growth. Nataraja and the teachings facilitate an environment in which growth is inevitable. It was such a gift to experience this yoga program. I feel very blessed.

Nolan Wilder, 2016

I graduated from the Yoga program in the spring of 2016. It  was the perfect supplement to the Naropa core education. I feel the Yoga program gave me the tools to truly begin to build myself towards my maximum potential. I was taught to critically analyze my experience, both physical and psychological and see how they intersect as well as how to  skillfully move forward. I was taught how to be an integral part of his world and accept responsibility where I could. I am eternally grateful to Nataraja and Sree Devi for their invaluable lessons in being a human. I find it hard to simplify this education, but promise to make sure these practices influence my life and engagement with the world. My vision for the future would not be possible without this program and I look forward to seeing how yoga will show up in every moment of every day. 

 

‬Arthur Van Siclen,  Yoga Studies 2013

Naropa's yoga program is--true to the subject--well integrated. The various facets of yoga philosophy and practice are interwoven, deeply discussed, and experienced firsthand. The culmination is a profound capacity to facilitate and experience transformation as a student, practitioner and teacher of yoga.  
The philosophical component is far-reaching--from the Vedas and early Upanishads, through the Bhagavad-Gita, Yoga Sutras, Tantras to contemporary expressions.

Part of the success in this integrated teaching method lies in Nataraja Kallio’s approach: he portrayed the subject through story, music, and humor, leading by example, providing metaphors, and giving detailed technical instruction as well as physical adjustments.  Nataraja not only led us into a deep practice, but offered guidance and technique regarding the integration of practice into daily life. 
He was always accessible on a multitude of levels--be it intellectual, emotional, or practical; in class or out. Nataraja is super with-it. 

In the end, Naropa's yoga program was right where I was supposed to be.  I learned a lot, and even more importantly deepened the process of unlearning that is always necessary to interact with the world afresh!  I am the creator and designer of a meditation app for meditators: https://betapage.co/product/timeless-meditation-ios-app

Syama Masla, Yoga Studies, 2011

The Naropa Yoga program gave me faith, dedication and  the support  of community in the practice and study of yoga. I left with the tools needed to move forward with a successful yogini career in NYC! It was thorough in every sense of the word, touching on topics from the physical and energetic practice, to the history and philosophy of the tradition to ayurveda and traditional raga singing. Supported by the wisdom and love of my teachers, I was personally enriched by this program, and now am able to give so much to my own students. I am forever grateful and would do it all over again if time, place and circumstance allowed!

For more information regarding the Stanton Street Yoga Center my sister Dhyana and I founded and direct in Manhattan, New York, please click here.

Jessica “Ashira” Greenbaum, Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2009

The Naropa Yoga program is amazing! I couldn’t have asked for better teachers or classes. The 1,000 hour yoga teacher training is unique; it is deeply grounded in the ancient wisdom of yoga and also tailors to the modern day practitioners of yoga. The program gives students the opportunity to transform their own lives as well as providing the skills to facilitate the transformation of other people’s lives.

Since finishing the yoga teacher training, I have taught yoga in Boulder, CO and most recently have been teaching yoga in Nepal. While living in a rural village I taught free yoga classes to people who do back breaking labor everyday and women and children who are often abused. The age range was from 2- 60 years old. This provided a beautiful challenge to create a class that met their unique needs, and because of the Naropa Yoga program, I was able to meet them. I also have been teaching yoga to children saved from trafficking and child labor and the kids absolutely loved it!  In 2009 I co-founded the ethical marketplace Jewel and Lotus and the fair traide fashion line, Salila Rising: Threads for Freedom, which is providing opportunities for Indian women survivors of human trafficking and other abuses. Please see here for more info: http://salilarising.com & https://jewelandlotus.com 

I am eternally grateful, and feel privileged to have been a part of the Naropa Yoga program, which has given me the gift and skills to offer beautiful yoga classes and meaningful service to people all over the world.

Lev Pasikov, Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2009

I am very fortunate to have stumbled upon the Yoga program at Naropa. I chose this program because I wanted to learn the theoretical philosophy of yoga together with its practical application in an academic environment. The program is unique because it offers you the life-enhancing ancient wisdom of yoga with an emphasis on its realistic application in the modern world. This quality of the program is probably derived through the diversity of its classes and the depth of Nataraja's balanced teaching method, since he has been trained in India for a long while in the guru-disciple paradigm and also studied Western psychology at Naropa. What I enjoyed most was Nataraja's personal anecdotes of his yoga journey in India, his light touch and humor, and his heartfelt transmission in class (often we would start class with Nataraja strumming the tampura and chanting). I think the teacher is what brings the wisdom to life and Nataraja is vibrant and authentic, you can tell the man lives and breathes what he teaches.

Sree-devi Bringi is also an incredible asset to the program, bringing the culture of India into the classroom. She is always buzzing around excited to fill young receptive brains with the abundance of knowledge that is flowing forth at sometimes torrential rates. The program itself allows you to approach and understand Yoga and its evolution in from all angles, but the real gift is the magical touch of the teachers and the intimacy of the community that is created by not only learning but living Yoga day in and out. In terms of preparation for the future, I was able to travel to India and fulfill an internship teaching yoga in Pondicherry, and having returned from my sojourn in India am preparing to teach classes in Wisconsin, even as I miss the inspiring atmosphere of the yoga community at Naropa.

Otto Dittmer, Traditional Eastern Arts/ Tai Chi and Yoga, 2007

My time spent at Naropa and within the Yoga program was and still is the most important period in my life. It set a foundation for living that oriented me in a direction that is leading me not only to success in my career as a Yoga Teacher, Wellness Guide and Personal Trainer, but it also embedded in me the qualities of compassion, reflection, kindness, honesty, discipline, humor, vigilance, and more, that continue to grow and help me create the type of life that is aligned with the highest ideals of human existence. My experience at Naropa fuels my choices and desires, and balances my psyche when life becomes turbulent. The Yoga program in particular was so incredibly thorough and prioritized so intelligently that I was able to enter and thrive in the competitive teaching field of the Bay Area within months of graduation. Thorough Asana instruction accompanied by excellent Meditation, Theory, and Philosophy, along with ample opportunity for practice teaching experienced over the course of multiple years make Naropa's Yoga program unique and effective. Nataraja's leadership and presence is one that will never fail to guide those lucky students who stumble into his field towards their personal best. His depth of training and experience and his embodiment adds an indefinable authenticity and lineage to the program that lies at the heart of my personal success and confidence as a teacher. I would recommend the Naropa Yoga program with the highest possible certainty to anyone looking to become an instructor or simply to dive deeper to the essential wisdom of the tradition and art of Yoga.

Emily Seymour, Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2006

When people ask about my experience at Naropa, I say how amazing it was—that it was exactly what I needed at that time in my life. I am ever grateful to have tapped into the synchronistic quality of education that Naropa provides. The Yoga Teacher Training Concentration was very much in alignment with my path. My first class with Nataraja was memorable for me. His class impressed me so much that I changed majors that same week. Nataraja inspires his students with his dedication and love for Yoga. He truly "walks his talk," and his unique synthesis of Tantra-based Hatha Yoga is both thorough and open for personalization. His skillful transmission of ancient teachings into modern-day application offers invaluable tools for the path of attaining one's highest potential. I also have a heartfelt appreciation for the community that formed through this program.

Since graduating, I have taught extensively in Boulder and around the country. I have worked as an administrator and a consultant, and designed the yoga program at Movement Climbing + Fitness. I am currently launching a business of teaching workshops, retreats and intensives, and aspire to lead my own teacher trainings one day. For more information, please visit mindbodymandala.com.

Lila Ferguson, Interdisciplinary Studies/Yoga, 2007 

What I enjoyed the most about Naropa’s Yoga Program was the community that was formed with my peers as we journeyed together on the same path for several years. The yoga program opens one’s body and psyche in new ways, bringing up challenging material for a student to look at and process. Nataraja Kallio has a strong dedication to teaching and challenges his students to continuously meet their edge, both in class as well as their personal lives. The program goes well beyond academics to provide a powerful and dynamic inner transformation. The Yoga program allowed me to open my body and mind, giving me new perspectives on how I see myself and the world around me. I doubt that any other yoga teacher training program would give such a rich and supportive container while offering students a very experiential and integral understanding of yoga’s ancient traditions and roots. Since graduating Naropa in 2006, Lila has taught yoga and life skills to teenagers and youth offenders in Colorado, California, New Mexico, New Zealand and Fiji. Lila currently leads international trips to the Fiji and New Zealand with high school and college students.

Eric Romano, Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2006 

The Yoga program at Naropa University is rooted in traditional Indian Yogic schools of practice, while preparing students to apply this wisdom in a modern western context. In my final year of the program I set my sights on becoming a teacher, four years later I am teaching Yoga as a full time job. Every day I draw on the inspiration I gathered from being immersed in the community at Naropa University, most significantly, the teachers in the Yoga program that fueled my fire for a lifelong journey. I am the cofounder of True Self Yoga Center Olympia, Washington.  Click here for more info: http://trueself.yoga

Danielle Mallet,  Traditional Eastern Arts/Yoga, 2006

The yoga program at Naropa was by far the most unique yoga training I've come across. Nataraja offers a diverse umbrella of information that covers many types of yoga. He pulls together the gems from each tradition and instructs us in a kind yet powerful practice that focuses mainly on deepening the breath. His attention and respect for the depth of silence in a time where most yoga instuctors are filling classes with their mental chatter and music was much appreciated. For me, silence and attention to my breath have been at the heart of my practice. The main gift I have to offer as an instructor, besides knowledge of alignment and making sure people are safe in their postures, is the power of silence/breath. Valuing silence is incredibly uncomfortable. Most of the confidence I have in teaching comes from the knowledge bestowed by Nataraja and my Naropa experience.  

Dennis Kerr


Christine Bell

Rebecca Mayne