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Meet Our World Class Faculty

Soma Yoga Institute has a world class faculty team steeped in the traditions of Yoga. Their excellence has been cultivated through decades of enduring dedication to their own practice and in-depth study, often in a variety of lineages. We are comprised of master level Yoga teachers, Certified C-IAYT Yoga Therapists and those who have been teaching for over 20 years. Each faculty holds a role in their home community as an innovator and influencer, inspiring radical change through Yoga and playing a profound role in the holistic wellness movement. As a collective vision, we offer you an unparalleled opportunity to deepen your own practice, connect into your innermost divine nature, develop your professional credentials and teach from a place of authenticity.

Liz Heffernan

Founder and Director of Soma Yoga Institute, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Liz Heffernan, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT is a gifted international yoga teacher, a certified Yoga Therapist and long-term practitioner. She combines her in-depth knowledge of anatomy and bio-mechanically safe alignment principles with insights and practical wisdom gained from over 24 years of yoga teaching & immersive study.

She is the Founder and Director of Soma Yoga Institute, a world-wide and ONLINE yoga teacher training school that embraces a therapeutically-oriented, heart-centered approach. These programs, heralded by many as truly inspirational, combine modern day biomechanics and research driven science with ancient teachings and serve to teach adaptive Yoga for all BODIES as a practice for vibrant health, self-transformation and personal empowerment.

In her work as a yoga therapist, Liz specializes in helping seniors age gracefully and is highly skilled in adapting practices to meet the complex health challenges associated with aging. In collaborative partnership with Yoga 4 Brain Health she has co-founded the Memory Maintenance Yoga Teacher Training program that certifies Yoga teachers to help their communities delay the onset of memory loss related diseases through Yoga. Liz also serves as a faculty-mentor for the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy supporting professionals on their journey to become yoga therapists.

Liz believes that the path of Yoga brings greater ease, not just to the individual, but to all beings everywhere, and ultimately uplifts planetary consciousness one conscious breath at a time.

Join Liz for her next Online CE Course Yoga Nidra for Health and Transformation, a Teacher Training.

January 27 - February 25, 2021. Wednesday, Live Zoom Calls. 3:00pm-5:00 pm PST (6:00pm New York). 

More Info Here

Sam Akers

E-RYT 500, CMT, C-IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist 

Sam found yoga and massage when she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in 1998.

Her practice began with Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra and brought her such incredible healing, she knew it had to be shared. As she began to recover, she began to study more and eventually was well enough to embark upon several training programs.

Sam's love of therapeutic yoga inspired her to open TheraYoga Studio, in Los Angeles Ca. From there she went on to develop the TheraYoga Method, which is not only a 200 and 300 hour teacher training, but also encompasses smaller trainings and workshops in Restorative Yoga, Mindfulness and Yoga for Special Conditions, Fascial Fitness in Asana and Yin Yoga. 
Her approach combines Hatha & Iyengar yoga techniques & therapeutic applications with Restorative and Meditation practices, for a balanced and well-rounded experience. 


Sam has trained under Judith Lasater, Kelly Wood, Russ Pfeiffer, Leeann Carey and Doug Keller. She is currently studying mindfulness and its effectiveness in working deeply with psychological attachment patterns. She completed the 10 month Meaningful Life program, and intensive training on this subject in 2014, under the guidance of her teacher, George Haas, in Los Angeles. She weaves concentration, insight and metta into her trainings, workshops and private sessions and believes that the ability to stay present is the key to the power of self-healing and love. 


She currently studies the Dharma with Joseph Goldstein, George Haas, Susie Harrington, and Vinny Ferraro (along with so many that have shaped her practice and heart). Learn more about Sam here.

Join Sam for her next Online CE The Subtle Art and Science of Restorative Yoga, Thursdays January 6-27, 2021 from 4:00-5:15pm PST

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Serena Arora

C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, E-RYT 500

Her yogi uncle in India once told her, “We don’t STUDY yoga, we ARE yoga.” And so began her life-long journey embodying the wisdom of yoga.

As a certified Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, former academic school teacher, group home director, and yogapreneur for over 20 years, Serena brings a unique depth of knowledge, rich experience, intuitive leadership, and insightful passion to her offerings. Her perspective on healing is informed by the wisdom of Ayurvedic Medicine, the functionality of yoga therapy, and the neuroscience of somatic & subtle body work. Both she and her offerings are dynamic, creative, and well-informed.

Her integrated approach is shaped by studying with many teachers and mentors around the world including Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Scott Blossom, Dr. Rajesh Kotecha, Dr. Terry Willard, Tias & Surya Little, Joseph & Lilian Lepage, Sri Geeta Iyengar, and especially her first ‘guru’, her dad.

Currently she lives in Costa Rica where she serves as creative director and resident Ayurvedic Practitioner for Peace Retreat and co-founder & lead trainer for Swastha Yoga International; teaching, inspiring, affecting change, and transforming lives through BEING yoga. Learn more about Serena here.

Join Serena for her next online course: "Language of Transformation through Ayurveda".  

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Dr. Raj Balkaran, Ph.D.

Dr. Raj Balkaran is an expert in Indian mythology, possessing academic degrees in Sanskrit narrative texts. Alongside his academic training, Dr. Balkaran apprenticed with an Indian master for twelve years as part of a living oral tradition dedicated to the preservation and application of Indian teachings. He is an initiate and avid practitioner. Skilled at applying ancient Indian teachings to modern life, he dovetails academic training, captivating storytelling, and life wisdom to nourish his students’ hearts and minds alike. A seasoned online educator, Dr. Balkaran teaches online courses privately, at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at Yogic Studies. Beyond practice, research and teaching, he podcasts and runs a thriving life coaching practice. See rajbalkaran.com for more information.

 

Join Dr. Balkaran for his next online course: Mythic Wisdom for Modern Life from January 7-February 4, 2021 

4pm-5:30pm PST / 7pm-8:30pm EST

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Bryce Delbridge

C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500

Bryce Delbridge is an Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist & has over 18 years of experience practicing and teaching Yoga worldwide.  His journey began at the age of 15 to avoid having his whole spine fused with titanium for severe scoliosis.  Through a dedicated and innovative practice of Ashtanga, Vinyasa & Yoga Therapy, not only did Bryce avoid surgery or a life confined to a wheelchair, now he can move & breathe in ways that very few people in the world are able to.. painlessly. Whether you are a total beginner or an advanced practitioner, no matter the health condition, Bryce can safely & effectively take your practice to the next level. To read more visit his website at: http://www.ashtangakrama.com

Janna Delgado

C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500, Ayurvedic Practitioner

Janna Delgado is a trusted leader, with more than 20 years of experience, in the fields of yoga, mindfulness, Ayurveda, and stress resilience.  She is certified by the International Association of Yoga Therapists and the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.  A seasoned facilitator with more than 20 years’ experience and a 1000-hour Kripalu Yoga Teaching credential, Janna serves as a Lead Faculty member and Trainer at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, MA.

She creates curriculum, and leads professional development trainings for educators, law enforcement professionals and social service agencies.  Janna’s areas of expertise include teaching trauma sensitivity, fostering stress-resilience, and offering yoga in public school settings.  She is contributor to numerous yoga and Ayurveda publications, as well as a popular presenter at national conferences.

Janna possesses the ability to make yoga and mindfulness-based practices accessible, impactful, and relevant to populations ranging from elite musicians to psychiatric patients. Articulate and relatable, she is known for her dynamic approach to teaching, infused with humor and heart.  She is personally committed to making a difference in the lives of her students and clients by offering them empowering tools to optimize vitality, resilience, and overall well-being. More information about Janna here.

Join Janna for her next Online CE Course

A Deep Dive into Pranayama for Yourself and Your Teaching from April 20 - May 18, 2021

More Info Here

Molly Masaoka

E-RYT 500, Owner Yoga Centered

Innately perceptive and wildly passionate, Molly applies a level of determination and delight to her yoga instruction that’s truly one of a kind.  Her approach is focused and intense; a union of effort and surrender that she believes is key to unlocking one’s deepest level of awareness and joy.  
 
While the core of Molly’s teaching is alignment-based flow and restorative yoga, there is a deep level of therapeutic guidance that governs all she offers—from her public classes, workshops, and private sessions to her ongoing teacher training programs and festival courses.

Since discovering yoga more than 15 years ago, Molly has studied with some of the world’s most renowned instructors most notably the founder of Smart Flow Yoga, Annie Carpenter, Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty and Don Stapelton from Nosara Yoga Institute.
She credits Annie for giving her the skills to teach intentional alignment and sequencing, Don for the ability to encourage self-inquiry and Chuck for finding the unity in all things.
 
For the past seven years, Molly has also been the owner and director of Yoga Centered Studio on the Big Island of Hawaii. In addition, she leads workshops, retreats and teacher trainings all over Hawaii.
 
Ultimately Molly considers herself a student of life. She is constantly drawing inspiration from the world around her, and most recently the newest addition to her family, her son, Reef. Her hope is to inspire others to share the practices of yoga that have so positively impacted her life.
 
“The yoga mat is a microcosm for who you are,” says Molly. “It’s not about how good you are at handstands or how flexible you are, it’s about how you approach life. Yoga reveals this and so much more. It’s about discovering who we are and finding acceptance right then and there in that very moment.”

Peggy Profant

E-RYT 500, Certified Life Coach

Peggy Profant, E-RYT 500, and Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, is a playful, passionate and adventurous spirit who is on a lifelong path of Yoga. 

Her first initiation into yoga was through Kripalu, and it gratefully changed the course of her life in her formative teen years.  Yoga provided balance, self discovery, and restoration throughout her academic years in college as she completed studies in Environmental Education and Dance.  

Peggy travelled to India to immerse in the practice of Ashtanga yoga where she met her life partner. Teaching yoga coincided with settling down, raising a family and becoming a massage therapist in 1998.  Later Peggy pursued the rigorous path to become a Certified Anusara Teacher in 2004 and began to delve into more studies of the therapeutic aspects of yoga.  Every class she teaches is a creative expression with meaningful and uplifting heart themes partnered with skillful sequencing and therapeutic alignment. An avid believer in the benefits of meditation, she volunteers her time after classes to lead meditations. Peggy is a thoughtful  and encouraging Life Coach and mentor to many students and yoga teachers in her community and around the globe. It is her wish to empower her students, friends and colleagues to overcome obstacles to self love and allow each person to joyfully offer their gifts back to humanity.  In addition to Yoga, Peggy finds her deepest joys through being in nature, travel and sharing time with family. Peggy founded and operated a premier yoga studio in Arcata, Om Shala Yoga, for 10 years, and co-founded World Family Yoga leading family retreats in Costa Rica. She has been leading workshops, retreats and Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2005. Learn more about Peggy here.

Join Peggy for her next online class: The Healing Power of Chakras. February 2- March 9.

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Alison Scola

C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500, LMT

It was the gift of chronic pain that brought Alison to her yoga practice in 1993.  Through study and practice of the 8 limbs of yoga, she found powerful tools to heal her body & mind. Inspired to help others, she trained at the acclaimed schools of White Lotus Foundation, Integrative Yoga Therapy, Yogalign at Kauai Yoga School, Healing Hands Schools of Holistic Health, The Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training, and the Upledger Institute. Alison is a Trauma Informed IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist, E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, Licensed Massage Therapist through the California Massage Therapy Council, Reiki Master, Experienced Yoga Teacher Trainer, and Level 1 Equine Somatic Movement Educator. Learn more about Alison here.

Join Alison for her next online CE course. 

Understanding Trauma, Resilience, & How Yoga Heals
Thursdays, Feb 18-Mar 18, 2021 from 4:30-6:30 pm PST
More Info Here

Traci Webb

Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist & Founder of the Ayurvedic Living School

Traci Webb founded the Ayurvedic Living School in 2006 where she and her cohort of world class Ayurveda teachers train Ayurveda Health & Life Coaches, Ayurvedic Herbalists and Ayurvedic Practitioners. She is the author of Ayurveda Life Mastery a foundational feminine Ayurveda textbook. She's a Shaka Vansya Ayurveda Practitioner and Educator. She's also a Panchakarma Instructor, Ayurvedic Yoga Therapist-NAMA, and Vedic Astrologer who's been teaching ayurveda, yoga, massage, aromatherapy and leading women's groups for 20+ years. Traci served on the Board of Directors for the California Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. She is passionate about empowering women to take their power back, to find their voices, to heal themselves, and to reclaim their birthright as self, family and community healers and leaders. Save $100 off one of Traci's upcoming courses Ayurveda Health & Life Coach Training and the Ayurveda Herbalist Training. Use code: SOMAYOGA100 to save $100 off tuition. 

More information here

David Omkar Webster, MS, RYT 500

Founder of Yoga for Brain Health and Better Living Yoga Studio

David Omkar Webster is the founder and visionary of Better Living Yoga, a unique yoga studio in Southern California catering to adults 40 and beyond, where everyone is welcome!  David’s passion is yoga for wellness. Therapeutic/alignment-based yoga is a key component of the positive healing results of new functional medicine research.  At Better Living Yoga, yoga is practiced to prevent and reverse chronic conditions.
 
From “rocket scientist” for the Pentagon’s Naval Aviation and Cruise Missile Project, through being a corporate executive, to expat day-trader, to skincare entrepreneur, experiencing a 10-year spiritual journey and yoga lifestyle immersion… he is uniquely suited to his role as a yoga professional.  As an inspiring leader and pioneer, combining science and sutra, he is paving the way to transform our society’s toxic paradigms into a more holistic approach to wellness.
 
David has been inspired by yoga ever since his grandmother introduced him to it in 1969. In the mid-90’s yoga helped him overcome debilitating back problems caused by stress. After retiring from corporate America in 1997, yoga became an integral part of his daily life. He completed his 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified Sivananda teacher training in 2005. In 2006 & 2007 he made pilgrimages to India to expand and intensify his knowledge of yoga. He taught yoga in Hawaii for eight years while living in an intentional community at an international retreat center. While in Hawaii he immersed himself in Anusara™ Yoga teacher training, studying the Universal Principles of Alignment and associated Kashmir Shaivism Tantric philosophies. In 2017, he completed his therapeutic-based 500 hour Yoga Alliance certification through Better Living Yoga/Soma Yoga Institute.
 
His initiative now is to impact the health and wellness system through yoga and the yogic lifestyle.

Join David for his next Memory Maintenance Yoga Teacher Training.
 

CALL TO ACTION

Sundari Lucey

E-RYT 500, Certified Anusara YT, Certified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist LMT

Sundari’s allegiance to this powerful transformative practice is though her own inner teacher and infinite presence which guides the flow of energy into form creating conscious expression and experience. 

She began teaching yoga under the tutelage of Ramanand Patel in 1987 in Saratoga, CA after completing a 2-year program at The Iyengar Yoga Institute in SF.  Sundari has had the privilege of studying with numerous renowned teachers in her early years of training as well as completing a 17-year circuit with Anusara Yoga where she traveled abroad and the US conducting Immersions and Teacher Trainings for certification to many extraordinary students.  Together with Brown Earth ™ she developed a YouTube channel along with a DVD called       “A dose of Yoga with Sundari.”  In her yoga career Sundari owned and operated 3 yoga studios up until 2020 giving people from all walks of life a place to gather, share and study the art of Yoga.  She specializes in advanced therapeutic health and the art of deep listening in yoga and meditation.  

Yoga experienced with Sundari connects you to the source of your own radiance, that vibration which reflects your own divinity.  Her gift to this life-style of yoga is sensitivity, humor and expertise.  With 40 years of study and practice of yoga, Sundari’s instruction is open-hearted and deeply informative holding the highest intention for each student to reveal their own inner light, presence and essential Self. 

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