Director of Dharma Yoga Syracuse
Director of the Dharma Yoga Syracuse in Syracuse, New York. Teaching yoga for nearly 15 years and practicing 20, in 2008 she completed her 500 hour Life of a Yogi Teaching Immersion with her guru Sri Dharma Mittra, a living yoga master, who is a proponent of a strict vegetarian diet and compassion toward all beings. In addition to teaching regularly scheduled Dharma Yoga classes at Dharma Yoga Syracuse, she is on staff of the Life Of a Yogi Teacher Training program where she assists Sri Dharma and mentors sadhakas (spiritual aspirants) in classical yoga, yogic philosophy, as well as sattvic-ahara (yogic diet).
Bio coming soon!
Deirdre was first introduced to yoga in her high school gym class. It was a short 3 week series, but it was then that Deirdre knew yoga would someday be a regular part of her life. It wasn’t until after college that Deirdre was able to begin a regular practice of yoga. She was soon hooked, taking classes at the CNY Yoga Center, now Dharma Yoga Syracuse. It was an exciting, evolving process. Starting with the beginner classes and eventually leading her to complete the 200 hour Dharma Life of a Yogi Teacher Training in 2010 and in 2014 the 300 HR Self-Realization Immersion with Yogi Andrei Ram. Deirdre has much gratitude for the opportunity to study under the direction of Sarasawti Om at the Dharma Yoga Center and receive formal training from Sri Dharma Mittra and Yogi Andrei Ram. It has been through the Dharma spiritual family that she has met some amazing and truly gifted teachers that continue to inspire and influence her practice. Yoga has been an adaptive process for Deirdre, in which she has extended the knowledge gained in the studio, to her everyday life. She has found that yoga has the power to meet everyone’s needs, regardless of the individual. Deirdre is excited to be sharing the practice of yoga and in hopes that it may bring you health and happiness.
Certified Yoga Instructor
Himalayan Institute, 2001
Yoga continues to be an incredible journey for me. After twenty five years of studying and practicing yoga and ten years of teaching it I am still in awe of this great and healing practice. Along the way, I have been blessed with wonderful teachers and tole models. My greatest inspiration comes from my beloved teacher and friend, Lorie Bebber.
My practice and teaching unfolds from the various asana trainings that I have had. These include hatha, astanga, kripalu, and most lovingly Dharma Mittra style yoga. I continue to emphasize deep relaxation and mindfulness in any level class I teach.
Thank you everyone who has crossed my path. You have all brought me gifts. Special thanks to my ‘stars in heaven’ for offering to be the vehicles and love that carries me here. I wish to inspire you all to ‘just love’ and ‘just’ breathe’.
I began practicing yoga when my partner (now husband, James) invited me to my first class at Dharma Yoga Syracuse many years ago. I could not touch my toes and I got light-headed in half moon pose, but from the very first class, I felt at home. Practicing Yoga has changed my life and inspires me to see the world differently. When I started practicing yoga, I felt disconnected from my body, and like I was missing something, even though I had wonderful family, friends, and work. Through the practice of yoga, I work towards better connecting to my body, fueling my body with great foods, looking to my intuition for guidance, putting compassion at the forefront of my day-to-day life, doing things that must be done rather than putting them off, and finding joy in being receptive to the grace and beauty within and all around.
The experiences of pregnancy, birth, and becoming a Mother were the turning points in my life when yoga transitioned from being something I did to guiding the life I lead and being the person I am. With the birth of my daughter, Isabella, so was born my desire to teach the science of yoga, and yoga to Mothers, in particular. Through Bella Shakti Yoga, I now teach classes to Expecting Mamas and Mamas with their Babies at Dharma Yoga Syracuse. Yoga guides my Mothering and it is a joy to raise my little daughter-yogini, Bella, and two stepson-yogis, Joshua and Christopher!
I am so grateful for the many influences I have had already on my Yoga path. I am grateful to my husband for knowing that Yoga would be important to me, taking classes side-by-side with me, building a sacred space in our house for practice and mediation, and for finding joy in our connection with Yoga. I am grateful for the incredible Yoga community flourishing at Dharma Yoga Syracuse and to Saraswati Om for introducing me to Sri Dharma Mittra and his teachings, for mentoring me through my own practice and the Life of a Yogi 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program, and for cultivating our Sangha: the Dharma Yoga teachers and practitioners inspire me with their karma yoga, asana, collegiality, and energized devotional spirit. I extend gratitude, also, to Sarah Oakley from MamaBirth YOGA for guiding me through my Prenatal Yoga apprenticeship.
When not on the mat (or doing handstands with my kids, husband, and pups in the backyard), I teach instrumental music (and aspects of the Yamas and Niyamas) to 6th-12th graders in the Westhill Schools, present clinics to other music educators, write music pedagogy books, and play flute in local orchestras and bands.
Kyta member - Initially I began coming to yoga classes at CNY Yoga to get relief from life’s aches and pains as well as for stress relief. After the first beginner 1 class I felt wonderful. Before the end of that first six week session I had gotten the benefits I initially wanted and was hooked. Once I stopped taking yoga and began practicing yoga I got so much more than I had expected.
Yoga means union. The union of body, mind, and spirit. What yoga means to me at this time in my practice is health. Spiritual health, mental health, and physical health.
I would like to thank my wife Sandy for her support and encouragement as we begin this new journey. I would like to thank Lisa and Lorie for their inspiration, encouragement, and for allowing me this opportunity to bring my yoga to another level.
I would also like to thank my fellow students for their support and encouragement.
Writing a biography can be very challenging if not impossible. The Sanskrit words “Ahta Yoga Nushasanam” translate into “the inquiry of Yoga”. I believe that my inquiry, my yoga, changes & morphs me daily. I invite my students to explore that possibility in their lives.
I am shaped by all the experiences & people in my life. As yoga becomes a deepening awareness & realization I have felt a shift & increase in gratitude & appreciation for all experiences & people whose paths I am fortunate to be a part of. My yoga journey began around 1999 with my first & forever yoga teacher Lorie (Saraswati Om) Bebber. It continues with my Kripalu education, my family, friends & my teaching opportunities. I am humbled by all of this & I pray that I may always welcome the challenges along with the joys on this yogic path.
Jai Bhagwan, Gail Akin – Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher
P.S. Much gratitude to my sister, Terry, who first suggested I may want to try yoga!
“To laugh often & love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons & the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics & to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social situation; to have played & laughed with enthusiasm & sung with exultation; to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Greg was a triathlete who came to CNY Yoga in 2003 hoping to increase his flexibility. He quickly fell in love with yoga. In the beginning it was the challenge of the poses that held his attention. Over time, Greg discovered a spiritual side to the practice that he hadn’t expected. It has had a dramatic impact on his life.
Greg received his 200-hour certification with Dharma Mittra in 2010. He is eternally indebted to Saraswati Om for exposing the mind & spirit to things that had never occurred to him before. He is also grateful to his wife, Donna for her love, & her patience when he is banging his feet against the wall trying to perfect the handstand.
Jill Parker is the founder of the modern Tribal Fusion belly dance phenomenon, birthed out of San Francisco, California in the mid 1990's. Jill was an original member of Fat Chance Belly Dance, and founder of Ultra Gypsy Dance Theater, the trail blazing company that birthed such great dancers as the famed Rachel Brice, Sharon Kihara,, Lady Fred, Rose Harden and countless others. With nearly three decades of experience, she has traveled the globe teaching and performing with great accolades, awards and immense respect for her contributions. She has trained the top belly dancers in the genre and influenced a generation of belly dancers with her modern innovations, all the while remaining deeply rooted in her connection to the traditional, sensual and authentic. Jill's big heart and deep love for this intoxicating form shine through in her generous teaching as well as her knock out performances worldwide. She's an exceptional teacher with a gift for demystifying this intricate dance, making it accessible for new dancers, and offering insights for refinements and nuance to even the most seasoned professional dancer. She manages to foster an inclusive sense of community and wellness in her classes. Jill uses creative self expression as a vehicle to promote health, encourage self-care and build self-esteem, a rare gift that must be experienced. Come experience world class instruction from San Francisco, delivered to your doorstep in Syracuse with Jill Parker! More Information.
Julie Daniel has been a practicing speech and language pathologist with young children for 27 years. Born and educated in North Carolina, she moved to Central New York in 1986 where she continued her professional career with children with special needs at the Main St. Early Education Program in the N. Syracuse School District. She also works with children with communication disorders through the Special Children’s Services of the Onondaga County Health Department.
Julie had been practicing yoga off and on since graduating from college in the 70′s. That practice became more focused and disciplined in the last 6 years when she started studying with Lorie Bebber. During that time she began using yoga with her special needs children and noted their improved motor planning skills, attention span and ability to focus. Most importantly however, she noted how much they loved doing yoga! These observations led Julie to research programs for teaching yoga to children. It was in that search that she discovered YogaKids, an international certification program for teaching children. Julie completed the training during 2005-06 and is now a Certified YogaKids Facilitator (CYKF) and YogaKids Trainer (YKT).
Julie wishes to thank her professional colleagues, Mary Vaughn and Renee McCall who have offered encouragement and support in pursuing her dream of teaching yoga to children. She thanks Lorie Bebber and Lisa Kiefer for their model of teaching from the heart and for being open to bringing yoga for children to their center. She thanks Jackie Clarke for her constant inspiration and finally, she wishes to thank her husband Kevin for always being beside her…… “on the mat” and in spirit as he offers constant encouragement in her pursuit of bringing this gift to our youngest “yogis”.
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Kelly's practice began at a local gym, the teacher was guiding the class to relax and let go, but the mind was clearly not going down without a fight! Later on, a second 'attempt' at yoga was made at a different local gym, this time around something was different. One class a week led to two and three leaving a thirst for knowledge. When she attended the “Hot House” yoga class at CNY Yoga Center, (where they turn up the heat and play techno music) the experience shifted everything. The instructor’s voice echoed through her head for days. she began studying at the center daily, diving deeper into the practice of yoga. Kelly has much gratitude to both Lisa and Lorie (Saraswati) for all the blessings they have shown and given through their humble care, knowledge and intuition.
Continuing on the path led to 200 hour teacher training in 2007, with Dharma Mittra in NYC. Her intension is to share the teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra, as well as the lessons from all teachers she has met along the way, knowing that each student must find their own path, through their own means of discovery.
Meaghan was first introduced to Yoga in high school. As a former Rhythmic Gymnast, she was drawn to Yoga asana as a way to regain her flexibility & strength.
In 2008, after graduating from DePaul University in Chicago, Meaghan passed through some upsetting experiences, & was relieved to find peace in practicing Yoga. It became a natural way for her to calm the mind & lesson anxiety.
In 2008, I spontaneously decided to take the 200hr ryt Yoga Alliance training with Judiann Cesta at East Street Yoga. Judiann told me it was my passion for yoga that allowed her to waive the minimum one year of practice to be accepted into the program.
At about the same time Bonita Shear introduced to me Young Living Therapeutic Essential Oils and was a guest to harvest lavender and help with distilling at Young Living’s Lavender Farm in St. Maries, Idaho. Incorporating the oils into my life medicinally, it was just a natural progression to integrate them into my yoga practice. At the time, there were no reference material or books so I relied on my training and research. After my 200 hour certification, I began teaching oils and yoga workshops. Late 2009, Rodney and Colleen Saidman Yee taught at the Y.L. convention about integrating oils and yoga. Meeting Rodney at the conference helped to validate my path to begin to write my book “Essence Yoga – Integrating Essential Oils and Yoga.”
I began taking classes from all different teachers, conferences and workshops from Omega, Kripalu and NYC searching for a way to deepen and grow my practice. It wasn’t until I began going to Dharma Yoga Syracuse with Saraswati that I felt… home. It was a Dharma II class (and it kicked my butt!!) But more importantly I felt that Saraswati was the “real deal” and that this was a true spiritual community. Traveling from Skaneateles, 3 to 4 times a week was such a gift to have this so close to home. Saraswati and her devotion to Sri Dharma made me fall in love even before I had met him. It took over a year to finally be able to go to NYC to meet and experience Sri Dharma’s Holy Satsang Labor Day 2011. Before this event began, I almost ran straight into Sri Dharma. Frozen like a deer in headlights, I looked back at Saraswati who knew how much this meant to me, and I saw pure love. My teacher, her teacher and me. This lasted just seconds but it changed my life like an electrical charge. Home.
In May 2016, I will have completed my 800hr ryt “Life of a Yogi” teacher training with Sri Dharma. I continue to teach yoga and essential oils at Mirbeau Inn & Spa and the Skaneateles Y.
A friend brought me to Dharma Yoga Syracuse in 2008. It smelled lovely and everyone was so pleasant...almost too happy is what I thought. "Those smiles have to be a facade; who is that happy?"
I was intrigued so I returned and began to realize it is REAL. Simply put, my life was unhappy at the time and this yummy-smelling warm feeling yoga center was making me happy.
I had the opportunity to meet/study with Sri Dharma Mittra at Kripalu in February 2009 and could see things even clearer. I was able to take Dharma's 200 hour Life of a Yogi training 10 months later. Dharmaji may be in New York City but thankfully we have a piece of him!