Lorie (Saraswati Om) Bebber is the 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).
‘Chelle Jozefczyk has been practicing Yoga since 1996 when she was first introduced to it. At that point in her life she was 21 years old, working in finance at the World Trade Center in New York City, & living a life of self-indulgence in the city that never sleeps.
Like many others, ‘Chelle took her very first class at a gym where she was a member. Knowing nothing of Yoga, she was initially drawn to it because she had always been a dancer & was interested in maintaining her flexibility & staying in shape. What she didn’t see coming was the way Yoga would completely transform her.
I was initially drawn to yoga as a form of stress relief and was instantly hooked after my first class and the feeling of complete bliss that followed. I was so blissed out, that I had to sit in my car for while before driving home. From that moment, I knew yoga was going to be a big part of my life. Not only did my stress level go down, but I also gained physical strength, flexibility and a deep spiritual practice.
I suddenly realized yoga was much more than the asanas (postures). It was important for me to take my ‘yoga’ off the mat and into my everyday life. Yoga has taught me to have compassion for all living beings and not to judge others and myself. We are all equals on the pursuit for happiness.
In November of 2000, I went to a Kripalu yoga class taught by Lorie and my life changed forever! I had been heading into a series of dead-ends with relationships, career and choice making. After discovering Kripalu yoga, I was amazed at how much space was available to me. The more I did yoga, the more open I became to creating positive and welcome balance in my life. An amazing transformation continues to take place! One of my favorite quotes is, “put forth your effort with no thought of gain.” With this in mind, I now expand my practice both on and off the mat by sharing this wondrous gift with others.
Yoga inspirations – Martin Luther King, Jr.; Mother Theresa; my loving parents and 7 brothers and sisters; Lorie, Lisa, teachers and students at CNY Yoga; all of my galpals with a special shout out to Amie Shaffer-8 year cancer survivor and living her life!; Priti, Jairaj, the assistants and all of the yogis and yoginis – Kripalu YTT Class of 8/06; last but certainly not last – starting each new day with my truelove, Mike, and our 2 cats, Bud (Abbott) and Lou (Costello), is life’s greatest gift to me. Namiste and many blessings!
Dave began practicing yoga in 2006 in his basement when his wife ‘chelle received her Kripalu 200-hour yoga teacher training certification. Having a consistent flow of friends who attended three days per week made them official classes. Both him & his wife were very grateful to have the opportunity to offer a place for their friends to practice yoga & to make it affordable by making the classes by donation. This humbling experience has affected Dave’s life in a positive way by introducing a peace of mind, physical body improvements, & an increased loving bond with those who attended.
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 practicingyoga, 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!
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.
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.
Kate teaches classical yoga as an offering to her guru Chandra Om, and to all spiritual aspirants. She has been incredibly blessed to find and receive formal training to teach Hatha yoga with Sri Dhama Mittra in 2008, and to meet and study under her beloved teacher Chandra Om in the Advanced Studies program at the North Carolina School of Yoga in 2011-2012. She continues to deepen her sadhana (spiritual practice) under the love and direct guidance of her teacher, learning and practicing the ancient knowledge of how to attain radiant health and spiritual development through the science of yoga. She strives to remain truthful to the traditional teachings of yoga, as she has been instructed, and impart the message of compassion and unconditional love.
May all be blessed with health, peace, and illumination in this lifetime!
“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” as I’ve heard it said.
The first yoga class I went to illustrates this quote well. At the local gym, the teacher was guiding the class to relax and let go, but my mind was clearly not going down without a fight! After a few “unsuccessful” attempts, I put yoga on the back burner. Later on, I made a second attempt at yoga, this time, a little more eager and a little less closed- minded. It all began at a local gym- different than the one before, one class a week led to two and three and soon I found myself rearranging my schedule around the yoga classes. When I went to a “Hot House” Yoga class at the CNY Yoga Center, (where they turn up the heat and play techno music) everything shifted. That was the turning point for me. The instructor’s voice echoed through my head for days as I daydreamed about the 2 hr class. After that, I began studying at the center regularly and working behind the desk, subsequently diving deeper into the practice of yoga. I want to thank both Lisa and Lorie for all the blessings they have shown and given to me through their humble care, knowledge and intuition.
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.
I took my first yoga class as last resort when a favorite fitness teacher had left the area.
To be honest – I didn’t like it. Still, I continued taking class and began to notice a shift and so did my family and friends. I soon fell “in love” with yoga. It wasn’t until later that I realized I wasn’t falling “in love” with yoga, I fell “in love” with myself and the connection to Self.
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.
Yoga is the cessation of mind.
PATANJALI, The Yoga Sutra
About me: I am Sharada Pranav from India. Recently moved to Syracuse. Counseling Psychologist by profession I come from a family where yoga is a way of life.I have been practicing yoga for the past four years and in this process, I developed a keen interest in yoga instruction. I completed a one month (300 hours: from 5 am to 8:30pm) residential yoga instructor’s course (YIC) from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthanam (http://www.svyasa.org); It is the only Yoga University in India.I am a vegetarian by birth. I enjoy teaching traditional form of Hatha Yoga and I would like to introduce it to the residents of Syracuse.Traditionally yoga is always done either early in the morning (when the sun is rising ) or in the evening (sunset time).But because of our busy life schedule we do it according to our convenience but if possible we can as well do it in the morning….RIGHT!
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!
Tara first started practicing yoga in 1999 at a gym in her home state of CT. She had finally found the glue of creativity, physical movement, dance, spirituality and philosophy. Introduced to yoga at the age of eight by her mother June at Ananda Ashram, she was inspired to seek out the benefits and life of one on the yogic path. While visiting Ananda Ashram Tara was introduced to the founding Guru, Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati. This introduction and the constant yearning as a child to visit India and learn more about spiritual life would come full circle in 2003 when Tara began practicing with several different teachers such as Shiva Rea, Richard Freeman, Patabois Jois, Sean Corn, David Life and Sharon Gannon, and ultimately Sri Dharma Mittra, Tara’s divine teacher. Moving through rugged and fiery family karma in determination to find realistic peace and understanding of one’s purpose in life, otherwise known as one’s dharma, led Tara away from the gym and into the heart of yogic science. Once Tara took one class with Sri Dharma she never looked back. Dharma’s facilitation of yogic science and classical Hatha Raja Yoga resonated deep within the mind and body and brought great peace and understanding of karma and the goal of self realization. Tara honors Dharma Mittra, Chandra Om, Andrei Ram, Radhanath Swami, and Dhanurdhara Swami as her master teachers.