It’s hard to believe that this is our 11th Namas Day Yoga Festival! We have had some incredible presenters over the years, and are always excited to welcome some new faces. Who are you most excited to check out this fall?
Dianne Bondy is a social justice activist, author, accessible yoga teacher, and the leader of the Yoga For All movement. Her inclusive approach to yoga empowers anyone to practice—regardless of their shape, size, ethnicity, or level of ability. Dianne is revolutionizing yoga by educating yoga instructors around the world on how to make their classes welcoming and safe for all kinds of practitioners.
Dianne is the author of Yoga for Everyone (DK Publishing, Penguin Random House) and a frequent contributor to Yoga International, DoYouYoga, Yoga Girl, and Omstars. She has been featured in publications such as The Guardian, Huffington Post,Cosmopolitan, and People. Dianne’s commitment to increasing diversity in yoga has been recognized in her work with Pennington’s, Gaiam, and the Yoga & Body Image Coalition, as well as in speaking engagements at Princeton and UC Berkeley on Yoga, Race, and Diversity. Her writing is published in Yoga and Body Image Volume 1, Yoga Renegades, and Yes Yoga Has Curves.
Justine isn’t exactly a new face – she’s been helping make Namas Day happen for years – is an explorer with a deep passion for our natural world. She believes yoga is for everyone. Students know her best for the breath driven nature of her fusion style classes and her stirring playlists.
Aside from teaching a variety of studio based classes, workshops, retreats and teacher trainings, she also teaches SUP (standup paddleboard) Yoga, SUP trainings & leads paddling tours. Justine holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Temple University. She also trained in Yin Yoga, Power Yoga, Hot Yoga fusion formats, & Vinyasa. Justine has had the pleasure to contribute to the Philly Area Yoga blog and the honor of being featured in Philadelphia Magazine’s Be Well Philly annual print edition 2015-2016 for her cyclist and runner’s classes.
Justine has taught yoga at large events and festivals such as Yoga Journal’s Live Be Yoga Cross Country Tour, the annual Be Well Philly Bootcamp, Wonderlust108 in Philadelphia and the annual Run for Clean Air, to name a few.
Justine is the Owner of Yoga Brain East Falls, a fusion studio with a deep community feel and a spectrum of holistic offerings. She is a board member of the East Falls Farmer’s Market, and is a monthly Lifestyle columnist for A NW Philly based newspaper, The Local. Justine is a proud Pro-Ambassador for Jade Yoga.
Yoga teacher, writer, and podcaster J. Brown is leading the way in the Slow Yoga Revolution, advocating for more intimate, breath-centered, therapeutic yoga practices. J’s offerings are at once both a revolution and a return to the ancient roots of yoga. His approach is largely inspired by the teachings of TKV Desikachar and is geared towards feeling well and lessening of pain. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and across the yoga blogosphere. His podcast is internationally renowned for raising the level of conversation.
Visit his website at jbrownyoga.com.
Brandon R. Everett
Brandon R. Everett is a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher and Registered Nurse. If you ask, Brandon will tell you he had a mid-life crisis at the ripe age of 25. He was depressed, burnt out from his work as a Registered Nurse in an Intensive Care Unit, had more than $80,000 in student loan debt to repay, and was suffering through a terrible break-up. It was then that a friend introduced him to the practice of mindfulness meditation. The introduction was life-changing. Mindfulness enabled Brandon to find greater ease, connection, self-esteem, and even joy (yes, joy!) in life. He completed his 2-year, 900-hour Meditation Teacher Training with ClearLight Meditation Institute in 2017, and has been sharing mindfulness in yoga & meditation centers, as well as non-profits, hospitals, universities and living rooms! As a teacher, his emphasis is on increasing the accessibility and relevancy of mindfulness meditation practice. In 2019 in collaboration with Jessica Pavelka he co-taught Philadelphia’s first and only Trauma-informed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (T-MBSR) program. He still continues to work as a nurse, providing end-of-life care to patients on hospice.
Find out more about Brandon at breverettmindfulness.com.
Lara Heimann, E-RYT 500, a physical therapist, functional yoga pioneer, and empowerment speaker, is redefining yoga through better education and innovation with her company, Movement by Lara. She developed Lara’s Yoga Training (LYT) Method to address the deficiencies and imbalances of our modern lives and limited movement patterns. The LYT Method is sustainable, freeing, and efficient, with classes that emphasize intelligent sequencing, smart cuing, alignment, and functional movement. Lara honed this method through 25 years of practice and more than 10 years of teaching tens of thousands of people. She leads teacher training certifications online and in person at her studio, YogaStream, in Princeton, New Jersey, and hosts workshops and speaking engagements around the globe.
Find Lara online at movementbylara.com.
Vanessa Hazzard, BASc, LMT is an author, yoga instructor, educator, and internationally-trained massage therapist with 14 years of experience in the field. She is author of Prenatal Thai Massage: for Relaxation & Pain Relief. Her volunteerism and commitment to mental health and trauma-awareness in yoga and bodywork has landed her features on NPR, Philly.com, and speaking engagements at Drexel University and non-profit organizations. She has also been featured in Massage Today. Over the past decade, she has taught hundreds of wellness professionals at spas, wellness centers, and retreats. Vanessa has studied with Ajarn Sinchai Sukparset, Thanachai Chaimongkhon, and International Training Massage (ITM) in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She also has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Massage Therapy from Siena Heights University and is currently earning her Master of Education in Adult and Continuing Education from Rutgers University.
Find all of Vanessa’s trainings and events at nirvanalandcontinuinged.com.
Rocky Heron is an internationally acclaimed yoga educator and musician. Known for his uncanny wisdom and in-depth understanding of yoga anatomy and movement science, Rocky’s teaching is informed by years of study in nearly every yoga style and a diverse background of modalities. He discovered yoga in the summer of 2004, and began his path of teaching in 2007. Considered in the yoga industry a “teachers teacher,” Rocky works worldwide facilitating trainings and continuing education for dedicated teachers. Rocky often works in collaboration with Noah Mazé as a key contributor to the curriculum at the Mazé Method. You can find his work, information about his trainings and his schedule at rockyheron.com. Rocky enjoys a rich and dynamic creative life with his magnificent tribe of artists and teachers alike. As a musician, years of narrative songwriting and recording helped him develop his distinct style, blending r&b vocals with folk-style acoustic melodies and profound lyrics. Rocky’s workshops and events often feature an offering of live music, weaving together the yogic practices and his unique voice to soothe, mesmerize and inspire listeners. His latest album, “Nuffa Luv” as well as his previous recordings (including his album of Sanskrit mantra, “The Requiem”) can be found online wherever digital music is sold. Students steep themselves in Rocky’s teaching for his intelligence, humor, and innovative approach to movement, as well as his ability to make complex concepts and abilities accessible. Join him and see for yourself.
Find out more about Rocky at rockyheron.com.
Matthew’s practice began in 2011 while preparing his move to Connecticut to study vocal performance. In hopes of instilling a deeper connection to his breath and his already-existing mindfulness meditation practice, he decided to take a Yoga class. Matthew immediately felt a deep connection to the Yoga tradition, started practicing daily, and was soon sharing the practice with his friends, family, and even strangers- Yoga was all he talked about! His natural understanding of Yoga philosophy and keen desire to learn more was leading him down a very different path than expected. That same year, Matthew made a life-changing decision to move back to Pennsylvania to further his studies in Yoga and Mindfulness; embarking on a lifelong path as a Yoga educator.
A short month later, Matthew met his mentor Connie Purnima Miller, Master Yoga Instructor with 40+ years experience. For two years, Matthew and Connie worked privately through a highly personalized and custom teacher training in which he learned to share Yoga from an authentic place in his heart. He has since completed advanced training with internationally renowned teacher Alex Auder (and was subsequently invited to teach at her studio), studied corrective exercise basics with Naime Jezzeny, and is certified to teach women with breast cancer by Allison Donley, children of all ages by Childlight Yoga, ParaYoga Nidra by Rod Stryker, and Balanced Body Barre/Pilates. He has also completed basic level trainings in Ayurveda, Zero Balancing, Mindfulness, Reiki, and Sound Healing.
In January of 2018, Matthew co-opened a fully equipped yoga studio in Blue Bell (The Yoga Room at Fit Metrics) as Director and Lead Teacher. He currently offers a variety of weekly classes led by himself and a roster of teachers whom he mentors. Alongside Connie Miller, Matthew also educates and certifies new yoga teachers through their Yoga and the Rhythms of Life 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program. He loves to read, travel, and is continually inspired by the positive change Yoga has brought to him and countless others.
Learn more about Matthew at www.matthewmitlas.com.
Sarah Yukie Gingrich
Sarah has always been fascinated with the magic of connection and the power we all have to evolve our perception to access transformation. Articulate, highly trained, and inspiring, she uses an array of modalities to invoke possibility and create community in diverse populations. Passionately committed to empowerment, her insight and listening will help you create practical magic in whatever realm you choose.
Sarah first discovered the joy of teaching during her Montessori elementary education. Her passion for creative expression led her to study writing, piano, and voice. She designed a dual curriculum in the the physicality of acting and dance while also pursuing the academic concentrations of metaphysics, philosophy, psychology, and anthropology to complete her degree in Behavioral Science.
A childhood filled with imaginative play and exposure to the joys of moving through hiking, gymnastics, and canoeing, morphed through many phases until she felt the transformative power of yoga in 2001. Sarah completed her first 500 hour teaching certification in 2003, completed her training as a movement and postural analyst in 2011, and has been teaching and evolving her movement and wellness offerings by leading classes, sessions, and trainings for over 15 years.
Committed to extraordinary transformation, Sarah has led transformational trainings around the globe. After developing her skills as a life coach in 2009, she has integrated clear communication and listening into leadership for individuals, companies, and non-profits to transform and empower individuals and communities. After attaining her personal and professional goals, Sarah founded Create Karma, a not-for-profit social enterprise to provide accessible transformational leadership and wellness trainings through collaborative facilitation, in 2015.
Follow Sarah at sarahyukie.com