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Ashtanga is accessible to everyone of all ages from individuals new to yoga to those who have been practicing for years. Instruction is given from teacher to student on an individual bases. Poses are added to an individuals practice as they gain strength and flexibility.


Mysore is the traditional way of learning Ashtanga yoga, named after the city in India where Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the guru of Ashtanga Yoga, lived. The lineage is now held by Jois’ grandson, Sharath Jois.


Mysore is for everyone who is willing and eager to start their own yoga practice. In the beginning you get a small portion of the Ashtanga Yoga sequence, adding poses as you and your teacher see fit.


Mysore times are open practice sessions. You can arrive anytime as long as you have time to finish prior to the end of session.


No, Mysore class is where you learn the poses from the teacher. You will learn the sequence and commit it to memory as you progress through the practice, developing your own personal spiritual practice.


Mysore Classes are the best place to start. As a beginner you are the most important person in the room. The teacher helps guide you safely through the Ashtanga Yoga sequence. Taking pieces of the practice a little at a time to aid you in building the strength and flexibility you need to continue your Ashtanga journey.

Staff List

Jean Wriedt
Jean is an avid student of yoga, violin and energy medicine. She is an experienced teacher in each of these disciplines. A graduate of Yale University, she has nearly completed a three year 200 hour teaching certification with Beryl Bender Birch and has completed a primary series training with Tim Miller. In addition, she is grateful to Val and many other teachers who have inspired her. Jean is also an accomplished violinist having performed in orchestras in Canada, Germany and the US. Through her daily work as a teacher, Jean hopes to contribute to the healing of the earth, her people and all living beings everywhere. (RYT-200)
Rebecca Roth
Rebecca began her personal journey with Ashtanga yoga when she walked through the doors of the Yoga Shala in 2004 and read the words of Shri K Pattabhi Jois “Do your practice and all is coming”. Her personal practice has evolved to include completion of the Valerie Schneiderman's training program in 2011. She is a lifelong learner and believes yoga is a path to transformation. In addition to her continued studies with Valerie Schneiderman in Ridgefield, she has had the opportunity to take workshops with many Ashtanga teachers including Sharath Jois during his last 2 visits to the United States. She holds a Masters in Education from Sacred Heart University and teaches yoga and Spanish.
Miriam Zernis
Miriam has been practicing yoga since 1994 and is an internationally certified Sivananda Yoga Acharya (Master) having completed her advanced training in southern India. She continues to explore everything yoga has to offer and is currently studying Raja Yoga and Vedanta in an everlasting quest to be challenged both physically, mentally and most of all, spiritually. She teaches yoga as a tool for healing and as a pathway for Truth. Inspired by the many years of devotional chanting that went along with the territory of spending time at Sivananda ashrams around the world, Miriam found a new way to express herself through kirtan (musical prayer). It is with great joy and humility that she now shares it publicly.
Valerie Rich
Valerie has been associated with The Yoga Shala from its onset. Her teaching style has its roots in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Valerie trained in the very first teacher training with Valerie Schneiderman in 2003 and again in 2012. She has done teacher trainings at The Iyengar Yoga Institute in New York City (2010) as well as the Australian Yoga Teacher Training back in 1997. Valerie continues to be a student at The Yoga Shala as well as teaching throughout Fairfield County. She is currently in training with meditation teacher, Lorin Roche, author of ‘The Radiance Sutras’ and teaches meditation classes for mindful health and eating. She volunteers her time at ROAR (Ridgefield Operation Animal Rescue) as well a Regional Hospice where she incorporates her Reiki skills.This summer she begins working at Danbury Correctional Facility. Her teaching style is playful and grounded in tradition.
Liz Wendel
Liz’s class leaves you feeling refreshed, nourished and inspired. She teaches her students to make choices that bring less stress and more joy into their lives. She has learned through her studies and practice that each day, each breath, each moment is how we establish ourselves on our path. Liz has studied Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Anusara traditions. She has also completed trainings in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Chair Yoga. In addition, Liz continues to work with seniors and students with limited mobility. Liz offers gratitude to every teacher she has practiced under, especially Val Schneiderman, Mary Gerdes, Bernadette Birney, Mitchel and Tracy Blier, Donna Jackson and Jillian Pransky. She also thanks all her students who inspire her with their dedication and inevitably teach her something every day.
Janell Breck
Janell has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for 11 years. She completed Valerie Schneiderman's teacher training program in spring of 2012 and have been teaching at The Yoga Shala and privately since then. Janell loves being a part of the practice community. Community provides a place to go each and every day where people are seeking more balance and peace within and doing the work to better themselves so they can then go out into the world and be of service to others.
Kathy Carrera Katts
Kathy has been practicing Yoga since 1996 and knew then that it would be a part of her life forever… She began her journey with the Anusara tradition in NYC. In 2007, Kathy began practicing Ashtanga Yoga at The Yoga Shala CT and is deeply connected to this beautiful tradition. She credits the support and guidance of Valerie Schneiderman in her path to teach and share this amazing practice. Kathy has a passion for sharing Yoga with parents, children & teens. As a mom of 3, she understands the many benefits for busy familes. Kathy is a graduate of New World Ayurveda as a Certified Ayurvedic Practioner, Meditation Instructor, Spiritual Counselor and is a Reiki Master Teacher. It is her joy and privilege to offer the authentic ancient healing practices of Yoga, Ayurveda, Meditation and Reiki with individuals of all ages.
Bev Leighton
Beverly was introduced to the Ashtanga practice over ten years ago by her yoga colleague and long time friend Oni Ingber. She has been practicing at The Yoga Shala ever since. She has been teaching in Fairfield County since completing her RYT200 with Valerie in 2010.

After traveling to India in 2016, Beverly made some realizations about the benefits of good karma and firmly believes if more people could find time in their busy day to set aside to practice and/or meditate, the world would be a much better place. She feels fortunate to be able to pass as much of this wonderful practice as possible onto others.

The idea of concentration and focusing inward, has helped to expand her awareness to an increased responsibility to live in alignment with the person she is meant to be. Raising two beautiful daughters in sometimes not such easy circumstances, working long hours at her other jobs, the practice of yoga has helped to shift her life experience for the better, by providing her with patience, balance and peace. For that she has the utmost gratitude.

Shana Swanson
Shana Swanson's yoga practice began in 2001. A close friend recommended she visit a holistic doctor. His advice, "Change your diet, practice Yoga.” She did both. Shana practiced, one on one, for eight years with Ananda Adams, one of five teachers authorized by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois. In 2009, when assured of her readiness to teach, Shana completed her 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training at PURE Yoga. For two years thereafter, Shana mentored simultaneously under two senior teachers, one who taught Mysore style Ashtanga Yoga, and another who taught the Iyengar System. Shana went on to complete her 40-hour Primary Series Training with David Swenson and in September 2015, began her 300-hour Enrichment Practice with Nikki Costello. Shana has taught mysore style Ashtanga Yoga at PURE Yoga and Maha Padma Yoga Temple. She maintains her daily practice and teaches her Mala Practice privately and to small groups. Whomever is Shana’s student, the intention of her teaching remains the same ~ stay true to the teachers that have come before her, meet her students where they are, and help others to own and enjoy their practice.
Nandini Sharma

In 1975 at the Park Circus Market in Kolkata. Nandini accompanied Renu, the family cook, to shop for the weekly groceries. She saw, smelled, and tasted all there was -- fish, lentils, vegetables, spices.

40 years later, Nandini continues her labor of love in the kitchen. Since her move to the United States in 2000, she has spread her passion for Indian food to communities from New Hampshire to North Carolina. Her co-authored book, Sakahari, focuses on the Ayurvedic health benefits of Indian spices and integrates them seamlessly into easy vegetarian recipes.

Today, she lives in Manhattan, and continues to find the balance between spices and herbs. When she's not cooking, she can be found on the yoga mat or curled up with a good book.

Beryl Bender Birch
Beryl Bender Birch, eRYT, Founder and Director of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute (the internationally renowned and highly respected teacher certification school), has been teaching yoga since l974. She is the best-selling author of several books on yoga, including Power Yoga and the recently released Yoga for Warriors: Basic Training in Strength, Resilience & Peace of Mind– a book on yoga for veterans. She was named one of seven American women “innovators shaping yoga today” by Yoga Journal and was featured in the Barnes and Noble book, American Yoga. She is co-founder and Board Chair of The Give Back Yoga Foundation.

Beryl is a renowned teacher, not only for her knowledge of classical yoga and her studies of the Yoga Sutra, but for her abilities to brilliantly and intuitively access a student’s weaknesses and misalignments, both physically and psychologically, and prescribe specific yoga practices for healing and growth. Her down to earth, accessible style of teaching has made her a beloved and highly sought after teacher. She pioneered the introduction of yoga into the athletic community in 1980, when she became the Wellness Director of the New York Road Runners Club. She continued in that position until 2002, teaching yoga classes in New York City to over 100,000 students in that 22 year period of time.

Self Practice
Occasionally, the practice room will be open for self-practice. All students with an ongoing practice are welcome to come in and practice. Please sign-in, enter silently and begin your practice. Honor the traditional teachings and only do the sequence as it was taught to you. Do not assist other students with postures. 
Stan Woodman
Stan Woodman is a Level 2 Authorized Ashtanga Yoga teacher for the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute (KPJAYI), in Mysore, India and the co-owner of Kaia Yoga. He took his first yoga class in 1991 and began a dedicated Ashtanga practice in 1997. Having first met Sri K Pattabhi Jois in NYC 2001, Stan eventually went to the source in Mysore India in 2003 to study with Guruji. Since then, he has made several trips to the K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, studying with its founder until his death in 2009 and eventually with Jois’ heir and grandson, Sharath Jois. Today, Stan continues his yearly pilgrimage to Mysore to study at the KPJAYI with Sharath and in the summer of 2016 completed a special two month teachers course in Mysore with Sharath. 

How did this all begin......

I took my first Ashtanga Yoga class with Beryl Bender Birch and her late Husband Thom Birch. I was mesmerized. I was hooked. I knew nothing of the tradition before taking class. The flow, the breathing, the heat, the teacher, the present moment, all gave me enough insight to feel something different from this tradition than other styles I had practiced before and I looked forward to going again!

I had just moved to The Hamptons and was looking for a yoga studio and a teacher. Well, I found one! Beryl continued to share with me all she had learned and studied about Ashtanga Yoga as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois. She also taught me the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the connection to what we were practicing on and off the mat. Looking back, I always feel lucky at how I began learning this tradition. I was taking 2 led classes a week with Beryl or Thom, sometimes with both of them (in a room of 10-12 people) and practicing at home the other days. Beryl soon invited me to come practice with her and small group of practitioners at her house. They had turned their old garage into a beautiful yoga room. Yes we did asana and I learned a lot more than just putting my body into different shapes. It was intense and I loved it. I learned pose by pose through all of primary and intermediate series. It was a very special, intimate, spiritual and informative time for me which set the foundation for the practitioner and teacher I am today. Thank you so much Beryl!

Eddie Stern
Eddie is a co-founders of Ashtanga Yoga New York, the Brooklyn Yoga Club and the Brooklyn Ganesha Temple along with his wife Jocelyn. They studied under Ashtanga Yoga master Sri K. Pattabhi Jois from 1991 until his passing in 2009. Eddie has published several books on Pattabhi Jois and Astanga Yoga, including a translation of Pattabhi Jois’s 1960 treatise, Yoga Mala. Jocelyne and Eddie continue to study with Pattabhi Jois’s grandson and successor, Paramaguru R. Sharath Jois, and his daughter, Saraswati Jois.
John Bultman
John Bultman, (KPJAYI Certified) is a student of Shri Sharath Jois, Director of KPJAYI, Krisna Pattabi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute, Mysore, India. John serves as the Contemplative Sciences Center's (CSC) yoga programs manager at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA (2012 - Current). He has been lucky enough to study science and spirituality his entire life and humbly hopes to share this practice with the knowledge, strength, and love his teachers continue to share with him.
Patty MacRae
Yoga came to Patty in her late teens after she suffered a back injury while running on the track team. She found relief and strength enhancement by adding yoga to her running workouts. Years later, she fell in love with the ashtanga method at The Yoga Shala. In addition to completing her 200-hour teacher training under Val Schneiderman, Patty is a certified holistic nutrition coach and a certified running coach through the Road Runners Club of America.