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Our Teachers

Zoreh


Zoreh is the founder of High Desert Yoga and has been teaching yoga since 1985. She is a faculty member of the High Desert Yoga Teacher Training Program since it origins 15 years ago.  For the past twenty years she has been teaching classes for the general population and offering private yoga sessions to help many with back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle issues become pain free with proper alignment and mindfulness.

She enjoys her passion of yoga and exploring the heavenly spots in the world by offering yoga and meditation retreats in inspiring locations such as Mexico, South America, India and New Mexico.  Zoreh has created in a beautiful outdoor studio, Yoga del Pacifico on the beach in Troncones, Mexico where she hosts many retreats.

Zoreh's upbringing started her on the path of Sufism and she has studied numerous paths and methodologies including Iyengar, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, meditation, and the yoga methodology of the American Yoga College. Zoreh's joyous personality and sense of humor endear her to her students with a teaching style that is both nurturing and fun. Her teaching combines a delicate knowledge of the body that allows a compassionate spiritual expression of the postures to emerge.

Kim Schwartz


Kim was introduced to eastern philosophy as a child and began studying yoga in 1971 at age 18. In 1981 he met his Guru and began more formal studies in the yoga sutras and other aspects of yoga philosophy. Around that time he was also introduced to the Iyengar system of asana practice. In 1985 he was certified to teach yoga through the Temple of Kriya yoga. He was ordained a Swami in the Kriya lineage in 1986. He has taught ongoing yoga classes, teachers training programs and workshops here and abroad since that time. Though asana and pranayama have become primary disciplines, the philosophy of yoga is still at the heart of his practice and teaching. 

Supriti


Supriti is a lifelong devotee of Yoga and has been teaching for over 40 years. In the summer of 1979 she enrolled in public classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Institute in Pune, India with the members of the Iyengar family. She continued to study in the Iyengar tradition at the first International Iyengar Convention in San Francisco in 1984 with Senior Iyengar instructors and the Master himself. Her life and practice have been deeply influenced by this contact with Guruji, even after his MahaSamadhi.Supriti brings her knowledge of anatomy to her teaching from her 25yr. practice as aTherapeutic Masseuse. She is a lover of poetry and delights her students with readings from her favorite poets and Spiritual Masters. Supriti is certified by the Yoga Alliance as an ERTY, 500 hours and still considers herself a humble student of the inexhaustible wisdom of the Path of Yoga.

Patti Lentz


Patti has been a physical therapist 45 years and a yoga teacher for 15. She is a life long learner, and creative in the process of integrating her vast studies as a PT and the wisdom of yoga. She brings together experience in manual therapies, trauma resolution, sensory integration and yoga wisdom in ways that make yoga accessible to everyone... no matter the challenge. In her private practice as a physical therapist, Patti utilizes a depth of understanding and curiosity to assist her clients become more empowered in their bodies. As a yoga teacher, she assists students in becoming more creative and curious in personalizing their yoga practice. She also teaches yoga teachers to be more skillful when working with students with challenges.

Heather Lee Farrell


Heather's lifelong interest in Eastern philosophy, health and wellness lead to her to a practice of yoga at an early age, yoga teacher training studies and becoming a Doctor of Oriental Medicine. She teaches students to delve deeply into unexplored parts of themselves, through an integrated approach. Her classes focus on alignment with stability encouraging change in the body through the power of breath and intention.  She oversees and directs High Desert Yoga with Zoreh.  She has a holistic healthcare practice  at the Healing Arts Center. She has been practicing yoga for more than 25 years and teaching for 13 years. 

Heather offers loving thanks to her many teachers, beautiful family and friends, knowing “that it is in the shelter of each other” that we live.

Note: Heather is currently on "sabbatical" from active teaching due to recovering from severe trauma but is overseeing the studio and can be reached via email! :)

Avery Kalapa


Avery Janeczek Kalapa, E-RYT500, BFA, has been practicing yoga since 1997 and teaching since 2004. She has traveled around the US and to India to study yoga, both advanced practices and therapeutic applications, and holds special certifications in Prenatal Yoga, Yoga for the Pelvic Floor, Pranayama, Trauma Informed/Street Yoga, and Teen Yoga. Her technique is inspired by the method of B.K.S. Iyengar, somatic exploration, experiential anatomy, and Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka. She has over 2000 contact hours with senior teachers, including Abhijata Iyengar, Patricia Walden, Rajiv Chanchani, Ramanand Patel, Elise Miller, Leslie Howard, Judith Lasater, Francois Raoult, Bobbie Fultz, and her primary teacher, Kim Schwartz. Avery loves attention to detail, precision in both body and awareness, playful courage, and commitment to the spiritual dimension; she brings a nurturing, creative reverence to her classes. Avery finds joy in exploring just the right approach to help her students gain access to both the therapeutic subtlety and empowering expansion of this work, as well as applying yoga as a tool for social justice and inner liberation. Avery teaches classes, private sessions, workshops, and retreats,writes about yoga at averykalapa.com and you can find her on facebook at Yoga with Avery. She is also a queer mom, community organizer, artist, aerialist, and organic gardener.

Julie Pacheco


Julie began yoga in the tender first months of motherhood. That was eight years ago. Finding the space within to practice can be a challenge. The benefits of a regular practice, no matter how short, are infinite. As parents the discipline of devotion to our children is our practice. Asana (postures) will support and enliven this practice. Julie has completed the 500 teacher training and Mini Yogis certification offered at High Desert Yoga. She teaches family yoga and kids yoga in schools. She also holds a BA in Religous Studies from The University of New Mexico. 

Niki Feldman


Niki has been in love with movement her entire life. She explored many kinds of dance as a child and teenager and has always loved exercising outdoors and being in the mountains. Niki found yoga in 1995 during massage school and soon after started teaching both massage and yoga. She attended the High Desert Yoga Teacher Training in 1999. Niki believes that yoga is a powerful tool for feeling at home in your body, empowering yourself, and releasing tension. In her yoga classes she combines strengthening and flexibility and includes creative core strengthening, slow sun salutations, and restorative self-massage techniques. She encourages breath awareness with deep, full exhalations to release tension. Laughter is always welcome in her classes. Niki’s eclectic blend of yoga styles include: alignment-based, Kripalu, vinyasa flow, Pilates, and “follow your intuition.”  She welcomes all levels of practice to her Yoga for Lunch class on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Tim Butler


Tim has taught private and group classes since 2004. His classes focus on helping students to have their own deep experience in a safe and sacred space. He began his yoga training in 2001 with Tias Little in the Ashtanga vinyasa and Iyengar traditions, and has completed all 6 levels of Prajna Yoga teacher training. In addition, he has also studied chanting and philosophy of the Yoga Sutras with Sonia Nelson at the Vedic Chant Center. Tim is a Licensed Massage Therapist and in May of 2012 graduated from the world renowned Ayurvedic Institute. Ayurveda is an ancient traditional medicine native to India, literally translating to “the science and/or knowledge of life.” Tim uses this ancient science to consult with clients about their diet and lifestyle.

Bill Ancker


Bill has practiced yoga for over 30 years and completed the 500-hour teacher training program at High Desert Yoga. He is a Registered Yoga Teacher (500 RYT) of Yoga Alliance. His approach to yoga is based on what the internationally acclaimed author and teacher trainer Donna Farhi calls the “technology of yoga.” In other words, if you practice yoga, you can enjoy greater physical and emotional well-being; belief in any particular philosophy is not required. Bill spent 15 years working in Latin America and Central Asia as an English teacher and diplomat. He came back to New Mexico to plant roots and stay put! 

Zhenya Novgorodskaya


Zhenya has been practicing yoga since High School. Growing up in New York City, she was amazing at how quickly yoga and mantra created a sense of spaciousness and peace. Her love for the yoga practice, philosophy and chanting has continued to grow. She has completed the High Desert Yoga 500 hour Teacher Training Program and holds special certifications in Prenatal Yoga, Restorative Yoga, CircusYoga, and Trauma-informed Yoga. Being a mom, Zhenya loves to work with families, bringing the joy of yoga practice into schools and offering special events just for kids. She often brings chanting & music into her classes. As a licensed massage therapist, Zhenya offers The Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy®. She is also a Birthing From Within® Mentor, and teaches childbirth classes and facilitates Birth Story Listening sessions to help parents and birth professionals gain insight from unexpected birth outcomes.

Visit Zhenya's website: wholisticexpressions.com

Jill Palmer


Jill Giri Palmer, E-RYT 500, has taught yoga in New Mexico, Hawaii, and India. She has studied and practiced yoga asana, yoga philosophy, meditation and pranayama, Indian classical music, Ayurveda nutrition and therapies, and Sanskrit in both India and the U.S. over the last 16 years. She received her teaching certification through High Desert Yoga and has studied for several years with teachers in Rishikesh, Jaganath Puri, Pondicheri, and Mysore, India. Her teaching is inspired by Iyengar, the organic and authentic explorations of Angela Farmer, Self-awareness, and Aloha. 

Shana Lane


Shana began practicing yoga as a teenager and has enjoyed the physical and mental benefits it brings ever since. She likes to have fun in her classes and hopes to always create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable and confident to be themselves, explore new possibilities, relax and let go. Shana relishes the opportunity to teach specialty classes so that people of all ages and levels can experience yoga. She is a 500RYT and has additional specialty training in prenatal, restorative, kids, and senior yoga. She started her teaching adventure with Mom & Baby Yoga and has spread out across the life cycle to incorporate prenatal, teen, and adult classes. She especially looks forward to helping parents, partners, and whole families find ways to share their time, attention, and the joy of yoga with each other.  

Nishtha Jane Kappy


Nishtha began her yoga journey in 1975, detouring on a long and circuitous route through a variety of movement and energy practices—including Tai Chi, Qigong, Hanna Somatics, Feldenkrais, and Aston Patterning—before returning to her yoga roots in 2007. She completed her 200 hour teacher certification with Nob Hill Yoga in 2010 and the 500 hour teacher training at High Desert Yoga in 2013. Nishtha spent 20 years in private practice as a licensed massage therapist and now teaches Senior Yoga, the Senior Yoga Teacher Training, as well as classes for beginning and intermediate students at High Desert. She brings a hands-on knowledge of human anatomy and curiosity about body awareness and internal organization to her instruction. Nishtha is registered with Yoga Alliance as E-RYT500. She is also the graphic designer at High Desert Yoga.

Visit Nishtha’s website: www.nishthayogaabq.com.

Doreen Siracusano


Doreen began her formal practice in meditation and yoga in 1982.  Her 33 year career as a Psychiatric Physician Assistant and Master's Level Counselor included studying and teaching Mindfulness Meditation to Veterans.  She has also practiced an Eastern form of Meditation beginning in 1982 and had a Soto Zen practice for several years.  In 2011 Doreen completed the 500 hour HDY Teacher Training and has been teaching yoga from her home and at High Desert Yoga for the last 2 years. In addition she studies and practices Western Astrology. 

Abby Foster


Abby’s journey with yoga began with a VHS tape in 1999. She practiced for years with videos and her roommates, and only occasionally took a yoga class, until moving to Arlington, Virginia after earning her law degree in 2008. In 2010, while living in Washington, D.C., she completed her RYT-200 training and began teaching yoga. Two years later, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, which completely changed her approach to yoga, both personally and in her teaching. Understanding the benefits of yoga for healthy people, she quickly realized the life-changing benefits for someone dealing with a disease, such as MS or any other ailment. In the fall of 2013 she completed her certification in Curvy Yoga and joined the “body-positive” yoga community, and in 2014, she completed a 50-hour training with Bernie Wandel in Restorative Yoga. Abby specializes in teaching gentle, body-positive yoga for seniors, people with Multiple Sclerosis and other health challenges, and students looking for a gentle, accessible yoga practice. 

Judith Arredondo


Judith Arredondo RYT500 has been teaching fitness since 1993. She is a recent 500 hour graduate of the High Desert Yoga teacher training. Judith’s focus is on teaching senior adult students to coordinate the complexity of asana with the ease of the breath.

Herb McDonald


Herb is a Certified Iyengar Teacher and a graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institue in San Francisco.  He is a long-time student of Ramanand Patel and has studied with Geeta Iyengar and B.K.S. Iyengar in India and the United States.  In addition to the physical benefits of hatha yoga, he uses yoga as a tool for self-discovery, encouraging students to integrate the principles of yoga into all aspects of daily life.  Herb blends humor with insight to create a relaxed and challenging atmosphere.

Kristine Yamaki


Kristine Yamaki, MD is passionate about sharing the wellness benefits of yoga with people of all ages and physical abilities.  Interested in philosophy and meditation since her teens, she procrastinated trying yoga for years, convinced she was inflexible, uncoordinated, and weight-conscious.  In 2011, at a challenging time in her life, Kristine attended her first class.  Yoga demands such focus that those burdensome thoughts quickly faded. Kristine has never forgotten the sense of peace and vitality that prompted her process of healing physical and emotional issues through yoga.  

Longing for the integration of mind-body-spirit missing from her medical and psychiatric training, Kristine recently completed the 200-hour Teacher Training and a Restorative Yoga certification at High Desert Yoga.  She is pursuing additional training in Senior, Prenatal, and Kids Yoga.  

To empower students on their own journeys of healing and transformation, Kristine’s classes combine compassion, breath awareness, knowledge of anatomy, and a focus on alignment.  In private sessions, she merges this perspective with her therapeutic skills.  Kristine seeks to share the powerful gift of being fully present in the moment.  

kristine@patientheartwellness.com

Lea Newman


Lea Newman has been active and involved in keeping her body healthy and moving since a young age, she loves being outdoors and spending time with her family and friends. Lea found yoga in 2009 and has been intrigued by the mind body concept ever since. She recently completed the 500 hour teacher training at High Desert Yoga and is expanding her knowledge of prenatal yoga.

Deva K. Khalsa


Deva K. Khalsa, AHP, BA, RYT is an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, cookbook author, cleansing expert and Yoga teacher. Deva embodies the spirit of a healthy lifestyle and began practicing yoga in Vancouver, Canada in 1992. In 1996 she moved to New Mexico and began to personally study with Yogi Bhajan. In the Fall of 2009 Deva went back to school at the California College of Ayurveda and studied for 3 years to become an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner. Deva is the owner of Deva Health featuring The Cleanse of Santa Fe™ and Whole Self Recovery. In addition she is a certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher and a hypnotherapist. She also teaches Ayurvedic cooking and raw food prep classes. She is passionate about empowering people to take control of their health and lives with Ayurveda, Raw Living Foods, conscious living and yoga.

Visit her website: devahealth.com