Author Archive

Tessa Manning

Tessa is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. She has been practicing Iyengar yoga since 2007 and received her teacher training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She travels annually to study with the Iyengar family in India. Tessa is dedicated to the Iyengar method because of its attention to alignment and the thorough change it brings about in the body.

She has specialized teacher trainings in Pre-Natal Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis.

An avid practitioner, Tessa has used Iyengar Yoga to help treat her scoliosis. She teaches in a way that is safe, accessible, and compassionate – providing individual attention to each student. She loves to travel the world, cook, and garden.

Mirka Kraftsow

Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT, has studied with some of the great yoga masters of our time, including Sri Krishnamacharya, TKV Desikachar and Gary Kraftsow.   In her early twenties, she was initiated into active meditations and ecstatic ritual dancing by the unorthodox Indian mystic Osho, and later became a student of Tibetan tantric yoga with his Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, Situ Rimposche, and Lama Tenzin in Maui, Hawaii.

Mirka is gifted with both the capacity and the passion to creatively communicate and work in private consultation, both in person and on the telephone, and her work has enriched the experience of students of many yoga modalities all around the world. In group classes, she uses her extensive background to integrate body awareness and imagery with the Viniyoga principles. Mirka’s own experience and intuition strongly influence her teachings, as do tradition, creativity, innovation, and evolution.

Mirka has been teaching in the Viniyoga methodology in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar since 1985 after receiving certification from her teacher Gary Kraftsow, and she has been practicing yoga therapy since 1988. She has helped hundreds of individuals develop and maintain a personal practice and manage challenging personal and therapeutic conditions.

Mirka co-founded the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), LLC with Gary Kraftsow in 1999.  Her vision to train and support Yoga teachers has been fundamental to the growth and development of AVI.  She has a unique ability to develop quality Yoga teachers and support them in their personal and professional growth.  Mirka has worked closely with faculty assistants and students to support their understanding, integration, and application of the teachings in their personal and professional lives.

She has consulted on several successful Yoga studies nationwide, and developed material with Gary Kraftsow for his two books “Yoga for Wellness” and “Yoga for Transformation.”

She currently lives in Sebastopol, California and is available for private sessions. She leads retreats, seminars, and workshops in the USA and Italy.

Contact Mirka at mirkayoga@yahoo.com or by phone at 415-246-8246.


Johnny Smith

Johnny Smith began his yoga journey over 30 years ago. In 1990, John met Tim Miller, who inspired him to pursue the Ashtanga method.

The next year, John made his first trip to Mysore, India, and thereafter made almost yearly excursions there to study with Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois. He is one of only a few practitioners in the world who has been certified by Pattabhi Jois and The Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute.

John is the director of the Ashtanga Yoga program at Westside Yoga Studio in Sebastopol California.

Erick Thuss

Erick Thuss started learning yoga in 1996 under Gayna Uransky in the method developed by B.K.S. Iyengar. During that time, he met John Smith, a long-time student of K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, and was taught by him in the original vinyasa method. Erick studies under John to this day with great benefit. He also studied under Ed Modestini and Nicki Doane, where he learned to look and re-look, to explore tradition, and to always seek toward the quiet teaching from within.

Currently, Erick is under special study with Manouso Manos, and is working to digest what he can of the of sheer brilliance of Manouso’s teaching. He assists in Manouso’s class weekly.

He is a student of B.K.S. Iyengar, and his son Prashant and daughter Geeta in Pune, India, and is constantly mind-blown by the intense depth of insight emanating from them.

He is striving to embody essential elements of yoga science, and is devoted to learning from direct experience and study of what has come from the texts on yoga.

His teaching is a bright effort to reflect what he is learning and absorbing, with a trajectory toward opening out the vast learning ground within.