Meet our Faculty!
RAJESHWARI GRETCHEN CARMEL – Training Director/Senior Facilitator – E-RYT 500 – Gretchen began to meditate at a very early age, connecting with the Divine. It was where she was happiest. As a teenager, she began to explore movement of the body, the strength of the physical and creative expression through dance. Another form of connection. Gretchen pursued the arts and graduated from SUNY College at Purchase with a BFA in Dance Performance and went on to dance professionally with The Southwest Chamber Ballet, The Contemporary Ballet Company, Dance Theatre of Long Island, Human Movement Dancers and various other independent choreographers, as well as, choreographing and showing her own work in the New York area.
Wanting to continue a physical practice but searching for a healthier lifestyle, Gretchen was certified as a Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 1993. Her path unfolded and lead to other certifications as a Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and Traditional/Usui Reiki Master. In 2003, she opened Om Shanti Yoga, a yoga studio within Central Studio in Keene, NH.
It was during a Sanskrit Mantra Workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Mass. in 2006 that Gretchen was graced and blessed to meet her Guru, Namadeva Acharya (Thomas-Ashley Farrand). This was a time of major importance and initiation in her life. He quickly became her spiritual teacher, mentor and close friend. From this relationship, Gretchen was given many spiritual initiations in the form of energy transmissions, teachings on mantra and its application to life situations and teachings of vedic ceremony, assisting Namadeva in pujas/yajnas at Kripalu and various other centers in the U.S. She became a certified Sanskrit Mantra Teacher, and was initiated into The Jyoti Order, certified as a Pujari and ordained as a Vedic Priest before Namadeva Acharya’s passing in 2010, all honoring his lineage and Sanatana Dharma Satsang. She has also received many spiritual initiations from Namadeva Acharya’s Guru, Sadguru Rama Mata, widow of Sadguru Sant Keshavadas. To these experiences, she is forever grateful, as they create the basis for her dedication to the yogic path.
In addition to Gretchen’s teachings at The Yoga Space, she shares her wisdom with workshops and retreats annually at Bethel Farm Yoga Living Arts Center and at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
Currently, Gretchen is the owner/director of The Yoga Space in Keene, is on the faculty of Moco Arts where she teaches ballet and modern dance and continues her most precious journey as a mom with her two boys, Maxwell and Noah.
Gretchen holds a vision of compassion, healing and peace for our planet. She brings to her teaching a high level of commitment, love for her students and infuses her classes, workshops and retreats with the joy of mantra. She thanks all who help allow this vision become a reality.
BILL FRANCIS BARRY (BHARATA) – Guest Teacher (Philosophy, Mantra) – Bill is a Teacher of Mantra and Vedic Priest, with a bachelors degree in Yoga. He has been a student of mantra, yoga and Vedic studies since 1969. Bill offers workshops in Sanskrit Mantra, Vedic Ceremony and Inner Nada Yoga. He provides private training and puja services. Since 2010, he has taught workshops throughout the US and in Canada plus private instruction in eleven countries.
Bill’s four University of Mass degrees include BS, M.Ed, MBA, plus a 1976 bachelors degree program titled “The Development of God Consciousness Through Knowledge, Meditation and Yoga”. This yoga degree, completed many years before Yoga Alliance existed, exceeds the requirements of 500HR Yoga Teacher Training courses. Bill also taught yoga at UMass during this time. read more….
JOHN de KADT – Guest Artist (Storytelling, Music) – In his early twenties John left college and went searching for others ways of living. He felt that our culture was incredibly out of touch with the some essence of life. He went on a sojourn not knowing exactly for what he was searching, only knowing he wanted to continue to play the drums and to find a community to live in that was more in touch with the earth. That journey led him to a yoga ashram where he lived for five years. The ancient practice of call and response chanting called kirtan became part of his daily routine, as did yoga, drumming and meditation. The sangha or community and this way of living was very rewarding in many ways and changed the direction of John’s life.
John went on to study percussion from around the globe in India, Turkey, Brazil, Africa, Cuba, Columbia and throughout the US. The healing power of the drum inspired him to continue on a richly rewarding quest to discover and support his love of music and spoken word. Combining his own poetry with drumming John released his first CD “This Rhythm Is Not Mine” in 2005. He released his second album “Eight“, an instrumental CD for yoga, in 2008. Sounds True re-released Eight under a new title in 2010 as “Rhythms Of The Infinite“. His third CD “One River” co created with Benjy Wertheimer was released in the summer of 2012. He is also member of the touring kirtan group The Hanumen who released there debut album in 2013 called The Hanumen. It has received rave reviews from numerous magazines and The Hanumen are releasing there second album in 2015. read more….
EM FALCONBRIDGE – Guest Artist (Sacred Art Facilitator) – Em is a creative soul with a deep love of being barefoot under the trees, with a flower in her hair and her children running around. A native of western Australia, she and her family live on a small farm in New England where she sews and creates with recycled fabrics and materials, hosts creative gatherings in her studio, and is trying to figure out homemade kombucha. Pom poms, dear friends and mangoes make her very happy. Her aussie warm-blooded-ness combined with New England winters have her fleeing to Bali twice a year where she and a dear friend host a juicy women’s retreat.
JENNIE GRYCZKA (Guru Sahai Kaur) – Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist – offers Workshops and Coaching on Ayurvedic Lifestyle, teaches Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, Pre and Postnatal Yoga. She has been practicing yoga for over 18 years, completed her 200 hour Yoga Alliance training in 2002 and graduated Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist training at the Himalayan Institute in 2013. She is a certified Kundalini Yoga (as taught be Yogi Bhajan) teacher, a Conscious Pregnancy Yoga Instructor and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist. She brings her love of meditation, movement and interest in nutrition and healing to her practice and teachings. She enjoys teaching women in all stages of life and her teachings are inspired by her own journey toward health of body, mind and spirit and through her experience as a mother and a labor assistant (doula).
JILL JARDINE – Guest Teacher/Astrologer (Planetary Mantras) – M.A. Counseling/Psychology, is a Professional Astrologer who combines a gift of Divine Intuition with a realistic application of the astrological archetypes. Jill has been a Sensitive since childhood, and has studied astrology and metaphysics since she was 15 years old.
The Grace of God and the Gurus have blessed Jill with the Gift of Divine Intuition. Jill has actively engaged in yogic practices and spiritual pursuits to better receive these God-Given Gifts of Intuition and Healing. She believes the body is our temple, and we must continually cultivate our connection to Spirit.
Jill’s other credentials include: Self-Help/ Metaphysical Workshop facilitator for 20+ years, yoga teacher and yoga teacher trainer for 20+ years, Mantra teacher certification(Reverend in Sanskrit Mantra), ACHE (American Council of Hypnotherapist Examiners) certified hypnotherapist and hypnotherapy instructor, AOBTA (American Organization of Bodywork Therapies of Asia) nationally certified in Acupressure/Shiatsu, certifications in homeopathy, cranial fluid dynamics, Reiki and Spinal Rejuvenation and advanced University degrees in teaching, counseling, psychology and B.S. degrees in Public Relations and Communications.read more….
BRENDA MCMORROW – Guest Artist/Teacher (Kirtan/Devotional Chant) – is a Canadian Devotional Kirtan artist who has had a rich and diverse musical career (from folk to jazz to bluegrass). Now, with a deep devotion to the unveiling and celebration of our true beings through the power of sound, she is invited to travel worldwide to share her unique blend of original folk-inspired melodies, world beats and sacred Indian devotional chants.
It was when Brenda participated in her first Sanskrit chant while attending a Yoga workshop in 2004, that she had a profound knowing her musical journey was leading her to places more expansive and heart-opening than she had ever imagined. Brenda remembers: “It was a very simple chant (Om Namah Shivaya), and at the time I had no idea what it signified: all I knew was that every cell in my body started vibrating, and I felt absolute joy”. While in India soon thereafter, Brenda began combining her own songwriting with ancient Sanskrit chants – and she has been flowing with this divine wave of Bhakti energy ever since. read more….
BHAVANI LORRAINE NELSON – Guest Artist/Teacher (Sanskrit Study/Kirtan) – offers experiential workshops throughout the world from her base at Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA, with which she has been aligned as a program director since 1988. Bhavani teaches meditation and mindfulness, yogic tools to transform stress, and the power of the voice, including sounding, singing, chanting, sound healing, and public speaking. She has conducted inspirational seminars, sounding experiences, and vocal coaching in educational, medical, corporate, and religious settings.
Since the 1960s, Bhavani has been a professional singer/songwriter in the folk idiom, performing in concerts and clubs in major cities in the US, Europe, Mexico, Japan, and Iceland. Her heart-opening performances soothe and inspire audiences of all ages. She discovered Sanskrit chanting through Ram Das in 1970 and has since practiced and led both Sanskrit and ecumenical chanting worship services in churches and other venues. Bhavani has produced several albums of songs, chants, and sounding experiences, as well as instruction on meditation. Early in life Bhavani discovered a longing to experience the truth church ministers spoke about, leading her to study meditation and spiritual philosophy. read more….
Om Parama Prema Rupaya Namaha
(To invoke Supreme Love in a form)