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Sushama Chitale

Sushama has been at RIMYI in Pune for the last 22 years and has taught Beginners, Intermediate, Remedial and Seniors classes. She has worked very closely with both Geeta and Sunita Iyengar and has a wealth of experience to share with us.  We are thrilled that she will be bringing this experience to the weekend workshop which last year attracted a wide age range of students, from 21 to 70s! 

Mihir Chitale

Mihir is Sushama’s son.  He has assisted Abhijata Iyengar at RIMYI and has her blessing to come and teach our youngsters and inspire them with his beautiful practice.  He has also recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Sports Science and Medicine from Glasgow University and we are excited to bring this combination of sports science and yoga to our younger students.

Annie Beatty

Annie has been teaching Iyengar yoga since 1995. A mother of five, a grandmother of two and a primary school teacher, she is passionate about bringing Iyengar yoga to the younger generation and is a founder member and Chair of Iyengar Yoga (UK)’s Children, Young Adults and Families Committee.  She lives in Malvern where she also teaches her yoga classes

Click to read more about Annie’s yoga journey

“When I became an Iyengar yoga teacher in my mid twenties I already had three children, and as a young student mother found that parenting and young adulthood made sense through the practice of Yoga. I was fortunate to be involved with a dynamic Iyengar Yoga community based in Edinburgh and my journey was supported by many senior teachers from the UK and India.  I was always aware of the challenge for parents in developing themselves in their yoga, but leaving the children behind.  I am really delighted to see the advent of this first national Iyengar yoga event for whole families to enjoy. 

Since 1998 when I qualified as a primary school teacher I have supported my professional life as a primary school teacher with yoga teaching.  As my own family grew from three to five children, I found myself involved with teaching yoga to my children and their friends and within school.  It was from a wish to widen the understanding of yoga education at different stages of our lives, with a particular focus on children, young adults and families, that, together with Sarah Delfas, I formed the Children, Young Adults and Families committee as part of our national association, IY(UK). 

My work as a primary school teacher has continued to deepen my understanding of child development and I am continually amazed at how children inspire new ways of exploring the subject and the art.  We have fantastic and extensive guidelines from the Iyengar family on how children should be taught and I am passionate to share the golden gem of yoga with children and open a connection to a world seen through the eyes of yoga.”

Sarah Delfas

Sarah is a level 3 Iyengar yoga teacher and has been teaching for over 20 years. Also a founder member of IY(UK)’s Children, Young Adults and Families committee, she is a mother of four and lives and teaches at The Hanuman Yoga Studio in mid Sussex, not far from the location of Yogapushpanjali.  She has been working closely with Michael Hall School and members of the local community to organise and make this event happen. 

Read more about Sarah and her inspiration for the camp

“I chanced upon an Iyengar yoga class in 1990 and was hooked. Since then yoga has accompanied me throughout all aspects of life, including the pregnancies and births of my four children who inspired me to start classes for children.  I love teaching students of all ages and enjoy adapting my teaching to the needs and abilities of my students, from children and teenagers through to mentoring more experienced students training to become teachers, as well as to facilitating a way of accessing yoga for those who through age or stiffness might struggle. Yoga is for everyone – BKS Iyengar’s legacy has been to help us all to find a way to practise safely and beneficially.    

It was whilst I observed the children’s classes at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute in Pune that I was spurred on to work to make Iyengar yoga more accessible to the younger generation here in the UK. The idea for Yogapushpanjali sprang from a conversation sitting outside a tent with fellow Iyengar yoga practitioners Annie, Uday Bhosale and Zubin Zarthoshtimanesh in 2018.

As mothers Annie and I are both aware of the pull between finding space to further one’s own yoga practice and teaching, and juggling family responsibilities. Even if you manage to work that out, if you want your children to do yoga, you have to make time to do it all together and let them be inspired as you are. My youngest two children were lucky to experience Uday’s and Zubin’s encouragement early in their yoga journeys and this made for a very positive start. Yogapushpanjali aims to bring great yoga to the whole family in one lovely location. 

As someone who enjoys listening to or reading stories and bringing stories to my own teaching, I am especially excited that Maria Zourari will be enhancing Yogapushpanjali again this year with her telling of the Ramayana and that two very special teachers, Olly Room and Annabelle Davis, are leading the children’s activities and crafts. 

Last year’s Yogapushpanjali – the first ever – exceeded our expectations in terms of the close community and warm atmosphere that was created.  Above all I hope that the Yogapushpanjali family yoga camp continues to deepen the practice and love of yoga for all who attend.”

Maria Zourari

Maria is a storyteller and will be bringing the tale of the Indian epic “The Ramayana” throughout the week. Hear about the life of Rama and Sita and the noble and unwavering devotion of Hanuman as he helps Rama to find and rescue Sita from the evil demon Ravana. This story, celebrated by the Hindu festival of Diwali, also has profound relevance to our yoga philosophy and our own journey through life. You will enjoy it at whatever age and level you access it. 

Click to read more about Maria’s experience

“I was born in Athens, studied Linguistics in the National and Kapodistrian Universtity of Athens and did my MA in Computational Linguistics. I am a graduate of the School of Storytelling in the Center for Study and Dissemination of Myths & Folktales (Athens), and a graduate of the International School of Storytelling in Emerson College. 

In Greece I have worked as a scientific collaborator in a research Institute but soon enough realised that it was not my call, as I wanted to work with children and expand more my creative and artistic side. Thus, I worked as a creative dance and movement teacher, as a storyteller in educational programmes for school and children at the House of Folktales, as a children’s book editor for Ikaros Publications.

I now live in the UK where I am the drama teacher in a SEN school, I am teaching Greek to adults and children and I keep telling stories in the UK and Greece.” 

Olly Room

Olly is a teacher at Michael Hall Steiner Waldorf School where he teaches Wellbeing and Physical Education. With a background and keen interest in Bothmer movement, he will lead the activities programme for children and teenagers while parents enjoy their yoga classes.  

Read more about Olly and what he will be offering

“I am very excited to be involved with the Yogapushpanjali summer camp.  I have been a teacher for over 15 years teaching a variety of subjects in both mainstream and Waldorf schools. I also coach a variety of sports and lead summer sports and activity camps for children. I currently teach full time at Michael Hall School.  

My passion is teaching PE, movement and outdoor skills. I have a lot of experience running summer camps catering for a variety of age groups and I really enjoy facilitating children to get outdoors, active and enjoying themselves.   During the sessions at Yogapushpanjali there will be a mix of group games, sports, movement, nature connection and bushcraft.” 

Annabelle Davis

Annabelle will be running evening craft sessions for children.  A skilled seamstress, crocheter and textile artist she can turn her hand to most crafts and has held many creative workshops for adults and children.  A graduate of Michael Hall School, which lays down a fantastic foundation in crafts, she also happens to be a dedicated Iyengar yoga student with a daily practice.

Find out more about Annabelle’s passion for creativity

“I am passionate about being creative. I first learned to sew with my grandmother who loved to do patchwork or rug making. I began to nurture my skills during my schooling where I was fortunate enough to have a creatively rich education.  After graduating from art school, I went on to work as a Graphic Designer in a number of publishing companies including the National Trust, Cambridge University Press and Walker Books where I was fortunate to work with many talented authors and illustrators, fuelling my love of design and colour. 

I currently hold creative classes at the Oast Studio in Hartfield, where I teach a broad range of skills from sewing and crochet, to block printing. My aim is to provide a space for people to discover their creative abilities and find a calming space where they can thrive.

In these times when everything is available at the touch of a button or the swipe of a screen, I believe it is more important than ever to create things with our own hands and remind ourselves of our practical potential and how nourishing it feels to do so.”   

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