Sangha Class Descriptions & Teacher Bios

Meghan Madhavi BurkeMeghan Madhavi Burke is the Founding Director of Sangha Yoga Studio and has been a  devoted student of yoga for over 20 years. With more than 500 hours of residential yoga training, Madhavi’s teaching is deeply rooted in tradition and is informed by all the limbs of the yoga tree…not just asana.  Some of her greatest lessons were learned while studying in India. “For me, a crucial part of yoga is to recognize and observe emotional states that arise during one’s practice. As we are able to stay with resistance on the mat until it dissolves, we are potentially liberated from that same limitation in our daily life. Although this reconditioning of the self begins on a physical level, it penetrates the soul and as we become more comfortable in our bodies, we become more comfortable in our lives.”

Foundational Yoga
Foundational Yoga is inspired by the teachings of Tias Little, and draws from the wisdom of Ashtanga and Iyengar Yoga. It is a mindful exploration of the anatomy and physiology of postures with an emphasis on foundation. The foundation of a pose is the source from which we draw the energy/strength of the pose. This class is designed to build tone and flexibility while safely opening the body and strengthening the core. * Meghan Madhavi Burke


Awareness Through Movement (FELDENKRAIS TM)
In Awareness Through Movement lessons, students are invited to engage in precisely structured movement explorations that involve thinking, michael mooresensing, moving, and imagining. Many are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities. Some are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. The lessons consist of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity. The Feldenkrais method is restorative and teaches how to move through life with comfort, efficiency and grace. Participants learn to access the effortless movements of early childhood and youth.

* Michael Moore CMT, NMT. In addition to 20 years experience as a bodyworker, Michael completed the 4 year training and was certified by the Feldenkrais TM Guild in October of 2000. As well as teaching at Sangha since his certification, Michael has shared the Feldenkrais wisdom  in many environments, including UGA Dance Dept., Athens Regional and  St. Mary’s Hospital.

Beginners Bellydance Basics is the class to build a foundation for your dance journey. It teaches how to use muscles in new ways in order to learn the basic moves that all styles of belly dance are built on so that participants can then take it into any direction they want. Inspired by the Suhaila format, Beginners Bellydance  is a great place for new dancers to start, or for more experienced dancers to revisit their roots, as well as for ALL dancers to celebrate their bodies while having fun!

MahsatiAban* Mahsati took her first dance class many moons ago with Karin Scott, the original Bellydance instructor that brought this art form to Sangha.  Mahsati has studied with Murjanah and continues to study with Samira in Athens. She is also a frequent workshop attendee, taking classes from Suhaila Salimpour, Aziza of Montreal, Mohamed Shahin, Zoe Jakes, Kiteira, Amani Jabril, Yasmine, and many more. In addition, she is also Level I and II Suhaila Certified, as well as Jamila certification Level I. Mahsati decided to make the leap into teaching in order to share all the many things that the dance has brought to her life: physical fitness, a shared community, and a healthier outlook on herself and life.

Intermediate Bellydancing
Students will extend basic movements and improve technique through combinations and drills. DSC_4128Different dance styles will be explored with an emphasis on using this study to develop a personal dance style. Students are encouraged to draw from different teachers and sources in creating their  own dances. In addition to choreography and improvisational numbers for the class as a whole, students should use this class as a springboard for their own dance. Students should have a minimum of 6-8 months of beginner/basics before taking this course.

* Samira’s love of dance began with a traditional background, but it was after she took her first belly dance class “just for fun” over a decade ago that she became hooked. Since then, Samira has studied Egyptian, Tribal Improvisational, and Fusion styles and has also been a member of Troupe Hameeda and Fatina and Company in addition to her solo work.
Samira has attended workshops with many of Bellydance’s most respected names including Paulette Ree-Dennis, Suhalia, Sharon Kihara, Jillina, Tito Seif, Mahmoud Reda, Morocco and Zaphira. She also teaches Bellydance at UGA, and most recently Samira founded the Troupe Inti’sam (meaning Harmony) which consists of dancers from her class at Sangha. Her favorite quote: “You dance who you are.-Nito Garcia, Argentine Dance Master.

All Levels Hatha Yoga
A union of asana (physical postures) and meditation that is accessible to all, restorative poses are held several minutes in order to enhance the meridian and organ systems and to reach deeply into the dense tissues of the body – the tendons, ligaments and cartilage – which are difficult to energize and open.  This class provides the space to go deep within and to truly listen to the body’s whispers. Using props and any adjustments that are needed, students are encouraged to find their own place to sink in and let go in a safe, relaxed atmosphere. All levels are welcome. “Health is a state of complete harmony of the Body, Mind and Spirit. When one is free from physical disabilities and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.” ~B.K.S. Iyengar  MichelleArington_Profile Pic

* Michelle Arington is a certified Yoga teacher with over 25 years of experience and study of Yoga, movement, and the healing arts. She is a
passionately dedicated teacher of Yoga, seeking to share the ancient tradition with students of all ages and physical conditions for the purpose of stress and pain relief, emotional balance, and personal fitness. Michelle is deeply motivated by a sincere passion to facilitate self-healing and self-compassion in others, encouraging and empowering her clients to participate more consciously in their own personal growth, fitness, balance, and healing.
To learn more about Michelle, please visit

Beginners Integral Hatha Yoga/ YOGA 101
Integral Yoga, as formulated by Sri Swami Satchidananda, combines the various methods of Yoga so that we may have a healthy body, peaceful mind and useful life. It is a graceful blend of postures, breath and meditation, accessible to all and an ideal tool for becoming more comfortable and relaxed in the body, while increasing flexibility and muscle tone. Integral Yoga classes are spiritual in nature. They guide the student to go gently inward and experience the effects of the posture. The classes are never competitive. Silence, acceptance, and awareness are used to relax the body and calm the mind. All are welcome.

-Level I/II(some experience): Meghan Burke (certified through the Integral Yoga Institute, see top of page)

– Level I: Lakshmi Sutter The Beginners Yoga Immersion is designed to introduce Yogic Breathing (Pranayama), Yoga Postures (Asana), and Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra). This course is considered Level I and  provides the foundation for a safe and meaningful experience of yoga. Intermediate-Advanced level class (II/III) is designed for students who are comfortable with the basic Level I/II Integral Yoga core asanas. Classes will vary, and may include more complex poses, including balances, inversions and deeper backward bends. Students will have the opportunity to explore foundational poses more profoundly through extended holding periods. As practitioners mature, the class will transition to a more subtle level of practice, incorporating yoga philosophy, pranayama and bandhas. Each class meeting will conclude with Yoga Nidra, pranayama and brief meditation.LakshmiByJyothi

* Lakshmi Sutter, Ph.D., has practiced movement for much of her life. Integral Yoga® captured her heart and mind in the 1990s, and the richness of Yoga began unfolding in her life. With a deep understanding and appreciation of Swami Satchidananda’s Hatha Yoga, Lakshmi weaves the wisdom from contemporary yogins such as Erich Schiffmann throughout her practice. She is a trainer of Integral Hatha Yoga teachers at the basic and intermediate levels and enthusiastically shares her fascination with the human body during basic anatomy workshops. Lakshmi served as the Director of the Integral Yoga Academy and the Integral Yoga Teachers Association at Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville for five years. Her current seva is developing the Integral Yoga Therapeutic Yoga certification program. Lakshmi’s supportive instruction is suitable for a wide range of abilities, with different classes ranging from gentle and restorative to energetic and challenging.

Gentle Yoga for a Healthy Back
Quite a number of people have back problems, from a nagging back to more serious conditions like disc issues. This class has select choices of poses to keep your back healthy and happy, and incorporates asana (poses), pranayama (breathing practices), and meditation so you can learn new physical, mental, and emotional responses to back pain.
* Rhett Crowe, a Yoga Teacher in the Viniyoga tradition, focuses on the healing aspects of yoga, adapting this ancient therapeutic practice to work with people of any ability level. She tailors poses to work with stiff or injured muscles and joints, breathing practices for calming mind and body, and meditation to focus and strengthen the mind. Rhett is practical by nature and appreciates the scientific literature that backs up her personal experience of how yoga can improve one’s life. But don’t take her word for it; try a class. For more about Rhett, please follow this link:


Love your Body Yoga Stressful life, injuries, illnesses, and aging can cause us to experience our bodies as sources of aches and pains. We may also find our balance and range of movement is decreased. This 6 week Yoga class series will include breath practice, gentle yoga postures, deep relaxation and meditation, all designed to:
Print• Reduce anxiety and depression
• Improve balance
• Expand range of movement
• Restore better function to joints and tissues
• Relieve aches and pains
No previous Yoga experience is needed.

Yoga for Emotional Trauma  The aim of Yoga for Emotional Trauma is that participants are increasingly able and willing to notice how they are feeling in their body, form greater tolerance for emotional states and bodily sensations, and experience more self-regulation of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

16665189_1261375453908486_7619057441739642530_oEmotional trauma is the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope or integrate the emotions involved with traumatic experiences. Trauma is held in emotional patterns, cognitive memory, and physical structures of the body.
Research in trauma treatment indicates that the addition of Trauma Sensitive Yoga to treatment may lead to long-term improvement in symptoms that had previously been considered unresponsive to other interventions. Trauma Sensitive Yoga aims to help participants cultivate awareness of the mind-body connection and to build self-regulation skills to address the ways in which trauma is held in the body.

Yoga is a combination of physical movements and postures, focused breathing, and purposeful attention or mindfulness. No previous experience with Yoga is necessary for participants in this series of classes. This series of yoga classes is complimentary to psychotherapy for trauma and is not psychotherapy.

Participants are advised to be in an active relationship with a professional psychotherapist trained in trauma therapy during this series of Yoga for Emotional Trauma classes.

* Tom Camp is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, Clinical Fellow and Approved Supervisor in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and an ordained United Methodist minister. He earned his Masters of Divinity at Candler School of Theology in Emory University and his Masters of Science in Family Studies at the University of Georgia, and he completed three years of Advanced Clinical Pastoral Education including a Residency in Pastoral Psychotherapy.tom-camp

He is a Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher and has training in marriage enrichment, human sexuality, conflict resolution, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (a treatment for trauma and anxiety), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, spiritual guidance, Centering Prayer, and the Enneagram.

Mr. Camp founded the Samaritan Counseling Center in 1984 and has been providing counseling, spiritual guidance, education and consultation through the Center since that time. He has also worked as Adjunct Faculty in the University of Georgia Department of Human Development and Family Science and as a Part-time Instructor in the School of Social Work.

Mr. Camp places a special emphasis on creating a safe space for people to explore their feelings, thoughts and experiences. “I have found places in my own life where I feel safe, loved, and can open to new growth,” he said. “I appreciate working with people of a variety of faiths, races, and orientations because each person I get to know grows me.” He is known as a non-judging, compassionate and insightful companion for people on a journey of healing.

Restorative Yoga with iRest   This class incorporates the gentle draping of  Annie-Marcumyoga postures with guided meditation and intention to create a friendship between body and mind. The practice is designed to foster a deep sense of peace and sincere acceptance. Suitable for all levels of physical ability and ideal for those who need to decrease stress and increase peace.   * Annie Marcum received her 200-hr yoga teacher certification through Global Yoga Shala. She has continued her yoga training to include iRest under the tutelage of Dr. Richard Miller. iRest is an evidence-based transformative practice that leads to psychological, physical, and spiritual healing and well-being. Annie loves sharing what she’s gained from yoga and only hopes to continue on this path, connecting with others and learning from their experiences. To Annie, the bliss of yoga (and life) is found in the ability to seek the joy that is available to each of us, in every moment.

Movement into Stillness (Yoga)
According to the ancient Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (known as the Father of Yoga), “The cessation of the fluctuations of the mind is Yoga”.patanjali
In this all-levels yoga practice we work out the kinks of being human through stretching and breathing so that we can prepare the body for stillness. This preparation of the physical body through asana, and the mental body through breathwork, allows us to than sit more peacefully in silence and stillness. In doing so, we create the opportunity to be more fully present to the infinite wisdom and guidance within. (Class begins with 10 minutes of purifying breathwork followed by 45 minutes of movement, and ends with 15 blissful minutes of meditative silence.)
* Meghan Burke (see Foundational Yoga)

Neuromuscular Integrative Activity /or/ Non-Impact Aerobics is a path to condition, heal and express your self through movement and sensation. A dynamic blend of dance arts, martial arts and healing arts, Nia balances technical precision with free-form expression. Nia brings the body, mind, emotions and spirit to optimum health through music, movement and self-expression, guided by the sensation of Pleasure. A way of movement that is accessible to all, Nia helps develop incredible levels of fitness  and a sense of well being.  Nia is creative, artistic, healing, powerful,  and  it is fun!

Overcoming the Effects of Stress and Fear  This 6-week workshop is based on yogic principles and geared towards navigating modern life, naturally. Exploration includes:
japanese-zen-garden• Tools to dissolve old fearful beliefs and the power
that comes from being compassionate with yourself.

• Opportunities to restructure your brain to
decrease conditioned stress responses.

• Overcoming fear through a synergistic combination of coaching, yoga, mindfulness and nutrition.

• Lowering stress levels and cortisol levels

Rebecca Marshall (1)* Rebecca (Rakti Devi) Shisler Marshall, PhD earned her doctorate in experimental cognitive psychology and a Masters of Speech Language Pathology from University of South Carolina and is a certified yoga instructor, and certified Martha Beck Life Coach. Rebecca has 15 years of experience conducting research and teaching at UGA in areas such as attention and integrative treatments such as mindfulness and yogic breathing help in healthy aging and after brain damage. She believes in the power of self-compassion and awareness.

Beginners Tai Chi (Chen Style Taijiquan)  Learn the foundational moves of Tai Chi and the flow of form into sequence. Practiced daily, its fluidity can translate into making everyday movements more easeful and graceful. The intention of this class is to offer the Art of Yin and Yang in a beautiful atmosphere with mirrors for self-correcting postural alignment, and large space for doing Taiji forms. Todd’s highest intention is to promote the art of his master.
20157700_1412896485423048_2184487875720097083_o* Todd Elihu is a 20th generation disciple of Chen Style Taijiquan and a 3rd generation disciple of Chen Shi Xinyi Hunyuan Taiji under Master Chen Zhonghua. Todd began studying Taijiquan (T’ai chi ch’uan) and other Chinese martial arts in 2000 and has been practicing under the guidance of Master Chen since 2002. He has completed two full-time training sessions under Master Chen and has traveled to China several times to deepen his understanding of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method.

When Todd attended a couple of workshops last year with his longtime Taiji (Tai Chi) teacher, Chen Zhonghua, in New York and Iowa City, his teacher strongly encouraged Todd to resume teaching classes again and establish a group of Taiji practitioners in Athens.

Therapeutic Pilates
Pilates is a method of body conditioning which promotes postural alignment, core integrity, and health. The intention is to assist you in claiming the knowledge and safely embodying the strength and fluidity the Pilates system offers. Through mindful movement, precise execution, and proper use of dynamic tension, our bodies gain the ability to heal and strengthen from the inside out. Get strong, long, and connected in your body through this exploration of Classical Pilates with a Therapeutic touch. Basics: Mondays 9-10am / Intermediate Flow: Wednesdays 9-10am.


* Maryn Whitmore brings over 20 years of experience as a teacher of movement to the Athens community. Classically trained, she has taught in a wide variety of settings ranging from assisting patients in rehabilitation after spinal surgery to the Dance Department at UGA. Grounded in the belief of the body’s ability to heal from within, Maryn guides her clients through a process of education, re-patterning, and empowerment. “Allow your body to be the brilliant vessel it can be. Begin with the power of the mind-body-spirit connection.”


Therapeutic Gentle Yoga  Some Infinite Intelligence that is really generous ‘loaned’ us these human gloves so the we could have the privilege of experiencing life on Planet Earth. This journey, if well lived,shutterstock_154228940 includes exploring peaks & valleys, caverns & crests while perhaps forgetting that one sure day we will have to give back the loaner, and it did not come from a weekly Groupon! The way that we treat this body, a sacred gift from the Supreme, is our way of showing gratitude for the ‘loan’. So maybe your whole life was not lived with this awareness, but you can begin today and this is the class. Ideal for those who are  perhaps stiff & inflexible, overweight, injured, mature, or just want to be tender with themSelves. This yoga is for every body. The first half of the class is done comfortably seated in a chair and the last half of class is lying comfortably on a blanket on the floor. All are welcome to this experience of self-love.

* Meghan Burke (see Foundational Yoga)

Vipasana/ Insight Meditation 25w50news
is an ancient and profound practice of moment-to moment awareness of mind/body processes as a path to freedom. As we begin to free ourselves from habitual patterns that have caused our suffering, we start to experience the open, radiant heart that has always been with us but may have gone unnoticed. * this Meditation group meets Tuesdays at 7pm in the ground level studio (first door on the right)…all are welcome.

Yin Yoga  The yin yoga practice aims to release muscles in passive postures, often holding poses for 3-5 minutes. The long holds allow our bodies to truly relax and release- a nourishing experience that will leave you feeling renewed and at peace. This class is designed for all bodies and lifestyles, and will surely be a much needed reward for active individuals.
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* Jimmy Urciuoli knows that you are way too busy to slow down. He, too, is the type of person that can’t sit still for very long, constantly craving mental and physical stimulation. Yoga and meditation, however, became the much needed quiet space in his life to provide balance. Through yoga Jimmy has transformed in so many ways since beginning his practice, but most importantly, yoga has taught him to slow down, take a deep breath, and cherish the present moment for the gift that it is. Please join us in this precious experience… be kind, take the time to unwind.

Yoga in Recovery/Overcoming Habits that Bind is a course class integrating the ancient wisdom of Yoga and Ayurveda with the tools of 12-Step Recovery. Together they offer us a truly empowering personal program of recovery. It is open to all who are looking to overcome self-destructive or addictive tendencies. The only requirement is 3 months sobriety.YoR

This 6 week course class incorporates Ayurveda, the medical/holistic healing, sister science of Yoga as a way to deepen one’s self understanding; giving practical advice on diet and lifestyle adjustments needed to live in harmony with your environment (both internal and external). There will also be some gentle Yoga movements to improve the health of the spine and aid the proper function of the internal organs. Yoga stretches also work on the nervous system and the endocrine system (glands and hormones) therefore restoring health and balance to the entire system. Both Yoga and Ayurveda  promote healing and purification of the body and mind.

In Yoga in Recovery we will explore the many similarities between the ethical and lifestyle foundations of Classical Yoga with those of the 12-Step Programs. Combining Yogic Philosophy with the practice of the principles of the 12-Steps alongside an Ayurvedic lifestyle, together we will cultivate a sure path from self-destruction to Self-realization – one day at a time.

* Celia Brooks, RYT 500 “When people ask me ‘What’s your secret?’ the answer is simple and always the same -YOGA. To help manage the stress surrounding my mother’s cancer diagnosis in 2000, I started on this gentle path. In 2007 I completed my Integral Hatha Basic Teacher Training and have been teaching Integral Hatha Yoga since that time.

Celia BrooksHitting the wall a few years later with the discovery of a loved one’s addiction, I discovered the Yoga of Recovery course and became certified as a Yoga of Recovery Counselor. I had been on the recovery path (in the rooms) for many years, so for me the combination of yoga, Ayurveda (the science of life) and 12 step wisdom was brilliant.

Most recently I have completed my Integral Hatha Intermediate Teacher Training and am certified as an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor. In offering this class it is my hope to create a safe environment for participants to learn ways to thrive in their own recovery, finding the tools to help navigate between the meeting and the mat. It is my intention to start a dialog where we all can share our experience, strength and hope.”

Cultivating Peaceful Relations Unknown
This 6 week Course is based on the principles of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). NVC begins by assuming that we are all compassionate by nature. NVC also assumes that we all share the same, basic human needs, and that each of our actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs. And perhaps somewhere along the road we picked up unkind habits taught and supported by the prevailing culture.

People who practice NVC have found greater authenticity in their communication, increased understanding, deepening connection and conflict resolution.

* John Lash: “Sometimes I forget that looking at conflict as an opportunity isn’t the common view. Most of us avoid conflict when we can. That isn’t always a bad strategy, but sometimes the cost can be high. Similarly, looking at justice questions through a restorative lens is still uncommon, though when I explain it to people they like the idea. The connection for me, based on my own life and on observing many others, is a fundamental and unshakeable faith in our human ability to change and to grow into ever better versions of ourselves. Given the skills and a safe space to work in, people will take responsibility for their actions, they will willingly listen to others, they will practice empathy and they will look for ways to contribute to others and to meet their own needs in ways that don’t harm others. This isn’t an idealistic dream; it’s my (mostly) daily experience.” John Lash (NVC facilitator)