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

Bellydance Basics  Based on the Salimpour format, this class is both a great first step into the dance world or a tune up of your basic skills.  This class is focused on isolations and muscular control, which is the foundation for any dance stylization.  Suitable for any fitness level, this class is for anyone who wants to move and have fun while learning a new movement practice.FB_IMG_1576611690117

MahsatiAbanBeyond Basics  Continuing the strong foundation of the Basics class, we build our dance practice with specific stylizations, increased layers, and specific props.  This class is also based on the Salimpour nomenclature and technique.  It helps you deepen your dance practice, your understanding of the history and culture of our dance, as well as increasing dance technique.

* Mahsati first fell in love with belly dance at Sangha Yoga Studio many years ago.  She continued her dance education through the Salimpour School, where she is currently certified as Level 2 in both Suhaila and Jamila formats.  Through the school, she is also a member of Bal Anat, the longest running dance troupe in the world.  Locally, she continues to study with Samira, as well as taking workshops with teachers from all stylizations and from all over the world.  Mahsati is excited to share her love of dance, music, and the connection of people to themselves and others with her students. 

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  

Integral Hatha Yoga
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.

Kyrie Gayatri Fulford-All Levels taught by *Kerry Fulford, “When I was graciously introduced to the science of yoga and saw what a holistic life plan it offers, I decided to become a life time student and to share the healing it offers me with others. I was lovingly and precisely taught at Satchidananda Ashram and am certified to teach all levels of asana, Pranayama, and meditation in this wonderful series of Integral Hatha Yoga. I have been an active teacher since 1995 and have staffed other teacher training programs at Yogaville.”

– Level I / Beginners/ Yoga 101: 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. 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.

– Level II/III class is designed for students who are comfortable with the basic Level I 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.  * Meghan Madhavi Burke

Gentle Hatha Yoga
The class will have an emphasis on stability, strength and flexibility. We will focus on alignment with attention to our mind, body, spirit connection.  Rhonda’s Hatha classes emphasize a therapeutic approach. The pace is slow allowing students time to relax and learn about their bodies in each pose. Class will include deep relaxation and some restorative practices as well and is great for beginners as well as yoga students of all levels.

* Rhonda Helms  11890415_10204638264505560_1884963192666714738_o earned two Yoga Teacher Certifications, one in 1999 from The Yoga Institute in Houston, Texas and another from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Lenox, Massachusetts in March of 2002. Rhonda hasattended numerous national yoga conferences and learned yoga from some of the most highly respected Yoga teachers in the country. From 2002 to 2010 Rhonda studied closely with John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga.
Since 1999 Rhonda has taught at several locations in TX including Lone Star College, The Yoga Studio of the Woodlands and for the Academy of Lifelong Learning. Rhonda also leads yoga workshops annually to locations throughout the United States.
Rhonda’s teaching style focuses on alignment of the body within the yoga poses and she shares her deep gratitude and joy for the practice of yoga.

Yoga for Mature Bodies aka Gentle Yoga Aging, stress, injuries and illness can cause us to experience our bodies as a source of aches and pains. This can overshadow the quality of our time with family and our ability to engage. We may also find our balance and range of movement is decreasing with maturation. This Yoga class 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.

* 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.

Kundalini Yoga  is the yoga of awareness. The practice strengthens all the systems of the bodies sm_132223844238158to enable harmonic functioning. Kundalini has also been described as the Householder yoga, for people who need to accomplish alot, while maintaining deep peace.
 *Harsimran (Ande Burke) first started practicing Kundalini Yoga in 1977. He taught as Sangha Yoga Studio when first opening in 2000 and we are delighted to welcome him hOMe.

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)


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.

T’ai Chi, Yang Style, Traditional Long Form This is an ancient forms of t’ai chi. In its origin it was a defensive martial art, but is generally practiced today as a meditative art. It is meditation in motion. As you go through the moves in the form you move in a seamless, free flowing fashion. It is quiet, peaceful, and restorative. It helps with mental focus, memory, stress, and patience. Physically it is a practice that enhances core strength and coordination. It improves balance in your physical body. When strength, support and balance are improved in your physical body you will find that they are also improved in your life. You can think of your t’ai chi practice as a metaphor for the things you want in your everyday life.

Patty's Profile PIctureYou will be taught all of the moves and the principles that guide them. All levels of experience are welcome. Wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to practice barefoot. Shoes are not helpful unless they are specifically tai chi shoes (ideally only worn indoors). If using tai chi shoes, please carry your shoes in and put them on inside.

Patty Riehm began her t’ai chi journey in 1995 studying Yang Style, Traditional Long Form. In 2000, with the blessings of her teacher (following Yang Style tradition) she began to teach. She has maintained her practice ever since, teaching once or twice weekly. Since that time, as her practice has deepened, she continues to learn from the form itself, and from her students. She is passionate about the difference this practice has made in her life and loves sharing that experience with others.

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.

06bd39cb98a86cf5c78f5627887aecdcYin Yoga  Life can be so YANG, muscling our way through everything. And then getting our workout in…more YANG. Oh, and don’t forget the Hot Yoga, the Power Yoga, the Circus Yoga…more YANG. Your connective tissues have become taught rubber bands begging you to please, take a YIN moment to unwind. The main difference between a Yin and a Yang Yoga practice is that Yin postures stretch the connective tissues (yin) for an extended period of time with RELAXED muscles (yang), releasing deep tension and stress. This practice also encourages a free flow of energy throughout the meridians, or energy pathways, encouraging profound healing. Long gentle holds in a pose, loosening the grip in the muscles and the mind. Softening. Effortlessly.* Meghan Burke (see Foundational Yoga)

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.tumblr_maviv62z5C1rska6xo1_500

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.”

Shotokan Karate is a martial art rooted in striking techniques, designed for use in self-defense. Regular practice revolves around kata (forms), supplemented by kihon (basic techniques) and kumite (sparring). These technical aspects of the art, however, entail a broader set of goals: the care and cultivation of the body and mind, and the quest for mutual respect and understanding among all people.

Historically, the art of karate (“empty hand”) enjoyed a lively development on the island of Okinawa over many centuries, combining indigenous ideas with influences from China. In the early years of the 20th century, Master Gichin Funakoshi synthesized Shotokan from older forms he had mastered. At the invitation of the Emperor he traveled to the main island of Japan in 1917, where he established the tradition the world knows today.Joe

Athens Shotokan is led by Joe Fu. Having started practice immediately after meeting Ohshima Sensei in 1979, he was awarded the rank of 4th dan (yodan) by him in 2010.