Celia Alvarez, Ph.D.
World Cultures & Consciousness: The Yugas, Art of Written Expression
Celia holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and a B.A. in Language and Communication from Hampshire College, Amherst, Massachusetts. Her areas of research and teaching at the graduate and undergraduate level included the study of language, gender, and identity across cultures, the study of oral narrative of personal experience, oral history, women’s studies, multicultural/bilingual education, higher education, and ethnic studies. She has been in the forefront of curriculum reform in higher education and development of trans-disciplinary academic programs of study over the last 30 years. She served on the Board of Trustees of Hampshire College 2003-07.
Michael Nitai Deranja
Foundations of Eastern Philosophy, Calculus and College Math
Nitai received his B.A. in Humanistic Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley Phi Beta Kappa, and an education credential and M.A. in Education from the University of California at Davis. He founded the first Education for Life elementary school in Nevada City, California, and established the first Education for Life high school in 1997. He has taught parenting and teacher training workshops for over 30 years and is the author of "The Art of Joyful Education", "For Goodness’ Sake: Helping Children and Teens Discover Life’s Higher Values", and co-author of "Journey to the Heart of Nature".
Carol Gray, M.Th., M.S., N.C.C.
Directional Psychology, The Art & Science of Raja Yoga, Ayurveda & Psychology
Before joining Ananda College of Living Wisdom Carol taught Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga for 19 years at Southern Oregon University, where she also teaches in their Master Program for Counseling. In addition to her teaching Carol is a National Certified Counselor and educator specializing in Directional Psychology, a holistic approach to counseling that includes Eastern and Western schools of psychology. Carol has a Master Degree in Theology from Graduate Theological Foundation and a Master’s Degree in Counseling from Southern Oregon University.
Susan Usha Dermond, M.A.
Education For Life
Usha is Co-Director of the Ananda College Education for Life (EFL) Teacher Training Program. Before joining the college, Usha spent thirty years as an educator in alternative schools. She is the founder and director of the Living Wisdom School in Portland, Oregon, a non-profit holistic school for children. Author of "Calm and Compassionate Children: A Handbook" (Celestial Arts, 2007), Usha provides practical guidance to adults and describes activities to foster children’s concentration, joy, kindness and love.
Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
Physics and Consciousness; Guest Lecturer Member of the Ananda College of Living Wisdom Advisory Board
Dr. Goswami is one of the world's leading theoretical quantum physicists and member of The University of Oregon Institute for Theoretical Physics since 1968, teaching physics for 32 years. Originally from India, Dr. Goswami received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Calcutta in 1964. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Oregon and continues teaching worldwide. He is author of the university textbook "Quantum Mechanics" (McGraw-Hill, 1996), plus many other books including "The Quantum Doctor" (Hampton Roads, 2004).
Dr. Robert Schoch, Ph.D.
Advisory Board, Ananda College of Living Wisdom
Dr. Robert Schoch, a full-time faculty member at the College of General Studies at Boston University since 1984, earned his Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics at Yale University. He holds an M.S. and M.Phil. in Geology and Geophysics from Yale, as well as degrees in Anthropology (B.A.) and Geology (B.S.) from George Washington University.
Creativity and Self Awareness, Graphic Arts, Cooperative Spiritual Living
Nischala graduated from the honors program at Pacific University with a B.A. in Mass Communication, English, and Art, and did post graduate training in Journalism, Graphic Arts, and Creative Writing at San Diego State University. She is co-founder of the Ananda College of Living Wisdom and co-director of the Ananda Meditation Retreat. She has been a Creative Director for several international design firms, founded her own award-winning design and communications company, and has written for various yoga, health and spirituality magazines. She is the author of the book "Reflections on Living 30 Years in a Spiritual Community."
Melissa has been teaching at the Living Wisdom School in Beaverton, Oregon since 2008. She works with all grades as the art teacher for the school. She received her certification in Education for Life in 2010. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Oregon in 1996. In addition she has years of experience teaching in the Head Start preschool and working as a family advocate in Washington County, where she received her A.A. in Early Childhood Education in 2004. Her passion is creation and sharing in the joy of expressing oneself through art. She is a certified RYT200 yoga teacher.
Lakshmi Van Atta, B.A.
Performing Arts and Movement
Lakshmi received her AA in Performing Arts at Bennett Jr. College in Millbrook, NY and a BA in Performing Arts from New York University. She is a trained actor, singer, and dancer and has been a certified Ananda Yoga teacher since 1989. In 1990 she created The Joyful Arts Dance School in California and taught modern dance and modern free flow movement to children of all ages. In order to understand children and their needs as a teacher in the Arts, she trained in the Learning Styles. A course, which teaches the many different ways people learn. She then added the ‘Education For Life’ course and its’ different Stages of Maturity and integrated all this information into Performing Arts classes. This way of teaching the Arts makes the classes more fun and creative and less stressful. Premananda Dance was born through Lakshmi in 1994. This mixture of Eastern Indian dance (Inspired from India’s Bharatam Natyam technique) and Western (Modern) dance come together to create a narrative dance technique used to dance to words either spoken or sung while moving around the stage with grace and ease. Being a dancer, Lakshmi realized too many dancers come out of training with the awareness of how to dance but lack the knowledge of their own anatomy and physiology and therefore cannot help their students as fully as might be needed. Natural healing modalities had become an interest and in 2004 after experiencing constant pain and disability from a four year prior tailbone injury; she was inspired by the healing that took place in her body from receiving Bowen Therapy treatments. She became a Bowen Nerve Trauma Release Therapist in 2005. In March 2011 she finished her hours in Pilates training and now is also a Classical Pilates (all equipment) teacher. On top of everything else, during the last nine years she has lead a Kirtan group, ‘Prema Shakti’ in Durango, Colorado holding Kirtans telling stories from mystical India, offering classes in Yogic/ Vedic philosophy, meditation and teaching harmonium.
Yoga Teacher Training
Yoga Teacher Training
Sandra Priya McDivitt
Sandy ‘Priya’ McDivitt holds a B.S. in Education, a minor in Spanish and M.A. in Multicultural Education from the University of Colorado. Now retired from public education, her diverse experience in education has spanned over 40 years. She was a Master Teacher for the Saddleback Valley Unified School District in California and received the National Outstanding Elementary Teachers of America award in 1972. She went of to co-author High Intensity Language Training curriculum in response to the influx of Southeast Asian refugees in the 1980’s. She has done extensive professional development in ESL and has taught in this capacity for the University of Colorado. She has been a presenter at the Colorado Migrant Education and International TESOL Conferences. She was the Colorado representative for the Migrant Education Program Improvement Center (MEPIC), Western States and the facilitator for the Migrant Parent Advisory Council in the St. Vrain Valley School District. Her interest in innovative education was sparked by the Education for Life schools, and she took these principles to charter school education. She was the co-founder and executive director of Forest Charter School, a successful K-12 WASC accredited Personalized Learning program, serving from 2001-2009. In 2009 she traveled to India where she became the founding principal of the Dihika Living Wisdom School in Gurgaon, India, an Education for Life school. She currently serves as Director of Admissions for Ananda College.
Rebecca Davis, Ph.D.
Rebecca Davis holds a PhD in English Literature with a Certificate in Theory & Criticism from the University of Washington, and earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Purdue University. She most recently taught beginning to advanced composition, intermediate and advanced literature, creative writing and interdisciplinary studies at the University of Washington. For the past 12 years Rebecca has taught fiction writing workshops, personal essay writing workshops, as well as writing composition courses at major universities. She has taught special studies in literature, advanced expository writing, courses on the modern novel, interdisciplinary writing for psychology and sociology, and more. She is a published and award-winning short story author.
Joseph Bharat Cornell
Advisory Board, Ananda College of Living Wisdom, Lecturer
Joseph Bharat Cornell is one the most highly regarded nature educators in the world today. His first book, "Sharing Nature with Children", sparked a worldwide revolution in nature education and became a classic. His six Sharing Nature Books are in 20 languages and have sold nearly a million copies. Bharat¹s second book, "Listening to Nature", has inspired thousands of adults to deepen their relationship and experience of nature.
Vanamali received an M.A. Honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Madras, where she graduated with a first rank and also was a gold medalist. Her professor, T.M.P. Mahadevan is well known for his books on Advaita Vedanta. Vanamali is the author of more than 10 books about ancient Vedic scriptures including: "The Play of God;" "Sri Rama Lila"; "Sri Krishna Lila"; "The Lilas of the Sons of Shiva"; "Nitya Yoga"; “Srimad Bhagavad Gita"; and her newest book, "Hanuman--The Devotion & Power of the Monkey God" with a foreword by Sri Krishna Das the musician. She is also the author of the cookbook "The Taste Divine: Indian Vegetarian Cooking the Natural Way."
Ananda College of Living Wisdom Advisory Board
Mr. Fritz is an engineer at Northrop Grumman Aerospace and has three patents in that field in which he has worked for 29 years. He does research and teaches in the college of science and engineering at Loyola Marymount University teaching in Asian Studies. He is the founder of the national Nanomanufacturing Technical Group and on the national Advisory Board of the Manufacturing Enterprise Council. He has been a consultant for JPL, and has been a guest speaker at many Universities and conferences in the US and abroad. In 1998 he received the Outstanding Engineering Achievement Merit Award of the Engineers' Council of California.
Executive Board of Directors
Kraig Brockschmidt has been working with the Ananda College of Living Wisdom since its inception in 2003, as guest instructor and currently as a Director. He has a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Washington and currently works as a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft Corporation in a software development team. He also had an earlier career at Microsoft from 1988-1996 during which time he was a widely-respected technology expert, lecturer, and best-selling author, the spiritual side of which he shares in his book Mystic Microsoft: A Journey of Transformation in the Halls of High Technology .
Meghan Don has taught at Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and Environment, and at Esalen Institute. She is author of “Falling into the Arms of God: Meditations with Teresa of Avila” and “Sacred Companions, Sacred Community: Reflections with Clare of Assisi.” She was born in New Zealand where she was nourished by the Maori culture and her connection with the land. For many years she traveled and studied Hindi Bhakti in India and the Islamic Sufi traditions in the Middle East. Meghan’s exploration into mystic Christianity led her to become deeply aligned with the Carmelite Order and first encountered Teresa of Avila. She attended La Trobe University, Melborune, specializing in Comparative Religions and Psycho-Analytical Studies.
Hindi, World Cultures & Consciousness;
Christopher has taught history and communication studies at the University of Windsor, Canada. He is the author of "One Language, Two Scripts, The Hindi Movement in 19th Century North India" (Oxford University Press, 1994). He has translated two books from Hindi to English: "Gaban: The Stolen Jewels" (Oxford University Press, 2002) and "Rangbhumi: The Arena of Life" (Oxford University Press, 2010)
Directional Psychology & Inspirational Arts Departments
Mantradevi teaches in both the Directional Psychology and Inspirational Arts Departments. She has been an Ananda Education for Life Teacher and a certified Ananda Yoga Teacher since 1979. She has served for many years as a minister, teacher, and co-director in several Ananda communities and centers (Palo Alto, Portland, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles). Mantradevi has taught hundreds of people how to access inner happiness through yoga, emotional healing, creativity, and meditation. She authored, "Achieving Inner Peace and Tranquility,” an inner transformational course, the result of years of research and experience in teaching and counseling. A successful artist, Mantradevi paints and works individually with students at her studio. www.expandingarts.com.
Arvind Bruce Burger, M.A, RPP, RPE
Holistic Health & Healing, Energy Medicine, Polarity Therapy
Arvind Bruce Burger, MA,RPP, RPE, is the founder of Heartwood Institute (1978) and the Heartwood Community (1981), one of the world’s leading centers for professional training for careers in massage, somatics, asian healing arts, and spirituality.
Bruce holds a B.S. from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. from The New School for Social Research. Trained in Sociology and Psychology, Bruce has been a member of the faculty of the University of Nevada, Newark State College and Rutgers University. In 1972, he left academia and spent a number of years traveling and studying in Asia and India, in search of a deeper understanding of the human condition. He was guided to Polarity Therapy and has been teaching spiritual healing and transformational bodywork through Polarity Energy Balancing on a daily basis since 1977.
Dana Andersen, M.A.
Art & Consciousness; Advanced Painting
Dana holds degrees in Philosophy and Consciousness Studies and is a multi-media artist and teacher. She is founder Awakening Arts, a network of artists who affirm the noble purpose of art as a vehicle for uplifting the human spirit. Her work has been displayed in U.S. and international art galleries, in children’s books and magazines.
Music & Consciousness
David began his studies at age 6 and made his public debut with the Pittsburgh Symphony at age 16. He attended the Eastman School of Music where he received the Performer's Certificate as well as his Bachelor of Music, under the tutelage of Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet. He continued his studies at Indiana University with Janos Starker, and became the Principal Cellist of the Evansville Philharmonic and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. He is founding cellist for the musical storytelling troupe "Tales & Scales", where he developed composing, improvising, and acting abilities.
World Cultures & Consciousness
Byasa’s experience includes forty years of scientific work, initially in observational astronomy and later in optical metrology. He is retired from Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and is the author of numerous articles and papers concerning astronomy and optical technology. For more than a decade he has been writing and lecturing on the topic of a particular cyclic world-view based on yoga philosophy.
Executive Director, Cooperative Spiritual Living
Nakula was a founding member of Ananda Village (1970) with responsibility for developing Ananda Dairy, which at its height employed six workers and produced organic milk, yogurt, and cheese for the community. He managed a construction company, which employed up to 35 workers. His building experience ranges from creating buildings for National Car Rental, Avis, and other companies to the use of alternative building modalities such as rammed earth and solar power. He is an elected member of Ananda Village Council and has worked with the Nevada County Planning Commission. He has taught classes in business and leadership.
Ayurveda, Introduction to Vedic Arts,
Mangala holds degrees in nursing from Stanford (B.S.N.), University of California in San Francisco (N.P.), and University of Washington (M.N.), where she later taught and received the Excellence in Teaching Award. She completed trainings at the California College of Ayurveda, The Harbin School of Shiatsu and Massage, the Ayurvedic Institute, and the School of Polarity Therapy. She has been a practicing nurse for over 30 years specializing in women’s health, birth, and newborn care. A student and practitioner of yoga and meditation for 20 years, she has taught yoga classes in the US, Canada, Italy, Germany, and India.
Education for Life
Toby holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from California State University, Sacramento and a Life Multiple Subject teaching credential. She is the author of the book and CD "Supporting Your Child's Inner Life". Toby has 30 years teaching experience, 28 of them teaching in the Education for Life schools. She has taught in the Ananda College of Living Wisdom EFL Teaching Intensives and has led seminars in Education for Life at various locations in the US and Italy.