Our Teachers

“Ultimately you will find that if life is the real meditation practice, then everything and everybody in your life becomes your teacher, and every moment and occurrence is an opportunity for practice and for seeing beneath the surface appearance of things” –Jon Kabat-Zinn

Our teachers are our foundation. They are an “educational gift” here to support you on your journey toward innate happiness. They are passionate individuals experienced in studying and teaching hatha yoga. Each of our instructors is delighted to create a safe environment for your unique practice regardless of who and where you are. Teaching from a place of compassion, they are as committed to your evolution as they are to their own.

Meet Sonal Pimplé

– Co-founder

Yoga found Sonal at a very young age, long before she knew what yoga was or the impact it would have on her daily life. She recalls watching in wonder as her two older siblings practiced yoga, and thus she has them to thank for the great inspiration.photo(21)

Sonal’s passion for yoga was sparked when she returned to India from the States in 2003. Since then, she has been graced with the opportunity to study deeply with many masters. Her first great influence was Guruji Nhawkarji of Swanand Yoga Center in India. It was here that Sonal found her calling and the inspiration for opening her own yoga studio one day. In 2011, she took her commitment to yoga to a deeper level and became a certified instructor at the distinguished Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute in India. Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute was founded in 1924 by Sri Swami Kuvalayananda, the great mastermind mainly responsible for the worldwide spread of yoga through his extensive scientific research on its profound therapeutic benefits.

Studying under the protégés of this great yoga master, Sonal was immediately introduced to the power of yoga to heal, balance, and restore positive health. Upon her return to New York, she went on to become a certified instructor and a teacher at the Integral Yoga Institute®. Founded in 1966 by Sri Swami Satchidananda, who is regarded by many as “an apostle of peace,” Integral is a worldwide yoga organization dedicated to the principles of peace, and the harmonious development of every individual.

Sonal is deeply honored by the opportunity to inspire others with her knowledge. Through her encouragement for students to explore their physical and emotional boundaries safely, without strain and injury, she hopes to equip each of her students with the tools to quiet the ego. Her vision is “a world where we can all unfold into the integrity of who we really are.” Each class with Sonal, whether group or private, is designed to leave you feeling centered, calm, and full of peace.

Alan Cook

 Alan began practicing yoga a decade ago in the hope of alleviating lower back pain.  He fell in love with the beauty of the physical practice and grew to appreciate the health benefits which follow.  He studied to become a teacher at the Integral Yoga Institute, where he teaches today.  Alan is certified in beginner, intermediate, and advanced asana and pranayama practices, as well as therapeutic yoga.  Alan is recognized by the Yoga Alliance as an RYT-500.



Jenny Saraswati Bichsel

Jenny began practicing yoga 7 years ago after sustaining a repetitive strain injury from extended hours of computer work. Initially practicing Vinyasa style yoga to gain flexibility and strength, she is now drawn to the more meditative style of Hatha, and incorporates daily meditation into her practice. Wishing to pass on these powerful tools for strength, balance and inner peace, she completed her Hatha Level I teacher training at the Integral Yoga Institute in summer 2011. Her classes are open to all levels, but aimed at beginners wishing to explore the broader aspects of yoga, incorporating asana, pranayama and meditation into each practice.


Joseph Dharmatma Carman

Joseph (Dharmatma) Carman (RYT 200) has been certified in Hatha Level 1, Hatha Level 2 and Restorative Yoga through Integral Yoga Institute in New York City. With an excellent working knowledge of anatomy, he has been practicing massage for over twenty years, and is a graduate of both the Swedish Institute and Ohashi Institute.  A former dancer with American Ballet Theatre, he also is a senior contributing editor at Dance Magazine. He received his B.A. in Journalism from the New School University. Joseph teaches yoga at Swanand and at IYI and offers Yogissage sessions here at Swanand.


Christie Roe

Christie intends to make practicing hatha yoga enjoyable and useful for every body and mind. She started teaching in Southern California, where she had the fortune to study and train with masters in the modern Krishnamacharya-Desikachar and Iyengar lineages. Her approach is breath-centered, balanced, and adaptable to the day by day needs and desires of her students. She is honored to be a part of the community here at Swanand.  www.digthyself.com


Andrea Bhairavi Downes

Andrea began her journey in yoga 14 years ago while a healing from a debilitating injury. She received her 200- and 300 -hr. yoga teacher training certifications at Integral Yoga Institute, where she is also certified in Raja, Teen, Kids, Therapeutic and Yin Yoga.

CoreYoga collage

She strongly believes that “Yoga saved her life” and yearns to use her knowledge and experience to guide people in transcending their mental, physical, and spiritual fears and limitations through the various paths of Yoga. She provides students with a challenging yet meditative and dynamic practice so that they can extend their experience from the studio to everyday life.

Bhairavi also holds certificate as a Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. 


Francisca Alexander

dhamma dhara forest

Inspired to share the practice with others due to the tremendous healing and growth experienced in her own life, Francisca first became certified to teach in 2003. Her studies continued with Adrienne Burke in a 500hr Training. The past years have led her to practice and study with Sri Dharma Mittra, and she completed his Life of a Yogi 500hr Training in 2008. Her classes include exploration on the physical level as well as the energetic realm.  She mixes humor with challenge and encourages students to listen to their inner teacher and embrace life off the yoga mat as the true yoga practice. Thanks and eternal gratitude to the yoga teachers of past and present for lighting the yogic fire.