Meet the teachers

Heather Elton  | London, Goa & Nepal

Heather Elton invites extraordinary teachers who are both accomplished practitioners and brilliant scholars at leading academic institutions to share their knowledge with students on her Yoga Teacher Training program.

Heather is the Founder/Director of Elton Yoga and designs the TTC programs in London, Goa and Nepal. She has taught over 20 yoga teacher training programs. Heather teaches Asana technique, Vinyasa Flow, Yoga Adjustments, Sequencing Asana, Pranayama and Meditation, History of yoga, Yoga philosophy on the Road and Teaching Methodology. She also teaches the unique ‘Tools of Tantra’ module. Yoga philosophy is integrated into the practice to reveal the spiritual path underlying yoga, and the technology to stabilise the mind and realise our true nature. It works on a deep physical and psychological level. She is a believer in the ancient yogic path to Self-Realisation.

Heather has practiced Yoga since 1986 and is a Buddhist dharma practitioner. She is student of Dzongsar Jamyang Khentsye Rinpoche and has been initiated as a Nath Aghori yogini at Pashupati. To see Heather’s full yoga bio please click here


James Mallinson | London (2013 & 2014)

After leaving school in 1987 at the age of 17, Jim Mallinson spent 7 months in India and has been back every year since, spending a total of ten years there, much of it wandering with traditional sadhus and yogis. In 1992, he attended his first Kumbh Mela, where he met Ram Balak Das, his guru, perhaps the last remaining practitioner of Vajroli, the ultimate practice of traditional yoga. He read Sanskrit at Oxford, then did an MA at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, for which his prize-winning thesis was on Indian asceticism. He did his PhD at Oxford under the world’s leading scholar of Tantra, Professor Alexis Sanderson. His thesis was a translation of a 14th-century Sanskrit text on Khecarīmudrā, the yogic technique of cutting free the tongue so that it can be turned into the top of the skull to taste the nectar of immortality. In India he found the few remaining yogis who continue the practice and he went as far as to learn it for himself. From 2002 to 2008 he was the most prolific translator for the Clay Sanskrit Library.

James is currently a professor at SOAS in London. He is also affiliated with Oxford once again, where he is setting up a research project to edit and translate the six earliest Sanskrit texts on the roots of Hatha Yoga. James traveled to the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India – the largest gathering of human beings the world has ever seen. He was accompanied by actor Dominic West to make a ground-breaking documentary film East Meets West. Jim is currently the head of the Sanskrit department at Oxford.

Ruth Westoby | London & Nepal (2018 – 2020)

Ruth is fascinated by yoga both in academia and practice. She practices Ashtanga yoga and is researching for a doctoral degree on gendered conceptions in haṭha yoga at SOAS under the supervision of James Mallinson. She began teaching posture-based classes in 2004. She was awarded an MA in Indian Religions from SOAS in 2010 with Distinction. Since then she has taught yoga history and philosophy on workshops and teacher trainings, and studying Sanskrit. Ruth’s main teachers are Hamish Hendry, Richard Freeman and Sharat Jois. In 2015, she was authorized by Sharat to teach Ashtanga level 2.

Ruth collaborated in 2016 and 2017 with SOAS’s Haṭha Yoga Project interpreting postures from the Sanskrit text the Haṭhābhyāsapaddhati shortly to be released as a documentary. Ruth is the forum facilitator on Yogacampus’s online course A History of Yoga: The Latest Research. Ruth helps run the SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies and the Sanskrit Reading Room, and writes for the practitioner magazine Pushpam.

Emil Wendel  | Goa (2009 – 2017) & Nepal 2015 & 2016)

Emil has taught Pranayama and Yoga Philosophy on the Goa  TTC since it’s inception in 2008. Emil is deeply passionate about yoga, in particular, the aspects of breath and meditation in both the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. His many years of residency in Nepal and India have brought about exceptional insight into the depth of Indian civilization and its underlying currents. His study of Âshram traditions, and treasured time with Sadhus and living Buddhist masters, have brought a strong appreciation of the subjects of Mantras and Mudrâs, as well as other methods of Pratyâhâra (sense-withdrawal) and Dhâranâ (concentration), the ancient yogic tools which may, over time, bring about that delightful state of true meditation (Dhyâna).

John Weddepohl  | Goa (2011 – 2014)

John Weddepohl taught Self Knowledge on the Goa TTCs. Describing himself as a vagabond, rogue and rascal John has been blessed with teachers. A native South African John opened his first yoga studio in 1969 in Johannesburg at the age of 19. In 2004, John travelled to India in 2004 to explore different yoga traditions. He spent time at the ashram of Swami Satyananda Saraswati of Bihar, travelled to Pasupathinath in Nepal to stay with the Aghori yogis and Babas, and did pilgrimage in Varanasi, Ganghotri and Orissa. He has been initiated into the Dravidian tradition of the Tamil Siddhas in Tamil Nadu. And  studied Advaita Vedanta with Swami Dayananda Saraswati in Rishikesh.nEventually, he met his gurudev, Swami Suddhananda Saraswati, who initiated John in Atma Vidya or Para Vidya,  Supreme Self-knowledge. After studying the Vedas/Upanishads with his guru for seven years, he was told to start teaching, John’s been travelling with the knowledge and sharing ever since.

Daniela Bevilacqua | London (2018)

Daniela Bevilacqua is an Indianist who uses ethnographic and historical methodologies to dig into religious issues of Indian culture. In 2006 she accomplished her BA in Oriental Languages at the University of Rome, Sapienza, presenting the thesis Nityasumangali, the ritual and propitiatory role of the Devadasi. In 2009 she completed her MD, specializing in Modern and Contemporary Indian History. Her thesis, Rāmjanmabhūmi: Myth, Religion, History and Politics, analysed historically the origin and development of the Rāmjanmabhūmi issue. On the wave of this work, she decided to focus on the Rām bhakti and especially on the Rāmānandī sampradāya for her PhD. She received her doctorate in 2015 in “Civilizations, Cultures and Societies of Asia and Africa”, supervised by Professor Mario Prayer at University of Rome, Sapienza, and a doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Paris X Nanterre Ouest La Défense, supervised by Professor Véronique Bouillier. Her work based on a multidisciplinary approach titled A Past for the Present:The Role of the Śrī Maṭh and the Jagadgurū in the Evolution of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya. Through this work, she came to know Dr Mallinson, who asked her to join the HYP team due to her ethnographic work among ascetics. Her role in the project is to collect, through fieldwork, historical evidence of yoga practice

Matthew Clark  | London (2017) & Nepal (2018)

Matthew Clark (MA, PhD) is a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS – University of London), where he taught Hinduism between 1999 and 2003. Matthew has taught on various yoga teacher trainings since 2002, and has been invited to teach  in the UK, Europe, Israel, India, Sri Lanka and the USA.

Matthew has published articles and books on yoga, soma/haoma (the ritual drink of brahmans and Zoroastrians) and sadhus (yogis). Matthew first travelled in India in 1977 and has been a regular visitor ever since. He spent about 12 years in India, visiting hundreds of pilgrimage sites and trekking over 2,000 miles in the Himalayas. He began experimenting with yoga as a teenager and since 1990 has had a regular practice of modified Ashtanga Yoga. Matthew also writes songs, plays guitar, and makes records as Mahabongo.

Ian Baker  | London (2016)

Ian A. Baker taught Tantra on the London 2016 TTC. Ian Bak­er holds advanced degrees in His­to­ry and Anthro­pol­o­gy and is the author of sev­en crit­i­cal­ly acclaimed books on Himalayan and Tibetan cul­ture, includ­ing Tibetan Yoga: Prin­ci­ples and Prac­tices, The Heart of the World, The Tibetan Art of Heal­ing, Bud­dhas of the Celes­tial Gallery, and The Dalai Lama’s Secret Tem­ple, a col­lab­o­ra­tive work with H.H. The Dalai Lama illu­mi­nat­ing Tantric Bud­dhist yoga and med­i­ta­tion prac­tices. He leads travel seminars in Tibet and Bhutan and was named by the National Geographic Society as one of the seven ‘Explorers for the Millennium’ for his groundbreaking field research in Tibet’s Tsangpo Gorges. Ian lived for more than twenty-five years in India and Nepal and is an initiate of both Tibetan Buddhism and Tantric Saivism.

Westin Harris  |  Nepal (2019)

Westin Harris (Répa Senge Drayang) is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Davis and Berkeley. His research looks at the intersections of Vajrayana Buddhist and Nāth hāṭhayoga traditions, particularly in relation to the legacy of the mahāsiddha Virūpā (Virūpākṣa, Virūpākṣanāth). His secondary research interests include the connections between mahāsiddha Virūpā and the Zhijé tradition of Phadampa Sangyé and the Chöd (‘severance’) tradition of Machik Labdrön. As a scholar-practitioner, Westin is also a recognized ‘répa’ or ‘cotton-robed yogī’ and an initiated member of the ‘gökar changlodé’ or the “community of white-robed, dreadlocked yogis” in both the Nyingma and the Sarma traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Westin’s engaging teaching style is augmented by his infectious passion and his down-to-earth approachability.

Matteo Pistono  | Goa (2016)

Matteo Pistono taught Buddhist meditation and philosophy on the Goa 2016 TTC. Matteo Pistono is a writer, meditation teacher, and breathwork guide. His forthcoming book on optimal breathing for health, sports, and meditation will be published in 2024 by Hay House. Matteo’s previous books include  Roar: Sulak Sivaraksa and the Path of Socially Engaged Buddhism (North Atlantic Books, March 2019) Meditation: Coming to Know Your Mind (Hay House 2017), Fearless in Tibet: The Life of the Mystic Tertön Sogyal (Hay House 2014) and In the Shadow of the Buddha: One Man’s Journey of Discovery in Tibet (Dutton 2011). Matteo’s photos and writings about meditation, Buddhism, yoga, and Himalayan and Southeast Asian cultural, political, and spiritual landscapes have appeared in The Washington Post, The Global Post, Buddhadharma, Tricycle, BBC’s In-Pictures, Men’s Journal, Kyoto Journal, and HIMAL South Asia.

Matteo was born and raised in Wyoming where he completed his undergraduate degree in Anthropology from the University of Wyoming, and in 1997 he obtained his Masters of Arts degree in Indian Philosophy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. After working with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. on Tibetan cultural programs, Pistono lived and traveled throughout the Himalayas for a decade, bringing to the West graphic accounts and photos of China’s human rights abuses in Tibet, which was documented in In the Shadow of the Buddha. Matteo sits on the Executive Council of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. Matteo and his wife, Monica, live in southern California with their dog.

Daniel Simpson  |  London (2017)

Daniel taught yoga philosophy on the 2016 London TTC. He first visited India in 1998, and has spent more than two years there, immersed in practice with a wide range of yogis, from traditional sadhus to BKS Iyengar and his family. Back in London, he has studied a master’s degree at SOAS in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation, where his teachers of Sanskrit and yoga history included James Mallinson.

Drawing on a master’s degree from SOAS (University of London), and two decades of experience, he aims to help students explore their own path. Daniel presents ancient texts for modern times. He is the author of The Truth of Yoga, a comprehensive guide to the history of practice. His approach combines scholarly knowledge with humour and insight, making yoga philosophy accessible and relevant to practitioners today. Daniel teaches courses online, at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, at Triyoga in London.


Edward Clark  | London (2013 & 2014)

Edward Clark taught the Vinyasa module on the London TTC in 2013 & 2014. Edward is internationally recognised as a teacher of advanced yoga technique and philosophy. He is the creator of Tripsichore, the London-based yoga performance group that continues to delight audiences around the world.

Edward says, “VINYASA in our definition, is the evenly metered flow of movement, breath and thought resulting in a smooth, uninflected state of being. The vinyasa techniques are pursued to bring about clarity and stability to one’s thoughts and actions.”

Most yoga discipline has worked on refining one’s self in the direction of greater stillness – an absence of movement in the mind and body. Superficially, vinyasa would seem to contradict this. However, the mental focus and physical technique needed to bring about continuous fluid movement can also bring one to a “seat” of great stability and clarity. The stability is not only in the posture, but in the transition between postures – to the point where there is no distinction between movement and stillness.”

Nuria Reed | Nepal 2019 & Goa 2020 

Nuria has taught Vinyasa Flow on the Goa and Nepal trainings. She lives in Joshua Tree, California. Nuria is a leader in the new generation of yoga teachers, healers, and entrepreneurs. Her strong leadership and in-depth training give her style and skill, both in and out of the yoga studio. Nuria’s mission in life is to alleviate suffering in the world. Her approach is trauma-informed and somatic-based coaching, specifically for sexuality and empowerment. Her philosophy is firmly planted in the reclaimed witch traditions of her ancestors and the non-dual Tantra of her yogic lineage.

With 10,000 hours of yoga teaching and training experience, ten sacred pilgrimages to India and Nepal, 650 hours of sex, love, and relationship training, and two decades of transformative personal work, Nuria lives, breathes, and embodies liberation through pleasure. She holds a BA in Medical Anthropology from UC Berkeley, is a Reiki Master Teacher, ERYT, and her coaching certification in the VITA methodology is through the Tantric Institute of Integrated Sexuality.

Leela Miller | London (2013 & 2014)

Leela teaches Yoga Nidra on the London TTC. She has been teaching yoga since 1986 when she completed the Sivananda teacher training program. She later went on to study Ashtanga, Iyengar and Shadow yoga. She loves the beauty, power and serenity of merging alignment, movement and breath. Leela weaves the precision of Iyengar alignment, the energetics of Shadow Yoga and the spiritual commitment of Sivananda Yoga into her love of Ashtanga.

A subsequent diagnosis of glaucoma led Leela on a personal search for the underpinnings of health. Through her study of anatomy and physiology, and craniosacral therapy with the Craniosacral Education Trust under the guidance of Michael Kern she began to understand and apply the healing power of dynamic stillness – the ground substance of consciousness – that underpins all movement, and ultimately life. This led her back to yoga, her Sivananda lineage and the study of Yoga Nidra as taught by Swami Satyananda.

Anatomy & Biomechanics of Movement

Andrew McGonigle  |  Nepal (2015-2018) & London (2018)

Andrew teaches Anatomy and Physiology on the Nepal TTC. He lives in Los  where he teaches Astanga Yoga and hot yoga at Triyoga. He originally trained to become a doctor, but moved away from western medicine to pursue a career as a yoga teacher and massage therapist. His current passion is using his wealth of experience as a doctor to teach anatomy and physiology on Yoga Teacher Training courses.

Andrew is a regular contributor to Yoga Journal magazine and contributes chapters to the popular Yoga Teaching Handbook: A Practical Guide for Yoga Teachers and Trainees and Yoga Student Handbook: Develop Your Knowledge of Yoga Principles and Practice. His new book, Supporting Yoga Students with Common Injuries and Conditions, was published in March 2021. My second book, The Physiology of Yoga, was published in June 2022.

For more info about Dr. Yogi:

Stuart Girling  | London (2014 & 2016) & Goa (2011 – 2018)

Stuart has taught anatomy and sports injury on the Goa TTC since 2011. He has a clinical practice specializing in yoga-related injuries and tension patterns. Stuart brings his passion for yoga anatomy into the classroom and teaches in a way that makes the learning experience fun, relevant and, above all, useful to the asana practice. He believes that a good understanding of yoga-related anatomy and physiology is an excellent tool in a teachers toolbox to help balance and progress a student’s practice.

Stu is also the creator of, a brilliant yoga anatomy resource website.

Richelle Ricard  | London (2017 & 2019) 

Richelle Ricard (LMP, RYT) has been studying, practicing and teaching within the bodywork and yoga world since 1994. Her career began in sports medicine, moved on to a focus on clinical massage therapy in 2000, and has been teaching and developing anatomy curriculum for yoga students, teachers and teacher trainees since 2007. Her anatomy curriculum has been taught in workshops, YTT programs, and advanced trainings across the USA and Canada.

Her own practice is one of unification between the physical and the ephemeral, though her true passion is making the intricate workings of the body in yoga accessible to the masses. She is currently writing an anatomy manual that will be essential reading in any YTT. Her charismatic approach to teaching makes even the most dry information seem fascinating. She hopes to build within her students a deep curiosity about functional movement, safe practice, and the nature of the human body that lasts long after they leave the classroom, and drives them to continue seeking deeper understanding.

In 2021, Richelle published her book, The Yoga Engineer’s Manual: The Anatomy and Mechanics of a Sustainable Practice.

Trauma Informed  Yoga

Kat Owens  | London & Nepal (2017 – 2019) 

Kat teaches Trauma-Informed Yoga on the London TTC where she facilitates modules on the intersections of trauma, wellness, and systemic change. Kat first discovered meditation and yoga asana (postures) during college in California but deepened her practice while working as a counselor for underserved youth/young adults in New York City. Daily yoga became a ritual of self-care and a safe space to surrender the stress of the day while cultivating strength and self-love. After five years of working in education in the Bronx and Brookyn, she and her partner moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Kat received her 200-hour yoga certification with Heather Elton in Nepal. She is also a certified Yoga for All teacher, specialising in yoga for bigger bodies and diverse communities. Kat holds training/certification in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, Somatic Abolitionism with Resmaa Menakem, Teen Yoga, Prentis Hemphill at The Embodiment Institute, Yogic Studies with Seth Powell, Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) with The Justice Resource Institute, and Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy. With a background in activism, restorative justice practices and social justice work, my yoga practice has and (inevitably) continues to align with the teachings of trauma-informed and trauma-responsive yoga.

Living in Michigan, USA, on the indigenous lands Kat is an external member of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team which is committed to dismantling the racist policies and practices that exist within the foundation.

Heather Mason  |  London (2016)

Heather taught the module on Mental Health for the London 2016 TTC. She is the founder of The Minded Institute in London. After years of depression and anxiety, Heather moved to SE Asia to practice Buddhist meditation. In 2003, she did an MA in Buddhist Studies at SOAS University London, followed by an MA in Buddhism-based Psychotherapy. Heather developed an 8-week course for depression, anxiety, and stress, combining the insights of therapeutic yoga, mindfulness, and psychotherapy. She was the first person in the UK to train people to teach trauma-sensitive yoga under the guidance of the Boston Trauma Center.

Heather taught mind-body medicine at the Boston University School of Medicine, developed the first MA of Science degree in Yoga Therapy at Harvard, and lectured on Neuroscience and PTSD with the Boston Trauma Center, as well as for organisations throughout the world.

Rachel Zinman  | Goa (2010 – 2015)

Rachel was our Bhakti queen and  Ayurveda teacher on the Goa TTC. She originally trained in Iyengar and Astanga and has practiced yoga for 25 years; and taught for 18. She also trained as a professional dancer and choreographer in the USA and in Australia. Rachel is an award-winning musician for her album of chanting and devotional song, Sita Ram, and is a published poet. Her teaching style continues to reflect her deep engagement with the arts – dynamic and precise with an emphasis on mindfulness.

While living in New York from 2000–2004, Rachel taught with Alan Finger (Yoga Works and ISHTA yoga founder) , and co-created and coordinated his Be Yoga Teacher Training Program, becoming a senior facilitator and mentor.

Rachel returned to Australia to teach in the Yoga Arts Teacher Training, and since 2005 has created and facilitated her own teacher trainings and workshops in the ISHTA System in Australia, India, Bali, Japan, New York and in many major cities in Europe. In 2006, she began practicing Bhakti Yoga and has incorporated Yantra, Mantra, Mudra and Tantric rituals into her workshops and trainings.

Business of Yoga

Kelly McHugh  | London (2018) 

Kelly McHugh is a yoga teacher and digital marketer who helps yoga teachers to learn how to effectively share their message and build their communities. She’s a pioneer of yoga business and marketing education, founding Digital Yoga Academy, an online platform that enhances the business and marketing skills of yoga teachers worldwide. Before qualifying as a yoga teacher, Kelly spent 15+ years working in global businesses, agencies and tech start-ups, managing marketing teams and multi million pound budgets. She’s also the founder of Good Yoga Life, a successful retreat business that offers yoga retreats abroad. Kelly is passionate about supporting yoga teachers to turn their passion and expertise into a successful yoga business.

The Assistants

Shirin Mehta | Goa (2012-2017)

Shirin is ‘The Assistant’ and asana teacher on the Goa TTC. She lives in Bombay where she teaches at Yoga Cara Healing Arts. Shirin first discovered yoga as a method to overcome injuries from her youth working as a jockey and racing horses and later as a means to dealing with the chaotic streets of Bombay. She has studied both Astanga and BKS Iyengar yoga. Her teachers include Jehangir Palkhivala and Nirav Gandhi from the Iyengar lineage and Deepika Mehta, a student of Pattabhi Jois. She has also studied with David Swenson at the Purple Valley Retreat in Goa. In 2013, she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Heather Elton and Emil Wendel at the Satsanga Retreat in Goa.

Louise Premila | London (2016)

Louise was The Assistant on the London TTC. She has studied yoga for the past 16 years. While living in lndia (2012 – 2016) she felt a strong connection to yoga and its roots and developed a regular practice.  Louise has studied mainly under the guidance of Deepika Mehta (KPJAYI certified) in the traditional Ashtanga method.  And her love for this method took her to Mysore to study with Sharath Jois at KPJAYI (K. Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute). In 2016, Louise did her Yoga Teacher Training with Heather Elton in Goa and is certified by the Yoga Alliance.  Now back in London (where she is originally from), Louise is teaching Vinyasa Flow classes that draw from both Ashtanga and Iyengar techniques.