Deb Williams

_MG_6844Deb has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga since 2002.  Deb learned Ashtanga traditionally from her teacher Charles Secallus, whose lineage connects directly to Sri K. Patabhi Jois. She apprenticed with Charles in the Mysore room at AYM and continues to deepen her understanding of adjustment techniques, energy movement and other subtleties of the practice through her own practice, and that of her students, who range from beginners to advanced. Deb received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2007,  completed Primary Series training with David Swenson in 2010 and completed an Intermediate Series Training with Tim Miller in 2014. In Januray of 2017, Deb was honored to receive Sharath’s blessings to teach in the Ashtanga Method and KPJAYI Authorization Level 1.

Deb’s first trip to Mysore was in 2012 where she experienced tremendous growth as a yogi and was further inspired by the teachings of the method under the direction of Sharath Jois at KPJAYI.   She enjoys bringing the teachings of the lineage to her students.  The practice has taught her patience, trust and faith in the method to heal and transform. Deb is passionate about sharing her knowledge of Ashtanga’s rich tradition and is grateful to have journeyed on this path. She aspires to say in the moment, trust in the universe, and work her yoga daily, both on and off the mat.

She is the mother of three young men and loves her dogs. She enjoys travel, skiing, swimming and outdoor activities as well as writing, reading, chanting and meditation. She is learning Ballroom Dancing as another modality for movement.

Michelle Pitzer   

Photo by Andrew Dolgin
Photo by Andrew Dolgin

Michelle found Ashtanga during her college days when a friend suggested she try classes at Asana House.  She ventured into a beginner class and quickly became a regular in the guided and led classes.   Upon graduating from MSU with a BA in English she added practicing yoga to the way she starts her day by coming into the Mysore program at AYM.  She never looked back and continues to learn and grow in the practice organically. She apprenticed with Deb in the Mysore room and now teaches regularly.  She has a daily committed practice and is currently learning the Intermediate Series under Deb’s guidance.  She is gentle and is a natural in moving energy with her adjustments.

She was awarded the Journey to India Scholarship in December of 2015, sponsored by YogisHeart and Kino McGregor where she traveled to Mysore to spend a month studying with Sharath Jois at the source.  She was one of 400 applicants worldwide between the 18 to 25 to qualify.  See the video below to hear Michelle speak about her experience.  Michelle is currently working on her Masters in Public Health Administration at Seton Hall.

Many thanks to Agathe Padovani at I Film Yoga for this video.

Michele Vakili

Michele is a dedicated practitioner and is passionate about teaching the Ashtanga Yoga method. As a yoga student for many years, with her first class in college over 25 years ago, yoga is an integrated part of her life. Michele completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2011. Since January 2017, Michele began to practice the Ashtanga method at AYM with Deb Williams, her teacher, whose thoughtful guidance continues to shape & mold her excitement for the Ashtanga practice on a regular basis. She completed Primary Series training with Tim Miller in 2017. Michele has also taken numerous trainings and workshops to deepen her knowledge of the Ashtanga practice with lineage holders such as David Swenson, David Williams, Kino Macgregor, Tim Feldman and Nancy Gilgoff as well as the director of KPJAYI, Sharath Jois.
Michele practiced law as an attorney for over 17 years, before dedicating her energy as a yoga teacher, believing that yoga is accessible to all. She has seen and felt her body, spirit and mind transform as well as others while practicing Primary Series regularly, and is currently learning Intermediate Series. She is thrilled to share this method of yoga with experienced and new yogis alike. Michele is also a certified Health/Wellness Coach and is also trained in Thai Yoga Bodywork and Reflexology.


Chelsea Mapa      


Chelsea loves rock climbing and started yoga in college to compliment her climbing. After graduating she pursued a 200 hour teacher training and received her certification from Shree Studios in Saddle River, NJ in May 2014. During her yoga studies she stumbled upon Ashtanga Yoga Montclair and was immediately drawn to the rich tradition and history of the practice.

Chelsea has a dedicated daily practice and aspires to pass on all she has learned to her students. She embraces her lifelong journey as a student of the Ashtanga practice.  Chelsea is currently learning intermediate at AYM and attends all workshops to better her understanding of the Ashtanga tradition and practice techniques.  

Charmaine Warren

Photo by Tony Turner

Charmaine is a seasoned and experienced teacher and has been a practitioner of Ashtanga yoga for nearly 30 years. Her teachers include Eddie Stern, Richard Freeman, Chuck Miller and Charles Secallus. Charmaine practices and teaches dance professionally. She began teaching Ashtanga-based yoga classes in 1998, and today Ashtanga yoga remains an integral part of all her movement classes. She has lectured and taught movement and yoga classes nationally and internationally.

Charmaine holds a Ph.D. in History from Howard University, a Masters Degree in Dance Research, Reconstruction and Choreography from CUNY – City College, and two Bachelor’s Degrees: one in Speech & Theatre/Dance, and the other in English from Montclair State College. She has a dedicated daily practice and enjoys music, attending dance performances, dancing, writing and is an avid volunteer. Please click on this link for more info on Charmaine.

Nicholas Gordon

 Photo Credit: @rosalesss
Photo Credit: @rosalesss

Nick completed his yoga teacher certification with GSY in 2013. He was originally inspired by Kino MacGregor’s on line videos and continues to be inspired by Kino. He wanted to learn more about Ashtanga for himself and first joined a Guided Class at AYM, making his way to the Mysore room to learn the series shortly thereafter.  Nick is enthusiastic, focused and has an amazing energy around the practice. He is a gifted practitioner and teacher.