Residential Teachers

Sonja Appel (ERYT 200)

Founding Director

Sonja moved from London to India 9 years ago and is certified by the British School of Yoga in Hatha & Meditation & is also a certified Vibrant Living Teacher in Hatha Flow. Sonja has studied intensely mainly in India and London and believes that living yoga in it's essence helps to impart her knowledge better and more succinctly. She started practicing yoga seventeen years ago and has fifteen intensive years of experience teaching yoga and twenty five years experience of teaching Pilates in London, India and Nepal. She is also registered with Yoga Alliance, E-RYT 200 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, with Yoga Alliance for 200+ hours of Teacher Training.) 

Sonja has devised her own practice in yoga called ‘Sushumna’ which is a carefully worked out vinyasa flow, meditation or pranayama, that allows one to do the practice as a meditation and in the process, helps to unleash within ourselves, all of our innate, kundalini Shakti. The flow is spontaneous and she mixes up the asanas in interesting ways, with the help of inspiring music, always ending with a deep relaxing meditation (Yoga nidra). As in Ashtanga - drishti, bandhas, ujjayi breath, counting & vinyasa is always employed.

"I believe in a holistic approach to the study of yoga, giving my students a well-rounded yoga education. I combine alignment techniques of the body, with breath techniques for calming and balancing the mind: Focus and visualization, to balance body and brain. Chanting and music for inspiration and concentration and also Meditation, (the ultimate reason for the practice of asana). I also believe that it is not progression through the 6 series' of Ashtanga that defines Wholeness, but rather a wider focus on all the limbs."

Sonja keeps up with a daily Mysore self-practice as taught to her by her late Guruji, Sri K Pattabhi Jois of Mysore and her own brand of Vinyasa flow. Sonja's Teachers are from all over the world and have greatly helped and influenced her, they are:  Sharat Rangaswamy, Saraswati Rangaswamy, Shri Sheshadri, Cathy Louise Broda, Leela Miller, John Scott, Michael Gannon, Edward Clarke, David Swenson, Claire Best, Anna Ashby, Daniel Aaron, Simon Borg Olivier, Rolf & Marci Naujokat, Emil Wendel (yoga philosophy), Yat Malmgren (movement psychology), Mercia Hetherington (Pilates & Ballet) and Imogen Claire (Ballet). She has a B.A. in Classical Theatre and Acting and an M.A. in Contemporary Dance. She comes from a professional performing arts background and has found these two disciplines to be invaluable in balancing and maintaining calmness in her life.  

Sonja also conducts workshops in Ashtanga, Sushumna Vinyasa Flow, Restorative Yoga, Mysore self-practice, Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow & Sushumna Pranayama & Meditation, acting & dance in India & Internationally.

Sonja does not believe in organized religion or dogma. 

For a taster of Sushumna Pranayama & meditation here

For a taster of Sushumna Vinyasa Flow here

For a taster of Yin Yoga (Restorative) here




Ivan Melikadze

Ivan's path to world of yoga began 10 years ago in Moscow taking classes at the Moscow Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Center. At this time Ivan was a typical computer nerd, weighed 100kg and was round-shouldered. He started yoga because of health issues which began to appear at this time. Ivan soon realized that he needed to do something life transforming in order to improve his body condition. It was tough and challenging in the beginning, taking into account Ivan was 32, and had not been doing any physical exercise since he was a teenager. 

As it often happens with yoga Ivan was inspired by its spiritual depth and in 2006 he started a regular daily practice. Step by step he was drawn in deeper and deeper and then realized the purpose of his life was to teach yoga.

Ivan left a manager’s position in big computer company and moved to China where he studied more, trained and started teaching. For the last six years Ivan has taught in several yoga studios in Beijing and India. He believes yoga can cardinally change one's life and give one the opportunity to reveal their own spiritual being.

Ivan’s teaching style is dramatically influenced by the Iyengar style of alignments and Andrey Lappa’s universal approach “For me yoga class is not just postures and alignments but rather about exchanging energy”.

Ivan also teaches yoga therapy, yoga philosophy and Kirtan (chanting).

"Sushumna offers a healing environment that is extraordinary for the holistic treatment of the mind, body and soul."