Our Mindfulness/Yoga Staff
Yael Shy (Director) is the Co-Director of the Center for Spiritual Life at NY and the Of Many Institute for Multifaith Leadership at NYU. Yael is a graduate of the Mindfulness Teacher Training program at the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, and was named one of the Jewish Week’s “36 under 36″ Jews reshaping Jewish life in the US. She has studied and led meditation all over the world – from Israel and Abu Dhabi to New York City. She was also a co-founder of the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn and is on the Board of Directors of the Brooklyn Zen Center.
Jason Hollander (Associate Director) is editor-in-chief of the NYU Alumni Magazine and NYU Today online. He received his master’s in screenwriting/philosophy from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2007, and has been an adjunct professor in the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. After studying mindfulness practices throughout the city, he founded the People’s Meditation workshops in 2010 and is currently working with NYU’s Wellness Exchange to help combat student stress on campus.
Katherine “Kat” Katsanis~Semel (Mindfulness Chaplain) is studying to become an ordained Interfaith Minister; she is now in her third year of studies with Celebrating Life Ministries, a thriving, Interfaith Community. For over ten years, Katherine has worked in private practice as a professional Healer & Meditation Teacher (KaTransformations.com), and lives in Manhattan with her Jewish life partner. Katherine considers herself to be broad-minded, open-hearted, and Spirit-guided; she looks forward to getting to know you!
Rev Doyeon Park (Buddhist Chaplain) a Kyomunim, literally meaning one who devotes oneself to teach Buddha dharma in the Won Buddhist tradition. She has served as a minister of the Manhattan Won Buddhist temple and Alternative Representative of Won Buddhism to the United Nations since 2008. Also, she is the Buddhist chaplain at Columbia University and New York University. Rev. Doyeon focuses on creating a sangha (spiritual community) where various individuals and groups can cultivate their inner wisdom and compassion to live with peace and dignity based on the teachings of Won Buddhism. Realizing the interconnectedness of all through her spiritual practice, she is also actively engaged in interfaith dialogue and cooperation to promote mutual understanding and respect among different religions.
Jean-Michelle Ajon (Yoga Teacher) is a registered Hatha yoga instructor with certifications in vinyasa krama, prenatal, postnatal, restorative, gentle and special child yoga, as well as mind-body healing techniques. She has been teaching since 2006 primarily to interfaith and Muslim communities throughout New York and New Jersey. Her teaching style is non-competitive, centering, and incorporates mind-body healing disciplines such as, ayurveda, aromatherapy and tai chi. Jean enjoys creating a nurturing space for her students towards the unfolding and wholeness of their hearts, minds and bodies.
Erica Arce (Yoga Teacher) is a lover of love, a lover of compassion and a lover of kindness. Deep spiritual inquiry, creative expression, and authentic living are her steady focus. Being born a creative soul, Erica has spent many years honing her artistic talents in acting, drawing, painting and ceramic sculpture at institutions such as the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, the Office for the Arts at Harvard University and the Art Students League of NY; a common thread throughout all her work being humanity. Becoming a yoga instructor was a natural outgrowth of her interest in the human experience.
Sam Chase (Yoga Teacher) is a faculty member at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. He holds Kripalu’s highest teaching certification, as well as a master’s from Harvard University. In New York, he teaches for organizations including the United Nations, National Guard, and Weill-Cornell Medical Center, as well as studios citywide including Yogaworks and Equinox. He leads teacher trainings nationwide for Yoga to the People, and runs a private practice in Manhattan specializing in therapeutic and personalized yoga for clients ranging from Olympic athletes and CEOs, to verterans and moms-to-be.
Jay Karlinski (Yoga Teacher) is a 500-Hour RYT. He recently completed a two-year residential internship with the Kripalu School of Yoga where he managed and taught in the 200 and 500-Hour Kripalu Yoga Teacher Trainings. He is currently a director of Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training on the Road. Jay believes that in order to live life to the fullest, we must feel our best and most alive in our physical body. Jay draws on his experience of teaching preschool fitness classes to inform his own life and his teaching. Classes are geared toward rediscovering a sense of play, on and off of the mat. He believes the combination of play and a strong, mindful practice is the key to a happy and healthy life.
Patrice Keitt (Yoga Teacher) is a 500 hr Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher and has studied with Yogi Master Alan Finger since 2000. Prior to teaching yoga, she spent 15 years in the international corporate arena, first as a corporate attorney and then as a COO and CEO in the luxury fashion industry. Patrice teaches at ISHTA studio in Manhattan as well as for private and corporate clients, including Macy’s, Christie’s and Warner Music. Read more about her background at www.patricekeitt.com.
Amy Monaco (Yoga Teacher) is a graduate of Bodhisattva Yoga’s 200-hour teacher training program. She was first drawn to yoga during a stressful period of her life (simultaneously juggling grad school and a full time job.) She saw yoga as a means to help her sleep better, focus, and relax. It wasn’t long before she fell in love with yoga and started experiencing benefits far beyond what she expected. In addition to her first-hand experience, Amy’s teacher training taught her the deep value of beginner’s practice, and the importance of letting one’s practice grow and evolve at an individual pace, without rushing, pushing, or overdoing it. Amy’s classes emphasize the exploration of patience, kindness, and generosity.
Shuli Passow (Yoga Teacher) has been practicing yoga since the age of 7–the same year she received her first siddur (Jewish prayer book). Since then, she has continually sought ways to bring asana yoga –and other embodied practices– into relationship with her Jewish spiritual practices, and has taught at Yeshivat Hadar, the Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn, and Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, among other locations. Off the mat, Shuli is a fourth year rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Prior to JTS, Shuli served as the Director of Community Initiatives at the Jewish Funds for Justice (now Bend the Arc), supporting Jews and Jewish institutions around the country to work for social change.
Emily Bielagus (Yoga Teacher) has been teaching yoga to adults, kids, and teens since 2008. She is certified at the 500-hour level by Atmananda Yoga and also holds a degree in Dance from Oberlin College. Her class is an invigorating Vinyasa-style movement party that explores a variety of standing asanas, restorative poses, balancing postures, and inversions, as well as pranayama and meditation techniques.