20 Influential Yoga Teachers Across America

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Yoga teachers across the United States impart their wisdom to their students, sharing insights and practical experiences from their own unique yoga journeys. While they continue to teach, they are helping to develop a broad and diverse professional yoga student body across the country. Each yoga teacher has their own interesting knowledge to share with their students, and the following teachers have left their mark on the history of modern yoga in America. If you’re looking for inspiration or revitalization in your practice, check out these 20 influential yoga teachers from around the United States.

Rodney Yee (Sag Harbor, New York)

Rodney Yee (Sag Harbor, NY). Thanks to yeeyoga.com

Rodney Yee’s yoga journey began in 1980. As a ballet dancer and UC Berkeley physical therapy and philosophy student, he was looking for a practice that would unite the mind, body and spirit. He is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and started studying at BKS Iyengar Yoga Academy in 1987. Yee is often credited with popularizing modern yoga in America, largely due to his very successful yoga DVDs in the 1990s. His DVDs are available for purchase, and you can also check out some of his online courses produced by Gaia. He teaches around the world and, along with his wife Colleen Seidman, is the director of yoga for the nonprofit Urban Zen Foundation.

Tim Miller (Carlsbad, CA)

Tim Miller (Carlsbad, CA). Imprint pinimg.com

Tim Miller, director of the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Carlsbad, California, is the first Westerner to be certified by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, the developer of Ashtanga Yoga, from the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India. He began practicing at Ashtanga Yoga Center (then known as Ashtanga Yoga Nilayam) in Encinitas, California in 1978. He continues to share his talents by teaching in the United States and abroad.

Carrie Owerko (New York, NY)

Carrie Owerko (New York, NY). Imprint squarespace.com

Carrie Owerko has roots in the performance movement—she earned a BA in dance and theater arts before studying yoga. Since starting her yoga practice, she has earned her Advanced Intermediate Iyengar Certificate and is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and Functional Range Modulation Mobility Specialist (FRCms). Despite her impressive qualifications, she continued to travel to India to study and expand her Iyengar knowledge. Owerko brings together her love of dance and yoga by choreographing and sharing yoga demonstrations around the world, sharing movement, yoga, and mindfulness at the Rikers Island Correctional Facility and Alternative High School in New York City.

Anna Guest-Jelley (Nashville, TN)

Anna Guest-Jelley (Nashville, TN). imprint setu.yoga

Anna Guest-Jelley has made a name for herself in the yoga world as a yoga advocate for all body types. She is the founder of Curvy Yoga, an online yoga studio that offers teacher training and practices focused on body acceptance. Her classes help teachers better understand how to serve students of all shapes and sizes. She is also the author of Curvy Yoga: Loving Yourself and Your Body a Little More Every Day, in which she explores the journey of body acceptance through yoga.

Hari Kaur Khalsa (New York, NY)

Hari Kaur Khalsa (New York, NY). Courtesy of harinyc.com

Hari Kaur Khalsa is a respected master of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. She worked with kundalini yoga guru Yogi Bhajan for a decade, directing his teacher training program, and is often credited as one of the first to bring kundalini to the West. She continues to teach and train students of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation around the world. She carried the practice into middle school and even developed a kundalini wellness program at Newton Wellesley Hospital in the Boston area. She has also published two books on female empowerment: The Women’s Book of Meditation: Discovering the Power of a Peaceful Mind and The Women’s Book of Yoga: Embracing Our Natural Life Cycle.

Rod Stryker (Boulder, CO)

Rod Stryker (Boulder, CO). Imprint feel-good-area.de

For over 35 years, Rod Stryker has been spreading his yoga and meditation teachings around the world. He studied under Kavi Yogiraj Mani Finger and his son and continued to study under Dr. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. Fort, director of the Institute of Himalayan Yoga Science and Philosophy. He founded ParaYoga, an approach to yoga centered on yogic philosophy, Tantra, and Ayurveda. It combines asana with breathing and meditation as a transformative practice for the mind, body and entire life.

David Swenson (Houston, TX)

David Swenson (Houston, TX). imprint yogaone.es

David Swenson is considered one of the best Ashtanga yoga teachers in the world. His yoga journey began in 1969 at the age of 13, and he began his ashtanga practice in Encinitas, California in 1973 with David Williams and Nancy Nancy Gilgoff. He first traveled to Mysore in 1977 and became one of the few who studied the Ashtanga system originally taught by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. A renowned teacher, he has taught courses and workshops around the world, and has disseminated his teachings widely through course DVDs and tape recordings.

Tiffany Cruikshank (Santa Monica, CA)

Tiffany Cruikshank (Santa Monica, CA). Courtesy oftheyogalunchbox.co.nz

Tiffany Cruikshank has combined her talents in holistic health, acupuncture, and yoga to create a body of yoga instruction focused on yoga as a medical practice. Her approach uses Western concepts of the body (through anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology) and combines them with Eastern yoga practices. She previously worked as a yoga teacher and acupuncturist at Nike’s global headquarters,

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