Meet Our World Class Faculty

Soma Yoga Institute has a world class faculty team steeped in the traditions of Yoga. Their excellence has been cultivated through decades of enduring dedication to their own practice and in-depth study, often in a variety of lineages. We are comprised of master level Yoga teachers, Certified C-IAYT Yoga Therapists and those who have been teaching for over 20 years. Each faculty holds a role in their home community as an innovator and influencer, inspiring radical change through Yoga and playing a profound role in the holistic wellness movement. As a collective vision, we offer you an unparalleled opportunity to deepen your own practice, connect into your innermost divine nature, develop your professional credentials and teach from a place of authenticity.

Liz Heffernan

Founder and Director of Soma Yoga Institute, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Liz Heffernan, MA, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT is a gifted international yoga teacher, a certified Yoga Therapist and long-term practitioner. She combines her in-depth knowledge of anatomy and bio-mechanically safe alignment principles with insights and practical wisdom gained from over 24 years of yoga teaching & immersive study.

She is the Founder and Director of Soma Yoga Institute, a world-wide and ONLINE yoga teacher training school that embraces a therapeutically-oriented, heart-centered approach. These programs, heralded by many as truly inspirational, combine modern day biomechanics and research driven science with ancient teachings and serve to teach adaptive Yoga for all BODIES as a practice for vibrant health, self-transformation and personal empowerment.

In her work as a yoga therapist, Liz specializes in helping seniors age gracefully and is highly skilled in adapting practices to meet the complex health challenges associated with aging. In collaborative partnership with Yoga 4 Brain Health she has co-founded the Memory Maintenance Yoga Teacher Training program that certifies Yoga teachers to help their communities delay the onset of memory loss related diseases through Yoga. Liz also serves as a faculty-mentor for the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy supporting professionals on their journey to become yoga therapists.

Liz believes that the path of Yoga brings greater ease, not just to the individual, but to all beings everywhere, and ultimately uplifts planetary consciousness one conscious breath at a time.

Join Liz for her next Online CE Course Yoga Nidra for Health and Transformation, a Teacher Training.

January 27 - February 25, 2021. Wednesday, Live Zoom Calls. 3:00pm-5:00 pm PST (6:00pm New York). 

More Info Here

Joseph Le Page

Joseph Le Page is the founder of Integrative Yoga and Integrative Yoga Therapy, a pioneer in the field of Yoga therapy training programs since 1993. He is co-founder and director of the Enchanted Mountain Yoga Center in Santa Catarina, Brazil, one of the largest Yoga retreat centers in South America.

He is the co-author of the book Yoga Toolbox for Teacher and Students, one of the most widely used materials in teacher training programs in the US and in Brazil, published by Integrative Yoga. He is also co-author of the book Mudras for Healing and Transformation, also published by Integrative Yoga. Joseph’s upcoming book, together with Karin Silberberg, is Pranayama for Healing and Transformation. Joseph is currently on the faculty of Inner Peace Yoga Therapy.

Sundari Lucey

E-RYT 500, Certified Anusara YT, Certified Neuromuscular Massage Therapist LMT

Sundari’s allegiance to this powerful transformative practice is though her own inner teacher and infinite presence which guides the flow of energy into form creating conscious expression and experience. 

She began teaching yoga under the tutelage of Ramanand Patel in 1987 in Saratoga, CA after completing a 2-year program at The Iyengar Yoga Institute in SF.  Sundari has had the privilege of studying with numerous renowned teachers in her early years of training as well as completing a 17-year circuit with Anusara Yoga where she traveled abroad and the US conducting Immersions and Teacher Trainings for certification to many extraordinary students.  Together with Brown Earth ™ she developed a YouTube channel along with a DVD called       “A dose of Yoga with Sundari.”  In her yoga career Sundari owned and operated 3 yoga studios up until 2020 giving people from all walks of life a place to gather, share and study the art of Yoga.  She specializes in advanced therapeutic health and the art of deep listening in yoga and meditation.  

Yoga experienced with Sundari connects you to the source of your own radiance, that vibration which reflects your own divinity.  Her gift to this life-style of yoga is sensitivity, humor and expertise.  With 40 years of study and practice of yoga, Sundari’s instruction is open-hearted and deeply informative holding the highest intention for each student to reveal their own inner light, presence and essential Self. 

Serena Arora

C-IAYT Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, E-RYT 500

Her yogi uncle in India once told her, “We don’t STUDY yoga, we ARE yoga.” And so began her life-long journey embodying the wisdom of yoga.

As a certified Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Health Practitioner, former academic school teacher, group home director, and yogapreneur for over 20 years, Serena brings a unique depth of knowledge, rich experience, intuitive leadership, and insightful passion to her offerings. Her perspective on healing is informed by the wisdom of Ayurvedic Medicine, the functionality of yoga therapy, and the neuroscience of somatic & subtle body work. Both she and her offerings are dynamic, creative, and well-informed.

Her integrated approach is shaped by studying with many teachers and mentors around the world including Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Scott Blossom, Dr. Rajesh Kotecha, Dr. Terry Willard, Tias & Surya Little, Joseph & Lilian Lepage, Sri Geeta Iyengar, and especially her first ‘guru’, her dad.

Currently she lives in Costa Rica where she serves as creative director and resident Ayurvedic Practitioner for Peace Retreat and co-founder & lead trainer for Swastha Yoga International; teaching, inspiring, affecting change, and transforming lives through BEING yoga. Learn more about Serena here.

Join Serena for her next online course: "Language of Transformation through Ayurveda".  

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Peggy Profant

E-RYT 500, Certified Life Coach

Peggy Profant, E-RYT 500, and Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, is a playful, passionate and adventurous spirit who is on a lifelong path of Yoga. 

Her first initiation into yoga was through Kripalu, and it gratefully changed the course of her life in her formative teen years.  Yoga provided balance, self discovery, and restoration throughout her academic years in college as she completed studies in Environmental Education and Dance.  

Peggy travelled to India to immerse in the practice of Ashtanga yoga where she met her life partner. Teaching yoga coincided with settling down, raising a family and becoming a massage therapist in 1998.  Later Peggy pursued the rigorous path to become a Certified Anusara Teacher in 2004 and began to delve into more studies of the therapeutic aspects of yoga.  Every class she teaches is a creative expression with meaningful and uplifting heart themes partnered with skillful sequencing and therapeutic alignment. An avid believer in the benefits of meditation, she volunteers her time after classes to lead meditations. Peggy is a thoughtful  and encouraging Life Coach and mentor to many students and yoga teachers in her community and around the globe. It is her wish to empower her students, friends and colleagues to overcome obstacles to self love and allow each person to joyfully offer their gifts back to humanity.  In addition to Yoga, Peggy finds her deepest joys through being in nature, travel and sharing time with family. Peggy founded and operated a premier yoga studio in Arcata, Om Shala Yoga, for 10 years, and co-founded World Family Yoga leading family retreats in Costa Rica. She has been leading workshops, retreats and Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2005. Learn more about Peggy here.

Join Peggy for her next online class: The Healing Power of Chakras. February 2- March 9.

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Sam Akers

E-RYT 500, CMT, C-IAYT Certified Yoga Therapist 

Sam found yoga and massage when she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia in 1998.

Her practice began with Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra and brought her such incredible healing, she knew it had to be shared. As she began to recover, she began to study more and eventually was well enough to embark upon several training programs.

Sam's love of therapeutic yoga inspired her to open TheraYoga Studio, in Los Angeles Ca. From there she went on to develop the TheraYoga Method, which is not only a 200 and 300 hour teacher training, but also encompasses smaller trainings and workshops in Restorative Yoga, Mindfulness and Yoga for Special Conditions, Fascial Fitness in Asana and Yin Yoga. 
Her approach combines Hatha & Iyengar yoga techniques & therapeutic applications with Restorative and Meditation practices, for a balanced and well-rounded experience. 

Sam has trained under Judith Lasater, Kelly Wood, Russ Pfeiffer, Leeann Carey and Doug Keller. She is currently studying mindfulness and its effectiveness in working deeply with psychological attachment patterns. She completed the 10 month Meaningful Life program, and intensive training on this subject in 2014, under the guidance of her teacher, George Haas, in Los Angeles. She weaves concentration, insight and metta into her trainings, workshops and private sessions and believes that the ability to stay present is the key to the power of self-healing and love. 

She currently studies the Dharma with Joseph Goldstein, George Haas, Susie Harrington, and Vinny Ferraro (along with so many that have shaped her practice and heart). Learn more about Sam here.

Join Sam for her next Online CE The Subtle Art and Science of Restorative Yoga, Thursdays January 6-27, 2021 from 4:00-5:15pm PST

More Info Here

Christine McArdle, E-RYT 500, Author

Christine dove into a yoga practice as a first year second grade teacher. It did not take long for her to understand that the the peace and power that she felt being in Yoga class held the life tools that she wanted to share with her young students.   She began practicing Iyengar yoga with Mel Robins and Teresa Smith which led her to her first TT in a “compassionate Iyengar” + Kripalu style with Padmasri Tepedino of the Vibbhuti School of Yoga.  She was swept away by the biomechanics and Heart in Anusara Yoga  and studied with many great teachers over the years through certification.

In 2004, as a mother and educator, Christine directed her Yoga to help the much needed educational transformation, OM Shree OM, a teacher training for children’s yoga was born and has trained hundreds of teachers in three continents in the past 15 years, dedicated to bringing the blessings of yoga to our youth and to their teachers. Practicing asana with developing bodies offers a new challenge to yoga teachers. Christine felt it important to understand the biomechanics of functional movement and learn how our body moves in tensegrity and how our soft tissue, the fascia and miofascia, need to be understood and addressed to best serve our students growing bodies and optimise movement and longevity. New developments in the science of pranayama, neurobiology and mindfulness are also very important to her practice and teaching.

Christine was born in Brooklyn, New York, from Irish - Italian descent, grew up in Madrid, Spain, has raised two sons with her Peruvian husband Abelardo and lives today in the city of Granada, in Southern Spain from where she travels to teach and share Yoga world wide. She is an author and a musician, she runs a school and a yearly, weeklong family yoga festival in Spain; since the pandemia, she is also an avocado farmer. Her intuitive, passionate and compassionate teaching style draws from years of experience in alternative classrooms from Montessori and Pedagogía 3000 to Waldorf and Escuelas Vivas; she has had the privilege of learning with fascinating teachers in different styles of Yoga and from all walks of life which she weaves into her carefully themed, eclectic, fun and very informative classes. Her soul goal today is to simply be content with what Life has given her and to continue to be of service to All through the teachings of Yoga, for the improvement of the human condition on our very fragile planet.

Laura Staton, OTR/L, C-IAYT

Laura Staton holds an MS in Occupational Therapy from NYU and is a C-IAYT Yoga Therapist specializing in injury rehabilitation. She works as a yoga therapist and Occupational Therapist and her recent book bridging these two disciplines, Yoga Bones - A Comprehensive Guide to Managing Pain and Orthopedic Injuries Through Yoga, was published in 2021. For the past two decades, Laura has been committed to utilizing yoga as a healing practice, and is passionate about the powerful effect yoga has on our physical and emotional well-being. Laura has taught online workshops for Yoga Alliance, YogaUOnline and teaches Adaptive Yoga and Advanced Studies for Samamkaya Yoga Back Care & Scoliosis Collective. Laura currently works as an Occupational Therapist at NYU Langone, New York Presbyterian, and Northwell Health. For many years, she was a dancer and choreographer in NYC, received her BFA from The Juilliard School, and is the co-author of Baby Om -Yoga for Mothers and Babies.


Beth Gibbs, M.A.

Beth Gibbs, M.A., is a faculty member at the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. She holds a masters’ degree in Yoga Therapy and Mind/Body Health from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. After years of working for media, higher education and non-profit organizations, Beth is a teacher of therapeutic yoga and a self-awareness trainer who uses her energy and sense of humor to inspire, inform, and entertain.

Beth has over twenty years’ experience speaking, teaching, and training. Her work has included training and mentoring yoga students, teachers, and yoga therapists-in-training from all over the world to implement mindfulness and self-awareness skills in their professional work and personal practice. 

In 1999 she founded and continues to support The Wake Up and Relax! Yoga program for Hartford’s Camp Courant, Incthat serves children ages 5 – 13. She is an award-winning author and has published a personal growth book for adults titled, Enlighten Up! Finding Clarity, Contentment and Resilience in a Complicated World, and a children’s book, Ogi Bogi, The Elephant YogiHer personal blog can be found at 

Marsha Banks-Harold, BSEE, E-RYT 500, RCYT, RPYT

Marsha D. Banks-Harold, BSEE, Director of PIES Fitness Holistic Yoga Therapy and Yoga Teacher Training Programs, owner of PIES Fitness Yoga Studio, creator of My Body Don’t Bend That Way Yoga, executive engineering leader, and co-founder of Awakening Yoga Spaces, is a certified yoga therapist and member of the Board of Directors through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and a Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga Facilitator and Mentor through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment.  She is  published in Yoga Therapy Today:  1) Building the Business of Yoga Therapy and 2) Reclaiming Humanity & Community: Healing the Trauma, Pain, & Suffering of Prejudice and Disparity and is a contributing author in Yoga Therapy Foundations, Tools, and Practice: a Comprehensive Textbook.  Marsha blossoms in creating supportive, inclusive, diverse, adaptive and accessible yoga therapy and yoga experiences for all.  She is an experienced workshop leader and public speaker.

Brianna Renner, E-RYT 500 

Brianna honorably served in the United States Marine Corps where she served as an avionics shop supervisor and served as a trainer for the MALS-11 Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Course.  Brianna joined the Veterans Yoga Project ranks in 2014 as a volunteer. In 2015, became the Assistant Director and in 2016 made the shift to Director of Programs where she oversaw initiatives that increased the accessibility of yoga to our veterans both before and during the pandemic. In 2021, Brianna was promoted to Chief Operating Officer where she oversaw the day-to-day operations of VYP’s service to veterans, and as of January 1, 2023, will proudly serve as the Chief Executive Officer.

She is a graduate student at the University of Denver, pursuing her Masters of Nonprofit Management with concentration in Mission Driven Operations with a GPA of 4.0 and an expected graduation date of May 2024. As a yoga professional, Brianna holds her 200-hour certification in the Kripalu tradition, her 300-hour certification in alignment and therapeutic-based yoga. As a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider, she has taught over 3,000 hours of classes and workshops for organizations like the Soma Yoga Institute, the Mayfest Yoga Festival, and the California Department of Veterans Affairs, Women’s Division. 


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