Patricia has worked in the Ananda office for more than 11 years. She works with the finances, in its myriad aspects. As well, she is one of our photographers, taking shots of members and activities, recording events such as the building of the Yoga Hall, and many other types of requests.
She is an artist at heart. With her photography, she says, “Wherever I am, I look for the right angle to catch the fleeting moment of divine light that is forever presenting itself in a new way.”
She marvels at how appropriate the line from a song by Swami Kriyananda is – ‘Many hands make a miracle’ – with its many aspects of the temple, school, farms, thrift store, community, bookshop and yoga hall, and says “Ananda is a hands on laboratory for how to live”.
As to other participation with Ananda, she says, “I am deeply grateful for my Ananda life experiences, and my Ananda job is very much a part of that. Ananda has deeply accelerated my self-acceptance and my understanding of who I am and how I fit into the world. That in itself is pure joy. This also means that I have a greater understanding of others and, on occasion, I am able to help them grow a bit, too.
When she is not at Ananda, you might find her out with her husband, Paul, traveling, walking, hiking, x-country skiing, or spending time with their two daughters, Alice and Anna.
Van is the kitchen manager at the yoga hall, an inspired cook, and a dynamo in the Ananda office contributing in too many ways to mention. She and her husband Randy are members of the Living Wisdom School Board.
Vajra is a member of Ananda’s Sevaka order. He is a volunteer member of our office staff. He is a co-director of the Ananda Washington choir and the leader of our instrumental group.
Samara Spitzer is an Ananda Yoga Teacher with a keen interest in serving through teaching. She says that, on a personal level, teaching Ananda Yoga has supported her growth to live positively, go with the flow of how things happen naturally, listen inwardly, and live with gratitude for the grace within and all around her. Born into the Jewish faith, Samara grew up in Washington and speaks highly of her family life. She studied anthropology and Buddhist psychology, and has lived in places like Israel, Santa Fe NM, Boston, and Boulder, before finding that what she needed was right here in Washington! She has experience working within different businesses is also a certified Nia and Zumba instructor, reporting that both yoga and dancing, each in their own unique way, connect her to her spirit. Besides teaching yoga at Ananda Temple, she also finds joy in teaching at correctional facilities with Yoga Behind Bars. These days, Samara is instrumental in taking care of day to day operations at the Ananda office and blends her nature of friendship to all, with things like office management, graphics, marketing and “whatever else is needed”
Nivritti co-founded the Seattle East West Bookshop in 1989. For several years in the 1990s she served as manager of Ananda’s publishing company, Crystal Clarity, at Ananda Village in California.
Nivritti has taught meditation for more than 30 years and is a certified Ananda Yoga teacher.
As a former school teacher and administrator, she was well-prepared to help launch the Ananda Living Wisdom School in Shoreline, WA. Now, having launched the school and brought it to its present location, she is co-director of the school and spends half her time living at the Ananda Farm on Camano Island. Nivritti is an ordained Lightbearer of Ananda Church of Self-Realization.
Padma is the co-spiritual director of Ananda in Washington State, with her husband, Hriman.
Padma moved to Ananda Village in 1973 where she helped publish Swami Kriyananda’s books. She also served as a teacher and counselor. Padma and Hriman raised their son and daughter at Ananda Village.
While managing Crystal Clarity Publishers, she worked closely with Swami Kriyananda during some of his most prolific years of writing. For nearly 26 years, she coordinated the offering of publishing rights to Swami’s books to publishers into different languages.
In her classes and talks, she weaves spiritual teachings with memorable stories. Padma also coordinates study programs for Kriya Yogis. She is an ordained Lightbearer and Kriyacharya of Ananda Church of Self-Realization.
Hriman is the co-spiritual director, with his wife Padma, of Ananda in Washington State. Hriman moved to Ananda Village in California in 1977, where he served as financial director for the worldwide Ananda work. He later managed the Expanding Light guest retreat at Ananda Village.
In 1993, Swami Kriyananda asked Hriman and Padma to serve as directors of Ananda in Seattle. Hriman’s early studies in Catholic theology give him a profound respect for the shared truths of all religions, and the practical benefits of Raja Yoga.
Audiences at his Sunday services and classes appreciate his gentle humor and practical insights for living, drawn from the ancient yoga teachings. Hriman is an ordained Lightbearer and Kriyacharya of Ananda Church of Self-Realization.
Suryadas and his wife Chandi have lived at Ananda’s spiritual community in Lynnwood for over twenty years. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to the northwest in the mid-eighties. After working in the electrical industry as a technician, manager and systems engineer for more than thirty years, he now does administrative work at Ananda Meditation Temple and Living Wisdom School Washington.
Suryadas teaches ‘How to Meditate’ and other spiritual ‘Art of Living’ classes. His primary interests are meditation, simple living and the arts. In his spare time, he enjoys painting and reading history, science and literary fiction. He was deeply moved by the book Autobiography of a Yogi when he first read it in 1991, and has been a disciple of the great spiritual leader Paramhansa Yogananda ever since. Suryadas enjoys sharing the teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda and his direct disciple, Swami Kriyananda (the founder of Ananda) with those who are interested
Heidi MacBeth first started teaching yoga and now teaches meditation classes as well. She has a long history of practicing yoga and says she was ‘immediately hooked’. She says that being a teacher helps her dive deeper into the teachings of Yogananda and the yogic way of life, and that “… you always learn from the students!”
Her advice to people interested in yoga and meditation is to definitely give it a try, because, when you make a genuine effort, the practices have the ability to bring your life into balance on all levels, such as helping to bring physical and emotional healing, reducing stress, and giving a more harmonious look on life and the world. “It can bring more happiness into your life!”
Heidi was born and raised in Finland, and moved to America after meeting her husband, Garth. Heidi enjoys reading, and with Garth, taking long walks while soaking in the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest.
When not teaching, you can find Heidi in the office at Ananda Temple, working with student registration for programs like Raja Yoga and Meditation and Yoga Teacher Training. She has also been a part of Ananda’s foreign rights book publishing work. She says she likes helping with the ‘behind the scenes’ tasks, and you can often find her designing our many flyers and mailings.
Tyagi Christy Johnston Christy Johnston is an Ananda teacher and minister. She and her husband, Rick (who co-manages East West Bookshop) came to Ananda Seattle in 2004 from the Ananda center in Santa Rosa. Christy is the director of the Healing Prayer Ministry and coordinates resident activities at the Ananda Community in Lynnwood. She is a graduate of both Yoga Teacher Training and Meditation Teacher Training from Ananda and teaches classes in metaphysical healing, affirmations and related subjects.
Her past career focus and college degree has been in human development and some of her many interests and talents include working with pets, plants, inspiring others to rally around projects, and helping others be more organized.
Christy suggests that those new to meditation and yoga approach their practice with greater feeling, extending that into a deeper awareness in all daily activities. She suggests that “we use these practices to foster lifestyle transformation and to learn to see past the little things of daily life into the vastness that is your true self. It’s about taking the time to notice your own joy, peace, and innate nature. Self-discipline reminds us that we can be our own best friend, giving ourselves good advice!”
Nayaswami Dakshina Agee lives and serves at the Ananda Farm on Camano Island, serves as part-time support staff for the Sangha office, and teaches meditation. She has been practicing the Raja and Kriya Yoga techniques as taught at Ananda for many years and lived at the Ananda community in Lynnwood for over 10 years before moving to the farm.
As a staff member of the Ananda Meditation Temple in Bothell and a resident of the Ananda Community in Lynnwood, Lajjana can be found answering phones, decorating the altar, purchasing the supplies, cooking meals for large gatherings or coordinating volunteers. Lajjana is an ordained Lightbearer of Ananda Church of Self-Realization