Board of Directors
Marcelo A. Vega Gomez (Dharmajyoti)
Dharmajyoti is an accredited yoga therapist and yoga instructor. He has dedicated himself to the study and practice of millenial techniques of classic and traditional yoga for 20 years. For the last 10 years, he has focused exclusively on the development of Yoga Pura Vida Foundation (YPVF) projects.
Initiated as Karma Sannyasi by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Dharmajyoti has also participated in numerous yoga courses held in India, contributing to an uninterrupted process of learning that continues to this day. He strongly believes that the values of yoga are the best tools to share with fellow human beings in order to create positive impact in our society,
Nuria discovered yoga during adolescence and, over many years, deepened her practice and philosophy until yoga became her lifestyle. From an early age, she took an interest in the most vulnerable people, which led her to work with several NGOs in Madrid, Spain.
Nuria graduated as a Lab Special Technician, Clinic Assistant and Nursery Assistant. She also completed a postgraduate course in Human Development and Creative Activity (Art Therapy) at The University of Baleares.
She managed an Integrated Health Care Centre, where she applied and combined many types of therapies. Being an artist, she uses painting, drawing and restoration as means for the development of consciousness. Since 2016 she has been involved in the development of YPVF projects.
Nuria Torralbo Garcia
Ramón Pérez de Lucena
Ramón has extensive experience in the creation and management of foundations, associations and NGOs throughout Italy and Spain.
Since 1985, Ramón has worked as a lawyer and actually has offices in in Barcelona, Granada, Huesca, Madrid, and Málaga y Zaragoza.
His commitment to improve society is expressed through his legal advice to more than a hundred foundations, participating as secretary or pratron in several of them.
It is essential that we comprehend the situation in each country with which we interact in order to achieve our goals in an accurate, efficient and sustainable way. Our international team of advisors, which includes local residents and expatriates, is helping us understand cultural mores and specific needs of individual communities, as well as keeping us up to date with all relevant information on the ground.
Gangadhara Saraswati (Brazil)
Gangadhara has been a yoga instructor since 1986. In 2002, she trained as a yoga instructor with the Bihar School of Yoga method. She was initiated in the Sannyasa tradition by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati. Gangadhara has obtained degrees in Pedagogy and Psychology as well as a Postgraduate Degree in Jungian Analytical Psychology and a Masters in Education and Health from the University of Mina Gerais, Brazil. As co-founder of the ‘Casa Do Guru’ and the ‘Satyananda Yoga Center,’ she specializes in yoga for children and teenagers. She facilitates Yoga TTC (yoga for children) for YPVF.
Chittaroopa has been a yoga practitioner since 1999 and English teacher for over 20 years. She has also completed studies as an architect and yoga instructor. She has been taking part in different yoga courses in BIhar School of Yoga, India, in an uninterrupted process of yogic education that lasts until today. Beside, she was initiated in Karma Sannyas by her teacher Swami Niranjanananda Saraswasti.
Tireless spiritual seeker firmly believes in the transforming potential of yoga, seeing it as a science for holistic self perfection and with a great capacity of impacting positively in the environment.
Julia Emes (England)
Julia is a yoga and mindfulness instructor who specializes in the application of these techniques to alleviate the effects of trauma and stress. Since 2017, she has shared her knowledge in Sierra Leone with much love and dedication, resulting in a very positive impact on the entire yogic community of Sierra Leone. Her excellent work and commitment has made it possible for YPVF to organise the upcoming 2021 training courses. Thanks to her effort and tenacity, more than 40 applicants will participate in these courses.
Edward Kekura Kamara (Sierra Leona)
Edward is a yoga instructor, whose dedication to spreading yoga can be observed throughout the communities he works with. He frequently travels from Freetown to Makeni, Kambia, Kono and other cities in his country to offer free yoga classes to people of all ages, as well as children and young people with special needs, such as those from the Deaf School and the Polio Camp.
Babardee Fakeh Samura (Sierra Leona)
Babardee is a yoga instructor, whose great interest in learning has led him to participate in various training courses on modern yoga styles. His devotion to sharing knowledge is manifested through continuous trips around Sierra Leone, where people of all ages can participate in his classes for free.
Mugisha Ali Allan (Uganda)
Allan is a yoga instructor and the coordinator of YPVF in Uganda, developing projects for yoga teacher trainings in his country. He established the yogic community of Entebbe, and has a studio where he shares his teachings. Allan also volunteers with numerous NGOs that aid in rehabilitating infants and young people from substance use. His passion and commitment to spread yogic culture and lifestyle inspired him to found the social platform Yoga Uganda (AYIU). Through AYIU, he supports the work of yoga instructors from seven districts in Uganda, raising awareness about the benefits of yoga as a tool for transformation.
Karim Juma Swafi (Tanzania)
Karim has a diploma in Performing Arts from the Bagamoyo University of the Arts, and is also a yoga instructor trained by YPVF. A pioneer in propagating classical yoga on the African continent, the fruits of his work have reached the Ministry of Communication, Culture and Sports of Tanzania, bringing national recognition to the YPVF. Karim has worked with elementary and secondary schools, various NGOs, hotels, neighborhood associations and the police department in an effort to enable many people to reap the benefits of ancient yoga practices.
Humed Abdul Rahamani (Tanzania)
Humed is a yoga instructor trained by the Foundation. He was the first to translate and record a yoga nidra in Swahili. The fruits of his work can be seen in various NGOs, primary and secondary schools around Arusha.
Donatien Fund Fire (Malaui)
Born in Congo, Donatien resides in the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi. Trained as a yoga instructor by the Foundation, he has successfully developed numerous projects in the refugee camp, enhancing the lives of hundreds of children, youth and adults. Committed to improving the quality of life of all the camp’s residents, Donatien works incessantly in very difficult conditions to ensure the sustainability of his endeavors.
Kezia Jhona (Madagascar)
Kezia is a professional dancer, and yoga practitioner. Her genuine interest in sharing the benefits of ancient yogic knowledge with the inhabitants of her country has prompted her to participate in the first project that the Foundation carried out in Madagascar: translating and recording a yoga nidra in her local language, Malagasy.
Hanan Idris Muktar (Ethiopia)
Hanan has a degree from Unity University of Ethiopia as a Sociologist and Social Anthropologist. Her work and effort is aimed at gradually stimulating social change in the areas of community development, social work, family support and in all other fields that can contribute to the well-being of society, both locally and globally.
Dagmawit Haftu (Ethiopia)
Dagmawit has a degree in Marketing Management from the University of Sant Mary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as a diploma in yoga instruction from Svyasa University in Bangalore, India. Her work focuses on using the tools of classical yoga to reduce ethnic, religious and political tensions as well as the different health problems faced by the inhabitants of her country.
Alexis Muganwa Havugimana (Rwanda)
Alexis graduated in conservation biology from the University of Rwanda. He is a musician, organic farmer, a Yoga, Qi gong and Tai chi instructor. He got to know yoga in 2013 and after one year he started teaching his fellow students in the university. He is the project coordinator of YPVF in Rwanda. His interest is to spread yoga knowledge through his community where he cooperate with different organizations, teaching yoga to all ages people, including genocide survivors, children with disabilities or care givers in hospitals. He believes yoga is the right tool for the transformation of his society.
Pius Muli Kaluu (Kenya)
Pius is the Foundation yoga teacher training projects development in Kenya. His great interest in promoting the physical, mental and emotional well-being of the less privileged children of his city has led him to develop projects for the dissemination and teaching of yoga in some of the most underprivileged communities in Nairobi so that the little ones can enjoy the benefits of these practices.
Carolina de la Cruz (Tanzania)
Carolina is a freelance graphic designer, living in Zanzibar, Tanzania. She is excited to contribute to YPVF projects while also respecting the cultural diversity in Africa, knowing that yoga and meditation are disciplines that help expand consciousness and improve quality of life.
Lucas Nocquet (Argentina)
Lucas is an advanced student of the Bachelor's degree in Social Communication. He also works as a Community Manager for other ventures. His spirit of solidarity inspired him to collaborate with the Foundation by managing social networks, thus helping to spread the YPVF’s work to as many people as possible.
Tomas Nocquet (Argentina)
Tomas generates the content and manages the YouTube account for the Foundation. Still a young man in secondary school, he allocates his free hours to ensure that the Foundation’s messages reach all its followers.
Renée Cameron Pierre (España)
Graduated in Philosophy, Education Science and in Psychology, Postgraduate in Pedagogical Documentation at the Complutense University of Madrid; Applied Arts and Design in Sculpture at the Granada School of Art; Foreign Casual Course Sculpture, Advanced Diploma Sculpture and Foreign Casual Course in Sanskrit at Visva-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, India.
Inspired by the teachings of several Sanathana Dharma masters and especially by the masters of the Satyananda yoga tradition, she has focused her life on helping others using yoga, writing and art as a tool for human growth. As a professional, she develops her work as a documentarian, pedagogue, psychologist, artist and yoga teacher, emphasizing in Yoga - Tantra Philosophy and Indian Art and its symbolism as a methodology for personal development and teaching.
Víctor A. Restrepo Rivera - (Colombia)
Víctor has a deep calling for contemplative practices and their use in community-based projects that foster the well-being of vulnerable populations and people in crisis situations. This is a long-lasting passion that has found nourishment in his work, especially with vulnerable teenagers and children. His vocation has been invigorated by a multidisciplinary approach that finds nourishment from experiences in the fields of education, contemplative practices, positive psychology, and mental health. His career has been one of practice and research. As a researcher for the government, a university, and different foundations-, and in his professional practice, altruism and compassion have been a crucial target. He graduated summa cum laude in history and sociology. Víctor started practicing Chi-Kung Shaolin at an early age during his childhood. He has been dedicated to learning from different spiritual traditions all over the world since then.
Flavia Arrigoni (Argentina)
Flavia has a degree in Psychology (UNSL), Specialist in University Teaching (UNCuyo), Specialist in Criminology (UNSJ) and Master in Psychological Intervention in Risk Contexts (UCA, Spain). She is currently pursuing a PhD. For over 15 years she has been a university professor and researcher. She is an exhibitor at national and international conferences as well as
the author of several scientific articles. She is also a Satyananda Yoga Teacher. For 7 years she has been teaching yoga classes to children and adults. She has developed her practice mainly in relation to two vulnerable groups: people deprived of liberty and people with disabilities. She currently researches topics related to the promotion and prevention of health and general well-being of people.
Emilia Picca (Uruguay)
Emilia begins her journey on the path of Yoga at the age of 17, maintaining an uninterrupted bond with this discipline in a permanent spiritual search. She is certified as Satyananda Yoga Teacher and R.Y.E (Recherche sur le Yoga dans l ’Éducation). She also completed her studies in Psychology at the National University of Córdoba (Argentina). She works as a child psychotherapist and Yoga teacher for children and teenagers, maintaining a strong professional bond with social and community projects, dedicated to the care of infants in conditions of extreme vulnerability. She is a tireless learner of this path that she chooses as a lifestyle, convinced of the transforming power that this ancient discipline has for individuals and societies around the world.