Elia Nikolaev


My curiosity into anything outside of my usual experience led me to find out about Yoga at the age of 22 when I read the great Paramahansa Yogananda’s  “Autobiography of a Yogi”, which was the gateway into the next phase of my life. It wasn’t until about 2 years later that I took my first Hatha Yoga class, officially indoctrinating it into my life as a matter of sheer necessity, than just choice or opportunity. Learning the method and practice of Hatha Yoga through Synergy Yoga® lead to a training and certification in 2006. After nearly two years of teaching at Synergy Yoga® and learning the leadership skills by assisting in trainings and workshops, I wanted to broaden my experience by learning from various other methods, of which Iyengar and Ashtanga Vinyasa have made the biggest impressions. Having found a deep appreciation for the mechanics of postures, precise alignment, utilization of props, and deep breathing, make my classes a constant exploration into creating a stimulating, challenging, and learning environment. Along with the privilege and ability to share what I hold so dear, learning the therapeutic applications of  Yoga from different methods has unveiled yet another dimension of the subject and led me seek out the Yoga therapy training at the Bishnu Ghosh College in Calcutta, India in 2010. As my fascination with the human body and all of its attendant complexities grew, I became evermore intrigued by the work and service of BKS Iyengar, which itself was a catalyst to meet and learn from the brilliant Roger Cole, PhD.

About 2 years later, a continued thirst to develop a sensitive touch and awareness toward the individual needs of people I come into contact with, served as a catalyst to seek out the apprenticeship from Rachael Krentzman PT, E-RYT, who implements a mainly Yoga based approach, informed by Aadil Palkhivala, into her therapy protocol.

In 2013 my impatience to study and train further spurred me to go on to an extended live-study excursion to Mr. Iyengar’s Yoga Institute in Pune, India, less than one year before his passing. My debt and gratitude to Mr. Iyengar and his legacy cannot be overstated.

Having also been a big fan of the work and insight of Richard Freeman, gave me the fortune and privilege to study with him in 2014. His eloquence in disseminating the heritage of Yoga and it’s reference and context in the modern era, has been one of the major underpinnings of my path as a student and teacher.

It was also in 2014 that I endeavored on a two year training in Yoga therapy at Loyola Marymount University with Larry Payne, MD and Lori Rubenstein Fazzio, DPT which culminated in an invaluable clinical internship.

My sincere gratitude to my other beloved teachers and mentors, Carolyn Belko, Usha Devi of Rishikesh, Josh Vincent, all of the teachers at the Iyengar Institute in India (RIMYI). These figures in my life have left an indelible mark in helping me understand and refine my own grasp on the subject in a more clear way, and allow me to lay the framework of the environment I look to create in my own classes.

Of all the knowledge that emerges from the practice of Yoga, the most intriguing part of it is that no matter how deeply the teaching is picked apart and explored, the vastness of the subject seems to spread only deeper and farther than any expectations. My continual sense of awe is constantly refreshed by Yoga’s depth and simplicity and I hope to be able to offer anyone and everyone its relevance and potential.