Bringing connection to the body, mind, spirit and emotions.
Bringing balance through asana, nutrition and lifestyle choices.
Connecting to the spark of the divine within you through dynamic meditation.
Purna Yoga classes help you live your life by bringing freedom and openness into your body, unity to mind, body, and spirit, and equanimity to your emotions, while giving your spirit a chance to shine.
How does Purna Yoga® bring union to the yoga practictioner? We believe that yoga is more that just physical exercise. Purna means complete. Purna Yoga addresses the entire you: body, mind, emotions, and spirit, because you are more than just your body.
Purna Yoga utilizes Asana (poses) and Pranayama (breathwork) so that the body can be strong as well as flexible. So we can move through our daily life with ease rather than be burdened with physical discomfort. Purna Yoga is alignment-oriented and rooted in co-founder Aadil Palkhivala’s 40 years of study with B.K.S. Iyengar. Nutritional knowledge and an understanding of how lifestyle choices affect health are also aspects of study. We draw on the best of Ayurveda, Chinese, and modern medicine to support the health of the body beyond just the physical practice of asana.
Purna also offers a unique form of guided meditation, developed by co-founder Savitri, through years of experiential study. Heartfull Meditation helps connect you with who you truly are within. Through simple, practical, easy-to-learn techniques, you can set your focus on what really matters in life. Purna honors the traditional texts of yoga (the Vedas, Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, Hatha Pradipika, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the writings of Sri Aurobindo) and applies them practically to modern living.
A Certified Purna Yoga Teacher at the 2,000 Hour Level, a registered Yoga Alliance teacher (E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500), and the director of Purna Yoga 828 studio in Asheville, N.C., Letitia cultivates a community-oriented, non-competitive, and compassionate studio environment in which to practice, change, and grow. She is grateful to practice in an authentic Indian lineage with Aadil Palkhivala and his wife Savitri, the co-founders of Purna Yoga. She also has studied meditation with Michael Stone, yoga for scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, and adaptive yoga with Matthew Sanford, among others.
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“After nearly a decade of practice and three years of teaching, I was considering quitting yoga because of hip pain and chronic low-back issues. But a 2007 weekend workshop with Aadil on hips and low-back health was so inspiring and life-changing that I decided to become a Purna Yoga teacher. Those two 3-hour sessions did more to alleviate my muscle tightness than my previous years of yoga combined. My previous yoga practice also didn’t have much of a meditation component. The meditation techniques I learned from Savitri were invaluable in supporting my mental and emotional well-being as I dealt with my father’s dementia and my mother’s mental health issues. After nearly a decade of searching for the right yoga lineage, Purna Yoga and Heartfull Meditation gave me concrete, practical tools to deal with physical injury, mental stress, and emotional pain.”
Letitia also trained in the Great Yoga Wall™ system with Aadil Palkhivala and Bryan Legere. The Great Yoga Wall™ enables yogis to introduce more traction into poses and invert no matter their strength.
“As Sri Aurobindo reminds us, ‘All life is Yoga.’ Purna Yoga embodies the idea that true yoga encompasses not just poses but also the way we treat our fellow human beings, the planet, and all the creatures that live on it.”
My inspiration to teach yoga comes from the desire to share my own yogic path with my students. To share the ways in which yoga has helped me become more of myself: healthier, happier, balanced, and loving.
Letitia’s husband Whitney received his 200 Hour Certification from Purna Yoga College at All Life Is Yoga studios in Atlanta, GA in 2017. In 2019, he entered the 300 Hour program at Purna Yoga College and graduated in 2020, just in time to start honing his skills as an online instructor. Whitney’s soothing voice and imagistic language invite you to drop into your own practice and listen to your inner teacher. His Employee Benefits program uses yoga to help small businesses improve their teamwork and overall well-being through privately-led group practices.
“I started doing yoga because I needed some kind of exercise regimen. I’d always been bookish, and it seemed like I ought to do a token ‘something’ for my physical health. What I discovered, once I worked through the basic physical transformation to a more active body, was that yoga as a discipline also had positive mental and emotional benefits.
“Purna Yoga & Heartfull Meditation addresses the entirety of a person – the mind, body, and spirit (or whatever you want to call it) — and it does so in a very specific and practical way. It has connected me more with movement and physicality, has balanced out and engaged me more with my emotions and instincts, and has taught me a lot about seeing perspectives other than the ones running around in my head.
“I am a DJ as my ‘night job’, and yoga has helped me curb some of the job’s unhealthier habits. My practice mitigates the changes in my sleep cycle that come from working late, as well as some of the emotional hazards that go along with that. I recommend it to anyone working late shifts or dealing with jobs surrounding, say, food and/or alcohol. Also, as far as I can tell, it’s made me a better dancer!”
Hannah received her 200 Hour Certification from Purna Yoga College in May of 2017 from Purna Yoga East, in Clayton, NC and then graduated from the 300 Hour program in May of 2020. Her enthusiasm for Purna Yoga is contagious and inspiring. Her teaching style is very accessible, and while her sense of humor makes her classes fun, her commitment to personal transformation always makes them appropriately challenging. As someone in recovery from an eating disorder, Hannah places respect for the body and its form at the center of her practice and her teaching.
Hannah discovered Purna Yoga when her sister recommended one of Letitia’s classes in 2014. “I was hooked the first class I came to! Letitia invited us to show our bodies gratitude. I’d never heard that thought process before. Most exercise is about pushing our bodies to become something they’re not. This was way more welcoming – I found this invitation to acceptance to be very liberating.”
Hannah says she decided to become a teacher because she really wants to help people feel accepted for who they truly are and to connect to the love they have for their entire self—their bodies, their hearts, their minds. “There is so much pressure to be externally motivated in the world—I would really like to help people connect with their internal motivations.”
“As a chef of a local catering company, my days are long and stressful. I have been able to utilize the tools I have learned from Purna Yoga to keep my body strong, my mind clear, and my emotions balanced. At least most of the time!”
Mili and Letitia took their first teacher training together in 2003 and have been close colleagues ever since. Mili’s classes combine alignment awareness, strength building, and a meditative mindset. With her soothing voice and gentle smile, Mili brings a peaceful yet playful intention to her teaching, encouraging exploration and a sense of curiosity in her students as well as a commitment to work deeply.
“When you practice, it is always an opportunity to ‘go deep’ while still being playful. I hope to help you find your inner smile, your inner power, your inner light.”
Mili’s training began with a 200 Hour and then a 500 Hour certification with Lillah Schwartz. She has studied with several outstanding teachers including Matthew Sanford, Gabriel Halpern, Roger Cole, and Simon Marrocco and has been studying with Aadil Palkhivala since 2004 and Savitri since 2007. She completed a longtime goal in 2017 when she completed her 500 Hour certification from Purna Yoga College.
“Aadil and Savitri’s teaching have given me tools that have helped me overcome difficulties in my life, to live a life of integrity. One of the things that touched me about Aadil’s teaching was the focus on lifestyle, the things you are choosing to do, and how all life is yoga. I have a degree in Civil Engineering, and as I learned the interconnectedness of moving mechanisms and how the parts function together to support the whole, that helped me to see my student’s bodies in yoga and how the energy flows. Adjusting students is an art, and I love how Purna Yoga provides the tools to effectively help my students to improve not only their postures, but also their vision of themselves as spiritual beings in this human form, the sacred connection between our physical form and our heart and soul.”
Hannah fell in love with Purna Yoga after taking her first class with Hannah Berlin at PY828 in April of 2019, and then signing up for Hannah’s “Deconstructing Downward Facing Dog” workshop that was happening the very next day. By the end of the month, she was a regular at the studio, working the front desk, and welcoming other students to class. Before she knew it, Hannah was graduating from the 200 Hour training at Purna Yoga 828 in October of 2020.
Hannah’s approach to teaching includes a balance between tapas and santosha, the Sanskrit words for discipline and contentment. She aims to bring a bright smile and playful energy to each class she teaches and is dedicated to empowering herself and others to discover and become more of their truest and most authentic self.
Her aim as a yoga instructor is to create a safe and supportive environment for people of all ages, races, genders, and body types so that more may experience the wonderful benefits of yoga on the mat and in all aspects of life.
“Purna Yoga teaches us that only when we learn to live as much as possible from the dictates of the heart chakra, are we able to fulfill our dharma, our life purpose. Ultimately, I hope to inspire my students to approach their practice with a sense of curiosity and exploration so that they may discover that inner wisdom and live their dharma, as well.”
Off the mat, she enjoys tending to her garden, cooking, reading, and spending time in nature with her family.
Rebekah received her 200 Hour Certification from Purna Yoga College in August of 2018 at Purna Yoga East in Clayton, NC. She has incorporated yoga into her elementary classroom since 2010, from Heartfull® Meditation to settle and focus students at the beginning and end of each day, to Sun Salutations to re-energize after nap-time, or using body-awareness and body-acceptance activities to increase empathy and build community. Rebekah has witnessed the myriad physical, emotional, and cognitive benefits of yoga for students and her knowledge of child development, love for the whole child, and 20 years’ experience teaching through the arts enables all ages to feel involved and included.
“I started yoga simply because I wanted to help my sister become a great yoga teacher. Her teaching gave me the opportunity to practice yoga and learn about myself. Then I felt yoga and I understood what Sri Aurobindo meant by “All life is yoga.” I felt the power of standing poses and used that power in self pep-talks. I felt my heart center shine when meditating and used that internal love to cover me when I felt blue. I noticed how my perspective of others’ points of views became more nuanced as my twists became deeper. The list goes on… I was becoming a yogi and lovin’ it.”
Rebekah teaches our Purna Kid Yoga, Family Yoga, and Art & Asana classes. She also holds kids’ camps throughout the year.
Melody became interested in the world of yoga as a teenager when she adopted a macrobiotic diet and began to read voraciously about different forms of self care and spiritual awareness. She came across BKS Iyengar’s book, Light on Yoga, and began to practice in her hometown of New York City. A professional musician whose main instruments are harp, piano and voice, she uses her musicality to
to connect intuitively with others while emanating joy and confidence. “I now see my music as a vehicle and not just an end in itself.”
Her personal practice deepened when she moved to Asheville in 2016 from her longtime home of Key West, Florida and relied on her daily practice for grounding, ease and balance during the transition. She took classes with Cindy Dollar at the Iyengar-focused studio One Center Yoga as well as with Letitia at PY828. In October of 2020, she graduated with her 200 Hour Certification from Purna Yoga College at Purna Yoga 828. Melody has a great love and affinity for teaching Yoga Nidra, or yogic sleep, as well as soothing and accessible restorative sequences and poses. She holds a 100 Hour Certification in Yoga Nidra from Indu Arora of Yog Sadha.
“I think of restorative yoga as the younger sister to the deeper work of Yoga Nidra where you release the body, mind and emotions to touch base with our inner light. It is the deep joy that comes from this experience that I long to share with others.”
Viva’s yoga journey started in the late 70s, when it helped her overcome her claustrophobia underwater and complete the SCUBA certification needed for her Marine Science degree. However, as her work as an oceanographer took her from her native Philippines around the world – from the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan to the Adriatic sea – yoga ended up on the back burner in favor of swimming, hiking, volleyball, ballet, and taekwondo.
Viva returned to yoga when she moved to Asheville to work at the National Centers for Environmental Information, where Letitia taught weekly classes for the NCEI staff. Purna Yoga’s focus on asana basics and steady practice, as well as its therapeutic aspects and emphasis on accessibility and variation, helped her regain strength lost through age and injury. After obtaining her first 200 Hour teacher certification from Lillah Schwartz in 2017 and then a 200 Hour Purna Yoga teacher certificate in 2019 at Purna Yoga 828, Viva has continued to deepen her practice as both a teacher and a student.
“Yoga is a gift that keeps on giving – the more you practice and explore, the more you benefit. Each student comes to yoga for a specific reason, but once the door is opened, there are endless and unexpected discoveries to be made. The teacher is a guide to the student’s personal journey. I love helping students learn to tackle challenges in bite-sized pieces and celebrate success with joy and humility.”
As well as being a regular substitute at PY828, Viva teaches 6-week series on topics that include yoga for osteoporosis and pranayama.