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© 2016 - 2020 Shannon Sati Chmelar // All Rights Reserved

 

Sati's Story 

Hi! I am an American educator who mentors students in yoga studies, Asian religions, contemplative studies, and wellness; I teach internationally and online from my home in Oslo, Norway.

 

I have a passion for education that consciously attends to the heart and body while also training discursive and analytical faculties (i.e., academics). My belief that we can nurture our intellectual maturity in a way that is connected to our emotional, physical, and relational levels of wellbeing fuels every course, workshop, and retreat that I teach. After years of teaching in-person events, I recently launched my bespoke education programs—part digital, part analog educational experiences that balance academic research, self-reflection, aesthetics, personal attention, and whole-being wellness for busy adult students around the globe. Each program has several customizable study pathways to fit your lifestyle.

 

From 2011-2016, I directed Vasudhaiva Institute, a contemplative education organization that hosted retreats, pilgrimages, and tours with scholars and contemplatives primarily in Nepal and India. I have taught yoga theory and practice since 2004 in diverse locations ranging from universities to yoga studios, monasteries to living rooms. I also have a long history of body-based inquiry through my previous incarnations as an āsana teacher, dancer, performance artist, and licensed massage therapist. All these experiences—both as a facilitator and student—have informed my ongoing passion to craft educational journeys that nourish, challenge, and inspire.

Join me for an online bespoke course or free 15 minute Skype chat. I look forward to speaking with you soon!

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tidbits

1. Always in my refrigerator:

Kale, oat and almond milk, hummus, and berries.

2. Achievement that I’m particularly proud of:

Successfully launching a 16-day Buddhist pilgrimage for Vasudhaiva Institute in 2015. This complex event included taking students across two countries and seven locations with a team of scholars, lamas, and specialist guides.

3. Something I did right in my 20s (gasp!):

Facing fears and finding internal reserves of personal power through dance, performance art, and yoga.  

4. My astrological signature: 

Sun: Capricorn, Moon: Taurus, and Rising: Pisces.

5. One of my best decisions:

Changing my plans last minute to travel to Bir, India in 2012 where hours after arriving, I ended up on the top of Mt. Billing in a storm to pick up a group of stranded paraglider pilots—one who is now my husband.

6. When I can most often enter a flow state:

When I’m teaching—usually in front of a large group of students. 

7. What makes a house a home:

A meditation shrine, cozy blankets, incense, candles,  plants, soothing music, and some books.

8. An unfinished project:

I'm on a quest to visit a long list of America's great national parks. 

9. Favorite places:

The plateaus and fjords of Norway, Tuscan countryside, the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Yellowstone National Park, the Boudhanath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal and Mahabodhi temple in Bodhgaya, India. 

10. Sea, forest, or desert?

The forest, most definitely.

 

Studies, Projects, Influences

Asian religions, somatics, philosophy, yoga, psychology 

Academics & Research 

My attraction to progressive educational philosophy (i.e., John Dewey) that stresses student agency in co-creating an educational journey led me to attend two progressive liberal arts colleges in Vermont for my undergraduate degree. I studied contemporary dance and choreography at Bennington College (Bennington, VT) and years later completed my degree at Goddard College (Plainfield, VT) with a focus on Asian religions, yoga history, and contemplative studies. My graduate-level 27,000-word thesis addressed the problematic distinction of "authentic yoga" and assessed critiques of contemporary postural yoga as being inauthentic and illegitimate. In  2019, I recently co-authored a conference paper that examines the rhetoric of B.K.S. Iyengar with Martha Cheng Ph.D. I have studied philosophy and history were under Professor Nagaraja Rao, Francis Xavier Charet Ph.D  (McGill/Ottawa), Khenpo Ngawang Jorden Ph.D. (Harvard), and Seth Powell Ph.D. candidate (Harvard). I am currently in the Post-Baccalaureate Program for Counseling and Psychology Professions through UC Berkeley with plans to begin a graduate program in clinical mental health counseling in 2021. 

 

Yoga Theory and Practice

I started the practice of yoga āsana in 2001 and established a committed practice within the Aṣṭāṅga Vinyāsa yoga tradition for many years (2004-2014). I was a dedicated practitioner of the complete Intermediate/2nd series, learning up to the early portion of Advanced/3rd. I completed several yoga teacher training certifications in various methodologies. In 2014, a severe chronic illness, an aging body, new somatic impulses, and other theoretical considerations informed my decision to broaden and rearticulate my āsana vocabulary and explore other somatic methods. My earlier āsana and pranāyāma teachers included Shri Hamilton-Hubbard, Stan Hubbard, Manju Jois, Basia Lipska Larsen, Jeff Lichty, Harmony Slater, Paul Dallaghan, David Swenson, Rolf and Marci Naujokat, Greg Nardi, Tim Feldmann, and Alexander Medin. I have studied yoga philosophy and history were under Professor Nagaraja Rao, Francis Charet Ph.D., and Seth Powell (Harvard Ph.D. candidate). I am also currently influenced by the yoga studies research of Edwin Bryant, Elizabeth De Michelis, Stuart Ray Sarbacker, James Mallinson, Mark Singleton, Andrea Jain, and Jason Birch among others.

 

Buddhism

I am a student of Buddhism and have studied primarily within the Mahāyāna and Tibetan (Vajrayāna) traditions. I made several visits to Nepal (2009, 2012-2015) and lived there continuously from 2012-2013. In Nepal, I studied Madhyamaka philosophy under Khenpo Ngawang Jorden at the International Buddhist Academy. Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, and Lama Tsultrim Allione have been key figures who have inspired my devotion to dharma study. I have also received teachings from Jetsün Khandro Rinpoche, Dolpo Tulku Rinpoche, Ngawang Tenzin, Thupten Gongphel, and Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. My scholarly influences (and in some cases personal guidance) include several key figures: teacher/translator Christian Bernert, Constance Kassor Ph.D., Natalie Quli Ph.D., and Ann Gleig Ph.D.

 

retreats, pilgrimages, classes, studies, lectures, travels