Spotlight on our co-founder: Aadil Palkhivala

With degrees in law, physics and mathematics, Aadil Palkhivala is one of the world’s top yoga teachers and, for over 35 years, has had the reputation as the “teacher of teachers,” since the world’s finest teachers study with him*. He has completed over 51 years of yoga practice!

Aadil’s experience of holistic healing was originally prenatal, as his mother could not conceive for 7 years and, only after practicing yoga with B.K.S. Iyengar, did she conceive her first child: Aadil! Aadil began observing Iyengar’s classes at the age of three, commenced formal study at the age of seven, and was the youngest person to be awarded the Advanced Yoga Teacher’s Certificate at the age of twenty-two!

Aadil and his wife, Savitri, moved to the Pacific Northwest from California (where he introduced Iyengar yoga to the original founders of Yoga Works in Santa Monica) in the 1980’s. Once his family moved to Bellevue, Aadil taught out of his home studio and several other places like the Washington Athletic Club, leaving his law practice to pursue yoga full-time. He opened the first yoga studio in Bellevue in 1992. As one of only 6 Advanced Iyengar teachers in the world, and as a part of the Iyengar Association, he was one of the only teachers offering teacher trainings in the area. He taught Beginning Teacher Trainings, Intermediate Teacher Trainings, Therapeutic Teacher Trainings, and multiple week-long asana immersions every year. After 25 years in business, we are the oldest yoga studio in Bellevue.

Aadil studied for over 14,000 hours with B.K.S. Iyengar and 5,000 of those hours were focused on yoga therapy. Aadil has worked with thousands of students therapeutically.

In 2004, Aadil’s teacher training officially became a state certified vocational school and with BKS Iyengar’s blessings, Aadil formally stepped away from the strict Iyengar curriculum to teach a more holistic yoga called Purna Yoga. Aadil and his wife, Savitri, are the founders of Purna Yoga, a holistic synthesis of yogic traditions based on the work of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Aadil and Savitri are the founders and directors of Alive and Shine Center™ in Bellevue, Washington and Purna Yoga College™, a 200-hour, 500-hour, 2,000-hour and 4,000+hour Teacher Training program.

Aadil is the author of Fire of Love, a book that seeks to restore the rapidly fading essence of yoga. He has also co-authored three manuals with Savitri, which are used in his beginning, intermediate, and therapeutic teacher trainings. In addition, Aadil has written and filmed extensively for Yoga International and Yoga Journal as the “Asana Expert” for both the magazine and the website. He has served as advisor and board member to Prevention Magazine, Yoga Alliance, Yoga Journal and The Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States. Aadil developed the use of short series and created the Opening Series, the Hip Series and the Spinal Rejuvenation Series (Reversing the Aging of the Spine Series). Aadil also refined the Morning Series and Classical Surya Namaskār to integrate principles of safety and alignment.

Aadil expanded Iyengar’s work with props to make yoga more accessible and therapeutic, by creating specific props and modifications that address the issues of our modern lifestyle. Aadil invented new systems and series using the wall ropes for relaxation, anti-aging, traction, āsana modifications, as well as therapeutic applications.
Therapeutic applications influence all of Aadil’s teachings. His ingenuity and constant inspiration to create benefit for his students and the world are at the forefront of his yoga teaching.

* Local teachers that have studied with Aadil: Ian Gray, Lisa Black, Liz Doyle, Jo Leffingwell, Theresa Elliot, Kathleen Hunt, Kitty Whittkower, Felicity Green, Karen Guzak, Richard Schactel, and Ana Forrest. National teachers: David Life and Sharron Gannon, Barron Baptist, Seane Corn, Maty Ezraty, Tias Little, David Swenson, Chuck Miller, Roger Cole, Joan White, Bryan Legere, Patricia Walden, John Schumacher, Natasha Rizopoulos, Annie Carpenter, Erich Schiffmann, Rod Striker, John Friend, Jason Crandell, Bo Forbes.

Teacher Spotlight: Zofia Alia

Zofia Alia

2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

Practicing Yoga since: 1995

Teaching at ASC since: 1998

Why do you love teaching yoga?

One of the reasons I love teaching yoga is I really enjoy connecting with people. We are all soooo different and yet so alike! Another reason I love teaching yoga is the ability to empower someone with health, strength, and flexibility. Because these qualities do not just rest in the muscles, when practicing yoga they become a part of your mental, emotional and psychological bodies as well. When humor is applied to this process, the body opens with joy, bringing an overall sense of well being along with a good sense of humor. 🙂

What is your favorite quote?

“Let Thy Light be in me like a Fire that makes all alive; let thy Divine Love penetrate me. I aspire with all my being for thy reign as sovereign and master of my mind and heart and body: let them be thy docile instuments and Thy faithful servitors.” – The Mother, from Prayers and Meditations: November 3,1912

I really enjoy this quote because the ignorance in me is turning to the wisdom in me asking for guidance, surrendering to wisdom instead of staying in ignorance.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

Enjoy the process! When I feel gratitude, joy, a beautiful feeling, my body opens more quickly and allows me to live a happier life.

What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

The greatest benefit I have received from Purna Yoga™ and Heartfull™ Meditation is connecting with my Soul. This has brought a tremendous sense of renewal in my body, my life, and my relationships. I feel younger, more flexible, stronger, more emotionally balanced than I did when I first came. I know my life has changed because of Purna Yoga, Heartfull Meditation and Alive & Shine Center.

Teacher Spotlight: Aadil Palkhivala

Aadil Palkhivala,

Co-Founder of Purna Yoga College & Alive & Shine Center

Practicing Yoga since: 1966

Teaching Yoga since: 1974

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I love teaching yoga because it is very rare to find something that works. Purna Yoga works. Having taught Iyengar yoga for almost 30 years, I realized the power of the physical body. But it is only in Purna Yoga that we found the total power of the mind, body, spirit connection.

What is your favorite quote?

“How you do anything is how you do everything”. – unknown

This quote teaches me to be present in every moment of my life.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

Never give up! Come to classes regularly, rain or shine. No matter what, never give up. When it is difficult, you need it; when it is easy, enjoy it.

What benefits have your recieved from Purna Yoga?

I am able to be completely functional despite very severe injuries physically. I have a calm and focused mind and, even at 58, I am totally focused, clear, and able in my mind. Spiritually, Savitri’s Heartfull Meditation makes life worthwhile and meaningful. The work on yoga philosophy from Sri Aurobindo keeps me happy and smiling. Without Purna Yoga life would be a drudgery. With Purna Yoga it is a joy and an adventure!

Teacher Spotlight: Marchella

Marchella

2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

Practicing Yoga since: 2003

Teaching at ASC since: 2007

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I love teaching yoga because it allows me to work with people in a deep and profound way that is very fulfilling. Purna Yoga has helped me heal and grow in so many beautiful ways that I naturally wanted to share this with others. It is an honor and true joy to guide students through the process of loving their body, focusing their mind and opening their heart. As I teach, I also grow as an individual and as a teacher. ​

What is your favorite quote?

There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved. – George Sand.

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

Enjoy the process and trust that you are making progress even if you can’t see it. Don’t force your body and self through this process. Let yourself unfold one breath at a time, one pose at a time, and one moment of love at a time.

What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

Purna Yoga has healed me of back pain, depression, and has balanced my relationship with myself and others to name just a few. The biggest benefit Purna Yoga has given me is the gift of understanding and knowing myself as an eternal being of Love and Light. It has given me an open minded perspective from which I can understand my body, my feelings, and my thoughts. My teacher Savitri, through Heartfull Meditation (a petal of Purna Yoga), has given me clarity that everyone on earth has a purpose here and when we connect with this purpose, loneliness disappears and we can live our life with clarity and love.

Teacher Spotlight: Angelica Rose

Angelica Rose

2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

Practicing Yoga since: 2003

Teaching at ASC since: 2006

Why do you love teaching yoga?

When I came to Alive and Shine Center in 2003, I was very stressed and unwell and the only time I felt good was after yoga class. When I healed myself from several physical issues and started feeling better emotionally and mentally as well, I knew that I had found something so special, that all I wanted to do was to be able to share it with others. I left my career at Microsoft to become a Purna Yoga™ teacher. I love being able to share my love of Purna Yoga™ and Heartfull™ Meditation as it opens my heart as well as the hearts of others.

What is your favorite quote?

I don’t have a favorite quote; I like many! Here is one I use often. It is from the book Savitri by Sri Aurobindo: “Awakened to the meaning of my heart, that to feel love and oneness is to live.”

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

Don’t be concerned with whether or not you are “good at yoga.” Notice how you feel. If you are feeling better, if you are feeling a larger capacity to love, then that is what is important.

What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

I could never list all the benefits. Purna Yoga™ and Heartfull™ Meditation have changed my life so fully that a list would be a mighty undertaking. Here are a few highlights: Better relationship with myself and others, being part of a beautiful community, getting to study with Savitri and Aadil who are two exceptionally wonderful teachers, ability to love more through a more open heart, ability to have my daughter and to have confidence raising her as a healthy and loving person, fully healing from scoliosis, having an easy and powerful way to manage stress, and a much healthier lifestyle (and therefore a much healthier body).

Teacher Spotlight: John Davie

John Davie

4,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

Practicing Yoga since: 1989

Teaching at ASC since: 1992

Why do you love teaching yoga?

I love teaching yoga because yoga can bring out the best in each of us. Helping others find the best parts of themselves is very satisfying. Encouraging others to make progress and supporting them to realize their wholeness is one of the best jobs that one could have. ​

What is your favorite quote?

Two of my favorite quotes are:

“The time is always right to do the right thing.” – Martin Luther King.

“The Truth shall be the leader of their lives.” – Sri Aurobindo

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

Feel love as you do the poses. Feel a Beautiful Feeling as you meditate

What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

I have become part of a community of people whose joy is inspiring and whose struggles have helped me grow. I have leaned to become more humble. As my body opened, so has my mind, for it is often the case that we start out thinking we know everything and are not as open to instruction as we think we are. We come to class and with our own agenda and lose sight of the wisdom that others have to offer. As I’ve grown in yoga, I’ve learned to become more receptive. I have come to love myself more and more as I have learned to be more and more inside my body.

Teacher Spotlight: Sandra Storwick

Sandra Storwick

2,000 hour Purna Yoga Professional

Practicing Yoga since: 1983

Teaching at ASC since: 1994

Why do you love teaching yoga?

The practice of Purna Yoga and Heartfull Mediation has had a profound effect on my life and the lives of my children. It has given me the ability create a relationship between my mind, body and soul. Teaching Yoga has become an expression of that sacred relationship. Teaching yoga gives me the opportunity to give back. ​

What is your favorite quote?

“If mankind could but see though in a glimpse of fleeting experience what infinite enjoyments, what perfect forces, what luminous reaches of spontaneous knowledge, what wide calms of our being lie waiting for us in the tracts which our animal evolution has not yet conquered, they would leave all & never rest till they had gained these treasures. But the way is narrow, the doors are hard to force, and fear, distrust & scepticism are there, sentinels of Nature, to forbid the turning away of our feet from her ordinary pastures.”

– Sri Aurobindo

If you could give one piece of advice to yourself as a new yoga student, what would it be?

  • ​Don’t give up
  • Be patient with yourself
  • Try not to compare yourself with others
  • Try not to be afraid when you begin to feel your body, or feel your body changing as a result of the work you are doing. You may feel feelings that you have never felt before.
  • As you become aware of your body through the lens of the yoga poses, try not to judge but see it as a starting place.
  • 10 years of aging will go by anyway
  • ​Read the above quote. There is a gem inside of you waiting to be discovered. ​

What benefits have you received from Purna Yoga?

Countless benefits. To know myself as an eternal being with a purpose – to be the Light in this physical form. ​