Yoga Teaching Staff
Yoga Synthesis teachers have many years of cumulative experience and training to provide guidance to newcomers and seasoned students alike. Our teachers are the backbone of our community and true examples of the yoga way of life. They provide a supportive and safe environment to deepen any practice. All of our teachers are fully certified bringing integrity, knowledge and experience to all of their students. Each teacher will offer elements of various yoga practices depending on their class plan. They are able to create interesting and intelligent sequences by combining these elements into a cohesive and whole experience for their students. Teachers are trained to see the commonalities and differences of various yoga traditions while always putting emphasis on safety and accessibility.
Raji is the founder and co-director of Yoga Synthesis and Program Director of Yoga Synthesis Teacher Trainings. Since its inception in 1999, hundreds of graduates have earned certifications through the renowned Yoga Synthesis Teacher Training programs.
He has studied extensively and directly with a number of well-known teachers from various prominent Hatha Yoga lineages including: Pattabhi Jois and Richard Freeman in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, Dharma Mittra in Shivananda Yoga, Aadila Palkivala in Iyengar Yoga, Gary Kraftsow and Fran Ubertini in Krishnamacharya Yoga, John Friend in Anusara Yoga, Ravi Singh and others in Kundalini Yoga, Glenn Black at Omega Institute. He has trained at The Colorado Yoga Institute, The Santa Barbara Yoga Center (with Erich Schiffmann), The White Lotus Foundation (with Ganga White and Tracy Rich), the original Yoga Works in Santa Monica (with Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller and others), Yoga Centers in Bellevue Washington (with Aadil Palkivala) and continues to take workshops with teachers from different traditions whenever possible. Raji’s passion is for the integration of different methods and styles, which allows him to express more creativity and engage in open exploration into the essence and wholeness of Yoga. From dynamic flowing movement to passive poses and active holds with alignment and props, his depth of knowledge of various practices and the creative combination of them has led him to be known throughout the area as a leader in innovative and creatively inspired Hatha Yoga. He has also helped many people with various ailments through therapeutic yoga applications. Raji applies his creative spirit in the areas of breath, energy awareness and meditative practice as well, with continual practice and study in various meditative and contemplative traditions, particularly Tibetan Buddhism. The inspiration for the Yoga Synthesis style is a culmination and integration of all that he has learned and explored. Renowned for his creative, challenging and dynamic classes, Raji is New Jersey’s most experienced Vinyasa and Ashtanga instructor. Raji hosts workshops throughout the area and has produced several Yoga DVDs.
Learn more at RajiThron.com.
Rose Fitzgerald B.S, C.M.T, R.Y.T, co-director of Yoga Synthesis, has been actively studying and teaching meditation and yoga for over ten years. Rose is a skilled Transformational Bodyworker. She is a certified massage therapist, Reiki master and Seimei practitioner. Rose works intuitively with groups and individuals assisting them in unlocking their abilities to access their own innate wisdom to navigate through life in courageous and authentic ways. Rose brings years of practice, studies and life experience to her workshops, classes and private sessions.
Learn more at RoseFitzgerald.com.
Jennifer has been practicing yoga since 1995 and teaching since 2000. She has had the good fortune to practice with teachers who have inspired her and set a beautiful example of the transformational power of yoga. She tries to share this experience in her classes - physically, through the breath and from the heart. She has been teaching at Yoga Synthesis Ramsey since their doors opened in 2005. She is certified in Integral Yoga (200 hours), Yoga Synthesis Basic (200 hours) in 2001 and Yoga Synthesis Advanced (300 hours) in 2012.
Alexis initially came to Yoga Synthesis at the urging of a friend in 2008 and never left. She fell in love with how it made her feel both physically and emotionally. It was life changing for her and she feels blessed to have found yoga even if it was later in life. She had such a strong desire to share her love of yoga with others that she decided to enroll in teacher training. She earned her teacher's certification through the Yoga Synthesis Teacher Training program with Raji Thron and currently tries to balance her ashtanga practice with a variety of other vinyasa classes.
My first exposure to yoga came during college in the form of a Kundalini yoga class. I have never forgotten the feeling of that savasana. That was more than 30 years ago. When my children were young I managed to practice sporadically. But when time allowed I began to practice in ernest. That is when my life began a transformation. On my mat I found peace and compassion. I came home to myself. At some point I realized I needed to share this gift of yoga with others. I completed Yoga 200 hour Teacher Training May 2011. Trish received her 500 hour certificate from Raji Thron/Yoga Synthesis in September 2014. I teach with compassion for the souls that stand before me knowing that yoga works its magic for all who open to it's grace. I am so humbled by this mystery. I give great thanks to the Universe which provides this blessing of yoga. I thank my teachers for their wisdom and support. I thank my family and friends who continue to support me with their loving hearts.
Kimberly believes that every day is a gift, and truly something to celebrate. Her love, passion and desire to learn has allowed her to swiftly deepen her practice, passion and understanding for healing the body. With a desire to bring gifts of yoga into the lives of adults and children, she completed Raji Thron’s 200-hour basic teacher training at Yoga Synthesis, graduating in May 2013 Judy Levin’s Children and Teen Yoga Teacher training graduating in February 2014. Since graduating Kimberly is trained and certified in Qi Gong, Radiant Child Yoga for children with special needs, Kundalini yoga for self-esteem, and Reiki. Kimberly teaches in a variety settings and of classes including; Vinyasa, Flow, Basic, Gentle Restorative, Yoga Tone, Yoga for Athletes, Children and Teen, Yoga in Schools, Family Yoga, and Yoga for Children with Special Needs. In her teaching and personal practice, incorporates various styles of yoga including; Ashtanga, Iyengar, Restorative, Viniyoga, Kundalini yoga and Qi Gong while also weaving in the use of mindfulness, meditative techniques, and spiritual affirmations. Kimberly hopes to use her knowledge of yoga to bring peace, happiness, smiles, and joy to the lives of adults and children of all ages as it has for her.
Karen was introduced to yoga in March of 2013, in a time when daily stress and anxiety started to consume her. A good friend invited her to a donations class, and instantly she fell in love with Yoga. Not only did yoga help her deal with daily pressures, it started to uncover past traumas that were unresolved and still had a strong presence in her daily life.
Karen's yoga practice inspires her to continue on the journey of self-healing and transformation. She's eternally grateful to have found the yoga community, which is encouraging her to embrace all that she is and those around her.
In 2015, Karen completed Raji Thron's 200 hour teacher training and has dedicated herself to her practice ever since. In her class, expect an inspiring, creative flow that combines challenging poses and smooth transitions.
Lisa is a 500hr experienced advanced yoga teacher, having graduated from both the basic and advanced Yoga Synthesis teacher training program. She has recently completed all three modules of Anusara Immersion yoga training through Shree Yoga, in Upper Saddle River. Currently, she is on her way to becoming an Anusara Inspired Yoga teacher! Lisa discovered yoga in 2001 at a local sports club. Her teacher, Anna Khazan was certified through Yoga Synthesis and led her to a deeper involvement with the mindful meditation that is yoga. Whether a student comes to yoga to improve strength and flexibility, learn relaxation techniques for stress, or help relieve chronic aches and pains, Lisa's classes offer everyone a chance to tap into their pure potential. She is especially grateful for her teachers, Raji Thron, Chaya Spencer, and is inspired by the teachings of John Friend, Shiva Rea, and Gary Kraftsow. Yoga is for everyone, no matter your flexability, strength, or age, Start wherever you are, no matter what your limitations are, you can honor yourself in your practice. With patience and awareness, and the importance of the principles of alignment, your perfection will be found.
E-RYT, RYT 500, RCYT
Judy began her practice of yoga while teaching in the Pre-K classroom. When she saw firsthand the profound effect it had on the children and the positive energy shift it had in the classroom, she followed the natural path, which eventually led to teaching yoga. Her classes are light hearted and slow flowing, allowing the students time to focus on breath and alignment. She brings attention to the transition between the poses, allowing movement to flow organically from the breath, and allowing time to enjoy the journey between each pose. Her training includes:
- Yoga Synthesis 500 hour teacher training certification with Raji Thron
- Om Yoga 200 hour teacher training certification with Cyndi Lee
- Om Yoga Restorative teacher training with Cyndi Lee
- Angel Yoga Advanced Children teacher training with Sheryl Edsall
- Yoga Minded Teen Certification with Christy Brock
- Shree Yoga Anusara Immersion with Chaya Spencer
She has also studied with many other gifted yoga and meditation teachers along this path and although she looks forward to continuing her exploration of learning, Judy is most inspired by her greatest teachers; her family and students.
Judy teaches yoga to all ages, from young children to adults and has taught in the New York/New Jersey area and in Costa Rica for many years. She created and teaches a Yoga Alliance based children/teens teacher training program which allows other yogi’s the gift of bringing yoga to our youth. Feel free to contact Judy at Judylev14@gmail.com at any time.
Kent Lindemer, M.F.A. has an intense passion for and an extensive background in yoga, dance and bodywork. Growing up with a yogini mother who ran a Siddha Yoga center out of the house, it was only natural that he became an avid practitioner of Yoga and was drawn to the world of dance and massage therapy. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a B.A. in Theatre Arts, Kent danced and choreographed both nationally and internationally with Pilobolus Dance Theatre from 1989-2000.
After obtaining certification in massage therapy and bodywork, Kent toured nationally with the Broadway musical Swing! as the company’s massage therapist, aerial bungee rigger and trainer. Concurrently, Kent continued to pursue his studies in yoga with John Friend and eventually became an affiliated Anusara teacher. Immersing himself even further within the world of yoga, Kent completed Advanced Teacher Training with Richard Freeman and taught Ashtanga Yoga at The Yoga Workshop in Boulder, CO. Most recently, Kent earned an MFA in Dance at the University of Washington.
As a result of these multifaceted yet interconnected experiences, Kent has developed a uniquely rich knowledge base and style of teaching which blends together elements of his experiences in dance, anatomy, Ashtanga and Anusara Yoga, his own style of Nata Yoga, Nada Yoga, and Partner Yoga. Kent enjoys teaching workshops and classes nationally and abroad and has done so since 1995. He has moved back to the East Coast to continue his career and have a baby with his lovely partner Deirdre. He still keeps a Massage Therapy practice and occasionally dances with Pilobolus, as well as on his own. Kent is very excited about sharing the integration of his unique experience with students at Yoga Synthesis.
Tenley is a RYT-200 registered Yoga Alliance teacher. Her yoga practice began as a compliment to her experience as a K-12 Arts Educator/Administrator. The design of her classes are mindfully organized to incorporate a seamless mixture of physical, mental, and spiritual elements of the yoga practice. Training includes 200 hour program with Gail Bentley Walsh of Yoga Mountain and recently completed her 500 hour program with Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis.
Carolyn was exposed to yoga at the young age of about 6 when her exuberant, fun-loving aunt would come visit and do yoga poses with her and her siblings in the yard and living room. She didn’t know the names of the poses at the time, but those padmasanas, sarvangasanas and savasanas would stick with her and eventually call her back. Busy with other interests, she longed to bring yoga back into her life and after taking a class here and there over the course of several years, she fell in full force in 2009 and hasn’t looked back. In 2013, she received her 200-hour certification in a Dharma-style of Hatha Raja Yoga and in 2018 became a 500-hour with Raji Thron at Yoga Synthesis. Carolyn strives to keep the practice that she teaches engaging with interesting flows, and challenges her students by breaking down arm balances and inversions as she herself loves to be upside down. She rounds out her practice with a regular personal meditation practice and now teaches the deeper meditative practice of Yoga Nidra. Whether moving or finding stillness on the mat, finding a deep sense of inner peace is always her goal.
Alane started practicing yoga in 1999. Yoga Synthesis has been her home for the past 5+ years. In 2013 Alane completed and graduated from the Yoga Synthesis 200-hr yoga teachers training program with Raji Thron. She is also registered with Yoga Alliance. In addition to studying with most of the Yoga Synthesis teachers, Alane has taken workshops with Erich Schiffmann, Max Strom and Jillian Pransky. "Even though I can share my love of yoga and meditation through teaching, I'm a student at heart." Alane guides a well balanced classical Hatha yoga style class, appropriate for all student levels.
Candy first found yoga in an outdoor class in Martha’s Vineyard ten years ago. It was definitely an amazing experience. From there it was uphill all the way! She has practiced anywhere from the local gym to a helicopter pad on top of a mountain.
Yoga Synthesis has become a go to place for Candy. She has been able to deepen her practice and find a community of wonderful people. Candy has just finished her teacher training with Raji. She is a cardiac nurse at Valley Hospital. Yoga has been life changing for her. She has gained flexibility, strength and balance through yoga. Candy feels very strongly that anyone can reap a wonderful benefit from yoga. It has helped her so much physically and emotionally. Learning to look inside and find her inner strength has been huge for Candy.
It's hard to tell whether Michele Sapanaro embraced yoga, or whether yoga embraced her. Either way, it was a perfect match that united important streams into a powerful river whose currents have transformed her life. Michele's life-long interest in health and fitness expressed itself in dance, gymnastics and vegetarian cooking. Her natural gifts as a teacher, and her desire to touch and be touched by the exuberance of life led her to become a Certified Childbirth Educator, and prenatal and postpartum fitness instructor. These pursuits prepared Michele for the eventual integration that was yoga, culminating in her completion of Raji Thron's Yoga Synthesis Teachers' Training in 2004. Michele continues to study and practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga with Raji. She has completed Primary and Second Series, and is now exploring Third Series. Michele's greatest joy, however, is sharing the gift of yoga with others. More information on Michele can be found on her website www.shininglightyoga.net.
Nicole began practicing yoga in July 2014. She has a background in cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics. Nicole completed her 200 hour certification in March 2016 with Iflow Yoga. Her classes are sequenced intelligently, with careful planning and attention to detail. She teaches a creative vinyasa class and breaks down challenging poses, inversions, and arm balances. Nicole draws inspiration from her teachers, Andrew and Trella Dolgin and Raji Thron, and continues to maintain a strong personal practice with them.
Johnny Scifo is a RYT-500 advanced certified yoga teacher and has been a devoted yogi for over 10 years. He received his basic training in breath-based yoga from Ramapo College under the guidance of Fran Ubertini and Carol Bowman. At a yoga workshop series at Ramapo, Johnny met Raji, and ultimately completed his advanced training at Yoga Synthesis in 2015. Johnny's musicianship and passion for yoga create powerful experiences for his students. His classes are breath focused and presented in a way that everyone can experience the beauty and power of their yoga practice. A mixture of modern science, ancient wisdom, and raw love, Johnny is a living example of the power of yoga for positive change and the ability to fulfill one’s dreams and dharma.
Yoga has been a part of Susan's life for many years. Her first experience was in a high school gym class, and somehow always stayed with her. Sporadic classes turned into a weekly habit after having her first child. Yoga has helped Susan to find stillness, and gratitude in her life. Yoga has helped Susan to let go of negativity and open her heart to others. Susan received her 200 hour Teaching Certificate with Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis. Susan has completed workshops including Seane Corn, Anat Baniel, and Max Strom. Susan continues to educate herself, and pass the gift of Yoga to her students!!
I took my first yoga class when I was 16, right around the same time one of my high school teachers introduced me to the Tao Te Ching, one of the oldest texts of Eastern thought. Where I had to wait another 17 years till I attended another yoga class, my interest in eastern philosophy and thought continued. It was only after a few weeks I started to realize that yoga wasn’t just a physical pursuit, but had a spiritual and philosophical component as well. I graduated from my first teacher training in 2004. After a couple of years of teaching part time I knew I had to figure out a way to make this full time and leave my regular job. In 2008 I graduated from massage school, quit my job, crossed my fingers and started on a new professional path. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. It is with great joy that I am able to share the teachings of yoga and with immeasurable gratitude to all the students and teachers who have supported me that I have been able to continue on what I now see will be a lifetime of teaching and learning. I have since taken many trainings and workshops and although I am a yoga teacher I still consider that secondary to being a student of yoga. I strive to make my classes, educational, and, maybe most of all, fun for both the beginner and the seasoned practitioner. I try to creatively blend different traditions of yoga styles of asana, pranayama, and meditation practice into an insightful, thoughtful and safe yoga experience. Hope to see you on the mat :0). Kelly Solloway is an E-RYT 500 Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Teacher; a Licensed Massage Therapist and, most recently, the Author of The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book released August 2018. The Yoga Anatomy Coloring Book is available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com
Deb Stillman began her yoga journey in 2009 when her family gave her a gift certificate to Yoga Synthesis. She has loved this studio and its wonderful community from her first Downward Dog, progressing from beginner to dedicated Ashtangi. Deb graduated from Raji Thron’s 200-hour Basic Teacher Training in 2017, happily surprised to discover that of the many gifts that Yoga bestows, the greatest are found in the sharing of it. In March 2018 she completed Judy Levin’s 95-hour Children & Teen’s Teacher Training, also through Yoga Synthesis.
Deb believes that yoga can be practiced by any body at any age; it is never too late. She tries to meet each student where they are and to guide (and occasionally challenge!) in a safe, compassionate, and fun way. She thanks all of her teachers whose wisdom, imagination, and humor make her continuing journey possible. Namaste.
Kate came to yoga after having just given up a long career as a competitive swimmer. From her very first basics class yoga has changed her approach to daily life. Yoga plays an important role in creating balance in her life and helped her get through the rigors of college and law school. She completed her 200 hr Teacher Training with Raji and have been practicing vinyasa-style yoga and Ashtanga since 2010. She loves to create flowy classes mixing in inversions and arm-balances. Expect interesting flows with lots of opportunities for self-expression.
Patrycja's journey began with meditation practice and that lead her to the yoga studio. Patrycja was immediately drawn to the practice of yoga when she took her first class as it was unlike any form of activity she had ever explored before. She completed the 200-hour training at Yoga Synthesis with Raji Thron to deepen her practice. She feels very fortunate to have amazing teachers in her life and to be able to share her passion with others. With Patrycja teaching, you can expect to flow with the breath, to feel positively challenged, balanced and invigorated. She blends a variety of yoga traditions, creative sequencing, emphasizing mindfulness and looking within. Patrycja enjoys outdoor adventures, hiking, motorcycle rides and traveling with her husband. She strives to live her life simply and mindfully. Yoga inspires her open to a deep appreciation of each moment both on and off the mat.
Yoga came into my life almost 10 years, but it wasn't up until about 3 years ago that I began a consistent practice. I fell in love with how it changed me, how I got to really know myself, and how it made me feel. I found peace and stillness within myself and knew I wanted to share this feeling with those who are willing to open their hearts to a yoga practice. I decided to complete my basic 200-hour teacher training with Raji Thron to deepen my spiritual and physical practice and I am so blessed to have gone through this experience. Yoga reminds me that there is always something new to learn and to embrace humility. I enjoy blending various yoga traditions together when designing classes and I always place an emphasis on compassion and self-acceptance. Classes are designed to focus on good alignment, meditation, flowing with your breath, and deepening your awareness of your inner body and your heart.