Teacher Training Testimonials

“Richmond’s Integral Yoga® TT program was a far deeper experience that I would have ever anticipated. I knew I would learn how to be of service to students and earn my teacher certification, but I had no way of knowing what a life changing experience it would become.

To start with Vimala’s (Nora Pozzi) experience and understanding of the curriculum and yoga, coupled with her personal knowledge of teaching yoga, was the core of training. Every detail, every perspective of the class, the student, and of ourselves was examined. The hours and schedule were demanding on all, but the freshness with which Vimala presented it kept us focused, inspired and enjoying.

The mentor teachers who so un-selflessly gave of their time, showed us what devotion of the teacher is all about and directed us with their experience and knowledge. Dr. Bob, the class medical doctor, gave us an invaluable understanding of the human body and yoga’s relationship to it, giving allopathic credibly and making yoga’s health benefits clear.

I am personally grateful that the yoga philosophy was so prominent in the training, giving the full raja experience of yoga, a reminder of the true meaning of yoga. The experience was a transformation of being, from that of the student to true teacher where we realized all that we can share is what has been passed on to us. We combine that with our commitment, practice and desire to serve and then we share. We are both humbled and inspired. I will always be honored to say that I was Integral trained, and honored to not only be part of this great web of yoga teachers that continue to pass on the gift of yoga, but especially proud to be part of the Integral yoga teacher community. Thank you Vimala for this great gift. Namaste.”
~ Barbara Tara West (2001-2002), owner of Inlight Yoga Center, Powhatan, Virginia


“From this 6-month experience I learned to let go of rigid boundaries for meditation and spiritual practice. I’ve come to embrace a daily practice that is rich and varied. The Teacher Training not only enriched my previous practice but also expanded it beyond meditation and scriptural study to include chanting, pranayama, and asanas. I feel that my practice allows me to be more present in the moment with those around me. I feel more measured and balanced when I communicate with loved ones, which are usually the same people with whom I lose my peace”
~ Lori Lilimayi Speagle (2003/04) Lori is a dancer & musician, and teaches yoga at VCU’s Recreational Sports and at the School of Nursing and Allied Health, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.


“I have found the path that I know was out there, but had no name for. Now, yoga has found me and I am a part of the world in a way that I have not known before. I have a visceral understanding of the science of yoga –an understanding of how I am to participate in life; with other people and how my actions, my energy and my intentions affect my own life and the lives of those around me.

The hatha practice has taught me to find my edge – learn to be comfortable with what I can do, and slowly, with self respect and patience, go further into poses – to stretch my body, stretch my mind and become better at what I do – in all aspects of my life. My actions are my words.”
~ Sosie Saranya Hublitz (2002/03). Sosie was the owner and chef of Kitchen Table Restaurant in Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom until Tropical Storm Gaston flooded it. After many years of working hard while surviving after she lost all, she started a new restaurant in Brooklyn, NY, “Watty and Meg“.


“One reason for taking this training was to improve my meditation practice. The course has allowed me to do this by keeping me “on track” with my personal practice, which continues steady after many years.  I was not sure that I wanted to teach, but now I would like to share yoga with others. ‘Living in the moment’ or being present in the moment has been an abstract concept for me until TT. Through the study of the Sutras, as well as study of Jnana yoga, I have begun to experience this.  TT has wet my appetite for more study and learning. It has just been the door opener to a continuing journey.”
~ Bob Chinmaya Goldschmidt, MD
). Dr Bob, continues to serve as a physician in Richmond and teaches yoga everytime he has an opportunity. He has been invited by Yogaville to teach Anatomy for their TT programs.


“To say that this training saved my life is not an overstatement. (maybe not my physical life)  But it definitely saved my spiritual life my emotional life. I grew so much in this class. I have discovered so much of myself that has been hidden under self-doubt and fear.

In this training I overcame a fear I have been fighting my entire life. To get in front of people and speak is amazing to me. I have never been able to stand in front of a group with confidence. When I began this class I really felt invisible – now I feel that I have power – not generated from myself – but power of life flowing through me.

However one very important thing I learned is that, although I worked through my fears – being in front of yoga class, I realized it was not even about my fears after all. Instead it is about what I can give others. So when I am standing in front of a class and I am thinking that the class is about the students not about me – then there is not fear.

I was free to take on the challenge of finding my voice. I feel that there has been all these things going on inside of me that could not get out, but now they can- so it’s like I am starting a brand new life. I feel really good and excited! Thank you for this opportunity. Thank you Life!”
~ Susan Suci Webb (2002/03) Suci is a substance abuse counselor.


I was in Vimala’s first Richmond Integral Yoga teacher training.  When Vimala offered the course in Richmond I was very excited.  It was a dream come true for me.  I could become a Yoga teacher without having to be away from home for a month, which would have been impossible for me as a single working mother.  Completing the training, being presented to the Yogaville community, and being given my Sanskrit name were among my proudest accomplishments.

The lessons learned in the teacher training have given me the tools to live a healthy, reflective, peaceful, and useful life.  I gained a deep understanding of the anatomy of each pose, which has improved my personal practice, learned stress reduction techniques to achieve more peace and balance in my life, and had the time and opportunity to reflect on my life purpose.

The teacher training impacted my life in such a special way that I chose to participate as a mentor in each of the past teacher trainings.  Being a mentor enabled me to be a part of the success of others dedicated to sharing these teachings.  This training is so comprehensive that when a student completes it, he or she will be an excellent, knowledgeable, confident teacher. – Karuna Jane Gordon (1999) Former Educator and current consultant at VCU Dept of Neurosurgery.


I graduated from Nora’s Integral Yoga Teacher Training in 2005. It was both one of the most challenging and one of the most enlightening six months of my life. I took the training because of health issues caused by stress.  I didn’t know it at the time, but the training would be the catalyst for a lifestyle change. I believe that in many ways, yoga saved my life. Although I am not currently teaching yoga, my yoga practice is an integral part of my life. If challenges occur, as they inevitably will, I know I have my yoga “tool box” to bring me back to inner peace. OM Shanti – Kavita Katherine Sullivan (2003-04) Kavita is a poet, a writer and a retired middle school teacher.


I can honestly say this has been one of the most unique experiences I have ever had.  I have definitely received what I wanted from this certification, and that was to deepen my own practice and to be around like-minded people.  But, in addition to this, I have received so much more.  I don’t even know where to begin…..   It has most certainly been a life-altering experience for me personally.  I know that I am not the person that I was 6 months ago.  I feel that I had a lot of questions about “my path” or destiny when I first started the class.  One of the first things I learned is that, not only is that ok, but normal.  And I’m on my path.  I may not know exactly what that it is or where it may lead, but I am exactly where I am supposed to be and this class helped validate that.  I also learned early on that just when you think you know the answer, you don’t.  And that’s ok, too.

I feel this class has helped me become a more accepting person – not just of others, but also of myself.  It has made me a more patient and tolerant person.  It has given me the tools to step back and look at myself or a stressful situation as a “witness”.  The sense of community and security that I received from everyone in the TT program was priceless.  We all had obstacles during this process.  Losing my best friend and dog Sadie and dealing with my Dad’s heart disease and also starting a new job were very hard obstacles for me to deal with and overcome.  I am a strong person, but I don’t think I would’ve made it through if it wasn’t for everyone in the TT program.  Time was also an obstacle I think we all felt.  I really gave this class 100%, in spite of, working full time, daughter duties, being a homeowner, etc.  I know that it is a huge acomplishment, although there were times I didn’t know if I would make it.

My meditation practice, although I still have a ways to go, definitely improved during this class.  I feel more aware now than I have ever had.  This helps me enjoy everything more.  It helps me be a better, daughter, sister, friend, education representative.  This class has helped me strive to be a more authentic person.  Even when situations are stressful, even when people around me are negative or stressed.  It has helped me identify what is really important in my life.

Even though this is the end of the class, I feel it is just the beginning for me in many ways.  I am very grateful for each and every person who was part of the TT program. Julie Sati Aliff (2004-2005)


“I had been practicing yoga for approximately 2 years with Vimala as my teacher when a medical diagnosis of breast cancer entered my life. Vimala’s “Yoga for Self Inquiry” class was incredibly helpful in carrying me through finding out the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.

I enrolled in the 2005-06 Integral Yoga Teacher Training program hoping to pass along the yoga teachings that helped me. I loved the simple but powerful and meditative approach of Integral Yoga classes. The training took the aspects of yoga that had been touched on in my previous yoga classes to a much deeper level. The combination of group support, self-study, study of yoga sutras, in-depth exploration of the asanas, breathing practices, and meditation involved all aspects of my intellect, body, creativity, and inner spirit.

Vimala respects each person’s personal journey and approaches her teaching with kindness, compassion, and humor. The length of the training program (6 months) was beneficial for me because I needed that period of time to integrate what I was learning. The guest teachers and mentors in the program were wonderful.  I loved getting to know my fellow students in the program and felt supported and encouraged throughout.   I use teachings I learned from Vimala in every yoga class I teach.”

Thank you so much, Vimala, for your own study of yoga and for continuing to pass this knowledge on. Best wishes to all future students!  Allison Mesnard, RN, eRYT 200, RYT500 (2005-06) Founder of Still Here Yoga, teaches “Yoga During Cancer Treatment and Beyond” at Bon Secours Cancer Institute, Gentle Yoga, studies Yoga Therapy and provides individual therapeutic yoga sessions.


It may seem cliché these days to say that something is “life-changing,” but it is no understatement to say that my Integral Yoga® teacher training experience did in fact change my life. Before taking teacher training, I had only about a year’s experience with yoga, solely through my classes at Integral Yoga® Center in Richmond and I did know about the many health benefits of yoga. As a therapist working at the time with teens and adults on the autism spectrum, I wanted to learn more about bringing yoga into my clinical practice. In my personal practice, I already loved and deeply appreciated IY’s integration of chant, meditation and pranayama in all classes, but I had no idea how profound the spirituality of yoga truly is. My greatest love through my yoga TT was the study of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita and the opportunity to dive deeply into the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of yoga. Yoga means “union” and whether we know it, recognize it or believe it, the goal and the ultimate result of the diligent practice of yoga is unity with something greater than just ourselves—but also that we ourselves are included in that wholeness. One of the greatest lessons I was taught is that true yoga is learning to adapt, adjust and to accommodate the constant changes of life,  big and small, with compassion and with love.

The lessons I learned went far beyond my original thought of bringing a different area of focus to my work. Yoga can help us to deal with the very Mysteries of life and death if we allow it to do so, something I experienced and deeply appreciated when just two years after my teacher training, my son was diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor. Throughout the pain of his illness and in the aftermath of his death, my yoga training helped me to hold on to more equanimity and peace than I would have ever thought possible. Over a decade later, I have expanded my own personal awareness and practice and try daily to bring the teachings inherent in all the paths of yoga into the whole of my life including family, work, friendships, all my interactions with the world around me. Through my work with traumatically bereaved, with those struggling with anxiety, sadness, stress and trauma, the teachings of  yoga are central to the message of compassionate, mindful awareness and in our ability to experience and to hold both joy and pain.

My yoga teacher training with Integral Yoga® Richmond brought me to the knowledge of yoga as a path, a way of life, and a way of being that can helped me to understand and realize that we are all part of a unified whole, which is never and has never been divided—we have only to remember that knowledge of wholeness. In these teachings I found a path that will sustain me and inspire me to continue to learn and grow throughout life. If you are looking for a training that will deepen your practice, expand your thinking, allow you to look more deeply at yourself, cultivate love and bring all the aspects of a full yoga experience into your awareness, Integral Yoga® brings you the tools and the teachings of a lifetime. I cannot express how grateful I am to my teacher Nora Vimala Pozzi for her wisdom, her love, her patience and her support through TT and beyond. Karla Dharmini Helbert, LPC (2003-2004), Licensed Professional counselor in private practice and author of 2 books, one in the process of being published “Yoga for Grief and Loss”.  www.karlahelbert.com


The IY Teacher Training I attended 2004 – 2005 was an incredible life changing experience. Not only did I learn how to become a yoga instructor, I learned more about myself and the path I was walking on at that time.

Vimala Pozzi created a program that allowed for intense self inquiry, a rigorous teaching schedule that challenged my mind, body, and soul. After 10 years of successfully teaching children’s yoga, I fully feel the essence of that initial training is intact and inspiring me to this day to not only live yoga but to encourage others to aspire to as well. Nitya Lydia Griffith (2004-05) Founder and creator of Yoga with Nitya and Yoga Camps for Kids and author of 2 books and a DVD for children: A Child’s Journey to Yoga and a coloring book.


I was a student of yoga for 26 years before taking the Integral Yoga TT in 2001. Dr. Janeshwar Upadhyay – my Guru taught me the principles of Hatha, Kriya, Raja, Bhakti, and Jnana Yoga. He also instilled an everlasting commitment to self-improvement and the improvement of others within me.

As a devotee of the yogic path, I was fortunate to meet Sri Swami Satchidananda. In fact, I was blessed to personally serve His Holiness at a fundraiser for the L.O.T.U.S Temple during the early 1980s. It was an extraordinary honor to visit Yogaville on numerous occasions to hear the timeless teachings of Swamiji in person.

Since I was 19 years old, yoga has been an integral part of my life. Even during the most difficult trials and tribulations of my earthly existence; it has been yoga that kept me grounded. When I was a young householder in the late 1990s, it was Integral Yoga TT taught by Vimala Nora Pozzi that helped me survive one of the most challenging post-traumatic phases of my life.

Once I decided to enroll in the TT, the love and support of the Integral Yoga sangha in Richmond embraced me. Without the faith, trust, and mutual respect of the Integral Yoga Community, I would not have made it through the TT.

The process of learning and practicing yoga with like minded people who were being guided by spiritually awakened teachers was uplifting. I can truly say that we became a yoga family.

I believe this upcoming TT is going to be more than amazing because it has taken a long time of deep meditation to materialize. Peace and Blessings, Ram Bhagat, Ed.D., RYT200   (2001-2002). 

Science Educator, Teacher Leader, Conflict Resolution and Trauma Healing Trainer, Arts Innovator, Drummer, Yoga Activist and Massage Therapist.  Dr. Ram Bhagat is an educator and co-founder and artistic director of Drums No Guns. He received the Peace Maker of the Year Award from the Richmond Peace Education Center in 2016.


:“My teacher training at the Integral Yoga Center of Richmond was one of the most rewarding and enriching experiences of my life. The ultimate goal may have been to complete the 200 hours required to become a certified yoga instructor, but the course allowed for and encouraged a level of self-inquiry that has changed my outlook on life and transformed me into a happier, healthier, person” . Kerry Viveki Mitchell (2015-16) 

 I would highly recommend Integral Yoga Center of Richmond’s Teacher Training and wish to sing nothing but praises for it. The classes were scheduled in such a way that were very easy to adapt to my busy life. I feel the program instilled in me a solid foundation of physical practice to bring to many types of studios, and a stronger spiritual practice than I ever thought possible. It is a thorough and cohesive teacher training with endless resources from my teachers, mentors and the integral yoga community”. Mere Lavanya Carle (2015-16)


FROM THE “Raja” Yoga Mat

Dear Students, Teachers and friends
of Yoga,
Have you ever thought how YOGA HELPS in our life? Dealing with sickness, loss, grief, or aging? Maybe with daily disappointments or even with lack of purpose in life?
Continue reading »


Resources and links to organizations affiliated with Integral Yoga® International, Satchidananda Ashram and those with whom IYC of Richmond share similar values.
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IYCoR Response to the COVID-19 Challenge

The IYCoR (Integral Yoga® Center of Richmond) studio is still closed due to COVID-19, until it is SAFE to open it again. We are looking into starting some onsite classes in October/November. In the meantime all our classes are offered ONLY via zoom ONLINE. (September 5, 2021)



ONLINE CLASSES: Mindfulness Yoga, X-Gentle, and more….

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