Teacher’s Corner: Meet the mang’Oh Teacher Trainers

Teacher’s Corner is a blog series written by one of mang’Oh’s most experienced teachers, Chintamani Kansas. Teacher’s Corner offers a detailed look at issues and topics that are of particular interest to yoga teachers and enthusiasts. This post is dedicated to introducing our 2018 Teacher Training instructors.

Erica Whalen

Erica Whalen is the creator and the lead instructor of the beloved mang’Oh teacher training. She is incredibly humbled and inspired by all of the many students and wonderful instructors that have brought this program to life, year after year. Erica oversees the program in its entirety and also leads the sections on Yoga Philosophy, Sun Salutations and Sequencing.

When Erica discovered mang’Oh, she was running around New York City teaching at various studios, gyms, and living rooms. At the time, mang’Oh had a tiny community and was in need of some love and inspiration. In 2007, she, along with her business savvy sister and dearest friend Cynthia, purchased and reinvented the studio. Today, mang’Oh has become the place they always dreamed it could be: a sweet yoga sanctuary full of heart and soul.

Erica is in love with the practice of yoga. She profoundly believes in its healing effects for the individual body and spirit, as well as the collective whole. She delights in teaching beautiful and expressive asana classes in the Hatha vinyasa style. Every day, she is inspired by and grateful for all of the students and teachers that call mang’Oh their yoga home.

Erica has a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University, and she received her yoga certification through Laughing Lotus Yoga School. She lives in New Jersey with her husband Evan, and their two little ones, Charlie & Lila.

Favorite Quote: Let the beauty of what you love, be what you do. –Rumi
Chintamani Kansas

Chintamani Kansas is honored to be a part of the mang’Oh Yoga Teacher Training program since its first year in 2011. For the program, she designed and developed the sections of Backbends, Inversions, Subtle Energy/Subtle Body and Embodied Anatomy. She also leads the bi-annual mang’Oh Meditation Series.

Chintamani Kansas began her yoga journey at her local gym, trying a class on a whim– and quickly realized the practice of yoga can be a simple, yet powerful tool for finding balance and joy. Yoga helped Chintamani overcome trauma, reconnect with her spirit, and rekindle her vitality and curiosity. Having discovered the potential of yoga to restore health and vitality for herself, Chintamani knew she had to share yoga with others. She has been teaching yoga for 15 years and is continuously inspired and full of gratitude to see the benefits of yoga unfold in her clients and students.

Chintamani’s classes focus on mindfulness and inquiry as well as conscious alignment and expansive movement.

Chintamani is certified in Vinyasa, Hatha, Meditation, Embodied Anatomy, Pilates, Prenatal Yoga, and Prenatal Pilates. Her continued studies include Yoga Nidra and Therapeutic Yoga.

Chintamani lives in Brooklyn with her Partner, Andrew, and her three cats, Biggie, Jubie and Brucie.
Favorite quote: The True Self abides in the inner chamber of the heart, always at peace, whatever forces of nature may storm outside. –The Bhagavad-Gita

Danielle Figgie

Danielle Figgie has been a part of the mang’Oh Teacher Training program since 2013. Danielle leads Standing Poses 1, Rotated Poses and Meditation and Pranayama. She feels honored to be a part of the participants’ journey towards deepening their practice and (whether they know it or not) changing their lives. Having been in their shoes before makes it all the more wonderful to witness.

Danielle has been practicing yoga since 2002, when she happened upon a yoga class while studying abroad in Sydney, Australia. What seemed to be a lighthearted decision turned out to be the first step towards finding her truest joy and life’s work. She returned to the States and continued to study yoga when she could; through completing her Accounting degree to working in Corporate America, yoga was her outlet to release stress and come back to the act of just being.

In 2008, Danielle realized that given she spent most of her time working, her job should be a source of joy, not stress. Upon having this realization, she immediately began planning a career change. That year, she completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher certification at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC and she has been teaching ever since. She is ever so grateful to have the opportunity to share this practice and to facilitate bringing joy and peace into others’ lives. Her teaching style is constantly evolving with the phases of her life and her own practice, but she will always emphasize moving and breathing with intention and do her best to encourage her students to stay curious.

Danielle lives in Tribeca with her husband, Harry, and their daughter Josephine. When she is not teaching she is a stay at home mom, which has taken her yoga practice to a whole new level!

Favorite quote: To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. —Mary Oliver

Djuna Passman

Djuna is honored to be joining the teacher training staff at mang’Oh. As a graduate of the inaugural teacher training class in 2011, being able to help guide others through the same journey feels like everything is coming full circle. In this Teacher Training, Djuna teaches Standing Poses 2, Forward Bends, Business and Ethics and Specialty Yoga. Djuna also leads the frequent offerings of the mang’Oh Beginners Series.

Djuna did not instantly fall in love with yoga, it was a slow and unexpected process, initiated by joining a friend for weekly yoga classes at the local YMCA. In 2006, during a time of personal upheaval, she found herself going to yoga classes at a small studio once, twice, three times a week, and then daily. Upon moving back to NYC during the summer of 2007 to begin graduate school, a Google search led her to mang’Oh – she has yet to leave. Djuna received her B.A. in dance and theology from Bard College and her M.S. in dance/movement psychotherapy from Pratt Institute. A lifelong love of moving and firm belief in the healing that comes from deepening the mind-body connection has led her to successful careers as a dancer, choreographer, dance/movement psychotherapist, and now yoga instructor.
Djuna’s classes are challenging and playful alignment based flows that hold space for self-exploration.
Djuna lives in Brooklyn with her cat, Domino.

Favorite Quote: “At the heart of each of us, whatever our imperfections, there exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm, which is absolutely individual and unique, and yet connects us to everything else.” – George Leonard

Visit Djuna’s website here!