Yoga Teacher Profiles
Profiles for our yoga teachers appear on the Booking page for each week, as they become available, but if you'd like to select your week based on the teacher, rather than the date, you can read about each of our teachers here
May 18th - 31st - Casperia - Jessie Jeanne Stinnett
We welcome Jessie, from the USA, back to Sunflower Retreats to teach for two weeks from 18th to 23 May.
Jessie began practicing yoga as a supplement to her career as a professional dancer. Jessie is a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor through Frog Lotus International. She teaches classes and workshops regularly in London and the US, and is also pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Practice.
Jessie teaches dynamic Vinyasa Flow yoga classes which focus on building strength, stability, and flexibility. She draws on her experience as a dancer/somatic movement practitioner to develop classes which condition and increase awareness of the body and heal, restore, and express one’s inner landscape.
The use of metaphors and imagery are key methods of Jessie’s teaching style which serve the purpose of guiding her students to a deep, subjective understanding of how the techniques and philosophies underpinning the practice apply to them as individuals. She encourages depth of understanding over superficiality: quality versus quantity.
The pace of the class generally includes a quiet time of transition through Tapas (Sanskrit: heat/self discipline), building the internal fire, as the physicality of the practice intensifies to resolution in the final moments of relaxation, observation and reflection. Students are left feeling energized and thoughtful and encased by the energy that their very own body-mind cultivated as a glowing membrane of radiance.
June 1st - July 26th - Casperia - Ben Rakidzija
Ben, born in Germany in 1980, is certified by the American Yoga Alliance (500 RYT). We welcome him to our team to lead our retreats for the months of June and July. Ben’s teaching experience in retreats and studios has taken him as far afield as Costa Rica, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Italy and Switzerland.
Ben's yoga style is open; he practises a mix of Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga and QiGong; also involving exercises in Facial Training and Contact Improvisation. The aim of his practice is a stable body and a clear mind.
Ben also teaches Zazen, the meditation practice of Zen-Buddhism, the aim of which is merely sitting, free from thoughts, images or judgments. He has practised Zazen for ten years with various teachers, such as Ryushin Paul Haller, from the USA and Shodo Harada Roshi from Japan.
To further expand his education, Ben visits many seminars and workshops; most recently in Facial Training, led by Dr. Schleip (Germany), and an intensive course in Contact Improvisation, by Martin Keogh (USA). Another part of Ben's life is graduated as a Master of Arts in Philosophy and History , Ben's website has more details on his Yoga teaching and styles -
June 3rd - 16th - Sperlonga - Amy Williams
We welcome Amy Williams to our yoga teaching team in Sperlonga this year.
Yoga found Amy one sunny day during her travels. It has remained a constant ever since.
After many years of personal practise and study, the call to teach took her to Costa Rica where she completed her training. From the very start, Amy strived to teach in a way that made yoga accessible to everyone.
Combining the traditional, structured approach of Hatha and Iyengar with the freedom of movement that comes from listening to the body, Amy’s classes encourage us to explore but also respect the journey of our practise, allowing time to unfold naturally and remove the obstacles of goal orientation.
With a love for mantra and chanting, she will be happy to introduce you to the magical world of sound as a tool for creating a deeper, more connected meditation practise. Most of all, she believes in fun.
Alongside her work as a yoga teacher, Amy is an accomplished Level 3 qualified massage therapist with many years experience working within both holistic and clinical environments. At present she work as an Ayurvedic therapist and yoga teacher as well as running her own business, Next Wave Yoga and Therapy.
June 17th - 30th - Sperlonga -Mara Blackburn
Mara Blackburn, from the UK, returns to Sperlonga to lead our yoga retreat these 2 weeks.
Mara has 25 years in experience in practicing and teaching yoga. Among her skills are; the Vinyasa Flow method of Hatha yoga, a strength-based practice to warm up the body and improve blood flow which is typically practiced in the morning to invigorate and remove fatigue.
Mara also practices and teaches Soma yoga, blending somatic movements with yoga asanas via specific sequences of slow, focused, yet gentle yoga movements, while incorporating Chakra Yoga which opens the seven chakras and includes meditation as a therapy through yoga poses, visualisation, affirmations and relaxation.
Mara is also a Holistic therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner.
July 27 - 2 Aug - Casperia - Cesare Dapiaggi
We welcome Cesare, from Italy, back to our teaching team.
Cesare started practicing yoga assiduously in 2010, after realizing that he could play a key role in treating disorders of the bodies and the minds of people weary from years of intercontinental travel. His job as a flight attendant made him aware of the negative consequences of nights spent on shift work and of jet lag.
After making several trips to Asia, he started the discipline of Hatha yoga through a method created by Supreme Master Gabriella Cella; the first woman to bring the ancient teachings the Sivananda to Italy. After studying for more than forty years in various ashrams scattered across India, she developed the Yoga Ratna method where 'ratna' means 'the jewel' through which we uncover our true being.
Cesare teaches a path that winds through the study of the elements, the asanas that represent the many deities of the Hindu pantheon, and the 'scruti' - listening to their energy impression. Pranayama helps spread this new information in depth, through breathing, and meditation of loving kindness serves as an aid to clear our mind of all negative thoughts.
August 17th - 30th - Paola Piozzi
We welcome Paola Piozzi, from Rome, back to our team to teach the last two weeks in August.
Fascinated by the yogic universe since she was a teenager, Paola started to study Hatha yoga in Rome, at the same time developing her interest in meditation techniques.
Upon moving to Brussels, she continued her studies in yoga with Willy Van Lysebeth and later she attended the yoga teacher training course under the guidance of André Van Lysebeth, internationally well appreciated.
She travelled several times to India to deepen her knowledge in the yogic discipline following the Sivananda and Satyanada tradition, also attending specialised courses mainly focused on Yoga Therapy and relaxation practices for stress management.
Paula has been teaching yoga since 2002 leading beginners and advanced classes, as well as individual sessions, with a special regard for breathing awareness and inward perception, also achieving experience in teaching gentle Yoga for Seniors and Yoga for Pregnancy.
August 31st - September 16th - Pleuni van Hulten
Pleuni from the Netherlands, will teach with us again this September.
As a professional dancer and choreographer Pleuni discovered yoga early in her life. She graduated at the Academy of Arts in the Netherlands and completed her yoga teacher training in Thailand with Stillflowingyoga right after.
She returned to the Netherlands to start her own pop-up style yoga classes in her home town under the name Guerrilla Yoga. In September 2014 she left everything behind to travel and teach classes, workshops and retreats all over the world; so far she has been taught in Central America, Dubai, Sri Lanka and India.
Pleuni specializes in Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga and floor work dance technique. She teaches various in-depth workshops and also leads mantra chanting circles with the Shruti box she carries.
Her classes are a total experience in which she explores the body's natural way of moving, trying to find a lightness in the practice. She works a lot with waving and rolling through the spine and moving with grace and fluidity.
Lucy Bremner - Costa Rica
Our Costa Rica weeks will be led by Lucy Bremner; the founder of Sunflower Retreats. Lucy has been a holistic practitioner in the UK and worldwide since 1988. She specialises in a wide range of body work, therapies and energy and spiritual balancing treatments such as Chakra Balancing and Reiki.
Lucy was drawn to the practice of Hatha yoga and the yoga philosophy while studying holistic therapies professionally in London in 1989. In the late 80's and early 90's, then in her twenties, she travelled independently when at that time it was not common for women to travel alone, her journey took her to Nepal, India, Thailand, Malaysia,Indonesia, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Sudan and the USA, where she broadened her studies of yoga, Eastern philosophy and the healing arts, including the American Indian tradition and philosophy.
Lucy is a qualified Holistic Therapist and international yoga teacher, accredited with a distinction in her final examinations with Friends of Yoga - a society and examination body for yoga in the UK and India which is recognised by Yoga Alliance©, as an international yoga school. Over the last twenty years she has helped thousands of people with healing therapies and with yoga instruction, either through her yoga classes and treatments, or through all she has coordinated in the yoga and healing section at Sunflower Retreats' centre in Casperia. Her interests also include Shamanism, Astrology, art and the study of the sacred and divine feminine.
Lucy's group yoga classes are holistic and grounding, fusing the elements of Ying and Yang, yoga asanas and practices with some flow sequences and traditional asanas so to bring balance (union) to the body, mind, emotions and spirit. She loves to share and communicate the ancient knowledge of Western and Eastern traditions through the healing power of yoga and meditation and Yoga nidra, both in her classes and her treatments.
She is a gentle teacher, encouraging and supportive in her teaching and holistic therapy work.
A mother of two children born by natural childbirth methods, she also teaches pregnancy yoga and preparation for natural birth.