Institute Core Faculty
Swami Jaidev Bharati (Dr. Justin O’Brien) a leading disciple of Swami Rama of the Himalayas, is a pioneer in the exploration of consciousness. A former Catholic monk who studied in Israel, Jordan, and the Netherlands, he was a major lecturer as his ground-breaking theology took thousands to deep insights in their spiritual quests. In 1972 he met his Guru while he taught theology at Loyola University of Chicago. He helped Swamiji establish the Himalayan Institute and its graduate school and helped create international yoga conferences in England, Japan, India, Nepal, and the States. He holds a Doctoral degree in the Philosophy of Consciousness, a Doctorandus in Theology, and Masters degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies. He was Senior Research Fellow in Holistic Medicine at the University of London Medical School, Director of Education at London’s Marylebone Health Clinic, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He took vows of renunciation on the banks of the Ganges River in 1999. He is author of Walking with a Himalayan Master, The Wellness Tree, A Meeting of Mystic Paths, Superconscious Meditation and several others.
Ma Devi (Theresa King, M.A.) is a life-long practitioner of spirituality. A former vowed religious, she studied theology in Europe for two years, coming home to be initiated by the saint Swami Rama of the Himalayas in 1972. Serving as his personal assistant for twelve years, she also established the Himalayan Publishing House where she designed and published thirty-eight books and numerous periodicals. She worked with Gurudev in Japan, England, India, and Nepal where she taught and co-directed international conferences. Past spiritual director at Seattle University’s Master of Ministry Summer Program, she founded Yes International Publishers at Swami Rama’s request and continues to publish books on personal growth, yoga, and spirituality. She edited the award-winning The Spiral Path and The Divine Mosaic and has won national awards for her poetry. She is also editor of the Institute's journal, Himalayan Path. Devi brings deep insight to others from a life interwoven with direct spiritual experiences and love of the Tradition.
Manuraj (Maynard Speece) was initiated in the Himalayan Tradition in 1973 and has studied yoga ever since. A past member of the Marine Corps, chair of the MN Chemical Dependency Association Ethics Committee, Marketing Director of the chemical dependency treatment hospital New Beginnings, board member of Affirmation Place and Cornerstone, legislative lobbyist for patient concerns, and Assistant Director of the MN Teamsters Service Bureau, he also served as Transportation Coordinator at the Greater Twin Cities United Care. Currently he directs Community Outreach, a non-profit organization that operates the detox centers at Hastings and Brainerd, MN. Manuraj is one of the main teachers, and a frequent contributor to its journal, Himalayan Path.
Mike Powers, Ph.D., has an M.A. in Clinical Psychology and is a certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). His career has covered marriage and family therapy, hypnotherapy, and leadership development. He currently directs a human services agency program providing career assistance to dislocated workers. Mike particularly enjoys learning and teaching topics related to personal growth.
Dr. Ian Grunberg is a chiropractor practicing in St. Paul. A graduate of Northwestern College of Chiropractic, he has treated thousands of patients and a multitude of conditions! He is a faculty member of Northwestern College, a member of the Minnesota Chiropractic Association, and is on the faculty of IHT.
Yogiraj Prem Prakash has studied with teachers from various lineages and now co-directs Vermont’s Green Mountain School of Yoga. His writings on yoga have appeared in several publications. He is author of Three Paths of Devotion, Yoga American Style, and Universal Yoga: The Bhagavad Gita for Modern Times from Yes Publishers.
Kate Poole was initiated into the Himalayan Tradition in 1998. After years of study, she assists in teaching at the center as a certified hatha yoga teacher in both beginning and intermediate courses. She homeschools her children, is president of the Institute’s teachers association, and teaches prenatal, beginning, intermediate and advanced hatha yoga at IHT. She wins all with her smile!
Dena Jackson came to IHT in 2002 as a certified yoga teacher searching for a true “yoga home” after she had studied hatha yoga and meditation for several years. She was then initiated into the Himalayan Tradition and became a certified hatha teacher at IHT. She teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced hatha yoga at IHT. She serves as vice-president of IHT’s teachers association and as president of IHT’s board of directors.
Nandini (Nancy Avery) is a certified beginning hatha yoga teacher. A native of Portland, Oregon, she now is an assistant in the offices of IHT and Yes Publishers. She is one of our BETAR technicians and also serves as a photographer for IHT. Nandini lived as an Institute ashram resident for several years.
Vaishalee Ballolla is a lifelong student of yoga spirituality and wellness. She became a certified hatha yoga teacher from IHT in 2007. She teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced hatha yoga at IHT. She is the mother of two beautiful daughters who share the love of yoga. She is committed to her daily practice of raja yoga. She also loves to garden and cook. She serves as treasurer of IHT’s board of directors.
Barbra Bloy has taught yoga to students aged 5 through 75 for the past several years. A long-time student of hatha yoga, she came to the Institute in 2002 and has completed her first IHT hatha certification. Barbra is also a massage therapist trained in Esalen, deep tissue massage, shiatsu, and reflexology. She is also an artist and a cat lover in her busy life.
Julia Phillips has been a student and teacher at IHT for several years. Her sunny smile and eagerness to help makes her always welcome. A greatly loved teacher of hatha yoga, she also sews the breathing sandbags and the meditation cushions for the IHT bookstore. Julia is also a certified beginning yoga teacher.
Alida Winternheimer has been a student at IHT for several years, attending classes and teacher training. She is a writer and a mother. She is a certified hatha teacher and the secretary of IHTTA, the institute’s teachers association. She is a writer and book reviewer for Himalayan Path as well.