Kirsten and Mitchell are direct students of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. They studied at the KPJAYI every year, and have Pattabhi Jois’ direct blessings and Authorization to teach ashtanga (Kirsten in 1999. Mitchell in 2003). They completed the first ‘teacher training’ given by the Institute and have Level 2 authorization. Kirsten was fortunate to be one of few ashtangis to have studied Advanced (A) and pranayama directly with Sri K Pattabhi Jois, and has permission to teach what she learned from him. The seasonal classes on Koh Phangan aka ‘Ashtanga Yoga Koh Phangan’ were started by Kirsten Berg and Rolf Naujokat in 2001, the first Mysore program in Thailand. Mitchell Gold joined Ashtanga Yoga Koh Phangan in 2005.
After completing university studies (Classics/Latin), Kirsten began exploring yoga asana on a trip to India in 1993. A few years later, she moved to India with a one-way ticket and intention to find a yoga practice. She found inspiration along the way with yogi Clive Sheridan and technique at the Iyengar Yoga Study Center in Rishikesh with Rudra Dev. In 1996, she began the ashtanga with Rolf Naujokat and became Sri K. Pattabhi Jois’ student 6 months later. Kirsten received Guruji’s blessing/authorization to teach in 1999, and is one of a handful of women in the world to have studied the Advanced ‘A’ series directly under his, and Sharath’s, guidance. She was also one of the last students to learn the separate ashtanga pranayama sequence from Jois. Kirsten and Rolf moved to Southeast Asia from Goa in 1999, where they taught seasonal classes in Ubud, and started the first ashtanga program in South Thailand (2001). She has continued the “Ashtanga Yoga Koh Phangan” program.
Kirsten is also an artist and installs her work annually at Burning Man.
Mitchell first came to India in 1979 to deepen his knowledge of meditation and ‘spiritual pursuits’. After years of searching for the right practice, he began ashtanga yoga in 2000, and has been a dedicated practitioner ever since. Mitchell received Guruji’s authorization to teach in 2003. Mitchell also studied intensively (3 yrs) with senior teacher Dena Kingsberg in Australia in addition to his yearly studies with Sri K. P. Jois
Mitchell is also a talented and knowledgeable bodyworker. He is certified as an Advanced practitioner of Structural Integration, also known as “Rolfing”. Mitchell started studying different bodywork methods 35 years ago (Swedish-Esalen, Traeger, Thai) and has focused on the “Rolfing” method for the last 15 years . He is available for sessions upon request. Mitchell also runs “Intro to Bodywork” and Introductory Rolfing courses worldwide.