PREMA means “Love.”
A name given to me by
Baba Hari Dass at the beloved Mount Madonna.
It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t tell you where I came from, or where I’ve been. Authenticity, compassion, and wisdom don’t happen on a whim. These are the qualities we pull from the ashes—they are the gifts of living a life filled with both joy and sorrow.
When considered carefully, life reads like an epic. The life that happens within each chapter builds upon itself, slowly creating the masterpiece that is you. We all have a story of becoming. I hope that by sharing mine, I inspire your own courage to do the same.
Chapter 1: New York
When I was a little girl growing up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a beautifully eccentric friend of my parents used to sneak me away to an Ashram located in Upstate New York.
There was this great, big meditation hall filled with people chanting. The sight and sound of it all mesmerized me. I remember feeling a deep sense of comfort and belonging--two things I yearned for as a child. Little did I know then, but mantra and meditation would become my spiritual refuge as an adult.
I attended the Lycée Français de New York, where I became fluent in French. I took classes at the School of Visual Arts and spent my summers at Rhode Island School of Design and Bennington College. A lover of the arts, I was accepted into a program at Juilliard’s British American Drama Academy in Oxford, England, and then went on to attend a theater conservatory in London.
I traveled all over Europe and had the opportunity to mingle with international students from all across the world. It was a very fortunate time in my life, but I often felt out of place.
In my early twenties, I had worked myself into a career niche representing fashion designers and record labels in New York City. Just a few years into the business, I launched a very successful Public Relations firm. Life was hard, fast, and exciting in its own unique way. But, there remained a churning and a yearning in my soul.
Then, 9/11 happened and rocked all of us to the core. I started to question every area of my life. I needed to find a sense of purpose beyond the grind and the glamour. At about this time, I also began questioning everything I thought I knew about love.
For six years, an on-again-off-again romantic relationship with “The One” brought me to my knees. Completely devastated, I entered a dark night of the soul. I thought, “I’ll never be able to open my heart again.” And it was from that dark place that my journey to self-discovery really began.
Chapter 2: The Shift
I moved to Los Angeles, accepted a position as the Director of Marketing for a non-profit that connected artists with children in hospitals, and began a regular yoga practice.
Inspired by the healing mission of that organization, I decided to complete a Kid’s Yoga Teacher Training and then a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training after that. Outside of the office, I went to hospitals to share yoga and breath-work with children and their parents. My work had meaning. But something was still missing. My heart still ached.
A wedding in India changed everything. It was magical, it was beautiful, and it opened my eyes to LOVE. As part of the reception, we spent the afternoon volunteering at a nearby orphanage. Everything in my body said “yes”. My heart just knew.
I quit my job, packed my bags, and bought a one-way ticket to India.
Chapter 3: Nothing But A Backpack
In 2009, I completed an advanced 300-hr Yoga Teacher Training on the banks of the holy Ganges River in Rishikesh in India before setting off on a quest for transformation.
My adventure map to healing was guided by intuition and service to others. I continued to work with orphanages and indigenous artisans in South East Asia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, and Guatemala while studying with some of the world’s most potent healers and shamans.
One of my favorite chapters was when I settled on a small island in Thailand for a year. I lived in a bungalow with no water or electricity. I taught yoga every day, I never wore shoes. Fully rooted, I had never been happier in my life.
I traded in material wealth for cultural richness and service to others; it turned out to be the best investment that I could have ever made into my own personal joy. Slowly, slowly, I healed. I found my purpose. I found my happiness. I started to see love in all things.
None of us know what the next day, week, or year will bring. After over a decade of teaching and healing, I found myself standing at the edge of a Great Big Unknown. And this time, it felt terrifying instead of thrilling.
Chapter 4: The Big Grief
The year 2021 was a time of uncertainty, strife, and despair for many. It was also the year that I lost my beloved father to a tragic accident, right before my eyes. I thought I knew pain before, but as my therapist once said to me, this was trauma with a capital “T”.
Tragedy is so incredibly humbling. You realize that healing grief isn’t linear or even guaranteed. The process is messy and mysterious, and it’s ultimately about learning how to live a life devoted to love despite the losses.
This is it.
Life is fragile. Our time here, fleeting. When we are made to confront our immortality, where do we turn to for comfort? I know now more than ever that yoga, mantra, and meditation can deliver us to wholeness, if even for a moment. When I ground into my body and connect to my breath, I am able to overcome feelings of panic and confusion.
These ancient practices reconnect us to our true nature, Atman, the one who never changes. My heart is forever grateful for these practices. I am honored to carry these traditions and to share them with you.
Thank you Life, for all that you have placed before me.
Thank you yoga, my companion, through it all.
Thank you, kindred spirit, for reading my story.
• 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training with Kelly Wood, Karuna Yoga, LA.
• Kids Yoga Teacher Training with Kelly Wood, Karuna Yoga, LA.
• 300 HR Advanced Yoga Teacher Training at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, India.
• Reiki Level 1, India.
• Reiki Level 2 & Reiki Master, Thailand.
• 200 HR SmartFLOW Teacher Training with Annie Carpenter, Exhale Yoga, LA.
• 85 HR Prenatal and Postnatal 'Mommy & Me' Teacher Training with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Golden Bridge Yoga, LA.
• Yoga of Service & Community, year-long residency with Baba Hari Dass at Mount Madonna in Santa Cruz, CA. I was given the name “Prema” by Baba Hari Dass.
• Munay Ki Rites Training with shamans of
in Pisac, Peru.
• 300 HR Yoga of Energetics Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Cat Kabira in Ubud, Bali.
• Craniosacral Therapy Level 1 & 2 with Cat Kabira in Ubud, Bali.
• Mysticism Training (Moon & Sun Course) at Las Piramides del Ka on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
• Yoga of Sound and Chocolate training at Sounds of Light School on Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.
My belief is that love, inner wisdom, and moksha (freedom) are the purest pursuits of yoga. Through simple practices like breathwork, meditation, and movement you can transcend the story of your life—all the labels, the titles, the expectations, and even the pain.
Born with open hearts, human beings are bound to experience suffering. We want to trust that life is going to be okay, but with pain comes fear. If I could convince you of one thing, it would be that we are built for this world.
There is bravery in the choice to show up. And when you can’t bear to be present—when you feel that your inner experience is intolerable? Find your body, find your breath. That’s what yoga is about.
Yoga is the path of strength and fortitude. Yoga is the path of resilience and liberation.
The classes that I teach are infused with the Bhakti tradition of loving devotion. Bhakti yoga teaches you how to find gratitude in the most unlikely of places. Bhakti teaches you how to share a compassionate connection to all beings.
Reawaken your true essence and cultivate a more intimate connection to the Divine through ritual, meditation, and chanting mantras. The gifts you are given in return are immeasurable.
Peace, joyful abundance, emotional security, true alignment, and most of all…
"Prema brings a special kind of magic to every one of her yoga classes - a magic that kept me coming back. Whether you're a beginner or more advanced, she'll make you feel welcome and help you feel comfortable with yourself in every asana.
Prema puts a lot of passion and energy into every class, and she helped foster the passion inside me to grow in my yoga journey. I can't wait to be in her class again!"
~ Bessie Ratskof, Student
"My gratitude is for your exceptional yoga classes and you! I feel so connected to your warmth of spirit and your love. I am someone who loves to learn and I come out of every class with a new take a way that I strive to use in my daily life.
- Louise Klein, Online Student