Presenter Tao Porchon-Lynch
Extraordinary teachers change the way we perceive the world; the best lead us by their example. At 96, Master Yoga Teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch is living proof of the effectiveness of a life-long yoga practice. Since founding the Westchester Institute of Yoga in 1982, she’s trained and certified hundreds of yoga instructors. She was awarded the Guinness World Record for oldest yoga instructor in 2012. She leads national and international workshops.
At 87, she took ballroom dance lessons and began winning national and international competitions. She’s won 500 first place awards. She’s also a judge for the American Wine Society and vice-president of a New York chapter. These activities follow an extraordinary earlier professional life. After WWII, she modeled for Paris designers including Chanel and Jean Patou and became an MGM contract actress. She wrote movie scripts and produced documentaries.
Tao has always had a commitment to peace and equality. In her native India, she marched with Gandhi. During World War II, she joined the Resistance and helped Jewish people flee France. Recently, she joined the Dalai Lama on a panel to explore world peace. Her personal mantra is: “There’s nothing we cannot do if we harness the power within us." For more on Tao and her schedule see her website
Photo: Ali Kaukas
Stretching Minds Benefit Bios
Keynote Gabrielle Bernstein
Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles and Miracles Now. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your Life and Spirit Junkie. Gabrielle is the founder HerFuture.com, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.
You Tube named Gabrielle one of 16 Youtube Next Video Bloggers, she was named one of Mashable’s 11 Must-Follow Twitter Accounts for Inspiration and she’s featured on the Forbes List of 20 Best Branded Women. Gabrielle has a weekly radio show on Hay House Radio. She has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times Sunday Styles, ELLE, OWN, Kathy Lee & Hoda, The Dr Oz Show, Oprah Radio, The Queen Latifah Show, Anderson Live, Access Hollywood, Marie Claire, Health, SELF, Women’s Health, Glamour, the cover of Experience Life Magazine and more. For more on Gabrielle’s work visit www.Gabbyb.tv.
Presenter David Romanelli
Dave Romanelli fuses ancient wellness practices with modern passions like exotic chocolate, jazz, fine wine, and gourmet food. His collaborations with chocolatiers, jazz artists, chefs, and sommeliers spread "the art of wellness" beyond the gym or yoga studio and into everyday life. Dave's work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Food + Wine, Newsweek, and The New York Times; and his debut book, Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment, reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List. Dave's new book, Happy is the New Healthy: 31 Ways to Relax, Let Go, and Enjoy Life Now, launches January 6, 2015 from Skyhorse Publishing. You can check out his show Yeah Dave! on uLive.com For more: www.yeahdave.com.
Presenter Eddie Stern, Sonima Foundation
Eddie Stern is a yoga instructor raised in New York City. He studied Ashtanga Yoga, chanting, philosophy and ritual under Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, of Mysore, from 1991-2009, and is the founder of the Broome Street Ganesha Temple; co-publishes Namarupa, Categories of Indian Thought, a Hindu art and philosophy magazine; serves as a project manager for the Sonima Foundation for Health and Wellness, and runs the Urban Yogis project that brings yoga and meditation to young adults and youth in disadvantaged and at-risk-to-violence communities in NYC, with his collaborator, Deepak Chopra. He has published several books on Pattabhi Jois and Ashtanga Yoga, including a translation of Pattabhi Jois's 1960 treatise, Yoga Mala. He continues to study with Pattabhi Jois's grandson and successor, R. Sharath Jois.
Presenter, MC Yogi
MC YOGI (aka Nicholas Giacomini) grew up in Northern California, painting graffiti & listening to hip hop music. He spent most of his high school years at a group home for at-risk boys where, inspired by artists like the Beastie Boys & Run DMC, he began writing and performing his own raps for friends at house parties. Hip hop culture provided both a soundtrack and a creative outlet during MC YOGI’s turbulent teenage years. At age 18, on a whim, he joined his father for a yoga and meditation intensive with a famous spiritual teacher from India. Deeply moved by this unexpectedly powerful experience, MC YOGI devoted most of his free time to learning everything he could about the ancient discipline. He spent the next two years studying the physical forms of yoga as well as meditation, philosophy, and devotional chanting.
MC Yogi’s dedication to yoga did not diminish his lifelong love of hip hop. Now, by combining Indian music and mythology with infectious hip hop beats, MC Yogi creates an exciting new sound for a new generation of modern mystics, urban yogis, and conscious hip hoppers. Learn more.
Honoree, Darleen Gearhart, Principal
Darleen Gearhart is all about improving lives of inner-city children and has worked for Newark Public Schools for over twenty years in various capacities. She started as a high school mathematics teacher at Weequahic High School. In 1997 as the District Mathematics Supervisor, she developed and provided professional development for teachers, coaches, and principals; pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, and assessment. She also authored, implemented, and served as Project Director for the Local Systemic Change Project, NPSSIM, a five year, $6.5 million NSF-funded project to reform mathematics in grades K through 8. In 2011 she was selected to support failing schools in turnaround efforts by serving as the Director of School Improvement Grants for Newark Public Schools.
Since 2012 she has been Principal of Sussex Avenue Renew School. Under her watch, this school has dramatically turned from a failing urban school to a thriving community in which students are nurtured to become socially responsible and self-reliant. Every adult in the building takes responsibility to ensure that each student reaches his full academic, social, and personal potential. In January 2014 she received Newark Trust for Education's Leadership Matters award as she believes that through mathematics, children develop logical and critical thinking skills, recognize and make use of relationships, and creatively solve problems. Darleen is currently is a PhD candidate in Mathematics Education at Rutgers University.
Esmerine is a modern chamber music group that was founded in Montreal in 2000 by Bruce Cawdron (marimba, percussion) and Rebecca Foon (cello), current members also include percussionist Jamie Thompson and multi-instrumentalist Brian Sanderson. The band has released four albums, and their latest, Dalmak, was awarded Instrumental Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2014. Dalmak was recorded in Istanbul, Turkey. The band has been touring Dalmak extensively in Europe in 2014. Learn more.
Lauren Rutten Photopraphy
Lauren Rutten, a professional photographer since 1986 has an extensive portfolio career working in documentary, event and portrait photography. Courageous, honest and playful, Lauren's photography reflects her deep appreciation of everyday life. She has an insatiable desire to connect and inspire those around her. A master of undertanding people's needs and translating their desires into images and works of art, Lauren delivers photographs you never imagined possible. She was Newark Yoga Movement's official photographer until 2013 when she relocated after a world tour to Virginia. To see more of Lauren's visit her site where you can also learn about her newest project, MilkHouse Arts.