Born on the island of ʻOahu in the state of Hawaiʻi, Jo is currently a graduate student of psychology at Columbia University, a research assistant at the READ Lab, and a teacher of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
Jo has been blessed to teach mind/body/spirit approaches to well-being with practitioners in Arizona, California, Thailand, the UAE, Hawaiʻi, India, and Dublin since 2006. Her honored teachers include Prahlad (Sivananda), S.N. Goenka, Priscilla Potter, Lisa Schrempp, Shiva Rea, Dharma Mittra, Aadil Palkhivala, Pandit Raj Kumar Vajpayee Yogacharya, and Surinder Singh. Jo is certified as a Yogacharya (master) at the 700-hr level by the Yoga Alliance and holds two certifications in Yoga and Mindfulness for Trauma, Anxiety, and Depression.
Sharing somatic, contemplative, and positive approaches to well-being with students looking for a healthful abundant life on their path of Realization is a great source of joy and meaning for Jo. She has found that the ancient wisdoms are always present, when we are receptive to their messages, and can benefit practitioners of all backgrounds or body types, physically, psychologically, and beyond.
After taking a short break from teaching yoga in exchange for monetary compensation – and internally exploring issues related to the capitalization of Yoga in the States – Jo is currently teaching for select private individuals and groups in New York. Current yoga offerings include group and private classes in mindful Hatha, Vinyasa, Elderly, Kids, Chair, Prenatal, Back Care, Healing From Trauma, classes themed around positive emotions (such as joy, forgiveness, or courage), or a customized class. Jo also offers meditation, mindfulness, and pranayam (breath control) practices within yoga classes, or classes devoted entirely to these techniques.
Hawaiʻi is one of the many places where Jo’s ancestral spirits reside, as well as where she was born and raised; there are many parallels between Aloha, mindfulness, and Yoga. Aloha emphasizes giving without asking in return, akahai (kindness through tenderness), lōkahi (unity through harmony), ʻoluʻolu (agreeableness through pleasantness), haʻahaʻa (humility through modesty), and ahonui (patience through perseverance). These concepts are central to the way Jo lives and the way she offers classes. Coming from a long line of healers, Jo feels a deep responsibility as a medium for these teachings. Her great grandfather was a Chinese medicine doctor in Fukushima, Japan before moving to Hawaiʻi; her father, a therapist and musician, was President of the Theosophical Society in Dublin. Jo draws from both svadhyaya (self-study) and the wisdom of her ancestors, alive and passed, to ensure her students experience the healing, transformative, and expansive potential of each class.
Jo was first drawn to a consistent yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practice when the parallels between practice and living became unmistakably clear. Since then, she’s pursued studies in a variety of wisdom traditions and modern psychological approaches: a self-designed post-graduate course in the Psychology of Well-Being involving training in meditation and mindfulness in psychology, the science of spirituality, mind-body medicine, lifestyle science, positive psychology, cultural relevance, and health disparities; Vipassana meditation; mantra; nutrition; the chakra system; Thai massage; and Reiki, an energetic healing technique developed in Japan, another one of Jo’s ancestral root grounds.
For her efforts in Karma Yoga, providing free yoga classes to under-served communities – teenagers in half-way homes, Indigenous populations, and young children and adults living in government-subsidized housing – Jo received an award from the Yoga Journal as well as an award and invitation to join the Yoga Service Council. Jo has also been featured on the front page of The Arizona Daily Star and The Gulf News, and in the Hindustan Times and Natural Awakenings; in 2012 she was also quoted on the subject of meditation in The New York Times.
Jo’s commitment to facilitating the healing and flourishing of her communities extends through both her writing and consulting backgrounds. She was an editor of the health and spirituality section of a magazine for women of color in the Bay Area and also served as a co-owner for a collective community health center in Brooklyn, Third Root, led by multiracial, multinational, intergenerational, dis/abled, fat, immigrant, working class, LGBT/gender non-conforming healers. Third Root offers accessible healing through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, and herbs.
Although asana is by no means the most important or defining aspect of a Yoga practice, most students seek an experience with some focus on physiological means toward Yoga’s many benefits. In answer to requests, asana photos are included in the album of photos to the left, many from Jo’s Around the World in 30 Asanas project, a series documented in The Elephant Journal online.
To read a few testimonials from former students, please visit the testimonial page.
A multipotentialite through and through, in addition to teaching yoga, meditation, and mindfulness and studying psychology, Jo has contributed to and developed within a variety of disciplines. She has explored fifteen years of freelance writing experience, ten years in communications, as well as five years as a classroom teacher before consulting for an education research and evaluation company for three. If you are interested in learning more about Jo’s consulting or writing, please visit those respective pages. Mahalo nui loa for your interest!