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 wellbeing with practitioners in Arizona, California, Thailand, the UAE, Hawaiʻi, India, Dublin, and New York since 2006. Her honored teachers include Prahlad (Sivananda), S.N. Goenka, Priscilla Potter Mahatarananda, 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 750-hr level by the Yoga Alliance and holds certifications in Yoga for Kids, Prenatal Yoga, Back Care Yoga, and two certifications for Yoga and Mindfulness for Trauma, Anxiety, Depression, and Substance Abuse.
Sharing the wisdom of somatic, contemplative, and positive approaches to wellbeing with clients seeking relief from suffering and a healthful abundant life is a great source of joy and meaning for Jo.
Jo recently took a hiatus from teaching in exchange for monetary compensation to reflect on issues related to the capitalization of Yoga in the States.
Current offerings are available for select private individuals and groups in New York: trauma- and stressor-related, depressive, anxiety, substance-related and addictive concerns; prenatal; back care; elderly; children; and classes themed around positive emotions (such as joy, forgiveness, or courage). 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 clients 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 Wellbeing 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, many 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 of articles documented in The Elephant Journal online.
To read a few testimonials from former students, please visit the testimonial page.