Narayan Romano and his wife, Dharmadevi, serve as spiritual directors and lightbearers for Ananda LA. After reading Yogananda’s spiritual classic, Autobiography of a Yogi, in New York City, he was inspired to learn Kriya Yoga and share the teachings of Self-realization. He was a founding member of Ananda NYC before moving to Ananda Village in Northern California where he lived for six years. He served at Ananda’s publishing arm, Crystal Clarity, and as a yoga and meditation instructor at the Expanding Light Meditation & Yoga Retreat. He co-founded Ananda Virtual Community–an interactive, online community with classes on yoga, meditation, and spiritual living. His interests include making ravioli, playing soccer, and exploring the divine grace and wonder of rudraksha beads.
Dharmadevi Romano and her husband, Narayan, serve as spiritual directors and lightbearers for Ananda LA. She is a Certified Meditation & Yoga Teacher and was part of the core group that started Ananda Los Angeles in 2007. Dharmadevi lived at Ananda Village for 2 years and helped launch Ananda Online Classes and the Ananda Virtual Community. She has been practicing and teaching energy & holistic healing modalities since 2000 and especially enjoys sharing Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings on health and healing. Dharmadevi has worked extensively on the AKASH (Ancient Keys to Attaining Success & Happiness) series that Swami Kriyananda wrote while he lived in LA. Along with other teachers, she offers it around the LA area. She also offers energy healing sessions and spiritual counseling.
Tyagi Ram Smith has been an Ananda Minister for over 35 years. He has presented Paramhansa Yogananda’s and Swami Kriyananda’s teachings of Self-Realization around the world. Ram was a founding member of Ananda Assisi, Italy in 1987 where he lived for seven years and met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1989. Ram helps to inspire great devotion and spiritual understanding during his classes.
Dikshini was raised in Hungary. Having read Autobiography of a Yogi in 2004 changed her life dramatically to the extent that she left Hungary and flew straight to Ananda Village to get Kriya initiation. She served there for 4 months and then moved to Ananda Assisi for 7 months. In September 2005, Dikshini returned to the U.S., and she and her husband, Ram, were married. They served together in Ananda Rhode Island for 5 years. In 2010, they moved to LA to support Ananda LA.
Paul is a certified Ananda Yoga and Meditation Instructor. For the past 6 years he has taught ongoing yoga classes at Ananda Meditation Center in the South Bay, and for nearly 2 years he has led the weekly Wednesday night meditation group in Hollywood. Paul also helps with various web social media outlets to let you know what the latest events and updates are in Ananda Southern California.
Keshava Betts was born and raised at Ananda Village. Taught to meditate before he learned to read, Keshava was steeped in the teachings of Yogananda from birth. He began his artistic journey as a cellist, studying under David Eby, long time head of Ananda Music world-wide, and an incredible musician. Keshava has studied the cello for fifteen years, played in various youth and professional orchestras, sang with multiple choirs, and now turns his musical and spiritual experiences towards directing the Ananda LA choir and teaching meditation classes.
Dhuti (Elizabeth) Johnson
Dhuti Elizabeth Johnson first met Swami Kriyananda in 1978 and moved to Ananda Village a year later. A musician from a young age, she immediately resonated with the songs of Swamiji and Yogananda, and has dedicated her life to sharing the inspiration, joy and transformative power of Ananda music. Living and singing at Ananda Communities, Centers and Meditation Groups around the world she has experienced the unique way that this music is able to transcend cultural and language barriers and truly be an international language of the soul through vibration. A teacher, minister, and Lightbearer of Ananda Sangha, she has recently relocated to LA from India where she oversaw the Music Ministry, traveling to Ananda Centers, directing the choirs, teaching guitar, voice and harmonium, leading Kirtan and performing the songs of Ananda.
Kashiraja (Massimo Barbagallo)
Kashiraja (Massimo Barbagallo) practices meditation, yoga and Vedic astrology following the teachings of Yogananda, Indian yogi and author of Autobiography of a yogi. Kashiraja obtained his PhD in Physics at the University of Cambridge, where he spent almost as much time rowing as working in the lab. Of Italian origin, he immigrated to Los Angeles in 2012 to eat the abundant free citrus fruits. In his spare time he likes to bake cookies.
Mai Lee is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogaananda and a Kriyaban. She has been a member of Ananda Los Angeles, a community for Self-Realization since 2007. She assists with fundraising, Raja Yoga, meditation classes and is working towards Ananda Yoga Teacher Training certification. She has spent the last 7 years in the non-profit sector working as a homeless advocate. Currently she serves as the Executive Director for Helping Young People Excel