SomaSource Leaders are body-centered psycho-spiritual educators, artists, activists, and healers who have an integrated understanding of how to creatively work in developmentally attuned and culturally sensitive ways with diverse people throughout life’s cycles. They all have grown up in the Golden Bridge community and have been trained and certified by Melissa Michaels and the Golden team. Individually and collectively, these SomaSource Leaders bring their unique and inspired initiatives to the world.
To learn even more about their work in the world, please see the SomaSource in The World page.
Abigail Rita Lubahn
Abigail Rita Lubahn, MA, LPC, R-DMT, graduated from Naropa University with a Masters of Arts in Somatic Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Dance/Movement Therapy. Abigail has worked with NorthStar Transitions, an Addiction Recovery clinic offering Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program running group, individual, couples and family therapy. Abigail also works as a SomaSource Practitioner and independent contractor with Golden Bridge Organization since 2014 and has a private practice located in Boulder. Prior to employment with NorthStar Transitions Abigail worked as an emergency clinician in hospitals, jails, and at a detox and crisis clinic with Boulder Mental Health Partners. She was also trained in various trauma-informed treatment modalities addressing developmental and early childhood trauma. She has worked with international populations using mindfulness-based, creative arts and movement therapies emphasizing in client-centered interventions. Much of her orientation focuses on cultivating radical acceptance and compassion in the recovery and healing process from trauma, eating disorders, personality disorders and addiction. Outside of clinical settings, Abigail also works as creative support staff and as a professional dancer to a Brazilian dance company Samba Colorado and a member of the United Capoeira Association of Colorado. She has participated in facilitating and collaborative creative performance art programs while in the Naropa Graduate Program. She is currently developing a private practice based in Boulder and is continuing to build bridges between various dance communities.
Arisa LaFond, Rolfer™ of Structural Integration, LMT, is an embodied facilitator and leader, deeply rooted in the magic and mysteries of life. The nectar of her devotional offerings arising from these very depths. She has a multi-layered multi-cultural blend to her background and style. Arisa has been trained and cultivated her path as a healer and humanitarian priestess of the heart. She is a licensed Massage Therapist and certified Rolfer™, as well as a movement practitioner through SomaSource and Rolf Movement. She is a graduate of the Hakomi Mindfulness Psychotherapy 2 year program as well as a graduate through Somatica in intimacy and relational dynamics. She has facilitated rites of passage work, movement journeys, intimate relating and teaches children and adults these embodied skills. She continues to refine and reveal her devotional path serving her local and global community. She has traveled around the world committed to grass-roots activism in the collective awakening of the heart, mind, body and soul.
SomaSource and the work with Melissa Michaels has been a profound doorway into the world of embodiment, deeply connected with other points of light weaving a grid, and golden bridges, around the world. Deep bow and high Reverence.
Balu Ponnusamy lives in Auroville, South India where he is completing his degree in Culture and Heritage Management. Balu teaches village youth learning to perform Tamil cultural arts, dance, and music, locally, nationally, and internationally. This work is an outgrowth of Balu’s dedication to supporting his Tamil culture’s values, spirituality, and indigenous crafts. He is the creator of the Sound Crew Group, and also the Founder and Director of the Mohanam Community Village Heritage Center. Balu’s relationship with Golden Bridge has been evolving since 2004 when he made his first journey out of India and began his conscious journey across the great waters of adolescence. The work with SomaSource now informs his work with children every day. He formed the Mohanam Performing Arts Youth Group and Mohanam Village Heritage Centre.
Balu is also the Creative Director and Founder of Auroville Bamboo Centre. His passion for education, natural resources, and social entrepreneurship inspired this vision. His dream is to inspire new generations to be connected with nature and bring change through the incredible potential of bamboo.
Balu is married to Rajaveni. Together, they are the proud and devoted parents of their son, Samaran. Balu is a risk-taker and visionary, dedicated to living in unity and harmony.
Blythe Massey, RCST, PLC, serves clients to have more energy and clarity, less pain and anxiety, and an overall empowered sense of wholeness and embodied wisdom. She provides a mindful, safe container for somatic healing through Craniosacral Therapy and nervous system regulation. Her formal training includes over 1000 hours in Craniosacral Therapy along with extensive focused training specifically for healing trauma and stress. She is a teaching assistant at the highly regarded Colorado School of Energy Studies. Blythe’s Craniosacral Therapy work is deeply informed by her dedicated practice of 20 years in the contemplative practices of hatha yoga and meditation, along with dance as a healing and sacred art. For 15 years she has been offering private sessions, classes, and retreats. Blythe has a private Craniosacral Therapy and trauma healing practice in Santa Rosa, CA and offers online classes on nervous system health. She can be reached at BlytheMassey.com or on Facebook at @HappyNervousSystem
Blythe is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has made 16 short films for Golden Bridge. “It was a great joy to document the wisdom, beauty and embodied transformation that occurs at Surfing The Creative, and even greater joy to see the manifestation of the gifts that the emerging leaders take home.”
Beginning the SomaSource training just after I graduated from College was life-altering. To enter my 20s with embodied understanding of the full spectrum of feeling, fundamentals in healthy communication in personal and group dynamics, and the capacity for dance and the arts to be utilized for healing expression has been a foundation for both my personal and professional life. To participate in this transformational cauldron with extraordinary humans from around the world has only magnified the felt sense of unity and compassionate understanding for all beings, transcending all apparent differences; what a gift.
Catherine Douglas aspires to radiate shimmering ripples of peace, laughter, inspiration, and joy in the world. She grew up in the SomaSource community, attending her first workshop with Melissa in 1998. She has participated in and served as a mentor, research assistant, and as a member of the media team for nearly a decade of Surfing the Creative Camps. After graduating with honors in Dance & Holistic Healing from Pitzer College, she taught Natural Highs: Healthy Alternatives to Drugs & Alcohol at various high schools in Boulder and at conferences such as PeaceJam. During those years, her passion for creating an environment in which young people could fully thrive got her involved in community organizing and co-creating with her students what they were calling the “Natural Highs Revolution.” Her interest in studying and contributing to the peace, subtle activism, compassion, and happiness movements led her to Oakland, CA, where she lived for many years. She has worked for many organizations and campaigns, including BeThePeace, The Shift Network’s Summer of Peace, The Compassion Games, The Happiness Initiative, Earthdance International, The Gaiafield Project, The Story of Stuff Organization, Techné Verde, PeaceDance, and PeaceRipples. Catherine is a certified Laughter Yoga Leader, Qigong instructor, a facilitator for Generation Waking Up, and has a certificate from San Francisco State University in Positive Psychology Coaching. She is passionate about holistic peace: a multifaceted vision of peace, ranging from an inner state of consciousness all the way up to a thriving, just, sustainable world for all living beings.
Darren Silver grew up in a multi-cultural house near the thick deciduous forests of Virginia. This planted a seed inside of Darren as a young child to find adventure in culture and wildness, as home was a place of deep cultural heritage, and the nearby forests a playground of endless adventure and learning.
As an adult this led Darren to pursue an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Masters in the Mythology of Initiation. Through academic pursuits and personal devotion to earth-based rites and rituals, Darren undertook the slow learning of asking questions such as, ‘What makes a human being?’ ‘What does a genuine culture look like?’ And, ‘How does our connection to the wild earth cultivate ones gift?’
Following these questions led Darren to study with many teachers, travel to ancestral homelands, engage in indigenous initiation rituals, and later, begin to engage others in the questions that drive their lives while attuning to the natural world through 1:1 guiding and coaching, gap-year travel programs, boys initiation groups, corporate consulting, mythological storytelling, and West African divination.
To learn more about Darren’s work check out: darrensilver.earth.
Deepening into body awareness for me, is a process of calling upon all that holy and soulful and reintegrating this back into the body, into the world of matter. However, getting into such terrain can be challenging and requires skill to navigate the culturally inherent displacement of potent energies that show up as trauma. SomaSource and Golden Bridge, has provided those skills, allowing me to navigate difficult experiences while remaining resourced and connected to the greater world.
Dayna Seraye is a yoga teacher, healing artist and transformational facilitator. She is the co-founder and director of Hanuman Academy and Hanuman Adventures, offering soul-based yoga education and immersions online and in person. She has guided retreats and trainings for nearly two decades and has taught at renowned festivals and conferences throughout the world. Her teaching style draws from her extensive studies in the Tantric and Vedic sciences, SomaSource, the Hakomi Method of Somatic Psychotherapy, the Lifeline Technique practice of energy medicine, Authentic Relating, Health Coaching, and earth-based practices. Her passion lies in supporting people to experience embodied connection – where healing occurs and wholeness is remembered. She has been featured on the cover of Yoga Journal and teaches yoga online at Gaia. Learn how you can work with Dayna at daynaseraye.com
Studying the maps of SomaSource with Melissa over the past many years has been a gift beyond words. In community, I have learned to navigate the terrain of body, heart, and soul and re-weave my connections to earth, humanity, and divinity. These foundational teachings inform all of my professional offerings, and I am deeply grateful for Melissa’s close guidance throughout the past decade of my life.
Gabriel Cannon is a Registered Psychotherapist with an MA in Counseling Psychology. Gabriel is a school-based counselor at The Boys School of Denver, a public charter middle school that focuses on academics, movement, and social/emotional wellness. Gabriel has been involved with SomaSource over the past 18 years as a participant, trainee, and serves in various therapeutic, organizational, and musical roles. Gabriel is also a private practice therapist and a mentor (BoulderMentors.com) where he specializes in adolescent transitions, addictions, family systems, motivational techniques, goal setting, mental health challenges, self-expression, and soulful exploration. Gabriel co-leads a yearly, wilderness-based rite of passage program for teenage boys and their families with Men’s Leadership Alliance. When Gabriel is not in service, he is basking in the warmth of his own family system with his wife and son. Together they like to play outdoors: hiking, biking, snowboarding, camping, and playing with friends.
I was so young when I first stepped into SomaSource, just trying to figure out how I was going to participate in this life… or if I was going to participate. And that first journey oriented me towards an idea, an inspiration, a desire about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. So I set out to do it. And then, I came back around because, with some new skills and experiences, I needed to re-orient. I found, through the more advanced SomaSource Training, ways to bring more fullness, presence, and authenticity to my work and my personal life. Then I got to work. But again, I keep coming back ’round because, in each new stage of my life, whether professional or personal, I find SomaSource to be a deep well from which I draw water that nourishes me for the next mission.
Hannah is a socially engaged artist interested in investigating the place between pedagogy and performance where the art process becomes a social connector, both inspiring the ‘performers and public’ to engage in social issues beyond the theatre space. Her main medium is dance.
Hannah is a certified 5Rhythms® teacher using dance improvisation both at performance level and as everyday practice. She gained invaluable experience as a performer with Remix Dance Company (a mixed abilities company in South Africa), and as assistant director with internationally acclaimed South African dancer/choreographer & activist, Mamela Nyamza. In addition, she has headed up the education program for the Cape Africa Platform (Biennale for Contemporary Art, Cape Town) and has regularly worked with the Iziko National Gallery as a facilitator in their educational programs. She have been lucky enough to teach, learn, facilitate, absorb, perform and create on three different continents with workshops, social projects, community programs, theatre, and festival performances and artistic residencies ranging from Edinburgh, London, Oslo, Denmark, Norway, New York, and Colorado to her home continent of Africa where she has worked in South Africa as well as in Mali, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Jennie Gershater Lopez
Jennie Gershater Lopez, MA, LMT: serves as a Somatic Healing Arts Practitioner supporting and guiding individuals through significant life thresholds since 1998. Included in her medicine basket are Somatic Psychotherapy, Dance/Movement Therapy, Soul-Centered Bodywork, and Somatic Archaeology™, all woven with a deep sense of presence and love. Jennie shows up as a Tribal Tender throughout the cycles of LIFE in her family, community and beyond…as the spirit of tending is rooted in her bones. She weaves deep witnessing, movement, ritual, healing touch, the creative process, the natural world and story-telling to support people to remember their inner knowing (body~mind~heart~ soul). Jennie is devoted to the reconnection and reclamation of one’s soul story or larger story in hopes of rippling embodied life, meaning and sense of purpose into the world. Since 2007, she has served as a somatic psychotherapist for Surfing The Creative and other SomaSource programs. She has developed and implemented rites of passage and empowerment programs for at-risk youth from diverse backgrounds and guides programs for women at many stages in their lives. She and her husband are deepening their collective work of holding sacred space for couples and cultivating experiences for the creative expression of these stories to be shared in theatre offerings. Jennie returns to wild earth places regularly to remember her own origin, her own larger story and her own inter-connectedness to the web of life.
SomaSource is beyond a training, it is a way of living life as embodied ritual through the beautiful and heartbreaking thresholds of this wild, precious journey. The teachings that I have gathered from SomaSource training are infused into my cells and travel with me wherever I go. They are woven into my personal life, my family life, my work with individuals, couples and groups. Whether I am supporting a couple preparing for marriage or a new mother who just gave birth or holding space for a grief ritual, I orient through the lens of embodied rites of passage and strive to meet people where they are to support meaningful, well-held, safe, inspired threshold experiences. I am so grateful for the countless ways SomaSource has inspired my personal and professional growth and becoming over the years. SO grateful!
Jennifer Cain, M.ed., E-RYT-500: Expressive Arts and Environmental Educator, Certified Yoga Therapist and Instructor, Wellness Director in Public Education.
Jennifer’s primary interest is in supporting soul education through reconnecting humans with nature and their own inner-soul-nature. She is trained as an expressive arts trauma-informed educator, yoga therapist, and nature guide. She has served as the director of Circle of Life and instructor for numerous city and nature-based organizations such as The Denver Botanic Gardens, University of Denver, and Gateway Apprenticeship through supporting conflict resolution and therapy for at-risk, developmentally and physically challenged individuals, and has worked with people of all ages, spanning a wide array of backgrounds. She holds a graduate degree in Yogic Theory and Educational Pedagogy which she applies directly in her role as Wellness Director for Public Education in Denver CO.
Jeremy Roske is a multi-talented performer who started his artistic journey at the age of thirteen as a founding member of the Earth Guardians. The group wrote and performed message-driven music to educate, uplift and inspire action on behalf of the planet and all life. The highlight of this time was the Children’s Torch of Hope Tour in 1995, where they performed and spoke at over 40 events in 29 states.
In 2005, Jeremy co-organized and spearheaded the Voice of Youth tour. Traveling to India and New Zealand, his band Rapsody performed concerts and gave workshops focused on youth empowerment through creative expression. That year he released his first album, People Rise.
Jeremy connected with Melissa Michaels in his early teens and became one of the first young males to grow through her work. After participating in her apprenticeship program and serving as a youth leader and musician for a number of the Surfing the Creative International youth programs, he was called out to the world to develop his own body of work and refine his creative expression.
Jeremy’s evolving musical style weaves together conscious lyrics and soulful melodies drawing inspiration from folk, rock, reggae, hip-hop and world fusion. After a long dry spell of not releasing any music, Jeremy returns with his new EP, Seed. Five soul-stirring songs from the heart. The music reflects the past few years of his life and the journey of reconnecting with his passion and purpose; to make music that opens the heart, expands the mind, and connects souls. www.jeremyroske.com
My journey with Melissa Michaels and the SomaSource curriculum now spans over two decades. It has been instrumental in my growth on all levels and has supported me to live with an open heart and channel my creative energy in a life-affirming way. I feel so honored and grateful to be a part of this growing community of embodied leaders devoted to empowered pathways of transformation, self-realization, and expression.
Johannah Reimer is a soulcentric educator, ceremonialist, teen mentor, and artist of many trades. Trained as a Waldorf teacher, Johannah has been working with children of all ages for over 16 years and holds a particular passion for tweens/teens trying to meet their developmental needs for mentorship and initiation in a culture that has forgotten how to do so. Currently Johannah has devoted her time to long-term, ongoing mentorship programs for young girls crossing the threshold from childhood into adolescence. https://wakefulnature.com
SomaSource has helped me find health and wholeness in relationship to my body, the past, and my destiny. It has served me in becoming an embodied and soulcentric leader in support of today’s youth!
Jonathan U. Davis
Jonathan U. Davis is an arts educator who graduated from The Colorado College with a B.A. in Theater and Dance. Jonathan has served as a leader in Golden Bridge Programs for 19 consecutive years, where he has witnessed and served in the evolution of this moving community. Since 2008, Jonathan has worked in public schools as an arts educator. He produced over 180 individual shows with casts ranging in size from 40-120 students in each production. He has worked individually with thousands of students over twelve years, and continues to dedicate himself as a public servant to the transformative power of arts education. Currently, Jonathan is completing his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and Policy at the University of Denver, where he is studying the mechanisms that could transform our public schools by bringing arts education to the center of the conversation about what teaching and learning modalities are best for students. Jonathan is also the co-developer of an international non-profit media collective called Voice of Youth, and has studied percussion with numerous traditional West African teachers. When he is not at work, Jonathan enjoys every moment with his wonderful two sons, Kai and Michael, and his beloved wife, Jessica. Jonathan’s primary goal is to enliven the next generation of leaders through embodied creativity and inspired self-expression.
Two of the great through lines of my life came into focus during my work with Golden Bridge and Melissa Michaels. I have always been a performer and a musician. From a young age, music moved me and I sought out opportunities to share my art on stage. It was through Melissa’s acknowledgement of my creative potential for ALL types of artistic expression, and her naming of me as a leader, that I truly began to see myself as someone who could offer something to the world through my art.
Now, as an arts educator in the public schools, I place embodiment at the center of everything I teach. This powerful strategy is one that clearly comes from this lineage. The extensive training I received over the years has taught me the critical importance of connection when working with the individuals and groups that I serve in school communities. By creating a space for honest and open dialogue with ourselves and others we can find the deeper truth of each moment that resonates in the collective. Golden Bridge continues to be a conduit for powerful young leaders to find their passion and activate their communities through embodied creative ventures of all kind. I am proud to be and ally and advocate for Golden Bridge!
Lalita Shree Maa
Lalita Shree Maa facilitates transformational journeys that ignite embodied spiritual awakening for diverse groups around the world. She is the Creative Director and a founding teacher for Awakened Life™, and has a private practice working with individuals as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and Spiritual Coach.
Lalita is a certified SomaSource practitioner and has engaged in formal study and deep practice with Melissa Michaels since 2004. In addition to serving on the leadership and musical teams for Movement Mass and Surfing The Creative, Lalita ran the Small World Camp during Golden Bridge summer camps for several years.
Lalita lives a committed monastic lifestyle, and in 2019 received the title of Mahamandaleshwar, a prestigious title within the Vedic tradition of India, honoring her as a global spiritual leader. She is one of 4 women in the 2700 year lineage, and the only woman from the US to receive this honor. Lalita is also an accomplished artist, musician, and lover of all forms of creative expression. Lalitashreemaa.com
Livia Shapiro, MA, is a yoga teacher, movement leader, somatic psychotherapist, and writer. Known for her sincerity, directness and humor, her teachings help illuminate the spiritual path as deeply human and body-centric.
Her work helps both dedicated students and open-hearted, geeky teachers of yoga grow their ranges of motion and emotion through steady asana practice, somatic-embodiment education and discovery, as well as body-centered mentorship/counseling.
As a Somatic Psychotherapist, she works holistically helping women heal from trauma, repair relational wounds, and rewire their nervous systems so they can live more vibrantly and powerfully in the lives they choose. She walks with women in the journeys of pre and postnatal thresholds including; fertility, conception, miscarriage, abortion, birth and early motherhood.
Livia holds a masters of Somatic Counseling Psychology from Naropa University in Boulder, CO and is a registered psychotherapist with the state of Colorado. She is a certified SomaSource Life Cycles Practitioner. Prior to her graduate studies, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Vermont focusing on Psychology and comparative religion.
SomaSource is the developmental map through which I see myself in my own life, and the lens through which I locate creative ways to work with students and groups.
Meagan Chandler is a performance/ceremonial artist, singer/songwriter, and embodied arts educator. She performs and directs a rich array of original works and cultural forms and teaches people of all ages and walks of life across the U.S. and around the globe. Meagan grew up in Surfing The Creative Youth Leadership Programs, studying these maps since her teens, and has served on the leadership team for 17 years. She is a playful, cultural shapeshifter and dedicated change agent, dipping into darkness and light, seeking to inspire authentic expression and the spirit of inquiry everywhere she goes, so that the creativity needed to grow a healthy and sustainable world can arise in the generations to come. In 2013 she released her first original album, Sensual. She enjoys living a creative life outside the box, in love with and in service to this mad, gorgeous world. www.meaganchandler.com
Rachael Bonaiuto, MA, LPC, BC-DMT (pronouns: she/her/hers) is a board certified Dance/Movement Therapist, a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Somatic Educator, and the founder of Embodied Wellness, a fulfilling private practice in Boulder, CO. She joyfully works with individuals and groups to support deep trust in the body’s wisdom, honor inherent movement toward wholeness and cultivate body-mind-spirit alignment. She is particularly called to guide women through the profound and important portals of various life transitions. Rachael weaves into her therapeutic work her life-changing experience overseas – as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand. This exploration, along with her most transformative journey into Motherhood, deeply informs her capacity to facilitate change, support diversity and fluidly dance with the edges of expansion and contraction. Rachael also teaches Authentic Movement, the contemplative movement practice at the heart of her work, at Naropa University, where she began her study and training in 2004. She has been blessed to study the SomaSource maps with Melissa Michaels since 2011. Rachael engages in the dance of life with her sweet family – her endlessly compassionate husband and their two precious children. www.embodiedwellness.org
Rafael Martinez, MA, LPC is a steward and craftsman of the heart. He creates compassionate fields of contact to catalyze and empower individuals and groups.
Rafael’s healing framework has been shaped by his own personal journey in mediation work, youth development, documentary film production, cross-cultural encounters, juvenile justice, energy healing, mysticism, movement-based rites of passage, Surfing The Creative, traditional medicine, and social entrepreneurship. Rafael has been passionately committed to youth healing and creative evolution for over fifteen years. Originally from Queens, NY, a second generation Colombian & Dominican, Rafael graduated from Naropa University with a Master’s in Somatic Counseling Psychology in 2013. Rafael became a Certified SomaSource Practitioner in 2017 and has been on the therapeutic support team for Golden Bridge since 2012. After graduating Naropa, Rafael started his therapeutic practice working with students in East Oakland and training in restorative circles, trauma awareness groups, and expressive art-interventions. Rafael has since continued his work with youth in Durham, NC. He is currently facilitating trauma-based awareness groups for Spanish-speaking youth in Durham Public High Schools. Rafael lives in Chapel Hill, NC with his cosmic soul partner, Aimee, and their beloved son Sebastian. Rafael and Aimee proudly co-own Temenos Psychotherapy PLLC.
SomaSource provides a rich, innovative, and comprehensive training, community, and platform for supporting the creation of transformative spaces and embodied processes for youth seeking rites of passage. As a facilitator, my ability to support the container across a broad range of contexts has been strengthened by this body of work.
Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish has developed a pedagogy that synthesizes mindfulness, embodiment, social justice, the environment, mentoring and ritual & ceremony for over a decade. As a core candidate Assistant Professor In Naropa University’s Interdisciplinary Studies department he teaches foundations in contemplative learning and theory, diversity and social identity and sustainability. He also focuses on the equity dimensions of the environment through courses in food and environmental justice. He serves as a freelance educator, lecturer and consultant on the links between social justice, sustainability and mindfulness for universities, outdoor organizations, non-profits, government and businesses.
Ramon is a certified practitioner of SomaSource and longtime leader/facilitator in the Surfing The Creative International Youth Leadership Camps, having helped usher hundreds of young people through contemporary threshold experiences. As a previous board member of Youth Passageways and a current board chair for Frontline Farming, Ramon is committed to the revival of rites of passage and community regeneration and resilience.
Renee Sills is a certified Somatic Movement Educator (SME) and a registered yoga therapist with IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists). She has completed over 1000 hours of certification and training in yoga, rehabilitative movement, movement re-patterning, and Body-Mind Centering®. Renee is a graduate of the Somatic Movement Educator program through the Kinesthetic Learning Center and The School for Body-Mind Centering, and continues to study and assist in BMC℠ programs. Renee studied intensively with Melissa Michaels from 1995-2001 and was a participant in the very first Surfing the Creative summer program. She served as an assistant/facilitator for the programs in 2004 and 2010 and is delighted to be returning this year. Renee currently lives in Portland, OR, where she teaches regular classes in yoga and anatomy, and offers individual sessions in yoga therapy and movement re-patterning. Renee teaches workshops and retreats throughout the year both in the US and abroad, and is on the faculty for 200-hour and 500-hour RYT (registered yoga teacher) trainings. Learn more about her at www.reneesills.com.
Sarita Rivard Guerrero
A bicultural, trilingual native of both South and North America, and nomad of thirteen years, Sarita is a bridge between the many worlds to which she belongs. ‘Kindling for the Fire’, a project founded in her belief in creative expression as a tool to heal, transform, empower and ignite, is the fruit of her lifelong study to what she calls heART Activism. Kindling aims to facilitate creative dialogs among people of diverse and often “opposing” backgrounds, therefore weaving a sustaining tapestry of connection and solidarity across the divides.
Sarita has guided Rites Of Passage journeys in Argentina, Bolivia, Perú, Nepal, and India. And is the author of Caminante, Bridger of Worlds, published in 2010. In 2018 she published her second book, Sweet Water Tsunami, a complex work chronicling her descent through the hell of losing her beloved life partner, and the art of being broken open by life’s complexity, rather than broken to pieces. She has been involved with Golden Bridge since 2010. Much of her healing and initiation into embodied leadership is owed to the profound container of this community. She is deeply devoted to her apprenticeship in this sacred work. kindlingforthefire.wixsite.com/shop.
I relate to my SomaSource training as one would relate to a compass and a map; One requires a lifelong practice of orienting to what is true through my own embodiment. The other guides me in ever-changing terrain by providing a lineage of wisdom, tools, practices and principles to reference when I need council.
Taliza Mizrahi holds an MA in Somatic Counseling Psychology and specializes in serving Tweens, Teens and Young Adults through a combination of Creative Arts Therapies, Group Work and Youth Mentoring in her private practice BrightPath Youth Empowerment. Tal Liza has been dedicated to youth development and mentoring for the last two decades – since she was a teen herself! She is passionate about supporting youth and their families in the often-complex transitions from childhood to adolescence, throughout the rich teen years, and through the journey out of adolescence and toward a healthy, embodied, and inspired young-adulthood. Tal Liza has a special focus on teen girls and loves creating safe spaces for them to come together to learn tools for embodiment, empowerment, authentic connection with self and others, as well as healthy self-expression. She is a trained dance/movement therapist as well as a devoted SomaSource leader and long-time mentee of Melissa Michaels. Tal Liza Serves through both traditional psychotherapeutic modalities and mentoring, as well as diverse movement-based approaches. She loves using creativity to open up new possibilities for every young person’s Bright Path forward.
Tara King, M.Ed. is a mother, grandmother, advocate, doula, mentor and educator. Over the years, Tara has worked with women of all ages encouraging a healthy embrace of creativity, fertility and sexuality and facilitated many coming of age workshops for young people. She has worked with families in the birth and parenting cycle and supported the transition from maiden to mother with understanding and wisdom. Tara is a long-time student of the SomaSource work as created by Melissa Michaels and was in the first apprenticeship program in 1998. She has since served on the faculty many times in different capacities in support of Melissa, SomaSource, and Golden Bridge. Tara currently advocates for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and families whose adult children have special needs. She teaches accessible, adaptable yoga and movement for every body and offers self-care, movement-based classes for caregivers. Tara has two adult daughters and two grandchildren.
SomaSource is a beautiful laboratory of alchemical collaboration that creates a time-tested, supportive and specific container for uncovering one’s potential. Through the process of learning and accessing intelligent, real, usable tools and resources, I have been able to turn potential into action.
Vusi is both the founder and Executive & Artistic Director of KwaMashu School of Dance Theatre, in Durban, South Africa. Vusi has over twenty years of professional performance and administration experience in dance, dance theater, and dance education. Over the past 15 years, Vusi has been running his organization in collaboration with various national and international guest teachers. He is deeply woven into the fabric of the SomaSource community. Years of cross-pollination have inspired community around the world.
Vusi Makanya graduated in Choreography and Practice of Dance Teaching from Phenduka Dance Theatre as well as Dance in Education at the University of KwaZulu Natal. He has been nominated on various occasions as Most-Promising Male Dancer. In 2010, he won Best Choreography Work in the FNB Stepping Stone Dance Umbrella Festival. He has been recognized as an INK Excellence Community Development Artist (INK: Inanda, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu).
Vusi has performed, choreographed, and conducted dance workshops for performing companies, schools, colleges and universities in Africa, South America, Asia, and Europe. Vusi is a well-known artist on the Golden Bridge Creative Liberation stage, each year moving onto new frontiers in creative leadership and performance. Vusi continues to create new works wherever he goes. He is currently sourcing funds to build his own Dance Theatre School in the KwaMashu Community.
The second cohort of this work, 60+ strong, will graduate in July 2020. We look forward to introducing you to this vast international community.