When I was a little girl, my parents gave me the best birthday card

                     that  said, “Happy Birthday to an in person.   In love with life.”      

                    This is how I still live.--Debby

photo: Debby’s Dad



    Life BY  


Debby Kaminsky’s Yoga Journey

My first yoga experience was at the JCC with Wendy.  I loved how I was stretched and so relaxed.  One day a sub taught the class who played the wrong music and had the wrong demeanor.  She had been an aerobic instructor and it showed.  A first yoga experience is quite telling and had the aerobic instructor been my first introduction, I would have needed a lot of coercion to go back on my mat.

From the JCC, I was exposed to yoga in Montclair and took classes with Raji, now a dear friend, in vinyasa and was wowed by the physical strength needed in yoga. Flashing forward to my 40th birthday, I took myself to my first NYC yoga class at Jivamukti.  I loved it, although I wasn’t into all the chanting because it felt too religious to me at the time.  I came home from the city to find my husband had planned a surprise yoga party for me with Raji.  Yes, I was well on my way to learning and living yoga.

Why I love yoga...I think what I love about yoga after more than 11+ years is that I am always learning something new.  I can be in the same asana (pose) and yet each time, it feels different, deeper, softer, tighter, lighter.  I learn a lot about myself through what is going on in my asanas. I love the endless philosophy from studying the yoga sutras and how these sutras (threads) written over 3000 years ago are still so relevant in guiding every day life today.  I am fascinated with the hindu goddesses and enjoy reading all their myths.  I enjoy the vibrations from chanting various mantras.  I love reading books written by yoga greats and gaining their inspiration and perspectives on all aspects of yoga.  Most of all, I love how yoga has seamlessly translated from asanas on the mat to life off the mat.  Yeah, yoga is so much more than various fun asanas. I am less stressed today. I am less judgmental today.  I do what I can to capture and live every single moment. Yes, I love living yoga and love living in the flow of life.

The Credentials

I have been so fortunate to experience and study with many excellent yogis and yoginis.  I was humbled and humored in ashtanga with Eddie Stern, the wonderful owner of Ashtanga Yoga NY and with his guidance, safely progressed to the second series.  Further, I’ve attended ashtanga workshops and intensives with David Swenson, Richard Freeman (what a man of intellectual eloquence), Tim Miller, Sharath Ragaswamy and the father of ashtanga yoga, Pattabhi Jois who still inspires to this day--”do your practice and all is coming.”

My first true introduction to vinyasa flow was with Raji Thron, owner of Yoga Synthesis, in 1998 at Starseed in Montclair, NJ.  From here, my interest and yearning just blossomed. I took classes in NYC and one teacher in particular stood out, Lisa Schrempp who today teaches in Tucson.  Going to my first NYC Yoga Conference in 2002 was like being a true kid in a candy store with yoga sessions every 1 1/2 hours and I did it all, including all-day intensives!  It was at this conference that I first experienced my teacher Shiva Rea.  I was wowed at the creative, intelligent flow, totally didn’t understand her sanskrit use of words but knew  emphatically that I wanted to study with her.  Several intensives, teacher trainings and retreats later with Shiva, I now understand those foreign words, have a innate understanding of what it means to live yoga versus do yoga.  Currently, I am E-RYT with Yoga Alliance and hold two advanced vinyasa certifications and a 500 hour certification (2008) from Shiva Rea’s Samudra Global School of Living Yoga.   Finally, I am  honored and privileged to assist Shiva when schedules permit and mentoring teacher trainees in her training program.

Some other influential yoga teachers I’ve experienced at either workshops, intensives, teacher trainings or weekend retreats include Ana Forrest, Rodney Yee, Eric Schiffman, Mark Whitwell, Rod Stryker, Dharma Mittra, Sharon Gannon, Shankardev Saraswati, Leslie Kaminoff, Sianna Sherman, John Friend, Aadil Palkhivala, Gurmukh Khalsa (just adore kundalini with her), Andrew Harvey and Noah Maze.  I’ve learned things from all of them like Eric Schiffman who said that if he could, he’d do every asana on the floor!   And Mark Whitwell,  who just wants everyone to do their own 20 minutes of yoga every day.  Aadil Palkhivala said that “if you feel the pose and can’t get into it, you’re a beginner.  If the pose feels you, you are an intermediate.”  Ana Forrest encourages everyone to deeply breathe into their spot.  Bottom line, all of these yogis/yoginis are amazing as individuals and yoga has shown me that each of us too is amazing as an individual.

In 2009, I began studying Luminous Shabda with Manorama and some of you have heard my broken sanskrit evolving to sacredly spoken sanskrit.  I look forward to this evolutionary journey of sanskrit, meditation and philosophy with this incredibly gifted person. 

Finally, I have spent a rewarding amount of time working with children K-18-- some having varying degrees of special needs and was fortunate for some training from Vaz Rogbeck and Sarasvati Devi in Yoga for Special Needs. In 2009 I began teaching at TEAM Academy, a Kipp Charter school in Newark, working with 5th through 8th grades.  This has evolved to my founding of a 501c3 organization Newark Yoga Movement bringing yoga to thousands of children in Newark. For more on what and who I teach, see Classes.

I shoveled       


Life BY (Before Yoga)

It is amazing to me how interesting our journey through life can really be and how exciting it is to watch it endlessly unfold. I met my husband of more than 25 years in college, am the mother of two amazing young ladies who happen to be twins, and am fortunate to have the most wonderful dog, appropriately named Shantih (peace).  I actually didn’t set my feet on a yoga mat until after having been in Corporate America for 15 years! 

Corporate America years were quite fulfilling.  When I was at Penn State, I was the business manager of the school paper.  My enjoyment from this experience confirmed that I wanted to be in marketing--advertising in particular.  And I wanted to work in a New York City ad agency because if you could make it there, you could make it anywhere!  Most of my advertising career in account management was at Grey Advertising, running Grape-Nuts cereal whose target audience I relate to even today--earthy, outdoorsy, healthy.  After “retiring” I did marketing consulting in the ski and travel industry and then began second “part-time” career at Ogilvy.  It was during the interactive boom and somehow I ended up as OgilvyOne’s Director of Human Resources!   My continued yearning for teaching yoga and sharing all its wonders with others came into fruition in April 2004, when I left Ogilvy to pursue teaching yoga full time.

I love to have fun.  I am one of those genuinely positive people.

I love being a mom to my twins and my dog Shantih and wife to my husband.

I love food.  All kinds of food.  I entertain myself and others eating my food.

I believe in living with no regrets and therefore will try almost anything.

I believe in doing what you don’t want to do because it is what you really need to do for yourself.

I love yoga.  I’ve been doing yoga for 13+ years but really living it since 2004.

I love theatre, tennis, skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, rock climbing, surfing, paddle tennis.  YES, I really just do love life.

Some of Debby’s fun facts

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photo: Howard Kaminsky

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Photo: Lauren Rutten