Ministers and staff

Asha Nayaswami serves as Ananda Sangha's global ambassador at the request of her lifelong teacher, Swami Kriyananda. Her many talks on YouTube are a spiritual lifeline to seekers around the world. Asha is one of the spiritual directors of Ananda Palo Alto. She regularly gives Sunday services when she is in the Bay Area, and teaches often on Saturdays and Tuesday evenings (a book study series based on Paramhansa Yogananda or Swami Kriyananda's writings). She is author of Ask Asha, Loved & Protected, Swami Kriyananda as We Have Known Him, and has appeared in the film Finding Happiness. She has been a student of Swami Kriyananda since 1970, and a founding member of Ananda Village. Further links:

Calendar | Asha's classes | Sunday sermons | YouTube Channel
Webinars | Letters from Asha | Transcribed talks
Upcoming tours | More about Asha


David Praver has been the foundation and steady hand guiding Ananda Palo Alto since 1987. He has long experience and patience working with a wide range of personalities (a rare skill, indeed). Under his guidance, Ananda has grown in many areas, expanding East West Bookshop, developing the Living Wisdom School, acquiring a large residential community (Ananda Community in Mountain View), and most recently magnetizing the rather miraculous Ananda Valley Farm that is giving so much joy (and food!) to so many. He has been meditating for over 35 years; he specializes in teaching advanced meditation and Yogananda’s Energization Exercises.

  David Praver

Shanti Rubenstone, MD  Loving, enthusiastic, energy personified — Shanti is an Ananda minister and life-long devotee, as well as a Stanford trained M.D. Her sermons and classes are rich with experiences and stories from her life as a physician, woven together with years of experience on the path and her inherently devotional nature. She coordinates much of Ananda's day to day world, which has grown amazingly complex and rich in recent years to include nearly daily classes, special events, pilgrimages, and a large team of staff and volunteers. She is a much-loved counselor and teacher.

Nayaswami Chidambar is one of Ananda Palo Alto's founding members and long-time manager of the Ananda Community, home to more than 50 Ananda members who live together in an intentional, spiritual community. Rick teaches advanced meditation training. He also provides one-on-one support and mentoring for long-time meditators and those with a Kriya Yoga practice (Yogananda's most advanced meditation technique). He is wise, patient, and awake.   Rick Bonin
Helen Purcell is principal of Living Wisdom School and a teacher for many years in college and in secondary schools. She has lectured on Education for Life principles internationally. She has dedicated her life to helping children develop a lifelong love of learning, emotional self-mastery and character, and an inner life that honors values universal to all religions.   Helen
Gary McSweeney teaches at Living Wisdom School, specializing in the most fun, and perhaps most challenging time: middle school. He is loved and respected by his students, and has a gift for the discipline and support that kids that age crave. He was manager of the Ananda Community for many years. He has a terrific sense of humor and is a calm, unflappable fellow.   Gary
Nayaswami Anandaprem serves as an administrator for the Sangha and is often the warm voice on the other end of the phone when you call for any reason. She is a counselor, a friend, and a support for all. She spent 30 years in high-tech electronics, raising 3 children as a single mother. Her passion is creating beautiful and welcoming environments for devotional celebrations at Ananda.   Anandaprem
Bramachari Tandava Waldon manages Ananda's East West Bookstore in Mountain View. He loves to teach, whether the subject is meditation, music, dance, computer skills, or anything else, and he has a particular gift for making concepts accessible with humor and clarity. He is a Stanford alum and worked at Google for several years.   Tandava
Brahmachari Saiganesh is a deeply thoughtful, clear speaker. He has an effortless way of expressing complex ideas, and connects easily with people. A world citizen, he grew up in a Brahmin family and today is a Silicon Valley tech professional. He is a trained Indian Classical musician and is a frequent soloist at Ananda. He has a keen interest in nature and photography. He is a whirlwind of service, teaching, developing new projects, filming Asha's webinars, cooking, and more.   Sai
James Noh-Kuhn is a former senior executive with a San Francisco based coffee company. His calm, cheery management style in a fast-paced environment is born of many years of yoga and meditation practice. He began his studies as the first yoga student of his wife, Vivekadevi. Certified as an Ananda Yoga Teacher and Meditation Teacher, he directed the yoga program at Ananda Santa Rosa in 2003. In the corporate world, he was often asked how he remained so calm. He joyfully answered by sharing Ananda's breathing and meditation practices. He brings years of management and strategic planning experience to the Sangha staff. He's a Palo Alto native, and is happy to be back "home" in the Ananda community, after living for many years around the U.S.   James Noh-Kuhn

Nayaswami Biraj has practiced meditation for 30 years. His warmth and joy are contagious. He has been teaching meditation and the practices of Self-realization since 1987, including at Ananda's Expanding Light retreat and in India. He was a founding member of Ananda's newest community in Pune, India. His passions are singing and selfless service, happily in evidence today as he pioneers the development of Ananda Valley Farm in Half Moon Bay, with a huge crew of enthusiastic volunteers

Nayaswami Lahari is insightful, wise, and present. She has lived and served in many of Ananda's colonies since 1986, including Ananda Village, Sacramento, Rhode Island, and India. She and her husband, Biraj, helped to found the new Ananda community near Pune, India. Lahari serves in the healing prayer ministry and the Sadhaka training programs, and helps develop and support the new Ananda Valley Farm project with Biraj.   Lahari
Rammurti Reed has been involved with Ananda for more than 35 years. Books and serving people are his lifelong passion. He has served as the head of Ananda's publishing arm in India. A lifelong book lover, he and his wife, Sita, owned and managed Bookbuyers, a Bay Area used book haven, for many years. He is on staff with Living Wisdom High School in Palo Alto, teaching, counseling, as well as lending his considerable gifts as an actor and singer to Ananda events.   Rammurti
Sita Reed is a long-time minister with Ananda with special interest in yoga and natural healing, which she has shared for years through classes and yoga instruction. She helped to manage Bookbuyers, a Bay Area used book haven, for many years with her husband, Rammurti. She is on staff with the Living Wisdom High School in Palo Alto, offering a loving heart to all who meet her.   Sita
Steven Manus has been applying spiritual principles in business and academia for many years, and has a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. He is a dynamic teacher with breadth of knowledge and depth of insight.   Steven

Amara Fiesterman helps to manage Ananda Community, home to some 50 Ananda members. She serves also on staff at Ananda's East West Bookstore in Mountain View. She teaches classes in healing and yoga, and is a warm, welcoming friend to newcomers.

Navashen Jones is on the Sangha staff, helping others fulfill their highest potential through the Ananda teachings in a fun, positive atmosphere. Before joining the staff, he was involved in operations services for baseball teams, and as Director of Operations at Facebook’s corporate fitness center. While living in North Carolina in 2011, he discovered the teachings of Ananda and immediately began implementing them in his daily life. Within a year, he’d moved to the Ananda Palo Alto community. Vinny serves in many ways throughout Ananda, with kindness, a ready smile, and a deep wellspring of inner calmness.   photo of Vinny Jones
Nayaswami Ramani is a Lightbearer at Sunday worship services, and a longtime meditator. She has deep experience with Yogananda's healing techniques and has served for many years with the Healing Prayer ministry. She has given years of loving service to Ananda's works in Berkeley, New Delhi, Pune (India), and most recently Torrance and LA in Southern California. She has a passion for plants and sustainable farming as deep as her love for helping people.   Ramani