Ministers and Teachers

Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi Novak
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi are spiritual directors of Ananda Sangha Worldwide.
Ananda, which means “divine joy” or “bliss”, is a spiritual organization dedicated to sharing the heart of Paramhansa Yogananda. Paramhansa Yogananda is author of one of the best-selling spiritual classics, “Autobiography of a Yogi.” Ananda was founded in 1968 by a direct disciple of Yoganandaji, Swami Kriyananda. Swami Kriyananda dedicated his life to sharing his Guru’s teachings and manifesting Yoganandaji’s vision of World Brotherhood Colonies, the spiritual communities of Ananda. Swami Kriyananda’s first community in Nevada City, called “Ananda Village”, is one of the most successful intentional communities in the world.
With the passing of Swami Kriyananda in 2013, Nayaswami Jyotish was named by Kriyananda as his spiritual successor. Jyotishji met Swami Kriyananda in 1966, working closely with him and his wife, Devi (who came to Ananda in 1969), to build Ananda’s work around the world. Both Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi were named kriyacharyas by Swami Kriyananda, and can now disseminate the liberating and ancient Kriya Yoga technique of Paramhansa Yogananda’s lineage.
Nayaswamis Jyotish and Devi travel throughout the United States, India, and Europe speaking on spiritualizing daily life and the practice of Kriya Yoga meditation. Nayaswami Jyotish is the author of several books on meditation and related subjects, including How to Meditate and Lessons in Meditation, along withThirty Day Essentials for Career and Thirty Day Essentials for Marriage. He also is the creator of Meditation Therapy(TM). Nayaswami Devi is the author of Faith is My Armor: The Life of Swami Kriyananda and the editor of The Light of Superconsciousness and Intuition for Starters, both by Swami Kriyananda. They are co-authors to the book “A Touch of Light: Living the Teachings of Paramhansa Yogananda”, which is a compilation of their weekly blog.
Narayan Romano

Narayan 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

Dharmadevi 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.

Paul Fetler

Paul is an Ananda Minister and a certified Ananda Yoga and Meditation Instructor. He has offered yoga classes weekly at the Ananda South Bay Center for over ten years, and continues to lead regular yoga and meditation workshops in the South Bay area. He also has been serving as an instructor and meditation group leader with Ananda Los Angeles since its inception in 2007. More recently, Paul has been helping teach The Art and Science of Raja Yoga Class series. He also offers inspiring yoga workshops that combine practical wisdom, storytelling, spiritually focused asana, and meditation. These carefully selected modalities work together to facilitate a child-like sense of exploration to feel the spaciousness of body and mind. Visit Paul’s website to learn more about the yoga classes he offers.

Robert “Ram” Smith

Ram 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 Smith

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.

Keshava Betts

Keshava was born and raised at Ananda Village. Taught to meditate before he learned to read, he was steeped in the teachings of Yogananda from birth. He began playing music when he was very young, learning the cello under David Eby, long time head of Ananda Music world-wide. He now serves as assistant to the spiritual directors in Ananda LA, and is the head of the music ministry. Keshava leads the Ananda LA choir (please inquire if interested in joining), teaches meditation, and energization classes.

Aryeh Kraus

Aryeh is a Peaceful Lion born and raised in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles roaming the streets for years on a skateboard. Led to yoga in high school with the thought flexibility and balance would support his passion for skateboarding. Years of flow classes brought him a desire to become a yoga instructor, but he wanted something deeper from the practice. He found what he was looking for in the practice of Ananda yoga and is now a 200hr certified instructor in the practice of Ananda yoga for higher awareness. He is grateful for the opportunity to bring light, love and healing to all great souls through the practice of yoga. He wants to remind you to breathe, be humble, enjoy the asana, and smile forever. Life is a beautiful journey and it is all practice.

Padma Haldar

Padma has been a member of the Ananda South Bay Center since 2004. She is an Ananda Minister and leads Sunday Services, teaches, and assists with Sunday School at the Center. As a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, she tries to live His teachings the best she can. She is grateful for the spiritual friendship and community she enjoys at the Center. Padma lives in Rancho Palos Verdes with her husband and two daughters. She is also a high school science teacher.

Andra Denslow

Andra is a Certified Yoga Therapist, Registered Yoga Instructor (RYT), and Certified Level 1 & 2 Meditation Instructor, through the Ananda School of Yoga & Meditation. She has been teaching yoga since 2001. Andra lived at the Ananda community in Seattle for several years. An experienced musician and performer, she enjoys playing live harp or tanpura for the deep relaxation portions of her yoga classes. Andra has had an active healing practice since 2001. Please visit andradenslow.com for more information about her healing practice and other classes in the LA area.

Akemi Rico

Akemi is a Los Angeles native, a Libra, and she truly loves to balance the scales. She is a healer, and to please her intellectual side, she went to school and got her doctorate in physical therapy. Yes, you can call her Doc! On the other hand, she is also an artist, and now makes healing gemstone jewelry to release the creative energy that lay dormant within for many years. And finally, to combine both sides, she is in the Ananda Yoga Therapy Program, where she gets to combine her extensive scientific knowledge of the human body, biomechanics and kinesiology with the wondrous beauty of healing with energy, sound, music and color.

Aaron Resendiz

Aaron is a young devotee from Monterrey, Mexico who was transformed after reading Autobiography of a Yogi and was inspired to travel to Ananda Village, where he spent a year immersing himself in the teachings of Paramhansa Yoganada. There he got certified as an Ananda Yoga® teacher as well as an Ananda Meditation Teacher and became part of the staff in the Expanding Light Retreat as a Sadhana Leader (Yoga Instructor). He has been traveling throughout the west coast to visit all Ananda communities and is currently residing in Los Angeles and serves through the Spanish Ministry.