Bhavani Maki, Director and Founder

Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

International Yoga teacher and scholar, Bhavani Silvia Maki, director and founder of Yoga Hanalei in 1999 and Ashtanga Yoga Kauai in 1995, is an Experienced Yoga Alliance teacher at the 500 hour level, a musician, and author of The Yogi’s Roadmap: The Patanjali Yoga Sutra as a Journey to Self Realization. Bhavani had one of her first spiritual awakenings in a Yoga class at age nine, began her exploration of the Ashtanga Yoga system in 1987, and started teaching in 1994 at the bequest of her teacher. A practitioner of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga System for more than 30 years, she has been offering Yoga Alliance teacher training programs since 2003. She has taught Yoga at Tedmed and Wanderlust conferences. Bhavani has made 7 trips to Mysore, South India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, as well as having the rare experience of hosting him twice on her home island of Kaua'i. She received her teacher training and authorization from Astanga Yoga Masters Sri K. Pattabhi Jois of Mysore, South India, and Baba Hari Dass of Hardwar, North India, and the Mount Madonna Center. In Mysore, India, she studied Sanskrit with Professor Narayanacharya, and regards her mentor Rama Jyoti Vernon as integral in her understanding of the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and the weaving of the metaphysical teachings with the practices of Yoga.

Dedicated to exploring Yoga in it’s complete expression, Bhavani’s classes are steeped in the traditions of Patanjali’s classical 8 Limbed Yoga, with an emphasis on integrity of alignment and the use of Yoga as therapy. Often described as a teacher’s teacher, Bhavani draws from the rich classical teachings of the Patanjali Yoga Sutra to integrate Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Psychology and Yoga Therapy as insightful into discovering greater joy and freedom within one's self. She specializes in addressing the individual’s specific needs, and development of a personalized practice appropriate to their challenges, physical injuries, and desire for personal growth and transformation. Yoga can be described as compressed evolution. Bhavani believes that engaging in all the aspects of Yoga uplifts us, teaches us to connect with ourselves, surroundings, and the source of joy within the self. Bhavani offers Yoga classes in a supportive and encouraging environment. Sharing her love of Yoga, she inspires students to explore their full potential in a light-hearted, exacting, and compassionate way.

Melissa Willoughby

Melissa, “Meli”, began exploring Yoga in 2000 and continues to deepen into her process as a Yoga student. She began teaching Yoga in 2007 after completing Levels 1 and 2 of the teacher training programs at Yoga Hanalei with Bhavani Maki. She completed Level 3 in 2010. Melissa is a licensed massage therapist and practices bodywork on the North Shore of Kauai’. She is also a graduate of the Ida Rolf method of structural integration and offers her unique insights in the Yoga Hanalei teacher training program in her classes on functional anatomy. Her studies have been inspired by her many injuries and experience of physical pain throughout her life. Her life experience has initiated a deep curiosity of anatomy along with the science of therapeutic Yoga to experience alignment and healing. While the invitation to Yoga was in her physical body, Melissa has recognized that Yoga is the integration of her whole being. She is also an artist, enjoys painting, and has studied dance for most of her life. Melissa focuses on alignment and awareness in her classes, along with lovingly challenging her students to grow in their own personal Yoga practice. She is honored to share her experience and love of Yoga. Melissa also enjoys teaching the anatomy portion of Yoga Hanalei's teacher training, with an emphasis on structural integration.


Jhoane Goodwin

After Jho’s first Yoga class at Yoga Hanalei 2003 at the age of 57, she was hooked! With her busy schedule of running two restaurants she needed Yoga. Jho developed her own practice with Tara and attending classes at Yoga Hanalei. Jho completed the 200 hour teacher training at Yoga Hanalei in 2011, and the “Believe In She” Mother-Daughter Yoga Teacher Training in San Diego, CA, in 2012. She is dedicated to building tweens (ages 9-12) self-confidence and self-esteem, and introducing the program to the local communities on Kauai. (Website: Jho can be found most mornings at Yoga Hanalei guiding or participating in the morning Satsang. Her greatest joy is to introduce students to the Science of Yoga and the Yoga Sutra of Pantajali, and seeing Yoga change people’s lives.


Adina Magnussen

Love brought Adina from Sweden to Kaua'i in 2009. The week she arrived to the island, Adina decided to join her good friend for a class at Yoga Hanalei. Ever since then, she has been a devoted Yoga student, deeply interested in exploring new layers of the teachings and the practice. After completing Bhavani Maki's Yoga Hanalei training in 2012, she returned to Sweden to pursue her education in occupational therapy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. The fundamental concept in occupational therapy is to find balance in one's daily living - a concept a daily Yoga routine embodies so well for her. While working through her studies, she continued to deepen her Yoga practice both in Sweden at an Iyengar studio, as well as several return visits to Hanalei.

Adina believes that Yoga is the perfect way to explore the patterns of one's mind and body and translate that knowledge and awareness in other daily activities.


Cindy Gibson


Yoga runs in Cindy Gibson's family. Her first daughter received an introduction to yoga while in the womb when Cindy would practice in the mornings before work. She has continued to follow the invitation to walk this path to the present moment, however, it did take many detours through life before finally returning to the familiar. Her daughter later became a certified yoga teacher and encouraged her mother to become a teacher also. In 2011, Cindy completed teaching training with Bhavani Maki at Yoga Hanalei.

She has been practicing yoga consistently since 1996 in Montrose, Colorado. After becoming certified, Cindy offered a Fundamentals of Yoga Workshop and an Introduction to Patanjali Yoga Sutra at Spring Creek Yoga in Montrose. She has completed Modules III (2017) and IV (2018) at Yoga Hanalei, and has certification in Therapeutic Restoration Yoga with Judith Lasater (2015). She continues to study the sutra with her "Sutra Sisters" at Yoga Hanalei on a regular basis. Cindy's teaching inspiration comes from creating space in the body as well as the mind, grounding in the present moment, and practicing acceptance. While playing with the experience of surrender and effort, her yoga classes offer opportunity for both rest and growth. She enjoys sharing her passion for yoga and the gratitude it generates each time she steps on the mat. After 27 years, Cindy retired from public education where she was a speech/language pathologist in Wyoming, then an early childhood interventionist, as well as a kindergarten teacher in Colorado. In her free time, she enjoys reading, walking, and spending time with her family and grandchildren. Cindy and her husband, Garth, recently fulfilled their dream of relocating to Kauai.


Maria Christina

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Maria is a musician who experienced profound effects of yoga after her first yoga class, taught by Bikram Choudhry. Years later she began practicing more consistently & completed levels 1,2 & 3 certification training at Yoga Hanalei. She’s traveled to India several times, & is grateful for the teachers she’s met, as well as opportunities to learn & deepen her understanding & meditation practice. She’s grateful to continue increasing her awareness of the effects different aspects of yoga have in supporting an authentic, liberated & peaceful state of wholeness, as well as offering support in the recovery from emotional & physical trauma. 


Diana Avina


Diana began exploring the art and science of yoga in 2007. What began as a casual relationship blossomed into a lifelong passion. With a degree in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz, she has always been deeply interested in anatomy and physiology, and her yoga practice became an organic expression of this interest. After moving to Kauai in 2014, she quickly discovered Yoga Hanalei and completed Bhavani Maki’s 200 hour teacher training in 2016. In this life changing experience she was able to delve deep into the layers of Self and discover the wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. In her classes, she strives to provide a compassionate space focused on breath, dynamic movement, and healing for her students where they are able to cultivate awareness and come in to balance both on and off the mat. She is very excited to share this invaluable knowledge and be of service to the residents and visitors on the island of Kauai.


Denise Walther

Denise began looking into Yoga in 2001 while living in the San Francisco bay area with a very full life as a Chiropractor and full time Mom. In 2006, She came face to face with a life-threatening illness which brought her life to a sudden halt. Having direct experience of how life can change in a blink of an eye. In 2010, Denise and her family moved to Kauai to continue her healing process in recognition that health and well-being is an ongoing process, requiring attention and participation. She began taking nutrition and Yoga classes to educate herself in how to holistically become healthy and whole again. Denise experienced incredible results, and in 2013, she enrolled in Yoga Hanalei's teacher training program under Bhavani Maki's tutelage. While continuing her daily practice, in 2017, she enrolled in 300-hour Yoga Hanalei's 300 hour teacher training to deepen her studies.  As she began devoting more and more time to her practice and study of yogik philosophy, Denise experienced the power of Yoga in her own physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Denise believes healing is an inside job. Life will summon us to face challenges, to overcome obstacles in the ability to shift perspectives, and embrace what is before us along the path as a path to personal healing. Denise shares her direct experience and practical knowledge of Yoga with her students, in her conviction that Yoga sheds a light along the path to help us find our way into health and wholeness in developing a system of self-care.


Naomi Olson


Naomi's yoga passion was born at Yoga Hanalei in 1999. Not very flexible, confident or spatially aware she struggled through an astanga class with Bhavani. It would have been easy to give up but the challenge was laced with sweetness and the possibility of transformation, so she came back again and again... Almost twenty years later she has witnessed herself shift for the better in all facets of life, and also seen Bhavani's teaching lovingly evolve. She is utterly amazed and grateful to be part of this living, breathing, dynamic yoga!

As a creative, Naomi loves to experiment and explore. She draws from various styles and traditions of yoga as well as tantric buddhism, gurdjieff, and esoteric awakening practices. She holds a 200 hr teaching certificate from Aloha Yoga Kula on Oahu and is working towards her 500 hr at Yoga Hanalei. One of her current interests is unraveling the effects of trauma on the nervous system through somatic awareness, articulate movement and meditation. She is also a Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapist and accomplished Photographer, who loves to play in the ocean! 


Jessica Chirico


Heartbreak brought Jess to her Yoga practice at the ripe age of 17. It was in these brief moments of stillness and inner expansion where she discovered a new-found sense of contentment and inner peace that would carry through every aspect of her life. Time and time again, Jess turns to her mat to connect to source and cultivate the strength to endure any life challenge.

In 2009, Yoga and school led Jess to Boulder, CO where she practiced under various hatha teachers while studying Psychology, Eastern Religion, and Dance at the University of Colorado. In 2015, she moved to the  island of Kauai to focus on growing her own food, creating plant medicine, and restoring her body after years of snowboarding and backpacking. Not long after, she was introduced to Yoga Hanalei and immediately resonated with the teachings and  completed her 200-hr. YTT certification with Bhavani Maki.

Guided by breath, inspired by movement, Jess draws upon her experiences in Yoga and nature to ignite others in their own development of continued awareness and embodiment. Her style is rooted in authenticity and anchored towards awakening the individual to their own hidden potentials. Jess continues to deepen her personal practice every day, both on and off the mat, and is greatly humbled by the long and swerving road ahead.  


Jack Peacock

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Jack began learning traditional Chinese martial arts in 2005 from his teacher Har Ming Lau and became his disciple. Sifu Ming taught many different arts but Jack gravitated to Tai Chi’s versatility and as it is so approachable, everyone can enjoy its benefits. Tai Chi creates ease in life as it encourages chi to flow, unclogs blockages and improves balance, coordination, dexterity, endurance, cognition as well as relaxation. Jack used Tai Chi to therapeutically heal many of his personal injuries and experience conservation of his energy. Jack believes that there are numerous awakenings, healings and skills to gain from Tai Chi practice, each specific to the practitioner.

Jack’s lineage of traditional Chinese martial arts comes from his teacher Har Ming Lau (Ming). Ming learned from his Sifu Ho Tsong-Yuan who was taught by Wu Shao Lin and Su Ke Gang. He learned many arts from his teacher Ming starting with various Kung fu styles and then Tai Chi,  both soft and hard, internal and external. As a student matures into an adult they are better able to appreciate the effect attention to detail can have and be sensitive to subtle internal energy’s like the kind Tai chi works with. In having grown up being active, playing sports, surfing, skimboarding, skateboarding, life guarding, and learning Kung fu and submission grappling Jack was used to external hard work, but once Jack was able to give himself to tai chi and experience the soft, relaxation and meditation he felt as if a large piece of his puzzle that had been sorely lacking for so long He was finally starting to form. Jack feels eternally grateful to Sifu Ming for his positive influence on his life and feels it  is a great privilege to share these teachings.