Our Teachers and Experience
All instructors here are part of a direct and undiluted teaching lineage in the Calcutta tradition of Bishnu Ghosh and Bikram Choudhury. Our high teaching standards include a minimum of 500 practice hours before training, 500 hours of teacher training within the lineage, and a long-term apprenticeship with our school director, who is a Level 3 teacher registered with the Original Hot Yoga Association and a senior Certified Bikram Yoga instructor (BYTT ‘04).
Our standards for accepting trainees for apprenticeships are the highest in the state of Michigan, ensuring that all yoga students receive detailed attention on correct techniques and approaches. While each teacher has a unique approach and demeanor in the class, we encourage students to attend all teachers’ classes to get the most well-rounded experience and instruction. Read more about our teacher training and standards here.
Jessica Beckman – BYCA Apprenticing Teacher
Jess completed Craig Villani’s Raja Yoga Academy 500-hour training in October 2016 and prior to that practiced over 700 hours at Bikram Yoga Capital Area. Jess has served as the Program Coordinator of the Karma Yoga scholarship program and is an instrumental part of the operations of our school and of our non-profit Ten Percent Project. She regularly practices intermediate levels of Ghosh lineage hatha yoga and excels in assisting students with subtle details.
Maria Wine – Visiting Teacher
Maria has been practicing various types of yoga for decades and Bikram Yoga since 2005. She attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Spring 2014 in Los Angeles and is a staff teacher at Hot Yoga Detroit/Bikram Yoga Northville.
Vic Whipp – BYCA Apprentice
Vic first discovered Bikram Yoga in Naples, Florida, and has practiced at over 30 studios in 15 states around the country. A golf professional for over 25 years, he brings an astute and experienced coaching perspective to the class. The depth and breadth of Vic’s thoughtfulness and self-directed studies are a tremendous asset to BYCA. He completed the Isha Yoga Inner Engineering Program in 2016.
Ann Chrapkiewicz – BYCA Mentoring Senior Teacher and Trainer
Ann started practicing yoga in 2003 in Ann Arbor, MI. She completed Bikram Yoga Teacher Training at La Cienega HQ in Los Angeles (August 2004), and immersive initiation programs with Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (2006) and Shibendu Lahiri (2010). Before opening BYCA in 2013, she taught at nearly all of the Ghosh lineage yoga schools in Michigan. She has over 4000 hours of teaching experience and leads workshops locally and internationally.
Her teaching is strongly influenced by her degrees in Literature and Media Studies (B.A. 2000, Duke U.), Asian Studies (M.A. 2006 UM-Ann Arbor), and Medical Anthropology (M.A. 2010 MSU). She placed 3rd overall in the 2017 USA Yoga Midwest Asana Championship and was the Michigan representative to the 2017 USA Yoga National Championships.
Ann particularly enjoys working with youth and those with limited mobility, chronic pain, paralysis, or injuries.
Why Bikram Yoga?
Bikram Yoga is a consistent, therapeutic practice for beginners of all ages. It has been practiced in same form since the early 1970s and is supported by scientific research. Of the various forms of yoga available today, it has the most direct roots to the physical culture and yoga therapy movements of early-mid 20th century Calcutta, India.
One of our missions at BYCA is to raise the bar for yoga teaching, in order to retain and transmit the principles of 20th century therapeutic hatha yoga to the interested public, and in order to provide the maximum benefit to every level of yoga student.
While most yoga classes and studios in North America have shifted to a mix-and-match fitness class model, we retain and educate our students in the elements of a single lineage of therapeutic hatha yoga. This requires significant dedication and investment of practice and study on the part of every teacher.
Most yoga studios in the United States hold Yoga Alliance-approved teacher trainings as a necessary part of their bottom line, and accept any and all interested students. Many teacher trainers at these programs are relatively new teachers themselves, often having less than 5 years of practice or teaching experience. These programs allow you to pay for use of the RYT designation.
We do not participate in this business or affiliation model, as it quickly dilutes and weakens traditional practices and creates a competitive, unsustainable situation.
Instead we endeavor to selectively invite seasoned practitioners, leaders, and disciplined practitioners to carry on the lineage to the next generations. All of our teachers meet or exceed the minimum training standards of the Original Hot Yoga Association, which far exceed those set by Yoga Alliance.
For students who want to deepen their practice, we regularly hold continuing education programs, intermediate classes, Yoga Studies Immersions, and visiting teacher workshops.
Before being invited or recommended to train or apprentice as a Ghosh lineage teacher, we require the following:
- A minimum of 2 years of consistent, mindful practice at BYCA
- Exemplary discipline and positive leadership inside and outside of the yoga room: in practice, word, care of facilities, actions, and encouragement of others
- Commitment to maintain the integrity of the Ghosh-Bikram lineage and approaches
- Commitment to support and contribute positively to the BYCA community, in word and action
- Commitment to a long-term mentorship relationship with Ann and other senior lineage teachers, for the benefit of yoga students and integrity of the practice
- If desiring to expand the community of practitioners to another school, agreement to take it to an area no less than 25 miles from BYCA, in order to bring the yoga to those who do not yet have access
Once accepted as a trainee, there are several components of training, including observations, residential/immersive training, and student-teaching at BYCA.
We support the following training programs as part of the complete BYCA Training and Student-Teaching process:
The original Bikram Yoga teacher training run by Bikram Choudhury and senior mentoring teachers from around the world. Held at various international locations once or twice per year for 9 consecutive weeks. 500+ hours, residential.
This 6-week, immersive training is directed by Craig Villani, senior mentoring teacher and former director of BYTT. Held at various international locations – 500 hours, residential. Detailed program information can be found here.
BYCA Long-Term Apprenticeship
BYCA Owner Ann Chrapkiewicz is approved as a Level 3 teacher with the Original Hot Yoga Association and qualified to lead both teacher trainings and continuing education in the lineage. 500 hours, local and away. Short-term immersions outside of Michigan and within the lineage are also required as part of this program. Once initial prerequisites have been met, please contact Ann for more details.
For those wishing to work with students one-on-one to prescribe therapeutic exercises in the Ghosh lineage, this 3-week study is directed by Muktamala Mitra, granddaughter of Bishnu Ghosh. Held at Ghosh’s Yoga College in Calcutta, India. Residential. This course does not prepare you to lead a group class but does deepen your knowledge and understanding of therapeutic indications. Detailed program information can be found here.
Note: if a potential trainee is interested in other immersive trainings in the lineage, they may be accepted if the training program meets the following requirements:
- 75% or more of the contact hours are taught by a registered Level 3 OHYA teacher, or a 15+ year lineage teacher
- 500 minimum certification hours
- training is approved by the Original Hot Yoga Association
- discussed with and approved by BYCA director in advance
Get started with an introductory month for $49.