Vahana Yoga & Eco-Tours is run by me, Astrid Jirka (pronounced Yeerka), a Certified, Advanced Hatha Yoga Instructor and Sustainability Educator, based in Ithaca, New York, USA. I have served in many roles with the aim of teaching people about personal health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of communities and the planet - through the lenses of yoga, ecotourism and international education. I grew up in a multi-lingual family, have traveled extensively for family, work and play and feel the Earth is my home.
Here are a few things I'm proud to have accomplished:
- 108 sun salutations in a row on the summer solstice for the last several years to support local causes
- learning the sacred Gayatri Mantra chant
- directing a program called the Language House at Cornell University for 5 years
- co-founding the Finger Lakes Yoga Community, the Green Passport Program and the Yoga for the Earth project
- getting arrested while standing in tree pose to protest fracking related activities at Seneca Lake
- teaching a yoga retreat based on the 5 Elements in the mountains of southern Spain
- leading a group of students to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland
- teaching Ecotourism courses at Ithaca College
- developing study abroad programs at Ithaca College for 5 years
- planting an herb garden
- painting a Diversity Yantra to raise awareness of the need for inter-cultural understanding
- the Cayuga Lake triathlon, 3x
- raising a son all the way through high school!
Merging my work as a yoga teacher, artist, sustainability educator, activist, and eco-traveler bring me great joy which I seek to share with others so that we can all radiate out into the world as healthy, happy human beings on a healthy, happy planet!
Please join me on this journey to wellness and CLICK HERE to read more about my yoga trainings and background.
More about Astrid
In my yoga practice and teachings, I emphasize the connection of breath flowing with movement, while also paying careful attention to the alignment of the yoga poses. I am fascinated with the philosophy of yoga which I seek to weave into my yoga classes and workshops and I work to build community in many ways, including the joy of partner yoga and by leading yoga practitioners and others into action ‘off the mat’.
In my role as an educator in the realms of ecotourism and international education, I’ve led students on journeys to discover for themselves the intricate web of life in which we live. I believe that our personal health is intimately connected to the health and happiness of other people and the planet, and that all social, economic and environmental systems must be in balance in order for our shared lives to be sustainable. I’ve shared my great passion and knowledge pertaining to these concepts as a director of university programs, a lecturer and an activist.
Combining all these interests I’ve co-founded an organization called Yoga for the Earth as a tool and meditation on how to use yoga, the arts, and other peaceful means to take climate action for the benefit of generations to come. I have been arrested standing in tree pose to protect the clean waters of Seneca Lake. Please visit the webpage to see how you can become involved.
I was also a co-founder of the Finger Lakes Yoga Community, now a Facebook group in which local yoga teachers and students can connect to find out about the many amazing yoga offerings in the region of upstate New York which I call home.
My creative nature has inspired me to create, among other art, yoga inspired yantras. Inspired by the yoga tradition, yantras are beautiful, sacred geometric designs used as meditation tools and to bring a peaceful presence to a space. They are fun and satisfying to create and I love to teach others how to draw them. I’ve also been exploring the visual expression of yoga concepts through photographs which you can see on my Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Merging my work as a yoga teacher, artist, sustainability educator, activist, and eco-traveler bring me great joy which I seek to share with others so that we can all radiate out into the world as healthy, happy human beings on a healthy, happy planet. I hope you will join me for the ride.
Degrees and Trainings
- Master's Degree in International and Intercultural Management from the School for International Training
- Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from Cornell University
- 500 hour Hatha Yoga instructor by Boundless Yoga Studio, Yoga Alliance registered
- 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Instructor by the Santosha Yoga Center, Yoga Alliance registered
- 200 hour certified Restorative Yoga Instructor by Boundless Yoga Studio
- Off the Mat, Into the World Leadership Intensive
- Partner and Acro-yoga training
- many trainings and workshops over the years from acclaimed teachers such as Shiva Rea, Dharma Mittra, Yoganand Michael Carrol and Chris Loebsack
I GIVE THANKS AND SAY NAMASTE TO ALL MY TEACHERS OVER THE MANY YEARS!