Penny’s background in engineering, biochemistry and education has fostered her interest in the connection between mind, body and spirit as well as holistic healing and Ayurveda. She fell into yoga as the result of a running injury and has been practicing and teaching ever since. Penny is fascinated by the overlaps in things that are typically considered opposites… science and spirituality, outer world and inner experience, the physical and the nonphysical and she is enthusiastic about sharing what she has learned with people.
She has come to view yoga as a science, a set of clear techniques, which predictably help people to ease their physical discomforts and quiet their minds. The ‘magic’? As soon as the mind quiets, contentment pours in. Penny has taught thousands of yoga and meditation classes and has developed unique programs and trainings to share her unique vantage point as a scientist connected to the inner world. Learn more about her Kusum Immersion programs, workshops, retreats and teacher trainings. As a musician, she plays Native American flutes and other wind instruments and uses recordings of her meditative music in her classes.
Penny has studied Ashtanga Yoga with David Swenson and Shelley Washington, Richard Freeman, Beryl Bender Birch and Nicki Doane. She completed 500 hour trainings with both Dharma Mittra and her spiritual teacher, Yogi Amrit Desai (Gurudev). In addition to her Ashtanga Yoga classes, Penny’s meditative yoga style has formed over the years as an intertwining of Gurudev’s Amrit Yoga teachings and a strong influence from Sarah Power’s Yin Insight Yoga teachings to become Penny’s Mindfulness and Yin Yoga classes. Penny’s devotional influences also include time spent with both Bhagavan Das and Krishna Das and another piece of her heart opens every year she receives darshan from Amma.and another piece of her heart opens every year she receives darshan from Amma.
Penny holds graduate degrees in both Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry and spent 16 years as an educator at both the high school and college level. She is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an experienced yoga teacher at the 500 hour level (E RYT-500) and her yoga school is accredited with Yoga Alliance to train teachers at the 200 hour level.
Penny founded Kusum Yoga Saco (formerly Saco River Yoga) in Saco, Maine in 2009 which expanded into a thriving space and community. Motivated by the response and ongoing growth, she left her position as university faculty in 2014 to devote herself full time to this work of interweaving ancient philosophy, modern science and experiential practice.
In 2014 Penny formed Kusum Institute in Scarborough, Maine which she named in honor of her teacher, Yogi Amrit Desai. In addition to offering access to weekly yoga and meditation classes to the communities of Saco and Scarborough, part of Penny’s vision was to create a warm, beautiful and inspirational event space large enough to host world level teachers yet also comfortable enough to hold smaller workshops and trainings. With great love and clear vision, this 3000 square foot facility was renovated to contain a roomy and welcoming gathering space in the lobby for conversation and tea, a large studio space to host events for up to 120 people and a smaller studio space equipped with audio visual presentation capabilities able to hold up to 40 people. Inspirational enough for the most devotional events and focused enough for the most professional trainings.