ZEN Conference 2019
The Mindfulness Conference of the Middle-East!
January 25th through February 2nd, 2019
ZEN Conference 2019 Presenters
(Please note that presenters' biographies are listed in scheduled order of appearance)
Parveen Nair is a uniquely inspiring teacher. He is best known for his ability to help students and teachers embody their spiritual practice in Yoga. He has refined his methods of teaching in the Advaita Vedanta school of thought. His non-dualistic approach toward Yoga has allowed his students to build an authentic Yoga practice.
Parveen Nair is an accomplished classical Indian dancer. His yogic journey began when he was awarded an International scholarship to further his studies in classical dance in India under the Indian Council of Cutural Exchange for 4 years. While in India he pursued his interest in Yoga at the Shivananda Ashram in Neyyar Kerala. He returned to Malaysia in 2004 and started teaching yoga in Kuala Lumpur.
Parveen’s passion for Iyengar yoga developed after he came across Guruji B.K.S. Iyengar’s most acclaimed yoga book “Light on Yoga“. He was drawn into the emphasis on precision and alignment as well as the teachings of the Yoga Sutras.
His years of practice and teaching reflect his commitment toward Yoga. Parveen spent many of his years studying under many acclaimed Iyengar Yoga teachers and in Pune from 2005 onward. Later, obtaining his certification in Iyengar Yoga, Parveen founded Swarupa Iyengar Yoga Studio in Malaysia and guided many to the path of Yoga.
Parveen has also conducted many successful Yoga workshops in Malaysia and abroad. His innate interest in Self-realisation makes him a devoted student of Advaita Vedanta philosophy. Parveen studies Advaita Vedanta regularly under his teacher Maha Mandaleswar Swami Abhishek Chaitanya Giri in Rishikesh at Jagad Guru Sanyas Ashram. Parveen is inspired by the teaching of Sri Ramana Maharishis and Sri Nisargadatta Maharaja. He takes a simple, direct and sublime approach towards yoga: Change of action is not spirituality but change of attitude is.
Parveen Nair has a unique ability to combine the spiritual elements of Advaita Vedanta with Yoga. His workshops and courses are not only a physical discovery of asanas, he imbibes the ancient Vedic culture of India in all of his classes. His years of studying in India with many accomplished Yoga and Vedanta gurus have given him the strength in delivering a larger picture of the science of Yoga.
Most of his workshops have a holistic view of Yoga. Parveen combines asana, pranayamas and meditation in all of his workshops to bring self-awareness and self-inquiry to the practice of Yoga. He uses the asanas (yogic postures) to bring clarity to the mind and, to sustain that clarity, he progresses into pranayama practice (expansion of breath) and then guides the students into Dharana (concentration) and Dhyana (meditation). He then progresses into self-inquiry (Atma Vicharana). His motto is: "To discover our own true nature, to be complete, and to discover the non-dualistic state in between the self and the world: the state of Oneness".
Karim Strougo is the Founder and President of SAFE Academy, the most reputable International Fitness Education Academy in the Middle-East. He is also the Founder and President of the SAFE Convention™, the ZEN Conference™ as well as an international fitness presenter, Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) and AFAA CEU Provider.
A renowned Fitness Therapist, Karim also holds a multitude of international certifications ranging from Group Exercise instruction, Personal Training, Yoga E-RYT200 and RYT500, Pilates, to Resistance Training and Biomechanics. He also has a long experience in working with clients suffering from medical and/or physiological problems.
Karim is the creator of IBM (Integrated Body Mechanics®), a revolutionary training method, which was the product of years of experience in personal training and a long and thorough research and study of applied bio-mechanics and functional training. IBM is commercially known as QuickSlim® and is the basic foundation for his personal training & fitness therapy practice in Maadi by the same name.
As an educator, Karim Strougo is the founder and author of the first Egyptian course in fitness education entitled “Primary Certification in Physical Education & Aerobics™”, which was a revolutionary landmark in fitness education in Egypt and lead to a boom in the number of certified Egyptian instructors. In 2006, Karim also released the first edition of his Personal Training book entitled “Personal Training: A broader look on exercise™”, which was the official manual for SAFE Academy’s now famous personal training course by the same title. A newer, completely revised and updated version of this course will be released in March 2019 under the name The Elite Personal Trainer Certification Course™.
In 2009, Karim published a new revised and updated edition of his first course manual, which he renamed “The Professional Group Fitness Instructor’s Manual™”. This new edition was almost entirely rewritten to include some of the latest findings and researches in health and fitness worldwide. Since then, he has been publishing a new and revised edition of the manual every two years.
Karim is the creator of the Fluid Yoga™ Method, a rigorous practice incorporating Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation. The Fluid Yoga™ Method is firmly rooted in ancient Yoga philosophy with a strong scientific foundation, mixing contemporary scientific findings with authentic Yoga traditions to make Fluid Yoga™ classes safe for the general population.
In 2014, Karim launched his third book titled “Fluid Yoga™”, which is now the official manual for the SAFE Academy Fluid Yoga™ 200-Hour Teacher Training. He is currently working on the development of a new book "Precision Yoga", which is going to be the official manual for the SAFE Academy 300-Hour Teacher Training, scheduled to launch in November 2019.
Karim believes that “With determination, today’s dreams are tomorrow’s reality!”.
Born under the name Deepak Kumar, Deep began his yoga journey in 1994 at Tapovan Dhyan Dham Vidyapeeth, a classical yoga ashram located at the foothills of the Himalayas.
After learning yoga with its core traditional values, Deep pursued an advanced yoga teacher training course at the world renowned Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute. He is trained in various yoga forms and learned Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha, Yin Yoga, meditation, and pranayama extensively.
His love for Patanjali's Yoga Sutras has enabled him to portray these ancient rules of practising Yoga to modern society in a contemporary way. This, combined with his understanding of anatomy, physiology, and psychology helps students go deeper into Yoga practice by adopting a balanced mix of traditional and modern approaches.
Deep is an ERYT-500 affiliated yoga teacher approved by Yoga Alliance, USA. Apart from that, he is also associated with the International Yoga Federation, Europe and is registered with Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute. In his prolific career as a yoga teacher, he has taught yoga in many countries including Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Egypt and Holland.
Deep also conducts corporate Yoga training workshops, in which he teaches about healing different body systems. He specialises in mind-body techniques and helps his students find relief from the impacts of stress and anxiety on the mind and the body.
In the spirit of yoga, he provides free yoga lessons in many charitable organisations. Recently, he has also published a book on yoga therapies for common ailments such as anxiety, asthma, hypertension, diabetes, chronic pain, etc.
Deep firmly believes that Yoga is a combination of science and art that guides us toward the right way of living.
With her background as a dancer, Aya decided to turn her passion into her career: movement to music. But she also decided to do that in a professional way & get certified first. She obtained her "Primary Certification in Physical Education & Aerobics™" from SAFE Academy in 2001 and she started teaching aerobics that same year.
In 2005, Aya got her AFAA Group Exercise Certification and, on that same year, she entered the world of Pilates, which she fell in the love with and went on to obtain several Pilates certifications, including Stott Pilates® in 2011 and Peak Pilates® in 2015 and she's currently working toward her Level 2 Peak certification.
Another special landmark on her career path was her first yoga certification. Again she chose to enter this new world with her most trusted guide, Karim Strougo, and she earned her Fluid Yoga™ level 1 certification in 2015. Then in 2016, she got her Professional Group Fitness Instructor™ certification from SAFE Academy and, in 2018, she obtained her 200-Hour Fluid Yoga™ Teacher Training Certification from SAFE Academy as well.
With her non-stop passion for fitness and her insatiable hunger for knowledge, Aya is also certified in Spinning®, from Mad Dogg Athletics, Zumba® B1, Jumping® and AirYoga®.
Through the years, she has also attended a wide variety of workshops aiming to allow her to take better care of her clients. Such workshops included AFAA's Resistance Training, Perinatal Fitness and Midlife Fitness for Women workshops, as well as SAFE Academy's 3 major Fitness Therapy workshops pertaining to low-back injuries, knee injuries and shoulder injuries.
Aside from her regular teaching schedule, Aya also teaches Aquarobics and Mom & baby fitness; which are both extra fun classes both for her and for her clients.
Aya always says: "Clients leave their homes & come pay a membership mainly for their safety, so don't let them lose it".
Nicolas Gallois (Niko) & Julia Alexan
Nicolas Gallois (Niko)
French PE teacher, AcroYoga and Hatha Yoga instructor.
Keen on body movement and continuous learning, Niko has been exposed to a wide range of competitive sports... However, overtime he started to consider fun and more sustainable physical practices.
His strong interest in AcroYoga actually sprung in Egypt, while attending a European workshop in Cairo. He quickly recognized the powerful benefits of AcroYoga on one's physical and mental health, and became sincere and passionate about it. Quite naturally, Nicolas took the step to certify as an AcroYoga and Acrofit teacher.
Ever since, he has gladly been creating various fun sessions for "AcroYogis" from all ways of life, aged 5-55 so far! Regardless of your level, Niko's classes are adapted to the crowd's abilities, in a safe and fun environment. His greatest reward will be to welcome you into the growing AcroYoga Community of Egypt !
Julia Alexan is from Los Angeles, CA and is an instructor of gymnastics, flexibility and yoga. A passionate and well-rounded fitness guru, Julia is the Founder of FitYard (www.fityardegypt.com) and has successfully pushed the boundaries of many who initially thought they could never be flexible or fit.
She has been practising yoga and gymnastics for many years, earning her 200 RYT certificate in India, and studying at KPJAYI with Sharath Jois, specialising in traditional Hatha Yoga and dynamic Ashtanga Yoga. She was one of the first and few women to compete in Egypt's first annual Ninja Warriors Competition.
Given her diverse background of yoga and gymnastics, she entirely loves being upside down which has recently led to her passion for AcroYoga as well. Determined to change Egypt and the Middle East's perception of yoga & fitness, attend one of her classes for a push into deeper flexibility while working up a good sweat, both physically and mentally.
Seba Khanna has always had a passion for the restoration of the natural rhythm of life.
Her days have become a living dedication to this return to Source.
She became certified to teach yoga with the international YogaFit system in 2010 and has been inspired to teach continuously ever since. She later studied pranayama (yogic breath-work) with world-renowned pranayama teacher Shri O.P. Tiwari in Kaivalyadhama in India.
For three years, she studied the Professional Homeopathy Course from the Lotus Institute of Robin Murphy. This took her even deeper into the alternative approach to health. From here, she broadened her physical skills and sensory perception and understanding by studying healing abdominal organ massage, Chi Nei Tsang. This discipline originates from the Taoist system and was revived in the modern world by Grandmaster Mantak Chia. Seba studied with him in Tao Garden in Thailand.
By combining her knowledge and skills, Seba’s approach can be described as a holistic approach to health and healing. The arts and sciences she has learnt have become infused with the essences of one another. It is at this stage of life, she realizes that all is one and the same. Living from inside the heart, divisions fade away.
She uses an integration in vision between tools to heal and empower students and patients to get in touch, and ultimately rest, within the true self so that healing can occur on all levels.
With his background as a biotechnologist, Osman has decided to cultivate his passion for science and knowledge on the path of healing and wellbeing.
He obtained five pranic healing certifications in year 2013 (World Pranic Healing Foundation). In 2014 he travelled to India for the 200 RYT certification in Akhanda Yoga™ and on that same year he started his learning journey in the Institute Of Applied Holistic Sciences in Thailand. He graduated from the institute in 2015 and on the same year he got his Siam Reiki™ master level, crystal healing and psychometry certifications from the Siam Reiki School in Ubon Ratchathani.
Another special landmark on his path was his reflexology diploma from the International Training Massage School in Chiang Mai (ITM).
With his non-stop passion for holistic wellbeing and his insatiable hunger for knowledge, Osman is also certified in Ayurvedic Nutrition (Ayushkama Ayurveda Institute, Rishikesh), Marma Therapy (Ayushkama Ayurveda Institute, Rishikesh), Developing psychic awareness (Siam Reiki School, Ubon Ratchathani) and Akashic records reading (Petah, Australia).
He has also finished two other Yoga teacher trainings in Yin Yoga (Deep Yoga Institute) and Fluid Yoga™ from SAFE Academy in addition to several yoga workshops such as Yoga for seniors (YTT Journey, USA) and Anatomy for Yoga from SAFE Academy.