Plenary Speakers
Share |

SYTAR 2019 has invited...
key members of our community to share their insights
during the plenary sessions open to all attendees.


Friday morning:

Jay Gupta
De-prescribing Drugs

Jay Gupta, RPh, MSc, MTM Specialist, C-IAYT is Director of Pharmacy and Integrative Health at Harbor Health Care, and the Co-Founder of and He is a leader among the global community educating about integrative therapies, polypharmacy epidemic and creating protocols for De-Prescription. His commitments have led him throughout the USA and India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia, Scotland, Switzerland, Thailand and Vietnam.

His awards include recognition for excellence in community-based prescription drug abuse prevention by Cardinal Health, a Fortune 25 company, and innovative integrative medical approaches by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations.

He is co-author of the DVDs “RxRelax Seated Therapeutic Yoga” and “Subtle Yoga for Rejuvenation (SYR)” and the audio CDs “RxRelax for Insomnia” and “Relaxation Capsules“.
[Also presenting Saturday afternoon - TS02]


Saturday morning:

Diane Finlayson
Working in Hospitals

Diane Finlayson, MA, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 is the department chair for the Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda department at the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH). She received her MA from Johns Hopkins for her thesis on Ayurveda in America. In addition to her role at MUIH, Diane continues to provide private clients with Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy, Integrative Yogic Hypnosis and Integrative Journal Workshops.

  [Also presenting Saturday Afternoon Session - TS05]


Garth McLean
Find Your Practice/Place in the World

Garth McLean, C-IAYT; CIYT (Senior Iyengar Teacher) is a co-founding Board and Faculty member of Iyengar Yoga Therapeutics Group, a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles dedicated to helping people manage diseases and conditions through therapeutic applications of yoga.

Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1996, Garth successfully manages his course of MS and a hectic teaching schedule with a daily practice of Iyengar Yoga as presented by Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar.

Foregoing the prescribed medication protocol, to clinically monitor his MS at the request of his neurologist, annual comparative MRI brain scans have shown a reduction in the size and number of MS lesions on Garth’s brain. With the exception of a new lesion in 2015, that has since become dormant, there has otherwise been no abnormal activity since 2001.

Garth continues his annual studies with the Iyengar family in Pune, India (since 2001) where he has also served as an ongoing assistant teacher in the remedial classes under the tutelage of both BKS Iyengar and Geeta Iyengar.

Garth offers workshops globally on the positive effect of yoga on MS and other neurological conditions. He has been featured in magazine articles and on radio programs worldwide.
[Also presenting Friday afternoon - TF02]


Sunday morning:

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O'Brian
Dharma and Artha: Light the Way to Thrive, Prosper, Succeed and Serve

Yogacharya Ellen Grace O’Brian is a meditation teacher, poet, writer, and the spiritual director of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment—a Kriya Yoga Meditation Center with headquarters in San Jose, California. She has taught Kriya Yoga nationally and internationally for more than three decades and has received many service awards, including the Mahatma Gandhi Award for the Promotion of Religious Pluralism. Ordained to teach in 1982 by Roy Eugene Davis, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda, her message is “engaged enlightenment” – an invitation to live an awakened, creatively inspired, and fulfilled life, now.

Along with her service as a meditation teacher and esteemed Yogacharya, Ellen Grace O’Brian is the Founder of Carry the Vision, a community nonviolence education project bringing meditation instruction to staff and children in schools, the prison population, and other segments of society. She is the founder and President of Meru Institute, providing healthy lifestyle education and leadership training in yoga studies, Ayurveda, and community service. She is host of The Yoga Hour, a weekly podcast with listeners in over 130 countries. Her latest book, The Jewel Abundance: Finding Prosperity through the Ancient Wisdom of Yoga, was recently published by New World Library.


Leigh Blashki
Meditation - Creating Our Future - NOW

Leigh Blashki, C-IAYT has practiced yoga and meditation since 1968 and Founded of Australian Institute of Yoga Therapy where he trained yoga teachers and therapists from 2000 to 2013.He has over 40 years’ experience as a Yoga and meditation teacher. Leigh is often described as the ‘father of yoga therapy in Australia’.

He and has served on the IAYT Standards, Accreditation and Certification Committees and is a past-president of Yoga Australia.

Leigh has now transitioned into Vanaprastha - the third stage of life according to the Vedic tradition, in which much of his time is spent immersed in deep contemplation, the study of non-dual teachings, and mentoring other yoga professionals.

His teachers have included: Michael Volin, Sri Yogendra, Swami Gitananda, A.G. Mohan and Dr Richard Miller.

Leigh is passionate about sharing the non-dual teachings and is the Associate Director – Australasia for the iRest Institute.