Inspirational Stories

“Death is nothing but a gateway to birth. Nothing that lives ever dies, it only changes form. And so on goes this great play of God—From eternity to eternity.”

—Guru Nanak

Dear Peri & Charles,

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Thank you for asking me these past years to teach an introduction to anatomy for your students. It has been a most joyful part of my life and a great memory. Words cannot express my sorrow for the conduct of people you held dear in your hearts. God has a story and I am sure the final chapter will be written with understanding and completion. Mukti Ma told me once, that S.R.F. yogis live 5-7 normal lifetimes in one. I think your and Charles’ have far exceeded this quota. Be of good cheer, and know that your service is and was golden.

Blessings & Joy! —Dr. John H.

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Kelly at the studio!

Dear Peri and Charles,My path with you both started in 2002 when I took my first Synergy class. My life changed from that day forward. I knew for sure that I wanted to feel that amazing everyday! Synergy has been a practice that I have treasured and held dear to my heart since that first 2 month challenge many years ago. It is so true “Synergy yoga everyday for two months will change your body and your life”. I will always know that if I’m not practicing I don’t get the benefits. The benefits for me are so vast that it would take a novel to write about it all. You have to do yoga, to feel yoga working in your life. Peri has shown me that fact. She has been a wonderful example of the power by living a life rich with love, discipline, kindness, patience and glory in her own right.In 2008, I signed up for one of the 10 intensive retreats in Encinitas. It is the precursor to the teacher training. What an inspirational, transcending and physically rewarding experience! After that I really understood the level of devotion and intense discipline that has to be cultivated to become a yogi. I didn’t realize it then but I was on the road toward destiny.Now here it is 2011, and I finally started the teacher training! I am so happy! My experience has proven to me that the best yoga teachers on the planet have been mentored and/or trained by Peri and Charles. I wanted to be taught how to be a well rounded instructor.

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I knew that you would guide me down that path. It is process, not just a course to fulfill hours for a certification. Synergy is a lifestyle not a trend. The space that you have created in Pt. Arena is a magical place.The teacher training is the best thing I could have done for myself to dive deeper into my practice. The experience is not to be missed. It is the most amazing soul enriching quest I have ever been on. If I want to spread the love and light of Synergy anywhere, I must bring it there myself. So that is my intention: to be a vessel that brings Synergy to everyone. I have looked, tried and sought out the Synergy experience in other places but it does not exist. There is no yoga practice like Synergy yoga anywhere… You must go to the source.Peri and Charles- You are the heart, soul and source of Synergy/Surf therapy yoga. Namaste, Love and Light,Kelly from Encinitas, CAp.s. Miss you…

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Dear Charles and Peri,

I had an extraordinary experience during the Yoga Workshop this Fall – I think you should hear about it. As you know, I am a complete novice at age 61, with a lifelong history of clumsiness, and lousy posture (sorry Sister Constance). So, going through Gentle postures successively , with care, from attentive teachers, I progressed to trying some original flow moves. Imagine my surprise when during a forward bend I felt and heard vertebrae in my back move to an unfamiliar position and I was standing straighter with a more even cant to my hips. Tiny bit of old history, in 1985 I managed to sustain a compression fracture to t-12 in my spinal vertebrae, which created a pronounced curve to my back. I suddenly felt taller, with more flexibility than I had felt in 26 years. Amazing. Of coarse the next day the muscles that had been carrying my spine in the misaligned position were incredibly pissed and painful, so I had a massage from a talented and sensitive body worker, which relieved the discomfort considerably. Since that time my goal has been to strengthen my back muscles in order to maintain my re- gained position vertically and deepen a joyous sense of wellbeing through Yoga.

Sincerely and with GRATITUDE, Angela Ferrari RN, CCRN ,CERRN.

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I really enjoyed my time in Point Arena during the 5 day intensive retreat/teacher training.

It was the first time I went there and I was very impressed with how interested and antentive all of the participants were. I felt we had a very special group that made everyone feel very integrated. For me that was the perfect frame to present my thesis for the 3000 hour programme. It seemed to me the yogis literally soaked everything up like a sponge. After the 5 days it felt like an extra honour to be allowed to lead our special advanced class for the teachers and regular students. I hope to be able to come back soon!

—Second testimonial from Markus

Markus Beer with Peri and Charles, November 2010 Synergy Yoga Teacher Training Mid-Term

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I arrived home last night late, and went to bed ASAP. I slept the most soundly and longest sleep I’ve had in easily 20 years. ( I think it was Yoga Nidra!) Today I woke up and meditated and did the Basic Five. What can I say?

Your generosity and supreme planning provided the most amazing week for me. Transformational is almost too insufficient a word for the alteration in my life path.
Peri and Charles, thank you for seeing to EVERY SINGLE detail of my experience.

I am still vibrating at a wonderful frequency and wish I could have been with you all today. I’m looking forward to seeing Anya and Ling Yen next week in San Diego.
All of my love and so much gratitude,

I also noticed I’m sleeping really well, and for more hours than I have in a long while.

Lastly, and this surprised me, my compassion is nil! I find myself inwardly irritated with people who invite drama. What’s that about?

Thank you all, for a transformation, loving, tender, strong and vitally important week. I cannot wait to see each of you again, and follow your path with you!

Thank you again, and again, ad nauseum. I just completed five blissful days of morning meditation and Yoga practice. This morning’s practice was especially powerful, and as I followed Peri’s melodious voice, I almost felt that I was in your beautiful, peace-filled studio.

Much love, Namaste,

Hi Charles and Peri – I am not quite sure how to write this so it flows together so I just pieced together some random thoughts. Use as much or as little as you need.. I wish you guys the best. What you do has meant a lot to me and reconnecting with you was always on my mind these 2 years. I knew I would see you again one day. I hope to visit P. A. regularly now that I live in San Francisco

Peri’s flow has been for me the only real relief from arthritis, pain and muscle aches. It is a scientific flow that works to systematically undo the tensions and pains my body has. It is the third prong in my fitness regimen – strength – cardio – flexibility

I recently visited the Synergy Yoga center in Point Arena. It was the same wonderful and powerful energy I experienced over my 10 years doing Synergy in Encinitas. Peri’s flow and the studios she is associated with have a special energy. It is for me the perfect blend of stretching, meditation, strengthening and release to keep me healthy.

I have taken many classes from Peri and Peri’s teachers – from gentle through to the original heated to the advanced flow and even the 20 minute flow. I do the 5 minutes of sun salutations from time to time when I need to loosen up at work or if I am driving long distances. Synergy has been a major positive factor in improving my life.

Synergy meant for me healing inside and out. It helped heal my soul and my spirit and put me on a positive path rather than a negative one. It enabled me to have an oasis of relief from pain both physically and mentally for at least some of my day. It set in motion some of the more positive and enriching times of my life.

My first class was Feb, 1999. My most recent was today. My next may be tomorrow. It is the flow. It is always about the flow.

Peri is an incredibly intuitive person. She can see when someone is releasing some deep stuff in class. One class early on I remember being in ‘the hot box’ and feeling a bit peaked. I was in childs pose waiting to come out and continue the flow with the class when I heard the sound of Peri hustling between people over to me. At that moment she placed her hand on my back and said “It’s going to be all right” and I fell apart. I had no idea I needed to know it was going to be all right but at that moments she knew I needed to know that. I melted into tears for a while. That was in many ways a turning point for me and the Synergy flow. I realized then the level of release I was experiencing and how much happier and healthier I was becoming.

My family started doing YOGA in 1969 when my Father was going through various therapies to cure his alcoholism. My Mom and my Sisters and I did YOGA. I am really the only one who stayed with it. I found Finding Synergy after trying 5 or 6 other studios over 3 years. It was the best flow, the most available place,

Jeannine M, San Francisco

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Dear Peri,

Today is Thanksgiving and I was thinking about you & me. You know our relationship that is commemorating around 3 years now. The physical world measures someone’s success by what he/she has or owns. But the universe considers a person successful measuring how much he/she has learned!


In this way, I was thinking how much blessings I have received. How much I have learned so far in my life and those 3 last years were definitive in my growing process.

Thank you so much for your patience. Your understanding & your trust in me. Maybe you trust in me more than I trust in myself, but I am still learning!

Thank you for being there for me every time I need. Thank you for your strength, for your love, for your tears!

Thank you for being exactly what you are! I thank you for everything that you taught me. And everything that I learned from you and you even don’t know.

You are my inspiration, you are my master teacher. You are my friend! You are part of my heart! Forever! I bow to you! I thank you! I love you!

In gratitude…



















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Dear Peri and Charles,

Great to hear from you! I’m so happy to see that Synergy is thriving in Pt. Arena.
I’ve now practiced yoga under numerous teachers and experienced many different styles: Bikram, Shivananda, Ashtanga, “vinyasa,” Laughing Lotus vinyasa, acro-yoga. Peri: you are far and away the most extraordinary teacher of both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. It breaks my heart that yogis everywhere miss out on your gifts.
I miss my Synergy so much.
Sending love and blessings, Lynn, San Francisco

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Hi Peri and Charles!!!
I hope all is well in Point Arena. I have wanted to e-mail you to say Hello and say how much I miss you and your yoga therapy–I send you all a great BIG HUG.
I also wanted to know if you could direct me to a yoga studio/class that is based on the same principles you had here. I know I don’t have to express how much I LOVED the flow and the spiritual foundation of the practice, but I do LOVE it and truly miss it.
Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.
Love, Marlene Galindo

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Dear Peri and Charles,

Thanks for always being there! You keep me stretched out and grounded (along with the bike riding) even when I miss class. I love having the 9am classes ready to start my day. Also, thank you for being such steadfast friends during challenging times for me.

Lauren Sinnott, Point Arena Mayor

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Dear Peri, ….Thank you for all your Yoga classes and training and hope you keep giving the gift of yoga to others like you gave to me.

You changed my life. Namaste.

Love, Sue

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Testimonial from Katie, certified teacher in Encinitas 2008 and now in Bali, Indonesia and Australia

November 2008


…our intention manifesting.

Greetings Peri and Charles….

I hope that this email finds you settled and happy in your new headquarters in Point Arena.

I wanted to send you a long overdue update about where I have been traveling and teaching since completing the final in April. I left for Bali in mid May and found an amazing home base in Sanur on the east side of the island. Within the first week I began teaching the Synergy Gentle Flow to my 80 yr old neighbor Harvey. He had open heart surgery 7 months before we met and a total knee replacement one year earlier. He became my most dedicated student in Bali, practicing every other day. His progress was amazing. In the beginning his balance and breathing were very compromised but he quickly progressed to the point where he could do most of the standing postures away from the wall and was able to stand during Garurasana (we began doing that one seated!). His breathing also improved dramatically. Seeing his progress was a true joy and testament to the transformation that can occur with Synergy. As it turns out Harvey’s favorite part of the flow is the chakra meditation! Needless to say he is one cool 80 yr old guy!

Word of me teaching Synergy spread quickly through the expat community in Bali and soon I was teaching several private lessons a week in addition to Harvey’s regular private class. It was amazing to be able to teach to students from America, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Germany, Sweden, England, Norway, and Japan. My private lessons were all the intermediate flow so the students could get familiar with the alignment points, which they quickly did. Bali was an amazing place to instruct privates as they were always outdoors in the natural heat of the tropics surrounded by nature and images of Buddah, Ganesha, and other dieties.

By mid June I began teaching at a local studio in Sanur that was located above a health food store and cafe called Manik Organic. The studio space was lovely (I included pictures below) and after a few weeks I went from teaching 1 Synergy Class a week to 3. My classes were the most attended of any classes offered at Manik, many of my students became regulars and I actually broke attendance records for the studio with my classes.

Bali was an amazing place to teach and open myself up to things I don’t believe I could have experienced elsewhere. I realize now that Synergy Yoga has helped me on so many levels, not the least of which being that it is the vehicle that is allowing me to travel the world.

After 6 months in Bali I decided it was time for a break and traveled to West Australia. I have been here 1 week and miss Bali so much I know I will go back there at some point in the not too distant future and continue to teach Synergy. For now, I will be staying here for the summer and teaching at a new studio that just opened here in town. It is a breathtaking space called Samudra. They also offer Surf and Yoga retreats so I am excited to blend both of my passions during my stay here in WA. The studio currently teaches Ashtanga Yoga and at the moment I will be the only Hatha instructor and obviously the only Synergy instructor.

Again, I hope you are both well and happy. I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful training I received at the Yoga Room and will be forever grateful that I am fortunate enough to teach Synergy Yoga in this life. I do not know when I will be returning to the states but when I do I hope to come to Point Arena and practice with you again. Until that time I will be honored to continue to travel the world and teach Synergy everywhere I go!

With Much Love and Light, Katie

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This [is] my story and I never imagined in my life to write an experience so profound and transformative as the following below:

It all starts in Spain, with the help of my dear Peri, where I started taking yoga classes with her, (what a privilege) and it was she who introduced me to the world of yoga.

At first, for me, it was a purely physical experience, until I started to feel that this practice influences my mind, and helps me to approach problems in a more calm and peaceful way.

It is from this point, that I begin to want to go much deeper into the world of yoga and even I start to think to myself, thanks to the efforts of Peri and Charles, to teach yoga in the little villages around me.

Then last June, I traveled to California from southern Spain to participate in the SYNERGY YOGA RETREAT AND TEACHERS TRAINING. Seven unforgettable days that have marked my life forever. Thanks to this training and effort, professionalism and dedication of Peri and my mentor Charles, along with his collaborators Markus, Ronna and Pam, I have acquired the necessary tools to start my way in Spain.

I returned to Spain in late June and quickly without losing a week (on the advice of Peri and Charles) I searched among my friends and family, for students to practice what I had learned. Now after five months from the training, I have a total of 38 students distributed among four different little villages. I feel life ahead, full of hope and I can say that I live in a much more positive way. Also on a spiritual level I opened doors that I had closed.

All I can say is that I cannot wait for the next training in Spring 2013 to dig deeper… I think it’s a path without end… with no barriers.


Ana Carballedo-Esc0bar, SPAIN


[Above testimonial en Español]

Esta mi historia y nunca imagine en mi vida escribir una experiencia tan profunda y transformadora como la que sigue a continuación:

Todo empieza en España, de la mano de mi querida Peri, donde comienzo a tomar clases de yoga con ella, (que privilegio) y es ella la que me introduce en el mundo del yoga.

En un principio, para mi, era una experiencia puramente fisica, hasta que empiezo a sentir, como esta practica, influye en mi mente, como me ayuda a enfocar los problemas de una manera mas calmada y tranquila.

Es a partir de este momento, empiezo a querer profundizar mucho mas en el mundo del yoga e incluso me planteo, gracias al empuje de Peri y Charles, enseñar yoga por los pueblos de mi alrededor.

El pasado mes de Junio, viajo a California desde el sur de España, para participar en EL SYNERGY YOGA RETREAT AND TEACHERS TRAINING. Siete dias inolvidables, que han marcado mi vida para siempre. Gracias a este training y al esfuerzo, profesionalidad y dedicacion de Peri y mi mentor Charles, junto con sus colaboradores Markus, Ronna y Pam, he adquirido las herramientas necesarias para empezar mi camino en España.

He vuelto a España a finales de Junio y rapidamente sin perder una semana (siguiendo los consejos de Peri y Charles) he buscado entre mis amigos y familiares, estudiantes con los que practicar lo aprendido.

Ahora después de cinco meses del training, tengo un total de 38 estudiantes distribuidos entre 4 pueblos diferentes.

Me siento con una vida por delante, iiena de esperanza y puedo decir que vivo de una manera mucho mas positiva. Tambien a nivel espiritual he abierto puertas que antes tenia cerradas.

Todo lo que puedo decir, es que no puedo esperar al proximo training en la primavera del 2013 para profundizar mas… creo que es un camino sin fin, sin barreras.


Ana Carballedo-Esc0bar, SPAIN

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Peri might not be in Encinitas, but her legacy is in most of the Yoga Studios in town and the surrounding areas. Not only did she teach hundreds of teachers, but she employed half the town! She is a true teacher and this is why this has happened. She deserves a rest and to not be so public.

John Cartwright

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I have known Peri since 1993 and have come to love and appreciate her as a caring and good soul who works hard to help those in need of guidance and healing. Her husband Charles is a genuine “Mensh” who found his soul mate in Peri.

…Peri and Charles, I wish you good blessings in your new home up north, you were tested in very heavy and profound ways but celebrate this thought – Big people are tested in big ways, the universe wants to mold you and sometimes the heat and fire needed must be hot enough so the metal is pliable and the hammer forms it to a final beautiful shape. Take your heavenly blows as lessons of the righteous, and keep moving towards the light.

God Bless, Doron Basha President, CEO Beverly Hills, Los Angeles


Hello Peri and Charles,

…First off I want to thank you Peri for being a mentor and sharing your love of yoga. I came to your class many years(10 or 13) ago and not really knowing how or why I was there. today I teach yoga therapy to people with medical conditions and spiritual blocks. Pretty amazing from when I started as you said with your firm but compassionate tone “it took a lot of courage for you to be here today” as my stiff body opened I sought out many teachers and classes,studied with even swamis and they never lived up to you…the perfect yoga teacher and spiritual guide. …

Encinitas will never be the same, as I moved away 3 years ago after living my life there, your vibe always would call me back to the yoga room. Your system of synergy left such a impact I named my clinic after it because it reveals all that is needed in a system of holism working together in oneness towards greatness of the self benefiting all. Please heal your back so many need your love and guidance. Sometimes it’s painful moving towards where you really should be. Much love and chi my friend Peri.
Ramsay Mead Synergy wellness

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Our beautiful studio, which was located in Encinitas for 17 years….

…We thank our sweet students who put up this sign.

We miss seeing you every day for class — but we delight in connecting with you here, in Point Arena from now on, and have loved all your visits.

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Peri and Charles,

You are lights on this planet. Charles personifies courage and optimism and you, Peri, love and wisdom. We are happy to have our beloved teachers closer to us.

Rebecca Lawson, Oregon

Peri has saved my life and I have heard many others say the same. She has helped my family and many others. I have experienced Peri express boundaries, strength and love and been respected and adored for it, and then in the next moment, criticized when it doesn’t suit them anymore. This is the test for all true teachers.

G. Jones

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The training was the best thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m 52 years old and I did this for me, and yet now I feel confident to share my great health and joy from the practice of Synergy with others. It is a professional training, very thorough — with step-by-step practical lessons and deep insights. I have partaken in many other trainings, but this is absolutely the best. It has all the aspects.

Sharon Jackson

I did my training when I was 23 and I wish I had waited, having known nothing, yet thinking that I knew everything. Then I did it again 12 years later—unbelievable! Peri is a true teacher: sweet love, tough love, vulnerable love. THE REAL DEAL. She was the same; my perceptions were different. There is nothing like Synergy Yoga anywhere. It is unique.

Anne M.

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My beloved teacher Peri,

You were there for me when I needed it the most. Going through the deep healing – you literally saved my life. You gave me a job, taught me a skill, showed me a path and still loved me when I spewed all over you, blamed you for everything and left just as the student usually does, to justify leaving their teacher. I did and said terrible untrue things about you. You still love me after I denied you in so many ways. You still communicated with me. After all that has happened recently I realize more now who you really are and love you forever. You have been a constant in my life.

Forever, Debra R.

On April 14th, 2008 we celebrated the 16th birthday of the Yoga Room. It was a bittersweet celebration as it was our last official day of classes. While we offered regular classes all day, the 8:30 class was a special one. Peri led the class with each of the teachers teaching a different asana. It was probably the most incredible class I’ve ever been a part of in my more than 7 years of practice here. There were 50 (yes 50!) yogis in that room and the light and energy was tangible and divine! There was laughter and there were tears but above all there was SYNERGY! They say when two or more are gathered, anything is possible and that class definitely was in the realm of endless possibilities! The teachers, staff and students here are such an incredible family. The power of love in that room was so amazing—it’s something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life. Two of our very dedicated students, Norm and Elizabeth, each recently had major surgery. They were both in class and used chairs to practice as best they could. At one point in class, I noticed Peri bringing each of them pillows to place under their feet. I got tears in my eyes…I thought even in a room of 50 people, when Peri herself is in pain, her first thought is to still always take care of her students. I think she should change her name to Selfless. (Get it? Selfless Ness.) Peri led the final chant with such purity and light. And then Charles spoke of his love and devotion to his best friend, yoga teacher and beloved wife. He spoke of her strength and the obstacles she has overcome over the years to keep the doors open. What a shame that the doors are closing. We truly pray that a new owner will re-open the doors so that Synergy Yoga stays within these walls. But it will never be like it once was. Two of our lovely students, Lisa Hoff and Kelly Knorr, hung a banner above the front door that said it best: “We love you Peri and Charles. Encinitas will never be the same.” Thank you Peri, for an incredible final class and let’s all pray, hope and visualize Synergy Yoga practiced in this space for years to come.

In love. light and Synergy,


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…I have known Peri, Charles, many of Peri’s family members, dear friends and students for more than 4 years… I have seen how much Peri gives and forgives on a daily basis. I know that she does not tolerate bad behavior when she is aware of it. She will forgive 70 times 7, but cannot allow some situations or behavior because of her role as a teacher of hatha yoga, and being very much a proponent of standing up for what you believe in, even when it attracts unjust criticism by those whose behavior is not condoned…

…I have only known Peri to give of herself – her skills, time, guidance, compassion and even money to anyone who was in need and receptive. …I wanted to offer a true attestation to Peri’s loving and caring qualities – just for the record.

…I know so many love and appreciate Peri and all that the Yoga Room stands for. …She has been our teacher, friend and best well wisher for so long… She does not ask for it, but deserves our support. Thank you for reading my input…


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What Peri, Synergy Yoga, The Yoga Room and all our wonderful staff and teachers truly are.

Peri is as soft as a flower when kindness is concerned and mightier than thunder when principle is concerned. If Peri has any fault, she has been too trusting, generous and kind to too many people. I have only witnessed kindness, compassion and overt generosity from Peri to all her friends, students, employees and teachers, here in California, Europe, Hawaii and India. Living saints have expressed to me the high level of Peri’s kindness, thoughtfulness and caring.

Peri is basically a very shy person and she hates to be revered. Concerning the traditional (Namaste) after class, this is done mostly for the student to honor that something happened in the practice. Namaste is about honoring the light, which resides equally in the teacher and the student. This is a 5,000 year old tradition. Concerning “master teacher” this also is a traditional form of respect in most professions. For example, “master mechanic”, “master builder”, “master Karate teacher”, etc. She is the most loyal devotee of Paramahansa Yogananda that I have ever met. She has served at the Encinitas Temple for over 20 years in Kirtans, lesson study, etc. For 16 years, Peri has manifested with high integrity, the principles of his teachings in business at the Yoga Room. Countless people in the community have received love, training, jobs, counsel, and a safe haven to practice yoga and to be with other like-minded people. Everyone who has ever left is always welcome to come back and practice or clear any unresolved issues. 12,000 students later, it would be impossible for every single person to be happy with what we teach or how we do business. Most of the local yoga studios nearby have an abundance of teachers trained at the Yoga Room or actually own the studios. We cannot control them honoring signed agreements to not teach Synergy within a 10 mile radius of The Yoga Room. We do have very honorable Synergy Yoga teachers that have been with us many years in different parts of the world including Nürnberg Germany and Point Arena, California.
The number one quality of a yogi is fearlessness and as far as principles go, we at the Yoga Room are fearless in addressing any dishonorable actions (stealing, lying, cheating or not honoring commitments) of employees, teachers or students. This is not abuse; it is truth. If ever there are disagreements, we are always open to resolving them.

Peri originally came to Encinitas, California to enter the SRF ashram as a nun. She was advised by the elder monastics that she would serve Paramahansa Yogananda and his teachings on a greater level by teaching yoga in the world, 16 years of heroic service, 12,000 students later.

We love everyone that came here for training. Each one holds a special place in our hearts. The love never goes away.


—Charles DeFay Senior Synergy Yoga Mentor Owner of Surf Therapy Yoga in Point Arena, California since 1989 and former Captain of Coronado Beach Lifeguards Bachelor of Science, Geology, SDSU 1976 and husband of beloved Peri

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March 29, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

I have been an on-and-off student at The Yoga Room since November of 2000, when I began a second-year project during my graduate school program in psychology at the University of Santa Monica. The purpose of this project was to begin (for the first time) and build a Yoga practice that would strengthen my spiritual growth, increase my physical fitness, improve my emotional and mental well-being and to support me in necessary life changes. Over the last eight years, The Yoga Room and all of its teachers and staff have been a tremendous support to me as I have achieved and exceeded my wildest expectations.

Immediately upon entering The Yoga Room for the first time, I became aware of the compassion and serenity that was present in the space on Second Street, and mulated by almost all of the teachers and staff members. When I was first building my practice, like many new students, I lacked strength, flexibility, focus and skill. Throughout the course of the years that followed, I improved on every single level and now, consider myself somewhat advanced in my practice. I currently practice Synergy Yoga on approximately 8-10 hours per week in The Yoga Room’s heated studio. As a result of my participation in these classes, I have received the benefits of a very high level of strength, endurance, flexibility and overall physical fitness, almost effortless maintenance of my ideal body weight, increased desire to eat healthy foods and to abstain from unhealthy activities, improved mental and emotional well-being and a stronger sense of my own, personal spiritual connection.

During the last eight years, I have known both Peri and Charles (and many others) as Yoga teachers and as kind and conscious members of the Encinitas community…

The Yoga Room has been like a second home to me…


—Julie Thomas, MA

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Testimonial from Charmaine Olivia Calcara

January 16, 2008

Thank you to the incredible Synergy Yoga mentor teachers, for being true examples of yogis, for supporting me and helping me along this path To Charles my mentor. I have modeled much of my life from his example of discipline and fearlessness, to mediate and to practice no MATTER what. …To Peri my Master Teacher. Whom ever since I was a little girl have looked up to, and always have aspired to be like. Thank you for teaching me to be a stronger person. for teaching me loyalty, truth, integrity and love. for walking the talk and for being patient with me, for training me and for saving my life by keeping me on the spiritual path. I am honored and humbled to be your student and your friend. Thank you for teaching me how to love and be loved. And to my Guru Paramahansa Yogananda and his unceasing guidance support and protection. For guiding me since my first breath, guided me here, and for our promise of loyalty to each other and his promise to pick me up no matter how many times i fall.
Thank you everyone.

—Charmaine Olivia Calcara

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A Synergy Yoga Experience
I would like to share a personal experience of mine, having been a student, a teacher in training, mentor teacher and an employee at the Yoga Room, Synergy Yoga Center in Encinitas, CA.

The Synergy Yoga Center has provided for 16 years a safe and encouraging place for people to practice hatha yoga. In the studio the teaching philosophy emphasizes the practitioner to honor their limits, not to go beyond their edge. I have had a very positive experience in my 4 years practicing at the studio. In my current position I am honored to be passing on the teachings that I have learnt from Peri Ness in teaching many students that come through the Yoga Room doors as well as all over the world as I travel.
The Synergy Yoga Center is not directly affiliated with the SRF – but due to the fact that Peri Ness is a sincere, exemplary devotee of Paramahansa Yoganada and because she honors her Guru as well as the lineage of teachers whom she has learnt from, the connection to the SRF is evident and should not be ignored. She has a strong spiritual connection that she brings into the studio, the students and the teachers. Inspiring many personally and through teachers she has trained.

My experience working with Peri Ness has been positive and educational. She has always encouraged and guided me appropriately and most of the time well beyond what I would expect from a Yoga teacher and an employer (in respect to her way of accommodating to my personal needs of time off for travel for work or for any other circumstances, and for compensation for my time as an employee). I personally regard Peri Ness as a generous, modest, compassionate and hardworking person, who usually puts others’ needs and benefit before her own and is very modest in her lifestyle.Working and teaching at the studio has been a great experience for me.

…The Teacher Training Program at the Synergy Yoga Center is well designed to enhance one’s understanding of yoga; the training program emphasizes studies (meaning literature that is part of the required reading) beyond the asana (the main physical aspect of Hatha Yoga) and is not a short cut in becoming a yoga teacher and it is not always easy or given. Teachers are trained in all aspects of living a yogic lifestyle. From what I have observed in life and in yoga, I have gathered that not all individuals are meant to adhere to at times strict guidelines that for some come more naturally.

People come and people go, life happens and minds change. And we should all take responsibility for our own doing, decisions and actions.

The Synergy Yoga Center has been open to everyone, limitations or not; there is an emphasis on safety in all classes and teacher training – honoring the students experience in yoga through a class that integrates body, mind and soul.


—Outi Pulkkinen

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My Experience of Synergy Yoga and the Yoga Room

My name is Markus Beer. I am 35 years old and teach Synergy Yoga in Germany in the Nuremberg area. My main professions are testing and supporting bank software and providing a health care service as a manual therapist.

I started practicing Synergy Yoga in 2003 and it has been the most important factor in balancing out all levels of my life ever since. With a background in competitive sports it especially taught me to honour my edge. From that point of view and with the teacher training I was able to develop understanding and compassion.

The Yoga Room has always been an awesome place for me to deepen my practice. Myself I always felt very acknowledged and encouraged by Peri Ness DeFay and her husband Charles DeFay and can say that I understand now how important it is to acknowledge people for their efforts and committment. After getting a 500 hour certificate in 2006 Peri Ness DeFay invited me to participate in their 1000 hour programme. Although being designed as an inhouse programme I was allowed to do my complete apprenticeship overseas. I highly appreciated that as a sign of great trust and faith in the potential of a student. I have always felt very supported by them and they always reassured me that I could contact them anytime I needed advice or help. Themselves they have been open and interested to listen to my ideas and plans.

—Markus Beer

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I have been practicing and teaching at the Yoga Room for over 4 years. During that time it has been my sanctuary – a guarantee on a difficult day that I can walk through the door, take class and walk out with a clearer perspective and a lighter heart. As a student and teacher I have witnessed countless people make positive and lasting changes in their lives with dedicated practice and during the 10-Day Intensives. After every class I teach, I see the little victories – the brighter, calmer faces and the gratitude when a student says “That was just what I needed”.

I participated in the 10-Day Intensive about 4 years ago. The effects of that experience are still at work in my life. I was gently and lovingly guided by Peri, Charles and several other teachers through 10 days of self-discovery and self-healing. Since my own 10-Day experience I have had the honor of assisting many other yogis in their 10-Day retreats. I have been in awe of the transformation that occurs during those 10 days. It is a powerful, beautifully designed retreat that teaches anyone with strong intention that yoga can heal on the deepest levels.

The Yoga Room has been a fixture in Encinitas for nearly 16 years. I believe this says something about the power and purity of Synergy Yoga. And 16 years of dedication and service to the community and yogis from across the globe speaks volumes of Peri and the powerful, pure flow she’s been teaching for all these years. I can’t count the number of students who have said to me “There is nothing out there like Synergy”.

I send my deepest gratitude to Peri for creating and maintaining the sanctuary of the Yoga Room and Synergy Yoga for 16 years! It is a true blessing in my and my family’s lives.

—Jen Stacklin

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My 17 year old son told me, “Mom, you finding yoga, was the best thing that happened to our family”. What a true statement. I have practiced yoga only at The Yoga room, did’nt look further, did’nt have to, yoga at the yoga room is practiced and taught at its purest sense, to strenthen once spiritual believes. Synergy yoga centre is a very special place, one could feel the positive, loving and spiritual vibrations every class. It is a very safe and loving environment the minute you enter the door. Having said this about the centre, i would like to say a few words about its owner and my Master teacher Peri ness Defay. How could any organization be successful for 16yrs. if it did’nt have a dedicated leader. Peri is a loving, caring and generous person. I am not saying she is a saint, if she was she would’nt be amongst us, she would be sitting in a cave, meditating, which she often told us, that is what she would rather be doing. Teaching yoga is the highest order, it is not any job, we work with souls, we pray, love and respect the light in every student who walks through those doors. Peri has been taught and trained to practise this all her life, she walks the talk. Her expectations of the staff is high, but that is what makes the studio stand apart. I would’nt be wrong in saying that 50% of the students come to take Peri’s class and linger by the front desk after class to exchange a few words with her. As for my training, I am honored and proud to be a certified yoga teacher from the synergy yoga centre.

—Sumathi Ravikumar

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I began practicing at the Yoga Room in February , 2001. I did the 2 month challenge in June of 2001 and have been consistently practicing ever since.

I knew I wanted to do the 10 day intensive and … I finally did it in April of 2003 and it was truly life changing! It was 10 days of yoga, meditation,wonderful lectures and emotional release. There has not been a single moment that I have regretted doing the 10 day. I’ve worked here since October of 2002 and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve been blessed to work at the Yoga Room and also at a flower shop…most people would probably envy the fact that I look forward to going to work every single day!

Peri has been an incredible teacher, employer, advisor and true friend to me. We are a family here…

I support Peri 100% and I hope we can keep Synergy Yoga going in Encinitas for years to come. Thank you to all the steadfast, fearless yogis who continue to walk through these doors. …



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I stepped my feet into the Yoga Room 9 years ago by accident as I was here to take a vacation. Once I took the first class I felt drawn in to learn more . After the 2nd class, with founder, Master Teacher Peri Ness, I right away signed up for the 10 day intensive. At first I would come for a month and then leave for a couple months. Then come for a little longer and go back to Germany. At the end, I stayed. Why? Because I learned so much about me and my life. All these questions I had been holding inside started to unfold. There is such a holiness in these asanas that I am fascinated and still learn even today. I understand the uniqueness and wholistic life through the Synergy Flow. I resolved many many issues. I started to touch divine qualities inside of me by practicing regularly. And now I remember they are always here, only my awareness or action can drift away. Thru Synergy, I found an arrow which is guiding me wherever I set my intention. Everything just falls into place. Peri, my beloved teacher, has always supported me since then. Even though I am living in Germany right now, I come once a year for vacation, further training, assisting trainings and teaching class at the Yoga Room. Peri is always available for any questions, support and the bigger picture on all levels. That is amazing! I have
never found a teacher who has such an enormous understanding of transformation, life process and long distance relationships. In Germany I teach Synergy every day. It is just the same joy and bliss like when I come to Encinitas, meet new yogis and also see many students from years ago when I use to live here. This is my yoga family and I feel grateful and special to be connected with this wonderful, transformational place which is created and founded by Peri Ness-DeFay.


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In April 2006 I was not feeling well and did not want to turn to prescription drugs as I had witnessed so many of my friends have major side effects and noticed their health continue to spiral downward. I walked into a local yoga studio, Surf Therapy, in Point Arena and took classes with Rhona Frost, who has been teaching Synergy for many years. I also took classes from Charles DeFay and noticed that I had an increase of energy after class. This was rare for me as quite often after a full-nights sleep, I still felt tired. I started with 3 classes per week and noticed my energy improve although my blood tests still revealed health issues.

In June 2007 I attended a posture clinic led by Peri Ness. During the posture clinic, I immediately noticed that she had an intuition that was tuned into what I needed to get the most out of the postures. She and the other teachers were a joy to be with. Peri is a genuine, loving Yoga Teacher and I had a heart-opening experience during the clinic that felt amazing.

I attended the next ten-day. For me this represented ten days in which I could focus on healing and develop healthy habits. Peri’s adjustments, words, the kind and gentle way that she and the other teachers encouraged me to go inside, meditate and find the answers were keys to my healing. I learned how to nourish my body, observe the power of my thoughts and to honor myself and others. The clinics on systems of the body, anatomy, meditation, Ayurveda and astrology were interesting and filled with knowledge. I carried this knowledge into my own life, continued to practice yoga 5-7 times per week and felt much better. My blood tests confirmed that this was working for me; the numbers were closer to the healthy range. I started to lose weight, have energy, and laugh more. At this point I wanted to be of service and teach this health science to others. During my first Practicum, mid-term training I was invited to become an Apprentice teacher. It is an honor and a challenge that I accept.

… I prefer happiness, I prefer to feel love. I prefer to teach this “health science, Synergy Yoga. No one can take this from me because I will not allow that to happen. Yoga is essential.
—Pamela Mason

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I atended my first Synergy Yoga class with Peri Ness over two years ago. I even remember the day – January 10, 2006. It was an incredible experience for me. I was going through a tough time, and the impact that the flow had on me was so profound, that I started coming almost every day. Prior to finding Synergy, I had never committed to doing regular exercise – I had only sporadically went to the gym or took occasional classes, including different styles of yoga. The Synergy flow helped me to process and connect on all levels. I soon signed up for the two month challenge, “every day for two months will change your life”, and that evolved into more than a two year challenge. It really did change my life – on all levels. Not only do I have a more holistic lifestyle now, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but I even met my future husband at a Synergy Yoga class.

I benefited so much from my regular practice that I wanted to share it with others. In February 2008 I signed up for the Ten Day & began my teacher training.

Peri has always treated me with utmost love and respect, and I’ve learned a lot from her, from every other teacher, and from other students as well. I admire her for keeping the flow pure, open, loving, and healing, regardless of external circumstances. It doesn’t matter where you are…when you’re doing the flow, you’re in a sanctuary. It’s a tool for life, and I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to learn about yoga and self discovery through Synergy Yoga, created and provided for all of our benefit, by Peri Ness. It touches people on a soul level, and it will be an honor for me to share that with others.

In Love and Synergy,

—Kim Kurdelak

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Dear Peri and Charles
…Although I have recently returned from a long hiatus, I have spent at least 10 years doing Synergy Yoga and it has been an important part of my life. I have felt nothing but love and support during the countless classes I have attended. Over this time, I have seen a number of people benefit from your classes, and fondly remember a letter of gratitude written by the daughter of an elderly client who had passed away. I recall thinking that I would love to be doing your classes in my elderly years as well. You have given much to many people, and if some are dissatisfied, there are constructive ways to deal with concerns and complaints. …I hope I will see you upon my return from India.

—Deborah Domenie



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My experience at the Yoga Room was during the ten intensive days retreat 2007. I have to say I learned about nutrition, Health, about Yoga (it was my first experience practicing yoga), positions, my body and meditation. I never experienced food deprivation during those 10 days! Actually we went out for dinner and had a great time. I remember missing one dinner due to personal reasons. I really enjoyed the ten days; I never felt that Peri was trying to create a cult or to worship her or anything like that. My favorite instructor was Outi, she always was very patient with me. I couldn’t take more classes due to my schedule and personal activities but for me Peri and the Synergy Yoga University has a place in my heart. —Pilar

I’ve suffered from neck pain for the last 15 years and have visited many different chiropractors – but I only received temporary, minimal relief from the adjustments. Then, someone suggested yoga to me. So, in the past four years I’ve attended yoga classes at five different yoga studios in the Encinitas area – always searching for the right one. Last summer I walked into Synergy Yoga to try out a class. Halfway through the class, I knew that I had finally found my “home”! This studio just feels great to me every time I attend a class. Sometimes while at work during the day, the only thing that gets me through is knowing I will get to go to yoga for the 4:00 class. Additionally, my neck pain is gone. I am now working on releasing the rest of the “kinks” in my back, and don’t know what I’d do without our wonderful little yoga studio. … ~Namaste ~ —Debra

Synergy Yoga center is awsome! Peri and Charles we love you. To all peaceful staff at Synergy, we love you too! Your teaching has helped better our lives. The majority of people want you to stay in the community and continue to teach us about the spiritual beauty contained within our physical bodies. You have done 99 percent good and maybe 1 percent naughty ???. Shame on us all for not being saints. Regardless of human imperfection, you are beloved by Encinitas because of your magic presence and gift to uplift the spirit. Someday soon the storm will blow over and the sun will shed its light. Please don’t leave. San Diego needs you. We need a peaceful center of love to balance the military machine. Your work is valued. Hang on. Stay strong. We believe in you and will pray for happiness.

Love always,

—Danielle, Christopher, William, and Steve Russell

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I truly owe my solid mental state of mind and health to Peri and her beautiful and wondrous practice of Synergy Yoga. I began practicing at the yoga room almost 7 years ago, just after my son was born. I truly needed an outlet and a quiet place that was just for me and special and sacred. I found it in the yoga room. Later on afer I had already reaped the benefits of regaining my body back and my inner and outer strength, I found myself pregnant AGAIN, and somewhat unexpectedly and I honestly could NOT have gotten through it without the loving and constant support of Peri. She was always there giving me loving guidance and energy. She encouraged me in my practice (which later made it a snap to get back to my non-pregnant body after the birth) and made me feel so special and beautiful at a time when I could have so easily fallen into the total dumps. I was older and not sure this was the best thing that could have happened. There was never a question of whether or not we would have this baby, and she is an absolute blessing, but having Peri in my life and her amazing practice actually allowed me to enjoy and embrace the whole process. I love Peri and Charles. …There are people who go to the synergy yoga center (or any other yoga center) and they are searching for something, something to fix them. They want someone to follow. Someone they can put on a pedestal and (for lack of a better word) worship. That person was, for some, Peri. Peri never wanted anyone to worship her. Yes, she asked for respect and peace and quiet and proper behavior in the yoga room and that was a large part of what made it so special. No one was REQUIRED to do anything! It’s still a free country people. If you didn’t like the yoga room rules and requirements then go elsewhere!!! You’re only in the yoga capital of our nation….!!! … …I only can hope that there is wonderful, fullfilling and beautiful future for Peri and Charles up north. I plan on visiting every chance I get, just to be able to practice with my master teacher and friend again. Thank you for all you have given of yourself and for sharing your beautiful life and practice with all of us, especially us mothers. I am eternally grateful and hopeful.


—Lisa H.

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… My EXPERIENCE is Peri is the most charming, ethical, knowledgeable teacher I have ever met, and I know a few. …so let me make it clear- healing is paramount to my recovery,and without her love,expertise and training, I would be dead. I am grateful to Peri and Charles for helping me to save myself through diet and exercise. … Peri, I love and admire you.


—Tamara Terry

Those of us who Know Know Peri, Know her intentions and motivations for the Yoga Room are of the highest order, begotten of love and the desire to Serve others. She may have some human imperfectons as most of us do, but … She is a profoundly good and loving person with an enourmous heart and an extraordinay talent for the science of yoga coupled with the ability to give to it others. thousands and thousands and thousands of others. … the thousands of candles lit by her light will shine on. The hundreds of teachers she has trained and who now have their own yoga studios will pass on the light of her synergy yoga, no matter what name it is called by …. so the light, the torch of such profound dedication, will continue to multiply endlessly, …

I thank God for this beautiful and devoted soul, this Peri Ness DeFay, who came into my life twenty years ago. She has, among the many other qualities of her being, shown me how the powerful force of love and determination, complete dedication and devotion to God can manifest so much Good despite obstacles and shortcomings within and without. Her example, her friendship has been a starburst of blessings beyond compare. i am so grateful to call her “friend” on our divine pathway to the infinite.

—carol donahoe

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To honor Peri Ness DeFay
Peri and i met the day she arrived in Encinitas to live I opened the door and in came this breath of beauty and light. she was 28, i was 50. she had always appreciated elders. from the time she was a child in south africa and enjoyed the company of some of India’s best Yoga teachers. it seems to me it has been her prescribed role in this life to bring to many thousands of others the healthful and spiritual wonders of this ancient science of yoga born in the land of India. a gift for us all. in her beginning years in encinitas in order to continue her own developement and practice of yoga peri rode a bike every day from encinitas to solana beach. and she mangaed a gift shop that with an unusual momentum began to sparkle with the treasures and crafts she inspired others to bring and in turn marketed as uplifting treasures for others. In my observation, anything Peri touches with her enthusiasm good and strong will, devotion and determination, and most of all her loving desire to give the gifts of good she experiences to others, flourishes, grows into a flowering lotus. She also brings to the table of those wanting to be a part of her work, not just as a yoga student, but as an intricate part of this work, in whatever capacity, as greeter, secretary, accountant, or one wanting to do the teacher’s training, an intensity that only the most determined are able to stay with. Like any serious training ground, be it spiritual or a professional football or basketball team, anyone can voluntarily come and or go, but those who make the choice to stay with the program, to go on to be proficient yoga teachers, or help in that cause, go thru the disciplines involved. this is not an easy pathway; it is intense and difficult and sometimes thorny, but it is either worthy of the winning or not, as one chooses. most of us simply choose to become a good yoga practitoner. which is all we need or want. the benefits are extremely wonderful for mind, body and soul. but not everyone has the talent, or in Peri’s case, the genius, the loving will to give to others all of their life’s time and energy the gifts they have been given and painstakenly earned. i have watched Peri for twenty years now, give give and give. beyond hours of the disciplines of her own life, her inner self, she gives all the remaining hours to others. there isn’t anyone who walks thru her door she does not want to give to, help with the benefits of yoga. and if anyone wants more of her or her training she does everything she can to give. She is indeed a wonderful and powerful person. … Peri has given her life to this work unstintingly completely with the utmost highest motivation and intentionality. she may not have reached perfection yet, but she does her very best to realize her soul potential and help others along the way…

—carol donahoe

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Eight years ago next month my best friend, lover, traveling companion and wife Mary Jo died suddenly at age 54 of a pulmonary embolism. I was overwhelmed with grief and sadness, and the only reason I choose to stay in this life was the pain my departure would have caused to my son and my friends.

Saturday mornings were our special, one-on-one time together. I was looking for something to do to fill that time and within a few weeks of her death I decided to try Saturday morning yoga classes. A friend suggested Synergy Yoga.

Looking back on that first year I felt lost, afraid, sad, confused and angry. But my Saturday and Sunday morning yoga became a safe, grounding place for me. A few of the staff knew my story. Most did not, but all were friendly and supportive. For at least a year, I often cried silently during or after class. It became a safe place to let my emotions out. The healing came slowly, but surely, and although the pain will never completely go away, I have healed. Looking back, Synergy has been an essential part of my recovery. I also thank Synergy for the major improvement in my health that has occurred over the last eight years. As I have aged from 60 to almost 68, old injuries incurred as an United States Air Force pilot in Viet Nam have improved or vanished. Lower back pain has been gone for at least four years. A knee replacement my doctor said was imperative has been postponed for eight years. And the clarity I gained during the meditative practice of Synergy played a major part in my business success as a principal and broker at a major commercial real estate firm during the last eight years. Thanks to Peri, Charles and to all the teachers who have helped me so much over the last eight years. —Norm Kerlin

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Dear Peri and Charles,

I wanted to let you know how much I learned from doing the Synergy Yoga for six months. …I think the yoga was astounding and I really hope that when this is over you will be able to have everything you want in a studio. It is a beautiful yoga.

While I attended Synergy during your sabbatical I was impressed by the faithfulness of your employees. They ran the center with such love and respect for you. Every word they said echoed what I heard you say in the video and in class. They always gave you full credit as master teacher and never took any credit themselves.

…I thought I’d share that experience with you. They always spoke of you with such respect while you were gone, there was never any disrespect. I think that may be important to know right now.

So I honor those who have taught me-you and them.

Thank you very much,

—Laura B.

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“To actually go through the miles and mounds of how Synergy Yoga was beneficial in my life would take hundreds of pages, so please understand that this testimonial is not all-inclusive. Know that there is so much more about this form of yoga and my experience with it than I can share in these couple of pages of writing. My first meaningful introduction to Synergy Yoga was on the base where I worked with a teacher by the name of Rashed. My continuing practice under his tutelage there and then at his studio in Escondido, Sattva Fitness, and his encouragement led me to what was at the time known as The Yoga Room. I am a Marine Corps Captain and had been a Company Commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and after coming back from my deployment in the conflict, my husband at the time wanted a divorce. I found an ability to process many of those painful emotions and endure that difficult time through my yoga practice. Rashed and his wife, Darlene, also a Synergy Yoga Teacher, told me about and encouraged me to go through what was known as the 10 Day Intensive at the Yoga Room, a program designed to expose people to ten days of, as the name implies, intense yoga training, combined with education on the various aspects of yoga, as well as offer those who endured the experience the opportunity to pursue Teacher Training. I went through the 10-Day Intensive in July of 2004, just as my divorce was being finalized and as I was being transferred to work at another base in the area. I was asked after the program was over how I was different, how this intensive changed me, and the most accurate response I could come up with was that it made me more loving. The intensive incorporated sharing, similar to a group therapy I can imagine, in with the yoga practice itself, as well as meditation, and through the act of processing what was going on inside of me I was able to deal with issues in my life that needed healing. After the program I was asked if I wanted to go through the teacher training, and I acquiesced. I wanted to be a Synergy Yoga Teacher. I learned so much, and through the experiences that I have had with various yoga styles and techniques, this one more than any other I have had the opportunity to experience actually heals. I am completely and utterly grateful for the guidance, love, and education I received from the Yoga Room. Having had to read the Gita and other pertinent material—Autobiography of a Yogi for one—and having received copious instruction on various aspects of yoga from many qualified experts in their respective fields, I feel confident in my knowledge of and understanding of yoga. Of course I can always learn and continue to learn more, but this is an excellent and an “above and beyond” foundation. In my own teaching of Synergy Yoga, I have had many students who are older come up to me after a class and tell me it no longer hurts to get out of bed in the morning. I have had students go through traumatic events in their lives, and see the ability for them to process many of their emotions in their yoga practice and come out grounded and better on the other end. My intention with teaching yoga is only to help people, and armed with my training in Synergy Yoga, I am able to do just that, and safely. In my time in the Marine Corps, I have endured combat, divorce, a stomach condition that resulted in regurgitating everything I ate for four years and eventual surgery, chronic left upper back pain from a strained rhomboid, foot surgery on both feet, knee surgery (complete ACL tear), and the tearing of tendons that connect my skull to my trapezoids, to name a few. While my practice of Synergy Yoga has helped and continues to help all of these maladies, one miraculous story I will share involves my knee. After I injured my knee I had to wait over three months for surgery. Initially I had damaged my LCL, MCL, ACL, lateral condyle, and had some meniscus damage. I had nearly nothing connecting my upper leg above the knee to the rest of my leg. On crutches and in a brace, I nevertheless practiced Synergy Yoga at the Synergy Yoga Center. I even completed a 5-day intensive training session there, all before my surgery. When my surgeon saw me to schedule surgery, I had, through Synergy Yoga, built up all the muscles around my knee and in my leg, so that he actually commented that were it not for the X-rays he would not have been able to tell that I was injured. I was able to walk around normally. Synergy Yoga has, in my opinion, also helped my relationship with my mother. She was a negative person who was addicted to prescription pain medication, and after serendipitously being there for her rock bottom, she went through rehab and has changed into a positive, lucid, continuously healthier individual. Many of the positive mental and even spiritual principles I shared with her I learned at the Yoga Room, especially in regards to forgiveness, compassion, and love. After nearly two decades of her being one way, she has grown into the loving person I remember from my early childhood. What is special about Synergy Yoga? The first and foremost difference I have noticed in this form of yoga is reverence and connection to breath. From the first second of the practice to the end, the breath is taught, and students connect to their own breath from the very beginning. Also, in between each posture, rather than simply moving on to the next one, each posture is honored and the body of the student is honored when the student closes his/her eyes and takes a full body breath after the completion of each posture. Not only is the principle that the physical practice of yoga, the third and fourth steps of the eight-fold path that is yoga, is half breath/half posture respected, but other steps in the eightfold path—interiorization, meditation, concentration—are also included in the practice. This emphasis of not just “doing the postures” transforms an athletic exercise into holistic yoga, a healing experience. …First and foremost, while the yoga that Peri teaches is of in my mind the highest quality, and while the work that Peri pours into the practice and training of her students and her staff is immense, she is, nevertheless, not perfect. She is human. …and at the end of the day, if this studio were no more, and people who have benefited from her sharing were to eventually wither away, the world, especially all those who need healing in their lives, which is all of us, would be the worse off. This studio is a positive force in the world and does so much good work, and should not be destroyed because of slander. Please, people, consider context and see the endless benefits of this amazing place of healing. Coincidentally, I share my birthday with the Yoga Room. I am fifteen years older than it to the day. As I turn 31 this Monday and as it turns 16, I pray that as I am wished “many more” years of being, so may it continue to thrive, for “many more” years as well.”



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When she first came to Encinitas, Peri and I were sharing an apartment. She is a friend of many years now, who was kind to me at all times, trying to uplift and see the positive. When she perceived that I could be in need, she offered assistance. Her generosity many times left me amazed for it was an instant outpouring of her caring in a profuse way. I feel saddened that, as it seems, she needs to leave her beloved Encinitas, and yet I know that our friendship will endure, that we will meet again and share again.

—Monika Sherin

(posted on the Yogi Joe blog, “A Yogi Supporting Peri”, March 17, 2008) Blogger grantcv1 said…

I too tried to leave a supportive message on that website, but was denied. I am glad to see this website is apparently more open to positive and negative feedback. I, for one, love attending synergy yoga – especially when Peri is teaching.

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(posted on the Yogi Joe blog, “A Yogi Supporting Peri”, March 17, 2008) Blogger Yogi Joe said…

Today I received, in my email, a copy of the handwritten apology from… He heaps lots of praise on Peri and calls her “strong, loving, committeed and honest.” He claims to miss the Yoga Room and states that he would like to return to practising yoga at the Yoga Room. …

(posted on the Yogi Joe blog, “A Yogi Supporting Peri”, March 17, 2008) Blogger Siglia said…

…I have attended the Yoga Room for ~ 3 years, and I really enjoy their method that have proved to be very efficient to me. I wish Peri the best and hope all resolves in a good way as Master PY would like to see it resolved.

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(posted on the Yogi Joe blog, “A Yogi Supporting Peri”, March 17, 2008) Blogger Anonymous said…

‘Yogananda does not teach us to be vindictive or to strike out and hurt others when they are not in conformity with our own personal beliefs. He does not teach that to achieve a state of fearlessness one must manipulate and dominate others resorting to false accusations and lies.’

I’ve attended Yoga classes at the Yoga room on a regular basis 3 times a week for the last 9-10 years. I’ve also attended posture clinics over the years. I’m a respon middle aged woman with a college degree BSBA and a daughter over 25 who has also attended classes and took the first 10 day instructional class with Peri. Over the years I’ve observed who Peri is… And exceptional knowledgable yoga instructor… Deeply caring about her students and staff… An intuitive high level healer…She has an expanded vision of how yoga can benefit a person on all levels. I’ve observed students from many different countries (and states) come for training and over the ensuing months (and years) develop into fine instructors with a heightened self esteem and a marketable skill. Students around the world have started businesses due to her expertise and training. …

—Sunnie Trogdon, 3/27/08

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To All Concerned:
I took my first yoga class at the Yoga Room on August 1, 1997, some ten years ago. Peri was teaching that class, came up to me after class, and indicated that, if I did yoga every day for three months, it would change my life. It has. I did the Ten-Day Intensive that November. (I believe it cost in the neighborhood of $900 but then everything has become significantly more expensive in the Encinitas area these days.) I certainly felt like I got my money’s worth. I began the Practicum but had the difficulty of having a young daughter in Eugene, Oregon who needed me there. When I returned to Encinitas at the six-month juncture in May of 1998, I expressed my concern that I had not been able to keep up with my practicum group because of the distance. Peri let me go through the new Ten-Day Intensive for free. Another teacher trainee suggested that i go with him to meet Ammachi, an Indian saint, that June (Yogananda recommended meeting saints.) Two vedic astrologers from the Encinitas area had said that I would meet my guru within a couple of years. When I asked Ammachi about this occurrence, she indicated that she was willing to be my guru. Her statement created a dilemma for me as I had felt drawn to Yogananda ever since I read Autobiography of a Yogi at the age of 18. I had an individual yoga session scheduled with Peri that afternoon and so I drove back down to Encinitas and expressed my dilemma to Peri. Peri suggested that I ask Ammachi and Yogananda. I attempted to do this and Peri then queried what their response might have been. I said “Amma.” Peri’s response was that, when an avatar says they’re willing to be your guru, what’s the question. I will always be humbly grateful to Peri for her support in this, for me, momentous decision. About the same time, I did a morning class front row, left, next to Charles, who had gone through the Ten-Day Intensive the November before I had. We seemed to push each other, not out of a sense of competition, but in a supportive way of each attempting to do our best, together. At the end of the session, Charles turned to me, saying “Brother” and holding out his hand. I will always remember this moment as well. As I clasped it, I knew that, as solitary a pursuit as yoga can seem, at times, one is not necessarily alone. In August of 2000, my daughter and I took a ten-day vacation in Encinitas (not an Intensive.) Peri let my eleven year-old daughter take the adult classes during that time and was notable in her consideration and kindness towards her. My daughter retains very fond memories of this time, finding it inspiring. At 18, she does yoga every day. At Christmas time in 2006, I stayed in Encinitas for two weeks and did yoga every morning except those two days, Christmas and New Year’s, that The Yoga Room was closed. My experience was very renewing, everything I had hoped for. I was asked to move back from the front row, despite being early, but took this request as part of my spiritual practice. The litany during the asana flow can, at times, seem annoying (if one already knows the flow) and, at this point, I do prefer the silent class. However, I remind myself that it is essential to the newcomers and that, if it distracts me, any annoyance on my part is, perhaps, more of a commentary on a lack of focus in my own practice. Moreover, there always seems to be at least one asana in the flow where my posture and breathing can stand improvement (if I listen.) One pearl of wisdom that I have come across in my quest for continued spiritual growth, in the last ten years, is that a yogi/yogini is hard on her/himself and easy on others. I take this statement to mean that I cast the beam out my own eye before I cast the mote out of another’s. If I can continue to practice this idea in my behavior to the best of my ability, eventually, I may start to come to a place of compassion where, hopefully, I begin to behave like the good Samaritan rather than the good doctor or the pious priest. I know how to play the other roles far too well. Another pearl, one of my favorites, is that a saint is someone who fell down six times and got up seven. Since I know I have fallen out of Standing Bow at least seven times, the math may be a little off but, nonetheless, I find this concept heartening. …And with that, I must say that, for the reasons expressed above, Peri andCharles hold a signficant place in my heart. With love,
—Shelby Glidden, MFT

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I started going to The Yoga Room about five years ago. Until that point I had only been exposed to yoga through a class one of my co-workers taught at work. It was mostly a stretching class but she added a few yoga postures to the class. When she retired, I really missed the class and decided to find a yoga studio near my home. My co-worker suggested that I find a place that trains teachers because she said the quality of the practice and teachers would be superior. I searched the web and found The Yoga Room and have been practicing there ever since.

Five years ago most people who knew me on the surface thought I had everything going for me. I had a wonderful husband who I’d been married to for over 15 years. We had survived issues in our marriage and in life in general that would have torn most marriages apart. I had two great kids and a good job. However, on the inside, I was always worrying – worrying about everything. I was afraid and restless. I was always on the go and didn’t know how to be calm and peaceful. Family members and people close to me had hurt me deeply and I had no idea how to deal with it. I started going to The Yoga Room purely for the physical exercise. I quickly found out that the physical aspect of the practice was only one component. Don’t get me wrong – I got in the best physical shape of my life. The more important part was what I learned about the body/mind/soul connection. In addition to learning the asanas, I learned how to meditate. I heard positive messages for an hour and a half a day and I realized that “worrying really is a complete waste of time” and that “the number one trait of a yogi is fearlessness.” I learned how to relax, enjoy life more and to just let go. People around me noticed positive changes in me.

I had been going to The Yoga Room regularly for quite a while before I had my first class with Peri. Just like in the movie “Thelma and Louise” I realized what all the fuss was about! Peri’s classes were nothing short of magical. I felt transported and knew what she was doing was very special. I felt grateful for the experience every time I had the opportunity to take one of her classes. I also remember thinking how well The Yoga Room was run – the teachers were so well trained and everything was top notch. There was also a feeling of love in the place and people truly enjoyed practicing there.

Over the years my husband and kids would come with me to classes every once in a while. About seven months ago my husband was going through a very rough time and our marriage was suffering. My husband saw what yoga had done for me and decided to try going to The Yoga Room as well. Not only did he go but he went 77 days in a row and was a changed man. It was nothing short of a miracle. Our marriage became stronger than ever and we connected on a level we hadn’t achieved before. We just celebrated our 22nd anniversary and started the day at The Yoga Room where Charles and the class sent out a special blessing to us. I will never forget how incredible that felt and I know we will continue practicing yoga together to keep our marriage strong.

I will be eternally grateful to Peri and Charles and The Yoga Room for this, for what I’ve learned and for the love I’ve felt there. I know they’ve helped many people over the years and I wish them nothing but the best. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

—Rajka Hayden

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Yoga is not a religion…My wife has been going there for five years and we bring our whole family there. For people reading this who have spouses and children and love them with all their hearts and truly wish for them to have the healthiest, happiest, well balanced life, all I can say is, I hope my daughter grows up with the loving, caring, special qualities of Peri Ness . She is a true healer and a teacher …There is a quote in the bible- “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.”

I will give a copy of this letter to both of my children. There are times in life where you must take a stand, must have the courage to act, must make your beliefs known.

I am truly grateful for all that Synergy Yoga did for me and my family. Peri Ness is about love not hate.

To end on a high note, the darkest hours sometimes shine the brightest light. I applaud loudly the gallant actions of Peri’s husband, …he stood strong beside her and demonstrated a love and compassion for her most people will not understand.

Peri is also blessed to have a true friend like Yoga Linda. One true friend is worth a thousand admirers.

Thank you Peri and please know the Hayden family stands with you!

—Doug Hayden

ps- If a person is only interested in the physical side of yoga, I came to Synergy a 51 year old man, overweight with extreme high blood pressure, teetering on divorce.
My wife explained that you can start with gentle yoga and just using your breath (without straining) change your whole physical body. I did NOT believe her at first.

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I now have normal blood pressure and I’m in the best shape of my life (and I played college basketball). All my health stats are on record at my doctor’s office in Encinitas.

From the moment I went to the Yoga Room I fell in love with the spirit there, the synergy of the flow and the love from Peri and Charles. For 12 years I was searching for that special teacher and Peri gave me what I was looking for. She is a beautiful person and gives from her heart and soul. Peri in my eyes only showed love and respect for everyone she came in contact with.

—Elizabeth Austin-Eckert

My name is Grant Vergottini and I have been practicing Synergy Yoga since 2006. I go to the Yoga Room 2, 3, or 4 times a week after work. I find it to be a wonderful break from the daily grind of deep concentration developing intricate software. I started doing synergy yoga out of curiosity, but quickly became hooked when I discovered how much better I was looking and feeling as a result.
Since I started at the Yoga Room, I always really like the instructors, the atmosphere, and the classes. Compared to other yoga classes I have taken, the greater intensity, discipline, and spirituality of Synergy Yoga made it more special to me. I quickly became very fond of the various instructors. … I send my full support to Peri, Charles, Outi, Linda, and the rest of the Yoga Room staff.
Thank you,
—Grant Vergottini

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During meditation/visualization when we are going to our favorite place on the planet, I go to the Yoga Room, the big room facing the mirror, two mirrors from the East wall, the front row. That is my favorite place on the planet. That is the spot on the planet that changed my life. I have been to Rome, Athens, Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Hawaii, Guam, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and countless other places on this Earth but the big room, 2nd mirror from the East Wall, front row, is where I found me.
—E. Austin

My experience at the Yoga Room began when I drove down 2nd street in Encinitas one afternoon in 1992 and noticed a new place advertising Yoga. At that time, The Yoga Room was just that, one large room. We students left our shoes in a very small alcove right by the door where we also paid for the class. It is at that door that I first met Peri Ness. I echo the sentiments of many of her students when I say that in class I finally found the Yoga practice I had been looking for. Years went by and the The Yoga Room finally grew into a large and prosperous studio. I myself came and went as a student but I was always happy to know that I could go back to practicing yoga at the Yoga room where the atmosphere was always warm and welcoming and the teaching uniformly excellent.

In 1999 I did the 10 day Intensive. It was a great experience. Afterwards, people kept asking me what I had done because I looked so good. There was nothing weird about it. We had plenty of breaks for rest and food and were certainly not discouraged from seeing or talking to friends or family. …I had such a good experience with the ten day that I ended up going to the Yoga room Hawaii retreat. Another great experience.

Recently, last November I returned to the Yoga Room. Due to my financial situation at the time, I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could do a trade to pay for my classes. Peri graciously offered me a small job at the studio and I began to work for them. …What I do know is that it is a crying shame that …the Yoga Room had to close. It will be fully missed.

—Sara Singley

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From Day One, it is obvious that this Ten-Day program is extremely well thought-out and carried out. The classes, lectures, processes, homework, and breaks all roll out with a logic that’s no doubt been refined through experience — but it doesn’t feel rigid. You sense quickly that you are getting the right stuff, in the right order, the right way.
I learned a lot, not just about the practice but also about the tradition, context and —most importantly — the true value and meaning of yoga. While Peri Ness DeFay and her Synergy Yoga teachers are very knowledgeable and particular when it comes to asanas and pranayama, their intention and their insights go much further. In fact, the impression that’s probably stayed with me the longest and strongest is the positive atmosphere, the supportive interaction — the love, basically — that the staff and this retreat offered us participants. That positive vibe was also generated and echoed by our group, another rewarding aspect of the whole experience.
Lastly, I want to say that this is a very comfortable process for men — something I haven’t found in some other yoga centers. To begin with, it was a real athletic challenge, and senior teacher Charles DeFay in particular was a big help — a big brother, really. But the female staff was also terrific in their interactions with the guy contingent (there was roughly a 2-1 female-to-male ratio when I attended).
That comfort level probably comes from the Yoga Room philosophy (if I can speak for them briefly) that everyone is an “amazing yogi,” as they put it. They’re right, of course… but not everyone puts that message across so convincingly as they do at Synergy Yoga. A big Namaste to them, and to potential students, I wholeheartedly recommend this program. I want to do it again and I’m urging my wife to sign up, too.
— John Capouya, New York City; author of “Real Men Do Yoga” (April 2004 Ten-Day participant).

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I am writing to share my gratitude for the Yoga Room. From the moment I enter the door, I am always greeted by a smile and gracious assistance at the front desk. Every one of your instructors exudes such a loving, nurturing extension of their being. I always feel cared for and coaxed during class to work to my edge and acknowledge myself for being a yogi-in-training. Every one of your teachers in training is so diligent and concerned, that I know those who are novices will be fabulous, and those who have become full-fledged instructors will be mentors for all of us. Thank you for providing this beautiful space and allowing me to benefit from its presence.

— Eva Marsteller

When I attended my first ever yoga class on June 1, 2002 a pile of screws, hooks, and rods was embedded in my back. (Imagine the rods ten to twelve inches long, etc.) A year and a half prior (December, 2000) I had undergone surgery to fuse my lower spine after many years of severe pain from degenerative disc disease. I was unable to drive for several months after the-surgery, but finally my first excursion was a trip to see a specialist about the annoying lump in my eyelid. It turned out to be cancer (lymphoma; “incurable”) and a week later I found myself in the hospital undergoing surgery. Six months after that I was told I required thoracic surgery. The idea of having my chest sawed open terrified me but a string of doctors convinced me it was essential. I ended up with a scar that looks like a zipper running down the center of my chest. It was six months later that I attended that first yoga class. I was anxious about trying it, having heard that it was a very dynamic form of yoga (Synergy Yoga, at Surf Therapy Yoga In Point Arena, CA). I was so weak from all the surgery and out of shape; not to mention being middle-aged and overweight. How would I keep up? However, I had finally gotten it that my body was losing the battle to remain on this planet. The spiritual path I had followed all my life was not grounded in the body. For me there was something missing. The minute I completed that first synergy Yoga class I knew this was it. A few weeks later I attended the July, 2002 Synergy Yoga ten day intensive in Encinitas, Ca and realized I had to continue with the teacher training program to accelerate my own yoga experience. It was five months after that (December, 2002) when they removed the hardware from my back. Now I am back in Encinitas at the Yoga Room for my final. Some days I have to wear a rigid back brace; some days a softer brace that looks like a very ugly corset. There are days when I do not wear a brace at all. Those days are increasing. The most important thing is that I am getting better. Yoga is now an essential part of my life. I hope to pursue an apprenticeship in Synergy Yoga. The doctors may call my cancer incurable, but I intend to die with it rather than of it. I am convinced that Synergy Yoga (in conjunction with the monitoring and treatment advised by my oncologist and holistic physician) is the best thing I can do to prolong a strong, healthy life. I am finally learning to engage my will to manifest Divine will; whatever that may be.

— Gloria Jorgensen

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In two months yoga therapy unlocked my neck completely. I could never lie down on my stomach and rest my neck — I’d have migraine headaches. Now the pain is gone completely. Thank you and bless you!

— Sharon Reese, filmmaker

From attending Synergy Workshops, I became aware of what had blinded me for so long — very old and limiting fears, emotional blocks, and mental tapes. Thanks to the healing work I have done in Yoga Classes, Yoga Therapy, and Synergy workshops, I could see how incredibly unbalanced I had allowed my life to become.

— Rick Epperson, teacher

This experience has changed my life. I went in thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal, just great training in yoga. I will be forever changed because of this 10-day and because of it, I have found my spiritual path again.
— Kristen Crawford

I always like to provide some suggestion, but this time I truly was amazed beyond expectation. So…no suggestions for now.

— David Baron