Dr. Igor Yafarov: Igor visited Auroville many times before he came to settle here with his family in 2011. He came for the ocean, the warmth of the people, the trees. And most importantly, his children were happy here. For Igor, his children are the light that makes him smile.
Igor specialized in Urology after his training in General Medicine in Russia. For many years he managed a private practice with a colleague in Russia but he chose something other; he came to Auroville. He is trained in Ozone therapy and offers it on top of his practice in General medicine in Santé.
Languages: Russian and English
Dr. Brian Higginson: Dr. Brian, our other doctor in Santé, has been a blessing, joining the Santé team when we needed him most. Brian has a long association with Auroville, with his first visit in 1983 after he discovered Sri Aurobindo and sweet Mother’s books in 1965. He has attempted to combine Kriya Yoga and Integral Yoga for over 50 years.
Brian grew up in Zimbabwe and went to study medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, now known as Imperial College. He qualified in 1970 and after 8 years mainly in specialist departments in various hospitals in the National Health Service, Brian eventually settled in Hastings with his family, where he was a general practitioner for 37 years.
His special interests include maternity care and natural childbirth, ophthalmology (‘Eyes’), and treating ear, nose and throat (ENT) conditions. He is skilled in substance misuse and other addictive behaviours (gambling, gaming, food, etc.) and was responsible for all drug addicts in Hastings for some time. Brian is very open to the value of alternative therapies and although he never obtained a qualification, he attended courses at the Royal Homeopathic Hospital in London, using this learning to intermittently treat some of his general practice patients. Qualifications: LRCP MRCS, MB BS(London), DRCOG, DO, DAB
Languages: (sadly) only English
Andres Lokuta: Andres is an acupuncturist and naturopath, a Qi Gong practitioner, manual therapist and physiognomist with more than 18 years of experience. He and his family moved to Auroville in 2010, leaving behind the good life in Canary Islands, Spain, in search of higher aspirations.
Andres’ passion centres around the 5 Pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), an ancient integrative model of medicine, based on the middle meeting ground between the scientific and the esoteric.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, energetic imbalances, and hence ill health, occur from either excess, deficiency or stagnation of energy flow. A core idea behind this treatment is that it is meant to be educative – showing the patient that ill health is manageable and that they are responsible for their own good health, by becoming aware of the balances that need to be realigned. The 5 Pillars of Chinese Medicine include acupuncture, herbal remedies, diet, manual therapy and Qi Gong; and with this integral approach, Andres found himself fitting well with the vision and mission of Santé, Auroville Institute for Integral Health.
Languages: Estonian, English, Spanish
Dr. Berengere (Be) Berieau: Ayurveda Doctor (Vaidya), Traditional Indian Medicine Bachelor in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar, India
Be first graduated in International Business in France and did a MBA in Manchester, UK. After 10 years of wandering in various countries and continents, she finally found what she was longing and searching for: Ayurveda, the Science of Life; the precious knowledge of body and mind that reveals the inner being, guides all along this life, and helps to understand our purpose… She went to Jamnagar (India) to study this knowledge in a more clinical and scholarly manner at the Gujarat Ayurved University with 2 Ayurvedic hospitals attached, doing her ayurveda internship in departments such as general medicine, panchakarma, surgery, ENT, gynaecology, obstetrics, and paediatrics.
After 6 years of study, Be came to Auroville to serve at Santé, Auroville Institute for Integral Health for consultations and research and in the forest in Pitchandikulam and Baraka to tune with the plants. She helps her patients to understand where the disunion lies, which Dosha or nature in the body – (Vata/Air, Pitta/Fire or Kapha/ Water & Earth) creates the imbalance, the symptoms and eventually the diseases in the body and mind. Be’s personal focus is tuning with the plants, to understand their qualities, and how their energy can be transmitted for healing without sacrificing their life.
Languages: Fluent in French, English, Spanish, Portuguese; Good in German, Sanskrit, Hindi and Gujarati
Michael Zelnick:Michael joined Auroville in 1978 after living in Pondicherry as a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram for ten years. A growing interest and fascination with Homeopathy led him to Bombay in 1994 where he made the acquaintance of several of the original lights of what came to be known in the homeopathic world as “The Bombay School” and he was able to study under their personal guidance during extended visits to Bombay during the following four years. Michael has practiced homeopathy in Auroville since 1996.
Midwifery and Women’s Wellness
Paula Murphy: Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Paula Murphy is our resident nurse midwife with 30 years of experience, including 7 years in home deliveries, followed by 20 years in hospitals and clinic settings. She began her professional career in the United States where she was a staff midwife, and subsequently director of the Midwifery service in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA. Her practice included antenatal, intra-partum, postpartum and lactation support and women’s overall wellness and health care. Paula went on to establish an in-hospital birth centre including water birth protocols and staff education and she developed group prenatal care based on a model that included physical assessment, education and support.
Since her arrival in Auroville, Paula has been an essential part of the Santé team, where she works as a Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, currently providing midwifery services, home birth care and basic gynaecological care for women in Auroville. Paula also offers group sessions as a childbirth educator for home and hospital deliveries and is an active speaker at conferences on women’s reproductive health.
Midwifery and Family Counselling
Monique Gauthier (M.Ed)is a certified professional and registered midwife. As a new resident in Auroville, she is part of the Morning Star project to support women and families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She provides midwifery and spiritual counselling for families from pre-conception through early childhood.
Monique joined the Santé team in mid-2020, in the midst of the CoVid outbreak, and began offering counselling and support to many young mothers and new families. She works with youth and teaches family life courses, prenatal classes and new mom/baby support groups.
Having trained in hypno-birthing and mindfulness birth techniques, Monique also mentors Auroville’s aspiring midwives and doulas.
Monique’s approach to health is infused with Integral Yoga and bioenergetic knowledge, and she resonates with the vision and practice of integrative medicine,
Languages: English and French
Hypnosis and Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP)
Dan Capdeville: Specialisation in mediation and psychological related issues and behavioural disorders such as addictions, compulsions, sleep and eating disorders, low self confidence, grief, depression, separation and other imbalances of body and mind. Target groups: Adults, teenagers and children above 6 years of age.
Dan has always been passionate about human behaviour. In the beginning this passion concerned what happened within himself, the origin of his thoughts and the relations between a thought, an emotion and behaviour. He has successfully transformed certain limiting personal behaviours, including an obsessive compulsive nature and addiction, and turned them into the possibility of creation and imagination.
The understanding of his inner mechanics has led him to recognise them in others. He then searched for new tools to help others work through their issues by integrating a study of hypnosis and neurolinguistic programming (NLP). Denis continues to expand his knowledge base about discoveries of neuroscience, which explain the functioning of the brain while a person lives through a particular situation, sensation or emotion.
Before joining the Santé team, Dan received patients for 8 years in his private practice in Paris and in multidisciplinary groups together with other therapists. He also conducted animating workshops and conferences on the subject, and has created an original training on benevolence and behavioural innovations in relationships.
Dan believes that “the one who knows can no longer pretend not to know” and “what is not expressed is more important than what is said.” His approach happens in a human environment that the teachings of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo support in their understanding of the human and his possibility of transformation.
Juan Andrés: Juan Andrés is a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist from Chile with experience working as a coach and counsellor for groups applying organizational integrative psychology. In Santé, he focusses on integrative psychotherapy with teenagers, adults and couples.
Even though Juan Andrés was born in the household of two psychotherapists, by the time he was in high school he felt a call to be of service from what at that time he believed was a broader professional field, therefore he entered medical school. From his first year of study, he started doing volunteer work with socially sensitive NGOs and in his second year, he started working with the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA). Through this “think globally, act locally” work, Juan Andrés was trained and practiced preventive health work addressing conscious and positive behaviour change. After years of taking more responsibilities in this federation, he decided to explore his vocation beyond the medical arena. He continued assisting the IFMSA as a trainer and got further training working with Y-PEER, a peer education international organization under the umbrella of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), while starting his psychological studies. Both his professional practice and his first years of work as a psychologist were done in the Chilean Institute of Integrative Psychotherapy. Recently Juan Andrés decided to leave his country with the idea of looking for a more sustainable and spiritual way of living. This is why he sold most of his belongings and took a one way ticket to Asia. It was in the middle of a year of travelling around the world, experiencing different social projects, when Auroville found him.
Juan Andrés saw Santé as a great opportunity to be of service to his new community. He resonates with Santé’s vision of integral health that involves a cohesive, interdisciplinary team effort, and not confusing power dynamics, to give the best of themselves to the community while at the same time growing both as workers and as individuals. He complements his teachings of psychological theory from Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga. He is a musician and plays drums, hand pan and is learning Indian tabla. As an attempt of combining music and therapy, he is also exploring the study of integral sound healing.
Languages: Spanish and English
Physiotherapy and Wellness Massage:
Galina Rudenko: Galina has been involved in physiotherapy and manual treatment of the physical body for 35 years. Additional to clinical applications, she also acquired knowledge in spa culture (massage systems) and explored many techniques in natural healing and methods to enhance overall wellbeing. Galina is renown for her special massage with Siberian cedar cones. Her main commitment in Santé is to help to relieve pain, mobility and physical stress for acute cases, something she finds is often unsuccessful without the active participation of her clients and their willingness to change poor habits. Galina also enjoys exploring local ingredients and methods and has developed a preventive, wellbeing massage program using spirulina masks and aromatherapy oils.
Languages: Russian and English
Osnat Cohen Khallas: Physiotherapist, Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Tel Aviv University, Israel.
Osnat sees the body as an instrument for enhancing wellbeing, using our ability to heal ourselves through the body. Throughout her life, she practiced different activities including swimming, yoga, Pilates, dance and movement improvisation, and Watsu and other water therapies. Osnat continues exploring her ability in movement and new ways to express herself through the body. She helps her clients to explore the feelings they can get from a free and painless ability to move, to trust the body and the effect it has on their personal wellbeing. In her work, Osnat strives to offer others the appropriate support to feel better in their own bodies and experience pleasant ways of movement. She has experience in working with all ages: both children and adults, with a specialisation as a hydrotherapist for rehabilitation in the water. In addition, Osnat has taught Pilates and swimming and she enjoys to offer physiotherapy workshops for the AV residents
Langauages: Hebrew and English.
Rebeca López: Physiotherapist. Bachelor of Physiotherapy at Universidad de Alcalá, (Madrid), specialized in Neurology. Rebeca was a very active teenager, attracted by sports and very curious about the human body. An injury in her youth made her aware of the physiotherapy world and she knew since then, at the age of 16, that this would be her profession. Given the high demand and the low offer of places in the public university, Rebeca first graduated in Occupational Therapy at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, (Madrid), but after ten years, some courses of holistic therapist, manual techniques and lot of travels, she finally could study her real vocation, Physiotherapy. She began her career focused on therapeutic exercise basically in the area of traumatology, but after having contact with several patients with neurological disorders, which fascinated her with the challenge of a multidisciplinary team intervention, she decided to specialize in neurology where she worked in public Madrid hospitals in recent years. Rebeca decided to come to Auroville after taking a sabbatical year to travel around Asia, where she discovered the pleasure of living in a simpler way enjoying more of what really matters, and with a desire for personal evolution, she found Auroville a perfect place to settle down.
Apart from her profession, which she loves, Rebeca finds a lot of pleasure in traveling, practicing yoga, reading, writing, painting, dancing and playing the guitar (the day should have more hours for it to all fit in 🙂
Languages: Spanish, English and Italian (less fluent).
Psycho – Somatotherapy
Svenja Capdeville: “I have spent 14 years of my life in the hospitality marketing industry in South-East-Asia. As my interest in personal development and spirituality grew, life led me to questioning the existing connections between illness, body and mind. I then decided on a professional reconversion and began a 4 year training program to become a Psycho-Somatotherapist in France.
As of 2003, I was trained in the techniques of massage, psycho-therapy and energetic works (the energetic touch, bioenergy, gestalt therapy, rebirth, visualization, creativity…). In February 2008, I obtained my certification as a Psycho-Somatotherapist. And from 2009 to 2016, I spent my time training future Somatotherapists in France.
In the beginning of 2017, I moved to Auroville, South India to continue my personal quest and path as a therapist. In Santé, I have found an opportunity to give my service to my community.”