About the Trainers

Mike Zolfo, M.A., Director, The Yoga Room, has studied, practiced or taught various forms of yoga since 1984. He began studying stress reduction, relaxation training, yoga and meditation in 1984 with Jagdish P. Dave. He is a certified yoga instructor from the Yoga Institute in Houston. He is a member of The Yoga Research and Education Center, and the International Association of Yoga Therapists. He is the owner/director of The Yoga Room in Crown Point, Indiana. He has a Master’s Degree in Counseling/psychology. Loving husband to Mickey, devoted father to Breanne, Nick and Blake, the three best kids in the world. Mike has had many wonderful teachers over the years but considers JP, Gabriel Halpern, Mike Larocca, Lex Gillan, and Stan Hafner his mentors and Krishnamacharya to be the greatest yoga teacher of all time because of his ability to adapt practices to meet the individual needs of his students. He has facilitated Yoga teacher training programs in Houston, Texas; Litchfield, Connecticut and New York City and trained well over 200 Yoga teachers in the United States.

Jagdish P. Dave, PhD., “J.P.” is a meditation master and has conducted meditation workshops in his native country, India, and in many educational institutions and health centers throughout the United States. J.P. came to the United States from India in 1959 as a Fulbright scholar. He has a Ph. D in Education and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology. His doctoral research focused on Integrative Meditation and cardiovascular health. He is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Governors State University in Illinois. Now 85 years young, JP comes to share his 80 years of meditation experience with us.


Gabriel Halpern (former Director, The Yoga Circle, Chicago) holds a B.A. in Philosophy, an M.A. in Health Psychology and is a full-time certified instructor trained at the Iyengar Institutes in Pune and San Francisco. Owing to the direct influence of BKS Iyengar and 40+ years of personal practice, Gabriel has learned the difference between actual and perceived differences, knowledge he passes along to anyone who studies with him.

Jennifer Connelly teaches a whole host of classes and workshops here at The Yoga Room and is the coordinator and/or director of a number of awesome organizations outside the studio.

Amanda Barnes began practicing yoga 6 years ago and because yoga has been instrumental in her evolving physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually; Amanda decided to make a hobby into a career and lifestyle. It was the idea of a flexible body and mind that first intrigued her to start her practice, it is the healing qualities of yoga that keep her coming back to the mat, again and again. Amanda is a certified Yoga Teacher with over 350 hours of training. Through workshops, spiritual retreats and her personal practice, Amanda continues to incorporate yoga in her every day life.