Durga Devi, the name given to Denise by her beloved teachers, Sharon Gannon and David Life, is a former dancer and competitive gymnast who grew up in New York City. After high school, she studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and hung out in Manhattan's East Village soaking up the downtown music and art scene, which inspired her to take up guitar and become a singer/songwriter. Several close friends introduced Durga to yoga in 1994 . Asana practice felt very natural to the former gymnast, but it was the chanting, the philosophy and the ancient and holy teachings of yoga that really hit home.
Durga has been a devoted student of the Jivamukti Yoga method, N.Y.C. for over 24 years. Durga taught at the New York Centre for over 3 years and moved to London in early 2005 to help open the London Jivamukti Yoga Centre with Manizeh Rimer. In addition to her Jivamukti teacher training and Jivamukti Yoga Advanced Certification, she completed teacher training at the Laughing Lotus Yoga Centre in New York City. Durga is especially inspired by Sharon Gannon and David Life, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Amma, Yogeswari (Estelle Eichenberger), and Joan Suval
(direct disciple of Shri Brahmananda Saraswati).
Kirtan training with Jai Uttal inspires her chanting which is a very important component in her teachings. She also is inspired by Bhagavan Das and Krishna Das for opening up the doors of Bhakti, uniting song and heart. All of her teachers have brought many blessings to her life for which she is truly grateful and she will continue to inspire and uplift the lives of all whom she teaches.