The Paititi Family
Co-founder, Director of the Center for Indigenous Medicine, Traditional Ando-Amazonian and Chinese Medicine Man
Roman Hanis has been working closely with the indigenous Peruvian cultures in the Amazonian rainforest and Andean mountains since 2001. During this time he has devoted this life to learning the ancient healing ways of these cultures while seeking possibilities for creating ecological sources of sustenance for local populations and working to preserve the rainforest and its spiritual heritage of sacred medicinal plants.
Seeing the vital role that ancient cultural practices can play in today’s world, Roman honors and shares their value and wisdom through his work in community projects, healing retreats and educational workshops in both Peru and the U.S.
He is a certified Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner in Peru, and studied the fundamentals of TCM and acupuncture as an apprentice under the director of the Open International Institute of Oriental Medicine, Myriam Hacker, in Iquitos, Peru.
In 2002, Roman was fortunate enough to be cured of a terminal genetic illness , Crohn’s disease. In 2004, he was pledged as a healer-curandero by the Whitoto and Yahua tribes and has served the international community as a medicine man ever since. He has also practiced physical trauma rehabilitation, medical massage therapy and Eastern bodywork, having earned his degree from New York’s Swedish Institute of Health. With these tools and concentrated efforts, he has been able to help numerous individuals overcome many health issues and pathologies on physical, mental and spiritual levels.
Since 1999, Roman has also practiced the Eastern spiritual disciplines of Tibetan Buddhism, breathwork & meditation, QiGong, Yoga, Shaolin physical therapy and Toltec practices. In addition, he has worked to understand these disciplines from the perspective of Jungian psychology. He speaks Spanish, Hebrew, Russian and English.
Roman looks forward to eradicating suffering in the world and its cause, ignorance, by promoting education on the possibilities of more sustainable, harmonious relationships with nature, while simultaneously creating supportive, self-sustaining and nurturing communities.
Co-founder & Director
Since childhood, Cynthia Robinson has had a deep love for nature and natural healing. She always knew she would devote her life in service to the healing of people and the planet.
Cynthia got her BA at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design with a focus in Design, Communication and Creative Problem Solving. After graduation, she pursued her passion to bring deeper values for nature and humanity into the world working as a brand strategist and designer supporting both Fortune 500 as well as smaller companies to implement Permaculture thinking into their infrastructure, product designs and marketing.
Working in the corporate world of New York City led her to discover a more profound passion to support herself and others in establishing deeper connection to nature, ancestral values and unlocking our highest potential as human beings. She traded in the corporate boardrooms for 100 acres in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest where she co-founded the Paititi Institute for the Preservation of the Amazon Rainforest and Indigenous Culture.
At Paititi, Cynthia works alongside her partners to create a platform that practically applies ancient wisdom to our modern world, building intercultural bridges for healing on physical, emotional and spiritual levels for all people from all cultures and all spiritual traditions. She currently works to develop and facilitate holistic experiential education models, weaving together our inner and outer landscapes through nature awareness, traditional Permaculture education, health education and indigenous Amazonian teachings and practices integrated with ancestral wisdom from around the planet.
In addition, in her role as Paititi’s Director of Permaculture, Cynthia is in charge of establishing tropical permaculture models on-site, while cultivating an intentional community that implements ongoing outreach projects in local native villages and tribes. Some of these projects’ focus include: appropriate technology for sanitation and clean water, fair trade exports, and cultural healing exchange programs which establish natural medicine clinics.
Finally, Cynthia is currently in the process of being initiated into Indigenous Amazonian Healing practices to become a medicine woman and carry on this ancient lineage of healing wisdom.
Director of Yoga
Milana Dravnel was born and raised in the Ural Mountains in Russia. In 1998, Milana moved to New York where her practice of yoga began. In 2009, after years of practice, she earned her first yoga teacher certification and opened a yoga center and vegan cafe called Shakti Yoga Center . In 2010, Milana’s inner transformation inspired her to benefit all beings and the environment, and she became certified in Permaculture Design at the Paititi Institute. In 2011, Milana got an advanced certification in India and spent several months teaching yoga to children in orphanages in impoverished areas of the Far East.
Becoming a yoga teacher has created a new momentum in Milana’s being, reawakening her spirit and activating a deeper level of inquiry into human existence. Milana’s mission as a teacher is to create a space of inspiration and reflection. With love and respect for yourself comes love and respect for the people and environment surrounding you. Milana is inspired to design, in a holistic way, a more harmonious relationship between people and Mother Earth. She believes that drawing together diverse ideas, skills and a way of living drawn from ancient spiritual disciplines encourages us to act selflessly and wisely for the benefit of all sentient beings as we become productive citizens of planet Earth.
Sharon Joy Stein
Global Communications / Event Coordinator
Sharon Joy is a professional event organizer and visionary consultant. Her unique combination of skills and experience in project management, accounting and conscious-community development makes her an integral part of the Paititi Institute.
Sharon’s inner purpose is to create and coordinate conscious workshops and retreats that facilitate the progress of the current global mind shift. A world traveler with over twenty years of experience in international project management, Sharon Joy has dedicated herself to organizations and ideas that make a profound impact on the evolutionary journey of humans on this planet.
Lisa Bodey has been working in youth development for 15 years, a body of work that has included coordinating after-school programs, environmental programs and coaching middle and high school students. She currently serves as the Director of the Crestone Creative Council, a group of teens and young adults who are passionate about community engagement and local economies.
She is also the Public Education Officer for the Baca Grande Volunteer Fire Department and works to unify five emergency services into one protection district. Lisa works on a fire mitigation crew to improve emergency and evacuation routes as well as the overall health of the forest.
Lisa has been assisting the Paititi Institute by hosting workshops and retreats in Crestone, Colorado, which is home to 28 international spiritual centers.
Janel currently resides in Denver, CO where she shares her magic and love of children as a Special Education teacher at an elementary school. Janel is inspired by adventures and exploring self and nature. She has traveled extensively through South America, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and taught environmental education to children through many different outlets – her favorite was taking kids snorkeling daily on Catalina Island.
Janel is a mountain mermaid and doodling diva. She aligns herself with Mother Nature on a regular basis through creative expression, dreamwork, movement, and gardening. Her garden is her temple, the dancefloor her space of prayer, the ocean her muse, and the jungle her greatest teacher. She gratefully serves as the Volunteer Coordinator at Paititi so many more beautiful beings can have their own expansive experiences with this amazing cosmic family, the jungle, and its ancient wisdom.
Lead Permaculture Instructor & Designer
Deep reverence and connection with nature has lead Gregory down a winding path to find himself teaching Permaculture and Ecovillage Design courses, as well as offering design and consulting services for clients from the tip of South America to Alaska.
Gregory has studied marine and terrestrial ecology and evolutionary biology in the Galapagos Islands, translated for Amazonian rainforest guides, fought wildfires in the wilderness of Alaska, lived in established ecovillages, founded a successful work-live cooperative, studied the nuances of ecology and ethics, and founded a direct trade chocolate business to help reforest tropical Latin America through regenerative trading relationships while providing right livelihood for farmers, chocolate makers and everyone in between. Gregory has B.S. in Environmental Science and Ethics from Oregon State University, and M.S. in Regenerative Entrepreneurship and Design from Gaia University.
In his current work, Gregory is a founding member of the Terra Genesis International permaculture design firm, Director of Regenerative Development for Nova Monda Cacao and Chocolate, and an advisor for Gaia University International. His teaching emphasizes social and economic facets of permaculture design. Gregory embraces the practical aspects of regenerative ecological design by being a permaculture farm owner, member of local and multi-local intentional communities and seasoned permaculture designer.
Lead Permaculture Instructor & Designer
Andrew Jones is a permaculture designer & teacher and sustainability/wellness consultant. He has been on a lifelong journey to integrate his path of right livelihood with his interests and passion for cultural exploration, nature and sustainability, wellness, and a dash of adventure. This has led him to gain a B.Sc. in ecology and a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Management and Development. His career path has incorporated humanitarian aid, international development, Permaculture and several environment and health based business ventures. A native of Australia, he has worked over the past 20 years in the Middle East, Pacific Islands, Asia, Europe, North America, Mexico and Peru.
Initially fascinated as a high school athlete by the link between nutrition and performance, Andrew has, through study and testing, gained a holistic perspective on the key components of true health as they relate to the mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. Nutrition as a keystone for health has been a central focus, as well as the importance of cleansing the body in order to facilitate true healing and abundant energy.
Andrew has co-founded an ecological living and advancement center in Baja California Sur (www.bajabiosana.org), and, more recently, an ecological business development company focused on the bioregion of southern Baja (www.bajabioregional.com).
Permaculture & Nutrition Instructor
Shenaqua Sookhoo-Jones was born in the United Kingdom and grew up under the influence of diverse family traditions, encompassing Burmese, Chinese, Indian, Cajun, French, and Inuit roots. Educated as a gardener and healer by her paternal grandparents who embraced Buddhist, Hindu and Shamanic practices in their healing and farming, she has embraced these practices and deepened her understandings of them through her life’s path.
Trained as a holistic and permaculture educator, Shenaqua is a passionate advocate for organic raw foods as a support to our healing potentiality. As part of her Masters in Childhood Psychology, she worked successfully with families, helping them to understand the importance of and need for providing their families with proper whole foods. She also takes pleasure in helping people to connect deeply with plants, gardens, and the empowering act of growing food, particularly within one’s own community.
Rebecca Fresco is an ecstatic nature lover inside and out. Her love and passion for nature and spirit has led her to study under several lineages and wisdom traditions.
Rebecca has a B.A in Environmental Studies and spent her college years working at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems in Santa Cruz. Her passion for nature and right livelihood took her on a path from permaculture homesteading to a focus on the human body and human community.
Rebecca has spent over a decade studying with Hatha Yoga master and teacher of the Sacred Feminine, Sofia Diaz. Finding body awareness and movement to be the key to healing and transformational growth, she has studied many forms of bodywork, primarily drawing her practice from Thai Massage masters and French Osteopathy. She is a certified somatic coach through the Strozzi Institute, a certified Yoga teacher and AcroYoga teacher and a humble student of Aikido. From her experience teaching at Esalen and working closely with the Integral Institute, Rebecca brings tools for inspired and authentic relating based in the practice of Circling as well as NLP (neuro-linguistic programming).
Complimenting her work with body awareness, communication and authentic relating, Rebecca has a strong relationship with indigenous tradition, shamanic practice and plant medicine.
Currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rebecca has a private practice where she offers practical, rigorous and no-nonsense style sessions to her clients that fiercely invite a life lived in fullness, reverence and meaning. Rebecca also works closely with Authentic World and the Integral Center to build community through embodiment, inspiration and authentic communication.
Ron holds Kundalini Yoga classes and White Tantric Healing Circles in Boston and takes students on Nomadic Yoga hikes to the power places of the planet.
Ron is a student of Dr. Prasanna Paranjape and the Sanjeevan Lineage. Dr. Prasanna is a director of Sanjeevan Ayurvedic Clinic in Puna, Maharastra. He comes from more than seven generations of Ayurvedic doctors. Ayurveda is the 5000-year-old Indian life science, which can also be considered an art, and Sanjeevan medicine is basically a modern day magic.
People come to Sanjeevan with diseases that are not cured by Western medicine: skin diseases, diabetes, insomnia, frigidity, and more. At the clinic, Sanjeevan healers perform miracles every day, healing with sound, homeopathy, and sacred herbs of the Sanjeevan forest, using techniques that are largely unknown in the West.
Ron is bringing this knowledge, medicine and experience to Western audiences.
Luba Evans is a free spirit dedicated to the evolution of consciousness since the beginning of times. She is the founder of Galiana Meditation Retreat and the international movement Tantra Without Borders – entities that reflect her vision of personal growth, healing and spiritual realization.
Luba’s qualities encompass a lifetime of experience with wisdom and compassion, combining ancient Hindu and Tibetan tantric teachings with genuinely new insights into a synthesis that is uniquely her own. Students say that her mesmerizing voice, her exotic accent, and her connection to the source “immediately places them into primordial states of consciousness.”
“I am here to help restore the ability to feel and love, maximize our potential as humans, rejuvenate, heal, maybe even shift to a whole new dimension of possibilities. Life is sacred. Every moment of it is priceless.” – Luba
Distance Healing Practitioner
Although born in Denver, CO, Joaquina was raised in Ecuador, where she was immersed in the local indigenous culture and nature. Upon returning to the United States at age 20, she began an 8-year period of deep healing in her life. One day, she realized she had to begin a journey to learn to heal others as well. After 8 years of school she is now a licensed Craniosacral therapist, Reiki Practitioner, and Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Herbalist.
In 2005 , Joaquina received a calling to follow the Native American traditions and began studying with a Medicine Man of the Lakota way. She has undergone many ancient ceremonies to heal herself and others as she has deepened her understanding of the healing process. She now uses these experiences to guide others on their individual healing journey. She continues to be an active supporter of the Lakota way and of the ancient wisdom of the South American traditions.
Dr. Martin Vasquez Urello
Dr. Martin Vasquez Urello was born in the city of Iquitos to educated parents. His inspiration to study medicine started as a child, seeing many people suffering from different sicknesses in the local communities.
In 1995, Dr. Urello graduated from the Department of Human Medicine, the national university of the Peruvian Amazon, and since then has worked in the Districts of Fernando Lores – Tamshiyacu, Las Amazonas – Yanashi, Torres Causana – Cabo Pantoja, Santa Clotilde – Tacshacuraray, Mazan, Pevas and San Pablo. In addition, he has worked in the Native communities of the Oroza and Napo Rivers (Quichiu, Chayahuitas, Cocama, Cocamilla and Ahuarunas). He has also worked in leprosy isolated communities.
Currently, Dr. Urello is an emergency room doctor in the city of Iquitos and makes regular visits to Paititi in order to oversee the progress the Institute’s patients. He is married and has two beautiful daughters and one son.