7 Centers Yoga Arts was founded by Ruth Hartung and Gary Majchrzak in Sedona in October 1998 with the assistance and support of Mary Sean Young. Both founders had taught in studios in Los Angeles and Seattle, however this studio, 7 Centers Yoga Arts, was modeled after the ashram & meditation retreats they had experienced in India. In July 2001 with the first teacher training, a non-profit branch was formed called Mystis, Inc. This branch is dedicated to yoga teacher training and community classes including outreach programs like The Children’s Project. Since 2001, there have been fifty four month-long immersion trainings led by Ruth Hartung with faculty & staff.
7 Centers attracts yoga students and spiritual seekers from around the globe to attend the variety of intensives and trainings. We also serve the local community, snowbirds & tourists with daily classes taught by accomplished graduates of our yoga teacher training programs. Throughout the years, our community has integrated spiritual sadhana with nature through honoring the astrological and celestial markers including many years of ceremony.
To keep in touch with the expanding community, 7 Centers publishes a monthly educational newsletter with great and informative Articles written on Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology and tongue in cheek Yogic philosophy by the (in)famous Lionheart.
Ruth Hartung (Director, Course Leader) began her journey into yoga in 1991 with the study and teaching of Kundalini yoga in Los Angeles. In 1994 she initiated with Swami Niranjananda in the Satyananda Saraswati lineage through the Bihar University at which time she was given the spiritual name of Sraddhasagar (Ocean of Faith) While on that five month long pilgrimage she met Rama Jyoti Vernon leading a Yoga for Peace conference in Jerusalem and began studying with her in Hatha Yoga, the Yoga Sutras and Conflict Resolution in 1999. Rama’s mentorship of asana and pranayama as a way of practicing the yoga philosophy of the Sutras is foundational in both the 200 & 500 hour teacher trainings. In addition, Muhammed Faust & Viskashananda of Nepal have been important teachers of transmission for kundalini yoga and the deeper understanding of yogic philosophy .
Alongside the growing of 7 Centers and the teaching of yoga as spiritual lifestyle, Ruth has a love for ongoing study that has included folk medicine and practical herbalism. More recently in 2008, Ruth became involved in the local food, agriculture and sustainability movement as an extension of the social consciousness movement that yoga is all about. Joining the local Crescent Moon Community garden and creating a Medicine Herb Garden at the center, led to the founding of the Spring Planting Festival, now an annual event in Sedona and her two year work with Gardens for Humanity as Vice-President. Integrating the growing of food & herbs as part of the yoga teacher trainings, she feels that yoga has an important role to play not just for the individual’ s health and well being but also for our local and global communities.
Sydney Pinkerton (Center Manager) Born and raised in the Chicago area, Sydney came to 7 Centers in January of 2003. Her background is in law firm management, having worked in the legal field for 25 years. She became certified and taught yoga in Northwest Indiana before moving to Sedona. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations at 7 Centers, her main focus is in assisting students with registration and pursing their training goals. Her greatest joy is in witnessing the transformation that occurs with each and every student though the programs that 7 Centers provides. Sydney has two children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson.