Meet The Team
Vidya Jacqueline Heisel - Director & Founding Partner
Vidya Jacqueline Heisel, E-RYT 500, SYT, is the Director of Suryalila Retreat Centre and the Director of Frog Lotus Yoga International Yoga Teacher Training Programmes.
Vidya grew up in England, and lived in India, Bali and the USA, before arriving in southern Spain in 2011. Yoga has been Vidya's life-long passion. She started studying, practicing and teaching yoga in 1975 and since then has taught yoga extensively worldwide. After founding Frog Lotus Yoga Studio in Massachusetts in 2002, Vidya created a comprehensive Yoga Teacher Training programme, which she has taught at retreat centres around the world. Vidya currently runs most of her Yoga Teacher Training Programmes, retreats and holidays at Suryalila, where she resides. Vidya’s other interests include nutrition, gourmet vegetarian cooking and interior design, all of which she joyfully expresses at Suryalila. Vidya was one of the founding partners of Suryalila. She oversees the running of Suryalila and upholds and manifests the vision.
Tanea Garcia - Assistant Manager/HR/Accountancy
The lovely Tanea is a local from Prado del Rey. She is very spirited and fun and takes care of our accounts and is our indispensable liaison with Spanish bureaucracy.
Lidiya Petkova - Marketing & Website / Teacher Training Manager / Yoga Teacher
She is the personal assistant of our CEO Vidya. Lidiya has a background in International Tourism Management and is very excited to be at Suryalila contributing with her marketing & product development skills. She has beed trained with Frog Lotus Yoga and is one of our on site Vinyasa Flow Yoga teachers. She organises the Adventure and Yoga Retreats here at Suryaila. Her classes are vigorous and energising, and at the same time balanced with more gentle and calming sequences, making them accessible to everyone. She is also our onsite photographer and will be glad to capture beautiful memories of your group.
Gemma Russell - Head Chef
Gemma is from Brighton in England. She is a classically trained chef with seemingly no end to her creative talents. She has worked in kitchens all over the world and brings this knowledge of ethnic cuisines into the Suryalila kitchen. Gemma is passionate about whole foods and ensuring that her meals both look and taste amazing!
Cátia Garcia - Thai Massage Practitioner
Cátia possesses an incredible healing touch and we are so lucky to experience her heavenly massages here! She had her first contact with the ancient healing art of Thai Yoga Massage in 2010, in Thailand through the well known Sunshine Network centre. After two years of training, including several additional courses in Thailand and India, she became a Thai Massage practitioner in 2013.
Cátia has held a degree in Occupational Therapy since 2005, where she started her healing path in the neurological disorders field. During her studies and time working as an Occupational Therapist, she felt there was a lack of body-mind connection and that the treatments were very much directed towards the physical body, on the surface level. She decided to go beyond, to get in touch with the energetic and emotional body. Through Thai Yoga Massage she found the depth that she was looking for.
Jacob Evans – Head of Danyadara (Our Permaculture Project)
Jacob is our hardworking permaculture wizard. After having worked with permaculture extensively in South America he settled at Suryalila. He is currently growing a food forest with his dedicated team. Meanwhile, he is busy creating a nursery, a bigger composting project and working on landscaping.