Surendra James Conti, Spiritual Director

Surendra serves as a Spiritual Director of Ananda Portland and President of its Board of Directors. His responsibilities include oversight of Ananda’s Temple and Teaching Center, and its live-in Community.

Since 1996, Surendra has served Ananda’s ministries and missions in Seattle; Palo Alto, California, where he and his wife were co-managers of Ananda’s East West Bookshop,  and Pune, India, where they were spiritual directors of its ashram and retreat center from 2012-2015. Back in the U.S. again, he has been with Ananda Portland ever since.

Surendra is an ordained Lightbearer, Sevaka Life Member, spiritual counselor, and teacher of numerous basic and advanced courses, including the Art and Science of Raja Yoga, The Art of Supportive Leadership, Dealing with Death and Dying, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, and The Hindu Way of Awakening. He is also the author of Let Me Remember This, a book of insights, ideas and observations on the path to higher consciousness. 

Among his favorite pastimes: writing, spending time in nature, and helping others achieve a more balanced life of peace, joy, harmony and love.

Lorna Knox, Spiritual Director

Lorna is a founding member of Ananda Portland and a disciple of Yogananda for over 40 years. “Every moment on this path is a blessing, with opportunities for growth, service and joy.” Lorna serves Ananda as one of the Spiritual Directors, a minister, lightbearer, teacher and spiritual counselor as well as working with the Ananda community management team. She loves to sing in the choir and teaches with an emphasis on the practical tools for spiritual living that yoga gives us. “My experience as a nurse, teacher, wife, mother, writer and even a Home Depot sales associate have all shown me the path of Self-Realization is an eternal spiritual truth that is relevant, alive and given to devotees for this age, specifically, to raise our consciousness and to awaken our highest potential.”

Nayaswamis Hanuman and Mari, ministers and lightbearers

Hanuman and Mari have been a part of Ananda since 1981. Since that time they have served at the meditation retreat in California, Ananda Crystal Clarity, Publishers and Ananda recordings, the Ananda Spiritual Family ministry at the Village. In 1991 they were asked to come to Portland and serve. Since that time they co-managed Ananda’s vegetarian restarant,The Song of the Rose Cafe, taught meditation, Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga and led Sunday services and events at the church and in the community. In 1995 they helped found and co-managed the Ananda Portland Community. In 2011, they co-founded Ananda House, based on Swami Kriyananda’s Precepts of Evening Hospice.

Currently, they serve as ministers at the Portland Ananda Church and are part of the Portland Ananda Community management team.

Bharati Busch, minister and lightbearer 

Bharati Karen Busch has been in the center of Education for Life and Ananda Portland for almost 30 years. She first discovered Ananda at the Expanding Light Retreat, while teaching school in rural Alaska. She moved (back) to Portland in 1994 and was one of the first community residents. Bharati helped found the Living Wisdom School in 1997 and worked there for 23 years. She continues to be an active part of Education for Life with Ananda Worldwide and serves our sangha with joyful enthusiasm.

 Santosh Bob LaMarche, minister
Santosh came to Ananda Portland after 20 years with Ananda Palo Alto (CA), where he worked for PBS in the Bay Area and for Ananda’s East West Bookstore.  He serves on the ministry team and is committed to the choir, finding great joy in singing Swami Kriyananda’s music. Santosh loves to share the blessings of this path and has a special interest in welcoming newcomers and finding ways to connect with all truthseekers


Rose Neal, minister 

Rose became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda in 1995 while serving in the karma yoga program at the Expanding Light Retreat in Ananda Village. Since then, she has lived her life as a mom, nurse, Kriyaban and meditation teacher among other roles. In 2007, she and her family moved to Ananda Portland and she served as an administrator at the Living Wisdom School. The school is now paused in operation, but Rose continues to support the Education for Life Outreach in the Portland area, in addition to being a hospice nurse and a member of the Ananda Portland ministry team.

Cindy Gottfried, minister

Cindy has been serving Ananda Portland as a music director and leading the audio-visual tech crew. She joined the ministry team in 2022.


Joanne Takusagawa, minister

Joanne came to Ananda after moving from SoCal to WA in 1995.  She became a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and a kriyaban in 1996 while attending an Ananda meditation group in Longview, WA, later becoming the meditation group leader in 1999.  She was a Washington sangha member until 2001 when a job change enabled her move into the Ananda Seattle community.  She retired from Boeing after 16 years as a health and safety professional and moved to the Laurelwood Valley in Oregon in 2017.  Since then, she has been actively serving at the Ananda Portland temple with the audiovisual team and as a member of the Board of Directors for Ananda Portland. Joanne joined the ministry team in 2022.

Peter Copley, minister






Pooja Copley, minister

Pooja Copley, minister

I am a devotee and lived in the ashram of Ananda Center of Laurelwood, Gaston, Oregon  from 2011 to 2018. I completed Yoga Teacher’s Training there and subsequently did Meditation Teachers Training at Ananda Village. In the ashram we meditated every morning which gave us the chance to be calmer and happier. I have taught Ananda Yoga® and meditation classes in Ananda Portland and Palo Alto and Ananda Center at Laurelwood for many years. I was born in Calcutta(Kolkata) India and grew up listening to the Sanskrit verses of Bhagavad Gita from my grandfather. Later on I studied physics as an undergraduate and management in my Master’s studies. These studies could not take care of my emotions and life circumstances. So I took refuge in spiritual books. Now I work as an Ananda minister with Ananda Portland and as a software analyst with a software company. At the same time I want to pursue a life of yoga and meditation.

Melissa Heart, Temple Manager, Yoga Instructor, EFL Teacher