Meet the Feathered Pipe Staff & Board
India Supera – Executive Director & Founder of the Feathered Pipe Foundation
India left home in her teens for the adventure of foreign travel. After nearly dying in Pakistan, she began a spiritual quest in India and eventually found Satya Sai Baba, who is considered an avatar by millions of people. Receiving the major part of her education and understanding at his feet, she was able to bring those teachings to the Feathered Pipe Foundation to share with others.
After living at Sai Baba’s ashram for two and a half years, she was brought back to the US by a friend, Jermain Duncan. Within a year Jerri died of cancer and left India the Feathered Pipe Ranch near Helena, Montana. After making the difficult transition from penniless sadhu to administrator, India established the Ranch as a nationally known center for seminars in the field of yoga, holistic health and personal transformation.
In 1975 she co-founded the Holistic Life Foundation which later evolved into the Feathered Pipe Foundation and became one of the first yoga centers in the US which is not guru-based. India is also the president of the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation (TCEF). She founded TCEF along with Karma Tensum, Executive Director, in order to provide education, housing and support to the children of Tibetan refugees in India.
India has been a passionate and vibrant leader inspiring many in their personal spiritual journeys. Returning to her role as Executive Director, India’s current passion is Circle of Friends, a group of like-minded Samaritans assisting impoverished Indians, young and old, with transportation, admission and financial services so that they can receive the needed medical services and life-saving surgeries within Satya Sai Baba medical facilities in Puttaparti, India. And as always, she continues to dedicate herself to the mission and magic of the Feathered Pipe Foundation.
Eric D. Myers – Feathered Pipe Foundation IT, Networking & Marketing Director
Eric has been a part of the Feathered Pipe Family since 1997 when he first attended a George Purvis and Ramanand Patel workshop (“The Cowboy and Indian Ride Again”). Since that time he has attended many Iyengar Yoga retreats at the ranch, primarily studying with Patricia Walden and John Schumacher. In the spring of 2006, Eric traveled to Pune, India to study at the Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute for three months and immediately fell in love with India and its diverse expressions of culture.
Eric has now spent ten years in India studying Sanskrit at the University of Pune, working in IT and volunteering his time with a wonderful NGO based in Pune called Door Step School. He now divides his time between India and America helping the Feathered Pipe Foundation as IT, Networking & Marketing Director and continuing his deeper exploration into the world of langauge, music and yoga.
Eric completed his Bachelor’s of Art Higher Diploma in Sanskrit from the University of Pune in 2012 to go along with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biology from Indiana University in 1992. His future goals are to attain a Master/PhD in Sanskrit while continuing his training in yoga and music, and of course, helping the Feathered Pipe Foundation to thrive as a center for conscious living, rejuvenation and sustainable community.
Winter Safronoff – Ranch Manager
Winter came to the Feathered Pipe Ranch when she was 11 years old. She became the Feathered Pipe Ranch’s adoptive daughter when taken in by India Supera, Crystal Water, and Laughing Water. It wasn’t long before Winter was traveling the world with family and friends, discovering early on she had a natural love and affinity for foreign cultures. That’s just one of the many reasons that Winter can be found on many of Feathered Pipe’s international retreats. Winter co-leads service trips with the Tibetan Children’s Education Foundation (TCEF) – one of the service organizations that Feathered Pipe has midwifed since its inception. A woman of countless artistic and culinary talents, Winter divides her time between making handmade jewelry, wedding event planning and coordination, sewing, her work on TCEF’s board, and stained glass making.
Michael Rudolf – Kitchen Chef Extraordinaire
Mike Rudolf has been an integral and beloved member of the Feathered Pipe family for a dozen years. After graduating from Helena High School, he stepped into the role of true Montana Renaissance Man – apprenticing as a tattoo artist and even working as a mascot for a semi-professional baseball team. He stoked his longstanding passion for cooking and traveled around the globe studying with cooks and chefs of all styles. Luckily for us, he shares his passion, techniques, creativity, and lip-smacking flair for great taste in the Feathered Pipe kitchen. It’s no secret to repeat guests that the heart of the Ranch is in our kitchen and that our food is healthy, scrumptious, and prepared with great care. Mike and his staff prepare finger-licking fare, day in and day out – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – throughout the season.
Josh Safronoff – Ranch Caretaker
Josh’s intersection with the Feathered Pipe family and land dates back to his days as a four-year-old, when he first was brought up to the Ranch for annual gatherings for the summer Solstice. Not many years later as a young teenager, he found himself spending more time at Feathered Pipe and working as a dishwasher, soon spending every summer at the Rocky Mountain oasis.
As a bona fide member of the Feathered Pipe family (Winter Safronoff is his sister), Josh has a natural talent for understanding the daily flows, chores, joys, and rhythms of the Ranch. There is nothing Josh doesn’t know how to do at the Ranch – from organizing repairs and staff duties to making sure every guest is comfortable and has everything they might need. During the off-season, Josh lives in Missoula, Montana.
Mike Wells – Breakfast & Soup King
Long-time Ranch guests are familiar with and grateful for the gentle smile – and memorable breakfast and lunch fare prepared lovingly by Feathered Pipe breakfast and lunch chef extraordinaire, Mike Wells. Mike’s footsteps first graced the Ranch in 1986 after traveling with founder India Supera in 1985 on his first journey to India to meet with Sathya Sai Baba.
A Salt Lake City native, Mike launched his Feathered Pipe career tending to the landscape, but soon landed in the kitchen where his latent culinary skills began to shine and quickly became the stuff of legend. His specialties are his amazing soups!
When not at the ranch, Mike can be found at his mini “Animal Farm” where he cares for just about every kind of animal under the sun.
Feathered Pipe Foundation Board of Directors
Anne Jablonski – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board President
Anne Jablonski joined the Board of the Feathered Pipe Foundation in 2011 after coming to the Ranch for Erich Schiffmann’s workshop for so many years running that everyone figured it was high time to put her to work. She was invited to the Board to translate her gratitude and passion for Feathered Pipe’s mission into action. She welcomed the opportunity to give back to the organization and place that played such a vital role in her search for meaningful ways to be of service to the world. She is eager to find new ways to support Feathered Pipe programs and initiatives that cultivate humanity’s deepest impulse to embrace humane and compassionate living.
She lives in Northern Virginia, teaches meditation and yoga at Sun & Moon Yoga Studio, works part-time for a New York-based startup company, and is deeply dedicated to the ongoing humanitarian service work of the Foundation. Yoga piece of paper-wise, Anne is registered as RYT-500/E-RYT-200 with Yoga Alliance (YA) and is designated as a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider® (YACEP®). In 2012, she completed the Embodyyoga® Mindful Yoga Therapy Teacher Training program presented under the auspices of the Veterans Yoga Project; she loves working with military veterans and other populations that benefit from the gift of trauma-sensitive yoga instruction.
Anne is keen on writing about yoga and dabbles in amateur photography.
Learn more about Anne and read some of her writing about yoga at: www.yogasetfree.com
Neil Boyd – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Vice-President
Feathered Pipe embraced the arrival of Neil Boyd into its fold in March 2014. Neil stepped into his first yoga class during a trip to Maui in 2007 and little time passed before the effects of the practice began to sink in. He was hooked! He soon discovered the Feathered Pipe Ranch as a preferred spot to study and practice yoga with teachers he admired, such as Dr. Baxter Bell and Erich Schiffmann. Meanwhile, it was soon clear to the Feathered Pipe family that Neil’s warm presence, big smile, and involvement with global humanitarian and sustainability issues would bring a welcome new voice to the Foundation.
Neil credits his Dad’s lifelong encouragement to stay physically fit and his wife Ruby’s beautiful spirituality for nudging him toward the life of a yogi. He describes the Ranch as a “life altering” place that introduced him to teachers he would never have met elsewhere and holds very dear the people he’s met through Feathered Pipe who have become some of his best friends. Neil observes that Ranch is not just a place, but a state of mind that stays with someone all year round – a keen reflection that accounts for his commitment to Feathered Pipe’s vibrancy and its help to people that, in turn, serves others as its good work ripples out into the world.
Known affectionately by his yoga friends as ‘The Happy Farmer,’ Neil was born and raised on a farm outside of Fairview, Alberta in Canada. In 1974 he bought a farm next to the property that his grandfather Ernest Boyd homesteaded in 1913. Following his graduation from agricultural college, he and his wife raised three children on the farm. Neil weaves his deep commitment to issues of soil and economic sustainability in to the day-to-day care and feeding of the land on which he and his family continue to live and work.
Neil has been actively involved in service work on boards involved in agricultural issues since the 1970s, where he’s contributed his knowledge of and experience with issues around research, environment, livestock, crops, and local government. He’s traveled around the globe for leadership training and has been a presenter on innovative farming practices in four western provinces. Says Neil, “This sounds ‘big deal,’ but mostly I like putting on my coveralls in the morning and seeing what needs to be done outside.”
Neil credits his training in Holistic Management for influencing his farming practices in a way that works continuously to build the health of the land by addressing issues at their source, rather than reacting to symptoms. In recent years, Neil has deepened his involvement in humanitarian issues. He works closely with educational and clean water NGOs in Africa, including Poverty Relief Africa in Northern Uganda and The Malawi Water Project in Malawi and Zambia.
Clint Willis – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Treasurer
Clint grew up in South Louisiana, lived in New York City for a while, and now hails from Cape Elizabeth Maine. He began talk therapy in 1987 and mindfulness practice in 1996, and that work has made him a nicer person. Clint has spent most of his career as a writer, editor and entrepreneur.
His work, which has been nominated for the National Magazine Award and the Banff Mountain Literature Award, includes The Boys of Everest: Chris Bonington and the Tragedy of Climbing’s Greatest Generation, as well as more than 40 anthologies on adventure, politics, religion, war and other subjects.
Clint also is founder and president of The Writing Company, which creates content for clients in media and financial services. His countless teachers include many dear friends in the Feathered Pipe Community, among them his wife and fellow Feathered Pipe board member Jennifer Willis and his sons Harper and Abner. He loves Gary Lemons’ poetry, surfs Maine in winter, and recently laid down harmonica tracks for a new song by the electro country pop group Eighty Ninety.
Jennifer Willis – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Secretary
Born and raised in New York City, Jennifer received a BA in French Language and Literature from Princeton University and spent the six months immediately after graduation living and working on an agricultural Kibbutz in Israel. She subsequently returned to New York, completed a degree in design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked as a hat designer and interior designer before throwing over big city life to move to Maine in 1993 with her husband Clint and two small boys.
Jennifer studied yoga with her mother as a young child in the 1970s, but didn’t rediscover it until her late 30s after relocating to Maine. Although she had studied with a variety of master teachers, it wasn’t until her first workshop with Erich Schiffmann at the Ranch that she realized she might have something valuable to contribute as a teacher. Her experience at the Ranch in the summer of 2001 changed the course of her life.
She currently runs a yoga program for the Waynflete School in Portland, Maine, where she has been teaching yoga to teens for well over a decade; Jennifer also teaches privately out of her home, working frequently with teens who suffer from anxiety. Since taking the Veterans Yoga Project’s Level One training in 2014 and becoming more comfortable with the idea of working with victims of trauma, she has been volunteering at the local teen shelter helping provide hot meals for kids and hoping to bring yoga to this underserved population.
She is the mother of two grown sons, Harper and Abner, both of whom are now regulars at the Ranch. Jennifer was welcomed on to the Feathered Pipe Foundation Board in September 2016.
Rixie Dennison – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Member
Yoga teacher, life coach, and reflexologist Rixie Dennison joined the Feathered Pipe Foundation Board in summer 2013, thirteen years after her first retreat at the Ranch. That retreat came a critical and delicate crossroad in her own life – and was the catalyst that persuaded her to take the leap, follow her heart and, in her words, give up “pushing elevator buttons to the 12th floor and sitting in a box all day.”
Having spent the previous two years studying for certifications in teaching yoga and life coaching, the magic and wisdom of the Ranch tipped the scales in favor of her heart’s and life’s purpose. She returned home, quit her day job, and never looked back. Today, with more than 13 years as a yoga teacher and life coach under her belt, Rixie’s personal mission is to realize a world where everyone enjoys a balanced and healthy lifestyle that allows them to become conscious of, and share with the world, their unique gifts.
Says Rixie, “My own journey of self-discovery began when I felt a ‘hole in my soul’; when I looked around I perceived everyone’s life moving along except mine I started to take yoga classes, hired a life coach, which was “cutting-edge” back then, and simply asked for a lot of help. I began to learn how to connect with my inner self and to take care of my mind, my body, my emotions, and my spirit.”
She created her dream life. Today she runs a vibrant holistic life coaching business, her own reflexology practice, and teaches yoga at Sun & Moon Yoga Studio in Virginia. She serves on the faculty of the nationally acclaimed Sun & Moon teacher-training program. Rixie has led weekend yoga retreats locally in Virginia for the past nine years and a popular two-week women’s spiritual retreat in Tulum, Mexico for the past five years.
Her newest passion is the “Yoga for the 12 Steps,” created for anyone interested in enhancing their personal life or recovery program.
Learn more about Rixie at: www.mandalahealingarts.com
Angie Dickson – Feathered Pipe Foundation Board Member
Angie Dickson joined the Foundation board in 2016 to fuse her talents and experience in the nonprofit and business world with her appreciation of the power of the Feathered Pipe to magnify the best in the human spirit. Angie is a Partner in The Simple Sol, a travel and lifestyle company, and serves as a Founding Board Member and Development Director of Kids On the Land, a nonprofit providing STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) environmental programs that teach children about the regions where they live. She is also a Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Board Trustee. Angie had an extensive career in finance and investing, including serving as Vice President for Goldman Sachs in Dallas and Partner/CFO/COO of Valencia Capital Management. Deeply involved in her local community, she’s served as a founding board member and past president on the school boards of Uplift Education West Dallas Campuses.
She attributes her love of yoga to the inspiration of her mother — and teacher and guru — Katherine Dickson. Angie first set foot on the Ranch in summer 2012 along with her mom and her daughter, and the three generations together fell in love with the Ranch. Their family pilgrimages to ‘the Pipe’ are now annual affairs when they gather with friends to share their practice, deepen their family bond, and celebrate their appreciation for the Ranch. Angie credits her yoga practice for enriching the qualities of wisdom, calm and equanimity she works to bring to all aspects of her professional and nonprofit endeavors.