Ananda Expeditions, n. —
A team of travel experts guiding exceptional travelers on tailor-made journeys and purposeful wanderings, worldwide.
Michael Leigh Hoyer, PhD
Michael founded Ananda Expeditions to draw on her breadth of experience as a traveler, teacher, and writer, and, most importantly, to pursue her ananda by guiding others on purposeful wanderings in-line with their internal compasses.
Engaged, mindful travel has long played an important role in Michael's life: she has visited nearly 40 countries, spending a cumulative 5+ years traveling and living abroad — predominantly in France and Sweden. In addition to travel, Michael's passion for languages, literatures, and the arts has defined her path. She graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College with a double-major in English and Studio Art and went on to complete an MA at Dartmouth College. In 2012, Michael received her PhD in Comparative Literature from Stanford University.
In her academic research and teaching, Michael specializes in 20th- and 21st-century novels in French, English, and Spanish. She also speaks Swedish, and understands and makes herself understood in Italian. Michael has taught courses in literature, writing, and art at both the high school and college levels, in the US and abroad — including in the Departments of Comparative and World Literature, English, and Humanities at San Francisco State University, and on National Geographic Student Expeditions and Putney Student Travel's Pre-College programs for high school students. One course she developed — entitled "Literary Journeys & the Quest for Self-Knowledge" — asks students to consider the question: how does literature help us navigate the journeys we undertake in life?
Beyond being intellectually convinced of the benefits of literary and physical exploration beyond one’s native culture, Michael has experienced personal transformation on her wanderings and witnessed immeasurable growth in her students. She founded Ananda Expeditions to offer widely the kind of engaged travel experience that has given her sustained joy over the years. Michael relishes the opportunity to guide others on journeys that they have always craved — trips that make room for activities that engage both the mind and the body, through which travelers discover new depths of joy while creating lasting memories.
Michael has completed 500 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training with her two primary teachers, Jason Crandell and Stephanie Snyder. She teaches strong and mindful Vinyasa practices that blend intelligent sequencing, precise alignment cues, and accessible contemplative themes. Most importantly, she focuses on meeting the specific desires and needs of her students — whether that entails introducing the basics of the practice to those who are new to yoga, or supporting more experienced practitioners in their process of continual growth and discovery. In practicing with her, you can expect to be warmly welcomed and physically challenged, to receive thoughtful (not forceful) manual adjustments, to experience a deeply restorative savasana at the practice’s end, and to leave your mat feeling both relaxed and invigorated.
When Michael isn’t guiding and teaching Ananda Travelers on inspired adventures, she's practicing/teaching yoga, metalsmithing, cooking, running on trails in her native Boulder, Colorado, or riding her Bianchi cross-bike in the hills of San Francisco.
The Sanskrit word ananda translates most often as bliss, or unconditional joy.
According to the ancient texts, Ananda was the name of the Buddha's most devoted attendant. He accompanied the great teacher on many of his wanderings. When his Master was close to death, Ananda, distraught, confessed to feeling disoriented. Would the Buddha impart instructions as to how his community should carry on in his absence? To this plea, the Buddha replied: "Ananda, dwell making yourselves your island (support), making yourselves, not anyone else, your refuge; making the Dhamma (truth or teaching) your island (support), the Dhamma your refuge, nothing else your refuge." We take seriously the notion that each of us wends our own, individual path, pursuing our own truth — and that our bliss lies in that journey.
We are here to guide and support you on the purposeful wanderings you feel called to take.
Martin teaches a Vinyasa-based yoga practice that focuses on health and wellness for the body and the mind. His gentle and attentive teaching style is accessible to students of all levels. His classes build strength and flexibility. In addition, Martin encourages students to always maintain a sense of humor and lightheartedness.
Martin has completed the 800-hour Life Of A Yogi Teacher Training program with the yoga master Sri Dharma Mittra at his yoga center in New York City, as well as the Deva Teacher Training with Elise Lorimer and Stephanie Snyder. He teaches at Union Yoga, a yoga studio in SF which he owns, and is currently a Lululemon Ambassador.