Meet our incredibly talented and dynamic staff!
Passionate and down-to-earth, Abby’s bohemian heart radiates through her life in all its aspects — at home, as a student, and as a teacher. She doesn’t differentiate between the practice of yoga and the practice of life, believing that yoga is how you do something, not something you do.
As a teacher, Abby creates an atmosphere of keeping it real while challenging students to their highest potential in the moment. She speaks from the authentic place of her own heart’s experience and is renowned for her unique ability to make the practices of yoga pertinent to the full spectrum of life experiences. Her classes are a profound and authentic offering of dynamic alignment, embodied flow, and skillful refinement. Students are encouraged to work diligently while honoring their own boundaries. Abby believes in empowering students through deep inquiry and skillful application of a pulsation of dynamic alignment principles. Each asana class also includes the essential grounding practices of pranayama and meditation.
Adam Kurzfeld has been teaching yoga full time since 2009. He is a strong believer that movement and stillness are both necessary for optimal health. Yoga brings us both. He teaches breath focused vinyasa classes which are physically challenging, safe, and give space for stillness and meditation. He has studied diversely, and draws inspiration from teachers such as Ana T. Forrest, Annie Carpenter, Alice Joanou, and KYM in south India. Adam is also very passionate about music. He has been studying and writing his own material from a very young age. He often weaves sound and song seamlessly into classes and workshops. He feels extremely fortunate to have found yoga early in his life and loves bringing this ancient art to others. No matter your age, size, color, gender; a dedicated yoga practice will transform your life from the inside.
Adam began his yoga journey nearly a decade ago while on the verge of collapse, and it precipitated a complete transformation in his life. Through the brilliant guidance of Shanti Kelley and later Annie Carpenter, Adam learned to establish ground while embracing wisdom, humility and devotion in his practice. Adam provides a challenging yet grounded experience, rooted in alignment and sustainability. His goal is to guide students towards honesty, precision, and understanding in their practice.
Aliza Gavriella Sutker is a structural/alignment based yoga and MELT Method teacher who offers private, semi-private and group classes. Aliza began her career as a therapeutic yoga specialist in 2000, having studied for the previous 8 years with senior Iyengar Yoga teachers in the US and India. Having managed the rehabilitation center of a renowned chiropractic orthopedist from 2000 – 2004, Aliza received ongoing training in core strength, physical therapy exercises, and traction techniques.
Certified by John Friend as an Anusara Yoga Teacher, Aliza returned to her root lineage of Iyengar Yoga in 2007, and studied weekly with master Iyengar teacher Donald Moyer. Her 40 years of dedicated personal practice — gymnastics to dance, running to hiking, and ultimately Yoga and MELT, infuse her teaching with a depth of knowledge in structure, mechanics and movement to heal chronic pain, prevent injury and maintain joyful embodiment. Aliza educates through experience how to incorporate postural awareness on the mat and transfer this knowledge to the activities of daily living.
Alli Moses, Yoga Advisor
Alli is a California native with a deep passion for holistic wellness, sustainability, preservation of our loving Mother Earth, and community. When she’s not at Namaste’s front desk, you can find her on her mat, hiking with her dog in the hills, studying nutrition at Bauman College or writing recipes and cooking up a storm at her home in Oakland.
Andrea manitsas (affectionately called “Anj”) is known for a potent class with a whole lotta soul and a fierce flow. She warmly invites students on a sacred journey through her unique expression of the Vinyasa flow that is dreamy and rhythmic while also being smart and intentional. Her classes incorporate mantras and chanting, philosophy, storytelling, mudras, meditation, visualization, breath work, essential oils, challenging poses, and more.
Andrea continues to connect an ever-growing well of experience with impressive music and book libraries to inspire bodies to move and minds to still. As an avid reader and professional writer/editor, Andrea works to balance the head and the heart in her classes, and in her life. Her recent adventure through India has inspired her love of ritual and the sacredness in each moment. Especially when we come together on our mats… Anj also leads worldwide yoga retreats.
Anisa Esmail, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Anne has been a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher as taught by Yogi Bhajan for four years. Anne was trained by Hari Kaur Khalsa, named 10 Influential Yoga Teachers Who Have Shaped Yoga in America, in New York City.
Annemaria Rajala teaches an energizing flow class that invites you to explore your edge mindfully and cultivate a meaningful dialogue with your body. As a teacher I strive to create a nurturing environment and make the class accessible to all levels of students.
“Yoga is a deeply personal practice. It is a constant inquiry into how to deepen my awareness and take care of myself so I can better take care of the world around me. To me yoga is not about a fancy pose, but it is about falling in love with my body every day.”
Annemaria has been a student of yoga since the late 90’s and her personal practice began after suffering a back injury. After years of studying she wanted to share the healing she found through yoga and Annemaria began her teaching practice in 2008 after completing her 200h training in NYC with Yoga to the People. Annemaria pursued advanced training at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and completed her 500h in the summer of 2014. As a professional dancer and actor, Annemaria’s teaching is also informed by her extensive movement training and experience as a performer.
Annie Carpenter is known as a “teachers’ teacher,” Annie is the creator of SmartFLOW Yoga, an intelligent marriage of mindful movement with compassionate, wakeful alignment. Annie creates practices that are at once advanced and challenging, yet safe and playful. Practicing yoga since the 70s, she worked with the Martha Graham Company in the 80’s and continues to be a dedicated student (geek!) of anatomy, evolutionary movement, meditation and classical philosophy. Annie is the author of RelaxDEEPLY, a CD of restorative yoga, and Yoga for Total Back Care,” a DVD produced by Yoga Journal, and several SmartFLOW manuals. She contributes regularly to Yoga Journal. An influential Teacher Trainer since 2003, Annie teaches in CA and beyond. www.anniecarpenter.com
Annika Duquet, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Antonia is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Yoga Teacher, and a Certified Yoga Therapist RYT 500, who first discovered yoga and meditation in 1995, working on her BA in Psychology (with an emphasis in Eastern Perspectives on Holistic Health) at SFSU. She went on to earn an MA in Art Therapy and Marriage and Family Therapy from the College of Notre Dame and became a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in 2001. Antonia has a private psychotherapy practice in Albany, Ca, and teaches yoga throughout the Bay Area. She is also Adjunct Faculty at both CIIS in San Francisco and Sofia University in Palo Alto (formerly the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology).
When teaching yoga, Antonia enjoys teaching from the heart, with an emphasis on inner and outer alignment, and concentrates on using the breath to cultivate mindfulness and connection. She helps to guide, support, and empower her students and clients to build strength, balance, and flexibility from the inside out, through creative and playful exploration and curiosity. She feels blessed to do work the she loves and believes in.
Ashley Sharp, E-RYT began teaching yoga at the turn of the century. She is known for her wit, practicality, and tenderness as an instructor. She grew up dancing, and brings to her classes a lifetime of body-knowledge and wisdom. She has studied yoga asana and philosophy in the United States and in India with Swami Dayananda, Erich Schiffmann, Patricia Sullivan and Sat Santokh Sing.
She has trained in yoga asana, yoga therapy and yoga nidra (a reclining meditation practice). She completed both the “Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation Training,” (an 18 month program integrating Buddhism and yoga asana) and the ”Dedicated Practioner Program,” (a two year intensive study and practice program) through Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Ashley’s ongoing practice of Vipassana meditation leads naturally to her unique weaving of mindfulness themes into each class, simultaneously deepening her students’ physical and spiritual practice. She teaches retreats internationally and leads yoga teacher trainings in the Bay Area.
Learn more about Ashley at: www.ashleysharp.net
Ashley West Roberts
Ashley believes whole-heartedly in movement and meditation as practices for self healing. Her goal as a teacher is simply to help you become more yourself. She stresses “yoga is not one more thing to be good at” but a daily process of checking in with what is present.
Ashley’s classes are anchored in the traditional teachings of yoga sprinkled with experiential anatomy and creative play. Her classes are informed by her background as a classically trained dancer, daily meditation practice and her passion for minimalism and simple living. It is her greatest pleasure to integrate her yoga and dharma as taught to her by her teacher Katchie Ananda.
Ashley West Roberts
Ava’s focus is on the connection between breath and movement, emphasizing breath awareness at the core of practice. Ava maintains strong attention to alignment, creative sequencing and personal attention – in the form of safe physical assists and by inviting students to honor the wisdom of their own bodies. She practices primarily in the classical Ashtanga system, which provides the foundation of her teaching style – with specific attention on pranayama (breath), bhandas (internal energy valves), and dristi (eye gaze). In an effort to support the focus on simplicity in practice and meditation-in-motion, she does not play music in class. Classes are steadily paced and vigorous.
Ava has been teaching yoga since 2003 and has trained and taught in California, in Massachusetts, India, Greece and Mexico. She has been a teacher with Namaste since 2005.
Off the mat, Ava is the artistic director of We Players, connecting people with place through site-integrated theatre. Meet WE at: www.weplayers.org
Baxter has been studying Hatha yoga since 1994 and teaching since 1999, both public classes and specialty back care classes. He is a graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Studio’s Advanced Studies 2000 program, and has studied regularly with Rodney Yee, Patricia Walden and Erich Schiffman. He teaches a nurturing style of yoga, with a strong emphasis on re-awakening our innate curiosity about ourselves and our world.
Baxter offers periodic workshops and retreats, with more info available on his website at www.baxterbell.com and at yogaforhealthyaging.
Baxter was named as one of the hundred most influential yoga teachers in America by Sonima.
Brett Pankovich, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Christine Blackmore, Director of Operations
Christine brings to Namaste a versatile background in performance and choreography, followed most recently by a certificate in holistic nutrition. Like all Bay Area dwellers, she loves food, cooking, hiking, and hanging out with her blissfully snoring cat and sweet husband. She is also an adventurer who has leapt from an airplane, ridden a motorcycle through wild rain storms across the Bay Bridge, run a half marathon, and been known to break into wild and spontaneous dances of joy! She has been a long-time student of Namaste, and while in studio, she strives to make your experience lovely, warm and inviting.
Claire McCarty, Grand Lake Studio Manager
Bio coming soon!
David Moreno, RYT 500, has taught at international yoga conferences, festivals, universities, and teacher trainings worldwide. He has worked privately with students in the fashion and entertainment industries as well as professional athletes. Among those athletes taught include the U.S. Olympic Men’s Swim team coaches for the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. He has worked as a product advisor and ambassador for the Canadian Athletica Company, Lululemon, is a certified Pilates instructor and ordained minister. His yoga commentaries have been published in Yoga Journal, Yoga International, LA Yoga Magazine, and Common Ground. His dance criticism and reviews are featured Culture Vulture. David is also the creator and producer for Yoga DVDs, electronic books, Yoga Nidra downloads, and subscription yoga classes for Yoga Vibes.
David began practicing yoga in the late 70s studying the Iyengar and Ashtanga styles of yoga before studyiing Anusara and the Bihar schools of yoga. He continues his study in Tantra and Ayurveda, delving deeper into yoga’s primodial roots. He is know for his depth, keen sense of humor and timing making his teaching both playful and informative. When not traveling he teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Learn more about David at: www.moryoga.com
David Schlussel is a yoga teacher, life coach, husband, and father. David experiences yoga as the practice of reconnecting with our wholeness. When we operate from our wholeness, we experience the incredible strength and flexibility that is our potential. David coaches his students from fixed ideas about what they can and can’t do, towards life as a playful exploration of possibility.
David began his exploration of yoga with Ashtanga, where he learned the benefit of regular consistent practice. He continued his training by studying Dynamic Yoga, where he discovered the deeper strengths available through activating along the muscular and energetic pathways of the body, and where he developed his passion for yoga philosophy. He is currently inspired by Anusara Yoga, which has infused his practice and teaching with an empowering understanding of alignment, therapeutics, and fun. David’s classes are a flowing celebration of our bodies, designed to exercise, educate, integrate, delight, challenge and recharge. He is known for his warm approachability, contagious curiosity, gentle and liberating hands on adjustments, facilitating healing of old injuries, and offering concepts that support his students both on the mat and in their daily life.
Dr. Domonick Wegesin is a yogi-neuroscientist-dancer with a bent towards meditation and the healing arts. He moved to the Bay Area from New York City where he conducted neuroimaging research focused on the aging brain, as a Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Columbia University. Domonick now trains the brains and bodies of his yoga students, helping them wake up to their mental, emotional and physical experience in a way that cultivates awareness, acceptance and ease.
Dr. Ratka Mira Popovic
Ratka holds a Doctorate degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine and teaches at De Anza College. Ratka has had a massage therapy practice since 1991 and has given over 25,000 treatments.
Her approach is holistic and integrative, and she recognizes that injuries often have their origins in a variety of sources: physical, psychological, or spiritual. She uses a combination of massage and bodywork, breath work and various manual therapies to address the immediate needs of clients and create healing plans that bring relief to current pain and address root causes.
Her specialties include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Acupressure, Prenatal and post partum, Chi Nei Tsang, Energy balancing, Gua sha and cupping.
MODALITIES: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Acupressure, Shiatsu, Chi Nei Tsang, Energy Balancing, Gua Sha, Cupping, Pre + Post Natal
Wednesdays 10-3 at Berkeley
Elana is a Licensed Psychotherapist, Yoga Teacher, and Reiki Healer. She completed her B.A. in Psychology and traveled to India where she was deeply touched by the spirited culture she encountered. She went on to complete an intensive Yoga teacher’s training course through the Sivananda Yoga lineage where she lived and breathed the Yogic lifestyle, and emerged purified and transformed by her experience. Soon after, Elana completed her Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from The Institute of Transpersonal Psychology where she began her career in bridging spirituality with psychotherapy.
The quality of presence and devotion that her teachers embody is what continues to inspire Elana to share this practice with the world. Her classes are fit for all levels. Her focus is on tuning into the wisdom of our own feeling bodies in the present moment to cultivate mindfulness and connection with Self. She says, “it’s all about that feeling at the end of a class when you just can’t help but smile, it’s that touch of bliss that keeps us coming back for more of what the world really needs right now.”
Growing up with a love for dance, sports and music, Elika was naturally fascinated by the fluid and liberating practice of Vinyasa Yoga. After a severe back injury led her to the practice in 1999, Elika initially studied Iyengar and Anusara yoga and began to see her body healing and knew she wanted to inspire others to trust the innate ability of the body to regain harmony~full of vitality and bliss. When you take a class with Elika, expect to be inspired and to move your body possibly in ways you’ve never moved, exploring your creative intelligence and connecting with your own Source.
Experience a soulful and dynamic weaving of healing music, yoga philosophy, poetry and vinyasa flow informed mostly by her Prana Flow training with Shiva Rea. She now infuses yoga, fitness, dance and meditation throughout her classes, encouraging students to connect with the wisdom of the body to find strength, insight and ease on the mat as well as off. You can find her also teaching Whole Birth ®Yoga, mom+baby and yin/ restorative yoga classes throughout the Bay Area. Elika’s teaching is also greatly influenced by studies with Sarah Powers, Judith Lasater and from Ayurveda and Energy Healing.
As a DONA Birth Doula, it’s Elika’s mission to support women and families to release fear of the birth experience so they feel empowered on the journey to parenthood and beyond. She also offers workshops, retreats, private sessions specializing in perinatal yoga/fitness, yoga therapy and Seasonal Yoga + Drumming events and Yoga Trance Dance. Elika is co-creator of the BlissTemple Yoga Flow DVD (blisstemple.com) an evolutionary vinyasa practice for all levels including pregnancy.
Learn more about Elika at: www.blissfulbodiesyoga.com
Emily Roth, Program Director
Emily Roth became part of the Namaste Yoga + Wellness in 2012, a year after Namaste Grand Lake first opened its doors. Since then she has had the amazing opportunity to grow and evolve alongside the Namaste Yoga + Wellness community. Her work encompasses everything from strategizing how to reach and welcome new students into our Namaste family to collaborating with our Creative Director to create engaging, valuable content. She believes whole-heartedly in our studio’s mission to help more people flourish through health and wellness practices. Outside of the studio, you can find her soaking up the Bay Area’s beauty, hiking, or playing with her pups and fiance.
Hampton uses an intuitive modality resembling deep tissue work to let tension in muscles make itself known, with the belief that patient presence unlocks the wells within us. He celebrates people’s choice to take care and tend to themselves through bodywork – it is an act of self-love that impacts all levels of one’s being, not simply the physical – and he is honored to participate with people in this process. His interests also include ecstatic dance, astrology, meditation, bikram yoga, and the relationships between psychology and spirituality.
MODALITIES: Swedish, Deep Tissue
Sundays 11:30-4:30 at Grand Lake
Hannah is yogi, an artist, and lover of dance. Her classes are a blend of Hatha yoga and energizing Vinyasa, and are suitable for all levels with an emphasis on creativity, steadiness and presence and a joyful celebration of life!
She took a transformational trip to India to deepen her studies in tantra and hatha yoga in 2009, where she was certified. Her focus as a teacher is to bring community together and harmonize the way we all interact with compassion and love for all our unique spirits.
As a yoga teacher and designer for Athleta she truly understands the dance to find balance in this busy world.
Learn more about Hannah at: hannahfrancoyoga.com
Helene Cotton, Creative Director, Marketing, Retail
From the clothing and products in our boutiques to the images and flyers that brand us, Helene leaves her mark on us. As our Graphics and Retail Goddess, she is continually shaping the visual look and feel of Namaste. She formally joined the Namaste team in late 2012, but her tentacles reached here many years ago when she was hired to design and print a tee for the original Rockridge studio. She absolutely loves interfacing with the amazing people here and is sure she has the best job on staff. When not thinking about the faces of our beautiful yoga boutiques and studios, she enjoys nature, backpacking, drawing, printmaking, playing with her adorable mutt, and inversions.
Jaimi currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where her classes are known to be organic, fluid, smart and intentional. She creates a warm, inviting space – empowering students to dynamically align their bodies and to maintain a sense of humor as they rub up against their own habits of thought and movement. Jaimi is especially influenced by her training in dance, developmental movement and the Alexander Technique and shares this unique blend of information with gentle yet stern encouragement
In addition to teaching her unique flow, Jaimi completed Mama Tree’s Prenatal Training with Jane Austin and is an AmSAT certified (1600 hr.) teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Join her as you MOVE, BREATHE, and CONNECT. Learn more at jaimipatterson.com
Jennie Hayes, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Jerry Givens is a 500-hour certified teacher of Tantric Hatha Yoga & Mediation, with influences from ParaYoga and the Himalayan Tradition. Jerry has been teaching since 2008 and specializes in Vinyasa, Classical Hatha, Systematic Relaxation, Pranayama, and Meditation. He has studied primarily with ParaYoga senior teacher Devidas Karina Mirsky and has also attended workshops, retreats, and lectures with Yogarupa Rod Stryker of ParaYoga, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD., Ravi Singh, Ana Brett, Kathryn Templeton, AYS., kirtan artist Luna Ray, and Kathy Ornish (K.O.)
Jerry completed the Sangha Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training in 2009 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and the Sangha Yoga 300-hour Teacher Training in 2014. In 2015, he assisted in the Blue Osa 200-hour Teacher Training Immersion in Costa Rica. To find out more about Jerry and his teaching, check out www.jerrygivens.net or follow on Instagram at @yogijerr
Jesse Bessinger, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Jessie Conrad, Rockridge Studio Manager
Bio coming soon!
Jill White Lindsay
I began practicing yoga in 2001 and graduated from The Center for Yoga Teacher Training Program (Los Angeles) in 2003. I teach an alignment based vinyasa flow to create dynamic, challenging, fun classes. I enjoy teaching students of all ability levels and focus on creating a safe practice by using verbal and hands-on adjustments for correct alignment. In order to accommodate varying skill levels I recommend alternative poses and pose modifications when necessary.
My classes are infused with the philosophy that we are engaged in a process at all times which can be illustrated by finishing any statement with “yet”: “I can’t do this (yet)”… “I’m not flexible (yet).” If we can be involved in the process and not focused solely on the outcome, then both the process and the outcome may be surprising and rewarding. We are explorers – discovering poses, discovering mental clarity, discovering how we deal with challenges and, maybe, discovering some spiritual awareness. Oh, yeah – and it helps to keep a sense of humor about all of it.
Julia brings unified, living breathing approach to yoga. With a world of experience, she sees the wisdom of the east and west come together as equals. For her, yoga is an integration of practice and philosophy, as well as art and science. Julia combines a background in performance, athletics and modern somatic method of Middendorf Breath experience with the ancient wisdom of the yoga tradition.
Authentic creativity and joyful expression are invited in her classes through flowing sequences and sustained stillness of postures. She encourages deep self-inquiry, awareness of the breath, mindful presence to sensations in the body.
With a deep sense of gratitude, Julia bows to her guides – Shiva Rea, Erich Schiffmann, Angela Farmer – and all her students, from whom she learns every day. She was born in the East, the former Soviet Union, and emigrated to the West Coast in the late ’70s – a Cold War refugee with a warm heart.
I was 20 years old when I stumbled into my first yoga class at the local 24hour fitness gym in West Los Angeles. I remember hearing a lot of Sanskrit words and a lot of cues to breathe. “Hummm, so this was all the rage?” Even though I was unsure, something always drew me back to give yoga another try, at a different studio, with another teacher. Ten years later, at the recommendation of a friend, I found myself in a Bhakti Flow Yoga class, and on that day everything clicked. Without having ever studied any yoga literature I found a deep understand of what yoga meant for me. I came to experience yoga beyond my mat, the postures, or any of the mantras. “If it does not make you more kind, more patient, and more reasonable, it’s not yoga” shared Rusty Wells who taught that Bhakti Flow Yoga class.
In 2011 after completing a Bhakti Flow Yoga teacher training course I started teaching Bhakti Flow yoga because I found instructing just as much a practice as doing the postures. It is my intention that students who attend my classes feel they can “come as you are” and allow the breath (the true teacher) to guide the experience. The physical benefits of yoga are undeniable and when we tap into the power of the breath we find the heart, mind and spirit are also wonderful guides. As a yoga instructor and Breathwork Healer I am honored to share Bhakti, the yoga of love and devotion, with anyone who happens to stumble into one of my classes.
Ken Breniman has practiced yoga for over 10 years and became certified with Yoga Alliance as a RYT-200 after graduating from Yoga Tree’s Yoga Teacher Training program in 2006. Yoga Alliance has recognized him as a ERYT-200/RYT-500 as he completed his Yoga Therapy training at Ananda Seva Mission in July 2010. Ken is very excited to be joining the Namaste family.
In his classes, Ken provides eclectic non-denominational Hatha yoga guidance, honoring a variety of traditions, such as Iyengar alignment principles, invigorating Kudalini Kriya, and playful Acroyoga-inspired partner work. He invites you to embrace SIMPLICITY, PATIENCE and COMPASSION as you deepen your practice and your connection with your true Self. Ken offers Yoga Therapy workshops on a variety of topics such as restorative yoga, grief, relationships, stress management and coping with chronic illness. In addition to yoga, Ken also serves as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, clinical supervisor and a private practice yoga therapist in the Bay Area. Daniel Quinn and Paulo Coelho are among his favorite authors.
His life work of service is inspired by Ram Dass’ words: “We are all just walking each other hOMe.”
Kimberly Leo, Owner
The first Namaste, in Rockridge, was opened nine years ago by Kimberly Leo, an Oakland native and devoted yoga practitioner. Opening Namaste was Kimberly’s way to fully integrate yoga into her life as well as provide a vital service for the community. Namaste provides a refuge from our busy urban life in its neighborhood settings; a peaceful environment nurturing physical health and spiritual growth.
Kimberly grew up on Lakeshore Ave, where the Grand Lake space is located and has always dreamed of returning to serve the community. Many Rockridge Namaste students and teachers live nearby as well, so it felt like the natural place to expand.
Now, almost a decade after opening Namaste Rockridge, she is able to return to one of the first yoga studios she called home, 7th Heaven Yoga & Wellness in Berkeley, to expand Namaste’s provenly successful culture and serve the newly combined communities.
As a student of yoga, I am committed to the practice because of its ever-present potential to stabilize, heal, and transform. In my practice and in my teaching, I am interested in inquiry rather than correction and awareness rather than control. I tend to move through postures at a slower pace, allowing time and space for deeper connection to subtle shifts within the body, breath, and being.
I try to be attuned to the ways in which the modern teaching/learning of yoga is entangled with complex social inequalities. While I am undeniably a part of these entanglements, I do my best to actively resist the marginalization, exclusion, and elitism that can permeate yoga spaces.
My teaching is determined by the constantly evolving education I receive from my teachers, from my personal practice, and from my students. I have studied with, and continue to be inspired by, Ron Reid, Marla Meenakshi Joy, Annie Carpenter, Leslie Kaminoff, Dharma Mittra, Mark Lilly, and most recentIy Gay White.
Qi gong is a movement practice that allows the practitioner to attain a visceral state of neutral physically, emotionally, and mentally. From this space, one can make new choices, resulting in increased health, vitality, and clarity. When Qi Gong is done skillfully, the practitioner feels light, free, and clear.
A classically trained cellist, Kristina found Qi Gong to be the perfect vehicle for her precise yet playful style of learning. Her classes are a combination of clear direction and intent with a casual, light-hearted quality. Kristina has trained under Master Chris Fernie, founder and director of the Institute for Internal Transformation located in the Bay Area since 2005. She also studies with Theravadan Buddhist master and renowned Dhamma teacher Ajahn Jamnian and since 2010 she has been studying with Qigong masters from abroad.
Linda Kilby, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Lucid Dawn is a synthesist. Her greatest superpower is to transform pain, fear & sickness, into wisdom, strength & freedom, and to help others to find their superpowers!
Lucid has been on the Yogic path since 1994, five years into recovery from an abject early life of illness and abuse. On this journey she has learned many healing modalities. She does not subscribe to one ‘style’, but honors and integrates many. She is thriving as a mother, wife, teacher, community organizer, ritual leader & artist.
Lucid is fervent in her desire to help others thrive. She weaves the teachings of Yoga; movement, breath, meditation, & Non-Dual Tantrik philosophy w/ ritual & practice that acknowledge; season, celestial movements, and phases of life. She includes the use of sound healing & expressive arts. Her studies in neuroscience, cellular biology, nutrition, essential oils, Non-Violent Communication, earth magick, energy medicine, & Lifeline Healing Technique also inform her teaching.
Margi Young was named one of America’s 100 most influential yoga teachers by Sonima wellness site. She has been teaching yoga since she left the dance world in New York City in 2000. She was trained and spent her first 10 years of teaching at Cyndi Lee’s OM Yoga Center where she ended up leading many teacher trainings and heading the restorative department of this prestigious studio. Early in her career she also studied prenatal yoga at Integral, and restorative yoga from Judith Lasater.
Currently she is studying yoga for the pelvic floor with Leslie Howard and cranio sacral therapy with Ellen Mossman. Margi has recently contributed her writing to two of Linda Sparrow’s books, Yoga At Home: Inspiration for Creating Your Own Home Practice and YogaMama: The Practitioner’s Guide to Prenatal Yoga. She travels the world teaching yoga and is on the staff of Awakened Life School of Yoga leading teacher trainings in Bali. She also has on-line classes at www.yogaanytime.com. For more information, please visit her website at www.margiyoung.com
Melina Meza, BS Nutrition, Ayurvedic Health Educator, 500-ERYT
Melina Meza has been sharing her knowledge of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and whole foods nutrition with yogis around the world for over 20 years. Melina pioneered Seasonal Vinyasa, an innovative multi-disciplined approach to well-being, and is the author of the Art of Sequencing books, creator of the Yoga for the Seasons – Fall Vinyasa DVD, and co-director of 8 Limbs Yoga Centers 200- and 500-Hour Teachers’ Training Program in Seattle, Washington.
Melina holds a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she deepened her interest in the world of whole foods nutrition, and is a certified Ayurvedic Health Educator from the California College of Ayurveda. While attending Bastyr, she found what her body, mind, and spirit had been waiting for—yoga. From her very first class in 1993, she have never stopped exploring the physical, mental, and spiritual practices passed down from the ancient sages. Yoga has been the “launching pad”—as her teacher Gary Kraftsow describes it—that has rocketed her into a life journey of cultivating the disciplines necessary to gain insight and wisdom integral to being healthy, compassionate, and radiant, as well as how to share those gifts with others.
Currently residing in Oakland California, Melina facilitates year-round yoga and Ayurveda workshops and leads retreats in extraordinary sanctuaries around the world. You can also find Melina’s unique offerings on the Yoga Anytime, Gaiamtv and YogaUOnline and practice with her from the comfort of your own home. www.melinameza.com
Nathan draws his passion for bodywork therapy from the arts and sciences. As an artist he combines several modalities of fascial release to provide relief from chronic tension and pain patterns. As a scientist he looks for the activation and perpetuation of the issues that need to be address.
Nathan works closely with clients to help them revisit their connection with mind/body and build more awareness of oneself through massage therapy. Through this awareness comes the self empowering knowledge essential to assisting clients as they make these changes.
Nathan began his massage education in 2005 at the New School for Massage, Bodywork & Healing in Chicago. After, he obtained his National Certification in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork and began practicing in 2007. He currently is pursuing an advanced degree in Neuromuscular Therapy/Health Education at the National Holistic Institute. As a neuromuscular therapist he plans on addressing the cause of myofacial pain/dysfunction rather than just the symptoms. This modality of therapy will not only alleviate pain symptoms but will improve posture for long lasting effects, as well as increase circulation and energy for an overall better quality of life.
MODALITIES: Deep Tissue, Swedish, Trigger Point, Myofascial Release, Deep Transverse Friction Active Release, PNF Stretching
Mondays 3:30 – 8:30pm (Grand Lake)
Tuesdays 3:30 – 8:30pm (Berkeley)
Saturdays 1 – 6:30pm (Grand Lake)
Naushon has been a student of yoga since she was a little girl. Her challenging, yet compassionate Power Vinyasa classes are a wonderful way to cultivate strength, serenity, flexibility and balance. Inspired by her studies with Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Baba Hari Dass, and the teachings of Vispassana (Insight) Meditation, Naushon’s all levels classes emphasize the linking of movement with breath, cultivating our ability to be more fully present and awake in our lives, and navigate the challenges that arise with more grace and kindness.
“I have been teaching for the past 13 years. For me, yoga is life-saving. It grounds me when I feel disconnected, overwhelmed, and stressed out, and gets me back in my body when I feel stuck in my head. But mainly, yoga gives me perspective, reminding me to wake up and enjoy this beautiful life that I have been gifted…to realize that this moment, right now, is enough.”
Please visit naushonyoga.com for more information about Naushon’s workshops, retreats and booking private sessions.
Although I was taught yoga at a young age by my father, I came back to the practice on my own after starting my family and finally heeding the call to find stillness. The Vinyasa Yoga practice has helped me to find stillness within movement and the breath. I have been teaching yoga for more than 12 years. After founding a studio in the Washington DC area in 2005 and managing two locations with full class schedules, I sold the business and moved to Berkeley in 2013. As a studio owner and teacher I developed and led teacher training and organized and led international retreats.
My classes are fluid, breath-centered movement, alignment based, and lovingly taught. Each class is infused with philosophical intention that comes from many of my own experiences. My philosophy is that life is hard and although yoga at first may feel like a respite from the world it can also teach us how to live in the world with an open and accepting heart.
My love affair with yoga began during college when I wandered into a strong Vinyasa Flow style class. Through the intense physical and mental challenge, I was able, for the first time in my life, to turn off the constant background anxiety I had always walked around with. I would leave class feeling strong, empowered, happy, and at peace.
I’ve been teaching since 2001. Having struggled with and overcome a serious back injury, I bring compassion and empathy to my teaching. I know how hard it is to be patient and compassionate with your own body and brain, finding the balance between accepting ones own limitations and breaking through fear to challenge and push yourself. I encourage people to be light hearted and have fun, to work with their own unique bodies, to build the foundations for a sustainable, injury-free, lifetime practice.
My classes are vigorous and breath driven, with a focus on alignment…and having fun.
I believe the yoga mat is the perfect, safe place, to be challenged, practice equanimity, self care, and to build skills for real life.
I practice yoga because it inspires me to be a kinder, more aware, human being. Yoga has given me the tools to be stronger, happier, less stressed, and better able to gracefully handle what ever life throws my way. I teach to share this powerful, joyful, practice with as many people as possible.
When not on my mat, you can find me at the ceramic studio pursuing my passion to create art.
Learn more about Olivia at: www.oliviahulsart.com
I began my journey as a yogini in 1992. I was fortunate enough to live close to the original Jivamukti studio in the East Village of New York City. My first teachers were David Life and Sharon Gannon, who were the innovators of the Jivamukti style of Hatha yoga. In 1994 I received my yoga teacher certification from the Sivananda Ashram, and began teaching right away. I have studied many styles of Hatha yoga, including Kripalu, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Forrest, and Anusara. I have been blessed with many esteemed teachers in these varying traditions.
I teach from a place of deep intuition and a desire to share the potency of the practice. Yoga has given me many things, but one of its greatest benefits has been increasing my ability to tolerate challenge and it’s accompanying uncomfortable sensations. I believe that when we can stay present in a pose, truly present to the fluctuations of energy, sensation, breath, thinking-we are able to take that experience into our day-to-day lives, and find a more harmonious relationship to the mystery of life unfolding.
My classes are vigorous, deep, and anchored in therapeutic alignment principles. My aim is to help my students experience a profound inner stillness. We do this by bringing mindful awareness to our physical bodies, engaging our fullest breathing capacity, clarifying the energy body, and investigating the space between our thoughts. You will leave class feeling alive and refreshed on all levels.
Raku has over 20 years experience working as a bodyworker all over the world, including both coasts of this country, the mountains of western Switzerland, and in the Caribbean where he taught a Thai massage workshop to professional massage practitioners in the spring of 2015. He recently taught a bodywork workshop at California State University at San Francisco to undergraduate students.
Raku’s education background is in science, anatomy & physiology, and in teaching upper level sciences. His own practice includes meditation and yoga – he also teaches meditation and yoga in the community and for private clients.
Raku has extensive experience in athletics, including doing bodywork on elite athletes as well as coaching distance runners. He is a yoga practitioner as well as a yoga teacher so his bodywork intuitively supports this practice. He enjoys working with athletes and people who are motivated to create real transformation in their bodies and minds.
Saturdays 10am – 3pm (Berkeley)
Raynetta Van, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon…
Massage is an integral part of Rhea’s life. Since she was a young child, Rhea received massage as a way to when to relieve pain and encourage sleep. Because of that massage was always seen as part of a lifestyle rather than a job. In 2004, Rhea embarked on a spiritual journey to heal herself; she was trained in California Healing Arts in Southern California. Developing an awareness of the physical systems of the body and the energy within it had made her more in tune with her own body and its needs toward a holistic approach to good health. Being present and mindful during her sessions connects her intuitively to restoring balance. She is a believer in the spirit of humanity and our interconnectedness.
Modalities: Deep Tissue, Swedish, Acupressure, Thai Massage, Hot Stone, Pre-natal Massage
Healing Hours at Grand Lake:
Tuesdays from 10-3pm
Thursdays from 3:30-8:30pm
Sundays from 2:30-7:30pm
Rosy Moon Schlussel
Rosy Moon Schlussel was raised immersed in spiritual inquiry, leading to decades of dedicated yogic study and practice, first in the Astanga tradition and later in Tantric Hatha Yoga with Sophia Diaz and most recently through Psalm Isadora’s Primal Core 200 hr teacher training. Practicing and teaching through two pregnancies led her to study Active Birth with Carol Ironside in the U.K and discover a passion for supporting women in the transition to motherhood.
With dedication, effervescent humor and understanding, Rosy aims to translate the depths of the wisdom of yoga and the body for a modern audience.
I am a RYT® 500 yoga teacher with over 1,000 hours of training in yoga and yoga therapy. I offer yoga practices that cultivate spacious awareness for the hectic, modern life. I come to yoga with a Masters’ in nutrition and want to help individuals who are too busy for self-care to find balance through yoga, mindfulness and compassionate self-inquiry. The flavor of my classes revolve around nurturing the body and mind, attention to healthy alignment, and purposeful relaxation.
I offer group and private sessions throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and specialize in gentle-therapeutics, restorative and guided meditation.
Satya Gita Aune
Satya is excited to be part of the Namaste teacher staff, and loves the community here. She has enjoyed teaching yoga passionately for over 25 years. First starting her practicing and teaching at Jivamukti in New York in the early 90’s, Satya since has studied many varieties and styles including Standing Wave. She tailors her classes to the field of the room and facilitates intuitively through her seasoned experience as a teacher. Satya understands body alignment and offers extensive hands-on adjustments. She utilizes physical postures and alignment to open energetic dimensions and pathways in the body. Satya brings an emotional intelligence, a sensitivity to energy flow and a personalness with each students. Her classes often include inspiring music, laughter, physical workout, and a good time! You will find that there is an easy repoire with Satya because she brings such delight in her teaching. Yoga has taught her a lot about love and compassion and she looks forward to sharing that with you. In addition to her passion for yoga and bodywork Satya is deeply involved with the Diamond Approach School and has been for over a decade.
Sean Feit Oakes
Sean Feit Oakes, PhD teaches Buddhism, Haṭha Yoga, and Organic Intelligence® with a focus on the integration of meditation, philosophy, and self-inquiry with trauma resolution and social justice. He has studied in Zen, Tibetan, and Theravāda Buddhist lineages, including training as a monk in Burma, and is authorized to teach Insight Meditation by Jack Kornfield. In yoga, he began in Ashtanga, studying with Larry Schultz and Alice Joanou, did teacher training with David Moreno in the Bihar tradition, and Buddhist integration through the Spirit Rock Mindfulness Yoga and Meditation (MYMT) program. Other primary teachers include Eugene Cash and Sylvia Boorstein (Insight Meditation), Anam Thubten (Mahāyāna), Sayadaw U Janaka (vipassanā), and Steven Hoskinson (Somatic Experiencing, Organic Intelligence®).
Sean teaches at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, East Bay Meditation Center, and Namaste Yoga, and is core Yoga Teacher Training faculty (E-RYT 500) for Piedmont Yoga and Spirit Rock. He works with teens through Inward Bound Mindfulness Education and is Associate Faculty with Organic Intelligence®, teaching the integration of mindfulness with trauma resolution. Sean received his PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis in 2016, writing on states of consciousness in Buddhist meditation and experimental dance. He lives in Oakland with his family and beloved community.
Shelly Ross has been in the fitness arena since 1985. She twice was voted Best Nia Teacher by Diablo Magazine. She reached black belt status in Nia and has also been awarded the Recognition of Mastery by the Nia Creators. She holds over 700 hours in Yoga training studying with both Stephanie Snyder and Bryan Kest. Please visit her website: www.shellyross.com to learn more about Shelly and to stay updated for future retreats and workshops.
Simona Andreea Balan, PhD, E-RYT 500, YACEP, is an environmental scientist and yoga teacher passionate about helping people live healthier and more harmonious lives. She was first introduced to the physical practice of yoga in childhood, as therapy for scoliosis. While in graduate school, she re-discovered yoga not just as a physical practice, but also as a vehicle for mind-body connection and spiritual transformation. After a few months of daily practice, her body became stronger, her breath more relaxed, and her mind more joyful. Fast-forward to the present, Simona continues to practice daily…
Simona has over 3000 hours of yoga teaching experience, weaving in various styles, including Power Vinyasa, Iyengar, Restorative, Shadow Yoga, and Kum Nye (Tibetan yoga). She emphasizes safe alignment, balances muscular strength and flexibility to prevent or heal from injuries, and offers unique mind-body insights from aikido, a Japanese martial art of conflict resolution.
Simone offers Massage sessions that’ll leave you feeling deeply relaxed & nourished. She offers Ayurvedic warm oil massage, Thai Yoga Massage, Deep Tissue with Myofascial cupping, Pre-Natal massage, and Relaxation massage which she often blends in the subtle healing arts of Reiki and Acupressure. She can complement the sessions with add-ons like whole body dry brushing, hot oil scalp treatment and abdominal massage.
She’s also trained as a Yoga teacher & has been studying Ayurveda for the past few years and occasionally enjoys sharing about self-care gems from the Ayurvedic tradition that can optimize wellbeing.
Wednesdays 3:30 – 8:30pm (Berkeley)
Thursdays3:30 – 8:30pm (Berkeley)
Sita Devi is a yogini, kirtan artist and ecstatic dance facilitator in service to the divine. Sita feels the divine channel so deeply and intensely through Bhakti Yoga, she has chosen to make it her life’s purpose.
She holds a BFA in dance from the University of California Santa Barbara, and performed professionally with Method Dance and Ledges and Bones Dance Project in Los Angeles.
Sita registered with the Yoga Alliance for 500 hours and has been teaching yoga for 10 years. When she completed her 500 training Sita began teaching at Bhakti Yoga Shala, in Santa Monica, California where she developed her skills as a teacher and kirtan leader under the guidance of her beloved teacher and friend Govind Das. Her gypsy nature took her on tour teaching at yoga festivals and conferences all over the globe. Sita currently teaches weekly vinyasa and yin yoga classes and hosts a weekly community kirtan in Berkeley.
She intends to share this heart opening practice with everyone, making it easily accessible. It is her dream and goal to make Bhakti, devotional service, something that anyone can do, without limitation, expectation, discrimination or judgement. Sita’s devotional service is intended to include all beings in experiencing divine love and light.
Skeeter honours the peaceful warrior nature that is uniquely revealed in each of us, through this journey called yoga. Skeeter’s purpose is to create a safe space for all students to arrive on their mat, practice the beautiful art of unfoldment and connection to true authentic self.
Skeeter very much enjoys the emotional evolution that comes from the practice of Anusara yoga. She has studied with Katchie Ananda, Noah Maze and has done trainings with John Friend, Desiree Rumbaugh and Jim Bernaert.
Skeeter welcomes you to your mat, however you find yourself there.
Sonya Genel, ERYT500, joyfully embraces the power of yoga not only to heal and transform the body but also to heighten human consciousness and to create a radiant life. In her classes, Sonya weaves precise anatomical alignment with flowing movement. Always approaching her students with authenticity and humor, Sonya’s intention is to hold space for a direct embodied connection with Spirit. When she is not teaching yoga, Sonya can often be found drawing or painting. As an artist, she notices the profound effects yoga has on her creativity, and she has dedicated herself to enthusiastically guiding others toward enhancing their own unique life path through yoga.
When Sonya first discovered yoga in the 1990’s in Boston, she began with Ashtanga yoga and power vinyasa, but as her practice evolved she gravitated more towards alignment based styles such as Anusara and Iyengar. She attended her first teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Over the years she has completed hundreds more hours of training in alignment based yoga, prenatal yoga, anatomy, therapeutics, mysticism, tantra, and meditation. Sonya is grateful to have had the opportunity to study deeply with Sianna Sherman and many other incredible teachers.
Teresa was certified in Level II of the original Usui method of Reiki over 10 years ago, after completing a Bachelors degree in Publishing Production. After moving to Hawaii in 2005 and completing over 600 hours of education and practical training at Hawaii Healing Arts College she delved into the ancient Hawaiian healing technique of Lomi Lomi, learning from Kumu Karen Leialoha Carrol.
Since then she has devoted her life and career to massage and bodywork including her passion for movement and nutrition in all of her client sessions. Teresa’s primary focus uses trigger points, breathwork, stretching and deep tissue to get to the heart of the matter and help her clients regain their sense of wholeness. She also specialize in chronic headache/migraine and neck and shoulder pain and lower back issues.
MODALITIES: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Lomi Lomi, Reiki, Pre + Post Natal
Thursday 10am-3pm (Grand Lake)
Fridays 10am-3pm (Grand Lake)
Thomas lived, studied, and worked at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California for 9 years and is influenced by the ocean waves and their rhythmic connection with the shore. With over 1000 hours of massage training with emphasis in energy work, deep tissue, acupressure and craniosacral, Thomas listens quietly with a nurturing and meditative presence to support unwinding and release, stimulating healing and spiritual renewal. His work is rooted in the classical Esalen massage with long flowing strokes, gentle stretches, and a strong quality of presence.
We are not just our bodies and Thomas completed seminary and served as a hospital Chaplain, worked in hospice and is now finishing up another masters in counseling psychology with an emphasis is somatic therapy. Thomas is here to support your whole being.
MODALITIES: Esalen, energy work, deep tissue, acupressure and craniosacral.
Mondays 10-3 (Grand Lake)
Fridays 3-8pm (Grand Lake)
Thursdays 3:30-8:30pm (Berkeley)
Tim Rubel, Front Desk Coordinator
Bio coming soon!
Tosha Beverlin, Teacher Training Director
Tosha joined us from the east coast just a few months ago. Her journey here actually began a few years ago when she realized the fashion industry was not the right fit for her. She went back to school at IIN to become a health coach which has guided her life onto a more fulfilling path. As one change led to another, she decided a change of venue was in the cards as well. Luckily, her husband, dog and cat were up for the adventure as well. They are living in Oakland now and reveling in the adventure of exploring all that the northwest has to offer.
In her spare time, Tosha loves to cook and bake, constantly trying new recipes and evolving her definition of what it means to eat healthy. She also loves to be outside; hiking, biking, gardening and spending time with her dog.
Vickie Russell Bell
Vickie has been studying yoga since 1990 and began teaching in 1994 in Ohio. Her teaching style emphasizes body awareness, alignment, and the integration of mindfulness and ease in Hatha yoga practice and daily life. Vickie sees yoga as a direct way to manipulate the nervous system in a world full of stimulation and stress. Her intention is to help her students to increase their level of daily awareness and consciousness, so that they might begin to unearth the Truth of who they really are.
She is a graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Studio Advanced Training Program and a certified “Relax and Renew Trainer” through Judith Lasater’s accredited program. Vickie is also on the core faculty for the Advanced Training Program at PYS.
Learn more about Vickie at www.vickierussellbell.com.
Victoria Russell, Front Desk Coordinator
Victoria Russell teaches and practices yoga in the Bay Area, and believes strongly that if you have a body, you can do yoga. She spends most of her time working for various nonprofits whose causes she whole heartedly supports. When she’s not working, cooking, or reading you can find her on her mat—and if she’s not there, her two orange tabby cats are probably there instead.
First and foremost, I am a student of yoga. When I started my practice, I had no idea how powerful of a teacher yoga would be for me. Second, I am a yoga teacher — to not share the life lessons yoga has taught me would feel like an injustice. While I am a licensed attorney in both Texas and California, I now teach yoga full time. I have a disciplined and lighthearted asana practice with the intention of achieving single-minded concentration. By focusing on the mechanics of the body, I provide structure to take students safely through gentle movements to advanced poses and craft each class to be uniquely and intelligently sequenced. I strive to encourage students to explore all the dimensions (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) of yoga — learning their own yogic lessons along the journey.