We select our teachers for their depth of practice, the extent of training, and their experience. Our teachers are dedicated to the lifestyle of yoga and will inspire you to be a healthier, calmer and happier person.
Many of our teachers have been trained through Yoga Shakti's extensive Teacher Training and Advanced Yoga Studies course, internship and mentoring programs, and in-depth study and guided practice training classes in yoga philosophy and lifestyle. They are taught to live in yoga with passion and teach with a commitment to the ancient traditions of yoga.
Michelle began studying yoga in 1996 and quickly fell in love with its calming, balancing, and healing benefits. In addition, she was immediately drawn to the spiritual aspects of yoga; it felt true and authentic, a feeling that was reinforced as she gained a deeper understanding of yoga's ancient history.
When she discovered Yoga Shakti, she knew she had found a community that also valued practicing authentic yoga. At that time, she began studying the deeper, more esoteric aspects of yoga with her teacher, Jnana Nanda Bharati.
In 2005, Michelle received her certificate to teach yoga after completing Yoga Shakti's advanced studies training program. In 2010, Michelle completed the Yoga Shakti Advanced Teacher Training and became a 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Using the ancient practices taught to her by her esteemed teacher, her class focuses on the breath, the foundation of any asana practice, and also on fundamental yoga postures which increase energy, strength, flexibility, and balance. These practices have helped her realize a calm, relaxed, happy way of being, and it is her intention to share the same experience with her students.
Valerie started practicing yoga in 2002, and began teaching in 2005. Her training in yoga asana has been through Yoga Shakti; additionally, she is studying ancient yoga philosophy through the Shakti Yoga courses offered by the studio. These courses have largely influenced her teaching style, as she aspires to help students cultivate not just strong and flexible bodies, but also calm and centered minds. She teaches in a flow style, sometimes dedicating part of each class to poses that develop a particular muscle group. Valerie is inspired by the integrity of her students, and enjoys helping them discover the power and potential that is unique to their own bodies. Through her calm but focused style of teaching, she is motivated to help each student explore the same, limitless benefits that she enjoys through her own yoga practice.
Holly was drawn to the non-competitive nature of yoga asana and began her yoga practice at the age of 18. In a short period of time, she had developed a body awareness that allowed her to shed excess weight. She had struggled for years with overweight and had tried many different weight-loss regimens, but it was yoga asana that was effective and she soon had a regular practice.
From 1998 to 2004, she was affiliated with Cloud 9 Yoga School and completed both the 200 and 500 hour training modules. During that time she had a modest but successful teaching practice in Long Beach, mentored recent yoga teacher trainees and was en route to becoming a member of ‘LA’s hip yoga scene’.
Having previously been taught a westernized approach to the practice, Holly experienced authentic yoga for the first time at Yoga Shakti in 2004. It was then that her yogic education truly began; she has been studying the internal aspects of yoga with Diana Pipaloff and Jnana Nanda Bharati ever since. In 2007, she re-certified with Yoga Shakti’s 200hr Teacher Training course and completed Yoga Shakti’s Advanced 300hr Teacher Training in 2010.
Holly's passion and expertise is in prenatal yoga and she teaches the Prenatal Program at Yoga Shakti. The prenatal yoga classes are designed to give an appropriate workout for an expectant mother, to create a state of internal relaxation and to assist in preparation for childbirth. The Prenatal Program at Yoga Shakti has helped hundreds of women maintain strength and comfort during their pregnancies.
Holly also teaches a regular class with creative sequencing and internal focus. She shares her excitement and enthusiasm so that advanced students feel motivation to deepen their practice and those newer to yoga will experience a focused practice with results.
Holly is also part of the Yoga Shakti Mentor staff as well as the Youth Yoga Team. She is currently working towards a BS in Nursing with a focus on Midwifery in order to expand her knowledge, passion and practice of the Yoga of Birth.
I started doing yoga about 20 years ago while teaching exercise in a health club in Brentwood CA. I’ve always been interested in personal growth and spirituality, so yoga was a natural inclination. For many years my yoga practice was on and off. I only became truly immersed in yoga after studying at Yoga Shakti with Jhana Nanda Bharati and Diana Pipaloff. Prior to studying at Yoga Shakti I was only aware of the physical limb of yoga, the asanas or poses. When I discovered that there was an entire philosophy and practice that dated back thousands of years and was available for study at Yoga Shakti studio, I was deeply interested. Through the experience of studying with these authentic teachers, I realized that there truly is a science to yoga that brings health and happiness to the body and mind. I was in my late forties and was hoping to find a practice that would deepen my experience of life. The shine had worn off a lot of material things and achievements. And so, since my first class with Jhana Nanda Bharati and Diana Pipaloff, I have been blessed to be a part of the yoga studies at Yoga Shakti. I took the advanced studies teacher training and found the joy of teaching yoga to others. I also learned how to develop a yoga program for kids with the help of Jhana Nanda, Diana and three other yoga teachers at the studio. We all work together, grow together and practice our yoga together at Yoga Shakti. It has all been wonderfully life-changing.
Joy possesses a wonderful calm which permeates her classes. She began practicing yoga in 1999 during her first pregnancy. Through yoga she found rejuvenation and upliftment. A strong interest in the ancient science and culture of yoga, the Vedas and Ayurveda was sparked when she read the Bhagavad Gita. Joy deepened her yoga studies and practice when she discovered Yoga Shakti and the Shakti Yoga courses. Wanting to share her sense of inspiration, well being and belief that yoga can change our lives with others, Joy trained at Yoga Shakti and began teaching in 2004.
After many years working in the corporate world, Molly came to yoga in search of finding balance and a way of being that brings health and happiness to the body and mind. She has always been drawn to personal and spiritual growth and feels grateful to have been introduced to Yoga Shakti Studio.
In 2008 Molly enrolled in the Studio’s teacher training program to further her practice. As a result, she found a love of sharing yoga with others and immediately began teaching. She also discovered yoga philosophy and knew she had found her path to deepen her experience of life.
In 2010 Molly completed an additional 300 hours of training through Yoga Shakti’s Advanced Teacher program, studying with Diana Pipaloff and Jhana Nanda Bharati, to become a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Molly is also involved with the Youth Yoga Team and has been a part of the new teacher Mentor staff.
Molly attends continuing education workshops and study groups, and is deeply committed to the on-going learning experience of being a yoga practitioner and teacher. Molly aspires to help students not just physically, but also to transition their yoga practice into their lives. She believes yoga can be a life changing practice and is for anyone despite his or her age or fitness level.
I fell in love with yoga in my first class over ten years ago and immediately asked the teacher how I could learn more. Over the next few years, as I taught creative dance, yoga helped me to find peace of mind during difficult times in my life. After I attended a 10-day yoga retreat with master yoga teacher Annie Carpenter that I knew that I wanted to teach. I completed the 200-hour teacher training with Annie Carpenter and Sonya Cottle in Los Angeles through Yoga Works in August 2007 and began teaching immediately thereafter.
I am continually practicing and glean from different styles including Iyengar, Vini Yoga, Anusara and mostly Vinyasa. I have grown to love Vinyasa style as it links movement and breath so completely with flowing movement. Strength, flexibility and balance are all key components to yoga, but I find benefits way beyond the body. I do yoga for my sanity... ok, peace of mind. :) Every day I look forward to sharing my passion with my students. Namaste.
Brynn has been a lover of yoga since the age of 11 and as a 15-year practitioner of yoga, she has studied with masters from many yogic traditions. A Registered Yoga Teacher since 2001 (under the tutelage of Karin O’Bannon at Yoga Works) she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Chapman University, where she explored psychology, social consciousness, philosophy and religious studies. Brynn’s continuing education includes post-graduate studies in biology, chemistry, anatomy, and physics to further her understanding of the human body. With over 8 years of teaching experience, she has come to find a voice and style that synthesizes her interests in anatomical precision, philosophical eloquence and spiritual curiosity.
Brynn teaches an innovative blend of traditional yogic disciplines combined into unique and vigorous vinyasa flow sequences focused on synchronizing breath with movement. With equal attention is given to strengthening and stretching, her classes prime the body to become balanced, toned, supple, and free from injury. Guided into ease, practitioners in her classes challenge their boundaries and leave with a renewed feeling of invigoration and awareness.
Brynn strongly believes in the personal benefits of yoga, but also holds that the true purpose of yoga is to make the world better by bringing more consciousness and compassion into it, one yogi at a time. To help students bring their practices off their mats, Brynn posts monthly inspirational writings and musical playlists on her website (www.trueflowyoga.com).
Andrea started practicing Iyengar yoga in 2002 as a way to calm the mind and gain personal balance while working in a stressful corporate environment. She continued her steady practice and began to experience yoga’s physical benefits as well as its calming effects on her mind. As her children grew, Andrea dedicated more time to deepening her yoga practice. She started to feel an increasing drive to share the yoga experience with others, as she has personally observed its life-changing benefits on fellow yoga students, no matter their age or ability. She completed the Yoga Shakti 200-hour Teacher Training and Advanced Yoga Studies in 2010. She hopes her students will embrace their yoga practice with the same joy and love as she does.
Colleen first started taking yoga as a way to heal her body and mind from the rigors of a professional dance career. She was introduced to Anusara yoga (a type of Hatha yoga) through her main choreographer and fellow dancers and fell in love with the elegant system of alignment and the philosophy of inherent goodness. With the support and guidance of several exceptional Certified Anusara teachers including Tony Guiliano, Kenny Graham, Scott Lewicki, Tara Judelle, Jessica Jennings and the wonderful Los Angeles kula, she decided to pursue the path of service as a yoga teacher. She is constantly refining her practice and teaching skills with notable leaders in the Anusara community including Noah Maze, Christina Sell, Amy Ippoliti, Sianna Sherman, and Anusara founder John Friend. A dedicated student of Tantric philosophy, she also studies with Dr. Douglas Brooks. She hopes to be able to inspire students to safely and courageously honor their own hearts; to hold space for them in class to push their edge, respect their limits, and align themselves with their true nature. Yoga is a celebration of the gift of embodiment and her classes reflect that - let’s play!
Ell was introduced to yoga when she was twelve years old. Her mother took her along with her to yoga classes in Jerusalem, Israel, where she was born. Ell started her Health and Fitness Career in the 80's when she instructed classes in various physical fitness fields to include Dance and Step Aerobics, Total Body Conditioning,Spin and Mat Pilates. Ell received her degree and certifications from the University of Wingate in Natania, Israel. In the year 2000 Ell attended a three day Yoga Seminar taught by two Master Trainers who were visiting Israel from the United States. During this Seminar, Ell realized her biggest passion was Practicing Yoga. From that day and on, she has been enthusiastic about teaching Yoga and evolving her Yoga experiences. In 2003 Ell graduated from the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Israel, with 300 practice hours of Ashtanga Yoga, under the direction Shimon Ben Avi, Master Teacher. In the past ten years , Ell has been practicing yoga, has operated her own fitness and Pilates business and has also served as a yoga instructor at various well known gyms, studios and at private homes as well. In 2005 Ell moved to California from Israel to be close to her two daughters and since then she is devotes to yoga. Ell has become versed in the Vinyasa Flow and mainly in Gentle Yoga using authentic yoga traditions. Ell believes yoga can truly help people feel better and improve their lives in so many ways. Ell's class concentrates on breathing and body movement. Ell's goals for each of her students are to gain happiness, physical well being and tranquility. Ell welcomes student of all ages and levels of experience.
Micha turned to yoga in 2008 while recovering from a battle with depression and eating disorders. What started as a fitness activity became a redefined way of life. During classes, Micha was continually reminded that she was a good person deserving of a fulfilling life. As she gradually developed a more dedicated practice, she began to discover a true, healthy, and whole Self. When asked by one of her teachers whether she was herself a yoga teacher, Micha was taken aback. However, after careful consideration and with plenty of encouragement from peers and mentors, Micha enrolled in and completed Yoga Shakti's 200 hour Teacher Training course in 2009.
Micha believes that everyone's experience of yoga will be unique, and hopes to inspire others to find their practice. She strives to create a welcoming atmosphere in her classes to allow students to delve deeper into their individual yogic journeys.
Nicole's love for health and well-being was sparked while taking prenatal yoga classes during the pregnancy of her 1st son. In 2004 she decided to re-enter the working world and turned her passion for mind/body movement into her career and completed her AFAA Personal Training Certification and 24 Hour Group Fitness Instructor Certification. She went on to become certified with Stott Pilates, Reformer Certification, and Power Pilates Comprehensive Program. Returning to her yoga roots Nicole completed her 200hr RYT Yoga Certification with Yogaworks. She completed her 300hr RYT Yoga training with James Brown at American Yoga School in Santa Monica, CA. Nicole believes that through thoughtful and well aligned asana practice, the true practice of yoga can be found. Nicole's growth as a teacher is to always remain a student. She continues her education through conferences and workshops with master teachers from around the country. Nicole resides in Irvine, CA with her husband and two sons. Nicole believes that health and wellness are available to everyone at any age or fitness level.
Louise is a very natural, enthusiastic and invigorating yogini. She has had a passion to help people become healthy from an early age. When Louise was 15 she worked as a sous chef at a health center in Denmark and began a life long pursuit to find healing through natural remedies. At the age of 17 she began taking yoga classes and later became a yoga instructor in 2002. She taught at Yoga Shakti and received guidance from Jnana Nanda Bharati, a yogi from the Himalayas. Louise has also studied under David Swanson, Erich Schiffman, Ana Forest and Dharma Mittra. In 2008 Louise went to San Francisco to learn contortion and worked at Yoga Tree SF, San Francisco’s premier yoga studio. During her time in the Bay Area Louise received her 200-hour teacher training from Dharma Mittra and from Yoga Tree SF, she also finished her contortion training and became a contortion teacher at Circus Center San Francisco. In 2012 Louise moved back to Southern California and has returned to Yoga Shakti to continue her pursuit to share health and happiness through yoga.
Katie found her way onto her yoga mat while in college at Boston University as a way to connect with peace and compassion within. She found the practice of stillness offered by yoga to be the most challenging aspect, but something kept drawing her back. In the process, she discovered an ability to listen to her body and spirit with an open heart, setting her on her path to wellness and cultivation of her full self. Her growth continues to uncover the depths of compassion, awareness, and joy within. This practice of deep listening eventually led her to complete her 200-hour teacher training through YogaWorks with Natasha Rizopoulos. Katie teaches dynamic hatha yoga classes, helping her students to align their flow, and find strength and openness in their body.
Renee began a career as a personal trainer in 2002 as a way to help others and to manage her symptoms of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition she was diagnosed with in 1996. Working in the fitness industry gave Renee a broad knowledge of the physical body, but left her craving a stronger connection to the mind and spirit. That desire brought her to Yoga Shakti and she has been obsessed with the study of yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and asana practice since. Her goal is to pass along to her students the healing, body strengthening and mind calming benefits of a consistent yoga practice.
Diana's thirst for the spiritual runs in her veins as she comes from a family of yoga practitioners; in 1850 her great grandfather practiced yoga in Eastern Europe. Her father had a very disciplined practice at the age of 15. Her mother also practiced and introduced her to yoga while still in her teens. Prior to discovering yoga Diana was seeking to find a true spiritual path. At the age of 16 she began intense study and practice of martial arts, became vegetarian and searched for understanding in the field of psychology. Through her martial arts training she also began the study of Eastern philosophy. Diana had an intense desire to have a true teacher, an authentic spiritual practice and to experience the mystical truths of the Universe. Her search led her to the practice of yoga. She delved into yoga with passion and devotion, knowing that she had found her path. Her dedicated yoga practice helped her through her BA Degree in Health Psychology from UCI, which she graduated Cum Laude. At this point she followed her heart and made the difficult decision to study yoga and Ayurveda and not pursue a Ph.D. After three years of study and practice she received her Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist Certificate from the California College of Ayurveda. The deep thirst for spiritual growth was not yet satisfied until she met her Guru Jnana Nanda Bharati. From their first meeting Diana knew Jnana Nanda Bharati was a true Yogi, with many years of dedicated and disciplined study with his Guru and other masters from the Himalayas, and an incredible ability to live in and balance the spiritual realm and this world. She is extremely grateful and blessed to be his student. Under her teacher she was initiated into the ancient, most highly respected and deeply esoteric lineage of Shri Vidya and the ancient Bhramanical Tradition, and has been continuing her intense spiritual studies with her Guru since 1999. She has a dedicated daily practice and her path is to continue her studies, live in accordance to the ancient Vedic ways and put her spiritual lessons to practice in her life. She is studying various Vedic sciences such as Yoga, Pranayama, Mantra, Tantra, Jhyotish, Ayurveda, Yantra, Puja and Sanskrit. She can trace Her Guru's unbroken lineage (Parampara) for thousands of years into ancient India. She is fully dedicated to the life transforming work of Shakti Yoga, which she teaches with her Guru and continues to inspire her students to turn inward, grow and find their spiritual self. She is certified at the highest level as a E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance.
Jnana Nanda Bharati has dedicated over twenty five years to intense study and training in the ancient texts of the Vedas and Tantras, under the guidance of his esteemed Teacher, as well as, other Himalayan Masters that his Teacher sent him to for specific training. His teaching expertise also includes texts such as the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Soundarya- Lahari, Vivekchuramani and the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. He is proficient in the various sciences expounded in the Vedas such as Mantra, Yantra, Tantra, Yoga, Pranayama, Jyotish, Vastu Shastra and Puja. Jnana Nanda Bharati hails from the ancient, most highly respected Shri Vidya tradition. His unbroken spiritual lineage (Parampara) can be traced back in India for thousands of years. This esoteric tradition is highly regarded and considered by most spiritual masters as the highest path as it integrates the wisdom of Vedanta with the practice and strict mental discipline training of Tantra and Raja Yoga. There are only a handful of people in all of India who are initiated into this practice.
Born into a family of yogis, Shanti Walling began to learn about the Indian culture and the philosophies of yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda at a very young age. She received her first Mantara when she was five, and has continued her mediation practice ever since. At the age of 22, Shanti committed to a dedicated yoga practice, which eventually led her to Yoga Shakti. It was there that she completed her 200Hr Teacher Training with her teacher, Diana Pipaloff.
Shanti remains passionate about maintaining the integrity of the deep roots of yoga, which reflects in her classical, yet well balanced approach to teaching. She believes that the utmost important role as a yoga teacher is to create an environment where everyone can feel and experience accessibility to their own yoga practice. She is thrilled and inspired to have the opportunity to offer this to her students.
Shanti will be participating in Yoga Shakti’s Advanced 500HR Teacher Training in 2009 and is deeply committed to the everlasting learning experience of being a yoga practitioner/teacher.
Ivy graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1981 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting. In 1987 she left New York for sunny California! Pursuing a career as a freelance graphic designer, while somewhat profitable, didn't satisfy her. In 1989 her brother died suddenly and this first close encounter with death changed her forever. After a mourning period an awakening began, which led her to the path of yoga, opening her to meditation, metaphysics, astrology, breath work, energy healing, emotional healing, nutritional healing, chanting, intuition and empowerment.
In 1993 Ivy attended her first yoga class. The relaxation/meditation at the end of class felt like "coming home" and kept her "coming back". In 1996 she completed 150 hours at Santa Monica Healing Arts College earning certification for Massage Technician. In 2002 she volunteered to work reception at Full Spectrum Yoga in Newport Beach and soon was granted an opportunity to co-manage the studio and participate in teacher training. In 2003 she completed the 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training. Everything unfolded so naturally, effortlessly and beautifully.
Ivy integrates guided imagery, breath awareness, yogic philosophies and the higher mind, in a nurturing and supportive environment. Her classes include gentle asana and breath awareness to calm the mind, open the body, and invite length in the spine. Yin and Restorative yoga practices allow deep relaxation, integration and time for meditation and being. She loves turning people on to yoga and encourages the discovery of their own inner light, inner teacher, and skillful use of the transformative powers of yoga. All are Welcome! Ivy has been teaching yoga for 6 years and practicing yoga and meditation for 16 years. Ivy is devoted to living her spiritual life, teaching peace, inspiring well-being and consciousness. She believes in answering the call for restorative action and revitalizing our spiritual selves. Namasté.
Mariza was introduced to the science of Yoga when a friend invited her to attend a Yoga Philosophy course being offered through Yoga Shakti Wellness Center. Mariza knew early on that she wanted to share the experience of classical hatha yoga with others.
In 2006 she completed Yoga Shakti’s Teacher Training Program. Thanks to the guidance of Yoga Shakti’s Director Diana Pipaloff and esteemed teacher Jnana Nanda Bharati Mariza has gained a deeper understanding of the different practices of Yoga. From the philosophy, practices and subtle concepts of yoga to the history of ancient Vedic and yogic culture, the programs and loving community at Yoga Shakti have contributed in the development of Mariza’s internal well being as well as her abilities to guide students in their asana practice.
Today Mariza is dedicated to incorporating her spiritual studies into a daily practice and continues with her focus of the deeper, more esoteric aspects of yoga with her teacher Jnana Nanda Bharati. She invites you to experience an authentic asana class that incorporates ancient practices developed over 5000 years ago passed on to her by her teachers and the entire Yoga Shakti community. Through a sequence that incorporates classical sun salutes and a strong foundation of yoga postures Mariza’s class offers a well balanced asana practice that will increase your strength and energy while helping to calm your mind.
Kathryn Carlson took her first yoga class at a summer camp when she was just 11 years old. She found it to be one of the defining experiences of her life and continued signing up for the class until the camp ended. She loved everything about yoga....the poses, the breathing, the history...and hoped to continue practicing even after the camp had ended. Later she found Yoga Shakti Studio and started taking classes there as often as possible through her years in high school. During this time Kathryn decided that some day she would become a yoga instructor. Thinking of it as a far off dream, she was excited to hear that Yoga Shakti Studio offered teacher training. Shortly after completing the training in 2008, she was invited to come teach at the studio that has been such a huge part of her yoga experience. Kathryn is very pleased to be teaching at Yoga Shakti Studio, and hopes to help bring the joy of yoga to many others.
Lauren Dahl E-RYT 200, RYT 500 has over 1000 hours of training and teaching experience in Yoga and Meditation. Her mentors are Meditation specialist Rolf Sovik Psy.D and Yoga master Sandra Anderson E-RYT 500 of the prestigious Himalayan Institute wellness center. She has been practicing Yoga since she was a child and has a daily Yoga and Meditation practice. Lauren's skill sets lie in teaching and practicing advanced Yoga, stress relief, and spiritual growth. She teaches Yoga and Meditation to private clients and group classes at Yoga Shakti. Her mission is to bring the benefits of Yoga and Meditation to anyone interested in opening their body, relieving stress, and finding a deeper significance in life.
Yoga is a set of ancient and refined techniques used to calm the mind, open the body and bring wellness to the person as a whole. Some of the practices that makeup Yoga include poses, Meditation, relaxation, cleansing, chanting, and breath-work. Anyone can do Yoga and it is not a religion but a science, a philosophy and an approach to life. It can be practiced in a class, alone, one-on-one with a teacher, but most important, as one studies Yoga they start to translate its psychological and physical benefits into daily life.
"It is the mind itself which builds the body." Fredrich von Schiller
After a lifetime of dance and competitive athletics, Debra discovered the Pilates Method in 1995 while studying dance at Riverside Community College and found herself at home with the body awareness and mindful movement of Pilates. It was clear to her that Joseph Pilates' Methodology was a great remedy for our society's sedentary lifestyle and lack of body awareness. She found in Pilates a method of developing true strength, not just the appearance of strength. In addition, she found the concentration on breathing and flow to be powerfully healing and a stress reliever. As a result, she studied to be a Pilates Instructor with the Physical Mind Institute and began teaching Pilates in 1996. Corporate America called to her and she stayed there for many years, but found her life lacking balance of body and mind. She longed for the healing movement of Pilates, so she decided to renew her dedication to teaching the Pilates Method by pursuing Pilates Comprehensive Teacher Training with Dance Specialization at Body Arts & Science International. In her classes, she strives to help her students discover the healing potential in their own bodies made possible through the breathing, flow, and mindful movement of the Pilates Method.
Debra's classes focus on developing overall balanced strength and flexibility with special attention to strengthening the core, creating a power center for balance and strength in the body.
Yoshi spent the first few years of her life living at a Zen monastery in Los Angeles. Her father was a Zen master and her mother is an anthropologist and artist. From the time she was born her mother would cradle Yoshi in her arms while she meditated. Over time, this instilled a reverence for peace and an understanding for the passion, dedication and discipline that it takes to train in a spiritual practice.
Yoshi has been practicing yoga since 2002. She began yoga as part of her rehabilitation from a severe car accident that derailed her career path as a professional dancer. She was immediately drawn to the physical and spiritual blend of yoga. As a personal trainer and a tri-athlete, she was drawn to more physically demanding styles of yoga asana including Power Vinyasa and Ashtanga. A more challenging asana practice led to a deeper meditative state than she was able attain during her years of Zen training. In search of a more traditional and authentic spiritual practice, Yoshi discovered Yoga Shakti. She completed her 200-hr teaching certification and is continuing her 500-hr training under the guidance of Yoga Shakti’s Director Diana Pipaloff and esteemed teacher Jnana Nanda Bharati. She teaches a physically challenging asana practice while emphasizing the yogic ujjai breath. Yoshi is also finishing her Masters Degree in Archaeology at CSU Long Beach.
Rae came to Pilates after training as a dancer for 15 years. After a traumatic back injury she was directed to Pilates as a way to recover the strength and flexibility she had lost through the injury. She loved the way that Pilates made her body feel so much that she chose to study it more deeply and eventually to become an instructor. She uses Pilates as an ideal way to develop and maintain strength and posture and to have a healthy, lithe body. She received her Pilates certification through Orange Coast College in 2007 and teaches mat work as well as apparatus.
Casey Hall originally began practicing yoga to deal with physical limitations resulting from a car accident. She found that yoga did indeed help her to improve her physical strength and flexibility, but that the benefits were more far-reaching than she had imagined. In her practice of yoga asana at Yoga Shakti, Casey discovered a way to calm and center her mind and spirit as well as an environment of teachers committed to foster her growth and practice.
Casey completed her teacher training with Diana Pipaloff and continues her study of yogic philosophy as well as asana. She is grateful for the opportunity to share the benefits of yoga as well as the joy and fun that come along with the yoga practice.
Mona Lisa Godfrey was born in Riga, Latvia, and grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2000 she and her family moved to Orange County, California. The struggle of constant movement and change made Mona turn to dance and athletics for refuge.
Initially drawn to the physical aspects of yoga, she attended classes sporadically at her local fitness club to help improve balance and flexibility. Her practice took a sharp turn a few years later when she began to attend regular classes at an authentic studio. Over time, she noticed that the most significant impact of her yoga was happening off the mat.
The practice began to transform her life, helping her quiet the mind and develop a more meaningful and spiritual relationship with herself and others. She knew then that she was in it for the long run.
In 2010 Mona completed the 200HR Teacher Training at Yoga Shakti Studio. She continues to broaden her studies and enjoys being a student as well as a teacher, so that she can continue to spread the gift of yoga. She invites you to share her joy and hopes to see you in class!
Alison first discovered yoga at a Bikram studio in 2006. She had been active all her life, playing team sports throughout high school and college, and began participating in triathlons and running after college. After a running injury in 2008 she was unable to participate in any physical activity for several months.
In 2009 Alison began her practice at Yoga Shakti in Irvine. Classical yoga helped to rehabilitate her leg and allowed her to reach a new level of fitness. Her intention was to use classical yoga as a stepping-stone to get back in shape for Bikram yoga; instead, she found classical yoga to be an amazing combination of physical exertion and mental relaxation. She fell in love with the practice and never looked back.
In 2010 Alison completed a 200-hour Teacher Training and Advanced Yoga Studies course with Diana Papoloff of Yoga Shakti. She hopes her students leave behind notions of what their bodies cannot do, and instead focus on the amazing things everyone can achieve in their own time.
Katelyn is a native of Irvine, CA who has an energetic and loving family that values health and physical activity. They supported her through her many years of competitive swimming, which led her to Syracuse University. It was there that she first discovered yoga during her studies of Anthropology, Religion and Society.
When Katelyn started attending classes at Yoga Shakti, she became deeply committed to her practice, internalizing the benefits and value of yoga. Not only did it help her transition out of a competitive athletic lifestyle, but it also supplied her with the tools needed to cultivate balance, energy, and focus in all areas of her life.
Captivated by the endless possibilities of growth that yoga can provide, Katelyn has committed to ongoing practice and study. She has completed the Yoga Shakti Foundational Teacher Training and will be participating in the Yoga Shakti Advanced Teacher Training beginning Fall 2011.
She is thankful and excited to have the opportunity to share the experience of yoga with others through teaching as well as continuing her own education and growth.
Leah has been practicing yoga since 2000 and has studied yoga in Israel, India, The Netherlands, and the USA. Teaching since 2003, her training consists of a 200 hour basic certification from The Kripalu Center in MA, 240 hours in advanced instruction in Vijnana yoga, and a prenatal yoga teachers training. Leah deeply enjoys meeting new people and sharing her experience and love for yoga. To her classes she brings warmth and positive energy, gives personal attention, and focuses on the fluidity of movement, accuracy and a healthy alignment.
Ashlee was introduced to yoga when her first “real” job drove her to seek relief from being desk-bound for the first time. Her first class was an Ashtanga class with Dawn Yager, and she never looked back. In yoga, she found a physical release for her energy, and the centering effects of this moving meditation improved her relationships with herself and her loved ones. She knew she needed to share. From the beginning of her yogic studies, Ashlee has endeavored to live her life according to ahimsa—non-violence. She practices yoga daily, on and off the mat, incorporating awareness, compassion and love whenever possible into every interaction, believing these qualities are our keys to evolving into better human beings. She continues to learn and practice in order to share with others, honoring the styles and methods she has studied.
With the encouragement from her first teacher, Ashlee earned her 200hr certification with a strict focus on Ashtanga yoga in the tradition of Sri Patthabi Jois, from whom she learned that yoga is "99% practice and 1% theory." She continued her yoga studies, and is honored to have received her 500hr certification from Sri Dharma Mittra, who taught her how to live the life of a yogi. She also recently trained at Farm Wellness, an organization dedicated to cultivating the health of individuals, farms and communities through training and retreats that harvest the full potential of local sustainable farms, a cause close to her heart. She is grateful to all teachers past, present and future.
Ashlee strives to increase her students’ focus and sense of calm through attention to breath and physical sensation, keeping ahimsa at the forefront of the practice, (as well as a sense of play!). She encourages all students to be beginners, to take one step at a time and enjoy the adventure of discovering something that can teach us so much about ourselves and the space we occupy in the world.
I have recently experienced a new solace in yoga through the guidance of Yoga Shakti’s program and the support of its mentors. Shakti’s ability to recognize my potentials and abilities has inspired a new confidence in what I am capable of in and out of the studio. Before yoga, I had fervently practiced martial arts. I began at age 8 competing on a national circuit and eventually worked my way through high school and college as an instructor. After moving to California for graduate school, I was unable to find a new martial arts studio that fit what I had before. This is when I stumbled into yoga. After about a year and a half, a friend introduced me to Yoga Shakti, and within a week, I had found my new home. I am honored to be a part of this yoga family and look forward to sharing my practice with you.