Natasha Martinez, eRYT
Natasha is both the Studio Owner and a Teacher. Natasha began her yoga journey in 2010 while studying at Towson University. Yoga quickly became a way for her to check in with herself and set aside the stresses of studying and daily life. From the very beginning of her yoga journey, she knew she was interested in sharing the practice of yoga. As a Resident Assistant on campus, she would frequently take her residents to yoga practices with her.
After graduating from Towson, many things in Natasha’s life changed, but yoga remained constant. She found herself working as a desk assistant at the Olney Yoga Loft (now The Happy Yogi) and eventually felt so immersed in the yoga community that she was interested in pursuing a deeper and richer understanding of yoga.
In 2015 Natasha completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at the Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda under the direction of Michelle Dalbec and Rudy Pierce. Natasha’s love for yoga has evolved a lot since that first class in 2010. Today she is especially passionate about gentle yoga. Despite still enjoying and seeing the benefits of a vigorous practice, she feels that the essence of yoga is most accessible through a gentle practice.
Natasha has seen the profound impacts of yoga in the way that she approaches her life off of the mat. Since beginning her yoga journey she has found steadiness, more self-awareness, and a deep connection to her community. Through her teaching she hopes students can find physical, mental, and spiritual wellness on and off of the mat. She believes that every person working towards their personal health and wellness becomes a source of health and wellness to the world around them.
200-hour Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda Teacher Training, Lenox, MA
30-hour Radiant Child Yoga Program (Levels 1-3), Fulton, MD
Usui Reiki Certification Level 1& 2
Currently working through 300-hour Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda YTT
Carrie Vieira, RYT
Carrie first discovered meditation and yoga 15 years ago when she was teaching middle school in New York City and looking for a way to manage a high-stress work environment. She got more than she bargained for as her practice initiated an ever-unfolding journey of transformational healing, growth, and abundance. Since then, she has been committed to sharing both yoga and meditation with others. Her classes encourage journeying inward through a combination of asana practice, meditation, and pranayama in order to deepen our experience of the present moment and to uncover the profound peace that is available within us right here, right now.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Thrive, Rockville, MD
160 hour Meditation Teacher Training, The Mindfulness Center, Bethesda, MD
Usui Reiki Master/Teacher Certification through Reiki Masters Laura Zamfir and Shaman Mignon Manin Erixon-Stanford
Charlene Marie Muhammad, M.S., LD, IAYT
Charlene Marie Muhammad is a traditional healing practitioner who has been embracing the spirit of natural living for over 25 years. Charlene’s practice is predicated on formal Master’s level training as well as her own personal use of plants, food as medicine, and movement therapy, giving her hands-on relationship and knowledge of these traditional healing modalities.
Charlene is a Certified Yoga Therapist (International Association of Yoga Therapists) with over 500 hours of yoga teacher training. In addition, Charlene is also an early childhood educator, childbirth Doula and certified Yoga instructor. A graduate of Cornell University, Charlene holds a Master of Science Degree in Herbal Medicine from the Maryland University of Integrative Health, and is also a licensed dietitian.
Currently, Charlene facilitates wellness lectures and workshops and conducts private sessions with groups and individual clients. Charlene also teaches a variety of yoga classes around the metropolitan DC area and is the principal yoga instructor for a clinical study of yoga for the National Institutes of Health. (http://clinicalstudies.info.nih.gov/cgi/detail.cgi?A_2012-CC-0145.html)
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
500 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
Certified Yoga for Arthritis Teacher, Integral Yoga, New York, NY
Chris Kohout, eRYT, RYT500
Chris teaches Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga methods to encourage students to discover optimal fitness and health. She believes that only through aligning, strengthening and healing the physical body, can we be grounded and fully present to experience life to its fullest. Chris is inspired in her teaching to give her students an invigorating physical practice that incorporates the mental benefits of yoga to find more clarity, steadiness and joy both on and off the mat.
Chris initially discovered the practice of yoga as part of her recovery from a back injury. She later decided to deepen her practice to manage the stresses of work and motherhood. After experiencing the truly transformative power of Yoga in her own life she decided to share the gift of Yoga with others through teaching.
Chris completed her teacher training under the YogaWorks Method which infuses the alignment principles of Iyengar Yoga with the sequencing methods found in Ashtanga Yoga. Additionally, Chris has completed the Willow Street Immersion Program focusing on yoga philosophy, therapeutics and meditation.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Works Affiliate Studio (QuietMind), Washington, DC
Aligned Vinyasa with Heart Teacher Training with Todd Norian & Rolf Gates, Kripalu, Stockbridge, MA
500 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
David Cohen, RYT200
Dave started his public service career as both a volunteer and career Firefighter/EMT in Montgomery County, Maryland at the age of 16, eventually accepting a position in Federal Law Enforcement and remaining an active volunteer in the Fire/Rescue Service. Along the way Dave learned of the stresses associated with high risk emergency response careers and need to deal with the effects on the mind/body. Although physical fitness is typically an important part of a law enforcement or fire/rescue wellness program, when Dave started his own yoga practice 14 years ago, the mind/body connection was often overlooked. Dave observed that there would be numerous benefits to First Responders of all types from practicing yoga. Dave is a 200 hour RYT and has been a certified Maryland State EMT since the late 1970’s. Dave holds a BS in Fire Science from the University of Maryland.
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Simon Says Yoga, Bethesda, Maryland
Ellen Bennett, RYT
Though Ellen has practiced yoga for 18 years, she has enjoyed movement throughout her life, from ballet as a child to swimming competitively as a teen and running as an adult. She found her true calling when she discovered yoga, first as a method to combat stress, then as a means to physical health and well-being. When she realized the connection between yoga and the joys of self-discovery, she deepened her practice and committed to a sustained effort to enjoy the full range of yoga’s benefits. Ellen’s classes encourage students to practice kindness toward themselves as they strive for a rewarding balance between effort and calm. Ellen’s background in biology and horticulture gives her a unique perspective into the wonders of science, the human body, and nature’s healing qualities. Ellen sees and feels countless similarities between the positive effects of nature and yoga on the mind, body, and spirit and strives to share her enthusiasm for both with her students.
200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Simon Says Yoga, Bethesda, Maryland
Frank Thomas, RYT
After practicing yoga for over 20 years for his personal health and well-being, 12 years ago Frank began to deepen his study and practice, and realized a strong desire to pass on to others the benefits of the practice, becoming a certified yoga teacher in 2006.
Since then, with every passing day, with every yoga class as a practitioner and teacher, he gains new appreciation for the vital life force that is yoga, both on and off the mat. Through regular classes and study, he has enriched his own life and accepts as the deepest of blessings every opportunity to help others enrich their lives through yoga.
Frank received his 200-Hour Teacher Certification from Lotus Gardens Yoga School in Connecticut and is a registered teacher with Yoga Alliance. In his classes he integrates his knowledge and experience of various approaches to yoga including Ashtanga, Baptiste, Forrest, Iyengar, Sivananda, Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga.
In his teaching, he often integrates other disciplines such as Tai Chi and Zen meditation and encourages a lightness of spirit in his classes. His goal always is to provide a safe and open environment in which all students may find their way to the deep joy and the unity of body, mind and spirit that is yoga.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Lotus Gardens, LLC, Sherman, CT
Jessica Koch is a certified Five Element Medical QiGong instructor. She began studying QiGong shortly after her introduction to the benefits of meditation over sixteen years ago. In addition to practicing various forms of QiGong, she continues to study and explore the healing effects of qi through energy balancing modalities such as Zero Balancing and External Qi Healing. She enjoys providing the opportunity for others to experience healing in both the classroom setting and one-on-one sessions.
Julia Otten, RYT
After losing my father to cancer and getting diagnosed with some health issues I struggled to make sense of my new normal. It wasn’t until I started practicing yoga that I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yoga became my outlet and helped me realize I had the strength within myself to get through the highs and lows of life. Helping others see this is what made me want to become a teacher. We are stronger than we give ourselves credit for and if we can take a few minutes on our mat each day transformation will happen. Every BODY is welcome in my classes! I combine pranayama and asana to encourage students to work through mental and physical sensations in order to stay present and receive the many blessings yoga offers.
CYT 200 ISHTA and Prenatal from Thrive Yoga
YogaFit Level 1-3, YogaFit Prenatal/Post-Partum, and YogaLean
Karen Tasto, eRYT
Karen works as a professional life coach, Reiki master/teacher, & sacred circle facilitator. She also teaches workshops and leads retreats. Her spiritually-based life coaching helps women awaken to their power within so they can live authentically & courageously. She has been leading sacred circles for several years & the Women Healing Women Program is her signature offering. Learn more about Karen through her Blog at https://medium.com/@karentasto
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
Certified Reiki Master Teacher
Kathy Page, RYT200
Kathy discovered yoga in 2007. She was taking pilates classes at a studio and tried a yoga class on a whim. It didn’t take long before she fell in love with the practice and completed her teacher training. As new teacher, she explored many styles with many different teachers. She teaches Hatha style classes that merge therapeutics, alignment, focused breathwork, and lots of variety of movement. She completed a yoga therapy training and now works privately with clients and offers therapeutic workshops for specific conditions.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Blue Heron Wellness, Silver Spring, MD
Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy Training, Foundations Program, MA
Lisa Danahy, eRYT
Lisa began her yoga journey in the early 1990’s. Recognizing immediately the physical benefits of yoga and gradually uncovering its profound spiritual dimensions, Lisa was moved by her practice of Kripalu Yoga. In 2011, Lisa completed her 200-hour certification in Pranakriya Yoga, a classic form of Hatha yoga taught in the tradition of Swami Kripalu. Shortly thereafter she obtained additional certifications in Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra ®, Dynamic Gentle Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Kripalu Yoga in Schools, and Radiant Child Yoga. She has also completed the Radiant Child & Family Yoga 200-hour certified trainer program and leads yoga teacher trainings nationwide as a facilitator and trainer for Radiant Child Yoga. Lisa is a published author on yoga and mindfulness education, most recently completing a five-article series that appeared in Teaching Young Children, a publication of NAEYC, and has produced Create Calm, a CD of gentle yoga and guided relaxations available through iTunes.
Her long-time interest in serving adults and children is supported by a BA in Psychology and over 30 years of experience as an educator, former school administrator, and human resource manager. Lisa now leads private and group classes for students of all ages and off-site trainings and workshops for schools, businesses and organizations throughout the DC area as the founder and director of INA Wellness.
Lisa aspires to be, in the words of Swami Kripalu, a “Pilgrim of Love” and is committed to improving health, enhancing resilience and building community through yoga and mindfulness education.
200 hour Pranakriya Yoga, Santa Fe, NM
200 hour Radiant Child Family Yoga, Sterling, VA
95 hour Radiant Child Yoga, Sterling, VA
60 hour Kripalu Yoga in Schools, Lenox, MA
Certified Children’s Yoga Teacher Trainer, Radiant Child Yoga, Sterling, VA
Approved Trainer, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington, DC
Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, Pranakriya Yoga, Santa Fe, NM
Dynamic Gentle Yoga Teacher Training, Rudy Pierce, Lenox, MA
Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra Teacher Training, Jennifer Reis, Lenox, MA
Therapeutic Yoga Intensive, Ashaya Yoga, Todd Norian, Lenox, MA
Monya J. Cohen, RYT
Monya began her own yoga journey more than 15 years ago and discovered the value of mindfulness and yoga in her own life. Monya believes in the healing transformation of yoga and is dedicated to bringing a unique yoga experience to her students. Yoga is the perfect antidote for depression, anxiety, trauma and many other physical and mental barriers to achieving a fulfilling life. In addition to teaching yoga to adults of all ages and mobility levels, Monya teaches yoga to pre-teens and incorporates yoga and mindfulness in her clinical practice. Monya is expanding her yoga skill set as she embarks upon certification as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. When not taking or teaching a yoga experience, Monya practices as a licensed psychologist in Maryland and works with middle and high school students with emotional disabilities.
RYT 200-hour, Inner Axis Yoga, Reston, VA
RYT 200-hour Radiant Child Family Yoga, Sterling, VA
95-hour Radiant Child Yoga, Sterling, VA
Level 1 & 2 Reiki Certification
Level 1 iRest Yoga
Natalie Dodson, RYT
Natalie Dodson has been a certified Kripalu yoga teacher since 2003. Her teaching style is infused with the joy that she finds in yoga. She fosters a safe and deep experience for each participant. Classes, whether gentle or more vigorous, are paced to allow time to really experience each pose. Natalie believes that the truest experience of a pose is guided from within, by one’s response to it. Through cultivation of fine awareness, the teacher within becomes our most important guide. With practice, a fluid calibration process between experience and outward expression form a synergy; one’s yoga begins to flow even in stillness. More than any outward measure of a pose, the intelligence of the inner process should be trusted. A teacher is there to remind you of this while you memorize how safe alignment feels and gently deepen your practice from there.
Rachel Bennett is a PMA-Certified Pilates Teacher and is excited to join The Happy Yogi community. She’s been teaching Pilates since 2009 and knows the results Pilates can bring to each of us—an aligned, strong, toned, and healed body. Whether in class or one-on-one, Rachel has experience working with a wide range of clients to help achieve fitness goals, rehabilitate injuries, or reclaim functional movement. In addition to her love of Pilates, Rachel enjoys meditation, yoga, running, hiking, and keeping up with her two young children.
Sarah Fishman, eRYT
Sarah Fishman is a Washington DC native who received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. After several years as a professional modern dancer, Sarah was referred to a yoga class to help recover from a knee injury. What she found on the mat was not just a physically healing routine, but also tools to live a happier, healthier, and more fulfilling life.
Sarah’s gentle yet rousing teaching style results in an invigorating Vinyasa Flow practice, with an emphasis on alignment, healing and transformation. Her ultimate intention is to deliver a safe, challenging, and rewarding practice, where all levels of students are encouraged to first find and connect with their breath, and never to sacrifice the breath to “achieve” a yoga posture.
Sarah is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200, and has over 2,000 hours of teaching experience. She has been blessed to study with master teacher Max Strom since 2007, is certified in his ‘Way of Life’ teacher training, and has assisted him in workshops and teacher trainings in DC and PA. Sarah has also studied with and drawn inspiration from the teachings of Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, and Judith Hanson Lasater.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Max Strom
50 hour Prana Flow YTT with Shiva Rea, Kripalu, Stockbridge, MA
Detox and Vinyasa Intensive with Seane Corn
The Spine, Anatomy, Asana and Teaching with Juidth Lasater
Anatomic Yoga with Dr. Ray Long
Relax and Renew; Restorative YTT
Tantra Yoga Immersion with Rod Striker
Tanya Proffitt is a former competitive triathlete, and long time Mat Pilates, Vinyasa-style Yoga, and suspension (aerial) yoga instructor who believes passionately in the transformative power of yoga and self-awareness. By combining movement, breath work, and meditation to gain self-knowledge, she supports each student in creating an environment to deepen their connection to the intuition, strength, and love to be found within. Her style of teaching is fun and flowing, and always aims to evenly distribute the body’s energies throughout the body, eliminating mental, physical and emotional blockages. Tanya’s hobbies include cycling, going to the beach, reading, cooking, being with friends, and being outside. She lives in Olney, MD with her three sweet fur-babies and two beautiful children.
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Fit, Arlington, VA