Teachers 2018-01-24T20:13:34+00:00


Alex Donegan, RYT

Alex’s yoga practice began as a mere curiosity – something to replace the usual routine. Soon enough, a previous life of competitive sports made way for introspection and fun on the mat. Awakened by the space and self-compassion ignited by yoga and meditation, Alex learned that a sound body and mind are just a few salutes away.

While living in Australia, Alex completed her yoga teacher training with John Ogilvie. She became immersed in Purna yoga (meaning integrated or complete), which represents a holistic approach to yoga. After moving back home, Alex started spreading her energy and encouragement to students through strong sequences and creative flows. In each class, Alex strives to create a sense of ease while evoking courage and curiosity for students of all levels.

A teacher is one drop in the ocean, and each student is a ripple. Spread the smiles.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training,  Byron Yoga Centre, Australia

Briani Claggett, RYT

Briani’s mission as a yoga instructor is to hold space for the natural healing that occurs when an individual comes into alignment with his or her own divinity. She aims to inspire and empower her students to cultivate authentic self-love and expression by offering classes that weave these themes together with unique sequencing. Her classes provide a physical challenge that will encourage growth and guide her students outside of their comfort zone.

Briani initially came to yoga to recover from a hamstring injury but quickly discovered that yoga’s healing powers extend far beyond the physical. It is her belief that yoga’s effects can span across all threads of the interconnected web between the mind, body, and spirit.

200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Meghan Currie’s Yoga Teacher Training- Maderas, Nicaragua
Level I Reiki, Healing Spaces Wellness, Columbia, MD

Bryan Rezende, RYT

Bryan has a background in soccer, gymnastics and acrobatics. He began his practice at Olney Yoga Loft where he was deeply touched and motivated by the loving teachers. Years of competitive sports left him with many chronic aches and pains. Upon taking his first few classes he found that the slower and more controlled movements elicited new and restorative sensations after practice.

Bryan became certified at the Kripalu School of Yoga in the summer of 2015. His focus is on alignment and fluidity to promote healthy exercise of the mind and body. Having experienced the rejuvenating effects of a regular yoga practice, Bryan’s goal is to teach his students the techniques and asanas which will help them on their personal journey through a life of wellness. He believes that harnessing the power of breath and harmonizing it with movement is the core of a practice which leads to lightness and opening both within the body and mind.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Kripalu School of Yoga, Stockbridge, MA

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

Chris is both the studio owner and a teacher. She 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

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

Galen Tromble, eRYT

Galen believes in the transformative power of yoga to help us learn who we are and relate to the world with positivity and gratitude for the gift of being alive. A graduate of Willow Street Yoga Center’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program, Galen focuses on the connection of mind and body through the breath, teaching with clarity, attention to sound alignment, and a sense of humor. His intention is to help each person find the practice that best serves them, here and now.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Willow Street Yoga Center, Silver Spring, MD

Heidi Sohng, RYT

Heidi started practicing yoga in 1997, and was immediately drawn to the practice as a self-empowering and healing tool that helped her stay focused, and centered, while she worked as an early childhood and elementary school teacher. She began teaching the teachers and children with whom she worked, and trained with Sharon Gannon and David Life to eventually become a Jivamukti certified teacher. She also trained with Alan Finger of Be Yoga, as well as Shiva Rea and Molly Kenny. After moving to DC and having her daughter, Heidi taught yoga to different populations, including toddlers, and elementary to high school children, through YoKid, community outreach programs, and lil omm, where she also taught adults. Heidi is rewarded by seeing the effects of teaching yoga to so many, including her own daughter, Lucy.

200 hour ISHTA Yoga certification, New York
500 hour Jivamukti Yoga certification, New York

Jessica Jenkins, eRYT500

Jessica’s approach to teaching yoga is both playful and welcoming. Her intention is to offer strong alignment while integrating breath with movement. Each class is designed to enhance body awareness, strength and mobility, making it both challenging and calming at the same time. She is a long time practitioner and has been a registered yoga teacher (RYT 200) and prenatal yoga teacher since 2013. She received her training at The Yoga Center of Columbia, studying under Kathy Donnelly and Lucy Lomax, where she returned to deepen her studies, becoming RYT 500 December of 2015. Her prenatal training was done at Willow Street yoga where she studied Anusara yoga and completed the Willow Street Immersion Program, focusing on yoga philosophy, therapeutics, and meditation. Due to the guidance and warm-hearted nature of her teachers and mentors, Jessica aspires to always teach from a place of kindness, respect, and love.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
500 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD

Jessie Kates, eRYT

Jessie is a unique breed of teacher and there is no one else quite like her. A modern day yogi, she takes the ancient teachings of yoga and breathes new life into them, making them relevant again and adaptable to our lives today. She provides students with an extraordinary and rare opportunity to unearth powerful life lessons, and each class is a deep physical, emotional and spiritual journey. Jessie doesn’t hold back. She is eloquent, edgy, a new fresh perspective that the current landscape of yoga so desperately needs. She sees things differently, presents them differently, and is leading hundreds of students each week to new dimensions of growth and freedom in their personal lives.

Her classes each week are epic adventures, fueled by juicy music. She thinks outside the box, introducing her students to new and exciting ways of flowing on the mat. Jessie’s classes are exciting and innovative, transformative, raw and authentic and she can’t wait to take you on one hell of a physical, emotional and spiritual ride.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, BMore Yoga, Baltimore, MD
200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, LifePower Yoga, Michigan
30 hour Yin Yoga Yoga Teacher Training, Sky House Yoga, Silver Spring, MD
30 hour Aerial Yoga Teacher Training, Transcend Wellness, PA

Julia Shelton 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 has been teaching yoga since 2003 and has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. She is continually amazed at the abundant gifts and lessons yoga offers, which she loves to share. Her own practice brings her back to her heart and reveals and affirms all that is true. Karen’s classes promote access to the inner experience and connection to a higher force of Love, while allowing her students to feel nourished, empowered and healed.

Karen received her 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher training from The Yoga Center of Columbia and has acquired over 500 additional training hours in yoga therapy, alignment, breath-work, and meditation. She also is a Reiki Master Teacher, offering private healing sessions as well as private yoga. Additionally, she leads women’s soul circles.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
Certified Reiki Master Teacher

Karla Kettler, eRYT500

Karla began her yoga adventure 20 years ago, using meditation and a yoga practice to help her deal with the stress of college life. After college she studied Massage Therapy and used her gifts to help others manage their stress. Now, as a yoga teacher, Karla’s focus is on helping others to connect with their breath and body, coming into the present moment and turning down the volume on the constant chatter of the mind. She believes that yoga brings increased strength, flexibility, and balance to the body, as well as the mind and spirit.

As a Yoga for Round Bodies teacher, Karla creates a protected and community oriented environment for heavier students, who often feel uncomfortable in gyms and yoga studios. Also trained as a Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra teacher, she often brings yoga nidra into her classes as a unique way to alleviate the symptoms of stress and to allow for a greater sense of connection.

Karla’s extensive knowledge of the body, her informative teaching style, and her sense of humor will make your yoga class a wonderful experience.

200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
500 hour Yoga Teacher Training, The Yoga Center of Columbia, Columbia, MD
Yoga of Recovery certification, Yogaville, VA
Yoga for Round Bodies certification, online
Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra certification, with Jennifer Reis, eRYT500

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

Maria Hamburger, eRYT

Maria is a senior teacher with 16 years of teaching advanced to beginning yoga and 10 years of co-leading teacher training programs. Maria was first certified through Anusara Yoga and spent many years mentoring other teachers.

Maria’s love of yoga is infectious. Her commitment to teaching with precise alignment enables students to feel safe and free in their own bodies. Her progressive style of teaching allows one to experience the building blocks of yoga and grow from the ground up. Maria’s goal is to support each students to embody themselves with confidence and joy.

She also specializes in working with musicians dealing with repetitive strain injury and overall performance enhancement. In addition, Maria works with students who have Multiples Sclerosis.

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

Natasha Martinez, RYT

Natasha studied Art and Museum Studies at Towson University. While there, her roommate suggested she try a yoga class. In 2010 she took her first class: hot power yoga! She enjoyed the non-competitive challenge of these classes and continued to attend them regularly. Since then, she has branched out to other types of yoga as well.

In 2015, Natasha studied under Michelle Dalbec and Rudy Peirce and received her 200-hour certification at the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Today, Natasha treats yoga as her art form. “Yoga is everything I need to maintain a healthy, balanced life on and off the mat,” she says. “Yoga has become a way for me to relax, challenge myself, cultivate self-awareness and help my community to do the same.”

200-hour Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda Teacher Training, Lenox, MA
30-hour Radiant Child Yoga Program (Levels 1-3), Fulton, MD
Currently working through 300-hour Kripalu School of Yoga & Ayurveda YTT

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.

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