Gizella Donald, ERYT, Studio Director & Founder, yoga mayu of San Francisco
Gizella began her studies and practice in 1990 at the Sivananda Yoga Center in San Francisco. Since then she has practiced in different classical Yoga traditions as well as the more physical Ashtanga and Iyengar styles. Gizella integrated this wealth of experience into a process towards true and lasting transformation. In her classes, she emphasizes correct alignment of the body in yoga postures to minimize the potential for injuries and to maximize optimal energy flow. She teaches an energetic, challenging yet playful class, and excels in modifying poses so that they can be accessible to all levels of students. She inspires her students to extend the practice of yoga by encouraging them to bring the love of yoga into their everyday life.
Lila Butler, Teacher, Studio Manager
Lila will never forget the first time she stepped onto the mat and how balanced, calm and rejuvenated she felt - in fact she left class feeling like a superhero. Coming from a background in dance, she has spent most of her life studying the body in motion and approaches yoga with a sense of humor and a lighthearted playfulness.
She teaches a fun and invigorating vinyasa flow class that emphasizes alignment, connection to the breath and exploration of self. Her classes are designed to open the body, build strength and flexibility and most importantly, to cultivate a calm and content state of mind.
Sally has been teaching since 2005, when she was certified by the Living Yoga Program in Austin, TX. Originally drawn to yoga for its centering and heart-opening benefits, she came to rely on the practice for relief from chronic migraines and now savors yoga as a way of living and experiencing the world. Inviting to all levels, her classes are challenging yet not intimidating. She draws inspiration from her love of music, often times striking a chord with her students through the joy of song and movement (see http://sallyoga.posterous.com/ for class playlists!). Sally spends her days at the international design and innovation consultancy IDEO, loves to play outdoors, walks really fast, and plays the drums. On and off the mat, she strives to take each moment with awareness and a sense of humor.
Let go of your mind, and hold on to your yoga mat! James integrates asana, breath work and meditation into a flow that will help you take flight. He first experienced yoga in his grandmother's garden. As a child, he continued this yoga education under the tutelage of his Tae Kwon Do instructor. Later as a teenager, an illness brought him to holistic medicine, where he began to understand the mind-body connection, and the nature of dis-ease. As an adult, having healed an "un-healable" back injury on the yoga mat, James was inspired to share what he had learned, and an unexpected spiritual awakening kept him on this track. His preferred style is warm vinyasa flow, although you can call it whatever you want.
Yoga is co-creation and while he’s happy to instruct, he’s more interested in journeying with you. An avid festival chaser, his playlists will have you wiggling your tailbone between poses, as you dance with your breath. Bring a friend, bring a loved one, bring your Self, and let’s do this!
Originally an east coaster, Leigh has been active all her life; from tearing through the woods as a tenacious 10-year-old to playing college athletics to long-distance running, she has never stopped moving. She first came to yoga hoping it would help her sit still. It did, indeed, and she's been on the mat ever since. Having practiced yoga for nearly 10 years, she finds that the perfect confluence of movement and stillness in a vinyasa practice keeps her consistently grounded in this very harried world. Leigh's classes offer fluid and challenging sequencing designed to open the body, build strength, and, most important, calm the mind. With a strong focus on alignment, core engagement, and moving with the breath, she helps practitioners work to attain the ultimate benefits from their practice. Leigh received her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification here in San Francisco at the Yoga Tree and has also trained with amazing teachers such as Seane Corn and Sarah Powers.top
A classically trained dancer from Singapore, with over a decade of experience in professional dance, teaching and choreography, a non-practicing lawyer and Registered Yoga Alliance teacher, Roy's classes are about taking the blinders off and giving oneself the radical permission to honestly explore what one's mind and body are capable of. A testament to the transformative, grounding and healing power of the Yoga practice, Roy's mission is to encourage an inner intuitive listening and to raise one's consciousness to embrace all aspects of the human experience freely. With a mindful practice, he supports people in honoring and appreciating themselves and provides a safe and non-judgmental space for them to discover their inherent greatness. Drawing also from the disciplines of qigong, martial arts and ballet, Roy teaches a dynamically sequenced yoga flow that encourages a holistic awareness of breath and proper alignment; strength and flexibility; functionality in movement and conscious co-ordination. "It's about bringing the necessary consciousness into everything we do. The practical mind training aspect of Yoga is an invaluable tool to help one to first, be aware of the obstacles to freedom and then allowing these obstructions the unhealed mind makes upon reality to be gently removed. Steady determination and a sustained yoga practice will help one to ground in unqualified awareness... to allow the human being to live a loving, healthy, abundant and fearless life." - http://www.roygan.comtop
Jody took her first yoga class in 2001 in Los Angeles, inspired by a friend who had demonstrated a handstand. She remembers that first class well - the physical challenge and the focus required, mixed with a exciting feeling of clarity. She did not do a handstand that day but she was hooked on yoga, and two years later graduated from The Center for Yoga Teacher Training Program in LA. She has been teaching ever since.
Her classes are infused with the philosophy that we are, all of us, 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 one can be involved in the process and not focused 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.top
For Ben, yoga began as an intensely physical, joyful quest to restore life to his body after years of stressful work, travel to developing countries and less than healthy habits. He soon noticed the physical benefits of yoga as his muscular, immune and nervous systems healed. Gradually he began to experience the more subtle mental and emotional benefits of a yogic life.
Yoga is a process of experimentation that can guide students in discovering the practices that best fit their unique bodies. In his teaching, Ben strives to share the science of yoga with all of his students, whether their goal is increased flexibility and a stronger core or greater satisfaction in their work, relationships and health.top
Barbie loves inversions, arm balances, and singing at the top of her lungs. After spending a number of years teaching fitness and participating in classical hatha, vinyasa, and bikram yoga classes, Barbie studied with Shakti Mhi and began teaching yoga in 2007. She has since studied with Dina Amsterdam, Janet Stone, Jane Austin, and Les Leventhal to deepen her practice and develop her teaching. The spiritual nature of Barbie's yoga teacher trainings is complemented by her academic background in Kinesiology and Cognitive Science, making her uniquely qualified to host yoga classes that promote harmony of the body, mind, and spirit. She promotes joy and presence in her classes by making them challenging but achievable; entertaining but uncomplicated; and accessible without losing touch with tradition. If you would like to know more about Barbie, please visit her website at www.barbielev.comtop
Stephanie was introduced to yoga after being advised to take a break from playing sports given the several knee injuries endured over the years. She was a collegiate tennis player who also played soccer, golf and gymnastics. It was during this time that she realized the numerous benefits of yoga as it made her focused, rejuvenated and more in tune with herself. She is extremely passionate about yoga and is driven to share the benefits with others to better their life and achieve their true potential.
Stephanie teaches a well-sequenced vinyasa flow class that can be challenging. She teaches with love and compassion for her students and encourages them to bring out the best in themselves through practice and discipline.
Stephanie has completed 500 hours of study with David Vendetiti in Boston. Glen Cunningham, Tias Little, Natasha Rizopoulos, Jason Crandell and countless others have also inspired her practice and teaching.top
Katharine Otis teaches her students to honor them selves in this moment. She has come to find that the Yoga practice is constantly changing, as we all are, and asks her students to experience where they are in this inevitable process of things. Katharine invites her students to use the tools of the Yoga practice: one's relationship to their breath, the ancient body shapes, liberating the voice through chanting, and sitting in stillness; as a means to awaken to their true nature.
Katharine welcomes all levels to her class and looks forward to continuing to share the healing practice that she loves. Katharine was certified to teach at the Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City in 2005.top
Jacqui has spent most of her life in her home country, South Africa, where she studied movement through dance since childhood. She has been stretching, twisting, binding and playing with the physical form for years and believes "the juice is worth the squeeze". More than a decade ago, her love for dance and movement made way for a seamless transition into yoga. She teaches a challenging vinyasa flow class, with a strong emphasis on alignment and breath. She enjoys leading students through an asana sequence that is both creative and mindful in the hopes of taking each student a little deeper into their experience on the mat. Jacqui's motivating and grounded energy provides her students the opportunity to work safely towards their edge while staying aware of their boundaries, turning frustration into determination for future possibilities.
"I bow gratefully to all my students, as they have proven to be my greatest teachers."
Laurie Sleep, RYT-500, began practicing yoga to help manage a chronic injury and got hooked on both the physical and mental benefits. She earned her 200- and 300-hour certifications through YogaWorks in New York, apprenticing with Jeanmarie Paolillo. She recently returned to her native California and is teaching yoga at various locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. Laurie’s classes combine flowing sequences with careful attention to alignment, creating a warm and encouraging, but challenging, environment for students of all levels. In addition to teaching yoga, Laurie has over 15 years of experience as a classroom teacher and teacher educator. Teaching yoga provides the opportunity to combine her passion for yoga with her love of teaching, and she feels fortunate to have the opportunity to share the benefits of yoga with her students. When not on her mat, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, and playing outside. www.laurieyoga.comtop
Megan's practice and teaching is rooted in the heartfelt belief that Yoga is simply a good thing. Her practice began by accident nearly twenty years ago during the deep dark freeze of a Chicago winter. After stumbling blindly into an Iyengar Yoga class in hopes of eluding the freeze, it was revealed to her that 'living is much easier if you breathe whilst doing it.' Over a decade and half on she is still trying to figure that one out, but, she practices it every day and has found life easier.
Megan completed the Teacher Training at The Yoga Tree in San Francisco in 2005, has studied pre-natal yoga with Jane Austin and anatomy with Ellen Heed and is inspired greatly and continues to learn from the teachings of Sri Dharma Mitra, Judith Hanson Lasater, Dr. Timothy McCall, and her dear friend Les Leventhal. But the teachers she is most grateful for are her son and her students. Megan's classes are filled with love and humor, sometimes silence and now and again a little Led Zeppelin. Come one, come all, do some yoga, find some ease. For more information: http://www.megaredfishyoga.comtop