Each instructor here at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga brings their own love, style, compassion, and expertise for the practice to yoga students. With instructors of various backgrounds and techniques, we're able to offer a full range of classes and are excited to have you discover your own individual practice. Learn more about the Pilgrimage teachers below.

Sujantra McKeever

Studio Founder

Sujantra was born in San Francisco in 1962 and moved to San Diego in 1980 to attend UCSD. He is the founder and owner of the Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga Studio, which he opened in 2006.

Sujantra first became interested in hatha yoga as a young boy and used his practice of asanas (the yoga postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques) as a stepping stone into the “inner aspects” of yoga: concentration, meditation, and contemplation.

In 1980, Sujantra began studying meditation with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy. He has taught meditation for over 40 years in over 20 different countries and has authored several books on eastern philosophy, success motivation, and meditation. Two of his books were used by major universities to teach wellness, stress reduction, and comparative religion.

Sujantra believes it is important to demystify meditation and to offer the complete yoga experience by teaching all eight aspects of yoga and exploring the relevance of this ancient art in our modern lives. While he has taught Yoga for Children and Yoga I, Sujantra currently leads meditation classes, workshops, and training for the community. He encourages students to practice both at home and at the studio.

Sujantra is an ACE certified Group Fitness Instructor.

Sujantra's publications are available on Amazon and in our studio retail boutique. They include:

  • 7 Secrets to Super-Health
  • Paths are Many, Truth is One: Exploring the Unity of All Religions
  • Learn to Meditate
  • Strategies for Success: An Outline for Personal Growth
  • Focus – Relax – Peace (60 min. CD)
  • Learn to Teach Meditation and Mindfulness
  • Teaching Mindfulness to Children: A Practical Guide for Parents, Teachers, and Care Givers

Astika Mason

Astika Mason is a 40 year disciple of spiritual master Sri Chinmoy. A universalist who has practiced several spiritual traditions in both monastic and non-monastic communities, he believes the essence of personal practice is the same across all faiths. A poet, essayist and short story author, Astika is a lay contributor to the Buddhist Text Translation Society when not working on his first novel, The City of The Goddess.

Deanna Salazar, (aka Hypsy-Gypsy), RYT 200

Like so many others, Yoga has lifted me out of a dark place in my life and has shown me how to lead life with a brighter perspective. I have been devoted to my practice since 2010. I began my journey with a modest 5-10 minute morning meditation, then gently and gradually I started blossoming into the Yogini I now am. I’ve been so turned on by my practice, I have been inspired to share Yoga with others. So, in 2020, I completed my 200 Hour Teacher Training in San Diego, plus a 14-Hour Pranayama Teacher Training. I love Yoga because there’s no end to the journey. There is so much room for growth in many, perhaps infinite, directions. I love learning. A wise friend of mine said, “Every day is a school day.” Along with my love of Yoga, I have a passion for the outdoors. I am a two-time cross-country backpacker, having hiked about 5,000 miles. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2013 and fell deep in love, so I did it again and thru-hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018. After that, my husband and I traveled overseas and abroad. Then in 2019, we converted a 2010 Chevy Box Truck into a tiny home on wheels. For almost 4 years, we’ve visited more than half of the US by foot and vehicle and it’s been a wild ride in the best possible way. Both Yoga and the outdoors remind me of my connection to the entire cosmos, universe, or source. They offer me the opportunity to be aware of myself, my environment, and my place in it.  As a result, I move inward to observe myself and how I interact with the world around me. I have to go outside to move in! I love practicing Yoga outside and since 2018 have practiced mostly outside. It keeps me connected to the elements and reminds me that those same elements reside within me. My teaching style is holistic, including mind, body, and breath. I often like to sum it up with my AIM: A) Accessibility, I) Inclusivity, M) Manageability. My chief concern is providing a space of safety and non-judgment for all. I like to “build on” as we move through practice, which allows students to achieve a posture, breathing, or meditation exercise with ease. It also offers variations during the practice, serving all levels of experience. I strongly believe that all 8-Limbs of the Yogic Path can and should be practiced on and off the Yoga mat. I also adore pairing music with practice. I often have music playing during Asana and include sound healing during many of my classes. As a yoga guide, I am deeply committed to passing on the wisdom that yoga has imparted upon me. I am but a vessel and servant on a mission to share the magic of yoga with others.

Heather Fenwick

Heather (she/her) brings a mosaic of knowledge and learning to the mat when guiding a yoga class. She has completed various yoga teacher trainings (since 2005), studied Ayurveda, yoga, and Indian culture in India (throughout most of 2006), and has completed her Master’s degree at PCOM, adding the intricate, venerable wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and Anatomy to her expertise.

Heather presents her students with yoga-philosophy-nuggets so they can cultivate a deeper practice and a greater sense wellness off the mat as well. She balances the inspiring with the practical, the uplifting with the grounding, so that students may carry a mindfulness and a lightness with them into all parts of their lives.

A “recovering gypsy”, Heather also leads retreats to India, Central America, and within Southern California.

Jackie Stenzel, RYT 200

My journey on the path of Yoga began in 2005. After my first yoga class ever, I felt a sense of inner peace and rejuvenation that I had never experienced before. The physical practice of breathing and moving through asana brought me out of my mind and into my heart, and I felt a deep connection to my spiritual being. Yoga soon became a daily ritual to cleanse my mind, energize my body, and nourish my soul. This transformative practice has helped me break down barriers of ego and self-imposed limitations, and opens me up into a limitless space of possibility where my spirit can thrive! I had to share this beautiful gift with the world! In 2009, I received my 200 hour R.Y.T. at Corepower Yoga, and I have been teaching and continuing to learn more about this ancient practice ever since.

Through the powerful tools of deep breathing, music, and moving meditation, my classes are a creative fusion of elements to awaken your soul and ignite your spirit. I truly love witnessing others experience these beautiful transformations that occur on the journey of Yoga that we share, and it is my intention to help guide you, the student, on your path of healing, growth, and self-discovery in whatever way best serves You. Namaste.

Jackie’s Class Style: In gentle yoga classes, Jackie likes to blend a mixture of restorative poses and gentle stretches. The practice is slow and meditative, and she encourages students to listen to their bodies and allow the poses to unfold in their own unique way. One can expect to leave class feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

Jamie Lee, RYT-500

Jamie began her love affair with yoga in the heart of South Carolina. Her first teacher, Stacey Millner-Collins, transformed her approach to physical disciplines and taught her what it meant to live in the moment, breath by breath. After living with chronic leukemia for ten years, Jamie decided to change the course of her life and infuse it with more joy. She moved to San Diego in the summer of 2013 and enrolled in a teacher training program.

Jamie’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and growth inspired her to take an advanced vinyasa teacher training with Jason Crandell in San Francisco in 2016. She brings an accessible approach to functional anatomy and yoga philosophy empowering students to contemplate and rediscover their wholeness. She incorporates mindfulness into each of her classes, focusing on THIS breath, THIS pose, THIS moment. Her classes are challenging, uplifting and playful. She fosters a safe, supportive environment for students to engage with and explore their curiosity and dive deep into the myriad layers of their being.

Jamie’s Class Style: Jamie enjoys teaching a challenging yet fun and accessible class for all levels of yogis. She offers various levels of postures so everyone leaves feeling empowered and uplifted.

Jenny von Weisenborn, RYT 200

Internationally raised, Jenny von Weisenborn has lived and traveled around the world. Her yoga journey began in 2011 and she pursued her 200-hour teacher training in 2019. Her practice has evolved through the years, expanding her mind and heart to the well-being union of mental, physical, and emotional benefits. Through yoga, she discovers steadiness and self-awareness. Jenny has been part of the Pilgrimage family since 2019 and is grateful to be involved with this special community.

As your guide, Jenny’s intention is to empower you to connect with yourself through conscious self-care and awareness of the interconnectedness of your mind, body, and breath. Encouraging mindfulness and relaxation, she offers slower, restful yoga practices and has completed additional specialized training in Pranayama, Yin, and Restorative Yoga. Consistent elements in her class include grounding, breathwork, mindful movement, nourishing rest, and guided meditation.

A lifelong learner, Jenny holds a B.A. in Biogeography and an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on Children's Literature and Wildlife Conservation. Always curious, her other interests include self-enrichment books and podcasts, movies, creative projects, the natural world, camping, and travel adventures.

Jessica Wales, RYT 200

Jessica (she/her) began practicing yoga in 2002 during her college years. She immediately felt the benefits of finding a deeper connection between mind, body, and spirit and is committed to sharing that passion with others. After receiving her B.A. degree Jessica worked in social services for seven years. She became credentialed with Yoga Alliance as a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), specializing in Hatha and Vinyasa and later completed training in Restorative yoga. Jessica facilitates a safe place where you can explore and unfold layers of your practice. She will encourage you to move and breathe with awareness to find balance in body and mind. Jessica believes yoga is for everyone and provides options and modifications for all levels, she encourages others to listen to their body’s wisdom and be playful with their practice. Jessica strives for a peaceful experience which will flow through the rest of your day.

Jomally Fernandez

My yoga journey began in 2003 as a practitioner, but it wasn't until issues with Lupus Nephritis threatened my life that I took a leap of faith and decided to devote myself to the teachings and practice of Hatha yoga. I completed my 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2013, 100-hour Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Training in 2014, Level II Reiki Practioner in 2016 and 20-hour Restorative Yoga Training in 2018.

My practice carried me through my health challenges and allowed me to find a deep connection, love and respect for my body, while also providing me the stillness of mind and spirit to overcome the emotional challenges associated with them. My mission is to introduce the healing attributes of yoga, and to empower others to connect with the divine and inner warrior that lives within each of us.

I'm an island girl from Puerto Rico, ocean lover and life enthusiast! I am thrilled to share my energy, knowledge and experiences with all those who seek it.

Kaitlyn Nelson (she/her), RYT 200

I grew up very active and used exercise as a way of coping with symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. I was introduced to yoga at a young age and immediately fell in love with the practice of asana and pranayama as a relief for my own mental health. I graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 2012 with a degree in Psychology and went on to earn a Masters in Social Worker from San Diego State University in 2014. I have been working as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since and have been using meditation and mindfulness practices with the populations I work with. It felt natural to take the next step and attend the 200-hour YTT program with Pilgrimage of the Heart in the fall of 2020, not only to deepen my own practice, but to use what has helped heal me to inspire others in their healing journeys.

I am passionate about empowering others to find their inner peace and self-worth through the wonder and magic of the practice of yoga. I aim to inspire confidence, compassion, and mindfulness into my classes and broaden the accessibility of yoga. I enjoy teaching all-levels students and a variety of styles including gentle, restorative, hatha, and vinyasa classes. I am a native San Diegan who loves being outdoors and staying active. I enjoy exploring nature, hiking, watching sunsets, going to live concerts, reading, advocating for social justice, and being with my beloved pets.

Karen O’Lone, E-RYT 500

Karen (she/her) has been mystified by the movement, mysteries, and possibilities of the human body from an early age. When she was introduced to yoga in her twenties, she found a certain solace and calling that she never experienced in the world of competitive and recreational athletics. She knew that she needed to keep digging, to follow the beckoning call, and to embrace the learning that yoga so readily invites to all who are willing to surrender to their own yogic path. Karen never stops being amazed at the light that yoga in all its forms brings to an individual and a community. She absolutely believes that people should not have to endure suffering, whether physical, emotional, or mental.

Through her work as a yoga teacher, personal trainer, and group exercise leader she hopes to encourage better movement to foster a deeper sense of knowledge of the self- to connect the inner work with the outer work. She studied under Nikole Fortier at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga Studio for her RYT 200, and under Shelby Lafrinere for her continuing foray into Yin Yoga.

When she is not teaching, working, or on her mat, Karen can be found playing in the kitchen, sinking into a good book, and spending time with both human and nonhuman friends. It’s very difficult for her to ever turn down a delicious piece of raw vegan chocolate (the darker the better).

Karen's Class Style: In Yin Yoga, Karen emphasizes the use of extended time in a pose to guide the yogi to not only loosen adhesions in connective tissue, but also the adhesions of the mind. She strives to create a practice where people will feel more balanced, calm, and inspired to know that they are their own healer.

Kari Ross-Berry, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Kari Ross-Berry, M.A., is educated in practical, philosophical, and historical Yoga and its various lineages both East and West, having obtained her Masters of Yoga Arts through Loyola Marymount University. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as a continuing education provider for the yoga community at large (YACEP).

Her mission and experience are in teaching Yoga philosophy, asana, pranayama, and guided meditation to help students understand their unique mind-body complex in order to overcome obstacles. Compassionately helping others to expand their mental and physical well being includes stress reduction and mind-body acuity. Designing and delivering courses, classes, and workshops from an Ayurvedic point of view, and actively striving to meet students where they are at, whether in a group or private setting. In this manner, enabling others to think and act creatively from an authentic sense of self through the practice of Yoga.

Kari’s interests and research include the conjunction between Yoga and art.

Kelly Derouin, RYT 200

Kelly (she/her) has been a student of yoga for 15 years, and a Yoga Alliance RYT-200 for 6 years. She received her training at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga in 2017. She teaches several different styles of yoga and strives to ensure that students of every experience level and background feel included, supported, and inspired in her classes. Kelly also specializes in teaching yoga and mindfulness to children of all ages. She is currently a Wellness Director at a private school here in San Diego, where she serves students in Preschool through 8th grade, and has co-authored the book Teaching Mindfulness to Children: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Parents, and Caregivers, along with Sujantra McKeever, the owner and founder of Pilgrimage of the Heart. Kelly is honored to share the joy of this transformative practice with students of every background.

Lauren McLaren, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Yoga found me in 1998, and it is certainly responsible for transforming my life from an unexamined existence into a deeply felt experience. The physical practice has its own rewards, and I found relief from chronic back pain on my mat. What amazed me, and continues to amaze me is the subtlety of yoga’s power. Out of this simple desire to be free of pain grew an awareness of the immeasurable value of each moment of our lives. This new mindfulness gave me a sense of deep connection that has carried me through some grave times with hope and humor. Yoga offers many lessons, but one of the most resonant to me is that to let go of suffering, you must first accept things as they are, and then accept that they will change.

Originally from Canada, I hold a B. Ed in secondary education and taught for several years before moving to the Caribbean and then later to Savannah, Georgia. I began my yoga training in the Caribbean and studied with teachers there, in Canada and in the US. A teacher at heart, I returned to my calling and began teaching yoga in 2009 after completing my first teacher training with the Aura Wellness Center in Rhode Island. Always seeking to expand my knowledge and training, I completed a second 200 hour program with Deva Parnell at the Discovery Yoga Center in St. Augustine, Florida. Kripalu inspired, my teaching style is grounded in honoring the body and its innate wisdom. I bring dedication, compassion and a sense of lightheartedness to all my classes, but what drives and inspires me most is a profound belief in the transformative power of the practice both on and off the mat.

Lauren's Class Style: Lauren's teaching style is built on a foundation of honest awareness and acceptance of our bodies in the present moment. Her strong emphasis on action and alignment in the physical body is balanced by story-telling and philosophical exploration. She encourages her students to experience, to laugh and to grow in all of her classes.

Lena Schmidt, E-RYT 200 & P-RYT

With a background in gymnastics and dance, Lena (she/her/they/them) finds the physicality of yoga to be a delightful and challenging way to move the body without competition. The spiritual aspects of yoga have aided Lena in the never-ending search for peace, calm, and positivity within and she is passionate about sharing these tools with others. Lena is intentional about taking yoga off the mat and loves finding the bridges between the heart and mind, the individual and community, and mindfulness and expression. To complement the creative practice of yoga, Lena holds degrees in ethnic studies and women’s studies and is dedicated to making the joyfulness of yoga accessible to all people.

Lena's Class Style: Lena offers a hatha/vinyasa class that includes strong asana, pranayama, breath-to-movement flowing transitions, alignment cues, a philosophical theme woven throughout, and ideas for taking your yoga off the mat

Madison Reid, RYT 200

Yoga asana is one of many sacred offerings to heal Self and the collective. Madison believes this practice is transformative and encourages her students to bring the teachings from the mat off the mat to embody the work. She believes yoga has saved her life in many ways and is meant to share the teachings with all who need it. 

Growing up as an athlete and in musical theatre, she initially began her yoga practice with the hopes to expand her breath capacity, improve flexibility, and sharpen her focus during performance. Through her journey and process, Madison discovered that yoga also provided a profound way to release all that no longer served her; bestowing inner peace within her body, mind, and soul. Miraculously, she gained confidence and power in expressing her truth and beauty to others, and most importantly to herself. 

Along with her 200-hour YTT at Pilgrimage of the Heart in San Diego, Madison is certified in Mental Health + Wellness Training from Yoga Medicine and holds a BA in Communications and minor in Psychology from San Diego State University. Currently, she teaches Restorative Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Gentle Yoga, and Meditation/Sound Healing.

With Madison’s musical background, she loves to involve music in the experience. This can be a beautifully thoughtful playlist, sacred sound bowls, or intuitive singing. She also loves to work with mudras and mantras.

Madison is an active community member in the wellness space. Her favorite activities include moving her body for strength, playing sound bowls + piano, singing, dancing, journaling, creating art, hiking, spending quality time with her soul tribe, and working on her personal healing so she can heal the collective.

Madison’s Class Style:

Madison teaches with the intention to create a space for love, encouragement, comfort, inclusion, safety, and compassion. She teaches from her inner knowledge and honors the magical downloads that come from teaching to the room, while ensuring all students feel welcomed, seen, and supported. Madison knows, as she is the “teacher”, her students are constantly teaching her. She encourages all students to modify the practice to feel good in their beautiful body and to bring the yoga to where they are at the present moment, while practicing non-attachment to the thoughts and feelings that may arise on the mat. Depending on the practice, students may feel restored, rejuvenized, challenged, or energized but will always feel grateful for doing something incredible for their health and well-being.  

Marie Barranco, E-CYT 200

Marie’s (she/her) path first converged with yoga and mindfulness meditation in 2013. The therapeutic elements of the practices radically shifted her life, inspiring her to dive deeper and eventually pursue a path in teaching in 2017. Marie teaches with a trauma-informed approach and is passionate about creating accessible spaces for all people to cultivate a greater sense of presence, connection, and resilience. In her classes, you can expect a lot of options, choices, and invitations to get curious about what’s present. She believes curiosity is a bridge that helps us learn to meet ourselves and one another with less judgment and more compassion, resulting in individual and collective transformation.

Marie is an E-CYT 200 with advanced certification in trauma-informed yoga and somatic practices with Collective Resilience Yoga. She has completed intensive studies on the intersection of yoga, social justice, and leadership with Off the Mat, Into the World, and through continued self-study. Over the years, Marie has also completed certifications in Buddhist psychology, yin yoga, restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, pranayama, and mindfulness meditation. She finds continued inspiration and joy through long walks in nature, traveling abroad, learning people’s stories, music, dancing, and jumping into the ocean.

Nam Chanterrwyn, E-RYT 500

Nam (he/him) is an E-RYT 500 and Featured Teacher on Yoga International. As a student of yoga and functional movement modalities, his yoga classes are grounded in biomechanics, anatomical detail and mindfulness. Nam uses focused, detailed verbal cues and expert adjustments/assists to help his students find a fuller experience in their yoga practice; emphasizing specific learning objectives in each of his classes. Nam's belief is that teaching yoga is just like teaching any other subject, in that the teacher has a responsibility to not just provide a unique experience, but to educate their students on the subject itself. Whether taking his restorative or vinyasa class, students can expect to explore their strengths, work on focus, and learn about the subject of yoga on and off the mat.

Nicole Pisciotto, E-RYT 200, YACEP

Nicole feels the magnificence of yoga dwells in each moment as the practice unfolds to serve your highest good regardless of what that may look like - joy, sadness, ecstasy, contemplation, irritability, reflection, etc.  

Discovering Yoga in the early 90’s and appreciating its unique qualities of expansion and tranquility ultimately led her to share this ancient practice with others. Nicole completed the Mastery of Life Training with Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts in 2007, which allowed her to pair her own unique open-minded approach with inspiration from ancient wisdom. 

In her Hatha based classes, students will be guided to unify and balance the energies that naturally reside within as well as integrate Universal Teachings of Love, Light and Unity to enhance the journey of life.  Nicole has been sharing her teachings at Pilgrimage of the Heart since 2009 and deeply appreciates the opportunity of continuing to be a part of this vibrant and supportive heart-based community.

Embracing the evolution of her own path over the past few years Nicole has enjoyed studying Energy Medicine, Reiki, Meditation, Crystals, Yoga Nidra & Feng Shui. Teaching is one of the biggest joys in her life.  She enjoys guiding  students to discover and embrace their true nature while immersing themselves in a perpetual state of love and overall peace of mind.

On and off the yoga mat Nicole encourages you to know that the sphere of reality that you exist in is one that you have the privilege of creating. Through her unique and comforting techniques she offers many holistic based options to support your journey in her classes and workshops as well as her personalized healing services at her shop: Shanti Healing Love. 

Shanti Healing Love Boutique & Gallery is located diagonally across from the main studio on 33rd Street.  You will find unique resale items, local wares, original works of art and personalized healing services at her beautiful shop. 

Nicole’s Class Style: Nicole teaches an Inner Peace practice enhancing balance to promote healing & comfort in your life. Focusing on chakra alignment & connection to energies of body, mind and soul this meditative deep healing practice will leave you feeling refreshingly tuned in to your heart energy, intuition and overall sensation of bliss.

Sheri Ignacio, RYT 200

Sheri began her yogic journey in 2016 during her time at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she enrolled in a yoga course that revealed how yoga is beyond asanas (postures) on the mat. From that point on, she has used yoga as a tool to cultivate inner peace and forge a deeper connection with her mind, body, and breath. This transformative experience inspired Sheri to delve even further into her practice, leading her to the Pilgrimage of the Heart studio.

After taking a few classes in the studio, she felt a powerful positive force that motivated her to join the 200-hour teacher training in 2022. Since then, the Pilgrimage community has become her spiritual sanctuary, offering inspiration on her journey.

Sheri is excited for the opportunity to serve the dedicated teachers and students of the studio, sharing the wisdom and benefits of yoga that have enriched her life.

Beyond her yoga passion, Sheri finds joy in exploring the great outdoors, cherishing any chance to camp, climb, and paddleboard – activities that bring her closer to nature and her true self.

Steph Dunbar

What first brought you to yoga?

I first found Yoga when I was going through a tough time in high school. My first yoga teacher, Marie, was such a strong woman- she was a weight lifting coach and competed in body building competitions well into her sixties. I just loved the way she was able to glide between strength and softness. She commanded a room like no one’s business and through her guidance, I began to experience the benefits of a consistent yoga practice. In the beginning, I would think to myself, “this is strange, why do we have to breathe this way? What is she talking about chakras for?” and after my third month, I left every class saying, “I feel like I just had a full body massage.” It was so wonderful to find that little piece of quietness inside myself. 

When did you complete your Yoga Teacher Training?

I completed my 200 hr yoga teacher training in 2018 at an ashram in northern India.

How would you describe your teaching style?

I like to pull the best parts from every style. I warm up the class with restorative movements, then go into a vinyasa flow, ending with some ashtanga-like hip-openers and spinal twists. I think all schools of yoga have aspects they do really well and I like to design a class around those qualities.

What are your favorite kinds of classes to teach? 

I enjoy teaching my own version of a Hatha yoga class. In my opinion, a complete practice, incorporates breathwork, asana and meditation. I try my best to hit all of these in every class. 

What are your favorite hobbies?

I love hiking and taking road trips! I am also a natural dye artist and hand dye baby blankets, pillows, etc. with organic plant material (think a mustard-colored baby blanket that’s only been colored with onion skins or a pink pillowcase that’s dyed from avocado pits!). My favorite thing in the world is taking an international solo trip. Something about taking a long bus ride and looking out the window at a place you’ve never seen- that’s my version of bliss.

Anything else?

One day I hope to own 10 acres of land in the mountains so that I can build a yurt and host yoga retreats. Also, I’m a cat mom to a calico named Kitty Baby.

Sydney Cohen, RYT 200

Sydney (she/her) grew up very active, playing various sports and dancing ballet and jazz. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007 with a double minor in Group Fitness Instruction and Personal Training. She trained and taught group fitness classes in the Bay Area until a back injury cut her time at the gym short. Diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease and Facet Joint Arthritis, she moved back to her hometown of San Diego to heal. She took up yoga, learning Bikram, Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar and Ashtanga. She has taken classes from some of the top instructors from San Diego to New York and is delighted to have the opportunity to teach the community all that insight yoga has brought to her own life.

Sydney’s Class Style: Sydney is trained in the Ashtanga and Iyengar methods and utilizes both in her instruction with Vinyasa style flow. All levels are welcome. Expect detailed instruction on proper form and alignment as you move breath to movement. Also learn how to engage bandhas effectively and explore more challenging postures of yoga.

Yesica Rodriguez, RYT 500, YACEP

For Yesica, yoga asana is one of many gateways to the journey inward. What you experience in your body, you can feel in your heart. She was drawn to yoga because of how beautifully it can accommodate people of all shapes and sizes, differing abilities and walks of life.

Born in Puerto Rico but raised on the East Coast, Yesica felt like she was from two different places but not completely from either. This experience inspired her to travel and build connections with people from different cultures and backgrounds. This also informs her teaching style, as she prioritizes making sure that class feels accessible to everyone regardless of their age, shape, ability or yoga experience. In her class there is no "right way" to do a pose. Rather than mastering a certain pose, the focus is on how it feels in your body. She encourages her students to be curious and open to discovery in their practice.

Along with her 200-hour YTT at Namaste Yoga Center in San Diego, Yesica is certified in Prenatal Yoga and Yoga for a Happy Back. Currently, she teaches Vinyasa, Hatha, Prenatal, and Gentle Yoga.

Yesica is the Mother of two boys and a fur baby named Flash. Her favorite activities include playing guitar, singing, dancing, writing, hiking, reading a good book and cooking healthy meals for her family.

Yesica's Class Style:

Yesica teaches from the heart and offers variations so that class is accessible to everyone who participates. Depending on the style, students might feel challenged, energized or relaxed but they will always leave class with their hearts full.

Zach Brown, RYT 200

Zach firmly believes that the Yogic path is accessible to everyone, as it holds a special place in his heart and has guided him through life with greater ease. Originally from Southern New Jersey, he now feels lucky to call San Diego his home. Zach is sincerely committed to living more skillfully and finding peace with the world, and he is passionate about helping his students discover their own paths of self-discovery.

Having recently survived cancer, Zach's connection to the yogic path has become even stronger. He encourages each of us to delve deeper, uncover common threads, slow down, and embrace life through mindful breathing and movement.

Zach's yoga journey includes a 200-Hr Budokon Yoga Certificate in 2015 in Miami, and in 2022, he completed his 200-Hr Hatha Yoga Certificate and Yin training from Pilgrimage of the Heart in San Diego. Additionally, he holds a Budokon Red Belt. His teaching approach is centered around recognizing each person as a unique individual, viewing their journey as a creation of their own. Zach understands that yoga is not a one-size-fits-all practice. While you'll learn various well-known postures in his classes, he also encourages you to explore your own sensations and thoughts, which may vary from day to day.

Zach's illness and recovery redirected his focus towards self-realization in this lifetime, and he is dedicated to illuminating this path for others to discover. He shares his experiences, knowledge, and grateful heart with those seeking to elevate their human experience and expand their mindfulness.

In Zach's classes, expect to be challenged while exploring your personal edge in a safe and welcoming environment that embraces individuals from all backgrounds. He breaks free from the traditional rules, encouraging you to step beyond the confines of your mat, symbolically urging you out of your comfort zone. Zach firmly believes in continuous learning and encourages viewing life with a beginner's mindset.