Each instructor here at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga brings their own love, style, compassion, and expertise for the practice to the students of yoga. Although these instructors are no longer currently teaching at Pilgrimage of the Heart, we still feature their stories and their videos on our site. Learn more about these instructors below.
Arturo has over 30 years of Yoga teaching experience. He is registered as an "Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500" the highest level of registry awarded by the" Yoga Alliance”, an international body of standards within the industry.
Arturo's Yoga teachers include B.K.S Iyengar and Indra Devi, both world-renowned masters in the Krichnamacharya tradition. His yoga studies span Latin America, India and the USA.
Started in 1980 a Yoga program at the University of California in San Diego, one of the first yoga programs associated with a major university. As part of Arturo's efforts to bring the benefits of Yoga to many, he conducted a series of yoga segments for Univision TV, produced a yoga DVD, has produced over 100 web based yoga videos through " Hispanopolis.com", co-produced a radio program centered on metaphysical themes and self-help and has been conducting yoga retreats and seminars in Europe and Hawaii for over ten years.
Besides teaching the more physical benefits of Yoga, Arturo is committed to also teaching the more philosophical and historical aspects of the practice; he co-founded the MindBody seminars, combining elements of western and eastern techniques of self development, taught Yoga Philosophy and History for the UCSD extension program and started a two year yoga teacher training program at the University of California San Diego. He was a featured speaker at the Wholistic Life Expo, 2012 San Diego.
Arturo holds an engineering degree in Telecommunications and advanced studies in education and social work.
Arturo's Class Style: Arturo teaches an alignment based practice based on the teachings of B.K.S Iyengar and Indra Devi with focus on safety and proper execution of postures.
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.
Blair began her teaching journey here at Pilgrimage of the Heart in 2008, and has enjoyed the love, community, and growth that surrounds this beautiful studio ever since. In 2010, she took a year traveling the world, using her breath as a center within the ever-changing scenery and experiences. Incorporating a sense of balance between self, others, and the universe, Blair encourages her students to follow their own inner voice and lead a life full of compassion.
Carolina discovered yoga in 2008 with the intention to improve physical fitness, strength, and flexibility. However, she quickly found a powerful transformative effect through a daily practice, which brought her mental and emotional benefits beyond the physical aspects. Initially, yoga fed her inside with self-discovery, balance, and acceptance. Carolina knew that she had discovered her path through yoga, and she made a choice to passionately share it with others.
“Personal growth is what I believe life is all about, and what really matters at the end. From the depths of my heart, I thank all my family, friends and teachers for their lasting love, care, kindness and support. NAMASTE !
My Name is Courtney Yezzi and I am a yoga teacher. I am happy to help and eager to teach what I know. I am lucky to have learned the art of asana from some very solid people and thank my own inner light for guiding me daily. I enjoy studentship and my favorite styles of learning are Iyengar and Anusara Yoga. I enjoy the form of Iyengar and the discipline of right knowing and right action. I believe the way Mr. Iyengar and his family teach asana to be the truth, the light and the very correct way to be in our bodies. I have also learned plenty and try to recall as often as I can the freedom of my previous Anusara teachers. From within our form there is a formlessness that spirals and sings from our bones and through our hearts. What I can say about my own style of teaching is that I take what my teachers have taught me, apply it to my body and then offer what comes out with as much sincerity and joy as I can muster up. I have never felt more alive or connected to the divinity of people as when I am teaching. I know that it is only from a place of stability and alignment that we can express ourselves fully with creativity and ease.
Danielle is a yoga practitioner and teacher, a writer, and a mother. She strives to align her actions with her deepest held values—an aspiration that has led her family across the country from Washington, D.C., where she taught yoga professionally for many years, to a remote Colorado homestead, and finally to San Diego. As a teacher, she delights in sharing the benefits that she has found in her personal yoga practice, and in helping her students feel at ease in their own bodies, in each moment, just as they are. As a writer, Danielle seeks to illuminate something real about the nature of consciousness and the human condition with stories from her own life and experience. Becoming a mother has opened her heart wide and she sees it as a privilege and challenge – as well as her primary dharma, or life’s work at this moment – to help guide two souls to be who they are truly meant to be.
Danielle studies yoga primarily at the Kripalu Center (350+ hours formal training) and has been blessed by wonderful teachers from many different styles of yoga and related disciplines such as mindfulness training and breath work. She holds a M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution and a B.A. in Women’s Studies. Danielle lives with her husband, two children and a patch of ground waiting to be transformed into an organic garden.
When I started studying music in my early teens it enhanced a deep connection to the divine. From music came meditation, and from meditation came the desire to study yoga. It wasn’t until a few years later when I took my first “real” yoga class. After that first class, I had never felt anything like that before. I have been truly blessed to be able to share the gift of yoga to the world. My amazing journey with yoga has led me all over the world teaching workshops, retreats, and teacher training programs. Yoga has truly changed my life for the best, and my goal is to serve you in whichever way I can.
Kayma has fostered a deep interest in the teachings of yoga and natural healing from an early age and with signs too clear to ignore that this was her calling, she has devoted her life and over 1,000 hours of organized training to study and explore these ancient teachings in order to serve the well-being of individuals and of the planet. She is an E-RYT 500, having completed a 200-hour training with Arhanta Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Northern India, a 300-hour training in Yoga Therapy, along with training in Thai massage, In-Depth Channeling, Crystology, and levels 1, 2, and Master Reiki. Her classes stem from her personal practice, which blends traditional teachings and therapeutics with creative and thoughtful sequencing of Vinyasa Yoga. When not teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found enjoying nature and making magic at her Crystal Shop and Healing Center in Carlsbad, CA.
Laura Dasi began practicing yoga in 1999 after having spent more than 20 years as a classical ballet and modern dancer. She was drawn to the flowing style of Vinyasa yoga not only for it’s physical benefits but also for the mental, emotional and spiritual freedom she felt after each class. With her vast knowledge of body mechanics and alignment principals from her years of dance training, Laura felt inspired to become a yoga instructor. In 2002 she completed a 200-hour teacher training course and began incorporating her love of both dance and yoga into her teaching style. Laura strives to make each of her classes a rhythmic, moving meditation allowing her students to develop flexibility, strength and grace as well as allowing them to find greater self-awareness and acceptance. Laura believes that yoga affects all aspects of one’s life and that with continued practice you will be able to relieve physical tension, mental anxiety and emotional stress, leading to true happiness within yourself. Laura is also a professional aerialist who thrills audiences across the world with her daring feats of acrobatic artistry high in the air. She appeared on America’s Got Talent in 2014 and won praise from the celebrity judges and audience alike not only for her aerial skills but for showing strength and dignity in overcoming the challenge of living with Alopecia (autoimmune hair loss) since 2008.
Laura’s Class Style: After a series of warm-up movements to awaken the body and lubricate the joints, Laura will lead you through a series of progressively challenging variations of Sun Salutations at a moderate pace. With an emphasis on following the rhythm of the breath and honoring the intelligence of your own body’s wisdom, Laura’s class will leave you feeling invigorated and strong, yet centered, open and relaxed.
Lauren first discovered yoga in her first year of college, and immediately found a deep sense of purpose. In 2015, she traveled to Costa Rica to get her 200hr. Yoga Teacher Certification, earned her Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from SDSU, and became a certified Wilderness First Responder. Lauren is a firm believer in taking a holistic approach that includes nutrition, exercise, and spirituality to achieve well-being. When Lauren isn’t practicing, she enjoys bouldering, coloring, making jokes, and exploring the great outdoors.
Maneli's yoga journey began in 2010 when she was facing a mysterious neurological disorder. Western medicine had not brought her any relief and she was curious about yoga. She started practicing with no expectation and found yoga to be surprisingly effective. It eliminated her symptoms, while providing additional emotional and spiritual benefits. Maneli was amazed at what yoga can offer by simply connecting her breath to her body, using her mat as a blank canvas. To deepen her practice and learn more about the science of yoga, Maneli completed her 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in 2011 with no intention of teaching. As her practice continued to grow and deepen she began sharing the gift of yoga in 2013. After a few years of teaching Maneli was ready to go further in this life long journey and completed her 300 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in 2016, followed by a Kids Yoga Teacher Training and Yin Yoga Teacher Training in 2017.
Believing that asana practice is a tool, Maneli’s goal is to encourage her students to cultivate a deep sense of breath awareness first, to further deepen the physical practice of yoga, giving students possibilities to move in their practice with an attitude of balance between ease and effort. She believes yoga is a life long journey and that it can have a profound impact on other's lives just as it has had on hers, regardless of age or any physical limitation. Maneli teaches both adults and kids yoga and loving it.
Mike took his first Yoga class in 2003 and in 2011 completed his teacher training at the Chula Vista Yoga Center. He has continued his education with certifications in Yoga for Veterans with PTSD, Restorative/Yin Yoga and classes at Loyola Marymount University. Mike’s classes are demanding and kind. They are intended to help others shift and change perspective of their physical and internal worlds. Beyond the mat Mike is a graduate of the University of San Diego. He is an avid traveler and songwriter. Mike is an ERYT-200.
Born in Australia Salil has lived in New York since 1990. He was first introduced to meditation in 1984, at the age of 19 and shortly after began to incorporate a daily practice into his life. In 2004 Salil’s meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy asked him to serve as the Executive Director of the Peace Run, a running relay which takes a “Peace Torch” to over 100 countries each year. Salil still serves in this capacity.
Tom Warner, the studio’s musical director, currently leads Pilgrimage of the Heart’s Kirtan ensemble (Chanting, Musical Meditation), guides free meditations and works on community development. Tom has been haunting Pilgrimage of the Heart almost since it’s inception, 9 years now.
Tom’s exposure to yoga occurred in 1990 in Los Angeles. After over 20 years of practice he enrolled and completed yoga teacher training at Pilgrimage in the spring of 2011, and then completed Silver Age Yoga teacher training and certification, a practice of safe yoga for senior citizens.
Tom is a life-long musician of over 40 years, and says, “The Kirtan practice we have developed at Pilgrimage of the Heart has been one of the best experiences of my life, both musically and for my soul. We are in our 5th. year and are rapidly approaching 250 meditational sessions. We have had close to 75 musicians perform in this group over the years and what a fantastic experience it’s been to work with such talented individuals. Over 1500 people a year participate in this practice. Participation is the essence of Kirtan. Join us Thursday at 8:15pm.”
Tom looks forward to a deep immersion in the yoga world for the rest of his life, and extends his gratitude to the entirety of the Pilgrimage family, Sujantra, staff, teachers, studio members and friends. Together, peace…
Tyler grew up in a spiritual community. He is one of the founding teachers at the Pilgrimage of the Heart. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology. An avid surfer, Tyler incorporates the natural organic movements of the body and breath to open the heart and create avenues to relax the everyday activity of the mind.
“I am inspired to share the joy of yoga, and to make yoga a way of life for others to enjoy.”