Our staff here at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga brings their own love, style, compassion, and expertise for the practice to yoga students. Our staff is happy to help, and we're excited for you to discover your own individual practice. Learn more about the members of our team below.
What brought you to yoga? About 27 years ago I met a guy who just radiated. I asked him what he was doing. Besides eating mostly raw organic fruits and vegetables, he practiced yoga. I was inspired to try both. Haven’t looked back since.
How do you spend your free time? I really enjoy any type of athletic endeavor. Ultimate Frizbee and trail running are currently at the top of the list.
Danielle began practicing Yoga Asana at the age of 15 as a need for centering and grounding became a theme of her teenage years. She completed her 200 hour YTT at age 17 with Kellie Livingstone as her mentor. She then attended the University of California Santa Cruz, graduating, in three years in 2018, with a Bachelor of Arts in Feminist Studies with a concentration in Culture, Power, and Representation.
Upon finishing her degree, she became a Certified Therapeutic Body Worker by completing the National Holistic Institute’s 800 hour Massage therapy Program and is currently embarking in her 300 hour YTT at the Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA with the intention to practice Yoga Therapy and Therapeutic Body Worker throughout the rest of her life. She is drawn to these practice by her intuition as well as her love for attempting to understand the human body, mind and spirit. Her most consistent intention in life is to hold space for herself and others in a compassionate and nurturing way to facilitate moving inward to cultivate space for healing and transformation.
Assistant Studio Manager
Desiree started practicing yoga six years ago when she needed a new way to find movement, harmony, and peace in her life. After she discontinued playing soccer at the age of 18, she sought to find a new physical practice that would keep her healthy, strong, and balanced. Due to ankle injuries from soccer, she decided that yoga would be a great way to establish strength and mobility in her ankles and overall body. After practicing consistently and loving the results, she wanted to deepen her practice and understanding of yoga and decided to join a Yoga Teacher Training in 2016, where she earned a 200 Hour Yoga Teaching Certificate. Since then, her yoga practice has continued to grow, and she now enjoys not only vinyasa style yoga but kundalini yoga, meditation, sound healing, kirtan, and breathwork. Yoga has taught her how to become her biggest supporter, helped her establish consistency and accountability in her life, and love herself unconditionally. In her time off, she enjoys spending time in nature, traveling, learning, being with friends and family, and immersing herself in new yogic experiences.
What brought you to yoga? Jakob’s first introduction to the Yogic lifestyle was meditation. He attended the Tuesday meditations in the East Room of the Normal Heights studio regularly throughout high school and from there transitioned to yoga.
How do you spend your free time? Jakob is an avid music lover and plays in multiple bands. He also loves to write fiction and poetry and is working on a degree in creative writing.
Jenny began her yoga journey in 2012 when she wandered into a gym offering yoga classes in a tiny room in the basement. Little did she know then, her personal practice would evolve through the years, opening her mind and heart to a well-being trifecta of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Through yoga, she finds a sense of focus, steadiness, self-awareness, and a positive challenge.
As an instructor, it is Jenny’s intention to help guide individuals through conscious self-care, mind-body awareness, and loving introspection. She primarily offers Gentle and Restorative yoga and holds additional certifications in Pranayama and Yin. Consistent elements in her class include grounding, mindful movement, relaxation, and guided meditation.
A global citizen from nowhere and everywhere, Jenny has spent her life around the world. A lifelong learner and always curious, her other interests include movies, podcasts, art/design, travel photography, the natural world, and starry skies.
Joe is a registered 200 hour Yoga teacher and musician. In addition to playing various instruments, Joe teaches mindfulness meditation. He has been playing the crystal bowls for several years in various settings such as yoga classes, private events and large venues. Joe's musical approach to the crystal bowls provides people a deeply relaxing as well as invigorating experience.
How do you spend your free time? Joe listens to, plays and writes music, hikes, bike rides, plays tennis, spends time with his kids and of course yoga!
Live Stream & On Demand Studio ManagerKara (she/her) discovered the benefits of yoga, meditation, and regular practice in 2013. After embarking upon her first yoga retreat and taking the time to listen to her body, she simply fell in love. Over the years, Kara has immersed herself in the world of yoga and enjoys how her practice is ever-changing and always growing. With a passion for gentle and restorative yoga, Kara's classes are focused on what feels good in each individual's body. Kara is a graduate of Pilgrimage Yoga's 200-hour teacher training program and is grateful to be a part of such an inspiring team. She finds joy in teaching yoga, chanting mantras, building relationships within the community, and sharing her passion for wellness with others.
Kat found Yoga when looking for a complement to long-distance running. She found that practicing Yoga not only enhanced her physically but also helped ease her struggle with stress and anxiety better than anything she had tried before. After a devastating knee injury left her permanently sidelined from running, she dove into Yoga further, enriching her knowledge and practice.
Having taught English and Kindergarten abroad in multiple countries, she wanted to extend her love of teaching to Yoga and got her Yoga Teacher Training in Baja California, Mexico to spread her love of Yoga with others.
Kat believes Yoga is much more than a physical practice and is constantly learning and practicing mindfulness in an effort to improve her life and that of her students, both on and off the mat. In her time off she enjoys hiking, traveling and cooking delicious and nutritious meals.
Linda began working at the front desk and teaching at Pilgrimage of the Heart in 2008 and has since enjoyed learning all aspects of running a yoga studio! She is proud of our heart-centered community that has grown over the years. She gets a sense of satisfaction when she witnesses students come out of yoga classes, calm, serene, and smiling. In her current role as General Manager, Linda takes pride in supporting the team of staff and teachers in doing what they love most: teaching and offering yoga to our community.
Linda discovered yoga while training for her black belt in martial arts. Yoga quickly became something much more than a compliment to her martial arts practice. She went on to become a certified yoga teacher in 2000, from the Kripalu Institute in western Massachusetts. Linda moved to San Diego from New York in 2008 with her partner John and their loyal dogs Trinity and Sage. In her free time, Linda enjoys reading, cooking up healthy recipes in her home, enjoying movies on the sofa with her family, and enjoying nature's beauty while hiking.
Studio ManagerMarie (she/her) is a native San Diegan whose path first converged with yoga and mindfulness meditation in 2013. The practice's therapeutic elements radically shifted her life, inspiring her to delve deeper into the practice and eventually pursue a path in teaching. She is passionate about creating spaces for individuals to slow down and harness inherent tools like breath and conscious movement to better understand their physical and mental patterns. Marie defines yoga simply as intimacy - intimacy with the breath, the body, the human experience - and believes this intimacy enables us to lead more mindful, inspired, and connected lives. Marie teaches with the intention of creating a safe space for students to explore their physical, mental, and breath landscapes. Expect a deep emphasis on breath, exploratory movement, and time for meditation in her classes. Marie completed her 200-hour certification in 2017 and has since completed training in Buddhist psychology and meditation practices, yin yoga, pranayama, prenatal yoga, and trauma-informed mindfulness. She hopes students walk away from class feeling renewed and inspired to welcome the same curiosity, compassion, and consciousness found on the mat into all aspects of their lives.
Studio FounderSujantra 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. He first became interested in hatha yoga as a young boy. He 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. Sujantra has authored five 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. Over the past 20 years, he has delivered over one thousand lectures on meditation and yoga in over 25 countries. Sujantra opened the Pilgrimage of the Heart studio in 2006. In each of his yoga classes, Sujantra offers the complete yoga experience by teaching all eight aspects of yoga and exploring the relevance of this ancient art in our modern lives. He teaches Beginning / Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Children, and Hatha Levels I and II, including Sun Salutations, shoulder stand, and headstand. He encourages students to practice both at home and in the studio. Sujantra has studied meditation with spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy since 1980. Sujantra is an ACE-certified Group Fitness Instructor. Please visit Soul's Delight to purchase Sujantra's books and CDs:
- 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)