Each instructor here at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga brings his or her own love, style, compassion, and expertise for the practice to the students of yoga. 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 our instructors below.
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. He 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.
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, which includes Sun Salutations, shoulder stand and headstand. He encourages students to practice both at home and at the studio.
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- Focus – Relax – Peace (60 min. CD)
Alyssa Runyan, ERYT 200
Alyssa’s journey on the path of yoga began long before she rolled out a yoga mat. The awareness she cultivated from her vipassana meditation practice helped her realize the transformative power of yoga from her very first class. After completing her first 200 hour teacher training in 2010, she began teaching immediately. It didn’t take long before she knew that teaching yoga was her passion; following her instincts and relying on faith she quit her job as an animal nurse to teach yoga full time. Her trust in the universe paid off; she now balances teaching yoga, managing a studio, and continuing her own education as a teacher and a student. From beginning hatha to advanced vinyasa, Alyssa enjoys working with yogis of all levels in a myriad of styles. Her teaching demands a strong cultivation of awareness, while weaving in meaningful spiritual themes which are very pertinent to everyday western life. She is currently immersed in a year-long Anusara training and is delighted to incorporate these teachings into her classes. She believes yoga is a path to revealing our divine nature, one mindful breath at a time.
Anna Berger comes to Pilgrimage of the Heart from Vail, Colorado where she has been working with athletes (snowboard, equestrian, yoga, climbing, dance, etc) since 2000. She comes from a background as a P.T. Assistant, and has a Ba. Sci. in CAM with a minor in Art and Recreation Wellness; additionally working with bodies as an LMT and Personal Trainer. Through her personal experience she has learned the importance of maintaining a balance in life through living a healthy, active lifestyle. Anna has been practicing yoga since 2001, and obtained a 200+ hour cert through Forrest Yoga Teacher Training in Boston, Ma. in 2004. She has also had continuing education with Shiva Rea, Simon Park, Janet Stone, and many other fine masters local and traveling through Colorado. Anna’s athletic classes work with injuries and strengthening through toned, flexible muscles. Her teaching style is influenced by the beauty of movement that surrounds her in nature and recreation as each class incorporates a sense of strength, joy, and integrity for all as she pays great respect to detailed guidance with each asana. Anna invites you to open your mind/body with her in this playful and progressive atmosphere.
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Anne’s teaching borrows from a variety of yoga styles, influenced by her training in Anusara, Svaroopa, Iyengar and Raja yoga. Whether it’s a challenging Vinyasa practice, Gentle Hatha or Restorative, she teaches with compassion and a deep understanding of how yoga positively changes the way we live our lives.
Restorative Yoga is Anne’s specialty and a very powerful practice. Using support of blankets and bolsters, we place our bodies comfortably in yoga poses for longer amounts of time, allowing our bodies to let us in at our own pace and enabling a deep opening of the body. Rather than practicing Power Yoga and “working out,” we explore the Power of Yoga to access strength and balance of a different kind. If you can breathe, you can do restorative yoga!
Anne began her journey into yoga early in life during her childhood, with an avid curiosity about all things unseen. When Anne discovered asana practice during her “fitness epiphany” in the mid-1990′s, she discovered those practices to be the doorway to the deeper understanding she had been seeking.
During that time, Anne took her first yoga class at the renowned health spa Rancho la Puerta. A few years later, in 2000, she earned a 500-hour hatha yoga teaching certification from Master Yoga in La Jolla. Specializing in teaching restorative asana practices and meditation, Anne deepened her own yoga practice, both teaching and in the arena of elite open water swimming. This became a time for Anne to “take yoga off the mat” into daily life and even explore her own human capacity with marathon swimming. Her yoga practice became the cornerstone of her training. During these years, Anne swam the English Channel four times, including a rare non-stop two-way swim from England to France and back to England. Anne has continued her yoga training, earning an additional 200-hour teaching certificate in 2010 and currently studies Sanskrit and Ayurveda as a student of Dr. Vasant Lad and the Ayurvedic Institute.
Anne Cleveland, E-RYT 500, is a Level III Reiki Master-Teacher and certified in Quantum Touch Hands-on Healing. Her accomplishments as an elite open water swimmer were recognized in 2010 when she was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. Anne has been featured in Yoga Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, SWIMMER Magazine and other national publications. She currently teaches yoga in the La Jolla area and coaches open water swimming.
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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.
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.
Britta’s diverse offerings in yoga have evolved from her explorations of yoga, slacklining and partner acrobatics. Introduced to yoga through the Isha Foundation in 2008, she studied Kriya, Hatha and several spiritual practices in southern India before completing her yoga teacher certification in 2011 with Bhava Ram at the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts in San Diego. Britta’s rejuvenating teaching style allows students to align their energy and connect with their inner guides through playful sequencing, linking movement with the awareness of breath.
She is a certified AcroYoga and YogaSlacker teacher, distilling the art of “redefining balance” through slacklining and adventure sports and has spent the last four years practicing and teaching partner acrobatics with renowned teachers Jason Nemer, Jason and Chelsey Magness and Mara Harris. Along with these dynamic practices, Britta also loves to impart therapeutic Thai massage and restorative yoga. The deep healing available through the loving kindness of touch and supported inversions is an experience not to be missed. Whether practicing on her mat, surfing on the water, hiking in the mountains or flying on someone’s feet, Britta loves to play and strives to spend as much time as possible outside in Nature.
For this opportunity to offer guidance on the path of yoga, I am filled with gratitude. From this space of gratitude, I would like to give three thanks.
To my shining spirit and the shining spirits of others who I will meet on this path. May our hearts beat joyfully together as we journey forward.
To my family for offering constant encouragement as I found yoga and throughout all my life transitions that come from inward listening.
To my teachers with lights that shine so brightly I can see and feel them when I close my eyes.
I promise to offer what I authentically am today and each day moving forward to grow, as we all grow, with many blessings.
Danielle Brand LeMond
Danielle is a yoga practitioner and yoga instructor (Yoga Alliance registered E-RYT 200), 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.
I was introduced to meditation as a small child and developed a lifelong passion for all things holistic. Yoga became an outlet to express myself physically and over time, I realized the connection between the body and mind. Yoga grew into a way to calm my spirit and focus my mind. I earned my 200 hour yoga training in 2011 and have been happily teaching ever since. Different styles of yoga appeal to me, particularly Vinyasa-Flow. My intention is to share my perspective on yoga through teaching and help others while they explore their own personal growth.
An invitation towards a deeper breath. A reminder to enjoy it.
Cultivate a more mindful practice, riding the movements of the body on the fluidity of the breath. Whether through a gentle, nourishing practice or a hot, sweat-filled flow class, when we infuse our postures with the breath, we reap the boundless rewards of a yoga practice–rewards that extend beyond the hour in the studio.
Heather Fenwick’s classes draw knowledge of physical alignment and effective, feel-good adjustments from Thai massage (Old Medicine Hospital, Chiang Mai, Thailand), Ayurveda (Somatheeram, Kerala, India), traditional yoga teacher training, and Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Massage (PCOM).
Inspired by frequent sojourns to the Motherland and forty days’ worth of silent Buddhist meditation retreats, Heather presents her students with yoga-philosophy-nuggets they can use to cultivate a deeper practice and greater well-being. She balances the inspiring with the practical, the uplifting with the grounding, so that students may carry lightness and mindfulness with them as they leave their mats.
A “recovering gypsy”, Heather also leads annual retreats to India, Central America, as well as locally in Southern California. www.recoveringgypsy.com
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.
My own personal journey led me through many doors of creative exploration, having always been involved in some level in the The Arts. Dance, Music, Art and Poetry were ways my heart could project the gift of life I have been given and guide me again and again to my authentic self. I am continually evoked to inspire and enrich others lives in the same way.
My introduction to Yoga was as a Fine Arts of Dance major while at the University of Wisconsin in my home town Milwaukee. It was here I learned the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar- “When I practice I am a philosopher, when I teach I am a scientist, when I demonstrate I am an artist”.
As my path widened I became more and more involved within the field of Holistic Heath and Fitness. This is where I really began to tap into many of my hidden strengths and natural wisdom of the human body. After many years of study, I eventually made my way back to my heart through exploring more deeply into the world of Yoga.
Through the awareness and practice of Ashtanga, Anusara, Iyengar, Martial Arts, Dance, Body work, Philosophy & Sciences of the Mind & Universal Laws, and life’s own lessons, I offer an ever evolving Vinyasa style class of the intention to stimulate and expand individual and universal consciousness.
With love, I invite you to explore the infinite possibilies of this practice and connect to the dynamic source energy that awaits.
A major life passion for Jenna is to be the highest, most loving and compassionate manifestation of herself while guiding others into peace and balance, health, and joy. In 2004, with a desire to both receive light and share light, she moved from East coast to the West coast and embarked on a journey of yoga and meditation. From there, she began to find peace and contentment, learning to look within rather than in the external world for happiness. She began studying Ayurveda and aligned herself with the principles of nature, bringing balance and nourishment into her life, and rejuvenating her entire being.
Jenna guides yoga classes in a holistic way to help each student quiet the busy mind and find both rejuvenation and relaxation in the entire being. The physical aspect of yoga, yoga asana, is integrated in a way that utilizes the practices of sthira (strength) and sukha (sweetness). When this equilibrium is attained, students generally begin to become more mindful; aware of the breath, the body, and the connection to the earth. The classes are challenging but restorative, and allow each student to surrender to the present moment.
Her grounded classes are offered with love.
Jenna is a full time Certified Yoga Instructor, teaching over 18 classes a week. She has additional certifications in Ayurveda and Panchakarma, which allow her to do Wellness Counseling and Detoxification Cleanses. She has trained at the Kerala Ayurveda Academy and at the Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts at Ginseng Yoga Studio in South Park. Jenna also holds a Bachelors degree in Psychology from the University of Georgia and is currently obtaining a Master of Science in Holistic Nutrition.
A snap shot of Ken’s journey in life includes a lifelong passion as a musician of drums, djembe, percussive instruments, harmonium vocals and gongs.
Ken retired in 2007 after a 25 year career in the United States Navy. Since then, Ken immersed himself in yoga, Chinese medicine, and energy medicine modalities and sound healing ,completing Yoga Alliances RYT 200 teacher training, Reiki Master credentials, studies in Healing Touch, and a degree in Asian Body Work from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. His spiritual path includes being a devotee and kriyaban of Self Realization Fellowship.
Diverse in his clinical approach to healing, he emphasizes meditation, sound healing with gongs, and meridian /organ energy interventions . He facilitates an appreciation and experience of the healing power of music focused on the space and tones between the notes.
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 its 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 her teacher training and began incorporating her love of both dance and yoga into her teaching style. Her most influential teachers are Shiva Rea and Micheline Berry. 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, emotional burdens and energetic blockages leading to true happiness within yourself.
Lauren McLaren, ERYT-200
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.
Lena Schmidt, ERYT-200
Lena Schmidt is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance. With a background in gymnastics and dance, Lena 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 offers a hatha/vinyasa class that includes strong asana, pranayama, and a philosophical theme woven throughout.
Linda Martone was drawn to the practice of yoga in 1997 with the hope of increasing her flexibility as she prepared for an upcoming Black Belt test in Karate. It wasn’t long before she realized that this ancient practice of yoga could affect her on a much deeper level. She says, “Yes, yoga has helped me to become more flexible, but over the years it has taught me something much more valuable. It has helped me to connect with an inner source of peace, something which I believe is accessible for everyone.”
As a Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor since 2000 and a Licensed Massage Therapist since 2001, Linda brings a solid knowledge of anatomy and physiology to her teaching. Her classes reflect the variety of styles of yoga that she has studied. They are a fusion of the gentleness and compassion of Kripalu yoga, the flowing quality of Vinyasa yoga, and the precision and detail of alignment of the Iyengar and Anusara traditions. Linda’s intention is to have her students emerge from her classes with a feeling of freedom and ease in their bodies and a deep sense of inner peace.
Marney has been practicing yoga since 1996. She became a Certified Yoga Teacher through the Sivananda Yoga Teachers’ Training Course at the ashram in Grass Valley, California. Marney seeks to enrich the lives of students through a gentle and informative teaching style, incorporating postures or asanas, breathing exercises (pranayama), relaxation (savasana), positive thinking and meditation. Her goal as a teacher is to help students to discover and embrace their true nature, happiness and inner peace.
Meghan attended her first yoga class 12 years ago with her mom. That first day on the mat, she discovered many things, such as her mothers likeness to a human pretzel. More importantly, she learned that the practice of quieting the mind to converse with the body is not attained in a single class; it requires dedicated mindfulness and heaps of compassion. This is an ongoing process she happily cultivates on and off her yoga mat. Meghan appreciates the immeasurable ways the practice of yoga translates to the practice of everyday life, and is motivated by love to share this with others.
Meghan strives to create a safe, peaceful, and joyful environment for her students. She encourages ”practicing in the bodies we have on this particular day, as our wonderful spirit vehicles are always evolving and changing.”
Meghan earned her 200 hour RYT Certificate in December 2011. She enjoys roadtrips with her partner, board games with her family, and snuggling up to her two cats.
Nicole encourages self-love & healing through her teaching which allows students to discover their joy, contentment & inner peace. Discovering Yoga in 1995 and embracing its unique qualities of balance & tranquility ultimately led her to share this ancient practice with others.
Nicole completed Mastery of Life Training with Deep Yoga School of Healing Arts in 2007 which she feels was the perfect complement not only to her yoga practice but to her overall life & well-being. This allowed her to focus on an Inner Peace deep healing practice which has led her to have a very open-minded approach instructing others. In her Hatha based classes, students will be guided to unify & balance the energies that naturally reside within as well as integrate Universal Teachings of Love, Light & Unity to enhance the journey of life.
Embracing the evolution of her path over the past couple years Nicole has enjoyed studying Reiki, Meditation, Yoga Nidra & Feng Shui, as well as continuing to facilitate workshops. The next pursuit will be to take her love of travel & sharing yoga out into the world, offering workshops in beautiful destinations.
Her goal as a teacher is to help students to discover and embrace their true nature, happiness and inner peace while immersing themselves in a perpetual state of love & overall peace of mind.
Nicole also owns Shanti Spa & Gallery, a peaceful retreat of beauty & wellness, located in Normal Heights.
Nikole Fortier, ERYT-200
Nikole is amused by the poetic irony of pop culture introducing her to yoga: “I went in looking for ‘yoga butt’ and walked out profoundly changed–physically, mentally, psychically.” Nine years later, she’s dedicated to creating space in her classes for students to experience something similar.
Nikole has a 200 hour certification from UCSD training with Arturo Galvez in the Iyengar & Astanga traditions, and recently completed a 100 hour interdisciplinary flow certification from Yoga One with Amy Caldwell & Diana Beardsley. She’s been blessed to have studied with many amazing teachers, and often credits her students for teaching her most. In her classes, she likes to incorporate chanting, pranayama, Sanskrit, philosophy, still and moving meditation through asanas with emphasis on the breath so that students can experience the spectrum of transformational yoga expressions. Foremost, she encourages students to practice loving kindness, truth, peace and acceptance on the mat as these qualities invariably translate into life.
Papaha Gosline has studied meditation with Sri Chinmoy since 1982 and has been teaching meditation classes free of charge for over 25 years. He helped build Jyoti-Bihanga vegetarian restaurant and was one of their chefs for over a decade. Papaha now owns a gallery and art studio across the street from the yoga studio in Normal Heights that focuses on showing spiritual contemporary art and producing commercial design.
Inspired by the example of Sri Chinmoy he also lives a very athletic lifestyle teaching tennis part time, along with enjoying many other sports activities in sunny San Diego. “Learning about spirituality with Sri Chinmoy has revealed paths with heart, creativity and fulfillment. Meditating and working with the Sri Chinmoy Centre has been the most powerful and enlightening experience of my life.”
I have been practicing yoga since the late 1990s, studying with a range of teachers and styles.Certified through Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga and registered with Yoga Alliance, I teach Vinyasa, Hatha and Restorative Yoga with a focus on physical alignment and connecting to the breath. I weave philosophy and readings into my classes as a way to unite the physical practice of asana with our lives off the mat. I believe that yoga is first and foremost a transformational practice. It helps us open to change in our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. Yoga has taught me to find calm and ease while continuing to challenge my perceived physical and mental boundaries. I feel deeply privileged to be able to pass on these amazing teachings to my students.
For Rachel, Yoga is a discipline of self-discovery. In every class, Rachel aims to leave students filled with the joy and peace that she experiences through her own yoga practice. She offers a blend of challenging, empowering and creative postures that reflect her knowledge and deep understanding of the body & the human experience. By encouraging introspection and self-inquiry, she hopes to help people connect to their own True Self.
Rachel is a native San Diegan who began her yoga practice in Boulder, Colorado while attending CU in 2004. She has her 200-hour yoga teaching certification through the Pilgrimage of the Heart. With a degree in Fine Art, Rachel sees yoga as a form of creative expression and an exploration of the Self. Just as a painter uses paints and brushes to create beautiful works of art, yoga uses the body and breath as tools to bring Beauty, Light, and Joy into the world.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to facilitate for others the positive and transformative qualities I have experienced with yoga.”
Rachel’s teaching path was sparked in the Adirondacks, New York and has since taken her to Costa Rica, Philadelphia, Nicaragua and sunny San Diego. Although a vinyasa teacher by training, she doesn’t confine herself to one style or definition of teaching. Rather, she draws upon her life’s experiences, both on and off the mat, to help students discover their own definition of Yoga. Whether Rachel is teaching a restorative or vinyasa class, students can expect to find their focus, explore their strengths and weaknesses, laugh and feel well balanced. When not teaching, she loves eating avocados, listening to classic rock on vinyl a little too loud, exploring the wilderness no matter the season, and just trying to be a really good human being! See www.rachellubich.com for more info.
Rebecca Elise Norton is an expressive alignment-based vinyasa flow teacher, holistic health counselor, sacred activist, and contemplative artist. Along with physical practice, she weaves into her classes both Buddhist and Yoga philosophy along with uplifting personal experiences. Rebecca teaches nationally and internationally and has recently returned to the states after teaching throughout South East Asia. She now lives and resides at a local Zen Center in San Diego. She encourages her students to find their personal flow and power on the mat which often ripples out into the rest of their lives. Rebecca’s passionate and playful nature makes her classes and one-on-one sessions filled with high energy healing, compassion, and unconditional encouragement for all walks of life. Rebecca’s classes will be sure to inspire your heart and empower your capacity to strengthen, lengthen, and breathe into the beauty each moment has to offer. (www.lifenotlifestyle.com)
Sarah Clark recently relocated to San Diego from New York City, where she taught Yoga at OM Yoga Center, New York University, Dance New Amsterdam, and privately. In addition to her 200-hour training from OM Yoga Center with Cyndi Lee, Christina Clark, and Joe Miller, Sarah is also certiﬁed as a Relax & Renew Restorative® Yoga teacher via Judith Lasater. Happily an endless student of the practice, Sarah has also pursued deeper training in Pranayama, Philosophy & Psychology of the Yoga Sutras, The Mayas (often called the Koshas), Prenatal Adjustments, and more. Sarahʼs teaching aims to balance precise alignment, a deep connection to the breath, and a mindful investigation of what qualities we are truly cultivating in our practice. Her presentation of Yoga is heavily inﬂuenced by her meditation practice, passion for Yoga philosophy and its practical applications, and history as a dancer (Sarah performed with a contemporary dance company in NYC for 6 years). See www.sarahclarkyoga.com for more details.
Shelby Lafrinere, ERYT-500
Shelby (E-RYT 200, E-RYT 500) is a yogini, retired professional contemporary and hip hop dancer, activist, adventurer, and lover of laughter. She originally came to yoga in 1997 as a way to overcome alcohol and drug addiction, and thankfully it has remained a stable platform of health and healing ever since. It has been her companion and guide through the rehabilitation of a spine injury without the use of pharmaceutical pain relievers, her source of strength through clinical anxiety, and an incredible set of tools that continually grounds, inspires, and stirs her curiosity for seeking joy in life.
She began teaching yoga in 2005, and uses her life experiences, dance/performance background, and in depth study and practice of Vinyasa, Anusara, Viniyoga, Ashtanga, Yin, Restorative Yoga, pranayama, and meditation to weave creative sequencing infused with intelligent therapeutics to assist each student in finding their individual optimal alignment. Also a certified Associate Polarity Practitioner (integrative energetic bodywork), her hands on adjustments aide each student in finding release of tension and pressure for greater comfort and energetic flow within the body during each asana.
In addition to joining the family at Pilgrimage of the Heart, she also trains and certifies yoga teachers at the 200 hour level as a Primary E-RYT at Yoga Well, a Yoga Alliance recognized interdisciplinary yoga teacher training school, as well as teaching private clients. It is her honor and joy to gratefully share the art of yoga with others.
Sydney 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.
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, 6 or 7 years now. His 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, going on to complete his 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 4th. year and are rapidly approaching 200 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 join us in this practice. Participation is the essence of Kirtan. Join us Thursday at 8:15pm.”
Tom looks forward to a deep participation 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.
Yesica firmly believes in the importance of exercising the body from the inside out. This is what drew her to yoga over 7 years ago. In 2011, Yesica completed her first Yoga Teacher Training at Namaste Yoga Center in San Diego. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) 200 hour with Yoga Alliance. Most recently, Yesica completed her 100 hour Prenatal, Postnatal and Baby Yoga teacher training at Nature’s Whisper School of Yoga, also in San Diego.
With a background in dance, Yesica is comfortable with the movement and focus on alignment associated with yoga but is drawn to the inner awareness and spirituality brought about in practice. Yesica loves to incorporate music, gentle touch and deep relaxation in her classes. She teaches Vinyasa and Hatha styles but has a special place in her heart for family yoga practice. When not teaching yogaclasses, Yesica loves caring for her boys Max and Manuel, playing guitar and cooking healthy meals for her family.