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 McKeever

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.

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)

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Alyssa Runyan, E-RYT 200

DSC_0643Alyssa found yoga through meditation – she realized a yoga mat is a mirror that offers you the opportunity to either continue destructive patterns or make choices that align with your best intentions. She committed to a steady practice and continues to notice the positive shifts yoga creates in her life.

She graduated from her first 200 hour training here at Pilgrimage of the Heart in 2010 and began teaching immediately. Within 6 months, she left her job as an animal nurse to teach yoga full time and never looked back. After completing her second 200 hour YTT with Michael Fukumura in the Anusara tradition, Alyssa began leading her own 200 hour teacher trainings. Having the honor of working with students as they make the journey into to the role of a teacher continues to be both awe-inspiring and humbling.

As a student, teacher, studio manager, and YTT lead, Alyssa has experience with all aspects of the yoga world. After noticing certain patterns in her students and fellow teachers, she became fascinated with the therapeutic possibilities that yoga has to offer. She’s continued her education by studying how humans experience trauma and its impact on the autonomic nervous system. She completed 2 years of intensive training in Somatic Experiencing, a psycho-biological technique for healing trauma. She uses that knowledge to inform her teaching so that her students leave feeling inspired, empowered, and capable of meeting the challenges of a western lifestyle with grace and ease.

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Arezou Ghane, Phd

Dr. Arezou Ghane is a health psychologist, yoga instructor, dancer, and founder of Auteur Health and Wellness. Her passion is to share her love of movement and the science of wellbeing to support others seeking to live healthy and intentional lives.

Arezou took her first Hatha yoga class when she was 18 years old. Since then, she continued to practice at various studios in northern and southern California. It was through her introduction to Ashtanga Yoga that she learned how, with discipline and dedication, a consistent yoga practice could improve mental and physical performance in almost any context.

Arezou’s classes focus on linking movements together so that they intuitively “flow” from one pose to the next, while also emphasizing breath, intention, strength, and balance. Arezou loves to share the art of yoga as a tool for wellbeing, and she enjoys watching her students flourish as they start to pay more mindful attention to their breath and body.

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Arturo Galvez, E-500 RYT

New Small 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 ””, 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.

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Courtney Yezzi

CourtneyThroughout the last six years Courtney Yezzi has been teaching in San Diego and has been blessed to work with and under many great teachers, coaches and guides. During class she pulls from her time spent with her teachers, her experience and love for the animal kingdom and her passion to bring us back to our freedom home inside our hearts. She believes that through healthy alignment, blockages are released so creative energy and universal memory manifest in and around us. Courtney believes that each human has the innate ability to relearn their ancient form and flow of which connects us to our planet and to each other.

Over the past four years she has found a great balance between Olympic weightlifting, crossfit and yoga. In her spare time you can find her at the gym, in the sun and singing!

One of her greatest joys in this lifetime is being lead assistant to Nikole Fortier in the 200hour teacher training program here at Pilgrimage. This process of teaching others has changed her forever and brought an overwhelming amount of honor and humility into her offerings. This is a practice of courage and nobility in which we have the opportunity to LIVE and SHARE our EXPERIENCE.

Courtney’s Class Style: Courtney offers a dynamic hatha practice with emphasis on alignment and expansion. Her practice is a mix of her years studying iyengar, anusara and self exploration in the flow.

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Danielle Brand LeMond, E-RYT 500

Danielle Danielle is a yoga practitioner and yoga instructor (Yoga Alliance registered E-RYT 500), 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’s Class Style: Prenatal Yoga — In this class, all postures and practices offered are meant for your prenatal body! You will stretch and strengthen to remain fit during pregnancy, alleviate some of the normal aches of pregnancy and help your body prepare for labor. By deepening your breath, cultivating presence of mind and relaxing totally, you can relieve stress and find emotional and mental ease.

Yoga I — This class blends movement with longer holds and an attention to deepening the breath in order to soothe your nervous system and find balance toward the end of the work week. A theme is usually offered in order to help bring your yoga “off the mat” and into life.

Flowing Yoga I — In this class, expect to move your body in a “slow flow” style that combines sun salutations with some posture holds in order to focus on alignment and strength as well as flexibility and a meditative state of mind. You will work to release tension while focusing awareness on the coordination of breath and asana, or postures. This class is challenging (you will break a sweat) yet accessible.

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Emily Ruth, E-RYT 200

Emily RuthEmily Ruth is an E-RYT200 certified yoga teacher and an Ayurvedic Health Counselor. She first found yoga through injury and chronic pain. Within the practice of the 8 limbs of yoga she has found healing for herself and watched others blossom. She has practiced many different modalities and studied yogic philosophy in addition to the sister science of Ayurveda. Pulling from the modalities of Iyengar, Yin, and Deep Yoga in addition to mindfulness and self-compassion Emily believes that we are growing and learning in perfect alignment on our path of self-realization.

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Heather Fenwick

Heather Heather’s classes draw knowledge of physical alignment and effective, feel-good adjustments from Thai massage, Ayurveda, traditional yoga teacher training, and Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Massage. 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 retreats:

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Jackie Stenzel, RYT 200

DSC_0793My 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.

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Jamie Martin, RYT 500

Jamie MartinJamie 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 immediately enrolled in a teacher training program.

After two and a half years of teaching, Jamie’s insatiable thirst for knowledge and growth inspired her to take an advanced vinyasa teacher training with Jason Crandell in San Francisco. In those immersive trainings, she learned first-hand how yoga throws you directly into the mess of yourself and simultaneously pulls you out of it. It brought her face to face with her obstacles, mental and physical patterns, and crises of faith in a mindful, compassionate way. Through sadhana (daily practice) and svadhyaya (self-study), Jamie fully embraces the paradox of practicing yoga to change certain aspects of herself, yet fully and emphatically embracing all parts of herself.

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.

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Jano Galindo, E-RYT 500

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.

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Jessica Wales, RYT 200

Jessica 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.

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Jill Jones

Jill grew up in Nevada City, a small, creative community in Northern California, where she developed a passion for music, the arts, and being outdoors. After college, she moved to San Diego to chase the eternal Southern California summer. A self proclaimed “over thinker”, Jill found yoga during a time in her life when she felt lost, and needed guidance and stability. She began taking classes at Pilgrimage in 2015; in 2018, Jill completed their 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program, studying under Nikole Fortier and Courtney Yezzi. Off her mat, Jill enjoys good tunes, good food, and neighborhood cat walks.

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Kara Willingham

Kara discovered the benefits of yoga, meditation and a regular practice in 2013. After embarking upon her first 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. Kara is a graduate of the Pilgrimage 200-hour teacher training program and finds joy in teaching yoga, building relationships within her yoga community and sharing her passion for wellness with others.

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Karen O’Lone, RYT 200

KarenFrom an early age Karen has been mystified by the movement, mysteries, and possibilities of the human body. 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.

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Kari Ross-Berry, RYT 500

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.

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Kayma Englund, E-RYT 500

kayma_05Kayma has fostered deep interest in the teachings of yoga and subtle energy from a young age. With signs too clear to ignore that this was her calling she has devoted over 1,000 hours of organized training around the globe to study these ancient teachings to help make sense of this multidimensional human experience. This ongoing, fascinating journey has brought Kayma to Southern California where she is passionate about holding an intelligent, supportive space for individuals to connect with themselves and the beauty that lies in each moment. When not teaching Yoga she can be found playing in her garden, working with crystals, riding bikes and making art. She welcomes you to class with an open mind and open heart!

From her roots to the present Kayma has completed 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified training with the Arhanta Yoga Vedanta Ashram in Northern India, 300-hr YA and International Association of Yoga Therapists certified training in Costa Rica, Intensive Thai Massage Training at The White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, and 1, 11 and Master Level Reiki trainings with A Flight Above Venus in New York City.

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Kendall Wood, RYT 200

Kendall grew up in Washington State and moved to San Diego in February of 2016. After experiences with depression and anxiety she found yoga to be an excellent way to keep her mind and body calm and centered. She is a kind-hearted and optimistic individual who loves to make people smile.

In Kendall’s classes you will find a welcoming, supportive space filled with feel-good adjustments and heart-felt encouragement. She loves to see students step out on a limb to try something new. Never be afraid to fall!

When Kendall isn’t practicing yoga you can find her in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes and baking her favorite treats. Her motto: Life’s too short for a bad meal!

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Laura Dasi

LightenedDSC_0571Laura 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.

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Lauren Knuth, RYT 200

After graduating from the University of Colorado, I spent ten years in the corporate world, not enjoying it much and doing a ton of yoga to compensate. After having two babies in two years, my husband and I were trying to adjust to life with small children and took a formal course in transcendental meditation. Long story short, it was life changing and I have spent the last few years practicing, reading and listening to everything I can get my hands on about meditation and mindfulness practice. I made a decision not to go back to my cubicle and instead pursue a career where I could practice doing what I love – teaching yoga & meditation. I have been practicing yoga for 12 years and enjoy teaching multiple styles, all the way from a vigorous vinyasa flow to a meditative restorative. When creating my classes, I focus on intelligent sequencing and a variety of well-rounded poses to create a smooth, balanced class. I am inspired by Jason Crandell, Tiffany Cruikshank, Sharon Salzberg, my kids and my students.

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Lauren Mahlberg, RYT 200

Lauren MahlbergLauren 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.

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Lauren McLaren, E-RYT 200

LaurenYoga 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.

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Lena Schmidt, E-RYT 200 & P-RYT

LenaWith 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’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

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Linda Martone

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.

Linda’s Class Style: Linda’s teaching style is grounded in awareness of the body and the practice of honoring the students’ experience. Her style promotes an atmosphere of security and encourage students to explore of self-care.

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Liz Myers, RYT 200

I am a certified mindfulness based practitioner providing restorative practices such as meditation, yoga, therapeutic life coaching, sound healing, and retreats to adults looking to restore back into wellness. I received my 200-hour yoga teacher certification through Laura Plumb and Bhava Ram of the Deep Yoga Mastery of Life program in the summer of 2015. I have further training through the UCSD Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction program, Vipassana 10-day Silent Meditation Intensive, Street Yoga Trauma Yoga Therapy Intensive and the Cancer Therapy Yoga Teacher Intensive. I believe practicing & embracing yoga teaches people to be a great observer of their mind, body and spirit. Through the uncovering of the truth of our existence, joy and love can easily come shining through.

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Lorena Parsons, RYT 200

DSC_0006Lorena fell into yoga in 2008, taking a class for fun at a local junior college in Northern California as a newly wed. Yoga combined movement, which Lorena loves, and meditation. Lorena lived abroad in Germany for 2.5 years enjoying the culture, food and slower pace of life. She returned to the good ole USA in 2012 and began working full time. Although she enjoyed her job, she needed an outlet for that could combine exercise while reducing stress.

It would be a gym Yoga class at that would lead her back to her mat. What started off as a once a week flirtation, quickly developed into two, three and four times a week love affair. The asana kept Lorena coming back for more, but it was the fascination with diving deeper into herself and trying to understand Yoga that helped her decide to take her first Teacher Training.

Lorena enrolled in the Yoga One Teacher Training program at Yoga One Studio and received a 200-hour Yoga Teacher certificate in March 2014. Since then Lorena has continued to deepen her knowledge of Yoga, through additional teacher trainings. She is a Certified Street Yoga Teacher via Yoga One and Certified Yin Yoga Teacher through Pilgrimage of the Heart October 2014. And recently trained in Chair Yoga through Little Flower Yoga Studio of New York.

In her free time, Lorena enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and loves to hang out at the beach. She is also volunteers through the St Vincent de Paul’s Health and Wellness Program teaching Yoga to residences once a week and is a Freelance Make Up Artist. She hopes to one day be able to bring her two passions of teaching yoga and beauty together.

Lorena’s Class Style: Lorena is committed to making yoga accessible to people of all body types, helping them to manage stress and increase in strength and flexibility. Her goal is to create a space where students may dive deep inside their practice and trust in their own inner teacher, so that every class is a positive experience for her students.

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Maneli Jodat, RYT 500

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.

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Marie Barranco

Marie is a native San Diegan whose path first converged with yoga and mindfulness meditation in 2013. The therapeutic elements of the practice 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, 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.

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Marney Jensen

LightenedDSC_0598Marney 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.

Marney’s Class Style: Marney’s Yoga 1 class provides an easy-to-understand overview of the basics of hatha yoga, including postures (asanas), breath work (pranayama), and positive thinking/meditation. Her classes are relaxing and refreshing, with an emphasis on the connection between mind and body, breath and movement.

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Meghan Sciascia, E-RYT 200

MeghanMeghan continues to be awed by the immeasurable benefits of practicing yoga, an ongoing heartfelt process that leaves no stone unturned. To instruct and share this practice with others is a great source of joy. Meghan completed her 200-hour teacher training in 2011 under Nikole Fortier and Courtney Yezzi. Her classes are filled with a little humor and a lot of compassion!

Meghan’s Class Style: You will be supported when you choose to take rest, and are encouraged when you choose to push past your barriers. Together, we will layer effort over ease, ease over effort. These classes are heavily seasoned with yoga puns and lots of laughter!

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Mike Flynn, E-RYT 200

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.
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Nam Chantepie, E-RYT 500

Nam is an RYT500 and E-RYT200 teacher who has studied under Jason Crandell. As a student and teacher of yoga and functional movement modalities, his yoga classes are grounded in strength, anatomical detail and mindfulness. Nam offers detailed verbal cues and expert hands on adjustments/assists to help his students find a fuller experience in their yoga practice; emphasizing breath and proper alignment in each of his classes. Whether teaching a restorative or vinyasa class, students can expect to explore their strengthens, work on focus, and learn to find balance on and off the mat.
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Nicole Pisciotto, E-RYT 200

Nicole 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.

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.

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Nikole Fortier, E-RYT 200

Nikole 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.

Nikole’s Class Style: Nikole’s classes are based on the profound and deep teachings of Yogacharya BKS Iyengar. Emphasis is placed on precise physical alignment of the outermost body toward the innermost Self, using props as tools to allow deep expression of each pose. Nikole incorporates the teaching inversions and all 8 limbs of Yoga within each class.

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Rachel Ishiguro, RYT 200

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.

Rachel’s Class Style: Rachel’s Gentle Yoga classes are relaxing and meditative, with an emphasis on gentle movement, breath awareness, and listening to your own body for a healing and deeply personal practice.

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Rebecca Norton, RYT 200

DSC_0673Rebecca 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. (

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Sara Szunyogh. RYT 200

Sara discovered yoga in 1997 and immediately felt a draw to the physical practice and philosophical teachings.  She completed her 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher training in January of 2007 in Cleveland, OH with revered teacher Marni Task. Sara enjoys teaching a variety of levels of vinyasa, incorporating dynamic asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy and uplifting music.  

Sara served in the Peace Corps from 2010-2012 in Fiji, teaching yoga and meditation to native villagers in some of the most remote parts of the world. Sara also has a decade of Latin dancing experience as well as Afro-Cuban and West African styles of dance & loves to incorporate world rhythms into her classes. Sara loves the feeling of inspiration, strength, confidence, tranquility and sense of community that yoga fosters.  Sara is also a Superfood Chef and Wellness Concierge, leading workshops, retreats and boutique wellness events across southern California, Mexico and around the globe.  To learn more about Sara and her upcoming events, please visit her website at and join her on Instagram @spicygypsy.

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Sarah Barbosa, RYT 200

Sarah BarbosaSarah first started yoga as a way to stretch and soothe sore muscles from playing soccer in high school. Yoga served as exercise and stress relief. Now her yoga practice has grown to be a soul satisfying daily practice of movement and spirituality to keep her grounded and centered. Sarah would describe her teaching style as eclectic. She likes to incorporate many different styles of yoga, along with philosophy, pranayama and lots of fun! Sarah’s hobbies include hiking, camping, backpacking and anything that gets her outside.
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Sydney Cohen, RYT 200

smallSydney 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.

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Tom Warner

LightenedDSC_0584Tom 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.

Tom’s Class Style: Tom leads our weekly Kirtan on Thursday evenings and invites you to join us in the ancient practice of breath and song. Stemming from the Bhakti tradition of yoga (devotion), Kirtan is a profound meditation using sacred phrases (Mantra) and simple melodies to clear the mind of its clutter and to focus on the Supreme.

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Yesica Rodriguez, RYT 200

DSC_0055Yesica 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.

Yesica’s Class Style: Yesica teaches from the heart and focus on alignment. Depending on the style, students might feel challenged, sore or relaxed but they will always leave my class with their hearts full.

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