Instructor Bios

Anjali Sunita Anjali Sunita E-RYT, Baltimore Yoga Village Founder and Director instructs the 200 hour Jivan Yoga Teacher Training and co-teaches the 300 hour course. She has been studying yoga philosophy, North Indian classical chanting, deep breathing techniques, postures, and meditation ceaselessly for the past 16 years and has taught in India, Peru, Canada, and the United States in ashrams, private and public schools, embassies, yoga studios, retreat centers, and private homes since 2005. She is certified in traditional yoga at the advanced level through the Sivananda Organization and also holds certifications through the AcroYoga organization, prenatal yoga with Janice Clarfield, and children’s yoga through YoKid, and continues studies through numerous programs held at Baltimore Yoga Village. She promotes programs which offer opportunities for healing and community-building in Baltimore.

_GRJ5508-Edit Madhan Raj grew up in India, in a humble home, with his parents practicing yogic values, in-grained in the Hindu culture. As a child, he would wake up to his dad practicing Hatha yoga in the early hours of the day, to heal chronic back pain. Vedic mantra chanting would follow Hatha yoga. His father grew up in a Gurukulam, in Tirchy, South India, during those formative year.However, Madhan’s calling for ‘yoga’ came only in 2006. Going through years of depression and in search of healing, Madhan attended his first couple of yoga classes in Kansas. Very soon, the regular practice of yoga became a habit.In 2009, Madhan went to the Sivanada Ashram in Kerala to study the timeless ‘Vedanta’ and ‘Hatha Yoga’. In 2012, through the guidance of his guru, he was initiated in ‘Kriya Yoga’, an ancient technique of spiritual evolvement, brought to the West by Sri Pramahansa Yoganada. Finally in February 2015, Madhan became a certified Hatha Yoga teacher to serve people, and to learn through the practice of serving.

Sara Sheikh began her yoga and meditation practice in the mid-1990′s through the Sivananda tradition and with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh’s trainings in Mindfulness Meditation. Inspired to share the transformational practice of yoga with others, in 2008 Sara traveled to study and become certified at the 200-hour level through the International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Val Morin, Canada. In years since, Sara has expanded her personal practice by studying the Jivamukti method and has dedicated herself to becoming a skilled teacher of Vinyasa yoga. Offering classes for beginning as well intermediate students, Sara integrates yogic chanting, philosophy, the practice of yoga postures, regulated breathing, deep relaxation and meditation into each session. In class she is known for her down to earth, clear and in-depth instruction. Responsive and sensitive to each individual, she is committed to helping students achieve a healthier-balanced life and develop a greater awareness of Self through the practice of yoga. In addition to teaching at BYV, Sara has the privilege to teach yoga to children and families in underserved neighborhoods through Baltimore City recreation centers, schools, and childcare programs. She has completed a masters degree in Clinical Social Work at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (class of 2013).

  Leanora Eubanks (Lea) is a certified Therapeutic Yoga & Kids Yoga Teacher through Yama Studio’s 200 hour Therapeutic Program and YoKid, holds a BA in Urban Studies from Eastern University, works as an Outward Bound wilderness instructor, and has earned her Occupational Therapy Assistant degree. Leanora practices and teaches yoga as a moving meditation, cultivating deeper connection to inner wisdom and unconditional Love.  Her classes encourage awareness of the physical, energetic and psycho-emotional levels (koshas) within the body-mind; and include energizing and/or gentile yoga movements (asana), breath-work (pranayama), positive affirmations and meditative stillness. She has enjoyed sharing the yoga experience with various Baltimore communities: from city/federal jail detainees to church congregations, yoga studios and corporate employees (i.e. Johns Hopkins & Kennedy Krieger).  As a Baltimore Yoga Village teacher, Leanora is delighted to give back to the authentic and inspiring community that has nurtured her personal yoga practice over the years.

Reclaiming pregnancy/childbirth as a sacred rite of passage is Nilajah Brown’s life work and passion. She has been serving women and families as a Sacred-birthing consultant for over 10 years. She brings a wealth of traditional birthing wisdom from African, Caribbean and Native American midwives. She is a professionally trained mother, pregnancy yoga therapist, childbirth educator, doula, reiki practitioner, and lactation consultant. Her focus is on supporting women in tuning into their innate wisdom as they transition from pregnancy through labor and into motherhood. She is currently working on her first book Birthing in the Spirit.Nilajah teaches prenatal yoga courses as well as Momma & Baby classes at Baltimore Yoga Village.

Vivian Campagna, a certified yoga instructor since 2002, Vivian is celebrating 10 years of teaching and 16 years of immersing herself in the many facets of yoga practice and tradition. After earning full certification in the Anusara method, an advanced certification that is the equivalent of the Yoga Alliance ERYT 500 designation, Vivian has chosen to evolve these teachings into her own unique teaching style. She feels super blessed to have trained thousands of classroom and apprenticeship hours with her main teacher Susie Hurley to whom she offers full pranams of gratitude. Always a student, Viv is grateful for her opportunities to study with leading scholars including sanskrit studies with Vyaas Houston, yoga philosophy with Dr. Douglas Brooks, Dr. WIlliam K. Mahony, Dr. Carlos Pomeda and Dr. Paul Muller-Ortega, and Ayurveda with Kate Stillman. Vivian’s primary asana teachers are Sianna Sherman, Noah Maze and Christina Sell who continually inspire her through their brilliant teaching. Vivian loves living in Baltimore and being a part of the Baltimore Yoga VIllage community. She wishes to express gratitude to every student she is fortunate to encounter, and most of all, deep appreciation and love goes out to her husband John and daughter Lila for their boundless love and support.

Erin Gahan has been practicing yoga since 2000 and teaching since 2007. Although trained in the Vinyasa style of yoga, Erin has studied and infuses her classes with multiple styles of movement  including Vinyasa, Bikram ,Kundalini, traditional Hatha yogas and dance.  Every class includes pranayama. All levels are welcomed in Erin’s classes. Expect to breathe, move and smile. All you will need to bring to classes is an open mind and an open heart.
_GRJ4945-Edit Tonika Garibaldi brings patience, strength, and compassion to her yoga classes. She first started learning about and practicing yoga when she moved to Baltimore in 2003. At the time, she was teaching in an after-school program as a fitness educator, and yoga helped her to relax and rejuvenate! Since then, Tonika has shared her practice with friends and colleagues and has received her 200-hour certification from Rishikesh Yog Peeth in Rishikesh, India.  A practice that allows Tonika to stay present with what she is doing both on and off the mat, she hopes to offer her students the same, along with a greater awareness of self and compassion towards others.  When not teaching yoga, Tonika enjoys teaching GED classes, traveling and photography.

 ryan headshot  Ryan Sansing received his training through the Jivan Yoga Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village where he practices yoga, sings and shares music. Ryan brings a variety of influences to his drop in classes, which includes elements of Kriya, Vinyasa, martial arts, meditation and pranayama, mixed with in a high energy flow and lively music. He teaches a beginner’s series at the 29th Street Community Center through Baltimore Yoga Village as well as a special Yoga for Men’s series at Baltimore Yoga Village, hampden.

 Marley Keller, E-RYT 500, has an extensive background in dance and psychology helped set the foundation for her career as a yoga instructor to children and adults. In 2006, Marley received her 200 hour yoga teacher training from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and spent the next 3 years dedicated to completing both a 200 and 500 hour teacher training program with an emphasis on yoga therapeutics at Golden Heart Yoga in Annapolis MD.Since 2006, Marley has been teaching both private and group classes to children and adults. Although mainly influenced by Anusara and Parayoga and her teacher and mentor, Rod Stryker, Marley brings elements of various styles of yoga into her yoga sessions. She is trained in prenatal yoga, yoga for athletes, mommy and me yoga, kids yoga, preteen and teen yoga, and yoga for special conditions. She specializes in one-on-one yoga therapy for people with chronic and acute medical conditions. Emphasizing breath, alignment, and body awareness, her goal is to help all students foster a better sense of self by finding the connection between their body, mind and spirit.


0707 Chris Jamison has studied human movement for more than three decades.  First as a modern dancer, primarily the Martha Graham technique, then from clinical and scientific viewpoints. He has been a Physical Therapist for 30 years and has a Masters Degree in Biomechanics and Motor Control. This experience give him a keen eye for alignment and a skilled touch in assisting the student to deepen their practice.

At the age of eight, Claudia Neuman attended her first yoga class with her Mother, and the practice has been in her life ever since. As a native of Santa Monica California, Claudia was blessed to be a part of a studio called Yoga Works. Prior to this she studied with the Integral and Sivananda Yoga Societies, as well as her beloved first real teacher, Ragavan, who inspired her to begin teaching. Claudia continued to teach and train at Yoga Works, completing several teacher training programs there; studying and interning with Rod Stryker, Eric Shifffman, and Anna Forrest. She also studied with the honorable Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, creator of Ashtanga Yoga.

In 2004 Claudia came to Baltimore by invitation of the original owner of BYV and fell in love with it. In 2005 she received her E-RYT and also became certified by John Friend in Anusara Yoga. Claudia’s unique style of yoga teaching has evolved over these years to reflect the best of what she has learned from so many master teachers.


Deborah Quirk is a YT 500 and Board Certified Dance/movement therapist. She completed her 500YTT at the Columbia Yoga Center in Columbia,MD in December of 2013. While Deborah teaches Vinyasa Yoga this YTT focused on alignment and Yoga therapeutics which continues to inspire her teaching and personal practice of Yoga. Deborah’s love of dance/movement began as a child studying dance with her father who owned and operated dance studios in Dallas,TX. Prior to receiving her Masters Degree in Dance/movement therapy from Goucher College she co-directed Chrysalis Repertory Dance Company in Houston,TX. Deborah’s classes include music and poetry , creating yoga classes rich with imagery promoting body awareness, mindfulness and an embodied movement experience.

After a 7 year bout of severe depression, Joshua Rothschild met his spiritual mentor who helped him to wake up.  He teaches yoga and meditation as processes for spiritual transformation to support people to live more fully and more peacefully.Josh teaches a class called Yoga Church which integrates Kundalini Yoga with philosophy and chanting. He also teaches regular meditation series classes.

Stephanie Snyder infuses a wide spectrum of Life experience with her love for yoga into each session. Her classes are peppered with yogic philosophy and specific alignment guidelines to encourage you to step into the bright Light that already exists within your heart. In this uplifting, heart-centered practice, be inspired to engage in an extraordinary experience honoring the wonder of the ordinary both on and off the mat. Stephanie has been teaching from the heart since she fell in love with Anusara yoga 4.5 years ago but she has been practicing, in constant awe of yoga’s gifts, since her mother practiced with her in utero! She is filled with gratitude to be a part of the awesome Baltimore Yoga Village community and to teach you!

Neeru Takiar is a certified Yama Therapeutics yoga instructor.  Practicing yoga for nearly eight years, Neeru has a rich knowledge of  yoga and ayurveda. Neeru’s interests in yoga focuses upon a combination of vinyasa asanas, ayurvedic philosophy, guided meditation, visualization and pranayama. Her strong dedication to ensuring the health of the mind and soul allows her to be inspirational as she guides her students to release the physical, emotional and mental tensions that block the numerous energy pathways of the body. She encourages her students to be mindful of the yoga they practice – in particular understanding the intention and purpose, or bhavana, for each asana. Neeru also loves to cook and teach about healthy ayurvedic vegetarian food – she is always in search of new dishes that are good for a yogi!

Pamela Tanton has been practicing the Sheng Zhen system of qigong since 2002, and she’s been teaching it since 2004. Sheng Zhen means “Unconditional Love.” She is certified to teach by Master Li Junfeng, the founder of Sheng Zhen Qigong. She has studied with Master Li for ten years, and has taken many 10-day teacher training sessions with him all over the world—Germany, Norway, Croatia, Hawaii, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, California, Texas, and Baltimore.For Pamela, qigong is a beautiful practice that brings a sense of well-being, deep relaxation, and a feeling of connection to Oneness. But she believes it’s important not to be too serious about it either! The phrase, “Enjoy your practice, enjoy your life” is a cornerstone of the Sheng Zhen Qigong philosophy. Pamela’s classes place an emphasis on having fun and doing the movements in a way that feel good to your body.

“Mira” Mary E.Tessman has been practicing yoga off and on for over twenty years and started teaching yoga in 2007.  Currently, she teaches seven classes a week at four studios and offers private yoga instruction in the Baltimore area.  Mira views her yoga practice as the most consistent and potent source of spiritual, mental, and physical strength and support in her life.  Besides teaching yoga, Mira is a holistic psychotherapist and uses a mindfulness-based and body-oriented approach in her private practice.  She suggests to her clients: “Try yoga before Prozac; it really helps stabilize mood.”  Mira has been facilitating expressive arts, healing, meditation, and spiritual growth workshops, retreats and groups since 1994.  She supervises Master’s level psychology students and has also been an adjunct professor at CCBC in the psychology department.  Mira was co-founder and co-director of the Heart’s Journey Wellness Center in Towson for many years.  Mira loves to plan yoga routines, travel, dance, hike, kayak, bicycle, and hang out with her husband, children, and good friends.

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Lola Manekin was born and raised in the island of Florianopolis, Brazil where homeopathy and acupuncture were instilled in her since she was very little. Growing up, she and her siblings rarely received antibiotics or other prescription medications.  She learned from a young age to trust the body and that my symptoms were a sign of my body’s wisdom, not a sign of its breakdown.  As she grew older, her passion for healing continued and she pursued the study of “Naturologia”.  In college, she learned how to treat patients using massage, reflexology, hydrotherapy, Bach flowers and many other powerful natural therapies. After graduation in 2004, she moved to the United States and obtained her license to practice massage therapy and ultimately earned a Masters in acupuncture from The Tai Sophia Institute in Maryland. She is the co-founder of BlueGreen Acupuncture & Bodywork in Baltimore and teaches Nia at Baltimore Yoga Village. Nia gracefully combines energetic and physical movement in the body, mind & spirit, allowing each person to connect deeper with their bodies and start learning from each symptom. With Nia, no one thing or person ‘heals you’, you get to heal yourself!


Elizabeth Tunkle: Studying yoga since February 2000 and teaching since 2004, Elizabeth brings fun and joy to even the hardest poses. Her class challenges you to go deeper both physically and emotionally as you come into a deeper life balance through breath. Twice she has traveled to India to study yoga and meditation and is inspired by the traditional teachings of yoga . She teaches a powerful flow focused on the breath. Like life, yoga can make us laugh and cry. It can stretch us to our edge and soften us into experience. Elizabeth challenges you to go deeper into that experience of life through deep breath and commitment to practice.

wendy If you ask Wendy Brown what brought her to yoga, with a smile she will respond, ‘To save my life.’  The mat became the foundation of a life-changing journey of discovery and empowerment; and after a heart to heart with the Divine, she enrolled in the Jivan Yoga Teacher Training program at Baltimore Yoga Village and received her 200 hour certification in December 2012.  Having suffered from lower-back pain for over fifteen years, Wendy emphasizes alignment and honoring of oneself.  The mat, she believes, is like a magic carpet ride.  It should be a place of discovery, fun, and challenge, but always infused with conscious awareness. Off the mat, Wendy is pursuing a literary career.  Two of her novels Bird Tales, and Between Darkness and Light, are complete and moving through the cycles to publication. Similar to yoga, writing gives her breath, hope, and healing.

maura (532x800) Maura Roth-Gormley is passionate about encouraging people to dive into the flow of an embodied yoga practice. A Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200 hour level, she completed her teacher training through the Samudra School of Living Yoga, where she studied with master teachers Shiva Rea, Maria Garre, Shani Stevenson and others. Maura believes that there is a yoga for every stage of life and loves exploring the relationship between music and movement both on and off the mat. Her Prana FlowÒ: Energetic Vinyasa classes incorporate intelligent sequencing, safe alignment, and graceful movement and words to help all students feel embodied and empowered. She feels strongly that yoga is for everybody and every body and loves to see a diversity of movement among students. Come to her class to listen to groovy music, be part of a supportive community, and get down with your True Self.

Kathy  Kathy Fahey’s students describe her as attentive, creative, and nurturing. Through poetry, song, breathing exercises, and asana, Kathy leads her students to a place of connection within the self and with others. She’s a strong believer in the power of yoga and meditation because it has helped her on her own path of healing. Her love of teaching comes from her desire to share a practice that has changed her life. Kathy is also an artist, musician, and lover of Ayurvedic cooking.Certified through the Jivan Yoga Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village, RYT 200. Kathy is grateful to be teaching at a studio full of integrity and filled with a community she loves, a place she considers to be home.

 emily Emily Mullen grew up in a household where it was normal for dad to hanging out in a headstand in the living room when she woke up each morning; so you could say her practice is almost genetic. Originally yoga was purely physical for Emily, but as she delved deeper into her practice and into herself, it became more spiritual. In 2013, she completed the 200 hour teacher training through University of Maryland’s Center for Integrated Medicine and through the same program became a certified Reiki Master. Learning yoga and reiki together was very powerful, especially in understanding the effects of asana on the energetic body. Emily teaches with compassion; guiding her students to direct their energy, and encouraging them to play and find the joy in each asana.

 mary Mary Steinke completed her 200 hour  teacher training through Jivan Teacher Training right here at Baltimore Yoga Village in 2011. Since then, she has also become certified to teach VaiHayasa Aerial Yoga, Acroyoga, and has completed the Sarahpeutics 50 hour Thai massage training. She brings her real world experience of being a business woman, momma bird, world traveler, and devoted yogini to the mat. With this resume of yoga training + life experience, Mary enjoys working towards finding balance, compassion, and grace on and off the mat. She teaches yoga asana as well as AcroYoga and a partner bodywork class at Baltimore Yoga Village.

 nancy Nancy McPartland’s passion for yoga began in 1996 under the guidance of Moses Brown and Bob Glickstein. She became a certified Iyengar teacher in 1998 through the Columbia Yoga Center. In 1999 Nancy completed the Radiant Child Teacher Training. Also in 1999 Nancy had the privilege of studying with John Friend founder of Anusara Yoga and has been “flowing with grace” since that time. In 2006 Nancy studied with Kim Manfriedi and adaptive a vinyasa style. Next she studied with Jayne Berbasconi to become a certified arieal yoga teacher. She has been studying Reiki with Bonnie Tarrantino since 2010 and this year recieved her Karuna level in India. Nancy brings a skillful awareness of the postures along with the desire to help her students connect to the divine goodness that resides in each one of us. She has also been working as a psychotherapist for the last 20 years and often explores the emotional benefits of the postures, using Yoga as a means to mental and physical health.

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Karla Cott began practicing yoga in 2008. She experienced the amazing benefits of a sustained yoga practice after it aided in her full recovery from ankle surgery and painful back issues. She believes that yoga is not just a physically strengthening practice, but also a sadhana, a spiritual practice. Her classes focus on physical alignment and aim at invigorating body, mind and spirit, as well as opening our hearts to their fullest potential. She completed the 200-hour Jivan Yoga teacher-training course with Anjali Sunita at the Baltimore Yoga Village. She has trained with amazing teachers such as Tao Porchon-Lynch, Pierre Couvillion and Steffany Moonaz, and was also an apprentice to  Vivian Campagna.
lisa shealy  Lisa Shealy discovered yoga several years ago, while living in Nashville, TN. She began her 200 hour yoga study there until her husbands job required a move back to their home town of Baltimore. Once back home, Lisa continued her yoga study through the Jivan Yoga Teacher Training program at Baltimore Yoga Village. Lisa’s journey in yoga began as a quest for a flexible and toned body, but in the end, it was the mindfulness of her yoga practice that she truly fell in love with. Lisa’s classes are theme based, and she believes that yoga should be fluid and more importantly – fun! She welcomes students to come in and let go, as she guides you through your yoga practice using breath, body AND mind.
jen daks Jenn Daks began practicing yoga as part of a holistic approach to her healing journey from Rheumatoid Arthritis. Having lived with the condition since she was a toddler, Jenn has grown to understand the sensitivity and connection between the mind, body and spirit, and has grown to appreciate and encourage the unique knowledge and perspective each person brings to their practice of yoga both on and off the mat. Jenn completed her 200 hour Jivan Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village in 2014. Her background in and passion for clinical psychology has infused much of her practice and teachings. Working with older adults, trauma patients, individuals with chronic pain has given her an array of experiences working with diverse populations. Jenn sees yoga as a gateway to gain awareness, compassion and acceptance and finds it is a perfect way to merge her enthusiasm for psychology with holistic healing practices
Adhikari Headshot Adhikari Sacha is a Mystery School Teacher most commited to inspiring people to go within themselves and discover that they are infinite, beyond all measure! She offers group and individual sessions and sometimes intensives on meditation, samyama ( directly experiencing everything without story), and chanting. As a licensed therapist(LCSW-C), shamanic practitioner, and Quantum Touch practitioner she offers healing sessions, soul retrievals, and shamanic intensives.  Her joy is living for the awakening of the planet and she very much feels this shift in consciousness is happening!
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Heather Leah Huddleston has been practicing yoga since 2001, and becoming a yoga teacher was the next natural step in the journey of her practice. Yoga has been both a safe and sacred place for her. It, in fact, helped to save her life. Heather has struggled with depression and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) for the majority of her life, and in the space of yoga, she has helped to heal her mind, body and spirit. Because yoga has been so healing for her, she wishes to help others through the practice and hopes to create that feeling of safety and sacredness in all of her classes. Baltimore Yoga Village is Heather’s home away from home, having completed the 200-hour Jivan Yoga Teacher Training program with Anjali Sunita, and the perfect place for her to offer holistic hatha classes for yogis of all levels. Using the breath as the guide and the spine as the anchor, Heather leads a class that will have people rooted in both body and breath, allowing for union of all that makes us whole–body, mind and spirit.

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Amy Longcrier began practicing yoga in 2006 to gain flexibility and compliment the strength building sports and activities she has always loved.  After years of regular practice in a variety of styles she found the warm hug of Baltimore Yoga Village.  Being part of this authentic, well rounded community opened her eyes to the rest of yoga and changed her life.  Amy completed her 200 hour Jivan teacher training in 2012.   Through her own self exploration and experience Amy has found the healing power of yoga for physical injuries and mental stability.  Amy began practicing AcroYoga in 2008 and became certified to teach in 2014.  She has also had the good fortune to train for several years with a retired Chinese acrobat.  Amy has been performing partner acrobatics with Kelly Marburger since 2011 as one half of Rough ‘n’ Tumblers.  She teaches AcroYoga at Baltimore Yoga Village. In her free time Amy is a water resources engineer at a wonderful company, Biohabitats, where she gets to focus on the connections between soil, water, and ecology.  She regularly plays many sports and lawn games and tries to cook and garden when she can.

_GRJ8483-Edit Brian Daniloski has been practicing yoga regularly since 2008, when he discovered the life transforming powers of the practice for himself. He completed his 200 hour Jivan Yoga Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village in 2013. His classes are slow paced and strength building with a focus on breath awareness. Brian believes in the healing and meditational powers of music, and incorporates that into his practice as well. As a touring musician, his regular asana and pranayama practice has been invaluable in maintaining good health while traveling. In his spare time, Brian likes to be outdoors as often as possible.

_GRJ8713-Edit Lauren Going first became drawn to yoga while studying in a college acting conservatory program as a method to integrate mind and body.  She further explored yoga and meditation in 1999 while attending a Buddhist Studies program in Bodh Gaya, India.  She continued to study Buddhist meditation, Iyengar, and, Ashtanga-based yoga while working in Kathmandu, Nepal until 2003.  She became certified to teach yoga in 2005 by Kim Manfredi of Charm City Yoga and completed a Therapeutic 500-hour YTT in 2014 with Lynn Matthews.  Lauren draws from a wide variety of styles and teachers including Amy Weintraub, Rod Stryker, Kamani Desai, Shiva Rea, and Seane Corn. Lauren is trained as an ayurvedic yoga specialist through the Himalayan Institute, yoga nidra instructor through Amrit Yoga, and as a Lifeforce yoga instructor. As a licensed psychotherapist, Lauren combines the wisdom of western psychology with the physical alignment and energetics of yoga to assist students in discovering and living their full potential.

141120_GRJ2141-Edit Lee Halfpenny, RYT-200, has been studying, teaching, and practicing yoga and meditation for over 35 years.  Lee’s training in yoga began with Iyengar Yoga, which he studied at the Unity Woods Studio in Bethesda; he completed his teaching training through the Jivan Yoga Teacher training program here at BYV.  Lee began hatha yoga to complement his meditation practice.  He was in the first meditation teacher training cohort under Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, author of Mindfulness in Plain English, at the Bhavana Society, a monastic retreat center.  Lee also served as the Executive Director of Bhavana, working with Bhante Gunaratana, the abbot of the monastery.  Over 10 years ago, he was co-founder of a stress relief program for female inmates at the Baltimore City Detention Center, where he now teaches yoga and meditation to the men.  Lee’s classes combine yin and yang hatha yoga with a focus on gentle postures suitable for all levels of practice.  Breath and mindfulness are stressed within each posture and throughout the entire class. The goal is for everyone to leave the class refreshed with a greater awareness of being present.

141230_GRJ6121-Edit Ariel Wickham has been moving and shaking for most of her young life. Growing up, she studied jazz and tap dancing for ten years. Her first yoga teacher also happened to be her jazz professor when she was studying jazz and classical voice in college. Yoga has allowed Ariel to center and accept herself, which helped her artistry immensely. A recent graduate of Baltimore Yoga Village’s Jivan Yoga Teacher Training, Ariel likes to add humor and a sense of playfulness to her classes. What makes her unique is her down to earth personality, infectious enthusiasm, and love of music. She hopes to create a safe space for others to find the joy and empowerment that she has found through yoga.

Alba Azola was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico, and began studying classical ballet, gymnastics and jazz at the age of 4.  At 13 years old, she received a full scholarship to study at The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. where she trained for the three year.  Upon her returned to Puerto Rico, she became a member of the company Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico from 1995 to 2000.  After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in 2000, she taught Biology, AP Biology and Dance at Commonwealth High School in Puerto Rico for four years.  Alba decided to pursue her dream of becoming a physician and obtained my Doctorate in Medicine at Ponce School of Medicine in 2008 and subsequently moved to Baltimore for a residency on Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Alba says that the practice of Nia has allowed her to integrate my passions for Movement, Science and Healing in a seamless way, restoring a sense of balance and purpose in her being.  She is grateful to be able to share the joy of movement with others through practicing Nia.

141120_GRJ2175-Edit Amanda Grant moved to Baltimore in 1996, and acquired her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Maryland Institute College of Art. She is a licensed massage therapist who has been practicing in Baltimore for the past 8 years. Because of her appreciation of the physical, emotional, and mental transformation which she has experienced through yoga, Amanda decided to train as a yoga instructor. She obtained her RYT 200 from Jivan Yoga Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village. Over time, Amanda has developed a love of anatomy in all of its variations. She is always searching for ways to enhance her practice to better serve others. Yoga, understanding of the human anatomy and a good sense of humor have helped her on this path. Be prepared for occasional spontaneous laughter in her class.

 mina  Mina Shahriary has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. With an early background in gymnastics, she was initially drawn to the playful and physically challenging aspects of asana practice. When she embarked on her first yoga teacher training course in 2011, however, she discovered in yoga a vast and powerful system for exploring the nature of experience, staying anchored in the present, and integrating body, mind, and spirit. In 2014, she completed the 200-hour Jivan Yoga Teacher Training at Baltimore Yoga Village with Anjali Sunita. Off the mat, Mina writes about strategies for optimizing health and longevity, studies herbal medicine, and loves to spend time outdoors and experimenting in the kitchen. Come to her classes for an invigorating blend of mindful movement linked with breath, playful exploration of postures, and yoga philosophy. Her goal as a teacher is to guide students toward an experience of ease, stability, freedom, and empowerment.