EPIC YOGAy

Instructors

 

Abby Dobbs

Abby graduated from Northeastern University with a degree in Behavioral Neuroscience and Marine Biology. She is an avid SCUBA diver, free-flow dancer, tea drinker, reader, and yogini. Abby's yoga journey began when she discovered the immense passion that was brought forth exploring Forrest Yoga with her teacher and mentor Ana Forrest. After completing her first 200hr teacher training through Forrest Yoga, she was given the opportunity to go further in another 200hr training with Natasha Rizopoulos of YogaWorks. Through a dynamic and mindful combination of poses in Abby’s classes, you will have fun, get sweaty, and most importantly, breathe deeply. Abby is so grateful for the opportunity to share her passion and delight of yoga to her students, both the physical asana, and the deeper philosophical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Abby wants to help her students find and ride the edges of their body and mind honestly and without judgment, and to connect to and trust their inner wisdom. Also a massage therapist, she finds joy in using therapeutic touch to encourage healing and relaxation in the way that best suits each person.


April Puciata

April Puciata is an E-RYT 500. She taught in NYC for 10 years at Ishta Yoga, Yoga Works, and New York Yoga, as well as for private and corporate clients. She completed her 500 hour certification under the guidance of Alan Finger of Ishta Yoga and is now part of the Ishta Teacher Training Team. Recently, April has moved to the DC area and is currently teaching at Flow Yoga Center, Epic Yoga, Thrive Yoga, and Yoga Fusion. She continues to study with Alan Finger and is grateful for his guidance.

During her challenging Vinyasa flow class, April encourages students to pay attention to the breath and to experiment in their own practice. While teaching creative and strong sequences she also guides students though alignment and transitions, creating a playful and safe space. While her class requires focus and strength it also allows for laughter and letting go.

 

April Rameé Tishkevich

Based out of Washington D.C., April Rameé (200-RYT) is a modern-day Renaissance woman. April has always possessed a deep love for every type of dance form, yoga, and is extraordinarily passionate about music, travel and mathematics. She graduated from Roanoke College in 2005 with a B.B.A in Accounting and went on to become a certified yoga instructor, registered through Yoga Alliance. April is also a certified access bars practitioner, a professional fire dancer, and a hula-hoop dance instructor.

After spending seven years studying several different yoga disciplines, she found her natural niche in traditional Sivananda Hatha Yoga. Trained under Anjali Sunita at Baltimore Yoga Village, April discovered the absolute truth that accompanies the ability to harness the genuine spirit of love and healing. April's classes combine the spirit of prana, breath, and meditation, power of movement through fluidity, strength, and focus, and love and healing through joy and laughter. April navigates life with one key intention—to spread love and the healing energy of the universe via yoga, dance and all other forms of spiritual physical activity.

 

Ariele Foster

Ariele is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and has been teaching yoga since 2001. She first practiced yoga in pre-school, thanks to her yogini grandma (who is in her 80s and still teaches). She completed her primary studies and lived at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Among her inspirations: Anusara (currently completing an Anusara Immersion at Willow Street Yoga Center), Prana Flow, Iyengar, Ashtanga and complementary healing traditions. Ariele believes in a non-dogmatic practice with the goal of safe, healthy bodies. Music, dancing and joy are big influences! Her flowing classes are grounded in the compassionate style of Kripalu Yoga, emphasizing healthy alignment, creative movement and helpful hands-on adjustments. For more about Ariele (and her grandmother), visit http://sacredsourceyoga.com or facebook.com/SacredSourceYoga

 

Belladonna

An internationally recognized tribal fusion belly dance instructor and performer. She has pledged her life to the healing art of belly dance and is continually motivated by the opportunity to help others empower themselves through dance. Belladonna is the Director of Bohemian Belly Dance LLC and the student dance companies Bella'Trix and DashKhaleen.

She teachers regular weekly classes in DC and VA as well as specialty workshops in the US and abroad. She is a co-producer of the monthly DCTribal Cafe and the producer of the Vixen Variety Show and the Raven's Night Soiree.

Please visit www.BellaFuse.com for more information.

 

Caroline Buths

As a physical therapist and Kripalu yoga instructor, Caroline loves to empower her students through movement and body awareness.  She integrates her expertise in anatomy and biomechanics into her classes, and has a mindful yet upbeat teaching style.  Her favorite part about teaching yoga is tailoring the practice to each individual, based on their limitations and their needs.  "Make the practice your own" is her mantra. Caroline developed her passion for the practice while residing at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and eventually obtained her 200 hour certification through a Kripalu affiliate studio in St. Augustine, FL.  She  is currently working on her Polestar Pilates certification, and often blends Pilates concepts into her classes. While not teaching yoga, you can find Caroline treating patients at Sports + Spinal Physical Therapy in Foggy Bottom, shopping at the local farmer's markets, doing handstands, and seeking out all things fun in the greater D.C. Area.

 

Caitlin Woolsey

Yoga wasn’t love at first sight. In college, Caitlin tried some classes and really wanted to like it, but didn't. In 2008, however, she accompanied a friend to Inspired Yoga, where she encountered the generative exhilaration of the practice—and she has never looked back. The asanas provided relief from chronic back pain, and as she continued to study with DC teachers like Kyra Sudofsky, Ximena Gutiérrez, and Epic’s own Emma Saal, Caitlin found a deeper sense of grounding and balance beyond the physical practice. In 2010, she completed her 200-hour training at Nosara Yoga Institute, an interdisciplinary approach that also draws on somatics and feldenkrais. Caitlin encourages students to be attuned to their own bodily intuition, and her classes combine creative, vigorous flows with a focus on cultivating mindfulness. An avid cyclist and runner, she also studies philosophy, writes poetry, makes ceramics, and works as an editor at an art museum.

 

Dahlia Shaaban

Dahlia Shaaban is a wellness consultant and the founder of BellySatva Holistic Health, a practice that integrates holistic health coaching, Thai yoga therapy, and yoga instruction to create sustainable paths to healing. Dahlia received her 200-hr teacher certification in the vinyasa yoga style from Flow Yoga Center and gravitated towards the prana flow method. She has since studied Thai Yoga Massage with Angela Cerkevich and Vanessa King.

Dahlia offers playful, cathartic classes with a high funk factor and creates an atmosphere that allows students to channel their inner groove and, if they desire, to get downright goofy. Often working through mandalas or a circular practice, she utilizes deep assists, soulful music, and aromatherapy to create an emotionally and physically empowering experience for her students. She encourages her students to navigate through their chakras – the energy centers of the body – equipping them with the awareness to address their individual needs as yogis.

 

Emma Saal

Emma’s intention is to create a cheerful and safe atmosphere, where she can share her love, passion and knowledge of yoga, martial arts and dance.

Emma’s classes are sweaty, challenging and accessible, intelligently blending a vinyasa flowing class with clear verbal and visual execution of the body’s foundation and healthy alignment; always leaving time to spoil the body with yummy stretches, and a deep delicious savasana.

Her positive energy encourages her students to cultivate a practice that is personal and nourishing while exploring their edge, and her laid-back vibe allows one listen to their inner-teacher learning to accept from a place of gratitude. She believes the body has profound inner intelligence that we access during yoga practice to bring us self-awareness and comprehension that ultimately reveals our true core…pure love.

 

Joan Wadopian

Joan Wadopian, RYT, appreciates how yoga deepens our experience of everything and how it always offers us ways in which to align our outer form with our inner light. By blending clear alignment instruction with themes that connect to the place of the heart, she offers her students a meaningful practice that informs their journey from their mat into the world.

In addition to her practice Joan is also committed to dance, teaching Pilates and leading movement based therapy classes to senior citizens. She is deeply grateful for all of her students and teachers.

 

Katie Stephens

Katie, RYT 500, has been practicing yoga in earnest for 6 years. Her classes are upbeat and playful. She aims to empower students to strike a balance between flexibility, strength and therapeutic action all while not taking things too seriously – it’s ok to laugh in yoga, really it is! ;) You will have the opportunity to align, to move, to challenge yourself and play your edge. And, hopefully, you will gain a better understanding of yourself, cultivating skills that not only serve you on the mat but, in real life too!!

When not on the mat, Katie enjoys engaging conversation, deep belly laughs, impromptu dance parties, almost anything hot pink and copious amounts of bacon.

 

Kristen Krash

Kristen Krash has been teaching Yoga and Pilates for the past twelve years and credits the practice of these disciplines with her recovery from traumatic injuries to her knee and spine that left her with mis-alignment and chronic pain. Through the years of her practice, she has come to find that Yoga is not only a way of healing the physical body, but also a way of felling more centered, more grounded, and more present in daily life.

Kristen has studied and practiced both movement and alignment-based styles of Yoga with several senior instructors including Richard Freeman, Tias Little, and her primary teachers, Liz Marx and senior Iyengar teacher John Schumacher at Unity Woods Yoga Center. Kristen has completed several advanced anatomy workshops and courses in addition to her teaching certification. She has also co-directed and co-taught a nationally recognized teacher training program for three years and teaches other training workshops on alignment and anatomy within the practice of yoga.

Kristen’s teaching style is direct, precise, practical, and often humorous. She respects the lineage and tradition of Yoga, but she understands the needs and constraints of those living busy and often hectic lives. She brings the key aspects of the practice—postures to release stiff hips and shoulders and strengthen the core and spine, breathing exercises to relax and rejuvenate the mind—and allows her students and clients to experience the benefits in their own manner and time.

 

Luke Lukens

Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Instructor (CYT 200).

Luke studied Music, Psychology, and Political Science at Baldwin-Wallace College. After experimenting with sports all his life - swimming, soccer, all-state track athlete in high school, college volleyball player, crossfitter - he finally discovered his passion for yoga. He recently studied Ashtanga Vinyasa style with “Rocket” superstar David C. Kyle of It’s Yoga Puerto Rico. His focus is on helping students individualize the Ashtanga yoga system through practice and introspection, moving away from “this looks right” to “this feels right.” Students can expect to learn the foundations for a personal practice, and experience the physical challenges and discipline associated with Ashtanga Yoga. His ultimate goal is to help students feel empowered in their bodies and mindful in their lives.

 

Marshall Sanders

Marshall is drawn to the divine practice of Ashtanga Yoga. Ashtanga blends a powerful sequence of asanas and breath to discover a life of personal awareness, endurance, and a quiet healthy mind.

Marshall began teaching in 2007 after studying at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC and was certified in Baton Rouge, Louisiana specializing in Ashtanga. In 2010, Marshall became a certified Rocket Teacher from the It's Yoga system of yoga, a progressive, free-flowing style based on the Ashtanga system that features poses ranging from the Primary Series to the more Advanced Series.

During class, Marshall encourages each student to embrace their own unique journey by gracefully finding stillness in the most challenging moments and being open to the transformation possible through the life-changing practice.

 

Mimi Rieger

Mimi Rieger, RYT, Regional Director of Budokon International, DC, VA & MD

Mimi believes in encouraging and inviting students to push past their existing physical barriers to explore new fitness paths. Her yoga classes are based on both Ashtanga and Vinyasa yoga where the breath is synchronized with the movement. Attaining full body connectivity is paramount in Mimi’s philosophy of teaching where the student is linking the breath, the movement and the mind for an overall sense of strength, energetic power and wellbeing. Mimi is also trained in the Rocket Ashtanga Yoga system, a vibrant yoga series to renew energy and vitality in the body, Mimi is among a very few Rocket certified teachers in the U.S. She continues to train and travel to expand her teaching capabilities to share her love of the movement arts with her beloved students.

For more information on Mimi and her classes, please visit. www.purefitnessdc.com

 

Melissa Biber

Let’s play a game? Bob Dylan, Amy Winehouse, Jackson 5, and Allman Brothers – what do all of these musicians have in common? Probably all have been on the top 100, but more importantly they all exist on Mel’s class playlist! As diverse as the music blasting in the background, Mel’s “pilates-eque” class is a fusion of all things good - dance, pilates, yoga, barre, fusion, core, and anything else of the like. Always different, challenging, high energy, and most importantly fun - Mel’s dynamic combination of focused intervals, concentrated stretching, and fast paced class will leave you both simultaneously exhausted and excited for the day ahead. .

Mel earned a BSBA from Washington University in St. Louis, an MHA from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed her Pilates Teaching certification through Power Pilates in New York in 2009. While most of her days are spent in the healthcare consulting arena, she is continually refining her passion by learning from the experiences of each day, and hopes to pursue opportunities that integrate both traditional and holistic medicine.

 


 

Rob Beilfus

Rob believes that yoga is more than just movement and breath. It is patience, kindness, and the ability to join our bodies and mind together into one harmonious experience.

Certified through Faith Hunter's - Embrace Your Flow YTT, Rob practices Vinyasa Yoga. With his knowledge of Asana (poses) and Pranayama (breath work), Rob's kind and gentle manner to teaching is well suited to leading students of all levels.

Robʼs classes emphasize clarity of alignment, a steady connection to the breath, and a mindful investigation of what qualities we are truly cultivating in our practice. He aspires to help Yogis develop the whole of their being, with an eye toward practices such as non-reaction, compassion, and contentment. As someone who understands the true difficulty of starting something completely new, Rob has the ultimate gift of guiding the beginners path.

 

 

Rob Hess

Rob has been practicing yoga of many forms for ten years. He completed his teacher training in 2004 here in DC. After years of trainings with other great teachers, Rob found his home in the Prana Vinyasa Flow community with Shiva Rea, and assists her workshops regularly. Rob loves to get off his feet and turn the world upside down whether it be through inversions or arm balances -- he loves to see the world from a different point of view.

 

Ryan Smith

Ryan came to the practice of yoga in the late 90's in search of self-healing. Moved by Spirit in his first class the spark that ignited in his heart quickly became a passionate flame. He has studied many forms of yoga with some of the most prominent yoga teachers of our time while living Los Angeles, CA over 13 years.

The unique Vinyasa Flow style of Southern California with its full spectrum of possibility and limitless creativity is what he loves to practice and teach. Infusing the grace and wisdom of his teachers with his own sense of humor and inner guidance Ryan offers his west coast flows in Washington DC. He is also skilled in several other healing arts such as therapeutic massage, energy-work, chi kung and meditation.

Ryans classes are meditative tests of strength at the edge of flexibility. Expanding awareness of our inner nature and promoting optimal integrated consciousness it is a workout for mind and body. Expect to be challenged and never expect the same thing twice.For more info on Ryan go to www.selflesslotus.com.

 

 

Sarah-Jane Nunes

Sarah began practicing yoga when chronic back pain led her to search for pain relief through increased strength and flexibility. Over the course of her twelve year practice she has become increasingly interested in asana, pranayama and meditation as tools for achieving a more balanced and graceful life and believes yoga is one of the best methods for dealing with the stress and demands of everyday life. Sarah strives to provide a space for learning, growth and experimentation and to convey how yogic principals learned on the mat can be incorporated into daily life. She hopes to demonstrate how finding the humor and grace in challenging poses can lead to increased awareness and poise in everyday life. Certified RYT-200 through ISHTA training at Thrive Yoga in Rockville, Maryland, Sarah also teaches at Thrive and through BFit Exercise and Nutrition in DC.

 

 

Sonja Kubato Johansson

Sonja Kubota Johansson first encountered yoga and felt as if she were re-united with an old friend. Since then, a committed practice has helped her work through both emotional and physical pain. Sonja studied at Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in India and has since completed two 200-hour teacher trainings, the second with Max Strom. As a teacher, Sonja emphasizes yoga as a physical, emotional and spiritually healing practice in a unifying, non-dogmatic way.

 

 

Toni Tileva

Toni received her 200 Hr. teacher training from Yoga District. Originally from Bulgaria, she has lived in the DC area for the last 22 years so she can definitely call herself a local. Her boundless love for all things musical informs her classes--think a lush aural adventure of a playlist. She jokingly calls her yoga style bass-ana. You can expect a methodically-taught class with lots of alignment cues [hopefully, no more messed-up chaturangas for you :)] that is especially welcoming to beginners [and dudes].

Toni loves sharing her love of yoga with the community and firmly believes that teaching is an entirely ego-less endeavor built on gratitude for the opportunity to serve. She wants her students to come to class and walk away having made new friends. When she is not teaching yoga, Toni writes for BYT, teaches GRE test prep, cooks, DJs, and tries to stay busy and out of trouble as she can :) She also loves to do and teach Pilates too, but don't fear her core powers...too much.

 

 

Whitney Paterson

Whitney was first introduced to yoga during college, at the age of 17. She was immediately drawn to yoga, because of it’s ability to calm, focus, and strengthen her mind and body. Whitney did her 200-hour teacher training in 2007, and ever since then, she has been a dedicated student of yoga. Whitney has had the blessing to continue to study in subsequent years with many inspiring teachers. Styles of great interest and influence include Anusara, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, and Shadow Yoga.

Whitney’s studies of yoga lead her to the incredible healing science of Ayurveda. She completed her certification as an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist and Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2011.

Whitney’s classes blend a slow and mindful vinyasa flow practice with an emphasis on alignment, bodily integration, breath awareness, and grounding. You will leave Whitney’s class feeling grounded and stable in your body and mind, while still having worked hard and sweat! Check out my blog at www.happybreathing.com.