America Gathers first discovered yoga when she was a long-distance runner in 2010. After her first marathon, yoga helped compliment her running and helped cure ailments that she had developed from the long-distance running. She instantly fell in love with the yoga, and it became a passion of hers. America has been practicing yoga on a daily basis since 2010 from different lineages of 26/2, Kundalini Yoga, Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga. This yoga journey inspired her to pursue her 200-hour teacher certification in 2016. “Yoga has improved my life physically and mentally, it has brought inspiration to live more in the present, to embrace and find beauty and gratitude in everything I do.”
The connection of the breath, body and mind in yoga has helped create stillness and space that brings me to the present moment, on and off the mat.
My vision as a teacher is to inspire others as they inspire me. I enjoy teaching Vinyasa Energy Flow, Vinyasa Slow Flow, and Restorative yoga.
Anna took her first steps onto a mat back in 2011, when a friend told her to try a Bikram yoga class with her. Her curiosity and adventurous personality always led her to trying new things when given the opportunity. What started as a one-time visit into this challenging, intense yet peaceful hot room, became an addiction she’d crave 2-3 times weekly. Yoga became Anna’s gym, haven, and second home. She practices Power, Vinyasa Flow and her favorite Sculpt. It was in Sculpt class, where she’d have people in the class come up to her to thank her for her energy. As she continued receiving these comments it was then in which the lightbulb of becoming an instructor was lit. She did her teacher training at her home studio Evoke Yoga in DTLA got certified instructor in Nov 2017. Anna hopes her classes will allow others to find physical & mental strength along with an escape from everything else outside of their mat – that’s the gift she’s been given to share!
Christopher Tucker believes in empowering patients with the knowledge and confidence necessary to play an active role in their own health care. He has been practicing Chinese medicine and spreading this philosophy since 2001. During his early years, he shared this approach with a group of patients and built his practice almost entirely upon word of mouth. In 2004 he joined Integrated Health Services where he regularly worked with physicians and specialists; helping his patients reverse a variety of conditions. He enjoys being part of a health care team where all members communicate, play to their individual strengths, and share the common goal of efficient patient recovery. Chris believes the most important part of this team is an educated patient who’s active in their own health care.
Chris received his Bachelor’s at UCLA where he obtained a degree in Kinesiology. This western, pre-medical education focuses on the kinetics of the human body. During his studies, he learned to train and rehabilitate both the elite and casual athlete. His education also focused on exercise nutrition and how to supercharge specific athletic goals.
Upon graduating, he was curious to discover how other cultures approached health care. It was this curiosity that led him to acupuncture and Chinese medicine. In 2001, Christopher obtained his Master’s Degree from Samra University of Oriental Medicine. In addition to this degree, he took an elective course to specialize in orthopedics. He furthered his education with an internship in China where he learned and worked with several modern masters of Chinese medicine. This experience complements his western background in physiological sciences giving Chris a unique and very diverse approach to health care. His integral approach has helped countless students and patients alike to reverse illness, decrease recovery times from injury, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Chris currently teaches TaiQi at the City of Hope Hospital in Duarte and QiGong at the Monrovia Community Center. He often holds these classes and the Healing with Food course at local businesses, churches, and libraries.
Darra Baker has been in love with yoga since her first university class in 1984. She feels very fortunate that her first two teachers were direct disciples of the “Father of Modern Yoga,” Sri. B.K.S. Iyengar, with one teacher, Karin O’Bannon a founding member of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles. Early on, her yoga love affair was mostly on-again, off-again as she explored many forms and lineages of yoga such as Anasura, Ashtanga, Bikram, Hatha, Sivananda, Tantra, Vinyasa and endless combinations of them all –but always with an emphasis on breath and safe alignment which helped her feel safe and aligned with her true self. Darra completed her teacher training through YogaWorks, Los Angeles at the 500-hour level, and is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, (RYT 500) at the 500-hour level. Ever curious and thirsty for more knowledge to share, she’s recently completed trainings in Restorative Yoga with Jillian Pransky, and Level 1 Urban Zen training in various healing modalities including essential oils, yoga therapy, meditation and Reiki. As a mom of two teenagers and a freelance editor, Darra understands the challenges of integrating yoga into our everyday lives and loves to point out how we can practice certain poses, mindfulness and breathing techniques throughout our days, every day. With a contagious enthusiasm gained from many years of experience along with up-to-the-minute education, Darra finds joy in teaching students of all ages and abilities to find their own powerfully healing and joyful mind-body-spirit connection that lives inside each of us. She creates a safe space in her classes and private sessions where students can relax and learn with clarity, caring, and a good dose of fun. A favorite quote of hers: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” ~Chinese Proverb
Diana started practicing yoga while she was in college. Although it started as a workout and fun activity to do with her friends, she quickly fell in love with how mindful and accepting this practice was and how embracing the yoga community is.
After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology in Miami, she signed up for a 200 hour yoga teacher training program. It was the perfect opportunity to combine her physiology background with a more holistic practice.
Diana has been teaching yoga since 2016 and her hope is to continue to create a fun and save environment for her students to embark on their own self-discovery.
Der-shin Sun began practicing Hot Yoga when Santa Anita Hot Yoga Studio opened in 2014. With a consistent practice of 10 classes a week she developed a love for the practice so much that she devoted her time to assisting staff and students with a kind heart and lots of karmic yoga! Recently completing her certification to teach she offers a guided class that will help you to find your balance and breath with love.
I acquired my Teacher training 3 years ago and have already taught over 500 hours. I have spent this time deepening my practice while attending various yoga and meditation retreats, right here in Topanga. My style is a strong Ashtanga based flow with deep connection to breath and yoga philosophy. I will bring the addition of sound healing to my classes with the use of bowls, chimes and gongs.
My approach to yoga is understanding that only with a strong committed daily practice, overcoming and pushing through the urge to let the pose overcome you, can one only then begin to shed the layers of the ego that have been holding us back from becoming our truest self-leading every decision with an unconditionally loving open heart.
Eric is certified with the ICRT International Center for Reiki Healing with a secondary certification in Integrative Shamanic and Shakti Reiki. He is a certified Sound Healer with The Academy of Sound Healing and facilitates sound meditation workshops across Southern California. Eric has performed at various transformational events including Lucidity Festival in Santa Barbara.
Through the use of chakra tuned crystal singing bowls, planetary gongs, universal singing bowls, synthesizers and overtone chanting, Eric will lead you on a restorative and deeply transformational journey into the deepest realms of spirit.
“Karen is kind, compassionate, caring and knowledgeable, inspirational but pragmatic, challenging yet always welcoming. On the mat, she is both an avid student and a guiding mentor – she never forgets that yoga is a journey that she herself is taking with you. I always love that Karen shares stories about the land that yoga is from, but also encourages you to look inward and write your own narratives about what this ancient practice can mean to you in your every day life. She encourages you to be playful, be grounded, be strong – and also learn how to fall and learn from your mistakes. She’s got a smile as bright as the sunshine and a sense of humor that will make you giggle while you get into upward dog. After a long day at work when you step into your yoga practice with her, you are guaranteed to feel refreshed and happier at the end of your practice. “
Born in Australia I was raised in a beautiful part of the world along the coastal town of Aldinga Beach. Horses were everywhere, and I love animals, so I became a thoroughbred jockey and obtained my license to race at age 17.
I left Australia to further my career and be with my US family in 2007. I have not only had great new adventures, but I have grown as a person and found some amazing new friends.
As a jockey and a person, I have faced serious challenges such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. In late 2010 I began to practice Hot Yoga when racing in San Francisco. Shortly thereafter I was able to give up medication and even found relief from sciatic nerve pain coming from my L5 disc from years of riding.
I feel as if Hot Yoga has helped me to understand my own body and be in control of my thoughts, and I continue to hold the practice as an important part of the balance I find in my life.
As a natural progression in my Yoga practice and as a love to learn, I completed a certification to teach in 2014 and Reiki 1 & 2 in 2017. I love sharing what I learn and having the confidence to show the young and old how to see, feel and connect with the magic and beauty within and around us.
Be happy, be healthy
and be compassionate.
When Kimi first stepped on the mat in 2011 she immediately fell in love with yoga. The combination of mind and body awareness became a very therapeutic experience for her and she has been practicing ever since. To deepen her practice she attended Yoga Works’ 200-hour training. Upon completion, she realized she wanted to pursue a career in health and wellness. Her classes are heavily rooted in form, breath, philosophy and most importantly, fun.
She absolutely loves seeing her students grow and she is constantly inspired by their strength and dedication. When she’s not practicing, she can be found riding her bike, eating Thai food or catching up with a friend over a good ol’ cuppa joe.
Leslie’s mother is a yoga instructor and she grew up practicing yoga without even realizing it! She extended this deep connection between body and breath as a young ballerina. As an adult, she practiced kickboxing and long-distance running before returning to her mat with intention in 2016.
She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training under Rheza Ollero in 2017 and is excited to see where this yoga journey leads, both inward and out in the world. Off the mat Leslie teaches at Arcadia High, hikes the local trails, cuddles with her 2 dogs, and reads lots of books.
She wholeheartedly believes that if you can breathe, you can do yoga! The breath is the connection point between mind and body, self and world, inside and out. We are each a miracle!
Melanie first stepped onto a yoga mat in 2003, in a 6-week Introduction to Yoga course at the renowned Center for Yoga in Los Angeles. The basics she learned in that course still provide an invaluable foundation to her practice today. It would be many years and career paths before Mel would find her way working in fitness.
When Mel began teaching barre classes in 2012, a whole new path unfolded for her. Watching the transformation of her clients, as well as their passion and commitment to their health and wellbeing inspired her to pursue yoga teacher certification. In 2014, she completed her 200-hour teacher training at Yogaworks. Teaching has been a very rewarding and inspiring journey for her, and she is genuinely excited and grateful to share in the journey of her students.
When not on her mat, you can find Mel rooting for the Trojans, watching an Audrey Hepburn movie or walking her yorkie, Sabrina.
Rheza found yoga when she was sixteen while seeking a way to help ease the pain caused by scoliosis. She has practiced yoga regularly for over fifteen years. Her practice includes Hatha, Vinyasa Flow and Iyengar yoga. She received her 500-hour Professional Teacher Training certificate from Yoga Works with Jeanne Heileman. Her teaching is fun, challenging and nurturing while focusing on alignment, strength and stability.
She emphasizes integrating the breath to create physical, mental and spiritual openness. She will take you to find your edge and encourage you to explore the space within you both physically and mentally and let you discover the true teacher in you by honoring your body.
Shanai started practicing yoga when she was seeking healing for her physical ailments. As she discovered its transformative powers in no time, she knew it would be a part of her life for the rest of her days. She completed her 200 hour Teachers Training with Caroline Klebl in Los Angeles and has been eagerly sharing the benefits and joys of yoga since then.
Shanai believes yoga is for all people and designs her classes offering a wide range of possibilities for all levels.
Talin is a RYT-200 Vinyasa yoga instructor who is passionate about teaching the art of self-care. She discovered Yoga and its expansive ability to heal, through the unity of mind and body, when she was in physical and mental pain. Off the mat, Talin is an educator of math and science, a Reiki and sacred geometry light worker, a meditation facilitator, works with plants and essential oils, and is also a student of Oriental Medicine and Buddhism.
She has found, through her own self-healing work, the tools she needs to help support others on their path to peace and wellbeing. She believes that the power to heal ourselves is on offer within each of us, so she wishes to share the wisdom to cultivate that power with those who show up on the mat.
Tanny is a mediation teacher, an activist, and a story teller. Early in her career, her endless curiosity led her to pursue a broad range of careers. It was through her experiences where she realized the need for mindful practice in the workplace. As a result, she implemented mindful meditation as part of her team development program. Today, she produces stories that nurtures, and promotes truthful and enlightening work that emboldens and inspires those who are voiceless. Tanny received her training from Phra Maha Sakchai Thitamedho of Wat Suddhavasa in Riverside, CA, True Insight in El Segundo, CA, and holds a Master in Theological Studies in Buddhist Studies from Harvard Divinity School.
Zurie believes there is a way to cultivate the ability to respond to our own inner wisdom and truth – To live an abundant life which filled with absolute love and harmony, and she found it through sacred sound and yoga.
In 2012, after attending a sound meditation workshop in UK, Zurie noticed a significant emotional shift. The feelings of intense guilt and emotional pain dissipated. This healing experience inspired her to understand how and why sound has such a profound impact on human health.
She has travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia in order to learn from different healing masters ever since. In 2018, she completed her diploma in sound therapy and received 200 hours yoga teacher training in Bali.
Through sound and meditation, she realized this state of Oneness, she awakened to the universal consciousness, truth and love.
Santa Anita Hot Yoga Studio opened in May 2014. We offer a heating system built especially for hot yoga. We provide a comfortable, clean, and safe temperature for each session by controlling the heat and adding 50-60% humidity.