Instructors Page

Looking for someone specific? Instructor bios are arranged alphabetically, by first name. 

Alek Trail Vinyasa Flow Yoga Oakland, CA

Alek Trail 

Alek came to yoga in her late teens, and since then has been exploring and  experimenting with the physical and mental practice as a way to stay curious, humbled, and  connected. With a background in modern dance and improvisational movement, yoga has  provided her different perspectives to approach and refine the subtle body and mind.

Alek is currently pursuing her 500-hr certification with Leah Gillman at Barefoot Movement in downtown Oakland.  With her teaching philosophy rooted in authenticity, kinesthetic awareness, and question-asking and answering, her intention is for her students to walk out of her classes feeling as though they have a deeper sense of their inner-landscape with which they can dive deeper, intellectually, spiritually, and physically.  She strives to facilitate an experience for the practitioner to become more familiar with the subtle body- allowing them to hone awareness, drop in, and gain more mindful insight into their own unique personal practice.

Ananda Mendoza, se habla español 


Ananda Mendoza is originally from El Salvador, Central America. She’s been in the Bay Area since 1991 developing her career as a dancer, choreographer and yoga instructor. As a dance instructor for ballet, modern and jazz she has been teaching at both Laney College and Ballet Arts studio in Oakland, CA. Ananda has been practicing Bikram yoga for over 10 years and currently practices Flow Yoga at Barefoot Movement where she completed the Flow Yoga Teacher Training program in 2010. Ananda believes that yoga can be taught in any language to all communities.

Bella Lindell, se habla español 

Bella Lindell Picture

Bella took her first yoga class at a gym in San Francisco in the late 90’s in order to stretch after her long hours of running. Before long, Bella was practicing more yoga than running and began attending yoga lectures, workshops and retreats. Bella has practiced a variety of yoga disciplines on and off since 1997 with numerous Bay Area teachers. In 2010, Bella completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Barefoot Movement followed by a Prenatal Teacher Training with Cybele Tomlinson of The Berkeley Yoga Center. Her pregnancy and the birth of her baby in 2010 inspired a deeper, more inward focus in her own practice. This lead to her teaching primarily prenatal and restorative classes. More recently she has expanded again to add Hiking yoga, Kids/Family yoga and beginners’ classes. Her flow yoga classes have an Iyengar influence, with a strong focus on alignment and breath.

Carrie Adams Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown Oakland

Carrie Adams

Carrie came to yoga via a circuitous path. Her first occupation was as a student of Nature. This grew from a childhood love, where she raised a wide variety of critters in her very tolerant parents’ garage and yard, into a passion and a career in Marine Science. A combination of a deep belief in the interconnectedness of nature and a love of dance and movement led Carrie try her first yoga class in 2001. Since then she has been been a dedicated practitioner, and received her first teaching certification in 2002. In 2006 she became a certified Anusara Yoga teacher. Carrie is an instructor in the Flow Yoga Teacher Training, Level II program here at Barefoot Movement. Carrie has taught people of all all ages and levels of fitness in a variety of locations in the Bay Area, including studios, senior centers, the Berkeley Public School System, and the YMCA. She believes in the power of yoga to change people’s lives, as is grateful to be able to offer back what she has so graciously been given from her teachers. Carrie lives in Berkeley, with her husband, a 14 year old son, and a Guinea Pig. In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, she enjoys telemark skiing, mountain biking, kayaking, and dancing of any kind.

Christie PitkoPossibleCover

Christie Pitko began practicing yoga in 2001, and since the, it has shifted and inspired nearly every aspect of her life.

After receiving 200 hours of training, she started teaching right away.  Christie has led yoga classes in studios, corporate offices, school, and therapeutic spas.   She loves to inspire others to heal through the power of yoga.  She leads workshops and weekend retreates that integrate yoga and energy work.

Christie is a reiki master teacher, who teaches and attunes students to all levels of reiki.  She was the resident reiki master at the Las Vegas Recovery Center for over 4 years, helping addicts heal from substance abuse.

Christie is also a nationally certified massage therapist, and in the process of obtaining her 500-hour advanced yoga certification in Flow Yoga at Barefoot Movement.

Emily Borthwick

Emily Borthwick, Flow Yoga Oakland

Emily, a native of Scotland, received her teaching qualifications with Leah Gillman and is a certified teacher with Yoga Alliance. Her career as a dancer and teacher of classical ballet drew her to the disciplines of Yoga but in particular Vinyasa Flow Yoga where the synchronization of the breath and movement come together giving your practice strength and fluidity. This is a prominent feature of Emily’s class along with emphasis on alignment and posture.  In addition to teaching Yoga at Barefoot Movement Emily is a member of the faculty at Contra Costa Ballet Centre.


EmilyGilliomEmily Gilliom

Emily Gilliom came to yoga as a distance runner looking for more flexibility to keep her moving. She was immediately drawn to the strength and stability she witnessed in that first class and has since grown from a reserved student into a skilled instructor.
A true Pacific Northwesterner, Emily brings a refreshingly grounded, straight-forward approach to yoga practice and teaching. Her classes are kept at a slow pace allowing the students time to experience the poses while being talked through proper alignment. She offers encouragement and accessibility to beginning students, and suggests nuanced challenges to everyday poses for more experienced practitioners.
Having a strong interest in human anatomy, Emily is most interested in using yoga to help people find their way back to balance – mechanically, emotionally, and hormonally – after trauma or physical transformation such as childbirth. To that end, her classes are highly personalized; she tailors poses to your trouble spots and will provide gentle adjustments throughout the class to deepen your practice.

Emily Packard EmilyPks

Emily Packard is finishing her Level I (200 hr) teaching training with Leah Gillman and the amazing team of Barefoot Movement teachers. She came to yoga while in college in Boulder, CO in the early 2000s and has been practicing ever since. A perpetual beginner and explorer of many styles, including Ashtanga, Iyengar and Kripalu, Emily is especially drawn to Vinyasa Flow and offers creative classes in this style that engage the body and breath while remaining accessible to all ages and bodies. She was so inspired by her pre-natal and post-natal class experience at Barefoot that she decided to take on teacher training and hopes to continue on to teach both pregnant mamas and family classes. Emily is a professional violinist by trade, playing in many area orchestras as well as her band Jack O’ The Clock. She has taught private and group music lessons for the past 12 years. She lives in Alameda, CA with her husband, cat and 2 year old daughter, who usually starts her day with Happy Baby pose and then offers mindfulness reminders all day long!

Faith Cornwall Faith Cornwall Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown Oakland

Faith Cornwall is a guide who teaches her students how to communicate with the greatest yoga teacher they will ever have: their own bodies. Whether confronting physical, emotional or mental challenges, or simply wishing to stay in shape or feel more relaxed, Faith believes that knowing our unique anatomy is a great tool. She encourages her students to explore and experiment in her yoga classes, rather than teaching a standard one-size-fits-all “correct” form for each posture. Having lived with many health problems, Faith loves to teach modifications, as she intimately understands how empowering it can be to find our needs met in each pose. She teaches an attitude of gentleness and love towards the body in the context of a physically challenging class. A Certified Massage Therapist, she also incorporates selfmassage into her classes, to assist in understanding one’s body and broaden the possibilities within each posture. Always interested in the variety yoga offers, Faith has taken workshops with such noted local and international teachers as Judith Hanson Lasater, David Swenson, Gary Kraftsow, Jnani Chpaman, Leslie Howard, Bo Forbes, and Baron Baptiste.

Genevieve GriesauGenevieve Griesau Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown Oakland

Although it was years before I’d realize there was a name for it, I started practicing yoga around the age of 4. After observing and imitating my mother’s living room asana and seated meditation practice, I would sneak in little snippets of what I liked into my daily life: a plow pose here, a seated twist there; perhaps a little breath awareness to get through a difficult moment. When I was 15, a teacher came from the Kripalu Yoga Institute to my high school’s first ever Wellness Day and did an asanas and pranayama workshop with us. So… I began to discover that not only were other people doing this stuff too, but they had any number of approaches to offer.

With my interest in mind/body practices piqued, I continued to seek out teachers and experiences in various disciplines that would expose me to an array of possibilities. During a physical theatre skills retreat, I discovered qi gong. Drawn to the deliberate movements and focus on balance and flow of energy in the body, I began to explore different forms of qi gong and t’ai chi. I led a t’ai chi practice group at an eldercare facility in Seattle in the 90’s. After relocating to Oakland, I explored the realm a bit more and found Dayan (Wild Goose) qi gong, which I currently practice. Other teachers and traditions came forth with their offerings, and elements of hatha, kundalini, and tantric yoga as well as self-acupressure techniques found their way into my eclectic practice. As I delved into more approaches to increased awareness and comfort in my own body, I got excited about wanting to share what I was learning  I began to facilitate intuitive self-care massage and movement sessions with my friends. Noticing how rewarding it was to transmit these teachings, I set my intention on a path to develop my own vocabulary for offering the practices I draw from. Impressed by the precision, simplicity, and approachability of Leah Gillman’s teaching style, I became a Certified Yoga Teacher through her program in 2009.

I invite you, my students, into an organic exploration of your own practice/s, bringing stillness and dynamism through an array of modes. Throughout class, I present modifications for students from beginner onward. The starting point is the union of breath and body: from there we may explore anything from a more vigorous ashtanga flow to qi gong influenced exercises to nurturing restorative poses or kundalini-infused breath work. Come to class with an open mind and heart and let’s see what’s possible!

Gordon JonasGordon2

Gordon came to yoga in 2008 as an athlete needing to limber up after years of skateboarding, playing basketball, and arbitrary growth spurts. He had only heard of yoga through the popular early 1990’s Nintendo game “Street Fighter,” which featured an Indian Yogi character named Dhalsim who could levitate, stretch his limbs to incredible proportions, and breathe fire. Gordon tried his first yoga class and was initially discouraged to find out that, tragically, he would likely never achieve such abilities.
He was, however, completely amazed by the effects of practicing Asana, and was immediately hooked. He has continued to explore many styles of yoga throughout the Bay Area’s wonderfully rich and diverse yoga community, while simultaneously practicing other movement arts, most notably the Indonesian martial art PGB White Crane Silat and bodyweight calisthenic conditioning. He teaches a Vinyasa flow-based class that is duly informed by knowledge accumulated from his other physical practices. Alignment, joint health, “relaxed strength,” and integrating breath with movement are all focal points of his class. He hopes to impart an aspect of yoga that he himself is most grateful for the relationship between mental and physical being becoming increasingly salient and vivid.

Hanna Malm, talar svenskahanna

Hanna Malm had taken yoga on and off for 15 years before the birth of her first child, Mia. That life changing event brought her deeper into yoga, and after the birth of her second child, Max she took the Barefoot Movement Flow Yoga Teacher Training. Once she completed her training, Hanna spent a year sailing in Mexico, living on her boat with her partner and two children. During that time, she sought out and found multiple teaching opportunities in different foreign ports, including getting studio time at cruiser clubs and marinas like Club Cruceros in La Paz and Marina Riviera Nayarit in La Cruz. She was lucky enough to be able to do yoga on deserted beaches with her children. Teaching yoga allows Hanna to share her experience with the practice: one that connects all aspects of self – body, mind, and breath – and that by connecting to oneself on a deeper level we also connect to the world around us in a more true way. It is her belief that incorporating the elements of yoga into daily life in small ways, even just taking the time to focus on breath for a moment or remembering posture, leads to a positive change in peoples lives. Hanna’s teaching style is encouraging, supportive, and honest, creating a space where you can get to know your body and expand its capabilities, a safe and grounded environment in which to grow and learn.

Henry Lu 

Henry Lu

Henry Lu is a dedicated yoga practitioner with a committed regimen since 2004. With a strong martial arts background, he truly has a lifetime of body discipline and awareness. His passion now lies with practicing yoga as well as teaching it. He is a certified Hatha yoga instructor with extensive teaching experience in both studio and corporate environments, and is currently pursuing his 500 hour certification at Barefoot Movement. Henry strives for challenging but not overly-rigorous classes. He gives clear and specific instruction, while simultaneously encouraging students to treat the instruction as invitation and make the practice their own. Even during rigorous flow sequences, he encourages students to stay present. And he always allows for moments for observation and checking in on sensations, bringing a strong mindfulness aspect to his teaching.

Jen Martin, se habla españolJen Martin Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown Oakland

Jennifer Martin has been practicing yoga for over twelve years, starting in her late teens. Yoga has been a touchstone and a balancing force for her ever since she was introduced to it. Foremost in her practice, yoga serves as a spiritual grounding force that  always provides a new and fresh perspective, keeping her in line with the real truth of a changing life, body and world. It gives her great joy to share this practice with others. Jennifer’s classes are meditative, creative, and her sequences build strength and stamina, while inspiring movements that give a sense of freedom and ease. Her classes are focused on linking breath with movement, while maintaining awareness of proper alignment and effort during a class. She encourages students to be their own teachers and find their edge; to celebrate their strengths and push gently against their limitations.

Hace más que doce años que practica yoga Jennifer Martin, empezando cuando tenía dieciocho años. La yoga ha sido una fuerza que la ayuda a balancear en cuerpo y en mente desde que la primera vez que la practicó. Yoga sirve como una fuerza espiritual también, que siempre provee una perspectiva nueva y abierta, ayudándola a ver la verdad de una vida, cuerpo y mundo que siempre cambian. Le da mucho felicidad compartir esta practica con otros. Las clases de Jennifer son meditativos, originales, y las secuencias de los movimientos crecen la fuerza y stamina, mientras que inspiren movimientos que tienen una sentido de libertad y facilidad. Sus clases son enfocadas en la combinación de la respiración y los movimientos, mientras dan atención a la alineación correcta del cuerpo y el nivél de la esfuerza durante la clase. Jennifer anima a las estudiantes que sean maestras mismas y que les encuentren y celebren sus fuerzas y que les empujen con cuidado sus limitaciones.

Jonathan Lee


After 14 years of practicing yoga and eight in the classroom, Jonathan decided to combine his two passions and completed teacher training at Barefoot Movement this past fall. In his classes, Jonathan hopes to inspire confidence and regular practice with his students, focusing on foundational elements, including breath, flow and alignment. When Jonathan is not at the studio, he works as a digital strategist and is active in the local music and arts scene. His lifelong goal is to find the perfect almond croissant.


Jovida Ross Jovida Ross Vinyasa Flow Yoga Downtown Oakland

Raised by a yoga teacher, Jovida was introduced to asanas at an early age. Contorting into shapes with animal names was a fun game as a child. Based on this early exposure she practiced asana and meditation casually through adolescence and college. As an adult she turned to yoga in the midst of personal and professional transitions and found healing as well as inspiration in the practice. Jovida found her yoga home at Barefoot Movement in 2010 after a number of years sampling a variety of yoga styles and teachers. She completed the Flow Yoga Teacher Training I in 2012, and earned the 500 hour certification through Barefoot Movement’s Flow Yoga Teacher Training II in early 2014. Her primary yoga influences are Leah Gillman‘s alignment-attentive vinyasa flow that incorporates insights from martial arts and dance; vigorous vinyasa teachers such as Stephanie Snyder and Naushon Kabat-Zinn; and practitioner training with Mark Horner, which she began in early 2014. Outside of her yoga practice, she shares her nonprofit management expertise as a consultant, trainer and coach with Movement Strategy Center, where she also practices 60-40 Stance, an applied mind-body technology that incorporates aspects of Mu-i Tai Ji Zen, developed by Norma Wong of the Institute of Applied Zen.

Julianne Coffee Julianne Coffee Vinyasa Flow Yoga Downtown Oakland

Movement has always been a part of Julianne’s life.  She grew up in the Bay Area playing soccer, swimming and camping. After an an injury in her 20’s,  she discovered yoga as part of the recovery process. She has since embraced the benefits of the mind and body connection, and incorporated her yoga practice into her interest in running. Julianne came to Barefoot Movement to deepen her understanding of yoga principles and philosophy. She is interested in the importance of  the breath in movement and has an affinity for Ashtanga and restorative practice. She is excited about the opportunity to share the benefits of yoga beyond the mat and into everyday life.

Karen JohnsonKaren Johnson, Downtown Oakland Yoga

In 1980 Karen used crutches to walk into to her first yoga class. It was a great type of physical therapy that led her to a career in barefoot movement and modern dance. She studied at Cal State University Long Beach, winning a Dance Magazine award and an A.D.F. national title. After leaving Los Angeles to live in the Bay Area, she received her degree in the LEAP program at St. Mary’s College then studied with Leah Gillman in her first flow yoga teacher training. Karen loves the way yoga allows the mind to find itself inside the body, awakening the physical to allow the practice of mindfulness and the letting go of judgment. Her classes honor the moments between asanas as opportunities to deepen the breath and be fully in each moment. She connects the poses in a playful manner with the goal to guide others through their journeys in a non-intimidating and fun environment. When Karen isn’t practicing inversions and half moons she is happy making messes as an art teacher at Lakeview Preschool and Redwood Day School.

KaRon DishmonKaRon Dishmon Flow Yoga in Downtown Oakland

KaRon moved to Oakland in 2006 after receiving her MBA in Marketing. Because of the state of the economy, her job hunt proved to be very stressful. She found herself needing to practice yoga more and more just to feel balanced. Her desire to lead a peaceful existence led her to get serious about yoga. She practiced on her own for a while, but decided to learn more about the discipline. KaRon began her journey to become an instructor. She completed her certification in yoga from the Barefoot Movement training program in Oakland and is registered with the Yoga Alliance. To KaRon, yoga is both a mental and physical practice. She believes yoga can help cleanse your body and your mind & with regular practice, your entire being can become lighter and leave you feeling energized. She is also a certified Life Coach and a Health/ Wellness Coach.


Lauren Leimbach

Lauren teaches a vigorous Vinyasa flow class that will make you sweat but leave you feeling energized, centered, and relaxed.  Leah Gillman was her first Ashtanga-based yoga teacher and she is also thankful to have studied with David Moreno and Thomas (Skanda) Murphy who exposed her to Jivamukti sequencing. Lauren invites students of all levels to come explore the edges of their practice by challenging their bodies and surrendering to the divine.


Leah Gillman

Leah Gillman is the founder and director of Barefoot Movement. She began using the name, ‘Barefoot Movement’ in 2004 to encompass her yoga teaching as well as her Barefoot Bodywork practice (a form of massage where the practitioner uses her feet to work on the client’s body). In 2010, Leah opened the current Barefoot Movement studio at Broadway and 17th Street in Downtown Oakland and in 2013 remodeled and expanded the space. Leah has focused practices in: Ashiatsu (a.k.a. Barefoot Shiatsu), from which Barefoot Bodywork was developed, with Edward Spencer, since 2000; in White Crane Silat, a form of Indonesian kung fu, since 2008; and in yoga with Mark Horner, since 2010. In her earlier years, Leah pursued a career in modern dance and choreography. She began practicing yoga in 1994 and in 1999 she began teaching yoga classes and studying massage. In 2006 she began teaching Barefoot Bodywork and in 2008 she began training new yoga teachers. Leah’s Flow Yoga classes have evolved to include elements from kung fu and dance to better prepare the body for traditional yoga asana. The focus for Leah’s yoga and Barefoot Bodywork classes is on taking students, efficiently, into a clearer state of physical and mental being while expanding their abilities and awareness. For beginners, the focus is on the gross-level placement and movements of the practitioner. Over time, as the blueprint of the modality becomes increasingly inherent, the focus of the practice shifts toward more subtlety and receptivity. Leah lives in Berkeley with her two, delightful, teenage daughters, Naomi and Olivia.

Leonora Willis, Oakland Yoga

Leonora Willis

Leonora Willis established her connection to Yoga during a major transition in her life. During this time, Yoga provided an anchor to secure her, as well as the sails to help her move through life with grace. This experience fueled her desire to become a Yoga instructor, not only to enhance her own continued Yoga practice, but also to help others move through the every day and unexpected transitions of life with awareness, strength and flexibility. Leonora recognizes individual students’ needs and knowledgeably meets those needs in a myriad of ways: with helpful guiding directions, hands-on adjustments, keen Vinyasa sequences. Leonora teaches Yoga classes in the Vinyasa Flow Style, which links the breath to the body’s movement, not only within a pose, but also in the transitions between poses, thus moving students through sequences that challenge the body, aiming to balance mind and spirit. In a Yoga class with Leonora, students are physically challenged while also feeling a sense of being nurtured, safe and supported, which encourages the connection between body and mind, self and universe. By incorporating pranayama, meditation and chanting, Leonora provides her yoga students with a balanced practice that fuels and reenergizes the mind, body and spirit.

Maria Ines Montes, se habla espanol


María has been practicing yoga since 1999; she first learned about it while taking a Buddhist Architecture class. She was attracted to yoga by the spiritual aspect of it. “I had been wanting to meditate for a long while, thus I saw yoga as a way to slow my mind down and be in the present.” As her practice deepened, María began to experience the benefits of a steady practice. Yoga helped her alleviate the side effects of stress at work and hours of sitting in front of the computer.

María has been physically active all her life. As a young child in Argentina, she danced, did gymnastics, and ran track, among other things. She is passionate about health and strongly believes in a holistic approach to it. “Yoga has been one of the best things I have discovered in my life. It has made me physically, mentally, and spiritually stronger.”

María is thrilled to share what she knows and looks forward to continue to learn more. Her goal as a teacher is to create a warm and safe environment for students to experience yoga while guiding them through their personal practice.

María is a graphic designer, a dancer, and an aspiring drummer. When not practicing yoga, you can find her grooving to Brazilian beats, or making beautiful things.

“The body is your temple. Keep it pure and clean for the soul to reside in.”

B.K.S. Iyengar, Yoga: The Path To Holistic Health

Mary Beth Ray

Mary Beth (MB) has been exploring yoga as a philosophy and physical practice for many years. She has studied with wonderful teachers and participated in classes and workshops in various traditions including Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin, and Anusara. She is especially drawn toward the moving meditation of a vinyasa style of practice and since 2006 she has been a dedicated student of Ashtanga Vinyasa in the classical self-paced Mysore tradition of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois. As a teacher MB wishes to share yoga as a day-by-day, moment-by-moment practice of well-being. In her classes she guides you through dynamic sequences of movement while you play with the subtle alignment cues of the postures, and most importantly tune your awareness to the quality and presence of your breath during both exertion and stillness. Through the practice she encourages you to discover balance between effort and ease, to develop your own inner and outer strength and flexibility, and hone a more graceful engagement with your everyday life. In this way “yoga” can become a daily practice both on and off the mat.

Meghan Hornstrom


Meghan is a yogi, herbalist, craftswoman and gardener working to empower people and communities to create their own health and happiness. She began practicing yoga and breathwork in her teens as a way to manage stress and cultivate self love. In 2013, Meghan founded Herbalish to share her knowledge and creative energy through classes and workshops, organic apothecary products, fiber art and educational zines. She then completed the Vinyassa Flow Yoga Teacher Training program at Barefoot Movement, where she currently instructs restorative and mixed level classes. She is also passionate about using yoga and art therapy to empower young people, and recently participated in The Art of Yoga Project‘s training program on leading trauma-informed, strength-based, gender-responsive classes for teen girls.

Melissa Saavedra


Melissa embraced yoga while recovering from acute physical stresses, including repetitive stress injury and chronic back pain exacerbated–in her last life–by

long hours in a high stress office setting. By discovering physical balance followed by an awakening of the body, she found herself on a path for emotional well-being through asana, breath and meditation–a path that continues through her teaching.

Melissa’s philosophical and practical approach to yoga is intertwined with her recovery from deep emotional and physical childhood trauma. Yoga has brought her lasting, sustainable well-being, and she employs yoga as a way to continuously undo patterns in mind and body. She sees yoga as an essential tool for undoing the myriad, internalized effects of trauma each of us may carry, and for achieving the (sometimes elusive) balance that brings aliveness and peace to our daily lives. Melissa has an affinity for and extensive background working with people of color, and would like to bring a culturally sensitive practice of yoga to individuals and communities of color as a path to personal transformation.

Michelle Gilmore RN, NP

Michelle Gilmore Yoga

Michelle has been studying yoga since 1994 and teaching since 2002. She began taking classes once per week with Rodney Yee, and after several months, began to realize the practice was bringing her an inner peace that helped her manage the stresses of working, raising children, and living in the hectic Bay Area. She found yoga to be mediation in motion, and believes the practice of yoga is essential to well being. She has studied Iyengar, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Krama, and Restorative Yoga with many well know teachers in the Bay Area. She is a graduate of Niroga Teacher Training Program, Tim Miller’s Ashtanga Teacher Training, Leah Gillman’s Barefoot Movement Flow Yoga Training, Mark Horner’s Vinyasa Krama Teacher training, and Judith Lasater’s Restorative Teacher Training. She is a Yoga Alliance certified practitioner and a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists.

Michelle’s background as a health practitioner gives her the ability to incorporate her knowledge anatomy and physiology into her practice. Her classes focus on body mechanics and alignment, emphasizing safety. She incorporates the depth and strength of longer held poses, using props and modifications for all body types. She has teaches in a variety of settings, including private classes and workshops for those suffering from chronic illness. Her goal is to bring yoga to those who believe “yoga they can’t do yoga”, but want to try. All classes include pranayama and meditation.

Natalie Russell, se habla español 

Natalie Russell headshot

Natalie began practicing yoga as a 16-year-old high school athlete.  Yoga was a way to maintain strong muscles, decrease risk of injury, and increase endurance by learning more effective ways of breathing.  In fact, she still uses yoga for all of those things, but over the years yoga has become so much more.  For Natalie, yoga has become a method of self-exploration in addition to providing a framework for tackling life’s twists and turns.  She has traveled to Costa Rica, India, and Thailand with her mat and has had the privilege of practicing under the guidance of several talented teachers.  Her classes combine vigor and playfulness with the intention of providing a space for each student to meet their edge.

Natalie empezó a estudiar el yoga a los dieciseis años. Durante ese tiempo, era una atleta y yoga fue una manera en que pudiera mantener los musculos fuertes, reducir el riesgo de lastimarse, y aumentar su resistencia a propósito de respirar más profundamente. De hecho, el yoga todavía la ayuda a hacer todas estas cosas, pero a través de los años también se a convirtido a ser muchísimo más. Para ella, yoga ha sido un método de autoexploración y también le dió una esquema para superar los giros y vueltas de la vida. Ella ha viajado con su mat a Costa Rica, la India, y Tailandia y ha tocado la privilegia de practicar bajo la dirección de una variedad de instructores talentosos. Sus clases combinan el vigor y la jugueteo con el intent de proveer un especio en que cada uno puede enfrentar sus  límites.

Nichele Van Portfleet


Nichele has been studying movement and dance for most of her life. A professional dancer and choreographer, she has found herself drawn to yoga for its internal focus and power to inform a more subtle awareness of her entire self. As a teacher, she supports her students in coming to practice as they are, holding a space that is both nurturing and challenging, working to increase alignment awareness and technique while honoring one’s intentions and personal goals. Nichele is on faculty with Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, and is a company member of CALI & CO Dance in San Francisco. She is currently pursuing her 200 hour Flow Yoga Teacher Training at Barefoot Movement.

Orly Politi orlyphoto2


Orly Politi was introduced to yoga in 2005. She had the opportunity to train one on one in Forrest yoga, which is a style she very much enjoys and draws from in her teaching. Orly began practicing yoga to help heal the chronic pain that would flare up in her body due to previous injuries and holding patterns. Through her practice, Orly came to understand that yoga provided so much more than just relief from physical pain. The connection and awareness of her healing on an emotional, physical, and spiritual level is what ultimately drew her into wanting to share that gift with others. She received her certification at Barefoot Movement, and was inspired to continue her training to include perinatal yoga. She enjoys constantly growing and evolving in her own practice, while passing on the invaluable lessons she has learned in proper body alignment and in the work of uncovering one’s ability to create a sense of ease within the uncomfortable.

Pamela Perry Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown OaklandPamela Perry, se habla español

Pamela has been a serious student of both Iyengar and Vinyasa Flow yoga for over 15 years. She received her 200 hour yoga teaching certification in 2012 through Barefoot Movement and in early 2015 will complete an additional 500 hours of training toward her certification as a yoga therapist from the Niroga Institute. She also has a PhD in Sociology and years of experience as a modern dancer, an advanced white-water kayaker, and the sole parent of a boisterous little boy.

As a yoga teacher, Pamela seeks to meet the individual needs of each participant in her classes and to guide students toward greater physical, mental and emotional well-being. Her desire is for students to leave her class feeling renewed, grounded and enthusiastic about their practice.

Pamela ha sido una estudiante seria de ambos Iyengar y Vinyasa yoga por más de 15 años. Fue certificada como maestra de Vinyasa yoga en 2012 por Barefoot Movement y en 2015 completará otra 500 horas de formación hacia su certificación como terapeuta de yoga del Instituto Niroga en Oakland, CA. Ella también tiene un doctorado de Sociología y lleva años de experiencia como bailarina de danza moderna y deportista al aire libre. Es la madre única de un niño energético.

Como maestra de yoga, Pamela busca satisfacer las necesidades individuales de cada participante en sus clases y orientar a los estudiantes hacia un mayor bienestar físico, mental y emocional. Su deseo es que los estudiantes dejan su clase renovados, vigorizados y con entusiasma para la práctica.

Petra Bakos Jarrett , magyarul is, govorim BCHSpetraphoto

Age 13, Petra found a book on yoga written in a language at the time unknown to her.  Mesmerized by the images, during the following years she relentlessly tried to mimic them which lead to minor injuries and major frustrations. Still, throughout these hapless experiments yoga, along dance, gardening, and writing, became her way of exploring how the body thinks, the mind moves.

Petra approaches yoga as a form of attentive, non-judgmental listening to the ebbs and flows of emotions and intentions apparent when body and mind recognize each other as equals. Her classes engage the participants into versatile, often vigorous movement sequences, which facilitate the acknowledgement of the body’s very own creativity.

Sarah Brett

Sarah Brett Vinyasa Flow Yoga Studio Downtown Oakland

Sarah Brett dabbled in Yoga since high school and through college, but found a deeper connection to her practice when she returned to the Bay Area after her undergraduate degree. Since then she has practiced several styles of Yoga both here and abroad. She now teaches a Vinyasa Flow style, focusing on proper alignment and linking the poses through careful attention to breath and transitions to create a graceful, powerful flow. For Sarah, Yoga has been a constant source of strength and peace in an ever-changing, turbulent world. It provides a space for moving meditation and serves as reminder and opportunity to be mindful and present.

Sarah strives to share her love of Yoga as a tool for personal and social awareness, healthful living and longevity in a fun, supportive and inclusive atmosphere. She is especially interested in helping make Yoga more approachable and accessible to people who might not think that Yoga “is for them”’ since all people, no matter their skill-level or experience, can benefit from a regular Yoga practice. Her Flow Basics class therefore focuses on the fundamentals and building blocks of Yoga while challenging students physically in order to help them unlock their latent potential.

Sarita Govani

Sarita-X01-1 sm

Sarita took her first breath when she was born, and first Chaturanga Dandasana at summer camp when she was about 12. While she didn’t put it all together until a couple decades later, she has been steeped in body movement of many kinds since childhood, and practicing yoga regularly for over 10 years.  She is also trained in the field of landscape architecture as she is inspired by restful outdoor environments. Contrary to the end result, the practice of design often involves long hours indoors, behind a computer while in unfortunate body mis-alignment.  Her philosophy: Move forward and put yourself back together.  Yoga is a never-ending practice of full body maintenance, much like a garden itself.

Today, her practice has a focus on classical yoga with a straight forward approach, influenced by Hatha, Ashtanga and Iyengar styles. She has completed a Pre & Post-Natal Yoga training with Cybele Tomlinson of Berkeley Yoga Center.  Class emphasis is on training the breath to work through body re-alignment resulting in graceful and thoughtful flow. Further, she would like to extend her intrinsic belief that yoga can sustain internal health, mental focus, and slowing-down in a fast urban environment.

Theresa Kelly Theresa Kelly

Theresa (e200/ 500 RYT) is a Montana native and loves what the Bay Area has to offer. She graduated from Barefoot Movement’s Level I Teacher Training Program in the Spring of 2011 and has been teaching steadily ever since. She received her Kid’s Yoga certification through mini yogis® in Spring 2012, completed Barefoot Movement’s Level II teaching training in May 2013, and also has training in pre- and post-natal yoga. The path of yoga instruction has opened many new opportunities and now, Theresa is an instructor for Barefoot Movement’s Workshop offerings and Teacher Training Programs. Theresa finds incredible joy in teaching and draws from all her experiences to bring a well-rounded class to her students; encouraging investigation and experimentation. Yoga has brought a positive transformation to Theresa’s life and she hopes her classes bring some transformation to her students as well.

Yukari Abe, 日本語も OK 

Yukari began her journey to Yoga in 2008 at a transitional period in her life and she instantly fell in love with the mind-body connection in Yoga. Since then her practice grew with increasing commitment through the workshop with Rolf Gates in Costa Rica, the one month Yoga Pilgrimage and practice in India, and various workshops with amazing teachers. After exploring different styles from Hatha to Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, etc., she is especially drawn toward Vinyasa Flow, the marriage between breath and movement.

Her passion and love for Yoga and desire to share her experiences led her to complete the 200 hour Teacher Training program with Barefoot Movement in Oakland in June, 2011. She will be delighted if she can open the door to Yoga for the ones who may think Yoga is just a stretch or to “turn ourselves into pretzels” and share with them her wonderful experiences: Yoga has not only awakened her body but also provided a path to inner peace of mind. Yukari will also offer yoga classes in Japanese.

年人生の転機を迎えヨガと出会い、ヨガのからだだけでなくこころとの繋がりに深 く傾倒する。以降、アメリカ国内外の各種ワークショップに参加し、インドでの一ヶ月に わたるヨガ巡業を行う。ハタ、アシュタンガ、ビクラム、アイエンガーなど様々なスタ イルを経験後、呼吸、動作を同調させた流れを重視するヴィンヤサ ヨガを中心に実践。2011年6月、カリフォルニア州オークランド Barefoot Movement にて、全米ヨガ アライ アンス認定ヨガ インストラクター RYT 200 プログラムを終了。ヨガ初心者から経験者まで多くの人とともにヨガを実践し、こころとからだの変化を一緒 に経験できるクラスを目指す。日本語での指導も行う。