Teachers

Our yoga teachers are all beautiful beings who are devoted to their yoga practice, both on and off the mat. They have all completed a 100 hour or 200 hour teacher training; many have done multiple trainings. What is most inspiring however, is their commitment to growth. At Leap we believe that as we evolve, everyone around us evolves. So, join us on this amazing adventure.

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Butch

Starting his career by serving his country in the Navy and then as a business owner, followed by over 20 years in the radio business and almost 10 years in the fitness industry as an aerobics and step instructor it goes without saying that Butch has a breadth of life experiences that give him a tremendous appreciation for life’s challenges . Butch is passionate about helping people to reach down deep and be their best. Yoga has been life changing for Butch, helping him to overcome incredible pain caused by scoliosis that he has had since birth. He looks forward to guiding others through their journey of discovery to find out how yoga can make a difference in their lives as well.

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Stacy

Stacy’s love of yoga continues to grow as she observes the transformational effects a regular yoga practice has on students, community, and within her own life. “Strengthening the body is wonderful, but strengthening the body, mind, spirit, and our community brings healing and wholeness. In this place, anything is possible.”

Stacy has received a good deal of her training through Rusty Wells of Urban Flow Yoga in San Francisco. Focusing on the Bhakti tradition, one of the four paths of yoga, music and devotion play a supporting role in all of Stacy’s classes. Bhakti is often described as the yogic path of devotion, emotion, love, compassion, and service to God and others.

Stacy has also studied with Michael Watson of Bermuda, Karen Miscall-Bannon of Embodyoga, Stephanie Snyder, and is influenced by the teachings of Sri Dharma Mittra, NYC, and Richard Rosen of Berkeley, California. Another great teacher who Stacy admires and has studied under is Mahendra Briksha of San Francisco. Mahandra Briksha specializes in breathwork and wellness cuisine.

In addition to vinyasa and yin yoga Stacy is also offers educational workshops focusing on “Practicing Kitchen Yoga” and the preparation of whole and living foods. She specializes in guided cleanses and offers private yoga sessions, nutritional consultations, and guided group cleanses. See StacyW.com for Stacy’s schedule and additional information.

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Michéal

Michéal has always been passionate about fitness starting back in High School and College as a cross country runner, track & field athlete and powder puff football player followed by over 15 years in the fitness industry teaching aerobics side by side with husband, Butch, for 10 of those years. She has been a member of the assisting team at Leap since the first graduating class and feels it is her way of “giving back to this amazing community”!

Michéal has attended two 100 hour teacher trainings in Toronto, Canada, with Kaiut founder, Francisco Kaiut. “I am always blown away by how good my body feels after 8 days of training with 3 hour long practices every day… It feels AMAZING!”  Michéal now offers Kaiut yoga at Leap.  She truly believes it is yoga for “EVERY BODY” that will help students navigate and lessen the impact of the stresses put upon our bodies over time due to age and other sports related injuries.

Done 1-2 times per week Kaiut will be the PERFECT balance for your body as it works in tandem with your other fitness routines. Michéal believes this life is a journey and the best way to lengthen and improve that journey is to take care of that vessel we call our “body” and our joint health plays a HUGE part in the quality of that journey…which is what Kaiut yoga is all about and why Michéal is so passionate about you experiencing it!!!!

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Cindi

Cindi, a familiar face within the Leap family, has been committed to sport her entire life, competing in swim teams, with a love for both water and snow skiing as well as aerobics, spin and body pump.

After attending multiple workshops and her 100 hour teacher training in Canada, with Kaiut founder, Francisco Kaiut, her passion for Kaiut was cemented!  She now dedicates herself to Yoga and its many benefits to health, flexibility and general wellness.

As a committed Kaiut advocate, she enjoys discussing, teaching and promoting it’s incredible effects to added mobility, recovery and healing to the community.

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Gena

Gena Foreman’s, (E-RYT) passion for yoga began nearly 20 years ago when she took her first class at the local gym. An avid runner and mountain biker she came to yoga to stretch and find balance as a full time mom. The feeling of peace, quiet and strength she experienced after class started to weave itself into every facet of her life. In 2004, she faced her fears and found her voice completing her first teacher training with Shannon Wells. Her teaching style focuses on the awareness of conscience breathing, emphasizing core strength building endurance while finding the balance between effort and surrender. Gena encourages her students to listen to their body and honor where they are in that moment. She will challenge you to go to your edge, to find that inner place which allows you to grow. She has taught wheelchair bound seniors, professional athletes, the raw beginner to the seasoned yogi. Gena teaches from the heart. She is authentic, compassionate, and playful; students are nurtured and individual needs are met. Her fundamental teaching is in Forrest Yoga yet she is inspired by many different teachers and styles. It is all yoga and we are all one. Om shant.

 

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Sarah

Sarah K. Grace is a powerful and dynamic individual who spent over a decade merging her career as a paramedic in some of California’s busiest 911 systems with her innate gifts as a clairvoyant medium, medical intuitive, and energy healer. Combining Western and Energy Medicine, Sarah has spent years studying both physical and energy anatomy while applying her skills in critical settings to thousands of patients as they dealt with life and death emergencies.

Sarah now has a vibrant private practice working with clients worldwide as they embrace their own power, make sense of their energetic abilities, and heal past traumas. She is an author, mentor, intuitive energy healer, clairvoyant medium, medical intuitive, and licensed paramedic. She is a vibrant person with quick wit and dry humor who’s intention is to lead by example, displaying that one can fully engage their psychic abilities while still thriving in joyful, powerful, and abundant lives.

 

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Karen

Karen Miscall-Bannon began her yoga studies in 1985 with Eddie Modestini, and studied with Patty Townsend at the Yoga Center Amherst from 2001-2012, where she became certified at the 200-and 500-hour levels in Embodyoga®, and is certified at the E-RYT 500-hour level by Yoga Alliance. She taught in the YCA’s teacher trainings starting in 2004, and led 200-hour teacher trainings starting in 2009 in Newington, CT. She recently relocated to CA and is thrilled to bring her work to the Leap community! She has studied Iyengar, Ashtanga Vinyasa, and Maya Yoga, as well as Embodyoga®. Karen has extensive knowledge of anatomy, with a focus on yoga therapeutics, stemming from her bodywork practice of over 12 years. Karen brings a deep love of yoga and yoga philosophy to her teaching, and is known for being able to make abstract concepts accessible to her students. She gratefully brings what she has learned from her teachers and her own practice to her students, to assist them in deepening their awareness of body and mind through the practice of yoga.

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Donna

Donna Raines is a Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga teacher and student, as well as a certified Holistic Health Coach. After many years of doing yoga at a local gym, she discovered the transformational power of yoga when she enrolled in a Baptiste 40-day Transformation program. The combination of yoga, meditation, journaling and healthy eating that this program provided allowed her to truly see herself for the first time and live her truth. Two years later she has made many life changes including leaving a 17 year career in high tech marketing to pursue her passion – to teach and inspire through a combination of yoga and holistic nutrition. Donna is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and completed her level one teacher training through Baron Baptiste. She plans to continue her journey to eventually become a Baptiste Certified Teacher.

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Blake

Yoga found Blake in 2009 while in rehab, he was desperate and open. Caught up in substance addiction he saw no way out and was tired of doing the same things over and over expecting a different outcome (insanity). The student was ready and the teacher appeard. Beat up and out of shape he struggled to get into the postures, he slowly learned how to breathe. Blake began to uncover what was hidden, he continues to discover what’s in the way, so that he can discard it let go of what blocks him from the truth.

Blake teaches yoga full time at different studios and drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.  Aaron Pappas is Blakes inspiration and lifelong teacher.

Blake teaches a fun and powerful breath-focused practice that emphasizes holding challenging postures as well as fluid movements, calming and focusing the mind, strengthening the body and soothing the soul.

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Sydney

“There’s so much I want to say it’s beyond words, I’m still in the process. Yoga is beyond words though isn’t it? What I have found is that there is so much wisdom in the body. When I stop searching and just listen the truth arises. I feel called to share this space with others, space to listen, to lengthen, to breathe, to be. This is a lost art, this discipline to pause and notice. In the past, none of this had ever occurred to me in my addiction or even in my sobriety until I started practicing yoga here at Leap. (I found it in the movement and the stillness and the people and it followed me out of the studio and spilled into every aspect of my life and here lies the transformation). For someone who has truly came from rock bottom I found in yoga a lifestyle, not just the ability to be flexible. This is the last thing on my list, the real and true abilities include finding strength, stillness, discipline, kindness, curiosity, the mind-body connection, altruistic health, and learning how to be well in a community that understand and respect my journey, my process. This is a rare gem in a world that can be everything but….Its no wonder there is so much addiction and suffering among us. Leap/ the studio/ yoga is the sanctuary and I am merely a channel to share this space with my students to continue to learn and grow together.”  

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Hannah

Hannah lives her life by this quote, “The purpose in life is to be happy.” – The Dali Lama

Hannah is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #82984 who enjoys helping people claim the life they truly desire and deserve to live. She is thrilled to overlay her yoga with her knowledge of therapy and her therapy with her knowledge of yoga.

Hannah’s classes are fun, thoughtful and intuitively patterned.  She enjoys bringing music to a yoga space and strives to create an experience in her classes that can be taken outside the studio walls.

Hannah was trained in Astanga Yoga by David Swenson (2002), pre/post-natal yoga training by Stephanie Keach (2003), Vinyasa Flow with Baron Baptiste (2008 & 2010) and became a Certified Kundalini Instructor under the teachings of Gurmuhk and Golden Bridge Yoga (2017).

Hannah also offers individual and group workshops focusing on topics such as Women’s Empowerment, Meditation, Emotion Regulation and Gratitude.  Please see www.HannahZackney.com for further information.

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Winter

Winter is a passionate yoga instructor, songstress and keeper of sacred ways. Inspired by the magic of yoga which she first experienced in the jungle of Costa Rica, she traveled to India where she received her first 200 hours of training studying Ashtanga yoga. Shortly after, Winter received another 200 hours of training in Transformative Yoga in northern California. Most recently, Winter studied in an advanced course on Lake Atitlán in Guatemala and received 300 hours of training in Mystical Yoga and Shamanism, expanding her knowledge in indigenous wisdom and practices.

Winter has spent the last four years in countries and communities around the globe where she received teachings from elders and experienced many ancient forms of healing. From this spiritual exploration, she has found inspiration for holding space and using music as medicine. Inspired by earth-based traditional ways, Winter strives to weave this wisdom into her work, guiding students to become aware of our deep connection with the earth and of the sacred space within where we find our awakening source and an abundance of love and gratitude for this journey.

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Alex

Alex found yoga through her journey of recovery. She owes most of her self awareness to the practice of yoga. The power of self study that walks hand in hand with yoga has challenged her to find contentment and acceptance in the present moment. Yoga has changed Alex’s perspective to abundance and open opportunities were she once thought there was nothing. She hopes to teach her students that they hold the utmost light and power by allowing them space to come home to their most inner truth. She hopes to spread the truth that darkness is nothing more than the absence of light with all she meets. Namaste 

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Robert

I started my yoga journey three years ago and it has changed my Entire life. I have been a member at Leap since day one. You may have seen me practicing or assisting or drumming in some of the classes. Yoga has helped me open my heart and taught me to breath. Leap has given me a wonderful community filled with family and friends. I am not the typical yoga guy. There are some poses that I may never be able to do. But the yoga works, and as they say, “It’s all yoga! ”  As a teacher I hope to share a lifetime of wonderful experiences. I believe that there is something beautiful waiting for each person on their mat. I am a student of Baron Baptiste and have just completed Leap’s first Teacher Training 200 Hour Program. I am so excited and humbled to be a part of the Leap teacher team. It really is my dream come true.

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Sarah

For me yoga is practice, prayer, and play. I strive to provide a safe space for all to feel and explore themselves intimately, to get comfortable with discomfort, to be lighthearted, to learn, and to grow physically and spiritually.

Yoga has been a continual growth process and extremely transformational- helping me to connect mind, body, and spirit. Through the practice of vinyasa yoga, yin yoga, and mediation I’ve discovered my authentic self and found the courage to be that person. It is and honor to guide others on their own journey to self-discovery and self-love.

I wish for my students to find truth, joy, healing, love and connection through the practice of yoga and the supportive yoga community!

Certified in 2014 at Zuda Yoga. Offering classes in vinyasa yoga, yin yoga, and meditation.

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Molly

After a 20 plus year career as an Urban Planner, I am fortunate to be able to embrace a second passion. I have practiced yoga for nearly as long as my urban planning career.  About eight years ago, I took my first yin class.  Upon losing my first passion of planning, I took a giant leap (on a bit of a lark and a challenge by my teacher) and went to a yin teacher training in Sweden.  Never intending to teach, just to learn and to feel my transitions, I returned home and got the phone call from a studio owner.  So I started teaching.  And I realized that selfishly, I had a new passion.  I subsequently went to an additional yin training in France and found that I wanted to learn more.  Shortly thereafter, I met Karen Miscall Bannon and started learning about embodiment.  That is to say feeling yoga from the inside.  Not just the poses but deeper, the whys, the more enriched understanding of the body and I felt complete;  it was enough.  I had been trained in yin by one the top four teachers internationally and I am able to experience and study Embody yoga with one of the originators.  How very fortunate I am. At this point I had completed 125 hours of strict yin training, 300+ hours of embodiment, and 65 hours of vinyasa and yin assisting.

But not quite satisfied.  Upon the suggestion of my teacher again, I leapt to study Kaiut yoga.  Knowing absolutely nothing about it, I showed up in Toronto in mid winter for a new adventure.  And then I showed up again and again completing a 300 hour Kaiut Yoga certification.  And Kaiut Yoga has put in all together for me. For me, it combines yin and vinyasa in the true embodiment. This yoga allows and encourages you to feel from the inside, it is challenging, but meditative and fully meets you where you are.  And you can do it your whole life letting the passion live on.  

 I feel incredibly fortunate for the opportunities as I continue to learn from my students, from my teachers, and from my own practice. I feel so lucky to be able to be a guide to others perhaps providing some relief or just some peace in their day.

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Amy

Amy Zilkie attended her first yoga class when she was 17. It was not long before she began incorporating yoga into her everyday life. After graduating from CSUS with a degree in Psychology, she decided to pursue teaching yoga and attended a 2 week immersive training in Hawaii. Upon returning from the first training she continued to study yoga and explore her spirituality. Amy’s classes are a dynamic Vinyasa flow, focusing on alignment, core work and always finding an edge. Along with a physical practice her themes will help you set intentions and take your practice off the mate.

Amy teaches yoga for so many reasons, but it always comes down to one simple concept. She wants you to be the best version of you and love yourself no matter where your journey through life takes you. Something that you can always count on from Amy is an inviting smile and loving heart to help you through your journey.

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Andi

Teaching yoga has been the strong foundation for much of Andi Donovan’s career over the past twenty-plus years. As a competitive athlete, a fitness and sports coach, and an experienced yoga teacher, Andi truly understands exactly how yoga can complement any form of training – And life! Her intention is to create an environment that is simple enough, demanding enough, and can be tailored to suit all students’ needs.

Andi blends a wealth of knowledge, heart and experience to create a unique, energetic-yet-transformational approach to her classes and private sessions. Whether she is teaching Vinyasa Flow, Yin yoga, Yoga for Athletes, Athletic Recovery or Yoga Therapy, Andi creates awareness using movement, breath, passion, and humor.

With over 1500 hours of training from a variety of sources, and over 20 years of experience, Andi is well respected in the industry. She is also internationally recognized, and teaches workshops and retreats around the world.

Andi proudly holds certifications and continuing education credits from a wide variety of teachers and certifying organizations. Her diverse training background allows her to create her own unique style.

Andi understands the human body muscle-by-muscle, movement-by-movement and even bite-by-bite. She is also a Certified Fitness Coach, a Lifestyle and Weight Management coach, an Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist, and a Certified Therapeutic Massage and Zen-Touch Shiatsu Practitioner. Her passion is to help others achieve balance using both ancient yoga precepts as well as the many modern-day discoveries behind fitness, health and anti-aging. She is a perennial student of the yoga arts.

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Shannon

I believe the physical practice of yoga is the gateway to living an awakened, authentic life. It begins with one class, one experience, and from there the journey to the self begins. It’s sometimes exciting, it’s often terrifying, and it’s almost always messy. But its real!

 My first experience with yoga was not a joyful one, it was a 3 hour intensive college yoga course where we were forced to learn all the Sanskrit terminology. I hated it, and I almost failed the class!

It wasn’t until the birth of my medically fragile daugther in 2014 that my heart drew me back to yoga. This time was different. I needed yoga to heal myself. From that point forward I have devoted myself to the practice.

I consider myself to be an eternal student. I love learning. I have completed 500 hours worth of teacher trainings in Power Vinyasa however my heart is with Ashtanga. I love the discipline, the set sequence of postures, the hands on guidance and the use of traditional Sankrit (my college self would be shocked!).

I believe as teachers the best thing we can do is get out of the way and create an open, loving space for students to have their own experience. I am so grateful for the opportunity to share the space with each and every student who shows up on their mat. As we know, this is often the hardest part of the practice. Let us continue to show up for ourselves and for one another as we embark on this messy, wild ride to living with a wide open heart.

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Sheri

As an experienced instructor and longtime student, Sheri’s classes are welcoming, creative and playful, yet safe.  They are sequenced in a way that makes each pose and its modifications accessible.  Sheri has studied with many teachers and is known to blend elements of Embodyoga, Bhakti, Prana vinyasa and Hatha yoga into her classes. Her classes are often thematic, and aim to integrate subtle alignment cues with breath awareness and body awareness.

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Genevieve

Shortly after the birth of Genevieve’s second child she was invited to take a Bikram Yoga class. This was her first “real” yoga experience. Needless to say, it was love at first drop of sweat and she is eternally grateful to her friends that brought her to yoga that day. Because she simply said YES her life had forever changed! She soon moved on to Power Vinyasa falling more deeply in love with the practice. It was when she walked through the doors of Leap that she found her yoga home.

Though having been an athlete and playing a wide variety of sports throughout life nothing spoke passionately to Genevieve the way yoga does. After finding yoga she felt as if I had just truly learned how to breathe. Yoga offers an outlet for removing stagnant energy, opening the heart and finding balance. It is a time to play, to let go, to be messy, to express and to be free!

Continuing further in the journey she became RYT certified through Yoga Alliance upon completion of a 200-hour teacher training at Leap under the guidance of Cathy Connors and Corey Mitchell. She is also certified to teach Yin under the guidance of James Kapicka. Genevieve is inspired by the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, the rhythms of the universe, mother nature and love. Her goal as a teacher is to empower her students and help them find their freedom through yoga in a safe and nurturing space.

When not teaching she keeps busy as a mother to a beautiful son and daughter and two dogs. She is a devoted yoga student that enjoys exploring the world with her husband and children, having new experiences and saying YES to life. Visit GenevieveBergman.com for more information and her most up to date schedule.

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Tristina

Tristina left the corporate world behind in 2010 to share her love of yoga with others. She teaches a dynamic and creative style of yoga that awakens strength through awareness in energetic alignment. Her soulfully fun classes weave in the spiritual aspect of the practice through chanting, meditation, and insightful offerings on yogic philosophy.

Tristina is deeply committed to her personal practice, which is the foundation to her teaching. She has studied various styles of yoga & meditation around the world with an array of respected teachers. She shares her knowledge through classes, workshops, and teacher trainings. Her deep passion for travel is brought to others through annual retreats in international destinations.

Find out more at: TristinaK.com!

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Michael

Michael has been a teacher and a trainer for over a decade. His passion is to teach people the art and science of breath, movement, and stillness. He strives to create a space where students can experience themselves fully.  Michael believes that yoga can help shift our consciousness to a place of integration and love. He thoroughly enjoys daily meditation, dynamic movement, and connecting with his community.

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Cecilia

Cecilia Escobar, a San Diego native, discovered her passion for Yoga in 2009 after attending her first class at a nearby community college. She developed a deep commitment to the tradition of yoga and her knowledge expanded beyond the physical aspects of the practice. Her thirst for knowledge led her to earn a 200HR RYT certificate and over 1000 hours of teaching and continued education. She continues to study daily and her desire for growth landed her at the foot of some of the world’s greatest teachers including; Eddie Modestini, Andrew Hilliam, Gabriel Halpern and others. With a vast understanding about the therapeutic and mental benefits of yoga, Cecilia is ready and eager to share all she has experienced with her students.

Cecilia is best known for her deep and mindful teaching style as well as her ability to relate the more complex spiritual aspects to the practice.Each class incorporates principles of alignment,yoga philosophy, pranayama and meditation to ensure that each practitioner receives a holistic experience from her classes.

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Michelle

Michelle M. Binicewicz, DrPH, Certified Doula, Certified Labor Doula, Certified Postpartum Doula

I Believe Yoga is…
The fluidity of movement connecting mind, body, soul and spirit through breath.
A personal space that allows a disconnect from everything external as an internal awareness is awakened.
To me yoga is freedom from comparison, freedom from expectation, freedom from limitation.

I am here to help people remove all the noise from their outside world and become fully present on their mat, quieting the “chatter” and tuning-in to the sound and feel of their breath.

Because breath is life.

My background in Health Education coupled with 16 years of teaching in the field of healthcare, I provide an opportunity for yogis to find a deeper appreciation of the whole body. I encourage not only physical growth, but emotional and spiritual growth as well.

When you roll up your mat at the end of my class, my hope is that you are re-centered, balanced, and reminded of how valuable this space of reconnection is for your spirit and soul.

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Aaron - In Memorium

December 13, 1973 – July 23, 2017.  

 

We are overwhelmed at Aaron’s tragic accident and of his passing.  Our community is pulling together and we wish his family and loved ones all the love, energy and strength the world has to offer during this terrible time.  In the words of Sarah, his partner, to Stacy, “Aaron, now it’s time for you to transition to your new journey and place. We will all be ok because of what you gave us while you were here. Because you loved wholeheartedly and without hesitation. You taught us the true power of community.”

Aaron you will be truly missed and we feel enriched for having had you in our lives and as an integral part of the Leap family.  May you rest in peace.