- Laurel Katz-Bohen is a native New Yorker, a longtime Harlem resident, momma of two and the founder of Harlem Yoga Studio. She is a graduate of the Integral Yoga Institute and is certified to teach Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Raja Yoga Philosophy, obtained her Vinyasa training from Seane Corn and Advanced Teacher Training with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. Laurel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and trained as a Midwife assistant with Ina May and the rest of the legendary midwives at The Farm Midwifery Center. She offers emotional support, encouragement and wisdom to women and families throughout labor, birth and postpartum. Laurel has practiced yoga since the age of 5 and especially enjoys planting a life-long love of “playing yoga” in her Children’s Yoga classes. Laurel is a singer and songwriter who has toured throughout the United States and the world with various groups and currently works with one of her favorite icons, Blondie. She is the winner of an Emmy award for outstanding Journalism. In addition, she has a background in childhood education and has taught elementary school in the New York City public school system. It is Laurel’s intention to serve the vibrant and diverse New Yorkers in the Harlem community by offering peace, wellness, and a sense of oneness.
- Erica Barth is a proud New Yorker, a life-long lover of movement, “Yoga-nerd”, and the co-owner of Harlem Yoga Studio. She holds a Bachelors degree in Business from the Wharton School and a Masters degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, where she focused on Group Dynamics and Conflict Resolution. While training for a marathon in 2001, Erica ran into her first Yoga class and quickly fell in love with the way that Yoga brought strength and flexibility to her body, and even more so, serenity and balance to her mind. She obtained her teaching certification from the Integral Yoga Institute of New York where she met Laurel, and after years of looking for a business idea she could be passionate about, was thrilled to help open Harlem Yoga Studio! Erica is certified to teach Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Teens, and Children. Her classes combine a focus on alignment with a playful and creative sequencing of postures, leading students to find a relaxing and energizing union between breath and body. She is continually inspired to deepen her knowledge of the body, mind, and spirit, and is profoundly grateful to have studied with many incredible teachers around the city and the world. It is her joy an intention for Harlem Yoga Studio to help make Yoga welcoming and accessible in all of its forms, and to create space for the community to gather, breathe, relax, and have fun! Having viewed the world with a systemic lens for many years, Erica sees the internal connection between body, mind and spirit as a mirror (and magnifier) of our connection to one another. She incorporates her understanding of yoga and her background in group dynamics and social organizational theory to help individuals feel calm, strong and centered, and groups and teams work together more effectively. To learn more about Erica’s work with outside of Harlem Yoga Studio, visit Erica Barth Yoga
- Elle Randall was first introduced to yoga in college and has discovered that a steady yoga practice makes for happier people. In 2012 she joined Yoga Vida for their 200 hour Teacher Training and she is currently pursuing her 300 hour Advanced Training at Laughing Lotus. Elle is also the Owner and Artistic Director of the cabaret troupe Sass N’ Betties and co-creator of Betties Bootcamp which fuses yoga, fitness, dance, and performance into workshops. Inspired by flow, music, and storytelling, Elle’s classes combine a fun and challenging practice with a “be happy, be healthy’ attitude; leaving people vibrant, balanced, and reconnected with their Higher Selves.
Matthew “Matty” Espino is a 200-hour certified vinyasa teacher (via Three Sisters Yoga) and holds advanced certifications in Restorative yoga, Ayurveda, Hands-on assists, and Bhakti yoga (via Laughing Lotus). Originally from California, he moved to New York in 2013 to pursue his MA in TESOL at Columbia University. During a rather difficult time in his life, Matty was brought to his first yoga class. Initially skeptical about the practice, he began to discover the wonderfully therapeutic benefits of consistently coming back onto his mat and, from then on, has begun his journey towards healing. He is a firm believer that yoga has changed his life for the better. As a teacher, Matty offers carefully sequenced classes that are challenging and playful, while still supportive of all levels. With compassion and a gentle demeanor, he strives for each of his students to feel comfortable, confident, and to feel no judgment to move like them. Matty is incredibly excited and grateful to be teaching at Harlem Yoga Studio and gives thanks to all of his teachers who have shaped his yogic journey. Off the mat, Matty is a lover of language and culture and has been a passionate ESL teacher for over seven years.
Nyota Nayo came to the yogic lineage via her journey as a dancer and is now a long-time practitioner and teacher. She is certified to teach Hatha Yoga and Prenatal Yoga through the Integral Yoga Institute, and is certified to teach Core Vinyasa Yoga through training under Sadie Nardini. Nyota is a DONA trained Doula and has supported many mothers in Harlem through their labor and births. Additionally, Nyota is a Reiki practitioner and teaches and performs Egyptian Belly Dance and Brazilian Samba. Currently Nyota is in training in the US, and in Egypt under the Temple of Aset, towards certification in Egyptian Yoga and Meditation. Nyota’s mission is to use her myriad of experiences to empower all who are on the quest for wellness of mind, body and spirit.
- Amy Tobin has been practicing yoga in NYC since 2000 and is a graduate of the 500 hour YogaWorks Professional Teacher Training Program. Her teaching seeks to balance stability and freedom in the body, and in the mind. Her classes combine the challenge of Vinyasa flow with an emphasis on body alignment. She encourages students to link breath with movement, and to explore the benefits of yoga at their own pace. Amy believes that yoga – like life – should be approached with warmth and humor.
Amy has been involved with the not-for-profit organization Exhale to Inhale since its inception in 2013. Exhale to Inhale brings the healing and grounding practice of yoga to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and can always use your support. www.exhaletoinhale.org
- Cathy Harding is a certified instructor in mat Pilates and Reformer. She has studied with Stott master instructors and most recently has incorporated teachings from Yoga Tune-Up and Roll Model founder Jill Miller into her classes. Cathy is passionate about coaching people of all abilities to discover their own anatomy and alignment and to work positively with their own bodies. Her classes are rigorous and fun. When not teaching Pilates, Cathy is a writer, storyteller, and fundraising executive.
- Dublín Salas was born in Caracas Venezuela. He began his yoga practice in New York with a family member, Marco Rojas one of the 100 most influential yoga teachers in America according to Sonima.com and currently a senior teacher with renowned teacher Alan Finger at Ishta Yoga .Salas studied Anatomy with Jason Brown at Zenyasa yoga studio NYC. After Dublin completed his teacher training at Yoga Works under the guidance of Jenny Arthur, he began to assist Rojas in classes and workshops all around NYC developing a deep affinity for Rojas yogic style. In 2015 Dublín completed 100 hours intense teacher training with master teacher Maty Ezraty . In 2016 He start an Advanced Teacher Training certification in Musculoskeletal Anatomy, Injury Awareness/Prevention, Biomechanics and the Kinesiology of Yoga Asana
Spring Cooper has been practicing yoga since she reluctantly began attending classes at the age of 18 and has been teaching fitness and yoga-based classes for 15 years. After being certified in 2008 she has continued to grow and blossom through her daily yoga practice and by working with mentor teachers to further her development. Spring teaches a dynamic vinyasa yoga class, but there are always options for any level of yogi or yogini. She is a member of both Yoga Australia and Yoga Alliance and is excited to begin a new chapter of yoga teaching in New York City! Spring‘s personal practice has helped her find happiness and peace with her body; she recommends yoga as a therapy and life-balancing practice for everyone. Follow her yoga blog at www.yogaspring.blogspot.com!
- Dorian Shorts is a passionate, innovative and devoted instructor of Yoga who is proficient in the structure of Vinyasa Flow as related to chakras and energetic movement. He is excited to incorporate traditional elements of Yoga with contemporary themes in order to bring history to the present in a fun and healthy learning experience for students of all levels.
- Madeline Warriner became serious about her yoga practice after it helped her recovery from an injury and was the only reason she was able to complete her B.F.A. in dance at Rutgers University. She was then inspired to teach and completed her Yoga Training at Younique Yoga in New Jersey, while finishing her M.Ed. in Dance Education at Rutgers. Maddie’s classes focus on drawing out a mindful awareness of self, by connecting breath to movement and bringing attention to the body’s constant processing of sensory information. Through flowing sequences that explore length, strength, and sustainment, her classes builds on a foundation of safe alignment throughout asanas and subsequent transitions. She centers her classes around themes of self love, gratitude, and encouragement to help students find appreciation and contentment in each moment.
Vijai Wilansky was the director of the Integral Yoga Upper West Side Center for 18 years, serves on the Board of Directors of the Integral Yoga Institute, and is an instructor of Integral Yoga Teacher Training programs. He has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 40 years and has a wealth of experience and insight into the subtle practices of yoga. Vijai has been greatly influenced by Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman, having completed numerous trainings taught by Rodney and having studied with Rodney for the last 20 years. He is also influenced by Carrie Owerko and other Yoga luminaries whom he has had the privilege to study with. Vijai is approved to teach light body meditation (an intricate and enlightening form of meditation with near-magical results for everyday life), has completed a four-year course of study at the Ohashi Institute, and is certified as an Ohashiatsu Shiatsu practitioner.
- Tara Tonini is a lover of nature, movement, color and creativity. In each class, Tara offers an authentic selection of movement to ignite the mind and body connection. She invites students to explore self-love, confidence and freedom on and off the yoga mat. Tara currently serves as Program Director for Exhale to Inhale, an organization dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault to reclaim their lives through the healing and grounding practice of yoga. www.taratonini.com
Tricia Townes has studied yoga since 1998 in North Carolina and in New York City. She is a graduate of the Teacher Training Program at The Integral Yoga Institute and is a Certified Therapeutic Yoga Teacher. Tricia loves studying and practicing the philosophy and psychology of yoga known as Raja Yoga and helping students deepen their Meditation practice and Hatha Yoga practice. Tricia is now launching Harlem Yoga Studio’s Full Figured Yoga class, where people with larger bodies learn to adapt the classical yoga practice and receive all the great physical and mental benefits. She is also a practicing visual artist with an MFA in Painting and Drawing.
- Janine White has been practicing yoga since she was about 10 years old. She completed her 200-hour vinyasa teacher training at Laughing Lotus in New York City in 2013. She also completed her kids yoga teacher training at Karma Kids Yoga in 2014. Since then she has enjoyed teaching diverse groups of adults and children of different ages and backgrounds. Janine also completed Off the Mat, Into the World’s Yoga, Purpose and Action Intensive. Inspired by her personal practice and informed by her academic and professional background in the field of human rights, she seeks to share yoga as a healing and self-care practice in various communities, including those affected by trauma.
- Julie McNamara first discovered yoga back in high school, when she was literally dragged to class one Sunday morning. As an ambitious musical theater performer and also self-professed type A overachiever, yoga helped her learn to accept the flow of things, and to rediscover joy not only in her art, but in her life as well. Julie received her 200 hour certification at Princeton Center for Yoga and Health in Skillman, NJ in 2012, while also working towards her bachelor’s degree in Voice Performance at Westminster Choir College. She was particularly amazed at yoga’s ability to unlock her mind-body connection as a performer. Julie’s classes balance flow and fun with breathing and letting go. She believes that yoga is for everyone, and loves helping her students find and embrace their beautiful, individual selves through their practice!
- Sage Mehta teaches yoga and writes—two not unrelated practices. Both are about discovery, articulation and expression. Sage’s education has been invaluable in teaching her how to look and analyze what she sees in a classroom of yogis. She teaches ambitious well-rounded sequences with a strong emphasis on alignment. Sage gives precise physical directions for how to get into and breathe in the asanas. On her own mat, she is constantly negotiating a balance between movement and stillness. Sage is RYT-500 and RPYT. She did her first 200 hour training at the popular vinyasa studio Laughing Lotus and a second with Anusara teacher Lois Nesbitt. Her 300 hour training was with Alison West and she trained in prenatal and postpartum yoga with Lara Kohn Thompson. She continues to study the therapeutic applications of yoga for backcare and scoliosis with Deborah Wolk. Sage regularly take class at the Iyengar Institute in New York and meditates at the Village Zendo. Although a New York native, India has fascinated Sage since she was a child. Her father was born in Lahore and she chose to live in Mumbai after graduating from college. In a country of so many, the space of a mat—like a patch of garden—is extremely valuable. Even though yoga is generally seen as a luxury in the West, in the East it is rightly considered a necessity. yogasage.com (Photo by Chae Kihn)
- Shira Engel is a native New Yorker, elementary school educator, student of life, and devoted yoga teacher. Shira has been practicing yoga since she was a teenager and discovered the practice’s transformative power to de-stress body and mind at the same time. In 2011, she obtained her 200-hour yoga teacher certification at Three Sisters Yoga under the tutelage of Jen Whinnen among others. As a newly-minted yoga teacher and college student, she co-founded WesBAM! Wesleyan Body and Mind, a leading student wellness organization where she taught yoga for three years and taught other instructors how to develop their craft. Since then, she has completed over 300 hours of advanced yoga teacher training at Laughing Lotus under the guidance of Sheri Celantano, Jasmine Tarkeshi, and Keith Borden, to name but a few of her many gifted teachers. Shira is certified to teach vinyasa, trauma-sensitive yoga, and kids yoga. She finds a local yoga hOMe at Harlem Yoga Studio where she is continuously inspired by the commitment to inclusivity and social justice she shares with her fellow teachers. She teaches to discover the true meaning of practice: action and intention working as one cohesive whole. From the third grade classroom to the yoga studio, Shira aims to inspire others with a fun-loving (laughter welcomed!), therapeutic, challenging, and soulful vinyasa yoga classes where everyBODY is unconditionally welcome.
Krishna Dholakia is a 500-hour certified yoga teacher. She began her yoga journey when she attended her first yoga class in college many years ago. She was inspired by how yoga positively influenced her mind, body, and spirit; and wanted to spread her love for yoga to others by becoming a teacher. Krishna is also a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and health coach. She has a master’s degree in clinical nutrition and has been working in the health and wellness field as a nutrition specialist and health educator for over 11 years. Krishna helps her clients understand their relationship between nutrition, health, movement and emotions by using mindfulness-based approaches that build awareness and provide structure. She believes that being healthy and balanced is something that should be accessible and achievable for all. Born and brought up in Africa, her background has influenced her love for travel, world music, and the study of Eastern Philosophy. To learn more about Krishna, visit her website www.omandspice.com.
- Andrea (Bhairavi) Downes began her yoga journey in yoga 15 years ago after a physical condition left her debilitated and depressed. She tried a yoga class and after six months, her condition decreased exponentially. Her childhood interest in math and science influenced her to study nutrition and the effect food has on our bodies. This led her to become a certified Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Further study of the self and how emotions and mental state can affect our bodies crossed roads once more with yoga. This path brought her full circle to the Integral Yoga Institute, where she received her 200 and 300 hr. yoga teacher training certification and certifications in Raja Yoga (Yogic Philosophy), Teen Yoga (via Integral Yoga Institute and the Lineage Project), Kids Yoga (Kidding Around Yoga), Therapeutic (Restorative) Yoga and Yin Yoga. She strongly believes that “Yoga saved her life” and yearns to use her knowledge and experience to guide people in transcending their mental, physical, and emotional fears and limitations, through the various paths of Yoga. Her Yin Yang Yoga classes provides students with a challenging yet meditative and dynamic class so that they can extend their practice from the studio to everyday life.
Ihotu Jennifer Ali teaches restorative and prenatal yoga, in addition to being a birth and postpartum doula, lactation consultant, nutrition and holistic health coach, and licensed massage therapist. She is fascinated by the flow between our bodies, minds, and hormones, and her classes focus on deep breathing and relaxation, intuition and heart opening, and optimizing digestion, fertility, and reproductive health. Ihotu worked in women’s and public health programs in New York City and in Africa under the United Nations, and turned to yoga to quiet her mind and cultivate gratitude and community in the busy city. She has lived around the United States and across Africa, and has loved getting to know Harlem over the last decade and calling it home.
- Crystal McCreary is a dedicated student of yoga and has enjoyed teaching vinyasa since 2007. The 500-hour YogaWorks’ Professional Teacher Training program, Jason Crandell, and Jason Ray Brown’s Anatomy Studies for Yoga Teachers most significantly influence her teaching. Crystal’s classes offer a way of practicing asana that integrates vigor, flow, intelligent sequences and anatomy-based alignment. She also shares a mindful approach to cultivating attention and bringing balance to the body through yoga. Having careers as an elementary school teacher for 5 years, curriculum developer, and performing artist are tools that allow Crystal to share yoga in a way that is accessible to students of all levels experience and backgrounds. She is a graduate of Stanford University as well as The American Conservatory Theater’s Master of Fine Arts program in Acting. Expect to leave Crystal’s classes feeling strengthened, grounded, and calm.