Our Teachers

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.

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

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.

Jenna Conner first discovered yoga in college to ease stress and back pain, and never turned back. She comes from a dance background of 16 years. She received her BFA in Acting from Oklahoma City University in 2014. In 2016, she received her 200 hour certification from Sun Salute Studios in Torre de la Horadada, Spain under the instruction of Amanda Dee Smith of NYC. Jenna’s classes are creative flows that incorporate breath, alignment, meditation, and philosophy all to a fun, upbeat playlist. Forever a student of yoga, there’s so much more she still aspires to learn. Jenna loves to travel and has taught yoga in Spain, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. She continues to work and spread her love of yoga around NYC and the world, making it available to all types of people regardless of size, shape, color, culture, or ability.

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.

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.

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

Yemie Sonuga is Nigerian, Canadian, and American. She holds a Masters in Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She has performed on several West End stages and can be heard on the Ghost the Musical Broadway Cast Album. She has returned to NYC after touring the US with the Lion King. Yemie is grateful to have had the opportunity to teach and play across North America. She was introduced to Dharma Mittra in London England, where she started her Yoga journey. With the help of her teacher Mark Kan her eyes and mind were opened to the love of yoga. Follow Yemie’s journey @yemieshow. www.yemiesonuga.com

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.

Just like you, Tameeka Robinson had heard of the amazing benefits of yoga but really didn’t think she could bend her body that way. As an avid gym goer, it was an injury that finally forced her to step into a yoga studio. Now she wonders what took her so long. Tameeka received her certification from Laughing Lotus NYC in their signature Lotus Flow, Yin Yoga, and Essential Oils. A student as well as a teacher at Harlem Yoga Studio, Tameeka is very excited to now share the practice with others.

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

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!

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.

As a curvy woman, Angela Dawn often felt excluded from the larger conversation about health and fitness, even after managing and improving two autoimmune conditions with a healthy lifestyle and regular yoga practice. Yoga Teacher training allowed her to steer the conversation her way and inspired her to help bring the benefits of yoga to others who felt left out and left behind. Angela’s twelve years of yoga practice have seen her through illness and recuperation, job and life changes, addictions and recovery, and several periods of deep grief. She has trained in south India, New York City, and Ontario, Canada, where she is currently working towards her RYT500 with Amara Vidya Yoga. She is certified as a Yoga For All instructor by Dianne Bondy and has completed training in Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga-inspired Vinyasa, Yin yoga, Yoga Nidra, Restorative yoga, and trauma-Informed yoga. Inspired by all of these traditions as well as the eclectic playlists and essential oil blends she creates for her group classes, Angela encourages her students to build strength and stability in the bodies they inhabit at the moment, rather than waiting for some future perfected version of themselves that may or may not come. An eternal student herself, Angela holds space for you to explore your practice, wherever it leads you. Utilizing mandala flow and mindful strength-building techniques, her classes are warm and everyone is welcome. All bodies, all sizes, all backgrounds. Your body is a yoga body and you are stronger than you know!

Tiffany Viruet is devoted to the art of Yoga as a sacred offering. Since being a literacy tutor at age 14, she dedicated herself to youth development and parent engagement in her native community of East Harlem, seizing every available opportunity to serve children and families. After studying Social Work at Lehman College, she sought out spirituality to navigate personal challenges with domestic violence, depression, anxiety, and anger management. She was divinely drawn to the mountains of New Mexico where she met the practice of Yoga and Mindfulness with both resistance and longing. A summer long study inspired her to become immersed in the Bhakti Center community in New York City, where she trained to become a Certified Yoga Instructor in March of 2016. Her teaching style offers an accessible, lighthearted, and warmly inviting practice that leaves one feeling gracefully & playfully challenged, rejuvenated, and relieved of tension and stress. Her ultimate ambition is to create and hold sacred space for others, especially at-risk youth, to empower themselves holistically, to reclaim their bodies as thriving vessels of creativity, health and vitality, and to transform their lives into ones filled with servitude, purpose and joy.

Stacey McFadin is a former professional dancer and dance teacher, and draws upon this experience to teach yoga, emphasizing alignment, breath work, and flow. She began her yoga practice in 2008 to restore balance amidst her busy and stressful career as an attorney. Stacey is a 200-hour RYT, also certified in Prenatal & Postnatal Yoga, SPRY (Stability Plus Resistance Yoga), and Trauma-Informed Yoga. She volunteers with the non-profit Exhale to Inhale, teaching yoga to survivors of domestic abuse.

Cheri Fandozzi’s   love of yoga began in the spring of 2006 while studying Ashtanga yoga in Manhattan.  It was the sun salutations that drew her to yoga…not only was it a great form of exercise but she found that linking her breath with movement had a profound and positive effect on the way she felt physically and mentally, both on and off the mat. Cheri’s yogic path has led her to teach adults and children, earning a 500-hour certification from YogaWorks along with certifications in Restorative Yoga, Children’s Yoga, Reiki Level 1 and completion of a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction Program. Cheri guides students of all ages through mindful, breath-centered classes. She takes an energetic and playful approach to her kid’s classes and incorporates all of the components of a traditional adult yoga class. Cheri’s greatest joy in sharing yoga with others is knowing that the yoga doesn’t stop on our mats.  By getting to know our bodies and the breath better, we come to know ourselves better and this knowing spills off our mats and into every aspect of our lives.

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.

Giorgio Handman is a meditation student of the Shambhala Buddhist tradition. Giorgio is licensed social worker and graduate of the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, and has integrated mindfulness practices into work with a variety of communities, including young people experiencing homelessness, Veterans and the LGBTQ community. Giorgio is currently in the process of completing the Certified Mindfulness Facilitator (CMT) training at the Engaged Mindfulness Institute (EMI) studying under the guidance of experienced teachers including, Pema Chodron, Fleet Maul, John Kabat-Zinn, Joan Halifax, and Sharon Salzberg. Giorgio is interested in the ways that engaged mindfulness practice supports healing, gentleness and equanimity on a personal level, and within society.

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!

 Jessica Dzaman offers a well-rounded, alignment-focused flow that aims to help practitioners explore and feel at home in their bodies. After years of attempting to outrun her thoughts and change her body through rigorous exercise, she is grateful to have discovered in yoga a powerful tool for cultivating not only physical and mental strength, but also awareness and presence. Jess completed her 200-hour certification here at Harlem Yoga Studio in 2017 under the guidance of Vijay, Erica, and Amy. When she is not in the yoga studio, she is hiking, traveling, drinking too much coffee, and/or advising and teaching literature to college students.

 

For Lucia Russett, yoga is a means of self-expression and cultivating compassionate self-awareness. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in 2013, and is certified to teach Trauma-Informed Yoga by Exhale to Inhale. Before coming to Harlem Yoga Studio, she lived and worked as a social worker in East Harlem for 18 years. Lucia has taught yoga to teen girls, seniors, immigrant mothers, and her neighbors, and is thrilled to be part of the HYS community.

Zen Holmes has been a NYS licensed massage therapist and Reki practitioner, specializing in prenatal and medical massage for 20 years.  She  is the founder of Comfy Momma Prenatal Support and offers doula services, prenatal massage, prenatal yoga and guided meditations aimed at reducing fear and preparing the mind/body to relax during childbirth.   Zen received her prenatal yoga certification from Yoga Education Institute.  In addition, she is certified to teach Core Strength Vinyasa  by Sadie Nardini.    Zen is a DONA trained doula and is trained in hypnobirthing and mindfulness.  Utilizing this training, she offers a guided meditation at the end of each prenatal yoga class.   Since 2011,  Zen has lead guided “sound bath” meditations incorporating vibrational healing with gongs, singing bowls, didgeridoo and hang drum.   She is the founder and Artistic Director of Uzuri Dance Theater and has over 30 years of dance training. Last but certainly not least, Zen is the proud mother of five children ages 13-27.