J. Brown (E-RYT 500) is a yoga teacher, writer, and founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, New York. A teacher for 15 years, he is known for his pragmatic approach to teaching personal, breath-centered therapeutic yoga adapted to individual needs, including chronic or acute conditions. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, Elephant Journal and Yogadork. He is studied in the Ashtanga-Vinyasa, Iyengar, Sivananda, and Desikachar/Krishnamacharya forms of Hatha Yoga practice. His teachers include Alison West (Yoga Union Certified), Richard Freeman, Swami P. Saraswati (Rishikesh-India), Katchie Ananda and Mark Whitwell (Heart of Yoga Certified). Member IAYT. J’s writing, video, and international events are also featured at jbrownyoga.com.
Leah Thomas has been practicing yoga with J. Brown since 2000. She trained with Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews at The Breathing Project in NYC, she is a graduate of the inaugural AYC Yoga Teacher Training and, in 2010, completed prenatal yoga teacher training at Integral Yoga Institute with Beth Donnely Caban and Lara Kohn Thompson. In her teaching, Leah aligns with the therapeutic approach that AYC represents. yogawithleah.com
Salvador Martinez hails from San Francisco and began his practice there in 1995. He has explored a variety of disciplines including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Shadow, Therapeutic, and Vinyasa. In 2008, he received certification from Sonic Yoga NYC. In 2009, he completed and received certification through the AYC Yoga Teacher Training. Since then, Salvador has continued to deepen his knowledge and experience. He is currently studying yoga anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews of the Breathing Project NYC. He is also trained and certified in Children’s Yoga through Little Flower Yoga NYC, teaching school based yoga programs, pre-k to high school and special needs. He also practices zazen, Zen Buddhist seated meditation, with the guidance of the First Zen Institute of America NYC. Salvador feels grateful and honored to share this wonderful process with others. www.martinezyoga.com
Gigi Boetto came to a dedicated yoga practice with the need to heal herself while assisting her partner through a very long and life-threatening cancer treatment. J. Brown’s personal, therapeutic, breath-centered, and non-dualistic approach to yoga, not only taught her safe asana practice for physical and mental health but also helped her develop the vital necessity of self-compassion. Gigi graduated from the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2012. Continuing her advanced studies of anatomy, Gigi is part of the Yoga Educator Program at The Breathing Project, taught by directors Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews. Member IAYT. Gigi provides her students with a space that helps them learn to listen to themselves so that they may become their own best allies in sickness and in health. www.gigiboetto.com
Christie Roe intends to make practicing yoga enjoyable and useful for every body and mind. She started teaching near Los Angeles, where she had the fortune to study and train with beloved master teachers such as Erich Schiffmann (Freedom Style Yoga) and Mark Whitwell (Heart of Yoga.) Most recently, she became certified in prenatal yoga with Beth Donnaley Caban and Lara Kohn Thompson at the Integral Yoga Institute. Christie completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2012 and is honored to be part of the AYC staff. www.digthyself.com
Sabina Maschi was born and raised in Singapore where Yoga and Eastern medicine were an integral part of her life growing up. While she has studied yoga at various places in South East Asia and Hong Kong as well as in New York – from Bikram to Iyengar to various Vinyasa flows it wasn’t until she came across Abhyasa Yoga Center that she found her yoga home. Sabina completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2013. She is happy to share the principal of creating strength with ease with other students. Also a student of Fitzmaurice voice and body work since 2009, Sabina is conscious of incorporating this into her yoga.
Zulma Ortiz-Fuentes discovered yoga upon arriving in New York City from her native Puerto Rico in the early 1980’s. She has maintained a steady practice ever since with diverse teachers from across the city. Yoga sustained and nourished her during twelve years of teaching English Language Arts in public schools. After deciding on an early retirement from the New York City Department of Education, Zulma is now dedicating herself to teaching yoga. She completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training and will complete Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training with Lara Kohn Thompson and Beth Donnelly Caban by the end of 2014. She also teaches chair yoga at a senior center in Bushwick, Brooklyn and is amazed and humbled by the trust and openness of her students. Zulma is most grateful to all her former and present teachers, and for having found her way to the Abhyasa Yoga Center.
Since Shara Harad began practicing, Yoga has been a vital staple in her mind-body investigations both in relation to her dance studies and overall life. When she moved to Brooklyn, Shara found her Yoga home at Abyhasa Yoga Center. She completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2013. Shara is also a performer, schoolteacher, and soon to be social worker. Guided by J Brown, colleagues, and the beautiful complexity of the world, her therapeutic Yoga practice teaches her to precisely connect breath with movement, asana with light-heartedness, and Yoga with practical life. As a teacher, it is her objective to share these corner stones with you. www.sharajoyyoga.com
Rachel King first did yoga in elementary school, but she didn’t start practicing regularly until she signed up for a beginner’s class at the Dharma Yoga Center near her apartment in Manhattan in 1998. After the first class, she was completely hooked—the poses she learned immediately made her feel calmer and more centered. Over the years, she tried a variety of yoga styles at a multitude of studios, but found that more athletic kinds of yoga, while exhilarating, often led to injuries that kept her off the mat for months at a time. She is deeply grateful to J. for introducing her to a therapeutic style of yoga that allows her to practice while remaining pain-free. She completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2013, and is happy to be able to introduce more people to the benefits of a breath-centered yoga practice. Outside the studio, she has worked over the years as a writer, editor, lexicographer, and librarian. She loves to teach, and currently works as an instructor in higher education.
Laurin Ramsey first found her way to a regular yoga asana practice as a teenager during her parents’s divorce, discovering much joy and comfort in the self-soothing and better self- understanding she experienced in joining together her breath, body, and attention. Much like a dear friend, Laurin’s practice has been a continued source of support, nurturing, and grounded-ness throughout her life’s evolution. She is now incredibly grateful to have found a home at Abhyasa Yoga Center, in which to share an empowering and self-compassionate practice with others. Having completed AYC Yoga Teacher Training in early 2013, Laurin is overjoyed to provide an encouraging environment for self-inquiry and intimacy in her classes. In addition to teaching at AYC, Laurin is a designer and letterpress printer, finding profound delight and wonder in ritualistic discipline and creative process.
Liz Wagner Biro landed in New York in 2010 with the goal of pursuing music and dance, but at a time of personal transition and a loss in her family she kept finding her dance card maxed out with yoga classes. She decided to learn as much as she could about this practice that was keeping her afloat. Beginning her teaching journey at Three Sisters Yoga, she now has over 600 hours of training from all over this fine city — Abhyasa Yoga Center, Maha Padma Yoga, The Breathing Project, Street Yoga, Yogi Beans and Om Schooled — and considers herself a forever student. Her goal as a teacher is to invite her students to notice their patterns and habits, compassionately challenge them, and find support from their breath. When she’s not teaching grown-ups, Liz is an active kids yoga teacher in New York City public schools. For more on her practice and some sporadic ramblings on yoga, life, etc, check out lizdoesyoga.com.
Robin Helfritch began her yoga journey at age 5, growing up with a yogi mom who practiced as a means to ease her symptoms from Multiple Sclerosis. With early beginnings in the teachings of the Himalayan Institute, and years of practicing various styles of Hatha yoga, Robin realized her need for therapeutic yoga after suffering a back injury and four subsequent surgeries, including a spinal cord stimulator implant. Seeking relief from her chronic pain and finding that the fast-paced, vigorous vinyasa style she formerly practiced was exacerbating her pain rather than helping it, she discovered the power of self-healing with personal, breath-centered yoga at Abhyasa Yoga Center. She completed the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2014. Additionally, she holds a certification in vinyasa yoga from Karuna Yoga and is a certified Next Generation Yoga kids yoga teacher. Robin believes that yoga is a celebration of life and a gift to be shared from one friend to another.
Sara Guilbeau-Vallejo has been practicing yoga on and off since she first moved to New York City in 2009. After exploring several styles and studios she realized that, even though she was practicing, she didn’t know how to translate this into a deep, authentic, happiness when she was off the mat. After stepping through the doors of Abhyasa Yoga Center, she immediately felt a sense of freedom. She felt like she had never really done yoga before until then. She went through a fierce journey of self-discovery and had a profound awakening within her own yoga practice and life. J. Brown’s breath-centered, therapeutic approach helped Sara come out of her head and listen to her body, leading to her completing the AYC Yoga Teacher Training in 2013. As a student of ancient traditions- Buddhism, Hiduism, and Christianity- Sara now combines her meditation and yoga practices to fully live in the present moment. Through dedication and an openness to the unknown, we learn more about ourselves and can refine and shift our patterns in a healthy direction. Sara loves teaching yoga and is grateful to have students and fellow teachers as a mirror.
Pam Yoder (RYT 200) came to yoga in her mid-30’s. Since then she has been a student of Iyengar and Vinyasa Yoga, and she completed J. Brown’s teacher training in October of 2014. Pam is interested in working with all types of students, but in particular she focuses on the 45+ crowd; “I know what it’s like to suffer a stiff neck, sore shoulders and pain in your feet, knees and hips. A lot of these problems are caused by sitting too much and not breathing!” Pam’s teaching embraces the Abhysasa ethos of ‘Be Kind To Yourself.’ She also teaches Chair Yoga at various Senior Centers where she is delighted by the energy and vigor her yogis bring to the session. You can learn more about Pam and her schedule at www.yoderhealing.com.
Adele Loux-Turner began teaching in 2001 (certified Integral Yoga Institute.) Since then, she has taught extensively to both adults and children. In 2006, Adele completed training in prenatal yoga at New York Yoga. She studied yoga for labor and delivery with Beth Donnelly Caban and “mommy and me” yoga with Jyothi Larson in 2007. Adele trained as a labor support doula through DONA International in 2008 and has since had the pleasure of assisting several of her students through their labors. Adele completes a two-year program in Embodied Developmental Movement and Yoga with Amy Matthews and Roxlyn Moret in February 2013, through the School for Body Mind Centering. She plans to continue her studies of BMC to certify as an Infant Developmental Movement Educator. Adele also continues to dance professionally. www.yogadele.com