Teachers

We are so happy to have a fantastic team of teachers at Groove Yoga. It is their energy, enthusiasm and dedication to their students that help form the core of our Groove Yoga community. Below you can read teacher biographies and find links to their webpages.

Kevin Collins

kevin beachKevin Collins has been teaching powerful, creative vinyasa classes throughout the Bay Area since 1999. He emphasizes exploration and fun in the practice of yoga, while training your muscles to work together and your mind to remain focused and centered. He has had the good fortune to work with dozens of fantastic teachers over many years, but draws his primary influences from Bryan Kest, Baron Baptiste and the Anusara lineage. His classes are physically demanding, but carefully structured to allow people of any age, injury status or fitness level to challenge themselves in a safe and supportive environment. Please visit www.manydoors.com for more information about Kevin’s style of yoga, his workshops and retreats.

Hillary Acer

hillary3 (640x640)As an athlete competing in dance, volleyball and endurance running, Hillary has been studying kinesiology for many years. Initially exposed to yoga while training, she began taking classes skeptically, like many new yoga students, enjoying the challenge in physical asanas, the balance of strength and flexibility, and the relief a quiet mind brought her. In 2009, she experienced an injury which put her athletic aspirations on hold. To her surprise, this injury provided unexpected benefits, pluging her deeper into the yoga practice. With the guidance of several beloved teachers, she realized that this “yoga thing” was changing the way she looked at her entire life. It was changing the way she breathed in stressful situations, the way she connected with people, and the fundamental way she approached each day – not as one to check off the list, but instead as one to enjoy, to engage with, and to experience fully even for its “up’s” and “downs.”  Hillary encourages all bodies and minds including injured, training, and recreational athletes, overworked city slickers, and everyday folks, to step onto the mat, get curious, and move, embracing the philosophy that each person can find a piece of the yoga practice that can benefit them. Find out more at www.yogaatbay.com.

teacher interview

Elissa Buchman

Elissa3After injuring her foot and ankle while running, Elissa decided to get her exercise fix through yoga while she recovered from her injury.  She soon realized that she was recovering just as much from perfectionism as she was from her injury, and yoga soon became an essential and integral part of every aspect of her life. Elissa teaches a dynamic and playful vinyasa class where students are encouraged to challenge, love, and laugh at themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.  She empowers her students to cultivate and engage their own inner teacher through a practice that emphasizes the importance of utilizing the body and the breath as a guide.

teacher interview

Reba Gray

reba smallReba Gray was just trying to keep warm when she walked into a hot yoga studio one cold winter evening in Boston.  She instantly fell in love with the fun and empowering practice of vinyasa yoga.

Reba’s sense of adventure has led her around the world. In the Peace Corps, she learned to see the world through the eyes of others. Teaching yoga allows her to keep contributing to her community. Her teaching is dynamic, upbeat, and full of laughter.  Her mission is for you to feel connected to yourself, your spiritual community, and the beauty around and within you!

Visit her website at: www.rebagray.com.

teacher interview

Marina Guastucci

marina4 (500x500)Marina is a reformed gym-junkie turned brightly clad vagabond yogini. Yoga has allowed Marina to overcome years of eating disorders, body image issues and an overall stressful mindset. The power she gained through her practice caused her to  shift away from an academic path to one that would land her in the seat of Yoga Teacher. At first, it was the intense Bikram style which lured her wound-up body and mind to stray from her former world of Stairmasters and dumbbells. Over time, it was the more movement based styles which allowed her to settle into a much needed daily practice. In 2011, upon returning home after a 2 month stent of volunteering and backpacking shenanigans in East Africa, Marina completed her 200 hour teacher training in Berkeley, California. She draws influence from an eclectic mix of teachers including Bryan Kest, Rod Styker as well as several aligment centered instructors.

Marina’s classes are highly creative, slow-moving and informed by strong alignment principles. She holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley which has lead her to merge social justice and yoga through Seva centered classes and retreats. She spends most of her free time outside mountain biking, hiking, camping and scouting for swimming holes and rope swings. When she’s not living on the road, she calls Berkeley her home.

teacher interview

Andrea Manitsas

andreaheadshotAndrea is known for a bhakti-filled class with a whole lotta soul and a fierce flow. She warmly invites students on a sacred journey through her unique expression of the Vinyasa flow that is dreamy and dancey while also being smart and intentional. Recognized as a Lululemon ambassador in Berkeley, her classes have become synonymous with her love of chanting and her want for connectedness.

Andrea has been learning from the best for over a decade. From the sweet song she learned while chanting with Jai Uttal to the cosmic dance of her Laughing Lotus teacher Jasmine Tarkeshi, from the sumptuous flow she fell for with Janet Stone to the intelligent alignment of Jason Crandell, Andrea connects an ever-growing well of experience with impressive music and book libraries to inspire bodies to move and minds to still.

As an avid reader and professional writer/editor, Andrea works to balance the head and the heart in her classes, and in her life. Her recent adventure through India has inspired her love of ritual and the sacredness in each moment. Especially when we come together on our mats.

teacher interview

Gretchen Mehlhoff

gretchen2Gretchen has spent a lifetime studying movement, beginning with ballet, contemporary dance and gymnastics from age 4 on.  12 years ago, she found herself in a yoga class.  The combination of breath-inspired movement, internal awareness and communion with spirit spoke to her deeply and lit a fire!

Since 2005, Gretchen has shared the practice of yoga. With dance-like fluidity, her classes retain the structure of Ashtanga Vinyasa with a precise yet gentle attention to alignment, gracefully blending postures into a deep, breath-inspired flow that will get your blood pumping, your heart opening and your mind clear.

Gretchen encourages students to approach their practice with mindfulness, honing their ability to hold a safe, compassionate internal space from where they can meet all the sensations and thresholds in their bodies, their minds and their hearts.

She incorporates a wealth of knowledge and love for the principles of somatics and functional integration to her teaching as well. Little by little, we begin to feel and understand our bodies as the amazing organic systems that they are, which are part of bigger and bigger interdependent systems.

Embracing all the limbs of Ashtanga yoga, she continues to explore and work with how these ideas and practices fit into the context and the needs of our American society.

teacher interview

Jaimi Patterson

JaimiJaimi Patterson recently relocated to the Bay Area from Milwaukee, WI where she was a sought after yoga teacher and university lecturer. Her classes are organic, fluid, invigorating and highly influenced by her training in dance, developmental movement and the Alexander Technique. Jaimi integrates this unique blend of information with gentle yet stern encouragement, challenging students to dynamically align their bodies through coordinated direction and to maintain a sense of humor as they rub up against their own habituated tendencies.

In addition to teaching yoga, Jaimi is an AmSAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.

teacher interview

Tina Rath

Confident and authentic mixed with a bit of softness, Tina Rath teaches yoga from a core of passion and joy she has developed through 15 years of consistent practice. She encourages and challenges her students from the most honest, tender and vulnerable parts of herself. Solidly grounded in the fundamentals of Iyengar and Anusara with a strong influence of her first love, Astanga yoga, Tina structures each one of her unique classes with thoughtful pace and careful sequencing designed to lead her students logically from gentle warm-ups to the most challenging poses. Focusing on the journey, Tina provides her students the opportunity to explore both the physical and spiritual aspects of their personal practices and endeavors to engage each one of her students as individuals and meet them where they are at in their own bodies. Tina pushes her students, but she also brings a playful and light-hearted sense of humor to each class, balancing yoga’s myriad challenges with a sense of ease.

teacher interview

Judy Rukat

judy headshotJudy Rukat has been a yoga teacher and personal trainer for ten years. Judy embodies yoga as a lifestyle and engages in a vigorous and disciplined daily practice.    Judy’s style of teaching embraces humor and playfulness and an unending curiousity which allows her students to show up to their practice in an authentic way.  Judy has a BA in Movement & Exercise Science and an MA in Psychological Studies.  She has studied with numerous teachers in multiple traditions and has earned teaching certifications in Ashtanga and The Rocket where she studied with the late Larry Schultz. Her class is a challenging and eclectic flow that changes daily.

Eric Shaw

Drawing on 30 years of work in the Eastern traditions and graduate degrees in Art, Religious Studies, Education and Asian Studies, Eric Shaw teaches yoga history, philosophy and practice worldwide, passionately adapting the ancient traditions to modern understanding.

Eric is celebrated for his elaborate visual presentations, provocative writing, and unique approaches to the work of the body.  His essays appear in Yoga Journal, Common Ground, Mantra Yoga and other magazines, and he is the creator of the teaching modules of Yoga Education Through Imagery and Prasana Yoga’s Alignment-in-Movement system.

teacher interview

Eric Tabora

Eric Tabora

Eric was born and raised Cleveland OH. He studied literature and creative writing at the University of Cincinnati. Eric went to his first yoga class in 2005 at Cleveland Yoga. In 2007 he did his first 200 Hour teacher training with Tami Schneider and began to teach in 2008. In 2009 he went to Baron Baptiste’s Level One training. Eric went on to complete Levels 2 and 3 as well as the Apprentice Assistant program. He has assisted numerous Baptiste programs and teacher trainings. Eric is a Certified Baptiste Teacher as well as a 500 Hour RYT.

Eric’s classes are a challenging, powerful flow. With his grounded approach, he is able to infuse yogic philosophy into challenging moments during his classes.

Outside of yoga, Eric is an aficionado of music, art, photography, and film. He is also a professional photographer and videographer. Eric believes that asana is the physical practice of mindfulness. He believes that everything is yoga!

teacher interview

Poh Teng

 poh4Yoga with Poh is an amalgamation of her education across multiple yoga lineages and life experiences.  In 2005, she fell in love with Power Yoga at Bryan Kest’s studio in Santa Monica.  She has since trained in the Vinyasa and therapeutic styles, and continues to be inspired and informed by the Shadow, Anusara and Forrest Yoga lineages.  She is also guided by her Passage Meditation practice and her work as an academic scientist.  She has healed from scoliosis, osteopenia and back injury through yoga.  After over 10 years of practice, she is finally a mellow type-A.  Poh leads group classes through movement with breath, awareness, healthy alignment and safe, creative sequencing.  She blends yogic tradition, intention setting and current findings in biology and yoga therapy.  Occasionally, there’s a splash of Bhakti and she sings.

Yoga is a come-as-you-are-party.  Poh invites you to honor your truth in the present moment, and to breathe, strengthen, heal and play.

Poh is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, a Certified Yoga Therapist for Chronic Physiological Conditions and a Cancer Yoga Therapist.  She is also a UCLA graduate with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Get to know her better at PohmYoga.com.

teacher interview

Odisa Walker

Odisa Walker was first taught Yoga by her father when she was very young. At the time she didn’t quite get what was so special about the practice. She and her sister and brother had fun trying to get into lotus and headstand but she didn’t go much further into the practice until much later.

Odisa fell in love with Yoga for herself when she took her first vinyasa class. The flowing, fast paced class which used the breath to flow in and out of postures was difficult and was not only about flexibility but also strength. She slowly began to make time in her life for this amazing practice and since then her life has changed dramatically. She realized that although she had initially dismissed her dad’s teachings as strange and irrelevant they had stayed within her as a seed planted so that everything she learned in her subsequent yoga trainings made perfect sense.

Odisa received her 200 hour training from Down Dog Yoga in Georgetown, Washington DC. She just recently moved from Northern Virginia where she was co-owner of BelovedYoga. She teaches a practice that leads from the heart; physically, mentally and spiritually. She has found great peace and joy in the practice of YOGA and her intention is to share this with others. She believes that the practice of breath and movement takes the student into a moving meditation and has especially found this in her own practice. She has been influenced by the teachings of Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Beryl Bender Birch, Saul David Raye, Jonny Kest and many others.

Forever a student and in deep gratitude to every teacher she has had the privilege to take class with she feels the release once she steps onto the mat, the letting go and opening up to the vast possibilities where anything is possible.

teacher interview

Whitney Walsh

Whitney Walsh recently relocated to the Bay Area at the end of last year.  She received her teacher training in Austin, Texas in January 2010.  She has been practicing yoga since 2003 and began a daily practice in 2007.  Whitney is an attorney certified in both Texas and California but has found true satisfaction in teaching yoga, connecting with her students, and continuing to advance her own personal practice.  She routinely attends workshops and conferences to enhance her understanding of and expand her knowledge about teaching and practicing yoga.  Whitney has found that a daily dose of power yoga keeps her mind at ease and her body strong.  She hopes to give her students that same experience by providing a physically demanding class while reminding everyone not to take oneself so seriously.

teacher interview

Matti Collins

Matti CollinsIndumathi (“Matti”) was born in Santa Rosa, California. She comes from a large family, with four brothers and four sisters. Matti has been hanging out in yoga studios since she was eight weeks old. She particularly likes the section of the studio where the shoes are stored. When she learned that 2240 Oxford Street was a “no dogs allowed” building, she insisted on a specific exemption into the lease contract to allow her to come and hang out with you all. Matti’s official position will be “greeter”, but she’ll play a number of mood enhancing roles around the studio.

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