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 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.
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.
After 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.
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.
Marina is a life-long athlete who after many years of stubbornly dismissing Yoga as not “hard-core” enough discovered Bikram Yoga in 2007. This style merely acted as a catalyst for an all-out exploration of yoga as a lifestyle and practice, though it wasn’t until she discovered a heated Hatha studio in her hometown that she felt called to teach. Her practice is ever evolving as she continues to be inspired by different styles, teachers and students. Marina has participated in an eclectic mix of workshops and training’s, resulting in a teaching style that combines Power, Vinyasa, Bikram, and Hatha Flow. She draws influence from the simple yet powerful styles of Bryan Kest,, along with a slew of other amazing local teachers who she is honored to call her friends. Her dynamic, creative and challenging sequences are structured for all levels from the true beginner to the advanced yoga practitioner.
Off the mat, Marina is an avid mountain biker, hiker, runner, pizza addict and travel junkie. Her most recent adventures have involved a yoga retreat in North India, a two week exploration of the antiquities through Egypt, an epic road trip across Morocco followed, safaris and volunteer work in Kenya and a backpack trip along the Adriatic coast.
Marina is working towards her Master’s degree in Equity and Social Justice in Education after having completed a BA in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and continues to look for ways to unite her love for yoga with her passion for social justice and human rights.
Andrea 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.
Gretchen practices and teaches an open approach to sequencing which retains the essential, classical elements of the ashtanga vinyasa asanas while allowing the freedom and flexibility- thanks to Larry Schultz at It’s Yoga- to incorporate asanas from different series levels. Her practice integrates the traditions of Patanjali’s 8 limbed path, Krishnamacharya, Pattabhi Jois and B.K.S. Iyengar, with the understanding that “It’s your practice”. So breathe and move freely. Develop your unique expression of an age-old system.
Gretchen’s classes provide a safe and nurturing environment filled with plenty of space for growth, experimentation, discovery, play.
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.
Judy 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 is a text researcher, writer, and lecturer excited about the range of yoga’s past and present wisdom and how that wisdom speaks to modern culture. He is an asana teacher interested in novel approaches to meditation, breathwork and vinyasa.
Most aspects of the yoga project compel Eric. He delights in discovering new information on yoga and shaping it in ways it can be clearly understood – through images, writing, asana teaching and public speaking. The yoga community has its faults, but it seeks conscious evolution, play, and an expanded life in the body. It seeks beauty and purity and life’s high possibilities. This keeps drawing Eric deeper into its culture.
Eric spent time as a triathlete and performance artist before exploring yoga, and the practice continually insists that one show up in novel ways – just like artistic expression and athletic exertion does.
That complexity keeps him doing and learning.
Power Yoga 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.
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.
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.
Originally starting out as a biology teacher, she shifted her presence from the high school classroom to the yoga studio. Although she’d been practicing for almost 10 years, after a bout with cancer, Jill was impacted by what yoga can do for pain management, mood regulation, and overall strength and well being. Yoga became an anchor in her life, and her passion for yoga blossomed as her drive to teach persisted. Jill got her training from the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, studying under Ganga White and Tracey Rich.
With her emphasis in Vinyasa Flow, Jill’s focus in her classes is to connect movement with the breath, create healing energy, and be mindful of students’ strengths and limitations from a compassionate and supportive perspective. She views the art of yoga as an efficient skill set of tools that can help the body, not as specific goals that must be attained that can compromise the body and potentially injure.
To learn more about Jill, please visit www.jillwhiteyoga.com
Indumathi (“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.