Luis Briceno

Energetic, focused, dynamic and challenging, Luis welcomes all levels, including those with specific needs. He promotes a safe and secure practice, striving to be both inspiring and accessible. The postures are guided by breath and culture, rooted in Ancient practices from Iyengar’s precise method, and Ashtanga Vinyasa traditions. Luis pays attention to details, listens to the body and offers insights from his own life, practice and study.

A Health Educator, practitioner of Bodywork, student of Anatomy and Philosophy, Luis is interested in cultivating and creating a deeper connection to mind, body and spirit through breath and movement. His greatest passion is exploration of the world and the people in it. Influenced by dance and martial arts, Luis began practicing Yoga in 2008. In 2011, under the guidance of Nicole Koleshis, he earned a Next Generation Yoga for Kids certificate. Then by 2014, he completed a 200hour teaching training course under Richard Schachtel and in 2019 he soared through a 900 hour Massage Therapy and Health Educator course at National Holistic Institute of California. In the present, he practices with love and enthusiasm under some of the most compassionate and capable teachers: Johnny Smith, Erick Thuss, Liz Levi and Tessa Manning.

Torey Halim

Yoga has been a part of Torey’s life since 2002, where at first attending class was both mysterious and frustrating but the yoga kept calling her back.  She completed the 200-hour teacher training here at Westside Yoga in 2017 with teachers Eddie Modestini and Kristin Bosteels.  Their modality of “yoga on the inside” was deeply healing for Torey and she continues to be inspired and awed by the spiritual and physical teachings of yoga.

Torey wishes for her students to experience class feeling more grounded in their bodies and a deeper connection to their inner world.  She loves sharing the endless gifts of yoga and continues to be a dedicated student in the Iyengar tradition, currently apprenticing with Tessa Manning

Raising two sons with her husband, Torey loves life in Sebastopol.

David Leyba

David Leyba discovered Ashtanga yoga fifteen years ago at Richard Freeman’s Yoga Workshop in Boulder, Colorado. He has been a dedicated student in the Westside Ashtanga/Mysore program since it opened in 2009, practicing daily under the guidance of teacher John Smith.

David regularly teaches the Mysore class when John is traveling, and has been teaching at Westside for over 5 years. As an engineer, David brings an analytical eye to the practice, while providing quiet instruction and supportive, gentle adjustments.

Kathleen Carroll

A devoted student of yoga and philosophy since 1994, Kathleen Carroll has been teaching yoga for 20 years. Her teaching style reflects her studies of the Ashtanga Vinyasa and Iyengar traditions.  Kathleen’s teaching encourages students to deepen their awareness of the present with a strong focus on the internal forms of yogic alignment and breath.  Through pregnancy and mothering her two sons, Kathleen has learned to modify the practice where necessary.

Kathleen has had the great fortune of studying extensively with her primary teacher Richard Freeman since 1999.  She has also been blessed to teach and practice in the Ashtanga program at Westside Yoga Studio with John Smith for the past 8 years.  Kathleen traveled to India in 2003 where she practiced under the guidance of the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharath Rangaswamy in Mysore.

Nichole Turnbloom

Nichole is a Certified Yoga Therapist with IAYT with 16 years of teaching experience and over 1200 hours of training (800 hours of yoga therapy). She completed her first 240-hour Iyengar Training with Mary Prafford and Maggie Norton at Yoga Mendocino, an Advanced Teacher Training in Yoga Therapeutics and a Yoga Therapist Training in Oakland with Niroga Institute. In addition she completed a Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery Training with Dr. Dan Libby of the Yoga for Veterans Project and has additional training in working with Parkinson’s and SI Joint Dysfunction. She has been grateful for the influenced by many styles and teachers including Mirka Kraftsow.

Nichole currently teaches meditation, Pre/Postnatal yoga classes at Kaiser, Cancer Care class at Rohnert Park Cancer Center,  yoga for Veterans, and is an alternative healing provider for Verity. In her private practice she enjoys working with a variety of clients and organisations. 

Rebecca Haralabatos

Rebecca is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher (CIYT) and Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Alliance for Yoga Therapists (IAYT) studying with Iyengar teachers:   H.S. ArunCynthia BatesCarolyn BelkoAnneke FaasJessie HollandRebecca LernerMichael LuceyCarrie OwerkoHeather Haxo PhillipsLois Steinberg and Patricia Walden.

Having worked in mental health services since 1994 with a focus on family therapy, depression and attention deficit disorder, I am well acquainted with a variety of healing modalities. Nonetheless & ONLY after delving deeply over the past 6 years into the practice of asana (poses) and pranayama (yogic breathing) within the Iyengar tradition, do I now feel empowered with a veritable toolbox of practices for physical and mental health that positively enhance quality of life. These practices are a gift to share with others searching for grounding, inspiration and an overall sense of well being.

With 5 years+ experience teaching the Fundamental series, Level I and Level I/II asana classes and 3+ years conducting private one-on-one sessions, it’s been my privilege and education to witness myself and others with unique bodies, histories and ailments develop greater health from the inside out with the kind of substantive growth you can see and feel.

Kristin Laak

Kristin Laak has dedicated the last 35 years to the practice and study of Yoga. Being devoted to the work of Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois, her teacher since 1994, she has tapped deep insight and knowledge of yoga. Her studies in India, with Dr. Shankaranarayana Jois, focus on traditional Indian Philosophy, Yoga Psychology, Ayurveda, Pranayama, Meditation, and the impact of lifestyle choices on well-being. Kristin is a board member of Sadvidya Foundation, and its US director of the Jivana Yoga Program.

Kristin teaches Jivana Yoga, a holistic system based in the ancient traditions of India. Through her heartfelt commitment towards truly understanding human nature and many years of personal practice, Kristin is known for helping others to realize their own authentic connection to a healthy lifestyle and Yoga.

With heartfelt appreciation and humble respect to my teacher, Dr. K. L. Shankaranarayana Jois, whom holds true yogic knowledge and from whom my teachings spring, I wish to foster the journey of others on the Yoga path. It is an honor to be teaching and mentoring, supporting individuals in their innate inner depths and capacities. May we all gain insight and understanding through the inner wealth that is Yoga, paving the way to more effectively support ourselves and each other in experiencing our true nature.

Sarah Jenness

A graduate of Sri Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga Institute, Sarah Jenness has completed Piedmont Yoga’s Iyengar-based Advanced Studies Training, and is a certified “Relax and Renew” restorative yoga teacher through Judith Lasater’s accredited program.

Sarah leads sound healing and gentle and restorative yoga for seniors, and for the cancer support community at St. Joseph Health. She has over 20 years of experience in various alternative healing modalities, and presently continues her study in the Krishnamacharya yoga lineage through the inspiring practice of Viniyoga. She is grateful to her teachers Swami Divyananda, Anodea Judith,PhD, Donald Moyer, Judith Lasater, and presently- Mirka Kraftsow.

Tessa Manning

Tessa is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. She has been practicing Iyengar yoga since 2007 and received her teacher training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. She travels annually to study with the Iyengar family in India. Tessa is dedicated to the Iyengar method because of its attention to alignment and the thorough change it brings about in the body.

She has specialized teacher trainings in Pre-Natal Yoga and Yoga for Scoliosis.

An avid practitioner, Tessa has used Iyengar Yoga to help treat her scoliosis. She teaches in a way that is safe, accessible, and compassionate – providing individual attention to each student. She loves to travel the world, cook, and garden.

Mirka Kraftsow

Mirka Scalco Kraftsow, E-RYT-500, C-IAYT, has studied with some of the great yoga masters of our time, including Sri Krishnamacharya, TKV Desikachar and Gary Kraftsow.   In her early twenties, she was initiated into active meditations and ecstatic ritual dancing by the unorthodox Indian mystic Osho, and later became a student of Tibetan tantric yoga with his Eminence Kalu Rinpoche, Situ Rimposche, and Lama Tenzin in Maui, Hawaii.

Mirka is gifted with both the capacity and the passion to creatively communicate and work in private consultation, both in person and on the telephone, and her work has enriched the experience of students of many yoga modalities all around the world. In group classes, she uses her extensive background to integrate body awareness and imagery with the Viniyoga principles. Mirka’s own experience and intuition strongly influence her teachings, as do tradition, creativity, innovation, and evolution.

Mirka has been teaching in the Viniyoga methodology in the tradition of T. Krishnamacharya and TKV Desikachar since 1985 after receiving certification from her teacher Gary Kraftsow, and she has been practicing yoga therapy since 1988. She has helped hundreds of individuals develop and maintain a personal practice and manage challenging personal and therapeutic conditions.

Mirka co-founded the American Viniyoga Institute (AVI), LLC with Gary Kraftsow in 1999.  Her vision to train and support Yoga teachers has been fundamental to the growth and development of AVI.  She has a unique ability to develop quality Yoga teachers and support them in their personal and professional growth.  Mirka has worked closely with faculty assistants and students to support their understanding, integration, and application of the teachings in their personal and professional lives.

She has consulted on several successful Yoga studies nationwide, and developed material with Gary Kraftsow for his two books “Yoga for Wellness” and “Yoga for Transformation.”

She currently lives in Sebastopol, California and is available for private sessions. She leads retreats, seminars, and workshops in the USA and Italy.

Contact Mirka at mirkayoga@yahoo.com or by phone at 415-246-8246.