INSTRUCTORS

 

Elisabeth Schwarz

Elisabeth started practicing yoga in 2001 during her freshman year of college. She found yoga to be transformative allowing her to feel rooted and calm during a time in New York when things were not. After relocating to San Diego in 2003 and graduating from the University of San Diego, Elisabeth began a legal career as a paralegal. After several years in litigation, it was time for a release from office stress and desk life. Elisabeth changed her career path becoming a partner in an independent real estate firm, giving her the freedom to grow personally and professionally as an entrepreneur. Yoga has taught Elisabeth how to use the mental focus, strength, and grounding techniques from her practice in her businesses to achieve a balanced work life.

Courtney Avery

RYT 200

MPH

Courtney is a health educator, yoga teacher, and birth doula. Courtney leads women’s health classes and workshops and leads our charity of feminine products for the homeless. Courtney attended graduate school at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine for her Masters of Public Health, specializing in health education and disease prevention. Working in clinical research while in grad school, her yoga practice kept her centered, leading her to enroll in a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training to deepen her personal practice. This changed the course of her professional career. She saw the profound impact that yoga had on her students’ overall health and wellbeing, and decided to incorporate yoga for body awareness into her master’s capstone health education program. She shares this practice with students all over the world through classes, workshops, retreats, and so much more.

Cristina Bonilla
RYT 500

Yoga Nidra

Restorative

Yinki

Reiki Master

Cristina began practicing yoga as a means to manage the stress she was experiencing in her career as well as the chronic pain she had been struggling with since childhood. Meditation, pranayama (breath control), acupuncture & Reiki were introduced to her at a time when she needed it most and realized the importance of taking the time to nourish the body, mind and spirit in order to achieve optimum health and wellbeing. After taking a Yinki® class (yin yoga with Reiki energy healing) one evening, she instantly felt the healing benefits of her practice- physically, mentally, and emotionally. Cristina completed a 600-hour Hatha yoga therapy program through Shafa Yoga. She completed her training as an integrative healer, Yinki® yoga teacher and mentor through Tranquility Wellness Center. Cristina is also the founder of Sacred Integrative Healing. Cristina is an instructor in The Little Yoga Studio’s 200-hour teacher training program.

Angela Brush
RYT 200

Angela Brush received her RYT-200 from Bird Rock Yoga in 2015. Her love for yoga and teaching grows daily. Angela loves the creativity, fluidity, and solid workout that Vinyasa yoga brings to the mat. She makes her classes fun and lighthearted. Students are encouraged to love themselves, laugh, and get playful. Angela is also a geologist working in environmental consulting. She strongly cares for people and the planet and encourages others to feel the same.

Sara Deakin
E-RYT 200

RYT 500

 

Sara began her teaching journey getting certified at the White Lotus Foundation in 2006. In 2010, she completed a 300-hour advanced training at Yoga Works and a Masters in Business Administration. Sara has been blessed to study under many renowned teachers including Ganga White, Tracey Rich, and Gerhard Gessner. This stylistically diverse group of teachers has allowed Sara to find her own unique heart-centered and down-to-earth approach to teaching. Her alignment based vinyasa flow classes emphasize the synergistic effects of connecting the body and breath. Sara has participated in numerous teacher training programs and is an instructor in The Little Yoga Studio’s teacher training program.

Dominique De la Rocha
E-RYT 200
RYT 500

Restorative Yoga

Reiki I

 

Dominique began her teaching journey getting certified in 2005. As a former registered nurse and a massage therapist, she integrates her medical and holistic background by infusing her sessions with Reiki, massage, and essential oils. Based on her own journey, she strongly believes that self-love and self-care are essential to our health and happiness. Her goal is to teach others how to achieve it. Dominique  helps her students connect body and mind in a very nurturing, gentle and relaxing atmosphere. Her sweet, friendly and caring personality is a powerful positive energy that can be distinctly felt in her classes.

Stacey Filice
E-RYT 500

YACEP

C-IAYT

REIKI MASTER

Stacey teaches various styles of yoga, meditation and sound healing. Her years of teaching have included many studios throughout San Diego, full-time instruction at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, BC, Mexico, online through the Insight Timer app, and working with students therapeutically one-on-one. Stacey enjoys empowering her students to go inward and connect to the calm, safe place that exists within them. Her passion is using ancient practices to help people therapeutically so that they may find true, deep healing.

Melissa Gottschalk

RYT 200

Laughter Yoga

 

Melissa started practicing yoga in 2002 and found an even deeper love for yoga after her mom started teaching. She graduated from her 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification from The Little Yoga Studio and has taught Vinyasa-flow classes throughout San Diego. Melissa has experience in Vinyasa, pranayama, chanting, meditation, the myth behind the poses, and laughter yoga. Her goal in teaching is to guide her students to find strength and patience in their practice and to laugh and have fun along the way.

Heather Grisco
E-RYT 200

 

Heather has been teaching yoga since 2009. Her training in Ashtanga Yoga gave her a solid foundation on which to build her teaching style, her continued education and studies with Jason Crandel, Annie Carpenter, Maty Ezraty and others have shaped her style into what it is today.  Filled with dynamic movement, upbeat music and creative sequencing Heather’s classes will leave you feeling challenged, yet aligned. She has led over 25 Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training programs.  It is her passion to share her knowledge of yoga and guide new teachers to find their authentic teaching voice and style. Heather leads the 200-hour teacher training program at The Little Yoga Studio.

Dorothy Guthrie
E-RYT 200

YACEP

YTRX-500
Restorative Yoga 
Yoga Therapy I & II
Reiki I

Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing

Dorothy is currently earning her Physical Education Teaching credential at SDSU. In 2012, she earned her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification at The Little Yoga Studio. Since then, she has earned Restorative Yoga Teaching certifications and her Level 1 and 2 Yoga Therapy certifications from Loyola Marymount University. With a bachelor’s degree in Global Music Composition and her training in Tibetan Bowl Sound Healing, you can experience the vibrations of the singing bowls in Dorothy’s classes during Savasana. Relax and try out some of Dorothy’s free guided meditations available on her youtube channel: 365DaysofMeditation.

Paulina Kayachanian
E-RYT 200

 

Yoga found Paulina at a time when she was going through physical pain from prior sports injuries. With time, practice and patience, she began to improve seeing results and recovery. She then knew that a daily yoga practice was something that she would be doing for the rest of her life. Paulina began her teacher training journey getting certified in 2014. Paulina teaches vinyasa, yin and is a certified spin instructor. Paulina teaches both in San Diego and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Sarah Lieber

RYT 200

Sarah started her Yoga practice in 2009 and quickly began to realize the physical and emotional benefits a regular practice offered her. Working a demanding career and having suffered from back and shoulder pain from sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day, she decided to dedicate herself to a regular Yoga practice in an effort to help alleviate the pain and stress of the daily-grind. Within months of her practicing her back pain nearly subsided and she learned just how powerful thoughtful breath and quiet meditation could be when dealing with everyday, stressful situations. She knew she wasn’t the only hard working professional that could benefit from a daily Yoga practice. She decided to obtain her 200 hr Yoga certification in the hopes to be able to share the gift and discipline of a daily Yoga practice with others going through a demanding career, just like herself. Her goal in teaching is to guide her students to find peace, acceptance, and strength in their practice, while at the same time finding their edge and breaking through arbitrary physical boundaries students put on themselves. “I believe that, with enough practice and dedication, everybody can do a Scorpion!” Sarah leads ashtanga-inspired classes and is part of our Yoga for a Cause charity program.

Shani McPherson
RYT 200

Yoga found Shani nearly 15 years ago, while she was on a search for alternative ways to deal with her fast-paced lifestyle of back-to back meetings, daily commutes, and networking events. The stress led to a series of panic attacks and doctor-prescribed medication. Yoga connected Shani to her breath and meditation and the panic attacks stopped on their own. Today her yoga journey is about sharing this experience with others. She especially enjoys bringing the joy of yoga to underserved and underrepresented populations and has been fortunate enough to extend her teaching offering abroad in Jamaica. Shani’s beginner-friendly classes incorporate a Vinyasa flow with intermediate options. It’s for those who are unsure of yoga, but desire its benefits. Shani’s hope is to help others connect for the first time or come to their breath.

Moni Mena
RYT 200

Ayurvedic Practitioner

Moni is a certified yoga teacher and Ayurvedic Practitioner through the Alandi Ashram Gurukula in Boulder, Colorado. Moni is also certified in massage having studied in Oaxaca, Mexico, Mexican Traditional Medicine and Massage. Moni’s yoga roots began in Asthanga yoga in her hometown of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. Moni’s love for the practice of meditation lead her to seek out and study meditation under the guidance of teachers both in Mexico and the United States. She has incorporated what she has learned into her own meditation teachings coupled with her love of teaching pranayama. Moni enjoys teaching energetic Vinyasa classes, getting a good sweat in, connecting to the breath, the elements and Spirit.

Daniela Montano
RYT 200, MySore

Daniela’s yoga journey began in 2017, when she started noticing all the benefits of the practice and became fully committed to it. She decided not just to practice but preach about yoga. Daniela got her training in 2019 at Mysore, Bengaluru, India. Daniela currently teaches Vinyasa and Ashtanga. Her yoga practice goes beyond the mat, she practices and preaches ahimsa (non-violence) and her teaching method is focused on a strict, challenging but gentle practice to help everyone improve and discover what we are all capable to do. As a triathlete since 2013, she thought that yoga might be a good way to recover and prevent injuries and it wasn’t until her 3rd ironman 70.3 training that she noticed her recovery from hard and long training sessions were faster and more efficient than ever thanks to yoga. She is now training for her first full ironman (November 2022 Cozumel, Mexico) and yoga (as it has been since 2017) is a very important part of her life. 

Lili Puskar
RYT 200

Health Coach

Mindfulness & Nutrition Instructor

After working as a public-school teacher for many years, Lili saw the negative effects that the high stress environment was having on her students. By educating and empowering them on the importance of movement, mindfulness, and  nutrition, she saw a shift in their overall well-being. This fueled her passion for guiding others to a balanced state, which led her on her yogi path. It is her mission to educate others on mind-body awareness, and she believes that everyone is deserving and capable of feeling their absolute best. 

Zaquia Salinas
RYT 500

 

Zaquia Mahler Salinas began a yoga practice in 2007 and her love of movement led her to develop a passion for flow. She completed her 200-hour teacher training through CorePower Yoga in 2012, and her 300-hour advanced training with Yoga One San Diego in 2019. Zaquia has also completed trainings for yoga at the wall, yin, and restorative yoga to compliment and balance her vinyasa-based foundation. Zaquia enjoys learning alongside her students while they share the experience of practice together. Her mission is to engage others in a relationship with movement and inspire a deeper sense of confidence in their physical experience as human beings.

Ariana Torres
RYT 200

 

 

As a former professional NFL and NBA dancer, Ariana found yoga during a search for a restorative practice that would cultivate more body awareness and heal her severe anxiety. Since 2009, she has experienced the intangible benefits of yoga through conscious breath work and movement meditation. During her yoga classes, Ariana offers creative sequences suitable for all levels. Her intention is to help build strength while focusing on alignment and creating space within the body. Students can expect to leave her classes feeling empowered, supported and with a new sense of presence!

Francesca Tragni
RYT 200

Francesca was introduced to yoga when she was just 13. She has a clear memory of taking her first Vinyasa class and being extremely confused but mesmerized by the postures, knowing it was something she couldn’t wait to learn. About 5 years later, she completed her 200-hour YTT at Anahata Yoga Shala in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Since then, Francesca has continued to study yoga philosophy and to incorporate the teachings in her personal life, using Yoga as one of her greatest tools in life. Francesca also practices Reiki and has a passion for the technologies of Kundalini Yoga. Currently, Francesca is in her last semester of university studying Chemistry, Biology & Nutrition and completing a 100-hour continuing education program diving deep into Yogic teaching. Francesca’s goal in teaching yoga is to help guide an experience for others back to their hearts.

Historic El Cortez Condominium Building

702 Ash Street, Suite B
San Diego, CA 92101

Tel: (619) 544-YOGA (9642)
ems@littleyoga.studio

Entrance on 8th Avenue & Ash Street