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Erakah Joseph

Faculty, RYT 200 YA 

Erakah Joseph, a Former Military Police Officer, responded to countless sexual assault scenes and fell victim to severe workplace sexual harassment. During her career in federal regulatory compliance banking industry, Erakah experienced and witnessed workplace violence incidents of sabotage, psychological trauma, and discrimination.

Her experience with the federal government and her eventual departure from its employment, as well as the abuse she suffered while in the military, has emboldened her to share her story and offer a firsthand perspective of how to address trauma hidden below the surface and coping mechanism she used to overcome. Erika holds a Master of Business Administration, is a Criminal Justice Undergrad, and a Business Consultant.  In her daily recovery, Erakah came to know Yoga and its benefits; she obtained a Yoga for Physical and Emotional Trauma Certification through the YogaFit Alliance. She is an Ambassador for the African Yoga Project and Baptiste Yoga, and now shares the benefits of Yoga with Youth, Veterans, Mental Health consumers, Trauma Survivors, and First Responders. Author of Internal War and the forthcoming book, “Education Rooted in Heritage” Erakah writes to reignite, reconnect, and remind the African Diaspora of their history prior to slavery. Erakah’s passion and purpose are to educate her community on their history and contribute to the healing of the African Diaspora who carry hidden trauma in their DNA. She believes world peace starts with self-peace, eventually becoming contagious through the practice of Yoga. 

 

 

 

Natasha Nicole Sobers

Faculty, RYT 200 YA

 

Natasha Nicole is a certified 200hr Therapeutic Yoga Specialist and is the creator of Yogamaya Birth. She has been a professional Birth Doula with the San Antonio based agency, Journey to Motherhood, for two years and was a licensed Massage Therapist for 3 years with a focus on prenatal and sports massage. Her Yogamaya Birth prenatal yoga classes focus on birthing parents looking for healing, inner strength, and spiritual freedom to prepare their mind, body, and spirit for childbirth. These trauma-sensitive classes give parents information and tools to cope and rejoice in the perinatal and birth process, while learning to trust in themselves, their bodies, and their babies. Through evidence-based study and research, Natasha's goal is to also provide a safe space for learning and self-discovery for those seeking a complementary and holistic approach to healing from anxiety, depression, and early life trauma.

"Yoga helped me re-discover my love and passion to serve and help others directly, one-on-one. In my very first yoga class, I felt accepted, loved, moved, and inspired by the instructor, other students in the class, and most importantly, by me. I want to share that and the healing that yoga continues to provide me to others so that they can find their own path to their true north, their true selves, and live out their best lives." -Natasha Nicole

 

Nicole Sanchez

Faculty, RYT 200 YA

Nicole began her yoga journey in 2012 and quickly knew it was a philosophy she wanted to deeply explore. In 2013, she earned her 200 hr. Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification from Yoga Shala of San Antonio. She has utilized the practice to steady her mind and live more gracefully in her life. Nicole is extremely grateful for the practice of yoga and how it continues to realign her internal dialogue. In her classes, she focuses on pranayama and elegant movements to guide students to experience the present moment. She is currently working on her 300 hr. Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification at Hamsa School of Yoga and Ayurveda. Nicole is also very active in her local community by serving as secretary of the Highland Park Neighborhood Association. In the Highland Park Neighborhood, she is able to offer free yoga classes to her neighbors on Saturday Mornings.  “Yoga doesn’t make life perfect, but it allows for us to feel and examine our reactions through breathing.” 

She has worked with many teachers throughout San Antonio. Anna Hollis, Lisa Long, Charles Stein, Kristal Cuevas, Courtney Miller, and Debby Anderson

 

 

 

Shari Gaiennie 

Director, M.A., RYT 500 ya, YACEP

Shari began her yoga journey in 1996 with a dear friend Kelly, who took her to the very first class. It was a humbling experience and sparked a love for yoga. Even as an avid runner and cyclist, she realized she was out of shape in many other ways, which sparked the quest.  

In 2009, while completing her initial teacher training, Guru Karam instructed the students to find a Seva, a place to serve the yoga.  Shari found that place in a local non-profit and continues to share yoga with these students. Teaching in a non-profit is extremely rewarding and humbling and she believes a teacher’s gift is to respect and understand each student has his or her own path. The teacher’s duty is to meet students where they are in life. Through the years, she saw the positive impact on students, and realized there was a need in the community.  Thus the creation of YSI, an organization dedicated to community outreach with professionally trained yoga teachers who serve the community by helping students realize their potential through yoga. Shari has been blessed over the years to study with amazing teachers including: Andrew Bresnen, Kimberly Culp, Sara Dasso, Holly Gastil, Nancy Gilgoff, Rachel Hector, Ana Hollis, Manju Jois, Guru Karam, Lisa Key, Lisa Labat, Judith Hanson Lasater, Lisa Long, Connie Lozano, Mehtab, Tim Miller, Ana Pilar, Alejandro Reyes, Charles Stein, David Swenson, Shelley Washington and Maria Zavala. 

Most of all, Shari appreciates the patience and dedication of the students she has the opportunity to work with on this journey. The creation of YSI is dedicated to their fortitude to survive with brave hearts, quest for truth within, and dedication to write their own stories.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Hetal Nayak

faculty,MD,RYT 200 YA, PhD Scholar with SVYASA

Hetal completed medical school at the age of 23, with residency in Anesthesia.  After working in New York, she moved to San Antonio in 2004 and took a break from practicing medicine after her 2nd daughter was born.  

Her yoga journey began practicing Pilates for a year, then reading yoga books, given by her in-laws. Her practice continued with these books and teaching children at the the Hindu Temple of San Antonio.  Her interest deepened as she looked for a teacher and found Dr. Sreedhara Akkihebalu, whom she practiced Iyengar style with for almost 2 years.

A friend invited her to practice at Yoga Shala where she took her first Ashtanga class with Lisa Long and was thrilled.  She jumped into a teacher training with Rossella Rossi within 10 days of taking her first class. Studying the Yoga Sutras was a life changing experience and from that point on, yoga became her life with the asana practice and philosophical studies.

Currently Hetal is pursuing a PhD. in yoga at the SYVASA University in Bangalore, India.  She has also published a study in the Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy and for the past 6 years taught yoga to the Indian Classical Dance students at Kalalaya, School of Indian Performing Arts. She also teaches senior citizens at the community center run by the city of San Antonio and WellMed. Hetal attends workshops on yoga and philosophy and has trained teacher trainees since 2013 in anatomy, physiology of yoga and philosophy of yoga.  

Hetal feels fortunate to have the opportunity to have her Ashtanga practice guided by Ana Hollis, studies with Saraswati in Mysore, India, attended a teacher training with Tim Miller and continues to attend several workshops with teachers: David Swenson, Tim Feldman and Kino Macgregor.

Hetal's other passion is cooking for family and friends, while serving the community in anyway possible.

 
 
 
 

Alejandro Reyes

 faculty, mba, ryt 200 ya


Alex started his yoga journey in 2009. He explored many types of yoga including Anursara and Vinyasa styles and quickly found Ashtanga was the practice that resonated within him for a lifelong practice. Ana Hollis became his teacher and introduced him to the primary sequence and the beauty of mysore classes. Since completing an Ashtanga Intensive Teacher Training in 2013, Alex continues his journey as a student and appreciates great teachers sharing their knowledge and insights, including; Tim Feldman, Ana Hollis, Kino Macgregor, Tim Miller, Eddie Stern, David Swenson, and David Williams. In 2014 and 2016, Alex had the opportunity to practice with Eddie Stern and Sharath in NYC for an amazing week each time. 


Currently he teaches the led primary, half primary, and mysore classes as well as specialized asana clinics and private classes. Since 2013, Alex instructs students, on the mechanics of the poses, safe adjustments and proper alignment. In his free time he likes to play chess, do handstands, practice acro yoga, and watch a good movie.


Alex teaches all students, those just starting their journey to established practitioners, with compassion and an intuitive understanding of how to apply the practice to best align with a student’s needs. Through the years, practicing yoga has made a positive impact in his life and his goal is to share the benefits of yoga with his students. 

 
 
 

Crystal Bergerud

Community outreach specialist & Faculty, LMT, RYT 200 ya

As a Liscenced Massage Therapist, Crystal is a proponent for viable modalities to help enhance overall health, healing and well being.  She believes practicing yoga is a gift you give yourself everyday and is a transformational practice. Her personal practice strengthens and nourishes her mentally, physically and spiritually.  It also guides her daily to live a more mindfully balanced life and become less fearful, on and off the mat. 

Crystal grew up practicing Gymnastics, Dance and Taekwondo.  After exploring different types of yoga, she quickly discovered an appreciation and love for Ashtanga Yoga, understanding its healing and therapeutic benefits. She was also intrigued with the relationship between the mind, body and breathe. Through breath work within her own practice, Crystal began to further assist her clients relax and connect within themselves. This motivated her to become a yoga teacher, allowing her to incorporate valuable tools within yoga and enhance her therapeutic skills.  

Crystal continues to enrich her practice and explore ways to assist, motivate and encourage her students. Her teaching style is compassionate, motivating and encouraging, while allowing students to develop at their own pace. She enjoys applying ancient wisdom and thought provoking philosophy during class, while focusing on proper alignment and safe adjustments. Crystal cultivates and empowers students growth of both the physical and spiritual self. 

Since completing the teacher training program with Ana Hollis, Crystal continues her studies in advanced clinics and workshops, she is committed to always being a student and never stop learning.  In 2017, she is registered for an intensive 2 week Ashtanga Teacher Training with Tim Miller, Yoga for Trauma Training and with the Wounded Warrior training program. She is grateful for the many teachers she has had the opportunity to attend workshops and train with; Tim Miller, David Swenson, Eddie Stern, Tim Feldmann, Kino Mac Gregor, Andrew Bresnen & Natasha Teran, they are an inspiration in her life. 

 

Lisa Labat

faculty, ryt 200 ya

Lisa began her Ashtanga yoga practice in 1999. She values the importance of being a student and immediately found a teacher training. Lisa completed her first teacher training in San Francisco and started teaching yoga in 2000.  She continued her studies and traveled to Mysore, India.  Lisa spent several months studying with Pattabhi Jois, developing her practice and enriching her soul. Lisa also had the opportunity to work with Tim Miller for over ten years and became the manager of his studio.  In this role, she continued to value the importance of being a student and completed another teacher training with Tim.  Lisa's sincere dedication to the practice is due to the influence of these teachers in her life.  Her unique teaching style is attributable to her many life experiences, including traveling as a flying trapeze artist with various circuses around the world, including Cirque du Soleil. "You can take the girl out of the circus, but not the circus out of the girl."  Lisa's classes mirror her personality; fun, compassionate, light-hearted and energetic. Her depth of knowledge motivates students to push past their self-imposed limitations and find their authenticity. Lisa and her family currently reside in San Antonio, where she continues to share her passion.