allisonbirdsallAllison Birdsall

Allison was captivated by yoga as a teenager and now finds it a part of everyday life. With a passion for helping others, she loves teaching as a way of giving back. Becoming a mother paved the way to begin teaching prenatal yoga in the Whole Birth style as developed by Robin Sale. She was later called to teach yoga with baby for new moms and apprenticed with Julliane Rice to learn her Yoga n’ Play approach. In December of 2012, she completed the Joy of Yoga 200 hour Teacher Training in Los Gatos with Jennifer Prugh. Her style is warm and practical with a focus on the breath and alignment. She is also a piano teacher with a bachelor’s in music and her daughter Akira inspires and motivates her to continue the path.

anujaAnuja Chaudhri
Anuja started yoga as a kid when her father insisted on going through classes. Today she is grateful for that push. She went through her own internal journey to realize her passion – yoga and teaching. She got certified in 2006 under Linda Schlamadinger-McGrath and has been teaching since then.

Finally in 2010, she decided to take the plunge to open her own studio – Almaden Yoga. Her dream was realized with the help of her loving husband Ron Victor.

Anuja brings in her class a combination of her Indian upbringing and her exposure to the western world of yoga. She is lively, caring and passionate about teaching yoga.

Anuja in her previous life was a Technical Writer working in the high tech world. She then joined NASA and was a contractor with them for five years. You will not hear her talk much about her previous life as she is enjoying her new life and the world of yoga.

When not teaching she is trying to bring new things to Almaden Yoga, updating her Bucketlist and is working towards 3000 Wheels (Urdhva Dhanurasana) by the time she turns 50, which is not too far.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Anuja –
“Two thumbs up!! Caring, humorous, philosophical, and serious/challenging workout.  Love her voice and her delivery.  She makes the class fun.”

Barbara Branaman

Barbara Branaman has had an interest in eastern and western healing arts and fitness since she was a teenager, and has been fortunate to study with many great teachers. She is blessed to be guided on her yoga journey by master teacher Arkady Shirin. Barbara is fortunate to have received her doctorate in Medical Qigong from Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson, with whom she continues to study taiqi and bagua.

Her personal journey to health includes being blessed to receive a kidney and pancreas transplant fifteen years ago. Since that time, she has committed herself to representing the concept of the body as a self-healing organism given the appropriate tools and attitude. As the president of a high-tech software services company in the Silicon Valley, Barbara brought yoga classes into the work environment by teaching in conference rooms, hallways and offices.

She is delighted to be teaching at Almaden Yoga. Currently Barbara’s passions include her company,, and continuing her studies in yoga, taiqi, bagua and fitness. As the CEO of Medicine Yoga, Barbara strives to provide the optimal integration of western and eastern healing, yoga, fitness and lifestyle coaching for people from all walks of life ranging from patients to elite athletes.

breeBree Gwinner

Bree is a Bay Area native who received her 200-hour Hatha YTT on the beautiful island of Bali in 2014. She is a personal trainer and holistic lifestyles coach and is passionate about wellness, human connection, and movement. Her classes welcome all levels and encourage students to explore the art of play while on the mat – leaving you to feel high vibrations off the mat!
Her soft energy will make you want to come back to class.

dani Danielle Vergara
Danielle, aka Dani, trained under Anuja Chaudhri receiving her 200-HR teacher training at Almaden Yoga. Her first and lasting impression of yoga was as a skeptical teenager. After constant encouragement from an elderly yogi at the gym, her curiosity took over and she attended a yoga class. There was the physical challenge that surprised her and a blissful feeling that kept her intrigued. Danielle’s knowledge of yoga was only surface level at that time but her passion was ignited.After inconsistent practice and some years of no practice, Danielle explored different types of yoga before finding Almaden Yoga. Here, she became more disciplined in her practice. Her curiosity guides her through the philosophical side of yoga as well as the physical Asana, building
strength and stability while creating a sound body, mind and spirit.

Elena F Elena Fisher
Elena’s classes are a combination of movement, music and fun with a focus on breath. Her goal is to de-mystify the practice so anyone and everyone can leave feeling refreshed, relaxed and a little more flexible. Elena loves working with students who are new to the practice, especially those that are a bit hesitant in the beginning. She truly believes that yoga is a practice and that we all continue to improve our practice with each class we take.

Iris Martin

Iris has been practicing yoga for over 8 years and her teaching technique is inspired by her personal practice of Power yoga and Vinyasa Flow. Iris received 200 hour teaching certification in 2008 from Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja California, where her study emphasized Iyengar precision while fostering spiritual connectedness and extensive meditation guidance. After completing the 200 hour teacher training, Iris moved to Idaho where she taught and worked on continuing education hours and practicum at Shanti Yoga Studio. After moving back to the bay area, Iris completed a Pre and Postnatal Yoga teacher training with Jane Austin at the Yoga Tree in San Francisco in March of 2010.

She is currently earning her 500 hour certification through Mark Stephens in Santa Cruz. Aside from teaching, Iris has worked with Special Needs children, of all ages, for the past decade.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Iris –
“Iris is an amazing teacher.  Her voice is so soothing, yet she still knows how to push you.  I have noticed a huge difference in my arm strength since starting her Thursday Yoga Tone class.  The best part about Iris is she encourages you to try new poses.  I never thought I could bind or do birds of paradise and was always afraid to try it.  She made me feel comfortable trying it in her class.  I was able to push myself and finally was able to get into the pose!  Thank you Iris!”

Jennifer Feerick

jenniferfeeickJen Feerick started her adult life with a career in the practice of law, where she found great satisfaction in the intellectual challenge of the work. Yet, her soul always yearned for more. Becoming a mother, helped Jen to connect a little more to her true self. And, becoming a reiki master helped even more. But, it was yoga that helped Jen to quiet her mind and find a true balance between her physical, mental and spiritual bodies. After completing her 200-hours teacher training at Almaden Yoga, Jen now hopes to help others find this wonderful balance in their life through the sacred practice of yoga.

jimiannwongJimiann Wong
Jimiann began practicing yoga in June 2002. Her friend told her to prepare for it to be “hot and to bring a towel and a water bottle.” She had no idea what impact that yoga class would have on her life several years later. Having had two babies at the time, she craved for something to alleviate her emotional and physical fatigue. Upon taking flow yoga classes in 2005, she was completely smitten by this style of practice and has never looked back.
In her class, you will find a vigorous and light hearted flow, where students will be reminded to move with their breath and listen to their bodies. By gradually warming the joints and the body, she prepares you to move through your practice with strength and ease. She hopes to provide a safe and nurturing space to allow students to explore, to feel inspired and to leave with a sense of well-being.
Jimiann completed her 200 Hour Teacher Training with Linda McGrath at YogaSource Los Gatos. She is currently pursuing her 500 hour teacher training credential. Aside from working part time and raising four kids, she enjoys snow skiing, playing golf and watching the kids’ sporting events.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Jimiann –
“Jimiann is sweet and translates how to endure hard poses with calm and ease. Her playful spirit keeps a smile on my face throughout the entire class, and it is a tough one!”

kathleencallanKathleen Callan

As a young athlete, yoga and meditation came naturally to Kathleen, while desperately seeking to calm her mind in order to balance and align her into physical presence, she instinctively began to link breath to movement, overall enhancing her performance in competitive sport. Kathleen brings over fifteen years teaching experience, and elite athletic development, to the enlightened process of yoga. Her passion for yoga asana equally parallels her adoration of teaching yoga to students of all ages and abilities.

Her love of teaching involves connecting into the collective energy, alleviating areas of tightness, preparing the student physically and mentally, Kathleen facilitates a wonderful practice experience. She enjoys teaching restorative yoga such as yin and gentle yoga, as well as the more yang-based practices such as power yoga and vinyasa flow. Kathleen creates a well thought-out yoga experience, built on a technically solid foundation, as she beautifully links movement to breath. A RYT at the 200-hour Level, Kathleen regularly attends continuing education workshops, specialty seminars, and leadership conferences, working with and learning from, the pillars of Yoga teachers. She holds a B.A. in Economics, with an emphasis in National Policy, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Kathleen volunteers her time to children with Let’s Look At Art, an outreach program that caters to Santa Clara County, thereby bringing Art, Education, and Experience to the classrooms. She also serves as President of LLAA, and delegate to the Board of Trustees of the San Jose Museum of Art.

Kathryn Petak

Kathryn started exploring her passion for movement at age 3 through ballet dancing. While dancing professionally she was drawn to the quiet and introspection Yoga provided. The emphasis on community, stillness and uncovering inner peace was the perfect antidote from the competitive environment of dance. After dancing she naturally progressed to teaching. She has taught Yoga, Pilates and dance throughout the Bay Area, Santa Barbara and New York. She has certifications in both Pilates, through the Physical Mind Institute and Yoga through Mount Madonna Center under Baba Hari Dass. She likes to incorporate all three of her passions into her classes for students looking to build strength, flexibility, and proper body alignment. She is down to earth with her teaching style which allows students to feel comfortable regardless of experience or physical ability. Kathryn still continues her love of dance and movement in musical theater.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Kathryn –
“Kathryn’s yoga tone class is tough but fun. She combines yoga, pilates, and dance in a great way to give you a unique class experience. I have made her class part of my weekly routine and love the challenge each class gives me.”

Kayla Mendez

KaylaKayla discovered grace on the mat as a way to counteract the strains of classical ballet and competitive dancing in 1999. Since then, her asana practice has revealed a path of discovery and possibility. It has become clear that the past is written and cannot be erased; the future has yet to be drafted; only in the present moment can we truly be alive.

Serving as a guide and student along the path of yoga, Kayla seeks to connect prana, awareness and movement to the stillness in between. Practices are infused with mantra, cadence and community; stimulating awareness through powerful yet nurturing sequencing paired with attentive guidance. An open invitation to make space for possibility, establish sustainable expansion and peer beyond all that which separates, binds, limits or constrains in order to truly experience life’s ebbs and flows with an open heart.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Kayla-
“Kayla is delightful!  I love the way she sings to us at the beginning and end of class. Her combinations are really creative and fun. I attend her Friday morning class whenever I can.  I hope she begins to teach more classes at Almaden Yoga.”

Lindsey Wagster

lindseywagsterIn 2004 Lindsey took her first yoga class and decided that she would someday teach yoga.  Later while earning her degree in mathematics and running cross country she turned to yoga as a way to help balance her life.  Yoga complemented her training and helped relieve the stress of her busy schedule.  Her love for yoga grew and she enrolled in a 200 hour Ashtanga Yoga teacher training, and in 2012 she received both her yoga certification and bachelor’s in Mathematics.
Lindsey started college with the intent of becoming a mathematics teacher, but she realized her true desire was to focus her attention on teaching yoga.
In 2014 Lindsey and her husband, Joey, were blessed with their son, Bradley (who has been a little yogi since being in the womb).  Then, in 2015 Lindsey and her family moved to San Jose where Joey had grown up.  Lindsey believes that one of the many beauties of yoga is that it can be integrated into your life no matter what stage of life you are in, and that your yoga practice grows and travels with you through the journey of life.

Lindsey hopes to share this belief with her students and create a safe and welcoming environment to all yogis of all levels.

mariamartinezMaria Martinez

Yoga has brought breath to Maria’s life and has been her teacher of this world. She practices yoga trusting that every day, living with intention, she will be a better person and share the light of yoga with all that wish to step into the journey. Always being intrigued with the human body Maria studied Kinesiology at San Jose State University and found yoga along the way. She fell in love with all of yoga’s aspects such as the physical, philosophical, and spiritual. For Maria yoga is a lifelong journey of opening to awareness, accepting what is, letting go of what isn’t, and evolving along the way.

She has taught many yoga classes such as vinyasa, gentle, prenatal, and power throughout the SF Bay Area. All classes encourage safety, promote awareness, inspire intention, and motivate individuals to find freedom within their own bodies in a spirited & respectful atmosphere. She believes there is a yoga for every body & hopes to assist people finding their way. Most classes focus on meditation and pranayama with the asanas. Not only will your body be strengthened and stretched but also, your mind will connect with your spirit via awareness and intention leaving class with feelings of accomplishment and empowerment.

Maria is grateful for her teachers Seane Corn, Vidya Jacqueline Heisel, Jennifer Yarro, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, & Akal Khalsa to name a few! She is a RYT200 with Yoga Alliance & is striving to complete her advanced studies(RYT500) in 2015.

When Maria is not teaching or on the mat you will find her over indulging in motherhood with her one year old son.

maryannMaryAnn DeCristofaro

MaryAnn DeCristofaro began practicing yoga in 2001 as a means of staying in shape. She soon realized yoga was more than just exercise. Yoga provided a complete mind and body transformation. MaryAnn’s love of yoga guided her in completing her 200 Hour Foundational Flow Teacher Training by Yoga Alliance at Yoga Source in Los Gatos in 2010. In the same year she also completed teacher training in Pre-natal Yoga at Yoga Tree in San Francisco and teacher training in Restorative & Yin Yoga at Yoga Source in Los Gatos. MaryAnn teaches Prenatal Flow, Gentle Flow, Vinyasa Flow, and Yin.
MaryAnn emphasizes linking breath with movement to allow the body to move with grace from pose to pose. Her sequences are like choreography, as the body follows in time and eventually learns the movements with ease. This makes for an energizing and dynamic flow sequence that is well-balanced and restorative. Her classes are accessible for all yogis, providing them with the essentials of alignment with breath and intention to discover personal equanimity.

Nanci Shakthi Nardona

Almaden’s Nanci Tudish has been passionate about yoga since discovering it on a meditation retreat in 1990 while living in Los Angeles. She was truly blessed to study there with teachers Rod Stryker, Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, and especially Bryan Kest. She studied with Bryan Kest for over five years focusing on Power Yoga and Hatha flow. Moving to San Jose in 1998, Nanci continued her yoga training with more amazing teachers: Kent Bond, Julianne Rice, Scott Blossom, Paul Grilley, and Max Strom. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher and a member of Yoga Alliance. Nanci is an active member of Bay Area Birth Information (BABI) which supports and educates new families and mothers-to-be.
Nanci teaches weekly classes in San Jose and leads yoga workshops in the Bay Area throughout the year. (

She understands the body/mind connection and how yoga can create and maintain balance in one’s life. “When people think of yoga, they often think of flexibility. Yoga is not so much about flexibility but about moving prana by way of the breath and creating space and lightness within to feel good in one’s skin.”

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Nanci –
“Nanci teaching meditation or restorative is always a great class. I don’t get up early enough for the Nanci AM class. Nanci relates very well to the students. She reminds us to use the props because we are better yogis for it. The restorative class in particular is relaxing, and wonderful.”

Noell Clark

Noell took her first yoga class in 2002 and fell completely in love. From the very first moment she stood in Tadasana, she knew that she had embarked upon something BIG. A decade later, she is still blessed to be in relationship with the practice of yoga.
Graduating college with a degree in Gender Studies, Noell spent her 20’s working as an advocate and activist in the movement to end human trafficking and domestic violence. Struggling to find the balance between working with survivors of gender specific trauma, and nurturing healthy relationships in her personal life, practicing yoga became her safe haven. Beyond the intimate breath and body connection, yoga connected her to a community of like-hearted friends and helped her to find simplicity in a chaotic world . She received her primary 200-hour teaching certification through the Yandara Institute in 2007, with the hope of bringing the potent healing power of yoga to survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence. She spent 3 years as the director and resident yoga teacher for the Life Skills Empowerment Program at My Sisters’ Place, a ground-breaking legal advocacy and shelter organization in Yonkers, NY.
Inspired by the transformation that yoga offers to all people – men and women alike, Noell moved to California in 2010 with the intention of teaching yoga full time, and continuing her education. In 2011, she received her secondary 200 hours of training under Kenny Graham and Samantha Shakti Brown in Boulder Creek, CA. Noell is an E-RYT with the Yoga Alliance, and teaches public and corporate yoga classes across the South Bay. She remains dedicated to her work as an activist – raising funds through yoga workshops to support non-profit organizations that are committed to ending human slavery and intimate partner violence.
Noell’s classes weave the no frills spiritual with the physical, and focus on celebrating life. The playlists are rocking, the sequencing is smart, and the savasana is lavish.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Noell –
“I enjoy your flow class with down to earth approach.  Wherever I take your class, I can feel I have a purpose in life and connect with my body and mind.  I also admire your beautiful yet strong practice.”

patricia_kentPatricia Kent

I have been practicing yoga for over 20 years. It’s the one constant in my life. Coming to my mat is like coming home! The one place I can be with myself as I am at that moment. I’ve practiced Iyengar, Vinyasa, Hatha, Kundalini, and Bikram. In 2007 I was stressed out with a health crises and family issues. I was seeing my acupuncturist for help and he suggested I try Yin yoga for awhile, that perhaps my yoga practice was a little to Yang for what was going on in my life at the time. My first class and I was hooked! The meditative aspect of Yin allowed me to quite my mind and de-stress. The postures of Yin opened my body in ways I had never experienced before. Healing me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Deepening my yoga practice tremendously. This is when I decided to teach Yoga. To bring to others the healing benefits that I received.

My practice now incorporates the softer Yang style of Gentle yoga along with my love, Yin. Adding in some Restorative for those days when I’m recovering from an illness or are emotionally depleted. We need both the Yang and Yin in our lives and our practice in order to stay balanced, strong yet flexible

Ron VictorRon Victor

Ron began his yoga journey in 2001. He is a Brian Kest fan and began his yoga practice at home following Brian’s Power Yoga instruction series. Being an avid mountain biker, road cyclist and swimmer, Ron immediately noticed the benefits that yoga brings in building core strength – critical in most sporting activities. The complete yogic experience of mind, body and breath, all working in sync towards a more calm, peaceful and focused meaningful existence, is what drove Ron towards becoming a Yoga instructor.

The person that seeded the idea that Ron could become a good yoga instructor was of course none other than his lovely wife, Anuja. Ron underwent his teacher training under Linda Schlamadinger McGrath of Yoga Source Los Gatos in 2010.

Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga are yoga styles that come very naturally to Ron. He enjoys teaching these styles to both beginners and advanced Yogis alike. Besides Yoga, he loves mountain biking in the Los Gatos Mountains as well as road biking and swimming. He continues his passion for changing the world through his volunteer and non-profit activities while trying to invent the next big Silicon Valley technology startup.

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Ron –
“Ron, thank you thank you for your kindness, compassion and flexibility.   I am so happy to have discovered Almaden Yoga and been welcomed into its family.”

Shannon LarsenShannon Larsen

A Bay Area California native, Shannon spent her childhood playing in the outdoors, whether it be hiking, camping, or riding her bicycle with siblings. After graduating college with a degree in Exercise Science, Shannon knew she wanted to encourage healthy living as preventative medicine but wasn’t sure in what realm. Two years into working with a nonprofit encouraging positive empowerment and physical activity through play to under served elementary kids, she found herself lacking balance, and decided to give deep therapeutic yoga classes a try. It was in that class Shannon met Sherry Han, her first yoga instructor and inspiration for the change that occurred in not only her body but her soul and mind. Shannon knew she too wanted to eventually share the beautifully empowering and healing gift of yoga with others. After relocating to Los Angeles, Shannon found Julie Rader’s Mukti School of Yoga and completed 250-hours of training with electives in both Therapeutic Yoga and Yoga for Athletes.  Beginning her yoga teaching career in the SouthBay of Los Angeles, Shannon is grateful to be back in her Bay Area sharing the gift that changed her life with others in her hometown.  She can be found in many different spaces, including Juvenile Hall sharing yoga with girls through The Art of Yoga Project as well as boys in lockdown through a self-created program. Not only does yoga encourage life balance through movement, it also incorporates one of her other great loves, music.  Expect a class combining safe alignment, breath, and movement to create a challenging yet playful flow suitable for all levels.

sheetalkSheetal Kalidindi

When Sheetal experienced Yoga for the first time, she felt like everything fell into place; not just physically, but also mentally, feeling light and content. Her yoga experience left her with a deep sense of calm. She instantly knew she wanted more of this feeling in her life, and that’s when she began her journey with Yoga.
She has been practicing Vinyasa flow yoga, a powerful and dynamic system that combines asana and pranayama. In 2014, she completed her 200 Hour RYT under the expert guidance of Ganga White and Tracey Rich at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara. In addition, Sheetal trained at the renowned Krishnamcharya Yoga Mandiram in India. She has also participated in various workshops and training programs locally as well as in India.
She feels, when it comes to yoga, she will always be a student. Yoga to her is not just a physical exercise, but a way of life. She strongly believes in the wonderful connection of the mind, body and breath and that Yoga is the discovery of self through the movement of the body.
Sheetal encourages all her students to find their personal Yoga and to use the asana practice as a tool to expand their consciousness and to bring more awareness to their mind, body and spirit. She aims to guide each student into that place of peace and calm by linking breath and movement. She encourages her students to try new things and most importantly to have fun with their practice!

Wei Martin

Wei initially started practicing yoga to maintain flexibility during her triathlon years in the early 2000′s. After later getting certified as a personal trainer and discovering the many incredible benefits that yoga could provide for her clients, she decided to get certified as a yoga teacher. Having already completed the 200hr Flow Yoga Teacher Training Certification with Linda Schlamadinger-McGrath at Yoga Source in Los Gatos, Wei is currently in the midst of completing another 200hr Yoga Teacher Certification with Mark Stephens, a highly respected teacher in Santa Cruz.

Wei sincerely enjoys sharing her love of yoga. Through her teaching, Wei shares a sense of compassion, love and gratitude with all of her students. She wishes to share with as many people as possible the boundless joy that can come from the inner peace reached from a dedicated and committed yoga practice.
When Wei is not teaching or practicing yoga, she enjoys time with her husband, hiking with her dog Roxy and hanging out with friends. You can learn more about Wei at

What Almaden Yogis are saying about Wei –
“Wei is kind and very sincere. She is just a lovely person. Class is just the right amount of difficulty.
Her personal training capabilities come through in class.  She is a great demonstrator. Great music, great focus.
I love her attitude about just being part of the universe. She is also very good at calming us down and getting us ready for class.”