Alex has been immersed in the yoga scene for about 7 years. It began during the trying times of college life in Santa Barbara, California. The challenges of balancing school, extracurricular activities, and personal goals suddenly became more manageable as her practice on the mat began to develop. Her first classes were taught by Eddie Ellner at Yoga Soup in Santa Barbara. It was here that she learned the magic of breath awareness and how to access the truths of the heart through an ever unfolding practice of asana and meditation.
She received her 200 hour certification in Goa, India in 2011 where she was in the company of individuals from over 13 different countries helping to define her own unique style. While maintaining and constantly expanding her knowledge of yogic traditions, she is also a committed believer in staying true to one’s own interpretation of yoga. She is currently working towards completion of her 500 hour JOY of Yoga certification with Jennifer Prugh.
As a musician and performance artist, her yogic expression is in constant evolution. Her classes are rooted in tradition but inspired by contemporary music and lifestyle. Visit her website at www.alexandrasempel.com
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.
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 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, medicineyoga.com, 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.
Deepa’s yoga and Pilates classes are a reflection of her journey to discover the beauty, strength and power of the human body. Deepa discovered yoga at a time when exercising meant pushing her body to its limits. She learnt how to listen to what her body was communicating, while encouraging it to explore its potential in a manner that was loving and respectful.
As a mother of two young boys, with a demanding career in Information Technology, Deepa was caught, as all of us are, in the crazy, multitasking treadmill we call life. Yoga and Pilates brought balance to her life.This experience has led Deepa to believe that here is a gift we can give others and ourselves; yoga can help fortify our physical, mental and spiritual health giving us access to a well of resilience, patience and energy.
Captivated by the power of yoga, Deepa decided to learn more about it and got a certification in yoga from the prestigious Avalon Teacher training program. She also has a Pilates certification from the Center of Balance and a Yoga Tune-Up certification from Jill Miller.
One of the teachers who has most influenced her is Tom McCook. When Tom said “when we practice we are beginning a long conversation with our body that will continue to expand our perspective, choices and help keep us aware of what’s truly important” Deepa knew that here was a mentor with whom she shared her deepest belief about body movement.
Deepa’s classes truly reflect this holistic and life-long practice of healthy you. For her it is about worshiping the body and supporting it in reaching its full potential in strength and health. She has a creative and methodical teaching style that invigorates the mind as well as body, and her classes are accessible to all levels of practitioners.
What Almaden Yogis are saying about Deepa -
“Love Love LOVE your teaching methods. Thank you so much for all of your guidance, friendship and patience!!”
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!”
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!”
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 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 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.”
Lily began her love affair with yoga while getting her Masters in Building Construction at Georgia Tech when she was seeking ways to prevent burnout from her studies, job, and work in the green building community. Through years of experimentation and study of food as medicine, nutrition, meditation, exercise programs, detoxes, personal and spiritual development, and yoga, she has discovered her passion and love for helping people rebuild their health and personal lives.
When she got laid off during the downturn of the economy, she took it as an opportunity to embark on a teacher training so she hopped on a plane to India. After she completed her training in Dharamsala, she came home to study anatomy, smart sequencing, and adjustments under Mark Stephens, Jill Miller, and Jason Crandall.
Currently, she teaches alignment based vinyasa flow, hatha, gentle, & power yoga to students of all shapes and sizes and skill levels. Her travels throughout Southeast Asia, Bali, China, Nepal and India have enriched her life and her study of Yoga and human beings.
What Almaden Yogis are saying about Lily-
“I love your light hearted attitude and sense of humor. It helps me to not feel intimidated by the challenging poses. I always love your class- it is good for me in so many ways!”
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.
What Almaden Yogis are saying about Maria-
“Maria you are an excellent instructor. Your concern for each persons abilities makes each of us feel special. You have even given extra instruction after class, if anyone has a specific problem.
Thank you for being a great teacher.”
Over the past few years Monique has dedicated herself to the daily practice of yoga, which has transformed her life both mentally and physically. The practice of yoga allows Monique to feel strong, beautiful and have an undeniable connection with herself. Monique completed her 200 hour Hatha-Vinyasa certification and is a registered yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance. She guides her classes with a humble and soulful heart that you cannot help but feel through her movements and artistic playlists that she customizes. Monique is excited to share her love of yoga with the community while creating a mystical space for others to find their inner peace through yoga.
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. (www.aatmayoga.com)
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.”
Neda took her first yoga class as a teenager. She became hooked when the focus and clarity she received from yoga class helped her graduate with Honors from UC Berkeley. She has also completed a Master in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is currently a licensed Acupuncturist. In 2010, she completed her yoga teacher training in order to share her appreciation of yoga with others.
Her classes are a graceful flow of Yin and Yang, physical movement and spiritual connection. Yang postures and movement work the muscles, strengthen, and tone the physical body. Yin postures stretch the tendons, ligaments, and connective tissue to increase flexibility. Meanwhile incorporating breath-work and Qi Gong enhances the flow of energy throughout the entire body to attain balance and vibrancy.
Neda strongly believes that a regular yoga practice helps us maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit; allowing us to make the most of this beautiful life.
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.”
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.”
While completing a degree in International Business at San Jose State University Sarah was introduced to Yoga by Lar Caughlan. She instantly fell in love with Yoga for it’s simplistic, complex, and rich beauty. Realizing it is a practice for everyone, she decided she wanted to share the many benefits with others.
Sarah has been teaching Yoga since 2006. Trained at The White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA in Thai Massage with Phoebe Diftler in the spring of 2007. During the winter of 2009 she enrolled in a teacher certification program at Open Sky Yoga in Rochester, NY . Under the expert guidance of Open Sky’s founder, Francois Raoult, she completed her 200hr certification through Yoga Alliance, and is working currently on her 500hr with Jennifer Prugh of Breathe Los Gatos, CA.
She has been blessed with many wonderful teachers and draws from that fountain of knowledge to share with others. Sarah’s teaching style focuses on breathing awareness and control though pranayama (breathing exercises), proper alignment, which can be aided through the use of props, and meditation. She believes through breath we can learn to tame the fluctuations of the mind and heal the body.
What Almaden Yogis are saying about Sarah -
“I think she is one of the best instructors and one of the most knowledgeable instructors! I really wish to be able to have the opportunity to have more classes with Sarah. She is so zen, so down to Earth like she is coming from a different world! Absolutely amazing instructor!!!”
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.
I was raised to believe that movement is inseparable part of my life. It soon became a basic need and an ongoing love story. Starting with martial arts which led to a black belt in karate through instructing Krav Maga to soldiers in the Israeli army I started to feel that it might become more than just a hobby.
The Search for something deeper led me to begin practicing Pilates and in 2003 I decided to take my practice further by completing “Stott Pilates” teacher training and continued by taking an additional course with specialized Pilates equipment .
When working as a Pilates instructor and personal trainer I started practicing Ashtanga Yoga which reminded me my past and roots of karate .
Posture by posture and class by class, I felt my body and my mind begin to feel lighter, quieter and stronger. I was immediately drawn to the physicality of the practice, craving the relaxed exhaustion and focused quiet mind.
In winter 2012 when moving to the US, after years of developing a consistent Yoga practice, I felt available and inspired to become a certified teacher and completed the full 200hr course of study in Power Vinyasa Yoga at Yoga Tree SF. Right now I am working my way toward 500 hours of yoga teacher’s training. My deepest intention is to share my passion for Yoga with others. My classes are sequenced intelligently to gradually warm the body and prepare it to the challenges it will meet as the class evolve using a fluid flow. I encourage alignment and safety with playfulness and feeling good!
When not on my mat you can find me running ( I completed my first marathon in 2012 J),hiking, reading and having fun with my husband and two kids.
While training to run her first Marathon in 2000, a friend suggested Trisha try yoga to help supplement her training. She was hooked by the end of her first class! Eventually giving up running altogether in search of something much deeper within the four corners of her mat. In 2006 Trisha decided to take her practice further by completing the full 200hr course of study in Power Vinyasa Yoga, meeting the requirements of the Yoga Alliance under the expert guidance of Linda Schlamadinger-McGrath. It was there, that she discovered the joy of bringing Yoga to others.
Since her training in 2006, she has had the honor of studying with many; Dharma Mitra, Sean Corne, David Swenson, Ana Forest, Duncan Wong, Patrica Sullivan, Jill Miller, Cameron Shayne, Brock and Crista Cahill, Eric Schiffman, Saul David Raye, Ganga White, Trent Bond, Max Strom, Stephani Snyder, Rolph Gates to name just a few! Even traveling as far as Italy, to practice under the Tuscan Sun.
Trisha brings her zest of life, her athleticism and motherly instincts to those students she is blessed to teach. When not on her mat Trisha can be found spending time with her husband and three teenage children.
What Almaden Yogis are saying about Trisha -
“Trisha’s Monday morning flow class is a great way to start the week. Her class is extremely challenging, but Trisha is very calm and supportive and does an amazing job guiding us through various poses. Each class is unique and keeps us on our toes. 75 minutes go by really fast when Trisha is teaching.”
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 www.healthywei.com.
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.”