My name is Alexander Puentes. My journey into the realm of yoga began just 2 years ago in 2018 when I began attending Alamden yoga through a groupon! I was hooked from day one! Having always been involved in some kind of sport since I was a child, being a swimmer nearly all my life, I wanted the ability to explore the body in different ways. I’ve always been drawn to the physical aspect of life, I love to move! Be it on a bike on any terrain, hiking through the mountains, rock climbing, dancing the night away with beautiful souls and especially travelling the world. Place me in any environment and I can groove to the tune of life!
Life after college at Chico State brought me into the world of Wildland Firefighting, and with that came extreme discipline and the ability to persevere under any circumstance. It allowed me to become hyper aware of not just my situations but also my body. It drew me even deeper into the world of strength and endurance. During that period I also spent a short time on an ambulance as an EMT separate from firefighting. This taught me compassion, love and empathy for all those around me.
Yoga was the doorway to merging all of those attributes and using them for good, using them to inspire. When taking my 200hr teacher training at Almaden Yoga, my world changed and I began to see it in a different light. I then felt the pull to being a teacher more than ever, wanting to guide people with the “fire” I carry inside and show them their path to enlightenment. Yoga being a place to focus on not only the physical body, but what truly happens inside. It has allowed me to face my obstacles head on and see beyond them. I want people feeling inspired to be the best versions of themselves everytime they come to my class.
“Two thumbs up!! Caring, humorous, philosophical, and serious/challenging workout. Love her voice and her delivery. She makes the class fun.”
Ashley’s yoga journey began when she accompanied a girlfriend to a Vinyasa class. Having only been to one yoga class years before that, she had no idea what to expect. The class brought her the perfect balance between challenging herself and finding peace and contentment. After exploring a variety of classes and styles, Ashley found herself deepening her Vinyasa practice.
A teacher at heart, Ashley wants to share the benefits that she has received from yoga with those around her. She completed her 200-hour Flow Yoga Teacher Certification at Yoga Source in Los Gatos.
Ashley enjoys offering challenging, yet compassionate classes where she encourages everyone to listen to their bodies and move mindfully. She offers different pose variations which makes her classes are accessible to all levels. Her goal when teaching on the mat is to help bring a balance between strength, flexibility and focus in a safe and nurturing environment. We all have different intentions when stepping onto the mat, but whatever that intention is, she wants everyone to feel better walking off the mat than they did when they walked on.
Isabela Da Costa
Isabela Da Costa
James experimented with yoga for the first time 10 years ago in a community college class in Chico, CA. Being stiff would be an understatement, as he could barely touch his ankles. Although he was sore after his first class, the calming sleep which took place that night had him coming back for more. After transferring south to San Jose State to finish his degree, he began to find a more steady practice.
Sports have always been a major aspect of his life. Growing up in the Washington D.C. area, this was especially true with lacrosse. Quickly seeing the connection between a yoga practice and fewer injuries on the field, James began to share yoga with his teammates. Over the past five years he has enjoyed teaching yoga to lacrosse teams all over Northern California. It was a natural step to seek the yoga training necessary to integrate teaching into his life. James completed his 200 Hour Yoga Alliance Certification through Jennifer Prugh’s Joy of Yoga Teacher Training in 2014.
Off of the mat, James continues to teach yoga to high school and college athletes, as well as coaching lacrosse at the youth level.
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!”
Katherine first experienced yoga in Bali in 2012 and was amazed by how the physical practice affected her emotionally and mentally. What began as a few classes a week to help cope with the stress and exhaustion of a corporate job slowly transformed into a journey of self-reflection and self-love. She pursued her RYT 200-level certification with Anuja at Almaden Yoga in 2018 to deepen her practice and fell in love with teaching. Katherine is grateful for all the joy and positivity that yoga has brought to her life and loves encouraging yoga students of all levels to be playful and curious on their mats. She enjoys teaching flow classes to groovy tunes and looks forward to saying hi to you at her next class!
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.
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.”
Kelley’s first exposure to practicing Yoga was in 2002 but at that time it wasn’t a consistent practice. Over time, she began to develop rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which drove her to again pursue Yoga for the therapeutic benefit for her joints. When she committed to a regular and consistent Yoga practice she quickly noticed improvement in reducing joint pain, improving joint flexibility and function, improve muscle strength, improve balance as well as lowering stress and tension.
Kristen Smyth is a life and wellness coach dedicated to helping people find their strengths and reach their full potential by investing in their bodies,hearts and minds.
Kristen is also a certified yoga instructor and has completed 300 hours of Teacher Training at YogaSource and Breathe Together Yoga in Los Gatos. In addition, she brings twenty-one years of coaching experience at the college level including sixteen years as the Head Gymnastics Coach at Stanford University.
Kristen is at her best when she’s helping individuals find balance in their lives where they can devote their highest self to their family, health, career and community.
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.
Not only does Marissa believe in the importance of a strong mind-body connection, she also teaches the importance of emotional healing through an intentional and balanced yoga practice and self care. She promotes living a happy and healthy life and strives to increase every one of her students’ personal well-being and quality of life.
Marissa teaches with a playful and passionate open heart while exploring energetic, challenging and balancing sequences within her classes. She teaches calming Yin, powerful yoga Flow, and level 2-3 Vinyasa classes and pairs every class with a moving music playlist and uses elevating aroma therapy oils during shavasana. Everybody is encouraged to work at their own pace, ensuring their safety as well as cultivating a deeper connection to their inner-personal practice. The goal is to experience every benefit yoga has to offer and leave class feeling happier, uplifted and strong. With much compassion, Marissa enjoys connecting with every new face that comes into her classes and looks forward to creating an unforgettable yoga experience for all!
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
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.”
Nanci Shakthi Nardona
As a lifelong athlete Nate was always looking for ways to become more physically dynamic. Hoping to gain more flexibility he went to his first yoga class ready to kick back and stretch it out, but was pleasantly surprised by the physical challenge the class posed! He found himself dripping sweat, out of breath, and ready for savasana. As he continued his practice other aspects of yoga began to interest him like breath control, meditation, and working with feelings, emotions, and challenges in a productive way.
Today, yoga is a lifestyle for Nate. He practices with softness, strength, and a flexible mind and encourages others to do the same.Yoga class is an opportunity for us to come together as a community and practice kindness, acceptance, and light-heartedness.Each one of us can come to class, learn from one another, or teach one another.What a beautiful thing.
He completed his 200-hour teacher training at Almaden Yoga and a 50-hour Bhakti Flow advanced teacher training with Rusty Wells.
A yoga teacher, fitness trainer, and Pilates instructor, Patrick moved to California from the East Coast to continue his health, wellness, and life journey. A “student of movement”, Patrick enjoys experiencing new ways of exploring the human form through exercise, namely bodyweight ground-based disciplines such as Animal Flow and yoga. Also a local college soccer coach and strength & conditioning specialist, Patrick enjoys sharing human kinetics with those around him.
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.
She was always interested in dancing and loved attending various fitness classes and thought it would be a fun challenge to teach one! It is a perfect combination of dance and fitness. Since then, there has been no looking back.
Her interests include trekking, biking, and camping. She reads voraciously, both, fiction and non-fiction. She is actively involved in a number of personal philanthropic activities in India.
Fitness Philosophy: Your body is one of your greatest assets… nourish your body with the workout you deserve.