Ron got influenced into yoga by his wife Anuja and a dear friend. He started in the old fashioned way - video tapes with Bryan Kest. He ended up loving the concept of strength outside a gym. After Almaden Yoga started he did his 200-Hours Teacher Training in 2011.
MacKenzie grew up hating physical education and resenting the competitive nature of sports. After finishing her masters’ in occupational therapy, MacKenzie was able to deepen her personal yoga practice, finding joy in the physical aspects, in addition to the mental and spiritual benefits from her asana practice. She uses many aspects of yoga in her work with children and young adults with special needs to help them find ways to stay emotionally and physically regulated, and to increase body awareness and praxis. She recently completed her 200-hour certification through Almaden Yoga.
In this training MacKenzie will teach Anatomy with her personal sense of humor, fun games and her ability to simplify concepts that may seem difficult from the outside.
Chelsea Escher is a Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor, focusing on functional movement, strength, and helping people move more efficiently and pain free. She moved to San Jose from NYC where she was dancing professionally for 8 years while teaching fitness full time. After experiencing injuries herself, her love of learning, movement, and helping people led her down a new path where she is going back to school to be a Physical Therapy Assistant. Chelsea teaches a variety of fitness modalities and is certified in Pilates Mat, TRX, Barre and has multiple specializations for the Pre/Postnatal populations. She is a Birth Doula and works to help women navigate the normal changes that happen before, during and after pregnancy.
Chelsea is a spunky, upbeat, enthusiastic instructor with a commanding yet supportive energy that will push you to want to be your best. She teaches classes and clientele of all abilities and offers a safe, supportive environment to help you reach your goals.
Yoga became my passion during my first pregnancy, when my body was telling me to take it easy but keep moving. I found on Prenatal Yoga my safe and happy place, where I could connect with my body, my breath, my intuition, and my emotions – and with other moms going through the same experience. After that I found my purpose and I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I want to be at service of other women that can benefit from this practice, leading from my heart, in a safe and compassionate manner, meeting my students exactly where they are.
In my classes I love to combine breath and movement, letting the students be fully present in their body and heart through mindfulness, without pushing, without forcing. And in this process, I also put myself in a student position – always open to learn.
I see Yoga as a tool, not a goal. So I enjoy the tools that I have and that I love to share, with no rush or pretensions other than giving my best and helping you feel your best.
Shylaja began practicing yoga as a child with her mother and has been passionate about yoga ever since. Under her instruction, you will know when to still yourself, maybe push yourself or learn to let go. Yoga has taught her to take this off the mat, finding balance and humility in everyday life. It is her goal to spread the benefits of yoga, on and off the mat, to the stress filled, and deadline driven world of technology.
Shylaja’s classes combine her yoga background and challenges as an engineer, to create an energetic, challenging and calming experience. She is uniquely gifted with an ability to break down every pose, making them approachable for beginners and a more opening experience for yogis, creating an environment where everyone is able to look within. Shylaja completed her formal certification at YogaSource Los Gatos in 2010.
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.
Paige came to Almaden Yoga in search of a way to exercise without having to wear shoes…
After her first class, she fell in love with the way her mind, body, and spirit felt and the rest as they say is history! Two years later, and her love of yoga has only gotten stronger as her practice continued to blossom and she dove deeper into the yoga community around her.
It is safe to say, Paige found a lot more at Almaden Yoga than a barefooted workout – she found her voice 🙂
In February of 2019, Paige completed her 200 Hour Vinyasa Flow training at Almaden Yoga with Anuja, and she is excited to bring her creative and unique style to her alma mater. Paige loves to empower and inspire students to find their edge and step outside their comfort zone in the safe space of the studio. Paige knows there is no better way to strengthen your core than with laughter. Her playful sequences and fun playlists will keep you coming back for more, so come join her for some giggles and vinyasas!
Almaden’s Nanci Shakthi Nardona 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.”
Miquela Cox, has been a fitness instructor since 2014. Her journey began in college when she started to find a deeper appreciation for movement. It started with Pilates mat classes, and within one semester she noticed a significant difference in the back pain that she had been experiencing years before. After two semesters of Pilates Miquela’s back pain was gone. Her curiosity for movement grew and with time wanted to share her discovery with the world. Miquela truly enjoys teaching, and getting into the mechanics of movement. She always tries to make sure that her students learn something about themselves with each class. Her classes are very upbeat and always with the best music. Miquela’s goal is to spread confidence, self love, and the healing powers of movement to as many people as she can.
With over thirty years of experience in the health and fitness industry, Michelle brings a deep understanding of how to help her students achieve body awareness. She specializes in classes ranging from Yoga, Pilates to a variety of Group Fitness classes. She is extremely passionate about leading her students through classes that challenge all parts of the body while incorporating breath control.
From years of teaching, she saw that there was a gap between her Group Fitness classes and her Yoga/Pilates classes. Michelle pinpointed the opportunity to combine formats through her creation of Yoga Strength. Yoga Strength gives yoga students added cardiovascular and muscle training with the incorporation of hand weights. It also provides group fitness students with improved flexibility, balance and breathing techniques.
Some of Michelle’s certifications include YogaFit, Inferno Hot Pilates, 84 Asanas: Masters’ Core System (Tony Sanchez), Pilates Reformer on the Mat and Barre Above.
Meredith is passionate about helping people discover self-love and serenity through yoga. Whether it’s teaching community classes or one-on-one through movement, she helps guide individuals in finding their true self, resulting in positive self-image. After finishing her first Yoga teacher training with Noell Clark she had a yearning to dive into a training with a focus in Yoga Therapy. Attending Niroga Institute added a whole other layer to her understanding of an holistic approach. Meredith is also a Reiki Master and enjoys offering workshops and individual sessions to help others heal themselves. She is passionate about her path and it shows when she is working with others, whether its in the studio, corporate yoga, or private sessions. Meredith listens to the needs of the student and finds the most supportive and encouraging route to guide them.
Marina fell in love with yoga in 2012 when she experienced how it could take her out of her thoughts completely. Yoga soon became her safe refuge and a place to repair her relationship with her body and self image. Nowadays her practice is about cultivating love and tuning in to the wisdom within. Marina completed her 200-hour teaching credential with Jennifer Prugh and Noell Clark at Breathe Together Yoga and she is currently pursuing her 500-hour training.
Marina is interested in helping students deepen their understanding of yoga concepts beyond the physical practice. Her intention is to create a space of connection, non-judgmental awareness, and empowerment through the energy of her words and the tone of her voice. Her classes are physically challenging but at the same time grounding. Her goal is to make challenging postures accessible and fun for all levels. She believes that first and foremost your body knows best, and encourages exploring natural movement guided by breath. Her classes incorporate meditation, influences from qigong, and always a long, juicy savasana, of course!
Come explore with her!
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.
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.
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.
Kelley is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) instructor teaching hatha, flow and yin classes in an approachable but challenging manner with an emphasis on body control, strength building movements combined with utilization of the breath to carry her students through practice. She encourages students to play with their edge, challenge their mind with strong movements and long holds while providing a safe, encouraging, and non-judgmental environment where each student can achieve their full potential. She’s studied under Anuja Chaudri, Nate Jones and attended workshops by Candace Moore, Ashlee Dong Curran, Shannon Larsen, Bre & Flo, Kino MacGregor to name a few.
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!
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!”
Bela began her yoga journey during her Junior year of high school as an attempt to find some stress relief since she had been suffering from stress migraines for several months. After her very first class at Almaden Yoga, she knew this was something she wanted to pursue throughout her life. Within a month of practicing consistently, Bela no longer experienced any more migraines and has not experienced them since. Yoga provided her not only with contentment and awareness, but it also taught her how to take care of herself both physically and emotionally.
When Bela graduated high school in 2019, she decided she wanted to spread what yoga had taught her and completed her 200-hours Yoga Teacher Certification at Almaden Yoga. As a teacher, she wants to help others take care of their physical bodies and reap all of the health benefits of yoga, and to inspire others to take their yoga practices off the mat and into the world, spreading compassion and positivity.
Bay was introduced to Hatha yoga in Thailand over 20 years ago. For many years, she practiced yoga at corporate gyms, and occasionally at yoga studios, mostly to relieve stress and prevent back pain. In 2014, she discovered Ashtanga vinyasa yoga when attending a class led by a childhood friend, who is a KPJAYI Level 2 Authorized teacher. She immediately felt a deep connection to the Ashtanga vinyasa system, and has been practicing it since then. As her practice evolved, she developed an interest in yin yoga as a balance to her energetic vinyasa practice. She received a RYT-200 certified training from Adarsh Williams at Downtown Yoga Shala, San Jose. Additionally, she trained in yin yoga with Setareh Moafi, in trauma-sensitive mindfulness facilitation at Engaged Mindfulness Institute, and in mindful self-compassion teaching at the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. Her passion lies in the experiential and contemplative practices of mind-body awareness. Her teaching style has been inspired by Tias Little. Her yoga classes blend in meditation, breathwork, and asana practices as an inquiry into somatic awareness, and an aid in fascia release and spinal health. She has a tremendous gratitude to the yoga teachers from whom she has received the teachings, including the lineage of the Ashtanga vinyasa system. She enjoys spending time in nature with family and friends, and studying Buddhist philosophy.
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.
Anuja is a believer of alignment – no, not just in the body but in every aspect of life. She believes and tries to live in alignment with her work, family, friends and the various demands of life. She teaches yoga and believes that every class is a learning process for her own growth. Anuja was born and raised in India. She came from a liberal family where, both her father and mother exposed her to the best in art, music, dance and most of all to the world of yoga. Her father was the one who pushed her into doing yoga as a kid. At the age of 6-7 years she didn’t enjoy the yoga classes but loved the attention as her body was super flexible. In high school she took up yoga as a subject and practiced diligently for two years and topped in her state of Delhi.
With time and adult life, yoga took a back seat. In 1995 Anuja moved to the USA and found herself starting a new life. A dream came true to live in this country but it was nowhere close to the Hollywood movies that fascinated her. As she restarted her hi-tech career she got into everything except yoga. The charm was in the corporate world, making the 6-figure salary and enjoying life.
Her personal life went through a divorce and a time of losing all that she had built in this country. A go-getter by nature she revived her career and confidence. During this time she met Ron Victor whom she married in 2001 and dreamt of starting a family and living her second dream of becoming a mother. But motherhood seemed to have deluded her and after trying for 6-year, she decided to let go of this dream and the path of motherhood. Her Buddhist practice of 25 odd years kept her strong and grounded. In the two years of going through depression, she restarted her yoga practice. It was power yoga that not only gave her physical strength but also the ability to be a fighter and make the most of what life had gifted her.
In 2006 Anuja fell into the hands of the first teacher training program started at Yoga Source, Los Gatos by Linda McGrath. Those 6-months changed her life yet again. A time to renew, revive and come alive. It was when she started teaching in September of 2006 that she discovered her love and passion of teaching yoga.
Teaching and learning took her into the opportunity of opening her own yoga studio. Anuja was looking for her own space to avoid driving all over the Silicon Valley to teach yoga. This is when Almaden Yoga was born. It was her child which she could nourish and use as a space where love, peace, health, and community could be built.
After 11-years of running Almaden Yoga, teaching over 2500 yoga classes, giving birth to over 50 new yoga teachers, taking a number of international yoga retreats, Anuja continues to evolve as a human being, constantly self-studying and is inspired to accomplish and spread peace in the community through yoga.
Anuja has beautifully blended her Indian upbringing and her exposure to the western world of yoga. Her classes include alignment of the body, her silly sense of humor, sharing her learning through the journey of life and most of all spreading her infectious smile and energy. She brings tremendous amounts of love and community feel into the world of Almaden Yoga.
Hope you will join her class and always come and introduce yourself. She may forget your name but she will remember your face in any part of the world.