Hatha yoga fascinated me as a young teenager. My first teacher had white hair, yet her body moved fluidly and she expressed herself with a childlike joy.

In school, I enjoyed theater and cheerleading. Lucky and carefree, I sang in a funk band, acted, and danced through undergraduate years at Harvard in 2000.

Once I began to crave a deeper focus, a friend invited me to practice Mahayana Buddhist Meditation with the Friendly Dragon, Aba Cecile McHardy. Deeper studies led me on a Spiritual Retreat at Manzanita Village, CA with my astounding mentors, Michele Benzamin-Miki and Caitriona Reed for New Year's 2003-4.

I found balance of body and mind with Power Yoga in Bangkok, Thailand 2005-6;

Anatomical revelations in Pilates (Anatomy and Movement for Dancers, Mat class) with Maria Gillespie;


Rhythmic wonder in West African Dance with Olivier Tarpaga at UCLA 2007-8.

My journey to teaching yoga began with Power Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga Wilshire studio with Kumudini in November 2011. The spiritual teachings she shared with us went far beyond what was written in the training manual. Kumi continues to mentor me with grace and kindness. :)

Further training led me to mat Pilates Certification Spring 2012, Sculpt Training Summer 2013 at Encino studio with Charlotte Munn, and Level 2 Advanced Teacher Training September 2013 at Studio City with Heather Peterson.

I completed Personal Training Certification with The National College of Exercise Professionals (NCEP) at Equinox West LA in January 2015. I worked at Toluca Lake Tennis and Fitness Club and for YOFIMA providing private lessons at home.

I was given the opportunity to lead BootCamps since 2013, coach Yogi Training in 2012, and lead Yoga Teacher Training many times since 2016. Incredibly lucky to witness the switch in mind and body when students go deeper into their practice and follow true passion.

Happily, I still teach yoga in L.A. I most recently began exploring Thai Massage Therapeutics with Sarah Yovovich. For the last few years, I've apprenticed in dance and meditation Tantra with Ariane Labyrinth Pacy. Tantra is a way of combining earthly pleasure with spiritual mastery.

Yoga shows me a place beyond what can be seen, where we are all connected. Balancing upside-down on someone else's feet, singing mantra, or re-interpreting yogic myths for modern times – I know I am in exactly the right place, doing what I was born to do. I find resonance within and without, and encourage others to awaken consciousness and brighten their own unique light.

I hold the space for others to experience their personal power. With practice, true joy flows, allowing for deep healing and inner peace. When you follow your passion, who knows what gifts you will uncover? Let’s manifest a better reality together on the mat.

Namaskar yoga mudra. Photo credit: JQ Williams

Photo and video by: 

Kumi Yogini

JQ Williams

Ramin Rahm Sharifi

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