Manny Gallegos

     I grew up deeply involved in music and art. Originally from the mountain town of Bishop, CA. Yoga started its assimilation in to my life when the burden of being stuck and tired was too much.  Working like a tired dog, inspired more down dogs, to align the body after the rigors of labor. At the time I was experiencing chronic sciatica pain, I could barely touch my toes. My right hip grinded as I walked.  I was only 30 and alarmed of the suffering I had inflicted in my body. So as advised numerous times by my wife, I set out with a morning yoga practice, watching videos online. As I got more in depth and comfortable in the breathing and my practice, I started attending studio classes at the YMCA and a few private events. I also discovered something remarkable within myself, while doing yoga.  I wasn’t only healing from a physical standpoint; I was becoming more compassionate towards others.  More in tune with the energy and world around me.  My practice was supporting my internal, spiritual growth.  

     With all the benefits with these remarkable self-discoveries, I wanted to share them. So, I set out to get the training needed to become a yoga therapist.  I enrolled at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts & Sciences. I completed their 800hr. Yoga Therapy program with a specialty in Yoga Nidra, Hatha Yoga.  Studied Usui Reiki and became Reiki Master Teacher Certified, as well as obtaining a Holistic Nutrition Coach Certification. 

Fast forward 3 years. I have taught at Kula Yoga, Spirit of Yoga, The Nile Theater, Kaleidoscope Dance, The Buttes Resort, The Hive and various other locations.  As well as working with Private Clients for Yoga Therapy.  I have been working with my business partner to bring mobile yoga to everyone around the valley!  

     I’m looking to bring a musical flow to the meditation of moving and seated postures.  Art and music have been a part of most my life, and I love to compose a symphony of movement, when I teach. I chant, sing, play the guitar, piano, Native American flute, cajon drum and other hand drums.  Each moment we honor listening to the body and the heart, we lift ourselves up to unlock our highest potential and purpose.

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Corinne O'Connor

      I started Yoga in my early days of childhood. I spent most of my youth and teen years studying performing arts and used Yoga as a way to connect with the mind, body, and spirit. At first, Yoga was a means to warm up my body, but as my practice deepened, so did my knowledge of Yoga. I later realized the transformational and healing benefits of Yoga and how the lessons learned on the mat can be integrated off the mat. I became driven to awaken people to this message. I decided to leave Connecticut to ground in Tempe, Arizona where I underwent ‘Unity’ Yoga Teacher Training Program at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. I am also certified in Sound Healing, Yoga for Prenatal, Yoga for PTSD, Thai Yoga, Hatha Gong, and Restorative Yoga. I am currently still studying within my 800 Hour Advanced Program and am excited to finish with many more healing modalities.

     Yoga is a gift that keeps on giving. It has repaired, healed, and provided purpose to my life and is continuing to each and everyday. The power of this practice is a seed that I look forward to planting in many hearts throughout this lifetime. I really enjoy holding a creative and safe space where others can heal, explore, play, and step into the best self that they can be through the power of movement, breath, vibrational healing and self-realization. Let’s meet on the mat! 

Katie Hembrough

     Katie felt a personal connection to her first Yoga experiences as a teenager when she both cried and fell asleep in her first savasana. Yoga remained a pastime enjoyment alongside hiking for several years until 2015 when her practice became daily and her Journey had led her to fall in love with Yoga. Katie explored her purpose to help heal and lead individuals through Psychology, Leadership and Spiritual Transformation. Being a Yoga Teacher provides Katie a platform to reach into many hearts and share a way for others to have acceptance, understanding, love and joy. After certification in Spiritual Direction, she received Kids Yoga certification through mini yogis and began her teaching in 2016. Katie studied under Laura McKinzie at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in 2017 to receive her 200 HR training and has been teaching enthusiastically around the Valley, seizing creative, communal, and charitable opportunities to bring the gift and medicine of Yoga.

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Julia Matson

     Julia is a 200 hour certified RYT Yoga Alliance teacher (in the process of becoming a 500 hour RYT Yoga teacher) and is a 100 hour certified Yoga Nidra facilitator.  She also in training to become a 500 hour Pilates Method Alliance instructor and 200 hour Holistic Nutrition Specialist. 

     Julia’s passion is to help others be in the best body that they can be in by using Yoga to help them breathe, be present, and be healthy.  Using Yoga and Yoga Nidra, she helps others connect with their breath and body using different breathing techniques, yoga poses and guided meditations to alleviate mind chatter and breathe into any aches and pains.

     Julia’s yoga journey began in 2002. She suffered from severe outdoor agricultural allergies living in North Dakota and every summer would go to Minnesota in order to breathe. Her cousin introduced her to her first yoga class and it helped better connect to and control her breath and even relieve congestion through different poses. She has been hooked ever since! It also helped relieve lower back pain from a rollover car accident she endured in 2000.  Training in Yoga Nidra taught her how to help others relax deeply, quiet their minds and reduce stress hormones. She hopes to share her knowledge of these powerful practices with others to help them receive the benefits. 

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Marji Figueroa

     I started my career as a massage therapist in 2006. While I was working as an in home caregiver and pursuing a nursing degree, I realized the power of massage therapy and the impact it could have on people through relieving pain and aiding in relaxation.

Yoga and Massage have had a tremendous effect on my quality of life. I have been in multiple car accidents that have left me with several injuries to my spine including, but not limited to, a ruptured cervical disc, herniated lumbar disc, and multiple compressed discs. Through my personal practice of yoga, sound and vibrational meditation, and massage, I am able to have a relatively pain free and normal existence and I have been able to avoid surgery.

     I have since acquired over 2500 hours of education in massage, skincare, and yoga. Injury management and rehabilitation are very important to me, and I have used yoga, massage and meditation  to manage pain and over come my own neck and back injuries. 

Rose Velasco

     Rose began her relationship with and love for Yoga in 2012. After suffering debilitating arthritic pain as a result of whiplash 25 years prior, Rose found pain relief by strengthening the muscles around the spine and knew she had to share the healing benefits of Yoga with the world. She also felt a need to change her career and way of life after 17 years in the motorcycle business, Yoga was it! After graduating from the YTT200 program at Spirit of Yoga/ SWIHA she jumped feet first into her teaching career at two valley studios and enrolled  into the 800 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher and Holistic Healthcare Practitioner program to further her education. Rose currently offers private in home sessions and offers group classes at Body In Balance Yoga in Chandler and at Spirit of Yoga in Tempe along with serving as assistant teacher in a YTT200 program. 

Rose helps her students find a sense of relaxing into the effort of a pose by encouraging connection to breath and movement, whether the class is a simple flow or focused around settling into poses for several breaths. She also invites her students to find their edge and gives options to the depth of poses for different experience levels. Balance of breath and movement while learning your own body’s unique abilities through alignment is Rose’s specialty. Check out one of her classes and see what Yoga can do for you! 

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Alex Parsons

     I am a desert dweller, born and raised in Phoenix.  I am currently completing my 800 hour advanced instructor training at the South West Institute of Healing Arts. 

     My first experience of yoga was through football practices in high school to help recover the day after games.  It was challenging but fun.  I felt yoga as a physical practice. 

     Fast forward.... a couple years.  I was really stressed out and struggling over at ASU. Looking for something different, I enrolled in a yoga class there.  I was introduced to yogic philosophy, meditation and breath awareness.  

     It was the only class at that time that I regularly attended. Shout out to Rasoul! Receiving the emotional and mental effects of this practice.  

     My practice shifted out of sight/ mind and life stresses continued stacking.  Struggling with a sweet mixture of anxiety and depression, and feeling frozen, I attempted to remember what gifted me calmness and joy.  YOGA energy moving!

     Modalities I specialize in and really enjoy include the vibrations of the Gong, Yoga Nidra and Yin.

     Thankful for things that I am learning and have experienced. I am looking forward to providing space to explore your limitations with creativity.

Latisha (Tish) Roe

     In 2017, I began my personal relationship with yoga after developing shortness of breath, and swelling in my extremities due to unhealthy eating habits, and a lot of weight gain. I began to practice at home with videos on YouTube and eating a plant-based diet.   Within the first month, I recognized that I had more energy. I began to deepen my practice moving from one video a day, to two, then three. I began to study yoga's philosophy and every part spoke to me profoundly.  

     I began working on myself and noticed the universe started to work for me as well. I had the focus and stamina to make much needed changes in my life, and for the first time in a long time I felt that the dreams I had could really come to fruition.  I saw my body transform, and the quality of my mind improved. I had a clear vision of who I was, what I wanted, and how I could achieve the dreams I began envisioning for myself. I began having the desire to share this incredible and life changing practice with others.   

     I visited the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts after several encounters with others who attended the school and their recommendations that I go for a visit. I arrived and spoke with an adviser and toured the facility and immediately realized it was the place I needed. I quit my job and enrolled in the 800 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training Program.   I have completed my 200 hour "Unity" Yoga Teacher Training and am certified in  Sound Healing, Yin , and Restorative Yoga. I am currently pursuing the 500 hour Advanced Teacher Training, and certifications in Yoga Nidra, Transformational Yoga Coaching, Yoga Body Psychology, Hatha-Gong ,  and Yoga for PTSD.   

     When I am not in school or practicing yoga myself, I enjoy spending time at home with my 11 year old son, attending drum circles, music festivals, and hiking. I enjoy reading about many different subjects including science, philosophy, psychology, world religions and mythologies.   

      Yoga is an ancient science that is designed to transform, liberate, and enlighten. My goal as a yoga teacher is to facilitate and hold space for others to look within themselves to do just that. It is my deep belief that if we can do this on an individual level that it will naturally expand into a larger scale improving our communities, countries, and the planet as a whole.

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Jenni Pirmann

     Jenni is a yoga instructor, reiki practitioner, artist and nature lover. Her yoga journey began in 2010, while she was pursuing studies in fine-art at Arizona State University. She was searching for a way to feel weightless and intentional - to get out of the stress centered space of the mind and into the present moment. Jenni’s practice quickly transformed from a place to escape for mental clarity, into a loving relationship of all-in dedication. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training in Bali, Indonesia and began teaching in 2015. She specializes in Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Yoga for Stress Relief, Breath-work and Aerial Flow Yoga. Her classes will reflect her passion for sharing yoga bliss through mindful movements.

Tony-Lyn Takagi CYT-200, LMT

     I first originally started a somewhat regular practice of yoga in 2003 purely for the physical effects.  After years of dance my body needed something a little more gentle yet challenging at the same time.  It was not until I had my first child in 2010 and a bout with postpartum anxiety that the lightbulb went off and I realized yoga was not only a workout for the body but it was also a workout for the mind, spirit and soul.  From that moment on my somewhat regular practice went to a full on consistent practice ever since.  Even though I have a passion for health and wellness I was a little hesitant to take the leap and get my yoga teacher certification.  I initially took my children's yoga teacher training through Rainbow Kids Yoga in 2016 and started volunteering in my children's classroom teaching.  In May 2018  I completed the 200 hour YTT Hatha based program through SWIHA and have been certified in pre-natal yoga. Along with my CYT-200  I have a B.S in Cardiopulmonary Science through Northeastern University.  Along with a number of years in the Food and Beverage Industry which I feel prepares you to work with every type of person, I have worked for after school programs and summer camps in Los Angeles teaching Pilates and health cooking classes for children. I have also worked in spas and salons as a massage therapist and work on my own private clients as well. With yoga I hope to teach people that anyone can do yoga, sometimes yoga is just finding that small moment of calm in the middle of chaos. When I am not on my mat you can find me hanging out with my husband, our two children and our dog Ruby.  I also enjoy hiking, reading a good book and a good glass of wine.

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Tristen Reis

     RYT 500, Yoga has been a part of Tristen’s life for many years and was what catapulted her into her transformation process. After experiencing anxiety and depression, yoga was what brought the light back into her life. After realizing the healing power of yoga, Tristen left Massachusetts and began the Yoga Teaching Training program at SWIHA. She completed the 800 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program specializing in Polarity, Yoga Nidra, Yin, Restorative, Transformational Yoga Coaching, and Prenatal. Yoga is the foundation of Tristen’s self-discovery and healing. She says the most rewarding part of teaching for her is holding sacred space for students while they discover what yoga has to offer. 

Crystal Valentina

     Crystal Valentina is a 500RYT instructor with an emphasis in Sound Healing and Yoga Nidra at Spirit of Yoga for the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ. Crystal fell in love with the practice of yoga and meditation while discovering the transformational healing power to obtain peace amidst the chaos and anxiety of a busy and overstimulated lifestyle in modern day. She believes in making yoga accessible to EVERY body at any stage of life and creating a space for students to feel safe and guided as they explore how to utilize the mind, the body, and the breath to create a strong sense of well-being.

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Sara Ann Mata

     Sara Ann Mata became dedicated to being of service after witnessing first hand how impoverished children lived in third world countries. In early childhood, Sara attended boarding school in India. She spent her teenage years traveling internationally and volunteering for medical mission trips in Africa. The suffering she witnessed during these experiences provided her with drive and commitment to help children feel supported, loved, healthy, and safe. She dedicated her time and focus towards education to become a medical infectious disease pediatrician.

     Unfortunately after a severe back injury, Sara spent 2 years bedridden, and another 4 years disabled in a wheelchair. Her recovery process thrived when she began to incorporate integrative healing therapies, including Yoga Nidra, meditation, Hypnotherapy, Polarity therapy, Craniosacral therapy, sound healing and yoga. With renewed conviction, Sara is committed to being a beacon of light while helping others to find health, peace, and relaxation.

     Sara is a California native, currently residing in Tempe Arizona. She is a graduate of Arizona State University with a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. She is a student of the award winning Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She will be graduating in January 2019 with a AOS in Transformational Mind/Body Psychology. She specializes as an Advanced Yoga Nidra Facilitator, Clinical Hypnotherapist, Polarity and Craniosacral Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master, and Empowerment Coach. She is student of A Course in Miracles and an ordained minister through the Teachers of God Foundation. 

     Her mission is to create safe, sacred space and facilitate transformation. She believes in the powerful benefits of Yoga Nidra, mindfulness meditation, and relaxation for overall health, well-being, and resiliency in the face of challenges. She combines extensive scientific knowledge of the human body and effective integrative healing techniques to provide young people with tools to grow and thrive. Sara is here to remind every child of their ability to find peace and cultivate a healthy lifestyle. 

Joshua Moke

     Joshua is a multitalented entrepreneur. Starting his career in fitness as a Group Fitness Instructor in 2016, he has since broadened his horizons to include Yoga, Mindfulness Coaching, Transformational Yoga Coaching, Sound Healing and Toe Reading. Having all of this, he has just added one more aspect to his sight, Public Speaking. It is his drive to combine his all of his knowledge to help guide the world at large to be more mindful and tolerant of each other. He says that we have known for a long time that every spiritual pathway preaches the same basic ideals; the first two limbs of yoga, which will be explained a little later in this bio. It is simply time for the world to understand this, and cease their arguments on how best to apply these ideals, and simply apply them 100% of the way, 100% of the time. This dream he simply refuses to set down drives every aspect of his life now.

     His love started for exercise started in the water. At the age of four, his parents enrolled him in swim lessons, and it has been a fight ever since to get him out of the water. He later became a competitive swimmer, offering guidance to his fellow swimmates. At the age of fourteen, his asana, the posture aspect of yoga, practice began. He would soon learn that he had been taught yoga from a very early age due to the ideals of Patanjali’s 8 Limb Pathway of Yoga. The first two limbs are called the Yamas, and the Niyamas. These are 10 aspects of how to live life in preparation for enlightenment, Samadhi, the 8th limb. It is in these 10 aspects he received his final call that even from very long ago, the central idea behind every spiritual pathway was the same. Though his original intention to attend Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, to expand his professional profile, has been achieved, he also gained something much better – his life’s calling, or Dharma as the yogi’s will put it.

     The following is a description of the six services he offers, and the breadth of his specializations in each:

Group Fitness – He can teach any population, he is well versed in anatomy and alignment, continuous self improvement means that he has able to teach general aerobics and resistance training, being very versatile

Types of Group Fitness: Water Aerobics, General Aerobics, Step, HIIT/Tabata, Strength/Resistance Training, Bootcamp, Strongboard Balance, Balance and Stabilization

Yoga – with now well over 10 years of a personal practice and an education from one of the top yoga schools in the nation, Joshua is well versed to be able to teach many styles of Hatha yoga, as well as others

Types of Yoga: 101 Basics, Vinyasa, Power, Restorative, and Yin

Transformational Yoga Coaching – 1 on 1 yoga training. Highly personalized to an individual’s goals and body. As a coach, he is able to tutor on all 8 limbs of yoga, while prescribing asana-the physical practices or postures- and pranayama-breathwork. 

Mindfulness Coaching – This is a highly specialized type of Life Coaching that focuses on pinpointed the unconsciousprogramming holding a client back from having all they say they want. In these sessions, he points out habits to be mindful of that the client may be using as a crutch; this could be words, physical movements, or actions, either in the session or talked about during the session. Always knowing that there is no right or wrong, just an awareness as to the habit, so that the client now has the option to change that habit, or continue. This is done to help the client be aware of what they are doing when they are doing it, so that they can make better and more informed decisions for themselves, about themselves moving forward. 

Sound Healing – Joshua is well versed in the musical world. He played the clarinet since he was nine years old. Though you will not receive a classical not from that instrument, he has over ten years of experience playing the crystal bowls and added the gong for one year. 

Public Speaking – This is the truest desire Joshua possesses, to share his knowledge with the world. He realized the power of his words when he was just six years old. He was at Disney World in Florida. His mother wanted a picture with him and Cinderella. While on her lap, he realized he had her enamored, with just his words! This six year old then wondered how long he could keep this beautiful woman focused on him. Apparently, as long as until his mother wanted him back. Since that moment, life has been filled with everything he could do, or find, to help him learn how to communicate more effectively.             As a result, he has now realized that when he speaks, people listen. Wanting to use this power to help humanity, he uses what he knows to spread tolerance, specifically spiritual tolerance, to everyone that listens.

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Dani Peterson

      From the moment Dani stepped onto the yoga mat, she knew she had stumbled onto something pretty amazing. Not only was she able to find her way out of chronic back pain and stress, she learned that the ancient practice offered much more than just creating shapes on the mat.  It gave her respite, peace, overall health and well being from head to toe, and a way home through simple and powerful techniques that include a conscious awareness, intention, breath work, mindfulness and meditation.  

     Later she was introduced to other movement based modalities that taught her how to stabilize the spine, re-balance her body and develop proper and functional movement patterns that literally changed how she moves in life and in the world.  Additional training gave her a better understanding about relieving pain from the inside-out, how to modify for the aging population, and how to bring a sense of grounding to those who have difficult time managing stress or finding their way through the struggles of PTSD. 

     Inspired by her mentors and teachers and grateful for the holistic benefits she was seeing and feeling in her own body, mind and heart, she chose to step out of the conventional business world and became certified to teach and share all she had learned (and continues to learn) with others.  

     These transformational practices (along with her personal faith, dedication, and commitment) have provided a frame work from which she operates in all her private sessions, classes, and in life.  Her teaching style is eclectic, as she meets people where they are at in the moment.  Her intention is to offer quality, experiential classes that provide insight into movement, along with practical life applications, refreshment, empowerment and inspiration.  

     Sharing the gift of movement is her passion, and time spent with others moving, breathing and just being brings her great joy.  

Accreditation(s):

- Integrative Amrit Method RYT-500
- Certified IAM Advanced Yoga Nidra

     Facilitator and Yoga Therapist
- Certified Foundation Training Instructor
- Certified REWIND Gold Yoga Instructor
- Certified BOOTSTRAP ​Stress Specialist/Instructor
- Yoga for PTSD
- RYT 200

Jennie Leetham

     Jennie has practiced yoga for over 20 years and obtained her 200-hr RYT certification where she learned a variety of yoga styles while honoring the traditions and history of yoga. 

     Jennie is safety focused for her students, bringing detailed attention to alignment and form in her classes, while working with her students to grow their own practice. 

     She loves animals and the outdoors. Teaching goat yoga continues to be a wonderful experience bringing the benefits of human and animal interaction into the world of yoga.

     She practices a variety of yoga styles, everything from Ashtanga to Nidra. Usually, you will find her in an Ashtanga Led Primary Series or a hot set sequence, with an occasional yin or flow class. 

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Denise Davidson

     Denise Davidson is a healer and an empowering and inspiring yoga teacher. She was born and raised in Chicago and currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband and two teenage children.
    Denise has been teaching yoga for 15 years and is certified at the 500 level. Denise has serviced health clubs, yoga studios, wellness centers, mental health facilities and has shared her passion these past few years with those in treatment recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. 

     “I really had to come to terms with how important it is for me to follow my heart, my intuition and to honor the yoga lineage,” Denise says. “When I moved to Arizona, it seemed the only yoga there was was power and hot. I began seeing how distorted yoga was getting in our western culture and that felt like a very unauthentic path for me to be on and follow as a student and as a teacher. I knew I had to do something different.
    "I come from a background of Bhakti, Tantra, Hatha, and Kundalini; not limited to just one belief system or way, and I incorporate all these styles in my teachings and in my own practice," she says.
    Denise is grateful to have studied under world acclaimed Los Angeles based teacher, healer and spiritual activist, Saul David Raye. "I owe everything I am and have become to him." He is a brilliant human being and teaches how to live solely from the heart and human spirit. I’m here to encourage and teach others to do the same.”
    These sacred moments and what we experience through our journey are the pathways to remind us who we are and why we are here. "I just allow myself to show up," Denise says, "and the rest just flows through me. I'm here as a guide, everything I say is a suggestion and as I continue to teach, I’m still doing my own inner work."

Veda Spidle

     Veda Spidle was born in Lithuania and at a young age immigrated to the United States with her family. Since childhood, she has been surrounded by art, yoga, meditation, and spirituality in her own home through her parents’ daily practices. These influences led her to pursue a B.A. in Interior Design and later, to live abroad to teach English in South Korea, where she met her husband. Her experience there gave her a foundation for connecting to students, making learning fun, and expanding her perspective of life.

     Upon completing her work in South Korea, she and her husband moved to Arizona where the opportunity to blend her love of yoga with her passion for teaching presented itself. With the support of her family, friends, mentors, and students, Veda has completed over 800 hours of yoga teacher training and has taught over 2,000 hours. She continues as a life-long learner to expand her knowledge of yoga and related sciences by attending additional trainings, workshops, mentorships, and self-study.

     Veda’s versatility enables her to teach people of all ages and ability levels, and she specializes in using yoga to help individuals find relief from physical, mental, and emotional pain. She aspires to continue sharing her love of yoga, meditation, health, and life with others, and, most importantly, hopes to teach people to have self-compassion through yoga!

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