Our Amazing Tribe

Amy Tortorella

A charming Southern-Belle, Amy hails from North Carolina where her passion for yoga was ignited nearly 15 years ago. Her classes are a playful experiment of Flowing Vinyasa, Alignment based Anusara cues,  and gentle, slow moving Yin postures. She has trained with Lila Rasa Brown of Rasa Yoga in Durham, Raleigh, and Vancouver and follows closely another favorite instructor Elena Brower. She offers a fun and loving environment where students can feel empowered by challenging themselves in a safe and skillful way while feeling connected to the mind, body, and most importantly, the heart. Her classes touch on yogic myths and philosophy to create a rich, profound, and soulful experience both on and off the mat. Join Amy as she leads retreats with us around the globe this year. You will be so glad you did!

Andrea Manitsas

Andrea (affectionately called “Anj”) is known for her bhakti-filled classes with a whole lotta soul and fierce flow. She warmly invites students on a sacred journey through her unique expression of the Vinyasa flow that is dreamy and dancey while also being smart and intentional. Recognized as a Lululemon ambassador in Berkeley, California, her classes have become synonymous with her love of chanting and her want for connectedness.

She has been learning from the best for over a decade. From the sweet song she learned while chanting with Jai Uttal to the cosmic dance of her Laughing Lotus teacher Jasmine Tarkeshi, from the sumptuous flow she fell for with Janet Stone to the intelligent alignment of Jason Crandell, Anj connects an ever-growing well of experience with impressive music and book libraries to inspire bodies to move and minds to still.

Heather Berg

Heather Berg, E-RYT, has been a yoga practitioner since1990 where, as a college student, she took her first “Intro to Sun Salutations” at NYU. She practiced many yoga traditions over her 20 plus years, but it wasn’t until her yoga training with Leslie Glickman, where she was formally trained in Vinyasa Krama (intelligent sequencing designed with a specific intention) did she find her true calling.

Heather’s passion is to share her enthusiasm of yoga and to create a positive experience for her students. Her mission is an approach to meet the needs of individuals as well as to teach at a deeper level beyond the postures. She is not one particular style focused; she is most interested in teaching others to be discerning practitioners who can then integrate information for themselves. This way, Heather’s students will truly learn to practice yoga as a way of life that breathes differently in every body. Heather’s precisely cued invigorating Vinyasa classes focus on cultivating breath and body awareness while her Yin classes relax both the body and mind taking practitioners to a deeper level of sensitivity and stillness, both inside and out.

Hillary Acer

As an athlete competing in dance, volleyball and endurance running, Hillary has been studying anatomy and kinesiology for many years. First exposed to yoga as a form of cross-training, she began taking classes skeptically, like many new yoga students, enjoying the challenge in physical asanas, the balance of strength and flexibility, and the relief a quiet mind brought her. With the guidance of several beloved teachers like Annie Carpenter and Jason Crandell, she realized that yoga was changing the way she looked at much of her life. It was changing the way she breathed in stressful situations, the way she connected with people, and the fundamental way she approached each day – not as one to check off the list, but instead as one to enjoy, to engage with, and to experience fully even for its “ups” and “downs.”

Hillary’s classes draw from intelligent, alignment-based, and intuitive sequences that invite students to explore balance, concentration, and calm, amidst any challenge. She encourages all bodies and minds including injured, training, and recreational athletes, overworked city slickers, and everyday folks, to step onto the mat, get curious, and move, embracing the philosophy that yoga can benefit everyone in some way, big or small.

Jen Burk Reynolds

Jen has been practicing yoga for over two decades and has had the opportunity to study with many wonderful teachers over the years. She has been perhaps most deeply influenced by her studies at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, where she completed a Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation teacher training in 2008. Jen deeply cherishes the silence and stillness she first discovered at Spirit Rock and continues to experience there.

She has been teaching yoga since 2004 and most recently completed a 500 hour teacher training through YogaWorks in 2012 and a Yin/Yang teacher training with Sarah Powers in 2015. She wholeheartedly believes in the power of yoga and encourages her students to find grace and ease in the present moment and to meet whatever arises with kindness. When not practicing or teaching yoga, you’ll find Jen humbly and often joyfully traversing the paths of motherhood and midlife in Marin County, California.

Kat Cynewski

Kat’s classes are based on a fun and intelligent flow while paying close attention to safe alignment and sequencing. First being drawn to yoga as a form of physical exercise in 2011, Kat quickly fell in love with the practice and how it transformed her life physically and emotionally through self healing. She aims to help students of all levels challenge and deepen their own practice while focusing on balancing the body, mind and spirit both on and off the mat.​

Kat received her 200 hour training at Wellheart Yoga Maine and went on to receive an extended 50 hours of training in Power Vinyasa at Corepower Yoga Boston and 100 hours of training in Yoga Therapy at YogaWorks Boston. Most recently, Kat completed her 500 hour advanced Vinyasa Yoga teacher training in Goa, India under the amazing international teaching staff at Sampoorna Yoga.

Off the mat she is passionate about snuggling her French Bulldog Winston, traveling, and searching for her next adventure.

Katalina Hancock

Soon after her first experience on the mat, Katalina found herself immersed in a life-long love affair with Yoga and remains enamored by the power of the mind/body connection and profound effects of the practice. A native of Paris (Kentucky) Katalina’s lust for life and adventurous free-spirit led her on a ten year journey around the world, and deep within herself. Living the nomadic life, teaching and sharing yoga, her practice and her mat became her home. Katalina received her 500 HR+ advanced certification in interdisciplinary yoga from the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. She is also a Pilates instructor and practitioner of Esalen™ massage, Pranassage and Reiki.

She brings 9 years of teaching experience to the mat and combines a variety of styles and disciplines. She’s a devoted practitioner of Yin Yoga and gratitude as a daily meditation. Katalina creates the space to freely explore. Focusing on the relationship between breath and movement through a strong and energetic vinyasa flow, intended to empower and center the mind, and open and ground the body. Creatively and fluidly moving from deep, alignment based static postures through graceful balance, and into stillness, we are invited to have our own unique experience on the mat while developing courage, self-awareness and clarity. Katalina encourages students to challenge themselves, while learning to respectfully stay honest to the body and to become one’s own best teacher. Curiosity, a playful attitude, and a sense of humor are highly encouraged.

Laurie Greene

Laurie Greene, PdD, E-RYT, YBR.  A PhD in anthropology, Laurie has practiced yoga since age 15, having grown up in a “yoga family”.  Since then yoga has become her healthy addiction.  Always an enthusiastic student, Laurie combines her training in a variety of classical ‘hatha’ traditions, bringing insights and techniques from all these to her eclectic teaching and practice.

Training extensively in the Iyengar tradition, emphasis is on safety, technique and proper alignment so that students will get the greatest benefits from their practice and easily experience the joy that yoga affords every fitness level.  Laurie is also certified in Vinyasa flow and is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an ‘experienced teacher’ and trainer.  Her continuing exploration of classical and newer interpretations of Ashtanga Vinyasa have led her to study with many amazing teachers and to all of them she is forever grateful.

Having completed her 500 hour certification with the wonderful Edward Clark and Elizabeth Connelly, Laurie’s passion lies in blending many styles into a practice that is instructive, creative, and fun.  Her masterful adjustments will change your practice!

Monique Haan

Monique’s background as a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist naturally informs the language of her yoga teaching. Her classes are held with a therapeutic lens, supporting the integration of body, heart and mind. On the mat approaches include yin yoga, mindful flow, meditation and pranayama. Monique believes the yoga practice is an opportunity to align with the natural intelligence of our bodies, and connect to our deepest insight and truth. Monique completed her 500-hour teacher training at Yoga Tree in San Francisco in 2010, where she continued to study privately with Dina Amsterdam, founder of InnerYoga. Monique teaches public classes and workshops in Marin County, has a private psychotherapy practice in San Francisco and also works as a substance abuse counselor for teens. She continues to be inspired by the beautiful healing that merging yoga and psychology can bring.

Sherry Sidoti

Sherry’s vision is to provide a warm and welcoming environment for the teachings of yoga to find us in our everyday lives, to support a stronger and inclusive community, where we learn to honor and heal ourselves and our beautiful natural world around us, and mostly to be curious about and enjoy this journey called life in the process! She returns people to their inner earth and speaks not only to the person, but to the soul within. She has a strong desire to “go there”, and lovingly urges others to go with her. Sherry believes greatly in the ancient teachings of yoga and how they seamlessly apply to modern living, our relationships and everyday life; and that the science of yoga in its fullness is a sacred path for healing, harmony and balance.

Sherry teaches a soulful, fluid and dynamic practice linking breath to movement, stacking poses from basic to more complex, moving towards balance between active and receptive selves, and seeking compassion, truth, and acceptance in body mind and spirit. Sherry has more than 2500 Yoga Training hours with specialty certifications in Atma Holistic Yoga, Yin, Forrest, Prenatal/PostNatal, Sivananda, Vinyasa/Hatha, Yoga for Healing Trauma, Yoga Psychology and Svaroopa Yoga and over 7,000 hours of yoga teaching experience. She gives thanks to her most influential yoga & spiritual teacher, Saul David Raye, with whom she guest teaches in his teacher training and immersions. She has extensively studied Shamanism and Mayan Mysticism in Mexico and Guatemala with Miguel Angel Vergara. She is most devoted to her greatest teacher, her son Miles, whose love, sensitivity, sense of humor, and wisdom illuminates her path.

Tara Jade Nichols

Tara has been teaching yoga since 2003 in Northern California, Asheville, North Carolina, and now in Tulum and beyond. She blends a fluid Vinyasa practice that is creative and playful, while allowing the spontaneous flow of intuitive movement. Tara has studied with world renown teachers such as Shiva Rea, Sean Corne, and Janet Stone. Her powerful and inspirational classes pulse with life filling the soul with sacred movement and restoring vitality to the breath. She invites students to experience the wave of creation through exploring the self with her Dynamic Vinyasa Flow classes.

Tara is also a powerful Astrological and Tarot card intuitive. Her passion is to help individuals gain a strong awareness of their soul’s path using intuitive abilities and Astrological insights. She sets the groundwork for seeing where their karma or past life experiences have served and is a guide in helping her students realize a clear life-path, reaching for dreams, and living their highest potential. Extended sessions with Tara are also possible during free time on retreat.

Wendy Martin

Native to Huntsville, Ontario where she owns Sacred Breath Yoga studio,  Wendy’s teaching style is intimate and inclusive leaving you with an invitation to begin where you are in your body and allow the journey to unravel from the inside out. She weaves a tapestry of practical guidance, subtle details and deep insight so that we all may access a pathway to self discovery unique to ourselves.

Wendy is an RYT 500+ with 12 years of teaching experience. She follows the roots of the Hatha Yoga tradition yet continues to spin an eclectic web of various styles and teaching modalities into her classes. These teachings have been drawn from, the sensitive and body specific teaching of yoga therapy, to the uplifting and spirited style of Prana flow yoga, the inspired method created by Shiva Rea. When we create a yoga practice a different life begins and the body expresses an aliveness never felt before.This attitude inspires her teaching, inviting us all to uncover and reach continually for our most alive route to life.

Creative Artists

Darcy Dawn

Darcy Vasudev

henna lounge

Darcy, creator of Henna Lounge, is one of the most influential henna artists in her field, with over 14 years of professional experience and an international following. Known for her precise and artistic designs that mix traditional and contemporary motifs, Darcy’s iconic designs often “go viral” on Pinterest and Instagram. She specializes in destination wedding mehndi and international events in Mexico, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Europe.

Her henna artwork has been featured in an impressive array of publications and she has taught her techniques at the world’s largest henna conference, as well as smaller conferences around the world. Creativity comes out of every pore on this one and our collaboration with Darcy will be one for the books.

Dawn Dafgek


Bone is a contemporary lifestyle brand based in Los Angeles and specializing in vintage and handmade hats, as well as high-quality, handcrafted jewelry designs using pavé diamonds, fine metals, and semiprecious stones. Each piece of the line reflects the accessible yet elevated style of creator Dawn Dafgek.

Dawn is a New Jersey native who moved to CA over 13 years ago, chasing the siren call of better weather after finishing her degree at FIT in New York. She started her fashion career working in wholesale for a clothing line, where she learned the ins and outs of merchandising and design, before going on to be a buyer for a boutique in Manhattan Beach. It was during her time as a buyer that she began designing and crafting her own jewelry and hats, first for herself and then for others.

After receiving more and more requests to craft custom designs for friends and clients alike, Dawn realized she was on to something and got busy creating her first collection. Bone now includes a full-fledged line of necklaces, chokers, and earrings that can be worn solo or layered to your heart’s desire, as well as a fun and eclectic assortment of hats to suit any mood – from playfully paint-splattered to spiked to vibrantly colored, there’s a hat for everyone!

Dawn’s frequent global travels inspire her and souvenirs picked up along the way are woven into her designs, which are infused with her personality – a mix of East Coast edge with a touch of West Coast bohemian. She knows better than anyone that the modern woman is complex – she’s got a lot going on, and she can’t be easily defined. This is where Bone really stands out, in that the simplicity and versatility of the pieces allow you to play with many different looks and can suit a range of moods and styles.

The guiding force behind Bone has always been to support and inspire women to be independent and go after their dreams. Having been raised by a single mom and experiencing strong female connections throughout her life, empowering women is a cause close to Dawn’s heart and she recognizes fashion as a powerful agent in helping women access their inner strength and confidence.

Pilates Instructors


Adele Synman

Adele hails from Sydney, Australia where she has been a Pilates practitioner since 2003 and has been practicing for more than 16 years. She discovered the strengthening benefits both mentally and physically of the practice while healing her own personal injury many years ago. Pilates was instrumental in her rehabilitation and had such a significant impact on her body that she decided to go back and study to share her love of this healing practice with the world. She received her Diploma of Professional Pilates from Pilates International Training Centre in Sydney, an internationally recognized qualification and was then chosen from her class to work for the Pilates International studio instructing classes alongside her teachers. This gave her a solid foundation and continued education working with all of the Pilates apparatus as well as in Matt work.

Adele has taught in many well-known studios in Sydney as well as having private clients and running her own fully equipped boutique studio Anatomic Pilates on Maroubra Beach, Sydney before she decided to come across the globe and make Tulum her home. Now she lives and teaches here both publicaly and privately and we are thrilled to have her along leading our first Pilates & SUP retreat here in paradise!


Christina Sofi

Christina Thomas

In 2008 Christina left her fancy, big city Interior Design career to follow her heart in the Caribbean of Tulum, Mexico. After many amazing (and bumpy) serendipitous turns she has founded Utopia Guesthouse & Yoga Studio, Yoga Adventures Tulum & Yoga Adventures Worldwide offering affordable retreats and vacations in some of the world’s most interesting locations.

Her passion for yoga began more than 20 years ago in a college Kundalini course. Since then she has studied and practiced with many well-known masters and aspiring ones. She acquired her RYT-200 in 2012 from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Yoga Studies with a focus on Iyengar, Ashtanga, and Viniyoga traditions. Although she greatly enjoys leading asana practices she prefers to be on the mat as a student. Hence, she is the creator and host during these specialty retreats and for those in Tulum throughout the year.

She has been planning and hosting retreats around the world since 2012 and traveling on her own since she was 5 years old. Each destination she chooses holds a special place in her heart. Join us to find out why!

Sofia Von Linden

A world traveler from a young age, Sofi originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, has explored the globe with family and friends from East to West, and North to South. She has been hosting retreats with Yoga Adventures Worldwide since 2014 where she effortlessly supported Utopia Guesthouse & Yoga Studio in Tulum and its guests for two years. Sofi was our obvious choice to expand the vision and lead our worldwide retreats.

You will get to know her online as you begin to book and plan your retreat and will also be on-sight for most retreats. She works very closely with Christina to make our adventures as exciting as ever. We know…best job ever!