Our Amazing Tribe

Our incredible yoga teachers, pilates instructors, creative types, and hostesses have been hand selected to lead our retreats around the globe. Each one offers their unique interpretation of yoga and its forms of expression. Here at Yoga & Adventures Worldwide, we believe that it’s ALL yoga hence our creative retreats incorporating art and yoga together. Our yoga teacher trainings offer new teachers a chance to earn their 200-hour training as well as seasoned yoga teachers to earn advanced teaching certificates in 60-hour increments. No matter which teacher or retreat you choose we are certain you will fall in love with our leaders just as we have!

Browse our tribe by section:

Yoga Teachers Artsy Types Pilates Instructors Hostess

Andrea Igar

Andrea has been training in the Hatha yoga tradition for the past 10 years with world-renowned instructors from Oaxaca to San Francisco to India. She guides meditation workshops, leads heartfelt jungle practices daily in Tulum and incorporates self-guided healing and energy balancing into her classes. She offers students the opportunity to connect and challenge themselves and to lose the fear of being still, that in stillness we connect and learn to listen to ourselves.

Through conscious movement, she encourages her students to engage physically, emotionally, mentally and energetically to experience themselves as a whole. Asking the question of their hearts, ‘what am I afraid of?’ The heart always knows the answer and from there we can start to heal and move through the world with confidence, conviction, and love.

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.

Christina Thomas

Christina has been practicing yoga for nearly 25 years starting in college with a profound Hatha and Kundalini base. Since then she has been studying and training with the Western yoga community’s most influential teachers and aspiring ones in workshops, teacher trainings, retreats and classes with more hours than she cares to count under her belt. Paying special attention to alignment and mindful sequencing, her classes are a blend of Vinyasa movement and Iyengar poses with sprinkles of insight along the way. Journaling, self-reflection, and meditation round out her style.

Originally from North Carolina, she worked as a project manager and Interior Designer for some fancy design firms in New York City where she lived for nearly a decade. After a serendipitous chain of events, she moved herself to Tulum, Mexico where she has been living for the past 10 years and counting. While in Tulum she created and built a yoga studio and a yoga retreat center both by the name of Utopia Tulum oceanfront that she ran for 6 years all the while organizing and running retreats in both locations as well as around the world. With a break from teaching yoga while her son was small, she focused on growing Yoga & Adventures Worldwide and is now back on the mat to teach a few retreats during the year that she has worked hard to create. She believes we all have something profound to offer one another and that these retreats attract exactly the right people at exactly the right time to come together in a spontaneous community to learn and grow together.

Emma Saal

Emma is the owner of Epic Yoga DC in Washington where she fulfilled a lifelong dream of sharing yoga with others. Her intention is to create a cheerful and safe atmosphere, where she can share her love, passion, and knowledge of yoga, martial arts and dance with those that choose to step onto their mats and into themselves with her at the helm.

Her classes are sweaty, challenging and accessible, intelligently blending a Vinyasa flowing class with clear verbal and visual execution of the body’s foundation and healthy alignment; always leaving time to spoil the body with yummy stretches, and a deep restorative savasana. Her positive energy encourages her students to cultivate a practice that is personal and nourishing while exploring their edge. Her laid-back vibe allows one to listen to their inner-teacher learning to accept from a place of gratitude and love. She believes the body has profound inner intelligence that we access during yoga practice to bring us self-awareness and comprehension that ultimately reveals our true core.

Emma feels that stepping onto the yoga mat can be grounding. It challenges us and allows us to soften so that when stepping off the mat, we are lighter. We then can approach life with more ease, slow down and remain present. When we breathe better, we feel better. She believes that life is about evolution and transition, and how we respond.

Erika van Gemeren

Erika is a full-time yoga teacher based in San Francisco, California whose goal is to inspire and instill her passion for yoga and its transformative effects on those students who enter her path. She has been practicing since 1999 and first studied Ashtanga Yoga with Tim Thompson and Laura Camp at Monkey Yoga Shala in Oakland, CA. Her enchantment with the Vinyasa flow style brought her back to her dance roots and taking classes with Janet Stone, Elise Lorimer, and Rusty Wells inspired her to become a teacher. She completed Yoga Tree’s 200-hour teacher training in 2007, then went on to extensively train with Janet Stone, completing her 500-hour program where she continues to develop her yoga style.

Erika teaches a sweaty, soulful, and nurturing Vinyasa Bhakti Flow class where she incorporates chanting and devotional practices which she believes brings students deeper into their hearts, minds, and bodies while gently reminding them to live from their hearts and to dance like no one is watching.

Heather Berg

Heather Berg, E-RYT, has been a yoga practitioner since 1990 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.

Jessica Apo

Jess is a yogi, a momma, and a free spirit. She has a passion for movement & stillness alike, yoga philosophy, and raising vibration. Jess began her journey into teaching almost 20 years ago where she spent the first part of her adult life teaching elementary school. Though she loved it, her spirit ached for something else. She decided to try out a yoga class for stress management and immediately knew that she wanted to pursue a career teaching yoga. That summer she completed a 200-hour intensive teacher training with YogaWorks and never looked back. Following that, she completed a Prenatal Teacher Training with Pranakriya and a 300-hour teacher training with ISHTA yoga. The last ten years have been spent sharing her passion for yoga. Jess teaches a variety of classes ranging from Vinyasa, Prenatal, Restorative, & meditation. She leads yoga teacher trainings at both the 200 & 300-hour level and nothing feeds her soul more than being a part of the trainee’s journey into yoga.

Her free spirit loves to travel and take yoga outdoors. When we allow ourselves to connect to our source, we tune into our inner wisdom, intuition, and divine heart guidance. It is her belief that love is at the center of all beings.

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.

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, the 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 has 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!

Naomi Markle

Yoga found Naomi while recovering from a traumatic bike accident years ago. It was on the mat that she found ease, healing, and gratitude for her body, however it showed up that day. This reminded her how powerful we all are and what we are capable of physically, emotionally, and mentally when we apply the sciences of yoga to our lives. In her classes, she offers the opportunity for students to find their own balance by nurturing the body and mind while creating a space to connect to inner power, boundaries, and deep listening. Her belief is that yoga is a way for us all to move away from fear, judgment, and comparison towards compassion, connection, and gratitude.

She loves incorporating healing adjustments and assists to help deepen the practice under the mentorship of Pete Guinosso at Yoga Tree in Berkeley and Michelle Cordero at Flying Yoga in Oakland. She completed the ‘Lighting the Path’ 200-hour training (RYT) with Pete Guinosso in March 2015 in a Forrest Yoga Inspired Vinyasa Flow and is currently assisting Pete’s LTP 200 hour training at Yoga Tree in Berkeley.

Natasha Walters

Natasha is an introvert that loves being surrounded by yoga adventurers. She combines her knowledge of Yoga and Ayurveda to design experiences that deeply nourish and restore the body and mind. Fun, adventurous, relaxing, refreshing, cleansing, nourishing, casual, joyful, serene. Her retreats are the perfect opportunity to take a leap into the unknown, and connect with the great wisdom gained from letting go. She believes when you allow yourself the gift of retreat, everyday life becomes more refreshing!

Natasha completed 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Programs through Corepower Yoga and Yogaview in Chicago, Illinois. She administered an Affiliate 200 Hour Teacher Training Program with Rolf Gates, world-renowned yoga teacher and author of “Meditations from the Mat”. Natasha also trained with Laura Kupperman to teach yoga for cancer. She is currently a 500 RYT+ and is in the final stages of her Yoga Therapy diploma through Pranayoga Institute.

She combines her knowledge of yoga, Ayurveda and holistic nutrition to meet her yoga students and nutrition clients where they are, with compassion and understanding. She is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and believes that each person is uniquely individual, and beautiful.

Her yoga classes weave breath, movement, and base lines together in a beautiful wave.  This wave that moves through like a tsunami or glacier digging up the jewels that have been buried in the soul that are meant only for the seeker to find. This is the yoga that she seeks and the life that she lives. Awakening. Opening. Alive.

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 the 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 illuminate her path.

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.

Willis Johnston

Willis Johnston, an Oklahoma native, has made cities such as New York and Las Vegas his home, performing as a dancer at the Metropolitan Opera and Cirque du Soleil. Through the stressful and sometimes painful life as a dancer, Willis found yoga to be the most beneficial compliment, both mentally and physically, to dance. His initial relationship with yoga has deepened throughout his practice. Willis believes wholeheartedly in yoga’s transformative nature and respects the power that yoga possesses to keep one grounded, focused, accountable, and aware of even the smallest moments on and off the mat. He has been practicing seriously for 11 years and became a 200-hour RYT through Davanna Yoga in 2014 under the incomparable teachings of one of his biggest influences, Anna Laurita. In 2016, Willis completed 300-hours of training with the world renowned teacher Noah Mazé, making him and ERYT 500.

Willis’ philosophy is that yoga is life and life is yoga–you can learn a lot about yourself and others by regularly coming to your mat. He believes the practice and teachings of yoga allow us to contribute to the greater good by providing us deeper resources of presence, compassion, and patience. His teaching style is fun and creative with a great focus on the movement/breath connection. To Willis, transitions can be just as important as the postures, so prepare to feel the beauty in the “in-betweens”—for life is about the journey and not the destination. Come flow, feel, and go deeper into your own yoga practice in a supportive, inclusive environment. While Willis is a fan of travel, he considers his home to be in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. You can find him there most of the year leading yoga, getting involved in the community, and walking his dog Luna on the beach. Hootie-Hoo!

Artsy Types

Aimee Darcy Dawn

Aimee Martinez

Aimee is a long time fan and world traveler with Y&AWW and was inspired to support Cuban artists while on a retreat with us in Havana many years ago. Over the past two years, she has developed relationships with many important working Cuban artists and gallery owners in Havana to bring support to them from afar with supplies, publicity, and connections. She has orchestrated art openings featuring her favorite artists from the island in West Hollywood, California and has organized acquisition trips to Havana for art collectors and friends. We are thrilled to be collaborating with her and her team of incredibly talented artists on this amazing Yoga + ART retreat on the ground in our favorite land.

Darcy Vasudev

henna lounge

Darcy, the 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 x DAWN

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

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!


HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST

Christina Dani 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!

Daniela Savalli

Dani has been producing events from Argentina to Spain for the past 10 years and was our obvious choice to host retreats in Europe, where she is based throughout the year. A longtime travel fan, yogi, and kindred spirit we are thrilled to have her onboard. Her sweet personality and wit won us over years ago when we met in Tulum and she is the perfect addition to our Y&AWW team!  Look out for Dani in Morocco and beyond in the coming year.

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!