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!

Alison Burke

Alison is a huge believer that movement is medicine, that a focus on moving, aligning and challenging the physical body and connecting breath to movement will translate to changes in the subtle (energetic) body. She believes that quieting the mind can potentially lead to a full transformation of the Self. Alison credits yoga to helping her overcome many obstacles and challenges in life.

Alison’s yoga classes offer a fun balance of challenging, sweaty Vinyasa. She focuses on anatomical precision, mindfulness and restoration for a total body, mind and soul experience. She strives to guide students on their paths to their highest potential.

She is a wellness entrepreneur who teaches vinyasa yoga and owns a chain of organic markets in New York.

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.

Daniele Gates

Daniele Gates is a 16-year educator from New York City. Her passion for yoga and mindfulness was prompted by teacher burnout and a need for a more focused self-care routine. She has completed over 700 hours of training over the last five years and in 2018 founded Yinsa, a yoga and Ayurvedic wellness company aiming to make yoga and Ayurveda mainstream and help underserved communities build self-care practices. Daniele is also an anatomy trainer at Breathe for Change, a yoga teacher training program, and has trained hundreds of new yoga teachers who now have the tools to bring yoga back to their classroom. Daniele’s passion for adventure, the ocean, astrology and spiritual healing have prompted her to lead retreats, workshops, and trainings around the globe.

Dawn Torti

Dawn enjoys the space and escape that yoga brings to everyday life. She has been practicing since 2003 and teaching professionally since 2005 and is a registered E-RYT-200 teacher with Yoga Alliance.

Before yoga touched her so deeply, she designed and sold satellite networks and has traveled to over 43 countries. Through her growing love of all things yoga; she left her corporate career in the dust in the Spring of 2006 and completed her 200 hour instruction at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC. Since moving back to her hometown in Florida in 2016, she has now devoted herself to teaching yoga locally, and enjoying her three adorable children who assist with her pursuit for living in the moment, and keep her inspired. She has trained under the following (but not exclusive to): Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee, Brian Kest, David Life, Rod Stryker, Kimberly Wilson, Seane Corne, David Swenson, Darren Main, Richard Freeman, Patricia Walden and Baron Baptiste to name a few.

A love of travel and finding new space across the world has translated itself in her yoga practice. She is simply a guide to finding new space and edge in each asana, and to opening up one’s yoga into a deep practice and connection. Dawn brings a fun modern edge to her classes; her love of teaching yoga emanates through her class and she includes happy music and flow to each class as well as challenging variations to the practice. She loves finding new ways to deepen asanas as well as individual modifications that might be needed depending on the day, hour, energy level, or edge that each yogi brings to the mat.

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 Germeren

Born to a Bolivian cardiologist father and a 3rd order Franciscan nun mother, Erika is no stranger to matters of the heart and spirit. She grew up in California, and has mindfully crafted a reverent teaching and healing practice that is an embodiment of years of yoga practice (ashtanga, vinyasa, and bhakti), shamanic and Priestess training, and more recently, accreditation with the Modern Mystery School. she continues to work with her root teacher, Janet Stone, as a mentor and facilitator.

Erika lives in Northern California just over the Golden Gate, and teaches internationally.

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.

Holly Twining

Holly became a 200 hour certified yoga teacher back in 2011 through the Namaste Institute training program. She teachers a wide variety of yoga classes from aerial and partner yoga to vinyasa flow and intermediate practices. She also leads kid’s yoga classes and is a certified foundations instructor through Color Me Yoga. Her teaching experience also includes SUP yoga and acro as well as training in Unnata Aerial Yoga with Michelle Dortignac. She has been inspired to weave her own unique sequencing by tying her various experiences together into her own special style. Holly finds inspiration in nature, her family, adventuring, and in many of her teachers including Sadie Nardini, Janet Stone, Terry Lacy, and Circus Yogis Kevin & Erin Maile O’Keefe.

Based in Maine, she has a yoga TV spot with ABC7/Fox Bangor to highlight her upcoming adventures and introduce viewers to different aspects of yoga. Her love of birding and nature, her laughter and positive attitude are all contagious. She plays tennis competitively and raises two boys which is a full contact sport as well most of the time!

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.

Karuna DiLibero

Yoga found Karuna right when she needed it as a tool to aleve her severe depression she suffered as a child and into adulthood. The practice offered her the tools to find happiness deep within and to transform her life. She commited in that moment to share this incredible practice with the world around her. She has been  formally trained in Ashtanga and Anusara Yoga, by such humble, knowledgeable, dedicated teachers, and have been passionately teaching and developing Yoga mastery for over two decades. In 2010, she completed the Prison Yoga Project Teacher Training with James Fox and also is one of the first 6 Yoga Instructors to train with Connected Warriors program to start a Yoga program for combat war veterans in Rhode Island.

She lived in Mysore, India studying pranayama, meditation, Sanskrit, Vedic chanting and Advaita Vedanta, and under the guidance of Guruji Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and the Jois family which deepened her understanding and practice of Ashtanga Yogasana. “One of my most memorable life experiences was living in an ashram on the Ganges River in India. It changed my life on a profound level because I then realized how everything I did had a subtle effect on me. This revelation changed the way I viewed the world, what I ate, and how I live. It planted seeds within me that are watered and nurtured daily through my own practice.”

Karuna has travelled the world, feeding her passion for exploration and adventure, seeking wisdom, deepening her personal sadhana (practice) and finding fulfillment in ritual, teaching international retreats, sharing the practice of Yoga, and it’s sister science of health and well being through Ayurveda. Now, she enjoys leading retreats in sacred places around the world where she believes it is so very important to connect with our environment and our inner selves.

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.

Leah Zaccaria

Leah Zaccaria has a passion for life and for sharing yoga with her fellow yogis. After leaving her Corporate America CPA life of 15 years behind, she went through a personal transformation and in that process found yoga which helped her see her life for what it was and what she wanted it to be. In 2009 she decided to take a huge leap of courage and open her own yoga studio in Seattle, Washington called hauteyoga Queen Anne. A booming success led to a 2nd location and her studying to become a yoga teacher herself through Alchemy of Yoga and Yoga Psychology with Ashley Turner and continuing education with power yoga instructors like Sadie Nardini. She has been teaching for the past 8 years and holds teacher and leadership trainings at Sendatsu Evolution, another one of her creations.

Wanting to share her story with those interested in listening she wrote and published her memoir, Seen which launched in October, 2018.  She is a woman on a mission to help others see themselves, see others and see the truth that lies within. Don’t miss out on this incredible retreat experience!

Maya Donovan

Maya began practicing yoga nearly a decade ago and has been teaching for the past 3 years both publicly and privately in the Los Angeles area. She has more than 350 hours of training in Yang styles of Yoga and Yin Yoga. She offers sound healing during her guided meditations and leads classes with a special combination of gentleness and strength.

Maya believes there is magic within us all and that yoga can be a space to discover the many ways to experience more peace and happiness imaginable. Her purpose is to share those pathways through her classes and retreats. Her ultimate goal and passion is to provide students with the tools to follow their own wisdom and heart so they are able to be their own best teacher on this journey of life.

She truthfully teaches from her compassionate heart, sharing inner wisdom as she leads a deeply nourishing Yoga Class, mindfully weaving a meaningful intentional theme throughout her seamless, smartly sequenced classes. Maya is receptive and truly cares for her students, setting a safe supportive space where students can drop deep into their bodies, creating an enriching experience.

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.

Sarah Waggener

Sarah has been dancing since she could walk, and fell in love with aerial arts and yoga a little over a decade ago. Since then, she’s completed a professional development program at the New England Center for Circus arts, a 200 hour teacher training with Richard Freeman, as well as his Advanced teacher training focusing on the correlation between yoga and Buddhism. She travelled to Mysore, India where she studied yoga with Sharath Jois, and has studied with several other advanced teachers such as Zöe Slatoff, Tim Feldman, Kino Macgregor and Sharmila Dessai. After spending a year assisting Zöe Slatoff at Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side in Manhattan, she moved to New Orleans where she started her own small studio which she strives to keep full of laughter, love and lightness. She continues to travel several times a year to Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side as a sub-teacher for Zöe as well as teach aerial classes to adults and children while performing regularly.

Sarah’s decade of experience with yoga as well as in circus arts, give her a wealth of insight into all different types of bodies as well as giving her class a sense of playfulness and fun. Sarah believes that yoga should be for all bodies, all age groups, and part of our daily lives on and off the mat. Breath and movement have such a tremendous power to heal and keep energy moving and flowing through the body and mind.

Have you always wanted to try aerial or have tried it enough to know you want more? This is a great opportunity for you to get in the air for the first time or expand on what you know, in a supportive environment with a knowledgeable teacher! We will work on aerial hammock, lyra, as well as silks during her Circus retreats. These classes will be a beginner/intermediate level, and Sarah will work with each person no matter the level of experience. Expand your aerial vocabulary, build stamina and strength, or just hang around and have a good time!

Sarah has been studying aerial silks and rope for 12 years, and teaching for the last six. She completed the professional development program as well as a residency program at the New England Center for Circus in Vermont, and has taught workshops and classes across the US, primarily in NYC and New Orleans. She works as an independent artist and has also been a part of several aerial productions that toured across the West Coast and beyond. She currently teaches at Fly Circus Space in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she regularly creates and performs.

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.

Artsy Types

Dawn

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.

Fitness Instructors

Ranier

Ranier Wood

Ranier is the owner of TEMPLE+TRIBE and the founder of the ‘Grace+Grit Barre Method’. She has been a dancer and artist all her life and a personal trainer and movement coach for the last 14 years. She founded T+T so she could have a place to workout the way she wanted to, paint, and hire all her friends.

‘Movement is my happy place. It keeps the crazy away, grounds me, and refreshes my perspective on the world. Every time. When I couldn’t find a method that worked the body the way I wanted to, I created my own. When I teach I come back to myself, grow, and, in general, have a gloriously fun time.’

Ranier studied corrective exercise, yoga, gyrotonics, and neuromuscular activation work with a particular fondness for body weight based movement forms that require focus and body consciousness. Join this epic retreat to get yourself moving and tighten up the body, mind, and soul!


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!