As a child, I always knew I wanted to help people heal. In college, with limited knowledge about complimentary healing modalities I studied to become a doctor. After nearly completeling a Master's Degree in Medical Sciences I knew becoming a doctor was not the path for me. I walked away from that program with a strong knowing that there was something deeper calling me but still unsure of what it was. Although I had dabbled in yoga thoughout high school, college and even took yoga as a course in graduate school it took me years to start a regular yoga practice. Once I discovered hot yoga I became hooked. It was everything I needed physically, mentally and spiritually at the time. With regular yoga my body began to heal from aches and pains from years of running and playing competitive sports. I easily shed that "extra 10lbs" that I had gained after college. I also started to notice I was happier, living more authentically and it just felt right. Yoga has healed and enhanced every aspect of my life. It is my deepest joy to bring to you this tremendously healing practice that has existed for thousands of years. It is my hope that yoga will enrich your life in ways beyond what you can imagine - as it has for me.
Formally, I have over 400 hours of training including a 200hr Vinyasa teacher training, Prenatal Yoga, Yin Yoga and Kids Yoga. My passion for teaching people to heal themselves is also expressed through my love of food and I am also Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Additionally, I have studied the healing arts of Thai Yoga Massage and I am an Advanced Level Theta Healing Practitioner.
My dream in creating Chi Yoga is that it be a sanctuary of healing and transformation. I look forward to seeing you radiate and live vibrantly!
I found yoga in my mid-teens, drawn in by the mental and physical peace it offered me. There was no doubt in my mind that I would one day attend a teacher training program so that I could share it's benefits with others. I am a 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher, have completed Yin Yoga training and am working towards my 500-hr certification. My passion lies in all aspects of yoga's therapeutic benefits and my continuing education is focused in that vein.
I began my yoga journey in 2000 at the Tree House in Tampa. I have been teaching since 2002. John Friend/Desire Rumbaugh, Anusara, Karin Stephan, Iyengar, and Bob Smith, Hatha, have been my strongest influences. I teach a mix of Ashtanga, Ansuara, and Iyengar, one could call it “mutt” or 31 flavors of yoga.
Michelle has experience working in children's homes and shelters across the globe. Her travels have brought her to places including : Ghana, Africa; Rabat, Morocco; Hyderabad, India: Thailand and many more. After discovering her love for yoga, she decided that she wanted to share the peace she found with as many people as possible, starting in her own community.She enrolled in the Pose by Pose Teacher Training Program led by Jennifer Leavy, in Tampa, FL. where she obtained her RYT-200 & RYT-500 Registered with Yoga Alliance. Michelle also received her Prenatal Certification with Pose by Pose Yoga.
Although she is a Hot Yoga enthusiast, Michelle enjoys exploring all types of yoga. She leads weekly Vinyasa Flow & Power Classes . She spends time teaching teen girls at the Joshua House Children's Home and women at the Spring Women's Shelter focusing on renewal and recovery. Michelle is a guest speaker at various teacher training programs in Florida. Specializing in Yoga for Back Pain Management, she leads workshops and private sessions that focus on a safe, comfortable, healing yoga practice.
She believes " It's Never too Late, It's Never too Bad and You're Never too Old or too Sick to Start from Scratch Once Again. " ( B. Choudhury )
Sara relocated to the area from Charlotte, NC. She is certified in both Power Vinyasa and Prenatal Yoga. As a Registered Dietitian, her interest in nutritional wellness and disease prevention has carried over into yoga. She is fascinated by the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits that a devoted yoga practice offers and finds great inspiration from reading a simple quote, learning something new, or being receptive to the gifts that life offers.
Kerin Monaco is a passion-filled 500 hour- RYT. After receiving her 200 hour certification from Namah Shivaya,(Dallas, Texas) in 2013, she decided to leave her job as a social worker and pursue her talent for teaching others the benefits of a yoga lifestyle. Since she began teaching, Kerin has accrued over 500 hours of leading diverse yogis. She loves to work with those who are eager to incorporate yoga philosophy into their everyday living. Kerin’s classes are vibrantly sequenced with opportunities to elevate the mind, body, spirit connection. She is an avid reader, dog lover, and mom.
Manasa is an RYT-500 certified instructor. Her journey with yoga began at the tender age of five and that was the birth of her passion for health and the human body. Manasa graduated from the University of South Florida Honors College with a major in Classics (Ancient Greek/Latin Studies) and a minor in Chemistry. She carries a Certificate in Ayurvedic Studies and is currently studying Aging and Neurosciences. Manasa has volunteered extensively with various non-profit organizations both locally and abroad in the areas of community development, disaster relief and food justice. Her travels to over 15 countries and passion for health and volunteer experiences continually reconnect her what it means to truly accept and love oneself and to make the world a healthier happier place by first beginning from within. Her enthusiasm for world cultures and medical sciences inspires her teach from a place of compassion and joy to foster self-exploration, self-acceptance and unconditional love. Manasa also holds certificates in Yin Yoga, Prenatal with Jacci Gruninger, and Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra with Jennifer Reis and has studied with various teachers including Karin Stephan, Larissa Carlson and Tim Feldmann.
Verena is a Florida native originally from Clearwater, Florida. She has always had a love for the outdoors and nature. She began practicing yoga while practicing 5 years of physical Therapy Technician work at an Outpatient sports and Rehab Clinic. She immiediately fell in love with not only the physical practice of yoga, but also the philosophy aspect. She decided to pursue the study of Hatha yoga. She finished her 200 hour certificate and is currently working on her 500 hour training. Her goal in teaching is to guide others to find their inner peace and happiness through the practice of yoga. She believes that yoga has the ability to transform all aspects of a persons life including mind, body, and spirit. Her classes focus on expanding the breath, core strength, and balancing muscle tone and flexibility through creative sequencing.
Wanda Vargas is a 200-hour RYT Yoga Instructor as well as a Certified Kids Yoga Instructor through Kidding Around Yoga. She completed her Hatha Yoga Teacher Training program with The Lotus Pond in Tampa, FL. Wanda started dancing ballet at the age of 9 in San Juan, PR. One of her dreams was to work at Walt Disney World and in 1996 that dream became a reality. For the next 8 years she performed in various shows, parades, and events throughout the parks. In 2000, she began teaching preschoolers and elementary age school children ballet, jazz, and tap. It wasn't until she got into a car accident a few years ago that she began doing yoga on a daily basis to heal her back injury and saw all the amazing changes not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Her passion has always been working with kids and she uses her experience and creativity to make yoga a playful experience for kids, while still teaching them traditional poses, meditation and breathing techniques.
Kaya started practicing yoga in 2005. She immediately fell in love with the “dance” of yoga, and knew early on in her practice she wanted to teach. After four years of practicing Bikram and Vinyasa flow in Tampa, she took her studies to the east coast of Florida, getting her 200 hour teacher training certification with Didier Razon of Two Suns Rising in Jacksonville. She has since deepened her teaching practice to include aerial yoga silks, kid’s yoga, aqua yoga, prenatal yoga, and paddleboard yoga. Her certifications have allowed her to touch many lives and form friendships whose bonds are as close as family. “Everyone assumes my passion lies with yoga, but if I’m honest with myself, it is the Teaching I love. Helping someone find what I found on the mat, that makes my day. Everyday.”
Melissa began her personal journey of yoga back in 2009, at first moving along with TV programs after school such as “Yoga for Life” with Kurt Johnson. From there, she felt compelled to take her practice to a new level, and so sought out gym classes, which had her yearning for more yet; enter Chi Yoga Studio, Melissa’s first experience in a studio setting, surrounded by like-minded people who were passionate about aiding in their -and her own- personal growth. Fast forward several years, Melissa has since given birth to her first baby girl, and has completed a 200-hour teacher training program at the Lotus Pond in Tampa.
Her journey to motherhood was met with emotional ups and downs, including postpartum depression/anxiety. Yoga helped tremendously, and more than anything, having a supportive community is what helped see her through to the end of the tunnel. Melissa now has a deep passion for supporting the underserved community of local mothers, and is in the process of becoming a Certified Birth Doula and Lactation Counselor to combine with her yoga teachings. She also aspires to become a Prenatal Registered Yoga Teacher in the near future. Melissa believes that one is always a student first and foremost, and is humbled and honored to share her knowledge with anyone willing to show up.
“When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” –Maya Angelou