Class of 2017
2015-2017, COHORT THREE
Ana Maria RydellUniversity of Nevada – Las VegasBachelor of Arts in Education
At the urging of a friend, I took my first yoga class nearly twenty-five years ago. It awakened a sense of awe in the peace it produced in the midst of my busy life… Currently, I have an independent yoga/study practice at home, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, a Yoga Teacher Training Certificate from The Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California and am presently pursuing a Masters Degree in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University, and work as an independent yoga contractor for various hotels on the Las Vegas Strip.
Alexandra BergerWilliam Smith CollegeBachelor of Arts in Dance
Allie is interested in the intersections between language and embodiment, especially the role of translation in textual and embodied narratives. She is an avid student of Sanskrit, and tries to keep up with her Hindi studies in her free time. Allie is also a dancer, having co-directed a community-based project, called Third Space Dance, from 2011 to 2014 in her hometown of Harrisburg, PA.
Ashley McKeachieUniversity of California – IrvineBachelor of Arts in Film and Video
Ashley is a certified yoga therapist at the Orange County Pain and Wellness Center in Santa Ana, where she helps patients who have been hurt on the job receive the tools they need to manage and decrease their chronic pain. She also teaches part-time at Orange Coast College (OCC) instructing Hatha Yoga Level 1 and Level 2 to students of all ages and abilities, and a yoga instructor at Spectra Yoga in Costa Mesa, specializing in Yin Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga classes. With a Masters in Yoga Studies through LMU, Ashley hopes to expand the Yoga program at OCC, by including classes on Yoga Theory and Fundamentals of Yoga in the near future. Ashley is from Huntington Beach, CA, happily married to a chemistry professor, and a proud aunt to many nieces and nephews.
Danielle TatikUniversity of Hawaii – ManoaBachelor of Arts in Political Science
Danielle’s exploration of yoga in academia began while working on her B.A. in Political Science at University of Hawai'i where she studied in depth how yoga’s ethical principals can create effective change in political and societal systems. Passionate about wellness, she has been working in the industry since 2007 with over 2,000 hours combined training in yoga, massage, and life coaching. Her research here at LMU is focused on the role of mindfulness and yoga based practices in corporate wellness programs, goal setting and motivational trainings, and lifestyle application to improve health, happiness, and productivity.
Eleanor GraceUniversity of SussexBachelor of Arts in English Literature
I'm an LA-based yoga and meditation teacher from London. I came to yoga through the practice of meditation at a time of deep grief and high stress and found the process of sinking into the body through mindful awareness and breath control to be deeply healing. I love to teach what I think are the essential life skills of hatha and restorative with an emphasis on trauma-informed practice. It's my belief that the body knows how to heal itself if only we make space to lay down and connect with our breath. The intersection of yoga with ecology, relationships, psychology, neuroscience, food and emotional healing are of endless fascination to me. I'm also a writer a keen dancer, hiker, potter and traveller.
Gabriela Ayala-CanizaresCornish CollegeBachelor of Arts in Art
Gabriela Ayala-Cañizares is an all around creative. She came into the LMU Yoga Studies Masters program with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is a co-founder of the Body Joy Project, a feminist artist collective that celebrates the body. She has practiced yoga for sixteen years and has been teaching for three years. Gabriela currently teaches privately to clients in the West LA area.
Jack KirknerIndiana UniversityBachelor of Arts in General Studies
Jack Kirkner graduated from Indiana University with the dual focus of Cultural Anthropology and Eastern Religious Studies. Jack trained with Swami Sudhirananda in Rishikesh, India. He is currently the Yoga Studies Technology Graduate Assistant.
Kait DilliplaineUniversity of PittsburgBachelor of Arts in Fiction Writing and the History of Art and Architecture
Mayuri BhandariUniversity of California – BerkeleyBachelor of Arts in Performance
Mayuri Bhandari is a professional dancer, performer, figure skater, and actress. She graduated from UC Berkeley in Dance Performance and South Asian Studies (2012), and is currently in the MA Program - Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University. She is one of the co-founders of BOLLYX (Bollywood Cardio Fitness) and is a fitness and yoga practitioner and instructor. She is a national figure skating champion of India, and has been one of the finalists in Just Dance and Dare 2 Dance on Star Plus. In addition, she founded MOKSHA...Liberation through Movement, a non-profit working with physically and mentally disabled children in dance therapy (Parola, India) . She looks to combine her passions of art with causes toward helping the environment, animals, and humanities.
Rebecca MackEmerson College- Boston, MABachelor of Arts in Theatre
Robert ZabelPitzer CollegeBachelor of Arts in World Literature
Trang HuynhUniversity of California – Los AngelesBachelor of Arts in Communications
Zipei TangBeijing Jiaotong UniversityBachelor of Arts in Software Engineering
Class of 2018
2016-2018, COHORT FOUR
Alba Rodriguez Juan
Bria MaltbyUniversity of Wisconsin—La Crosse
Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Nutrition
Bria is a 200 hour certified yoga instructor who recently began her own practice four short years ago during her undergraduate career in a time of high stress. She sought out yoga in hopes of finding a physical practice that would meet her needs but quickly came to realize how life—changing yoga is and how much more it has to offer. She has recently moved from Menomonee Falls Wisconsin to Los Angeles to pursue the Masters of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University. Before moving, Bria worked as a yoga instructor at the University of Wisconsin—La Crosse’s Recreation center. Since moving Bria has just begun working at Yoga Bliss and is a substitute instructor at LiveYoga Wellness, both in Westchester. Vinyasa yoga is Bria’s primary focus in terms of practicing and teaching, but through exploring the many opportunities LA has to offer, she is becoming interested in other practices including Bikram, Yin yoga, Acro yoga as well as Ayurveda. Bria is planning on pursing the Yoga Therapy certificate program through LMU, which could potentially lead her towards becoming a certified yoga therapist. Working one-on-one with clients to make yoga more beneficial to meet someone’s specific needs seems to be very rewarding. Bria is also interested in using her master’s degree to continue to apply yogic concepts to her personal life and deepen her personal practice.
Eduardo CastroCalifornia State University CalPoly - San Luis Obispo
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
I'm a yoga teacher based in Los Angeles area. Self motivated and enthusiastic about teaching yoga. I came to Yoga from a dance background, with the objective to improve my flexibility and balance. After practicing yoga a few years I became really interested in the meditation, mindfulness and philosophy part of yoga, hence I enrolled in the YogaWorks 500 hours teaching training program. I currently teach in Valencia California using the YogaWorks method, and my own yoga sequencing targeted for dancers. Since I have taken YogaTuneUp training for anatomy core and shoulders, my classes also include YogaTuneUp training. I am currently enrolled in the Masters in Yoga Studies at LMU to continue my education. As I take new workshop and classes, I take them to my classes. I apply the new knowledge, as I teach. This keeps my classes very interesting and engaging.
University of California, Davis
Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
At the time Yoga entered my life eight years ago I never would have foreseen this practice leading me to be in enroll in a Masters program in Yoga Studies. I completed my 200-hour Hatha based Teacher Training in 2015 from Barefoot Yoga in Davis, CA and taught mainly one-on-one for one year before following my intuition which was yearning for a expansion of my Yogic knowledge, which led me to this MA program. Trusting Yoga to lead my journey has been the greatest commitment I have made in life thus far and cannot imagine a more fulfilling way than Yoga to guide me through all of life's struggles and difficulties.
I plan to complete the Yoga Therapist Certification after the conclusion of my M.A. degree. Through my studies I intend to gain a solid understanding of the background and foundations of Yoga in addition to increasing my knowledge for the physical practice of Asana in order to become a strong teacher and offer a comprehensive understanding and practice of Yoga to my future students.
Laura McCarthyFashion Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science in Advertising and Marketing Communications
Laura is a 200-hr Vinyasa certified yoga instructor from Manhattan, NY. She is working part time at a yoga studio in Koreatown with an incredible opportunity to teach classes from the Ghosh lineage. With a MA in Yoga Studies from LMU, Laura hopes to incorporate the knowledge shes received in her studies and translate it into asana teaching, making it accessible to those unfamiliar with the theology and history of yoga. Her dream is to become a full-time teacher and open her own hot yoga studio at some point in the future.
Meagan RinnCalifornia State University, Long Beach
Bachelor’s Degree in Dance
University of California, Los Angeles
Professional Program for Screenwriting
With a background in dance and a career working in television as an Executive Producer's Assistant in Los Angeles, Meagan often found herself in physically and mentally taxing, high stress situations. Once she began a regular yoga practice, she witnessed a miraculous improvement in her overall physical and mental health. She became a certified 200hr RYT through Liberation Yoga in Los Angeles, and currently teaches in Lancaster, CA. She specializes in Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative Yoga. Her classes are inspired from her passion for meditation and pranayama. She balances the two techniques with an asana practice catered to help the individual find strength and mental clarity through mindfulness. Meagan's classes are open to everyone, of any level, age, background, with any injury or disability, as she strongly believes that yoga is available to anyone willing to receive its miraculous life changing benefits.
She is currently a graduate student of Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University, and is also a certificate candidate in LMU's Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change program. She lives in Lancaster with her Maltese pup, Sugar, and is a huge NASCAR fan.
Uma NicoleCal State University, Los Angeles
Bachelors of Arts in Mathematics
Uma first started seeking a clearer spiritual path when she was 23 years old while studying Mathematics and Women’s Studies in her undergrad career—she explored Kundalini Yoga by way of her first spiritual Mother, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa. Ten years later, she wanted to lead a contemplative life and went to live in a Hindu convent at an ashram. During that time, she was fortunate enough to take a vow of silence and learn Vipassana meditation—it is the center of who she is, and Uma has learned that spiritual practices are the only things we truly have in life. Uma teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin and mindfulness-centered yoga classes.
Social justice is another cornerstone of Uma’s life and yoga practice. She advocates for yoga in all communities regardless of race, class, gender, and ability status. In her free time, she is also a certified master gardener involved with food justice issues and a volunteer-instructor for prison inmates who are trying to rebuild their lives while at the California Correctional Institution for Women.