Warrior 1 (Founder, The Green Yogi™ + Green Guide)
When you walk into the zen garden after a long day and think, “Oh, thank goodness,” you may want to think, “Oh, thank Mary.” She is the dreamer behind what has now become The Green Yogi, and none of us would be going with the vinyasa flow without her!
Mary is the founder and owner of The Green Yogi, and has been teaching yoga for more than 15 years. She is respected and beloved for her powerful teaching, compelling students to integrate yoga into the realities of daily life. Mary is also a broadcast journalist, interior designer, entrepreneur and former professional athlete. She has worked for various television Networks such as NBC, CNN and Fox Sports Net throughout her 17-year career and can now be seen regularly on NFL Network. Mary used yoga to heal injuries as a volleyball player at Loyola Marymount University and on the AVP tour and can attest to the physical and mental benefits of the practice. She opened The Green Yogi in 2009 to inspire conscious living and quality yoga, and to share her passion for yoga with others.
Mary recently developed a line of candles called “Om” that proudly benefits her favorite global cause, Women for Women International. She is also an ambassador for Lululemon Athletica and Manduka. Mary attributes much of the success of The Green Yogi to her outstanding team of instructors (Green Guides) and guest relations team (Green Girls).
Click here to read more about Founder Mary Strong-Sullivan and her inspiring story »
Studio Co-Director + Green Guide
Aleta grew up in Sonoma County and has always been a lover of dance and movement. She fell in love with yoga while studying Environmental Studies and Biology in Boston. She found yoga kept her grounded, relieved her stress and inspired her to live a more spiritual, joyous, connected life.
Aleta felt a natural pull to share her passion for yoga and began teaching her peers through a student-run organization at her school. The more she taught, the more she loved it and after graduating decided to further pursue the study of yoga. She completed her 200hr teacher training with teachers Amy Sullivan and Jenay Martin at their organic farm retreat in Sonoma County. Aside from yoga, she has spent her time in recent years learning and working on sustainable farms and at farmers markets. She is passionate about food justice and loves to grow food!
Aleta is an excited newcomer to Berkeley! When she’s not at The Green Yogi she spends her time gardening, working as an edible landscaper, hangin’ at the farmers markets, and cooking delicious veggie feasts!
Kara grew up in Iowa City, Iowa and graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Sports Management and a minor in Business. After graduation, she ended up in New York City, working in the NFL and then for a national non-profit organization. She landed in Southern California in August 2014 and happily found The Green Yogi shortly thereafter! She’s grateful to be working in such a peaceful place that allows her to pair her love of business with her appreciation for yoga.
Personally, she places a lot of importance on balance and living her “best life”, and yoga helps her focus on these intentions. In addition to downward dogs and headstands, Kara loves training for endurance events. She has completed 5 marathons and various triathlons, including Ironman Lake Placid! Through her training, she has raised over $17,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She’s passionate about empowering others to chase their dreams, fitness, and the Kansas Jayhawks.
Christy’s passion and attitude for life is contagious! When she asks you to hold plank for 10 breaths with that beautiful smile and inspiring energy, you can’t help but find joy in your practice, even in the most challenging moments.
Christy is a teacher of yoga, qigong, meditation and philosophy. She offers her students a heart-based approach to growing personal edges and stretching for a purpose on and off of the yoga mat. She believes in the benefits and power of play as a way of remembering our true nature, and is passionate about guiding individuals toward the divine play within, Lila (lee-lah).
From this heart-based awareness, she offers the practice of yoga asana through the lens of playful presence. Alignment, breath, and visualizations are woven into her practices to deepen the connection to our body and the world around. As a senior teacher for Mukti Yoga School, Christy leads yoga teacher trainings as well as regional and international wellness retreats. She also works with professional athletes and is the team yoga instructor for the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. As a collegiate soccer player, Christy developed a true sense of focus that contributes to her understanding of meaningful inner strength.
Christy is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher under the certification of Julie Rader Wellman. She has also studied with Sianna Sherman, Noah Mazé and Triloka and Mattamayura Institute.
Stephanie’s love for Yoga began as a teenager growing up in a small Arizona town. Nurtured by her hippie parents, a Kripalu-inspired Yogini and Sufi Sheikh, it grew into a lifelong passion that took root in New York City and now the Bay Area. With over a decade of experience both nationally and abroad, her teaching style is a blend of movement and alignment informed by her studies of dance, creative vinyasa, and Iyengar yoga.
She is inspired by a multitude of gifted teachers—Alison West, Tias & Surya Little, A.G. & Indra Mohan, Schuyler Grant, Elena Brower, and Nikki Costello—along with her travels to India, Amma, Reiki, and (most importantly!) her students.
The birth of her daughter began the next chapter in her path of service and ignited a deep desire to help women and new families during early postpartum. Completing certifications through San Francisco’s Natural Resources and with Leslie Howard in Oakland, Stephanie offers Postpartum Doula support and healing sessions for women that are a synthesis of Pelvic Floor Yoga, Reiki, and Rebozo (traditional body wrapping).
Megan Spencer King
Megan is one of the most dynamic people we know! Her “Meganisms” are what make her class so special. You know exactly what you should be feeling when she asks you to “squeeze your thighs together like you’ve got a walnut between your knees, not a pistachio.”
She has been studying movement and Yoga for almost 20 years. Megan’s passion to make things challenging yet accessible, nuanced and thoughtful, with an emphasis on alignment and proper muscle engagement, is what makes her classes unique and keep her students coming back for more! With a background in Fitness, Bodywork, Dance and Pilates her Yoga classes aim to strengthen, tone and create heat to move the body into an ample space for deep release and renewal.
If you’re feeling like you need a little pick-me-up…look no further than Marina Guastucci’s class. This spunky Italian teacher will infuse joy back into your soul with her creative sequencing and playful energy.
Marina is a reformed gym-junkie turned brightly clad vagabond yogini. The many threads of freedom that wove their way into her life as a result of her yoga practice caused a sudden shift, drawing her away from the path to becoming an Ethnic Studies Professor and towards one that would land her in the seat of Yoga Teacher. At first, it was the intense Bikram style which lured her athletically inclined, and slightly wound-up body to stray from her former world of Stairmasters and dumbbells. Over time, it was the more movement based styles which allowed her to settle into a much needed daily mindfulness practice. In 2011, after a 2 month stent of volunteer work, research and roaming shenanigans in East Africa, Marina returned to Berkeley and completed her 200 hour teacher training at Corepower Yoga. Her main influences are Bryan Kest and Rod Stryker with whom she has studied extensively.
Marina leads a mindful and challenging creative Vinyasa flow. Her classes are rooted in detailed alignment and inspired by funky tunes and Tantric philosophy. She holds a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from UC Berkeley which has lead her to merge social justice and yoga through Seva centered classes and retreats. She spends most of her free time outside mountain biking, hiking, camping and scouting for swimming holes, though she can also be found dancing wildly to live music or putting together costumes for her yearly pilgrimage to Black Rock City. When she’s not living on the road, she calls Berkeley her home.
Putting it bluntly…Naushon is the coolest! She’s the type of person you want to spend your day with in hopes that some of her patience, kindness and overall awesomeness…rubs off on you.
Naushon has been a student of yoga since she was a little girl. Her challenging, yet compassionate Power Vinyasa classes are a wonderful way to cultivate strength, serenity, flexibility and balance. Inspired by her studies with Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Baba Hari Dass, and the teachings of Vispassana (Insight) Meditation, Naushon’s all levels classes emphasize the linking of movement with breath, cultivating our ability to be more fully present and awake in our lives, and navigate the challenges that arise with more grace and kindness. “I have been teaching for the past 13 years. For me, yoga is life-saving. It grounds me when I feel disconnected, overwhelmed, and stressed out, and gets me back in my body when I feel stuck in my head. But mainly, yoga gives me perspective, reminding me to wake up and enjoy this beautiful life that I have been gifted…to realize that this moment, right now, is enough.”
One of the most frequently asked questions by her students is “So, you are a scientist, a yoga teacher, and a mom of two young kids- How in the world do you do it, and still look so calm and happy??” Ai answers this question through her teaching and by being a role model to her students. Now with over a decade of teaching experience, and close to two decades as a yoga practitioner, she devotes her life empowering women and busy people to find vision and purpose so that they can live their lives to the fullest potential. In class, Ai offers a space for student to move through their limitations, both physical and mental, that have become habitual and even confining. Her powerful alignment-based vinyasa classes challenge the boundaries of the students, but are safe and empowering as they learn healthy alignment of body, mind, and heart. Her carefully-sequenced classes are infused with householder-friendly philosophical teaching, allowing students to go deep physically and mentally. She also offers cleanse workshop regularly, helping students let go of old habitual patterns and find one that is more life-enhancing and sustainable. Students often quote Ai being “fully present and connected both to herself and everyone in the room in a very personal and supportive way” and that her teaching style is “calm, focused, exquisitely clear and precise about her language, while making the practice so much fun!”
Ai has over 800 hours of teacher training in Ashtanga, Forrest, and Anusara. She teaches retreats and workshops regularly with her partner, Mark Silva. When Ai is not on a yoga mat, she enjoys cooking, gardening, or being in the nature with her family. Ai also devotes herself as an epidemiologist (PhD from Columbia University), bringing the benefit of meditation and mindfulness for cancer patients and their families.
Marilyn started her life in Sydney, Australia, where in her teens she found her passion for dance. She followed her heart to Berkeley, initially studying, and eventually performing the art form she loved. Marilyn loved the rigorous discipline and athleticism needed for dance and felt her body in motion was an expression of her heart. After many years on this path she discovered yoga.
After years as a dedicated yoga student, Marilyn decided to deepen her studies by completing a 100 hour yoga immersion with Maritza in Larkspur, CA. The depth and impact of the studies led her to successfully complete her 500 hour Teacher Training Certification at YogaWorks in Walnut Creek.
In addition to her formal yoga education, Marilyn has been fortunate to study with Mynx Inatsugu, Melanie Salvatore-August, Lakshmi Norwood, Maty Ezraty, Seane Corn, Gary Kraftstow and Jillian Pransky.
Marilyn’s teaching has evolved into an intelligent, yet organic flow reflecting her love of movement and rigorous discipline. She loves to play with sequencing in order to take her students into a deeper understanding of a pose and, ultimately, of themselves. She believes that focusing on alignment is not just safe, but provides a gateway to inner stillness.
Marilyn has a unique way of being direct and intense, as well as compassionate, playful and loving.
If you’re curious what pure joy looks like…look no further than Maria-Christina. When we first met her, it was like a ray of sunshine had entered the room!
Maria-Christina discovered yoga fifteen years ago while recovering from an illness. The experience of reconnecting with her body and gaining newfound empowerment inspired her to dedicate her life to the study of yoga. She believes that yoga teaches us to dance with life.
Her yoga practice allows her to handle the demands of a busy corporate life while maintaining a spirit of observation, playful exploration and courage. She believes in the power of sharing this gift and her classes aim to give students the space to observe and explore their physical and mental potential while promoting awareness, acceptance and self-expression. The tools that her yoga classes offer can be a grounding daily experience, promoting compassion towards the self, others and a sense of wellbeing – physical and mental.
Maria-Christina obtained advanced certification from Yoga Tree in San Francisco with over 500 hours of training. She has studied a wide variety of styles including Anusara, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Yoga Nidra, Pre/Postnatal Yoga and Shadow Yoga.
It’s hard not to fall in love with Kari. She is the grounding, zen glue that keeps us all together. Her Yin classes are pure bliss, and will leave you feeling stress-free and super grounded.
Kari’s background includes accomplished studies in Yin Yoga, Forrest Yoga, Meridian Yoga, CranioSacral Therapy, and Mechanical Engineering. As a teacher she embodies a smooth union of science-minded knowledge and heart-centered intuition. The ease and clarity of her teaching provides a welcoming environment for students with inquiring minds and bodies. She infuses her yin and yang classes with intelligent, mindful-based practices.
The support of Kari’s respectful hands-on assists helps students unravel areas of tension and restriction. She is known for her steady guidance and calming presence which encourages students to find and listen to their inner wisdom, enabling them to practice in a way that feels dynamic and healing.
Kari recently relocated from Boston to the Bay Area and can’t stop smiling about it.
Mark Silva has been teaching yoga classes in the Bay Area for over a decade. His classes ride the careful balance of alignment, breath, movement, sweat, and inspiration. He loves to cultivate wonder in the surrounding world, pulling us into a deeper connection with Consciousness. Initial experiments and forays into yoga classes, have grown into a life-long love affair with yoga practice and philosophy, and all that it can offer us. His teachers have included: Richard Rosen, Noah Maze, Desiree Rumbaugh, and Sianna Sherman. His children teach him something everyday. Mark’s playful classes give best results when full attention to the mind and body are given!
Mark is certified E-RYT 500, and teaches regular public classes, workshops, and retreats. He frequently collaborates with his partner, Ai Kubo.
Julie Anne Stathis
It’s hard not to feel a deep connection the moment you meet Julie. Her warmth and nurturing vibe make you feel instantly safe in her presence. And she has the same gift when she teaches yoga.
After graduating with a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification in 2010, Julie couldn’t wait to share her passion for yoga with others. She began teaching right away, inspiring her students with a strong focus on breath awareness and physical alignment. Her teaching philosophy is that practicing yoga is equivalent to practicing self-respect. Julie infuses a sense of calm into her classes and creates a safe space for her students to enjoy the fullest expression of freedom and light-hearted fun in their practice!
Julie also enjoys gardening and working with new mothers as a certified Doula.
Mikaela’s initiation to a self-driven, physical practice began at the age of nine at Golden State Tae Kwon Do. Her fifteen years of martial arts practice pushed her to the physical and mental limits of herself, and taught her discipline, the benefits of a regular practice, and prepared her to be resilient and rooted. Her love of movement developed and transformed as she moved through her adolescence, and she began practicing yoga in 2006. Mikaela’s regular, enthusiastic meditation and yoga practice continues to facilitate a deeper relationship within and a growing connection in her relationships. As a yoga instructor, Mikaela approaches the mat with humility, and encourages her students to explore the bounds of their mental and physical edge with intention, humor, and joy. Mikaela is also a birth doula.
Born and raised in Southern California, Camille is one of the most laid-back and welcoming people you will ever meet. But once upon a time, it wasn’t so! Camille fell in love with yoga as a stressed and depressed grad student at Harvard and has been a devoted yogini ever since she shed her first savasana tears.
Camille completed teacher training with Don and Amba Stapleton at Nosara Yoga Institute in 2009. She maintained and deepened her yoga practice while serving with the Peace Corps, then lived in Washington, D.C. and worked in global education for three years before making her way to beautiful Berkeley, California. Camille has taught yoga in many diverse contexts – from rural Caribbean villages, to White House and Secret Service staff, and at independently owned studios in D.C. and the Bay Area.
Always a student first, Camille’s daily practice is rooted in the Ashtanga method under the guidance of her teacher Lisa Ogletree. She is also certified by David C. Kyle to teach the Rocket (Progressive Ashtanga), and her continued education includes pranayama, restorative yoga, therapeutics, chanting, and philosophy. In addition to yoga, Camille loves the ballet and can be found taking classes at Berkeley Ballet Theater.
Camille’s vinyasa classes are lovingly sequenced to make sure you leave class feeling great. Her teaching reflects the variety of influences that have helped in her own healing journey, including Reiki, essential oils, shamanism, and mindfulness. Camille believes in the potential of yoga to heal the devoted practitioner on the deepest level and is filled with joy to support the development of students on the yogic path.
A Berkeley native, Tali has also called the concrete jungle of New York City, the rolling hills of rural Vermont, and the rugged mountains of the Adirondacks home. After eleven years of braving snowy winters and humid summers, she is delighted to finally be back in the Bay. Through many adventures, relocations, and changes, yoga has been Tali’s constant companion and her practice continues to teach, humble, and delight her.
Tali completed 300 hours of teacher training at the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica in 2011, and a prenatal certification through Jane Austin’s MamaTree in San Francisco in 2014. Tali teaches a vigorous, flowing practice with detailed attention to alignment and a deep focus on the breath. Her class is an invitation for students to explore their edge while remaining deeply grounded in the moment. She is a student of Schuyler Grant, Annie Carpenter, the many teachers at New York’s Kula Yoga Project, and of her extraordinary 93-year-old grandmother.
In addition to yoga, Tali is The Green Yogi’s resident Kitchen Doula, offering support to new mamas through the loving act of cooking delicious, nourishing food. You can find out more about Kitchen Doula at: www.kitchendoula.com.
“Yoga is the mist between the body and the spirit.” This Dean Jackson quote is the core of Missy’s practice and teaching. During her eclectic classes, expect to indulge in sweet stillness and inward depth while listening to the meditative sounds of planetary gongs and crystal bowls. Although, Missy’s yoga journey began fifteen years ago when she first stepped on the mat, it wasn’t until 2009 when a family member fell gravely ill that she turned toward the subtler and deeper aspects of yoga and sound for healing. She used sound and yoga therapy to breakthrough her own struggle with depression, anxiety, and chronic stress and has made it her life’s passion to help others do the same.
Missy is a 500RYT, a certified yoga therapist through Loyola Marymount University, Relax & Renew restorative instructor, and has taken countless anatomy, yoga nidra, chanting, pranayama intensives. Missy mission is to help others live authentically and shorten the distance between themselves and their truth.
Torrey is a dedicated student of yoga, yoga teacher and life enthusiast. She began practicing yoga in 2006, with a variety of teachers in many different styles. Her relationship with yoga began as a purely physical practice. After some time, she started to find a deeper meaning from yoga. Body awareness turned into a mindfulness practice and thus, the mind-body connection was discovered. Through this mind-body connection she was able to open her heart to self-love, and in turn, a profound love for others. She truly believes that yoga is available to everybody, and she is eager to share this healing practice with the world, one breath at a time.
She began teaching yoga in 2012, after receiving a RYT-200 with Yoga to the People. Currently, Torrey is pursuing an Advanced RYT-500 at Yoga Tree. Torrey teaches Vinyasa flow, Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Postnatal Yoga at several studios all over the Bay Area.
Kendra believes in the transformational power of yoga as a path of self-discovery, healing and joy. Since beginning her yoga studies in 2002 she’s continually experienced the deep personal, physical and spiritual healing available through yoga, pranayama, ritual and meditation. As a yoga teacher, PhD in transpersonal psychology, energy healer and massage therapist, she teaches yoga from an integrative lens that combines these healing modalities to offer integrative classes that are grounded, accessible and focused on empowering students to experience greater inner and outer alignment. Her classes are also accompanied by the soothing sounds of harmonium. In addition to her public yoga classes, Kendra offers private women’s leadership coaching, teaches workshops and leads retreats.
Sonja is a professional dancer who started practicing yoga to help her find relief from back injuries that had been a part of her life since she was fifteen. At first, yoga was simply a break from the goal- oriented world of professional dance, but she also found a respect for the self and the individual body that is hard to find in almost any other form of exercise. Sonja began teaching yoga as an apprentice at Yoga to the People in Berkeley in 2008, and continued her training by completing a 200 hour yoga alliance certification course with Yoga to the People in New York City in 2010. She has since taught regularly at studios in New York City, San Francisco, and Boston, landing at last back here in Berkeley, teaching for The Green Yogi. She teaches a strength building, quick moving Power Vinyasa class made to be challenging, luxurious, and joyful. She hopes to give her students well-rounded, able bodies, and most importantly, a sense of ownership and pride in the vessel they live in.
Green Guide + PsyD, RYT
Through years of practicing and teaching yoga, Ayelet brings a great love and deep knowledge of its teachings to her students. Her classes offer fluid and mindful movement, fusing the systems she trained in: 200-hour foundational certification through YogaWorks and 300-hour advanced certification in Prana Vinyasa with her root teacher, Shiva Rea. Ayelet is also an Integrative Restoration Institute Level I certified teacher of Yoga Nidra, a form of guided meditation that offers skills that calm the central nervous system and release negative emotions and thought patterns. Additionally, Ayelet is a certified Prenatal Yoga teacher through Tranquil Space Yoga Studio of Washington DC. When not on her mat, Ayelet works as a clinical psychologist at her private practice, Oasis Therapy Center, specializing in treating stress and anxiety. By integrating mindfulness and scientifically-based psychotherapy tools, she helps her clients work towards greater healing and contentment in their lives.
www.OasisTherapyCA.com to learn more.
After injuring her foot and ankle while running, Elissa begrudgingly agreed to try yoga as an alternative form of exercise while she recovered from her injury. What she found was a practice that changed her life, ignited her soul, and allowed her to find a much- needed sense of grounding without diluting the fiery spirit that makes her who she is. Elissa received her 200-hour Vinyasa teaching certification in 2012 and has spent the last 3 years working towards her 500-hour certification. She has been blessed with the opportunity to work closely with world-renowned yoga teacher Jason Crandell, whom she assists in both public and master classes as often as her schedule allows.
Elissa’s experience teaching and participating in retreats, workshops, classes and trainings in the US and abroad has given her the unique ability to infuse her challenging Vinyasa flow classes with a wide variety of interdisciplinary wisdom, ranging anywhere from the classic roots of Ashtanga to the playful principles of AcroYoga. Whether students come to class looking to perfect their handstand, soak up a little philosophy and inspiration, or receive a Thai-Massage-inspired-assist, Elissa’s dynamic and soulful teaching style creates a space where students can explore their practice and themselves in a safe and nurturing environment.
Originally from the Midwest, Jaimi now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area where her classes are known to be organic, fluid, smart and intentional. She creates a warm, inviting space – empowering students to dynamically align their bodies and to maintain a sense of humor as they rub up against their own habituated tendencies. Jaimi is highly influenced by her training in dance, developmental movement and the Alexander Technique and conveys this unique blend of information with gentle yet stern encouragement.
Jaimi is a certified E-RYT 200, teaching classes and workshops at studios around the Bay Area. In addition to her unique flow, Jaimi completed Mama Tree’s Prenatal Training with Jane Austin and is an AmSAT certified (1600 hr.) teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Come ready to flow, sweat and brighten your spirit with Maureen. You’ll instantly be drawn in by her radiant smile, but it’s her grounding presence, playful energy and healing hands-on assists that will keep you coming back for more.
Maureen believes that we can shift our energy and transform our lives simply by moving our bodies and deepening our breath. Her own exploration of yoga began 15 years ago after one of several extended trips to India. Maureen finds inspiration in the natural world around her and is an avid adventure traveler, trail runner, hot spring lover, and mama to two growing boys. She equally enjoys far and exotic escapades to high mountains and vast deserts, as well as the subtle inner exploration that yoga facilitates. Her mindful flow practice draws significantly from the Hatha and Forrest yoga traditions. She has much gratitude for the guidance and support of her primary teachers, Pete Guinosso and David Moreno. Maureen comes to teaching yoga after years working as an activist and community organizer, and dedicates her yoga path to creating vibrant communities and leaving our planet a healthier place.
Annemaria is known for her grounded and energetic classes that invite you to explore your edge mindfully and cultivate a meaningful dialogue with your body.
“Yoga is a deeply personal practice. It is a constant inquiry into how to deepen my awareness and take care of myself so I can better take care of the world around me. To me yoga is not about a fancy pose, but it is about falling in love with my body every day.”
Annemaria was introduced to yoga in the late 90’s and her personal practice began as a search for healing from a back injury. She spent years studying Vinyasa and Hot yoga until she found her way to Yoga to the People in NYC where she pursued her 200h training. She continued her education with 500h advanced training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health as well as trainings in Restorative and Prenatal yoga. As a professional dancer and actor, Annemaria’s teaching is further informed by her extensive movement training and experience as a performer.
Today Annemaria teaches weekly classes at several Bay Area studios and is part of the faculty for Yoga to the People West Coast teacher trainings. Additionally she enjoys working with her private clients and above all she loves being a mama to her baby Cole.
Krissa grew up in the Bay Area and loves everything it has to offer. She has a degree in Nutrition from Cal Poly and studied holistic nutrition at Bauman College. Previously, she worked as a member of a local restaurant collective and currently leads culinary tours. She spends most her time with her son and loves being a mom. Her yoga practice consistently gives her a strong sense of self and staying grounded in her everyday life. She is very excited to be a part of The Green Yogi Guest Relations Team, and the community that it offers to everyone who walks through its doors.