Meet our amazing teachers!
Laura McKinnon, owner and E-RYT. Laura first came to yoga in 2000 as a recommendation to help heal an injury. She not only found a better place in her physical body, but received other benefits from the practice that helped bring balance to her life. This inspired her to share yoga with others through teaching. Yoga is for everyone; regardless of age or physical ability and that it is through yoga that we can all find health, wellness, and peace. Her passion eventually led her to open Seaside Yoga Sanctuary, a place of community where beginners are welcomed, practicing yogis can deepen their practice, and women and their families can find support through prenatal, postnatal, toddler & me, kids & teen yoga.
Laura is a student of life and enthusiastically shares her love of yoga with her students. In her classes she brings attention to anatomy and mindful movement, and encourages compassionate self-study. She loves sharing with students how to find freedom and ease in moving their bodies.
She teaches Hatha yoga, Prenatal & Postnatal yoga, Beginners, and is co-director of the Integral Awakening Yoga 200hr Yoga Teacher Training program. Though she has experienced a variety of styles of yoga, she is most studied and influenced in the Iyengar tradition. She continues to deepen her understanding of yoga through her own practice and studies with other seasoned teachers.
Her family is her biggest blessing and support. She has a fondness for animals and loves spending time outdoors in nature.
Astra Apsitis has been a professional educator for 18 years. After having Ayurveda change her life and transform her understanding of health, she became a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Yoga Teacher in 2014. Her training in these sister sciences was completed at Mount Madonna Institute, where she continues to participate in workshops and celebrations to remain steeped in the teachings and traditions of Baba Hari Dass. Astra brings her passion for all things related to Yoga and Ayurveda alive with personal stories and philosophical insights, encouraging students to develop a personal practice and develop a closer relationship with nature in order to better care for their physical and mental health. She offers classes in Hatha Yoga and Yoga Nidra as well as private Ayurvedic health consultations, primarily focused on issues related to anxiety and stress.
Danielle is a yogi, wife, and mother. Certified in 200 RYTT and Prenatal/Postpartum 100 RYTT. She has been practicing yoga since 2007 and completed her teacher trainings after the birth of her first son. “I fell in love with my practice all over again while my son joined me on the mat!” Danielle is also passionate about prenatal and postpartum wellness and is currently working towards an Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula certification. Danielle believes that the sacred balance necessary for optimal health and happiness encounters major shifts as mothers are born. The practice of yoga as a lifestyle while incorporating self-care and nourishing foods is best way for mothers and families to stay grounded and connected.
Danielle views yoga as a life practice. Each time we arrive at our mat we take a journey within, connecting to the present moment, and threads of our true self. With careful observation of thoughts we’re able to cultivate a deeper understanding of who we are beyond the various roles we play. Each time we come to our mats we move the breath and the body to release energetic blockages and cultivate an overall sense of vitality on and off the mat.
Carolyn began her yoga practice in 1979, has been teaching yoga since 1989, is Iyengar certified, and has taught weekly classes at Unity Woods Yoga Center (in the Washington, DC area) for over 20 years with John Schumacher as her primary teacher. Her teaching reflects study with the Iyengars in India, Dona Holleman in Italy, as well as reflecting her graduate work in Greek philosophy at UC Berkeley and her experiences as a dancer. Manouso Manos is her primary west coast teacher. She is inspired by the community, practices and teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, friendships, nature and her yoga practice. Her teaching is precise and enthusiastic, with humor and compassion. www.cbyoga.com
The benefits of Iyengar yoga have been a strong current in Carrie's life since she began practicing in 1993. In 2008 she completed the 200 hour yoga teacher certification program with an emphasis on prenatal and restorative yoga. She is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher (RYT 200).
She was pregnant with her second daughter during her training and became interested in the benefits of yoga during and after pregnancy. So in addition to the standard teacher training, she has recently completed a combined prenatal yoga teacher and doula training (with Nine Moons Prenatal Yoga) and is a certified prenatal yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance as well. She continues to attend workshops and teacher trainings for prenatal and restorative yoga, focusing mostly on the Iyengar approach.
In addition to her yoga training, She has a master's degree in international environmental policy and is a certified permaculture designer. She has worked in Germany and the US in the areas of climate change, land restoration, green building and energy efficiency.
Carrie was born and raised in Tiburon, California. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in Prunedale, where she is creating a small permaculture farm on their property - www.dancingearthfarm.com.
Destiny Morley has been practicing yoga for over 6 years, her practice began as a self taught daily ritual to help her feel more in her body. Yoga has been the most transformative and effective method to help her feel balanced, awake, present, and connected to the earth. Her success from yoga ignited a fire within that needed to spread.
This lead her to travel to Costa Rica where she practiced yoga and self empowerment and received her 200-hour yoga instruction certification. Through finding self love and being in a space where she helped to facilitate self empowerment practices and ceremonies, she was guided on the path to helping heal and empower women. Destiny has always been fascinated and amazed by the female body and all of its capabilities and purpose which tied her path together.
She began studying holistic birthing practices and alternative medicine for women's health, and desires to help support and uplift women in all of their transitions. She is eager to share with women about their bodies and empower the beauty hidden within all women. Destiny has taught multiple workshops and led womb healing circles and ceremonies with the intention to demystify and uncover the divinity within us all. Destiny began studying prenatal and post partum yoga in 2017 and was certified at Mount Madonna Center with 95 hours of training.
Destiny is filled with passion, creativity, and true love and seeks to share and hold space for others. She enjoys teaching restorative, hatha, pre and post natal, and yoganidra flow
Erika came to yoga in 2005 at a time when spiritual and physical healing were needed. She was immediately drawn to the many benefits of yoga, deciding early on that one day she would also like to teach.
After practicing yoga for several years, and working as an assistant in a yoga studio, Erika explored teaching. She completed two 200-hour teacher training programs at Yoga Center of Carmel and The College of Purna Yoga. She is especially drawn to the therapeutic benefits of yoga, as well as using it as a tool to connect the mind with the body and breath to promote healing and well-being.
Erika's classes are structured to offer guided instructions in order to help students benefit from their practice in a safe and mindful way. Teaching proper alignment and offering options to students is important, as she understands that each person's body and needs are unique.
Erika is continuing her studies in yoga, in order to improve her teaching and to expand her knowledge in anatomy and yoga therapy. Her classes are mindful, relaxing, and rejuvenating.
Having experienced first hand yoga’s ability to restore & transform Gemma teaches from the heart with beautiful articulation & a methodical yet holistic approach to alignment, which draws on her background as a Flower Essence Practitioner in Vibrational Medicine. She is certified in hatha, pre natal, pregnancy, post natal and restorative yoga. She also specialises in therapeutic yoga for fatigue and stress.
Her studies have taken her across the globe and she feels blessed to have trained with so many talented teachers, including Anna Ashby, Joey Miles & Carlos Pomeda (Triyoga London Teacher Training). Sally Kempton, Donna Farhi, John Friend, Bridget Woods Kramer (Anusara), Sianna Sherman, Francoise Freedman & Kirtseen Ruffell (Birtlhight Perinatal Yoga for conception, pregnancy, birth and post natal), Fiona Agombar (Therapeutic Yoga for M.E/C.F.S & fatigue), Matthew Sanford (Yoga for the Adaptive Student), Anna Ashby (Restorative Yoga), ALV Kumar (Vipāsana & the art of meditation, in India), Jack Kornfield & Ram Dass.
She is approved & registered with Yoga Alliance, the British Wheel of Yoga & Birthlight.
As a flower essence practitioner & devotee of the sacred feminine, Gemma shares her joy in the shifts that begin to happen when we simply allow ourselves to slow down, breathe and listen. Her intention is to create an easeful sacred space for individual expression & profound inner healing to take place. She is sensitive to individual needs and teaches in a style that caters for all beings no matter what level of practice. Each class is delivered with a renewed passion & sense of fun, whilst encouraging contemplation, introspection & gratitude.
Find out more about Gemma here:
Gina Puccinelli (Sub)
As a Certified Yoga Instructor since 1990, Gina Puccinelli offers large, small , and private practices geared toward personal enrichment. Emphasis follows the Hatha Yoga philosophy with special attention given to incorporating mindfulness instruction to feed the soul, enrich the heart, and strengthen the body. Gina teaches a welcoming and eclectic style of yoga suitable for all experience levels.
Deidre O’Brien has been practicing Iyengar-style yoga and meditation since 1991. A long-term student of Donald Moyer and Mary Lou Weprin, she graduated from The Yoga Room’s 3 year 1,000-hour Advanced Studies Program in 2009. Deidre has co-taught the Yoga for 55+ class at The Yoga Room taught by Herta Weinstein, M.D. since 2007. She specializes in adapted and modified poses to allow individuals of all ages and abilities to experience the joy of the practice of yoga.
Isabel Fleury is a licensed psychologist and an archetypal astrologer dedicated to the integration of body and mind through Yoga, meditation and awareness practices. In 2007 she came to California to study at Esalen Institute, Big Sur, where she still works and studies with inspirational teachers: Bernie Clark, Sarah Powers, Silvia Boorstein and James Baraz. Her style is greatly influenced by Yin Yoga, Insight Meditation and the Buddhist philosophies and practices.
Jeannie Alcoulumre (Sub)
I have been in love with yoga for more than 25 years. I love that yoga makes me feel wonderful without demanding that I achieve or excel. I love that yoga is source of nurturing of body and soul. I was trained as a teacher in an extensive program at the Yoga Room in Berekely. The faculty at the time of my training were master teachers influenced by BKS Iyengar including Donald Moyer, Rodney Yee and my mentor, Judith Lasater. I have more recently developed an appreciation for the gentle and therapeutic Viniyoga approach to my practice, inspired by Brian Dorfman and Barbara Tudhope. I have been teaching yoga since 1992. My Gentle Yoga class has been offered through CHOMP since 2003 and I have been sharing the teaching of Gentle Yoga at Wellsprings Yoga with Barbara Tudhope during the last year.
eannie Walker has been a practicing yogini for more than thirteen years. She has been teaching yoga since 2007. She is a certified teacher in Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Chair Yoga. Her passion is to make yoga accessible for everyone, regardless of a person’s body shape, physical age and/or physical capabilities. Jeannie’s mission is to remind you of your own unlimited potential and self-appreciation. Please join Jeannie on the journey of re-connecting with your breath, your body and your Infinite Self. Om Shanti!
Jennifer taught her first Yoga class in 2003 and joined the Seaside Yoga Sanctuary's Integral Awakening Yoga Teacher Training Program to enrich and deepen her Yoga practice.
She holds a degree in Early Childhood Education and currently enrolled in a teaching credential program plus a Master of Arts in Teaching. Formerly, she taught ski school for children at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area and more recently, she is a preschool educator.
In the classroom, her main focus is fostering enthusiasm for Yoga through positive guidance. She hopes to plant the seed of interest, by helping our Youth (and adults) understand, Yoga is a Sanctuary, a place to re-center, re-focus, and a safe environment to be true to ourselves. She loves sharing her passion for Yoga, and she believes in truly “living our balance,” by integrating body, mind, and spirit. “I will be forever grateful to Briksha and Laura for awakening a deeper and balanced Yoga practice,” Jennifer.
In her spare time, she enjoys practicing Yoga, riding either her road bike or mountain bike, backpacking to remote locations, playing two-person beach Volleyball, skiing, and riding horses.
Kari has been teaching fitness for over 30 years and just recently completed her 200-hour yoga certification. While somewhat new (5 years and counting) to yoga, Kari is honored and humbled to be able to share what she’s recently learned in yoga training while continuing to learn from both participants and teachers.
Charlene Williams became a certified yoga teacher through Seaside Yoga Sanctuary in 2014. She is also a certified Reiki practitioner. She is grateful and excited to share her teaching and skills with the community. She has a Master's degree in Counseling and an undergraduate degree in Education. She loves teaching, researching, and the healing arts. Follow Charlene @goldenyogaandreiki
Krystal Barschig is a certified yoga instructor who guides students through thoughtful classes that support a practical, “real-life” integration of mind, body, and soul. Her teaching inspires free breathing, intuitive movement, and conscious living. She weaves yogic principles and spiritual teachings into a deeply physical practice, with the intention of inspiring the remembrance of wholeness, alignment with the true Self, trust in one’s innate wisdom, and fulfillment of one’s unique purpose.
Krystal has a long-standing passion for helping others find empowerment through optimum health and alignment having worked more than a decade in New York and LA in the health and wellness realm as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor, holistic nutritionist, and writer before moving to the Monterey Peninsula with her husband and son. She is endlessly grateful for the daily gifts and ever-expanding awakening yoga has brought to her and can think of no better way to express her gratitude for those who have come before and illuminated the path than to share these teachings and help others uncover their light within.
Laurel Weingand RYT200, CMT, B.S., RSH Laurel began her study of movement from a young age. Starting with gymnastics and moving to dance, she struggled with many injuries sustained from instability, poor alignment and a lack of mental grounding. At 13, she decided to take yoga at the local community college. This sparked her journey with both the physical practice and a well needed spiritual/mindfulness practice. Eventually deciding to move to Monterey, on the idea of wanting to live somewhere peaceful and beautiful, she completed a Kinesiology/Wellness B.S. from CSUMB. Graduating with high honors and awarded “distinction in her major”, Laurel focused her degree on dance injuries and wellness, and actively applied her knowledge to her yoga practice. In 2010, she embarked on her teaching journey by attending Mark Stephens 200hr Vinyasa YTT; which had a strong focus on alignment principles and proper sequencing. Laurel has since been teaching yoga, dance, and acro/tumbling in the area since 2010 and is very passionate about her interests, teaching and continuing to learn. In addition, she is a massage therapist with an office in Carmel, and has been formally studying clinical herbalism for 3 years, which includes a large emphasis in TCM and Ayurveda. Weaving together her interests, Laurel’s flow classes have a strong attention to alignment and helping each student to be mindful of their practice to avoid injury. Meditation and pranayama are incorporated, to help connect the breath with the mind/body and keep the Qi moving. Although liking to help students dig deeper on multiple levels, her enthusiastic and easy going persona will make room for being jovial and joyful, as she fully believes life is too short to be too rigid. Her goals are to help students find balance and flexibility in both their practice and their lives, as it is not about how far we go but how we get there. Beyond her vast interests, Laurel loves to cook, be in nature and spend abundant time with her awesome husband and precocious, affectionate and tenacious toddler daughter. She is very excited to be part of our yoga community and share the journey with you!
Leslie Price, Psy.D., RYT – 200
Leslie Price is a Registered Yoga Instructor and holds a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. Currently, she works in education in Monterey Bay. Dr. Price teaches Yoga and Meditation at Montage Wellness Center and Yoga Salinas. She also teaches Psychology courses at Hartnell College and Monterey Peninsula College. She has an expansive understanding of psychology and how it connects to the body. Her style of practice brings together the mind and body experience through movement, breathwork and mindfulness. She has a specialty in Health Psychology and Bereavement and a deep interest in witnessing and assisting people as change happens in their lives. She works in groups or privately to bring acceptance and peace through the integration of our thoughts, our body and our movement.
Mahendra Briksha, born in small village of Himalaya, is a yogi, certified rebirthing breathwork practitioner, Integral coach and raw vegan chef. In his teaching, Briksha draws from a variety of yogic breathing modalities, including Holotropic Breathwork, Clarity Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork and Anapanasati. He is a longtime Vipassana meditation practitioner and has done several long silent retreats up to 30days. He has been teaching and leading breathing session and meditation classes for 9 years.
Mara has been practicing asana(yoga) since 2001, where she began her asana journey with a very skilled and respected Iyengar instructor. She has since explored many different asana disciplines. Born and raised on the Peninsula, her father, a highly spiritual man inspired her study of Buddhism and appreciation of nature and in turn led to her practice of yoga. She furthered her study of asana through the 200 hour teacher training here at Seaside Yoga Sanctuary. It has opened her mind and heart to the true essence of yoga. She is passionate about yoga and making a difference in the lives of her students by leading them on a path to peace and relaxation through meditation, mudras, breath work, and asana. Mara looks forward to sharing in the journey with all of you, Namaste.
Marcia Moseley, 500-TT
Marcia has been teaching yoga for almost two years, but her practice began early in life when she made the connection with body, mind and soul. As she says, “Brazilians learn to dance before they can walk.” She has been exploring movement since she was five years old, when she started training in classical ballet. Her passion for dance and movement was embedded in her from her Brazilian heritage. She started practicing yoga eight years ago and fell in love with the asanas (poses) first, but quickly discovered the philosophy of yoga and she was “keen”. As she continued on her journey, she decided to share her excitement with the world when she discovered YogaWorks in San Francisco and decided to pursue her teacher training in yoga. She took the 200 Hour and 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings with Nikki Estrada, Melanie Salvatore-August and Mynx Inatsugu - all inspiring teachers that she feels gave her roots to her practice and wings to her teachings. Marcia currently teaches yoga classes at In Shape Fitness in Monterey and is thrilled to join the Yoga Sanctuary in Seaside and Pacific Grove. To her, yoga feels like a new but familiar language, with which to express her body, mind and soul with others.
Michael is a relative new comer to yoga. He is a former college football player and has always stayed active physically since then. He began a consistent yoga practice a little over a year ago. Initially turning to yoga as a complete form of exercise that could help sustain him throughout the years. He soon discovered that yoga is so much more than just an exercise program, he has embraced it as a way of life. Michael believes that yoga influences every aspect of his entire being.
Michael recently received his 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification at the Seaside Yoga Sanctuary, under Laura McKinnon and Mahendra Briksha. He believes that yoga has something to offer everyone, regardless of age, background, experience or level of flexibility.
Michael is retired from law enforcement, where he had a thirty year career as a deputy sheriff. He served in the California Army National Guard for three years and also has a certification as a massage practitioner.
Michael’s vision is to continue to learn and grow in his study of yoga and himself. Also, he has a passion for wanting to help first responders and military veterans embrace the practice of yoga. Outside of the yoga studio, Michael enjoys spending time with family, biking, being in nature and drawing and painting.
Yoga for me is creativity. It speaks compassion and joy. Yoga nourishes my spirit so I may radiate this positive energy to my students. I want to share the healing power of yoga; the same healing power I experienced after an injury from running.
Rebekah has been practicing yoga for 12 years and is excited to have completed her Hatha training in 2013 and Kripalu 200YTT in June 2014. She has been teaching in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York and now California. Rebekah is a student at Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey and has a passion to explore the accessibility of of holistic health and connection of movement and breath as a modality to bring deep healing to self, others and the natural world.
Join me for Kripalu inspired expressive, dynamic flows accessible to all levels.
Rebekah Yoro is currently participating in an advanced yoga studies 300hr teacher training program. She is working towards registering as a RYT 500. Expressing herself through dance and movement has always been a huge part of her life. Her passion for yoga began while she was getting her B.S. in Kinesiology with a concentration in Wellness at Cal State Monterey Bay when she signed up for her first yoga class. In seeking for more knowledge in yoga and the mind, body, spirit connection, she found herself in a 200hr teacher training program in 2013.
Rebekah is excited to share her knowledge and strives to make yoga safe and accessible to everyone. She embraces being a forever yoga student. Her enthusiasm to share yoga with students and the community grows deeper every day.
Shakuntla Chandra has been practicing yoga for the last twenty years. She has taught in various schools and while visiting New Zealand. Shakuntala has trained under the Sivananda Yoga Vendanta Center in Fiji. There she had achieved spiritual peace and good health. She is happy to teach the proper asanas, pranayama, meditation, relaxation, and the chanting of mantras. Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
David attended Fort Lewis College where he recieved a B.A. in Exercise Sciece in 2006. While there, he played football then took to coaching. He became strength and conditioning coach for the FLC volleyball and football teams and found a love for helping others achieve their physical potential. He has been a personal trainer for elite athletes, teams and troupes. He got to play football professionally in arena league and in Europe. With injuries taking their toll from football and powerlifting, yoga came to the rescue. Through hard work and yoga, range of motions were regained, a sense of peace established, and hope restored. In 2016 David received his 200 ytt through Jill Lawson's School of Yoga. In 2018 David spent three months in Rishikesh India studying yoga. Through yoga we can recognize and move towards our unseen potentials and beyond our unseen limitations. His ultimate goal is to help others step towards their own unique potential that lies here and now.
Outside of yoga David loves gardening, poetry, dabbling in the circus arts, acroyoga, getting into nature, and hanging out with his animals.
Chantal first encountered yoga as a teenager and was quickly drawn to its
energizing and beneficial qualities for the body. After exploring many
styles of yoga, she found herself drawn to the Iyengar- influenced
practices because of their exceptional meditative and calming effects
upon the mind. Chantal is passionate about the mind-body connection
and maintains the tradition of yoga as a daily regimen in her everyday
life. Her teaching brings a true love of yoga, served with a soothing
presence and meditative ease. Chantal is a 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher
(RYT) with Yoga Alliance. She is a 2011 graduate of the Advanced Studies Program
of Downtown Yoga, in Pleasanton, California where she studied with her mentor, Kate Coughlin.
Chantal actively furthers her knowledge of the art of yoga by attending
workshops with Yoga Master H.S. Arun and respected teachers Donald
Moyer and Jason Crandell.
Deb Sandweiss has 22 years of classroom teaching experience. She is passionate about mind body health. As a physical education teacher and certified yoga instructor with training in mindfulness for youth, she brings a whole health perspective to guide others to live happier, more meaningful lives. Her ten year old son has been her greatest teacher.
Kim Merryman, RYT
Kim moved to the peninsula from her home state of Colorado in 2014. She teaches energetic and approachable vinyasa flow-style classes that emphasize alignment and feature her love of music.
As a natural progression from her dance background, Kim began practicing yoga in 2007. Later she adapted and increased her practice to help heal and prevent running injuries. In addition to physical benefits, she experienced improved mental and spiritual quality of life both on and off the mat, leading to a desire to share and teach yoga. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Mark Stephens in Santa Cruz, California.
Kim also enjoys hiking with her dog, backpacking, running, and poetry. She is grateful to be able share, grow, and learn with the Seaside Yoga Sanctuary community.
Diane is a dedicated runner, curious traveler, retired gymnast and volunteer guide at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She recently finished the Boston Marathon and is currently training for both The Big Sur and Chicago marathons in 2019. Her yoga practice began over 20 years ago as a way to maintain her flexibility after running. Recently, she decided to combine her knowledge of body alignment from gymnastics and disciplined focus from marathon training to teaching yoga. “Yoga is so much more than stretching and holding poses. It involves breathing, meditating and learning to calm your monkey mind. I believe it is important to energize your life with a meaningful yoga practice in order to bring peace and calm into everyday; into every challenge. We are surrounded with so much beauty, I invite everyone to practice with me either inside the yoga studio or outside by the ocean. I hope for yoga to become your second nature.”
Di’s husband is a local business owner and together they raised 3 boys. She has lived in Pacific Grove CA for 15 years and is a graduate of the Seaside Yoga Sanctuary Integral Awakening Yoga 200 Hour Teacher Training and Advanced Studies*. She is certified by the Yoga Alliance as a 2oo hour instructor* and she is excited to share her energy and passion with her students as they define their best self with each day’s practice.