I began my journey on the path of yoga in 2008 when I started practicing yoga on TV. I instantly fell in love with yoga. “Practice yoga and all is coming” are my favorite words from Sri K Pattabhi Jois. I experience a transformation of my body, mind, and spirit every time I practice yoga. I believe yoga can benefit everyone no matter what their age, interest or ability.
I trained at The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts under the guidance of Christy Burnette E-RYT 500 Anusara Yoga Instructor and Rhoda Miriam E-RTY 500, BS, professional level Kripalu Yoga Instructor. And I also completed Kids Yoga Teacher training with Gopala Amir Yaffe who is the owner of Rainbow Kids Yoga. As a student of yoga, I continue exploring, practicing and learning new ways to teach
My name is Jenifer R. and I’ve been teaching Zumba Fitness in Scottsdale since 2011. My love for Zumba Fitness started in 2009, a year after I had my daughter. I gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and I needed to do something fun to help lose it. In came Zumba Fitness. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was being part of this program and I couldn’t believe how it started to transform my body. From 215 pounds to 125 pounds, I knew I had to share it with others!
As your instructor, I promise that I will always lead in a way where it is easy to follow yet at the same time, I will challenge you because I know you can do it. I look forward to meeting you!
Coming from a fitness background, as I walked out of my first yoga class in 2001, I knew there was something special, something different about this type of “exercise” class. Soon coming to realize Yoga’s true work was deep inside. The physical benefits were merely a side affect.
As I stand, 14 years later, my passion for Yoga continues to grow.
Through the breathe in Yoga comes stillness, patience, self-love, contentment, mindfulness, awareness and compassion. My Vinyasa Flow classes link breathe and movement as one posture builds upon the other, leading to continuous conscious awareness of the present moment. Sharing my passion of Yoga with others is truly an honor, I strive to teach safe and proper alignment with mindful sequencing and a big smile to go with! Shine Bright!
My name is Laja Gonzales and Zumba® has changed my life in every way imaginable!I always enjoyed music and dancing but I had not taken any classes. When I walked into my first Zumba® class in April 2008, I was forever changed. Although I was completely over whelmed, I had FUN! I was sweaty and had worked out for an hour! I was shocked and not to mention hooked. After a year of taking classes I decided it was time for me to start teaching. Forward 5 years, I love Zumba® and seeing peoples lives change because of this very special program! Personally I lost 20 lbs plus and went down 4 dress sizes! Also I was taken off of all my prescription drugs! Life changing indeed! Come dance and get happy and healthy with me!
Leanne, 200 Hour R.Y.T., began her yoga practice over 10 years ago while living and working as a dancer in New York City. While dealing with a painful back injury, she came to yoga. Yoga straightened out her spine, relieved pain, and helped her find strength both physically and emotionally. Leanne provides a non-judgmental and personable class which she leads as if you’re “dancing on your mat.” Availing herself to continuous somatic and anatomical education, Leanne weaves thought provoking life observations with alignment based awareness in her playful and heartfelt classes. Her practice has led her on a spiritual and physical journey which she shares with her students in class. Leanne holds a MFA in Dance, is a Professor of Dance, and founding artistic director and choreographer of Brooklyn and Phoenix-based, Leanne Schmidt and Company; a modern dance company whose mission is to present dance that is human, vulnerable and accessible.
Personally and professionally, I have always found my niche in things creative. My passion for dance began to flourish with my first ballet and tap lessons at a local dance studio in Paradise Valley when I four years old! I spent my entire childhood happily attending dance classes, performing, and competing with local dance studios. My dance education was put on halt as I moved on to the University of Arizona in pursuit of a career in Visual Art & Interior Design. Though I made it a point to get out and dance with friends, challenges in life distracted my fitness goals, and the standard workout didn’t motivate me to get to the gym.
I discovered Zumba®Fitness in 2009 and was instantly hooked! For me,there is nothing more satisfying than being able to just let loose, have fun, dance, and in the process get fit! Zumba® is a perfect match for me! Like a breath of fresh air, I credit this fitness program with saving my happiness at a time when not much seemed to motivate me to move or smile. It has expanded my horizons by opening doors to new opportunities and positive relationships. Inspired to share my experience and love for dance while motivating others, I became a licensed instructor in February 2010. I am so excited to be on-board with Studio North Yoga & Dance as a Zumba® Fitness Instructor! I absolutely love being part of something bigger than myself, and I look forward to sharing the dance floor with you!
Erin Kirsits is a 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher certified under the Yoga Alliance. She received her training at At One/Life Power Yoga under the direction of Jenn Chiarelli, Anton Mackey
and Desiree Lapre Goldstein.
Erin offers a variety of yoga classes. All of her classes focus on enhancing flexibility and mobility; core stability and strength; and mind/body awareness and enhancement. Erin utilizes the asana practice to increase energy flow and to calm the mind. She believes in the power of the breath to center and ignite a person’s internal energy or fire. In addition to body awareness and physical improvements, she believes the power of yoga lies in the opportunity to reconnect internally and elevate oneself in order to realize his or her best self.
In addition, Erin is a Certified School Counselor for grades Kindergarten through 12th and currently works at Horizon High School. She is also a veteran educator, who taught English at the middle and high school levels. In a nutshell, she is passionate about helping people and total wellness! She is a wife and mother to two children, ages 8 and 6, and calls her family her greatest blessing.
Health and wellness has been a passion of Erin’s for years. She grew up in an active family and was inspired by her father, a long-distance runner, and her mother, an avid walker and Zumba lover, both continue to inspire her daily with their active lifestyles at almost 70! Growing up, she found her fitness endeavors brought her confidence, success and joy. As an adult, she has realized that exercise is an essential self-care tool. Since becoming a mother, Erin has completed several triathlons including the SOMA 1/2 Ironman distance and run the Chicago Marathon. Erin truly believes her exercise and yoga routine is paramount in realizing her purpose: helping others to the best of her ability. The gift she wishes to give others as a yoga teacher is the opportunity to see and realize his or her best self through the practice of yoga.
Erin teaches, counsels and practices yoga with all levels and ages.
Join Erin for a yoga experience that is fit for you! Namaste.
Kayla was born and raised in Thailand where yoga was an intricate part of life, spiritually and mentally. Kayla never practiced yoga until she had a health issue where yoga was suggested as a healing tool. Yoga then transformed her life in every aspect. She felt so much joy and rejuvenated after her first yoga class in 1999. She fell in love with yoga and became a certified yoga teacher in 2005.
Since then she has been practicing and teaching many different styles of yoga; Hatha yoga, Power yoga and Vinyasa flow at “Urban Retreat” 2005-2010 and “Life Style Spa Fitness” and “A Fitness & Wellness Management” inFt.Lauderdale, Florida 2009-2013 and“Just Yoga Studio” 2011-1013. She enjoys the physical and mental benefits that yoga has to offer through daily practice. Teaching what she loves to others for 10 years brings her joy and happiness. Yoga is for everyone! As a teacher, she empowers her students to explore their ability to coordinate their mind and body to achieve their full potential. Her practice focuses on breath awareness, physical balance, alignment, and self discovery.
My greatest pleasure is watching my students improve their strength, flexibility, mobility, endurance, self-image, and peace of mind. I use my training in Hatha Yoga, anatomy, yoga therapy, and Teaching Yoga to Seniors, as well as my 20 years of experience in medical research, to lead my students to a more active and fulfilling life. All ages are welcome, 10 through 110, as are all levels of ability and mobility. Join us to see what yoga can do for you.
I first walked into a yoga class at the age of 58 after a lifetime of medical issues, including a lumbar fusion, six knee surgeries, fibromyalgia, and two neurosurgeries both followed by massive infections.
Through my yoga practice, I watched as I not only grew stronger and more flexible, but also as yoga resolved my fibromyalgia and complications from various surgeries. Now, because of my yoga practice, I am in the best physical and mental shape of my life!
Chair Yoga is a wonderful way to start your yoga practice if you have had medical issues or cannot get up and down from the floor. One 94-year-old woman told me after just 11 classes how much better her back felt and I could see how much straighter she was standing. Join me in doing yoga and see how much better you feel.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Merissa grew up as a competitive gymnast, whicheventually led her to her two passions: performing and rehabilitation/fitness. She graduated Magne Cum Laude from University of Hartford with a B.S. in Physical Therapy. As a Licensed Physical Therapist, Merissa worked with every population and in a number of different settings. Eventually, she put PT on hold to pursue her second passion, musical theater. Merissa was blessed with the opportunity to sing and dance her way to Broadway. She had her Broadway debut in the Tony award winning musical, “Jersey Boys”, andperformed as Frankie Valli’swife in the Chicago, Las Vegas, and Broadway companies for almost 4 years.
Soon after, Zumba® thankfully came into her life
and she realized it was the absolute, perfect combination of both her passions. Merissa has been teaching Zumba® for 2 years and her students always walk away from her class feeling that post-Zumba® buzz! Merissa also recently graduated from a 200 hour registered yoga teacher training and has been teaching hot yoga and yoga sculpt since December 2013. Because of her extensive understanding and knowledge of the body, Merissa’s forte is describing proper alignment to prevent injury. Come dance and play with Merissa in one of her Zumba® classes or get deep in one of her yoga classes. She will be sure to make you stretch, sweat, smile, and dance your way to physical fitness!
* Zumba® Fitness Instructor
* 200 Hr RYT
* Licensed Physical Therapist in Massachusetts and California
* CPR/ AED certified
* Active member of Actors Equity Association (AEA)