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Teachers

Sarah-Berelowitz-Iyengar-Yoga-Teacher


Sarah Berelowitz (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher at the Intermediate Junior 1 level. She has recently moved to Oakland, CA from London, UK where she studied with Alaric Newcombe and undertook her teacher training with Penny Chaplain and the late Sylvia Prescott. Having experienced the benefits that yoga brings, Sarah wants to pass on her knowledge and understanding to her students, no matter what their level of experience. Sarah plans her lessons to build confidence and encourage personal development, ensuring that each student feels comfortable and tended to on an individual basis.

Sandy Carmellini (she/her)is a certified Iyengar yoga teacher. She is also a certified Yoga Therapist (c-IAYT), a Craniosacral Therapist, E-RYT500 (Yoga Alliance), Reiki II and aromatherapy practitioner. She has been teaching yoga since 1998 and is the owner/director of Brentwood Yoga Center since 2008. Sandy is a committed volunteer, and currently serves as an executive board member of the National Iyengar Yoga Association (IYNAUS). She was a devoted student and assistant to Donald Moyer until he retired. Sandy has studied with Sri HS Arun since 2009 and has traveled to India several times to deepen her devotion to yoga under his guidance. She has spent time in Pune studying with the Iyengar family. Her current teachers in the U.S. are Heather Haxo Phillips and Michael Lucey. When she’s not on the mat, Sandy loves spending time with her family, hiking with her husband, cooking and eating vegan food, playing with her cats and studying essential oils. She firmly believes that a healthy lifestyle, including yoga and connection to community brings balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

Sandy Carmellini Iyengar Yoga Teacher
May Mei Chong Iyengar Yoga Teacher

May Mei Chong (she/her) has been a certified Iyengar Yoga since 2015. She has been fascinated by the mind and body connection since she started yoga in 2000. Yoga has brought balance to her life as she navigated through her career in IT and other adventures in her life. In her teaching, she aims to share the benefits of a yoga practice to her students. She strongly believes that the restorative aspects of a yoga practice is as beneficial as an active yoga practice and strives to promote this. In 2015, she studied with the Iyengar family in Pune, India. Her additional certifications include: Advanced Relax & Renew® Restorative Yoga teacher and Pelvic Floor yoga teacher. Currently, she studies primarily with Kathy Alef, with whom she had assisted with, between 2013-2019, in her weekly Back Care classes at IYISF.

Anneke Faas (she/her) is a certified Iyengar yoga instructor and Certified Yoga Therapist (c-IAYT). She became a devoted practitioner at the age of 14, and a yoga teacher in college. Yoga continues to support her through many stages of life. Anneke has a knack for relating yoga to everyday living – using it as a tool to bring balance and meaning to students’ lives. As a teacher, Anneke has a warm presence and directs her classes with ease and careful focus. Beginners love Anneke’s fun classes! Her love of yoga philosophy and chanting shines through in her work with intermediate classes. She also offers expertise to pregnant and post-natal mothers. Anneke loves being in nature with her family. You will find her camping in the mountains with her children, or playing in the ocean during her free time.

Anneke Faas Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Deidra Demens Purvottanasana


Deidra Demens (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher based in New York City. She was first introduced to Yoga in 2004 and is now certified at the Junior Intermediate 1 level. While studying at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago Illinois, Deidra explored various styles of Yoga, movement and breathing exercises as creative ways of expression. Upon graduating, Deidra moved to New York to follow her dream of becoming a theatre artist. Between shows Deidra continued studying Yoga and began teaching in 2011. After taking her first Iyengar class, Deidra was amazed at how much she learned in just one class. “I needed a foundation for my practice and teaching, I found it in Iyengar Yoga. The instructions were clear and precise. My interest in Yoga was elevated. My practice transformed, and so my journey began.” – Deidra Demens Deidra graduated from the  Iyengar Yoga Institute of New York and became a certified CIYT in 2017. She is on the teaching faculty at the New York Institute.  Deidra’s approach to teaching is comprehensive and fun, her classes are dynamic and engaging. Through demonstration and detailed alignment Deidra seeks to both challenge and inspire her students.  You can do some yoga poses with her in this youtube video.


Tiffany Goss (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, and is a graduate of the Sadhana Studies program at Adeline Yoga. Her teaching can be described as authentic and compassionate. Her first Iyengar yoga class in 2012 was held in a small living room by a friend. She knew then that Iyengar yoga was her path. She resonated with the precision in instructions and corrections. Also a bodyworker, Tiffany has a thorough understanding of the body and kinesiology. Tiffany’s goal is to make yoga accessible and safe for all body types. In her free time she likes to go hiking and plan her next travel destination.

Tiffany Goss Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Rebecca Haralabatos Iyengar Yoga Teacher

Rebecca Haralabatos (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She has honed her skills leading beginner, mixed level and gentle yoga classes for the past 7 years and enjoys helping students in classes or one-on-one in private sessions with low back, knee, neck and shoulder pain and other common conditions. With her background as an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist with a practice grounded in the Hakomi method, a mindfulness-centered, somatic psychotherapy, Rebecca supports people in learning how to slow reactivity, tune into the wisdom of their bodies and become more present in their lives to gradually transform anxiety, depression and challenging inter and intra-relational dynamics. Rebecca’s journey both personally and professionally is to support herself and others in attuning to intuition, discovering support and meaning in community and finding alignment for true, vibrant, healthy self-expression.

Sarah Harvey (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (c-IAYT). She is a graduate of the 500-hour Advanced Studies/Teacher Training Program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. A long time member of the Iyengar Yoga community, she has studied and practiced yoga since 1991. She has been teaching classes and private yoga lessons throughout the Bay Area since 2002.
Sarah brings a light, humorous approach to her teaching, combined with direct, detailed instructions for each student. Although yoga is central to her life and key to her well-being, she is also an avid sports fan (Go A’s! Go Dubs!). Sarah lives in a small cottage in East Oakland with her two cats, and enjoys gardening and gourmet cooking.

Sarah Harvey Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Kim Kolibri Iyengar Yoga Teacher


Kim Kolibri (she/her) has been a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher since 2003.  She brings her whole heart and soul to the subject of YOG. As a teacher, Kim is well skilled to teach a broad age range (young to elderly), as well as those with mild to moderate therapeutic issues. In this phase of her teaching, Kim is inspired to share the foundational aspects of Iyengar Yoga – including pranayama, applied Samkhya Philosophy, and Mantra Sadhana – to all that want to learn.

Kim has studied with the Iyengar family many times. She is a spiritual pilgrim by nature and has traveled extensively in India, Nepal, and Tibet in search of whatever is meant to be revealed. She is a longtime devotee of Sri Ramakrishna and an avid student of all things Vedic including Sanskrit, Mantra Sadhana, Vedic Philosophy and Jyotish Astrology.

A long time member of the Iyengar Yoga community, Kim helped to spearhead the creation of the IYNAUS Archives and served as the Director of Archives for many years. She also managed the BKS Iyengar Yoga Center of San Diego for over 10 years. Surely serious about the subject, Kim is a friendly, playful, and encouraging teacher who loves to share the spark of Yoga in all possible ways.


Michael Lucey (he/him) stumbled into an Iyengar yoga class in 1982, while he was a student at Oxford University. Since then, he has been fascinated by how yoga can transform your relation to your body, mind, and breath and his classes aim to share that fascination with you. Michael is certified at the Senior Intermediate level; he has had the good fortune to study with many senior teachers from around the United States and Europe, and has also made 11 trips to Pune, India to study with the Iyengar family. His most recent trip was in December 2018. Michael is a professor of Comparative Literature and French at UC Berkeley, and enjoys playing jazz piano as well.

Michael-Lucey-Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Ruchi Murlidhar Iyengar Yoga Teacher


Ruchi Murlidhar (she/her) is a Level 1 certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (CIYT) and a graduate of the Advanced Studies/Teacher Training program of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco. Ruchi began learning yoga in elementary school in India and tried various forms of yoga before focusing on Iyengar Yoga. She studies regularly with her mentor Elise Miller along with other senior teachers Lois Steinberg, Jito Yumibe and Victoria Austin who is also her pranayama teacher. She has also been fortunate to study in India at RIMYI with Geeta Iyengar. Ruchi completed the Yoga Vidya program with Heather Haxo Phillips and has a regular chanting practice. She is often found experimenting in the kitchen and enjoys California sunshine while hiking/biking with her two boys. She loves to volunteer at her kids school and in her community. Her vibrant personality and sense of humor make her classes playful and accessible for students of all ages.


Hector-Jairo Martinez (they/them) Hector is a certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor. Hector came to Iyengar Yoga by chance. First began as a way to recover from an injury, then it evolved as a way towards self-love and acceptance. Hector apprenticed under the guidance of Theresa Rowland from 2008 to 2014, developing a nurturing relationship with the practice of Iyengar Yoga and life. For Hector, “Iyengar Yoga gives us a way to approach our bodies with friendliness and curiosity. In the journey, one uncovers ever-growing potentiality and sees the unity and splendor of our own being.” Hector believes and engages in co-conspiring to create a present that celebrates the beauty of each being. They are nourished by family and friends, faith, yoga philosophy, nature and food which allows them the strength to pursue living their fullest each day and from time to time be a stiletto loving diva at night.


Francesca Nicosia (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher and Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT). She took her first Iyengar Yoga class in 2010 and is a graduate of Adeline Yoga’s two-year Sadhana Studies program. She has been practicing yoga since 1998 and teaching since 2005 after completing a teacher-training program while living at Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Colorado. Francesca has a PhD in Medical Anthropology and is faculty at the Institute for Health & Aging at the University of California, San Francisco, and is a researcher and yoga therapist with the San Francisco VA Health Care System’s Integrative Health Service. A former member of the IYNAUS Research Committee, she now serves as a yoga therapy subject matter expert for the Veterans Health Administration. Her specialized training includes restorative yoga, yoga for sleep, pain management, musculoskeletal conditions including scoliosis, and other chronic health conditions. Francesca’s classes share the transformative power of yoga to find freedom within the body and mind for people of all ages and walks of life.


Heather Haxo Phillips (she/her) is Director of Adeline Yoga and a certified Iyengar yoga instructor at the Senior Intermediate level. Among the highest certified Iyengar teachers in the East Bay, her additional certifications include:  Certified Yoga Therapist (c-IAYT), Relax and Renew restorative yoga teacher and Yoga Alliance E-500 level instructor. She has specialized yoga therapy training which includes scoliosis, musculoskeletal injuries and pain management.  One of her asana-related specialties is women’s health. Heather has a deep commitment to the ancient teachings which includes mantra sadhana (chanting) and Sanskrit, pranayama and yoga philosophy.  You can expect to find aspects of this in all of Heather’s classes. Heather deepens her own practice by studying regularly with senior Iyengar teachers, Sanskrit and Vedic scholars, and the Iyengar family in Pune. Heather is past President of the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga Association of Northern California and an active volunteer for the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the United States.  Heather is on the board of the Lorin Merchants Association (LBA).

Heather Haxo Phillips Iyengar Yoga Teaacher


Deborah Saliby (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher (C-IYT and C-IAYT) and has been teaching Iyengar yoga for almost 40 years. A graduate of the Iyengar Yoga Institute of San Francisco, she studies regularly with Senior teachers and attends Iyengar conventions. Her classes are balanced and integrated, leaving students with greater energy, emotional stability and a renewed sense of well-being. Deborah also teaches private sessions by appointment for those wanting specific therapeutic attention, for example back care, mobility issues, strength building, postural alignment, pain and stress relief, whatever the needs. She specializes in yoga for back care and yoga for pregnancy and postpartum and is a hypnotherapist and hypnoBirthing instructor.  Deborah is a retired special education teacher.  When not teaching yoga, she can be found on long walks with her dog and gatherings with family and friends.

Deborah Saliby Iyengar Yoga Teacher
Shari Ser Iyengar Yoga Teacher

Shari Ser (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher, a physical therapist and certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). She has been practicing yoga for over 35 years along with working as a physical therapist throughout that time. She loves teaching yoga with students who may feel uncomfortable in faster paced yoga classes and need more personalized attention.

Shari is a certified trainer in Dr Loren Fishman’s Yoga for Osteoporosis method and teaches an ongoing Yoga for Healthy bones class at Adeline Yoga currently on zoom. Shari loves teaching anatomy classes for yoga students and teachers and believes we can deepen our practice and teaching of yoga through a good understanding of basic anatomy. She is a graduate of the Adeline Yoga Sadhana Studies Program. Her additional certifications include RYT 500, E-RYT, Shari is an avid believer of the practice and power of yoga throughout the years. She believes in its immense value in maintaining mobility, independence and equanimity as we all age.


Kelly Sobanski (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher at the Intermediate Junior III level and a c-IAYT certified Yoga Therapist. She has studied directly with BKS Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar and Abhijata Shridar including six months of study at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India. Kelly has deep knowledge of Iyengar Yoga therapeutics and pain management, gleaned from her own practice and eight years assisting in Lois Steinberg’s therapy classes at Iyengar Yoga Champaign-Urbana and her time at the Iyengar Institute in Pune. Kelly has worked with many students with intricate and in-depth physical challenges. Kelly inspires practitioners at all levels to cultivate wisdom, intuition and luminance through the endless learning that yoga unveils.  She is also a dedicated volunteer including past President of the Board of Directors for the Iyengar Yoga Association of the Mid-West.

Sachiko Nishizawa Willis Iyengar Yoga Teacher


Sachiko Nishizawa Willis (she/her) is a practitioner and a certified yoga therapy teacher, with particular interest in therapeutic effects of the practice. She is drawn to Iyengar Yoga for its inclusivity, and its methodical cultivation of focus, intention and discipline using the body first as the tool. She is captivated by how this approach transforms and empowers one toward wellness on and beyond physical level, and aims to share her understanding and enthusiasm with students. Sachiko came from Japan to study theatre in the U.S., and worked in that field for 20 years.


Cynthia Bates (she/her) is a seasoned yoga and meditation teacher who has committed her life to uncovering the dharma or truth, knowing full well that truth is a moving target. For Cynthia, the root of spiritual practice lies in penetrating the veils of unknowing and becoming more and more comfortable with that state. The unknowing, intuitive or mystical state in which one experience the inter-connectivity and interdependence of life itself, is at the core of all spiritual practices. From that state, everything becomes workable and every experience becomes another opportunity to hone the wheel of dharma. She is known for her infectious laugh, intuition, and dark humor.She began her yoga practice in the Mysore tradition and spent 18 years studying in the Iyengar lineage which included several trips to India to study directly with the Iyengar family. The bulk of her training as a yoga teacher comes from eight years of mentoring with Manouso Manos. She is also a dedicated student of Vajrayana Buddhism studying with Tsoknyi Rinpoche and Choknyi Nyima Rinpoche. In 2019 Cynthia move to Big Island of Hawaii where she has found a nourishing home. She continues to dedicate her life to spiritual practice with the understanding that there is no real separation between spiritual practice and life.

Cynthia Bates Iyengar Yoga Teacher


Stephanie Lavender (she/her) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher at the Intermediate Junior 1 level (Level 2). She has 25 years of yoga practice. Stephanie has studied in India with the Iyengar family and continues to study with teachers from all over the world. Stephanie is passionate about making yoga accessible to all and continues to teach yoga and meditation to people experiencing incarceration in California prisons. Stephanie is personally inspired by the dynamic changes that occur with a daily practice, and in the classical teachings of BKS Iyengar, she is committed to encouraging her students to cultivate their own precise and playful practice. All are welcome.


Vince Valente (he/him) is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor who has been teaching yoga since 1998. He worked for several years as a personal trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, deepening his knowledge of anatomy and physiology. He is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Berkeley. Early on, Vincent became fascinated with yoga psychology, which influences both how he teaches yoga and how he practices psychotherapy. He has published scholarship on the use of yoga for professional development and burnout prevention among psychotherapists, as well as the integration of yoga into traditional psychotherapy. Vincent’s classes cater to the needs and goals of students at various levels and challenge all to reach beyond their limits to evolve physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Vince Valente Iyengar Yoga Teacher