Instructors

Bikram Yoga San Jose Instructors are Certified by Bikram Choudhury at Bikram’s Yoga College of India, Los Angeles, CA

Andre Gomez

Cynthia-BYSJ
This yoga transformed my body completely after being injured from a career in extreme sports. I had three different spinal injuries and with this yoga 12 years later, I feel my best. I have been teaching 4 years now. For me, I had so much passion for this yoga that teaching was an obvious next step for me. I can’t say enough about this yoga. Like brushing your teeth, you need to do it everyday!

Claire Crawley

Cynthia-BYSJ
I went to Teacher Training in Spring 2013. After I started practicing with Nicole Duke, Owner at Bikram Yoga Aptos in September 2012, I learned about Teacher Training and Nicole encouraged me to go. Bikram yoga had quickly become a daily practice for me and had already helped me so much in a very short amount of time. I was looking to make some big lifestyle changes, so training seemed like a wonderful way to forge that path.

Before Bikram I had a lot of trouble staying focused on any one thing or following through with anything; I was constantly seeking but never finding. I was very indecisive about what I wanted to do with my life and struggled with anxiety. When I started practicing Bikram Yoga, I felt immediate changes within myself. My mind became quieter so I had more clarity when making decisions. I felt more levelheaded and less emotional. Bikram taught me how to take control of my mind and how to be my own best friend.

Cynthia Wehr

Cynthia-BYSJ“Standing bow pulling pose is my favorite posture. While working at HQ, it took many “Cynthia do this and Cynthia do that” to understand the beauty and difficulty of this posture. I will never forget the day Bikram came over and locked my leg for me- and that was that. I was able to lock out pretty much every time after that experience. The level of intensity and concentration the pose demands from you is so superb, that there is nothing like it. It is as if the world has truly stopped for a moment and it gives you the space and breath to just dive into this amazing posture using all the strength and flexibility you can muster up in 60 seconds. I get so excited just thinking about it.” Graduated Bikram’s teacher training, Spring 2003

Dawn Hoppe

dawn-hoppe-2I took my first Bikram yoga class in 2006.  The heat and intensity drew me in, I fell in love with the practice, and noticed my life changing before me.  While the physical benefits were great, it was really the mental, emotional, and spiritual effects that moved me to continue.  The practice of looking within was not always easy.  The lessons of humility, perseverance, self-acceptance, and compassion were hard-fought.  But the rewards were undeniable.  There was a feeling of connectedness and meaning.  Where there had once been sadness, frustration, and futility, now there was beauty and hope, joy, a sense of empowerment and purpose.  As my body grew stronger, my mind stilled, my heart opened, and my spirit transformed.

So I went to Bikram Teacher Training in fall of 2007 and in the following years, I’ve taught at various studios throughout the Bay Area.  I feel blessed and honored to be a part of this amazing community and see the power of yoga working in others, to watch them wake up and shine in this practice and in their lives.

I am deeply moved by the power of yoga to heal, transform, and impact all of us in profound ways.  The practice inspires us to listen, to try harder, go deeper, breathe more calmly, live more mindfully.

Don Leung

dawn-hoppe-2
A friend told me about Bikram Yoga and he described as “it is like when you were a little kid playing all day long burning all this energy, getting all sweaty with this feeling coming over you as you lay down on your back content and happy looking up into the sky” – Sold! :) For me, Bikram Yoga gave me courage and confidence and I wanted to give that back. And, I have learned from the students how to be patient with myself.

Fiona Bensen

fiona-bysj
“After experiencing 5 consecutive years of either stress or actual fractures and reconstructive surgery on my right foot (following a series of running injuries), I was determined to give up running and find a more forgiving way to stay fit and active. I took up Bikram Yoga because I was attracted to the intensity which is part of the essential nature of any Bikram class. Bikram isn’t mellow yoga- its hardcore. I only took a couple of classes before I knew that I was hooked. I fell in love with how Bikram Yoga made me feel both physically and mentally. I could go into class tired, moody or mad at the world for whatever reason, and come out feeling energized and in love with everyone! Because of the extraordinary benefits I received through practicing the yoga, I was determined to share my commitment.

Holly Matthews


I began doing Bikram Yoga in 2001. I immediately fell in love with how Bikram Yoga made me feel. A year and a half later I decided to attend the Bikram Yoga teacher training, and to make teaching yoga my profession. I began teaching at Bikram Yoga San Jose in 2003, when Michele, opened her original studio. I have had the honor and the pleasure of seeing the evolution of her community, and being a part of that process has been extremely rewarding.

In 2006 I went back to school to pursue my undergraduate degree in psychology and social action. The study of psychology has further expanded and deepened my passion for yoga. I am currently attending a graduate program in social work at Cal State East Bay. I would have to say that my understanding of psychosomatic connections, as well as mindfulness, will be an essential component of my philosophical and therapeutic approach when working with clients in the field.

Over the last decade, Michele Vennard, and her amazing yoga community have supported me through the evolution of personal and professional development. I am extremely grateful to be a part of this community. The quality of friends I have made here is above and beyond any other resource I have had access to, and without their love and support, I may not have reached this level of self-actualization. I am forever grateful. Holly graduated from Teacher Training in Spring 2005.

Huong Nguyen

huong-nguyen-2I started Bikram Yoga in February 2008 but it wasn’t until about 6 months later that I fell in love with the practice. It was a combination of the intensity of the practice, the changes I was experiencing, and the Bikram Yoga community that really did it for me.

I am surprised some times at how far I have gone in my practice. I can remember being that student hiding in the corner hoping that the teacher would never see me. Almost five years later I am now a Bikram yoga instructor.

I’m thankful to have found the yoga and all the positive things that come with it. Outside of the yoga room, I am a community social worker with a love for baseball, food, traveling, and more recently CrossFit.

 

Jackie Rogers

jackie-rogers-2Jackie started practicing Bikram Yoga in San Luis Obispo in 2004 while attending Cal Poly University. She instantly fell in love with the practice and knew she wanted to go to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, but put it off until she had finished her degree and spent a few years in the corporate world.

Jackie completed her Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in the spring 2010. Being active and working out has always been a big part of Jackie’s life. She loves the challenge, the heat, and the way her body feels after Bikram. Now she teaches part time while running operations at a small product design company she started with her husband, in Los Gatos, CA. While not teaching or practicing she enjoys hanging out in Santa Cruz, doing CrossFit, and spending time with her husband and English Mastiff.

Jason Rahlwes

Jason-BYSJ“I had developed carpal tunnel syndrome in 2004 from working long hours at a computer without any breaks. Surgery was the recommended corrective action, but I refused to accept surgery as my primary option. Instead, I look at holistic options and found Bikram Yoga by chance. I was at a favorite local restaurant and struck up a conversation with another guest, who, as it turns out, is a yoga instructor. I had never really given yoga a chance; I had dismissed yoga somehow, thinking it wasn’t for me for a multitude of reasons. As an athlete, I felt that it was not challenging enough. After taking my first class, I found out my assumptions were very wrong and my mind opened up to a whole new world of mental and physical challenges. What I simply could not deny was how good I felt afterwards. After going through this transformation, I found myself drawn towards talking about yoga’s benefits with friends and family – anyone who would listen. Eventually I realized I wanted to be a part of, play a role in, and witness transformation in others’ lives.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training Spring 2009

Jennifer Hohman

Jason-BYSJ
I went to the San Diego 2010 Teacher training although I have been practicing regularly since September 2005. I love seeing the transformation that takes place with practice in the hot room, there is no better feeling in the world than when a student comes up to me after class and says it was the first time they’ve be able to do something. I teach from my heart with energy and gratitude because I have the best job in the world.

Jessica Guinn

Jessica-BYSJI first tried Bikram yoga in the fall of 2007 in Claremont, CA.

I have always been a lifelong athlete, so the intensity of the series appealed to me. I quickly fell in love, and those first nine months helped me cope both with writing my undergraduate thesis and with grieving for my mother who had died (at the young age of 51) less than a year before.

I have learned so much from my practice (especially how much more I still have to learn!). First of all, I am more flexible than I ever would have dreamed possible. But more importantly, I learned to finally feel at home in my body, instead of disconnected and awkward; how to recognize stress and release it through conscious breathing; how to help my body heal from physical injuries. I have become more forgiving of myself, my body, and others.

I’m ecstatic to be a teacher. I LOVE sharing the wonderful benefits of this yoga, and helping others—particularly those who are joining us later in life—finally find a path to health and wellness.

Jill Rencher

Jill-BYSJ“I graduated from teacher training in Spring 2009, and I love teaching! I have come to love Bikram Yoga not only for the physical benefits, but also for the lessons applicable to the rest of life. I love that we all come to class at different places in our practice and lives, but all with the same intention: with each posture to try the right way giving our best for that day. I think in life that is what we can ask of ourselves wherever we are: set the intention to try our best for that time and then be aware of and grateful for our progression through the ebb and flow.”

John Ferreira

John-BYSJMy yoga journey started in 1999 when I was counting the days to retirement (442) and being open to what was next. One day I was working near Bikram (Being Yoga) Burlingame and picked up a brochure. My first class was 6 months later and from the beginning I loved the workout and being pain free. Working for 30 years on poles and in cramped manholes left my back sensitive to slipping out. I started doing the yoga twice a week and when I finally retired 4 times a week. While on a yoga retreat (2003), yoga in the morning and evening, in Tulum Mexico under the moonlight, stars and listening to the waves crashing on the beach, we imagined being yoga teachers. I would find myself at Yoga Teacher Training in the fall of 2004.

The training changed my life or I had to change my life to complete teacher training. For 60 days it was 90 classes of yoga and an immersion into healthy eating. From the training I would stop eating ice cream because I was looking for a way to recuperate quicker and I only wanted to eat what had nutritional value. Dark chocolate was ok, antioxidants.

When I returned home after 2 months, the longest I was away from my 25 mile circle that I’ve lived in my whole life, I was empowered.

Teaching scheduled classes started on January 8, 2005 and I haven’t looked back only forward to the next class.

Doing and teaching yoga is interwoven into the journey to be open to new experiences and unlimited possibility. Since that new beginning in 2005 two grandsons were born and we spend one day a week exploring and maybe disrupting. I also began to lead tours in San Francisco and in doing that I’ve found another passion, history. No matter where I go on vacation I check out the history and find interesting places and cultures to explore. Yes and also take a class at the local Bikram Yoga studio.

Kelly Gibson

Kelly-BYSJ
“Practicing Bikram Yoga has brought, health, strength, energy and vitality to my body and a connection to all things in my life in a deeper aspect than I had ever imagined possible. My view of beauty has expanded immensely. After decades of competitive sports and five knee surgeries my body was broken and I woke up feeling sore every morning. I could not walk down stairs and I had all sorts of aches and pains that I assumed was a natural part of growing old. After my first class, I felt a cleanness, I had never felt before in my life. After practicing Bikram yoga for only a few months, my aches and pains went away. My Ultimate Frisbee team members noticed my enhanced athletic performance and wanted to know what my secret was. Bikram yoga is no secret, it is like health juice for our minds and bodies. When I teach, I desire for every student to gain health and healing, and to feel tapped in to their powerful selves. Teaching Yoga has brought me so much joy. I am amazed and honored to see so many dedicated students and to be a part of this journey with the students and teachers at BYSJ.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Spring 2010

Keon Saghari


My first Bikram yoga class was here at Bikram Yoga San Jose! As a professional contemporary dancer, I wanted to find a cross training regime that would enable me to strengthen certain areas of my body that dancing couldn’t. Little did I know, this yoga would change more than just my dance technique. I did my first 30 day challenge during a time in my life where I needed to find determination, strength and clarity. Being in the yoga room everyday, for 90 minutes, gave me the opportunity to meditate- In turn I was able to recognize the negativity in my life and shift my approach to dealing with it. Now, as a teacher, I am over joyed to share this yoga with my community. Practicing this yoga is like hitting the “refesh” button on my body- Every day I feel like a new person greeting life with a happy smiling face! Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Fall 2013

Larisa Loish


I was born in Moscow, Russia. My family and I moved to US in 1996.
My first job in US was as Software QA Engineer. I worked for 5 years for 3 different companies in Bay Area, then next 3 years as an accountant for a Real Estate Company in San Mateo.

I am mom of 3 beautiful daughters. After my two younger daughters were born (2006 and 2007), I had long break from work and I realized that I want to change my career entirely. By that time I had practiced different yoga styles for several years.

Eventually, I discovered Bikram Yoga in 2007 and immediately fell in love with sequence and heat! I saw teaching Bikram Yoga as a natural next step for my practice and life style. I have continued to practice and decided to get certified in Spring of 2008. Since then I have taught regularly at variety of different Bikram studios.

I am very thankful for the job I do. It gives so much more meaning to my life. My passion for Bikram yoga grows everyday as I see how it heals bodies and minds and changes lives. Yoga gives hope and confidence to me and so many people in their worlds outside the yoga room.

Marialena Roussere

marialena-bysjI have the honor of teaching yoga and working as a psychotherapist, both of which help people come into their truest form. Each time I unroll my mat, yoga helps me honor the big wisdom in knowing my body, how to inhabit it and care for it in the midst of the world. Yoga requires me to be in relationship with myself with every posture – the easy, the difficult, the ones I’m uncertain in. And when I muster the courage to do it again tomorrow, I know I can engage in life off the mat this way….

And these days with a life full of the demands related to helping grow children, yoga grounds me, makes me a more present mom and gives my husband and I something more to talk about than schedules and kids!

Before doing yoga, I used to work out on treadmills and stair masters, which left me burnt out and continually feeling like moving my body was a dreaded chore. Most often now, when coming out of balancing stick and my heart is pumping and my mind thinks that it is hard, I offer a quick prayer of gratitude, recognizing that being in the yoga room is more creative, fun and life giving for me than 20 minutes on a stair master. Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Summer 2004

Mariam Jazayeri

mariam-jazayeri-2I was 51 when I started Bikram Yoga, in my younger days I played volleyball and went to the gym, ran, hiked and biked….I started having lower back problems and with life, one thing led to another and most of my activities stopped. I heard about hot yoga and wanting to try it, thinking it would be a good stretch for my back! I took my first class, and was hooked. This practice transformed from an interest into a life style. It helps me physically and emotionally.

My body is not as flexible as I would love it to be, YET. I told my family, my goal is to touch my face in “Hands to Feet pose” by the age of 80!

The seed on mindfulness meditation was planted in me when I faced a hard time in my life and became very depress. This practice has been another stepping-stone toward my self-realization and one of my main coping methods.

In my past life I was a software engineer for 20 years. My day job now is a librarian at Cupertino Union School District.

I graduated in fall of 2011. Teaching this yoga is my compassion and joy in life.

“Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant with the weak and the wrong. Because sometime in your life you will have been all of these.”
-Mother Theresa

My favorite song is Imagine by John Lennon.

My goal in life is to love all, serve all.

Meaghan Barisone


“I was 16 years old when I was first exposed to Bikram yoga. Having never done yoga before I did not know what to expect. However, after that first class I was hooked! I felt better then I ever had before and knew at that point yoga was going to positively change and become a very big part of my life. I became a Bikram Yoga instructor in Spring 2011 and have never looked back! I love teaching and hope to spread this amazing yoga to as many people as I can!” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Spring 2011

Michele Vennard

marialena-bysj
“When I took my first Bikram yoga class, I could not believe that all 50 or more of us were going to stay in this hot sweaty room for 90 minutes! It was almost comical. By the end, I knew it was the very thing I needed in my life. I really saw how it helped any and all in its own unique way. That compelled me to not only do the practice but to teach it too.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Fall 2001

Miki Guastamachio


I love many different practices of yoga, and after receiving my credentials for Ashtanga I decided to try Bikram yoga. At the time I was an avid runner, participating in ultra-marathons. I had no idea what I was in for! I didn’t look it up before hand, so was bewildered at the heat and intensity. I had this notion that since I could run, bike and hike long distances that it would be “no big deal!” Ha! It made me curious however, so eventually I found the Morgan Hill studio and signed up for the introductory offer- promising that I would go every day and make a decision after the trial period. Well, before those 2 weeks were even up I was hooked! I signed up for the year. My chronic back pain that I’d had for over 20 years disappeared, my body healed faster after my runs, and overall I felt more vibrant and alive. After only 14 months of practicing I went to LA to train with Bikram Choudhury and earn credentials to teach his style of yoga.
I love teaching, seeing the journey people take and the obstacles they overcome. I’m just as excited when a student gets deeper into a pose as they are! People walk out of the hot room smiling, dripping wet with their effort and perseverance to do their best. It’s a real honor to be a part of that.

“ Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth, “you owe me.” Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky.” – Hafiz

Mirna Marusic

mirna-bysj
“I started yoga in December 2010 and was instantly hooked on yoga and attended the teacher training that Fall 2011. I have been teaching full time since then and traveling around the states having taught now in almost 20 different studios. I was a member of teacher training staff three times.”

Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Fall 2011

Natalie Woodcock


“I have been practicing bikram yoga since 2008. My life long best friend had a hunch that I would like the practice so she invited me to attend a class with her. It truly was “love at first sweat” for me. I attended teacher training just 2 years later in 2010, and I’ve never looked back. The change that the practice has created in my life is so positive and too great to ignore; I just wanted to share it with everyone.

I’m also a registered nurse having worked in a pediatric intensive care unit as well as a labor and delivery unit. I cannot even tell you how many of my patients I have led in pranayama deep breathing. There were so many shifts at the hospital where I would channel my yoga teacher self to help someone through a healing process. It is undeniable how powerful it is. Even though it is the same sequence day in and day out, it is so fascinating to me how every single class in the hot room is different. I take it, learn from it, then leave it. I use those 90 minutes to discover something new about myself every day! This is priceless.”

Patricia Antoni

patricia-antoni-2“My becoming a Bikram instructor was a spiritual experience for me. I knew God was the director and it was time. I had practiced yoga off and on for most of my adult life. I never seemed to stick to it even though I knew my body needed it. I had always had a weak lower back. It wasn’t until I had been practicing Bikram yoga awhile that I thought I would try the 101 day challenge that BY Instructor and Owner of Global Yoga, Mary Jarvis, talks about. I did it and more. This was the start of an amazing journey.I had visited teacher training to support a couple of students here at BYSJ who are now teachers and always knew in the back of my mind one day if God willed maybe I could do it too. Yoga had transformed me in body, mind and spirit and I wanted everyone to have it. Long story short after many enlightening moments I went in the spring of 2011. It was one of the hardest things I ever did and I would do it all over again. I love this yoga and I am forever grateful I can teach and share this with the world. Namaste.”

Riva Huang


“I started practicing Bikram yoga in 2005. At first, I was just interested in the yoga postures and enjoying the great feelings after each class. I thought I was going to get bored because the postures are the same for each class, but I didn’t. Even though the postures are the same, each class is different and is always challenging in some ways. Practicing Bikram yoga helps me stay healthy physically and mentally. I feel honored to teach this yoga and be a part of the students’ practice, which is the process that often leads to amazing transformations and miracles. I truly believe that everyone needs this yoga and this yoga is for everyone.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Spring 2009

Shawn white


A regular Bikram’s Yoga practice gives me strength through my personal struggles and motivates me to work hard and find joy in every moment. I took my first class in 2001 while attending graduate school in Colorado. Since attending teacher training eight years later in 2009, I have taught in California, New York, Massachusetts, Canada, and during a double handed sail across the Pacific, several Hawaiian Islands and eastern Australia. As a Bikram’s Yoga teacher, I hope to inspire others how I have been inspired, to help others resolve their own challenges of esteem and spirit and to discover their potential, to find meaning through that relationship between my experience and sharing with others, and to teach others about the mind-body connection of presence and self-compassion that yoga gives me.”

Tara Walters


I walked into Bikram yoga in San Francisco’s upper Haight neighborhood during college in 2001 in sweatpants and an oversized T-shirt. I wanted to try yoga because my house mate was into yoga and she was always talking about how much she loved it. I wanted to better my ability to concentrate so I could work on my art for longer periods of time without getting tired or distracted. I had no idea what I was in for.

I literally thought the A/C was broken and about half way thru the class it dawned on me that it was supposed to be hot. I had to tell myself I was on the beach in Mexico to get thru the class. I died. The sweat and the intensity stole my heart right away though. It just clicked with me; the concentration, inner will, strength and flexibility exercises. I knew this was going to be everything I would love in a work out/detox/meditation. After my intro I signed up for work trade and continued all thru college.

Five years later, after I graduated from college I immediately went to teacher training in Los Angeles, CA, Fall 2006. I felt it was my duty to share this amazing sequence with other people as it had improved my life in SO many ways. I was able to concentrate more steadily for longer periods of time and deal with stress of past, present and future. I became more aware of a healthier diet/lifestyle. I became more confident and more appreciative of things I had often taken for granted. I started really loving myself and then was able to love others more too.

The funniest thing that I have seen in class was people smelling their own armpits during Half Moon pose.
Besides yoga I enjoy painting and drawing. I love nature and connecting with people. I like movies, reading, cooking, running, hiking, biking, skiing, and swimming. I like laughing and having fun.”

Teresa Dalsager

teresa-dalsager-2
My yoga journey began on Mother’s Day, 2010. We were living in San Francisco and would often pass a Bikram studio, just 4 blocks from our home. My family and I would wonder what was happening behind those doors. We had NO IDEA what Bikram Yoga was all about and my daughter and I decided to find out.

The experience that day turned out be a total game changer. I’ve had 5 knee surgeries following a lifetime of competitive athletics and skiing. I also developed asthma and pretty severe allergies as an adult. I could tell right away that the heat, humidity, and strategically placed poses were going to accomplish something that conventional medicine had not been able to. This yoga was going to allow me to improve the range of motion in my knees and joints, and strengthen my weakened respiratory system. Sure enough, as a result of consistent practice, I’ve stopped using inhalers altogether and am able to spend time in homes with pets. My leg muscles have strengthened dramatically and most knee pain is gone. Even my Kaiser Doctor has been amazed by the transformation.

Professionally I was enjoying success as a busy executive, leading a large team for a multi-billion dollar corporation. As my body began healing and family and friends started practicing this yoga (including my 76 year old Mother), I decided it was time to trade in my power suit for yoga attire. I wanted to share this powerful yoga series with others and be the kind of encouragement that so many Bikram teachers have been to me over the years.

So, I enrolled in the Fall, 2013 Bikram Teacher Training and made the dream a reality. Over time, it’s become increasingly clear that what really matters in this life has nothing to do with money or monetary success. Family, friends, good health, a smile, kindness, faith, empathy, encouragement, support, trust, forgiveness. These are the things that bring lasting joy and make us truly rich. I feel incredibly humbled and blessed to be teaching Bikram Yoga and look forward to a lifetime of continued learning and growth.

Wesley Martin


I started practicing yoga in Laguna Beach in 2011. After four years of art school, I had crippling joint pain in my arms, preventing me from putting in the long hours required of a professional artist. I tried every other treatment I could find to no avail, and eventually I attended my first Bikram yoga class at the recommendation of a friend. During the first breathing exercise I knew I needed this yoga in my life. My arms started to heal after just a few months of daily practice, and over time I also treated bad knees, asthma, a sleeping disorder, and several pinched nerves.

I spent a few years in Redmond, Washington working at a big corporation that slowly took away my sanity, but my daily Bikram yoga practice pulled me through that difficult time in my life. After a round of layoffs changed the course of my life, I completed Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in fall 2013 and moved back to the Redwood Mountains in California to be close to my family.

When I am not teaching Bikram yoga, I work as a freelance artist and independent game designer, pursuing my lifelong goal of developing games as an art form.

Yi-ting Chuang

yi-ting-chuan-2Sweating, panting, exhausting… those used to be my definition of “workout.” Thus Yoga was never my workout routine, until my friend took me to my first Bikram Yoga class in 2005. I was hooked right away. I stayed on this physical level of practice for many months and came to realize that there was more. Other than developing toned muscles and eliminating back pain, I found deeper focus and calmness in my practice. And they remained in my mind and showed in my behaviors even after I left the hot room. I used to reckon meditation as too spiritual to be realistic. Bikram Yoga taught me that meditation existed in human nature and was actually essential for true quality life. Only after several months of practice I knew this yoga would company me for life and this would be a never-ending journey of discovery. I was right. I started practicing from 2005 and teaching from 2007. No two classes ever ended the same. Every class finishes with new joys and inspirations. I embraced as my mission to introduce this wonderful creation to more people, plant the “Bikram Yoga seed” into their body and heart, in hopes that for now or for future, more and more people can receive the same benefits, on physical, mental and spiritual levels, I’ve experienced.

Yuka Sugiura


“The impetus for me to start Bikram yoga was pretty simple — a co-worker and I saw a studio in the neighborhood and were curious. We went to our first class and things were going pretty smoothly until I blacked out after the first set of Standing Bow. The room started going dark and somehow I found the floor. Fortunately I had a wonderful teacher tend to me, I cooled down, took a break, rejoined the class, finished… and I was hooked. I loved the intensity and focus of class and felt so light and energetic afterward, that I knew this was something I’d do again. I practiced for about a year, then after taking an 8-year hiatus from the hot room, I felt a pull to go back in. Little did I know that that I was starting a path to become a teacher. I do feel that somehow this yoga finds us as much or more than the other way around, and I’m grateful that it found me again and that I’m now part of a wonderful yoga community. I’ve found that the commitment, openness and joy you bring to this yoga is returned right back to you, and teaching gives me the amazing opportunity to be part of that exchange.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Fall, 2010

Yulia Sytenkova


“I truly believe that Bikram Yoga transforms your life. 6 years ago I found myself in a pretty difficult situation. I was getting divorce from my then-husband who was fighting his own demons of alcohol and domestic violence. I was a foreigner with 14 year old son and did not have a profession which could support and provide for us in the US. I did not have close friends to help me. I was diagnosed with major depression and anxiety disorder. A stranger gave me a brochure about Bikram Yoga in Walnut Creek, CA. I took my first class and it was like a miracle. Where did all this energy come from? How come I felt so great for no obvious reason except for this sweaty and smelly room filled with half-naked bodies? Very rapidly things started changing and they keep changing! I live in Silicon Valley now surrounded with wonderful family and friends. Bikram Yoga is my profession now and I love it! I love to see changes in people’s lives because of this Yoga. And it is so great to be a little piece of this amazing process. The strongest sense of community makes me feel grateful every time I enter our wonderful studio.” Graduated Bikram Teacher Training, Fall 2004