It was only days after returning home to Los Angeles from a full month of an extensive yoga teacher training in Costa Rica that Sarah was invited to enjoy a sunny November afternoon trying out Stand Up Paddling (SUP) at Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey. There was no question that she was immediately excited for the opportunity to go out on the water as she just returned from a place where she had spent day after day in the magnificence of the Costa Rican jungle practicing yoga and in her spare time, she was hiking, swimming, and exploring everything the tropical jungle had to offer. Sarah was clearly still thirsty for any activity in which she could maintain a consistent presence in nature. She had never been on a stand up paddle board before that November afternoon but found it to be quite natural for her.
With her obvious passion for yoga, it was not long before Sarah began to experiment with yoga poses on the boards which was the spark that would lead to YOGAqua to come into being. For the next few weeks, Sarah ventured out onto the water with a SUP board, experimenting with yoga poses and sequences, testing them out, then revising again, and this process over and over until she developed a sequence that really worked, that any level of yoga practitioner could enjoy but still be challenged by at the same time. From there, she began teaching weekly classes at Mothers Beach through Poseidon, a new Stand Up Paddle Board shop in Venice, California. It didn’t take long before every week new and returning students would come out for the class, each class filled up to it’s max. Sarah felt the locals need for a new yoga experience and saw their joy in being outside on the water, under the bright sun while flowing through their new form of yoga practice.
Ashley’s adventurous spirit and ambitious pursuit on life have always been her compass. Her passion for new cultures, cuisine, photography and people have taken her through Europe, Asia and South America. Fitness and health has always been important to Ashley. “When I became pregnant with my son, I decided to eat only organic produce and have a weekly workout regiment. Ultimately my son was the catalyst to my yoga journey.” While living in Thailand for 2 months, Ashley traveled through many countries in South East Asia using Bangkok as home base. “In the days I would ride elephants, hike through jungles, scuba dive etc. and at night I would do sunset yoga. My yoga teachers rarely spoke english and this forced me to communicate on a intuitive level in class. I had to focus inward and my practice became very personal. I was amazed how the inner peace I achieved on the worn wooden floors of the outdoor yoga studios carried on with me throughout my days in Asia. I was hooked! When I arrived back to the states I knew I wanted to deepen my yoga practice”. Once back in the states Ashley dedicated herself to an intensive 3 month yoga training program at Core Power Yoga- thus becoming a certified yoga teacher.
Ashley brings her unique teaching style of compassion and determination to SUP board yoga through her vigorous yoga sequencing. Allowing for a mind, body and soul workout. “ I build my students up for success, I push them physically to their max. Once the body is fatigued the ego silences, their minds are calm and their hearts are open. Nothing is more satisfying than watching my students start to move with ease and grace on a unstable surface, I see the glow… It’s beautiful.” Ashley’s warmth, upbeat and love filled outlook is what allows her to relate and care for all her students.
Katrina has been actively practicing yoga for 5 years. Before her yoga days, Katrina used spin classes, weight training and running to stay fit. She ran in several half marathons as part of a charity group that worked with kids to fight childhood obesity, particularly with special needs and low income kids. Her participation with the charity helped the kids through her direct training with them, and provided for new Nike running shoes for participants that couldn’t otherwise afford running shoes. At that time, she practiced yoga casually to stretch muscles between other workouts.
Five years ago Katrina met Sumit Banerjee, at his yoga studio, Sumit’s Yoga. She loved the benefits she found in his classes at strengthening her body and calming her mind. Through Sumit, she learned about a different side of yoga and fitness; she learned how to use the mind to reach a healthier state of fitness and mental clarity. This renewed outlook fueled her desire to teach other people about yoga.
Katrina’s goal for her students is to help them discover the amazing miracle that is their own mind and body. As Katrina’s student, she will guide you through your yoga practice and you’ll leave feeling healthy, strong, calm, and inspired by the group energy created in class. A lean, toned body might be another result of training with Katrina, but that is just the icing on the cake.
Originally from Long Beach, Brad grew up around the water and spent his summers surfing. When he moved to New York City for school he found himself looking for something to help fill the surfing void. Originally he was planning on just trying Yoga with a friend, but found it so addicting he went everyday for the next 4 months. Completely transformed, Brad continued with a consistent practice for 5 years. Upon returning to California after graduation, Brad set out to find a yoga teacher training program that spoke to him. He found Power Yoga to be most inline with his sensibilities with a focus on the physical benefits. Brad completed his 200 hour Power Yoga Teacher Training in November, 2011 at CorePower Yoga in Huntington Beach.
Alex was raised in New Jersey and studied nutrition at the University of Vermont. Health and fitness has always been an important part of her life. It was during college that she first fell in love with Yoga and after graduation she made the decision to move to California to not only escape the cold harsh winters of the east coast but to also pursue Yoga on the next level. It was not long after Alex had settled into her new home on the warm Southern California coast that she then completed her first Yoga Teacher Training with Core Power Yoga. After growing up on the water sailing and enjoying the outdoors hiking, bike riding, and kayaking, Alex realized that YOGAqua was exactly what she was looking for. “After my first class I was hooked and knew I had to be part of it.” Her athletic flow leaves your body feeling energized and invigorated and her calming teaching style will leave your soul at ease in a gentle state of bliss.
Growing up on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan, Emily has always found her bliss being close to the water. Throughout grade school and college Emily pursued her passions for travel, athletics, friendship, and graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Health Studies. Although she loved the fast pace lifestyle, whenever things got too noisy she always found herself coming home to the lake to feel humbled and find peace.
In the Summer of 2011 Emily tried Stand Up Paddle boarding for the first time through her part-time job at a local SUP Shop, Summit Sports. Having grown up snowboarding and wakeboarding, Emily loved the challenge and test of balance with this new board sport. The following Spring she started a small SUP Yoga program in collaboration with Summit Sports and yoga studio, Yoga State. During this time, Emily also completed a 200 hour Yoga certification with Yoga State, a weekend SUP Yoga certification from Lazy Dog Key West Florida, and a SUP Instructor certification from Boardworks SUP.
In the Fall of 2012 Emily moved to California to pursue her passion for adventure and fatefully met Sarah Tiefenthaler. Emily immediately fell in love with YOGAqua and YOGAqua her. Emily’s class will leave you feeling strong, refreshed, and completely at peace.
Elyza is lively and energetic with hints of pixie dust that she loves to spread to her fellow yogis and beyond. She uses her curiosity and excitement for life to keep challenging herself and her students to find their edge and work safely and steadily there until a new edge is formed, starting from the mat or paddle board and extending out into the world. Elyza brings her passion for movement to every class, cultivating a creative and fun flow. Be prepared to let it go and laugh amidst the gentle ocean water. If she’s not teaching, you can find her paddling, doing yoga, flipping upside down anywhere and everywhere, playing and singing with her uke, collecting fresh produce at the farmer’s market, or finding peace with sea life while working at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium.