I’m inspired by love, authenticity, and self-expression. When I arrive on my yoga mat, the resistance dissolves and I’m deeply connected with truth. The miracles I’ve seen in myself, and in others, are what guided me to the creation of Solfire Yoga with my beautiful friend, Ellen Moe. To each and every person who walks through our door, I want to say, you are loved, you are perfect, and you are where you’re meant to be.
My practice began 14 years ago with Bikram yoga, and my sister introduced me to power yoga in 2009. At the end of my first class, I sat on my mat for a long time, lingering in a new sense of presence and connection. I wanted to hold onto that feeling, so I continued showing up to my mat. I completed teacher trainings with Baron Baptiste and Diana Vitantonio, where I began to step into my most authentic self. Through asana, meditation, and inquiry, I developed a relationship with a voice deep within. The voice said go, create, be big, grace is all around you, and you are free. It is my hope to create space for you to listen to the voice of your soul and to step deeply into your power and authenticity.
I landed in my first heated power vinyasa yoga class almost 5 years ago because I was a long-time runner entering middle age who couldn’t touch my toes. I was the classic “I’m not flexible enough to do yoga” type. I thought I needed a good stretch. What I’ve learned? Yoga stretches and strengthens me in more ways than I can describe. I see daily how a dedicated yoga practice transforms my perspective, shifts my priorities, and helps me find greater clarity and peace amidst the normal turbulence of life. On my mat I find space to connect with my soul–that part of me often clouded or overcome by thoughts and “things to do.” I become a witness to what is real and true for me, and what I need. I value how the ancient philosophy and tradition of yoga support what I believe and how I have been raised: to have faith, to believe in God or a power greater than me at work within me and around me, and to do my best to live a principled life serving others. The serenity I find on my yoga mat gives me courage to walk through my fears and embrace uncertainty. For me, yoga is like a moving prayer. My hope is to create a class where you can find space to feel and connect to whatever you need on your own mat—to whatever brings you to your truest YOU.
I honor ALL of my teachers who have helped me grow in my knowledge of sharing this practice as a yoga instructor, most especially Stephanie Snyder, teacher of my second 200 hour training and Jason Crandall whose anatomy courses have helped me grow in my understanding of the physical practice. Their knowledge and authenticity inspire me.
Amanda Van Winkle
It seems everyone has similar stories of struggle and strife that led them to the path of yoga, I am no exception to this rule. After years of dejection, and one tragedy, in particular, it was time for a drastic change. On a whim, I hopped on a plane to live in a tent for a month on an ashram in Grass Valley, CA. Being a native of New Jersey, this was by far one of the most radical things I have done to date.
Becoming familiar with this original form of Hatha Yoga, I studied meditation, Ayurveda, proper diet, the asanas (postures) and most importantly proper relaxation. As the month immersion came to an end I was granted the title of Yoga Siromani (Yoga Teacher), was given a fresh perspective and most trepidation eased.
Over the last nine years this practice has floated me through different styles of yoga: Kundalini, Sivananda, Yin, Ashtanga, and is currently seated in a heavy Iyengar presence, stitched seamlessly into vinyasa flow based movement. My active pursuit of knowledge, coupled with my allopathic and naturopathic medical backgrounds yield a most interesting practice filled with education and a lot of laughs.
The intention now is to pass along the knowledge, love, and gifts of Yoga that were so generously given. Despite my young age, there is a wealth of knowledge I am excited to share.
Andrew found yoga after a torn Achilles’ tendon ended his track career at UC Davis. In the fall of 2013, yoga was a way to workout while dealing with the chronic pain from this injury. Shortly after he was introduced to arm balances and inversions, forever turning his world upside down.
Having the soul of a b-boy but the two left feet of a distance runner, Andrew found that yoga provides the space to think through these postures. Hungry for more, he immediately dove into class assisting and completed his first 200 hr RYT teaching certification in the spring of 2014. He has continued to take further trainings and now is a 200hr E-RYT. Still, there was something missing.
After taking his first YITP class, the missing link was clear. While studio yoga builds a tight knit family, he craved a connection to a larger community. Yoga Moves Us is the glue that brings all of Sacramento’s studio families together. Assisting lead to teaching and teaching lead to organizing, anything he could do to help make this glue stronger.
Andrew’s analytic curiosity helps stimulate his goal for our community to explore yoga’s physical and mental boundaries, while maintaining a playful heart.
Before practicing yoga I experienced fear and a lack of self-confidence – addiction to drugs and alcohol took me over. I was caught in a vicious cycle that stemmed from disfunctional thinking. Expectations of people, places and things ruled my life. Yoga has taught me that the change has to occur within, not somewhere out there. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the defenition of insanity. Making positive changes can be uncomfortable, but always worth it. I was introduced to yoga in rehab – I reluctantly showed up only because I was out of ideas. I returned to my mat again and again, and I began to discover qualities within me I didnt know existed, or that I had long forgotten. Through stillness and breath, compassion, patience, acceptance and love began to take me over. I return to my mat to deepen my connection with this process of uncovering, discovering and discarding all that isn’t me, so that I can live happily and teach others how to connect with this beautiful gift that has been given to me. Join me in finding freedom through surrender!
With the help of a beginner yoga VHS that I bought at a garage sale, I found yoga asana before middle school. Almost a decade later, I found my physical practice again while working at a corporate fitness club. After a few years of inconsistent practice, something just clicked for me and I started practicing regularly, because what I was doing felt oh-so-right. It didn’t make logical sense to me — I couldn’t put my finger on why or how — but I felt like I finally found something that was guiding me toward changes that I had been calling into my life for as long as I can remember. That something that I found was Yoga. The Yoga of a conscious mind-body-soul connection. The Yoga of love and light. The Yoga that I now come back to, again and again so that I can keep finding and refinding my strength, balance, compassion, and flexibility. My hope and reality is that cultivating these characteristics on my mat helps me carry them off of my mat and into my daily life.
I work toward opening my own heart and guiding dynamic classes that may help open the hearts of others. With me I bring the experience that I have cultivated through ups-n-downs and sideways-n-backwards; as well as some of the wisdom I have been exposed to by my teachers. I firmly believe that the physical practice of yoga is the gateway to a soul revolution. A revolution that brings connection and acceptance. A revolution that is so rooted and strong that it doesn’t happen after one 75-minute practice. Rather, it happens one step at a time, one breath at a time, one conscious decision after another — just like life. It can be as simple as getting in a nice sweat and toning that yogatushi — and as transformative as creating a way of being that is more representative of our true selves. A way of being that is more compatible with how we want to experience the world.
I commit to my practice every time I recognize and show gratitude for my soul revolution. I commit to my practice every time I catch myself lost in thoughts and pull myself back to the present moment. I commit to my practice every time I feel the strength and power of my breathing during a tough situation. I commit to my practice every time I recognize that my ego is being humbled so that I can get the heck out of my own way. And I commit to my practice every time I feel the gratitude and love I have for the Yoga community. We are all connected, why not share the love?
My relationship with yoga started in high school after recovering from an extensive surgery. I attended my first yoga class with the simple intention of rebuilding physical strength and flexibility and instead, I left with the most amazing gift I had ever received. At first I couldn’t explain to anyone what I loved so much about yoga; I just woke up every morning wanting to return to my mat. I realize now that I had fallen in love with what yoga gave me – a space to be alone yet surrounded, challenged yet supported, brave yet vulnerable, and most importantly, a space to heal from the inside out.
I maintained a consistent Bikram yoga practice throughout high school, before moving to San Diego in 2009 where I discovered heated Vinyasa yoga. Within weeks of practicing Vinyasa, I knew that I wanted to teach. The following year, I completed my 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification along with an additional 100-hour extensions training through CorePower Yoga and have been teaching ever since.
Yoga introduced me to the best version of myself and has been a catalyst for growth in every single aspect of my life. I truly believe that the greatest teacher is the teacher within, and my intention as an instructor is to provide the space for students to embrace their intuition, to explore their strength and to manifest their highest self.
Ditas began practicing yoga in 2008 when she wandered into a Power Vinyasa studio and signed up for a 40-day transformation. Her life was transformed and yoga has saved her life over and over again. Ditas’ vinyasa practice helped her through the biggest challenge of her life when her husband of 7 years was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She found the one place where she could truly be vulnerable and fall apart, yet feel so supported was “on her mat”. Since 2012, Ditas expanded her practice to explore Kundalini Yoga which has infused some well needed “discipline or sadhana” into her otherwise chaotic life as a now single working parent. Ditas completed a rigorous 8 month (200+ hour) Kundalini Teacher training and continues to attend workshops of her teachers – Kia Miller, Krishna Kaur and Jai-Dev Khalsa at Esalen and other retreat centers. In Kundalini Yoga, as a teacher you receive a spiritual name. Ditas’ spiritual name is “Sevakjot Kaur” – “seva means service and sevak is servant”, “jot means light” – so Sevakjot means “True servant of light”. Ditas is also an artist – painter and jewelry maker and enjoys helping her students activate their chakras and energetic and emotional centers to find their own state of bliss.
I enjoy the inner peace and serenity afforded me through yoga. I am truly humbled by the experience. I have a powerful teaching style and I love getting my class to feel their inner strength and passion to stand up, look up, and throw their hands in the air! As relayed by Martin Luther King, Jr. I enjoy helping students bring the disconnected aspects of their reality into a harmonious whole—all through the practice of yoga. I love being of service to others by relating my experiences to them and assisting them in their struggles—all in a non-judgmental way.
“Vulnerability is not about winning and its not about losing. It’s about having the courage to show up and be seen.” – Brene Brown
My journey began in 2009 when I went to a yoga class expecting a purely physical workout. What I found was so much more. My mat became a sacred space of healing and connection. After four years of devoted practice, my wounds began to heal and my connection to myself had grown stronger, so I signed up for my first teacher training, with no intention to actually teach. However, as training continued, I began to feel a deep obligation that I had to share what I experienced. My practice has evolved into a space where I can feel the most, and have the freedom to move through whatever comes up. It is truly magical. All I have to do is just show up and allow myself to be seen. When I am in this space, fear, self-doubt, control and judgement all cease to exist. I am in a state of being fully present, seeing beauty and potential wherever I am. As a teacher I hold space for anyone that shows up, allowing them to move, feel, be seen and experience the moment. Yoga is a true blessing. I also teach Kids Yoga and am certified through Radiant Child Yoga. My teachers include Diana Vitantonio, Tyler Langdale, Shakta Kaur Khalsa & most importantly, my son. In my classes, you can expect a challenging workout and a lot of love.
I was born and raised in San Francisco and am a recent transplant from NYC. My Mom did yoga in the living room every morning growing up and would teach me to count my breaths at night when I couldn’t fall asleep or relax.
I’ve done yoga on and off for 14 years now and haven’t been able to stay away from it long. When I was bartending in NYC and struggling with depression, yoga helped me to change my life, slowly switching bartending shifts for teaching yoga shifts, and much more from there. The trainings that have influenced me are Hatha yoga, STRALA yoga (tai chi and qigong with yoga movement) and the Solfire teacher training, which changed my life.
For me, yoga is not about the poses or what you’re wearing, it’s the chance to just be with yourself, your body and your breath and practice flowing easy like water through wherever life takes you.
Nine years ago I was a ballet dancer looking to stay active during summer break and found myself on my mat in my very first yoga class. My introduction began slowly with the occasional practice, feeling the physical benefits almost immediately. When I left the ballet world in 2012, I turned to yoga for guidance. During this time of transition, yoga brought me clarity and strength as I went through a period of self-reevaluation. I fell in love with the creativity of power vinyasa and the way it constantly redefines my limits. In my classes students can expect to feel both challenged and supported. I strive to provide a safe and playful space for others to reconnect with their mind, body, and soul.
You are loved, You are talented, You are enough.
Heather’s classes focus on self-awareness and self-acceptance. Having had an addiction to perfection for a large portion of her life, she feels passionate about sharing yoga as a way for students to connect with themselves. By creating a safe, non-judgmental space, she invites students to set aside their everyday persona and get real with who they are and what they’re about at their core – beneath the job title, relationship status, and life responsibilities. Using chants, breath, and Vinyasa flow, students will gain a new perspective and opportunity to explore a different way of being. While classes are challenging and invigorating, students will have the chance to soften and relax into their practice.
Yoga has changed Heather’s life, and her hope is to share this experience with anyone searching for an answer, a different way of living, or a way to find happiness.
I started practicing Ashtanga about 11 years ago Columbus, Ohio on my relentless quest for long, skinny legs. I dabbled with yoga on and off until I moved to Sacramento in 2011. It was here that I discovered vinyasa yoga and some amazing teachers who showed me yoga could reach far beyond just the physical. The past 3 years my practice became more diligent and devoted. I realized that yoga has a way of illuminating the things you truly need (which for me, shockingly, was not long skinny legs.) This practice continues to show me challenge, humility, joy, friendship, and love. I hope by teaching yoga I can provide others with opportunities to truly find something they need in their life, whatever that may be.
Janna is at a place in her life where she knows she was born to teach yoga. Janna began practicing yoga regularly in 2009 and began teaching in 2010. After her first yoga class, she instantly fell in love and it was the beginning of her new life of love and freedom. She found peace, healing and a complete life transformation on her mat and she immediately knew she wanted to share the amazing gifts she’d been given. Janna has done teacher trainings with Baron Baptiste and her teacher and inspiration, Diana Vitantonio. She lives in Sacramento where she teaches middle school and high school science and yoga. She teaches because she is passionate about social justice and wants a better future for all children. Janna was married last fall and she and her husband recently had their first baby boy, Kingston. Janna has two amazing dogs (Boxers) named Solace and Paz. She is inspired by God, love, friendship, music, children and animals. Janna’s classes are vigorous, playful and spiritual. She is a soul teacher and her hope is to create and hold a safe space for her students as they journey on their path to peace and freedom.
So Hum. I am. Here Now. A Yoga Instructor. It was “love at first class” for me. I fell head over heels and knew that it would become a way of life for me, strengthening my body, expanding my mind and opening my heart.
Yoga has been the discipline that has kept me in the present moment, not racing ahead toward what might be, not looking back at what was or might have been. So Hum. I am. Here Now. Yoga teaches me that in every situation love and gratitude are possible.
In 2014 I made the commitment to become a certified instructor, with the desire to inspire and share, on and off the mat, the strength, harmony, compassion and joy that yoga has brought to my life.
I landed on my yoga mat for the first time 5 years ago newly sober and totally terrified of what this profound change was bound to bring to my life. I spent most of that first yoga class looking around nervously wondering if I was doing anything right or if I even belonged there. A yoga class can be intimidating to a new yogi. In spite of those fears, I knew something had shifted inside of me after that first class. I couldn’t wait to return for my next class, and the next class, and the next one after that…
I am grateful for the comfort yoga has been able to provide me. It has helped me make peace with my past and look forward to the future by keeping me centered and rooted in the present. Every time I step on my mat I am able to connect with the passion of life, which helps me push to find and conquer new challenges.
Asana heals—plain and simple. My journey to becoming a yoga teacher started in 2014 when I participated in Solfire’s Teacher Assistant Training. It was truly a beautiful life changing experience that deepened my commitment to serve others and myself. I found a supportive community that has inspired me both as a student of yoga and a student of life. With the encouragement of the Solfire family, I continued my journey through Solfire’s Teacher Training Program which has brought me where I am today.
I am humbled to be a part of the Solfire teaching family and hope I can pass on what has been passed to me at this amazing place.
Yoga has paved my road to recovery and self-love. In 2011 I accepted a friend’s invitation to the practice and instantly experienced a shift in my thinking and being. Never before had I felt so alive and challenged, so connected to my body and heart.
Before yoga I was engulfed in self-destructive thought patterns and behaviors that kept me from being my highest self. Through practicing, trainings, teaching and connecting to fellow yogis, I’ve discovered how to treat myself with compassion, unconditional love and acceptance.
Teaching is how I give back what was given to me – a safe space to feel and heal. This practice is a prayer I repeat regularly and offer to anyone who’s willing!
My journey to my mat began five years ago when I started taking vinyasa classes once a week to make time for myself. Over a few years, my weekly practice became a deeper exploration of breath and strength. I never thought I was a “Yogi” since I wasn’t flexible enough and thought it would never grow. But that was never the reality. The reality was that everyone can come and practice, as yoga doesn’t see skill level, size, or strength, but rather the juiciness inside, the place where you lead with your heart. Yoga started to be a safe zone, where I felt the most authentic and acted as a brief reset from the craziness that was life at the time.
I took a leap and decided to apply for teacher training. From the moment I walked through the door to the first class I took, I knew that this was the most powerful choice I could ever make for myself. There is so much beauty, space and strength as we move together, breathing, sweating and grooving. Through my classes and my own practice, I love to see where I can take my breath and strength, all while getting lost in the present. I love to listen to music, across all genres, and seeing people lose their shells and breath in to their best selves is a revelation that will never cease to amaze me.
About 7 years ago I took my first vinyasa yoga class. I had no idea what the history or deeper purpose of the practice was, but I felt a unique clarity and calm every time I left a class. As I went through my adult life and experienced changes, stress, highs and lows, I found myself time and time again gravitating back towards yoga.
I finally decided to dive into deeper personal study through practicing at studios in Sacramento and reading more about the history and ideas behind yoga. In 2015 I took the leap into my first 200-hour teacher training at Yoga Shala. In 2016 I received my second 200-hour certification at Solfire Yoga and have been teaching regularly since then.
When I step into a class, whether to teach or to practice, I feel an energetic shift within me that keeps me curious, clear, and open to the world around me and the path I’m on. When fear, doubt, or anxiety find their way into my mind, yoga is a place to let the snow globe of thoughts settle. Yoga is an incredible practice of both physical and intuitive power in that way. As a teacher i work to create a space for people to explore their own ability to heal as well access the inner power that comes with truly knowing and actively caring for yourself.
My introduction to yoga came at one of the most stressful times of my life. This was during the late 1990’s, while I was pursuing my graduate degree in psychology and working on my dissertation. Yoga was my place of peace during that stressful time of my life. Over time my passion for yoga grew as being on my yoga mat was always a place where I could find refuge.
Eventually, I decided that completing training in yoga and meditation would complement the psychological work that I was doing in areas of stress reduction, depression, and anxiety. In addition to competing a 200 hour hatha yoga training (2013), I have received additional training in iRest yoga nidra, yin and restorative yoga, and mindfulness meditation.
My teaching focuses on the yin practices of restorative yoga and meditation. It is during these quiet moments that we can rest into our true being. I love seeing the positive effects that restorative yoga practices have on calming the nervous system and offering a sense of peace and renewal. I so enjoy teaching at Solfire Yoga and sharing this gift of peace with my students.
I was hooked from my very first class and loved to sweat. As a longtime athlete, yoga was the perfect dose of physical exertion I longed for going into adulthood. It wasn’t until after having my son that I began to truly connect with yoga as a way of life. It became my breath on and off the mat, my connection to the universe and continues to teach me to live in the present. I took a step into the unknown and completed my first yoga teacher training in 2013 in Sacramento, CA. Through this training of self-discovery is where I found myself and my calling; I wanted to teach and give back through yoga. Everyday is a practice. A practice to love, a practice to be kind, a practice to be human.
It wasn’t my fault that I fell in love with Yoga. It was a very good friend of mine that brought me to my first class, leaving an indelible mark to this day. Without a doubt, this was where I needed to be; it felt like home. It gave me a sense of comfort and strength, which continues to resonate deep within me.
Since that very first class I have been charging forward without looking back. In 2011 I enrolled in my first 200hr Teacher Training program and set fire to what became a very personal journey. This summer I completed my second teacher training, a 100hr anusara inspired training; nurturing a new found faith in me and the lives of those around me. I continue to pay homage, seeing yoga as a gift to be shared, ultimately finding myself humbled by the opportunity to teach amongst an enriched community of people, with their own ability to inspire.