When Adesina Cash (Dowers) first walked into a Brooklyn Bikram Yoga studio, she had no idea what she was getting herself into!
After that first sweaty dance, yoga became the balancing element to her hectic professional life as an Entertainment Publicist in NYC. Knowing her true path would lead her far away from home, Adesina decided to say a final adios to the NYC grind and moved out west in search of her true calling. It was in the east bay that she became certified and eventually led teacher training programs for CorePower Yoga.
Adesina feels blessed to know that her love of and commitment to yoga have pave the way for a career that feeds her mind, body and soul and is aligned with her core values of service, acceptance and encouragement.
Sponsored by Lululemon Athletica, Adesina’s known around the Bay for her big smile, infectious laugh and teaching rocking, upbeat classes that challenge you, support you and remind you not to take yourself too seriously- all set to a killer playlist!
In 2014 Adesina decided it was time and Oakland was the place to create her own yoga home and build a community of like-minded individuals who love to move and dance more than they like to judge and “should” all over you- and BOOM Hot Spot Yoga Oakland was born!
Since opening Hot Spot Yoga Oakland, Adesina presented at world renown yoga & music festival Wanderlust Squaw Valley, MC'd at San Francisco's Yoga For Hope Event in Union Square and was featured on the pages of Diablo Magazine and Mantra Magazine.
Shauna Harrison, PhD
Shauna is a self-proclaimed nerd, hip-hop head, jock, and yogi. A graduate of Stanford, UCLA and Johns Hopkins, she simultaneously pursued academics and fitness and ultimately.secured a sponsorship with Under Armour® shortly after finishing her PhD in Public Health. Shauna teaches classes across the Bay Area that fuse her varied background and love for hip hop. In addition to Under Armour®, Shauna partners with TRX®, SKLZ®, Zico®, Perfect Bar, Clearly Kombucha, Sweat Cosmetics and is Lifestyle Athlete for Zenrez. She is a contributing writer for MindBodyGreen, Yoga Digest, The Body Department, and My Fit Station and runs the #SweatADay challenge on Instagram, which she created.
My name is Rachel and I believe that the purpose of yoga is to feel better--body, mind and soul! I love a good playlist that stays with you long after you leave the mat and a rigorous vinyasa that makes you sweat and smile simultaneously.
I come to my mat each practice to find my breath and reconnect with my body, to feel the pulse of a supportive community and to touch back in with myself. I teach to create a safe space where my students can form their own relationship with both the practice and with themselves.
Gordon M Jonas
Gordon came to yoga in 2008 as an athlete needing to limber up after years of skateboarding, playing basketball, and arbitrary growth spurts. He had only heard of yoga through the popular early 1990’s Nintendo game “Street Fighter,” which featured an Indian Yogi character named Dhalsim who could levitate, stretch his limbs to incredible proportions, and breathe fire. Gordon tried his first yoga class and was initially discouraged to find out that, tragically, he would likely never achieve such abilities.
He was, however, completely amazed by the effects of practicing Asana, and was immediately hooked. He has continued to explore many styles of yoga throughout the Bay Area’s wonderfully rich and diverse yoga community, while simultaneously practicing other movement arts, most notably the Indonesian martial art PGB White Crane Silat and bodyweight calisthenic conditioning. He teaches a Vinyasa flow-based class that is duly informed by knowledge accumulated from his other physical practices. Alignment, joint health, “relaxed strength,” and integrating breath with movement are all focal points of his class. He hopes to impart an aspect of yoga that he himself is most grateful for the relationship between mental and physical being becoming increasingly salient and vivid.
Madoka Circle Hara
Having grown up in Japan and parts of Europe, Madoka has been a regular practitioner of Zazen meditation since childhood. When she was introduced to yoga in her teens,she was thrilled to incorporate this powerful element of conscious movement to her daily meditation practice. As a competitive martial arts and volleyball player, yoga provided her with a platform of balance and grounding unlike anything else.
She later moved to the Bay Area, where she received a 200hr Teacher Certification and embarked on a path of yoga and wellness education. In Madoka’s classes, students are invited to be curious as they challenge themselves to travel through familiar and unfamiliar terrains of the body and mind. She will encourage you to hold space for stillness and find intimacy with that silence — to simply allow ourselves to be, just as we are — still but not stuck, beautifully whole, and always sincere. She believes in our individual and collective ability to emanate healing, growth, and empowerment from within.
Madoka teaches a variety of styles of yoga including vinyasa, hatha, therapeutics, restorative, and yin yoga. By incorporating various styles in her classes, she creates a cohesive balance between deep, meditative stillness and active, energizing movement. Madoka is also a certified Yoga Teacher for Teens: She is actively involved in spreading the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness to youths, regardless of their socioeconomic circumstances.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, I grew up with an active spirit and a heart for teaching. Shortly after becoming a certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor in 2007 I discovered AcroYoga and was blown away by the trust and community that I witnessed being cultivated in one short class session! Soon after, I began to study Thai Massage and Nutrition, in its simplest whole foods form, and the pieces of the Body Balance puzzle began to take form. Driven by a spirit of collaboration and play, I have dedicated myself to building and sustaining community through Nutrition Education, AcroYoga and Thai Massage. With opportunities to travel, teach, and experience different cultures around the world my eyes have been opened to the greater global community that exists and connects us all together. A global community that I am committed to contributing to through whole body healing and play!
Courtney Ronca (ERYT500)
Courtney first discovered yoga while living overseas in Japan, once she moved back to the states in 2004 she began to deepen her practice. By developing a consistent yoga practice, Courtney saw many incredible benefits in her life and decided to take her practice deeper. Upon her move to California in 2007, Courtney completed the 200 hour teacher training program at Avalon yoga.Feeling drawn to tradition, Courtney later completed both 200, 500 and 800 hour teacher training programs with Sri Dharma Mittra. Courtney feels extremely lucky and grateful to be part of the Dharma Yoga lineage. She continues to devote her life to the practice and discipline of yoga, integrating it into her life and sharing it with her students.
In her classes you can expect to focus on your breath, hold the poses and explore the practice.
Tyesha "Ty" Day is a Los Angeles native who loves the Bay Area. She is an educator and advocate for social justice. While she was teaching middle/high school students, she realized she needed more balance in life and started to prioritize her health and wellness. Yoga has helped her focus on radical self care and optimal health. In yoga, she finds solace and peace of mind. Ty is excited to share the benefits and practice with others. Join her Intro to Vinyasa Flow class for a mashup of mindfulness and movement!
Joanna loves Hot Spot and the sweaty, yoga love that overflows from this bubbly, beautiful place. She brings a background in anatomy and rehabilitation from her work as a licensed occupational therapist. She's focused on alignment and injury prevention but deep down just wants some peace. The mat makes that happen and she's happy to see the subtle and stark changes in people when they stretch and breathe. Joanna is eager to welcome new and long-practicing yogis to the space, to draw attention to the details in each pose, and encourage everyone to find a way to feel good. Namaste!
Born and raised in Kansas City, KS, Leanna first began practicing yoga and meditation in 2001 in her early college years under the encouragement of her aunt Beth Hoenscheidt , a registered yoga and meditation instructor. The esoteric philosophy and techniques of Kriya yoga opened up a world of possibility for her to access freedom from depression and addictive behaviors present since childhood. Leanna began practicing asana yoga in her basement apartment with the guidance of Baron Baptiste’s VHS tapes. Having minimal access to yoga studios she took to books, magazines, and workshops as beacons of light, tools to study and apply. After 6 years of self-study, Leanna decided to pursue her passion for yoga and take it to the hustle and bustle of NYC! Alongside a career in the hair industry, Leanna pursued teaching yoga and became a RYT200 in 2010. She has been influenced by her trainings with Baron Baptiste and Isauro Fernandez and inspired by the many teachers she has practiced with; especially Dharma Mittra, Paige Elenson of Africa Yoga Project, Bethany Lyons, and currently, her son Kade. She is a certified ki power vinyasa yoga instructor who has also completed two trainings in Thai massage with Ananda Apfelbaum. She continues to study with Baron Baptiste and has completed Level 1, Level 2, Art of Assisting and Advanced Art of Assisting. Leanna maintains a daily home practice, and invites her students to give back to the Earth by opening up to the life force within us all, which is love. She leads a powerful, challenging vinyasa, a moving meditation, which is centered on heart opening and core strengthening, offering assists and modifications for any student willing to lead with the courage of heart.
Peace is not the absence of violence. It is the manifestation of human compassion. –H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama
Thomas stumbled into yoga while in graduate school as a way of getting exercise, but not having to deal with going to a gym. Very quickly, he realized that, not only was he getting a physical workout, but also was receiving incredible psychological and mental benefits. His stress levels were lowered and he was overall a happier, healthier person. Ever since then, he has been hooked.
After moving from Chicago to the Bay Area in May 2016, Thomas discovered Hot Spot and immediately knew that this was the studio and community that he needed to join. He completed his 200-hour teacher training at Hot Spot Yoga during the Fall of 2016 and now is excited to share his passion for asana and breath with others. Thomas is very alignment-focused and leads classes that are accessible to all levels. He's excited to guide you through your practice, and introduce you to some new music in the process!
Ashley Henry is an 8th grade English/Language Arts teacher at East Bay Innovation Academy, avid yogi, frequent concert-goer, literary analyst, and amateur soccer player. She first discovered yoga ten years ago while looking for a way to avoid the gym and has not stopped practicing since. You can usually find her grading essays, making playlists for her next yoga class, reading a book, or practicing her headstand at Hot Spot.
"Yoga has helped me along my journey of self love and appreciation, and has inspired me to pass these practices on to my students (both teenagers and adults) to help them make better decisions, too. Whether I help students practice yoga poses, breathing exercises, or research how yoga positively affects the brain, I want to teach them about the benefits of yoga. I practice yoga because it encourages me to continue loving myself through any situation, and I feel inspired to help my students discover this, too. Yoga is extremely meaningful to me because it helped me through some of the most difficult experiences in my life, and I want my students to feel that they have the tools to make it through difficult experiences, as well."
Upon graduating college and moving to New York in 2008, yoga became an integral part in Lydia's life as a means of excercise, balance, self care and release from an otherwise incredibly hectic and unrelenting schedule. After taking time in 2014 to travel, she relocated to the Bay Area and found a warm and welcoming community at Hot Spot. In 2016, Lydia completed her 200-hr yoga teacher certification at Hot Spot's first-ever teacher training.
Both challenging and available to all levels, Lydia's classes feature creative flows with an emphasis on proper alignment, and a great playlist. She wants her students to connect with their bodies, feel safe, balanced and rejuvenated after each class. She is excited to bring the benefits of yoga to you and looks forward to seeing you on the mat!
Julie Anne Stathis
Julie Anne Stathis gracefully blends her knowledge of yoga and of pregnancy in her mindful, upbeat, challenging prenatal yoga classes. After graduating with a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification in 2010, Julie has taught classes both inside and out of yoga studios. Julie brings attention to the breath, technique, and balance during her yoga classes. Julie’s passion for bringing a sense of calm is evident in her teaching. She inspires to create a safe space for her students allowing them to have freedom in their bodies.
In addition to teaching, Julie is also a certified birth and postpartum doula. Having attended over 35 births both at home and in the hospital, she has had the amazing opportunity to support women during a powerful life transition. Encouraging a sense of strength and ease, Julie supports her students to open to all of life’s possibilities.
Kylie was introduced to yoga and mindfulness meditation as a teen. Practicing mindfulness on and off the mat helped Kylie better develop virtues such as patience, fortitude, and temperance at a young age. Continuing with her yoga practice as a student attending and eventually graduating college in upstate New York, she then decided it was time for her first yoga teacher training upon arriving in the Bay Area. Kylie completed a 200-hour yoga teacher training program at Hot Spot Yoga in the Fall of 2016. She aims to create an open, caring, and educational space for her students in which they are given the opportunity to find their own breath and movement.
“Yoga allows me to find my center. No matter how long I have been away from my mat, eventually I connect with my breath and movement. And that feeling is it for me. The combination of euphoric joy resulting from mass amounts of sweat leaving my body and the clarity of mind I must attain to flow gracefully ignites a fire in my soul.”
To Brandon, practicing yoga and teaching yoga are one in the same. There is not a time where he feels more present and connected than when he is guiding his students through Asanas. It all started back in 2013, when his brother dragged him along to his very first Power Vinyasa class in Studio City, California. After getting his butt blissfully handed to him, he was instantly in love and knew that he needed more of this blissful butt kicking in his life. Having always suffered from anxiety, yoga was the one thing that chilled him out, and eventually cured him of it altogether. After practicing within the CorePower Yoga community for almost a year, Brandon knew that he wanted to share this magic with the rest of the world, and signed up for their Power Yoga Teacher Training in the summer of 2014. Nearly three years later, Brandon has not looked back. Now as Berkeley resident, you can find him teaching at studios across the Bay Area. As an alignment nerd, expect his classes to be a slow burn, with chill tunes, laughs, and always the opportunity to get upside down. When he is not teaching, you can find Brandon writing poetry, studying the body, in a handstand, or eating french fries and reading a book.
Dayana Alvarado Escobedo
Yoga became a vital part of Dayana's self-care regimen when she returned to the Bay in 2014 and started working as a social worker in the field of education. Her practice helps her reconnect with her body, reflect on her surroundings, manage stress, and discover her physical and emotional strength. As a result, she can make mindful decisions from a place of authenticity.
Dayana loves the diversity and inclusion that Hot Spot offers -- something she hasn't experienced at other studios. She completed the Hot Spot 200-hr yoga teacher certification course in December 2016 and the Yoga for Teens training in early 2017. For Dayana, the most important thing in a yoga class is for everyone to feel safe and comfortable on their mats. She brings this focus to her Vinyasa and Yin classes and aims to create an environment for students to quiet the mind and find their edge. Dayana's ultimate goal is to make yoga accessible to everyone and she hopes to one day offer classes in Spanish.
Emma’s yoga journey: Lucky me, I went to an alternative high school where yoga was a phys ed option. Movement, meditation, asana replaced typical teenage vulnerabilities with feelings of strength and self-worth. In 2014, after a decade of regular practice, I sought to become a channel for others to “grow through the flow” and I completed a 200 hour teacher training at Laughing Lotus under the guidance of Jasmine Tarkeshi. Since then, I’ve trained in Power Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, and Hot Power Fusion with CorePower yoga where I’ve helped others become yoga instructors. In my classes, we’ll celebrate high energy, a light-hearted spirit and the creative dance that asana can provide as we soar with the great music happening in and around ourselves. For me, yoga is the path to peace and positivity that starts in you and extends to the world around you. You don’t need to come to me and my class perfect! As Leonard Cohen said, “There are cracks in everything; that’s where the light gets in.” Join me on the mat and together, we’ll move in a joyful flow to build the light inside and out.
Off the mat, Emma is a graduate student studying somatic psychology.
Kelly Byrd is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher and an avid traveler, concert-goer, and snowboarder. Her passion for yoga practice and instruction is driven by a desire to improve the physical, mental and emotional well-being of herself and others - particularly office workers and those who may otherwise never learn about yoga philosophy or practice. Kelly takes pride in sharing the many benefits of this practice that she continues to experience - physical, psychological and spiritual. She believes that the power of your practice can make any problems more manageable.
Originally from South Carolina, Andrea now resides in sunny Oakland. Her love and passion for movement began at a very young age in the form of dance. Throughout her childhood and into college, and beyond, Andrea trained in ballet, contemporary, tap, and jazz dance. It was while going to law school in New Orleans, and as a member of a local dance company, that she developed a love for yoga. She regularly began practicing Bikram then vinyasa and power yoga, really falling for the latter two. Upon moving to Oakland in 2015, Andrea found Hot Spot, where her first class with Adesina was magic--she found her yoga home! After regularly practicing here, in April of 2017 she completed her 200 Hr YTT at Hot Spot. Andrea's classes are a dance, combining flowing movement and pauses for strength building, all to a fun and eclectic playlist. In addition to teaching yoga, she is a certified A.C.E. Group Fitness Instructor and teaches Barre, TRX, and other fitness classes around Oakland.
Molly started practicing yoga as a way to manage depression and anxiety in college. At the time, yoga taught Molly how to create balance in her life and how to take a big breath when things got hard, but more importantly it got her out of her head and into her body for a sweaty hour or two every day. Now, Molly teaches challenging vinyasa based classes and hopes to bring many of the same benefits she found to her students. She enjoys leading students through unique but intelligent sequences while weaving in yoga philosophy and meditation. Her classes can be as challenging as you want them to be; there is always room to take different variations or take a break. She has completed over 500-hours of training under Stephanie Snyder and continues to study and practice extensively with both Stephanie Snyder and Annie Carpenter. When she isn't doing yoga, you can find her rock climbing, camping, leading moon circles or chasing her dog. Follow her adventures at www.mollyhaightyoga.com.