get to know the teachers that make tacOMa yoga what it is
E-RYT 200 HR + 300 HRS CONTINUING EDU. | STUDIO OWNER
My yoga journey began when I reluctantly stepped into my first yoga class. I was healing from a running injury and completely burnt out from life. Even though I was extremely inflexible, I continued to practice because I found that I could finally move without pain. My continued practice brought me deep healing and joy. My desire to become a yoga instructor stems from a grateful heart, and my belief that yoga heals the body, mind, and heart, and my experience that a truly devoted practice has the power to transform your life.
I am a 200-hour certified yoga instructor, with an additional 300 hours of continuing education in alignment based Vinyasa and yoga therapy, and have completed training in prenatal and postpartum yoga. I am deeply grateful to have studied with Dee West, Maty Ezraty, and my teacher Amy Ipolitti. As a registered nurse, I strive to infuse a deeper knowledge of health, so that I might empower students to connect body, mind, and heart through this inward journey that will help them access joy and healing off and on the mat.
I offer private lessons and specialize in yoga therapeutics for those working through injuries as well as prenatal and postpartum yoga, and leads workshops and retreats. I hope to practice with you soon!
Practice with Rachel:
•Wednesday – Fall - Spring Intro Series @ 7:30PM
Connect with Rachel:
E-RYT 200 HR | YIN YOGA CERTIFIED | STUDIO OWNER
The short hand story of how I got to this space with yoga and teaching it, all begins with the practices of Meditation. I originally came to Mediation as a means to surrender and the wanting to change. Seeing that the patterns I was continuing to put myself in were no longer serving me in the way they once did. As time went on I found myself being re-introduced to the asana practice of yoga and eventually, now here, teaching it with the highest gratitude.
Over the past few years of this teaching journey, since my 200hr in 2015, I have continued to explore many facets of yoga; via workshops, events, and various trainings. Recently I have studied with Yoga Medicine and Tiffany Cruikshank where I have completed certifications in; Yoga & Pain Science, SI Dysfunction, Mindful + Trauma Informed Yoga, and Yoga Therapeutics. In addition, I have connected deeply with Yin Yoga, which I now have over 250hrs of knowledge, training, and experience with from assisting and co-teaching Yin Yoga Teacher Trainings with my teacher, Reanna Costa for three years. Currently, I now offer Yin Teacher Mentorships and co-lead Yin Yoga Trainings with a fellow Tacoma Yoga teacher, Jamie Otto in studio.
My teaching style is influenced by the art of slowing down and doing it in a way that allows you to tune into the subtle messages of the body. Creating the space for integrated movement that is not only supportive and playful, but nurturing and spiritual. Through my passion for words and metaphors, philosophy, breath work, meditation, and silly jokes; I encourage each student to tap into their experience and mindfully shape-shift in a way that feels nurturing and sustainable for their body. Ultimately this is their, your, practice and I gratefully get the honor to move through it with you, with the intention that it not only feels delicious in your body but expansive on all levels.
Practice with Shawnda:
•Tuesday – YIN @ 7:30PM
•DECEMBER – Yin + Reiki
Reiki + Shamanic Sessions:
Book a wellness session with Shawnda here
Connect with Shawnda:
website • instagram • facebook • spotify
RYT 200HR | FRONT DESK MANAGER
I discovered yoga 20 years ago and began more serious study with my teachers Amy Petty and Noah Mazé 12 years ago. Yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and yogic philosophy have enriched my life in ways I could never have imagined. I have experienced yoga as a powerful tool for self transformation, and it's a joy to share my experience and knowledge with people of all levels and backgrounds.
My classes are fun, challenging and inclusive. I break down challenging poses to make them accessible to all students through thoughtful sequencing and precise cues that lead toward a peak pose. We strengthen and stretch the areas needed for a pose, allowing students to discover poses they may not have found accessible before. I highlight the qualities required to embody different poses, and I offer opportunities for self study and reflection to help students find the transformation they are seeking, on and off the mat.
Practice with Kathleen:
•Wednesday – FLOW @6PM
•Saturday – ALIGN @ 8AM
•Sunday – COMMUNITY @6PM
E-RYT 200 HR | YIN YOGA CERTIFIED
Jamie was introduced to yoga as a young teenager when her mother brought her to her first yoga class, that’s when she became drawn to finding her center. Growing up with the serenity of the Pacific Northwest, Jamie has a naturally calm presence that is evident in her teaching style.
After college, Jamie went on to work for a fast growing beverage company that eventually brought her to Los Angeles, CA. It was in Los Angeles where she inevitably began to seek spiritual growth and a deeper yoga practice allowing her the opportunity to practice and train with some of the most prominent yoga instructors in the world. In 2013, Jamie completed her 200 hour Holistic Yoga Flow Teacher Training with Travis Eliot and Lauren Eckstrom, and later competed her Yin Yoga certification as well. She continues to expand her yogic knowledge, through trainings, workshops, and her daily practice. Jamie specializes in Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, Vinyasa Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation.
Jamie is passionate about providing the opportunity for others to find a deeper connection within their own yoga practice. Her classes are safe, mindful, and balanced.
Practice with Jamie:
•Thursday – FLOW @ 6PM
•Thursday – YIN @ 7:30PM
•NOVEMBER – Pranayama + Meditation Workshop
Connect with Jamie:
instagram • facebook • spotify
Melissa’s stepped into her first yoga class 15 years ago to add a new element to her gym regime. It was not love at first try. After habitually pushing through pain and focusing on the end result, yoga challenged her entire way of being. Years of study and practice with the vibrant Tacoma yoga community won her over. Today, self-inquiry and acceptance is what drives and sustains her practice most. Through teaching, Melissa aims to lead others in awareness that movement and exertion are conduits of self-expression and joy.
Melissa completed the YOGAMAZÉ Teacher Training under the leadership of Amy Petty. She is RYT 200 and Yoga Alliance Certified. Melissa’s teaches dynamic, alignment based flow classes that both honor and challenge the body, mind and spirit.
Practice with Melissa:
•Sunday – ALIGN @ 8AM
E-RYT 200 HR | RYT 500HR
I started my yoga journey years ago. In the beginning I couldn’t even touch my toes. I felt awkward in just about every pose. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, but I felt an immediate connection to the practice. The physical benefits were apparent right away. Overall I felt stronger and leaner. The real surprise though, was that I became more focused mentally. Even if I was in a terrible mood, I always left yoga class feeling powerful, calm and full of energy. I became hooked.
Teaching is a very meditative experience for me. I leave teaching a class the same way I leave taking a class; feeling powerful, calm and full of energy. I love yoga, and love sharing that with others. I strive to make my classes lighthearted while guiding each student’s practice further. I want my students to feel comfortable putting their own stamp and flare on their practice. It doesn’t need to look exactly like mine or the person next to them. One of my favorite parts of teaching is connecting with my students and watching their practices take off. My classes are infused with energy, and I don’t want anyone to take themselves too seriously!
Eva is recently completed her certification level at 500-RYT.
Practice with Eva:
•Monday + Wednesday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
E-RYT 500 HR
Leslie first came to yoga in 2007 thinking it would be relatively boring and not challenging enough for her physicality. Boy was she wrong! After that first Bikram class she was humbled, worked-out, opened up and hungry for more! Thus began her yoga journey! Leslie has studied in a variety of different styles of yoga and completed her 200hr RYT in 2013, through YogaWorks. Ever the enthusiastic learner, Leslie pursued deeper and deeper lessons in Ashtanga, Iyengar, Tantra, Nidra and Baptiste styles of yoga which now incorporate themselves into her classes. Leslie completed her 500hr RYT in 2015. In addition, Leslie became certified as a Mudra Therapist in 2018. For the last four years Leslie has served as faculty for several 200hr yoga teacher training courses..
Leslie teaches in the traditional way she was taught with a flair of playfulness, knowing there is room for both tradition, hard work, and FUN!
In addition to teaching yoga, Leslie has a private mentoring, Energy healing and specialized kinesiology practice. See her website for more information.
Practice with Leslie:
•Tuesday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
Connect with Leslie:
website • instagram
E-RYT 200 HR | SUP YOGA CERTIFIED
I first found yoga five years ago while going through a difficult time in college. My therapist had recommended I take a class and I was hooked right away. I started karma yogi-ing at the studio and a year later found myself in the midst of a 200 HR training. I knew yoga would forever be apart of my life but I had no idea the incredible journey I was about to embark on.
Yoga has taken me to places in which mentally and physically didn’t know were possible. It changed the course of my life and has shown me how to lead with love and a grateful heart.
My classes are intuitive based movement practices that offer a dynamic way to not only stretch/strengthen but also discover the hidden pockets of space within the body that we have yet to tap into. I am obsessed with transitions and like to encourage my students that the breath is the boss of our practice. Every movement we make is breath led. The deeper we tune into the breath, the more we can explore and create more space within.
Practice with Shannen:
•Monday – STRONG @ 6PM
•Friday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
E-RYT 200HR | MFR + TRAUMA SENSITIVE CERTIFIED
In this Yuga, Shuja De’Peace is equal parts revolution and evolution on and off the mat. Raised in Southern California, Florida and the not so Portlandia part of Portland, he’s no stranger to trauma and the struggle to survive. However, today he is not only surviving but thriving as a real estate investor, entrepreneur and soon to be husband. He blames yoga for this transformation & success.
Join Shuja in practice that is sure to leave you feeling stronger, spacious and more relaxed as he weaves together a music driven, rich and fluid asana practice. His style has been developed over years of studying a vast array of movement cultures not limited to yoga asana. His practice is highlighted with jewels from his love of world religion, philosophy and great thinkers of our time ranging from the great yogis of old to Oprah and Will Smith. Shuja’s vision is for yoga to serve you as both the grounding that you need to stay centered and focused but also the medicine to heal injury of body and mind, finally yoga serves to ignite not only the physical body but the fire that lives inside each of our souls.
Shuja is an E-RYT, Myofascial Release & Trauma Sensitive Yoga teacher. He offers private therapy sessions, group classes, teacher trainings and yoga events locally and abroad. His classes range from gentle and yin to ashtanga inspired power flows. Shuja holds a Master Training Certification through the International Sports Science Association and has the blessing to do this work from Baba Harihar Ramji, the current guru of his Aghor lineage of Yoga.
Practice with Shuja:
•Sunday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
Connect with Shuja:
instagram • spotify
RYT 200 HR | SUP YOGA CERTIFIED + TRAUMA SENSITIVE CERTIFIED
Anna has a deep love for the practice of yoga both on and off the mat and shares that love with everyone she meets. Teaching runs in her blood. She has a bachelors in Math, Adolescent Education, and Special Education, a Masters in the Education of Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and is fluent in American Sign Language. Anna moved to Tacoma this past January and currently teaches the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at Baker Middle School. She includes mindfulness and breath work into her classroom and has already shown amazing growth.
Yoga found Anna while teaching high school Math in Charleston, SC and she quickly dove deep into the practice. She became a certified yoga teacher in Multi-Style yoga at the Hawaii Yoga Institute in 2015 and started a stand up paddle board yoga syndicate upon her return to Charleston. Anna weaves her fun-loving, light-hearted personality into each class and teaches a strong fluid practice where mind, body, and breath are thoroughly intertwined.
When she is not teaching or practicing, you'll find Anna out in the woods searching for the best view with her incredible dog Prieta.
Practice with Anna:
•Monday – FLOW @ 6AM
•Wednesday – FLOW @ 6AM
•Saturday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
Connect with Anna:
sona desai buchanan
E-RYT 200 HR | RESTORATIVE YOGA CERTIFIED | TRAUMA SENSITIVE INFORMED
Sona was born in Australia to Indian parents and moved to the US at age 5. Her home life emphasized the deeper philosophical teachings and practices of yoga, but it wasn’t until 2004 that she began a regular yoga practice to balance the vigor of being a college dancer in NYC. The dots started to connect through the gradual exploration of many facets of yoga and meditation. After years of achieving and striving, yoga offered a place to still the mind, to breathe, and to truly be present and aligned with the flow of divine intelligence. In yoga, she found a framework to living and a vehicle to come home. Sona gratefully attained her RYT-200 teaching certification in 2009 and is currently working towards her RYT-500. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) with over 1,500 hours of teaching experience. Her classes range from challenging, playful and dynamic to fluid and restorative but ultimately weave together exploration and self-study. Sona’s teaching practice is about holding space and encouraging people to a deeper knowing and acceptance of all parts of themselves and in doing so, guiding them to a higher capacity for love.
Concurrently, Sona's passion for the healing arts guided her to Thai Yoga and Qi Healing over a decade ago. In 2014, using learned and intuitive knowledge of body mechanics and energetic systems, she crafted a unique blend of these complimentary modalities named Integrative Thai Yoga. Shortly thereafter, Sona opened the doors to LOOM Wellness + Yoga, a small studio space in Raleigh, NC. After 2 years, LOOM relocated with Sona to Tacoma, WA, where she continues to serve as both teacher and practitioner in private sessions, workshops, and Community Bodywork offerings.
Practice with Sona:
•Thursday – FLOW @ 9:30AM
•Friday – FLOW + RESTORE @ 4:30PM
•November – Restore Series
Thai Yoga Bodywork Sessions:
Book a wellness session with Sona here
Connect with Sona:
website • instagram • facebook • spotify
RYT-200 HR | YIN YOGA CERTIFIED
Lisha Koch has a long history with yoga, being introduced to it by her Grandmother as a very young child. She started actively practicing yoga about 10 years ago and is now a 200 hr RYT. Practicing yoga has allowed her to reclaim her self love, accept her body and to heal and open her heart. She loves to assist students on their own journey towards self love and acceptance. Her classes range from peaceful and relaxing to a more energetic flow style, always giving support and instruction to make the practice suitable to all ages, levels, and abilities. Playfulness, awareness of breath and enjoyment of the present moment are intentionally brought into each class. Off the mat, she feeds her soul through travel and spending time outside in Nature.
Practice with Lisha
•Tuesday + Thursday – GENTLE @ 11:15AM
Connect with Lisha:
RYT-500HR | TRAUMA SENSITIVE INFORMED
I found my way to yoga from an intense aerial acrobatics and circus background. It was through yoga that I discovered new strength and flexibility and healed many injuries and body imbalances from my performing years. After falling head over heels for yoga, I began my first teacher training my junior year of high school in 2015. Since then I have taken three intensive trainings with senior teachers to become a ERYT 200 teacher. I am just as much a yoga practitioner as a teacher and hold a dedicated practice in the Ashtanga Lineage as well as Amrita, Vinyasa and Acro yoga. I am an avid student of yoga philosophy, a teacher in various Portland studios and exited to find a home at TacOMa yoga.
I strive to teach a style of Classical Yoga, mixed with modern vinyasa techniques. I believe a practice of pranayama, meditation and yogic history is just as important as the asana, and I include these in my classes. It is my hope to offer students no only a place to connect with their bodies, but to come into better relationship with their mind and breath to foster a whole body integrated experience. I believe alignment is just as important as strength, and that stillness in a pose can be as luxurious as the flow. My goal is to lead my students with tenderness and authenticity to hold a space for practice, exploration and play!
Practice with Sierra:
•Tuesday – FLOW @ 6PM
•Sunday – COMMUNITY @6PM
Connect with Sierra:
I first practiced yoga in high school, using a video in my parents basement. I have always been in love with movement of all kinds, and found myself challenged by the slow, deliberate quality of yoga asana. After years of sporadically trying classes (and making up flows in my living room) I found myself craving a deeper connection to “it all” - myself, my body, and my environment - and I dove into a more disciplined practice and study of yoga. In 2013 I completed a 200 hour interdisciplinary flow teacher training with Amy Caldwell and Diana Beardsley at Yoga One in San Diego, CA.
My passion is human flourishing, in addition to teaching yoga I have a masters degree in positive psychology and work as a professional coach. I find teaching yoga asana to be an amazing way to support others in connecting with the awesome power of their bodies and minds. I encourage intuitive movement and trust the students I lead to listen to their bodies. I am a firm believer in the power of being, breathing, and playing; it is my hope to provide a fun, judgement-free space for personal connection and exploration. You’ll see me on the mat next to you often! Practicing, laughing, and probably falling down (a lot...)
Practice with Janssen:
•Monday – ALIGN @7:30PM
Connect with Janssen:
RYT 200HR | YIN YOGA CERTIFED | FRONT DESK MANAGER
I was first introduced to yoga after my physical therapist recommended I try it after a horrific car accident in 2011. However, I didn’t find a deeper connection to yoga until moving to Tacoma in 2015, where I longed for a sense of community, acceptance and self love after I left an abusive relationship behind in California.
It was in Tacoma where I found my home and true self. I have always struggled with flexibility, some days are better than others, and that’s the practice. I have fallen in love with the connection to my breath with pranayama and asana practice. I have noticed changes in my body, as well as a shift in my mind and spirit. It has empowered me to see a new perspective of myself in this community, and beyond.
I received my RYT-200 certification from Inner Adventure Yoga in November of 2018 after an invitation from my mentors, Heidi Krotzer and Bonnie Loghry. My teachings stem from the Iyengar tradition and the Vijñāna lineage; from Heidi’s studies under the prominent Theresa Elliot and Kathryn Payne, and the shared lessons from Bonnie’s teachings at the Iyengar Institute.
During the nine month teacher training period, under the guidance of my mentors, I studied yogic philosophy and applied the Iyengar and Vijñāna teachings in my own self practice. Both studies are alignment focused, and I continue practicing these styles daily to restore my own physical and mental health.
At TacOMa Yoga, I graciously join the community as a karma yogi and substitute teacher, bringing my own fusion of Iyengar and Vijñāna movement to a gentle and restorative practice. I strive to serve as a contributing member to this community, and empower my students with the same teachings I have received. I look forward to meeting you at your next studio visit!
Punardarśaāya (See You Again [soon])!