Meet Our Coaches

To join our Coaches Page, you must be a member of USA Yoga, take the Rules and Posture Guidelines Clinic, and pass the test. Download questions for the Coach's Bio here. This questionnaire is meant to aid you in writing your bio. Coaches fees, level of experience, and commitment requirement will vary. Please contact the individual coach to find out more. We strongly suggest that our coaches take the SafeSport training. Learn more HERE. We also have a great discount on liability insurance for yoga coaches and yoga instructors with our partners, beYogi.

Melissa Abbott has been practicing Hot Yoga since 2010. Practice 4-5x a week - Teaching 4-6x a week at the Hot Yoga Danvers studio in Merritt during the summer and at Hot Yoga on the Island, in Merritt Island, FL during winter months.

She attended the Raja Yoga Teacher Training Fall 2016 with Craig Villani. As well as the
Inferno Hot Pilates Training with Gabrielle Walters July 2016 at Boston Hot Yoga. She also
practiced Iyengar Style Yoga in 1990's with Karin Stephan in Cambridge, MA. And studied Meditation and Dhyana Yoga in Siddha Yoga Meditation Ashram, South Fallsburg, NY 1987-2001.

Melissa is a former Marketing and Sales Director for several Newspapers and Magazines
Additional Interests: Author, Artist, Beekeeper, Gardener, Wellness, Quilter, and Basketmaker.

At a certain point I decided to practice 26/2 Hot Yoga for
as long as I could in my life. Learning to teach the Yoga has been an extension of my commitment to my daily practice. It is a privilege and a gift to teach. Yoga is such a great healing path and sharing that gift with others is a natural progression for me. The challenge of learning to teach yoga was an incredible journey that I don't think I will ever stop doing. It’s a natural extension to my long time meditation and selfless service paths. Teaching Yoga has added an incredible dimension to my life. I absolutely love it and looking to fine tune and evolve as a teacher.

Before practicing Hot Yoga I had extra weight, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Since practicing, I no longer have these conditions. I lost 40 lbs and have never felt better.

I am a new teacher and in spite of that have witnessed firsthand the healing energy of the postures. I would like to share the beauty of alignment with others so they can experience the health, meditation, introspection, and energy of yoga postures. I look forward to assistant coaching the USA Yoga Team this winter 2018 in Merritt Island, FL with Suzanne Elliott. I believe I bring wisdom and the strength of living a long and fulfilled life to the table.

You can contact Melissa at: [email protected]



Nathan Braden completed instructor certification in 2017 and began leading hatha yoga sessions. He completed the USA Yoga Federation's Judge's Clinic in 2019 and is SafeSport Trained. His passion is to promote and teach, specifically Youth Asana Sport, Family/Group Hatha, and Men's Flexibility.
Through the practice of yoga we can tap into big power. The 8 limbs are a path of self discipline which leads to bliss. USA Yoga Federation provides a format where we can share this idea and attract people in an entertaining and inspiring way. Maybe you want to do amazing postures and compete on stage, or maybe you just want good health and well being. You've come to the right place!
Coach: Nathan Braden
Business: YOGA
Address: 4512 S Mayfair Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37411
Phone: (423) 400-8965
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: YOGA


Catherine Bradley Richmond’s nickname “b” friends say she’s tougher than a two-dollar steak. An outdoor enthusiast she discovered yoga as a way improve performance, balance, strength and greatly needed flexibility. Beginning in 1993 as apprentice to a senior Iyengar teacher, she studied with Manuso and Geeta before immersing in Ashtanga with Gurujji, Phatabi Jois and his grandson Sharath. In 2002 she certified 500 RYT with Bikram and taught throughout California where she obtained a Masters of Science in Kinesiology, developed and taught yoga curriculum for community colleges, and presented yoga research to the American College of Sports medicine on Yoga’s effect on parasympathetic dominance in the nervous system. She competes as a USA Triathlete and in United States Ski Mountaineering (ranked 21), She owns YogaCB in Crested Butte, Colorado where she’s a single mom of yogi DQ Richmond (age 10) and Eliza Richmond (age 6). A current K-12 certified Art and PE teacher she visits schools weekly to share and boost passion for yoga. New to yoga coaching and competition she's humbled and ecstatic to be part of this amazing group.

Contact info [email protected]
Catherine is happy to work with people via Internet and FaceTime.


Ayanna Brown received her 500 hour Bikram Teacher Certification in June 2001, has been the Co-owner of Indiana Bikram since it opened in 2001, and has been part of every Yoga Championship since the first year in 2002.

The first year of the Yoga Championship men & women competed together in one large group. That year she placed first for Indiana, and 7th Internationally. In the years since she has been the Indiana regional Champion 10 times, placed 5th in Nationals in 2009, 3rd in Nationals in 2013 , and 9th in Internationals in 2013. Her studio has hosted many Regional events, and she has personally participated as either a competitor, coach, judge, master of ceremony, or regional host & organizer every year of the Yoga Championship.

Ayanna grew up with asthma, and didn't participate in competitive sports. When the Yoga Championship began it was a wonderful outlet for her to express her love for yoga on stage, to inspire others to express their best, and to inspire herself to continue to grow. Contact Ayanna at [email protected] 812-209-8302 Instagram - @brownayanna

Glenn Brown is the 2018 USA Adult Men's National Yoga Champion, and placed 4th at Internationals also in 2018. He has been competing & coaching for the Yoga Championship since 2003, and is the 14 time lndiana Regional Champion. Before winning Nationals in 2018, he placed 5th Nationally in 2016, and 2nd in 2017. Professionally he has been a Professor at Indiana University Southeast since 2016, teaching Yoga & Tai Chi history & method. He also Founded Lionflow Yoga in 2010 based on his home practice of Qigong, Tai Chi, and progressive Yoga sequencing. He is the Owner & Manager of Array Yoga Studio, where he teaches Lionflow Yoga among other styles, such as different levels of Hatha, Yin, Yin & Yang, Tai Chi, Meditation, and the Classic 84. He went to his first training for Kung-fu, Qigong, and acupressure in England in 2001, and in the following year, 2002, he certified in Bikram Yoga in LA. Since then he has studied with the Self Realization Fellowship, and certified in Sun style Tai Chi. He is an artist & self published author, and looks forward to putting more work out there, and striving to be a unifying force in the health & wellness community.

Glenn looks forward to booking workshops abroad teaching the Classic 84 & Lionflow Yoga classes he has taught in southern Indiana for the past couple decades. He is also available for Skype lessons for Championship routines, and home routines to help you work toward your practice & posture goals. Email - [email protected], call or text # 812-207-1192.


Wayne Campbell is a 500 hour Bikram Hot Yoga Certified Yoga Teacher. He has been teaching Bikram Hot Yoga since July 2011. He has been practicing Bikram Hot Yoga since January 2005. Wayne also teaches Hatha Flow Yoga, Stretch Flow Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training, and Inferno Hot Pilates. He started coaching yoga athletes in 2017. He opened his yoga studio, Urban Fit Yoga Houston in 2016.

Wayne won the 2017 USA National Yoga Championship in the Men's 50+ Division. He has been competing since 2014. He has taken classes, workshops, and trainings with Joseph Encinia, Ky Ha, Dev Kapil, Gloria Seun, Cynthia Wehr, Jared McCann, Zeb Homison, Marty & Jeff Chen, Lynn Whitlow, & April Penland.

Wayne created a Stretch Class called Stretch Flow Yoga that he has been teaching since 2012. This class has enabled him to prepare his body to eliminate tightness and advance into more advance yoga poses. He is a trained ballet, jazz, and modern dancer and has trained other aspiring dancers. Wayne also was a competitive long distance runner through middle school, high school, and college.

What Wayne likes most about coaching is sharing his knowledge, love, and creativity of yoga alignment, fundamentals, and finding ways for stretching or opening up the body. Wayne has the most expertise in the fundamentals of yoga, exercises and drills for increasing flexibility, balance, and alignment. He offers a Saturday Yoga Sports Training Class for Yoga Athletes at his Urban Fit Yoga studio. He has an event called, Texas Yoga Asana Showcase for yoga athletes and those who want to perform and share their yoga on stage. He uses photography and video feedback in his trainings so that the athlete and student can visually see their alignment and movement. Wayne hosts Video Sessions for Pre-Qualifiers at his studio in Houston.

Wayne would like to contribute to USA Yoga and to make a difference by organizing yoga exhibitions and workshops in Houston.

Please contact Wayne at: 832-236-0134 or [email protected] or visit his website:
[email protected]







Sara Curry received her 500-hour certification in May 2003. She is the owner of Bikram Yoga Portsmouth, New Hampshire As an organizer of the New England Regional Qualifier since 2005, Curry has coached dozens of athletes and is known for her attention to technical detail and accuracy in alignment. She has sent over a dozen athletes on to the National and International Championships. She hosts competition training sessions at her studio on Saturdays at 11 am. Please contact the studio for more information. Curry entered the field of yoga in 2001 when years of contact sports left her with a torn biceps and two herniated discs causing debilitating pain. She didn’t know why, but the new yoga classes she started seemed to be helping. Eighteen months later, she had completely rehabilitated her back and was on her way to teacher training and a life free from chronic pain. (See the blog post here.) Curry is also known as a co-creator of the Sober Yogis program, which brings together daily yoga practice and traditional group therapy to enhance and support individuals in recovery. Watch her TEDx talk on the subject. She is also the Vice President of Seacoast Area Teachers of Yoga in Action, a local non-profit dedicated to bringing yoga to at-risk and vulnerable populations on the Seacoast of New Hampshire. Some of their renowned programs included weekly classes at the local homeless shelter, Trauma Sensitive Yoga for victims of sexual abuse, Yoga and Cancer classes, and Yoga for Veterans.


Lauren Dean received her 500-hour certification in May 2016. She is the manager and lead instructor at Bikram Yoga Key West. A former competitive gymnast, Lauren was coached by Kelli Hill and had the opportunity to train alongside three-time Olympian Dominique Dawes.

In 2006, Lauren joined the Peace Corps in Madagascar. It was there that a fellow volunteer introduced her to yoga. As a former gymnast and marathon runner, at the age of 23, Lauren had run her knees and back into the ground. Within a week of practicing yoga, her body and mind embarked upon a powerful healing journey that continues to this day.

In 2016, she left her career as an English literature teacher and trained with Craig Villani at Raja Yoga Academy on Australia’s Gold Coast. She serves as faculty for the Academy and currently teaches yoga full-time. In addition, she provides training and coaching for yoga athletes of all levels. She also teaches yin and Youth Yoga.

Though Lauren’s classes (and coaching sessions) emphasize precision, technique and alignment, her primary focus is to encourage each student to find the tools necessary to maximize their individual healing journey. Lauren loves to see yoga athletes take their practice—their lives—to another level and is continually inspired by athletes’ determination, resiliency and desire to journey inward.

Lauren offers weekly coaching sessions at her studio, bikramyogakeywest. She is available to work with yoga athletes in person or via Internet or Facetime.

Please contact her via email: [email protected] or on Facebook.








Joseph Encinia started practicing Yoga in May 2005. Yoga is of one the best things he has ever done for himself. It has truly changed his life. Mentally, it has given him more peace with himself and the world around him; physically, it has taught him how his body could do things he never dreamed it could do.

Joseph hasn't always been very healthy. He was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at the age of 8 (which affected the majority of the left side of his body), he spent years in and out of the hospital trying to rehabilitate and strengthen his joints and muscles. After a major knee surgery, he taught himself how to deal with the discomfort and move on. As a result, his physical activities were limited and he was consistently taking pain medication. Then, at the age of thirteen, quite unexpectedly, he had a heart attack. The causes are unknown, but most likely a side effect of arthritis medication; regardless, it made a tremendous impact.

One day he decided to explore forms of exercise to regain control of his health. After a long journey, he discovered Yoga. He simply expected a physical workout-he found much more than that. He has transformed. He no longer suffers from constant pain. He lost 50 pounds and developed lean muscle mass. He can contort his body into positions he never thought possible. He has gained peace of mind that previously he never knew existed. He has transcended many limitations within himself – mentally, physically and emotionally.

Taking his practice to the next level, he began to compete in the Yoga Asana Championships. After four years of hard work, in 2009 he placed first in the US and second in the world – now a 3-time National Champion and 2011 Male International Asana Champion. he has learned to focus on the tasks at hand and live in peace with himself and the world around him. He served as the Board President of the USA Yoga Federation from May of 2015 through August of 2017.

Joseph created a 501 C3 Non-profit organization called the Yoga Youth Movement which is dedicated to inspire youth yogis through the practice of yoga to be strong future leaders who possess the attributes of confidence, determination and focus in creating a world with global peace through yoga.

He has toured to over 200 schools nationwide in the U.S. and to over 20 + countries. He currently teaches yoga full time in NYC and gives Workshops/Retreats worldwide. In his spare time Joseph enjoys traveling, urban gardening, studying philosophy & astronomy and playing guitar.

Contact Joseph HERE




Suzanne Elliott has been involved in health and wellness for almost 40 years, with degrees in Physical Education, Biology, and Counseling. She was a Counselor and Coach for 20 years at the secondary school level. She has earned certifications in Toastmasters, Vegan Nutrition, Life Coaching and several Fitness, Yoga and Yoga Therapy courses. She has been a state and national award winning competitive cheer coach at the high school level, and a regional, national and international competitive yoga coach and judge every year since the inception of USA YOGA.

She created her own health and fitness lifestyle coaching business called Fun Innovative Training located in Cape Canaveral, FL, and a yoga studio for beginners, H.O.T. Yoga on the Island, located in Merritt Island, FL. She created a series of postures for her environmental and animal activists friends called Wild About Yoga! She has taught yoga to the elderly in libraries and recreational centers, and to students with special needs at local private schools.

She developed a Kids Camp curriculum and classes that are creative and fun for kids of all ages. Suzanne has practiced yoga for over 20 years. Suzanne was born with hip dysplasia and had double hip replacements in 2013. She continues to use yoga as her surgery recovery and to keep her spine healthy and her mind happy! Suzanne is excited to be a USA Yoga Coach to help with the mission to increase awareness of the sport of Yoga Asana. Together, we can connect all ages and all styles of yoga and host events that will help us promote and continue our mission. Contact Suzanne at: [email protected]


Thomas Forbang

One would think that finding time to passionately practice yoga is the last thing on the mind of a father of five kids (four boys and a girl), the founder and president of a highly successful Information Technology firm and a real estate investor. Au contraire!

Serendipitously introduced to yoga in 2012 via a holiday gift of a 20 yoga classes Groupon from his wife, Thomas Forbang practices yoga daily for the fifth year in a row and has been training and competing since 2015.

“To me, yoga is much more than just a hobby, it is a true panacea and should become a lifestyle for all.”

You can contact Thomas at [email protected]


Sarah Gnerre came to yoga to continue exploring the joy of movement honed through years of studying dance as an adult. She has been practicing yoga regularly for 12 years with Sara Curry. She first competed in 2014 after attending several inspirational regional and national events as a spectator. She has been invited to three national championships since. She joined the board of USA Yoga as an associate member in 2017 to focus on fundraising. Sarah is glad to share with others interested in learning more about competing. Contact Sarah at: [email protected]


Tori Hicks-Glogowski is a dedicated yoga instructor that believes in the power of this transformative practice. Beginning her yoga practice in 2005 and certified to teach Hot Yoga after receiving her 500-hour certification in Fall 2011, as well as, acquiring a 120-hour certification to teach the Next Level 90 Intermediate Series in June 2017, Tori is continually excited to work with students to help them achieve their goals.

In 2013, Tori realized the need for a positive presence on the web for hot yoga practitioners to visit in order to stay motivated to head to the studio day after day. With that thought, she created, Views from the Podium, ( a blog site that works to inspire and teach yoga enthusiasts across the globe.

Tori believes yoga competition is a positive way to reach for something new within your practice and has the ability to deepen your dedication and discipline. It is her hope that as a coach and teacher she can give back as much as she can to the community of instructors and students that have inspired her throughout the years.

You can contact her at: [email protected]







Garland Hume is a member of USA Yoga's board, and the owner and director of Bikram Yoga Richmond in Richmond, VA. She has been competing and coaching in USA Yoga events since 2009. Garland and her dedicated group of USA Yoga athletes from Richmond hold advanced classes and coaching and training sessions regularly; for information on events at her studios visit

Garland has attended four Bikram advanced trainings, eight Jedi Fight Club trainings with Esak Garcia, and many workshops and classes with champions over the years. However, she has spent the most time training extensively with former head coach of USA Yoga, Mary Jarvis.

Garland has competed for USA Yoga since 2009 and placed top ten in the country in 2015 and first for her state in 2016. She has also coached many athletes at a state, national, and international level. She currently leads advanced class twice a week in Richmond, and coaching and training sessions once a week. Please contact Garland at [email protected] for any coaching or USA Yoga inquiries.



Roxanne Janecki is the co-owner and director of Bikram Yoga Binghamton in Upstate NY In 2015, Roxanne and her Yoga School helped to host the USA Yoga National Championship in Binghamton, NY.

Roxanne has been practicing and teaching Bikram Yoga since 2009. She has attended four Jedi Fight Clubs with Esak Garcia, holds teaching certificates from multiple Yoga traditions, regularly attends and leads workshops on all things Yoga, and has trained extensively with former USA Yoga head coach Mary Jarvis for many years.

Roxanne has been competing for USA Yoga since 2009. She has represented at the National Level since 2012 and placed in the top ten in 2014 and placed third in 2015. In 2016, Roxanne represented the USA at the International Yoga Championships in Pordenone, Italy. In addition to competing, Roxanne regularly coaches athletes of all ages. She leads Advanced Classes and Coaching Sessions multiple times a week at her Yoga school. Many athletes that have placed in the top ten Nationally and Internationally have spent time training at Roxanne's Yoga School in Binghamton. Please email [email protected] for info on training sessions.


“Give, give, give, to others; make sure deals are win-win-for both sides. Again, it’s not the amount of money involved, its maintaining -all day long- a truly generous, creative, flowing state of mind that wants to see everybody prosper.” The Diamond Cutter

From the age of 5, Rola Khwais recalls doing handstands and walking on her hands. Having a naturally strong core and overall body strength at a young age, she felt drawn to gymnastics and other athletic activities that continuously challenged her body. In February of 2012, she began her yoga practice and discovered that it was something she truly enjoyed doing and wanted to share her passion with friends and family.

Her continued practice inspired her to become a member of USA Yoga as an athlete and participated in the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition in 2015, 2016, and the North/Central Super Regional at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, Ohio in 2017. In February of 2017, she became a certified USA Yoga Coach. The competition phase transformed her personal practice and brought additional awareness of proper alignment with Asanas and Postures.

In May of 2016, Rola became a Certified Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, and is currently teaching private classes, workshops, and hands-on assisting for non-profit and for profit organizations. Rola is an approved vendor by Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) board and teaches teachers a weekly class.

In addition to her current profession with MIM Insurance Solutions, where Rola provides insurance services for yoga teachers and yoga studios, among others, Rola is also a founder and business owner of orangeblueflow. Since 2016, Rola has been teaching private and public classes B2B and B2C. She has plans to grow her business portfolio. Contact Rola at: [email protected] or [email protected]

Cat Levine was born and raised in Hong Kong and moved to Canada at the age of 13. One cold winter day, she stepped into a Hot Yoga class and the rest is history. Having a daily practice since January 2005 has helped her overcome numerous injuries, but more importantly, pulled her out of depression.

Cat is passionate about teaching yoga and loves nothing more than to share her passion with students.

She placed first overall in the women's division in Illinois at the 2016 Midwest Regional Yoga Asana Championship. She placed 10th nationally in the 2017 USA Yoga National Finals. She looks forward to competing and coaching in the years to come. She is deeply grateful to all of her teachers over the years, especially Mary Jarvis, for her generosity of spirit, wisdom and knowledge.

She currently teaches at her yoga school, Be Yoga Andersonville, in Chicago. You can find more information at

Brandy Lynn has been teaching yoga for over 10 years and practicing for nearly 20. She was the 2010 International Yoga Champion and has taught all over the world. Brandy will be forever grateful for the friendships and experiences she had as a yoga ambassador and hopes to help and inspire others as they pursue their path. As the mother of two young boys, Brandy has come to realize that the real yoga happens off the mat but that yoga asana is essential to her in navigating through this ever evolving life with grace. She currently lives in Utah and leads seminars and retreats worldwide.


Scott Marin began practicing yoga with his wife, Karen, at various Texas studios in 2005. He found yoga to be a great exercise that re-aligns sore joints and heals knees. His first hot yoga class was in Montreal in 2006. The class was a great workout and Scott soon found a hot yoga studio in Dallas to continue practicing. A hot yoga studio in Richardson became Scott’s home studio in 2007 where studio director, Yassi Maige, and the other teachers have inspired Scott to practice regularly. Yassi raised the bar by inviting Scott to attend advanced classes and by suggesting that he train for the 2010 Texas Asana Championships. Each year since, Scott has competed in the Texas regional competition and, since the senior division was established in 2014, he has taken 1st place in the senior male division four times. Also in the senior division, he has won 1st place in 2015 and again in 2016 at nationals. He also won 3rd place at the 2016 internationals. While competition is fun and challenging, beginner’s classes of simple stretching are still most enjoyable.

Contact Scott at: [email protected]

Elizabeth Marshall has been teaching since 2000, and owned a studio in Lawrence, KS. for 15 years. She feels so lucky to have been a part of the yoga championships from the very beginning; to experience the joys and struggles as we bring our passion for the healing benefits of Hatha yoga to an increasingly larger audience.

For her, it is specifically the Ghosh/Bikram lineage. She continues to learn from the most experienced, advanced teachers that she knows are able to work more effectively with the body.

She has had the privilege and joy to mentor and coach all levels of competitors, beginners to champions.
She now lives in Northampton, MA.

Contact Elizabeth at: [email protected]










Paul Moore, the 2016 senior men’s international champion has been practicing for seven years. He has been in four regional, three national and one international competition.

He began practicing at age 57 as therapy to relieve knee pain. Two weeks of practice in the heat made a big difference. More importantly, Paul began to notice positive mental changes: greater calmness, better reaction to stress, and more patience. From that point on, it only seemed natural to stop and take a yoga class on the drive home from work. He was inspired by the first international yoga championship that he watched. Then one day a teacher expressed faith in his practice by showing him a couple of advanced postures, saying that he could do them in the competition.

“I’m amazed at the power of yoga to transform your body and mind. The knee pain that drove me to begin practicing was a blessing. Watching the competitions inspired me. Preparing for the competitions has transformed my practice.”

To contact Paul email: [email protected].

Lisa Pafe has been practicing yoga for 12 years. She is a devoted Hot Yoga practitioner but also loves adding variety with Vinyasa and Yin. She is a Yoga Alliance certified and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with certifications in Fluid Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, Pure Power (yoga with weights), and Spa Yoga. Lisa also teaches yoga and meditation as well as mindfulness yoga for kids.

Lisa successfully completed the USA Yoga Judge’s Webinar and passed the certification test. She competes in the USA Yoga Adult 50+ Division and is a Virginia Medalist and Nationals finalist. She has been coaching the YogaWorks Fairfax competition team for the past three years with fellow Adult 50+ competitor Thomas Forbang. They offer a series of classes and private training open to all USA Yoga Divisions.

Lisa loves helping yoga athletes learn all of the mental and physical benefits of competing. Lisa especially enjoys helping competitors put together a routine that highlights their strengths but also challenges them to grow. In addition, she helps competitors work together as a team, building a sense of community that helps to inspire everyone.

A specialty is working with new competitors to help them create a routine suited to their needs and helping them gain self-confidence with constructive feedback to improve. Lisa coaches Youth, Adults and Adult 50+. She finds it especially rewarding to help youth and older athletes be the best they can be at any age. The younger and older athletes inspire her the most!

As a USA Yoga Associate Board Member and member of the Outreach Committee, her focus is on attracting Adult 50+ yogis to yoga competition. It makes a difference to inspire older athletes to keep growing, improving and learning. Yoga is truly ageless.

Contact Lisa at [email protected], ask to join my Facebook private group, Yoga With Lisa LLC, and/or follow her on Instagram or Twitter. You can learn more about Lisa at or or Instragram lisapafe.


Erin Paulsen has been practicing yoga since 2007, received her 500 hour Bikram Yoga Teacher certification in November of 2010, and has studied intensely under Lynn Whitlow since graduation. She has taught at several Bikram Yoga Studios across the country, at TrueNorth Yoga Retreats and is currently the owner of Radiant Yoga Ukiah in California. A former yoga competitor and now a judge for USA Yoga at the National level, her focus is on strength, focus and determination. For coaching information email Erin at: [email protected]







April Penland began practicing yoga in 2007 at Bikram Yoga Richmond and first competed in the 2011-2012 Mid-Atlantic Regional, after taking her first advanced class with Garland Hume a few months prior. Under the coaching of Garland Hume (which included a consistent yoga practice, homework/training sessions, and weekly advanced class sessions), she was invited to her first National Competition in 2014 and earned 1st place in Virginia in 2015. She has also trained with Mary Jarvis on multiple occasions and other well-known teachers such as Rocket yoga / hand balance teacher Adrian McCavitt. April placed 2nd in the United States in 2016. She also represented the United States at the 2016 World Championship of Yoga Sports in Pordenone, Italy where she earned 6th place. April has helped lead advanced classes and yoga homework/training sessions in Garland’s absence, taught workshops, and, as of this summer, earned her yoga teaching certificate. She loves working on movement goals and helping students realize the limitlessness of their own potential.

Contact April at [email protected] with questions / coaching inquiries.


Jamie Rissman was introduced in 2004 to the world of hot yoga. After having played competitive sports since childhood (including gymnastics, swimming, and running), a surgically repaired knee was causing her great discomfort and leaving her unable to pursue what she once was so passionate about. Bikram Yoga changed that after just one class. Immediately Jamie knew that she not only loved it, but that it was going to be her path towards overcoming her injury. In the weeks and months that followed, she did just that.

In 2008, Jamie received her Bikram Yoga teaching certification following a grueling 9 week, 500 hour course held in Acapulco, Mexico. She began teaching in several studios throughout the Chicago area immediately. She absolutely loved, and still does love, giving back to others what has given so much to herself.

In 2009, Jamie’s competitive spirit led her naturally to the USA Yoga Asana Championships. She continues to compete nationally and has placed in the top 10 in the United States. As a coach, she has had equal success training an eventual state champion and a 12th ranked finisher nationally.

Currently, Jamie offers both private and group coaching sessions at Sweat Junkie in Evanston Illinois.

In addition to Bikram Yoga, Jamie is certified to teach all of the following:
Pregnancy Yoga
Child Yoga
Inferno Hot Pilates (Levels 1 & 2)






Emily Sabo, originally an attorney and philosophy professor in New York City, is the current owner and sole manager of EKS Beachside Bodywork, LLC—devoted to the development of the EKS Pilates, Yoga, Aerial Arts, Bodywork and Pain Management methods (the “EKS Methods”). (Learn more about EKS on Emily's website:

Emily, the founder of the EKS methods, has been practicing and teaching Pilates and Yoga therapy for over a decade and has spent the majority of her life studying various traditional and non-traditional modes of bodywork such as yoga, mixed martial arts, plyometrics and agility/flexibility training, traditional strength training and various forms of massage and pain management methods, including trigger point, release work and deep tissue massage.

The EKS methods have proven extremely efficient at developing flexibility, strength and coordination in a short period of time and are very conducive to a broad spectrum of practices, from a home practice designed to realign the body and mind to a competitive yoga practice seeking to deepen and connect the body, mind and breath to very deep and seemingly difficult postures. Live Well, Be Well, Practice Often!!! To work with Emily contact her at: [email protected]






Kim Tang has worn the hat of yoga student, teacher, studio owner, presenter, demonstrator, 5 time California State Champion, and 6 time nationally ranked competitor. She has comprehensively coached dozens of competitors on Regional, National and International Stages. Her method of coaching involves attainment / solidification of posture, performance execution, and fluid and seamless choreography. She has mentored and taught at Bikram Yoga Teacher Training, and demonstrated the advanced series alongside Bikram, Emmy, and the International Champions for seven trainings, each with an audience of 300 to more than 400 people. Her personal practice entails the 26 posture series, the 84 posture series, as well as multiple other disciplines. She says, “I believe that USA YOGA is an extraordinary platform, inviting participants to Discover and Develop their highest Selves, invoking their highest Good, their highest ability to Serve, their highest Life Experience! I am here to equip you, empower you, and to support your expansion.”

Find Kim on, IG #KimTangYoga or contact her at [email protected]. Her website will be live soon








Marla Thomas received her 500-hour certification in May 2002. She is the owner of Queen City Bikram Yoga in South Burlington, Vermont Please contact the studio for more information on coaching. As an athlete, volunteer, coach and Official Timer of the New England Regional Qualifier since 2003, Ceppetelli has coached several athletes and is known for her excellence in stage presence, competition prepaAftonration, and overall confidence. She has sent several athletes on to the National Championships, including herself.

Thomas began yoga in 2001 with her sister, Sara Curry. She came to yoga depressed, overweight and struggling with sleeping. Having been diagnosed with an eating disorder and PTSD at 19, Thomas knew she had found something special when she fell asleep easily and slept through the night. She was doubly happy when her sister began to find relief from chronic back pain. Both went on right away to become teachers and studio owners.

Thomas is dedicated to the therapy of yoga. She has taught all students from beginners who are hearing impaired to members of the San Antonio Spurs. She has coached athletes who have anxiety to those who hold postures with ease. Thomas' focus is always to help others heal, despite emotional or physical injury.







Michele Vennard, owner of Bikram Yoga San Jose, established in 2003, is a graduate of the Fall 2001 Bikram Yoga Teacher Training. She competed 5 times in USA Yoga Regional competitions, twice qualifying for Nationals. She has judged at both local and national levels for all divisions. She currently coaches competitors aspiring to compete and has twice co-hosted the California Regionals. For coaching information email Michele at: [email protected].


Mitch Watkins began practicing yoga 11 years ago. His normal weekly class increased to three classes a week four years ago. Shortly thereafter, when he heard about USA Yoga competitions, he began practicing six times a week and engaging in weekly coaching sessions.

During Mitch’s first year competing, he placed first for his state, Florida, and he placed in the top ten during Nationals. Then, in 2017, he qualified for Nationals and was awarded the silver medal. He is excited to start his third year of competition and looking forward to competing in the 2018 international yoga championship.

Yin Yoga was a big part of Mitch’s competitive training, and he complete his Yin Yoga teacher training to deepen his own knowledge and help current and future USA Yoga athletes reach their personal competition goals. Mitch has also taken many workshops from the best yoga instructors in America.

Furthermore, as a repeat competitor, Mitch can also help other athletes understand the ins-and-outs from start to finish of the competition season, including the reality of being on stage, the hard work and commitment, and the privilege of sharing the stage with USA Yoga’s best athletes.

Contact Mitch for more information and coaching:
Mitch Watkins
Yin For All Yoga
238 Angeles Road
Debary, Florida 32713
[email protected]









Cynthia Wehr has been practicing yoga for over 20 years and became a Bikram Yoga Teacher in Spring 2003. She earned the USA Yoga Gold Medal in 2005 and 2007 and the World Yoga Champion Gold Medal in 2007. This gave her the opportunity to travel the world to teach and demonstrate. She spent a lot her time teaching in Tokyo, Japan for Bikram Yoga Japan and in Bikram Yoga San Jose until June 2011. Cynthia now owns a Bikram Yoga Studio in Mountain View, CA. Since 2008, Cynthia has judged regional, US, and International Championships, as well as being on the board of the USA Yoga Federation, and working closely with Rajashree Choudhury and USA Yoga board members to introduce Yoga as a sport.

She coaches competitors every year as well as being a part of bringing the Yoga community together by being involved in the social networks. The constant inspiration and change Cynthia has witnessed and experienced feeds her soul daily to keep teaching yoga forever. To bring yoga to children and children to yoga is the ultimate destination, the big step for truly creating a more peaceful, honest planet. By bringing yoga championships into the light, into everyone's home, we can make this destination possible. Contact Cynthia at: [email protected]


Veronica Wells has been practicing Bikram Yoga since 2010. In 2011, she had a lifesaving open-heart surgery to replace one of her heart valves. Veronica used her yoga practice both to prepare for and heal from this surgery. Veronica participated in her first competition in 2013 and since 2014 she has competed at the national level. In 2016, she received her 200-hour certification from True You Hot Yoga. In addition to teaching, Veronica is an associate professor at the University of the Pacific.

Throughout the years, the competition has provided a way for her to stay close to her practice despite her busy lifestyle.
With several years of competition training experience, Veronica’s training regimen is focused on maximizing the limited time she has for training. She is happy to share with you what she’s learned in terms of selecting postures, increasing depth and endurance of the postures, and using the competition to enhance your overall practice.

Veronica believes that competition training and preparation will transform your yoga practice because it provides an opportunity to practice concentration, meditation, and the Yamas and Niyamas. While your score and placement in the competition can give you some information about your progress, the competition is more than numbers—it’s about how you’ve personally changed as a result of the process. You can contact Veronica at: [email protected]