Susan Marrufo, MA, E-RYT 500, left the United States and a job in advertising in 2008 to travel internationally and experience life beyond the confines of her cultural conditioning. She received her first 500-hr yoga certification in Thailand in 2009, where she began her studies of the classical yogic scriptures and delved deeply into esoteric tantric philosophy. After 2 years of teaching month-long tantric based courses on the banks of the Ganges in India and the Pacific coastal towns of Mexico, Susan returned to the US to begin a residential internship with the Kripalu School of Yoga, where she taught in and project managed several Kripalu yoga teacher trainings as well as received her 2nd 500-hr teacher training certification from the Kripalu School of Yoga.
Since then, Susan has split her time between India, Thailand and the US, facilitating group courses in the inquiry of yoga and meditation as well as diving increasingly deeper into her own yogic studies. After many years of travel, she is happy to have found a home in the City of Angels.
Susan wishes to express deepest gratitude to her teacher, Sri Prem Baba.
Nick’s journey into the world of Pilates, yoga, and meditation began as a way to heal his body, mind, and spirit after experiencing a physical injury with chronic pain and a series of personal and professional milestones. As his body healed through the practices of Pilates and yoga, Nick had an epiphany. He discovered mindfulness and balance and became acutely aware that a traditional corporate career path was not for him.
After almost 20 years wearing many hats in the corporate space, Nick left the fast-paced, intense world of technology to enter a world of health, wellness, and healing. Over the past several years, Nick has become a Balanced Body University-trained Pilates instructor and has been actively teaching and advancing his training. Trained at Bodyline Fitness in Los Angeles, CA, Nick is passionately committed to spending the rest of his life and career helping others in their search for health, mindfulness, connection, and balance.
Lucy Wilson graduated with honors with a B.F.A. in Dance from the conservatory at Purchase College, SUNY. While studying dance in college, she developed her yoga practice as a way to stay healthy – physically and mentally – and she has been in love with yoga ever since. She completed her 200-hour certification with Yoga Yoga in Austin, TX, and is currently pursuing her 500-hour certification, while continuing to teach yoga, dance, and perform professionally. She has a deep passion for anatomy and kinesiology, and is continually in awe of the beauty of the human body. Her goal is to help her students create a nourishing and positive relationship with their bodies.
Aside from her role as a teacher, Lucy has also served students for the past 12 years by working administratively for various arts and wellness organizations. She is honored to hold the position of Center Manager at Samarasa.
Katie began practicing yoga during college as a way to cope with the daily stresses that life often presents. She was drawn to a daily practice after noticing the positive impact of yoga on her life, both physically and mentally. While in graduate school, Katie became interested in the therapeutic benefits of yoga while studying the effects of guided meditation and mindfulness on stress reduction in children. She completed her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology in 2015. She then decided to take her yoga practice further and became certified to teach yoga, being trained as a 200 hour E-RYT. Katie fills the room with a fun and playful energy. She believes that yoga should be practiced with serious dedication and devotion but with a light-hearted approach. She creates a safe space for her students allowing creativity and encouraging her to students to express themselves as unique individuals. She believes that although the teacher is an important guiding figure, the practice of yoga comes from within, and only the student knows what feels good in his or her body. Katie is passionate about sharing the gift of yoga and truly believes that yoga is healing. By taking care of ourselves, we have the ability to create vibrant bodies and peaceful minds.
Adam has over 5,000 hours across 15 years of teaching experience and has led yoga retreats worldwide. As a former owner of a Chicago-based yoga and wellness center, Adam went on to spend 3 months studying yoga in Rishikesh India before moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico to study Ayurvedic Medicine with Dr. Lad, a preeminent Ayurvedic Physician and Professor of Ayurveda who founded the Ayurvedic Institute in 1984.
Adam has the unique ability to incorporate the ancient teachings of Yoga and Ayurveda into a simple to understand and powerfully transformative practice, integrating holistic health and wellness and physical exercise. His expert guidance will bring you to experience new depths of your best self physically, mentally and spiritually.
The quiet solitude of yoga enthralled Anna from a young age, and Anna celebrates and explores many types of yoga. While teaching high school in Houston and receiving her Master’s degree, she fell in love with Baptiste yoga and practiced daily to relieve mental stress and physical tension. Forrest yoga was her next discovery, and it provided immense physical and emotional healing for her. She found that the alignment-focused, breath-based, build-your- own-heat practice was both challenging and rewarding.
Through a connection at her school, she discovered a Forrest training specifically catered to school teachers, and with that came a radical shift. Seeing her fellow teachers struggle under stress, she relocated to Los Angeles to teach yoga and bring the joy and peace of yoga to local schools.
Anne-Marie is a former U.S. Fulbright Fellow, a U.S. Air Force combat veteran and a graduate of The Hockaday School, Stanford University and MIT. She started practicing yoga after 30 years of hard charging. While living and studying in Moscow, Russia, she unexpectedly discovered yoga for women, which led her to a many-years-long dive into her deep feminine essence. Hooked on the power of women’s circles, sisterhood and journeying consciously into her own depths, Anne-Marie followed her inner voice to yoga teacher training at 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, Arizona, with Sraddhasagar Ruth Hartung. She followed up with a six-month yoga, service and community internship at Mount Madonna Center in Watsonville, California.
In 2017 Anne-Marie completed a Veterans Yoga Project teacher training to adapt her classes for military veterans, sharing with other veterans a practice that has strengthened her on her own healing journey. Additional guiding lights are Susan Marrufo, Lara Inanna Catone and J. Brown. Anne-Marie is honored to offer weekly veterans yoga classes, to co-lead monthly women’s circles and to participate in the transformative community at Samarasa. Dancing to magical music is one of her greatest joys.
It was her passion for dancing and performing that led Eileen to pursue a Bachelor
of Arts in Dance from the University of California Irvine. During her studies at
UCI, she was introduced to Pilates as a part of the curriculum. As her training
progressed and she began to dance professionally, she discovered how Pilates increased
the performance, strength, and flexibility in her own body. From there she
developed an interest in its use as a form of rehabilitation in Physical Therapy. She
has seen firsthand the amazing transformation that Pilates created within her
Eileen received the comprehensive Pilates certification through Balanced Body as
well as Pre/Post Natal Pilates, TRX Suspension Training and is a licensed
Massage Practitioner. Using her extensive background in Dance and Movement
Arts, Eileen strives to create a well-rounded class that focuses on alignment and
building a solid muscular foundation along with agility. As a lover of all things
movement related, you may find her practicing Yoga, hiking, cycling and
snowboarding. Currently, you can also find her performing with the fabulous LA
Follies, dancing all around town, and also in her car.
Emily is an LA based Yoga and Barre instructor. With a background rooted strongly in her dance training, she likes to get people moving with intention and in connection to the breath. Practicing yoga has helped Emily to hold space for herself, cultivate self love, and to create peace in her life. Her mission is to lead others to feel the same. She wants to inspire and challenge her students to develop a conscious, mindful practice that they carry with them off the mat and into their lives.
With a background in dance and Pilates, a Bachelors degree in psychology, a NASM PT certification, and her own experience in rehabilitation, Leonie approaches fitness and health from a holistic perspective, using Pilates as her primary format. Focusing on the connection between mind and body boosts confidence and intelligent movement patterns. Her main emphasis is on corrective and rehabilitative training, cutting through old patterns and developing a healthier body and mind. Leonie has worked with a variety of clients: from creatives to scientists, teens to golden years, she is well adapted to many walks of life. Leonie’s ultimate goal is to have you in love with your whole self, standing strong and walking with light into your day. In her spare time Leonie enjoys walks around echo park lake and giggling at pandas on Instagram.
Salle is a fully-certified Stott Pilates Instructor and an advanced MELT Method Instructor who recently moved to LA from Chicago where she was one of the first movement teachers in the area to talk about and teach MELT and its focus on connective-tissue and autonomic nervous system health. Salle‘s approach to movement is to be curious in your body, whether in stillness or in motion: when we focus in on our body with purpose, we can begin to move forward from our compensatory patterns and enjoy all the activities we love.
Justine is inspired by movement and the body, and her tremendous respect for the body is reflected in her teaching. Pilates and yoga support each other beautifully, and Justine whole-heartedly believes in the harmonious union of the two practices. Justine’s first explorations of movement began at a young age – she started walking at 8 months & hasn’t really stopped since. She also spent over 10 years as a competitive figure skater.
Justine is a 500hr RYT and has completed yoga trainings with YogaWorks and Embodied Flow; she also completed a comprehensive Pilates training through Body Arts Science International (BASI). Justine views movement as medicine and is forever fascinated by the healing and transformative power of working with the body-mind through the blend of these various modalities. In addition to studying Yoga & Pilates, Justine has completed trainings in Deep Bodywork Massage and Resistance Flexibility Strength Training (RFST).
Stephanie practiced transpersonal psychotherapy in London for 15 years before returning to her native USA in 2007. While in London, Stephanie trained in Ashtanga Yoga and taught Primary Series there for ten years. Stephanie lived and taught in Charlottesville, Virginia, from 2007-2014 and has also taught in New York City, London, Lausanne (Switzerland) and at YogaJam in Floyd. She moved to Los Angeles in August 2014 with her son, two dogs and two cats.
The meeting point of the body and the psyche is the subtle body, and Stephanie’s passion for promoting health and balance led her to a 300-hour yoga teacher training in Tibetan Heart Yoga with Geshe Michael Roach, and joyfully, to her teacher and beacon, Sri Dharma Mittra, with whom she has completed both a 500 and an 800-hr teacher yoga teacher training, and is currently completing her 1000-hr teacher training. Stephanie has also continued her Ashtanga training with a number of luminaries such as Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Ty Landrum, David Swenson, David Garrigues and David Roche. She also studied with Jennifer Elliot in Charlottesville and taught at her Ashtanga Yoga Charlottesville shala.
Stephanie teaches chair yoga, restorative, as well as vinyasa levels 1 through master class, yoga nidra, meditation, Ashtanga Primary Series and Mysore. She is an E-RYT500 and is humbled to stand on the shoulders of so many giants.
My yoga is symbolic and in that drenched with personal meaning. It is a constellation of recovered understandings. It is my life in new expressions. It is the invisible within me emoting. It is metaphor. It is my heart felt through my body, my body perceived by my mind, my mind found within my soul. It is infinite access. It is a place of deep remembrance where I can learn to approach my truths modestly but powerfully with intelligence, compassion, and unwavering curiosity.
Donna Otten discovered Pilates when she started rehabilitation to heal from a debilitating car accident in 2001 that left her with multiple complex injuries. She gained an immediate appreciation for the healing and strength-building effects of practicing Pilates. After a 15-year career has a portrait photographer and dealing with chronic pain, another life was calling her. In 2010 Donna took a hiatus from photography to focus on gaining a deeper understanding of the Pilates practice that helped build and strengthen her mind-body connection. She then decided to embrace Pilates fully by training to become a certified teacher and chose Bodyline for her education. Donna received her certification with PhysicalMind and has continued her education through Balanced Body. Her Pilates practice has become much more to her than fitness. Donna continues this daily journey/practice of balance, mindfulness, Love and forgiveness and with an open heart hopes you will join her.
Phoebe Schiff is an RYT-200 based in Echo Park. She is certified in Anusara yoga, an alignment focused style based on a positive philosophy. Teaching yoga allows Phoebe to share the perspectives that enable her to lead an intentional, blissful life with her students. She also runs a marketing company for wellness brands and passionately applies yogic philosophy to entrepreneurship and business.