OUR TEAM

Susan Marrufo

FOUNDER

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 Marrufo

FOUNDER

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 also discovered the healing and restorative powers of meditation, and learned to incorporate these practices into complex daily life.

After almost 20 years wearing many hats in the corporate space, Nick took a pause from 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

CENTER MANAGER

While studying dance in college, Lucy 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 in 2015, and is 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 students create a nourishing and positive relationship with their bodies. Lucy taught on the very first day Samarasa Center opened its doors, and is ever-grateful for this community.

Aside from her role as a teacher, Lucy has also served students for the past 13 years by working administratively for various arts and wellness organizations. She is honored to hold the position of Center Manager at Samarasa.


Luccas Alvarenga

Luccas Alvarenga’s exploration of Yoga began in 2007 – starting in Brazil where he studied tantra yoga at Ananda Marga International Organization and biopsychology at Institute “Visao Futuro” with Harvard psychologist and anthropologist Susan Andrews. During that time he also earned his associates degree in Yogatherapy (University Tuiuti Parana – Brazil). Shortly thereafter, his deep study of the human body led him to the Brazilian Institute of Therapies where he acquired his 400-hour massage therapy certification.

Currently, he is studying with Francisco Kaiut, founder of the Kaiut method, a biomechanical yoga practice designed to serve the modern body and mind. The method’s intention is to increase the freedom of movement through an inclusive, simple and profound practice established on the foundations of yoga.

Luccas weaves his extensive yoga and bodywork practice with his other passions of body movement: Surfing and the martial art of Jiu-Jitsu. These activities have given him a more well rounded understanding of the importance of body movement in our lives as a form of exercise, meditation, connection with our inner and external Nature and connection with other individuals.

Luccas finds joy in bringing others into an introspective exploration of themselves through yoga asanas (postures) and its fundamentals. His inspiration comes from his own journey to finding new ways of improving mobility, functionality, and also incorporating sustainable ways to overcome rigidity and stagnation in the body by freeing micro movements and releasing potential energy.


Steven Arcos

I love yoga. The moment you step foot in my class you will know this. I spent my childhood (and my adult life) collecting comic books and wishing that I had super powers. With yoga I have accomplished that life long dream.  When you do something you love there is a passion that is present that is undeniable and visceral. My super power isn’t my flexibility or my strength. My power is my passion and my ability to care about and inspire my students’ journey. I believe in the power of intention. I believe in the power of laughter. I believe in the power that each of us brings to our practice.


Sonya Bender

Sonya began her journey in fitness teaching Indoor Cycling. Having an avid Pilates practice since her teens, Sonya organically found her way into a 500 hour Certification program to deepen her own practice and to open up a new avenue of fitness instruction to dive into! She now teaches full time all over Los Angeles! Studios she has taught at include Dr Pilates, Eden Sassoon Pilates, and Club Pilates. For her, exercise is part meditation, part fun, and part duty. Sonya hopes to inspire her students to stay dedicated to their own personal self care and self love. She is thrilled to join the talented team at Samarasa Center and can’t wait to help you get stronger!


Anna Cantwell

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.


Eileen Crowe

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
clients’ bodies.

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 Cummings

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.


Nicole Galli

Nicole is certified in Pilates from Balanced Body University and at Core Conditioning. She has had the great opportunity to study with masters such as Dawn Marie Ickes, Maria Leone, and Jillian Hessel. With a longtime love of movement, she has also studied ballet, modern dance, and world dance including a variety of East Asian styles such as Kathak, a classical dance from Northern India, along with Javanese and Balinese styles of Indonesian dance. A 200-hour yoga teacher training program and continued barre work are evidence of her dedication to movement and mind-body work. An outdoor enthusiast, she stays active by running, hiking and skiing. Nicole regularly attends workshops and continuing education classes to enhance and expand her knowledge of Pilates. She thoroughly enjoys sharing her love of Pilates and movement with her clients.


Ruby Goldin

Ruby Goldin is a Yoga/Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer who specializes in creative yet safe & effective exercise programming. Ruby believes that first and foremost, exercise should be fun, but secondly, it should be functional. The ultimate goal is to be able to continue to move, right? You’ll notice that even Ruby’s most challenging classes are always centered on core/pelvic stability and proper alignment. Ruby’s favorite part about teaching is being able to connect with her students, teach them something new about their bodies, and have fun in the process! Ruby teaches Monday and Friday mornings and is available for privates upon request.

Jenny Hannah

MEDITATION TEACHER TRAINING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Jenny Hannah offers alignment through mind-body communication. She is a meditation and yoga instructor, psychotherapist, art therapist, and group facilitator. Valued for her extensive trainings of psychology, the body, and Art, her holistic practice is potent and multi-faceted. She invites shadow aspects of individual and collective dynamics as teaching tools, encouraging personal and community growth through mindfulness awareness and inquiry. Jenny has a refined ability to weave complex themes into both verbal and non-verbal modalities, synthesizing direct experience through the process of communication, art,  and movement. Her approach is one of exploration and creativity, sealed with evidence based modalities.

By day, Jenny teaches Expressive Arts and offers counseling to college students at University of the West, a school based in Buddhist Principles. In addition to her own practice in relational art, she works at Coldwater Counseling, a Jungian psychology based center offering depth oriented approaches to therapy. Jenny has studied deeply and has been highly engaged with studies and practices of Buddhism for over ten years.


Eric Haun

I have been active my whole life. Always running, jumping, playing outside.  I began dance training at ten years old. This carried on through high school and led to a fifteen-year professional dance career that took me to New York City, Philadelphia and five years in Europe. I was certified as a Pilates instructor in 2000. Thus began my journey of widening my knowledge of health and fitness. I now share what I know about physical training, Pilates instruction and rehabilitation. Health and fitness is a lifestyle. For me, it goes on forever.


Garrison Lambert

I turned to yoga after growing sick and tired of feeling prisoner to my own thoughts and emotions. Yoga has become my connection to myself; the self that is joyful, loving, compassionate, and peaceful. Through intentional observation of breath, body, and mind we are able to grow more intimately aware of our true selves.
I incorporate aspects of functional movement training into my asana practice in an effort to not just move, but move well; both on and off the mat. We will seek to find maximum involvement and engagement in our practice and our lives.

Justine Malick

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).


Azzurro Mallin

Azzurro’s has been practicing Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga for over 10 years internationally. He received his teacher training certification in Rishikesh India at the Sattva Yoga Center. His meditations and yoga classes are influenced by the Vipassana, Kundalini, Ashtanga and Hatha yoga traditions. Azzurro guides students through pranayama breath work, a rigorous vinyasa flow, and both silent and guided meditations during his classes. His meditations and yoga journeys are intended to be deeply healing and support students in developing their own personal practice. By focusing on the union between breath and movement he guides students to become intimately familiar with their Prana, life force energy, strengthening not only their bodies but also their connection to the source of all creation.


Genna Messmer

Genna found her place on her mat nine years ago while living in Denver, CO. After experiencing reoccurring dreams of teaching yoga among a tapestry of different settings, she decided to follow the call and deepen her practice to receive her teaching certification in Forrest Yoga in July of 2015. Looking to enrich the lives of her students and her community with this magical practice, Genna brings a caring authenticity to an invigorating and mindful class. She looks forward to meeting you on the mat!


Martinique Nitzani

After studying movement, meditation and touch modalities all around the world, Ive landed on my feet in LA with the simple understanding that breath is essentially a wonder drug. 

I like to create an atmosphere in which each student can find his or her own way to Yoga, sharpening the quality of mind through movement so we can fully participate in our given reality. 

The only reason we choose to do yoga is for the pleasure- the literal pleasure of our systems relaxing and filling with energy

Come as you are, you are fully equipped.


Donna Otten

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.