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Our Faculty

Darren Main:
PROGRAM DIRECTOR

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    Darren Main is a hatha flow and restorative yoga instructor and author. His books include Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, Spiritual Journeys along the Yellow Brick Road, The Findhorn Book of Meditation and Hearts and Minds: Talking to Christians about Homosexuality. In addition to his writing, he facilitates workshops and gives talks on yoga and modern spirituality throughout the United States and abroad, and is the director of the Yoga Tree Teacher Training Program.

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Chrisandra Fox

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    Chrisandra is a dedicated student of hatha yoga, tantra, meditation and Ayurveda. Her teaching skillfully weaves the practices of hatha yoga to awaken fire and remove obstacles within so that you may remember your natural state of meditative awareness and ease of heart.

    Her Teachers Practicing since 1996, Chrisandra was granted a certificate to teach by Piedmont Yoga Studio under the guidance of Rodney Yee, Richard Rosen, Clare Finn, and Patricia Sullivan in 2002.
    She has trained in Universal Freestyle Yoga with Ukranian yoga master and mentor, Andrey Lappa, and spent five years in the Shadow Yoga School with Zhander Ramete and Emma Balnaves.
    She bows to all the teachers who have greatly inspired her path and revealed the gems of dedicated sadhana and deep surrender – Krishna Das, David Nichtern, Arlene Griffin, Thomas Fortel, Jamie Lindsay, Peter Sterios, Richard Freeman, Ana Forrest, Angela Farmer, Dharma Mittra, Gary Kraftsow, Tony Briggs, Sarah Powers, Paul Muller Ortega, Robert Svoboda, Scott Blossom, Chandra Easton, Rinpoche Choje Phunsok of Lekshy Ling Monastery, Katie Silcox, Jill Leslie and Barbara Gabriel. She studies presently with great devotion and gratitude to Yogarupa Rod Stryker, founder of ParaYoga.

    Chrisandra is the founding Mama of The Heart of Renewal Retreats which informs and inspires life-affirming transformation through relationship to practice, food, Nature, creativity and community. She is an E-500 RYT registered with Yoga Alliance and trains and mentors aspiring teachers. Chrisandra models and writes for Yoga Journal, and is the voice of Yoga Journal’s Livemag. You can practice with her in Gravity & Grace DVD with Peter Sterios and Yin Yoga DVD with Paul Grilley.

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Darcy Lyon

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    Darcy Lyon (MA, MFTi, RYT) is a Certified Anusara teacher and Expressive Arts therapist. After many years studying dance and theater, Darcy fell in love with the grace and intelligence of Anusara Yoga in 1998. Reflecting an exuberant playfulness and passionate love for movement, her classes are based in Anusara’s Principles of Alignment which support body, mind and heart to live with deep strength, wisdom and ease. Students can expect a non-competitive environment where we all support each other towards our personal best.

    In 1996 Darcy formed her company: Heartfire Arts for her work with healing, hope and transformation. She has been hired by the Federal Emergency Management Association to create a puppet show for traumatized children, developed a yoga program for an eating disorder clinic and developed a six month intensive that blends yoga and psychology. Her teaching equally reflects a depth of understanding in psychological change and bridging of eastern and western wisdom traditions. Darcy teaches public classes, leads retreats nationally and internationally, mentors new teachers and runs workshops for teachers and students.

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Dina Amsterdam

Dina Amsterdam

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    Dina Amsterdam began teaching yoga in 1994. She is certified by Kripalu (1994) where she gained her spiritual yogic roots and by Rodney Yee (1998) with whom she studied alignment oriented Iyengar yoga intensely for 3 years in his Advanced Teacher Training program. Since 1998 Dina has been practicing and studying Buddhist meditation and Yin yoga with Sarah and Ty Powers as well as other renowned teachers in the Buddhist lineage.

    Dina is a certified Yoga Therapist and works with individuals and groups on transforming psychological and physiological constrictions. Her approach with clients is guided by healing principles from the yogic and Buddhist therapeutic traditions. She did her graduate research in physiological psychology at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention and values an integrated approach of eastern and western modalities for optimal psycho-physiological and spiritual well-being. Dina leads yoga retreats (many of which are held in the Buddhist tradition of silence) in beautiful places in nature around the world.

    Dina listens to her body more accurately and sensitively than almost anyone I know. This connection, combined with her great communication skills, makes her a phenomenal talent in the world of yoga. I give Dina my highest recommendation to anyone looking for a yoga teacher.”

    —Rodney Yee

    Dina skillfully guides people toward a richer inhabitation of the emotional life . . . while leading them toward the potent art of meditative awareness.”

    —Sarah Powers

    In her public yoga classes, Dina weaves together mindfulness, alignment, strength and softness in a slow paced flow practice. She guides students in a rhythm that allows them to move in harmony with their breath and to discover the obstacles / opportunities that are waiting to be met. Her teaching blends together the Hatha yoga traditions of yin, Iyengar, vinyasa, and restorative yoga with the wisdom of the Buddhist path and invites students to cultivate a courageous and kind presence of wakefulness within themselves on and off the mat.

    Best Classic Yoga Teacher in San Francisco for 2007
    —The San Francisco Magazine (p.138)

    Featured Teacher Profile in Yogi Times 5 Year Anniversary Issue
    - July 2007.

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Harvey Deutch

Harvey Deutch

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    Harvey has been practicing the art of physical therapy for over 28 years. After graduating from the Physical Therapy program at the University of Vermont, he moved to California and practiced for six years in Los Angeles, never quite feeling home in Southern California, he moved to San Francisco in 1987 and directed a sports medicine center for six years.

    In 1994, Harvey began his own private practice and today employs five other therapists and PTAs. He operates four separate out-patient clinics under the name Red Hawk Physical Therapy, Inc.

    Harvey is the primary anatomy teacher for Yoga Tree San Francisco’s teacher trainings and leads regular workshops at The Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Ca. When not at work, he enjoys his daily Yoga practice, road biking, weight lifting, hiking, dogs, travel, and his 10-year-old son, Zacariah.

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Jane Austin

Jane Austin:
PRENATAL PROGRAM DIRECTOR

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    Passionate about yoga and the transformative power of motherhood, Jane specializes in working with pre and postnatal women. She has been involved with the birthing community since 1990, working as a homebirth midwife, doula (labor assistant) and childbirth educator.

    Jane is a certified yoga teacher and enjoys working with all populations. Her teaching has been influenced by many teachers and traditions, including Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Anusara. She continues to study asana (postures) with Tony Briggs and yoga philosophy with Kate Holcombe. Among her most inspirational teachers have been the many hundreds of pregnant women and couples she has worked with over the years. Her own children and her experience of motherhood have been a huge influence on her teaching as well. She weaves her experience into her classes in a humorous, yet thoughtful way.

    Jane teaches the pre and postnatal component of the Yoga Tree teacher. She has developed a teacher training for those interested in specializing in prenatal yoga instruction. Jane also volunteers at here daughter’s elementary school, teaching a weekly yoga class to the teachers and staff.

    As a lifelong student, Jane continues to study the many facets of yoga. Although yoga provides the framework for her spiritual practice, it is her life as a mother that has given her true opportunity for spiritual growth.

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Jill Abelson

Jill Abelson

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    Jill Abelson is a yoga instructor, teacher trainer and workshop presenter renowned for expertise in the art of alignment and hands-on assisting. Her 14 years of teaching span both coasts, as well as training and workshops around the country, most recently in Iowa City, Washington DC, Richmond VA, Chapel Hill NC, New York City, and the SF Bay area. Registered with the Yoga Alliance (500 E-RYT) Jill is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher, with extensive training in other lineages: Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Kripalu Yoga. In 2007, she was recognized by Yoga Journal as one of the “Five Yogis Changing the World.” Her books EXTRA LOVE: The Art of Hands-on Assists, published in 2011 and 2012, are available on Amazon.

    Teachers wanting to work with Jill can find her in Yoga Tree’s new Mentorship Program.

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Lauren Slater

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    Since 1998, Lauren Slater has been a joyful practitioner of yoga, and continues her studies with Arkady Shirin in the Krishnamacharya lineage. Past teachers include Jennifer Morrice in Restorative and Stephanie Snyder in Vinyasa styles, as well as Ashtanga and Iyengar lineages with teachers throughout California. Currently an Ambassador for lululemon and The Art of Yoga Project, outreach within various populations is a passion to spread the joys of yoga to all. Another passion is wildlife rehabilitation, in which Lauren has been an active advocate, volunteer and intern with WildCare Bay Area since 2007.

    A trained Classical dancer since childhood, Lauren danced professionally with the San Francisco modern dance company, LEVYdance and uses her knowledge of dance, Pilates, and physiology to enrich both vigorous and passive teachings of asana.

    “I believe anyone can be transformed through yoga, with each path unique and to be cherished as a gift of an enlightened life.”

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Pete Guinosso

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    Connect into your inner yogi with Pete Guinosso. Known for his joyful energy, compassionate guidance, sense of humor, skilled touch, and spiritual yet light-hearted approach, Pete creates an environment for his students to uncover the deeper benefits of their yoga practice.

    Pete began his own practice after thirty years of running, cycling, and contact sports. Motivated by a desire to connect his mind, body, and spirit through movement and breath, he spent several years and over 600 hours training with Ana Forrest, including assisting her 24-day Foundation Teacher Training course.

    It is through this experience that he learned how to compassionately guide students of all levels through a vigorous asana practice with integrated breath work and awareness. Pete resides in the Bay Area and makes yoga and the depth of the practice available to students in group classes, workshops, and retreats. He is also available for private consultations.

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Sean Haleen

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    Sean Haleen (RYT-500, ERYT-200) is a celebrated Hatha yoga teacher and practitioner. Having practiced yoga from a young age, his understanding of the practice runs deep both on the physical and philosophical levels. Having taught thousands of hours of public classes and workshops, yoga is his full time job and passion.

    Sean’s classes are noted for their humor and depth. Focusing on alignment, students wishing to learn about their bodies and the different concepts of yoga philosophy in detail will enjoy his public classes. Sean teaches classes, workshops, and privates across the Bay Area and beyond. He has taught yoga to a variety of people including high schoolers, homeless groups, recovering drug addicts, and queer youth. He offers deep gratitude with each class to his main teachers, Katchie Ananda, Christine Price Clark, Chris Chavez, Brent Kuecker, and Paige Faraci.

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Jason Bowman

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    Jason Bowman has led eight 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified teacher trainings as well as several immersions, workshops, retreats and guest lecture series both internationally and around the country. His practice has been greatly influenced by Ashtanga Yoga as he’s learned it from Richard Freeman and Maty Ezraty and Vipassana Meditation as he’s learned it from SN Goekna. Jason is well known for his ability to be thorough while maintaining a light-hearted sense of humor.

    His classes encourage a personal examination of the space between theory and direct experience and his love for the practice shines through in his ability to teach with a concrete yet creative voice. After living in Boulder for many years he has recently moved to the Bay Area. Find him online at jasonbowmanyoga.com

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Dana Damara

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    Dana Damara has embraced yoga as a lifestyle both on and off the mat. Through her children, writing, yoga, and fulfilling relationships, Dana radiates that power of soulfulness and spiritual awakening through yoga, both for others and herself. She has studied with Seane Corn, Johhny Kest and Sienna Sherman, building on their philosophies, creating a flow that opens the heart, quiets the mind and exudes a balance of strength and grace.

    Her passion is proper alignment with powerful breath and effortless flow. Her belief is that the mat is a sacred space that we arrive at to find more meaning, depth, authenticity and integrity in our lives off our mat. Her secret? EQUANIMITY, TRUST, INTUITION and UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Come and play with this spiritual warrior…your life will shift immediately.

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Elise Lorimer

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    Elise Lorimer teaches workshops and teacher trainings, as well as travels worldwide, exploring her own boundaries inside and out. Blending graceful flow with healthy alignment, Elise’s classes are anatomically mindful while infused with a playful spirituality that empowers students to openly explore and find freedom. She inspires a greater compassion for the self, cultivating a strong and flexible foundation, enabling students to live fully within their juicy potential.

    Based in the Bay Area, she continues her yoga study with Shiva Rea, Ramanand Patel and more, inspired by the array of gifts Life continues to offer, wherever she is.

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Mark Morford

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    Mark has been practicing a fluid, energized style of Vinyasa yoga since way back 1997, and teaching since 2000. He’s been blessed to study with a wonderful variety of powerful, luminous and generous teachers, and has been inspired by — and workshopped with — many of the premier instructors normally name-dropped in this kind of bio, so he’ll just avoid doing that here and merely say, he’s had a wonderful ride. And it still feels like it’s just beginning.

    Mark’s popular classes and workshops are an athletic, challenging and often deliciously irreverent blend of focused breath and strength-building movement (asana) set to great music, all designed to invigorate the body, calm the frenzied urban mind and bring you more fully into the present moment, as you discover — or, more accurately, remember — a more profound notion of Self, one that will doubtlessly enjoy more of your personal attention. He strives to weave in luminous-but-practical threads of yoga philosophy and the 8 limbs into his classes, as well tantalizing tastes of Shivaic Tantrism and Buddhism et al, to infuse/inspire our collective intention and more fully experience spanda, that subtle pulse/tremor of the cosmos.

    Mark’s yoga will give you an opportunity to crack open your heart, peel away layers of urban anxiety, sweat out toxins and bad text messages, drink in spaciousness, build strength and stamina, look tastier in a bathing suit, sample some divine rasa (nectar), find connection and stability in your daily life, and slide through the world with more authentic grace and flexibility. He promises you will never leave his class feeling, breathing, or moving in quite the same way you came in.

    Bring a towel. Leave your baggage. Peel off your stress, your expectations, your self-imposed limitations. Come for the sweat, stay for the consciousness. It’s so good you’ll forget you’re actually defying gravity.

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David Moreno

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    David Moreno ERYT-500, has taught at international conferences, universities, and retreats worldwide, and is frequently a guest instructor for yoga teacher training programs. He has worked privately with clients in the fashion and entertainment industries, and has trained world-class athletes, including the 2004/2008 Olympics U.S. Mens Swim Team coach. His articles and commentaries on yoga have been published in various yoga journals and periodicals, including LA Yoga Magazine, Yoga International, and Yoga: Body & Spirit. David is known for his keen sense of humor and timing, making classes both playful and informative. When not traveling, David teaches at Yoga Tree Berkeley, where you can also find his instructional dvds!