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Staff & Instructors

Director

 

David began his journey into yoga in 1993. David started studying under one of Dallas' finest certified Iyengar instructors, Fred Dowd. He has now taught yoga extensively and has visited India numerous times to visit sacred sites, to study meditation under the Dalai Lama, and to study yoga with many contemporary luminaries including B.K.S Iyengar and T.K.V. Desikachar. He continues to explore the path and deepen his practice primarily by studying under senior teacher Ramanand Patel.  David's  teachings of yoga blend the wisdom of Yoga, Eastern philosophy, meditation, somatic movement techniques and the principles of Ayurveda to assist students in their physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.

 

As owner of the Dallas Yoga Center since 1998, David has helped to establish DYC as a strong institution infused with an open-hearted vitality which plays a leading role in the Dallas yoga community. His focus is in creating a safe space where people can come to enjoy the depth of the ancient teachings.

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Instructors

 

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Brett Thompson began his journey into the world of Qigong and Martial Arts in 2010 with an auspicious encounter with Master Instructor Jerry Dibble. Brett was immediately intrigued with the simplicity and artistry of the Chinese Healing Art, Qigong.
 
 
He dove into this world, and for the next several years, traveled to Arizona to advance his mastery of Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Qigong through Instructor Training with his Sifu, Master Instructor Dibble.
 
 

Brett's programs focus on developing students’ self-growth and development at beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. His understanding of the 5 Element Theory allows him to engage the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and soulful aspects of health and well-being.

 

Brett’s passion for teaching developed from his extraordinary dedication to facilitating the health, well-being, and longevity of others. He is a leader for his students in self-empowerment and physical mastery. To facilitate this, he weaves in the teachings he has gained from his 8 years of practice of Rudra Meditation from Swami Rudrananda’s lineage.

 

To further his knowledge, Brett maintains training in the Mt. Emei Qigong lineage with Taoist Grandmaster Yuanming Zhang. His expanded focus allows him to guide his students in a holistic approach to health and well-being by applying ancient Eastern secrets to the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and soulful aspects of life.

Carla  has 20 years of experience guiding people in yoga, therapeutic and creative movement. Her vast knowledge of the human body as an integrated organic whole is drawn from her study of yoga, meditation and Body Mind Centering® as well as her rich background as a professional modern dancer in NYC.

 

Carla is a graduate of the Embodied Developmental Movement & Yoga program from the School Of Body Mind Centering.

 

Her classes are heavily influenced by this somatic approach applying what she knows about developmental movement and experiential anatomy to the asana practice. Her teaching style and personal practice involve deep inquiry, observation, mindfulness and whole bodied expression within the form and practice of yoga.

 

Carla leads special workshops in somatic movement education and is an instructor in DYC’s Teacher Training programs.

Caroline has been practicing yoga since 1998 and dancing since birth. She has an innate curiosity about the world, and loves how yoga teaches her something new every single day. She encourages her students to question, learn, and discover new things about their bodies, their minds, and the world around them.

 

Her teaching style and practice are influenced by the many exceptional teachers she has had the opportunity to study with, including Marylou McNamara, Margaret Townsend, and Mary Pappas-Sandonas. She earned her 200 hr RYT from the Dallas Yoga Center.

Caroline also draws from her dance background, bringing joy and freedom of movement into her teaching.

Cheryl King first encountered yoga and meditation in the 1980’s as a college student. Studying Buddhism with Professor Frederick J Streng, she became fascinated with the philosophy, ritual, and beauty of the Buddhist meditation practice and made her first trip to Thailand for a cultural immersion upon graduation.
 
Cheryl’s teaching style is interdisciplinary with emphasis on gentle movement and anatomical alignment. She encourages students to find and sustain a moment-to-moment experience through the practice of yoga and meditation.
 

Cheryl brings a spirit of loving kindness to her own practice and her teaching. Her life’s work involves exploring and teaching connection to self and one another.

 

Cheryl received her RYT 200 Hr at Dallas Yoga Center.

Chris was introduced to yoga as a form of cross training for martial arts, running and cycling as a pre-teen. A passionate adult study of yoga began in 1998 and an attraction to the Iyengar method developed in 2001 with its intuitive attention to alignment, form and movement. His fun, focused and patient approach to teaching creates a friendly, empowering and supportive climate that guides students on his/her personal level through the fundamental challenges of yoga.

 

Chris is a certified Iyengar yoga instructor through IYNAUS. He completed a 2-year Iyengar Teacher Training program with Peggy Kelley of the Austin Yoga School held at the Dallas Yoga Center, as well as additional studies with Paula Weithman, before continuing his Iyengar training. Today, his practice is centered around the Tibetan form of Buddhism and its Lojong and Lamrim approach. His non-dogmatic teaching incorporates the mindfulness techniques common to most meditation traditions.

Dean Hollingsworth found yoga in 2007 and immediately felt the impact it had upon his physical, mental and spiritual life. As his practice continues to deepen, his life continues to bloom and as a result he seeks to share this experience with others. He earned his 200hr RYT certification in 2012. A “chance encounter” then led him to meet and learn the Ashtanga method from Jeff Clardy, for which he is forever grateful. In an effort to further deepen his practice, Dean traveled to Mysore, India in October of 2014, and again in November 2015, where he studied Ashtanga Vinyasa in the tradition of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois with Sharath Jois.
 

On his trip to Mysore in November of 2016, Sharath officially Authorized Dean to teach Ashtanga Yoga.

 

Dean is the only Authorized teacher in the DFW Metroplex and one of 4 in the state of Texas.

 

He is passionate about sharing the teachings of his personal practice and all that he has learned with the DYC Ashtanga community.

The practice of yoga has had a transformative effect on Heathers’ life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. She cannot imagine the rest of her life without the practice of yoga and meditation.

Heathers’ yoga journey began with fast moving vinyasa yoga more than a decade ago, practicing with various teachers both locally and nationally. She enjoyed the physicality of this rigorous practice so much that she felt moved to share it with others.


When Heather was introduced to Ashtanga yoga in 2010, she became hooked on this system. She started to crave learning about this method; to dive deep into the functions of the body and to try and understand the mysterious benefits she was receiving.


In 2014, she made the pilgrimage to Mysore, India to study at KPJAYI under the direction of Sharath Jois. In addition, she has studied under the tutelage of many great international ashtanga teachers: David Swenson (primary series teacher training - TT), Shelley Washington (primary series TT), Tim Miller (primary series TT and second series TT), One month courses with Matthew Sweeney to study ashtanga and vinyasa krama) and her main teacher Diana Christinson who has provided the gift of studying and apprenticing under her direct guidance.


Although asthanga yoga is Heathers’ main practice, she does think it is important to keep an open mind and fresh eyes while considering other types of yoga practices. In doing so, she also enjoys learning the complimentary vinyasa krama sequences developed by Matthew Sweeney, breath techniques and yoga practices with Carlos Mendez and learning from various other visiting teachers.

Jessi Smith's yoga journey began in 1998 at the Dallas Yoga Center. In the very first class she attended, the teacher (Paula) said: "It's not about where you are, it's who you are."
 
 
Something about those words woke her up. She wanted to understand more about what was said, wanting to go deeper into that. And that was the spark that stated her journey - and it's what she hopes to spark in people when they are on the mat.
 

Jessi began teaching in 1999, much sooner than she had anticipated. She found her teacher, Baron Baptiste, soon after that, and became certified by the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Institute in 2003. For several years she traveled with her teacher assisting in workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings.
 

Over the years Jessi has studied with a wide variety of teachers including Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Sharon Gannon & David Life, Rod Stryker, Rusty Wells, Nicki Doane & Eddie Modestini, Johnny Kest, and a host of brilliant people who also share a love for yoga.
 
 
She also enjoys the stories, and myths behind the postures, the Philosophy of Patanjali, as well as Kirtan, Yoga Nidra and Meditation.
 

Jessi has been teaching for over seventeen years, and continues to learn from the many amazing teachers and students she meets along the way. She believe all yoga works, and uses Vinyasa Yoga as a base to build each individual’s practice.
 
 
Jessi’s purpose is to empower her students to feel their best in a healthy body and content mind through the practice of yoga.
 
Jessica O’Keefe E-RYT 500, has 20 years of experience guiding people in yoga and movement education. Her understanding of yoga and the human body has been influenced by Body Mind Centering, modern dance, dance therapy, and holistic health.
 
Jessica assists her students in knowing the joy and wonderment of integrating the mind and body. She encourages an authentic and life-nurturing practice, one that brings greater consciousness to each moment and each movement of the body.
 

Jessica has taught workshops throughout the United States. She also teaches the 300 Hour Somatic Yoga  Teacher Training at the Dallas Yoga Center. Jessica has been training students to become teachers since 2005.

 

Since the birth of her son in 2008, Jessica has developed a specific line of research focused on the pelvic floor and women’s health.

 

Her teaching always remains committed to a sense of ease and acceptance.

 

Jessica is ever grateful for her students and many teachers.

Kay Colbert, LCSW is a licensed clinical social worker in Dallas with a long-term personal meditation and yoga practice. Mindfulness has been transformational for her both professionally and personally.
 
Kay has over 300 hours of training in teaching Mindfulness-Based Programs through the University of California San Diego Medical School Center for Mindfulness.

Kay loves to explore movement in all forms. She is an avid dancer of salsa and tango and she travels to South America regularly. While visiting Argentina many years ago she realized her calling was to integrate the fluid kinesthetic of Latin dance with the structured focused discipline of classical yoga. She has studied both the Iyengar method as well as Vinyasa Flow and she has graduated from the 200 hr Dallas Yoga Center teacher training program.

 

Kay’s classes create an energetic, playful and multi-disciplined experience that joyfully embraces the flow as well as the discipline required to obtain strength, openness, and flexibility.

Kristen started practicing yoga regularly in 2008, shortly after starting graduate school at The University of Texas. Initially yoga was just something that helped her stay physically active, but eventually it became a way for her to clear her mind, understand her body and improve her life. Kristen was drawn to the Ashtanga method because of the discipline and concentration required for the Mysore self-practice style, which has helped her realize many benefits off the mat.


She completed her 200 hour teacher training in June 2012 with no intention of teaching, but soon returned to UT to teach in the same program where she started practicing. She has been fortunate to develop her Asthanga Mysore practice with many wonderful Ashtangi’s in the Austin area, including her longtime teachers Eriko and Selena. She completed David Swenson’s 40 hour Ashtanga Primary Series Teacher Training in 2013, and has studied with Matthew Sweeney, Dena Kingsberg and Tim Miller.


Kristen is very grateful for all the benefits of her yoga practice. She has never felt better, mentally or physically than she has over the past six years, and she truly believes that yoga can change lives. She is excited and eager to share her love of the Ashtanga practice with the DYC community.

Lauren began practicing yoga nearly 15 years ago as a way to increase flexibility, but it quickly became apparent there was much more to be found. After years of trying many different styles in several studios, she found her deepest connection with a sound-vibration based power practice. This approach connected her to the amazing gift of meditation through asana, which led her to explore other meditation forms & various workshops.

After having two children, as a working mom, the importance of her yoga practice became paramount in helping create harmony in daily life. Through teacher training at the Dallas Yoga Center, Lauren discovered new ways to connect with sound meditation and restorative yoga, which once again shifted her entire perspective and practice. A profound interest in holistic wellness has led her to study Ayurveda, pranayama, aromatherapy & more. Lauren's goal as a teacher is to compassionately guide others to find more balance and peace through yoga and meditation. She hopes everyone can experience deep connection to oneself and pure bliss through any style of practice, yin to yang, and take what they learn with them off the mats.

As with others, it was life challenges that had Marisa seeking out her first yoga class. After the death of her parents she walked into her first power yoga class looking for some relief. During this time she found that her body began to relax, her mind found some ease and she was breathing more freely than she had in months. This feeling kept her coming back and each time she found more peace and an internal cleansing began. That was over 10 years ago and she can’t imagine her life without yoga in it.

 

At about 5+ years of a solid commitment to her practice, Marisa decided to pursue teacher training with no intent to teach, but more out of a curiosity to understand “why & how this practice was working”. She pursued and completed her 200-hour yoga certification in 2012 and her 500- hour yoga certification in 2014, both at Authentic Yoga in Scottsdale AZ under the guidance of Cheryl and David Oliver. It was through her training that she was introduced to the Ashtanga Vinyasa method of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and it is what she continues to practice today.

 

Although Ashtanga is Marisa’s preferred practice, she does understand it may not be for everyone. She encourages students to try all types of yoga and be curious. She does believe that yoga changes lives, and she always excited to share her knowledge and love for the practice.

 

As a teacher and more importantly a student, she is constantly curious to learn more and have been lucky to continue her Ashtanga studies with various teachers such as Greg Nardi and Juan Carlos, David Swenson, Tim Miller, and David Garrigues.

 

In addition, she is honored to have completed her certification to teach yoga to cancer patients from YogaBridge.

 

Marisa has a loving husband of 19 years, and three 4-legged pups…Nikki, Roxy, and Zoe.

Mary is an advanced certified Rolfer, as well as a yoga instructor in the Iyengar and Anusara yogic traditions. Mary has been studying and practicing Structural Integration (Rolfing) for eighteen years, and completed her advanced Rolfing training in Europe in 1999. She has also had additional training in Cranial Sacral and Visceral Manipulation. She has practiced yoga since 1990 and has taught since 1995.

 

Mary's extensive Rolfing background gives her unique insight into the numerous muscular connections which control the mechanical movements of the skeletal frame. In addition to her experience through Rolfing, her own ongoing yoga practice further deepens her understanding of anatomy and the way the body moves within each pose.

 

Through this unique vantage point, Mary's analysis of each individual's patterns enables them to learn how to use their own body to help restore balance and flexibility.

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Staff

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Lisa was drawn to yoga as an antidote to work related stress.  Amazed at the impact yoga brought in such a short time she continued to search for classes that offered more depth and finally found the right fit at the Dallas Yoga Center. Taking classes beside David Sunshine, she discovered a similar outlook approach to yoga and the healing arts that encompassed all traditions.


After a spinal injury a few years later changed her yoga practice and daily life overnight, the profound subtly and ranges of practices possible within yoga became even more important, and the process of healing would be her biggest teacher. 


Lisa joined DYC in 2003 with the intention of helping to build a place to explore the full range of yogic traditions, a wide variety of healing arts, as well as shared community. Over the years she has worn many hats and been integral to DYC's growth. Currently she is the Manager of Events and Programming.

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