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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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For Ajay, yoga is a mindful and beautiful choreography of breath and movement. It is the “Stop and smell the roses” moment that enables him to understand and appreciate the complexities of human body and mind. Yoga has been a part of his life since he was a child growing up in India. Offered part of his school’s curriculum in India he maintained an intermittent practice throughout his life. This changed 5 years ago after a leg and back injury prompted him to delve more purposely into his yoga practice as tool for recovery to regain strength and balance. Even as his practice helped him grow stronger and more flexible, he also became more appreciative and patient with his limitations, both on and off the mat.
 
Ajay also discovered that yoga helps him find balance again after a long day of work and inspires him to practice mindfulness in his everyday life. The peace and centering he discovered during his practice allows him to implement these same tools during a demanding day job. Both practicing as well as teaching yoga helps him to slow down the pace of the day, to settle, to observe, and allows his mind to return to a state of calm relaxation.
 
Ajay’s positive experience with his teachers at DYC and the atmosphere created collectively by his fellow students and the teachers during classes inspired him to challenge himself and enroll in DYC’s teacher training program. He feels that DYC’s training program was that little nudge he need to help him deepen his understanding of and continue to evolve his practice. Although he never set out to teach, through DYC’s training program he gained the confidence in his practice, in connecting with the community, and he is ever grateful for the opportunity to share what he has learned with the DYC community.
 
His style of teaching is hugely influenced by his teachers at DYC. He will always be a student of the practice and is deeply grateful for the loving wisdom his teachers have shared with him. In his classes, Ajay loves to combine creative sequencing with a sense of playfulness and mindfulness to help students deepen their practice and have fun doing so.

 

Amber Bemak has engaged in a formal meditation practice for twenty-four years. She was raised attending family retreats at the Insight Mediation Center in Massachusetts and began her own practice at the age of fourteen. She studied with Michele McDonald for many years and practiced in the Therevadan tradition until 2001, when she was exposed to Tibetan Buddhism and met her teachers Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Phakchok Rinpoche. She then embarked on the path of Vajrayana practice and has been on this path ever since.
 

Originally from the United States, she has spent a great deal of time living as a foreigner away from her home country- first living between India and Nepal from 2006-20012, and then moving to Mexico from 2014-2016. During this time, she occupied the position of resident filmmaker for Ka-Nying Shedrub Ling monastery in Nepal on and off over a nine year period, collaborated with Tibetan NGOs in India on a series of media activism projects during the 2008 Beijing Olympics, among many other amazing adventures, films, and projects. She is currently a professor of film at Southern Methodist University.

 

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Amber Bemak will be offering instruction on samatha and metta meditation, two techniques which are often practiced together in the Therevadan branch of Buddhism.

The instruction is based on the Mahasi Sayadaw lineage of Therevadan practice. Samatha is focused on concentration and calming the mind, whereas metta is a practice of lovingkindness.

The Mahasi Sayadaw tradition of Therevadan practice comes from Burma, and is currently practiced in many countries, such as Thailand and Burma. In the US, this practice is often referred to as “Insight Meditation.”

Samatha mediation is a beginner’s technique and the entryway meditation practice for both Therevada and Vajrayana mediation practice. It is geared towards focusing and quieting the mind, a necessary state to create in order to do the real exploration that meditation offers.

Metta practice involves actively sending oneself and others (including your friends and enemies) love and good wishes. It is also a concentration practice, although in a different way. It is an incredibly healing and powerful practice.

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 began practicing yoga and meditation while studying World Religions in college. Upon graduation she traveled to Thailand seeking cultural immersion in the epicenter of Theravada Buddhism. Self-exploration took a backseat to career and family over the next two decades, but a health crisis brought her to a state of utter depletion by age 43. One Friday night in 2007, desperate for help, she tried Chris Green’s Restorative yoga class at DYC seeking relief, and she found it. The Dallas Yoga Center provided the solace and support, the hope and strength to sustain her through this next phase of her life’s journey.
 

In time, yoga and meditation infused all aspects of her life, and eventually led to a career change—after twenty years of teaching British Literature, she retired from academia and currently teaches yoga and meditation full time.

 

Cheryl brings an interdisciplinary approach to her students, combining mindfulness and movement to restore body / mind unity, invite self-discovery, and deepen self-compassion.

 

Drawing inspiration from mentors as diverse as Julliard dance instructor Irene Dowd and MBSR pioneer Jon Kabat Zinn, Cheryl’s approach includes utilizing breath, imagination, and curiosity to encourage a moment-to-moment experience of connection to self and others. Through anatomical alignment and mindful movement, her yoga and meditation practice promotes a radiantly healthy body-mind-spirit.

 

MBSR training, UMASS, Boston, MA, 2017


Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training, Integral Yoga Institute, San Francisco, CA, 2016/2017


RYT 200, Dallas Yoga Center, Dallas, TX, 2015/16


BA, MA Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, 1990/2000

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.

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.

Julie Euseppi, LCSW, RYT, began her yoga journey at Dallas Yoga Center and was inspired to attend and complete teacher training for her 200hr in 2010. Julie threads through her yoga classes a therapeutic paradigm for physical and emotional healing. This focus is informed by her work with a local chiropractor working with those in physical recovery and chronic pain. Her training as a psychotherapist greatly influences her teaching style and philosophy as well.
 

She also holds a 40 hour certification in Trauma Sensitive Yoga providing a creating a safe space for rest and relaxation. Her ongoing training and personal practices with somatically informed approaches such as, Body Mind Centering and Anodea Judith, which reinforce moving from an internal place of knowing.
 

Julie has practiced since 2005 as a licensed clinical social worker. Her work as a therapist provided expertise in treating depression, anxiety, trauma, overeating, pain and other somatic disorders. Her own healing and passion for yoga inspired her to expand her training as a somatic psychotherapist honoring the relationship between mind, body, and spirit. Julie has an office in DYC’s Wellness Center where she holds counseling sessions.
Kay Colbert is 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 300 hours of training in teaching Mindfulness-Based Programs through the University of California San Diego Medical School Center for Mindfulness. Kay is a Trained Teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion.

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.

Laura has been practicing yoga for over 18 years and teaching for 15+ years. She initially found her practice via the restaurant business: burnt out, exhausted and losing it, she sought out yoga as a way to help manage her stress. Through her practice she found a way to cope and ultimately a way to dive more deeply into possibility and create meaning in this crazy world.
 

Laura Tulumbas is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and Lifestyle Coach, AADP, a Certified Yoga Teacher E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance and a Reiki Master. She is previously a Certified Anusara Teacher, certified to teach at Virayoga in NYC in 2002 and is presently teaching a form of aligned flow hatha yoga that has evolved from this knowledge along with Rajanaka Tantra, Ayurveda, anatomy, breath, and the subtle body.

 

Her teachers include but are not limited to Dr. Douglas Brooks, Paul Muller-Ortega, Vaidya (Dr.) Naina Marballi, Cate Stillman, Brenda Villa, Dana Covello, Sharon Rudy, Amy Ippoliti, Elena Brower, Naime Jezzeny, Sianna Sherman, and John Friend. Her greatest teaching resource has been her own exploration of the body and what it has to offer.

 

In her office in the Wellness Center at DYC, Laura offers one-on-one nutritional counseling as well as and lifestyle counseling. Having seen and experienced the benefits of combining a yoga practice with daily routines and prescriptive eating according to her constitution she delights in educating others about the benefits of this path. She believes when we choose to fully step into our experience of being present and mindful we can make choices that will optimize our health, create vitality and offer us a life that we love.

 

Laura is a Reiki Master and offers one-on-one healing appointments using Reiki, a Japanese energy healing modality and crystals to unblock prana and move energy to unleash our greatest potential.

 

Laura is in awe of the elegance and intelligence of the body and she remains curious about how to tap into the potency and the abundance it has to offer. Laura is grateful to all of her teachers especially her two boys who serve as her best teachers, challenging her, loving her, and keeping it real. She is grateful to have a daily practice that serves as a way to refine her experience on a daily basis.

Lauren began practicing yoga in 2003 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.

Yogini and Aerialist, Lilah Spies is a YogaWorks™ certified instructor, Yoga Therapy Rx™ certified, Power Pilates™ certified, a former principal dancer with Westside Contemporary Ballet and freelance soloist.
 
Her strong belief in the therapeutic power of the yogic arts, the means by which she has found deep healing innervation, trust and inner strength, inspires a playful spirit as she guides her classes in exploring and developing their practice. She customizes every experience based on each student’s needs to ensure personal growth, mind/body transformation and healing and conscious living off the mat.Lilah's students enjoy her detailed alignment cues along with variations that make postures more accessible, her meditations and the language she uses to assist students in guiding breath in their bodies.
 
“The breadth of my practice has given me endless gifts, from healing roots and balancing my prakriti to stilling my thoughts and finding true presence in waking hours. I am forever in deep gratitude for all that yoga continues to bestow in my life!”
 
Lilah has an infectious laugh, a healthy dose of nurturing motivation and a gift of soul-plated willpower to share and empower minds toward a raise in consciousness, discipline and uplifting humanity.

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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Leanora is our newest team member at DYC. She quit her corporate job in 2013 and late in 2014 decided to travel around the world and teach yoga. So far she has been to 24 countries -Bali, Indonesia being the favorite to date. She came back to the country last year and still settling back in. She has been teaching yoga for a little over 10 years. Her background contains a variety of different trainings including some here at DYC. Along with being a 500 E-RYT yoga teacher she’s an Ayurvedic Specialist (Himalayan Institute certified) , Reiki II certified and various training in Yoga Therapy. Co-lead in several teacher trainings as well, helping others towards their yoga life goals. She is not new to the yoga community in Dallas and loves the connections.
 
Her management background includes yoga studios, corporate business, and even restaurants. Open to ideas and working in the most efficient ways for all to be successful. She is very excited to be a part of the DYC team as our Studio Manager. Her duties include the Client Services Representatives, yoga teaching staff and the boutique. She says her office door is always opened and can also be reached via email at: Leo@dallasyogacenter.com
 
***Leo is her nickname so don’t be alarmed if you hear someone refer to her as Leo or your advised to speak to Leo.
 
Please do not hesitate to let us know how we can support you along your yoga journey.
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