It was 2006 and I had just broken up with my college sweetheart. As I delved deeper into my stage of reflection and introspection, it was during this time that I began to question my limiting beliefs. I began reading philosophical books on my quest for knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and self-refinement.
I came across a book by Russell Simmons called "Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success." The keen insights he offered in the book ignited my curiosity about yoga and meditation.
Around the same time I also began feeling "old" at a very young age and was experiencing debilitating back pain! I took my first yoga "lesson" one morning by watching a tv show called "Namaste Yoga." It was only a 30 minute show, but I felt better than I had ever felt in a long time after I was finished, and I even noticed that my back pain had greatly diminished!
I have been hooked ever since and have dived deeply down the rabbit hole of yogic philosophy and self actualization through the practice! I felt so great, that I wanted to share that feeling with the world around me!
Fast-forward to the present day and I am currently a father of 3 beautiful little ladies, an avid gardener, holistic-health enthusiast, Yogi Tea drinker and smoothie connoisseur, and the passionately proud owner of Art of Yoga!
It is my immense honor and pleasure to share my labor of love with you and I look forward to helping you create your MasterPeace Within!
Chandler has been a Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher since 2009. After her first Kundalini class, Chandler experienced the healing potential of this yogic technology and decided to train in Rheshikesh India with master teachers Tej Kaur of Nine Treasure Yoga and Gurumuhk Kaur Khalsa of Golden Bridge. Since then, she has shared the teachings of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan throughout the Eastern United States and Calgary, Canada. In her classes, you will experience the sensation of balancing the nervous system, the glandular system and circulatory systems to awaken a more balanced and empowered version of yourself.
Yoga for me is about the journey, not an end goal. My journey has truly been life changing...hard to put into words honestly. Body awareness, mindfulness, peacefulness, clarity are a few things that stand out...seeing all of the little things blossom into this amazing experience for me, is simply put...AWESOME.
I completed my 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training with Art of Yoga and registered for my RYT 200 in June 2019.
November 2019, I had my first ever MRI to hopefully discover what was causing a paralyzing sensation in my legs. In January 2020, I had spinal surgery to remove a large benign tumor from my L4 L5 vertebrae. The tumor had been with me for a while, and it changed the shape of my bone! I am so thankful to my yoga practice to help me understand something was not right with my body. Recovery was an experience all in itself as well, and thankfully, I’m back to normal movements and getting stronger everyday.
I encourage use of props and modifications to help encourage proper alignment allowing your body to get the most benefit from your practice.
I love yoga and you might too...Join me! I look forward to sharing my practice with you!
Claudia Sotoj-Smith is native from Guatemala, Mayan Quiche, father heritage. She learned all the traditional Mayan rituals and culture from her grandmother; in addition she combines Energetics therapy on treatments with different ways in her clinical aesthetician private practice.
She earned her Masters in Art History from Universidad de San Carlos De Guatemala. This opened the doors to teach in the College in Guatemala and work with International organizations like Unesco and Plan International. She also Co- funded an art school of theatre, and the Center of Human development in Guatemala City.
Additionally, she offers workshops in Guatemala for different organizations and teaches the Hatha Yoga discipline that she learned in the 90's with La Gran Fraternidad Universal Guatemala. She has lived and taught in Spain, Guatemala, and the US.
I had my first yoga experience at the age of 16 after surviving a near fatal car accident. In yoga, I immediately found a sense of calm and relief from chronic pain, anxiety & depression.
Fast forward several years...in 2008, after attending my first hot power vinyasa class in San Diego, I was inspired to complete my 200RYT certification. Shortly after, I eagerly completed additional certifications in Power Vinyasa Yoga, Hot Power Fusion, Yoga Sculpt, Yoga Pilates, Restorative Yin Yoga, along with a NASM CPT certification. I later completed my 2nd 200/RYT & right after, finished my advanced yoga teacher training to earn my 500/ERYT as well as a certification with Veterans Yoga Project. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to teach and learn from numerous yoga studios in Southern California & Hawaii, as well as instruct classes for MMA fighters, Navy SEALs, Army Rangers and Army Wounded Warriors...but at the end of the day, let’s be real...I’m ALWAYS an eager student.
When I’m not getting humbled on my mat, I enjoy getting humbled in learning the flow of the river in my backyard, working out, pup walking & planning travels to freedive & surf.
In my classes, my hope is that you can have a playful experience & tap in to your inner knowing while safely gaining mental & physical strength, all with a sense of ease that it’s 100% okay to be exactly where you are. It’s called practice for a good reason. We practice yoga so that we can cultivate discernment in order to know what to do/how to handle situations when we’re off our mats. This is a lifestyle where there’s always space to grow.
Marquitia is a U.S. Army Veteran who began practicing yoga as a way to strengthen her hips and help with her fibromyalgia pain after her hip surgery in 2017.
After experiencing positive changes and a deepening of the mind-body connection that comes with yoga, she was moved to share those experiences with other soldiers and offer insights about how yoga can help heal their bodies from the aches and pains that came with serving.
After she left the US Army, her passion for yoga and its teachings grew stronger as well as her desire to bring healing to others. She enrolled for her yoga teacher training at Art of Yoga in Columbus, Ga., where she received her 200-hour RYT certification. She teaches gentle, restorative, all levels yoga infused with a hip hop, and a soulful feel to families and kids.
She finds joy and satisfaction in nurturing students in their personal yoga journey, and her ecstatic enthusiasm for yoga is what they love about her. Marquitia is interested in bringing yoga to her community in a non-traditional, but fun-filled and spiritual way.
Berth is a newly certified 200 level RYT and is trained in the Kemetic YogaSkills practice. “I am fueled by seeking unique experiences, family, community and by the endless beauty of humans and the earth. My intention is to create a peaceful space that allows you to ignite your self awareness and explore your overall wealth through mindfulness.”
Elise has been practicing yoga for over 15 years, attending classes at several local studios. For three years she studied with Sarah Nordin, a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher. Elise has attended yoga workshops with Eddy Marks, Mary Obendorfer and Livia Shapiro-Cohen.
In February 2017 at the age of 70, Elise completed her 200-hour teacher certification at Yogafly in Auburn, Alabama. Practicing and teaching yoga is one of her life passions. Elise and Bob, her husband of 54 years, own Feinberg Center for Well-Being since 1982. Their passion is to teach people to live a balanced lifestyle and eat healthfully. They have two children and five grandchildren.
Elise believes you can do yoga and benefit at any age.
Yogi Aftab is an eRYT-500 teacher specializing in Kundalini Yoga. His teaching career spans for more than 46 years of inspiring students to go pass their limitations in Europe, Australia, South America, the US and the Caribbean.
At eleven years old he discovered Yoga, and under the guidance of Yogi Bhajan, he completed his teacher training in 1972 at one of his Ashrams in Arizona. He is a strict vegetarian, likes to make herbal tinctures, does energetic healing, enjoys chanting, and loves cold showers. He is here now with us in Columbus, and is looking forward to meeting you!
Versandra Kennebrew, ICHC, discovered yoga twenty years ago during her massage therapy certification at Irene's Myomassology Institute in Detroit, Michigan.
After providing massages for more than 2000 clients and receiving her health coach certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, she returned to yoga in 2019 and studied at Kashi Atlanta Ashram for her 200-Hour CYTT.
Versandra is committed to sharing the message of healing and transformation through living a holistic lifestyle on stages and in studios big and small. She is the president of Optimal Living Education & Retreats.
Shailza Vanacore is RYT-200, she is also known as Yogini Zelda. She was born and raised in India. She started going to yoga classes 10 years ago back in New Delhi. When she moved to United States, she was all by herself and did not know anyone, that’s when her journey to her true self took off. She started doing more and more yoga and meditation, which helped her to get attuned with her true nature and also helped to get introduced to like minded people in the community.
In summer of 2018, she decided to become certified yoga teacher so she can share her love for yoga with others. Practising yoga is the very first thing she does every morning, it is an essential part of her living. She loves painting, meditating, chanting in addition to doing yoga. She does different forms of meditations as per the need and loves to share her knowledge and experience.
She sees yoga as not just a physical practice but a union of mind, body and soul. She has heard a lot of healing stories from her students and experienced it herself. Her teaching style is a fusion between Vinyasa and Hatha. She loves the flow but also emphasizes on diving deep in every posture.
She also likes to teach workshops. She has taught Cultivating Intuition and Chanting workshops in the past. She wants everyone to try chanting workshop at least once to experience the energy shift themselves.