Our Teachers

Claire Hartley
Claire
Hartley
Claire Hartley

Claire Hartley

Co-Owner and founder of Rising Lotus. British born Yoga teacher, Claire Hartley, found her passion for the practice of Yoga in the early 90’s at the Jivamukti Yoga Center. Their signature style of vigorous flow, chanting, meditation and exploration of the ancient scriptures began to reveal that suffering could be relieved and that the divine was experiential and not just a concept to be studied and discussed, for that she is eternally grateful and humbled by all the teachers she has studied with.

Her first training program was in LA under the tutelage of Peri Doslu. Peri introduced her to Iyengar Yoga which has become an important part of her practice and her teaching. Claire also trained with Lisa Walford and Annie Carpenter at Yogaworks and completed a six month apprenticeship with Lisa.

She remains an ardent fan and disciple of Vinyasa flow for it’s ability to touch the moving prayer that is always singing inside and step into union with the higher Self.

In April 2006 she opened the Rising Lotus Yoga Studio on Ventura Blvd., in Sherman Oaks with her good friend and colleague Daniel Stewart. Claire is the director of Teacher Training at Rising Lotus and loves to guide new teachers on the path of sharing the gifts of Yoga to others, it is an ever humbling path as the students continues to crack her heart open with the love and eagerness they bring into the room.

She is forever inspired by the love of her family, husband John and her daughter Nova. Jai Ma!

Daniel Stewart
Daniel
Stewart
Daniel Stewart

Daniel Stewart

Co-owner of Rising Lotus Yoga, and an holistic Mind/Body Psychotherapist in private practice in Santa Monica and Sherman Oaks, Daniel is dedicated to the practice of being fully alive in each moment.

His playful, heart-centered teaching, combines alignment, meditative breath, and spirit in vigorous vinyasa-flow classes that encourage reconnection to Self, renewal and joy. He incorporates music, eastern philosophy, depth psychology, poetry and laughter to create a stimulating environment where students can release physically, quieting their minds to experience a deep sense of peace and well-being.

Daniel shares his joy of music and bhakti meditation by leading Kirtan and playing sacred music monthly at Rising Lotus, at retreats and other studios in the yoga community. His kirtan is a unique blend of western soul and jazz style improvisation with authentic Sanskrit mantras. The joy he feels singing is evident in the energy that grows in the room and the heart opening often experienced by participants. He believes that together, the musicians and the audience find union as they create an ecstatic experience of blissful music and deep mediation.

Along with RLY cofounder Claire Hartley, Daniel co-leads the Rising Lotus Teacher Training program exploring Yoga Philosophy from an integrative depth psychological perspective.

Adina Beam
Adina
Beam
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Adina Beam

Adina Beam

Adina began her yoga journey as she entered on of life’s greatest lessons—motherhood. The birthing process opened a connection for her that she had long since forgotten and yoga kindled that flame. She sees every moment as an opportunity to be present, to learn, and to grow. Forever grateful for this practice— there is nothing more exciting for her than being able to share that with others. A passionate yogi, with a hunger for knowledge, Adina is committed to providing a safe space for students to begin their own transformational journey.

Aleyna Stroud
Aleyna
Stroud
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Aleyna Stroud

Aleyna Stroud

After success in Entertainment and Real Estate careers, Aleyna discovered a passion for Health and Wellness, particularly yoga. She found that her yoga mat became a sanctuary for her when she was going through a particularly hard divorce. After taking her own "Eat/Pray/Love" self exploration journey of sorts to Thailand and Bali, complete with 2 yoga retreats, she realized her passion and drive to further her education, practice and devotion to yoga and upon her return to the states made the decision to pursue her teacher certification. She studied under Claire and Daniel and received her 200 RYT certification from Rising Lotus. Aleyna loved the teacher training program so much that she assisted Claire during the following year's 200 RLY TT program. Through intention, pranayama and asana (and a love for music that has lead to a knack from creating awesome playlists) Aleyna's goal is to have each student leave class feeling renewed and refreshed. Aleyna is energetic and outgoing with an infectious spirit. She is also a certified Holistic Health Coach and self proclaimed vegan chef. In her off time, Aleyna can usually be found volunteering at animal shelters (trying her best not to take home every animal she comes across), being of service and teaching yoga to incarcerated youth at the Downtown Los Angeles Juvenile Hall, or in her kitchen working on new vegan recipes.

Ann Braden
Ann
Braden
Ann Braden

Ann Braden

She is inspired by Ana Forrest’s teachings to “create in each of us a sense of freedom, a connection to our spirit and the courage to walk as our spirit dictates”. Ann believes that the practice of yoga helps us become a source of peace, power and inspiration that extends beyond our mats into our communities.

Ann received her teaching certification from Yoga Works in Santa Monica, California, where she apprenticed with Jasmine Lieb, Paul Cabanis and Annie Carpenter. Ann is also certified by Yoga Ed. to teach yoga to children and teachers. She teaches workshops nationally to educators on how to bring the benefits of yoga into the classroom. Ann teaches classes and workshops in the Los Angeles area at studios including Rising Lotus Yoga (www.risinglotusyoga.com) and Yoga Works (www.yogaworks.com)

Anna Hanson
Anna
Hanson
Anna Hanson

Anna Hanson

Anna Hanson approaches yoga, with a curious mind and playful attitude. While fun and mindful, her classes are physically demanding. Students can expect to be greeted with a smile, a bit of yoga philosophy, some breath work, and a whole lot of strength-building flow. She is passionate about encouraging students through advances in their physical practice, managing stress, and moving beyond perceived limitations.

Anna trained with Rudy Mettia and Travis Eliot from Santa Monica Power Yoga and has been practicing yoga for 15 years. When she’s not teaching, Anna is passionate about music, eating delicious vegan food, her two Italian Greyhounds Ella and Dottie, acting, and going on adventures. www.annahansonyoga.com

April Day Epstein
April
Day Epstein
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April Day Epstein

April Day Epstein

April happened upon Qigong by surprise. During a walk in her neighborhood park she saw an older man performing slow graceful effortless movements with a fluidity she had never seen in all of her years teaching ballet, jazz, fitness and yoga to students of all ages. Instantly April knew she wanted to learn more.

For the past 9 years April has been studying the science and practicing the art of Qigong while sharing the benefits with her students. April completed Qigong teacher training with Master Lee Holden at Santa Cruz Chi Center and continues to study and train with Lee Holden. April holds a BA in dance from Butler University, a Yin Yoga teaching certification from Paul Grilley and has completed meditation teacher training with Elesa Commerse. April has recently relocated back to LA with her husband Alex after raising their two children in her hometown, Chicago.

Michelle Chua
Michelle
Chua
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Michelle Chua

Michelle Chua

Drawn to yoga to rehabilitate from a dance injury, Michelle Chua witnessed its power to align body and mind with the unconditional love that lies within, eliciting benefits beyond physical healing. During 15 months of volunteer teaching in Ghana, West Africa and later in Costa Rica, Michelle developed a regular yoga practice and realized that in its various forms, yoga can empower a joyful vibrant life when applied with integrity and consistency. Upon her return to the USA in 2010, she graduated yoga teacher training and transitioned from schoolteacher to a life path sharing yoga with diverse communities and evolving in her own practice, since attending her first yoga class in 2001.

Michelle’s teaching style nurtures a clear understanding of physical alignment paired with conscious breath to facilitate focus and compassionate meditation for all levels of practice. She invites insight on ways to integrate yogic tools in daily living for inner peace and wellness and provides space for self-inquiry and personalizing asana (physical) practice within a large group. As yoga teacher, she has trained additionally in teaching strategies, mindful leadership, creative sequencing, moving meditation, yoga as lifestyle and yoga hikes. Integrating her passion for art, nature and culture, she founded Root 2 Rise Yoga, through which she facilitates Hike + Yoga, Soul (free flow) Movement and wellness retreats locally and abroad. She also currently teaches throughout Los Angeles, from fitness centers, corporate lunch hours and private clients to California State University, Northridge’s Kinesiology Department as adjunct professor.

She enjoys her free time dancing, running or hiking in nature or savoring a meal at one of her favorite plant-based restaurants.

Dorit Hurst
Dorit
Hurst
Dorit Hurst

Dorit Hurst

I first stepped onto my yoga mat in 2002, in Studio City, CA. I was born and raised in California as a dancer but grew up to be a traveler & Set Decorator for Television & Film. The slow stretching is what lured me into that first class. Very quickly I found there was more going on in yoga class so kept exploring… on and off again… for years. In any time of difficulty I would find myself back on the mat. It brought me ease & peace. In times of stress it brought me back to my true nature. And in off hours it brought physical relaxation, strength & fun. Bonus! Why would I ever leave my mat? These are the aspects I focus on in class. A steady Vinyasa - studying breath, alignment, & stability – sprinkled with the philosophy behind how it’s all connected. I often look at how we can carry yoga off the mat and into everyday life. With life’s many adventures and lessons I do a lot of breath work on the 405 freeway, Tadasana when I’m at a register checkout line, and feel a connection with the earth as it supports my feet as I walk my son to school. I earned my 200-hour yoga teacher training certification (finally) in 2014 at Rising Lotus Yoga under the tutelage of Claire Hartley & Daniel Stewart. I was additionally certified in 2014 to teach kids yoga through Mini Yogis. It’s a lifelong journey – Let’s explore.

Emily Broms
Emily
Broms
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Emily Broms

Emily Broms

Emily has been developing her yoga practice for the last 14 years and teaching full time for the past six. Her focus is in bringing stress reduction and mindfulness to all as well as bringing this healing modality to communities where access is limited.

Her yoga classes are centered around the breath and range from a strong challenging flow to restorative restful sessions. She trained in San Francisco at Asta Yoga and the students of Larry Schultz, and completed her 500 hour teacher training with Jennifer Elliott at YogaWorks.

Emily’s passion is supporting others find their way back to themselves. Her belief in the ancient tradition and wisdom of yoga supports the transformation and discovery of the self. Her graceful guidance provides a safe and joyful environment for that exploration.

Jay Averell
Jay
Averell
Jay Averell

Jay Averell

Jay Averell has been a student of Iyengar yoga since 2001. He graduated in 2006 from the three year teacher's training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute of Los Angeles and has recently passed assessment at the first level for certification by the Iyengar Yoga National Association of the U.S. His extensive medical background allows him a great knowledge and understanding of the anatomy of the human body, which he incorporates into his classes. He attended the Iyengar Yoga convention in 2007 in Las Vegas where he studied with Gita Iyengar. The senior teacher that he regularly studies with is Manouso Manos. He has been teaching yoga classes since 2005, and his love of Iyengar Yoga is evident to his students through his infectious enthusiasm.

Katie Owsley
Katie
Owsley
Katie Owsley

Katie Owsley

Katie's practice is fueled by the desire to cultivate awareness of body and mind, by integrating an acute attention to anatomical form of postures with Pranayama breath work that drives a heart-full and flowing Vinyasa. Life continues to teach her of its precious and precarious nature - all too fleeting, even before factoring in the ever-accelerating pace of a modern society at increasing disconnect with itself. Today, nothing could be more sacred than returning to consciousness, time and again.

After 10 years of practice at various studios in Los Angeles, Colorado, and her hometown of Portland, Oregon, Katie was thrilled to study with Tiffany Cruikshank, of Yoga Medicine, and received her 200-hr RYT in 2015. Always seeking to find balance of discipline and light-heartedness, challenge and reprieve, her classes vary from a slower-paced, calming flow, to more rigorous and playful sequences. She is ever-humbled by her own evolving practice and a constant quest to learn from her beloved teachers and students alike. Namaste!

Madeleine Culbertson
Madeleine
Culbertson
Madeleine Culbertson

Madeleine Culbertson

Madeleine Culbertson has been practicing yoga for almost a decade. After participating in several mission trips at John Carroll University, Culbertson could not help but have her eyes opened to the injustices occurring around the world. Returning to everyday life after these trips was a difficult adjustment, and imparted a deeper understanding of how one’s choices can affect the people and places around the earth. It is this knowledge that drew Culbertson to yoga. Yoga offers a space where she feels she can make a real difference in this world. Learning more about herself through yoga equipped Culbertson with a deeper connection to those around her and has given her the tools to help herself and others better navigate the sometimes inexplicable world we live in. Yoga means union, it unites us with life’s creation and when that happens, we are more empowered to look after that creation and one another.

Culbertson’s approach to yoga creates a space where people feel connected and cared for. Her sequences are meant to be challenging, but she always offers a variety of pose options that make these sequences accessible to yogis of all levels. Yoga is hard work. It is not really meant to get easier over time, but to be a path of discovery in which there is always a new challenge. This however, does not mean it can’t be fun! The longer you practice, the less physical and emotional resistance you will have to the practice.

Join Culbertson if you seek a space of non- judgment. A space where you can work through frustration, laugh at yourself and with others, and be challenged -- it is all part of a wonderful process. Yoga will always leave you with a satisfying and very natural “high” – without having to take anything.

Micki Duran
Micki
Duran
Micki Duran

Micki Duran

Micki began her yoga journey eight years ago. After surviving drug addiction, a friend invited her to her very first yoga class. She had no idea the effect it would have on her and her life. Through yoga she learned that the search is never ending, that the journey of the search IS the reason for living. The thread between each moment through every experience with every emotion being happy, sad, good, bad...IS yoga. After completing the 200 hour teacher training program with Rising Lotus Yoga in Sherman Oaks, Micki hopes to pass on what she's learned through where she's been and to give peace to those who are struggling. She believes with all her heart that we are all beautiful and lovable and worthy of great things.

Nina Siemaszko
Nina
Siemaszko
Nina Siemaszko

Nina Siemaszko

I believe that all movement is valid. There are many paths to take. The idea that there is only one way is a thing of the past. I explore the meaning of mobility, the science around stretching, and how to make lasting freedom and change in the physical structure of our bodies. I share a blend of tradition and science and PLAY is EVERYTHING. I marry the old with the new.

I am committed to being the change in the yoga community that I wish to see. I am excited about whats happening right now and am thrilled to be a part of it.

Thank you to Manouso Manos, Claire Hartley, Christine Stein, Carrie Owerko, Jules Mitchell, Matt Phippen, Vladimir Jandov, Anna Delury, Noah Mazé, Edwin Bryant and Pema Chodron for your teachings over the years.

Coming in contact with all of them, their joy and curiosity keeps my flame lit!

Other people who inspire are Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk, Dr. Peter Levine, B.K.S Iyengar, Todd Hargrove and Jill Miller.

Keep learning, keep growing, and always ask a million questions. Peace.

Stacy Jackson
Stacy
Jackson
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Stacy Jackson

Stacy Jackson

Pursuing a lifelong interest in fitness, I found my way to yoga in the early 1990’s at Yoga Works in Santa Monica. I enrolled in a Fundamentals of Yoga weekend Course, and I was hooked! What followed was years of practicing yoga with the most respected teachers at the finest studios in town. My practice took another huge step forward when I found the Rising Lotus Yoga studio, and met my future mentors Claire Hartley and Daniel Stewart, who ignited within me a light of desire to become a teacher.

After practicing with Claire and Daniel for a three years, I poured myself into their 200 hour yoga teacher training at Rising Lotus in 2013. Later, I was introduced to Jill Miller’s Yoga Tune Up, and was intrigued to learn how the YTU poses were physically preparing the body for the yoga asana, I knew this was something I wanted to integrate into my practice and teaching program, and enrolled in YogaTune Up teacher training in 2014 to study with YTU creator Jill Miller.

Yoga Tune Up® is a fitness therapy format built around the three P's – Pain, Posture and Performance. It helps eradicate pain, improve posture and enhance performance through a unique blend of Corrective Exercise, Self Massage and Yoga.

The integration of YTU with my regular yoga asana practice has forged a potent source of wellness for me, and I’m very excited to be able to share this combined practice with my Rising Lotus students.

My intention as a teacher is to be a resource of wellness for my students, sharing a hybrid of what I have studied and personally practice: Pantanjali’s 8 limbs of yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Iyenger, and Yoga Tune Up.

For me yoga extends far beyond the mat, it is a lifestyle that promotes physical and spiritual harmony, and a practical path toward self realization. Yoga has taught me to surrender to what is and to live in the immediacy of the moment. When you live in the present moment you are in a conscious state, and when you are in a conscious state you are acutely aware and awake. Yoga doesn’t just help you improve the path of your life, it helps you draw your own map by providing useful tools for achieving your personal health and wellness goals. What more could you ask for!

Tiffany Bergmann
Tiffany
Bergmann
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Tiffany Bergmann

Tiffany Bergmann

Tiffany took her first yoga class as a freshman in college, and over the years practicing yoga has become a way of life. In 2015, she decided to deepen her practice, and completed the 200-hour yoga teacher training program led by Daniel Stewart & Claire Hartley at Rising Lotus Yoga. Now, her passion is to share the practice of yoga with the community.

Tiffany teaches a gentle flow connecting mindful movement with the breath. Her sequences are designed to balance strength and flexibility, while offering a variety of modifications to make yogis of all levels feel comfortable. Tiffany creates a light-hearted environment with music, moving meditations and affirmations. Her classes incorporate pranayama at the beginning of class to help bring focus to the mind and body, and therapeutic touch & aromatherapy at the end of class to enhance relaxation. The intention of her classes is to create a space where her students can move, breathe, learn and grow together.

When she is not teaching yoga, Tiffany is a private chef and loves to create nutritious meals for her clients. Her free time is spent hiking, reading, traveling, attending yoga workshops and retreats, and volunteering in the Project Angel Food kitchen.