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Meet Our Teacher Training Faculty

The Yoga Yoga Teacher Training faculty is comprised of instructors representing a wide range of yoga teaching backgrounds including Hatha Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and Yoga Therapy. The teaching staff also includes professionals in the fields of yoga, physical therapy, Ayurveda, kinesiology, psychology, literature and language, and education. Nationally recognized yoga teachers and published authors are regularly invited as guest instructors to teach in their areas of specialization, including yoga asana, pranayama, philosophy, therapy, and meditation.

Ravyn Abboushi


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Drawn to spiritual and inner practices from an early age, Ravyn began her personal exploration of yoga as a tool for health and wholeness when, at the age of 12, she happened upon a book about yoga at a garage sale. She is now an e-RYT 500 yoga instructor with over 16 years of teaching experience, and has been on faculty for yoga teacher trainings at the 200, 500 and 800-hour levels. She calls the teaching style of Viniyoga home, although she incorporates a variety of teaching philosophies in her own practice, as well as in her classes. She graduated from UT Austin with a degree in Religious Studies, and remains fascinated and energized by the study of yoga philosophy to this day. She spent a year living in the occupied West Bank, establishing and teaching in the first yoga teacher training program in Ramallah, Palestine.  Most recently, Ravyn has been working in small group and one-on-one settings, helping people with chronic illness, chronic pain, and trauma reclaim their freedom of movement, joy, connection, and trust in their own body and spirit.  She is also a mother of 3 children, who are the light of her life.

Sean Buchner


Hatha Yoga Faculty

Sean Buchner, PT, DPT, is currently completing his neurologic residency through Texas State University Department of Physical Therapy and St. David’s Medical Center, with a trifold focus of: patient care; teaching at a tertiary level; and completing research in the neurologic field.  He has been teaching yoga formally for five years after completion of his training in Vancouver, Canada.  He has been teaching adult and children’s yoga anatomy and physiology to yoga teachers and teacher trainees for the past five years. He owes his growth to the many yoga teachers who have inspired his interest in the anatomy and physiology of movement. Educated as an elementary teacher, Sean took the first step towards cultivating his dedication and excitement for anatomy six years ago through yoga teacher training. This initial frightening step was well worth it as it lead him to complete his doctorate in physical therapy and to ultimately share his passion of anatomy and movement within his community. He is excited to be delivering his joy to inspire the love of learning about the body and movement in others in a fun and interactive environment.

Ana Pilar Cruz


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Ana Pilar Cruz holds an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) certification through Yoga Alliance and a Yoga Therapist designation (C-IAYT) through the Internation Association of Yoga Therapists. She received her training certificate from the American Viniyoga Institute under the guidance of Gary Kraftsow. A constant student, she has supplemented her 1000+ hour education studying with Donna Farhi, Srivatsa Ramaswami, Leslie Kaminoff, Judith Lasater, Sadie Nardini, Anodea Judith and Rod Stryker. Ana Pilar has delved into the philosophical aspects of yoga in the last few years, specifically in the study of Sri Vidya & Rajanaka Tantra with Prof. Douglas Brooks.

CLICK HERE to listen to an interview with Ana Pilar about her experience of becoming a yoga teacher

Kristen Folkens


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher, Yoga Therapist

Kristen has first hand experience with SI joint instability, rotator cuff injuries, trauma, as well as anxiety/depression conditions improving with the use of yogic tools. As of 2016, Kristen has participated in Prevention Magazine's Annual Women's Health Summit, as well as speaking at the University of Texas Dept. of Kinesiology & Health Education lecture hall. She has lead or participated in 200 hour yoga teacher trainings throughout the city. Kristen is certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists as a C-IAYT. Kristen draws inspiration not only from her teachers Judith Hanson Lasater, Chase Bossart, Robin Gueth, David Swenson, Anodea Judith, Douglas Brooks, Leslie Kaminoff, Gary Kraftsow, & Sadie Nardini, but from her daily life and ever-changing practicing. She believes the best teachers are students first and finds deeper understanding weekly from her mentors Jenn Wooten, Rachel Hector, Amanda Green, and Libby Cox. Clients can expect a safe place to explore whatever it is their body or mind needs. She will draw from any tradition that feels good in her body to offer her students a well-rounded healing experience. She strives to push her students when needed but prefers an environment where every student grows a teacher within. Zero judgement, communication, meditation, and philosophy are staples in her practice.

Delora Frederickson


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

DeLora has taken extensive training to teach yoga to students at all stages of life. In Yoga Yoga Teacher Training she completed Level One and Level Two Kundalini training.  She also studied deaf education and graduated with a degree in speech. In 2012 she graduated from Yoga Yoga's Flow-Based Hatha program as well as Sadie Nardini's Evolution Vinyasa Teacher Training. For children's yoga, DeLora graduated from the renowned Radiant Child Yoga Program, Levels One and Two. She also completed Pre- and Postnatal Training with Leslie Lytle’s Om Mama program. In 2009, she completed Judith Lasater's Relax and Renew Restorative Yoga training. You'll find her teaching a variety of classes on our schedule, and helping out in other ways around the studios.

Beth LaGrone


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Beth has been practicing yoga since 2000. She started teaching in 2008 focusing primarily in vinyasa and kundalini yoga styles. Beth is our Kundalini Yoga Council Representative where she supports and promotes the teachings and teachers of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Beth has also been a full-time massage therapist since 2002 and a Competitive Karaoke Champion since 2010.

Beth has studied with many great yoga teachers including Seane Corn, David Swenson and Sadie Nardini. She has taken several trainings in Hatha, Kundalini, Yoga Therapy and massage and she has mentored with some of Yoga Yoga's great teachers like Ana Pilar and Libby. Beth is continuing her education in areas like Body Sculpting/Structural Integration BodyWork, Reiki Level 1-3: Master Practitioner, Neuromuscular Therapy, Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Trigger Point Release, Preconception & Pre-Natal, Zero Balancing and Hot Stone Massage.

Emily Liles


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher, Yoga Therapist

Emily Liles received her 200 hour, 500 hour, and Yoga Therapy Training at Yoga Yoga and her Bachelor of Science at The University of Texas.  She is a student of Chase Bossart in the tradition of TKV Desikachar.   Emily has been practicing Yoga since 2002 and teaching since 2006.  She utilizes the practice of Yoga and Ayurveda to design individualized sessions to meet students where they are in their journey.  Customized Yoga practices can foster nourishment tailored for the individual and ongoing support.  Emily uses alignment bases postures, breathing practices, meditation, and mantra to help find resilience for each practitioner.  Emily is certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists as a C-IAYT.

Lauren Mason


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Lauren's true passion is training teachers, and loves helping her students discover how to personalize the teachings of yoga and share them with others. She is continuously inspired by the practice of yoga and how is allows for self-exploration and personal nourishment on and off the mat. She believes in grounding the practice of yoga in its ancient philosophy, and is greatly inspired by the life's work of T.K.V. Desikachar and the students of his lineage, who teach that the integrated practice of yoga can be beneficial for mind and spirit as well as physical health. She is also inspired by modern teachers such as Sadie Nardini and Shiva Rea who have creatively adapted the postural practice of yoga to be accessible to a range of students. She completed  her 200-hour Hatha Flow training with Yoga Yoga, and worked with the company as a teacher and studio manager before moving to San Antonio. Since then, Lauren  has accrued 400 additional hours of advanced training with Yoga Yoga, including a 85-hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher training with Yoga Yoga, and is currently pursuing certification as a Yoga Therapist at Yoga Yoga. Lauren is informed by her degree in secondary education and dance from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jenny Orona


YYSYT Lead Faculty, Hatha Lead Teacher

Jenny began her teaching career in 2006. After sustaining an almost debilitating injury to her spine, a friend of her suggested she try yoga for the chronic pain she endured. She noticed the injury was getting better and made a commitment to become a yoga teacher. It is this commitment that led her to become a Yoga Therapist, incorporating more than 1000 hrs of study.

Jenny is currently working at Seton Shoal Creek as part of the Expressive Therapy Department. Along with her public work she also works privately with clients incorporating her dual training in Hatha, Kundalini and most recently her studies have taken her toward Mr. Desikachar’s  lineage through studies with her teacher Chase Bossart, completing an additional 300 hour training. Incorporating Ayurveda, the sister lineage to Hatha she has been studying with Elizabeth Cunningham Bossart for more than 2 years completing a 100 hr program in 2017.

She holds certifications as a Yoga Therapist- C-IAYT, 500 hr E-RYT in Hatha, 500 hr in Kundalini, iRest and continues her studies with Indigenous groups in Shamanism with Maria Elaina Martinez.

Eduardo Ramirez


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Co-Lead Teacher

Eduardo took his first yoga class in college, an Intermediate Hatha Flow that left him eager to explore more. In Austin, a few years later, he earned his 200-hour teacher certification and began teaching on July 4th of 2004. Soon after, Eduardo enrolled in a 5-day Viniyoga workshop with Gary Kraftsow and was immediately drawn to the breadth and depth of the teachings. He took the 500-hour Viniyoga Teacher Training Course and developed a particular passion for Sanskrit chanting and the role of sound in asana. Eduardo will teach you to consciously connect the movement of the breath with the movement of the body. With patience and humor, he is effective in helping students discover a balance between fluidity and structural stability.

Mary Richardson


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Mary was introduced to Pattabhi Jois's Ashtanga Yoga in 2000 and is endlessly grateful to her first teacher, V.K. Sheshadre. In 2004, after returning from her second trip to India, Mary began to explore other styles and traditions of yoga. Teaching Vinyasa was the obvious next step for Mary because it gave her the inspiration to be more creative and intuitive. It allowed her to take her deeply disciplined practice, knowledge of asanas (postures) and pranayama (breath), and begin to sequence with more spontaneity, intuition and dynamism. Currently Mary has taught over 2,500 class hours and has led workshops, Teacher Trainings and retreats nationally.

Emily Smith


YYSYT Director, Lead Faculty

Emily is the Director of the YYSYT and the Director of Wellness for Yoga Yoga.  She has been practicing yoga since 1999, and teaching since 2003. She began working as a yoga therapist in 2006.  She found the precision and focus of yoga as therapy helped manage pain from osteoarthritis and scoliosis. She has studied a structural therapy based approach to Hatha yoga under the tutelage of Doug Keller since 2005. She has undergone extensive training in yoga and yoga therapy, meditation, and pranayama with such teachers as Rod Stryker, Mahadevi Sandra Summerfield Kozak, Leslie Kaminoff, Donna Farhi and Tias Little. Emily is certified by Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Practitioner, a certified Y12SR yoga for addiction instructor under Nikki Myers, and has completed iRest levels I & II with Richard Miller.  She is also a certified Love Your Brain instructor. She possesses an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling, and has 25 plus years of experience as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor, Certified Case Manager and Wellness Specialist. She is a Certified Wellness Program Coordinator through WellCert, Certified in Coaching Healthy Behaviors through The Cooper Institute, a Certified Main Street Vegan Lifestyle Coach, and Certified in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University.

Mark Uridel


YYSYT Lead Faculty, Hatha Yoga Adjunct Faculty

Dr. Mark Uridel, DPT, E-RYT 500, has over 25 years of training and experience in yoga. He integrates his physical therapy expertise into his yoga classes to provide an educational, healing and transforming experience. Mark is a senior instructor for the Yoga Yoga Teacher Training Program. A member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, Mark empowers his students to have wellness of mind, body and spirit. He describes yoga as a process of moving toward wholeness and encourages students to have acceptance, compassion and loving-kindness toward themselves and others.

Kimberly Wharton


Hatha Yoga Faculty, Co-Lead Teacher

Kimberly began her teaching journey in 2002, after her 200hr training in NYC in ISHTA Yoga (Integrated Science of Hatha, Tantra and Ayurveda) with Alan Finger. After relocating to Los
Angeles, Kimberly was named in Backstage Magazine's "Best of L.A." under favorite yoga class. She has gone through additional trainings with Kia Miller (Yoga Works techniques), Jillian Pransky (Restoratives), Judith Lasater (Restoratives), and Jasmine Lieb (Therapeutics), where she discovered the amazing healing abilities of yoga. She is continually expanding her knowledge,
having the opportunity to learn from Leslie Kaminoff, Max Strom, Gary Kraftsow, Shari Goodhartz (Anusara based), and Dr. Richard Miller. While in Los Angeles, Kimberly had the opportunity to teach for Team Survivor, a non-profit organization providing free healing modules for women living with cancer, and continues similar work here.

She holds a lighthearted space, focusing on breath, alignment, and self inquiry. Kimberly has taught nearly 3,000 classes for Yoga Yoga. Kimberly holds a BFA in Musical Theater and a
Modern Dance Minor from the Boston Conservatory.

Alice Duffy


Hatha Yoga Adjunct Faculty

Alice’s serious study of yoga began when she entered Yoga Yoga Teacher Training in 2002, becoming a registered yoga teacher a year later. She has training in Kundalini, Hatha, Anusara and Prenatal yoga, and has become an Anusara Inspired™ Yoga teacher. Alice is also registered with Yoga Alliance as an RYT 500 and an E-RYT 200. Teaching and practicing yoga for many years has given Alice the knowledge needed to empower the lives of her students by using universal principles of alignment and heart-centered awareness; she consistently takes her practice to a higher level and helps her students do the same.

Sandi Lynn Russom


YYSYT Faculty, Hatha Yoga Adjunct Faculty

Sandi began studying and teaching yoga in 2006 in Austin, TX.  Since beginning her yoga practice, Sandi has immersed herself in finding a path to living with ease. Along this path, she has trained in Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Chakra Therapy, Pranayama, Yoga Nidra, and Massage Therapy.  She has also received her doctorate in Physical Therapy as well receiving the C-IAYT designation as a certified Yoga Therapist.  Currently, Sandi is working as a physical therapist, yoga therapist, and faculty member in Yoga Yoga’s teacher training and yoga therapy training programs. Sandi’s strengths as a therapist, beyond her background in movement science and human anatomy, are her encouraging attitude, her ceaseless enthusiasm and her ability to make clients feel comfortable and confident in themselves.

Mehtab Benton


Kundalini Yoga Faculty, Lead Teacher

Mehtab completed his first Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training course in 1974 while in residence at the Hargobind Kundalini Yoga Ashram. During the 1970s, he taught yoga in the public school system and in drug rehabilitation programs in California. He studied Kundalini Yoga under Yogi Bhajan and was among the first students to be certified in Kundalini Yoga through the Master's Touch training course in New Mexico. He has been a Kundalini Yoga Teacher Trainer since 1997, and has taught Level I and Level II teacher training courses. Along with his wife Guru Karam, Mehtab received the International Kundalini Yoga Teacher’s Association “Building Communities in Yoga” award in 2000. He has taught Kundalini Yoga workshops and classes to students and teachers from around the world at the annual Kundalini Yoga Summer Solstice gathering in New Mexico.

Clarissa Smith


YYSYT Lead Faculty, Hatha Lead Teacher

Clarissa is the Training and Development Coordinator for Yoga Yoga School of Yoga Therapy.  She is an E-RYT 500, Yoga Therapist, and Ayurvedic Yoga Wellness Consultant. She began her Yoga studies at Yoga Yoga in 2002. She received her 500 hour certification at Yoga Yoga and her Yoga Therapy certification with Gary Kraftsow at the American Viniyoga Institute. Clarissa has since continued her education in Ayurvedic medicine at The Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico with Dr. Vasant Lad and Maria Garre and received her Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) certification through the Love Your Brain foundation. With her combined studies of Yoga Therapy and Ayurvedic medicine, Clarissa has several hundred private client hours addressing structural, physiological, and psycho-emotional conditions that include, but are not limited to chronic pain, anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia, and digestive disorders. Clarissa is certified through the International Association of Yoga Therapists as a C-IAYT.