Welcome! We the teachers at It’s All Yoga look forward to meeting you. Most of us have been teaching here for years, which creates a feeling of community and collaboration. We may have individualized styles, but there is much respect and love among us. Find out more about us below…
meet the teachers
I guess this makes sense because what’s the opposite to feeling more alive? (Well, I know I don’t want that.)
When I found yoga at 18 I loved how it made me feel more clear and connected to myself. I knew I wanted to help others find the same so I went to my first yoga training and began teaching at 21. My journey started with Bikram and over the years I added Yin, meditation, and Qoya to my offerings of classes, workshops, and retreats. Each has satisfied a need within and helped me to feel more alive and more myself. I see this as the basis of my teaching.
I believe that the first step to feeling alive is learning HOW to feel—how to experience emotion and how to engage the senses. To me feeling alive is the same as healing, which I believe is also the same as “wholing”— tending to the wholeness of our being.
My beliefs were put to the test a few years ago when my husband passed away. How was I to feel alive when I felt like a part of me died with him? I am so grateful for the practices that I had learned over the years because they are what I turned to when my world fell apart.
Becoming the new studio owner at It’s All Yoga has been an honor. I see it as an opportunity to pay forward some of the gifts I have received through the years. My intention is for this to be a space where students and teachers can come to experience their wholeness and to have support as they heal what needs healing. I also hope that through practice each individual may gain some essential tools to help get through life’s twists and turns and to remember what it feels like to be fully alive..
The path that brought me to yoga begins in a community education class in Athens, Ohio. I had no idea it would change my life in the ways that it has and continues to do. That was in about 1993 and I’ve seen yoga benefit my life beyond comprehension. I try to take as many classes in as many styles as I can find. This curiosity influences my teaching, allowing my classes to have a flow that doesn’t quite fit into any one style. This is not to say that I’ve created my own style, but that I draw from many streams of wisdom.
My classes are known to be sweet, but also challenging in ways both physical and mental. To me, yoga isn’t just a physical practice, it is something more than that. Every person defines “more than that” in their own way and that’s part of what makes it all beautiful.
When I’m not teaching yoga, I’m learning how to play accordion and I can also be found dancing in the Dances of Universal Peace. I believe we are all on the same path—Toward the One. The Sufi teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan and others speak directly to my heart. I also lead a Kirtan band called Radiant Friend; we’ve been leading call-and-response chanting in the Sacramento area since 2010.
I have done in-depth study with Sean Johnson, Jason Crandell and Sarah Powers, and have attended many different workshops.
My personal teaching style integrates emphasis on alignment and form with a Vinyasa style of coordinating breath and movement. I am a certified yoga teacher, and completed an intensive, residential Teacher Training program with Ganga White and Tracey Rich at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. I teach specialty yoga classes for corporations, parent groups, children and health care facilities in the greater Sacramento area.
I am also a registered nurse, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing and a Master’s Degree in Public Health. I have worked in a variety of healthcare settings nationally and overseas as a clinical nurse, consultant and health educator. I have been in the dance and fitness industry for over 20 years.
One way I define yoga is the absence of conflict. Although I’d submit that yoga cannot actually be taught, conditions leading to the realization of yoga may be facilitated.
As a facilitator, I’m a kind of yoga “conductor,” suggesting certain structural arrangements of the physical body with attunement to the subtle body so that within a few meditative breaths, the mindbody may be experienced as a clear vessel of consciousness. Whereas my classes are a personal distillation of established yoga traditions (including classical Ashtanga and Iyengar-style), somatics, and creative intuitions, they invite a comprehensive practice of breathing-edge flow in which intensity is self-regulated and the main objective is to awaken one’s whole Self.
My offerings are the culmination of Life’s journey.
Residing and traveling in mostly Eastern countries for nearly seven years in the 90s elicited within me a merger of such archetypes as the wandering mystic, meditative thinker, and healing artist. Since my first yoga teacher trainings in 1999, I began “teaching” in 2001 and completed a master’s degree integrating Eastern psychology, somatics, and holistic health in 2003. Along with my hypnotherapy/energetic healing practice, I give talks and workshops on practical themes of consciousness and healing, supporting individuals in embracing the universal principles and unique expression of their own nature.
My hope for everyone sharing practice with me is that, by the moment of Namaste, your heart may know itself again.
When I started my Yoga practice in 2001, it did not have the public’s attention like it does today. I came to the practice with a limited understanding of what it was. At the time, I had no physical exercise or spiritual practice. I was at a place in my life where I wanted something different, but didn’t know what or how to figure it out. I felt apathetic. A friend recommended that I try Yoga.” During my first class I felt very uncomfortable and out of place. Everyone else in the room seemed to move so easily through the poses, while I struggled, not only to move but to understand what the teacher was asking us to do. Regardless, I liked the idea of having a physical activity that was more than just a workout. I liked how the teacher encouraged us to be patient with ourselves and guided us to be curious about the sensations in our body as opposed to pushing it or being upset with it for what it wasn’t. This really spoke to me as I was someone who carried around the burden of a negative self-image. My Yoga practice gave me the space to question and explore the old and unhelpful patterns in which I was living. As my body opened, my mind followed. As my muscles started to transform and change, so did my perspective of myself and the world around me.
For me, teaching was a natural next step on my path of self-discovery. While supporting others in their path, I learn more about my own. The student/teacher relationship becomes cyclical and for that I am truly grateful for every person that steps into my classroom. In 2013, after thirteen years of a daily dedicated Yoga practice, I took my study to a new level by signing up for a 500-HR advanced teacher training, which I completed in early 2015. I am a full time teacher and have spent many hours in the studio teaching and growing. The focus of my classes is on physical alignment to support sustainability of the body, and meditation to deepen the body, mind, spirit connection.
Happiness and gratitude for the experiences we all share–tempered by a strong sense of humor–bring me to this point in my yoga experience.
I have a background in healthcare and non-profit management and am known for creating comfortable environments that encourage people to approach new experiences with light-hearted ease. The intention for the classes I facilitate is compassionate access to the benefits of yoga for everyone. It is my experience that all teachers are students… And all students have something to teach.
My soul is fed by gardening, reading, cooking, travel and savoring time with those closest to my heart.
My first yoga class 16 years ago was at a community college and I nearly fainted. All my life of constant exercise through recreational sports, competitive volleyball and running, I had never experienced such a challenge. To be still, to be “connected” with myself…crazy! That is when the love affair with yoga began.
In the last 13 years, after I took up marathon running, yoga became an addiction, a therapy. It was a place to go to “slow down” and “pay attention to me,” and neither were judged. Crashing headfirst into IAY’s 200-hour Teacher Training in 2013, I got to submerge myself in these two practices and experience the full range of effects— uncomfortable, blissful, often frightening, but always rewarding. And now I get to share the value of “slowing down” and “paying attention” with others. I also used to play in the corporate world (marketing and such) most of my adult life and then decided, “Why do that when I can do this!?” Teaching brings me a sense of clarity, fulfillment, love. In my class, if each of my students can find a bit more clarity and fun with asana, pranayama, meditation, self, heart, life — that equals success for me. Even if clarity and fun mean simply a smile on their faces!
When I am not playing with yoga I love to run, cook, be outdoors, play in the water, travel and enjoy time with my hubby and two furry babies Duke and Cooper!.
I’m a singer/songwriter in hibernation, a facilitator of yoga and writing, and somebody’s mother. I took my first yoga class in the early ‘90s because I heard it might make me feel better, and that’s what I wanted, to feel better. I lived the first half of my life in my head—dreaming, studying or creating. Yoga helped me hear my body’s voice for the first time. I come back again and again because yoga meets me where I am no matter how old or injured I feel, and because it reconnects my pieces better than anything else I have found. And although I’ve been breathing since the day I was born, somehow I still feel like I need to practice breathing.
What else is there to know about me? I like to drink tea from tiny cups. I love Willie Nelson. I sing silly songs about my dog while I’m doing dishes—and he doesn’t come—ever. I love to drive on the back roads with no map. Sometimes, I write in my blog. If I could do nothing for a living, I would never retire. Every so often, I sit in a room with adolescents, and I let them write what they want and say what they think. Sometimes, I sneak a little “yoga” in there. We practice listening to the world around us. We read poetry. We find the ground with our hands and feet. We breathe.
I bring the same spirit to my yoga classes: the spirit of creativity, listening and receptivity. I believe in helping people find their voices, whether that be through moving their bodies or moving their pen. I invite you to listen. I invite you to hear your own voice.
When I was first learning about yoga in the mid 90s, it felt like all these separate parts of myself came together and finally made sense (well, most of the time).
These days, my yoga is inspired by poetry, nature, slowing down, and a fascination for the human body. As a teacher, I encourage curiosity and interest in the process rather than reaching a final destination.
This is a practice of day-to-day and the ways we show up amid all the other things in life. This isn’t easy! Thank goodness we can come together for weekly classes, where we balance the seriousness and instruction with levity and lightness and fun. Some of my favorite teaching happens in our 200 and 300 hour TT programs, as well as workshops and retreats, where we can explore our relationships beyond the mat.
After 12 years of creating and building It’s All Yoga, I decided to spread my wings outside of the studio walls. For me, this is part of the practice—following the heart even when it doesn’t make sense to the head. In perfect timing for all parties, Kaci Florez took over ownership in July 2017 and is leading IAY to new heights.
This shift in my work is allowing me to teach and write more, as well as continue my passions of Ayurveda, plant-based nutrition and creative grief workshops and retreats. Reminders that in Yoga, there is room for whatever comes up.
My first Yoga class was at a gym. Before that I had tried aerobics, running, a master’s swim program and weight lifting, but the challenges of yoga have held my interest for the last 10 years. Four years after my initial class I felt I needed to share my experience. That’s when I became a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance.
Following my path, I’ve since taught at large gyms, several studios and private sessions. As part of my desire to grow spiritually, I wanted to collaborate with Michele Marlahan, the owner of It’s All Yoga. Greeting each morning with Yoga’s practice/path gives me insight as to how I treated myself the day before.
Every day is a new chance to begin anew. What I try to share is the experience of how it feels to be free; separated from our mind chatter and at ease within our physical bodies with space to process the emotional baggage. These are only two examples of the things that limit us in countless ways. It’s how consciously you work within your limits that is the Heart of Yoga.
Using my experience as a guide, I encourage exploration in the postures through focused attention and awareness of the breath. My style balances strength, suppleness and compassion with an emphasis on finding ease in the practice. I praise all my teachers, which includes the students. They have shown me that a sense of humor and a compassionate soul are wonderful companions to have while on the path.
Aging is inevitable—if we are lucky. My goal for myself and my students is to age gracefully and to be strong, flexible and tall.
My name is Wencke, sounds like Venka. My first introduction to yoga began when I was 40. I had a VCR with 7 days of yoga with Raquel Welch. I started taking yoga classes whenever and wherever I could.
I am an RN and spent 40 years primarily In Labor and Delivery helping families during the pregnancy and birth process. I also taught childbirth classes and took a course teaching prenatal yoga in the mid 1980s.
Yoga gradually became a way of life for me rather than only a form of exercise. Five years ago I moved to Sacramento to be closer to my growing family. At that time I discovered It’s All Yoga. In 2014 while I was still working and commuting back and forth to work in Berkeley Michelle was offering a 200-hour teacher training. I wasn’t ,really interested in teaching but felt it was an opportunity to deepen my practice. It was an amazing and life-changing experience. I toyed with the idea of teaching prenatal yoga and took a training in San Francisco. Right around the time I retired, Michelle offered Stephanie Meeker and I the opportunity to teach a class which at that time was called Healthy Aging. We were both honored and scared to death. I often said during that early time I could deliver babies all day long but teaching was hard and humbling.
Last year I was introduced to Yoga for Bone Health. I personally have been diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis. I took a teacher training for bone health which has changed my personal practice and how I teach.
I am very excited to teach yoga to an older crowd (young are also welcome). Our class is now called Strength and Balance. We have students who have practiced yoga for a long time and those who are brand new to yoga.
I also volunteer teaching yoga to a group of women which started as chair yoga. The participants were wary about the thought of yoga and were emphatic that they could not get on the floor because they would not be able to get up. Two years later they agreed to “try” the floor. I was able to bring in some donated mats and now their favorite part is being on the floor.
I am honored and so grateful to have the opportunity to teach at It’s All Yoga. The teachers are amazing and inspiring and I am always learning.