Hot Yoga Instructors

Carol Atkinson

Former runner and triathlete turned now serious about yoga

Carol discovered yoga inVancouver in 1997 after years of running and competing in triathlons. In 2004, she achieved her RYT-200 Hatha teacher certification and began teaching yoga full-time, although she continues to study, taking intensive workshops at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and The Himalayan Institute, as well as travelling to—and spending extended periods of time—at a variety of ashrams in India. Her hot yoga classes are unique, combining a variety of yoga styles.

Sophia Coles

Corporate world escapee now a yoga super-achiever

After turning her back on the corporate world, Sophia earned RYT-250 teacher training certification. She also became certified at the Maureen Rae Yoga Studio as an instructor in Alignment and Adjustment, Prenatal Yoga and Yoga for Older Adults. At the Yoga Sanctuary, she earned certification in Kids’ Yoga and studied yoga history, philosophy and anatomy at Hot Yoga Wellness. She also achieved a Level 1 Duan Qigong. Students find her passion for hot yoga infectious.

Ruth Laing

All-around athlete now an avid yoga enthusiast

A dancer since she was a tot, a gymnast throughout high school and a member of her university’s varsity swim team, Ruth has taught a wide variety of fitness classes since completing her physical education degree over two decades ago. In 2005, was turned on to yoga by fellow instructor Fortunata McConkey. Now with a 200-hour yoga training program under her belt, she continues honing her skills and increasing her knowledge at conferences and workshops and visits to other studios. In class, she enjoys challenging students to achieve the next level in alignment, flexibility, strength and inward focus.

Michelle Gravina

A passion for yoga, international travel, and students of all ages

Michelle began practicing yoga at Uni-Yoga Universidade while living inCuritiba,Brazil. She continued when she moved toMilan,Italy. And by the time she returned toToronto in 2005 she knew she wanted to teach. By 2007, she had completed her 200-hour RYT program at the Blue Door Yoga Room. With an extensive background in Hatha, Ashtanga and Gentle Yoga, Michelle enjoys teaching a diverse range of students—from children to seniors, beginners and advanced students.

Janine Haynes

Former performance dance artist discovers her passion for yoga

Always a disciplined child Janine found solace through physical activity. Her pursuits led her to the study of the performance arts at The School of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ryerson Polytechnic University, where she graduated from the Theatre Program. On graduation Janine spent more than a decade travelling the world, working with various companies as a Performance Dance Artist. After retiring from this field Janine returned to Canada in search of something to once again focus and discipline her mind. It was at this time that she found yoga and hasn’t looked back since. The practice simultaneously exercises the body while stilling the mind. Janine believes that with discipline and an open mind, yoga can help bring peace to the practitioner.

Natalie Carusi

Classical ballet training informs hot yoga instruction

By the time she turned 19, Natalie had already spent 10 years training in classical ballet, mainly with the National Ballet of Canada. Since 2008, she has been an ardent devotee of yoga, as it increases her strength and flexibility as a dancer (both physically and mentally) while helping her deal with injury and stress. When she’s finally ready to hang up her ballet slippers for good, Natalie plans to continue teaching yoga while pursuing a career in physiotherapy.

Daniela Gareri

Photographer now pursuing a life of yoga teaching and learning

While a student at OCAD University, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography, Daniela fell in love with hot yoga and has never looked back. Having recently completed the 250-hour Yoga Alliance certification with Hot Yoga Wellness in Toronto, she is not only an inspired instructor, but a committed lifelong learner who is already planning future studies in Yoga Therapy, Nidra, Tantra, Aerial, Dream Yoga, as well as Yoga for Children.

Afshan Haq

Birth Doula now following a life of yoga teaching

As a Birth Doula (labour support person) for the past 12 years, breath awareness has been a key aspect of Afshan’s career. After a car accident 3 years ago, Yoga came into Afshan’s life as a gift of healing and became an essential way of life for wellness. After earning a 250 hour teacher training certification, Afshan discovered the joy of sharing this wellness. She believes strongly in the mind and body connection. Afshan has practiced breath awareness and meditation with wonderful teachers both locally and in India.  Afshan has the ability to tap into a deep sense of gratitude and mindfulness and to continue learning about herself with patience and compassion and to extend these qualities to others. 

Lynn Keimel

Running into yoga

An avid runner, Lynn began practicing in order to improve her running, however within a short period of time she realized how the benefits of yoga could be introduced into her entire life. Lynn completed her 200 hours of training and received her teacher certification in 2009. Since then she has also been certified in Kid’s Yoga. Her classes are combined with vinyasa flows, balance work and deep stretching. Lynn believes that students and teachers alike should always look for new methods and ideas to further their own yogic path.

Rita Blandi

From yoga dabbling to yoga love

Rita dabbled in yoga on and off for years to relieve her of stress from her work in advertising. Yoga became a true passion for Rita when she became pregnant with her first child and began pre-natal yoga. Deciding not to return to the corporate world, Rita graduated from Teacher Training in early 2008 and has been teaching a variety of yoga and pilates classes consistently ever since. She began teaching because she wanted to share this beautiful, physical and spiritual practice of yoga with as many people as possible, and live her mantra of keeping the body, mind and spirit healthy and happy.

Sarah Moyer

Grounding herself through yoga

Yoga has been a part of Sarah’s life for a long time dating back to attending classes as a part of her dance education. As she deepened her personal practice, she realized the health benefits on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. Most of all she loved yoga because she had found a practice that left her feeling grounded, confident, and better able to deal with stressors in her life. Determined to share the gift of yoga, Sarah earned her RYT-200 Hatha Teacher Certification in 2013. Sarah’s mission is to guide all students in the evolution of their yoga practice and life.