INSTRUCTOR BIOS

claremont-yoga-tracy-brennan.jpg

TRACY BRENNAN

Tracy is the co-owner/director of both Claremont Yoga and the CY Teacher Training Program. She is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor. Tracy enjoys sharing the healthy benefits of yoga.  She teaches all levels of classes and private sessions weekly.  She enjoys having a family and being a mom.  She also teaches yoga classes at Pomona College in the Physical Education Department for students, faculty and staff. She is honored and thankful to be part of a deeply inspiring yoga tradition.

mari gamans

Mari, a former professional dancer, has been teaching Pilates for 16 years. She began studying the Pilates technique while earning her B.A. Degree in Dance at the University of California at Irvine. Very quickly her body transformed, improving her dancing as well. It was these exciting personal developments that inspired her to share what she had learned with others. Mari attended the teacher training program at Studio Du Corps led by her former UCI professor and esteemed member of the Pilates community, Diane Diefenderfer. Soon after, she began working at The Ron Fletcher Company in Los Angeles, where she was awarded an additional certification. Since then, she has worked at many L.A. area studios such as Mind/Body Fitness, Center Studio, Integration Arts, and Core Conditioning Physical Therapy. Mari is also a certified Gyrotonic instructor, and has been practicing yoga since 2000, both of which have furthered her experience as a teacher and deepened her understanding of the body.

kurt bumiller

Kurt has been a student of yoga for 10 years. He has studied with many teachers and has attended intensives in many different styles of yoga. He has been studying Iyengar yoga for the last 6 years. He came to Iyengar yoga after a serious back injury in a yoga class in order to re-learn the Asanas in a way that would put less stress on the body/mind. Kurt's special interest in yoga is its restorative powers for people with injuries and physical limitations.

Rhoda Quinn

Rhonda began practicing yoga 13 years ago and it immediately became her passion.  She wanted to share this passion and decided to study to become a yoga teacher.  She studied Iyengar Yoga through a program at the University of Riverside Extension Course and received certificates in Fundamentals of Yoga and Yoga Theory and Practice.  Rhonda continued her studies at Green Tara Yoga where she completed her 200-hour certification of Yoga Studies and Teacher Foundations.  She also received certification for Yin Yoga E-RYT 200 and RYT 500 level through Yoga Alliance.  Rhonda teaches at various locations in the area and her classes include gentle yoga, yoga for seniors, chair yoga, Yin Yoga, restorative yoga, beginning yoga, and yoga for golfers.

Michelle Dowd

"Yoga is a powerful vehicle for change. As you build strength, you start to believe in your own potential." --T. Cruikshank Michelle is a certified yoga teacher and creative writing professor who believes in the power of art to liberate our minds, bodies and spirits. In her classes, she works to creatively engage your imagination and energize you to cultivate a deeply personal and fiercely authentic practice. She is honored to participate in a community of yogis who share her love of learning, joy in movement and the perpetual desire to energetically balance a full life with a measure of grace.

Bonnie Busenberg

Bonnie Busenberg, a longtime Claremont resident and retired college administrator, is a level II Stott Pilates Instructor who has been teaching group exercise classes at The Claremont Club for 9 years and offers private, equipment-based Pilates sessions, with a special emphasis on rehabilitative and therapeutic uses of the Pilates methodology, at her home studio. A devoted practitioner of yoga for 15 years, she completed the Claremont Yoga teacher training program in 2015, and is a certified and registered 200 Yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance.  Her teaching is heavily influenced by Iyengar principles of alignment, which she finds to be highly synergistic with her Pilates work.   With undergraduate and masters degrees in the biological sciences, and a doctorate in Education, Bonnie is passionate both about anatomy and about teaching.  Convinced that yoga can benefit any body, irrespective of age or physical ability, she enjoys introducing body awareness into the lives of others, particularly those facing physical challenges brought about by illness or injury. She believes in using the physical practice of asana as both a metaphor and motivation for the pursuit of  yoga’s spiritual aspects.  She currently teaches hatha yoga, gentle yoga,  and yoga fusion (with Pilates) in group and private sessions, as she attends workshops and trainings to advance both her own practice and her teaching skills

DEBORAH ESCOBAR

Deborah Escobar is a steward of the community, advocating sustainability, a minimalist mentality on consumerism, and human wellbeing. Deborah resides in Claremont California with her husband and two beautiful boys who keep her in a constant state of Bhakti. She discovered the Yogic sciences in 1999 and is now a certified registered Yoga Teacher. She is a lifelong student and truth seeker who began her Ayurvedic lifestyle in 2008. She knows that yoga isn't something that we do, but what we are. It’s about inclusion, what binds us to creation. It's experienced in moments of stillness when life becomes effortless, or when a child's joyful laughter fills us with inexplicable bliss. A daily practice facilitates in moving beyond the mind/body barriers to realize, connect with, and align ourselves with this Truth. Deborah likes to focus on developing well rounded classes to bring balance and awareness to mind, body, and spirit through pranayama, asana, meditation, and deep relaxation.

Susan Lominska

Susan completed the 200 hour yoga alliance teacher certification offered by Claremont Yoga in 2014-2015 after retiring from a 35+ year career as a health care provider. She has studied Iyengar yoga for 15 years and has personally experienced the improvements it brought in strength, balance, and relief of chronic muscle pain due to postural misalignment as well as the joy of the practice. She teaches alignment-based yoga with the use of props and modifications because she appreciates the accessibility this brings to yoga practitioners of all ages and abilities. When Susan isn’t practicing in the welcoming community of Claremont yoga, she enjoys playing in a handbell choir , hiking in the local hills, cycling, and raising her own fruit and vegetables in her backyard garden.

Cheryl Rehnberg

Yoga has inspired me in unexpected ways over the last 12 plus years.  Walking out of  my first class I felt taller and more invigorated.  Time after time, I have found myself using yoga breath to manage the stress of work and family life. When my children started commenting on my positive mood after a class, I knew I was onto something!  I have spent many years exploring a variety of yoga studios and I have always been drawn back to Claremont Yoga. After graduating from Claremont Yoga's first teacher training I have found a strong desire to remain a lifetime student of yoga!

NICOLE SCHWANDER RIEL

Nicole is the co-owner/director of both Claremont Yoga and the CY Teacher Training Program. She has been practicing yoga since 2000, and initially sought out the practice to help her deal with intense lower back pain and sciatica. To her delight she found that her back issues were completely healed with a regular, committed practice. She has studied with teachers Noah Maze and Christina Sell. Her classes range from deeply restorative, to a strong, flowing practice. She infuses smart alignment into her teachings, along with playful movement and flow, pranayama, and application of yoga into daily life. Nicole also teaches Restorative Yoga at the Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center in Pomona for the Fibromyalgia Care Program. She has experienced the profound healing that yoga has brought into her life--physically, emotionally and spiritually. Nicole is a Certified and Registered Yoga Teacher and loves to share the joys and benefits of yoga with you! Her newest teacher is her 2 year old son, Blake, who inspires her everyday!

emily lavender

Emily first attended a yoga class to relive chronic shoulder pain. It worked, and quickly began to transform her life, both mentally and physically. Yoga helps her feel connected to herself, strong and beautiful. She is YogaWorks trained (eRYT-200 certified) and implements a well rounded practice, by applying principles of alignment and philosophy to each class. Emily spends time traveling to workshops and classes, working to improve her instructing techniques and personal practice. She believes that yoga offers meaningful benefits for every person, from every walk of life, and that the more we practice, the more we can improve our lives. Emily is excited to share her love of yoga and expertise with the Claremont community. Emily's vinyasa is a powerful, energetic sequence, where students fluidly move from one pose to the next, while connecting their breath to their movements. Strength, flexibility and balance are incorporated into each class.

natalia simatupang

Sarah Natalia Simatupang was born in Indonesia and has lived in 3 different countries. She studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts and studied abroad in Spain to deepen her Spanish. Natalia loves to travel and learn new cultures and languages. Her love of activity brought her to yoga in Jan 2010…it was love at first Savasana.  She completed a Power Teacher Training with the desire to teach and practice yoga for the rest her life.  The benefits of yoga bring such deep connection and healing of mind and body in which she learned the qualities of acceptance, patience, self-control and letting go. It is the perfect unity of the Western and Eastern modalities that creates balance in her life to grow..

johanna muhs

I have been practicing yoga since 1998 with an appreciation for the flexibility and strengthening aspects of the practice.  In recent years yoga became a much deeper form of practice for me -offering an opportunity for healing trauma and grief through improved mind, body connection, breath work and the pure joy generated through invigorating physical movement.  I completed the RYT-200 training through the Claremont Yoga teacher training program and am ecstatic to have the opportunity to share my love of yoga practice with the community.

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore came to yoga for fitness in 2012 but immediately found the practice to be so much more than just physical.  Yoga invigorated him mentally, spiritually, and emotionally in a way nothing had in many years.  Claremont Yoga also introduced him to a wonderful community of like-minded, positive individuals coming together in the practice.  In 2014, an article about the growing use of yoga and other mind-body medicine techniques to treat post-traumatic stress in veterans inspired Stephen to earn his RYT-200 certification through the Claremont Yoga teacher training program.  As the son of a Vietnam veteran and the relative of many other veterans, he saw yoga as his way to give back.  Stephen now enjoys teaching vinyasa flow at Claremont Yoga, as well as teaching yoga to veterans through both Claremont Yoga and his non-profit organization, Warrior One Foundation.

Krista Oney

Kristia Oney is an Oklahoma transplant now living in Claremont, CA. Kristia’s 200hr teacher training is in vinyasa flow and as she says, “The breath linked with the movement is like dancing with your soul.” Kristia has a huge heart and a passion for helping people find their inward beauty, truly love their bodies and live from the strength of their true core. Kristia came to yoga during her own battle with an eating disorder; Kristia says, “When I came to yoga, I came to recovery and I owe so much of my successful recovery to my yoga practice. Yoga, along with proper treatment from health care professionals, has allowed me find inner strength, peace and self-acceptance that in many ways have saved my life. It is my heart’s greatest desire to share this healing and creative practice with others!” Kristia taught in many locations in the Oklahoma area, including teaching yoga as therapy for eating disorder recovery at Laureate Eating Recovery Center in Tulsa, she is grateful and excited to be a part of the Claremont Yoga community!  Kristia is now enrolled in the Yoga Therapy Rx program at LMU in Los Angeles where she is working toward becoming a Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT) following her deepest passion of participating in the treatment of eating disorders, meanwhile learning even more to offer her students and yoga community. Her classes ranging from strong and powerful vinyasa flow to gentle, restorative (in body, mind and spirit) yoga are sure to leave you feeling empowered, energized and at peace.

Lynn Hasel

Lynn moved to Claremont in July 2013 from Stillwater, Minnesota where she recently earned a degree in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota. She is RYT-500 with training in Anusara and Hatha yoga.  In addition, she has had training in pranayama from the Himalayan Institute, and is now a student of Ayurvedic Medicine at the American University of Complementary Medicine. Lynn enjoys her family, which includes six beautiful grandchildren. Lynn’s classes are fun and appropriate for beginners as well as more experienced students.

NICOLE HOFMANS

Nicole is very excited to share her love of yoga with her community. She started practicing yoga at Cal-Poly Pomona in 1993 and loved it, but it wasn't until years later, after recovering from a major surgery, that she found yoga to be healing on an emotional level as well as physical, and decided to become a teacher. Come and discover through movement and breath that you are your greatest teacher and vehicle for growth!

JENNA MANN

Jenna Mann (RYT-200) came to the practice of yoga after the death of a dear friend. She found that the focus on mindfulness and breath practice offered a strategy to deal with sorrow and anxiety. As she continued in the practice, she grew to love the rhythmic, steady matching of breath to movement offered in yoga and especially grew to love the Vinyasa Flow style. She found that yoga uniquely offered a holistic process to engage the mind, body, and spirit. It is this balanced, energizing approach of strengthening and empowering the whole person that Jenna endeavors to share in her yoga classes

karen may (kartar kaur)

Karen's spiritual name is Kartar Kaur, which translates as "Lioness/Princess of God's deeds" — an active, creative principle, applicable to her life, work, and spiritual practice. She took her first Kundalini Yoga class in 1989, and has been teaching since 2004 as a K.R.I. certified instructor, honoring the tradition of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan®. Each class offers insight into a particular theme, connecting the body, mind, and spirit, and linking the finite with the infinite. 

Karen completed a two-year certificate course in the ancient Indian healing modality called Ayurveda, and often integrates these healing principles into classes.  She is committed to sharing the ancient technology — the art and the science — of Kundalini yoga in classes designed for all levels and abilities.

brad smith

Brad took his first yoga class in 1998 and discovered a path of lifelong learning. Since then, Yoga has become the foundation of his day-to-day life, enriching his life in every way.  Brad is a Certified Iyengar Yoga instructor at the Intermediate Junior 1 level and has been teaching since 2005. He spent two months studying yoga with the Iyengar family in India in 2006 and returned for further studies in November, 2011. He teaches yoga at several studios in the greater San Gabriel Valley as well as at Kaiser Permanente and the City of Alhambra.

Erin Michaela Sweeney

Erin first discovered a connection between movement and breath as a youngster in classes at Claremont’s Village Dance Arts. After studying and sharing ballet technique for more than 20 years on the West and East coasts, she began her yoga practice in Williamsburg, VA, in 2002. Three years later, Erin undertook a 200-hour yoga teacher-training program. Her instructors were Rosie Taylor, a more than 30-year disciple of Advanced Iyengar instructor Kofi Busia, and Ann Richardson, a protégé of Power Yoga innovator Beryl Bender Birch. Erin taught in Williamsburg until 2011, when she fell ill. She moved back to Claremont to be close to family and friends during treatments. The following year, she was pleased to discover the supportive yoga community at Claremont Yoga. Erin now joyfully shares her love of yoga, pranayama (breathwork), and meditation with practitioners at CY.

Melissa Jackson

Melissa Jackson has been practicing yoga for over 15 years and teaching elementary school for 17. It seemed only natural for her to marry her love of teaching and her love of yoga. Melissa completed her 200-hour teacher training through Claremont Yoga’s inaugural teacher training program in 2015. Melissa has enjoyed teaching flow based yoga to athletes and instructing special classes for kids, as well. Melissa enjoys documenting her love of travel, yoga, running, hiking, gardening and cooking through her writing in her blog www.livpcfl.com.

Juanita Rivas-Raymer

Juanita started her journey many years ago with her dad who introduced her to yoga in the 70's,  When she became a Birth Doula 14 years ago she encouraged her clients to practice yoga through their pregnancy after seeing how much it helped with labor.  Many years later Juanita studied to become a prenatal yoga teacher and combined her years of experience with her yoga practice to help women through this amazing rite of passage.  She received her prenatal yoga certification through Bini Birth Studio and also studied with the yoga master teachers at Green Tara Yoga. Juanita loves sharing my practice with people and showing them that Yoga is for everyone at all levels of fitness.

Denise Zondervan

Denise has been part of the yoga community for over 10 years. Since completing the 200 Yoga Alliance certification she has taught young children through older adults.  She has been a student of Tracy Brennan and Nicole Riel for years as well as Sandra Carden from Michigan. Yoga is not only a practice on the mat but a life practice as well.  Finding strength, flexibility and joy in her classes with beginning students and those with a regular practice is important to her.  Another key element she teaches students is the awareness of the breath in movement and stillness.

AIMEE TAKAYA DaviS

Aimee Takaya Davis began her yoga journey in her hometown of Ashland Oregon, and was deeply dedicated and ready to embark into the world as a teacher. She has had the privilege and honor of teaching and practicing yoga in 25 different countries around the world and connecting with many inspiring yoga communities. Returning home she was lucky enough to land in Southern California and find the encouraging and dedicated community of Claremont Yoga. She is excited to lead you through your asana experience with joy, reverence, kindness and endless curiosity!

Melissa kramer

Melissa was introduced to yoga 9 years ago after attending physical therapy for a back injury. She returned to yoga while attending Fullerton College. Her father was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012 and Melissa was his caregiver until his death in 2013. Getting back into yoga and being part of the community and the CYTT Graduating Class of 2014-2015 really helped her move towards healing the recurring depression she was suffering. . Melissa found that honoring our body’s requests and developing our own personal practice lets us heal from the inside out. Melissa fell in love with the art of Restorative yoga and believes that we need to give ourselves permission to unplug and renew. Outside of yoga, Melissa loves hiking, traveling and riding horses. She also enjoys teaching riding lessons. Melissa wants everyone to be strong enough to let go and patient enough to wait for what you deserve. Yoga meditation has brought her flexibility of body and mind. She loves making yoga accessible so that students will have a pleasant experience and will continue their beautiful, never-ending journey of self-discovery.

ALISON ROLLMAN

A Los Angeles native, Alison has been practicing Kundalini Yoga & Meditation since she was 12 years old, and began her teacher certification journey at age 16. Now a student of Sociology at Pitzer College, she is delighted to share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan to the greater Claremont community. Her classes are rejuvenating and grounding with an emphasis on self-care and healing. She is passionate about the intersection between yoga and larger movements for social justice, and strives to make her classes accessible to all bodies, backgrounds, and levels of experience. When not practicing or teaching yoga, Alison enjoys working at her school’s Writing Center, cooking, hiking, dancing, and talking about social change.

TIFFANY BLANCO

In early 2011 Tiffany Blanco began a regular yoga practice in the hopes of finding relief. Upon the quick realization that taking meds for sciatic pain was no way to live, she decided to give yoga a chance. The post-class high was incredible and the pain relief was undeniable. She was hooked. Tiffany has since studied and become certified in the SmartFlow Yoga method under the guidance of Annie Carpenter and Tiffany Russo. She doesn't see yoga as "one-size-fits-all" and therefore enjoys looking for ways to help make yoga accessible, beneficial, and fun for all. Tiffany encourages all students to honor their bodies as they are while enjoying the process of building strength to create transformation that can go beyond the physical. She enjoys teaching mindful classes that will leave you feeling strong, inspired, and sweaty.