Our Teachers

 

Anne Hayes - Owner/Director, Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2006

Anne likes to recall that she would “try” yoga when there is nothing else she can do! One morning of May 2003, while on her train commute to NYC, a New York Times’ article about Bikram Yoga truly resonated with her.  Balancing family and work, while maintaining an active lifestyle, often left her mind, spirit and body “exhausted” and in pain. Anne took a Bikram Yoga class the next day: it was “hard-love” but “at first sight”. Six months of consistent practice healed 15 years of sciatica, opened her up to the concept of creating possibilities, and enabled her to better balance her “self”.  Inspired by her mother’s drive to be of service, Anne attended Bikram Yoga’s rigorous Teacher Training in 2006 to further share the wisdom and healing benefits of the series with her Long Beach NY community. Anne opened the studio in its first location in 2010 with partner Colleen O’Rourke and relocated in 2015 under the management of her companion, Dougie LeVangie.

 

Adil Rida - Bikram Yoga Certified 2005

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Adil Rida, a Paris native with Moroccan roots, is a practitioner and teacher of Bikram yoga and Ashtanga Yoga in the tradition of Sri Pattabhi Jois. An ex-martial arts competitor and former Circus Aerialist performer, Adil began practicing yoga in Los Angeles in 2002 at the suggestion of his acting coach in Los Angeles. There, he apprenticed with such yoga luminaries as Emmy Cleaves, Craig Villani and Bikram Choudhury himself.  In 2005, he obtained his certification at the Bikram Yoga College of India in LA and began teaching Bikram’s popular hot yoga in a dynamic style inspired by his multifaceted athleticism, and which, in turn, has drawn a loyal following. More recently, Adil traveled to Mysore, India to study Ashtanga yoga in the tradition of KPJAYI. A world traveler and connoisseur of the healing arts, Adil is also skilled in the practice of Yin Yoga and traditional Thai massage. He has taught classes and workshops and leads retreats all over the world.  Sweden, Latvia, Morocco, Canada, Australia, Dubai, Mexico and throughout the U.S are just some of the places he has called home. An international teacher, Adil is passionate about empowering people beyond their physical and mental limitations and showing them the true meaning of yoga: a path of self-mastery over breath, body and mind.

 

Coleen O’Rourke - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2008

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Spinal surgery that ends up with having two rods placed on either side of her spine was a pretty good reason to hang up the exercise routine that Colleen loved so much. But she didn’t. It only opened her eyes to the importance of improving her flexibility while increasing the depth of stretching all the muscles above and below her spine. Bikram Yoga has allowed Colleen to understand how the body can push beyond the limits of the mind. It has enabled her to forget about the rods in her back and the limitations imposed by them. “I can’t” does not exist in the hot yoga room nor does it exist in her. Having benefited from the yoga for over 7 years, Colleen quit her full-time job and attended Teacher Training in 2008. Through sharing her energy and knowledge every day, Colleen is continuously inspired to be the best for her students and help them explore to their full potential.

 

Dan Gwirtzman - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2001

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Dan began practicing Bikram Yoga while he was working as an Equity Research Editor in Midtown Manhattan. Sitting all day made his back hurt. He suffered from insomnia and a poor social life. Dan took his first class in 1999.  After the back problem disappeared, he realized that he needed look no further. This was his solution to back pain. Dan left his job and went to teacher training in the Fall of 2001. After spending four years teaching and traveling between NYC, Washington DC and Reno, Dan became the owner of Bikram Yoga Locust Valley on the North Shore of Long Island. After meeting his future wife, Karina Ruiz, also a Bikram teacher, they moved to Brazil with their first son and opened a Hot Yoga studio in Sao Paulo. They moved back to New York in 2017 and now live on Long Island with their two sons.  Dan enjoys teaching yoga because it gives him a chance to demonstrate pranayama, make friends and tell stories.

 

Edward Cox, Teacher - Certified Fall 2002

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Ed attended his first class in 1999 in the back room of his chiropractor’s office. He had heard some talk about the practice in the gym the doctor also owned, so he decided to give it a go. It wasn’t exactly love at first class but it was a tremendous workout. Ed began practicing in NYC and after recovering from a knee injury and returning to work within a few weeks, he began to truly appreciate the 26-posture series.  After attending Bikram’s TT in 2002, Ed was among the first to teach on Long Island. It is now with great honor that he is able to teach in his home town of Long Beach. Ed looks forward to seeing all your “happy, smiling faces” in class!

 

Charlotte Hayes - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2010

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Charlotte’s Bikram Yoga practice was born in 2005 out of curiosity for a “hot room” her mother had been raving about. She was a ballet dancer, a volleyball player, an asthmatic – flexible, yes; strong, NO; looking for a challenge, always!  Charlotte’s first few classes were torturous. She didn’t understand how to breathe, how to be still, or how to listen to her body. After several months of patient practice though, everything just clicked. Besides feeling stronger and more in control of her breath (her asthma virtually cured), Charlotte felt euphoric after class: fireproof, sweat proof, bulletproof, and incredibly happy. As a Peace Corps volunteer in subtropical Paraguay for 27 months, she continued to practice the 26 postures in her one-room brick home, where the temperature would often reach 110 degrees (an oven indeed!).  Her practice, always evolving, has shown her fortitude and brought her serenity in times of hardship. Upon returning home in July 2010 after 6 months backpacking through South America, this “happy wanderer” felt a bit out of touch and aimless. The hot room was again a place for Charlotte to reconnect and rebalance. She completed Teaching Training Fall 2010 in San Diego and feel blessed to have met such unique and inspiring people from around the world. Bikram Yoga allows her to transform more each day into the person she strive to be – and she invite you to feel the same power and peace.

 

Debbie Franzese- Bikram Yoga Certified

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Debbie began Bikram yoga 14 years ago because of a major back injury while training with kettlebells.  Having to wear a brace, unable to play tennis, go for a run or wear a favorite pair of heels, she had tried chiropractic care, PT, resting and everything that was suggested. Having exhausted every possible avenues, Debbie gave into a friend’s suggestion to try Bikram yoga.  The practice healed her herniated discs and realigned her back. She became better at everything and gave herself an improved quality of life.  Better than any type of therapy or medication, Bikram Yoga continues to help Debbie with mental clarity and concentration, balance, coordination and energy levels.

 

Jessica Weiss- Evolation Yoga Certified 2016

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Jess was drawn to yoga as a way to balance stress, learn to focus on awareness of breath and staying present in the moment.  As a science teacher, she is always curious about how the body works and enjoys sharing the connection that the Bikram series brings between mind, body and breath.  Interested in learning more about her practice, Jess competed in the 2015 USA Yoga Regional Asana Championship in Binghamton, NY which focused on the details of some of the postures.  The championship helped her learn what it meant to train hard and to love yourself right where you are, no matter what that physically looks like.  The following summer of 2016, she studied the Bikram Hot 26 & 2 series in Paris, France with Evolation Yoga.  During training, Jess learned that in order to be a great teacher it is important to be a humble student and to never lose the beginner's mindset.  There is always something new to take from the series.  Jess has taught both Bikram and Kid/Teen Yoga at BYLB.  When not practicing at the studio, she loves adventuring, travel and exploring the outdoors.

 

Judy Appell- Bikram Yoga Certified

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After having scoliosis issues, Judy was told she had to be active and exercise or she would be in constant pain. She was a runner, tennis player, mother of 3 and grandmother. After multiple injuries, she heard about Bikram Yoga but didn’t like the heat. “I loved to sweat when I worked out so I gave it a try. I went alone and the rest is history.” One of Bikram’s quotes is, “You are never too old, never too sick, never too bad to start all over again.” Judy says it has changed her life both physically and emotionally, and always being one to give back, decided to become a teacher. “I wanted to share the amazing benefits of Bikram Yoga. I wanted others to see that one can have physical issues as well as being an older beginner.” It gives Judy pleasure to see students reach the next level in their practice.

 

Marc Schwartz- Bikram Yoga Certified

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Born and raised in Queens, NY, Marc became a firefighter when he turned 27.  In 2001, a friend recommended that he tries a Bikram Yoga class. Marc’s first thought was “No Way”.  There was no way he saw himself flexible enough nor did he have the attention span to be in a room for 90 minutes and focus.  However, Marc always liked sitting in the sauna. His first class was hard but there was something about it that resonated with him.  He felt great and well-balanced when he left. A year of practice later, Marc decided that he wanted to show others the 26 & 2 that had such a positive effect on his life.  Being a firefighter demands physicality and causes his body to be stiff. This class allows his body to reach its fullest range of motion while remaining safe. Working in the heat allows him to go deep in the poses without getting injured.  In fact, it prevents injuries at the same time. This sequence is like medicine for Marc. His goal is to practice till the day he dies!

 

Chris Olstrom - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2008

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Brian Lenihan - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2010

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Riji Suh - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2006

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Coleen Corbett - Craig Villani Certified Fall 2017

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Upkar Chana - Bikram Yoga Certified Fall 2008

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Tali Hayden - Evolation Yoga Certified 2018

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Lauren Coleman- Bikram Yoga Certified

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Yvette Velasquez- Bikram Yoga Certified Spring 2010

Yvette began practicing at the age of 19. She was introduced to Transcendental Meditation while living in Colombia. Back to NYC in 2003, she found herself at a Bikram studio, the intensity and sense of mind body renewal gave her the discipline she needed with the demands of working in Manhattan. Yvette became a Bikram teacher in 2010, as well as becoming a certified Jivamukti teacher. She has been teaching throughout New York and at different studios internationally. Her teaching philosophy is based on helping students to realize their own ability to move deep within, to discover their true self through guided movement. Always on a quest for more knowledge, Yvette remains a voracious student, she practices regularly with Guruji’s Bikram Choudhury, Sri Dharma Mittra, Sharon Ganon and David Life.  She makes a constant effort to grow and learn with every class. Her students inspire her to continue her education. Yvette works with the non-profit Yoga Youth Movement, which is dedicated to bringing yoga to children in schools. She also holds a position as a yoga teacher for the Dalton School.