Sweet Vinyasa

This class is taught by:

Chelsea Leiby

Chelsea began dancing around the age of 4 and didn’t stop until she was in her early 20’s. She decided to stop and focus on her studies to become a special education teacher. Teaching individuals with special needs and emotional disturbances began to take a toll on Chelsea, and she found it hard not to take her work home. She then enrolled in yoga to help her deal with the stress and emotional drainage. Yoga helped her immensely and opened her eyes to a beautiful journey she was so excited to embark on. She began using her yoga practices throughout her day and even with her students. She found peace in everything she did, and attributes it to yoga. After a few years of consistent practice, Chelsea decided to become a yoga teacher. She wanted to help share the magic of yoga with everyone. She received her yoga certification through our very own Smiling Dog Yoga studio under Roxy Banta and J Gabriel. Chelsea has a great passion for people and yoga and is so excited to share that with students at Smiling Dog. When she is not practicing yoga, Chelsea likes to spend time with her family. She loves the beach and you can find her in Avila just about every weekend with her husband and smiling dog, Oliver.

Marissa Bloom

Marissa Bloom attended her first yoga class in 2006 while completing her undergraduate degree in vocal arts at USC. As a native of San Luis Obispo County, this first foray into the big city of Los Angeles and the overly-competitive life of a performing artist left her completely overwhelmed and searching for something more. Her weekly yoga classes became her safe-haven and grounding support. Since that first class, Marissa has used yoga postures, breathing techniques, and philosophies in her performing life and voice teaching; but, it wasn’t until Marissa returned to the beautiful Central Coast after completing her Master’s degree last year that she became utterly addicted to yoga. In the summer of 2011, Marissa fulfilled her yogic dream by attending Frog Lotus Yoga Immersion Teacher Training in the Berkshires of Massachusetts with an emphasis on Thai Yoga massage and Kirtan chanting. Her teaching style combines a creative and playful flair with strong emphasis on alignment and assists. In addition to teaching yoga classes, Marissa is an opera singer, florist, and voice teacher. You might just hear her soft singing during savasana.
Read more about her singing and yoga on her blog, Ain’t over till the thin lady sings:  http://www.marissabloom.wordpress.com. 
You can also visit her facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/MarissaBloomYoga. 

Deborah Light-Pacheco

Deborah has always been a fan of movement. She began ballet and tap dancing as a child, and continued her interest in dance with course work in modern dance while attending California State University at Northridge where she received a degree in psychology. She briefly considered becoming a dance and movement therapist, but once she completed her psychology degree, shifted her interests to politics and attended law school. Recognizing early on that this shift in interest was not her true dharma, she re-entered the fitness field managing a health and fitness center in Los Angeles and becoming an ACE certified personal trainer. Shortly after certifying as a trainer, she found Yoga and found her home. Yoga has transformed Deborah’s life in so many ways, bringing a peace and tranquility to her that she loves to share with her students. She loves to share her story of “trying” a class one day and walking out feeling as though she were a completely different and whole person for the first time in years. The ability of a practice to bring such contentment and peace was just short of a miracle for Deborah who is a single parent of two special needs children. Deborah loves to share her Yoga experience with others as they journey on their own quest for calm, peace and fulfillment. She also loves to work with “mama’s to be” on their journey through the pregnancy process…a very special time in a woman’s life, by bringing a sense of community and love to women as their bodies change in the creation of a new life and spirit. To that end, she received her prenatal/postnatal yoga certification through the Yoga Alliance. Deborah has studied Yoga with many of today’s well-known and sought after yogi’s including James Brown, Alexandria Crow, Kathryn Budig and Chrissy Canning. She studied pranayama with Peter Sterios and mediation with Rolf Gates. She is certified as an E-RYT200 and RPYT with the Yoga Alliance. She also has earned a B.A. in psychology (emphasis on special needs children and personality disorders).

Valentina Petrova

With more than 25,000 hours of teaching experience to populations with different needs and abilities – from disabled individuals, to children and seniors, and every type of person in between, I offers a unique perspective, attention to detail and creativity that inspires as much as it challenges and informs. My fascination with the body and extensive anatomical knowledge helps me create a practice for every type of body and every type of intention. Because of my long study of the historical and philosophical roots of yoga I can entertain any kind of question and curiosity on the subject, facilitate discussions and lecture successfully.

I began teaching in 2001 by request from many people in the area. From 2004 - 2012, I was a contributing writer with a monthly column called "Yoga for Life" for The Bay News. In 2013, I wrote a column on all things psychologically human for Indulge SLO. From Dec 2009 - May 2011, I had fun producing a regular monthly TV show, called "Yoga for Life" on Ch. 2/Charter/San Luis Obispo County.

I have a very diverse background in yoga. I've had the privilege of studying (past and present) with Sarah Powers, Paul Grilley, Shiva Rea, Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, Scott Blossom, Dharma Mittra, Jack Kornfield, Dr. Georg Feuerstein and many, many others, gaining understanding and experience in many yoga traditions and styles.

My classes are smooth, grounding, and meditative, following the breath and developing mindfulness. Often students say that they find a deeper connection to their bodies, and appreciate the non-judgmental care they receive from me. You will never e asked to do something you can't or you don't want to. I encourage personal exploration and self-compassion.

In addition to my passion for yoga as vehicle for liberation, I have a Masters in Psychology from JFK University. I am a life long student of personal development, growth and transformation, Eastern wisdom traditions and Western social sciences.

Leslie St. John

An Arkansas native, Leslie came to yoga through competitive figure skating and modern dance. Before attending graduate school at Purdue, where she earned an MFA in creative writing, she immersed herself in the practice of dynamic yoga with Matthew Kreps. She continued her training with Tias Little, whose methods synthesize the safety and stability of Iyengar with the strength and mobility of ashtanga. Leslie currently dances with Variable Velocity and teaches English at Cuesta and Cal Poly. Her yoga classes emphasize practicing “right effort”—finding the balance between exertion and surrender.

Chandra Hardester

Chandra is our Studio Director and a certified YOBarre Instructor at Smiling Dog Yoga. The daughter of a nationally ranked cheerleading coach mother and a state wrestling champion father, one of Chandra’s earliest memories is of stretching and exercising. She spent time in gymnastics, figure skating, and track and field, before ultimately falling in love with ballet for it’s unique combination of athleticism and art. After a young career spent as a professional dancer, instructor, and choreographer with The Oakland Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the Theatre Ballet of San Francisco, an injury took her down a different path into retail leadership and talent development. Chandra discovered yoga as a way to ground herself after long work days, and after experiencing its’ vast benefits was inspired to enter a new career in wellness. When not at the front desk, Chandra can be found studying for her RYT-200 at SDY, on the mat, at the barre, or most likely doing both at the same time in YOBarre class. Chandra isn’t quite sure what took her so long to become an avid yogi, and she looks forward to helping others experience all of the benefits our yoga oasis has to offer.
Our vinyasa classes are generally more active. Expect to sweat to a faster paced class that connects movement with breath. These classes will energize, challenge, and inspire you. Expect to build strength, flexibility, mobility, and core integration. This class is for all levels and we try to offer plenty of options for the beginner or advanced yogi so it's a healthy challenge. For those who like more of a workout, these classes will focus on challenging standing poses, basic arm balances & inversions.

Upcoming classes:

  • Tue Jul 25 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Chelsea Leiby
  • Wed Jul 26 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Jul 27 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Jul 28 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm with Valentina Petrova
  • Sun Jul 30 11:00 am - 12:30 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Mon Jul 31 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Chandra Hardester
  • Tue Aug 01 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Chelsea Leiby
  • Wed Aug 02 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Aug 03 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Aug 04 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm with Valentina Petrova
  • Sun Aug 06 11:00 am - 12:30 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Mon Aug 07 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Chandra Hardester
  • Tue Aug 08 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Chelsea Leiby
  • Wed Aug 09 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Marissa Bloom
  • Thu Aug 10 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Deborah Light-Pacheco
  • Fri Aug 11 4:00 pm - 5:15 pm with Valentina Petrova
  • Sun Aug 13 11:00 am - 12:30 pm with Leslie St. John
  • Mon Aug 14 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Chandra Hardester
  • Tue Aug 15 5:30 pm - 6:45 pm with Chelsea Leiby
  • Wed Aug 16 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm with Marissa Bloom