Nikki Koch took her first dance class at the age of two, and continued dancing through her entire young life. After moving to NYC, Nikki turned her attention from dance to yoga, as it helped to ease physical discomfort caused by old dance injuries and repetitive stress, and a meditative, breath-centered yoga practice helped her to find a more healthy, stress-free lifestyle. Nikki received her teaching certification at Abhyasa Yoga Center in 2009, where she taught for three years. In 2012, Nikki, along with partners Julia Huffman and Dana Bushman, founded The Cobra Club as a home for yoga misfits – welcoming to all levels from total beginners to practiced yogis. Nikki’s aim is to take the stigma out of yoga that the practitioner has to be flexible and able to do complicated and physically demanding poses, while leading a perfectly zen life of abstinence outside of the yoga studio. She recognizes that vices, in moderation, can help ease difficulties and lead to healthier, happier lives.
Akiko Nishijima, a Japanese native, has been in love with creating movements (dance, pantomime, Tai chi, slow motion, acting etc.) since she was little. She began taking Yoga classes in NY around 2002. She completed 200 hr Yoga teachers training at YogaWorks in 2007, 500 hr advanced teacher training at ISHTA Yoga in 2009. She also completed Prenatal Yoga teacher training in 2008, Yin Yoga teacher training in 2010, Restorative Yoga teacher training in 2014, Yoga Nidra teacher in 2015, Kids Yoga at Hosh Yoga in 2015. She is currently studying with a renowned Iyengar teacher, Genny Kapuler and a senior ISHTA teacher Mona Anand. She also self-practices Vipassana meditation and Kriya meditation.
Carl Banks is a multi-instrumentalist, storyteller, and New York City based folk singer. He entertains kids and adults with traditional folk and children songs as well as original material that doesn’t speak down to youth. His music draws from many different time periods without bias of genre, a musical raggedy man of sorts, classes include rhymes, repeat-after-me songs, and movement songs with lots of audience participation.
Janna Naylor holds a BFA in Dance from the Ballet Department of the North Carolina School of the Arts. She received her training from Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, Gyula Pandi, and Nina Danilova, to name a few. She traveled to Budapest to study with the National Hungarian Ballet. She has performed as a soloist with Ballet New York, toured china with the Michael Mao Dance Company as a principal dancer, and is a dancer in Matthew Barney’s art film Creamaster III. She has choreographed works for various theatre productions and the musical Ferenet Baranka. She has developed Moving Books, an early childhood program addressing literacy through dance performance. She is a dancer with SLDT and will enter into her 7th year as Program Director of SLDT- the Academy.
A native New Yorker, a momma of two and the founder of Harlem Yoga Studio, Laurel is a graduate of the Integral Yoga Institute with a certification to teach Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Raja Yoga Philosophy. She obtained her Vinyasa training from Seane Corn and Advanced Teacher Training with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. Laurel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and trained as a Midwife assistant with Ina May and the rest of the legendary midwives at The Farm Midwifery Center. She offers emotional support, encouragement and knowledge to women and families throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. It is Laurel’s intention to serve the vibrant and diverse New Yorkers in the Bushridge community by offering peace, wellness, and a sense of oneness.
Legs Malone is a burlesque performer, producer, host and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. When not on stage, Legs is a Wu Tao Dance teacher, rebirthing breathworker, and reiki master. Legs teaches self-transformation classes tailored for both burlesque dancers and non-dancers alike. She has studied shamanism, astrology, tarot, feng shui and geomancy and continues to learn and study extensively. She believes in the sacred connection between the mind and body and revels in the sanctity (both public and private) of burlesque as an agent of enlightenment and tool of liberation. She is currently the producer of Wolfshine Burlesque in Brooklyn and host of the Lunch With Legs podcast.
Marisa began dance and tumbling at a studio in south Florida at the age of two, going on to demonstrate for and assist teachers there. In 1999 she became a certified instructor through Dance Educators of America and began to teach classes, spending nearly 20 years in some capacity with the studio where she grew up dancing. In the mid-00s she spent two seasons with a scrappy DIY dance company in Richmond, Virginia. Even in years away from the dance world, Marisa noticed children’s acrobatic and rhythmic inclinations and her own inclination to foster that. As her own daughter became a toddler, she sought out affordable tumbling classes nearby and the conversation quickly turned to nudges from other parents to begin teaching such a class. A year later, she is providing both tumbling and tap classes for toddlers and young children.
Saskia was introduced to yoga in 2003 and after moving from the German countryside to New York City in 2006, yoga became an essential and substantial practice helping her to find stillness, peace, and clarity in this big city. She completed the first Sarva Yoga Academy teacher training at Go Yoga. Saskia has studied various lineages of yoga, the wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism, Indian Yoga, and the Fourth Way. She was also certified as a Therapeutic Yoga Practitioner at Integral Yoga and is a certified Reiki Practitioner of the 2nd degree. For Saskia, yoga is not a physical practice but rather a combination of mind, body and spirit; and the healing powers of the unity of these elements. With her Metal Yoga classes Saskia is creating a Yoga environment of a different kind for everyone who is not interested in the experience of a regular Yoga. She is offering metal tunes to a devotional practice to the darkness.