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.
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.
James is the USANKF 165 lb Juice Karate national champion, a Renzo Gracie purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, He has extensive training in Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts-based striking under Ray Longo, spent several months training Muay Thai in Thailand, and has competitive amateur Muay Thai experience. James is the winner of multiple grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, has experience in Combat Sambo and experience teaching Karate, Jiu-Jitsu, and mixed martial arts.
Matt roi Berger is a musician and composer living in bed stuy with his wife and three-year-old daughter Agnes June. Matt writes songs for off Broadway musicals and for the serialized musical comedy murder mystery podcast The Fall of the House of Sunshine. He plays in the band Teen Girl Scientist Monthly in and around Brooklyn and makes board games for kids and adults in his free time.
Robert was introduced to a wide variety of music growing up as his parents valued musical diversity, and through various concerts at local venues, Metal became a definitive influence in his life. He moved to New York in 2002 to pursue his Masters at Parsons where he met his wife who introduced him to Yoga. She dragged him out for classes and if he’s being honest, the whole ‘ohm’ thing weirded him out. Fast forward a few years and at the local gym, he quickly realized that yoga was actually the only exercise he truly enjoyed. Thinking the Zen approach works some days, but some days you just want to scream, he thought somebody must do yoga to Metal ‘because I can’t be the only one that finds that relaxing’, a quick google search later introduced him to Saskia and her Metal Yoga class. Frequenting the class at the Cobra Club, he found a great community that Saskia built. He is thrilled to be continuing Saskia’s practice and sharing the two things he loves with others around him, Metal Yoga.
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.
Salvador began his Hatha Yoga practice and training in 1995, exploring a variety of disciplines such as Ashtanga-vinyasa, Iyengar, Shadow, and Therapeutic. While pursuing his studies, he lived in San Francisco and London, settling in New York City, where he became a Yoga teacher, receiving teaching certification in Vinyasa, Therapeutic, and Children’s Yoga. Salvador deepened his knowledge of Yoga Anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff and Embodied Anatomy and Kinesiology with Amy Matthews at The Breathing Project. In his studies, he examined the principles and practices that provide a practical grounding in the essentials of the anatomy of yoga practice with a particular emphasis on the relationship between breathing and healthy spinal function. He addressed structure and movement from an experiential perspective, using principles from Body-Mind Centering, Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, PNF, and various yoga practices to discuss principles of alignment and therapeutic applications. Salvador offers a Breath-Centered Yoga practice for the individual, based on the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya and his son TKV Desikachar, and the teachings of Mark Whitwell. It is with profound passion that Salvador offers the teachings and practice, clarifying its relevance of ancient wisdom to contemporary life