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Teacher Bios


Aimee is a cultural anthropologist, movement artist, and professor at Fordham University. She is the author of Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015) and the forthcoming edited volume, Gender & Space (MacMillan). She has also written articles and book chapters on performance, youth culture, and urban space. Aimee is a former professional dancer who trained on scholarship with The Dance Theater of Harlem and toured widely with Ailey II/The Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble. She is also the founder of BlackLight, a youth-led performance collective that has produced work in Detroit, Newark, and New York City.Aimee teaches with a generous spirit and sense of humor combined with rigor and creative challenge. She thanks her mentor, Julie Pasqual, for being such a wonderful guide on this long and glorious journey.


A native South African, Deborah’s love for yoga began on a trip to the island of Mauritius in 1996, where she discovered the magic of the body moving into stillness. Since then, Deborah has studied a number of different styles of yoga beginning first with sivananda yoga in India and South Africa. Deborah eventually moved to Boulder, CO to obtain her masters degree in somatic psychology and play therapy from Naropa University. It was in boulder where she discovered the profound teachings of hatha and vinyasa yoga with Sofia Diaz, her life-long teacher. Through these years of intensive training with Sofia, Deborah understood the ecstatic, devotional and beautiful nature of what true heart opening meant. Yoga is a living experience, that naturally brings transformational and a sweet sensitivity to life. In 2006 Deborah completed her vinyasa teacher’s training at Laughing Lotus yoga studio in Manhattan. Deborah challenges her students to confront comfort zones and their perceived limitations with compassion, discipline, and a sense of humor. Deborah’s classes are both creative and challenging, focusing on the outer body as an expression of the inner body. Deborah invites her students to stay present moment to moment in order to deepen his or her own understanding of the nature of self. Each class is an opportunity to create spaciousness, skilled awareness and heart awakening.


Owner of the Church Ave Yoga & Bodywork Center in Brooklyn, NY, Bob is a practitioner of Ashtanga Yoga under the guidance of Eddie Stern. His classes are both lengthening and strengthening, emphasizing correct breathing while taking cues from the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya through Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. As a massage therapist, Bob practices Chinese tuina bodywork under the tutelage of Errol Lynch. Bob is a prolific writer on body-centered, as well as anarchistic spirituality. He was a founding member of The Babarazzi; was the Managing Editor of internationally acclaimed journal of religious studies, Parabola; and was a founding member of the elusive post-art-punk band SPRCSS. Bob received his MFA in Writing & Poetics from Naropa University’s “Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics” in 2002, and is a graduate of the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine.


Kristin Leigh has co-owned The Shala in Manhattan and Brooklyn with Barbara Verrochi since 2002. She began practicing iyengar yoga in San Francisco in the mid-1980s. By 1992 she was in New York practicing at jivamukti, where she was certified in 1998 by Sharon Gannon and David Life. Since 1997 she has been studying ashtanga yoga with Eddie Stern and has made periodic visits to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and R. Sharath Jois. Kristin co-teaches The Shala’s teacher training program and The Shala’s mysore ashtanga program and their mentorship program. She has studied extensively with Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman Yee, Tim Miller, and Sharon Salzberg. She also studies anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff, dance with Ronald K Brown and Pat Hall for 17 years. Every class she teaches is infused with humble gratitude to all of her teachers, especially Shri K Pattabhi Jois and Eddie sSern. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and her 5 year old son, Jules.


Bibi Lorenzetti was born in Genova, Italy and spent her childhood seriously pursuing gymnastics. After discovering yoga on her 20th birthday, she decided to devote herself to the practice completely. Two years ago, she stumbled into the Shala through Bent On Learning and began assisting Kristin Leigh. Bibi teaches purely, thoroughly, rigorously and honestly--her classes are built around self-discovery, inner peace and the ancient ashtanga system. Her classes emphasize the importance of 'tristhana'--the three places of attention--correct alignment, proper breathing, and focused gaze. When the breath is steady, and our practice firmly established, the mind becomes clear, lucid and truthful. Bibi studies with Sharath and Saraswati in Mysore. She is very thankful for all the teachers that have shared with her what she shares with her students today: Sharath, Kristin Leigh, Barbara Verocchi, Tim Miller and Daniela Trogu. For more information about Bibi, see


Annie teaches at Kula yoga in Tribeca, and designs and teaches asana for the actors of both NYU's School of Graduate Acting and the Yale School of Drama. Previous work as an actor and theater director led her down a path to yoga O breath, body, heart, and mind. A deep, vigorous, breath-led practice is the basis of her teaching style with particular emphasis on calming nerves and quieting the mind. She is currently involved in an ongoing training to design and teach yoga to veterans and others.


Hi! I am Summer Quashie, an artist of many means, trained in Yoga and Buddhism, arts and crafts and vegetarian cooking. Being taught to draw from the right side of my brain at an early age opened a world of philosophical questions that led me to art school at UGA, world travel and deep studies in Yoga and Buddhism. I have been teaching yoga since 2001 and have certifications in Hatha Yoga, Radiant Child, Prenatal, Lineage Project and Master Level Reiki. It has been an honor to have co-created and taught several yoga teacher programs- Sacred Shape Prenatal, Communicating with Kids Through Yoga, Yoga Sukhavati and Greenhouse Holistic YTT. Retreats are a powerful part of my life. It is in retreat that I have broken habitual tendencies that run deep and learned the ancient wisdom of compassionate masters. Each year I lead several retreats to beautiful places in nature, where students and friends can find ease and arrive in the seat of themselves. Currently, I live on the Jersey shore with my husband and daughter. Here I learn from nature, contemplate consciousness, teach privates, lead retreats and offer artisan healing sessions.


A student and teacher of yoga for over a decade, Julianna’s classes integrate steady attention on the breath with yogic philosophy, chanting, meditation and carefully articulated guidance. Her influences and studies include ashtanga, vinyasa, prana and her formal study of sufism in the tradition of Hazrat Inayat Khan since 2002. Julianna has studied extensively with her teacher, Ruth Lauer-Manenti, as well as Jeff Migdow, Robyn Ross, Sharath Jois and Saraswathi Rangaswamy. Julianna co-directs the Greenhouse Holistic yoga teacher training in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and is founder the yoga HOEDOWN. Her classes have been featured in Time Out New York's "Best Of" issue for the past three years. Julianna leads classes, workshops and retreats on yoga and meditation locally and internationally.


Paul Weinfield is a musician, writer, and teacher of Buddhist meditation (Insight/Theravada) style. He received his doctorate in Religion from Columbia University in 2008 and has been teaching at Downtown Meditation Community under Peter Doobinin since that time. He has been practicing meditation since 1995.


Barbara co-owns The Shala with kristin Leigh. she began her teaching career in 1986, as an elementary school art instructor in the south Bronx. She taught within the NYC public schools for fourteen years, and continues to work as a program manager, curriculum adviser, and training supervisor for yoga and meditation programs which aim to serve public school communities, including sonima foundation and bent on learning. In 1990, Barbara began studying yoga at the Iyengar Institute and Jivamukti Yoga, where she became a student of David Life, Sharon Gannon, Kevin Gardiner, Maria Rubinate, Lisa Schrempp, and Ruth Lauer-Manenti. In 1996, she established three daily spiritual practices: ashtanga yoga with Eddie Stern; singing and harmonium lessons with Gulum Mohamed kKahn; and Buddhist meditation with Sharon Salzberg. Barbara made the first of many trips to Mysore, India, in 1997, where she met her most influential teacher, the late Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. In 2002, she received Guruji’s blessing to share the ashtanga method with her own students, and continues to study with Saraswati Jois and Sharath Jois. She bows deeply to all of her teachers for their steady guidance. As a teacher, Barbara is known for her consistency, precision, and warm humor. She lives in Brooklyn with her beautiful son, Workneh.