The Team at Sukha Studios
Andy is a traveler, photographer, outdoor enthusiast, and musician. When he’s not capturing photos or bending sweet blues riffs, you can find him climbing large rocks and surfing monster waves. Andy loves to stay active, but most of all, he strives to motivate and keep people happy.
I received my 200 hour Teaching Certification in 2012 while I was living in Cleveland, Ohio. During that time I also began to practice the traditional yoga method of Ashtanga Yoga, which is what I still practice and teach today. I have a Bachelor of Fine Art from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, where I studied Painting and Photography. After I’ve completed my yoga practice for the day, my passions include my day job in marketing and growing my own photography business. Future plans include participating in Modesto’s growing Ashtanga Yoga community, spontaneous travel, personal and career growth, and enjoying every day.
Bonnie Stewart, RN, CCRN,E-RYT, CLYT, received her 500 hour YTT certification with her teacher Dr. Chintamani Gautam, PhD in Yogic Science, Sanskrit, and Human Consciousness. She continues to assist her teacher in developing and leading YTT courses in Nepal. A student of Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, and Tantra Yoga for many years, Sanskrit and mantra have been a core part of her education. Bonnie has studied primarily in Southeast Asia, India, and Nepal and she has been initiated into the Shakta Tantra and Kundalini Maha Yoga lineages. She serves as Director of Bhakti Yoga at Sukha Studios in Modesto, CA, where she also leads a monthly kirtan. A strong believer in laughter as medicine, she has led Hasya (laughter) Yoga workshops all over the world. Bonnie also practices Thai Yoga massage, Reiki, Tibetan Singing Bowl healing, and other forms of intuitive bodywork and energy healing. Her career as a trauma and cardiac nurse has led her to specialize in trauma release, PTSD, and other heart-centered healing. She holds Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Nutrition, and Exercise Physiology.
Bio coming soon! Catch Chelsea at the front desk, welcoming clients with her bright smile!
Meditation teacher primarily in yoga centers, workshops, and private teachings. Knowledgeable and experienced in most schools of yoga and meditation, including Vedanta, Buddhist (Zen and Vipassana), Taoism, and Sufi Order of Islam. Dennis received his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry in 1960 from the University of Houston. Publications: Hill, Dennis, The Inner Yoga of Happiness, Trafford Publishing, 2008. Hill, Dennis, Yoga Sutras: The Means to Liberation, Trafford Publishing, 2007. Hill, Dennis, and Luo, Ping. Spiritual Health and Healing, Trafford Publishing, 2010. Hill, Dennis, Vedanta Lexicon: An Encyclopedic Sanskrit Dictionary. 2004. Published Monographs for Teacher Training: Hill, Dennis. Major Upanishads Illustrated: Commentary on the Major Upanishads, 2010. Hill, Dennis. Samadhi: The Natural State: Commentary on Thirty Six Verses from Vasistha Samhita Yoga Kanda, 2011.
I’m married and have 3 very active girls. Having spent six years in the military I developed a very regimented lifestyle of health and fitness, for which I’m truly grateful and try to pass along to my children. During that time, I became a runner. However, along with running came injuries. A herniation to my L5S1 disc rocked my world over 15 years ago. The doctors told me that I should never run again. I knew I needed something else to rehabilitate my back and return to my active lifestyle. I found Pilates and became certified through Grace Anatomy Studio in Studio City, CA. As I’ve continued my practice in Pilates and education, I also became Barre Certified through the Sharpe-Method and TRX certified in SF in 2016. My love for Pilates and overall health and fitness continues to grow more each day and I look forward to helping you along your personal fitness journey.
Emily Combs lives in Modesto. She grew up doing acrobatics and naturally gravitated toward yoga in college. Yoga was much better because it made her body, mind, and spirit feel so good! She is deeply inspired by Iyengar yoga and the transformative power of the practice. After having children and suffering chronic low back pain because of difficult deliveries, her practice became more focused on gentle and therapeutic uses of yoga. She has studied with many wonderful instructors, but she considers Leslie Howard and Gay White her two most influential teachers. She has studied the pelvic floor with Leslie and recently completed her "Pelvic Revolution" teacher training.
I fell in love with Pilates 13 years ago. Having struggled with an eating disorder the practice helped me discover my body in a positive light and now I hope to share my passion and the magic of Pilates with as many bodies as possible. I received my Pilates certification through the Physical Mind Institute 7 years ago and have been teaching full time ever since. I graduated from The Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts and spent a lifetime performing. Who'd of thought that my training as a performer would prepare me for a career as a Pilates teacher but I have found a little entertainment goes a long way. Besides, what better way to activate your abdominal muscles than a good belly laugh? Having been a competitive gymnast and professional dancer my teaching style is an energetic balance of focused mind body connection and athletic movement that is rooted in Classic Pilates technique. My hope is that you leave my class with a sense of confidence that comes from feeling strong, balanced and positive about your body.
Hilary is an intuitive, entrepreneur, and certified holistic health coach who works to empower women by teaching tools to access intuition and clear energetic blocks. She is currently training as a Shamanic practitioner, has practiced yoga on and off for 15 years, and was a dance and fitness instructor at various studios Los Angeles for 6 years. She’s been trained in energy processing and intuitive reading on and off for 10 years, mentored by Lisa Bliss Reed (Orem, UT). Hilary currently works with clients locally through her “Release and Renew” Intensives and Sound Healing Meditations, as well as coaches private clients. She received her Holistic Health Coach Certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2011. Other notable accomplishments include recently selling the women’s e-commerce clothing brand, White Plum, which Hilary started out of her living room in 2012 and turned it into a company that did over $20M in total revenue over the three plus years she and her partners operated the business. Hilary has been featured in several newspapers, podcasts and has presented at large fashion industry conferences. Before starting her family, Hilary was an award-winning ballroom dancer and choreographer performing all over the world, and has appeared in several live shows, film and TV shows including MTV’s “Made,” OXYGEN’s “Dance Your Ass Off” and was the lead fitness instructor in the “Dance Your Ass Off” Fitness DVD sold nationwide at Target and Walmart. She is a graduate of Brigham Young University. Hilary is currently working on a book about mindfulness and spirituality in entrepreneurship and is designing a new line of products for her next co-founded start-up, Soul Perch, Inc.
I was born in El Salvador and grew up in Germany, I have lived most of my adult life here in California and could not picture myself living anywhere else. I am the first Bikram Yoga teacher in the world to graduate from my little country of El Salvador and I hope someday El Salvador will have a Bikram Yoga studio too. This yoga came to me as a gift from my best friend. I took my first Bikram Yoga class approximately 6 years ago in San Jose and I was hooked immediately. I started this practice with severe neck spine and shoulder injury from a previous heavy car accident. The doctors recommended surgery but I refused and I threw myself with complete faith into this yoga practice. My life completely transformed! I graduated in the spring of 2010 in Las Vegas and started teaching immediately. My passion for this yoga is based on the results I see in myself, healing my neck spine, and I feel physically, mentally and emotionally stronger. I believe 100% in the healing aspects of this yoga method and believe that with a regular disciplined practice and faith the path of life can be completely changed to a more vibrant, meaningful and healthy life.
I have three children: Nicole, Lauren and Sam. They are my world. Two are in college and one is still at home. Yoga, specifically Bikram method has been a blessing to me as it calms me in all areas of my life. I am having a difficult time adjusting to having my children leave the nest. This is why I decided to take a teacher training class. Not only to learn more about what I love and to help me through the emotional trauma of an empty nest, I also want to share and teach others what has benefited me greatly. I do not have experience, other than I have been practicing Bikram method for a little over four years. I did teacher training through True You Hot Yoga in Lodi. I am looking forward to growing in all areas of teaching and excited to be a part of Sukha. My daughters love Hot Pilates which I will train for in the near future. Also, would love to learn how to teach the True Fusion, which incorporates Vinyasa Flow and Bikram Yoga.
Joel began practicing Bikram Yoga in 2012 while living in San Francisco. Immediately after practicing his first class, he knew he wanted become a certified instructor. The discipline, heat, structure, intensity, and excessive sweating appealed to him much more than he had anticipated. For the first time in his life, Joel was forced to confront his biggest demon: himself. Having battled years worth of low self esteem, body dysmorphia, social anxiety, depression, disordered eating, obesity and the onset of diabetes, Joel began to attribute his newfound vitality to the endless benefits of this heated practice. He found comfort and solace in realizing that this yoga was healing him from the inside out; mind, body, and spirit. After practicing consistently for three years, he attended the 9 week Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand during the Spring of 2015. Upon completing Bikram's Teacher Training, he moved to Melbourne, Australia for one year to begin his teaching career. After spending time managing a studio in Dallas, Joel has since relocated to the Central Valley to pursue a Nursing degree and to be near his family. He's excited to continue to share his passion for yoga with those who seek to make positive changes in their life.
Kelly Kistler is a wife and mom of three young children. She has her bachelor's degree from CSU, Stanislaus and teaches Barre, Pilates, and coaches a run club. She is most excited about the education she received through BASI Pilates, an incredibly intense college level Pilates program that requires 500 hours of self practice, teaching, and observation to become certified. Kelly fell into the fitness world as a way to balance life being a stay-at-home mom, wife, and individual. She's always been a social being and finds great joy from helping others achieve their goals. In the future, Kelly plans to continue her education in the Pilates world by diversifying in many other areas of interest including but not limited to, mature clients, pre-and postnatal clients, rehabilitation from injury, and children. “I knew I wanted to work at Sukha from the moment I walked in. I think that’s most people’s experience; it truly is a ‘good space’. The knowledge and support the staff and Michaela give one another is unmatched and I am lucky to be a part of such an amazing place”. “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters the most.” - Buddha
Hi, I’m Macey Callaway and I am 19 years old. I help work the front desk at the Studio. I am a graduate of Modesto Christian High School and attended Modesto Junior College. I am now enrolled at Paul Mitchell School to become an esthetician. Physical fitness, skin care and beauty are my passions. I have enjoyed being introduced to yoga and I am excited to learn more!
I am a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Instructor, teaching Heated Vinyasa and Restorative classes at Sukha. My true yoga passion is the Iyengar method, but hot yoga is an obsession I never knew I had until Sukha opened their doors. I practice yoga to heal my body. I have suffered 2 lower back injuries that have left me in pain everyday since I was 19. My daily practice of yoga helps strengthen my back and relieve my pain. I don’t see my life without yoga because of the physical benefits it brings me. I graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June 2016 with a BA in Feminist Studies with a concentration in Sexuality Studies. My goals are to go back to college to get a teaching credential so I can teach a more comprehensive and progressive sex education, to work at a women’s health clinic, or to join the Peace Corps. When I am not in the yoga room, I can be found spending time with my 4 overweight cats and watching Netflix, especially the Office. Sukha came into my life when I didn’t know I needed it. Sukha has become like another home to me and both the employees and clientele have become like family. Sukha saw potential in me, which allowed me to grow as an employee. I was able to utilize my skills to be promoted to manager, which was never an opportunity for me at any of my previous jobs. My favorite part about working as manager at Sukha is working with clientele. I enjoy being able to form relationships with those who walk through Sukha’s doors. Upon entering the studio, you can always find me behind the front desk with a big smile.
Hi, I'm Marina Braaton! I'm 18 years old and I graduated from Oakdale High School. I started practicing yoga about 4 years ago, and I have been hooked ever since! My favorite styles of yoga are Ashtanga and Hatha. This year I hope to become a certified yoga instructor and to transfer to CU Boulder.
Mario's journey led him to yoga, receiving his RYT200 in 2013. Having a background in Kinesiology and Health and Wellness, he was no stranger to the benefits of exercise, but it was yoga's ability to connect mind and body with breath and movement that caused him to rethink how the body operates and how to bring balance to the mind and body. Mario loves to share his passion of yoga through his classes: energy healing Restorative Yoga and heart pumping, mental challenging Vinyasa Yoga. His deep belief in "balanced living" is what fuels his passion for helping others restore balance in their lives.
Bio coming soon! Catch "Yoga Matt" at the studio whenever you have the chance! He's a wealth of knowledge.
At the age of 50, I became a certified Bikram Yoga instructor in the Spring of 2010. This involved 9 weeks of teacher training, taking two hot yoga classes every day, with afternoons and evenings filled with lecture seminars and posture clinics. I moved to the Modesto area six years ago. The closest Bikram studio was one hour away in Stockton, then in Tracy. My everyday practice began to suffer with the long drive and time commitment. This is why I am so grateful for Sukha Studios. I can practice more often and even teach a class. I’ve also come to enjoy exploring other methods of yoga, something I hadn’t done before. Michaela has done a great job of hiring some of the friendliest, most dedicated people I’ve ever known. Namaste!
"I found Pilates three years ago while teaching TRX at a local gym. I was a full time graphic and web designer for 18 years with all the ailments that came from sitting in front of a screen for hours. Pilates has helped me balance my body and I believe it helped me speed up my recovery after my surgery. I have been teaching Pilates for two years and will be finishing my Balance Body comprehensive certification with the goal of taking the Pilate Method Alliance exam by the end of 2018. My study focuses on rehabilitation with a strong emphasis on women's health. Fitness has always been a part of my life. I've practiced yoga since my daughter was born, 19 years ago, to get my body back in shape and it became a lifetime love. A daredevil at heart, I have enjoyed boxing, karate, TRX, Roller Derby, dancing, hiking, rock hounding, and on occasion, sky diving. At Sukha, you can find me in their Inversion and DETOX Bikram classes."
After years of practicing, I finally decided to get my 200hr RYT from my home studio, Zuda Yoga in Sacramento. I’m a recent grad from Stanford and spend my days working at Gallo as a chemical engineer. Yoga has brought me joy, lightness, and a purpose—and I hope to share this passion with the world for the rest of my life. I’m always searching for new ways to challenge myself to continue to grow physically, mentally and spiritually, and I hope you join me!
Originally from the United Kingdom, Randhir has been a native of the Central Valley since 1987. He began practicing Bikram Yoga in 2013 at the advice of his Ayurvedic Physician, and credits this system of yoga for saving his life. He reports being more agile, flexible, and coordinated at the age of 46 than at 25. Father of two adult sons (19 and 21), Randhir is a full time educator with the Ripon Unified School District. He holds multiple black belts in Shotokan Karate and Hakkoryu Jujutsu. Randhir’s purpose in life is humanitarian, and enjoys helping others to become the best version of themselves. Bikram Yoga is the perfect medium to accomplish his life purpose.
Rose's love for fitness and helping others attain their fitness and better health goals began 27 years ago. She brings a very diverse professional background to Sukha and continues to grow her knowledge as a PMA/Balanced Body Instructor. After attaining her Group Fitness certification, Rose continued with several different certification trainings: Personal Training, Step Aerobics, PIYO, Water Fitness, BOSU, and Zumba. But her main focus changed after becoming a Pilates Reformer Instructor 12 years ago. She recently attained the Balanced Body/PMA Pilates Chair & Balanced Body Movement Principles certifications. Her two-year goal is to be a Balanced Body Master Trainer.
E-RYT 200 Certification | BSW-Bachelors degree in Social Work. In 2013, I launched my yoga-teaching career while in Costa Rica studying Vinyasa Flow with Jennifer Yarro, Frog Lotus Yoga. After suffering a spinal injury in 2015, I embraced a restorative practice. The healing effects of a slow practice and massage inspired my training in Therapeutic yoga at the Integral Institute of San Francisco with Cheri Clampett. In 2017, I made my first pilgrimage to Mysore, India where I studied Ashtanga Yoga and received my certification in Thai Yoga Massage. Today, both traditional Ashtanga and Restorative Yoga influence my teaching. Exploring the balance between effort and ease has been incredibly transformative in my body, mind, and spiritual practice. In addition to anatomically lead movement, my classes offer a blend of guided meditation, breath work, and hands-on touch. I invite you to show up to your mat, just as you are.
Hi, my name is Sandra Gomez. I became a yoga instructor as a way to share not only the spiritual qualities but also the emotional and physical benefits of a regular yoga practice. I love to bring my enthusiasm, positive energy, and fun nature to the mat and welcome the beginner to the seasoned yogi to my class and put a new spin on the beautiful world of yoga. Namaste I love the people, environment, and vibe of Sukha.
Sharon is a Modesto native, returning home after more than two years spent traveling the globe. In 2010, Sharon completed her 200hr Vinyasa Teacher Training Program at Yogaworks in San Francisco, a program that she credits for helping to deepen and enrich her own personal practice, as well as laying the foundation for her more rigorous studies abroad. Whilst traveling the world she had an opportunity to practice yoga under many varied teachers and modalities, but it was within the practice of Ashtanga that Sharon really found the grounding, stability and routine that she needed within her nomadic life on both a physical and an emotional level. She loves the combination of strength building, self reflection, and exploration as well as the humbling challenges that Ashtanga provides. Sharon's most recent adventure took her on a five month journey across India, where she had the opportunity to deepen her practice within a traditional yoga environment, completing her 200hr Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training at Tattvaa Yogashala, on the banks of the Ganges River, in the stunning Himalayan foothills of Rishikesh. Now that Sharon is back in her hometown, refreshed from her travels, she's very excited to be a part of the growing yoga community here in Modesto, and she is really looking forward to meeting everyone and sharing her love for Ashtanga.
Sharrie has been a practicing yogi since 2004. Her passion to help others has brought her from a home practice with a television and DVD’s to instructing in the studio where she guides others through their yoga journey. With her gentle, soft spoken nature and friendly personality, she excels at teaching relaxing, restorative classes while being skilled in other types of yoga as well. Her style can be described as eclectic because she incorporates Hatha, Vinyasa, and Iyengar into one unique class making it a fun and stress relieving experience for all students, young and old. She offers a feel-good class that leaves students with an overwhelming sense of calm and well-being. She is also a big hit with the kids, having taught many children’s classes over the years. Sharrie is a writer and author, and just like with her yoga practice, she infuses love and heart into all that she does.
Hi there! I graduated from college in 2015. I majored in English and am passionate about pretty much everything that allows for creative and artistic expression. Since moving home to Modesto after graduation, I’ve been working on establishing a regular yoga practice as part of self-care. I’m also interested in marketing, holistic nutrition, and esthetics, and hope to become more invested in those areas of study. Sukha is such a wonderful environment, providing peace to those who need it as well as positively challenging people towards self-improvement. I’m excited to be part of the team here at Sukha!