Once upon a time, 20ish years ago, a woman by the name of Gloria befriended me. Gloria wore high heels and was a beautiful dresser. She stood like Wonder Woman, strong and ready…for anything. We traveled together. Her energy and stamina impressed me. One day I curiously said to her “Gloria, if I can look half as good as you when I’m half your age, I’ll be doing alright.” She looked me in the eye and responded with “Clarisa, it’s the Yoga.” She was 69 at the time. Being pregnant didn’t stop me, I soon began taking yoga classes. After gaining 55 pounds, I gave birth to my first girl and it seemed that there was no time for yoga. Then I discovered classes at 5:45 am. They appealed to me because I could practice before everyone was awake. The phone didn’t ring, there were no interruptions and I could watch the sun rise. It was MY time. This went on for over a decade, another wonderful child, and more and more family activities, social commitments and personal obligations. Yoga started to become something I really had to squeeze into my life and I didn’t like it. I came upon a dance class that really intrigued me but a choice was to be made. Yoga or dance? It couldn’t be both. I chose the dance class. After 3 months of that dance class, I came to the conclusion, I could do yoga and not do anything else but I couldn’t do anything else and not do yoga. So for my 40th birthday, I decided to see what would happen if I took yoga seriously. So seriously that I signed up for teacher training. Seriously, that’s what I did. The first two weeks were AWFUL. I kept thinking to myself, nobody in their right mind practices yoga 5 days a week. But I had paid all this $$$ and I couldn’t quit. After 10 practices in 14 days, there was a shift. Yoga became like food for me and more. It nourished my body, my mind, and my spirit. I taught my first class to dear friends and family on my 40th birthday. I found out what happens if one takes yoga seriously. Eleven years later I am honored to say, I am also certified in several methods of meditation, Therapeutic Yoga, Levels 1 & 2 from Cheri Clampett and Arturo Peal, White Lotus Yoga Foundation’s Vinyasa Flow under the tutelage of Tracy Rich and Ganga White, and Wisdom Flow Yoga with Jennifer Lynn. One of the wonderful things about yoga is that it is universal. One can practice anywhere on this planet. My studies have included yoga in Bali, India, Singapore, the Aegean Sea and South America. I’ve taught in my living room and the living rooms of others, offices, hospitals, boats, parks, warehouses. Working one-on-one with someone thrills me to no end. Guiding people on retreat makes me high. Join me for a class and let’s explore “la vida yoga” together.
Since 2011, my life revolved around all fitness centers within a 30 mile radius from my home and work. From cardio kick boxing, strength training, yoga, you name it, I was at the gym minimum 7 times a week. The feeling of overcoming all the physical challenges became an addiction and drowning in my own sweat became a daily routine.
In 2014, I became a group fitness instructor and was teaching multiple formats including a mind/body format very similar to yoga, and this is when my curiosity for yoga started to develop. I wanted to know why aside from the physical changes, my mental state started to shift as well. I was becoming more calm, centered and focused.
My curiosity eventually led me to complete my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with Thea Peuschel. Now with a deeper understanding of Yoga, I teach from an introspective and functional approach. I specialize in Vinyasa, Yin and Hatha Yoga and I am very honored to share my passion here at Greenheart Yoga. Come practice with me, allow me to show you all the physical, mental and spiritual benefits Yoga has to offer.
My yoga journey truly began as a young child (growing up in the Chicago area) when I would watch Lilias Folan on Lilias, Yoga and You. Her 30-minute show aired on the local PBS station. Her quiet demeanor and the way she moved her body intrigued me; she was so peaceful and calm. The journey recommenced in 2009 when I decided to attend a yoga class because something in the back of my mind told me “yoga is good for you, it will help you.” I was searching for help during a challenging personal time. That instructor (my first yoga teacher) told me “yoga will transform you,” but I wasn’t open to or could fully hear her message at that time. Little did I know!
In August 2014 I decided to audit The History of Modern Yoga, a graduate level academic class at Loyola Marymount University. At the same time, on the urging of a dear friend, I jumped into a 200-hour RYT certification program and since, made a personal commitment to my yoga knowledge/continuing education/practice to attend a meaningful training every 6 months. My certifications include Prime of Life Yoga I & II, Pre-natal/Post natal Yoga, Prison Yoga Project, Trauma-informed Yoga, Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR) and Veterans Yoga Project.
I am currently a volunteer instructor for Prison Yoga & Meditation – we teach in the LA County Jail system. Twice monthly, I lead a session for women enrolled in a parenting program at South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project (SC LAMP). On a weekly basis, I work with clients in a local residential mental health program. I recently traveled to India with the Loyola Marymount University Masters in Yoga Studies and Yoga Therapy Program where we studied at the Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institute and attended classes and symposiums presented by CYTER and ICYER in Pondicherry. I enjoy taking yoga classes from a variety of instructors and a mixture of levels especially when I travel. I am honored to be the organizer and place holder for a Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR) group at Greenheart. This gathering is open to ANY and ALL.
My yoga journey started in earnest with the birth of my first child. Yoga helped me find my center in the midst of this immense life shift and opened me to the incredible path of motherhood.
My newfound love for yoga and a background in education prompted me to earn a certification from YogaEd. I took this knowledge into the urban public school system and brought yoga to high school students who had never done it before. Along the way I earned a certification from YogaWorks, traveled to India, and continued to throw myself wholeheartedly into my practice.
My curiosity for all things yogic led me to investigate Ayurveda, the sister science of yoga. Ayurveda, Sanskrit for knowledge of life, is a systemic approach to wellness that incorporates herbs, whole foods and lifestyle accommodations. In 2014 I earned my certification as an Ayurvedic Health Practitioner from the California College of Ayurveda. I am in awe of this ancient practice that continues to inform our modern lives. Recently, I finished my YogaWorks professional certification and am humbled by how much I still don’t know.
An everyday yogi, I keep it real with two very hairy Bernese Mountain Dogs, a crazy family, coffee with lots of half and half, and a penchant for writing about life with humor and honesty. Come practice with me!
Originally from New York, I moved to Los Angeles six years ago. I have been practicing yoga for fifteen years and it has remained a central thread on my path to self-realization.
I completed my 200 hour Teacher Training at Yoga Blend in Burbank in 2015. The training deepened my knowledge of Yoga philosophy and changed the course of my life. I love teaching a variety of studio classes including Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Restorative and Prenatal. Wedding Yoga has been a big passion of mine in recent years.
My goal is to help my students build strength, clarity and calm. In class, I like to create an environment of kindness and respect, both to each other and ourselves.
Discovering new music and screenwriting both nurture my creative energy. I also like the first amendment and Ulysses but the key to my heart is Vietnamese food. Drop into my class and say hello!
I was introduced to yoga in high school. Like many, I thought yoga was just a form of exercise or something for flexible people. After years of playing volleyball, my shoulders and I needed more gentle movement and yoga was it. When I became consistent with my practice, I was able to access the deeper nature of yoga and in turn myself. Yoga helped me cultivate self awareness and taught me to extend grace to myself and others. Realizing it is a powerful tool that I wanted to share, I registered for yoga teacher training.
My training brought about awareness of how important and healing it is to have a safe space that is inclusive, non-judgemental, and loving, where we can be in our bodies and less overwhelmed by our minds. It’s my mission to reflect this in my classes where I simply hold space for people to just be.