Practice Teach

This class is taught by:

Katherine Ryan

Katherine began her journey into teaching at the young age of fourteen. Gymnastics was her first love but it came with many injuries. She started coaching in Michigan and it became a solid base for her to build her life around. After a motorcycle accident left her body chronically aching she journeyed down the yoga path. She moved out to Venice, CA and started doing Hot Yoga everyday. This eventually led her into Yoga Barre. Loving the intensity of the core workout and the stretching she was hooked from day one. Katherine developed a strong practice and started teaching under the guidance of Nancy Norby. She saw how her pain and struggle could inspire others to a happier, better life. Her passion for Yoga had never died and her practice only grew stronger as time went on. Her mentor and friend, Lady Yoga saw how talented she was and trained Katherine in Vinyassa Flow through her Sphota Yoga School. Lady not only mentored Katherine but showed her everything that she knows. Katherine developed a strong base of educators that kept her on her toes and always challenged. Fueled by fire, Katherine designs each class to challenge you to the core and makes you work both body and mind in equal measure. Her physique does not hide the compassion, discipline and technique she's developed over her short life. Her passion for the discipline is infused with the humor and preciseness of an educator that can only be called - expert. You will always leave her class feeling strong, powerful, grounded and drenched in sweat. Do not think for one minute that you have her fooled, just when you do, she will take you for the ride of your life.

Jeanne Wu

Jeanne experienced her first downward dog over 10 years ago and has been hooked ever since. Born and raised in New Jersey, she made her way to UCLA and graduated summa cum laude with a major in Communication Studies and minor in eating, running, pilates, tennis, and anything that got her heart racing. She's a full-time marketer who is also a Certified RealRyder® Indoor Cycling Instructor, and an avid travel enthusiast (been to 37 states, 180 cities, and 28 countries- but who's counting?). Yoga and yoga barre are the perfect complement to her active lifestyle, giving her strength, flexibility, and a complete balance of mind, body, and health. She is honored to be part of the Hot 8 Yoga family and is excited to share her passion for her practice and the euphoric energy that it provides to both veterans and newbies. Prepare to get your groove and sweat on gracefully in her class and leave feeling energized and strong (and without any fist-pumping)!

Heather Heidt

What began as a casual interest later transformed into a path of self-discovery and purpose. Heather discovered Bikram Yoga while living in San Francisco and knew her daily practice would continue no matter where life took her. The love of the heat and Graduate school brought her back to Southern California where she found another passion for Yoga Barre. “It was like heaven to find a Hot Yoga studio that carried so many different practices”. Heather wants to help students discover their greatness and move beyond self-imposed limitations. She is devoted to finding balance between mind and body and believes one can begin by “Bring the Body and the rest will follow”. “If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning”~Gandhi

Deanna Ainsworth

My first Hot Yoga class ignited a lifelong passion for this ancient practice in 1996. I was inspired by my first Hot Yoga teacher who asked me if I wanted to teach after just a short time of doing the practice. My biggest fear in life was public speaking yet every cell in my body said yes! I am grateful for the many teachers who have supported my life path Kim Schreiber Morrison, Eva Vidal, Conrad Zevely, Ana Forrest, Rama Berch, Chirayu Thakkar, Bianca Fearon and Rebekah Rivera. They have instilled in me the essence of being present and how to live a balanced life. I am excited to share with you the many gems they have offered to uplift, inspire and allow a greater sense of grace.

I draw from many different modalities to awaken the art of letting go and being in command of our own happiness regardless of our circumstances. With deep gratitude for my life teachers, Lisa Nilsen (meditation teacher) and my son Nick Moody who have shown me the deeper dynamics of relationships and the true soul desire of connection.

Over the last 15 years I have explored energy work, essential oils, sound, and the indigenous wisdom of food, herbs, and color.

I am grateful to be the Yoga Director at Hot 8 Yoga in Santa Monica as this community vibrates with authenticity, cooperation and radical acceptance.
I lead teacher trainings in the Hot Yoga and Hot Power Fusion styles as well as colead Yoga Sculpt, Yoga Barre, Yin Yoga, and Power Yoga in Santa Monica. Two of my greatest joys are leading trainings and my first grandson Ryder!
My motto is
‘There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.’ Edith Wharton

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Deanna Ainsworth is a Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT) with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a yoga teacher training with an approved and active Registered Yoga School (RYS).

 "Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize"~Swami Sivananda

Anne Spinner

Anne has been enjoying the powerful benefits of practicing yoga since 2004. Growing up being a competitive gymnast, yoga came naturally to her. After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Fine Arts, Anne moved to Vail, skiing in the winter months and competing in triathlons in the summer months. Integrating yoga into her active lifestyle, she felt an increase in balance more than ever before. It was when she moved to California that Anne decided to share her passion through teaching yoga.Trained under Julie Rader, Anne’s instruction is based on a technique that creates a union between breath, movement, and strength building with a playful edge. Encouraging her students to find peace and acceptance in their minds and body. Come with an open mind and an open heart.

Christina Privette

Christina Privette was born and raised in California (Central Coast). In 2004, Christina graduated from UCSB with a BA in Sociology. During her time in Santa Barbara, Christina took her first yoga class, it was love at first downward dog. After receiving a Masters in Education in 2007 Christina went to work at Loyola Marymount University as a Healthy Living teacher and fitness instructor. It was here she truly discovered her passion for helping others to become their best selves through health and fitness. Her first yoga barre class at Hot8Yoga was an eye-opening experience-she felt the pure exhilaration that comes from a truly transformative workout. She knew she had to participate in the yoga barre teacher certification and completed it in June 2011. She is honored to be a part of the Hot 8 family and feels blessed to live out her passion daily. In addition to Hot 8 and LMU, she also works as a fitness coach at State of the Heart Fitness in Santa Monica. It is in the fitness studio when she is helping people get in tune with their bodies that she feels fully alive. It is her goal to create an environment in her yoga barre class that helps calm your thoughts, focus on your body, and facilitate a mind/body transformation during, and long after, her class. Her energy and enthusiasm will both challenge and inspire you.

Ryan Canfield

Ryan is thrilled and honored to be teaching Hot Yoga. His journey of practicing yoga began under the guidance of his wife, Sarah Canfield, in 2001. Together with Sarah he teaches a fun and playful Partner Yoga class in the LA area. Ryan started teaching yoga in 2009 at Mahasukha, a donation based dharma center in LA, where he continues his studies in meditation and yogic philosophy with his enlightened teachers. In May 2011, he completed Hot 8 Yoga’s Hot Yoga 200-hour Teacher Training. Ryan is grateful to be sharing this ancient tradition of awakening one's true self to infinite joy.

Kemi Oyemade

After graduating from USC in 2005, Kemi worked as a modeling agent with Photogenics at Smashbox studios. After leaving Photogenics in the summer of 2009 to take some time off, she came across the hot yoga studio where she took her first yoga class. After the first week she was hooked. In the summer of 2010 she completed a 200 hour training with Jason Wilkerson at Huntington Beach Hot Yoga. "I believe in the heat, and I believe in the focus and self awareness that hot yoga brings. I look forward to sharing hot yoga with seasoned and brand new yogis alike. Namaste'. "

Janice Craig

Janice was introduced to yoga over 8 years ago. She became a devoted practitioner and teacher of Bikram Yoga. The rigorous hot yoga was symbolic of her own personal purification sweat lodge and it was one of the awakenings that gave her the absolute freedom from almost a decade of working in the global corporate world of fashion. Since then she has studied many forms of Hatha Yoga including Ashtanga, Anusura and Yin/Restorative Yoga. Janice joins us at Hot 8 Yoga after 5 incredible years of spiritually journeying and sharing the art of Yoga, Ayurveda and Massage on the lush island of Kauai, to offer her open-hearted spirit of “Aloha” which is invoked in her teaching style. Janice creates a sanctified space and gracefully guides one to the inner remembrance of a deeper embodied truth.

Valarie Payne

Valarie’s passion for fitness began at an early age when she would dance around in ‘80s fitness attire to “Get in Shape Girl” videos made for young girls featuring a ballet bar, aerobics and strengthening through movement and dance. Growing up, she participated in many sports year round. Her compassion and interest in the physiology of the human body led her to a career in teaching PE to students with disabilities as an Adapted Physical Education Specialist. She has completed extensive studies in Anatomy, Physiology, and Kinesiology and worked hand in hand with individuals with various disabilities performing land based exercise including cardio, weight and gait training. She came into the practice of Yoga after running a marathon, seeking a form of exercise that was gentler on the body. Upon discovering Power Yoga she quickly realized the numerous health benefits and recognized it could help center and balance her students, particularly those with Autism. After her first Hot Yoga class, Valarie was instantly attracted to the powerful workout and added flexibility gained from the heat. The more difficult the class, the more exciting the challenge – Yoga Barre became the perfect fit. Valarie completed the Hot Yoga Barre Teacher Training at Hot 8 Yoga in June 2011. She loves the upbeat intensity, spiritual consciousness and energy Yoga Barre offers and can’t wait to share the experience with you.

Elyce Talavera

After graduating from UCLA, Elyce sought to make a positive difference by directing an after school program for inner city youth. While directing and teaching she quickly learned how wonderful it was to have meaningful impacts on people's lives through teaching. As destiny would have it, she discovered hot yoga where her interpretation of the physical practice of yoga shifted into a much deeper internal awareness. It was with this knowledge that Elyce realized the transformative potential of yoga, and she knew then that she wanted to sincerely serve others in finding their own true self through yoga. Thus, Elyce completed her 200 hour Hot 8 Yoga teacher training in a heartfelt effort to contribute positivity to the world. To strengthen her skills, Elyce is furthering her studies in Yoga Barre training at Hot 8 Yoga and with the Mini Yogis Foundation- yoga for kids! Her compassion and excitement creates an environment that is safe and encouraging for the novice and advanced yogi. She has been described by her yoga teacher as "a bright sun over a field of wild flowers that fully opens you up." Join Elyce as she humbly seeks to be a source of light that will guide you to find your own joy in every class.

Britani Selzler

Britani Selzler, born and raised in Osceola, Wisconsin, began taking studio dance at the age of 3. She experienced her first hot yoga class in Boston over ten years ago and also fell in love with the Barre at the same time. Britani found integrating these three styles into the Yoga Barre class as an overall mind, body transformation that has taken her fitness level to its peak performance. Britani is also a certified Spinning and PADI Scuba Instructor and her experience and passion for fitness and health is endless. “As an avid triathlete, training can become intensive and the best cross training for me has been power yoga and yoga barre. The healing aspect of yoga and barre in a heated room has been an essential part of allowing me to get deep into my practice by strength and balance as well as lengthening out my body; I have seen the results! I promise you that your legs will shake no matter how long you have been practicing barre!” Britani’s high energy class will keep you motivated and you will leave feeling strong and energized!

Ally Lane

Ally began practicing yoga in 2001 to heal injuries she accumulated after years of running. She immediately realized the benefits yoga brought to her life both physically and spiritually. With a busy career in the entertainment industry and 2 young children to chase after she treasured the peace she felt on the mat. Yoga became her source of strength and healing from the inside out - helping her become more flexible in body and mind. Ally started her yoga journey as a Power Yoga practitioner but after several years went on to explore different types of yoga. She quickly fell in love with heated practice (yum), pursued yoga barre training at Hot 8 Yoga and completed her certification in June 2011. The blend of heat, barre and yoga was a method like no other! She cultivates a fun and safe environment for her students while challenging them to connect mind, body and breath. Ally believes her yoga journey has only just begun and looks forward to a lifetime commitment of study and dedication on and off the mat.

Zach Brand

Born and raised in Seattle, Zach discovered yoga at 16 when he took his first class at a hot studio. While in his first Savasana, he instantaneously knew that one day he would teach this life-changing practice. After a couple years of practicing, he ventured off to the New York to train with Baron Baptiste in Power Vinyasa and has been teaching ever since. Realizing how rewarding and fun teaching is, he went on to become a group fitness instructor and started teaching various classes such as indoor cycling, bootcamp and weightlifting. Zach’s passion for fitness stems from the fact that he loves challenging people to push themselves to places they never thought possible, all while keeping a light-heart and tuning into their body and mind. He is constantly looking for new ways to make his classes more challenging, innovative and unpredictable. His love for music and keeping a creative-mind is apparent in all his classes, and always encourages his students to try new things, be imaginative, and have fun.

Natasha Needles

Natasha Snow Needles, RYT 200 Snow's career in movement started at the ripe age of 10, teaching a prenatal aerobics class at Silver Slippers Dance Academy located in Idaho. It was a passionate affair from there on out for Natasha with movement. After dancing with various companies in even more various places she earned her BA in dance and began teaching Pilates, ballet, modern and jazz. Miss Snow’s gypsy journey lead her to a Yoga class at Columbia. Hooked! Several years later we find her on staff with Hot 8 Yoga. But not before receiving her certification with Yoga Alliance in Hatha yoga from Yoga At The Village. Natasha instructs with spirit, animation, warmth, awareness, tranquility, and yes, sometimes tears…of joy. Facebook: Natasha Needles

Brit Middleton

Meet Brit! Hot 8 Yoga's Regional Yoga Director. 
Georgia raised Brit Middleton has been living and playing in Los Angeles for the past eight years and was welcomed into the yoga family roughly three years ago. She did her 200 hour certification in 2010 and since then, she has garnered a reputation for leading some of the most challenging and heart-felt classes, usually set to a playlist with Lil’ Wayne in heavy rotation. She is committed and adores being a part of the Hot 8 community.

When she’s not on her mat, either teaching or taking class, Brit lives her life to the fullest and her infectious and charming energy clearly convey her humble, yet illuminating spirit.

Power Teacher Graduates

Join our Power Yoga Graduates from teacher training. We are thrilled to have them teach community classes. Thank you for your support,by taking their class, to assist them to put into action all that they learned.

Dakota Lupo

Dakota Lupo (E-RYT 200) is a west coast transplant who was born and raised in NYC. He completed his first 200-hr training at Yoga to the People in Manhattan and being teaching there in 2009. Specializing in power vinyasa, bikram yoga, and yin yoga, Dakota moved to Los Angeles in 2010 and teaches extensively all over the city. He leads teacher trainings, workshops for teachers and students alike, trains pros and amateurs, the young and the less young, and continues to develop his style of teaching to explore new territory. A creative by trade, each of Dakotas classes, each practice, each moment on the mat is different from the day before and also different from the person next door. With a continuing challenge to explore breath, each of his classes balance enough guidance and compassion for the beginner, with enough depth, specificity, and intense edge work for the advanced yogi. You will move. You will work. Find more at

Shazi Usman

A native of Honolulu, Hawai’i, Shazi Usman has always been a free spirit with a passion for exploring movement, meditation, and consciousness. Shazi first discovered Yoga as a child while visiting his family in India. His first Hot Yoga class awoke a deep, intuitive knowing that this ancient science could heal his injuries from years of running marathons and training to become a professional tennis player. Through a daily Hot Yoga practice, mindful eating, energy work, and Zen and Sufi practices, Shazi has completely healed from those injuries and embraced a life of vitality.

Shazi has trained with Conrad Gacki, Brad Koontz, and Sam Usman, and he completed his 200-hour Yoga teacher training with Deanna Ainsworth at Hot 8 Yoga in Santa Monica, California. Shazi offers a grounded, fun, and strengthening class to deepen the mind-body-spirit connection and elicit joy. ॐ

“Hatha Yoga teaches us to use the body as the bow, asana as the arrow, and the soul as the target.” – B.K.S. Iyengar

Briana DeFalco

My fascination for the body and movement began at a very young age when I started my training in New York City at the School of American Ballet to become a professional ballerina. I became reliant on self-discipline and dedication in order to achieve my dreams. Feeling the pressure of such a competitive atmosphere, I turned to yoga in hopes to find a balance. It was then, at the end of my very first yoga practice that the instructor had us chant ‘OM’ and I felt like I never had before. In that moment, I could feel my body not only absorbing the yoga but for the first time ever, I felt a sense of inner peace and calm rush throughout my entire body. After that I was totally hooked, I began practicing hot yoga regularly and incorporating it into my everyday routine while I continued to pursue my dance career.

After becoming a professional ballerina, I found myself with multiple injuries. However, I noticed that the more I immersed myself in my yoga practice, the quicker I was able to heal and regain my strength back from injury. I was really in awe and inspired by the yoga and what it had done for my body that I decided I wanted to deepen my practice.

I moved to California in September 2012 and set a goal invest in educating myself on the body, injury prevention and my yoga practice. I completed a 200-hour teacher training at Hot 8 Yoga where I learned that yoga was so much more than just a physical practice but the compassion, acceptance and mental focus cultivated in class were powerful tools that would help me in my everyday life. After that I got certified in Yoga Barre at Hot 8 Yoga and an additional 60 hour training at exhale. I'm currently in the midst of completing my 300 hours!

The opportunity to teach and share my passion for yoga is one of the most fulfilling opportunities I have endured thus far. I strive to help guide and heal other yogis toward mind, body, and spiritual awareness. I am humbled and honored by the power of yoga and dedicate myself to passing that on.

I'm currently the Yoga Director in Beverly Hills and I'm so excited and grateful to be apart of the Hot 8 Yoga community!

Yoga Barre Teacher Graduates

We are thrilled to have our recent Yoga Barre graduates teach the community classes!
"Strength doesn't come from what you can do, it comes from overcoming the things you thought you couldn't do."

Stevie Roberts

Stevie has been actively practicing yoga since 2003. While studying theater at the University of Maryland, her voice for actor's teacher introduced the power of asana and pranayama to release tension. It was love at first breath. In 2013 after moving from New York to Los Angeles, Stevie found herself needing to ground down and committed to her practice. Encouraged by support of her family and friends Stevie signed up for Power Yoga Teacher Training in the spring of 2014 and completed Sculpt and Hot Power Fusion training in the spring of 2015. Yoga has enhanced her life by giving her the space to connect to her true self and her inner strength through the exploration of the practice. Stevie continues to be passionate about learning everything she can about yoga and most importantly sharing it with others.

Devon Riesenbeck

Devon was born in Cincinnati, OH where she first fell in love with ballet at six years old. She spent much of her childhood in and out of ballet classes, eventually studying ballet at a performing arts high school and at the collegiate. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music in May of 2016, that fall she set out west to explore dancing in Los Angeles. While in LA, Devon's interest in yoga has continually blossomed since her arrival. As a dancer, she was eager to use yoga to keep her body in top athletic shape, but has learned that yoga provides so much more.Yoga was full of energy, with ability to calm, heal, inspire, motivate, and to break any perceived limitations or usual ideas of yourself. Wanting to share this yoga with everyone is what inspired her to take teacher trainings at Hot8Yoga.While honoring the traditional teachings of yoga, Devon’s style is equal parts fun and hard work while creating a safe space for you to explore your own personal yoga practice. See you in class!

Rachel Eden

From a young age Rachel has always been interested in movement. As a child she was a gymnast, preferring to cartwheel instead of walk. When a shoulder injury took her out of the gymnastics world she turned to what seemed to be the next logical step, dance. Trained in all technical styles, she competed and performed in contemporary and modern dance until the age of 18. During high school she was introduced to Vinyasa Yoga through a dance teacher and found the combination of movement, breath, and spirituality exhilarating and challenging.

While studying at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, she used yoga as a way to relieve stress and stay fit. After graduating from college Rachel worked in brand marketing for five years. During that time she felt as though something was missing and was always happiest on her mat. After some soul-searching she decided it was time to leave the corporate world, take the plunge and re-dedicate her life to movement. Rachel’s classes are accessible to all levels from beginners to advanced practitioners. Expect to sweat, breathe, and move to some good tunes!

Practice Teach