Jillian is constantly looking to better her skills in dance, yoga, barre, and fitness by attending classes, workshops, and trainings. She holds numerous certifications and is always excited to learn more. Jillian is passionate about dance, yoga, fitness, and health and loves to share her passion with others through teaching and training. Her goal is to make each and every client, student, and friend who comes to her for a class or a training to feel better leaving the studio than when they came in.
Leigh Wakeford was born and raised in the beautiful “Mother City” of Cape Town, South Africa. Big dreams, and great aspirations led him to the lights of Broadway, where he has called Manhattan his home for the past 4 years. He thanks the hustle and bustle of New York City for sending him on a journey to find the peace, harmony and balance, that is essential to juggle a career based in uncertainty and a life surrounded by chaos. Yoga was the answer. “On my mat, I could shut out the noisy surroundings of the busy Metropolis, and silence the voices of doubt in my mind. Even if just for an hour a day, I found my solitude, my church.” His inevitable obsession with the Yoga lifestyle lead him to his mentors Stephanie Culen and Mindy Frenkl, under whose guidance Leigh completed his 200 hour RYT certification in December 2010.
Fast-forward to April 2012, Leigh finds himself in the City of Angels, having made a career transition from the stage to the silver screen. Committed to finding his “church” in his new home, enter Hot 8 Yoga, Nancy Norby and a new fitness concept known as “Yoga Barre”. Having been trained in all forms of dance for the past 10 years, this combination of ballet barre technique, yoga and heat opened Leigh’s mind and body to the endless benefits of merging his passion for dance, his primal need for yoga, and fascination with healthy living. An obsession was born. Leigh received his Yoga Barre certification through Hot 8 Yoga in May 2012.
“If you're ready to feel the passion, the heat, the music and the love...come join me. It's about finding balance, inside and out, and whether you're a guy, girl, young, or not so young... let’s embark on this journey together. For if I'm in that place of peace, love and light, in me as you are in yours - then we are ONE. Namaste, friends.“
Her belly dance fitness class not only was a hit amongst her college peers, but within the Orange County community as well. Mariam has been awarded for her format’s popularity and uniqueness, and in the process, has truly transformed the notion that belly dancing is only meant to be in the dance studio.
Mariam is also certified in various dance and cardio formats, most notably Zumba and Barre, and has taught for a few of the most prestigious fitness clubs in Seattle and San Francisco. With a strong passion for dance, 12+ years of experience in instructing, and a special appreciation for helping her clients build their pelvic floor, Mariam enjoys providing eclectic music, strong technique , and an upbeat attitude to all her classes.
The grueling demands of dancing and full time performing led to inevitable injures. She discovered Pilates as part of her rehabilitation and was impressed with the benefits, thus her passion for health and fitness was born. By 2007, she had started a family and by 2009 had received certification in Pilates, Barre, TRX and nutrition.
Eager to share her newfound passions, she began her teaching career. After moving to LA in 2012 with her Husband, 2 boys and 2 dogs, Sam successfully owned and sold a boutique fitness studio in West Hollywood within the first 2 years she was here. It was in this environment where her true passion evolved.
Sam honestly cares about everyone she meets, creating an inspiring community in her classes with her infectious vibe, she educates her clients with correct alignment, tailoring their workouts for their individual needs. She teaches a killer cardio class all fused together with delicious beats to keep your body on point. I cannot wait to create magic in class with everyone at Hot 8 Yoga.
And its this, “ addictive experience,” that has given him a diverse following in Los Angeles from professional athletes, dancers, fitness enthusiast and the Hollywood elite.
Born and raised in southern CA Marxel grew up playing several competitive sports. Physical fitness had always been a facet of his life. Educated at an Ivy-League ( Cornell University) Marxel began his journey of being a transcontinental citizen through his NY, LA and European living experiences. His discovery of yoga came during these travels as a mishap...but was a life changing experience. By his completion of college he had already completed a BA, MA and a 500-RYT training. He relocated to Los Angeles to follow is dream and passion for the arts and Yoga soon after.
“The Highlight of what I do as a yoga and fitness instructor is helping someone find a new connection and awareness with their body. The beautiful thing is that new connections happen all the time within class or private sessions. Seeing my students grow, seeing them build their own personal practice, seeing them find satisfaction with what their body is capable of doing and achieving…is the most bitchen’ part of my job. Its an honor to be a part of their transformation as my students find their true pontential and edge. Get ready to sweat”
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’. 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 body. After that I was totally hooked, I began practicing hot yoga regularly incorporating it into my everyday routine while I continued to pursue my dance career. After becoming a professional ballerina and dancing with some of the best ballet and contemporary ballet companies in the country, I found myself with multiple injuries. 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 to spend an entire year educating myself on the body, injury prevention and my yoga practice. Yearning to nourish my desire to learn more about yoga and how to instruct others, I signed up for the 200-hour Hot Yoga teacher training at Hot 8 Yoga under the guidance of Deanna Ainsworth. I learned 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 knew I wanted to educate myself further and became certified in my favorite class, Yoga Barre! I signed up for the Yoga Barre teacher training under Nancy Norby. This was an absolute perfect fit for me; harmoniously combining both yoga and dance in a fun yet very challenging class.
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 community here! I teach Yoga Barre every Monday/Wednesday at 5:45 pm and Tuesday/Thursday 4:30 pm!
Inspired by her trainer, Colleen, Ava went on to receive her personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Shortly after, at the age of 20, she completed her RYT 200-hour yoga teacher training with David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund of South Boston Yoga in 2014. Her training certified her through Yoga Alliance in vinyasa, restorative, and prenatal yoga. Ava is passionate about helping others find their own physical, mental, and emotional strength through physical movement. Yoga and personal training are her methods of doing so, with her background and current career in dance as an advantage. Ava is always eager to learn more from those around her, including her clients and students. She understands that each student and client has a different body, with a different structure, which affects not only movement and range of motion, but also the movement pathways the body takes. Ava’s philosophy for her teaching and training is to recognize and tap into your own individual needs as a student to be able to find a balance of push and pull, challenge and ease, and growth and grounding.
Ava moved to Los Angeles in March 2016 to pursue her passions of dance, yoga and fitness. When she found Hot 8 Yoga and her incredible mentors Jonatan Silva and Briana DeFalco, she knew she knew she found the perfect environment to blend her worlds and reach others at the same time. Ava is thrilled and humbled to be working with and along side such inspiring teachers and students, and is excited to share her passion in the studio!
When Jessica moved to California in 2012, she was searching for something to be a part of. All it took was one barre class at Hot 8 Yoga and she was hooked. It was everything she wanted in a workout and the warmth and kindness of the people in the studio just drew her in more. When the chance to take Nancy's Barre teacher training presented itself, she knew she had to do it. Not only has this studio changed her body for the better, it has also changed her soul. She hopes to instill these same positive changes in those she teaches. As an architect by trade, Jessica has a passion for form, function, and beauty. She brings this passion to her classes helping to shape the building blocks of the body with flow, movement, and most of all... fun!
When not in the the studio or designing buildings Jessica can be found backpacking through the mountains or exploring the world, absorbing as much beauty, nature, different cultures and new experiences that she can.
Among swimming and her studies in medicine, Stephanie, 1. Loves to workout and 2. Loves to DANCE! She became passionate for Yoga Barre once she saw how this class was able to combine the two together. Since starting her practice, Stephanie has seen improvement on her allover athletic performance and a transformation in her physique. Stephanie received her Yoga Barre teacher training certification with Nancy Norby. Stephanie’s Barre classes are filled with fun and energetic music that makes you want to move that body. So get ready to move to the beat of the music!