Owner and Founder, Yoga Heights
Yoga Instructor, E-RYT 500, Yoga Teacher Trainer
I unexpectedly fell in love with yoga because of the way it takes me out of my head and into my body by challenging me to cultivate strength, balance, and stillness. When I decided to become an instructor it allowed me to explore the history, foundations, and logic behind yoga. I continue to learn, and love, that yoga is many different things, to many different people. There is no “right and wrong” in yoga. There are safe and healthy practices that should be respected, but the sky’s the limit. Meditation, nutrition, weight loss, flexibility, stress relief, mental and physical balance – this are all things that yoga brings to me, and that I offer to my students. My focus in leading the Yoga Heights Teacher Training Program is to empower trainees to thrive on and off the mat. Our training program focuses helping teachers connect to their true self and then teach yoga from that place of self-assured confidence. The yoga we teach is rooted in tradition, yet modernized to be adaptable and beneficial to all students.
Owner and Founder, Yoga Heights
Yoga Instructor, E-RYT
Amy Rizzotto is a yoga instructor, certified nutrition coach, healthy living blogger and wellness entrepreneur. Amy has always had a knack for business and passion for work-life balance. A yogi for 12 years and outdoor exercise enthusiast all her life, Amy turned her healthy hobbies into a career in 2014 after four years in global philanthropy and fundraising.
Amy incorporates a variety of styles into her creative classes and one-on-ones, including Rocket, Power Vinyasa, Yoga for Athletes and Budokon. Students can expect powerful and therapeutic poses linked thoughtfully in sequences designed to strengthen the body, steady the mind and uplift the spirit. Amy is certified in Mindful Yoga Therapy for PTSD and Rocket Yoga.
As a wellness coach and yoga instructor, Amy is dedicated to creating a synergy of movement, awakened eating and mindfulness for total wellness. Her ultimate goal is to to inspire and equip people to discover their own unique path to long-term mind-body health and happiness.
Membership Coordinator & Yoga Instructor
Yoga Instructor, E-RYT
With thousands of hours of teaching at yoga centers, corporations and private clients, his reputation as a skilled instructor is renowned. From years of teaching in corporate settings, he specializes in teaching all level classes, accessible to all. His teachings are influenced by the many trainings he has been a part of, including Sivananda yoga and Astanga rocket yoga. Steve embraces the concept vinyasa krama, which is about being present, with special attention to the details in and between each posture with fluidity and calm. Steve has been doing Yoga since high school just because he likes it, and he hopes you will too. Come check out his class!
Born into a yoga family, Caroline was exposed to yoga at a very early age. She dipped her toes into the practice here and there throughout her childhood and college, but it was not until she moved to Washington, DC four years ago that she adopted a daily practice. Expect to move, sweat and relax, dancing with breath in Caroline’s classes. She incorporates the athleticism of yoga with numerous grounding principals to each class. Caroline is registered through Yoga Alliance and received her 200-hour RYT certification in Power Vinyasa Yoga in Washington, DC. When she is not on her mat you can find her on a run or ride, cooking, reading or working in her garden.
Budokon Yoga Instructor
Angela, a former collegiate soccer player, took the path of “healing the world” through living in the favelas of Brazil working at a Street Children’s Project, a Food Pantry in Denver, studied for a Masters Degree in Theology, and ended up living and working for 10 years at Joseph’s House. Angela brings her presence of compassion and integrity to every move she makes. In order to find balance, Angela began teaching Yoga in 2003 and since then has taught consistently throughout studios in DC and NYC, leading various Budokon Academies and 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. Angela found Martial Arts through Budokon and since then has trained competitively in Mixed Martial Arts modalities, is the Director of Budokon DC and a certified Krav Maga instructor. Through Angela’s classes and coaching you will feel a fierce compassion that challenges you in a safe and protected environment to be beautifully strong inside and out.
Michelle Mae Orr
Yoga Instructor, E-RYT
After receiving her 200-hour certification in 1996, Michelle practiced self-study before beginning to teach in 2004. During that time Michelle delved into the philosophy of yoga and took on a serious meditation practice, in addition to getting her certification in Pilates. She has since managed several yoga studios in the DC area, and taught yoga and meditation in a variety of settings. From 2007 to 2012 she lead a 200-hour teacher training program, certifying hundreds of new instructors. Michelle’s classes can be challenging or gentle, with a focus on alignment, safety and most importantly, presence. “I love sharing the art of yoga. May we all become vividly aware of, and uncover, the perfection and peace of our being.”
Shana began practicing asana and meditation at a young age as a means of handeling the stresses of competitive gymnastics. Her practice has evolved several fold since those early days, but she continues to revel in the yogic lifestyle to keep her grounded and balanced. In 2011 Shana obtained her 200-hour teaching certification and in 2013 her 500-hour advanced certification both through the Sivananda organization. She sticks steadfastly to the Sivananda tradition, encouraging chanting and understanding of Sanskrit prayers, revitalizing pranayama techniques, and a mindful and centering asana practice. Shana uses her academic education focused in physiology and neuroscience to provide a holistic understanding of yoga and its benefits.
Yoga Instructor, E-RYT
Mimi Rieger has been practicing yoga since 1998 and has been teaching for over 12 years. Her physical journey began with ballet at the age of four through her teens and progressed to martial arts and yoga in her twenties to the present day. Through the practice of yoga and the evolution of the mind/body connection, students will find a greater sense of self and confidence on the mat by taking their physical practice to the next level. Mimi received her yoga certification in 2003 at the Ashtanga Yoga Center in Washington, DC. In 2005, she became the first certified Budokon® teacher in the area and is the Regional Director of Budokon® Yoga for Budokon® International. In 2009, she received her Progressive Ashtanga Yoga certification and in 2010 received her Rocket Yoga certification.
Yoga Heights Studio Manager and Yoga Instructor
Gregory manages day to day operations in the studio for any and all things YHDC; the YH Jack of all trades, Master of some. A former division one soccer player, Gregory first discovered yoga in 2006 when a extended work trip abroad led him to discover his very first home practice. A regular practice helped him build the strength and flexibility to overcome the lingering effects of two ACL surgeries and run for the first time in several years. At the same time that Gregory was reaping the physical benefits of yoga, he also realized that the spiritual aspects of yoga were unbeatable for alleviating the stress of a fast-paced DC lifestyle. Gregory completed his RYT 200 training at Yoga Heights and has since become a member of the Budokon DC Academy. Through the practice of yoga, Gregory has come to believe that wherever you are, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Dance Instructor & Yoga Instructor
As a life long student, performer and maker of dance, Sadie finds her bliss in the heat, strength, and mobility that comes from focused physicality. She brings this purposeful playfulness into her dance classes as well as her yoga practice and classes, encouraging her students to move both gracefully and joyfully. Aside from teaching dance, Sadie is involved with the performing arts in DC as a company member of Pointless Theatre, and as a back up singer/dancer in a local band.
Paige discovered yoga while cross-training for the Marine Corps Marathon more than five years ago, and has been practicing daily ever since. She soon found that yoga brings life into balance; it energizes, while grounding; it strengthens, while limbering; it encourages, while humbling; it is external, yet every bit internal. She is grateful to have amazing teachers who help to bring this balance into her life and is energized by helping others to work towards this beautiful balance as well. She is registered through Yoga Alliance and received her 200-hour RYT certification in Power Vinyasa Yoga from Mimi Rieger Teacher Training. She is also 100 hour Rocket certified through David Kyle’s Teacher Training. She practices Mysore style Ashtanga daily, so you will find that her alignment cuing is Ashtanga-based. Come ready to work and play, fly and deepen, root and rise. She strives to offer a powerful class, great for arm-balance and inversion junkies. Rest assured, however, that there is always opportunity to amplify or modify according to your current needs.
For Erika Bolstad, yoga is much like her career in journalism: Both are about spreading light and shifting perspective. Her influences are multidisciplinary, with an emphasis on movement, alignment and awareness. Her classes are about cultivating space and ease in our hearts, minds and bodies so we can better breathe, love and create. Her specialty is helping people feel comfortable in their bodies, by offering them the space to be curious and the skills to observe without judgment.
Kids Yoga Instructor
Mariela Gomez took her first yoga class in 2001 as a way to change up her gym routine and had such a great first savasana she’s never stopped. In 2011 she became a certified kids yoga teacher. Plans went on hold as she soon found out she was expecting! In 2014 she became a Lil Yoga Baby instructor, under the mentorship of Pleasance Silicki at Lil Omm yoga. Her daughter brings such joy, fun, energy and love to her life and she wants to share that experience and playfulness with her students, helping them disconnect from their everyday stresses and connect positively with their children and families.
Liz has been practicing yoga since June of 2005. It has helped teach her how to create space and cultivate compassion for herself and others. Although she loves to practice, yoga is more than Asana to her. She has been teaching for over 4 years but will always be a student of yoga. She is an active volunteer in the D.C. community; especially through N Street Village. Liz received her 200 hour RYT in February 2011 from Flow Yoga Center in DC and has completed numerous supplementary workshop hours including teacher training with Seane Corn. She draws on three main styles in her classes, Ashtanga, Prana Flow and Jivamukti. Expect a dynamic Vinyasa based class with a focus on breath, bandhas and tapas.
Olimpia Lee (350-RYPT) is an Interdisciplinary Yoga Instructor certified through the Nosara Yoga Institute. Olimpia keeps her classes playful & inspirational while encouraging students to find strength & grace through a mix of challenging, empowering & therapeutic practices, including meditation, pranayama, asanas, mantra, yoga nidra, patience, perseverance, gratitude & trust. While she loves working with a wide variety of groups, as a labor assistant, birth doula & women’s health educator, Olimpia’s passion lies in promoting women’s wellness by providing education on accessible & empowering approaches to holistic healing, living, birthing & being. She translates her deep respect for the feminine processes of life into her yoga classes through the inclusion of nurturing hands-on posture assistance, creative visualizations & the intention to allow each student the space to listen to their own needs & inquire into their own experience with courage & compassion.
Kristin Queen Shaffer
A native Texan, Kristin moved to DC after graduating from college. A life-long athlete, running track and cross-country in high school and college, Kristin was looking for a way to get back into shape after her first child, and more importantly, find some “me time.” At the encouragement of a friend Kristin took her first barre class in 2008 and loved it! But a crazy work-travel schedule, pregnancy and life as a first-time mom prevented her from attending regularly until fall 2010 when she “re-discovered” barre for the second time. In 2015, she took the plunge and trained to as a barre instructor and has been teaching and taking barre ever sense. As a barre student she returned time and again because of the community, the music and the challenging workout that was never predictable or old. As a barre teacher, she brings her love of barre and exercise and powerful playlist to her classes each week.
Edy started her yoga practice in 2011 to alleviate knee pain. She fell in love with the increased physical mobility and mental calm she began to feel. She graduated from Mimi Rieger’s Power of Teaching 200hr RYS in January 2016. She enjoys showing her students new and creative ways to stretch and strengthen with a focus in Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power styles. Expect strong transitions and deep stretching. Her musical taste is varied, but always soulful. As an accomplished singer and songwriter, Edy believes in healing mind, body, and spirit through music and yoga.
Maicie began practicing yoga on a whim when she joined a gym that offered free classes as part of her membership. After a back injury left her in severe pain, yoga became a lifesaver to Maicie as she incorporated it into her rehabilitation, on the advice of her doctor. Maicie, now a 200 hour registered yoga teacher, is exited to share a safe and balanced practice with students of various skill levels, body shapes, and athletic goals. Besides yoga, Maicie enjoys martial arts, scuba, and exploring the outdoors.
Alexis completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training through Sacred Seeds Yoga School under the direction of Jacqui Bonwell. Her favorite thing about yoga is that it can benefit every body, no matter your age or lifestyle. As a competitive runner, she understands most people stepping onto their mat are not as flexible as they want to be. Her teaching incorporates modifications for athletes or desk warriors with tight hips, as well as suggestions to take your practice deeper. Alexis aims to challenge her students as well as help them learn when to nurture.
Amy believes that committing to a consistent yoga practice has transformed her life. I didn’t come to love and appreciate my body until I started a consistent yoga practice. Through yoga I learned to see myself in a different light. When we learn to balance breath with movement, increasing our focus and discernment, we begin to expand our consciousness, that’s when we begin to see results on and off the mat. We move with less resistance and more love. Our relationship with ourselves and with others improves. We discover a flow in our day and joy in our interactions that wasn’t present in the past. Yoga has really shown me that positive change is possible and that’s what I wish for my students. Amy trained in Power Vinyasa, Hatha yoga, Body – Mind Centering and Body-based Gestalt Psychotherapy. Amy is a 200 hr. RYT and an RSMT (Somatic Movement Therapist) with a practice in Takoma Park, MD.
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Yoga Instructor & Studio Manager