Yoga Garden Teachers in South Philadelphia (2024)

Mark Nelson, E-RYT 500
Studio Director
Teaching since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga

Mark has been practicing yoga since 1991. Early on, he fell in love with the feeling of openness and focus that comes from a regular practice. Where the spirit leads, the body will follow, and he soon discovered that he could move in ways he never thought possible. Read More >>

That combination of mindfulness and movement drew him deeper into the practice, studying Ashtanga Yoga with such renowned teachers as David Swenson, Annie Pace and Jill Manning; Yin yoga with Paulie Zink; and Vinyasa Yoga with Corina Benner. Mark completed his 500-hr. teacher training through the Himalayan Institute.

Mark teaches yoga as a personalized healing science and a profound life-changing philosophy. His classes unite the flow of breath with the flow of the body, guiding students to a creative blend of physical exploration, inward focus and real-life philosophy. Mark has directed the Yoga Garden studios since 2010.

Nikki Robinson, E-RYT 500
Program Director
Teaching since 2011
Alignment Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga, Pre/Post Natal Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga Philosophy

Nikki began her love affair with yoga as respite from a high intensity job on a trading floor in New York City. She was immediately attracted to the combination of restoration that yoga provides the heart and mind and the invigorating and empowering effect on the body the physical practice provides. Read More >>

Nikki completed her 200 hour Anusara Teacher Training with Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny. She has also completed her Pre- and Post Natal training with Sue Elkind and Levels 1 & 2 Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Jillian Pransky. She has supplemented her teacher training with extensive philosophy training with Susanna Harwood-Rubin. Nikki is currently pursuing studies in Anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where she teaches YogAnatomy to students and staff.

Nikki uses precise alignment in every class she teaches to empower and encourage students of all levels in the most supportive, safe and loving environment. While she seeks to physically challenge her students during class, her classes are designed to be playful, bright and light-hearted so as to foster the very best in each student. Nikki lives in Wynnewood, PA with her family who continue to be her most challenging and loving yoga teachers.

Alyssa Black
Teaching since 2016
Vinyasa Yoga

Alyssa was first introduced to yoga as a preteen, but it wasn’t until 2012 that she fell in love with the practice. Seeking healing from a back injury, what Alyssa found was a practice that was not just beneficial to her physical needs, but integral to her whole well-being. Since then, she has relied on her practice to guide her in maintaining balance, acceptance, and gratitude throughout the ebbs and flows of life. Read More >>

By 2014, Alyssa was practicing in a fast-paced, power yoga style. Seeking new influences, Alyssa took her practice to the Yoga Garden in spring of 2016 to pursue her 200hr YTT. Combining the influence of her power background, her teachers at the Yoga Garden, and her continued study you can expect a lively, lighthearted class designed to support a safe, strong lifelong practice.

In her teaching, Alyssa strives to create a welcoming space for students of varying intentions and abilities- encouraging introspective inquiry, strong mind/body connection, and appreciation for the unique and dynamic self.

Jillian Bussey
Teaching since 2012
Vinyasa Yoga

Jillian has been practicing yoga since 2001 in an effort to balance out her body from years of running. She found the meditative qualities of a consistent yoga practice to be just as fulfilling as the runner’s high she’d grown to crave. Read More >>

In 2012, Jillian completed her 200-hour teacher training at Focus in Bryn Mawr. This training was focused in Anusara Yoga and the concept of uniting Attitude (heart), Alignment (mind) and Action (body) resonates with Jillian to this day. Immediately following her training, Jillian began to explore Ashtanga Yoga. Intrigued by the the philosophy, she began a personal practice at the Ashtanga Yoga School in Philadelphia.

Jillian teaches yoga as a modality for self-care and reflection. Her classes are light hearted with unique vinyasa sequences paired with equally varied and fun playlists, geared to challenge students both physically and mentally. It is her hope that yoga will feel accessible to all who arrive to their mats, that students find the lovely balance between effort and ease in practice and leave her class feeling happy and loved.

Daniel Cordua
Teaching since 2013
Vinyasa Yoga

Daniel started studying yoga years ago, although the last couple of years have truly transformed his relationship to the practice. Recently completing a 250-Hour Teacher Training at Dhyana Yoga, his teaching interests lie in beginner’s and those “intimidated” by yoga, especially men. Daniel is informed by his own at times still rocky journey into the workings of a stronger, more focused, free, & flexible body, mind & spirit. Read More >>

This journey is what has drawn him to studying yoga. He is also informed through his massage & bodywork practice via the knowledge of various types of bodies and via the awareness of just how important yoga can be to those dealing with stressful lives, hunched backs, and cluttered minds.

His style of teaching is a Vinyasa flow rooted in the influence of his many great teachers in Philadelphia, especially Noelle Connolly, Alex Holmes & John Vitarelli. He provides a fiery, sweaty all-level class fit for everyone, but full of more advanced options.

Becca Curry
Teaching since 2016
Vinyasa Yoga

In the fall of 2008, Becca stumbled into a Baptiste Yoga studio in her home town looking for something different that the classes her gym offered. The supportive nature of the practice and community kept her coming back as she learned to focus her mind and challenge her body in new ways. Read More >>

In 2014 she moved to Philadelphia and found The Yoga Garden which has been her home ever since. Over the years she learned from and practiced with seasoned teachers at the studio including: Chae Yang, Brittany Policastro, Daniel Cordua, Mark Nelson, Nikki Robinson, and her mentor, Kelly Love. Seeking to further her practice, Becca attended The Yoga Garden’s 200 hour YTT and graduated in the summer of 2016.

Becca’s ever present smile and positive attitude welcomes each student to the practice. She teaches a vigorous vinyasa class that will challenge you to move and breathe, while focusing on a lesson you can take off your mat and into your life. A huge proponent of accessible yoga, she offers lots of options and encourages the use of props. You can expect to sweat, push past your comfort zone, and laugh as you flow through your practice.

Erika Epstein
Teaching since 2015
Vigorous Vinyasa Yoga

Erika is a E-RYT 200 yoga teacher and is currently studying to complete her 300 hour training. While living in Colorado in 2011, Erika developed her love for yoga, where she found it was the perfect balance to her active lifestyle. Read More >>

Erika looks to help others find the flexibility, happiness and mental stillness that yoga gives to her. She also hopes students will use yoga as a vehicle to tune into their breath, have fun, reduce stress and develop a healthy lifestyle on and off the mat. Erika’s classes incorporate an eclectic playlist and creative vinyasa sequences that build heat, balance and strength. In 2015, Erika completed her 200 hour training at Yoga Vida in New York City and studies under her teacher, Kat Fowler.

David Hem
Teaching since 2015
Vigorous Vinyasa Yoga

David got into Yoga during the midst of a spiritual collapse. Faced with personal turmoil such as homelessness and addiction, he was able to persevere over these obstacles through the exploration of his yoga practice. Read More >>

David’s first practice was on May 1st, 2013 at The Art Museum of Philadelphia. That experience led him to pursue teacher training. David was, and continues to be, highly inspired by John & Diana Vitarelli who believed in him and helped him to get to where he is today. Daniel Cordua, who is one of David’s teachers to this day, inspires him on a daily basis.

When you come to David’s classes, expect to redefine your own personal limitations and break through illusory walls! Expect high energy, a positive atmosphere, a rigorous flow, funky transitions, arm balances, and inversions that will nourish your soul.

Katie Huber
Teaching since 2016
Vigorous Vinyasa Yoga

Katie has been practicing yoga on and off since 2006 as a complement to her various fitness and sport pursuits, hoping to gain a bit more flexibility and balance. When she committed to a regular practice six years ago, she found so much more than a physical routine. Read More >>

Yoga became a therapeutic process for Katie, and the more she practiced, the more she connected to her true self. She loves that the lessons we learn on the mat are much bigger lessons to be practiced in everyday life.

Katie has been in the fitness industry for over ten years, teaching high energy classes. She also maintains a career in the University Recreation setting, providing fitness and wellness opportunities for campus communities. Katie was certified through the Yoga Garden Teacher Training program in 2016 under the tutelage of Mark Nelson, Nikki Robinson, and Chae Yang.

Katie creates a supportive and calm energy in her classes. Expect to feel challenged and get a little sweaty.

Betty Kim
Teaching since 2011
Gentle Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga

Betty has been a student and lover of yoga for over 10 years! Yoga has been the greatest force behind her holistic lifestyle – a constant and tender balancing act of mind, body and soul. In 2005, Betty traveled to India to further her yoga practice and received her First Class with Distinction Yoga Education Certification at YogaVidyapeetham.

Her teaching style is slow and gentle, emphasizing kind inner thoughts, mindful movements and breathing. Sometimes slower is better!

Kiera Missanelli
Teaching since 2017
Vinyasa Yoga

Kiera has been practicing yoga since 2009. Growing up a dancer, the practice of yoga was a natural transition for Kiera as it provided her with a greater connection between physical movement and mindful awareness. Initially looking to yoga as a means of stress relief and sound mind, Kiera stemmed an addiction to test herself, and push her body further than she ever imagined. Read More >>

Studying under The Yoga Garden’s own Mark Nelson, Nikki Robinson and Chae Yang, Kiera gained her 200-hour teacher training and soon learned skilled techniques of anatomy, asana, philosophy and pranayama, which she hopes to instill in her students. She aims to eventually broaden her expertise and earn more certifications.

Kiera is dedicated to immerse herself in the depths of yoga practice, not letting a day go by without trying a new posture or finding a simpler way of getting into a stance. Expect her classes to be laid back but dynamic and fun with stress relief as its main focus. Be aware however, she is going to push you intending for you to walk out of her class knowing you were challenged, and hopefully having learned something new to practice before her next class.

Kelly Love
Teaching since 2006
Vinyasa Yoga, Alignment-Based Yoga, Wall Vinyasa, Pilates

Kelly fell in love with yoga after stumbling into her first class over a dozen years ago. At first, it was another discipline to complement her teaching arsenal of high energy fitness classes, but it quickly became the light that opened her eyes to the mind-body connection. Read More >>

Kelly received her 200-hour teaching certification from Philadelphia’s Power Yoga Works in 2006 and spent the next several years exploring a variety of different styles with nationally known teachers such as Simon Park, Beryl Bender Birch, and others. As Kelly refined her teaching style and gravitated more towards an alignment based practice, she completed her Wall Vinyasa certification with Erica Bleznak in 2015 and has recently completed her 500-hour training with anatomy guru, Jason Crandell, in San Francisco.

In addition to yoga, Kelly is also certified to teach both mat and reformer Pilates which provides a solid foundation for any class she teaches, whether its yoga or pilates. Having been in the fitness industry for over two decades, Kelly draws from her knowledge and experiences in teaching other disciplines to offer a well-rounded yoga practice that is educational yet playful, challenging yet accessible, and exploratory yet functional. Step into one of Kelly’s classes and you are sure to experience her passion for not only alignment based yoga and core work, but music in the form of collaborative and creative playlists. Song requests and singing welcome!

Amy Ruocchio
Teaching since 2017
Vinyasa Yoga

Amy discovered yoga during a particularly stressful point in her life and immediately felt a deep connection to it. While breaking physical barriers on her mat, yoga continually reminds Amy of her ability to break self-perceived barriers off her mat and accomplish much more than she ever thought was a possibility. Yoga for Amy is not simply the physical asanas, but a spiritual practice. Amy gains a deeper understanding of herself both physically and spiritually, and uses her yoga practice as a vehicle to work on focus and self-discipline daily. Read More >>

Amy is open to all different styles of yoga and is continually learning more. She is a forever student, committed to broadening her point of view, and informing her personal practice, as well as her teaching. Along with Vinyasa, Amy is currently studying Ashtanga. She enjoys challenging herself and her students, all with a playful sense of humor. By breaking down more complex poses, her goal is to create an environment where students feel strong and capable in their own practices. In Amy’s classes you can expect to flow, sweat, laugh, and maybe try a new arm balance or two!

Amy earned her 200 RYT under Yoga Garden’s Mark Nelson, Nikki Robinson, and Chae Yang. Amy has a strong skill set in anatomy, asana, pranayama, and philosophy, infusing this knowledge into her teaching style. Amy’s first teacher, David Hem, has been and continues to be a huge inspiration to her. With his guidance, encouragement and support, Amy discovered the endless possibilities yoga has to offer and it changed her world.

Andrea Stagliano
Teaching since 2015
Vinyasa Yoga

Andrea took her first yoga class over 10 years ago and still remembers how she felt afterwards. What started as a physical activity every once in a while turned into a deep inner exploration and a daily way of life, thanks to the freedom and empowerment that comes from being in tune to your body, mind, and breath. That led her to complete her 200-hour teacher training here at The Yoga Garden. Read More >>

Andrea is a student at heart and continues to draw inspiration from each of her own teachers. She views yoga as a pathway to realizing your authentic self, and sees this practice as a parallel to life: a never-ending and ever-changing lesson in finding acceptance and calm in every moment and challenge.

You can expect energizing classes that invite you to challenge yourself while honoring your body’s need in each moment. Andrea also plays ukulele, so expect a savasana that will help you release and bring the feeling of drifting away on a sunny beach, no matter what time of year.

Susannah Thurlow
Teaching since 2015
Vinyasa Yoga, Gentle Yoga

Susannah started practicing yoga in 2008 after her journey on a healthy lifestyle led her to yoga. Early on, she was encouraged by her teacher, Kimberly Mendez, whose dynamic classes influence her teaching style today. She recently completed her teacher training at The Yoga Garden, studying with Mark Nelson and Chae Yang. What first began as a quest for a physical practice has evolved into a lifestyle. Read More >>

Susannah teaches classes that focus on alignment and breath, bringing a rounded sense of calm and focus to the practice. She believes that practicing yoga is a way to bring peace to the world around us. She embraces a world of balance, both on and off the mat. Expect to find a mix of traditional and modern concepts in her classes and playlists.

Ashley Wagner
Teaching since 2014
Vinyasa Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yin Yoga

Ashley’s initial awakening came one birthday morning in January 2010. At the very moment she opened her eyes to that day, a voice from deep within said, “THIS MUST CHANGE,” and that energy hung about her like an army of Selves. Read More >>

Yoga stepped in a few weeks later to empower Ashley as she began a challenging but illuminating journey out of the darkness, a steady unlearning of substance abuse and a gradual accepting of self-love. This beautiful, unfolding process of Softening continues to enhance her experience and perception of reality.

In 2014, Ashley studied the ashtanga-based vinyasa practice at the 250hr level with Dhyana Yoga. After practicing a fast-paced flow style for many years, she transitioned to a more passive, lunar practice based on the wisdom of slowing down and letting go. She has engaged with teachers like Paulie Zink, Jillian Pransky, and Corina Benner who have shown her the organic, still side of yoga. Her classes are taught from an intuitive perspective that reaches beyond the physical postures to explore spiritual curiosities. Sessions with Ashley are informed by her studies of Ayurveda and Tibetan buddhism, and flow through her to you from the great Source.

Yoga Garden Teachers in South Philadelphia (2024)
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