A.J. Jones is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level (E-RYT 500). A.J.'s Sanskrit name, Arjuna, was given to him by his teacher, Sri Swami Asokananda. He is named after the Arjuna from the great Indian epic, and revered yogic scripture, the Bhagavad Gita.
A.J. has attended the following teacher training programs: Integral Yoga Basic Hatha, Integral Yoga Intermediate Hatha, Integral Yoga Advanced Hatha, Integral Yoga Meditation, Integral Yoga for Stress Management, Jivamukti Yoga Method, Manju Jois Ashtanga Primary Series Teacher Education Intensive, and the Dharma Mittra Yoga Advanced Teacher Training.
A.J.’s first step along the yogic path was at the age of 13, when he decided to become vegetarian, for no other reason than that it seemed the right thing to do. At 16, he took another step when he came across the Bhagavad Gita in a collection of his Father’s books. After this, he immediately began a lifelong study of yogic philosophy. He continued by studying meditation and yoga asanas (poses) through various books, though intimidated by the idea of a yoga class. A.J. put this idea to the back of his mind, as someone who could not even touch his toes, he mistakenly decided yoga classes were for more flexible people.
For the next few years, A.J. practiced sporadically, picking up meditation and hatha yoga for short sprints, and then dropping back into a normal teenage routine. Just over 10 years ago, A.J., with encouragement, took his first yoga class and fell in love with the practice. He quickly began taking a yoga class every day, sometimes twice a day, rekindling his interest in meditation and yoga philosophy. After a year of feverish practice, he decided the next step was to become a teacher himself and devote his life to studying and passing on this ancient tradition.
After two years of teaching yoga full time, A.J. opened our beloved studio in March of 2008, where he teaches daily classes. A.J. approaches the responsibility of teaching with professionalism and care. He has a wonderful ability to help students take their practice to the next level and approach postures in an non-intimidating way.
A.J. was raised in the Hampton Roads area and has lived there all of his life. He is registered with the Yoga Alliance as a 500hr experienced registered yoga teacher. He has attended formal teacher trainings with Satya Greenstone, Swami Asokananda, David Life and Sharon Gannon, Dharma Mittra, and Manju Jois. A.J. is forever grateful to these teachers for their inspiration and knowledge.
Kallie Cothern is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level (RYT-500). Her Sanskrit name, Dharani, means Earth Goddess.
Studying counseling, psychology, and spirituality, Kallie feels that she was first exposed to the basic teachings of the yoga practice by her college professors. She had been taking Yoga classes sporadically for many years when she began a regular meditation practice. Although she had been exposed to Yoga postures in the past, it wasn’t until she began her meditation practice that she understood what Yoga was all about. After 3 years of daily meditation and continued exploration of the mind in graduate school, she decided that it was time to make a commitment by incorporating the physical side of Yoga more fully into her practice. This desire brought her to ABY, and through her training to become a teacher, Kallie feels that her practice has finally become whole.
Kallie’s goal as a teacher is to inspire students to bring their practice off the mat and into their lives, opening themselves to the potential transformation that a dedicated Yoga practice offers. She is grateful that her family and community give her the opportunity every day to strive to do that in her own practice. Kallie sees herself as a student of Yoga, seeking to learn and grow from every experience, and she hopes to move her students to a similar passion to personal growth and understanding of the world. In the future, she dreams of being able to merge her training as a counselor and as a Yoga teacher with her love of nature to serve her students more fully.
Alexa Mosquera-Rivera is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level (RYT-500). Alexa's Sanskrit name, Devi, means Goddess or the feminine Divine.
Alexa spent much of her childhood and young adult life living in different states and countries. It was about twelve years ago while she was finishing her undergraduate degree in Belgium that she was first introduced to Yoga. A friend of hers had returned from a trip to India and taught Alexa her first Sun Salutation. Her friend also shared with her the Hare Krishna mantra. It was this simple first act that peaked her curiosity so much that she checked out a book from the university library on Hatha Yoga. After reading the entire book front to back and photocopying it, she set herself on her way to teaching herself the numerous Asana (poses) and Pranayama (breath control) exercises as were described in the book. Her practice continued steadily for about two years which also included a change in diet. From then until about a year and a half ago her practice continued on and off.
In March of 2009, Alexa felt particularly drawn to practice daily which awakened something in her that seemed to have been dormant for a while-a sense of calm and peace within. In October of 2009 she began taking classes at Atma Bodha Yoga Studio and fell in love with the style of Yoga presented and taught at the studio. She had never been exposed to chanting before and hearing it brought an overwhelming joy in her. She had considered before pursuing a Yoga Teacher Certification and decided that Atma Bodha Yoga Studio was the place for her to complete this. In January 2010 she started the ABY Teacher Training Program and is now certified to teach beginner and intermediate Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga.
Alexa’s wish as a teacher is to be able to share with her students the practice of Yoga in hopes that it can bring a sense of joy and peace in their lives as it has done for her and they in turn can spread that joy and peace with others.
Alexa can be reached at email@example.com or visit her site www.trueyogapeace.com
Neleh is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 Hour level (RYT 500). Neleh's Sanskrit name, Padmamukhi, means Lotus-Faced.
In the Fall of 2013, Neleh completed her 200 Hour Teacher Training at Atma Bodha Yoga. She was so enthralled in her study of Yoga, that she immediately enrolled in Atma Bodha's 500 Hour Teacher Training, where she graduated in the Spring of 2014.
She is a kirtan enthusiast and you may hear her rhythmically striking the kartals or devotionally leading chants while strumming the ukulele. She believes that the vibration of certain sounds, music, mantra recitation and chanting promotes the healing of the mind and body and often plays the singing bowl as part of the yoga classes she teaches.
Outside of the yoga studio, Neleh enjoys leading creative writing workshops, documenting the surrounding community through photoghraphy and creating vegan dishes.
Crystal is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 200 Hour level (RYT 200). Her Sanskrit name, Shraddha, means faith.
Crystal is originally from San Francisco, CA although she has been a resident of Hampton Roads since transferring to Norfolk Naval Base for duty in 1995. Crystal was called to yoga practice in 2002 after her medical insurance benefits ran out for physical therapy following an ACL/meniscus repair surgery. Feeling that only 90 days of therapy was insufficient for proper healing but being unable to afford the full cost out of pocket, she sought out the hatha yoga classes offered with her local gym membership. After a couple of years of practicing regularly at the gym, a favorite instructor suggested that she try attending classes at a yoga studio in Norfolk to broaden her yogic experiences. It was there that she was delighted to learn that yoga was so much more than just a physical exercise; however, changing circumstances made travelling the distance to the studio quite burdensome in early 2008.
When Atma Bodha Yoga opened around the same time, Crystal was thrilled to find a studio conveniently located within her local community and has called ABYS her yoga home ever since. In AJ’s classes she discovered the joy of chanting and made a soul-deep connection with the Universal Truth of the 8-Limbed Path described by Patanjali’s Sutras as well as the spiritual inclusivity of the Integral yoga teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda. When the time was right to learn more, she completed 200-hour teacher training with AJ and C.Mae in 2013. Since then she has treasured sharing the gift of yoga with others as a teacher. She finds contentment in cultivating energy through running, swimming, cycling, rowing, gymnastics and adventure/obstacle courses. A proud life-long “book nerd”, Crystal enjoys trivia and reading anything she can get her hands on. She also revels in traveling with her husband on their sailboat, or burrowing down with their canine family at home.