Teachers

Our instructors are more than just teachers – they are passionate yogis dedicated to nurturing a thriving community. They’ve personally experienced the profound benefits of a consistent yoga practice and are eager to impart their wisdom.

Missy Szymanski

Founder and owner behind GOOD Yoga, is a native of San Diego and a devoted mother of two. With over two decades of dedicated practice and teaching in the realm of yoga, her journey has spanned continents and ignited hearts.

For the past decade, Missy called Hong Kong home, where she became an integral part of the thriving HOT yoga community in Asia. Her expertise extended beyond borders as she graced  boutique studios, major corporate yoga centers and digital platforms in both the United States and Asia.

In 2022, she returned to her beloved hometown of Encinitas, California, rekindling her mission to inspire and share the transformative power of yoga with her local community. Her leadership extends to conducting workshops, teacher training programs, and retreats on an international scale, touching hearts and minds in destinations like Portugal, Thailand, Bali, and Hong Kong.

Missy’s yoga journey is deeply rooted in her training with her first teachers,  Bikram & Rajashree Choudhury, Emmy Cleaves and Jim Kallett, with certification in Bikram Yoga College of India since 2008. She further honed her craft through certifications in Alignment, Vinyasa, and Advanced Alignment Teacher Trainings while studying under the guidance of Patrick Creelman & Rinat Perlman in Asia. Her relentless pursuit of knowledge continues as she studies with Carolyn Belko, a senior Iyengar teacher, and delves into the intricacies of the Iyengar method.

Missy’s vast experience, profound wisdom, and unwavering passion for yoga render her a unique and cherished teacher. Her aspiration is to foster a vibrant community centered around yoga and holistic well-being, where every student can embark on their own transformative journey. Join her as she illuminates the path to a life enriched by yoga.

Rinat Perlman

Rinar Perlman is a founder of GOOD yoga and a highly experienced yoga teacher. During 15 years of teaching and studentship, she has studied with several of the world’s most cherished teachers in numerous teacher trainings, advanced trainings and through annual participation in their long-term programs. 

Rinat Perlman was born in Israel and moved to Hong Kong in 2001.  She is a mother of four, daughter, partner, sister, friend and a student.

Rinat’s teaching is infused with enthusiasm to share the knowledge and insights that have come through her sustained practice and study of yoga, taking a specific interest in the aspects of physical practice, philosophy, and modern psychology. Her teaching is direct, dynamic, focused, engaging and light-hearted, offering a vast resource for understanding the potential of the practice of yoga. 

Rinat’s unique courage is expressed in the way she brings all of herself to what she teaches. Her own human walk and her own inner voice are found within each class. Her aspiration is that students leave her classes with fearlessness in their hearts, having touched a deeper level of themselves.

Rinat will guest teach in San Diego and co-hosts GOOD yoga international retreats annually.

Kelly Harrison

Practicing yoga transformed Kelly’s life significantly. In 2002, he attended his inaugural yoga session and immediately sensed a reduction in his persistent lower back pain, a condition that had plagued him for the majority of his life. Remarkably, his doctor had even proposed spinal fusion when he was just 12 years old.

Over the following six years, Kelly devoted himself to various yoga disciplines, including Ashtanga, Power, Vinyassa, and Kripalu. Not only did he experience relief in his back, but he also noticed a decrease in overall stress, ultimately embracing yoga as an integral part of his lifestyle.

In 2008, Kelly was introduced to Bikram yoga, and the moment he delved into the Bikram sequence, he was captivated, leading him to establish a regular practice routine. This commitment wasn’t without obstacles, given the absence of Bikram studios in his vicinity. Nonetheless, his dedication bore fruit, culminating in his becoming a certified Bikram Yoga Teacher in 2010.

Since then, his fervor for sharing his knowledge with others has intensified. Kelly now revels in a life free from the once-persistent back pain and has a serious passion about sharing his knowledge and love of yoga.  

Good Yoga San Diego - Kelly Harrison

Lesli Lounsbury

Lesli embarked on her yoga journey back in 2000, and from the very start, she was captivated by its transformative power. In the spring of 2001, driven by her passion, she made the decision to become a certified Bikram instructor, eager to share the remarkable benefits she had experienced. Her dedication to yoga earned the prestigious title of the 1st International Yoga Champion. This achievement opened up doors for her to traverse the globe, where she embarked on a journey of teaching, coaching, judging, and demonstrating the art of yoga. Beyond the yoga studio, Lesli is a talented hairstylist and herbalist, finding immense joy in helping individuals discover their inner and outer beauty. In her leisure hours, she and her husband revel in outdoor adventures, cherishing the beauty of nature together.
Lesli Lounsbury

Emily Avery

Emily took her first yoga class when she was 16 and was hooked from the start. Though her 26&2 practice was initially motivated by cross-training for ballet, she quickly fell in love with the intense challenge of this series and the way it benefitted her physically, mentally, emotionally, and otherwise. 
 
Emily has competed in national and international yoga asana championships for over 10 years. She is the 5-time US national women’s champion, the 2-time international women’s silver medalist, and the official demonstrator for the USA Yoga Federation. She attended the 2018 Progressive Hatha Yoga training in Thailand thanks to their sponsorship of the US national championship winners. She taught and trained at Yogativiti in Shelton, CT, while finishing medical school at Yale and moved to San Diego in 2022. 
 
Outside the hot room, Emily is a medical resident. She is fascinated by anatomy and the potential of the human body, and she strives to unify traditional and modern principles of healing in her work as a yoga teacher and as a doctor. 

Monica Mahdion

Thirteen years ago, yoga found its way into Monica’s life, revealing itself as a transformative practice she never knew she needed. As she embarked on this profound journey, a realization quickly dawned on her: whether on or off the mat, every individual engages in some form of yoga daily. It’s an ongoing dance as they navigate their existence on this swirling sphere, orbiting the sun—their cherished home.

Throughout these years, Monica has been privileged to share the wisdom of yoga by teaching thousands of classes. On New Year’s Day in 2021, she celebrated a momentous milestone: a decade of teaching. Remarkably, the source of her immense joy and fulfillment remains undiminished with each class she leads.

In a world that ceaselessly evolves and presents challenges, each class Monica conducts becomes an invaluable opportunity—a moment to renew and recalibrate one’s awareness and expectations. Her steadfast intention for every class is to serve as a guide, directing participants toward the best possible path and infusing it with the energy their minds, bodies, and practices require.

Monica’s deepest wish is that these sessions empower every student to recognize and harness their inner strength, enabling them to nurture and amplify the intentions they bring to the mat. Ultimately, her aim is to leave her students revitalized and fully prepared to embrace and savor life to the fullest. It’s crucial to remember that it’s never too late to commence this transformative journey.

Kirsty Hopkins

Kirsty has practiced yoga for 25 years. She stepped into her first yoga class in 1998 as a university student in Glasgow, Scotland. Shortly after, she recognized the broader positive impact the yoga was having on her overall wellbeing. Four years later she found herself immersed in the Bikram Yoga “torture chamber” at San Diego’s original hot yoga school.

In 2004 Kirsty attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles with Bikram Chourdry. She has since taught over two thousands classes. Kirsty is inspired by the transformation her students have experienced over the past two decades. She believes “it’s never too late, never too bad, you’re never too sick to start from scratch again.” Her mantra is “Yes I can!”

Balancing her role as a yoga instructor with a thriving career in private banking and the joys of raising two young boys, Kirsty’s resilience and determination have been the cornerstone of her success. Her indomitable spirit has fueled her completion of 15 marathons and three Ironman triathlons, accomplishments she attributes largely to the profound discipline and resilience fostered through her unwavering dedication to Bikram yoga.

Kirsty’s  commitment to yoga extends beyond the mat. Always eager to learn and forever a dedicated student, Kirsty’s lifestyle is intertwined with her ongoing exploration of this transformative path.

Shelie Herman

Shelie’s journey into Bikram Yoga commenced approximately two decades ago in San Francisco. From the very first class, she was immediately drawn to the profound sense of discipline demanded not only to navigate a session but also the high expectations she set for herself. This newfound passion for yoga seamlessly integrated into her existing fitness routine, which then revolved around rigorous marathon and race training.

Throughout her life, Shelie consistently harbored an intense ardor for fitness and anything that tested the limits of her mind and body. This unyielding drive ultimately propelled her to undergo the demanding nine-week Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles in 2003.  Sheltie continued on a journey of teaching Bikram Yoga across San Diego, even continuing her practice and instruction during two pregnancies.

Driven by her commitment to personal growth and professional development, Shelie pursued and achieved a 200 E-RYT certification, along with a 50-hour Sculpt certification through Corepower Yoga in 2016, further enhancing her ability to inspire and guide others in their fitness journeys. 

Courtney Bustillos

Courtney Bustillos has been an esteemed group fitness instructor in Carlsbad for several years. Her journey into the fitness world began at the tender age of two when she took her first dance steps, and she has been dedicated to maintaining the fluidity and vitality of her body ever since. Before specializing in Vinyasa and Yoga sculpt classes in North County, Courtney honed her skills teaching Barre at the Daily Method Carlsbad. In 2016, she achieved her 200-hour certification, marking a significant milestone in her yoga journey, which she cherishes for the profound connection it fosters with her students.

Courtney boasts a former career as an award-winning journalist and proudly hails from her hometown of San Diego. Her academic journey led her to San Diego State University, where she not only excelled in her studies but also showcased her athleticism as a cheerleader and dancer. Courtney graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. It was during her time at SDSU that she crossed paths with her husband, Kevan, who shares her passion for yoga. Today, the couple resides in Carlsbad, where they lead an active life with their two young daughters, Ella and Charlotte.

The Bustillos family embraces the great outdoors, making the most of their time with leisurely walks and invigorating runs alongside their trusty companions, Bodhi the lab and Millie the labradoodle.

 
 

Hiroko Adams (Koko)

Embarking on her yoga journey in June 2009, Koko found solace after enduring the challenges of raising four children and navigating life through two divorces while living in Japan. Driven by an insatiable quest for self-realization, she turned to Bikram Yoga.

Confronting her reflection in the mirror, enduring the discomfort, and enduring the intense heat for 90 minutes became her defining challenge, leading her towards a profound self-connection.

Although the results didn’t manifest immediately, the persistence paid off gradually, confirming the transformative power of yoga. Driven by a desire to share her profound experience in the yoga room, she pursued teachers training in the spring of 2012, and since then, she has remained unwavering in her dedication to teaching. The love for yoga has become an intrinsic part of her life.

With a genuine hope that others will also find themselves and cultivate self-love, Koko extends an invitation to practice yoga together. Let us embark on this journey of self-discovery and well-being, together.

Heather Thurman-Trzeciak

Having relocated from Indiana to California in 2001, Heather found her passion for Bikram yoga at Funky Door Yoga in San Francisco. In 2009, she achieved a milestone by completing the Bikram yoga teacher training. Over the years, she pursued certifications in diverse domains, ranging from eastern/tui na massage therapy, horticulture, dance, and dog training to trauma-informed yoga for at-risk youth.

Beyond her personal achievements, Heather devoted a significant part of her life, spanning eight years, to volunteer as a yoga and meditation instructor at the girls’ rehabilitation and detention center in Kearny Mesa. Her teaching style is characterized by a dynamic and compassionate approach, reflecting her deep commitment to her students’ well-being. Heather derives immense joy from imparting her extensive knowledge and passion for yoga, fostering a nurturing and supportive environment for her students to thrive.

 

Christen Cotter

Christen Cotter is a passionate yoga practitioner and instructor with two decades of experience. Her journey into the world of yoga began as a solution to the knee and back pain she faced in her early twenties after years of basketball and track.  Christen was initially hesitant to try yoga, believing it was a practice reserved only for the “stretchy and slim”. However, in 2005 she took her first step onto the mat in a hot yoga class and found herself instantly captivated.

What stood out to Christen in that very first class was the diversity of people on their yoga mats—individuals with different backgrounds, bodies, and skill levels—all brought together by a shared passion for health, community, and yoga. It was a welcoming and inclusive environment that broke her initial misconceptions about the practice. More importantly, she experienced an invigorating and fulfilling workout that left her feeling truly rejuvenated – and over time eliminated her joint pain.

As her love for yoga grew, Christen embarked on a remarkable journey of transformation. Just a year after her first yoga class, she completed her teacher training, and her teaching journey began. What makes teaching yoga so special for Christen is witnessing the transformations her students undergo, both within the class and throughout their yoga journey. 

Christen’s unique teaching style is a testament to her personal journey, emphasizing inclusivity, empowerment, and the belief that yoga is for every body. Her classes are a safe space for individuals of all backgrounds, shapes, and abilities to explore the profound benefits of yoga, just as she did all those years ago.

Join Christen on the mat and discover the incredible transformation that yoga can bring to your life. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or brand new to yoga, you’ll find a warm and supportive environment to explore and deepen your practice.

Irma Brandt

Irma’s journey with Bikram Yoga began almost twenty-four years ago when she noticed a friend’s radiant skin. Eager to experience a similar glow, she ventured into her first class, unaware of the transformative path that awaited her. Amid the initial struggles and her focus on personal appearance, she discovered a profound sense of peace and serenity, drenched in sweat at the class’s conclusion. This newfound well-being surpassed anything she had previously known.

Her dedication to the practice was not due to its simplicity but rather the consistent post-class upliftment it brought. It evolved into a route of self-exploration, spiritual enlightenment, and an enduring passion for life. Maintaining her disciplined routine for half a year, Irma ultimately chose to enroll in teacher training, a decision that has left her feeling rejuvenated even after all these years.

Following her graduation from teacher training, Irma took the bold step of establishing her own studio. Over the years, she has imparted her wisdom through countless yoga sessions, finding unparalleled fulfillment in witnessing her students’ joy and their gradual progress in their personal journeys. Trained in Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, and Inferno Hot, she has cultivated a comprehensive understanding of various yoga practices, allowing her to enrich the lives of those she teaches.

Brooke Welty

Originally rooted in the world of dance and entertainment, Brooke Welty eventually found her way back to southern California following a decade-long stint in the bustling streets of New York City. Embracing a transformative shift, she seamlessly transitioned into the realm of yoga and wellness. Over the last decade, Brooke has established herself as a prominent figure in the wellness sphere, donning various roles such as a proficient business leader, adept instructor, dedicated teacher trainer, and an influential breathwork coach.

Her dedication lies in the art of guiding individuals through the intricate practices of yoga, breathwork, and meditation. Having received training in the esteemed Wim Hof method, she also proudly boasts an E-RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification, solidifying her expertise in the field.

Central to Brooke’s ethos is her belief that wellness should be a customized experience, tailored to suit the unique needs and aspirations of each individual. Guided by an unwavering commitment to creativity, innovation, joy, and compassion, she strives to create a nurturing environment for her clients. In her eyes, it is a profound honor and a source of boundless gratitude to live out her passion – to facilitate movement, foster connections, and discover never-ending wells of inspiration within her vibrant community and her own personal Dharma.

Carrie Hebert

Carrie brings a playful and sweet energy to GOOD Yoga. She infuses her classes with an infectious enthusiasm, blending dynamic movement, mindful breathing, and a touch of sweetness to create an uplifting experience on the mat. Drawing from her background in Hot 26+2 and Vinyasa, Carrie crafts sequences that cater to practitioners of all levels, sprinkling in options for both challenge and relaxation.

For Carrie, yoga is more than just physical exercise; it’s a journey of self-discovery and self-love. With her warm and nurturing approach, she encourages students to explore beyond the confines of their mats, guiding them towards a deeper connection with themselves and the world around them. 

As a young yogi herself, Carrie is continually growing and evolving on her own path, and she’s excited to share that journey with her community. Join Carrie on the mat for a fun-filled and heartwarming experience that will leave you feeling refreshed, inspired, and deeply connected.

Michelle Camaya Julian (Mochi)

Mochi is excited to join the Good Yoga family! Mochi’s extensive performing arts career has inspired her to become certified in Bikram Yoga (2001) and Modo Yoga (2010). With the physical, mental & emotional demands of performing 8 shows a week for many years on Broadway and on tour, time on the mat allowed her to maintain health and gain understanding of the “bigger picture”. Her life’s mission is to instill joy and explore adventure. Since 2011, Mochi has been recognized with an E-RYT 500 through Yoga Alliance. She trained under Gabby Walters (Las Vegas) to teach Inferno Hot Pilates and has been enthusiastically teaching IHP since 2016. Outside of the yoga studio, Mochi choreographs musicals and other productions throughout San Diego. She maintains her cultural heritage while performing and teaching young dancers for Samahan Filipino American Performing Arts. She greatly values the opportunity to work with kids while substitute teaching at four San Diego school districts. She is the co-founder of KAMOCHI METHOD, alongside partner Karine Plantadit, they passionately host yoga retreats and lead dance intensives.

Jackie Bates

Jackie believes it is our life’s work to shine. She sees yoga as a vehicle to help us unravel and reveal the power and wholeness within. 

She taught her first yoga class in 2014, and in 2020, she shifted to this work of passion full-time, saying goodbye to her long-time corporate career (where for years she was Director of Marketing for a digital tech + marketing company). Jackie has trained with elite teachers, leading researchers and taught hundreds of hours up and down the Northern – Southern California coasts. 

She is an E-RYT-600 and has led numerous teacher trainings, workshops and retreats in the U.S. and internationally and has nurtured dozens of successful yoga teachers across California. Early on, Jackie was immersed in anatomy, kinesiology, functional movement and neuropsychology. This sparked a personal fire of continuous learning on mindfulness, the beautiful, enigmatic human body and mobility. 

She is deeply inspired to empower each student to become a skillful captain of his or her own body, the living temple which guides us each through life. She teaches to access a flow state, immersing in the flow of breath and movement; to cultivate calmness within, when things get hot and hard on the outside. To operate with grace, always.
Jackie’s classes are powerful, soul-centered, playful and intelligently structured to align students back home to their deepest strengths and truest self. Her teachings are sourced from a decade + of her deep-dives into eastern and western wisdom and steeped in love. 

Julie Mahan

Julie’s journey into Bikram yoga began unexpectedly during a visit to her family in Louisville, Ky, back in 1999. Despite the initial intensity of her first class, she experienced an unusual sense of euphoria afterward. Upon returning to California, she sought out a Bikram studio, discovering that it happened to be the country’s inaugural one, nestled in San Diego. Driven by her burgeoning passion, she swiftly immersed herself in teacher training in 2001. Over the past 22 years, Julie has found immense fulfillment in teaching Bikram Yoga.

Her approach is marked by a unique patience tailored for newcomers, fostering a desire to witness their return and progression at their own pace. Julie vividly recalls the transformative impact even her inaugural Bikram class had on her well-being. With a profound interest in promoting health—bolstered by her college degree in nutrition—and a professional commitment to caring for the homebound elderly, Julie brings a wealth of holistic understanding to her practice.

For Julie, Bikram yoga isn’t just about the poses; it’s about making the experience fun, engaging, and inclusive for everyone—be they seasoned practitioners or novices exploring this form of yoga for the first time. Her dedication lies in guiding students to not just stick with the practice but to thrive within it, enhancing their health and overall well-being. Julie’s unwavering commitment ensures that she unfailingly steers students back to Bikram yoga, fostering improvement and personal growth in each individual’s journey.

Frances Tharp

Frances, the vibrant addition to GOOD, brings a contagious passion for community connection and joyous movement. With an unwavering commitment to fostering fun and exploring moments of bliss within yoga, she radiates positivity through her teaching.

Her teaching style is a blend of invigorating energy and grounding presence that leaves attendees feeling centered, self-assured, and uplifted after every session. Drawing from a childhood steeped in yoga, dance, and music, Frances embodies a seamless harmony of balance and fluidity, backed by a 200-hour Vinyasa and Yin certification.

Frances’s academic journey in Music Business at the University of Colorado Denver has deepened her belief in the transformative influence of thoughtfully curated playlists. She leverages music to elevate, synchronize, and infuse our breath and movements with collective harmony during practice.

Having joyously shared the gift of movement for over two years, Frances remains an ever-curious student, embracing growth with an open heart. Join her at Good for an experience transcending the physical, embracing the enchanting magic of yoga and the boundless potential within your unique expression.