Christie Makanna Cohen was first introduced to yoga 20 years ago when she walked into one of Rodney Yee's Iyengar classes in Oakland, CA. Coming from a dance background, she was immediately hooked on the practice's focus on detail and alignment. She studied with Yee for five years until he moved to New York. She has since studied with a number of teachers, most notably Alice Joanou, with whom she currently has an apprenticeship and Baron Baptiste and the Baptiste Institute through which she became a RYT 200. She describes her style as Vinyasa with a strong foundation in Iyengar and Hatha. Her classes always have an emphasis on proper alignment and breath as well as a deep respect for the philosophy and tradition behind it.

Christie believes yoga is for everybody and it can be a steadying force in an unsteady world. She wants her students to find their own strengths and connect to the deepest part of themselves in the process.

"Yoga has brought me back to myself over and over again," says Christie, who traces her path to yoga back to her Berkeley childhood and an early exposure to the philosophical teachings of Trungpa Rinpoche, Ram Das and Meher Baba. "For me it’s almost an undoing, so we can get in touch with ourselves and everything inside us, god, the divine, we're not separate from any of that. Yoga has an incredible power."

Cynthea Denise, R. N., longtime practitioner and seasoned yoga teacher, recalls the urge to twist her body into "odd shapes" as a child, graduated from Piedmont Advanced Studies Program in 1996. She feels at home in the yoga studio and delights in guiding bodies of all ages in opening, as the yoga asana awakens and reconnects us to the inherent wisdom of our body. To register for her next mama/baby postnatal 8-week series, email Cynthea at or call 510.444.1129.

Ray Joichi came into yoga to prevent and heal injuries from many years of triathlon and ultra-running. He fell in love with the mental, physical, and spiritual aspects of yoga after his first class with Laura Camp. He brings years of physical training and racing, traveling and living throughout the world, and love of teaching into his practice. He has been practicing yoga intensely for the past two years and just recently finished a 200 hour yoga teacher training under Laura Camp. Ray has a playful and supportive teaching style that helps students to explore the boundaries of the mind and body as they celebrate the authentic joy and beauty within themselves: their atman. He encourages students to hit the pause button of the mind to luxuriously discover lightness in their practice while connecting to the inner child. He feels having fun on the mat is essential to a long lasting and strong practice. His teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that practicing yoga is equivalent to practicing self-love and respect, and that it expands our sense of unity and compassion. Ray Joichi offers flowing and energetic yinyasa classes that challenge students of all levels, and build their capacity to meet their strength and flexibility objectives through dynamic movement and breath. He enjoys exploring new music in his classes including yogic chants and a creative mix of tunes, and brings students into a deep and serene sivasana with his harmonium. Check out the Monday Night Monkey Flow page.

Joseph Rivers is a life long movement junkie. 6 years of Tai Chi Chuan under Scott Rodell at the Great River Toaist Center in Washington DC, 10 plus years studying yoga with Tim Thompson and a certified teacher trainer following 200 hours in Laura Camp's Yoga Teacher Training program. He also learned to swim at the ripe age of 40 and believes you're never to young to start or to old to learn. A father, husband, artist, yogi, cook, gardener, builder, musician, writer, educator, student, child, and genuine boy at heart. He believes that creativity should know no bounds. The broader the base the higher one can reach without fear of falling down.

"It is my mission to share my knowledge and experience in encouraging visionary life action and compassionate self realization for aspirants young and old." A committed creative soul, he lives and practices yoga in Oakland.

    1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
    2. Don't Take Anything Personally.
    3. Don't Make Assumptions.
    4. Always Do Your Best.

Tim Thompson (Founder of Monkey Yoga Shala in Oakland = 8 Best Yoga Studio Awards) first learned anatomy drawing comic book super heroes and intense althetics as a wrestler in high school. Years of West African dance, Contact Improvisation, Capoeira and ballet brought him to UC Berkeley as a dance major. While on staff at Piedmont Springs as a deep tissue massage therapist, he began his apprenticeship with Rodney Yee. A three-year graduate of Piedmont Yoga StudioÕs Teacher Training Program, Tim taught Iyengar yoga at PYS, the Courthouse Athletic Club, Temescal Arts Center, Thunder Road, and at various public schools. Studying with Sarah Powers ignited his love of Ashtanga yoga and he eventually developed Isometric Monkey Yoga and the Primate and Simian Series. Influenced by Bucky Fuller and Islamic art, he made the metal ashtanga star and dome that supports the sunshade in the shala. Tim was voted as the Best Yoga Instructor of the Bay in the 2012 Bay Guardian Reader's Poll, Best Yoga Instructor of 2008 and 2012, Best Amateur Athlete in 2011 and Best Athlete in 2012 in the East Bay Express Reader's Polls. Feel free to call in or email any questions about yoga or related monkey business. Phone number: 510-908-1694 or email Private lessons by appointment.