REBECCA PENNINGTON, OWNER
Rebecca was born in 1978 and grew up in Sebastopol, California. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a degree in Kinesiology and Psychology. She worked as a wilderness adventure guide for eight years taking teenagers and adults on outdoor adventure trips. She has also worked as a fitness coach and a physical education teacher. Her passion is fitness, nutrition, and health.
She enjoys swimming, cycling, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, kiteboarding, etc…sports of all kinds. She backpacked about 1700 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from Canada to Mt Whitney, C.A.
After destroying her left knee joint from overuse, a friend introduced her to Bikram Yoga. She was amazed at what practicing Bikram Yoga did for her body. Her knee joint slowly became stronger and stopped throbbing with pain. Her body’s alignment, posture, balance, and strength improved incredibly. Her athletic abilities greatly increased in all of the sports she plays. Her stress level began to decrease and she was able to sleep better at night.
Rebecca has practiced Bikram Yoga since 2003. She has seen how much Bikram Yoga has helped not only herself, but everyone who practices around her. She has seen those of all ages, sizes, and abilities benefit greatly from a regular Bikram Yoga practice. She has seen so many students transform their bodies, and reduce aches and pains.Rebecca went to teacher training in April 2010. She absolutely loves teaching Bikram Yoga and motivating students to stay healthy and strong.
EMMY STEWART, MANAGER
I was born and raised in Santa Rosa. From a young age I always had a knack for languages and a passion for traveling. I spent my junior year of high school in Brazil and by the time I graduated I was fluent in five languages.
Pursuing my initial educational pathway in chemistry I relocated a couple times, ending up back in Santa Rosa and completing the Pharmacy Technician program offered by the junior college. Through all the moves and changes physical fitness was the one constant in my life. I taught spin classes at CSU San Marcos and was an avid water polo player thru my high school years.
I now truly enjoy the sweat, hard work and rewarding feeling when I teach or take inferno hot Pilates and bikram. My passions have evolved to include food nutrition and physical fitness while i pursue a degree as a registered dietitian.
I truly believe everything in life deserves a balance, food, fun and hard work.
I was a student athlete and Strength and Conditioning All-American as well as a Division I Catcher on Fresno State’s Nationally rank Softball Team. As I was about to graduate and my softball career was coming to an end, I sought out a path that would guide me through the next part of my life.
I enrolled in my first yoga class during my last semester as a college athlete. I was intrigued by the powerful healing and energizing aspects of the relationship between body and mind through breath.
Shortly after graduating college, I returned to my hometown of Santa Cruz, CA, where I took my first Bikram Yoga Class. I loved it! The two breathing exercises and 26 posture series, in a hot room with a mirror, provided me with a safe environment to challenge and accept myself, from the inside out, without judgement and without competition. I continued to practice Bikram Yoga throughout different chapters of my life.
In 2004, I graduated from Bikram’s Yoga College of India in Los Angeles, CA. I became a full-time Bikram Yoga Teacher and taught at several studios in LA.
In the years after becoming certified as a Bikram Yoga Teacher, I am beyond humbled and deeply grateful to have the life that I have. I love teaching Bikram Yoga. Thank you always, for your precious, very valuable, time! When I am away from the yoga studio, you can find me coaching fitness and mixed martial arts, mentoring youth, Crossfitting and spending time with my family.
ERIN ELISABETH MARSCHALL-CARROLL
Hi, my name is Erin. If you are reading this, good for you! You’ve taken the initiative to learn more about Bikram Yoga Santa Rosa (BYSR) and get a sense of the instructors you might be working with here at the studio.
It is my honor and privilege to teach Bikram yoga. I believe, with all of my heart, that yoga has the power to Heal you (yes, you!) on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. It is my goal, with every interaction with individuals—inside and outside of class—to help each person realize their own Highest Good. I am convinced that practicing yoga, especially on a regular basis, brings each of us closer to our Highest Good and our Highest Potential.
Please know that “flexibility” is not a requirement for practicing yoga. All that is required is an open mind and willingness to become more of who you truly are.
Please come in and take some classes (if you haven’t already)—we have so many classes to choose from! Every class accommodates beginning, intermediate and advanced practitioners. I speak for the entire staff here when I say that I genuinely look forward to meeting and working with you.
All blessings, Erin
Hello, my name is Michele and I am one of the Inferno Hot Pilates Instructors at BYSR. I was born and raised in Long Beach, CA, and moved to Santa Rosa in 2016. When I first moved to Santa Rosa, I had just begun a new journey of self discovery. I had no clue where this path would take me, but I was determined to find out. I was physically unfit, and I remember thinking to myself ‘I wish I was one of those people who was dedicated to going to the gym every day, who ate healthy all the time, who had self discipline and self worth…’. And then I was introduced to Bikram Yoga of Santa Rosa. After taking my very first yoga class, I knew that being a part of this community was exactly where I was meant to be. I started out with Bikram Yoga, and then tried Inferno Hot Pilates, and instantly fell in love! I began attending classes regularly each week. Very quickly, I began to see the most positive and beautiful changes take place within myself; not just physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.
This studio, the classes, and the people, have inspired the most rewarding growth that I never thought was possible. Being a student at this studio helps motivate me to keep bettering myself every day, and is also what lead me to become an instructor. I never knew what true passion for something felt like until I began teaching IHP classes. Along with taking classes, I equally love teaching them. The ability to witness and help propel others to push themselves outside of their comfort zones and to achieve their goals is such an amazing gift that I cherish. I love this studio and am forever grateful for everything it’s given me, and has instilled in me!
Katie Gross has had a passion for fitness her whole life and is so honored to now be teaching at the Santa Rosa Bikram studio. Since she was four, Katie has been dancing, doing ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz, and through her love of dance, she found a passion for Pilates and Yoga. In June of 2018 she got her Inferno Hot Pilates training and began teaching at the studio shortly after. In August of 2018 she traveled to Bali where she studied yoga and got her 200 hour RYT certification. She has plans to continue her studies in Pilates and yoga with more trainings and studying abroad from her mentors.
I began my journey into natural health and mind/body connection in my early 20’s ( way back in 1977!) This is when I began studying the raw foods diet and natural living with Ann Wigmore at Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, and here I was also introduced to Polarity Body Therapy. Then in 1979 I spent 9 months living and studying at The Polarity Health Institute on the San Juan Islands off of the coast of Washington.
After that I spent the next 15 years at home, raising my 3 children (with my husband). First in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and then in Trinity County, in northern California, and finally arriving in Sonoma County in 1990. In the mid 1980’s we found our spiritual teacher, Adi Da Samraj, and we have continued with this spiritual practice. Here in Sonoma County I was active in the Waldorf Schools that my children attended ( Willow Wood and Summerfield ). In 1994 I started working at Whole Foods Market in Sebastopol (at the time it was Food for Thought )- where I stayed for 21 years!
In the early 1990’s I became a regular runner, and at times dabbled in some hatha yoga practices at home. Then in 2001, at the interest of my youngest daughter, who was 15 at the time, I tried Bikram yoga here at the 7th Street studio! I loved it! It felt like a good balance to my running, and my active physical job at Whole Foods. Well- I never quit! ( My husband and 2 older children practice Bikram yoga also ). Always in the back of my mind was, “I might like to teach this!”
Then in 2012 I made the decision that I would retire from Whole Foods in 2015, increase my yoga practice and take the Bikram teacher training in the spring of 2016. Which is what I did! With encouragement from Rebecca I decided to do the Evolation training in Santa Barbara. This is the training that Elias Gaitan is involved in and that fellow teacher, Larry, has also done. So- off I went last April! The training was great! I definitely felt like I made the right training choice.
I landed back here and began teaching last June. I really love my “post retirement” career.! I love our studio and my wonderful fellow teachers. I really enjoy working with everyone who walks in our doors. It’s a wonderful group of people, I enjoy sharing what I have learned, and also, always continuing to learn from those I teach. I hope to continue teaching here for a long time.
Back in 2007, Erica was an avid runner. She started yoga at home, because she thought she should stretch more than she currently did. She immediately fell in love with the level of emotional and spiritual awareness that yoga encouraged. It wasn’t until 2009, when she attended her first Vinyasa studio class, that she realized that daily yoga would be the most beneficial practice, physical or otherwise, that she could adopt. She quit running and started regularly attending classes. In 2013, she obtained her 200RYT certificate and began teaching power yoga. Erica has continued to grow her teaching and practicing knowledge with frequent workshops and trainings, and is currently earning her +300hr. She integrates all that she learns, and now teaches a varied vinyasa style that strongly encourages breath focus, and whole body awareness. In 2018, Erica attended her first Inferno Hot Pilates class, and found that she had just as much love and passion for it as she did for yoga. It not only complimented her yoga practice perfectly, but it made her stronger physically and mentally. She began teaching classes in 2019. Erica grew up in Maine, where she earned degrees in Art, Art History and Writing. In 2005, she moved to California. She teaches yoga and IHP full time, and is mom to a very active and tenacious 5 year old.
Tiffany grew up in Ft Lauderdale, FL, and lived there until she moved away to attend the University of Florida. After earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in Decision and Information Sciences, she worked in the IT industry as a Consultant, Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Software Test Lead. After her first child was born, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Her family moved to Santa Rosa in 2013, and welcomed their second child in 2014.
Tiffany fell in love with yoga when she was pregnant with her first child. She practiced prenatal yoga throughout both of her pregnancies and will always remember her first yoga teacher. After having two children, yoga became her “me time” and helped her be a more patient mother. It also helped her on her fitness journey after realizing two pregnancies and aging were taking their toll on her body and health. She decided to share her love of yoga with others through teaching Vinyasa Flow, Yin, and Kids Yoga.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I played competitive sports and spent my free time hiking, swimming, skiing and snowboarding. Staying active has continually grounded me, energized me and improved my mental clarity. I started off taking Bikram yoga at BYSR, then took my first Inferno Hot Pilates class in the fall of 2018. I was instantly hooked; not only was it an incredible workout, but it was so much fun and there was an unmistakable positive energy that filled the room. Challenging my body to push past my comfort zone not only felt amazing physically, but I left each class feeling energized spiritually and emotionally. The community at BYSR is something incredibly special and it started to feel like a second home. I knew I wanted to become an instructor so I could help others find what I found here: an amazing workout that improves mind/body connection, alongside fantastic people, music, and energy. So thrilled to be part of the BYSR team!
Born and raised in Santa Rosa, I have always had a love for staying active. I took hip hop, jazz, tap and modern dance for eight years. Post dance career I remained active going on hikes, taking fitness classes and hitting the gym. I also studied photography which lead me to graduate from Sonoma State University in 2016 with a BA in Communications and Media Studies. I was working for companies running their social media accounts, blogs, websites, etc. While I do have the knowledge to be successful in social media, I soon realized that it wasn’t my burning passion. Something was missing…
My mom invited me to Energize Hot Yoga to take a Bikram class in January of 2019 and I quickly started coming back multiple times a week. By April, a friend urged me to try Inferno Hot Pilates. I instantly started going almost every day without thinking twice. The lights, the music, the energy- I loved it all! By October of 2019 I registered for instructor training because I knew I wanted to teach. Here I am now, the healthiest and best I’ve ever felt AND a part of the Energize Hot Yoga team?! I’m so excited to be a part of this community! I can’t wait to keep sharing the joy of IHP.
In the early 90’s Elias Gaitan began his yoga journey with the study and practice of Hatha (physical) yoga. He began his practice using the book ‘Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class’ and a video ‘Baron Baptiste’s Power Yoga’.
A trained competitive athlete his entire life, Elias’ body was already showing signs of breaking down; it needed help. A decade later this journey lead him to his first yoga teacher training and certification, Bikram’s Beginning Yoga in 2003.
Since then he has accrued numerous certifications, and has studied with notable hatha yoga masters such as; Rajashree Choudhury (Bikram yoga), Ana Forrest (Forrest yoga), Baron Baptiste (Baptiste power yoga), Mark Whitwell, Shiva Rea, Vinnie Marino, Brian Campbell (Forrest Yoga) and Duncan Wong to name a few.
Today Elias is the founder of ‘True For You Yoga’ and continues his daily practice, study and teaching of yoga. Elias teaches passionately with the emphasis on breathing, living fully in your body, and feeling good while in your yoga practice, and in turn your life.
Over this 20 year yoga journey, Elias interprets Hatha yoga as: “The healing practice of bringing the body in union with the life”.
Dawn Keller, Yoga Instructor
Dawn Keller began her journey into Bikram Yoga in 2003, having a regular practice as part of her active lifestyle which included swimming, biking and participating in many sports with her two adult kids. In 2007, Dawn suffered an injury which caused severe neck, back and leg pain which brought her active lifestyle to an abrupt halt. Seeking to avoid surgery and knowing how and why Bikram Yoga was created, she leaned into her yoga practice, some days only being able to show up on her mat and breath. After 6 months she was encouraged and found to her joy she could heal by gently easing her body and mind back into condition. She has continued to practice and completed her Bikram Yoga teaching training and certification in early 2019. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with her students. When away from the studio she enjoys volunteering and spending time with her granddaughter and family. She is grateful and loves being a part of the (BYSR) Energize Hot Yoga Santa Rosa Studio with the amazing teachers and community.
Drew Gross (Front Desk)
Hi, my name is Drew. I’ve always been very active and into sports, especially back in high school. I’m slowly getting back into the groove of exercising and found that I love yoga! I am 22 year old student attending Sonoma State University, studying Communications. I was raised in Rohnert Park, but hope to move down to SoCal once I graduate. I can’t wait to become more active and continue my journey with yoga!
Makenna Kingsbury (Front Desk)
Hi! My name is Makenna and I am 16 years old. I was born in Santa Rosa and have lived here ever since. I’ve been attending classes at Energize Hot Yoga since I was 10! I loved doing yoga with my mom and still do. Besides practicing yoga I do competitive swimming for the varsity team at my school, Santa Rosa High School. I also was apart of the Santa Rosa club swim team, Neptunes! I’ve always been an active kid/teen and have no plans on stopping. I love hanging out with friends/family and my dogs during my free time. (:
Chantel Gonzalez (Front Desk)
My name is Chantel and I was born and raised here in Santa Rosa. I started taking classes here a couple years ago and have loved it! I love going on hikes, wakeboarding, snowboarding, and doing almost anything active or outdoors. Besides working here, I am also working at a dentist office and attending the SRJC studying to go into dental hygiene. I am so happy to be back working here and am excited to get back into taking the IHP and Bikram classes!