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Teachers

Justicia DeClue

Justicia DeClue (E-RYT 500) is delighted to be living her dream by sharing her love of yoga. A native of St. Louis, she has been teaching since 2005 and is the owner and director of Maha in Philadelphia. When she found yoga in college, it was the most challenging thing she had ever tried, and every pose was exhausting. She built strength steadily under the guidance of amazing teachers, and is now sought after for detailed alignment instruction and her openhearted teaching style. Justicia teaches from her steady personal practice, offering classes that are challenging and playful, fun and accessible. A formerly Certified Anusara Yoga instructor, she has a deep commitment to the therapeutic potential of yoga, and its relevance for each practitioner at every skill level. She offers deep gratitude to all her teachers, especially Zhenja La Rosa.


Zhenja La Rosa

Zhenja La Rosa’s teaching encourages students to explore the vast potential of their own hearts and bodies by emphasizing the transformative and therapeutic aspects of the practice of yoga. In her classes, Zhenja joyfully shares the insights from her dedicated personal practice and the revelations of everyday experience. Known and sought after for her precision, clarity, and delight in detail, Zhenja is a true teachers’ teacher who has mentored and trained many yoga teachers over the years. Zhenja is strongly influenced by her 10-year sadhana in Anusara Yoga.


Teagan Schweitzer

Teagan (RYT 500) is an arm balance lover and renaissance woman. She has been a passionately dedicated yoga teacher in Philadelphia for over 10 years. She has taken teacher trainings in a number of different styles of yoga and combines her knowledge from these studies to offer expertly taught yoga classes. She also has a Ph.D. in Anthropology and researches food in Philadelphia in the 19th century. She attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. And she is a lifelong dancer. Teagan has also become an avid runner and loves how yoga compliments running. She teaches yoga teacher trainings, workshops, and classes around the city.


Jake Panasevich

Jake began practicing yoga to help keep his body in good physical condition while recovering from a long list of injuries. After receiving the therapeutic benefits of yoga and becoming more grounded in all areas of his life, Jake was convinced that transformation through yoga is not only possible but also empowering and enjoyable. Jake believes that yoga is most beneficial when applied to practical, everyday life experiences. This philosophy means Jake presents class in a way that best serves his students and simplifies a seemingly complicated practice. He offers a challenging yet accessible yoga class that is infused with philosophy, anatomy and alignment. Jake is a certified vinyasa yoga teacher and has completed over 400 hours of training. He is continually growing both as a teacher and a student. His training is ongoing and constantly evolving. His dedication and passion for yoga allows him to continually grow while sharing all of his knowledge and enthusiasm with his students.


Chae Yang

Chae Yang Bullock ERYT500, RYT500, RPYT.YACEP and Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist has been practicing yoga since 2,000 and teaching since 2005.  Her deep connection to yoga philosophy inspired her professional trainings to complete her 500 Hour training through Prana Vinyasa with Shiva Rea in 2008.  She continued uninterrupted practice and studies in Anusara, Subtle Anatomy, Sadhana, Yogic Scripture, Physical Anatomy, Prenatal-Postnatal Yoga, Yoga for Aging and Ayurveda. She offers gratitude to her many teachers: especially, Shiva Rea for introducing the essence of Sadhana, Michelle Synnestvedt for showing the necessity of self inquiry, Shari Friederickson for her loving teachings and support.  She continues asana studies with Christina Sell, Carrie Owerko, Desiree Rumbaugh, her colleagues in her local yoga community and subtle body studies through Sadhana and Ayurveda with esteemed teachers globally.

Her informative classes fuse the gross and subtle body and offer challenge, laughter and compassion.


Amanda Jacobs

Amanda began her yoga journey in 2006 and has never looked back. After obtaining a 50-hour youth yoga teacher certification from Philadelphia’s Yoga Child studio in 2009, she began teaching children in local schools, studios, preschools, synagogues, churches, museums and summer camps. In 2013, Amanda completed Maha’s 200- hour teacher certification program, and is passionate about yoga therapeutics, emotional balance, and proper alignment on the mat- all of which are incorporated into her classes. As a trained birth and postpartum doula, Amanda continued her knowledge and desire to serve Philadelphia Mamas and completed a 20-hour prenatal yoga intensive training at Shanti Yoga Shala in 2015. A native of Philadelphia, Amanda happily resides in South Philly with her one-eyed cat, Peter Falk. When she isn’t working, you can find her working as a Birth Doula and Childbirth Educator, at her community gardens, drinking coffee, or practicing with her teachers- Zhenja La Rosa and Andrea Barberio.


Joan Gordon

Since leaving a professional non-profit career in New York City, Joan has immersed herself studying yoga and training with expert teachers. She completed her first Anusara teacher training at Yoga Montclair with Certified Anusara teacher, Vishali Vega in 2006 and completed continuing education workshops with renowned teachers including John Friend, the founder of Anusara Yoga, Todd Norian, Sianna Sherman, Christina Sell, Desiree Rumbaugh and Zhenja LaRosa. Joan continues to study with Professor Douglas Brooks, Ph.D. a world leading scholar of Hindu School of Tantra.

In her teaching, Joan creates an environment and pace that are both challenging and safe for students at all levels of ability and experience. Joan shares her desire for yoga to guide students to a transformational place where a radically positive shift can take place in body, mind, and heart. Joan describes the teaching of yoga as a divine privilege. Each student is a gift!


Carly Markowitz

Carly serves as marketing director and brand manager as well as yoga instructor at Maha. After spending years in an advertising agency working with large corporations, she is thrilled to combine her passion for marketing with her love of yoga! Carly has been practicing yoga since 2004 and has benefitted greatly from the healing and transformative powers of practice. She underwent a major hip surgery in early 2014 and credits her yoga practice for her rapid recovery. Carly teaches an alignment based vinyasa practice, focused on the intelligent placement of the body and breath. She finds strength and inspiration in her daily practice and looks to share that with her students. In Carly’s class you can expect to be challenged and stimulated; physically, mentally and spiritually.


Katrina Atkin

Katrina Atkin is a yogi, dancer, and choreographer hailing from Chicago, IL. She came to yoga as a young dancer for its restorative and conditioning properties. After a series of dance related injuries, it became her daily practice. She decided to deepen her studies by attending Maha Yoga’s 200 Hour Teacher Training in 2015, and began teaching shortly thereafter. In her classes, she strives to focus on strengthening our inherent mind-body connection, with a strong emphasis on injury prevention, movement, and a commitment to creating a comfortable, encouraging environment.


Anisha Chirmule

After a long relationship with dance, Anisha came to yoga within the past few years and immediately received the benefits, both physical and mental. She dove into completing two teacher trainings, Ashtanga and Anusara / therapeutic based, and dug further into the study and exploration of yoga. She loves practicing and teaching with people and sharing those moments to open a new facet of the practice.

In class, she hopes you gain a new sense of your capabilities. and always with a sense of lightheartedness and laughter! She is so thankful for the Maha community of students and teachers who allow for the practice to thrive.


Katie Pizziketti

Yoga is a treasured part of Katie’s fitness lifestyle. She uses it to build strength, flexibility, and body awareness which complement her interests in running, weight training, and interval exercise. Katie is using yoga to improve her range of motion and wellbeing in ways which were missing from her other exercise routines.

Katie developed an appreciation for accessibility – creating things that can be used by people of any ability level – after several years of working with adults living with serious mental illnesses and other limitations. Her belief is that almost anything can be achieved with the right attitude (and modifications). She loves helping people find their own doable pose that is just the right amount of difficult. Her high-energy classes focus on becoming stronger and stretchier with a smile!


Julie Price

Julie brings a refreshing enthusiasm to her classes as she is excited to share some of the nuanced ways she has come to understand safe and effective alignment. Along with these straightforward cues, her teaching is characterized by lots of questions that ask students to explore the subtle realms of sensations throughout their own bodies. Through this practice, she wants students to leave feeling more centered, balanced and mindful. She is both grateful and thrilled to participate in this community and join her students and fellow teachers on this never-ending journey of understanding. Currently a student of acupuncture, she combines what she knows of Indian philosophy with what she’s learning in Chinese medicine to inform her teaching.


Ira Richards

After dabbling with yoga for several years, Ira’s passion for yoga took off when he stumbled into Maha (he tripped over the sign on the street).   Ira completed Maha’s 200-hour teacher training, as well as additional trainings in sequencing, mindfulness, and meditation. As a practicing litigation attorney for over 30 years, Ira has learned from experience how yoga can be transformative on and off the mat.  Ira sees teaching as a way to share the benefits of a yoga practice, especially with people who might not think yoga is “for them.” In his classes, he seeks to create a supportive environment where students are encouraged to explore safely each asana as an expression of individuality, while cultivating a sense of community.  Ira takes his yoga, but not himself, seriously, so come to class ready to learn and to laugh. Ira is grateful for the encouragement and support he gets from his teachers (especially Justicia, Jake, Stephanie, Amanda, and Andrea), the Maha community, his family (especially his wife Leslie who requested to be mentioned by name) and his friends.


Jess Macaluso

An athlete growing up, Jessica needed to find something physical to supplement her new sedentary lifestyle after graduating college. She found yoga in 2013 after experiencing lower back pain and while bringing healing to her physical body, yoga surprised Jessica with a physical challenge, an inspired heart and a more settled mind. She moved to Philadelphia from New York in 2015 and completed her 200 Hr teacher training which helped her build community in her new city. She thanks her teachers Alex Holmes and Mariel Freeman for making Philly feel like home and for continuing to challenge and inspire her to become a more intentional person. Jessica offers an athletic, alignment-based class, focused on linking the mind and body through breath.


Mamie Guidera

Mamie Guidera has been practicing yoga for 15 years. She completed the Maha Teacher training in 2015, and has been teaching adaptive yoga for people with physical disabilities ever since. She is an avid rower and bicyclist but finds that yoga is essential for maintaining quality of life with Parkinson’s Disease.

No experience is required for her class, but a sense of humor is helpful.


Adriana Adelé

Shortly after earning her BA in neuroscience at Oberlin College in Ohio, Adriana began practicing and studying yoga in 2011 after taking her first Bhakti Flow class in Oakland, CA. An athlete growing up, she was first drawn to the physical challenge of the practice but quickly delighted in the equanimity it brought to her mind and spirit.  Adriana believes life is a conversation and is constantly surprised and inspired by the answers found on her mat– and the questions which come from those answers.

After moving to Philadelphia, Adriana completed the 200 hour teacher training at DIG Yoga  in alignment-based hatha yoga, with her teachers Sue Elkind, Naime Jezzeny, and mentor Mariel Freeman. Through clear alignment cues and thoughtful sequencing, she encourages, supports, and empowers students to cultivate a deeper connection with their breath and body, creating a sustainable yoga practice to carry throughout life.


Liz Coda

Liz began practicing yoga while in college. An avid runner, she took up yoga as a way to stretch and build strength to support her running, but quickly fell in love with yoga on its own. She moved to Philadelphia in 2013 to begin teaching middle school, and deepened her yoga practice as a way to destress and center herself amidst a hectic work life. She completed her 200 hour Yogahour Teacher Training at Maha in 2017. She’s excited to offer students a fun yet challenging practice to help them build strength and confidence.


Natalie Fleischman

Natalie’s yoga journey began in the tiny living room of her apartment, where her friend (who was not even a yoga teacher at the time) taught a small group of friends the basics in ashtanga.  Natalie was hooked from the beginning and started a very dedicated home practice soon after. She found that yoga brought her mental clarity and patience, something she did not have a lot of! She also found the physical benefits of yoga to be transformative to her very physically demanding full time job as a pastry chef.  After moving to Philadelphia, Natalie heard about Maha Yoga’s work exchange program and signed up without hesitation. She began practicing with Justicia DeClue, Jake Panasevich, Teagan Schweitzer, Carly Markowitz, Alex Holmes, Stephanie Berliner, among many other incredible teachers who shaped her personal practice. Natalie aims to make yoga fun, challenging, and accessible to every one regardless of experience or financial standings. You can catch her donation based community classes on Wednesdays from 4:30-5:45.


Kacie Sheppeck

Kacie’s relationship with yoga began over ten years ago with a casual power yoga practice. After running regularly daily for years, Kacie suffered a knee injury that took her off the road and onto the mat. She began practicing at Maha in 2015 and hasn’t looked back. After gaining body awareness, recovering from her knee injury and being inspired by the many teachers she practiced under, she completed her 200hr RYT training at Maha in 2017. Yoga has not only served as exercise for Kacie, but has become a safe place to manage her stress, anxiety and has provided her with a spiritual connection to the practice. She brings fun and safety to her classes.


Tara Marini

Tara currently lives in Philadelphia, PA but always enjoys escaping the hustle and bustle of the city by stepping onto her mat. Tara fell in love with yoga when she took a stress management class at Penn State in 2008 and has been an avid practitioner ever since. Her dedication and passion for yoga allows her to continually grow and enhance her practice and teaching style. She completed her 200 hour Yogahour Teacher Training at Maha Yoga in 2017. She is excited to share the wealth of yoga to the city of brother love.


Ashley Tryba

Ashley has been practicing for almost 20 years and her practice and philosophy have grown with her. Her curiosity in yogic philosophy and theory led to multiple trainings including a 200HR Training at Amrita Yoga and Wellness in Fishtown, as well as an alignment-based 200HR and 500HR training at Three Queens Yoga in Queen Village. She also holds her trauma-informed yoga certification from Transformation Yoga Project and a 95HR Kids’ Training from Grounded Kids Yoga. Ashley empowers yogis to move in ways that remind them how powerful, flexible, and capable they are so they can get back out there into the world, off the mat, feeling and being their best.


Haley Purdy

Haley found yoga in 2013 as a means of self care after the birth of her first daughter. After more than 10 years in the corporate marketing world, she soon decided that her career path and soul path were not in harmony. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Maha Yoga under the teaching of Justicia DeClue. Today she is a mom of two girls, and an English Bulldog, Bodhi, all die-hard Eagles fans. 

As a champion of self care, Haley encourages her students to use their time on the mat to get out of the mind and into the body; to take breaks from the grind to appreciate the breath. Haley enjoys the motto, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”


Jill Ivey

Jill Ivey believes that the profound benefits of yoga should be available to everyone, regardless of body type, level of health, physical fitness, or financial ability. She is particularly passionate about the ways in which a regular yoga practice can help heal the body and promote peace of mind, and credits her regular practice to her ability to both get through most days relatively pain free, and to focus on non-yoga related tasks. 

A former dancer who practiced yoga on and off for a decade before deciding to make it a constant in her life—first as a practitioner and then as a teacher—Jill completed her teacher training here at Maha in 2019. In addition to her alignment training, Jill regularly practices Iyengar yoga, which has given her a healthy appreciation for the use of props in her practice and teaching. Many thanks to Justicia, Gabi, and Lucy for the yogic inspiration.


Alan Foran

Alan was first introduced to yoga by a fellow cyclist in 2011 and found it to be a great compliment to his active lifestyle. After moving to Philadelphia a friend turned him onto the philosophy and more subtle aspects and he found a love with the potential for self examination, discipline, and transformation. In 2018 after a string of injuries, Alan was invited into Maha Yoga. The knowledge and precision of the teachers as well as the community deepened his commitment to the practice.  After finishing their Immersion program, he knew he wanted to share his love of the practice with others and continue his own studies from a new perspective and enrolled in their teacher training program. Also a student of Chinese martial arts, Alan offers dynamic and eclectic practice that allows students to challenge themselves in a safe and effective way. while giving them the opportunity to look inside and reflect upon themselves in hopes that what they learn can follow them into their day to day life. He is grateful for all his teachers along the; notably, Justicia DeClue, Nathan Dawley, and Darrel Bryant.


Nadia Mansoor

Nadia began her yoga journey in college, when the idea of routine and serenity were a far cry from her every day. Once she realized it brought a sense of calm amidst of chaos, she’s never looked back. After moving from New York in 2017, the practice has only deepened her belief that yoga is a mentally transformative practice – and each breath brings us back to ourselves, no matter where we are.   

Nadia uses the healing power of breath to guide movement that is both based on strength and alignment. She applies these practices both on and off the mat to create a holistic approach to yoga that transcends the physical. By letting the breath be a guiding light, Nadia is able to create a relaxed environment to expand her students’ perspectives – while keeping the practice light-hearted and fun. When Nadia is not on the mat, she is bringing her energy to a local healthcare-focused start-up in Philadelphia.