Meet the Teachers
Lead Trainer, ERYT 500, YACEP, ABYS Level 2
Rachel brings over 25 years of experience in body movement to her yoga teacher teaching program. Trained originally as a dancer, Rachel has studied all styles of dance with an emphasis in modern and classical ballet. After the birth of her third child she began taking yoga classes and instantly fell in love. She was fortunate enough to be introduced to the Iyengar style of yoga from her very first class. Her yoga training has focused extensively on proper alignment, detailed instruction, anatomy, and yoga therapeutics. Rachel has been teaching yoga to all ages and levels since 2006 and is passionate about guiding her students toward increased body awareness, strength and flexibility through the practice of yoga.
Rachel feels fortunate to have studied yoga with wonderful teachers such as Julie Gudmestad, Carolyn Belko, Rebecca Learner, and John Schumacher, as well as her very first teacher and inspiration, Carlyn Sikes. She also feels very grateful to have studied yoga in Bangalore India with Yana Lewis, student of BKS Iyengar and creator of the Bangalore Ballet. It was in Bangalore that Rachel was able to meet BKS Iyengar, a definite highlight in her yogic journey.
Julie Gudmestad, PT
PT, ERYT 500
Iyengar Certified Instructor
Julie began teaching yoga in 1970 when she was a student at Reed College. Introduced to Iyengar yoga in the late 70's, Julie became Iyengar certified in 1988. At that time, she opened her own studio and began to train the teachers who currently teach there.
Julie attended physical therapy school at Pacific University, graduating in 1977. She opened her private practice in 1983, and has practiced physical therapy continuously since that time. Julie has advanced training and work experience specializing in orthopedic problems, chronic pain, sports injuries and stress-related problems.
Julie's goal is to make the healing powers of yoga accessible to people of all levels and abilities. If a class moves too quickly, students may get frustrated and quit without ever receiving the healing benefits of practice. She prefers that students take progressive steps, starting with gentle poses in a beginning class. It is Julie's belief that the ability to slow down and stay present is an important aspect of healing, and that yoga encourages a mindful state that can heal people emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically.
For many years Julie has worked to integrate the healing powers of yoga with her Western medical knowledge. She has created a unique teaching style and teaches workshops, including "Anatomy Awareness in Asana" and "Yoga for Physical Therapists," throughout the U.S., Canada and in Europe. You can also see more of her work in the Yoga Journal online, where she wrote the "Anatomy of a Yogi" column for 7 years.
Atmadarshan Laura Santoro
Yoga Philosophy Teacher
ERYT 500, YACEP, C-IAYT
Atmadarshan has been teaching internationally on yoga since 2000. In addition to completing two different therapeutically-oriented teacher training programs, she has visited India numerous times and been formally initiated as a sannyasin (renunciate) in the Saraswati lineage.
She studied in several ashrams in Asia and Australia, and has university degrees in biology, psychology and yoga instruction. Before she came to yoga, she worked in the Laboratory of Biological Psychiatry through Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and in the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive Care Units and Mather Operating Rooms through the Respiratory Therapy Department of University Hospitals of Cleveland.
Atmadarshan is the second author of a paper on using biological markers to predict medication response in patients with chronic schizophrenia. She also wrote an internationally published book on the martial art of Aikido, in which she holds a black belt.
Toady, Atmadarshan is a full time instructor for group classes, workshops, retreats, private clients and Teacher Training programs, specializing in yoga psychology and philosophy. She has completed her own translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, which is being submitted for publication this year. Her greatest joy is helping students discover how yoga can support their well-being on the mat and in their lives.