Member of the Week: Autumn Matli

1. What is your full name? 

Autumn Juliana Matli

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Climbing trees, running from house to house to play with neighborhood kids, walking to the neighborhood pool, bike riding, camping in the sierras with family and visiting the central coast with family.

3. What job did you have in high school?

Waterslide attendant at water park, hostess at Red Lobster

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

See above 🙂

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Italy, especially Amalfi coast with my husband, former Member of the Week Dave Matli, and my 2 daughters

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My family, and our silly dinner conversations

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Having lasting friendships (20-30 yrs long) and raising our two daughters (still only 7 & 10 so ask me again when they’re in high school)

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t ever wait to travel, move to a new location, try a new career, start a business—the time is now, there’s nothing to lose

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I was true to myself, acted with integrity and was an amazing wife and mother!

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Not only are the classes and instructors some of the best around, I love coming to the studio.  Starting my day with MPY makes the hurdle of what’s to come in my day, much more manageable. Thank you MPY!

Member of the Week: Sara Shaw

1. What is your full name?  

Sara Gabriela Shaw

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I loved writing poetry, rearranging my bedroom and also eating candy. My dad used to tell me I was going to marry a jellybean. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

It wasn’t a paid job – but I worked at the local birth center where I grew up in Pittsburgh. 

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

My family was really close with my best friend’s family and we would often eat shabbat meals all together. One Saturday afternoon we were all seated around the table quietly reciting the post-meal prayer. I felt something under the table and thought it was my friend’s dog, Jake, so I reached out to pet him. After a couple seconds I realized I was petting my friend’s dad’s knee. He was giving me the strangest look. The worst part was that I couldn’t explain myself for another minute or so until we all completed saying the prayer. It was so awkward and I’m sure my face was strawberry red. I’m still close with their family and she is still my best friend. 

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken? 

I traveled to Guatemala for a month by myself. Best decision I ever made.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Friends – the television show.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m so proud that I am a labor and delivery nurse. Ever since high school I knew I wanted to be involved in birth somehow. It took lots of hard work, because the sciences never came easily to me, but I made it happen. 

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Learn to play a musical instrument and get really good at it. Stick with it even though practicing can be no fun. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I want them to remember me as a dependable person who was an excellent cook, a devoted nurse, a decent ukulele player and a great party thrower. 

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I love the structure it gives my week. I try to do a mixture of TRX and bootcamp at least 3 times a week and I feel so good when I walk out of that room dripping sweat. 

Member of the Week: Christopher Nelson

1. What is your full name? 

Christopher James Nelson. It might be interesting to note that my middle name comes from a person who helped my father out of a jam. When my father was in the Navy, he accidentally blew up some toilets, and was looking at spending the rest of his life doing menial chores. ‘James’ rescued him from eternal KP and elevated him onto the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. This kind of intervention, divine, mortal, or otherwise, is a constant thread throughout my life story.

2. What was your favorite activity as a child? 

Drawing, reading, daydreaming, and hiking, which are still some of my favorite activities. As a child I grew up in southern California out in the desert, and as crazy as it sounds, I used to walk to Kindergarten on my own. And, as absurd as this sounds, sometimes instead of going to school, I would opt to wander out into the desert to catch lizards and tadpoles, eventually making my way to school at my own leisure. Avoiding responsibilities is still another favorite activity.

3. What job did you have in high school?

When I was 11, I asked my father for an allowance, and the next weeked he got me a job scrubbing dishes at a deli. In High School I upgraded to working the swing shift at a convenience store.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Hmmm. It might end up being this questionnaire. I’m a pretty insecure person, so just about every living, breathing moment is fraught with the potential to recede into an embarrassing moment. It’s better if I just keep on keeping on.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken? 

Is there really such a thing as a bad vacation? Oh wait, there was that time to Legoland…

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Dumb, immature, jokes. The weird and curious things my children say.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I have lots to be proud of: my marriage, my wife, my children, my sobriety, my professional career, just to name a few. I have a long gratitude list and constantly thank the heavens for my good fortune.  

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Sigh. The same advice others were trying to give to me but I ignored: know right from wrong, and pursue the righteous path; it’s the sure way to happiness. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I wasn’t an asshole, I had the occasional piece of good advice, or a good joke; that I loaned my tools freely, and I tried my best to be an attentive and loving person.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

As usual, I started writing a long winded response, but I’ll spare us and just end with this quote from Chuang Tzu: Make the inexhaustible your body / and wander beyond origins.

Member of the Week: Natasha Najafi

1. What is your full name? 

Natasha Najafi 

2. What was your favorite activity as a child? 

ballet and tennis 

3. What job did you have in high school? 

worked for the gap, limited express and my father’s 

Real Estate Brokerage 

4. What is your most embarrassing memory? 

when i was at a party late at night and my parents found out, and showed up to take me home! 

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken? 

there are so many! I love to travel….but I would say my 2 top favorites would be Croatia and Morroco. 

6. What makes you laugh out loud? 

just talking with my girlfriends! 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of? 

being a mother to my son Bentley…By far the best accomplishment of my life. 

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Wear sunscreen! 

9. What would you like people to remember about you? 

loyalty 

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga? 

makes me happy and feel amazing after i’m done! I always look forward to going. 

Member of the Week: Inga and Andy Sweet

1. What is your full name? 

Inga and Andy Sweet

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Inga – I grew up in the mid-west and loved being with my neighborhood friends. We rode bikes, played outdoors and in the winter went ice skating afterschool on an outdoor open rink. 

Andy – Anything outside. My fondest memories are of camping with my family.

3. What job did you have in high school?

Inga – I worked in a deli/catering take out and also spent time working for the family orthopedic business. 

Andy – I worked at Let’s Eat in the Cove Shopping Center in Tiburon.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Inga – there are so many…

Andy – The first time someone told me my hair was thinning!

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Inga – Europe with our three kids a few years ago. It was awesome to see them take in the history, culture and people of new places, navigate the cities, enjoy the food and experience it together.

Andy – What she said. Without a doubt.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Inga – our dog, Riley.

Andy – Inga. Trust me, she is funny.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Inga – Raising our three kids.

Andy – Working hard, which allows me to live and raise my family in Marin County.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Inga – slow down, worry less and wear sunscreen. As a pension consultant, I also have to throw in save for retirement.

Andy – don’t let yourself become a Cal football fan.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

Inga – that I was kind to them.

Andy – that I was a wonderful husband, father and friend.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Inga – The wonderful teachers!

Andy – I have felt very comfortable at MPY since my first yoga practice about two years ago and the teachers keep me coming back. They are awesome.

Member of the Week: Holly Arnold

1. What is your full name?

Holly Egan Arnold. It used to be Holly Lynn Egan, I changed it when I was married, 18 short years ago.

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I loved playing in the woods. I spent hours and hours climbing trees, hiking, picking berries, picking flowers, playing in the creek. Alone, or with friends, it’s where I felt most free. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

My first job was at LeDuc’s Frozen Custard, washing dishes and slinging frozen custard. I also worked in the kitchen at St. John’s Military Academy. Many of my high school friends also worked at St. Johns, it was a fun high school job, lots of shenanigans… 

4. What is your most embarrassing memory? 

Seriously, embarrassing things happen to me every day. If no one is around to see it, it’s like it never happened… Ok, but most recently, I was struggling to understand a custodian in the airport bathroom who was sweetly trying to tell me I had toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I’m glad I took the time to understand what she was trying to tell me. 

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

This year my family took a 2 week vacation with my family on one end and my husband’s on the other. We started in Pittsburgh PA, drove to Niagra Falls, and ended up on Cape Cod. We saw lifelong family friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, celebrated my mom’s 70th birthday, went to my family’s 85th family reunion, rode roller coasters, dragged the kids to see all of our college apartments, ate ice cream, saw Niagra Falls, ate buffalo wings in Buffalo, NY, went to the beach, played mini golf. It was pretty great.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My husband. He gets me. And he’s hilarious. He makes me watch the most ridiculous videos on America’s Funniest Home Videos. 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Raising two incredible kids who are turning into big-hearted, hilarious people that I really enjoy spending time with. 

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Care less about what people think of you, care more about what you think of yourself. It matters much less what other people think if you truly believe in who you are. Also, don’t take things so seriously. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I love this beautiful place where we are lucky enough to live. I’m not super outgoing, but I love the people that I’ve met through yoga, and how the practice has influenced me as a person. I feel like I’m definitely a better person for having discovered this practice. 

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

When I came to MPY for the first time years ago, I came because I liked the sign (graphic design minor) and I was curious. I did not really think that yoga was for me, but I wanted to give it a try. 4 or 5 years later, I am so much stronger. I am not afraid to try the arm balances, even though I literally fall on my face. I love watching the amazing people on the mats next to me, and I love trying things I didn’t think I was capable of. I treasure the time I carve for myself on Saturdays mornings, and love the community that MPY has become. 

Member of the Week: Tom Mayes

1. What is your full name?  

Thomas Bernard Mayes. But call me Tom. My friends and parent’s friends from school days still call me little Tommy. 

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

No favorite activity. I was always a jock. I was always playing some type of ball game. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

I worked at the Marin Art & Garden Center setting up for weekend weddings and fashion shows.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Wow. There are way too many! Showing up for a costume ice skating party ( I was an elf with green tights and long green elf hat ) and finally noticed that I was the ONLY person in costume.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Every vacation is the best ever. As a family, we love going to Sea Ranch up the California coast. We just got back from a truly memorable week – so best vacation in recent memory. 

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Young Frankenstein, Annie Hall, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, and all of my really funny friends. 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Building beautiful houses and gardens for my family over the past 25 years.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Definitely start yoga at age 30. Still playing high level sports in my 30’s & 40’s, I thought my body would handle the grind forever…But age definitely caught up. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I was always inclusive, happy and willing to lend a hand.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

That is 2 questions. 

1. I started practicing yoga as an opportunity to improve my core strength ( I kept throwing my back out from years of back abuse ). Six years later, I love the daily ritual; riding my bike to class to avoid finding a parking spot, doing Gentle Yoga and Yin Yang for the physical routine and results and most importantly for the sheer enjoyment of the peace it brings. It is so nice to truly relax for 1 hour during an otherwise hectic day.

2. Why do I practice at MPY? I feel really lucky to be part of a tight, fun and relaxed community of friends. I’ve never practiced anywhere else – so I can’t compare. But, I can’t imagine that any other studio has so many generous, compassionate and thoughtful teachers who enrich our lives like all of you at our humble retreat on Tunstead Ave. Thank You!!

Member of the Week: Andrea Spencer

1. What is your full name?  

Andrea Spencer

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Playing outdoors with my sisters and friends.

3. What job did you have in high school?

Teaching ballet.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Dropping my headpiece during a ballet performance.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Our honeymoon to Bora Bora.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

When my daughters are silly.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Moving by myself to San Francisco from Germany

Raising our twin daughters.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Explore the world and its people.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I was here and my love for the beauty of this world.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Great community, great variety of classes, great teachers!

Member of the Week: Diane Amarillas

1. What is your full name?
Diane Amarillas

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?
Playing outside

3. What job did you have in high school?
Good student

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?
Falling during recess (tight skirt)

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?
1985 – Tour of England

6. What makes you laugh out loud?
SNL re-runs

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?
First in my family to graduate college

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Do your best always

9. What would you like people to remember about you?
Openness

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?
To stay fit and I enjoy it

Member of the Week: Nina Schuyler

1. What is your full name?  

Nina Schuyler

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Reading! Always reading. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

I was an avid tennis player, so I worked as a tennis instructor at a local club.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

So many, but here’s one: it took me two years to speak up and correct a friend’s pronunciation of my name. 

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

They all seem to be the best. This summer, my family and I visited Berlin. Art and museums and statues and memorials—(if you go, visit the East Side Gallery, where artists around the world have painted on the section of the Wall)– spark the necessary conversation about history so as never to repeat it.  

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My husband. 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My two novels, The Painting and The Translator

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Decisions sparked by fear rarely work out. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you

I was present. And the times I wasn’t, I regretted.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

The teachers are fantastic! Knowledgeable and inspiring, they offer safe, challenging workouts.

Member of the Week: Katherine Marcus

1. What is your full name?  

Katherine Suzanne Marcus

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I was blessed to have many.  I liked hanging out with my dog Bubbha.  Playing soccer. Karate. Going to choir and ranch camp.  When I look back I really can’t choose just one. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

I had three while in high school.  When I was 14 years old I became a cashier at Long’s Drugs Store.  Next I was a courtesy clerk at Lunardi’s Market in Los Gatos. Then, at 16 my father owned a little restaurant and bar called the Almaden Feed and Fuel where I waited tables.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

The last time I wore white was in the third grade.  I wore my favorite white dress to school one day and while enjoying some refreshing chocolate milk, I laughed.  As a result, chocolate milk came directly out of my nose all over my favorite white dress.

Never again!

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

I went to Costa Rica when I was 22 and I will never forget the beautiful scenery and wildlife.  Not to mention surfing, zip lining, volcanoes, Imperial Beer and good food!

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

“Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.” ~ Anonymous 

I come from some pretty funny people.  Just yesterday I was with my sister and we could not stop laughing.  I work at Bungalow 44 in Mill Valley and I laugh A LOT with my coworkers.  Such a warm, fun loving bunch. I am so blessed! Come see us sometime!

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

To be frank, I hope they haven’t happened yet.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Love yourself as you are.  Nobody’s Perfect. Don’t compare yourself.  Forget the Myth. Nothing will be as you thought it would be.  Remember the no plan, plan is an ok plan to have. Chase the AWE.  Keep it simple. Always laugh. Everything is temporary. Everything.  Love every minute of it no matter what. Acceptance is key. Surrender.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

Perhaps a sense of comfort at my memory.  A slight smile that comes to the surface if I am to be remembered.  That my essence was and is happy. And silly. And love. That I could apologize when needed and stand proud when required.  That I strove for humility and yet sometimes failed. That I was perfectly imperfect and never afraid to show it.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

A girlfriend of mine, Yukti Mehta Jizrawi, introduced me to the studio.  I hadn’t done kickbopxing in years and the movement woke something up in me.  The teachers are amazing and so knowledgeable. The studio just brought so much joy to my life.  I sometimes don’t get there as often as I’d like. Life is in session. But I crave it and look forward to being there all the time.  

Thank you Marin Power Yoga for all that you do for the community. For all that you’ve done for me! I look forward to making more memories there while building community and striving for health.  With endless gratitude, I thank you!

Member of the Week: Ian Hanson

1) What is your full name?

– Ian Christopher Hanson

2) What was your favorite activity as a child?

– As a kid, I always enjoyed being outside. There was a big forest behind our house, and I spent lots of time exploring nature and making up my own adventures.

3) What job did you have in high school?

– In the winters, I taught skiing for a small local ski area. Most of the lessons were the kids after school programs, which earned me a pass, and night skiing after we finished. Summer jobs were lawn mowing, and eventually a job at the fancy golf course picking up range balls, and washing carts. Dream job at 16!

4) What is your most embarrassing memory?

– Wow, so many to choose from! The first thing that pops to mind is having an accident on a school trip to the roller skating rink, and then trying to play off that wearing your sweatshirt around your waste backwards was cool…

5) What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

– My wife and I went to Portugal a few years ago, and it was our first big European trip together. We had a blast, but I have a feeling the best vacation is yet to come!

6) What makes you laugh out loud?

– Friends, family, people not taking life too seriously? Laughter is the best!

7) What accomplishments are you most proud of?

– I’m proud to be the husband of a wonderful woman. I’m also proud to be more comfortable in my own skin than I used to be.

8) What advice would you give to your younger self?

– I would tell myself to start practicing yoga at an amazing studio, but not sure young me would listen… And all the things you hear about gratitude, forgiveness, and self love are real. Try to find new things to learn, and enjoy that part of the process.

9) What would you like people to remember about you?

– Remember after we meet? Remember once I’m dead? Maybe for the former it’s a genuine hug or smile, and the latter… ? How one person could sweat so much in an hour? I’m still stumped myself!

10) Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

– Many of the instructors are truly amazing people, and very talented teachers. I get excited and inspired to practice with such a strong and graceful group of yogis too!

Member of the Week: Bridget Carlson

  1. What is your full name? 

Bridget Austin Carlson

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

My family is very into Cycling, so that was a big activity for me growing up. In college I was on the Cycling Race Team, which is where I met most of my best friends.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I had 2 jobs at different times. During the school year, I was an assistant in a podiatrist’s office. I will never forget cleaning up whole toenails out of the exam rooms. One summer I also had a job at the local Transportation Authority drawing outlines of roads in a computer program every day.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Hard to pick one, but just this week at work I walked around my entire office introducing a New Hire to everyone. When I got to the last person, they told me that I had a huge piece of spinach in my teeth; it had been there the whole time.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

My grandmother and I have been on a number of international trips together. These trips are all really special to me. In November we are going on our first trip since 2011. She’ll be 93 and we will be spending 2 weeks in Thailand.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My parents live in Fairfield and whenever I visit with them they always have hilarious stories about random things going on at the house. They own a couple of chickens and there is always some drama going on in their “pecking order”.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In May, I summited my first mountain, Mt. Kinabalu in Borneo (Malaysia) with one of my best friends. It was very difficult but so rewarding.

I was also part of a team of 4 that placed 2nd at Collegiate Cycling Nationals in an event called the Team Time Trial.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to take it easy more; lots of things seem very important but aren’t in the grand scheme of things. Things will work out as they are meant to. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I would like people to remember me as moral, funny and kind.  

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

When I moved in Marin in Dec 2017, I was looking for something to help fill time after work and stay healthy. I now don’t need MPY to help fill my time, but I keep coming back because I really love the teachers (shout out to all the 6pm Power Yoga teachers!) and I enjoy the mental clarity that I get from yoga.

Member of the Week: Tiffani Howell

1. What is your full name?

Tiffani élan Howell, though my nickname/professional name is Tes (long story)

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Reading – anything I could get my hands on and sneak into my room.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I worked for a Dutch cookie waffle place and sold concessions at the minor league baseball field.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

You mean, my least most embarrassing memory that I would want to share with hundreds of people? Nothing is really coming to mind…

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Probably the first time my husband and I went to Oahu in 2001 (?). I had recently passed my qualifying exams for the PhD and felt like every sunset was a reward for having just slogged through the German canon and (sort of) made it out the other side.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Anything ridiculous

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I am a language teacher by training (everything from German language proficiency to critical reading and writing skills), and I am most proud of those moments when I witness a student experience that “aha moment,” knowing that I helped bring it about in some way.

8. What advice would you give to your younger/present/future self?

Calm down. Seriously.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I would rather laugh than cry.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Because it pushes me to my edge and is filled with all my favorite people!

Member of the Week: Tonya Leitz

1. What is your full name?

Tonya Renea Vigeant Leitz

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Dancing, singing, creating, always making art, playing Native American woman in the woods, talking to my imaginary Indian family, crushing berries and leaves and setting up our home and kitchen. I also liked to ride my bike and pretend I was a bus driver.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I was always babysitting but my first real job was at United Colors Of Benetton in Newburyport, Massachusetts. 

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I let PEOPLE magazine come to our hippie farm wedding in Vermont and take pictures. We were in the Aug 14th, 1995 issue (Sandra Bullock on the cover) It was a feel good story. The bridal shop in New Hampshire that had my wedding dress burnt to the ground 4 days before our wedding. They found a replacement for me, a woman in California had the same dress and sent it my way. There was a large picture of me in my dress and the headline read in bold ‘UNLUCKY BRIDE’ I still laugh, I’m just glad I didn’t go on the Sally Jesse Raphael show, they did call me. 

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

I drove across the country with two girlfriends in a Honda Civic hatchback. We drove from Boston to California. I was surfing in San Diego when I met up with a friend who invited me to join him on a surf trip to Mexico. I said yes, because I could, so I went. We took a few buses to reach Puerto Escondido where we slept in hammocks on the beach, hung out with the locals, surfed, and met inspiring fellow travelers. I chose this trip as one of my best because at age 20 life was different. I had no fear, I was free, I was finding my way, my place in the world, with nothing holding me back. It was not a vacation it was a true spontaneous adventure. I’m also a beach bum so a small bag, bikini, and sleeping between two palm trees was pretty much a dream.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My family for sure, that’s how we navigate through the world together. I was raised to laugh. Friends and private jokes, I don’t hang out with people who don’t laugh. I like fun people. Life is funny. Laughter is healing and I also embrace the occasional cry laugh when needed. 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

If you know me, you already know that it’s being a good Mama to my kids, Sadie and Roman. I was a pregnant lady for halloween in third grade, I waited a long time for them. There is nothing more important to me than being a loving, present, giving, teaching mother. I’m thankful I get to do this life with them. They are my greatest accomplishment and gift.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much, the universe will lead you. Positivity is infectious, and happiness is a choice. Only spend time with people that make you feel good. Be the light that attracts the light. Trust your gut and forgive, smile more. Life is better with a dog. Hold hands and pray. Eat peaches, be happy.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I care, that I’m patient, present, fun loving and invested. I love hard, and I’m loyal. I’m mindful, sensitive, creative and intuitive. I’m an empath. I’m a lover not a fighter. I see you, I hear you, I watch you. I’m an artist. You are my muse. I believe that the good things in life are free, friends and family, cooking, listening to music and spending time together. 

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I first walked into MPY in May 2013, the studios opening night. My first impression of both Amy and Jamie still remains who they truly are. Jamie with his gentle thoughtful wise words and compassion and Amy with her loving, direct, beautifully honest self, refreshing. What a perfect match. We enjoy biking to practice and love the community vibe. MPY is laid back, honest, nonjudgmental, full of amazing teachers, encouragement, and support. The staff and fellow yogis become your tribe, and the space becomes a second home to replenish together. I’m grateful I GET to do yoga at MPY. Namaste!

Member of the Week: Jeffrey Baum

  1. What is your full name? 

Jeff Baum

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Playing all kinds of sports especially baseball

3. What job did you have in high school?

I worked at a place called Joes Pizza delivering pizza and making sandwiches

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

The time I went to the town pool with my mother when I was about 8 or 9 years old and was told not to jump off the high dive since I couldn’t swim very well. Of course, I did jump off and immediately started drowning and was saved by a lifeguard.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

The best vacations were taking my 4 kids to Disneyland, Disney World, Florida, and Pismo Beach when they were young.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Getting together with my kids and just messing around and playing with my dogs. 

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

In addition to being a father to 4 awesome kids and watching them grow up to be great human beings, I would say being the lead singer of an AC/DC tribute band for 10 years, being a proficient guitarist and drummer and becoming a Martial Artist in Shaolin Kempo Karate and for the last 3 plus years in Wing Chun Kung Fu.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t waste so much time partying and getting in trouble…!

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

That I worked hard, played harder, was caring and kind to animals.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I love the positive vibe there. The instructors are truly amazing and the students are awesome. Everyone is so friendly and kind. I love to work out and stay in shape and I can’t think of a better place to practice Yoga than MPY.

Member of the Week: Sarah Laffer

  1. What is your full name? 

Sarah Collins Laffer

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Swimming. I loved to be in the water. My mother would stand next to the pool trying to get me out and I would do somersaults over and over again in an attempt to ignore her. It drove her crazy.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I only worked summers. Mostly, I would do lawn and property maintenance at some properties my father owned. It was always sweltering hot in upstate New York and I cannot tell you how many times I cut the cord on the electric trimmer. It’s a miracle I still have 10 fingers.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I was on a budget and saw some deli end meats in a friend’s parent’s fridge, I pointed out to her mother that I also found they sold the deli ends really cheap at the local store…she laughed and said she bought them for the dog. We still laugh about that.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

I’ve been on many amazing vacations in my years, but my favorite trip was driving cross country with my husband (though, not at the time) and two dogs. This was before smartphones, so did it with a road atlas, a TripTik from AAA, and a guide of campgrounds across the US.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

No wrong answer, right? People falling. Like America’s Funniest Home Video’s falling. The medleys and replays are what get me. I think it’s because we are all human and walk around trying to act like we have it together and blammo. Nope.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My sobriety. On June 14th of this year, I celebrate 15 years. My sobriety has given me the space to challenge myself and be vulnerable and to be the best parent, spouse, and friend I can be. Truth be told, my sobriety is the result of a lot of hard work and humility, so I am really most proud of my willingness to grow and be honest with myself.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Trust yourself.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I honestly have no idea. Maybe I have not done it yet.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

There are practical reasons, like, I can afford it, the variety of classes is amazing, and the kid’s classes are a life saver. Beyond that, though, what makes me love Marin Power Yoga is how comfortable I feel there. The instructors are amazing, kind, and supportive and it feels like a real community. Come as you are is so important to me. I just show up for what I need, whether it be to laugh, cry, sweat it out, or find a little peace. Thanks for being there, MPY!

Member of the Week: Jana Buechel

1. What is your full name?

Jana Buechel

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Horse riding, gymnastic on horses, being outdoors with my friends and my dog. I grew up very rural in the mountains of Switzerland. We spend most of our time outdoors, no matter the weather conditions.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I worked on a production line in a factory.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Hmm I have a few, once I came out of a public bathroom and didn’t realize that my foot was tangled up in toilet paper which I was carrying along with me… Or another time I forgot to zip up the back of my overall and showed everyone my pretty underwear I was wearing…

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

My first backpacking trip to Australia and Asia in my early twenties.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Being together with my friends and having a good time. The little ones at the school I’m working for.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My personal growth. Building up a life in California with nothing.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be patient. Surrender (still working on that ;))

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

My kind heart.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Great teachers, lovely community and very decent pricing.

Member of the Week: Kristin Sjoholm

  1. What is your full name? 

Kristin Ann Sjoholm

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Swimming

3. What job did you have in high school?

Lifeguard, tennis instructor, cook at a booth at the MN State Fair (it’s a rite of passage – don’t ask!)

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I try to let stuff like this go, but I did get “pantsed” once on the tennis court and had no underwear on ….

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Juicing Retreat in Portugal or Yoga/Machu Picchu in Peru

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Bathroom humor, people making fun of themselves

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Getting my MBA while working and trying to maintain a semblance of a normal life

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Remember who you are

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I am kind and authentic and love hearing people’s stories

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Community, convenience and my ongoing relationship with this amazing practice

Member of the Week: Vanessa Mitchell


  1. What is your full name? 

Vanessa Rose Mitchell

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Swimming was one of my favorite things to do as a child. I remember when I was little, “secretly” wearing my swimsuit under my clothes on the weekends in the hopes that we would end up somewhere with a pool. Whenever we did get to go swimming, I was always the last one out of the water.

3. What job did you have in high school?

In high school, my love of swimming translated into a job as a lifeguard and teaching swim lessons.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Oh geez…. One time, I was so tired when I got dressed in the morning that I put my yoga pants on inside out and wore them like that all day. I didn’t notice until I got to yoga class. Luckily, inside out yoga pants aren’t that noticeable right?

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

I absolutely love to travel and hope to someday see the whole world. I’ve been fortunate to have found the best adventure buddy in my amazing husband Michael and we have been to some pretty awe-inspiring places around the world. When we first started dating, we used to talk about the places we wanted to see and Italy was always at the top of my list. That was the first country we travelled to together and stepping off of the train station in Venice, Italy is one of my favorite memories.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

It’s a tie between my brother and two of my very best friends in the world, Kate and Giana. They can all make me laugh so hard that my cheeks hurt from smiling.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

A few years ago, I summited Mount Shasta and the year after that, I ran a marathon. I am really proud of those two accomplishments because both challenged my body physically to a level that I didn’t know I was capable of. I learned that with hard work, my body really is capable of whatever I challenge it to do. I am also in graduate school right now at Dominican University getting my Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. I worked really hard to get into this program and I am super proud to be pursuing a career I am passionate about.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

“When you talk about yourself, or to yourself, try to picture yourself talking to your daughter or your friend. Because you would tell her she is beautiful and you wouldn’t be lying. Because she is. And so are you.” – Amy Poehler

Over the past few years, I have been on a journey learning to be proud of my body and to embrace who I am. I’ve learned a lot about the body positive movement and I love that there is a shift happening right now encouraging women to be proud of who they are at any size. So many conversations I have been a part of with women throughout my life have centered around weight loss, diets, or what we wished our bodies looked like. I wish I could go back in time and tell my younger self to embrace who I am and stop speaking negatively about my body.  

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received was when I was told I was “inspiring.” I hope to inspire people around me by working hard, staying grateful, and radiating kindness and positivity. Mostly, I just hope when people remember me, it’s with a smile.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I started practicing at MPY a little over a year ago because I needed some balance and stress relief from school. I quickly fell in love with this community’s “come as you are” motto. Everyone at MPY, from instructors to students, are friendly, kind, and nonjudgmental. I love that in every class I’ve done, whether yoga or TRX, the teachers cater to all skill levels.

THANK YOU to all of the teachers at MPY for always greeting me with a smile and making me feel welcome!

Member of the Week: Anton Koukareko

  1. What is your full name? 

My full name is Anton Evgenyevich Koukareko. Those familiar with Russian language name customs could deduct that my fathers name is Evgeny.

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I used to play soccer a lot after school hours. We played inside the hockey box, every day regardless of weather. There were several street lamps around, so we could stay till late hours or until our angry parents brought us back home. Bicycling was my passion too all the way till I suffered a concussion and broken arm at the age 12. And, of course, I was dancing every day which later became my profession.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I was a plumber two summers in high school.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

At my second semester at mechanics-mathematics faculty I failed my algebra exam. Around that time it was my first world dance championship in youth division in Paris, we did well, and I kind of took it too easy in preparations at university.The most embarrassing moment was to tell my grandmother the news. After that I promised myself to be well prepared for anything!

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Family trip to Nice, France.  My son was at a really fun age to travel and we saw many things in the surrounding area. Including seeing the set-up for Formula One in Monte Carlo, riding the train to Cannes, and exploring Saint Paul de Vence.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Things that my son, Edmund, says and does sometimes.   Also, I like to read Russian antidotes and they make me laugh a lot.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Definitely my biggest accomplishment is my family, I am very proud of my wife and two beautiful children- helping them discover who they are.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell myself to learn from the best, challenge myself and never give up.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I want them to remember that I am descent human being.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

This is the studio I took my first yoga class at one and a half years ago and I am in love with knowledge, passion, instructions of my teachers, and, to my surprise, I realize how quickly one can improve -I am very grateful to have MPY in my life!

Member of the Week: Christina Amini


1. What is your full name?

Christina Maheen Amini

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Playing soccer!

3. What job did you have in high school?

I volunteered to make and deliver meals as part of an AIDS meals program.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Wow, this is a tough question. Hmm . . . Did I block it out? Nothing is coming to mind. Maybe I can work on doing more embarrassing things. I’m sure my kids would love that. (Because when we recently went to a Women’s National Team soccer game, I wore a Statue of Liberty hat, and my daughter told me I was embarrassing her.)

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Last year, I was able to take a sabbatical from work and travelled with my wife and young kids to Paris, Rome, Florence, and Orvieto for almost two months. When things got challenging, we got gelato.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

When my six-year-old daughter notices a pause in conversation and says, “Awkward. Silence.”

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

My two children! My marriage!

In terms of work: I am in publishing, and I love making good things with good people. I am proud of the beautiful books and gift products that I’ve made.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Protect your light.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

She could almost do an arm balance. Kidding.

I’d like people to remember the feeling of love.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I love the feeling of being in class with such committed teachers and practioners. And then I love the feeling of calm strength that stays with me all day.

Member of the Week: Lisa Razon


1. What is your full name?

Lisa Razon

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

The memories that stand out most clearly are of me spending time with the family pets. I used to dress my cats Doogie and Spike up in doll clothing, pushing them around the house in little strollers, much to everyone else’s amusement. Spike even sported glasses for me while I recited lines from whatever book I convinced my parents to buy for me at the school book fair. I remember our black lab, Sadie, when she was a puppy, she chased my brother and I through the backyard and when she finally caught us, she tugged at the hems of our jeans until they were shreds & we all got called inside for dinner.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I was fortunate enough to not have to work in high school. My parents were more concerned with me focusing on my education. I’m so thankful for that privilege; high school was challenging enough without balancing a work schedule on top of everything.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I’m doing a lot of healing around shame so, respectfully, I decline to indulge the demons by answering this question.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

I’m a fan of stay-cations. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to travel with a 120-pound dog that hates the car, or that I thrive on keeping a routine, but who says you can’t travel to other places from the confines of your own home?

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

I’ve got a dark sense of humor. Lately, though, I’ve really been tickled by the doodles of Nathan W. Pyle (a quick Facebook/Google search will inevitably lead you down the rabbit hole of hilarity – I highly encourage you spend some of your screen time here).

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud that I’m in a position in my life where I can finally see what it means to love and accept myself for who I am, and to be kinder to myself and the world around me. Undoing all of these unhealthy coping mechanisms I’ve accumulated is hard work and even lot of the time I feel like I’m fumbling around in the dark about it, but I’m proud to have the courage to start this journey.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Love your body. It’s the only body you’ve got, and no amount of shame or hatred for it will magically transform it into perfection. Your body is such beautiful tool, and a magnificent gift – cherish it and be kind to it.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I hope that people will remember me as being an encouraging, supportive and honest presence in their lives.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I practice at MPY because it’s my lifeline to sanity. The strength and force of the community at MPY inspires me to be open, to be kind, to challenge myself, and learn to “tolerate the consequences of being myself.”

Member of the Week: Sara Rainbolt

1. What is your full name?

Sara Chun Rainbolt

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Dancing! And roller skating. And playing endlessly with my sister.

3. What job did you have in high school?

I was a hostess at Chili’s in Cupertino. To this day, I can’t even smell fajitas without having a flashback to those days.

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

I have them daily. Everything embarrasses me.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

My honeymoon was pretty epic. After traveling around Italy and France, we ended up in Paris for the final stage of the Tour de France where my sister in law and brother in law met us. We drank rosé all day and watched the cyclists ride around the Champs Elysees – that was 10 years ago!

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Everything! I love to laugh. My husband, my son and my dog crack me up. And my best friend. I also love a good dirty joke.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Even though I’m extremely hard on myself, I’m actually proud of the person I’ve become. I’m also proud of the cool, compassionate, sweet dude I’m raising.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Travel more. Worry less. It doesn’t really matter what every random person thinks about you, as long as the people you love love you, its enough. And love yourself.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I hope I’m remembered for kindness and compassion and maybe my sense of humor. Not for the fact that I can be a little grumpy before having coffee or if it’s raining.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Somehow MPY has found the secret sauce to my perfect workout. The fitness classes are SO challenging. I’m working on doing more yoga (it was my new years resolution) and love practicing at MPY. But my favorite part is the amazing community of students and teachers at MPY. Everyone is NICE and nobody has attitude. I feel so lucky to call these people my friends. It makes working out fun!

Member of the Week: Greg Jones


1. What is your full name?

Gregory Arden Jones

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Sports – anything with a ball.

3. What job did you have in high school?

Bus-boy

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Running into the arms of a lady that I thought was mom at a department store when I was little.

5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Nicaragua – right before the latest unrest.

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Good friends and my family.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Relationships – my family, friends, colleagues, and the community.

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

The journey is what it’s all about it – the destination doesn’t matter.

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

Interested in learning, growing, and exploring as many things as possible.

10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Great people in a low-key environment where everyone is welcome regardless of age, skill, or where they buy their yoga outfits.

Member of the Week: Jade Zaleski

1. What is your full name?

Jade Olivia Zaleski


2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

Building structures out of cardboard boxes with my grandpa.

3. What job did you have in high school?

Lifeguard, tutor, waitress, intern for a cabinetmaker


4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Gotta be in 7th grade when I tripped on the blacktop during lunch and had my hands in my pockets, thus landing smack on my face and my lip was bleeding everywhere.


5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Backpacking in Yosemite with 2 of my best friends and our dads in 4th grade.


6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Most things my twin says she’s a funny gal.


7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

Joining the Drake MTB team in high school, hiking to the top of Mt. Seymour, making 3 tables in 3 months.


8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Take care of your mental health before doing anything else at all in your day and in your week. You cannot be successful when there is something blocking your thoughts.


9. What would you like people to remember about you?

Life’s too short to waste any time and I realized that young. I kind of go about life doing lots of different things fast to check it off a list and keep moving forward. People have told me I am “determined” and “driven” and I do see their point but really I wake up each day and set out to find something that makes me smile, laugh, or feel refreshed before the sun goes down. There’s a lot of things I want to do and so if I am in a situation that isn’t satisfying my enjoyment/quality of life then I will make a change within a day. Some say it’s impulsive, some say it’s decisive and honestly I don’t know which one I am but I got time to figure it out.


10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I first came to MPY with my teammates sophomore year of high school and I got so much out of my first trx class. Nothing makes me work out as hard as someone standing there telling me which parts of my body to work for an hour. I remember being way too sore to walk to class the next day after my very first class and that’s when I knew I had to go back for more. Other reasons I know all yogis who go to MPY can vouch for are the awesome instructors, the inclusivity of the studio, how there are no standards to live up to but self goals, and the happy feeling one has walking out of any class onto Tunstead.

Member of the Week: Elizabeth Hill Prussia

1. What is your full name?

Elizabeth (Lisa) Hill Prussia


2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

During summer vacations, my family would go camping for two weeks with other families to Millerton Lake or the Eastern Sierras. We had a small pop-up trailer for sleeping and cooking meals. My friends and I would spend hours at the beach swimming out to small islands. I also enjoyed the ranger talks in the evening around the campfire.


3. What job did you have in high school?

I had several jobs in high school. I started working when I was 15 years old. The first job I had in high school was in a big mall in Santa Monica, California. I had been taking dance classes for several years and would go to class right after school at a local dance academy. One day my locker at school was broken into and all my dance clothes and shoes were stolen. A friend of mine knew the owner of a local dance wear shop and she offered me a job working there after school. I worked there for one year and then got a job closer to home at the first Pottery Barn.


4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Like many of us, I have a lot of embarrassing moments. However, the first memories that came to mind occurred at work. I was a Ranger Naturalist for East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) for 24 years. I worked in the Sierra Foothills for 9 years and in the East Bay for 15 years. One day in 1996, we were carrying lumber to a site we were rehabilitating and I stumbled and fell flat on my face right in front of my supervisor and coworkers. They all laughed, but in a friendly sort of way. However, at the time, I was the first full time female ranger on the crew. There was pressure to perform and meet certain expectations that women could do the work. This made the situation more embarrassing for me. However, I recovered over the years and was able to promote later in my career.


5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

After college, I worked for the Marin Conservation Corps as a crew leader for three years. In the summer of 1991, I was selected, along with 25 other corps members, to participate in a work exchange in Russia. They sent over a small group of people to work with us and then we went to Moscow for five weeks to work in the city doing conservation work in a city park similar to Golden Gate Park. We worked four days a week and traveled locally on the weekends. This was the year the Soviet Union collapsed into fifteen separate countries. It was exciting to work and travel in Russia. We met many nice people and learned a lot about the culture and daily working and living conditions of the Russian people.


6. What makes you laugh out loud?

I met my best friend Anna through work at a consulting firm almost 20 years ago. We shared many funny moments at work. We laughed so much then that our coworkers would just shake their heads and say, “Here we go again”. Since laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, I believe this helped make our work enjoyable and promoted an overall sense of well-being. Not just for the two of us, but our coworkers as well.


7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

When I was in high school, there were two goals I had for the future. First, I wanted to become a park ranger (non-law enforcement) and second, I wanted to continue taking dance classes and perform. I was able to do both. After college I worked at the Marin Conservation Corps and then at EBMUD. I was promoted in 2002 to Ranger Supervisor. During college, I performed with the Santa Monica College Dance Company and also at San Francisco State University. In addition, some friends and I had a dance company and we performed in Los Angeles, where I grew up.


8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

One of my first yoga classes at MPY, Grace read a quote from Mary Williamson. The part that struck me the most was “…It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” These two sentences have stayed with me since then and when I am in class or running on the trails or in ceramics class, I give myself permission to do my best. If I could go back to my younger self, this is the advice I would have shared. It is okay to be your best, and in that space others can benefit and feel the same way.


9. What would you like people to remember about you?

It was a lot more difficult to put this answer into words than I thought it would be because this is a pretty meaty question. The kind of question that left me in deep thought for hours before writing the answer. A lot of things came to mind, some superficial, some pretty deep. But as I thought, there were really only two things that mattered for me. I want to be remembered for being a kind, compassionate person and I want to be remembered for giving back. I have been able to accomplish the second as a ranger naturalist. I managed conservation and restoration projects for many years. But I want to be remembered not just as someone who is kind, compassionate, and helps others; I want to actually BE someone who is kind, compassionate, and helps others.


10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

I grew up in a sports family. My sisters and brother have all played multiple sports since they were young children. My father ran 20 marathons. They all inspired me to be active. I started in dance, then running, cycling and now yoga, TRX, boxing and running. I started taking boxing two years ago and last June decided to add yoga to my practice. MPY offers a wide variety of classes throughout the day. The teachers and other members are very supportive. It is nice to practice in a diverse community of people who are striving for physical and emotional good health, inner peace and harmony.

Member of the Week: Susan Weiss


1. What is your full name?

Susan Elizabeth Weiss


2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I‘ve always loved being outdoors, as a kid we used play in the yard, or when I was a little older in the woods nearby. I used to also spend hours drawing, playing guitar and listening to music.


3. What job did you have in high school?

Taught Guitar and worked in an office


4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

Ummm… not sure I remember


5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Jeez, that’s hard one, early on some great camping and backpacking trips, Paris, Italy, were up there too….hard to pick just one.


6. What makes you laugh out loud?

Cute animal videos.


7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

The abiltly and openess to keep learining from life.


8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

Well looking back, there were many situations that felt big and stressful in the moment, I wished I learned earlier on to take things more in stride, the idea that.. this too shall pass.


9. What would you like people to remember about you?

…Whatever touched them about me… ( we Introverts hate these kinds of questions )


10. Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

Love, Love, Love, the supportive community and teachers. “Come as you are” is the real deal at MPY.

Member of the Week: Dave Matli

1) What is your full name?

Dave Matli (honestly, only my mother and the government uses my actual full name).


2) What was your favorite activity as a child?

Playing a game called ‘bike chase’ – which is basically tag on bikes… which in retrospect I would never let my kids play now.


3) What job did you have in high school?

I worked on a churro cart at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. It was everything you’d imagine.


4) What is your most embarrassing memory?

Uhhh… skip.


5) What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

Positano Italy with my wife and two daughters; we rented a boat and swam on hidden beaches along the Amalfi coast below deserted castles.


6) What makes you laugh out loud?

When anyone says the most awkward possible thing at the absolute wrong time.


7) What accomplishments are you most proud of?

That my kids seem like they’re growing up to be great people… though that’s probably more my wife than me doing that.


8) What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t try so hard to avoid failure – it’s a natural part of learning; once you re-frame the things you take too seriously, they become like a game where you are mainly doing it for the fun of getting better at something. …And honestly no one else really notices or cares what you succeed or fail at.


9) What would you like people to remember about you?

That I’m sorry I forgot your first name even though I know we talked that time.


10) Why do you practice at Marin Power Yoga?

The best teachers in the Bay Area… I know – I tried over 30 studios when I moved here from LA! And an ego-free studio where everyone can truly feel comfortable and welcome to practice at their own level.

Member of the Week: Clarisse Lula


1. What is your full name?  

Clarisse Valerie Lula

2. What was your favorite activity as a child?

I liked being in the woods around my house, building forts, searching out frogs, skipping rocks on the stream with my dad. It was a whole other world for me!  I also built little towns, mostly farming communities made of twigs, branches and stones, around the base of the tree next to the tennis court my father played at with his friends.  And I rode horses. 

3. What job did you have in high school?

Nothing really. That sounds pathetic and I wish there were jobs back then but there weren’t in my town. After high school I went back to my hometown in western Pennsylvania and worked in a small bridal shop for all of one day. I was bored to tears. Then I worked for Fed Ex for a couple months. I was covered in black and blue from loading boxes onto their trucks. 

4. What is your most embarrassing memory?

???

 5. What is the best vacation you have ever taken?

There are two significant trips I made, and many others because I got to travel around the world for the work I did.  But I’ll just describe these two. 

First, I followed the path of the conquering Ottoman empire from Istanbul to Romania. My parents came from Romania as a part of the diplomatic legation to the US. They became political refuges when the Communists consolidated power in Romania after Yalta. Anyway, in Romania I met my maternal grandmother and my aunt, as well as a number of cousins. This was before the fall of Communism so it was scary, mostly because I was afraid of what would happen to them for having me around. There were spies everywhere. From Bucharest in Romania I went to Budapest in Hungary and then up the Danube to Vienna. It was the first time in my life that I truly felt happy and free. 

On the second trip I went trekking in Nepal for 6 weeks by myself.  The last camp I slept in on the way to Everest was at 16K feet and the next day I hiked up to 19K feet. It’s the only time I took meds for altitude sickness and I wouldn’t do it again. I loved the trip because I felt empowered by it. I also spent several weeks in the Tushita Monastery above McLeod Ganj in the Indian Himalayas where the Dalí Lama lives. I was there the year he won the Nobel Peace Prize and I was perched in a small meditation hut with a balcony overlooking the town in the distance and heard all the preparations for his return including the Tibetans dancing and singing. 

6. What makes you laugh out loud?

My husband is very funny and he frequently makes me laugh.

7. What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I have had a significant meditation practice since the late 80’s with some great teachers and have done easily over 30 retreats of a week to a month long. Recently a colleague who is a psychiatrist asked me how I overcame some very significant difficulties in my childhood. She thought it was psychotherapy and that did help but the truth is it was my meditation practice that transformed my life. 

Another accomplishment that my husband urged me to include is that in my 40s I switched careers from being an economist to become a psychotherapist. I always loved psychology and started reading it in my teens. As a social scientist my path started in understanding the outside world and then evolved to the inner world. 

I’ve been a psychotherapist for 19 years now.  I’ve helped many people change their lives, individuals and couples. I now practice an experiential therapy called AEDP which brings the body into play and leverages advances in neuroscience into the psychological realm. But I also have a traditional psychodynamic and relational psychoanalytic framework. 

Before that I was an economist and my proudest accomplishment in that part of my career was co-founding an environmental consulting firm and leading a team of brilliant professors to design a new type of transportation and urban planning model which was selected by the FHWA and EPA over competitors from all over the world. That model I’m proud to say led to the transformation of transportation planning from an engineering to a household activities-based model.

I’m also proud of practicing yoga for over 30 years and doing it at a level where most younger people don’t realize I’m not as young as them. I’m also proud of finding a way to accommodate my injuries and still be able to practice yoga. Actually I’m delirious about this! And I feel good about accepting that I can only do what I can at this point in my life. But I am still very strong!

8. What advice would you give to your younger self?

I worried way too much. Most things in my life worked out. I’d go for what I wanted sooner that I did. 

9. What would you like people to remember about you?

I’ve helped a lot of people as a psychotherapist and I’d like to be remembered for that. When I think of them they brings tears to my eyes. The compassion I’ve had with them and the ability to help them make sense of their lives has transformed people.

When I was 28 I laid out a vision for my life which had 6 things I wanted to do including research and writing, publishing, teaching, owning a business, consulting in finance, strategy and economics, and doing nothing. I have accomplished all of these things. I have one last thing I want to do that isn’t on that list but it’ll be done, too. 

10. Why I practice at MPY…

There are a lot of reasons I practice a MPY. It’s very convenient in that there are a lot of classes to choose from and the cost is more than fair. The style of yoga suits me in that it’s strenuous enough and moves along, it reminds me of ashtanga which I practiced for a long time. The length of the class at an hour class adds to its convenience.  The teaching philosophy really emphasizes that each of us should go at our own pace, rest if need be.  Overall it doesn’t set up a competitive atmosphere for me. But the very best thing about MPY are your teachers!  There are some folks that I’m really drawn to and most yogis know that it’s the teacher that keeps you coming back. 

Marin Power Yoga makes me feel strong and grounded at 65. I really love the teachers I’ve connected with. And most of them have been so supportive of the injuries I’ve sustained in over 30 years of yoga practice. I never feel embarrassed that I can’t do what younger people are doing!  That’s a real blessing. Thank you!