Okra Yoga has offered a diverse number of classes since its inception in 2012. Our team of instructors are versed in a variety of disciplines. Their practices are each unique and varied. We invite you to get to know them and their classes. From the very roots of yoga that establish foundational principles to spiritual practices as well as intense sessions that can help you push on your own boundaries and limitations, we believe that there is a class for everyone here.

Amelia Alameno

Amelia moved to Charlotte back in 2014 and has loved her time here ever since. She and her fiancè reside in the NoDa area with their dog and love to explore the neighborhoods and breweries. Amelia began teaching in 2016 and fell in love with the biomechanics and physiology aspects of yoga. Currently working on her Master’s in Clinical Exercise Physiology, she loves to blend movement styles and help students gain a deeper understanding of their own bodies through yoga. She loves spending time outside and finding inspiration in unusual ways and different forms of exercise. A good reminder she tells students often is that “it’s only yoga- don’t take it too seriously” and tries to remind them to have fun on their mat.

Kim Andryc

Kim Andryc earned her 200-hour teacher training at Okra and has been teaching since 2018. She is a certified life coach, fledgling sound healer, and avid ceremonialist dedicated to practicing the principles of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness in all aspects of her life. She believes yoga is a way of life, not exclusively an exercise program and loves connecting and sharing with her students.

Dani Bernal

Dani’s yoga journey began in her hometown of Westchester, NY back in 2013. Her passion for yoga grew so much over the years, she decided to go through her first teacher training in 2019. She is a 500 hr registered yoga teacher who firmly believes that yoga is for everyone.

“Yoga is so much more than physical postures. It’s a practice of awareness and self discovery where you learn how to use the tools you already have on and off your mat – helping you find balance and ease mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.”

Off the mat you can find her outdoors, singing, practicing her handstands, reading, playing with her dog Luna, and spending quality time with those who mean most.

Mindy Bui

Mindy completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2013.  She relocated to Charlotte that same year from the D.C. Metropolitan Area.  Mindy has been practicing yoga for over a decade.  She has been teaching Vinyasa Flow Classes and considers her students to be her best teachers.  Her classes can be described as gentle and easy flowing with emphasis on the breath.  Her personal approach to yoga is that it’s more than the movement, shapes, and poses, but rather utilizing the breath to cultivate a mindful, efficient, and easeful practice.

Hsin-ya Chow

Hsin-ya Chow is a writer and Kundalini Yoga teacher. She has worked for Harper’s BazaarLuckyMoney, and Time Out New York. After closing her small storefront SAIBUNG in Western New York, Hsin-ya relocated to Charlotte in late 2021. You can find her on Okra’s stellar yoga line-up or in her shiny new apartment, spinning together sparkly Kundalini-infused foot soaks made with anything-in-the-kitchen and the brightness of mantra. Her Kundalini certifications are in Level 1, Level 2, Prenatal, and Advanced Tantric Numerology. She holds a B.A. in Print Journalism from New York University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

Ashley Rey Culler

Ashley “Rey” Culler is a dynamic and inspiring queer yoga instructor who has dedicated her life to sharing the transformative power of yoga with others. She has earned her 200-hour YTT and has over 6 years of teaching experience. Rey is a skilled and knowledgeable guide who can help you deepen your practice and find balance, strength, and peace in your body and mind. With a background in trauma-informed yoga practice, Rey has led training at adult and youth rehab facilities and has taught yoga all over the world, including leading retreats globally. In addition to studying various styles of yoga, Rey is also certified in sound healing therapy and trained in anatomy and meditation, making her classes truly holistic and healing experiences.

Rey’s mat has propelled her into a sacred journey of self-inquiry and offers the space to continuously recalibrate to her True North. It serves as a reflection point for her, a mirror to see how she shows up in life. Yoga helps reveal what is going on within her, inspiring her to teach the practice to others. It strips away layers and helps all individuals realign to their highest selves. Rey is dedicated to sharing her experiences to empower others to step into their true identity.

She is passionate about creating a positive shift in society and a capacity in all who participate to live with an open heart, in stronger presence, with heightened self-awareness and greater command of their own mind. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or a complete beginner, Rey’s classes are inclusive and accessible for all levels. Join her class or workshop and discover the transformative power of yoga you can take with you off your mat.

Tanner Droll

Tanner moved to Charlotte in 2015. Never doing yoga before she needed an outlet to move and breathe through anxiety. Finding Okra and making it her second home, a space to grow and feel comfortable in finding herself. She took her 200 hr yoga teacher training, graduating in 2019. Yoga has been an opening for her to move and breathe but also challenge her mind and body through life’s journey.

Welcoming all levels of students to her class, you will find yourself being challenged while building heat within your flow. All while making it your own and making it a unique dance for yourself on your mat. Leaving the hour feeling fulfilled, powerful and nourished.

Desiree Eatmon

Desiree began her yoga journey in 2013 and immediately fell in love, as she felt she had found the missing spiritual piece in her life that she was looking for. She sees yoga as a path of connectivity with the Divine – the innate essence within that connects all living things. Desiree teaches that yoga isn’t something you only do on your yoga mat, but is a lifelong practice of embodying the 8 Limbs of Yoga into everyday life off the mat. She is passionate about teaching others how to heal themselves through yogic and holistic practices and making it accessible to EVERY body.

She received her RYT 200 from I AM YOGA CLT in 2021 and her Reiki Certification in 2020. Desiree is excited to begin teaching Deep Stretch classes at Okra and can be found on social media @sunnysideyogi.

Brittany Elgin

Brittany Elgin was born and raised here in Charlotte, NC and began her yoga journey at age 12 joining her mother in pop-up classes at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

During her middle and high school years, Brittany’s involvement in Theatre at Northwest School of the Arts gave her a mindful awareness of her body and movement. That awareness was further cultivated through her studies of Theatre Arts in college at both UNC Greensboro and UNC-Charlotte.

In 2019, Brittany completed Assistant Training and 200hr Teacher Training at Yoga One. In the Spring of 2021, she finished her second 200hr Teacher Training with Charlotte Yoga. After teaching select weekends for a year with CY, Brittany expanded her teaching experience and joined the wonderful staff at Okra.

Brittany lives in the SouthEnd area with her husband Matt and their orange-tabbycat Schroeder.

Niché Faulkner

Niché is an African dancing, diversity-focused, free-spirited peacock who lives her life on and off her mat by the Xhosa principle of “Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu”. Simply stated, it is the belief that “a person is a person through persons” and that we are bonded through common humanity and oneness. As a teacher, Niché advocates for yoga as an essential tool in the building of community, personal transformation, and self-care. It is her intention to stand for the underrepresented, especially those who do not fit the traditional standard of yoga including body image, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Outside of the studio, you can find Niché teaching West African dance, spending time with her family, laughing from her gut, and living her life unapologetically and free.

Natalie Freeman

My name is Natalie and I’m here to help guide, flow, fill you with knowledge, and lead you into conversations within yourself on your yoga mat.  I’ve been practicing yoga since 2006 and I’ve been a RYT since 2019.  Life is busy and time is sacred in our daily routine. How can you shift thought pattern and movement into a beautiful rhythmic flow in your everyday life? Yoga has given me the mindfulness I need to gain patience throughout my day. I’ve gained a steadiness for listening, a deeper dive into self-discovery of who I am and what I want to gain in this life. As I pour my story onto my mat in my daily practice, I feel an awakening take place in my heart center. I hear so often in yoga classes to leave the worry at the door or drop what’s playing out in your mind. I find that bringing the challenges, the cycle of our worry, greatness we feel from an achievement, the love we feel from our family and friends should be written into our mats. Work through the journey of each moment that plays as you flow into the next posture. Moving those moments with our breath and body, can give us an insight into something bigger than ourselves. I can help you dive into these crevices and open a part of yourself that is waiting to come alive.

Debbie George

Debbie George is a 500-hr certified Kripalu yoga teacher and a Dharma Leader at Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte. In her 3rd decade of teaching, she offers a depth of practice steeped in breath and present moment awareness, yoga’s true gifts for the body and mind. Appropriate for all.

Sara Ellen Gilstrap

Sara Ellen Gilstrap is a Charlotte native, a unicorn as locals say. She grew up in gymnastics and competitive cheerleading and discovered yoga after a severe car accident in 2013. Exploring different yoga classes throughout the Charlotte area led her to teacher training in 2018 under Brooke Carlson and she is now a RYT 200 with Yoga Alliance. Sara Ellen now teaches all levels Vinyasa classes focused on linking movement with breath. In her classes, you can expect to sweat, breathe, and move to one of her lovingly curated playlists. A deep believer in reciprocity and yoga for ALL, Sara Ellen works to share back with her community the deep impact yoga has had in her own life.

When she’s not teaching yoga, you can find Sara Ellen enjoying the beach or exploring the mountains. She is also a dedicated hairstylist (16 years and still going!) and a loving dog mom to her beloved Ziggy. Current offerings Mondays and Fridays 9:30am

Felicia Hall

Dr. Felicia Hall is an educator, healer, and motivator at heart. She is a Certified Athletic Trainer, Holistic Health Educator, 500 RYT, and Yoga Practitioner. Dr. Felicia Hall prides on educating others on being the best version of SELF. She has dedicated over 20 years to helping others heal and become the best version of themselves through resetting the way they think, redefining the way they move, and renewing the way they feel. Dr. Felicia Hall is passionate about what she does and inspires and empowers others. She developed the Soulful School of Yoga with the aspiration of helping others come back to their soul through the practice of yoga. Dr. Hall is the founder and lead trainer of the 200hr YTT and 300hr YTT Soulful School of Yoga program that will begin in August 2022 at Okra Yoga Studio.

Brook Machin

Brook is an Occupational Therapist, 200 hr RYT and trained in prenatal and postnatal yoga. She has a love for empowering the pregnant person and learning how yoga can benefit them throughout pregnancy and postpartum.  She practiced prenatal yoga throughout both of her pregnancies and postpartum in postnatal yoga and baby and me classes.  When she’s not working or teaching, you can find her spending time with her 2 boys and husband outside playing in the dirt, on the greenway or at local coffee shops.

Victoria Martinez

Victoria incorporates all 8 limbs of Yoga into her classes and her practice. She believes this holistic approach offers the most healing, transformation, and opportunity to create a lifelong practice. She can’t wait to flow and chillax with you.

Grace Millsap

Grace Millsap (she/her) is a 500 ERYT and Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, whose passions are rooted in science and equality. Former research scientist, and forever a student; she teaches from a long lineage from the Tantra and Himalayan Traditions (Sri Vidya). Her classes, whether restorative or flow, are infused with my passions, and quest for magic and joy. Grace also leads Yoga retreats and trainings locally, and internationally.

Sarah O’Connor

Sarah grew up just north of Charlotte, in Salisbury, NC.  She attended NC State where she got her BS in Textile Apparel Management. Soon after her career brought her to Charlotte where she worked in retail for several years for Neiman Marcus.  During that time she met her husband, Sean, whom she married in 2012.  Shortly after her first child was born, Sarah found a true passion and calling from the Yoga world and quickly immersed herself in the Charlotte yoga community.  She was certified as a teacher and has been growing her yoga certifications ever since.

Sarah actively landed on her mat through both her pregnancies and discovered all the benefits yoga has for a pregnant body.  After getting pregnant with their second daughter in 2015 while she was in her 200hr teacher training she felt drawn to do more with the prenatal and postnatal community.  Sarah received her 85 hour prenatal postnatal training with the Prenatal Yoga Center.  She feel in love with the training so much she hosted the PYC training in Charlotte for several years.

Recently, Sarah has become certified as a Postnatal Core Corrective Specialist and looks forward to expanding her offerings in the postnatal community.  In her spare time (what spare time?) Sarah loves to take her kids to the pool, DIY projects, and visit her family in Salisbury.

Julie Rauschenplat

Julie is passionate about reproductive health & justice and improving maternal mortality & morbidity rates. She is a Certified Professional Midwife, RYT, RPYT (Prenatal Yoga Center Certified), Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and a Spinning Babies®Certified Parent Educator.

Claire Santos

Claire was introduced to yoga as an infant and found meditation at the age of 12 and both practices have been an important cornerstone throughout her life. She began teaching public classes in 2010 and has completed three 200-hour certifications in Vinyasa and Integrative Yoga as well as three 500-hour certifications in integrative yoga practices including Ayurveda, tantra, and yoga psychology and Himalayan Kriya and Kundalini. She most recently earned Master Teacher Certification in Himalayan Kundalini Yoga with Sattva Yoga, in Rishikesh, India. Her company and yoga school, 12 Sparrows, has been offering private and group classes/coaching, workshops, international retreats, 200 and 300hr YTT programs, and continuing education since 2015 with an emphasis on accessibility, trauma awareness, and resilience. Her specialty is guiding students to a place of personal empowerment and global consciousness through mind, body, spirit integration by offering universal spiritual teachings in an accessible, grounded, modern way that makes them easy to grasp and apply immediately to the business of living the best life possible.

Jenn Shull

Jenn Shull, RYT-200, is deeply committed to creating transformative spaces for her students to heal, process, and let go. She has been teaching regularly for 6+ years and is often acknowledged for her trauma informed and inclusive approach on and off the mat.

She has taken additional training in “How to Teach Deep Stretch”, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy Essentials, and is certified in yin yoga.

As an Alignment Coach, Jenn understands that putting our bodies into shapes that foster safety and grounding is great for mindset work, so you may notice her sprinkling in some things to support that.

When Jenn began her journey as a yoga student, she gravitated toward fast-moving power classes because they were in her comfort zone. This threw her out of balance in a big way. Instead, she needed to slow down in a nurturing environment that created intimacy with her breath, physical body, emotional body, energetic body and soul. Because of this, she loves offering regular deep stretch, restorative, and yoga nidra.

When Jenn isn’t at Okra or coaching, she enjoys stepping out on adventures, listening to music that makes her dance, putting her body into shapes while breathing deeply, and reading fantasy novels while sipping tea from her unicorn mug surrounded by her cats. Designing a playful life is a nonnegotiable for her.

Wenny Tjandra

Wenny is originally from Indonesia but currently lives here in Charlotte. She was fortunate to travel and perform as a dance teacher and dancer for most of her life. In 2019, while living in Mexico, she started her yoga teaching journey after she certified in Watukaru Vinyasa in Bali, Indonesia and Yin Yoga in Ibiza, Spain. In 2020 she certified in Inside Flow Yoga, adding this style of yoga to her classes, master class and workshop.

Wenny continues to learn by attending Inside Flow teacher training, Inside Flow global Bali summit, Inside Flow European summit, and some Inside Flow concerts in different countries if she has the opportunity to go.

Her motto is: teaching yoga is equal to serving love.

Andrea Vasaune

Andrea, RYT 500, earned her 200-hour certification in 2016 through Charlotte Yoga. Since then, she has taught slow flow, powerful flow, children’s yoga, and vin to yin. Andrea completed her 300-hour training at the Asheville Yoga Center in 2023. In addition to yoga, Andrea teaches French at Central Piedmont Community College. Yoga has been such a healthy path for her, and she hopes to share its many physical and emotional benefits with her students at Okra.

Dani Vayo

Danielle Vayo

Danielle received her RYT-200 certification through Okra in 2018, having dedicated over 600 hours of in-person teaching since then. Her teaching style can best be described as practical, inclusive, and approachable to the variety of practices that come through the door. With an understanding that life and the body itself are always changing, Danielle seeks to help build your yoga practice in a way that makes it accessible throughout these changes. The mind and body share a strong connection that influences our health, mood, and energy levels. Her approach is to strengthen this connection, thus strengthening each of their own separate entities to better take on life with clarity, contentment, and purpose.

Offering a range of class styles, from Deep Stretch to sculpt, Danielle maintains the true mechanics of traditional poses while encouraging your own variation of the practice so that your true mechanics are also honored. In 2019, she received her Yin Yoga certification, and is currently working towards becoming a certified Thai Bodywork Practitioner.

Tai Wren

Tai has lived many lives on her yoga mat.

Each day Tai finds sanctuary in her practice as she has the opportunity to live a full life beginning in childs pose and ending in corpse pose.  Tai gets the opportunity to choose what kind of life she’s going to live, who she’s going to be and what thoughts she choose to aid herself in her journey from birth to death.Tai’s ujjayi breath has been witness to both her defeats and her triumphs.  The more she practices life on the mat the stronger she is to step into and live her life off the mat.

What Tai has discovered through yoga is no matter what kind of practice she has, she always walks away with a better sense of herself, a deeper inner stillness and effervescence of peace.  Tai’s passion is to share this experience and hold the space for others to live a life of choice through each practice.

Tai received her 200 hour certification in 2008 and her 500-hour certification in 2013.  Tai received her 300 hour certification in Jivamukti Yoga in 2011 and continued on to receive her 800 hour Jivamukti certification in 2012.

Tai has an eager appetite for finding new ways to connect to the soul through the marriage of breath, movement and high intention.  She seeks to share a deep, intentional and uplifting class and looks forward to seeing you soon on the mat!

Diana Xecu

Diana started her yoga journey in New York after moving from her native Kazakhstan. After experiencing the pressure and tension of the city, she has discovered the benefits of numerous methods of inward mindfulness including meditation, reiki and various styles of yoga. Yearning for a deeper understanding in 2018 she has completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Usha Veda under the guidance of Margherita Tisato and Christina Mattus. She has also received reiki first degree certificate from Master Brian Brunius, who continues the tradition originated by Mikao Usui. She completed 100- hour meditation training at Okra under guidance of Kimberly Savage, studied trauma informed yoga, yoga nidra and yin/restorative yoga. Yoga asanas, conscious breath, and meditation can help us to discover who we truly are; how we can be more compassionate and kind to our body and mind. My classes are slow and mindful to achieve breath connection. “We are forever students” to quote my mentor.

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