Prana Das Yoga Teachers & Staff

Prana Das Yoga is proud to enlist a staff of practiced and accomplished teachers with a variety of backgrounds and diverse training focus. Unlike any other center in the area, our teachers have either accomplished or are working towards their 500-Hour RYT status or its equivalent in their healing arts field. We consider ourselves carriers of a long and honored tradition of yoga passed on over thousands of years by many elevated teachers.

With that mindset, we strive to provide the highest standards of teaching, to continue life-long training that may be shared with our students and to make yoga accessible for each and every person who comes to practice. We encourage you to consider this practice a lifelong journey and to take each day as an opportunity for continued education.

Meet Our Teachers & Healing Arts Specialists

Nadia Hopkins

Student, Teacher, Adventurer

Nadia is grateful to her teachers, Mary Flinn, David Swenson, David Newman and Shelley Washington, for continuing to guide her through a lifelong journey in yoga. Over fifteen years of practice has enabled her to transform her life, body and connection to the Divine. She has a deep dedication to sharing these same joys with students through dedication to tradition, appreciation of fundamentals and experience of the teachings of the practice. Nadia has practiced with and learned from many spiritual gurus, including Kim Mazzella, Maleah Jacobs, Ainslie MacLeod, Lawrie Hart and Patricia Pearce, among others. This has included intuitive development, energy and chakra therapy, past life regression and reading, diverse combinations of affirmation and manifesting practices, aromatherapy, Native American dreamwork and journeying, prayer, meditation and self discovery. She has also worked extensively with those recovering from trauma, emotional turmoil, conflict and addictions to help them return to balance.

Derek Hopkins

Student, Teacher, Adventurer

Derek's own pursuit of self-actualization did not begin in a yoga studio. An accomplished athlete with a penchant for contact sports, Derek began mixed martial arts training at age 21. Soon thereafter, he started teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muy Thai and competing at a professional level. At 23, Derek suffered a debilitating bucket meniscus tear and was told that invasive surgery was his only treatment option. Upon the convincing suggestion of a friend, Derek skeptically agreed to try yoga for the first time in an attempt to rehabilitate his knee and avoid going under the knife. Derek experienced marked improvement in the condition of his knee after only three weeks of yoga practice. Profoundly impacted by the physical results, he began to incorporate yoga regularly into his mixed martial arts training and teaching routines. In 2010, Derek decided to transition from student to practitioner and enrolled in an intensive Teacher Certification Program at Dhyana Yoga. Immersed in his training, Derek started to experience unanticipated and powerful meditative, restorative and therapeutic benefits. He began to enjoy a newfound feeling of global connectedness and mental clarity. Derek credits yoga with helping him to develop mindfulness and increased levels of emotional awareness.Derek has been instructing since 2010 in the Philadelphia area and hosting seminars on benefits of yoga and meditation. His teaching is significantly influenced by Tim Miller, David Swenson and Richard Freeman. Derek specializes in working with individuals dealing with a wide array of physical limitations and injuries to help them return to their optimum health. His team clients include the University of Pennsylvania Women's Rowing Team and the University of Pennsylvania Men's Wrestling team.

Vivi Mazzone

Prana Das Instructor

Vivi has a deep commitment to yoga, to her own evolution and to igniting in her students the same love and appreciation of the power of the practice. Amy studies with Amy Gordon in the lineage of Sri K. Patthabi Jois, and continues to return to India to enrich her knowledge. Vivi's gentle style and humble approach to teaching inspires her students to challenge themselves further while respecting the connection between body and mind.

Monika Brass

Yin, Meditation & Mindfulness

Monika specializes in Yin Yoga. Having lived in a Tibetan Buddhist Community in the hills of California for three years, she brings years of meditation practice that you can feel in the class. Beyond the calming energy she invites you into the space with, she will prompt you throughout the class to focus your attention and awareness inward. Through long held yoga poses, you will be penetrating deeper into your body to access the connective tissues for lubrication of the joints and flexibility in the body. From this quiet practice you may also feel a deeper sense of peace in your core.

Elizabeth Sitzler

Mysore Director

Elizabeth is a devout student, practitioner and teacher of Ashtanga Yoga. Her main teachers are Jörgen Christiansson and Sharath Jois.

While she was studying history and political science, applying to law school, and competing as a Division 1 tennis player, her father persuaded her to try yoga for the first time; thinking it might help her manage stress. The dynamism of the practice instantly drew her in and she quickly fell in love with the beauty of linking movement, breath, and mindfulness. Soon enough, she was practicing yoga every day; experiencing positive transformations in mind, body, and spirit.

As she delved deeper in the practice she discovered Sri K Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Yoga, the Ashtanga Yoga School of Philadelphia, and her first teacher: David Garrigues. The integrity and structure of the Ashtanga Yoga system was a perfect and natural fit for her. Elizabeth taught at and helped run David's School, AYS Philadelphia, from 2013-2017. Elizabeth is always a student, striving to learn more about her self, the practice, and how she can guide others through their own journey

Deb Callahan

Prana Das Instructor

Deb has practiced yoga throughout her life, studying in California, Washington DC, Connecticut, New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania as her family moved around the country for various jobs. Yoga is the one constant that has always brought her serenity. As her children entered middle and high school several years ago, she decided to pursue a long time dream of learning to teach yoga. She completed her 200 hour teacher training with Dhyana Yoga in June, 2010. She followed that with Yin Yoga teacher training in 2011. Since graduating, she been teaching privately, predominantly focusing on beginners, especially people looking for increased flexibility and people recovering from injury and illness. Her greatest joy is seeing students achieve their physical goals and finding themselves even more amazed at their personal awareness and growth.She seeks to meet all students where they are both physically and mentally, work with them to achieve their personal goals, and share in their journey of yoga which inevitably offers more personal growth and enhanced gratitude than they could ever imagine.

Mary Flinn

Ayurveda, Trainings Instructor

Mary Flinn (MFA, RYT E500) has been teaching Yoga since 1995, and has directed and co-directed several yoga centers in NYC including The Kundalini Yoga Center of NY and Satya Yoga Center in Brooklyn NY. Her daily practice has been Ashtanga yoga since 1997 and she has been blessed by the Late Shri K. Pattabhi Jois and his Grandson Sharath Rangaswami to teach the first and second series of Ashtanga Yoga. She has studied Yoga philosophy and Pranayama with Dr. Shankaranarayan Jois in Mysore India as well as the teachers at Ananda Ashram in upstate NY for many years. Mary has taught internationally and was a guest teacher in Japan at the Tokyo Yoga conference in 2007. She co-directed Brooklyn's Energy Center Teacher Training programs in 2004 and 2005. She also directed the training program at Satya Yoga in Brooklyn NY in 2006. Mary received her Ayurveda Consultant Certificate from The Institute of Vedic Studies in 2013. Book an Ayurvedic Consultation with Mary at and learn more about her work at

Carey Paris

Prana Das Instructor

Carey started practicing yoga in 2001. In 2014, after years of an inconsistent practice, she made a promise to herself to get on the mat everyday. Since experiencing the benefits and beauty of a regular practice she decided to pursue a long time goal of becoming a yoga teacher. Carey completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Prana House in 2016. She hopes to inspire her students as much as her teachers have inspired her.

Julia Paddison

Prana Das Instructor

Julia found Vinyasa Yoga in early 2011 in the midst of training for a half marathon. At the time, she was in great physical shape so she was shocked at how challenging she found yoga to be. Yoga helped her to identify and heal several pain causing injuries which resulted in a much more enjoyable running experience. Besides the great physical benefits yoga provides, Julia was also feeling a shift in her mind; feeling less stressed, more patient, more present, more aware, and found her mind to be generally less ``chatty``. It became clear that yoga was changing her life for the better. After completing her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2012, Julia was more passionate than ever about yoga and wanted to share her love for yoga with others through teaching. As a student, Julia's teachers guided her through her practice to help her feel strong, confident, and powerful. As a teacher, Julia strives to help her students feel this way, too. In 2015, Julia began a daily practice of Ashtanga Yoga and really developed a love for the practice. To dive even deeper into her practice, she completed a 40 hour Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training with David Swenson in 2016. Her personal practice heavily influences her teaching style so you will find her classes to be traditional, with a strong focus on breath and alignment, Julia is committed to providing students with an ideal environment for them to discover the beauty and power of their own practice and their own yoga. She hopes that you will join her for a class soon! To learn more about Julia, check out her website and blog at

Molly Petersen

Prana Das Instructor

After an ankle injury that prevented Molly from her normal workout routine, Molly rediscovered yoga after college and immediately fell in love. Coming from a dance background in jazz, ballet, tap, hip-hop, and modern, Molly felt deeply connected to the breath, flow, and movements of vinyasa and was inspired to pursue her 200 hour yoga teacher training. After completing her 200 hour training, Molly then received her Meditation Teacher Certification in June 2016. In the summer of 2016, Molly began coming to Prana House Yoga regularly and was deeply drawn into the Ashtanga practice. Molly started practicing the primary series of Ashtanga and began to embark on a more spiritual and meditative path. She is in the process of completing her 300 hour yoga teacher certification with Mary Flinn at Prana and will be a certified 500 hour yoga teacher in June of 2017. Yoga has found Molly at the most crucial points in her life and has saved her from stress, anxiety, and toxic relationships. In her classes she focuses strongly on the breath and incorporating that through present moment awareness and mindful movements that we all need to practice on and off our mats.

Aleta Rogers

Prana Das Instructor

Aleta found yoga in January 2013 after ACL reconstruction surgery. Yoga helped her knee to recover and she soon began to love the practice and its many benefits. She worked as an energy exchanger at Dhyana yoga for three years and that's where she met Derek and Nadia. They both were pivotal in helping her develop both on and off that mat. In September 2015 she began teacher training under their guidance. She finished her 200 hour RYS certification at Prana House in February 2016. Taking her newfound knowledge with her, started teaching a month later. She loves helping students to advance their practice, introducing yoga to people who are afraid to try it, and making yoga accessible to everyone even those recovering from injuries.

Anne-Marie Gutierrez

Prana Das Instructor

Anne-Marie takes great interest in the pursuit of yoga and has, over many years, slowly and concisely developed a deep understanding of the personal, social and spiritual benefits of a devoted practice. Initially starting in her teens, Anne-Marie’s practice only became consistent after returning from years of traveling. Coping with a change in lifestyle and the distance from good friends was made possible by a dedication to connecting to her body, breath and mind. That feeling of utmost connection kept her yoga practice regular and flowed into her daily life, allowing for more peace and happiness. Anne-Marie traveled to India in February 2014 under a scholarship which she received to attend the Ajarya School of Yoga in Rishikesh, where she fully delved into the world of Ashtanga, becoming an instructor. The acrobatic, energetic nature of the practice excited her and helped her achieve new goals. This same excitement continues today with her passing on that knowledge.

Ashley Hollander

Prana Das Instructor

Ashley grew up with strong values in being an advocate for her own health and well-being. So when faced with overcoming a stress and anxiety induced auto-immune disorder, initially, she looked to embrace yoga’s calming elements into her taxing lifestyle. She added the physical practice as a complimentary workout to her regular fitness routine and quickly became deeply connected to the mind-body experience. Not only did she feel the benefits of the practice, connecting breathe and movement, on and off the mat, but she instinctively wanted to teach and share the healing powers of the practice. After a year of practicing, Ashley began her yoga teacher training and finished her 200 RYS certification at Prana Das Yoga in September 2017. She is incredible grateful for the experience during this training where she not only felt a positive transformation in living with intention and calmness but also an empowerment to bring these healing elements to others. With great enthusiasm and newfound knowledge Ashley is honored to start teaching and guiding students to find their own happiness and freedom.

Jen Janesh

Prana Das Instructor

Jen’s Yoga journey began with curiosity; she was seeking to try something new in the realm of the physical, something that was more than just another mundane gym workout, that was more like play rather than work. Yoga quickly became the answer. In 2008, Jen’s yoga journey began at a Bikram Yoga studio in Columbia, MD and her curiosity led her quickly to Charm City Yoga (now YogaWorks) in Baltimore where she eventually completed her 200-hour teacher training under Kim Manfredi in 2011. Jen is passionate about teaching vinyasa style classes, heavily influenced by the Ashtanga Yoga tradition.

Beyond the mat, Jen has a driving passion for holistic wellness as it relates to whole body, mind and spirit. She has been studying and engaged in holistic healing for over 10 years and is continually learning and practicing- a perpetual student! She gains inspiration from all the wonderful people surrounding her and passionate about teaching yoga as a way to heal and come to life.

Jen moved to the Philadelphia area from Baltimore in 2016 with her husband, Andrew, and their two children, Marley and Xavier. Jen currently manages the Wellness Department at MOM’s Organic Market. She enjoys many other forms of physical activity (surfing, rock climbing, hiking, running, biking), playing with her friends and family, spending time outside, cooking & eating nourishing food, traveling, and getting crafty.

Ellis Kantrowitz

Myofascial Massage Therapist

Ellis Kantrowitz is a Myofascial Massage Therapist focusing on diverse techniques to heal people on multiple levels. Depending on what the patient needs, Ellis combines Trigger Point Release, Gua Sha, Active Isolated Stretching, Deep Tissue Massage, and Myofascial Release to alleviate your ailments. Ellis has been practicing massage for over five years and has studied with (and shadowed) the “Godfather” of MyoFascial Release, John F. Barnes.
Ellis also feels a strong connection to nature and spirituality having spent almost a year volunteering and farming in Southeast Asia and traveling around India and Nepal. After seeing so many different cultures and religions, he has a deeper understanding for the beautiful connection that all humans share on our planet. He feels that being in touch with the outside world and natural elements is a large part of healing ourselves from physical and emotional trauma. The bodywork is very important, but also being outside and connecting to our planet and cultures around the world is equally important to him.

Ellis wants everyone to feel less stressed, more connected, and pain free. Having love for yourself spiritually and physically connects us all deeper to a peaceful state of love and to nature. Ellis is here to help us achieve this powerful state.

Meet Our Teachers in Video!

Meet Monika Brass and learn about her extensive knowledge of meditation.

Meet Prana Das Yoga teacher Jason Coffman as he instructs Nadia in how to approach headstanding for beginners. He explains proper alignment for inversions, creating a solid foundation and how to get vertical.

Nadia and Lauren give a tutorial on Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).

Nadia and Derek talk options for evening workouts in a special video for Derek demonstrates two backbends that lie on opposite ends of the intensity spectrum.

Prana Das Yoga teacher Monika Brass shares her insight on the Yin Practice, how it complements a rigorous workout regimen and can restore the body to a healthier condition.

Derek Hopkins practices a freestyle ashtanga yoga flow. These quarterly practice videos highlight Derek’s progress made possible by his daily practice – a resolution he made in January, 2015.

Getting Started

Have questions about getting started or finding the right class for you? Let us help! Please contact us at to get started at 610 896 YOGA or by emailing us at