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 Yoga Teachers

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

Yoga has been a part of my daily life for over 13 years. I have always been attracted to living and thinking differently, and was drawn to Buddhist Philosophies and practices from India as a child. I studied ballet for years, and I took my first Vinyasa Yoga class at Dhyana Yoga in 2004. From that point on I knew I had found something special, and immersed myself more fully into the philosophy and practice of yoga asana. I completed my first 200 Hour Training in Vinyasa Yoga at Dhyana Yoga in 2006, and a second 200 Hour refresher in 2014. Throughout the years my personal practice evolved into the practice of Ashtanga Yoga. I am proud to have a daily Mysore practice that continually evolves with all of life’s changes, and I am a student of Caroline Holt Casey in Mt Airy. In 2016 I completed 40 hours of Ashtanga Yoga Training with David Swenson, and 36 hours of training in Yin Yoga with Corina Benner in 2017.
I spent my twenties traveling the world with the newfound confidence I found in myself through my practice. I lived abroad in New Zealand and Thailand where I trained 100 Hours in Thai Yoga Massage at Wat Po, Bangkok and the Sunshine School in Chiang Mai, I traveled all over Asia, including India and Nepal many times to continue my studies in yoga and Buddhism, dabbled in learning Tibetan language and lived in a Tibetan Buddhist Nunnery for a time. I also worked and lived at Tushita FPMT Retreat Center in McLeod Ganj, current home of the exiled His Holiness Dalai Lama, where I was fortunate enough to attend multiple teachings by HH Dalai Lama, Lama Zopa Rinpoche, and Ling Rinpoche among others. Lastly, I finally traveled to the home of Ashtanga Yoga in Mysore, India to study with Saraswathi Jois, the daughter of the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois.
You can expect a creative flow with an Ashtanga backbone in my Vinyasa classes, with options to make the poses accessible to all levels and bodies. I am excited to be expecting my first child in May 2018. I am looking forward to furthering my studies of yoga with Saraswathi in Mysore, and continuing studies and travels abroad with my family.

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 (E-RYT 200) 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 always brought her community, connection and serenity. As her children entered middle and high school, she decided to pursue her dream of becoming a yoga instructor, completing Dhyana Yoga’s 200-hour Teacher Training Program in June 2010. Deb continues to pursue the study of yoga, completing Wake Up Yoga’s 250-hour Comprehensive Foundational Teacher Training Program in April 2017. Deb also completed Jordana Rock-Garden’s Yin Teacher Training Program in May 2011, Corina Benner’s Yin Teacher Training Program in May 2015, and Wake Up Yoga’s Restorative Teacher Training Program in May 2017. Deb has earned her E-RYT 200 with Yoga Alliance and teaches both studio and private classes. Deb seeks to meet all students where they are physically, mentally and emotionally; work with them to achieve their personal goals; and, share in their yoga journey…a journey which inevitably offers more personal growth and enhanced gratitude than they could ever imagine. Her greatest joy is seeing students achieve and surpass their goals – physical, mental, and emotional - and amaze themselves with their own strength and brilliance.

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.

Lisa Talbert

Prana Das Instructor

I graduated with a fine arts degree and I taught at Moore College of Art for many years. Along with my interest in the visual arts, I was a ballet dancer since I was eight years old.

I was first introduced to yoga about 30 years ago after a serious injury to my foot caused by a fall that ended my dance ambitions. Yoga has been part of my life ever since. I was fortunate to have learned Ashtanga early on with Dee Silver. I began a daily mysore practice with Manju Jois. Ashtanga was a good fit for me because it is structured and requires discipline, very much like ballet that way. Over the years I have practiced many styles of yoga with so many amazing people. Yoga is transformative and it has supported me throughout my life.

Currently I am practicing Mysore with Elizabeth Sitzler and I am working toward my 500 hours at Prana Das. I am excited about becoming a teacher of yoga but even more excited about how much I have yet to learn. When I am not practicing yoga I am teaching life skills to teens and young adults with Autism, teaching art, painting in my studio, growing orchids, cooking or hanging out with my family. I have two sons and a loving husband.

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.

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.

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.

Healing Arts Practitioners & Specialists

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.

Lisa Laney

Mindfulness & Meditation Specialist

Lisa Laney is an experienced, E-RYT-certified yoga teacher with over 400 hours of teacher training. She was certified with Yoga Alliance in 2006. She began her passion for yoga in the US and has been teaching and practicing yoga for over 18 years. Her background comes from many styles of yoga and has trained with many great teachers in the US and continues to study and teach internationally.

She loves teaching Vinyasa, a strong and fluid sequence of asanas that challenge you to stay in the present, in your breath and on your mat while pushing your boundaries. Lisa strives to encourage a safe and supportive atmosphere with humor, compassion and love. She helps students to explore the path towards their own inner core and true essence. She believes that the practice is half the journey and living your yoga is the path to finding a better life.

In the US Lisa has taught in several top yoga studios along with many great teachers, like Rolf Gates, Beryl Bender Birch, and Cara Bradley of Verge Body Mind, and has worked in health and wellness centers, schools, universities, churches, gyms and the great outdoors.

After moving to Paris in 2010 with her family she created her own private practice, Puressence Yoga, and taught in the Franco-American community at the American Church in Paris, the International School of Paris, and many studios, including Pilates Privé. With her holistic and individualized teaching approach, she specializes in intensive workshops and private classes in locations across Paris.

In 2012 Lisa developed a more passionate desire to teach to the global community with her Seva non-profit, YOGA for HUMANITY, which she founded initially to aid Habitat for Humanity youth trips. With her YOGA for HUMANITY she created and lead workshops, events, and partnerships that gave back to several non-profits and charities, notably the Tabitha Water Well Project in Cambodia and mission trips to Africa and Europe. YOGA for HUMANITY also collaborated with the American Women’s Group to raise money and awareness for both the Nepal Orphanage Home and Global Potential, which empowers and mentors French youth in the Paris suburbs and world community.

Recently in 2017 Lisa completed a 900 hour Meditation Teacher Training from Clear Light Meditation Institute in Wayne PA with Scott and Nancy McBride. She will complete her 500 ERYT this year.

Since 2014 Lisa teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga in Philadelphia PA.

Steve Cohen

Yoga Trainer for Active Seniors & Golfers

Ashtanga Influenced Yoga Trainer for Active Seniors and Golfers

Steve began practicing yoga in 2014 following health issues and multiple surgical procedures preventing him from pursuing his previous boxing exercise training.
After experimenting with various disciplines of Yoga, Steve found a home at Prana Das discovering and practicing the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga. Starting at the age of 66 Steve found new worlds of opening and rejuvenation.

Now a certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor after completing a 200 hour teacher training program in 2017, Steve is available for private and group lessons.

Community Support Team

Along with our crew of Energy Exchangers, these members of the PDY team keep the center and its community running smoothly.

Joy Scott

Team Leader

Joy has been a member of the Prana Das community since its earliest days and is pursuing her 200-hr YTT certification at PDY. Joy is also the founder of Joybird Wellness, a nutrition and wellness coaching business, and is the co-host of The Ladies Dish, a podcast about health and wellness. When she's not at the studio, she can most likely be found grocery shopping at MOMs or at home--playing with her dog and trying to get her husband to stop eating the cookies.

Marjorie Stadnycki

Community Support & Media Design

Marjorie is an enthusiastic student and practitioner of yoga. Having come to yoga in her 60s, Marjorie developed a 4 day/week practice and evolved to complete her 200-Hour Teacher Training Certification in 2016.

Marjorie is a staple of the Prana Das team and supports in more ways than could be listed, including community support, design and digital media and marketing. Following her retirement, she decided to immerse herself in continued education and continues to build on the foundations of learning she accomplished over the past decade of practice.

Gillian Stolshek

Social Media & Marketing Intern

I am a personal trainer, avid Soul Rider, and yogi. I danced for many years as well. Yoga is a way of life for me. I am a Marketing and Analytics major. This summer I completed a PR and Digital Marketing internship in London. This past semester I took a digital marketing class where I learned about everything from SEO/SEM to content marketing and AB testing. I served as Director of Outreach for St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service where I was in charge of Social Media, PR and Outreach. I am a College Fashionista Marketing Fellow for Clique Media Group. I have experience in Mircosoft Office, Photoshop, Hootsuite and building websites. I am ready to dive head first and get my hands dirty and spread some Prana love.

Yoga has saved my life. In the past, I have struggled with anxiety and yoga has been the one thing that has healed me. I am a huge mental health advocate and I believe that yoga and meditation are essential for healing the body and mind. I am very passionate and hard-working and I want to share how incredible yoga is with the community on Main Line.

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