your practice, evolved.
Yoga and Babysitting in Old Town Tustin!
Our Amazing Teachers:
Casey Merkling, owner and founder of yoga squared, fell into the yoga practice in college as a way to maintain her flexibility from her years in dance and soon discovered yoga was more than just exercise. Yoga quickly evolved from an occasional hobby into something she knew she could not live without. Today, Casey views her practice as her spiritual rock and her source of daily inspiration and strength. She is dedicated to sharing the power of the practice with her students in a light-hearted style with strong, creative flows that encourage students to challenge their thoughts and emotions and find self-empowerment in a safe, community setting. Casey is also a Teacher Trainer forShanti Shanti Yoga School, the 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training housed at yoga squared.
Alexis Kemp first started doing yoga about 14 years ago in her college theatre classes. Soon after, what started off as a means to warm up for the stage, yoga became her life focus. After receiving her degree, Alexis began her yoga teaching career. Five years in she co-founded Shanti Shanti Yoga School, which offers two yoga teacher trainings a year. Now almost 11 years later Alexis is a full-time Mom who teaches others how to teach yoga, leads her own yoga classes and retreats while still finding time to remain a student herself by frequenting yoga classes and conferences all over the country. Her style is true to vinyasa flow, but her class formats are always changing, incorporating new creative ways to do the poses while still keeping the focus within.
Lisa Granger took her first yoga class with one of her best friends while living in New York City and immediately was hooked. As a long time runner who has participated in many races and competed in triathlons, Lisa noticed not only her flexibility and her overall strength improving as her yoga practice grew, but also how her mental focus improved as an athlete. Eager to learn more, she completed her 200 hour training with Master Yoga Teacher Samantha Gallo of Shanti Shanti Yoga. Her quest to give her students more lead her to finish her 300 hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Master Yoga Teacher Katie Sheldon, owner of Be The Change Yoga. Lisa’s teacher training was based on the T. Krishnamacharya from India, the world’s foremost teacher of yoga. She has also obtained her Master Reiki training through Cloud Nine with Master Yoga Teacher Erika Faith. Lisa’s Vinyasa style yoga incorporates pranayama, kriya’s, and meditation. Her classes help balance the subtle bodies and create harmony. Lisa’s classes will always include core work. She believes a strong foundation helps posture and balance needed throughout life. Her “Enjoy Life” mantra trickles into every class she teaches, encouraging students to follow their dharma as their dreams manifest. Lisa is also a Physician Assistant who graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona. She is board certified in Primary Care and Surgery and currently specializes in Plastic Surgery. Lisa enjoys leading Adventure Yoga Retreats and frequently practices yoga in nature. She is thrilled to be in her 5th year of guiding SUP and Yoga workshops in Sunset Beach. Lisa finds joy working with students one on one in the tradition of yoga as well as teaching groups. She loves working with athletes and helping them to reach their full potential. Lisa is currently the Lead Trainer for Shanti Shanti Yoga Schools 200 hour teacher training program located at Yoga Squared. She is passionate about giving back to her students and sharing her knowledge. Lisa considers herself a holistic athlete and a happy native of So Cal. In her spare time, you can find Lisa in the weight room training with kettle bells, camping in Joshua Tree, hiking in Newport Coast, or skiing in Mammoth. Her long term goals are to provide yoga wellness programs to corporations, become an Ayurvedic Clinical Specialist and lead Yoga and SUP Adventure Retreats while traveling the world.
Jody Theissen Being inclusive of all spiritual paths, Jody seamlessly brings the teachings of the Ancients into a modern day practice filled with enduring wisdom, humor and practicality as a means of mental, emotional and spiritual expansion. As a musician, Jody incorporates sacred sound in each class weaving together a sonic tapestry to free the mind and truly experience the unchanging and timeless essence of True Self. Classes may include elements of Yin, Restorative, flowing asana, pranayama and meditation. Jody encourages each student to pay attention to their own personal needs and provides an environment for individual expression which in turn supports the whole.
Heidi Barlow-Lockhart Having worked in higher education for more than two decades, Heidi loves inspiring students to transform and evolve. Thus it was love at first asana when she took up yoga and saw how transformative it was for her personally. An avid cyclist, trail runner and hiker, Heidi has always had a lifelong interest in health, wellness and spirituality. But in her 40s, after her usual exercise and healthy diet did not relieve her increasing stress, Heidi found yoga and knew that it was something she was called to teach and share with others. Valuing the numerous forms and styles of yoga, Heidi’s love of both the "yang" and "yin" styles of yoga come from her initial 200 hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training in alignment-based vinyasa flow and additional training in restorative yoga. In all her classes, Heidi weaves inspirational themes, an eclectic music mix and most importantly, positive energy to guide each student through his or her own unique yoga journey.
Judi Smolker began practicing yoga in her hometown of Santa Monica at the tender age of 12. She was lucky enough to study under master teachers, who sparked a passion for yoga that continued through her studies at UCLA, and well after graduation. After earning a BA in Anthropology in 2011, Judi gained her 200 Hour Yoga Certification through Yogaworks in 2012. She began teaching yoga while pursuing a career in Physical Therapy and working part time in a Physical Therapy clinic. Yoga soon became the main focus of her efforts; and she now teaches Vinyasa, Hatha Blend, Yin, Restorative, Beginners Yoga, and Prenatal full time. Judi holds specialty certifications in Yin and Prenatal Yoga.
Alisha Kali Shakti is a yoga teacher who specializes in strong and athletic Vinyasa flow. Inspired by the Hindu warrior goddess Kali, a symbol of empowerment and transformation, Alisha helps her students embrace their own warrior qualities though the practice of postures. With creative sequences and dance-like transitions, her classes invite students to challenge their self-limiting beliefs and explore their untapped potential. Alisha finds the balance to these fiery qualities of her teachings through the spiritual practices of pranayama and meditation. You can take her classes in yoga studios throughout Orange County, CA www.yogawithalisha.com
Jonah Montes first started his yoga practice at his high school when he was 17. Even though he initially took the class with little enthusiasm, he soon grew to appreciate the physical benefits of yoga. This appreciation sparked an interest that eventually became a fiery passion; within a year he enrolled for his 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at CorePower Yoga Irvine. Since then, he has been teaching yoga throughout Irvine, Tustin, and Santa Ana. In the Spring of 2015, Jonah received his certifications for Yin Yoga and Trauma Sensitive Yoga at Be the Change Yoga & Wellness in Irvine. Even though he frequently practices Power Yoga, Jonah's true passion lies in teaching Restorative Yoga and providing his students a relaxing experience that will carry them through the week. When he's not teaching, Jonah enjoys taking long walks at the beach, baking vegan cupcakes, and cycling throughout the OC.
Ananda Bhai (Chuckie) began yoga from an old yoga video about 2 years ago and simply did yoga at home for six months learning the classical sun salutations, which brought him to his first yoga studio class, where he met Alexis, co-founder of Shanti Shanti Yoga School. After a year of yoga in the studio, he made the decision to deepen his practice by enrolling in Shanti Shanti Yoga School and is now a recent graduate as of May. He likes to focus on breath-to-movement in meditative creative flows. Off the mat, you can find him taking yoga classes with his daughter Isabel, hiking, and driving around finding new vegan spots.
Kendall Storm walked out of her first yoga class and knew her world was changed. As a lover of music, being active, and wellness, she found herself hooked and allowed yoga to beautifully blast through her life like a peaceful juggernaut. Kendall is a 200RYT and recently completed her training with Yoga Alliance certified Shanti Shanti Yoga School and has found that teaching yoga and sharing the gift of mindfulness and compassion is a true passion. Her playful spirit and disarming smile brings a light-hearted twist to strong and creatively-craftted vinyasa flow classes. Along with being enrolled in a Nursing Program, you can find her singing/dancing her heart out at live music functions, writing poetry, creating delicious meals, or getting outside to spend some quality time with nature.
Jenn Sinclair began her yoga journey in 2012, after a life long love of action sports. She always gravitated towards the high impact worlds of soccer, snowboarding and kickboxing, so yoga was a natural remedy to ease the body. What she quickly found out is that yoga also helped balance her brain. It was the perfect blend of mind and body exercise, and she began to explore how to unify the two and calm her hectic mind. Her classes are physical, creative and real. True to her wild spirit, yoga doesn’t always have to begin with rainbows and serenity. Sometimes finding beauty in darkness and turmoil can bring out a whole new level of yoga. When she isn’t deep in her yoga practice, you can find her on adventures with her husband and two spirited kids, photographing every moment.