Studio Manager

Alona Gibson 

Alona began her yoga journey in 2016 at Esenem Yoga in Flagstaff. She noticed the difference it made in her body, spirit, and mind, and has been practicing since. In 2019, she completed her 200HR yoga teacher training at Urban Yoga Phoenix and in 2020 she was asked to join the Urban Yoga family as studio manager. 

Alona is also in her final year at Arizona State University for Nutrition Sciences, is studying Ayurveda through the Ayurvedic Living Institute, and enjoys pairing this background with her yoga practice. Her classes have a strong focus on breath-by-breath movement and cultivating mobility within the body. You will leave feeling strong, stretched, and calm.

Teachers

Instructor

Amanda Byars

Yoga found Amanda at a neighborhood gym in Atlanta nearly a decade ago, immediately changing her life. Through Yoga, self-exploration, and unparalleled commitment to creating her best life Amanda began finding happiness in her everyday world. She realized she could share this joy with others and responded to the call to teach yoga.

Amanda is an E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) completing her 200 hour training at Urban Yoga in 2016 and Yin Yoga training at Yoga Pura in 2017. Amanda is known for bringing warmth, humor, and accessibility to her classes. Her powerful yet gentle voice and deeply compassionate words melt away the stress in a space of acceptance, students are challenged to be where they are, breathe deeply and have fun!

Amanda works with private clients both in person and remotely from anywhere! Find her sharing Yoga at Urban Yoga Phoenix in group classes, workshops and Teacher Training. Outside the studio she can be found in the wild tending her garden, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, dancing to the beat of her own drum, or making masterpieces for you. Wherever you find mama Amanda, baby Alexander is always right by her side making ready to collaborate with the next generation of lovers of life!

Instructor

Bex Richards

Bex began teaching yoga in 2011 after obtaining her 200 hour training from Moksha Yoga Chicago. She taught yoga in the Chicago area for more than 3 years before she moved to Arizona. Bex finds passion in sharing yoga with everyone. She firmly believes the practice of yoga changed her life and seeks to give that back. She teaches to share inner and outer strength, confidence and humility, as well as connection to self and community. Bex leads her yoga classes with enthusiasm and passion. Her classes will challenge you mentally and physically and leave you feeling confident and refreshed.

Instructor

Christina Taalla

Many elements in my journey brought me to yoga. I have always held a love of mindful movement as a former gymnast – which led me to a Bachelors in Kinesiology & a decade as a Pilates Reformer & Mat instructor. Burn out in the fitness world then took me to another Bachelor’s degree in Dietetics – and this led me to even more burn out at which point I hit the stop button and began to seriously question and reorganize my reality. Yoga became my life raft; I now couldn’t imagine my life without yoga – it is so much more than a physical work out. Yoga is a space for empowerment, for expression, for acceptance – of yourself, of others & the world around you, and to cultivate presence, mindfulness so that when you move in and within the world, it is with intent & inner peace.

Instructor

Colton Dyer

Colton’s classes are the culmination of all his studies and practices. They aim to awaken students to their highest sense of self and a mindfully connected life. Through the use of asana, pranayama and mantra, students can expect to challenge current perceptions and expand beyond limiting beliefs. These tools provide the arena to experience elevated states of consciousness and deeper sense of presence, leading to enriched relationships, health, and emotional well-being. He emphasizes a safe place for everyone to explore and discover. Playful in nature, his classes have been described as irreverently devotional. He is serious about having fun, and comes ready with an honest and open heart.

Instructor

Emily Stooks

Emily Stooks graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance from Arizona State University. Over the years she has developed her skills as a certified Massage Therapist; Reiki Master; Reflexologist; and a certified 500 hour Yoga teacher. Her yoga instructors, including John Salisbury, Dave and Cheryl Oliver and Gila Shire have helped shape her practice and style as a well-rounded, all level yoga teacher. Emily brings a fun-loving hybrid of yoga and spirituality to each class that she teaches. Whether you are on the floor for her Restorative class or fully engaged with her Urban Flow, Emily offers a light-hearted and meaningful experience for all levels. Classes include asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation and chanting. She greets each student and asks them what they are needing out of their practice that day. Emily offers different variations of each pose that speaks to beginning and advanced students alike. Emily loves her family and friends, the beach, reading, people watching and nectarines. Her favorite asana pose is Bakasana-Crane pose

Instructor

Selen Courtney

Selen’s affinity toward yoga and meditation began in 2006 when she was in college at University of Washington and started doing power yoga classes. Upon completing her degree in psychology, she moved to Arizona and continued her yoga journey by participating in a 200-hour yoga teacher training program at Inner Vision Yoga while beginning to gain experience in the world of physical therapy, where she wanted to direct her career. After completing the program, she taught in the community in Arizona and continued to teach yoga at University of Southern California, where she got her Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Selen has been practicing physical therapy since 2013 in Arizona.
Given Selen’s background, she has an awareness of musculoskeletal injuries and how they can impact people’s lives. Because of this, she gives cues throughout class to encourage students to attend to their alignment while in poses. Not only does this help prevent injury and allow the poses to do what they’re intended to, but it also allows students to focus on body awareness while doing yoga. Selen believes that one of the greatest gifts of yoga is its ability to give individuals the tools to calm their nervous system, which can impact every area of their life.
In Selen’s class, you can expect a combination of flow and held poses with some creative exploration of what your individual body has the capacity for. She provides modifications and encourages students to listen to their body (instead of internal chatter) as their guide when deciding how hard to push themselves.

Instructor

Ingrid Herrera

Ingrid took her first yoga class at a yoga festival in 2015. Yogic philosophy and the mind body connection has always been an interest of hers. In 2019, she received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She is also 100-hour certified in Yoga Nidra through the Amrit Institute with Kamini Desai as her instructor.

Instructor

Jenny Guzon-Bae

Jenny brings thousands of hours of teaching experience to her classes and is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) and Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) since 2008. Jenny’s goal is to give her students a yoga practice that is both vigorous and calming. Through her intelligent, creative sequencing, she strives to pair the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga while adjusting instruction to the level of each student. In each class, expect a creative, breath-led class that emphasizes functional movement with a strong focus on anatomy and structural strengthening.

Her intention is that students leave her class feeling uplifted, peaceful, and empowered so they can carry those feelings into every aspect of their lives.

Instructor

Kari Ann Levine

Kari Ann has been a dedicated student of yoga and meditation since 2011 and has been teaching for nearly just as long. A self described teacher-at-heart, from the moment she stepped on her mat, she felt called to share these powerful practices with others. In 2012, Kari Ann earned a Masters Degree in Sociology from Florida State University, studying Yoga, Embodiment, and Social Psychology. After graduating, she received her 200 Hour Yoga Certification in 2013, and her 500 Hour Advanced Yoga Certification in 2017.

Kari Ann is a gifted and compassionate teacher, with a special skill for creating a supportive and nonjudgemental environment. She views each individual as a fully embodied psycho-spiritual-social-emotional being. This holistic perspective, in combination with the wide net of modalities from which she draws, allows Kari Ann to creatively weave together practices to most benefit students on all levels.

Instructor

Kelly Kjos

Kelly took her first yoga class in 2002 and, with consistent practice, she began to notice changes within her body and mind. She was gaining strength, flexibility, greater self-confidence, awareness, a sense of peace and a wholeness with contentment that had previously eluded her. She attended Urban Yoga’s teacher training in March of 2014, started teaching 6 months after completion and has taught ever since. Her initial training lit a fire within that led her to chase more knowledge and experiences. Kelly has also trained in Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga, Off the Mat into the World, Prison Yoga Project Certification and her 300 hour intensive at Zuna Yoga in Bali. Kelly has taught various styles of yoga including power vinyasa, yin, restorative, hatha, tantric hatha, foundations, yoga nidra, meditation, to those with special needs, incarcerated populations and to those in recovery from addiction.

Her classes have a strong emphasis on alignment and a consistent connection to the breath. She strives to teach in a manner that empowers students to find their own inner guru, strength and power.

Instructor

Lourdes Silva

Lourdes is a registered, 500 hour yoga teacher, her mission is to listen to her students attentively to generate a sense of awareness of their feelings and emotions so she can provide them empowerment by creating harmony and balance in their body, mind and soul through her Yoga tools. She was introduced to yoga during treatment for cancer. She attended her first Gong class at Urban Yoga and that opened the door to her journey as a yoga teacher. She started teaching yoga at Latino Cancer Support, offering classes to the Hispanic community affected with cancer. On April 2019 she graduated from her advanced Yoga Program at SWIHA, adding several healing modalities to her teaching tools. She knows by experience that when there is an emotional unresolved issue it will go directly to the tissue. Her teachings are focused on guiding her students to heal their souls by working with the different energy layers in their bodies through yoga, deep breathing. She is also a Reiki Master Teacher, Hatha Gong Master, Toe Reader Master, Life Coach, certified Yin, Restorative, PSTD yoga teacher, practitioner of Japanese Healing Art modality Jin Shin Jyutsu. She loves to teach and she does through an empathic and compassionate heart always with integrity honoring and respecting her students’ beliefs.

Instructor

Zach Silvernail

I attended my first yoga class as a very last resort in an effort to avoid knee surgery. I entered the class with a lot of preconceived notions of what yoga was, and what it wasn’t. But really, I had no idea what I was in for. I was quickly humbled, and found myself in an experience that defied all my expectations. Not only did the class kick my butt physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually as well. As yoga often does, this class and experience seemed to find me in the midst of a difficult time in my life. This all came to the surface as the teacher took us into savasana at the end of class, and I found myself in tears. I had no idea what was going on or what to do, but I knew it felt good, and that I needed it. I left class that day feeling lighter and clearer than I had in years, and knowing that this yoga stuff was going to be a part of my life for a long time to come. I took my first teacher training in 2017 with no intention to teach yoga. I had simply fallen so in love with the practice that I really just wanted to learn more. About a year later, my desire to teach grew, and I took a second teacher training with the intention to start teaching. As a practitioner, I love the Ashtanga practice. I love the emphasis on and commitment to the breath, the discipline involved in the practice, and the continuing progression and growth as you move through the primary series. As a teacher, I am passionate about teaching Vinyasa. Thanks to my wonderful teachers and the Ashtanga practice, I feel that my classes have an emphasis on alignment, paired with safe, intentional, but creative and challenging sequencing. And let’s be honest – who doesn’t love putting together a fun playlist to pair with the breath and movement? My goal as a teacher is simply to share and make available as many of the gifts that yoga has given me that I can. I believe that yoga is for everyone, and can really be a gateway to some of your greatest growths and discoveries in life. Although I teach, I consider myself a forever student just sharing some of the cool things that have been passed along to me. I love being on my mat, and look forward to seeing you on yours.