Meet Our Instructors 
 

Amy Coombs (Yoga Teacher E-RYT500) has been teaching Yoga in and around NYC since 2008 at the YogaWorks and Ishta studios, as well as many classes for NYU. Amy empowers students of all ages and all abilities to find the appropriate level of effort. She prioritizes good alignment and a safety first attitude in the physical practice, which makes her classes ideal for beginners, even while Intermediate students are challenged with poses of increasing difficulty. The energetic world of the Chakras is thoroughly explored in her classes. Breath work, philosophy and mindful techniques are interwoven amid the postures, so students leave feeling renewed in both physical and subtle body. Amy believes a Yoga practice not only offers an immediate feeling of well-being, but also provides tools to navigate life’s challenges with grace long after having left the mat.

Adriana DiFazio (Meditation Teacher) is a mixed-Asian American meditation teacher and facilitator. Her work is centered around healing racial karma, eco-grief, and the human-animal divide. In addition to guiding meditation classes for MindfulNYU, Adriana currently serves as the Acting Associate Director of Global Spiritual Life. She is the Co-Founder of the Mixed Race Meditation Group and is currently pursuing her Masters of Divinity in Buddhism and Interreligious Engagement at Union Theological Seminary. You can connect with her at www.adrianadifazio.com or on Instagram @adrianadifazio.

Michelle Douglas (Yoga Teacher) is the founder of Root to Rise, a trauma-informed yoga teacher and facilitator. She supports her students’ healing journey through online workshops, masterclasses, yoga, and meditation so that they can thrive. The three pillars of her teaching are trauma, chakras, and social justice. She creates a space where her students can courageously feel their shadow self so that they can step into their greatness and humanity. When she is not teaching yoga and creating life-changing content, she is home cooking, curled up on her couch reading, or going for long walks. She lives in NYC with her husband and their plants.

Rev. Qalvy Grainzvolt (Buddhist Spiritual Life Advisor; Meditation Teacher) is a native New Yorker and an ordained Shinnyo-en Buddhist priest. Qalvy (pronounced: KAL-VEE) has been focused on service and wellbeing including during his time in the U.S. Army National Guard, as a police chaplain in Westchester County, and the first Buddhist chaplain in the history of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and New York City Transit system. In 2018, Qalvy helped bring mindfulness to the New York City Police Department as part of its official training curriculum. He continues to promote mindfulness as a visiting mindfulness instructor for the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), after a tenure of teaching meditation for various New York-based organizations such as Bryant Park’s official programs, the Horticultural Society of New York, and at CNN news headquarters. Qalvy also holds a Master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and currently uses those skills in psychotherapy with incarcerated individuals in the jail system of the Westchester County Department of Corrections. Qalvy’s main talents are being tall, cleaning the high windows at his temple and meditation center, as well as having a unique name that works well in Scrabble, if ever proper nouns get their day. https://shinnyocenternyc.org/

Mistral Hay (Yoga Teacher) is a yoga and mindfulness meditation instructor. She was initially drawn to yoga as a supplement to her dance career and injuries, and quickly discovered the benefits beyond the physical body. She has been teaching yoga in the NYC area for over a decade in a variety of settings. Mistral is an anatomy nerd in the process of earning her doctorate of physical therapy at CUNY Hunter, and her classes come from an anatomical perspective to provide students with information towards building a strong foundation in their practice. Her aim in teaching yoga is to help bring students to a place of comfort, understanding, and acceptance in their own body and practice, whether it is a rigorous physical class or a more restorative one. The ability to move one’s body in space is a gift, and should be shared!

Brian Liem (Yoga Teacher) has practiced yoga and meditation with devotion, humor, and compassion for over twenty years. He was an OM yoga senior teacher, teacher training faculty member, Director of Programming and community member for thirteen years. He has earned over 500ryt hours, and taught numerous workshops, conferences, retreats, and trainings. When OM closed in 2012 he helped found Now Yoga in collaboration with The Shala to provide a landing place for the cOMmunity. He has also taught yoga and meditation at Equinox, David Barton Gym, in not-for-profit and corporate settings as well as in his private practice. He has completed all levels of The Way of Shambhala, and attended Warrior’s Assembly at Dorje Denma Ling in Nova Scotia. Brian was named one of 21 yoga teachers under 40 in Yoga Journal’s "The Next Generation of Yoga Teachers." He was selected to be the yoga teacher and a representative at the Gay Men’s Spirituality Project, a gathering of over 200 international gay spiritual leaders and visionaries at the Garrison Institute, to help further the ongoing discussion of what it means to be LGBTQ and spiritual. Brian also co-facilitates Outbreath, NYU's weekly, hour-long meditations that centers on the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ students held in an entirely peer-led space. Meditations will focus on the themes of affirmation, inclusion, and embracing identity while inviting time for reflection. He has written many articles, and given multiple talks including a TedXNYU. He is also a New York University LGBTQ Student Center Lavender Graduation: Todd M Smith & Bob Butler Staff Dedication Award nominee. With deep, joyful gratitude he thanks his past, present and future teachers and students, his parents, friends, husband and son. yogawithbrian.com

Marni Mendelsohn (Yoga Teacher) has been teaching yoga for over 10 years, influenced by Ashtanga and Katonah yoga in addition to her education in Food and Nutrition. Her classes use movement, breath, and constructive rest to explore the mind, body, and soul connection.

Ric Mathews (Yoga Teacher) is a 500-hr certified yoga teacher with over 1,000 of additional training in vinyasa, restorative, yoga nidra, yin yoga, yoga anatomy, and mindfulness meditation. His classes are dynamic, challenging and centered on bringing the mind and body into the here and now through mindful movement. Expect to have fun and get great music, too!

Rev. Doyeon Park (Buddhist Spiritual Life Advisor; Meditation Teacher) is a Kyomunim, literally meaning one who devotes oneself to teach Buddha dharma in the Won Buddhism. She has served as a minister of the Manhattan Won Buddhist temple and a representative of Won Buddhism to the United Nations since 2008. Doyeon focuses on creating a sangha (spiritual community) where various individuals and groups can cultivate their inner wisdom and compassion to live with peace and dignity. Inspired by the Buddhist idea of inner freedom and happiness, Rev. Park started her monastic training in 1998. She graduated from Dept. of Won Buddhism, Won Kwang University, Iksan, Korea and earned M.A. of Won Buddhist Studies from Won Institute of Graduate Studies, Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA. She received full ordination in 2007. In her spare time, she enjoys rock climbing at her local gym.

Hunt Parr (Yoga Teacher) is a yoga/meditation teacher and professional dance artist based in New York City. Hailing originally from Alaska, he completed his BFA with honors from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is an experienced registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance, having over 1000 hours of yoga teacher training from some of the most respected teachers today including Cyndi Lee and Adrienne Burke. His expertise has been called upon commercially as a yoga teacher for A&E Networks, Animal Planet, and the History Channel. His work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Yoga Journal, and he currently serves as a private yoga teacher for many well known NYC public figures. He is also a serious student of Tibetan Buddhism, a certified life coach, and a Reiki master teacher.

Tina Paul (Yoga Teacher) completed a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy at the Maryland University of Integrative Health and works with individual clients, university programs, and organizations to help bring therapeutic yoga and mindfulness to varied settings. Find more info at www.yogawithtina.com and www.embodiedworkplace.com.

Nick Potenzieri (Yoga Teacher) is a student of the Iyengar Yoga Method and Vinyasa Yoga. In his teaching, he has had the opportunity to lead trainings and workshops on both the east and west coasts, and is grateful to work with a wide range of students of all capabilities, capacities and walks of life. Nick has been a long term meditation practitioner and mindfulness facilitator, whose work has included companies such as Pfizer, ING and The Arcus Foundation. Nick's positive energy and creative style help him in achieving the goal of inspiring others to a deeper understanding of how these practices can lead to more fulfillment in their lives and peace in their hearts. You can find more information at www.lovebodyyoga.com.

Phil Schuster (Yoga Teacher) is a former executive in the music business, Phil started practicing Yoga to rehab a back injury sustained 14 years ago. He found his first teacher, Dana Parry and her profound influence led him to a devoted Yoga practice.  He practiced and studied with incredible teachers at numerous studios such as Sivananda (NYC & Nassau Bahamas), Jivamukti (NYC, London & Berlin), OM Yoga, & Modo Yoga (NYC, & Los Angeles) before finding his home at ISHTA Yoga in New York City.  After obtaining his 200 Hour RYT certification at ISHTA, Phil went straight into the ISHTA advanced 300 Hour Teacher training program studying under ISHTA Yoga founders Alan Finger & Sarah Platt-Finger.   He is trained in multiple disciplines including Asana, Pranayama, Restorative, Meditation, Ayurveda, Sanskrit, & Yoga Nidra.

Amanda Gloria Valdes (Yoga and Meditation Teacher): I arrive in space with the mission to utilize the practice of Yoga, Meditation, and the Arts as a catalyst for social change and social equity. Community building has been a passion for me for as long as I can remember. I strive to support my community as a Yoga and Meditation guide, teacher training program manager/curator, and mentor. I take pride in creating non-traditional spaces to practice yoga, meditation, and arts enrichment by building programs centering BIPOC, LGTBQ+, and birthing folx. In 2012 I was certified as a Vinyasa Yoga teacher and began teaching in New York City. In the following years I became a 500+ hr E- RYT and YACEP member. My offerings are informed by History & Philosophy, Bhakti Yoga (studied in Rishikesh, India), Energy, Subtle Body, Ayurveda, Inversions, Meditation, Katonah Yoga and more. I am passionate about supporting birthing folx as a full spectrum doula via Sumi’s Touch, Prenatal/ Postnatal Yoga, Womb Wellness Education, and training. My Yoga and Meditation offerings and training span from Y7 Studio, New York University Global Spiritual Department, zoom, and maybe your local park!

For those interested in teaching yoga for us, we require instructors to have a minimum of 500 hours of certification and 5 years of teaching experience.