Dana Ptucha started practicing Yoga in 2000 after her mother suggested it as a New Year's resolution. She immediately became a devout student and enjoyed the physical, mental and emotional benefits and yoga became an integral part of her recovery. For many years, Dana's dedication to hot yoga and her hunger for knowledge led her to numerous seminars and posture clinics throughout the United States. To date Dana has a 500 hour RYT and 200 hour ERYT through Yoga Alliance - holding certificates from Barkan Methods Levels 1, 2 and 3. Dana's passion for hot yoga led her to teach in studios all over Long Island and she soon had a strong following. Wherever Dana went, they went! Dana is also a certified Personal Trainer through ISSA and enjoys running, spinning and weight training. Her signature style of teaching hot yoga is a blend of discipline and compassion as she urges her students to work to their full potential every single day. Dana graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in Journalism and worked for over 20 years in the corporate world until she decided to pursue the business of yoga full time. Dana's dreams were realized when she developed a partnership with her best friend, Karen Alpert, starting "YogaFlex - Hot Yoga with a Twist", the only studio on Long Island featuring the Hot Barkan Method as well as Barkan's Vinyasa. A true music lover, Dana creates original and eclectic playlists. Her fast paced and vigorous flow classes are high energy and tons of fun!
Karen Alpert began practicing Ashtanga Yoga in 2002 in search of new ways to restore flexibility, improve balance and increase strength for sports like tennis, running and skiing. Her yoga practice quickly became her passion as she deepened her knowledge and experience through workshops with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, David Swenson, John Friend, and Bryan Kest. Her path soon led her to Hot Yoga and a regular practice of Bikram and Barkan including workshops and seminars with Bikram and Rajashree Choudhary and practicing Barkan Hot Yoga in Sun Valley, ID. In December of 2009 Karen completed her first 200 hour Yoga Alliance Approved Teacher Training in The Barkan Method of Hot Yoga. She began teaching in New York and Idaho and in October 2010 completed Level II Barkan Hot Vinyasa training. In December that year she partnered with Dana Ptucha to open YogaFlex and fulfill their dream of opening a Hot Yoga Studio. Through conscious sequencing, Karen's classes build and strengthen the relationship between mind and body, breath and movement. Hands on adjustments focusing on alignment and body awareness offer students the opportunity to individualize their practices every day. Karen has an MBA in marketing from NYU Stern School of Business and is the proud mother of three children. Karen flavors her classes with real-life anecdotes and is committed to inspiring her students to take their knowledge of yoga with them when they leave the studio and find balance in their own lives. Always the student, she constantly seeks additional training to grow her own practice as well as her teaching.
Pamela Victor is a graduate of DeSales University of Pennsylvania with a BA in Dance. After moving back to her hometown, she began her dance career working with aerial and modern dance companies in the NYC area. During this time Pamela received her ACE Personal Training Certification and several others including specialties in plyometric, stability ball, dynamic medicine ball and bosu training, as well as functional training for sports. To compliment her very physical lifestyle, Pam begin practicing Hot Yoga in 2007. In spring 2009, she attended the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Palm Desert, California and received her certification. As a teacher, Pam quickly developed a devoted following and joined Karen and Dana when YogaFlex opened in December of 2010. Precision and high energy are Pamela's trademarks in both her Hot Yoga and Hot Yoga Boot Camp classes. As she gently insists on your best effort, Pam guides all her students to push to their own edge.
Eugene Feis is a Dharma Yoga® Center, NYC, certified teacher (200 hours) and has been practicing yoga for over 25 years. He is also certified as a hot yoga teacher (100 hours) and as a hatha yoga teacher (200 hours) from the School of Living Wisdom and teaches partner (acro) yoga. He combines the physical aspects of yoga with its health and well-being aspects, and he grounds his practice in the traditional, ethical rules which dictate that each posture be a dedication to the god energy that is alive and is within each of us. The classes Eugene teaches have a flow and ease that originate from within. Each pose has a purpose, which is to bring students to a place that is unique to them. He begins each class with a moment of silence, in recognition of love and compassion for every person in class.
Eugene has also been practicing reiki for a number of years and is certified as a Reiki Master, as well as certified in Thai Yoga Therapy from Thai Massage Sacred Bodywork in New York City. His reiki circles (shares) are held weekly and are by donation only.
Eugene also promotes karma yoga through the healing work he does with reiki. He has performed reiki on children, senior citizens, adults, dolphins, bugs, birds, and domesticated animals. He also practices distance reiki, whereby he directs the healing energy to people and areas far away that have been stricken by tragedy. Eugene is registered with Yoga Alliance, an IRC § 501(c)(6) professional and trade association that supports the yoga profession and business. Spirituality, consistency, and dedication are the hallmarks of Eugene’s practice.
Laura is Dharma Yoga 200-hour certified teacher and Hofstra University graduate who holds a B.S. in Music Education and M.A. in Wind Conducting. She is currently working on a Master's degree in social work at Stony Brook University. Becoming completely intrigued by Bikram and Ashtanga yoga in January 2009, she went on to receive her first teacher certification in October of that same year. Laura then went on to train at Dharma Yoga Center, studying under Sri Dharma Mittra in New York City as part of the Life of a Yogi 200 hour teacher training program in June 2011. She loves teaching hot yoga, as well as powerful vinyasa classes, and workshops in inversions, arm balances, and partner yoga. Laura enjoys guiding her students toward body awareness and strength, as well as mental clarity. She runs an individualized and peaceful, yet powerful class while pushing students to their full potential.
Laura is passionate about health and fitness, and empowering students to reach their full potential. She has been teaching yoga on Long Island for the past 10 years (200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified), leading challenging classes in the hot room... Bikram, Hot Yoga Flow, Hot Vinyasa, Yoga Boot Camp, and most recently Pure Barre. On the other end of the intensity spectrum, Laura is certified in teaching chair yoga which allows yoga to be accessible to individuals with injuries and/or older yogis with limited mobility.
In addition to teaching barre and yoga, Laura is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, completing her education at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition NYC (2008). She coaches individuals to achieve true health naturally. She works one-on-one to tailor menus, introduce new foods, and teaches easy, simple and nutritious meal preparation.
A few things to know about Laura--she has a B.S/M.B.A from NYU Stern School of Business, her glass is almost always "half full", vintage sunglasses and cowboy boots are things she collects, and she loves all things vanilla. Empowering people to move and eat for their best health ever is what floats her boat!
Christine Abajian has been practicing various styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, Bikram, and Vinyasa yoga since 2006. She became Yoga Alliance certified in 2010 and since then has studied with teachers such as David Swenson and Bryan Kest, completing their teacher trainings in Ashtanga Yoga and Power Yoga. Currently she is completing her 500 training through Laughing Lotus in NYC. Christine is also a high school history teacher and has a Doctoral Degree in Modern World History from St. John’s University. She has successfully combined her passion for history with her love of yoga to create a classroom environment that fosters deep meditation, non-judgment, and emotional healing. Christine will help guide you through a challenging practice without compromising the integrity of the body and encourages you to leave your anxiety, distractions, ego and judgments outside of the practice room. Yoga has enabled her to transform and improve her own life and she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm, dedication, and motivation for the practice with those that are around her.
Chris Olstrom started practicing Bikram Yoga in early 2007 after years of long distance running left him with horrible back pain and "beaten up" knees. Like most first time students, he walked into that first class not knowing what to expect. After the challenge and exilaration of that very first class, Chris was hooked! It didn't take long for him to start enjoying the healing benefits of his Hot Yoga practice as his pain and stress levels diminished. . His knees and back felt better and he had found a new cardio workout to replace running. Inspired to share what he had discovered with others, he made the decision to become a teacher. In Fall of 2008 he completed the Bikram teacher training program in Acapulco, Mexico and began teaching in studios all over Long Island. As his own practice grew, so did his desire to explore other styles of yoga. Intrigued with the flowing style of vinyasa, Chris went on to complete a 200 hour vinyasa training in 2013 and now teaches both styles with his distinct flair. His students often say how amazing they feel after a "Chris O" class. Chris says, "I love nothing more than guiding my students through a challenging asana practice, to build healthy and strong minds and bodies - helping them to lead stronger and healthier lives."
Daina DeBellis graduated St. John's University in 2006 with a Bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education. She first started practicing hot yoga in 2009, wanting something new and exciting, as she grew tired of a "normal gym routine". She immediately fell in love with Hot Yoga and as the years progressed, she decided to dedicate more time to the practice. Daina completed her RYT200 Certified Barkan Method Hot Yoga Training in the summer of 2012. Her passion for yoga only grew from there and she had an overwhelming urge to share it with others because of how it had changed her life, including her health, self-image and perspective. She continues to expand her yoga education by attending workshops all over Long Island and with teachers such as Jimmy Barkan and Jaqui Vernon.
Melissa Reeves graduated Dowling College in Oakdale Long Island May 2013 with a GS in Sports Management. She has played ice hockey her entire life and was always looking for different techniques to help improve her agility, strength and balance. Her search led her to Hot Yoga and at age 20, Melissa became one of YogaFlex's original students in 2010. She quickly became a studio regular as she fell in love with the practice. Hot Yoga changed her life in such a positive way that she went on to a teacher training with Jimmy Barkan in June of 2013 and received her 200 hour Level I certification in the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga. Melissa continues to practice regularly and brings her youthful enthusiam to the classes she teaches. Melissa continues to add to her knowlege and experience by attending Jimmy Barkan's Level 2 Vinyasa training in Costa Rica, April 2014.