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Susan Mondi Bowen

Susan Mondi Bowen

Susan Mondi Bowen founded the studio in 2005 and has instructed yoga, stress reduction and meditation for nearly 20 years and lived a healthy lifestyle for more than 30 years.Susan became a boutique fitness and wellness entrepreneur by creating Thrive Yoga after several life events made it clear that her professional trajectory was successful but her life was lacking freedom and vitality. Thrive Yoga received a lot of press and media attention in 2005 due to the uniqueness of a yoga center in the DMV.  Susan was also given accolades for her business acumen and was awarded seed money for Thrive through the StartRight! Women’s Business Plan Competition.

Susan has received awards as a business leader in Maryland including awards in leadership, entrepreneurship and community giving by: City of Rockville, Rockville Economic Development (REDI), and has been awarded runner-up Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 through the Maryland Women’s Business Center.

Susan’s personal story of creating Thrive Yoga has been featured in The Washington Post; The Gazette; WUSA News and other various local newspapers and TV news.

Susan (E-RYT500, YACEP, Certified Sound Healer; Certified Integrative Reflexologist) has created training curricula that integrate yoga with complementary techniques from science, philosophy, and spirituality. Susan’s experience in teaching integrated methods for human change and transformation spans more than 17 years and 15,000 hours. Susan has studied and practiced more than 20 various yoga styles and physical healing modalities.  Susan is a public speaker and corporate wellness trainer, specifically in the areas of stress-reduction and shifting paradigms from stress to joyful living.

Susan’s broad experience, sense of humor and natural charisma is represented in her classes via technical alignment instruction;  creative sequence variations;  latest research on being human and playful storytelling.

Ugonma Fontaine

Ugonma Fontaine

Ugonma (RYT500; E-RYT200; YACEP) is the Thrive Yoga Studio Director. Along with the rest of the team, Ugonma creates the programs and events at Thrive. She has studied/ taught Vinyasa Flow and Kundalini styles of yoga for over 10 years. She is a teacher and forever a student of yoga. Ugonma is a Teacher Trainer at Thrive and Reiki Master/Teacher. She leads Reiki Trainings and yoga classes for non-profit organizations, NIH, and Children’s Hospital. Her work has been featured at holistic health fairs, conferences, and wellness centers on the East and West Coasts.  She continues to develop her specialty in energetic wellness through integrating earth-based and meditative practices into her yoga journey. She believes yoga is a path to self-transformation, peace, and joy.

Daniele Lorio

Daniele Lorio

Daniele Lorio (RYT500) walked out of her first yoga class 14 years ago, and the elation she felt told her that yoga was a practice meant for her.  Daniele comes from a home steeped in the visual arts and, at 15, went to conservatory for classical voice and later opera. After many years of rigorous preparation, regimentation, and riding the emotional roller coaster of a performing artist, she finds solace, clarity, and acceptance on the mat.

In Daniele’s class, her students’ inner wisdom is honored in practice. She endeavors to create a space that is both physically and emotionally safe for her students. As a singer, Daniele has used her body and voice as a tool to create bonds between people and to help move listeners through music. Yoga, too, is an instrument by which we may grow together and help one another to realize a kinder world.

In Daniele’s classes, you can expect to move, build strength, get to know yourself, and smile.

Felicia Piacente

Felicia Piacente

As a life-long teacher, Felicia’s (RYT500; E-RYT 200) passion for teaching and learning shines through in all of her classes, workshops, and progressive series. She is an advanced yoga practitioner who is able to make students feel welcome and at ease. She is highly involved in teacher development and mentoring, and is a Teacher Trainer at Thrive. Felicia teaches hot vinyasa and core vinyasa classes and loves breaking things down for beginners in vinyasa flow. She has a popular following in workshops such as arm balances, inversions, and deep explorations of intermediate to advanced yoga poses. She understands the importance of balance, inner peace, and revitalization, and has even gotten many students at the studio knitting — discovering the meditative properties of her other favorite passion! Felicia’s classes are highly energetic and provide direct instruction, authenticity, and fun! Felicia took her first yoga class in 2006 and immediately found what she was looking for—a physical challenge, a spiritual comfort, and relaxing aftereffects. She knew she had to share this with others, and enrolled and completed her 200- and 300-hour training programs at Thrive. She has been teaching exclusively at Thrive since 2009.

Mary Rivas

Mary Rivas

Mary Rivas (RYT500) signed up for her first in-studio yoga class (at Thrive!) 5 years ago to help relieve prenatal issues during her second pregnancy. After having the most amazing experience, she couldn’t wait to be back after the baby was born. Mary loves coming into the studio for class, especially now that her 3 children are a bit older, but she never misses a chance to open her mat up at home. She says that the time spent playing on her mat at home helps bring inspiration to her fun vinyasa sequencing.

Mary’s prenatal classes are focused on four main elements: anatomy, connection with baby, self-love, and community. Her teaching style is designed to provide mothers the tools and techniques to tap into the power and strength they already possess.

Her vinyasa classes have been influenced by former years of ballet and a natural love for being upside down. Which means expect a strong dynamic flow with some advanced posture play. Like her prenatal class, she aims to bring body awareness and empowerment to all students ranging from a curious beginner to a seasoned yogi.

Jane Stelboum

Jane Stelboum

Jane (E-RYT500) has trained at Duke University’s Integrative Yoga for Seniors, Brain Longevity® Therapy Training offered by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT). In 2012 she founded Sarasvate, Yoga Designed for the Brain, whose mission is to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Jane is also a Teacher Trainer at Thrive. Jane enjoys giving students the ability to align in a pose and connect to how it feels in their body and breath. Her teaching style is challenging but accessible to all — with an emphasis on alignment and compassion for the body. She tries to reach students right where they are. Her classes include hands-on assists to help with realignment and are experiential, incorporating music, gongs, singing bowls, writings, yogic concepts, and themes. Her mother introduced her to yoga and meditation as a kid, and that in and of itself is special for her.  She’s continued to practice yoga her entire life. Still, it wasn’t until she found Thrive that she really integrated yoga into her life, starting with the 40-day program, then teacher training, and through the many wonderful workshops offered at Thrive. She knew she felt the impact of yoga on her life when her friends and family noticed the changes that she had felt. Jane is here to pay it forward and share.

Katie Kecman

Katie Kecman

Katie (RYT500; Reiki I & II certified; Thai Massage certified) is a Health Education Specialist and gives health education seminars and webinars on various health topics and implements wellness and fitness programs for employees in offices. She also teaches chair yoga and meditation sessions for the employees and has been teaching yoga for over 6 years at multiple locations. She has a passion for teaching hatha, vinyasa, yin, and restorative yoga. When she is not doing yoga, one of her other favorite activities is lifting weights. Her favorite poses are hip openers and heart openers.

Alyson Gluecksmann

Alyson Gluecksmann

Alyson (RYT 500) began practicing yoga in her early 20s at a time when she was working in a corporate job and running a lot. It was just the complement that she needed to undo the stress of work and the impact of running. It wasn’t until she became a mom, though, that she really started to prioritize and value the time on her yoga mat. Alyson believes yoga has the unique ability to challenge physically but also to calm mentally and emotionally through all of life’s transitions. She loves to teach powerful flow classes that build strength and explore the ever-changing edge in physical abilities. To complement those classes, she teaches yin, which is a gateway to exploring the inner landscape while deeply soothing the body.

In 2012, Alyson completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Inner Strength Studios in Watertown, MA. Since then, she has completed an additional 500-hour yoga teacher training with David Vendetti and the Yoga Liberation Front training program. She has participated in many weekend workshops for continuing education, including prenatal training, hands-on assists, sequencing, and others. She has also completed an additional 70 hours of training in yin yoga and continues to study that format. Alyson holds a B.S. in Mass Communication from Boston University and an M.S. in Health Promotion Management from American University. She is a mom to two beautiful, active boys that keep her very busy. When she has time to herself, she loves to be outside. The beach and local hiking trails are her favorite places to wander. She enjoys reading all things yoga-related, as well as true stories of inspirational people in the world.
Elise Pierre

Elise Pierre

Elise Pierre (200 HOUR ERYT and 300 HOUR ERYT Yoga Therapist/body psychology) began her yoga journey 20 years ago after a trip to India where, intrigued by a sage in a village, she asked him to teach her how to sit still. In her early 30’s, she was a musician, playing electronic music in Paris and producing artists on her record label. It was while dancing in a contemporary company for non-dancers that choreographer Rina Koivisto introduced her to Hatha Yoga. Life brought her to the United States where after the birth of her second daughter she became certified in 200h Vinyasa Fluid Yoga. Elise is a certified 180h I Am Yoga Nidra facilitator and is also certified in I Am Yoga Nidra for children. Most recently she became certified in 100h Yoga Therapy/Body Psychology. 

Elise found relief from chronic pain through the practice of Yoga Nidra. She brings a sense of curiosity and exploration to her teaching. Her favorite yoga pose is the mountain pose, for the ground/sky connection she feels in her body as an invitation to move. This is how she perceives yoga, the infinite possibility for the body and mind to open to itself and to the unknown. When not teaching, Elise enjoys spending time with her two daughters, adventuring in nature, and tending to her vegetable garden.

Lalita Vayavananda

Lalita Vayavananda

Lalita completed her 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training in 2016 at The Tree Yoga Cooperative in Los Angeles, CA. Continuing her education, she has completed certifications in Yoga Therapy Level 1 at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles (CA), Sound Healing Practitioner at Reiki Wellbeing in West Covina (CA), Professional Thai Massage Therapy Level 5 at TMC Thai Massage School in Chiang Mai (Thailand), and Pre/Postnatal Yoga at Nature Yoga Sanctuary in Chicago (IL). She is currently earning a diploma as a Maternal Child Health Specialist at Midwest Maternal Child Institute and served as an on-call birth doula for a volunteer doula organization in Chicago.

She is a mother to an infant and a toddler and used prenatal yoga to help her achieve her own goal of natural births without drugs or intervention in a birth center and at home. Her love for yoga began over a decade ago way before pregnancy when she realized it was helping her to achieve strength, flexibility, and balance not only on the mat but in her everyday life as well. And with this, she continues to renew and transform while holding space for others to do the same. Her practice allows her to find equilibrium and be mindful in caring for her children. Her favorite pose is Standing Forward Fold and when she is not taking care of her babies she loves to travel, garden, sew, be by water and nature and learn new things.

Laura Anzalone

Laura Anzalone

Laura Anzalone (RYT-200) is a graduate of Thrive Yoga’s teacher training and has been attending yoga classes here for several years. She realized in her early 30s that she needed to take a drastically different approach to address the challenges in her life, and that included being intentional in taking care of her body and mind. Laura has found that practicing yoga gives her a space to focus on her mental health as much as her physical health. She believes that yoga is a continuous journey to living a life of self-love and inner strength, rather than a destination.

 

Laura has corporate experience building collaborative team environments and bringing mindfulness practices into the workplace. She brings her experience and passion for creating accepting spaces into her yoga classes. As a teacher, Laura helps students find peace and focus while challenging themselves to build their physical and mental strength.

 

When Laura is not teaching yoga, you can often find her listening to true crime podcasts, hiking with her dog (over whom she shamelessly obsesses), or tackling a never-ending list of home DIY passion projects with her husband.

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