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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 (E-RYT200; YACEP) is currently pursuing E-RYT500 at Thrive. Ugonma 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 (RYT 200) 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 (RYT 200) 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-RYT 200; 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.

Emma Whitaker

Emma Whitaker

Emma (RYT200) took her first yoga class 10 years ago on the central coast of California. More recently, Emma found Thrive Yoga while seeking to get back into exercise. What she discovered was a dynamic form of creative expression within a vibrant, caring studio community. Through the Thrive Yoga Teacher Training program, Emma experienced a personal transformation that resulted in a deep confidence in the power of yoga to heal and inspire. She is passionate about helping students recognize their innate creativity, strength, and joy.

In addition to being a yogi, Emma is an abstract painter and art educator based in North Bethesda, MD. At Thrive, she teaches yoga classes as well as art and yoga workshops for kids. Emma enjoys integrating imagery and visualization into her yoga sequencing for all ages. In her classes, expect to find joy through movement. experience new sensations, and reconnect with your inner child. Emma is a new teacher at Thrive and looks forward to getting to know all of the Thrivers, old and new!

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