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Susan Mondi Bowen

Susan Mondi Bowen

Susan created Thrive Yoga more than 15 years ago and has 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 integrates 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’s teaches to the individual in group classes by offering technical alignment and specific modifications based on that students whole being-physical, energetic, mental and emotional.  Her instruction is guided by 17+ years of teaching experience and highly developed intuition.

More About Our Founder

Julie Alter

Julie Alter

Julie (E-RYT 500; YACEP) earned her 500-hour yoga teacher training at Thrive through a collaboration with ISHTA Yoga in 2008-2011. Julie is certified in Restorative Yoga with Jillian Pransky and iRest Yoga Nidra through the Integrative Restoration Institute. She enjoys teaching iRest meditation to support psychological health, well-being, and spiritual freedom. Julie is enrolled in the Brain Longevity Training with the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation.

Julie has been teaching at Thrive since 2011 and often incorporates restorative poses, pranayama, and meditation in her classes. Julie is a Teacher Trainer at Thrive. She enjoys seeing students reap the benefits of moving their bodies, deepening their breath, and finding peace within.

Julie came to yoga as a cross-training for tennis. A regular asana practice has helped her maintain flexibility and joint health. The transformational benefits to all the layers of her being have far exceeded those physical benefits. Yoga has helped her gain mental clarity and emotional resilience enhancing healthy, happy, and peaceful aging.

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.

Marcy Braverman Goldstein

Marcy Braverman Goldstein

Marcy Braverman Goldstein, Ph.D., studied neuroscience and psychology as an undergraduate at the University of Rochester until a fascinating class about Indian traditions opened the door to more compelling ways to understand consciousness. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa as a Religion and Women’s Studies double major, Marcy entered the Religious Studies doctoral program at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she began her formal training in Sanskrit and was immediately riveted by its mellifluous sounds and intricate grammar. Her translation skills were refined during an immersive language study program with Dr. B.N. Pandit in New Delhi, India. In 2003 she completed her dissertation, a historical study of Sanskrit terms about possession, madness, and devotional experiences in Āyurvedic texts, Hindu poetry, and Tantric literature.

Marcy began teaching Sanskrit, and the history and philosophies of yoga in the 1990s. To design her courses, she draws from her training at UCSB and in India, and twenty years of yoga practice including a 100-hour Yoga Immersion. Previously at Davidson College and currently at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she teaches courses such as “History of Yoga from 2500 B.C.E. to the Ever-Changing Modern Moment.” Since creating the Sanskrit Revolution in 2012, she has taught at more than three dozen yoga studios, teacher training programs, yoga fests, and conferences nationally.

Marcy’s passion and goal is to help people discover the fascinating linguistic foundation of yoga. (sanskritrevolution.com)

She also leads online courses on the History of Yoga. Options for courses can be accessed here.

Laura Lacy

Laura Lacy

Laura (RYT200) started practicing when she was pregnant with her first child. Yoga spoke to her and she found that even though she had gone for the physical benefits she kept going back because of the mental benefits — a calm and peaceful mind.  In 2013 she completed her 200-hour training at Thrive and began to teach Prenatal, Vinyasa, and Hatha yoga. She has continued her education with a regular practice, prenatal training at Thrive, and workshops with a variety of teachers including Barron Baptiste and Kathryn Budig. She loves connecting with her students and especially women during their pregnancies to make them feel stronger, more confident, relaxed, and present.  You can expect a balance of heat-building flow, breathing, and meditation exercises in Laura‘s classes.

Allison Palanzo

Allison Palanzo

Allison (RYT 200) also holds a Level 2 Reiki certification, is Rope Wall certified, and is pursuing her RYT 500 at Thrive. Allison has always endeavored to live a life focused on health and wellness. While running a martial arts studio in Baltimore, MD, she completed a certification in nutrition and ran a hyperbaric oxygen therapy clinic for chronically ill patients. Marrying into a famous martial arts family, she was exposed to many different types of meditation and mindfulness practices. When Allison took a beginner yoga class at her local gym, she felt immediate physical changes. That’s when all of the pieces started to fit together. It didn’t take her too long to become hooked on yoga.

Taking her practice to a yoga studio, Allison realized that cultivating a lifelong yoga practice could be her second act in life. She started to transform in body, mind, and spirit.

Allison loves to teach a wide range of students. While she can certainly cue the cool fancy poses, she particularly enjoys teaching beginners the fundamentals of alignment. Allison’s classes are accessible to all levels and challenging at the same time. Allison’s unique and laid back style encourages students to try new things, without attachment to the results. Expect to have fun while also getting a well-rounded yoga practice.

Felicia Piacente

Felicia Piacente

Felicia (RYT500; E-RYT 200). As a life-long teacher, Felicia’s 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 but also 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 a relaxing aftereffect.  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.  

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 but 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.

Lydia Willig

Lydia Willig

Lydia (RYT500) is a yoga teacher, reiki practitioner, and breath coach from rural Maryland. She leads Vinyasa and Hatha style classes with the intention to create a warm environment in which you may freely explore your practice on and off the mat. Lydia was drawn to yoga from the moment she stepped into a studio. Through mindful movement and awareness, she developed a loving relationship with her body and discovered the deeper internal benefits of yoga.

Compelled to share this powerful practice with the world, Lydia began teaching yoga and fitness classes in 2015. She went on to complete her 200-hour teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center in 2017, became a certified Group Fitness Instructor through ACE in 2018, and graduated from her 300-hour training at Thrive Yoga in 2020.

Lydia is also driven by her awe of nature. Through the practices of yoga, she aims to reunite each one of us with our natural, animal, authentic self. She believes that when we care for ourselves as beings of this earth, we will better care for each other and the planet. This deeper connection with nature gifts us with compassion for ourselves and others, as well as a feeling of being home.

In her classes, Lydia hopes you will experience the joy of movement, the vitality of your breath, and the peace of presence. On your mat, you will find a deeper understanding and love for your body and your self. That relationship will stay with you as you step off of your mat and into the world.

Rikki Zeitz

Rikki Zeitz

Rikki (RYT200; RPYT; Radiant Child Yoga certified). Her teaching style can be described as empowering, calming, and bonding. She was first introduced to Iyengar yoga in Gunnison, Colorado in 2010 while attending college. She immediately fell in love with the practice, and, as a result, bought a plane ticket to embark on a yoga journey to India. Since then she has dedicated herself to the study, practice, and teaching of yoga. She believes being a prenatal yoga teacher is an amazing experience that can be used to guide women toward the ways they can positively affect their experience. She feels great joy when she can hold a space for women to experience an honest, authentic, and raw version of themselves, as well as sharing her own love and passion for this practice.

Lauren Dome

Lauren Dome

Lauren has been practicing yoga for more than 15 years; she completed her RYT200 hour teacher training at Thrive Yoga studio in Rockville MD in 2016 and RYT 300 hour teacher training at Thrive in 2020. She incorporates Thai Yoga Massage and Reiki practice into many of her classes for a deep relaxing and rejuvenating practice. Her Yin and Restorative classes will leave you feeling cared for physical, mentally. Students comment that her classes are very nurturing and calm.

In addition to being a yoga teacher, Lauren is a nurse practitioner and a certified pediatric mental health provider. She currently works at Children’s National Medical Center in the department of Neurology. In addition to treating many neurologic conditions, Lauren specializes in working with teens that have anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder and Tourette syndrome. Her extensive background in neurology and anatomy has been an asset to her yoga teaching.

Lauren hopes that her teaching will allow you to explore a new relationship with yourself that supports you on and off the mat!

Hippocrates said it best: “The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well.”

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.

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