Meet Our Staff

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Budah
Owner
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Karen Peña
Manager
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Ez Yap
Assistant Manager

Meet Our Instructors

Click twice on an instructor’s name to read their biography.

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instructor_kristinBibat

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Monica Lopez
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Bea Canoy
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Bea had an on and off relationship with yoga in her 20’s and 30’s. It was not until she hit 40 when she and yoga reconnected. Through their consistent courtship, she found herself in love with yoga. Yet, it was not at the most opportune time (or maybe it was) because her life was overloaded with endless to-do lists, with unrealistic expectations of being a “good mom” and a “good wife”, and with the stresses of being a public school speech therapist. The more she found her energy depleted by the daily grind, the more she found herself in the yoga studio. The more she learned from her practice, the more she wanted to share it with the people she loved (and most especially, with the people she didn’t love so much). She sneaked in yoga time into her daily life – with her children at home, with her children at work, even with the most unlikely student of all, her husband.Bea’s inspiring yoga teachers, including her daughters, husband, and students, influenced her in taking this life-altering and never-ending journey to the next step. In November 2015, Bea earned her 200-hour teacher certification from Xplore Yoga. By paying it forward to the child and to the adult in her classes, Bea hopes to bring the joy, the balance and the freedom into their lives that yoga has brought into hers.
Budah, Owner, E-RYT 500
Ashtanga, Bikram , Vinyasa, Power & Yin Instructor
In 2004, a friend introduced me to a yoga practiced in a hot room. The intensity and discipline of this Bikram class blew me away and I was hooked. My dedication to the practice led me to complete my Bikram Teacher certification in 2008 in Acapulco, MX with Bikram Choudhry – founder of Bikram Yoga College of India. As I continued my yoga journey in practice & teaching, I also explored other styles such as Ashtanga, Power, Vinyasa & Yin. And, after completing a Vinyasa Flow training in Costa Rica with Vidya Jacqueline Heisel of Frog Lotus Yoga in 2011, I decided to pursue the opening of my very own studio, Xplore Yoga. In 2013, I received my 500 Hour Teacher Training certification through the Absolute Yoga Academy in Thailand.  Most recent, I completed a 50 Hour Intensive in Rocket. It is my hope that practitioners will benefit, both mentally & physically, from the yoga practice as I have. Expect my classes to be tough, challenging & sweaty.
Carla Suarez
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Carla discovered Bikram Yoga in 2007 while looking for a new fitness routine. The combination of withstanding the heat all while practicing intense postures really intrigued her. After practicing Bikram for 2 years off and on, life happened and her practice came to an end. Years later she would return, but this time, for the therapeutic benefits of Yoga. Carla has suffered from anxiety off and on for the majority of her life. In her early 20’s she began to experience her first panic attacks and knew it was time to seek help. She began therapy and slowly started to feel better. But it wasn’t until Yoga came into her life again that she really started to feel like herself again. Yoga was able to teach her mind, body, and spirit awareness, something that is so essential to life. But more importantly, yoga has allowed her to find peace in the present moment. Wanting nothing more but to share this with others, in 2015 she completed her RYT 200 with Xplore Yoga. Her wish is to share her Yoga journey and guide her students to increase their body and mind awareness. Leaving her class feeling refreshed and renewed.
Catrina Aguilar
Vinyasa Flow and Power Instructor
Catrina was brought to her first yoga class by her mom and sister 6 years ago. She loved how strong yoga made her feel, and soon noticed how yoga had also begun to change her mind and spirit, allowing her to find peace and balance on and off her mat. Driven by the desire to deepen her own practice and the passion to share yoga’s transformative powers with others, Catrina completed her teacher certification Xplore Yoga’s inaugural teacher training in February 2014, under the guidance and wisdom of Edna Barr. Catrina is certified through Frog Lotus Yoga, and is registered with Yoga Alliance. Catrina’s classes are a playful combination of strength building asanas with proper alignment and breath work using upbeat playlists. Her classes build strength and stamina while lengthening tight muscles and will allow students to develop mental and emotional strength. Off the mat, Trina enjoys baking, Tahitian dancing, reading, hiking, traveling and spending time with her husband and their dog Pasta.
Daryl Cotton
Power Instructor
I studied under the tutelage of Linda McGrath at YogaSource Los Gatos in Fall 2012. I was a gym rat for several years and then took up running. I was introduced to yoga in late 2010 through the P90X training program and found myself looking forward to the yoga workout each week. When asked to try yoga at a yoga studio, I was initially resistant because I had a lot of misconceptions: yoga was mainly for females, I wouldn’t get a good workout because it was only stretching, and I didn’t want to chant in class. Once I tried it, it quickly became my workout of choice and I became a member of that yoga studio. Nagging injuries sustained from weight training and running have been healed by my yoga practice. The body awareness and focus I’ve gained through my yoga practice is something I hope to bring to others as a yoga instructor.
Ez Yap
Vinyasa & Power Instructor
After having two kids, Ez found herself in a funk. Feeling guilty for needing time for herself, but acknowledging that time on the mat is essential to being a better wife and mother, Ez embraced her practice. At first, her husband and kids were jealous—of yoga—but they soon came to realize it brought harmony and peace to their home. These days, they push Ez out the door in the direction of the studio. No longer plagued by chronic migraines or sciatica, Ez is pain-free, out of her funk, and fully engaged in a passionate love affair with yoga. Her family and friends are supportive, and often join her. Ez received her training and certification from Xplore Yoga under the mentorship of Henry Abuda. She invites you to join her, too. Come find love at first breath, and every breath thereafter.
Jordan Nordhoff
Power, Power PiYo & Vinyasa Instructor
Jordan started her journey into physical and mental practice with various forms of martial arts. She slowly began to find herself practicing basic yoga poses and sequences from books and videos. After some time, she began practicing in group settings such as gyms and college courses. After a few years of dabbling here and there, Jordan found herself in a studio taking her first Bikram class. That first class did not inspire a feeling of accomplishment, but she knew that this new environment offered something that she felt had been missing in her previous years of practice.
After years of personal growth through yoga, Jordan decided she wanted to be able to share and inspire that feeling in others through teaching and enrolled in a teacher training program in Los Gatos for Vinyasa Flow. She believes that yoga is not only a great way to learn more about one’s body and mind, but also works to strengthen them in a safe, nurturing, and deliciously challenging environment.
Jordan spends her time bouncing from strength training classes to yoga classes, training for various runs. teaching, furthering her practice and education, and eagerly waiting for her next adventure.
Justin Toland
Crossflow, Vinyasa & Power Instructor
Since he was a boy, Justin has acknowledged an affinity towards healing and an understanding of what pain really is. Born in San Jose, Ca and raised in Union City, Ca, he has always been a Bay Area resident. The journey of yoga began in 2012 with a taste of Bikram. It was a mental and physical challenge which left him in a state of being afterwards that fueled a passion for his current ventures. After diving into Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Hatha, and various offerings of different yoga styles and classes, the fire had been lit. This excitement towards Yoga fueled this student to become a teacher.Justin is certified under the Frog Lotus Yoga 200 hour program and has been teaching since February 2014. His classes offer a range of yogic philosophy, body alignment, breathing, and nurturing motivation. The goal is to be gentle but firm so all yogis may evolve in their personal practice. The belief is in building the quintessential, prime, or ideal yogi. Strategy, strength, focus, and determination are what drive his classes. His background in weight loss, fitness, and Crossfit are what build the class structure, but it’s always yoga at the foundation. His knowledge of the body has come from eight years of massage therapy as an occupation and he uses this as a tool to modify his classes to accommodate fluctuating diversities. For his personal life, Yoga has been the medicine of balance that keeps Justin primed for life’s ups, downs, and endeavors.
Kathy Murai
Vinyasa & Power Instructor
Kathy’s introduction to yoga began with a prenatal yoga tape (yes, VHS, not DVD) over 15 years ago. Her practice was short-lived at the time, with other work-life commitments taking precedence. After the birth of her second child more than 6 years later, she found herself struggling to find a healthy balance and was fortunate to find the practice of yoga again. Since then, she has continued the practice of yoga.  For Kathy, the practice of yoga is a reminder of how to live life. To not take things for granted, to be present to experience the moment, whether joyous or difficult or something in between, and to accept it for what it is. Her yogic journey has enriched her life and she hopes that her classes will enrich yours as well. Her classes are vigorous, allowing each practitioner to challenge the body as well as the mind.
Kristian Bowden-Menotti
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Kristian’s passion for Yoga was sparked in 2005 as she sought relief for balancing the stressors of work and motherhood. She immediately noticed an improvement in her ability to manage stress and her overall wellbeing. Yoga became a very important part of her self care. She made the decision to deepen her practice by completing teacher trainings at Mind Body Zone Fremont and Yoga Source Los Gatos. She is a 500 hour registered Yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. Kristian is very passionate about sharing her love of yoga with her students. Her classes are intelligently sequenced, playful and exploratory. She draws on her background in psychology via integrating principles of self care, meditation and stress reduction techniques in her classes. She is a Licensed Psychotherapist with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences and has psychotherapy practice in Menlo Park. For more information please visit kristianmenottilcsw.com or www.facebook.com/lagueritayogini.
Kristin Bibat
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
I fell in love with yoga in 2007, after taking my first Bikram class. I was really fortunate to find yoga. It came into my life at a time when I needed to get back in touch with myself –- with what I wanted out of life & with what makes me happy. I also turned to my practice to get away from the stresses of work and find inner peace. After practicing Bikram for 3 years at studios in Pacifica & Palo Alto, I ventured outside of my yoga box and discovered Power, Vinyasa, Yin & Restorative. I am grateful & humbled by my practice and how it has evolved, and look forward to where it will take me next.In August 2009, I took the next step and pursued my teacher certification at Yoga Source, Los Gatos under the guidance of Linda McGrath. I have also studied with Rebecca Bara & Daniella Cotreau, two amazing teachers who have so much passion for what they do. In my classes, sequences are gracefully dynamic, and I focus on the balance between effort & ease. The foundation of our movement is strongly based on tuning into the rhythm of our unique breath in the present moment.Off my mat, I am studying to become a certified Ayurvedic practitioner, eager to share my new passion with my community. Family is very near & dear to my heart, so I spend most free days with my husband, sisters, parents or extended family. We are big on laughter and having a good time together! It’s the simple things in life that make me happy.

Email: hello@kristinbibat.com

Lucas Hergert
Ashtanga Instructor
When Lucas walked into his first yoga class, he did not anticipate that it would change his life. But he quickly came to love both the physical challenge and the deeper spiritual teachings of the practice. Lucas is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, having trained at Dragonfly Yoga & Wellness in Livermore. He was eventually drawn to the Ashtanga Primary Series and completed a 250-hour immersion with Melanie Green in Berkeley. He continues to practice this system daily, which never fails to offer new lessons for his teaching and his life.
Mandy Ansari
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
First introduced to yoga in 2003 as an alternative therapy for back pain, and noticed immediate improvement in her physical body. Mandy fell in love with the practice and has been practicing ever since. She recently finished her 200 hour certification under the guidance of Louis Jackson at Avalon Art & Yoga in Palo Alto. Off the mat she enjoys baking, painting, and spending time with her husband and two kids. She hopes that through yoga, her students will experience a sense of ease, not only on the mat but off the mat as well. Come and practice with her on building strength, balance, and breath awareness and discover freedom in your practice with an open and humble mind and heart.
Mary Jane Aberin-Marchan
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Mary Jane began her yoga journey later in life. Being a mother of two, wife, and pediatric transplant nurse by profession had kept her preoccupied for the better part of a decade, and well in to her 30’s. It wasn’t until her late 30’s that she discovered her passion for yoga. After having noticed the natural changes that occur within a woman’s body, she tried running as a form of physical activity, which proved to be taxing on her knees. It was through the suggestion of a friend that she was encouraged to try yoga as an alternate activity. After trying her first class, she discovered her love for yoga and instantly became addicted to its practice. Originally rooted in Bikram, she learned to appreciate all styles, eventually favoring Vinyasa and Hot Power Fusion Yoga for their physical and mental demands, in addition to their detoxifying properties. In doing so, she devoted and immersed herself to both self and studio practice for the next two years, learning as much about body, breath, and mind integration as possible. Through a consistent yoga pactice, she was able to transform her body and mind. Ultimately, her passion for yoga lead her to complete a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Program, deepening her knowledge of yoga history, philosophy, and practice. It is now her passion to share the benefits, joys, and gifts of yoga to others who may be searching for their own passion as well.
Monica Lopez
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
I have always been very dedicated to health and fitness. I love to experiment with nutrition and exercise, trying to find out what works best. In 2003 I took my first yoga class and from that one class everything seemed to shift. Practicing yoga helped me to become more fully present in the now. I wanted to share that same feeling and experience; so I decided to become a yoga teacher. In 2007, I received my 200 Hrs. yoga teacher certification with Avalon Art and Yoga in Palo Alto Ca. through Yoga Alliance. I am always seeking ways to expand my knowledge about yoga so I can share this gift. I’m also a certified PiYo (Pilates/Yoga) instructor through Xplore Yoga with Henry Abuda. In my class, you will be challenge to be soft, flexible and surrender to your breath, leaving you with a feeling of having built strength and power with your body and mind.
Nitya Chuang
Yin InstructorNitya is a passionate and dedicated yoga instructor. Her certifications include 1,500 hours from Ananda Ashram, India in 2005-2006, and 200 hours from Avalon Yoga, Palo Alto, in 2011. Nitya continues to study under the guidance of yoga therapy master, Dr Ananda Balayogi Bhavanani. Since relocating to the US, she has been an advanced practitioner under the guidance of her California teachers, Anirudh Shastri and Louis Jackson.Nitya has been practicing yoga since 1997 and first started to teach yoga in Taiwan in 2002. Spending 7 months in India transformed her life and practice. Through study of the three classical yoga texts, Yoga Sutra, Geranda Samhita and Shiva Samhita, she was exposed to the physical, psychological and physiological effects that yoga can achieve by focusing the mind.When she is not teaching or practicing yoga, you will find her hiking, gardening, working on her Chinese painting. She likes to study Chinese medicine and is now a lifetime volunteer teacher at Tzu Chi Buddhist Foundation. Her goal is to motivate people to practice yoga and to improve one’s health and general well being. Her style is unique, as many of the techniques she uses are not commonly taught in the U.S. Her classes provide holistic solutions to modern stress complaints, imbalance issues and physical pains.
Rachael Simbra
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Seven years ago, Rachael discovered that yoga is her true passion through an old yoga VHS tape practiced in her living room. She hasn’t stopped living out that passion ever since. A former ballerina and athlete, she finds that yoga brings balance to her body for it is all things she craves: strength, power and fluidity intertwined with controlled grace. After rupturing her Achilles tendon in 2011, and enduring a reconstructive surgery that took 10 months to heal, Rachael returned to her mat once again to find the strength and tonality that she had lost through her time of injury. Instead, she found so much more: patience, humility and a love for self that had remained dormant until that time.Since then, yoga to Rachael has been more than a way to get fit, but a way of understanding the truth and beauty about herself and human nature. Under the guidance of the brilliant Edna Barr, Rachael completed her 200-hour training in February 2014 with Frog Lotus Yoga as part of the Xplore Yoga’s inaugural teacher training course. Rachael is excited to bring joy and energy through movement, freedom through breath and contentment to her students by helping them meet their true selves on the mat.
Sara Wang
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
My yoga journey started in 2013 at Xplore. It didn’t take long to find myself attracted by the warm community and started to try out different variety of classes. At first, I see Yoga as a physical exercise to balance out my stress. Like most people, I was struggling in the beginning. But the refreshed and good feeling after each session motivated me to keep coming to class. With the consistency my body was getting stronger, and I started to get curious on advancing my Yoga practice. That’s when I decided to go for the teacher training at Xplore in 2015. The 200 hour teacher training was a life changing experience for me. It changed my whole perspective about yoga, broadened my knowledge, and allowed me to understand yoga has a lot to offer in addition to the physical practice. When I graduated from the teacher training, I set myself a goal to inspire more people to do yoga. I hope to spread the benefit of yoga to the community and to the world by teaching yoga and sharing my practice.
Shamekia Goldsmith
Power & Vinyasa InstructorI became a Yoga Instructor after realizing yoga was a missing piece in my fitness journey. I’d been training clients since 2007 and found that much like in my own workouts, clients judged themselves too harshly. Pushing from a place of ego lead me to injures and eventually back to yoga late 2014.Naturally introverted, I found freedom to quietly explore movement and heal my injuries while becoming stronger and flexible both physically and mentally. My spirit spoke, all things aligned and in 2015 I graduated from the Xplore Yoga 200-Hours Training.To understand others we must remain open to understand and accept ourselves. Yoga is an unending process of self-study and self-transformation (Mark Stephens). I continue to learn “I am enough” and hope to pass this truth about themselves to practitioners. Classes are eclectic, balancing structure with freedom while offering guidance for safety and space to play and grow.
Stephanie du Pont-Pensa
Power & Vinyasa Instructor
Stephanie discovered yoga at a young age, but didn’t start practicing regularly until 2009. In June of 2014 she became a certified yoga instructor, studying under Laurie Gallagher and Suzanna Spring of Dragonfly Yoga and Wellness. For Stephanie the combination of breath with movement grounds her in the present moment. Learning to find stillness and ease in a challenging posture has helped her find clarity in the craziness of everyday life. Since 2014 she has continued her training and has studied both Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater, and Ashtanga Yoga with Melanie Green of Berkeley Yoga Center. She is also starting her 500 hour training in Fall 2016. Stephanie has a Masters Degree in Healthcare, and along with teaching yoga, she develops health education programs for the local junior college.