About People’s Yoga
People’s Yoga was founded in 2012 by Lauren Quan-Madrid and Leah Gallegos in an effort to offer quality yoga classes on the greater Eastside, where access to yoga is limited. We are committed to providing an inclusive safe space for health and wellness that is unique and relevant to the people of our community. People’s Yoga combines movement, breath, and awareness; inviting all to explore the power of self-discovery, self-care, and empowerment on and off the mat.
Meet Our Instructors
Local Xicana Yogista with over 13 years practicing asana and meditation and guiding for 7, Ana María brings a depth of knowledge and understanding about her community’s needs to People’s Yoga and it is felt throughout her practice.
Taking a class with Ana Maria places you in a state of focus and connection. Utilizing poetry and literature Ana Maria shapes her classes to help guide practitioners on their own journey of self discovery and growth. Ana Maria is also part of our People’s Yoga Teacher Training team that is shaping future community yoga instructors reach their teaching potential. Ana’s wit, care, play, presence and focus make her an ideal teacher to guide first timers as well a challenge for the more experienced.
Born and raised in the SGV, it wasn’t until moving to San Francisco for college that Carly discovered yoga. She immediately embraced the detoxifying benefits and mental clarity she experienced, but felt disconnected from the studios she frequented. Feeling like an outsider in classes that felt too pretentious and weren’t affordable, she hopped around from studio to studio taking advantage of first-time student trial rates. During her visits back home in L.A. she began attending People’s Yoga classes at The Boyle Hotel and was thrilled to finally find a yoga space that was affordable and accessible with teachers and practitioners that actually looked like her. There was also something else that had been missing in previous yoga classes: community. Feeling a part of something greater than just the yoga practice, Carly eventually became a regular at the People’s Yoga studio after moving back to L.A. and was inspired to participate in their first ever 200 Hour Teacher Training program. With Lauren, Leah, and Ana María serving as mentors, Carly discovered her particular teaching style. Her classes use breath and movement to help navigate the emotional realm and create space to heal physically and mentally while keeping it real and not taking herself too seriously. Laughter is a big part of her own personal coping mechanisms. Please join her in a light-hearted, down-to-earth practice.
Cecilia is the product of 3 continents (Africa, Europe & North America) and thrives on diversity and is grateful for the support of teachers from many cultures and traditions. She came to yoga as a way to counter the stress of working in the corporate world, only to find it would change her life. Certified to teach Kundalini and Hatha, Cecilia’s classes encourage students to do some compassionate internal housekeeping, while often sweating and laughing. She teaches flow, restorative and everything in-between. The breath, safety, self- exploration and great music, are at the root of her teaching style. Cecilia is committed to making the practice of yoga accessible to anyone willing to take part.
Diane first came to yoga as a student at a local community college 10 years ago and continued practicing for its healing and supportive environment. Through life’s ups and downs, yoga became a constant grounding practice that helped her stay rooted. Diane is motivated to provide free/donation classes to San Gabriel Valley and beyond, where access to yoga for every-BODY is limited. As a graduate of People’s Yoga Teacher Training, she strives to provide an inclusive and mindful practice for everyone. She currently leads Spanish yoga classes for parents after they drop off their children at an elementary school in El Monte, CA.
Bio coming soon!
Isabel Barber is Cuban born & transplanted to the US. She worked as a nurse for over 30 years. Isabel started doing yoga in 2014 with People’s Yoga of East LA. She has developed a passion for sharing the way yoga helps our bodies remember how to self heal.
Nacida en Cuba y transplantada a los Estados Unidos. Con 30 años de experiencia en enfermería. Cuyo camino en yoga empezo desde 2014 con People’s Yoga del Este de LA. Tengo el corazón de compartir como la yoga se recuerda a neustro cuerpo como sanarse.
Jocelyn is passionate about the healing power of yoga. After several years of practice with yoga healers in accessible and inclusive community spaces, she decided to make yoga a radiant part of daily life and became a certified yoga instructor. She studied Sampoorna Yoga with the guidance of her guru, Shri Yogi Hari, which focuses on the complete self’s mind, body, and spirit through six branches of yoga. Jocelyn integrates yoga philosophy into all areas of life on and off the mat empowering herself and others to continue to find inner peace and our true self.
Joy is a Xicana yogini who grew up in El Sereno. Dance and movement as a healing practice is what lead her to yoga more than 15 years ago. For Joy, yoga saved her mental health, helped her get through trauma and addictions. Joy’s yoga practice began while a student at Los Angeles City College in the late 1990s! It was in 2015 when she finally devoted herself to the practice through a yoga teacher training with Cloud Nine Yoga School. Having attended the Bhakti Yoga Festival since 2012, Joy has been introduced to a variety of yoga styles including Bhakti yoga of devotional mantra singing and breath work. Joy is also owner of her own business, Alegria Alchemy & Alegria Xocolatl. She makes heart & hand-crafted medicines, skin care, essential oil blends and high frequency raw vegan cacao treats with therapeutic-grade essential oils. In her classes, she sometimes integrates essential oils, plant medicines, breath work, mantras and dance into her classes. Yoga has helped her integrate her soul back into her body and has assisted her to bring consciousness to being present to the divine in every breath. It has been a gift and a medicine for her and she is grateful for all opportunities to share this practice with People’s Yoga community and beyond.
Kenji Liu draws on his extensive background studying and practicing insight meditation since 1998, bringing mindfulness and lovingkindness practices to yoga. He has led insight meditation classes in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught workshops on meditation and creative writing, and written essays about meditation practice and social justice for the Buddhist Peace Fellowship.
Why do I love yoga? Let me count the ways… As someone who likes to indulge my imagination and reside in the fantasy worlds of movies and books, yoga provides a counterbalance to draw me back to my body, my breath, and remind me how beautiful the present moment is. Even when that present moment is hard to be in, practicing yoga has taught me how to embrace those sweaty, shaky times with a compassionate acceptance and maybe even a laugh as I get whacked out of balance. I don’t remember what drew me to my first yoga class, but I’m infinitely grateful I went. Seven years, hundreds of downdogs, and countless deep breaths later, here I am getting the opportunity to guide the practice that (cheesy as it may sound) changed my life. My yoga practice on the mat taught me how to tap into the joy, love, peace, and strength in me, and now I get to play with bringing that into all that I do off the mat. I am overjoyed at the chance to be of service to others on their own yoga journeys as they take care of their body, mind, and soul, and discover all that they are truly made of.
For fourteen years yoga has created a road to health for an entire community. Facilitating this journey has been Larios’ heart-felt task. This journey today is enhanced through his knowledge of Reiki.
Larios began his dedication to community as president of the student council at a large local language school. Soon after, he discovered the benefits of yoga. He launched his career, intent on bringing the benefits of yoga to his community. Today that community is a reflection of the diversity of our city. It includes seniors and families with children as well as members of the LGBTQ community and also members who experience varieties of challenges.
Through his connection to People’s Yoga in East Los Angeles, Larios continues to grow a community intent on increased health and fitness. They are equipped with techniques to help maintain a stress-free lifestyle. Come see why this community continues to grow in spirit and health!
Lauren came to yoga through the Weingart East Los Angeles YMCA where she learned of it’s healing and power to nourish community and thanks her many teachers for her continually evolving understanding of yoga. She has deep respect and love for yoga as a practice of breath and being and enjoys sharing yoga as a means to connect with our essence, bodies and minds. Lauren is honored and grateful to work with the amazing People’s Yoga team and to learn from and with everybody who walks in the door.
Born and raised in Highland Park, northeast Los Angeles, Leah found yoga after recovering from an ACL and meniscus injury while playing division I soccer. When her dream of playing professional soccer was put on hold, she ventured to a yoga classroom and after only one year of practicing asana (poses) she was able to return to semiprofessional soccer. Beyond the physical benefits, what is most important to her is the opportunity to sit with oneself and say hello. Leah believes this invitation to awareness is a space where we can review, reflect, and hold space for ourselves. In effort to facilitate this environment, she tends not to play music and instead invites each student to be present, move mindfully, listen without judgment, and simply be attentive to the self. Her classes also incorporate creative expression, sound making, playfulness, and deep breaths. Leah is also singer, musician, and member of Las Cafeteras, an urban folk performance and education collective based out of East LA.
LeTania discovered yoga by way of her modern dance career and was immediately drawn to the incredible sense of awareness and freedom that is provided by this beautiful form. She received her certification in Vinyasa Yoga at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in New York City and began teaching immediately. Her classes are a Vinyasa flow greatly influenced by her movement background as well as the philosophies and form of Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga. She strives to provide an ecstatic experience of joyful, flowing movement coupled with focus on alignment and introspective time spent exploring the asanas in a deeper way. LeTania’s classes are an experience of movement, music and inspirational readings and philosophies as a means to a spirited practice. She hopes to impart the ways in which the Yoga practice builds awareness in the body temple thereby providing space for clarity in the mind and spirit.
Marina is a seasoned dancer, award-winning choreographer, and certified yoga teacher originally from Brazil, currently based throughout the US. She completed her YTT 200 hr training with Trinity Capili and the Cloud Nine School in 2013. Magalhães has eight years of experience designing and teaching movement-based classes for bodies of all ages and levels throughout the world, including the U.S., Cuba, Brazil, Botswana and South Africa. Consistent in all of Magalhães’s classes is an inclusive approach to movement that invites participants to take risks, express their creative selves, and connect with one another. Magalhães’s deep love of yoga is nurtured through the belief that self-care is radical, and that our on-going well-being is intrinsically tied to the well-being of our communities and environment. She enjoys sharing a heart-centered and nourishing yoga practice that encourages yogis to listen deeply to their instincts. She is currently a faculty member of the YTT program at the East Los Angeles-based People’s Yoga studio, and a regular teacher at the NYC-based Martial Science studio.
Raquel came to yoga in college with no real commitment or expectation of the practice other than to enjoy a class here and there with her friends. It wasn’t until 2008 that she discovered that yoga made her feel strong, beautiful, and aided her on her journey of self-transformation through self-love. This is what inspired Raquel to learn more. She completed her 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher training at Yoga At The Village in 2012. That same year she completed two prenatal yoga teacher training programs; one at Golden Bridge and one at SilverLake Yoga. Raquel believes in the intelligent wisdom of the human body. It is this intelligence that she adores witnessing her students connect to on their mats. When Raquel is not on her mat she can be found supporting families through out pregnancy, birth, the postpartum and early developmental years. Raquel is currently studying to take her midwifery certifying and licensing exams this winter. It fills her with honor to teach and bear witness to such sacred life cycles. Pregnant people are highly encouraged to attend any of Raquel’s classes.
Prado works in various fields and primarily identifies as an artist and educator. Through her enterprises, she has developed projects that foster creativity and manifest love, grace, and light to all who engage with them. You can find her at popups throughout Los Angeles in support of her business Good Mexican Girl.
Savannah started her yoga practice due to health issues and after her first class, completely fell in love with yoga. After realizing the impact yoga had in healing her chronic back pain, she decided to study under NitaFloTribe and was certified with the Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200. She guides students through various yoga asana, pranayama, meditation, and uses aromatherapy. Savannah believes yoga is a healing art that has changed her life in more ways than one. I love connecting to my students and sharing my love of yoga with them. She is also part of a tribe, Restore Your Flow, that is dedicated to help guide and teach people about self love, yoga and meditation.
Stephanie Castro is a Chicana educator, yoga sharer, dancer, daughter, amiga, etc. She grew up in Orange County, but has called Los Angeles home for the last 10 years. Yoga has been a tool for selflove and healing for Stephanie. She hopes to share that love and healing with others. Stephanie’s approach to sharing yoga is rooted in the belief that selfcare is a radical act and that yoga is a tool for selfempowerment, community building, and social justice. Her classes are a place to explore, feel good, have fun, and be held. Stephanie completed her yoga teacher training with Cloud Nine Yoga. She also holds a Masters in Education from UCLA and is a 6th grade teacher at Studio School in Glassell Park. Stephanie is honored to be part of People’s Yoga and looks forward to serving this community for many years to come.
Traci has huge love for yoga, as a means to cultivate and return to our root of resilience, inner peace and radical light. traci’s life work is about compassionately showing up for community and solidarity building, as an organizer informed by the personal, the Japanese American experience, and work within diverse communities. As a trauma-informed yoga instructor, traci strives to create inclusive, safe, mindful and empowering classes to connect healing breath to movement, community, and so much more.
Resistance to your inner child is futile. At the age of six, I had memorized all of the words to Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All” and would sing it full voice in the shower. I also recall trying to levitate at a very young age, sitting in my room trying to feel and hear everything… in what we now recognize as meditation. I also spent a lot of little kid energy dancing around and acting out what I loved in the world…in what we can also call meditation (life!). Happily so, both of these behaviors are still a part of daily routine.
I devote my life to living in a way that brings me fully into being a conduit of love. We are here to love and be loved, laugh, grow, and be present in our highest Self. My admiration for language (written, spoken, or silent) drives everything I do; the way communication happens never ceases to amaze me. The study of the inner world never stops. We are vibrantly interconnected in everything and one another (sweet!).
It’s an honor to be in the company of teachers (friends and family) who are truly here to bring light into the darkness and know that both are necessary factors to having fun on this earth. In a nutshell, I love living, sharing, and teaching such great stuff.
Bio Coming Soon!