Meet the Instructors

Amanda Smith

Amanda is a Pilates trainer and yoga teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. After receiving her Bachelors in Urban Studies and Geography at Macalester College, she decided to move to the Bay Area to pursue her love of movement and teaching. As a Pilates instructor in Oakland, she worked alongside physical therapists for over five years, helping clients regain strength after rehabilitation. Pilates developed her attention to alignment, breathing, creating range of motion in all joints, and strengthening the body from the inside out. She transitioned easily into a deep and rich yoga practice, which she quickly realized was her true calling. Completing over 500 hours with seasoned San Francisco yogis, Rusty Wells and Stephanie Snyder, she has since co-lead her first yoga and Pilates retreat in Chacala, Mexico. Her passion is to create safe, challenging, and fulfilling yoga sessions that uplift, empower, and reconnect each person to his or her divine nature. She is so grateful to be teaching at Flex and to be able to share her love of Yoga and Pilates with you.

Pilates
every Tuesday and Thursday @ 8am

Carah Herring

Carah has taught Group Exercise classes for over a decade. Her love of fitness stems from her extensive dance background, which includes years of classical ballet, modern, African, tap, jazz and liturgical dance training. She currently teaches Zumba, Hip-Hop and Cardio Dance classes in gyms and studios across the East Bay. Her non-dance fitness classes include Body Sculpting, Core Blast, HIIT, Mat Pilates and Step (believe it or not, step still lives in a few gyms!!). Carah also served as the Group Exercise Coordinator at UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility for nearly 5 years.

Before becoming a bona fide gym rat, Carah earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication from Bennett College for Women (Greensboro, NC). She also completed her master’s degree in Journalism from UC Berkeley. She enjoys traveling, watching documentaries and reading/contributing to personal finance blogs.

Body Performance
every Monday @ 6:15am

Clarice Cummings

Clarice is a wicked fun-loving physical therapist passionate about working with clients to reach their full potential. She chose physical therapy and sports training because it focuses on helping people to get well and stay well through education. She believes that when patients can visualize and understand how their bodies work they will reach their goals for rehab, sport and beyond.

Clarice’s 20+ years experience as a physical therapist includes running her own physical therapy practice for six years, with lots of related coursework to maintain a strong knowledge base in the field and has received many accredidations.

Recently she began teaching fitness classes that focus on flexibility, core strength, balance and coordination which she believes are the building blocks for improvement in sport and prevention of injury.

Clarice loves keeping fit and challenging her body with spin classes, hiking with her golden retriever, doing gym workouts with friends, traveling with her husband and kids, cooking, and wine tasting.

Know Your Core – Work Your Core
every Wednesday @ 8:30am

Dianna Rowley

Dianna is a classically trained dancer. Her professional career includes dance companies, concerts, networks and sports entertainment. Her resume ranges from the NBA to ESPN to MTV to the Olympics. In 2000 she opened a dance and movement center that she owned for almost 15 years. During that time she also directed a program at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC.

Beyond Dance, Dianna has a business degree and an extensive fitness resume including many certifications/trainings such as TRX, ACE, AFFA, Rock Steady Boxing™, Silver Sneakers™ and more. She has also been the choreographer for several fitness competitors, including Jenny Lynn, former Ms. Olympia and Arnold Classic Champion.

In 2008 she began to experience progressive physical pain. After several misdiagnoses, in 2015 Dianna had emergency spinal cord fusion surgery. An old injury resulted in long term stress on her body impacting her balance and her vision among other things. Dianna began to explore a holistic habit modification practice designed by the Karolinska Institute out of Sweden. As she studied the brain and habits, this practice quickly became her new career. Dianna then created a non-impact practice to heal, strengthen and realign her body. What started out as a personal practice to reduce physical pain is now her “MOVE” class. This class is a physical and mental workout designed for all. Outside of teaching this class, Dianna works as a Health Coach and offers her Adagio Wellness™ Talks on topics around habits, the metabolism, optimism and metaphysics.

MOVE
every Sunday @ 11:15am and every Tuesday @ 11:15am

Heather Church

“Monkees to mashups, Nirvana to Rick James.” That’s not just Heather’s worldview, but her playlist range as well. Combining her loves of cycling and music, Heather delivers something new each week, from eclectic playlists to new skills/drills, and Sunday morning trivia with prizes. She is committed to providing riders of all levels with challenging, fun, safe workouts. All are welcome to this party on a bike!

Heather is certified through Cycling Fusion, and when not in the gym, is an avid writer, artist, and Bay Area explorer.

Power Cycle
every Tuesday @ 6:15am and 6:30pm

PowerMix Cycle
every Thursday @ 6:15am

Jennifer Pesetsky

Jennifer brings her love of rhythm and music to her indoor cycling classes. She’s a certified Mad Dog Athletics spinning instructor. Jennifer loves working with completely new riders, experienced riders, and everyone in between. Jennifer is a former French Horn and Mellophone player, and her musical past drives her love for music and rhythm. In her classes, you’ll find a range of music with a beat; we’ll end the class sweaty together! Jennifer lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughter. Her hobbies include hiking, sewing, making jewelry and knitting. Jennifer is a Law Librarian and a Professor at a Law School in San Francisco.

Cycling
every Monday @ 5:45pm

Jennifer Piccolo

Jennifer is an energetic fitness professional with a strong background in gymnastics, dance and boot camp instruction.

After spending the entirety of her childhood as a competitive gymnast, Jennifer decided to stick to what she knew best and loved, FITNESS! As a gymnastics and fitness coach, she has spent the past 18 years demonstrating her commitment to helping people of all ages reach their fitness goals. Her coaching philosophy focuses on “creating strong bodies and powerful minds”. Jennifer believes in the health at every size model.

While Jennifer is committed to fitness, she also has a degree in Cultural Anthropology and loves traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures. She enjoys rock climbing, bike rides, long drives through the desert and most importantly, spending quality time with her son and partner.

Senior Fitness
every Wednesday @ 9:45am and 11:00am

Total Body Conditioning
every Thursday @ 6:00pm

Jennine Hamblin

Jennine has a Personal Training & Group Exercise certifications from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. She has been a dancer for 23 years, and a fitness professional for the past 6 years. Jennine loves working out and enjoys helping others to reach and surpass their fitness goals. Her passion is to assist people in defining their vision of themselves and working hard to achieve it while keeping it fresh, new, fun, and exciting. She loves exploring new ways to make working out an enjoyable process! Every person is unique and Jennine devises individualized plans to cater to the interests of each individual. “It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”

HIIT Challenge
every Monday at 5:30pm

Jim Eagle

Jim Eagle brings more than 11 years of boxing experience both in and out of the ring. He is a USA Boxing Certified Trainer. For many years, he taught in the SOMA area and then moved over to World Class Boxing Gym. He is now at Hitfitsf.com which is located in the heart of the mission in SF. Jim has taught one on one and group classes. He can teach both technique and cardio intensive. Jim will ensure you learn all aspects of boxing from hand wrapping to sparring.

Boxing BootCamp
every Tuesday @ 6:00pm

Kathleen Kelly

Kathleen began her love for fitness programs back in 1980 with Jazzercise — which tells you right up front that this girl was not born yesterday! After retiring from her day job as the Chief Operating Officer at AC Transit, she decided to take fitness up as a part-time second career. She earned a personal training certification from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), and began teaching exercise classes that focus on a full-body workout. In 2013, she received a NASM Certification as a Senior Fitness Specialist, and began teaching a fitness class for active seniors. In addition to her fitness interests, she volunteers at a small elementary school in the Fruitvale District, where the kindergarteners always delight her, and has her own transportation consulting practice.

Senior Fitness
every Monday @ 9:10am, 10:10am, and 11:10am
every Friday @ 10:10am and 11:10am

Lara Hermanson

Lara failed miserably at all team sports and ran a 18 minute mile in high school, which is slower than walking. It wasn’t until she discovered yoga that she found a sport she felt at home in. Since then, she’s completed her 200-hr teacher training at Black Dog Yoga in Los Angeles, and her Yoga Therapy certification at the White Lotus foundation in Santa Barbara. She completed her Spinning Instructor certification with Mad Dogg Athletics in 2015. Lara looks forward to helping you find your inner athlete, whatever that is!

Cycling
every Saturday @ 10:15am

Lauren Parker

Lauren is a spin instructor and writer in Oakland. After earning a Creative Writing degree from Hiram College, Lauren has been living an unconventional life.

As a bookish, giraffe-bodied child, Lauren played softball, took 4 dance classes, and completed half of a yoga class. Having been a terrible runner since childhood, she has always been an advocate for bikes, hence her devotion to indoor cycling. She is certified through Mad Dogg Athletics and is constantly expanding her wellness education.

The worst spin class she ever attended involved sprinting to She’s Always a Woman by Billy Joel. She promises to never do this to you. In addition to spin, Lauren takes aerial circus classes, makes paltry attempts at running, and eats a lot of vegan food.

You can learn more about her writing at www.laureneparker.com

Libby Miga

Libby is a very passionate dancer and licensed Zumba and Barre instructor, currently teaching and dancing in SF and the East Bay. With a background in hip hop, West African dance, Jamaican Dancehall and various other forms of dance, she LOVES being able to share her passion for movement and fitness with others through Zumba classes. The positive and inclusive aspects of Zumba make it a unique experience, and she loves to see those from different (or no!) dance backgrounds shaking it, sweating it out, and having fun!

Dance Party Workout
every Tuesday @ 7:30pm

Lucy Mardikian

Lucy moved to the U.S. from Lebanon with her mother when she was just 17. Being immersed in a new culture at such a young age, Lucy became incredibly disciplined and independent in all aspects of her life. This hard work has carried over into an ever-increasing passion for health and fitness.

Lucy has dedicated herself to a regular CrossFit and Olympic weighlifting practice of no less than 5 times a week every week. Her discipline and hard work breaking through many personal goals caught the attention of her trainers at Berkeley CrossFit, who encouraged her to complete the CrossFit trainer certification.

Gentle Flow Yoga
every Friday @ 6:15am

Madie Sears

Madelene is a nutrition professional with a BS in nutrition and dietetics, as well as a 200 hour certified yoga teacher. She has been teaching yoga since January 2016. Madelene was a competitive cheerleader from age 8-18, but was introduced to yoga by her father at age 16. She immediately fell in love with the practice and has been consistently practicing for 7 years. Her classes are powerful, flowing sequences that are a revitalizing workout and focused on alignment, breath work and mindfulness. Following a lifestyle rooted in yogic philosophy and overall wellness has led her to find a new perception of life that she wishes to share with her community.

Hatha Yoga
every Wednesday @ 12:15pm

Michelle Renee

Michelle Renee (Brazilian pronunciation “Michelly”) is a Brazilian-American licensed Zumba Instructor. She has spent the last 10 years studying all kinds of movement & body arts such as Yoga, Capoeira, acrobatics, and various dance styles. She has a strong background in Brazilian Samba and West African dance and delights in most high intensity dance styles that increase the heart rate, especially Swing, Haitian, Jazz, Salsa, Dancehall, Cumbia, Brazilian Frevo, Hip Hop, Banghra & Bollywood.

In 2015, a Parkour injury left her with two broken legs and unsure if she would ever be able to dance again. With a lot of determination, she has fully recovered and excited to help others make the best possible use of their legs: dancing like there’s no tomorrow! Zumba is a newfound passion for Michelle as she is able to blend all her favorite styles into one exhilarating cardio dance experience!

Michelle is also a dog-walker and she is passionate about the performing arts in general. In addition to dancing she loves singing Bossa Nova, taking theater classes, and video editing.

Zumba
every Friday @ 9am

Nikki Verhoff

Nikki Verhoff began her exploration into yoga in 1997, while studying dance in college. A life-long mover, Nikki’s first foray into asana practice was both a support for, and a release from, a very physically demanding lifestyle. At the same time, and for more than a decade, Nikki has trained in traditional Japanese karate, which has brought with it a commitment to seated meditation as an important instrument to understanding the Self. These days, her interest in yoga has evolved to include an ongoing study of pranayama and the subtlety and power of the breath. In class, Nikki taps into the physical and philosophical influences these experiences have brought her to create an integrated practice with a focus on alignment, breath, and mindfulness. Nikki is a recent graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Deep Yoga Undergraduate Program.

Hatha Yoga
every Sunday @ 9:30am and Thursday @ 7:30pm

Rachel Sutter-Leve

Rachel has been practicing and refining the art of Pilates and Stability Training for the past 10 years. She is a Certified L2 Pilates Instructor through STOTT Pilates and also holds certifications in TRX Training, and Pre/Postnatal Fitness through Healthy Mom’s. Rachel specializes in working with clients on injury prevention/management and dynamic joint stability. In 2013 Rachel pioneered a new form of group exercise class called “hydro-pilates”; a low impact standing form of pilates in the pool that is targeted toward people who may experience joint discomfort in a traditional pilates mat class.

In addition to her education in fitness, Rachel holds a BFA from NC School of the Arts in Dance and is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland. While she is passionate about health and fitness, she also believes strongly in the ability of human movement to heal and rehabilitate injuries and looks forward to a future full of enriching others with the power of with movement education.

Pilates Mat
every Saturday @ 8:30am

Barre
every Saturday @ 9:15am

Pilates Barre Fusion
every Wednesday @ 7:15pm

Sarah-Kate Moore

With a background in theatre, dance, and movement arts, Sarah Kate believes that yoga is about connecting with the body as a way of coming back to oneself. Her classes emphasize intentional, aligned movement in order to allow greater physical and mental freedom.

A former instructor of literature and writing, Sarah Kate brings her love of language and a focus on individualized instruction to the mat in an unrushed, poetic practice. Her classes progress through a measured sequence or flow and end with deep restoration; adjustments and modifications make the practice accessible to every body. Special emphasis is placed on maintaining a practice that is both steady and easeful. Yoga is, for Sarah Kate, part of a lifelong study of embodiment that incorporates dance-based, philosophical, literary, and somatic practices. She enjoys teaching diverse styles of yoga, including hatha, vinyasa flow, yin, and meditation. When not practicing or teaching yoga, Sarah Kate can be found studying Middle Eastern dance traditions, grading for courses at Cal, and working toward certification as a Birth Doula.

Vinyasa Yoga
every Monday @ 6:30pm

Yin Yang Yoga
every Friday @ 5:30pm

Shanti Jourdan

Shanti Jourdan began her yoga journey at age 10 when family friends opened Yoga Desa in LA’s Topanga Canyon. Yoga has been a continual source of healing and transformation ever since.
Her teaching style is warm and dedicated with emphasis on alignment, breath, and rejuvenation. Chanting, visualization, and yoga philosophy are signature features of her classes.

Shanti is also a bellydancer, astrologer, and avid Parks and Recreation watcher.

Hatha Yoga
every Wednesday @ 9:15am

Tori Sovocool-Engel

“Love the hills, embrace the hills, make the hills your friend” was my motto during years of running and cycling through the beautiful bay area. I believe “No” only means you have to work a little harder to reach your goal. Tori’s passion for sports started as a young gymnast and continued through many years of competitive marathon running. Her personal highlights include running in Boston, being a guide runner to a disabled athlete in New York and finally achieving a personal best of 3:21 on a flat Sacramento course. As the aches and pains grew from running, Tori turned to triathlon racing for some cross training. Her first passion might have been running, but her life’s purpose is being a mother to two children, wife, dog walker, and chef.

Cycling
every Monday and Friday @ 9:30am