Meet the Teachers

Adam Roper

owner-director

When Adam started Bikram Yoga, he was still in college, 35 lbs heavier, and unable to touch his toes. Now he has his B.F.A in Drama from the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU, weighs 140 lbs. and can do splits. He completed his Bikram Teacher Training in the Summer of 2004 and has been teaching full-time ever since. In his ‘off-time’, Adam enjoys painting his own pottery, decorating his apartment, Feng Shui-ing your apartment, cooking vegan dishes and keeping Sebastian from eating chicken bones on the street.

Adam is a Director of Bikram Yoga Harlem and lives in Hamilton Heights.

Erik Cummings

owner-director

Erik hails from the western coast of North America, in the wilds of Seattle, WA and Vancouver, Canada. When he was introduced to Bikram Yoga in 2003, he had a plethora of issues – stiff shoulder from a broken bone in a bicycling accident with a car a few years earlier, a condition of chronic hives that was debilitating that left him anti-social, and was several days past being in shape anymore. After studying at the Sweatbox in Seattle, Erik moved to New York in 2004, continuing his Bikram practice. Erik went to Bikram Teacher Training in Fall 2005.

Erik is a Director of Bikram Yoga Harlem and also lives in the area.

Abigoliah Schaumaun

certified teacher

Abigoliah Schamaun discovered Bikram Yoga when she moved to NYC in 2004. Her first class was with Bernadette and after that she was hooked. After finishing college at The New School University with a BFA in Musical Theater, she headed off to teacher training in fall of 2008. When she’s not teaching Bikram Yoga uptown at the break of dawn, you can find her performing sketch and improv downtown in the middle of the night.

Abigoliah loves that Bikram Yoga Harlem is a mere 15 block walk from her home in Washington Heights!

Angela Phillips

certified teacher

Angela fell in love with Bikram’s Torture Chamber immediately and knew she wanted to teach. She became a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor in Fall 2009 and is excited to share her love of the practice in her neighborhood of Harlem USA!

In addition to teaching, Angela has proven herself to be one of today’s most versatile, innovative and gifted young artist. She has amassed an impressive list of career credits nationally and internationally as an aerialist, choreographer and dancer. She was last seen in Disney’s Tarzan on Broadway and in the smash Off-Broadway sensation De La Guarda.

Currently, Angela works as Associate Aerial Designer with Disney Theatrical Productions. She loves traveling the world teaching others how to FLY inside and outside of the yoga room.

Dr. Danielle Rothman, D.C.

certified teacher

Danielle attended her first Bikram Yoga class in September 2003. Interestingly, she first learned about Bikram Yoga while watching a reality dating show on TV. One of the couples went on their first date to a Bikram Yoga Studio. Danielle knew at that moment she had to find a Bikram Yoga studio in her area.

At her first class, Danielle fell in love with Bikram Yoga and never looked back. Danielle has been an avid exerciser since adolescence; however she finds the Bikram Yoga discipline to be especially unique. Bikram Yoga is not your typical exercise; it involves mind, body and spirit. This combination is very significant for Danielle who has been a Doctor of Chiropractic since 1998. Danielle finds the philosophy of chiropractic and the philosophies of Bikram Yoga go hand in hand. To paraphrase Bikram Choudhury (founder), ‘If you can have total control of your spine and nervous system you will have total control of your mind, body and the rest of the world’

Danielle holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education and taught in the NYC Public School System in the early 90′s. She also has a Master of Science Degree in Special Education. She is a licensed Chiropractor in NY and NJ and currently has her own private practice in Englewood NJ. Danielle attended Bikram Yoga training in the spring of 2007 in Honolulu Hawaii, and has been teaching Bikram Yoga regularly since.

Derrick Jaques

certified teacher

Derrick, originally from Maine graduated from the University of Southern Maine in ’08 with a BM in Voice Performance, Musical Theatre concentration. After moving to Hamilton Heights he took his first Bikram yoga class at Bikram Yoga Harlem in January of ’09 and has been addicted to the practice and the studio ever since. He is thrilled to be teaching at the studio where it all began for him here in the neighborhood!

Dionne Monsanto

certified teacher

Dionne did her 1st 30day challenge when she was 204 pounds in July 2010 here at Bikram Yoga Harlem. She was on medical leave from her corporate career, dealing with health issues and a myriad of family challenges. In a change of lifestyle revolution, she left financial services and signed up for Bikram Yoga teacher training. She graduated from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in June 2012 over 70 pounds lighter in body and stress. When not teaching or practicing Bikram yoga, she is a mother of 2 teenage boys, certified life coach, West African Dance performer & teacher, actress, public speaker on mental illness, blogger, meditation leader, people gatherer and a generally overactive energetic yet sleep-deprived person. (Sleep, what is that? Isn’t that what Ardha-Kurmasansa, Half-Tortoise pose, is for?) Also certified in Living Food Lifestyle she loves preparing smoothies and dishes (raw or cooked) for her friends and family. Committed to being happy when she grows up, Dionne lives her life “INjoy” in Washington Heights.

Emily Smyth Vartanian

certified teacher

Emily has been practicing Bikram Yoga since 2004 and teaching since June of 2008. She loves it! She is also a dancer and choreographer, and recently co-founded a company that uses aerial dance, so she can personally attest to the benefits of yoga for injury prevention.

She moved to Washington Heights in 2005 and loves having the studio so close! She is very happy to be spending time with her fellow Harlem yoginis and yogis. Happy Practicing!

Eoin Thomas Sharkey

certified teacher

Eoin Thomas moved to NYC in fall 2009, where he quickly began practicing Bikram’s Yoga after much convincing from a co-worker. Remembering that his hesitation was that he would not be able to handle the heat. Now, the hotter the better! Eoin has always had a passion in teaching, and knew right after his first class that this was what he was meant to teach.

Eoin is also a dancer, and an actor leaving him prone to injury. When he moved to New York, he tore his hamstring quite badly creating sharp sciatic pain all throughout his right leg. Not really understanding what it was or how to heal it, he just got into the yoga room and tried his best. Now a year later, the hamstring flexibility is coming back, and his sciatic pain is completely gone, but more importantly he is no longer allowing an injury be an excuse for pursuing his dreams. Having struggled consistently over his life with his attention and efficiently multitasking outside the workplace, he started to realize the more he practiced the more grounded he became in his own body and mind.

Eoin went to teacher training in Fall 2010 in San Diego, where he spent the most inspiring nine weeks of his life with Bikram and 387 other students. Eoin is happy to be back in New York city and close to home at Bikram Yoga Harlem, and cannot wait to see in the hot room soon!

“Its never too late, it’s never too bad, and you’re never too old or too sick to start from scratch once again.” – Bikram Choudhury

picture coming soon!

Jelena Skoro

certified teacher

Jelena started practicing Bikram Yoga in 2005 while on a short term work assignment in Australia. She fell in love with the practice right away! Nothing that she had tried before made her feel as challenged, empowered, healthy, calm, happy and wanting more! She wanted to share this amazing practice with everyone and knew that one day she would become a teacher. That day finally came after eight years of regular practice, when Jelena decided to quit her busy corporate job and attend Spring 2013 teacher training. She spent the summer after training teaching in Belgrade, Serbia, and had an incredible experience helping bring this yoga to a place where it is still so new. Jelena is thrilled to be back in NYC, teaching and practicing with the most amazing yogis at Bikram Yoga Harlem!

Kiara Mereghetti

certified teacher

Born and raised in Milan, Italy, Kiara moved to New York at the age of 20. She grew up dancing starting at a very young age and she pursued dance professionally in her early 20′s. She was introduced to Bikram Yoga in 2007 and fell in love with it right away. She became a Bikram yoga certificated instructor in 2012. She enjoys teaching at Bikram Yoga Harlem and she thinks it’s a great place for the community to come together :) .

Lee Cardona

certified teacher

Native New Yorker and originally a dance/yoga clothing designer, Lee began practicing in Fall 2009 after a severe slip and fall prevented her from weight training. She soon realized Bikram yoga was a perfect combination of strength training, cardio, stretching, meditation and more. Lee was amazed not only by her own healing and overall personal changes, but by the many positive ways this practice touches so many lives. Lee graduated in Spring 2013 and is enjoying her blessed journey guiding others on theirs, with what she calls “The Fountain of Youth”. Lee is so happy to be teaching at her home studio, Bikram Yoga Harlem.

Luke Strandquist

certified teacher

Luke first started practicing Bikram Yoga in Summer 2002 and has been in the hot room just about every day since. As an actor and singer, Luke can attest that there is no better way to stay energized for a performance than these 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. As a person who has also struggled with severe knee issues, he can also attest to the amazing, healing powers of this transformative practice. He is beyond thrilled to be able to share his love of Bikram with the fine community of yogis here in Harlem. Change your life! – Lock the knee! ;)

Matt Herold

certified teacher

Matt Herold started practicing Bikram Yoga over 2 years ago, and even though he experienced a full body cramp in his first class, he knew he was hooked. He started as a work study at BYH, then moved to Berlin, Germany and practiced regularly there. When he moved back to the US he knew what he had to do, so he went to training in the spring of 2013 and became certified to teach. He loves practicing and teaching at BYH and is so excited and honored to be able to lead you through class.

Myrna Thomas

certified teacher

Myrna took her first class Nov 2008 and by the time the first set of Pranayama Breathing was done, she was hooked and decided she wanted to become a certified Bikram Yoga Instructor. Almost 4 years to the day of that fabulous 1st class, Myrna graduated from Fall 2012 Teacher Training in Los Angeles.

She continues to grow and be challenged in her own practice, as well as, in her teaching. Myrna is totally excited to be part of the Bikram Yoga Harlem community and looks forward to sharing her passion and enthusiasm with YOU in class!!!

Sharon Gunderson

certified teacher

A professional classical violinist for 30+ years and an interior painter for over a decade, I started practicing Bikram in October 2009. I was brought to my first class by my friend John, who was tired of hearing me complain about not being flexible. From the very beginning, I remember thinking “finally, this is where I belong”. Not only did my flexibility and strength improve dramatically, but I found the tools for incredible mental focus and the power to calm myself in any situation (like performing onstage, where i’d always been debilitatingly anxious before).

In the past two years I’ve introduced several friends to the practice, but I knew the best way to share this unique, life-changing yoga with the world was to become a certified teacher. I graduated from the Fall 2011 Teacher Training on November 19th, and absolutely Love teaching. I’ve lived in Central Harlem for over eight years now, and when I’m not in the hot room you might find me swimming at Brighton Beach, year-round!

Yukari Hatakeyama

certified teacher

I was born and raised in Japan and came to the United States to further my education in biology and mathematics. Growing up in a family of health care professionals and believing in spirituality, I was taken with Bikram Yoga after just one class. When I practice this yoga method, I get the same feeling of rejuvenation, I used to get after spending a day at a public hot spring bath house in Japan. I always believe in my good energy and would like to spread it by teaching Bikram Yoga.

Sebastian Kumquat

general dogsbody

When Sebastian is not fulfilling his busy schedule as Bikram Yoga Harlem’s unofficial mascot (receiving keys to cities, judging dog shows, handing out flyers on his walks in Hamilton Heights etc) he can be found curled up behind the sign-in desk.

Sebastian would like everyone to know that while Downward Dog is not one of the twenty-six postures in the Bikram series (surely an unintended omission), he is happy to demonstrate it to anyone who asks.

He was born on August 25, 2006 in Westport CT. Every year on this date, to honor his birthday, Bikram Yoga Harlem will feature a special tail-wagging membership offer. Be sure to ask at the front desk when August rolls around!