Meet the Teachers

Adam Roper


Adam went to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in 2004 at the ripe old age of 21. Since then, Adam has taught all over NYC as well as guest taught in numerous American cities and worldwide, including Australia, New Zealand and France. He loves the students at BYH because they are the most driven, dedicated and humble students he has ever seen. Adam is inspired everyday by the Bikram Yoga students uptown and feels it is an honor to be part of this community. Adam is also happy to be one of a small group on Bikram teachers who has been teaching full time for over 10 years.

When not at BYH, Adam enjoys being outside in various NYC parks, seeing theatre, and walking Sebastian copious amounts. Since 2005, Adam has lived in the triple digits and now resides on 181st street in Washington Heights.

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

Erik Cummings


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.

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.

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!

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!

Kate Davies

certified teacher

Kate was lucky enough to be dragged to her first Bikram Yoga class during her first semester of college. (She’s still best friends with the girl who brought her.) She has practiced consistently for over a decade and is grateful for the physical and mental flexibility yoga has given her. After graduating, Kate lived in Asia for three years. She loves that Bikram Yoga is consistent, no matter where you are in the world. Kate attended Teacher Training in Fall of 2011 and moved to San Antonio, TX to mentor under Lisa Ingle. Kate believes that yoga should be both fun and disciplined. She is excited to be back in her hometown and teaching in such a strong community.

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 :) .

Kristina Bruk

certified teacher

Once upon a time, when I was little, I decided to be a teacher, but it took me a lifetime and a double citizenship to find my subject. I studied music and majored in international relations in Russia where I grew up, then art, dance, and philosophy in California where my family and I immigrated. I had my first intro month in 2009 at a San Francisco based Bikram yoga studio, and practiced every day for a year since day one, and on most days after that. I loved the simplicity and complexity of the sequence, its intensity and the sweat, but most importantly I found that it taught me to accept and appreciate myself for who I was, to be patient and honest with myself. I finally went to Teacher Training in spring of 2013, shortly after moving to New York. It has been a long and exciting journey, and I love my work. I love you, my students, I love to see you progress and grow, and I learn from each of you. Always a student.

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! ;)

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!

Stacy Futa

certified teacher

Stacy started practicing Bikram yoga in 2002 at Mary Jarvis’ studio in San Francisco…brought by a friend with no warnings, no water and no expectations. It worked! She slept like a Bikram Baby that night and continued chasing that perfect night sleep, practicing at least four days a week. She didn’t start drinking water in class until her Las Vegas teacher training in the Fall of 2009, where she learned all of her bad habits. She is more than thrilled to be teaching close to home in Harlem, where it feels so much like a family. A firm believer in the “detox to retox” lifestyle, she also bartends for Marc Murphy’s restaurants.

Sule Marquez-Monsanto

certified teacher

Born and raised in New York City, Sule discovered Bikram Yoga after his mother returned from Teacher Training. After immediately falling in love with the practice, Sule decided to attend Teacher Training and graduated in the fall of 2013. If he is not practicing at the studio you might see him cycling or skateboarding throughout New York City. Sule loves that Bikram Yoga Harlem is only a 5-minute sprint away on his bike.

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!