Our Teachers

Our Teachers

Bikram Hot Yoga Long Beach is Long Beach’s original hot yoga, founded in 2002. We are a strong community of Yogi’s and we welcome you with open arms!

 

Meet our Instructors
Dr. Annie Yeakel

Dr. Annie Yeakel

Yoga Instructor

Dr. Annie Yeakel

Dr. Annie Yeakel

Yoga Instructor

Annie is a graduate of UC Berkeley, with a degree in Molecular Biology and a minor in Nutritional Sciences, and has long been fascinated with the inner workings of the human body which led her to chiropractic school, where she earned her Doctorate of Chiropractic at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 2015. Along her journey she discovered yoga in 2003 and has maintained a dedicated practice ever since. Her love of yoga led her to pursue a 200 hour teacher certification, and continue to pursue continuing education, including completion of Prenatal Teacher Training. She has over 2,000 hours experience teaching all levels of students and working with injuries and pregnancy. Her Hatha style of teaching integrates influences of Vinyasa flow, Ashtanga and Anusara.

Doreen McGill

Doreen McGill

Yoga Instructor

Doreen McGill

Doreen McGill

Yoga Instructor

Doreen has always been an athlete and has done numerous marathons and triathlons. She found Bikram Yoga after tearing her ACL ( knee injury) in a skiing accident 13 years ago . She was instantly hooked by the physical challenge of the practice and how it helped rehabilitate her knee. Her mentor was Jason Winn who was a highly recognized senior teacher in the Bikram community and the owner of the Laguna Beach Bikram Studio. He taught her so many amazing ways to challenge her body and push for perfection. She still uses all those tips today and passes them on to her students. After 15 years of practicing Bikram yoga, she became a certified Bikram teacher. She decided to leave the corporate environment to a job that gave her complete fulfillment and meaning. It’s so rewarding for her to see her students change their bodies, become stronger, more fit, flexible, and recover from past injuries. She loves sharing the love of this practice to her students and seeing all the amazing benefits that come with it.

Francisco Rufino Baeza

Francisco Rufino Baeza

Yoga Instructor

Francisco Rufino Baeza

Francisco Rufino Baeza

Yoga Instructor

Let me introduce myself. My name is Francisco Rufino and I’m originally from Mexico City. I graduated from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in San Diego in the fall of 2010. After the training, my journey as a teacher began, and I have been sharing my passion with the yoga community in Mexico for the last several years. As a practitioner, I discovered the unlimited potential that hatha yoga practice gives us day by day: that’s why it’s called practice! Each day, we learn together: the teacher learns from the student, and the student learns from the teacher. It’s part of the union; it’s part of the process. I’m happy to start learning with the Bikram Yoga Long Beach community. Let’s work together. Let’s discover day by day who we really are with our unlimited potential. It is my privilege to be part of your 90-minute meditation, locking the knee every day. In Lak’ech. (I am another you.) Ala K’in. (You are another me.)

Hobey Echlin

Hobey Echlin

Yoga Instructor

Hobey Echlin

Hobey Echlin

Yoga Instructor

Hobey discovered hot yoga while living in New York City in the wake of 9/11. “After my second class the teacher said, ‘Remember, when you leave here today, if things seem different, it’s not the world that’s changed – it’s you.’ That really resonated with me.” Within a year, Hobey had completed teacher training with Bikram Choudhury and relocated to Los Angeles, where he was soon teaching hundreds of students a week, from skeptical first-timers to pro football players and celebrities, at Bikram studios around the area. Hobey also spent four years studying the Classic 84 Asanas with Yoga College of India Senior Instructors Emmy Cleaves, the late Jason Winn, and Bikram Choudhury himself. “It was a room full of yoga legends, gymnasts and dancers who would all go on to win world yoga championships – and me, this guy with a bad knee, in the back. But when Emmy said, ‘The posture isn’t the object, the body is the object,’ I knew this was once in a lifetime opportunity to learn and absorb this classic hatha yoga series.” Hobey is so grateful to share this yoga with you. All are welcome.

Jesse Gonzalez

Jesse Gonzalez

Yoga Instructor

Jesse Gonzalez

Jesse Gonzalez

Yoga Instructor

Jesse is a native to the San Gabriel Valley, Graduated from the California School of Culinary Arts Le Cordon Blue in 2004. A strong passion for food and cakes he traveled all over the United States training with some of the best and celebrated chefs in the country, landing him a job as Executive Pastry in Lake Tahoe CA. Long Hours in a hot kitchen and long nights behind a computer was stressful on any person regardless of age; at 23 years of age he felt like a man well into his 50’s, bad knees, bad back, gaining weight, and arthritis in his shoulder that made his passion for creating cakes very challenging and sometimes impossible. It was here in Lake Tahoe that Jesse started doing Bikram Yoga in 2008. Very Soon after about a month the long hours flew by and the weight just melted like warm butter, the cakes became easier to do and life felt good to be young, Jesse had known he had found the recipe for life. Very shortly Jesse moved back to his home in Rosemead Ca and continued his practice, competed in the 2009 Southern California yoga asana competition, and in 2011 his dreams to become a Bikram Teacher came true. After spending many years getting people fat and sick from his sinfully delicious and award winning confections; Jesse now enjoys healing people the way the yoga has healed him, breath by breath……….

Lili Flores

Lili Flores

Yoga Instructor

Lili Flores

Lili Flores

Yoga Instructor

In 2011, I was training to run the Los Angeles Marathon when I sprained my ankle. I was looking for a low-impact workout when my sister encouraged me to take a Bikram Yoga class. Immediately, I was drawn in by the physical challenge of the practice. After a few classes, I decided to sign up for a 30-day challenge. I was excited with the changes and improvements I saw in my flexibility, strength, and mental focus. By the end of the month, I knew I had found my passion. A year later, I suffered a knee injury. It was then that the healing power of this yoga became evident to me. I experienced mental and emotional benefits to a greater extent than I had before and knew I wanted to share this beautiful healing practice with everyone. I completed Bikram Yoga Teacher Training Fall 2013 and have been teaching at several studios in Southern California since that time.

Lillian Jones

Lillian Jones

Yoga Instructor

Lillian Jones

Lillian Jones

Yoga Instructor

My name is Lilly and I am originally from Sweden. I moved to the US when I was 17 and have lived in San Fransisco, Philadelphia and Maui before settling in Los Angleles for the last ten years. I found Bikram yoga in 2008 having no other options left. I had been a runner for many years and as a result suffered from painful knee and foot injuries. I was getting monthly steroid injections under my knee cap and in between my toes for many years, and was looking for another solution. I was not far from knee surgery, when a random neighbor told me about yoga and that it might be a good alternative to deal with the pain. So I stumbled into Bikram yoga, having no clue what I was getting myself into! My first class was a pivotal moment in my life, for it was the first time I was able to do something for myself and not rely on any doctors for help. I knew within that first month, that I was going to become a teacher. I had been an actress for many years at that time, but after I found the yoga, I knew that acting was not my soul purpose, and so I quit my acting career and signed up for teacher training. I have never looked back, and find this yoga and being a teacher of this yoga to be one of the biggest joys of my life. I never did have the surgery nor did I ever need another steroid injection. It brings me tremendous joy to help spread the knowledge of yoga and help others heal themselves the way I have healed myself.

Maggie

Maggie

Yoga Instructor

Maggie

Maggie

Yoga Instructor

Maggie began her yoga journey over 15 years ago while living in New York City. She had a successful career as an actress but there was an inner longing for something more. She came down with a virus that overtook her body for several weeks. The virus was diagnosed as induced by stress. This led Maggie to her fist Bikram yoga class. Such clarity and peace came to her that she never turned back. She got certified in Bikram Yoga in 2005 and taught in Bikram studios throughout New York City for several years. Her acting career brought her to Los Angeles. She continued to teach Bikram Yoga while acting in various films and commercials. Since then, she has become certified in Kundalini Yoga & Meditation, Pre/Postnatal Yoga, and Children's Yoga. She is also certified in Ayurveda—the sister science of yoga—DASc through Kerala Ayurveda. Yoga has remained the one constant in her life. It is her lighthouse, continuously bringing her back to her inner light and strength. Maggie is honored to guide you on your yoga journey.

Mayu Halgren

Mayu Halgren

Yoga Instructor

Mayu Halgren

Mayu Halgren

Yoga Instructor

Teaching and practicing are all connected for me. I learn about different kinds of bodies from teaching, and I also learn how to teach from my practice. I want to practice what I preach. I don't mind if students look at me while I take classes because I want to be a better model for my students. Of course I am not perfect and my poses are not the best, but I want to try hard in every single class I take. I believe the best students are the best teachers. I also know that everyone is different in terms of flexibility, strength, and conditions they have (including injuries). I cannot ask too much of students who have severe injuries, so I do my best to help them not to injure themselves further and, at the same time, reduce their pain through yoga. vision and intention for our students is for them to feel a connection to the postures, learn about their bodies, and LIVE in their bodies. I love teaching because every class has students with different body types, injuries, and energy levels, so I try to teach in different ways, and it’s magical to see transformation in each person. Although Bikram Yoga is a static series, none of my classes are the same. In class, the students and I constantly evolve, explore, and connect to fuller expressions of the postures, which creates a different feeling, a sense of accomplishment, and learning. Expect love, encouragement, corrections, and humor from my class!

Melba Johnson

Melba Johnson

Yoga Instructor

Melba Johnson

Melba Johnson

Yoga Instructor

I started practicing 33 years ago with Bikram himself. I never exercised as a youth or teenager because I was a sickly child who suffered with asthma and kidney problems. I practiced through two pregnancies, delivering healthy and strong children who now practice. I worked in the corporate arena as an owner/partner in a senior-level, retained executive search firm named Berkhemer Clayton for 13 years, and took the Bikram teacher training in 2003. My intention for our studio is to try to make every class an experience that is never the same each time students show up to practice. My mission at BHYLB is to expand the student’s journey of yoga, and to inform and remind students of the benefits of their practice on and off of their mats. What to expect from my class is to be excited to practice, breathe, surrender, and let go; to be guided through a supportive meditation of postures with suggested corrections to build a strong practice, with no expectations other than being enlightened and encouraged, which excites students to return for the next adventure/journey.

Melissa Luyben

Melissa Luyben

Yoga Instructor

Melissa Luyben

Melissa Luyben

Yoga Instructor

Melissa started practicing Bikram Yoga in February of 2004. Her instant love for it encouraged her to sign up for a 3-week trip to India with the founder, Bikram Choudhury, and 40 other Bikram yogis that December. After that incredible trip, she knew she wanted to be a Bikram Yoga teacher. Melissa attended the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles in the spring of 2005. Since then, Melissa has lived and taught at several studios in the United States: Bikram Yoga in Naperville, Illinois, and Bikram Yoga in Williamsburg, New York. She has also taught at many of the studios in Southern California: Bikram Yoga Long Beach, Bikram Yoga Fullerton, Bikram Yoga Costa Mesa, and Bikram Yoga in Laguna Beach. Melissa attended the Advanced Seminar Series in Hawaii and has taken several advanced classes at Bikram Yoga International Headquarters in Los Angeles. She has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and recently graduated from Chapman University with a master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. Melissa began teaching in Long Beach during the summer of 2005 and loves the community here at the Long Beach studio. She is so grateful for the opportunity to teach at such an amazing place and hopes to inspire others to practice Bikram Yoga and help them transform their lives daily with this powerful practice.

Nicole Dominguez

Nicole Dominguez

Yoga Instructor

Nicole Dominguez

Nicole Dominguez

Yoga Instructor

My vision for the studio is to create a community where we help each member find their way to health and happiness, where each member of the community has a place they feel welcome and understood, and is able to create a powerful yoga practice at whatever stage they are at in their life. Bikram yoga has helped me through many difficult times in my life. I want to be able to share my passion for it. Yoga is a metaphor for life with all of its highs, lows, successes, and challenges, and I hope to be able to use my experience of over 12 years of practice and 11 years of teaching to help guide students through their own practice. You can expect my class to be challenging but compassionate, and particularly focused on alignment and breath. I want to help students develop their practice physically and mentally. We all have challenging days in the hot room, so I try to encourage students to be kind to themselves while doing their best for that day, one breath at a time.

Rachel Melford

Rachel Melford

Yoga Instructor

Rachel Melford

Rachel Melford

Yoga Instructor

Rachael attended her first Bikram Yoga class in 2010. She had never done any type of yoga before, but was up for the challenge. At the time, she was working as a criminal defense attorney, and was looking for a way to de-stress and find balance in her often-hectic life. After years of distance running, she wasn’t sure she would get as good a workout from yoga, but after her first class, she found herself driving to a neighboring city for more and more. She loved the way she felt after class, not just physically, but spiritually. She felt more grounded and calm, and saw changes in not only her body, but her life perspective as well. She knew this yoga was very powerful, and it had become a necessary part of her life. Shortly after attending her first few classes, a new studio opened up closer to home. She met the new owner and immediately became a part of the local Bikram community, helping to clean the studio, participate in 30- and 60-day challenges, and attend workshops. She had always wanted to attend teacher training, but with the demands of her legal career, could never find the time to make it happen. In 2014, she took a leap of faith and quit her job, making the decision that her spiritual growth was more important than her professional success. She embarked on her yoga journey in late 2014, traveling to Thailand for her 3-month Bikram training. She returned with a goal to share her experience and continue her yoga journey through teaching. The mat has taught her many invaluable life lessons. Most importantly, this yoga has taught her that life really is about the journey; that it is the people and experiences that color our souls and make this a beautiful place. She truly appreciates the power of this yoga and its ability to transform lives. She is excited to continue teaching and sharing the lessons this practice has taught her.

Vidya Ramanathan

Vidya Ramanathan

Yoga Instructor

Vidya Ramanathan

Vidya Ramanathan

Yoga Instructor

Vidya Ramanathan is a certified Yoga Alliance 300 Level Instructor and, as a Meditation Instructor through the Chopra Center for Wellbeing (Carlsbad, CA). She holds additional certifications in Sound Healing, Ayurveda, and is currently pursuing her 1000-hour certification with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) through Soul of Yoga in Encinitas, CA. Vidya has studied under many master teachers (Dr. Deepak Chopra, Dr. David Simon, Davidji, Vijaya Stern and Dr. Richard Miller to name a few) and unites these teachings in her classes. She teaches in workshops, private and group settings, and contributes regularly to several teacher training programs in Southern California. Vidya brings a sense of purpose, balance and harmony into her classes, providing practitioners a sanctuary to release stress and an avenue to explore the mind-body connection by artistically weaving together physical practice sequences with breath-work, meditation and soulful music. She encourages students to break through limitations while staying mindful and creating a more authentic relationship with their own body and mind.

Rosa Lauper

Rosa Lauper

Studio Director

Rosa Lauper

Rosa Lauper

Studio Director

In 2002, Rosa was invited to her first Bikram Yoga Class but she politely declined. A former dancer, collegiate athlete, and avid outdoor fan, she had heard the rumors about Bikram Yoga and honestly could not believe anyone would want to do yoga in 105 degrees with 40% humidity. In 2008, Rosa was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and began to deal with the symptoms (such as fatigue) associated with a slower metabolism. A friend’s repeated suggestions that Bikram Yoga could help finally got her to her first class. Her mat has taught her so much: how to breathe, how to find peace in the most stressful of situations, how to work incredibly hard for the sheer joy of how yummy it feels, and how to source incredible energy sans caffeine or other short-term fixes. Rosa’s yoga journey led her to evaluate the high stress of her executive corporate position. She describes this time as the perfect storm, when neither her work nor marital relationship were in harmony, and she finally hit a wall trying to make it all work. Her journey led her to make the frightening, yet powerful, decision to leave her employment and focus on her personal healing and yoga. She particularly remembers one class where her mentor-teacher spoke the simple words, “Don’t get emotional about it. Relax your face. Breathe.” She finally understood that this was the power of surrender. This power, now a continual, driving force in her life, ultimately led her to seek certification. It brings her incredible pleasure to share this yoga—that has been so physically and emotionally healing to her—with others.

Rosario Wenner

Rosario Wenner

Yoga Instructor

Rosario Wenner

Rosario Wenner

Yoga Instructor

Vicki Johnson

Vicki Johnson

Yoga Instructor

Vicki Johnson

Vicki Johnson

Yoga Instructor