Lisette Hart – Owner
It is an honor to and serve as the Owner of Yoga Branch. I am devoted to the well-being and vibrant health of our community of students. I teach several public yoga classes per week and am currently training promising student teachers in my Annual Yoga Teacher Training Program, ‘Roots and Wings’ which is a nationally registered school with Yoga Alliance.
Since 1999, I have gathered more than 10,000 hours of experience teaching yoga and have loved every minute of it! Teaching students to understand and benefit from yoga is my passion. My enthusiasm is contagious so look out… if you come experience my class, you’ll be glad you did. My teaching style incorporates inspiration from nature & the beauty of the outdoors, poetry, daily life experiences as well as from years of studying eastern philosophy and various styles of Hatha Yoga with many renowned teachers. The gratitude I feel towards all of my teachers is immense. In addition to my degrees in Education and in Political Science, I have completed many yoga trainings including an Ashtanga program with Master, Tim Miller in 2001 and I am officially designated an Anusara-Inspired instructor by founder, John Friend with whom I have studied for 9 years.
I am the founder of Vista’s first yoga studio which I ran from 2001-2006 and then sold in order to spend more time with my new baby son. It is a pleasure to now share the responsibilities and joys of running a successful studio with all of the wonderful staff and teachers who share their talents with our cherished students at Yoga Branch.
Teachers are listed in alphabetical order by first name
I am a RYT 200, 500, prenatal, yoga for Recovery, continuing yoga therapist. This journey has been filled with retreats & continuing education with wonderful mentors such as Nischala Joy Devi, Richard Miller, Durga Leela, Justine Shelton & Sheryl Zak Morris. I have been fortunate to have been teaching immediately focused on recovery centers and gentle yoga practices. My mission is cultivating the ability to grow as a human being, while helping others, continually seeking… learning is best when put into practice.
I am so honored to be a part of the Yoga Branch community; the teachers and students are wonderful people and I continue to learn through every practice. I came to the studio because I noticed that women who practice yoga are graceful, balanced, beautiful beings! (and the men are pretty incredible too!) It is one of the great privileges of my life to sit in the seat of the teacher on Thursday evenings. I am so thrilled to share my love of yoga with other students! I look forward to seeing you on Thursdays!
Yoga has been a part of my life for over 20 years. To enhance my practice, I started practicing MELT in 2014, and became an instructor in 2016. I have MELT certifications in Hand and Foot Training (72 hours) and Level 1 Instructor Training (8 weeks, 40 hours hands on) through Sue Hitzman, the creator of The Melt Method. I am also certified in Yoga for Cancer Recovery (55 hours) through Be Well Therapy, and am completing my 200 hours of yoga teacher training with Roots & Wings Yoga Training. In my classes, I love to combine creative sequencing, a spirit of playfulness and a dose of inspiration to help you deepen your practice.
I originally found yoga as an alternative to physical therapy for some hip and lower back issues I was suffering from. I found yoga to be a much better way for me to maintain my health both physically and spiritually.
I originally enrolled in the “Roots & Wings” teacher training program to deepen my commitment and further my own practice; however, I quickly realized how much I love teaching! I am very passionate about my practice and my teaching. I strive to continue my learning process by enrolling in continuing education workshops, yoga retreats and practicing with many different teachers in cities all over the west coast. I am honored and delighted to be a part of the Yoga Branch kula!
I began practicing yoga in the middle of my life. A wonderful yoga teacher came to the hospital where I worked and offered classes three times a week during our lunch hour. The more I practiced the better I felt, in both mind and body. I decided to become a yoga teacher and completed True Nature Yoga, 10 years ago. Since then I have taught Chair and Gentle Yoga at the hospital where I worked and then here at Yoga Branch. I teach Chair/Mat Class. It is a Gentle yoga class which gives the student the opportunity to use a chair for balance or to sit for various asanas they feel more comfortable being seated. The class serves students of all levels and has found a place with many of our seniors. I am truly inspired by my students and their love of the practice of yoga and of life.
The challenge and excitement of personal exploration is woven into every one of Heidi Minga’s yoga classes. A Los Angeles native with North Dakota roots, Heidi’s enthusiasm for yoga began in 1991. With 21 years of on-again off-again personal practice at local gyms, she took the layoff from her sales job in 2011 as a sign – it was time to do something she loved.
In 2012, Heidi became a RYT 200, graduating from the yoga teacher training program at True Nature School of Yoga. With a background in gymnastics and cheerleading, Heidi encourages body awareness and conscious movement in her yoga classes.
Heidi is also a certified MELT instructor, a self-treatment for the connective tissue and neurocore. Along with Hand, Foot, and Roller Treatment Training, Heidi recently became one of only a handful of instructors nationwide to be certified in MELT Strength: a combination of neuromuscular repatterning and strengthening techniques to repair the weak links that damage joints and prevent your body’s ability to function pain-free.
In her free time, she loves to go hiking, stand up paddle boarding, and cultivating her garden. Heidi also has volunteered as the co-director of the Fallbrook International Film Festival, founded in 2008.
Jennifer is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Reiki Master. She lives in Vista, CA and has three children (2 daughters and 1 son). She was introduced to yoga through a knee injury, where it was first a source of physical therapy, and soon became a place to find authenticity of being and an endless journey of self exploration. Her passion for yoga deepened when she became a Reiki practitioner, finding similar healing effects they both have on the movement of energy through the body and chakra system.
Erich Schiffmann sums up how she feels about Yoga:
Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are. The practice of yoga is the practice of meditation, or inner listening, in the poses and the meditations, as well as all day long. It’s a matter of listening inwardly for guidance all the time, and then daring enough and trusting enough to do as you are prompted to do.
“I have always had a passion for health, fitness and personal growth…yoga brings me all three…for whatever reasons you may come to yoga, I joyfully look forward to seeing you on the mat.” ~ Jennifer
I first found yoga in 2009 and was drawn to yoga as a way to strengthen my body without punishing it. I quickly discovered the additional benefits of yoga, mentally and spiritually, and believe yoga provides us with the tools to manage the ebbs and flows and continued stresses of daily life. I received my RYT-200 certification in 2015 through the Roots and Wings Teacher Training under the guidance of Lisette Hart and have been a member of Yoga Branch and committed to personal growth ever since.
As a licensed and practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy since 2011, I love to incorporate tips and tricks from my training as a physical therapist into my yoga classes. My classes focus on improving body awareness and bringing greater balance to the body to help prevent injury, so you can continue to live a full, active, and vibrant life. I enjoy developing creative flows and offering plenty of options, so you can benefit from your time on the mat regardless of your experience level. I invite my students to bring a sense of joy and playfulness to your practice and to use the time on your mat as an opportunity to breathe and create space in your body.
In my free time I enjoy classic rock, swimming, spending time with my dog Strider, and reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. I look forward to seeing you on the mat!
“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”
Jessica’s yogic journey began in New York City as a way to bring stillness in the mind, cope with the loss of her father, and the stressors of working in the Fashion Industry as a Stylist. From the moment she found relief from the hustle and bustle of the city, yoga has grown to be one of her deepest passions and continues to evolve with the ebb and flow of life. She believes that yoga has a magical healing power in which she wishes to share its abundant gifts with everyone around her. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Yoga Branch in Vista, California where she currently lives and teaches. Jessica’s overall intention for her classes is to create a safe space for students to explore and find expansiveness in their bodies, hearts, and minds through movement, attention to breath, patience, and love that will in turn bring about a meaningful life, beginning on the mat and beyond.
Jonathan Richard started his yoga journey 8 years ago, exploring meditation and basic asana. His passion for his practice, tapas, was rekindled when moving back to California in 2012 and has maintained a daily practice since. The universe lovingly led him to Lisette Hart’s Teacher Training through Roots and Wings, where his practice blossomed into a desire to teach. He strives to bring his passion for yoga into every class. Jonathan firmly believes that yoga is accessible to everyone, no matter what age or physical capability.
Whether through a strong vinyasa flow or a gentle restorative practice, Jonathan wants every one of his students to feel better leaving their practice than when they walked in; feeling free and open, both empowered and relaxed.
Lauren is a devoted practitioner and student of the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice. She has been studying and teaching yoga in its many forms for the past 10 years. Lauren completed 1st, 2nd and 3rd Series teacher training with her teacher Tim Miller. Her interest in yoga began at an early age having been inspired by the freedom, creativity and fluidity of surfing and skateboarding. Her passion is to learn the human body and deepen her roots in the earth through movement and exploration.
Lauren’s classes are best described as exploratory, meditative and light-hearted; mixing fundamental elements of Ashtanga with strength building postures. Lauren’s devotion, passion and commitment is to build and bridge community through the shared growth, healing and empowerment that is fostered in a daily yoga practice. She is committed to making yoga accessible to all people and creating a safe and inclusive space for students to learn and study yoga. Her hope is that we may find peace and compassion within ourselves and pass that along to others.
Leslee has been a Special Ed Teacher and Yoga Practitioner for close to 50 years. She has depended consistently on her yoga practice to aid her through personal and physical challenges, and to create playful and safe activities for her students and her own daughter’s early childhood development.
In retirement, Leslee continues to explore breath and movement through life changes, and has had the freedom to fulfill a longtime dream of becoming a yoga teacher.
“My Yoga practice continues to evolve, to foster change and growth, and to support all aspects of my health and living. The body is designed to move no matter our age. For me yoga is fun, creates positivity, and is best when I’m sharing its gifts with others! Namaste.”
Life is an adventure with many surprises along the way. I found yoga and fell in love with the healing benefits of the physical practice and came away with so much more. Yoga found me after a horse-riding injury and helped put me back together again. Becoming a teacher was a wonderful, unplanned adventure that connects my passion for yoga with the beautiful students at Yoga Branch who continue to teach me as well. I am honored to be a graduate of Roots and Wings and humbled to be a part of such a loving, compassionate yoga community. Off the mat, my other passions include family, Stand Up Paddle-boarding, water-skiing, the outdoors and whatever planned and unplanned adventures await.
Growing up on a small Island off the coast of England instilled in me a life long love for the beauty of nature, simple living and handstands. I took my first yoga class at 19, and in my twenties travelling through South East Asia I became influenced by Eastern philosophies. After having my children I re-discovered my Yoga practice, and this eventually led me to Lisette Hart’s Roots and Wings Teacher Training. I am happy and honored to be an Instructor at Yoga Branch.
I love sharing the many gifts that I have found through my Yoga and Meditation practices, the awareness of mind, body and spirit, that comes with the connection of fluid movement and breath, and the peace and calmness of journeying inward. My aim is that you leave my class feeling better than when you walked in. I am blessed to have had many incredible and inspiring teachers throughout my life and I am currently studying Yoga Therapy with Alana Bray Barrey in Carlsbad.
I am a Gardener, Pranic Energy Healer and long-time Meditator. I am also married, the mother of two crazy wonderful teens and mama to an assortment of even crazier, wonderful four-legged beings.
Paula is a Registered Yoga Teacher and recently retired from a long career as a Family Counselor. She is pursuing her dream and passion for teaching Gentle and Chair Yoga to seniors and office workers in Southern California. In 2005, she completed her 200 hour training with master teacher Lanita Varshell at A Gentle Way Yoga Studio in La Mesa. Paula specializes in Gentle Senior and Chair Yoga. Her encouraging Yoga teaching style makes Chair Yoga accessible to almost everyone, especially Seniors! She designs each class to ensure her Senior Citizens get the most out of their Yoga practice by offering both slow and easy sequences, as well as some challenging options for confidence-building. As a Senior Citizen herself, she knows the issues, needs and concerns of Seniors who want to feel better and maintain their independence as long as possible.
Rebecca Dennis’s (E-RYT 500) joyful, non-dogmatic approach to yoga appeals to students of all backgrounds and skill levels. She developed a welcoming, accessible teaching style over a 40-year yoga practice that includes the styles of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Integral, and Bhakti yoga, and has maintained a professional career in yoga for more than two decades. Rebecca practices meditation under the guidance of her beloved mentor and guru, Jivanmukta Swami Ganapati, and traveled twice to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga master.
Her yoga career began in New York City yoga studios. She then owned and managed an award-winning yoga and Pilates studio in rural Tennessee for over 10 years. Rebecca currently resides in San Diego, where she offers her Yoga Alliance certified Teacher Training, has a full-time private clientele practice and offers a variety of workshops in yoga that include practical anatomy, teaching methodology and the history of asana culture.
“I very much enjoy being a part of Yoga Branch as the studio offers a variety of classes with highly skilled instructors. Huge gratitude to my mentor Mary Pafford, and to all the wonderful students whose passion and devotion have sustained me for the past 25 years.”
I began my Yoga practice in 2001 when my kids were young and in pre-school. Physically it was fun and challenging, mentally it was a way to turn down the volume of my busy life. My passion and practice grew and in 2006 I completed Roots and Wings 200 hour teacher training with Lisette Hart. I started teaching regularly in studio and privately. I have had an opportunity to work with High School and Middle School athletes, both boys and girls. I love to see them expanding their minds and bodies to something new and different and to step away from the competitive side of things for a while. I also like to bring the practice to people in their workplace having taught school teachers on campus and nurses and staff at several hospitals. Most of my teaching has been in studio teaching Yoga Flow/Vinyasa style classes. I pride myself in sequencing a class to offer safe options for all students. Currently an E-RYT, I am expanding my teaching through a wonderful Yoga Therapy internship taught by Alana Bray Barrey.
I have enjoyed expanding my mind and body through many workshops with many different teachers. My passion in teaching comes from my own practice. Down to earth real life on and off of the mat. I have experienced the benefits myself and love to see or hear students experience the same in their own practice. Our practice on the mat teaches us it’s not about accomplishing the most challenging pose but how we approach it. We can then take that practice and use it in our daily life. I believe that our practice not only effects us but all of those around us. When we connect with that quiet place within and leave our mat a more calm and centered person we can’t help but effect others.
Sherry is the co-founder of YogaJP and previous owner of the Yoga Vista Studio. She specializes in Gentle, Senior and Chair Yoga and is the Director and Co-Founder of the Yoga Vista Academy, an Online Academy offering specialty Yoga Teacher Training Programs to empower teachers to serve these growing populations.
After a 25-year high tech corporate career, Sherry turned to Gentle Yoga for stress relief and believes she has gained back the years stress took away. Sherry now follows her passion and teaches Yoga at senior and rehabilitation centers, libraries, studios and corporate workplaces.
As former business owner and accounting manager for three family owned companies, I learned early that exercise was a big key to relieving the stress in life for me. My first yoga class was about 25 years ago and I loved it from the beginning. The poses were challenging and fun, but the biggest benefit was those precious moments when my thoughts were quieted and I seemed to be peaceful.
In 2014 I embarked on the 9 month journey of the Roots and Wings Yoga Teacher Training with the goal of learning more about Yoga and deepening my personal practice, never thinking that I would actually teach yoga. Well….here I am. Now “retired”, I love guiding others through their practice as they discover the wonder of uniting the mind, body and spirit that is Yoga. I hold a specialty Certification through Yoga Vista Academy for “Gentle Yoga for the Low Back”
I also enjoy golf, bird watching, and spending time with my husband and our Labrador Diesel.
Yoga transports me to a place of peace and joy; it is my personal dance to celebrate life. Yoga and meditation are the foundations of my life journey. I was very fortunate in that my mother embraced the yogic philosophy and taught yoga when I was but a toddler, so my practice began at an early age. I experienced a profound connection to the yogic philosophy and yoga community.
Sylvi brings to her teaching years of practice as well as her passion for yoga and instructing to help each student ease into the poses with safe alignment in a mindful, calm state of mind. She is particularly knowledgeable about helping students with injuries or physical challenges to better achieve comfort and openness in their asanas. She specializes in Yin Yoga, Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow & Hatha Yoga, with certification in Yin & Vinyasa style Hatha Yoga, and regularly offers workshops at yoga centers throughout NorthCounty.