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
My love affair with Yoga began about 6 years ago when I first met Lisette Hart, owner and director of Yoga Branch. She invited me into her beautiful studio for my first go at Yoga. The sense of community at Yoga Branch was humble and alluring, and the Yoga gave me courage, strength, and emotional satisfaction – something I could not find lifting weights at the gym. As of May 2014 I completed my first RYT training program led by Lisette. Upon beginning my teacher training with Lisette in 2013 my intention was not to become a teacher but to advance my own practice and knowledge of Yoga and allow it to serve as a gift to me. As I continued through training I found a love for teaching and felt an homage to share the bliss Yoga has brought me with others… and it all begins here.
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!
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 have been a devoted Yoga practitioner for over 15 years, providing engaging and useful Yoga practice for all skill levels. With a background in foundational yoga practices as well as various styles and specialties (from pre-natal to restorative Yoga), I apply an eclectic and fresh perspective to each Yoga session. Five years ago, I completed an intensive 200 hour teacher training program with Roots and Wings in Vista, California. My instructional background has been highly dynamic, including local community members as well as active duty United States Marines via a regular practice on Camp Pendelton.
My love for yoga enhances my life in every way and I’m constantly working to infuse each Yoga class with that same energy and passion. With every class, I embrace new lessons and consider myself a lifelong learner in the field of Yoga. I take great pride in assisting Yoga’s growth in our local community, as it is a joy to see how much yoga has grown in the US, Ireland (my homeland), and all over the world.
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
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.
I started yoga 10 years ago as just another exercise class while I was going through my Masters in Counseling program. I was happy to see that my efforts brought me into the best shape of my life, but what surprised me was that I started becoming less scattered and worried inside. Yoga affected my mind in much the same way as it affected my body. I became calmer, clearer and felt more powerful, VIBRANT even. I observed the way people walked into yoga class with slumped shoulders and downcast eyes, but left the room with a spring in their step, and bright, shining eyes. I received my degree and started working as a counselor, moving through the 1,000’s of hours I’d need to become a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. My counseling efforts were met with a lot of resistance and denial, leaving me frustrated and discouraged. Yoga on the other hand, has this sneaky way of circumventing mental blocks –it brings your idiosyncrasies right up IN YOUR FACE to be accepted, changed, or discarded. I made the best decision of my life and decided to be a Yoga Instructor instead.
What I love about yoga is that while you’re working on your mind, and breathing deeply, you get to PLAY!!! The movements are so graceful, powerful, strong, peaceful, invigorating, and fun. I love to be challenged, and to learn that some new way of doing, thinking or moving is possible. I like to bring that into my classes. My teaching style is playful, supportive and challenging (and a little more on the nurturing side in my deep stretch class). My goal as a teacher is to create an experience that helps you feel better when you leave than when you walked in the door. I believe that the best version of yourself already exists inside of you. What I really do as a teacher is help you uncover the stuff that might be getting in the way.
I teach Power/Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, and Budokon Yoga, receiving my credentials from the Natural Healing Institute of Naturopathy, Encinitas, Paul Grilley and Kancho Cameron Shayne.
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.
Mary has been a teacher for most of her adult life – teaching summer camp in college and then becoming a credentialed elementary teacher for many years. Teaching yoga, however, is truly the best teaching experience she can imagine! Students come to yoga class wanting to learn, eager to explore, and are happy to be there!! Mary loves to connect with her students on a personal level, to help them find greater comfort and ease in their bodies, and to guide them on their yogic journey as their practice deepens.
Yoga has been a true life saver for Mary – she began her 200-hour teacher training in 2009, the same year both of her parents were diagnosed with terminal cancers. Mary credits her yoga practice with giving her the physical, mental, and spiritual strength she needed to face such a challenging time. She truly believes that yoga gives us the courage to face our fears, the flexibility to embrace change, and the present mind awareness to find joy in each and every day.
Mary completed her 500 hour yoga teacher training in 2013 with True Nature School of Yoga. She then completed a specialized 100 hour “Yoga of the Heart” cardiac and cancer certification. This was to fulfill a calling she had to help those living with cancer (and heart disease) and their caregivers.
In addition to teaching yoga classes all over North County San Diego each week, Mary is also one of the owners of Be Well Stress Management Therapy teaching their Stress Management and Yoga Therapy classes at various locations including yoga studios, businesses, medical centers, and privately.
When she is not teaching, she loves to spend her time in the kitchen baking tasty treats to share with others. She also enjoys ocean kayaking, snow skiing, and curling up on the couch with a good book and her warm furry friends.
Mimi found yoga over 5 years ago. After having knee surgery, she was seeking a form of healing she could do for herself. The affects of yoga were profound and transforming. Not only did it help her through her recovery, it was also a way to connect with people and the universe. Yoga has helped her continually self-adjust her body and live a happier, more pain free life. Her 8 year background in massage therapy has helped her understand what goes on in the body during a yoga practice.
Morgen is a wife and mom, an artistic jewelry maker, avid reader and she loves to host gatherings that make people feel welcome. She translates those qualities into her yoga classes. Morgen loves to teach both active classes and ones that are very restful and deeply restorative.
As a former school teacher, she has been a leader in teaching ‘yoga for kids’ in Vista. Grown-ups enjoy her flow & yoga sculpt classes at Yoga Branch as well as the restorative workshops she leads at YBV.
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.
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.