Meet our incredible staff of teachers at Down Dog Yoga, and get to know what inspires our instructors to share the practice they love with our DDY Community.
Patty is convinced that she did not find yoga – yoga found her! An avid marathon runner, Patty suddenly found herself stalled with a knee injury that would require surgery and months of rehabilitation. In 2002 upon the urging of a friend, Patty took her very first yoga class with none other than Baron Baptiste himself! Patty was instantly hooked on Baron’s powerful flow and immediately knew her life was about to change forever.
More than a decade later, thousands of yogis have flowed through Patty’s studios experiencing Patty’s transformational teachings inspired by her own experience of her practice. It is not unusual to see her students lined up to secure a spot in her packed classes.
Patty and her Down Dog studios have been featured in numerous publications, including Yoga Journal, National Women’s Health and Fitness Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine and several other publications.
Shannon Sharma (von Burns) has been a full-time yoga teacher and mentor for 18 years. She is a yoga therapist that specializes in spinal injuries and conditions, and is a masterful teacher’s teacher. Her mission is to teach how to love and be loved – first by the self, and then by the world.
Shannon has been trained by some of the most beautiful hearts and minds in the world of yoga today. Her body of work focuses on streamlining yoga, and cultivating the absolute best from her students. She makes each and every student’s goal her goal, and she is as committed to their success as they are.
Her favorite students are the ones that show up and submit to the practice, because she is a firm believer that the practice is the teacher. She is approachable and kind, and welcomes each and every one of you to come explore the benefits of yoga, and the love that awaits you.
Debbie walked into Down Dog Yoga in 2010 intending to take advantage of a free week of classes and then jump right back into her regular exercise routine. The week ended, and she has never left!
Having spent 20 years in Division 1 athletics as a player and head coach at George Mason University, the strong physical practice of Baptiste yoga drew her to the mat, and the continual inquiry inside that practice keeps her coming back. Debbie went on to complete Level 1 & Level 2 training with Baron Baptiste, as well as her 200hr teacher training with Rolf Gates. Debbie is in ongoing mentorship with her teachers at DDY, and serves as Lead Teacher for our Herndon teaching team.
Debbie wants her students to feel freedom to be themselves, let go of doubt, and explore new ways of living and feeling fully expressed and alive.
Alex began his yoga journey in 2014. While searching for a new career path, he found himself signing up for the 30-Day Throw Down at DDY Herndon. After a month of consecutive asana practice, he knew he had found a passion unlike anything he’d dreamt of. He began to immerse himself in the DDY community, which he now calls home. Alex began working the front desk as a GEE in Herndon, and learned about the operations side of the business. He then teamed with Becca Anderson to help open up DDY Clarendon as a Studio Manager.
It was during this time he finally became aware that his love for the practice was something to be shared with his friends and family. After a conversation with DDY’s founder Patty Ivey, Alex entered into a studentship at DDY,and started to put his self study knowledge into action.
In April 2016, Alex taught his first community class, and has been teaching ever since. He is proud to be a part of the inspiring DDY community, and he’s excited for the opportunity to share his love of yoga and it’s positive impact with his students.
Jennifer stumbled onto yoga as a marathon runner eager to add stretching to her daily routine. She got hooked on the challenge of Power Yoga in 2003 when she stepped into Down Dog Yoga literally as it opened its doors. While it was the intensity of this heated practice that answered her body’s (and mind’s) need for a physical challenge, it was the transformative and healing power of this practice that took her by surprise and nourished her spirit. For as much as she enjoys pushing the limits, this practice slows her down and grounds her in the moment.
Jennifer started teaching in 2007 when she completed DDY’s 200hr Teacher Training with Patty. Since then, she has completed a number of trainings with other wonderful master teachers including both Baron Baptiste and Rolf Gates.
Jennifer sees the practice of yoga as a continual process of learning and self-discovery, no matter your experience level. Her classes are designed to wake you up and take you to your edge. When she’s not in the studio, she is traveling the globe seeking out adventure and yoga.
Alisa first tried yoga over 10 years ago in attempt to balance her life as a Ph.D. student. Since then, she has studied yoga therapy for the structural system, and learned to teach and apply therapeutic principles of healthy alignment to yoga, posture, gait, the anatomy and physiology of movement, breath, and mindfulness.
Her passion lies in designing classes that, in an injury-free manner, improve her students’ yoga practice using an individually based approach, which contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
Alisa is excited to be returning to her roots at Down Dog Yoga, where she first began her yoga journey over a decade ago, and is so grateful to be a part of this vibrant and inspiring community.
ERICA DE VOS
Erica began practicing yoga intermittently in 2003, but it was not until she found Down Dog Yoga in 2008 that she began to practice regularly, and fell in love with both the practice and the DDY community.
Erica became a classroom assistant in 2010, and went on to complete Down Dog’s teacher training program in 2010, and a 200 hour training program with Rolf Gates in 2011. Erica began teaching in 2013. She often wonders what took her so long to find the confidence to teach.
“ My practice challenges me to move beyond what is comfortable, and I’m continually surprised by what I am capable of – with practice – both on and off the mat.” Erica is committed to sharing with others the possibilities available through practice.
Rebecca began her yoga journey to embrace the notions of self-love and discipline. A long-time athlete, she stepped away from team sports in order to deeply observe her mind and body, and cultivate healthy living. Her favorite aspect of yoga is that it is a personal practice – one that is constantly changing and progressing with time – and the idea of reaching perfection simply does not have a place.
With a background in Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga, Rebecca adapts the dynamic nature of these practices to the needs and desires of her students. She has also completed teacher training on yoga for students with eating and body disorders, where she infuses her passion for self-love and compassion to her students both on and off the mat. Rebecca teaches sequences that challenge both the mind and the body, creating space for introspection, self-discovery, and release.
Claudia first found yoga in 2004 when it was prescribed by her doctor to help alleviate lower back pain caused by competitive soccer. Upon starting school at Georgetown University, Claudia found Down Dog, and discovered that Baptiste Yoga not only helped heal her body, but quieted her mind and calmed her anxiety from school.
Claudia completed her 200-hour Yoga Teaching Certificate from Down Dog Yoga in 2013 and also participated in additional programs through the Baptiste Institute.
Claudia strongly believes that yoga is for every body and that the DDY practices at DDY allow people to leave feeling strong, supported and free.
Renee took her first class at Down Dog Yoga in 2008. At just 16 years old – overweight and totally foreign to yoga – it was definitely not love at first sweat. But something about DDY and the Baptiste practice kept pulling her back in. At first sporadically, and building over the years, Renee began to practice more regularly, eventually hitting her mat daily during her breaks from Wesleyan University. She was hooked.
After graduating and returning to the DC area, Renee enrolled in DDY’s 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in the Fall of 2014. Through her training and the transformative nature of the DDY practice, she has experienced immense strengthening and softening. Not only has her practice allowed her to feel strong in her body, it has also given her tools to quiet anxiety, and continues to inspire openness – both in her mind and with those around her.
For Renee, DDY consistently offers a home base she can return to – to reset, sweat, and connect to this powerful community.
Kelsey’s first exposure to yoga involved a Rodney Yee Power Yoga DVD and a Hawaiian beach mat back in 2004. While she went on to take a class from time to time, yoga was not a consistent part of Kelsey’s life until after college. After years of competitive swimming and NCAA rowing, Kelsey finally found DDY in 2013 while searching for a vigorous but low-impact workout. What began as a “refreshing break” from sports became a powerful mainstay in Kelsey’s life.
Kelsey joined the DDY team in 2014 as a member of Karma Krew, then worked her way onto the front desk staff. She completed her 200-hour teacher training with DDY in 2016, and began teaching the community class later that year.
She is so excited to now be joining the teaching team on the regular schedule, and is deeply committed to bringing out the best in her students and herself.
Jess grew up playing competitive soccer, until a knee injury sidelined her indefinitely. As a way to stay active, a friend suggested she try yoga. Jess took her first Baptiste Yoga class at Down Dog Yoga with Kerry Waters in 2012, and she’s been part of the community ever since.
Jess received her first 200-hour teaching certificate in 2013 and went on to complete Down Dog Yoga’s 200-Hour Leadership Training with her mentors, Patty Ivey and Alice Riccardi, in May 2015. She has since attended additional programs through the Baptiste Institute.
Jess is thrilled to be a part of the teaching team at Down Dog, and is grateful every day for the myriad ways this practice has transformed her life. Off the mat, Jess resides in Northwest DC with her daughter, Carleigh.
Hannah was introduced to various forms of yoga through her 20+ years of studying dance, but fell in love with her yoga practice when she discovered DDY in 2015 while looking for a way to get in shape for her wedding. She got more than she bargained for though, when she not only accomplished her goal of looking svelte for her big day, but also found strength and compassion for herself through this powerful practice; it was one of the best wedding gifts she received.
In 2016, Hannah completed her 200-hour Teacher Training with Patty Ivey at DDY, and is excited to continue her life-long yoga journey and training with the DDY Yoga community!
When Hannah isn’t at DDY, she’s either teaching yoga, dance, or English to teenagers at Fusion Academy in Washington, D.C., rehearsing and performing for her dance company, Word Dance Theater, or practicing her gluten free cooking and baking skills for her husband and loved ones.
Melissa first began practicing yoga in 2004. A friend brought her to DDY, and she fell in love with the sweaty, vigorous, leave-it-all-on-the-mat practice. All she knew was that this practice made her feel vibrant and alive, and she wanted more of it in her life.
Melissa completed her 200-Hour Teaching Training with Patty Ivey, has attended additional Baptiste programs and also participated in an extended mentorship program for teachers with Rolf Gates.
Melissa sees yoga as a method of healing and helping people live into their fullest selves. She teaches her students to feel and understand how alignment in their body brings alignment into their lives.
Melissa is thrilled to be a part of the team at DDY and have the opportunity to share her passion with her students in a community she loves.
Kate took her first yoga class in a neighborhood gym in 2010. In 2012, she began a consistent practice at Down Dog Yoga and found her home in this community. She discovered that while she was drawn to yoga as a way to build physical strength, it was the mental and spiritual benefits she experienced that kept her coming back!
In 2015, she completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Down Dog Yoga with Patty Ivey. It was an incredible opportunity to learn more about her practice, and to deepen her involvement in the Down Dog community.
Kate is excited for the opportunity to share her love of yoga as part of the DDY teaching team, and to continue the important work of self-inquiry and growth both on and off her mat.
Like most yogis, Sandy fell in love yoga the first time she hit the mat, 25 years ago in San Francisco. Since then, she’s practiced many different styles of yoga, including Sivananda, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, and Baptiste, with many inspiring teachers nationally and internationally.
In 2014, Sandy took her study of yoga to the next level, and registered for teacher training. She earned her 200-hour certificate in order to deepen her practice, and share her love of yoga with others.
Aside from her passion for yoga, Sandy also has a passion for literature, and has taught at universities for many years. Because of that, you might catch her calling “dead bug pose” the “pose of Gregor Samsa” (after Kafka’s Metamorphoses) instead. Both laughter and pleasure are an integral part of her classes, along with self-reflection, introspection, and joy.
Franchesca started her yoga practice after a life of ballet in 2012. It wasn’t until moving to DC that she found Baptiste Power Yoga, and was hooked by the benefits of the physical, rigorous practice — both physically and mentally.
Franchesca completed her 200hr teacher training at a local Virginia studio and went on to complete additional trainings with the Baptiste Institute. It wasn’t until later that she discovered Down Dog Yoga, and came to learn that “physical” and “rigorous” take on a whole new meaning at DDY.
Off the mat you can most likely find her in Gelman, George Washington University’s library, studying to complete her degree in finance and economics. Though if you’re lucky, you may catch her when she’s training a service dog, which she does through a volunteer program in Dulles.
In 2013, Catie decided to try yoga as a way to keep active while she recovered from an injury. She immediately became enamored with the flowing movement and physical benefits of the practice, and in time, she discovered that the strength and flexibility she developed quickly translated into mental benefits off the mat.
The journey of each movement – each practice feeling unique every day – keeps Catie coming back to her mat and exploring the many styles of yoga. As a hopeless inversion junkie, Catie is always seeking to test her physical limits and find new ways to move her practice forward.
Catie completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Ursula Cox at Inner Power Yoga. She strives to offer a vigorous flow to her students, and encourages her students to explore each movement and discover new sensations as they flow on their mats.
Diane took her first yoga class in March 2012; her body unhealthy from many years of neglect. A former DDY teacher brought her to her first class, and by the end, while Diane still wasn’t quite sure what it was all about, she did understand that her body had never felt so alive!
Diane completed her 200-Hour Teacher Training with Patty Ivey in June 2014. Since then, she has completed many focused workshops at DDY, including Art of Assisting and Advance Art of Assisting. She continues to be in on-going mentorship and training with her teachers.
Diane’s love for the practice continues to grow, to which she attributes her physical and mental strength. Her commitment to her practice has opened her up to new possibilities, and a sense of empowerment that has transformed how she shows up in her life every day. Her practice is of one of self-inquiry and self-love, and she is committed to sharing that with her students.
Natalia has been practicing yoga for 10 years, teaching for 5, and has loved every moment of it. As a former dancer, she appreciates the beauty of yoga, and the way it takes care of her body. However, her physical practice has also given her access to the power of uniting breath and body to transform the mind.
Natalia views teaching as an extension of her yoga practice; by embodying the practice, she hopes to serve as an example for her students. She has found that the practice of yoga has helped make her a better person, wife, mother, and contributor to life.
Natalia is grateful to have yoga as part of her daily life, and feels blessed and privileged to be able to share her knowledge and passion with her students at DDY.
Abby attended her first yoga class at the age of 15, dragged along by her mother. Little did she know then, but yoga would change her life completely.
After years of dabbling, Abby’s true yoga journey began when she discovered the immense passion that was brought forth exploring Forrest Yoga during her college years. Abby completed her first 200-Hour teacher training with her mentor Ana Forrest – with no intention to teach. Yoga Teacher Training changed Abby’s life course away from the pursuit of a PhD; she couldn’t leave the connection to spirit and community that yoga awakened within her. Abby has continued chasing her passion through many additional yoga trainings, plus attending massage school and multiple bodywork trainings.
In Abby’s classes, you’ll find intelligent sequencing, lots of individual attention, and hands-on assists. She delights in helping students hone their ability to feel deeply, focus the mind, and strengthen their willpower. Off the mat, Abby is a bodyworker and energyworker – and mom to three fabulous cats – Kitty Boo, Billy, & Pashmak.
Marina took her first yoga class in a gym. Amazed by the power of the workout, she started practicing regularly without knowing that this would become her lifelong passion. The transformation that the practice brought in her life inspired her to become a teacher. Teachers like Shannon Sharma, Max Strom, Pattabhi Jois, and many others advanced her practice and developed her teaching style.
Marina combines a vigorous flow with an emphasis on alignment and breath work to deepen your practice and help you rediscover your strength, inner grace, and beauty. She believes that a commitment to regular yoga practices and pranayama will transform you not only physically, but also emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Her practice has taught her to understand, love, and accept herself, enabling her to live with presence and awareness both on and off the mat.
Antoine came to Down Dog Yoga through a friend’s invite. Since his first time through the door, he has felt the vibrant, loving community, and has been firmly planted for 2 years.
After several years as a competitive track & field athlete, Antoine struggled to find a fitness regimen that also offered a holistic practice – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Incidentally, after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon, Antoine finally found healing through yoga.
He completed his 200-hr Teacher Training with Down Dog in June 2016, and finds tremendous joy in sharing the benefits of yoga with others. His mission is to teach how to love boldly and let go of doubt, to allow space for expansion in our lives.
Shannon first stepped onto the yoga mat as a collegiate swimmer. In an effort to improve her physical performance, she found that yoga’s benefits went far beyond that, increasing her muscular flexibility and nourishing her spirit.
A classroom teacher by training, Shannon has found her strength is in teaching the physical body, either as a certified Personal Trainer or yoga instructor. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Inner Strength Studios in Boston.
Shannon’s classes emphasize enjoying the process of the practice, even in moments of intense physical and mental challenge. She believes that physical and spiritual flexibility on the mat are key to leading a healthy life off the mat.
Like many people, Jeanne stumbled upon yoga at her local gym. An avid equestrian who had spent her life riding and competing horses, Jeanne finally found herself “saddled” with a lower back injury as a result of the years she spent in such a demanding sport. Jeanne took the advice of doctors and friends, and decided to give yoga a try. And there was no turning back…
All Jeanne truly sought from a yoga practice was a way to stay physically active without the pain she had then grown accustomed to. Very quickly, however, she developed a passion that ran far deeper than just the physical practice. She began to make emotional and spiritual connections that put an entirely new perspective on life.
Over the years, Jeanne has had the pleasure of learning from many esteemed teachers, both nationally and locally. One of the most important discoveries along her yoga journey was the actual exploration she did through various styles of yoga. From Baptiste to Prana Flow to Ashtanga, she always came back to her roots: Baptiste Power Yoga. Jeanne is a 200-hour RYT, and has been teaching yoga since 2005. She’s been a regular at DDY since 2008, and on the teaching staff since 2009.
Bio coming soon!