Teachers 

Maritza Johnson

(the owner)

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I started Bikram yoga in the fall of 2003 when a visiting friend asked me to try Bikram Yoga. The 90 minutes was at first an excellent way to exercise, sweat and detox. But eventually something magical started happening during those 90 minutes. I didn’t understand it at first, until I realized that I was not thinking or planning. I was breathing, listening and doing my best.

Those first tough and sweaty 90 minutes eventually became the most wonderfully peaceful 90 minutes of my day. The room may have been hot and humid, the postures may have seemed impossible, the teacher may have been tough, but none of it mattered. My mind was quiet and at ease. And, as we all know we live in a noisy world and these 90 minutes of quiet and ease was the most amazing gift anybody could have ever given me. The experience gave me the courage to keep going with it. It is a beautiful thing to learn to trust yourself and to just listen.

My Bikram yoga practice eventually led me to teacher training and, in the Spring of 2005, I became a certified instructor. Since then, my joy has been sharing my passion for yoga through teaching, owning Bikram Yoga Ridgefield and “smiling a little bit” in and out of the hot room. As a teacher, studio owner and regular practitioner, I have come to appreciate what Bikram Yoga has done for me in so many ways… always learning…always grateful.

Maritza is extremely thankful for the physical as well as spiritual benefits she has gained and continues to experience from Bikram yoga.

Alzbeta Peskova

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“I am originally from Prague in the Czech Republic. I first started practicing Yoga and Meditation at home by myself in my twenties, and without even knowing it, I started something that would change my live forever.

In the winter of 2001 I was in a skiing accident where I tore my ACL and MCL. My injuries persisted through 2007, when I experienced an additional knee dislocation along with being diagnosed with Chondromalacia in both knees. These injuries, along with multiple surgeries, caused me to fall out of my Yoga practice for several years. By 2009, after a painful and slow recovery, I lost confidence and trust in my physical therapy! It was then my very good friend Emily, who I wish to thank, introduced me to Bikram Yoga. I knew nothing of what to expect going into my first class and found it extremely difficult. I was not sure that I wanted to come back. But soon I discovered that the 26 postures felt amazing for my knees and the healing process, both physically and mentally, began. As my body continued to heal, I became a dedicated practitioner. This led me to teacher training in LA in the fall 2011. It has now been over 4 years since my certification and I have taught almost every day since, in studios throughout the country and The Czech republic.

I have found continued growth through my passion for Yoga as it has connected me to my higher self through mind, body and spirit. My education has not stopped there, as I am now a certified life coach helping yogis take what they learn on the mat and applying it to every day life.

I have never been happier and want to share with others what I have found in my practice. Yoga is a union of the body and mind. It is for anybody who wants to be flexible, strong and physically and mentally fit in a very unique and balanced way.”

Robin Idestrom

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“In January 2012, I walked into Bikram Yoga Ridgefield and took my very first class. I came back and practiced the following 6 days. This yoga has impacted me so profoundly; my physical body, energy level, emotional health, and more, that 22 months later (Fall ’13), I undertook the unique and grueling 9-week teacher training in L.A., becoming certified to teach this fantastic yoga! I knew of what a great challenge class was for me as a student, and I wanted to encourage others to keep going and never give up! I knew all the wonderful benefits it had given me, and I wanted to help others have them as well. Teaching has been such a joy and a growth experience. I sing, (Masters of Music, Manhattan School of Music), play piano, and have been teaching voice lessons for over 20 years. I have felt so blessed to connect with the dedicated students at Bikram Yoga Ridgefield. They have spurred me on in my practice, and I am grateful!”

Steve Zagami

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Steve was born in The Bronx, NY. He is a retired New York City Firefighter and served in The United States Marine Corps as a sergeant. Steve finished his Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Thailand in the Fall 2014.

“Bikram yoga has given me my life back, after retiring from the fire department, I was lost. I found Bikram yoga and it gave me the strength and motivation to go back to school, acquiring my Nursing Degree. The yoga helped so much with the stress of the nursing programs and with pain from prior injuries. I decided it was time for me to give the gift of this yoga back; teacher training was a great experience for me. I love teaching yoga and try to convey that love and enthusiasm in every class I teach.”   

Leah Bey-wagner

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“I was working in the restaurant business when a Bikram Yoga studio opened up around the corner. Friends and co-workers were trying it out and reporting back how hot it was, and hard! In September 2005, I decided to give it a try and was immediately hooked; I went home after my first class feeling lighter, energized, in a better mood. I went back the very next morning and gave it another try, and another and another. I started scheduling work and life around class, loving the way this yoga was changing my body and mind. After focusing on my practice for several years I decided to attend the Teacher Training program and  become a certified Bikram Yoga instructor in 2009. Teaching Bikram Yoga has allowed me to become a more patient, compassionate human being. I am thrilled to be a part of this movement toward improved health and well-being.” 

 Dionne Monsanto

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Dionne took her 1st Bikram yoga class in August 2006. She got serious about her practice while recovering from pneumonia on medical leave and dealing with loss. In a change of lifestyle revolution, she left her financial services career 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.

As a daily practitioner, Dionne believes there is magic in the hot room and finds great joy in guiding students (new and old) deeper into their practice. As a life coach and an avid mental health advocate she is the chair of the board for the NYC Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Executive Director of The Siwe Project, named after her late daughter.

Carolyn Funke

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Carolyn’s love for yoga began as a child waking up before Sesame Street to do yoga with Lilias Folan on PBS most mornings. Her practice matured as a freshman in college when she began an Ashtanga yoga practice which she maintained for 6 years, attending teacher training courses through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).

In 2006, Carolyn found Bikram Yoga, fell in love and knew she wanted to be a Bikram Yoga teacher. In 2009 she completed the 9 week training and began teaching. After a year of intense mentor-ship in Buffalo, NY, Carolyn traveled the northeastern United States, teaching in New York, NY, Boston, MA, Pittsfield, VT, Portland, ME, Pittsburgh and Lancaster, PA. In 2010, Carolyn became a Yoga Alliance 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She sees each new place and new student as a chance to deepen her understanding of yoga and continues a dedicated personal yoga practice.

Lisa Tancredi

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Lisa happened upon Bikram Yoga in 2004 one very cold New England winter’s day.  She went in for the heat. She came out feeling reborn.

Over time, she worked through many of the injuries she had from years as a professional dancer: Within 1 year, she could finally walk up and down stairs again without pain in her knees; after 3 years, she forgot that she had ever lived with chronic back pain. She is still working through some issues deep in her hips. One step at a time.

Lisa has been incredibly fortunate to learn from the best senior teachers of Bikram Yoga — like Maritza Johnson. While she enjoys and incorporates many yoga styles into her own personal routine, Bikram Yoga remains her core practice

Myrna Thomas

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Myrna took her first class Nov 2008 and by the time the first set of Pranayama Breathing was done, she was hooked and had already 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 Ridgefield community and looks forward to seeing YOU there!!

Joanna Fricke

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Joanna graduated from Juniata College with a BS in biology. Her interests in the medical field led to her employment with Dianon Systems’ anatomical pathology department. Her experience with human tissues provided insight on disease management and the broader need for long-term, preventative medical care options in the US. When Bikram yoga subsided a developing arthritis issue in my wrist, it became clear how Bikram yoga was an effective preventative medical care option for the body on several levels of health. She became certified to teach Bikram Yoga in Fall 2015. Her background in the liberal and laboratory sciences opened her mind to the power and potential of the human body, in and out of the hot room. She is excited to be apart of Bikram yoga Ridgefield  community that supports the mind, body and spirit with yoga!”