Danielle Sigrist, Owner and Founder ~ Namaskar Studios is owned by Danielle Sigrist. Danielle has a BS in Psychology, with certification in Gerontology, and a Master's Degree in Pastoral Ministry, both from Santa Clara University. She also attended business school and worked 15 years in the corporate world before turning to the study of religion and spirituality. She has worked in ministry as a director of religious education, employing the philosophy of yoga to catechetical classes and religious studies for children and adults. She has studied spirituality for over 20 years, and has led spiritual retreats, taught meditation, and worked extensively in religious education. Her primary focus has been social justice, finding ways to minimize divides, affirmation of others and to always give back. Her belief has been, if she can educate others around these topics, she can make a small difference that may have a ripple effect. She believes yoga is transformative.
Danielle is a certified yoga instructor and a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Her continuing education includes yoga for injuries, Yin yoga, yoga nidra, yoga anatomy, yoga for seniors, care of the back, and Ayurvedic Studies.
Traditional, Hatha-based yoga is Danielle's favorite practice and the foundation of all types of yoga. Her practices include an ongoing meditation with spiritual insights along the way. Danielle's aim is to make every practice a spiritual connection with something within our life's journey. The pace is methodical to allow participants to find peace in each movement. Each practice begins with creating sacred space and ends with a delicious savasana. She aims to make yoga accessible to everyone.
Danielle, her husband of 36 years, and beloved dogs have made Bainbridge Island their long-term home. Born in Palo Alto, CA and raised in Santa Cruz, Danielle has lived in many places, including Silicon Valley, Pebble Beach, Monterey, Las Vegas, and Reno to accommodate her husband's successful high-tech career. Each place added depth to her perspective, and she has learned to work with a diversity of clientele. When she is not practicing on her yoga mat, Danielle is busy gardening or hiking. The motto around her home is "It's all good!"
Jackie Elliott, Founding Teacher of Namaskar Studios ~ Jackie grew up in the foothills of Mt Rainer, riding horses, climbing mountains, playing music, growing food and sleeping outside whenever possible. Her vacations were often in the San Juans, where she swam year round in those waters and got to know the orca pods well.
As she got older, she got serious about equestrian sports, music and dance. Around the same time she discovered yoga. She was having some joint issues after a car accident and the dance and horse riding was becoming painful. A physical therapist found she had subluxating joints and told her it would be a lifelong issue, and suggested she try yoga. she fell in love. She found it helped with her mental state, sleep AND body.
Jackie went to college instead of high school at 17, opened a cafe in Olympia by 18, sold the cafe a year later and moved to Africa, spent some time in London, then moved to Seattle, started a cleaning company and met her husband who took her to a yoga class on a first date.
After her husband re-introduced her to yoga, she didn’t let it go. She started taking trainings to learn more; she couldn’t get enough. Ultimately, Jackie took hundreds of hrs in certified trainings for Iyengar, Hatha, Vinyasa, Anusara, Restorative, Pranayama, Anatomy, Philosophy and much more. After her 3rd certification program, she finally got an itch to teach and has never looked back.
Jackie teaches from her experience of needing and using yoga daily. She likes to convey the simple yet powerful tools it gives us through subtle breath, thoughtful sequencing and themed meditation. One of the reasons she took and still takes all those trainings is for structure; the need the discipline for wobbly joints.
Right now, Jackie enjoys taking people deeper into the roots of yoga, the philosophy, the breath, helping one establish a practice for a lifetime. She is always excited about taking yoga outside! She finds connecting with nature helps us be in awe of the moment, noticing the rhythms around and within. She also thinks taking yoga outside helps us know we can take our practice anywhere, anytime.
Megan Leanderson, Founding Teacher of Namaskar Studios ~ When Megan was introduced to yoga in high school, she wouldn’t have been able to guess the degree to which it would positively impact her life. Her passion for yoga flows from a deep appreciation for the physical and mental benefits of the practice. Yoga has been a vital part of reconnecting with her inner and outer strength as a Mama of two young boys.
Megan’s goal for teaching is to hold a space for others to be nourished, cultivate awareness and explore their movement with breath. Her classes incorporate traditional and modern components of yoga with an emphasis on building a challenging yet uplifting experience for students. Megan loves to integrate aromatherapy into her teaching as a way to deepen and complement student's experience on the mat.
Megan has an M.A. in Counseling, which supports her teaching presence and style. The mind/body connection is an integral source of inspiration for her classes. After a decade of moving around the world, Megan is excited to call Bainbridge Island home!
Paul King, Founding Teacher of Namaskar Studios ~ Paul is the perfect example of a person who thought “I can’t” and then “did” and continues to do with grace, compassion and inspiration. His first memory of the word “yoga” is from having watched "Lilas Yoga and You" on PBS. There were far fewer choices on television, as the sixties gave way to the seventies and PBS exposure made Lillas Folan a common name, a part of the popular culture. Then Ram Das published “Be Here Now”, the Beatles introduced us to Ravi Shankar, “Autobiography of a Yogi” was all the rage, and for a few months he found himself doing basic poses on the floor of his apartment next to the campus at LSU with his mad friend Darryl. They had just a book with drawings and instructions.
Then life happened, a family, and a challenging career. Three decades later osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease began to take a toll. He had numerous surgeries, pain numbing drugs, all manner of “alternative therapies” and, for five dark years, chronic pain dominated his consciousness. With his wife’s encouragement and with considerable trepidation, he decided to attend a yoga class at the local gym. After two years, a fully functional human being emerged and he began teaching at that same gym. Spinal issues that had plagued him for decades were, if not healed, greatly improved. He began to see himself as living testament to the power of yoga to heal the human body and the heart as well. He also came to realize that as an educator and theatrical director, he had spent a lifetime preparing, exercising similar skills, for what may have become his true calling: the sharing of this yogic journey, showing others the way.
As a former “prof” and director of plays, he loves working with young people and beginners, but as an old guy, he feels at home working with people “of a certain age” either as novices or accomplished long-time practitioners. He is delighted (and we are delighted to have him) to have been invited to be a part of this beautiful new space, and, more importantly, happily anxious and excited to meet and be a part of the new “family” that is sure to grow there.
Joe Sigrist, Co-owner and founder of Namaskar Yoga Studios ~ Joe discovered yoga five years ago when his wife, and owner of Namaskar, used him as a guinea pig to test out classes she was sequencing. It was an uphill battle, as he was very tight from years of long distance running and the postures challenged him. With time, he saw improvement and developed huge appreciation for the benefits of yoga, including the tension and stress release caused by his high tech career. He particularly likes that yoga takes you out of the busyness of life and gives you space to become present.
He now regularly goes to yoga, even when traveling. Joe brings a strong business background to the internal management of Namaskar Studios and is proud to support this community endeavor. You will find him at early morning classes before he catches the ferry to his current job in Seattle.
In Seattle, Joe is a senior high tech business leader with extensive general management and product development ownership experience. His proven track record of revenue growth and ability to scale organizations to enable consistent financial success is a hallmark of his work. He has always been customer-oriented and applies this knowledge in an advisory capacity to Namaskar Studios. He is currently the Senior Vice President and General Manager of DoubleDown Interactive. Previously, Senior Vice President at IGT, VP and General Manager at Avaya, SVP and General Manager at Polycom, President, and CEO of Hammerhead Systems, President and General Manager, Edge Access Systems, at Lucent Technologies, and VP of product management at Ascend Communications. If you practice with him at an early morning class, you will find him friendly, humble and very happy to see you on the mat next to him.
Jennifer Peabody ~ Jennifer has extensive training in yoga and physical fitness, working in the industry since the 1980's. She has created yoga classes and programs in fitness centers, on military bases, and provided personal training services. She has developed her own style of yoga fitness using her background and knowledge to create classes that are healthy, sustainable and safe.
Jennifer's strong background in physical fitness and knowledge of human movement allows her to sequence classes that safely challenge the anatomy, while building strength for a strong practice. When you come to her class, you will immediately notice she has a wealth of knowledge to impart, strong opinions on being healthy, and a style that makes her knowledge accessible. Jennifer employs a wholistic approach to physical fitness, health and well being to help her clients reach their health and fitness goals. Whether you take a group class with her, or meet with her as a private client, you will be well taken care of and appreciate the knowledge she has to share.
Leigh Drake ~ Leigh is an experienced yoga teacher and is registered with Yoga Alliance at the highest level as an E-RYT500 level teacher. For the past few years, she has been exploring the amazing healing qualities of Crystal Tones singing bowls, and uses them in yoga classes occasionally as well as hosting sound baths.
Leigh was introduced to yoga in college and then soon found herself involved with raising a family and pursuing a career in corporate finance; a busy life that left no time for self-care. After decades of putting her own needs last, her inner voice became undeniable: the time for self-care is NOW! Her husband helped find a class that fits into an overfull schedule. The class was a Yin yoga class, a style of yoga that hadn’t existed 20 years prior. The first class was like a cool drink of water after being in a desert, and she came away remembering how much she loves yoga!
As a yoga teacher, Leigh especially loves watching as the practice on and off of the mat brings students a sense of inner and outer strength, balance, and the ability to cope with life’s pain. Leigh particularly loves working with people who are new to yoga, or who are returning to practice after one of life’s curves, perhaps with new limitations and respect for what the body can (or can’t) now do. Through her own healing journey after a serious injury, Leigh has learned how to apply both the physical and the theoretical aspects of yoga in a way that makes her classes welcoming and supportive while including the opportunity for the challenge both physically and mentally. Each class explores limitations and freedom through awareness of the body and the thinking process in a way that reminds us that none of us are alone; we are a community of humans having a human experience.
Kati Gyorgy ~ Prior to Kati’s discovery of her inner yogini, she has always been drawn to a mystical world and to ancient esoteric philosophies. In 1998 as a result of a compression fracture in her lumbar spine which drastically limited her mobility and had her in severe pain, a friend handed Kati a yoga book, “The Sivananda Companion to Yoga” and this marked the beginning of her journey. Not knowing anything about Yoga she followed the specific daily asana instructions and eventually the yogi’s dietary recommendations to heal her back. Soon her body began to open up, release pain and crave the movements for daily nourishment. In under a year she was free of pain with a wholesome discipline for asana practice. This transformation intrigued Kati’s curiosity in the philosophy of yoga, meditation, self-study and an interest for anatomy and the bio-mechanics of the body. In 2003 she was asked to teach an all-women’s class temporarily, and with a lot of nervous hesitation she accepted to help. A permanent teacher was never found for that class and Kati found an unaccepted love for teaching. From one class it quickly became four classes and her passion grew deeper for sharing the art of yoga.
In 2007 the practice of Pilates found her and she completed a 200 hr. teacher training to enhance her knowledge of anatomy and mindful movement. In 2008 it was official that teaching would be a big part of her life and she completed a 200 hr. teachers’ training study with 8Limbs Yoga in Seattle. Since then, her practice and style of teaching has evolved to a blend of the complimentary philosophies on the mat but she always keeps the origins and intentions of yoga at heart. This continually unfolding practice has helped Kati cultivate a mostly pain free healthy body, a deeper understanding of mindful movement and the blossoming of awareness into everything we do on and off the mat.
Jodi Brookes ~ Jodi was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska, the land of the midnight sun and home to some of the most extreme weather conditions in the world with temperatures reaching into the 90’s and down to 60 below zero. She likes to think it prepared her to take on the extreme temperatures of life and keep her own warm light inside. Being the youngest of five, she was taught at a young age to be flexible, play nice in the sandbox, speak your truth, color outside the lines and be resourceful. She finds all things come in pretty handy to this day both on and off the mat.
Jodi often subs for Namaskar Studios and has been a contributing member of our team since the studio opened. According to Jodi, "Yoga is a mirror for where I am right now, stripped down and pure. Sometimes it’s pure joy and other times it can get messy and that is what I love about the honesty it creates. It doesn’t require perfection, it just requires showing up, and you can do it anywhere. Yoga creates that white space between all the buzz-i-ness that life serves up." Futrthermore, Jodi says,
"Teaching allows me to create a fun, supportive, strong practice for my students that hopefully, they can take with them once they leave the studio doors. Thankfully I am blessed to have an amazing family and circle of friends who constantly inspire and support my yoga habit."
Jodi received her 200 RYT through Pacific Yoga Teacher Training under Theresa Elliott and Kathryn Payne. She teaches with an emphasis on form, technique and the subtleties of micro-movements and having a sense of humor in our practice. Her other influences are Baron Baptiste, Lisa Black and of course the awesome group of teachers on this island. She loves sampling from the yoga buffet and believes any yoga is better than no yoga, regardless of your experience level. If it brings you joy, she says bring it on!
As a way of giving back Jodi is also involved in Yoga Behind Bars where she volunteers some of her yoga love with the incarcerated men and women in the Puget Sound. It is a humbling thing to witness the need and difference it can make to a group of people often forgotten or discarded.
Jodi tends to teach a strong practice with an abundance of breath work, working the intricacies of holding poses and creating an honest class that meets the students where they are at. She encourages students to experience the Japanese proverb "Nana korobi ya oki” meaning “fall seven times, get up eight”.
Gabby Sigrist ~ the studio's media guru and philosophic advisor. She manages the social media and marketing of the studio to keep our clients up to date, inspired and motivated to be seekers. She was also known as one of the best baristas on the island and worked part-time at Coquette where some of the most authentic French pastries on the island can be found. Gabrielle (Gabby for short) is a yogi, an actor, performer, and writer. She is a Presidential Honors graduate of Seattle University with degrees in Theatre and Philosophy, and is now living in Los Angeles where she will continue to work with our online presence from afar. She will also be attending a Masters program at LMU in Yoga Philosophy. She believes that theatre, mirrors life, and is the school of empathy - a place for transformation and emotional discovery. She tells stories on stage in order to share with a community of curious, discerning, and imaginative seekers all the multi-dimensional ways we experience what it means to be human in the world and on this Earth. She practices yoga as a way to connect with her body and call it home.