OUR TEAM

Antoniette Finelli

Owner/Director

Antoniette Finelli

Alexandra Evans

Instructor

Alexandra Evans

Hi everyone! My name is Alex. I have been practicing Bikram Yoga since 2007 when I first discovered it in Tokyo, while teaching English in Japan. I immediately fell in love with it. After seeing huge changes in my physique, skin, flexibility, immune system and overall mental and physical health, I made the choice to attend the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in 2008 in Acapulco Mexico and was certified by Bikram Choudhury himself. Upon graduating, I had the privilege of teaching in numerous cities around the world, including Toronto, Kitchener and Barrie Ontario, Vancouver, Boulder CO, Mumbai (India), and Stockholm (Sweden). I received my B.A in Sociology and Psychology at The University of Western Ontario in 2005, and travelled extensively through Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan, Taiwan, India, Morocco, Iceland, Sweden, Warsaw (Poland), UK, Paris (France) and became certified as a Thai Massage Therapist in 2007.

I am originally from Toronto, however I relocated to Dundas in 2010 to open the first Bikram Yoga studio in Hamilton (BYHD!). After 6 wonderful years, I sold the studio to Jennifer Codrea and have since begun my journey studying to become an Osteopath here in Hamilton at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy, learning in depth anatomy, physiology and manual medicine.

While I have practiced various forms of yoga all around the world, I truly feel that NOTHING has as profound an effect on both the physical and emotional well being as the 90 minute Bikram series. My experience with Bikram Yoga is that it is extremely powerful and healing, and with a regular practice, will do wonders for your immune, digestive and lymphatic systems, metabolism, sleep, stress levels, depression, and so much more.

I do my very best to make the classes I teach dynamic, motivating, educational and inspiring by drawing on all my personal experiences in the hot yoga room as a yoga student myself, learning from Bikram and his senior teachers, travelling the world, and reading books on yoga, spirituality and health. I have complete and absolute belief that Bikram Yoga is the best form of yoga for everyone, no matter what their age or physical condition, and I am grateful for the opportunity to introduce others to the original hot yoga, which has changed my life in such a profoundly positive way. I look forward to meeting you at the studio!

Tara Restagno

Instructor

Tara Restagno

I took my first Bikram Yoga class in 1998 after a full day of rehearsals with Crystal Cruises in Pasadena California.  With more than 15 years under my belt as a professional dancer & having studied other styles of yoga & body awareness techniques, I instantly felt the power & effect of this yoga series.  Upon my return to Toronto, I sought the only Bikram yoga studio available at the time & signed up for classes.  In his book, Bikram suggests doing 90 days straight “if you really want to detox,” so I put it to the test.
I bought a monthly unlimited and decided to go twice a day for the month (on top of my regular dance classes: ballet, modern & jazz/hip-hop).  At the end of the month I could not believe how awesome I felt… “like running a marathon!”  So I signed up for another month & continued the challenge.  It was in the second month that I knew this was my calling.  I wanted to learn more & delve into the intricacies of this practice.

I graduated from the Fall Teacher Training of 2001 in Los Angeles, and I have not looked back.  I have had not only the privilege of teaching in New York City, Montreal & Toronto for various studios, but also of owning & operating my own studio downtown Toronto, Bikram Yoga Centre.  With a successful run, steady growth & a great location, I was able to share my passion & educate people on the power of this yoga series.

With big life changes happening, my husband & I decided to sell the studio & relocate our family to Ancaster.

I am thrilled to be a part of Bikram Yoga Hamilton, and my goal as a yoga teacher is to guide people on the road to recovery, to help them de-stress, find more joy & embrace love & compassion.

It is with a regular & consistent practice whereby the results will be tenfold.  Finding a deeper connection with yourself will ultimately allow you to establish better relationships moving forward.  Patience, Determination & Faith are key.

“Learn to trust the process, & believe in yourself.”

Sophia Van Hamme

Instructor

Sophia Van Hamme

I studied Nursing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, graduating from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 2011. During my education, I found a yoga studio offering Hot Yoga and thought I had found something amazing. It wasn’t until I travelled to London UK to finish my degree where I found a true Bikram Hot Yoga studio and really fell in Love.

Finishing school, I decided I would look for a job in any city with a Bikram studio, landing in Hamilton! I began my full time practice at Bikram Yoga Hamilton Dundas (BYHD) and my full time nursing career at Hamilton Health Sciences. I had always had a vision of uniting eastern health practices with the western medical system and after working for only a few months I realized that combining the two schools of thought would bring on such a profound change in people’s health and wellbeing…But I needed somewhere to start. At the same time, I was seeing the transformative changes of Bikram Yoga in my life, physically, mentally and spiritually. I soon found myself at the Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in Los Angeles, California graduating in November 2012.

I began teaching right away in Mexico City at Bikram Yoga Mexico before returning to work at the hospital in Hamilton, and now have the honor of teaching at my home studio, BYHD. Bikram Yoga is an empowering practice, allowing us to realize our potential and to take control of our own health. Through teaching this yoga I am able to inspire and motivate others to live the fullest life possible, like a flower petal blooming!

Katherine Pohl

Instructor

Katherine Pohl

Hi everyone! My name is Katherine and I began practicing Bikram Yoga in August 2012. I had always been an avid runner, especially in the summer season. Friends and family deemed me nuts for running in the sweltering heat, but I loved it. So when my best friend suggested I join her for hot yoga, I figured I’d give it a try. Little did I know that this decision would change my life forever.

After my first class, I was hooked. By my third class, I already knew this yoga would be a part of me for the rest of my life. Not only was I exercising in the heat, but I could do so all year around and I wasn’t destroying my joints the way I would when running 10km outdoors. I felt and saw the changes immediately. I felt better about myself, found better ways of dealing with stress and I was overall a happier person.

In the fall of 2013, I graduated from Bikram’s Teacher Training. I graduated from Mohawk College’s Recreation and Leisure services program in 2008 and when I am not teaching yoga, I work in the Recreation department at Extendicare, a long term care facility here in Hamilton, creating and implementing activities and programs for the residents.

In my spare time when I’m not doing yoga, I enjoy travelling, listening to a wide variety of musical talents, exploring nature trails and spending time with friends and family. I look forward to teaching and practicing with all of you.

Namaste!

Martha Shea

Instructor

Martha Shea

Martha has been practicing and teaching yoga for 16 years. Martha received her first 300 hour yoga certification with The American Yoga Academy in the year 2000. In 2001 Martha received her yoga certification from The Yoga and Healing Center in New Jersey with Wendy Grosse, who specialized in Soul Sweat Yoga. In 2003, Martha was certified in Prenatal Yoga with Janice Clarfield at Kripalu Yoga, and in 2008, her Yoga Ed Certification in Ontario.

Martha has been inspired by David Life and Sharon Gannon, the founders of Jivamukti yoga, and has attended several intensive training and summer camps with them. Martha also spent a week long intensive with Bikram Choudrey at Kripalu Yoga and is very familiar with the magic of who he is and the yoga he has created. This year, Martha completed her Baron Baptiste Level 3, and is currently working on her certification with him.

Martha believes she is just a better everything when she leaves her mat .Her mat is a vehicle for creativity, freedom and personal growth. It is a place of pure space where she connects to her blessings, center, her strength and her authenticity. Yoga has brought Martha through some very challenging times in her life. It reminds her constantly that she is always stronger than she thinks she is, and it reminds her to be present in her moment in her life, one breath at a time. Her extreme yoga goal is to ignite this same flame in as many people as possible and watch them shine!

May Lively

Instructor

May Lively

My name is May. I earned my bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1999 and started working in the marketing industry after graduation. I was first introduced to Bikram yoga in 2008. Like so many people, I did it because it seemed like a great way to whip myself into shape and gain some flexibility. As a member of True fitness in Bangkok, I was able to try many different styles of yoga. Once I tried Bikram Yoga, I was hooked. I enjoyed it at first and from there it changed from something I LOVED to do into something “had” to do to. I feel uprooted if I miss even a few days of practice.

“Physically – obesity; emotionally – depression. And, for those two issues, Bikram Yoga is great.” — Rajashree Choudhury

For me, the most important benefits is emotional health. As a mother of two young children, there are many challenges in everyday life. Going into the hot room has helped me get much needed time for myself, but has also helped me become a better mother. I am refreshed and renewed by having and accomplishing my own goals and I am modeling better behaviour for my kids.

I used to have many mood swings – they have disappeared.  As for physical benefits, there are so many – deep sleeps, my bad knee injury — are aimed toward strengthening and healing process, quick metabolism, better digestion, fit body and the list goes on and on! Bikram yoga gives me physical and emotional strength and makes me feel empowered and in control of my life. Yoga is an important part of my day that helps to calm my mind.

After completing Bikram’s Yoga College of India Teacher Training in 2012.  My goal in life is to share the joy and beauty of yoga with others.

I believe that yoga is a sacred gift, and I am honored to share the practice with students at any stage in the journey. My intention as a teacher is to guide students to see and believe in their own highest potential, using the body, breath, and Bikram Yoga asana as a vehicle. I hope to create a challenging, safe and loving space that inspires transformation in the body, mind, and heart. I vow to honor diversity, to teach with integrity, and I strive to always teach from the heart. I believe that my students are my greatest teachers, and I find great joy in and am continuously humbled by sharing the experience of Bikram Yoga, which I deeply love.

Namaste

Jane Wood

Instructor

Jane Wood

Having been an endurance athlete for many years, I turned to yoga in 2009 with the thought that it would help me undo some of the damage I had done to my body.

At that time I needed to add some softer, much needed flexibility work to my athletic life.

Several years later, four kids and a few businesses are suddenly on my plate, I rediscovered yoga – this time more as a life line.  I was hanging on by a thread – so lost in my own busy brain – all day every day. Stress levels were off the chart!

Yoga became my one hour every day where I had to ‘Let Go’ – ‘Be Here Now’ – to shut my brain down as much as was possible, and give time to me….. to sweat, relax and restore.

Yoga became such an important aspect of my life, I decided to take the 200 Hour Teacher Training as the next logical step. If yoga helped me this much – I had to help others.

Having been a fitness instructor for many years for GoodLife (Spin and Step and Newbody), I am drawn to challenging group fitness classes.  Inferno Hot Pilates seemed like a logical certification to add to my list.  If you haven’t tried IHP – you must!  It is likely to change your life – and your idea of how hard your body can work in a room set to 100F with 45% humidity!!! 🙂