Meet the Sumits Yoga Staff

Scroll through to read all about your Sumits Yoga instructors!


Tracy

My yoga journey began as a PE requirement in college, but quickly became the highlight of my course schedule. Over the next 20 years, yoga was something I loved to do, but I only practiced on occasion. I had the limited mindset that my workouts needed to be more intense than what the four corners of my mat could provide. Thank goodness with age comes wisdom!

Through a friend, I went to Sumits a week after they opened and something in me changed. I fell in love with the sequence and immediately realized that regular yoga was exactly what I needed, had been subconsciously craving, and would forever be an essential part of my life.
I know that yoga allows me to breathe more gently through life, learn grace and acceptance, and bring calm to the chaos that surrounds our busy lifestyles today.
I believe my yoga journey is still in its early stage...constantly evolving and growing. Yoga teaches us so much, if we are willing to listen. I want to share and encourage this journey with all who want to experience it.

"Penetration of our mind is the goal. But in the beginning, to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat." - B.K.S. Iyengar


Alex

I started practicing yoga just a few years ago when a Sumits studio opened down the street from my house in Columbia, Missouri. I hadn’t had much experience with yoga. Actually, I had never even been to a real class, much less a heated sequence that was 80 minutes. So I figured why not give it a try, this is the popular trend, how tough can it be?

Needless to say I was unprepared, from attire to etiquette, I was in way over my head. I left thinking these people were insane, yet I admired their skill and dedication. It took me a couple weeks to find the courage to show my face at the studio again, but I was determined to make it through a class.

From then on I showed up with a positive attitude ready to work. It took some time, but I started to realize that a little progress was a huge accomplishment. I was hooked. It was humbling to be challenged both physically and mentally at a routine I could do each and every day. It became clear that this wasn’t a new trend, it wasn’t the workout of the month, for me it was a new lifestyle.

I was thrilled to find out Sumit was hosting a training at the Columbia studio. I realized how much yoga had benefited my life over the last 7 months by helping me work through depression, improve my sleep patterns, and boosting my energy – getting back in shape was just an added bonus. In June of 2013 I took the plunge. Over the next 200 hours my main focus was finding a deeper understanding of exactly why yoga affected me so positively, so I could pass that knowledge on. Helping others set goals and continue on their yoga journeys, finding a path with more peace and balance.

I’m very thankful for all my friends and mentors in the yoga community who encourage and inspire me in my own practice. Namaste.


Emily

I have always been very active and focused on self-improvement through health and fitness.  My journey with yoga began about 5 years ago. When I incurred a lower back injury in 2008, I found that traditional therapy and exercise routines were not aiding in my recovery.  Even with my limited exposure to yoga at the time, I felt that the practice of yoga would bring me greater benefits than mainstream remedies.  I subsequently abandoned those ineffective techniques and focused all my energy on yoga to heal myself.  As a result of this sensational process, my injury and other associated ailments completely healed.  Thanks to yoga, I have overcome many challenges and transformed the core of my being through increased mental, emotional, and physical strength.  My passion for yoga, coupled with a healthy lifestyle and regular doses of the great outdoors, has brought me inner balance and peace.

During the course of my yoga experiences, I have been exposed to and practiced several different forms.  My main influences of study are Vinyasa, Hatha, and Iyengar. However, my dominate study of practice is Bikram.  I seek to share my knowledge and experience with everyone; all the way from the beginner student to the lifelong practitioner.  I believe that a positive exchange with students and practitioners creates an enhanced learning environment where the benefits of yoga are maximized.


Melissa

My journey with Sumits Hot Yoga started in 2006 in Springfield, MO.  I was driving and noticed a big van labeled “hot yoga”.  Being a soccer and tennis player my entire life I always had an interest in health and fitness but never thought I would enjoy any type of yoga.  My first class was interesting; not even being able to touch my toes, balance on one leg, or breath correctly was a little frustrating to say the least.  My initial thought was “these people are kind of crazy”.

I was determined to improve and continued going to class 2-4 times a week.  Eventually I saw my flexibility and balance improve.  Learning to breath correctly was the peak in my yoga practice.  I began to make it through class much easier and truly enjoyed every posture.  I always struggled with anxiety, stress, and digestive issues.  Practicing Sumit’s Yoga gradually helped my mental focus, strength, and flexibility.  I found myself having more positive energy on a day to day basis.  My overall health improved and I felt better than I ever had before.

Yoga is for every single person.  I invite you to try it even if you have never done anything like it before and you will be amazed how 60-80 minutes can change your life.  The hardest part is just making it to your mat.

I would like to thank Nikki, Stephanie, and Mark at the Springfield, MO studio for everything they have done.  They are extraordinary instructors to learn from.  Thank you to Sumit Banerjee for creating a remarkable practice that has changed the person I am today.


Michelle

I was first introduced to yoga in 2000, on a California beach with a friend.  Returning to St. Louis, I searched out classes to attend and started loving the feeling of clarity and peace that came with the physical practice.  I completed  training and began changing higher intensity aerobics classes on my schedule, to power yoga. It became my love and livelihood. After many years in the fitness industry, I had accepted that I would have this strong yet thick athletic body.  However, through various trainings, trials and errors, especially barre, I combined the elements which became this method, and the answer to smaller and leaner muscle definition. I lost three inches in my thighs and three on my biceps… amazing!  I have combined all of this knowledge and training into this class, using light weights and your own body weight to do Yoga & Sculpt. This will improve balance, posture, and muscle tone.  I combine my own music mixes, and by using your entire body, my hope is you will benefit in the many ways I have. I look forward to sharing SUMITS SCULPT as new way to enjoy exercise and yoga while benefiting your body !!  xoxo


Stela

I discovered yoga at age 24 when I came across a yoga DVD in a friend’s basement. Since then, yoga has changed my life in unimaginable ways and it has become an essential part of my every day existence. In the beginning, yoga was a practice that helped me get physically stronger, more flexible, more grounded and better balanced. Later, it gave me the confidence I needed to try things that I never thought I would be capable. Slowly, my yoga practice has started to spill “off the mat” and it became a path to self-acceptance, love, compassion and truth. My love for yoga inspired me to start teaching. I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2011 at the White Lotus Foundation in Santa Barbara, CA. I am currently enrolled in the 500 hours YTT at Jane’s House, with anticipated graduation in July 2015.


Mandy

I began my yoga journey in January 2014 at the Sumits studio in Springfield, Missouri. I had only practiced yoga once or twice before at a gym so I didn’t have a lot of experience. My roommate at the time had been an avid sumits goer and had always talked about how amazing and relaxed she felt afterwards. Between working and school starting back up, I decided to give it a try.

My first class I was extremely nervous and felt a little out of my comfort zone. Between the intense heat and not knowing any of the poses, I quickly learned that my favorite pose was the one minute savassana on our mat. However, I left with a sense of accomplishment and overall calmness inside. I started going 2-3 times a week and I found that my anxiety had decreased and I had developed overall mental clarity.
Although I am still fairly new in my yoga journey, I’m so grateful for all the amazing benefits it’s shown me. This practice has made me stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. I am continually learning and growing as a person on and off my mat. If you are looking to do something great for your mind and body, come try a class with us today. I look forward to seeing you on your mat. Namaste.

“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self” – The Bhagavad Gita


Stacy

My Yoga journey began in May of 2009 when I first landed on my mat at Sumits Yoga in Phoenix Arizona and my experience was beyond words, touched so profoundly that I knew I would teach and guide others on their journey as well.  I saw very quickly the many benefits of practicing yoga, I felt mentally strong, more at peace and it completely changed me from the inside out.  One month later after practicing daily I decided to start Sumit Banjaree’s training, it has been an evolving journey ever since then.  My thirst for knowledge grew stronger and stronger as I started practicing Vinyasa and Power Yoga, In July of 2010 I studied with Dave and Cheryl Oliver with an emphasis in Astanga yoga, I received my 200 hour certification in October of 2010.  I have also studied with other amazing teachers such as Kathryn Budig, Katie Brauer and Danny Arguetty.  Whether teaching a Vinyasa flow class or teaching a set sequence in a heated room, I love teaching and seeing the transformation of my students on and off their mat.  Yoga is truly life changing and it is for anyone, the only thing you have to have is an open mind.  I look forward to seeing you on your mat!

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” -Lao-Tzu


Victoria

Victoria Chamberlin hails all the way from New England. She moved to Missouri to pursue her Doctorate of Chiropractic at Logan College of Chiropractic. Victoria has been practicing yoga for over fifteen years and is a certified 200-Hour trained Yoga Instructor under the direction of Paula Lynch Liberis with certification awarded by YogaWorks in New York City and has her RYT-200 credentials through Yoga Alliance. Victoria is also certified in mat pilates as well as apparatus pilates (reformer, cadillac/tower, chair, barrels), certification awarded by Pilates Academy International through Pilates on Fifth in NYC. She has extensive training in anatomy, physiology and biomechanics as well as special populations and pre/post natal pilates and yoga. Victoria’s philosophy is simple: she believes in healing and wellness from the inside out!


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Kendra

I am a wife, friend, daughter, sister:  An optimistic environmentalist and a slacker vegetarian.  I currently live in Lake Saint Louis with my fur-babies and my husband, Justin.

A former Division 1 athlete, I’ve been described as an unyielding free spirit who happens to dress in business casual. While it’s true I may be a flurry of contradictions (my favorite quote is Gandhi’s “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” and my favorite movie is Adventures in Babysitting), my unconventional worldview and lighthearted brand of consciousness have become my signature to friends and family.

I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where my father was a banker and my mother ran a day care out of our home.  My parents’ devotion to the success of their children allowed me to pursue my talents in basketball which ultimately led to a full athletic scholarship at the University of Missouri and the opportunity to travel the country.  My basketball career gave me a passion for lifelong fitness, but it also gave me some inflexible joints and persistent pain.

Suggested by my mom, a long time yoga enthusiast I tried yoga. I quickly saw that yoga also aligned with my spiritual outlook and allowed me to practice mental and physical discipline, which resulted in greater overall balance for me. Having said that, I love a sweaty Powerful Yoga flow. It pushes the limits of your mind and body.

I completed my vinyasa teacher training to earn my 200 RYT in the fall of 2011 and continuing my education hours in Yin/restorative yoga. The growth I have seen in myself and the strength I've gain since completely my training have been nothing short of life changing and I look forward to sharing what I've learned with the Sumits tribe.