Having spent her childhood living all over the world, Sun Yoga founder Michele Lowchinovscy Santos found a special connection to Hawaii while attending Hawaii Pacific University. The light and warmth of the islands spoke to Michele and guided her to make Hawaii her home. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, Michele spent the next seven years dedicating herself to the field of mental health as a therapist for children with special needs here on Oahu. Grace, her first client, proved to be a key force guiding Michele on her yoga path.
Grace was a little girl diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a condition that left her unable to speak or move deliberately. However, as Michele would soon come to learn and love, Grace had an immense ability to communicate love and strength from within, a quality Michele would use over the years as inspiration. Understanding the difficulties Grace’s family sometimes faced around their daughter’s care, Michele asked Grace’s mother how she dealt with the challenges that invariably arose. Her answer was simple: Yoga. Soon after, Michele received a hot yoga class package as a gift from Grace’s family. It was love at first practice.
Michele realized that while she enjoyed her career in psychology, her path attraction was very strong. Michele focused on teaching yoga to others and found great joy in fostering connections with her students. Again and again, she realized her purpose was to share the gift she herself had received years before. With the birth of her second child, Michele found renewed strength to fulfill her dream of deepening her knowledge and sharing the practice of hot yoga.
Sun Yoga Hawaii is the culmination of everything Michele has always wanted to experience in a yoga class. Sun Yoga is her labor of love, a calling from her heart, a unique practice that she hopes will help others fulfill their desires to feel happy and fit, experience peace and personal growth, heal unity. Sun Yoga is dedicated to Grace, the little girl who taught Michele the importance of locating and communicating love and inner strength.
Michele’s Yoga certifications include:
2007 – Original Hot Yoga with Bikram Chouldhury, Honolulu, HI
2011 – 200-hour Open Space Teacher Training with Mary Bastien, Honolulu, HI
2016 – 200-hour Sivananda Teacher Training in Rudraprayag, India
2017 – Meditation Training at One World Academy in Chennai, India
2017 – Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Jared Sam, Big Island, HI
2018 – 300-Hour Teacher Training with Yogi Charu in Honolulu, HI
2019 – iRest Yoga Nidra Level 1 with iRest Institute
Michele continues to offer 200-hr Sun Yoga Teacher Trainings every year, to ensure the quality of the teacher instruction and alignment with the culture of Sun Yoga Hawaii.
Michele discovered through the years of practice and trainings, that yoga is much more that a physical practice for health and flexibility. Yoga it is a way of living. It is the gentle reminder to be here now, in the present moment, living the magic! Yoga is for life & beyond, a path of much aloha.
One of Michele’s favorite quote is:
“The important thing in life is not to think much but to love much; and so, do that which best stirs you to love.” – Mother Teresa of Ávila
Born in Frankfurt, Germany, Selena spent most of her childhood in Southern California. Arriving in Hawai’i at the age of twelve to attend The Kamehameha Schools—a private school exclusively for students with Hawaiian ancestry. Her love of music led her to partner with schoolmates working as DJs for the school dances. Her early professional career involved retail merchandising in the fashion industry where she held high-level management positions for many years before turning her attention to deeper creative pursuits. Selena worked for almost a decade as a manager at thirtyninehotel, a first of its kind multimedia space in Chinatown, Honolulu. Here, she also honed her skills as a DJ, and she works now all over Honolulu and the neighbor islands as a DJ known as Princess X.
Ten years ago, in response to the difficult news of a cancer diagnosis found in her mother, Selena began her yoga journey by taking the teacher training at Sun Yoga. With the support of the loving teachers and the Sun Yoga community, Selena discovered her inner strength through the challenges of infrared heat and the healing energy of the new yogi lifestyle.
Selena is RYT 200 with way over 200 hours. She completed her training with Sun Yoga and Open Space.
Her biggest inspiration has been the community at Sun Yoga; teachers and the students, the strength and vulnerability that comes with the commitment to be in the hot room. Her journey with yoga has furthered her interests. In addition to yoga, she shares her love of music with DJing, she enjoys creating beautiful spaces and delicious, nutritious food, she is an avid reader and enjoys watching inspiring documentaries. She can be found cloud and star gazing, and exploring the unknown while expanding the mind and heart space. She is a dedicated caretaker and lover of laughter and believes deeply in the power of love and intention.
“Yoga works on your conscience. Yoga works on your consciousness. Yoga works on your intelligence. Yoga works on your senses. Yoga works on your flesh.Yoga works on your organs of perception. Thus, it is known as the global art.”
Cara was born and raised on this beautiful island of Oahu. Her first love came at the age of 9, in the form of dance. Little did she know this relationship would turn into a lifelong love affair. Upon graduating from Castle Performing Arts High School in 2002, she embarked on a journey, of transforming her passion into a career. Thriving in Los Angeles was not quick or easy, but in 2007 she found her niche; a group of misfits who became known as Fanny Pak. They stormed the second season of MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew, representing anyone who’s ever felt misplaced. Their slogan; “Be you. Be different. Join the Pak.” It was a calling for both acceptance and unity.
Over the next decade, she continued creating and performing with various artists and productions. Traveling the world broadened her view of people, culture, and life. But the more attached to the industry she became, the more disconnected to herself she felt. This began her commitment to yoga, in 2015, after returning to her homeland, and giving birth to her first daughter. After two years of practice in Bikram, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yin, and Meditation, she underwent teacher training at our beloved Sun Yoga Hawaii. Since then she has also received her 200 RYT from Open Space Yoga. Her vision is to combine her passion for yoga and all forms of art to promote wellness, FUN, and UNITY community and worldwide. Most importantly, to do it all with unconditional LOVE, because “when we love we strive to become better than we are, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” -Paulo Coehlo
Clyde was born and raised in Hawaii. An avid surfer since he was a kid, he picked up yoga when he moved to Santa Clara for a job transfer in 2008. His daughter Marissa took him to his first yoga class and he has been glued to his mat ever since. Clyde has been teaching yoga since 2013, and has traveled extensively attending numerous yoga trainings and retreats. He is 500 RYT certified and has completed yoga teacher trainings in Ashtanga, Hatha, Hot Yoga (Bikram Style), Power Yoga, Sculpt, Sun Yoga, and Yoga Nidra.
His greatest yoga inspiration came from several influential teachers and students in the mainland and Hawaii, that he had the opportunity to learn and practice with. He practices yoga daily and once completed a 1500 day yoga challenge. He was so focused on completing this challenge, that he once practiced yoga the same morning he received 14 stitches in his chin from a surfing accident in cold water near Half Moon Bay!
“Happy people build their inner world. Unhappy people blame their outer world.”
T. Harv Eke
Tanya is from Honolulu and has been practicing yoga for 20 years. She took her first yoga class (Bikram yoga) when she was living and teaching elementary school in Seattle. Over the years, she has practiced many styles of yoga including Hatha, Bikram, Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Iyengar. She has attended workshops and training on a variety of topics including posture alignment, inversions/arm balances, jump backs and jump throughs, handstands, Ayurveda, meditation and Yoga Nidra. In 2014-2015, she participated in regional and national yoga demonstrations, which enabled her to focus on building strength, flexibility, and alignment in postures. She completed her 200 hour with Mary Bastien of Open Space Yoga. She completed a 300 hour advanced yoga teacher training in classical Hatha Yoga and went on an inspirational retreat to India with her teacher Yogi Charu in 2018. Yoga has been her constant throughout life’s ups and downs, while balancing a career as a mentor for public school educators/professional development facilitator and as the mother of two boys. Yoga has taught her how to be more grounded, balanced, and fearless, both on and off the mat. Tanya is passionate about sharing her love of yoga with everyone, from kindergarteners to adults. Her classes are accessible to all levels, focusing on using the breath to create balance in the body, while emphasizing proper alignment. Classes always end with meditation, bringing steadiness and openness to the mind.
“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” – Robert Holden
Laurie was born and raised in beautiful Hawai`i. She grew up dancing ballet, hula and gymnastics. She was first introduced to hot yoga in 2012 here at the Sun Yoga studio and it was love at first sight. Struggling to find an activity that captured her mind and heart, hot yoga fit perfectly. The teachers and community at Sun Yoga were so encouraging and inspiring, that she continued a consistent practice for 7 years. One of the mantras shared in class, “Positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes.” resonated with her. Focusing on the positive energy and learning to control the breath was part of the journey. As a 4th grade teacher, the practice of using the breath to focus and calm the mind was not just beneficial in her own life, but also for her lstudents.
In 2020, Laurie made the leap to complete the Sun Yoga teacher training so that she would have the opportunity to share her passion for yoga with others. Teaching yoga in a warm and loving studio; encouraging other yogis to realign their mind, body and spirit, was therapy and a way for Laurie to give back to her community.
Yoga has helped her to find stillness in the mind and gratitude in life. She is grateful for the opportunity to help others find what they need in their yoga journey.
Favorite quotes: “Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together.” B.K.S. Iyengar
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Gandhi
Junko was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan and spending busy days for many years. Junko’s yoga journey has began since 2009. She loves exercise and believed that she could do everything. However, Yoga was different. Asana told her it’s not easy. She met a great teacher in Tokyo. The teacher told her many things, breathe control, mind control, not too much for yourself and simply enjoy your life! That things are very fresh for her. She moved to Oahu in 2010 then soon after started Bikram. In 2019 , she completed RYT-200 hour training in Hatha, Vinyasa and Yin with Livewell Institute. She taught for the tourists at he beaches and hotels in Waikiki. In 2020, she got a great invitation to teach at Sun Yoga. In 2021, she completed RYT-300 hour training with Yoga Mu. She met amazing teachers since began to practice. Their inspiration is a big gift for her. Because, it could change her life.
She believes accurate practice means no injuries. Good health brings happiness to you, your family and friends. Daily practicing is a good check list in her life. She really enjoys teaching, loves to see people’s smiles.
“The yogi learns to forget the past and takes no thought for the morrow. He lives in the eternal present”
Dave started his yoga journey in 2011. He found yoga through a work colleague and yoga teacher, Paula Ota.
He soon realized that yoga was a way to help with back issues.
A surfer for over 50 years and a professional photographer for over 30 years, Dave found that yoga helped him recover from his injuries and helped him to focus. It really helped his surfing.
In 2020 Dave had the opportunity to take teacher training with Michele Santos at Sun Yoga Hawaii during his experience resulting from the pandemic. This disruption in the world made him understand and appreciate how embracing change can help forge new paths in the human experience.
Dave’s love of his family Michelle, Ryan, Claire, Harri, and 3 fur babies keeps him grounded and ready to take on new challenges along life’s journey.
Dave’s favorite quote is “ Life is like a camera. Focus on what is important. Capture the good times. Develop from the negatives. And if things don’t work out- take another shot.”
Aloha & Namaste
You can follow Dave on Instagram @DaveMiyamotoPhotography, and his YouTube Channel “Yoga With Aloha”.
Jo Ann was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Growing up with parents who love the outdoor life, she was taught by her dad how to fish, dive, surf, and ride skateboard. Sort of a tom boyish life. At the age of 9, she discovered a true passion for hula and tahitian dancing. Performing at multiple venues. She loved dancing as each unique dance was important in their meaning and way of life. She is also a certified reiki healer and has attained her first and second degree in Reiki Healing in the method of natural healing “Usui Shiki Ryoho”. She uses this technique to help heal family, friends, and animals.
She was introduced to hot yoga in 2014 practicing various types of yoga until she found her passion and fell in love with sculpt yoga. After years of dedicated practice and experiencing first hand healing power of yoga she furthered her study and obtained her teaching qualification through Sun Yoga Hawaii LLC in 2020. She uses her creative mind to create a playlist and sequence for sculpt class which takes her deeper into her own practice. For her, it’s about consistency. She teaches as she practices, encouraging students to feel and find better alignment. She practices her sense of self-discipline using the Niyama “Tapa” with passion and courage in and off her mat in order to burn away her impurities; physically, mentally and emotionally paving her way to a greater life. Also, the benefit of giving with great gratitude is truly a daily quote she lives for. Her yoga journey is so rewarding, as she honors herself from the inside out living in divine light.
Favorite quote by Rumi
The wound is the place where the light enters you
Nicole was born and raised in Costa Rica, where she grew up watching both her parents practice meditation and yoga. Consequently, taking up the discipline herself came organically. She completed her first Astanga workshop, led by Larry Schultz from Yoga Works, in 2003. As a result, she became a dedicated Astanga practitioner and began teaching the series to friends and family informally. One day, a close friend and yoga teacher asked her to cover a class for her at a gym to which she agreed. Nervously, she stepped into a huge room filled with 30 plus students. Somehow the nerves dissipated as she began to lead the flow, and she was hired as a permanent teacher at the gym soon thereafter.
In 2005, Nicole completed her 200 hour interdisciplinary yoga teacher training from the Nosara Yoga Institute and was hired as lead yoga teacher at a luxury hotel in the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. There, she led weekly yoga workshops along with private and group classes for both locals and tourists.
Nicole moved to Oahu in 2015 and started teaching at several yoga studios upon arrival. In Hawaii, she was hired as a teacher trainer for 200 hour vinyasa teacher trainings led by Natalie Cruz. In 2019, she completed Yogi Charu’s training in Yoga Nidra.
Nicole also majored in Psychology and was a licensed therapist for several years in Costa Rica. She is currently completing her studies to become a certified Yoga Therapist as well as earning her Masters in Counseling Psychology from Chaminade University. Nicole is passionate about the correlation between psychology and yoga, and aims to deliver a yoga class that promotes self inquiry and healing.
Aulani was born and raised on Oahu in Kaimuki. She grew up dancing hula and loving all things outdoors especially ocean related. After going to college and living in Seattle for awhile she finally came back to her island home. Her long career in Healthcare began in Pharmaceuticals and has covered a wide spectrum including local non-profits. Health and wellness always played a big role in her life and after having her son it naturally took on more importance. One of the big shifts to sustainable living include a thriving aquaponics farm in her backyard.
Previously an avid runner, a foot injury sparked her yoga journey. When Sun Yoga opened in her Aina Haina neighborhood it started Aulani’s path on to her inner bliss. She started not long after the studio opened and has been a regular ever since. In yoga she has found more energy and an inner calm that helps her move through busy daily life. Determined not to fall off the wagon during the pandemic, she faithfully tuned into Sun’s zoom classes and deepened her exploration into other yoga practices online. When the opportunity to do teacher training at Sun Yoga came up, she took a leap of faith and happily started on the path to guiding others on the yoga journey. When not practicing yoga she loves enjoying the beauty of our island home with her son, good music, gardening, sharing her harvest with friends and family and learning a little more each day.
So many favorite quotes, but here are a couple….
“Happiness does not depend on what you have or who you are. It relies solely on what you think.” – Buddha
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” – Joseph Campbell
Sheehan was born and raised in San Francisco. Seeking recovery from long-distance running, he found Yoga in 2016.
With a strong foundation in Ashtanga, Baptiste, and guidance from esteemed teachers, Sheehan’s style of vinyasa is a unique blend that emphasizes breath, Bandhas, and Drishti in both his personal practice and teaching. He believes in the transformative power of Yoga and is inspired by the creative freedom that Vinyasa Flow offers.
In addition to his dedication to Yoga, Sheehan enjoys music, reading, traveling, watching documentaries, and experimenting with new healthy recipes. He is a Mortgage Loan Officer, a licensed massage therapist, and actively promotes his wellness program – www.vital8.org
“Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream.”
– John Lennon
In 2005 Esther was working as an addictions & mental health clinician and part time fitness model. A close friend told her one simple thing: “Esther, you need yoga”. It was love at first sweat! Because of her background in social work and mental health she quickly realized the parallel paths of mental & physical healing that yoga offered. She felt her practice start to spark change within her and attended her first teacher training in 2006 so she could extend that gift to her clients and patients. She evolved from there to serve as staff and faculty for future teacher trainings, overseeing posture clinics and co-instructing CPR and First Aid certifications from 2007- 2010. She now finds joy as a contributing trainer/teacher for Evolation Yoga Teacher Training; offering various workshops; and teaching in studios locally.
When Esther isn’t in the hot room you’ll probably still find her sweating. She loves to hike, play in the ocean and spend as much time as possible with her dog, John Bubba Wick. In her class you can expect an energetic practice with focus on precision, form and breath. Esther firmly believes that yoga is for every BODY and will work to help make your practice work for YOU. Come to class with an open heart and open mind. Work hard, laugh, and the rest will take care of itself.
• 500-Hour Bikram Yoga with Bikram Choudhury 2006
• Bikram Advanced Series with Bikram Choudhury & Emmy Cleaves 2009
• RAD Yoga – Self-Myofascial Release Level 1 Certification with Chelsea Lee 2016
• Yin Yoga with Bernie Clark and Diane Batts 2016
• Trauma Informed Yoga with Nicola Mosley 2016
• PyroPilates with Missy Jones 2017
Master of Social Social UBC – 2000
Owner/Director Bikram Yoga Burnaby 2010-2015
Lululemon Yoga Ambassador 2012 – 2013
CHRISTY O HARRIS received a Master of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Somatics and the Alexander Technique from University of Colorado at Boulder. She served as adjunct faculty in the Movement Studies department at Naropa University and CU-Boulder from 1998-2008 until relocating to Kauai, Hawaii. She is a dedicated student of Rinzai Zen meditation with Hollow Bones Order and Chozenji, Honolulu; as well as, Yang style Tai Chi. In 2016, she completed a 200 hour yoga certification and Yoga Sculpt training and teaches a Vinyasa Flow yoga sequence with emphasis on alignment and breath. In October 2022, she joined Sun Yoga and has dedicated her efforts to serving the community in the form of administrator and counsel. In 2023, she completed Yin Yoga teacher’s training at Sun Yoga and introduces elements of release technique, breath work and experimental anatomy into her teaching methodology.
“One has to learn the art of falling upwards.”
Abbey Day was introduced to yoga in 2010 and immediately felt a deep connection with the practice. Since then, she has fully immersed herself in yogic philosophy, becoming a dedicated practitioner and student. Abbey has not only completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training, restorative teacher training, and coursework for 500-hour Ayurvedic training, but she has also pursued numerous workshops, accumulating nearly 500 hours of additional specialized training. These workshops have covered various subjects such as Sanskrit, yogic texts, and yoga Nidrā, which explores the space between sleep and consciousness. Since 2014, Abbey has been teaching yoga, utilizing her knowledge of Ayurveda to create thoughtful sequences suitable for all levels of practitioners. Her classes are described as slow flow, offering options for both challenge and relaxation, with ample time dedicated to rest and sound healing. Aside from her yoga teaching, Abbey also works as an elementary art teacher and is a mother to a preschooler and a dog. She is passionate about providing time and space for all her students to connect with their authentic voice and sense of self.
“Avrora Gunko is a Sun Yoga teacher, fitness and health coach, nutritionist, professional bodybuilder, and the co-founder of the “Vegan Curl” company. She is also the host of the podcast “Vegan Booty Talks.” Born in Ukraine, Avrora relocated to the USA approximately eight years ago.
Avrora holds certifications as an ISSA Personal Trainer and Nutritionist, boasting over a decade of experience in the fitness and health industry. She is a WNBF Pro Bodybuilder and a National NPC Bikini Champion. Through her holistic health approach, she has successfully assisted more than 100 individuals in overcoming conditions such as diabetes, overweight, and various other health challenges.
Passionate about harmonizing muscles, mind, and spirit with the universe, Avrora endeavors to guide each day towards becoming a better version of oneself. She made the move to Hawaii three years ago, where she continues to inspire people worldwide to strive for self-improvement and never cease their journey of growth.”
After realizing her passion and love for Yoga through San Francisco’s Purusha Yoga School in 2015, Elsa has since become a dedicated student and instructor at various studios across California to Hawaii. As a Yoga Alliance 200-hour RYT and certified Purusha Mat Pilates instructor, Elsa instructs a variety of classes including Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin and Mat Pilates. What initially started as a way to ease back pain has transformed into a way of life, full of gratitude. Elsa strives to keep her classes light, creative, full of energy, and especially, accessible. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, you can find Elsa on one of our beautiful beaches, painting, or asking to pet your dog.