Having spent a childhood living all around 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. Upon graduation with a BA in Psychology, Michele spent the next seven years dedicating herself in the mental health field as a therapist for special needs children here on Oahu. Grace, her first client, would prove to be a pivotal force in guiding Michele to her path of yoga.
Grace was a little girl diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, a condition that left her unable to speak or deliberately move. However, as Michele would soon come to learn and love, Grace had an immense capacity for communicating love and strength from within, a quality that Michele over the years would draw upon as inspiration. Understanding the hardships Grace’s family sometimes faced surrounding the care of their daughter, Michele asked Grace’s mother how she coped with the challenges that would invariably arise. Her response was simple: Yoga. Soon after, Michele was given a hot yoga class package as a gift from Grace’s family. It was love at first practice.
From that point on, Michele immersed herself in hot yoga. Having been a serious athlete in high school and college, Michele was initially surprised at the level of physical and mental intensity that was required in each and every class. Soaked in sweat, the heat echoed the hot summer days in Brazil where she played soccer; the sheer mental fortitude that was called upon reminded her of the final moments of the game when all she wanted to do was give in but instead pushed herself further. Michele marveled at hot yoga’s demands of focus and commitment to herself and those around her. Somewhere deep inside, the initial stirrings of what would become Michele’s true calling began to surface: She knew that one day she would become a yoga teacher.
During this period, Michele experienced new levels–She felt amazing and in the best shape of her life physically, mentally and emotionally. Hot yoga became her anchor and served to clarify and cleanse her body, conscience and soul. Hot yoga allowed her to melt away any feelings of anger, frustration, fear and anxiety she harbored. Each class demonstrated the need to have determination, concentration, patience and most of all…Faith. Michele appreciated that she could draw upon these strengths outside of the class and in her daily life if she wished as well. Slowly, career, marriage, and motherhood began to play larger roles in Michele’s life. Suddenly, it felt like there was no time for yoga and Michele felt lost. It was then Michele decided she needed to find a way back to her practice and finally answer to her calling.
Michele realized that although she enjoyed her career in psychology, the pull of her path was too strong. Michele focused on teaching yoga to others and received great joy in fostering connections with her students. Again and again, she realized her purpose was to share the gift that she herself had been given years before. With the birth of her second son, Michele found renewed strength to fulfill her dream of deepening her knowledge and sharing the practice of hot yoga. Her meditations increased, her practice of deep relaxations grew–and with it came a new clarity of what was to be. The light and warmth of the sun in Hawaii, her home, lit her heart and threw open a spark: Sun Yoga Hawaii was born.
Sun Yoga Hawaii is the culmination of all Michele ever wanted to experience in a yoga class. Sun Yoga is her labor of love, a calling that came from her heart, a unique practice she hopes will help others fulfill their desires to feel happy and fit, to experience peace and personal growth, to heal oneself, and to feel union. Sun Yoga is dedicated to Grace, the little girl that taught Michele the importance of locating and communicating the love and strength within.
Michele’s Yoga certifications include:
Michele is a lifelong learner. For her yoga practice is not a practice, it’s a way of living. She says, “Yoga is life, life is yoga. Yoga is union, it is our connection with the whole. Yoga is the journey to oneness, to wholeness. Yoga is peace. It harmonizes all aspects of life and all layers of our being.” A yoga lifestyle brings Michele back to what truly matters in life, to love. Her favorite quote is “The important thing is not to think much but to love much; and so do that which best stirs you to love.” – St. Teresa of Avila
Michele’s vision for Sun Yoga is that it may help as many people as possible feel great from the inside out, everyday in every way, positively affecting generations to come.
In May 2015 it will make 3 years that I walked through the door of Sun Yoga and fell in love, and I am grateful every day to have found this magical space. A few months later I was honored when Michele invited me to her teacher training, and since then I have been on a journey of self-discovery both on the mat and off.
When people ask me where I work, I pause. I say I teach at Sun Yoga Hawai’i, I don’t really consider it work. I am very lucky to share that hot room with everyone and I never take it for granted. I’m also very lucky to say that I take care of two beautiful Golden Retrievers that I live with full time. I get to take them to the beach every day and receive their endless love, loyalty, and gratitude. I know that I am a very lucky girl. I also believe that once I let go of a job that made me unhappy over 11 years ago the Universe was listening and set me on a different path. I am fortunate to have so many beautiful people in my life: a SUPERMOM who has always believed in me and loved me unconditionally; friends who I call family and I would do anything for; my hula Halau, an amazing group of spiritual practitioners; and really everyone that I come into contact with. I believe that we all have the opportunity to learn from each other. Whatever the experience, good or not so good…it’s all part of what makes us who we are. There is a quote I like to share while we are in savasana:
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
There have been moments of suffering or bad decisions, and that’s life! I wouldn’t change any of them, because they have brought me to this moment, this place in time.
*In addition to yoga, I love cooking, music, film & art, taking care of others, and thrift shopping.
“To become masters of Love, we have to practice Love.” –Don Miguel Ruiz
Yoga has been a part of Shana’s life for over 12 years. Her practice has helped her create deep and long-lasting relationships, and become more confident, strong, and grounded both on and off the mat. She completed her Sun Yoga Teacher Training in April of 2013 and her 200 HR Training in 2015 at Prana Yoga College in Tel Aviv, Israel. She also completed a 300 HR Teacher Training with Ruplai Embry at Sun Yoga Hawaii. On any given day you can probably find her swimming at eternity beach, gardening, or of course practicing yoga. She is currently teaching Sun Yoga and Yin Yoga classes.
Vivi Campello is a Brazilian actress and journalist who has been studying and practicing the ancient ways of the Divine Feminine in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since 2010 under the guidance of Aparecida Sauer, priestess of Isis. She had a profound mystical experience with the Hawaiian goddess Pele that led her to the Big Island of Hawaii, where she filmed the documentary Mahalo Pele.
She has been practicing Yoga for a few years, but teaching hot Sun Yoga has brought together everything she learned and gave her an opportunity to work with the fire element, present in both hot Sun Yoga and in her mystical experiences with the Hawaiian goddess Pele.
“The most powerful force on Earth is a human soul on fire” – Ferdinand Foch
Allyson Kumik began practicing yoga in 1999 at an Iyengar studio in San Francisco. She will never forget her teacher who brought out motivation in her that she didn’t see in herself. Her teachings and discipline stayed with her and she knew she was dedicated to life.
She returned home to Oahu and found Sun Yoga. She loves the beautiful studio, good energy, and the whole Sun Yoga community. It is “my happy place”. She maintains a daily practice of yoga or hiking, which inspires her to be a healthy, balanced, and centered life.
In 2016, Allyson became a certified Sun Yoga Teacher. She completed teacher training in Flow, Sculpt, Yin, and Ashtanga. She completed a 500-hour Yoga Alliance certification. She is currently doing a 500-hour Ayurveda program (May 2019). She believes teachers are forever students.
She loves learning, sharing her passion with others, and seeing student dedication and progress. She is genuinely interested in people’s stories, recognizes that people come to yoga for various reasons, and is supportive as they venture on their own yogic journey. It’s all about learning, sharing, caring, gratitude, and connection with ourselves, others, and the world around us.
She is most grateful to Michele and Marcos, family and friends, her “rock”, Jeremy, and her “heart”, Simone.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
Suzana’s love for Yoga started in 1994 in her hometown in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Since then, she’s been dedicating herself to study, travel and learn from many different great teachers. She continues to increase her knowledge of the physical, therapeutic, energetic and philosophical aspects of yoga. Suzana has had the chance to travel to India a few times to gain a deeper understanding of the yogic traditions and styles. Even though she is a (RYT) Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher, certified Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Yoga Sculpt, Meditation and Yin Yoga teacher, she considers herself a student. She likes to share that, “Yoga is a lifestyle, a way of living and it’s immeasurable the benefits that it creates in the consciousness and soul, mind and body. It is a path that enlighten and revel our true nature. It teaches us to go through situations with grace and patience, being present and also connected, gifting us with physical and mental flexibility, hope, health, compassion, calmness, strength, inner peace, balance, and a sense of community. I believe that when we step on our yoga mats we are practicing love for ourselves and sharing that love and light to the Universe.”
“Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”
– The Bhagavad Gita
Abbey discovered the benefits of yoga practice in Burlington, Vermont in 2010. While she had dabbled in sports and fitness, this was the first time she felt connected to her movements and recognized the great strength and release cultivated in yoga. After moving to Honolulu in 2011, Abbey became an avid yoga practitioner, seeking ways to use a mantra, pranayama, and other techniques to tap into the subtle energies that connect self with the greater universe. She has extensively studied restorative yoga with Chanti Tacorante-Perez, completed her 200-hour teacher training with Mary Bastien and Jennifer Reuter, has completed her 300-hour teacher training, and continues to study towards her 500-hour certification. A long-time art educator, Abbey explores and shares the connection between yogic practices, intuition, and creativity. Abbey’s classes aim to turn students’ attention inward so that they may leave feeling refreshed and clear-minded.
Fran was born and raised in Curitiba, Brazil. She spent her early years as a dancer and swimmer. She took her first yoga class in India and was drawn to yoga’s movement as a way to recharge and restore her mental and physical well-being. She found her path to Hot Yoga while living in Japan and eventually got her Hot Yoga certification in Koh Samui, Thailand in 2010.
Fran offers her students both challenging and carefully guided practice, helping them move their bodies and minds not only in the hot room but in life. Fran believes that yoga is a lifetime of learning and she is beyond grateful to be able to connect and inspire through the practice. Full of smiles and joy, Fran believes that LOVE is the key to everything in life.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Cara spent the majority of her life training as a dancer. She moved to Los Angeles in 2006 and was fortunate enough to make a career out of her life-long passion, for nearly 10 years. However, the wear+tear of the industry took a substantial toll on her, both physically and mentally, and she began seeking a way to reverse its effects. She found that path in the form of hot yoga. After devoting a year to Bikram, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa classes, she sought her new home at Sun Yoga, where she practiced for another year before deciding to embark on her next journey; teacher training. Cara is incredibly thankful for all the instruction and guidance she’s received on the mat and off, and hopes to return the favor to her students as she continues to pursue the path to true yoga, wherever and whatever it may be.
Tanya has been practicing yoga for 20 years. 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 hours 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 demanding 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. She is grateful for the opportunity to share the knowledge that has been passed down from her teachers. She considers herself a lifelong student, always evolving and growing in this journey of yoga. 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
Kris started her yoga journey in 2003 but found her real passion for yoga while running and training for half marathons. She learned to use yoga to not only stretch properly and build endurance but to focus her mind and control her breathing. Yoga Alliance certified, Kris received her 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification from Colleen Brady at Younique Yoga and her received her GroovyKids™️ Kids Yoga certification from Greville Henwood. Additionally, Kris is certified in Restorative and Yin Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, and has concentrated work in Yoga for Athletes with Sage Rountree. In 2020, Kris received her 300 hour certification.
Kris is passionate about sharing her powerful vinyasa style yoga with practitioners of all ages and skill levels with the hope that everyone can connect to yoga in the way that is right for them. She strives to keep her classes creative, lighthearted, and challenging, hoping to allow her students to find freedom, confidence, and empowerment in their body and mind.
Favorite Quote – “Be Still and Know” and “Every passing minute is another chance to turn it all around.”
Favorite Place – Hawaii. I have tried to move here for 15 years. I’m here and LOVE this island.
Favorite Pastime – beach, water, reading, yoga
Favorite Food – Tortilla chips, Mexican food, ahi tuna and Italian food
Fun Fact – my “go by” name is nowhere on my birth certificate
Yoga has taught Kris to understand the journey. Each and every day can be different. Trust the journey and, most importantly, trust yourself.
You can follow her on Instagram @YogalifewithKris
RYT-200, Vinyasa, Hatha, Gentle
Yoshino grew up in Hokkaido, Japan. Hokkaido has an environment surrounded by beautiful nature. At 18 years old, Yoshino had a desire to travel and see the world. She started to travel the world during this time and traveled more than 15 countries. During her journey, she had a serious injury and went home to Japan. After recovering from her Injury, Yoshino found Yoga in 2005 in Sapporo. She had never experienced how her body and mind could be so relaxed in Savasana. She also learned that Yoga would help with circulations, and awaken the nerve systems she thought she lost from her injury.
Yoshino visited Hawaii in the year 2000, and she knew she wanted to live here. Yoshino moved to Hawaii in 2010 and found her favorite yoga studio. She completed a RYT-200hr training in Vinyasa, Hatha Yoga with Stephanie Keiko Kong, Mickel’ Yust in summer of 2017 at Yoga Hawaii.
Since then she have been practicing yoga at Open Space Yoga, and has been inspired by the great teachers.
Yoshino found Sun Yoga Hawaii for meditation class in 2018, and met Michele during the 2020 pandemic. Yoshino became a certified Sun Yoga teacher, and has been practicing there since. She now feels like she has found her home.
Yoshino also teaches yoga at the Halekulani hotel in Waikiki. She enjoys teaching the guests from all over the world.
Yoga is an important part of her life, and she would be happy to share her soul at Sun Yoga Hawaii. She is excited to guide you not only in physical practice, but also to help to find inner peace through the practice.
Yoshino is also a great artist off mat as she has always inspired by beautiful things.
Her favorite thing to do: Meditation
Her favorite place : Hawaii
Her favorite food : Chocolate
Her resolution : Becoming a surfer girl lol
“Shine Like Stars in the Dark World”
~ Philippians 2:15
Aloha! My name is Junko and I have been teaching at Sun Yoga since October 2021. My yoga journey began in 2009 in Tokyo, very soon after I was addicted to yoga. In my first class the teacher said: “no force, no hurry” often, I thought why? I realized that I need to see myself. The process is more important than the result. So, my curiosity keeps getting bigger.
I’ve practiced and been influenced by many styles of yoga: Raja, Hatha, Power, Vinyasa, and Yin with great teachers. I moved to Hawaii in 2010 and started Hot Yoga. That was exciting for me, the movement with breathing and a high room temperature of 105 degrees was challenging. I took my first yoga teacher training through Livewell Institute in 2019. Right after I started to teach at beaches and hotels in Waikiki. I came to Sun Yoga during the pandemic in 2020 when the studio reopened in June. I fell in love with the practice, the studio, and the community and decided to complete the training. It has been such a pleasure and a wonderful experience to be a part of Sun Yoga!
In yoga philosophy, I love Santosha. It means contentment. I like to practice this niyama. Also, I love to exercise, pilates, swimming, golf and walking.
I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Sun Yoga ohana. Let’s practice together! I believe Yoga brings a wonderful impact on our lives. Om Shanti.
“Never say No, Never say I cannot, for you are Infinite. All the power is Within you. You can do anything.”
My name is Natasha, I have been teaching for Sun Yoga Hawai’i since December 2020. I started practicing yoga in 2013 when I first moved to Hawai’i for college. I had just sprained both sides of my right ankle. At that time, I didn’t know insurance was an option (I was young). So I started doing Ashtanga yoga in my dorm room every day. A few weeks passed by and my ankle was miraculously healed. Ever since then I became a BIG advocate for yoga. I was always telling my friends to do yoga and inviting them to do it with me. All my friends always encouraged me to teach yoga, but I never paid them any mind. Until one day I was at the right place at the right time and yoga teacher training just fell in my lap. I completed my first 200-he Teacher Training with Sub Yoga Hawaii in 2020.
I am also a personal trainer. I see and understand how mobility is so important for everyday movement. I love being able to see the strength combined with concentration during yoga. It is a meditation and a journey within itself.
My favorite quote:
“Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, the science of youthfulness, the science of integrating body, mind, and soul.” – Amit Ray
My hobbies include anything water-related, especially surfing 🏄🏻♀️.
I am so grateful to be part of the Sun Yoga Ohana, and I can’t wait to see you all in class.
Winnie discovered yoga in an attempt to kick-start her fitness journey. She struggled with issues of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and body image from a very young age. Initially, she was drawn to the practice purely for its asana as she quickly noticed that her physical strength was improving. However, as she began to cultivate a more consistent practice, she was surprised to find that her mental and emotional states were far more balanced than they had ever been. Winnie lost a total of 70 lbs in her first year of practicing yoga. But much more than the pounds, she began to shed away feelings of insecurity, unworthiness, and angst that have been plaguing her mental health for years. Now, she feels an overwhelming sense of self-acceptance, inner peace, oneness, and joy every time she steps on her mat.
Winnie believes that a consistent yoga practice can truly transform anybody’s life. She loves teaching a powerful yet dynamic class but also speaks of love and compassion for one’s body over everything else. Her passion for the practice is what fuels her calling to share yoga and all of its amazing benefits to her students and to her community. Winnie loves to be in the seat of the student – not only to expand her knowledge of the practice and of yoga philosophy but also to continue on her lifelong path of self-love and self-discovery.
“Yoga does not transform the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” – B.K.S. Iyengar
I was introduced to hot yoga in 2014 practicing various types of yoga classes it was then when I found my passion and fell in love with sculpt yoga. At a young age, I knew one day I would become a fitness instructor. My creative mind while creating a playlist and sequence for sculpt class takes me deeper into my own practice. I want a strong flexible, energetic body to be healthy. After years of dedicated practice and experiencing firsthand the healing power of yoga, I furthered my study and obtained my teaching certification at Sun Yoga Hawaii. For me, it’s about consistency. I teach as I practice, encouraging students to feel and find better alignment.
My favorite Niyama is “Tapa”
I practice my sense of self-discipline, passion, and courage on and off my mat in order to burn away my impurities physically, mentally and emotionally paving my way to a true greater life.
My passion in life is my family, my animals, reiki healing, fishing, diving and running.
One of my favorite quotes:
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Rumi
Also, the benefit of giving with great gratitude is truly a daily quote I live for. My yoga journey is so rewarding, as I honor my true self from the inside out and live in the divine light in this universe.
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”.
Laurie was born and raised here in Hawaii and grew up in gymnastics and dancing ballet. She was first introduced to hot yoga in 2012 here at SunYoga in Aina Haina and it was love at first sight. Struggling to find an activity that captured her mind and her 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.” really resonated with her. Focusing on the positive and learning to control the breath was part of the journey. As an educator, the practice of using the breath to focus and calm the mind was not just beneficial for her own life, but also in the classroom. In 2020, Laurie made the leap to complete the 200-hr Sun Yoga Teacher Training so that she would have the opportunity to share her love of yoga with others.
“Yoga has helped me to find stillness in the mind and gratitude in life. I am grateful for the opportunity to help others find what they need in their yoga journey.”
Favorite Pastime: Yoga and spending time with family and friends.
“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
Ruby is passionate and dedicated to living her life in service through the practice and teachings of yoga, massage and the healing arts. She completed her 200 hr RYT certification with Mary Bastien and Jennifer Reuter at Open Space Yoga and continued her journey by studying Sanskrit, the Yoga Sutras and certifying as an Ayurveda Yoga Specialist from the Himalayan Institute where she continues to study closely with her teacher Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. She offers a warm and inviting class weaving together structural support through physical alignment, creative flow sequencing, pranayama (breathing techniques), mantra (chanting), and meditation, of which all are inspired with a sense of devotion rooted in yoga philosophy. Yoga inspires Ruby to breathe presence into every moment, to celebrate life as a gift, that within stillness we are able to rest in our true nature, an inner state of peace where we find freedom and fulfillment.