Our Teachers

Diana Christinson

Diana Christinson

Diana is the founder and Director of Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Dana Point, CA.

She is one of an honored group of students who studied with and received certification to teach the first and second series of Ashtanga yoga by its founder, Shri K Pattabhi Jois, and his grandson, Sharat Rangaswamy, at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India.

Diana lived in Asia for two years and began her yoga practice in Kyoto, Japan in 1987, which inspired her lifelong studies of Eastern Philosophy. She began teaching yoga in 1996, and in 1999, after practicing yoga for more than a decade, Diana took the first of 9 trips to India to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Institute. She founded Pacific Ashtanga Yoga Shala in 2005.

With a Master's degree in Psychology, and an appreciation for Eastern philosophies and meditation, Diana's approach is anchored by her passion to inspire students to use their yoga practice to keep their mind and body healthy. Teaching with an understanding and refinement informed by her anatomical knowledge and keen sense of touch, she is committed to the importance of the student-teacher connection and focuses on helping each student create a practice that is distinctive to the individual. Read more...

Jeannie Marsh

Jeannie Marsh

Jeannie is a former professional ski instructor from Colorado turned finance executive in the high-stress world of private equity in Newport Beach. She attributes her success in business over the last several years to the inner strength, discipline and contentment her Ashtanga practice provides on a daily basis. Jeannie has always enjoyed opportunities to teach and share her passions and is very thankful for the chance to help others on the Ashtanga path. "Diana has been such a strong influence in all areas of my life and her trust in me to pass this along to other students is very rewarding."

Jeannie has been studying with Diana Christinson since 2002 and completed Tim Miller's teacher training in 2009.

Maria Dimarucut

Maria Dimarucut

A dancer for years - ballet, jazz, modern and flamenco – Maria Dimarucut brings an inspirational grace and beauty to her practice. She received a B.S. degree in Dance from the University of California, Irvine with an emphasis in teaching. Because she understands how a body moves, she guides her students toward proper alignment with simple explanations and mindful adjustments.

Maria was first introduced to Ashtanga in 2003. From her first class, she was hooked. "I'd taken hatha yoga at a gym but loved the physical challenge and dance-orientation of Ashtanga." Ashtanga's repetitive sequencing and vinyasa-flow (linking breath with movement) give it a unique, choreographed feel that becomes meditative and graceful with ongoing practice.

She has even noticed more patience and a forgiving perspective on problems since she began Ashtanga. When she sees students struggling with vinyasa, she reminds them that this isn't a competition, to take it easy and focus on the breath. "The hardest part to remember is that this is a daily, lifetime practice - both on and off the mat." Maria has been studying with Diana Christinson since 2003 and completed Tim Miller's Ashtanga teacher training in 2006.

Staci Bina

Staci Bina

When Staci Bina walked into her first yoga class in 2004, she knew that she would never be the same. She found something that changed the way she saw her body, her life and the universe around her. And so the journey began…

She became certified to teach yoga at the Institute of Progressive Therapies in San Diego and went on to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Center with Tim Miller, where she received her first and second series teacher trainings. She has also studied at Karma Kids Yoga, New York and received training to teach children and teens. Staci is honored to be teaching and sharing her passion for the practice with others. "Watching the practice spill off the mat and into people's lives is the greatest reward."

Sofia Ageyeva

Sofia Ageyeva

Sofia began practicing yoga in 2004, and took her first Ashtanga yoga class taught by Shayna Liebbe in 2005.  Even though the Ashtanga practice was very challenging, she felt a deep connection with it from that very first class.  She later added various meditation and pranayama classes to her yoga practice.  Through Shayna and a pranayama class, in 2009 she eventually found Pacific Ashtanga, and started practicing under the guidance of Diana Christinson.

Sofia completed Tim Miller's Primary Series teacher training in 2013, and took a yoga intership with Diana the same year.  She also undertook Reiki training with Guille De Leonardis in 2013 and 2014, and Karuna Reiki training with Dr. Anne Reith in 2015. She received her Reiki Master Certificate in 2014.  She feels grateful that she studied with the most amazing teachers, and can share these two practices with others by teaching Reiki Yoga.

Josh Plotkin

Josh Plotkin

An Ashtangi at heart, Josh studies many styles of yoga. He believes each discipline rooted in form and functionality offers unique benefits to individual practitioners. His classes are focused on combining the principals of breath, gaze and movement to create a practice equal in strength and grace, a moving meditation.

500 HR Yogaworks
30 Adjustment Intensive with David Regelin

See Josh's video Folding and Floating.

Timea Agnew

Timea Agnew

Timea was born and raised in Budapest Hungary, where she studied Modern Dance until she moved to the United States at age 19.
Her first yoga class was at the local gym where she was inspired by her teacher's deep respect for the healing and calming effect of yoga.
After taking a few different styles of yoga classes in 2007 she knew it was the Ashtanga Method which she wanted to pursue. From there on she studied this traditional form of yoga. Her teacher training was with master teacher Tim Miller on the Primary Series.
Over the years she was fortune to study with many of the most respected Ashtanga teachers like Sharat Rangaswamy, David Swenson, Nancy Gilgoff, Richard Freeman, Kino MacGregor and many more.
When she is not doing yoga Timea is helping her husband Terrill's business and devoting much of her time to their two daughters Sophie and Vienna.

Scott Englesby

Scott Englesby

Scott Englesby has been practicing yoga since the early 2000's. He was first attracted to yoga seeking some type of relief for his lower back condition. To Scott, yoga is about self-knowledge and showing up daily and applying his full attention to his practice. He's always working towards that uninterrupted flow of concentration through breath, pose, and gaze. Yoga means tradition to Scott and he attempts to follow the Ashtanga Yoga method as closely as possible seeking a more compassionate and peaceful life.

Tim Miller First Series Training 100 hours - June 2015
RYT 200 Yoga Alliance Certificate - December 2014

Kārunya śakti

Karunya shakti

Kārunya śakti began her yoga journey in 2005 after picking up a book at the bookstore. She was looking to improve her understanding of and her relationship with a Higher Power

In 2006 she received her 200hr-RYT certificate from Yoga Works and that same year found her teacher Diana Christinson. Since the beginning, she has enjoyed the beauty and consistency of the practice and once she began teaching, she developed a deeper level of respect for the lineage of teachers who brought the practice to us. She has always enjoyed teaching beginners. She remembers how stiff her body was, having started yoga in her 40s, and understands how important the patience and encouragement from a teacher is in order to keep coming back. Three years ago, she began studying bhakti yoga, in the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, with her teacher Vaisesika Maharaja. She received harinam initiation and received her spiritual name, which means compassionate energy (she was formerly known at the Shala as Kathleen).

Renee Hernandez

Renee Hernandez

Renee's deep respect for yoga began in 2001. And with the first Ashtanga Yoga class she took form Diana in 2005 it was on. Since then she has maintained a traditional Ashtanga Yoga practice with Diana as her teacher. Along with her practice Renee is a strong believer in physical exercise. She is an athlete who resonates with ability and endurance; she is always looking for a challenge in a variety of active pursuits.

A business person at the executive level, Renee is adept at balancing her yoga and career dedication. Renee credits Ashtanga with giving her a solid base of mental and emotional strength with the added benefit of a stronger physical body.

Melanie Larinde

Melanie Larinde

Melanie Larinde is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Certified Health Care Practitioner. Her love for the art of Yoga began over 20 years ago, seeing her through the births of her 2 children and consistently supporting her in keeping strong and optimistic on a daily basis. Her education includes extensive bodywork training at the Los Angeles Healing Arts Center, post-graduate courses at UCLA in Behavioral Neuroscience and Psychology, and an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Her passion for teaching, research, hosting workshops, along with her personal motivation for overall health and well-being have been instrumental in the cultivation of her Yoga practice.

Melanie teaches custom workshops and specialized programs.

Brian MacKenzie

Brian MacKenzie

We are honored to have Brian MacKenzie as a guest lecture and teacher at Pacific Ashtanga. He teaches breath workshops at our school combining different breath techniques with his own unique pranayama (yoga breath) practice. Brian's extensive knowledge is both compelling and inspiring and has enabled our students to take their yoga to another level as well as enrich their lives.

Brian MacKenzie is a human performance and movement specialist. He is the innovator of the endurance, strength and conditioning paradigm. He has studied altitude and hypoxic training for more than 10 years, and has been studying with Wim Hof for the last 2 years. He has run the Western States 100 and the Angeles Crest 100 mile endurance runs. He has back squatted over 400lbs, Deadlifted 500lbs, and has practiced many of the principles of Yoga. He is a founder and author of power speed endurance (www.powerspeedendurance.com), which specializes in movement with an emphasis in running, cycling, and swimming mechanics. He co-authored the book "Power Speed Endurance", and NYTimes Best Seller UnBreakable Runner. MacKenzie's program teaches over 50 seminars per year (on avg since 2007) worldwide and provides free programming via CFE. MacKenzie and his programs have been featured in Competitor Magazine, Runners World, Triathlete Magazine, Men's Journal, ESPN Rise, The Economist, Tim Ferriss' New York Times bestseller The 4-Hour Body, Men's Running UK, LA Sport & Fitness, Muscle & Performance Magazine, and Rivera Magazine.

Brian has worked with professional athletes with the likes of Laird Hamilton, 10X Molokai to Oahu Paddleboard Champion and big wave surfer Jamie Mitchell, Mark Healy, Kai "Borg" Garcia, CrossFit Games athletes including Rich Froning Jr (4X CrossFit Games Champion). He has worked with Erin Cafaro (2X Olympic Gold Medalist in Rowing – W8+, Wife), Taylor Ritzel (2012 Olympic Gold Medalist –W8+), Sara Hendershot (2012 Olympian – W2), along with several other professional and elite level athletes in sports spanning from endurance, to MMA, Surfing, to Base Jumping.

Brian MacKenzie is also one of the developers of XPT SYSTEM. XPT is a system comprised of land, gym and water workouts, breathing routines, and recovery tools such as heat-ice therapy.