Guides, Instructors, Healers, Facilitators

Your highly trained and dedicated instructors provide you with a detailed and thorough yoga practice. Whether a new student or an experienced practitioner, you will find that your instructors are here to guide and support you, and to give you the encouragement and confidence to step onto your mat and into your practice! To learn more about Raleigh NC Yoga Instructors simply click on their image or bio.
We look forward to meeting you soon  🙂

Summer Hunt-Goldstein

Summer started practicing yoga by way of DVDs back in 2004 as part of her physical work out. Her practice quickly became her passion and eventually a fully integrated part of her lifestyle.   Not only to help stay trimmed and toned but as a way to maintain balance and nurture the relationship between her body and mind. Summer has maintained a home practice for nearly a decade, but fell in love with Y Respira – Raleigh NC Yoga  from her first class and so it has become her second home! She recently completed Claudia’s 200hr Teacher Training Program in March 2018 and her passion for yoga and living a yogic lifestyle is stronger than ever. She truly believes that practicing yoga is an act of self love and has the potential to change the world.   Her other passions include creating and enjoying nourishing, whole food meals, making, sharing and talking about tea (especially Japanese teas), spending time outdoors and in nature, travelling the world and continuously learning and growing!


Jackie Fannell

What does yoga mean to you?

For me, yoga means peace.

What should students expect to experience from your class?
Slower paced classes so that we can explore alignment, energy and balance in poses.  I like to encourage students to ask questions because, not only do they learn, but as a new teacher I learn as well.

What is the hardest things to understand about yoga?
Yoga is not about being able to stand on your head or twist like a pretzel.  It is a very personal experience and we will all experience it differently.  So, we really need to open-up our heart & mind and listen to what our body is telling us.  That turning inward and listening is probably one of the most difficult things to grasp.

Why do you want to teach others?
Because I think yoga is a wonderful way to not only improve your physical strength and flexibility but also your mental strength and flexibility.  Yoga is such a gift and to be able to teach and share that gift with others can bring about tremendous change both individually and in larger communities.

What is your favorite pose and why?
Vryksasana (tree).  Balancing on one leg and pulling the energy up out of the earth, I can feel it moving all the way up my leg, through my spine, opening up my heart and shooting out through the crown of my head.  Of all the different yoga poses this is the one where I can most feel it all come together – the rebound effect, energy, bandhas – and where my mind is fully turned inward to help me balance.

What do you like about Raleigh NC Yoga and the space?

The first class I took at the studio was a Monday evening class in late October in 2015.  There was a light rain, the doors were open and it was so peaceful that I felt like I’d come home.  I love the sense of community that Claudia has created with the studio.

What would you like others to know about you as a person.

Married for 23 years with no children but two cats that are like our children (Pearl & Edie).  I was born and raised in California.  Other places I have lived besides NC are South Africa and Arizona.  I’ve lived in NC for 12 years now.

I work full-time for a non-profit organization that supports programs and partnerships that advance affordable and sustainable quality health services to improve the overall health of communities in North Carolina and beyond.

What got you into yoga? Teaching?
I took my first yoga class in 2006 when a friend recommended it to help me with some anxiety I was experiencing at with at the time.  Over the years I took classes here and there but nothing full time.  In 2015 I had decided that I wanted (and needed) to practice on a more regular basis and discovered Raleigh NC Yoga.  My path took me there for a reason and I absolutely loved it and was learning so much.  I wanted to learn more so that is why I decided to enroll in Yoga teacher training with Claudia. Teaching is a part of my journey.

Tony Middleton

Tony has always been athletic and active. He found the stretching and stillness led to breathing. Breathing lead to releasing. Releasing allows space for something new. The more Tony practiced yoga, the more he knew he had to share a practice with others.
Newly re-certified as a Yoga instructor, Tony attended his first yoga teacher training in 2003 with Bobbie Golden of The Yoga Institute of Miami. His first job as a yoga teacher was shortly thereafter at a martial arts school. Tony’s practice is rooted in the Hatha Yoga methods of B.K.S. Iyengar,  which encourages stillness in a pose and the use of props. As part of Tony’s life transition after retiring from the military, he had the opportunity to attend the a second yoga teacher training and possibly teach yoga again. With the assistance of the Veterans Administration, my tuition was paid as part of a disability rehabilitation plan.
Tony received my RYT-200 Yoga Teacher Training certification from Y Respira Yoga Studio in Raleigh, NC. His teaching style continues to be heavily influenced by the B.Y.S. Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga. While moving into a pose in class, using props help demonstrate how yoga can be done anywhere with anything. In Tony’s opinion, the different poses allow an opportunity to explore different aspect of body movement which help bring balance in the body. Move as far as is comfortable into a pose, breathe, and be still. He currently teaches Thursdays at 3:00.


Allison Yost

Allison began practicing yoga in October 2014, at a time when she was seeking self-care options to deal with stress and anxiety. She truly believes that the universe had a hand in guiding her to Raleigh NC Yoga, as yoga in a small, safe setting turned out to be exactly what she needed. Allison was hooked from that first class, gradually increasing her personal practice to include as many classes as she could fit in each week in addition to local workshops and international yoga retreats in Costa Rica and Bali. She loves to travel the world with her mat in tow!Allison’s path to yoga teacher training coincided with a decision to pursue a master’s degree in professional counseling, and a realization that yoga and therapy are a perfect complement. Her plan is to work as a therapist who specializes in working with trauma survivors, incorporating yoga and horses with traditional therapeutic techniques. In line with this goal, Allison completed Trauma Informed Outreach Training with Connection Coalition in August. Allison seeks to guide others on a path toward peace and happiness based on the wisdom of the eight limbs of yoga. She truly believes that yoga is for everybody, which also means every body.Allison is also a passionate equestrian. She started riding at the age of seven and continued through college, where she competed as part of UNC’s equestrian team, eventually having to put horses on the back burner as she started her career. Allison couldn’t be happier to now have horses back in her life and is so excited to have the chance to integrate yoga with horses. She completed the Mindful Yoga and Natural Horsemanship certification through Raleigh NC Yoga and Bar T Ranch in May 2017 and looks forward to working with students who want to take their yoga out to the farm. Few things make her happier than opportunities to wear yoga pants and cowboy boots at the same time! Learn more about Allison’s teaching philosophy, in her own words, HERE

Angie Mahbooba

Angie Mahbooba

Angie’s first experience with yoga was in the early nineties. Having three kids under 3- years of age gave her little opportunity to get away, so she bought several VHS yoga tapes and began doing them. She thought of yoga a simply a form of exercise. She soon found out how mistaken she was. After following the instructor’s voice and guidance she began noticing an entire new world of peace, calm and joy opening up to her. A welcome addition to her busy life! Regrettably, yoga was eventually put on the back burner as she raised her three children. When her twin daughters went off to college, she began attending yoga classes at a local gym. Then one birthday, her daughters surprised her with a gift card to Raleigh NC Yoga. Claudia’s caring, yet detailed style of teaching was perfect for her. After practicing with Claudia for several years Angie obtained her teaching certificate.

As a profession, Angie is a learning specialist who works one-on-one with children with learning challenges. She finds that she is most successful when she stays present moment by moment to the children’s needs and experiences. Her students remind her daily that facing our personal challenges is hard, but rewarding work.

Angie is a passionate lover of nature. She spends many long and joyful hours among her flowers, trees, herbs and vegetables. She enjoys going for solitary hikes around Falls Lake or longer hikes with her children. Angie has also been studying and meditating at the Won-Buddhist center since 2015. Regular meditation creates space and clarity in her life. Her meditation and yoga practices complement each other perfectly. Each reminds her to stay present and true to herself.

Sophia Khotil

Ceremonialist and Reiki Healer

Sophia grew up in sunny Southern California, frequenting the beaches and hiking in the golden hills before making the big move to North Carolina, where she calls Durham her home now with her husband of 15 years and three young children. Her hobbies involve working with ceramics, in which the shaping of clay with one’s own hands is profoundly grounding, concocting new soap recipes, cooking,hiking, and road trips. Having an affinity with the natural world and its healing benefits and mysteries, Sophia pursued her master training in energy work in Costa Mesa under the tutelage of Ariel Hubbard and ceremonial work with The Fellowship of the Illumination. She then taught Reiki levels one and two and has attuned many students into the modality. She then went on to receive her license in massage and bodywork. Most of her life has been immersed in sacred rituals from intimate gatherings to large, collaborative ones, holding sacred space for those that need it. From tea ceremonies to women’s circles, Sophia enjoys sharing her constantly evolving path with others. You can also find her

Master Shahram Ghalikar

Master Shahram Ghalikar is an 8th degree black belt in Hapkido and Tai Chi, and Yoga instructor, which he has been studying for over 30 years. His main training was under Late Grand master Pak In Suk (Tae Joo Nim) and Grand Master Hwang. He has traveled the world to advance his knowledge, and spent time learning in Holland, Canada, India and Himalayas. In addition to Hap Ki Do, and Tai Chi,  Master Shahram studied several other arts including Kick boxing, Qigong, Northern Shaolin, and Jujitsu.

He has trained all ages in a multitude of settings (dojo, law enforcement centers, schools, military bases, retirement facilities, and educational co-operatives).

Master Shahram loves sharing his knowledge with others to positively impact their health and harmony, and is excited to bring his expertise to Raleigh, NC.

Jim Thomas

Jim’s training philosophy is results-driven, producing  soft, willing partners. The Bar T assumes the role of the leader:  providing clear signals, consistency, patience and the understanding that the horse should look to his Owner for direction.

“My goal is for you to understand why your horse acts as it does, and what role you must play to gain his trust,” Jim says. “Horses are much like children. Provide the proper environment and they will be yours forever. All things accomplished with a horse are through trust.”

He is a firm believers in groundwork. Regardless of the training level of the horse upon arrival at the Bar T, we will spend a substantial amount of time from the ground before we ever approach the horse with a saddle. Good groundwork is a solid foundation. Just like you wouldn’t put the framework of a house directly on the ground, we wouldn’t dream of moving forward without a foundation.