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!

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.


Jamie Fordin

Jamie is a North Carolina native and a graduate of Appalachian State University.  After college she spent 10 years managing programs in public schools to improve education for children experiencing homelessness as well as students with disabilities. This gave her the chance to work very closely with children and their families. She was able to see first hand the impact that stress can have on children and adults alike. As adults we don’t always think about the stressors kids deal with today. Stress has become something we have learned, adapted to and has unfortunately become part of our daily lives. For kids, however, stress is something they are just beginning to learn about and it is up to us as adults to provide them with effective and appropriate tools to help them manage their emotions. Jamie believes the benefits of exploring the mind-body practice of yoga improves every aspect of life.

After being diagnosed with Lupus, Jamie found yoga to be healing and helpful in maintaining the disease.  As her body became stronger and healthier, she soon discovered her yoga mat was a place to find a sense of contentment, self-awareness, and a strong connection between the mind and body.  This lead her to complete RYT-200-hour yoga teacher training certification with Claudia at Y Respira Raleigh NC Yoga. Jamie first enrolled in teacher training to deepen her own practice, however, the more she grew, her intention turned to teaching and sharing the practice she loves with others.

Jamie realizes yoga is not “a one size fits all” practice and each person is on a different path.  She tries to offer her students the opportunity to take their path at their own pace, to modify when needed, and to honor how they feel at all times. Jamie finds great joy, satisfaction, and inspiration in witnessing students discover their own personal yoga journey and hopes to nurture them along the way.


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.


Brandy Givens

Brandy Givens is a perpetual student. She is learned and studied in both traditional and non-traditional ways. With a lifelong passion for all things spiritual, she has lost count of the traditions she has studied on her journey.Her devotion to yoga started many years ago, but it wasn’t until she realized there was something more than Asana that she began to study in earnest. Her goal is to introduce and educate people on how introducing spiritual solutions to their lives will change both them and the world around them. She continues to strive in her own ever-changing life for more peace and unity with those around her and the Mother Earth. She is a wife, mother, devoted friend to many, Yoga Practitioner, a champion of natural beauty, baker, farmer and beginner herbalist.

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.

Christy Blankenship (Kit) LMBT#2630

Massage Therapy & Body Work with Kit

Kit’s Specialties :
Deep Tissue Massage Therapy
Swedish Massage Therapy
Therapeutic Stretching
Sports Massage Therapy

Kit enjoys Massage & Body Work Therapy bc she likes being present with people. Kit is very intentional with her work and listens to what the body is telling her. Being present she can hear what someone needs. People need to be heard. The body has a story and Kit enjoys listening and asking questions to understand the validation of discomfort. She enjoys communicating with the body and sees Massage Therapy and Body Work as an art and a dance. She loves feeling the moment of acceptance of the body thru bodywork with being present, communicating, and practicing, conversing, and the art form of Body Work itself.

Why Massage &  Body Work Therapy?
Kit enjoys nurturing and healing with her hands. As a therapist you cannot ignore your own body and by being in a field such as Body Work and Massage Therapy, a Therapist must be aware of their own body mechanics. It is an awakening all around. The connection, mindfulness, presence and knowing that she is helping others.

How can body work help people?
Kit knows bodywork can help people, bc it puts them in touch with themselves. The first step to improving ourselves is by developing an awareness of ourselves. These bodies that we own and operate are perfectly designed. Like a machine, there are rules, and when we follow the proper rules of self care then the body or vessel will run better. The only problem is that we are not given an owners manual to operate our vehicles (body). We are supposed to be healthy, but so many people are not in touch with their bodies, their emotions, and theirselves. Through awareness of our bodies, it brings closer to our higher selves.

Kit also studied martial arts & bellydancing for years.


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.

Heather Frost, MS, RDN Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist

Hi! My name is Heather Frost and I am happy to be on-board as a Licensed Dietitian with Raleigh NC Yoga and am eager to start working with you! For over 8 years I’ve worked with clients with many health conditions and have been truly inspired from the results they’ve achieved. I’ve seen clients come out of pre-diabetes range, lose the weight they’ve been wanting to, walk their first 5k and get the best sleep of their life. These results are just the beginning of positive changes as their confidence soars and they continue finding ways to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Of course there’s bumps along the way and that’s all part of the process. That’s where support and guidance can make all the difference and I’m here for you!

Patricia Pace, MA, MDiv., LPC, NCC, LCAS-A 

I hold a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling and a Master of Divinity
degree, both from Campbell University.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist Associate, and am certified as a Clinical Trauma Professional.  I believe that we all are in a journey from birth to death, and I want to help people live that journey well, no matter in what stage one may find oneself currently.  Your journey may be about recovery, it may be about reconciliation, and it may be about really living well – reclaiming your identity and your life.  Wherever you may find yourself along this continuum, I would like to help.

My work experience has been both in agency and hospital settings, including helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse, trauma, addictions,and the complicated grief of loss or illness.  I have specific experience in helping parents through the loss of a child or family member, and in both pre-marital and marriage counseling.

My favorite work is to help individuals and families find a way forward into a
satisfying life after a difficult time.  I like to utilize stories (our own and our
family’s) as a way to see ourselves in the world and how we relate to the world. My goal in therapy is to encourage people to reclaim the dreams and goals for life that have been forgotten or left behind, and to take control of choosing their own future.  Some of my techniques include:  narrative therapy, family systems work, identification and replacement of negative thoughts that hold us back with cognitive behavioral therapy, creativity and artistic expression, mindfulness, relaxation, and meditation. I am currently training in DBT therapy and addictions including both substance abuse and eating disorders.

When I am not at work, I am usually making music, cooking, walking with my 3 dogs, or spending time with my three adult children.  I am also a certified Qi Gong instructor and practice Tai chi for strength and relaxation.

Contact Patricia at:
919-307- 6845