Head of Adventure | Owner
A native of Washington, DC, David Giacomin worked in corporate IT sales for 20 years before deciding to try and make a living by doing what he loves, adventure. Surfing, climbing and outdoor excursions have been a staple for Dave for many moons. He climbs ice, rock and alpine routes whenever possible. His true passion is in high altitude mountaineering and ice climbing. Some of his summits include Mt. Rainier, Illiniza Sur, Illiniza Norte, Cotopaxi, Mt. Whitney, The Grand Teton and 15+ 14,000 ft peaks in Colorado. Dave has been trained as a single pitch instructor from the American Mountain Guides Association and has been the chairman of the Washington, DC section of the American Alpine Club for the last 4 years. Dave looks to help others find healing and personal growth in the outdoors.
Erin K. McNamara, LICSW, LCSW-C
Head of Healing and Wellness | Owner
Erin McNamara knew she wanted to help and heal people from a young age. This knowing led Erin to get her Bachelor’s in Psychology and her Master’s in Social Work. Erin has spent her 17-year clinical social work career working with the families and children of the District of Columbia. Additionally, she has worked in private practice. Erin began her practice of yoga over 10 years ago and was initially drawn to the physical practice. But yoga soon revealed its healing benefits and Erin found it necessary to practice amidst the stress and vicarious trauma of her social work profession. Yoga helped Erin to find balance and calm and it may be safe to say that she has been able to stay in her profession due to the healing practice of yoga. Realizing all that yoga is and how much it can benefit people, Erin decided to continue her journey into healing others by taking her Yoga Teaching Training. Erin hopes to offer her students all the benefits of yoga both on and off the mat. Erin has a particular interest in trauma-informed yoga and plans to continue her journey by combining her clinical social work/mental health profession and yoga.
UP Yoga Teachers and Meditation Leaders
In my own quest for happiness, I realized being outside in the sun and music are essential. Being showered in live music, the notes, the vibrations, the collective energy, is truly healing. Listening to music requires the use of your whole brain, it stimulates more neurons, turns active potentials into electricity that runs through the whole body. Music brings me great joy and allows me to stay present, more fully, more often. Today, utilizing nature and sound as much as possible, I use a combination of massage and movement therapy to help clients not only feel better in the moment but continue to improve into the future.
Yoga Teacher - Tea Maker
Sarah Richards has over 20 years of experience in the healing arts and sciences which began with formal education in ‘talk therapy’ took a detour via energy medicine and then ventured into nondual healing. Sarah was found by Yoga in 2002. Her personal practice galvanized a desire to teach and this presented the physical interface to perceive the complexity of being human and a way to facilitate our search for Wholeness; work that is currently being enhanced by a three-year training with the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute. Her style is eclectic, drawing from several schools of ideology. She teaches Vinyasa, Therapeutic, Hatha, Kundalini and her own Yoga Soma; which brings together her Nondual Healing background, Somatic Experiencing. Inspired by the students who come to practice, Sarah themes each class based on what is called for in the moment and delights in this extraordinary, ordinary collaboration to reveal the Divine.
Healing and Wellness Consultant
Renee Champagne is a USAF Veteran, Military Spouse, mother, wellness coach, and holds several certificates in yoga. Renee has taught yoga to military populations since 2007 and continues to find innovative ways to help foster Post Traumatic Growth. She is the Yoga Coordinator at Walter Reed and on the faculty at Warriors at Ease. Renee is an advocate for military families. She is a Liaison for Give an Hour, Family Therapist and owns Sustaining Youth and Families which launches June 2017. As an endurance athlete and trauma survivor, Renee has first-hand knowledge of the benefits of yoga. She completed a yoga series for the CHAMP at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and Yoga International. Renee has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health from William and Mary with a focus on wellness, families, and trauma. Renee and her service dog Miley are highlighted in the book Reporting for Duty by Tracy Libby.
Becca fell in love with yoga after a friend coaxed her into a class with the promise of happy hour afterwards in 2014. She left dripping in sweat, sore, and unsure of what just happened but knew she had go to back. She initially enjoyed the physical practice, linking breath and movement, but realized that yoga is so much more than the physical practice as she cultivated inner peace, strength and community on and off the mat. She completed her 200 hour training with Yoga Heights in Washington, DC in May 2017 and is eager and grateful to share yoga with anyone and everyone. Students can expect a thoughtfully sequenced flow rooted in power and vinyasa yoga – building heat, strength, and breath throughout class with plenty of time to explore, build on foundations, and laugh.
Aerial Yoga Teacher
Lina Freeman started her yoga journey when she was 4 years old at Willow Street Yoga. Ever since then she has valued physical excise. She discovered aerial yoga about 2 years ago at Yoga Fusion! Lina completed her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Intensive at Thrive Yoga. In addition, she received her aerial yoga level 1 and 2 certifications from Transcend Wellness and Yoga. In her free time she likes to read, play with her dogs, and volunteer. A practice with Lina will be refreshing. Her attention to grounding, meditation, and breathe work will shine through her classes, when appropriate. In a vinyasa flow expect to work up a sweat. In an aerial class the poses and use of the hammock will be based on the level of students in the class.
Yoga TeacherFor Amanda, the practice of yoga is a return home, a chance to reconnect with her body, mind and spirit, and an opportunity to feel safe, secure and grounded in her own being. She loves designing and practicing strong, dynamic sequences that open the body and quell the over-active mind. Amanda takes a playful and affectionate approach to the practice and loves to hold space for, and witness, the same elation and freedom that can be unlocked and nurtured within each student.
Dave started his public service career as both a volunteer and career Firefighter/EMT in Montgomery County, Maryland at age 16, eventually accepting a position in Federal Law Enforcement and remaining an active volunteer in the Fire/Rescue service. Along the way Dave learned of the stresses associated with high-risk emergency response careers and the need to deal with the effects on the mind/body. Although physical fitness is typically an important part of law enforcement or fire/rescue wellness program, when Dave started his own Yoga practice 14 years ago, the mind/body connection was often overlooked. Dave observed that there would be numerous benefits to First Responders of all types from practicing Yoga. Dave is a 200 hour RYT and has been a certified Maryland State EMT since the late 1970’s. Dave holds a BS in Fire Science from the University of Maryland.
Caitlin began practicing yoga while living in Colorado under the majestic beauty of the Rocky Mountains. She received her 200-hour certification from Dragonfly Yoga in Virginia, along the banks of the Rappahannock River, and uses her yoga to promote awareness and engagement with the natural world. A yoga retreat to Zion Canyon National Park crystallized her desire to share this engagement with others and begin her teaching journey. A deep connection to the earth guides her practice, and she is dedicated to offering a vinyasa practice that is both joyful and peaceful. In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, Caitlin enjoys running and triathlons.
Aerial Yoga Teacher
Rhiannon has been sharing her love of movement in the DMV for the past six years. Aside from being a full-time kids yoga teacher in D.C. schools, Rhiannon also teaches yoga and Aerial in a number of studios and community settings. She completed her 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Certification with Faith Hunter in 2014, whose Spiritually Fly teachings have inspired her to share her love of the practice from a place of authenticity and playfulness. After practicing Aerial Yoga for five years and discovering the healing power of this modality, she completed her Aerial Training with Anti-Gravity Fitness in New York City in 2015. She believes that when we open up space in the body we open up space in the mind and in the heart, a mantra she seeks to share with students of all ages.
Bethany came to a consistent yoga practice seeking respite from the stress of her vocation as a Social Worker. To Bethany the many facets of yoga allow for a creative, inspired, and athletic practice that can evolve depending on the needs of the student. Bethany teaches a powerful flow with intentional hands on assists. Her classes allow students to build a strong foundation with the opportunity to challenge themselves physically and mentally. When not in the studio you will find Bethany gardening, traveling, and spending time with her husband and cat, James Bond.
Born and bred in Karachi, Pakistan, Sumeeya has lived in two continents (Asia and North America) and been a part of several cultures for more than twenty years. Her travels have taken her to Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Switzerland, Thailand, and the UK. She has a bachelors degree in Sociology and Women’s studies from Hampshire College, a masters in Education from Harvard University, and an education specialist in Community Counseling from The George Washington University.
Sumeeya has studied and researched religion, spirituality, mental health, and holistic health for more than twenty years and has been practicing and studying yoga poses and philosophy for the past ten years. Sumeeya likes books and beaches, and enjoys spreading love and laughter.
Jack Blackfelt has been practicing insight meditation almost daily since 2004. He trained with Josh Korda and Craig Swogger with Dharma Punx NYC for 3 years before facilitating DC Dharma Punx weekly for 8 years, has taught on retreats for teens and young adults since 2009, and co-facilitated the Insight Meditation Community of Washington’s Teen Sangha with La Sarmiento from 2012 to 2016. He incorporates the heart practices of acceptance, loving friendliness, compassion and forgiveness with working on the real-world suffering that affects our various communities in real time. He also leads periodic meditative bike rides and silent group walks around DC. And he loves to skate and play hockey.
Yoga is a journey to more fully inhabit our own bodies. When we can love every bit of who we are, we are more able to love those around us. Jenna originally came to her yoga practice informally when she was 16 years old. Little did she know, that overplayed Crunch Fitness DVD would begin a transformation of mind, body, and spirit. Throughout her life, Jenna has struggled with eating disorders and anxiety resulting from childhood obesity. Through her own yoga practice, Jenna has discovered not only her physical strength and emotional power, but also the spirit of joy that comes from releasing guilt, pain, and fear on the mat. It is her hope that every yogi leaves the mat with a sense of awe and wonder of what their spirit in their body can accomplish. Jenna works with DCPS as a music, movement, and early childhood teacher. She completed her 200 hour Hatha Yoga teacher training with Charm City Yoga (now YogaWorks) in Baltimore, MD.
With a background in graphic design and a lifelong interest in health and well-being, Michele followed her husband’s Army career all over the country and overseas, living in 13 different homes in six states and one foreign country (twice!). Michele first began to realize the benefits of yoga about nine years ago in the midst of moving around and raising her two boys. What attracted her most to yoga was the deep level of stillness and calm achieved through the physical practice. Michele’s classes invite students to nurture their deeper selves through a mindful practice that connects body and breath. She radiates warmth and welcoming to all of her students, and her approachable teaching style attracts new students and experienced yogis alike. Michele completed her 200-hour training through Sky House and the YMCA in 2015.
Aerial Yoga Teacher
Sarah is a movement specialist. Her comparative advantage lies in her deliberate programming, designed to make hard movements eventually feel easy. Based in Washington, DC, she has trained professional athletes, military heroes, and aspiring athletes alike. With an emphasis on progressions, movement variety, and skill development, Sarah’s tested training methodology is so much more than a workout. She currently trains private clients and teaches public classes and workshops in yoga asana with a focus on relevant cuing for opposite body types, aerial yoga (in a silk hammock), acro yoga (workshops for beginners, washing machines 101, and therapeutics), Pilates mat and apparatus, bodyweight calisthenics (stall bar and gymnastic rings foundational training), and body rolling (self-myofascial release). Sarah’s extensive training, inordinate amount of energy, self-practice, and dedication to continued learning is only rivaled by her genuine love for sharing movement with her students and helping them to move with power, grace and joy.
UP Adventure | Partner
Dustin has always had a knack for adventure and it would be inevitable that he end up committing his career to sharing his passion for adventure with others. After over 10 years in the field of Outdoor Recreation and Education it finally occurred to him that he loved to introduce adventure to others not only to share in his passion but to see the powerful impact that adventure had on other people’s lives. With a heart for enriching lives Dustin takes pride in teaching the finer points of his many disciplines. Not only is he an all-around adventurer himself as a climber, kayaker, cyclists and more, but he is also a Single Pitch Instructor through the American Mountain Guides Association and a Level 4 Kayak Instructor through the American Canoe Association.
Alina Zagaytova brings years of experience in mountaineering, rock and ice climbing. Raised through adventure, she has traveled to more than 60 countries and summited six of the Seven Summits and is attempting to summit Mt. Everest this Spring. Alina is also an avid hiker, skier and marathon runner. Alina is the founder of “Mountain Girl Power” – which aims to teach and promote corporate leadership and management skills for women through adventure, climbing and mountaineering, especially focusing on the Washington D.C. area local community of professional women and climbers. (https://www.mtngirlpower.com). Alina is an Assistant General Counsel at First Solar, a leading international solar energy company, and is a Supervisory Board Director at Younicos AG, a German battery storage company. Alina received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree from Harvard Law School. In 2015, Alina won the prestigious C3E Award for the Law and Finance category sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Women’s C3E initiative.
Adventure Leader and Consultant
A former EMT, outdoor educator, and science teacher, Nathan makes his living as a writer. When he’s not behind a desk, Nathan is an avid climber, with a particular taste for cold winter adventures in northern Maine and New Hampshire. Nathan also spent time in Alaska with Colorado Outward Bound School. He took a course focusing on developing leadership skills and abilities for adults, with a focus on applying these skills in outdoor education and recreation settings. Skills in risk management, back country travel and navigation, wilderness first aid, glacier travel and crevasse rescue, mountaineering, rafting, ocean kayaking.
UP Substitute Teachers
Sean Buchholz is a musician, web designer, artist, and yoga teacher from Terre Haute, Indiana. Sean came to yoga as a means to improve mobility and flexibility some years after an injury sustained while in the Army National Guard. Since then, he continues his practice in order to find balance in between school work, freelancing, and spending time with his wife. Sean’s favorite yoga practices blend physical strengthening and stretching with internal reflection and meditation. Sean completed his RYT-200 Yoga Teacher Training at Sky House Yoga in 2016.
KJ holds a Master of Arts Management degree from Carnegie Mellon and currently serves as the Managing Director for Forum Theatre. KJ was introduced to yoga 10 years ago by a friend and yoga has been stuck with her ever since. She is an avid runner and an amateur gardener. When not on her mat, she can be found with her husband experimenting with food or snuggling her fur baby, Hunny Badger.
Shervon was first introduced to yoga in high school while in New York City. It was there that the seed of self-discovery was planted which has continued to grow and call her back to the mat time and time again as an adult. Shervon’s commitment to personal practice led her to complete a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher (RYT) certification in 2012 and a 50 hour advanced Yin Yoga Teacher Training in 2016. Shervon enjoys teaching Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin and Restorative yoga styles to beginners, athletes and advanced students alike. Her background as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) inspires her approach as a teacher. The practice of yoga, similar to the process of counseling, allows one to look within to build self-awareness which informs daily life. Yoga has a beautiful way of clearing the mud away from the lens with which we see ourselves. Shervon is committed to nurturing the seed of self-discovery and personal growth in every student as it unfolds on and off the mat.
Kathryn has been a student of yoga practically her entire life. When she was younger, Kathryn’s dad practiced yoga in their living room, and she was doing sun salutations at the age of 3, there are pictures to prove it! Kathryn has moved all over, and with each new home she has established she has found yoga, finding that she was always drawn to the community, love, and support that it provided her. Kathryn is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and received her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification in 2016 with 405 Yoga. In Kathryn’s classes, be prepared to challenge yourself using breath and posture, expect the unexpected, and of course, be ready to laugh! Kathryn believes in encouraging her students to not take themselves too seriously on the mat, and providing challenges while rocking out to some amazing beats. Off the mat, Kathryn is a high school counselor and can be found eating pizza or cookie dough ice cream, (in no particular order), or cuddling other people’s dogs.
Hannah Davis, LGSW
A move across the country, led Hannah Davis, LGSW, RYT200, to begin practicing yoga in 2009. Surrounded by the picturesque views of mountains in Phoenix, Arizona, she found yoga provided her with a way to connect movement and breath and deepen the connection to self. As a way to share yoga and its power with others, Hannah went on to get her 200-Hour certification from Sky House Yoga in Silver Spring in 2017. As a social worker, Hannah has extensive experience working with youth and families of diverse backgrounds. In 2016, Hannah founded Vikara Village, a nonprofit helping middle and high school students deal with the challenges of everyday life. This innovative program brings together yoga and arts to help youth develop a healthy sense of self, community and belonging. Hannah has completed Street Yoga’s Trauma-Informed Yoga for Youth Training and Surviving Assault: Yoga Essentials as Early Intervention Following Assault or Trauma. Hannah received her Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland – Baltimore and is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker in Maryland and DC.
Veronica’s yoga journey has been beautifully imperfect. She started practicing Ashtanga yoga in 2008, but was always inconsistent in her practice despite knowing deep down that yoga was her passion. A frustration we can all relate to when we’re in the process of finding ourselves. Eventually, Veronica’s heart guided her all the way to Rishikesh, India where she studied the philosophy and practice of Hatha yoga under the guidance of her guru, Vishvketuji. There she received her 200 YTT from Anand Prakash Yoga Ashram. The path remains imperfect, but her conviction to spread love and support others in their journeys remains fierce.