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Teachers


Justicia DeClue

(she/her)

Justicia DeClue (E-RYT 500) is delighted to be living her dream by sharing her love of yoga. A native of St. Louis, she has been teaching since 2005 and is the founder, owner and director of Maha in Philadelphia. She is known for detailed alignment instruction and her openhearted teaching style.

Justicia teaches from her steady personal practice, offering classes that are challenging and playful, fun and accessible. A formerly Certified Anusara Yoga instructor, she has a deep commitment to the therapeutic potential of yoga, and its relevance for each practitioner at every skill level. She offers deep gratitude to all her teachers, especially Zhenja La Rosa. She lives in West Philadelphia with her two rescue dogs, Sammy and Winston.

Desiree Sparrow

(she/her)

Desiree Sparrow is a Yoga Therapist and Yoga Instructor (500hr E-RYT/YACEP/RPYT) who has been teaching yoga since 2001. Desiree was the former owner & director of The LI Kula Yoga & Wellness Center in the Long Island, New York area. A native New Yorker, she moved to Philadelphia in 2022 with her wife, two cats and dog.

Desiree has been formerly trained in many styles of yoga which include Ashtanga, Sivananda and Anusara Yoga. Some of Desiree’s teachers and influences are Beryl Bender Birch, Doug Swenson, Lois Neisbitt, Zhenja La Rosa, and Pattabhi Jois. Desiree’s classes are playful and heart-centered, with concepts of alignment and Tantric philosophy.

Karen Reina

(she/her)

Karen’s passion for yoga started in 2000 as she fell in love with the realization that through this practice, the mental, physical and spiritual journeys are endless. Because she was a competitive athlete all of her life, the physical challenge was initially most appealing. She was first trained in Astanga in 2003 -2004, started teaching in 2005, and continued her training in a more alignment-based yoga (previously Anusara) that year with Naime Jezzeny, Sue Elkind, and Michelle Synnestvedt. She has also trained with Alex Auder and Nevine Michann of Katonah Yoga in NYC, among other great teachers along the way.

Karen’s classes are versatile, challenging, fun, and energetic while maintaining the strict importance of breath and alignment. Her enthusiasm is inspiring, as she works with students of all levels to grow, sometimes in unexpected ways. Her focus on unlocking potential through yoga is exciting, liberating, and impacts all aspects of life. Karen creates an atmosphere in which students feel comfortable being themselves to ultimately experience the beauty and joy that yoga can reveal.

Deepthi Rao

(she/her)

Deepthi Rao (E-RYT500) is a certified yoga teacher, originally from India with over 800 hours of training. She has a MS degree in Yoga from Swami Vivekananda Yoga University, India. Until the early 2010s she worked in finance, and asana practice was a small part of her training for long distance running. After 2 years as a practitioner she began to discover the effect it had on both her physical and mental health. Around this time she met her teachers Pradeep Sattwamaya and Sandeep Manur and began her formal yoga studies under their mentorship.

She transitioned to teaching yoga full time in 2014 and there’s been no looking back! She has led sessions focussed on Asana, Pranayama and Yoga Nidra. She primarily practices and teaches Hatha & Yin styles and has trained in Yoga Nidra (Sleep Meditation) under her teacher Swami Yoga Ratna of Shankar Prasad Ashram in Gokarna, India. She also teaches Yoga-centered Anatomy for teacher trainings. She is passionate about research related to Mind-Body practices, Sleep and Health Tech. She hosts a wellness themed podcast called The DeepThings Podcast. Deepthi truly believes in democratizing health & wellness through education.

When not in the studio, she’s out exploring new ways to brew her coffee or practicing her pen(wo)manship.

Susannah Thurlow

(she/her)

Susannah (EYT 500/YIN 100) has been teaching yoga in Philadelphia since 2015 and her classes reflect her combined training of vinyasa and alignment-based yoga. Her classes tend to be active with plenty of focus on connecting to our deeper selves through breath and movement. Susannah enjoys exploring many facets of yoga and adding them to her practice, including breathwork, chakras and meditation.

Susannah completed her Yin Yoga studies with Sally Miller in Doylestown in 2017 and is delighted to offer yin at Maha. Yin Yoga has helped her own personal practice and relationship to the greater world in a profound and meaningful way and she looks forward to sharing this practice with others. She gives her deepest gratitude to all her teachers, especially Chae Yang who has inspired her since the beginning.

Maggie Ludwig

(she/her)

Maggie began practicing yoga in college in 2004, while she was deep in serious dance training. She did not have a good relationship with her body at that point, and was of the mindset that movement always had to be competitive. She quickly felt that perspective start to shift, and began to practice yoga regularly, just for her. Yoga healed her mind and body in ways she never thought possible. She completed her 200-hour training in 2016 at Wake Up Yoga in Philadelphia and has been teaching ever since.

Maggie’s classes are anchored by a focus on the breath, while exploring a theme on top, whether it be focus on a particular muscle or area of the body, one of the eight limbs of yoga, our relationship to the earth and elements, or the current season. Alignment cues are plentiful, and so is the quiet stillness to allow for your own interpretation and inquiry of the poses. She would like to thank all of her teachers, especially the greats Corina Benner and Felicia Comisar, for their infinite wisdom and continued guidance.

Angela Jubinville

(she/her)

Angela teaches and practices yoga to cultivate a deeper awareness of Self. Her classes aim to ground, center, and connect you to your body and intuition (or inner knowing) through mindfully moving your body as you pay attention to your breath. She is dedicated to creating safe sequences of movement that open, strengthen, and challenge the body and the mind. Her core values in life influence her teachings – creativity, curiosity, joy, compassion, and connection.

Angela completed her vinyasa yoga teacher training at Wake Up Yoga in 2017. In 2018, she completed a restorative yoga training, and the Love Your Brain training for people who have experienced a traumatic brain injury. She is a trauma-informed practitioner in both yoga and human services.

In addition to teaching, Angela reads tarot cards, studies astrology, sings, learns piano and guitar, and travels the world with her co-parent and their child.

Suzanne Leona

(she/her)

Suzanne Leona is a Philadelphia based yoga and movement teacher. She was introduced to yoga through a college course, which ended up being the most influential class she ever took. After leaving her finance career on Wall St., she pursued her passion to combine her love of yoga with her desire to help others.

Suzanne is both a 500-hr and prenatal registered yoga teacher. She is passionate about making yoga accessible to everyone, which is why she teaches classes such as gentle yoga, yoga basics, prenatal/postpartum yoga, and yoga for Parkinson’s.

No matter the class, expect a thought-provoking yet playful practice with plenty of movement options to choose from. She aims for her classes to be an opportunity for you to acquire a deeper understanding of yourself. Her hope is that each class will help you live more mindfully.

Suzanne is thankful for the Maha community and all the teachers who have influenced her practice and teaching. She looks forward to practicing with you soon.

Alan Foran

(they/he)

A lover of movement in many forms, Alan found Yoga in their early 20’s and found its ability to create ritual and self transformation a great compliment to their active lifestyle. After a string of injuries, Alan was invited to train at Maha Yoga, which led them to pursue a more anatomy focused and therapeutic approach. Alan aims to use breath-led movement to better understand the workings of the mind, body, and heart in hope that it will bring us closer to equanimity. Alan would like to thank all the teachers before them for their copious amounts of support and wisdom, and dogs for being the literal best.

Gabriella Antonio

(she/her)

A lover of movement in many forms, Alan found Yoga in their early 20’s and found its ability to create ritual and self transformation a great compliment to their active lifestyle. After a string of injuries, Alan was invited to train at Maha Yoga, which led them to pursue a more anatomy focused and therapeutic approach. Alan aims to use breath-led movement to better understand the workings of the mind, body, and heart in hope that it will bring us closer to equanimity. Alan would like to thank all the teachers before them for their copious amounts of support and wisdom, and dogs for being the literal best.

Haley Purdy

(she/her)

Haley found yoga in 2013 as a means of self care after the birth of her first daughter. After more than 10 years in the corporate marketing world, she soon decided that her career path and soul path were not in harmony. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Maha Yoga. Today she is a mom of three kids and an English Bulldog, Bodhi, all die-hard Eagles fans.

As a champion of self care, Haley encourages her students to use their time on the mat to get out of their heads and into their bodies. Haley follows the motto, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Jill Ivey

(she/her)

Jill Ivey believes that the profound benefits of yoga should be available to everyone, regardless of body type, level of health, physical fitness, or financial ability. She is particularly passionate about the ways in which a regular yoga practice can help heal the body and promote peace of mind, and credits her regular practice to her ability to both get through most days relatively pain free, and to focus on non-yoga related tasks.

A former dancer who practiced yoga on and off for a decade before deciding to make it a constant in her life—first as a practitioner and then as a teacher—Jill completed her teacher training here at Maha in 2019. In addition to her alignment training, Jill regularly practices Iyengar yoga, which has given her a healthy appreciation for the use of props in her practice and teaching. Many thanks to Justicia, Gabi, and Lucy for the yogic inspiration.

Nadia Lofton

(she/her)

Nadia uses the healing power of breath to guide movement that is both based on strength and alignment. She applies these practices both on and off the mat to create a holistic approach to yoga that transcends the physical. By letting the breath be a guiding light, Nadia is able to create a relaxed environment to expand her students’ perspectives – while keeping the practice light-hearted and fun.

Nadia has been practicing yoga for the last 12 years and received her certification at Maha Yoga with Justicia DeClue in 2019.

Liz DiFebo

(she/her)

Liz began her yoga practice shortly after moving to Philadelphia in 2006. Initially drawn in by the physical benefits, she soon became intrigued by the opportunities for self-discovery and deeper connections with others that lie beyond the asana. She completed her 250-hr yoga teacher training in 2017, and completed additional training through the Love Your Brain Foundation to provide yoga and meditation to those living with the effects of traumatic brain injury and concussion. Her classes are taught rooted in the understanding that everybody and every body comes to the mat with a different history and different motivation for practice.

Liz lives in South Philly with her husband and a small herd of rescue dogs and cats. She enjoys hiking, rollerskating, reading, art, spending time with friends and family, and is obsessed with our national parks.

Kimberly T. Arnold

(she/her)

Kim, PhD, MPH, RYT-200 is a trauma-informed wellness practitioner who is passionate about helping people become their best and healthiest through holistic self-care. She grew up on a small farm in Sumter, South Carolina and has always been interested in health. Kim’s sore muscles and curiosity about what her body was potentially capable of doing led her to try yoga in 2015. Although her introduction to yoga was physical, the positive impact on her spiritual and mental health kept her coming back to her mat.

Kim’s desire to share the multifaceted health benefits of yoga and help others deepen their practice led her to complete a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training Program at Maha Yoga Studio in Philadelphia in 2022 under the tutelage of Justicia DeClue. Kim specializes in alignment-based Hatha yoga through a trauma-informed lens. She is a kind, creative, and fun teacher who enjoys helping others grow! Her classes will invigorate your mind, body, and spirit, and help you tap into layers of yourself that you may not know exist or have lost touch with due to trauma, stress, injuries, or other challenges.

During her self-care time, Kim enjoys practicing yoga, strength training, spa activities, reading books, traveling, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Michael Cohen

(he/him)

In addition to being the Front Desk Manager at Maha, Michael also teaches yoga. Michael loves bike riding through Philadelphia and Fairmont Park, and dancing at park parties. He lives in South Philly with 5 dogs. He is a new yoga instructor who completed his 500 hours of teacher training in 2021 and has been teaching regular classes in Philly since June 2022.