(650) 858-1440

Meet our instructors:

Instructor Bios


Annie: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Annie Aronson has been drumming since 1992 when she moved to the bay area and was captivated by the sounds of the legendary drum circle at Berkeley's Sproul Plaza. She soon discovered that her neighbor, Mika Scott, taught drum circle classes. She began going to Mika's weekly classes and she was hooked.

In 1997 she read the groundbreaking book "When the Drummers Were Women" by Layne Redmond. This book introduced her to the world of frame drumming. She studied frame drum for many years with middle eastern style drummer Mary Ellen Donald. She also attended frame drum intensives with 'founding father of the modern frame drum' Glen Velez and with Layne Redmond herself.

Annie's mission is to blend the community spirit of the drum circle with the softer sounds of the frame drum, Tibetan singing bowls and other enchanting instruments. She believes that Frame Drum Circles offer many benefits including relief from stress, a renewed sense of enchantment and a feeling of connection to each other.

Annie also performs original and Celtic folk music with the duo Hobbyhorse as singer, songwriter, rhythm guitarist and percussionist. Visit her website at FrameDrumCircle.com


Aska: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Aska is a registered Hatha Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, a Therapeutic Yoga Teacher certified by Cheri Clampett, a Certified Massage Therapist, a Certified Esalen Massage Practitioner, and a 3rd Degree Reiki Practitioner.

Since 2007, based on her belief, "Anyone breathing can enjoy yoga practice," she has been teaching yoga to those who think that they are not fit enough for yoga due to their stiffness, injuries, or other various issues. Her strong and comprehensive knowledge of body, mind and their connection, from her over 2,500 training hours from various styles of yoga, bodywork, energywork, and psychosomatic fields, enables her to serve both beginning and experienced students evenly in a mixed or all level classes.

Aska invites students to play their own physical and emotional edges, not somebody else's edges, in a safe and fun class environment, so that they can cultivate deeper self-awareness and self-compassion on the yoga mat. Then, she keeps reminding them that the most important yoga practice happens off the mat; yoga is all about how to apply what we learn on the mat to our daily life.

If you have any specific concerns regarding your yoga practice, please talk to Aska prior to the class.

Yoga Trainings Aska has completed:

  • 200 hours Hatha Yoga Teacher training at YES with Joyce Anue
  • Over 1500 hours Anusara Yoga trainings with various Anusara-certified teachers
  • Pre/Post-Natal Yoga Training with Mark Stephens
  • Dynamic Anatomy Series with Deane Juhan
  • Anatomy of Yoga Training with Paul Grilley
  • Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training with Cheri Clampett & Arturo Peal

More info on Aska is available on her website (www.LotusSeedsTherapy.com) and on her Facebook page (LotusSeedsTherapy).


Ben: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Ben began his studies of yoga in 1996, at the age of 19. He began his formal practice and study of yoga with his primary teacher and mentor, Senior Iyengar Yoga instructor Ben Thomas. Throughout his journey, he has also had the good fortune to study with many other wonderful yogis in a variety of different traditions. The main traditions he has studied include Iyengar, Ashtanga, Sivananda, Anusara, and vinyasa flow. Some of the yogic training courses he has attended over the years include a year of study in the Iyengar Yoga Institute Advanced Teacher Training program, teacher training with Doug Swenson, as well as living and practicing at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Grass Valley for several months as staff. In addition to his practice of yoga, Ben has been engaged in the practice and study of taiji and qigong since 1999 and has had the opportunity to study with many different masters, including Master Wong Wai Yi, his primary sifu. In his yoga classes, he draws from a variety of different yogic practices including asana, pranayama, meditation, relaxation, chanting, and yoga philosophy. Essentially, Ben is most interested in what is here, allowing life to unfold naturally in this timeless moment. He is devoted to wakefulness, and it is this wakeful presence which naturally guides and inspires his life and teachings. To learn more about Ben and his offerings you may visit his website at www.wakefulway.com


Darcy: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Darcy Elman, owner of Blue Iris Studio, is Certified in Pilates Mat as well as an Anusara (inspired) yoga instructor. She is a leader and expert in movement education. Darcy has been an Alexander Teacher and Visionary Cranial Sacral therapist in practice for 25 years in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She is dedicated to helping students get more enjoyment out of life by safely guiding them on the path to fitness, flexibility and musculoskeletal alignment.

She continues to combine her deep knowledge of the body with the most current fitness technology and healing techniques.

As a certified Alexander Technique Teacher, Cranial Sacral Therapist, Pilates Trainer, and Anusara Inspired Yoga Teacher she is a leader in posture, movement re-education, visionary therapeutic bodywork and fitness. She graduated from the Alexander Training Institute of San Francisco in 1988, Certified with ITT in Pilates, and completed her yoga teacher training at Yoga Kula of Berkley. In Cranial Sacral Therapy Darcy trained directly with osteopaths, The Milne Institute, as well as The Upledger Institute.

Darcy has been on the teaching staff at Quan Yin Acupuncture Clinic, Center Strength Pilates, Rolling Hills Fitness, Yoga of Sonoma, Yoga of Los Altos, Reformation Studio, Decathlon Club, Pilates of Hawaii, Ann Turner Studio of Alaska, Evolve Yoga and Pilates, and Yoga Is Youthful.

Blue Iris is her dream, in that she is offering a wellness program of therapeutic bodywork, along with state of the art Yoga and Pilate's classes!


Fumiko: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Fumiko is a certified instructor of the classical pilates method. She teaches privates and group mat and equipment classes. She has created classes taught in Japanese. She also obtained Golf Pilates Certification through DK Body Balancing Method and UNLV and teaches for golfers to improve overall performance.

Fumiko took her first Pilates 11 years ago due to problems with her back. Continuing with the Pilates exercise, she gained the strength and stretch benefits that changed her body. Fumiko uses the Pilates method to enhance the quality of her life and find greater joy in living. Her dedication and knowledge leads clients to understand healthy, functional movement to bring each individual to their greatest potential. She is passionate about helping others feel great about themselves.


Mojdeh: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Mojdeh Zahiraleslamzadeh has been studying healing arts for about 30 years and has been teaching meditation and yoga in the Bay Area for many years. She has had the honor to practice with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, his daughter Saraswati, and his grandson Sharath on several occasions during their visits to the U.S. and has traveled to India to study at the Ashtanga Yoga Shala in Mysore, India. Mojdeh is a dedicated student of Sri Dharma Mittra and is a Certified Dharma Yoga instructor. She has also had the honor to study with many advanced teachers including: Richard Freeman, Manouso Manos, Tim Miller, Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty, David Roche, Lino Miele, Dena Kingsberg, John Berlinsky and David Swenson. Mojdeh is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner (CHTP) through the Healing Touch International and donates her time to the Healing Partners Program at Women's Health at Stanford Medical Center. Additionally, She holds an advanced certification in transformational life coaching from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California and has a master of science degree in environmental engineering.


Phoenix: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Formerly a competitive dancer, Phoenix discovered yoga as a path to recovery from her dance injuries, and has found through her practice, both a joy of movement and a stress reliever. Phoenix completed her 200-Hour Hatha-Vinyasa teacher training at Just Breathe Yoga with Noell Clark and Angie Poon. She has been Yoga Alliance certified since the summer of 2012 and has had the privilege of teaching in a variety of settings including local community events, schools, and several yoga studios around the Bay Area. Phoenix leads a carefully paced class with the flexibility to adjust poses to meet her students' varying skill levels. As an avid music lover, Phoenix also enjoys sharing customized playlists in her classes.


Shawn: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Shawn Patrick McCracken is a veteran yogi, visual artist and Spiritual warrior. Shawn started meditating regularly in his first year of college after completing a yoga course and attending a TM program in 1981. Shawn studied with Mary Dunn and Ramanand Patel, both senior Iyengar teachers, and took part in the Advanced Studies Program at the Piedmont Yoga Studio for two years 1998-99, under the direction of Rodney Yee. He has taught yoga in many corporate sites including Apple, Lockheed, Compaq and many others as well as having taught yoga for twelve years to both students in the Physical Intelligence Program at Stanford and the faculty and staff, through the Stanford Medical School's Health Improvement Program.

Shawn has been an ardent student of meditation, art, yoga and aikido most of his life. Aikido is akin to yoga as it is a movement art integrating the breathing process with movement. Shawn has a unique outlook on yoga due to his twenty-five year involvement with aikido. Appreciation of circular and spiral energetics that surround us and connect us to the world underscore all of his classes. Precision and gentleness along with buoyancy and power are hallmarks of his approach to yoga.

His enthusiasm for yoga is infectious and his classes are unique and challenging.


Tim: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Tim is a Kripalu Yoga Instructor and continuous student of yoga. Through yoga, he aims to cultivate calmness and inward focus in himself and others. This calmness supports balance in his diverse endeavors outside of the studio where he: is a clinical psychology doctoral student; enjoys running, weightlifting, hiking, and training for physical challenges like Tough Mudders; and is a US Navy and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) veteran and former management consultant. Some people might think that these different facets do not go together. However, they are not opposites but parts of an integrated whole - the entirety of which he investigates daily through yoga.

His classes focus on self-compassion and improved mind-body connection. They are appropriate for any experience level; the inherent wisdom of your mind and body is your guide.

His intention is to integrate mindfulness and yoga with his psychology education and practice and to work with clients of diverse professional and personal backgrounds (as psychologist and yoga teacher). His community Facebook page, Whole Peace Yoga, includes information on yoga, trauma, and military mental health.


Uli: Blue Iris Studio, Palo Alto Uli is an alignment based, certified yoga teacher. When she first started practicing yoga in 2001 she thought more about a nice exercise that keeps the body refreshed and fit. But very soon she realized that yoga offers not only a physical but also a deeper spiritual dimension. Practicing with Kenny Graham, Samantha Shakti Brown and Chrissy Graham helped her mind to feel better, clearer and healthier than ever before. Her interest in technique and physiology led her to study alignments with Stacy Rosenberg and Vinyasa flow with Rebecca Snowball.

The goal in all of her practices is to influence body and mind in a way that one feels more energized and positive and as such becomes a healthier person. So we can say to live from the inside out!

Her Mantra is to 'Go With a Smile Through Life and Be Happy'.

She likes to encourage everybody to do yoga. It is her firm belief that yoga is the greatest and best investment anybody can make to improve his/her health, both physically and spiritually. When we feel good and are energized, our mind becomes clear which enables us to do things we never thought possible.

Key to success is proper physical alignment to enter poses that heal and prevent injuries, a fun lighthearted non-judgmental environment and a supportive community all of which help us finding our inner strength.

In addition to yoga, Uli is certified in Pilates Mat 1 and Mat 2 through the Balanced Body University.

Professionally, she holds a Master's of Science degree in architecture and besides yoga and work, she enjoys horse back riding and art.

My Yoga Bliss