Meet Our Breathing Dragon Hot Yoga Team
Known for tough yet compassionate teaching style, Mori owes her life and being to God, her parents and the Original Hot Yoga Sequence. Given this, she left her successful career in Corporate America, not once but twice, dedicating herself to improving the life of others through yoga. Having received her MBA from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon and working at major CPG companies on iconic brands (including Kraft Foods, Heinz Inc, Campbell Soup, and First Response), Mori was provided the proper training grounds for her to start her own highly successful Breathing Dragon Hot Yoga in Montgomery, New Jersey and allowed her to share the love of the yoga with thousands of others since 2013.
So where did it all start?
In 2003, unhealthy, overweight and over-stressed, Mori saw a big blue sign that truly spoke to her. It read, “Bikram Yoga,” and beckoned her to visit the studio where she first met Jay Jones, her mentor teacher. Not knowing anything about Bikram Yoga, she began her hot yoga practice and in her first month of practice, she went to the studio everyday, sometimes twice a day, noticing major changes both physically and mentally.
By her sixth month of practice, Mori had lost 40 pounds, but more importantly she and others saw changes in her attitude and behavior. Mori realized that the Original Hot Yoga was a therapy and medicine and that she needed it everyday of her life to control her hypothyroidism and back issues. As her love and gratitude for the yoga grew, it became more and more clear that her purpose was to share the miracles of this yoga with others…so she quit her career with Kraft Foods and off to the 9 weeks Bikram Yoga Teacher Training she went. Mori graduated from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in August 2004 and spent her first two years out of this graduation doing nothing but teaching and taking hot yoga classes.
Since then, Mori pursued her MBA, went back to the corporate world and continued to build her career. After gaining several years of practical experience and classical marketing training, she decided it was time to share her love of the yoga not just by teaching classes, but by providing space for others to grow and transform, to learn and evolve. Once again, she found that herself leaving Corporate America and pursuing a more unconventional path. She states, “Nothing is more gratifying than a student telling me how their life has changed because of Breathing Dragon Yoga and my staff. Nothing is more gratifying than knowing I have had a positive impact on someone’s life, and not from a desk that just pushes products into people’s lives, but from a very personal, sacred space. This is what makes teaching so valuable to me; and what’s funny is that it’s not me doing anything for anybody…I’m just the vessel.”
Mori is a mother to Sufiana who was born six weeks after Breathing Dragon Yoga opened and step-mother to three beautiful children through her marriage with Michael, her partner in business and in Life. Together, they built Breathing Dragon Yoga as a safe space for all to come sweat, feel great, and to unite as a familial community. They are so thankful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to spread the benefits of Original Hot Yoga with Central New Jersey and hope that you too will join the Dragon Family and allow hot yoga to change your life, too.
Meredith loves teaching (indeed, you can hear it in her voice as she teaches!), and feels she has grown over the years because the students teach her from both inside and outside of the yoga room. Meredith has been with Breathing Dragon Yoga since 2014 and looks forward to teaching with us for many more years to come. Her joyous energy is infectious, come catch it soon!
A classically trained opera singer, Adam had an instant love affair with yoga as a way to relax and renew during a period of intense study and practice of voice training. Turns out the heat used in yoga classes was a way to save and enhance his voice. Before long, Adam committed to making the yoga a life journey. He knew that there was no end in sight and that the practice would be a permanent part of his life. In 2012, he signed up for the teacher training program as a way to learn how he could share his treasure with other people. A technique obsessed enthusiast, Adam aims to inspire students to work hard to obtain precision while keeping any frustrations at bay…a struggle he faces within his own practice. Expect a class with Adam to be alignment driven with a perfect blend of encouragement and compassion…and taught in that deep, classically trained opera singer voice. Go ahead, ask him to sing you a posture! Adam has been part of the Breathing Dragon Yoga Teacher Team since 2015 and has been delighting students with his voice that allows you to slip into your moving meditation.
Andrea practices yoga out of her love for movement as a form of meditation, and the endless challenges it offers, both physically and emotionally. She is inspired to share her knowledge and her experience to highlight the healing benefits of the practice through teaching. Her goal as a yoga teacher is to help students achieve an embodied experience in practice that transfers to a higher state of awareness in daily life. Andrea’s classroom instruction emphasizes healthy alignment, strong sequencing, breath-work, and meditation for a powerful, yet calming, experience. She feels honored to guide her students in this approach while challenging their comfort zones. Andrea’s personal goal is to highlight the inclusiveness of yoga and how it is accessible to all. Be prepared to challenge yourself, find your edge, and experience the magic of yoga! Andrea is inspired by the words of the great Maya Angelou….”If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” Andrea is a 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher under the guidance of master instructors Sue Elkind and Naime Jezzeny of Dig Yoga in Lambertville, NJ. Andrea is also a Level One graduate of Baptiste Power Yoga and attended Level Two in the Fall of 2018. She has also studied with Ranjitha Sandeep of Yoga Sutra for Life, and Denise Bonnaig of Princeton Power Yoga. Andrea is thankful to all current and former teachers who continue to be a source of guidance and inspiration. Andrea has been teaching at Breathing Dragon Yoga since 2017 and has been a fierce inspiration for all!
A Personal Trainer, Yoga, and Fitness Instructor with Military and Martial Arts background, Matthew is highly active across a myriad of physical exercise disciplines, including Extreme Calisthenics, Capoeira and Masters Track & Field. Matthew took his first Hot Yoga class in NYC in 2012 and was excited he did not walk out of class, but rather that he glided out of class! Amazed by how pain free and fluidly he moved after class he became a regular practitioner at a local studio. That is where he met Mori, who would later open Breathing Dragon Yoga where Matthew would continue his hot yoga practice and expand his horizons taking other styles of yoga.
Matthew attended Inferno Hot Pilates Teacher Training in May of 2017 and has been teaching regularly at Breathing Dragon ever since! His Inferno Hot Pilates will leave get your heart pumping and your thighs burning! Matthew’s expanding personal practice prompted him to become a yoga instructor and return to his martial arts roots in a practice steeped in Eastern Philosophy that practice is Yin Yoga. He became Certified in Yin Yoga learning directly under Master Paulie Zink in October 2018. He loves that the aim of Yin Yoga is to restore your body back to the suppleness and ease of movement we had as children. One Yin/Yang class with Matt will have you flowing into postures and maybe even barking like a seal!