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Yoga and Movement Arts Teachers

Our Mission

To offer an ecologically friendly retreat space and a sanctuary for exploration and transformation through yoga, surf, play, movement, healing arts, relaxation, adventure, community and a connection to nature. To provide top notch teacher trainings, workshops, private sessions, classes, tours, events events in Costa Rica!  To explore myriad ways to better ourselves...  giving us more tools to move through the world, living artfully.



Sofiah Thom

Co-founder of Danyasa™ Eco-Resort and Danyasa™ Yoga and Expressive Arts, Teacher, Trainer and Mentor


Sofiah Thom, the originator of Danyasa™ Yoga and Expressive Arts, believes that every person possesses an inner artist -- a unique, individual creative spark that just needs to be allowed or inspired to show itself. Sofiah's mission lies in nurturing this creative spark in others with the aim to inspire them to live to their fullest creative potential, sharing her wisdom through retreats, yoga teacher trainings, private sessions and public classes. In Sofiah's presence one feels her grace, strength and sensuality as she invites you to get out of your head and into your body.

As a daughter of parents who are also healers and teachers, and as an interdisciplinary artist with a B.A. in Dance Therapy and Performing Arts from Naropa University, studies at the Tamalpa Institute in Expressive Healing Arts, and a myriad of trainings in Bodywork, Yoga and Dance, Sofiah's deep understanding of the body shines through her work. Her experience and collaboration with certain key mentors laid the groundwork and sparked a deep sense of inspiration for her work. During her studies at Naropa she mentored and studied with Melissa Michaels where she immersed herself in the foundation of the 5Rhythms. Whilst living in L.A. she studied with other great masters such as Shiva Rea, Max Strom, Kenny Graham and Mark Whitwell within the yoga world; Anna Halprin and Vinn Marti in the dance world. At Naropa, Barbara Dilley, originally a dancer with Merce Cunningham, was one of her most influential teachers through her seamless infusion of Buddhist teachings with dance.

Sofiah's inspiration as a yogi stems from Tantra and Vinyasa Flow and she received her 200 hour Yoga Alliance RYT through the teachings of Anusara. Sofiah created Embody Grace (which includes no predetermined postures, and is instead a guided journey in movement); Danyasa™ Expressive Arts (a guided yoga, dance and expressive arts journey to empower and express the innate artist within); and Danyasa™ Yoga (a Vinyasa Flow Fusion weaving the roots of Tantra yoga with the archetype of the Graceful Warrior). When it comes to dance, Sofiah fuses all of her technique background including ballet, modern, African, Indian and Belly Dance into a unique and beautiful performance art, which she calls Temple Fusion, which originates from the recognition of the body as a temple, melding and fusing multiple dance and movement modalities in a sexy, sensual and spiritual dance offering. She dances the winding path between inner landscape and external environment, always embracing the succulence and sensuality of the goddess archetype.

Today, Sofiah combines dance, yoga, expressive healing arts and ritual into her work and has appeared as a performing artist and workshop facilitator at International events for the past fourteen years including the Bali Spirit Festival, Bhakti Fest, Earth Dance, and Wanderlust to name a few. She has been featured in Yogi Times, Conscious Dancer, The Bloom Documentary Series and Elephant Journal. Sofiah lives and works on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, where she and her husband opened Bamboo Yoga Play, A Sanctuary for Living Artfully in 2007. In 2011 Sofiah, her husband and a small group of individuals founded Envision, which quickly burgeoned into a world reknown transformational festival offering Music, Art, Education and Sacred Movement in the raw nature of Costa Rica. In 2013 Sofiah and her husband began the expansion of Bamboo Yoga Play Studio into the full Danyasa™ Eco-Resort and Retreat, with the intention of creating a permanent hub for the essence of what their Envision Festival represents through art, community, co-creation and transformative experience.

She is certified by Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-200 yoga instructor.



Heidi Michelle

E-RYT, Individual & Partner Yoga Instructor, Resident Planet Earth, Lover of All Life


Heidi Michelle has been in the teaching in the transformational growth arena for nearly 20 years. Birthed in the California sunshine, her journey took her through the professional dance world as a teacher and performer, into personal growth and empowerment facilitation, personal coaching, visual arts and finally finding a deeper home in the sacred teachings of partner and individual Yoga. With an intuitive nature, she invites provocative questioning of the paradigms governing our life choices. How is it that you REALLY want to live? If you dumped your internal rules, what would you do with this one precious life you've been given? Where are the places in which you deny your wildest expression? Can we dare to live in audacious intimacy with ourselves and others?

Heidi teaches, lives, dances, plays well with others, loves madly, and beholds beauty in the Denver/Boulder, Colorado area in the summertime and can be found roaming the jungles and coastlines of Costa Rica most winters.



Nicole Gayatri Smith

Founder of The Perfect Space, Creator of The True Potential Self Intensive, Dance and Yoga Teacher


Nicole Gayatri Smith moved to Dominical from NYC in January of 2013 and is overjoyed to be living artfully each day with the staff and travelers at Bamboo Yoga Play/ Danyasa Eco-Resort.

Nicole believes in living every moment with love and compassion, a sense of wonder and shiny playfulness.  Her voracious desire for movement and expression has led her to study a wide variety of dance styles in this lifetime.  She spent 10 years competing internationally and performing with many top choreographers as both an amateur and professional. For the past decade she has been spreading love as a teacher and choreographer in New York City for children, teenagers and adults.  She now offers classes, private lessons and choreography in the following styles: American Standard Ballroom; Swing, FoxTrot, Waltz, Rumba, ChaChaCha, Salsa “Traditional” & “On 2”, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, HipHop, Free Movement, Kinetic Kids, Goddess Integration, and Diva Dance Burlesque.
Integrating yoga into her life around 2000, Nicole has traveled and studied intensely with several Gurus both on and off the mat.  Her love of meditation, chakra alignment, Vinyasa/Ashtanga/Hot Yoga led her to create Shakti Flow Yoga; which she offers here at Bamboo YogaPlay.

In 2007 Nicole founded The Perfect Space as a Life Coach & Professional Organizer to help clients align with their true passions and bring them to life; arranging their personal space to specifically support, motivate and inspire them to achieve the goals they’ve set.  She offers online and in-person mentoring through her True Potential Self series; guiding clients to their ultimate-dream-life by setting smaller, measurable/attainable goals and mapping out life plans for success. Be inspired today to connect with your divine spirit & live as your True Potential Self~ dance, be silly, climb a tree, sing a song, spread hugs far and wide, and most of all express your gratitude for every bit of it! 


Ashleigh Sergeant

Co-Director and Co-Founder of Danyasa Yoga Arts Teacher Trainings

ashheadshotWith a yoga teacher for a mother, Ashleigh began her dedicated exploration of yoga at an early age in pursuit of healing a spine condition from birth. Now, living free from pain, Ashleigh is dedicated to sharing the healing power of yoga. She is the Global Yoga Trainer for adidas, was honored to be the youngest Certified Anusara Yoga Instructor in the world and is registered with Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT 500 level. Ashleigh is a presenter at the Wanderlust Festival, regularly films online yoga classes with My Yoga Online and Grokker Inc., and has contributed to Mind Body Green, Latin Women's Health and German Yoga Journal. Ashleigh strives to make the profound teachings of yoga appealing to as many people as possible and is known for her clear, concise and extremely accessible teaching style.

Inspired by mom's Power Yoga influences, her first teachers included Bryan Kest and Baron Baptist. Ashleigh received her first 200-Hour teaching certification at the Himalayan Institute with a strong influence from Rod Stryker's ParaYoga®. Throughout 2008 Ashleigh traveled with and assisted John Friend, the founder of Anusara® Yoga, which empowered her exponential growth. After completing multiple Anusara Teacher and Therapeutic Trainings with John, Ashleigh now brings the knowledge of over 2,000 hours of global study to her teaching. On the global circuit with adidas, Ashleigh works side by side with some of the top performance coaches in the world and regularly expands her knowledge of how to incorporate yoga into the mainstream world of athletics, health and fitness. Ashleigh's strong focus on the therapeutic application of yoga has made her a much sought after asset in the performance world. She continues to work with members of the Chinese Olympic Team, FIFA and NBA athletes. Ashleigh regularly leads teacher trainings and large scale classes in Europe, Asia and South America.

Diverse global travel travel consistently reconfirms Ashleigh's deep-seated belief that true transformation begins with dedicated self-inquiry and mindfulness in life's most local situations.


Maite Onoiche

RYT 200 Yoga Teacher (Puro Amor Flow)

Maite-yoga-teacherMaite was firstly introduced to yoga in her early twenties but from a young age her inquisitive mind drew her to study and explore different spiritual traditions. Born to a Nigerian father and a Spanish mother her exposure to a variety of cultures nurtured a quest for studying social anthropology, for traveling, for a deeper understanding of the humankind and the big existential questions. Her study of yoga began answering some of them.

After more than 10 years dedicated to social and international development work, and traveling the globe extensively from Afghanistan to Panama, passing through Thailand and Venezuela to name a few, she decided in 2013 to serve others through her yoga practice. Maite then, moved to Costa Rica and became certified with Sofiah at Danyasa Eco Resort.

Maite's style is a Hatha Flow Yoga, with emphasis in heart opening asanas, in order to delve deeper into love and move out into the world, and ride the wave of life with a fearless heart. Her classes are, both in, Spanish and English.


Samantha Astraya Harries

Certified Expressive Yoga Dance Teacher, Intuitive Healer, Yoga Teacher, Spiritual Mentor, Reiki Master, Mystic and Creative Writer


Astraya infuses all with her heart awakening, inspiring, divine movement. From her healing weave of Expressive Yoga Dance, Sacred Fusion Dance, Spiritual Yoga, 6 month transpersonal programs that facilitate healing through Holistic Mentoring, Reiki and Energy Healing. Astraya is also the author behind her passion for teaching Spiritual Retreats worldwide, her heart inspired seminars and workshops are about teaching unconditional love, authentic heart acceptance, non- judgment and self empowerment that seeds the awakening for our new age consciousness.

Astraya has been acknowledged as a divine healing channel. Her heart to heart faith with God/Spirit intuitively leads her to teach, guide, inspire and manifest peace and love worldwide. Uniquely flamboyant, her grace expands Expressive Dance, Spiritual Yoga, Intuitive Mentoring and Heart Awakening. She is passionate about expressing from her heart and integrating the mystical union of dance and yoga for an authentic,liquid- like, synchronous flow that acts as a New Age Medicine and Cosmic Heart Healing.

She believes it is within the kindred flow from the divine stream of God’s Spirit that we as one ocean can create a ripple effect that changes the world for life long healing, love and peace worldwide.

Astraya touches all with her ever expanding heart sharings, creative writing and energetic healings. Her passion to bring peace and healing to the world is a gift. Having lived and studied the power of quantum spirituality, she is a magnetic attractor for believing in all that is unseen, mystical and ethereal. Her power and belief in bridging the gap between impossible to possible is fearless that flows from divine. She believes that limitations are just illusions created by the mind from delusional thoughts trapped in fear. Astraya has dedicated her heart awakening movement to serve and honor mankind. Through her creative portal, artistic flair and intuitive expression, She dedicates her voice collectively by sharing her heart across the world, shifting and expanding human consciousness to the next level for the Progression of New Age Divine Medicine.

Astraya believes in embracing all walks of life; all cultures, all religions and all ages with a curious sweet, childlike innocence, treating all with Love and Light and inspiring seekers to look within towards their journey into the light.


Kais Faddah, D.C., C.C.S.P.

Doctor of Chiropractic, Chiropractic Sports Physician, Wellness Practitioner, Counselor and Coach

kaisDr. Kais is an experienced Doctor of Chiropractic in the management of injuries, soft tissue rehabilitation and subluxation correction. In 1988, he graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.S. in Exercise Physiology, and a B.S. in Human Biology and Doctorate of Chiropractic from the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1991.  Adding to his adjustment techniques, in 1997 Dr. Kais obtained a certification as a Chiropractic Sports Physician. In 2006, he earned his certification as a Wellness Practitioner for helping patients toward a healthier life by removing nerve interference to the spinal system, balancing nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances, eliminating emotional stress patterns and helping patients detoxify their bodies.

Dr. Kais also offers counseling and coaching in anti-aging (creating a path towards optimum health and longevity of life), weight loss and peak physical fitness.  He embraces more of a Holistic style of chiropractic focusing on correcting the cause of  dis-ease rather than just treating symptoms.  He offers gentle, low force adjusting techniques as well as traditional adjustments.


Kirk Angelo Blaker

Yoga Teacher


Kirk lives in San Isidro de El General, operating an Integrated Therapy and Injury Rehabilitation practice out of his home, which is evolving into a Wholistic Health and Urban Agriculture Center. He has been teaching yoga in Costa Rica since 2004. His style is very grounded and alignment-based, drawing from his deep knowledge of human anatomy and physiology. While admiring many styles of yoga, especially Anusara and Iyengar, his classes blend aspects of many disciplines, both in and outside of traditional yoga, while remaining true to the principles of Athletic Training and Physical Education.

Keeping Costa Rica as home base, for the past 11 years Kirk has been traveling periodically in search of new modalities to deepen his healing practice. Never missing an opportunity to learn a new discipline or technique, he has studied many forms of health-promoting arts and sciences from around the world.



"Thanks so much for your hospitality and generosity of spirit - I had a wonderful time here and I thank you for providing such an inspired space for yoga and connection - I hope to come back someday soon! Many thanks & pura vida!"  -- Alyson





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