Steven Ross – School Director

Steven Ross E-RYT200 is Director of Sacred Roots and co-founder and Director of Eastside Yoga.  Steven has dedicated much of his life to the search for greater truth and Self awareness through his study and practice of yoga. Born and raised in Scotland, it was his journey to Texas that transformed his outlook and began his quest in earnest. After years of searching a friend brought him to sit with an Indian Guru and from that point on he developed an unquenchable thirst to realize the higher states of yoga. This journey eventually led him to open Eastside Yoga in late 2009 so he and his wife Elsa could make a positive impact in their local community.

Certified by Srivatsa Ramaswami to teach vinyasa krama yoga, a systematic method of hatha yoga utilizing several hundred vinyasas practiced with slow yogic breath. This lesser known method taught by Sri T Krishnamacharya is ideal for those looking to develop a meditative hatha practice. Steven’s teaching emphasis is to bring upliftment and enjoyment to his students then to utilize this as a gateway to controlling their life force (prana) effortlessly.  His vision for teaching yoga sadhana is to offer classes in line with Patanjali’s Eight limbed path (Asthanga) in line with a more traditional yoga practice this led to development of Raja Yoga classes.  The intent is to cultivate a meditative Self-aware practice utilizing teachings of the Himalayan yogis in a modern and easy to digest manner.

Devoted to his practice, study and realization of Yoga, his spiritual path lies with Paramhansa Yogananda and his direct disciple Swami Kriyananda, and their deep teachings for the modern age. A spiritual healer trained by Francis the Healer he offers healing sessions and spiritual counsel at ESY and he is an officiant of sacred ceremonies in the greater Austin area.

maryMary Renee – Lead instructor 200 hour program

Mary Renee E-RYT200 has always had a passion for new experiences and places, given that her family was quite nomadic before settling in Nashville, TN. Early in her yogic journey, Mary traveled to India twice for several months at a time to immerse herself in the practice and culture.  In this birthplace of yoga, Mary learned Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Yoga, and explored pranayama and shat kriya practices under the guidance of her esteemed teacher, V.K. Shesadre.  

Now with 15 years of practice and over 3000 hours of teaching experience, she has honed an approach that effortlessly integrates lightheartedness and depth, exploring yogic philosophy and the ancient sacred traditions of self-discovery and realization.  Along the way, she’s deepened her training by studying with knowledgeable teachers from very diverse traditions. She completed her teacher training at the Living Yoga Program and finished a BA at the University of Texas focusing on Studio Art (painting). She continued her studies at UT in the South Asian Studies Department focusing on Indian Philosophy/Culture and Sanskrit.

 Mary is a steady and gentle guide and is actively involved in workshops, teacher training, private lessons and advanced trainings. Given her passion for the history and traditions of yoga, she meets regularly with a professor, Stephen Phillips, to study such texts as the Upanishads, and to continue her studies in Sanskrit. Mary effortlessly blends a reverence for these ancient traditions with a carefree and playful spirit that will leave you laughing along with the levity of the moment.


LauranLauran Janes – Lead instructor 300 hour program

Lauran has spent most of her life in sacred ritual and ceremony. From the time she was six years old she spent 3 months a year in an ashram participating in Native American and Indian ceremonies. The other 9 months were spent living a conventional middle class experience in Seattle area. The juxtaposition of these two seemingly “different” lives revealed to her the necessity of teaching the practical face of spiritual life. For Lauran spirituality is not about getting away from the mundane world but rather about engaging the ordinary world with extraordinary presence and gratitude.

In her late teens and throughout her 20s Lauran traveled extensively throughout the world including Europe, China, Africa and India. In her 30s moved to Costa Rica with her husband to teach yoga in Nosara, CR. She is madly in love with the human race and his steeped in the knowing that we are a global community.

By the grace of God & the support of her family Lauran has had the opportunity to teach yoga professionally for the last 15 years. She holds an 500 E-RYT and has been certified by both the Anusara School of Hatha Yoga and with Baba Hari Dass’s school on Mount Madonna. She has written multiple yoga teacher training curriculums at the 200 and 300 hr level, owned a yoga studio, and is the co-creator of the online yoga studio: www.YogaStudio9.com. A former screenwriter and devout student of Human Needs Psychology, Lauran is appreciated for bringing yogic psychology, personal storytelling and poetry into her classrooms. She is also well known for inviting the Divine into the room and for her precise, intelligent anatomical cuing.

Though she has many external accomplishments in the professional yoga arena, her most beloved accomplishments are the personal transformation that has taken place (and continues to take place) in her own heart and the individual hearts of her students.

Lauran is also a wife and a mother of two young kiddos – Maia and Bodhi. Currently she guest teaches at various 200 hr & 300 hour yoga teacher training programs in the Austin area, leads workshops and special events and offers several public classes a week.


denise-headshotDenise Deniger – Faculty 200 & 300 hour program

Denise E-RYT200 has performed as a circus artist in contortion, aerial dance, and tight-wire. She has also trained in and practiced several massage therapy modalities, Reiki, and Thai Yoga Massage. Denise is a graduate of the Asian Classics Institute’s foundational curriculum in the Dalai Lamas’ lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and she is currently completing the advanced studies courses under Lama Sumati Marut and Cindy Lee.

Denise formally stepped into the yoga world in 1996 while training for a bodybuilding competition and has been immersed in the practice of yoga ever since. She completed her first teacher training with Bikram Choudhury in 1998, and opened Dallas’ first Bikram yoga studio in 2000. Denise completed her power yoga training with CorePower Yoga in 2006. In 2009, she trained in Tibetan Heart Yoga with the Yoga Studies Institute. She studied Sanskrit at Naropa University and is currently studying the Tibetan language.

Denise and her husband are co-founders of Inner Jewel Dharma, a not-for-profit community that offers a modern interpretation of time-tested Dharma through study, meditation, yoga, service, and retreat in order to learn to live with greater compassion and wisdom. For more information: innerjeweldharma.org.

elsaM. Elsa Bui – Faculty 200 & 300 programs

Elsa bui, PT,MPT,NCS, E-RYT200 is co-founder of Eastside Yoga and also Steven’s wife. A Vietnamese native of Texas, she has been a licensed physical therapist for 12 years, is board certified in neurologic physical therapy and experienced with orthopaedics. She has years of practice with traumatic injury care, rehabilitation, chiropractic-based care and orthopaedic care of adults with sports injuries. She has mentored and taught many physical therapy students, as well as supervised therapy staff caring for patients. Working in the home health setting now, she teaches people with medical injuries to optimize their function using neuromuscular training for posture and alignment, gait training and balance. In her experience, the key to attaining and maintaining function AND your yoga practice, is to strive for a body balance/symmetry in core stability, flexibility, awareness and strength.

iva1Iva Drtina-Hall – Faculty 200 & 300 programs

Iva Drtina-Hall E-RYT500, From an early age, she explored all facets of body awareness, from ballet to jazz dance, African dance, gymnastics and yoga.Her interest in health, nutrition and alternative medicine began when she studied Physiology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, It was also at this time that she was introduced to Yoga by her mother in 1985.

Iva’s extensive travels throughout Asia, North America, Europe and Australia had broadened her view of different cultures, philosophies and traditions. She spent many years living and working in Japan, teaching cross cultural awareness, running a café-lounge with her husband in Tokyo and teaching yoga.
Her experiences and her studies opened the doors to many new  healing modalities such as fasting, cleansing and vipassana meditation, which she incorporates into her yoga and meditation classes, workshops and retreats in India, Japan and the US.

Iva completed her Yoga Arts Teacher Training in 2002 in Byron Bay, Australia and is certified under Yoga Alliance. She has been teaching in San Francisco, Japan and Austin  focusing primarily on Vinyasa Flow and Yin Yoga. She continues her own education, participating in Yoga workshops from Seane Corn, Shiva Rae, Donna Farhi, Gary Kraftsow. Her interests recently reside in the complement of  a Vinyasa Flow  practice with a Yin restorative practice to fully balance and restore harmony to oneself. She has studied under great Yin teachers such as Paul Grilley, Sarah Powers and Bernie Clarke. She has developed her own Yin Intensive training, teaching students and yoga teachers how to practice and teach Yin Yoga. Iva hosts retreats and workshops internationally as well as facilitating on teacher training programs in Austin, Hawaii and India.

LisaLisa Feder – Faculty 200 hour program

Lisa Feder, E-RYT500 believes Yoga can help everyone feel better, and be more fully engaged and effective in all areas of life, both personal and professional. Her passion is helping regular people discover and explore yoga to create space and ease in the mind, body and heart. The Yoga practice will meet you where you are on the path, and that is different for everyone. “In my classes, students set their own intention and work where they are comfortable and challenged, allowing their practice to meet them where they are that day. introducing beginners to Yoga and watching them on their journey of discovery.In addition to teaching Yoga, I’ve been working in the corporate world for over 20 years. Not surprisingly, Yoga practice and principles have helped me become a more effective professional. There is a great benefit to bringing the presence and mindfulness of Yoga into the work place. When I am not teaching Yoga or at my Marketing job, I spend time with friends and family, my husband
and two teens. I love hiking, reading, cooking and movies—and of course, practicing Yoga!


zoeZoe Mantarakis – Faculty

Voted one of Austin’s top teachers for several years in a row, Zoe has been teaching locally and internationally for over 15 years. She has a keen eye for alignment and is skilled at applying yoga form and function to aid in the healing of ailments both physical and energetic. With a BA in Philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, she infuses her classes with the ancient teachings of yoga philosophy and sanskrit. Her classes provide a sacred circle of space for practitioners to explore the world of yoga within themselves and discover powerful tools for radical self-acceptance and self-healing. She is the proud and loving mother of two boys, and most recently, a baby girl born May 2016.