Meet Our Yoga Experts!

Our dedicated yoga teachers are passionate about helping you reach your personal yoga goals
and optimizing the overall yoga experience for everyone.

Barbara Adams, Owner

E-RYT 500 | Anusara Certified Teacher

Barbara has been the owner of Yoga Village Fountain Hills since 2003 and Yoga Village Scottsdale since 2006.  She has studied and practiced several styles of yoga, but has enthusiastically embraced Anusara® Yoga since 2003 and is Anusara certified.  Barbara loves ALL that yoga offers and has especially focused on alignment and bio-mechanically sound approaches in her studies. She is deeply appreciative to her fellow teachers for daily inspiration.  Barbara has a MS in Counseling and Human Development and worked in behavioral health for 15 years - she is delighted to see how yoga can bring contentment to so many hearts and how the yoga philosophy weaves seamlessly with her Counseling studies.

Barbara's husband, Wiley, and two grown children, Frank and Mae, have been a constant source of support and offer sure and steady help in running the studios and keeping it all fun.  Barbara  offers her wisdom in a heartfelt way through her teaching.

 Courtney Griffin

RYT 200
Courtney first tried out yoga in her teen years and has been drawn to the practice ever since. She found the practice went well with cheerleading, but as the years went on, she kept going back to it for more than just the physical benefits.

Courtney reported for CBS, ABC and most recently Fox News for nearly the last decade. Throughout her journalism career she experienced how a constant yoga practice helped keep her on track to living a purposeful, positive life even in the midst of covering the inevitable heartbreaking stories. 
She ultimately left news so that she could dive deeper into the practice. She's always had a passion for helping people, and is excited to share her knowledge and love for yoga in hopes of bringing out more peace, clarity and purpose to her students' lives. 
She is trained to teach a variety of classes focusing on body alignment, strength and the breath. Courtney got her 200-hour yoga teacher training certification at Authentic Yoga, and is on her way to getting her 500-hour certification. 
"I believe there is a style of yoga for everyone, and each style offers different qualities that the body and mind can benefit from."
From the moment she stepped foot into her first class at Yoga Village she felt a strong sense of community and is thrilled to be a part of it. 

Angie Santucci

E-RYT 500 | Anusara Certified Teacher

Angie began her yoga studies in 1995 at Arizona Art and Yoga with her most influential teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh, and has been teaching ever since. She furthered her studies with various styles of yoga in New York and Los Angeles, and is certified with Yoga Alliance RYT 500 as well as Anusara.  She teaches biomechanical alignment for optimal physical health and includes music and flow to achieve meditation and mindfulness with movement in hopes to create a space for clarity of heart and mind.  Through the years of many yoga teaching experiences, working with athletes, seniors, and medical professionals, she understands the deep healing that occurs with a consistent yoga practice, so she strives to deliver classes that are safe and effective as well as fun and challenging.

In her life outside of yoga, she markets and manages her loving husband’s orthodontic practice, and is on the tail end of raising four amazing boys.

Jen Gantwerker

RYT 200

Jen began her yoga journey at this very studio shortly after moving to Arizona in 2013. As she fell in love with yoga and Yoga Village, she transitioned from student to staff, working at the front desk while completing her 200-hour teacher training under the guidance of Barbara, Mae, Angie, and Katrina.

In addition to her Anusara training, Jen completed Radiant Roots Kids Yoga Teacher Training, and combined both sets of skills over a year and a half of teaching yoga to high school students. She enjoys guiding her students to feel more connected to their bodies and their hearts, and to find the fun in their practice. Off the mat, she can most often be found teaching theatre, performing, writing, rock climbing, or singing songs to her cats.

Mae Adams

E-RYT 500 | Anusara Certified Teacher

Mae began her yoga journey when she was 13. After many years of practice, she decided in 2008 to pursue teaching and has been in love with it since. Trained in the Anusara method, she imbues her classes with thoughtful alignment, spontaneous humor, and heart. Mae is especially fond of deep back bends, but enjoys the well-roundedness of the practice. In addition to practicing Anusara® Yoga, Mae is huge fan of Acro Yoga, which is a combo of traditional yoga, acrobatics, and Thai yoga massage. She has much gratitude for the teachers that have guided her along the path: Barbara Adams (mom and yoga instructor extraordinaire), Paulette Bodeman, Angie Santucci, John Friend, Noah Maze, Desiree Rumbaugh, and her many incredible Acro friends.

Rasoul Sobhani

RYT 500

The inspiring Rasoul brings a beautiful blend of experience to Yoga Village. He has over 20 years of experience as a martial artist and teaches Tai Chi and Chi Qung. He is a registered yoga instructor and graduate of the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Rasoul is also a graduate of the Scottsdale Community College, where he received certification as a 500 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), with a focus on alignment. He is the creator of Chi Yoga Do Witch, where he creatively blends yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Qung into one fluid, yet meditative class. Rasoul has a weekly yoga program featured online at To learn more about Rasoul, please visit

Maggie Carvalho

RYT 200

Maggie’s passion for movement began very young as a dancer.  Her yoga path began about 6 years ago when she felt drawn to self-discovery.  She immediately fell in love with the Anusara style and started teaching shortly after receiving her 200 hours from Yoga Village. It was natural to share the information that had changed her life in ways she couldn’t have imagined.  Her teaching style is light and informative, helping students to truly bring the teachings into their everyday life.

“Life is filled with ups and downs.  The teachings of yoga can help us ride the waves with more acceptance, ease, and grace.”

Maggie is a hairstylist in Scottsdale, specializing in non-toxic hair care, and also continues her love for dance, performing with a professional company.

Elena Long

E-RYT 200 | Anusara Elements Teacher

Elena took her first yoga class in 2004 and quickly fell in love with it. As a dancer in high school and in college, yoga felt natural to her, and she found herself very drawn to the practice. She started practicing yoga at Yoga Village in 2009 and gained a great appreciation for Anusara. Elena completed her 200 hour teacher training with Barbara and Paulette. She is also certified to teach kids yoga, and is currently teaching yoga to the kids at the Boys and Girls Club in Fountain Hills several days a week.

Amy Gacka

RYT 200

A dancer since age 3, Amy has always had a passion for movement created from balancing strength and flexibility within the body. Amy discovered her love for yoga 5 years ago and became a dedicated practitioner. “Yoga is an opportunity to let things go, re-connect, and find your happy place”

In her class offerings Amy hopes to inspire others to have fun, stay mindful of how they feel aligned during their practices, and enjoy the challenge to explore their potential a little further!

Leslie Pechkurow

RYT 500

Leslie was first drawn to yoga because of its unique coupling of strength and flexibility for the body. Having a dance background, Leslie was able to transition smoothly to the yoga world and found that yoga provided an opportunity to concentrate less on the body and more on the whole person. She first discovered power yoga and enjoyed more active classes, but as her practice progressed and deepened she gradually embraced the powerful effects that yoga can have on the mind and the soul. Desiring a deeper understanding of yoga, Leslie completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2013 and then went on to complete her 500 hour Teacher Training in 2018. She has also completed courses in teaching yoga to children and to expectant women. Leslie is a Master’s level therapist, and her background in counseling and mental health allow her to utilize yoga as a means for relaxation and rejuvenation both on and off her mat. Leslie believes that our past experiences in life often hinder our mental and physical abilities, and yoga is a means to clear ourselves of that negative energy and icky stuff that gets stuck. Yoga has been especially healing in her own life, and she is passionate about sharing that with others. When Leslie is not practicing or teaching yoga, she enjoys spending time with her husband and her two young daughters Sammy and Frankie!

Lisa Kneller

RYT 200

Lisa fell in love with the practice of yoga at age 43. Her fist influential teachers were Jordan and Martin Kirk with whom she studied for her 200 hour certification credentials. Lisa began teaching around the Valley in 2003 and has been a devoted student at Yoga Village since the cork floor was laid and she helped to paint the walls. Anusara Yoga makes her feel most "at home," and she credits the very talented teachers who have shown her how to expand her heart, mind and body. She enjoys taking a great flow class and loves to teach beginning students.

Lisa also holds a master level certification in Holy Yoga (M-HYI) and offers classes using Biblical themes to local area churches. Lisa is married and the proud mother of two great children. Her greatest passion is inspiring people to reach their potential in mind, body and spirit.

Nicki Byrd

RYT 200

More info coming soon!

Rita Litchfield-Good

RYT 200

Besides being a professional classical singer and Fine Arts teacher, Rita is also a Yoga Nidra facilitator, Reiki Master and Gong Master. She discovered yoga as a kid watching and trying to imitate Lillias Yoga and You on PBS. She revisited yoga off and on over the years and then really got the yoga bug in 2004 after her younger daughter was born, taking mom and baby yoga classes. Her passion for yoga and healing lead her to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts where she studied yoga with Laura McKinzie and graduated RYT 200 in 2014.  She loves to incorporate chanting and readings into her classes, paying close attention to alignment and the breath. Rita is most excited that her recent addition to her career path has opened the door to yoga for her husband, Jay, and daughters, Elizabeth and Natalie who have a regular practice.  She enjoys running and hiking with her family and three dogs, and is determined to make sure her daughters are well-versed in classic musicals, movies and television.

Monica Rosen

RYT 200

Monica came to Yoga Village four years ago with more than twenty years of teaching experience, working with both children and adults in a philosophy-based Art of Yielding (Jujutsu). Since her introduction to Anusara Yoga she has immersed herself into her practice and has been quickly able to reconcile her new learning with her previous experience. The result has been a wonderfully fresh approach to the transmission of yogic instruction. Monica is also a co-founder and active board member of an Arizona non-profit that brings health and wellness to individuals and groups of all ages and walks of life through the community outreach programs.

Sarka Hulpachova

E-RYT 500

As a former gymnast from Prague, Sarka's natural path has always been exploring how the physical body alignment and the mind work inseparably. She considers it a blessing that she discovered Yoga a long time ago, and is very pleased to observe how Yoga teachings have attained such a well-deserved popularity.  From her extensive studies of all aspects of Yoga, Sarka learned about the broad complexity this way of life has to offer. After 5 semesters of intense training, she received her 200 hours certification in Yoga from Scottsdale Community College, and has continued to study with Carlyn Sikes to obtain her 500 hours certification in Yoga instruction, as well as an Occupational Certification in Yoga Therapy. She is excited to know and share how we can use our own bodies to heal ourselves.

Annie Godin

RYT 200

For Annie, yoga has been a love that began when she was a teenager. She has always been intrigued by philosophy and teachings of yoga off the mat, and when she began the physical practice, it clicked for her how yoga heals the body and the mind, and she can’t get enough! 
Yoga to Annie is a never ending journey. She likes to take her time in her own personal practice and when teaching and really feel her body in each pose. She hopes to share with the students who she meets the joy that yoga has shed into her daily life, and in turn learn something from them as well! Annie loves to teach flow, restorative, pranayama techniques and of course, explore the yogic philosophy!

Linda Benkowski

RYT 200
Linda’s passion for Integrative Medicine began 20 years ago when she began investigating the healing properties of therapeutic essential oils.  After studying alternative medicine, Linda then received certifications in Reiki 2007 and started practicing yoga.  When learning to meditate, she discovered Yoga Nidra.  Upon taking her first class, Linda was compelled to delve deeper into this ancient practice, and she knew she had a calling to learn how to teach others to reach this deep form of meditation.   Linda is an advanced Amrit Method Facilitator in Yoga Nidra under Kamini Desai, PhD.
Linda takes this experience one step further and incorporates sound therapy with crystal and Tibetan singing bowls to end her Yoga Nidra sessions.  She holds a certificate in Sound Healing, which is the therapeutic application of sound frequencies to the body and mind with the intention of bringing them into a state of harmony and health.  She can help you to overcome stress, reduce anxiety, and reset sleep cycles.  

Alissa Will

RYT 200
More info coming soon!