Michelle's Story

Yoga found Michelle, a lifelong dancer-scientist-yogini-mystic, when she was fifteen, and it transformed her world. Already devoted to understanding the life force  -on the path of ecological sciences- in 1999 Michelle was asked to teach yoga, and made a promise to the Universe that she wouldn’t pursue being a yoga teacher unless the Universe clearly chose her for the teaching path- then she would give her life completely.

Today Michelle is certified Prana VinyasaTM E-RYT 500+, on her way to a Professional 1008hr Certification, as well as an Advanced Certified AcroYoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, creator of Vinyasa of the Hoop & Mandala Vinyasa, and a pioneer in the global Hoopdance movement.

After nearly 4000 hours of advanced studies, specializing in therapeutics, Michelle offers a variety of practices that synthesize yogic awareness, intelligent biomechanics, and the universality of dance as pathways toward the state called “yoga”. 

Since 2002 Michelle Nayeli has taught full time at studios, conferences, retreats and festivals including Wanderlust, Bhakti Fest, Yoga Rocks the Butte, Divine Play AcroYoga Festival, Lightning in a Bottle, Symbiosis Festival, Envision Festival, Burning Man, High Sierra Music Festival, Hoop Camp, Hoop Convergence, Sacred Circularities, and more.

Michelle Nayeli is on the Teacher Training faculty of Āvāhana School of Yoga & Expressive Healing Arts, Balanced Action Yoga and Hoop Vinyasa℠.

She is the creator and producer of EmBody Retreats, immersive training retreats that expand the definition of embodied yoga practice to include its roots in dance (kārana vinyāsa) and connection to innate intelligence (sahaja).

Blessed with amazing teachers on her path, Michelle is particularly grateful for Tim Miller, Tias Little, John Friend, Dr. Ranjani Cobo, Christopher “Hareesh” Wallis, the global AcroYoga tribe, and masters of dance- Kim Epifano, Jean Isaacs, Tonnie Sammartano, and Patricia Rincon.

She bows to the teachers who have shared the deeper meaning of living yoga, especially to her Maha teacher and friend, Shiva Rea, whom she apprentice-assists regularly.

Always a student of embodiment, Michelle is a student of Ayurveda, and continues her somatic education in the brilliant and paradigm-shifting work of the Axis Syllabus Research Community. Following years of competitive swimming, distance bicycling, Contemporary Dance, Capoeira, performance, and choreography, Michelle continues to cross-pollinate her movement vocabulary with all kinds of dance, most notably Tribal Bellydance with a sprinkling of Hip Hop.

The Hoop merged Michelle’s lifetime love of math, geometry, and patterns of flow, the varied skills of her physical training, and the sensitivity of awareness cultivated in yogic practice, with a playful and infinitely creative tool for ecstatic embodiment. In love at first spin in 2006, Nayeli (as known in the global hoop community) is still in awe of hooping’s power as a personal practice to transform emotions, empower our authentic selves, and open up new pathways of movement expression. A pioneer of the form, Michelle is a leading teacher in the still- growing hoop community, uniquely weaving in yoga, biomechanics and philosophy while offering the hoop as a personal sādhana (spiritual practice).

Based in San Francisco, CA, Michelle maintains a private practice specializing in customized yoga, prescriptive movement therapy, and Thai Yoga Massage with a focus on supporting healthy, functional movement patterns, adaptability within the body-mind, and encouraging living in rhythm based on Ayurvedic principles.

“The rivers of our lives are shaped by many forces ~histories, lessons, experiences~ yet they originate from the same source, and ultimately return to that ocean of energy we call ‘consciousness,’ ‘spirit,’ ‘the divine,’ ‘the field,’ ‘God,’ ‘Goddess,’ or ‘The Great Spirit.’

I have always held a vision of unity as my perception of reality~ from growing up wondering why there was so much debate between distinctions of faith and religion, to studying ecology and the interconnection of all life on earth.  Our false sense of separateness is the root of so much of our own pain, humanity’s pain, and the earth’s pain.

When we are able to see the biggest picture, the beauty of the whole as expressed through all of its unique parts, patterns, and mysteries, we find ourselves present, grounded, and able to see clearly and open our hearts to the flow of love within any situation.”          ~MN Bouvier

Most people
are much more unusual and complicated and eccentric and playful and creative
than they have time to express.
~ Oliver Herring