Group Exercise Instructors

Abbey Asher | Don Bard | Kimball Barton | Kia Blaustein | Diana Chen | Madison Daniels | Maris Degener | Kathy DeLaCruz | Gina Garcia | Julie Graff | James Lewis | Billy Prusinowski | Shane Sanchez | Gavin Smith | Gillian Vickers | Abigail Walsh | Breana Watkins

Abbey Asher

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Abbey is a formally trained ballet and jazz dancer who performed professionally in Santa Barbara. She began studying Iyengar yoga in 1995 and completed teacher training in 2004. Abbey has been a student of Maya Lev and Kofi Busia for many years and is currently teaching yoga at Yoga Center Santa Cruz in addition to her classes on campus. In January of 2008, Abbey studied for one month at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, India.

Class(es) taught: Iyengar Yoga

Don Bard

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Don started yoga in the Ashtanga style, a vigorous practice in which poses are connected in a set flow. When Don moved to Santa Cruz in 1987, he started practicing TriYoga, a style with very creative sequences. He became certified to teach TriYoga in 1995, and now teaches a flow style that includes TriYoga flows, Iyengar and Anusara alignment principles, and an approach largely influenced by the teachings of Erich Schiffmann. Don's classes emphasize moving consciously, staying within your range of comfort, and being as relaxed as possible. The key is to learn how to enjoy what you are doing as you are doing it.

Class(es) taught: Flow Yoga

Kimball Barton

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Kimball Barton is a Personal Trainer certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has been a trainer in the Santa Cruz area for over 18 years. She works really well with a wide variety of individuals and really enjoys creating dynamic and fun workouts for her clients. Her specialties include core conditioning, functional training, general strength and cardiovascular training, and adding FUN to your workout. In her free time, Kimball enjoys playing poker, gardening, hanging with her dogs, hiking, and painting.

Class(es) taught: Circuit Xpress

Kia Blaustein

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Having grown up in Lemoore, California, Kia graduated from Cal-Poly with a B.S. in Animal Science. While in Santa Cruz, Kia has spent seventeen years studying Iyengar Yoga, in addition to being a certified massage therapist, and a mother of four. Through her yoga practice, Kia’s study of the expression of movement within the body led to a newly discovered fascination with dance. After having studied intensively with Worldanz, Kia became a certified Worldanz instructor in August of 2014. Kia remains grateful to teach Worldanz at UC-Santa Cruz, sharing her passion for dance within the UCSC community.

Class(es) taught: Worldanz, Core-Yoga Fusion, Fit Barre

Diana Chen

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Diana discovered Pilates while searching for ways to reduce stress. She found that Pilates not only encouraged strength from the inside out but also helped center the mind and body. As an instructor, she is thrilled to share her love for Pilates, and its unlimited possibilities, with the community at UCSC. Diana has a longstanding interest in exploring the mind-body connection. She has a BA in psychology from Cal and a masters in HCI from Carnegie Mellon. Diana completed her training as a comprehensive Pilates instructor at Innerstellar Pilates & Yoga and is also currently completing the Balanced Body Bridge at Agile Monkey.

Class(es) taught: Mat Pilates

Madison Daniels

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Madison is currently an undergraduate student at UCSC and she thrives on teaching yoga. She initially started practicing yoga in 2014 to help rehabilitate her knees, but fell in love with the lifestyle and has been practicing ever since. Madison became certified to teach Vinyasa Yoga in 2015 through "Core Power Yoga", and she is able to sequence her classes to suit all levels of skill. Madison is a strong advocate for health, balancing the mind and the body, and living in the moment, which she believes are all achieved by practicing yoga.

Class(es) taught: Vinyasa Yoga, Sunset Yoga

Maris Degener

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An East Bay Area native, Maris Degener is a yoga teacher, mental health advocate, writer, and UCSC student. Since becoming certified in Vinyasa at 16, Maris's love of yoga and passion for sharing its offerings has only grown. Using the physical practice of yoga, Maris’s classes allow students to access the internal strength and power within themselves. Maris’s classes are empowering, loving, and push students to find their own unique edge whether that be physical, emotional, or otherwise. Maris's teachings and writings have been recognized by CNN Health, Seventeen Magazine, Girls' Life Magazine, and others. A documentary about her healing journey through yoga is set to be released in Spring 2018. You can learn more about Maris and read her work at

Class(es) taught: Empowering Yoga, Sunset Yoga

Kathy DeLaCruz

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Class(es) taught: Zumba

Lyndel Fusello

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Class(es) taught: Circuit Xpress

Gina Garcia

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Born and raised in Guatemala, Gina Garcia traveled to the United States at the age of sixteen to pursue her interest in art and dance. She studied at Boston University, ultimately transferring to and receiving her degree in Fine Arts at the University of California—Santa Cruz. Gina developed Worldanz in 2008 as a way in which to combine her love of dance, her unyielding interest in global cultures, and her restless desire to exercise both aggressively and unapologetically. Having spent twenty-five years studying every dance form that came her way, Gina wanted to find a way to share the unique and intricate gifts that each form provides. Similarly, as a fitness enthusiast, Gina has remained extremely interested in helping people tap into the joy of high-intensity training. Aside from the obvious physical benefits of feeling strong, healthy, and embodied, Gina wants people to experience the mental and spiritual rewards that come with maximum athletic exertion within the ecstatic study of dance.

Class(es) taught: Worldanz , Zumba

Julie Graff

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Class(es) taught: Cardio Kickboxing, Total Boty HIIT

James Lewis

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James is a retired Navy service member and former Command Fitness Leader for Navy sailors. After retirement, he became a Certified Personal Trainer through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) while completing his bachelor's in Kinesiology from CSU Monterey Bay. He recently completed his Master's in Exercise Physiology at San Jose State University. James specializes in exercise routines designed to improve overall fitness and health, including strength, muscular endurance, and cardiorespiratory conditioning. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, playing sports, spending time with family and friends, and freelance writing. His latest book is entitled Exercises for Older Veterans with PTSD.

Class(es) taught: Total Body HIIT

John Perez

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Class(es) taught: Zumba

Billy Prusinowski

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Class(es) taught: Cardio Kickboxing

Shane Sanchez

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Shane Sanchez attended UCLA and the University of Montana, where he received his undergraduate degree in Literature. It was at the University of Montana where Shane first began his study of dance, training in Modern and Jazz Dance while teaching Freshman Seminar. Shane continued his dance training in Jazz and Ballet while a graduate student at UC-Santa Cruz, where he received his master’s degree in Literature. Shane has taught aerobics and core conditioning since 2003 and has been training with Worldanz since February of 2008. Shane remains actively grateful to Worldanz for the community of elegant dancers it reliably crafts here in Santa Cruz.

Class(es) taught: Worldanz

Gavin Smith

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Class(es) taught: Vinyasa Yoga

Gillian Vickers

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Gillian has been a mover for life, but her consistent yoga practice began at UCSC over a decade ago, training Warrior Yoga under Sensei Kevin Snorf. Gillian is thrilled to complete the circle and return to UCSC to share a movement practice that continues to bring her joy, challenge & strength. Join Gillian to learn the classic sun salutes and how to drop beneath the physical and discover deeper layers of the self.  Gillian also loves to share her other great passion, dance. Join her in Zumba to get great cardio workout shaking it to the rhythms of Columbia, Cuba and more!

Class(es) taught: Vinyasa Yoga, Zumba

Abigail Walsh

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Abby is currently a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Developmental Psychology at UCSC studying gender in children’s media. Abby completed her 200-RYT training in Ashtanga Yoga and her 500-RYT in Anusara yoga. As an academic, Abby always found it all too easy to get caught exiting in an ongoing pattern of stress. Yoga offered Abby an opportunity to just breathe (simple, right). Through her practice, she was able to quiet the mind, relieve tension and stress, and challenge herself mentally and physically. Abby is interested in therapeutic yoga, beginner and intermediate yoga, and overall body alignment that offers a holistic mind-body connection. In addition to teaching adult classes, an eternal kid, Abby teaches children’s yoga, and teen yoga, as well. Abby has found a great balance between her scientific academic side and her introspective spiritual side. She hopes to help others find similar balance in their own lives.

Class(es) taught: Yoga

Breana Watkins

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Class(es) taught: Sunrise Yoga