Meet Our Instructors

What makes our staff consistently voted the Best in Birmingham? All of our hot yoga instructors are exclusive to Kiva Hot Yoga. We hold weekly staff meetings to discuss our students' needs and the specialized process to help each student reach their individual goals. Our classes average 20 in a class. With this class size, we get to know each student by name and know what challenges they have and what modifications they may need throughout their yoga journey.

We are required and LOVE continuing our growth as professionals through teacher workshops and additional teacher training. This is not a "side job" for any of us. Teaching yoga is our PASSION. Changing lives physically, mentally and even spiritually is our MISSION.


A Kate Jenkins

Owner/Director

Kiva Hot Yoga director, Kate Jenkins, graduated from Bikram Teacher Training in Spring of 2009. She has taught classes at yoga studios throughout the world. She is a runner, Iron Tribe athlete, overall fitness enthusiast. The heart and foundation of fitness is Hot Yoga.

Kate is a native of Nashville, TN. She attended Loyola University in New Orleans and earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. She has worked as a Board Certified Music Therapist in therapeutic settings for children with physical and developmental disabilities, those with psychiatric issues, and geriatrics. Kate has made Birmingham home since 2004. She attended Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in 2009 in Palm Desert. Later, she attended Bernie Clark's Yin Yoga Teacher Training in Vancouver in 2014, Vinyasa Yoga for At-Risk Youth Training in Vancouver in 2015 and Buti Yoga Certification in 2016. She is a member of Church of the Highlands and enjoys leading small groups and participating in Infuse at Church of the Highlands.

Kate maintains a strong connection to her Indian reservation – Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico. The tradition and ceremony of her culture means the world to her. “Our people have maintained and celebrated tradition that is ancient. It makes me appreciate the lineage and purity of this Yoga. It consistently creates challenge to give the practitioner what they NEED.” Kate has created a non-profit called Native Strength Revolution. It is a program that will teach yoga/ fitness/ nutrition to Natives on the reservations of the Southwest.


Ashley Howard

Instructor

 Ashley comes to us originally from Pennsylvania, but since 2012 she has lived several places throughout southeast. She has always been very health and fitness minded; stemming from teaching group exercise classes in college to later stumbling into her first hot yoga class with a friend in 2009. 

 By profession, Ashley is health + fitness coach, with a passion for helping others live their healthiest and most empowered life. As someone who craves high intensity exercise, Ashley was attracted to hot power yoga at first for the cardiovascular endurance and challenging postures. But like many yogis say, you'll come for the workout and stay for the yoga, and that's exactly what she did. 

 Ashley attended her first intensive teacher training with Sid McNairy in Nashville, TN in 2014. She finished a complete 200 hour teacher training with Yax Yoga Concepts in Richmond, VA in July 2016. She is trained in a therapeutic vision sequence of vinyasa flow, with an influence of Baron Baptiste's Journey into Power sequence and mindset. 

 She is married to her wonderful husband Brian and together they enjoy being active, hiking, traveling, exploring local breweries and discovering hidden gems of restaurants in the area. 

 Ashley teaches a power flow at Kiva Hot Yoga and while you may find her class challenging, she hopes you'll appreciate her detail to form and alignment and her care for each person who walks through the door. 

Namaste! 

 


Erin Cornelius

Instructor

Erin is constantly seeking inspiration and she lives to be inspired so that she can be that vessel of inspiration to others. She spent from 2002-2011 on stages all over the country captivating and inspiring people with her voice, but mostly right here in her hometown of Birmingham. She sang all the way up until she was 9 months pregnant and she and her husband welcomed their son. Upon hearing a powerful message at Church of the Highlands just months after their son was born about "Legacy," she rededicated her life to Christ and is now on what she calls her "God agenda journey." Erin says, "It was all about me before and now it's all about others." She and her husband have entrenched themselves in leadership at Church of Highlands and feel the life changing people and truths they have received are the reason for their desire and pursuit in ministry.

Erin was raised by a mother who instilled in her a way of life that was focused on health and wellness. As a young adult her passion grew more centered around physical fitness. That gave her the ability to win a state championship in track and field at Vestavia High School, as well as spending time as a Golden Girl on the dance team at UAB. She has instilled that same lifestyle in her own family, focusing on a way of life that keeps the body cleansed, balanced and built up. Being a person that has battled physical ailments such as carpel tunnel and rotatory tendonitis as well as had food allergies, she has seen first hand the healing abilities of combining good clean eating and yoga. She is taking her life experiences and everything that she has learned to help others improve their quality of life. She thrives on pouring truth into others in order that they have a deeper awareness of their possibilities regarding healing spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Erin began to do yoga at home after her child was born and didn't realize until coming with one of her dear friends to Kiva that anything like the 26 Hot Yoga, existed. She will never forget the first time she came and the words that were spoken over her at the end of class. She knew right then, this is where she was supposed to be. From then on she has done all she can to share her testimony about the healing she has received and stays eager to learn all she can about the 26 Hot Yoga. She was part of the first ever graduating class from the Yoga Alliance certified Kiva Hot Yoga Teacher Training of 2015 in Birmingham. Since graduation, Erin has transitioned from a big stage with bright lights and hundreds of people listening to her powerful voice, to a smaller stage with much deeper and more powerful message. She is using this platform as a way to empower people to be all they can be and to bring awareness of the difference truth can make in their lives.


Faye Thrasher

Instructor

 At age three Faye Claire was enrolled in the Greenville Ballet in Greenville, South Carolina where she found her love to move her body. She studied ballet at many studios until she was 16 years old when her family moved to Birmingham. Faye Claire attended Auburn University (War Eagle!) majoring in Mass Communications with an interest in Fashion Merchandising. After college she found her way into the advertising industry working at agencies and in media sales.

Faye Claire has always had yoga in her life from watching her mother’s yoga VHS tapes, going to classes, to joking about how she would be a yoga teacher and live at the beach. Little did she know that joke would become a reality. Faye Claire received her 200hr RYT at LifePower Yoga in 2013 and has not stopped teaching since she graduated. She is certified to teach heated and non heated vinyasa flow, slow flow, and Ashtanga. She is drawn to vinyasa from her background in ballet, it helps brings out her inner dancer. Faye Claire’s goal in life is to bring a smile to her students faces and touch their hearts each class.

 

 


Holly Kight

Instructor

Holly is a devoted mother first and foremost. She is a lover of the Birmingham physical fitness community, music, nature, and the arts. The fact that yoga has helped her quiet her mind and to be more focused, has greatly become her therapy and natural medication. Holly is not sure if she "chose" yoga or if yoga chose her but the journey she is on is wonderful and always interesting to say the least.

 


Kristen Bomer

Instructor

 

Through yoga, Kristen learned to be her own best teacher and wants to give her students the same confidence in their own skin. Her classes incorporate playful flows with long, yummy holds and plenty of restorative yin-sprinkles that will leave you feeling relaxed and centered. She is a recovering perfectionist and a rather fine karaoke singer (if she does say so herself.) Her dog has described her as "OMG, the best ever!" And many cats have been heard to comment "meh."

 Kristen's first introduction to yoga was the Hot 26 class at Kiva over a million years ago, and she's been falling out of yoga poses ever since. She competed for the state of Alabama at the 2013 Yoga USA Regionals in New Orleans, and somehow managed to not cause any property damage. Kristen became a certified yoga instructor (RYT-200) through Sacred Glow Yoga in 2014. She has also had continuing education courses in Core Strength Vinyasa, the psychology of yoga, and anatomy. 

 


Mary Lou Davis

Instructor/Studio Chaplain

She is a freelance writer who has several books published and also writes for local magazines, booklets and websites. One of the booklets she wrote was used in a short film. She is also a freelance photographer. She shoots for local magazines and at stock companies. Her stock photos have been published in Spain, France, Italy, Japan, England as well as in the U.S. Her photographic work has appeared in Reader’s Digest, Home and Garden, Sweet Dreams as well as on book covers, corporate brochures and advertisements.

Mary Lou and her husband, Dusty, have been in full-time Christian ministry with athletes for 27 years. They’ve taken sports teams on missions in several countries throughout Europe and Asia.She grew up riding and showing horses and water-skied competitively at Auburn University. She even won the collegiate southeastern championship for jump-skiing. She loves white water kayaking, mountain bike racing and rock climbing. After residing in Oregon fourteen years, she now lives in Alabama where she tears up the red clay on her KTM 250 motorcycle along with her husband and three children on any weekend or any other day she can get away.


Michelle Jones (MJ)

Instructor

Michelle believes that the experience spent on the mat is a mirror of one's life. Her aim is to facilitate clarity and safety while the student pursues the powerful connection between body, soul, and one's true spiritual nature. She completed her 200hr RYT certification in the Summer of 2015 and teaches the 26 Hot 90-minute and 26 Express 60-minute classes. She is also a Recovery Coach and the Intensive Outpatient Program Assistant at Western Mental Health.

She has practiced meditation and was naturally drawn to yogic philosophy since before having a yoga mat or attending a yoga class. She finally began practicing Bikram Yoga when invited by local hero, Charlie Baker. Very quickly two things happened-she could walk down the stairs without knee pain, and her doctor told her there was no longer a need for her sleep disorder medication. That first bit of physical freedom opened the door to find her own potential.

In her class, there is an emphasis on focus and meditation. She truly believes that refusing environmental distractions and finding your center is both your starting point and finish line during the 26 Hot Yoga class. Understanding that parts of this yoga series, may be challenging at times, she is honored to provide guidance, acceptance, and support as each person creates his or her personal experience.

Michelle has attended posture clinics with Lynn Whitlow, Joseph Encinia, and Benjamin Sears, and participated in several workshops including Chair Yoga with India Henson and Kids Yoga with Annie Damsky. Her goal is to teach yoga in public schools and reach more underprivileged demographics with this healing practice.

She does not like peaches at all. Her friends call her MJ. She has two rescue dogs. Loves Philadelphia and enjoys racquetball and cycling.


Mystie Arnold

Instructor

Mystie grew up in Leeds, Alabama and attended the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa for four years. After college, she moved back to Birmingham and began the long journey that ultimately brought her to yoga. She has always enjoyed staying active, although a brief time with health issues kept her from doing her usual exercise routines. A long-time friend invited her to her first hot yoga class and she immediately fell in love (after the second class)!

In 2012, Mystie began working as Office Manager at the studio. In the Fall of 2013, she attended and completed Yoga Teacher Training in Santa Barbara, California, through Evolation Yoga.

Mystie enjoys sharing the benefits of yoga with the recovering community. She finds joy in seeking a closer relationship with God, spending time with her family and singing in the Alto section with the Shades Mountain Baptist Church Choir. And, of course, she loves teaching yoga with the Kiva Hot Yoga team.


Nicole Martinez

Instructor

Yoga has been a real gift that not only helped me heal past trauma, it has also strengthened my body and mind. It keeps me flexible physically and mentally, which is important since I’m a mother of four amazing kids who range in age from high school to first grade. I am happily married to my biggest supporter, Oscar, and I adore him for adoring me. 

 

After practicing yoga for several years, I went to Evolation Yoga Teacher training in 2014 and completed the 250 hour Primary Hot training. I have continued my education through several courses and trainings including the Love Your Brain YTT, Everybody Biomechanics, Yoga for Kids, Buti YTT, and many other workshops to deepen my understanding of yoga and how it affects the body. I'm passionate about helping people find healing and improving their quality of life through mindful movement.

 

I am originally from Pennsylvania so you can expect a strong and direct, but positive teaching style. Know that I care about you and its my goal to help you achieve whatever goals you have for your movement practice.

 

Although yoga is fantastic, it is not my savior—Jesus is. Yoga is transformative, but the truth is that there is no true and lasting transformation without the Spirit of God. In fact, my relationship with God is where I get my true strength, it's how I overcome depression, it's how I withstand the overwhelm of raising 4 kids in the world we live in, it's the only peace my heart has ever known.

 


Stacey Handelong

Instructor

I started my yoga practice in Laguna Beach, CA in 2006.

 My life before this Yoga was stressful… I thought normal posture was Clenched Jaw, Tensed shoulders, hands in fists and sleepless nights.  How quickly I learned my mind was holding my body hostage; Stress and tension had rewired my muscles.  After the first sweat of the mat I began to feel the difference of what it really meant to relax.  My body went through a complete muscle transformation of just releasing- lowering my shoulders, unclenching my jaw, relaxing my neck muscles; ultimately learning to surrender the struggle of resistance.  Talk about gaining more energy – All In!

 I completed Bikram Yoga Certification in Hawaii spring of 2007. Attended Bikram’s Advanced series training in Las Vegas in 2010.I taught extensively throughout Phoenix Arizona Instructing both Beginners Class as well as Advanced.  I’ve had awesome opportunities to be in front of numerous senior instructors that influenced both my personal practice and my Instructing. 

I participated in Arizona Regional Championships 2008 & 2009, Southeastern Regional championships 2012 & 2013 and represented Kiva Hot Yoga in the 4th. Annual USA Yoga Asana Championships – 2012 in New York City.  

I continue to be amazed by this practice…there are days it just blows my mind knowing just how darn good it is for you!  I highly advise getting on the mat – quieting your mind and knowing your world is about to change.