As we navigate the implications of COVID-19, Desert Song wants to make sure we are doing all we can to support your health and the health of our amazing teachers. We are offering over 34 online classes a week to help maintain your health.
30 years ago, Mary Beth Markus had a dream of creating a dwelling to expand the practice of yoga beyond the class setting and into a way of life for the community at large.
2013 marked the culmination of that dream becoming a reality. Mary Beth and her husband Vince bought the former Electrician’s Union Hall at 20th Street and Osborn Rd two years ago and poured their heart, soul, and life savings into turning the building into a healing arts center.
This new center is an indoor/outdoor space to extend the art of healing to the community with over fifty yoga, tai chi, and meditation classes, enriching workshops, retreat and festival space as well as gardening opportunities. This is just the first phase of an even more in-depth community hub. This dream was founded before yoga became popular and will continue to grow and flourish when the new yoga trends come and go.
A true innovator envisions a need before the necessity is even apparent. Iyengar Yoga was that movement for Mary Beth when it changed her life as an interior design student at Arizona State University. The philosophy of physical space and the environment in which one lived was, to Mary Beth, an instrument to the health, happiness and balance of one’s inner space. It’s what drew her to the field of Interior Design to begin with and to becoming a Interior Designer. To her surprise, these two major presences in her life had a common theme: Beauty, both in and out, opens the heart. Yoga’s ultimate extension of the pose is to open the heart to the full expression of life and love. She was hooked and knew then and there that yoga was her calling in life. “If the practice does this much for me, it could do it for everyone.” Mary Beth’s received her first 500-hours certification at Ananda's Yoga Center in Nevada City, CA. Ananda is a residential spiritual community that teaches practices in Kriya Yoga which incorporate yoga techniques to prepare the mind and body for deep meditation. Here yoga became a spiritual upliftment, as well as a physical and psychological way of living. From there, she concentrated her studies in the healing art of massage. These two areas created a strong foundation to further her studies in the following fields: Iyengar: a form of hatha yoga with emphasis on alignment and therapeutics Anusara: focuses on the philosophy of movement and breath work supported by a set of Universal Principles of Alignment Kriya: cleansing practices involving breath work intended to rapidly accelerate spiritual development and tranquility. Desert Song Healing Arts Center is the harmonious blend of these practices and philosophies to create a unique experience for all who pass through it’s doors; a communal focal point where integral beauty, physical work and spiritual awareness come to rest.
There are so many yoga poses, so little time! My passion is exploring less commonly practiced poses and using unconventional approaches to the more popular ones. I fill my classes with detailed instruction and intentional sequencing (I am an engineer after all). I take great pleasure in making difficult asana poses more accessible and easy poses more challenging. Even though many of my students have longtime practices, they are surprised to find more in their asana with my watchful eye. If you have an open mind to enjoy learning, you'll have fun in my classes.
I am a yoga instructor and a social worker that strives to make yoga accessible and welcoming to all. I have my RYT 200 and I have training in kids yoga and prenatal yoga. I encourage a safe space in all my teachings and invite you to come and practice with me as we learn to be kind to ourselves and all people. I have a special focus on women's health and wellness. I am committed to cultivating a supportive environment/community for women at all stages of their lives.
I am a yoga teacher, social worker, wife, mom, daughter and friend. I grew up in Birmingham Alabama and moved to Phoenix with my family in 2017. I am married with two great kids and a wonderful partner. We love to travel and explore the desert as a family. My yoga journey started in 2012 after I had my first child, and I began to learn about self-care and gratitude for all life. My philosophy is to meet each student at their own level so yoga can be accessible to all.
Anita began her personal yoga practice in 1980 to help her recover from a life changing car accident and to work through the daily stresses of corporate life. Now she is able to share these gifts with others.
Trained as a Life Coach, Anita weaves life's lessons and yogic philosophy throughout her classes. She is known for creating a nurturing class environment flexible enough to accommodate diverse needs while maintaining proper alignment based yoga.
"And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Anais Nin
Mary began practicing yoga in 2003 and completed Desert Song’s teacher training program in 2005. She developed the Desert Song children’s program and offers a weekly class and private sessions for typical and special needs children. Additionally, she established a children’s yoga teacher training program at Desert Song. The program is certified by Yoga Alliance and is a comprehensive 95-hour certification program for individuals who want to be certified to teach yoga to children. Mary is a lifelong learner and continues to study with her two main Desert Song teachers, Meg Byerlein and Mary Beth Markus, in addition to other national teachers. She is a volunteer yoga teacher at Phoenix Children’s Hospital and also teaches a weekly gentle class for adults. Mary completed 50 hours of training at the Samarya Center in Seattle to further her work with special needs children. She is certified as an experienced yoga teacher at the 500 hour level through Yoga Alliance and is also a certified children’s yoga teacher. Mary is passionate about her spiritual practice and loves helping others with their personal journeys through humor, compassion, and loving kindness. Her family, friends, garden, poetry and art give her joy in life.
I first heard this quote from Barbara Holt, my first teacher at Desert Song. I return to it often when I need inspiration: "Work. Keep digging your well. Don’t think about getting off from work. Water is there somewhere. Submit to a daily practice. Your loyalty to that is a ring on the door. Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there." — Rumi
A life-long explorer of yoga, belly dance, Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, Alisa's teaching style blends her eclectic background with her love of teaching and connecting with students. While managing a busy law practice, Alisa was drawn into a devoted yoga practice and completed Yoga Teacher Training at Desert Song in 2010. Alisa loves having fun and exploring yoga with her students. As the mother of two teenagers, she brings a different perspective to new mothers and a reassuring tone to prenatal students. Alisa loves writing, cooking, gardening and playing with her Tarot cards.
Nicole’s yoga practice deepened in 2009 after the birth of her first son. As a new mom, Nicole found that she could turn to yoga to help find balance amidst the busy demands of parenthood and work. She’s been exploring this balancing act and learning to live with more ease and joy ever since. Nicole completed her 200-hour teacher training at Desert Song Healing Arts Center in 2012 with Mary Beth Markus. Described by her teachers as “radiant” and “steadfast,” Nicole welcomes students to experience yoga as a calming and energizing practice for the body that also encourages us to nurture our inner lives. Nicole invites her students to work with synchronized breath and slow movement to feel confident, focused and aligned.
Evon started her yoga practice in 1999, which was the same year she became a licensed massage therapist. She relocated to Arizona from New York in 2001 and her work in massage at Desert Song led her to realize her ambitions to teach yoga. She was blessed to receive her 200-hour yoga teaching certification through Desert Song's program in 2003 under Mary Beth Markus. Becoming a mother to Sam in 2005 brought her the opportunity to deepen the lessons of her yoga practice. Motherhood provides constant opportunities for self-study! Yoga has brought shifts into her life on many deep levels. Her hope is to create a space for her students where they can let down their guard and realize their fullest potential. Her primary yoga influences are Erich Schiffmann and Meg Byerlein, and she is committed to continuing education through workshops with various instructors. She finds deep inspiration from music, community, the ocean, traveling and laughter.
Debbie began practicing yoga in 1999, completed the 200 hour teacher training at Desert Song in 2003 and has been teaching for 12 years. She continued her education to earn both her 500 and 1000 hour certifications through Integrative Yoga Therapy in 2007. Debbie completed all Anusara Immersions in 2010 and in 2012, 100 hours of Anusara teacher training with her teacher Meg Byerlein. With a depth of knowledge in Integrative Yoga Therapy and the principles of alignment, Debbie’s classes are safe, grounding and healing. Most recently in 2015, Debbie became a certified Ayurvedic Practitioner through New World Ayurveda. Debbie also has a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and worked in the human services field for over 17 years. All aspects of Debbie’s education and training compliment each other and support a holistic approach to health and healing in her classes and work with students privately. http://www.heartful-ayuryoga.com/ “Choose love over fear, trust in the flow of life, and let love be your guide.” Unknown
Heidi Lichte, received her certification from Desert Song Yoga in 1999. She is a full-time yoga teacher with over 9,500 hours of teaching experience. From personally living the "pain for gain model" for many years, Heidi now has a passion for finding strength and transformation from a philosophy of ease. Her classes focus on creating a safe environment for inviting well-being, longevity, and space for each student to practice self-mastery. In each class, Heidi shares her love of anatomy, physiology, breath work, healthy posture, meditation, and spirituality. Her eclectic style is deeply rooted in the alignment based teachings of Doug Keller, and the philosophy of Erich Schiffmann, Nischala Joy Devi, and Rama Jyoti Vernon. http://www.omawayfromhomephx.com/
Michelle has made movement an essential part of her journey through wellness for over ten years. She first started in her early twenties committing regularly to weight training, kick boxing, running, spinning and Yoga. It was first through the discovery of Pilates how she found a deeper connection to mind body wellness. She says, "In my experience, Pilates is an intelligent and well integrated form of exercise that can be tailored to every fitness level. From athletic conditioning, to post rehab training, or to improve posture...everyone can benefit! And it is a great way to be present in your own body and in the moment, which then leads to reduced stress and connectedness, for a stronger mind and body." In her thirties, after going through major life changes that left her feeling lost and depressed, she found refuge and nourishment in the healing science of Yoga. Mindfulness became her everyday practice. Learning how to take care of body, mind, and soul became her focus. Michelle says: "In order to make it through life's challenges we must be present in everything that we do. Mindfulness is about awareness and tuning into our own true self. This is where we make the most lasting changes, and find the power within". She now spends her time enjoying nature, trail running and hiking, practicing Yoga, Pilates, meditation, trying out simple recipes made from organic whole foods, spending time with loved ones, always in search of connectedness and balance. Michelle is a Stott Pilates certified instructor trained in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels. She has experience working with injuries and special populations. She holds a Mind Body Wellness Practitioner diploma from SWIHA in Tempe, Arizona, with a focus on holistic nutrition and Yoga, CYT-200.
Kathy studied Tai Chi and WuShu with the U.S. Kuoshu Academy in Maryland. She studied for 5 years with Grandmaster Huang Chien-Liang and, in 2004, travelled to China with the school to study with him there. She has 16 years' experience in teaching Tai Chi and has competed and earned bronze medals in International Tai Chi competitions. Other certifications include: Tai Chi Qigong and Simplified Tai Chi (24 Step) Yang Style and certification with Lt. General Liebert Mapp in Tai Chi with the Barbados WuShu Tai Chi Federation.
After leaving the corporate world behind, a bad back brought Ellen to Desert Song in 1998 and it was love at first down dog. She completed her 200-hour training in 2001 with Desert Song and her 500-hour training through Anusara Yoga® in 2007. In addition to her classes at Desert Song, since 2005, she has practiced yoga therapy at Arthritis Health assisting patients to see their own light and to manage or overcome any "limitations." Having studied extensively with John Friend, Rod Stryker, and Doug Keller, she continues to train to always learn more. By embracing the vastness of yoga, she creates an inclusive style without adhering to only one system. With concise instruction, every class is entertaining, challenging and new.
Peri graduated from Desert Song Yoga Teacher Training in 2007 and the Desert Song Kid’s Yoga training in 2012. Her gift is helping students connect with their own “True Self” through breath and conscious awareness. In her Mommy & Me Yoga classes, she enjoys seeing new moms connect with their babies through song, movement and yoga. In addition to teaching to yoga she has a career as a watercolorist, and web & print designer. For fun Peri enjoys growing food, studying herbalism, biking, hiking, reading and socializing at coffee shops. www.perimilleryoga.com
Living and teaching yoga is Ann's calling. Drawn to yoga as a young child, she often practiced with an inspiring television yoga teacher alongside her sisters in her parents' living room. Her interest in yoga continued throughout the years and the practice has helped with stress relief and low back pain. Ann is committed to personal and professional development through diligent practice and on-going study of asana, yoga therapeutics, philosophy and Ayurveda. She completed Desert Song's Yoga Teacher Training in 2003 and Anusara Yoga Teacher Trainings in 2006 and 2012. In 2012, she also completed her 500 hour advanced studies training through Desert Song Healing Arts Center. Ann is grateful to her teacher Meg Byerlein, for her wisdom, generous heart and example of yoga as a way of life. Ann's strong conviction that yoga is a living practice provides the foundation for her teaching which blends down-to-Earth practicality with playful, light-heartedness. She enjoys the challenge that comes from a wide-range of teaching experiences; several weekly studio and workplace classes, therapeutic yoga classes and private instruction. Her yoga is enriched by the fullness of her eclectic background: a degree in Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, park ranger for the National Park Service (National Mall, Washington D.C. and Grand Canyon), outdoor education counselor, a ten-year career in Girl Scouting and a short stint as a river guide. Ann is currently reviewing the direction and offerings of her business, Exuberance (www.exuberanceevents.com).
Judy is an AZ licensed massage therapist with national board certification and a certified, registered yoga teacher. She has been a part of the Desert Song team since 2007 and has 19 years of experience in therapeutic massage and bodywork.
She has been on a journey for many years exploring and experiencing the how, what, and why of the way we move and the ways we heal.
After 25 years as a professional dancer, singer, actress, she felt drawn to pursue a career in bodywork. In Germany, she became a physical therapist, manual therapist, and Feldenkrais teacher where she practiced for 7 years. Returning to the US in 2006, she received massage therapy certification from Cortiva Institute Scottsdale and NASM personal training certification in 2007. Her interest in yoga and eastern perspectives towards health and well-being led her to complete the Desert Song Yoga Teacher Training, also in 2007 and began teaching yoga in 2008.
The massage therapy Judy offers integrates a variety of massage’s very effective techniques in the treatment of soft-tissue dysfunction, pain, injury, stress, and trauma. Bringing many years of study and experience in the fields of massage therapy, physical and manual therapy, exercise science, dance, Pilates, and Yoga allows her the flexibility to customize the soft-tissue techniques/bodywork/yoga to meet your individual needs – from a soothing relaxation massage, to releasing muscles and deeper connective tissues that hold patterns of tension and pain, to relearning efficient, functional movement patterns. She approaches each session ready to listen to your body’s intelligence and wisdom and to assist you in your healing process.
The modalities and techniques she offers and integrates include Swedish Massage, Therapeutic Massage, Deep Tissue, Myofascial Release, Muscle-Energy Technique, Postural Release, PNF, Stretching, Thai Massage, Reflexology, Myokinesthetic System, Biomechanical and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Marma Therapy, and Kineseo Taping.
With gratitude to her teachers Meg Byerlein and Mary Beth Markus, Judy teaches a yoga class focused on functional alignment and a chair yoga class which is ideal for the elderly and injured.
Judy continues in her studies of Biomechanical and Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy, Biodynamic Cardiovascular Therapy, Visceral Manipulation, Yoga, and Ayurveda.
What started for Erin in 2004 as “Physical Education 165: Yoga,” a PE class held in the wrestling room at her university, continues today as a lifelong passion. Since then, she has explored many styles and approaches to yoga, including a 200-hour teacher training in the Ashtanga-vinyasa tradition at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago in 2016. Erin believes that yoga has unique potential to slow us down in a busy, distraction-driven world and open our hearts to compassion toward ourselves and others.
Erin’s classes connect breath and movement through creative, dynamic flow, and she loves exploring asanas with props. Yoga was invaluable to Erin before and after the birth of her daughter Imogen in 2017, and she is passionate about its power to provide balance and confidence to new mothers. She is always on the hunt for fresh new songs to add to her class playlists.
Off the mat, Erin is a director at a non-profit health technology network that serves federally qualified health centers across the US. She relishes every moment she spends with her daughter, husband, and morning cup of coffee.
Erin welcomes all yogis — newbies, gurus, and everything in between — to practice with her in our Desert Song community. Visit her online at www.erinonthemat.com.
Lori has been a massage therapist for over 30 years. She attended massage school in Santa Fe, New Mexico and after a short time on the east coast working at the Omega Institute, she moved to Phoenix and worked at a luxury resort spa for 24 years. While at the spa, she had the honor of being selected to work on First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as well as a number of celebrities. Currently, Lori is a full time student working towards her master’s degree in Oriental Medicine –she’ll graduate next year. Lori loves working with people to help them feel great and function optimally. Her bodywork modalities include; reflexology, lymphatic drainage, and massage cupping.
Michael Tucker began studying yoga in 1997 in the Kundalini tradition in order to add a component of physical movement to his devotional practice. He has also practiced intensively in the Bikram and Anusara styles, completing 200-hour teacher training programs in the heart-centered practice of Anusara yoga in 2006 with Christy Burnette and in 2007 at Desert Song Yoga. He is grateful for the wisdom and generosity of his primary teachers Mary Beth Markus, Meg Byerlein, Christy Burnette, and Hari Simran Singh Khalsa. His teaching weaves explorations of meditation and developing intuition with a challenging physical practice emphasizing strength, flexibility, and alignment. When not teaching or practicing yoga, Michael can be found working in his law office, cooking, gardening, telling people what to do, listening to opera, and walking his dog Jane Doe.
Jennifer received her yoga teacher certification in 2012 and has since completed extensive training, including the 95-hour Children’s Teacher training at Desert Song. She brings ten years experience as a Master's Level Social Worker to her offerings which provide a unique perspective for supporting students in valuing self care. She is passionate about sharing yoga as a tool to help others find their own answers to the important questions in their lives. Jennifer's approach to teaching has been influenced by the Iyengar and Anusara traditions through her primary teacher, Meg Byerlein. Growth and continued study are an important part of the Practice for Jennifer. She has seen the need for youth, teenagers in particular, to have something of their own that comes from inside to guide them in the discovery of their unique gifts. Yoga is one such tool to help young people, and people of all ages, recognize the light from inside their own hearts. It is Jennifer's intention to offer the same generosity to others that she herself has experienced through yoga. Favorite off the mat practices: being in nature, digging in the dirt, gardening, sharing laughter and spending quality time with my furry canines, Lucky and Dharma. Favorite pose as a teacher: Anjaneyasana (Crescent Lunge)…what a way to open your heart AND those rowdy quads!
“The heart is the hub of all sacred places. Go there and roam.” —Bhagwan Nityananda of Ganeshpuri
Dylan V Zoller is an Anusara-inspired, E-RYT 500 yoga instructor and has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. She teaches various styles of yoga - Hatha, Flow/Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, chair yoga - but her love is Anusara yoga. She continues to attend workshops and continuing education training in order to better serve her students. Dylan draws on her lifelong love of the desert and alignment principles to guide her students into discovering their inner strengths and opening their hearts.
The Yotique offers quality yoga props, therapeutic items, literature, poetry, music, and adornments to help add a touch of Desert Song to your home life and personal yoga practice. These inspirational and healing offerings are perfect to purchase for yourself or as a heart-felt gift for a friend. Beautifully wrapped Desert Song gift certificates are also available in any denomination and can be used for all yotique items as well as yoga and tai chi classes, workshops, massage sessions or private consultations. Be sure to look for the 40% off stickers in the boutique.
There is something sacred about always returning to your own mat and props each time you begin your yoga practice. A stronger intention and commitment begins to unfold as you invest in your own yoga equipment and create a home practice. The Yotique carries basic props and accessories, including: mats, blankets, blocks, bolsters, straps, and eye pillows.
Literature, Music and Small Gift Items
Enrich your life and yoga practice by reading and studying yoga classic texts, like Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, The Bhagavad Gita, Light on Yoga, and titles by contemporary authors, such as Erich Schiffmann, Judith Lasater, Pema Chodron, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Osho, and Nicolai Bachman, on topics ranging from ayurveda, to yoga, to the chakra system, to meditation. Enjoy music by well-known musicians: Shantala, Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, Girish, Todd Norian, and many compilation CDs.
Hand Crafted Jewelry
Desert Song is honored to have two exceptional artists on staff whose beautiful works are available in the yotique.
Pam Leber’s “Blessed Beads” come with its own unique blessing and with a complete description of the elemental powers of the stones.
Anita Farrah’s “Works of Heart” handmade glass beads and jewelry is made at her torch as a moving meditation and then is incorporated into her jewelry. As an added benefit, Anita charges up each piece during a yoga class.