Meet Our Team
Passion & energy in motion
Click on a name below to learn more!
Jennifer discovered the benefits of a consistent yoga practice just a few years ago. Yoga provided a sense of calm to balance her role as a medical sales and marketing manager. She continues to feel the life-changing effects--better sleep, less anxiety, a clearer lens to handle any challenge that life throws her way. She feels stronger both inside and out. Yoga has also rekindled her love of movement, one that developed at an early age. In her teens, Jennifer stayed active through competitive dance, cheerleading, acrobatics, softball, and in college as a member of the University of North Carolina dance team. Her first part-time job was actually as a dance instructor. Though she enjoys getting the body moving through the physical practice of yoga (asana), yoga is not a sport. She values the grounding effects of pranayama and meditation, the ability for physical postures to be modified and made-accessible to everyone, and the healing power to move scar tissue throughout (be it from physical injury or emotional scars).
Shannon was drawn to yoga after the birth of her third daughter and quickly realized that her practice made her shine brighter in all areas of her life. The mind, body connection had a profound effect on managing daily stress while creating a beautiful awareness of life on and off the mat. Shannon knew she could not live without her practice and was inspired to share this gift of yoga with others. With the encouragement of her family, she immersed herself in teacher training in 2012 at the Wilmington Yoga Center.
Shannon is a certified Kunga, E-RYT 200 yoga teacher, which focuses on yoga as service and helping one another, as we are all connected. As a teacher her intention is to offer a fun vinyasa flow class that will inspire personal empowerment and guide students to grow in their practice. Shannon has so much gratitude for both her teachers and students whom she continuously learns from on this lifelong journey.
Annie went to her first hot yoga class in high school, a crowded,
dripping Bikram class in the suburbs of Chicago. She loved the heat and energy shared amongst a group of practicing yogis. After experiencing chronic injuries from running in her 20s, she turned to yoga as a consistent practice, which developed into to a daily one over time in the cities she's called home: Boston, Los Angeles, Austin and now Raleigh. In early 2018, she received her RYT-200 certification and has been teaching everywhere she can since then - in corporate offices, friends' homes, and now Element Hot Yoga. Annie came to yoga
initially seeking a dynamic physical experience but has found the rich benefits of a gentler, more mindful practice in recent years. She is inspired by other yogis, especially beginners, and is honored to share a practice that she loves so deeply here at the studio and beyond.
Katelin received her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification from the Wilmington Yoga Center in Wilmington, NC in 2016. Katelin found yoga at a time when she felt lost, and she immediately felt that she had found what she was looking for all along. Her love of spirituality, wellness, and community all came together with the practice she found, and she has found peace in Yoga’s deeply healing and empowering effects. With roots in Kunga Yoga, an open mind/body style with an emphasis on service; Katelin’s classes are strong, encouraging, and centered. Her teachers include Keegan White 500-ERYT, Jessica Bichler 500-ERYT, and Kristin Cooper 500-ERYT. Focused in Vinyasa, Power, and Fundamental Flow, Katelin offers a wide range of teachings welcoming all levels of ability. She offers modifications, strong alignment cues and attention to breath in every class. Katelin is happy, warm, welcoming, and loving. She thrives on sharing her knowledge and love of yoga with every student that comes to the classroom and aims to guide them to connect to a deeper sense of self. She knows there isn’t any feeling quite like that of strength and contentment in one own’s skin and feels confident that yoga can bring that to all of her students.
For years, Kristin practiced yoga at home because she was intimidated by the thought of attending a public class. She loved with the way it freed her body and calmed her mind, so eventually found herself in search of a home studio where she could go deeper. In 2017, that search ended at Blue Lotus in Raleigh, NC. Under the direction of Jill Sockman and her experienced team, Kristin attained her 200 hour yoga teacher certification and a thorough education of vinyasa yoga, anatomy, tradition, and everything in between.
Since then, her love of the practice has only expanded as she’s sought out more opportunities to grow — most recently getting certified in the extremely fun, shakti-awakening practice of buti yoga, which blends power vinyasa with primal movement and HIIT. Kristin believes that movement heals, and it’s the intention behind the movement that can truly transform. She’s friendly, grounded, and committed to holding space for all students to explore and feel good in their bodies. On the mat, you can expect flows to be open to all levels and to leave you feeling more rooted in self and connected to heart, mind, and body.
Heather began teaching yoga in 2013 and her love for yoga deepens every day. In 2013, Heather received her RYTT-200 under Rusty Wells at Urban Flow Yoga in San Francisco. In 2018, she completed Bryce Yoga Beyond YTT 300. She is also currently completing a 300 hour certificate with Yoga Medicine by Tiffany Cruikshank. Lori Burgwyn, owner of Franklin Street Yoga, has been a big influence of her teaching for the last 5 years. Heather’s flow classes & workshops are a mix of playfulness and laughter with a more serious blend of respect for anatomy and the physical body. When taking one of her classes you can expect a lot of fun mixed with sweaty vinyasa flow, inversions, and arm balances.
When Heather is not doing yoga, she is actively involved in Jiujitsu and her non profit called ELEI, Elephant Education Initiative. ELEI’s mission is to spread more awareness and education about the plight of elephants worldwide. She is currently completing her masters in Environmental Sciences focusing on Human Elephant Conflict.
The first time Connor did yoga, he arrived begrudgingly to his mat. As an avid runner, Connor wasn’t sure yoga was for him. After his first hot yoga class, he realized just how wrong he was. Connor was instantly hooked on how yoga made him feel calmer and physically stronger. In Connor’s classes, expect to sweat a lot through an energetic vinyasa incorporating strength, balance and breath.
When Connor is not practicing and teaching yoga, you can find him spending time with his wife Jen, biking the American Tobacco Trail, exploring Durham breweries, or having a five-hour Netflix binge.
I won’t lie, I found my way to “yoga” via P90X. And when first asked to try a real hot yoga class at a real studio I resisted… I was pretty sure that I’d die in the heat. It took several months to get me there, but after my first class I was hooked and immediately began practicing almost daily. Of course, hot yoga provided the strength and cardio I wanted (I like a pretty hardcore workout), but the mental effects were the most profound. I’ve been dealing with ADHD my entire life, but when I would practice, I’d notice that my focus and my sense of calm were drastically improved without medication. This “moving meditation” worked and I wasn’t the only one who noticed - everyone around me saw the difference as well.
Although I started practicing under the Bishnu Ghosh lineage, and competing nationally under that style, I have found that there is something to learn from all of the yoga varieties out there, and I currently teach both stationary and vinyasa style classes. When I’m practicing, I want to find the balance of effort and ease on my mat (with a heavy dose of sweat), and when I’m teaching, I want to bring the same to you
“It’s okay to be a glowstick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.”
I started experimenting with yoga in college as a restorative option to counteract the effects of running and lifting weights. All of that changed when a skydiving injury left me with a broken leg and significant low back and hip pain. It was then that I found yoga as a way to heal. It hasn’t been an easy road, but yoga has helped me remember that my body isn’t my enemy, it’s my fiercest ally.
This path let me to my practice at Hot Asana and eventually a 200RYT training with Virginia Gallagher and Angela Hsu. Through this training and my teaching, I’ve seen that I can share my own lessons of recovery with the nearly 31 million Americans who also experience low back pain (or at least those who share their practice with me). Yoga has simultaneously supported and challenged my mind and my body, and I hope to share that same experience with you in class.
Annie went to her first hot yoga class in high school, a crowded, dripping Bikram class in the suburbs of Chicago. She loved the heat and energy shared amongst a group of practicing yogis. After experiencing chronic injuries from running in her 20s, she turned to yoga as a consistent practice, which developed into to a daily one over time in the cities she's called home: Boston, Los Angeles, Austin and now Raleigh. In early 2018, she received her RYT-200 certification and has been teaching everywhere she can since then - in corporate
offices, friends' homes, and now Element Hot Yoga. Annie came to yoga initially seeking a dynamic physical experience but has found the rich benefits of a gentler, more mindful practice in recent years. She is inspired by other yogis, especially beginners, and is honored to share a practice that she loves so deeply here at the studio and beyond.
Chris helps keep things fresh & together in the studio. You might meet him at the front desk assisting with check in on the weekends or practicing any time of the week. Chris began as a “karma” yogi (work exchange) but quickly became an integral part of the team. Prior to moving to Raleigh, Chris practiced and taught aerial yoga in Charlotte NC.
Operations Manager. There is no task too big or small for Brian. Have you ever noticed how clean the studio is every visit? Brian manages & coordinates all tasks, keeping everything in great order, from the floors to the sound & computer systems.
Jill found her way to the mat seeking balance in the midst of raising a family and a busy real estate career. As the yoga began, there was a gradual reorganizing of heart, mind and body as the desire to understand the science of yoga grew. With a passion for heated yoga & community it was clear that the suburbs were in need of place to move, breath and connect. After years of faithful commuting to area studios and jokes with fellow yogis about the long and stressful drive to yoga, it was clearly time to build a yoga community closer to home.
An athletic lifestyle that invariable included injuries fueled Jill's desire to move more consciously. Jill loves that regardless of age or athletic ability, yoga and infrared heat have healing properties. Many students with injuries and past surgeries find that heat can be an important part of their rehabilitation and facilitate greater mobility, reduction of pain and a general feeling of well being. Creating a safe space to feel better in your body, cultivate physical awareness and make meaningful connections is what Element is all about. Jill believes that yoga is for every body and encourages all students to move at their own pace and pay attention to their bodies.
Lauren is a RYT 200 and Reiki energy healer who recently relocated from California to NC in 2017. She was first introduced to yoga in 2012 and began to find herself consistently attending classes in 2015 after dealing with a running injury. While residing in California, Lauren completed her RYT 200 hour certification with Janet Stone and her Reiki Level I & II certs with Jesalyn Eatchel. Lauren is also a certified Kids Yoga Teacher through Little Guru Kids Yoga and an OfficeYoga™ certified instructor. During her journey, she has had the honor to take workshops and trainings with a variety of talented teachers: Cindy Campbell, Alice Trieu, Jennifer Rhodes, Kadri Kurgun, Harvey Deutch, Christopher Wallis, Kent Bond, Emily Perry, Seane Corn, Nicole Nichols and many, many more. She is grateful for their teachings and the opportunity to absorb as much knowledge and wisdom as she can from them.
Lauren’s practices blend awareness to the breath while creating space in the body and intuitively moving with the ebb and flow of the practice, which can be carried off the mat and into the real world. Her teachings speak to the Soul and re-connect students to their inner self, knowing that they are enough and are more than just their physical body. Always having deep gratitude for showing up on the mat; for the only breath we are truly promised, is the one that we have while breathing in this moment, right here, right now.
Susan is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance where she completed her first 200hr teaching training with an approved Registered Yoga School (RYS) YogaFit, founded by Beth Shaw. The YogaFit method of “name, cue, do,” in which the instructor announces the name of the pose, cues the breath and body position, and lastly demonstrates the pose, resonates with visual and auditory learners new to yoga, as well as giving experienced yogis the freedom to begin a pose upon hearing the name. Prior to becoming a yoga instructor, Susan was Certified by ACE – the American Council on Exercise, as a personal trainer. Susan welcomes students to explore each visit to the mat; inviting students to choose a more meditative pace or perhaps experiment with challenging poses that require concentration, balance, and strength. In her class, you will hear meditative options as well as strength options for poses. The healing and meditative aspects of yoga have carried Susan through sports injuries as well as emotionally trying experiences. You will often hear Susan offering simple one-word meditations followed by an inspirational quote.
Alexi “Lexi” Pappas is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance where she completed her first 200hr teaching training with an approved Registered Yoga School (RYS) Yoga Mindset in High Point, North Carolina.
Her background of Ashtanga Yoga deeply inspires her to cultivate breath to movement by producing internal purification and clarity of the mind.
She is humbled to have the opportunity to help teach students how to find the balance between ease and effort in each pose and a strong believer that with patience, practice and persistence you can achieve anything!
In her classes you will find all varieties of music that will keep you playful and light-hearted through your power flow … music is her way of expression and marrying Yoga into the mix really strengthens that bond!
Lexi believes that “nobody wins in Yoga”. It simply has been the driving force for quieting her mind and letting go of all that doesn’t serve her …. she believes in creating space for her students to support one another and share goals as a community.