CYA Faculty Members

Faculty Members

Contact us directly if you’d like to know which faculty members and assistants will be supporting Avani during your training program.

Avani Gilbert: Founder & Director of CYA Programs

E-RYT 500 / YACEP / Reiki Master Teacher, LMT & Clarity Breathwork Practitioner

Avani started exploring yoga as a teenager to counter participation in high school competitive sports. From there she began a lifelong love, journey and an endless study. She has participated in yoga teacher trainings throughout the United States and Costa Rica while accumulating 5000 hours of teaching experience.

Avani is the director of the Retreat and Training Center OM at Cashew Hill; the first of it’s kind in the Caribbean of Costa Rica. She is the lead trainer at the Caribe Yoga Academy as well as a guest teacher for several other yoga programs. Avani is also an LMT, Reiki Master Teacher and a Clarity Breathwork Practitioner.  She emphasizes the importance of Karmic consciousness, CommUNITY, Kula and Seva in her teachings and her practice. Her flows are creative and founded with a strong knowledge of functional anatomy which allows each student to move in the practice in a way that is exactly right for their own unique body.  Avani enjoys sharing clarity breathwork as a means to awaken to our truest and highest potentials and unveil limiting core beliefs. She incorporates Reiki into her yoga classes and offers Reiki Attunements (trainings).  She is trained in and teaches vinyasa flow, yin, Yin-Vin and restorative classes.  Outside of yoga teacher training you can catch her teaching on the public yoga schedule at OM.

She is deeply grateful for her studies and time spent with Indira Kalmbach, Stephen Cope, Dr. Ray Long, Seane Corn, Jo Phee, Dr. Paul Jerard, Donna Kraft Smith, Ashley Ludman, Jillian Pransky and Yoganand Michael Carroll.  She thanks each for inspiring deep enquiry into the philosophy, lifestyle, anatomy, functional alignment, myofascial release, mantra and lifestyle of yoga…but more than anything for contributing toward her path and the finding of her authentic teacher’s voice.

Ryan Tolhurst: Biomechanics & Anatomy Faculty


Ryan first came to yoga to deepen his practice and understanding of the spiritual and philosophical. He is a graduate of the Wilmington Yoga Center 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training. Ryan earned his degree in biomechanics and kinesiology from The University of Richmond.

While attending the University of Richmond, Ryan was a member of both the football and track teams. Following his collegiate career in football, Ryan went on to play for the Carolina Panthers. Yoga was an integral part of supporting his athletic career both physically and mentally. Ryan embraces the physical challenges that yoga can provide and enjoys sharing how those physical challenges can lead to a deeper understanding and connection with oneself. Ryan’s classes have a focus on alignment through a strong understanding of anatomy and physiology. By integrating a spiritual and meditative awareness in his classes, he hopes to inspire students through their own practice to look within themselves to live more mindful compassionate lives.

Ryan is currently living in Costa Rica where he and his wife Meghan work together teaching and support in running a non-profit program for local children

Adriana Leiva: Mantra, Mudra, History & Philosophy Faculty 

E-RYT 200 / CYT 500 / YACEP

Adriana’s passion for spirituality and body movement started at a young age. At the age of 18 she received her first certification for Yoga and Massage. The process has not slowed down or stopped since! Adriana is  a 500 hours Certified Yoga Teacher, Yogakids Facilitator and co-founder of the ASOyoga (Costa Rican Yoga Association).

She has studied a variety of yogic styles as well as philosophy and Bhakti under Dr. Mark Dycscowksi in India and earned her degree in Physiotherapy. She is on the Costa Rican board of Physicians.

Adriana is also an experienced bodyworker and lightworker and is currently a student with the International School of Methaphysical and Spiritual Sciences. Adriana teaches at OM Puerto Viejo, with the YTTs of the Caribe Yoga Academy as well as being on the YTT team of the Hari Om Yoga School at the 200 and 500 hour levels in both Costa Rica and Italy.  Adriana joins the Caribe Yoga Academy team for the 200 hour yoga teacher training and for the advanced level training, Yoga’s Sister Science: Coupling Asana & Ayurveda.

Diana Humphries: YTT Assistant, Sound Meditation Guide & Upholder of the Ancient Texts

RYT 200 / Physical Therapist / Sound Healing Therapist 

Diana is a physical therapist who started her yoga practice through Bhakti devotional practices. She studied Vedic texts of theosophy and philosophy of India as a teenager growing up in San Jose, Costa Rica while living at the Hare Krishna Temple.  This set the foundation for her discipline for Hatha Yoga. She finished her first Yoga Teacher Training in 2010 and has continued to study since.

Through Hatha Yoga she found her vocation for helping others through movement and wanted to deepen her practice with knowledge of the physical body which lead her to physical therapy school. Diana continued her yoga practice as a student at OM at Cashew Hill and last year graduated from the Caribe Yoga Academy where she continues her studies. Most recently she became a certified sound healing therapist through the Instituto Español de Sonoterapia.

Flora Domenis: Guest Lecturer, Ayurveda Teacher and Therapist

Yoga Teacher & Ayurvedic Therapist

Flora is a Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Therapist, specialised in Lifestyle and Nutrition. From Geneva to Kerala through Amsterdam, Italy, France, the U.K. and West Africa, fluent in 5 languages, Flora is a true World citizen! Since the age of 12 she has been blessed with growing up in a Yoga conscious environment.

Likewise has her education in Ayurveda been blessed with an array of internationally known teachers such as Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Frawley, Vaidya Robert Svoboda, Dr. Claudia Welch, Vaidya Atreya Smith, Donald Vanhowten and other renowned doctors from India.

Since 2012 she has been living full time in the small south Caribbean town of Puerto Viejo. Always on the go, you can spot her smiling on her bike on her way to her tiny beachfront holistic organic vegetarian café, or on her way to organise catering services, cooking workshops, Lectures, Ayurvedic consultations or Restorative Retreats!  Flora joins the Caribe Yoga Academy team for the advanced level training, Yoga’s Sister Science: Coupling Asana & Ayurveda.

Rotating & Seasonal Faculty

Read about our incredible, international and seasonally rotating faculty below!

Hannah Dyson: Guest Lecturer, Ceremony & Ritual Goddess, Cacao Queen

RYT 200 / Founder of Sacred Female Space & Soul Seed Gathering

Raised in Wales wild swimming & climbing trees, Hannah began travelling at 18 and never stopped. Holding a degree in Business, at the London School of Economics, & work experience in international documentary, research and film production. Hannah integrates her experiences of creating, curating & launching independent businesses, events, festival line-ups and projects surrounding the empowerment, education and celebration of Women and the Earth. In most cases, her choices have been the opposite of what she was taught in university, and contrast from her more formal-work experiences.

She believes passionately, in educating positive business practices, while living fulfilled, empowered and financially supported lives. Encouraging us all to be the change we wish to see, to spend our money in ways that enhance the planet, & to embody and speak our truth always.

Hannah lives in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica with her soul-mate Kelly, son Cosmo, puppies Cleo & Harley and cats Sophie & Paco.

Dr. Adriana Molina-Muñoz: Sanskrit Language and India Culture

Ph.D Linguistics

Dr. Adriana Molina-Muñoz’s bond with India began with her first Sanskrit classes in University as a student of philology. Her captivation and passion for the language has continued to grow.  Under her mentor, the late Dr. Oscar L. Chavarría-Aguilar, an expert in Sanskrit, she learned the grammar of Pāṇini and the philosophy of the Sanskrit language and literature. Dr. Molina-Muñoz was awarded a Fulbright-LASPAU scholarship for university professors in 2006 to studied for her second master’s degree at the University of Illinois. There she continued study under Dr. Hans H. Hock, a specialist in Sanskrit and Indian languages of world renown. This included expanding on previous studies as well as Vedic Sanskrit.  She also had the opportunity to study conversational Sanskrit with Dr. Sadananda Das in Germany as well as to complete the Hindi program in Illinois and study advanced Hindi in Jaipur, India. Dr. Molina-Muñoz has designed and taught the course “India: Languages, Culture and Society” for the University of Costa Rica Department of Anthropology and has worked to revitalize the Costa Rica-India Association (CRIA) for the promotion of Indian culture in Costa Rica. They have organized Diwali and Holi events as well as collaborated with the Embassy of India to coordinate the International Yoga Day and Kuchipudi dance performances at the National Theater.

She currently acts as visiting researcher at the JNU (Jawaharlal Nehru University) in New Delhi.  It is her hope that her work and research will serve to promote cultural extensions in Latin America and motivate others to learn about the great cultural and linguistic legacy of India.

Alejandra TorresHistory of Yoga, Mudra, Dharma, Philosophy 

E-RYT 200

Alejandra is from San Jose, Costa Rica and began practicing yoga at an early age. It did not take her long to realize she wanted to dedicate her life to this discipline. Her foundations are in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga and Anusara Yoga.  She is the founder of Padma Wellness Center and is not only a passionate teacher, but most importantly a passionate student.  

Alejandra is always deepening her practice, and travels to India yearly to study directly with the masters. She offers bilingual classes with focus on introduction to Ashtanga, Vinyasa and is a yoga teacher trainer.  She has worked full time sharing the ancient practices of yoga for over 11 years.  She enjoys teaching on the beautiful coasts of Costa Rica.  When Alejandra is not teaching she is a dedicated mother to twin boys who serve as the most precious gift to her life. Or you can catch her working on her national clothing line Agua Viva around Costa Rica.  Alejandra joins the Caribe Yoga Academy on occasion to share her love for India’s history, philosophy and the studies of mudra, dharma and yogic lifestyle.

Ale Ulate: Mantra, Bhakti, Kirtan and Musician

E-RYT 500, AcroYogini, Ashtangi

Ale Ulate is a San Jose native who has accumulated thousands of hours of yoga training in the Vinyasa, Ashtanga and AcroYoga styles.  In addition to her passion for yoga she is an artist, photographer, interior designer and lover of mantra, kirtan and Bhakti.  Ale began her expressions in movement at a young age studying ballet when she also discovered her enthusiasm for song and joined the Latin American Children’s Choir. She has earned an interior design license specific to design and beautify Yoga Centers, Spas and alternative healing spaces for cancer patients.

Ale’s original training under Edgar Ortiz of Yoga Mandir has served as her foundation for thousands of additional hours of study with the founders of AcroYoga and AcroYoga Montreal as well as completing her certification in Ashtanga Yoga with Matías Flury and Gabriela Mainiery.  She has continued to pursue her passion for song and spirituality joining devotional mantra and music with her teaching and exploring Kirtan as a sacred instrument.  She has worked with the Costa Rican group Passiflora and is a well respected National Bhakti artist.

Nicole Hudson: YTT Assistant & Empowerment Coach Extraordinaire

RYT 200 / Retreat Director / Life Coach

Nicole began her personal relationship with yoga in 2004 as more of a fitness routine than a way to deepen her understanding of herself and my relationship with others.  As the years went on her practice was “off-and-on,” as is often the case for many students, however, Nicole noticed that in the most difficult times of life yoga was the one thing she returned to again and again.

After nearly 10 years of working in the very competitive art world of New York City, Nicole decided to listen her heart, trade her heels for bare feet, and follow her true path. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she needed to share this amazing feeling and practice with others.  After much contemplation and encouragement from her amazing family, friends, and teachers, she decided to complete her 200HR Yoga Teacher Training in the fall of 2014.  It was the best decision that Nicole has ever made and her life has not been the same since! Nicole’s dream is to help others share their passions, deepen their connections, and continue to grow a global community of people who share a sense of curiosity – not only for the world around them, but the world within them.

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