Staff

We hire only professionally trained yoga teachers that have completed a minimum of 500 hour yoga teacher training course.  Most of our yoga teachers have a college degree, a masters degree. We do not use aggressive teaching methods at our studio.  Our Bikram yoga teachers are gentle, kind, educated, older in age. 

Hatha yoga suited to all levels of ability including beginners

Staff

Leslie Gallo, Owner/Director/Instructor Being the owner/director of Sweet Heat Hot Yoga is a culmination of my 25 year pursuit to help people preserve good health and vitality. I have a BS in kinesiology from San Diego State University, have been an ACSM-Certified Exercise Physiologist since 1999, and graduated from Bikram's teacher training in Fall, 2000. At Sweet Heat Hot Yoga we take a decidedly western approach to the practice of yoga. I began doing yoga 18 years ago as a cross-training vehicle to give my body a rest from other athletic pursuits.  What I received in return for my efforts surpassed what I thought was possible from a yoga class.  I learned to be a better person; to live in the world with honesty and integrity.  Please come join us to learn, grow, and explore your inner world in ways you may have never considered.

Leslie Gallo, Owner/Director/Instructor

Being the owner/director of Sweet Heat Hot Yoga is a culmination of my 25 year pursuit to help people preserve good health and vitality. I have a BS in kinesiology from San Diego State University, have been an ACSM-Certified Exercise Physiologist since 1999, and graduated from Bikram's teacher training in Fall, 2000. At Sweet Heat Hot Yoga we take a decidedly western approach to the practice of yoga.

I began doing yoga 18 years ago as a cross-training vehicle to give my body a rest from other athletic pursuits.  What I received in return for my efforts surpassed what I thought was possible from a yoga class.  I learned to be a better person; to live in the world with honesty and integrity.  Please come join us to learn, grow, and explore your inner world in ways you may have never considered.

Melinda, Instructor Hello yogis.  I completed teacher training in 2010 and have been teaching at studios in the South Bay since then.  I believe that these 26 asanas and two breathing techniques which we practice are life changing.  So much is accomplished in 90 minutes in the hot room.  Our bodies and minds change as we dedicate ourselves to returning to the mat over and over again.  I practice meditation (zen/vipassana).   For me this is a perfect compliment to the series.  Bringing mind into body using the breath is beautiful. I enjoy hiking, swimming in the ocean, boogie boarding and taking care of two goats, two puppies and one husband.  I look forward to meeting you all in the Sweet Heat room. Namaste, Melinda.  

Melinda, Instructor

Hello yogis.  I completed teacher training in 2010 and have been teaching at studios in the South Bay since then.  I believe that these 26 asanas and two breathing techniques which we practice are life changing.  So much is accomplished in 90 minutes in the hot room.  Our bodies and minds change as we dedicate ourselves to returning to the mat over and over again.  I practice meditation (zen/vipassana).   For me this is a perfect compliment to the series.  Bringing mind into body using the breath is beautiful.

I enjoy hiking, swimming in the ocean, boogie boarding and taking care of two goats, two puppies and one husband.  I look forward to meeting you all in the Sweet Heat room. Namaste, Melinda.
 

Sandy, Instructor I took my first Bikram hot yoga class in June 2007, which I remember well.  We all remember our first class.  It was difficult, hot and crazy!  I have been practicing ever since.  Recently, I became a hot yoga instructor trained by Evolation.  Yoga is the union of mind, body and spirit.  It is an ongoing magical journey.   This practice nurtures change, wholeness and empowerment.  I would like to share this magical journey with you.  See you in the hot room!   My academic training includes a B.S. degree in Geophysics and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering - Water Resources Science, but I should have been a marine biologist.  Another passion of mine is teaching marine conservation in The Bahamas.

Sandy, Instructor

I took my first Bikram hot yoga class in June 2007, which I remember well.  We all remember our first class.  It was difficult, hot and crazy!  I have been practicing ever since.  Recently, I became a hot yoga instructor trained by Evolation.  Yoga is the union of mind, body and spirit.  It is an ongoing magical journey.   This practice nurtures change, wholeness and empowerment.  I would like to share this magical journey with you.  See you in the hot room!  

My academic training includes a B.S. degree in Geophysics and a M.S. degree in Civil Engineering - Water Resources Science, but I should have been a marine biologist.  Another passion of mine is teaching marine conservation in The Bahamas.

 
Judy, Instructor Judy Refuerzo was not always a yoga teacher; she worked for 20 years in the semiconductor industry.  She started doing Bikram yoga to relieve stress and stay in shape.  She was on a business trip 9/11/2001 and that is when it hit home that life is short and you need to follow your passion.  She loved Bikram yoga but felt a need to explore the wide range of yoga options.  In 2003 she completed a Yoga Alliance 200 hour teachers certification from the Carmel Yoga Center.  It was a great introduction to the many styles of yoga, but deep in her heart Judy knew her calling was Bikram yoga. In January of 2004 she moved to LA for 9 weeks to study with Bikram Choudhury and received her teachers certification. Judy wants to share the physical and mental healing of Bikram yoga with everyone. It is more than getting fit and having a good body, it’s about learning to listen to your body, realizing you are stronger than you think and following your heart.  

Judy, Instructor

Judy Refuerzo was not always a yoga teacher; she worked for 20 years in the semiconductor industry.  She started doing Bikram yoga to relieve stress and stay in shape.  She was on a business trip 9/11/2001 and that is when it hit home that life is short and you need to follow your passion.  She loved Bikram yoga but felt a need to explore the wide range of yoga options.  In 2003 she completed a Yoga Alliance 200 hour teachers certification from the Carmel Yoga Center.  It was a great introduction to the many styles of yoga, but deep in her heart Judy knew her calling was Bikram yoga. In January of 2004 she moved to LA for 9 weeks to study with Bikram Choudhury and received her teachers certification. Judy wants to share the physical and mental healing of Bikram yoga with everyone. It is more than getting fit and having a good body, it’s about learning to listen to your body, realizing you are stronger than you think and following your heart.  

Erin, Instructor I was lucky enough to take my very first Bikram class here at Sweet Heat Hot Yoga back in 2010. I was hooked from day one and finally had the opportunity to attend teacher training in Australia in Spring 2016. I am honored to be part of a such an amazing team of thoughtful and compassionate yoga instructors!

Erin, Instructor

I was lucky enough to take my very first Bikram class here at Sweet Heat Hot Yoga back in 2010. I was hooked from day one and finally had the opportunity to attend teacher training in Australia in Spring 2016. I am honored to be part of a such an amazing team of thoughtful and compassionate yoga instructors!

Ashley, Instructor My name is Ashley I'm 27 and I graduated from Bikrams Yoga college of india in Fall 2014. I recertified in the summer of 2017. I have a strong passion for this yoga and I am eager to share it with you! 

Ashley, Instructor

My name is Ashley I'm 27 and I graduated from Bikrams Yoga college of india in Fall 2014. I recertified in the summer of 2017. I have a strong passion for this yoga and I am eager to share it with you! 

Caryn, Boutique Sales 14 years ago, I took my first Bikram Yoga class in this very  studio!  I was so hot that I could not stay in the room.  I was so sore, stiff and exhausted after that first class, yet I knew that I was having a ‘hurts so good’ cleansing experience.  Although it took 6 months, when I returned to the hot room while vacationing in Massachusetts, I was hooked!  I have been practicing regularly ever since.  This practice has seen me through three abdominal surgeries and a hip surgery. Saturdays in the boutique have become a lively, dynamic time to work with Leslie reformatting, remerchandising and reordering to keep the boutique fresh and intriguing!  Come check it out!!! When I am not in the yoga studio, I educate first graders, devote volunteer hours to Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, hike, bike, ride my motorcycle, and do some freelance writing for Coastal Canine Magazine.

Caryn, Boutique Sales

14 years ago, I took my first Bikram Yoga class in this very  studio!  I was so hot that I could not stay in the room.  I was so sore, stiff and exhausted after that first class, yet I knew that I was having a ‘hurts so good’ cleansing experience.  Although it took 6 months, when I returned to the hot room while vacationing in Massachusetts, I was hooked!  I have been practicing regularly ever since.  This practice has seen me through three abdominal surgeries and a hip surgery.

Saturdays in the boutique have become a lively, dynamic time to work with Leslie reformatting, remerchandising and reordering to keep the boutique fresh and intriguing!  Come check it out!!!

When I am not in the yoga studio, I educate first graders, devote volunteer hours to Peace of Mind Dog Rescue, hike, bike, ride my motorcycle, and do some freelance writing for Coastal Canine Magazine.

Frances, Instructor My first exposure to yoga was a prenatal class in Brooklyn in 2003. I had never done Bikram yoga until January 2012, when I walked into this studio needing to recover from a serious bike accident sustained while training for a triathlon and a chance to better my personal record of 1:38 in the Big Sur Half Marathon. My helmet was shattered in three places, leaving me unconscious for 15 minutes, and my back and neck were so badly injured I couldn’t turn my head or touch my toes. I went from the best shape of my life to being bedridden for six weeks. At some point during my first class I had one of those ah-ha moments, where the clouds part and light was shining on me: I LOVE THIS! When class was over I felt as exhilarated, satisfied and nurtured, just as after having finished a triathlon. I couldn’t believe I’d found those feelings  even though I’d stood in one place! I had always strived to push myself to the limit physically; Bikram brought together everything I had been chasing as an athlete while helping me recover from my injuries. I’m grateful for this practice which heals all of us physically, mentally and emotionally.

Frances, Instructor

My first exposure to yoga was a prenatal class in Brooklyn in 2003. I had never done Bikram yoga until January 2012, when I walked into this studio needing to recover from a serious bike accident sustained while training for a triathlon and a chance to better my personal record of 1:38 in the Big Sur Half Marathon. My helmet was shattered in three places, leaving me unconscious for 15 minutes, and my back and neck were so badly injured I couldn’t turn my head or touch my toes. I went from the best shape of my life to being bedridden for six weeks. At some point during my first class I had one of those ah-ha moments, where the clouds part and light was shining on me: I LOVE THIS! When class was over I felt as exhilarated, satisfied and nurtured, just as after having finished a triathlon. I couldn’t believe I’d found those feelings  even though I’d stood in one place! I had always strived to push myself to the limit physically; Bikram brought together everything I had been chasing as an athlete while helping me recover from my injuries. I’m grateful for this practice which heals all of us physically, mentally and emotionally.

From that very first class I envisioned myself teaching Bikram yoga. My journey began at Mount Madonna Retreat Center in the fall of 2013, when I became a 200-hour registered Ashtanga instructor through the Yoga Alliance. I lived in a tent in the woods for a month while studying classical yoga asana, philosophy and pranayama. In 2014 I completed my nine-week Bikram certification in Thailand. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done…including childbirth four times without drugs!  What most moves me about this yoga asana is how our practice relates to life off the mat. Bikram combines the sacred sweat—which has been utilized since the beginning of time to purge and transform—along with the practice of yoga that takes the mind, body and spirit on a journey within. This healing power is the magic of hot yoga. I’m honored to be part of this yoga community and the evolution of the studio that inspired the change within myself. What is your story? Bring it on the mat and share it. ~Namaste

From that very first class I envisioned myself teaching Bikram yoga. My journey began at Mount Madonna Retreat Center in the fall of 2013, when I became a 200-hour registered Ashtanga instructor through the Yoga Alliance. I lived in a tent in the woods for a month while studying classical yoga asana, philosophy and pranayama. In 2014 I completed my nine-week Bikram certification in Thailand. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done…including childbirth four times without drugs! 

What most moves me about this yoga asana is how our practice relates to life off the mat. Bikram combines the sacred sweat—which has been utilized since the beginning of time to purge and transform—along with the practice of yoga that takes the mind, body and spirit on a journey within. This healing power is the magic of hot yoga. I’m honored to be part of this yoga community and the evolution of the studio that inspired the change within myself. What is your story? Bring it on the mat and share it. ~Namaste

Jesse, Housekeeping I've been practicing hot yoga since mid 2013, and have been experiencing benefits from day 2. I started rather late in life, so all improvement is a wondrous gift, a tonic against typical "normal" aging in our culture. My work keeping the studio clean has become an extension of my practice, and keeps me feeling closely connected to the new Sweet Heat Hot Yoga, which feels now almost like home. I've retired from full time employment, and also teach Tai Chi at two senior centers on the peninsula. 

Jesse, Housekeeping

I've been practicing hot yoga since mid 2013, and have been experiencing benefits from day 2. I started rather late in life, so all improvement is a wondrous gift, a tonic against typical "normal" aging in our culture. My work keeping the studio clean has become an extension of my practice, and keeps me feeling closely connected to the new Sweet Heat Hot Yoga, which feels now almost like home. I've retired from full time employment, and also teach Tai Chi at two senior centers on the peninsula. 

Abi, Social Media Hi I'm Abi, I take the beautiful pictures of our yogis for social media. I believe it's nice to show others what hard work we do and our accomplishments as part of this yoga family.  I started my yoga journey in 2014 after I moved here to Monterey Bay. Sweet Heat was my first yoga experience and I have been hooked ever since. I can say that Sweet Heat has changed my life and made me a happier person. I truly believe in this practice and all that one can gain from it. 

Abi, Social Media

Hi I'm Abi, I take the beautiful pictures of our yogis for social media. I believe it's nice to show others what hard work we do and our accomplishments as part of this yoga family. 

I started my yoga journey in 2014 after I moved here to Monterey Bay. Sweet Heat was my first yoga experience and I have been hooked ever since. I can say that Sweet Heat has changed my life and made me a happier person. I truly believe in this practice and all that one can gain from it. 

Awkward Chair Pose

Awkward Chair Pose