Instructors

Marina

My name is Marina Bourantonis.  I was born in Chicago, but as a young girl, my family moved back to Greece where I spent most of my childhood and am fortunate to have spent a worldly life living between Greece, the United States, and Bali.

Early on in life I had to overcome the obstacles of extensive injuries caused by multiple car accidents.  These accidents left me with debilitating pain and serious back issues.  Due to the injuries I had outside of the yoga room, I began to pursue extensive yoga trainings in order to create a yoga practice that would minimize and heal injuries. I made a choice that I did not want to live with pain.  I wanted to THRIVE, and use it as my fuel to learn about myself, as well as human anatomy, and to use this challenge as a launching point to grow and eventually help others.

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Out of this time of studying and application, I developed two yoga methods that are focused on functional strength, biomechanics, and flexibility.  I like to think, when you go thorough something, it’s a hidden blessing, and while my past issues and injuries were challenging, the outcome has been the creation of thaVma.   ThaVma is a combination of my husband, Thano, and my name.  Without Thano, there would not be a thaVma.  Thano was born and raised in Greece, he is a designer, an entrepreneur, but most importantly, he is my rock.  His unwavering belief in me gave me the confidence to open my own studio.  The “V” in the middle represents victory.  The name itself means “miracle” in Greek, and that is what we have witnessed. Continuous miracles felt through thaVma yoga, by me and others.

My main purpose in life, is to help people find peace from their pain, whether they be physical or mental injuries.  I have dealt with, and overcome both, and know how much they can affect someone’s life.  As a young girl, I had this idea of what the perfect body should and shouldn’t be, and I wasted my younger years searching to acquire the “perfect” version of me.  Because of this, I became bulimic, trying to obtain unrealistic expectations.  Looking back, I wish I could change some of the decisions I have made, and would have embraced my own beauty, along with my mind, heart, and soul at a younger age.  Knowing that I cannot time travel, and visit my younger self, I have chosen to learn about the physical body, and have extensively studied anatomy in order to use it as a fuel to help others overcome false expectations, poor body image, and to create a plan for true health. Now, I’ve reached a point after all that I’ve been through, that I realized I was putting unrealistic goals of “perfection” on myself.  Once I finally let those unrealistic expectations go, I finally found peace, accepted myself, and learned to love me. Using my past as an example, I realize that everyone has their own baggage and I recognized I could help others, by choosing to open my own studio, and create a place for love and healing.

To me success without a purpose is a meaningless life.  When you find your purpose, become captivated by it and you will thrive.  Once you do, you won’t be distracted by comparisons or anything else for that matter!  I have found my purpose.  It is to lead and teach alignment based yoga to help heal people.  I fully believe that because of my experiences, and the education I have obtained, that our studio is one of a kind.  We do not reject people, but instead love them as individuals.  Each of our members is a member of our family.  If you ask any of our members, “what is ThaVma,” you will hear consistently: love and family.

Emily

Hello, meet Emily Crawford, one of our 2021 teacher training graduates.  Emily and her husband, Sean moved to Florida from SW Missouri.  In addition to teaching at thaVma, she is an assistant instructor for the kids program at Traditional Aikido of Sarasota, as well as a substitute teacher at TCA.  Emily joined thaVma after her husband deployed, looking for a hobby and something to focus her attention.  With her husband overseas and no family close by, she found the thaVma family and the sense of community that she had been longing for.  Through the pandemic, Emily continued to take the online classes, and it became a lifeline.  When Emily was approached about teacher training, she had been praying for good friends, which all fell into place through training. Through the teacher training experience with Marina, not only did she gain knowledge in anatomy and yoga asanas, but forged lifelong friends. When asked about her feelings on thaVma she stated, “I will forever be thankful to Marina and thaVma, for allowing me to be a part of the family and look forward to meeting each and every member and hopefully leading you in your practice.”

Jeana

Jeana  is a former collegiate athlete who fell in love with hot yoga in her early 20s.  She loves to share the importance of proper form and to watch her students grow their practice.

In her own words, “Hot yoga has taught me how to be comfortable in stillness and to push myself to be better, both mentally and physically.”

I felt immediately welcomed by Marina and other students, and I am proud to now be a member of the ThaVma teaching family

Molly

Bonjour! Je m’appelle Molly! Although born in the USA, Molly grew up in France, in the beautiful region of Provence. She moved to Florida with her husband Ben and her daughter Rose in August 2019, looking for a new adventure and to launch our company Madame Lavender. After 10+ years of dance, numerous Body fitness classes and 5 years of Cardio Budo, I was ready for something new. She wanted an activity that builds muscle tone, while maintaining flexibility and helps manage anxiety. A mind and body workout. This is when her yoga journey began and when she discovered Thavma.
She came to the studio to make new friends and explore. And that is exactly what she found. During lockdown she successfully completed the Thavma yoga 30-day cloud challenge and was eager to get back into the hot room for more.
As the world re-opened, Marina, owner and creator of Thavma Method encouraged her to take her practice further by enrolling in Teacher training.
A New challenge, New friends, Anatomy, Alignment and Asanas with strange names…. No doubt Molly had found her new adventure, and is enjoying every bit of it!
Come get your sweat on with Molly!!

Pam

Pam was born in Bradenton, Florida where she grew up with a love of exercise and dance. She graduated from college and met her husband. She has nine children and loves to instill in them her love for exercise and sports. Pam was an avid runner until facing a five year battle with illness. Her two eldest daughters drug her to yoga while she was still deathly ill. All Pam could manage was to attempt a couple postures during each class and return to bed. Pam kept preserving and with the help of the instructors regained her balance and strength. Even though she is through the worst of the illness, she still struggles with pain on a daily basis. Yoga became her solitude and relaxation as she began to heal. After a couple of years she was encouraged to attend teacher training. Pam completed her RTY 200 teacher training at Thavma and is a current member of the National Yoga Alliance. Her love for yoga has grown and she loves practicing the many different disciplines of yoga that are offered. Pam’s pursuit of health and fitness is a lifelong journey.

Jennie

Sarasota native, Jennie Shumway, started her yoga practice in 2017. In her youth – Jennie was a competitive gymnast that flipped & flopped all around town and a state ranked tennis player that later went on to play collegiate tennis. After years of rigorous training, running and workouts at the gym – Jennie began her yoga practice looking for a more compassionate way to care for her body. She won a contest that afforded her an opportunity to try yoga for the first time and after her first hot yoga class she was instantly addicted and has maintained her practice with several classes each week. She enjoys the physical benefits that her hot yoga practice provides as well as the spiritual healing from each class. After two years of yoga practice Jennie decided to challenge herself with becoming a yoga instructor at ThaVma in Sarasota and looks forward to guiding new and experienced yogis through a mindful practice every time they come to their mat!

Lindsey

With over 15 years of classical ballet training, Lindsey has always enjoyed an active lifestyle. She originally joined the Thavma family in 2014 as a student and fell in love with the sense of community within the studio, and the healing benefits of functional movement. Thavma provides an environment of like minded people with individual sets of goals. In 2020, she joined the Thavma Teacher Training program so she could share her love of yoga with the rest of the community.

Denise

Denise M Miller –Divine Lotus Yoga LLC is a registered Yoga Teacher (200 RYT) with Yoga Alliance, a member of the USA Yoga Federation and a New England Regional Yoga Competitor (2013). She is a Meditation Specialist trained at the Himalayan Institute and a Registered Nurse Certified in the Operating Room. Denise has been practicing yoga regularly since 2006 and has been teaching 26-2 since 2017, trained by Marina Bourantonis. What Denise loves most about yoga is the way it makes her feel both physically and mentally. It balances her mind by keeping her calm and her body by keeping it strong, healthy and flexible. She always strives to expand her yoga knowledge and understanding which is why she decided to become a yoga instructor. She has also attended multiple posture clinics and seminars to deepen her personal practice. What Denise loves most about teaching at Thavma is the comradery and friendships she developed with teachers and members. Denise believes in leading by example and her goal is to take all of her past experiences combined with her passion for yoga and share the benefits of this beautiful practice, through kindness, compassion and respect for all.

Shelley

Shelley took her first ever yoga class at ThaVma in October of 2014 and was immediately hooked by the challenge, healing benefits and family feel of ThaVma Yoga. As a former long distance runner, each ThaVma class provided physical healing from aches and pains as well as mental peace to work through the illness and grief of her father’s terminal illness.

In 2016 and 2017, she completed ThaVma’s first 26+2 and ThaVma Method teacher training and has enjoyed helping members find stress and pain relief in each class. You’ll often find her practicing next to her teenager daughter who has experienced the benfits of a strengthening Thavma Yoga practice on the tennis courts.

Farah

Farah started practicing at Thavma Yoga in June 2014. It was the first time she ever tried yoga, and a neck injury due to a recent car accident compelled her to try it out. After several months of practicing and committing to a 60 day challenge, the pain in her neck from a herniated disc had subsided and she was hooked! She fell in love with the Thavma Method classes and wanted to be a part of this special place. She was in the first Thavma Teacher Training with Marina in Fall of 2015 and began teaching in 2016. Farah practiced and taught yoga throughout her two pregnancies in 2016-2017 and in 2019 and has two beautiful, healthy little girls, Jocelyn and Eleanor. She also works professionally as a television producer for PBS. There’s never a dull moment for Farah as she juggles life as a mom, producer and yoga instructor, which all have their unique challenges and joys. According to Farah, “My life is so busy, but yoga keeps me grounded. Staying healthy for my girls and professional life is so important and I’m thankful to have a supportive community with Thavma Yoga.” Marina Bourantonis

Marsha

Marsha is a physical therapist and first visited ThaVma Yoga in September 2014 in search of relief for chronic back pain. After a committed practice, she began to feel the results from improved strength and flexibility in the spine. She joined the ThaVma team two and a half years later and hasn’t looked back, teaching both ThaVma Red and 26+2 classes. Her yoga journey was initially focused on pain relief, but she has benefitted both mentally and physically from a regular hot yoga practice. Her non-fitness time is spent juicing, gardening, creating stained glass, and chilling with her 2 chocolate lab monsters.

John

Meet John, who recently completed teacher training for 26+2 and ThaVma method. John is a native Floridian born in Miami, who has been married for 46 years to his wife Donna and raised his two daughters in Boca Raton. While visiting his daughter in Lakewood Ranch, he took a 90 minute 26+2 class at ThaVma Lakewood Ranch and knew he found his new yoga home. In 2018 John relocated to Lakewood Ranch from the East (John would say the best) Coast of Florida. John has maintained a 17 year yoga practice with the first 14 years at a Hot Yoga studio five days a week on the east coast. John has extensive knowledge of the asanas, due to his years of practice, and looks forward to practicing and leading at ThaVma.