YOGA BETTER STUDIO TEACHERS
Our Founder – Andrew Royal Dugas
“I started yoga weak, inflexible, and 55 lbs heavier than I am currently.” Now with over 26,000 hours of teaching experience, and 20 years of practice, Andrew Dugas’ body and life have been transformed. Andrew has been fortunate to be gifted access to the skills that have helped himself and others feel better. After years of chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain, he was introduced to yoga by Paul Ellison at Rice University. His studies with his teacher and friend Robert Boustany empowered him with the knowledge and tools to create a pain-free body. In 2003 he quit playing classical music to teach yoga full time. Cutting his teeth on harder traditional yoga he quickly noticed that much of classical yoga easily injures most people’s bodies. His focus and teaching style is an inquiry to find a way to balance and strengthen the body without injury.
From Handstands to simple walking to complete stillness, Yoga Better offers an appropriate class for absolutely anyone, at any level, at any point in their life. You can often find students between 12 and 89 years old, pregnant goddesses, self-conscious absolute beginners and seasoned teachers in the same class, each able to be exactly at their level. The atmosphere is inclusive, non-judgmental, open, informative and empowering.
Studio Owner and Senior Teacher – Andria Dugas
With over 20 years of fitness and training experience, Andria’s journey towards yoga was one of skepticism and procrastination. Her first introduction to Yoga Better was in 2008, after years suffering from severe inflexibility and pain in her back, hips, and shoulders.
In 2014, Andria completed the Yoga Better TST. Using her broad knowledge of body function, and newfound expertise in yoga mechanics, sequencing, and conditioning, she has created a pain-free, stronger, balanced body. She is committed to bring that same transformation to each of her students, and particularly loves bringing yoga to those that may have had no, or negative experiences with it in the past.
Whatever your experience, her classes are safe, fun, and appropriate for all levels
Chief Awesome-ness Officer (Head of Marketing and Operations) and Senior Teacher – Maria Henning
After barely making it through a hot summer of cross-country running to complete a high school PE requirement, Maria jumped into a yoga class in the spring of her freshman year, mainly because it was indoors. Coming from a background of competitive dance and sports, she was hooked on the slow and focused practice of yoga, and its benefits on her other disciplines.
Two years later in 2010, she took her first class with Andrew Dugas and fell in love with the Yoga Better style. The work she did in his classes to build strength, balance, and functional flexibility made such a positive, measurable impact that she took her junior year of college off to train with Andrew in 2014. She returned to Boston to finish her last two semesters of college, teaching yoga to her peers and professors the whole way through. She is now back in Houston completing a third 200-hour training with Yoga Better.
Maria’s classes provide an open, fun space to work on moving and feeling your body, whatever your goals may be
Teacher – Ula Vayner
In 2006, Ula took a yoga class with Andrew Dugas and fell in love with his clear and creative style of teaching.
Several years later as a mother of two little kids and a teenager, Ula fully discovered the power of yoga. For her, it became the life-saving access to get away from the enormous stress of single parenting and chronic low back pain.
Ula completed 200 hours of training with Robert Boustany and two Yoga Better teacher trainings. She is also licensed in massage therapy.
Her classes are fun, safe and open for everyone. Ula is passionate in helping people to feel their bodies, feel better and getting free from constraints by getting strong and balanced body and learning how to relax.
Teacher – Lizzy Bosell
Lizzy started her yoga journey in 2012 at her neighborhood YMCA as a means to help relieve stress. Immediately she was drawn to something very basic and pure — the possibility and excitement of having a discipline that she can learn, grow and nurture the rest of her lifetime.
In 2016, she completed her first 200 hour yoga teacher training at Pralaya Yoga Studio. A year later in 2017, Lizzy finished the Yoga Better 200HR TST with Andrew Dugas, who pushed her to get over her fear of public speaking and find a yoga teaching gig. Since then she has been teaching public and private classes with one of those places being the same YMCA where she was introduced to yoga. Her fun & challenging classes help bring a playful awareness to the body.
Teacher – Nick Tannous
In 2016, after returning from vacation and looking at the photos, Nick came to a tipping point. A redirection of his life’s path was was needed. At 5’10” and 250 pounds, simple things had become ridiculously hard. Putting on socks required an exhale! He was unhappy and constantly hurt. He knew he had gotten in this shape slowly, over time, but wasn’t willing to stay there any longer.
He got serious, started a new way of eating, and started to exercise.
The sports of his youth (swimming, tennis, basketball) were not an option. So Nick tried something new, Yoga! Boom, there it was! He loved it!
A year later, 70 pounds lighter, he decided to take a yoga teacher training at Yoga Better. Nick learned so much, about the body, about his limitations, about life, that he felt the need to share through teaching.
“My journey is on-going, I am continuing to learn and explore. Yoga continues to change me, making me stronger and more capable in all aspects of my life.”
Teacher – Michelle Kelly
Michelle dedicates her time to helping people feel their bodies. Her classes are a blend of yoga, balancing, stretching and strengthening. After spending years struggling with back and neck pain, she found yoga and it has helped her build strength and flexibility where there wasn’t much of either. Yoga has helped her cultivate healthy relationships and manage life stress better.
She completed her Yoga Better teacher training, with Andrew Royal Dugas, in June 2017. She has also studied extensively with Rachel Tenenbaum of I Am Living.
Teacher – Larry Thraen
Larry has completed over 1250 certification hours through the School Yoga Institute, having studied under Andrew Dugas, Robert Boustany, Vedantin ‘Ping” Lou, Vinnie Marino, Bryan Kest, Annie Carpenter, Steve Ilg, and Kathryn Budig.
Larry believes through a dedicated practice, ‘bhakti’, one can cultivate deeper spiritual, physical, and emotional connections with the self as well as others. “Pleasure is the body, Happiness is in the mind, Joy is in the spirit.”
Larry specializes in 200hr and 500hr teacher training and leading advanced yoga studies immersions. He’s certified over 500 yoga teachers over his career
Teacher – Brittney Ferguson
Brittney’s love for movement started at 14 months when she was caught boogie-ing down on the bar at Señor Frog’s in Mazatlan, Mexico. During her early years, she dabbled in swimming, soccer, and motocross, but ultimately, it was dancing that stole her heart.
Surprisingly, it took her 26 years to find her way into a yoga class. Working as a petroleum engineer, she was experiencing extreme back and shoulder pain caused by long hours of sitting at a desk. She loved how yoga incorporated strength, flexibility, and cardio.
In 2017, she found Yoga Better and immediately signed up for the 200hr teacher training. What she loves most about the Yoga Better style is that it is based on anatomy and is safe and effective for all ages and skill levels. She watched her body change before her eyes and for the first time ever realized how strong she truly is.
She teaches because she wants others to experience total freedom (both physically and mentally) and to live life with an overwhelming sense of gratitude!
She wants to give her students the tools they need to live a more active and mindful life, to move freely, without pain, to lean into discomfort so they can live life to the fullest and not be held back by physical pain or weakness.
Yoga has left her feeling empowered both on and off the mat, and she hopes to share this with her students!
Teacher – Lauren Wood
Working as a ballroom dance instructor for 10 years left Lauren Wood with recurring injuries to her feet, back, and hips. In 2012, she began a regular yoga practice. After experiencing the benefits for herself, she attended her first yoga teacher training and began incorporating yoga exercises into her dance sessions. The improvements to her students’ posture, performance, and overall well-being were remarkable.
Lauren completed a second, intensive teacher training at Yoga Better with founder Andrew Dugas in June 2019 and now teaches yoga full-time. One of Lauren’s greatest joys is witnessing the positive impacts a habitual yoga practice has made on her students’ lives.
From finding greater function and range of motion in your body, to improving your reaction to stress, her classes are an invitation to explore the creation of space and strength while finding humor in it all. No matter your age or experience, expect to leave class feeling better than before.
Teacher – Mika Stepankiw
Mika’s love for movement began at a young age through ballet, eventually taking flight in 2009 as an aerial dance instructor and performer.
She was introduced to the Yoga Better style thanks to the invitation of a fellow aerialist and a desire to rehab a lingering shoulder injury. She was hooked after the first class, which allowed her to play and feel her body while safely strengthening her shoulder.
Inspired to share what she learned with her students, especially those struggling with pain and injuries, Mika took the Yoga Better teacher training. Her classes are designed to challenge her students to see movement as play while building strength and flexibility at any stage of life.
YOGA BETTER STUDIO SUBS
Kevin Hanratty’s interest in health and the human body is a decades-long passion. His journey started with the normal aches and pains from sitting at an office desk all day. His quest for a better-feeling body – and hence, a better life – led him to study massage, yoga, Pilates and finally to movement and training as a Better Yoga instructor.
Kevin has walked in his clients’ shoes, as he has lived through, dealt with and rehabilitated his own pains and injuries. He has transitioned from client, to practitioner, to teacher. His focus is on living a life in which his clients learn what to do to feel better.
Rachel Tenenbaum has been practicing yoga since she was 16 and is a student and teacher of the Yoga Better style fused with a vinyasa flow. She has over 700 hours of training and thousands of hours of teaching. In 2015 she created I AM Living – a leadership and personal coaching business whose mission is wake up those ready to take control of their lives! Whether teaching a class or coaching people to get the most out of life, she loves to help her students find new edges!