Our Yoga Better Teachers
Our Founder – Andrew Royal Dugas
“I started yoga weak, inflexible, and 55 lbs heavier than I am currently.” Now with over 30,000 hours of teaching experience, and 25 years of practice, Andrew Dugas’ body and life are unrecognizable. 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 including a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science with a Minor in Nutrition, 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
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 in 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 – Lizzy Metriyakool
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 – 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.
Teacher – Danny Kou
Danny’s fascination with movement has led him to explore many disciplines. When he started yoga, he had no idea how much it would transform him. He is excited to share his enthusiasm for finding joy in life and exploring freedom of movement.
His classes focus on breathing, exploring range of motion and feeling your body in the face of challenges.
He is committed to helping his students move and feel better. Outside of yoga, he loves teaching and practicing Jiu Jitsu.
Danny completed his Yoga Better Teacher training, with Andrew Dugas, in 2021.
Teacher – Lauren Baker
Lauren started practicing yoga over 15 years ago when she decided to get off the couch and reject the story that chronic pain, weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes were inevitable health outcomes for people in her family. Today, Lauren teaches yoga to help people get stronger, connect with their body, and learn how to pilot their “space ship” so they can accel at whatever their passion might be.
Lauren has studied aerial arts for 9 years and taught aerial yoga- a combination of mat based yoga poses and aerial hammock movements- for three. She enjoys the way aerial yoga can challenge the perspective of yoga practitioners at any level through novel movements, inversions, and an ability to interact with 3D space in a new way.
She is deeply motivated by her love for nature, fascination with the built environment, and her deep curiosity in human behavior.
YOGA BETTER STUDIO SUBS
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 – 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 – 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 – Kevin Hanratty
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.