About the Staff

2009YogaGardenStaff-3521-350x350David Nelson and Marisa Toriggino

Instructors and Owners

Marisa and David met in 1998. Through the years of developing a business, raising a family, and nurturing their relationship, the study and practice of yoga in all levels and activities of their lives has been an inspiration and foundation for spiritual growth and a guide for living.

Read more about the owners here.

Eric Strelneck

Operations and Studio Manager

Eric has worked in operations and administrative management in a variety of fields. He works behind the scenes at Yoga Garden SF handling all studio organization and operations. Eric began his Iyengar yoga practice in 2004. Since then yoga has provided balance and calm to his life on many levels. When Eric is not working, you can find him on the trails of the Bay Area and eastern Sierra Nevada

kerriKerri Stimson

Assistant Operations and Studio Manager

Kerri moved to San Francisco from her home state of New York in 2009. She’d only taken a handful of yoga classes on the east coast before becoming a student at Yoga Garden SF where she discovered a practice which strengthens, challenges, and supports her. She began the work exchange program and eventually became assistant studio manager. She now handles many tasks around studio operations and customer service. If you don’t see Kerri at the Yoga Garden front desk, or on the mat next to you in class, you may find her swing dancing in the Mission or playing with her dog in Alamo Square.

Jean_webJean Mazzei

Instructor, Advanced Studies Director

Jean (E-RYT 500) teaches Hatha Flow and Ageless yoga classes at Yoga Garden SF. She is also the Director of Advanced Studies and coordinates all of Yoga Garden SF’s teacher training programs. In addition to being an experienced yoga teacher, Jean is also a talented and passionate musician.

To learn more about Jean visit:

Sonya Genel

Instructor, Website & Social Media 

Sonya (E-RYT 200) teaches alignment based flow classes at yoga garden SF. She also oversees the website, blog, social media, and graphic design for the studio.

Sonya was born in Russia and grew up in Boston, but now loves living in San Francisco. In addition to Yoga, Sonya is passionate about the arts and holds a BFA from Boston University.

To learn more about Sonya visit:

lizLiz Gillian

Front Desk

Liz is dedicated in the pursuit of all things healthy and inspiring. Yoga has been a huge part of this journey and working at Yoga Garden has allowed her to interact and learn about many areas of yoga through the wonderful teachers and students. When she’s not at Yoga Garden she is all about the food- cooking, eating, writing! She works at Hayes Street Grill restaurant and is in the process of expanding her own catering services. See what she’s been up to in the kitchen at thecookingtree.net

marymartinMary Martin


Mary began practicing yoga in 2008–to “get in shape,” but her first experience in savasana changed all that. Profoundly moved by the holistic quality linking mind, body and spirit, Mary has continued studying vinyasa yoga and developing herself spiritually through conscious living. She recently completed her RYT 200 with Yoga Garden in SF where she now works in the Admissions department.  When she’s not practicing yoga, Mary can be found hiking, rock climbing, and doodling.

San Francisco yoga studio offering  Ashtanga | Mysore | Iyengar | Vinyasa Flow | Pre-natal Post-natal Yoga | Senior Yoga | Yoga Teacher Training

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