About the Staff

David Nelson

Instructor and Owner

David started practicing yoga to seek relief from chronic back pain and found that yoga was a powerful and dynamic medium to explore the meaning of life. David began teaching in 1998, and has studied Bikram, Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga. He was certified by B.K.S. Iyengar from 2005­-2013 and is registered as an ERYT200 with Yoga Alliance. David is passionate about the study and practice of Yoga.  Together with Marisa Toriggino, he owns and operates Yoga Garden SF.

Marisa-thumbMarisa Toriggino

Instructor and Owner

Marisa is one of two partners at Yoga Garden SF and has been part of the team since it opened in 1998.  She is the primary instructor of the prenatal program which includes weekly classes, workshops  and teacher training. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her children, writing poetry and being physically active.

Kerri-thumbKerri Stimson

General Manager

Kerri moved to San Francisco from her home state of New York in 2009. She began her work at the studio as a volunteer, and has filled many support roles before becoming the General Manager. 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 at Coyote Point.

Jean Mazzei

Instructor, Advanced Studies Director

Jean Mazzei, ERYT-500 is proud to help nurture and administer the Advanced Studies program at YGSF. She earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration in 1991, so being the “principal” of a yoga school is a dream come true! Jean has been practicing and teaching yoga for over 30 years. She continues to grow as a teacher and practitioner, and excels in bringing curriculum to life both on and off the mat.

Adrienne Taraborelli

Assistant Studio Manager

Adrienne has experienced a profound curiosity for intelligent movement since she began studying dance at the age of five. As a student at Drexel University in PA, Adrienne became a certified Pilates Instructor. Thrilled by the life-changing experiences she witnessed students have in the studio, she embarked on a career path in the fitness studio industry. Adrienne moved to San Francisco in 2014 and serves as the Assistant Operations Manager overseeing instructor relations, scheduling, retail and facilities.

Cynthia Koch

Enrollment and Admissions Manager

Cynthia is from the Great White North (Canada), and enjoys living in sunny San Francisco. She is the resident expert of all things Teacher Training and Advanced Studies at Yoga Garden SF.  When she’s not passionately speaking about the transformative effects of yoga through her studies, her teachings or her classes, you can find Cynthia playing her guitar, singing at local venues, taking long walks around the city and taking in the sights and sounds of the various people she meets.

Charmie Stryker

Communications Associate

Charmie’s homeland may be the Philippines, but she’s found a piece of home in many countries during her 2 years of backpacking around the world. While she was in India, she deepened her practice by earning her RYT 200 at the Himalayan Yoga Institute and began teaching throughout her travels. She now calls San Francisco home and continues to express her love for creativity through yoga and design as Yoga Garden’s Communications go-to.

Amy Early

Client Services Manager

When Amy is not writing about herself in the third person, she can be found greeting students at the front desk of Yoga Garden and engaging them in small talk about the weather, what they ate for dinner, and the meaning of life. She completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program in 2013 and is profoundly grateful for the ways in which yoga continues to enrich her life. Amy meditates off the mat as a writer, musician, and antique restorer.

Becky Parker

Client Services Associate

Becky began her yoga practice in 2006 while spending a summer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. There, she discovered yoga’s ability to awaken one’s creative energy and ease the stress of city living. Becky has continued practicing in San Francisco, and became a Yoga Garden regular in 2015. Outside the studio, Becky is active in the San Francisco arts community as an art advisor, where you will find her visiting local galleries, museums and artist studios looking for new inspiration and talent.


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