Meet The Gold Access Instructors
Yoga & Pilates
Lourdes Fernandez is originally from Puerto Rico, but she has lived in several US states, Italy, and Germany. She has been certified through the YogaLife Institute in Devon, PA, since 2004. Lourdes has been teaching since then, and she has trained under Greg Nardi, Tim Feldman, David Keil, and Jason Crandell, among others. Lourdes began as a Hatha yoga instructor, but she has incorporated Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow yoga elements into her teaching and her practice. Lourdes has taught pre-natal, post-natal, Power, Vinyasa Flow, and classes tailored to athletes and to students recovering from injuries. Her advice to Mason students is to see the yoga mat as an extension of life; sometimes it’s easy, sometimes there is joy, and other times it is frustrating. Just keep showing up.
Jessica works fulltime at Mason while working on completing her Masters in Public Policy and she is a yoga enthusiast. We are all busy juggling various responsibilities so let yoga be the needed break in your day. When you come to my class, we’re going to sweat it then end with a well deserved guided meditation. Follow her on Instagram (@workingyoga) or Facebook (@ workingyoga).
Ashley is originally from Utah but is studying Media Production and Film Critique here at George Mason University. Ashley instructs both Vinyasa Yoga and HIIT with Mason Rec. She has seven years of experience in the field, and has been instructing here for four years. Ashley was inspired to start instructing after her apprenticeship with her own yoga teacher.
Ashley’s favorite part about instructing is seeing the variety of yoga practitioners that come out to her classes. Whether a beginner or lifelong practitioner, Ashley loves to have you there! Ashley has been told that she has great music at her classes, and her great sense of humor and balance between excitement and stillness creates an energetic and encouraging environment in every one of her classes.
Acacia is originally from California. While there, she studied Liberal Arts at Cypress College. Now, she teaches both Yoga and Spin here at George Mason University. Acacia has over ten years of experience with spin, and over two years of experience with yoga. She has been a part of Mason Rec for about 2 years now and she began instructing because of her love of bringing fitness to people who are looking to challenge themselves. Acacia’s favorite thing about instructing is the opportunity to be a positive part of a person’s day. This attitude creates a sense of community within her classes that excites people to come again! All you need is an open-mind and a willingness to challenge yourself for one of Acacia’s classes.
Christie is originally from California, but after 8th grade she moved to the Philippines and later studied Business Management. She has been instructing Yoga/Pilates Fusion with Mason Rec for two years and overall has 6 years of experience in her specialty. Christie did not originally have plans to become an instructor, but once she started instructing she realized she loved it. Her favorite parts of instructing are getting to watch students overcome boundaries of what they thought they were incapable of doing, and knowing that she is able to make a contribution to her students’ well-being. Christie describes her class as “strong and rejuvenating” and wants her students to be open to doing new things at their own pace. As Christie says, “yoga is a practice, not a perfect.”
Sean is originally from right here in Northern Virginia. He is a Yoga instructor and has been with Mason Rec for the past year. Sean has 5 years of experience with yoga and feels a sense of responsibility to share the valuable practices of movement and meditation with others. In fact, the ability to share his passion for yoga is his favorite part about being an instructor. People love coming to his classes because of the safe and comfortable atmosphere that he creates to allow them to learn about and enjoy yoga. Sean describes his classes as encouraging and empowering, and even spiritual because of the influences Dharma Yoga has had on his teaching style. In addition to the spiritual aspects of Sean’s classes, he also incorporates modern biomechanical techniques in order to help his students increase functional mobility, rehabilitate joints, and prevent injury.
While Noki is originally from Virginia, she studied Sociology in Maryland. She grew up in the northern Virginia area, but being in the military, she was able to teach in Washington state, Japan, Washington DC, and Virginia. She has been AFAA certified since 2000. Noki has taught group fitness and Pilates for 17 years. She is an experienced instructor and has been working with Mason Rec since August of 2009. Noki began instructing because of her passion for fitness and her love of interacting with people. Noki continues instructing for the same reasons, but finds that her favorite part of instructing is meeting and instructing the people who comes in her class. Noki’s classes give patrons a good workout that makes them work hard and leaving feeling energetic. Noki wants everyone to know her class is always open to anyone and everyone. My passion is fitness and wellness. Life is short, live and love passionately!
Skye Lindberg is originally from Annandale, VA and currently resides in Arlington. She began doing yoga about two years ago and completed her 200 Hr. Yoga Teacher Training soon after, in Fall 2016. Skye immediately fell under yoga’s spell and the physical and mental transformation she experienced was incredible. She knew that she wanted to share yoga with everyone, and teaching seemed like a great way to do that. Some advice she would pass along to others, is to listen to your body. This does not only apply in the yoga studio, but more in everyday life. You are your own person and nobody can tell you how your body or mind is supposed to feel! When Skye is not in the studio, she is eating avocados, working as the Media Relations Fellow at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. and pursuing her acting career.
Martial Arts and Self Defense
Lawrence Clark is a military brat that has grown up all over the United States and Europe but would claim that he is from Philadelphia Pennsylvania if forced to choose. He earned his instructor certification from Krav Maga Alliance and has been instructing for 6 years but training in Krav Maga since 2002. His advice to anyone seeking to learn self-protection is to honestly ask “what are my goals” and then actively participate in a class to see if the instructor and fellow students are going to help me to be able to achieve these goals?” If “yes” then you’ve found the right fit for you. If ‘no’ continue to search and don’t be discouraged because one size rarely fits all. For fun Lawrence likes to participate in GORUCK challenges and spend as much time as possible enjoying outdoor activities that help him to explore his limits.
Reza (Paul) Pooladi
Reza was born and raised in Burke, Virginia. He has been practicing martial arts for 12 years and instructing for the past 10 years. Reza’s martial arts background is in Taekwondo, Shaolin Kungfu, Tai chi, Systema (Russian martial art), jeetkundo, muy thai, and Brazilian Jujitsu. He has been teaching at Mason for 5 semesters . Outside of Mason Rec, Reza teaches at the Burke Raquet & Swim Club and at 4 different elementary schools in Arlington and Alexandria. His advise to students is to learn how to link your breath with your movement, and to learn how to develop a peaceful mind like a still body of water. Posture, awareness, breath, strength, flexibility and relaxation are key principles in his teachings. He likes to cook, workout, eat healthy, make smoothies, play basketball, exercise with his dogs, read books, watch movies, freestyle rap, listen to music, play video games and work with students from his online martial art school, blackdragonneikung.com. Reza currently has 5 jobs and works for 8 different companies, but he is passionate about health and martial arts and prefers to dedicate as much time as possible to teaching!
Jasper “Alegre” Hu was born in Phoenix, Arizona but grew up in Queens, New York. He graduated from George Mason University with a Bachelor in Integrative Studies with a concentration in Elementary Education and a minor in Psychology. After a few years of working, he stuck around the George Mason area and recently received his Master of Social Work degree. He currently works as a Social Worker in Case Management at Inova Fairfax Hospital. In his free time, Jasper aka “Alegre” has been training Capoeira for 10 years now and is a part of Grupo Capoeira Brasil. Jasper has a passion for the culture and history of capoeira and started instructing so that he could share this passion with others. In fact, these are the same reasons that people get excited to take Jasper’s class. According to Jasper, capoeira is “not only a martial arts class, it’s a lesson in history.” Jasper describes capoeira as a martial art masked as a dance which tells a story. This atmosphere and Jasper’s passion for capoeira helps to create a community within every class he instructs. He strongly believes that a positive attitude can help anyone achieve their goals. If his silly antics doesn’t make you smile, his energetic Capoeira classes will.
Danny is from Virginia, and he studied Management Information Systems here at Mason. Danny has over a decade of experience with Capoeira and has been instructing with Mason Rec for about four years. Danny started instructing because of his passion to share a new culture, the rich culture of Capoeira, with the Mason community. Now, in addition to his passion for the culture, his favorite part of instructing is the students and the enthusiastic energy they bring to his class!
In fact, everyone who comes to Danny’s Capoeira class leaves with new friends. While the culture and friendships are exciting and invigorating, when you come to Capoeira with Danny, make sure you’re ready to sweat!
Stefan has more than 18 years of training in Aikido, studying under Mitsunari Kanai Shihan at New England Aikikai, and, after his passing, under Kanai Sensei’s most senior students. Ranked Sandan in Aikido, Stefan is also ranked Shodan in Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido, a Japanese sword art. Stefan is an instructing member at Aikido of Northern Virginia since 2011, and regularly attends seminars with visiting Shihan throughout the Eastern United States. Stefan is also a RYT200 yoga teacher and currently teaches at Live Out Loud Yoga in La Plata MD. Facebook @Stefan Edmund Yoga.
Elly Roland is grew up nearby in Manassas, Virginia. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University in 2006. Elly is finishing up her PhD in Environmental Science here at George Mason in the Fall of 2017. Elly has trained in Aikido since the age of 13 but she started taking ukemi (falls) at the age of 6 when her older brother started training. She has taken her practice with her as she moved about, training in dojos in Dale City, VA; Ithaca, NY; Long Island, NY; Sarasota, FL; Silver Spring, MD; and Arlington VA. Elly holds the rank of Nidan (second degree black belt) with the United States Aikido Federation. This rank is internationally recognized from Hombu Dojo,the headquarters of Aikido in Japan. She has been teaching Aikido regularly for 8 years. In addition to her Aikido and academic studies Elly practices Neigon/Qigong and enjoys crocheting, hiking, gardening, sailing, scuba diving and curling up on the couch with her husband and dog. Her advice to students, passed down from her sempai, is “Good Food + Good Practice = Good Life”
John Lesko has lived in various states within the USA and overseas in Germany. After returning to the US and residing in Northern Virginia since 1990, he now lives in a cabin just north of the Shenandoah National Park. John earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point, a Master of Science in General Engineering at Boston University, and more recently completed a graduate-level certificate program in Leadership Coaching for Organizational Performance from George Mason University. John first discovered Aikido at the Dale City Aikikai becoming a Shodan (1st degree black belt) in 2007 and a Nidan (2nd degree) in 2010. When asked how long he has studied the martial arts, he often replies, “Obviously not long enough.” John’s favorite part about instructing Aikido is being able to watch his students quickly understand and learn to apply new techniques. He originally starting teaching Aikido to help spread the art and philosophy of it, which he is still passionate about, but he decided to teach Aikido at Mason to help students learn more about self-defense to help them against possible campus assaults. He describes his class as a mix of harmony, energy, and self-discipline. John has wrestled, boxed, and engaged in various combative styles throughout a 20-year military career. He now works as a group facilitator and leadership coach where he applies the philosophy of Aikido to building consensus within groups and teams in the workplace. Additionally, John is a senior challenge course facilitator affiliated with the Mason Center for Outdoor Experiential Learning and works at The EDGE located at the Science & Technology Campus of GMU.