A Brazilian by birth and citizen of the Universe by choice, Cristiane Machado is a mother, dreamer, humanitarian, dancer, yogini, "krazy" human, and bodyworker who founded YogaLoka to transform mental illness into mental wellness. A firm believer that all humans are worthy of love, compassion, and the transformative practice of yoga, Cristiane has been exploring and offering the numerous benefits of yoga, meditation, and self-love practices for more than a decade. She is also a Zumba® Fitness and wellness enthusiast who loves to connect and collaborate with others to create spaces of joy, celebration, and pure magic. She currently lives in Montezuma, Costa Rica, but travels to and from Florida (to both Gainesville and St. Petersburg) regularly for YogaLoka-related projects. She guides retreats, yoga classes, Cacaoga® events, and offers sacred cacao ceremonies across the globe.
CRISTIANE MACHADO, Founder
Randi Cameon was one of the first people to bring yoga to Gainesville, FL and is thrilled to combine her background in non-profit work and yoga through YogaLoka. In the 1970s, she lived and taught in the Sivananda Yoga Ashram near Quebec for nearly a year. She had the opportunity to study directly with BKS Iyengar during several of his visits. Randi taught Hatha yoga and meditation for 30 years in a variety of settings and among diverse populations (e.g. children, seniors, differently abled) in Gainesville and northern California. She is proud to also lead Little Orange Creek Environmental Education Program which primarily serves minority youth from low income families, providing them with opportunities to learn about, enjoy, and be inspired by nature.
Liz DiVito is a yoga teacher, non-profit professional, freelance writer, and served as YogaLoka’s Treasurer before taking on the role of Program Director. Liz believes in work that blends the areas of wellness and social justice and, in doing so, challenges power dynamics and supports our collective liberation.
Liz has extensive experience living and working internationally. After graduating in 2016 from the University of Florida with a dual-degree in Political Science and International Studies, she went on to complete a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant in Amman, Jordan.
Liz later completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training in Classical Hatha at Mahadevi Ashram in Guatemala. She has been fortunate to supplement this with other powerful yoga trainings including Trauma-Informed Yoga and Social Justice with Hala Khouri and RW Alves. Liz is also Accessible Yoga certified and feels passionately about making the practice welcoming to all people.
Yoga has been a part of Kate Motto's lifestyle for almost 15 years. Introduced to yoga early on by her parents, she had a primarily home-based practice for about 10 years. When she started attending group classes in Gainesville, she enjoyed the sense of community, and valued the support of an instructor. Personally, yoga has helped her throughout her life with anxiety, grief, and her overall well-being. Kate realized her love for sharing yoga with others, and in spring of 2016 completed the 200-hour ‘Yoga Practice’ Teacher Training at Sanctuary Yoga & Wellness with Melissa Montilla. Kate particularly enjoys restorative yoga, Cacaoga®, and meditation. She believes in making yoga accessible for all and strives to create a welcoming atmosphere in her classes, reminding practitioners to do what serves them best. She emphasizes being kind towards yourself, and taking time to rest.
Liz Getman is a registered yoga teacher (E-RYT 200, YACEP) and community builder with a diverse background in health and wellness, spirituality, nonprofit outreach, academic research, and communication. Liz’s work lies in challenging social norms and preconceived beliefs that limit our individual and collective potential. Through teaching, training, advocacy, and more, Liz supports others in realizing their purpose, cultivating self-love and compassion, and serving the world with an open, forgiving heart. Liz studied Hatha and Hridaya (spiritual heart) yoga with Arjuna Dharma Das and Arpita Kshama Devi at Mahadevi Ashram & Kaivalya Yoga School in Tzununá, Guatemala. While there, she founded and developed Cacaoga®, a practice that unifies sacred cacao with heart-centered asana and meditation. Liz is also a certified Zumba® instructor and offers classes regularly in Gainesville. In addition to teaching yoga, Cacaoga®, and Zumba®, she leads yoga and wellness retreats across the globe. She is also host of the podcast Beyond Asana, writes for Elephant Journal, and leads guided meditations on the app Insight Timer.
Maddie was first introduced to yoga by her mom at age 11. After years of practicing on and off, she picked up a consistent practice during college. Maddie went on to receive her 200-hour certification in August of 2018. She became involved with YogaLoka after realizing that the only yoga she had been exposed to was available mostly to affluent people with access to studio classes. Maddie graduated from the University of Florida in May of 2019 with a degree in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. She recently moved to Miami, FL, where she is working to expand YogaLoka's programs and services. When Maddie is not teaching or practicing yoga, you can find her out in nature, at a brewery, or hanging out with her Dalmatian Pongo!
Battling with back pain, Brandi attended her first yoga class at the age of 16 and was hooked. Brandi has been a licensed massage therapist for over 14 years. The anatomy and knowledge of the human body that she learned in massage school greatly increased the depth of knowledge of her body in her own yoga practice. in 2007, Brandi completed an Ashtanga based 100-hour teacher training in Kauai, HI with Bhavani Maki and in 2009 she completed a 200-hour Yoga Works teacher training with Tzahi Moskovitz, in Gainesville, Florida. This alignment-based practice complemented her knowledge of the human anatomy and helped her to see the human body as a more dynamic, thoroughly connected being. Brandi has been teaching a wide variety of classes since 2009, including Flow, Strengthen & Stabilize, Ashtanga, Yin, and Alignment Based Flow. Brandi started her business, Wildflowers Yoga, in 2018 through which she teaches classes and teacher trainings. Brandi teamed up with YogaLoka to help organize and co-teach yoga classes to the GET (Growing Education Training) students at the Farm to School Hub and to the ESE adults that work in the Grow Hub. She teaches yoga because she want to be able to share her understanding of the body with others. Giving back to the community, holding space for people to grow, and being able to share her love of yoga to people of all abilities is a large aspect of teaching for Brandi.
Aimee was born and raised in Gainesville, FL, where she started practicing yoga as a way to cope with the mental stressors in her life. A soccer player her entire life, yoga was a nice compliment to physical training but provided far more emotional support than she thought possible. Through yoga, Aimee discovered a safe space and outlet to explore and address her feelings, which led her to a 200-hour training in Costa Rica in 2018. She has been guiding practice ever since. Through Liz Getman, Aimee discovered YogaLoka and realized it was the perfect place for her. In mid-2018, she moved to St. Petersburg, FL and quickly connected with founder Cristiane. Aimee is now working to coordinate volunteers for classes at the Station House St. Pete, Baldwin House, PARC, and Pinellas County Jail. Aimee also owns a spin studio in Sarasota, is a certified spin instructor and personal trainer, and committed to helping others find a healthy and happy lifestyle. In her free time, she loves to scuba dive and cook vegetarian dishes!
St. Pete Coordinator
Nick grew up in Gainesville where he earned a double BA in Anthropology and Criminology from the University of Florida in the Fall of 2003. From 2005-2009 he worked in direct service with at-risk inner city youth, and it was during this time that he met the practice of yoga. Nick has visited a number of Florida and California correctional facilities as a student and has some experience in restorative justice circles. Nick’s yoga classes are focused on subtle body alignment, individual
Dharma, and sustainable movement flow. He encourages each student to find their own best posture through verbal cues, mindful observation, and clear demonstration. Each class is uniquely crafted with acute attention. Nick is Yoga Alliance RYT500 and has trained under many master yoga teachers from around the world. He has been studying this practice since 2006 and worked as the events manager at a large chain of San Francisco studios from 2011-2015.
Jail Yoga Program Coordinator
Lea's yoga journey began with a mysterious yoga themed TV channel she found in high school. Since then, Lea has studied and practiced kundalini, hatha, vinyasa, restorative, and ashtanga yoga in Chicago, IL and Gainesville, FL. She is currently completing her 200 hour teacher training at Sanctuary Yoga in Gainesville, and is a certified Reiki healer. As a karma yogi, YogaLoka’s mission offered an irresistible opportunity to serve her community so she jumped right in. As a part of her practice, Lea writes about yoga accessibility through crafting and yoga literacy at https://leatalksyoga.com. While yoga is one of her most favorite things, some of her other favorite things are snuggling her dog Curtis, cycling, and crafting.