OUR TEAM Our Teachers Rachel Brathen I am a Swedish Native, having moved from Costa Rica to Aruba in 2012 when I met my Aruban husband, Dennis. He and I founded Island Yoga based on a longing to create community here in Aruba. Before we opened our doors we were busy traveling the world, spending 40-45 weeks of the year on the road. After a few years, traveling that much just got exhausting! Island Yoga allows us to stay home and really set our roots (which is really helpful now that we have a baby!). I am the co-founder and CEO of Island Yoga and teach Vinyasa Flow, SUP Yoga, Yin Yoga and Meditation. My classes are always heart-centered, as this is how I choose to live every aspect of my life. The longing has manifested – I love how this community has come together through yoga! Watching everyone deepening their yoga practice, cultivating healthy habits and connecting to their authentic truth through this practice is my motivation every day. We have three dogs, two goats and a tiny baby. Life at our house is like a circus right now! Dennis Schoneveld I was raised in Aruba, but I’ve traveled a ton since meeting Rachel. I earned a degree in business administration, dabbled in surf shop ownership, and now keep these numbers and ladies in line at Island Yoga. I make coffee for the Island Yoga staff, and from time to time when I’m behind my desk, I watch soccer on my computer. I’m also a certified yoga teacher, talking people through poses every week (after my paternity leave ends). This studio has been a big dream of ours for many years. I love watching yoga grow on the island! I like short walks on the beach and rainy days. Carolien Gaarthuis My two little surf-dudes, professor husband and I moved from the Netherlands to Aruba six years ago, drawn to the yearlong sunshine like moths to a flame. Here, I branded myself as DushiYoga, not only teaching yoga but lecturing business and marketing at the local university, as well. I have been practicing yoga since 2005. Ever since I attended Rachel’s 108 Sun Salutations class in 2012, I have dedicated every damn day to yoga, fitness, and joy. At Island Yoga, I teach SUP, Yin, Restorative, Vinyasa, and TerraWave – a yoga class which I founded that places students on Indo YogaFit® Boards; It’s like SUP Yoga, but on land. My classes are fluid, creative, and the perfect balance of depth and light. I will forever be a teacher as well as a student. My yoga teacher trainings have spanned across continents, where I devotedly gather the tools through yoga and martial arts to bring forth more light from my students and team. Through acquiring my ERYT-200 and RYT-500 levels through trainings by teachers like Paul Grilley and Judith Hanson Lasater, I practice honoring anatomical differences, thus bringing even more freedom to every student’s practice. I believe in living by example; I aim to live a life that inspires our beautiful island community to reap the benefits of yoga of which I am so in love. I’m unabashedly courageous on land and sea, but not in the air. My biggest moment of fear and exhilaration came from zip lining over 150 feet above the California Redwoods! Naturally, sky diving now must follow. Or so they tell me… Brittany Waterhouse I grew up just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Working a desk job at a tech company, selling real estate, and teaching a little yoga on the side, the urge to shift gears grew quickly in my four years of working so many jobs at once. I wanted to teach yoga full time, away from the exhausting city-life vibes. My family has been visiting Aruba every year for over two decades, making it feel like my second home. After attending one of Rachel’s retreats in Bonaire, the stars aligned and I was asked to join the oneOeight team. When I arrived on the island, I knew without a doubt that this was where I had always been heading. After starting to teach a little SUP Yoga on the side, the tides turned quickly and I found myself solely teaching on the tranquil, beautiful ocean. I am now the lead SUP Yoga teacher for Island Yoga, managing and coordinating all things SUP. When I’m not on the water, I’m teaching in the studio. My classes almost always feature the use of energetic items such as crystals and angel cards, as well as highlighting the importance of manifesting with the Law of Attraction. The energetics of yoga are what keep me coming back for more, and what I know I am here to share in hopes of bettering the lives that cross paths with mine. Yoga truly is the most rewarding job I could have ever wished for. My mom called me Moonbeam when I was a child. As a Cancer sign in astrology, my heart and soul are the ocean and the moon that pulls it. On top of that, my last name is Waterhouse; anyone could have seen this job and lifestyle manifesting from day one! Ambre Van de Berg I was born and raised in the Netherlands, although I’ve long since donned the motto, “Always in motion, just like the ocean,” spending more time learning yoga and wellness and sharing it around the world in surf camps than at home. After completing Rachel’s first SUP Yoga Teacher Training, I brought SUP Yoga to Amsterdam for the first time where I now run my own business — bringing people through a floating yoga studio adventure. Originally returning to Aruba as an Island Yoga SUP teacher before the studio opened, I quickly made the decision to stay longer and teach SUP classes on the water and nearly every class style on the menu for the newly opened studio. In every class, I guide my students through the elements – external and internal – for a meditative dance that leaves you a little confused as to how you got so sweaty. My role has expanded to include program management, as well. My forthright and hardworking Dutch personality, coupled with my contagious laugh is fantastic at securing the best deals for our customers. I’m a community-builder through and through; in the office, I rally the team for Pancake Mondays and foster or adopt the puppies that our Sgt. Pepper’s Friends team rescues. In the studio, I motivate my students to enjoy the journey toward their goals and to never take anything too seriously. I am always up for a fitness activity or adventure, but you may have to wait for me to find my keys. And phone. And wallet. Don’t worry, I always find them eventually. Jess Rydh I come from a small town in Sweden called Sigtuna. There, I worked for then co-owned Power Yoga Sweden since I was 15 years old. I’ve trained in yoga and in leadership, utilizing and strengthening both through regularly teaching yoga and managing large programs and events. After assisting several of Rachel’s yoga events in Sweden, I was given the opportunity to come to Aruba to intern during the opening of Island Yoga. My internship quickly evolved into an official role on the team, which includes assisting everywhere I can – front of house, boutique, our studio manager…I love being everyone’s right-hand resource. I also teach! My classes are mainly the faster and sweatier ones, but I have also begun our Beginner Series, creating a safe and inviting space to begin one’s exploration of an intelligent and fun yoga practice. I’m easy to spot in the studio – I’m the one running around, dancing and singing loudly and off-key. When I’m not in the studio (which is very rare), I am in the water learning how to surf or bent over petting a dog. Dagmara Avanindra I was born in Latvia and lived abroad in places such as California before moving to Aruba in June of 2012. Before Island Yoga, I taught yoga around the island and provided consultancy in clean tech through my degree and experience as an electrical engineer. Very soon after arriving on the island, I met Rachel in one of her Full Moon Yoga classes, taught just steps away from the hotel I was living in. When she and Dennis created Island Yoga, I was ecstatic to join such an inspiring place. The backgrounds and styles are so diverse in our team, which I always find to be very beneficial to be exposed to so that we can expand our ways of thinking. I want to live my life so that I contribute to the well-being of this planet; that is why I left Silicon Valley and moved to Aruba, and it is why I teach yoga. I wanted to support this island’s vision for a carbon-neutral future and to be an example for other islands, and I feel that sharing yoga contributes hugely to this well-being. I teach classes from my studies of Vinyasa, Core Power, Restorative, and more. I deeply treasure these opportunities to build a healthier community of yogis and change-makers on our island. What brought me to yoga was the birth of my daughter. It was the only thing that helped me recover – and improve – physically, as well as opening the door for life-changing spiritual discovery; I was hooked! Our Team Amelie Rehnvall I am from a small town in the south of Sweden’s countryside – always surrounded by nature and animals of all kinds. I worked in my parent’s restaurant since I was a young child and then in fashion for 11 years, before I suddenly decided to change my whole life direction. I was introduced to yoga in 2009, instantly fell in love, became a certified teacher, and was soon recruited to manage a yoga studio in Denmark. A few months after attending one of Rachel’s retreats in Costa Rica in 2013, my life brought me to Aruba to work on Team Yoga Girl. I am now Island Yoga’s manager, which largely means you will see me in every room around the studio…at the exact same time. I’m very fast. I live and breathe my work, and my devotion for this yoga community fuels me like none other. Soon you will see my name on the teaching schedule, too! I want Island Yoga to be a key wellness center in the world, and I know it is possible. This studio, its founders, and its team embody the values and methods that will get us there – Be straight from the heart, and always be honest. Yoga has changed my life for the better in every way, and I am honored to help create a welcoming, beautiful space for everyone to come and experience its magic. I’ve been co-existing with animals my whole life. In Sweden – horses. In Aruba – my two Italian Greyhounds, Tico and King, the loves of my life and copilots on my life’s journey. If I’ve stopped moving, it’s because we are at the beach blissfully watching the sunset or floating on the ocean. Michiko Eman I was born in the Netherlands, but I moved to Aruba when I was just seven years old. I returned to the Netherlands after high school to study Human Resources, moving back to Aruba 10 years later. I’ve been back on the island for a little over one year, working with Island Yoga ever since. I initially applied to Island Yoga for an “in-between” job while I resettled into life here, but I quickly realized I was in it for the long haul. No longer pulled toward the corporate HR world, I wanted to work alongside these dedicated change-makers. My main title is HR Manager, although it could also be “the one who is always on the phone translating, striking deals, and putting out fires”. Working with yogis has really added new perspectives into my life! Someday I will also be a certified yoga teacher like the rest of our team. From witnessing the healthy benefits that yoga has brought into my own life, I’m excited to help usher this forward with and for the rest of our local community. My name is Japanese, but I am half Indonesian and half Dutch. I’ve explored my roots in Sumatra, Java and Bali; Japan is next on the list! Suelyn Dankerlui I was born on this Happy Island. For the past eight years, I’ve moved from Aruba to the Netherlands and back again. I love the city of Rotterdam, but Aruba will always be my home. It turns out I’m an island girl after all. I am the F&B Coordinator for Nourish Café! I’ve been friends with Dennis and Rachel for a long time. I knew I wanted to help them in some way with their new studio, and as soon as I learned that Island Yoga would also have a café, I knew just how I was going to do it! I have a background in managing F&B and quite a lot of experience in the food industry. It was a perfect match. At Island Yoga, we have an amazing product, and we have AMAZING people coming in. I really want people to be happily surprised with their overall experience at Nourish Café – from quality of food to staff friendliness, ambiance, etc. I am dedicated to creating this experience for everyone that walks through our doors. I’m so in love; with my baby boy, Caine, with my husband-to-be, Joey (that handsome camera man that you’ll see when you scroll down), with making art – some of which is displayed around the café and studio – and with a good cup of coffee with perfectly foamed milk. My favorite way to calm my mind and soul is to watch the sunset on the beach while counting my blessings. It’s truly a never-ending list. Meagan Mackenzie van Cooten Originally from Massachusetts, I moved to Aruba 18 years ago and never looked back. Before joining Island Yoga’s Nourish Café, I worked with children along the autism spectrum and other special needs. I’ve always been a nurturer, whether that shows through childcare or meal preparation. I joined Nourish Café as a kitchen assistant for its warm community, like-minded people, and, of course, yoga! My goal is to help grow this healthy, happy community for bonds that will last a lifetime. I’ve been blessed with two amazing teenagers; tending to them and my garden fills my soul. When not tending to another, I’m almost definitely to be found on the beach, biking, or practicing yoga. Ilja Cybulski I am a man of multiple origins – The Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Aruba. I joined Island Yoga’s Nourish Café to share my lifelong passion of cooking and preparing foods and drinks. I’m here to serve up delicious vegan dishes and great vibes through the Nourish Café order window and beyond. This type of food is not very common on the island, so I’m excited to spread the awareness and the access to quality, nutritious, tasty meals. I’m a quintessential foodie, but there are moments when I’m not standing over a cutting board. Then, you can find me scuba diving or dog-cuddling. Vidmara Geerman Aruban born and raised, I moved to Holland for 10 years to “study”, a.k.a travel and party. My studies wrapped up with a degree in Health Science and work experience in retail, marketing, events, tourism, and higher education. Back in Aruba, I recently joined the team for front of house and boutique service. Right away, I was asked to begin managing local marketing. I am also our Spanish and Papiamento translator and provider of local advice. Quite simply, I joined Island Yoga so that I could love what I do and do what I love. This helps me naturally bring more light into the world and those around me. I’m very motivated to bridge local Arubans and the yoga world, helping them to become healthier and happier in the process. This island means so much to me – from taking care of the beaches and surrounding ocean to the community, I am readily and happily of service. When I’m not at the front desk, I am proudly volunteering with Aruba’s first community plastic recycling factory, Plastic Beach Party. Nature means so much to me, so I devote whatever actions I can to caring for it. My sabbatical last year led me to venture into vegan cooking! Thankfully, when life gets busy I can count on Nourish Café for my healthy vegan meals; join me on your next lunch break! Sloane Gerritzen Born in the Pacific Northwest, I’m from about a dozen places, both in the US and abroad. I currently reside in Berkeley, California, where my feathers, adoration for homeopathic remedies, and job as a certified yoga teacher are so normal that it’s almost eerie. My journey bee-lined its way to joining 109 World as it launched. Since then, I got to live out my lifelong goal of living on an island, spending three months volunteering for 109 World in Aruba. Here, I met the Island Yoga team, which instantly felt like family and created a bridge for my next step. My heart’s role is to be of service to our world, to spread the yoga medicine, and now – to put it all together with the Island Yoga crew. My degree holds endorsements in language and literacy, and I’ve always gotten arguably too much pleasure out of writing, editing, and teaching the English language. Island Yoga is now my safe space to write and edit to my heart’s content! Here, I am the communication specialist. Anything written, including emails, posters, this website…my hands have clicked my keyboard to edit or create it. I am dedicated to sharing this tribe’s beautiful offerings the best it can be done, growing our community all over the world. I also tag-team all program management with my little Dutchie Dushi, a.k.a Ambre. She gets the deals, and I email you about them and answer your questions. You may see me in the studio for a retreat or teacher training; otherwise, I’ll be here in my backyard talking to you on my fifth limb. One time I decided to sell everything, including my car less than 24 hours before my departure, for a one-way ticket to Uganda. I had always dreamed of being a schoolteacher in Africa, so after my studies I put all my eggs in one basket – As I often do – to chase my dream. Zero regrets. Nat Vorsteveld I grew up in the very small town of Sun Valley, Idaho, now residing in Vermont after six months in Aruba. I’m currently studying entrepreneurship and small business management with a dream of creating my own stand-up paddle board adventure company. I’ve always been an island child, spending six months in Mexico not too long ago. When the itch returned, I applied to intern at Island Yoga. I filled many shoes – from assisting oneOeight production shoots and SUP Yoga classes, to logging thousands of miles around the tiny island running errands of any and all kinds, to capitalizing on my fine-tuned organizational skills in administrative assistance – I lived each day ready to help my team with whatever was needed. I also worked my skills as an extreme barista inside Nourish Café and a star-tender at our outside bar. Now, I continue to provide administrative assistance and my main role as manager of all shipment-related ordeals, providing both sides sustained peace of mind when FedEx pulls up to the front door. My truest love and happiest place is on my paddle board. I also continue to shock the social media scene with my epic nature photos taken on my ancient iPod touch. Oh, lastly – keep the beaches clean! Anika Severns Originally from Seattle, Washington, I used my lucrative anthropology degree in the kitchen remodel business before transplanting to Aruba. I am the eyes and thumbs behind the Island Yoga Instagram. This means I get to spend a lot of time capturing that alluring Dushi Bida island lifestyle. I’ve been in Aruba for the past year, working on my tan and my yoga skills. I also work full time for oneOeight, Island Yoga’s sister company, which creates online yoga videos and serves as an educational wellness platform. I’m deeply impassioned to bring yoga to the people in any way possible and show that it can be accessible for everyone, from home or studio, and that it has many life changing benefits that do not always manifest physically. When I’m not at work reusing the same tea bag a dozen times for good measure, you can find me on my boyfriend’s sailboat or knitting on the couch with my three dogs. Sometimes my thoughts become prose online, eventually also in my book which is currently in the works. Joey Koevermans I was born in the Netherlands, but most of my youth was spent in Belgium. I met my Aruban fiance during an internship in Aruba. We both went on to study and work in the Netherlands, quickly moved in together, and then decided to move back to the island a few years ago. Coming from a sports-loving family (mainly football – the real version, not the American version), sports has always been a major part of my life. I have my Bachelors in Physical Education, as well as a bunch of other degrees in outdoor sports such as rock climbing, kayaking, snowboarding, etc. Along the way, I developed an interest in, turned passion for, filming and photography. After moving to Aruba, I created my own video production company. I’ve been friends with Dennis and Rachel since moving to the island. When they asked me to join Island Yoga’s sister company, oneOeight, as the Video Production Manager, I knew my life path was taking an exciting turn. Working at Island Yoga, I am also the onsite creator and producer of photography for retreats, Instagram, the website…all of it. I love spending my days immersed in my passion and using it to share what makes Island Yoga so special. I have a one year old son, Caine, who is THE sweetest kid there ever was and rocks our Tropical Tuesday twinning shirts with equal parts adorable and swagger. When I’m not holding a camera or my son, I’m training for a triathlon and leading up to the big Ironman race this year!