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our team

south austin yoga studio

alia j. khan

our founder + owner

Our founder Alia Khan grew up in Austin, TX, and found yoga after barely surviving the NY Bar exam in 2008. Alia was about to begin her life as a stressed-out corporate lawyer, and was freaking out just a little ... but after that first class, she knew that yoga was just the tool she needed to maintain balance (and sanity!) in the midst of her demanding new career. Alia is now a happily recovering attorney turned entrepreneur, and still uses her yoga practice to maintain much-needed balance in her busy life.

Much of Alia's journey as a yoga student involved coming up with creative ways to modify the practice and its poses to fit her body. She's always had a curvy body with tight hips and back muscles, and often felt left out in yoga classes because teachers couldn't offer her guidance on how to adjust the poses to her body, and would instead just tell her to skip it and wait til the next pose. So she started coming up with her own variations and creative ways to use props to make the poses work for her, and now that she's a teacher, she loves sharing those tips and tricks with her students!

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She has been teaching since 2012, and from day 1 her mission has been to teach all of her students how to use yoga to feel their best physically, mentally, and emotionally. She's also passionate about making all of her students feel comfortable on the mat by keeping her teaching secular and relatable to everyday life, and by incorporating options and instructions into her teaching that will work for ALL of the bodies in her classes. 

She opened her first yoga studio in DC in 2015. As a studio owner, she's dedicated to creating a community where all bodies feel welcome, safe, and included - especially those that have had negative experiences with movement or fitness in the past! She makes it a point to meet or connect with every new client who walks through the doors or joins us online, and is genuinely thrilled to welcome each new student to our practice. And she can't wait to welcome you too!

our managers

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pam schumacher
operations manager + teacher

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Pam took her first yoga class 20 years ago, 7 months pregnant with her first son! Over the years yoga has been her favorite way to unwind, meet interesting people, and just feel better in her body.


Pam completed her Trauma Informed Hatha Flow 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2018. She has since completed more than 60 hours of further study in functional anatomy, yoga lifestyle/ethics, and offering accessible yoga for aging bodies, people with different abilities, and supporting the "yoga for all" philosophy.


Pam joined the Oak and Lotus team December 2019, waited out the pandemic shutdown, and is delighted to return to teach again, plus take on the role of Studio Operations Director.
 

Pam's other interests include getting tattoos, live music shows, eating delicious food, sewing, knitting, gardening, and movies on the couch with her family.

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trish o'brien
community manager + teacher

When Trish first began practicing yoga a decade ago, she considered yoga as an ‘add-on’ to other workouts and exercise routines. But the practice worked its magic on her over time, and eventually she stopped viewing yoga as solely exercise. Only then did yoga become a major source of joy and peace in her life. The focus a yoga practice demands became one of her essential tools for stress-relief and grounding, and the way yoga transformed her relationship with her body and mind eventually led to her becoming a registered yoga teacher (RYT 200). 

For much of her life, Trish felt that she was in opposition to her body, working against it or trying to force it to be one thing or another. Through her yoga practice, she has learned how to recognize that her mind and body are one. Her goal as a teacher is to support her students through their own revelations and transformations, help them feel empowered and at one with their bodies by using engagement and alignment cues that will encourage self-correction and self-study, and create a safe space for them to heal and grow.

 

She is so happy to be working and teaching at a studio like Oak + Lotus, where the focus is always on how a pose feels rather than how it looks, and the teachers and students have created an inclusive community and practice for all bodies so that more people feel welcome in the yoga world. The more yogis on this planet, the better!

 

In her non-yoga life she enjoys seeing live music, vegan baking, volunteering, and watching movies while cuddling with her cats.

our teachers

our work study team

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alex pena

Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Alex moved to Austin in 2017 to pursue her PhD in Special Education at the University of Texas at Austin. Her journey in yoga began during her early years of college and has steadily progressed. Finding opportunities to be mindful and active is something Alex always strives for and appreciates.

When not practicing yoga, Alex enjoys exploring local coffee shops, breweries, music venues and restaurants or playing with her two dogs. Her passion for education and building inclusivity in the community also lends opportunities for Alex to volunteer with local non-profits that service children with disabilities. Alex came across O+L in 2020 pre-pandemic. The energy of the studio, accessibility to poses and props, friendliness of the team, and the amazing music playlists have kept her coming back to practice. The sense of community and healing that O+L inspires encouraged her to join the team.

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heather becvar

Heather has been seeking a new yoga community since moving to South Austin from Long Island, NY at the beginning of 2022. She found Oak + Lotus by chance, and immediately fell in love with the studio upon taking her first class with Trish.

Many years ago, Heather started her yoga journey in college when she had the opportunity to take yoga to fulfill her PE credits. Through the years, she has found herself diving deeper into her yoga practice to find peace and solace while navigating grief and anxiety. She finds yoga to be healing for both the mind and body, especially when paired with Kirtan. 

 

When Heather is not practicing yoga, she is either drinking coffee, playing music, or supporting underserved populations in the Austin community through Goodwill Central Texas mission services.

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mary sales

Mary moved to Austin from the Chicago suburbs in August 2022 to serve with AmeriCorps as a reading tutor for Spanish-speaking elementary students. In her free time, Mary sings as a member of the SoCo Women's Chorus, and enjoys going to concerts, reading, watching TV shows/ movies, journaling, and spending time with her cat, Astro.

Mary discovered yoga during the pandemic through online videos and feels grateful to have found such an inclusive, accepting community through Oak + Lotus. She resonates with the idea that yoga is a form of self-care. Working and taking classes at the studio is the perfect complement to her current journey of healing and self-discovery. She hopes you find as much peace, support, and safety in practicing yoga here as she does!

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hannah sukany

Hannah is new to Austin since 2021 but has been an official “Texan” since 2008. She came to Baylor University (once a Bear, always a Bear! Sorry, Longhorns) to get her Masters degree in Social Work and still practices Social Work for her career.

Yoga has become a necessary relief from the stress of her career and life. She has found ‘what feels good’ for over 10 years, thank you Yoga with Adrienne for the introduction. She happened on Oak + Lotus in February and was immediately drawn to the inclusive and warm environment. Finally a yoga studio that didn’t practice “competitive yoga.”

 

When she isn’t practicing yoga, she is chasing two doggos through the greens of Austin, consuming as much Indian food as possible, or likely adventuring and exploring local music and breweries.

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oriana lopez

Oriana Is an ATLien who is drawn to hot weather. She moved to Austin in 2019 to pursue a master’s degree at UT (hook ‘em!), and will graduate in May 2023. She spends most of her life sitting on her bum as a student and is so grateful to Oak + Lotus for giving her the space to move her body and take time to relax. She’s new to the studio, so please introduce yourself- she always welcomes restaurant recommendations!

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anisha prema

Anisha was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. She moved to Austin, TX because of its small city liberal outlook and all the BEST taco stands. She is a mama to her dog Winnie and loves to spend time outdoors with her, especially at Mueller. Her passion lies with making homemade ice cream along with nerding out on kitchen appliances. Anisha was introduced to yoga through her mother, a passionate yogi. When Anisha visited Oak + Lotus for the first time, she felt a sense of relief and loved the genuine interactions she had with the staff and other yogis there. Anisha believes in the power of community: Oak + Lotus does a wonderful job bringing all walks of life to the studio to bond and connect. Anisha is happy to be a part of the team and looks forward to exploring herself further through her participation on the work study team. 

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jenny berrong

Originally from the Fort Worth area, Jenny moved to San Marcos to study marketing at Texas State University. It was there where her passion for the environment was amplified, working at the headwaters of the San Marcos River during her employment at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. After graduating from college with her bachelor’s degree, she moved to Austin and worked for local non-profit organizations, including Barton Springs Conservancy and her current organization, Great Springs Project.

 Interested in finding a community in Austin that could provide stress relief and an opportunity to meet new people, Jenny discovered the O+L Studio and knew it was the perfect fit. Excited to be more involved, Jenny joined the work study team in January of 2023 to support the studio's social media presence.

 When not practicing yoga, Jenny enjoys swimming in our Central Texas springs, lounging with her two cats, and overlanding across the U.S.

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rachel obstfeld

Rachel is a California native who moved to Austin in 2019 to pursue her master’s degree in speech-language pathology at UT Austin! She loves living in Austin with her cat Moxie and is so excited to have found a new community within Oak + Lotus. She is especially fond of the tea and chocolates for after (and often before) class. Rachel now works as a speech-language pathologist at a nursing home . She loves working with the geriatric population and is a nerd about all things language / linguistics / communication! She is looking forward to continuing to grow in her yoga and mindfulness practices as well as making new friends through Oak + Lotus and beyond. 

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chelsea rea

Chelsea is a TX native, certified kids yoga teacher and EC-6th grade teacher who discovered O + L when searching for prenatal yoga classes. She instantly fell in love with the inviting, warm, and friendly community and space O+ L has created, as well as the delicious chocolate and hot tea at the end of each class. She is currently taking time to live a little slower, adventure into motherhood, and explore her passions in music, as well as of course do as much yoga as she can. :)

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jennifer bertrand

Jennifer Bertrand is a native Texan who grew up in Dallas. She moved to San Francisco after high school to attend school and have adventures. It was there that she first began her yoga practice.  

Back in Texas since 2004, she is a holistic esthetician who works in skincare education and sales, and she has an organic facial practice in Wimberley.  

She has three sons: a twelve-year-old and eighteen-year-old twins. She has been practicing yoga for half of her life now and relies on it for getting out of her head and into her body. 

She found Oak + Lotus through her friend Pam Schumacher and she's so glad she did. Her biggest future yoga goals include mastering the crow pose and taking yoga teacher training. 

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dillon braaten

In 2011 Dillon made a rash choice to follow his then girlfriend (now wife) to Austin from Flagstaff, AZ without ever having stepped foot in the state of Texas before. He is the father of a wonderful 4 year old little buddy who is the love of he and his wife's life. Aside from spending every waking moment possible watching his son grow and learn about life, he is also a high school teacher at a discipline alternative school, working with at risk youth who have been removed from their regular campus.

Dillon finds yoga so important to his physical and mental health and uses it to reset and refill his patience and focus. Oak + Lotus itself is a unique place where he felt instantly at home and comfortable as it was clear ALL people are welcomed and valued.

When he is not practicing on the mat he loves dancing into the wee hours of the night to pounding bass and driving techno rhythms and shamelessly plays video games maybe more than a 35 year old man should.

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casey tang

Casey was born and raised in Dallas, TX. She moved to Austin to attend college at UT, where she graduated with a Biology degree and has stayed ever since! She is a currently a UX Designer by day, and freelance photographer and aspiring home cook at night. 

 

She discovered yoga during COVID and has been hooked ever since. After moving to South Austin after living up north for years, she was looking for a new yoga studio when she found Oak + Lotus and loved the sense of community and inclusivity at the studio. When she’s not doing yoga at the studio, Casey enjoys a good thrift shopping session, live music, using her Alamo Drafthouse pass, and practicing ceramics (she’s still learning!) 

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christina liu

Christina is a native Texan that grew up in the Dallas area and first came to Austin to study at UT Austin. After getting her degree in Architectural Engineering, she moved to Omaha, Nebraska to start her career in the construction industry. This relatively large life change is what brought her to start practicing yoga consistently, and she has craved it ever since!

 

After moving back to Austin, she found Oak + Lotus out of pure coincidence. The studio was located right behind her old office (at the old St.Elmo location), and attending classes at Oak + Lotus eventually became part of her weekly routine. Outside of the studio, she loves to spend time outdoors and learning new things. You can always find her picking up random hobbies, but not always sticking to them! 

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