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Anahata Yoga Teachers

Ana Costa, Owner + Founder, Anahata Yoga Studio

Ana Costa was born in Brazil and has been teaching yoga for over 24 years. Ana has been studying Raja Yoga as a member of Self-Realization Fellowship since 1988. In 2001 she developed her own style that she named Anahata Yoga - Awakening Heart which focuses on the opening of the heart center. In 2002 she started offering Anahata Yoga Teacher Training Programs and has been certifying teachers all over the world. In 2009 the Anahata Studio moved to 2nd Street in Encinitas and has been a little piece of heaven to all the beautiful souls that has become part of the Anahata family!

Julia LaPlante, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher, Certified Anahata Awakening Method Facilitator, Certified Mat Pilates Instructor, RYT, Reiki Practitioner

Julia has a wide background which uniquely suits her calling as a yoga teacher,. She is a registered Yoga Alliance® teacher, with certifications in Anahata Yoga™, the Anahata Awakening Method™, and Synergy Yoga®.  She holds a certificate to teach Mat Pilates from a Pilates Method Alliance (PMA®) approved provider.  She has certifications in Reiki energy work (Usui lineage), Raja Energy™ (Feisst Institute), and Yoga Nidra (Moore Yoga) and does private therapeutic sessions in these modalities.  Julia has practiced yoga and meditation since childhood, having been raised as an active member of Self Realization Fellowship her whole life. She has a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW San Diego State, 2011), and loves to provide compassion and support to others. Julia LaPlante is a mother and stepmother to three children and lives with her husband in Encinitas.  She has been with us at Anahata Yoga Studio for over four years and loves being an Anahata yoga teacher!

Erika Chaker, E-RYT, Certified Anahata Awakening Method Facilitator, Reiki Master

Erika has devoted the past decade of her life helping herself and others embody their highest potential by cultivating a heart full of self-love and gratitude, an inner environment of peace and harmony, and a spirit of courage and strength through her passions of Yoga, Reiki energy healing, chakra balancing, and aromatherapy. Erika has taught over 1,000 yoga and meditation classes as well as numerous workshops. She is certified as an Anahata Awakening Method facilitator, a powerful modality used in a one-on-one environment to awaken ones own intrinsic healing. When Erika is not teaching or practicing yoga, she can be found spending time with her husband, a high school teacher, and two adorable boys, Jett (7) and Levi (5). Their favorite things to do as a family are garden, ride bikes and skateboard, cook, visit museums, practice yoga (of course!) and camp along the California coast! To learn more about Erika and her offerings, visit

Sanjana Shah, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher

Sanjana was born in India and moved to the US in 1992. Graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology New York, she pursued a career in the apparel Industry in San Diego. She's a mother of two college going kids. In 2011, faced with some significant health challenges she decided to look into Yoga. The more she practiced it, the more she realized the role it played in not only improving her health but also in enabling her to connect with her true spirit and nature. Having seen the positive role it played in her personal growth she decided to delve deeper and pursue the teacher training program at Anahata in 2015. She loves sharing her knowledge and understanding of yoga with others and hopes to play a role in bringing peace, love and balance in peoples lives.

Gina Johnson, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher, Certified Anahata Awakening Method Facilitator, RYT, Certified Reiki Practitioner

Gina’s yoga journey began in 2005 at Anahata Yoga Studio. As she experienced increased strength and flexibility in her body, she also noticed an increased sense of inner peace and self-love. With a grateful heart, she felt inspired to share the benefits of yoga with others. Gina creates an uplifting, safe environment for students to explore and expand their own body and consciousness. She also infuses the benefits of essential oils and incorporates Reiki, heart-focused breathing and meditations into her classes.  Emphasizing heart awareness helps students bring their physical, mental and emotional systems into balanced alignment with their heart's intuitive guidance.

She is also a certified Awakened Heart Method facilitator, which is a powerful modality that uses yoga postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery to improve mental and physical health.  Awakened Heart Method is holistically focused and encourages the integration of mind, body, and spirit.

Diane Stacey, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher, Certified Reiki Master

I have been studying yoga most of my life, and I have done most all of it. I have also been a longtime member of Self-Realization Fellowship. My beloved guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, is my biggest inspiration to follow the path of yoga and to teach yoga. I really enjoyed taking my Teacher Training from Ana at Anahata. It is gentle yet wonderful for all of the body, mind, soul, and because I love this routine so much I find it a delight to teach and share with others. I have a  small private practice that I do, when not in an official studio. I am a painter, Astrologer, and lover of all that is full of beauty, harmony, grace and most of all Truth that brings us to a new level of life and sharing.

Usha Rathee, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher

Usha has been passionate about yoga her whole life. She has experienced many yoga styles through the years and fell in love with the Anahata style since she came for her first class. She took the Anahata Teacher Training in 2013 and has been teaching and sharing her love for yoga since then.

She has been practicing meditation for many years as a member of Self Realization Fellowship. She is a Reiki Practitioner, mother of two children, a wonderful cook, and a very positive and enthusiastic person. 

Lisa Blatnick, Certified Anahata Yoga Teacher

The meaning of the word yoga is union. When we practice Hatha Yoga, we seek to unite our body, mind, and spirit. At Anahata Yoga, Lisa found a yoga practice which helped her to connect movement, breath, and self-awareness. Having practiced yoga throughout her adult life, she believes in its enduring benefits. In 2015, Lisa retired from teaching art to children and began to explore a new direction in teaching by joining the teacher training program at Anahata Yoga. Today she enjoys life with her husband of 34 years and family time with their grown son and extended family. She looks forward to welcoming all who come to the Anahata Yoga studio and sharing her love of yoga with her students.

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Guest Teachers

Elana Cohen Richmond

When I was young, I felt different. I seemed to see and understand the world in a way that others around me didn’t. I thought something was wrong with me. This incongruence between my external and inner worlds caused me a lot of emotional pain. My only option was to dive deep to learn about myself. I guess you can call me an emotional nerd; I love learning about my emotions so that I can be present to my experiences and not have unconscious energy-draining reactions hijacking my life. I am the co-creator of Emotional Martial Arts®, a teaching that gives us a way to identify and process hidden emotions, because they drive our perception and shape our reality. I am a certified Tai Chi/Chi Gong instructor and integrate the value of movement and breath into my teachings. I’ve been doing Anahata Yoga since 2002 and am grateful for the gift this practice gives to my emotional health. EMA is offered through The Healing Field Foundation, in honor of my husband, Howard E. Richmond, MD, co-creator and Founder. For more information, visit:

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Yoga Teacher Training Instructors

Chris Law, Kinesiologist, RYT

Hi my name is Chris Law. Born and raised in Southern California, I grew up on the beach surfing and playing volleyball. With an interest in psychology and exercise science I received a kinesiology degree from CSUSM. After which I got my personal training certification from American Council on Exercise. Loving training the body I started Ilovefit - a structured program to help clients achieve their fitness goals.  I've trained models and wrote diet and exercise programs for leading health and fitness bloggers. I started practicing yoga and meditating while receiving my kinesiology degree. Yoga philosophy and the asanas became an obsession for me and so I started reading and learning everything I could on the subject. I have a very broad and open minded perspective on yoga philosophy with a very technical yoga practice. I’m only interested in what can be scientifically validated when it comes to what I teach others. I officially became certified by Ana Costa through her amazing Anahata Teacher Training. With thousands of hours studying, practicing, and teaching yoga it was only natural to get involved with teaching the anatomy and physiology of yoga. While learning everything about yoga in a teacher training is impossible what I attempt to teach during our hours together is practical knowledge for a safe and deeper yoga practice. 

Jutta Maria Hecht, Ayurvedic Spiritual Health Practitioner, Intuitive Healer

Jutta Maria Hecht is a passionate Ayurvedic Spiritual Health Practitioner residing here in Encinitas. An early student of A.G. Mohan, she spent five years in India under his tutelage. While there she fell critically ill and was introduced to Ayurveda when Western medicine failed to cure her. This profound experience led her to study Ayurveda in India, working under several teachers and doctors and getting hands on experience working in Ayurvedic clinics while living a simple Ayurvedic and Yogic lifestyle. Jutta continues to deepen her studies in Ayurveda and maintains a flourishing Ayurvedic clinic. She is a teacher of Ayurveda and Yoga, and leads workshops and retreats worldwide to share this knowledge. For more information call or text her at (760) 580-2524

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