Yoga Teachers & Hot Yoga Lineage


The classes in this studio are taught primarily by Martha Gordon.  When I travel, I rely on the gracious contribution of a number of highly skilled yoga teachers who, in addition to their usual load of teaching elsewhere, substitute teach for me.  For your information, I have included a brief bio sketch of contributing teachers below.

Martha Gordon

MA, LMT, 500 hour RYT
Studio Owner and Principal Yoga Teacher
BARKAN METHOD HOT YOGA, Level I (2006 &  1/2 2007 & 1/4 2008) and BARKAN METHOD HOT VINYASA II & III (2006-present)
Baron Baptist Power Yoga Level I (2009--bootcamp training for teachers)
Licensed Massage Therapist (2004-present)
Personal Trainer (1999) & Group Fitness, ACE (1998-present)
all certifications are updated with CEUs and current

I approach each class with an attitude of reverence and respect for the hot yoga lineage and consider myself lucky to share yoga with students. I began teaching yoga in the gym setting in 2000, unaware of the greater than physical rewards of the practice.

My first hot yoga class was in an old, defunct elementary school in Key West, Florida in summer 2002. Despite the primitive setting—cracked plaster walls, electric heaters with open glowing red elements, ancient windows with paint peeling from the sills, mirrors leaned against the wall-- the enthusiasm and dedication of the dozen or so practitioners in the room was palpable. During the class a little voice in my head kept saying “it’s hot”, “it’s really hot”, “it’s dangerously hot!” Meanwhile the teacher was saying, “don’t listen to that voice in your head telling you how hot it is. The heat is good for you.” I made it through the class and while walking back to the oasis of my hotel room, I marveled at how wet I was—even my legs were sweaty! I felt really different-- cleansed, relaxed, strangely invigorated and oddly elated as though some weight had been lifted from me. Somehow, I knew this was a unique experience, that what was going on in that room was beyond exercise. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I knew I wanted to do it again. I checked the schedule for the next class.

The seed had been planted; I was on the path of hot yoga. I began practicing in Iowa City. In 2006 I signed up for a month long Level I Teacher Training with Jimmy Barkan in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The following spring I went to Costa Rica for Level II & III vinyasa training. I have since repeated three weeks of Level I and multiple times the full Level II & III vinyasa training in Costa Rica at the tropical paradise of Pura Vida Spa in the company of the BARKAN METHOD “family” of yogis.

Though I have studied and practiced other styles of yoga, including Ashtanga Yoga with David Swenson, and Kino MacGregor; Transformational Yoga with Max Strom; Anusara Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, and have traveled to Yoga Journal Conference in New York City , Vinyasa Uprising Conference in Miami, Florida, Hanamun Festival in Boulder, Colorado, and a weeklong Level One Bootcamp Teacher Training with Baron Baptist in Tulum, Mexico (Oct 2009), I know my home is in hot yoga.

The origin of hot yoga began in Calcutta, India and the practice was brought to this country by Bikram Choudry. Bikram taught Jimmy Barkan in the early 1980s and Jimmy quickly became his most senior teacher and was responsible for teaching new hot yoga teachers. In 1983 Barkan opened his own school of yoga in south Florida. That is where I trained and where I annually pilgrimage to commune with my Barkan family of teachers, and continue what I consider a lifelong training with Jimmy Barkan.

Substitute Teachers


RYT 200




It was an honor to travel with Lindsey on this latest Barkan Method venture.  Her love of yoga and ability in the "classroom" was evident in her practice teaching and communion with the other yogis.  I am so grateful to have her in my studio. 


RYT 200


Brenton is a shinning star in the role of yoga teacher.  He puts the spotlight on each of his students as he shares his knowledge of alignment and nuance of each posture.  His support of the studio is greatly appreciated.    


RYT 200
Ashtanga Yoga
Mystic School of Yoga (October, 2013)
Mysore, India

Jesse was schooled in the Tirumalai Krishnamacharya yoga lineage and though she finds her certification in Ashtanga Yoga she has branched out and is embracing the hot yoga lineage of Bishnu Gosh through her practice and her teaching. 

Ashtanga yoga was created by Shri K. Pattabhi Jois; the name literally means eight limbs and is characterized by vigorous asanas matched with Ujjayi breathing.  Jesse received her 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher degree from Mystic School of Yoga in Mysore, India (an affiliate of Alliance Yoga).  Her teacher at Mystic was Jai Prakash.

Ms. Mekus has set her intention to expand her yoga expertise by training with Jimmy Barkan at his Level II teacher training of the Barkan Method Hot Yoga Vinyasa in October 2015, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. A training that I have attended every year once or twice a year (Level II is also taught in Costa Rica annually) since 2006.  I am very happy and proud to have Jesse on our team.  Namaste, Martha  

Hannah Zhas MARTIN

B.A., LMT, RYT 200

Hannah's classes offer creative, graceful and unexpected Vinyasa flow sequencing, often with some Pilates added to the mix.  She completed her 200-hour yoga training in New York City with Chrissy Carter, but is proudly an Iowa native.  She likes a saucy music playlist, practicing handstand, proper alignment and stretching.

Erica Reschly

Ph.D., Yoga Teacher

I have always had an interest in a holistic approach to mental and physical wellness. This interest compelled me to obtain a Ph.D. in Human Nutrition from the University of Chicago. More recently this interest has led me to study yoga.

Although I have practiced yoga intermittently since 1991, I began practicing daily in the fall of 2008 after I injured my back. At this time a friend introduced me to Hot yoga, or Power Vinyasa yoga practiced in a studio heated to 95 degrees. This yoga relieved my back pain and has prevented me from re-injuring my back.

When our family moved to Iowa City in the summer of 2009 I was ecstatic to find a wonderful hot yoga community. I have continued my daily practice in Iowa, under the tutelage of yogis influenced by the Barkan Yoga method. In March of 2010 I began a 200-hour training with Jim Mondanaro at Hothouse Yoga and have now graduated and am a Yoga Alliance certified yoga teacher.  Jim has trained extensively with Jimmy Barkan and Tony Sanchez, both students of Bikram. In June 2011, Itrained for two weeks with advanced yogi Tony Sanchez in Mexico.  Tony trained with Bikram Choudry -- both are in the HOT YOGA lineage.  The experience has profoundly deepened my practice and ability to teach.

As I continue my yoga training journey I know I am on the right path for helping people develop a more holistic approach to mental and physical wellness. I look forward deepening my own personal yoga practice through teaching this practice to others.

Derek Brenner  

200 RYT

Derek is a vibrant and energetic yoga instructor.  He completed his 200 hour certification with internationally recognized Debbie Williamson.  As a fitness athlete, Derek brings an open-minded purposeful class.  Derek's flexible mind transfers to his classes.  He works well with all ages, and is known for his thoughtful encouragement and charismatic attitude.  Derek's passion for personal growth and development, along with his pursuit in nutrition and holistic health, fosters and supports his classes and the individuals he encounters along the way.

Lineage of Hot Yoga, The Barkan Method

HOT YOGA lineage

Mahavatar Babji
Sri Lahiri Mahasaya
Swami Sri Yukteswar
Pramahansa Yogananda
Bishnu Ghosh

Below is an excerpt from the website of Tomasz Goetel, Yoga House, Phuket, Thailand. (Thomasz was one of my teachers during initial Level I training at BARKAN METHOD school of yoga. Thomasz credits Tony Sanchez’s website with much of this gathered information.)

My teacher, Jimmy Barkan, is from the Ghosh/Bikram lineage of physical-culture Hatha Yoga.

Our Hot Yoga sequence is grounded in a series codified between the 5th and 10th century AD, by the Nath sect. Followers of the Nath believed that "the main objective of Hatha Yoga is to create an absolute balance of the interacting activities and processes of the physical body, mind and energy. When this balance is created, the impulses generated give a call of awakening to the central force which is responsible for the evolution of human consciousness. If Hatha Yoga is not used for this purpose, its true objective is lost". (Swami Muktibodhananda Saraswati, Commentary, 1985 translation, Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Yogi Swatmarama).

The Barkan Method Hot Yoga is founded on knowledge handed down by Bikram Choudhury and rich with Jimmy Barkan’s own approach to Hot Yoga. Jimmy’s experience is based in his life-time practice and teaching; offers specific modifications that address the needs, concerns and limitations of students. In this sequence, you will find postures incorporated from different styles of Hatha Yoga.

Bikram, an accomplished student of Sri Bishnu Charan Ghosh, is the founder of the Yoga College of India and author of the popular "Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class". He was trained at Ghosh's College of Physical Education (est. 1924) in Calcutta, India. In the late 1960's he was sent to Japan to establish a school and teach their method of Yoga. In the mid-1970's, he opened a yoga studio in San Francisco, then settled in Los Angeles near the headquarters of Yoganandaji, his teacher's brother.

Bishnu Ghosh, Bikram's teacher, was trained at the Ranchi School for Boys founded in 1917 by his older brother, Paramahansa Yogananda, who later founded the Self-Realization Fellowship and authored "The Autobiography of a Yogi". Bishnu became a physical culturalist and worked with Swami Sivananda Saraswati to develop a system of Hatha Yoga asanas for health and fitness, based on the original classic 84 postures. He established Ghosh's College of Physical Education in 1924, in Calcutta, where his son, Bishu, is now the director.

Paramahansa Yogananda founded the first "yogoda" (Hatha-Raja Yoga) school in Ranchi, Bihar, India, in 1917. Today, there are many schools of yogoda throughout India that provide training in physical, moral, mental, and spiritual ideals for youth. Yogananda was a pioneer, sent to America in 1920 by his teacher, to introduce Kriya Yoga. His book, "The Autobiography of a Yogi", continues to inspire millions of people around the world.

Sri Swami Yukteswar, Yogananda's teacher, established several ashrams in India to teach Kriya Yoga, and authored "The Holy Science". He was a disciple of Lahiri Mahasaya, the first non-sadhu to learn Kriya Yoga.

Sri Lahiri Mahasaya was initiated into Kriya Yoga (Raja-Yoga) by Babaji Nagaraj in 1861. Babaji was a "sanyasing" or "sadhu", but Lahiri lived the normal life of a householder and worked for the Indian government. He inspired hundreds of people to practice Kriya Yoga during his lifetime by demonstrating that it was possible to keep self-realization without giving up city life.

The teachings originate from Yogi Matsyendranath, regarded as the first human teacher of Hatha Yoga. Matsyendranath's chief disciple, Gorakhnath, was guru to Yogi Swatmarama, who compiled the wisdom and techniques of Hatha Yoga in the Hatha Yoga Pradipikas. Unlike Buddhist and Jain scriptures, and Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika does not impose yamas and niyamas (self-control, rules of conduct and observances). Yogi Swatmarama considered them to be more religious than spiritual. He was also aware that trying to follow yamas and niyamas created more mental stress than peace of mind. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika advocates discipline and purification of the body through Hatha Yoga, which will develop self-discipline and self-control and, ultimately, induce natural spiritual development.