Downtempo Heart Vinyasa
West Asheville Yoga



Raphaela first began teaching yoga to underprivileged youth as part of a program to encourage the elevation of their self-esteem.  She offered weekly classes, as well as art courses to the children of Casa de los Ninos in Tucson, Arizona in 1996-1997.  This complimented her final year of Art school, which she graduated with a BFA in Painting.  Her paintings embody the feminine human form, just as her yoga practice and bodywork would embrace in later years. Her focus has been that of the embodied, strong feminine energy, which flows through each of us.

In 2003 Raphaela was encouraged to enter an international yoga competition, which consisted of a series of asanas performed for a panel, identifying the grace and poise within each practice. She was awarded 1st place for the State of Texas and preceded to Los Angeles with 54 other yogis/yoginis for the international finalist competition. Raphaela was recognized as a Top 10 finalist on the international level. Although this performance-based practice was not instinctual to her, it became the catalyst that propelled her into making great shifts in how she lived, practiced, and embraced life.
She soon relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico where she continued to teach Bikram Yoga.  At the same time, she embarked on the journey of massage school and begun studying/practicing Anusara yoga.  The Tantric yoga philosophy became a new lens through which to view life. This new discipline shifted her awareness and process of how to heal as well as how to view the world of relationship.
There, she began the journey of certification and acquired thousands of hours of yoga teacher trainings, workshops, yoga philosophy, and yoga therapeutics.  She received her Anusara certification in 2011, and although she does not currently teach Anusara, her teaching style incorporates elements of the dynamic alignment within the body and is often inspired by Tantric philosophy.
After running a Yoga studio in beautiful Saluda,NC for 4 years she decided it was time to bring her gifts and passion into a more expansive group. West Asheville Yoga was the perfect space and she feels gratitude for the community of yogis that share their practice and beauty every week.
In her classes Raphaela draws from her life experience as well as seeing the similarities of the human experience through different bodies, personalities, and expression.

Certified Bikram Instructor
Certified Anusara Instructor
Bikram Yoga Champion Representative
Yoga Therapeutics Practitioner

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