Our Team


Amy began her journey of yoga in 1998 when she began taking classes and eventually received her first teacher’s training with Larry Schultz at It’s Yoga, San Francisco. Amy has taught all over California, the last 12 years here on the Monterey Peninsula as a student, teacher, and owner of Monterey Yoga. A dedicated and lifetime practitioner, Amy’s classes strive to offer an accessible and compassionate approach to the Ashtanga Vinyasa system, allowing students to connect with their breath, their practice, and their own unique way of being. 

Ashley ~ Instructor

My name is Ashley. I graduated from Bikram teacher training in Fall 2014. I recertified in the summer of 2017. I have a strong passion for this yoga and I am eager to share it with you!


Sifu Dawn has been training in TaiChiChuan for over 20 years. She has been blessed with exceptional instructors who taught her the proper structure, root, internal principles, energetic and spiritual foundations, and martial applications of TaiChi. She has been honored with the title of Sifu (Master/Instructor) and she has been teaching privately for 3 years. She is a licensed acupuncturist, medical qigong practitioner, and the senior disciple of the Temple of Celestial Fire. She approaches her practice and her teaching with great joy and gratitude.

Frances ~ Instructor

From my very first class I envisioned myself teaching Bikram yoga. My journey began at Mount Madonna Retreat Center in the fall of 2013, when I became a 200-hour registered Ashtanga instructor through the Yoga Alliance. I lived in a tent in the woods for a month while studying classical yoga asana, philosophy and pranayama. In 2014 I completed my nine-week Bikram certification in Thailand. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done…including childbirth four times without drugs!

What most moves me about this yoga asana is how our practice relates to life off the mat. Bikram combines the sacred sweat—which has been utilized since the beginning of time to purge and transform—along with the practice of yoga that takes the mind, body and spirit on a journey within. This healing power is the magic of hot yoga. I’m honored to be part of this yoga community and the evolution of the studio that inspired the change within myself. What is your story? Bring it on the mat and share it. ~Namaste

Janie ~ Instructor

I’ve been practicing Bikram Yoga for 10 years, first arriving in the hot room to explore healing options for my injured runner’s joints (hips, knees, low back), while maintaining a challinging physical workout. This powerful series of asanas offered me both, and much more. In fact, the studio quickly became my favorite place, a consistent high point of my day, and I strive to maintain that magical yoga practice feeling (uplifted and grounded, strong and relaxed focused and peaceful) when I walk out the door.

I recently completed my teacher training in September of 2018 and I’m deeply honored and grateful to bear witness and offer support to all students of this practice.

Judy ~ Instructor

Judy Refuerzo was not always a yoga teacher; she worked for 20 years in the semiconductor industry. She started doing Bikram yoga to relieve stress and stay in shape. She was on a business trip 9/11/2001 and that is when it hit home that life is short and you need to follow your passion. She loved Bikram yoga but felt a need to explore the wide range of yoga options. In 2003 she completed a Yoga Alliance 200 hour teachers certification from the Carmel Yoga Center. It was a great introduction to the many styles of yoga, but deep in her heart Judy knew her calling was Bikram yoga. In January of 2004 she moved to LA for 9 weeks to study with Bikram Choudhury and received her teachers certification. Judy wants to share the physical and mental healing of Bikram yoga with everyone. It is more than getting fit, it’s about learning to listen to your body, realizing you are stronger than you think and following your heart.

Leslie ~ Studio Owner/Instructor

Being the owner/director of Sweet Heat Hot Yoga is a culmination of my 25 year pursuit to help people preserve good health and vitality. I have a BS in kinesiology from San Diego State University, have been an ACSM-Certified Exercise Physiologist since 1999, and graduated from Bikram’s teacher training in Fall, 2000. At Sweet Heat Hot Yoga we take a decidedly western approach to the practice of yoga.

I began doing yoga 20 years ago as a cross-training vehicle to give my body a rest from other athletic pursuits. What I received in return for my efforts surpassed what I thought was possible from a yoga class. I learned to be a better person; to live in the world with honesty and integrity. Please come join us to learn, grow, and explore your inner world in ways you may have never considered.

May ~ Instructor

A former CPA and finance manager, I discovered yoga in 1998 and found that it helped manage my anxiety and mild depression due to work and family life. After several injuries, in 2016 I walked through the doors of Sweet Heat because a friend handed me a gift certificate. My first class was painful and exhausting but I felt at peace and calm afterwards and I kept returning to the hot room. I have recently graduated from the fall 2019 teacher training program.
Today I am starting a new chapter in my yoga journey. I am a seasoned practitioner, but a “white belt” yoga instructor. I am humbled and excited to learn and grow and to share the gift of yoga with the greater community.

Melinda ~ Instructor

Hello yogis. I completed teacher training in 2010 and have been teaching at studios in the South Bay since then. I believe that these 26 asanas and two breathing techniques which we practice are life changing. So much is accomplished in 90 minutes in the hot room. Our bodies and minds change as we dedicate ourselves to returning to the mat over and over again. I practice meditation (zen/vipassana). For me this is a perfect compliment to the series. Bringing mind into body using the breath is beautiful.

I enjoy hiking, swimming in the ocean, boogie boarding and taking care of two goats, two puppies and one husband. I look forward to meeting you all in the Sweet Heat room. Namaste, Melinda.

Mike & Nelson ~ Maintenance Team

I’ve been doing yoga since 2006 and switched to hot yoga in 2007. I always feel accomplished on the days that I practice, and it compliments the other activities that I like to do.

Currently, I’m trying to train our studio mascot, Nelson, on the fine art of outdoor maintenance. Come by and see us on Saturday mornings and give us your suggestions on how we can make this place better for you. You can also follow us on Instagram at #Nelsongr8pyr.


I am currently a PhD student in clinical psychology at Palo Alto University. I’ve been passionate about mental health since I was young and am dedicated to helping individuals enhance their wellness. Throughout my academic, clinical & personal journey I have discovered how essential mindfulness and movement are to the well-being of our minds and have been incorporating these factors into my work since. 

Several years ago I stumbled upon Sweet Heat Hot Yoga and my love off yoga grew deeper. I have found through both experience and empiricism that this practice is an incredible way to manage life stressors. I am certified as a yoga teacher by Yoga With Carson Academy and am excited to take on this journey through wellness with you.


Steph is an RYT® 200 committed to an integrative approach for nourishing and empowering the whole self with a focus on intelligent sequencing, mindful movement, and breathwork. 


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