The Azul 'dream' team
At the heart of Azul is our fun and friendly team of wellbeing professionals. From all over the world we came together on the tranquil island of Fuerteventura with the simple desire to make people feel good (and to feel good while doing it)!
Jo Dombernowsky - Pilates Instructor & Nutrition Advisor
- Stott- pilates MAT-plus instructor (matwork, fitness-circle, flexband, arc-barrel)
- Nutritionist & Dietician- “Dietetica y nutrición” ISMET -Instituto Superior de Medicinas Tradicionales, Barcelona
- Author of 'Truly Healthy, Truly Delicious'
Jo is in charge of the menu at the retreat and inspires us all with her ability to make really healthy food taste really good. Having studied nutrition for many years, Jo knows the power of food to improve health, energy and wellbeing and prepares her meals to do exactly that. She loves to pass on her knowledge and passion for food throughout the retreat and in her workshops and nutrition weeks.
Originally from Denmark, Jo is quickly becoming the Canary Island’s go to expert on all things nutrition and you may catch her being interviewed on the radio. She has successfully campaigned to improve nutritional education within schools, and is experiencing widespread support for her amazing cookbook, Truly Healthy, Truly Delicious'
Jo is also an advanced practitioner and inspiring instructor of Stott Pilates. Her classes focus strongly on understanding correct form, body awareness and body synergy, giving students the understanding and skill to progress in their Pilates safely and quickly.
Jo's passion for fitness and overall wellbeing shine through in all that she does, and we are delighted to have her as part of the team.
Valentina Parmigiani - Hatha Yoga & Meditation instructor at Villa Azul & Lotus Lodge
- Advanced Hatha Yoga Teacher training at Patanjali International Yoga Foundation with Master Jitendra Das, Rishikesh, India
- Teacher Training Course in 'Yoga Flow'including Ashtanga sequences and special postures for levels from Beginner to Advanced, Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka
- Teacher training at Patanjali International Yoga Foundation, Classical Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Mudra & Bandhas with Master Jitendra Das, Rishikesh, India
Valentina is an inspiring teacher, a teacher of classical Hatha Yoga adapted for all levels. She uses the ancient Indian methods learned in her various studies all over the world to help her students improve flexibility and body awareness. Classes with Valentina improve agility, muscle tone, strength, flexibility and breath control.
Valentina believes in Yoga's physical and mental benefits, providing a holistic harmony in our bodies through asanas and pranayama. This helps to promote a balance between the nervous system and endocrine system, then directly influencing all organs in the body, providing an improvement in overall health and wellbeing.
Valentina loves living and teaching yoga in Fuerteventura where she can surf, kitesurf and body board, and feel the benefits of her yoga practice through improved coordination and flexibility. In addition, she believes yoga improves self confidence and helps us feel connected. She strongly belives in Yoga as a way of life, which can only be learned through experience.
Frauke Behrens- Kundalini Yoga & Meditation instructor at Villa Azul
Frauke has been teaching and practicing Kundalini Yoga for many years. Originally from Germany, Frauke has lived and worked in Spain for more than 30 years. She is certified through the Kundalini Research Institute, teaching in the style of Yogi Bhajan and is a full member of the Spanish Association of Kundalini Yoga. She is passionate about what she does and each class and meditation she leads help us to connect and to cleanse. You will enjoy every minute of her class, from the gentle meditation through to the energetic asanas, to the final relaxation. Frauke reminds us to connect and centre, to know that life is to be enjoyed, and it's a great message.
Manuel Molina de la Torre - Ashtanga Yoga and Vegan Chef, Villa Azul
Manuel is a dedicated Ashtanga Yoga practitioner who practises and teaches the Ashtanga Vinyasa method in its purest and most traditional form. He has studied extensively in India and with some of the world's best teachers including Louise Ellis, Manju Jois, R. Saraswathi and John and Lucy Scott, amongst others.
Manuel's teaching focuses on grounding, connecting to the earth to find stability, listening the body, respecting its limits, and deepening the breath - using it to guide the practice and develop strength and flexibility.
"…Yoga is a real tool for transformation that allows us to find our inner and deeper self. With patience, we will learn to follow our breath, to find our natural rhythms and to walk through life with humbleness and determination. Eventually we will be more open and flexible to the changes of life and we will find the strength to face reality as it is…a never ending change. Yoga empowers our journey towards the research of some light on our life…"
Manuel is also very involved in nutrition, playing an important role in the kitchen cooking many meals for guests at Azul. He is highly engaged with healthy foods and as a vegetarian he believes a good diet is essential for a good practice and for a deeper, more meaningful way of life.
Manuel's patience and yogic approach to life are a joy and inspiration to be around. He will be hosting workshops in 2013, so watch this space.
Paco Borges - Associate Tai Chi Chuan Instructor, Villa Azul
Paco is from Fuerteventura, born and raised, and has been practicing martial arts for over 20 years and tai chi chuan for ten years. His titles are awarded by Tai Chi Healthways, San Diego California, from the prestigious master Jesse Tsao and “Asociación Canaria de Artes Integrales” (ACAI). He has travelled around the world gaining in experience and enriching his practice and knowledge.
To this day Paco continues learning from his teacher and is dedicated to continuing his learning and development along this path. Paco is passionate about the positive effects of tai chi and is dedicated to helping our guests benefit physically, mentally and spiritually through the practice of tai chi chain. His fun and challenging tai chi classes are the perfect compliment to the Azul philosophy.
Sally Goldfinger - Hatha Yoga & Meditation instructor at Villa Azul
- Yoga Instructor diploma from Yoga Vidya Dham, Nasik, India
- Graduate of Sanathana Global School of Yoga Studies
- Yoga Therapist, Massage Therapist & Bodywork Therapist
Originally from Denmark, Sally teaches pure hatha yoga around the world, having spent the last seven years based in India.
Sally is a highly experienced teacher and yoga therapist and works with various yoga and ayurvedic institutes in India and worldwide. For Sally, yoga and ayurveda are truly a way of life and sharing her knowledge in the field is something she is deeply passionate about.
Sally’s unique teaching style focuses on stress relief, inner balance, and cleansing of the physical body leading to the purification of the mind. As a dedicated teacher of hatha yoga, her classes emphasise breathing, body awareness and using developmental sequences to take students into the yoga postures.
Sally’s holistic approach is deepened by her experience and training in ayurveda and therapeutic massage and bodywork.
Sally’s ayurvedic consultations and therapeutic massages are extremely popular – not least because of her wonderfully present and caring nature, making her a pleasure to be around.
Adele Scott - Sports Massage, Lotus Lodge
- Level 3 Pilates Instructor
- CIBTAC NVQ Advanced Beauty Therapy & Electrolysis Level 1, 2 & 3
- Master's Diploma, Clinical Sports Therapy & Rehabilitation
Originally from the UK, Adele has lived in Fuerteventura for nine years. Passionate about surfing, Pilates and sports therapy, she loves what she does and it shows.
Her background in sports massage takes her training as a Pilates instructor to the next level. An expert on the human body, she works with people on injury rehabilitation, providing specific advice and targeted exercises focusing on bringing the body back into correct alignment.
Her sports massages are extremely popular and she has been known to resolve persistent physical problems in just a couple of sessions. Her relaxed attitude makes her extremely approachable and easy to talk to, and her interest in sports, nutrition and making people feel better make her a perfect fit for the Azul team.
Lisa Dixon – General Manager
Lisa has lived in Fuerteventura for 18 years so her native England is just a distant memory! Originally working as a travel rep on the island, Lisa’s background in tourism and administration makes her the perfect glue to bring everything together.
Based at the villa, she likes to have a chat and a laugh with guests and is always happy to help. A true team player, her sense of humour and down to earth attitude make her the perfect person for helping guests to enjoy their stay.
'Sonny' Martinez Palermo – Facilities, and all around Fix It Man
Sonny designed and created the beautiful eco-friendly gardens at Villa Azul and we thank his green fingers for the fruit and vegetables growing here!
You will see him around the villa, where we call him the MVP, keeping everything big and small running.
Living up to his name, his sunny demeanor keeps our guests smiling all the time.
Pamela Varela - cleaning
Pamela is sunny and always hard at work, keeping the Villa and Lodge clean and welcoming for our guests. Her bright personality and friendly smile makes everyone feel at ease, and she is always practicing her English with the guests. She is a strong believer in physical fitness, and when she is not running after her twin boys, she is studying to be an educator for young children.
Cat Easterbrook – Marketing & Blog Manager
A former guest, and editor by trade, Cat came to Azul in 2011 and never left! A talent in all she does, from editing to web, to photos to marketing, her love of yoga and the island make her a perfect fit for our staff team.
Originally from York, her smile and kindness put you at ease, and her Azul blog will keep you healthy and well long beyond your holiday, with useful tips, exercises and recipes.
Karissa Isaac - All around team player
- Bachelor of Science, Boston University
- Clincal Cytogeneticst (by training)
- Reiki Level II (Western method) Qualification
- Jikiden Reiki Okuden (second level)
- Complementary Therapists Association Full Member (CThA)
- Enthusiastic organizer
A geneticist by training, Karissa is a strong believer in a holistic approach to wellbeing and the benefits of Pilates and yoga. She put her passion for holistic health into setting up Azul along with Jamie, and works to make sure that all guests get the most out of their Azul holiday. Karissa is a reiki practitioner and is following her love of healing and holistic wellbeing.
Karissa is currently residing in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA with her young son to be closer to family whilst he grows up. Although she is missing the great surf on Fuerte, Karissa loves the water and is a former America East record holder in the 200 Butterfly. You can still find her in the water, even in the middle of the desert, encouraging her little one in all things water based!
You'll find Karissa mostly behind the scenes, making sure things run smoothly for your best Azul experience.
Paula Colver - Tranquility Spa Manager (Lotus Lodge)
- NVQ beauty therapy, level 2 VTCT (IIHHT)
- Body Massage VTCT (IHBC)
- Anatomy & Physiology VTCT (IHBC)
- Nail Treatments VTCT (IIHHT)
- Diploma in Reflexology VTCT (IHBC)
- Depilation (Numerous treatment-specific qualifications)
Paula comes from the UK but has lived in Fuerteventura for many years. She has a genuine passion for what she does and it comes through in each of her treatments.
Paula is based in the beautiful Tranquility Spa in Corralejo and is in demand as a beautician and masseuse on the island. She is renowned for her Balinese massages - it’s probably the best massage you will ever have (and certainly the best Balinese massage outside of Bali)! Azul is proud to work with Paula to offer a full compliment of massage and beauty treatments.
Our guest instructors really add something special to the Azul experience and we are honoured to have them as part of the team. These instructors study, work and train internationally, always bringing fresh ideas and enthusiasm to share with our core Azul team and our guests.
Jamie Isaac - Azul Yoga & Pilates founder, featured Pilates Instructor
- BA Ed (Hons) Physical Education & Sports Science - Exeter University
- Register Of Exercise Professionals - Level 3 Advanced Instructor
- Pilates / Core Stability & Torso training
- European Register Of Exercise Professionals - Personal Trainer (PT Dip)
- Nutritional Advisor - OCR
- Applied Sports Nutrition
- 'Pilates Flow' DVD
Originally from the Isle of Wight, England, Jamie enjoys many aspects of the fitness and exercise profession, but his passion is Pilates (closely followed by surfing!) Jamie is currently teaching workshops all over the world, including upcoming weeks in Bali, the USA, England and in Fuerteventura. He is also teaching as a featured instructor at the Vitality Show in London (Earl's Court - March 22 & 23, 2013) and at the OM Yoga Show in London (London Olympia October 25 - 27, 2013).
As a former international trampolinist, flexibility and core stability conditioning programs were staples in his training regime. After his competitive career, Jamie continued his involvement in trampolining by using his knowledge and experience to coach others in their quest for success.
Jamie continued his study of core conditioning in university, following the natural progression on to the Pilates method. Impressed by the effectiveness of the method, he went on to complete courses and workshops in the UK, Spain and the USA.
Jamie practices and teaches Pilates as more than just a set of physical exercises. By incorporating body and mind he finds the classic Pilates method benefits all aspects of life – especially his other passion, surfing, which benefits massively from the improved focus, body awareness and core conditioning that Pilates brings.
Jamie enjoys passing on his knowledge of Pilates, helping others to relax and progress, and teaching in specialist areas such as injury rehabilitation, specialist referral and coaching other sports professionals and enthusiasts.
Jamie’s enthusiasm and down to earth, friendly manner help students get the most possible from each and every class – and have fun while they’re doing it!
For more information on Jamie please see www.fluidartpilates.com
Emma Malarkey - Hatha & Power Yoga instructor, Lotus Lodge
- Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
- Richikesh Yog Peet RYS 200 Yoga Alliance Certification
- Trika School of Yoga - Intensive Hatha Certification
- Mandala School - Intensive Ashtanga Yoga
Emma originally came to us from Scotland for a six-month period. She was such a popular instructor that we asked her to stay and happily she agreed, having been won over by island life and the friendly Azul team! Clients have been known to return to the island, just for Emma's classes and her unique and supportive style.
Emma practises and studies yoga extensively in India, experiencing various styles and schools including traditional hatha, tantra, Mysore ashtanga, sivananda, iyengar, hatha vinyasa, and more modern forms such as yin yoga and bikram. She returns to India in between teaching for Azul, in order to further her experience and her personal journey with yoga.
Gaining inspiration from her varied experience, Emma has developed her own personal style for teaching. She enjoys leading a dynamic hatha class, with a strong vinyasa influence, rounding off the class by holding postures to create intensity and deep stretching in the body.
Emma’s experience and smiley, enthusiastic nature make her classes challenging, varied and lots of fun.
Andrea Everingham - Guest Yoga Instructor
Andrea is the founder of OneYoga Studio in Manchester and a regular contributor to ‘Ask The Expert’ (Manchester Evening News). She combines her many years of experience studying and working with the human body and movement with an in-depth study of nutrition and raw foods and their impact on overall wellbeing. She is also trained in ante- and post-natal care.
She joins the Azul team in the Fuerteventura sunshine with her natural and empathetic teaching style and infectious enthusiasm. Her holistic and sophisticated approach of total body, mind and spirit integration is as accessible to those new to yoga as it is challenging for the more practiced yogi.
Naturally approachable and caring, her passion is to bring the joy and release of yoga to her students. Her captivating, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed approach continues to attract a strong following of committed yogis both in her studio and through retreats across the globe.
Catharina Voorhoeve - Pilates Instructor
- Formació Aeróbic, fitness y Entrenadora Personal
- I.S.A.T. Internacional School of Aerobic Training 1994
- A.C.E. American Council of Exercise
- Stott Pilates Certified, Mat and Reformer all levels
A world cup Wind Surfing competitor and former Holland national windsurf champion, Catharina joins the Azul team this summer to share her joy and enthusism for the Pilates method. She has been a fitness instructor since 1994, and her energy is contagious.
She is a passionate Pilates practitioner and also loves to spend time in the water Windsurfing, doing SUP and kayaking. Her daughter is also a talented athlete and Catharina loves to support her. Catharina is fluent in Spanish, Dutch, Catalan, and English, and also speaks German. She is full of life and energy - come and stay with us in July and experience her instruction firsthand!
Annie Rosar - Vinyasa Flow Yoga Instructor
- 2012 private classes Pure Yoga, NY, with Kay Kay Clivio
- Workshop with Bryan Kest, the founder of power yoga
- 2011 Safa Fitness – personal trainer projects
- 2009 – 2010 Beyond Ashtanga Yoga with Stefan D. Prowaznik
- 2005 Ashtanga Yoga Vienna, Shinergy Vienna
- 1998 Yoga Siromani, Teacher of Yoga, International Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Annie discovered yoga through the hatha style but has become a talented teacher and practitioner of ashtanga vinyasa flow. Annie integrates a dynamic series aimed at the development of strength (especially lower back and abs) with focus throughout the practice. Having studied ashtanga yoga she utilises the powerful flow of the surya namaskara (sun salutation) A and B from the ashtanga series.
Her main attention is to continuous flow with proper breath, aiming to develop a self-dependant unity of movements and breath under the guidance of the teacher. Annie is a well-respected power vinyasa flow teacher within the professional surfing and windsurfing communities and she is the featured yoga expert in a book about power yoga for surfing.
Annie is committed to her journey with yoga and regularly takes part in courses and workshops with inspirational mentors and world-renowned teachers. We are delighted that she chooses Azul as her base in between her studies, and always look forward to trying and sharing the new things she has learned.
Lena Reisloh – Zumba Instructor
Lena is our resident zumba instructor, inspiring us with her love of dance, passion for sports and enthusiastic nature.
Lena started ballet dancing when she was just four years old. She continued with Jazz and modern dance and competed in national competitions in her native Germany.
With a PHD in Sport Science, Lena developed a program to help overweight people improve their health and worked in the sports medicine department of her university. Lena has taught various fitness classes, including Nordic-Walking, ‘back-school’, prevention classes, personal training, aerobics and children’s classes.
She is passionate about the ability of music to free your mind, make you feel great, and get you doing the moves that provide such positive consequences for your body and mind.
Besides dancing Lena loves surfing, skiing and snowboarding and is a self-proclaimed 'sport-addicted'. With such a wealth of experience and such enthusiasm for an active lifestyle, her classes are sure to shake up your exercise routine if not your life!
Becky Uterhark – Zumba Instructor
Becky is our guest zumba instructor, joining us for special events and fitness weeks. Having started dancing at the age of three she is passionate about dance and loves to get other people hooked too. Her training as a fitness instructor and a personal trainer means she has a lot of knowledge to back up her moves.
Becky loves to combine her dancing and fitness experience to help other people become fit and healthy and have more fun in their lives. She is an inspirational instructor and her beach zumba classes are not to be missed!