Bikram Yoga Paradise Valley Phoenix AZ
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Meet the Staff

BYAZ is proud to have such an excellent staff of certified instructors. Each has met our exacting requirements. They are passionate about Bikram Yoga and their number one goal is to help you achieve maximum benefit from your Bikram Yoga experience. Take a few moments and get to know the amazing individuals a little bit better.

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Nicole Deacon, Todd Deacon, Heidi Jo Klingman, Niki Fillmore, Erin Hanson, Terri Villavaso, Nadine Fauerbach,
Vanessa Hansen, Linda Scholten, Julie Valenzuela, Gwen Smith


Nicole Deacon - Studio Owner, Teacher, Goal Coach

Nicole Deacon is the owner and director of BYAZ. Her greatest joy is helping people discover their strength and supporting them to show up powerfully for their families and communities. She believes in the magic of everyday experiences and wants for humanity to slow down and savor each moment. When she was in middle school her parents dragged her, kicking and screaming, into her first Bikram Yoga class. She has been sweating in a hot room ever since. Her passion for transformation and growth lead her to volunteer at the Omega Vector, a free self-knowledge program founded by George Addair, where she has facilitated programs for over 10 years.

As a yoga teacher she has served at 15 Bikram Yoga teacher trainings, coached 10 National Yoga Championship Finalist and 1 International Finalist, judged for the International Yoga Federation, opened two Bikram Yoga Studios, and created OHM Yoga School. As a leadership trainer she has served as a facilitator for the Omega Vector; completed the Executive Leadership Coaching with The Integrity Coach, Mark Wright; worked with Linda Scholten of Integrity Coaching; and is currently completing her certification in PAX Mastery with Alison Armstrong. She also holds a certification as a Level 1 MovNat instructor.

Nicole's traditional schooling includes a Business Degree with emphasis on Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University. She played collegiate golf at ASU and San Jose State where she earned the WAC Freshman of the Year Honor.

When she is not working with teachers and students you can find her curled up with a great book and a cup of bulletproof coffee. She lives with her dog, Rootie; her two chickens; and 4 roommates. #bringbackthevillage

Do you want support in reaching your goals? Set up private yoga, leadership, or goal coaching with Nicole by emailing

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Todd Deacon - Operations Manager, Teacher

Todd Deacon is head of operations at BYAZ. His greatest joy is being part of a community that is collectively moving toward a more enlightened world. When he was just 15 he took his first Bikram Yoga class, but it was almost 20 years later that it changed his life forever. After years of chronic back pain from playing professional golf, his sister Nicole encouraged him see if a regular yoga practice would help. In just six month he lost over 40 lbs and has transformed his back completely.

In his fourth year of practicing consistently, Todd has competed in both the USA Yoga Asana Regional and National Championship, recently placing second in the 2015 Arizona Regional event. He graduated in the inaugural OHM School Teacher Training and received his 200 Hour RYA Certification in December 2015.

He shares a passion for transformation and growth with his sister and in addition to attending Leadershape Institute, he has completed Executive Leadership Coaching with The Integrity Coach, Mark Wright, and Delta and Omega Vector programs designed and led by George Addair.

Todd's traditional schooling includes a Business Degree with emphasis in Management Information Systems with a minor in Law from Oregon State University. He played collegiate golf at OSU and received numerous honors including PAC 10 Medal Winner, Academic All-American, Author Ash Award, and was elected President of the Student Athlete Advisory Board.

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Heidi Jo Klingman - General Manager, Teacher

Heidi-Jo began her journey to yoga on the road to recovery from a debilitating eating disorder and bouts of depression and destructive behavior, as well as lower back pain as a result of scoliosis and poor posture. After searching so long for a place to feel safe and comfortable "in her own skin", it was in front of a mirror, in a room full of strangers, sweating her face off and pushing herself to her limits that she finally came to accept and even love herself — and experienced relief from back pain and scoliosis entirely. This turned the course of her life from destructive, to constructive. Heidi-Jo started working at BYAZ in 2004, and in 2008 she attended Bikram's Teacher Training program, in Acapulco, Mexico. Heidi-Jo is also a 200 level RYT, and serves on the faculty at the OHM Yoga School.

Heidi-Jo is passionate about creating balance in everyday life. Helping others seek out and find that balance in their own lives is what motivates her daily to teach and practice yoga. She has been so inspired by the plethora of students that have been in her classes — injured, infirm, young, old, grieving, rejoicing, or starting anew. Heidi strives to help each student see his or her potential for greatness, balance, and wellness.

When she's not in the yoga room, she's adventuring and loving life with her husband and two children!

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Niki Fillmore - Retail Manager, Teacher

"I am forever inspired to lead people through this series that allowed me to heal."

Bikram Yoga began for Niki after a devastating loss. For her, the yoga room started as a mental escape, a place where she could mentally and emotionally let go of everything else that was going on in her life. "I don't actually remember physically learning any of the postures, but I do remember the mental and emotional breakdowns and breakthroughs that I went through during my first months of practicing Bikram Yoga. I know that people, just like me, use this yoga to heal themselves, physically, mentally and emotionally. I am forever grateful for how Bikram Yoga has changed my life and I will share the beautiful gift of Bikram Yoga to everyone willing and ready to experience it!"

Niki was born and raised here in sunny Arizona! While attending ASU, she studied in Barcelona, Spain for 6 months, immersing herself in the Spanish culture. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Spanish from ASU. After graduating in August of 2008 she left for Acapulco, Mexico for Bikram's Teacher Training! Niki graduated in November of 2008, and has been teaching full-time ever since.

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Erin Hanson - Teacher

Erin loves the consistency of Bikram Yoga. "Even when you take a break from it, you can come back and know exactly what you're in for!" Her favorite posture has always been Triangle, but recently she is loving the forward bends that she had to skip while she was pregnant. "Knowing time is very rarely my own these days, I know that I need to take time for ME, and that is what drives me to come on the days I don't feel like coming. When I practice, I feel more relaxed and less stressed." When asked what keeps her busy when she is not in the hot room, Erin says, "My husband and my son!"

Erin grew up in Buffalo, New York. She received her B.A. from The University of Michigan for Anthropology and Business Studies. She also went to ASU for Accounting. She graduated from Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in the Fall of 2005 in Los Angeles, California.

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Terri Villavaso - Teacher

"I love the way Bikram yoga makes me feel. The energy you gain is priceless!", Terri says. "Watching our students grow and experience amazing changes makes me feel good." Terri took her first class in 2004. As a hiker, a runner, and someone up for a challenge, Terri was initially surprised by the intensity of the workout.

After practicing for three years and waiting for her teenaged kids to get a little older, Terri decided it was time to attend teacher training. She spent nine long weeks in Honolulu and received her certificate in June 2007. Terri feels that choosing Bikram yoga and becoming a teacher are a few of the best decisions she has made in her life.

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Nadine Fauerbach - Teacher

My yoga journey began in 1970. I began to study Transcendental Meditation and around that time first practiced Hatha Yoga. I taught myself yoga from a book, Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28 Day Exercise Plan. It was also in the 70's that I first read Autobiography of a Yogi by Pramahansa Yogananda.

I practiced hatha yoga and meditation on and off over the years and in 2001 I found Bikram Yoga. I went to 3 classes and each time when I came home I was so exhausted that I was unable to do anything for the rest of the day. So I stopped. About 6 months later I went back to class and this time I stayed with it. The first 60 day challenge that I did about 6 six years ago absolutely changed my practice and it also changed my life. That was the time when I knew that I would be a teacher. I continued to practice 5 days a week and created a plan and committed in writing for the time I would go to Teacher Training.

I became a teacher in November 2012 and have spent the last year and a half learning to be a better teacher and healing my body mind and spirit from the inside out by practicing the yoga. I am definately a different person than I was 13 years ago when I started the yoga. At 72 years old I do not take any medications. I have no chronic illness that plague me, in fact I hardly ever get sick. I am physically strong, emotionally stable and experience a deep sense of spirituality and appreciation for my life. I know that if I can stay in the room on my mat and do my yoga, I can do anything that I put my ming and heart to. Nothing can stop me! My challenge for this year is to improve my practice and to compete in the Yoga Championships, Senior Division.

I have been married to my husband, Ian for 52 years, have two grown children, two grandchildren and one great grandchild. Although I grew up in New York, I have been living in Arizona for the past 25 years and love living here. In the future I am hoping to travel and teach yoga worldwide.

Our Yoga Advisor, Nadine, is here to help you get the most out of your visits to Bikram Yoga AZ! The role of our Yoga Advisor is to help students become acquainted with the studio and be on hand to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding yoga, our studio, the teachers, or your personal practice. She will be in touch with you directly during your first month of practice to find out how you are doing and to offer suggestions and tips that will make your experience even better! She will also help you find the membership or package that suits you best.

Let Nadine know how she can assist you on your yoga journey by sending her an email at or calling 602-971-6999.

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Vanessa Hansen - Marketing Manager, Teacher, Nutrition Coach

I was born and raised in Arizona. I went to Arizona State University so I have lived here my whole life and I love it. I love the heat! My older sister, Candace, brought me to my first Bikram Yoga class during college. I remember she did a 30-day challenge and I remember thinking how incredible she looked and how great she told me she felt. I was inspired. I wanted to feel the same way. When I graduated from Teacher Training in the Fall of 2013, she got to take our very last class with all of us and Bikram. It was a great moment for us to share.

I am not a naturally flexible person, I have to work hard at it, and Bikram Yoga has made me the most flexible I have ever been. It has also given me strength that I didn't know I had. I also really love the mental challenge it presents. There is a lot of focus and concentration that this series requires so I feel like I am growing stronger both physically and mentally.

I went to Arizona State University and earned my Bachelor's degree in Nutrition with a concentration in Human Nutrition. Having my nutrition background and being able to practice, teach, and still learn Bikram Yoga gives me a healthy, happy, and balanced lifestyle.

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Linda Scholten - Goal Coach

Linda's purpose and passion as a professional coach is to inspire, motivate and partner with clients to open up to their possibility and greatness - to live their lives with purpose, intention, and passion - to achieve their potential, experience transformation, and create the life of their dreams.

Linda owns and operates Integrity Coaching Unlimited (ICU), and is a mentor coach at Accomplishment Coaching, "the world's finest coach training program". She brings powerful insight and keen intuition, humor, calm, compassion, integrity, strength, focus and loyalty to each of her clients. Clients often choose coaching to work on areas such as career, health, wellness, relationships, family, dealing with life's challenges, burn-out, navigating transitions, etc. She supports clients in creating their vision, examining their beliefs, look at what is currently working in their lives, what is holding them back, and champions them to create the life of which they've dreamed, in harmony with their values, passion and purpose.

Linda brings to her coaching, a background of over 30 years of experience in counseling, and has a BA in Psychology, and MA in Counseling. She has worked as Coach, Counselor, Supervisor, Clinical Director, Manager and Business Owner. She has a strong value in serving humanity, has facilitated self-awareness seminars for 15 years, writes articles on self-awareness and personal growth, and is committed to creating peace in the world, and in ourselves.

To discuss coaching or to schedule a complimentary sample session, contact Linda at 360-836-9004 or email her at:

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Julie Valenzuela - Hot Pilates Instructor

Julie is an experienced and energetic health and wellness professional. Having been a personal trainer and group fitness instructor for over twenty years, Julie's versatile background is what makes her a well-rounded Pilates instructor. Since obtaining her bachelor's in Exercise Physiology from the University of San Francisco and her Master's in Exercise in Wellness from Arizona State University, Julie has had the opportunity to bring her expertise to various fields of health and wellness including rehabilitation and physical therapy, fitness club management, and wellness program coordinating. She continues to inspire others to meet their professional fitness and wellness endeavors as an adjunct faculty for Paradise Community College, University of Phoenix, and Bryan University.

While diverse in her own education, Julie's passion is with Pilates and the principles that Joseph Pilates created. "Physical Fitness is the first requisite of happiness" is the opening statement in Pilates' writings on Contrology. Julie believes that a fit body contributes to a sound mind. Being able to perform movement with intention while improving one's own strength and flexibility is at the core of each workout. Julie is committed to optimizing all clients to the best of their abilities through Pilates!

On a personal note, Julie lives in Phoenix with her husband and three children. While life may be busy managing the daily family operations, she enjoys hiking, cooking, writing and has been a Bikram yoga practitioner for five years.

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Gwen Smith - Teacher

As a stay at home mom of three for almost 10 years, I was ready to find and get to know Gwen again. On a trip to the library with the kids, I grabbed a couple books off the shelf. One of them turned out to be Bikram's orange book. I read it, and began to teach myself the postures on our patio that summer. That (almost) daily practice got me through a very anxious time in my life. I have a lot of joint problems, and I noticed that they didn't hurt as much as when I had tried other forms of exercise. I felt so much stronger and noticed my body shaping up in a way I had never seen before!

I knew I wanted to practice at a real Bikram studio, so when an opportunity arose, I took it! I remember being nervous because I really wanted to love it. After my first class, I remember feeling like this is what I was meant to do!

After establishing a regular practice, I began to reap the benefits of not only better physical health, but also a calm mind. I knew I wanted to become a help others feel the same benefits...however being away for an extended period of time was not an option. When OHM School announced teacher training, a path opened for me. Someday was NOW!

When I'm not practicing yoga, or keeping the Smith family rolling along, I love reading, cooking and hanging out with my husband, Greg, my kiddos, Madeline, Warren and Charlotte, and our cocker spaniel, Hamilton. I am honored and humbled to be part of this yoga family, and look forward to growing with you!

"Gratitude changes what you have into enough."

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