Yoga Circle Downtown

Teacher Bios

Knekoh Frugé, C-IAYT

Knekoh FrugeKnekoh Frugé, our Founder, has been practicing Yoga in one form or another for almost 35 years. It all began in 1983 when a moment of kismet brought her to a Louisiana State University class simply titled “Movement”. Incorporating an eclectic blend of Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong and more, that class opened to her the discipline and beauty of profound energy work and set her on a lifelong journey. Led by Rick Nye, all these years later, Knekoh still considers him one of her most influential teachers.

After arriving in California in 1985, Knekoh sought this profound energy work where ever she could find it: Tai Chi in the Park with the elders in San Francisco, Yoga classes at San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, a San Francisco Buddhist Temple and even friends living rooms where they’d gather in a circle and share asanas, the ultimate inspiration for Yoga Circle Downtown’s name.

As a Yoga Therapist, she has work with scores of clients over the years who have found complete recover from injuries and illness through a daily Yoga and Meditation practice Knekoh created for them. Those with more serious conditions such as Cancer or MS have found strategies that allow them to live almost as if the disease were not there or at least greatly diminished. Knekoh believes whole heartedly it is more than the poses that have caused these transformations. She is convinced it is the dedication to the Meditational aspects of the practice and in this age of the internet we are finding this to be a worldwide phenomena. With all these claims it is no wonder University and Medical research facilities across the globe have been putting these claims, both ancient and modern, to the test. Study upon study has shown that after only eight weeks of meditation, participants had denser brain tissue in areas connected to learning, emotional regulation and memory processing. Studies have also found meditation to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, anxiety and negativity, prevent genetic disease, boost the immune system and even act as catalyst for Radical Remission in Stage 4 Cancer. There are over 3500 documented cases of this phenomenon with one in particular being close to Knekoh’s heart. Several years ago she was called in to work with a woman suffering from stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer. At the time of diagnosis, this woman was given only a few months but Knekoh is touched and ecstatic to report, 9 years later her client is still here to tell the tale and tout the benefits of Yoga and Meditation.

Knekoh loves that Yoga can be at once empowering, calming and inspirational. She counts among her influences the stillness of Sivananda, the athleticism of Astanga and Pattabi Jois and the breath and energy of Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini. Over the the last 20 years, she has had the honor of teaching and practicing at multiple yoga studios in and around the Los Angeles area and throughout the country. She has been privileged to serve as a Yoga consultant for the wellness show “The Doctors,” The City of Hope Cancer Centers, Kaiser Permanente, Humana Health Care, Equinox Fitness Centers and countless business’ throughout Southern California looking to improve the office environ via on site Yoga.

Knekoh dedicates Yoga Circle to the late Peter “Hutch” Hutchison, her friend and teacher whose Joie de Vivre and childlike wonder taught her to live each moment as if it is both your first and last.


Rob Zabel

Rob ZabelA long time practitioner of Hatha Yoga, meditation, and herbal medicine, Rob Zabel is a devoted yogi and healer. Rob infuses every class with his focused energy, in depth knowledge, and a hint of philosophy. Whether showing new students the joy of Yoga, leading chants or lecturing on yogic scriptures, his smile is ever present. Trained at Los Angeles’ own Loyola University, and certified to teach in three different Yogic styles, his studies have brought him into contact with some of the greatest living teachers. Knowing himself to be blessed to have experienced the light of Yoga, he is now devoted to bringing that light to every receptive soul. Learn more about Rob and preview his upcoming album “Mohan Das” at


Jacqui Estrada

Jacqui EstradaAfter taking her very first class Jacqui Estrada knew Yoga would be a part of her being, her passion, her life forever more. Originally from the Philippines, Jacqui moved to United States to pursue her childhood dream, a career in Fashion. But after only a few years in Fashion Design she knew something was missing. Her heart called for more and Yoga answered. A downtown dweller, she is a lover of art, ballet performances and vintage finds and her teaching style reflects that same eclectic love of classic beauty. Her classes are creative, incredibly energetic and lots of fun, just like Jacqui. Follow Jacqui on Instagram @jacquisassy


Rachel Brodeur

Rachel BrodeurA Boston girl turned LA, Rachel first fell in love with yoga during her college years. She didn’t expect to dive head first into yoga, until she kept finding herself on the mat, ready to learn more about the ancient practice.

After graduating from YogaWorks in Back Bay, Boston. Rachel made her way to LA & landed here at Yoga Circle and we are so happy to have her!

Her teachings always come from a loving place with the number one question she always asks, “How can I best serve my students today?”. She believes that teaching from the heart, mixed with the wisdom of the mind, will never fail to bring a class full circle and is honored to hold space for this sacred self-exploration that is Yoga.


Stephen James

Stephen JamesFrom a young age Stephen knew that Yoga was going to be a big part of his life. On a deep mystical level nothing makes him feel as good as Yoga. More than an exercise, it’s a way of life. He says, “The practice of Yoga makes EVERYTHING in my life brighter and better!”

Living on Hawaii for the last several years evolved his knowledge, love, and practice of this ancient art beyond what he previously thought possible. Upon returning to Los Angeles, Stephen fell into the arms of Yoga Circle which opened wide to embrace him.

As a Musician and Singer-Songwriter, a passion that aligns with his Yoga, Stephen carefully selects a playlist for each class theme. And with the voice of an angel he often embellishes the end of class with live acoustic chant/songs to transport us to another world. Thanks Stephen! For a little sample follow him on instagram @stephenjames_la


Jasiri Nkalati

Jasiri NkalatiTrauma has the capacity to create life’s greatest blessings. For Jasiri Nkalati, one such blessing was attracting the practice of yoga. For her, practicing this art of Yoga became a way to self-soothe and peel away layers once used to distract from honoring a more authentic presence. With that discovery, she decided that she needed to become a teacher and help share this phenomenon with others. And Wow! Has she ever! Jasiri has spent the last several years spreading Yoga in around the Washington DC area including NASA, Kaiser Permanente and Dupont Circle as well as appearing as a featured guest on radio shows GoGoRadio and WOL 1450/93.9 WKYS.

In addition to teaching, Jasiri is an “Integrative Nutritionist” and provides wellness coaching to women both nationally and internationally. We’re so lucky to have her and love her words, “Yoga is not in the asanas but in the breaths between. When we inhale and exhale deeply we are sustaining our very life with our breath”. The true essence of Yoga! Follow Jasiri on instagram @bodypriestess


Kirsty Loreen

Kirsty LoreenKirsty began practicing yoga in high school and knew that one day she wanted to teach. But just after school, life stepped in and whisked her away on a whirlwind career as a model. For the next 8 years she traveled the world over on what others might have found an enviable life path. But Kirsty knew, something was missing. She wanted to set roots somewhere and moved to LA where she enrolled in YogaWorks teacher training. Since that moment she has completed over 500 hours of study rediscovering her passion for Yoga and evolving to realize Yoga is so much more than an artful passion. Kirsty now knows and fully understands Yoga as the powerful tool that it is in that it can both reveal to its practitioners what needs to healed as well as offer the tools for said healing! Wow! Thanks Kirsty; that’s what we’ve been saying all along.