Brenna Adams, RYT 200, started practicing yoga around 2011 searching for physical strength and flexibility. However, on my mat I found peace and ease for my body, mind and soul. Gaining a deeper understanding of yoga has helped me to gain a deeper understanding of myself. The connection of breath to movement, the moving mediation that is yoga; this has become an essential part of my life. The physical, mental and emotional strength I have found through yoga is one of the greatest gifts it has given me. This strength I carry off my mat and it is a gift that I hope to share with others as they continue down their own path of yoga, on and off the mat. I am 200 hr – RYT and received my certification through The Yoga Shop in 2017 where my teachers were Kim Charbonneau and Annie Q.
Carol Tyler, MA, RD, CDN, Reiki Master, RYT 200, is a Certified Wellness Coach, teaches Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, she loves sharing her passion for adventure, wellness and compassionate care. Carol graduated Yoga Teacher Training from Sacred Rivers Yoga in 2019 and has taught Nutrition Programs with 28 years of experience as a Holistic Health Practitioner. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast and yoga student. Recently retired from Saint Francis and is now a Registered Yoga Teacher focusing on mediation and mindfulness during her Gentle Yoga sessions.
Cathy Beckius, RYT 200, graduate of the Yoga Shop under Annie Quagliaroli and Kimberly Charbonneau, she has been teaching since December of 2013. “To me, yoga means love and community and commitment and being a part of something way bigger than all of us. My practice is a gift that I give myself and a gift that lets me keep on giving. The simplicity of linking breath to movement and letting go for just a while allows me to tap into my very own strength and light and then, naturally, sharing and loving off my mat! We have lived in Tolland for over 25 years and raised our two children here so having the chance to share yoga and spread the love with our Tolland community.
Elizabeth (Beth) Gibbs, MA, C-IAYT, is a certified yoga therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists and is guest faculty at the Kripalu School of Integrative Yoga Therapy. Her masters’ degree in Yoga Therapy and Mind/Body Health is from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. She writes for the blogs “Yoga for Healthy Aging,” and “Accessible Yoga” and is the author of “Ogi Bogi, The Elephant Yogi,” a therapeutic yoga book for children. The book is available through her website at: www.proyogatherapeutics.com.
George Hoffman, Director of Silver Dragon Tai Chi and Qi Gong, LLC, has over 25 years of study and practice in the Chinese arts Tai Chi and Qi-Gong and 20 years teaching experience. George’s belief in the power of these ancient arts comes across in his teaching style, patience, compassion and his students’ success.
Jen Daniels, E-RYT 500 has practiced yoga for over 15 years and completed her initial training in 2013 with Jennifer Prugh’s Joy of Yoga. Jen has completed her 500-hour training with Julie Rader-Wellman’s Mukti school. Additionally, Jen has certifications in Restorative yoga, Youth Yoga, and Flying Lotus (aerial yoga). Through a strong asana practice, Jen has found that deepening her connection to mind-body has transformed all areas of life. Yoga allows people to find the best version of themselves and gives them permission to share it with the world. By learning to pause before reacting and to breathe when life becomes stressful, Jen has found that yoga has improved personal and professional relationships as well as improving the ability to shift perspectives. In addition to creating safe and challenging sequences that are alignment focused, her practices infuse pranayama and mediation. As a child who had a propensity to cause trouble on the soccer field because she was doing cartwheels and handstands instead of defending the goal, Jen loves inversions and arm balances. Her background in equestrian vaulting (www.americanvaulting.org) has created a distinct curiosity of advanced asanas. Through creating a strong and stable core, Jen believes that having the opportunity to play and enjoy the movement your body has to offer is one of the most beautiful aspects of the asana practice.
Abundant transformation occurs when people become aware of their body through breath work and mindfulness. Jen’s intention is to share the unique joy she discovered in yoga with you!
Jess Goldfarb, RYT 200, graduated through The Yoga Shop under Annie Q. and Kimberly Charbonneau, and has been teaching since 2016. “Every time I practice yoga, I feel like I am being led back home. I unlearn all those jaded life lessons and find myself in a happy middle between strength and compassion. Yoga has taught me how to believe in myself when I fall, and how to catch myself with love – both on and off the mat! I know the positive impact that yoga had on my life and I want to share that experience with others.”
Kyle LeDonne, Certified Yoga Instructor, is a 20 year student of yoga, ever since he picked up a book on the 8-limbed practice from his mother’s bookshelf. He immediately fell in love with everything about yoga and was quick to dive headfirst into a lifelong practice. Kyle studied at Kripalu and when he decided to pursue a passion for teaching he was formally trained at SMPY in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. From California to New York City and now back to Connecticut, Kyle has always tried to incorporate the tenants of yoga into his life, from a nutritional degree and a lifetime of vegetarianism, to the physical grace that asanas impart, to the deeper understanding of spirituality that runs through it all. Now through the amazing community at BreatheMoreYoga, he hopes to be of service to all the students who seek a happier and healthier life through yoga!
Leo Valk, RYT 200, has been practicing yoga since 2014, and completed their 200 hour teacher training at Samadhi Yoga studio in 2019. They connected with yoga at first as a healing modality for chronic pain and gender dysphoria, and since then they have been intrigued by the endless ways that movement is healing for every body. Leo holds space for students to come as they are to practice regardless of experience or present limitations, and encourages students to approach yoga from a place of curiosity and compassion.”
Lindsay Cabaniss, Certified POP Pilates instructor, fell in love with the format of POP Pilates after following the inspiring creator and instructor, Cassey Ho, on YouTube for the last 5 years. POP Pilates is a true ‘dance on the mat,’ fusing together the total body strength, flexibility and healing initiative of traditional mat Pilates with high intensity cardio intervals to the beat of the music. This leaves students feeling energized and stronger after every class. The magic of the POP family is spreading positivity, self-love and courage to keep pushing yourself forward, being aware of what your body needs in each moment, and feeling those results; ultimately motivating your body and LOVING your exercise.
Lisa Gaumond, RYT 200, Yoga has shown Lisa how to spread her arms wide and unapologetically inhabit space. It has given her permission to breathe loudly, practice boldly, and challenge that voice in her head shouting out the can’ts and the shoulds. Yoga has taught her to live in and love her body. These things, and more, are what she hopes to share with you during every yoga class. A yoga practitioner since college, Lisa’s teaching career was as much of a surprise to her as it was to everyone else. After years in a high-stress office job, she left her full-time job in 2016 to pursue yoga teacher training through The Yoga Shop. She enrolled in YTT in an effort to learn more about the practice and reset her weary mind. She never intended to become a teacher, but soon found that she loved teaching and never looked back. When not in the studio, you can find Lisa leading chair yoga classes at various senior centers in Connecticut, and on the water all summer long.
Marissa Rocks, Certified POP Pilates Instructor, is an encouraging and motivating instructor who believes that exercise should be fun and enjoyable. Exercise is a celebration of what your body can do and the progress you’ve made – it is NOT a punishment. POP Pilates has helped Marissa obtain her positive outlook on fitness and life in general. After working out to POP Pilates videos on YouTube for years, she decided that she wanted to share the feelings of happiness, self-worth, and accomplishment with others. Marissa is currently the only certified POP Pilates instructor in Connecticut but hopes that others will soon join her in spreading the POP Pilates energy around the state!
Melissa Pieciak, Certified Yoga Instructor, is a spiritual entrepreneur who is passionate about sharing bliss, love and connection with the world through Yoga, Meditation, and Reiki. Years ago Melissa found herself in a rut struggling with anxiety, insomnia and chronic neck pain. Going through the motions of life frustrated and unhappy, one day she asked herself “is this as good as it gets?” The universe seemed to respond quickly as she soon found herself in a yoga class breathing, twisting and turning without a clue as to what she was doing. After that yoga class, the light bulb went off as she walked out blissful and hopeful! Melissa had no idea that she had just taken her first steps onto a new path that would completely reshape her life. Melissa was hooked, and that feeling has been bringing her back to her mat every day! Melissa began practicing yoga and meditation regularly and could see that her life was changing, she was sleeping better, was less anxious and her neck pain disappeared. In a short amount of time, she was feeling fantastic and truly enjoying life.
As Melissa continued to practice yoga her desire to deepen her practice grew, she enrolled in a 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training through Kripalu School of Yoga. After graduation, she decided to share her passion with the world and began teaching yoga and meditation regularly. Melissa enjoys teaching all levels of yoga from vinyasa and power to gentle and restorative classes while gracefully blending the principles of self-love and the connection of mind, body and spirit through creative and intuitive sequencing. Melissa’s passion for yoga shines in each class as she creates a sacred space that allows each student to explore their unique practice, safely navigate their edge, and embrace self-observation without judgment. Melissa’s hope for you is to find bliss and connection through your yoga practice so that you can bring it into your life and live life to the fullest, as the most powerful, limitless creator that you can be.
Teaching inspires Melissa to continuously grow and learn more, following her Kripalu training she completed training’s in Restorative Yoga through Pranakriya School of Yoga Healing Arts, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga through Yoga-Water, Reiki 1, Reiki 2, Reiki Master, Reiki Master of Masters and Reiki Master Teacher through Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Melissa has also continued her studies by studying with Seane Corn, Elena Brower, Gabrielle Bernstein, Sadie Nardini and Dharma Mittra.
Since 2012 Melissa has taught over 4,000 yoga, meditation and reiki classes for individuals, small groups, yoga studios and corporations. When Melissa is not leading classes, workshops, trainings and retreats, you can find her playing on her paddle board, traveling, enjoying time outdoors and spending time with her family and friends.
Yoga, meditation and reiki healed and transformed Melissa’s life, and she would like to share this bliss with you!
Rita Concepcion, RYT 200, is a fitness professional who began practicing Yoga in 2004. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at John’s Creek Yoga Studio in John’s Creek, Georgia. In addition to a yoga certification, she holds a group fitness certification through ACE Fitness. As an instructor and fitness enthusiast for many years, she began practicing yoga to improve strength, alignment, and flexibility. From a spiritual perspective, Rita began practicing to increase self-awareness and reduce stress. Of the many exercise disciplines, she is most passionate about yoga. Rita sees yoga as an opportunity to help anyone of any age stay active and mindful while developing more strength, better posture and improved balance and flexibility.
Sally Woods, RYT 200, has always been a physically active person as a dancer, athlete and fitness instructor. She discovered the benefits of yoga at a time in her life when career stress was manifesting itself with undeniable negative physical effects. After only three years of practicing yoga, she realized she could calm her mind while challenging and strengthening her body in a powerful yet peaceful and compassionate way, and wanted to expand her practice and knowledge by completing her teacher training with Vinyasa teacher and author, Rolf Gates in 2014. As a dancer, she found Vinyasa (flow) yoga to be a natural style for her to embrace and share.
Sharon Shanti, E-RYT-500, YACEP, Kripalu & Pranakryia Yoga Teacher, Kripalu Restorative Yoga Teacher, Yoga Teacher Training Director, and Reiki Master.
Sharon teaches heartfelt Yoga classes, delivers dynamic and motivational Workshops and Retreats and directs Yoga Teaching Training Modules. She is passionate about empowering and encouraging people to honor their bodies, to go within and to continue to grow and heal with the time honored teachings of yoga. As a lifelong student of Yoga, Sharon has studied with some of the most esteemed, knowledgeable and distinguished teachers. Including Yoganand Michael Carroll, Kavi Stephen Cope and Sudha Carolyn Sundeen, Sharon has shared the teachings of these ancient wisdom traditions with students in New England, South Carolina and Canada.
Tanessa Celentano, Yoga Instructor: As a former Kickboxing Instructor, I found myself searching for a form of exercise that would better serve my needs – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I yearned for something that would age with me, helping my body be at its best through all the coming years while also helping my mind and spirit embrace where I was in my life.
Yoga was an answered prayer. With a focus on anatomy and ‘safe’ alignment, the emphasis of my classes is to help your body undo some of the damage our culture and lifestyle has done to the spine, joints, major muscles, and those little tendons and ligaments we so often take for granted.
I love to have fun in my classes… exploring what the body is capable of, but also learning how not to be so rigid and serious. Remembering how to be a kid again, yet learning how to accept and embrace the limitations of our body are the tools I hope each fellow yogi walks out of my classes with.
As a teacher, I have been so humbled and honored to be in this role. I hope you’ll join me on this journey… this practice… of loving our bodies for what they already are, and helping them be the best they can be – for years to come.
Vicky Hannon, Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor and Kripalu “Let Your Yoga Dance” Instructor, has been a student of yoga for nearly 20 years and has been teaching since 2002. Leading classes and workshops throughout Connecticut, she teaches Yoga and Pilates as an Adjunct Instructor at Manchester Community College. In addition, she has served as Faculty Assistant for several programs at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, MA. Vicky is a Certified Reflexologist and a Level III Reiki Master. She is a mother of two, a puppeteer, singer and songwriter. “Yoga to me is more than physical postures. It is a connection to and an awareness of the whole body, a quieting of the ever-chatty, critical mind, and an opening of the often-guarded heart. It is my intention to make yoga accessible to everyone; from the new student working through stiffness, injury, or trauma, to the seasoned yogi moving easily into Crow or headstand. When I teach, I consider myself merely a tour guide for students on their own paths; experiencing their own journey through yoga.”