Meet Our Teachers

Adam (Polhemus) Shirley graduated from teacher trainings with Asheville Yoga Center, Jivamukti, and Tim Miller (Ashtanga). He gives all credit and glory to his teachers and uses their wisdom to impart to his students a calm demeanor that will enable them to handle the constant flux of life.

Adam’s practice is a daily reminder to let go. He believes that yoga has the ability to evoke an empathic response in living beings that can unite us as a whole, leading to a greater understanding of where we are going. As an athlete, he teaches from a place of experience with the human body, having been an amateur/professional boxer for years, before dedicating his studies solely to yoga. Through yoga, Adam believes that new channels for thought processing are opened up, and through understanding the body and the subtle body, we learn how to direct, redirect and free up the residue of our life choices.

Alex Moody has been teaching yoga for over six years and is happy to call Asheville her home. She first discovered yoga in her living room in high school when her cousin Ralph, a cooler and older professional violist, showed her eagle pose. Not having any studios in the town in Northern Virginia where she was growing up, Alex first learned about the poses from the tv show Exhale with Steve Ross. Years later, while suffering from migraine headaches in graduate school at the University of Virginia, Alex began a regular practice. Alex did both her 230 hour and 500 hour yoga therapeutics training at Asheville Yoga Center and graduated from Appalachian as a creative writing major (which she even uses while teaching yoga, yes). Alex is the Wellness Program Developer for Amazon­Andes Sky and assists in organizing yoga retreats in Ecuador every year. She will be leading a yoga retreat in the Galapagos in October 2015 and hopes to learn a bit more Spanish by then!

Alex is also available for one-­on-­one yoga therapy work and is currently training in Ortho­Bionomy techniques to work more fully with the parasympathetic nervous system. A self­proclaimed yoga mutt {and exercise mutt, she loves Pilates and CrossFit} Alex loves to learn about yoga from all different styles. She always relates to instructors who talk about their practice off of the mat and has studied with many instructors in Asheville as well as Michael Stone, Amy Weintraub, Steve Ross, Kathryn Budig, Heather Tiddens, and Bryan Kest.

Sims_AYC-8723 (1)Amy Kalyn Sims, a native of Florida, is a 500-hour registered yoga instructor and professional freelance photographer living in Asheville, NC. Amy came to yoga at a time in her life when she was seeking something more, what she discovered was a true path toward health and happiness. In 2008, Amy completed the Sankalpah Yoga 200-hour teacher training with Mary Dana Abbott & Isaac Peña and began teaching yoga in NYC. After teaching for 2 years, she decided to further deepen her practice through the Laughing Lotus 300-hour Advanced Teacher Training, studying with Dana Flynn and a host of other amazing teachers. Amy comes from an artistic background and tries to bring this innovative aspect to the mat.

Amy’s vigorous Bhakti Flow classes incorporate a creative vinyasa flow threaded with breath, meditation, mantras, and a passion for music. After a decade of living and working in Manhattan, Amy and her husband decided to seek a quieter lifestyle back in the South. She is honored to be a part of the Asheville Yoga Center family and looks forward to serving the Asheville community. For more on Amy, please visit ashevilleartfamily.com

Andrea Rich Bringing over 30 years of yoga and meditation practice to her classes, Andrea was Introduced to meditation at age 12, five years later was regularly practicing yoga at the only class in Indianapolis IN, luckily taught by an incredible teacher who had studied directly with BKS Iyengar. For several years, apprenticed at Lynda Mitchell’s Hatha Yoga studio in Bloomington IN, receiving one of the first teacher certifications offered by the studio. Teaching began in 1996 on Fire Island NY, when asked to take over the only yoga class in the area, and she’s been teaching ever since. Whenever possible Andrea continues her studies at Ananda Ashram, her ‘home away from home’. It’s been the well for Vedanta, Sanskrit, kirtan as well as ayuryoga taught by Dr. Vasant Lad. Her book the Power Journal, an interactive journal filled with yoga philosophy, is available now- a must for any seeker. Read more at arichproduction.com. Through pranayama and sustained inwardly focused asanas, Andrea’s Gentle Flow class will profoundly and quietly anchor intentions that empower. This ancient medicine guides students effortlessly to their natural state of meditation.

Anna Levesque is an E-RYT 500 having completed both her 230 and 300 hr TT through AYC.  She has been practicing yoga for over 15 years, first coming to it out of a desire to calm and focus the mind to enhance her performance as an international whitewater kayak competitor. Anna can be found teaching and practicing yoga as part of her whitewater kayaking trips in Costa Rica, on the French Broad on her paddle board and in the studio. She creates a welcoming space for her students to nurture awareness of their bodies and minds for alignment, health and healing.  In 2011 she produced the DVD Yoga for Kayaking in collaboration with Joe Taft that has sold over 1500 copies.  Anna maintains a strong daily home practice that includes dinacharya, asana, pranayama and meditation, and is deeply connected to nature through her time on the river and her path on the Red Road.   For more information you can visit her websites:  mindbodypaddle.com and watergirlsatplay.com

In her Align & Flow class Anna invites you to cultivate alignment of your bones and muscles that develop healthy posture and movement patterns to support mind body wellbeing. She understands and welcomes active bodies who love particular sports (running, cycling, paddling etc…) as well as those who want relief from long work days sitting at a desk or computer. Come move your body in new ways and become aware of the powerful subtleties of proper alignment. Anna brings influences from her studies in alignment and flow yoga, Ayurveda as well as her practice of honoring all life, remembering that we are connected to each other and connected to nature.

AYDS_teachers_AshleySronceAshley Sronce is a dead serious comedian, writer and storyteller. Her former contributions to the world as a whitewater kayaking photographer, muralist, nanny, fish-gutter, funeral planner and crossword puzzle editor have fueled her with much folklore and have proven exactly how useful a BA in Philosophy can be. Somehow through all of life’s whirl and twirl and despite a fixed predilection toward global travel and intrigue she agrees with Willie Nelson, heartily believing “Still is Still Moving To Me”.

With a strong background in gymnastics, Ashley has been a lively practitioner of asana for about fifteen years and a very humbled practitioner of the other seven limbs of yoga for…roughly three! She spent the last decade in NYC studying predominantly with Dharma Yoga Center, Jivamukti, and Shri Yoga. Upon relocating to her hometown a few years ago, she received her 230 hr certification with the Asheville Yoga Center. Ashley hopes we can always listen with our ‘good ears’ to the teacher within, and be open to the delight, curiosity, and adventure within our own limitlessness. She recommends looking for the YES in every moment, playing to the top of our intelligence and integrity, and aiming to not stand in our own or another’s way.

Brian Winslett has been practicing Yoga since 2001 and earned his 230 hour teacher training certification at the Asheville Yoga Center in 2008. He is now working on his RYT500 hour certification. His first and most influential teacher was in the Kripalu tradition but he has specifically made Yoga is own path and continues to study with a wide variety of teachers from differing traditions. He follows the path of integration of diverse styles of yoga and believes in personal innovation, as that was the path of the great Yogis of the past century.

As an activist, entrepreneur, community organizer, and teacher of permaculture and sustainability issues, Brian learned first hand how life passions, stress, caffeine induced adrenal fatigue, family duties, modern life, and one’s own shadow self can leave us depleted and virtually crippled in various ways as we age if we do not show up to a practice of union with self. He has experimented intuitively and successfully with methods of self administered myofascial and muscular massage, as well as being a life long enthusiasts of nutrition, especially foods and herbal medicines from local and wild harvested sources. His Yoga philosophy is blended with spirituality of this gritty earth gift.

AYDS_teachers_CarolCarol More has been teaching OM yoga vinyasa, yin and restorative yoga classes professionally for seven years and practicing for thirteen years.  She has been inspired and has studied with many teachers including Cyndi Lee (OM yoga founder), Leslie Kaminoff, Doug Keller, Judith Lasater, Tom Myers, David Nichtern, Desiree Rumbaugh, Kathryn Budig, Seane Corn, Bryan Kest, and most humbling of teachers – her students.  Carol graduated from OM yoga’s 200 hour teacher training in 2008 and will complete her 500 hour training through Asheville Yoga Center’s Advanced Studies program in 2015.  She is registered through Yoga Alliance as an Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher having completed over 1,000 hours of teaching and training.  She is qualified to teach yoga therapeutics, yin yoga, restorative yoga, all levels vinyasa yoga.

After Carol survived cancer, leaving her temporarily blind and unable to walk and four years to feel balanced again, her passion has been to help others find more peace in their bodies and patience in their heart on the road to healing.  She discovered yoga in 2002 and has used OM yoga’s approach which combines alignment and surrender to restore health and ease.  Her goal is to welcome everyone to the mat to rediscover wellness through a gentle practice.  Although Carol has discovered many benefits from yoga, she confesses placing her nose to her knee has never been a goal. She resides in Asheville with her husband, Michael and two comedian cats; rides her own Harley motorcycle, jumps out of perfectly good airplanes, long-boards, hikes the lovely mountain trails of WNC, is learning to play the djembe drum and recently adopted, monitors and cleans up a beautiful little stream in West Asheville – and credits yoga for her endless energy and good health.  She hopes to one day learn to play guitar in a rock and roll band.

Carol teaches Gentle Restorative yoga (refreshment and balance for the nervous system) classes using her amazingly large collection of soothing music, moderate heat, gentle movement and stretch, humor and deep compassion.  She is known for her intuitive, sometimes humorous, compassionate and personalized approach when introducing yoga to students, sprinkling in a little yoga philosophy and daily, useful anatomy along the way.  Each class may include gentle touch, warm basalt stones or aromatherapy.

AYDS_teachers_CeaRubinCea Rubin first explored yogic ideas in a Chinese Religions and Traditional Chinese Medicine class while attending Davidson College. It wasn’t until her senior year that yoga asana piqued her interest–as a theatre major, the physical practice helped her slip into the lives of characters from the outside-in. At the time, she didn’t fully realize that she really was accessing her self. A year after graduating, she trained with the Asheville Yoga Center, receiving 230 hours of training in a three-week immersion, which revealed yoga’s healing power. She currently is studying in AYC’s 300 hour Yoga Therapeutics program. Cea’s training in theatre and improvisation, studies in clinical psychology and child development, volunteer work, lessons learned from teachers and students in yoga and in the classroom, readings about trauma and the body, scientific research, the infinite wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh, and her absolute love of life shape how she moves through the world and the classes she leads.

Gentle Flow classes with Cea are direct in cueing and open in modifications to cultivate alignment that is right for each unique body and day. If the student desires, Cea fosters opening through hands-on adjustments and mini-massages. The breath guides the movement, ensuring stable and steady framework. Cea invites students to unveil and feel strong boundaries in their bodies, which can help individuals open up to and accept the possibilities (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually–whatever works for the individual!) available in each moment.

AYDS_teachers_CourtneyReynoldsCourtney Reynolds is a Certified Yoga Instructor as well as a Registered Nurse. She is passionate about assisting students in finding an optimum level of physical and mental health, both on and off the mat. After struggling with anxiety and depression for years, Courtney found respite in the mindfulness practices of teacher Thich Nhat Hahn, which secondarily led her to yoga. Her Gentle Flow class is laced with both a strong emphasis on the power of the present moment, as well as knowledge pertaining to the anatomy of the human body. As a marathon runner and a nurse with a background in orthopedic trauma and sports medicine, Courtney hopes to provide and safe and knowledgeable environment for students to learn more about their bodies as they link movement with breath on the mat.

AYDS_Techers_DanielleRaMaKaurDanielle Marie Goldstein
 is Ra Ma Kaur.  Ra Ma is a mastery of the polarities of the sun and moon energies; the directive, activating and radiant energy harmonized with the receptive, listening and intuitive energy providing a profound healing resonance. Ra Ma uses the modalities of Kundalini Yoga, Meditation, Gong Sound Healing, Visionary Art, Plant and Stone Medicine to cultivate true transformation in people’s lives.  She believes it is her dharma to share the beauty and richness of the technology of Kundalini Yoga with our Asheville community, and feels so blessed that her mom brought her to her first class at the age of 15.

She has been teaching yoga since 2006 and spent over a 1000 hours in professional trainings beyond her college degrees.  She has worked with women, men, babies, children and elders to harness change and live happier, healthier lives.  She is grateful for the multitude of teachers who have molded her, namely Harijiwan and Guru Jagat.  To learn more, please visit www.ramakaur.com.

AYDS_teachers_HeidiVaughtHeidi Vaught has practiced yoga for nearly 10 years and taught for almost five.  Originally hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, she received her 230-hr RYT from Infinite Bliss Yoga under the guidance and wisdom of teachers Allison Terracio, Laura Patterson, and Denise Stottomann.  Besides practicing and teaching yoga Heidi loves to garden, travel, cook, and hang out with her dog Bee.  Each year she devotes one to two months to traveling and living in other places, completely submersing herself in their unique cultures and atmospheres.  She finds that yoga is not unlike life, in that, if you show up often enough you will eventually find yourself in new and sometimes very strange places.

Heidi’s classes are light-hearted, up-lifting, and woven with storytelling.  She is inspired by ancient yogic myths, anatomy, and Asheville’s very hip (opening) yoga scene.  Her classes are guaranteed to give you the confidence boost and belly laugh you need to get yourself through the rest of the day, and maybe even the week. In her Gentle Align and Flow class, you will find yourself moving more slowly and holding poses slightly longer than in other flow classes. Being able to stay in one place a little longer, enables us to see more clearly what’s going on there. This knowledge and understanding of how our own particular bodies work can be used to skillfully negotiate each pose, finding that ‘sweet spot’ known as optimal alignment.


Hilary Drake’s classes open a space in which to explore sensations, thoughts, intentions, questions, and awareness itself toward the manifestation of true peace in this life. A 15-year practitioner, Yoga and Mindfulness are her top-pick tools for maintaining physical, mental & emotional balance in the dance of navigating life’s complexities. A graduate of Black Mountain Yoga’s Therapy & Teacher Training program and the Asheville Yoga Center’s Advanced Therapeutics Teacher Training, she owns and operates Thrive Yoga Therapy and Instruction, which provides a collaborative, practical, nurturing context in which to explore obstacles and illuminate each person’s potential for wellness. From her home studio, she offers one-on-one yoga therapeutics, couples yoga, and small group classes. She also serves as a Yoga Therapist at Asheville Family Fitness – Physical Therapy & Spine Center. Hilary’s style is warm and light-hearted with a focus on the breath and conscious intention. She emphasizes modification for the individual, safe alignment, self-inquiry, and internal listening so that each every student is empowered to practice a yoga that serves their body and mind moment to moment. She loves being a part of the AYC family. For more about Hilary, visit www.thrivewithyoga.com

Julia Albertson Julia Brenn Albertson has been teaching yoga in various styles for eight years. After being raised by yogi parents, Julia completed her first teacher training at the age of fourteen at the Miami Yoga Shala where she was deemed the youngest yoga instructor in the state of Florida. She continued to teach daily yoga classes based in the Power Yoga method for one year all over the Miami Beach area. It was when she met Kino MacGregor that her journey with Ashtanga began. Julia was one of the members on the opening teaching staff of MacGregor’s studio, Miami Life Center where she taught the Teens Yoga program. Years later she came to manage the studio and continued to teach weekly classes. She has taken class with the late guru of Ashtanga yoga Sri K. Pattabhi Jois as well as his grandson, R. Sharath Jois. Julia firmly believes in the power of yoga and service as a means of healing and recovery for all. In 2013 Julia completed the Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification program with its founder, Nikki Myers. She knows firsthand how yoga, in conjunction with other modalities, can inspire and secure a healthful and happy life. She hopes to carry this message with her wherever she goes.

Julia combines her backgrounds in Ashtanga Yoga and dance to create a playful and strong Flow class. You will sweat, breathe deep, and laugh your way through creative sequencing. She hopes to hold the space for deep personal connection, using humor and awareness to facilitate a fun and meaningful asana experience. To read more, visit facebook.com/JujuYogaLife

AYDS_teachers_KatieHayKatie Hay E-RYT-200 & RYT-500, received a 500 hour advanced studies in yoga teaching certification with an emphasis on Yoga Therapy in 2015 from the Asheville Yoga Center after completing a 200 hour yoga teaching certification at Tranquil Space in Washington, DC in 2010. She has been teaching multiple weekly classes and private yoga sessions, as well as specialized workshops since 2010. She combines her knowledge of anatomy & physiology,  psychology & yogic philosophy in her unique and authentic teaching style.  Katie’s yoga teaching has been described as supportive and inspiring, with clear and knowledgeable instruction. She encourages students to build their inner awareness, develop a mind-body connection, and to move through their practice with intention.

Katie came to yoga in 2010 as a way to process grief and manage anxiety, and it transformed her life. The practice of yoga has provided a way for Katie to keep her body strong and flexible while cultivating a healthful mind-body relationship. The joy and inner peace that Katie has found through yoga overflows into the energy she brings to her teaching.

KB Suarez teaches with the same passion that all his gracious teachers have honored. His classes are embodied with a fun creative vinyasa flow, including a spirited message, music, breathwork, smart alignment, inversions, meditation and laughter. He encourages a safe space, and will help you turn your life upside down, even for a second, and if you fall out of it, he will laugh with you. Humbled and honored to be a part of this sacred practice, he is happy to share with his students what he has learned during his amazing yoga journey. In practicing yoga he found his passion, but in teaching yoga he found his purpose. He aims to inspire others as he has been inspired, and continue to live the yogic path.

AYDS_teachers_Kourosh3-300x224Kourosh Kashani holds that a daily practice is essential in cultivating serenity, skillfully negotiating life’s challenges, and making a contribution to the greater good. He teaches meditation, yoga, and qigong as foundational tools in a daily practice, supporting the integration of the inner and outer dimensions of one’s life. He has studied Kriya yoga, Taoist yoga, and Tibetan Lama yoga, and has more recently begun an intensive study of Hatha yoga by completing Asheville Yoga Center’s 200-hr Teacher Training program in February 2014. Kourosh began studying Islamic Medicine in 1977 through his father. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in engineering from Virginia Tech in 1994, followed by a Master’s degree in Classical Chinese Medicine from the Traditional Acupuncture Institute in 1999. He has studied other forms of healing, including Osteopathic manual medicine, as well as the martial arts since 1990. Kourosh created the Circle of One non-profit Center of Traditional Medicine in 2000 to provide a means to support people in need. In addition to his clinical practice, he offers retreats, workshops, and trainings for the general public, as well as students and professionals, and he lectures publicly on subjects relating to spirituality, traditional medicine, eastern philosophy, and personal development.

Kourosh’s class incorporates all the limbs of Yoga – yama (moral disciplinary practices), niyama (moral observances), asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practice), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration practices), and dhyana (meditation) – as the basis for attainment of the 8th limb – samadhi, or union with God. The class balances silence with sound, stillness with movement, and rest with effort, for a unique experience. The ancient, sacred texts of India describe the human being as an “atman” or soul whose reality is deeper than the physical body it animates. While this class provides an opportunity to develop flexibility, strength, endurance, ease, and concentration, its objectives are loftier. The physical practice of asana is only one aspect of a holistic strategy conceived by the ancients to support union with the Divine as the ultimate goal of Yoga.

As a Licensed Acupuncturist Krystal Kinnunen weaves Chinese Medicine theory into her classes, bringing movement, wisdom, and health into one harmonious practice. She takes a classical approach to teaching, offering traditional Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. She also enjoys adding live music and dance to her classes. She received her calling loud and clear that her destiny was to teach Kundalini yoga, which was ironic since it happened while she was at a Vinyasa teacher training with Shiva Rea. Shortly thereafter through a series of synchronistic events, a friend took her to Golden Bridge Yoga in Los Angeles where she met Tej Kaur Khalsa, her soon to be mentor and teacher. Immediately Krystal signed up for teacher training and studied with Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, Tej Kaur Khalsa, and many other wonderful teachers. During her training she received her spiritual name, Siri Gobind Kaur, which means one who serves, helps and sustains all of mankind.

Krystal loves Kundalini and all forms of yoga and understands that yoga has the power to heal and transform a person from the inside out. Kundalini yoga’s aim is to encourage students to elevate to their highest potential and connect with their true identity through breath, mantra, and movement. Krystal is honored to have the privilege to share this ancient practice here in Asheville. For more info on Krystal and her healing work: sacredvalleyacupuncture.com

Kumiko Yamada is an 800hr Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher who has been practicing yoga since 2001.  She also studies under Tim Miller and has completed Ashtanga Yoga Training in both primary and second series.  Her daily (6 days a week)  yoga practice consists of asana, pranayama and meditation and striving to be kind to ALL beings.

Kumiko’s classes offer dynamic movement, incorporating sun salutations, creative asana sequencing, and mindful attention to alignment that works with individual bodies and students of all levels. Her classes are designed to inspire and motivate you to live fully, strengthen your practice and challenge your soul through powerful breathwork, asana and meditation.

When a friend casually showed Leaflin Winecoff her first yoga asanas in 1998, it sparked a deep remembering, and sudden illumination of a path before her. Yoga would be a guiding force of her life, and in order to fully receive this gift, she had to share it. By 2000 she had completed her first teacher training with the inimitable Diane Wilson of Portland, OR. She has since completed a variety of trainings including 200 hr certification at Atmananda Yoga in NYC, beginning and advanced Thai Yoga Massage training at Lotus Palm School in Montreal, and 230 hr Embodiyoga training with Lisa Clark. The other great and lasting love of Leaflin’s life is painting. If she is not at the yoga studio, she is probably at her painting studio in the River Arts District.
Leaflin’s classes are rich and flowing, incorporating elements of kundalini yoga, qi gong, and dance, and set to inspiring soundtracks. They are an exploration of the mysteries of inner space, with emphasis on pranayama, alignment through subtle anatomy, elemental inspiration, and the moving poetry of the body. She strives to consistently recognize the teacher presenting itself in every moment through all of life’s phenomena.

Lisa Sherman: A yoga practitioner since 2000, Lisa’s practice is rooted in the dynamic vinyasa flow styles of Ashtanga and Jivamukti. Coming from a background in Chinese medicine, she seeks to balance these yang styles with the softer forms of yin yoga, qigong and meditation. Lisa gained her Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification through the Blooming Lotus Yoga School, a well-rounded teacher training program, influenced by many great yoga traditions including hatha, vinyasa and yin, and is continuing her studies through AYC’s 500 hour Yoga Classics track. As a long-time student of Eastern wisdom traditions, Lisa believes that yoga is a way to cultivate body, mind and spirit to enable the practitioner to be of better service to all beings. Having had first-hand experience of the transformative power of yoga, she is passionate about communicating these insights so that others can enjoy their benefits. As a yoga teacher she provides a firm foundation for students by clearly explaining the mechanics of asana, pranayama and meditation. She aspires to provide a supportive relationship that encourages students’ growth and inspires them with a passion for transformation.

Lisa’s Hot Flow & Yin class balances dynamic yang vinyasa flow with yin yoga, qigong and meditation. Her classes build strength, stamina and flexibility, using playful, energetic sequences. Her instructions emphasize present moment awareness, alignment of the body, and attention to the breath. Her classes start low and slow, build up to creative standing flows and balances, and then move back down to the floor, to finish with some yin poses and a well-deserved relaxation.

AYDS_teachers_Luna-web-sized-222-250x250Luna Ray is a teacher of yoga, a workshop and retreat leader, kirtan musician and recording artist, and an activist for conscious and empowered community collaboration. As an advocate for wellness and spiritual growth, Luna works with the deep intention of inspiring and encouraging humans to cultivate an awareness of their inherent wisdom. Luna believes that by coming together, and using the tools of yoga, including mantra and meditation, we are led to our hearts deepest desires, and we build the strength to act upon them.

Luna has been a student and practitioner of yoga, mantra, music and meditation for the past 20 years, and a teacher for over 10 years. She is 200 hr certified, and her primary study of yoga philosophy has been tantra through the teachings of Rod Stryker and ParaYoga. She is devoted to the practice of Bhakti yoga, (yoga of devotion) and deeply influenced by teachers Russill Paul, Rama Jyotir Vernon, Krishna Das, and Ram Das. Luna has recorded, and co-produced three albums that feature nationally known artists including, Wah!, Girish, and David Newman. She has traveled and taught extensively throughout the world weaving ancient yoga tradition, and heart felt music and mantra to deeply touch the souls of many.

Luna is currently guiding a variety of yoga classes and workshops, leading on-going Bhakti Immersions for Women, teaching Bhakti Modules in 500 hr. trainings in the east and mid-western US, and mentoring yoga and music students (adults and children). She is also leading kirtan, and offering music within yoga classes at yoga festivals and in studios in the eastern U.S. She is a co-founder of True Nature Education, a holistic travel company who hosts a diverse catalog of retreats in Costa Rica each year, and the CREER Service Organization, an organization that creates a bridge of support from the US to the rural villages of Costa Rica. When Luna is not traveling, she resides in Asheville, NC with her husband Joshua and her young daughter Jaya. For more information about Luna and her offerings go to: kristinray.com.

Bhakti Flow + Live Music is a slow flow class which integrates asana, sound, breath, and relaxation to guide students’ awareness inward, prepare and ground them for the week ahead. The majority of the class is infused with a wise weaving of energizing poses and breath, which supports a specific and devotional theme. The final part of the class is restorative and restful, and accompanied by heart-felt live music.

AYDS_teachers_MadoMado Hesselink Biddle E-RYT 200, RYT-500 began practicing yoga in college in the late nineties as a way to balance her body from intense martial arts training. Immediately falling in love with yoga, she soon found herself doing more yoga than martial arts and has been a dedicated practitioner ever since.

Yoga Tune Up® is preventative maintenance for your body. Using both traditional and unusual yoga poses, self massage, and breathwork these classes help you to identify and target your “body blind spots”; areas of your body that are overused, underused, misused or abused. By intelligently addressing these problem areas, we heal damaged muscle, increase strength and establish healthy movement patterns. The result is less pain, improved posture and enhanced performance – a chance to live better in your body. This class is physically challenging, but very safety focused (ok to attend while rehabbing injuries). Great active recovery for athletes and a perfect complement to your practice of any other yoga style.

You can find out more about Mado on her website: trueselfyoga.com. She is also the creator of teachingyoga.net, a yoga teacher knowledge base.

AYDS_teachers_MaeveMaeve Hendrix has been teaching Vinyasa Flow, Yin and Restorative Yoga for the last five years after receiving her 200hr training at The Yoga Garden in San Francisco, CA. Currently working towards a Masters degree in Expressive Arts and Body-Centered Therapy, Maeve plans to incorporate yoga and meditation into an integrative therapeutic counseling practice.

Maeve’s teaching style reflects the message that each of us are our own greatest teacher and to embrace yoga as a way of life, a journey of self-discovery that unfolds with every conscious breath.

AYDS-teachers_MegandeMatteoMegan deMatteo is a wide-eyed student of curiosity and beauty who discovered in the last decade that this makes her a yogi. Her classes are slow-paced, yet highly intentional. She connects students to the pulse of the breath and chooses postures to honor both the physical needs of the body as well as its subtle layers. Her yoga practice is inspired by the Sri Vidya Tantra tradition and her Masters work in Narrative Medicine. She loves exploring the intersection of yoga, creativity, writing & health. Learn more by visiting narrative-yoga.com.


AYDS_teachers_MikeMike Closson‘s passion and motivation for practice, be it yoga or meditation, is to provide a safe and playful environment to embrace the present moment. His classes integrate mindful movements and pranayama in hopes that, with openness and curiosity, we will find quiet stillness and our own intuitive teacher.

Mike discovered Yoga in 2008, and participated in his first teacher training in 2012, but it wasn’t until he landed at Asheville Yoga Center that he discovered the whole wide world of Yoga and found his true passion to teach. He received his 230 Hour certification from Asheville Yoga Center, has trained in the Power Vinyasa methodology, and is also currently working towards his 500 Hour Certification with AYC.

He credits his teacher, Kimberley Puryear, with igniting his study of the teachings of Thich Nhat Hahn and Michael Stone, as well as instilling the value of maintaining a regular meditation practice. Coming from a background in coaching youth athletics, he is also currently training to teach Mindfulness to Youth, and has recently begun teaching yoga to youth in Asheville.

Nicole Killeen has been a student of yoga since 2006. She discovered a love for yoga while living in Boone, NC and going to graduate school at Appalachian State University. She graduated from Neighborhood Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training program in 2008 and is currently enrolled in a 500 hour training with Kelly Golden of ViraBhava Yoga.

Nicole’s Slow Flow class weaves breath and movement to balance and harness energy in such a way that your practice becomes powerful without any wasted effort. Her class works on shaping and harnessing vital energy through movement and breath. You will warm up from the inside out, to create a brighter, more balanced practice. Each class will end with a mediation practice

Paige Gilchrist’s warm and welcoming style will invite you to stretch, strengthen, balance, move energy, release stress and tension, and cultivate peace and joy you can take with you back into the world. Her classes weave together physical postures, breathing techniques, and mindfulness practices, all against an inviting backdrop of bells, chimes, chants, and other meditative music. This “mini-retreat” leaves students feeling more grounded, relaxed, rejuvenated, and at ease. Paige has been practicing yoga and Zen meditation for more than 15 years. She completed her 230-hour teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center, along with her 300-hour advanced certification in yoga therapeutics. In addition to teaching studio classes, Paige offers private sessions for individuals and small groups.

Rebecca Willman found her way to Asheville after gallivanting up and down the east coast for many moons. Having practiced yoga for fifteen years, Rebecca completed her teacher training program in Tampa, FL in 2006. She has studied yoga under various teachers in the US, Canada and India, and teaches with an open heart, intuitively tailoring classes and workshops for individual and/or group needs. Whether leading Restorative, Vinyasa or Gentle, Rebecca’s classes are for everybody, including beginners, special needs populations, advanced practitioners, and anyone open to spiritual, mental and physical healing. Rebecca specializes in practices that foster self-awareness, self-acceptance and empowerment.

In addition to studio classes, Rebecca offers private individual and group yoga, intuitive healing sessions and doula services. When she is not on the mat, she can be found painting, writing, exploring, fixing up her new (old!) home, fawning over mamas, babies and animals, dancing and laughing. For more on her approach to yoga, life and other adventures, visit kaleidoscopeis.blogspot.com.

Rebecca’s Gentle Flow & Restorative class is designed to offer depth, introspection and stress relief to students of all levels. This class allows practitioners an opportunity to explore their own flexibility, strength and calmness in a safe and supported way. With intention and attention to our physical, intellectual and spiritual selves, this well-rounded practice will include breath-work and a meditative asana practice. The class incorporates seated, standing, deep gentle and restorative postures to provoke quietness, reflection and physical rejuvenation. Leave with an acknowledgment of and connection to your own stability, groundedness and infinite reserve of inner peace and freedom.

Through her own discovery of how yoga can be life changing, Sally Knopp is passionate about sharing this experience with others and assisting students in developing their own yoga practice and ultimately the path of Self Realization. She enjoys studying Yogic tradition and philosophy and incorporates much of this tradition into her own practice and teaching. Focusing on exploring the movement of breath and body, students are offered modifications and variations of poses, allowing them to work at their own level while experiencing changes in body and mind. Sally is an experienced 500 hour yoga instructor and enjoys introducing the benefits of a yoga practice both on and off the mat.

Tanya Neplioueva is a registered yoga teacher, healthy living coach, and licensed massage therapist born in Minsk, Belarus and raised in the Bull City – Durham, North Carolina. She is so grateful to have found yoga after a childhood of gymnastics, dance, and sports quickly became young adulthood when her mother passed away in 2008.  Tanya is passionate about sharing yoga as a deeply expansive and therapeutic way of life.  Her vibrant classes combine her study of yoga asana, bodywork, dance, and advanced yoga therapeutics to offer each student a tailored practice with extensive hands-on assists.  Tanya graduated from AYC’s 200-hour teacher training in 2011, Samadhi Shala’s 200-hour training in Ashtanga Vinyasa in 2012, and completed her 500-hour Advanced Yoga Studies in Yoga Therapeutics with AYC in 2014.  She a graduate of the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga and is the owner of Embody Asheville Bodywork and Yoga Therapy.  www.embodyasheville.com