Meet Our Teachers
Adam (Polhemus) Shirley graduated from teacher trainings with Asheville Yoga Center, Jivamukti New York, Tim Miller (Ashtanga) and the school of hard knocks. 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.
Jivamukti, which means living liberated, is a yoga method created by Sharon Gannon and David Life that guides body and soul to spiritual freedom, physical strength, peace of mind, better health, and self-realization – the ultimate goal of any practice. Designed to inspire and motivate you to live fully, it will strengthen your practice and challenge your soul through powerful breathwork, asana and meditation.
Alex Ali: With a background in martial arts, classical ballet and modern dance, Alex has been a lifelong student and teacher of the body. Classes infuse a broad range of movement vocabulary to foster kinesthetic awareness and authentic expression within each student. By incorporating the physical, ethical and spiritual components of yoga, Alex offers transformation both on & off the mat.
Alex believes that the human body is a self-sustaining miracle, wired with its own language of experience and ability. Alex emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and the cultivation of an authentic desire to simply experience the body; without ego, judgment or expectation. Through proper alignment, dynamic movement and mindfulness mediation, he invites you to surrender your body to a physical practice, and open your heart to a metaphysical experience.
Read more at alexaliyoga.com.
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 oneonone yoga therapy work and is currently training in OrthoBionomy techniques to work more fully with the parasympathetic nervous system. A self-proclaimed 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.
Slow Flow and Deep Stretch is a mindful mix of holding poses for a bit longer with intelligent transitions in between and then a balance of yin poses to really ground you for the rest of your week. Breathing is the essence of slow flow and you will build a powerful practice and balance with a therapeutic stretch and yoga nidra or relaxation techniques that will allow you to fall deeper into your bliss layer. Really, the class could be call ‘Slow It Down, Bliss It Out’!
Kick Your Asana invites you to kick your vinyasa practice up a notch, in a fun and challenging class! Each week, the class leads up to a ‘challenge’ pose and, even though this class will kick your asana, it is open to all levels. Get ready for a sweaty class where you will learn more about the poses while listening to rock ‘n’ roll playlists. Really, this class could be called ‘Rock your Asana’!
Andrea Rich brings over 30 years of yoga and meditation practice to her classes. At age 12, she was introduced to meditation, and five years later she 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, she apprenticed at Lynda Mitchell’s Hatha Yoga studio in Bloomington IN, receiving one of the first teacher certifications offered by the studio.
In 1997, while spending the summer on Fire Island NY, she was asked to take over the only class going in that area, and so her teaching career began. She went on to start up two classes in NYC’s East Village, one one at a progressive bookstore, and the other at the Interfaith League, both on 1st Ave. Since then, she continued to teach private clients consistently, in upstate New York, and has added an additional teacher training certification from Sadie Nardini’s Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga. She has continued her studies at Ananda Ashram, her ‘home away from home’. Here, her immersion into vedic ritual and philosophy, sanskrit and chanting, as well as ayuryoga taught by Dr. Vasant Lad, has opened new ground for her. Andrea has created her own program, ‘The Misfits’ Guide to East West Living: a lifestyle guide for success’, which combines Tarot and yoga. Read more at arichproduction.com.
Through pranayama and sustained inwardly focused asanas, Andrea’s Pranayama class will profoundly and quietly anchor intentions. This ancient medicine guides students effortlessly to their natural state of meditation. With this class students can start their day by planting and nurturing the seeds they want to grow.
Anna Levesque: Yoga has enhanced Anna’s life and career as a professional whitewater kayaker and stand up paddle boarder for over 18 years. Whether she’s teaching yoga as part of her whitewater kayaking and yoga trips in Costa Rica and Nepal, on her paddle board teaching SUP yoga classes or in the studio, Anna creates a calm space for her students to nurture awareness of their bodies and minds for alignment, health and healing. She graduated from AYC’s 230 hour TT in 2010 and is working toward her 500 hour certification. 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 asana, pranayama and meditation, and is deeply connected to nature through kayaking, paddle boarding and her path on the Red Road. For more information you can visit her websites: mindbodypaddle.com and watergirlsatplay.com
In her Flow, Align & Unwind class, Anna invites you to join her for a mindful, slow flow that gets your energy and your muscles moving while also cultivating alignment that will help your body stay balanced, healthy and strong. Once students have energized their bodies and steadied their minds, they move into rejuvenating poses that help them to further integrate and unwind from the stress and pressure of daily life. Flowing mindfully and then unwinding provides the space for our bodies to better digest and process nutrients and for our minds to better digest and process mental/emotional challenges in our lives. It’s a great practice for bringing awareness to how your body, mind and spirit work together for your best overall health and life. Anna brings to class influences from her studies in alignment and flow based yoga, Ayurveda, and healing circles based in Native American spirituality.
Ashley 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.
Inversions Playshop is a full-blown celebration of flying, transitioning, and moving upside-down through vinyasa, with grace, focus, and zeal. This class is the perfect supplement for the intermediate or advanced practitioner with a strong and forward moving daily practice. Also for the one eager to invest more time demystifying, exploring, and strengthening their experience of the inverted and flying magical corners of asana. Let’s play! There is no box! (There are, however, more than enough bolsters to cushion any potential face plants and all certain laughs!)
Becca Odom: As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Associate and Certified Yoga Teacher, Becca combines clinical therapeutic methods with mindful yoga techniques to create a space for deep emotional, physical and spiritual healing for her students. Becca has been practicing yoga for over 8 years now and it has been remarkable for her to witness her process of growth and self-exploration through this practice. After exploring a wide range of classes in various styles of yoga, Becca has settled into a sweet love for yin and restorative yoga. As a practitioner, Becca maintains awareness of the stages of human development and its relationship to the development of our own chakra system to provide a more individualized approach when teaching yoga to her students. It is her goal as a teacher to empower others to heal themselves because she truly believe that we each hold the key to our own happiness and she feels it is an honor to offer tools to unlock and release whatever is not serving us in the present moment. Becca is the founder of Soulful Spirit Yoga which offers Yoga Centered Psychotherapy and Equine Yoga sessions.
Becca teaches a breath centered practice using mindful techniques because she believes that our breath is the one thing we have with us at all times no matter where we are-from the moment we come into this world until the moment we take our last breath-it is our constant companion. She believes that by enhancing our relationship with this part of ourselves will help increase our own self-awareness and ability to become more aware of our emotional, physical and mental response to experiences. This practice helps us develop the skills to become the true witness to our mental and emotional processes that occur all the time, so that we can make a more conscious choice about the way we truly want to live.
In her Restorative & Yin + Live Music class, Becca guides students through gentle and renewing restorative yoga postures to nourish the body, while Lia plays the harmonium and sings live. Restorative yoga is appropriate for all experience levels, all ages, & all body types. Poses are mostly done slowly and on the floor, and are not demanding on the body. This class is therapeutic and relaxing, and is great for those who are feeling stressed out or injured.
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.
Intuitive Experiential Yoga is a blending of complimentary elements from multiple yoga and other traditions that work with interpersonal growth and transformation. This experiential approach is both soft and nurturing, as well as fiery and ecstatic, often working at the somatic root level to move energy below the patterns of conditioned mind beliefs. Carefully blended music evokes the group container through a journey of postures layered with deep, and often personally unique, intuitive somatic expressions. The class journeys through cathartic movement of blissful joy, shadow and grief, powerful pranic expressions, and sweet nurturing feminine earth energy. The yoga sequences layer and weave in practices such as improv chant, chi gong, ecstatic dance, shamanism, indigenous teachings, pattern theory, mythology, vocal prana release, songs, etc. Numerous yoga traditions influence the practice as students let go of attempting to do yoga and invite the yoga to do them.
Corey Brown. With an open heart and open mind, Corey affirms the dignity and worth of all people and provides students with a safe space for self-exploration and growth through yoga practice. She graduated from the 230-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Asheville Yoga Center (AYC) and is a licensed Psychotherapist and Expressive Arts Therapist specializing in wellness and stress management. In the spring of 2014, Corey will continue her professional development by starting the 300-hr Classics of Yoga Teacher Training also through Asheville Yoga Center. She is also a photographer. Amazed by people and their life stories, Corey enjoys capturing images in a way that highlight ones unique personality. She loves to hike and play outdoors as well as travel as much as she possibly can.
Corey teaches a creative and energetic Bhakti Vinyasa & Meditation class that combines movement with breath and expression while weaving in evidence based philosophy of holistic wellness and stress reduction. Bhakti Vinyasa is a dynamic, soulful, devotional and rejuvenating physical yoga practice fusing the principles of hath a vinyasa yoga (the union of body, breath, and movement) and the qualities of bhakti yoga (gratitude, open-heartedness, humility, compassion, and devotion). Each class includes a 15 minute seated meditation practice.
Courtney 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. 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. Courtney’s teaching 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.
Mindful Flow & Yin is a slow-paced class, designed to help bring awareness to the mind-body connection through breath and stillness. A slow flow combined with longer yin holds, allows for deep focus on correct alignment and encourages the body’s connective tissues to relax, remold and detoxify.
Danielle Marie Goldstein is a certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor and a Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga Instructor. She was first introduced to Kundalini Yoga in 1996. During her college years she developed a strong Kripalu based yoga practice and was inspired to to become a certified instructor in 2006. In 2008 she took the Khalsa Way prenatal yoga teacher training with Gurmukh and an Anusara based pregnancy course with Jessica Jennings.
Danielle has been a birth advocate since 2008 serving women and their families as a birth and postpartum doula, prenatal and family yoga instructor, and mentoring Birthing From Within® childbirth classes. She offers distinct services including: prenatal & postnatal health consultations, birth art sessions, mother blessing rituals and placenta encapsulation for hormonal balance. Danielle is also a community herbalist with a passion for plant medicine. She feels blessed to have learned from so many fabulous mentors, her daughter being the brightest and most inspiring of all!
Danielle’s Prenatal Yoga & Meditation classes are grounded in the technology of Kundalini yoga with a strong focus on alignment. They offer expecting mothers a safe and sacred space to prepare for labor, a conscious birth, and motherhood through yoga and meditation. This class welcomes women at all stages of their pregnancy, including women who wish to conceive. We will weave a community of heart centered connection and support. Read more at theconsciouscanopy.net.
Evan Hart Marsh began his practice in 2004 studying various styles including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Ishta, Yin, Therapeutics, Vinyasa, and Restorative. His approach to teaching yoga is greatly influenced by different forms of movement therapy including Gyrotonic®, Pilates, and Physical Therapy. He holds a B.A in Dance with an emphasis in Physical Therapy from Loyola Marymount University. In 2008 he began teaching in Berkeley, CA at Berkeley Yoga Center and in 2010 moved to New York City to complete his 200hr certification. Evan continues to participate in additional teacher trainings and workshops that focus more on spinal care, disc herniations, scoliosis, injury prevention and recovery. He recently moved to Asheville in 2014 and is currently enrolled in AYC’s 300hr Therapeutic Yoga Program.
Therapeutic Flow invites you to connect your breath with mindful movement therapy. Whether you are new to yoga, recovering from an injury, or interested in preventative care, classes are designed to fit the needs of the individual. We will explore a holistic approach for a sustainable practice using movement as a form of healing. Instruction is hands on to ensure safety and to guide students towards proper alignment and positive growth. The focus of class is for students to align, strengthen, and thrive on and off the mat. To read more, visit evanhartmarsh.com.
Gayle Jann believes strongly in yoga’s ability to heal and promote optimal health. Her years of experience in whitewater kayaking, horseback riding, modern dance, skiing and jogging contribute to her deep understanding of movement and the biomechanics of the body. Yoga has helped her see how the foundation of alignment and how we move are related in all of our activities. Gayle has a keen interest in the therapeutic aspect of yoga and has studied Anusara, Iyengar, Ashtanga, flow, and hatha yoga, and was certified through AYC in 2000. Rather than following one particular style of yoga, Gayle blends what she has learned from all these styles with her own intuition into her practice and teaching.
Gayle’s Deep Core Align & Flow classes use a spiritual theme to inspire the shape and feeling of your poses and the flow between poses. Attention to building a strong core and alignment cues are woven into a creative sequence that is designed to help you understand your own body and respect its talents and limitations. Classes are challenging, yet accessible, and guide you to work the deep core lines of the body and move gracefully from the inside out. Read more at www.YogaAtYourPlace.net.
Hilary Drake believes that rue health represents a graceful choreography between the physical, emotional, and spiritual body. Yoga teaches that we can maximize our chances for health and healing when we consciously align these essential elements. Over the years, movement and the practice of yoga have guided Hilary through many of life’s challenges – rehabilitation from sports injuries, as well as recovery from disillusionment, loss, and grief – and back toward a feeling of wholeness. A practitioner for over 20 years & graduate of the Black Mountain Yoga Yoga Therapy and Teacher Training, Hilary owns and operates Thrive Yoga Therapy and Instruction, a private practice based out of Asheville offering one-on-yoga therapeutics, instruction, and small group classes.
Her classes are a playful, light-hearted hybrid of Vinyasa Flow and Restorative, with a focus on intention, anatomy & alignment, self-inquiry, and internal listening.
JaneAnne Tager aka Pretzel Kids Mama has been practicing yoga for a decade and a half and has benefited from its positive physical and mental changes. She began to explore kids yoga when her daughter developed asthma and has now been teaching kids yoga in yoga centers, schools, and dance studios for over ten years. JaneAnne’s educational background includes degrees in child psychology, speech pathology, and a master degree in training and facilitation. She received both her 200 and 500 hr yoga certification through the Asheville Yoga Center and has trained with Marsha Wenig, featured in Time Magazine and Yoga Journal and Sonia Sumar, who specialises in using yoga as physical (and emotional) therapy for special needs children. She also teaches pre-natal and gentle yoga.
JaneAnne loves teaching kids yoga and her classes are not only playful, but also improve strength, balance, flexibility and offer a heightened awareness to their young minds and bodies. She notes that kids can make significant progress in a short period of time, and seem to be very proud of what their bodies can do. Every class is different, as is each student.
Janelle Railey’s yoga classes are informed by her twenty-year endeavor to understand the wisdom of the body in its changing shades and textures. A licensed, practicing psychotherapist, she has sought extensive teachings in Ashtanga, Kripalu, Anusara, Sivananda, Authentic Movement, Experiential Anatomy, Neurobiology, Contemplative Psychotherapy and Vajrayana Buddhism. Janelle is invested in the stories that live within the body intrinsically, viewing yoga as a method of developing reverence for the body and accessing deep potential, beginning with the “core” connection – anatomically, philosophically, and sensually.
Janelle views her Deep Core Flow class as something that can benefit any level or style of practitioner. Her classes give attention to the depths of physicality and personality while challenging each practitioner to become a keen investigator of his/her specific, felt experience.
Jessica Dodd practices Ashtanga and Dharma Yoga. She has trained with Sri Dharma Mittra and continues to study under influential teachers from both styles. Her classes are authentic to the lineage of Sri Dharma Mittra with classical teaching of hatha vinyasa, pranayama, meditation and yogic philosophy. For Jessica, yoga is the practice of a lifetime with several limbs to study beyond asana. As a teacher, Jessica aims to offer students a balance of flexibility and strength in all classes.
Dharma Yoga is an energizing and grounding vinyasa class. Students practice sun salutations to warm up the body, bring flexibility to all muscles and joints and wake up the nervous system. A gentle, yet powerful series of balancing, stretching, back bending, twisting and inverted postures follow. This practice ends with deep relaxation, pranayama (breathing exercises) and meditation to remove impurities and bring a sense of well-being to the body and radiant peace to the mind.
Joe Taft believes in the power of yoga to help achieve the goals of mindful living and moving with awareness. Joe (E-RYT500) is a former Certified Anusara® Yoga instructor who has dedicated himself to the practice of yoga since 1997, and to teaching since 2002. His teaching style is approachable, lighthearted, uplifting and transformational, and he infuses his classes with deep, life-affirming Tantric philosophy, through myths, story-telling, and the wisdom gathered through his own life’s journey. Joe values humor in all aspects of teaching and life which makes his classes a fun experience for everyone. Anusara Yoga’s principles of alignment and therapeutic components match Joe’s keen awareness of body biomechanics and his long history as a devoted athlete. After years of avid whitewater kayaking, Joe’s quest to relieve his chronic back pain led him to his life’s passion, the study and teaching of yoga. To read more, visit joetaftyoga.com.
Whether you have an injury or merely wish to understand therapeutic alignment principles, then Joe’s Therapeutic Yoga for Injuries is for you! This class is a fun exploration of the divine order of the human body. The class starts with a 15 minute warm-up, then explores a particular injury or area of the body. Techniques, including self-massage, yoga postures, or breathing practices, are taught to realign any imbalances which are the root cause of pain or discomfort. This class is for all levels, and questions and open discussions are always welcome. The class is recommended for yoga teachers who wish to deepen their therapeutic knowledge and experience.
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’s yoga classes combine her background in Ashtanga Yoga and dance to create a playful and strong Vinyasa 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.
KB Suarez, a self proclaimed Yoga Evangelist, teaches with the same passion that all his gracious teachers have honored. Before becoming a teacher, yoga created a shift in his life, empowering his breath, strengthening his body, and stretching his mind. Since receiving his Teacher Training at Sonic Yoga NYC, he has furthered his studies with advanced trainings with James Fox (Prison Yoga), Mark Lilly (Street Yoga), David Williams (Life as a Yogi), Manju Jois (Ashtanga) and Power Yoga Teacher Training with Bryan Kest.
His classes are embodied with a fun creative vinyasa flow, a spirited message, smart alignment, breathwork and meditation. Humbled and honored to be apart 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.
Kelsey Armbruster has been an active yoga practitioner since 2009 and received her RYT-250 hour training from Asheville Community Yoga Center in 2012. For Kelsey, yoga is her compass home; it has taught her to be aware of her breath in any situation. When breathing through life, she believes, we can accept and activate all the infinite awareness that is channeled through us. Sharing her practice with the world to improve and motivate the health and growth of others has been her dream since she was a child. In finding yoga, she has found a shared bliss that transcends the unconscious to consciousness.
Innercise Yoga, Kelsey’s unique style of Vinyasa Flow is designed to balance the body, clear the mind, and activate awareness. Based on the fundamentals of Hatha yoga, this therapeutic flow class provides a series of balanced asanas to enhance and expand not only your strength, but your center. In this expansion, the unconscious becomes conscious. Along with breath and movement, this integration of body center and source, ignites divine knowledge. The intention of this practice is to embody and cultivate this bliss in your daily journey.
Kourosh 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.
BodyMindSoul Flow 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.
Krystal Kinnunen is in her fourth year of Chinese Medicine School at Daoist Traditions and is treating patients currently in the College clinic while raising a loving daughter. About 18 years ago, Krystal discovered yoga by attending weekly vegetarian potlucks that included yoga and meditation. This started her on the path of self-healing and exploration. Krystal healed many family ancestral wounds through breath, yoga and meditation. 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 yoga has the power to heal and transform a person from the inside out.
Her classes feature traditional Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga’s aim is to encourage students to elevate to their highest potential and connect with their true identity.
Kumiko Yamada aka Kumari is originally from Tokyo, Japan and brings a wonderful understanding of the world to her classes. She has been teaching yoga in New York and internationally for over a decade. She is trained in both vinyasa and Jivamukti styles and has a BSc in psychology from Boston University.
Kumiko is an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher and was the Director of Continuing Education at Jivamukti before moving to Asheville in 2013. Jivamukti, which means living liberated, is a yoga method created by Sharon Gannon and David Life that guides body and soul to spiritual freedom, physical strength, peace of mind, better health, and self-realization – the ultimate goal of any practice. Designed to inspire and motivate you to live fully, it will strengthen your practice and challenge your soul through powerful breathwork, asana and meditation.
Kumiko’s classes offer dynamic movement, incorporating sun salutations, creative asana sequencing, and mindful attention to alignment that works with individual bodies. Jivamukti, which means living liberated, is a yoga method created by Sharon Gannon and David Life that guides body and soul to spiritual freedom, physical strength, peace of mind, better health, and self-realization – the ultimate goal of any practice. Designed to inspire and motivate you to live fully, it will strengthen your practice and challenge your soul through powerful breathwork, asana and meditation.
Lindsay Munro began practicing yoga in college in 2002, but her deep love for yoga developed when she was living in Ireland. Against the backdrop of the gorgeous Irish landscape and the soul of this amazing country, Lindsay began each morning on her yoga mat and found that time to be very transformative for her life. As a result of this deepening, she pursued her 200 hour certification to teach, but moved back to the US before completing the program. Upon returning to Asheville, Lindsay had a strong desire to complete her training and to share her love of yoga with others. She graduated from the 230-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Asheville Yoga Center (AYC) and is currently pursuing her 300 hour training, also through AYC.
Lindsay believes that we, in this culture, are over-worked, over-stressed, over-anxious, and constantly pushing ourselves. Her Restore & Renew classes focus on allowing the space to renew and restore the body, mind and spirit through relaxation and gentle postures. Restorative yoga is appropriate for all experience levels, all ages, and all body types. Poses are done slowly and mostly on the floor. Restorative yoga is not demanding on the body. It is a relaxing style of practice that leaves you feeling open and refreshed. Come spend some time nurturing yourself in a compassionate and gentle environment.
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, yin forms of qigong and sitting 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.
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 (87 degrees F) classes build strength, stamina and flexibility, using playful, energetic vinyasa sequences. Her instructions emphasize present moment awareness through alignment of the body and attention to the breath. Classes start low and slow, build up to creative standing flows and balances, and then move down to the floor, to finish with some yin poses and a well-deserved relaxation.
Kristin ‘Luna’ 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.
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 & Meditation 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. 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 in styles ranging from restorative to vinyasa flow to yoga basics, 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 babies and animals, dancing and laughing. For more on her approach to yoga, life and other adventures, visit kaleidoscopeis.blogspot.com.
Rebecca’s Deep Peace Flow 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.
Tanya Neplioueva RYT-200, Tanya is passionate about sharing yoga as a deeply expansive and therapeutic way of life. Her vibrant classes offer an eclectic blend of her background in Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow, Anusara, Yin Yoga, and bodywork, allowing each student a tailored practice with extensive hands-on assists. Her teaching style seamlessly weaves pranayama, meditation, and intention practices with asana for a refreshingly dynamic and integrative experience. Tanya is a graduate of Asheville Yoga Center’s 230-hour Teacher Training, Samadhi Shala’s 200-hour Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training, and of the 675-hour program at the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga.
Tanya’s Vinyasa Flow and Pranayama class is designed to awaken the spine and brighten the mind with breath-focused asana followed by a seated pranayama practice. This vital combination increases energy, purifies the nervous system, and eliminates toxins from the body and blood. Each class offers students a foundational sequence focused on two or three breathing techniques. Advanced options are offered for seasoned practitioners. Techniques covered include dirga swasam, kapalabhati, nadi suddhi, ujjayi, bhastrika, and brahmari pranayama.
Vanessa Santucci is first-generation Venezuelan with Italian parents, who grew up in Caracas. Her grandmother, who lived nearby and practiced yoga regularly, mostly for healing and meditation. Although Vanessa didn’t start yoga herself until much later, early memories of her nonna’s calm and peaceful ways provide her with a mental model and goal.
After attending college in the United States, Vanessa decided to settle in Orlando, where she worked in banking for many years. But when she wasn’t at work, she was studying hatha yoga with Marilyn Glasser – becoming more and more absorbed in the practice with every year. After practicing yoga for over eight years, she decided to make a major commitment to her practice, researched the training possibilities and moved to Asheville to enroll in an intensive, nine-month certification program with the Asheville Yoga Center, during which time she practiced many different styles of yoga and immersed herself in yoga literature and theory. In 2011 she completed the 240 RYT and has been a part of the great community of teachers at Brevard Yoga ever since, until her recent move back to Asheville. She currently has over one thousand hours of combined group and private teaching, with experience in Gentle, Basic and Energetic Yoga.
Vanessa’s warm and supportive nature reflects her yoga style, creating a safe environment for her students to explore and grow in their practice. For Vanessa yoga is ultimately an outlook and approach to living that extends into all areas of life, compelling one to live in a moral and ethical way, in a manner that is consistent with natural laws and in harmony with the world around us.
Vanessa teaches Gentle Flow, because a challenging yoga class is good, but sometimes your body needs to go GENTLE! Moving with deep awareness and mindfulness, students are eased into a variety of postures, linking these postures with the breath to help build a foundation that opens the body and mind for a well-rounded practice. This class is perfect for students who appreciate longer holds in individual postures and prefer a slower and more meditative approach to practice while still reaping the benefits of a physical practice.