Each of our instructors brings their own individual style, experience, and philosophical orientation to their offerings. We recommend sampling a variety of classes and instructors, as each offers a little different.
Elena’s teaching style tends toward a slow flow with attention to breath, whole-body integration, and mindfulness-based inquires into the present moment. In her classes you will be guided to attune to the subtle nuances of your experience and to explore the depth and breadth of your awareness. She believes that the full expression of any pose is different from person-to-person, day-to-day. You'll be encouraged to get curious and honor your body and experience as it unfolds in the present moment.
Her yoga journey began in 2008 as a student of mindfulness meditation, and shortly thereafter she landed on her mat. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Yoga Center Amherst, where she studied Embodyoga® with Corinne Andrews and Patty Townsend. She has also completed 30 hours of training in restorative yoga therapeutics with Jillian Pransky. She is a Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) Facilitator, and is grateful for the opportunity to offer this adjunctive-treatment to individuals and groups who have experienced trauma. In 2017 Elena opened Great Falls Yoga with the aspiration to improve the accessibility of yoga to people in her community.
Jackie Howard is a 200 hour certified Akhanda (Holistic) Yoga teacher. She completed her training at Anand Prakash Ashram in Rishikesh India under the loving guidance of her teacher Yogrishi Vishvketu-ji. In addition to her Hatha Yoga training she is also a student of Bhakti Yoga in the Vaisnava tradition. Her approach draws from the idea that yoga is more of a ‘work-in’ than a ‘work-out’. Although a flexible body has many benefits, it’s ultimately the flexibility of the mind & the openness of the heart that will allow us to expand and grow infinitely in the journey of yoga. Jackie feels to be an effective teacher you must also be a dedicated student, she continues her training in the Akhanda, Bhakti & Sivananda traditions hoping to bring herself & students closer to our true nature, which is loving, compassionate & kind.
Tina Robison, RYT 200, began practicing yoga in 2000, being drawn to yoga to promote healing and alleviate suffering. Tina completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training with Eileen Muir at Karuna in Northampton, and her Birthing Mama® 90-hour Prenatal Yoga and Wellness Teacher Training with Corrine Andrews at Yoga Center Amherst. Tina has shared her practice as a teacher with community classes, high school classes, and most recently with expectant and new mothers. Primarily focusing on the teachings of BKS Iyengar, Tina has a gentle approach to yoga that helps create space and integrate body, mind, and emotions. Tina’s classes are a fun balance of turning inward, challenging yourself, and finding the ease in every pose.
Lauren had the privilege to study yoga with Swami Shantimurti in Ohui, New Zealand, where she received her 200 RYT certificate in 2013. The style of yoga that Lauren practices and teaches has its roots in the teachings of the classical, traditional yoga of the Saraswati lineage.
Lauren sees yoga not as a belief system, but as a system of mental and physical practices that help us connect our breath, mind and body. Her classes include a variety of still and moving postures, and conclude with pranayama (breathing) and meditation. She emphasizes the need to connect the mind, breath and body for optimum results.
Lauren's approach to yoga is as her approach to life: with lightness and an open heart. She believes that laughter helps to release the "monkey brain" that blocks our attempts for a clear mind, and so she encourages smiles and giggles throughout her classes.
Lauren has taught yoga in a private studio in Leverett, as well as classes for members of the Brick Coworkshop collective in Holyoke. She has also taught "Beer-belly Yoga" for employees of High Horse in Amherst, and more recently, had the opportunity to guest teach at Naturlig Yoga in Hitra, Norway.
In 5-Element philosophy the element of fire is known as the magician because it transforms everything it touches. There is something so magical about taking what you have and turning it into something new. It is not the "new thing" that is liberating, but the knowing that you can transform what you have. In her classes we go behind the scenes, where the real magic happens, and transform our prior knowledge, challenges and limitations into strength and freedom.
Kendra studied a very traditional style of yoga called Iyengar Yoga, but through multiple injuries and yearning to learn more she began to study Shiatsu (a Japanese form of bodywork), Shadow Yoga, Functional Range Conditioning, foundational gymnastics, movement patterns from the Movement Culture -- specifically the work of Ido Portal, and therapeutic work with muscle and connective tissue. Her teaching and her practice are highly influenced by these practices!
She teaches alignment, strength within mobility, grace, technique, and experiential understanding of the anatomy and emotions within the body.
Her classes are a living, philosophical inquiry into freedom through our bodies and our lives. She believes that truth, insight, clarity, and inner guidance can be discovered through the body. Her teaching uses yoga as a tool to investigate limiting thought patterns, our relationship to pain, and the ending of suffering. In this way, the practice of yoga can become a means of revealing and living in alignment with the heart.
Daniel has spent his life both terrified and infatuated with movement, pain, resistance, and change. Beginning the practice of yoga when he was 11, he quickly embarked on a mission to disassemble the dogma that he found, and to uncover the principles that he experienced to be lacking. He thinks of all movement as being a progressive system of practice, based on awareness of ourselves in relationship with the space and external world around us. As we embrace the cultivation of each layer that makes up who we are, pain patterns or just poor movement can become better movement and Daniel likens it to an excavation process in which we cast a light onto the parts of ourselves that need tending to, aligning and polishing our inner world so that our outer efforts become smooth and easeful. It’s yoga, but it doesn’t cease to be yoga if called something else. It’s the process of awakening to the question of human potential and equipping ourselves with the best tools for skillfully attending to our life's work.
As a teacher, Daniel's passion is to guide you down your own most direct route to skillfulness and ease as you tend to your own life. There is a method to the madness, and sharing this fluid movement practice method is Daniel's joy and where he feels most alive! The invitation is to come be alive, and express what that means through movement and awareness. Stillness included.
Sara rediscovered yoga after experiencing a significant life transition when she found that yoga and meditation provided a space where she could reconnect to her own inner strength and balance. A 2012 graduate of Nirvana Yoga‘s 200-hour teacher training, Sara seeks to share the power of this practice with her students. Sara is also trained in the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program and through the Mindful Schools program. She offers mindfulness programs to kids and families in the Valley. She also teaches at Nirvana in Sunderland and Green River Yoga in Greenfield. With her calm demeanor and sense of humor, Sara creates a peaceful and enjoyable atmosphere in her classes. A gardener and educator with over 20 years of experience, Sara combines her love of gardens and yoga in family and children programs through her business, Sweet Roots Gardens and enjoys working with people and sharing the experience of healing and joy she has found through her passions of yoga and gardening. She especially loves doing yoga with her daughter who always has a thing or two to teach her.
Michael Suter has been studying and practicing Taoist Inner and Outer Alchemy (Neidan and Waidan) and Tai Chi for 25 years, and privately teaching Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) and Qigong for 13 years. Michael’s background and training is in Healing Tao practices, as taught by Master Mantak Chia; Ba Gua qigong; and Chen Style Taijiquan as taught by Master Wang Haijun and Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Michael is also a syncretic shamanic practitioner and his teaching explores and seeks to give life to the shamanic roots of Taoist esoteric practice.