Meet Our Yoga Studio Instructors - Spirit Of Yoga

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Meet Our Yoga Studio Instructors

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KC Miller, E-RYT 200

Founder of Southwest Institute Healing Arts; Owner of Spirit of Yoga; Spiritual Director of UNITY Yoga Teacher Training; Author & Creator of Transformational Yoga Coaching; Innovator for CoreIntention-HathaTone; YTT 200 teacher; with over 25 years of personal yoga practice; Author of Toe Reading: Are You Walking Your Destined Path? Life Coach, Ordained Minister. KC’s yoga classes are varied from deeply spiritual to outrageous wild and fun; she is committed to her personal lifelong mission of touching people and freeing souls in everything she does!

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Duane Armitage, E-RYT 500

Duane Armitage is the creator of Hatha-Gong™. Steeped in tradition and driven by the discovery of his personal destiny, Duane has spent years perfecting the ancient art of Gong into a Hatha Yoga practice.

The practice of yoga proved beneficial in dealing with the high level of stress involved in his 30 year career in law enforcement. Upon his retirement, he continued his yogic path and now teaches Yoga Alliance approved 200 hour and Advanced Teacher Training Programs. One of his first teaching jobs was located in a rehab center and he continues to teach weekly as he finds this to be most rewarding.

Duane is a longtime student of the meditative arts with over 2,500 hours of yoga related teaching experience. He obtained his Yoga Teacher Training 200-hour certificate at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and completed the 500-hour Master Teachers Program at Inner Vision Yoga in Tempe, Arizona.

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April K. Brophy, RYT-500 and Hatha-Gong™ Master

April came to yoga 15 years ago finding a love of power and flow. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that she seriously considered becoming a yoga teacher and that search led her to SWIHA/Spirit of Yoga. Finding inspiration from each new teacher she studies with, April has developed a style that is both challenging and accessible to her students. She studies privately with her teacher, Tara Celaya and cultivates her personal practice which consists of meditation, asana and regular practice of restorative poses. April teaches Yin, Flow, Hatha, Restorative, Off the Wall, Ashtanga, intermediate/advanced as well as Basics classes. She teaches at several valley studios. April’s motto is “Be love, Be You!”

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Juli Burdette, RYT 200

Juli found yoga 12 years ago on her self-healing journey after years of suffering from addiction, anxiety & depression. The ultimate peace she experienced through the practice was vital for her recovery & inevitable freedom. She is a dedicated yoga student and instructor with deep passion for the transformative power of the practice and all 8 limbs, on and off the mat. Her studies are rooted in Anusara, Iyengar and Vinyasa, though she honors all lineages and paths.

Juli’s teaching journey began in 2009 at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Since then, she has studied with numerous master teachers and humbly carries their wisdom to her students. Her classes weave inspiring themes with specific asana sequences, pranayama, singing bowls, energy work, music & meditation. While scoliosis & spinal fusion surgery left Juli with limited mobility in her spine due to titanium rods, it enables her to access a deep compassion for students of all ability levels and physical challenges. She is also a mother, wife & community herbalist who believes that life in this body is a Divine school for the Soul & when we’re aware, we can see each lesson & blessing as they unfold. Juli is honored to authentically offer her heart & humor to each student, one breath at a time.

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Evelyn Steeb, RYT 500

Growing up the youngest of five children, Evelyn had boundless energy and was constantly searching for an outlet. Gymnastics appealed to her natural sense of balance. Volleyball and softball appealed to her competitive nature. Dance came easy and passionately. As Evelyn matured with time, she longed for something to expand both her physical and spiritual world.

Stumbling upon a beginner’s yoga class twelve years ago, cracked a door of possibility of attaining both. Diving deeper, she began Bikram Yoga and as her passion for yoga expanded her desire to stay in the corporate world diminished. With a leap of faith, she resigned from Corporate America in 2010 and began her studies of Hatha Yoga. Completing her 200 hours, with a private instructor at Arizona Yoga College, redirected her intentions in life. 2012 brought the opportunity to work at Hot Yoga, where she learned the business aspect of working at a studio. In 2013, Evelyn completed an additional 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. Studying under the instruction of Laura McKinzi, Evelyn continues developing her yoga practice by attending workshops and advanced seminars. She is blessed with four children and a wonderful family.

In her own words:
“Yoga has helped me in so many ways in the past few years… Bringing balance to my life and giving me patience in what is next. Living in the now! I really feel that it’s important to be present in my practice and enjoy the time. Always doing my best, and let all my decisions and path of action come from my heart. . So for me, I would like to bring that experience to my students and share the joy with others.”

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Earle Duskey, E-RYT 200 / RYT 500

Earle set out on a path to a healthier lifestyle in 1985 by joining a local ATA Taekwondo club in East Mesa. After achieving the rank of 3rd degree black belt and having his own school in Payson, AZ, he moved back to the valley to begin a new career in massage.

He graduated from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in 1994. In 2002, SWIHA moved to Tempe (its present location) where yoga and life coaching were his first classes to be taken. Ana Lunaria, Jeff Martens, Cain Carroll and Michelle Dante were his instructors in the yoga program. Earle’s other favorite Instructors included Anusara Inspired, Christy Burnette and Yin Yoga by Paul Grilley.

He loves to blend his massage and yoga into the self-healing art it is. Earle managed the SWIHA Yoga studio for two years in 2006 and 2007. He is currently taking the Advanced Yoga Training at Spirit of Yoga and certificates include, but are not limited to, 200hr Yoga Training, Life Coaching, Hypno/timeline/NLP, Master Toe-reading, Reiki Master, Massage Instructor for 8 years, and has been ordained in the Spiritual Studies program since December 4, 2009. Earle’s favorite yoga class involves chanting, breathing, slow-deep postures and ending with Yin.

Lisa Grunwald, RYT 500

Lisa Grunwald is a certified yoga teacher, having completed her training for her 500RYT credentialing through the Yoga Alliance. She is also a certified Yoga Nidra practitioner under Kamini Desai, and received specialized training in: Restorative Yoga with Mary Bruce, Kids Yoga, and under the mentorship of Duane Armitage, is also certified as a Hatha GongTM Master. After studying under Elizabeth Titelle, Lisa has been a Reiki Master from Dr. Usui’s lineage since 2008, as well as a practitioner of 5 Element Aromatherapy and Reflexology for Emotional Release.

Lisa’s yoga journey began in 2001. She initially sought yoga with the hope that it would be a helpful tool to help her deal with anxiety and depression. With practice, persistence, and a lot of patience, eventually she became free from panic-attacks. Her practice and teaching is rooted in the belief that this world is a unique expression of the divine, and that we are part of it; many of the workshops and classes that are taught by Lisa are focused around themes that bring awareness to this natural link. The freedom that she has found through her yoga practice, and continues to explore, is steeped in the awareness of the infinite support and flow of love that is each person’s birthright. She looks at each class as an opportunity to share and gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be created by bliss, for bliss, and to experience bliss.

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Meredyth Johnson, RYT 200

Meredyth Johnson is dedicated to helping people find peace, balance and healing through yoga. Meredyth is a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and Yoga Therapist. She discovered yoga in 1999 when she was suffering from insomnia and grief. Yoga helped her to slow down, breathe, and open her heart. In 2002 she completed her 200-hour certification at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and began teaching. She took a hiatus in 2006 after becoming ill. During her absence from teaching, Meredyth began to see yoga and meditation as tools for healing. She completed her Healing Emphasis Yoga Therapy Certification in 2013 at Inner Vision Yoga. Meredyth believes that healing arises from a deep self-awareness of how our perceptions, beliefs and habits impact our body, mind and spirit. She encourages her students to be in the present moment by bringing awareness to their breath, thoughts, and movements. She believes that yoga mirrors life and invites you to mix things up on your mat, stretch yourself a new way, connect your breath to your movement, put your attention on something uplifting, find the balance between effort and surrender, and then find stillness and feel how these changes heal you.

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Cecilia Marquis, RYT 500

Cecilia has taught yoga since 2007. She recently completed advanced training at Scottsdale Community College for the 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher designation from Yoga Alliance. Cecilia earned an Occupational Certificate in Yoga Instruction from SCC in 2012. She has studied both Iyengar and Anusara yoga. Cecilia has attended a number of classes and workshops on meditation, philosophy and pranayama. She is working toward a certification in Teaching Healing Meditation at Paradise Valley Community College. Cecilia has taught a workshop entitled Prop-a-palooza on the use of props in yoga poses, and a number of special sessions for busy professionals entitled Yoga at Your Desk.

Cecilia’s yoga classes emphasize proper alignment in poses. Students have an opportunity to be mindful and experience the poses from the inside out, nurturing themselves with compassionate awareness. Cecilia’s Hatha Basics class combines asana, meditation and often includes pranayama. She invites students of all abilities to attend her class as either initial instruction in asana, meditation and pranayama, or as a way to review basic principles of alignment and mindfulness.

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Laura McKinzie, E-RYT 500

Laura fell in love with yoga over 15 years ago and has returned to her mat over and over for the peace, stillness, and joy she finds in that space. She has discovered a way of living and being that brings so much fullness to life and this is what she shares with her yoga students. Through her years of training, she supports her students in navigating the individual path they are on. With a nurturing and loving spirit she guides each student to open up to their own uniqueness and inner strength. Laura has been teaching yoga for over a decade and is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an experienced teacher at the 500 hour level (E-RYT 500). She is currently a lead instructor for the 200 hour “Unity” Yoga Teacher Training Program at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona. She is also a certified Yoga Nidra Facilitator. Through her years of experience, she creates and adapts classes for the individual student, making yoga accessible to all bodies. Watching students shift from practicing their yoga into Being Yoga is one of the greatest gifts. Laura creates space for students to connect to the peace and joy that they truly are!

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Jackie Niemi, E-RYT 500

Initially appreciating the physical benefits of yoga, Jackie soon discovered its spiritual healing potential. Combining that passion with her love of people, she dedicated herself to intensive training in Yoga, Transformational Yoga Coaching, Yoga Therapy, Toe Reading/Soul Coaching, Life Coaching, Reiki, Yoga Nidra and Meditation. Nurturing, humorous and vulnerable, Jackie holds a space for you to experience the fullness of life in everyday moments. She encourages inner reflection, self-acceptance and connection within and among her students, creating a sense of community in which everyone feels safe and supported. Using gentle yet precise guidance to link breath, movement and awareness, she makes each class meditative and transformational. Whether teaching publicly or one on one, she responds to each student with compassion, understanding and unconditional love that empowers them to access their own innate ability to heal. In addition to her classes her at SOY, Jackie is available for individual or small group sessions, or simply to hold you in prayer. Connect with her on facebook at Heart Flow Yoga and Wellness.

Stuart Rice, E-RYT 500

Stuart Rice, E-RYT 500, has committed his life to providing yoga practices and teachings that heal, transform, and inspire others. Through his own study of yoga asana, pranayama, mantra, mudra, and meditation, Stuart has created his own synthesis practice that provides for the body, breath, mind, and spirit of his students. A natural teacher and healer, Stuart has literally guided thousands in workshops, teacher trainings, and group asana practices, all with the goal of awakening people to their full potential. Stuart gives thanks to the Divine for all the many blessings he has received and continues to receive in all forms.

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Monica Page Subia, E-RYT 500

Monica came to yoga as the result of a back injury. She was stunned to find that yoga not only healed her back (quickly!) but also transformed her heart, mind, spirit, relationships and entire life – all for the better! She completed her 500–hour certification at Svaha Yoga Shala in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her magnificent teachers there are of the Jivamukti lineage but also had Iyengar training, leading to a rich and diverse yoga education. She has also studied Anusara, Baptiste power yoga and Ashtanga. In addition, Monica completed a two-year Yoga Therapy training at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. In this training she studied (and continues to study) with several of the finest teachers in the Krishnamacharya/Desikachar lineage. Monica is also a professional musician/Bhakti yogini and is currently working on a mantra (musical Sanskrit chanting) CD. She has appeared for the past 3 years at Bhakti Fest, the “Woodstock of Yoga” with her friend and colleague, Masood Ali Khan. Monica’s sense of wonder and gratitude toward her students and the practice of Yoga continue to deepen. Yoga has miraculously transformed her life and she is very grateful to be teaching and enthusiastically sharing this miracle with others!

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Izzy Sunnes, RYT 200 & Hatha-Gong™ Master

Just like you, I’m on the journey to discover and experience thy best Self. I’ve learned there is a yoga for everyone of all shapes, sizes, belief systems and backgrounds, and I’m here to help you find your Yoga!

I’m a born and raised small-town Iowan gal, grateful for my rural roots and humble beginnings. After studying Psychology and working intimately with developmental disabilities and mental illness, I yearned for a deeper connection to our health.

My first introduction to yoga was through studying the Chakras, our main energy centers. I found a compelling path to navigating the human body, mind and mysterious allure of the Spirit. From there my curiosity sparked reading the Bhagavad-gita, Vibration and Sound Healing, Herbal Folk Remedies, Conspiracies, Philosophy, Indigenous Customs, Mysticism and the Nature of Reality.

I needed more, so I moved to Arizona in a car packed with whatever could fit and my main mustachioed man. It was one of the best decisions of my life!

I was blessed to commune with my healing path at SWIHA and learned the science of Yoga under Christy Burnette, Astara Robinson, Aradhana Kaur and my Gongmaster/Mentor, Duane Armitage. Through my Holistic Nutrition education with Don Matesz and Western Herbal studies with JoAnn Sanchez, I created connection with the medicine of the Earth. Le Sigh!….I had finally found what I was looking for!

Thus my yogic offerings stem from the desire to seek and know, drawing inspiration from various healing modalities. As I guide you, we learn and grow together. So I thank you for sharing space with me. I encourage you to trust your unique authentic path, connect with thy best Self and through the practice of Yoga live thy best Life!

Remember: we are not learning anything new, we are simply awakening and accessing we already know! …Stay Weird & Stay True to YOU…

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James Turner, RYT 500

James Turner is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves bringing his lessons from the trail onto the mat. He has backpacked and hiked for over ten years and now has a vision of mirroring the energy and the wisdom of the outdoors with the self-reflection and balance of his yoga classes. James completed his 500-hour certification through Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, and continues on with his education as a yoga teacher for additional life coaching. Using the vibration of the gong, breath work and the movement of yoga he helps guide his students to a new place of self awareness.

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Will Zecco, RYT 500 & Hatha-Gong™ Master – Transformational Coach

Will’s journey into yoga has been a life changing experience. He complete his 200 teacher training in 2011 and just recently completed his 500 hour teacher training at the end of 2013. A graduate of the Spirit of Yoga/Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and had the honor of training with Mary Bruce. In addition to his yoga training Will has complete his certification in Hatha-Gong™ and is a certified gong master as well Transformation Yoga Coaching, Polarity 1, Yoga of the Voice / Kirtan. With experience in education for over 30 years, a singer and ordained minister, it is Will’s vision to take Music, Movement and Meditation and bring it out into the world.

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Jordan Macbeth, RYT 200

Having dealt with anxiety and depression personally, Yoga has been my saving grace. I’ve learned to use the wisdom of my body, gain better control over my mind and calm my nerves and emotions. Yoga has brought me so much awareness and clarity of my body and mind and the link between the two. It has helped me to remember that creating this life is up to ME. We can’t control life but we can Look inward, Stop placing blame on outside sources, Begin to take our power and responsibility back, Focus on growth & improvement, and Practice acceptance of who we are.

Self-Acceptance is something I’ve struggled with deeply, as many of us do. I spent a good part of my life not realizing my worth and making choices I felt others would approve of instead of realizing that my own approval was what I needed all along.

A Yoga instructor, Reiki Practitioner and Cosmic Consultant. I began my Yoga practice in 2002 and in 2009 completed my 200hr certification at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ, received my YogaWorks certification in 2012 and in 2013, I became one of only 2 certified Naam Yoga Therapists in the state of Arizona. A newer practice on the West Coast, Naam is a Meditative practice that uses the powerful healing of breath {pranayama}, basic movement {asana}, chanting {mantra} and rhythmic movement to heal and balance the body and mind. We literally change our energy from the inside out.

I am passionate about healing and learning and believe in doing what is in our control to feel our best. Life’s mysteries have always intrigued me and as someone always looking for the deeper meaning I have found Yoga and Astrology to be a perfect fit. Being a student of Astrology from a young age, I began reading and interpreting for friends and family just for fun. As my knowledge grew reading Astrology Charts was a natural transition. As I continue fulfilling my passion for learning and understanding the Cosmic Consciousness, I currently offer ‘Cosmic Readings’ that integrate the ancient wisdom of Kabbalistic Astrology, Western Astrology, Oracle Cards and Intuition.

I love to encourage and increase understanding to find what we can learn within each and every moment. The more we gain control over our mind and become aware of our habits we will live a healthier, happier and more self-accepting life. My yoga classes are a unique and creative blend of Yoga traditions often infused with Astrological influences and designed with the intention to inspire, uplift, and bring healing.

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Jenna Gully, RYT 200

Jenna Gully grew up practicing yoga, but it wasn’t until she decided to get her YTT 200 certification that she adopted yoga as a lifestyle rather than simply a work out class. Along with her YTT 200 certification, Jenna has received training in Yin, Bhakti, Yoga Anatomy and Core Strength Vinyasa.

Jenna strives to share her passion for yoga and physical wellness while increasing others love and compassion for themselves.

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Donna Van Wyk, RYT 200

Growing up in South Africa, Donna is an outdoor enthusiast who has been interested in a colorful array of sports and activates throughout her life. She started her personal yoga practice 10 years ago, realizing it brought balance to her busy life and conditioned her body for other sports. Being a well-versed traveler, Donna found herself at a spiritual retreat one summer in the Canadian gulf islands while she was at a cross roads in her life. It was here that she found the inspiration to take a leap of faith and become a yoga teacher.

Her yoga teacher training at the Spirit of Yoga with Laura McKinzie was life changing. She discovered much more than the physical practice of Yoga as she explored herself, the breath (Pranayama) and how the body functions energetically and anatomically.

The energetic flow of her classes leaves room for some organic movement while being creatively challenging. However she also offers up modifications for all levels of students. She is currently undertaking her advanced yoga teacher training with a strong interest in Core Strength Vinyasa.

Donna loves to share her passion for nature, life and yoga through her teaching.

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Sean Shelton, RYT 200

Sean completed his teacher training in 2011 and has since become an E-RYT instructor. The desire to become a teacher of yoga came as a result of following 2 major passions teaching and inspiring others to live. Philosophy: Yoga can present a method of losing fear and gaining a clearer view of life. When we lose our fears we gain the ability to take on life at its fullest. This gives us the strength and the clear view to fly through obstacles and make the best of our life. Sean wishes to see the world inspired.

“To see the world in a grain of sand” William Blake.

Interesting/Unique: Teaching from a place of love and inspiration Sean draws on his experiences as a rock climber, diver and adventurer to show a different perspective on life and the practice. He also holds a degree in Psychology from ASU and draws many parallels to the studies of yoga. This has also fueled his passion for the teachings and knowledge of yoga.

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Trevor Reinhart, RYT 500

First introduced to Yoga in high school, he found himself coming back to the practice during his time with the Marines as a Force Reconnaissance Scout Sniper.

After the service, an adventure to the circus in S Florida, in early Nov 2012 Trevor suffered a fatal automobile accident; which cost him his life for 8-11 minutes.

Upon fully returning; baffling the nurse who found him walking around. The next day Trevor passionately dove headfirst into his practice of Yoga; tugging on every loose thread revealed from the experience. His journey has reintroduced him to old friends, Energy works, Hatha Gong, Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep), Kundalini, Transformational Yoga Coaching and the familiar variety of Pranayama. With only the Journey, and an ever changing direction, Trevor continues to explore and revel in the mysteries of Life, and Love.

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Joan Lloyd Collins, RYT 500

Aho!! Joan began practicing yoga in 2005 as part of a desire to recalibrate her mind and body to address the increasing challenges of work/life balance. She is a RYT- 500 hour level registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance. She is a certified Yoga Nidra Facilitator (Amrit Method) and Hatha Gong Master and teaches YIN, Restorative, Power, Yoga Foundations and Meditation. Joan’s classes focus on the importance of breath (to move prana energy) and fluid movement to reach mental and physical balance and produce that sense of well-being yoga is uniquely capable of invoking. Her aim is to achieve stillness, greater flexibility, stronger muscles, and proper body alignment. Joan underscores each class with her calm presence, reassuring guidance, and a focus on self-awareness.

As a registered nurse, she brings to her yoga classes a rich knowledge of anatomy and an awareness of the benefits of maintaining a healthy body and diet. Joan holds a bachelor’s degree in Nursing and a master’s in Health Policy from UC San Francisco. She is also a Yoga Teacher Training coach at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts working with 200-hour level and advanced yoga students. Joan is a student for life, always open to learning. She enjoys hiking out in nature, biking, tending her vegetable garden, sunshine, books, animals, her rescue boxer Imogen, and bringing the joys of yoga to all persons she meets.

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Serena “Wisdom” Richardson, RYT 200

Serena “Wisdom” Richardson also known as WisdomSOUL, is an active soul healer in the Urban Arts community. As a performance Poet, Wisdom has the ability captivate minds and uplift souls with her motivational and inspirational poetry. This amazing ability or “gift from above”, as she calls it, has helped her to become very successful assisting others to transform their lives and accomplish goals by discovering one’s true self.

A Graduate from The Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona.

Wisdom is a Certified Health and Wellness, Nutrition and Fitness Coach, Reiki Master/Teacher, Yoga Teacher, and Hypnotherapy Specialist. Combine this with her background as a Corporate Trainer and Personal Development Specialist, she has over 15+ years experience working with Women, Youth, and the Homeless.

Wisdom has a genuine love and compassion for people assisting each client in reaching their full potential by connecting Mind, Body, and Soul into one bringing into balance complete harmony with all three. Her trademark yoga practice places detailed focus on the seven chakras, energetic healing and rhythmic unity from soul to Source.

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Rose Velasco, RYT 200

After almost half a lifetime of wearing down her body in the career of motorcycle mechanics and many years of back pain resulting from a car accident, Rose found yoga and the healing abilities that come with it. Shortly after she found SWIHA which led her down the path to becoming a yoga teacher, holistic nutrition coach and certified urban farmer.

Rose fell in love with sharing the benefits of yoga so much that she left her previous career behind along with all the drama and pain that came with it. She dove head first into her new career of teaching yoga, urban gardening and nutrition consulting. Rose enjoys bringing a sense of peace and balance to her mat and offers her students a chance to find that balance of ease and effort within themselves on their mats through breath, alignment and moving meditation so they may bring that practice into their daily lives. Rose currently teaches at two valley studios, teaches private hiking yoga classes and volunteers teaching yoga to women refugees from all over the world through a women’s empowerment program.