I believe in yoga because it has kept me alive in both the physical and energetic sense. It has kept my arthritic joints mobile. It has kept my anxious mind kind. It has kept my busy life joyful. I am always struggling, and through the movements and teachings of yoga I have been able to find bravery to connect to myself and to others through (not despite) the struggle. I am lucky enough to have a stream of consistently extraordinary teachers. I am ERYT500 certified, and have had diversity in teacher and curriculum style through my years of training. Some of my best teachers have technically been students. I am lucky to have a highly varied experience of students in highly varied environments. I have worked at several yoga studios, hospitals, gyms, offices, homes, and schools. Every student has been a teacher, and I have had an excellent education. I am hungry to keep learning from the students at Village Yoga and Wellness. My passions are expression, connection, earth shaking bone quaking truth, and empowerment. My classes are typically a mix of traditional yoga and non traditional exploration. I don't teach a class without breath work and some form of meditation.
I am also a photographer, author and mother/stepmama of five children. I want to have a billion dogs, and a few good cats. I get cranky if I don't get taken on walks. I have seen some terrible pain, and I still believe that humanity is beautiful. I believe it takes a village.
I came to yoga over 20 years ago because I didn't like how I felt physically all the time at that point in my life. I practiced on-and-off for years for that same reason, but I finally stuck with it when I realized it would also help when I didn't like how I was feeling mentally and emotionally as well. I continue to practice for all of those reasons and I've been teaching yoga for 10 years in order to share those gifts with others who also want to feel better. These are some of the reasons I'm also a professional philosopher. I have a PhD in philosophy and am a professor at Buffalo State College, where I teach Philosophy of Mind and Emotions, Philosophy of Yoga, Zen Buddhism, and Meaning of Life. Exploring philosophical questions has also made me feel better emotionally and mentally and has helped me think about how to live a better life: that is how to be a better person and how to be happy. I love teaching philosophy in order to help others have those experiences too. My current professional work happens to overlap with my yoga teaching. My recent publications include “How to be a Yogi and an Aristotelian”, “Action and Inaction: Reasons to Act in the Bhagavad Gita”, and “Yoga, Ethics, and Philosophy”. I'm particularly interested in what yoga and meditation can teach us about the world and about ourselves. That inquiry in an integral part of my yoga practice and my yoga classes.
“Research and understand your enemy. Change your life to deal with the threat. Take action.” I do not recall where I first saw that, but it landed for me, so I wrote it down and saved it on a scrap of paper. For me, the enemy is stress. I have done my research and yoga has been a foundational part of how I have taken action to combat the enemy.
I have been dealing with autoimmune diseases for over 15 yearsand learning to manage stress by adding tools like yoga and meditation to my life has been curative. Yoga especially has been my salvation and has been a huge outlet for me. It has enabled me to see beyond my perceived limits and grow in my physical practice, as well as my emotional and spiritual realms. A few years ago, my mom passed away very suddenly, and yoga was an anchor for me. I ended up out of work for a few months, and my practice was what got me out of bed every morning. Yoga above all else helped me to deal with my overwhelming grief.
I can still remember when I started attending yoga regularly. I was in awe of what people could do with their bodies and the way they could do it with such ease. I am sure I was staring at people way more than I should’ve been, but I was fascinated and never imagined I would be able to some of these things one day, let alone teach classes!
I completed my 200-hour training at Love in Motion Yoga in Buffalo, NY in June 2020. This training appealed to me as it offered a trauma informed approach which aligned closely with my professional interests and my research into stress as it contributes to chronic diseases. I have long been interested in the mind-body connection and learning how powerful yoga can be as a therapeutic tool was just mind blowing. I know that yogahas helped me immensely and I love to help people push their own limits and see how much they can do!
I have a Master’s Degree in Public Health and have worked in cancer prevention research and studied chronic disease for many years. I am a passionate advocate for preventive medicine and am always looking for ways to bridge traditional Western medicine with Eastern traditions. I am a Reiki master, a mediumand a student of energy medicine practices. Yoga has been pivotal to my life, both personally and professionally. I love how it helps the individual and the community. I am a lifelong student, always curious and looking to learn and enhance my practice and offerings.
Have you ever gone through a trying time in your life and thought “something’s got to give here”? That’s how I found yoga. Six years ago, I was in the beginning of my graduate program in Public Health, with two young kids and a full-time job. I was stressed out and knew that something needed to change before I spiraled down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and bad decisions. Investing time in me was the best decision I could make, so I started following a yoga YouTube channel and saved myself.
Although I am a spring chicken when it comes to teaching yoga, having just completed Yoga Teacher Training in June, I’ve been teaching indoor cycling classes for almost 9 years (I’m working on my yoga voice vs. cycling voice). My education and training in Public Health and my love for health and fitness allows me to bring my passion for connecting with others to the world of wellness. My yoga training was specialized in Trauma Sensitive Yoga and focused on preparing the body for movement. For me, yoga is about connecting with your body, in a way that feels authentic to you. Music and movement are a vital part to my wellbeing, and I love bringing my own authenticity and playfulness into my yoga class, and to create a space for you to do the same.
I’ve been practicing yoga for most of my adult life and I have always received many benefits of practice. It wasn’t until last year, when I was introduced to Gloria Latham’s style of Kundalini yoga that I found something in that practice that would truly change my life! It was during the first class that I noticed I started felt better within minutes. That feeling lasted not only while I was practicing but carried over into my daily life.
When she offered the 200-hour teacher training, I jumped at the chance to dive deep into Kundalini yoga and continue to feel the benefits of this style of yoga. In addition to my continued study of yoga I am also a NYS licensed massage therapist, specializing in Manual Lymphatic drainage along with therapeutic deep tissue and cupping. I am also a Level 2 Reiki practitioner. I hope to apply my knowledge and experience in the fields of massage therapy and Reiki into my teaching. I am so thankful to Beth and Village Yoga for giving me this opportunity to teach and share the benefits of Kundalini yoga with her students.
Lauren is a 200hr Certified Yoga Instructor. She completed her teacher training with the Himalayan Institute in 2015. She has been practicing Yoga for 20 years. As a NYS Licensed Massage Therapist, she has a vast knowledge of the musculoskeletal system and the physiology of movement. Lauren truly loves working with the community as a Massage Therapist, however, reflecting on her personal experience of the supreme benefits yoga has brought to her own life, she began to feel drawn to offer her clients techniques that they could access at any time in between their massage therapy sessions, in order to help them manage various injuries; physical discomforts; and stresses, while also providing them the tools to encourage improved daily well being.
Through further study and training, her current personal home practice is primarily the practice of Kundalini Yoga. She has taught, Kundalini, Prenatal and Hatha yogas throughout the WNY community. …”for the joy it brings” …
My yoga life really started during cold nights in Vermont, moving tables in a literal classroom to make room to practice with a volunteer teacher and my fellow law students. These quiet moments showed me how yoga can emulate life and how vital it is to burn up the bullshit and calm an anxious mind. Someone told me then, “you can always go home to your mat” and I have carried this philosophy to different states and different communities and different walls to practice in ever since. The more I realized how it felt to connect with my body, and let my mind rest, to find new challenges, and to feel the warmth and support of strangers, I decided I wanted to, had to, share that experience with others.
So, here we are: I am 200 hour certified with a second certification in Yin Yoga (exploring the softer side is so worth it, I promise).
I believe in cultivating community. I believe a rising tide lifts all boats. I believe yoga should be light and fun and I cannot wait to explore together- see you on the mat!
I never imagined myself a yoga teacher, and in general yoga always seemed to be this unattainable thing that maybe I’d try someday. Years ago, in college, I had to take a physical education class for credits and opted to take a beginner dance class. It was not for dancers. It was very much for other students like me who just needed the credit. So the teachers made it mostly a yoga class and I found that it was the things I learned in that one, seemingly unimportant class that I carried with me through every other part of my life. I continued to rely on the poses and movements in times of stress, when I worked out, when I wanted to stretch, and really just every single day. I found that when I was asked if I “did yoga” I started to say “yeah, I do.” And then I began to feel the pull to know what else there was other than the few things I knew.
I completed my 200 hour training in 2019, and am working towards my 500 hour certification. I am a NYS Masters-level Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a background in School Psychology. I also started The Gentle Parenting Institute, Inc. in 2015 to support parents in building respectful relationships with their children and as a way to help families break cycles of trauma. Teaching yoga seemed like a natural next step in being able to bring more to the table in how I serve clients, families, and myself. I am also a mom to two amazing kids, who think that yoga is the only thing I do, ever, since it’s the only “work” that I can (and frequently do) include them in. I’m ok with that.
The first yoga class I taught was many years ago at the Erie County Holding Center. I was tutoring incarcerated youth and one of my students needed to fulfill a PE credit. Our resources were non-existent and I was, at the time, an occasional yoga student. We couldn't use mats or even a towel so we pushed the tables out of the way and sat on a cold and dirty floor. Those 30 minutes I spent with that small group of young people was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in twenty years of being a school teacher.
That experience opened my eyes to the power a yoga practice can have on the lives of young people, particularly those in vulnerable communities. In the years since I have brought groups of students to local yoga studios and invited instructors to my charter school in Buffalo. In the fall of 2019 it occurred to me that I could be the person who brought yoga to the lives of my students!
I completed my 200 hour teacher training in the fall of 2020 (Yep, during the pandemic!) and this past school year began teaching yoga , mindfulness and social-emotional-learning as a class at my school. Teaching yoga to children has been an equally humbling and rewarding way to start my journey as a yoga instructor. I try to bring that same energy and silliness to my classes with adults.
My philosophy as a yoga teacher is similar to the philosophy I have carried with me as a classroom teacher for the past two decades; I am committed to social justice, racial equity, and inclusion. I have attended trainings in trauma-informed yoga and how to create anti-racist yoga spaces. I look forward to continuing my yoga education , both formally as I intend to work towards my 500 hour certification and daily as I constantly learn from and am inspired by my students.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
-Martin Luther King Jr.
Tom is a diver and a structural steel welder with a military background and never thought he would be waking up on a Saturday or Sunday morning to go to a yoga class, let alone teach one! Tom was on a freediving retreat, morning yoga was a part of the program. Being a stubborn Irishman, Tom joined a yoga studio and began diving into this mysterious practice.Tom soon realized that yoga is not just for women and Hollywood icons, but for every age, every shape, size, background. Tom's classes focus on the breath, balance, and movement with it. All he asks is to "Come As You Are We will figure out the rest!"
I often think about how yoga was taught one on one in the past, which allowed students to have a more personal connection to their body, breath, teacher, and overall practice. I try to keep that original perspective in mind when I teach, focusing on individualized attention and detail, so that the experience feels authentic and is a space to feel safe and seen. My classes are different each time, basing the practice on who is there and what they need. My background before becoming a full-time mother was as a Masters level Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). My passion in all the paths of my life’s work has been helping people, and fostering opportunities for people to heal and bloom. I completed 200 hour training at the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo in 2015, and I am in the process of completing my 500 hour certification. I have also found a deep interest in Ayurveda and completed a 3 wisdom traditions certification. The 3 Wisdons Tradition incorporates ayurveda, yoga, and psychology into a wellness modality.While I have a deep reverence for all things Yoga (especially those beyond Asana), and the ancient knowledge and teachings, I don't take myself very seriously. I am just a messenger. My life is busy and messy, full of love and chaos, I have two small children and a mind that goes a million directions at once (not all of them good!). My life informs my practice, and my practice informs my teaching. Each class you can expect to explore your body, your breath and touch on an experience of mindfulness and meditation. I have a relaxed, lighthearted and gentle style and enjoy working with everyone from people who have mobility challenges, to everyday practitioners, to practiced athletes
I began practicing Yoga when I was 14 years old, to help heal a back injury. My Osteopath, an man in his late 70’s, handed me a small book by Richard Hillelman and said, “Do yoga”. This was in the 1970’s andfinding a qualified yoga program was not as easy or convenient. So, my first yoga instructor was PBS’s Lilias Folan, who was on TV bright and early every morning. And the small book given to me by Dr. Tucker. Over the next few years, I primarily practiced yoga as therapy to keep my back, pain free. I saw yoga as exercise, and certainly not as a philosophy or lifestyle. In my 20’s and 30’s I would only practice periodically, whenever my back was in pain.
In my late 30’s I was a single mom with two small children, and I worked full-time as a high school history, government and psychology teacher.Life was stressful, fast paced and anxiety was a close personal companion. Many days I would swing from a state of agitation to disconnectedness and numbness. It was the demands of my hectic, multi-faceted schedule that redirected me back to a serious practice of yoga. When I started a new regular practice regimen, I began to discover the healing nature of breathwork, meditation and a personal asana routine. My return to yogawas inspired by search for wellness of body, mind and spirit. Like most people, my life has had many challenges. Getting on the mat most days is what brings me back into an embodied, present, open, and productive state.
I was certified as a Kripalu Yoga instructor in 2002. My training promoted a compassionate practice on and off the mat. Rather than strive to perfect the mechanics of a pose, Kripalu Yoga uses postures and other yogic techniques to reveal the true nature of the practitioner. Since my Kripalu certification, I have had many wonderful teachers come into my life and Ihave 500+ hours of workshops with numerous instructors that have enriched me and led me to incorporate various aspects into my yoga teaching. Some of my instructors have studied under well-known master teachers like Stephan Cope and Richard Shobhan Faulds (Kripalu Yoga),Sarah Powers ( Insight Yoga), Paul Grilley (Yin Yoga), Cindy Lee ( OM Yoga) and Gary Kraftstow (Viniyoga). Pema Chodron, and Thich NhatHanh have inspired my meditation practice and I have had many local teachers and colleagues who have helped me hone my skills and deepen my understanding of Yoga.
I was a yoga teacher at Healing Waters in East Aurora, beginning in 2002 until the pandemic closed down most the practice sites in the Western New York yoga community. I was also a board member program developer and faculty member of Mala Contemplative Education, a not-for-profiteducation organization that was started to bring Contemplative practice into people personal and work environments.
Having been a secondary school educator for 30 years, I also introducedyoga to my teaching colleagues, offering weekly classes, and worked withmany students to learn relaxation practice to manage stress.
My approach to Yoga has always been, “begin where you are.” To bring whatever you are working with, physically, mentally, and emotionally, in that moment, on the mat. Each day is different and so we begin again, with smiles or tears.
“Breathing in I clam my body, breathing out I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know it is a perfect moment.” Thich Nahat Hanh.
Hello! My name is Katie. I'm a RYT 200hr with a Masters degree in Nutrition and Human Performance. My classes will foster a fresh perspective on life through this art of play, mindfulness and connection. I encourage yogis to find challenges in their personal practice, physically or otherwise, to cultivate new depths of self compassion. When I'm not hanging around the village with my dogs you can find me at the top of mountain with some dirt on my face, a messy bun and likely a snack in my hand.
“Yoga is more than just a series of movements. Yoga is a way of life.”
I took my first yoga class at a brewery. It was a “yoga and beer” class, and quite honestly, I mainly went for the beer. I though it would be something fun for my husband and I to do on a Sunday afternoon, as we had recently become empty nesters. After just a few weeks, yoga began to seep into my life in unexpected ways. The anxiety and depression that I had lived with my entire life, became more manageable. Chronic neck and back issues from my career as a dental hygienist, began to improve. Yoga is the best therapist I’ve ever had. I yearned to know more about what it is that makes us feel so darn good after we practice yoga. At age 56, just a few years shy of retirement, I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training, right here at Village Yoga and Wellness. And yes, I learned that yoga makes us strong and flexible; and that it calms our nervous system, and improves our mental health. But yoga also taught me how to be kind and truthful to myself, and to never forget my inner strength. Yoga keeps me grounded in the hard times, and it rejoices with me in the good times. And I just want to share it with the world!
Yoga has been part of my life since I was in my teens, first doing the asanas just because it felt good. I never went to a class til many years later, I always found the quiet, meditative aspect of my own practice comforting and beneficial. Yoga was also a great companion to running, Tae Kwon Do and being a bit of a gym rat. After a lifechanging tragedy over a decade ago, yoga became a constant, every day necessity. It is my anchor, keeps me from drowning. A friend (whom I met through yoga classes) suggested I teach. There was absolutely NO WAY I could be in front of a group of people and teach! But I took a mini-training and began to teach 'fitness yoga' at a local gym and in Florida when we spent winters there. I overcame that fear and needed to learn more. So here I am, newly certified 200hour RYT!I am so thankful to Beth, the teachers and all the women who were in the class. Living with integrity, questioning our values and intentions, being compassionate to ourselves and those around us, being thankful and content for who we are and what we already have all lead to a bright and healthy life in mind, body and spirit. I truly believe everybody can benefit from the teachings of yoga.
I have a background in Occupational Therapy and have worked with developmentally disabled children and adults; in a mental health setting for PINS boys; and Day treatment for adults; as well as in home care for the elderly.In my spare time, (which I seem to have a lot of these days) I enjoy hiking/climbing in the woods, hills, ravines and creeks with my dog, aerial yoga, reading, thrifting, scuba diving and hanging out at the beach.
Hi! My name is Kailey and I'm so honored to teach yoga at Village Yoga and Wellness. My first brush with yoga was not love at first sight. I took a required credit in college called Movement and Dance, and there was a section on yoga. I remember being genuinely puzzled about why anyone would do it and what I was supposed to be getting out of it. Years later, friends dragged me to a class and my attitude began to change. I was sweaty and working hard, but mostly interested in the way I felt. It was more than just endorphins, but a shift in energy and perspective. During the class the instructor said "check in with your pinky toe" and I realized I have probably never thought about my pinky toe in my entire life. I burst into tears (not entirely uncommon for me) Such a small cue, but it has had a lasting effect on me. I became really interested in why yoga "works". Yoga classes and teachings instruct and remind us to check in with our bodies and the sensations we feel, witness them and learn from them on our path to our greater experience and work.
I am new in my journey as a practitioner and a teacher and I'm excited to share what I know and continue to learn.
Since Jessica’s first experience with yoga she knew that her life was about to take a drastic turn. As she’s always been interested in personal development, yoga took it to a whole new level for her. She experienced an internal awakening which compelled her to learn, study and discover the benefits of a consistent yoga practice. Yoga quickly became a staple in her life and a “compliment to each day”. Allowing her to practice aligning her body, mind and soul, and finding ways to become grounded, balanced and uplifted. Jessica then had the burning desire to share what she had discovered in her own practice. In 2011, she completed her 200 hour teacher training in Phoenix, Arizona, under the guidance of late Astanga teacher, David Oliver and Sanskrit scholar, Cheryl Oliver.
“Holding abundant gratitude towards my breath; I have come to understand that it is what carries me through, bringing integrity to my own practice. This is what I try to relay to students in my class. By establishing true love of prana; life sustaining force and vital energy, I hope my students will be inspired to develop love of their own life and breath.”
With a strong influence of vinyasa yoga (breath and movement), and kundalini yoga, Jessica’s teachings are filled with breath and alignment based cues. She “holds the space” for and encourages each student to have their own practice and experience. “It doesn’t matter what brings each person to their mat or where they came from, only that they are there. Once you make it on your mat, the healing begins, and will continue with dedication and consistency. We are here together to honor our bodies, minds and spirits as one. Cultivating balance with-in and heightening our awareness in all of life’s aspects.”
As many of us do, I began practicing yoga in order to heal. My journey has led me through many different types of yoga practices and into the discipline of living and teaching the yogic philosophy and asanas. I started yoga teacher training with the goal of disciplining my mind in the same way that yoga asanas discipline our bodies. At that end of my 200-hour training, I realized the great gift that I had received, and I wanted to share it with everyone who would listen.
My favorite poses are bound half moon and any arm balance (except firefly). I have a sweet little girl, a sweet little bulldog, a ton of plants, and even more books. I believe in love, labor unions, and manifesting. I think making homemade pasta without drinking wine is an affront to nature, and it’s okay to eat ice cream every night. I live deep in the Boston hills with my partner, daughter, bulldog, and plants, and I thank the universe everyday for all of the gifts in my life.