Instructor / Studio Manager
Lauren came to yoga as a teenager working to be more competitive in the middle distances in track and field. As she moved through her 20s, yoga became less and less about gaining more flexibility and more about grounding in the present moment and cultivating a spirit of gratitude. Lauren completed her initial training through the Asheville Yoga Center and has been teaching for nearly a decade. While she’s still a runner and is inspired by vigorous astanga practices, she currently gets great satisfaction from teaching elderly students in retirement and nursing homes. She’s integrating more meditation and restorative practices into her classes. She enjoys studying yogic philosophy and is on the cusp of completing her 500 hour teacher training certification. Her newest and biggest teachers are her two young sons, Asa and Elias, with whom she loves playing in the garden and in the woods.
Vanessa is first-generation Venezuelan with Italian parents. She grew up in Caracas with her grandmother living nearby and practicing yoga regularly, mostly for healing and meditation. Although Vanessa didn’t start yoga herself until much later, when she immersed herself in studies with Marilyn Glasser and Lewis Rothein, her early memories of her nonna’s calm and peaceful ways provide her with a mental model and goal. Vanessa received her 240 RYT from Asheville Yoga Center and she 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 moralistic and ethical way.
Kristine is a 200-RYT and is currently working towards her 200 E-RYT. Her yoga journey has lead her through many different types of practices, though her favorites are Kundalini and Buti. Kristine‘s classes are creative, upbeat and challenging. When not working or in the studio, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing in the great outdoors, and cooking.
Nancy Ballinger has been a yoga teacher for fourteen years. She taught at Brevard College for thirty five years instructing ballet, swimming, aerobic dance, Lifeguarding, WSI, Pilates, and yoga. She has completed her RYT 500 hours from Asheville Yoga Center, 300 hours from Shoshoni Ashram, and 300 hours of therapeutic yoga. Brevard has been her home for over forty years and teaching is one of her favourite things to do. She also loves anything that involves being outdoors in our beautiful mountains!
Lauren ‘Kamala’ Beissinger
Kamala is a 500-hr Certified Shambhava Yoga Teacher, a Certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor and a Licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist (LMBT# 7344) at Elements Spa. She has practiced yoga since 1997 and has taught since 2003. At age 4, Kamala began her exploration of the mind-body connection with ballet and gymnastics until transitioning into yoga as a freshman in college. Her studies led her to the Himalayas of Nepal to study mountain ecology and sustainability and there she fell in love with the eastern spiritual traditions. After returning from Nepal, she studied with a siddha yogi near her hometown of Pensacola, FL. In the winter of 2003, Kamala received her Yoga Teacher Certification in the Shambhava School of Yoga from Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in CO. Kamala’s classes are an experience of classical Hatha, including postures, breathing techniques, concentration, sense withdrawal, meditation, chanting and are interwoven with the words of her teachers. When Kamala is not in the studio or the spa, you can find her hiking, running, or biking the trails of Pisgah National Forest.
Sue Churchill’s personal yoga practice has helped her through difficult times and has become her passion! She completed her yoga teacher training in Connecticut, where she also earned her Yoga For Cancer certification. While in Connecticut, Sue taught all over the place: at a high school, churches, private homes, cancer centers, a pilates studio, a yoga spot, and a prison, her personal favorite. As a teacher, she focuses on breathwork and on strengthening the body-mind-soul connection. Making physical connections and adjustments are crucial elements of her class. Her teaching style tends to be one of strength and movement combined with mindful rest.
Caitlin began her yoga journey while living in California. “I was living in a new place and looking for a way to connect with people and rediscover myself. I walked into a gym with no idea what to expect and left knowing that I had just experienced something big. I fully fell in love with yoga when a teacher told me, “You are exactly where you need to be.”. There was no pressure to force myself into a shape or emulate someone else. This simple quote helped me realize that everyone’s practice in unique and helped shape my own teaching technique.”
I strive to empower my students and I hope to help people see that yoga is for everybody and every body. More information about my yoga journey can be found at www.empoweredbalanceyoga.com
Micah’s love of yoga began with his first Ashtanga class in 2001. Immediately feeling both stimulated and at peace in his body, the magic of “making to the mat “each day became a loving discipline. Personal growth? You bet! Just watching the flood of preferences and attachments that began to reveal themselves added significant emphasis to an already engaging 14 year spiritual and meditative practice. Combining years of training as a gymnast, professional dancer, and dedicated massage therapist, the path was paved for a comprehensive approach to sharing yoga. Today, Micah’s personal yoga practice is informed by the wisdom of such teachers as Tim Miller, Ana Forrest, Sarah Powers, and Bikram Choudry – all of whose intensive trainings have added to an ongoing inquiry to the human body, evolving spirit, and healing of the heart and mind. Students of all levels and ages will be sure to enjoy the sweat, stamina and discipline involved in safely discovering their own potential.
Judy was born and raised in Brevard. She came to yoga just a couple of years ago to help heal a hamstring injury. She discovered Buti Yoga and fell in love with the practice. She got certified as a Buti Yoga teacher and has been teaching and participating as a student on a daily basis since. Judy says that a regular Buti Yoga practice allowed her to become stronger and more grounded, with greater mental clarity and emotional control. She credits the practice with making her into “a much stronger personal overall” and would love for you to come try a class with her.
Originally from Longwood, FL, Ashleigh grew up dancing, performing, and indulging herself in anything creative. While pursuing a successful professional dance career in New York City, she found herself drawn to the beauty and benefits of a regular practice of both Pilates and Yoga. She is a certified mat, apparatus and prenatal Pilates teacher, as well as 500-hour Registered Yoga teacher and a 200-hour Trauma-Sensitive Yoga teacher. In her quest to further her investigation in total body health and happiness, she attended the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a practicing AADP Certified Holistic Health Coach. Ashleigh combines movement, kinesthetic awareness, humor, and the subtle poetry of the breath to encourage an experience that is empowering, transformative and fun! For more information, visit www.agcorehealth.com
Sandi Hartz completed her 230-hr Yoga Teacher Training at Asheville Yoga Center and a 100-hr Iyengar Yoga training with Cindy Dollar in 2002. Sandi also holds certificates in Advanced Yoga, Nurturing The Teacher Within, Restorative Yoga and Yoga for MS. Sandi combines a good sense of humor and encouragement, with her love of being active and the belief that, everyone can do yoga…all you need is to be able to breathe. She enjoys mountain bike rides, walks in the forest, and camping.
Elizabeth is a Registered Yoga teacher 230. She earned her certification through the Asheville Yoga Center in May of 2015 and became certified through Yoga Alliance the following fall. She is currently working towards her 500 level certification. She’s been practicing yoga for about 20 years. Formerly a competitive swimmer, she became curious about the benefits of yoga shortly after becoming a mother. It didn’t take her long to realize that yoga not only kept her in great physical shape but helped to ground her mentally and spiritually as well! Her educational background in psychology and human services combined with her knowledge of eastern philosophies helps to enhance the environment for her students, creating an aura of presence and compassion. When she is not teaching yoga Elizabeth enjoys traveling, attending sporting events, music festivals, working with animals, and spending time with her daughter.
Kathy Jones’ first yoga experience was – in one word – “transformative”. The class was in a noisy fitness center with TV’s blaring and weights clanging. Kathy says, “By the end of the class, I had completely tuned out the noise. I felt an amazing sense of peace and the rest is history!” Since this first class 10 years ago, yoga has been a way of life for her. “My perception of the world around me and my role in it has definitely shifted. Ahimsa, meaning ‘non-violence’, has become my life’s motto,” Kathy says. Since receiving her Yoga Teacher Certification in 2001, Kathy has taken countless workshops and teacher intensives throughout the US, including certification programs in Ashtanga Yoga and Yin Yoga at the Asheville Yoga Center. She recently returned from southern India, where she received her Intermediate Teacher Certification. During the summers, Kathy teaches yoga to high school students at the Brevard Music Center.
Rachel has been practicing yoga for over a decade and earned her 200-hour teaching certification in 2015. She has been most influenced by alignment-based yoga styles, as well as Vinyasa Flow and Baptiste Yoga. In her classes, you can expect to experience a fun, challenging and uplifting flow focused on creative play and not taking ourselves (or yoga) too seriously. Rachel is also a violinist so you may occasionally receive a sweet savasana serenade at the end of class.
Charmaine is a 200-RYT with Yoga Alliance with over 950 teaching hours. She is currently 48 hours from her 500-RYT. She is passionate about stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga and is a leader in the American Canoe Association’s effort to professionalize SUP yoga. Come join her in class or on the lake!
Clare has practiced yoga for 15 years, and the ebb and flow of life’s circumstances have brought along many setbacks and restarts. The most recent restart came after a year and a half of not practicing at all following her son’s brain cancer diagnosis. The toll was demanding, restraining, and depleting, yet also full, appreciative, and beautiful. Thank goodness the flow is continuous. Yoga has helped her cultivate ways to better handle stress, pause, smile more, and just be. Clare is a teacher at heart and has missed being a Brevard High School Spanish teacher while caring for and advocating for her son. During this time, she completed her Registered Yoga Teacher Training certification at Asheville Yoga Center. She has been enjoying teaching enrichment yoga at the high school and Spanish yoga to kids. Clare’s passions include spending time with loved ones, traveling, gardening, and being outside, although recently most of her spare time is spent researching pediatric brain tumors and taking deep breaths.
Bridget Shaeffer Pradella
Bridget is an avid advocate for health and wellness and has been practicing yoga for more than a decade. Her passion is for whole system healing — healing our bodies, our minds, and the earth which sustains us. Bridget completed her teacher training with Sanctuary Yoga in Gainesville, Florida. There, she developed a love for the sensation of properly aligned asanas and embracing the healing stillness of restorative and yin practices. Bridget is a level two Reiki practitioner, an herbal medicine enthusiast, and has been studying and implementing EFT for the last several years. She and her husband moved to Brevard in September 2016. Check out wellwithyoga.com for more on Bridget.