Instructor / Owner
Lauren came to yoga as a teenager working to be a more competitive runner. As she has moved through the decades, yoga is less about the physical and more about grounding in the present moment and cultivating a spirit of gratitude. Lauren completed her 500 hour training through the Asheville Yoga Center and is an E-RYT 200. While she’s still a runner and is inspired by vigorous Astanga practices, she gets great satisfaction from teaching elders in retirement and nursing homes. She integrates meditation and restorative practices into her classes, as well as strong flows. 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.
Gretchen has been practicing, studying, and teaching yoga for over a decade. She became a 200 hour certified yoga instructor through Kripalu Institute in 2008, and enjoys teaching a variety of styles from gentle to mindful power flow. Regardless of the style, she always introduces a level of meditation and stillness to allow each student time to integrate their practice and build self-awareness. She recently launched Outdoor Movement, a resource to connect yoga practitioners and guides in outdoor spaces. She is honored to live and raise her two boys in Brevard.
Debi received her 200 hour RYT certification in vinyasa yoga in 2008 with Rolf Gates. She has since done some training in yoga therapy and has done workshops with multiple teachers including Christina Sell, Faith Hunter, Annie Carpenter, Heather Tiddens, Manouso Manos, and others. She co-owned Foive Points Yoga in Athens, Georgia for nine years and recently sold the business to her business partner to move to Brevard, where she lives in Big Hill with her husband and three dogs. She loves to hike, bike, and of course, practice yoga and is looking forward to becoming part of the community here.
Cortney’s exposure to yoga began here in Brevard with Laura Minerd’s vinyasa flow classes. Her personal practice grew from there and she discovered Buti yoga. She fell in love with it instantly, loving the challenge. She appreciated the core strength she gained, the increased flexibility, and the spiraling, shaking sweaty mess of “Buti bliss” she gained from the practice. With the help of some lovely ladies in our community, Cortney was able to get certified in July of 2015. Buti has taught her to love and embrace her body and to worry less about how others perceive her. She loves expressing the primal energy that Buti brings out. It makes her feel powerful. She’s thankful to be able to watch and be a part of an expanding tribe of people who come together to support one another as we thrive.
Lauren became drawn to yoga for the spiritual practice. Her search began over a decade ago, when she began practicing yoga in studios and in nature and studying under wonderful teachers. She has her 200 hour certification from Wilmington Yoga Center with an additional one hundred or so hours with Wilmington’s work/study program. Lauren founded Mountain Valley Yoga to provide a space for the families of our area to come together to practice yoga in nature. You can read more about Mountain Valley Yoga here. Lauren’s classes usually infuse elements of music drawn from Appalachia, indigineous cultures and instrumentals, with a rhythmic vinyasa flow, pranyama, and meditation.
Pilates InstructorElaine has been teaching Pilates since 2004, and recently moved to this beautiful place with her husband, Adam, and her baby, Manny. She is very passionate about teaching and has yet to find a more effective method for improving core strength and posture than Pilates. Elaine is certified through both Core Dynamics and NYC-based Power Pilates, and she finds the combination of these methods — including modifying as needed — is the best approach for achieving results that carry on long after leaving class. She is excited to bring a spine-safe version of Classical Pilates to Brevard Yoga Center.
InstructorNancy 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
InstructorKamala 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, certiried by the Shambhava School of Yoga from Shoshoni Yoga Retreat in Colorado.. 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. 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.
Julie has been practicing yoga for over ten years, but began to deepen her practice about two years ago. Yoga started for her, as it does for many, as a physical practice: a chance to stregthen and stretch the body. Little by little, she discovered it can be so much more. Yoga has had such a positive domino effect on all aspects of her life. Julie completed her 200 hour training at Longwave Yoga in Wilmington last year. Julie looks forward to passing on the feelings of strength, possibility, peace, and gratitude that yoga brings on and off the mat.
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
InstructorMicah’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 grew up in Brevard, left, went to school, and came back, which is what tends to happen. She started practicing yoga through an Ashtanga book when she was 24 and discovered Buti Yoga shortly thereafter. She earned her Buti Yoga 200hr RYT in 2017, and is trained as an Advanced Buti Yoga Instructor in their DEEP restorative program. She completed her 300hr RYT with Vira Bhava Yoga here in Brevard. She is also trained in Fascia Line Release Movement by Merge the Practice, which you will see intertwined in the classes she offers. Judy wants to invite her students into a space of comfort and no mental or physical judgement. She offers a dynamic and energetic practice.
InstructorSandi 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.
InstructorKathy 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.
Clare has been practicing yoga since the early 2000’s and believes that yoga is a saving grace. She trusts in the power of a deep breath and feels that anyone’s emotional, physical, or mental health will benefit from the process of using their breath to connect body and mind. Clare has been both grounded and lifted from her yoga practice since her young son was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2014. When many things felt out of control, yoga re-centered her. She is convinced that it helps reclaim your sense of calm and quiets the mind; it helps you find freedom and courage in your heart; and it allows to you to feel strength and poise in your body. She brings an approachable and revitalizing ‘go with the flow’ vibe to her classes and has been enjoying teaching since 2016. Clare is also the Spanish and Yoga teacher at Mountain Sun Community School, a full time advocate for childhood cancer, a grateful mom of two awesome boys, and is often seen with her golden retriever. She is authentically convinced that ‘Love Heals’ and yoga is all about love.
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.
Amber, B.A., M.S., 500 E-RYT, AYT., is a Yoga Practitioner, Wellness Expert, and Ayurvedic Specialist. Amber holds a certification as an advanced teacher of therapeutic yoga through IAYT. She is a nationally recognized fitness and wellness professional and holds high reputation in the wellness industry. She has created multiple destination wellness and yoga programs with unparalleled experience. Formerly a founding member and Director of Program Development at Skyterra Wellness Retreat, Amber is soulful and compassionate about everyone’s journey. She meets individuals where they are and offers master-level guidance for the full spectrum of yoga and wellness. Her genuine nature and passion work together to inspire and empower individuals toward healthier decisions and overall improved quality of life. Her background in fitness and kinesthetics provides a rooted and balanced foundation for health, healing, and well living.
Katie is excited to welcome all humans and bodies to join her classes each week. She feels a strong desire to offer classes that most anyone can step into and not feel intimated or as though they “shouldn’t be there”. Through teaching slow, gentle (though not always easy), & intentional classes, Katie hopes to create a space where her students can have a more deliberate conversation with their bodies, therefore feeling more connected with their bodies when they take their practice back out into the world. Katie comes to teaching yoga with 20 years of personal practice and is currently working on her advances 300hr teacher training. She is a small business owner here in town, heading up Green Heart Juice for the past 5+ years & you can find her at Transylvania Farmers Market Saturday mornings. She loves living the small town life and getting her pups out into the forest whenever possible, with the occasional travel adventure often always in the making & cup of hot tea with dear friends.