Called to Service: In 2011, at the age of 43, I discovered the power of yoga while attending my first class – a hot powerful vinyasa flow class. I first went to yoga for the workout; I wanted to get fit and lose a few pounds. But I kept coming back to the practice because I quickly learned that yoga is not just a work out, it’s a “work in.” Slowly, the negative soundtracks in my head were silenced and those thoughts of unworthiness were replaced with feelings of self-love. As I discovered this new pathway to peace, I recognized it as a means of healing and I wanted to share it with others. I received my 200 yoga teacher training certification from Inner Bliss Yoga in May of 2014. Since then, I’ve been on a mission to be of service to others while doing the things I love most. I am very proud of the two studios we launched (Westlake in 2016 and Catawba in 2018) as well as the budding yoga community we have built.
What's at the Core: As a breast cancer survivor and the wife of a recovering alcoholic, I am grateful for everything God has given to me, taken from me, and left me with. I believe how you do one thing is how you do everything, so give everything 110%.
Personal Mantra: Do What You Love
Favorite Fellow Warriors: my husband, Mother Teresa, Oprah Winfrey.
Balancing Act off the Mat: running two small businesses while still finding time to walk the dogs and make dinner!
Good for the Soul: When I’m not teaching yoga at one of our studios, I live for quiet walks in the woods, summers spent at the lake, trips to Maui, travels through Italy, a good book by the fire, an entire Sunday spent cooking, afternoon coffee with my husband and lots of warm, fuzzy moments with my two mutts.
Called to Service: RYT200 Open Way Yoga – Huron, Ohio, 2016
What's at the Core: In 2007, just looking to get in shape, I began doing yoga videos thinking, very incorrectly, that I needed to be perfect before ever daring to step foot into a yoga studio. Yoga helped me to realize that my ego was once again controlling my life and that the little voice in my head that said I’m not good enough was very wrong. Yoga taught me to recognize that the thoughts in my head are not who I am and I would like to help others learn that as well.
Personal Mantra: What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am – Eckhart Tolle
Balancing Act Off the Mat: Mom to three amazing daughters and trying to instill in them what took me over 30 years to realize – see Personal Mantra above! Supporting my wonderful hubby and snuggling my dog, Lou.
Good for the Soul: FAMILY! Walks with friends and talks in the dark (sometimes at 3:00am) with my girls.
Called to Service: RYT200 Soul Collective 2019 — Soul Stretch Yoga
What's at the Core: I started doing online yoga videos after my son was born. It wasn’t until the summer of 2017 that I attended my first yoga class. I went for a workout but ended up finding a release from my anxiety and permission to take care of myself. I started to crave more and more yoga so I signed up for yoga teacher training the following year. That training changed my life. I am now able to use what I have learned through breathing, postures and meditation to continue to work through my anxiety and find stillness among the craziness of life.
Good for the Soul: My favorite thing to do is spend time with my family! We love going to the beach, exploring in the woods, camping, having movie nights, playing at the park, singing at the top of our lungs, and having the craziest dance parties. In my free time, I enjoy running, singing, playing guitar and piano, eating local, date nights, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. I am passionate about providing healthy food for my family but also really enjoy our walks to the ice cream shop!
Personal Mantra: “A bird cannot hold its perch and fly. Either can I hold on to anything and be free.”
Balancing Act Off the Mat: I am married to my best friend and I am the momma of 3 amazing kids who keep me very busy! I have been a stay-at-home mom since my first daughter was born but am so blessed for this new season of sharing the healing power of yoga with others. I am also involved with the music at our church and find a lot of healing there as well.
Called to Service: I attended my first Yoga class in 2000 when I was in college. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful mind body connection that I was so desperately in need of at that time. I travelled to Austria with my yoga teacher Bobbi Holiday and the Cultural Studies Academy in 2002 where I learned about the medical spas of Germany and Austria. I received my RYT200 in 2018 by Kimberly Payne of Gathering Tree Yoga. Yoga teacher training was such a turning point in my life. I feel it enabled me to come into true self.
What's at the Core: I have always been interested in the human body from as far as I can remember. Studying the human body makes me more in awe of the Divineness in all of us! I am a Physical Therapist Assistant and License Massage Therapist certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Reiki. I love to find ways to incorporate these principals into my yoga classes/workshops.
Good for the Soul: Being around the ones you love. Finding your flow that allows you to connect your mind and body together…whatever form of movement that may be. Doing anything that connects you to nature.
Personal Mantra: Lord, Guide me.
Balancing Act Off the Mat: Momma is mine main gig. I have 2 beautiful kiddos that constantly force me into my practice of staying in the present. I feel so blessed to teach them some components of yoga at an early age. I work as a massage therapist with the focus on using my skills of manual lymphatic drainage and Reiki. I volunteer as a massage therapist at the Gathering Place in Westlake. I like to run and hike in our beautiful metroparks, and Hula Hoop!
Called to Service: I received my 200-hr certification from Bhumi's Yoga and Wellness in 2003.
What's at the Core: Tools for being my best self. I have struggled with the perfectionism, anxiety, and self-doubt that come from early childhood sexual assault, being stalked, chronic illness (Lyme, mold, parasites, PTSD) and loss from suicide. The breath, the meditation, the physical postures, the chanting and the community are all tools for bringing my awareness back to center and back to love. Yoga helps me more skillfully navigate the uncomfortable parts of life. It's not that I don't fall into a hole anymore; its that I fall in less often and get out more quickly. I intend for my teaching to bring inspiration, inclusivity, strength, humor, creativity and self-awareness to each participant.
Personal Mantra: Ok, I have two: 1. Choose Love 2. Seek Clarity
Balancing Act Off the Mat: Active treatment for Lyme and the copious self-care required to heal. A Thai Massage practice. A long-distance relationship with the love of my life, Kurt. Writing a book, working as a musician, and recording my first singer-songwriter album.
Good for the Soul: Family, friends, making mandalas, developing delicious recipes for people with food sensitivities, Gung Fu and Tai Chi, walks in nature with my boyfriend, watching hilarious animal videos, playing with my cat, drumming, dancing, writing poetry and music
Gurus: Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Pema Chodron
Beth is a kirtan singer who believes that our voices are powerful gifts of transformation. By speaking or singing our truth we claim our innate power; power that helps us grow and uplift ourselves and others. Beth has been exploring mantra since 2003 and has sung harmony at multiple Bhaktifests and kirtan concerts with devoted kirtan artists such as Brenda McMorrow, Luna Ray, Durga Das, Girish, Jai Uttal and Narada Wise. She has a local kirtan band called Vandanam which means “an offering of prayer.” She and her bandmate, George Shumway, enjoy sharing the sacred mantras woven into their original melodies to inspire, transform, liberate and connect.
Called to Service: I have been practicing yoga since 2009 after my family was involved in a car accident. My practice of yoga was a major component to my recovery. I received my 200 hour yoga teacher training certification from Cleveland Yoga in April 2018
What's at the Core: I am a pediatric dentist by trade. I love my profession but I found my job was taking a toll on my back and neck and psyche. My practice of yoga has truly saved my practice of dentistry. Through core poses and meditation, I rarely experience the pains in my body and “burn out” that are often associated with dentistry. My goal is to share my knowledge of medicine and yoga with my students.
Personal Mantra: “She believed she could and so she did” with positive thinking and belief in yourself, anything can be achieved. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Balancing Act Off the Mat: My husband, Dr. John Davenport and I serve as medical missionaries to the Mayan Indians of Guatemala. I love to snow ski and to play tennis, particularly with my son, Alex. I’m crazy about my dogs and my travel goal is to visit all the wonders of the world!
Called to Service: I came to yoga in 2013 as a way to add to my fitness routine. I quickly realized that there is so much more to this practice than just the physical part. I was hooked! I had a yearning to dive deeper into the practice. Before I knew it I was in yoga teacher training. I received my 200 hr from Inner Bliss Yoga Studio's Be the Love Teacher Training in February 2018.
What's at the Core: Before yoga, I was extremely critical of myself, and was constantly getting hooked onto the negative thoughts that would come up. I would set crazy expectations and put pressure on myself to be perfect. I would overthink everything and be unsure of myself instead of trusting myself. Since yoga, I know that I am not my thoughts. Letting go of my insecurities and fears has made life incredibly lighter. I have the ability to be unapologetically me! I return to my mat because it is a reminder that I am able to accomplish some pretty amazing things that I never thought were possible before. It helps me to stay out of my head and in the moment!”
Personal Mantra: Grow through what you go through!
Called to Service: I found yoga during my undergraduate studies in Athens, Ohio. I remember my first studio class being a sort of revelation to me - I had never experienced something that spoke so closely to my physical and spiritual being simultaneously. I was lucky to grow my practice in a studio environment from the start, learning the different types of practice and how mindfulness with movement can be so healing and rewarding. I’ve had the opportunity & blessing to attend studios & classes all over, from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, AZ to Ohio’s Lake Erie coast. Almost 10 years after discovering yoga, I pursued a 200 hr-YTT program with Threads of Wellness Yoga & Nutritional Counseling, which confirmed my deep passion for the practice.
What’s at the Core: An Earth-lover, animal rights activist, photographer, lover of live music & the great outdoors. I live with my zookeeper partner & our 2 cats.
Personal Mantra: Find your labyrinth.
Balancing Act off the Mat: I have a Master’s of Science in Environmental Studies & work full-time in the environmental field coordinating trainings, research, and educational events to promote ecological awareness of Lake Erie and Ohio's natural resources. I also incorporate my love of wildlife and the outdoors to fuel my passion for photography, which I exercise via my own business, ‘Emily Kuzmick Photography.’
Good for the Soul: I enjoy hiking, paddling, nature photography, fostering cats, traveling & attending live shows with good friends. Oh, and of course, yoga. :)
Called to Service: I started practicing yoga to balance other workouts, but soon fell in love with the feeling of being on the mat. There are so many types of yoga classes that I now balance yoga with yoga. I love hot, sweaty power Vinyasa classes, but also crave restorative classes. I still love running and other classes, but I love that during yoga I can work my mind, heart and body. This love of yoga led me to complete my 200 HR certification with Soul Stretch.
On the mat: I am passionate about holding space for students to experience a dynamic, high-five-worthy class on the mat while inspiring them to continue this positive energy off the mat to live their best lives.
Balancing Act Off the Mat: I have a wonderful husband and two active boys, 7 & 8. Between helping at the boys' school and church, running them to activities, coaching and running a commercial rental property company, I am balanced on the edge of insanity and bliss. Thank goodness for my mat!
Good for the Soul: Warmth...Summertime fun at the lake with my family and friends, vacations to warm-weather places during cool-weather seasons, cuddling up by the fireplace with my family in winter or cuddling u by myself with a good book by a sunny window.
Personal Mantra: Be the reason someone smiles today.
Called to Service: RYT200 Carrie Treister School of Yoga – Avon, Ohio, 2018
What's at the Core: I have always been a lover of fitness and strength but it wasn’t enough. I needed a way to quiet the constant noise in my head, the ongoing inner chatter. This mind chaos was spilling into my daily life and negatively effecting every aspect of me. I craved a way to be more present in my relationships and in my children’s lives. I desired an outlet to breathe, move and connect! Thank you YOGA! Oh, the mind cleanse a practice can provide! I have found the incredible magnitude of happiness that can be gained from being present. The world honestly seems a little brighter.
Personal Mantra: I choose happy… I don’t like the alternative ☺
Balancing Act Off the Mat: Mom to two active kiddos. Wife to a supportive, yoga practicing husband. Group Fitness Instructor for 15 years. Small business owner.
Good for the Soul: Family dinners, Friday night game nights with the kids, weekends at the lake. Girls night. Finding ways to connect to the ones I love.
Jen McCarter is a B.ED., RYT, CYT and Yoga Health Coach who also holds a Bachelor's degree in Education focused on Family and Human Services. Jen has been working with families and individuals for over 22 years to address stress in the home, mind, and body caused by addiction, job loss, family system breakdown, anxiety and depression.
After years of working with others as a yoga teacher and caseworker it became clear that true change must come from within and be intrinsically motivated to provide lasting healing. Her personal healing journey lead her to the study of Ayurveda. Ayurveda loosely translated as the “Science of Life” teaches the importance of syncing with nature's rhythm to create a strong immune system and facilitate healing from a whole body perspective.
Jen is a guide to help people become more vibrant and aware by shifting daily routines or dinacharya in Sanskrit. As a native of Montana Jen has a very strong connection to her natural environment, a respect for all of the elements of nature, and the intuition of the planet. The practices she teaches offer a greater level of awareness with Mother Earth and truly will align us for the connection Yoga is all about, Union with the Divine and the understanding of interconnectedness of all living beings.
Called to Service: Yoga found me in 2011, at a time in my life when I was stretched extra thin. I was training for another half marathon, had just started my 14th year of teaching elementary school, had two young children and a husband who traveled every week for work. My dad, who has always been an athlete, mentioned that I should try yoga, as he was practicing then, and he thought I would like it. (He also bought my first yoga mat!) From the moment I walked into the quiet, warm, welcoming and uncluttered space of that yoga studio, my shoulders fell away from my ears, my body softened and I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be. I completed my "Be The Love" YTT with an incredible group of beautiful souls at Inner Bliss Yoga in February 2018.
What’s at the Core: I deeply believe that yoga is for everyone!
Personal Mantras: "Let your first though, upon waking, be thank you!" and "Life doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful."
Favorite Fellow Warriors: Rachel Brathen and Mother Theresa.
Balancing Act off the Mat: The reason that I keep coming back to my mat is BECAUSE life is a balancing act. I am constantly pulled in many directions and pushed up against my edge: family, pets, sports schedules, teaching, my volunteer work for Cleveland Angels supporting those in foster care, friends, my home. I love it all BIG TIME! But it's important to me to fill my own tank, fill myself up, take time to reflect and breath and BE so that I have what I need to give others. That's why my yoga gives me. I leave what does not serve me on my mat and start the real work of my yoga when I walk back out the door. I practice. I fall over. I begin again. I am new every time I practice, and different each time I leave. Through my practice, I have learned to be more gentle with myself and others. I have grieved, and I have celebrated. I have worked through sadness and self-doubt. I have learned that my miles per minute don't define me, and how hard I push doesn't make me better, or tougher. I have become a much less hurried version of myself, and that is a gift I receive over and over. My yoga IS my balance for my life, because it has taught me how to live in the life I have now, and BE in the present moment, even when the moment isn't pretty.
Good for the Soul: Happy hours with my husband and my incredible friends, long walks with my dog Scout, traveling in the sunshine with my family, cooking with my teen and tween kids, fostering animals for the Cleveland APL, running along our beautiful lakefront and listening to the waves roll at Wiggins Pass.
Called to Service: Certified Sivananda Yoga Instructor in 1981, Restorative Yoga Instructor 2016. A Holistic Health Educator / Practioner and BA Natural Health Sciences.
What’s at the Core: Following a Lifetime of Passion.
Lifetime Gurus: Swami Satchidinanda, Swami Vishnudevananda, Yogi Desai and Paramahansa Yogananda
A Path for Life: Yoga has helped me through many Rites of Passages. Practicing Karma yoga for many years, I’ve felt compelled to guide others to understand themselves. Yoga has now brought me to the present moment of delving into my own personal Sadhana. I share that gift with you.
Balancing Act off the Mat: I have studied and worked as a Holistic Educator/ Practitioner most of my adult life. We work seasonally on Lake Erie so I find it important to take time for play and solitude everyday.
Good for the Soul: I describe my life as a living Art. My favorite pastimes are listening to music, snorkeling, gardening, biking and kayaking. I love spending time in nature and walks in the woods or on the beach. Our family loves to travel and I recently became a new “Mimi”, now that tickles my soul.
Called to Service: I found yoga in 2006 when I was experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety in my life. A friend recommended yoga to me. At the time I was seeking something that would help relieve my anxiety and also move my body physically. I didn't realize at the time how much yoga would impact my life. As I practiced and learned more about the yoga philosophies, I fell in love and felt like I had found something that connected deeply to my soul and also helped my physical body. I had never experienced something that brought awareness to more than the physical body and I felt I had finally found something that relieved the anxiety and effects of stress in my body. I decided to dive deeper and learn more. I earned my 200-hour certification in 2013 from Namaste Yoga. Since then, I have had the opportunity to teach various classes and deepen my practice as well. Yoga has been a pathway for me to understand myself more and manage the stress in my life in a healthy way. I am so grateful that I have an opportunity to share this healing, soulful practice with others.
What's at the Core: I am also a junior high teacher. I love everything about teaching junior high reading, but I am a perfectionist (most teachers are type A) and this caused stress and anxiety in my life. Yoga has helped me balance the demands of my job and realize self-care is so important.
Personal Mantra: "You cannot always control what goes on outside, but you can always control what goes on inside". I believe that your reaction to something is in your control. Choosing positive and kind outlooks, words and actions will help you lead a more balanced and healthy life.
Balancing off the Mat: I have a wonderful husband and I am mom to a rescue dog named Bowie. When school is in session, life is full and can get overwhelming. I am grateful for my mat to help me find balance. I believe it is so important to take time for yourself and your passions in life (although sometimes I need this advice most myself). In a world that is busy and demanding, yoga has allowed me to live a more present, peaceful and thoughtful life.
Good for the Soul: I'm a junior high reading teacher and love reading new YA books to introduce to my students. I love going to Cedar Point or going to concerts with my husband. We both enjoy walks with our dog. I enjoy spending time with my family, too. Some of my other passions are: reading, music, yoga and teaching.
Called to Service: I began my yoga journey in 2008 with Hatha style yoga. A move to Ohio and a newly adopted child disrupted my practice. In 2017 I found yoga on the lawn a mile from my home. I quickly fell in love with Vinyasa. Currently I’m finishing YTT with Soul Collective.
What's at the Core: After 30 years in healthcare and 3 in Real estate I was longing for deeper purpose in what I do. Yoga gives me the opportunity to help others heal. Yoga brings the entire person to the mat. Body, mind, and soul.
Personal Mantra: No Mud, No Lotus. We all go through difficulties, but that mud and muck is what helps your soul shine brighter.
Gurus: Mother Mary, Wayne Dyer, Thich Nhat Hanh
Balancing off the Mat: I’m a busy mom of four great kids and a traveling husband. They are the greatest blessings God has bestowed upon me. We enjoy watching the kids do their thing, be it dance, baseball, academics, or Kung fu.
Good for the Soul: Family vacations to OBX, siblings, girls night out, laughter. Time spent by any large body of water!
Called to Service: My SIL invited me to a yoga class on a holiday break in 2008. I continued with learning-the-basics classes, made yoga friends, found life-changing teachers, nurtured with weekend meditation retreats and grew into a yoga community of loving kindness. Continued this journey to RYT200 Soul Collective 2019. And now to here, to share and teach.
What's at the Core: I remember a big shift in my 25-year business career when I realized I was not breathing just to breathe and know I was breathing. Pilates Teacher Training led me out of that world into a new one of mind body connection—my first step towards helping others move with breath. Yoga continued to soothe and heal me. Practice leads us to understanding our better self—creates more open space, feels safe and loving.
Personal Mantra: Inhale LET exhale GO. Being life’s busy problem solvers is overwhelming with attachments to so much we can not control. This simple breathing mantra helps letting go of what’s behind us and what may be ahead of us—stay here now. Breathe. Right now is like this. Calm connected present.
Gurus: Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, Pema Chodran who said “We don’t set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people’s hearts.”
Balancing Act off the Mat: So grateful for the life I share with my husband, the time we share with our son and granddaughter, our supportive family and friends community and teaching in my Pilates studio.
Good for the Soul: Yoga, Pilates, family gatherings, travel adventures, mountaineering, paddle-boarding, kayaking, bicycling, concerts, laughing with good friends, long walks, ice cream.
Called to Service: Yoga gently found me at a critical time in my early adolescent years. I was struggling through emotional health and trauma, finding myself often overwhelmed with emotions and hopelessness. Up to that point, exercise was a form of punishment...push-ups or running laps for missed baskets in basketball or situps for “eating too much” for my disordered mindset. Yoga would soon become a safe place to feel and notice my thoughts and my body with compassion and attentiveness.
I was fascinated at the concept of stillness, breath, space and integrity. I researched yoga as often as possible. When the internet showed up I was considerably thankful. (Growing up in central North Dakota did not provide access to yoga in the mid 90 to late 90's.)
In the next 10 years, through a couple moves, completion of an eating disorder treatment program, multiple jobs, childbirth, marriage and receiving my Bachelors of Science in Nutrition...yoga remained.
Fast forward several years and my [now] family of four uprooted to Ohio for my husband's work. The access to yoga content at local libraries was great while I still remained self taught until my very late 20’s. Eventually employed as a Corporate Dietitian, I strived to incorporate the benefits of yoga into each position I held. From simply breath practice for disease prevention workshops to leading general yoga sessions to warehouse employees that needed stress management and relief from repetitive movements on the work floor.To me, yoga possessed a quality of self-care that my education in dietetics lacked. Yoga could birth new thought patterns emphasizing patience, compassion and integrity --essential components in learning and adhering to healthy lifestyle changes.
In 2013 I resigned from my dietitian position to pursue my teaching certificate. In 2014 I completed Krysia Energy’s YTT program, almost 20 years after my first breath in a yoga pose. I was ready to incorporate yoga into my nutritional wellness practice.
What's at the Core: Ashtanga and Restorative yoga have both taught me: Lean into discomfort, gently. Take with you: patience, compassion, curiosity and allow space for breath. God revealed Himself in moments when all I could do was take one breath at a time. In those kind and gentle moments I’ve steadily learned to trust God. To be still and know. Yoga has been a help in growing my faith to a tangible dimension that is present, in each moment, breath by breath.
Personal Mantra: “Time cools, time clarifies. No mood can be maintained quite unaltered throughout the course of hours.” ~Thomas Mann
Favorite Fellow Warriors: My family! <3 My Ohio sisters Christy & Rebecca. My mother, grandmother and Aunties...these women taught me what love, strength and faith look like in every season I can imagine. My yoga teachers, (Ginny Walters, Deanna Black, Susan Livingston and Krysia Maciuszko) that individually blessed me in unique ways I carry into each class still today. My favorite authors, Sarah Young, Brene Brown, Ruth Haley Barton, Shawna Niequist, Oswald Chambers, the Apostle Paul, and too many more!
Balancing Act off the Mat: I manage my business, Threads of Wellness, a private practice offering Nutritional Counseling and Corporate Wellness programs and balance the ins and outs of home life. My hubs travels and teen children go in different directions most nights of the week! Still, sometimes all I can or need to do is #Breathe.Good for the Soul: Time with my family. Talking to my parents almost every morning. Going for healing walks at my parent’s farm in North Dakota. Getting creative in the kitchen. Reading. My practice, the mat will always be a “home” for my body and soul. Prayer and meditation, to keep me grounded in the present moment with strength and grace beyond myself.
Dana Walters, E-RYT500, is the co-founder of Project Yoga Richmond (PYR), a non-profit organization in Virginia, where she serves as Volunteer, Ambassador, Instructor, Co-Director, Outreach Coordinator, and serves on the board. In 2014 alone, PYR provided over 1400 free, reduced-cost, and donation-based Yoga and meditation classes to individuals in need, including seniors, survivors of domestic violence, those in addiction recovery, and adults and children with developmental challenges. Dana has represented PYR at YSC’s Annual Conference at Omega Institute since 2014.
With family history and a personal journey with addiction and recovery, Dana found herself inspired by instructors with a similar path. She completed her RYT-500 certification with Rolf Gates, and studied under the guidance of Nikki Myers, founder of The Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR). She became a Y12SR leader in 2011 and has offered Y12SR meetings ever since. In 2015, she became a Y12SR trainer after completing a mentoring program with Nikki.
Dana’s work has been featured in Origin Magazine, Yoga Journal, and soon The Huffington Post. She was honored in 2012, receiving Style Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40” Award for as an agent of positive change. Dana holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology with a minor in Religion from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where she lives with her husband and several rescued dogs.