All of us came to yoga from different places. Some of us were looking for a way to increase our flexibility, strength, and endurance. Others were tired of pounding their muscles and joints into "submission" and were searching for a form of exercise that felt good and helped to prevent injuries. But once we tried it, most of us would agree that there's just something "special" about yoga... that calm, peaceful feeling that you get after relaxing in savasana for several minutes; the way it seems easier to take a deep breath because you remember to slow down the exhalation; how you are able to handle stressful situations with a bit more patience.
Heather Gallant Gagnon, ERYT ~ Being active and staying healthy have always been an integral part of Heather’s life. She grew up in Bel Air, was a competitive gymnast, and has continued to participate in exercise-related activities, including cycling and yoga throughout her adult life. The combination of mindful awareness and physical movement is what drew Heather to yoga in 2006. After teaching for several years and sensing a need for yoga in the community, Heather opened Peace Yoga in January 2011. She is an ERYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) with Yoga Alliance and holds both a Bachelors of Science degree and a Masters of Education. Heather has studied with yoga teachers Beth Shaw, Judith Hanson Lasater, Jason Crandal, and Sage Rountree.
Linda O’Brien, RYT- 200 ~ Linda is a graduate of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and received her training under Brahmani Liebman and Jashoda Edmunds. She has also completed additional training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga Practices with David Emerson, E-RYT of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute under the direction of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. This mind-body approach provides techniques that have a positive impact on the physical and mental well being of those coping with anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Linda also offers private instruction to help clients incorporate these techniques into a traditional class or design a personal yoga program that will address individual triggers and challenges. As a certified Dance Instructor for over 25 years, Linda uses yoga as a part of her training methods to help her students gain focus, strength, endurance, flexibility and self-confidence. On a personal level, Linda believes that yoga enriches her life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - on and off the mat - every day.
Kerry Martinez, RYT-500 ~ Kerry (RYT 500, AYS) received her Master’s in Exercise Physiology in 1998 and became a devout yogi during that time. She found more than just a physical benefit from yoga and realized yoga created balance in her own life. Kerry teaches the general population, but also teaches yoga to special populations including cardiac, cancer, arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Kerry brings a sense of humor and laughter to the mat and strives to create a nurturing, peaceful space where students can find stillness. She received her 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2005 from the Yama Studio and she recently finished her 500 hour teacher training with Lynn Matthews in Annapolis. Kerry also holds a yoga nidra certification and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist through the Himaylayan Institute. She focuses on the details and alignment in poses and tends to the needs of individuals in a group class as well as with private students. To bring strength and contentment in her student’s lives she also works with breathing techniques and other limbs of yoga to create physical and energetic balances in the body. Kerry reminds students that each pose on the mat can mirror the very challenges we face in our own lives as well as the infinite possibilities life has to offer.
Adriane Miller, RYT 200 ~ Adriane is a registered yoga teacher in Bel Air, MD. She has completed both 200 hour yoga training (2013) and foundational yoga therapy training (2015). She has studied asana, pranayama, meditation, and other wellness tools with Joseph Le Page, founder of Integrative Yoga Therapy. In addition to formal training, Adriane has been a yoga practitioner since 1974 and continues her discovery of the healing power of yoga through teaching and study. Adriane’s teaching vision is to guide students of any age and ability to the yoga practice that helps them develop flexibility and strength—in body, mind, and spirit—and accept life’s challenges with grace.
Nancy Clough, RYT 200, RPYT ~ Nancy took her first yoga class 8 years ago and caught the bug to learn more. She has completed her 200 hr certification in 2013 and prenatal certification in 2015. Having four children of her own, she recognizes the importance of movement, relaxation and connecting with our higher selves throughout pregnancy and every cycle of life. Health and wellness have always been an interest of Nancy's as the body, mind and spirit connection just make sense to her and she loves sharing this passion with her students. She is also a Reiki Master and currently studying to be a doula. "Yoga is a blessing to me. I don't know what I would do without it.”
Margarita Johnson, RYT 200 ~ Teaching and yoga are two of my biggest passions. I taught English as a Second Language in the Philippines and Special Education in Washington State. In 2009, I started practicing yoga and the beauty of the physical practice captivated me. My interest in this ancient discipline gradually deepened over the years. Each time I step on my mat is a quest to find myself, to learn something new, and to be in the moment. Yoga allows me to have faith in myself and continuously reminds me to stay grounded. My first mentor, Jenn Coats, inspired me to become a yoga teacher. I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training through YogaWorks in October 2013 with Jenny Aurthur in New York City. It is a great honor to have the opportunity to blend two of the things that I love to do. I want to share yoga to everyone and make it accessible for each individual. My flow-based classes are methodical and thoughtfully sequenced to gradually build heat and open the body for deeper poses. The asanas (postures) and vinyasas (movements) build strength and improve flexibility. You will leave class feeling lighter, stronger, and more relaxed. Student safety is paramount and I place emphasis on proper alignment and mindful transitioning. Yoga is a lifelong practice that we carry with us on and off the mat, so let’s be open to possibilities and have fun while we’re at it!
Meghan Charles, RYT 200 ~ Meghan has been practicing yoga for over a decade and began her training with Yogafit in 2010. She gravitated towards the immense possibilities that began to come alive through her practice, in class, on her mat, and in her world. As a result, her desire to share with others took shape and led her to becoming certified to teach.
Meghan is a strong believer in having fun, letting go of expectations and realizing the strength and potential available to us along our own yoga journey. In her teaching, she encourages students to awaken to their inner wisdom, while finding proper alignment and transitions coupled with thoughtful, playful and challenging sequences that will leave students reconsidering what is possible.
JoAnne Gunther, RYT 200 ~ JoAnne holds a 200-hour certification from YogaWorks Teacher Training, as well as a 30-hour certification in Restorative Yoga from YogaWorks Restorative Yoga Therapeutic Training. JoAnne works as a Nursing Education Specialist with a background as an Operating Room Nurse. Off the mat, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, hiking, gardening and researching her family tree.
JoAnne values the balance of body, mind, and spirit that yoga generates in her day-to-day life and considers yoga to be an antidote in all aspects of her life. Her goal as a yoga instructor is to instill passion for yoga to students and to inspire health and well-being, nurturing body, mind and spirit. .
Jennifer DeLoriers, RYT 200 ~ Jennifer had the opportunity to join and complete the YogaWorks 200hr teacher training in September 2013. The training improved her practice, as well as deepening her love for yoga. With her love for fitness and well-being, she now enjoys the opportunity of sharing the joy of yoga to others. Jennifer likes to incorporate attention to mindfulness, breath, and proper alignment in her teaching. She encourages students to play with their edge, while providing a safe and nonjudgmental environment where each individual can achieve their full potential. Her goal is to help students find and maintain a peaceful mind and body on and off their mat.
Cherie Gajewski, RYT 200 ~ Cherie has been fascinated all her life with the many spiritual paths that guide a person to their re-connection with the Divine. Her quest for spiritual awakening, spanning over 20 years and including the practice of several alternative spiritual paths, led her eventually to the study of yoga. In 2016, Cherie obtained her 200 hour Teacher Training Certificate through the Peace Yoga Teacher Training Program and her YogFit Kids! Certification, and she is a registered yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance. Cherie is a training developer and instructor for a large non-profit organization and enjoys spending time with her children and attending various retreats and gatherings with like minded free spirits.
Debbie Welch, RYT 200 ~ Debbie first experienced yoga in 2003 as a way to begin moving after many years of inactivity, and it quickly became the thread that has grounded her since. She loves the sense of peace and joy that yoga and teaching brings to her life. Debbie completed her 200-hr teacher training with Peace Yoga in 2016, and previously worked as a marine biologist and middle school science teacher. She is currently a stay-at-home mom for her two children. Debbie is passionate about making yoga accessible to students of all body types and ability levels. She believes that yoga can help cultivate a sense of self-love, strength and compassion and often weaves these themes into her classes.
Amy Boccia, RYT 200 ~ Amy began practicing yoga while attending college and working on a psychology degree. She went on to work with abused and underprivileged children in Baltimore before deciding to focus her attention on pursuing a masters degree in Acupuncture. Amy has a private practice in Bel Air, so becoming a yoga teacher was a natural progression for Amy as an additional modality to help others on a journey to wellness and radiant health. Amy completed her 200 hour teacher training at Peace Yoga and is passionate about sharing her love of yoga with others. Amy is a huge fan of prevention and promotes a healthy lifestyle. She also believes in the practice of gratitude and tries to incorporate this into her daily life. Students are encouraged to look within to find ways to balance a busy lifestyle with adequate rest, nourishment, play, and movement. Amy is a life long equestrian and is passionate about riding horses and competing in the sport of eventing. Amy is a happily married mother of two and has made Harford County her home.
Gemma Clasing, RYT 200 ~ Gemma took her first yoga class in 2001 and was instantly hooked! After taking classes in vinyasa, power, hatha, ashtanga, restorative, yoga nidra & acro-yoga, she has found a love for yoga in all its many forms. Gemma has been teaching yoga since 2014 and is so proud to have finally earned her 200 hours from Peace Yoga in 2016. When she is not teaching, Gemma loves working on arm balances & inversions! Off the mat, Gemma enjoys making beaded jewelry, painting, photography, ballroom dancing, swimming like a mermaid & hiking. She is always up for a good adventure!
Robin Thomas, RYT 200 ~ Robin began practicing yoga more than 15 years ago, and she became hooked almost immediately. Fascinated with both the challenges and rewards yoga provides, she continues to discover increased flexibility and freedom in body, mind, and spirit. In 2013, Robin took her passion for yoga to a deeper level by completing a 200 Hour Teacher Training through YogaWorks. Always a devotee to the restorative value of yoga, she has also completed Judith Hanson Lasater’s 30 Hour Relax and Renew® Training. In her classes, Robin focuses on alignment, body awareness and the expansive power of the breath. Her aspiration is for students to leave the mat feeling relaxed, energized and balanced and to carry this sense of well being into to their every day lives.