ABOUT

I n s t r u c t o r s

 

Linda Castronovo (Sundays) Venmo: @Linda-Castronovo-1

I discovered yoga in a 1979 Runner's World article while training for cross country. I followed the directions and tried all the postures because the author promised improved strength, flexibility, and injury prevention. It was just a handful of postures: warrior, triangle, cobra, downward dog, and child pose, but I immediately felt calmer, more present, and more alive. 

In the years that followed I attended classes with a variety of teachers and was certified as a Kripalu Yoga Instructor in 1990. I continue to study yoga history and philosophy and learn from every experience as a teacher and student. Now at sixty, my classes are moving meditations designed to build awareness through breath and sensation. I teach an eclectic mix of many traditions, but my aim is to guide you to your own deep well of gratitude, compassion, and self-acceptance. Click here to learn more about me.

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Chris Paradis (Mondays)          Venmo: @Christine-Paradis

Chris Paradis is a lacrosse coach, yoga teacher and health coach. She came to her yoga mat 18 years ago to address her aging joints, and found a practice with healing qualities that go beyond stretching and breathing.  Chris’s classes focus on the breath, alignment, and fluidity. She also helps students practice self-acceptance and how to take their practice off the mat in order to achieve greater ease and resilience in their daily lives.

 

Chris earned her 200-hour certification at Amherst Yoga Center under the guidance of Patty Townsend, and has also studied with Sara Rose, Karen Seaver and Shiva Rea. She welcomes students of all levels to come explore the beauty of being fully embodied. 

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Erin Schifferli  (Tuesdays)        Venmo: @Erin-Schifferli

Yoga arrived in Erin’s life in the year 2000. The practice brought healing for her shoulder pain and a newfound sense of wellbeing. She was both inspired and curious! Breathing, balancing, and most powerful of all - being - fostered greater awareness and attentiveness in her life. Discovering this was part of her impetus to deepen her practice and attend teacher trainings to gather further insight. From the first pause on a mat, she sensed the power that Yoga has to offer individuals, communities, and the world. Erin
understood that Yoga impacts the practitioner, as well as the planet; the ripples of the connections continue to grow ever outward. Part of her ripple expansion is to share the practice.


Meditation, movement, and time outdoors in the wonders of Nature support her as a whole person, partner, mother of four, and business owner. Erin is grateful to have learned from many teachers and mentors over the years. She maintains a 500 HR E-RYT with continual life study and an ever evolving daily Yoga practice. Currently residing in Amherst, MA, she offers both in-person and virtual classes, private sessions, Yoga Therapy, Nutrition Education / Counseling, and Doula Birth Services, including birth education /preparation. To learn more about Erin or to schedule an appointment:
Visit: www.joywheelyoga.com
Contact: info@joywheelyoga.com

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Kim Deshaies  (Wednesdays)    Venmo: @kmdeshaies

Passionately weaving her studies in contemporary psychology and neuroscience with reverence for ancient yogic philosophy, Kim sparks curiosity in the roots of yoga practice and shares practical tools to help build resilience, support mental health and physical wellbeing. She takes a trauma-informed approach to yoga that aims to bring students into their bodies where they can make the decisions that are right for them in each moment, and hopes that students will leave class feeling celebrated and empowered to take their practice off the mat in ways that support their individual needs, lives, and work in the world. Kim is a registered yoga teacher (200 RYT) with a BA in Psychology and additional training in Yoga Therapy for Anxiety, Depression, PTSD and Yoga Nidra for Mental Health.

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Jennifer Vanderleeden (Thursdays) Venmo: @Jennifer-Vanderleeden

Jennifer Vanderleeden has been a student of yoga for the past twenty+ years and has been teaching in the valley since 2010. She is known for her calming presence, relaxing voice, and skillful guidance. Her classes are strong, upbeat and focused on alignment. Her teaching is steeped in mindfulness, precision, and the practice of loving kindness. Students will experience challenging, balanced sequences that enable them to be present and to let go of their daily distractions and doubts. 

 

She aims to create an environment in which students are supported emotionally and are able to maintain the tools they need to feel strong, empowered, and safe in their yoga practice. 

 

Jen welcomes you to come to your mat as you are, and to take your practice with you into your daily life!

 

Kali Torr      (Fridays)        Venmo: @ktorr36

Kali first entered the world of Yoga at the age of 12, attending classes with her mom at their local gym. The practice of fun stretching slowly evolved into a deeper settling, settling into herself. Kali’s personal practice has now blossomed into a vital ritual in her life, providing peace and clarity through intuitive movement.


Kali leads her classes with the utmost reverence to an individual’s needs and body. To her, the language of yoga is the language of The Self. The flow of class will honor the body, challenge the mind, and always include some form of breathwork, intention setting, and grounding. Kali studied to become a certified Yoga Instructor in the Sacred Valley of Peru in the Spring of 2022. She is thrilled to be teaching in Amherst and to the incredible community that thrives in this equally sacred valley.

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Ilana Beigel (Saturdays)             Venmo: @ilanabeigel

Ilana was first introduced to yoga in 1991 in high school gym class, and was instantly enamored with the peace and tranquility the simple yet profound practice offered. She was in awe of the transformation she felt in her body and mind, and while she didn’t yet know the role yoga would play in her life, she knew the story had just begun. 

She formally pursued the field of Psychology and a career as a Medical Speech Therapist, all the while engaging in self-study of yoga, meditation and spirituality. She eventually enrolled in a 200 hour vinyasa yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health - simply because she wanted to learn more, not to actually become a yoga teacher … but as John Lennon said, “life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans”. 

Now, in addition to leading classes, workshops and private yoga and mindfulness/life coaching sessions in Amherst and online, she teaches on the online platform 'The Thread Yoga Collective' and works as a faculty member at the Kripalu Center where she teaches classes and works in the School of Yoga.

 

She believes yoga is a way of life - not simply something you do on the mat - and she aims to inspire you to live with more purpose, joy, ease, and flow. In her classes, she encourages you to deeply connect with yourself and her hope is that you will leave practice feeling more vibrant and strong in your body, more calm and relaxed in your mind, and more open and spacious in your heart. 

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Substitute Instructors

Alison Myra Ozer          Venmo: @Alison-Ozer

As a child, Alison was always moving inspired by music and nature and the joy of connection. She continues to love the exploration and expression of life force through movement and touch, sharing the experience of expanding awareness and integration that can occur with yoga, dance, and meditation.

Alison has had extensive training and experience as a former professional dancer, a licensed massage therapist, and shiatsu practitioner, creating classes and workshops which she has taught around the valley since 1986 through Continuing Ed, Lifelong and Workplace Education at UMass, Amherst Leisure Services, Amherst Family and Senior Centers, Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges, Cooley Dickinson, and Baystate Hospitals, as well as Stillpoint Center for Massage.  

 

Encouraged by her various yoga teachers, Alison completed the 200 hour Embodyoga teacher training in 2010 with Patti Townsend at Amherst Yoga Center, and taught yoga and exercise at Hampshire Athletic Club. She has also taught at dance camps and events both prior and since.   

Alison feels privileged to be part of the community teaching outdoors and in the fields of Andrew’s Greenhouse. She aims to be a compassionate guide with an eclectic improvisational approach that invites others to explore and discover their own ‘dance’ in movement and healing, energizing the body and soul.

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Suzann Heron              Venmo: @Suzann-PH

Suzann has been studying yoga for over forty years.  It is through yoga that she finds her center and grounding. She has been a “ mover” as long as she can remember: from classical ballet, long distance running and yoga, She finds solace in relationship with her body.

Suzann also has a psychotherapy practice in the Amherst area where she often combines yoga and breathing in her work. At this time in her life, gentle yoga calls to her.  It offers space, time and introspection.  Teaching yoga outside is precious and a great honor.

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Liz Lacey

Liz Lacey has completed a 500-hour yoga teacher certification at Shiva Yoga Peeth in Rishikesh, India in 2018, and has completed two additional 500-hour teacher training sessions at Maa Shakti Yog also in Rishikesh.  Her training included Ashtanga, Iyengar, Hatha, and Yin yoga.  Liz currently focuses on alignment, flexibility, and strength through slow movement.  Besides asanas, she is passionate about breath work which she includes in her daily practice.

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Robin Kassis          Venmo: @Robin-Kassis-1

I love that yoga, which is such an integral part of my life, is so portable. I can take it anywhere, whether it's the red rocks of Sedona, the  beaches of Cape Cod, or inside a studio. My practice has deeply informed and transformed my life, and it is a gift to be able to share that with my students, both privately and in classes. I currently teach two group classes on Monday and Thursday mornings at 10:00 and two individual classes over Zoom, as well as occasional workshops. 

 

My training and certification was completed 25 years ago through the Kriya tradition. But my personal practice began in my early twenties, and became more focused in my forties, when I decided to become a teacher. My style is to address individual needs for correct alignment and respectful engagement. Classes incorporate pranayama or breath practice, which  supports depth in each pose, allowing a student to listen and find his/her edge without going beyond the body's acceptable range.

I love teaching yoga and my hope is to instill that passion and care to my students as they open to transformation in body, mind and spirit. 

 

In addition to yoga, I am a Usui Reiki Master and am available for private sessions for Reiki and sessions that combine yoga with energy work. As a certified Wholeness Energetics practitioner, I offer spiritual counseling and energy work to support change and empowerment in unpacking old patterns and beliefs. I pull in the methodology of Donna Eden's energy medicine to complement these healing modalities.

 

Meditation, hiking, reading, singing and spending time with loved ones is the foundation of my life. You can learn more about my work at www.withadancingheart.com 

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Jen Larsen               Venmo: Jen-Larsen-11

Jen Larsen is the founder of Innerglow Wellness, LLC. Through holistic life coaching and trauma-informed yoga instruction, she is dedicated to helping individuals unveil their “inner glow” and embody their greatest potential in body, mind, and spirit. Her education includes graduate work in the psychology of consciousness and psycholinguistics, professional certification through the International Coaching Federation, and she has more than 17 years as a certified yoga and meditation teacher with special training in yoga for trauma and regulation of the nervous system. She has worked with a variety of populations from cancer patients to veterans to professional athletes and everyone in between. In addition to coaching and teaching yoga, she is a public speaker and former radio personality on the topics of health and wellness, particularly the power of the mind and the effects of gratitude and positive thinking on physical health. 

 

In her downtime, you’ll find her creating healthy concoctions in the kitchen, exploring local trails, and spending quality time with her kids, cats, and dog.

To learn more about Jen and her offerings, please visit www.lightyourinnerglow.com


Email: jen@lightyourinnerglow.com
Web: www.lightyourinnerglow.com
FB and IG: @lightyourinnerglow

YouTube: Innerglow Wellness

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Pierre Rouzier               Venmo: @Pierre-Rouzier

Pierre Rouzier is a primary care sports medicine physician is his mid 60s who’s been practicing yoga for over 15 years.  He was introduced to yoga at age 50 by his then college football playing son who started with yoga for injury prevention.  Several years later when his younger son completed yoga teacher training after a number of soccer injuries and said “Dad, I think you’d really like doing this”, Pierre went to the Nexus Institute in Costa Rica for his 200 hour YTT.

 

His interests lie in yoga for fitness and injury prevention and to help people understand the scope of their injuries and learn adaptive asansas to accomplish their goals.  Pierre has used breathwork for working with anxiety, depression and performance enhancement.  He committed himself to learning more about the chakra system and integrating this into his practice and teaching.  

 

Pierre’s medical career has focused on “Exercise as Medicine”, helping people make lifestyle changes and work with their injuries.  He is the author of a patient education book, “The Sports Medicine Patient Advisor”, and a children’s book, “Henry Gets Moving”.

 

One of Pierre’s hobbies is long distance adventure cycling.  He rode from Oregon to Boston in 2016 and from New Orleans to Canada in 2018.  His ride from Vancouver to the Mexican border is coming up soon!

 

His classes will be energetic and enthusiastic (regardless of your level and which asanas you choose) and they’ll work on nearly every muscle group and joint in your body.

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Onatah Stoll            Venmo: @Onatah

 

Onatah is an RYT-500 and certified Embodyoga® Teacher, shiatsu practitioner, musician and healer. She has been teaching yoga since 2012 with a sincere heart and longing to be of service to truth and love. Her classes are deep, alignment focused and full of awe for life.

 

You can learn more about Onatah and her work at her website, Onatahlove.com

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Max Alaghband  (Fridays)        Venmo: @MaxAlaghband

Max completed his 200-HR Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in 2018, and has since deepened his studies in the science of yoga and meditation at the Sivananda Vedanta Center and at Zen monasteries in the US, Japan and Taiwan. Max’s classes emphasize mindful awareness and self inquiry, building on solid alignment, breath awareness, and muscle engagement to support a safe, strengthening, and restorative practice.

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Diana Peters-Ross        Venmo: @Diana-Peters-Ross

Diana began her yoga journey in 1989 seeking a way to heal her body. After a few years she saw the ways yoga changed her life, with improved focus and a deeper sense of peace. 

Diana completed the 200 hour instructor certification at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in 2003. She now shares her love of yoga with friends, family and student classes. Her classes weave together mindfulness, pranayama, flexibility, balance and strength. Diana supports others to find more ease in their bodies, as well as resilience both on and off the mat. 

Diana holds certificates in Yoga Dance and Prenatal Yoga, she also has a Masters Degree in Speical Education and currently works full time in the public schools. 

Diana also teachers at Hampshire Athletic Club (HAC) on Monday evenings at 6:30.

All are welcome, but there is a $15 guest fee for non-members.

Email: Dianapetersross@gmail.com

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Amy Sundari Finlay        Venmo: @Amy-Sundari

While I didn’t get to take any of my parents' yoga classes, back bends were a part of my childhood play, and the spiritual teachings of Swami Satchidananda were foundations of my upbringing. It’s no surprise, then, that upon starting my own family I felt an intense pull to deepen my yoga practice. Since 2009 I’ve practiced with several local teachers, with the full primary series of Ashtanga yoga as my daily practice at one point, and a 5-day intensive with Ashtanga’s head teacher Sharath Jois as a highlight. I received my long-sought 200 hr. certification from Kripalu in 2021.

 

After too much pandemic couch time landed me with low back pain (this type of disc injury is common!), and months of physical therapy didn’t help, I found healing with a book my Kripalu anatomy instructor pointed me to, called “The Back Mechanic,” by preeminent back expert Stuart McGill, Phd. That book, and what I learned while trying to stay pain free during my yoga teacher training, have greatly influenced my teaching. 

 

Amidst the joyful, juicy exploration that yoga offers, what you won’t find in my classes are the movements and stretches that undoubtedly interfere with the healing of lumbar disc damage, which affects “nearly everyone over 40” (to quote my family physician). 

 

In addition to your mat, please bring a a cushioned support to class: ie. a large rolled towel, folded yoga blanket, bolster, or zafu (meditation cushion). 

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