Our Teachers 2019-07-29T19:35:57+00:00

OUR TEACHERS

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Diane Couture

Yoga first touched the heart, mind and body of Diane in 2001. At this time she relocated from NYC to spend time with her niece battling a terminal illness. Searching for a way to bring peace into her life and those around her, she quickly discovered the healing benefits of yoga.

Diane has been influenced by a wide range of yoga styles including Ashtanga, Forrest, Baptiste and Yin. She has studied with many national teachers including Seane Corn, Sarah Powers, Cyndi Lee, Kevin Courtney and Ana Forrest. She is a certified RYT 200 in WHY Power Yoga and Ana Forrest Advanced Teacher Training, as well as CPR certified.

Diane’s classes focus on utilizing the breath, as a tool, to go deeper into the body and mind. She emphasizes safe alignment and accessibility to all from multi level to vigorous power. Diane’s hands-on approach utilizes both her intuition and her open heart.

Diane’s other loves of life include her family and friends, her tiny Maltese, Layla, paddle boarding with her husband and teaching yoga to the elderly and those in underserved communities.

“When I’m on my mat, there is a complete balance of mind, body and spirit, for which I would love to share with others.”

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Amy Manning

Yoga is a courtship that is built between your body, your breath and your heart. Practicing Yoga helps me feel inspired. A spark within myself takes light and my heart comes alive! It’s freeing, accepting, and reminds me that I am enough. Yoga gives me the courage to be open, to grow in my practice and in life, and to take those feelings of joy and gratitude with me from my mat into my everyday life. 

I have a true passion for helping people rediscover themselves through honesty and acceptance. Teaching techniques that foster healthy ways of coping and living are invaluable, and create the ability to love ourselves right where we’re at. I come from a long background and love affair with dance, music, and spirituality. My passion is all about living our best life, making it fun, finding acceptance and feeling great inside and out! I enjoy activities such as dancing, biking, hiking, running, strength training and yoga. My love for these things came from a rediscovery of myself.  After trying and failing, struggling and battling with obesity and avoidance within my own life for many years, I began learning to love myself and became able to maintain balance and consistency. Rediscovering my well being triggered a desire of sharing what I was learning. Helping people adopt these same habits is what has guided me here. I have partnered with public and private organizations in the community where I help students and faculty find their courage through yoga.

I train and teach these same practices with privates, classes, workshops and events around the tough topics that make life hard—suicide and prevention, depression and anxiety, bi-polar, PTSD and emotional wellness; divorce, parenting, self-harm, LGBTQA, pain, self worth, and more. I like helping each student access what makes them special and unique, and create a safe space for self discovery and empowerment on and off their mat.

I teach a fun, fast paced, athletic flow that is creative, edgy, empowering and for everybody! I can’t wait to see you on your mats!

RYT 500 Yoga Shop, CPT, Reiki Practitioner

Bridgette Bryan

Bridgette, owner and founder of Peaceful Surrender Massage & Wellness, is a graduate of The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. She is licensed in the state of CT and is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Bridgette has over ten years of experience and specilizes in muscle pain relief and management. She is trained in Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue massage, energy healing, Womb Reiki, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, and Ayurvedic massage.

When Bridgette is not working, she loves to spend time in nature… hiking, gardening, or walking a trail. Her passion includes deepening her yoga practice and continuing her education.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

~C.S Lewis

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Cara Files

Cara is a Certified Yoga teacher under the tutelage of West Hartford Yoga’s Barbara Ruzansky and Nykki Poole. She graduated from WHY’s 200-hour Yoga Alliance teacher training in 2015 and has been teaching ever since. Her yoga journey began over 10 years ago… “I started yoga as another form of exercise after training in the martial arts for many years. I found it to be a good fit with my dance background and attention to proper form, but mostly, I found peace of mind on my mat, a sense of inner peace I haven’t found anywhere else.” Cara has used her yoga practice to heal injury, to strengthen and tone her body, and to develop a deeper sense of body awareness. As a teacher, she knows that bodies come in all different sizes, fitness levels, and degrees of flexibility. Her teaching style allows students to modify the poses based on their individual needs, always focusing on breath and self-awareness. In addition to the physical benefits of a regular practice, yoga has offered Cara a sense of community that she intends to share with her students. “Those who practice yoga regularly understand yoga, we are a tribe. It makes me so happy to see the same people coming back to my class so we can grow and learn together!” In her class you will experience a powerful Vinyasa flow. Warming up with slow mindful movements connected with breath, and flowing into powerful, strengthening standing asanas. The goal of Cara’s class if for her students to leave feeling strong, open hearted and clear-minded. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, Cara is raising her two active kids, working two part-time jobs, going to school to get certified as a medical assistant and generally trying to enjoy life. She’s a self-proclaimed “work-in-progress” who is always looking for new opportunities, ways to improve her life and develop her spirituality!

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photo by Phyllis Meredith Photography

Christine Blais

Christine has been sharing her love of yoga since completing her 200-hour YTT under the guidance of Anne Falkowski at Samadhi Yoga Studio. Christine found yoga during a time in her life when she needed it most. She found it to be transformative for the mind, body and spirit. In 2016, she embarked on a life-changing journey of yoga teacher training. She wanted to help people, and provide the confidence and knowledge to discover their own yoga journey as she had. Christine loves sharing the practice of yoga and finds helping others achieve something that they didn’t think they could incredible! Christine makes time to get on her mat each and every day, even if it is for 10 minutes. In addition to yoga, she loves exploring different ways to challenge her body from running, barre, intensity training and much more.  As a teacher, Christine is warm, energetic and friendly. She is passionate about nurturing the mind, body and the soul. Christine promotes a sense of curiosity, strength and compassion on the mat. She hopes for students to leave her classes feeling grounded, deeply connected to their bodies, and above all….awakened!

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photo by Phyllis Meredith Photography

Dana Perlmutter

Initially Dana was drawn to yoga as a form of exercise.  For many years her physical practice helped her stay in shape, including during and after her two pregnancies. Over time Dana has come to appreciate not only what breath and movement do for her body but more importantly what they do for the mind and spirit.  Being on the mat allows her to be free from all the noise in her life.  It helps her create space to better love herself and those around her.

“Yoga has truly opened my heart and mind and I am excited to keep growing and learning on this amazing journey.  My goal as a yoga teacher is to lead a strong yet accessible class while providing each student a safe space for self-exploration and growth.”

200hr LivFree Power Yoga Certified, Chair Yoga Certified, and Warrior Kids Yoga Certified

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Hannah Stacy

Hannah has graduated from two 200-hour Teacher Trainings in 2016 and 2019 at West Hartford Yoga and is a Certified Yoga Teacher. She has honed her intuitive skills and abilities to identify student’s needs with intensive trainings in both functional anatomy and adjustment clinics. Hannah has trained with Sarah Powers in Yin Yoga and received her Reiki 1 certification from the Healing in Harmony Center. She is a graduate of the Raw Food Institute, a wellness immersion program where she deepened her knowledge of nutrition and holistic health. Hannah is also a Dharma School graduate from the Naughty Shaman and infuses her learnings of smart, effective spiritual practices into her classes.

Expect Hannah’s Gentle and Yin classes to support and encourage you to connect to your body and spirit, thus providing you with space to cultivate compassion and ease!

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Jenna Casorio

Jenna kicked off her yoga journey over three years ago, after making a few major lifestyle changes. By developing a regular practice, yoga has offered her the space to connect internally, tap into her intuition and focus more on personal happiness. With this new perspective, Jenna aspires to share it with others. She completed her 200 hour WHY Teacher Training at West Hartford Yoga and is currently deepening her own practice by experiencing other yoga styles and techniques. Jenna’s classes focus on being mindful with every movement connected to the breath, as you flow through class at your own pace. She strives to provide yoga to students of all levels and encourages students to test their edges. When Jenna is not on her mat, you’ll find her painting, baking “healthy” treats and participating in as many outdoor events as possible!

JoAnn M. Eicher

JoAnn M. Eicher is a West Hartford native. She took her first yoga class 15 years ago and has remained hooked ever since! She is registered with Yoga Alliance having completed her teacher training with Maggie Durbas at Journey of Yoga in Simsbury. JoAnn is a 200 hour E-RYT, with 1,000 hours teaching experience. Incorporating the influences of several special mentors including Maggie as mentioned above and Michelle Sutton, JoAnn focuses on movement with breath, alignment and mindfulness to achieve balance within the body. “Yoga is for everybody and every body!”

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Nicole Valentine

Nicole is passionate about the transformational powers of yoga and loves to share that passion with the students in her classes. She began practicing yoga during a difficult time in her life and quickly discovered the healing and empowerment that happened on the mat, in addition to the physical benefits. A desire to share those aspects of the practice led her to become a teacher. 

Nicole completed her teacher training at The Yoga Shop of West Hartford in 2017 and is certified in LivFree Power and Chair Yoga.  She has a wide range of teaching experience including Vinyasa, Power, Kids’ Yoga, and Outdoor Yoga. She is also a Certified Holistic Life Coach through the Bloom School of Life Coaching in Southington.  Nicole’s classes incorporate a strong physical practice with room for laughter, opening, and letting go. 

Nicole Lewis

Nicole began practicing yoga as a way to calm the anxieties of living with severe food allergies. She found it helped focus her attention and clear her mind. Yoga gave her the tools to center her mind when work and life became a little too chaotic. It inspired her to learn all she could about living a balanced and holistic lifestyle. She became a Yoga Teacher, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Reiki practitioner, Certified Medicinal Aromatherapist and Shaman. She completed the 200 hour WHY Power Teacher Training Program in West Hartford, CT. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Nicole aspires to use her teaching to help students find balance and practice self-acceptance. Most of all, she hopes to remind her students to take a moment to slow down and breathe.

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Victoria Chamberlin

Dr. Victoria Chamberlin, a Board Certified Chiropractic Physician, has been practicing yoga for over eighteen years and is a certified 200-hour trained Yoga instructor from YogaWorks in NYC. Victoria has her E-RYT 200 through Yoga Alliance (having put in over 1000 teaching hours) as well as her YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider). Victoria is also certified in mat Pilates by Pilates Academy International in NYC. As a Chiropractor, Victoria has extensive training in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, and biomechanics as well as special populations and pre/post natal yoga . Victoria’s philosophy is simple: she believes in and subscribes to healing and wellness from the inside out!

“The mind/body connection my yoga practice consistently provides me with is always humbling…and is different day-to-day; after all, it’s a practice, not a perfect, right?! One of the best things we can do for ourselves is to strive for our optimal health and wellness by looking, listening, and feeling within. The guidance is in there.”

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Wendy Gorfain

Wendy’s love of yoga developed over 10 years ago as she faced life’s unpredictable challenges.  She received her 200 hour and advanced 500 hour yoga teacher training from Sacred Rivers Yoga Studio in Glastonbury, CT.  The program’s focus, “Yoga For Every Body,” emphasized integration of many types of yoga, anatomy and physiology as well as the mind, body, spirit connection to help students make yoga their own practice.  Her classes blend a combination of breath led movements which relax the mind, quiet the body and integrate the spirit, and eclectic asana instruction which encourages students to listen to their own bodies.  Through yoga philosophy, quotations, and poetry she aims to bring the healing aspects of yoga and a mindful focus of self-acceptance to her students.  As a teacher of meditation practices, Wendy blends mindfulness into her yoga classes and works with private clients.  

Wendy’s practice and teaching has been inspired by all types of yoga including Vinyassa, Yin, Iyengar and Restorative.  On her own mat, she has worked with physical conditions and has a passion for helping all find a yoga practice that nurtures and supports their own bodies. 

Wendy is also a certified Level 1 Medicinal Aromatherapist.  She received her training in 2012 and utilizes medicinal grade plant essences both in yoga classes and private sessions for those interested in utilizing more natural forms of healing.

 

In the spirit of the word yoga, which means union, I am blessed to share in your journey both on your mat and in your heart.

“The study of asana is not about mastering posture.  It’s about using posture to understand and transform yourself.”

B.K.S Iyengar

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