Martha Laquidara- Blanchard, ERYT 230/RYT 500 began her journey with yoga in 2009, reconnecting with herself in her early 40’s.The physical, mental and spiritual aspects of yoga were life changing and she received her first few Yoga Alliance Certifications with Stephanie Keach and her staff at Asheville Yoga Center in 2012. Martha spent years learning the principals of and building a strong personal foundation of Anusara yoga with Sarah Faircloth in Charlotte, NC. Sarah’s teachings inspired Martha to continue her journey for knowledge, and searching for a teacher with a strong spiritual connection and a strong foundationally based practice, Martha found Mara Healy, and Universal Yoga. Martha completed Advanced Yoga Training in 2017 with Mara Healy at Be Yoga expanding her knowledge to include the Principals of Universal Yoga, spirituality, and mysticism. She has also studied Sanskrit with Zoe Mae of the American Sanskrit Institute, trained with Gary Kratskow, Douglass Brooks, and various other masterful teachers. This ongoing process of learning is what provides the fresh insights that inspire her teaching. Healthy breathing, alignment, and balanced energy flow are consistent points of focus in her classes. An alignment based teaching style is intuitive and nourishes the hidden strengths of her students while challenging them to reach beyond their perceived limitations. Her descriptive posture placements help the student create more space in their yoga practice, hopefully transforming their way of thinking off the mat. You will leave her classes feeling enlivened and renewed.

 

Solange Perret (RYT 500) truly discovered yoga in 2010 after a few years on and off the mat while attending a 6 am Sivananda Yoga class at a local sports club. The class left her energized, joyful and at peace, an experience she wanted to share with others in their yoga practice. That motivated her to deepen her practice by getting a 500-hour certification in Sivananda’s hatha, spending two intensive months at the Sivananda ashram in Quebec. She followed that experience with a 200-hour vinyasa training with a student of the NYC-based spiritual master, Dharma Mitra. For the next 4+ years Solange taught vinyasa yoga, and immersed herself in other alignment-based practices, particularly Iyengar’s hatha. She became passionate about teaching the principles of alignment for safety and strength, and using the breath to strengthen the body and the mind. Moving to Charlotte she discovered Unity yoga with Mara Healy, a practice which brought together all her previous trainings and experiences in yoga. Unity yoga is an energizing practice that develops supple strength in the body and a peaceful non-reactive mind. She loves teaching Unity Yoga, working with students of all levels, developing their “yin and yang” sides, that is the softness as well as the warrior strength of their practice.

 

Kassi Sell Yancey is passionate about holistic wellness, especially yoga, whole foods nutrition and the ayurvedic lifestyle. Kassi has 12+ years of experience as a yoga practitioner and wellness buff and has been teaching others how to know themselves better for nearly 4 years. She believes in yoga’s ability to improve the physical, emotional and spiritual parts of ourselves. As most students soon discover, a stronger connection to the physical leads to a deeper understanding of the soul and its purpose. Kassi’s classes offer a deep and often slow flow of yoga postures with a focus on breath, alignment technique and modifications. In every class, she aims for her students to experience the clarity and strength that comes from intentional breath and body movement. Her classes are nurturing, as she serves to empower her students in ultimately becoming their own best teachers - mindfully guided from within. She believes yoga is not a practice of attainment, but an unending process of self-discovery and transformation. Kassi is also certified as a Holistic Nutrition Educator and offers personalized consultations and small group workshops in Eating for Health, Ayurvedic Habits and Mindfulness.

 

Rachael Harper (E-RYT500, YACEP) is a Charlotte, NC-based Yoga + Ayurveda Teacher, Thai Yoga therapist, and facilitator of community + human connection. Since her teaching journey began in 2010, Rachael has completed 1000+ hours of training in various styles of yoga and related healing arts, all of which work together to inform her personal teaching style. Although she enjoys teaching a variety of classes, her regular classes predominantly consist of strong but accessible mindfully-paced flows with great emphasis on breath, spinal alignment, and core connection. Class rhythms often evolve with the changing seasons in alignment with the teachings of the ancient science of Ayurveda. Rachael enjoys leading workshops and lectures, teaching students and teachers about the art of self-healing through Ayurveda. She first fell in love with Ayurveda in 2009 and was drawn more deeply into the teachings when she began experiencing chronic headaches and minor digestive issues in late 2011. With John Immel of Joyful Belly as her teacher and mentor, she learned how to heal her body and design her habits to live a life of greater ease. Further studies with teachers like Hillary Garivaltis, Kristen Cooper Gulak, Noelle Cavenaugh, and Cate Stillman have helped Rachael to create a well-rounded curriculum to share with students, teachers, and loved ones to help them design the life they wish to live.

 

Lisa Lilienthal, 500 RYT Lisa grew up in Northern California with an early interest in ballet and dance. In high school she bought a yoga tape and hasn’t looked back. She took yoga in college as well, but didn’t appreciate its deeper benefits beyond the physical until she was in the corporate world dealing with the stresses of real life. Lisa completed her 200 hour RYT with Christy Marsden of Yoga Blend in Burbank CA in 2011. In the Spring of 2017 she deepened her knowledge and expanded her skills completing her 300 hour RYT with Mara Healy of Be Yoga in Charlotte NC. Some of her favorite workshops include those taught by Melody White, Sean Corne and Andrey Lappa. But her knowledge far surpasses that of the asana on the mat. Prior to becoming a Yoga Instructor, Lisa taught WaveBo, a Tai Chi, Qi Gong inspired class for Seniors. She has had her share of learning life’s lessons ranging from the physical to the emotional and she can relate and empathize with many challenges and struggles that a regular yoga practice can bring to the surface. If you find yourself wanting to work towards a healthier path, or just be aware of a more subtle side of yourself, Lisa can help. Her classes are inclusive and accessible to all levels with an emphasis on alignment and safety while giving you options to turn up or down the volume through modifications. You’ll find her classes to be a great balance between learning and having fun.

 

Rene Henderson, mother and grandmother, fell in love with the philosophy and movement of yoga in her first Vinyasa class 5 years ago.  She immediately set about learning as much as she could about yoga and how to live the yoga lifestyle, completing 230 hours teacher training through Asheville Yoga Center as well as becoming certified to teach Children and Vinyasa flow. Practice of the asana builds strength and self confidence in young children and teens; their patience grows, posture improves, energy increases, minds become peaceful, and stress level decreases. She delights in reading stories with a moral lesson or theme to the younger children and acting the story out in yoga poses as well as incorporating yoga games with the children to improve fine and gross motor skills, color recognition, and counting. She strives to help teens learn coping strategies to deal with stress and anxiety such as calming themselves with breath awareness and training the mind to stay in the moment.  Her classes utilize affirmations and positive reinforcement to inspire the children to love themselves and honor their bodies. Rene looks forward to sharing her practice and passion for yoga with children and teens. She expects a mutually rewarding practice to result from classes, as young people bloom and grow through the establishment of their own individual practice.

 

Adrian Thornburg holds a Masters Degree in Community Counseling from UNCC and has been a mental health clinician for 16 years. Over the last five years, through her own personal yoga practice and working with patients, she realized the potential power of merging counseling and yoga to promote internal strength and healing for those who are struggling with the impact of disease and those returning to health. Forever a student, Adrian completed 200 hours of Vinyasa Teacher Training through Daisy Yoga. In addition, she holds Level 1,2,3 and Senior certifications through Yogafit. As a wife and mother, Adrian enjoys family time, traveling, anything with dark chocolate, and Celtic music. She says is she is excited to find a Yoga home at Sundara and looks forward to growth and potential for all.

 

Angie Acosta is a Gastonia native and graduated from Hunter Huss High School in 1996. Growing up, Angie loved cheerleading and dancing, but never gave much thought to the idea of being “healthy”. During her freshman year at NC State, Angie suddenly stopped being active and went on a sugar-filled, crappy food diet which lead her to gain a lot of weight and start to feel like a different person- unmotivated and just “blah”. That’s when she began taking fitness classes and eventually found her calling to teach classes. She has taught many different fitness formats over her 20 year fitness career, but she specializes in dance fitness classes like Zumba. Angie is also a voracious reader and loves to learn, so it was natural for her to jump into the health and nutrition literature to learn what to eat to feel to her best and have the most energy. Angie also loves using essential oils and educating others about them. She has written a free 14 Day Essential Oil Crash Course and leads classes to teach others how they can use essential oils to enhance their own health, wellness and overall enjoyment of life. In 2015, Angie became a certified health coach to help women increase their energy and become their best selves. Her philosophy of health is that it should be enjoyable, natural and sustainable! Angie lives in Gastonia with her husband and two young daughters. Angie also loves doing yoga so you will see her on the mat at Sundara!