Meet the people behind Yoga In Our City
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As an experienced Yoga Instructor since 1979 my goal has been to help bring together body, mind and spirit. With a foundation in Hatha yoga I incorporate a variety of traditional practices in movement, breath, and meditation to support and engage each student in their practice.
After I trained as a yoga teacher, I taught a wide range of populations, from colleagues at a Fortune 250 company to participants at a community center, adult-education programs, gyms, libraries, and people with special needs. For the last 27 years, I’ve been introducing yoga to students in a Title One school where I also taught Health Education centering around Drug Prevention, Stress Reduction and anxiety control through breath and movement. I continue to train to bring my teaching to the next level. I’ve acquired tools to integrate and weave yoga into the lives of adolescents and adults with all the daily challenges they face. I have seen people with anger issues transformed by breath-work, students with negative body images learn to internally connect, and stressed out students decompress in Savasana. The transformations that occur are remarkable.
I hope to bring my students to a new level of self-love and self-healing without judging themselves. To be compassionate toward themselves and to begin to look inwards. With Yoga, the possibilities of living a Happy and healthy life are endless.
Yoga means “to unite” or yoke together. It is a call to action. While we retain our own identities, we must work together in order to grow and thrive in this practice. If one falls, we all fall. If one hurts, we all hurt. If we stand up for each other, speak up for each other and support each other, we can succeed and bring about real change. If one succeeds, we all succeed. If we truly follow the 8 limbs of Yoga, the Yamas and the Niyamas guide will guide our actions.
In my class, students can expect a dynamic, fun Yoga flow. We learn in a relaxed atmosphere of positive energy and peace. All students are accepted for themselves, we will listen to our bodies and modify if needed. Remember, when you modify a pose, it doesn’t mean you’re weak. It means you’re smart.
I believe yoga is for everyone, from the beginner to the advanced yogi, young and old. All humans.
I earned my Kripalu Yoga teacher certification from a beach-side studio in St. Augustine, FL called Discovery Yoga as a way of deepening my own practice and connection to Yoga. I came back home to CT and have slowly built up a loyal following of practitioners who have taught me that the best practice is the one that moves slowly, intentionally, breath by breath.
I am passionately committed to placing the individual first in Yoga practice and making Yoga practice safe and accessible for Every Body. I firmly believe that a mindful Yoga practice is well within everyone’s reach and can and should be fostered through a patient, compassionate and understanding connection between teacher and student.
I incorporate the healing modalities of movement, meditation, and sound healing. Movement is always modified for the individual, meditation is always guided, and sound comes from the immersive vibrations of my personal collection of antique Himalayan Singing Bowls.
Leanna comes to YIOC with over a decade of experience. Her passion for yoga began in college as she became certified as a group exercise instructor while attending Penn State University. Her expertise grew when she completed and earned her ERYT200 while also teaching high school science in the Carolina’s. She has a love for leading all levels and supporting the growth of each individual on and off their mat.
One of her strong beliefs is that yoga is for everyone. We should be able to appreciate the way we move and to show up as we are. She strives to create each class with intention and purpose in order to reap all the benefits of yoga. In her class you will find an environment where you can disconnect from the outside stigmas and stresses in order to reconnect with yourself.
To me, yoga is the union between the mind, body, and soul. Yoga isn’t just how you show up on the mat, but how you show up in the world. It’s more than asanas, or poses, to me it’s a question of, “how can I live my life and incorporate yoga in every aspect of it?”.
The connection between yoga philosophy and social justice is undeniable. Yoga equips us with the power to stand up, speak up, to protest. To do all these things with peace as well as passion in our hearts. To do all that we can to be culturally sensitive and practice integrity in our daily lives.
Students can expect an all- level Vinyasa, focused on balancing chakras through Pranayama (breath) and asanas (movement). I love to provide many options to my students and welcome the use of props. I also love practicing to a fun playlist carefully curated for each class incorporating many cultures. Come as you are and above all, allow yourself grace.
Megan is a Hatha Flow Yoga Teacher, inspired by Embodied Flow and Somatic Movement, zealous in the pursuit of adventure and servant leadership. As a lifetime student of nature, she believes in the healing power of connection and experiences that ignite curiosity and encourage the heart.
Yoga encourages one to reach that tender edge – an edge that is different for every body, every day. Reaching the tender edge is how change happens: on the mat, at home, at work, and in our community. Mahatma Gandhi said, one must “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – and it all starts here with you.
Megan’s flow combines vinyasa, hatha, restorative and yin styles with an energy that inspires you to move and love, to feel and appreciate, to discover and enjoy. You’ll find her classes to be accessible, fluid, musical and nourishing.
Yoga is my freedom- freedom to explore & move my body, freedom to express my emotions & be myself, freedom to play & dance with my inner child, freedom from worry, fear, doubts, insecurities, overthinking and judgement. Yoga is a constant reminder that anything is possible and I’m beyond excited to share the benefits this practice can bring.
I want every individual in my class to walk away feeling the emotional, mental & spiritual benefits of yoga. This practice is far more than just the poses, it’s a tool to help navigate you through life. It’s no secret our world is constantly changing & can be filled with chaos, so taking a moment for self-care with yoga/meditation can bring clarity to any situation we’re facing. Yoga allows us to change the way we move through the world and how we interact with others.
Yoga is a practice that has taught me to create presence and awareness in my daily life. Taking day by day one breath at a time as I build compassion for self and others. My yoga journeying has strengthened a connection that is not only physical but mental, emotional and spiritual.
Yoga means union and teaches us to recognize unity with all human beings and our environment. It empowers us to become an active participant of change not only in our own lives but also with the injustices of the world. We show up for each other selflessly and with compassion.
I am hoping to empower students through mindfulness practices on and off of the mat through meditation, movement, and inquiry work. Whether it’s your first time on the mat or you are an experienced practitioner, I invite you to come as you are. Each class will offer different variations of each pose to create accessibility to you in the moment as well as breathwork and meditation.
My name is Vernatha but I welcome friends to call me Vern or Vee. Over the last 5 years yoga has been a great asset in helping me overcome many challenges I’ve faced in my life. It’s a tool that has opened up opportunities for me and shifted my mindset about what it means to truly be grateful for every experience, everything and everyone around me.
I believe that everyone deserves to experience the benefits of a yoga practice for themselves regardless of who they are or where they are in society. In my class, persons of all ages, races and genders can expect a balance of beginner friendly yoga postures while also having the option to challenge themselves with poses that they may not have thought they could do!
I welcome everyone to come with an open heart and the intention to quiet their mind, be themselves and have fun!
I am Tina, she/her, living on the ancestral lands of the Tunxis peoples. To me, yoga is a personal, healing journey–it is not a form of exercise, a form of self-care–it is the path to experiencing the world with all its obstacles and joys as temporary and sacred. Yoga is so much more than asana (poses and form). It is a way of living, a way of interacting with the world and those who inhabit it–past, present, and future.
I seek to practice ahimsa (non-violence) and satya (truthfulness) in my daily life, acknowledging and minimizing my potential to harm other living beings (people, plants, animals, land, etc)–giving back when I can, raising my voice when I see wrongs done to my community, listening to and amplifying the voices and experiences of those marginalized.
Students who come to my class can expect a mix of brisk prana-linked movements and longer, deeper holds, intention setting and visualization, and many invitations to explore new depths–mentally, emotionally and physically. I hold space for students to listen to the teacher within, offering many variations and approaches. For my “seasoned” students, I offer an opportunity to visit familiar asana and pranayama from a new perspective, remembering the roots and foundations of these old friends.
Having been born from a modern day Yogi, Sondra has had a life long exposure to Yoga eventually adopting and connecting with its sister science, Ayurveda. Her approach to Yoga is all about bringing balance to the class based on the environment and time of day. She believes the smallest and most subtle actions, cultivated from within the self, have the power to heal and transform all beings.
Yoga connects the unity of self to all other entities to support understanding and compassion. How we perceive one another within our environment can transform that space and energy to create peace and harmony for all.
Sondra vows to provide class for self discovery, mental and physical stability.
Yoga has helped me though my health journey and has helped me find balance.
To me yoga is the definition of social justice, acceptance and kindness for all beings.
Participants in my class can expect acceptance of all people, all experience levels and hopefully excitement to return each week.
I am a wanderer who is not lost. I found yoga in 2016 as a stressed-out college student, and my love for the practice has only grown. In 2018 I became certified as a teacher, and I have been offering yoga to my community ever since. For me, yoga is the ancient practice of connection through presence. Through the practice, we connect to ourselves, to each other, and to all beings across the world. It’s an honor to offer up my expertise in service of our greater well-being.
As connection is so vital to the yoga practice, it feels natural to incorporate principles of social justice. When we cultivate well-being in ourselves, we are contributing to the well-being of all. This is why I’m so grateful to be involved with YIOC’s mission to bring yoga classes directly to the community.
My classes are designed for ALL bodies and ALL beings. The invitation is to show up for yourself and then honor what you need from the practice. I draw upon my many years of experience to offer guidance in asana, pranayama and meditation, however ultimately I love to see my students honoring self. Hope to see you on the mat! 🙂
As a yoga practitioner, perpetual student, instructor and fellow sentient being, I am passionate to not only share with others what I have learned, and continue to learn, from the study of yoga, but also to make these teachings accessible for as many as possible.
I believe there are intuitive options to be offered in the asana, for people of different ages, shapes and sizes; that all come to the mat with their own diverse backgrounds, abilities and challenges.
A desire of mine, is to create, curate and cultivate community experiences, as well as to celebrate our own inner wisdom and purpose, through mindful breath-work, thought-provoking guided meditation, and compassionate instruction and explanation of the movements, postures and poses of yoga.
My approach is with candid perspective, mindful presence, humor and humility, acts of kindness and nurturing, connection and love.
Molly Kitchen has been teaching and studying yoga since 2009. She is proud to bring her skills and experience to her role as Director Of Education for Yoga In Our City. Molly is the founder of Adhikara Yoga School, a unique 200-hour teacher training program that integrates social justice values, trauma-awareness, and reverence for the South Asian roots of yoga into the curriculum. Her teaching emphasizes self-inquiry, somatic exploration and sustainable movement while integrating and honoring yogic philosophy. As an educator she brings warmth, a grounded presence, and a lens of inclusivity and accessibility to all of her facilitation roles, creating an environment in which participants feel welcome, seen, and at ease.
Molly has been trained in trauma-informed approaches to yoga by the renowned Trauma Center (TCTSY). In 2014 she created the now popular Yoga Consent Cards, a simple and profound tool to allow students to choose whether or not they’d like to receive hands-on assists from teachers. She has been the yoga instructor for several distinct yoga research projects studying the effects of yoga on those who have experienced complex trauma.
In addition to advanced yoga certification (Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP) Molly continues to train in other areas of movement science and biomechanics, including Functional Range Conditioning (particularly joint health) and Anatomy Trains (particularly fascia and connective tissue). As a self-proclaimed “movement nerd”, she offers a diverse body of knowledge yet makes it accessible and relevant to everyone.
As a determined optimist and social change-maker, Molly is a firm believer that our practice on the mat should fuel and inform our actions in the world. In addition to yoga, Molly loves gardening, dance parties, and going on bike rides with her kiddo and partner.
Yoga to me means healing and spirituality. Yoga has personally been a huge benefit to my life in so many ways. It has helped me begin to heal from past traumas and has given me a purpose to help others.
The intersection between yoga and social justice is ultimately how we practice being in the world with one another. We all want to live in a peaceful, non violent world where everyone is aware of the needs of their neighbor. Yoga philosophy reminds us to strive to be kind and bring awareness around how we are showing up in the world to help people in underserved communities. Activism and Social Justice is an act of love for ourselves and others. Yoga means union to “yoke” and I believe none of us are liberated until we are all liberated .
My classes are taught from a trauma informed perspective where students will feel empowered to be liberated in their own bodies. I’d love to invite anyone who wants to take my class to know that no matter your ability, come as you are. My classes are a safe and inclusive space for students to just be in the presence of yoga feeling the pressure to move if that’s their choice. Also to have fun and challenge your body too! Yoga is for Everybody.
Kristin came to yoga out of curiosity and a way to ground during her time in a strenuous college program. As her practice grew, she became fascinated with the invitation for self-exploration in connection to physiology. Yoga became a deeper vessel to nourish and connect with strength and resiliency; aspects of herself she often doubted.
As a practice of liberation, yoga helps to alleviate what binds us. Whether that’s our self-inflicted inhibitions or the unconscious judgements of our surrounding world. When we settle into the 4 corners of our mat, we learn to be with what is present and open our hearts to the deeper wisdom of our humanity.
Kristin’s passion as a teacher is to guide others through their own exploration of the mind and body because without this inquiry, we do a disservice to our authentic purpose in relation to our world. Each moment can be an opportunity to serve our spirit, honor our growth, and practice self-compassion. Her classes are led intuitively with enthusiasm, levity and some challenge, while still providing a space for students to connect with their highest being and deep inner work.
To me, yoga is home. It is the consistent practice of returning to myself. It is a beautiful ritual that provides me with the comfort of knowing that the grounding, peace, stillness and joy and I pursue remains inside all along, one breath away.
Yoga can be used as a personal tool to foster both wellbeing and self-realization. Yoga provides an opportunity for the practitioner to develop self awareness, compassion, resilience and acceptance. When individuals become empowered and aware of the barriers within their own bodies and minds, they are more equipped to break down the barriers in our society, helping to create a more just world for all.
Participants can expect my classes to be based on the students’ needs and centered on individual functional alignment. Each class will have a balance of complimentary yin and yang practices, including meditation, breath work, seated and standing postures, and gentle flow. Modifications will be provided for both new and experienced practitioners alike. Participants will be invited to go on a journey within – connecting to themselves, and on a journey out – connecting with nature and those whom we share our practice with!
I began practicing yoga in 2011 when I signed up for a class at my alma mater, Eastern Connecticut State University. As a former gymnast, I wanted to learn more about the health and physical benefits of the practice. Since then, though, I’ve realized that yoga is much more than just a physical practice—it is an opportunity to welcome peace and calm into our day-to-day lives. I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training with Jiiva Yoga School in December 2020. I found teaching to be a fun way to share the knowledge that I’ve gained and continue to educate myself on how to make yoga accessible to every body.
Health is a human right and yoga has many benefits for both physical and mental health. People from all walks of life are entitled to have the opportunity to practice yoga and experience the benefits that it brings. Yoga changed my life and I want to help those who take my classes tap into all the practice has to offer. I hope it brings joy, peace, and calm into everyone’s daily life as it does mine.
My classes are all-level vinyasa style flow. I just want you to have fun and challenge yourself a little bit—the only requirement is to breathe!
Yoga has allowed me to take the simple act of slowing down to notice what makes me grateful. Yoga has had a profound effect on both my mental and physical health.
Everyone has a longing to be seen in their light, their potential, and their worth to others which yoga helps to do. A community based yoga program provides support to those who need to remember who they are deep down inside.
Students can expect a slower mindful practice, holding some poses for a bit longer to become aware of what the physical body is doing as well as their mental state of mind. I hope to help cultivate an inner sense of appreciation in their hearts which will foster the desire to give back to the community.
Felice has been teaching in West Hartford since January of 2021. However her yoga journey started nearly a decade ago while going to school, working full time and yoga was one of the best outlets.
Yoga is always my go to as a way to exercise, and most importantly to reconnect with myself. Yoga means community, and therefore yoga should always be a place where everyone is welcome.
My training specialized in teaching yoga for every body. I offer modifications which allows everyone to practice together, at their own pace, and grow at their own rate.
For me, yoga means connection. It’s a time when I can get quiet & connect with myself, my breath & my spirit.
Through yoga we are given the space to be aware of our whole selves & work on connecting to the best version of us. When we take the time to nurture ourselves, we then can show up fully for others & offer our support.
Students can expect an all levels practice that will challenge them to connect to their inner strength & leave them feeling empowered.
Jessie Scanlon is a CPA, a certified yoga teacher and the Managing Director for Yoga In Our City. She spent 10 years learning the ins and outs of the accounting industry through her studies and as an employee at both a Big 4 accounting firm and a rapidly growing start-up company. Throughout those years, yoga was a meaningful practice that kept her grounded and connected to herself as well as the various communities she met as she moved around the country. Jessie became certified to teach in 2018 and has been sharing her love for yoga with her friends, family and community ever since.
Today, as the Managing Director of Yoga In Our City, Jessie has found a way to merge her passion for yoga with the skills she developed as an accountant in order to help the organization reach its mission of building stronger, more compassionate communities with a deep understanding of the natural connection between yoga philosophy and social justice. When she’s not coordinating or supporting the various parties involved in YIOC, you can find Jessie with a kombucha in her hand, plotting her next hike, and planning her dream tiny house.