Teachers

Mark Nelson, E-RYT 200
Director
Teaching since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga, Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga

Mark has been practicing yoga since 1991. Early on, he fell in love with the feeling of openness and focus that comes from a regular practice. Where the spirit leads, the body will follow, and he soon discovered that he could move in ways he never thought possible. Read More >>

That combination of mindfulness and movement drew him deeper into the practice, studying Ashtanga Yoga with such renowned teachers as David Swenson, Annie Pace and Jill Manning; Yin yoga with Paulie Zink; and Vinyasa Yoga with Corina Benner.

Mark teaches yoga as a personalized healing science and a profound life-changing philosophy. His classes unite the flow of breath with the flow of the body, guiding students to a creative blend of physical exploration, inward focus and real-life philosophy. Mark has directed the Yoga Garden studios since 2010.

 
Dawn Altman, E-RYT-200, RYT 500, CYT
Teaching since 2012
Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga

Dawn began practicing yoga 20 years ago and fell in love with the physical practice. Over time, it calmed her mind, and opened her heart, allowing her to be a better wife, mother, and citizen of the world. When we align our minds with our bodies and our souls, the world opens up in a whole new way. Dawn believes there is not a person alive who cannot benefit from this beautiful and healing practice. Read More >>

Dawn Altman completed her Teacher Training in 2012. In 2014 she completed level one of the Comprehensive Yoga Therapy training at The Yogalife Institute in Devon. In addition to her yoga teacher trainings, Dawn has studied depth psychology, or psychology of the soul, with Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes at her Archetypal and Cross-Cultural Studies Institute in Colorado, and enjoys bringing those teachings into the yoga classroom.

Dawn has a particular interest in the therapeutic and healing aspects of yoga. She believes that conscious awareness is our greatest security and foundation for emotional health. Her classes focus on bringing meditative awareness into the body using breath and movement, and inner exploration.

 
Jen Bowers
Teaching since 2014
Vinyasa Yoga

Jen has been practicing yoga since 1999. She went kicking and screaming to the first class with her mom, who thought it would be a good complement to Jen’s marathon training. Jen left the class with tears in her eyes and joy in her heart. She couldn’t believe how open and good she felt. So different from the “tightness” of running. Read More >>

As she began to study more deeply (initially at Yoga on Main with Shiva Das), she started to connect with the more subtle elements of yoga. The connection of breath to movement, and the lessons that the physical practice can teach for life off the mat. She loves and values the sense of community at the Yoga Garden and is continuing her studies of Ayurveda and Yin Yoga with Sally Miller.

 
Lisa Ciccotelli
Teaching since 2003
Gentle Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga

Lisa began to dance as soon as she could walk, and continued for sixteen years. She began practicing yoga in 2000, something she saw as a natural progression from dance and an alternative way to heal a lower back injury. Read More >>

Initially drawn to the physicality of yoga she was instantly impressed by the incredible effect it had on her body and mind. Inspired to share this practice and its life-changing effects with others, Lisa became a certified level 1, 2 and 3 yoga instructor through the International Sports Medicine Association in 2002. She trained at Kripalu to become a restorative yoga teacher, and Yoga on Main to become a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance.

Lisa believes in yoga as a modality of healing the person as a whole. A class with Lisa is challenging and energizing with flowing movements and a focus on breath, opening the body mindfully, and calming the mind through meditation.

 
Phil Donnelly
Teaching since 2007
Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga

Phil began her teacher training to dive deeper into what yoga was all about and try and figure out how and why “it worked”. Phil is now expanding her practice by studying Iyengar Yoga. She believes the therapeutic benefits of using good alignment are enormous. Expect a nicely paced flow class mixed with a little humour.

 
Kim Eckler
Teaching since 1999
Pre- and Postnatal Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga

Kim began practicing yoga in 1989. As a philosophy student and dancer, the mind-body connection of yoga resonated deeply with her. In subsequent years, yoga remained a useful tool as she pursued martial arts and motherhood, keeping her body and spirit in balance. Read More >>

She became certified through the Yogalife Institute in 1999, studying pre- and postnatal yoga with Patricia Cornielus. Kim is also a postpartum doula. She feels privileged to share in people’s happiness as they grow their families.

Kim believes that anybody can practice yoga. Practicing with intention of purpose and sensitivity to the body keeps one present in their focus, and helps to avoid self-defeating behaviors such as competition and self-criticism. A class with Kim begins slowly and softly in order to synchronize body and breath, then builds in intensity. There is a focus on stability through the legs and hips, and softness in the neck, chest and arms, thus being grounded yet open. For prenatal classes, there is a reinforcement of the connection between mother and child.

 
Muna Elshakhs
Teaching Since 2014
Hatha Yoga

Muna began practicing yoga in 1999, and found a deep love for the yoga philosophy of uniting mind, body and spirit. Her teacher training at the Yogalife Institute challenged her to develop a sense of calm amidst life challenges, a renewed sense of joy in work, and a healthy balance between full-time work and motherhood. Read More >>

Her classes focus on uniting the philosophy of yoga with the breath and the physical poses, to give her students a chance to deepen their experience of yoga. Using breath as the doorway to mind, body, and spirit, students will learn to develop inner peace and physical health.

Muna loves challenging her students to cultivate more joy and health in their lives by learning to apply the principles of yoga to daily life. Students can sign up for her yoga emails, which focus in-depth on a different yoga principle each month.

 
Lauren Foster, E-RYT 200
Teaching since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga

Lauren Hanna Foster began practicing yoga in 2007 and teaching in 2008. A Pittsburgh native, Lauren moved to Philadelphia to complete her Masters degree in Social Work at Bryn Mawr College. A social worker by day and yoga ninja by night, Lauren teaches group and private vinyasa classes inspired by Ashtanga and the many variations of Vinyasa Yoga. Her classes are grounded in a playful combination of flow, structure, tradition and joy.

 
Terry Fox
Teaching since 2006
Meditation, Mindfulness-Based Stress Management

Terry’s meditation practice is rooted in the contemplative prayer and silent retreats of her youth. As a young adult, she expanded her meditative inquiries to include the spiritual centers of the major world traditions. Read More >>

In the 90’s, she gravitated to the teachings of Zen Buddhist monk ThichNhatHanh, the mindfulness model of Jon Kabat-Zinn, and the supporting research of the scientific community. Terry holds a Master’s degree in counselor education and counseling psychology and has worked as a teacher and counselor in a variety of settings, including schools, sheltered workshops, and social service agencies.

Terry teaches meditation as a journey of self-discovery that’s undertaken by settling into silence and listening with one’s whole being. The journey cultivates a sense of calm, ease, and well-being, deepens insight into self and others, and leads to a realization of one’s true Self. Terry’s classes consist of instruction, practice, and discussion. She encourages her students to embrace their meditation experience with curiosity and kindness and to respect the unique unfolding of their individual journey.

 
Ari Halbert
Teaching since
Vinyasa Yoga, Ashtanga Yoga

Incorporating traditional elements of both Ashtanga and Iyengar yoga, Ari’s classes promote precision and efficiency of movement, and demand a willingness to examine and redefine one’s own habitual movement patterns. Each class makes evident Ari’s passion for physical expression as a gateway to access the innermost aspect of our being. Through the grace of the movements of the physical body, it is his hope that each student can imbue the same sense of grace and peace within. In the spirit of old hermetic adage: As above, so below; as within, so without.

 
Rachael Hunter
Teaching since 2011
Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga

Rachael began practicing yoga in 1996 when she moved to Princeton, NJ for postdoctoral studies. Learning an Iyengar-style practice as well as Vinyasa flow, she completed her teacher training at Verge Yoga in Wayne PA. Through her teaching as well as her personal practice, Rachael recognizes the power of yoga heal old injuries as well as prevent new ones. She leads her classes with careful attention to alignment and slow mindful movement.

 
Noah Julian
Teaching Since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Liquid Flow Yoga

In the style of Simon Park’s Liquid Flow (which fuses Prana Flow and Dharma Vinyasa) Noah brings a unique and fun approach to the practice by incorporating experience with several movement modalities, spanning over a decade, while adhering to the roots of Vinyasa practice. Read More >>

In a slow and highly challenging flow we will find each movement’s responsibility, creating a dance-like quality to the practice, which transforms an art form into a moving meditation.

 
Kelly Miller
Teaching Since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Liquid Flow Yoga

Kelly had tried yoga at the gym a few times and enjoyed it as exercise – but it wasn’t until she stepped into a neighborhood yoga studio that she truly discovered the magic of yoga. A year later, she was laid off from the corporate job that she loved. Kelly decided to seize the opportunity and immersed herself in the study of yoga. Now, she couldn’t imagine her life without yoga and is thrilled to be able to share what she has learned with her students. Read More >>

In her classes, Kelly strives to make yoga accessible (and enjoyable!) for everyone by making the asanas work for each student’s unique body and ability, rather than trying to make the student’s body conform to the asana. In her children’s classes, the kids learn yoga through games, breath work, and journaling.

 
Gina Molinari
Teaching Since 2010
Vinyasa Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Children’s Yoga

Led to yoga by back pain, Gina started practicing yoga in 2008. Divine intervention brought her from the sweaty studios of the Jersey Shore to Philly in 2013 and placed her in the hands of the Yoga Garden where she completed her 200RYT under the wisdoms of Mark Nelson and Chae Yang. Read More >>

Inspired by rockstar yogis like Rachel Brathen equally as much as the Seekers she encounters in life, Gina quickly learned that yoga is more than asana and is enthusiastic about leading others toward the awareness of yoga as a means of mindfulness, good health, serenity, and love.
Gina’s athletic background and gypsy soul bring energy and a passion for discovery to her sequencing. Expect to move your body and tune into its feedback in her classes. Gina’s classes will integrate the breath with physical alignment and shed light on how our movements can bring awareness to everyday situations. As Gina is energized by yoga and life as ever evolving journeys, you can count on her passionately opening your heart and mind through her classes.
When she’s off the mat, Gina is typically wanderlusting or hula hoop dancing. She’s down to chat about your favorite (plant-based) recipes, work woes, or life dreams. While she is honing the skill of being still, she also hopes to take a world tour someday soon and share her knowledge of yoga along the way.

 
Brittany Policastro
Teaching since 2003
Vinyasa Yoga, Gentle Yoga, Restorative, Prenatal, Yoga Babies

Known as a Stevie Wonder-loving, truth-speaking change-maker who bagged law school to pursue a creative thirst; Brittany rarely follows the pack on or off the mat. She believes transformation can be tumultuous- sometimes loud and messy but always packed with guidance and grace. Read More >>

And she leads her students into the heart of the practice from the start of her classes.” reference=”Brittany” more=”With over 6,000 hours and nine years of experience, Brittany teaches from an inspired space of connected consciousness. Her technique is influenced by her 300 hours of training in Anusara, practice in Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga as well as deep study in India.

Inspired to create global awareness, Brittany has traveled to Cambodia, Brazil, Tanzania and India teaching yoga to children and connecting with each culture. In 2010, Brittany founded Beyond Asana and co-created the Beyond Asana Yoga Teacher Training, which combines asana, sacred activism, personal growth work and global travel.

In 2009, Brittany’s blog was published in Yoga Journal. In 2010 she appeared on the 10! Show for a segment for Healthy Backs. In 2011 her poems were featured in The Poetry of Yoga, alongside some of the most recognized teachers in the world and in 2012 LululemonAthletica named her an ambassador for their Philadelphia store.

Brittany cooks and eats consciously, loves to dance and continues to be uplifted by reruns of The Cosby Show.

 
Trevor Potts
Teaching since
Vinyasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Hatha Yoga

Trevor found yoga in 2012 during a low point in his life. Feeling directionless and tired of falling into unhealthy habits to cope with feelings of depression and emptiness, he turned to his mother Lilavati, a long time yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practitioner, to educate him in the practice of yoga. Yoga changed his life forever, giving him a true sense of purpose and a new appreciation for life in all its forms. Read More >>

Soon after, Trevor spent nine months living amongst full-time yogis at the Sivananda Ashram in the Bahamas, where he completed his 200-hour teacher training. Spending time immersed in a fully yogic society gave Trevor the opportunity to hone his asana practice each day, studying with teachers from around the world, while also delving into the spiritual aspects of yoga, finding a particular fondness for Bhakti, the yoga of chanting and devotion.

Trevor’s vinyasa classes are at the same time playful and powerful, fast paced and flowing. He loves to keep students on their feet with lengthy and complex sequences, while grounding the energy of the class with direct alignment cues and practical philosophy that links the physical aspects of yoga to the emotional and psycho-spiritual elements of the practice. Prepare to laugh, sweat, and discover new realms of self-love and empowerment.

 
Johnathan Raiss
Teaching since 2008
Vinyasa Yoga, Liquid Flow Yoga, Prana Flow Yoga

Johnathan was introduced to yoga through the practice of Ashtanga and hot yoga at the vulnerable age of sixteen. He has been involved with athletics and martial arts for much of his life, but yoga truly helped to expose him to levels of qualitative, therapeutic, and informative movement beyond what he knew possible. Read More >>

Deep meditative awareness, and self-realization began to become aspects of his life through yoga practice, and he feels these things have served to develop an empathic bond with the planet and humanity as a whole. Simon Park, Dharma Mittra, Phillip Askew, David Regelin, Shiva Rea, Richard Freeman, Ido Portal, and Alex Holmes are great influences in his practice and teaching.

Johnathan teaches a dynamic flow that fluctuates between subtlety and vigor. He seeks to share a challenging yet therapeutic practice that can beneficially transform one’s life both on and off the mat.

 
Sarah Rogers
Teaching Since 2006
Hatha Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Yoga for Seniors, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Kripalu Yoga

Sarah first learned about yoga from her mom and began practicing formally in 1999. She received her 200 hour Hatha Yoga Certification from The Spirit of Yoga in January 2007 where she learned about various styles including Forrest, Ashtanga, Kripalu, Baptiste, Iyengar, Kundalini, and Prenatal yoga. In 2010, Sarah spent four months volunteering at The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health as the Guest Yoga Team volunteer where she coordinated, taught, and assisted classes. She has much gratitude for all of her teachers including Pam Walsh, Deanne Caputo, Judy Curiel, Jurian Hughes, Devadas, Randal Williams, Grace Jull, and Danny Arguetty. Read More >>

Sarah brings a calm, soothing presence to her yoga and meditation classes. She is interested in teaching her students to cultivate not only improved physical health but also an inner stillness and a tranquil spirit through their yoga practice both on and off the mat.

 
Ilene Rosen
Teaching since 2012
Kids Yoga

Ilene Rosen fell in love with yoga almost 20 years ago because it made her mind calmer and her body stronger. Since then she has experimented with different varieties of yoga and learned and grown from each one. In 2012 she decided to take a teacher training course and fell in love with yoga all over again. Read More >>

She completed the 200-hour course and the Yoga Child training course and apprenticeship. She is working on a 500-hour training. Her classes for children combine hatha, vinyasa, and gentle, with varying energy levels during each class to meet the needs and experience of the children. Ilene is interested in anatomy and yogic philosophy, and brings appropriate elements of those into classes for older children as well.

Ilene is also an experienced preschool teacher, has a degree in child development, and is the mother of three teens. In her desk job, she is a part-time free-lance writer and editor specializing in education and PR.

 
Rebecca Saline
Teaching Since 2006
Power Yoga

Teaching Vinyasa Yoga and Power Yoga since 2003. Rebecca’s yoga journey began in 2001 when her older sister took her to her first vinyassa yoga class. During that practice, Rebecca felt the physical challenge of yoga lead to a spiritual awakening. From there, she devoted herself to yoga under the instruction of renowned yoga instructor, Baron Baptiste. In 2003, she became a certified yoga instructor at Philly Power Yoga. Read More >>

In addition to teaching yoga, Rebecca has a B.A. in Psychology from George Washington University, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education from Temple University and a Reading Specialist Certification from the University of Pennsylvania. Rebecca’s classes embody the belief that yoga is a moving meditation. She strives to challenge her students through a vigorous physical practice while helping them keep a peaceful mind. Rebecca feels her classes are an opportunity for each student to connect with their true inner self and is grateful to guide them.

 
Colleen Schoenhard, E-RYT 500
Teaching since 1988
Classic Hatha Yoga, Kundalini Yoga and Meditation (as taught by Yogi Bhajan), Yoga Nidra, Gentle Yoga

Colleen began meditation while in college, yoga soon followed. It felt great to get out of the “head” and stretch and tone the body, calm and focus the mind, give space to witness emotions, realize the power of breath, and to be aware of the connection with unlimited possibility. Read More >>

This transformed her life professionally and personally and it helped when life’s serious challenges came. Colleen is grateful for her study with some profound individuals: Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga, and Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health- her long-time teacher of Classic Yoga/Meditation; and GurumukhKalKhalsa, HariKaurKalKhalsa, Hari Kirin KalKhalsa from the Kundalini tradition. Workshops with: Yoganand Michael Carroll, Tara Brach, Shiva Rea, Paulie Zink, Beryl Bender Birch.

Colleen is an experienced, knowledgeable teacher who knows the body/mind well. She teaches yoga as a practical, transformational tool, a technology (with heart) to explore and develop the unlimited creative potential within each and every one of us. She asks the students to begin exactly where they are and be present and “witness”. Breath is consciously used to connect body and mind. Students cultivate focus, courage, non-judgmental awareness (mindfulness) as well as strong, flexible bodies. Each class leads the student through a comprehensive, balanced sequence beginning with an opening meditation; warm-ups; sun-salutations; standing, balancing, and mat poses; and final relaxation. The experience is calm but can be challenging at times. Various stages of some postures are given so that individuals can make poses as challenging or simple as they need, allowing for an all-level group to benefit. This is a complete workout inside and out, leaving students feeling happy, whole, empowered and recharged.

 
Emily Smith
Pilates

The healing power of touch and movement have always played an important role in Emily’s life as means for communication & self expression. Her interest in the mind-body connection grew out of her love of dance which she continued to study through college. Read More >>

Emily earned a BS in Human Development and Family Studies at Pennsylvania State University. She has studied Pilates in Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Arizona and Colorado and is certified to teach Pilates through the Physicalmind Institute. A move to Colorado in 2003 sparked future endeavors when she opened Trinity Wellness Studio in 2005. After selling the studio in 2010, Emily returned to family and friends in the Philadelphia area. Here, her teaching now incorporates self massage & myofascial release into creative and fun movement sessions.

Emily completed 650 hours of training in Massage Therapy and is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. I am excited to share my hands-on healing modalities with clients.

Upon reflection, I discovered that I have been creating movement sequences and facilitating the body’s natural ability to heal ever since I was three years old. I am thrilled to carry my passion into my professional life. I invite you to soften the shell of life’s tension. Peel back the layers and reconnect with your essence. I look forward to meeting and working with you.

 
Marla Sussman
Teaching since 2001
Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Pre- and Postnatal Yoga, Yoga for Children

Marla was first introduced to yoga in 1990 and was immediately inspired by its spiritual and physical teachings. She began practicing more regularly in 1999 and trained at Yoga on Main where she received her certification in 2001. Read More >>

Since then she’s received certification in prenatal, children’s, and yin yoga. She feels very blessed to have found yoga and is honored to be able to share what she’s learned.

For Marla, yoga is an expression and a part of an individual’s journey. It can fit into any lifestyle. She encourages body awareness and compassion using grace through movement. Her classes blend soft and strenuous movement in a safe, light-hearted and nurturing environment. Breathing, exploration, and joy are at the core of each class.

 
Meg Townsend, E-RYT500, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist, Reiki Master
Teaching since 2008
Hatha Yoga, Yin Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Meditation

At age 15, Meg convinced her High School Phys Ed teacher to allow her and a few friends to do yoga videos during class and from that, a love affair began. While in college, she used Yoga and Aromatherapy to keep her healthy and grounded during her studies in an opera performance program. Now, as a full-time yoga teacher, she enjoys bringing the healing benefits of Yoga and Ayurveda through weekly classes, Real Living Yoga’s “Yoga for Insomnia” program, international yoga retreats, and other specialized vibrant living workshops! Read More >>

Meg’s teaching is influenced by the world around her, the ancient and practical teachings of Tantra & Ayurveda, and her own experience in healing. She is an initiate of the Sri Vidya Tantra lineage as brought to the West by Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Meg is a dedicated student of Yogarupa Rod Stryker and has studied Ayurveda from Kathryn Templeton and the Himalayan Institute in PA.

Meg’s class is a breath-centered, inner-fire stoking, mindfully-paced class that will leave you feeling balanced, grounded, and inspired. She has an uncanny ability to see what her students need on any particular day, and deliver a practice that will meet those needs. Meg is so excited to be a part of the Yoga Garden community and feels blessed to have landed in such a special place on the Main Line!

 
Dawn Weisbord
Teaching since 2001
Qi Gong, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong

Dawn began practicing and studying yoga in her early twenties. This practice piqued her interest in transformation through mindful breath and movement. She began formal study of acupuncture and qi gong in 1997 at the Traditional Acupuncture Institute. Read More >>

There, Chan Zhang was Dawn’s first qi gong teacher. She now studies extensively with Master Li Jun Feng. Master Li has certified Dawn to teach shengzhenqi gong. She’s studied with various other wonderful teachers including Kimberly Rigsbee, Ken Cohen, Francesco Garripoli, Master Wu Zhongxian, and Li Jing. She’s a lifetime member of the National Qi Gong Association and of Peaceable Dragon. Dawn teaches acupuncture and qigong at the WON Institute of Graduate Studies in Glenside, PA. She holds the credentials of M.Ac.,Dilp.Ac., and is a certified qi gong instructor.

Finding the practice of qi gong to be transformational and evolutionary in her own life, Dawn loves to share her joy of practice through teaching. Anyone can learn and practice the simple and profound movements of qi gong. Dawn’s classes are relaxing and energizing. With mindful movement and breath students learn to cultivate and move qi energy and can create healing, health, well-being and transformation. Students practice standing, sitting and non-moving meditative forms as well as qi self-massage. Classes are designed to benefit students of all levels.

 
Chae Yang, E-RYT 500, RPYT
Teaching since 2006
Vinyasa Yoga, Prana Flow®, Prenatal Yoga, Therapeutic Alignment Yoga, Hatha Yoga

Chae began studying yoga in 2001 and was immediately drawn to the philosophy and tools yoga had to offer for life. She began her teacher studies in 2006 to complete two vinyasa teacher trainings by 2008 and registered with Yoga Alliance as RYT 500. She began assisting Yoga Alliance approved Teacher Training programs in 2009 to continue on as a participating teacher of trainings. Read More >>

Her commitment to the studentship of yoga include: Sadhana, Ayurveda, Flow, Alignment and Therapeutics. She has completed trainings in Anusara Yoga (200 hours), Vinyasa (700 hours), and Pre(post)natal Yoga as well as numerous Subtle Body Immersions, Therapeutic Alignment and Yogic Scripture courses. Chae is registered with Yoga Alliance as: ERYT 500, RYT 500 (Prana Flow), RPYT (Prenatal). Her classes sew together inspiration from Shiva Rea and Michelle Synnestvedt along with teachings of Himalayan Institute Faculty, Twee Merrigan, Maria Garre, Darren Rhodes, Joan White, Carrie Owerko and Ellen Saltonstall.

Chae teaches yoga full time and is dedicated to serving the community through yoga having lead classes that benefit families of cancer patients and the homeless in Philadelphia since 2007. She has also been leading global Yoga Retreats by the sea since 2009. The private, group and retreat practices offer individual challenges but are filled with laughter, ease and compassion. She continues to study and share yoga full time and is a householder.