Susan Lovett

Susan sought out yoga when she was experiencing chronic muscle soreness and tension from boxing (!) and a high-stress work environment. She was happy to learn that a consistent yoga practice not only eased the muscle tension but helped to her to feel stronger, more relaxed and healthier in general. She recommends yoga classes as places to meet some of the kindest people in the world.

Susan’s teaching is informed by her many years of trauma-sensitive social work practice and her experience as a cancer survivor. She’s certified in teaching Children’s Yoga and especially enjoys working with beginners – and anyone who never thought they’d find themselves on a yoga mat.  She loves to help others discover yoga and she REALLY loves making yoga accessible to those with physical, mental, emotional and economic challenges. Susan’s favorite yoga pose is Humble Warrior.

Karuna O’Donnell

Karuna O’Donnell, Certified Forrest Yoga Teacher, M Ed, RYT.

I see yoga and arts learning as my path to becoming an authentic human being with a precious gift to bring to my people. Through a 20 year journey of embodied learning, I have witnessed the power of practice to uplift, heal and inspire responsibility. Searching for depth in my own healing and alignment in practice, I attended the Forrest Yoga Foundational Teacher Training in 2009 and have now completed both continuing education and advanced teacher training with Ana Forrest as well as two years of mentorship with Heidi Sormaz, Ph.D. and Forrest Yoga Guardian. I am proud and honored to be a Certified Forrest Yoga teacher and assistant for the Forrest Yoga Foundation Training in New Haven, CT (2014). With the guidance of my mentors, Ana Forrest, Heidi Sormaz and Nikki Meyers (Y12SR), I feel I have found my most authentic expression of self, thus far. I am a deeply passionate teacher and student of Forrest Yoga, Trauma Informed Yoga and the Yoga of Twelve Step Recovery. I have had the priveledge of assisting the groundbreaking Yoga, Meditation and Addiction Recovery Conference, founded by Nikki Myers and Rolf Gates, at both Esalen and Kripalu. I hold a BFA in Painting from the Massachusetts College of Art and a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University. I offer yoga and studio art as resources for healing psychological trauma in the greater Boston area. In 2008, my intensity as an artist, activist and teacher converged as a founding member of Survivor Theatre Project, of which I am now acting as the touring company manager. Facilitating personal acts of courage brightens my spirit tremendously.

Alex Bauermeister

Alex Bauermeister loves yoga as a way to cultivate health, joy and inner peace that ripples out into the world for positive change. Alex is a yoga teacher and yoga therapist with over 1000 hours of training from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Prana Power Yoga and more. Through group yoga classes, specialty workshops, and one-on-one yoga therapy sessions, Alex helps her yoga students find physical, mental and emotional strength, balance, and flexibility. You can learn more about Alex and her yoga offerings at www.intrayogatherapy.com.

Theresa Okokon

Theresa began practicing yoga in 2006 when she decided to join the Peace Corps. She was not in great shape, so she joined a gym figuring that Peace Corps Volunteers probably needed to be fit to climb volcanoes and paddle canoes in the Amazon to get to their mud huts. At the gym and unhappy on the elliptical machine: Theresa wandered into a yoga class, and fell in love. She continued to practice in her new home in Ecuador (in an apartment in the urban city of Guayaquil …since not all Peace Corps Volunteers live in the jungle), and continued when she returned to the States and eventually moved to the Boston area. Theresa found her “yoga home” at Open Doors in Roslindale when she timidly went into her first heated class and found a level of strength, sweat and release that she had never before known. Theresa believes in a practice that is as intense as it is relaxing, where you learn to appreciate and understand your body and your breath for exactly what it is today. While she enjoys teaching in a studio setting, her true passions lie with brining yoga to communities that would not otherwise have access to it. Theresa truly believes that yoga can teach you to use the power and good energy that your body creates to transform your own life and the lives around you.

Theresa completed her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Open Doors Yoga Studios in 2014, under the guidance of yoga teachers Karen Donahue, Richard Lanza, and Shawn Cornelison. Theresa is a CYT-200 (Certified Yoga Teacher) by Open Doors Yoga, a Yoga Alliance accredited program. Theresa will begin a trauma informed yoga training with Sue Jones’s YogaHOPE, called TIMBo (Trauma Informed Mind Body) in September, 2014. Upon the anticipated completion of this program in early 2015, Theresa will be a Certified TIMBo Facilitator, and will be eligible for TIMBo Licensure with YogaHOPE.

Theresa calls her teachings LEGITyoga (Learn. Emote. Grow. Ignite. Transform).
In classes with Theresa, students learn that a strong yoga practice exists both on and off the mat. Theresa teaches yoga in a way that is focused on the wellness of the individual in an entire sense: especially with regard to how an individual’s ability to control their breath and movement will lead to an increased ability to control of their own mind, body, and behavior.

For more information about Theresa’s teaching schedule, please visit www.facebook.com/LEGIT.yoga.

Mikki Pugh

Mikki Pugh has been a student of yoga for more than 10 years and has been teaching since 2009. She believes in making yoga fun, playful, and empowering for kids and adults. She knows that trying a yoga class for the first time can be scary and tries to make her classes accessible for everyone. Mikki has been practicing meditation and mindfulness in her community of JP since 2009, which help provide a foundation for healing, self-acceptance, and compassion in her classes. Her passion for working with children and adolescents led her to participate in the first federally-funded research study investigating the effects of yoga in the schools and she currently teaches a class for adolescent girls at Akasha Yoga Studio in JP. Mikki’s full time job is as Boston Program Manager at Strong Women, Strong Girls, a national nonprofit that promotes cycles of mutual empowerment among pre-adolescent girls, undergraduate, and professional women.

Barry Kilkelly

Barry has learned through the practices of yoga that life is momentary and in constant flux with each experience a chance to enrich our understanding. Barry brings this sense of awareness and focus to his classes with a light-hearted approach to encourage a space to grow in every practice.

Barry has received certifications in Pranavayu 200-hour yoga training, 500-hour Yantra Yoga training, Tui Na Body work, and Therapeutic Qi Gong. He is a father to three children and is co-owner and teaches classes at Akasha Studio in Jamaica Plain and Roslindale.

Sam Herr

Since wandering into my first yoga class over a decade ago, yoga has taken me many places, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Through the practice of yoga, my body, mind, and heart continue to transform and expand in new ways. Yoga is my passion and faithful friend.

Over the years, I’ve had the great fortune of learning from amazing teachers and communities. Some of my first teachers were Cary Perkins and David Vendetti in Boston. I’ve practiced with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois (now deceased) in Mysore, India. I spent many years in Tucson, AZ with Darren Rhodes, Mira Shani, Bruce Bowditch and the wonderful yoga community of Yoga Oasis. I continue to practice, learn, and grow with my fantastic teacher, Marc St. Pierre (who bestowed me with my own teacher wings in 2012), and with the many fellow yogis I meet as I follow this path.

I believe we can all achieve comfort in our bodies, peace in our minds, and joy in our hearts, and yoga can take us there. I’m excited to share the richness, transformation, and love that yoga has brought into my life with you!

As well as teaching yoga, I also offer massage through OPENSPACE Bodywork.

See you on the mat!


Kelsey Laubenstein

Yoga gave Kelsey the gift of true self-love and gratefulness. Once you live life in love and gratefulness, magic begins to happen- your perception of life changes, you change, and windows of opportunities open.

As a 200 hr Registered Yoga Teacher- Kelsey’s intention is to provide a safe, welcoming, powerful, challenging, and loving environment. Yoga is for everyone. Kelsey teaches all levels of Yoga from first time beginners to advanced practitioners. Music has the ability to alter moods and vibes, so Kelsey brings rad music of all genres depending on the theme of the class. Yoga enhances the body, mind, and spirit. Kelsey will bring spirituality and inner higher consciousness during guided mediation in conclusion to every class. Expect to leave Kelsey’s class feeling open, energetic, and joyous.

“My whole teaching is this; accept yourself, love yourself, &celebrate yourself”- Osho

For private lessons, group classes, events, & workshops both in and out of home contact Kelsey directly through email:kelseylaubenstein@gmail.com . Look out for a Kelsey’s Facebook fan page in the near future.

Angel Clark

Angelica has studied Classical Ballet, Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation. In gratitude for the transformation yoga had in her life which helped her overcome anxiety and depression. Angelica felt inspired to help share the gift of yoga with others. She enjoys metal working, building hot rods with her husband and running with her dog.

Ana Maria Todd

I completed my yoga teacher training through Open Doors Yoga Studios in June, 2014.
I see yoga as an opportunity to improve my health and be stronger to face life challenges and I love to share it with others.

Kerrie Baldwin

Kerrie loves nature and all it’s gifts, animals (especially her dog Pennie!) humanity, astrology, the outdoors, the beach, the sun and moon, life and yoga! Yoga has taught her many things; We arrive with all we will ever need within. The true task is to find our way back there. Her wish is to be a guide for students as they mindfully reconnect to their own inner light. Rooted in the belief that yoga is a practice as is life, best seen as an adventure containing challenges testing our strength and building our wisdom. In maintaining gratitude for all we encounter, accepting our struggles without judgement, Knowing we have the capacity to breathe thru any discomfort, finding balance and nurturing, We Heal Ourselves. Kerrie’s classes will invite grounding, opening, strength, challenge, nurturing, meditation, and peace. At times incorporating Reiki and guided meditations she will accompany students on the journey to balance as they shine their brightest lights.

Shea Hardiman

Shea Hardiman has been a yoga practitioner for over 8 years. She is yoga alliances certified in vinyasa flow but also specializes in relax and renew classes. Her knowledge of yoga grew tremendously after studying in London, Norway, France, Amsterdam, Prague, Italy, Spain and South Africa. Her passion for helping students with both physical alignment as well as getting in-tune with their inner spirit inspires her to teach daily.

Alana Johnstone

I first started attending yoga regularly after the passing of my dog, Abby. I needed to express my grief and spend my new found time in a positive way. I started twisting and stretching in ways that woke up many dormant areas in my body. I started to feel blockages in my body that needed tending and compassion. I discovered the connection between the physical and emotional bodies and how they are deeply intertwined. I began to feel the importance of my breath and voice as a means to locate and remove blockages in my body. I experimented with many forms of yoga until I discovered Forrest Yoga after taking a class taught by the beautiful and talented, Karuna O’Donnell, in 2012. I knew after taking a couple of classes that Forrest was the best practice for me.
I attended the Forrest Yoga Foundational Teacher Training in May of 2014. The FYTT meets with the 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered Program requirements. I am in the process of working to become a certified Forrest Yoga teacher. I have a strong interest in sound healing and energy work and am Reiki attuned level II. I also practice meditation and attended a 10-day Vipassana meditation in 2013. This is the physical meditation technique of the Buddha and is truly profound.
I am very grateful to my community as they have supported me emotionally, physically and financially while I discovered the interior landscape of my universe. I intend to give back and seek to spread love and share knowledge with those open to receive.

Cherie Graham

More than 10 years ago, Cherie first came to yoga to find a physical workout away from the loud manic gym scene and to manage the stress of a corporate career. With continued practice, yoga helped create awareness that she was ready for a different path, and in 2014 she quit her job and attended 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Asheville Yoga Center in North Carolina. She is passionate about teaching yoga outside the traditional yoga studio and revealing the power of mindfulness. The concept of “acknowledge where you are and start from there” is central to her teaching. As Cherie looks ahead to her next steps in life, the practices of yoga and meditation play a central role in keeping her happy and open to possibilities.

Yawei (Linda) Li

Yawei (Linda) started her yoga journey in New York while a student at NYU. She received her Yoga Alliance certification with Yoga to the People in 2013 and has taught at studios throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.  Inspired by the community based philosophy that yoga is for every body, she currently volunteers as an instructor with the New Settlement Community Center and with Exhale to Inhale, an organization dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trauma through yoga practice. Linda’s classes are creative, fun, and challenging while emphasizing an awareness of the breath and compassion for the body.  She is humbled and inspired by her students in every class and believes that teaching is the highest form of learning.

Jill Peters

Having heard about all of the physical benefits of yoga, Jill was originally drawn to the practice as a way to diversify her normal workout routine. Growing up playing soccer competitively, she immediately sought to “get good” at yoga and was met with frustration when she felt that expectation wasn’t being met. However, she was determined and stuck with it and yoga soon became something much bigger for her. She realized that “getting good” was not what yoga is about and that refining the physical postures is only just scratching the surface of what the practice has to offer. For Jill, yoga is an opportunity to tune in to how the body, breath, and mind are all interconnected. It inspires her and enables her to build awareness while cultivating strength, stability, and space.

Looking to further commit to and share a practice she loves so much, she completed her 200 hour teacher training at South Boston Yoga with David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund. As a yoga instructor, her classes are vinyasa style built on safe and effective sequences. She encourages students to think about what each pose feels like rather than what it looks like, and to tune in to their body and breath in order to tune out those unwanted thoughts and feelings.

Karen “Shanti” Caiazzo

Karen “Shanti” Caiazzo teaches yoga to all ages and ability levels in Boston including several studios, schools, and private clients. You can currently catch her class publicly at O2 Yoga, Radiant Yoga, where she teaches Mommy,Baby and Prenatal yoga, or at JP Centre Yoga. She also teaches at several schools to both students and staff including Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School, the Commonwealth School, the Winsor School, British International School, and Wentworth University.

Linda “Wellness Warrior” Wells

Linda holds a Masters in Education and is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200), health coach and chef providing customized nutrition plans for future Wellness Warriors. She empowers people in releasing habits to live healthier and happier lives.

Mary Jo Germanos

MJ, a former dancer and competitive college athlete, turned her focus to yoga as a way to restore and heal her physical body. Not only did she find an improvement in the overall quality of her physical structure, she also enjoyed the depth in mental focus & emotional release yoga had provided. She decided to deepen her practice by becoming a certified yoga teacher (RYT-200) under the guidance of Natasha Rizopoulos at Down Under Yoga in Brookline, MA, where she continues to explore and learn from fellow teachers and students alike.

MJ joined Hands to Heart Center in September of 2014 as a volunteer teacher to middle school kids with special needs in Dorchester, MA. Inspired by the qualities yoga brings in and out of her students, she continues to incorporate the benefits of guided meditation, Reiki (I & II certified), and most importantly – fun & laughter – with each and every practice.

If not on her mat, MJ is in the kitchen experimenting with Ayurveda cooking, playing golf, spending time with friends, or studying for the MCATs.

Talia Salzberg Horowitz

Since stepping into my first class in 2007, I have found yoga to be an ever-evolving source of strength, calm, and connection in my life. Yoga brings me into my body and breath in a transformational way, and I find immense meaning in helping others access the centered calm and vitality available through yoga practice. As a clinical social worker in the Boston area, I’ve served multi-stressed families and children with complex needs in a variety of settings, working particularly with people struggling with the effects of complex trauma and mental illness. I believe whole-heartedly in the profound therapeutic effects of yoga and in the possibility for health and wellbeing through mind-body connection.Inline image 1 I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training in January 2016 at The New School of Yogic Arts with Andrew Tanner and Laura Ahrens. I am passionate about sharing the powerful practice of yoga from a place of non-judgment, joy, and warmth, and with particular focus on emotional awareness and connection.

Lia Simonds

Lia earned her 200-hr certification in the spring of 2015 at CorePower Medford. Growing up in downtown NYC, she was a competitive swimmer through childhood and was drawn to the meditative power of movement and breath. Lia is a longtime yogini with a background in Bikram and Vinyasa. She thrived from a regular practice in Boulder, CO after a post-college, west-bound road trip landed her there in 2010. Yoga was an inspiring supplement to a life of teaching preschool, building friendships, and mountain wanderings. Lia was thrilled to find and build a yogic community when she returned to the East Coast and earned her M.Ed. from Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2012.

Through teacher training and continued practice, Lia is fascinated by the ways yoga illuminates the dualities of this world. She sees yoga as a mindful dance of honoring what we cannot control in life and strengthening the ability to face what we can change, even if it’s just our breath. For Lia, yoga has been nourishment, a source of peace and connection, a best friend, therapeutic outlet, and an ever-evolving venue for self-exploration. She is dedicated to sharing her passion for yoga with others, particularly those without easy access to its benefits. Through her work with youth and families as the Medford Boys and Girls Club Education Coordinator, her experience teaching early childhood, research and advocacy for children of incarcerated parents, she has over and again witnessed amazing resiliency amidst the most disenchanting situations. This appreciation for growth out of struggle finds another voice through teaching yoga.

Lia lives in Somerville, MA and is currently pursuing an MSW at Simmons College and plans to integrate her love of yoga with her social work practice. She is interested yoga for children and adaptive yoga projects. She looks forward to learning from her students and fellow yogis everyday, sharing an appreciation for the beautiful and natural imbalances in life. Lia has found a home in the Boston yoga community, one where she can fiercely nourish her authentic self.

Leo Bray

Like many, I first came to yoga hoping to address chronic aches, pains, and stiffness. I was blessed to have classes with the amazing Becky Thompson, at the Dorchester YMCA, as my first inspiration to deeper practice and the fuller range of yoga’s gifts, including its capacity to help us heal and grow.
Through Becky, I met another wonderful friend, Karuna O’Donnell, who further inspired me and first exposed me to Akasha Studio. Karuna and Becky have both inspired me with their work helping trauma survivors heal through yoga.
After attending a week-long conference at Kripalu, at Becky’s urging, my interest in teaching yoga had become a definite calling. Karuna guided me to Akasha Yoga School, where I completed my 200-hour training and began teaching.
In my classes, I strive to assist people in listening to their bodies, and do my utmost to make each class an accessible and welcoming experience for everyone who attends. I daresay no two classes are alike!

Brenda Hernandez

Brenda Hernandez began practicing yoga to find healing and community. She is passionate for the unity of mind, body and spirit that yoga brings. She is a 2016 graduate of Akasha Yoga School. She is a higher education diversity professional and a feminist activist. Her work influences her approach to yoga as a means of creating a safe space for explorations of identity and acceptance. Brenda offers her yoga medicine in the form of gentle movement, restorative postures, and energetic hands-on assists. She lives in JP with her husband. She has a BA from Mount Holyoke College and a JD from Pace University School of Law.

Raechel Tiffe

A bad break up and a stressful PhD program first drove Raechel to yoga, but quickly Raechel started to feel the connection between her work on the mat and her work outside the studio. She noticed that yoga made her a more pleasant person to be around, a more effective researcher and educator, and a more dedicated social justice activist. With the realization that yoga could have a such positive impact on herself and the world, Raechel completed Power Yoga Teacher Training in the summer of 2012, and began teaching at Corepower Yoga (Minneapolis) in December 2012. Soon after, Raechel implemented a yoga program for incarcerated youth at the Hennepin County Jail, where she taught for a year before moving to Boston. Raechel has been working as a volunteer for Hands to Heart Center since February 2016, and is deeply inspired by the mission and work of Susan and the other volunteers.

Raechel is also a professor of Women’s & Gender Studies at Merrimack College, a vegan, and a dedicated cat mom. She resides in Somerville.

Degrees and certifications:
BA (2007) DePaul University – Communication & Culture Studies
MA (2009) Depaul University – Multicultural Communication
PhD (2015) University of Minnesota – Critical Media Studies
RYT 200 – Corepower Yoga

Jaylee Oberg

Jaylee Oberg is a modern renaissance woman who wears a crown and a cape. Yoga for her is a myriad of things. A vacation, a safe house, even at sometimes a club–watch out for her Beyonce class! She loves the world with arms wide open. However, she is no stranger to struggle or dark times, she is not only an example but a believer they are all apart of the equation to discovering the final formula of whom we are. She hopes to share with you her light, that her classes bring you serenity, and one step closer to loving yourself as much as she does. She is a graduate of Framingham University and resides with her puppy companion Lorenzo in Medford, MA.

Francesca Contreras

Francesca Contreras is a 200 HR-Kripalu certified yoga instructor who is passionate about sharing the practice and philosophy of yoga with people from all walks of life as a tool for healing, self-discovery and liberation. She grew up in Miami, Florida and is passionate about her social justice work in the anti-violence field. She teaches yoga to domestic violence survivors and immigrants and immigrant youth in Roxbury where she lives. Her classes are focused on cultivating breath and body awareness, mindfulness in movement, and non-judgmental awareness – tools that she hopes students can use to ride the emotional, physical and spiritual waves of the real world outside as well. Her classes are accessible to all levels and she loves connecting with students. Say hi, introduce yourself, tell her why you love yoga! She studied Africana Studies & Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University 2011 and went through the Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Teacher Training put on by FireFly International in Boston, MA in January 2015.