Our Instructors

 
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Stephanie Mills

Stephanie Mills grew up in Dublin, Ireland and moved to Boston in the mid 1990’s. Steph grew up running 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, playing soccer and her all time love…. field hockey. She arrived in a hot vinyasa class 17 years ago to get a workout and alleviate stress. A back injury and subsequent surgery renewed her enthusiasm for yoga as she discovered the benefits of yoga for the mind and body. Yoga has been a game changer for her, she has found a place of calm and peace on the mat. Steph is a 500-hour teacher trained graduate of Down Under School of Yoga. Steph’s sequencing is thoughtful and challenging. Her hope is that students will come off the mat feeling challenged, refreshed and balanced. 


Tom Alden

Tom Alden has been a dedicated yogi for 45+years. He has trained directly with with Trungpa Rinpoche, SN Goenka, Ramanand Patel, and BKS Iyengar.  By 1994, he had more than 25,000 hours of meditation and yoga experience.  Since the early 70's, Tom has worked as a teacher and healer. He trained as a chiropractor and has mastered a full spectrum of manual therapy skills. Simply put, Tom is one of the most seasoned, knowledgable, and skilled manual yoga therapists in the West. In conjunction with his clinical and teaching experience, Tom developed the Open Mandala curriculum—a set of programs that teach healing and wellness from a yogi's perspective. He lives quietly, with his wife Patricia Walden.

 


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Diandra Armitage

Diandra's introduction to yoga and meditation began in 2005 while exploring new ways to work through a high stress time in her life. Her love for yoga is an affair that has continued to grow deeper through the years. Fueled by passion and curiosity, Diandra has trained internationally in the areas of yoga, bhakti, tantra, ayurveda, personal development, nutrition, holistic living, Central and South American shamanic healing, and energetic work. With gratitude and love she brings to her classes the knowledge she has gained from her experiences and many master teachers, notably Shiva Rea, Sean Corn and Gurmukh Khalsa. In addition to yoga, Diandra is a Level II Reiki practitioner and certified holistic health counselor, often times weaving these practices into her classes.

Diandra's commitment is to inspire others to tap into their inner power, to connect to their hearts and to mindfully unite mind, body and spirit. Her lively yet soft presence, enthusiasm, and humor, coupled with her knowledge and sensitivity will lead you through a practice that is true, sacred and invigorating. The theme of her classes vary, but the understanding between Diandra and her students remains the same: Be true, be you, be here, be now.


 

Rebecca Contant, Om Births

Bec has been teaching Yoga classes since 2001, when she finished the teacher training course at OM Yoga Center under Cyndi Lee. Since then Bec has gone on to gain certifications in restorative yoga and her specialty, pre-natal and post-natal yoga. Bec focuses on helping women develop strength, flexibility and confidence throughout their pregnancy and post-partum. Bec has studied prenatal and post natal yoga with Betsy Kase, Janice Clarfield, and Judith Lasater. Bec has also assisted Janice in training future pre-natal yoga teachers at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Wellness. In January of 2007, Bec completed Barbara Benagh's 15 month course: The Art of Teaching Yoga.

Bec began her training as a Birth Doula in August of 2003 during a pre-natal yoga training. Her first birth experience taught her the value of intuition and a calm, steady presence in birth. Bec has attended nearly 200 births —  first in the New York area, and here in Boston since September 2005. Bec is also certified through DONA International.

Through her years of teaching and attending birthing women, Bec has seen a deep connection between the body, the mind and the heart; a connection she hopes to share with her students and birthing mothers. Bec's classes focus on developing strength and flexibility while learning to respect and listen to the body's wisdom. Her gentle teaching style allows students to deepen their practice while working at their own pace.


Lauren Copeland

Lauren received her 200 hour YTT through Inner Strength Studios in 2014, under the leadership of Roman Szpond and Lauren Star. Under the guidance and instruction of trainings led by Lara Hocheiser, and later, Elizabeth Goranson, Lauren also received the appropriate credits to become a kids yoga instructor; providing children a pathway to connect to their inner selves, and those around them, through creative movement, props, storytelling, music and yoga games. In 2016, Lauren furthered her credentials to become a certified prenatal instructor, from which she had the pleasure of learning under the guidance of Bec Conant. 

Lauren’s classes have  a continued focus on breath, self-awareness and safe alignment, with options for modifications and use of props.  As a teacher she strives to help her students safely grow their own practice from the inside out. Lauren actively teaches both adult and kid classes throughout Boston and surrounding areas. 


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Sukriti Dabral

 I’m a body-positive Indian-American yoga teacher, whose connection to the practice began as a child.  Raised Hindu, I learned philosophy and meditation from my family.  As an adult in Boston, I found myself stressed, anxious and uncomfortably directionless, until in late 2010 when I wandered into an asana class and learned what a powerful form of medicine it can be.  I’ve been practicing, learning and teaching whoever wants to listen, ever since.

In 2013 I studied with Cat Kabira in her 200hr Yoga and Energetics Level I teacher training, learning that a deep sense of empowerment arises from core connection and a developed intuition.  I also completed Barbara Benagh’s 500hr In-Depth Studies and The Art of Teaching program in 2015, and with the added influence of Sarah Powers’ yin & Insight Yoga teachings, continue to study the subtle aspects of an unhurried practice.

I weave together what I’ve learned of the gross body, breath, and meditation, in order to                                                                                                                give students new access to increased wellness and also a deeper sense of self-                                                                                                                                knowledge.  My ultimate goal is for students to be able to learn tools to continue                                                                                                                                cultivating self-knowledge through their own lifelong practice.


Deena Freed

Deena was born in Russia and came to the US at the age of 12, discovering a local Ashtanga studio 10 yrs later. Deena found herself drawn to the mat, and the strength and agility created in class relieved back pain and lead to her lifetime love of yoga and its healing and strengthening benefits. Although Deena took a break from yoga to start a family, she found a studio in Newton and was able to rebuild her practice from the ground up. As a corporate trainer, Deena always wanted to take her training to the mat and completed the 500-hour teacher training at Down Under School of Yoga  with Natasha Rizopoulos in a 300-hour program. As a yoga teacher, Deena feels strongly about giving her students the foundations in alignment, linking breath with movement and challenging her students to find their sacred space on the mat. Deena lives in Newton with her husband and two children, Jake and Mia and their rescue dogs, Cheesecake and Charlie.


Liz Gawel

Liz Gawel discovered yoga at a local Boston gym in 1999, but it wasn't until she moved to Las Vegas in 2001 that she began to consistently study the practice. During almost a decade of living in the desert, Liz studied and practiced traditional Ashtanga, different methods of Vinyasa flow, and eventually immersed herself in the Anusara yoga system. She took a couple of teacher trainings and began teaching regular weekly classes. In 2009, Liz returned to the Boston area - completing both her 200-hour and 300-hour teacher training under the guidance of Natasha Rizopoulos. Liz has had the pleasure of assisting Natasha's weekly classes, workshops, and teacher trainings throughout New England.

Outside of her yoga practice, Liz is a massage therapist - completing foundational massage training in addition to specialized trainings in Myofascial Release and Thai Yoga Massage. She also holds two degrees in public policy—a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University and a graduate degree from the University of Massachusetts. She is a mother of two, Boston sports fan, a part-time resident of Martha’s Vineyard, and always working become a better cook.


Susan Harris

Susan Harris began studying yoga in 1992 when she was working in the biomedical sciences. She earned graduate degrees in nutrition and epidemiology, became an associate professor and research scientist at Tufts University, and published about a hundred scientific papers, most concerning the effects of diet and physical activity on musculoskeletal health in older adults. Yoga became an increasingly important part of her life and, while still at Tufts, she undertook yoga teacher training. This included a two-year teaching apprenticeship with Iyengar teacher Joseph Satlak, and a 500-hr Yoga Alliance registered teacher training program with Iyengar teacher Karin Stephan and The Lotus Pond, Tampa. Her scientific background and her personal yoga practice both contribute to her strong belief that people of all ages, fitness levels, and body types can benefit from yoga. 


Jess Hicks

Jess started practicing yoga and meditation with her parents as a child, and practiced off and on through college and several careers. She started practicing in a more dedicated way and was inspired to begin teaching after the birth of her own children. She wanted to share the practice as a way to heal and ground and to find new ways to connect to a changed and changing body.  It was these aspects of practice that helped her to work through cancer discovery, treatment, and recovery. Her teaching and practice are informed by her studies with Bo Forbes, Leslie Kaminoff, Judith Hanson Lasater, Liz Owen, and Josh Summers, among others. She has been particularly interested in the use of lovingkindness meditation, and you will experience aspects of this work even in her asana practices which will require both effort and self-compassion. 


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Shiva Kuscinski

Shiva received her yoga instructor training at Back Bay Yoga under the direction of Lynne Begier, Ryan Cunningham and Renee LeBlanc.  Each class will be based on the premise of exploring the way our body moves and developing an internal focus in a safe, fun and caring way.   
When she is not teaching yoga, she is a full time mental health and trauma (PTSD)                                                                                                                             therapist and is passionate about the mind/body connection.   


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Ruby Perlmutter

Ruby has been teaching yoga since 2014, and has been studying yoga and meditation practices since 2006. Her classes focus on healthy, integrated movement and mindfulness practices that extend off of the mat into every day life. She offers classes focused on cross-training and recovery geared toward athletes, as well as classes focused on everyday movement patterns that benefit every body.

Her studies have included Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa in Los Angeles, CA, Baptiste Yoga                                                                                                              in Boston, MA, and Sivananda Yoga and Meditation in at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta                                                                                                                     Dhanwantari Ashram, in Kerala, India. She has completed CYT 200-hour Certifications                                                                                                                   at Yoga Center Amherst with Patty Townsend and Eric Love and at Yoga San Kalpa with                                                                                                                Lora Ksieniewicz.  She is currently registered with Yoga Alliance.


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Maureen Walsh

Maureen began her practice with yoga classes at a local gym when a weekend at Kripalu in the Berkshires inspired her to make the practice a part of her daily life.  She soon discovered that yoga calmed her mind, helped her navigate the work stresses of the corporate world, and steadied her through family illnesses. After 10 years of regular practice Maureen decided to become a teacher to share yoga with others and to delve deeper into her own practice.  Maureen completed her 200 hour teaching training with Peter Crowley, Kate Heffernan, and Angelina Hawley-Dolan at Down Under School of Yoga in July 2015.  She completed her 300 hour teacher training with Natasha Rizopoulos at Down Under School of Yoga. In addition to being a yoga teacher Maureen is a second degree Reiki practitioner.