Our Instructors


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 200-hour teacher trained graduate of Down Under School of Yoga. She is also a graduate of the 300-hour teacher training program under Natasha Rizopoulos.

Steph’s sequencing is thoughtful and challenging. Her hope is that students will come off the mat feeling challenged, refreshed and balanced. She lives in Watertown and has two children, Adam and Saoirse.

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. 


Joanne Afarian

Joanne had a lengthy marketing career in the biotech industry and is now pursuing her passion of teaching yoga. She had a personal yoga practice for 20 years and has been teaching for five years. Joanne completed the 500hr YTT program at the Kripalu Yoga and Ayurveda Association in Lenox, MA. She is a certified Yin Yoga and Restorative Yoga instructor.
Joanne provides safe alignment while guiding students to connect to their bodies, follow their own intuition and release any preconceived ideas of what yoga should look like to grow their practice both on and off the mat.

She loves every aspect of preparing for a class from developing a theme, presenting yoga philosophies, teaching pranayama and meditations, coordinating asanas, to compiling a playlist.


Amanda Baier

Yoga was there when Amanda sought healing for physical and subtle body injuries.  She believes that yoga is a profound way to reconnect with the essential self and natural systems, promoting physical fortitude, mental clarity, and spiritual wellbeing.

She is the a holistic health coach, as well as a corporate wellness consultant, and energy worker with a passion for people, inner peace, and positive change. When not practicing the healing arts, Amanda works works as the Healing Arts and Integrative Therapies Coordinator at Mount Auburn Hospital. She is an avid artist, writer, runner, and rock-climber who travels the world with her husband in search of the most inspiring views.          

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Nichole Bukowski

Nichole Bukowski has been a life-long athlete, coach, and educator.  She was a 4-year Division I starter and captain of the Boston College Eagles Field Hockey team. To date, she has run the Boston Marathon 14 times, in addition to 9 other marathons. 

Before earning her Master’s in Education, Nichole worked for a large IT consulting firm in Washington, DC.  She has taught in high schools, directed non-profit health and empowerment programming, coached field hockey, softball, basketball, and track, directed sport camps, served on the Belmont High School & District-Wide Social & Emotional Task Force, and coaches for the Marathon Coalition, which supports hundreds of Boston Marathon charity runners to train for and cross the Boston Marathon finish line.

She began practicing yoga in 2010 and felt a profound shift in her body and mindset after her first class. She knew this practice was something she had been previously missing in her life, as she had been managing ADHD and dyslexia since high school.  Through the practice she learned how to work with her life instead of against it and to accept who she is, to embrace her setbacks, and to be more responsive to challenges. She is forever grateful for all yoga and mindfulness have taught her and continue to teach her.

Her passion is teaching and coaching teens. Nichole's Be A Game Changer programs focus on teaching individuals how to be the best coach of their own lives. Her passion project is Game Changer Girls. The foundation of Game Changer Girls is threading together her personal life experiences with her professional background in education, yoga, mindfulness, and extensive studying of the developing teenage brain. In addition to developing Game Changer Girls, Nichole coaches freshmen field hockey at Belmont High School, teaches yoga & mindfulness classes, with a specialization in optimizing performance for individual athletes & teams, privately coaches runners, and offers private Life Coaching, specializing with teenage girls.


Herbie Floyd

Herbie Floyd has dealt with anxiety since he was a young boy, trying countless methods throughout the years to help calm his mind. It was only when he turned inward that things truly changed. After developing his own personal yoga practice, Herbie knew that he wanted to share how beneficial yoga could be for any individual. He helps his students recognize which unique aspects of yoga resonate with them and how they can bring these powerful components into their lives outside the studio.

Herbie completed his 200-hr teacher training with Braxton Rose.


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 software 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 two children, Jake and Mia, and their rescue dog Charlie. 


Nicole Giroux

Nicole graduated from the New School of Yogic Arts in 2019, having studied at Coolidge Yoga Brookline under Tatyana Souza and Laura Ahrens. She’s excited to bring Community Yoga classes to Simply Yoga and hopes her classes will provide accessible yoga for everyone.

Prior to teaching adult yoga, Nicole completed her Children's Yoga Teacher training at ChildLight Yoga in Dover, NH. She is certified in Yoga & Mindfulness for Children, with additional certification in Baby & Toddler Yoga.

Nicole is also certified as a Creative Relaxation Instructor (Yoga for Children and Adults with Special Needs), having completed her training under creator Louise Goldberg. In addition to teaching children's yoga, Nicole is a Drums Alive coach and a children's librarian.

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 as a child, and practiced off and on into adulthood. She started practicing in a more dedicated way and was inspired to begin teaching after the birth of her own children over a decade ago. For Jess, the practice always has been a way to heal and ground and to find new connections to an ever-changing body. These aspects of practice  helped her to find balance through infertility treatments, parenting, cancer, chronic illness, and the ups and downs of perimenopause to name just a few. She is trained in many styles of yoga including restorative, yin, and yoga nidra, and she is a reiki master. She brings these forms along with her loving kindness meditation practice into all of her classes which will require students to engage with both effort and self-compassion. 

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Jess Miller

After fifteen years of classical ballet, Jess first came to the mat in college. She lost touch with yoga after college, but was reintroduced to her practice a few years later when a friend invited her to a basics class. She happily fell back into a regular practice, learning to find joy in the challenges and relishing the opportunity for self-reflection and self-discovery. She signed up for teacher training not knowing whether she wanted to teach, hoping to simply deepen her practice. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Waltham Yoga in April 2015 with a newfound desire to share her experience and invite others to challenge and learn about themselves as she did. Her classes are as challenging as you’d like to make them, with plenty of options to increase or decrease effort, while keeping things lighthearted with the occasional bad joke. Jess can be often be found in the garden with her toddler (no matter the weather), making a mess in the kitchen in the name of baked goods, and reading. She loves to laugh, especially at herself, and music that makes her feel good. As such, expect her playlists to include a mix of “traditional” yoga music and both classic and current hits.


Jill Nowak

Jill arrived on her mat in her early twenties while living in New York City working towards a Masters in Clinical Social Work at NYU. In 2014 after relocating to Boston, Jill received her 200-hour teacher training at Prana Power Yoga in Cambridge, MA and she recently completed her 300-teacher training at Down Under School of Yoga under the instruction of Natasha Rizopoulos, Nicole Clark, Peter Crowley, and Barbara Benagh.

Jill ardently believes that her practice as a clinical social worker informs her style of relating to, and communicating with others in a compassionate and deeply respectful way. Jill is particularly interested in the way language is used during instruction to ensure that students feel safe, respected, and invited rather than commanded or without choice in their practices. Jill’s classes feature instruction that is alignment-focused, sequencing that invites exploration of and contact with your highest self, and space for honoring both strength and vigor while also allowing for softness and a surrender to occur. Jill hopes you will leave her class feeling balanced, and more like yourself.

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Audrey O’ Shaughnessy

Audrey loves yoga! She offers a challenging-but-fun vinyasa class designed to meet students where they are and help them find their edge. Audrey is on her own mat regularly and every flow is based on her own practice.

 As a law student and a gym rat, Audrey was skeptical when she was dragged to her first yoga class. It was not what she expected! She was immediately attracted by the physical challenge of yoga and has come to appreciate the broader life benefits as well. Audrey is a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Instructor and she continues her yoga education both in regular practice and in workshops and continuing education with her teachers. Audrey is also certified to teach prenatal yoga. 


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.