Amber Karnes is an aspiring yogi, RYT-200 yoga asana teacher, and a lifelong student of her body. In Amber’s classes and workshops, students of all shapes and sizes will find tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for their unique body, instead of being squished into poses for the sake of form over function. She emphasizes safe alignment and mindful transitions, and guides each student to honor the body they bring to the mat today, while being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power.
Amber is a big fan of “yoga in non-yoga places” and often teaches free, accessible classes in her community. She serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and the Advisory Council for Women’s Power Space and seeks to further the message of inclusivity, consent, agency, body positivity, and accessibility for all on and off the mat. Amber blogs at bodypositiveyoga.com.
Andi Senatro completed her yoga teacher training at Asheville Yoga Center in Asheville, NC. She has lived in several different places and loves to travel, though she has spent most her time in Virginia. Andi has been practicing yoga for seven years and believes in the power yoga possesses to help everyone grow stronger physically, mentally, and spiritually. Her favorite poses are standing balances, and inversions like headstand and wheel. She also loves teaching strengthening postures as well as restorative ones.
Benita Mayo RYT 200 – In 2006, during one of many diet & exercise endeavors, Benita was introduced to yoga by her personal trainer. She was drawn to yoga for the physical benefits and didn’t expect it would completely transform her life. She completed her Yoga Teacher training at Sol Yoga in Frederick MD and has additional certifications in Trauma Informed Yoga and Yoga for All. Benita is passionate about holistic health, wellness and life balance; and strives to make yoga accessible to every-BODY. Benita uses her experience as both a larger-bodied yoga student and teacher to partner with her students to make classes welcoming and inclusive. Benita is a native of Virginia and received her BA from the University of Virginia. Benita is a Fine Art Photographer, enjoys traveling and riding her bicycle on the many Virginia trails. Benita teaches Slow Flow, Gentle and Yin.
Chitra Kate McDevitt RYT500 has been teaching Integral Yoga since 2003. She teaches Basic and Intermediate levels as well as Restorative Yoga. She has been working with Durga Leela and Yoga of Recovery since 2011 which combines ayurveda, yoga philosophy and 12-step principles. She is certified through the Lotus Palm School of Thai Yoga and is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist which combines classical yoga techniques and elements of contemporary body-mind psychology.
Cora Houghton loves being a co-pilot with her students on their yoga journey. Practicing for over a decade, she is continually awed by the power of yoga to increase wellness, enjoyment, connection and healing. She has been teaching adults since 2014, introducing yoga to beginners and also working with students with up to 20 plus years of practice (sometimes in the same class!). She has taught children’s yoga for many years and currently has experience with students from the ages of 1 up to 65 years young.
Cora creates and guides practices that encourage body appreciation, strength, joy and playfulness, along with relaxation, long term stability, comfort and ease. She teaches Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative yoga. She is also experienced in Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bhakti, Kundalini, Yin and AcroYoga, Pilates and massage therapy. Cora wants to make yoga accessible to more (all) people.
Courtenay Evans, Yoga has been a passion and mainstay in Courtenay’s life for many years. She graduated from Charlottesville Yoga School’s Teacher Training Program in January 2013. After periods of living abroad and graduating from culinary school, Courtenay returned to native Charlottesville to share her passion of cooking healthy foods with others. Courtenay believes food not only nourishes but gives strength, longevity and clarity of mind–and yoga goes hand in hand with that philosophy. She believes practicing yoga gives acceptance and appreciation for one’s body and opens the door for self study on and off the mat.
Cynthia Woodring has been teaching yoga in the Charlottesville area since 1995. She has a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy, is certified with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, has an E-RYT 500 designation with the Yoga Alliance, and is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. Known for teaching with precision and eloquence, Cynthia draws from her background in Integral, Iyengar, Kripalu, and Anusara styles. Her studies in anatomy, kinesiology, and yogic philosophy also inform her approach.
Cynthia’s primary teaching intentions are to create an atmosphere of safety, kindness, and education in her classes and to offer a friendly and supportive environment suitable for all levels of experience. She is passionate about refining her understanding of all aspects of yoga and strives to find the language and methods that will provoke the deepest understanding and transformation for her students.
Cynthia is also available for private sessions in yoga, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and structural yoga therapy.
Eboni Bugg: Eboni completed her Hatha Yoga Teacher training at Opal Yoga in Charlottesville, Virginia and has additional certifications in Prenatal Yoga and Lifeforce Yoga for Depression & Anxiety. Eboni’s mission is to make yoga fully accessible to all regardless of background or ability. She is passionate about the physical and emotional benefits of mindful movement and creates opportunities for students to use their bodies to heal, grow, and transform. In addition to teaching yoga, Eboni is a trauma-focused therapist and serves as the Senior Manager for Diversity, Inclusion, & Global Outreach at the Mind & Life Institute.
Elaine Waksmunksi: For Elaine, Yoga has been a supportive practice for almost two decades. She sees yoga as an essential instrument for building a supple body, strong breath, and a still mind. Her goal when she teaches is to create a space that forms both grounding and expansion through explorative vinyasa sequencing that focuses on building deep strength while still maintaining a tenderness toward the body.
Elaine’s foundational training is in Integral Yoga, and she has continued her training with leading teachers such as Eddie Modestini and Sadie Nardini. She believes in sharing yoga with everybody, teaching to beginners, families and seasoned practitioners alike and has taught in studios, corporate conference rooms, to senior government leaders, in schools, and at music festivals. Take a break from ruminating over the past and/or worrying about the future and come be present on your mat!
Eugene Perry’s journey through motion brought him to AcroYogawhen he was introduced to it by Danielle Lagana. He’s been trained by Ian Nathan and Danielle. Eugene has attended various 3 and 4-day AcroYoga intensive workshops including AcroShare, AcroLove, and Capital Flightfest. Eugene is dedicated to creating a safe environment so that others are encouraged to explore their movement and balance.
Jen Elder is a certified Yoga Instructor, Reiki practitioner, nature lover, and mom of 3. Jen is originally from Baltimore, MD but became a permanent resident of VA when she became a Hokie at Virginia Tech where she earned an Environmental Science degree. Jen currently serves as a mentor, healer and instructor focusing on encouraging others to “become better versions of themselves” both physically and mentally.She enjoys teaching Yoga to children and teens in order to help them build a positive and healthy relationship with their bodies. She volunteers at multiple schools and recreations programs where she lives in Louisa County and well as Big Brothers/Big Sisters (Common Ground outreach).Most of Jen’s energy is spent developing wellness programs and teaching Yoga and mindfulness to incarcerated women. She is dedicated to learning about rehabilitation and recovery while promoting alternative methods to heal. She serves as the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women’s (FCCW) Yoga program coordinator. Jen’s life purpose is to serve others, and by sharing the benefits of Yoga, she is reminded that we are all connected and limitless.
Julia J. von Briesen Having always been an avid athlete with a meditation practice, Julia has been most challenged by practicing yoga. She considers her yoga mat a “magic carpet” that literally carries a person through physical, emotional and spiritual transformations, healing from the past, strengthening mindfulness and attention to the here and now, and opening space for the future. A certified health coach, Julia is a graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition as well as a graduate of Pete Guinosso’s 200 hour teacher training in San Francisco. She has also completed several Vipassana meditation courses as taught by S.N. Goenka that influence her yoga teaching. Experience the integration of your breath and body in a loving and playful Vinyasa class with Julia.
Karen Barker was interested in yoga for about ten years before attending her first yoga class, because she thought her body was not a yoga body. She fell in love with yoga during that first class, and it is her passion and joy to share the practice of yoga with others — particularly with those who may be reluctant to try yoga for the same reasons she once was. Karen is a 200-hour registered teacher with Yoga Alliance and holds certifications in Yoga For All and Curvy Yoga.
Kate Zuckerman, ERYT has been teaching yoga since 2002 and is the founder and Executive Director of Common Ground. With a background deeply rooted in the philosophy of yoga, her teaching emphasizes awareness, poise, and presence in our postures both on and off the mat. Perhaps most influential in her teaching style is her devotion to her daily personal practice. Kate is grateful to her primary teacher, Kofi Busia, who is one of the world’s foremost instructors in the Iyengar tradition. She has also been inspired by other senior teachers in the Iyengar, Anusara, and Hatha Yoga traditions, as well as her studies in Buddhist meditation.
Kelsey Gillan has been practicing yoga since 2007. She is a graduate of James Madison University, where she studied Public Health which gave her the foundation to build a life dedicated to holistic living. As her practice rooted, Kelsey recognized an opportunity and desire to expand her health degree by teaching yoga. Studying under Eliza Whiteman, Kelsey graduated from Fly Dog Yoga’s 200 hr Teacher Training in February of 2015. Kelsey blends her health knowledge and personal experiences to develop yoga classes accessible for all levels. Kelsey teaches yin and vinyasa to the rhythm of music, with the use of props, gentle assists, and personal attention. She hopes to inspire her students’ growth in their yoga practice, and to find courage that transpires off the mat.
Laura Josephine Snyder RYT200 Fourteen years ago, Laura fell head over heels for the physical and spiritual practice of yoga and it’s potential as a tool for healing. Since then she has taken her practice with her everywhere life has led, studying Ashtanga vinyasa, Vinyasa and other schools of yoga with many wonderful teachers. In 2014 she completed a 200hr Teacher Training program at the Asheville Yoga Center. Her classes invite awareness and playful exploration.
Lili Powell – Lili enjoys leading well-rounded, multi-level classes in a warm and welcoming environment. Lili has practiced yoga since 2000 and completed the Yoga Source 200-hour teacher training in 2005. In addition to studying yoga, she also practices Pilates and mindfulness meditation. Connected to Charlottesville for over 35 years, Lili is grateful for the opportunity to serve Common Ground’s mission and our local community. She lives in town with her husband and their kitty, Pippin, who is named for the famous Albemarle apple.
Lilly Bechtel is a Kripalu and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga instructor, Writer, and Musician with 10 years of experience offering Arts and Yoga programs in correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers and veteran’s hospitals. Her writing on yoga, healing, and social change has appeared in USA Today, The Brooklyn Rail, The Huffington Post, elephant journal,The Faster Times, and Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans. Lilly currently offers private yoga retreats for special events as well as seasonal retreats in Ivy, VA. To get in touch or stay tuned to upcoming retreats, visit her at unionyogaretreats.com
Lynsie McKeown – Yoga came into Lynsie’s life during a challenging time of transition and loss. The practice of Yoga provided a way to transform struggle into opportunity and she continues to draw inspiration from the never-ending journey of the human heart. Her devotion for greater awareness and spiritual growth are reflected in her teaching and writing. She strives to support, uplift and empower others to walk their own path to healing and growth with courage, authenticity and grace.
Lynsie also holds a BA in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia, is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and an Assisted Thai Yoga Bodyworker.
Madeline Zimmer loves yoga. She has been practicing since 2011 and has been able to transform with the practice in unexpected ways. Her aim as a yoga instructor is to help everyone understand that anyone can do yoga. She has been giving children’s yoga classes at Bend since 2014, and certified by Katie Silcox and Karen Thomas of Opal Yoga in April of 2016. Madeline is excited to expand her instruction to groups of all ages.
Rebecca L’Abbe – After many years of studying and performing ballet and modern dance, the gift of yoga provided a natural transition to staying strong, being creatively curious, and mentally disciplined minus the stress of competition. Rebecca began her teacher training at the Iyengar Institute in San Francisco and received her teaching certification through YogaWorks at Yoga Source, Richmond, VA in 2003. Her primary instructors there were Sandra Pleasants and Jennifer Elliot. Additional certification includes training to teach yoga to people with Multiple Sclerosis. She continues to study in Afton, VA with Sandra Pleasants. Her teaching is informed by many streams of interest including dance, an ongoing study of physiology and anatomy, and a sense of humor.
Sarah Moseley believes that yoga helps create the resiliency necessary for pursuing social change and social justice. Since completing her RYT 200 hour certification in 2016, she has enjoyed teaching across Charlottesville – particularly as a volunteer through Common Ground at the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women. Yoga is an opportunity to be vulnerable with yourself, to be challenged and to grow beyond your limits, both physically and mentally. From this place, we are ready to engage each other and the world.
Kriya Nam Kaur (Tonya Ridings, LCSW) is a certified Kundalini Yoga & Meditation teacher. She has a private psychotherapy practice in Charlottesville and teaches Kundalini Yoga at Common Ground and ACAC Downtown. Kriya Nam believes we are here to thrive and loves to help people manifest their dreams.