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.
Amina Elizabeth Stevens has offered sessions at Common Ground in Gentle Trauma Therapy, Biodynamic Cranial Sacral and massage. She has been a practitioner and teacher in holistic wellness for over 30 years. Amina brings a background rich in the tradition of Sufism and a heart that desires to serve.
Ayanna Hall is a yoga and meditation teacher, healer, ruckus maker, and Therapeutic Youth Counselor. Ayanna’s journey with yoga has taught her how to love herself and her body. It has taught her how to unapologetically take up as much space as she chooses, and show all the way up. She teaches slow flow and Yin yoga, and received her Body Positive Yoga teacher certification in 2020, completing this journey in the middle of a pandemic. Her yoga and meditation practice continues to be inspired by the work of Amber Karnes, Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Dianne Bondy, Kelley Palmer, Ruth King, and a host of others.

In Ayanna’s class, you can expect to feel honored and welcomed just as you are. You will feel empowered, victorious, centered, and grounded. Ayanna is passionate about life, mental and emotional wellbeing, caring and holding space for others, and sharing the powerful benefits of this practice both with people of color, and those in larger bodies. Ayanna lives in Central Virginia with her son, Blake Kristopher, and daughter, Bailey Starr close by. Practicing and teaching the messages of self-care, social justice, and human rights on and off the yoga mat, you can find her on Facebook at Yanz Hall or Meditation and Yoga for People of Color.

Benita Mayo RYT 200 –  During one of many diet and exercise endeavors, Benita was introduced to yoga by her personal trainer. She was drawn to yoga for its physical benefits bit didn’t expect it would completely transform her life. Yoga was the doorway through which Benita began to develop a deeper and more positive relationship with her body. She completed her Yoga Teacher training in 2016 and has additional certifications in Y12SR – Yoga for 12-Step Recovery, Trauma Informed Yoga, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Yoga for All. Benita uses her experience as both a larger-bodied yoga student and her teacher expertise to partner with her students in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment. The subject of yoga accessibility and body image is very complex. Benita offers her voice to encourage others to take up space on their yoga mat and stand in their power.

Benita is a native of Virginia and holds an undergraduate degree in Rhetoric & Communications from the University of Virginia. Benita is a fine art photographer, and enjoys traveling and biking.

Bess Hingeley, RYT 500: Practicing since 2002, I became the yogi I am today after experiencing overwhelming physical, mental and emotional stress working as a Registered Nurse in UVA’s Surgical Trauma Intensive Care Unit. Relying heavily on my daily practice, I began to see the effects yoga had on my overall health. I learned to navigate chaos and uncertainty with stillness and stability. My classes are filled with breath inspired movements used to create fluidity within the body and calmness in the mind.
Caitlin Pitts has practiced yoga for over 25 years (!) and loves the peace it brings to the mind and the release of tension it brings to the body. She focuses on bringing a calm state of mind and a healthy flowing physical practice to her classes. She has trained with many wonderful teachers mainly in California since 2002, and loves all types of yoga!
Chitra Kate McDevitt has been teaching hatha yoga since 2003 and practicing yoga therapy since 2014, she is E-RYT 500 and C-IAYT. Chitra‘s path has been one of finding the intersection of ancient yogic wisdom and modern mental health healing practices. Her training’s include Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Raja Yoga (Philosophy), Lotus Palm Thai Massage, Craniosacral Therapy, Restorative Yoga and meditation with The Living Earth School. Chitra also spent four years living and studying yoga at Satchidananda Ashram and has been studying with Durga Leela of Yoga of Recovery since 2011. A passion for Dance, Contact Improv and Zap Chen also inform her somatic and deep approach to healing and personal transformation. Find out more at
Cecelia Baum has had a yoga, breathing, and mediation practice for the past ten years and is excited to share her experience with the Common Ground community. She has taught Ashtanga yoga and breathing over the past several years, and believes in the transformative power of small, simple daily changes. In teaching breathing and meditation, Cecelia hopes to make those transformative changes more accessible to a larger population, facilitating healing, growth, and resilience in life.
cora-houghton 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.
Courtney Evans - YogaCourtenay 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.

cynthia150x110Cynthia 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 Director of Programs for the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.


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.

janet zapchenJanet Evergreen has a MA in Conflict Transformation and Trauma Healing, BA in Holistic counseling, and advanced training in Mediation, Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation. Enjoying teaching classes for over 30 years, she supports infants, children and adults to explore Pre- and Perinatal history and meet developmental needs for attachment repair, well-being, and resiliency.
Jasmine Alves has practiced yoga for ten years. She started practicing to manage stress and has continued to practice because it allows her to find clarity, calm, and happiness. She teaches to inspire her students to connect with themselves on a deeper level and find their happiness. Her classes are gentle beginner classes that allow students to focus on their breath and alignment. Jasmine is a 200- hour registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance.
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-briesenJulia 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-150x110Karen 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.

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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-150x110Kelsey 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-snyder-150x110Laura 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-P-150x150Lili 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-150x110Lilly Bechtel – Lilly Bechtel is a Writer, Musician, and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Instructor with 12 years of experience offering yoga workshops in yoga studios, correctional facilities, rehabilitation centers, and veteran’s hospitals. Her writing has appeared in USA Today, The Brooklyn Rail, elephant journal, Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans, The Huffington Post, and The Faster Times. In addition to her work at Common Ground, Lilly currently offers a weekly Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Class at Region Ten’s Inpatient Recovery Center for Women as well as The Wellness Center. To follow her work and stay tuned to upcoming workshops, visit her at Body Song Yoga.

Lisa Jakub first stepped into a yoga studio at age 30, with debilitating anxiety and lingering pain from a broken back years earlier. She was totally intimidated but what she found in the studio was both physically and emotionally transformational.

Lisa is now an RYT 500 yoga teacher specializing in yoga for anxiety, depression, and trauma. She works with Combat Veterans all over the country through several non-profits, and created the Yoga for Veterans program with the local VA. Lisa offers workshops on mindfulness and is the author of two books, Not Just Me, an exploration of mental wellness, and You Look Like That Girl, her memoir of growing up as a child actor in Hollywood.

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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.

Jacquie “Sunny” Barbee is an E-RYT 200 hr yoga teacher living in the Panhandle of Florida. After practicing yoga to help with her chronic illness and anxiety for several years, she made the dive into yoga teacher training in 2016. While in YTT Sunny realized there was a need for more teachers that didn’t fit the stereotypical “yoga body” image like her and that she could make a difference in helping people see that yoga is for every body. She is able to share with others how to customize their practice to fit their body, whether that body is larger, aging, or living illness or injury, much like she does with her own practice. Creating safe spaces where the student can connect and make peace with their bodies is what Sunny loves most about teaching yoga. She gets very excited when her students are able to find variations of poses that fit their body comfortably.

Off the mat, Sunny enjoys hiking, camping and going to the beach with her husband and daughter.

Malati Kurahsvili, RYT 500, began her study of  Integral Yoga at Integral Yoga Institute NYC for self-healing in 2013. After completing Basic Teacher training she moved to serve at Satchidananda Ashram, Yogaville, VA. where she received her intermediate and advanced teaching certifications. At the Ashram, she hosted at the Group services department and staffed a variety of yoga retreats and served several years  as a Yoga Teacher Training Administrator. In addition to her employment service, she teaches weekly hatha yoga classes, Stress management, MIndful Movements and Guided Meditation.  She is devoted to the healing power of Yoga and Meditation

Mia White began her Yoga journey over 25 years ago.  She was a dancer and loved it but began to feel hollow inside because the emphasis was on outer form, without relating it to inner experience. And so Yoga beckoned, with its promise of connecting the mind, body, and spirit.  Ever since, it has been one of Mia’s greatest teachers, an anchor in stormy seas, a compass in times of chaos, a vacation in the mind, a map for navigating life.  It greatly informs her everyday life, and her massage therapy practice.

Mia loves to teach gentle, therapeutic, fun & informative workshops and series to help her students find greater function and joy in their body-mind-spirits, including Yoga for Happy Hips and Yoga for Supple Shoulders.

madeline-zimmer-8.17Madeline 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.
Melissa Haight: Drawn to yoga for the physical asanas, Melissa quickly benefited from the mental and emotional support yoga also lends. Her classes focus on blending strength, functional movement, lengthening, repatterning exercises, mindfulness, meditation and pranayama in a light-hearted  Vinyasa-style approach. Melissa is a graduate of Opal Yoga’s 200 hour YTT program in Charlottesville, Virginia. Additionally, she is also an Ayurveda Wellness Counselor and Massage Therapist. Melissa is passionate about integrating the healing arts, and is honored to share this intimate journey in wellness with others.
Megan Sprague is a local sound maker, landscaper and caregiver. After experiencing her first sound bath in 2010, she knew that sound was her path into the heart. She has received multiple sound healing trainings and certificates and has been sharing sonic offerings in our community since 2015. She believes that the voice is our most powerful healing instrument and that through heart centered practices we can create profound global healing. Her personal mantra is “Joy, Peace, Love, Trust, Health, Happiness, Harmony.”
Megan is available for one on one sound healing sessions, vocal toning/chanting support, and for community sound baths and workshops.
Rachael McGowen completed the Ana Forrest 200-hour Forrest Yoga teacher training in 2010 and has since also completed the Forrest Advanced teacher training. She’s currently working toward a 300 hour certification in Iyengar and yoga philosophy. Her teaching is most heavily influenced by Forrest Yoga because it is designed specifically for healing the aches of Western bodies and has a heavy focus on breath, healing, hands-on teaching, addressing injuries, alignment, and embodying spirit – all while being delighted by a fun, challenging, and intensive physical practice. She recently moved to Charlottesville from Brooklyn, where she taught at Bend and Bloom, and has also taught in San Francisco at The Mindful Body, Yoga Tree, Innerstellar, and Moksha, along with working with numerous regular private clients. She encourages her students to focus on a specific intention with every practice, and to also incorporate these intentions into their lives off the mat. Rachael has also completed many workshops and trainings by other teachers in, among others, anatomy, pre- and post-natal, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and therapeutic yoga. Rachael is not only an agent for transformation of her students, but through her work in environmental sustainability. She lives here in Charlottesville with her husband Shawn and children Benji and Sylvia.
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.
About Shannon: Shannon Burns, RYT 500/E-RYT 200, is the founder of Salute The Sun Yoga. Previously, Shannon was the Lead Vinyasa Yoga Teacher at FlyDog Studio in Charlottesville, Virginia and taught for 5+ years at the studio. Shannon is a double graduate from the University of Virginia (BSN & MSN/FNP), and has lived in Charlottesville for 20+ years. She has practiced yoga since 1996, and completed 200 & 300 hour yoga teacher training at FlyDog Yoga. Shannon is a Tier 1 Certified Baptiste Yoga Leader. She takes special interest in self myofascial release, and enjoys seeing the calming effects of this release in her students at her workshops. In July 2020, Shannon was appointed a @Lululemon Ambassador.

She is also certified in teaching barre, power sculpt, Yin yoga, completed the Social Impact Training, #Unstoppable & #Unbreakable training with Baptiste Yoga and has facilitated the “40 Days to a Personal Revolution” program twice. Shannon also teaches stand up paddle board yoga. She created a yoga program for the Boys & Girls Club Southwood, in Charlottesville and has also led a free series of “yoga for anxiety and depression” and has worked with University of Virginia athletes to complement their sport. She hopes to find herself immersing in the Cville community more in the future, in hopes of reaching more diverse populations and identifying where yoga is needed most. Most recently, she completed “LSD (Long, Slow, Deep)” training, a Bryan Kest sequence that is a series of holding long, steady, releasing poses in the hips & lower body.

As a Nurse Practitioner, Shannon uses her care, knowledge and understanding of the human body to bring calmness, compassion and strength to the body through support and empowerment. Shannon is known for holding students into the depth of poses to really help them land into their bodies and observe what is happening on the mat. During a Vinyasa class, that is beginner friendly, Shannon hopes to motivate students to gain confidence, knowledge, and connect to the mind & body in a kind hearted and non judgmental way. Shannon discovered the benefits of yoga practice during a crazy yet exciting stage of parenting and life. After years of running half marathons and being a gym rat, she decided to see what would happen if she took 25 yoga classes in 30 days back in 2015, and has never looked back- HOOKED. Yoga continues to bring balance into Shannon’s life, and she hopes to inspire others to discover all of your possibilities in one of her classes!

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.
Shankari Practicing the art of Guru – disciple relationship
since 2009, Shankari has been on a journey of self discovery, connection and expansion in the universe. By allowing herself to move in time and space, while witnessing her actions, she has become a stronger Yogi. She understands the need to invoke the six paths of yoga, for not only herself, but for her students. Trained in the lineage of Integral Yoga, she has spent years connecting to breath, body, strength, movement, and energy to inspire her own signature style of Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Flow, which she calls Soul Flow.This style of Yoga draws in elements of connecting with earth and creating space to allow your practice and body to expand beyond the mat. In 2014, she established Shakti Tribe, a group that is based on the principles of empowering women in sacred space, through yoga, self care, motivational insight and inspiration. She is the Creative Director of Shensara, an annual 4 day Yoga and Music Festival held in Luray, VA. She also leads her own Soul Kirtan events. In 2017 she founded the Black Yogi’s of Virginia group on Facebook. Join NOW!She encourages everyone to tap into their unlimited potential and spirit! When we feel empowered and lift our voices we move closer to universal, divine love.
Zakira Beasley is deeply impressed with the power of intention, presence and touch as a doorway to healing, and she brings a lifetime commitment to compassionate service and spiritual awakening to her hands-on practice. Her skills include balancing the cranio-sacral system, release from stress and trauma through the vagus system, and re-patterning imprints from pre-natal, birth and early experiences. Her background includes work in both non-profit and for-profit organizations, and extensive spiritual practice training in the Sufi tradition.