Totally Yoga's Class Instructors
Connie began practicing yoga in 2007 to add variety into her exercise routine. She quickly became passionate about yoga and fully dedicated to her practice. Yoga has totally transformed her mind, body and soul and allowed for self-discovery. She has furthered her vinyasa flow practice over the years by taking countless hours from teachers across the states.
She received her certification through Yoga Flow in Pgh, Pa and is registered through Yoga Alliance. She looks forward to helping other yogis embark on their journey of finding inner strength and peace. Through each breath, she aims to inspire her students to advance not only their practice on the mat but their lives outside of the classroom. Her own practice has shown her to become a more mindful, appreciative person beyond the yoga mat, and she hopes to show fellow yogis how to do the same.
Yoga first found Derek Martin through a significant other in late 2008. Awkward and inflexible, he kept what one could call a consistently irregular practice in his dormitory living room. Only after attending community yoga classes at the Dormont library did Derek experience the energy of peoples' movement & breathe to cues of a teacher in real time. In his teaching he emphasizes the importance of breath and it's vital connection to slow, purposeful movement.
He completed his teacher training at the 200 hour level through South Hills Power Yoga under the instruction of Stacey Vespaziani, LA Finfinger, Darcy Lyle, and Jen Lee. He thanks his mentors and teachers at SHPY for their knowledge and insight as well as all those who come to yoga for contributing to the vibrant, powerful culture that it is.
Jennine walked into her first power vinyasa yoga class with a friend in the spring of 2011. After spending years taking dance classes up until college, she struggled to find a form of physical activity that could fill the void of dance. However, Jennine was immediately drawn to the intensity of yoga and started practicing several times a week. During the summer of 2012, Jennine attended Level 1 Teacher Training with Amazing Yoga in Tulum, Mexico. Initially she attended training to deepen her practice and expand her knowledge, but learned that she also wanted to share the power of yoga with everyone. She has since attended numerous workshops and completed three 30-day yoga challenges.
In March of 2013, Jennine and a few friends organized a yoga benefit class in memory of a good friend, Ryan Gebler, who had recently lost his battle with cancer. Teaching a benefit class filled with so much positive energy and excitement assured the fact that continuing to teach yoga was essential. Jennine believes that yoga has the ability to empower anyone to let go of things holding them back. Yoga has a lasting effect on the mind and body and it is much more than just exercise, it is an experience.
Aside from teaching and practicing yoga, Jennine works as a Cost Analyst for Del Monte Foods in the North Shore. She enjoys spending time with friends and family during her free time.
Ashlee's training has been a mix of formal education and reverent self-study. She apprenticed under Lynn Rescigno of Pittsburgh's Bend Yoga and is certified through YogaFit.
Ashlee began her yoga practice at the age of fifteen. During college in 2008, she traveled to Hyderabad, India and studied with Guru VBVN Rao. She started teaching yoga at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 under the direction of Susan Gillis-Kruman.
In 2010, Ashlee spent six months in Hawai'i living in and teaching yoga at an artist co-housing community and ecovillage. There she discovered AcroYoga, a blend of partner acrobatics and yoga, and continues to incorporate its aspects of subtle body awareness and self-trust into her classes.
Ashlee draws inspiration from many teachers and styles, including Meghan Currie, Bryan Kest, Sharon Gannon and David Life, Acro, Anusara, Ashtanga and Jivamukti.
Brian has been a student of movement based practice startign in his teens with martial arts. The connection to yoga was instant after his first hot yoga class and proceeded to learn as much as he could, through workshops, retreats and online resources. Taking the leap to teach was the next logical step, completing his 200 hour training with YogaFlow in Pittburgh.
As in the martial arts, yoga is a teacher student pass down, as a teacher you constantly better yourself so that your students then gain knowledge.
Michael sees Yoga as a tool, a venue, an art-form for expressing universal love. Practicing for seven years and teaching since 2011, he completed his 200 hour training with Yoga to the People in NYC. He seizes every opportunity to share the beauty that Yoga has helped him to experience. By fall, he will have completed his 500 hour training with Philip Urso and Live, Love, Teach. LLT has inspired him to develop a new model for more fully incorporating the 8 Limbs of Yoga and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle into a Flow class–taking the practice beyond the physical, using breath as an energetic conduit for connection of mental/emotional awareness with visceral sensations felt in the body.
Michael just took part in the USA Yoga 2014-2015 Competition at One Whirl Yoga Fest where he placed 4th (1.2 points away from advancing to nationals).
When not on the mat, Michael is a musician, documentary film maker, and poet. As a performer he has opened up for the likes of The Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalif, and Andrew WK. His first poetry collection will be released by Six Gallery Press this fall. His new documentary project is called Yoga Pilgrims, wherein he will travel interviewing other yogis, teaching Yoga in unexpected locations, and spreading the message that Yoga is Love.
Grace‘s relationship with yoga began 9 years ago as an addition to her regular workout routine. She soon realized that the connection to mind and body was an advantage she could apply to all other aspects of life. After a consistent 3 years of practice she decided to pursue a 200-hr Vinyasa training in 2010. Grace continued to take workshops and trainings over the next 3 years from renowned teachers such as Tiffany Cruikshank, Natasha Rizopolous, Raghunath Swami, Christy McKenzie, Cameron Shayne and Maria Garre. In 2013, she discovered Prana Flow Yoga by Shiva Rea and began a 300-hr course with Ananda Shala in Frederick MD. This training has given her a greater understanding of intelligent sequencing, pranayama (breathing techniques), and Ayurvedic (Indian holistic science of medicine) principles.
Students in Grace’s class will learn safe alignment to open energy lines in the body and leave feeling replenished and whole. “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you” is one of her favorite mantras and helps her push forward away from comfort and toward the unknown while still acknowledging her limitations. When she is not teaching or practicing yoga she can be found at Divinity Salon in Aspinwall working her magic on her clients. Her other hobbies include Muay Thai boxing, experimenting in the kitchen, taking walks in the park with her Chihuahua, and playing with her cat.
Bridgette first started her yoga journey in high school when a friend recommended that she try yoga with her. After her first class in a small sweaty studio and an awkward chanting of “Om” she left more curious than anything. The class was hard, she heard words she had never heard before and she was moving her body in ways she never had moved before. Bridgette tried a few other styles of yoga in the years to come but not until she started training for her first marathon did she become hooked. Originally, she used yoga to help reach new limits with her training but only a few classes in did she notice that her practice on the mat became a part of her daily life. For Bridgette yoga goes far beyond her yoga mat. She not only noticed a sense of calm that she never had seen before, but she saw the changes in her physical body as well. She was seeing results and she wasn’t the only one. Soon friends and family started to notice her healthier and happier self. It was then that she decided she had to share this yoga high with others.
Bridgette took her yoga practice a step further when she traveled to Costa Rica for a yoga retreat. After returning from Costa Rica she then signed up and completed Amazing Yoga’s teacher training and soon after she enrolled in Bend Yoga’s teacher training, totaling over 300 hours in all. Today, Bridgette can’t be more grateful for her teachers who inspire her to in-turn inspire her students.
Bridgette holds a BSN from Duquesne University and currently she works as a nurse in the ICU at UPMC Mercy. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, trying new vegetarian dishes, spending time with her Lab mix Luna, and hanging out with family and friends.