Our Teachers 2020-10-19T20:55:18+00:00



Diane Couture

Yoga first touched the heart, mind and body of Diane in 2001. At this time she relocated from NYC to spend time with her niece battling a terminal illness. Searching for a way to bring peace into her life and those around her, she quickly discovered the healing benefits of yoga.

Diane has been influenced by a wide range of yoga styles including Ashtanga, Forrest, Baptiste and Yin. She has studied with many national teachers including Seane Corn, Sarah Powers, Cyndi Lee, Kevin Courtney and Ana Forrest. She is a certified RYT 200 in WHY Power Yoga and Ana Forrest Advanced Teacher Training, as well as CPR certified.

Diane’s classes focus on utilizing the breath, as a tool, to go deeper into the body and mind. She emphasizes safe alignment and accessibility to all from multi level to vigorous power. Diane’s hands-on approach utilizes both her intuition and her open heart.

Diane’s other loves of life include her family and friends, her tiny Maltese, Layla, paddle boarding with her husband and teaching yoga to the elderly and those in underserved communities.

“When I’m on my mat, there is a complete balance of mind, body and spirit, for which I would love to share with others.”

Bridgette Bryan / Massage Therapist

Bridgette, owner and founder of Peaceful Surrender Massage & Wellness, is a graduate of The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. She is licensed in the state of CT and is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Bridgette has over ten years of experience and specilizes in muscle pain relief and management. She is trained in Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue massage, energy healing, Womb Reiki, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, and Ayurvedic massage.

When Bridgette is not working, she loves to spend time in nature… hiking, gardening, or walking a trail. Her passion includes deepening her yoga practice and continuing her education.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

~C.S Lewis


Cara Files

Cara is a Certified Yoga teacher under the tutelage of West Hartford Yoga’s Barbara Ruzansky and Nykki Poole. She graduated from WHY’s 200-hour Yoga Alliance teacher training in 2015 and has been teaching ever since. Her yoga journey began over 10 years ago… “I started yoga as another form of exercise after training in the martial arts for many years. I found it to be a good fit with my dance background and attention to proper form, but mostly, I found peace of mind on my mat, a sense of inner peace I haven’t found anywhere else.” Cara has used her yoga practice to heal injury, to strengthen and tone her body, and to develop a deeper sense of body awareness. As a teacher, she knows that bodies come in all different sizes, fitness levels, and degrees of flexibility. Her teaching style allows students to modify the poses based on their individual needs, always focusing on breath and self-awareness. In addition to the physical benefits of a regular practice, yoga has offered Cara a sense of community that she intends to share with her students. “Those who practice yoga regularly understand yoga, we are a tribe. It makes me so happy to see the same people coming back to my class so we can grow and learn together!” In her class you will experience a powerful Vinyasa flow. Warming up with slow mindful movements connected with breath, and flowing into powerful, strengthening standing asanas. The goal of Cara’s class if for her students to leave feeling strong, open hearted and clear-minded. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, Cara is raising her two active kids, working two part-time jobs, going to school to get certified as a medical assistant and generally trying to enjoy life. She’s a self-proclaimed “work-in-progress” who is always looking for new opportunities, ways to improve her life and develop her spirituality!


photo by Phyllis Meredith Photography

Christine Blais

Christine has been sharing her love of yoga since completing her 200-hour YTT under the guidance of Anne Falkowski at Samadhi Yoga Studio. Christine found yoga during a time in her life when she needed it most. She found it to be transformative for the mind, body and spirit. In 2016, she embarked on a life-changing journey of yoga teacher training. She wanted to help people, and provide the confidence and knowledge to discover their own yoga journey as she had. Christine loves sharing the practice of yoga and finds helping others achieve something that they didn’t think they could incredible! Christine makes time to get on her mat each and every day, even if it is for 10 minutes. In addition to yoga, she loves exploring different ways to challenge her body from running, barre, intensity training and much more.  As a teacher, Christine is warm, energetic and friendly. She is passionate about nurturing the mind, body and the soul. Christine promotes a sense of curiosity, strength and compassion on the mat. She hopes for students to leave her classes feeling grounded, deeply connected to their bodies, and above all….awakened!


photo by Phyllis Meredith Photography

Dana Perlmutter

Initially Dana was drawn to yoga as a form of exercise.  For many years her physical practice helped her stay in shape, including during and after her two pregnancies. Over time Dana has come to appreciate not only what breath and movement do for her body but more importantly what they do for the mind and spirit.  Being on the mat allows her to be free from all the noise in her life.  It helps her create space to better love herself and those around her.

“Yoga has truly opened my heart and mind and I am excited to keep growing and learning on this amazing journey.  My goal as a yoga teacher is to lead a strong yet accessible class while providing each student a safe space for self-exploration and growth.”

200hr LivFree Power Yoga Certified, Chair Yoga Certified, and Warrior Kids Yoga Certified


Hannah Stacy

Hannah has graduated from two 200-hour Teacher Trainings in 2016 and 2019 at West Hartford Yoga and is a Certified Yoga Teacher. She has honed her intuitive skills and abilities to identify student’s needs with intensive trainings in both functional anatomy and adjustment clinics. Hannah has trained with Sarah Powers in Yin Yoga and received her Reiki 1 certification from the Healing in Harmony Center. She is a graduate of the Raw Food Institute, a wellness immersion program where she deepened her knowledge of nutrition and holistic health. Hannah is also a Dharma School graduate from the Naughty Shaman and infuses her learnings of smart, effective spiritual practices into her classes.

Expect Hannah’s Gentle and Yin classes to support and encourage you to connect to your body and spirit, thus providing you with space to cultivate compassion and ease!


Jenna Casorio

Jenna kicked off her yoga journey over three years ago, after making a few major lifestyle changes. By developing a regular practice, yoga has offered her the space to connect internally, tap into her intuition and focus more on personal happiness. With this new perspective, Jenna aspires to share it with others. She completed her 200 hour WHY Teacher Training at West Hartford Yoga and is currently deepening her own practice by experiencing other yoga styles and techniques. Jenna’s classes focus on being mindful with every movement connected to the breath, as you flow through class at your own pace. She strives to provide yoga to students of all levels and encourages students to test their edges. When Jenna is not on her mat, you’ll find her painting, baking “healthy” treats and participating in as many outdoor events as possible!

Jessica Crane

With a background in gymnastics and competitive cheerleading, Jessica began her yoga practice in 2010. In 2016, she completed her 200 hour Teacher Training with Barbara Ruzansky at West Hartford Yoga. What brought her to the mat was the intense workout that a power class could offer. Jessica had the opportunity to study under David Regelin at the Kula Yoga Project in NYC. She has explored and is strongly influenced by Ashtanga, Dharma, Acro, and Vinyasa styles of yoga. In the spring of 2018 she received her Level 1 Acrovinyasa Certification through YogaBeyond with Claudia and Honza LaFond. Her classes combine the different elements of each tradition for an energetic and challenging practice. Jess’s yoga practice shifted as she became pregnant with her first child. Throughout the pregnancy she was able to modify her practice to accomodate the changes in her body. In October of 2018, Jess completed Module 1 of Om Birth’s Prenatal YTT with Bec Conant. She plans on continuing her education by traveling and learning the many different yogic paths!


JoAnn M. Eicher

JoAnn M. Eicher is a West Hartford native. She took her first yoga class 15 years ago and has remained hooked ever since! She is registered with Yoga Alliance having completed her teacher training with Maggie Durbas at Journey of Yoga in Simsbury. JoAnn is a 200 hour E-RYT, with 1,000 hours teaching experience. Incorporating the influences of several special mentors including Maggie as mentioned above and Michelle Sutton, JoAnn focuses on movement with breath, alignment and mindfulness to achieve balance within the body. “Yoga is for everybody and every body!”


Lindsay Haxhi

Lindsay believes that everyone can benefit from the practice of yoga. If nothing else, we breathe and clear our minds for a short while. If something else, we create space to cultivate our own inner grace and relationship with ourselves. 

Lindsay is a Yoga Alliance certified RYT 200. Her classes will be sweetly introspective, thoughtful, and approachable for all skill levels. She intends to create a nurturing environment that makes every student feel supported and encouraged to just be themselves.


Nicole Valentine

Nicole is passionate about the transformational powers of yoga and loves to share that passion with the students in her classes. She began practicing yoga during a difficult time in her life and quickly discovered the healing and empowerment that happened on the mat, in addition to the physical benefits. A desire to share those aspects of the practice led her to become a teacher. 

Nicole completed her teacher training at The Yoga Shop of West Hartford in 2017 and is certified in LivFree Power and Chair Yoga.  She has a wide range of teaching experience including Vinyasa, Power, Kids’ Yoga, and Outdoor Yoga. She is also a Certified Holistic Life Coach through the Bloom School of Life Coaching in Southington.  Nicole’s classes incorporate a strong physical practice with room for laughter, opening, and letting go. 

Nicole Lewis

Nicole began practicing yoga as a way to calm the anxieties of living with severe food allergies. She found it helped focus her attention and clear her mind. Yoga gave her the tools to center her mind when work and life became a little too chaotic. It inspired her to learn all she could about living a balanced and holistic lifestyle. She became a Yoga Teacher, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Reiki practitioner, Certified Medicinal Aromatherapist and Shaman. She completed the 200 hour WHY Power Teacher Training Program in West Hartford, CT. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Nicole aspires to use her teaching to help students find balance and practice self-acceptance. Most of all, she hopes to remind her students to take a moment to slow down and breathe.