Our Teachers 2022-06-14T16:07:05+00:00

OUR TEACHERS

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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.”

Brittany Gauthier

Brittany was first introduced to yoga in 2004, and after practicing for the next seventeen years, she felt inspired to take her practice to the next level by becoming an instructor. She is a recent 200 hour YTT graduate, and completed her training at Sanctuary Power Yoga in Canton/Torrington.

Brittany is a graduate of Springfield College with a major in dance. She went on to teach modern dance courses for the young women of Ethel Walker School for the next decade. With a passion for movement and a strong, versatile background in dance; she creates classes designed to focus on alignment and strength building. Brittany brings her enthusiasm for yoga and her love for moving meditation awareness to her classes; particularly in vinyasa flows. Her hands-on assists and use of aromatherapy will heighten your experience.

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Brittney Mihalich

Brittney finds that the most fulfilling practice does not mirror one’s daily schedule and interests, yet complements these. As an avid runner, high school teacher, and mother of two young boys, she cultivates a practice that not only slows the clock down, but also builds strength where energy has been expended. When Brittney began practicing yoga more than two decades ago, she craved the opposite: there was energy to burn and spare time that a carefree teenager claims not to have. As her needs have changed, so have her physical and spiritual development as both a student and a teacher. She has learned to appreciate the subtleties of a simple asana and the cohesion of a series that has been mindfully constructed from first to last breath. Brittney brings this to her classes and encourages her students to adopt a practice that complements the multi-tasking lifestyle that too many take on.

Brittney is a certified RYT-200 through Yoga Alliance. She completed her training at Pure Prana in Northern Virginia under the direction of Natasha Hennessy in 2013. She holds a BA and an MA in English Literature and often draws upon the classics for guided meditation.

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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!

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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!

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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

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Jenna D’Onofrio

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 her Yin Teacher Training with Liza Dousson. Jenna is always 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. Jenna is a new proud Mom of Nella and in her spare time, also enjoys painting, baking “healthy” treats and participating in as many outdoor events as possible!

JoAnn M. Eicher

JoAnn attended her first yoga class in 2002 and hasn’t looked back.  As she began to feel and understand the benefits of a yoga practice she was curious to explore further.  In 2015 JoAnn graduated from Journey of Yoga’s 200 Yoga Teacher Training under the guidance of Maggie Durbas.  After teaching for 6 years JoAnn was eager to dive deeper into the practice.  Having participated in several workshops with international teacher Amy Ippoliti, JoAnn studied and completed a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Amy and the Vesselify School of Yoga to become a 500 RYT, registered with the Yoga Alliance.

JoAnn brings to her classes a blend of yoga styles with a focus on alignment, movement with breath and mindfulness as a path to whole body health.  She is eager to share her practice and share the lifelong benefits of yoga.  See you on the mat!

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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.

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Lisa Lazarus

Lisa is a certified Yoga Alliance 200-HR Yoga Teacher. She was trained at The Yoga Shop in West Hartford, CT.

Lisa believes that through meditation and mindful movement we learn to create space in our minds and in our bodies, thereby freeing ourselves of limiting mindsets and behaviors. As a yoga teacher, Lisa enjoys incorporating mobility drills and pilates in her class with a strong emphasis in alignment to ensure your safety and growth in your personal practice. Lisa is also a Transpersonal Coach, certified through The Naughty Shaman Dharma School in Glastonbury, CT.

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Marni Schiffres

Check your ego at the door. This is Marni’s mantra. Yoga isn’t about how fast, how strong, or how flexible you are. It’s about the practice. Your practice. Known for her kind and gentle demeanor, Marni strives to make her students, regardless of experience level, comfortable and confident on their mats. 

Marni found yoga when she was searching for a way to manage her own stress and anxiety. She was amazed by yoga’s ability to invoke transformation and balance to her life. Yoga’s effect on her life was so profound that she wanted to give others what she had received from her yoga experience – healing, peace of mind, and strength. This led her on the teacher’s path in 2011. She is a graduate of West Hartford Yoga’s 200 hour Power Yoga Teacher Training and completed her YinYoga teacher certification under Liza Dousson in 2020. 

Marni strives to lead a class that encourages students of all levels and yoga backgrounds to feel supported while developing their own personal practice. Her classes are designed to awaken the power of breath and the inner stillness that follows mind–body connection. Marni holds a special place for new students, older adults, and individuals living with injuries. Often, these individuals are discouraged by yoga and feel it’s not for them. Marni has a way of helping these individuals find the way with modified poses that work for their bodies and stages of life.

Off the mat, Marni is a well-known jewelry designer in central Connecticut, enjoys music, hiking, beach days, and just about anything nature has to offer.