Our Ambassadors are the generous and talented teachers who give their time and energy to teach paid and volunteer classes at the studio and the community.
Each one of them has a unique story; please click on individual photos to read their bios. PYR gives a very special thank you to Patrick Gregory and Stacy Abbott for our Ambassador photos!

To Apply

If you are an instructor and you would like to join our team:


We review these applications on a quarterly basis.
Ambassadorship is offered based on volunteer hours logged after acceptance of the application.

For teachers beginning January through March, the deadline is November 30.
For teachers beginning April through June, the deadline is February 28.
For teachers beginning July through September, the deadline is May 31.
For teachers beginning October through December, the deadline is August 31.

Twylah Ekko

Teaching since: 2013
My Classes Are…: Tranquil, Inspiring, Attainable

“What a liberation to realize that the ‘voice in my head’ is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.” ― Eckhart Toll

Relationship with Yoga: Twylah is enamored by the earth’s wisdom, spiritual studies, and the ongoing quest to reveal the answer to “who am I?”. She has been teaching yoga since 2013 with a focus on Yin, Restorative, and Body Mobility. She has a profound love of helping others with transition, through the use of ritual and sacred ceremony. She managed to open Pandora’s box of alternate spiritual studies during a college research paper and yet the path to yoga was not fully revealed until neck deep in a career as a stressed out designer and in need of some zen. In search of who she was underneath all the labels, yoga was found and her much needed spiritual side reawakened. She started out taking classes and volunteering at Project Yoga Richmond with a mission that yoga is for every body and how true that is, really spoke to her. She is an addict for learning so it may go without saying she has obtained many credits and is a 200hr E-RYT/500hr RYT with over 200+ hours of Yin Yoga Training. She has studied in Peru to deepen her spiritual connection with our Mother Earth and lives here in Richmond, VA. with her near and dear sweetheart husband John and their adorable cat Kamoki. For more information about Twylah and for updates on classes and events please visit www.twylahekko.com

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I’m able to give back what yoga has given to me. The deep connection to myself which then deeply connects me to others which in turn connects me to the community. From that place of connecting I can see that “Together we can do more.”

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: ceremonies in the park, expressively dancing to music, drinking tea or playing hide and go seek with my cat.

A Lesson from my Practice: Acceptance.

Randi Weiss

Teaching since: 2005
My Classes Are…: Nurturing, Empowering, Mindful

May the sun bring you new energy by day. May the moon softly restore you by night. May the rain wash away your worries. May the breeze blow new strength into your being. May you walk gently through the world and know its beauty all the days of your life. -Apache blessing

Relationship with Yoga: Yoga is an integration of mind, body, and spiritual energy. The nurturing benefits and growth opportunities continue to reveal themselves through life’s twists and turns. Gratitude, acceptance, compassion, serenity, strength, vitality, mental and physical balance are just a few of the gifts of the practice.

I strive to practice yoga in all aspects of my life; in relationships and in everyday moments. Over the past 28 years, I have had the privilege of studying with distinguished world-renowned yoga masters and am truly honored to share what I know and love with my students, of all ages and abilities within the Richmond Community. I am humbled that students entrust me to help guide them on this path. Each time we come together to practice, it is a unique shared experience based in compassion and trust. My students are my greatest teachers.

I am privileged to have studied with distinguished yoga masters such as Tim Feldman, Tim Miller, Natasha Rizopolous, Richard Rosen, Max Strom, Lilias Folan, Kino McGregor, Michael Gannon, Tao Lynch, Seane Corn, Lino Mile, Maria Garre, Nikki Meyers, David Swenson, Roger Cole, Rolf Gates, Jules Febre and Beryl Bender Birch.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: Being an ambassador at PYR is a springboard to becoming even more deeply connected to Richmond’s loving and growing yoga community. Participating in Outreach Yoga programs has been heart and eye opening and I am blessed and grateful for those opportunities and for the amazing people I’ve met along the way.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Teaching or practicing yoga, riding my bike, walking my dog, hiking park trails or power walking neighborhoods (when I am not chauffeuring my daughter and spending time with my family).

A Lesson from my Practice: My one lesson from my yoga practice is to let go of expectations and projected outcomes. To practice patience and all is definitely coming.

Jonathan Miles

Teaching since: 2003
My Classes Are…: Fluid, Mindful, Thoughtful

Practice is EFFORT towards STEADINESS of MIND

Relationship with Yoga: For me the yoga practice was about movement. As a youth it was breakdancing, as an adult it was martial arts. Throughout my life I was heavily influenced by religion. It led me to seek my truth and my duty in this life, which led me to the philosophy and practice of Yoga. Combining over 15 years experience practicing and studying martial arts, the path of Yoga and bodywork, I have been teaching yoga since 2003, and offering workshops and leading trainings since 2010. Along with his teachers Nora Vimala Pozzi, Arlene Bjork, Satya Greenstone and Jennifer Elliot, I have had the joy of practicing and studying with many, many amazing instructors and master teachers. A few who have had a tremendous impact are Jill Abelson, Dana Flynn, Kathryn Budig, Zhenja La Rosa, David Life, and Sharon Gannon, and Faith Hunter. These few along with countless others, and every student I’ve met along the way, have taught me what it truly means to be a teacher.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It was my dream to help create an organization that took everything I love about yoga – the connection, the love, the community, the discipline, the Work – and spread it out into the greater community. Working with PYR has exposed me to the extraordinary generosity present within us all.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Yoga, sitting on my side porch, dancing, drumming, playing, and parenting.

A Lesson from my Practice: It’s always evolving

Alec Abbott

Teaching since: 2013
My Classes Are…: Fun, Accessible, Unique

Yoga will Quiet the Mind, Strengthen the Body and Open the Heart!

Relationship with Yoga: My journey began in 2005, I wanted to relieve soreness in my low back. With patience and practice, I found relief through yoga and as an added bonus, an improved golf swing! My improved mobility inspired me to teach yoga for golfers classes. I share the gift of yoga, because in addition to the physical benefits, what I also received was a new outlook on life, more attunement to the breath, and the inner calmness that comes through a sustained practice.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: There is a scintillating energy present when you walk through the door at PYR. You find a beautiful community of like minded individuals where their practice has the power to bring yoga to people who would not normally have access.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: And teaching yoga, hitting the links, paddling the James River and cycling on the Capital Trail with my wife, Stacy.

A Lesson from my Practice: Ahimsa, which is non-harming to yourself and others, is the first step for a reason. Practice with purpose and without harm, listen to “your” body.

Michele Nierle

Teaching since: 2012
My Classes Are…: Playful, Diverse, Attuned

“What’s needed here is not more prodding toward perfection, but intimacy – seeing clearly, and embracing what I see.” Danna Faulds

Relationship with Yoga: I think it comes down to this: acceptance. I’ve realized in my life how many of my thoughts and actions have been based on gaining approval and being accepted. The process of self-acceptance lead me to yoga, and yoga has lead me to self-acceptance, (a daily and worthwhile practice).

Yoga encourages me to notice how I am being with myself moment to moment. It encourages me to let go of many of the “supposed to’s,” and instead use my own inner navigator. Now I choose to mindfully move in my body to discover what’s going on and how I can take care of myself. Yoga has allowed me to see a fuller picture, not just of my own life, but my relationship with life. My inner discoveries are directly related to how I relate to and discover the world. The more I care for myself, the more I care beyond myself.

My hope is that I offer others tools and space for their own beautiful discoveries. This means facing all facets of life with curiosity and kindness, even among the challenges. On the yoga mat and in life, difficulties arise whether they are physical, mental, or emotional (and many times all three!), and we get to choose how to be with them. How empowering! While it is not an easy path, it ultimately offers us freedom. I am so grateful for yoga in my life and the opportunity to help others discover what acceptance, love, and freedom to grow means for them.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It is truly community-focused. PYR embraces the meaning of yoga to unite, building healthy relationships within ourselves, within our community and beyond. PYR sees that our own health and well-being is in direct connection to the health and well-being of our community, that these are never separate, and we can enhance quality of life if yoga is accessible to all beings.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Walking, looking up to the clouds, watching birds, singing, dancing in the grocery store, and kissing my husband!

A Lesson from my Practice: Slowing down and being willing to listen and learn through my whole being is much more powerful than just my thinking mind.

Evelyn Zak

Teaching since: 1993
My Classes Are…: Accessible to everyone

“The best thing you can do for your students is love them.” Stephen Cope

Relationship with Yoga: A friend took me to my first Kripalu class in Newport, RI, in 1986. It was in someone’s living room, I was clueless, and I loved it! Kripalu was about 3 hours away, and I began making regular visits there to study with some stellar teachers. Over time, I pursued training in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy and MBSR (mindfulness based stress reduction). I fell in love with Satyananda Yoga Nidra and received education from a disciple of Swami Satyananda’s.

I could list the names of notable teachers I’ve met and studied with over the years. I could mention all the books I’ve read and classes and workshops I’ve taught. The fact is, I learn about yoga every single day now, from people who don’t even realize it. Yoga is a part of my everyday life and has been for over 30 years. My life has changed and continues to change because of this transformative practice. My personal practice has grown and changed numerous times.

I’m fortunate to share my journey with countless people who are recovering from drug and/or alcohol addiction, from problem gambling, and eating disorders. My yoga journey has taken me out of the studio and into the world and I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to share it.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: There is a super community and great vibe.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Working full-time as a substance abuse counselor, incorporating elements of yoga whenever I can. I also teach a few private classes. When I’m not working, you can find me checking out new restaurants.

A Lesson from my Practice: You can’t predict the future

Sara Lovelace

Teaching since: 2007
My Classes Are…: Warm, Open, Unpretentious

In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth. -Patti Smith

Relationship with Yoga: Like many people who find themselves in a yoga class, I started practicing to heal. I’m a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression, and yoga and meditation have become two of the most important tools that I use for survival. It wasn’t an instant fix. I spent my first year getting anxious every time the instructor told us to relax and breathe. I felt that I was failing at relaxing, a skill I assumed some lucky people were simply born with. Even during that first year, though, there were glimpses of relief and ease. They were enough to keep me on the mat. With patience and practice those small moments became hours, days, weeks, even months. I’ve heard a lot of people say that yoga saved their life. For me, that’s not hyperbole but pure truth.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: PYR proves that the yoga practice is suited for everyone, no matter race, gender, socioeconomic status, or ability. So much of modern western yoga is geared toward a small slice of the population. PYR works to level the playing field and give everyone access to this healing modality. I am proud to be a part of that. I think it’s important work.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Walking my dogs, watching movies at the Criterion, and eating far too much at one of our amazing restaurants. I’m also attempting to garden. I’ve found this is a lot harder than it looks. If you see a woman in her front yard wrestling with a dying rosemary bush, that’s me.

A Lesson from my Practice: Use props proudly.

Michelle Lee Landon

Teaching since: 2011
My Classes Are…: Flowing, Creative, Accessible

Rolf Gates inspired…find your mountain. At any time, whether you are on or off your mat, you can pause, ground yourself, reconnect with yourself, breathe, reconnect with your intention, see how you are being, and decide how you will be moving forward. That is your power. This is your practice. This is your life.

Relationship with Yoga: Yoga was at first a supplement to my work outs, and another way to sweat and feel like I was “working hard”. Over the years the real “working hard” part of my practice became learning to be still, listen, and become more comfortable and honest with who I am as a person. My personal practice and teaching style has been influenced from the amazing teachers I have had the honor of training and taking workshops with over the years; including Baron Baptiste, Rolf Gates, Max Strom, Beryl Bender Birch, Kathryn Budig, Maria Garre, Maryam Ovissi, and Odissa Walker. I look forward to a lifelong journey of learning and sharing yoga.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: When you practice at Project Yoga Richmond, you are allowing someone else to receive the gift of yoga too, so it is one big loving karma connection. This community of students and teachers is the tribe I have searched for my entire life.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Riding my bike, hanging out by the river, listening to music with friends, studying in a local coffee shop, teaching an outdoor yoga class, eating all the yummy food

A Lesson from my Practice: I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Sarah Humphries

Teaching since: 2011
My Classes Are…: Gentle, Basic, Beginner

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go out and do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”
-Howard Thurman

Relationship with Yoga: It was a “slow to begin” relationship. Once I got going it was impossible to stop me. I started practicing at home and after my first studio class, I immediately signed up for teacher training and got certified to teach over one summer.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I am able to reach out to yogis that may not have thought that yoga was something they could enjoy or something that they could do.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Hanging out with my Husband, trying most anything new to the area. Good food, either homed cooked or if we are trying a new restaurant. We like to be outdoors, whether it’s at the pool or enjoying eating in many of the outside restaurants in town.

A Lesson from my Practice: EVERYONE can experience yoga in their own way.

Carolyn Keller Sells

Teaching since: 2011
My Classes Are…: Fun, Accommodating, Compassionate

Peace, Joy, Harmony, Good Health, Lots of Love and Laughter to all!

Relationship with Yoga: Carolyn has been practicing Yoga since 1999. She made a career change in 2010 from the medical business world into a career of teaching Yoga. She is very grateful to share her passion; by offering safe and detailed instruction for multi-level participants. She encourages a fun and relaxed atmosphere, and offers support to others in achieving balance, strength, and flexibility for their body, mind, and spirit.
She continues her educational journey and will always be a student.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I am able to reach more people with the great joy and benefits that Yoga has to offer.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Fun things with my new German Shepherd Puppy and running errands then heading home to Peace Hill Chateau in Montpelier, VA!

A Lesson from my Practice: Always take time to feel grounded, especially after a wild and adventurous day leading yoga therapy sessions at the Psychiatric Critical Care units at the hospital.

Shannon Somogyi

Teaching since: 2011
My Classes Are…: Breath, Awareness, and Flow

“Live lite. Give light. Travel lite. Be the light.”

Relationship with Yoga: I began my journey with yoga through meditation in college some 20+ years ago. I practiced yoga in my dorm room with a book I had found. Never knowing if I was “doing it right”. Then finally I began my practice with a teacher in RVA at a local gym. Although I had practiced for years prior, I fell in love all over again and soon wanted to complete a teacher training. Pregnancy held me back from a teacher training. Then one day during a home practice, my infant son was drawn to the practice. He imitated each pose and I began to wonder about children’s yoga. Soon after I discovered the Radiant Child Family Yoga program and completed my 200 in Family yoga. Since then I’ve become a self proclaimed “Yoga Training Junkie”. Having completed my Yoga Therapy training and 500 hour in April of 2015, I continue to quench my thirst for yogic knowledge by continuing to always be a student of yoga.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It allows me to give back to my community in a way that is healing. Not only for them, but for me as well.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Yoga, unschooling my son, stand up paddle boarding, cruising around town and beyond in my RV, the Mobile Om.

A Lesson from my Practice: To be in the moment, wherever you are. You’ll never get another one quite like it!

Izzy Shurte

Teaching since: 2010
My Classes Are…: Thoughtful, Challenging, Supportive

From Narada’s Bhakti Sutra, verse 9: “Stop…and consecrate everything.”

Relationship with Yoga:I fell in love with yoga while in college, however it was the catalyst of losing my dad suddenly at twenty-nine years old that prompted me to seek solace in committed daily practice. I am a graduate of Asheville Yoga Center’s 200 HR Teacher Training program along with AYC’s Classics of Yoga 300 HR program. My Yoga Alliance Designation is ERYT 500. As of August 2016 I have completed an MA in Mental Health Counseling. I practice psychotherapy as a resident at C2 Your Health with a focus on mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapies. I am grateful to have studied with Stephanie Keach, Michael Johnson & Stephanie Johnson, David Williams, Lillah Schwartz and Kristin Luna Ray.
My classes include exploration of yogic philosophy, guided meditation, pranayama, (breath work), asana, (postures), mantra and music and the freedom to discover your own flow. Expect to work hard in class with fun inspiring music, multiple ways to press against your edges, ample humor and thought provoking ideas to help you live your yoga on and off the mat.
I’m inspired by the root texts of yoga, the power of mantra to bypass the mind and move the heart, and by anyone moving forward in the direction of their dreams in spite of fear.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: PYR offers an embracing community of dedicated practitioners committed to the path of yoga as a vehicle to end suffering.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Working as a mental health counselor in private practice and hanging around town with my toddler daughter and husband.

A Lesson from my Practice: Yoga provides an opportunity to practice showing up. Each day I make it to my mat, even when I really don’t feel like it, I do my best to approach all my states and stages with joy, loving kindness, compassion or at the very least equanimity. This discipline has helped me to show up unconditionally for myself and others in all areas of my life. When you discover something this powerful, the natural inclination is to want to share with others and so I teach.

Elisa Hayden

Teaching since: 2011
My Classes Are…: Playful, Creative, Invigorating

The Sanskrit word asana is most commonly known as the name for the yogic practice of assuming various physical contortions, but it actually means ‘seat.’ By taking a seat, you establish a connection to the Earth. So asana, or the establishment of the seat, means the practice of connecting to the Earth. By Earth we mean all things, all manifestations of reality. Earth not only means the ground we walk on, the air we breathe, or the water we drink, but also all the beings–animals, plants, and minerals–that we come into contact with daily. Through asana practice we consciously connect to a touchable, tangible, sense-able level of reality.” -David Life and Sharon Gannon, Jivamukti Yoga

Relationship with Yoga: I began yoga in college as a way to rehabilitate my knee after some dance injuries, but quickly realized it would be much more than that-a mind/body experience that would change my life and help me deal with my anxiety-ridden days. I was blessed enough to start teacher training at Studio Bamboo Institute of Yoga in 2010, and from there, I continued in my training and completed my 300-hour certification with My Yoga Spirit. I have been heavily inspired by each teacher and fellow student I have met. My heart work is giving to others, and yoga is such a great outlet for that. I have worked closely with Off the Mat, Into the World with through their Seva Challenge for Haiti, Anya Porter (Breakti© Yoga) and Craig Hanauer (Every Kids Yoga). These teachers have taught me to open my heart to the practice with a playful perspective, and I hope to pass that on to my students as well. I moved to Richmond from Norfolk in 2014 and I am simply astounded by the beautiful yoga community that surrounds us!

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: Of the community. The hearts! And the capability that we have as teachers to reach out and truly make yoga accessible to everybody.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Yoga, walking my pup, eating out at local restaurants, on a rooftop, or cozying up with a good book.

A Lesson from my Practice: Each day is different. One of the most important parts of my yoga practice is having grace for myself and realizing that my body may feel different than it did yesterday.

Alex Anderson

Teaching since: 2009
My Classes Are…: Energetic, Creative, Playful

“We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion.”
-Max de Pree

Relationship with Yoga: My journey with yoga is ever evolving! I began practicing in college as a way to combat depression and anxiety, and yoga has ranged from my full-time occupation to my part-time side hustle.I love that yoga offers something for everyone: every body, every mood, every background. Right now, I’m enjoying slower flows and more restorative and meditative practices.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: The CommUnity! The people are amazing! They are open, inclusive, diverse, loving and respectful.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Outdoor boot camp with Next Level Fitness, playing at the dog park with my dog Tanner, trying out new restaurants with my friends and significant other.

A Lesson from my Practice: Allow yourself to be continually humbled by your practice, and grateful for every movement and breath.

Wendy Warren

Teaching since: 2009
Teaching style/focus: Vinyasa

My teaching philosophy is a blend of love taken from two of my favorite teachers: “Stay encouraged” because “practice equals progress.”

Dana Walters

Teaching since: 2008
My Classes Are…: Steady, Present, Embodied

“Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are.” Erich Schiffmann

Relationship with Yoga: I found yoga in 1994 and my journey has led through college, marriage, grief and loss, head injury, addiction recovery, and finally through teaching and bringing the practice to others through service. I co-founded PYR in 2010 and I fully believe that service is an integral part of the human experience and the ultimate aim of the path of yoga: We serve both in the ways we are being in the world as well as in what actions we choose to take. In that way, the smallest act can be an act of service. I’m honored to teach private students, teach at PYR and other venues around town, serve on the PYR Board, and serve as a National Leadership Trainer for Y12SR, The Yoga of 12 Step Recovery.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It reminds me that we are all part of some bigger energy, and that what we each offer has value…

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Various art projects; enjoying theater and music; eating healthy food; running, paddling, and biking; and spending time with husband, family, and beloved puppy dogs.

A Lesson from my Practice: Less is often more, and even more powerful.

Holly Henty

Teaching since: 2000
My Classes Are…: Authentic, Heartfelt, Supportive, Transformative

Yoga is not a practice of self-improvement…it is a practice of self-love. When you can embrace every part of yourself…both light and shadow…then the duality dissolves and you reawaken to your true nature of unity and wholeness.

Relationship with Yoga: Holly, a life-long seeker of truth, fell in love with yoga asana in 2000 and has evolved to appreciate all the gifts of yoga as tools of exploration, transformation, and evolution. She believes that yoga can ultimately lead us to our true nature by awakening us to all that we already are. Through her own path of healing, she inspires her students to connect with their essence through a self-awareness of the love and wholeness that is at the core of their being.

Holly’s authentic, heartfelt classes communicate the essence of yoga as union and connection. Influenced by Ashtanga and Iyengar teachings during her 200-hour hatha yoga teacher training in 2003 at Yoga Source in Richmond, Holly’s classes integrate sophisticated yet easy to follow alignment of the body’s innate cellular intelligence with the spirit of the heart and the light of the soul.

In 2013 Holly fell in love with the transformative power of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. She completed her 200-hour Kundalini Yoga and Meditation teacher training with Darshan Kaur in Charlottesville in 2014 and is dedicated to sharing the teachings of Yogi Bhajan to create vitality in the body, balance in the mind, and spiritual awareness. Holly encourages her students to be present with and embrace all of life’s experiences both on and off the mat and to listen to the true guru within themselves that intuitively opens the door to the freedom of the soul.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: The mission statement matches mine: “We believe yoga is transformational and has the power to heal and strengthen individuals and in turn, whole communities.”

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Activities with my 2 daughters and husband, exploring various healing modalities, and taking yoga classes, workshops and trainings.

A Lesson from my Practice: Everything that happens on the mat is a metaphor for life…take what you learn on the mat into your daily life and share your Light and Love with the world.

Kiran Bhagat

Teaching since: 2014
My Classes Are…: Empowering, Educating, Elevating

Where there is darkness do not be afraid. You are the light.

Relationship with Yoga: I can’t remember a time when yoga wasn’t a part of my life. My yogic journey began even before birth, yoga is my karma. My relationship with yoga is spiritual, self-empowering, healing, and dynamic. Yoga is life and life is yoga, that’s my journey.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I love the people and the mission of PYR

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Serving in my community, teaching yoga, facilitating conflict resolution workshops, and hanging with my family and friends.

A Lesson from my Practice: Keep moving forward and never give up on love. Never give up on loving myself, loving my family, loving my friends, the people in my community, and all of humanity.

Kim Catley

Teaching since: 2013
My Classes Are…: Mindful, Playful

Relationship with Yoga: I first stepped onto a yoga mat as a student at James Madison University, about 15 years ago. It was a form of exercise that wasn’t intimidating, and it was a way to relax and prepare for the week (to me, there’s still nothing quite like yoga at sunset on a Sunday evening in a room overlooking the Shenandoah Valley). When I moved to Richmond, I found a series of teachers that really introduced some of the deeper aspects of yoga. Over the years, I’ve found confidence and strength in my body and appreciate what it’s capable of doing. Yoga has allowed me to cultivate a sense of calm and peacefulness that I can more often return to when the situation is anything but. And the acro community has taught me a great deal about creating an environment of trust, and reminds me that while form and structure are important, there’s absolutely a place for fun and playfulness.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I love the mission—that by practicing, we help others do the same. But there’s also an atmosphere at PYR that I’ve never found anywhere else. People really hang around and get to know one another! As someone who always had a tendency to sneak in and out of a class without speaking to anyone, I loved reaching a point where I couldn’t attend a class without knowing someone in the room. Finding that community made me want to be an ambassador.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Probably walking around my Northside neighborhood with my husband, baby, and dog. But I also love to try out the awesome restaurants in town (I’m also a writer and contributed to 804ork, a cookbook of Richmond restaurants).

A Lesson from my Practice: Being present in the moment.

Ashley Williams

Teaching since: 2014
My Classes Are…: Intentional, Slow and Mindful

“What you seek is seeking you.-Rumi” This quote reminds me to live intentionally and with purpose by leading with faith, love, and hope in my life and towards others.

Relationship with Yoga: Ashley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology, and has over 11 years of experience in the mental health and human services field providing assistance to youth and adults in a wide range of communities, schools, non-profits and government agencies. After experiencing the benefits of a consistent yoga practice and the transition of mind, body and spirit, Ashley believed that yoga offers a holistic approach to wellness; it has a unique ability to promote health, healing and balance at the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level that make it an integrative, effective tool for positive change. She was inspired to utilize yogic tools and techniques with the individuals that she served.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It offers the opportunity to spread the power of yoga in a variety of settings and diverse environments throughout the Richmond community. I love the mission to make yoga accessible, cultivate self-love and build community.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Trying out local eateries, sipping on a dirty chai latte at a café, walking my dog in the beautiful parks, checking out the local farmer’s markets, and, of course, practicing or teaching yoga in all the best yoga studios and outdoor venues

A Lesson from my Practice: “All that I need is within me.” In times of stress, imbalance or the nature of life, she has found peace in guiding my breath, tuning inward and finding stillness. This lesson has not only been evident on her mat during an asana practice, but as she lives through each day.

Jason Spicer

Teaching since: 2013
My Classes Are…: Empowering, Accessibile, Passionate

“You are not a drop of water in the ocean; you are the entire ocean in one drop”-Rumi

Relationship with Yoga: Like most people, yoga found me when I needed it the most. Prior to that, I had continuously searched outside of myself to feel whole and be happy. It didn’t work. Yoga gave me the wisdom and ability to heal, and continues to give me happiness, from the inside out. I am passionate about providing my students with an opportunity to explore their own divine spark, empowering them to live more fully from their hearts and thereby gain access to the wisdom within.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It allows me to be of service and give back what yoga has given to me.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: When I’m not teaching yoga or enjoying my 3 wonderful children, I can be found working for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) where I put my passion for the environment to good use protecting Virginia’s water resources.

A Lesson from my Practice: Yoga is not about touching your toes or lifting them off the ground. It’s more about what you learn along the way.

Amy Taylor

Teaching since: 2008
My Classes Are… Peaceful, Embodied, Loving

“It’s always a good time to change your mind when to do so will widen your heart.”
William Sloane Coffin

Relationship with Yoga: I took my first yoga class in the spring of 1998. I will never forget how nervous I was to try yoga but I fell in love during that very first class! I did my yoga teacher training in 2008 at CITYOGA in Indianapolis with Nikki Myers and Marsha Pappas and then taught classes for all ages in West Lafayette, Indiana. In addition to vinyasa classes for adults, I have enjoyed teaching yoga to children of all ages (and families) in school and studio settings. After moving to Richmond in 2015, I quickly found PYR and started to take classes and volunteer. Now, I’m thrilled to be an Ambassador. I love sharing yoga and look forward to deepening my own connections, awareness, and practice!

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: Yoga is more than a workout at PYR; it’s community service, gratitude, grace, an invitation, and a gift.

You Can Find me in Richmond…: Walking everywhere and enjoying all kinds of music.

A Lesson from my Practice: We are all one.

Bille Carroll

Teaching since: 2015
My Classes Are…: Accessible, Retainable, Fun

You cannot do great things, only small things with great love. – Mother Teresa

Relationship with Yoga: I took my first yoga class at age 19 and have had an on again off again love affair with yoga until last year when I received my first certification. I now consider us married.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: Every “body” is welcomed and treated with the utmost respect.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Service work with other non-profits, gardening, hanging out in coffee shops with friends knitting or crocheting or snuggled up at home with my husband David and our furbabies.

A Lesson from my Practice: Progress not perfection.

Dan Weisman

Teaching since: 2015
My Classes Are…: Light-heared, Gentle, Restorative

“Ring the bells that still can ring,
forget your perfect offerings,
There is a crack in everything,
that’s how the light gets in”.
–Leonard Coen

Relationship with Yoga: Game changer, life saver! Or is it savior? For me yoga has been a healing of the past, that has paved the way for a better future, all while practicing being in the present.The journey has included, amongst other things, a space to rest for the monkey brain. A softening of the heart. Further development and expansion of a spine. A closed fist unraveling. Change in motion, action in motion. A path to touch the divinity within and to see it in all others. A way to view the world with love again. A road to spirituality, a calling. A place to sit, be still, listen. Freedom, Peace, Bliss. Some of these things flow with the breath, with gutter balls along the way of course, but it all keeps spiraling together with a nice Om. With hopes of sharing some of this, to help others heal, to help facilitate change, and to take action, is why I now teach.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: There’s a whole lotta heart in this place.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: something on a bolster probably.

A Lesson from my Practice: Patience!

JaVonne Bowles

Teaching since: 2015
My Classes Are…: Graceful, Nurturing, Receptive

“Do or do not, there is no try” -Yoda this was an ongoing joke prior to my teacher training. It was soothing when my lead instructor Twylah Ekko spoke something so close to it “Practice, don’t try” she mentioned a mentor of hers once said. Our mind likes to create borders and when we say try it can associate with either succeeding or failing, however when we practice we know that we are always improving.

Relationship with Yoga: There was a period in my life where I was suicidal, growing up with a family that isn’t familiar with the concept of a self-perpetuating prophecy, I knew I had to make a change or I would never be fulfilled. I’ve always loved the present feeling of serving my community, after my suicidal scare, I directed all of my energy to the nursing field where I thought I could save others just like me. It was also in that same time period where I took my first Yoga Class and that year, Fall 2013 was when my life changed for the better. That was until I began to fail my Nursing Classes. I’ve never failed a class before, even with the Nursing grading being slightly curved and considering a C was failing in that particular curriculum, it hurt just as much as having an F tattooed on my forehead. Where would I go from here? It was a little past mid-semester and I couldn’t seem to catch up fast enough. I was doomed. Carrying all of my grief to Yoga where Ms. Kathleen Brady allowed the entire class what seemed to be an endless moment to escape from the pressures of our past, and future; I can never thank her enough. Outside of Ms. Brady’s class however, I was lost in the flow of life.

I began to seek out more yoga and then holistic healing. I hadn’t expected to find a greatness within myself, I knew nothing of my divinity – yoga allowed me to stop relying on externals for happiness and taught me how to love myself. I can now live out my dream of cultivating this like mindedness in my daily life and my people.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: It is for everyone. There are many classes, instructors, volunteers and staff all working together to bring awareness of the beauty within each person. My upbringing involved a lot of service to the community, I am thrilled to continue this tradition that my mother bestowed upon me.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Me! I love to learn and rarely limit myself to a specific set of activities. A few things that I allow to repeat in schedule however include community-based functions such as yoga festivals, chess lessons and tournaments.

A Lesson from my Practice: everything is in its perfect place. Sometimes we find ourselves distant from our truth, we allow the mind to cloud our sight aiming to fix everything, ensuring nothing is forgotten. Reminding myself and fellow yogi’s that everything is in its perfect place provides for a space where the soul can be, releasing all expectations and perceived necessities. Maktub

Morgan Howell

Teaching since: 2015
My Classes Are…: Compassionate, Warm, Playful

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”- Roald Dahl

Relationship with Yoga: I came to the practice of yoga at a time in my life when I was feeling isolated. Through the practice of yoga, I discovered a deep connection to myself and, in turn, the ability to connect more authentically with others. I love the healing and play I find through practicing yoga asana and also realize yoga practice does not end when I roll up my mat. The word yoga means to yoke or unify. All of life is a practice of lovingly remembering to connect with the present moment. When I teach yoga asana, my intention is to hold a compassionate space where students can find their own healing and realize they’re exactly perfect as they are.

I Love Teaching at PYR Because…: I love being able to connect people to yoga who may not otherwise have access.

You Can Find me in Richmond Doing…: Exploring outside, reading at a coffee shop or Chop Suey Books, dancing to bluegrass music, spending time with friends, and practicing yoga at PYR :)

A Lesson from my Practice: There are no ordinary moments.

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