Falling in love with yoga at the age of 50 has been an exciting adventure for Sandra. She views herself as a role model for others who wish to begin a serious yoga practice, feeling that if she could begin yoga at age 50, others can also. Her approach to practicing includes that yoga is not about being “uber” flexible, it’s about breath and the willingness to try something new. There is no perfect yoga, only yoga practice. Sandra seeks to help students touch their own sacred sense of wholeness and to access a quiet calmness within. Sandra received her 200-hour teacher certification in St. Louis, Missouri in 2009. She has attended workshops by David Swenson and Rolf Sovik. She has also completed Amy Weintraub’s “Yoga for Depression” at the Kripaula Center, and recently completed David Emerson’s 40 hour “Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Training”.
Marie turned to yoga about 13 years ago when her husband was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s and she has seen firsthand its therapeutic potential. Receiving her 200-hour teaching certification in 2010, Marie began teaching yoga at Lakeshore Foundation, serving seniors and those with chronic or disabling health conditions. Marie is keenly interested in how hatha yoga can aid healing and enhance aging. She completed the 50-hour program, Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors, with Carol Krucoff and Kimberly Carson at Duke Integrative Medicine, the 50-hour program, Yoga of Awareness for Chronic Pain, with Kimberly and Jim Carson at Oregon Health and Science University, and recently the 50-hour program, Mindful Yoga for Cancer, with Kimberly and Jim Carson at Duke Integrative Medicine. Marie continues to deepen her knowledge with the Carsons, as well as study yoga anatomy with Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews within the Krishnamacharya tradition.
A recently retired school librarian with a zeal for lifelong learning, Marie invites all to join her exploring breath and mindful movement.
Elizabeth (Liz) Brooke views yoga as a way of life for health, calm, and clarity in this busy world. Her goal is to share yoga in a safe and accessible form in her Fun Flow Vinyasa classes with the added bonus of ever changing music! Elizabeth completed Birmingham Yoga’s Teacher Training Program in 2011 and is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) in Vinyasa and Ashtanga styles of practice with the International Yoga Alliance. Liz has studied a variety of yoga styles including Ashtanga, Bhakti, Kundalini, Restorative and Vinyasa Krama with Akasha Ellis E-RYT, Laura Tyree E-RYT, Heartwood Yoga, Becca Impello LPT YT, Michael Johnson E-RYT 500, and Terri Sellers RYT 200.
Kerry studied under Akasha Ellis, who trained him in the styles of Ashtanga and Kundalini Yoga. He received his RYT-200 hour certification (Yoga Alliance) in May 2015. Kerry is also a musician. This informs his yoga practice. Kerry studied classical concert guitar performance in San Francisco, California, obtaining his bachelors’ degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music where he studied with renowned performer and composer Dusan Bogdanovic. While on the west coast, Kerry enhanced his musical experience by delving into meditation, Indian classical music and ragas, eastern philosophy and martial arts. Kerry continues to incorporate eastern musical forms into his practice and regularly performs guitar with Aquarian and Kundalini chants and he has recently taken up the Sitar. Kerry often incorporates playing live music on occasion during portions of the practice such as in final resting pose or savasana. Kerry’s teaching emphasizes the basic principle that yoga is an art and science dedicated to creating union between body, mind and spirit. Kerry’s intent is to assist the practitioner in learning to use the breath and body to foster an awareness of themselves as individualized beings intimately connected to the unified whole of creation. A lawyer by profession, Kerry has found that a dedicated practice of yoga has allowed great abundance in his life even in the face of many great struggles, pains and losses. Kerry strives to help the practitioner find their own path towards balance and equanimity so as to live in peace, good health and harmony with the greater whole. Kerry is dedicated to his own daily practice of Ashtanga yoga. This is the form Kerry emphasizes as a teacher. Also known as the eight-limbed path, Ashtanga yoga is expressed from the core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, written approximately 200 AD, that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. Ashtanga is a beautiful but disciplined type of yoga based on eight principles and consisting of a series of poses (asanas) executed in swift succession, combined with deep, controlled breathing.
After laughing her way through her first yoga class in 2001, owner and instructor Annie Damsky became a committed yoga practitioner in 2004. She achieved her 200-hour Yoga Alliance instructor certification in 2009 at Birmingham Yoga and the following certifications in Children’s Yoga: YogaFit Kids (2009), It’s Yoga Kids (2011), Dancing Spider Kids Yoga (2013). Annie has an additional certification in Prenatal Yoga through a 32-hour Pranakriya training (Yoga Alliance accredited). Annie has been fortunate to attend the workshops of Doug Swenson, Doug Keller, Rolf Gates, Sean Tebor and Dave Williams and feels like each class she teaches is a short workshop, especially with the knowledge she gains from her gurus of all ages. Annie is an active member of Sweet Om Alabama and relishes any opportunity to come together and share yoga as a community.
Kimberly Drye is a 500-hour certified yoga instructor in the Birmingham, AL area. She trained primarily with Iyengar trained instructors in Asheville, NC including Lillah Schwartz, Cindy Dollar, John Friend, Roger Cole, Michael Johnson, Aadil Pakhiavala, and Matthew Sanford. Kim’s intention is to move students into a deeper understanding of themselves and the joy that lies within their hearts. HereNowYoga is Kim Drye’s personal yoga brand under which she offers therapeutic private appointments, workshops, special events, and retreats. Information about these classes and events can be found at herenowyoga.com, where she also regularly posts yoga sequences, news, and musings about current yoga topics. The technical skills she has as an instructor that set her apart include poignant language skills, excellent demonstration technique, and an in-depth understanding of alignment principles and therapeutic applications. Her classes are a mix of alignment and flow.
Doug Fields is a diverse dude. He is a 200-hr Certified Yoga Teacher, Tennis Teaching Professional, Dad of 3 young men, and, by day, a practicing trial attorney and mediator. While growing up in Florida, Doug was a nationally ranked Junior tennis player whose coach introduced him to yoga at age 14. Years later, Doug committed to yoga, becoming a dedicated yoga practitioner in his 40s, and a yoga teacher at age 50. Although he wears many hats, teaching and spreading his love for yoga and its vast benefits is Doug’s true passion! Doug received his 200-hr training under Rolf Gates out of Santa Cruz, California, author of “Meditations from the Mat” and “Meditations on Intention and Being”. As he is a friend and mentor, Doug maintains a close relationship with Rolf. Doug has also trained with Bryan Kest, MyLinda Morales, Tymi Howard and other well-respected teachers who have influenced the development of an alignment based, power infused, personalized style that he has made his own. Doug’s classes are varied and designed to be accessible to all levels of experience!
Shannon found her way to the yoga mat through a difficult health diagnosis during college, in the early 2000′s she became a committed yoga practitioner in 2010. After graduating with a B.A. in Political Science from Samford University and working in the non-profit field, she completed her 200-hour Yoga Alliance instructor certification in 2013 at Birmingham Yoga with Akasha Ellis, and then further certification in restorative yoga, therapeutic chair yoga and Reiki Level I & II. She has been fortunate to attend classes and workshops with Laura Tyree, Becca Impello, Kerry Meon, and Bliss Wood. She teaches a variety of styles of yoga for any age, shape or size of body! Whether you need one-on-one reiki or yoga therapy for a illness or injury or want a powerful workout in the Ashtanga or Vinyasa tradition, she can help you find the yoga for you. Personally, she loves to practice kundalini and mysore. She is also an active member of the community. As a board member of Sweet Om Alabama – a non-profit whose mission is to spread yoga to populations who would not normally have access otherwise – she is honored to be able to volunteer at AIDS Alabama to teach yoga to those with HIV and mental illness or disability as well as having experience working with a range of chronic illnesses and disorders such as, fibromyalgia, depression, bipolar and eating disorders.
From personal experience she knows the transformative impact that yoga can have on your health and overall well-being. Her mission is to share with others the practical techniques she has learned that have helped her overcome the challenges she has faced. Shannon strives to make each class a fun, informative and a healing learning experience about life, yourself and the world around you. Much gratitude to her teachers and students for sharing this path with her, may yoga bring you much joy and many blessings!
India Henson earned her 500 level training at Yogaville, Virginia, studying under notable yoga therapists Dr. Mala Cunningham, Mukunda Stiles and Mangala Warner, Richard Sabel and Bill Gallagher, Steffany Moonaz, and Dr. Timothy McCall. Creator of the Chair (Seated) Yoga Teacher Intensive, India offers 12-hour workshops in Chair Yoga. India is also a lay chaplain with Community of Hope/Circle of Care through the Episcopal Church.
Julie Maharrey believes that if you can move and breathe, then you can rock some yoga. A practitioner since 2012, Julie has experienced the transformative power of yoga. And she aims to bring yoga’s magic to every body and every soul. Julie uses her eight years of experience as an anatomy and physiology instructor to teach a balanced, safe yoga practice, informed by the biology of movement and respiration. Focusing on foundational yoga poses, core strength, breath work, and functional movements such as squats, crawls, and lunges, students will gain a better sense of their own resilience and peace. Julie’s classes are intense yet forgiving, informative, and fun. A 2014 graduate of the 200 hour Sacred Glow Teacher Training with Melissa Scott and current student of the 300 hour Core Strength Vinyasa training, Julie brings a sense of amusement to class while respecting both movement and the human body. Her vinyasa-style class emphasizes the athletic and graceful elements of yoga. Beginners, athletes looking for an edge, and seasoned yoga practitioners will all benefit from classes with Julie. Laugh, feel amazing, and discover your inherent strength! Come forth and rock your world!
As a Wellness Educator and Registered Yoga Instructor, Emilie Maynor aims to help people create a stronger mind-body connection. Her holistic approach to health and wellness keeps her active and feeling empowered. Emilie graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in June 2014 with a certificate in Holistic Health Coaching. After completing a 200-hour yoga teacher certification course in 2009 at Birmingham Yoga under the instruction of Akasha Ellis and Laura Tyree, Emilie continued her yoga education studying under Doug Keller, Sean Tebor, and the Kripalu Yoga Center. She approaches each yoga class with a fun attitude, looking to inspire, challenge and nurture her students.
Catherine found yoga while she was pregnant with her oldest son and has been practicing yoga on and off for the past 18 years. Her practice recently became more regular following a snow skiing injury to her knee; she committed to her practice and healed without visiting a doctor. In May 2012, she completed the Birmingham Yoga’s teacher training program and achieved her 200-hour RYT license. Catherine loves that yoga encourages us to lead with our heart not our head and she loves that teaching allows her to learn so much from her students as well.
Brooke Smith is a television news anchor early weekday mornings on WVTM13, a mom to 2 busy girls by day, and running yogi by night. Brooke’s goal is to run a marathon or ultra marathon in every state! She started getting overuse injuries from the long miles of training and was encouraged to try yoga. She found the style of yoga that was right for her and became a more patient mom. Yoga helped lengthen those tight running muscles. She believes that yoga has a place as a cross training tool for cyclist, tennis players, and other athletes. Brooke also discovered the spiritual, mental, and emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice. She received her 200 hour yoga teacher certification from Sacred Glow Yoga with Melissa Scott. She looks forward to continuing her yoga journey as she pursues her 500 YTT with Melissa. Brooke is also a RRCA certified running coach.