All of us came to yoga from different places. Some of us were looking for a way to increase our flexibility, strength, and endurance. Others were tired of pounding their muscles and joints into "submission" and were searching for a form of exercise that felt good and helped to prevent injuries. But once we tried it, most of us would agree that there's just something "special" about yoga... that calm, peaceful feeling that you get after relaxing in savasana for several minutes; the way it seems easier to take a deep breath because you remember to slow down the exhalation; how you are able to handle stressful situations with a bit more patience.
Heather Gallant Gagnon, ERYT ~ Being active and staying healthy have always been an integral part of Heather’s life. She grew up in Bel Air, was a competitive gymnast, and has continued to participate in exercise-related activities, including cycling and yoga throughout her adult life. The combination of mindful awareness and physical movement is what drew Heather to yoga in 2006. After teaching for several years and sensing a need for yoga in the community, Heather opened Peace Yoga in January 2011. She is an ERYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) with Yoga Alliance and holds both a Bachelors of Science degree and a Masters of Education. Heather has studied with yoga teachers Beth Shaw, Judith Hanson Lasater, Jason Crandal, and Sage Rountree.
Serafina Rayner ~ Serafina has a 200-hr yoga-teaching certificate from Yama studio specializing in Integrated Yoga Therapy, a bachelor of science degree in environmental science, and is a nationally certified massage therapist. She is the founder of Root & Sky, a company that specializes in wellness and the ancient healing system of Ayurveda, and she also hand crafts Liquid Ember products, a line of natural Ayurvedic body moisturizers. She takes a holistic approach to Yoga and incorporates what she has learned about anatomy and physiology and Ayurvedic and Yogic theories into how she develops yoga classes. She has studied with Manju Jois, Simon Park, Twee Merrigan, and Dr. Vasant Lad.
Mary K. Benney, RYT, RPYT, certified paddle board instructor ~ Always preferring an active lifestyle, Mary K. was initially drawn to yoga as just another alternative to breaking a sweat and getting in a great workout. What she didn’t expect to feel after that first class was a craving to explore and learn more about the ancient and beautiful bodywork that now provides the framework for a life she feels passionate and excited about living. Mary K. brings to the mat a laid-back and playful approach, wanting to make yoga fun and accessible for every type of body. She is a 200hr RYT graduate from YogaWell in San Diego as well as a registered prenatal yoga teacher. After relocating from California in 2011, she now teaches a variety of classes and workshops including hot vinyasa, prenatal, body after baby, mommy & me, and YoKid inspired kids yoga. Mary K. joined the Bliss crew of instructors in August 2013 and looks forward to sharing the peaceful experience of yoga out on the water with her students..
Linda O’Brien, RYT- 200 ~ Linda is a graduate of Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and received her training under Brahmani Liebman and Jashoda Edmunds. She has also completed additional training in Trauma Sensitive Yoga Practices with David Emerson, E-RYT of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute under the direction of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. This mind-body approach provides techniques that have a positive impact on the physical and mental well being of those coping with anxiety, depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Linda also offers private instruction to help clients incorporate these techniques into a traditional class or design a personal yoga program that will address individual triggers and challenges. As a certified Dance Instructor for over 25 years, Linda uses yoga as a part of her training methods to help her students gain focus, strength, endurance, flexibility and self-confidence. On a personal level, Linda believes that yoga enriches her life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually - on and off the mat - every day.
Peat Purol, E-RYT 200HR ~ Peat views yoga as a way of doing rather than a thing you do. Yoga encompasses not just physical postures, breathing and meditation, but also our journey through life. The poses we hold on the mat mirror the poses we hold in our lives, careers, relationships, etc...The ability to control the breath mirrors our ability to focus the direction of where we place our energy in life. The stillness of mind and absorption we gain from meditation mirrors are ability to still our mind and become completely absorbed into the flow of life. Taking this understanding of Yoga into his classes, Peat uses the practices of Yoga to illustrate to the individual the union of their physical, mental, and spiritual bodies but also the union of the individual to life, in these same ways. Peat loves breaking down the basics, as well as working with clients suffering from chronic pain (fibromyalgia, back pain, arthritis, etc..). He holds two 200 hour teacher training certificates from Yama Studio in Baltimore and Yogaworks.
Kerry Martinez, RYT-500 ~ Kerry (RYT 500, AYS) received her Master’s in Exercise Physiology in 1998 and became a devout yogi during that time. She found more than just a physical benefit from yoga and realized yoga created balance in her own life. Kerry teaches the general population, but also teaches yoga to special populations including cardiac, cancer, arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Kerry brings a sense of humor and laughter to the mat and strives to create a nurturing, peaceful space where students can find stillness. She received her 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2005 from the Yama Studio and she recently finished her 500 hour teacher training with Lynn Matthews in Annapolis. Kerry also holds a yoga nidra certification and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist through the Himaylayan Institute. She focuses on the details and alignment in poses and tends to the needs of individuals in a group class as well as with private students. To bring strength and contentment in her student’s lives she also works with breathing techniques and other limbs of yoga to create physical and energetic balances in the body. Kerry reminds students that each pose on the mat can mirror the very challenges we face in our own lives as well as the infinite possibilities life has to offer.
Adriane Miller, RYT 200 ~ Adriane has always been active in fitness and outdoor sports, including mountain climbing and scuba diving. She developed her interest in yoga as a teenager in Colorado, and intensified her yoga practice as a college student, while earning her bachelor of science degree in journalism. A skiing injury prevented her from pursuing her goal of becoming a yoga teacher—then. But nearly 40 years later, in 2013, she completed her 200-hour teacher training from YogaWorks, studying with Senior Trainer Jodie Rufty. Adriane’s teaching focuses on proper alignment for maximum safety, and helping students of any age and ability find the practice that is most fulfilling for them. Adriane believes yoga has helped her balance the demands of a career and family, maintain flexibility and strength, and accept life’s challenges with grace.
Nancy Clough, RYT 200 ~ Nancy took her first yoga class in 2008 and caught the bug to learn more. She enrolled in the YogaWorks Teacher Training Program and graduated in September 2013 earning her 200 hour certificate. Health and wellness have always been an interest of Nancy’s, as the body, mind and spirit connection just make sense to her. Feeling good and being fit and healthy are lifetime pursuits for Nancy, and she enjoys being a part of the community, too. In addition to yoga, Nancy is a volunteer at the Humane Society and a Reiki Master. “I don’t know what I would do without yoga. It’s that important to me!” .
Margarita Johnson, RYT 200 ~ Teaching and yoga are two of my biggest passions. I taught English as a Second Language in the Philippines and Special Education in Washington State. In 2009, I started practicing yoga and the beauty of the physical practice captivated me. My interest in this ancient discipline gradually deepened over the years. Each time I step on my mat is a quest to find myself, to learn something new, and to be in the moment. Yoga allows me to have faith in myself and continuously reminds me to stay grounded. My first mentor, Jenn Coats, inspired me to become a yoga teacher. I completed my 200-hour yoga teacher training through YogaWorks in October 2013 with Jenny Aurthur in New York City. It is a great honor to have the opportunity to blend two of the things that I love to do. I want to share yoga to everyone and make it accessible for each individual. My flow-based classes are methodical and thoughtfully sequenced to gradually build heat and open the body for deeper poses. The asanas (postures) and vinyasas (movements) build strength and improve flexibility. You will leave class feeling lighter, stronger, and more relaxed. Student safety is paramount and I place emphasis on proper alignment and mindful transitioning. Yoga is a lifelong practice that we carry with us on and off the mat, so let’s be open to possibilities and have fun while we’re at it!
Meghan Charles, RYT 200 ~ Meghan has been practicing yoga for over a decade and began her training with Yogafit in 2010. She gravitated towards the immense possibilities that began to come alive through her practice, in class, on her mat, and in her world. As a result, her desire to share with others took shape and led her to becoming certified to teach.
Meghan is a strong believer in having fun, letting go of expectations and realizing the strength and potential available to us along our own yoga journey. In her teaching, she encourages students to awaken to their inner wisdom, while finding proper alignment and transitions coupled with thoughtful, playful and challenging sequences that will leave students reconsidering what is possible.
Sherry Cooke, RYT 200 ~ Sherry has been practicing yoga for 8 years, but came to a deeper appreciation of yoga post knee injury and subsequent surgery 3 years ago. The practice of yoga allowed her return to full function and athletic ability while deepening her spiritual and emotional well being. Sherry has always practiced an active and healthy lifestyle; skier, tri-athlete. As a registered nurse, Sherry has always been aware of the mind, body, spirit relationship. Sherry found that incorporating yoga into her life has brought her balance and the ability to heal physically and cope on a daily basis with life’s stressors.
Sherry’s love of yoga lead her to the path of teaching and this fall completed 200 hour yoga teacher training with Yoga Works. Sherry’s practice focuses on proper alignment and making yoga accessible for anyone. Sherry has also completed a 30 hour Restorative Yoga Therapeutic Teacher Training . She studied under Jodie Rufty and Jillian Pransky. Sherry holds a Bachelor in Science in Nursing from Russell Sage College and is a Navy Nurse Corps Veteran.
JoAnne Gunther, RYT 200 ~ JoAnne holds a 200-hour certification from YogaWorks Teacher Training, as well as a 30-hour certification in Restorative Yoga from YogaWorks Restorative Yoga Therapeutic Training. JoAnne works as a Nursing Education Specialist with a background as an Operating Room Nurse. Off the mat, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, hiking, gardening and researching her family tree.
JoAnne values the balance of body, mind, and spirit that yoga generates in her day-to-day life and considers yoga to be an antidote in all aspects of her life. Her goal as a yoga instructor is to instill passion for yoga to students and to inspire health and well-being, nurturing body, mind and spirit. .
Bobbi Sue Bowers, RYT 200 ~ Bobbi Sue has been interested in health and wellness and the intersection of mind, body, and spirit most of her life. Yoga has been a steady thread in Bobbi Sue’s life for over 25 years. The first classes she took were in the Sivananda style of yoga, and she has had a home practice for many years. She began taking classes at Peace Yoga a few weeks after it opened in the beginning of 2011, feeling grateful that the studio opened just when she needed it. Yoga classes, and the yoga community, played a significant role in the healing of her mind, body, and spirit after having undergone treatment for breast cancer in 2010. She and her yoga practiced thrived. In 2013, she earned her 200 hour Teacher Certificate through the YogaWorks Teacher Training. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance and holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Originally from New Jersey, Bobbi Sue has lived in Harford County for almost 5 years, and when she is not practicing yoga, she likes to walk, hike, kayak, read, and garden. She is a Certified Healing Touch Practitioner and a Hospice Volunteer. Bobbi Sue believes practicing yoga creates a space for the intersection of body, mind, and spirit both on and off the mat.