Gillian grew up in the garden state of NJ and moved to Tuscaloosa from NYC in 2013, for love. She has practiced Kundalini Yoga since 2009 and completed her 200-hour teacher training in NYC in 2012. She loves this style of yoga because it embodies authentic living, compassion, love, and facilitates inner growth. It is an ideal way to stretch the comfort zone. Gillian was certified in Grief YogaTM at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Feb. 2019, which is a unique blend of yoga styles including hatha, kundalini, laughter, dance and others, utilizing breath and sound to help support those who are grieving a loss. The focus is on using grief as the fuel to empower emotional release. It is an honor to hold this sacred space. Gillian plays the gong in kundalini classes, workshops, group gong baths and private, personalized gong therapy sessions to quiet the mind and expand consciousness. Sound has the potential to heal us on a cellular level from its vibration. It can be transformative and is soothing to the nervous system, a balm for stress. The gong must be experienced! Gillian has loved the gong from the first time she experienced it. Her classes focus on trusting our inner wisdom, having an authentic, introspective experience that may lead to increased understanding and growth. Gillian also practices and studies herbalism and offers herbal wellness consultations. She holds her MBA from Rutgers University.
For the last ten years, Brenna has practiced hatha yoga and explored classical yoga philosophy. Her yoga experience began at the YogaLife Institute in Devon, Pennsylvania, where she completed a year-long 200-hour Teacher Training. Yoga has provided her the tools to deepen her understanding of self, explore the mind-body-breath connection and cultivate inner peace when facing the challenges of modern life. As a yoga teacher at Yoga Bliss, Brenna seeks to share these same tools that yoga has brought her with every student. She has experience teaching beginner, advanced, vinyasa, restorative, and prenatal classes
Shannon approaches classes through a holistic lens, focusing on the alignment, safety, and energetic of each pose. Inspired by the healing benefits that yoga can have on our bodies and minds, Shannon works to integrate energetic themes into each class, creating an experience in which students can reconnect with their bodies. Her training is in tantra hatha yoga through Vira Bhava Yoga School. This school focuses on cultivating a yoga practice in which we can weave our practice through each aspect of our lives. Our practice truly begins when we move yoga off of our mat and into our day to day life.
Diane Frea, RYT-200, has recently relocated to Tuscaloosa from Columbia, SC, to be near her daughter's young family. Diane has been practicing an eclectic mix of yoga styles for about 20 years, primarily as a means of managing stress and maintaining flexibility of body and mind. She has completed yoga teacher training through YogaFit, with additional trainings through Kripalu, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and Asheville, NC, Yoga Center. Her 200-hour certification is through YogaFit, a vinyasa (flow) style designed to be accessible for all body types and experience levels. She was a yoga instructor with the Jewish Community Center and a small yoga studio in Columbia, leading classes that blended yoga themes with movement, breathing, and humor. Diane also is a certified personal fitness trainer, working one-on-one with clients to begin and deepen their yoga experience.
After practicing yoga for over a decade, Susan Williams, RYT 200, completed her teacher training at Centered Yoga, in Koh Samui, Thailand in 2014 with Paul Dallaghan, Elonne Stockton, Arielle Nash-Degagne, Amy Arman, and Paul Chambers. In the summer of 2019 she returned to complete a 100 hour Classical Pranayama course under Paul Dallaghan and Sri O.P. Tiwari. Her classes are heavily influenced by the ashtanga primary series and other vinyasa based styles. She is an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Alabama holding a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Born in Germany in the 70s, raised in the crazy 80s, Silke worked, studied, and built a family in the years following. She studied marketing in her thirties, and while finishing her thesis in 2005 she had her third child. Being a mum during the day and a student by night was simply too much, and that was the time yoga came into her life. She finished her first teacher training seven years later. After moving from Hungary to Tuscaloosa in 2015, she was offering yoga in German in town. She is also trained in Myofascial Release yoga, Restorative yoga, Yin yoga, and yoga anatomy.
In her classes she focusses on body awareness, alignment, and the acceptance of personal limitations by using a variety of yoga and therapeutic styles and props. In her Restorative classes you will nourish and relax your body and mind.
Her affirmation for life: „A smile can change the world!”
Jenny has been practicing yoga for over twenty years and is a recent graduate of the Asheville Yoga Center RYT 200 hour training . An energetic extrovert, Jenny makes a point to seek out a studio practice wherever she goes whether it be a family move to a new state or travel, and she has learned from many yoga lineages and teachers throughout the years. Jenny has yet to to take a yoga class she didn’t enjoy or learn from. Jenny’s teacher training course at Asheville Yoga Center not only strengthened her belief that yoga can change the world but that yoga is a practice for every BODY. Jenny’s favorite way to practice is with her eyes closed - focusing on how the pose and breath feel in the body allows her to get the mental rest and relaxation she needs to recharge her body, mind, and spirit. She encourages friends and students to enjoy every moment of life with gratitude and curiosity. Jenny is the mother of three children. She loves being physically and mentally active, cooking, traveling, reading and volunteering for various civic, church and charitable organizations around town.
Dr. Dianne S. Mancus
Nita Hestevold, MA, RYT200, completed her training in 2017 at Here Now Yoga in Birmingham
with Rebecca Impello and Kim Drye. Trained in alignment yoga in the Iyengar tradition, Nita
focuses on helping her students with the details of each pose. She particularly likes working
with beginners, people over 50, and those with physical limitations. Nita is proud of both her
daughter, a full time Pilates instructor in NYC, and her son, a logistics specialist in Denver. Her
rock is her husband of 40 years, a professor emeritus of philosophy, Scott Hestevold.
Dianne Mancus, Ed.D., RYT200, completed hatha yoga teacher training in 2017 at Yoga Haven in Scarsdale, NY, working with Betsy Kase, studio director, and Jill Ganassi, an Iyengar teacher. She is currently in prenatal yoga teacher training with Deb Fastenburg of the NYC Prenatal Yoga Center. A native of West Virginia, Dianne started practicing yoga in 1967. She is a former university professor and administrator and is most proud to have taught kindergarten through fifth grade at the elementary level. A Targeted Reading Intervention specialist, she continues to train and coach teachers to support children struggling with early reading. Dianne moved to Tuscaloosa in May 2017, following her daughter (and granddaughter) who joined the U of A faculty in social work.
Sarah Panlibuton Barnes has been practicing yoga for eight years and teaching for three. She came to the practice to help her heal and recover from trauma. She has taught in South Dakota, The Philippines, and Taiwan. She was trained by Kevin Mcquillan of Real Evolution Yoga in a style that integrated Baptiste, Vinyasa flow, Kundalini, and somatics practices. Her focus as a teacher is leading student to use their breath and movement practice to access deeper levels of inner stillness and spaciousness.
Monica Pettus has been instructing pilates and yoga since 2009. She is pilates trained through AFAA, Leslie Bender, and FiTour. She is yoga trained through YogaFit. With over 200 hours of training as well as over 1800 hours of teaching experience in pilates and yoga she has experienced all types of students and has safely developed a progressive style. Monica loves both yoga and pilates because they are safe and effective for the body as well as lifelong. In 2011, Monica began contract work at the University of Alabama with the men's golf team and more recently adding the men's and women's basketball teams as well as women's gymnastics doing yoga and flexibility training. Monica practices yoga on a daily basis in a variety of ways. She loves the feeling of lengthening and stretching the body as well as the challenge of doing something new and different. In addition to yoga and pilates, Monica enjoys running, traveling, decorating, and spending time with her family and friends.
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