Meet Your Teachers
Introducing myself to you and sharing my experience of Yoga with you is my pleasure. I have been practicing Hatha Yoga since 1993 and received my 200 hour teaching certification from a Yoga Alliance approved school called Namaste' Yoga in Royal Oak, Michigan in July of 2002. My background is Hatha Yoga, with Flow, Restorative, Healthy Backs, Core, and Yin as the variety of classes I enjoy guiding students through. Shortly after my Yoga Shala (school) was finished, I opened a small intimate studio in my home in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield where I held classes each week. Moving to Florida was a dream, a Southerner raised in Tennessee, raising a family in Michigan, and now residing in beautiful surroundings enjoyed everyday. Owning Simply Yoga is such a pleasure, a passion and a learning experience all combined! I feel blessed to be a part of such a wonderful community of friends. Yoga helped to change my life in so many wonderful directions that the privilege of owning a studio and teaching is truly a gift. I am thrilled to be able to live my passions and dreams and share these sweet gifts with all. I would like to share the following quote with you, as it holds my blessed life in thought.
"Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." -Rumi
Christine has been a student and teacher at Simply Yoga for many years. Her generous administrative Karma Yoga contributions are numerous not only as an assistant to the studio but to all whom she willingly helps.
Yoga became a part of Christine’s life in 2002. With a very supportive family, friends and peers she has taken her Yoga to the next level, instructing. She considers it an honor to share the ananda (bliss) of Yoga with others. Come join her in her continuing Yoga journey.
My teaching career actually began many years ago when I received my Bachelors degree in Education from the University of Miami. From there, I began to develop a strong interest in health, physical fitness and nutrition, which guided me towards the kind of work I love, helping people live richer, fuller lives. I became a certified fitness instructor in 1984 and enjoyed teaching all level of aerobics as well as nutritional counseling. My natural inclination towards holistic living led me to yoga, and I have been practicing regularly since 2000. After experiencing all the positives changes yoga produced in my body, mind, and spirit, I knew this was the direction my life would take. Becoming a certified yoga instructor and teaching yoga to others has been one of the most satisfying and rewarding experiences of my life. I teach a traditional style of Hatha yoga, with emphasis on breath, helping students not only to improve their strength, flexibility, and balance but to work their way into poses that maximize feeling while providing space for mental and emotional transformation.
I teach an eclectic-style of yoga, combining classic poses with effective joint opening stretches, proper breathing, spiritual inspiration, and mental focus and relaxation. My students and I are on a search for the “delicious” in each moment. In 2003 and 2004, I flew from Florida every month to train at the Hatha Yoga Center in Seattle, Washington with the fabulous Ki McGraw and Bob Smith. In June of 2004, I continued my training with Ki and Bob at their yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia. I earned a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certification. While I favor sharing an Ananda (Hatha) style, I practice Astanga (Iyengar), Ashtanga (Power and Flow), Bikram (Hot), and Integral (Meditation and Pranayama) styles of yoga.
Today, I feel inspired by Mary Oliver, “I would like to do whatever it is that presses the essence from the hour.”
As with many, Gina's search for self-knowledge and peace led her to the practice of Yoga. Convinced of it's many benefits, she decided to study and share her knowledge by teaching. Through workshops, spiritual retreats and a strong personal practice, she continues to learn and connect. Gina's classes remind us of the beautiful miracle of the breath.
"In savoring our breath, we find the meditative aspects of each posture with acceptance, patience and love".
Opening the door to the internal experience, deepening self-care practices, restoring balance to the nervous system, investigating where science and spirit meet - this is what lights me up. I’m Jill Douglas and I am teacher and healer with a passion for health, wholeness, and balance that’s contagious. I bring together yogic philosophy, structural integrity, mindful movement, and a deep reverence and awareness for the world within through the practice of yoga and integrative body work. All levels of students are welcome in my classes as I aim to meet individual needs through creative sequencing, postural variations and accommodations, and skillful hands on adjustments. Join me and experience a climate of acceptance and self-care that will empower you to take control of your own growth and healing.
It is from Kat’s yoga practice that she discovered her own hidden strength and increased her self-confidence with a complete connection to mind and body. She holds Bachelor of Science degrees in both Psychology and Communication, which complements her knowledge and integration of yoga philosophy. With advanced certification in Non Profit Management from Duke University, Kat worked in the human service sector for 20+ years prior to fulfilling her marga (path) as a yoga teacher. Registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 200, she completed her yoga teacher training at the Yoga Center of Deerfield Beach, South Florida’s First Yoga Studio. She completed her RYT-500 with Joseph LePage in Integrative Yoga Therapy, is certified in Yoga Therapy for Children with Autism and Special Needs with Creative Relaxation®, and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. Diverse in practice and training, Kat’s teaching style does not reflect one pure “style” or tradition of yoga. Rather, it suggests a blend of approaches and techniques based on experience, inspiration, and intuition. Her classes are focused on alignment, breath, and body awareness, which help students tune into their inner wisdom to replace the stresses of our realities into productive creative energy. Her teaching style is grounded in playful, loving-kindness, and compassion and adapting yoga so it is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. As a teacher of Yoga Therapy, Kat provides a safe space and appropriate modifications so that all students can experience the benefits of a regular yoga practice.
Kat’s life mission is “I choose all. My vocation is love. Everything is grace.”
How happy I was to stumble across yoga many years ago, when it was disguised as a gym “stretch class”!
After a 200-hour certification through the Living Yoga Program, I began teaching yoga in 2007, and my 500-hour certification took me to India for a deeper study and understanding of this ancient way of life. I continue to explore the many aspects of yoga and how it impacts my life and those around me.
I teach alignment-based, Hatha yoga, encouraging a safe and enjoyable yoga experience. The Iyengar and Anusara styles of yoga have had a strong influence on me and yet I remain curious about many other yoga methods, as there is always something new to learn.
To create a safe and enjoyable yoga experience, I focus on students’ abilities and needs, and it’s my intention to encourage awareness, curiosity and acceptance – on and off the mat. In my own yoga practice, I enjoy the increased flexibility and awareness I receive in body, mind and spirit.
My yoga motto: "If it doesn't change your life, it's not Yoga."
Sat Atma Singh
In his search for mind, body, spirit connection Scott was influenced in his youth as to the benefits of a yogic and vegetarian lifestyle by his uncle and teacher, Sri Ram. In 1995 he began studying in depth Tai Chi and Hatha Yoga, followed by intensive training in Bikram, Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow. In 2001 Scott attended Summer Solstice in New Mexico with over 1000 yoga teachers and students. All day intensives in Kundalini Yoga and White Tantric Meditation transformed his spiritual practice and he was called to teach Kundalini Yoga. Scott is also a family man, a successful general contractor and senior staffer for the New Warrior & Path to Spirit Trainings for men and women. Compliments below from a student at SY:
"The Kundalini Class that I took with Scott stands out, because of his generous spirit, presence and gift. He is truly an authentic Yogi in that all he says, does and evokes in class comes from a true center. In a practice (Kundalini) that is so esoteric, he creates the safe and holy place for one to explore.I have been fortunate to study and be in the presence of those who are truly inspirational. I include Scott among those."
Jerry studied Fine Arts at Eastern Michigan University. He works as a professional musician and artist as well as a certified yoga instructor through Yoga Alliance He first started his yoga journey at Simply Yoga in Delray Beach, Florida in 2006. Jerry combines his love for music with his love for yoga, often incorporating live music during Savasana.
Tecia has been practicing Yoga since early 2000. After practicing various styles over the years, she found her inner balance with Sivananda Yoga. She joyfully made the transition from student to teacher after completing her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training through ‘Yoga Inner Peace’ in 2010. Tecia is also a Reiki Master, Crystal and Vibrational Healer. She uses the Crystal and Tibetan Singing Bowls, Crystal Harp and some musical instruments to help others raise their physical and spiritual energy.
Tecia holds Crystal Singing Bowls Meditations every last Sunday of each month at Simply Yoga. She is available for private sessions.
KATHERINE H. VELLIS
Hi, I’m Katherine H.
I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years now, but only got serious about yoga after experiencing a back injury and realizing that yoga made me feel better in body, mind and spirit. At first I thought I couldn’t master yoga let alone teacher training because I had not been active for years, but I soon learned that there is a yoga style for “every” “body” --whether it is Gentle Hatha, Yin or Restorative. I also learned that no one really “masters” yoga—that’s why it’s called a practice. My training at Simply Yoga has empowered me to realize that “your best truly is good enough.” Your best is not a competition or a yielding to mediocrity. A best effort in yoga is empowering because it exists in the present without worries about the past or anxieties about the future. These physical and philosophical lessons have led me to my desire to share this ancient practice. It is satisfying to hear students say, “Wow, I didn’t know I could do that” or “I feel so much more grounded now.” My career as an English professor and my love of words prepared me for this new path (marga). So, if you are ready to enjoy living in the now, please join me for the potentially life altering practice of yoga. Namaste!
Mitch was introduced to Yoga in 1999 and fell in love with the practice. Since that first class he has made Yoga an integral part of his life and has been teaching yoga for more than thirteen years. He has studied the Iyengar, Anusara, and now the Ashaya styles of yoga. He is a 200 hr. Certified teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and is currently completing his 500 hr certification through Ashaya Yoga with master teacher Todd Norian. Mitch has also studied extensively in Yoga therapeutics with several outstanding teachers, John Friend and Todd Norian among them. Mitch teaches an alignment based class infused with fun and celebration. Mitch has also been teaching Pilates for 10 years and has a comprehensive certification through Balanced Body University.
Christina began her exploration of yoga initially through study of philosophy and pranayama. Later, seeking to advance her asana practice, Christina found her first teachers in Joanne Evans and Christine Apter, and eventually heeded the call to teacher training. With the encouragement of her teacher, mentor and friend Kat Danio, Christina earned 200 hour certification at Simply Yoga and is registered through Yoga Alliance. Christina welcomes the opportunity to walk with students as they discover their yoga through asana and breath and then weave the grace, beauty and power of this beautiful practice throughout their lives.
Since this first class I have been developing my own practice and teaching skills with the world’s top Iyengar Yoga teachersincludingRita Keller, Stephanie Quirk, Gabriella Giubilaro (my beloved teacher), Carrie Owerko and Tamar Kelly from New York Iyengar Yoga Institute.
My Yoga teacherskills and my formal Yoga Teacher’s Training I was learned under the supervision of Senior Third Degree Iyengar Yoga teacherHenryk Liskiewicz. Henryktravels annually to Puna in India directly learning from Guruji B. K. S. Iyengar at his therapeutic classes and from his family, and passes on this knowledge to his students. I have assisted Henryk in medical special classes for over a year. On my yoga path Ipracticed classical Mysore Ashtanga experiencing powerful flow and unity.
Yoga and Meditation is a Light of my Life.
So far I have had the satisfaction to work with all types of students including horse back riders and professional tennis players. For the last three years I have been teachin classes at Vado physical therapy. In my yoga teaching I give my students all of my skills and all my attention and share with them my own enthusiasm for alignment, spiritual growth and wellbeing. With Om and Love. Joanna
Hello Dear Yogis,
My name is Kristina and I feel very honored to have an opportunity to teach at Simply Yoga where I just graduated from the teacher training.
My wonderful teachers Kat and Jill have taught me to accept myself as I am and led me and my fellow students on the path of yoga with love and wisdom.
Years ago, I suddenly felt disconnected from my body, mind and surrounding. I became sick and couldn’t understand what was happening to me.
I didn’t speak the same language as my body anymore and didn’t listen to my inner voice.
When yoga entered my life, my body gradually started to open and I could reconnect with myself and start a healing process. I started to take time to listen and respect the signals my body sent me and slowly I could reconnect with the world and my inner voice.
It’s almost beyond words what this teacher training has meant to me but one thing I can say is that without Jill and Kat’s guidance, I wouldn’t have found the deep peace yoga gives me.
Now I am very excited to have an opportunity to share my passion for yoga with others. (Thank You Mindy)
Why I Practice Yoga….
I practice to connect with my creativity and intuition
I practice to keep on moving with ease in my life
I practice to free my body and mind from tension
I practice to remind myself that I am good as I am
I practice so I can stay strong and be present for my loved ones
Debbie Hill has been a licensed massage therapist for over 25 years in South Florida. She specializes in Therapeutic Classic Swedish Massage mixing in a little of everything that she’s learned over the years and the Raindrop Technique using Young Living Essential Oils. Raindrop technique is a relaxing and invigorating massage combining aromatherapy with a mixture of swedish massage. During a Raindrop Massage, a sequence of therapeutic grade essential oils are dropped like raindrops onto the back and on the spinal reflex points of the foot, and gently massaged in. These essential oils not only promote alignment of the spine, they also align and balance the flow of energy throughout the body. Raindrop Massage essential oils increase and align energy flow by opening or releasing blockages that are preventing free circulation. She has studied Reki, Cranio- Sacral Therapy, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Neuromuscular and Aromatherapy just to name a few.
One of her long time weekly clients starting calling her “Sherlock Hands” because she can find all those spots and knots that you didn’t even know you had. The nickname has stuck. Schedule an appointment to experience the healing energy that flows through Debbie’s hands.
Gary Tong started his discipline over 30 years ago with Shaolin Kung Fu under the guidance of Grandmaster Alan Lee. He later discovered Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung (Qigong), studying with Dr John Wan-Yuin Chang of Baltimore, MD. He teaches not only the physical movements of Tai Chi Chuan, but also the adhering principles required for practicing and mastering the art. Gary taught Tai Chi and Chi Kung at the Baltimore 'Tai Chi Study Association" and to many others throughout the country. He's a member of “Healing Society" and “World Tai Chi and Qigong” Organizations, promoting global health and enlightenment, through the healing arts of Tao Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung (Qigong) and Meditation.Gary's vision is to share the knowledge and love of these healing arts and help in creating a harmonious society.
"The journey we are traveling is not geographical; it is the distance between our heart and mind. Conquering that distance, we shall find inner peace.”