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INSTRUCTOR BIOS

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Dharma Richards, ERYT500

Proprietoress + Director of Teacher Training

Dharma Richards, ERYT-500 is founder and owner of Yoga Garden Apex, co-founder of Yoga Garden Pittsboro, and Director of Yoga Warriors International.

 

A Yoga Alliance Advanced Registered Yoga Teacher, Dharma is an instructor of both the Classical Hatha-Raja style and tantric Kundalini Yoga, Reiki Master, and is immersed in feminine earth wisdom.  

 

Dharma encourages organic movement and an open heart as she routinely leads students through nurturing practices of pranayama/ breathwork, asana/physical postures, and dhyana/meditation. 

 

Dharma hosts workshops, intensives, retreats and teacher trainings nationwide and in the Caribbean. She also offers the unique Mindful Muse women’s circle and a variety of online study courses.  

 

Her studies continue with her beloved teacher Chandra Om, senior disciple of Sri Dharma Mittra, and HarDarshan Kaur Khalsa.  Her certifications also include Core Strength Vinyasa, Judith Lasater’s Relax & Renew, Prenatal, Children’s, Yin, and Yoga Warriors (for PTSD).  Dharma is also a certified Reiki Master and continues studies in Thai Massage (Nuad Boran).  

 

For detailed information, see Dharma’s Personal Website.

 
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Molly McKinley, RYT500

Instructor

To move, to release, to refine, to calm, and to still. All effort in yoga is for the “soul” purpose of remembering the beauty and grace of the divine in all things. For over ten years, Molly has been a student of Dharma Richards. Molly incorporates vinyasa, pranayama and guided meditation to cultivate the awareness of the still, small voice that exists in everyone and unites us all.

As a mother of three, Molly is called to help teens find peace and self-acceptance in our modern, digital lives. She received her children's yoga training at the NC School of Yoga and now leads training for upcoming children's yoga teachers. Founder and CEO of Intentionaliteas, she travels nationally as a featured speaker discussing topics such as the power of intention in business, emotional intelligence, and how to incorporate everyday rituals to increase mindfulness in the workplace. She hosts a weekly podcast called Afternoon Tea that celebrates Women in Business.

 
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Gene Cannata, RYT200

Instructor

Starting practice in 2015 for exercise, Gene never imaged the path that would unfold into a deep appreciation for the multi faceted expression of Yoga. Practicing unknowingly next to Yoga Sutra 1:14 on the "Sutra Wall", he explored the eight limbed path and embraced philosophies of enlightenment.  There he began realize Patanjali's vision to "...form a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation." Every day Gene is thankful for the people and circumstances that provide him the opportunity to practice yoga. Gene is a RYT200 graduate of the Yoga Garden Teacher Training program.

 
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Stephanie Hutcherson, ERYT, RPYT

Instructor

Steffi’s favorite observation about teaching yoga is watching students overcome obstacles and achieve what they never imagined was possible. She teaches Prenatal, Gentle and Level 1-2 classes with a focus on working with women during the childbearing year in her prenatal and postnatal classes.

 

Stephanie discovered yoga through a need for physical activity. After attending her first class she immediately feels in love learning that yoga is not only a physical practice but a mental and spiritual one as well. Stephanie enjoys all types of yoga but has a great love for pushing the limits and achieving new goals.

 

Her purpose in teaching is to guide students on their own path toward health and happiness. Stephanie is a RYT-200 graduate of Yoga Garden and also is a certified Prenatal Yoga Instructor. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family and her beloved poodles.

 
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Pablo Escalera, RYT200

Instructor

A mechanical engineer by profession, animal lover by Karma, Pablo completed his certification as a Yoga teacher at the 200 hour level with Dharma Richards at the Yoga Garden of Apex. Pablo had his first serious encounter with the physical activity around the age of 16 as a late start playing football (the American way), and first, ever encounter with Yoga at the age of 31 when by curiosity attended Heather Cassese’s Power Flow Yoga session one Friday evening.

 

His approach to Yoga is contemporary, having explored Power Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Prana Flow, Hatha Raja and several other Vinyasa Yoga offerings around the Triangle region in NC. He strives to embrace the Eight Limb Path to Yoga through everyday life. He ‘turned’ vegetarian when he started his Yoga teacher training as part of the commitment to Ahimsa and sustainability of the planet.

 

An enthusiast for motorsports, Pablo travels several times during the year to race tracks working as a volunteer communications official for national and international events. As an enthusiastic runner, he also participates in 5k, 10k, half marathons, adventure races, and fitness competitions.

 
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Connie Bisesi, RYT200

Instructor

Connie began taking Yoga classes in 2003 and for the first time experienced a deep connection to mind and body. She incorporated the practice of Yoga into her life and its many benefits helped her to grow in many aspects of her life.

 

Connie is an elementary school Art teacher and has always felt a natural inclination for leading and supporting others in their learning and growing their own lives. She felt a pull to teaching Yoga and in 2013 completed the Live Your Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Garden. Connie found that the training not only gives her an opportunity to grow in her own practice but also created another opportunity to connect with others.

 
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Deborah Dixon, RYT200

Instructor

Deborah began practicing Hatha Iyengar style yoga in 2006.  It was a revelation to her practice when she found Dharma Richards in 2010. Her practice blossomed and she completed 300-hr. yoga training with Dharma in 2013.  

 

She practices classic Hatha Raja yoga with a particular focus on breath, alignment, and finding a true expression of a pose in every level of practice.  She also holds a certificate in Restorative Yoga and has been a Reiki Master Teacher practicing Usui/Tibetan Reiki since 2008.

 
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Melissa Feimster Lido, ERYT500

Instructor

Melissa has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. Through a steady and consistent home practice, she quickly discovered that yoga imbued her with an overall improved sense of well-being and a deeper connection to her own spirituality. She began taking regular yoga classes with Dharma Richards in 2008 and was inspired to deepen her practice through Yoga Garden’s Live Your Yoga Teacher Training.

Melissa’s mission is to provide students with opportunities to discover new possibilities and transform themselves spiritually, mentally, and physically through the science of yoga. Melissa’s classes come from a place of patience, love, and joy. She offers her students classes rooted in creative and well-rounded Asana sequences, breathwork, and meditation. By cultivating a supportive class environment, she encourages students to be true to themselves, acknowledges and honor the teacher within, and tap into that deep awareness that ultimately leads to self-realization.

 

Melissa has a special interest in restorative yoga and holds a certification in this specialty area from the NC School of Yoga. Additionally, she has had the privilege to study with several master teachers including, Sri Dharma Mittra (Classical Hatha Raja Yoga), Judith Hanson Lasater (Restorative Yoga), Susan Jackson (Hatha Yoga), Satya Tara (Ashtanga Yoga) and Hardarshan Khalsa (Kundalini Yoga).

 

One of the ways Melissa “lives her yoga” off the mat is by exploring the benefits of a “raw/live foods” diet and vegetarian lifestyle. Combining her love of yoga, raw/live foods, and vegetarianism, she has authored a blog, 

 
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Jon-Erik Lido, LAc, RYT500

Instructor

Jon-Erik came to yoga after years of studying Chinese internal martial arts and qigong. He took his first yoga class in 2007 and realized its incredibly transformative effects. Since then he has been studying and practicing yoga, becoming especially passionate about the styles of Classical Hatha-Raja and Yin Yoga.

 

Jon-Erik completed Yoga Garden’s RYT-200 and RYT-500 teacher training in 2012 and 2013 respectively. He holds a certification in Yin Yoga from the Asheville Yoga Center.

 

Jon-Erik is a licensed acupuncturist trained in Classical Chinese Medicine. He informs his Yin Yoga classes from years of experience with the acupuncture theories that form the basis for Yin Yoga. He translates and transmits Classical Chinese Medicine theory and Daoist philosophy through his Yin Yoga classes.

 

It is Jon-Erik’s mission as a teacher for his students to feel empowered to improve their own health through yoga. His style of teaching is infused with compassionate and playful energy. His classes invite a meditative inward journey of self-discovery; students experience ample quiet space for reflection as well as experiential illumination of the body and mind.

 
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Suzanne Murley, RYT200

Instructor

Suzanne has been teaching ballet for the past 20 years and heard that yoga was a great supplement for stretching.  She attended a Hatha-Vinyasa yoga class in 2009 and was instantly hooked.

 

She enjoyed the physical and mental benefits of this style. In 2017, she received her 200-hour teacher training certificate through YTT Journey with Hassina Mirica-Albukhary and is registered with Yoga Alliance. Suzanne would like to share what yoga offers: taking time for oneself, peace of mind, and joy of movement.

 
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Lindsay Withers, RYT200

Instructor

Lindsay’s passion for movement began when she was 3 years old as a dancer. She continued to dance and study classical ballet though school years, but her path to yoga started while in college at UNCC where she took her first yoga class. She graduated with a psychology degree and then continued exploring different styles of yoga while living in NYC.  After moving back to NC and the birth of her first two children, she fell in love with yoga as it provided her much needed balance, peace of mind, and physical exercise. After several years of self-study, she had a thirst for more knowledge. Lindsay felt called to enroll in the 200hr Live your Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Garden, where she explored the rich history and spiritual side of yoga as well as the anatomy of yoga.  The completion of her RYT-200 certification had such a positive impact on her life, she feels compelled to teach and share this powerful practice with others. Lindsay is passionate about helping people live a physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy life.  She believes in the inward journey that yoga provides each of us to find our own truth. Lindsay lives in Cary with her husband Alex, her children Anna, Benjamin, and Lucy, and her French Bulldog Penelope.  

 
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Pam Callaway, RYT200

Instructor

Pam Callaway’s yoga journey began over 20 years ago, when she was seeking a way to manage chronic lower back pain following a car accident. Little did she know she would fall in love and eventually become a yoga teacher herself!

 

Pam is drawn to many aspects of yoga – health, strength, but most importantly the goal of bringing peace to the mind and spirit, so that one can be happier and more settled in life. Pam brings elements of nurturing and calm to her classes, while still providing a challenging and fun class.

 

Pam is a graduate of Yoga Garden’s Live Your Yoga Teacher Training, and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) with Yoga Alliance.

 
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Anna Polinski, RYT200

Instructor

Anna is an enthusiastic, interactive RTY 200 Yoga Instructor. Interacting with people by teaching yoga moves specific to the ability level of each student or class.

 

Anna teaches students to correct their postures to ensure maximum benefit and safety. She provides guided meditation at the beginning of each class to help students center themselves and get the most out of each session.

 

Anna works with students of all body types and fitness level. She pays attention to the needs of every student throughout each class.

 
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Heather Blanchard, RYT200

Instructor

Heather initially discovered the soothing benefits of yoga through a local gym she was teaching aerobics at in 1995. At the time, her passion for movement stemmed from a lifelong love for dance, and she was fond of the alignment and lengthening the asanas provided.

 

After being asked to teach a yoga class while working overseas for Club Med, she quickly worked with local instructors to learn a very basic hatha yoga “routine.” Soon, yoga became her favorite class to teach and she began to search for a deeper understanding of the tranquility found through her physical practice.

 

After returning to the state in 1998, Heather was mentored by the founders of Triangle Yoga in Chapel Hill while learning to teach to special populations at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. Their vast knowledge inspired her to explore many different styles of yoga, and she began a regular home practice.

 

After a ten-year liaison from the fitness business due to long hours in the corporate world and to having children, she was ecstatic to find the Live Your Yoga Teacher Training program at Yoga Garden in 2012! The diverse program allowed her to explore the rich history and spiritual side of yoga, and begin sharing her love for teaching with students again.

 

It’s a privilege to create a tranquil yet challenging environment for people to move in together, and to meet their needs at varying fitness levels. She strives to encourage everyone to practice with a smile on their face, and realize each moment spent in a limb of yoga is a gift.

 

Heather lives in Raleigh with her husband Eddie, daughters Mackenzie and Lauren, and their goddaughter Sunshine. She gratefully works with Infinity Ballet Theatre, a nonprofit company in Apex, NC, and with the beloved staff of Yoga Garden.

 
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Anne Bequet, ERYT200

Instructor

Anne is a Graduate from the Yoga Garden (ERYT200). She has a background in education and a fascination for movement. After years of Pilates practice, Anne discovered yoga in 2007 while seeking new ways to find better health and inner balance.

 

During her 2011 training, she was drawn to Yoga for Post-Traumatic Stress. She completed the Yoga Warrior Program, studied Trauma Sensitive Yoga and became a certified instructor in Restorative Yoga in which she found her voice.

 

Seeking additional ways to nurture students, she developed an interest in mindfulness and Reiki. In the last few years, Anne has been focusing on her studies and practice of Raja Vinyasa Yoga (Yogastha Sadhana Method). Through her training, she deepened her knowledge along the eight limb path of yoga and yogic philosophy (The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and the Bhagavad Gita).

 

In her classes, Anne emphasizes the importance of a finer mind/body connection and self-care. In restorative sessions, she combines gentle movement, breath work, and visualizations. She pays close attention to individual students’ needs and works on providing a safe environment that promotes deeper relaxation.

 

While teaching Vinyasa sequences, she focuses on alignment, concentration and strength development. Her intention is to support the student’s journey into a greater vitality and the joy of knowing a deeper inner peace. Her classes include breath work and meditation.

 

Over the last seven years, she has been offering classes, individual sessions, and workshops. She is devoted to sharing the discipline of yoga and her love to serve the community.

 
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Natascha Barnes, RYT200

Instructor

Natascha first feel in love with Yoga at an early age when a family friend took her to her first class. Yoga has proven to be a continuous source of strength and peace in her life. Natascha decided that she wanted to share the gift of Yoga with others and began the journey of getting her teaching certification. In 2010, she graduated from The Yoga Garden of Apex and jumped into teaching.

It brings her great joy to help others find strength and flexibility through the practice of asanas.


She enjoys spending time with her amazing family, continuing to grow in her personal yoga practice, reading, running and pug rescue.

 
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Jaime Warkonyi, RYT500

Instructor

Jaime found her breath and began practicing yoga in 2000, while attending a weekly Hatha Yoga class while attending Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. As an elementary (K-6) and special education (K-12) certified teacher, she understands the importance of cultivating relationships between a student and their teacher. She continues to practice both on and off her mat, finding community in vinyasa classes, yin, restorative practices, and hot yoga. Her home practice is a sacred time of self-care, meditation, prana, and asanas. She enjoys practicing and teaching at various studios to access a diverse community of practitioners and teachers.

Since her move to North Carolina in 2005, she proudly serves as an elementary school assistant principal in the Wake County Public School System. She began providing weekly meditation and yoga classes at the elementary school for the teaching staff. She has also provided students access to yoga and meditation class throughout the week. While living out her dharma of serving others, she advocates for self-care and wellness.

Jaime feels most at #hOMe while on her mat. She focuses on how to be of service to others, and honors relationship building. Jaime teaches from her authentic, most present self. She’s known for her adaptability and flexibility to change. She expects the unexpected and loves a good adventure. You can count on her growth mindset and positive perspective.

She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training in March 2018 with Asura Yoga Academy where she was blessed with lifelong #OMies. She begins her yearlong Mindful Muse RYT300 Advanced Teacher Training with Dharma Richards from Yoga Garden Apex in September 2018. You can find her guiding Yin Yoga, Vinyasa, Restorative, Hatha, and community classes.

“No mud, no lotus” is her personal manta. She embraces the muddy waters of life, trusts the guidance of her prana, and meditates on the #OMazing lotus garden creation before her.

 
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Heather Bryant, RYT200

Instructor

Heather has a passion for teaching young children. She is the lead 5 day 4’s teacher at Cary Presbyterian Preschool. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.Ed with a focus in special education. She has been teaching for 16 years and her teaching career includes public school, private school, and online teaching. She holds a highly qualified North Carolina teaching license and is trained in Conscious Discipline and is CPR/First Aid certified. She is currently attending Yoga Garden teacher training and will earn her RYT 200 in August of 2019. She recently earned her Children’s Yoga Certification from Yoga Garden and is excited to share her love of yoga with children. She and her husband, Mark have 4 children and have lived in North Carolina for 18 years. Heather loves reading, yoga, and paddleboarding.

 

Yoga is a space where flowers blossom - Amit Ray