Introducing Our Instructors

//Introducing Our Instructors
Introducing Our Instructors2017-01-01T19:49:27+00:00

Turtles Yoga & Wellness believes there is more than just one road to wellness. We support and offer a holistic approach to health and wellness and believe this is where true transformations will begin. Our passion is to help people be healthy in the body and mind. We love what we do, and it shows! You will be encouraged, challenged, and supported, in a non-judgmental environment. All of our Trainers and Instructors are professionally trained and certified. We look forward to seeing you in class!

Yoga Instructors

Amy HeimbecherAmy Heimbecher, RYT 500

Amy came to yoga 16 years ago when she was searching for life’s answers to what existed outside the box of her upbringing while creating lots of art. Yoga came and went over the years, but what remained was a curiosity for inner peace and that blissful feeling that yoga provides. Her practice became steady and led her to ashrams, temples and yoga studios throughout USA, Europe & India. She eventually settled in Portland and received a 500hr certificate from the Lotus Seed because she is drawn to the community aspect of serving everyone the gift of yoga. There is something for every body in yoga and she strives to break down the barriers preventing people from this life transforming practice. The powerful force of her yoga and meditation practice, fueled by a passion for serving others, led her to recently get an MBA- Masters in Business degree. She can be found around town at her son’s soccer games, singing in kirtans, on her yoga mat, and consulting businesses towards success.

Annie Rosen yoga instructorAnnie Rosen, RYT 500

Fifteen years after Annie began her Yoga journey, her practice has developed from one of personal growth and exploration to include work as an enthusiastic yoga suggester (Instructor). With experience in many Yoga traditions, from Vinyasa, Forrest, Bikram, Aerial, and Restorative Yoga; Annie teaches with the student before her as her guiding light. In addition to a 500 hour instructors certificate, Annie also brings experience with movement traditions such as Acrobatics conditioning, Alexander, Feldenkrais, and Thai Chi to expand students understanding of and ability to employ constructive use of the body to hectic modern lives. Annie is also a professional clown (no joke) and musician. You will most likely laugh at least once, and enjoy a lullaby as you drift into savasana.

Ann Chihak PoffAnn Chihak Poff, RYT 200

Ann has been practicing yoga since 2007. She is from Tucson, AZ and has a degree in journalism.  She went through the Deep Yoga teacher training at Piedmont Yoga Studio in Oakland, CA. Among her strengths in teaching, she challenges her students through various asanas while focusing on the alignment base of the pose, and is very supportive of her students during these sequences. She specializes in gentle, Hatha/alignment-based yoga and Restorative yoga. Ann is also a certified SPINNING® instructor and teaches indoor cycling classes. She maintains a health and fitness blog, Go Fit Girl!, gofitgirl.com.

Charles Higgins Yoga Instructor

Charlie Higgins, RYT 200

Charlie Higgins has been practicing yoga since 2002 and teaching yoga at universities, elementary schools, retirement communities, businesses and governmental institutions, and yoga studios since 2008. Charlie encountered yoga while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying daily with his teacher Ricardo Risso Patron.  Richard and Charlie have adapted their yoga methodology from the eight-part system (aṣṭāṅga-sādhana) codified by Richard’s teacher: a Brazilian named Maestro de Rose.

Charlies method is a non-interventionist, non-corrective, inclusive practice.  Students are given progressively organized techniques to protect their health and are encouraged to determine their own evolution in the system.  Instead of feeling pressure to conform to predetermined standards, students learn to create their own yoga approach.  In the process, students learn to recognize rigid habit formations and effectively to reform their selves through consciousness of stance, pelvic-tilt, foot-usage, gesture, digestion, metabolization, vision, heart rate, breath, vocalization, inner-dialog, and attitude.

chris-lehmanChris Lehman, RYT 200

Chris Lehman, MAT, MS, LPC, tries to approach the yoga mat everyday like a beginner. In his more than twenty five years of practice he has studied Iyengar, Anusara, and Ashtanga forms of yoga, in addition to the art of Pranayama. He approaches teaching with great respect for any student that comes to yoga. His classes are supported with humor, compassion, and kindness. He is personally humbled by the eternal opportunity for learning in yoga, and is grateful to his teachers, students, and friends who help guide his practice.

Dona RobinsonDona Robinson, RYT 500 Viniyoga Teacher/Therapist

Dona is certified as both a Viniyoga teacher and a Viniyoga therapist. She has studied deeply in the Viniyoga tradition under the guidance of Gary Kraftsow. This specialized training enables her to modify yoga practices for different therapeutic purposes and to create a practice that is beneficial to students with different levels and needs. Dona’s teaching focuses not only on the physical aspects of yoga b also on the breath and subtle energetic effects of a yoga practice as well as the role of meditation in yoga practice. At  Turtles Yoga she will be leading Viniyoga classes geared towards relieving stress and focusing on positive heart energy. Come learn how breath and movement create a heart centered meditation as we practice by focusing on our heart energy. Dona will help us to physically explore the way the lungs surround the heart. As we feel the movement of inhalation and exhalation, we will create a place of peace and acceptance. As feelings and sensations arise, we can observe with compassion resulting in greater calmness, physical relaxation, and positive physiological balance. Come see how practicing meditation with a focus on the breath and heart center can create a positive flow of your emotions and thoughts throughout the day.

geoffrey

Geoffrey Taylor, E-RYT 500 

Geoffrey Taylor began teaching yoga professionally in 1998, and has been refining his technique ever since. As a teacher he is down to earth and friendly. and genuinely interested in student progress and its contribution to universal compassion. He is best known as a Vinyasa teacher but has a multidisciplinary background and teaches all levels of interested students, including Pranayama, Yogic science, and meditation. He developed a Yoga program over the last 15 years in Northern Arizona and recently relocated his Vinyasa headquarters to Portland. His research is at the crossroads of Yoga and Integral philosophy, and has a 300 hour YTT program for students wanting a highly refined teaching ability in the Vinyasa discipline. He has accumulated thousands of hours of public and private teaching experience, trained hundreds of teachers, and keeps sharing his inspiration for Yoga practice.

Harry Dudley yoga instructorHarry Dudley, PsyD

Harry Dudley, PsyD, is a Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher (Level 3), and he comes to Turtles Yoga in that capacity. He has the distinction of being the first Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher in the Portland/Vancouver area. Harry was introduced to traditional yoga nidra at the age of 12 by his older hippie sister who referred to it as “raja yoga”. It became, “that thing that I did,” which expanded after he learned other forms of meditation and techniques from clinical psychology. Harry began teaching yoga in 2007, heard the term yoga nidra, and discovered that this was what he learned in his youth. He then enthusiastically began to learn other approaches to yoga nidra. He began his training in iRest in 2009 and completed certification in 2013. Harry has delivered iRest in numerous settings, both in large classes and for individual clients and students. Harry has provided trainings in iRest informed trauma sensitive yoga nidra for yoga teachers and mental health professionals, and he has contributed to the development of trauma sensitive mindfulness based yoga for youth and adults for the non-profit, Living Yoga, which serves students in correctional, mental health, and drug treatment programs. Harry has worked in the mental health field since 1982 and was awarded his doctorate (PsyD) in 1988. He maintains a practice in forensic and clinical psychology in Vancouver, Washington. www.psydhcd.com

Karen RouchleauKaren Rouchleau, RYT 200

Karen is a 200 RYT instructor and found yoga in 2009 when a friend suggested yoga could help quiet her ever so chatty mind. After trying it she felt a peaceful calm wash over her and she knew that life would never be the same. She realized that yoga had helped create a spaciousness within herself that she had been searching for. Sharing yoga with others seemed like the next natural step, and since finishing her teacher training, she has been doing just that! She believes everyone deserves to feel that spaciousness, and the sense of freedom that can go along with it.  She is a yogi, a mother, a nature walker, a coffee drinker, loves to laughs during awkward moments, a day dreamer, a happy camper, and a contentment seeker.

Kasey StewartKasey Stewart, RYT 200

Kasey first came to yoga in the early 2000’s looking for a strong workout and a good stretch. As an athlete and a dancer in her youth, it seemed like a natural transition. Then, many years of practice later, it clicked — yoga can be about so much more. Since 2010, Kasey has been a volunteer teacher with Living Yoga, a local organization that brings trauma-informed yoga classes to youth and adults who are incarcerated, in recovery or accessing other types of transitional services. This experience sparked a desire to teach a broader population and in 2012, she completed the 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training program at The Movement Center in Portland, OR. Since then, she has gained valuable experience guiding students at many different stages of their practice, from gentle/adaptive through intermediate. Her classes combine alignment-based yoga with an emphasis on cultivating greater awareness both on the mat and in your life. She views the body as a vehicle that can lead you toward greater freedom in the mind and heart — once you begin to befriend it, you can truly grow.

KimKim Black, RYT 200

Kim is a 200 hour-RYT Kundalini Yoga instructor, life purpose coach, and lover of all things cat related. She originally found yoga as a way to help manage the stress of law school. Not only did it help manage her stress, but it liberated her from years of living in an internal prison of negative behaviors and mental patterns. She experienced shifts inside her that were so profound that she felt a calling to share yoga with the world.  She is passionate about incorporating yoga and life coaching to help people manifest their true desires by using an integrated form of mind, body, and soul coaching. She enjoys sharing tools of inspiration and self healing with the world on her website, www.modernbliss.org

lani instructor pictureLani Jelen, RYT 200

Lani Jelen, RYT has been a student of yoga for more than 30 years and through teaching yoga has encouraged and inspired students at all levels of practice for the last 26 years. Discovering the power and depth of yoga is her passionate interest and sharing this discovery with her yoga students is a great joy in her life. Lani teaches with a focus on the inner experience of yoga; through breath and movement she guides students to access their deepest inner strength and to sustain awareness of its presence throughout their yoga practice. Lani is thankful to all her teachers and students for their inspiration in her practice and in her life.

leslie heartsong yoga instructor pictureLeslie Ellis, OTR, E-RYT500

Leslie founded HeartSong Yoga and Wellness Center in November of 2004 as a place to grow community and to ground her desire to share the joy she had received through yoga. In practicing yoga for 20+ years and teaching since 1998, Leslie has developed an approach to yoga instruction that is heartfelt and fun while also being challenging and technically precise. In Leslie’s classes at HeartSong Yoga she leads you through a discovery process exploring the capacity of the body, the expansiveness of the heart and the celebration of life through yoga. Leslie is deeply passionate about the influence that yoga can have on all aspects of our lives. It teaches us how to honor ourselves, respect others and live from our hearts. She is grateful to all of her yoga teachers which include those she actively studies with and all of the students who share their practice and lives with her.

lloyd headshot instructorLloyd Pauze, MA, E-RYT 500

Lloyd is a certified yoga teacher with extensive training in yoga therapy. His unique teaching methodology is drawn from his personal experience as a performance artist, teacher and student of many different physical disciplines over decades of study. Lloyd became a Certified Viniyoga Therapist (AVI) after years of training under Gary Kraftsow of the American Institute of Viniyoga. The name Viniyoga is used to describe the methodology of yoga practice handed down by T. Krishnamacharya through his son and Gary’s teacher T.K.V. Desikachar. Lloyd thanks all of his teachers for their kindness. He will always be a student ready to increase his knowledge and apply new ideas in every lineage of yoga.

IMG_2150Maddie Adams, RYT-500, Yoga Therapist

Maddie has been practicing yoga since 2003 and teaching since 2010.  Originally coming to yoga for it’s physical benefits, she quickly became drawn to it’s power to calm the mind ease the mental and emotional challenges of everyday life. Maddie teaches public classes in a variety of styles and works privately with students as a yoga therapist to develop individualized practices for healing, integration, and better mental and physical balance.  Her public classes bring with them a blend of traditional yoga poses and techniques with added influences from Ayurveda and neuroscience.  She enjoys teaching by the season through the lens of Ayurveda while still giving plenty of alignment and breath instruction to safely create more ease and strength in the body.  And since yoga is traditionally a practice for the mind as well as the body, her studies in neuroscience bring east and west together with information about how yoga affects the nervous system, and how we can use our practice wisely to rewire the brain towards better integration, joy, and vitality.  Her private sessions may cover a wide variety of topics, either physical or mental, and are always aimed at returning students to their innate state of wholeness. She is committed to the ongoing practice, study, and application of all aspects of yoga both on and off the mat, and loves to see the ways in which yoga can seep into our lives, hearts, and communities with it’s potential to heal and transform.
 
 

PortraitMaui, RYT 200

Maui is a self-proclaimed movement enthusiast and messenger of wonder.  He studied various yoga modalities at the Yandara Yoga Institute in Baja California, Mexico and is a registered Yoga Alliance instructor at the 200-RYT level as well as a certified Reiki healer.  To him, leading a yoga practice is not only about teaching proper poses; it’s about hinting at the underlying truth – it is all connected!  Maui is friendly and humorous, yet well versed in asana and yogic philosophy.  He creates a casual, welcoming, and nonjudgmental atmosphere where one is free to experiment and be creative.  Thanks to his background in various movement arts (fire juggling, capoeira, dance, and bouldering), his inspired flows and pose variations can be playful and eccentric.  Come prepared for anything!  Each class is well thought out and refreshingly different than the last.  His main ambition: To inspire and empower individuals to get moving, explore, and sustain a balanced & personally fulfilling lifestyle.

paul heartsong yoga instructorPaul Telles, RYT 500

Paul Telles began his Yoga practice in his late 40s in response to health challenges that included lifelong obesity and its attendant symptoms. During the ensuing nine years, he lost nearly 95 pounds. Now nearing 6o, he is in the best physical, emotional, and psychological condition of his life. Along the way, he discovered joy in linking body, breath, and mind through Yoga. Paul is a graduate of the 500-hour teacher training program at Yoga Shala of Portland. All of Paul’s teachers are students of T.K.V. Desikachar and Gary Kraftsow, so he believes the tools of Yoga should ideally be adapted to each practitioner’s individual needs. As a Yoga teacher, Paul loves to share the tools that helped him to overcome lifelong limitations. Throughout his life, Paul has been an avid lover of the learning process, viewing it as voyage of discovery shared by student and teacher. While the most noticeable change of the last 10 years has been my weight— shrinking from over 240 pounds to just below 150 pounds—my story ultimately is not a “weight-loss story.” It is a story of self-transformation on all levels, ushering in an unexpected era of happiness and wellness.

Sefana WildeSefana Wilde, RYT 200

Sefana’s teaching style combines flowing movements, breath & intuition to create an inspired yoga class. She began her journey into the movement arts with Dance, fascinated by the expression of one’s spirit through movement. She soon discovered Yoga, finding it to be the perfect compliment. After sustaining both physical & emotional traumas, Yoga became a light house… a means to truly heal body, mind & spirit. Believing her healing journey to be a beautiful gift to herself & her students, Sefana lovingly shares her wisdom & knowledge. She sees herself as a guide, helping her students to feel empowered by emphasising trust in one’s own inherent wisdom. Her students regard her as an inspiration & joy. Sefana completed her teacher training with Anna Forrest in Santa Monica & her yoga education includes Anusara, Iyengar, Forrest, Bikram & Restorative Yoga. As well as being a yoga teacher, Sefana is also a Licensed Massage Therapist & Certified Holistic Wellness/Nutrition Coach. She spends her free time writing poetry, swimming in local rivers, camping under stars, cuddling her son & learning all that she can from this wildly beautiful life. For more info, you can visit her website at www.moondancewellness.com

Treva DrakeTreva Drake

Treva Drake has been a dedicated yoga instructor and practitioner for 15 years. Her commitment to yoga began when she moved from NYC to Northern Arizona as she embarked on a new life journey of self-healing and working with her psychic abilities. In yoga she found a grounding discipline, similar to the discipline she practices in her Buddhist chanting practice of 18 years, and the means to work through the bodily effects of life’s stressors. Treva was certified in 2002 at the Astanga Yoga school in San Francisco, It’s Yoga.  Treva is a compassionate and fun-loving woman who is 36 years old. She is passionate about bettering circumstances for the underserved and gender equality. Treva is currently finishing her pre-requisites for a physician’s assistant graduate program. Some of her interests include science, philosophy, music and thrift store shopping. Treva’s greatest blessing is her 6 year old daughter Sable, who just started first grade! As a teacher, Treva is balanced and detail oriented. She is always available for questions and feedback of any sort because she wants nothing more that to be of good service to her  treasured students.

 Pilates Instructor

Jill-SpanglerJill Spangler

Jill has been a motivational force in the fitness industry for over 30 years. In love with dance and fascinated with how the body move, her journey has taken her from dance to gymnastics to aquatics and finally to Pilates. Having 3 children and a myriad of injuries from misalignment’s and overuse, she experienced her first Pilates class in 1999. This method was what her body needed to stay strong yet flexible and injury free!  Pilates integrates mind and breath with movement, instead of exercising in the forceful. no pain, no gain, way that the fitness industry had led her to believe was the only way to stay fit.  Though continued practice she began to experience less back and hip pain and came to the realization that the Pilates method should be the foundation for all other sports and recreational activity, whether it’s dancing, tennis, golf, skiing, running or just walking through the tasks of daily life.

After moving to Portland from Rochester, NY in 2001, Jill began taking Pilates classes and in 2008 decided to become an instructor. She trained with Shelly Stevenson of  Balanced Body, completing her training on all of the apparatus in 2010. After a 400 hour apprenticeship she began training clients in 2011, teaching at OHSU’s fitness facility, and other studios around the Portland area.  Always eager to gain more knowledge to help her clients overcome their obstacles, Jill has taken numerous workshops on scoliosis, osteoporosis and back rehabilitation, and is willing to work with her client’s physical therapist in order to plan a safe and effective workout.

Jill attended college at Boston Conservatory of Music, majoring in dance. She also holds certifications in group fitness, aquatic fitness and personal training.

Jana Tripp HeadshotJana Tripp, STOTT certified

Jana originally turned to Pilates while dealing with a dance injury, and her realization of its many benefits led her to become a STOTT Pilates certified instructor in mat-work and reformer. Her classes emphasize proper alignment and improve coordination while creating strength without bulk. She strives to help her clients reach their full potential by creating a safe and supportive environment. Jana’s understanding of body mechanics is deepened by her experiences as a dancer and dance educator. She holds an MFA in Dance from Florida State University and spent four years directing a public high school dance program in Ocala, Florida. She currently dances with Polaris Dance Theatre in Portland.

Susan M PilatesSusan Mittelstrass, STOTT certified

Susan began her Pilates practice in 2008 after the birth of her son.  She was immediately inspired by the gentle flow of the movement, and deep mind-body connection she discovered.  While working in the corporate world and navigating her role as a new mother, she used Pilates as the avenue to reconnect to her body and ease her mind.  There was something special that happened every time she hit the mat, or carriage!  It was that feeling that inspired her to share her passion with others, and become a STOTT Pilates Certified Instructor.  Her hope is to share the peace, strength, joy and healing she personally experienced, with all her clients.

MELT & Nia Instructors

Carol-Gonzalez-10-2015-450pxSQCarol Gonzalez, RYT 200

When I first experienced Nia in 1999, my love of dance was instantly re-kindled, and it has continued to deepen through the years. Now as a First Degree Black Belt Nia instructor, I get to share the Joy of Movement with people of all ages and all stages. There is something wonderful and life-affirming that happens when people move with Nia, and I look forward to sharing this with you. I also practice and teach Yoga. I took my 200-hour RYT training with Sarahjoy Marsh in 2007, and apprenticed in her studio the following year. Whether facilitating Yoga or Nia, my goal is always to inspire the spirit, serve the body, stimulate the mind, and nurture the emotions.

Lila MELT instructor with roller and ballsLila Martin Bergroth

Lila’s intent is to help her clients live pain free, joyful, fully functional lives…. no matter what their age. She has worked with individuals ranging from age 10 to 97.  As a mother of three, Lila is aware of the need for efficient & effective self-care techniques. This is one reason the MELT Method is a large part of her repertoire. Lila loves teaching people “DIY bodywork”, and her 20 years experience as a hands on bodywork professional, yoga teacher and somatic educator give her a unique perspective. She has an eye for reading bodies & alignment, assisting clients in creating a manageable plan for supporting their overall health and wellness with humor and care.