Our Teachers

Maggie Heinzel-Neel
Maggie Heinzel-Neel
The peaceful feeling I receive from practicing yoga asana (poses) and pranayama (breath work), as well as the empowerment from becoming strong and flexible, is at the core of my teaching.  After years of debilitating back pain and a very inflexible body, I finally took my first yoga class.  People say that they’re not flexible enough for yoga, if they only knew what I looked like (for a very long time) in my practice! But what made me stick to it is how I felt afterward; elated.

I love to combine a wide range of experiences; a dynamic physical workout with precise alignment instructions, focus on breath within the poses and in pranayama, spiritual reflection, trans-personal psychology (directed inward work) and time at the beginning and end of each class for quiet contemplation that leads to a meditative experience. My prime focus is on the breath, throughout the entire class, which provides a cleansing from the inside out.  I strive to teach an equal part of challenge and nurture, a balance of feminine and masculine. As the breath, heart and body all work together, I hope to lead  students to a deep feeling of connection and wholeness that helps to stay focused and quiet the mind.

My initial training came from a foundation in Iyengar Yoga, then Ashtanga, resulting in an alignment based vinyasa flow that’s a slightly slower vinyasa then usual, emphasizing on precise alignment as we flow with a rhythmic breath.  I am also trained in Medical Chi Gong, using the 5 elemental theory to guide the practices according to the seasons, that I overlay in the Zen Yoga.  This is the ultimate combination of a strong physical practice combined with a deep inner focus of moving our prana (chi) in the patterns of the energy highways.  It’s a unique combination that is deeply healing.

Here’s what students are saying about Maggie

 

Michael Gould
Michael Gould
When I discovered yoga, not only did I get into better physical shape, heal my injuries, and reduce stress, I found a way to fill a deep spiritual hole in my life. In my teaching I create a peaceful, nurturing, and safe space. With an awareness of breath and body, we ground ourselves in the moment. From this solid foundation we move in flowing and playful sequences that challenge us physically, mentally, and spiritually. The music and the underlying yogic theme of the class inspires us as we move. My physical adjustments lead to better understanding of the poses, which make us strong and confident and able to feel at home in the practice.

We learn to trust ourselves, while we approach challenging poses with a sense of humor, learning not to take ourselves too seriously. I stress that striving for perfection is not the goal of yoga, but rather to notice the beauty, the peace and the sense of play in every moment. We are all already perfect in every way. We try as hard as we can, and let go of the results of our efforts. Let’s have fun and feel good, knowing that yoga always works.

Here’s what students are saying about Michael

 

Meg Saso

As I laid in my first savasana, I took a deep breath, opened my eyes and rolled off my mat a new person. 10 years later the bliss of finding myself on my mat has never left, but grown deeper and stronger. Yoga has given me a deeper connection to both my inner-self and the outside world. After years of admiring my yoga teachers and witnessing what their commitment to yoga did for themselves and those around them, I decided to take the happiest leap of my life and become a teacher! I am proudly certified with my RYT 200 and hold additional certifications in Yin and Restorative Yoga. I am currently blissfully immersed into my RYT 300. My hope is to heal, inspire and shine the yoga light that’s lit so bright inside me, into others’ hearts and practices, inspiring all to pay the knowledge and powers of yoga forward to more who need it.
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Amy Laber
Amy Laber
I like to write, make music and practice yoga every day. Getting on my mat is an anchor that inspires me to show up for the rest of my life’s practices.  I introduced myself to yoga in my college bedroom with a 28-day instructional book from the 1960s.  A few years later, I started taking classes regularly at an ashtanga studio, both for the physical benefits and because I wanted to open up more spiritually. Practicing yoga is very centering to me.  It calms my mind, aligns my body, balances my energy and leaves me feeling more open and available to those around me. I try to bring these qualities to my teaching, which is a flow-style rooted in ashtanga and vinyasa. One of my favorite aspects of teaching yoga is to witness students evolving in their own practice and in their lives. The un-fixed, intuitive flow of my classes is determined by who is in the class that day, how I’m feeling and what everyone wants to work on. In addition to being a yoga instructor, I’m a singer-songwriter, music teacher, children’s librarian, knitter, and hoop dancer. I love that I have a creative life.

Colleen Laico

I started practicing yoga around 2009, while in nursing school, seeking a casual workout I could do at home. I used an old DVD and a book I found at a garage sale. I began to practice regularly in my living room, and then quickly sought out classes at an Ashtanga studio. I started to notice myself in my day to day, off the mat, feeling different. I was moving around with more strength and grace. I was standing taller, and realizing I had more control of my emotions and reactions to stress. What started as small whim ended up leading me to a life-long practice.

Now, as a teacher, I love creating a safe space for students to encounter the wholeness, power, and calmness yoga offers. A space where we can have fun, grow, and breathe. I also currently work as an emergency room nurse. My work experience inspires me to share the healing properties of yoga. In my vinyasa-based and breath-focused classes, we explore the tools yoga offers to find calmness and power in our always-changing world.

Lana Heintjes
Lana Heintjes
My best friend’s aunt paid for my first yoga class when I was 14, and I’ve been in love with yoga ever since. I suppose I can also thank the intense anxiety that I dealt with in high school for giving me a reason to discover how much yoga can help us drop into a place of calm, joy and inner focus. A steady diet of yoga – including acroyoga, aerial silks, restorative yoga, and thai yoga bodywork– has made me a much happier person and completely changed my life. I feel so lucky to be who I am, and to be able to share the joy I experience in this life with others. My classes have been described as challenging in a way that is compassionate and encouraging. The way that I teach is less about what I teach, and more about how I teach it and how you feel when you leave the room. I not only teach people how to move their bodies but I help students drop into a different, deep, mindful state of consciousness. My teaching, like my personality, is gentle but clear and firm. In addition to teaching yoga and aerial silks, and practicing thai yoga bodywork, I am a vocalist and an aerial silks performer.
Denise Hopkins
Denise Hopkins
Denise Hopkins has been teaching Forrest Yoga in New York and Brooklyn for a decade.  She is passionate about helping students break through their old patterns and emotional backlog in order to discover their authenticity. She is known for her intuitive touch, direct approach, and teaches in a way that students feel truly seen and understood. For more info: www.purespaceyoga.com

Trista Parker

Yoga has been a part of my life for over 15 years. What started as one day a week to balance a running habit, has turned into a daily practice. Although I always loved the way I felt after a yoga class, I always thought I needed to run to feel my best. After a few years of consecutive injuries, I turned to yoga in my downtime and discovered how much better I felt. Not only were my injuries healing faster, but I felt stronger and more balanced, both on and off the mat. I developed a new love and passion for yoga. After years of practice, I decided to embark on the journey of becoming a yoga teacher to help share my passion with others. I offer a balanced practice that challenges my students to be present and let go of their daily distractions. My classes, while always alignment conscious, are fun and remind students to let go of expectations to be perfect and embrace where they are in their practice today – because each day is different. I enjoy bringing my love of breathwork, meditation, Yin Yoga poses and deep relaxation to all my classes. 

 

Sam Phelan

I always felt like something was missing in my life and I couldn’t quite figure out what that was, until I found a steady yoga practice. After a yoga class I always loved the way I felt but they were so spread out I wasn’t aware of the true- life changing benefits practicing regularly can bring. When we practice silencing the mind, opening the heart, and strengthening the body we find the wholeness that comes from yoga. Through a vinyasa flow style class with the use of props and pranayama  guided meditation breath work I hope to show you how to find space within your body, balance, strength, self realization and the clarity that yoga brings to the mind, body and soul. When I’m not teaching or practicing yoga I am singing or making driftwood art, I enjoy hiking, swimming, climbing and laughing a lot.