Alanna grew up in a northwest suburb of Chicago and enjoyed Irish dancing, gymnastics, and being an all-around pool rat with her three younger brothers. Besides "playing school" and teaching her brothers, she began coaching gymnastics at age 16 and teaching swim lessons at 17. She came to Winona in 1999 and has attended Winona State and Saint Mary's Universities. She has been participating in Iyengar-style yoga classes for eleven years and leading vinyasa-style hatha classes for seven years.
Alanna thinks of a yoga practice as a journey: the poses ("stops along the way") are linked together with the breath. We begin by focusing on the breath in a seated position becoming more mindful of the space and our bodies; we end the practice coming full circle back to the seated position. Alanna believes you can take your yoga "journey" to whatever level you desire! She has received her Levels 1 through 5 teacher training through YogaFit and she enjoys teaching yoga and mindfulness to children. Alanna has taken the Kid's YogaFit training and the YogaFit Props training through YogaFit. She enjoys learning more along her personal journey of yoga and will earn her 200 RYT in the next two years.
Lynn remembers her first class and the teacher proclaiming, “What was lost can be found again! All that is required is an open mind.” Lynn studied three years with T’ai Chi Instructor, Dr. Brice Wilkinson, including an 18-month internship at Grace Place. Since 2006 she practices daily movements such as those found in Qi Gong for Health & Vitality by Michael Tse and T’ai Chi The Supreme Ultimate Exercise For Health, Sport and Self-Defense by Cheng Man Ch’ing.
In 2007 Lynn added to her daily practice Dr. Baolin Wu’s Qi Gong for Total Wellness, and since 2008 is leading classes. 2013 she studied “Eight Brocades Qigong.” Fall of 2014 under Xin Yuen Zhuang’s instruction she studied more closely the Tiger Form, or Yang 24 T’ai chi. Spring of 2015 she studied Wuji Qigong which has roots to the monks who practice at the Shaolin Temple.
Elle has a great deal of respect for the fact that a yoga practice is not only developing a strong flexible body, but it is balancing one's emotions, strengthening one's mental capacity, and balancing one energetically as well. Though Elle had taken other yoga classes and loved her Tai Kwon Do practice for the discipline and the sense of confidence it awoke in her, it wasn't until she found Vinyasa that she truly began to learn to listen to her body and move in a way that respected both its limitations and its strengths. The emphasis on breath and linking it with movement was the perfect compliment to her already existent meditative practice and she was hooked. Eventually she added in a Yin practice as well.
Elle has been leading yoga classes for 7 years and leading meditation for 10. While she was completing her first 200 hours of yoga training she also worked out of Healthsmith, a multidisciplinary clinic run by Dr. Steven Erik Smith where she worked with him to develop yoga sequences to support the healing of clients also receiving chiropractic and naprapathic care. Elle's current trainings include prenatal yoga, and yoga for back care, as well as a certification to teach hot yoga. Now that she's finished her 200 RYT she plans to continue on with her Yoga Therapy hours.
Elle currently teaches Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, Meditation/Breath Work, and a Basic Yoga for Back Care class at Infinity Yoga Studio and works at Infinity Chiropractic Wellness as a Life Coach, and a Reconnective Therapy Practitioner. She also manages Infinity Yoga Studio where her background in leadership and organizational development meets her love of yoga.
April began practicing Iyengar style yoga in 2007 as part of a journey to become physically active and to help control her blood sugar. She found the practice of Iyengar, which involves the use of props to support the body and accommodate different levels of ability, in keeping with one of her key life philosophies: all bodies and people are valuable and capable and worthy of love and joyous movement.
For the last several years, however, April was presented with a new challenge, which encouraged her to expand her practice to different styles of yoga. After a two year long battle with chronic fatigue and muscle spasms and weakness, April was diagnosed with Lyme and Babesiosis. While she was struggling to remain committed to her practice through the illness, she began attending workshops on Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, and Yoga Breathing. Through these practices, April met the mat each day with her body as it was and learned to support herself while healing. She learned to accept that her body was different each day yet no less worthy of time, attention, and caring.
April believes that yoga practices can help each individual come to understand their body, emotions and spirit and the infinite connections therein. Her commitment to yoga and sharing these practices with others is based in the belief that yoga can teach us to value ourselves and others by simply meeting ourselves where we are with kindness and attention each time we practice.
Amanda's commitment is to inspire others to realize their own gifts and powers and to step fully into their most authentic self. While yoga is clearly her calling, the path to peace for Griggs wasn't an easy one. Amanda's practice deepened in 2008 while commencing recovery from addiction. She began sharing her healing process and practice with others from her rural home that same year and her journey as a yoga instructor was set in motion.
"The practice has saved my life. Yoga calls me to be more present, more accepting of my body and mind, and more engaged in the pursuit of wellness for all beings. Opening my heart and story to others brings hope. I am dedicated to sharing yoga's healing."
Amanda's first teachers included Bryan Kest (Power Yoga), Amber Huttner & John Friend (Anusara), and Francie Ricks & Chris Saudek (Iyengar). She received her 200-RYT certification through YogaFit in 2011 with a strong influence from these teachers, whom some she continues to study presently. She continues her education by regularaly traveling to workshops and trainings to explore the profound healing aspects of yoga. Amanda's present passion is a deeper journey into pranayama and therapeutics of asana. She hopes to complete another 500-HR yoga training in the next year.
Amanda Griggs is the owner/operator of a traveling yoga studio called Root River Yoga that serves rural SE MN.
Mollee taught yoga in Winona for several years during the early 2000s. In the meantime she’s continued to deepen and expand her practice and has recently yielded to the growing pull she was feeling to return to teaching and to share her experience with and reverence for the extraordinary healing power of yoga.
Mollee believes the mat is a mirror, and the lessons learned on the mat can help us live more empowered, connected and joyful lives -- becoming lighter and brighter in the way we show up for ourselves and for one another.
She received her training through YogaFit (Level I, Level II, and Senior Yoga), and plans to resume her Yoga Alliance 200 hour teacher training in 2016.
Gretchen Cohenour (MFA, RSME) is evolving with a 35-year career as a teacher, movement artist and choreographer. Gretchen is a Somatic Movement Educator (SME), and is certified in ‘Embodied Anatomy and Yoga’ and ‘Embodied Developmental Movement and Yoga’ from the School of Body Mind Centering©. In addition to BMC, her practice includes Meditation, Iyengar Yoga, Qigong, Alexander Technique, and playing with puppies and dancers.
She directs the Winona State University dance program where she integrates somatic practices, art making, interdisciplinary collaboration, meditation, yoga, and embodied movement research as a ground for living, teaching and learning.
Sharon brings twenty-five years of experience as an interdisciplinary contemporary dance artist and educator. Originally from Boston, MA, Sharon has been involved with the Winona community since 2005 in addition to her ongoing work on the East Coast. Minnesota area teaching includes Winona State University and the Minnesota Conservatory for the Arts, as well as throughout the United States and abroad in the UK, Argentina, Mexico, Ireland and Ecuador.
Her experimental performance/installation projects and dance films have been presented in various venues such as theatres, galleries, clubs, apartments, train stations, empty storefronts, warehouses, fields, rivers and other intriguing and unexpected spaces, with support from the Virginia Commission on the Arts, and the Maryland State Arts Council, among others.
Sharon loves dance, visual art, somatics, improvisation, yoga, qigong, tai chi, walking, hiking, and biking. And creating experiences where active viewing, participation and imagination are welcome. She also enjoys collaborating and playing with other adventurous artistic types, and finding ways to support and build the creative ecology within a community. Sharon holds an MFA in Dance from George Mason University, is a Certified Movement Analyst through the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, a Reiki Master Practitioner, and Massage Therapist. www.mansurdance.com
Jacque Paulsen lives and works in the Winona area as an educator and movement artist. Her credentials include a Nia Brown Belt and Nia 5 Stages Certification. She has trained with Nia founder Debbie Rosas, and Educator of the Year - Winalee Zeeb. Recent projects include the development of Ignite, a local fire and fibre optic performance arts troupe.
Additional credentials include a BA in Theatre with an emphasis in dance from UW-Madison, a BS in elementary education, Montessori Certification from the Montessori Education Center of the Rockies, and an MS in Educational Leadership from Winona State. When not dancing, Jacque teaches 4th-6th grade at Riverway Learning Community. Jacque believes that healing begins from within and she can’t wait to move with you!
Nicolle brings a balance of alignment and movement to each class, creating a positive and fun environment for deepening asana practice. Her classes are accessible, yet challenging for all levels of practice, from beginner to lifelong practitioner. As a singer, Nicolle dove deeply into the teachings of chanting, the yoga sutras, and Sanskrit right away on her yogic journey, and now teaches across the country.
Nicolle has been teaching yoga since 2008, and is a 500-hour certified Prajan Yoga teacher. Prajna yoga is the infusion of Ashtanga Vinyasa and Iyengar Yoga, a dynamic combination of movement, strength, alignment, and therapeutic application of yoga asana.
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