Laura Banks is inspired by and seeks to strengthen the capacity to thrive and find meaning throughout life, especially through the cultivation of compassion. Life has been her greatest teacher as she raised her family around the world in a multitude of circumstances. In 2018, Laura completed teacher training to become a Certified Compassion Cultivation Training© (CCT) Instructor, dual-certified by Compassion Institute and Stanford University. Long before this, however, time at Willow Street Yoga as a student and graduate of the yoga teacher training program (2011) informed her exploration of embodied compassion. For this, she is forever grateful. Laura is honored to return and come full circle in sharing lessons learned and evidence-based practices to cultivate compassion. Joyful things in Laura’s life include her family, their dog Harold, running and yoga, poetry, time with friends, and tasty food prepared and shared with others.
Terri Shuck is a graduate of the Willow Street 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training and a certified Let Your Yoga Dance instructor sponsored by the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. Terri began practicing yoga 12 years ago and it changed her life by providing a path for self-care, centering, and well-being in the context of a fast-paced career in Washington, DC. Now she is dedicated to sharing the life-enhancing experience of yoga as a student-centered practice that is accessible to people of all ages. Her Let Your Yoga Dance classes are designed to enliven our bodies, brains, hearts, and souls with the joy of music, movement, and community.
Director of the Prenatal Yoga Center, Prenatal & Postnatal, Creator of Teacher Training Program, Private Childbirth Education
“My job is simply to offer women evidence based information, guidance and support, empowering them to make decisions which are right for them. It is never appropriate for me as a teacher to put my own birth beliefs on the shoulders of my students. I had my births on my own terms, now it’s their turn to find their path.” ~ Deb
After graduating the Boston Conservatory of Music, Deb was introduced to yoga through a choreographer in 1997. She spent several years as a yoga student, before deciding to continue her education and become certified as a Bikram Yoga instructor. In 2001 Deb headed out to Seattle to study with renowned prenatal yoga teacher Colette Crawford, R.N., at the Seattle Holistic Center. Deb has received certification for Vinyasa Yoga from Shiva Rea as well as completed the OM Yoga advanced teacher training with Cyndi Lee in 2004. Deb is also certified in Pelvic Floor Yoga with Leslie Howard. Deb has had the pleasure of working closely with Cyndi Lee, Genevieve Kapular, and Carrie Owerko. Carrie Owerko continues to be Deb’s primary yoga teacher in NYC.
After being witness to several “typical” hospital births, Deb felt it was important to move beyond the yoga room and be present in the birthing room. In 2003, Deb attended her first birth as a DONA certified labor support doula and has attended over 100 births. Deb is continuously in awe of the beauty and brilliance of birth and the many amazing, unique ways birth unfolds for each individual person.
In 2006, Deb received her certification as a Lamaze® Certified Childbirth Educator. In September of 2007, Deb completed a Midwife Assistant Program with Ina May Gaskin, Pamela Hunt and many of the other Farm Midwives at The Farm Midwifery Center in Tennessee.
visit willowstreetyoga.com for full biography
Jason Crandell is a natural teacher and author with more than 15 years of experience. His accessible, grounded classes integrate the best elements of power yoga, anatomical precision, and mindfulness teachings. Jason’s articulate, down-to-earth approach to vinyasa yoga will educate and empower you. Named “one of the teachers shaping the future of yoga,” by Yoga Journal, Jason has been an in-demand teacher at conferences around the world for more than a decade. Considered a “teacher’s teacher,” Jason has taught on countless teacher training faculties, leads trainings globally, and regularly presents teacher training content at esteemed conferences. Jason is a contributing editor for Yoga Journal magazine where he has written more than 25 articles. His critical thinking skills will support you on your path of practice, teaching, and self-inquiry. Jason’s primary teacher is Rodney Yee—who was kind enough to say, “Jason is taking the art of teaching yoga to its next level.” To learn more, visit JasonYoga.com
Melanie Camellia (they/them) is a yoga teacher and self-love advocate, called to create profoundly accessible spaces for self-inquiry by integrating mindfulness and adaptive movement practices with the spirit of social justice. They believe that the goal of yoga, as of life, is collective liberation and in turn challenge contemporary yoga practitioners to dismantle the systems and beliefs that hold us all back. In addition to regular group classes and private sessions, Melanie teaches workshops that explore queer identity, body image, pleasure, and agency, trains new teachers in adaptive teaching methods for all bodies and abilities, co-leads the Yoga & Body Image Coalition, and administrates trainings internationally for Accessible Yoga. They’ve been called a “tour-de-force of encouraging radical self-love” (DC Refined) and listed among the “top thinkers and activists in the field of body positivity” (OmStars). Melanie’s classes are adaptive and trauma-informed and intermingle flow elements with alignment-based postural work. Experimentation with props and pose variations is encouraged. They live in Silver Spring with their partner and a polydactyl kitty named Matcha.
Penny Diamanti met Ayurveda during Yoga Teacher Training with Rod Stryker and immediately began practicing. Ayurveda quickly changed her life and she spent the next decade learning more from Drs. David Frawley, Vasant Lad, Robert Svoboda, and Claudia Welch, as well as Maya Tiwari and others, before finally enrolling in the California College of Ayurveda to become a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and Clinical Ayurvedic Specialist. She teaches primarily in yoga teacher trainings, but also meets clients for consultations in Takoma Park, and enjoys introducing the wisdom of Ayurveda to a variety of students in classes and workshops.
Penny believes that we all instinctively know Ayurveda, and just need to be reminded. Her teaching style is clear and practical, grounded in the everyday world.
Beth Charbonneau, LCSW-C is a psychotherapist in private practice in College Park, Maryland. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and earned a B.A. cum laude in Theatre Arts after studying at Smith College and Royal Holloway New Bedford College (England) and a Master's in Social Work from Gallaudet University, working primarily with the deaf and hard of hearing population there. In 2006 she was certified in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. Over the past 14 years, she has worked in residential treatment with adolescents and in private practice with adults and adolescents and offers experiential group workshops.
Deborah has been practicing yoga since the early 1990's and teaching yoga since 2002. She completed the Body Balance Yoga Therapy Program and has received her 200 hour and 500 hour certification in an Anusara® Yoga program. She is also certified in Dr. Loren Fishman's method of Yoga for Osteoporosis. She brings her experience as an Adult Nurse Practitioner into her classes as well to create a safe therapeutic class environment to promote health and overall well being. She completed the teacher training program and the advanced teacher training program at Willow Street Yoga Center in the Anusara Tradition. Deborah has studied ParaYoga extensively with Rod Stryker. She also runs a yoga program at Friends House Retirement Community in Sandy Spring, MD and is the owner of Bluberry Gardens Healing Center in Ashton, MD.
Defend Yourself works to empower people - especially women and
others targeted for abuse and assault - to end violence and create
a world where they can be fully themselves. Our students learn
skills to help them prevent, heal from, and end violence and abuse.
We offer more freedom, more confidence, more safety,and more
Defend Yourself works with people of all ages, genders, and walks of life. We have, for example, held classes and workshops at hundreds of D.C.-area schools, faith groups, workplaces, community organizations, and more.
Diana found yoga in 2001 as a way to balance marathon running and soon discovered the impact of yoga beyond the mat. She has been teaching since 2016. She believes yoga is accessible for all and welcomes students of all abilities to her classes. She is especially inspired by her work with the blind and visually impaired community. Through this work, she has learned it is easy to get caught up in the visual world and lose sight of our inner wisdom. Diana encourages all students to explore yoga, beyond asana and use their inner wisdom as their guide. You will find her classes blend alignment in asana with breathing to building stronger bodies with personal agency.
Erica teaches a dynamic vinyasa practice where she carefully
instructs the integral alignment of each pose, while using creative
sequencing and focusing on the breath. In this intelligent vinyasa
class, geometry and architecture of each asana are a big part of
her instruction, yet there is still time to find the flow and
moving meditation often set to a curated musical playlist. Although
this class can be challenging, it can also be modified for
beginners. Strengthen the ability to focus better and sharpen the
mind, while fine tuning your awareness, proprioception, intuition,
and attention. There is often a fun and philosophical approach. It
is always advised that you go at your pace, honor your
capabilities, and listen to your body.
Erica is a native New Yorker and graduate of Howard University in D.C. as well as Laughing Lotus Yoga School and Kane School of Core Integration in NYC. She has studied with many great teachers including Schuyler Grant & Nikki Vilella of Kula Yoga Project in NYC.
Galen (e-RYT 200) believes in the transformative power of yoga to help us learn who we are, and relate to the world with positivity and gratitude for the gift of being alive. A graduate of Willow Street Yoga Center's teacher training program, Galen focuses on the connection of mind and body through the breath, teaching with clarity, attention to sound alignment, and a sense of humor. His intention is to help each person find the practice that best serves them, here and now.
James is passionate about the alternative healing arts. He has
been studying personal development for more than 16 years and his
practise and teaching combines elements of Yoga Asana, Yoga
Therapy, Pranayama, Meditation, Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Cranial
Sacral Therapy and Shamanics. These diverse practices; although
different, have many parallels in their underlying basis of unity,
integration and wholeness.
His approach to yoga is based on the work of Vanda Scaravelli, an Italian who studied with J Krishnamurti, BKS Iyengar and TKV Desikachar. The approach is based on awakening the spine through an intelligent practice, which focuses on the natural forces of the breath, gravity and release.
James is an E-RYT 500. He has taught classes, retreats and workshops in 9 countries and his classes are suitable for all levels, beginner to advanced. His teaching is simple and straightforward, instructions are clear and the healing and energetic benefits are perceived quickly and easily.
Email James at email@example.com or visit his website, www.jamesfoulkes.com.
Joe Miller, E-RYT500, draws upon his 20 years of yogic exploration and study of anatomy to recognize and celebrate our endless potential to align with the intelligence of the body. With humor and lots of individualized attention, Joe uses his deep understanding of Hatha Yoga, Tantric Philosophy, and Ayurveda to give students practical tools to experience fully this gift of life. Joe co-leads Willow Street's Teacher Training program, and continues to deepen his own practice by studying with his principal teachers and his amazing family.
What began as a way to heal a running injury, became an
important (and essential) part of Lisa's life. Always in a hurry to
get somewhere or do something, she found that yoga allowed her to
slow down, breathe deeply, and move more easily throughout the
Lisa's classes include an emphasis on good alignment and breath work, and on assisting students in developing their own yoga practices. Lisa believes that yoga is accessible for everyone and loves to introduce new students to the practice.
She is thankful to have had the opportunity to study with wonderful teachers such as Lucy Lomax, Tara Lemerise, Kathy Donnelly, and many, many more. Lisa, RYT-500, received her training at the Yoga Center of Columbia and has also studied at Duke University's Integrative Yoga for Seniors Professional Training.
Lori Wilen is life-long educator and learner, yoga lover, and mama. She is a RYT-200 yoga teacher who graduated from Willow Street and also completed a ChildLight yoga program to teach children. She began her yoga journey in an Iyengar practice about 25 years ago and became more interested in meditation almost 15 years ago. Lori is an experienced educator and facilitator. She was an elementary classroom teacher for ten years and has worked with teachers, administrators and others in education settings since. Lori aims to bring love, joy and peace into her yoga practice for herself and with others. She strives to build a warm community in her teaching and focuses on alignment, breath, and attention to the mind and spirit. Lori is also passionate about taking yoga off the mat and enjoys exploring the idea of yogic parenting with her own two little ones and with other parents.
Marvin is a Russian Kettlebell Certified Instructor (RKC) and is
a National Council of Strength and Fitness (NCSF) Certified
Professional Trainer (CPT). In 2006 Marvin achieved the RKC Level-1
and the following year in 2007 achieved the Level-2 certification
from Pavel Tsatsouline, (pioneer and founder of the RKC, Russian
Kettlebell Challenge). Marvin is the owner and Chief Instructor of
the Bowie Kettlebell Club (BKC) in Bowie, MD. He has been in the
fitness arena for many years achieving high ranking in various
martial arts and offers a course in Self Protection Training as
part of his curriculum at the BKC. Marvin has introduced
yoga students - martial artist - runners - strength enthusiast - weekend warriors - and people just looking to get a little more functional body movement out of everyday life.
His unique approach to Kettlebell exercises, proper breathing, and joint mobility has helped many students better understand how Kettlebells can be used to improve yoga strength, running and walking endurance, all purpose flexibility, and proprioception awareness in everyday events.
Marvin has been seen introducing Kettlebells on the “Absolute Body Power Series” aired on Montgomery Co. cable TV. Kettlebells have been here in the US for a little over a decade and the correct usage of the Kettlebells is still hard to come by. The magic is in the detail. That's all we do!
Marvin joins us again in Dec, 2018!
Philip Bender (YACEP, E-RYT 500) creates yoga and meditation
classes to facilitate greater joy, confidence and connection in the
lives of beginners and experienced practitioners alike. His clear
style, dry humor and occasional irreverence allow him to share
traditional teachings in an accessible way that inspires students
to deepen their own relationship with what lies within.
An initiate of the Himalayan tradition, Philip Bender currently follows the embodied path of Dharma Ocean. He leads workshops and retreats as well as weekly hatha yoga and meditation classes at Willow Street Yoga, the Freer Gallery of Art, and Anne Arundel Community College where he offers teacher training through Yoga4Life. Philip's asana practice is inspired primarily by Viniyoga and ParaYoga, but he draws from many sources including Buteyko breathing, his degree in philosophy, experience as a performing artist, eleven years as a dad, and long-term personal practice to impart the profound yet practical wisdom of moving inward.
Robin Carnes is an Integrative Restoration (iRest®) instructor who worked for six years as part of a multi-disciplinary Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) treatment program at Walter Reed Medical Center and served as the lead instructor in the Department of Defense's study of iRest Yoga Nidra for service members with PTSD. Her pioneering work using yoga and meditation to combat stress and trauma was honored by the Smithsonian Institution and has been featured in magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post and Yoga Journal, as well as in the award-winning documentary Escape Fire: the Fight to Rescue America's Healthcare. Robin is a co-founder of Warriors at Ease, a nationally-recognized non-profit that serves military communities with yoga and meditation. She is a Certified Yoga Therapist and a Senior iRest Teacher and Trainer. She lives in Silver Spring MD where she has a private yoga therapy practice.
Finding her way to yoga in college, Shannon soon realized that her mat was like a second home - just the serenity she needed at the time. After a brief hiatus during graduate school, Shannon reconnected to her practice after moving to the Washington, DC Metro area. Since then, yoga and mindfulness have been integral parts of her personal and professional life. In addition to being an RYT 200 and a certified Reiki practitioner, Shannon is also new mommy and a school psychologist. She’s made it her life’s work to help children learn, heal, and grow and she’s super excited to offer yoga with Willow Street’s littlest yogis! A firm believer that everyone deserves love, healing, and laughter, her classes are playful, rooted in self awareness, and accessible to all.
Tricia is a graduate of Willow Street and Body Balance Yoga teacher training programs (RYT 500), and is a certified Yogahour teacher and certified Body Balance Yoga Therapist. Her classes focus on dissolving tension in the body, creating optimal alignment, and connecting with the breath. She clearly articulates alignment instructions based on her knowledge of anatomy and exploration in her own practice. Tricia is so grateful to share the healing power of yoga with her students so they feel more balanced and vibrant in their bodies, minds, and hearts.
Rebecca’s journey with yoga and meditation began more than twenty years ago when she took precepts with the Zen Buddhist Society of Compassionate Wisdom, finding that a vigorous yoga practice was the only way to keep her chattering mind quiet on her meditation mat. As those practices expanded into helping her with the stresses of school, and, later, work and family life, she has been exploring the benefits of her practice on and off the mat ever since. Forever a student, she brings a beginners mind and an awakened heart to her practice and teaching. Compassion, empathy, humor and joy are at the core of all of her classes. Her focus is on alignment and mindful movement with breath in both a traditional hatha as well as vinyasa style. Rebecca completed her RYT-200 training at Willow Street Yoga in Takoma Park, MD, an 85 hour Yoga Alliance pre and post natal yoga teacher training with Debra Flashenburg of the Prenatal Yoga Center of New York City and a 20 pelvic floor teacher training with Leslie Howard. As a mother of two young boys, she is impassioned to support other women in their journey into motherhood through the mindfulness and body-centered practices of yoga and meditation. As birth and postpartum doula, she emphasizes childbirth education and body awareness in her pre and postnatal classes, bringing these practical aspects together with a warm, nurturing teaching style.
Gary Kraftsow has been a pioneer in the transmission of yoga for
health, healing, and personal transformation for over 30 years. He
began his study of yoga in India with T.K.V. Desikachar in 1974 and
received a Viniyoga Special Diploma from Viniyoga International in
Paris, France in 1988.
Gary graduated with a BA, Magna Cum Laude, from Colgate University in 1976 and received his Masters Degree in Psychology and Religion from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1983. Around that time, he opened Maui School of Yoga Therapy. In 1999, he founded the American Viniyoga Institute™, LLC. Since then, he has become a renowned speaker and teacher of the Viniyoga™ methodology at many conferences and schools nationally and internationally.
Gary has successfully developed protocol for two National Institutes of Health studies: “Evaluating Yoga for Chronic Low Back Pain” and “Yoga Therapy for Generalized Anxiety”, as well for the “Mind-Body Stress Reduction in the Workplace” clinical trial for Aetna Insurance Company.
He is the Director and Senior Teacher of the American Viniyoga Institute™ (AVI), the author of two books published by Penguin: Yoga for Wellness and Yoga for Transformation, and author of two educational DVD's: Viniyoga Therapy for Low Back, Sacrum and Hips and Viniyoga Therapy for Upper Back, Neck and Shoulders. He has also produced several online workshops: Pranayama Unlocked, Meditation Unlocked, and Yoga Therapy for Depression.