Beth turned to fitness after turning 40. Fibromyalgia and Epstein-Barr were taking their toll, and she decided to try to stay mobile. After following a stable and committed fitness routine for several years, her trainer insisted that she needed a weekly rest day, even if it was active…that’s where yoga came in.
She began taking yoga in the gym, very reluctantly, in 2014, to improve her muscle recovery from her existing strength training routine. It wasn’t until her first studio class a year later that she became hooked. No one was more surprised by this than Beth herself. Over time her exploration and commitment to yoga deepened, and she discovered many physical benefits that helped lengthen her muscles and improve strength and flexibility.
In addition to fibromyalgia and Epstein-Barr, Beth suffers from sciatica and numerous bulging discs along the spine. She found that yoga helped keep her joints and muscles moving with more ease than they had in years. Over time she also built core strength through her practice, which helped combat her back issues. Beth also suffers from chronic positional vertigo and has learned how to modify her practice when vertigo comes to visit.
Beth has adapted her practice through a knee injury and surgery. Through regular practice she has discovered incredible spiritual and mental benefits. She has been sleeping more soundly, being more patient with herself and others, and practicing more kindness. It wasn’t long before Beth realized she wanted to share all yoga had given her. Beth has found that adapting yoga to suit the needs of those in similar circumstances to be her passion. Beth earned her 200hr certification at Tula Yoga and is reiki master certified. Beth enjoys taking and teaching a wide variety of yoga styles. It is Beth’s hope that each person that takes her class leaves feeling better than when they arrived.
Joy-Michele Johnson RYT 500
Joy began practicing yoga in 1999. She had previously been a collegiate Division II athlete, but also struggled with back and nerve pain, and has undergone multiple spinal surgeries. What started in 1999 as a weekly yoga practice evolved into a daily practice that has helped her manage chronic pain and maintain strength and mobility. She has learned that moving daily with acceptance and gratitude for her body, has improved her overall health. She is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, having completed a 200-hour teacher training and a 300-hour advanced teacher training under the guidance of Jamie Hanley, Dina Crosta and Ellen Mosko at Elevate Yoga in Hazlet.
Joy reminds her students that we all too easily limit ourselves with a narrative of "I have a bad [fill in the blank]". She encourages her students to re-frame negative narratives and find...well, JOY! joy in the ability they have to feel good in the body they have right now.
She guides and encourages her students through a physical practice with sensitivity to mindful modifications for injury avoidance. Having endured several spinal surgeries and lived with chronic pain for more than 20 years, Joy shares with her students how exploring and challenging their bodies' ability to move through a yoga practice despite any perceived physical challenges can improve their quality of life. She teaches a dynamic class and is a firm believer that if you can breathe and move, then you can (and should) practice yoga.
The most rewarding compliments she receives are the smiles on her students' faces (and the occasional laughter at her terrible jokes).
Michele O'Connell RYT 200
"Move the body, still the mind, feed the soul.”
A Certified Children’s Yoga Teacher, Meditation Level 2 Teacher, Michele brings a lifetime of experience both on and off the mat; striving every day to practice these principles.
“We all hurt... physically, emotionally, spiritually. But through movement and mindfulness, we can heal and thrive and live our best lives - for ourselves and those we love and who love us. I’m passionate about helping others work toward achieving these goals.”
Michele’s other passions include helping the cancer community, her work as a children’s librarian, music, travel, nature, her fur babies, and her beautiful family.
Regan DeBenedetto RYT 200
Regan graduated as a 200 hour RYT in 2018 and immediately fell in love with teaching yoga. She has over a decade of experience in adult education and enjoys sharing her passion for health, wellness and self-care with the community. She incorporates essential oils and yoga philosophy into every practice helping her students get the most out of their class. She works with each individual nurturing not only the physical body but mental and emotional as well. Regan founded RED Heart Yoga, a mobile yoga studio service, in 2019. Through RED Heart Yoga she holds private and group pop-up events to raise money for various charities. She is an enthusiastic volunteer and fundraiser for the American Heart Association and sits on the Executive Leadership Heart Walk Team. When she is off the mat Regan enjoys long distance running as a form of moving meditation and exercise. Regan is continually inspired and passionate to give back to the community all that yoga has given to her.
Marlene Flanagan RYT 200
Marlene’s love of teaching yoga stems from her desire to share what has brought her to a better understanding of wholeness. Not just the desire to look better, but to incorporate whole body wellness. After years of painful injuries, yoga has kept her fit, pain free and enthusiastic to learn more.
Marlene is an artist and began her career as an embroidery and applique designer working directly with design houses in the garment district. After 13 years, she left her career and stayed home to raise her two boys. When she decided to return to work, she wanted to do something that would allow her to be around for her children. That’s when life brought her down a different path. She took a job working with children with special needs, assisting them with academics and therapy needs. A rewarding, challenging, emotional and sometimes stressful job. Deciding to pursue her yoga teaching certification stemmed from that need to learn to connect with herself, deepen her practice and to also bring yoga to her young students.
Marlene enjoys creating yoga sequences that are interesting and creative. Her classes concentrate on flexibility, balance, and core work, the foundation of yoga. She emphasizes proper alignment and deeply cares about giving her students an enjoyable, safe, and uplifting experience. Marlene believes “The limitations we have are not roadblocks, but merely detours to open us up to a different path. A journey we take for ourselves, but end up together.”
Marlene is also certified in Yin and Reiki level 1 & 2.
Stacy Joyce RYT 500
Stacy took her first yoga class in 1996, which was two years after having a spinal fusion surgery to stop the rapid progression of her scoliotic curves. She was instantly drawn to the practice, and attracted to the idea of doing a physical activity that left her feeling replenished, instead of depleted.
Stacy completed Yoga Works 500-hour teacher training. During the course of yoga teacher training, she found her teaching interests drawn to teaching students, who like herself, didn’t fit into the one-size-fits-all yoga class. Her intention is to teach her students how to appreciate their bodies while accepting its boundaries. She is humbled by the teachers who have influenced her study, and aspires to share that gift with others.