Our faculty is made up of experienced, committed individuals who strive to better lives by encouraging healthy and peaceful lifestyles and sharing a commitment to our community.
+ Yazdan Raees Mohammadain
Yazdan was introduced to Transcendental Meditation by his father as a young child. At the age of 17, he left Iran for India where he learned Sudarshan Kriya as taught by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and started his regular Yoga practice with master Akshar in Bangalore. Yazdan left India after five years for Turkey and studied Hatha Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation with David Cornwell in Cihangir Yoga. He started practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama with Ken the Rolfer in Istanbul and continued his practice with Mark Darby, Shankara Darby and Ron Reid in Toronto and Vijay Amar in Goa. He studied Yoga philosophy with Dr. Ganesh Rao and learned Ayurvedic Abhyanga from Dr. Shashirekha in India. Yazdan studies Therapeutic Yoga and Natural Healing as well as Philosophy and Mythology with his teacher Dr. Mohammad Ahyaee. He continues his volunteer work with the Companions of Ariya Institute in the field of sustainable local conservation of "Biocultural Diversity" and with Bhante Debongshi (Buddhananda Bhikkhu) at Dhammanjali Meditation Centre. Yazdan feels blessed to practice and serve at Vipassana Meditation courses as taught by S.N. Goenka in the tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin in India, Nepal, Iran and Canada. He is a member of National Manual Osteopathic Society and Society of Osteopaths of Canada and studied Osteopathic Manual therapy with Dr. Shahin Pourgol at National Academy of Osteopathy in Toronto. Yazdan has great interest in Craniosacral therapy and Myofascial bodywork and has benefited from the insightful guidance of Pamela Crosson-fournier in Toronto and Bodhi (Erik Emanuel Fenz) in Goa. He is currently continuing his education in the field of Botanical Medicine through National University of Medical Sciences.
+ Tia Sallinen
Finnish yoga student and teacher, Tia Sallinen, has been studying the art of living: yoga and meditation for a decade. Once she started practising and learning about yoga, that's mainly all she has been doing intensively ever since. She has spent over five years of her life in Asia learning about Buddhism, practising yoga, thai massage and other healing practices. Her base is currently back home in Helsinki, Finland, but she is often traveling to teach and study more. Tia has studied Hatha, Sivananda, Prana Flow, Ashtanga and plenty of other yoga styles. She has practiced under the guidance of Jani Jaatinen, Ilpo Koponen, Meghan Currie, Janet Stone, Simon Borg-Olivier, David Swenson, David Williams amongst other great teachers. Tia has also been studying Thai Yoga Massage to learn about the anatomy through Eastern understanding. So far teaching yoga has taken her to Sri Lanka, Morocco, Cambodia, Spain, Norway, India and Germany. Tia feels yoga has given her life a back bone, a direction and a deeper way to acknowledge life. Tia is a down to earth, compassionate, attentive human being who will happily share what she knows. She feels yoga is a major catalyst in changing the world into a more loving, sustainable, open and free space for everyone under the sun. She is an environmentalist who believes that a yogi's duty is to preserve the Earth for future generations. Otherwise there is no yoga. Tia is forever grateful to have stepped on this path of conscious evolution.
+ Cedar Archibald
Cedar's Yogic journey started over 20 years ago as a teenager struggling to find her identity and her place in the world. She began practicing with her mom at a weekly class in their local community centre. As the weeks, months and years past she realized that yoga had become an integral part of who she was and the direction she wanted her life to take.
It was in a Yoga class on a random Thursday evening when her teacher said: "Teaching Yoga is about helping people" that she realized her place in the world. She could help others through the practice of yoga.
From there everything started to fall into place. She headed off to the Ashram for a month of intensive Teachers Training and when she returned left her full-time career as a marketing associate to pursue her dream fully. She took a cross country road trip to connect a little deeper with nature and her own family's roots. Upon returning she began teaching and hasn't looked back.
Since becoming a certified classical hatha yoga teacher Cedar has also studied Yin and restorative along with prenatal yoga. She is a trained birth and labour Doula and currently is involved in a government program teaching yoga to immigrant seniors.
Her teaching style is one of thoughtful compassion. It is therapeutic for the body as well as the mind and she always brings a quote or thought to consider as you practice. She believes that Yoga is a process. It is a journey and it is a way of life. "Yoga is just as much about the asana on the mat as it is how you treat the people around you."
+ Melissa Macchione
Melissa Macchione is a BASI Pilates® Comprehensive Apparatus Instructor, STOTT PILATES® Certified Matwork and Reformer Instructor, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200hr), TRX® Instructor and Registered Holistic Nutritionist. Since 2003, Melissa has worked with a wide range of fitness and nutrition clientele, specializing in areas such as: digestive disturbances, hormonal imbalances, weight loss, weight gain, pre & post-natal exercise, strength and athletic training, special rehabilitation needs and chronic illnesses. Her love for learning hasn’t stopped. She most recently completed her Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Space (Toronto, ON) in 2015 and the BASI Pilates® Comprehensive Apparatus Program at Beach Pilates (Toronto, ON) in 2016. Though fairly new to teaching Yoga, Melissa has been teaching Pilates and Functional Fitness in private, group and clinical settings for nearly 15 years. In this time, she has learned to teach her students how to efficiently access their “Powerhouse” (the body's center of gravity which is composed of the muscles of the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks and pelvic floor), which helps improve your overall strength, posture, sense of body awareness, flexibility and prevent future injuries. After a few classes with Melissa, her students have noticed a positive difference in their posture and movement. This newfound awareness is also present in other forms of exercise and other activities they do in their day-to-day life, from bending over to put on their shoes, to swinging a tennis racquet or golf club. Melissa is passionate about Pilates, Yoga and movement.
+ Sheila gill
Sheila has been studying yoga for over 25 years, and teaching Hatha since 2009. Yoga has faithfully supported her own journey through health struggles, anxiety and depression. She brings boatloads of compassion to students who are embarking on a yoga practice, recognizing its hard work.
Through intelligent, mindful instruction, Sheila invites students to discover more strength, stability, sensation and openness. Originally trained in the Anusara method, she began teaching with an affinity for alignment-based instruction, infused with uplifting spiritual teachings from the yoga tradition and beyond. She has been immensely grateful for more recent studies with Mayhar Raz, Canada’s senior certified Iyengar teacher. More and more Sheila experiences the “flow” of yoga as the energy set in motion inside the pose. She is thrilled to guide others to connect with this inner flow and intelligence, sometimes referred to as “the Divine within.”
Sheila testifies to the value of sticking with an “imperfect” practice over the long haul. She fits yoga in and around running a household of five (seven if you include the big dog and lizard), training to become a Bioenergetic Psychotherapist at the Integral Healing Centre of Toronto and her studies in classical voice.
+ Angela Yazbek
Angela's passion for yoga extends far beyond her yoga mat. A Hatha and Vinyasa teacher, she believes yoga isn't taught, it is lived. A shared experience, an opportunity to open the heart and mind as we open the body.
Her teaching centres on connecting movement to breath and cultivating a deeper awareness of one's self. Angela believes everything we experience on the yoga mat can resonate deeply in our lives, if we are willing to listen. She strives to help her students find a larger purpose in their yoga practice, that goes far beyond the physical. Angela lives everyday as an eternal student. She teaches from her heart and occasionally mixes up her lefts with her rights. She shares her Beach home with five strong-spirited boys-- four sons and a husband. Yoga helps hold them all together.
+ Paula Maria Marin
Paula has been a dedicated student of the art of yoga since she was a teenager. Being inspired by her teachers, she began to apply mindfulness, focus and equanimity to her everyday life. Like many, after benefiting from their practice, she started to share this wonderful practice. She has been a teacher for 20 years. Paula has guided numerous yoga classes and retreats with understanding the importance of self-love, healing and acceptance. Paula's teaching style is grounded and energetic, while very gentle and compassionate. She believes that yoga plays a very important role in our well being since it promotes body mind connection. Paula’s classes flow based on the energy felt in the room. She loves guiding vigorous Vinyasa classes based on the principals of Ashtanga Yoga, combined with sustained poses with attention to basic alignment, observing breathe and generating vibrations of gratitude with what is available to the body. She infuses her extensive training in yoga therapy and Reiki by incorporating intuitive hands-on adjustments through her classes. Paula is certified by Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto. “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away”
+ Caitlan Rae Carver
Caitlan began her yoga journey in 2001 and since then has dedicated her life to the yoga lifestyle. She guides you through a relaxing journey that will open your body and mind up and allow you to feel an inner joy start to arise from within. Caitlan graduated from Teacher Training in traditional Ashtanga Vinyasa with Nattacia and Jurgen Mantei of United in Wellness. Caitlan’s passion for bringing spirituality and yoga culture into the teaching environment makes her a special asset to the yoga community as she expands the boundaries of her students’ inner awareness and mindset for movement with breath. Her knowledge for anatomical alignment allows students to learn more about each asana as she creates a safe environment for everyone to move into their personal edge.
+ Bhante Debongshi
According to Theravada tradition Bhante received ordination in 1987. He was educated in the University of Dhaka in Pali Literature and Philosophy, studied Tripitaka for nine years in Moanoghar Pali College and acquired Sutta, Binaya and Abhidhamma Titles from Bangladesh Sanskrit and Pali Education Board in 1991. After Bangladesh Bhante moved to South Korea and studied Mahayana Buddhism for three years and completed 16th monastic education in Korean Buddhist Jogye Order in 1998. He was trained at Jikjisa one of the Korean oldest and well-known monastery in Korea. 1998-2000 He taught Theravada Buddhism at Lotus Lantern International Buddhist Center, in Seoul and later moved to Kanghwa-do (worked as mentor), and exclusively involved in Vipassana meditation that helped people to incorporate the physical health and mental wellbeing. He did collaborate with social workers and psychiatric professionals to discuss treatment ideas and progress. He also helped to establish and then became the first non-Korean Incumbent of the Sang Youn Sa Zen Center in Suri Mountain. Through yoga and meditation Bhante helps students to go beyond their emotional and physical pain and improve their lives. He has travelled to Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan for Buddhist conferences, retreats, and pilgrimages. He also attended number of Vipassana courses taught by S.N Goenka in Japan, USA and Canada. Bhante lived in the forest Mountain and practiced Vipassana in the Theravada forest tradition. He would go on an alms round traveling through the rural side of the country in quest of suitable setting for deepest practice of meditation. He frequently stayed in forest and cemetery using a technique called Asuvanussati (contemplation on impurity, life and death) to explore the true nature of life, to experiment and ultimately defeat the fear of ailments and death. He keeps strictly to the original Vinaya rules, laid down by the Buddha as the Monastic code of discipline. He lives very simple life following the monastic rule of eating one meal a day and carries only basic needs of three robes and alms-bowl. In 2000, Bhante Debongshi was invited to visit USA, California and Washington DC. A few months later he was invited to come to Detroit by Wat Lao Buddhist Temple where he worked as Secretary for two years and collaborated with different communities, Bhante taught meditation at Great Lakes Buddhist Temple, Michigan, Mu Moon Sa Korean Temple, Rochester, Wat Lao Buddhist Temple, Detroit, and strongly involved in psychotherapy activities that help integrate the physical health and mental wellbeing. Having spent four Vassas (Rains Retreats) in USA, then in 2004 he moved to Canada. His simple yet insightful technique of meditation has a universal appeal to students. It involves wisdom, genuine understanding, compassion and mental purification that help students to make their life happier, healthier and more expressive.
+ Rachael Fallon
Rachael found yoga as a tool for self-discovery and transformation while studying to become a Psychotherapist. She integrated yoga as a modality for healing during her case studies in 2001, and witnessed profound results while guiding clients to move from the head and intellect, into the body to connect through sensation and feeling awareness to deeper levels of consciousness. Using experiential techniques taken from Gestalt and Yoga, she lead private yoga therapy sessions, working with trauma, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body image, and spiritual wounds. Her passion for yoga and self-discovery lead her on a Pilgrimage throughout India to deepen her studies and relationship to the roots of Eastern teachings, guiding her spiritual path as a seeker. This journey ignited her passion as a primary Yoga Teacher at a busy Downtown Toronto Studio for almost a decade. In 2010, Rachael decided to make an enormous life shift: she moved across the world to live, study and teach yoga. She journeyed to China as a full-time yoga teacher, and continued to teach and study throughout Asia until 2015. As an international educator, Rachael has led teacher training, workshops, master classes, festivals and retreats in India, Nepal, Thailand, China, Mongolia, Malaysia, and Canada for 2 decades collaborating with Tantric Buddhist Monks, Swamis, Spiritual Teachers, and Masters of the Yogic and Buddhist Traditions. Inspired by the richness of diversity in her practices and studies, Rachael sought out many forms of knowledge throughout her yoga journey. She has deeply immersed herself in many lineages and conscious communities including Raja Yoga, Somatic Movement, Psychology and Psychosomatics, Bhakti Yoga and Sound Healing, Yoga Psychology, Bihar Yoga Nidra, Tantra, Vinyasa, Jivamukti, Iyengar, Vipassana, Gestalt Art Therapy, Energy Healing, Ashtanga, Yin/Yang, Hatha Yoga and The Hidden Message Behind Asana, Vikasa Yoga, Power Yoga, Contact Dance, Kundalini, Shamanism, Tantric Tibetan Buddhism and Vedanta. She strives to embody a holistic connection to yogic teachings in her life resonating deeply with meditation, ritual, chanting, embodying a non-dogmatic approach to asana and movement, observing The 8 Limbs of Yoga by Patanjali weaving yogic philosophy into her life at each and every moment. Rachael's classes integrate a dynamic flow of mixed disciplines with the application of moving meditation, observing sensation, self-inquiry, visualization, intention and prayer to create an inner journey towards healing and empowerment. She gives students permission to find a personal practice that feels good in their own body always adapting, expanding, evolving and encouraging freedom in the practice. She will gently lead you through teachings, stimulating your personal motivation to learn, to root down into yourself and reach up and out with your branches to unite you with self-love and interconnection with all beings.
+ Megan Evans
Megan is a Registered Massage Therapist, Reflexologist and the owner of Therapy Lounge, a holistic health clinic in the Beach of Toronto since 2007. She has been practicing Massage Therapy in the Beach community for 14 years. With a background in competitive figure skating, gymnastics and dance, Megan's passion for the musculoskeletal system and movement started at a young age. Her interests now include kickboxing, yoga and trail running with her rescue dog, Nala. Megan has 13 years of Kickboxing training and is a Certified Kickboxing Instructor at Horizon Martial Arts. She teaches Kick.Punch.Stretch., a program that she designed to help you maintain a healthy body by improving your strength, cardio, core and flexibility. Megan will be happy to share her vast knowledge from her years of work as an RMT and her extensive Kickboxing training with you.
+ Cheryl McKenzie
British born and raised in South East London, Cheryl is a former mainstream media producer and music industry manager. She found yoga during her own journey for peace and healing. Cheryl became a Hatha trained and certified yoga instructor and a Yin Yoga teacher and practitioner. She is a Reiki teacher in the Usui method of energy healing and attuned to the Violet Flame Reiki Master Level. Her yogic practice and teaching is build upon the Buddhist foundation of ‘metta: loving, kindness’. Cheryl encourage you to rise to your natural potential in a non-judgmental, supportive environment that allows you to discover who you are, and to become the best that you can be, through the changes that you initiate within your own practice. She is passionate about equal rights and community based social justice programs and programs that are aimed at young youth, adults and children.