Pattie McCann, ERYT
For many years, yoga practice was something I picked up when I needed it and set down when life called me elsewhere. In 2000, that changed. Surrounded by great teachers and practicing with passion, I realized that yoga had helped me return to the self that felt the most genuine and most truly me. My practice continues to be the guidance that tells me if I’m moving in the right direction.
After many practices and many teachers, I trained to teach with Michael Johnson at Updog Yoga in 2006. Five years later I felt that loyal students had helped me learn to teach and deserved a nurturing, communal space to pursue their own practice. With friend and partner, Dawn Young, Strongheart Yoga of Warren opened in 2011. Ever since I've had the joy of teaching students at many levels, some on chairs and some standing on their hands. And it's been a gift to see others discover the transformation that yoga can create. In 2015, I came to feel that what I'd learned from students was enough to allow me to be a link in the chain, and Strongheart Yoga offered its first 200hr Teacher Training.
The joy of deepening my practice is alive and I’ve continued to study with many great and beautiful teachers, nearby and further afield. There is always more to learn and that's something I love about the ancient art and science. I continue to be inspired by all that yoga can teach us about living as strong, fulfilled, loving human beings without fear. I hope that, in my teaching, every student can begin to feel how much more is possible for them than they imagined, with yoga as a guiding star.
Dawn Young, ERYT
In 2004, I found a yoga practice that transformed me from someone with poor health and pounds to shed into someone passionate, fit and comfortable in her own skin. After graduating from my 200 hr teacher training at House of Yoga in 2011, I jumped into teaching numerous classes a week as a founding partner of Strongheart Yoga.
My thirst for knowledge and my yoga studies continue. While teaching varied students, I pursued additional certifications in Pre/Post Natal yoga and Yin yoga. I received certifications as an “Ageless Grace” educator in 2012, and a Reiki level 1 & 2 practitioner in 2013. Most recently, I began studying Restorative Yoga with Judith Hanson Lasater.
Teaching classes in many styles reinforced my desire to be a teacher who let each individual embrace what they feel without judgement and discover their own strength. I feel that my duty is to offer the kindness and sensitivity that’s necessary for that. And my hope is that, as a teacher, my experience has evolved into a supportive, compassionate style.
In 2003 my doctor recommmended Pilates (Pi-lah-teez) after a surprise lower back injury. I’d never heard of pilates, but I started private lessons at a studio with equipment. My back improved and I fell in love with the method.
Life threw some bumps in my road and it began to seem that the injury had led me to Pilates and a call to teach. In 2011 I became fully certified in The Method® Pilates through the PhysicalMind Institute, founded by Joan Breibart. Teaching, it turns out, is much harder than being taught. But I've felt my growth as a teacher of what I love. And, as a Pilates teacher in a yoga studio, I've seen the yoga/Pilates connection first hand. So in 2015 I began studying the teaching of yoga, as well. Whether Pilates or yoga, my goal as a teacher is to compassionately help others find their own strength and discover their best, most fulfilled self.
Laura Mannino-Gabriel, ERYT
One night in 1996, I woke up in the middle of the night thinking, “It’s time.” It was time for yoga, something I’d always wanted to try. The next day my magic carpet ride on my yoga mat began. I started practicing often, and after six months, my teacher told me she had classes for me to teach. Wherever I’ve wandered since, I’ve been teaching and practicing yoga.
I have been blessed to study with great teachers, including David & Doug Swenson, Tim Miller, David Life/Sharon Gannon, Baron Baptiste. I moved to CA, continued to study with Seane Corne and Ana Forest, and taught classes at Bryan Kest’s Santa Monica Power Yoga. My journey continued, I moved around some and then re-settled in the D.
My best definition of a yogi is always my students. Watching them deepen their practice always blows my mind and reminds me to be compassionate, practice ahimsa, love, smile, and laugh. Then I don’t need a mirror to know who I am in my rawest form.
“Practice, practice, practice,” says Vishnu. I so look forward to seeing you on your mat soon, and I’ll offer the center of my heart and soul, yoga, to you. “It’s time!”
Jennifer Medina, RYT
I’m a 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, fusion bellydancer, and insured fire performer. After many years in a high stress career—-feeling I was existing without feeling truly connected or as if I had a higher purpose—I have found these activities to be forms of healing, stress relief, and self-expression for me. I completed my 200-hr RYT through the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts in Tempe, Arizona and recently graduated from Level 2 of Beaumont’s Yoga Therapy program. Through my performances and classes, I find joy in sharing the practices that have helped me lead a healthier, more balanced life and hope I can inspire others to do the same.
Little did I know that when I agreed to go along with my wife to a yoga class, it would turn out to be a game changer! That was over ten years ago and I have found that yoga really helps to smooth out the rough spots in my life, both physically and emotionally. My next step was to take teacher training at the House of Yoga, and now I am grateful and honored to be able to share my practice and teach others.
My passion is to help make yoga accessible to everybody, especially those that don't think it's possible for them. My own health has improved, practicing yoga has helped lower my blood pressure and released a lot of emotional baggage that I've carried around for way too long. Practicing yoga helps to keep me balanced, and I want to pass that on to the people that I teach and learn from. Namaste.
After many years of wanting to try yoga, I took my first class in 2009. That was the beginning of my journey with yoga. Every year my passion and commitment to yoga grew. I joined Strongheart Yoga in the fall of 2011. Being a part of a yoga community only increased my desire to learn more, so when Strongheart yoga offered their first teacher training program I was honored to be a part of it.
Teaching yoga was never part of my plan, but I find that sometimes life you pushes you in the direction you are supposed to go. Being a yoga teacher has been rewarding in ways that I never expected. Being a part of a yoga community and welcoming others to it is a deep pleasure. Yoga is a limitless subject, and I’m always eager to learn. As I learn and grow, I hope to share that knowledge with current and future students.
After many years of struggling with health issues I found Strongheart studio in 2012. The healing breath of yoga worked its restorative magic and since then I’ve been a devoted practitioner. I began studying to become a registered yoga teacher and teaching classes in 2015. Outside of the studio I’m a licensed social worker, working primarily with children.
More than anything I love the feeling of connecting with people, of building a relationship. Combining my love for yoga, knowing how much it did for me, and my clinical skills, I enjoy teaching both children and adults. Teaching children reminds me to reconnect with spirit and joy, to take everything a little less seriously. Bringing that to my adult classes, I want every student to know that it’s safe to “be exactly who you are here.” and feel they’ll be met with understanding.
I came to yoga anxious and looking for better answers to dealing with anxiety. And I came feeling stiff and gangly. As the practice took hold, I found greater and greater ease in both my body and my mind. I felt a change in how I dealt with life. Welcoming the challenges of learning new ways to move in my body, helped me learn to welcome new challenges off my mat as well. With just a desire to know more about this practice that came to be so important to me, I registered for teacher training at Strongheart. And with a push from teachers, who trusted me more than I sometimes trusted myself, I realized I might be meant to share yoga with others.
I hope, as a teacher, that I can remember my starting point and keep a “beginners” mind. So I can encourage and support every student who enters my class to find a deeper well of confidence inside. And to have some fun while they do it!