meet your teachers

Amie

Yoga

Amie first found yoga as a way to manage migraines, anxiety and depression but quickly fell in love with the overall peace and calm it brought into her life. After experiencing the positive effects of yoga firsthand, she wanted to teach to help others find balance in their lives too. Amie completed a yin yoga immersion with Katherine Zitterbart, a 200 hour training in power vinyasa and traditional hot (Bikram/Ghosh style) yoga with Erin Annarella-Kreidler of The Yoga Folk and a Buti Yoga Certification. She hopes to help others understand yoga, to not be nervous or have misconceptions like she once did. To realize that we all have our battles, but what you learn in class translates to everyday situations and we don't have to be so hard on ourselves, or each other. She hopes to foster a safe and welcoming environment at I Am Yoga and is grateful for the amazing community there. ​When not in the studio, you can find Amie volunteering with Biggies Bullies, enjoying all things Pittsburgh and spending time with her husband, Adam, and their two cats Winston and Penny.

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Cassandra

Yoga & Pilates

Cassandra fell in love with yoga in 2012 during her adventures traveling and performing with spiritual hip hop artist Kellee Maize. During this time she practiced Vinyasa and Kundalini yoga along with other health related and spiritual practices. In the years following, her love for Bikram as well as fusion styles of Yoga grew guiding her to pursue a career as a teacher. Cassandra became certificated in Power Flow at Amazing Yoga in April of 2017. Her personal guidance from Rebecca Rankin (former owner of ‘I Am Yoga PGH’) prepared her to teach the Heal ‘Bikram method’ after displaying solid understanding of the postures and confident teaching skills in her other classes. Cassandra trained with Missy Jones founder of PyroPilates in 2017 following her Yin training with Katherine Zitterbart.

She continues to teach a variety of classes and learns more about Asana (Physical yoga) and Pilates each day. Beyond her Asana practice, Cassandra enjoys Mantra yoga (Kirtan) and follows a path of Bhakti yoga, the yoga of LOVE!

Cassandra

Yoga & Pilates

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Elisha

Yoga

With a background in yoga, dance and gymnastics, Buti Yoga was a natural fit for Elisha but it wasn't until after a traumatic surgery for endometriosis in 2015 that she decided to take the leap and get certified in Buti Yoga in 2016. She was looking for a way to heal her body from the inside out and to reconnect to herself. Holistic, thorough, and accepting, Elisha encourages her students to push themselves while listening to their bodies.

One of her favorite things about teaching is watching people light up when they try something new and fall in love with what their body is capable of. She earned the nickname Gumby in college for her flexibility, but don’t let that intimidate you; she strongly believes yoga is for every body.

Elisha recently completed her RYT 200 in July of 2017 and her certification in DEEP by Buti in September 2017. Elisha has been a Butisattva for five years. Elisha is a social worker by day. 

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Emily

Yoga

Emily teaches eclectic vinyasa classes, drawing inspiration from many styles of yoga, including power yoga, Iyengar, Ashtanga and restorative yoga. She started practicing when she was 14 years old. Years later Emily completed her 200 RYT in Greensburg, PA and participated in a trauma-sensitive teacher immersion. Emily loves teaching to variety of students and tailoring her classes to the specific needs of each group. Outside of yoga, Emily enjoys cooking, tai chi and dancing. She plans to be a student of yoga for the rest of her life.

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Joyce

Yoga

In an industry that can sometimes feel elitist and cliquey, Joyce creates space for students to confidently explore and develop their own relationships with yoga through nonjudgmental guidance and kind, approachable support. With a childhood deeply rooted in music and dance, she brings some serious beats and flowing, rhythmic movement to her classes. You will most definitely end up laughing at her and her corny jokes, but most importantly, you’ll learn to find laughter and lightness in your own practice that will allow you to overcome feelings of self-doubt and unlock your true potential both on and off the mat.

When our hearts and minds are light, we tend to be more open to identifying the things we need most in life, which is why Joyce offers intention-driven classes that provide deeper meaning and focus to the physical asana of yoga.

Joyce completed her 200-Hour Vinyasa-based Teacher Training with One Point One Yoga in Pittsburgh and can be found teaching around the Burgh, as well as in New York City, her second home. When not on her mat, she enjoys dressing up her French Bulldog Slater in ridiculous outfits and going to see live music.

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Kelly

Yoga & Pilates

While Kelly is only a few years into her journey in yoga, she is very active and enjoys all types of exercise, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT). As a mother of two young and busy boys, Kelly loves the physical gains of HIIT as well as the exercise high and feelings of accomplishment that always follow a difficult workout. It is a wonderful complement to any yoga practice.

 Prior to joining the I Am Yoga team, Kelly studied education at the University of Pittsburgh. She has taught Spanish, Portuguese, English, and elementary school and has recently become certified to teach PyroPilates. She hopes that you will come join her in class for some loud music, a fun full body workout, and a lot of sweat. 

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Liz

Yoga 

Liz started her yoga practice by walking into a Bikram class at I Am Yoga several years ago when she was searching to engage in a better self-care routine. At the end of her first class, the thought “this just saved my life” went through her head. She knew she was on the right path and began practicing Bikram several times a week.

 After one year, she felt there was more to learn and began exploring other styles of yoga. Soon she learned that the asana, the postures and poses, is a very small part of yoga. This opened her mind to studying yoga and having a desire to take her practice deeper. Soon Liz found herself in a 200 hour yoga teacher training that focused on foundations and philosophies of yoga, studying yogic texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga Sutras.

 While these concepts and studies provided a solid foundation, the physical practice remained a consistent and constant component of her practice. Liz has also received training in Yin Yoga, Chakra Activation Yoga, and RolfYoga.

Liz’s intent in teaching yoga is to hold space and provide guidance through intentional movement so that students have the potential to connect within themselves and align with their highest path and purpose. Other than yoga, Liz offers massage therapy, energy work including reiki and chakra balancing, and skin care services. She has a wonderful fiancé and two cats. She loves traveling, riding her bike, and connecting in nature through meditative walks.

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Meredith

Pilates

Hi! My name is Meredith and I am thrilled to join I Am Yoga’s team as a hot Pilates instructor. I was introduced to the world of yoga while working as a travel nurse in Los Angeles. My body didn’t appreciate all the years of high impact exercises I grew up with, so I knew I needed to change my routine. Some friends suggested I go with them to a heated vinyasa class and I fell in love with it. After relocating back to Pittsburgh, I continued my yoga practice at I Am Yoga. When hot Pilates was introduced to the studio, I knew I found my niche. The high intensity and loud music combined with the low impact and mindfulness (plus a hot room) was the perfect mix of qualities I used to love in a workout and what I now appreciate from yoga. I completed Inferno Hot Pilates teacher training under the creator of the Hot Pilates movement, Gabriella Walters. When I’m not beside you sweating it out, you can find me at Children’s Hospital where I work full-time as a nurse. See you all on the mat!

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Yoga

At her first hot yoga class, Mica couldn’t fully raise her left arm for Standing Bow. She came to the practice with injuries from riding as a bike courier and severe carpal tunnel from years of playing instruments. Over time, the yoga healed both her shoulder and wrists. 18 years later, she still has full range of motion in her shoulder and plays guitar pain-free. In 2012, Mica graduated magna cum laude from UC Berkeley with a BA in English and rhetoric. That summer, she earned her 200-hour Yoga Alliance teaching certificate in Southern California. In 2017, Mica graduated from UC Hastings College of the Law with a JD in social justice. Post-graduation, she moved to Pittsburgh for a fellowship in women's rights law. Mica passed the Pennsylvania bar in November 2017, and plans on making Pittsburgh her permanent home.

Originally from Boston, Mica is a professional singer-songwriter. She has two full-length solo CDs and has won numerous songwriting competitions. Her original music is featured in the syndicated TV series Ghost Whisperer. Mica enjoys Goodwill hunting; road adventures; supernatural horror flicks with her partner, Tim; running stairs in her north-side mountain neighborhood; vegan cooking; reading heady historical fiction; and—of course—yoga.

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Mica

Michael

Yoga

By bringing attention to how and why yoga works for us, Michael helps his students to transcend the physical practice and make positive shifts in their lives. Practicing for nine years and teaching since 2011, he completed his 200 hour training with Yoga to the People in NYC. He seizes every opportunity to share the beauty that Yoga has helped him to experience. He completed his 500 hour training with Philip Urso and Live, Love, Teach, with whom he is presently a facilitator-in-training. LLT has inspired him to develop a new model for more fully incorporating the 8 Limbs of Yoga and the teachings of Eckhart Tolle into a Flow class–taking the practice beyond the physical, using breath as an energetic conduit for connection of mental/emotional awareness with visceral sensations felt in the body. Michael placed first in the PA state regional, 2016 USA YogaAsana Championship and participated in nationals last May. When not on the mat, Michael is a musician and poet.

As a performer he has opened up for national acts such as The Flaming Lips, Wiz Khalif, and Andrew WK. His ongoing documentary project is called Yoga Pilgrims: an opened sourced film of interviews with diverse yogis, Yoga classes in unexpected locations, and the message that Yoga is Love.

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Terry

Yoga

Terry is a native Pittsburgher. He began practicing Bikram yoga in 2008. After seeing and feeling the healing benefits of the practice he attended teacher training in the Spring of 2012. Immediately after training he began teaching for various studios in Vienna, Austria for the next five years. Teaching full time and raising two German speaking children with his Austrian wife kept him busy while overseas. Terry and his family are now back in Pittsburgh as of June 2017. You can catch his classes (generally on the weekends) when he's not working on local film and TV projects. Other than yoga, Terry enjoys Ice Hockey, hiking, camping, cycling, photography, and growing with his two small children.

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Veronica

Yoga

After completing her undergrad from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Veronica knew she needed a dynamic workout that would combat the daily stress of the 21st century. She found vinyasa yoga shortly after graduation in 2009 where she fell in love with the practice and became inspired to share the benefits of yoga with others. In January of 2012, she obtained her RYT 200. Yoga has helped Veronica foster a positive outlook on life while increasing her self-esteem, strength, and mindfulness on and off of her mat. She hopes that you will find her classes to be grounding, energizing and challenging. When Veronica is not at the studio, you may find her spending time with her two cats and pit mix, cooking new recipes to share with family and friends, or volunteering with her favorite rescue, Biggies Bullies. (photo credit: http://www.jennykarlssonphotography.com/)

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Lucy

Yoga

​Lucy first tried yoga with her older sister, who began practicing gentle & yin yoga to alleviate knee pain. On her own, she warily decided to try Bikram yoga in 2013--and soon she was hooked! She found that the self-awareness she learned to cultivate in the hot room helped her manage anxiety and stress in every area of her life. In 2018, she completed her 100-hour training in traditional hot Bikram-style yoga. As a teacher, Lucy hopes to help others find balance through mindfulness as well. When not practicing yoga, you can find her cooking, watching historical medical dramas, and enjoying her hometown of Pittsburgh.

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Veronica

Katelyn

Yoga

Yoga

After completing her undergrad from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Veronica knew she needed a dynamic workout that would combat the daily stress of the 21st century. She found vinyasa yoga shortly after graduation in 2009 where she fell in love with the practice and became inspired to share the benefits of yoga with others. In January of 2012, she obtained her RYT 200. Yoga has helped Veronica foster a positive outlook on life while increasing her self-esteem, strength, and mindfulness on and off of her mat. She hopes that you will find her classes to be grounding, energizing and challenging. When Veronica is not at the studio, you may find her spending time with her two cats and pit mix, cooking new recipes to share with family and friends, or volunteering with her favorite rescue, Biggies Bullies. (photo credit: http://www.jennykarlssonphotography.com/)

In 2010, Katelyn discovered her love for yoga through a Yoga 101 college course. She was first drawn to yoga because of her background in dance but fell in love when she discovered how much it helped with mental health. She completed her RYT-200 in 2012 with Moonglow Yoga in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Now, she uses yoga as a way to stay mentally fit and encourages others to do the same. When she’s not doing yoga, she’s working as a barista, reading psychological thrillers and watching documentaries. She is a mental health advocate and is open to sharing her own experiences with hopes of helping others. Katelyn works to make each one her classes a kind and open atmosphere where any yogi can feel comfortable being themselves.

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Student of the Month

November

How did you discover Yoga? I knew about yoga as a child because my mother practiced. My own introduction took place in winter of 2007 at UC Santa Cruz when I signed up for a 90-minute hatha class. My teacher Julie explained every posture so thoroughly with great care and intention. The studio was quiet, and full of light. I remember how good it was to stand on my head and just be still. I loved this instant shift and how the energy just FLOWED. That was the start! I am still discovering, learning and honoring this ancient way of being.

How has yoga changed your life? Yoga continually changes my life, in so many ways. I was in a kundalini class a couple years ago and the teacher put such emphasis on relaxing your belly. This technique alone changed my life. Yoga, along with meditation, impacts how I walk the earth. I move cities and homes a lot. Yoga is always there, literally. Anywhere you find even ground, you have the opportunity to stretch, root, play, open. It is a great joy to be able to feel and shift the energy in mind and body. For this I bow my head in so much gratitude!

What is your favorite posture? Why? My favorite posture changes all the time! It’s usually a posture that was totally difficult for me, sometimes for years, but in time became one I could do with ease or go deeper into. I feel most aligned in Tree. It always came natural to me. Tree pose reminds me of my roots, my ability to grow, gather strength, find peace, love the wind.

What is most challenging for you? Why? Self-love, but when you’re really in it, it’s the best. My favorite description of yoga is “singing a love song to yourself,” and the most challenging thing is, each time you’re on the mat, to really BE on the mat, one hundred percent, for you. Not sure of the why, but probably it's something to work on collectively as a species.

What words of encouragement do you have to help others? Everyone has a practice that is right for them. Never stop exploring. Each teacher you ever encounter will help to reveal something different inside of you. Follow your instinct, your body, and your bliss. Your way is the right way! You are here. You are yoga. Much love.

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Gaby Lotan

Student of the Month

October

How did you discover Yoga?
Two things brought me to a regular practice at I Am Yoga. A visitor at our house started going, absolutely loved it, and got me a 30 for $30 pass as a gift. Then, right when I started using the pass I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Reduced stress and exercise help make Type 1 slightly easier, and I knew I could get both from yoga. I'm so thankful someone who was only in Pittsburgh for 6 months introduced me to something so amazing right at the end of my street!

How has Yoga changed your life? 
I love the challenge to remain calm and present in the pose through the difficulty; a skill that helps in every single aspect of life. I also love the physical strength it has given back to me after losing so much muscle before I was diagnosed. I am so proud every time I realize I am doing a pose I wasn't able to when I started coming in January. 

What is your favorite position? Why?
I love half moon and crescent lunge. In both poses you can feel your stability come from a leg that I wouldn't have thought was as important to engage. I love that once I'm reminded to engage I can feel strength increase. Crescent lunge use to be really difficult for me.  Just last week I realized that I was no longer worrying about it and since then I really enjoy the strength I feel in it. 

What is most challenging?
I find dancer's pose to be difficult. I struggle to push back into my hand leading me to have too little engagement in my body to be steady. It is a pose where I haven't been able to get over my fear of falling out of it, as much as I have with others. 

What words of encouragement do you have?
Always listen to your body, but be aware of what it's really saying. Some days you might need a break to be able to keep loving it, but usually the days you most want to skip practice are the days you need it most! 

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Annie Widom

Student of the Month

September

How did you discover Yoga?
I remember taking my first class with my mother about 5 years ago and it was somewhat random. My mom doesn't practice yoga regularly, but it peaked my interest so I went with her. I took single classes here and there, sometimes watching videos on the internet but nothing consistent. In each instance I felt great after it. It wasn't until I tried one-month at IAY that I really discovered and received the benefits of a yoga practice. Not to be too cute, but after this I stopped discovering yoga and yoga began to discover many parts of me!

How has Yoga changed your life? 
Besides being a great way to keep fit, yoga helps me to be present and act with more attention and awareness. We repeat -"be present" - so often in yoga class that in may seem mundane but that's not the case. What being present means is dynamic and changes with each scenario. I've come to understand being present as being creative and active in how I am in my every day moments. Challenges don't seem as threatening to me as I've learned a lot of ways to cope with stress. 

What is your favorite position? Why?
I enjoy postures that I see the most progress in. Lately, this has been happening in Standing Forehead to Knee. It requires a lot of attention, strength and balance. My progress has been slow but noticeable which has been super rewarding. 

What is most challenging?
My weakness is flexibility. I couldn't even touch my toes before starting yoga. I've learned that flexibility that we gain requires just as much letting go as much as it requires pushing.

What words of encouragement do you have?
Keep it up! Taking care of yourself is the first step in taking care of others and our communities. When we hone our ability to focus and be attentive, the possibilities are just about endless.

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Tyler barkich

Student of the Month

August

How did you discover Yoga?
Madeline - My mom encouraged me to join her Iyengar class. At the time I was bored in class so I decided I didn't like yoga. Then back in the fall my mom started yoga at IAY. I had been getting advice to try yoga because of injuries from running. This time I loved it! 
Wendy: Five years ago I tried Iyengar despite some improvements after 3 years I fizzled out. Last fall I tried IAY. Although I was overwhelmed by the heat and speed in my first class I quickly fell in love. 

How has Yoga changed your life? 
Madeline - For many years I've been extremely inflexible. This has caused problems in my shins and back and neck pain. Yoga has helped my relieve a lot of physical stress and mental. I used to find relief in running but when my body was in pain I started yoga and it helped in the same way.
Wendy: I've struggled with myofascial pain for most of my adult life. Both the spiritual and physical aspect of yoga have helped me loosen up.  

What is your favorite position? Why?
Wendy - I hated Standing Deep Breathing the first several times I tried because I find it challenging to take a deep breath and I have limited range of motion in my neck. Through practice I've improved in both areas and I no longer get head/neck headaches, which makes it my favorite! 

What is most challenging?
Madeline - Keeping my mind in the room. A lot of time it likes to wander, especially in yin. 

What words of encouragement do you have?
Madeline - Keep working towards your goals even if you're not seeing progress because a lot of times your progress will be stop for a while before it keeps moving forward. Also it's more enjoyable the more you go. 
Wendy - Try all different classes so you can see which speaks to you. For physical progress I recommend going at least 3x per week. However even sporadic yoga can provide a great mental boost, don't think it's all or nothing.

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Madeline & Wendy King

Student of the Month

July

How did you discover Yoga?
While at a yearly check up with my doctor, she mentioned my family history of high blood pressure. She recommended that I begin a yoga practice to curb future issues. As a result, I started a home practice by watching YouTube. A few months later, I proposed to be beautiful fiancee. We decided it was time to start taking better care of our bodies, and I knew it was time to take my yoga practice to the next level.  

How has Yoga changed your life? 
A little over a year ago, I was involved in a car accident that left me with some lower back pain. I quickly noticed that a regular practice eliminated my back pain by stretching and strengthening the muscles in my back. Additionally, I love the calming effects and clarity of mind I get from my yoga classes. Stress is easy to come by as a middle school teacher, but I always find I am my best self when I practice regularly. 

What is your favorite position? Why?
I have found I really enjoy all the hip-openers that we do in class. My favorite pose is half pigeon because I have flexible hips and find I am able to move far into this position. I love holding this pose for minutes at a time, such as in Yin. 

What is most challenging?
I tried hot pilates expecting it to be calm core strengthening. I lay down on my mat, class beings and BAM before I know it I'm doing burpees! By the end of class, I was more tired from a workout than I could remember. The things you find the hardest are usually the things you need the most. I now love this class when it fits my schedule. 

What words of encouragement do you have?
Yoga is 100% about what you put into your practice. Two people can experience the same class in very different ways based on how much effort they are willing to put into it. Don't feel intimidated by the yogi next to you that can hold a full standing bow pose. Instead focus on your own practice and you'll see amazing growth, in time, with hard work. 

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TYLER SCHEUERING

Student of the Month

June

How did you discover Yoga?
I started doing yoga a couple years ago by following yoga practices on YouTube. For a number of months I was pretty good about doing yoga daily, but would find there were many distractions. At the beginning of this year a friend told me about a 60-day groupon deal at IAY and I have been practicing ever since. 

How has Yoga changed your life? 
I have had terrible posture and having a job where I stand most of the day has made my posture worse. Doing yoga has helped with my posture stability. I am more in tune with my body and know what adjustments to make to realign myself.  Physically yoga has helped me build strength in my core/ back/ shoulders which relieves some of the physical stresses of my job. Mentally yoga is a major stress relief and helps me clear my minds; I leave class with more focus than I walked in with which aids to my productiveness throughout the day. 

What is your favorite position? Why?
I am a huge fan of awkward series. I like the control required to get into and out of a series. It's one of the poses I feel completely engaged and truly aligned in. Standing bow is another favorite because it is a graceful pose and improves my balance. 

What is most challenging?
Downward dog. I scoffed the first I heard this was a "resting" pose because it is anything but test for my shoulders. In pilates, side planks are a challenge because they put strain on my shoulders.

What words of encouragement do you have?
As many of the instructors say, each class is your practice. Do what you can, rest when you need to. The environment at IAY is so open that I never feel self conscious or the need to compare myself to others in the class which really helps with focusing on my practice. The benefit I have gotten out of each and every class I have attended is my constant encouragement to continue practicing. I would encourage others to just start practicing and you will find encouragement and inspiration from the community and within yourself to keep going. 

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Mondraya Howard