OUR YOGA INSTRUCTORS
AMANDA MACK, 500-RYT
Yoga is essential in these times. Yoga is for everyone. And yoga is all about the breath. As a yoga teacher, I love helping students connect their breath with movement. When we do that, we arrive in the present moment and are able to catch a glimpse of and then build a relationship with our highest self. When that happens, yoga begins to follow us off the mat and into our lives. Beyond fitness, yoga is a way of life that we cultivate with each class.
I enjoy working with beginners and intermediate students in my mixed level classes. Modifications are offered to help make poses accessible to whomever walks in the door. In my teachings and sequencing, I innovate with the tools I have available to me like universal alignment principles and philosophical yoga teachings while drawing from the wisdom of my teachers.
My first teacher was my aunt who taught yoga in a church basement in the 1970s. I still carry with me things I learned from Alison Rubin, an Iyengar-inspired teacher in Spokane, Wash., in the late 1990s. I am deeply connected to the teachings of Karen and Bruce Greenwood with whom I did my 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2011. I am honored to have studied with Lynne Minton for my 300-hour yoga teacher training that I completed in 2016. Furthermore, I am thankful for the teachings of Alison Till and Mary Lou Weprin. Other teachers include my two children, my husband, my dog Henry, my extended family, and friends who are family.
AMANDA MONTAVON, E-500 RYT, CAP
Amanda started teaching Yoga in 2003 as a FiTour Hatha Yoga instructor, when she was also working as an ACE personal trainer and group fitness instructor at various gyms in California. Through the practice of Yoga she experienced a paradigm shift; moving from a fitness centered life to a more holistic view of life and wellness. Since then, she has completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) in multi-style Hatha Yoga and a 500 hour YTT in Traditional Tantra Yoga and the Ayurveda Practitioner course. Being an avid outdoor recreationist, she moved to Alaska to complete her undergraduate degree in Outdoor Studies. Upon graduating she worked as a Wilderness Therapy Guide and Activity Therapist. For her Masters of Arts she focused on Holistic Education, her thesis was on using the Yoga system to create a Holistic Teaching Methodology; developing teaching principles to support others through their individual process of growth and transformation. She still loves fitness based movement practices and enjoys teaching energetic classes, but also emphasizes deep relaxation and using Yoga as a transformational practice; using the practice to increase focus, awareness, commitment, self-efficacy, integrity, compassion, authenticity, community and overall wellbeing. As an E-500 RYT, Amanda continually offers Yoga Teacher Training programs approved by the Yoga Alliance (YA) and her classes/workshops are approved as continuing education classes for other YA registered Yoga teachers. She works full-time as the Director of Programs for Onward and Upward a non-profit school for Adventure Based Learning and Self Discovery in Palmer. For more information visit her website at www.alaskaayurveda.com<http://www.alaskaayurveda.com/> and find her on Instagram under @Nature_Based_Yoga
I began my yoga practice to regain a sense of body consciousness. I had danced professionally in my 20’s, had my daughter in my 30’s and was driven by career, relationships and a desire to be a strong figure for my daughter in my 40’s. It was in my early 40’s that I began taking a weekly class and soon it was 3 times a week. Then came the incremental evidence of some big changes: with more maturity came my desire to speak my truth, self-respect grew as I centered on my mat without judgement, and curious of my own heart and soul, I began to foster the idea of one day teaching yoga. I became enamored with what seemed rightfully enriching to me personally---that this journey was a continuing education.
My 200 Hour Teacher Training with Ana Forrest was vigorous and gifted me with a comprehension of healing through breath, asanas and hands on energy work. Ana herself is steeped in the culture of Native American rituals, has written a compelling personal journey in “Fierce Medicine” and invites both broken and unbroken yogis into what she calls the hoop of the people in order to mend it.
My classes at Spirit Path Yoga will be a mix of Forrest Inspired and Evolve Yoga with a linear development that warms the body, building with longer held poses towards an apex or intentional culmination, then warming down and enjoying the grateful heart of savasana. I look forward to sharing the journey with you!
My passion is to create a safe, approachable, yet fun environment for exploration of each student’s unique strengths through yoga. My yoga practice provides a sense of coming home each day, each moment, and each breath. It is my ambition to help others find connection that we profoundly need in our lives to support overall health and wellness.
A friend invited me to her yoga class back in 2006 - I went and was hooked. Now years later I am excited to be teaching my own yoga classes and sharing my practice in a new way. I completed Yoga Teacher Training at Open Space in the summer of 2014 and have been enjoying teaching since then.
Both as an artist and a yoga teacher I enjoy the tradition of passing knowledge and skills directly from person to person. I have had and still have many great teachers and hope to honor them all by sharing their knowledge and love with my own students.
Jule has been studying and practicing yoga since 2005; she believes
"Yoga isn't a workout, but work in." Although her journey started as a
purely physical one, enjoying how the postures restored & strengthened
her body after wilderness adventures, the practice's more subtle aspects
were unveiled during her teacher trainings & ashram experiences in
India. Jule studied at Rishikish Yoga Peeth, receiving her 200 hour
teaching certificate in 2012 & 300 hour certificate in 2013. In
addition to her teacher trainings & additional workshops, she has found
value and insight in a daily Ashtanga practice, regular pranayama &
meditation, as well as restorative & yin yoga. Her teaching style
encourages healthy alignment & mindful movement with breath. She enjoys
sharing yoga philosophy & Ayurvedic insight during group classes. Her
classes incorporate movement (asana), breath (pranayama), and awareness
(chetna); hoping all yogis leave feeling physically and mentally
restored with a sense of stillness in both mind and body. Jule is also
an Ayurvedic Practitioner recognized by the National Association of
Ayurvedic Medicine (NAMA) and has a graduate degree in Counseling
Psychology from UAA. She has a private integrative counseling practice
in Anchorage where she uses Ayurveda, Yoga, meditation & holistic
lifestyle practices to help people experience greater states of
well-being. She also teaches yoga teacher training’s & leads wilderness
yoga retreats throughout the state.
Jule has a B.A. in Psychology from Alaska Pacific University & a M.A. in
Counseling Psychology from UAA. Jule graduated from Spirit Path's
Ayurveda program as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor & Ayurvedic
Practitioner. She has completed over 700 hours of Yoga training since
Jule also offers Ayurvedic Consultations and practices Ayurveda at
Spirit Path in addition to mental health counseling.
Nikki’s introduction to yoga was through meditation, seeking peace from the stresses of every day life and a “hyper-focused mind.” The physical practice of yoga came after years of inner soul searching and a desire to connect her newly balanced mind to body, and body to daily life. To this day Nikki is a firm believer in tuning in, listening to your body, and putting self-care at the forefront.
Nikki graduated from the 200hr Evolve Yoga Teacher Training right here at Spirit Path Yoga and Wellness, which was led by Kimberly Greeff, the creator of Evolve Yoga. Nikki’s favorite expressions of yoga are those that focus on breath before alignment, and alignment before depth. She immensely enjoys working with The Roll Model® Therapy Balls guiding students through self-massage practices to relieve built up tension throughout the body. “Rolling” is an effective yet simple practice that can be executed anywhere!
Ultimately, Nikki wholeheartedly believes that yoga is for everyone, and wants to assist students with their journeys in feeling more empowered in their lives, and more comfortable in their bodies. Her goal is to enrich the lives of her students providing as many helpful tools as possible to further her student’s yoga practice on and off the mat while providing a safe container for their discovery and growth.
KERRY DAVIS, RYT 200
Kerry is an Insight Yoga certified instructor and Reiki II Practitioner. She first experienced yoga physical therapy as a child, then off and on through her 20s and 30s. She returned to yoga when pain took over and even the most conservative of movements hurt, and at that point felt an immediate connection to her work on the mat. She maintained her practice throughout her pregnancy and used meditation during labor. She struggled with breastfeeding and latch issues, and developed the Milk-asana™ series of restorative postures to help other bottle-, SNS-, and breastfeeding mamas soothe postpartum aches and pains, and connect more deeply with their babies.
Kerry’s teachers have included Nirvair Singh Khalsa, and most recently Lonnie Chace, Margo Sorum, and Margi Clifford, among others. She is committed to assisting others in finding peace and strength in their bodies, both on and off the mat. Her classes focus on asana, pranayama and restorative meditation, and she welcomes new yogis, as well as both prenatal and postpartum students with modifications and adjustments to best support their needs. In addition to postpartum classes, she teaches gentle and yin/restorative classes and prenatal workshops, as well.
Kim Greeff brings a wealth of body knowledge to the mat with a background in massage therapy, a total love and fascination with human anatomy, biomechanics, and a genuine passion for helping people live better in their bodies through the practice of yoga and self-care. Her unique teaching style is an evolution of traditional yoga poses designed to help people get into their bodies, instead of getting their bodies into poses.
Students are amazed that they leave class feeling energized and empowered. Each class is uniquely sequenced to help increase your range of motion, decrease pain, and enhance performance in whatever it is you like to do – whether it's climbing, lifting, running, or cycling.
If you are just looking to move your body in a way that helps to unwind it from the day, there's something here for you too!
Kristiann believes yoga should be accessible to everyone, through all stages of life. Using props to bring ease to each pose and each body, she brings a light, welcoming spirit to her classes. Her 200-hour training was alignment-based, through the former Inner Dance Yoga Studio here in Anchorage, where she began teaching in 2008. She credits Lynne Minton and Lonnie Chace with helping her find her path to yoga teaching, and she is looking forward to working with them on her advanced-level training starting Fall 2015.
LIDIJA POLJACEK-UMPHENOUR, RYT-500
Lidija came to yoga when she was looking for a dance studio in Anchorage. At first it was the Asana (postures) that drew her in. Then came the realization that yoga is so much more. However what really got her hooked is when she saw how yoga can change lives of people who are dealing with different challenges and difficulties. Her interest was in yoga with therapy modules and her quest brought her to San Diego where she studied at YogaWell Institute for Progressive Therapies. Her international travels as a journalist awarded her opportunities to teach not only in Anchorage but throughout the US. She has also taught classes and workshops in Slovenia, Germany, Poland and Croatia.
She loves to teach all "yoga". Therapeutic, Yoga for Warriors, Strong Hatha and Vinyasa based, Gentle, Restorative, Meditation, etc. She says that yoga has something for everyone. Yoga, to her, is a never ending source and resource for a life well lived.
She is a YACEP, 200 and 500 E-RYT and along the way she acquired certificates in Prenatal and AIReal Yoga, and has had special training in Yoga for Anxiety, Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Fibromyalgia, Yoga for Stress and PTSD, Yoga for Cancer Patients and Cancer Survivors, as well as, in all things, Laughter Yoga.
She thinks you are never to old or to young to do yoga and volunteers as a Kids Yoga Teacher. Some day she hopes to teach yoga to astronauts heading to Mars. Because.... Yoga in Space of course.
DR. MADELEINE MORRISON
Madeleine began practicing yoga in the mid 80’s in Santa Cruz. She has studied and practiced with many teachers over the years including Lynne Minton. In 2013 she studied yoga therapy (YCAT yoga therapy in cancer and chronic illness) with Jani Chapman, bringing yoga therapy to her Naturopathic practice. She has taught several 8 week stress management workshops and classes. In 2015, she completed her 200 hr YTT with Sarajoy Marsh in Amrita Yoga. She is currently studying Viniyoga with Gary Kraftsow. Her style brings asana practice to all people while incorporating pranayama, mindfulness practices, and meditation. As a doctor for over 20 yrs, she has extensive knowledge of the body’s functioning, which she brings to her classes and clients.
Before I tried yoga, I thought I wasn't the right kind of person for it. I was a broke, chain-smoking artist, who was slightly cynical and disconnected from my body. A good friend finally talked me into going to a donation class when I lived in San Francisco. It was a huge class, and it seemed like everyone was there. There were all kinds of dispositions, body types, and skill levels - I loved it . I kept practicing because it felt so good afterwards (now it feels good during). I could breathe deeply for what seemed like the first time. I discovered that there is no "kind of person" who does yoga. Yoga can be for anyone. Still, I wondered if I would become perfect - perhaps an enlightened being, or an underwear model- but what has actually happened is much better. After many years of breathing, stretching, sweating, and paying attention, yoga has helped me experience equanimity and acceptance. I feel more grounded in my body and alive. I hope to share that experience in my classes.
PAULA DOBBYN, RYT 500
Paula teaches yinyasa, yin, hot, restorative and stress-relief yoga. She has been a student of Lynne Minton since 2005, completing her RYT-300 at Spirit Path in 2016. Her current focus is yoga nidra because of its profound healing effects on the central nervous system. Paula has mentored with Anchorage’s Kim Greeff and is inspired by Alaska teachers Katey Inman, Svia Rothstein, Lindsey Britt, Rick Resnick and others. She has taught yoga in Anchorage, Alaska, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Dili, East Timor. A veteran journalist and communicator, Paula is the wife of a wildlife biologist and the mother of two feisty and healthy elementary-age girls. She has made Alaska her home since 1994.
My classes emphasize comfort and exploration in the body, mind, and heart. Though modern yoga focuses on body movement, many practitioners find it’s a gateway to deeper aspects of oneself and how we fit into the bigger picture of life. In my meditation class, we will gently explore this. This studio is called Spirit Path for a reason!
I’ve also taught all sorts movement-based classes of all sorts since 2006 (Iyengar, hatha, hot flow, slow flow, gentle, restorative, etc) and have been personally practicing since 1996. In any class, I strive to help people discover ease and grace. Isn’t modern life hectic enough without adding pressure to perform in a yoga class? Of course, though, accessing deeper poses can feel great and I can help you do that safely, too. Whatever style we’re dong, we’ll find a quality of quiet joy.
Xochitl believes that when yoga is treated as a discipline it quickly becomes a way of life. All one needs, is to find a style, a teacher, and community with which they connect and they will find that the benefits to a regular practice are endless. She began practicing yoga in 2001 while living in Northern California. Xochitl had always been an active person, enjoying a wide range of physical activities. When she saw a yoga class in session at a local gym, she decided to give it a try. She figured she was young and healthy and therefore could do anything, but little did she know that that one class would be one of the most challenging and humbling experiences of her life. Xochitl committed herself to the class and treated it as a physical challenge. In the end, her greatest benefit arose from the calm it brought to her mind and body, which thankfully connected to her everyday life. After meeting her wonderful husband and moving to Anchorage in 2009, she had the opportunity to commit to a deeper study of yoga. In May of 2012, she completed her 200 RYT program here in town at Inner Dance Yoga Studio. Since then she has dove head first into the broad and colorful yoga community here in Alaska.
Bernadette has been teaching yoga since 2005. She has focused on a broad range of special populations, including children, prenatal, recovery, and seniors. Having been raised in an Air Force family and started her adult life as an Air Force officer, Bernadette is especially excited to be initiating a class for veterans. Her belief in yoga as a life practice encourages exploring the silence of mind, vitality of body and nourishment of spirit in all that we do. Namaste.