Stacey Vespaziani, E-RYT (Owner/Teacher)
Stacey created South Hills Power Yoga as a way to share the transformative benefits of Power Yoga with her neighbors. She hopes to help build a vibrant yoga culture in her own community of Dormont and the surrounding area.
While earning her BFA in Theater at the University of Cincinnati, Stacey took a yoga class and was hooked from that first Downward Facing Dog. After moving back to her hometown of Pittsburgh, she completed her initial yoga teacher certification program with Amazing Yoga - where she taught for four years and assisted with teacher trainings held in Pittsburgh, Mexico & Costa Rica. Stacey is a 500-hour Certified Baptiste Teacher and has completed the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Level 1, Level 2 & Level 3 teacher trainings. She has also studied with Gregor Singleton, Bryan Kest, Seane Corn, Natasha Rizopoulos, Sharon Gannon, and David Life.
In March 2007, she founded and ran Human Race Yoga, a “Pay-What-You-Can” yoga program with classes at the Dormont Library and the Union Project. Stacey believes that keeping yoga accessible is important and continues to offer some “pay-what-you-can” classes at SHPY.
Stacey’s teaching approach is anchored in the belief that yoga will contort to fit each student and not the other way around. As a result her classes are joyous and accessible while challenging students on their own unique level.
Stacey feels blessed to have such an outstanding team of teachers working with her and for the many opportunities to share her love of yoga with students from Pittsburgh and beyond.
With a heart full of gratitude, Stacey thanks her husband, Brian - whose own journey exemplifies what it means to live a powerful life.
Check out her website.
Darcy Lyle, E-RYT (Teacher)
Darcy is an explorer of life, and yoga has proven to be her ultimate exploration into mind, body and soul. She has always been attracted to physical challenges, but only on the yoga path has she discovered how much a clear mind and an ethical, orderly life amplify and support physical power.
Darcy completed her first vinyasa yoga certification with Karen Conley of Amazing Yoga in 2004, and taught at AY for 5 years. During this time her teaching and practice was nourished by teachers including Baron Baptiste, Gregor Singleton, and Bryan Kest.
The next big revolution in Darcy’s yoga was ignited by Jivamukti teachers Sharon Gannon and David Life. She attended their “Taste of Teacher Training” program at Omega institute in the fall of 2010, where she finally embraced the power of a sitting meditation practice.
In 2011 Darcy discovered Kula Yoga in NYC and immediately felt that Schuyler Grant was her next important teacher. So, in the fall of 2012 she attended Schuyler’s advanced teacher training which was jam packed with anatomy study and the art of creative sequencing.
Most recently Darcy has been inspired to push new boundaries in the practice of slackline yoga and acro yoga. She met the YogaSlackers at Wanderlust, VT, and was instantly hooked, bought a slackline immediately and started practicing diligently. She completed the YogaSlacker teacher training in 2013, and is profoundly grateful to be part of that teaching community.
Darcy's teaching style is athletic and strong, but also focuses on time, precision, meditation and slow cleansing breaths. Darcy is most excited about the power of a clear, awake mind, and living a purposeful life both on and off the mat!
Visit Darcy’s website: www.DarcyLyleYoga.com
Jennifer Lee (Teacher)
I took my first yoga class because the 80s New Wave band Love and Rockets sang a song called Kundalini Express. I was twenty-two with bleached blonde hair and a penchant for dance clubs. I don’t remember much about that class. I never went back. When I returned to yoga in my early thirties, it was to heal, though I wouldn’t have put it that way then. After years of being unkind to myself, I just wanted to feel better. And I did. Sweaty and happy, I left my first Power Vinyasa class without my shoes—it was November.
In June 2013, I traveled to Mysore, India to study Ashtanga yoga, the tradition out of which Power Yoga was born. Each morning, I woke before sunrise and walked to the school, accompanied by feral dogs and the sounds of Mysore—motorcycles revving, women sweeping, birds whistling. It took me two hours to complete my practice—one day next to a woman in sleeping yogi pose, feet behind her head; another day beside a man finding his way into his first down dog. A week in, my hips ached so badly I wasn’t sure I couldn’t go on. But I did. Discovering not just the limits of my body, my heart and mind, but their possibilities too.
In India, I studied with Pattabhi Jois’s daughter, Saraswathi Rangaswamy. I’ve also taken workshops with Kino MacGregor, Sharon Gannon and David Life, Bryan Kest, and Natasha Rizopoulos. I give thanks to my first teacher, Anu Kumar, who could still her heart with breath.
In my other life, I write essays and teach at the University of Pittsburgh. I also make a mean cauliflower and potato curry.
Candace Lain-Fabus (Teacher)
My first experience with yoga was at my mother’s behest. And, although I refused to admit it to her at the time (I was 16 and full of teenage angst), I loved every bit of it. The teacher was charismatic, guiding the class through encouragement rather than the kind of heavy-handed instruction I was used to getting from high school teachers. I loved how my body, mind and spirit felt during and after class, and was hooked by the warmth the class gave me during the cold Pittsburgh winters. I was addicted immediately.
As a teenager it seemed silly to me to dream of becoming a yoga instructor. So I dutifully went to college. However, while I was studying for the psychology GREs I had a break down. I vented to a friend that I didn’t want a life spent behind a desk; all I have ever wanted to do was help people by teaching yoga. She simply replied, “why don’t you then?” Within a few months I was enrolled in my first yoga teacher-training program. Once I started teaching I knew I had made the right choice. I am most happy and at peace when I able to share or experience yoga.
When I’m not teaching or practicing, I’m a nanny and new mother, more jobs that bring great joy and satisfaction to my life. I also love the outdoors, and whenever the weather permits I’m in the woods with my dog and husband.
Becky Roush (Teacher)
Yoga has been very healing for me both physically and mentally. When I started practicing I had a knee injury that I had been wrestling with for several years. Yoga has allowed me to heal and stay healthy physically. It has also provided me with stress relief and a space where I can make a little room wherever I need it in my life. I am grateful to be able to practice and hope to be able to do so for a long time to come. I am happy to have the opportunity to provide other people with the chance to explore yoga to discover what it can mean for them.
I founded Folding Space Yoga with the hope that I could share what yoga has brought me with other people.
I have been practicing yoga since 2006 and earned my 200-hour teaching certification from Amazing Yoga in March 2009. I take training courses as much as possible so that I can become a better teacher and share my knowledge.
Holly Koenig, RYT (Teacher)
Holly completed 200 hours of power vinyasa training in 2010. In 2012, she went on to study at Yogaworks Teacher Training Center in New York City, receiving a 200 hour training certification. Drawing on both styles of yoga, her classes are structured to include alignment, mental presence, and dynamic movement. She has continued her education through workshops with Bryan Kest, Natasha Rizolpoulis, and Gregor Singleton. Loving her bicycle as much as her yoga mat, she works with other cyclists to prevent injury and create balance and space in the body.
Kate Mayberry (Teacher)
I took my first power vinyasa yoga class in 2008. The feeling of strength and calm that was a result of that first class had me hooked!
As a wife and a busy mother mother of 3 children, yoga has been a gift! As a student of yoga, I am constantly working towards being more present in the moment, instead of just plowing through my never-ending to-do list. It's a work in progress, for sure, but I know that after I practice, I feel stronger, healthier, happier and better suited to take care of the needs of my loved ones.
I received 100 hours of training through Amazing Yoga in the Spring of 2010. I enjoy teaching yoga, and have found yogis to be among the kindest people on the planet!
Kristen Hannan, RYT (Teacher)
As a resident of Dormont, Kristen is excited to be a part of South Hills Power Yoga. Kristen has been practicing yoga for over ten years. She has tried many styles of yoga, but fell in love with the Power Vinyasa style. Kristen completed her 200hr teacher training in the summer of 2011 and continues to develop her teaching through attending numerous workshops.
As a full time science teacher, Kristen is very intrigued by the relationship between yoga and one's physical and mental health. Kristen started her school's first yoga program for students and enjoys exposing children, teens, and adults to the practice.
Jennifer Caumo (Teacher)
Jennifer discovered yoga during her teenage years in an effort to regain strength and flexibility after being diagnosed with a rare form of rheumatoid arthritis. Being from a small town, yoga studios were hard to come by, so her practice began by studying at-home yoga videos. In spite of some really bad videos she was captivated by the practice and continued to dabble in various styles of yoga throughout college. In 2011, she walked into a power yoga studio and instantly fell in love with the intense yet graceful style of power vinyasa yoga in the comfort of a heated room. She completed her 200 Hour training with South Hills Power Yoga in 2012 and is delighted to now be a part of the studio where she trained.
Brian Vespaziani - (Volunteer Meditation Teacher)
As a reluctant yogi, Brian is as surprised as anyone that he found his way to a yoga mat. But after being diagnosed with MS in 2009 the practices of yoga and meditation have slowly become a central part of his physical and mental wellness regimen. He looks forward to sharing the empowering benefits of meditation with you.
LouAnn McBride (Teacher)
LouAnn began her yoga teaching journey in 2011. She completed her 200hr teacher training through South Hills Power Yoga and has influences in Yin and Restorative. She has taken a variety of trainings and workshops with Judith Lasater, Tara Brach, Biff Mithoefer and Prema Maya.
LouAnn is a devoted practioner of Transcedental Meditation. She seeks to uplift humanity through her art, meditation and practice/instruction of yoga. It is her intention to honor the ancient wisdom of yoga in her classes by focusing on breath and presence.
Derek Martin (Teacher)
Yoga first found Derek Martin through a significant other in late 2008. Awkward and inflexible, he kept what one could call a consistently irregular practice in his dormitory living room. Only after attending community yoga classes at the Dormont library did Derek experience the energy of peoples' movement & breathe to cues of a teacher in real time. In his teaching he emphasizes the importance of breath and it's vital connection to slow, purposeful movement.
Derek completed his teacher training at the 200 hour level through South Hills Power Yoga under the instruction of Stacey Vespaziani, LA Finfinger, Darcy Lyle, and Jen Lee. He thanks his mentors and teachers at SHPY for their knowledge and insight, his colleagues in teacher training for their courage and optimism, and all those who come to yoga for contributing to the vibrant, powerful culture that it is.
Deb White (Teacher)
Deb found yoga over 14 years ago after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in 1994. Her doctors thought that yoga may help with MS’s symptoms. At first, she resisted but after a few months, she began practicing regularly and incorporating yoga philosophies into her daily living. She has been teaching for over 9 years, but wanted more from her yoga practice: more heat, meditation and introspection. Fortunately, she found “hot yoga” i.e., heated power vinyasa flow, about 3 years ago and fell completely in love with it.
She completed her 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) training with South Hills Power Yoga in 2012. Deb has also been fortunate to study with some renown yogis such as Cyndi Lee, Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea, and Judith Lasater. Deb admires all her teachers and what she has learned, with a special thank you to Leslie, Stacey, LA, Jen, and Darcy. You are an inspiration and a blessing to each person’s life you touch. On her yoga journey, Deb now has found balance and has seen the power of meditation and stillness in her life.
When she is not doing yoga, Deb likes to be a mom to John (17), Katie (15) and Matt (12), go on long walks with her two Schnauzers, Artemus and Brutus, and spend afternoons cooking and baking.
Amy Gavatorta (Teacher)
In 2001, I picked up a Baron Baptiste DVD just to try something different. I practiced off-and-on at home until 2008 when a friend asked me to come to a studio with her. A 10-day unlimited card turned into a 5-day per week practice. I started a consistent yoga practice to get into shape. I continue to practice because yoga is the only thing that quiets those voices in my head and silences the chatter!
I strive to teach a fun and playful class, balancing a challenge with a few smiles and maybe some laughter. I think everything is better when approached with some lightness of spirit and attitude.
Mandy Newport (Teacher)
I’ve been studying various styles of yoga, off and on, since my teens. I’ve always loved how yoga made me feel, but then life happened and I got caught up in the corporate rat race. In the spring of 2011, I found the courage to walk out from behind my desk and onto my mat full time. I have personally experienced the physical, mental, spiritual and grounding effects of practicing yoga and could not be happier to share these lessons with others. I love when it’s just me, my mat and my mind and using that time to let it all go. One of my happiest of places is on my mat!
Without the teachings and wisdom that I learned from my fellow Pittsburgh yogis, I would have never found the peace, grace, knowledge, love and courage to share this gift of yoga. I completed my 200 hour certification in Vinyasa Yoga from South Hills Power Yoga in the Summer of 2012.
When not standing on my head or saluting the sun, I love spending time enjoying music, movies, books and spoiling my 2 rescued dogs Lilly and Zoey. I do my best to live my life according to the Golden Rule and hope that comes through in my teaching. If some part of my class/philosophy is taken outside of the studio, the Yoga Love is shared!
Hallie Stotsky, RYT (Teacher)
Hallie has been practicing yoga since 2007 and found it to be an amazing physical workout. It wasn’t until a few years later that she began to really appreciate how this practice transcends the physical, challenging us to look within ourselves for transformation. Through this awareness, her practice evolved, and she was inspired to teach. Hallie strives to incorporate both a playfulness and challenging edge to her classes – sharing with her students what she learns both on and off her mat.
She completed her 200-hour training through South Hills Power Yoga in 2013. She is grateful for the daily teachers she has in Stacey, LA, Darcy and Jennifer Lee and the entire SHPY team.
Hallie graduated from Chatham University and then earned her Master’s in Education from Pitt. She currently works at her alma mater, Pitt, as the Coordinator of the Stress Free Zone teaching college students the important practice of mindfulness and meditation.
Visit Hallie's website: www.halliestotsky.com
Nancy Jean Morrison (Kids Yoga Teacher)
Mrs. Morrison has been teaching elementary school in the Keystone Oaks School District for 35 years. She received her YogaEd teaching certification in August of 2013 and is excited to share her love of yoga with the next generation.
Kelly Shanahan (Teacher)
I stepped foot in a heated power vinyasa yoga class for the first time at age 21 with no prior yoga experience. A skeptical college senior and not a natural athlete with little expectations, I welcomed the warmth and humidity of the studio during the cold Pittsburgh winter weather. It was through developing a more consistent practice following graduation that I found an increased strength in my body and breath, and in turn, was able to create more space in my mind for less self-judgment.
Naturally ambitious, I completed my 200-hour teacher training at South Hills Power Yoga in 2013. It is my hope that students find my classes to be light hearted and honest, playful but challenging in both body and mind, and many classes are accompanied by music. Outside of teaching yoga, I work as a registered nurse. In my spare time, I train for half marathons, spend time with my friends, family, and dog, travel the world, and skydive.
Maria Chiodo (Teacher)
I started practicing yoga as a way of coping with emotional trauma. During that time, I fell in love with the mental clarity that this breath based movement brings. I immediately wanted to share that feeling with others. I completed my training with South Hills Power Yoga and I have been teaching since 2012. I have fallen in love with teaching vinyasa, restorative and kids yoga. My teaching has been enhanced through workshops with Baron Baptiste and Kino MacGregor as well as classes at the Jivamukti center in NYC.
When I am not teaching yoga, I am exploring the outdoors with my daughters, riding bikes, and academically studying computer science.
Maryellen Baverso (Teacher)
I first rolled out my mat 9 years ago, after standing on the sidelines of one too many field hockey games nursing a knee injury. Growing up as a dancer and athlete, I find yoga serves as a balance to build strength and maintain flexibility. For years I restlessly studied in my college dormitory guided by a deck of yoga cards, until the summer of 2007, when I stumbled into my first heated power vinyasa class. Slipping and sliding alongside a packed room of sweaty yogis, I left the class feeling alive. Ever since, I have discovered that yoga is constantly transforming my mind and body. I traveled and lived in Indonesia for two years, where I gained a different perspective and understanding of yoga. I realized that I could easily travel, learn, teach, and live with this practice in my life. I felt inspired to share its healing nature.
In spring 2014, I completed my Level 1, 200-hour teacher training under the instruction of Stacey Vespaziani, Darcy Lyle, LA Finfinger, and Jennifer Lee at South Hills Power Yoga. Last fall, I continued my education in a 10-hour Assisting Workshop with Darcy Lyle.
I am grateful and excited to springboard my yoga career and experiences in Pittsburgh. I feel empowered to provide guidance for a complete and present practice for all levels of yogis, along with intuitive hands-on assists.
Erin Scanlon (Teacher)
Erin believes in embracing life - learning, growing and finding the joy in every opportunity. She first discovered the joy exercise brought her at age 11 as she followed along to her mother's step aerobics DVDs and 15 years ago she attained her first certification as a spinning instructor. Since then, she has learned and grown her teaching to include boot camp, strength conditioning, personal training and yoga. Erin loves the way yoga brings a balance and connection to the body, mind and spirit that she finds is unlike any other form of fitness. She received her yoga teacher training through American Fitness Professionals Association (AFPA). She is always looking for ways to expand personally and in her teaching through reading, workshops and trainings. Her teaching style is to provide the melding of work and fun– taking what serves you and letting go of what doesn't. Erin strives to bring the lessons and observations she experiences in teaching and on her mat into her daily life. Some days can prove to be easier or harder than others and this is the amazing gift of yoga being a continual, evolving and living practice to grow in.
Erin really enjoys her work as the intranet manager at her company and loves to spend family time with her husband, two boys and dog hiking and playing in the woods of the Laurel Mountains.
Amy Ciuffoletti (Teacher)
Amy completed her teacher training in 2013 with South Hills Power Yoga in Dormont, PA because she wanted to share the benefits of yoga with others, including the strength, courage, clarity, and peace she found on her own mat. Since then, she has taken additional trainings and workshops including hands-on assisting, chakra work, meditation, and, the Love Your Brain training in Pittsburgh. She believes in giving back to her community so, in 2013, she founded the power yoga class at her neighborhood library, and, in 2016, she is launching Pittsburgh Hero Yoga, a free yoga program for the first responders in the City of Pittsburgh.
When she is not on her mat, she can be found teaching music in a local middle school, snuggling with her dog, or forcing herself out of her comfort zone.
Ashley Risacher (Teacher)
I first became interested in yoga in 2009, completed my first home practice via DVD in 2011, and finally made my way into a power yoga studio in 2012. Clearly, it took me some time to find a community to practice in, but once that relationship formed, there was no walking away from it. I found a strong and caring community in yoga, filled with wonderful friends and mentors. Stacey Vespaziani (SHPY), Darcy Lyle (SHPY), and Sharon Skittle (UEC) are just some of the people that have helped my practice evolve.
In 2014, I completed my 200-hour teacher training with South Hills Power Yoga. Because of this experience, I found new friends to share my practice with and new adventures to take it on, including teaching at local studios, flying in acro yoga, and instructing from a standup paddleboard down at the Point.
When I’m not teaching or practicing yoga, I work as a full-time Reading Specialist in a local school district where I get to share my other passion in an entirely different way.
Jessie Myers (Teacher)
Yoga has been one of the most amazing journeys I have been blessed to take. Yoga is not only physically a good workout, but has so much more to offer your heart and mind. Along with the physical practice I have found yoga can be a very spiritual practice. I have grown more forgiving of myself, of others and realize what we cultivate on our mat we can incorporate into our own lives. Yoga has truly has changed my life off my mat in more positive ways than I can describe.
Since incorporating these ideals into my life I decided to complete my 200-hour yoga teacher training with SHPY in 2012. My decision to deepen my own practice, lead me to discover my desire to share the knowledge I attained in the training through teaching others. I am grateful for the wonderful mentors I have discovered at SHPY and excited to share yoga with the SHPY community.
Amanda Bilitski (Teacher)
Growing up as an athlete and a dancer, Amanda was exposed to many different forms of exercise. Her first introduction to yoga was through her aunt who became a registered yoga teacher when Amanda was just 10 years old. Through her aunt she learned not only the basic postures, but also the most important part of the practice - to BREATHE!
After shying away from yoga for many years, Amanda was looking for a lifestyle change when she was twenty-two years old. She stumbled across a yoga blog online and was amazed by the advanced postures. Deciding to take a class, she was surprised not only by how much better she physically felt, but also the calmness and peacefulness that came with the practice. Immediately she was hooked, and knew from that moment on she needed to share her passion for yoga with others.
Amanda completed her training with South Hills Power Yoga in 2015 led by Stacey Vespaziani and Darcy Lyle. She also received additional instruction from other inspiring teachers including LA Finfinger, Jennifer Lee, Hallie Stotsky, Candace Lain-Fabus, and Holly Koenig.
Amanda continues to explore different forms of yoga through her practice and by attending trainings and workshops. She hopes that she can share with her students lessons learned from experience, and aims to cultivate a sense of peacefulness and acceptance through the ever-changing transitions of life - both on and off the mat.
Sarah Reed-Lieb (Teacher)
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor who has been working in the mental health field for over 10 years. Currently, I am part of a private practice providing psychotherapy to adults who struggle with a variety of conditions, ranging from stress and anxiety to depression and low self esteem. Although I consider the work that I do to be very rewarding, it can take a toll on me physically (sitting upwards of 12 hours a day!) and emotionally. I knew I needed to find something to take care of myself so I could be of the most service to my patients.
Two years ago, I walked into a power yoga studio, not knowing what to expect. I moved through the postures the best I could, tried to "connect to my breath" and slow the flurry of thoughts that were running through my mind. However, as I laid in the final resting pose, savasana, I found it - this blissful, peaceful calm that I had been looking for. After that first class, I was hooked.
Through practicing yoga on a consistent basis, I am able to be a better friend, family member, wife and therapist. By "filling up my tank" first, I have more to give to others.
At the end of 2014, I began to feel as though I wanted to do more with yoga - to find another way to help others and hold space for them outside of the clinical setting. I decided to enroll in South Hills Power Yoga's teacher training program and in July of 2015, I became a certified vinyasa yoga teacher. I am so excited to help others find acceptance, encouragement, humor and lightness and support through this practice.
Cora Malone (Teacher)
Cora has been practicing yoga for many years and is incredibly grateful to have found a yoga “home” in Pittsburgh with the SHPY community.
Originally from Monterey, California, Cora began a regular yoga practice while living in Virginia. Her teachers drew from different traditions, including Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Dharma Mittra. After several moves brought her to Pittsburgh, Cora found power yoga at SHPY and completed teacher training in 2015.
Cora enjoys teaching adult classes, and has also discovered a love for helping parents share a community practice along with their babies and little children. Cora’s young daughter and son think it’s great fun to come to the studio and “help” mom teach. They also remind her to integrate yoga in all aspects of life.
Kate Clingan (Teacher)
I was initially drawn to yoga while living in Oklahoma and began practicing at a local gym as a way to exercise and decompress from the constant noise and demands of my retail management job. It wasn't until years later though that my practice began to truly develop into something deeper.
I moved across country, enrolled in graduate school, and changed careers, and I found that after the dust of change began to settle, I needed some time to figure out how all these new pieces fit together. I dedicated the next year after graduate school to self improvement and discovery, which brought me back to yoga and into a heated power yoga studio for the first time. I fell in love with the practice, and in 2015, I enrolled in a 200 hour teacher training through South Hills Power Yoga and am now a registered yoga teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance.
Through a dedicated home and studio practice, I have found a new level of strength and inspiration, learning the importance of being present, living in each moment, and appreciating the process. It has been through these lessons learned on the mat that I have rediscovered the power of believing in yourself and your own worthiness, and it's my desire to help others by inspiring them with the same message.
Lee Rihtarchik (Teacher)
A lifelong yinzer, Lee first encountered yoga in 2010 while attending the University of Pittsburgh. He instantly connected with the movements of the warrior series and yearned to learn more about yoga’s unique blend of strength and flexibility. Lee had been an athlete throughout his life, and as his yoga practice became more consistent, he appreciated how it allowed him to strengthen muscles without moving weights and enhance cardiovascular strength without running sprints. As a neuroscience major, Lee also came to appreciate the research-based evidence linking mindfulness and yoga to a long, health-filled life.
After graduating, Lee left academia in order to become a residential contractor. He loved the challenge of creating something with his own hands, yet he soon felt the physical wear-and-tear of the job taking a toll on his body. He found that yoga provided balance in his life, and he appreciated its ability to maintain, strengthen, and heal his body from the physical demands of his job.
As his practice deepened, he began to turn his attention to learning more about yoga, its history, and the sequences done in class. He also wanted to find a way in which he could become an ambassador of yoga to those who might not have considered the practice as a form of exercise that was right for them. In 2015, Lee completed his 200 hour RYT with SHPY, and he has been enjoying sharing yoga ever since. He is particularly grateful for the opportunity to teach at his home studio at South Hills Power Yoga, and he is excited to help continue to grow the Pittsburgh yoga scene!
Christine McGee (Teacher)
“Hot Yoga?? That sounds stupid.” Those were my initial thoughts three years ago when South Hills Power Yoga opened up in the Peters Township location. Fast forward and I have now completed my 200 hour power yoga training in July of 2016 and attended hundreds of classes and multiple workshops at both SHPY locations. Obviously, something changed my uninformed dogmatic perspective that first hot, sweaty power yoga class…. and I have never been the same since. I credit the teachers at SHPY- Stacey Vespaziani, Darcy Lyle, Jen Lee, and Candace Lain-Fabus- with expanding my perspective (refer back to first statement) and deepening my practice. The physical asanas of power yoga fulfill my need to strengthen and work my body and the spiritual element quiets my mind and cultivates peace both on my mat and in my life. The mind-body connection that yoga offers is unique and life-altering. The yoga community that Stacey has established at SHPY is amazing and that is what has kept me coming regularly for years. The atmosphere of acceptance, non-judgment, and support are demonstrated by all teachers and are present in each class. Friendships have been initiated and grown from this yoga studio and this is one of the main reasons that propelled me to want to become a teacher. I am on a “yoga mission” to share with others the same mental and physical transformations that I have experienced. Yoga is based on love, acceptance, and unity. Can you imagine if more people in our world embraced these basic principles? It starts with one person sharing this philosophy with another person and through my teaching I hope to achieve this goal each class.
Prior to teaching yoga, I earned my Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and have worked with people of all ages and abilities. Most recently I worked with children with special needs in a school setting and established a yoga program in the classrooms of my students. I have officially converted my oldest daughter to loving yoga and I am working on my second one. I love to be outside and enjoy nature, whether it is taking my two Shih Tzu dogs for a walk or doing impromptu handstands in the lawn. I look forward to a lifelong yoga practice of learning and sharing, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to do that as a teacher at SHPY.
Michael Harrington, RYT (Teacher)
Michael completed his 200 hour teacher training with South Hills Power Yoga in 2016. His Power Yoga classes combine the insights of traditional yoga philosophy with a fast-moving, athletic practice. To balance the warming, strenuous movements of Power Yoga with quieter, longer-held poses, Michael earned a 50-hour Yin Yoga certificate from Bernie Clark in 2018. He has also done additional training with Richard Gartner, Darcy Lyle, and Holly Koenig. Whether his class is energetic or restorative, the goal of his teaching is simply to help the mind move more effectively with the body. When he is not in the yoga studio, he is generally studying or teaching the philosophy of medieval Europe and China.
Elizabeth Small, RYT 200 (Teacher)
Elizabeth is a wellness enthusiast. She earned her Associates degree in Dietetics from the Community College of Allegheny County in 2011 and loves to share her knowledge of healthy living with everyone she meets. Elizabeth grew her fitness knowledge by completing her 200-hour teaching certificate in Baptiste Style Power Yoga in August of 2016 at South Hills Power Yoga. Her love for yoga could not be contained. She feels compelled to share her passion with the local community. For Elizabeth, yoga is more than just an exercise. She believes whole heartedly yoga is physically, emotionally and spiritually healing and 100% life changing. When she is not at the studio or teaching at a local library you can find her working as an office manager, hanging out with her husband and two cats, reading, drinking tea or tequila, hiking, or spending quality time with her friends and family. Elizabeth enjoys creating creative flows to challenge the mind and body while focusing on safe alignment and building strength in her classes. She is here to serve her community and looks forward to seeing you on your mat soon!
Barbara Garcia-Bernardo (Teacher)
I started practicing yoga a decade ago and finding the Power Yoga style was a life changing event: I was searching for an exercise activity that was vigorous and focused on the entire body, while providing much needed stress relief caused from running the company that I own with my husband. I was also interested in something that was individual but shared in a group. A friend told me about the Dormont Library yoga classes and convinced me to go with her. I was immediately drawn in and interested in learning more. We decided to try Stacey’s Sunday morning class at Amazing Yoga in the South Side and I almost passed out on that first class! But I kept coming back because I immediately noticed how great it made me feel inside and out.
Yoga is a continuous exploration and learning process and I love that every class is a different experience. That is essentially what inspired me to develop a steady practice.
After many years of regular classes, attending different workshops and going to yoga retreats, I finally decided that Yoga teacher training was the obvious next step. I graduated from SHPY 200-hour training in 2016. I had no intention on teaching though; I just wanted to continue my yoga education so I could share it with others… and here I am!
Shawna Locke (Teacher)
Shawna took her first power yoga class in January 2013 and left the studio feeling as if she was exhausted and bursting with energy at the same time. Over the years, she has used yoga and meditation as a means of healing, working through the stresses and challenges that life brings, and learning to accept herself as she is right at this moment. While she appreciates the physical strength that yoga has given her, it’s the mental strength, focus, and balance that she’s gained that drives her to seek more, do more, learn more.
She obtained her 200 hour certification from South Hills Power Yoga in August 2017 and then went on to become certified as a yoga teacher for cancer patients and survivors through Tari Prinster’s y4c teacher training in June 2018. She is currently studying to become a yoga therapist through Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy with Brandt Passalacqua.
After finding (and continuing to find!) that yoga can aid in healing both mentally and physically in her own self, teaching has become the ultimate way for her to share her passion for yoga with others. She truly believes that yoga is for every body and level of ability.
Philicia Barbieri (Teacher)
Philicia first walked into a yoga studio 3 years ago at the encouragement of a friend, and immediately fell in love with the practice. She was initially drawn to the physical side of yoga; noticing how yoga increased overall strength and flexibility. After developing a consistent practice, it was the mental aspects of yoga, the breath and moving meditation, that kept her coming back. When not at a studio Philicia works as a mental health therapist; and is currently exploring ways to utilize yoga and meditation to help those suffering from mental illness and addiction. She also enjoys spending time with her family and going on walks with her 2 dogs.
In 2018 Philicia completed her 200-hour teacher training through South Hills Power Yoga and is grateful to be teaching at the studio where she trained. She loves to share yoga with others; paying attention to breath and allowing each student to have their own unique experience.
April Jackson (Teacher)
In 1990 I took my first "official" yoga class and felt a natural extension of myself. Growing up as a dancer, I felt I had flexibility and strength however, the practice of yoga really helped me to deepen my awareness of my strengths, me weaknesses and all the places in between. That sparked my desire to learn more and share more. This has all evolved into me teaching yoga. Although "teaching" is what most call it, my first class in 2003 was me sharing and I still try to do that today.
I have been so fortunate to train and study with Beth Shaw and Jonny Kest, and many others. Teaching yoga in Pittsburgh and at SHPY feels like being home with family!
When not working and teaching I like to read, spend time with family and live each day as best as I can.
Bethany Traynor (Teacher)
Bethany has been guiding Hatha yoga classes for six years, and has transitioned her teaching style to a Hatha/Vinyasa hybrid after being certified in Vinyasa in 2015. Bethany has been practicing many different forms of yoga for seven years, and studied dance extensively for eleven years, graduating from college with a BA focused on dance. Bethany is inspired by all types of movement and brings that inspiration into her classes. Some of her favorite teachers include Clara Robert-Oss, Ana Forrest, and Rodney Yee. Bethany was trained under a strong yoga lineage through the Shambava School of Yoga founded by Babaje Sri Shambhavanda for her 200 hr certification, and continued that training under Gayatri Devilleir and Stacey Vespaziani. Bethany’s teaching style is that of slow, thoughtful and creative movement with lots of flowing. She uses strong cueing, blended with heartfelt affirmations and a healthy dose of lightheartedness. She believes all movement should stem from a place of ease and should be used as a way to heal and connect to the emotional self.
Cassie Maloney (Teacher)
Cassie found yoga while practicing slackline in 2014. Her quickly growing passion for mindfulness and movement lead her to receive her YogaSlackers certification in 2016, 200hr Vinyasa Yoga certification from SHPY in 2017, and 300hr Advanced Yoga certification from Frameworks Yoga in 2018.
Cassie loves creating yoga classes founded in curiosity, strength, and mindful breathing. She hopes that each of her classes will provide opportunities to deepen meditation practices and continue to grow asana practices in ways that are accessible and challenging for every level of practitioner. Cassie's passion has always been teaching (she received her degree in Music Education at Slippery Rock University in 2014), and provides foundational and advanced cues throughout the duration of classes. She considers creativity, observation, and connection to be the core of her teaching style.
Learning and teaching yoga (including slackline and acro yoga) have been a huge part of learning to be more present, honest, and joyful in everyday life. Cassie hopes to share what she has learned and continues to learn with others!
Margaret Riotto (Teacher)
I found yoga, or perhaps better stated, yoga found me in a less than conventional way. I was taking part in a strength training workout series of videos in which yoga was scheduled weekly. I don’t think I would have tried yoga if it weren’t a part of this program. Although I was strong, the depth to which yoga could take me physically and, more profoundly, mentally was unparalleled. As much as I enjoyed working out at home, taking my practice in to the studio was transformative; it was within this space along with its community that it all came together, and I’ve been hooked ever since. In 2017 I earned my 200 hour yoga teacher certification through South Hills Power Yoga. In addition to teaching yoga, I work as a nutritional therapy practitioner to help people rebalance their bodies so they can feel healthy and energetic and perform optimally in their lives. Yoga can be such a vital complement to this.
Learning how to regulate our breath to stay calm in the mind when we encounter challenges in our practice is a direct parallel to managing life off our mats. I feel so fortunate to continue to grow within this as I share this with others while guiding them in their yoga practice.
Brandi Phillips (Teacher)
Brandi found her way to yoga when her gym unceremoniously cancelled the morning kickboxing class and filled it with…yep, yoga. While she started out as a skeptic, she quickly fell in love with how it made her feel, both physically and mentally. Brandi received her 200 hour yoga teaching certification from South Hills Power Yoga in 2016 and enjoys sharing her practice with others by connecting movement to breath and through hands-on assisting.
Off the mat, Brandi runs a nonprofit that works to improve the way behavioral health services are delivered in the community and is and is continually finding new ways to merge her two passions.