Teachers – Past and Present

Teachers – Past and Present

Robin Doyon

robin doyonRobin combines a focus on physical alignment with an invitation for lighthearted introspection and self-discovery. Her creative sequences, ability to teach different levels and styles, encouraging voice, and fun spirit make for an accessible and rewarding class. She teaches classes in Vinyasa, Hot Core Power, Bikram, Yin-Vinyasa style “Yin-yasa”, slow all levels Vinyasa-Yin, and jazz-infused Easy Sunday Flow.

Her certifications include 200-hour Anusara-inspired Vinyasa yoga under Joe Palese, Yin yoga under Douglas Johnson, Trauma-informed yoga with Centering Youth Organization, and Grounded Kids® trained under Cheryl Crawford and Amy Haysman. She is currently studying for her 500-hour certification in Therapeutic yoga (a style of teaching that combines methods of yoga practices and therapy with meditation, biomedical and pain science, as well as philosophy) under Holle Black, Marlysa Sullivan, and Tra Kirkpatrick with The Center for Integrative Studies.

Sarah Faircloth

SarahFairclothLong ago, Sarah fell in love with yoga. She was introduced to yoga and Eastern philosophy as a child by her father, and began developing her practice as a teenager. She began teaching in 2000, earned certification in Anusara yoga in 2003, and taught at Anusara’s first Yoga Journal Conference. Yoga philosophy is a great passion of Sarah’s, and she continues to study actively with Douglas Brooks. Her teaching is infused with yoga wisdom that applies to modern life. Her classes are fun and engaging, flowing and instructive. Through a balance of flow and alignment cues, she hopes to empower each student. Sarah teaches yoga workshops, teacher trainings, intensives, and retreats.

Sarah Faircloth teaches at Be Yoga in Charlotte, NC. She owned Sangati Yoga, a creative yoga studio and healing arts center, for eight years. Sarah is an advocate of practicing yoga in all aspects of life, including her roles as wife and mother. Her vision is that all of us who are willing shall be empowered to build our lives on structures of love and truth.

Website: Sarah Faircloth Yoga

Charlie Baxter Graham

Charlie’s high energy and enthusiastic approach to teaching are fundamental elements of all of her classes. A student of Bikram, Vinyasa, and Ashtanga, her teaching style primarily integrates Anusara’s alignment basics, inspiring movement and progression of poses in the safest manner. As a former fitness, dance, and Pilates instructor, stunt woman, and acrobat, she is most comfortable doing anything physical. With a playful spirit, Charlie loves inviting others to try going beyond their perceived limitations. She firmly believes everyone is capable of personal growth and building self esteem when they see what their breath and bodies can do.


Tra Kirkpatrick

trakirkpatrickTra (C-IAYT, E-RYT500, CPC) is a yoga therapist and certified professional life coach with many years of experience leading groups and working with individuals to transform their lives. Tra’s work as a yoga therapist integrates Tantra Hatha Yoga practices and philosophies in the areas of biomedical science and psycho-emotional health. The goal of her work is to help empower people to recognize and shift patterns that can lead to imbalance and dysfunction, whether the imbalance manifests physically, psychologically or emotionally. Combining the areas of coaching, research science in behavior, and yoga therapy, Tra’s niche is supporting those who want to make life-long change.

Inspired by the therapeutic benefits and the healing qualities of yoga Tra experienced as a student during her time on the mat, Tra was inspired to change careers to the field of yoga after a 15-year career in software development and technology. At that time, Tra had been practicing yoga for nearly eight years and saw teacher training as a way to learn more about the deep and intrinsic history and powerful techniques that have been practiced for thousands of years. Before the training program was even complete, Tra began teaching several classes per week, juggling a passion for sharing the practice of yoga with a full-time, highly demanding day job. Her experience in the field of yoga therapy, combined with years of practical and professional experience in her former career, provide Tra a solid and well-rounded breadth of experience that is not often found coupled together.

Feeling called to learn and immerse more into yoga, soon after graduating teacher training Tra ended her corporate career to pursue further education and a new profession in yoga and healing arts. In addition to her yoga therapy training, Tra studied with renowned teacher Saul David Raye to learn the intricate healing qualities for the physical and energetic bodies inspirited through Thai Yoga Therapy. Today, Tra infuses her work with both traditional yoga therapy and Thai yoga therapy to empower and support a variety of client needs, including Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, stroke and traumatic brain injury, and those healing from cancer.

In addition to her work with groups and clients, Tra trains teachers and yoga therapists through the 200-hour and advanced-level certification programs with the Center for Integrative Yoga Studies, which she co-founded with her two partners Marlysa Sullivan and Holle Black. Tra has presented at several yoga conferences and leads international yoga retreats. Following her life-long passion of writing, Tra has been a contributing writer to Elephant Journal and Yoga Therapy Today. You can also find Tra’s work on the international YogaMate website where she is the featured yoga therapist for Fibromyalgia.

Veronica Lewinger

veronica lewinger On Veronica’s 21st birthday, her friend took her to a yoga class. Sixteen years later, she is still an avid student and now teacher. Since taking that first class, Veronica was also a museum education coordinator, middle school Art teacher, and taught English as a second language in Europe. She believes that teaching is not something you do, it’s something you are, and has spent years cultivating her craft. Veronica loves watching people fall in love with yoga, and encourages students to attune and focus on their inner wisdom and power.

Veronica completed yoga teacher training in fall 2009. This led her to become an AFAA Personal Trainer to enrich her knowledge of injury prevention, creation of symmetry in flexibility and strength, and reduction of chronic pain. Veronica loves working with children and moms, and this inspired her to complete Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training, Get Grounded: Level 1, Yoga Gangsters Outreach & At-risk Certification, Prenatal Yoga for Conscious Birthing Training, and Oh Baby! Fitness Prenatal and Postpartum Certification.

Veronica has participated in workshops and immersions with Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Heidi Sormaz, Tias Little, Bryan Kest, Kino McGregor, and Tim Feldmann. Her exploration of varying styles informs her views of alignment to work for many different bodies. She has practiced Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Power, Forrest, and Viniyoga. Her vinyasa classes will include emphasis on alignment and breath awareness, self-acceptance and fearlessness. Belief in the power of yoga for healing, empowerment, and transformation is at the core of her teaching philosophy, and her hope is that she can provide guidance for her students on their own path to yoga.

Gina Minyard

GinaMinyardGina’s training in all aspects of hatha yoga and meditation is extensive, beginning in 1999 with her first yoga certification program with Atlanta Yoga Fellowship/Peachtree Yoga Center under the mentorship of Graham Fowler and Elizabeth Nix. Her subsequent training in Anusara yoga, over 1,000 hours, beginning in 2000, greatly advanced her asana practice and knowledge in biomechanics, methodical alignment principles, therapeutics, and Tantric yoga philosophy. In 2006, she became the first certified Anusara Yoga teacher in Georgia, and was a pioneer for the growth of this innovative hatha yoga school in Atlanta and the region. Though she resigned her license with Anusara, Inc. in 2012, she continues to draw deeply from the efficacy and potency of Anusara methodology. Additionally, she began a regular meditation practice in 2000. In 2009, she became a student of renowned scholar and meditation teacher Prof. Paul Muller-Ortega, PhD, founder of Blue Throat Yoga, a school of sadhana in the Shaivite Tantric tradition. She is currently enrolled in his advanced level of study.

With mystical experiences from childhood and with an avid interest in spirituality as an early teenager, she found her home in yoga in her early 20s. Tantric yoga philosophy and practice ultimately resonated most deeply with its life-embracing, life-enhancing, and life-expanding orientation. She delights in the continual discovery of the parallels between the myriad mystical and wisdom traditions, and particularly resonates with the Celtic reverence for the cycles of nature and Jesus’ real-life parallel transformation into the Christ. She also grounds her body and mind in attunement with the consciousness in nature through a growing dedication to Ayurveda, having completed Cate Stillman’s 9-month Living Ayurveda course in 2013. More recently, she is delving into the crossroads between yoga and psychology, both for herself and as a teacher of yoga, under the mentorship of Livia Cohen-Shapiro.

Gina holds a degree in Romance Languages from the University of Georgia, with a minor in philosophy. She is also a Reiki Master and learned Thai Yoga Therapy from Saul David Raye in 2001, arts she no longer practices but whose studies inform her present day offerings. An E-RYT 500 with Yoga Alliance, she is the director and senior teacher of Yoga Collective in Atlanta, GA, where she leads the BODY of LIGHT Yoga Immersion and Teacher Training along with public classes and private sessions, as well as workshops regionally and nationally. Gina is a two-time Lululemon ambassador, and a leader in the Atlanta yoga community. When not on the yoga mat or in the meditation seat, she enjoys her delightful son, the bliss of nature, nourishing herself with whole foods, and rocking out to 80’s hair metal.

Website: Gina Minyard Yoga

Becky Nickerson

BNickerson_2015Becky Nickerson, founder of Infinity Yoga, in Atlanta, has developed her yoga practice throughout her travels, in the United States, as well as abroad in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Mexico. Becky’s Infinity Flow class combines breath awareness with movement, deep meditation, and music, which offers an exciting, fun, and yet challenging way to connect your body, mind, and spirit.

Becky completed her 500-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification at the Himalayan Institute with teachers Rolf Sovik PsyD., Sandra Anderson, Shari Friedrichson, and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait PhD. Since Becky finished her first Power Vinyasa Yoga Certification at Green Monkey, Miami Beach with Paul Toliuszis, Becky has taught over a thousand yoga classes. Becky also continually expands her practice as a student of Ashtanga’s preeminent Yoga teachers, including Tim Miller, Tim Feldmann, and Daylene Christensen.

Website: Infinity Yoga

Joe Palese

Joe Palese 2Joe has been a professional Yoga teacher for 18 years, completing his first training at the World Yoga Center in New York City in 1997. He then continued his studies with John Friend in the Spring of 1998 to the present. Along the way Joe has studied with Tias Little, Erich Schiffman, Judith Lasater, and Amy Ippolliti. He has taught numerous trainings and workshops and national and international retreats. As a professional musician and composer, Joe has found a way to merge both disciplines into his approach as a teacher in the classroom and training facilitator.

Astrid Santana

AstridSantana Astrid is a reformed wild child who has, through the magic of the yoga practice, found inner peace and joy in a real and lasting way. Which is not to say that life is all kittens and rainbows all day every day, or that she never gets down or grouchy or that she never drinks beer. But ever since she has been committed to this practice, she’s found that the hard times are mostly more meaningful and less overwhelming. And the good times are more meaningful, more awe-inspiring, and more sustaining. She’s had the privilege of studying with some amazing humans, like Yoganand Michael Carrol who has helped her tremendously to overcome her b.s. and live her life in a more authentic way, more connected to spirit than she’d ever thought possible. She spent the summer of this year studying with Gina Minyard and Marlysa Sullivan, whose alignment magic helped her to heal old injuries and know how to prevent new ones, both in her own body and in her students. She has a hot rock star boyfriend and two amazing dogs, and when she’s not teaching or practicing yoga, she’s usually hanging out with them, playing frisbee in her backyard or in a national forest. She loves mountains and rivers and trees, and spends as much time as possible galavanting in the wilderness.

Website: Astrid Santana

Gillian St. Clair

GillianSt Clair-300pxNomadic from birth, the daughter of traveling ministers, St. Clair traveled all over Europe and the US listening to her mother teach.

Gillian started her asana practice in 1999. She had come from a life of dancing (ballet & contemporary) and didn’t know how much she relied on the physical to take care of her emotional state until the day she quit dance. She had no knowledge of where she was storing all her feelings (her life) until that moment. So when she took her first Ashtanga yoga class she felt completely clear again, it was magic! She felt whole.

For a long time that is where she stayed, heavy in the physical form and she thought that way worked for everyone until she came back from India. She tried to teach what she had learned and was sorely mistaken on how yoga works for everybody. Lesson learned, re-learned, and continuously defined and refined on how she can be of service to others, herself, and her family through the practice of yoga.

She opened Steadfast and True Yoga in Nashville TN in August 2010. She wanted to create a studio and space that holds tightly to values of right action, less distraction to create healthy reactions. She wanted to create an extended family. She succeeded. Steadfast is constantly growing and evolving, but it has been and will continue to be an amazing journey.

Gillian is very passionate about truth and integrity and asks for that in her yoga classes. She asks the yogi to seek the knowledge of breath and asana before the fluidity and vinyasa. Having said that, she teaches very strong alignment-based Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Hatha classes. It’s important to understand that everything in yoga is attainable although its process that needs to explored.

She asks the students to focus on what their true needs are and let go of wants. That way they (we) can stop being so needy and stop wanting what isn’t ours. “Contentment before bliss, peace is in the middle.”

Website: St. Clair Yoga