teachers open the door, but you must walk through yourself
Margot’s passion for the creative goes far beyond her unique eye for design and innovative class sequencing. Margot has the ability to turn a room into a sanctuary, and a business into a community of people working together for a greater good. Margot began practicing yoga when she was just 13 years old and has since made a conscious effort to always have yoga in her life, by creating yoga programs at her high school and continuing her practice in college. Margot has achieved many yoga certifications, the most recent is her 500 hour certificate from Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in NYC. Margot’s style of teaching is influenced by more than 15 years of devotion to her personal yoga practice. In class with Margot you will always find something new, whether it is new poses, beautifully choreographed sequences or amazing play lists.
“I teach directly from my own mat. Whatever I am working on or undergoing in my own life and practice will flow through me and then into my classes. I truly believe that yoga is an extension of how we live our lives and that every challenge we encounter whether on or off the mat is meant to help us learn a deeper lesson of how we live, communicate and treat eachother and ourselves,” says Margot.
Margot has successfully owned and operated Breathing Room since 2009 and has committed to continuing her mission of providing good quality yoga at a fair price with seva, selfless service initiatives woven in. Margot’s goal in opening Breathing Room was to create a space in which people can come and practice in their own way, hence the original Breathing Room slogan designed by Margot, “yoga for you.” By continuing on her path, Margot is doing just that. Since 2009, Breathing Room has been voted “Best Yoga Center in New Haven” in both the New Haven Advocate and New Have Register as well as receiving the Downtowner of the Year Award by the Downtown District.
Tobie was introduced to yoga in her early twenties but didn't start a dedicated practice until her 29th birthday when her mother brought her to Kripalu Center in the Berkshires. Since then she has completed her 200hr certification in an Iyengar influenced style of yoga. She has learned from teachers such as Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, Rolf Gates, Baron Baptiste and Stephen Cope. Tobie teaches a vinyasa style of yoga with an attention to form and alignment. She believes that form and alignment are the keys to freedom in the body and freedom in the breath. Being a massage therapist for the last 10 years and receiving her masters in clinical nutrition two years ago, Tobie has a well rounded understanding of the body. Her classes are challenging and fun while giving the students an awareness that they are ultimately their own teacher and can guide their practice to fit their needs.
Influenced by several traditions, styles and teachers, my alignment-based classes are a decisive blend of what speaks to me and is at the forefront of my personal practice. My major influences include Katonah Yoga, Hatha, Kundalini Yoga, Yoga Nidra, meditation and my continued studies with my mentor, Elena Brower. I am honored to travel and assist at many of Elena’s retreats and workshops. In my classes I ask that we become more sensitive and specific with how we place our bodies and how we relate to ourselves. I think we are all attempting to understand ourselves a little bit better. When our architecture is sound, when we are stable we can find more space. When we strengthen to become more buoyant, light, and serene in our bodies we create more ease. I believe our privilege is to create sustainable, mindful practices to increase longevity, endurance, resilience, and agility in every part of ourselves and our life at large. Living with a sense of ease means we can bring the best version of ourselves to the forefront, which is ultimately what we all want for ourselves and for the people close to us.
Rebecca Smith (500 E-RYT) loves to challenge students to be curious on the mat, to seek a deeper understanding and connection to their internal experience, and to strike a balance between effort and ease through consistent practice. In other words, be playful, be present, try something new, but be disciplined and diligent in dedicating time to your yoga. In Rebecca’s vinyasa classes, you can expect to work hard, breath steady, rest easy, and sit quietly every time. Her sequencing is intentional and inviting to all levels to build the practice that’s right for you in the moment. Her favorite phrase to remind students of is “don’t be intimidated, be inspired!”
Though most of her classes are vinyasa, Rebecca enjoys teaching a variety of styles of yoga. Whether restorative or vigorous, she seeks to empower each student with self-care knowledge physically and mentally, always encouraging and hoping to inspire a consistent home practice. She draws on her dance background for creative movement, her personal injury recovery for modifications and healing, and her military years to bring discipline and strength to the mat.
Rebecca is honored to teach in both 200 & 300 hour programs for Lara Ward’s Lotus Gardens Yoga School and to be an ambassador for Veterans Yoga Project with Daniel Libby, Ph.D.
Amy is a E-RYT500hr Yoga Teacher and a Yoga Therapist in training with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy. She first received her 200-hr training in Vinyasa at Joschi Institute in Manhattan in 2013. Amy’s teaching has a foundation of Vinyasa flow for all levels. Her Vinyasa classes range from powerful and sweat-provoking to slow and meditative. In addition to Vinyasa she teaches Gentle Yoga, Yoga for Athletes, and Therapeutic Yoga, in group or individual settings. Her more recent in-depth study in anatomy and Yoga Therapy are interwoven in all of her classes. Amy fell in love with the Asana practice for the physical and physiological benefits, but it really started to change her life when she made the connection between the physical, emotional, and spiritual body. It was at that realization that Amy was able to transform anxiety and frequent panic attacks into a more calm and steady presence. Her purpose is to share the practice with others, to remind her students and herself that we are whole complete beings already and yoga helps us see that. She encourages her students to tune into awareness and mindfulness in order to learn when to increase effort and when to apply ease in their physical, mental, and spiritual yoga practice. Amy is continuing her education with Inner Peace Yoga Therapy of Durango, CO, in pursuit of her 1,000-hour certification as a Certified Yoga Therapist (CYT) through IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists), under the guidance of senior teachers such as Neil Pearson, Maria Mendola, Dr. Marc Halpern, Nischala Joy Devi , Amy Weintraub, Laura Kupperman, and Michele Lawerence.
Having taught, trained and hosted retreats internationally since earning her 200hr YTT, Julia is happy to call Breathing Room and New Haven home. She is currently immersed in a 500 hour yoga therapy training and in addition to her asana and meditation offerings, she serves as our intrepid office manager.
After years of nomadic lifestyle, sailing on Tall Ships and living in jungles, in 2010 Staci found a steady home practicing yoga. Her geographic and spiritual journey continued to unfold, bringing her to New Haven just in time for Breathing Room's inaugural 200 hour Teacher Training in 2014-2015. She then went on to complete her Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) certification with Nikki Myers.
Staci studies weekly at the Shambhala Meditation Center and incorporates many aspects of meditation and mindfulness into her Vinyasa and Restorative classes. She also teaches various forms of Recovery Yoga throughout New Haven and believes that yoga and meditation can be a very valuable relapse prevention tool, working to re-integrate the lost self.
Staci is honored to be able to continue to study here at Breathing Room with her amazing teachers and explore the living art of yoga together.
Visual artist and muralist, fashion villain, art school founder and peacemonger, Kwadwo offers a 30 minute guided meditation at Breathing Room every Wednesday night.
Sasha began her path as a yoga teacher in 2005 at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram in India where she completed her first 200-hour training. It was here that she realized yoga to be a completely integrative way of life, far more than just the physical poses she had set out to learn. In 2006, she moved to Maui to continue her yogic quest and enrolled in her second 200-hour teacher training with Eddie Modestini and Nicki Doane. Here she studied in the Krishnamacharya lineage and deepened her understanding of physical alignment and yoga therapy. Sasha went on to become an Urban Zen Integrative Therapist (UZIT) in 2011 in NYC under her teachers Rodney Yee, Richard Freeman, Colleen Saidman Yee and Roshi Joan Halifax. At Urban Zen, Sasha learned to layer healing modalities such as essential oil therapy, Reiki, contemplative care, and restorative yoga for use with patients, workers and families in hospital settings and also for her own self-care. Sasha is honored and humbled to be carrying on the ancient tradition of hatha yoga and excited for the continuous discovery of alignment within the body and within everyday life.
Sasha Krushnic’s 10+ years of vinyasa and ashtanga yoga practice has helped him cultivate introspective awareness and an appreciation for reality. He completed a 200hr yoga teacher training at Breathing Room Yoga Center and is also a certified Acro Revolution Instructor. Discovering Acro sprouted new growth as he found it to be an amazingly fun way to develop coordination, strength, and balance within the context of our super social existence as humans. He also has a residential green design build practice and is developing innovative high efficiency architectural products. Sasha’s weekly classes include Vinyasa Flow Yoga, and Open level as well as Intermediate Acro. IG @skrucial, FB Sasha Krushnic. Find him often teaching with the powerhouse flier Abigail Bowesox (@arbsox), and spectacular circus vet Gracie White (@gracie_gw).
Haley believes that everyone’s body and mind can benefit from the yoga journey. She began her own journey in 2002, when she signed up for Yoga 101 as part of a gym requirement for college. It was there that she was introduced to the various styles of yoga and learned basic postures as well as breathing exercises. She enjoyed the increased flexibility, strength, and the clarity of a calm mind; and immediately fell in love!
Haley loves learning and sharing what she has learned with others. She enjoys teaching mixed-level hatha, vinyasa flow and restorative classes that offer an introduction for students new to yoga while encouraging experienced students to deepen their awareness of technique, breath and movement.
Saskia Bergmans Smith has been teaching and studying yoga since 1997. Saskia is Dutch, yet she grew up in England. In Europe she studied with Dona Holleman and Orit Sen-Gupta. In Boston, MA, Saskia completed her 200hr teacher training in 2004 and her 500hr in 2007, with Kim Valeri, Founder and Director of yogaspirit® Studios. Saskia teaches in the style of the yogaspirit®; lineage and is part of the yogaspirit® 200hr teacher training faculty. She ran and operated her own yoga studio, Studio Om, from 2003-2010, in Wakefield, MA.
Saskia has taught prenatal and postnatal yoga since 2003, she has practiced as a doula and teaches workshops to educate parents on the importance of prenatal and postpartum self-care. Saskia holds a safe and sacred space for her students connect with their ever-changing pregnant bodies, integrating asana and restorative yoga into her prenatal and postnatal classes. She cultivates learning in her students through inspired by the yogaspirit® lineage, guiding a multi-level class from the physical foundation of the body to the healing components of yoga. Saskia a devoted mother to two little girls and continues to develop her teaching and healing skills through working with her private clients.
We arrive to this very moment and I am honored to briefly share our path of discovery together. Classes are influenced by a meditative flow, helping to bring your awareness to the now, to the present moment. My offerings are influenced directly from my personal mat practice, from my studies and offerings from my teachers. All these influences bring unique and challenging yoga sequences, mind calming techniques and guidance to look inward to one's own-self. I offer yoga beyond the physical movement by sprinkling the seeds of kindness, acceptance, compassion and love during the asana practice.
How did I arrive here? Years I simply lay dormant, one with the mud of the universe, and in high school the universe presented a gift on my path, a new path of meditation. So began the practice of reflecting and calming the turbulence of my mind and walking on the path from darkness (suffering) to light. So many meditation paths all culminating to catapult me to journey to India to study and learn the noble effort of selfless service to all beings. Earning my 200 hour certification, I now am engaged in an additional 500 hour teacher training journey to study the Non-dual Saiva Tantra teachings. I honor the light of your heart, freely share the light of my heart and simply offer myself as a conduit to the teachings I have learned. See you on the mat.
May you and all beings be happy.
Brett has been devoted to the study and application of how human beings work and thrive since 1995. This in-depth study has been supported like a good chair with the four pillars of Yoga, Meditation, Chinese Medicine, and Life Coaching. He has been teaching Yoga since 2001. He has studied in the United States as well as in Mysore India under numerous esteemed teachers; Tias Little, Sarah Powers, and Adyashanti being foundational. Brett shares and teaches that which is true and alive in him. His teaching springs from a strong grounding in the Ashtanga Vinyasa tradition modified to suit differing levels and tempered by careful attention to finding both anatomical as well as "true" alignment in the poses. His approach encourages the release of holding, being and thinking patterns that make a home for fear and discomfort in the body. Brett certifies himself daily to step into unconditional peace, joy, and contentment (and sometimes stumbles in this :o).
Recognizing that children need balance and focus in their lives, Lani Rosen-Gallagher (M.Ed., RYT 200, RCYT) first incorporated yoga into her daily schedule while teaching first grade in Coney Island in Brooklyn. After getting certified with Next Generation Yoga in NYC, she founded Full of Joy Yoga in San Francisco in 2004. In 2007, she relocated to Connecticut, bringing her expertise to the East Coast. Lani teaches yoga to children in preschools, public schools, yoga studios, libraries and her favorite classes to teach are family yoga! Lani has also been certified with Next Generation Yoga in Kenya, the Radiant Child Yoga Program, Street Yoga, Circus Yoga, Baby Om & Mindful Schools.
Training others to teach yoga to children is one of Lani's passions with a main goal of getting yoga & mindfulness into every school! She’s been leading her Full of Joy Yoga Kids Yoga Teacher Trainings since 2006. Currently she is teaching her “Mindful Yoga Breaks” curriculum to teachers and students in the New Haven Public schools. She is also the creator of the Mindful Yoga Breaks Anchor Breath poster and card deck to go with her Mindful Yoga Breaks curriculum.
Lani is always striving to improve the lives and futures of children, helping them laugh, love, and grow. You can find Lani at fullofjoyoga.com
I believe in the transformative power of movement and have found the practice of yoga to be a powerful system for discovering new ways to step deeper into our full selves. With a spirit of playfulness, I love to combine traditional shapes with creative sequencing, drop in lots of inspiration, along with doses of introspective thought to help deepen your practice. As an advocate for the liberation of all bodies, I seek to create a safe and supportive space to integrate the body, mind and spirit through movement. My hope is that you step off the mat feeling refreshed, centered and energized.
Emily believes yoga is a healing, magical experience that just also happens to create fun shapes with your body & build strong muscles. She taught dance & other fitness formats for nine years before her bones craved healing & she began a daily yoga practice. It has been a tumultuous love affair ever since. Fueled by her love of people, music & dance, her classes are always rocking great tunes & inviting to all people regardless of experience, anxiety, body size, flexibility, or even who you voted for! ;)
She desires for all humans to know their innate worth & feel at home in their bodies. She recognizes (from experience that) yoga can be just as-if not more-challenging to the brain as it is for the body. Her background in mental health helps her create a space where even in the wrestling with stillness & quiet, students are always invited to simply be where they are...even if that's a fetal position for 60 minutes. Come for the tunes, stay for the creative sequencing...or just stay for that shavasana.
Emily has trained under renowned Iyengar instructor, Richard Sachtel, in Seattle, WA who she credits for her anatomically charged cues. Her funky, powerful sequencing and ever present focus on the unique, individual experience of yoga she credits to teachers & friends, Elsie Irvin & Lindsay Dover Wheeler in Atlanta, GA.
Emily is new to New Haven, accompanied by her main man, Henri, who happens to be a 12 lb ball of floof. She loves beet juice, french fries, laughing, is always talking about social justice for everyone, & working for more ways to bring yoga to ALL the people.
Chris has been practicing yoga for seven years. He began his yoga practice to improve his back pain and he was surprised by how much it helped. His back pain is gone and practicing yoga has also improved his mood and overall health. In March of 2015, he completed a 200-hour certificate course at Breathing Room in New Haven, CT. Chris has enjoyed expanding his understanding of yoga and he now teaches classes at Breathing Room as well as offering private lessons in his home studio. Chris is a connoisseur of the arts. He collects visual works from local artists and music from all over the world. He brings his love of music into to the yoga studio with his unique playlists. Chris lives in New Haven with his wife and three children.
I am a yoga instructor because I simply cannot imagine not sharing this practice, this way of living. Come to my class and reap the benefits of this energizing body, breath and mind experience. It is indeed a magnificent way to free yourself from your own ‘Private Idaho’ : all that junk each one of us has. My personal practice will be lifelong, of this I am certain. Showing you all this lifelong path connects me directly to my happiness. My classes will allow you to hold your own space as you practice a rhythmical and dynamic flow with guidance, helping you connect to what it is that you may need that day.
My trainings include 200HR with Claire Este-McDonald and Gregor Singleton from Divine Play Yoga. Boston, as well as their Advanced Teacher training and Assisting Workshop. Other trainings I have completed are with Baron Baptiste, Jason Crandall and Tiffany Cruikshank, among others. I am also Patvan (Aerial) Yoga Teacher certified and enjoy teaching this challenging,and flighty(!) practice.
I have recently relocated to this Connecticut area for my home, after living in Pittsburgh for 25 wonderful years where I taught yoga and raised my three kids. It was time to return to New England, being a Boston area native. To be on the ocean again is something that I will never take for granted!
Josh was born and raised in New Haven, CT and began drumming at age 6 and working at age 8 as a professional child actor. In 2004, Josh found yoga in an audition for “The Blue Man Group” in New York City. The casting directors told him he had great instincts but lacked focus, and recommended he take some yoga classes!! In 2006, when he moved to Los Angeles, he found the west coast way of life highly conducive to spiritual awakening. On his own, he began doing austerity practices like fasting, vows of silence, celibacy and hours of seated meditation. He read texts from all religions and schools of thought, learning as much as possible about spirituality as a whole. In 2010, he completed a 40hr transformative mediation training with Ken Cloke, founder of Mediators Beyond Borders. In 2012 he began visiting “The Esalen Institute” in Big Sur and co-created a meditation podcast called “The Shaman And The Rockstar”. In 2014, Josh decided he wanted to tie his acting skills, his love for teaching music and his practice of yoga all together. He began playing live music for yoga classes around CT and New York with the intention of becoming a yoga teacher. Then, magically in 2015, one of the studios he was working with and practicing at needed a sub for a yoga class and asked Josh if he would step in and teach! The class was rough and he knew he would have a lot to do before he really felt confident as a teacher. He began teaching at CT Bowspring, then Sama Yoga in New Canaan CT and Balanced Yoga in New Haven CT; honing his skills as a teacher by teaching. In 2018 he completed a 300hr advanced Bhakti Yoga teacher training with Raghunath at Supersoul Yoga in Chatham, NY. He still teaches music, yoga and meditation privately in his home in New Haven CT, and holds public yoga classes at Sama Yoga, Balanced Yoga, Bend Yoga in Milford, CT and Breathing Room Yoga in New Haven, CT. His classes are challenging and fun for students of all levels, and he is always eager to share the practices of music and Bhakti Yoga with anyone who wants to learn.