Our yoga teachers are firefighters, lawyers, musicians, therapists, artists, small business owners, brokers, coaches, writers, foodies, cyclists, runners and family members, etc., just like you. Come check them out.
Raised as a migrant worker, I learned about the boundless power, beauty and energy of the land. My unwavering respect for our soil was literally cultivated in our family’s daily dependence on it for survival.
From the work fields I migrated into an adolescence filled with violence, anger and rage, so much so that an educator told me that I would be dead by the age of 16. Fortunately for me, another educator was able to recognize and hone my true potential. Simply put, he believed in me.
One of the first places that I learned to listen to my body and to find in it an expressive path was sports. My years as a competitive athlete in the US and abroad made me entirely dismiss the idea of yoga.
My first experience with yoga was shortly after 9/11. As a firefighter, my sense of loss for everyone that day grew tremendously. Words became insufficient and my body became a receptacle for that silence and stress. For me, exercise has always had a meditative quality that unites my body, mind and soul. Increasingly, however, going to the gym was not enough, and injury and overuse had made many other sports impossible. With yoga, I found that I no longer was trying to prove anything to anyone, especially to myself, that simply being is enough.
As I deepened my exploration of yoga training, I also rediscovered many of the mind-body healing traditions that surrounded my youth—the heat work of Temazcal, the energy work of Curanderos; my yoga practice today blends not only East and West but also North and South.
My life is an example of the power of unconditional love and a testament to giving kids a second chance. I am forever grateful.
My mom died at 36 when I was just 10 years old. Because of this I live like each day might be my last–in the present, taking advantage of all life has to offer, challenges included. I love, parent, coach, represent my legal and real estate clients, teach and practice the same way. Yoga is what facilitates this for me–what regenerates and empowers me; what teaches me to be courageous and calm in the unknown and the uncomfortable; what challenges me to both push my limits and know when to respect them; what keeps me fit in every form to tackle every day life. And it’s what I aim to share with you.
I spent the first half of my life as a competitive athlete, becoming and being a division 1 women’s ice hockey player for Boston College. Being an athlete taught me to work—hard, and to work on me. It taught me to how to support, inspire and encourage people including myself; to be 100 % me because everybody plays a role and I had something important to contribute; to not be detoured by loss or failure; and to never give up on my goals or myself. Turns out this too is yoga and it’s what I aim to share with you.
In the second half of my life I found law school, yoga, marriage, divorce, cooking, coaching, travel, and exponential love in my remarriage and my step son—who has taught me about so many things, but most importantly, about selfless and unconditional love. All this and the root of all my passions to date have led me to being: a solo practitioner (lawyer) working with people to actively participate in the resolution of their problems or to help build their dreams (family law, real estate, estate planning, business incorporation, etc.), a real estate broker, small business owner, entrepreneur, parent, partner, teacher, trainer and coach who loves to travel, cook (and eat!) and snuggle our two cats and two dogs. My love and passion to live, love and create, and to work through all the details to help build your dreams…this is what I aim to share with you.
For me yoga is about balancing, recovering from and preparing for the craziness of life; figuring out what we need/love/makes us happy/no longer serves us; how to support ourselves being our best self; and learning how to breathe and be where we are while doing all that. As we empower ourselves through this process on our mats, the more able we are to do all this off our mats, in our day to day life. In my teaching I create opportunities to practice this through creative and varied sequencing that requires you to learn to be present and connected to your mind and body; that invites you to fall and fail and get back up; and that incorporates many balancing poses and focuses on the small spaces and details which we tend to pass over. This is what I will share with you.
I was never athletic as a kid. I wasn’t good at sports, and I was self-conscious about my lack of coordination. I first attended a yoga class in the late 1990s, and it provided me a new feeling of presence and strength I’d never had. It gave me the confidence to engage in all kinds of intense exercise–boxing, pilates, running, spinning–and fundamentally changed how I live in my body.
Regular exercise became central to my life in ways I’d never expected, but the impact was primarily limited to physical benefits. I felt great when I left the gym, but it wasn’t a lasting feeling, and I had to exercise nearly every day to maintain that equilibrium. To be frank, if I didn’t exercise, I got anxious. Yoga has given me a way to integrate an exercise practice that connects my body and mind. It gives me an ongoing foundation of focus and ease —physically, sure, but also emotionally and mentally—that is not dependent on my logging a certain number of hours per week at a gym. It has improved my strength and stamina, and continually supports my performance in other physically demanding activities. I still love to box.
Yoga has provided me with a balance I’ve never found anywhere else. My practice has taught me hard and much-needed lessons in slowing down. When a recent unexpected knee surgery kept me out of the gym and the studio for nearly a month, I didn’t have the anxiety spike I’d have expected; my equilibrium is no longer solely tied to exercise. My practice extends throughout my life. It has changed the way I breathe. It has taught me to enjoy the transitions and pauses as much as I enjoy landing where I’ve aimed.
Born into a Black, Chinese, Mexican, Irish, Native American family, I grew up as a member of Cleveland’s black community and attended a segregated school system. My first race learning experience was a 5th grade American History class where I read that blacks were slaves in America and much better off as well-treated and provided for slaves than savages in the darkest jungles of Africa from when they were rescued to work in a glorious America. This is what I learned about myself and my heritage in America. Devastated by this picture of myself, I was heart broken. I sunk into deep distress, unhappiness and shame about my race, my family, my people, myself. At the same time, it provided a clear life purpose for me.
I found my way to Harvard Law School which seemed to be the best direction to get involved in race issues. After graduation living and working in Portland Oregon, I found World Work and was drawn to their process oriented group work, community building, leadership skills and their work for Spiritual Warriors as a way to begin to unlayer the stuck energies that existed inside me as the result of the trauma of race. For 5 years in Oregon and for times after, I learned to tap into those deep places within myself until I was no longer so easily triggered by old stuck feelings and thoughts.
I moved back to the Boston area in 1996 and found yoga as a refuge for me to go and heal. In yoga, I learned to move and breathe and to simply be. As a yoga teacher I’ve had the opportunity to find for myself and to create for my students, deep healing work through all 8 limbs of yoga, and specifically modalities of Yin, meditation, the chakras, and Pranayama.
In 2016 looking for clear ways into the world of race and healing, I co-founded, with an Oregon Colleague, Dr. Nancy Rogene, Healing our Human Family: Let’s Talk About Race. Here in Somerville under the auspices of SCATV and Boston Free Radio, I bring my commitment to race dialogue, deep processing skills and yogic healing on the internal plane into a full program for unfolding and healing our racial dilemma, podcasting and broadcasting uninterrupted healing meditation and dialogue, so that the race aspects which we all carry within us can be fully experienced, explored and finally released to the Universe to be transformed. I have also begun recording meditations, not related to race but in general the process of awareness, healing and harnessing the power we have within, which you can check out at https://www.mixcloud.com/diane-wong/.
In my teaching I bring whole heartedly, my passion to create space for students to fully experience and explore their body, mind, emotions, their own stuck energies and feelings and to release and transform.
I came to yoga for the chance to slow down in an overdrive life of academics, parenting, and running. I stayed with it because the feeling of release was so delicious. Over time, I realized it was more than a series of movements; it is a wise and vital guide to living in a human body. My practice has taught me how to observe without judging, how to ease rather than force myself into something difficult, how to stay calm and present when something remains difficult, and how to release with purpose.
After a dozen years of practice, I began to teach. In class I offer space for students to take what they need on any given day, whether it’s to ground, reach, strengthen, relax, or just breathe.
I grew up playing outside until I was called in for dinner. I evolved into a hockey player and eventually competed at the highest level traveling internationally with Team USA. Afterwards, I embraced running and cycling and turned myself into an ultra endurance athlete. I started yoga as a new way to challenge myself mentally and physically, though quickly received more—patience and a new understanding for physical strength and lack thereof.
Aside from being an athlete, I am a community volunteer, a coach, a mentor, a sister, a beer connoisseur and the proud owner of a rescue pup I named Monkey. I am passionate and present, direct and honest and love to laugh. I am the same in how I teach.
While I emphasize physical mechanics, I encourage freedom of expression and offer humor and thought provoking bits for you to take or leave. There was once a time I let years go by without practicing until a former ice hockey teammate offered me the gift of yoga. I have since been inspired to carry her kindness and offer the same gift to others.
Yoga is a steadfast part of my life both physically and intuitively–though fifteen years ago the thought of yoga barely entered my mind. My interest began after reading Force of Nature, a book about big wave surfer Liard Hamilton, who practices yoga to help him with the physical and mental challenges of surfing. It inspired me and I began practicing at home on a $20 mat and guidance from that book and haven’t looked back.
My life has always been fast-pasted between work, raising a family, caring for extended family and my incessant need to bake in order to fulfill my creative passion and take me back to that nostalgic and comforting “grandmother’s kitchen”. My whirlwind existence has been calmed and centered by practicing yoga. That “how you feel after class” emotion had interwoven itself into my life, so much so that several years ago I decided to dive in deeper and embraced be. in Union’s yoga teacher training, simply one of the best decisions in my life.
For the last five years I’ve become infatuated with massage ball therapy. My enthusiasm lead me to become certified to teach through Jill Miller’s Roll Model Method Training. The deep tissue release and evolving knowledge of the body is the perfect complement to your yoga practice, allowing you to become even more in tune with yourself and to release the tension and stress we carry. In my Roll & Restore class I will be sharing the bliss of massage ball therapy, making it an accessible and effective supplement to your yoga practice!
I grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and have since lived in North Carolina, Colorado and Switzerland before moving to the Boston area in 2017. Growing up I studied ballet which informs my approach to yoga, encouraging a focus on flow, anatomy and strength. I’m passionate about travel and dedicating time to regularly explore new cultures and parts of the world and privileged to do so both as a part of my professional work and personal pleasure. I look forward to sharing the balance I found through my own practice with all of you.
A college athlete, two time Boston Olympic triathlete and published researcher turned local, experienced Orthopedic Physical Therapist and now yoga teacher. She’s successfully treated hundreds of patients with a wide range of conditions and offers a whole body wellness approach to yoga that focuses on maximizing function through movement and breath.
A long time Ace Certified personal trainer and Muay Thai trained martial arts teacher turned EMT and now yoga teacher. I’m also a creative artist and classically trained musician who frequents Boston’s live music scene. My focus is on using compassion, positivity and my deep knowledge of the human body to cultivate a safe space to find relief from stress and anxiety while building strength and flexibility.
I am committed to creating a space where all bodies and abilities can feel safe and creative and discover their inherent strength. I blend traditional sequences with more creative moments of play informed by my knowledge of anatomy and movement. And I invite you to come cultivate a space inside your body that feels like home.
As a competitive triathlete and marathoner I was comfortable pushing my body to its limits but was unable to listen to my body or rest…until I found yoga. Now, as a coach and (education and yoga) teacher I build community and classes with enthusiasm, kindness and compassion to create space where everyone feels safe and able to privilege their health and their bodies over competition. Off the mat you can find me dancing around the kitchen while cooking for friends and family, enjoying the outdoors while running, hiking or biking or devouring books at the beach. On the mat you’ll find me honored to practice with you all.
I seek to create a warm and welcoming space for practitioners of all levels. I’m lighthearted and articulate, and mix powerful shapes, ways to reset the mind-body connection and a sense of play into my carefully sequenced classes. I love to learn about the students who practice with me regularly and watch them grow over time. My continued studies often focus on the anatomy and mechanics of yoga and I strive to convey that knowledge on the mat.
I’ve been teaching since 2016, and―forever a student―look forward to completing my 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training in 2022.
Off the mat I happily explore and support the small businesses of Somerville. Cooking and dining are great loves, and I’m always thrilled to read about and discuss all things food and food history. I yearn for the beach and sunshine in warm weather. And I’m a great proponent of the cozy life, often snuggled on the couch with a book or good film, my fiancé and my senior adopted cat. You can find me on Instagram (@somerjill).
Allie Jackson found her passion for yoga in college as she sought out peace during finals season. She quickly found the challenge of yoga to calm the mind while also pushing the physical body. Throughout the past ten years, Allie continued a regimented Bikram and vinyasa practice to find her edge and grow mentally, physically, and spiritually.
When not in the studio, Allie is a middle school literacy specialist. Allie has multiple years of experience working with students who have trauma backgrounds. Allie works meditation, mindfulness, and yoga in her classroom instruction. She is currently in her doctoral program for Counseling and Community Care with a concentration in Trauma. With this degree, Allie hopes to bring yoga therapy as a regular practice to help improve the academic achievement of trauma-impacted students and improve the teaching practices of trauma-impacted teachers.
I am a yoga and meditation instructor with a master’s degree in Integrative Health and Wellness Coaching from the University of Minnesota. I have been integrating Hatha, Yin, Restorative and Therapeutic Yoga practices with mind-body techniques such as guided imagery and mindfulness meditation for nearly a decade. My classes aim to enhance states of holistic health and healing by utilizing these modalities to calm the nervous system, release layers of tension and facilitate feelings of ease. They range from a slow, steady Hatha Flow that evokes physical and mental balance to relaxation-enhancing practices that help slow down and re-center from our busy day-to-day. I teach to provide a safe place for others to explore their unique path to wellbeing, inner peacefulness and resilience in their lives, both on and off the mat!
Elizabeth (Betty) Baratta
I first discovered yoga as a panacea to a tight runner’s body while living in NYC as a young woman, having decided to check out a class called “Yoga for Runners”. Little did I know then the teacher was Beryl Bender! At this time in my life, yoga was just stretching. Over the course of my life yoga came in and out of my life and the reasons I engaged in it changed as well. I can remember when my kids were babies committing to just one posture as I walked down the hall to respond to a crying baby. That was all it could be some days. Now with my babies launched out into the world, I have the time and energy to bring yoga fully back into my life.
As a mental health therapist my journey has been somewhat the same over the last 20 years—moving from a very “heady” and analytical approach experiencing the mind and body as separate to a more integrated and embodied approach. Before completing the 200 hour teacher training I had completed a 100 hour Yoga for Mental Health and a 15 hour Yin Yoga training that helped support this integrated, embodied and now trauma informed approach I work with clients on. This past year I trained as a birth doula, learning in a new way a mindful approach to discovering and supporting your own body and practice while using self-compassion as the groundwork. These days yoga informs much of my work as a doula and therapist…and vice versa.
Yoga to me is a continual learning about the Self. In my fifties now, I use this practice to cultivate compassion and explore my edge—choosing to stay there on some days and to redefine myself on others. And I look forward to sharing this process of learning, compassion and exploring with you as we grow.
I immigrated to USA from India in my early twenties to attend graduate school in Chicago. Since then, I have straddled two very different cultures, comfortable in both, but sometimes wondering whether I was growing distant from my ‘Indian-ness’. I came to yoga to re-connect with my ancestral culture and appreciate the depth of what it has brought to humanity.
My first real exposure to yoga was an Ashtanga class—the intricacies of the poses captured my imagination and I aspired to learn every one of them. Of course, I haven’t achieved that goal, but I have learnt that yoga is a lifetime of learning where you discover facets of yourself in every asana you practice.
Yoga has taught me about equilibrium, about suspending judgement, being kind to myself and others, staying in the moment, and the paramount importance of breath. My job in cancer drug development can push my mind to frenzy and yoga provides my thoughts a chance to rest and reach stillness.
I came to yoga teacher training at the tail end of the Covid pandemic in search of focus and community. Through the training I have learnt more about the eight limbs of yoga and realized that every practitioner has a unique need from their practice. In my teaching I aspire to create space where every student can flourish and accomplish their own individual needs.
Aside from being a yoga enthusiast and a scientist, I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a dog mom to my Cheweenie Lola; I love to dance, hike, I am a foodie, and an animal lover.
I came to yoga by way of a personal trainer’s recommendation over 10 years ago. I was immediately drawn to the spiritual aspect of yoga and the silent connection I had with people while we moved and breathed together. As a mechanical designer, I often spend many hours a day in my head solving difficult 3D modeling problems or balancing competing product development requirements. What I love about yoga is that it allows me to get out of my head and back into my body.
For years, I continued to ruminate on the difference between yoga, meditation, flow and mindfulness. Recently, I came to the realization that they are simply different expressions of the same thing. I also realized that everything I love has an endless learning curve and requires intense concentration and single-minded focus.
In addition to yoga, some of these things include cycling, CrossFit, cocktail making, playing and writing about video games, and watching every Formula 1 race each season.
I’m first generation Taiwanese American and was raised by parents with a scarcity mindset who demanded academic and professional excellence. My conditioning has led me to do some incredible things like become the lead mechanical engineer at the startup I work at and complete a 24-hour, 40-mile military endurance event. However, I now recognize that the price of my relentless drive and ambition was a persistent lack of self-worth, self-compassion, and therefore, a lack of compassion for others.
Teacher training has taught me how to be more forgiving of myself and how to live with greater intention and less reactivity. I’m able to hold more space for uncertainty and more readily greet discomfort with grace. Teaching yoga is a precious opportunity for me to help make the class feel more grounded when they leave the studio.
As a teacher, I believe that your mat is both a safe space and a sacred space – it’s okay if you decide not to move or breathe with the rest of us. If you decide to move, I invite you to move mindfully and breathe slowly. Your mat is a conduit for freedom and self-expression, so do what feels good and let your intuitive self be your guide.
I am a first generation American Armenian woman who grew up between the duality of two cultures, identities and personas. I am an intentional, whole hearted healer, lover, community collaborator, dancer, business woman, visionary, artist, writer, foodie, small business champion, conscious consumer, amateur photographer, advocate, adventurer, mother nature enthusiast. My favorite hobby is to explore the world—so far 22 countries and counting.
Traveling through life I came to yoga in the way of a gift to be. in Union Yoga studio in 2010. Over the years my challenge was not my physical ability but rather the mental resistance to push myself to physically practice. Until one day my body was no longer interested in staying within the physical limitations my mind had drawn. Exhausted, it was then I truly started my yoga practice, and my teacher training. Though yoga, my healing warrior journey has evolved into a lifestyle practice that has guided me back to my authentic self, into union with my body, my true light and essence as a spiritual person.
My whole life has prepared me for my dharma: to help people, including myself, heal. Through yoga, meditation and life coaching, with support and guidance both on and off the mat, my intention is to create an awakening space to sit with yourself and work through the muddy parts of your story that your body has been holding, and to foster a sense of love and belonging within yourself. My teaching stems from my own, deep personal work, years of practice and training, and ever expanding healing wisdom that I wish to share with you. The time you invest on your mat is your road map back to your true self and I am here to support you on that journey.
Born and raised in LA County, I moved to the East Coast for college in 2012 where I studied English Literature and French. After briefly teaching English in France, I found my way to Boston in 2017. In my years here I have experimented with several different career paths including working as a barista, an editorial assistant in a publishing house, and now as a host/server at a restaurant and yoga teacher. I am discovering that my purpose lies in strengthening connections wherever I go and being part of work cultures that feel like family is integral to realizing that aspiration.
Trained as an academic, I discovered the benefits of yoga when my mental and physical health pulled my attention away from the life of the mind and into my body. To take on the difficult transition out of the classroom and onto the mat, I had to learn to motivate myself through challenge using compassion and encouragement rather than self criticism and judgement. Yoga was an indispensable tool in cultivating this supportive attitude. Yoga taught me that to become the hero of my own story, I first had to become my own friend.
This radical shift in perspective has inspired me to teach others to turn towards themselves with kindness and curiosity when strong sensation arises. My intention is to guide students towards the understanding that whatever intensity they may be facing, they can trust and appreciate their bodies as a space of refuge. My ambition to teach arises from an earnest desire to help people feel safe connecting deeply with themselves, and then from that place of self intimacy, empower them to reach out and build transformative relationships with others.
Throughout class students can expect dialogue that prioritizes introspection and self-attunement over pure power-driven exertion. My cueing aims to challenge students to find strength in unexpected places through focus rather than force. Even when the flow is demanding, my attitude remains consistent: in yoga, the point is not to push yourself, but to know yourself. To step into one of my classes is to allow yourself the opportunity to befriend your inner world.