Teachers

Everyday People.

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.

Blanca Alcaraz

Founder, Co-Owner

blanca@beinunion.com

b titiI came to yoga through resistance.

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.

Jaclyn Kryzak

Creator, Co-Owner

jaclyn@beinunion.com

jaci 2My mom died at 36 when I was just 10 years old. Because of this I live like each day might be my last–living and giving fully, unafraid, in the present, taking advantage of all life has to offer, challenges included.  I love, coach, lawyer, teach and practice the same way. The practice of yoga is what facilitates this for me–what regenerates and empowers me, keeps me fit in every form to tackle every day life. 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, exponential love  and remarriage, and my step son—who has taught me about so many things, but most importantly, about selfless and unconditional love and what it means to be a mother and a caretaker. 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, teacher, trainer and coach. My love and passion to create, to work through all the details and 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, 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.

Janelle Browning

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.

Diane Wong

diane 2I came to yoga to heal myself.

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.

Nancy Bernhard

Nancy BErnhard picI 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.

Gen Richardson

GEN PICI 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.

Kristi McNeil

 

 

 

 

Kaitlan Spedden

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. 

Maegen Brady

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. 

 

Jennie Seigel

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.  

Tina Los

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.

Jill Rodgers

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

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.

Allie, her partner, and their six animals enjoy hiking, brewery hopping, and disc golfing during any free time.
 

Melissa Lavoie

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!