You’re Guided by some of the Best in Kansas City
Your yoga teacher should be present as a guide and interpreter. The actual experience of practicing yoga is very personal though. Almost all of our teachers are full time yoga teachers, have certifications, and are lifelong students themselves. Learn more about them below.
E-RYT 500, M.S. in Exercise Physiology & Biomechanics
Gwen says: “Yoga is my life practice! I want to share the wisdom of this ancient healing practice with everyone I meet. Yoga is about immersing yourself in your life, and becoming completely present in each moment-Living in the Now. I hope to encourage my students to practice yoga with a deep awareness of the breath and a receptive body, not a striving mind. A daily yoga practice helps us to be the best we can be for the world-allowing ourselves to be open vessels for God’s spirit to move through radiating love and compassion”
Gwen’s formal education was a BS in Health and Physical Education K-12 from the University of Missouri 1991, and a M.S. in Exercise Physiology & Biomechanics from the University of Kansas 1998. She has been a fitness instructor, personal trainer and workshop presenter since 1986, and a yoga instructor since 1998 providing yoga instruction to a wide variety of people- kids, seniors, pregnant women, runners, high school athletes and teams, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain sufferers, diabetics, heart patients, people struggling with their weight, chemical addiction and domestic violence.
Gwen studied formally for three years (1999-2002) with her first teacher, Genvieve Crosslin. She, then, practiced from 2002 to 2015 with Kathleen Kastner, Maya Yoga’s founder and life-long friend. Gwen is eternally grateful to both of these beautiful teachers for sharing their light. Gwen completed the 200 hour training with Satsang Yoga with Mic and Stephanie Goodman in 2005, and another 200 hour training at Maya Yoga with Kathleen Kastner and Wade Mortenson in 2008. She taught the anatomy and pre-natal portions of these trainings as well as participating.
Gwen takes every opportunity to expand her knowledge by attending workshops with international presenters. She has learned more about the practice from David and Doug Swenson, Matthew Sweeney, David Williams, Bhavani Maki, Tim Miller, Jorgen Christensen, Saul David Raye, Jeffery Cohen, Anna Forest, Joseph LePage, Max Strohm, Kim Schwartz, Mark Blanchard, Brian Kest, Gretchen Robinson, and David Garrigues.
Gwen has a commited self-practice outside of her teaching as she feels this is your best teacher- Your breath and Your practice. She is married to a wonderful, loving man, Alan Hull, has four children: Tanner, Amanda, Natalie, and William. Gwen says, “Yoga has been my saving grace during pregnancy and parenting. I bring all of this experience to my teaching, and before I begin a class, I open my heart to God’s love and ask that my teaching may be what each person in the class needs at that moment. I look forward to practicing yoga with you.”
E-RYT 500, YACEP
Director Teacher Training
Kim began practicing yoga in 1997 and began teaching yoga in 2005. In 2008 she found the Ashtanga Vinyasa method. After rigorous study, Kim holds the knowledge and experience of 1000 hours of training in Ashtanga Vinyasa Primary and Intermediate series. She’s worked as an assistant to her teachers Tim Miller and Rolf and Marci Naujokat.
Kim has completed teacher training with Gretchen Robinson, Kathleen and Wade Mortensen, and Tim Miller, as well as spending extended time in India practicing and assisting in the shala of senior teachers Rolf and Marci Naujokat, in Anjuna, Goa, India. Here, she completed over 785 hours of training exclusively with Rolf & Marci. Kim’s knowledge includes in-depth study of yoga history, philosophy, yoga lifestyle, asana adjustments in Primary & Intermediate series, full Ashtanga Pranayama, as well as many hours sitting in satsang with Mataji Puri of the Santosh Puri Ashram.
In 2012, Kim began teaching Ashtanga both in Honduras at Yoga Utila and in India at Rolf and Marci’s shala, Yoga Bones.
Kim’s path with Ashtanga has led her to specialize in using the Ashtanga method for healing injuries. From starting Third series with Rolf, to sustaining a bicycling injury, she lost all of her physical practice except for the single asana, Samasitihi. Working with her teachers Tim and Marci she learned how to use Ashtanga for healing physical injuries related to mid and low back, hips, shoulders, and knees. Proof that good things come from injuries too!
She takes a non-aggressive approach to teaching, believing all eight limbs of Ashtanga Vinyasa method should be practiced to support the whole mind-body organism to give health and steadiness of self.
Amberlie started her path to yoga in 2012 when she came to a led primary series Ashtanga class with very little previous yoga experience. After that first Ashtanga class she knew the trajectory of her life had changed for the better. Amberlie has since adopted all of the 8 limbs of yoga into her life. She continued deepening her knowledge through consistent practice with experienced teachers, self study, and teacher training with Kathleen Kastner and Wade Mortenson. She’s also studied with Kim Johnson, Gretchen Robinson, and David Williams.
Amberlie is devoted to deepening the connection to the physical body on a subtle level by paying special attention to proper alignment and maintaining ease during asana practice. Having healed her own body from injuries and health challenges through her own Ashtanga practice, she developed a deep passion for helping to guide others through their own path of shifting their relationship with their own physical body to one that is more loving and respectful as to avoid injury, create strength and body awareness. Paying special attention to honoring each individual body, it’s strengths and limitations and working with that in a way that creates harmony in the mind/body/spirit through yoga. She believes that yoga has the capacity to be a conduit for us to continuously look within to create a more symbiotic relationship with our spiritual self and physical/mental self.
Colette took her first yoga class in 2007 while enrolled in undergrad school at Northwest Missouri State University, but it wasn’t until 2009 when she fell in love with the practice. Since then she’s had a regular yoga practice attending classes in studios across Kansas City.
Yoga helped Colette develop a deeper appreciation for her body as well as feeling more connected to her spirit. In 2014 she made the decision that she wanted to share the many benefits of yoga with everyone and she began to substitute classes at her home studio. She completed her 200 RYT Designation through Jennifer Kailytyka at Boulevard Yoga in Kansas City Missouri. Colette has a strong Vinyasa and Ashtanga practice but she also enjoys taking restorative classes to help her feel more rejuvenated. Her classes offer a strong Vinyasa flow, breaking down each pose, giving plenty adjustments and challenges making the class accessible to everyone at every level. Her class will have you breaking a sweat and feeling great!
Emily practices a variety of yoga techniques including acro-yoga (partner yoga) as well as aerial yoga and dancing. With an emphasis in Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa flow, she likes to maintain the eastern integrity of yoga while incorporating the fun, effortless feel of dancing.
Emily began her training several years ago and quickly fell in love with yoga in all of its forms. She furthered her knowledge and training, taking classes from renowned yogis such as Tiffany Cruikshank, David Garrigues and Jörgen Christiansson. She has traveled to India and Bali to deepen her knowledge, studying under many inspirational teachers. She will always be a student and is forever grateful for the wisdom that her teachers have shared. She continues to learn and grow daily from her personal practice as well as her students. Her practice has helped her to unionize the mind, body and soul, find balance in her life and gain strength, flexibility, and motivation both mentally and physically.
Emily likes to combine sequencing that is creative, playful and inspirational. Bringing to light awareness and mindfulness, she seeks to help others find a nurturing balance in their lives through yoga and diet. It is her hope that everyone can find the truly blissful medium that life holds for us all one yoga class at a time!
John’s journey to yoga started with a recommendation from his chiropractor related to an issue of slight scoliosis. John started practicing Vinyasa flow and that got him started in a teaching training program. During the course of the training he wanted to experience all styles offered and found Ashtanga through Maya Yoga. After his first class he was hooked. He completed his 200 hr yoga training and the Ashtanga teacher training with Maya Yoga. He’s apprenticed with adjustment training under Kathleen Kastner and Wade Mortenson’s guidance since then.
John says: “I feel that real change only happens through constant practice. Imagine yoga is like water, if the water runs once a week on a dirt trail there will be some change , but if that same water runs every day in the same path there will be major change.”
John has completed workshops and trainings with Tim Miller, Jorgen Christiansson, Ricky Tran,
Simon Park , David Miller, David Swenson and more.
John is the proud father of one two legged girl and two four legged children.
Karen has a passion for movement. Before moving to Kansas City in 2014 she was an award-winning physical theater actress and educator in South America, and has had extensive training in different disciplines.
From martial arts to trapeze, to drumming and ethnic dancing, her body has always been her tool for self-expression and self-discovery.
Introduced to Ashtanga in 2004, she quickly fell in love with the practice. As soon as she arrived in Kansas City she began learning from Kathleen Kastner and Wade Mortenson at Maya Yoga in order to deepen her practice. She has completed their Ashtanga Teacher Training.
Ashtanga yoga has had immeasurable positive effects on Karen’s life and health, and aspires to help others discover its benefits on both a physical and subtle level. Her training in the internal martial arts (hundreds of hours of Taoist standing meditations) has been fundamental to her Ashtanga practice, her awareness of the body’s structural alignment, and to its energetic potential.
She is also a practitioner of Vipassana Meditation, one of India’s most ancient forms of meditation.
Karen believes that all our actions come from our intentions. Conscious practice is the way to clarify our intentions, make our actions more harmonious, and make one’s walk through life more graceful.
Karen sincerely thanks Karl, Monica, and Fede, her gurus from around the world; and Kathleen and Wade, her gurus in the heartland.
Lainie grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. She holds a B.A. in studio art and art history and lives with her son Aadi. They have two pet rats, aptly named “Ratty” and “Snowy.”
Pattabhi Jois says “Practice, practice, practice…and all is coming. Yoga is 99% practice and 1% theory.”
Lainie practices Ashtanga yoga because she believes in the system. Prior to 2009, when she walked into her first led Primary class, she was drawn to powerful Vinyassa flow and Bikram yoga classes and was an avid runner. Since that first Ashtanga class, she’s had a dedicated Ashtanga practice and studies asana, pranayama and theory with senior Ashtangis who have direct lineage to Pattabhi Jois. Some of her favorites include David Swenson, David Williams, Tim Miller and Jorgen Christiansson.
She loves sharing her experiences with students and believes the study of asana is not about mastering posture. It’s about using posture to understand and transform yourself. Lainie’s focus is on maintaining the breath, the bandhas and proper anatomical alignment while surrendering the ego, the body and the mind to the practice.
Lisa Ash Drackert
RYT 500, M. Ed
Lisa teaches Ashtanga Yoga and Vinyasa Flow classes, Restorative Yoga and Kid’s Yoga. Lisa completed her RYT 500 designation in 2016 through the Interdisciplinary Institute of Yoga Studies with a specialization in Yoga Therapeutics. Lisa completed Maya Yoga’s Ashtanga Teacher Training in 2008 and studied extensively with Kathleen Kastner and Wade Mortenson. She trained with Christy Burnette of Phoenix’s Southwest Institute for the Healing Arts, Gretchen Robinson of Progressive Power Yoga, Kate Lindholm of Westport Yoga, and Annie Carpenter of SMARTFlow Yoga. Her background includes university degrees in both Elementary Education and Religious Studies, as well as a Masters in Education. Lisa’s classes are creative, energetic, challenging, and deeply engaging. Most importantly, Lisa’s classes are open to Divining Spirit.
Lisa says, “Most of us move through life yearning for freedom and space to ‘be ourselves.’ Yoga provides us an individualized architecture based in thousands of years of collective wisdom. I love yoga because the asanas intentionally transform our bodies, which then transforms our thoughts, our spirits–our everything. Teaching yoga is teaching people to genuinely listen, heal, love, and be themselves.”
Within one month of practicing yoga, Melissa realized she was seeing physical improvements and sleeping better, and she was also experiencing a profound improvement of her mental and emotional well being. She has since dedicated over 300 hours of Yoga Alliance training and personal development to guiding others toward full body wellness. Her classes are infused with knowledge of traditional yoga, current day sentiments, one-on-one adjustments attention to detail. Be prepared to step on to your mat for a deeply challenging but rewarding practice.
E-RYT 500, MA, C-IAYT
Renée spent summers on her grandparents farm in southeast Kansas, grew up in Wichita, and was introduced to the healing arts at the age of twelve by her mother, who took her to a chiropractor and acupuncturist after a severe neck injury.
At the age of 21, she collapsed on the softball field and spent a long year in bed with spinal meningitis. Recovery “exercises” were limited to meditation, breath work, and mental concentration for many months. After a 40% weight loss, her physician advised bodybuilding as a means to regain muscle mass. The owner of the gym she attended, a retired Olympic power lifter, taught her to create strength and power with proper body mechanics and, after a period of dedicated training, led her to win a statewide competition. She discovered during her intense physical training that her mental practices of concentration and meditation accentuated all of her physical endeavors, but even more, shaped her character through focus, determination, and sense of priorities.
She went on to graduate from Wichita State University completing her Bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders and Sciences, her Master’s degree in Liberal Studies and post graduate work in Counseling and Educational School Psychology while working in the Sports and Kinesiology Department teaching Pilates and Yoga. She has owned and managed several yoga studios, created the first Midwest yoga school to be accredited by Yoga Alliance. She was hired to create and implement a leadership-mentor oriented yoga school in the United Kingdom. While conducting all her yoga teaching activities, in addition to owning and managing a real estate agency, Renée has continually contributed her talents to athletes and sports teams to enhance not only the physical aspect of the game, but to bring mindfulness through concentration, breath and meditation, to support the family culture of a winning team.
Renée is a a fully accredited and certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists who combines her 40 years of yoga experience with more than 15 years of training yoga teachers and 15 years of studying and practicing The Pilates Method. Her treatment methods involve a unique and highly effective approach to healing the whole person. She uses ayurveda, yoga sequences, breath and meditation to cultivate awareness and promote healing transformation and focus. Her private clients and students range from those new to yoga, to teachers in training, to amateur and professional athletes, to the elderly.
Renée began her yoga teaching studies with Bobbi Goldin, Intermediate Iyengar teacher from Miami, Florida at the Yoga Institute of Miami and then with Iyengar Senior teacher Aadil Palkhivala, and has continuing education credits in yoga therapeutics under his tutelage. During her 15 years under Aadil, Renée assisted him at Yoga Journal conferences, in workshops, and yoga teacher trainings in the United States and London, England. She continues to refine her skills and knowledge of advanced yoga practices under the guidance of Pandit Rajmani Tigunait and Dr. Rolf Sovic, PhD, at the Himalayan Institute and with Bryan Legere (founding partner in The Great Yoga Wall) in the Iyengar tradition. Renée is the founder and President of The Institute of Interdisciplinary Yoga Studies, ReneeYoga, and a partner with Jayme Sweere, MA, RYT-500 in StressedoutHumans.com that serves corporations wanting stress reduction programs in their facilities.
RYT 200, MSN
Samantha is a Nurse Practitioner who has lived in the Kansas City area for nearly a decade. As a Certified Nurse Midwife, Samantha has dedicated her focus to women’s health, maternal role attainment and the art of living a balanced life. “I’ve inherently had an affinity for ‘exercise’ my entire life. Anything from ballet and dance to weight training and eventually running. However, the day I walked into my first yoga class in 2004 at Maya Yoga, my perspective on health, fitness and life was eternally redirected.”
She obtained her first yoga teacher certificate in 2009 by completing Deepak Chopra’s 200 hour RYT program in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga in addition to becoming an Ayurvedic Consultant and Primordial Sound Meditation instructor through The Chopra Center for Wellbeing. Having practiced Ashtanga style yoga since 2005, she later completed Ashtanga Teacher Training at Maya Yoga in 2010 and began blending the two styles together for a unique yoga experience. In addition to practicing and teaching yoga, Samantha enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 children, traveling and advancing her knowledge of complementary healing techniques, and cooking.