Faculty

Amanda McMaine, MS, E-RYT 500, YACEP – Director and Lead Trainer 

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An internationally recognized yoga teacher and therapist, Amanda has spent her life in an intense study of body movement and a search for what truly frees and inspires our asanas and our lives. Her background includes a lifelong immersion into all the limbs of yoga, being profoundly influenced by the world’s greatest teachers, including Angela Farmer, Judith Hanson Lasater, Doug Keller, and Richard Miller. She holds a Masters degree in dance and kinesiology, Yoga Alliance Certification as an experienced-registered yoga teacher at the 500 level, Yoga Therapist, Teacher-Trainer and Program Director for twelve years and advanced certification in iRest Yoga Nidra. Amanda teaches from a broad knowledge base, with freshness, warmth and eloquence of language, as well as insights gained from decades of focused introspection on this ancient practice.

Amanda’s online and in-person yoga schedule can be found at www.amandayoga.com.

Cara Sparkman, RYT 500 – Partner

Resident social media maven, business administrator and teaching assistant, Cara was introduced to yoga while pursuing a double BA in English and Spanish. She knew she had to find a way to share the benefits of yoga with the world, so she completed a 200 Hour Teacher Training in 2011. She felt led to follow through with a 300 Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training in October of 2016, a decision for which she will forever be thankful. A woman of varied interests and talents, her keen business sense, love for yoga and sense of humor contribute to her passion for supporting her fellow teachers and guiding fellow students in the classroom. Her current endeavor is completing certification in iRest Yoga Nidra.

Matt Branstetter, MATS, LMT, CYT – East-West Philosophy and Meditation

Matt Branstetter is a Certified Yoga Instructor, a Certified Qi Gong Instructor through Rising Lotus Qi Gong, a Licensed Massage Therapist and a Professor of World Religions at Midway University. He has a passion for exploring the world’s Wisdom Traditions in search of the common principles that connect body, symbol and spirituality. He has an extensive background in Zen meditation and the Internal Martial Arts, including a three year residency at Furnace Mountain Zen Center and an intensive study of Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan with Grandmaster Ding Ming Ye. Matt’s varied interests are reflected in his teaching experience. He has taught Yoga and Tai Chi at the college level as well as teaching yogic philosophy and meditation in both 200 Hour and 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. He teaches massage fundamentals at Lexington Healing Arts Academy, and weekly classes in Qigong. He has designed and taught college courses in Religion at Midway University and at St. Catharine College where he was Chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department. There he was voted Faculty Member of the Year in 2015 for his creative approach to courses including World Religions, Asian Philosophy and the Philosophy of Embodiment.

Romi Kalova, C-IAYT – Yoga of Sound and Restorative Yoga

Since the beginning, Romi’s yogic path has been a journey of healing and personal transformation. After completing her initial Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, she embarked on an in-depth experiential study of yoga as a healing art with Joseph and Lilian Le Page and Integrative Yoga Therapy. Through this study, she earned certification as a Professional Yoga Therapist at the 500 hour level, and became a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. In 2015 she visited India, and in the traditional ashram setting in Rishikesh she studied Sanskrit, Nada Yoga (Yoga of Sound), Bhakti (Yoga of Devotion), Kirtan, Mantra Yoga and the traditional Indian string instrument, tanpura. She became certified in the Heart of Sound – the world’s first 200 Hour Teacher Training based entirely on the transformational power of sound.
Romi currently offers private sessions and workshops, in which she integrates active asana, restorative practices and sound healing to guide students to balance strength with inner softness, open the heart and mind, listen to the body and uncover the quiet place of peace, wisdom and happiness that lies within each of us.

Judy Flavell, RYT 500 – Circle and Integration Practices

IMG_6972Judy’s passion is to create safe spaces for people to discover and celebrate who they are right now. Through teaching yoga, she supports students in developing a compassionate relationship with their bodies that allows their spirits to shine through.
In addition to private sessions, workplace seminars, and workshops, she teaches regular weekly yoga classes through Yoga & Meditation with Judy.  Her Laughter Yoga workshops are especially popular for workplace settings.
In 2017, Judy completed Yoga for Cancer training with Tari Prinster’s Y4C methodology. Her professional training also includes “Integrative Yoga for Seniors” at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine, “Yoga for the Rest of Us” with Peggy Cappy, and “Yoga for Scoliosis, Part I” with Elise Browning Miller at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.  She began her yoga journey in earnest as a student of Zoe MacLaren (Sacred Living Yoga) and completed advanced training as a Registered Yoga Teacher with Amanda, our Director and Lead Trainer.
Judy has also guided wilderness vision quests, trained with the School of Lost Borders, worked for 30 years in public broadcasting, and served as Executive Director for the Habitat for Humanity affiliate in Madison & Clark Counties in Kentucky.

Nishaan Sandhu – Ayurveda

Nishaan_Sandhu_Headshot_2018_For over a decade, Nishaan has been a mentor to creative entrepreneurs, healers, and creatives, as they deepen their mind-body connection and discover freedom from anxiety, fatigue, weight, digestive and mood imbalances. Through her unique integration of herbal medicine, spiritual aromatherapy, astrology, Ayurveda and mind-body eating coaching, she shares tools, techniques, and courses to inspire a balance of natural energy, self-care, confidence, and vitality. You can find out more about her at: www.nishaan-sandhu.com

Ann G. Rhodes, DMA M.AmSAT – Alexander Technique

IMG_6942Dr. Ann Rhodes is a recently retired professor of vocal music who has been actively involved in the study of voice for forty years and the Alexander Technique for nearly thirty-five years. She started formal study of the Alexander Technique in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and continued training in Leeds, England. Dr. Rhodes received her certification in 2006 from Alexander Technique of Cincinnati, an American Society of Alexander Teachers’ training program. Over the past twenty years, Dr. Rhodes has specialized in working with vocalists and instrumentalists at colleges and universities in Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and England and Ireland. She has been an active participant in workshops and conferences in California, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, London, England and Galway and Limerick, Ireland.
Dr. Rhodes currently maintains a private voice and Alexander Technique studio in Charleston, South Carolina. She teaches workshops for singers, musicians, actors, students and teachers of the Alexander Technique and for those who wish to explore reeducation of the mind and body in order to improve poise and balance in everyday activities.

Karen DiGirolamo, LMT, E-RYT 200 – Self-Care for the Wellness Practitioner

Karen is a Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner and the Mind Body Movement Coordinator for UK HealthCare Integrative Medicine and Health. Karen is a kinesthetic learner, which led to an interest in health and the mind-body connection. Karen began working with individuals as a yoga instructor and massage therapist in the late 1990s. In 2013 Karen received her certificate in Jin Shin Jyutsu, an energy bodywork modality. She began working at the Markey Cancer Center as a volunteer in the chemotherapy clinics providing Jin Shin Jyutsu for patients. In 2015 Karen was hired to join the Jin Shin Jyutsu staff. Karen has a 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate and advanced training in Yoga for Cancer and Chronic Illness. She was invited to develop a yoga program for UK HealthCare Integrative Medicine & Health in 2016 and currently teaches weekly yoga and meditation classes for UK HealthCare outpatients and caregivers.

Lauren Higdon, LMT, CYT, CIMI – Yoga for Pregnancy

IMG_6472 2Lauren has been involved in the health and wellness fields since 1999. She is the founder and director of Centered, a holistic community center, where she has her private massage practice and teaches yoga. Lauren became a certified Baby’s First Massage instructor in 2003, and is also certified in prenatal, labor and postpartum bodywork. She works with and gives lectures in local hospitals, colleges and corporate settings. Lauren’s ongoing passions and practices include spending time with her family, hiking, art, yoga, meditation, breathwork, martial arts, mental health awareness and advocacy.  She particularly loves working with women and families moving through birth, life transitions, trauma and recovery as well as children and infants with sensory, digestive and developmental needs.

Steve Schumacher – Cranio-Sacral Anatomy

As a graduate of the Milne Institute and now teaching VCSW® (Visionary Cranio Sacral Work) Steve has always been interested in the intersection of various healing modalities. Studying classical cranial osteopathy with Richard Holding, D.O., who was a student of Rollin Becker, D.O., allowed a deepening of Steve’s palpation skills and an understanding of the origins of cranial work. Hugh Milne’s addition of the intuitive channels felt like a natural progression.
Steve is a senior teacher of the Jin Shin Do® BodyMind Acupressure™ Foundation, a graduate of the Hakomi Method of Psychotherapy and most recently the Bert Hellinger Family Constellations method. These all feel like valuable additions and are held with ease within the framework of his work, his teaching and his life. In private practice since 1982, Steve makes his home in Louisville, Kentucky.

Cindy Hutchison, RYT – The Business of Yoga

Cindy Hutchison is the Co Founder of the ‘women owned’ Lexington’s Professional Massage Center and Yoga Studio (1989). She holds a Bachelor Of Science degree in Education from the University of Vermont, is a licensed Massage Therapist, Registered Yoga Teacher with The Yoga Alliance, and a former Lululemon Brand Ambassador (2017-2019).

Cindy has dedicated her life to helping people feel comfortable ‘in their skin’, aims to be a positive role model, is the success coach of herself, and shares this in her role as a conscious business owner on and off the yoga mat!

Sarah Belzile, RYT – Nonviolent Communication

IMG-6057Sarah Belzile began her yoga journey almost two decades ago. Since then, her practice has led her to India multiple times and the completion of her Akhanda yoga teacher certification in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. She is also a Certified Professional Cuddlist, Cuddle Party Facilitator and Women’s Temple Facilitator. Sarah is an avid student and teacher of Nonviolent Communication. She has brought the principles of NVC into the culture of her multi-unit coffee company as well as through her role as the All Genders Program Developer at the Body Electric School, an organization that teaches embodiment and self actualization through the exploration of eroticism. Sarah is the founder of the Red River Gorge Play Ashram, a pop-up yogic community. Sarah loves sharing yoga, communication and intimacy skills with others in order to create a more peaceful, connected and conscious world, starting from the inside out. She is an avid rock climber and lives in the Red River Gorge.

Teresa P. Johnson, RYT500

Teresa graduated from the Lexington Healing Arts Academy in 2016 with her 200 hour YTT Certificate. In 2018, she completed her 300 hour YTT certification through The Essence of Yoga Center under Amanda McMaine and Cara Sparkman. Teresa is registered as a RYT500 with Yoga Alliance. She has also been certified in Yoga for Inner Peace with Colleen Saidman Yee and is certified in Chakra Therapeutics with Dr. Alanna Kaivalya. She is the owner and operater of SoulRebeLex®️ BodyCare & Studio, located in Lexington, KY, where she not only has the pleasure of teaching yoga, but also teaching her clients to take care of their skin with her handmade, 100% organic bodycare line. Teresa’s focus in yoga is on creating a safe, comfortable space for all of her students where they are free to be themselves in a peaceful and inclusive environment. She believes yoga should and can be for everybody and has arranged her studio in a way that allows students the freedom of movement and break, following the eight limb path of yoga.

John Patterson, MD, MSPH, FAAFP – Yoga and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction

John has spent a lifetime exploring the mind-body connection. As a Board Certified practitioner of Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine, he is a faculty member at UK Department of Family and Community Medicine, Saybrook College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences (Oakland, CA), and a Senior faculty at the Center for Mind Body Medicine (Washington, D.C.). He is certified by the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine Health Care and Society (MBSR) as well as the Physician Coaching Institute. Dr. Patterson is a Certified Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) and the Integrative Restoration Institute (iRest Yoga Nidra).

Becky Morrissey, eRYT500, C-IAYT, EmbodiYoga500 – Trauma-Sensitive Yoga and Introduction to Body-Mind Centering

Becky Morrissey is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), Trauma Sensitive Yoga facilitator/trainer, and an Ohio licensed mental health and substance abuse counseling professional (LPCC-S, LICDC-CS) who offers somatic-therapeutic yoga as a component of her counseling wellness practice. She has studied many forms of therapeutic yoga, applying the practices of yoga such as meditation, movement, and breath for understanding management of chronic stress, addiction, and mood. She is inspired by the work of Lisa Clark, Linda Oshins, Tom Myers, Amy Weintraub, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Doug Keller, and many others who she has accessed in workshops and trainings. She offers yoga therapy in her classes, workshops, and trainings for students to explore empowerment of one’s own health and spiritual wellness. She lives in Cincinnati and loves to yoga, meditate, hike, bike, write, and create art with her 8 year old daughter and husband, Tim.

Danielle Doth, RYT500, Marine Combat Veteran – Chair Yoga

Danielle first began practicing yoga in 2006 to remain injury-free while training for her first marathon. Through her daily practice, she realized that yoga helped manage her TBI and PTSD symptoms. As an avid practitioner, Danielle wanted to share those benefits with others. Danielle has been teaching yoga for 9 years and has taught all over the world from Australia to Iceland, and a few more countries in between! She is extremely passionate about making yoga accessible to everyone, in every body, at every age, and in any state of health.

Laura Cox, CYT 200 – Aligned Vinyasa

Laura Cox is a Certified Yoga Teacher who graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising in 2009. She completed her Hot Yoga teacher training in Los Angeles in 2011 and subsequently completed a 200-hour teacher training program with Amanda McMaine. She presently offers in-person yoga classes suitable for all levels of clients in small groups of up to 5 people at breathe Yoga and Pilates. Laura also leads virtual classes for those who prefer to practice yoga from their home or office. Laura begins by bringing awareness to the breath, and invites your mind into the body.