Jana Whiddon, PhD, LMHC, ERYT 500, C-IAYT
I have been practicing and teaching yoga since 2002. My formal training has been diverse ranging from Vinyasa Flow, Ashtanga, Hot yoga, Yin yoga and most recently Integrative Yoga Therapy. I am a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT), having completed the IYT yoga therapy training with Joseph and Lillian LePage and the training and credentialing process for the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I am also an E-RYT-500 with the Yoga Alliance. I have had the honor of training with many empowering yoga teachers and have a diverse teaching style. What is most important to me as a yoga teacher is cultivating an attitude of acceptance and gratitude within myself and with everyone in classes. Acceptance and gratitude are more challenging sentiments to experience in today's world, yet they provide a solid foundation for who we are. In my "other life" I am the Program Lead at Capella University for the Counseling and Psychology Department's Clinical and Research Residencies. I am also a mental health counselor and currently participate in research and practice in the area of complementary and alternative medicine and mental health, integrating yoga therapy philosophy into traditional mental health treatment. I am blessed to have so many life opportunities :-)
Marni Tamayo, RYT 500, Studio Manager
I came to yoga years 10 years ago while training for a marathon. I have enjoyed the challenges and benefits of my hot yoga, yin and hatha practice by using heat, movement and stillness. Yoga has provided innumerable positive effects to my life physically, mentally and spiritually simply by just living in the present moment with gratitude and truthfulness. I currently teach Hot Yoga, Hatha, Flow and Yin and have my completed my RYT-500 at Yoga Pointe. With every practice, we deepen our connections to ourselves, our spirit and each other and we get closer to finding our inner light of awareness. I want my students to believe in themselves, find peace and enjoy life’s journey. Seeing them move toward becoming happy, healthy and whole is so gratifying. We are all born with unique gifts and so much beauty -- it is our path to discover them and share them with others.
Whitney Davis, RYT 500
I came to the practice of Yoga in 2008 during my freshmen year of college. I found myself not only reaping the physical benefits of Yoga, but also the mental and emotional benefits as well. In 2013, I graduated with a Master's in Social Work and in 2015, I completed my RYT-200 at Yoga Pointe. I have experience teaching various yoga styles including: Beginning Hatha, Hot yoga, Vinyasa Flow, Yin and seated meditation. I believe in living a life full of joy, gratitude, humility and free of judgement. These feelings inform and guide my teaching and practice, which is focused on helping my students better connect to themselves and with their surroundings. Off the mat, I'm a self-proclaimed travel junkie and can usually be found spending time with my husband and our two cats.
Julio Garza, RYT 200
Leanne Green, RYT 200
My journey into yoga started in 2010, while working out with the P90X series that included a yoga DVD. At the same time, I met a barista in a local coffee shop who was training to become a yoga instructor. I promised her that once she graduated, I’d attend one of her classes. She soon graduated, and true to my word, I found myself in her Ashtanga Yoga class. I was immediately hooked! Drawn to the physical practice, I expanded into Flow, Hatha, and a few Hot Yoga classes. In 2012, I participated in the Yoga Pointe Intensive Weekend training. These weekends opened my eyes to the mental and emotional benefits of yoga, which prompted me to enroll in the 2014 Yoga Pointe teacher training. I have completed my 200-hour training and am excited to teach the “grassroots” beginner-level Yoga in Reach class. I am also a graphic artist, working in the field for more than 30 years, and enjoy gardening. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful supportive family; they make up the best part of me. Each individual’s path in life is different, with much depending on the choices we make along the way. My decision to become a yoga instructor was a choice, which a few years ago, I would have never imagined. We are all each such a small part in a big universe and yoga is a wonderful tool to unite us in mind, body and spirit. I am looking forward to helping students find their own individual paths through their journeys in yoga!
KT Irmscher, RYT 200
I started yoga in 2015 and immediately fell in love with hot yoga. I have been doing Crossfit since 2012 and started yoga so that I could become more flexible. In addition to slowly melting my stress away in a hot class, I love the physical/ mental strength and playfulness it takes to do a flow class. After a few classes, I started to see that there was a lot more to yoga than just becoming more flexible physically or getting into new poses (although that still is very exciting). I began to tune in to what yoga was teaching me mentally and emotionally and soon Yoga Pointe became my second home away from home. After some encouragement from one of my yogi inspirations, I decided to take my 200hr YTT at Yoga Pointe in 2018. Health and fitness have always been a passion of mine that I want to be able to share with the world. I have been coaching Crossfit since 2017 so, including the practice that I loved seemed to be the next step. Teacher training was an amazing experience where my personal practice was able to grow stronger and I also gained a much deeper understanding of what yoga truly means. "The body heals with play, the mind heals with laughter, and the spirit heals with joy." I feel like on my yoga journey nothing has been more true. My hope is to share that joy with students along with helping them build more physical and mental strength. Yoga has taught me to breath through any situation and to let go of the day to day, enjoying this beautiful life I have been given. If I am not at the studio or Crossfit Lakeland you can find my husband and I exploring Lakeland and surrounding areas with our two dogs. We also lead a marriage group at Grace City.
Mary Ann Murdoch, RYT 200
My discovery of yoga began several years ago, and I continue to immerse myself in the beauty of yoga practice, yogic philosophy and in helping others discover this transformative path. I've always been interested in Eastern philosophies -- such as Buddhism and Taoism -- and I have for years explored the ancient texts of yoga, including the Yoga Sutras, and the ethical practices of yoga. I earned my Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT200) certification in December 2013. I teach seated/gentle yoga classes at Yoga Pointe, which lets me connect with students of all ages and abilities. I also teach Hatha 1 classes. I enjoy practicing many styles of yoga, and believe that yoga offers healing of the body, mind and spirit. I'm married and have a son. I was a journalist, writer and editor for 25-plus years, then had a life/career change that brought me into teaching. I’m now a tenured humanities and film professor at Polk State College. I have a master's degree in humanities and a bachelor's degree in journalism. I’ve traveled around the globe, and am an award-winning poet, fiction author and photographer.
Kathy Shufflebarger, PT, RYT 500, Relax and Renew® Level 1 Trainer, Certified in Yoga for Healthy Aging
I began an earnest exposure to Yoga in the past few years. Many aspects of regular practice just clicked as did a desire to learn more. YogaPointe's 200 teacher training followed soon after. Each practice is an opportunity to explore the "little stuff and the big stuff" of the body, heart and mind. I have had a long and fulfilling career as a physical therapist. Yoga has also been an important aspect of my everyday life and a connection during traveling. My sincerest gratitude towards Jana and the people of YogaPointe too numerous to mention for their ongoing energy and dedication to developing a place of Yoga.
Adrianna Wales, RYT 200
I began my impassioned yoga journey about 5 years ago. My daughter and I were inspired by community classes, and she decided to broaden her knowledge by obtaining the 200hour YTT certification at Yoga Pointe. After seeing such a positive awakening, I did so myself the very next year. It was never my intention to teach, as I figured I was just investing in myelf, but here I am at 5:30 am each Thursday sharing my knowledge and love with all of my devout yogis! Yoga has brought greater meaning to my life, as well as a foundation of strength and peace. Coming from a health care background, I feel that yoga is an important facet in the continuum of care. I have found so many holistic attributes that anyone can benefit from, and I encourage all people, regardless of age ability or preconceived notions to seek this beautiful, ancient practice. Becoming the best version of ourselves is what I hope to convey. Besides yoga, I love to travel, spend time with my family and Standard Poodles (who also love yoga). I love food and culture and essential oils. Most days you can find me at our family business in Lake Alfred, Florida.
Beth Moran, RYT 500, Studio Manager
After growing up most of my childhood in Lakeland and graduating from Florida Southern College with a degree in Marketing, I worked in Human Resources and Marketing. Yoga found me over 15 years ago in a gym teaching step aerobics and group fitness classes in my spare time. At first, yoga was just another type of exercise to me. After my daughter was born, I continued to practice and soon found her innocent joy of copying my practice and I began teaching Children’s Yoga. I was amazed at the physical, mental and emotional benefits to children as well as adults. My personal enlightenment was recognized deeply with two life experiences. The first was when I returned to my yoga practice after losing a dear family member to a terminal illness. The second was in mid-2011 when I had a major hip surgery. In both situations, yoga became more than just another form of exercise. Yoga helps me stay centered and provides the pathway to find peace and balance to live and love every moment of life to the fullest. After my surgery, I am passionate about encouraging people that anyone can do yoga. I once thought that a person had to be as flexible as a pretzel to attend class and that the goal of yoga was to stand on one’s head or perform an amazing arm balance. But I have found that it is staying present in the moment, learning your true self and being accepting that can lead to pure joy. I completed the 500 RYT Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Pointe where I have been teaching for over 5 years. I enjoy teaching many styles of yoga. They all offer something different and it is beneficial to vary our practices. It is wonderful to work one on one with students in private sessions to target their specific needs. I also teach the academic classes at Florida Southern College and enjoy seeing how the college students can incorporate yoga practices into their lives.
Maya Beck, RYT 200
I discovered yoga more than 10 years ago and have been practicing ever since. I have always been an active person who enjoys walking, running, weightlifting, and tennis but yoga has given me a greater awareness to my body both mentally and physically. The mind-body-breath connection of yoga is what pushed me to seek my yoga teacher certification in March 2018. As a forever student, I continue to learn more about yoga every day and want to share this knowledge with all of my students. As a teacher, I want to help others feel good about themselves. I want to help others understand the benefits of yoga and feel those benefits in their daily lives. Yoga has the power to increase your strength, flexibility, stability, confidence, and reduce injuries. It also can reduce stress, and positively affect your emotional well-being. Yoga is my path to serve others and I welcome you to my class. I am married with two children in their 20’s and when I’m not practicing yoga, you can find me walking Lake Hollingsworth, traveling, taking photographs, or reading.
Marie Elkins, RYT 200, PTA, LMT, Reiki Master
I began my yoga journey back in 2001, when I answered a tiny ad in the Ledger placed by Jana Whiddon, recruiting participants for her doctoral research on the effects of yoga on depression. I had always had an interest in yoga and psychology (as well as metaphysical and spiritual knowledge), not to mention the fact that I was involved in a major life transition at the time so I jumped at the chance. I will admit, some of those poses, or asanas, did not come easy for me (and some still do not but I’m pretty sure I will master a scorpion pose by the time I’m 90, lol) but with Jana’s encouragement I hung in there and benefited in ways that I had never expected. It really helped me to put my life and some dysfunctional beliefs into proper perspective, allowing me to experience a greater sense of peace and calm. There have been some lapses in my practice, but I always knew I needed yoga and would return to my practice because it is so incredibly beneficial to me personally. I know I’m at my physical and mental/emotional best when I am practicing regularly. You will frequently hear yoga instructors direct you to be present in the moment, it is so true, we cannot change what has happened in the past and sometimes we allow it hold us back from being the best that we can be right now. To not live in the present moment is literally wasting precious time.
I enjoy teaching restorative, gentle, and Hatha classes and love to incorporate my Tibetan singing bowls at times to produce tones which are meditative and healing to our psyche.
I am a Physical Therapist Assistant, RYT 200 (completed training at Yoga Pointe in 2013), a Licensed Massage Therapist and practice Reiki, Tai Chi and Qigong, definitely a professional student/information junkie on a holistic path. One of my greatest pleasures is to introduce someone to yoga or assist someone on their yogic journey, hoping they will receive as much enlightenment as I have on my journey. I will be forever grateful to Jana for introducing this amazing journey to me! Namaste
Michelle Hrabusa, RYT 200
In the busyness of life, my days often felt like the movie Groundhog Day; including my workouts. When I began practicing yoga, it took me off of the hamster wheel and allowed me to find peace and stillness along with the physical benefits of flexibility and increased strength. Over 15 years ago, I fell in love with yoga and in November of 2018, I completed my 200 HR YTT at Yoga Pointe! Teacher training will forever be one of the most special times in my life. Not only did I learn and discover much about myself and yoga, I made some beautiful friendships. During YTT, I was so nervous for the Hot Yoga training, and it is now one of my favorite classes! You never know what may surprise you :)I love everything about yoga, the physical benefits, classes from Hot to Restorative, the fact that anyone - yes really - anyone can practice yoga, the wisdom and the spirituality of yogic philosophy and most of all kindness and acceptance; to yourself and to others.
Melissa Lees, RYT 500, Community Marketing Associate
My yoga journey began in 2013. The physicality of the practice drew me in, being naturally flexible, but lacking in strength. Over time, I began to notice my drive was no longer based on physical results, but the peace of mind that came with tuning out the world. I found even in a full class, I only noticed my breath and the feeling of the pose – not my neighbors or even the way a pose looked in the mirror. I began to see changes off the mat, too. The little things didn’t bother me as much and my peace of mind was not linked to the energies of others. This realization was what drove me to complete the teacher training. It is my sincere hope to help guide others to find peace amongst the chaos of daily life and their joy living in the moment. I have had the immense pleasure of working at Yoga Pointe as one of the evening receptionists since July 2015. I am truly grateful to be part of the Yoga Pointe community and especially in having you all share my joy in welcoming baby Logan.
Adrianne Patton, RYT 500
I have been a dancer all my life and am currently a dance instructor. Unfortunately with dance, age and injuries has brought many physical limitations. My yoga journey began in 2015 when I wanted to explore an alternative exercise that paralleled with dance to stay physically healthy and fit, and yoga was a perfect fit. The first time I’ve taken a yoga class was Hot Yoga at Yoga Pointe. I immediately fell in love. Dance and yoga possess so much of the same qualities that I value, such as joy, strength, concentration, challenge, breath, and spirituality. However, for me, there was a constant personal battle and drive for perfection. Yoga has added so much more positive layers to my love of dance. Throughout my practice, yoga has taught me to love and accept my imperfections and limitations, to release my ego, to let go and rebuild. Along the way, my mental, emotional, and physical strength continues to grow. When I step onto my mat, it also brings me a sense of security and calmness and acceptance, regardless of age or injuries. I completed my 200-hr yoga training at Yoga Pointe and the focus of my teaching is to build not only strength, but also encourage non-judgmental self-awareness and self-love. I want my students to gain a better understanding of their bodies through their individual practices and to have a unique experience with each session. My goal for every student is to understand that every class is an opportunity to grow in any number of ways, be it physically, mentally or spiritually because each of our yoga practice and journey is unique and personal. Teaching and practicing yoga is absolutely what I love to do and I want to transcend my love for yoga to every person I teach.
Emily Rodriguez, RYT 200
In my family, yoga runs deep. I came to my practice through my sister, who was teaching in Winter Haven at the time. She and my mom (another 200hr RYT) have always been inspirations to me, and what started out as a way to be more like them has since developed into a genuine passion of mine. I completed my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in 2015, shortly after giving birth to my own teeny yogini. Since then, my love of yoga has only grown, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share that passion with my students.
Flo Young, RYT 200
My relationship with yoga began in 2015 while I was studying for my RYT200. The original intention was to increase and maintain flexibility for my golf game. During this yoga journey, I unexpectedly found so much more. I found balance, inner peace, acceptance and a true appreciation of how the mind affects our physical health. I was a staff nurse for 18 years and for the past 17 years I’ve been a personal trainer. Teaching yoga is a natural path for me since service to others has been a common thread in my life. Sharing the mental and physical benefits of yoga to others is my way of paying it forward.