Jana Whiddon, PhD, LMHC, E-RYT 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 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 a Faculty Lead and Graduate Instructor at Yorkville University in the Master of Arts in Counseling and Psychology Department. I am blessed to have so many life opportunities.
Maya Beck, RYT 200
I discovered yoga in 2003 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.
My yoga practice began in 2013, drawn like many others to the physical benefits of asana practice. As I continued to learn about the other limbs of yoga, I found myself peeling back layers of mental, emotional and physical pain. In the space remaining, I grew a greater capacity for love and respect for myself and the world around me. It is equally challenging and freeing, empowering and humbling to practice yoga. I am so grateful for my many teachers, and honored to pass along the knowledge that has been shared with me. There is still so much to learn, and I am happy to be here to keep growing! I graduated from Yoga Pointe's 200 teacher training program in 2019 and have been teaching since 2020. When I am not at Yoga Pointe, I am usually painting, doing something outdoors, or hanging out with my dog, Tree. My goal for teaching is to embody the salutation, "namaste"... the light in me honors the light in you. I love meeting people in that space. So, namaste, and hope to see you soon!
Casey Dodge, RYT 200
My yoga journey started initially in college, taking a bit of a hiatus where I realized how much I had missed it and wanted to expand my practice. I complete the 200 teacher training program at Yoga Pointe and have been teaching middle school kids the tools of yoga since 2021 and also teach adult classes since early in 2023 I am an avid CrossFitter and the two practices compliment each other. Yoga has enabled me to handle the chaos of educating my high school students and to assist them with stress management and give them better coping mechanisms. I have a heart for teaching and a mind for science so putting together a yoga class is my new favorite way to be creative. I feel that Yoga is for all people big or small. A good yoga class just melts all the aches, pains, and bad thoughts away.
Mary Lynn Erwin, RYT 200
Being a physical therapist for more than 30 years, I have always felt that movement is one of the key ingredients neccesary for a healthy life. I have always been a very active person participating in various types of exericse over the years including aerobics, kickboxing, and weight lifting. Like so many others, I started practicing Yoga at various fitness gyms mainly for the physical benefit of gaining increased flexibility. I quickly discovered that Yoga offered so much more than just physical benefits as it had a profound effect on my mental and emotional well-being as well. As a physical therapist, I have always felt a holistic approach to treatment is best, meaning that we must address not only the physical body but the mental and emotional parts of a person as well to achieve healing. Because of my healthcare background, I am intrigued by the use of Yoga asanas to help people heal from their injuries and as a method of preventing injuries. Some friends invited me to try classes at Yoga Pointe and it has truly been a life-changing experience. In my quest to learn more about Yoga and deepen my own practice, I completed the 200 hour teacher training program in 2021 at Yoga Pointe with the amazing instructors here. My goal was to immerse myself more in the yoga culture to gain a deeper knowledge of my own life journey and how to use my personal experience with Yoga to become a better, kinder, and more authentic version of myself. I believe that each time we practice Yoga we have the opportunity to learn and grow in multiple ways whether it be physically, mentally, or spirtually. I am honored and thankful for the opportunity to help others along their Yoga journey to find their own path and experience the true joy of Yoga.
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 complete Yoga Pointe's full 200 hour teacher training program. I also have specialized training in yoga anatomy, sequencing/cueing, and yoga teacher skill development. I am also an instructor for Yoga Pointe's 200 hour YTT program. I am retired and word as a graphic artist for 30 years. 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!
Andrew Morrison, RYT 200
My yoga journey began when I came to Yoga Pointe to heal a muscle injury that required stretching. The stretching worked, and the injury healed, but there was so much more that caught me by surprise! I soon noticed the benefits of spending one hour in a Yoga Pointe class spilled over into the remaining hours of my day. The physical postures, breathing practices, and uplifting narratives encourage me to experience the present moment. Yoga has guided me to view myself from a new perspective, to work through difficult and uncomfortable situations where growth, confidence, and success are waiting to bloom. I'm the father of an amazing 10 year old boy, Dylan, who now lives with this mother in the UK. Though I travel frequently to see him, his absence in my daily life is one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced, and yoga has fortified me to work with this new arrangement.
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.
Ann Marie Russell, RYT 200
Health and Wellbeing has been a passion of mine since as far back as I can remember. I have taught aerobics classes for over 30 years and became a certified nutritionist during that time. Before moving to Florida, I opened a wellness studio in Wisconsin concentrating on the benefits of nutritious eating and lymphatic stimulation. When I arrived in Florida, I found Yoga Pointe. The first class I attended was hot yoga. I knew then that I wanted to learn more about yoga and what it would do for me personally. I went on a journey of attending, each week, as many classes as I could for 4 years before I decided to take the teacher training in 2017 and become certified as an instructor. My passion for yoga was no longer just a personal journey but something that I knew I wanted to share with others. I incorporated my craft into my work as a social worker, introducing yoga to those in recovery. I continue to learn and evolve my teachings to benefit those that seek to live a healthier life.
Sarah Sengsouvanna, RYT 200
My yoga journey began when I was a college student, initially drawn to yoga for the physical practice but learned to really love yoga for the deeper mind, body, and soul connection. After college, I became an avid runner, completing 3 marathons. During that time, I would drop in to different yoga studios and take a class here and there to help stretch sore muscles. Throughout my first pregnancy, I discovered the many benefits of prenatal yoga. As life became more hectic with 3 children in our family, working as a full time high school mathematics teacher, and my husband traveling out of the country for work, I developed a strong home practice! My yoga practice has become a priority in my life; it is my self-care, stress relief, physical exercise and inspiration. Yoga makes me a better mom, wife, teacher and person!
In August 2022, I was able to combine my passions for teaching and yoga by starting Polk County's first high school Yoga Club! My school partnered with Yoga Pointe and we created a yoga club for students in 7th-12th grade. Practicing alongside these students inspired me to enroll in the 2023 Yoga Pointe Teacher Training Program so that I could teach yoga to others. I started teaching yoga right after graduating and I am excited to share my love of yoga with others! I hope to teach my students that yoga is not confined to the boundaries of a mat but extends into everyday life, empowering individuals to navigate challenges, find balance, and cultivate a sense of deep inner peace.
Kathy Shufflebarger, PT, E-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 & 300 teacher training followed soon after in 2013. 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 Yoga Pointe too numerous to mention for their ongoing energy and dedication to developing a place of Yoga. I am honored to be an instructor in Yoga Pointe's 200 hour teacher training program.
Jasmine Thompson, RYT 200
I practiced yoga in different seasons of my life when I lived in California. Uprooting my family to a new state with no friends or community, I decided to take classes at Yoga Pointe to combat some of that homesick feeling. The classes at Yoga Pointe (and the phenomenal instructors) helped me through my emotions and I quickly fell in love with the practice, so much so that I enrolled in Yoga Pointe’s YTT 200 class in 2022. As a former group fitness instructor, I always thought yoga was just another exercise format but yoga is so much more! Yoga is also fitness for the mind and well-being and has changed many people’s lives, including mine! Yoga has become an integral part of my life. In addition to reaping the physical benefits, yoga has given me a new, graceful perspective of today’s world. I work for a government entity and practicing yoga helps me deal with lots of political curveballs. As a wife and mom to three, almost-adult kids, yoga keeps me balanced and calmer as life happens. It has taught me to create my own identity and not live as someone’s mom, wife, or employee. I want to share with our community the many gifts of practicing yoga and how yoga can really impact one’s life whether it be physical or emotional.
Marni Tamayo, E-RYT 500, Studio Manager
I discovered yoga in 2003 while training for a marathon. I have enjoyed the challenges and benefits of my yoga 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 have been teaching a variety of classes and private yoga sessions at Yoga Pointe since 2015 where I so proudly completed my RYT200 and RYT500 programs. 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.
Shannon Abitbol, RYT 200
I fell in love with yoga many years ago, when a friend recommend it and I decided to try it. I’ve always loved to be active, so it was hard for me at first, to learn to slow down and use my mind as a guide to my practice. Throughout my life since then, yoga has played a part in keeping me healthy in more ways than just physically. It helped me in each of my pregnancies and through various aspects of my life, as it evolved in different paths and journeys. Of all the things that I do in my life to maintain my health, yoga is the one that keeps me most grounded in myself. I love the challenge of yoga, and I love being able to share that with others. I completed the 200 yoga teacher training program at Yoga Pointe in 2021 and have been teaching since then. I am so grateful to be able to share one of my passions with my students.
Kristin Chaudhry, RYT 200
My yoga journey began in 2010 during my senior year in college at the University of Central Florida. I had taken all the necessary classes to complete my Bachelors Degree in Communications but I needed a few more elective credits to graduate so I registered for Yoga. That summer for 3 hours every week I studied the physical practice as well as the history & philosophy. It really peaked my interest but it wasn’t until a few months later after graduation when a co-worker invited me to attend a hot yoga class & after the first week I was hooked. That’s when I really started to see my practice starting to evolve. Through the years of becoming a wife & mother of two children, yoga was always there for me. A place to feel grounded & connected to my true self. A place where I could breath fully & be present in the moment. A place where I could work on myself so that I could better serve my family. It was finally in 2019 I decided to take Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Pointe to really explore the depths of yoga & why it has such a profound effect on me. I wanted to learn more & help others feel the way I feel when I practice.
Marie Elkins, ERYT 200
My yoga journey began with Jana back in 2002, probably shortly after she began teaching. I had been going through a major transition, a trying time in my life, for several years at that point and was seeking peace and solace. I had read that yoga was very effective with many types of healing, both physical and emotional. I found the physical practice, the asanas/poses, could be just as challenging as the machines at the gym, if not more. What really impressed me, besides the improved core muscle strength, were the incredible mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits. It was the magical integration of mind, body, spirit, (yoga = yoke/union) that sealed the relationship. Yoga calmed my very over-active mind quite effectively, allowing the peace of being mindfully present in the moment. I frequently to refer to yoga as a dynamic meditation. Who on this planet doesn’t go through some extremely challenging times occasionally, it’s called life and we are here to learn lessons so what better way to streamline that process than through yoga? My practice has made me more cognizant of how I treat my body and allows me to maintain strength and ease of movement throughout the aging process. With coaxing from Jana, I completed the RYT 200 training in 2013 and have taught at Yoga Pointe over the years, around my out-of-state adventures. My most recent was in 2020, during CoVid, when I attended Maharishi International University in Iowa, studying Ayurveda Wellness and Consciousness and Human Potential. I am a Physical Therapist Assistant and a Licensed Massage Therapist. Yoga stretches are a prominent tool in my box of tricks to facilitate pain relief for my patients/clients, and they feel empowered by being an active participant in their health. I am also a Reiki Master and a student of all things spiritual, which is why I LOVE the vibrational healing properties of my singing bowls. I would love to see you at one of my classes and/or the occasional Sound Bath workshop presented by Marni and myself. Namaste :)
Bethany Fife, RYT 200
I started my yoga practice in 2010 for the physical benefits and found the moments of quiet savasana and conscience stillness brought the ability to more aptly handle stressors outside of the studio. Armed with the knowledge that practicing yoga on and off the mat brought more joy, calm, and karma to life, plus a love of the class sequencing, and a desire to share this practice with others, I enrolled in the 200-hr YTT with Yoga Pointe and their incredible team of instructors. I am honored and excited to be able to continue my practice and share my journey with the amazing students of Yoga Pointe!
Karen Heverling, RYT 200
I started practicing yoga in my search for a physical activity that would entice and encourage me to maintain myself in good physical condition. However, I did not expect to experience something more profound; the emotional and mental effects of yoga. I realized that the health of the body was not the only important thing, but also the health of the mind. With that came the desire of discovering my true self and life purpose. I completed the 200 hour teacher triaining program from Yoga Pointe in 2020. My goal for the teacher training was to submerge myself more in the yoga world as a way to get in touch with myself and the universe; but as the training and the spiritual aspects unfolded I realized I wanted to share this with others and teach yoga. I have been teaching since 2021 and have taught in Spanish as well as English. In my 'other life,' I have a background in communications having worked as a TV reporter and news producer. Currently I am in the legal world and work as a paralegal.
Beth Moran, E-RYT 500
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 25 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. I am passionate about encouraging people that anyone can do yoga. 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 200 and 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Pointe where I have been teaching since 2011. 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 yoga classes at Florida Southern College and enjoy seeing how the college students can incorporate yoga practices into their lives.
Yoga has been an integral part of my life over the last few years. While in college, I worked at a yoga studio and fell in love with the community and the environment. I saw how students were able to connect their inner power and find balance within each class, and I admired how the teachers helped guide them. At first, I wanted to become certified as a means of personal growth and discovery but I quickly realized I wanted to share the gift of yoga and become an instructor. I graduated from Yoga Pointe's 200 hour teacher trining program in 2021 and have been teaching ever since. I'm passionate about helping others find balance and peace on their mats through a mindful practice, and strength and stability through the physical practice. I see the benefit in all styles of yoga but my personal favorite is a powerful, heated, vinyasa flow class!
Carolina Luciano Ramos, RYT 200
Liz Sauer, RYT 200
The start of my yoga journey began while struggling to cope with the stress of working in the fast-paced, corporate world of the theme park industry. My yoga practice became a necessity to balance and soften my anxiety. I pursued my yoga teacher certification, driven by the potential of being able to provide the same space for growth and haven for peace that I had found and so desperately needed, to others. I received my 200-Hour RYT certification through Full Circle Yoga in Winter Park, Florida, specializing in Hatha yoga principles, hot yoga, and Vinyasa flow in 2018. It is my intention to offer accessible, mindful sequences with opportunities to modify or deepen as desired. It is my hope for students to find their own path on their mat; to find freedom in listening to their body, making their practice their own within the framework of the guided sequencing, and finding liberation in their ability to choose, challenge, and be open to what comes and goes. Inspired by my background in dance and my passion for strength and mobility training, I encourage intuitive and dynamic movement, breathwork, and stillness. I am invested in the long-term well-being of my students and offer guidance with the belief that yoga is an ongoing, ever-changing journey. It is my hope to be a guide in a student’s self-discovery and to advocate that yoga is truly for everyone. Outside of yoga, I am a production manager working in the theming industry. Most days you are likely to find me in the gym, walking my greyhound Luna around Lake Mirror, dancing Bachata, or escaping to the beaches. It is an honor to share this journey on and off the mat with you!
Jes Shapiro, RYT 200
Yoga has been an integral part of my transition from law enforcement into civilian life. In 2018 I retired from law enforcement, after 10 years in the profession, and moved from WI to FL. Once here I was fortunate enough to find Yoga Pointe, a beautiful studio filled with a beautiful community. I was hooked before I even took my first class! I initially came to yoga for the physical benefits of a hot practice and quickly embraced the added mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits that yoga provides. I completed Yoga Pointe's 200 hour teacher training program in 2020 and began teaching soon after graduating. My passion is helping women, specifically female first responders, tap into, fully feel, and express their emotions so that they can live as their true authentic selves. Yoga has been instrumental in this process for myself and I love that I can bring this tool to others, so they can experience it too!
Alivia Terriaca, RYT200
My yoga practice started in 2013 when I would attend “Yoga in the Park” at Lake Eola while attending college at UCF. I fell in love with the practice of yoga and I continued to develop my skills throughout the years. My yoga practice has helped me to benefit in different areas in my life-emotionally, spiritually and physically. I have been able to to stay balanced in my life and yoga is the best way for me to engage in self care and self acceptance. I completed the Yoga Pointe Yoga Teacher Training in 2022 to continue to dig deeper in my yoga skills and to develop the confidence to continue to lead others. Outside of Yoga Pointe, I am a mental health counselor, where I aim to help people become the best versions of themselves they can be. I hope to tie the benefits of mental health and yoga together through my practice. I am so grateful and honored to share my love of yoga with you as you embark on your own yoga journey.
Adrianna Wales, RYT 200
I began my impassioned yoga journey in 2015. 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 in 2017. 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.