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 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, E-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.
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.
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! 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!
Laura Gasiunas, RYT 200
My yoga journey began at the age of 16, learning yoga from a friend who was in teacher training. Learning along with her and watching her develop her style, sparked something inside me, and I knew teaching would be in my future. I explored many different styles over the years, settling on hot yoga as my preferred practice. After many years sweating through Bikram classes, in Chicago (where I’m from) and Spain (where I lived for 6 years), I found myself in Florida and close to a hot yoga studio (YP!) that would become my new place to sweat and eventually learn how to teach. Now, every week, I am blessed to share this knowledge with others and inspire the same passion and love I feel for this particular style of yoga.
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.
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.
Jes Shapiro, RYT 200 Yoga Advisor/Receptionist
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. 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!
Maddie Taylor, RYT 200
My yoga journey began in 2016, after graduating high school and entering college. After receiving my master’s degree from the University of Florida with a degree in Elementary Education, I knew my true desire was teaching, in the classroom and on my yoga mat. Yoga has healed me in many ways on many levels. Through my continual and steady practice, I have learned the importance of self-love, the gateway to my true nature which is my heart. By tapping into this deep understanding, it allows me to serve others from a place of worthiness, compassion, and acceptance. I have discovered how yoga provides a place for everyone, one that is inclusive, non-judgmental, and safe. When not on my mat, I enjoy all things outdoors, exercise, and spending time with friends and family. Each day I am reminded of all the opportunities and blessings in my life, and I am honored that yoga is one of them, which is something I’m able to share with all my students, no matter the age.
Beth Moran, E-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.
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 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 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.”
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!
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.
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'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!
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.