MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
I credit my yoga path to the persistence of a friend that i now, and will always, hold dear to my heart. thank you, nelinda. In 2002, Nelinda introduced me to my first yoga class. I considered myself fairly athletic, but was amazed by the challenges I faced in that hour. I struggled to get through the standing series and by the time we hit the floor I felt as if I had been wrung out completelyphysically, mentally, and emotionally. I was eager to come back the next day, and the next, and the next. By day 4 into my practice I realized that the focus of my workout had morphed from being about how many calories I burned, what muscles I was working, into something much deeper. The world around me became easier; my child was better behaved, people I met seemed nicer, and small things that used to bother me, didn’t. By getting rid of stress (that I didn’t realize I even had) my life started to change. I quickly dove into a 6 day a week practice, sometimes attending 2 classes a day. In 2003, I became certified to teach by completing a 500 hour teacher training course. Teaching then became my full time job and my life’s passion. After a 6 month life-changing stay in Thailand, I returned to the States in 2007 looking for a new studio to call home. I found Uptown Yoga. There was something special about the space: just walking in the doors made me feel at peace. At the time, the studio was a bit unkempt, the classes were small, and the overall energy was running low, but it had an undeniable pulse waiting to be revived. In the spring of 2008, the studio would get just that: I became owner and poured my heart into bringing it back to life. I brought in teachers that share the same energy and passion for teaching as I do . Together we laid the ground work for what the studio has become today, a beautiful community where everyone can feel comfortable exploring (or beginning) their yoga practice. Yoga has helped me through some tough times and brought me to where I am today; a place of complete love and gratitude. I am thankful to have been brought to Uptown, and to be surrounded by amazing teachers and students.
I have been practicing yoga for almost 30 years now, and teaching for about 9. I received my RYT through YogaFit and also trained with American Power Yoga. The blessings of this practice and these teachings have changed my life- my health, my attitude, my relationships. My deepest honor and joy is to share with others the many and varied benefits of the practice and I do so with the greatest humility and respect. I am grateful to my family, my teachers and my students for the lessons they teach me every day. A year ago I completed my certification as a Holistic Health Coach with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. I bring my understanding of yoga into my nutritional counseling practice, helping my clients to find their authentic path to health and happiness. I am honored to be a part of this new yoga community in Austin Ranch and I look forward to meeting all of the new family in class! Namaste.
I started my Yoga practice over 12 years ago. After practicing and studying more and more I found that I was only scratching the surface of what Yoga was and could be for myself. This led me to want to teach and share this amazing experience and journey with others. My vision is to make the practice available for everyone to participate in. When we experience the stretching, bending, twisting and turning in Yoga we achieve a level of understanding of ourselves that contributes to our sense of control and flexibility. My goal for my students is to go beyond the physical aspect and heighten awareness of the body-mind connection. I believe our potential is limitless and within this realm there is a great joy.
Alexandra first found her passion for movement as a young girl through dance. While Attending the University of Texas at Arlington she discovered her love for yoga and began to teach informal classes to her friends, sharing her passion and admiration for the yoga practice and lifestyle. Vinyasa flow and practice has been Alexandras creative outlet and infatuation. She received her 200 hr Registered Yoga Teacher certification in December of 2011.
Tara has attended yoga teacher training with the Living Yoga Program in Austin, as well as completing her 200 hour certification with the Dallas Yoga Center. She has studied Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater, and has a special interest in womens health and well-being. She completed Prenatal Yoga teacher training with Bridget Foley. Tara also holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.
I started practicing yoga in 2005 as an alternate form of exercise. I did not fall in love with it immediately but in 2009, I decided to take teacher training to deepen my practice, not knowing what the path might unfold. Teacher training was an important turning point in my life. I realized I have so much to learn about yoga, not just the physical aspect, but spiritually. I started teaching right after I became a RYT and found myself enjoying it more every single day. At the end of each class, I feel fulfilled and blissful. I knew that yoga will be my life long journey to self-discovery and finding inner peace. Yoga has pulled me through some challenging times and taught me about conscious living, self-awareness, compassion, humility, amongst many others. Being physically weak and fighting asthma throughout childhood, yoga has helped me with breathing, strength and stamina. My teaching focuses on breath to create a union with the body, mind and spirit. I believe yoga is for anyone and I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to teach yoga. I am passionate about sharing yogic energy and fostering an awareness of ourselves and the present moment, bringing balance, peace and harmony with the greater whole. The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ? Buddha
After a couple years of dragging myself to the gym to lose extra baby weight, I finally decided to try a Vinyasya yoga class. I was going through a difficult time in my life that had left me with little self-esteem and I was intimidated by the fact I am not naturally flexible, but I went to the class anyway. I struggled with doing the postures and understanding the cues but an hour later I laid on my mat amazed by how I felt – not only did I experience a physically rigorous practice (yoga makes you sweat that much?) but it also stirred up emotions in me that I never felt from exercise. I had to come back.
I started taking classes several times a week and had a great teacher who always encouraged the class to at least try a challenging pose. Once I learned to be present and
breathe I really started having fun with the practice. I also loved the fact that this was the one hour in my days that situations, lables, worries were non-existent.
I continue to be amazed at the transformation my yoga practice has had not only on my mat but off it as well. This personal transformation inspired me to attend a 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training at Uptown Yoga in 2013 under Jennifer Chitwood and Maria Carroll.
As a teacher I hope to help you to tap into your breath and body to discover a yoga practicethathelpsyoureleasetension fromthebodyandmindallwhilehavingfun.
I started practicing yoga in 1999 while in graduate school and loved it instantly. I understand now that my story has been repeated over and over during the thousands of years yoga has been done: I tried it on a whim, was challenged more than I expected physically and mentally, plus had fun, and kept doing it. Eventually, I gave up the gym, I was more focused, more calm, more able to tap into an inner well of strength. Because yoga had resonated so much with me, I wanted to learn more and share it with others, resulting in my 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification in 2004. I came to Uptown Yoga years ago simply to take classes, and found a home I didnt even know I was searching for. I fell in love with the studio: the brick of the walls and the wood of the floor grounded and balanced me; the way the light came in and how I could see the sky and treetops (and the occasional squirrel) through the windows made me take a step away from my own worries and just watch the earth pass. I also fell in love because the teachers there constantly taught me new things and new ways of looking at old things. Even though most of those teachers have moved on, they imbued the space with their energy, creativity, dedication, and love. I am profoundly grateful to be able to teach there now in their stead and to have found a space where my own creativity (and occasional wackiness) fits in perfectly and where my personal practice can still continue to grow thanks to the amazing group of teachers with whom I am so fortunate to work and practice.
JANIE MONTAGUE discovered the healing practice of yoga following the persistent encouragement of a dear friend to try a Baptiste Power Vinyasa class in 2000. The practice and the delivery of the message quickly found a place in her body, heart and soul. Daily practice lead to a deeper study of the art of yoga and ultimately to a calling to teach. Sharing the practice with others has enriched my life beyond measure. I experience each student as a teacher, both to themselves and to those around them. Following an independent study of the Baptiste practice under the guidance of Jessica Young, Janie embarked upon her journey as a yoga teacher. Subsequent yoga certifications include: Baptiste Assistant Training with Angela Barrese and Brian Lam and American Power Yoga teaching certification with Kurt Johnsen. Janie has conducted yoga foundational workshops in the Baptiste tradition and Beginning Yoga Series programs, and assisted in Bootcamp and inversion workshops. “My teaching style has been influenced by my experiences with many local Dallas teachers as well as Baron Baptiste and Brian Kest. My life and my teaching are tangled in a beautiful tapestry of past experiences which serve to shape and form each new day. My husband of 25 years, Steve, and my son Max, keep me grounded and surrounded with light and love. For all of this support, I remain grateful.” Janie has attended Revolution Weekends with Baron Baptiste and workshops with a host of generous and talented yogis. Janie continues her study and practice of yoga each day, both on and off the mat. The light you discover when you allow yourself to shine, illuminates the path of life for yourself and most importantly, for those around you. Ultimately, your source of strength comes from deep inside. Through yoga, you discover that you no longer have to shout to be heard, or to decorate yourself to be seen; your light is authentic and shines from deep in your soul connecting each of us to the strength and softness in each other.” Janie is a former account executive, a current mother, wife, sister, salesman, friend and student of life.
My name is Jessica Smith, and it is my purpose to empower you to feel your best in a healthy body & content mind through the practice of Yoga.
I started Yoga in 1998 after recognizing that the permanent indention I was wearing into the couch was not serving me well. I had made some life changes that pushed me out of my comfort zone, and for the first time ever felt a sense of dread and depression about where I was headed with my life.
In my first class the teacher said; It?s not about where you are….it?s about who you are. And even though she meant where we were physically in the pose, I knew deep inside that there was more to it. I didn?t like where I was in my life….and it was affecting who I was, or who I knew myself to be.So I kept going to class. And each time I felt like another layer peeling away. Layers of doubt, expectations, judgements, and fear.
I found my teacher, Baron Baptiste, soon after that, and became certified by the Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga Institute in 2003. For a few years I travelled with my teacher assisting in workshops, retreats, and teacher trainings.
I have been teaching for over sixteen years, and continue to learn from the many amazing teachers and students I meet along the way.One of my recent teachers came in the form of a skiing injury where I tore my ACL, both meniscus, MCL and lateral ligaments. And even though it was an uncomfortable experience in which I was forced to sit, I had breathing techniques and a meditation practice to get me through. I returned to the physical practice with a new awareness that I continue to share with you.
You see, it?s not about where you are. Can?t touch your toes? Try bending your knees. It?s about who you are…someone flexible enough of the mind to keep trying, however you can, to reach your goal of comfort in an ever changing body. Comfort that brings contentment of mind & an overall ease with the constant changes of life.
I believe all yoga works, and use Vinyasa Yoga as a base to build each individual?s practice.
Classes will stretch and strengthen you; relax and revive you; educate and expand you.
Matt discovered yoga a little later in life than many. He was 32 when he started practicing at home. He later came to Uptown Yoga cold, having never taken a class and without knowing anyone in the class. Between nerves and a natural high-level of energy, he couldnt sit still. Through the good-humored patience of Maria Barone, he finally settled into that first class and found a level of peace he had never known. Marias continued help in following classes allowed him to find a home, both at Uptown and in the practice of yoga.
After a significant time of dedicated practice, Matt joined Uptown Yogas teacher training program. He completed the teacher training and through that and later months of honing skills, Jen Chitwood brought Matt into the ranks of teachers at Uptown Yoga. Jen and Maria, as well as the many other teachers at Uptown, quite literally changed Matts life.
In addition to teaching at Uptown Yoga, Matt founded Yogis-On-The-Go, which partners with Uptown Yoga to bring yoga outside of the studio and into the space of other companies, office buildings, schools and hospitals. You can find more about Yogis-On-The-Go at this link [insert link].
It is such an honor to bring the practice of yoga to others. Since becoming a teacher, Matt has watched people become more balanced, develop strength and flexibility, and generally find some of the peace he felt in that first class. These principles of peace, balance, strength and flexibility are the driving factors in Matts classes, and he welcomes the opportunity to share them with seasoned yogis and new students alike.
Melissa took her first yoga class as a college elective, expecting nothing more than a good physical stretch. To her surprise, yoga became a stretch of the mind and the best part- a dance with her ego. With practice, her mat created a safe space to move freely and not care who was watching, judging, analyzing, or comparing- including her own comparison of herself to others. She fell in love with the practice, the dance, and the ego challenge to let go and be free. Free of labels. Free of expectations. Free to create her own dance on and off the mat. Yoga created space for Melissa to accept her dance in life is worthy and she is happy to share and create that space for you.
Naomi discovered yoga while searching for healing and therapeutic forms of movement after an injury that ended her career as a ballet dancer. After attending a few Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes, Naomi found that the classes were not only an intriguing physical challenge, but she was amazed to discover that the practice left her body feeling cleansed, energetic, and mobile, instead of stiff and sore. As she began to incorporate a daily yoga practice into her life, Naomi discovered that there was much more to yoga than just physical movement and exercise. The profound healing and transformational power of yoga awakened the exploration of a deeper spiritual practice, and sparked within her the desire to share that experience with others through teaching.
In 2012 Naomi became a 200-hour RYT, and continued her education in 2013 through Uptown Yogas Teacher Training. Naomi brings her love of graceful and fluid movement into her classes with carefully choreographed, alignment-centered sequences. She emphasizes using the breath to bring body and mind into harmonious communication and unity. Naomi believes that yoga is not just what we practice on the mat, but a beautiful way of walking through life, and it brings her true joy to share that journey with her students, teachers, and friends.
Stefanie began yoga as a touring performing artist in 2004 for health benefits as a Baptiste Power Yogini, but soon realized the many other benefits of practicing yoga. She especially realized how yoga helped her find solace, stability, and peace no matter where her suitcases took her. She began her journey as an instructor in 2007 and received her 200hr Yoga Certification.
Stefanie loves vinyasa yoga, the yogic art of weaving breath with movement to help inspire the spirit, open the heart, and connect with the power and wisdom in the body. She enjoys receiving requests to creatively meet the needs of her practitioners and loves to offer a practice that is holistic, heart felt and safe. Stefanie enjoys teaching various styles of yoga; and she has recently become inspired by Sean Johnson of New Orleans, LA. to study and grow in the art of Bhakti Yoga to help people heal through the voice.
Tara Paulsen started exploring yoga around 18, taking it at a local community college, practicing on a cold basketball floor, which wasn’t working for her. Few years later, a friend encouraged her to try a studio class, which she went to for a bit, but her heart was never in it. She simply never got “it”–what everybody else could see or feel about yoga.
After years of no exercise, poor food and health choices, Tara was unhappy with her body, and needed to get back into shape. She found running great for the mind and was starting to see good, fast results. Also during this time, she decided to open her own business and the stress was overwhelming, to say the least. After some injuires occurred with running, she decided to look for something not so hard on the body and joints, and decided to give yoga a try again. Tara attended her first class at the Lakewood studio and felt home right away– the space, light, energy. However, it took time for her to fall in love with yoga. The first couple years are so hard, frustrating, encouraging, and revealing. You don’t always like what you see and learn about yourself, but the transformation is amazing. Slowly the idea of doing yoga to be more in shape, flexible, strong, etc. melts away, as the search for your inner self and the ability to calm the mind takes over. That’s when her life journey with yoga truly started.
After a couple years, Tara was practicing almost daily and knew she wanted to teach this gift of yoga to others. After waiting over 2 years, she dove in and started UYTT. Graduating in 2013, she has been teaching since. Using her personal practice as a teaching guide allows Tara to relate to her students and their needs. Her mantra for this stage of life is to be open: open to the ability to let yoga transcend your life and world around you. Taras passion is to inspire her students to let this openness fill their lives and practice — to allow the mind to connect with body so they can start to utilize their full potential in this world!