Heart of the Village Yoga

Email Sign-up / Contact Us

SCHEDULE

The Team

The Team

Remembering our teacher and dear friend, Juliana Centner. You are often in our minds and forever in our hearts.
January 16, 1937 - October 27, 2012

- Andrea and Jo

Jo Kirsch, E-RYT® 500, Owner/Director

IMG_0944 2

Jo’s been practicing yoga for 32 years and teaching for 22. She is certified to teach yoga at the 500 Hour level through Yoga Teacher Alliance and the Hard & the Soft Yoga Institute.

Jo’s initial yoga teacher training was in Astanga yoga with Beryl Bender Birch. Since that time, Jo has been certified to teach Adaptive Yoga by Matthew Sanford, Trauma Sensitive Yoga by David Emerson, Yoga Nidra by Jennifer Reis, Yoga of 12 Step Recovery with Nikki Myers and Yin Yoga with Biff Mithoefer. Jo has a deepening love and appreciation for Bhakti Yoga and finds her heart cracking wide open as she studies and practices with Manoj Chalam, Sean Johnson and the Wild Lotus Band, and Gaura Vani. Her studies also include Iyengar and Anusara yoga, with many amazing, inspiring, loving teachers. Jo just graduated, Fall 2021, from Soul School, a 200 Hour online Yoga interdisciplinary teacher training program presented by Sean Johnson and Mitchel Bleier.

Jo’s personal experience with Post Traumatic Stress  (PTSD) inspired her to work with individuals with PTS, to help them manage their stress and heal. Jo’s practice informs her teaching. She’s found that everyone benefits from learning and practicing coping skills to help manage personal stress. She greatly values and teaches stress reduction techniques including posture practice, meditation, focused breathing, and yoga nidra in her yoga classes.

Jo is also a certified professional ski instructor who loves to ski and share her passion for the sport with others. A lifelong learner who subscribes to experiential education, Jo finds that a balanced combination of physical activity, being in nature, practicing the different limbs of yoga, and eating well, leads to a spiritual, mental and physical life of health and happiness. She loves to share these practices with friends, family, and individuals who are in search of healing and happiness.

Bob Speck, E-RYT® 500, Owner

Bob

Bob Speck is a Registered Yoga Teacher (EYT-500), Certified Personal Trainer and Functional Strength Coach. Bob has been practicing yoga for about 20 years, receiving his 500-hr accreditation through Beryl Bender Birch (The Hard and The Soft Yoga Institute) in 2016. Bob has also studied with Eoin Finn (Blissology Vinyasa Flow Yoga); Mathew Sanford (Adaptive Yoga); Biff Mithoefer (Yin Yoga); Sean Johnson (Bhakti Yoga), Manoj Chalam (Hindu Archetypes and Deities); Gaura Vani (Bhakti and Kirtan); Coby Kozlowski (Kripalu Yoga); Nikki Myers (Y12SR), Terry Fralich (Mindfulness), and Love Your Brain. He enjoys creating learning experiences which build supportive relationships, promote health and wellness, bring out the best in people, and provide ways for students to connect with the outdoor natural environment.

An athlete and outdoor enthusiast for his whole life, Bob is also a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School (Outdoor Education), Project Adventure (Adventure-Based Counseling), and is a PSIA/AASI Certified Ski, Snowboard, and Adaptive Instructor. He is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, a Certified Functional Strength Coach (with Mike Boyle Strength & Conditioning), and a Pain-Free Performance Specialist (with Dr. John Rusin). Bob has taught skiing and snowboarding for over 40 years, and has worked in the ski industry as a snow-sports school manager, staff trainer, and regional clinician. He has also been instrumental in the development of health and wellness and mentoring programs for disabled veterans in association with the Wounded Warrior Project and Warriors Live On, and with various adaptive sports programs. He has facilitated numerous educational workshops, led bike trips and backcountry hiking expeditions, coached various sports, mentored numerous athletes, and taught middle school health education.

Bob was previously a structural/architectural engineer and timber-frame home designer for over 35 years. Throughout his career, he has been a mentor for young professionals, helping many thrive in their careers. After moving to Vermont in 1996, he focused his work on sustainable design and timber framing by maintaining a small private practice called Gaia Structures. He maintains a lifelong Earth-friendly perspective in his work and in his life. Bob keeps a personal learning journal on his blog: A Mentor Walks With Me.

Charlotte Alexander, RYT® 200

Charlotte Alexander took her first yoga class at Heart of the Village Yoga when she was eleven. It was love at first vinyasa! Four years later Charlotte enrolled in Heart of the Village Yoga’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and Advanced Studies Program. From the start Charlotte discovered a love of teaching an

d helping others grow their own practice.

Charlotte enjoys fast paced hatha practices, as well as ashtanga yoga. She has explored many styl

es, including restorative, acro, slackline, and aerial yoga. Homeschooled by her parents, Charlotte has a true love for learning. In her spare time she enjoys being out in nature, hiking, skiing, fly fishing, and horseback riding. Charlotte’s energy, curiosity, and fun approach to yoga motivates everyone around her.

Zoe Anderson, RYT® 500

Zoe Anderson has pursued her lifelong passion for all things athletic, originally incorporating yoga as an alternative to warm-ups and stretching. Moving from New York to Vermont, and attending a Heart of the Village aerial yoga class, the concept of body and spirit integration opened the door to more inspiring wellness practices. It wasn’t long before aerial yoga, ashtanga power-yoga flow, yoga philosophy, and functional strength training became her weekly go-to practice. Zoe focuses her practice on core awareness, strength, total body wellness and recognizing the importance of moving from a strong, centered core.

Zoe recently completed 500 Hours of Yoga Teacher Training with Heart of the Village Yoga. In 2021, She obtained her certification as a Pain-Free Performance Specialist (PPSC), a cutting-edge functional strength training program utilized by personal coaches at Heart of the Village Yoga.

When not at the studio, Zoe can be found at another studio as Art Director and Commercial Illustrator for a Vermont-based art licensing company in Manchester.

Kirsten Bokenkamp, RYT® 200

Kirsten first started practicing yoga in the 1990s and became a 200-hour certified yoga teacher in 2015 from MJ Yoga in Montgomery, Alabama. She believes yoga can be incorporated into a holistic approach to overall spiritual, mental, and physical health, holds a BS in nutrition, and earned her personal trainer certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2006.

Kirsten has practiced yoga at many studios and is inspired and influenced by many teachers and styles of Hatha yoga including Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bikram, Jivamukti, and Anusara.

Kirsten’s classes are compassion-centered, playful, and well suited for all levels. Expect to connect your breathing with movement through Vinyasa flow, challenge your balance, increase your strength, and have some fun. Her cues focus on alignment to keep you safe, and she offers various options for individuals in her classes.

Kirsten grew up in Landgrove, VT and after years of living in various parts of the US, has happily returned home with her husband to raise her two children. Before moving back home she taught yoga in Missoula, Montana. Outside of yoga, she enjoys spending time with her family, getting outside, and snowboarding. She is Communications Director with the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, working to strengthen a diverse global community committed to exposing and countering racism, bigotry and hate.  Kirsten believes that through yoga and compassion for ourselves and others, we all have a role in contributing to happiness and freedom for all beings, everywhere around the globe.

Dina Bronson, RYT® 500

dina-tree1

Dina became a committed yoga student in 2003, while practicing therapeutic Iyengar yoga one on one with Rebecca Weisman. The profound healing that occurred on the mat moved yoga from an exercise practice into a lifestyle. As Dina’s practice deepened, her longing to share this work with others grew, inspiring her to become a certified yoga teacher. Dina completed her 200 Hour Teacher Training offered at Heart of the Village, in conjunction with Beryl Bender Birch’s The Hard and the Soft Yoga Institute, in 2016; and then completed her 300 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Heart of the Village Yoga in January 2020.

Dina’s work with energy and spiritual healing inform her classes, and they are a synthesis of body and mind, heart and soul, play and focus. Finding the “and” on the mat helps us bring it to our lives.

In addition to being a RYT 500, Dina is a graduate of the 4 year program at The Barbara Brennan School of Healing, as well as the 4 year non dual healing program at A Society of Souls.

“I am so very grateful to Jo, and Heart of the Village Yoga. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to teach here. I look forward to seeing you on the mat.”

Emily Dee, RYT®200

Emily began her yoga asana practice at Heart of the Village Yoga in 2014. In 2015 she became part of the support staff at the studio, registering students and assisting in the Boutique. She has kept up a steady practice and received her 200 hour yoga teacher training certificate in the spring of 2022. Emily is currently continuing her studies and is enrolled in the 300 Yoga Teacher Training at Heart of the Village Yoga. She will complete this training in April of 2023.

From the start of her practice, Emily has enjoyed bringing the mind, body and breath into the poses. Integrating the breath is a central teaching in her classes. Emily’s teaching style demonstrates her spiritual essence which is steeped in eastern philosophy. She is a long time practitioner of meditation and Bhakti yoga. Emily believes that bringing the mind, body and breath together creates a state of stillness which enables students to connect to an inner state of bliss.

Emily grew up and has lived the majority of her life in the lush green mountains of Vermont. She has a great respect and deep appreciation for nature and animals, which she expresses through taking photos and writing poetry. She is an avid skier and always enjoys a good jaunt in the woods. Emily recently took up playing golf. She doesn’t take it too seriously, but plays for fun with her friends while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Emily implements the teachings of yoga, not just on the mat but as her life pursuit. As a yoga teacher she hopes to expand, enrich and uplift the lives of the students that come to her classes. Then, they too can discover the richness of life within their own being, on and off the mat .

Lela Hughes, RYT® 500

AliKaukas-3554 lr

Lela has been practicing yoga for 18 years, becoming increasingly dedicated over time. Heart of the Village Yoga has allowed Lela the opportunity to advance her practice both on and off the mat. Lela enjoys the challenge of a rajasic yoga practice and sequences that build heat from the inside out. She is excited to share her love of the practice with new students – honing in on alignment and breath work. Lela, an interior designer, can be found spending time outside with her family – snowboarding and sledding in the winter, and gardening and exploring nature in the warmer months.

Barb Lowes, E-RYT® 500

barb-lowesBarb took her first yoga class in 1987, in Port Washington, New York. She was invited by a friend to take a yoga series in a local community center for 8 weeks. This was not “love at first class”. In fact, after the first class, Barb said, it was more like, “I can’t do this”. But, she stuck it out, finished the series and something amazing happened. She felt wonderful physically, mentally and spiritually! Now, that feeling for a young Mom with two small children, partners with her husband in a commercial photo studio, juggling work, family and a hectic busy life, would be very difficult. Barb found making time to get on her mat and take a yoga class was her sanctuary. Her place to just be.

Barb went along with life! Raising a family, working at Tin Roof Productions, squeezing in time for yoga, tennis, skiing, etc. Over the years, she practiced many styles of yoga, such as, Kripalu, Ashtanga, Hatha, Iyengar and Power. She also enjoyed many workshops in Restorative yoga, Ashtanga, Ayurveda and Reiki Level 3. All during that time, Barb dreamed about becoming a yoga teacher, but, could never find the right time or place.

In 2011, Barb moved her business to the beautiful community of Manchester, Vermont. One day, she was taking a yoga class at the local gym and the teacher no showed. So, rather than cancel the class, Barb offered to step up and guide the class through a practice. It was after 30 years of practicing yoga, a life long yogi, it became very clear, she wanted to teach and get certified.

So, thanks to Jo Kirsch, Heart of the Village Yoga, The Hard and Soft Yoga Institute and Yoga Alliance, Barb is now certified as a E-RYT500, YACEP , (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider.) Barb is also a Reiki Master and is certified by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation as a Brain Longevity Specialist.

“I am eternally grateful and I bow in gratitude for the sacred teachings that I have studied and can now bring to my students, a dream come true.”

Claudia Mullaney, RYT® 500

Claudia Mullaney, RYT 200, was introduced to yoga 25 years ago. After struggling with a hip injury, her yoga teacher introduced her to Gyrotonic and Pilates. Obtaining certifications in both she enjoyed teaching private clients for 5 years. Claudia stopped teaching to become a caregiver for a family member.

But Yoga was always a place to come back to … a place just to be. Self care became evermore important… yoga and her mat became just that, self care. Just before relocating from New York to Vermont, in the summer of 2019, Claudia enrolled in the 200 Hour Teacher Training at Kripalu. Her training ignited her love of yoga even more.

Claudia discovered the magic that is Heart of the Village Yoga after attending just one class… her heart opened and she knew that at some point that’s where her journey of learning and teaching would continue.  Claudia is currently enrolled in Heart of the Village Yoga’s 300 Hour Teacher Training Program.

Claudia started a new business, Satya Curl @ the Honeycomb Beauty & Wellness center right here in Manchester specializing in curly hair. Satya in sanskrit means truth… Her mission is to help those that come to see her discover their own unique truth.

Claudia lives in Shaftsbury with her husband and their two golden retrievers. She is inspired every day by the natural beauty that surrounds them here in Vermont.

Kaitlyn Zwagerman, RYT® 500

KaitZwagermanBio PicKait started serving the Southern Vermont community in 2013; sharing the belief that life should be lived with joy, gratitude, and a dedication to being present in the moment. These feelings inform and guide her teachings, which are rooted in helping students better connect to themselves, their communities, and to the rest of the world. Her focus is on tuning students into the sensations of their bodies with an emphasis on realizing, embracing and working with limitations. Since the birth of her daughter in 2014, yoga has taken on new meaning while she navigates the wonderfully bumpy terrain of motherhood. One of Kait’s greatest joys has been teaching the prenatal yoga and Mommy and Me classes for Heart of the Village.

In 2015 Kait started a sweet little yoga inspired jewelry company, Wandering Sparks, Ltd. Co. This has allowed her to share her love of yoga, mindfulness and connection in a creative new way. In 2016, she created two mala making workshops that she shared with the Heart of the Village community- encouraging the power of intention, prayer and breath when meeting challenges. You can find some of Kait’s ‘om-made’ creations in the boutique!

Kait received her 200 hour certification with Jennilee Toner (Hot Warrior Yoga) in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the 500 hour Heart of the Village advanced teacher training program under the guidance of Jo Kirsch, Bob Speck and Laurae Coburn. Kait also holds her Reiki I certification and has completed 20 hours toward her 50 hour Yin Yoga certification under the guidance of Biff Mithoefer. She is infinitely grateful for all of the wonderful opportunities that have become available through the Heart of the Village community.

Andrea Albrittain Ross, Co-Founder

Andrea_bio_photo“I have practiced yoga for over 30 years. It has been an extraordinary journey into stillness and awareness. 

The practice of yoga open’s one’s heart, mind and body. It benefits our physical bodies by building strength, balance, and alignment. For me, my practice has become a moving meditation where I find peace within the grace of the Asanas. I believe that the practice of yoga has the power to transform and bring peace and well being into one’s life.

Many of the postures practiced in yoga are focused on physically expanding our chests to allow us to focus on and expand our heart centers. This opens our etheric or energetic hearts and enables us to receive healing and increased awareness. The practice of yoga has the power to transform and unify. 

It is my hope that Heart of the Village Yoga will expose others to this practice that enlightens all our lives, individually and collectively. It is my hope that what is taught in our studio can be incorporated in to one’s daily life. That one’s yoga practice can become a part of who one is when confronted by all of the circumstances of life. That one’s mat can always be beneath one’s feet. The practice of yoga in the studio becomes a rehearsal for one’s authentic practice within the greater community.”

In addition to being a mother of eight children, Andrea Ross’ career of community service includes over twenty-five years in clinical patient care; board service and active involvement with local schools, community foundations and family services. She  earned her Bachelor and Masters in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

Vaccination Restrictions Lifted

It’s time. We are dropping the Covid Vaccination requirement at Heart of the Village Yoga. Our goal is to keep … read more +

Managing Strong Emotions, Cultivating Positive Emotions

Shared from Eddie Stern’s Newsletter In many of the practices of yoga, we learn to slow down the emotions and … read more +