Meet our experienced and enthusiastic instructors:
Alyssa is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist and a Dance2Fit instructor from Indiana, Pennsylvania. She graduated from IUP in 2016 with a degree in Exercise Science (minor in Nutrition). She is currently a fulltime employee at ALDI and is also an On Call Exercise Specialist at Plus One Health Management. She has been following Jessica Bass, the creator of Dance2Fit, for almost 3 years. She got to take one of Jessica’s classes in Pittsburgh, PA (Jessica is from TN) and got to meet her and hear her story. Alyssa has been passionate about dance ever since she was a cheerleader in high school.
Jan practices Iyengar-style Yoga combining lifestyle practices, physical poses, breath control, and meditation. She started practicing Yoga more than 25 years ago with the Himalayan Institute in Pittsburgh. Jan was trained as a Yoga teacher through the Southern Institute of Yoga Instruction teacher-training program in Nashville in 2001, qualifying her as a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has taught yoga in the Indiana area for 10 years, sharing practices that help students to be healthy and happy. She has participated in workshops with a variety of yoga and meditation teachers and in 2009 qualified as a Relax and Renew Trainer with Judith Lasater. In 2010 she completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program with Jon Kabat-Zinn. Jan is also interested in Mindfulness in Education and integrates mindfulness practices (gentle stretches and breathing practices) in her IUP classes in the Special Education and Clinical Services Department.
Originally from Galveston, TX, Caleb earned his BA (Spanish) and MA (Latin American Studies) at Vanderbilt University and his Ph.D. in History (specializing in Colonial Latin America) from the University of Florida. After living in the US, Spain and Bolivia for extended periods of time, he came to IUP in the fall of 2000. He is currently Director of IUP’s Cook Honor College, Associate Professor of History, and Founding Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Student Leadership. Caleb has been meditating formally for nearly 10 years as a practitioner in the Shambhala lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Having completed more than a dozen meditation instruction programs, he has become certified as a Shambhala Meditation Guide and Instructor. He is happy to share his experience at Sunflower Yoga Studio.
After receiving her B.A. in Dance Arts from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014, Rosie began looking for compliments to her aspiring dance/movement therapy career. Her love for yoga turned into a passion as she is set to complete her 200-hour Hatha yoga teacher training from Dragonfly Yoga Studio in Doylestown, PA in December 2015. Rosie provides a warm and welcoming environment for students of all levels and capabilities. She is also certified in Reiki and Thai Yoga Massage (The Vedic Conservatory). Rosie loves working with the everyday person who is ready and willing to try a class! She specializes in gentle and restorative yoga.
After 15 years of dancing, Sarah spent her final year of dance with the Virginia Tech Hightechs Dance Team. She then took to teaching Zumba before finally becoming a dance instructor. Nowadays, when Sarah isn’t at class for IUP she can be found coaching dancers at the Indiana Senior High school or instructing her new Barre class. She is passionate about encouraging others to find their fitness love and looks forward to introducing you to High Intensity Barre!
Werner’s belief is that we should embrace what unites us rather than create conflict over what divides us. An Associate Professor in the Department of History at IUP with a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, his passion lies with exploring history and cultures for universal truths about what drives and energizes human beings. Over the years, he has practiced Karate, Reiki, Mindfulness, as well as other Eastern traditions and has explored Native American spiritual practices. He is fascinated with ancient European cultures and how the Judaic influence through the Kabbalah and, later, Christianity created the underpinnings of the very Western culture and social structure in which the larger part of the world operates now. On this journey, he seeks to rediscover the unity and sense of humanity that was lost in this assimilation process.
Lauryn is a personal trainer and yoga instructor from Indiana, Pennsylvania. She graduated from IUP in 2013 with a degree in Exercise Science and completed a yoga teacher training program in 2016 at Schoolhouse Yoga in Pittsburgh. Coming from a strength training and conditioning background, she has extensive knowledge of how the human body responds to exercise and movement. This background helps her develop yoga classes and routines that target every part of the body. Her expertise includes strengthening the muscles, increasing flexibility, weight loss/weight management, injury rehabilitation, stress relief, and helping students achieve overall health and wellness. Helping others achieve their fitness goals and live healthier lives is Lauryn’s passion. She loves to share her knowledge of yoga and exercise.
Ed’s Yoga journey began to take off when as a member of Team Red, White and Blue he was invited to attend a Bikram Yoga training camp in Chicago, under the instruction of Barry Peterson. This practice was life changing. As a Licensed Social Worker (BA from IUP and MSW from Pitt), the light bulb went on, regarding the life-changing benefits of a Yoga practice. Early in 2014, he completed an Amazing Yoga Teacher Training program in Pittsburgh under the instruction of Karen and Sean Conley. Ed has continued formal instruction through the Veterans Yoga Project under Dr. Daniel Libby and is blessed to be considered an Ambassador for the project. With 20 years of coaching, group facilitation experience and engaging individuals and groups from a strength based perspective, Ed looks forward to sharing with you an empowering hatha yoga practice. Our practices together will focus on settling into each posture, while mindfully focusing on our breath, your own moving meditation practice. Namaste.
Kristen is a doctoral student at IUP studying clinical psychology. She received her Zumba Fitness license in August of 2011 and has been teaching at Sunflower Yoga Studio ever since. A ZIN member, she is also certified in Zumba Basic 2. All levels of Zumba and dance experience are welcome- just listen to the music and follow the beat! She looks forward to moving, shaking, and sweating with you in her high-energy class.
Jill first discovered Yoga thirty five years ago but only began to deepen her practice after moving to Indiana from Pittsburgh in 1996. After finishing a Ph.D. program in Literature and Criticism at IUP in 2003, she enrolled in a yoga teacher training program with Kathy Elder at Kalani on the Big Island of Hawaii and the following year continued her studies at the Living Yoga Program in Austin, TX. Jill began teaching Yoga in 2005 and has since worked with teachers from a variety of Yoga traditions and styles. She has most recently worked with Sadie Nardini and earned certificates specializing in Ashtanga Yoga, the primary series (with David Swenson), Kundalini Yoga (with both Gurmukh and Shakta Kaur Khalsa), Pre-Natal Yoga (Yoga Matrika, Pittsburgh) and Children’s Yoga (YogaKids® International). With the vision of bringing teachers and students of Yoga together to create a Yoga community in Indiana, Jill opened Sunflower Yoga Studio in February of 2008. It is her intention to continue sharing the life-transforming benefits of Yoga and inspiring new and experienced students alike.
After teaching locally for 35 years, Deborah retired and has become a student of yoga. She always had a keen interest in physical fitness, even winning a bench press contest at the age of 25! Now, however, she finds greater satisfaction in her yoga practice. For her, yoga offers the best combination of spiritual and physical practice, along with proving to be of maximum benefit in serving and aiding the body through life’s journey. There is a soothing sense of peacefulness and harmony that mixes well with the awareness of the body’s posture, movement, and alignment. Presently, Deborah completed her Yoga Fit teacher certification in December, 2012. She hopes to bring to “boomers,” like herself, that same sense of peacefulness, harmony and energy while developing a more flexible and fluid body.
Becca is a Health and Physical Education Major at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Personal Trainer, Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Weight Loss Specialist, all through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Along with these certifications she is certified in SPINNING, Group Fitness, and is working on her Behavior Change Specialist Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She first got involved with yoga in 2011 while working at a weight loss/fitness camp in Los Angeles. When her brother died in 2012, she credits yoga and meditation for helping her to come out of the grip of depression and learn to appreciate each day. In January 2016 she completed her yoga teacher training through Sacred Voyage Yoga in the Florida Keys and earned her 200 hour Yoga Alliance RYT Certification. Becca is excited to be instructing at Sunflower Yoga Studio and looks forward to meeting all of you (reading this) in the future! Have a powerful day!