Shala Teaching Staff
valerie-schneidermanValerie Schneiderman
(E-RYT 500)

Valerie is daily humbled and grateful for the bounty of gifts that yoga has bestowed upon her. Her intention in opening The Yoga Shala (in 2003) was to share this bounty with others. Valerie credits Tim Miller, whom she had the great good fortune of taking her first yoga class with in 1993, as having introduced her to this transformative practice. His example continues to guide and inform her teaching today. Valerie studied directly with Sri K Pattabhi Jois during his many visits to the United States, in addition to traveling to Mysore to study directly with Guruji and his family. Prior to her introduction to yoga, Valerie was a member of the 1984 US Olympic Team in rhythmic gymnastics and studied modern dance in undergraduate and graduate programs at UCLA.

lorin-ingber2“Oni” Lorin Ingber

Oni has gained a kinesthetic awareness of the body from her daily ashtanga practice for the past 13 years. After taking one weekend workshop with Kathy McNames and Christine Hoar in 1997 she was hooked and while journaling that weekend wrote that she would “do the ashtanga practice for the rest of her life, and teach some day”. When the teacher is ready…the students will appear…On May 15th of 2003 Val opened The Yoga Shala. On May 17th of 2003 (there are no coincidences) Oni was passing the Shala on the way to her guitar lesson (her other lifelong passion) and literally screeched into the studio driveway and has never left. In 2006 Oni took her first trip to India to study with Guruji and while there took an anatomy workshop with Ken The Rolfer, an advanced Rolfer and Ashtanga teacher. Ken’s workshop planted a seed and in January of 2007 Oni started studying at the CT Center for Massage Therapy. She graduated in August of 2008 and offers therapeutic massage sessions at The Yoga Shala.

colleen-sullivanColleen Sullivan

Colleen Sullivan and her husband James have lived in Ridgefield for over 16yrs, and raised 3 children here. Colleen has had the good fortune of studying with Valerie Schneiderman, for over a decade. She has attended workshops by some of the most respected Ashtanga Yoga teachers in the country such as; Tim Miller,Beryle Birch, Kino McGregor, and David Garrigues. A teacher who believes everyone can practice Yoga; Colleen feels blessed to share a tradition that has greatly enriched her life.

jean-wriedtJean Wriedt

Jean is an avid student of yoga, violin and energy medicine. She is an experienced teacher in each of these disciplines. A graduate of Yale University, she has nearly completed a three year 200 hour teaching certification with Beryl Bender Birch and has completed a primary series training with Tim Miller. In addition, she is grateful to Val and many other teachers who have inspired her. Jean is also an accomplished violinist having performed in orchestras in Canada, Germany and the US. Through her daily work as a teacher, Jean hopes to contribute to the healing of the earth, her people and all living beings everywhere.

janell-breckJanell Breck

Janell has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for 11 years. She completed the shala’s teacher training program in spring of 2012 and have been teaching at The Yoga Shala and privately since then. Janell loves being a part of the practice community. Community provides a place to go each and every day where people are seeking more balance and peace within and doing the work to better themselves so they can then go out into the world and be of service to others.

liz-wendelLiz Wendel

Liz’s class leaves you feeling refreshed, nourished and inspired.  She teaches her students to make choices that bring less stress and more joy into their lives.  She has learned through her studies and practice that each day, each breath, each moment is how we establish ourselves on our path. Liz has studied Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Anusara traditions.  She has also completed trainings in Trauma Sensitive Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Chair Yoga. In addition, Liz continues to work with seniors and students with limited mobility. Liz offers gratitude to every teacher she has practiced under, especially Val Schneiderman, Mary Gerdes, Bernadette Birney, Mitchel and Tracy Blier, Donna Jackson and Jillian Pransky.  She also thanks all her students who inspire her with their dedication and inevitably teach her something every day.

RebeccaRebecca Roth

Rebecca began her personal journey with Ashtanga yoga when she walked through the doors of the Yoga Shala in 2004 and read the words of Shri K Pattabhi Jois “Do your practice and all is coming”. Her personal practice has evolved to include completion of the teacher training program in 2011. She is a lifelong learner and believes yoga is a path to transformation. In addition to her continued studies with Valerie Schneiderman in Ridgefield, she has had the opportunity to take workshops with many Ashtanga teachers including Sharath Jois during his last 2 visits to the United States. She holds a Masters in Education from Sacred Heart University and teaches yoga and Spanish.

ValerieValerie Rich

Valerie has been associated with The Yoga Shala from its onset. Her teaching style has its roots in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. Valerie trained in the very first teacher training at The Yoga Shala in 2003 and again in 2012. She has done teacher trainings at The Iyengar Yoga Institute in New York City (2010) as well as the Australian Yoga Teacher Training back in 1997. Valerie continues to be a student at The Yoga Shala as well as teaching throughout Fairfield County. She is currently in training with meditation teacher, Lorin Roche, author of ‘The Radiance Sutras’ and teaches meditation classes for mindful health and eating. She volunteers her time at ROAR (Ridgefield Operation Animal Rescue) as well a Regional Hospice where she incorporates her Reiki skills.This summer she begins working at Danbury Correctional Facility. Her teaching style is playful and grounded in tradition.

miriam-zernisMiriam Zernis
Bhakti / Kirtan

Miriam has been practicing yoga since 1994 and is an internationally certified Sivananda Yoga Acharya (Master) having completed her advanced training in southern India. She continues to explore everything yoga has to offer and is currently studying Raja Yoga and Vedanta in an everlasting quest to be challenged both physically, mentally and most of all, spiritually. She teaches yoga as a tool for healing and as a pathway for Truth. Inspired by the many years of devotional chanting that went along with the territory of spending time at Sivananda ashrams around the world, Miriam found a new way to express herself through kirtan (musical prayer). It is with great joy and humility that she now shares it publicly.

leslie-freybergLeslie Freyberg

Certified Iyengar Yoga teacher Leslie Dillingham Freyberg came to Yoga from twenty years in the dance and theater profession. Leslie has studied Sanskrit extensively with Vyaas Houston (director of the American Sanskrit Institute), Edwin Bryant, John Campbell, Manorama, and Dr. Ram Sharma. As a member of the faculty of the American Sanskrit Institute, Leslie travels nationwide under its auspices to teach the foundation of the Sanskrit Language, an indispensable component for the serious study of Yoga.  Leslie teaches the Iyengar method of asana and pranayama in her hometown of Redding and in Ridgefield, Greenwich and Stamford, CT.

Kathy Katts Yoga Kathy Carrera Katts
Youth Yoga (RYT – 200)

Kathy has been practicing Yoga since 1996 and knew then that it would be a part of her life forever… She began her journey with the Anusara tradition in NYC. Kathy is a graduate of New York University with a degree in Organizational Behavior. With 25 years experience in the financial industry, she discovered that Yoga and Meditation was essential for stress management and optimal health. In 2007, Kathy began practicing Ashtanga Yoga at The Yoga Shala CT and is deeply connected to this beautiful tradition. She credits the support and guidance of Valerie Schneiderman in her path to teach and share this amazing practice. Kathy will complete a 750-hour training with New World Ayurveda as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor in the spring of 2016. It is her intention to share this 5,000-year-old “Science of Life” with others so that they may live happier, healthier lives. She is grateful for the gifts that Yoga and Ayurveda has bestowed upon her life. Kathy lives in Easton with her husband and 3 children.