Teachers

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
(RYT-200)

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
(RYT-200)

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.

maryann-okronglyMaryann Okrongly
(RYT-200)

MaryAnn had been a long time runner with the New York Road Runners Club when she discovered the healing and meditative benefits of yoga. She practiced vinyasa-style yoga in New York City and Iyengar Yoga in California. She is very grateful to have begun her Ashtanga practice with Valerie Schniderman in 1998. She completed her 200-hour RYT certification with Beryl Bender Birch, The Hard & the Soft Yoga Institute, in 2009; and The Yoga Shala 200-hour Teacher Training in 2010. Through her travels she has studied with incredible yoga teachers including Kathy Louise Broda, Sussana Fnocchi and Jens Bache. MaryAnn enjoys helping students experience yoga as a personal and individual path. MaryAnn is also a Registered Nurse and is committed to ongoing studies with master teachers including Richard Freeman, Maty Ezraty, and Beryl Bender Birch. “Practice, practice, and all is coming”. K Pattabhi Jois

janell-breckJanell Breck
(RYT-200)

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.

melissa-youngMelissa Young
(RYT-200)

Melissa has been a dedicated student of yoga for many years. Her personal search, through daily practice and study opportunities with many great teachers, has been a confirmation of the wisdom and science of the tradition. The practice itself is a gift of healing for both teacher and student. Observing her body and mind, and asking her students to do the same, Melissa has come to know the place at the center of her own heart. It brings her great joy to inspire, assist and share the knowledge of practice. In Melissa’s classes, all are welcome to come and be at home in their body, mind and heart.

liz-wendelLiz Wendel
(RYT-200)

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
(RYT-200)

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.

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
Sanskrit

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.