Esterina is an enthusiastic yogi eager to share the many benefits of yoga with her students at any level they are ready to receive the practice. She is a U.S. Coast Guard veteran with an MBA, and has worked since 2002 in healthcare administration. Esterina has had a life-long interest in health & wellness. She began practicing yoga regularly in 2013 and soon discovered several additional mental and physical benefits; including the mind-body-spirit connection.
Desiring to help others in a more connected way, Esterina made a conscious decision to simply her life and participate in more activities that nurture the soul and human interaction. She completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Soul Space in 2016 and has a Level 1 Yin Yoga certification. She loves spending time with her family, friends and pets. She also enjoys hiking, baking, gardening, traveling and journaling. She feels that yoga only supplements and enhances her life, and would like to share the mutual benefits that practicing and learning from one another brings.
Susan Averna, PhD, RYT
Susan is grateful to share yoga’s message of self-compassion and self–acceptance with yogis of all ages, but especially with teens and tweens. When not doing yoga, she can be found dancing and choreographing dance, reading, and spending time with her family. She lives with her husband, her children, and cat, Bug, who does a mean down dog.
The more we grow to know ourselves the more we are able to see how interconnected we all are to each other. We are asked, she believes, to live our lives as examples, teach what we know, serve each other and the universe and always be open to learning more.
Lisa graduated from Cross Roads 200 YTT program and is extremely grateful to have Soul Space and its wonderful community as a part of her journey.
As a registered dental hygienist, Karen had always been interested in the human body and physical health; yoga simply added to this interest. Karen believes yoga is the path to optimum physical and spiritual well-being, and views yoga as a gift to mankind. She sees yoga as a gift she has given herself, and now she is striving to help share that gift with others.
Karen received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certificate from CrossRoads located at Soul Space Yoga and Wellness, studying under Crystal Sullivan, Shelley Nyren and Cheryl Moran. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an RYT 200.
Karen also enjoys being in nature, walking, bike-riding, gardening, reading, making jewelry and most of all spending time with her husband, daughter and son.
Lisa has been honored to be part of the yoga staff at SoulSpace since 2011. Lisa is also involved with CrossRoads Teacher Training at SoulSpace leading an in-depth chakra workshop. She has recently begun leading Kirtan at SoulSpace since 2016, combining her musical gifts and love of chanting mantra.
Kathy has worked at IBM as a technical support specialist in software sales organization for over 25 years. She lives in Southington with her husband of 33 years, Peter and her two cats. She has raised three grown daughters and hopes to have lots of grandchildren some day. In addition to yoga, Kathy likes to read, hike, cook for her family, and attend UConn sport events. Go Huskies!!
Lisa began taking yoga classes 7 years ago when she started to feel run down by years of high-impact exercise, especially long-distance running. She soon grew to love how she felt after a balanced practice; calmer, more hopeful and physically relaxed. Over the years, yoga became a constructive way for her to cope with stretches of high anxiety and depression and to make peace with herself and her past. In 2016, Lisa decided to pursue a 200-hour certification at SoulSpace, and has recently graduated from CrossRoads Teacher Training program under the direction of Crystal Sullivan, Shelley Nyren and Cheryl Moran.
She hope to share the tools of yoga with anyone who is on the path toward recovery-from physical pain, from ongoing stress, and from self-destructive patterns of thinking and behaving. She enjoys teaching a variety of styles of yoga, from vinyasa flow to restorative and yin classes. In all of her classes, she is mindful of creating an environment with empowers everyone, regardless of experience level, to listen to their own needs and move in a way that is safe. She also tries to bring a sense of silliness and playfulness into her teaching, so that her fellow yogis can leave the studio a little lighter than when they entered it.
Michelle is a 25 year old who works full time in the Public Health Field. Michelle has been practicing yoga for years and has recently gotten the passion to teach. This year she completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at SoulSpace. At the beginning of her training, Michelle was not sure if she wanted to teach but was just hoping to deepen her practice. She now is taking opportunities to teach at Soul Space and is loving it. She hopes to continue to attend trainings, continue to learn, and continue to grow as a person, on and off the mat. Michelle works on incorporating yoga into her daily life and hopes to use yoga to help others as it has helped her.
Jill became interested in yoga many years ago when completing certification requirements through AFAA. After taking continuing education courses and a class through YogaKids, she inquired about a summer training program at SoulSpace. The 200 hour CrossRoads Yoga Teacher Training at SoulSpace that she completed in August of 2014 signified the summer that changed her life.
Jill has taught yoga and mindfulness to preschool and elementary students as well as to adults. She is certified in group exercise and kickboxing through AAFA and is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) through Yoga Alliance.
Jill lives in New Haven county with her husband, Tom, and fur pup, Joey. She loves spending time with family and friends, hiking, photography and traveling–especially to New Hampshire, Maine, the Outer Banks and Canada.
Lucia completed Bhogah Yoga’s 200 Hour Yoga Alliance registered teacher training in Vinyasa under the direction of Brianne Davidson in May 2013. She has completed an 85 hour prenatal training program.
She started practicing yoga in 2006, but her practice was put on the back burner a few years later to complete her Master’s degree in education coupled with raising her family. It wasn’t until 2012 when her doctor prescribed yoga for her health, which began her path to deepen her yoga practice.
She practiced yoga for the physical benefits. However, once she learned to truly be on her mat, she was able to make a body, mind, and spirit connection that transcended off her mat. This self-discovery sparked an excitement and craving to learn more. The benefits of regular practice during her training has improved her life in ways she didn’t believe possible, which cultivated a desire to share this passion with others.
Whether you have been practicing for some time or new to yoga, join Lucia for Vinyasa yoga or if you are pregnant, deepen your experience and enjoyment of pregnancy with prenatal yoga. Her goal is to help her students find and maintain a peaceful mind and body. Students of all levels enjoy her friendly and warm teaching style.
As a graduate of the CrossRoads 200 hour Teacher Training program, Amy has found her passion in sharing her yoga practice with others. Amy began practicing yoga at Soul Space in 2012 in an effort to quiet her busy mind and strengthen her body. Following treatment for breast cancer in 2014, Amy had an intense desire to delve more deeply into the yogic philosophy. Teacher training allowed Amy to connect more fully to her true self. She has begun living a healthier lifestyle that incorporates more meditation, breathing and Ayurvedic practices. Amy enjoys sharing her passion not only with the community members at Soul Space, but with the students and staff she works with as a reading consultant in Newington. Amy is eager to continue learning all she can about living a healthy and balanced life using holistic practices. Amy also loves spending quality time with her husband and two children, as well as running, reading, baking, and connecting with friends.
Amy has a background in Behavioral Science and Occupational Therapy, obtaining Associate’s degrees in both areas prior to completing Yoga Teacher Training in August of 2014. Amy studied yoga in the Crossroads Yoga Teacher Training program at SoulSpace Yoga and Wellness in Plantsville, CT. Amy is professionally trained in alignment and proper body mechanics and is eager to share her past knowledge and experiences with the yoga students in her classes. Yoga holds a special place in her heart, as it has helped her fight anxiety, build her self-confidence and MOST IMPORTANTLY find self-love.
Amy’s inner light truly shines, and it is seen immediately through her warm personality. From the basics to vinyasa, yin to restorative, adults to teens and children, Amy’s graceful instruction will guide each student every step of the way. All fears and intimidation can fall away, as you prepare to find yourself, and watch the love and your practice grow.
Sara began her yoga journey several years ago while searching for ways to overcome her feelings of emotional sensitivity and disconnect from her physical body. Little did she know her yoga practice would provide her with so much growth. Sara’s study of self realization, yoga and the arts has provided a way for her to heal herself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Sara graduated from the Soulspace 200 hour certification program under the direction of Crystal Sullivan, Shelley Nyren and Cheryl Moran. Sara has always had a passion for teaching and learning. She has spent over 10 years working with preschool age children and has a Bachelors Degree in Science for Elementary Education and Special Education. Sara believes that knowledge of breath, movement and mindfulness are priceless and that the more tools we can add to each person’s toolbox the better.
Sara has a love for nature, music, dance, hula hooping, art and vegetarian and vegan cooking. It is Sara’s mission to share her experience and knowledge as a way to gently guide adults and children to awareness and understanding of their own unique creativity, expression, and ability to care and love for the self and others. Sara is extremely grateful to be apart of the SoulSpace community.
Dawn is also a certified fitness instructor through Aerobics Fitness Association of America [AFAA] and Body Training Systems [BTS] who has been teaching since 2007. In June 2012 she completed the class room requirements for her yoga certification in WHY Power through West Hartford Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training. This beautiful process was organically nurtured by many wonderful teachers such as Ellen Head, Jill Miller, Judith Orloth, Nikki Poole, Jude Russell, Barbara Ruzansky, and Crystal Sullivan. When not on her mat, Dawn can be found with her other beautiful inspirations, Paul, Brandon and Devin either running, skiing or just tossing the baseball in the back yard. Just as the word yoga itself means to yoke or join, yoga has helped me cultivate a connection between all aspects of my being. How can I not share this joy?
Cheryl J. Moran
Believing passionately in the power of gratitude in our lives and the limitless benefits of living in the present moment (one breath at a time), Cheryl tries to walk her own spiritual path with grace, humility and an open heart. She strives for balance, flexibility, strength & serenity both on and off of the mat and, desiring always to remain a student, is constantly learning from all of the various teachers that surround her each and every day.
In 2011, Cheryl seized the opportunity to create a doorway where everyone was welcome to enter & explore their own unfolding journey…and find that delicate balance of intention & surrender. Cheryl feels enormously privileged & grateful to be able to offer SoulSpace, CrossRoads & Yocovery, along with their guides and healing energies to the community. When not in court, or overseeing her restaurant, Cheryl can be found enjoying her life with her numerous rescue horses, dogs & cats. 🙂
Jessica has a dedicated career working as a leader in the mental health field, currently employed by Yale University’s School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. She has served as a Clinical Director in various capacities over the past ten years with areas of specialty practice surrounding forensic psychology, addiction recovery, trauma, evidence based treatment, and holistic treatment modalities. Jessica is an advocate for yoga and meditation in developing increased visibility as effective practices in the realms of psychiatry, health, and human services. She continues to witness the profound impact these modalities have had with alleviating symptoms of anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction when combined with traditional “talk therapy”.
Jessica has been teaching yoga since 2011, receiving her certification from Samadhi Yoga. She approaches her students from a place of love and acceptance and is passionate about cultivating a studio atmosphere of non-judgment and to support healing and optimal functioning of the whole self. She frequently utilizes medicinal aromatherapy, Ayurveda, and detoxing flow to enhance her classes. Jessica has been inspired through cultural immersion and travels to Asia, Australia, and Central America, which have served as a catalyst to enhance her spiritual connection to nature and the “yoga of life”. She will also graduate in the summer of 2016 with her AYS certification from the Himalayan Institute and is the founding director of Prima Wellness, LLC.
Jessica lives in Litchfield County with her yogi husband and enjoys travel & exploring new places, good food, and spending time with loved ones including her canine trio Frankie, Bella, and Chloe.
Jimmy has been an AFAA fitness instructor and health coach for almost ten years with a sincere passion for helping others bring their physical and mental energies into balance. He credits his mother in helping him to cultivate his spirituality and intuitive healing capabilities and was initiated into the studies of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki and Quantum Touch, where he later received certifications as a practitioner. Teaching seven classes a week and various workshops in addition, brings him great joy and satisfaction!
Deeply transformed by travels to both Central and South America and diffusion into the yogic lifestyle, he went on to receive his (200HR RYT) Yoga Teacher Training certification through The Om Center. This expanded his knowledge base of the philosophical, anatomical, and physiological elements of yoga and allowed him to adapt his lifestyle in new more meaningful ways. Jimmy’s yoga classes are often accompanied by sacred mantra or creative poetry aimed to tap into the inner wisdom of his students. Jimmy is known for his down to earth, relatable teaching style. He has led various workshops and specializes in serving as a mentor teacher for male yogis, helping to foster spiritual evolution and intuitive alignment of men on their path to wellness. Jimmy is also a student of Ayurveda and will achieve certification from the Himalayan Institute in the summer of 2016.
In addition to running a full time business, Jimmy enjoys time at home with his family, hiking, sunset excursions on his boat, and supporting various charitable organizations.
Sy is a proud graduate of Spelman College and owner/operator of Thurston Whitaker, which she founded in 2003. Thurston Whitaker provides etiquette & character education curricula, programming and online resources for youth organizations. She recently graduated from Crossroads 200 YTT in December 2016 and is a 200 RYT with Yoga Alliance.
She began yoga in 2003 after not getting into medical school and wanted to prevent herself from becoming depressed. She joined a gym with the sole purpose of doing yoga because she had heard that yoga could improve one’s mood. The Saturday yoga class from 10-11:15am quickly became her anchor and something she looked forward to through the week. Her yoga class went from a workout to something that made her feel good at a different level, more intangible level.
In July 2005, she took her first Bikram class, which offered a deeper challenge physically, mentally and spiritually. The breath, moving meditation and savasana of yoga was her bedrock and crucial to acceptance of death and healing after losing three family years in four years. She became a yoga teacher to guide others on their journey throughout life through yoga and to be a part of a lineage originated in the practice of stilling the mind with the intentions of peace and kindness for all. To be a teacher and forever a student of yoga is truly a gift and an honor.
Donna Stepensky, RYT200, DPT, MS
Crystal Sullivan PT, E-RYT 500
If you seek to expand your teaching experience, SoulSpace is dedicated to providing opportunities for certified instructors looking to improve overall wellness in the community and who are committed to their own personal growth and development.
Please contact Cheryl directly at 860.426.1601.[/su_column] [/su_row]