Our staff

Meet our yoga teachers

A dedicated team of yoga teachers in West Seattle and Issaquah

Meet Dora Gyarmati>

New students>

At Spira,  every teacher is unique, but we share a philosophy of excellence and safety. We still teach yoga the way it was originally meant to be; a combination of breath, movement, and mindfulness.

 

We are proud to introduce our instructors who are listed in order of seniority

Dora square bio_edited.jpg

Dora Gyamati

Dora is an ERYT with over 15 years of experience, and the owner of Spira Power Yoga® studios and the Founder of M3B

 

Learn more about Dora >

Brenda Schornak

Brenda Schornak

As part of relocating to Seattle at the age of 49, Brenda knew she needed to incorporate some type of exercise in her life and she decided to try an Intro Series into yoga.  With a strong belief in the Powers of Spirit and the Universe, the chanting of Om in her first class was what told Brenda she was exactly where she was supposed to be. 

 

She quickly became invigorated with the strength and power that her body developed over a short period of time.  Not only was yoga a form of exercise that Brenda was able to commit to, but it was also a practice that she began to love. 

 

She began a daily practice of yoga to further enhance her meditation practice and due to her belief in the power of yoga to connect the Mind, Body and Spirit, the Trinity.  Finding herself laid-off from corporate America a little over a year later, Brenda decided it was time for a career transformation!

 

For the past two years, Brenda has rarely missed a single day of practice. She believes so much in the transformation that yoga can create in an individual’s life, she wants to share it with others. 

 

Brenda completed Ana Forrest 200+ Hour Teacher Training in March of 2010 and Baron Baptiste Level 1 in March of 2011.  Brenda has completed both TAP and Advanced TAP taught by local master teacher Lisa Black as well as many workshops.

 

Brenda continues to be mentored by Dora Gyarmati and has plans on completing Baron Baptiste Level 2.  She currently volunteers with Yoga Behind Bars and teaches at Echo Glen’s Children’s Facility in Snoqualmie weekly.

Regan Pasko

Regan Pasko

Regan began his yoga practice in 2002 at the urging of his physicians to increase his flexibility while training for ultramarathons. Through the years his passions turned from running to yoga, where he discovered a life-changing, joyful, dedicated and rewarding practice that he simply needed to share with others.

 

Regan’s teaching style simply cannot be labeled. He takes what he learns from all his teachers and brings it to his students in a simplistic, almost mechanical way. He builds his students up through each individual class, as well as through their entire lifelong practice, to reach beyond their expectations, allowing them to find themselves somewhere new and amazing.

 

Through his training and engineering background, Regan’s teaching results in a very hands-on approach breaking down the asana, flow and physical adjustments to their most basic foundation. Regan is strongly influenced by Jonathan Bowra (of Forrest Yoga) both through being a student of his and through his ongoing specialized training. He completed a teacher training with Baron Baptiste and teaching assistance programs with local master teacher Lisa Black. He continues his training and practice by attending intensive sessions with master teachers such as Anna Forrest, Simon Park, Jason Crandell and Ed Clark.

 

Through the growth in his practice, Regan found that accomplishments on the mat do lead to exciting and new things in life, giving oneself new found confidence and personal respect. Therefore he teaches with a belief that anyone can achieve, urging everyone to try something new, just one small step at a time.

Marva Benjamin

Marva Benjamin

Marva began her yoga experience/journey in 1999 and has been teaching since 2003 at several studios throughout the Seattle metropolitan area. Her certification consists of over a year of training as well as continuous education and influences through various workshops and teachers such as Shiva Rea, Katarina Wen, Baptiste, Bryan Kest, John Friend, and Beryl Bender Birch. She also studied Ashtanga yoga in Mysore, India, with Master teacher, Sri Sheshadri, and hosted yoga retreats in her second home on the beautiful island of Barbados.

 

She loves to guide students through invigorating, challenging and encouraging yoga classes. Her passion is to teach energetic classes from the heart, with nurturing instructions, that flows into a powerful and graceful practice.

 

You will often hear her reveal one of her mottos while students are in Chair pose: “Okay everyone, let’s get those sit bones down, Happy Hour hasn’t started yet, so off the barstool” Peace, Love, Happiness, Laugh, Live Life…

Susie Brown

Susie Brown

Susie began her yoga journey when she moved from Pittsburgh to Seattle in 2005.  Always curious about yoga, she walked into her first class and has never been the same since.

 

She was instantly hooked, finding the balance of peace and strength extremely powerful, not only for the physical body but for heart and soul.  Susie is honored to have the opportunity to share and spread her love for this beautiful practice with her students and the community every day.

 

By marrying the body to the breath and cultivating a dynamic physical flow, you’ll receive workout like no other.  Remember that when you live fully from the heart anything is possible.

Susie is currently studying under Dora Gyarmati.  She has trained with Baron Baptiste and has completed Level One and Level Two Teacher Trainings.

Tara Colagrossi

Tara Colagrossi

Tara’s yoga journey began in 2001 while attending college at Washington State University. Though she enjoyed rootin’ for the Cougars, she found a passion in yoga, trying a variety of styles and classes until she found the perfect fit and downward dog in vinyasa power yoga. Yoga has always been a constant in Tara’s life. 

 

With a supportive husband, two beautiful children, Annabelle and Anthony and a fast-paced work life, yoga continues to be grounding and relaxing. It’s an opportunity to connect to herself, to feel alive, to simply breathe and to truly inhabit her body.  She is grateful for the opportunity to give back to this supportive and inspiring community and honored to share her love for the practice.

 

Tara stretched and namasted her way to earn a 500-hour yoga certification through Yoga Works and has also completed the Teacher Assisting Program (TAP) with Lisa Black.  She is currently studying under Dora Gyarmati and Valerie Kardonsky.  When she’s not on her mat, she’s enjoying her family and two beagles, Max and Cooper.

Amy Starner

Amy Starner

Amy’s former life as a dancer, coupled with her many years of teaching movement, has given her a keen ability to truly teach from the inside out; not just making asana, but feeling what’s happening inside your body.

While she enjoys the physical “work-out” that Vinyasa Yoga can provide, she relishes the spiritual “work-in” that only yoga can offer – aligning mind, body & spirit.  Her classes put an emphasis on awareness, alignment, breathing, and control. She holds an MFA in Dance and Choreography from UC Irvine, a 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification from our own Spira Power Yoga and Dora Gyarmati in West Seattle, and is a certified Pilates Instructor from Studio du Corps/Pilates Center of Orange County in Costa Mesa, CA.

If you love to move with grace and power and enjoy strengthening your body, stretching your muscles and feeling movement in a new way, you will feel right at home in Amy’s yoga classes.

Chuck McDonald

Chuck started attending Baptiste-Style flow classes at a local gym in 2004 and quickly fell in love with how the practice complemented his regular running and weightlifting.  He took a year off from Yoga to focus on training for long distance running events in 2011, but in early 2012 stopped into Spira Power Yoga at the recommendation of a friend.  After attending the first Spira weekend retreat that year, he immersed himself into yoga to explore how a more frequent practice would benefit his mind and body. Driving home that weekend, he was struck with a tremendous sense of contentment and happiness that he couldn’t put words to. At that point, he switched to Power Yoga as his primary workout. Chuck studied under Dora Gyarmati and Jenniferlyn Chiemingo for teacher training at Spira and continually says how grateful he feels to be able to mentor there with Dora and Susie Brown.


Chuck works in the finance industry and is also a performing musician. He feels his creative pursuits and his practice are essential for providing balance to his work life, which at times can become completely not-at-all-like-yoga.  In additional to taking in an occasional Crossfit class, Chuck can often be found practicing alongside his wife, Kimberly, and spending time with their two growing daughters.

Heidi Meyerholtz

Heidi Peerman

Heidi has always been passionate about health and movement. Through her teens, Heidi was a competitive swimmer and gymnast and later in life fell in love with mountain biking. She received her classical Pilates teacher certification in 2009 and has been teaching private lessons and mat classes ever since. In 2013 Heidi became certified as a Nutritional Therapist and is a firm believer that the combination of nourishing food and exercising the body and mind is the only path towards total wellness.

Yoga had been a part of her life on and off for years but it was not until finding Spira that her love for it began to deepen. In 2016 Heidi received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from Spira and continues to mentor with Dora Gyarmati. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion for yoga with her students and is excited to continue learning and deepening her own practice.

mountain biking. Heidi received her classical Pilates teacher certification in 2009 and has been teaching private lessons and mat classes ever since. In 2013 Heidi became certified as a Nutritional Therapist and is a firm believer that the combination of nourishing food and exercising the body and mind is the only path towards total wellness.

Yoga had been a part of her life on and off for years but it was not until finding Spira that her love for it began to deepen. In 2016 Heidi received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from Spira and continues to mentor with Dora Gyarmati. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion for yoga with her students and is excited to continue learning and deepening her own practice.

 

Kristin is a RYT 200 and a certified Yin teacher. She is finishing her 500 hour teacher training with her teacher Rod Stryker ( Para Yoga ) Whether teaching a challenging power class , gentle yoga, yin or meditation, Kristin’s goal is to help guide students to the place within that never changes , that is always at peace.

Jennifer Clark

Jennifer took her first yoga class at a gym in 2012. The plan was to just add another workout to the baby weight loss journey, but to her surprise, she began enjoying yoga. Intrigued by the challenges yoga presented, Jennifer ventured into the unknown and took a class at a yoga studio. New place, new people, new words, heat, sweat, frustration, fascination, eventually appreciation – studio yoga and Jennifer were officially introduced.

 

Her first class was completely foreign; hearing words she had never heard, being asked to breathe and release (what was that?). She experienced humility at a time it was needed. She felt parts of her body awaken and become strong. She felt a sense of comfort knowing a yoga class was always there for her when she needed it. After a time, Jennifer discovered yoga was not just about movement and flexibility, but more about the whole person. Who we are. How we act. How we think. How we live. How we love.

 

Jennifer entered the teacher training program at Spira in 2015 hoping to gain more insight into the yoga world. This personal journey quickly blossomed into an unexpected enjoyment for teaching and interest in learning even more.

 

There’s an awesome aspect to yoga that sticks with you as you step off your mat. A little friend there to remind you to be present in your day, alive in the moment, happy and content with what you have rather than what you don’t. Jennifer looks forward to having this friend with her as life progresses – teaching her, guiding her, inspiring her. The opportunity to share what she has learned and continues to learn is such a happy feeling and it is her hope to share that happy feeling with as many as she can.

Here’s to the journey!

Lisa Dodge-Johnson

Lisa adores being in her “Body Temple” and supporting others in caring for their own! Her first introduction to Yoga was age 14 when her father gifted her younger sister a book of Krishnamacharya in the most “fantastical poses.” She then purchased her own yoga “how to” book at age 18 while studying the “Arts” in Europe. In the 1990’s she studied Iyengar yoga for 5 years at Yoga Centers in Bellevue, in the 2000’s she did a 40-in-40 stint at a Bikram studio and sweated her heart out there for a while.

 

When Spira opened it’s doors she and her husband Ted were there to Celebrate the “new biz in the hood”! Lisa became an avid practitioner at Spira and in 2017 graduated from Spira’s 200-hour program where she trained in Spira methodology of M3B (Mindful Movement Meditation and Breath).

 

Outside of yoga, Lisa spent her 20’s and 30’s as a stage performer and continues to perform in small venues with a mystical storytelling musical troupe “Spiritual Travelers” she helped found in 2011. She earned a BA & MA work at Antioch Seattle University in Whole Systems Design focusing on “Beauty, Creativity, and Transformation.” She also spent many years in “Movement as Therapy” with various Teachers/Witnesses.

 

Lisa is also a business owner; just south of Spira, Lisa and her husband run Admiral Healing Arts in their backyard cottage. Her biz is “Inner & Outer Beauty: hair, skin & serenity” where she works as a WA Licensed Massage Therapist, Master Esthetician and Cosmetologist.

 

It is her goal to provide students with inner peace! The quietude of Restorative and Yin Yoga is especially appealing to her at this phase of her life, and it is with JOY that she shares Spira’s M3B methodology applied in this quiet setting.
 

Jude McAlpine

Jude McAlpine

Movement has always been a part of Jude’s life. She has been a regular practitioner of yoga since 2008, and spent many years as a competitive swimmer.   She connected deeply with the meditation aspect of yoga – combining movement with meditation and breath.   Jude completed her 200 hour yoga certification in India and is certified to teach Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, and soon to be Restorative.

While off the mat, Jude works in the consulting industry – and started a non-profit in Africa empowering women & children. She enjoys lifting people up through the power of yoga and meditation and guiding others to connect with their inner-self. Jude is grateful and honored to share this journey with her students.

Éva-Sofia Hebert

In the early 2000s, Éva found her way to yoga the same way many do: as a salve to calm and complement the aches and pains that very impolitely appeared after years of sports, running, biking, swimming, and lifting. While all she wanted was to get her body ‘fixed’ and back to the things she loved, yoga seemed to have a different agenda that included bringing true awareness and acceptance to her body and her life. It was a humbling experience and a very rocky relationship for years, but being the avid devotional seeker that she is, Éva felt called back to yoga again and again, practicing many different forms from Iyengar to Bikram to Kundalini. Over time her practice deepened, culminating in her completing Spira Power Yoga’s RYT-200. She is now continuing her study, working towards her RYT-500 with Spira as well.

 

Éva is a firm believer that yoga gives us the amazing opportunity to decide every moment to be entirely present with ourselves, to approach ourselves and others not with judgement, but with curiosity and grace; a practice with ramifications extending far beyond our mat and into our daily lives and interactions with others. When not on the mat, Éva serves as a consultant and coach who tackles talent, development, and soft-skills training needs in organizations. Otherwise you’ll find her on the homestead growing food and happy chickens, off-road motorcycling with her husband, singing, reading, or most likely in the forest with her 70lb reservation dogs, Cicero and Naavi.

Megan black and white square.jpg

Megan Wysocki

Megan started practicing yoga in her Pennsylvania dorm room in college. She always loved being active and exercising, but yoga helped her connect with herself, become more aware, and breathe.  She continued to practice on her own for the next few years but really fell in love with yoga at a hot yoga studio in the Chicago suburbs.  A busy working mom with a small toddler - yoga was the place where she could become the best version of herself. 

 

Megan joined Spira in September 2020 after looking for teacher training in the area. She finished her 200 hr RYT in April 2021 and has been mentoring with Dora since.  Megan is passionate about health and wellness and helping others to breathe and connect with themselves.  When she isn't on her mat, Megan is cooking, hiking, or hanging out with her daughter, husband, and golden retriever.

Erin_edited.png

Erin Stuckey

Erin was first introduced to yoga in 2002 after walking into a class in an NYC gym, and they immediately knew this was something special and different from what team sports and long distance running could offer. As the years went by and injuries closed the running chapter, their yoga practice evolved to find clarity of mind through the connection with mind, body, and breath.
 

After over a decade of global health work, much of it spent living abroad, Erin realized their motivation to address inequity worldwide is just as relevant here in the US. Erin found Spira shortly after moving to Seattle in 2014, and initially signed up for teacher training as a way to deepen their yoga practice and find a lighter way to move through daily life in our world through mindfulness and meditation. Through this process Erin found a way to add a sense of softness to their active life, to find compassion for self and others, and to stop searching from without and start learning from within.
 

Erin finds joy and creativity in teaching, and their classes focus on strength-building mindful flow to guide students towards self-acceptance and awareness both on and off the mat. They still travel the globe extensively and you will often find them escaping the city for solo backpacking trips – meditating in the woods is powerful stuff! 

 

Erin has a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, completed the Spira 200-hr yoga teacher training in 2017 and continues to mentor with the Spira Power Yoga family, and completed Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training through Yoga Behind Bars, an organization they are honored to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

Kristen.jpg

Kristen Tollini

Since age 3, movement, through ballet and other athletics, played a central role in balancing hard work and happiness in Kristen’s life. In her 40s she added skiing, Olympic weightlifting and yoga to her repertoire. She was initially attracted to yoga for stress reduction and improving mobility for weightlifting.

 

After completing her RYT-200 at Spira and encouragement from Dora, Kristen realized she could combine her 25 plus years of experience in the field of child psychology and health advocacy with her yoga practice. Kristen started Young Adult Yoga, LLC with a mission to teach the Eight Limbs of Yoga to inspire healthy habits, resiliency, and kindness in the younger members of our community.  

 

As a yoga teacher, a licensed therapist, and a professional health advocate, Kristen is passionate about helping people care for their physical and mental health. Kristen serves on the board of the Washington State Health Advocacy Association, soon to be a national organization, HealthAdvocateX. When not “on the mat,” Kristen enjoys weightlifting, walking and playing with her two Brittany rescues, Tate and Emmie, and skiing or hiking with her husband.

Michele-1_edited.jpg

Michele Koehler

Michele started practicing yoga nearly 20 years ago, hoping to alleviate stress during graduate school and increase flexibility for distance running. She found that linking body, mind and breath kindled an overall sense of well-being. She was hooked and finds that today, yoga is still a release for her body and mind. Michele is a compassionate and friendly soul who teaches inspired, grounding classes.
 

Michele completed Spira Power Yoga’s 200-hour teaching in 2018, training with Dora, Brenda, and Carina. She is excited to continue her yoga journey as an instructor at Spira while maintaining a busy career outside of the studio. Michele continues to mentor with several of the other Spira instructors, learning from them and continuing to grow her teaching skills.
 

When off the mat, Michele enjoys eating food cooked by her husband, walking her canine beast and watching birds. She also believes that yoga has made her a better skier. Kaw kaw!

Carla_edited.jpg

Carla Hassell

Carla Hassell has been a Yoga teacher since 2009. Her journey began with Bikram Yoga and Vinyasa classes. She is truly inspired by what yoga has done to her both physically and mentally. Carla got her first 200-hour certification through CorePower Yoga. Since then she has studied with teachers like Rod Striker, Baron Baptiste, Shiva Rea, and many others. She recently got certified in Yin

 

Yoga with Bernie Clark, and currently she’s mastering her 500 Hour with Carina Terra at Spira Power Yoga. For Carla, the opportunity to teach yoga in this lifetime is a gift. She teaches from her heart, with no judgment, and with a light spirit. She vows every day to bring a quality of freshness, authenticity, and support to her students. When Carla is not teaching, she enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time with her husband, family, and friends.

Cait.jpg

Cait McCloskey

After she was caught scaling the countertops as a toddler, Cait's parents decided to put her in gymnastics at the age of 3. Nearly 15 years later she moved onto coaching after an injury ended her competitive career. To maintain strength and flexibility, Cait decided to give Yoga a try, and immediately fell in love.
Cait continued practicing Yoga as a way to stay healthy, and to prevent injuries over several years of marathon training. Through the years, she learned Yoga is so much more than just movement on the mat, and was drawn to Spira's 200 hour YTT, which she completed in the Spring of 2020.
Cait is looking forward to sharing her years of Yoga practice with not only the adults, but the children and young adults of this community as well. After dedicating a good part of her life training as a gymnast, Cait understands the importance of nutrition and psychology in sports, and in life. Since the start of her yoga teacher journey, she knew her passion resonated with bringing Yoga, Mindfulness, and Meditation to both adults and young yogis.

190812_Goettsch_2.jpg

Sarah Goettsch

Sarah is a gal grown in the old soul soil of Iowa, who lives now near salt water and practices tree pose among old forests. After a decade in the outdoor industry, she exchanged hats for a deeper exploration of mindfulness, restoration and movement. Much of her learning is focused on nonviolent communication, our natural world, trauma landscapes, and the stories we hold. A poet at heart, and occasionally on the page, she brings attentive joy and active curiosity to her classes. She completed teacher training at Spira in 2019 and looks to meet you in class or the studio hallway for a serendipitous hello. When not practicing yoga, Sarah is often on the road, mailing postcards, tending to the earth, or listening to birdsong.

Larry_edited.jpg

Larry Silber

Larry Silber is a native of NYC and has now lived in Issaquah for over 25 years.  Larry has always been interested in wellness and has been a competitive athlete all his life.  Most recently he is recovering from competitive Crossfit which explains his lack of flexibility and numerous injuries.  Seriously though, as a practicing chiropractor and functional medicine practitioner who recommends yoga postures to his rehab patients, it was only a matter of time before he had to make the leap to yoga instructor.  Larry’s plan is to do more and more yoga and share his journey with as many people as possible.  The dog you see in some of my zoom classes is my 15 year old sweetheart, Angel.

Jen (2).jpg

Jen Hiner

Jen started at Spira in 2015 as a way to compliment her running and while training for her second Boston Marathon. As a result of a series of chronic running injuries, she took her passion, discipline and dedication for running and committed herself to Yoga.  She has been injury free ever since! Jen was initially drawn to the athleticism of Spira's Power Yoga, but grew to love the mindfulness; more importantly, how her mind settled after a vigorous practice. She completed the 200 hour YTT in 2020.

Jen enjoys other forms of exercise; like biking, skiing and continues her love of running, albeit at a shorter distance. Jen finds yoga to be the perfect compliment to other fitness activities.

Jen works as a critical care nurse and has found that the mindfulness tools she has learned in YTT has provided much needed work/life balance.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 kids (two in college), she aspires to be a role model in taking care of herself inside and out. Lastly, she enjoys gardening and cooking/grilling with her husband, who is an aspiring PNW food blogger. 

Stephanie.jpg

Stephanie Webb

Stephanie Webb is a mindfulness-based and social justice focused early childhood educator who has lived in Seattle for around 3.5 years. After several years of self practice, Stephanie was gifted with the opportunity to begin her deep dive into the culture, spirituality, and practice of yoga through the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training program with Dora at Spira. She has endless curiosities about how movement-based practice can help us better understand our present existence and connect more deeply with other living beings and our collective caregiver - the Earth. Stephanie enjoys welcoming our emotions into practice as well as mindful awareness of the ever-changing sensations flowing in our bodies as we practice yoga and move through life. She prioritizes reconnecting with nature not only on the yoga mat, but also through hiking, backpacking, gardening, cooking, and herbalism. Her passions range from education policy and practice to history, astrology, philosophy, and advocacy for a more equitable society. As a lifelong learner, she is excited to embark on this journey with all the students at Spira and hopes to see you in class soon! 

brig color (2).jpg

Brigitt Rains

Brigitt began her yoga journey 10 years ago when recovering from a snowboarding injury. She started attending Brenda’s 8:00 am classes in West Seattle and the power of the OMs kept her coming back for more. 

 

For many years, Brigitt dreamed of taking her yoga practice to the next level with Spira’s 200-hour teacher certification program. Time was always a competing factor. How could she do this while working a full-time job in the tech industry? 

 

The COVID-19 pandemic came in 2020 and she took this as an opportunity to get healthier in mind, body, and spirit. She completed her certification in April 2021 and she continues to mentor under Dora in Issaquah. 

 

In addition to teaching yoga, Brigitt is the Head of Operations and Project Management at a local user experience research and design firm, she plays old country covers with her band, Smoke Tough Johnny and in the winter you’ll find her shredding down her local ski hill in Hyak.