When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

-Buddhist proverb

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Kim Caraganis


Kim Caraganis has lived in the woods of Chatham County since 1974. Building their own home, she and her husband, Lewie raised three sons on the Rocky River. She began taking yoga classes from her friend and teacher Cathy Holt in 2000. In 2010 inspired to deepen her study of yoga and teach she completed the Yoga*Body Mind Spirit 200 hr. teacher training with Lisa Clark and David Beadle. In 2016, she completed an additional 200 hour Thousand Petals Yoga Anusara-based teacher training with Sommer and Paul Sobin. Kim teaches Hatha Yoga and integrates a fusion of different styles she has learned along her yoga path.


She is excited to be part of Yoga Garden Pittsboro sharing a joyful practice, meeting each student where they are on the mat.

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Heather Cassese

Teacher + Chiropractor-in-Residence

Dr. Heather Cassese is a yoga teacher as well as a chiropractor with practices in Apex and at Yoga Garden PBO.  


A Raleigh native born and raised, she graduated from ECU in 2001 in Exercise Physiology. She then moved to Portland, OR and attended Western States Chiropractic College (now University of Western States) and graduated in 2005. She has been practicing in Apex at Back to Basics Chiropractic since 2005 and became the owner in February 2008.


Heather began her yoga journey in 1998, during her time at ECU. She became a group fitness instructor and at the same time began attending yoga classes. In 2002, while in chiropractic school, Heather began teaching Hatha yoga and other various group fitness yoga and Pilates classes. She continued to teach when I returned to NC and met Dharma Richards while both were teaching at O2 Fitness in Cary. Heather was a part of the first 200 hour YTT class instructed by Dharma in 2011.


Heather taught Power Flow at Yoga Garden of Apex from 2013 through August 2019. She has taught all over the Apex/Cary area through the years and currently teaches yoga and CrossFit at CrossFit Surmount next door to her chiropractic office in Apex as well as yoga at Yoga Garden PBO. 


Meadow DeFosche-Christ

Senior Teacher + Director of Teacher Training

Meadow, ERYT200/RYT500/YACEP/YWI, was originally drawn to explore yoga in 1998 as a method of stress relief and a way to maintain flexibility while serving in the U.S. Army.  Although her practice was initially sporadic and as a compliment to a traditional fitness program, the benefits became apparent after a car wreck left her with chronic, debilitating pain that prevented her from doing many of the physical activities that she previously enjoyed. Through a regular practice, she was able to find relief when physical therapy and countless doctor visits didn't seem to help.


Meadow decided to deepen her practice by studying Classical Yoga under Dharma Richards, earning her 200-hour yoga teacher certification in 2015. She went on to complete her 500-hour certification in 2017, and has completed certifications in Restorative Yoga and Yoga Warriors, which is a system designed to help with those Post Traumatic Stress.  She has also completed studies in yoga for pain management and Ayurveda.  Meadow continues to seek out new knowledge about Yoga and Yogic philosophy, as well as other complementary practices.

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Chelsea Gardner


Chelsea Gardner is a North Carolina and Pittsboro native, who has a deep connection and love for this community and town. She recently earned her 200-hour yoga certification from My Vinyasa Practice in partnership with Yoga Pose. She was among a group selected for a BIPOC Yoga Teacher Scholarship that emphasizes the importance of diversity and inclusion in yoga. Chelsea has practiced yoga for more than three years and specializes in slow, gentle flow yoga. She firmly believes that the peace and stillness found on the mat should always extend off of the mat too. 


Outside of the mat, Chelsea recently earned her MBA from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, with concentrations in marketing and sustainable enterprise. She currently works in brand management for a global CPG company. Prior to business school, she was an account executive at Edelman in Chicago, where she worked to secure placements across national and local media, in outlets including The New York Times, CNN, Associated Press, Ebony, BlackDoctor.org, SHAPE, MTV News and Late Night With Seth Meyers, among others.

She is passionate about equity, education, health/wellness, social justice, diversity and inclusion. Outside of work, she's a mentor, servant-leader, music enthusiast, voracious reader and world traveler.

Prior to Edelman, she earned a B.A. in Communication from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. She majored in Public Relations and minored in Journalism.

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Eleanor Green


When Eleanor Green, RYT-500 began practicing yoga in 1997, she could not touch her toes.  As a fitness instructor, she always loved hard-core exercise classes but never paid a lot of attention to stretching.   She was drawn to yoga as a way to increase her flexibility but quickly learned it was so much more!  She initially completed her 200-hour certification in 2004, and added a 300-hour certification in 2018, with many additional trainings in between.   She enjoys teaching alignment-based vinyasa yoga classes and encourages every student to practice on their own mat and step into their own authenticity.   While she practices many styles of yoga and continues to glean knowledge from many teachers, her teaching style most reflects her learnings as a student of vinyasa flow and Anusara yoga. 


Off the mat and outside of her work as an Adjunct faculty member at UNC, she can be found at the lake on her paddleboard, on the golf course or out of town seeking a new adventure with her husband.


Robin Hamilton


Robin Hamilton is a native Californian, avid yogi, momma of two boys and a foodie. She holds a master’s degree in Holistic Health Education from John F. Kennedy University and a Natural Chef Certificate from Central Carolina Community College, where she is currently an instructor. Robin strives to weave her nutritional background-the relationship between what we eat and the effect it has on our physical, emotional and spiritual energies- with the yogic philosophy to nourish and heal holistically.

Robin completed her 230 hour yoga teacher training at Heart of Yoga (Carrboro, NC) in February 2015 and taught there until the birth of her first son in October 2015. She has grown with the Yoga Garden PBO since it’s opening in June of 2017.

She encourages every-body to participate in her vinyasa flow classes that are high energy + fast paced, yet designed to set the body up for full relaxation. Peace and good eats!

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Cierra McEachern 


Cierra McEachern grew up in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and although she has lived in other areas, Pittsboro will always be her home.  Despite attending her first yoga class in 2015, it was not until she experienced a challenging power vinyasa flow to the smooth sounds of R&B, that she appreciated the mental and physical benefits of the practice. As she transitioned from a registered nursing career to the pursuit of a law degree, she both relied and fell in love with the practice of yoga. 

With a goal to deepen her own practice, she enrolled in Yoga-Mojo’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (Cary, N.C.) After an amazing training under Loretta Jo, Cierra brought her training back home Pittsboro.   

It is always her goal to introduce the tools of yoga to others through breath work and challenging practices, but cultivating a safe and welcoming environment for everyone is her first priority.  She believes there are so many mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual lessons to be gleaned from time on the mat. She is happy to have found a home there. 

Off the mat, Cierra loves reading, traveling, skydiving, and of course spending time with her family, significant other, friends, and new puppy. 


Jessica Palmer-Gwaltney


Jess first found yoga in gyms, looking for exercise; through a dedicated studio and home practice she realized that yoga was  so much more: a pathway for easing anxiety, finding self-acceptance, and restoring mind-body balance on and off the mat. 

A former special educator and current instructional designer, Jess completed her RYT-200 yoga teacher training with Balance Through Movement in 2019 so she can share what she loves about yoga with others. 

A certified Accessible Yoga instructor, Jess is passionate about inclusivity and self-compassion: "For me, yoga is a pathway for easing anxiety, finding self-acceptance and self-compassion, and cultivating balance in my mind and body. A former special educator and current instructional designer, I’m a teacher at heart and I strive to make my classes accessible to everyone who practices with me. My goal is to help people meet themselves where they are with self-compassion and deep listening, focusing more on what yoga feels like on the inside than what it looks like on the outside."

Off the mat, Jess loves to spend time with her husband and rescue dogs as well as crocheting, gardening, hiking, reading, cooking, and eating! 

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Lisa Pigeon


Lisa Pigeon has been practicing yoga since the birth of her first child in 2009, and she is committed to sharing the practice of yoga with others because of how profoundly it changed her life. The whole practice of yoga, over time, gave Lisa the tools necessary to reverse negative thought patterns and belief systems that blocked her from experiencing the fullness of self-love and inner peace that every person deserves. Yoga brought her mind and body into greater health and alignment, and it brings her the greatest Joy to watch her students expand into their fullest expression of Love.


Lisa is grateful to have completed her 200 hour teacher training in April, 2018 with Sage Rountree at Carolina Yoga Company, and continues to learn more every day. Lisa's teaching style is still evolving, but you will find that it is firmly rooted in a breath centered vinyasa style.


Dharma Richards

Co-Founder + Mindful Muse 

Dharma Richards, ERYT-500 is founder and owner of Yoga Garden Apex and co-founder of Yoga Garden Pittsboro. A Yoga Alliance Advanced Registered Yoga Teacher, Dharma is an instructor of both the Classical Hatha-Raja style and Kundalini Yoga, and encourages organic movement and an open heart as she routinely leads students through nurturing practices of pranayama/ breathwork, asana/physical postures, and dhyana/meditation. 


Dharma hosts workshops, intensives, retreats and teacher trainings nationwide and in the Caribbean. Dharma’s studies continue with her beloved teacher Chandra Om, senior disciple of Sri Dharma Mittra, and HarDarshan and HarBhajan Kaur Khalsa.  Her certifications also include Core Strength Vinyasa, Judith Lasater’s Relax & Renew, Prenatal, Children’s, Yin, and Yoga Warriors (for PTSD).  Dharma is also a certified Reiki Master and continues studies in Thai Massage (Nuad Boran).  For detailed information, visit dharmarichards.com.

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Nicole Souther 


Nicole found yoga in the 90's when she was gifted a copy of Ram Dass's book, Be Here Now.  Asana practice suited her and she has been continuously practicing ever since.  Nicole has explored many, many styles of yoga movement over the years.  To compliment her practice (and help with more ambitious poses) Nicole began Pilates in the early 2000's, and became a mat certified instructor in 2004.  Nicole believes the alignment principles of Pilates and yoga asana work well together and help students move safely and deeply in their practice. 


In 2018, Nicole completed a 200-RYT program with Thousand Petals Yoga and began teaching yoga movement shortly thereafter.  Nicole does not teach in any particular 'style', but instead 'styles' classes at the level of the students' reception: "It brings me much, much joy to watch someone move into a position they thought impossible and see students realize they have their own keys to move/exercise/bend in ways to strengthen and nurture themselves.  These lessons, superficial at first, penetrate a person deeply, and overtime, can manifest in beautiful and surprising ways in one's life  --- both inner and outer." 


Nicole is blessed with a wonderful family and have a supportive husband who tolerates her endless quests for self-discovery and spiritual pursuits. "I have learned from many teachers and would like to extend much gratitude to my Hatha yoga teacher, Ti, who shows me things I don't understand; Pat, my meditation teacher, whose work helps us dig deeper wells of love within both of us, and by beloved Guruji, who has made what once were only stories into a living part of my life." 


Tom Thompson

Teacher + House Guru

Tom Thompson is a teacher of Conscious Living.​

In 1964, at the age of fifteen, Tom became a student of human psychology and a practitioner of the yogic pathways and enlightenment traditions. He has the great fortune of training in depth with a number of exceptional teachers in both the enlightenment traditions and western psychology.

While pursuing spiritual realization, Tom had many jobs in many different fields. All were important in terms of his personal growth and evolution, but the most important was working 13 years as a mental health worker in psychiatry. He also has extensive training and experience in several different therapeutic modalities including hypnotherapy, transactional analysis, energy psychology and HeartMath®.

Tom has been a guest on radio and TV shows. His writings have been published in newspapers, magazines, books and his website blog. He has taught throughout the United States at universities, Hospices, spiritual centers, hospitals, and other places. In 1982 Tom co-founded  the Woodbury Yoga Center in Connecticut. In 1990 he co-founded  The Awakened Heart Center for Conscious Living in North Carolina.

In 2017  Tom began offering satsang and Hamsa Meditation at The Yoga Garden PBO.

Tom is also available for private consultations. Learn more about Tom at theawakenedheartcenter.com. 


Roz Tyburski 


Roz has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. When she discovered the practice of yoga it changed her life; she knew she had to share this gift with others. So, shortly thereafter she took her first teacher training. Since then her teaching has ebbed and flowed along with life. From teaching 15 classes a week and leading teacher trainings on the weekends, to owning a studio, to teaching once or twice a week, to giving up teaching altogether to focus on her own practice, or so that I could meet life’s other demands. Yoga always calls Roz back to teach, and she can’t not answer.

Roz is a yogi athlete. She is avid cyclist and hiker, yogi, and equestrian. She has found that yoga vastly improved her cycling and hiking, and her ability to connect and communicate with horses.

Roz completed her 200 hour RYT program with YogaFit, became an E-RYT shortly thereafter, and started leading teacher trainings for YogaFit. She spent 6 years on the road with YogaFit leading Levels 1, 2, & 3, Prenatal, Seniors, and Strength trainings. I've has also had the privilege of taking several teacher workshops under Shiva Rae, Rolf Gates, Jeny Otto, Sadie Nardini, Kristen Cooper, and Baron Baptiste. In addition to the physical aspects of yoga, Roz was raised on the yogic philosophy, meditation, and principles handed down by Paramahansa Yogananda. Yoga as a philosophy and the practice of meditation was simply a part of her household, and from that standpoint she considers her mother to have been her greatest yoga teacher.

Roz teaches a powerful, flowing class in a lighthearted manner that you will find challenging, accessible and rewarding; mind, body, and spirit.

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Lexie Wolf

Owner + Teacher

Lexie Wolf is a devoted practitioner of yoga and wellness. Lexie has practiced yoga for over twenty years and began teaching after she graduated from Yoga Garden PBO's first 200-hour yoga teacher training class with Dharma Richards in August 2018. She is currently enrolled in Yoga Garden's 500-hour advanced teacher training. 

Lexie's approach to teaching is to encourage students to practice deep mindfulness on the mat, utilizing the practice of yoga to become attuned to their inner landscape as well as their physical body. 


Lexie is passionate about living an active and healthy lifestyle. When not on the mat she can be found enjoying the woods of Chatham County, hiking, running, gardening, and playing tennis. 

Lexie was born and raised in the New York City area and relocated with her family to North Carolina in 2007. Her professional background includes a decade in marketing and public relations and seven years in the public health/nonprofit world focusing on nutrition and physical activity.

She founded Yoga Garden PBO in 2017 in collaboration with Dharma Richards and a host of dedicated yogis. She is dedicated to helping make Yoga Garden PBO a joyful and loving community, and is incredibly grateful for the gift of this work.

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Nora Yolles Young 

Teacher + Hypnotherapist

Nora has been an integrative and regression hypnotherapist since 2012, and an energy healer and intuitive since 2007. As a client centered practitioner, her mission is to offer students rapid transformational healing opportunities to enhance and improve life. By combining her expertise as a hypnotherapist, consciousness coach, anthropologist, instructor and intuitive healer, she facilitates and guides students toward transformational self- discovery. This exponentially enhances success in all areas of life. Nora uses a variety of methods to accomplish this including holistic life coaching, energy psychology, clinical, integrative and transpersonal hypnotherapy. For more information, visit her website here. 

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Joy Zellis


Joy Scott discovered yoga in 2012 when she showed up for a free class at a local studio and was hooked. After sampling an array of classes and styles, she was introduced to the Ashtanga mysore program and studied under Elizabeth Sitzler, certified teacher and student of Sharath Jois. Joy was immediately attracted to the elegance of the practice and ultimately with the unending possibilities and breakthroughs in her own practice.  This led her to jump into teacher training so she could share the magic with others. Joy completed her 200 hour teacher training at Prana Das Yoga in the Philadelphia area.

Joy is also a certified Nutritional Therapy Consultant and her passion for nourishing the body with healthful foods pairs well with the many practices of yoga: asanas, meditation, and pranayama.