When the student is ready, the teacher will appear
Susan loves teaching and practicing yoga. She believes it is good for her body and soul. The lessons she learns “on the mat” support her “off the mat” day in and day out. As a young child and teenager, she was the last picked in sports and did not understand or experience that EVERY BODY has gifts and ways to move. As a result, she was not confident or physically active in her younger years because she had inaccurate beliefs about her body based on the outer world. Through her yoga experience and training she has come to value EVERY BODY, including her own. Susan especially likes to guide people who are new to yoga and invite them to experience the personal benefits of the practice which are far beyond the physical postures (asana).
Susan started practicing yoga in 1997 and has had many formal and informal teachers along the way. In November 2009 she proudly completed her 200-level yoga teacher training program with Dragonfly Yoga in conjunction with River Rock Yoga in Ocean Springs, MS. Having the experience of two teachers with different teaching styles was awesome and taught her that there are as many ways to practice yoga just as there are many ways to live our lives without comparing ourselves to others.
Yoga teacher training changed the way she explores living her life and in her relationships with others. It has helped her look at herself in new ways that are not always easy but meaningful for herself and hopefully to others. Since her yoga teacher training, she has continued to practice on my own and with other teachers, has attended silent retreats, and workshops to help expand her practice. Susan has been teaching in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in a variety of different group venues as well as private sessions. She teaches chair yoga, slow flow, and restorative based practices as well as four -week beginner series session. Susan recently moved to North Carolina after many years in Mississippi and looks forward to continuing her yoga journey by teaching and taking classes.
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.
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.
Senior Teacher + Director of Teacher Training
Meadow, ERYT200/RYT500/YACEP, 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 and completing her 500-hour certification in 2017. She is certified in Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Post Traumatic Stress through Yoga Warriors international, and in Integral Yoga for Stress Management through Satchidananda Ashram. She has also completed studies in Ayurveda and Yoga for Pain Management. She takes the approach of a lifelong learner, and continues to seek out new knowledge about Yoga and Yogic philosophy, as well as other complementary practices.
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 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!
Iryna is a dedicated yoga student and yoga teacher. When she first started attending yoga classes after the birth of her youngest child, she was looking for “light exercise” that would suit her tired body. As she continued practicing, she discovered, to her surprise, that breathing, being still, and moving her body with intention allowed her to connect to her spiritual side, finding meaning, peace, self-compassion and more awe in the everyday. She was so taken by this practice, that she decided that she wanted to share it with others. In spring of 2020, she completed her 250-hour Yoga Teacher Training with Ti Harmony of Loving Kindness Yoga School. She considers Ti her main influence in how she approaches physical yoga on the mat (asana) as well as yogic philosophy and how she brings yoga into her daily life.
In her teaching, Iryna is on a mission to help people find comfort in their bodies, to trust themselves, and, ultimately, to find inner peace. She tries to connect with each student, and suggests individual modifications and ideas that work for her students' bodies in the moment. She values introspection, self-compassion and self-trust - on the mat and in life - and so she always encourages her students to listen to their bodies and to tune into their inner feeling. Iryna teaches Hatha yoga and considers the physical practice to be a gateway to more subtle awareness of the mind, energy, and compassion. Her students are encouraged to hang out in each pose for a little bit, finding comfort, depth and awareness of body and breath. She encourages self-compassion and self-awareness, with an ultimate goal for her students to become their own best teachers, or at least take the responsibility for their bodies and minds. She likes to guide a deep long Savasana, because that’s where the work on the mat becomes integrated and our physical and energetic bodies prepare to face life outside of the yoga class.
Iryna is a creative person, a beginner gardener, a decent cook, a mother, a wife. She was born and grew up in Ukraine, moved to the United States as a young adult, first to New York City, then to Chapel Hill to attend graduate school. She tried living elsewhere (the beautiful but cold New England, for example), but North Carolina called her back! The pandemic made her double down on her pollinator and vegetable garden ambitions - whatever the deer don’t eat, she’s happy to grow! She also dabbles in fiber crafts - embroidery, knitting, felting. For a few blissful years, Iryna owned a vintage home furnishings business. She lives in Carrboro with her husband, two elementary-aged kids, a dog named Juno and a parakeet named Oatley.
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!
Co-Manager & Teacher
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.
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.
Nicole fell into yoga in the 90's and enjoys encouraging others in their asana practice.
To compliment her practice (and help with more ambitious poses) she began Pilates in the early 2000's, and became a mat certified instructor in 2004.
In 2018, Nicole completed a 200-RYT program with Thousand Petals Yoga and began teaching yoga movement shortly thereafter. In 2021 she completed her 500-RYT training with Dharma Richards.
Her classes are thoughtfully sequenced with the intention of guiding more movement exploration. She's taken many trainings and workshops through the years and credits Ti, Stuart, and Pat for taking her practice to a deeper level. She has a supportive and loving family, and is grateful her husband has endured and continues to endure her "self-discovery" quests.
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 is a yogi, a change agent, and a leadership, transition, and authenticity coach for people seeking more. She’s been practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for more than 20 years, guiding people to get in touch with and connect their mind, body, and spirit. For almost as long her day job has been helping companies, government agencies, and non-profits navigate change: guiding organizations through transformation while improving and optimizing productivity - one individual at a time. Recently, Roz has stepped into the role of coach. Her mission in this realm is to draw on all of these experiences and be your guide; to help you connect with your own intuition, develop the courage to follow your heart, and create a plan to move forward.
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 teacher trainings. She’s also had the privilege of taking several workshops under Shiva Rae, Rolf Gates, Jenny 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, Veda to be her greatest yoga teacher.
In coaching Roz practices the EquineFlow method. This method is based in neuroscience, mindfulness, EAL (equine assisted learning), art therapy, play therapy, narrative therapy, and includes 20 additional therapeutic modalities that are proven to help you find the answers you seek, restore joy, and achieve the life of your dreams.
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 completed her RYT-500 training with Dharma in 2021.
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.
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.