When the student is ready, the teacher will appear

-Buddhist proverb

Golden Chakra

Susan Bone 

Teacher

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.    

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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. 

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Meadow DeFosche-Christ

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.

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Kirsten Leloudis

Teacher

Kirsten is a North Carolina native who was born and raised in Carrboro/Chapel Hill. She took her first yoga class as a teenager and returned to the practice repeatedly over the years as a way to cultivate joy, self-knowledge, resilience, and mind-body connection.

In 2020, Kirsten moved to Pittsboro with her husband and two cats and began practicing at Yoga Garden PBO soon after. Her experiences in a favorite yin class inspired her to pursue teacher training and in 2021, she completed a 200-hour training course with Steph Ball-Mitchell at the Yoga and Ayurveda Center. Kirsten also earned certifications in chair and restorative yoga.

As a teacher, Kirsten’s goal is to support students in being curious, deepening their self-knowledge, learning to trust their inner wisdom, and creating a friendlier and more honest relationship between the body and the mind. When she’s off the mat, Kirsten works as an attorney and enjoys spending time gardening, cooking, and reading.

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Iryna Merideth 

 Teacher 

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. 

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Jessica Palmer-Gwaltney

Teacher

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

Co-Manager & Teacher

Lisa Pigeon, RYT-200 is a Massachusetts native who moved to NC in 2016 intending to study and teach yoga. She is fully committed to sharing her practice with others because of how profoundly it changed her own life. Yoga gave Lisa the necessary tools for reversing negative thought patterns and belief systems, and supports her in enjoying the fullness of life. While teaching, Lisa guides students into their optimal physical alignment, while encouraging them to practice self-love and acceptance as a means of cultivating inner peace. This approach weaves together movement, breathwork, and self-study so that students can bring their mind, body, and spirit into greater health and alignment. It brings Lisa great joy to observe students as they expand into their fullest expression of Self.

 

Lisa completed her 200 hr training with Sage Rountree at Carolina Yoga Company, in April 2018. She is on track to complete a 500hr certification this spring and is looking forward to continuing her studies throughout this lifetime. 

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Nicole Souther 

Teacher 

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.

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Aviva Tulasi

Teacher 

Aviva Tulasi (she/her) is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) with an 800-hour yoga health educator certification and a 200-hour yoga teacher training certification. Aviva has a Master of Arts in Teaching and 15 years of experience teaching high school science and middle school enrichment programs. She has completed training in chair yoga, gentle yoga, yoga for osteoporosis, trauma informed yoga and yoga nidra. 

 

Aviva supports the overall well-being of her community by running Fuel Up at Perry Harrison School (a volunteer-run charity that feeds children who need it when they are not in school), as well as by volunteering with Communities in Schools yoga program.

 

Aviva applies the teachings of classical yoga (movement, focused breathing & meditation) to reduce stress and balance the nervous system. Aviva’s classes empower students to explore their thought habits in order to promote greater wellbeing both on and off the mat. 

 

Aviva is happiest when she is in nature and she feels fortunate that she lives surrounded by trees. When not on her mat, you can find her playing in the dirt of her garden or hiking with her husband, two step-sons, and two dogs. 

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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 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.

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