Teaching our current yoga classes
Amma Fandiño, RYT500, MSc, has been a devoted yogini for over 28 years and a passionate biologist for 28 years. She holds a master degree in environmental sciences from Yale University and is a certified Integral Yoga and Accessible Yoga teacher. She is also trained in Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga for Arthritis, Yoga of Recovery, Lifeforce Yoga, Prison Yoga, and Mindfulness. Amma’s passion is to share yoga with communities with challenges and conditions of vulnerability on a physical, mental, and emotional level. Amma has been dedicated to teaching cancer patients and their caregivers. Her inspiration is bestowing support to patients in order to improve their quality of life as well as their ability to cope with the difficult circumstances associated with the disease. Another facet of Amma´s vocation is teaching yoga to people with anxiety, depression, and addictions. She teaches in two prisons in Bogota, dedicating her efforts to provide a space that promotes empowerment, rehabilitation, and healing of those deprived of liberty, as well as supporting their addiction recovery processes. Amma is contributing to the Accessible Yoga Program since 2015 and is a regional representative of the AY group in Spanish. As an Accessible Yoga Trainer, she feels honored and fortunate to support the training of yoga teachers in the Spanish-speaking community. She lives in Colombia with her husband and two kids and loves to spend her free time in contact with nature.
Andrea Cole is the founder of Honor Your Presence, PLLC where she serves as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Certified Yoga Instructor, and Reiki Practitioner. From Greensboro, NC, she received her Bachelor of Art in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and received her Master’s in Social Work from UNC-Charlotte. Andrea is a 500-hour Certified Yoga Instructor (CYT-500) and completed both 200 and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings with I AM YOGA, under the teachings of Kiesha Battles and Candace Jennings. Andrea currently studies the interconnection between holistic health and Black women’s wellness, the space in which she’s a ruthless advocate. As a healer, nurturer, confidant, forever-learner and space-holder, Andrea utilizes evidence-based and natural modalities, as well as lived-experience, to teach community members how to heal individually and collectively.
Anjana began yoga as a way to fight-off polymyalgia rheumatica and adopted it as part of her daily routine. Having personally benefited, she developed a passion for yoga and made it her mission to spread the goodness of yoga as a way of life to seniors with similar age-related conditions and to communities in need.
She received her first yoga teacher training in 2016 and is continuing to train in various forms of yoga including chair yoga and yoga-trapeze.
Ben Clarke (RYT-500, HHP) started his yoga practice after a cancer diagnosis in 2016, as a way of recovering from chemo and surgeries. He’s found it to be pivotal in helping him re-inhabit his body, reduce stress and anxiety, build back strength, and improve flexibility and energy levels. He became a certified yoga teacher in 2018, and he’s been a holistic health practitioner since 2012. For Ben, yoga is about calming the mind and warming the body. Ben strives to create a safe space for your yoga practice and offers options in his classes to encourage you to listen to your body and take the option that’s right for you.
Cassandra initially came to yoga to relieve pain from sciatica and scoliosis. She began taking yoga classes two times a week and noticed both her mental and physical condition improved each time she got on the mat. This awareness in 2017 started her yoga journey in earnest. After immersing fully into her personal practice, Cassandra received her 200-hour registered yoga teacher certification in 2021 from I AM Yoga, Charlotte, NC. Her greatest joy is sharing the healing properties of asana and yoga philosophy with participants who have not been exposed to its life-changing benefits.
Cassandra feels blessed to share the magic of yoga in several local venues in Charlotte, NC, including Oak Street Health Center, Archwell Health Center, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, the I AM Yoga virtual studio, and the NoDa Yoga studio. She is also honored to serve as Program Coordinator for the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color™. Cassandra has received training certificates in several yoga modalities, including Yin Yoga, Aqua Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Myofascial Release Techniques, and Trauma-Informed Yoga. Her current class offerings include chair yoga, yin yoga, aqua yoga, deep stretch, and slow flow.
Christa Carter was born and raised in Charlotte, NC and currently lives in Durham, NC. Having done dance lessons and classes since the age of 3, she enjoys body movement and expression. She began practicing yoga in 2016. She began her teacher certification in 2021. First, a kid’s yoga certification (Growga/YogaRenew) and 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with YogaRenew. She has also completed Trauma Informed Yoga and 300hr Yoga Teacher Training with My Vinyasa Practice. She soon began her yoga teaching career at the Durham YMCAs where she currently teaches. As a teacher, she enjoys guiding students through exploration of their body, mind, and spirit through the practice of yoga. She believes that yoga is a transformative practice that influences how we interact with the world around us. Her hope is the experiential practice will spark curiosity both on and off the mat.
JJ Gormley: (M.S., C-IAYT, E-RYT) has been a practitioner of yoga since 1979 and teaching since 1989. She has been steeped in the therapeutic approach to yoga since 2003. Using her therapeutic approach, she works with clients who have many different types of ailments and issues, including those with cancer, autoimmune disease, neurological disorders, trauma/PTSD, substance abuse, and addictions. She also works with the caregivers for people with chronic issues.
Karen Parrish (RYT 500) discovered the practice of yoga while on a journey to self-acceptance and self-love. Like many, Karen had been “at war” with her body for years, trying to change it, make it smaller. Through yoga and education about diet culture from Health at Every Size (HAES), she learned body-acceptance and changed the way she views herself and others. She is passionate about bringing yoga to people who have experienced the harm of diet culture and weight stigma, as well as to those who don’t have access to classes or might feel intimidated in a studio setting.
Karen is a certified Yoga For All teacher, specializing in larger bodies and diverse communities. She has had additional training in Accessible Yoga; Subtle Yoga for anxiety, depression and body image; and Restorative Yoga. She currently teaches online, offering 3 weekly drop-in classes, private group, and individual sessions.
Karla is a Nicaraguan native, runner, & LGBTQ+ advocate. She is certified in multi-style yoga, which includes breath work, restorative and vinyasa practices. She is the founder of Buscando Vida LLC, a Yoga Lifestyle brand that offers inclusive and accessible yoga for functional movement, stress management, active recovery and building strength.
Through her classes, she aims to hold a safe space for you to explore, learn, and experience the healing benefits of yoga. Karla is passionate about making yoga accessible for everybody and offers classes in English and Spanish.
Buscando Vida Yoga & Lifestyle
Kiesha (she/her) has a respected and well-deserved reputation in the national yoga community.
She serves as co-director of the Yoga Retreat for Women of Color™, as a member of the You Call This Yoga (YCTY) Board of Directors, and as YCTY Development Coordinator. A full-time yoga teacher and trainer, Kiesha joined CorePower Yoga (CPY) in 2016 as one of the original teachers that opened the Charlotte market. Kiesha continues to grow with CPY in her role as Studio Coordinator, Online YTT200 Coach, and most recently as YTT300 Lead instructor. In addition to teaching with CPY, Kiesha owns her own business, I Am Yoga, which employs several certified yoga instructors to lead a variety of virtual yoga classes. I Am Yoga is a Yoga Alliance-certified Yoga Training School and Continuing Education Provider, offering both 200- and 300-hour yoga teacher training programs and numerous impactful workshops.
Kiesha has been featured in the book YES! Yoga Has Curves, and in articles in Yoga Journal. With a graduate degree in Asian studies, Kiesha brings to her offerings knowledge of Asian philosophy, religion, and language, as well as Eastern philosophy including Taoism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Kiesha is a wife and mother who enjoys reading, meditating, and breathing.
Kimberly Rossi is the Director of Wellness and Business Development at the Art of Living Retreat Center. For over 25 years she has led wellness-based business in four- and five-star destinations across the country and internationally. She is a gifted teacher and practitioner of Ayurveda, Yoga, pranayama and meditation. In 1998, she received a 500 hour yoga certification from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and in 2010, a 500 hour yoga certification from the Kundalini Research Institute.
Kristen is a yoga therapist who has over 15 years of experience teaching a variety of classes and workshops. In addition to her YCTY classes, she offers private/corporate classes and organizes yoga events and retreats. Kristen serves as Secretary of the YCTY Board of Directors and as the Director of Programming. When Kristen isn’t teaching yoga, she is hanging with her family at the beach. She enjoys island life, live music, eating at fancy restaurants, and traveling with her husband.
Marcus’ yoga journey began in 2012 as a helpful way to stretch after running and improve his posture. His passion for yoga emerged profoundly in November 2021. In May 2023, he completed his 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification at Khali Yoga Center in Charlotte, NC, and continues expanding his knowledge of yoga philosophy and Asana practice. He is committed to sharing the transformative power of yoga with others.
Nallah is a thorough advocate for holistic wellness. Since graduating from NCA&T in 2020 with a degree in Agriculture and Environmental systems; Nallah has become a Farm manager, Environmental educator for the City of Greensboro Parks and Rec, and a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher. Furthermore, she is the Community Engagement Manager for Zodwa Dance Company, where she regularly combines the art of dance with the power of yoga, while occupying outdoor spaces to encourage the importance of being immersed in nature. Through her co- founded organization Afro Agriculture, she offers weekly yoga classes at The Activation Lab in downtown Greensboro, monthly Family Farm Yoga in the warmer months, and has recently joined the I AM Yoga team founded by Kiesha Battles E-RYT 500. Nallah is a humble servant of her ancestors, a village mama/ auntie, and an ally of all ideas that emulate love.
Sation is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and Certified Yoga Instructor.
Sation earned her 200-hour Yoga Certificate under the instruction of Kiesha Battles, and Candace Jennings with the I AM Yoga School in Charlotte, NC. Sation is a Reiki practitioner and Strategic Self Care Consultant who offers mindful movement and meditation sessions in addition to weekly Restorative Yoga Classes through the I Am Yoga platform. Practicing Restorative, Yin and Deep Stretch inspired Sation to invite more rest into her life. She shares these styles of yoga with students incorporating tools from Polyvagal Theory, she guides students to places of rest for the nervous system offering pause to the mind and the body. Expect to feel relaxed after a class with Sation. Your body will thank you.
When she is not serving in these ways, Sation enjoys the great outdoors; hiking, kayaking, tubing and playing at the beach. She also enjoys listening to audio books and especially looks forward to spending time with family and friends!
My favorite yoga related book is Radical Acceptance, Embracing your Life with the Heart of a Buddha. It was a life changing read that invited me to consider and remember to offer grace and compassion to myself AS I AM NOW… and not the “I’ll be glad when” version of myself.
Shakira (she/her, RYT500, NCLMBT #12449) curates wellness experiences that break patterns of procrastination to live into liberation. Her fascination with the human body and effects of trauma guide her focus on the confluence between wellness and social justice. She empowers her community to experience a sense of comfort in their bodies through heart centered yoga offerings and massage & bodywork. She’s passionate about caring for and holding space for individuals to feel nourished by compassionate touch, intentional breath, deep reflection, and self-connection.
Shakira’s practice is informed by her B.A. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill, Massage Therapy Diploma from Body Therapy Institute, Spirit of Learning Certificate from The Center for Embodied Education, and various Yoga Teacher Training Certifications from Heart of Yoga School and Skill in Action.
Valerie opened Sunrise Yoga Studio in Clemmons, NC, outside Winston-Salem, NC, in 2003. She founded the Yoga Alliance-registered 200-hour Sunrise Teacher Training program in 2008 and the 300-hour program in 2011. In 2015, Valerie co-founded the East Coast Yoga Therapy training program. It is among the first 30 yoga therapy training schools worldwide to be accredited by the International Association of Yoga Therapists. She is also a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP). In addition to her Yoga Alliance and International Association of Yoga Therapists certifications, her credentials and experience include:
- 1200-hour Advanced Teacher Training and Yoga Therapeutics certification, taught by J.J. Gormley
- Relax & Renew Advanced Trainer through Judith Lasater’s Restorative Yoga
- Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer, Elise Browning Miller
- iRest Yoga Nidra Level II Teacher
- Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor
- Lakshmi Voekler Chair Yoga Teacher
- Cardiac Yoga instructor® (Cardiac Yoga is a registered trademark of M. Mala Cunningham , Ph.D. and is used with exclusive permission)
- MELT Level 1 Instructor for neurofascial pain and stress reliefCertified Yoga for Healthy Aging Instructor
Certified Y4C (yoga for cancer) instructor