Yoga Sanctuary
Share Yoga ‌• Share Life ‌• Share Peace

Instructors

Our Instructors

Michele Anderson Anjali mudra.jpg
 

Michele Anderson

While struggling to cope with life-long anxiety and my father’s terminal cancer diagnosis, I stumbled upon Kundalini Yoga in 2000 during college. I was moved by the breath work and the connection to spirit, and I was in love with the idea of keeping my eyes closed throughout class. I craved inner reflection in a safe space, and yoga gifted me this. One class turned into a regular practice that provided me with an essential outlet for letting go of all the emotions that no longer served me. When I consistently brought myself to my yoga mat to practice, I was able to open my heart to myself, inviting in a kinder voice and a softer approach. It has truly been an amazing journey into peace and contentment.

In 2010, I completed my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. I had tried other forms of yoga, but my heart felt devoted to Kundalini. I have also completed Kundalini Level 2 Life Cycles (2011), Level 2 Mind & Meditation (2016) and Level 2 Stress & Vitality (2017). I have completed additional training in Restorative Yoga (2015) and in breath work with Max Strom (2016).

In 2016, I began the 1,000-hour Yoga Therapist training through the Yoga Well Institute in the Viniyoga tradition. I intend to use yoga therapy in the treatment of mental health disorders, helping people to develop a sense of stability and ease in their lives. I have a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Minnesota and a M.A. in Nursing from Augsburg College. I am a Registered Nurse licensed in Minnesota. Currently, I am enrolled in the University of Minnesota's Doctorate of Nursing Practice program, specializing in Psychiatry and Mental Health (expected graduation 2018). I am also a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner.

I believe every individual can practice yoga. It is a tool to bring us into the present moment and breath in life. I teach in a way that invites the student to accept oneself as they are and challenge growth. My teaching style blends my knowledge of human physiology and energy anatomy, with a little bit of humor, and I LOVE to play the gong.

 

Angela Culbert

Hi!  Yoga has been a part of my life for more than 10 years. I turned to it as a way to reduce stress from a very fast-paced work environment and to bring some balance into my life. Yoga has been my sanctuary. I love how it allows me to slow down, listen to my body, and live with intention on and off my mat. The strength, flexibility, and balance I have gained from Yoga have also been a huge benefit to me as an avid runner and golfer. 

I have explored many different types of yoga and prefer Hatha, Yin and Restorative Yoga. I received my 230 hour teacher training from the Minneapolis Yoga Center in 2015.   I have been fortunate enough to practice with Ravi Ranjan in Bangalore, India, and I continue to look for every opportunity to learn and grow my yoga practice.

In my class, I strive to create the space for my students to slow down and connect with your body, mind, and breath. I enjoy the Yoga Sanctuary community as a student and I look forward to meeting you and sharing my knowledge and joy of yoga. 

 
Jean-profile--193x300.png

Jean Culp

I began practicing yoga in 2010 and I had no idea what I was getting into. I knew that I wanted to get back to a regular workout. What I didn’t know, was that not only would yoga provide me with a good sweat and introduce me to all sorts of muscles I didn’t know I had, it would impact my life even when I wasn’t on my mat. I fell hard and fast for yoga and am grateful to experience the peace and clarity it provides me on a daily basis. Since 2006 my career has focused my passion as I lead ‘character retreats’ at public schools around the country. I have encouraged over 50,000 middle and high school students to be the best version of themselves; to live with kindness, courage and respect in their hearts. I look forward to working with thousands more individuals, helping them find their best, most compassionate, peaceful, empowered version of themselves through the unifying power of yoga. I trust in what yoga has to offer each individual.

The idea of teaching yoga makes my heart pump faster and reminds me that the teacher in me, and the teacher in all of us, matters.

 

Carol Dines

For years after college, I practiced many kinds of yoga, but only after I herniated three discs in my early forties, did I begin to use yoga as a healing tool.  After being told that I would need surgery, I opted to go to New York to attend a week-long session on yoga for back-pain with Gary Kraftsow, one of the leading yoga therapists in the country.  I loved the teachings so much, I stayed another week for his workshop on yoga for anxiety and depression (thinking, of course, that I might as well hit all my challenges at once!)  I came back motivated to go deeper into my own practice, and a year later, began a teacher training program with Gary and the American Viniyoga Institute in California.  That was fifteen years ago.  I studied with Gary for eight years, completing both his 500-hour Teacher Training and the 500 hour Yoga Therapist Training.

Although I never intended to be a yoga teacher, (having had a fulfilling life as a writer and teacher), I found the teachings so profoundly useful, I wanted to share them. As I’ve entered my late fifties, I have found that my yoga practice continues to deepen and help me adapt to whatever challenges arrive, both physical and emotional.  As our bodies change, our spirit has an opportunity to deepen. Yoga has given me a way to stay close to my own experience, facing whatever comes my way.

 

Chantelle Ebben

I decided to try yoga to help with the postpartum depression I developed after the birth of my twins. I was instantly hooked by the invigorating energy that yoga offers the mind, body and spirit. I knew that yoga made me feel better and wanted to know why, so I enrolled in teacher training and earned my 200 HR certification from Core Power Yoga in 2011.

Still wanting to delve deeper into the history and philosophy of yoga, I enrolled in an intensive 500 HR training with Devanadi Yoga and  completed training in January 2013. Today I am continuing my studies in Yoga and Ayurveda, with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, as well as Herbal Studies. My teaching style is based primarily on Vinyasa, integrating the spiritual and practical guidance of Ayurveda. My classes provide a balance of challenge, strengthening vigor, and playfulness.

 
Julia - outside color.jpg

Julia Marlow Fansler

I found yoga at a young age through an introduction to modern dance, and have now been a practitioner for over 12 years. I am constantly driven and inspired by Yoga’s medicinal benefits as well as its psychological enhancements. Yoga has taught me that healing can be realized in many ways, through all areas of the body, mind and life. My philosophy of teaching yoga balances the power of self-study, gratitude for the practice and surrender of the soul. In my Yoga Teacher Training Program I chose to focus on teaching beginners as well as advanced practitioners. I have also studied at Mind-Body-Solutions with Matthew Sanford. It is an honor to observe and teach all different types of bodies and minds and this work has greatly influenced my life and teaching. I make an effort to create a space for my students to both move within and expand outward. Teaching and participating with others in this way is amazing and also humbling. I seek to include teachings that represent historical movements and philosophies in a modern way while maintaining a loyalty to yoga’s authentic origins.

 
Cynthia - headshot.jpg

Cynthia Farrell

I hesitantly stepped into a yoga studio for the first time in the spring of 2009, unsure of what to expect and intimidated by the thought of being the only beginner. Luckily, I stepped into an incredibly safe space with amazing teachers, where I learned we’re all beginners, as yoga always has something new to teach us. In the years since then, my practice--what I need from yoga and what I seek out in my practice--has shifted as my life and circumstances have changed. Those shifts led me to yoga teacher training, which I completed in early 2017 with Yoga Center of Minneapolis.  

The most important aspect of yoga to me is that 'time on my mat is my greatest teacher'. If I listen deeply during my practice, so much will be revealed about my internal state, which I can use to guide me to greater serenity and joy. This awareness of how committing to time on our yoga mats creates space for what we need, is the gift I aspire to offer through my teaching. My teaching style is strongly focused on alignment (a passion based on dealing with mild scoliosis), and sequenced to provide an energetic challenge while inviting you to listen to your body and step into or back from the challenge as you need in that given moment. 

Outside of yoga, my full-time job is leading the talent development function for a local software company, with a particular focus on leadership development. I’m exploring how yoga philosophy can inform corporate leadership in my blog,Working from Om.

 
Lesa profile photo.JPG

Lesa Hudak

I came into yoga ten years ago with a group of friends who were trying different activities together.  I loved the stretching, but didn’t fully connect with it.  in 2011 I got married, moved to Minneapolis, found out I was pregnant, started a new job, and had a child starting kindergarten.  It was probably the craziest time of my life.  I walked into Yoga Sanctuary to try the Sunday Donation class and it was the best experience of my life.  I connected with myself and the noise around me stopped.  It was amazing.  It was that moment that I knew I wanted to learn more about yoga.  I began practicing regularly and even my husband commented on how much calmer I was.  I still wanted to learn more, and I completed my 235 hour yoga teacher training at Devanadi in April 2016. 

While I enjoy trying new classes, I am drawn to the pace of Hatha, the structure of Vinyasa, the relaxation of Restorative, and the meditation of Yoga Nidra.  I have a passion for getting everyone involved in yoga and found Chair Yoga as a way to help family members who are maturing in age and looking for ways to continue to move their bodies.

In my classes, students will find a chance to stretch with variations for what their body needs on any given day, work on their balance, connect with their breath, and have time for reflection and meditation. I am excited to share my enthusiasm for yoga with you! 

 
Brigit Kraus.jpeg
 
Shirley outside.jpg

Birgit Kraus

I was born and raised in Bavaria, Germany, from where I moved to the US in 1996.  After experiencing severe depletion and imbalance of the nervous system, and the limited possibilities in western medicine,  I began the search for an alternative healing approach and discovered yoga in the year of 2000. After establishing a regular yoga practice, the healing effects of feeling more physically and mentally balanced allowed me to address everyday life challenges in a very different approach and stirred curiosity of“what else is there to learn”.

I finished my 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training through the Yoga Center of Minneapolis in 2009. In 2010 I took an intensive weekend training with Dharma Mittraat and in 2014 I deepened the knowledge of yoga philosophy by studying with Ben Vincent in his 9month ‘Advanced Yoga Study Program’. In 2015 I completed an intensive 4- day training “Inner Axe training” with Max Strom. I am also a certified Doula through Blooma, here in Minneapolis.

Being curious about how our subconscious mind and our conscious mind operate, I completed an 18 month NLP (Neuro-Linguistic-Programming) course to be certified as a Therapeutic coach. This path led me to Reiki Healing, healing through touch,  and I was attuned as a Reiki Master after studying with Mirtha Solis, Meta Institute.

In 2011 I found Qigong, and after studying with Master Chuny Lin, the founder of Spring Forest Qigong, I received Level IV Master Healer and qualified as a Spring Forest Qigong practice group leader. With the practice of Qigong I felt an important shift in my own body, a deeper connection to the physical and mental body. Intrigued with the practice of this ancient healing art, I deepened my Qigong study with Master Mingtong Gu in 2016 through an online course of  “Healing the organs and emotions through Sound".

I believe that, when we practice TOGETHER we are in a group field which enhances healing properties, expands our consciousness and builds stronger communities - that is why I love to teach yoga, Qigong and energy healing classes and workshops. My intention in my classes, individual sessions and every day living is, “Practice unconditional love. Share the teachings I have learned. Encourage ’SELF HEALING ‘  (its numerous tools and modalities) WITH EVERYONE. Be a life-long student, open to all possibilities”.

The fast growing field of Energy medicine healing, now widely acknowledged by western science has become my main interest and in my work as an energy medicine healer I hold space for people to enhance their body’s own healing process. Healing can occur on a cellular level, repairing DNA and unblocking energy in the blood flow.

In 2017 I took the 40 hours foundational course of VortexHealing, Divine Energy Healing which helped to further evolve my energy system and allows me to channel divine light and consciousness.  VortexHealing is a path to transform emotional patterns, heal the body, and awaken to one’s True Self (more information on my website bkhealingarts.com).

I hold certifications in: Yoga Instructor, Qigong instructor +Spring Forest Qigong Master Healer Level IV, Reiki Master, NLP TC (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)  Therapeutic Coach, Master Hypnosis Therapy , VortexHealing Divine Energy Healing - basic course, and Contemplative Mindfulness with Jack Kornfield and Dr. Segal       Selfstudy of Chinese medicine, nutrition, Ayurveda and homeopathy

 

Shirley Krohn

I am an enthusiastic, energetic graduate of Arizona Power Yoga and Baron Baptiste Institute.  I have been practicing yoga for over twenty years and teaching for ten years.  I am the owner of Protocol–an organizational development and training firm where I have developed seminars on leadership, teamwork and executive coaching for over thirty years throughout the United States and internationally.  I am also a steering member of the North-Central Psychomotor Society.  Practicing yoga has been my way to stay centered and balanced in my professional and personal life.  One of the key factors that led me to bring breath work and meditation into my work was noticing the stress that my clients exhibited with their interactions in the workplace. My classes are fun, inspirational and full of spunk, always emphasizing  the importance of bringing body, mind and spirit into balance. I teach to all levels and enjoy incorporating dynamic and therapeutic movement so everyone can access the wonderful benefits of yoga. 

 
Kelsey outside.jpg

Kelsey LAuer

I have been teaching and providing care to children of all ages for the past thirteen years through my work as a gymnastics instructor, camp counselor, pediatric oncology nurse, and a Yoga Calm Certified Youth Instructor. I am also certified in advanced aromatherapy and am a Reiki Level II Practitioner. I have a love for interacting with kids and believe the reason kids are so amazing is their resiliency, creativeness, and kindness towards others. I have been practicing yoga for over eleven years and combine my knowledge of yoga with childhood development to create a class perfect for children of all ages. I love exploring the outdoors and say 'YES!' to adventure! 

 
Shelley red door.jpg

Shelley Pagitt

I cautiously walked into my first yoga class in 1999. I walked out with a sense of curiosity about the awakening I felt in my body and in my mind and spirit. After years of dualistic medical treatment for endometriosis and infertility, yoga became a compatible partner on my road toward holistic health. I am grateful for my challenges and count them among my teachers along the way.

Curiosity, and a deep desire for holistic wellness, inspire me to teach intentional yoga with space to explore deeper physical (asana), breath (pranayama) and mindfulness practices as we journey personally and collectively toward self-awareness and wholeness. I have been teaching yoga since 2007, and received my training at White Lotus Foundation (Santa Barbara), one of the first Yoga Teacher Training programs in the country. I also completed an Intensive 9-month Yoga Studies program with Ben Vincent in May 2017. In my classes I encourage students of all abilities to practice patience while focusing on proper physical alignment. My background is in Child Psychology and I enjoy creating and teaching safe, fun, relational yoga to young and old-er alike. We learn to listen to our bodies as our breath guides us at each moment to honor our bodies and allow yoga to assist us on our life journey, finding compassion and joy along the way. 

I carry the belief that our bodies, minds, emotions and spirits are essentially connected and that everything inside and outside of us is related to our well-being. This is why I also work as a Natural Health Coach. I honor the clients I work with, guiding them toward nutrition and lifestyle choices that support their health goals using yoga, Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traditional Foods, which is often easier than they might expect. I am passionate about fertility and women’s health, and specialize in digestive disorders, organ and colon cleansing, anxiety and dizziness. If you would like more information, please connect with me. I am excited to share the joy of living a connected life with others as a Yoga Instructor, Health Coacher and Life Lover.

 
Chelsea S - straw.jpg

Chelsea Schmitz

I grew up in a very large, very close family. The oldest of four siblings and one of over 30 cousins, I grew up surrounded by kids, family and community. As a child, I was extremely shy and dealt with a lot of anxiety. Thus, I understand the pressures kids face, both self-imposed and otherwise.

I see yoga as a beautiful song and dance between breath, movement and meditation and have personally experienced the power of yoga in working toward a more balanced and joyful life. I strongly believe that children, especially, can use these helpful tools to gain a sense of emotional awareness and to better control of their reactions. As a former teacher in the New Orleans’ Recovery School District following Hurricane Katrina, I witnessed the positive impact on children when they focused on their breath. It seems to powerfully connect children with their inner being, thereby better connecting them to their own thoughts and feelings and the world around them.

I currently work as a juvenile advocacy attorney and restorative facilitator in public schools around the Twin Cities. I am inspired by the strength, resiliency, creativity and honesty of children and youth. I was trained and certified to teach yoga to kids and young adults through Kripalu Center in Massachusetts and Street Yoga, and I  have taught Kids Yoga at Yoga Sanctuary. I also teach adult yoga classes and believe that, through the power of breath and movement, we can better realize our deep interconnectedness, resulting in the ability to change the world for the better!

 
Katy - red beads.jpg

Katy Sullivan

I found yoga (or yoga found me) more than 15 years ago in a fitness center in Dallas, Texas. I dabbled with a yoga practice for several years while managing a stressful career and more than a few cross-country moves. The balance that yoga brings to my life when I practice regularly is something that I seek again and again – always discovering a fresh lesson or opportunity for growth. I teach because I hope to help my students find their own sense of balance through breath, movement and a deepening awareness of self. Self-discovery and self-awareness of body, mind and emotions is one of the greatest gifts that yoga has given me and something I strive to create space for in my classes. My classes emphasize alignment through self-inquiry and breath. Laughter and questions are encouraged.  When not practicing or teaching yoga; I can be found writing, practicing pilates, playing tennis, or enjoying the natural beauty of the Twin Cities. 

 
Tracy prayer

Tracy Vacura

I see yoga as a place for self-healing, wholeness and starting again.  I moved to MInneapolis after earning my MFA in Choreography from University of Iowa, and began teaching dance at St. Cloud State University.  When stress and injuries started to hold me back, I would drop in to Ben Vincent’s yoga class, which put enough of a band-aid on things that I could keep going.  After my daughter was born, I was eager to replace work-stress with Mom-stress, but found yoga—especially with Shelley Pagitt—to be a more necessary solace than before, to unwind the ropes of new responsibility and identity.   I completed the 235 hr yoga teacher training at Devanadi and started training in Healing Touch (a hands-on technique of energy therapy like Reiki), mostly because I wanted better tools to understand health and well-being—both mine and my family’s.  

While trying to help my own daughter find ways to be steady and calm, I found that if I coated an essential yoga technique with enough fun, she would readily swallow both the medicine and the spoonful of sugar.  This was my inspiration for Shape Shifters—a truly fun but also good-for-you class, combining the best elements of all my movement passions.  After 20 years of teaching kids in the dance and gymnastics world, I feel so blessed to get to teach them yoga—movement that teaches them strength, discipline, and body awareness, but also gives them tools they need for self-love, emotional intelligence and stress-reduction.

In May 2017, I completed a 9 month program of intensive Yoga Studies with Ben Vincent, and will continue working towards becoming a certified practitioner in Healing Touch.  As a teacher, I am hoping to help other people find tools to feel better—through breathing techniques, tapping into our own wisdom, smart alignment, and just changing our perspectives. The community and energy at Yoga Sanctuary are saturated with kindness and I love being part of it! 

 
AubreyYogaHeadshot-300x168.jpg

Aubrey Weger

Why practice yoga? For me, the answer is simple: to return to our true nature. The work of cultivating a spiritual practice can reveal to us what we’ve been longing for: a rich, resilient sense of identity brimming with unconditional love, acceptance, and inner peace.

It’s my great joy to guide members of the Yoga Sanctuary community in the life-changing practices of yoga. I combine Asana (postures), Pranayama (breathwork), and Dhyana (meditation) practices in individual and group settings, with special emphasis on cultivating stillness of the mind.

My current work as an advocate for people experiencing homelessness and my background in music education inform and inspire my method of teaching the practices of yoga. I aim to teach in a way that is engaging, inspiring, practical, and relevant for students from all walks of life, and in a way that empowers students to cultivate their own personal practice.

I earned my 200-hour certification under the inspired guidance of Jaina and Matt Portwood of Radiant Life Yoga, in Minneapolis. I’ve also completed trainings with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center in Grass Valley, CA, the Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and my 500-hour teaching certification through Devanadi Yoga in Minneapolis.

 
Lynn-waterfall-225x300.jpg

Lynn Whitfield

Hi! My name is Lynn Whitfield and I received my 200 hour yoga teaching certificate from Rishikesh Yog Peeth in Rishikesh, India and my Ayurveda Yoga Specialist certificate in April 2014 at Devanadi Yoga. From 2010-1013 I lived in Asia and had the wonderful opportunity to learn and train with international teachers in the styles of Prana Vinyasa, Drishti Vinyasa and Yin yoga. I’ve also studied with Rod Stryker, Lauren Toolen, Tanya Boigenzahn and Ben Vincent. I completed the 500 hour Advanced Teacher Training course at Devanadi Yoga in 2014.

Throughout my career as an elementary teacher I was blessed to have found yoga for emotional balance, spiritual growth and inner silence. When I attended my first yoga class 9 years ago, I knew this needed to be a life-long practice for me. From 2012-2013 I took a one year sabbatical in India and Nepal to deepen my knowledge of yoga as well as becoming certified in Thai massage. I am thrilled to be a part of the Yoga Sanctuary community to share this transformative, self-healing lifestyle with others.