Teachers at Woodbury Meditation & Yoga Center

Janaki Pierson

Janaki, Co-founder, executive director and principal instructor of the Woodbury Meditation & Yoga Center, presents seminars on Hatha Yoga, Meditation, Stress Management, Death and Dying/Life and Living, Elementary Sanskrit,  and Thinking Into Being: Creating Your Own Reality. Ms. Pierson has been teaching meditation for over 32 years and has been established in her own daily practice for 40 years. She teaches extensively throughout New England  and New York in medical, educational, corporate, and community settings. Janaki received Hatha Yoga Teacher Certification from the Siddha Yoga Dham of America in 1982. For the most of the past 12 years, she has been spending 6 weeks each winter in India, either at an  ayurvedic clinic or doing spiritual practices on the banks of the holy Narmada river in Gujarat, India.


Hilde Brehm

Hilde has been a part of the WYC community for over 15 years. Since completing her Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at WYC and has also attended numerous workshops at Kripalu and Omega Ceter. In 2004 she received her certification as a natural childbirth pregnancy yoga instructor from Kripalu. In her regular classes Hilde teaches traditional hatha yoga, focusing on basic postures, breathing, gentle opening, deep closing relaxation, and ending with a brief deep stillness for meditation. She tailors each class to the level of the students participanting: sometimes strenghtening and vigorous, sometimes gentle and restorative, always attententive, present and accepting.


Diane Scuteri

Diane Scuteri has studied and practiced Hatha Yoga since 1987.  After completing a teacher's training course at the Woodbury Yoga Center she began teaching in 1995.  She has continued her studies and completed a 200RYT teacher training program in 2009 and is now certified with the Yoga Alliance Assocation. Diane teaches Traditional Style Hatha Yoga bringing together the intergration of asanas and breathwork,  This system of intergration brings to the practioner a deep release of muscular tension and increases energy flow for an experience of complete relaxation balancing the body and mind.  All levels welcome.

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Laura McEvoy 

Laura received her Yoga Teacher Certification from Kripalu in June 2002. She has been practicing for 25 years. She has a special interest in teaching children. Their ever present, unique and authentic spirit serves as a reminder that yoga can bring us "home" to that true being. So often children are told to calm down and relax, yet they aren't taught how to. Through yoga children learn to develop coordination, healthy habits and coping mechanisms. Ms. McEvoy regularly attends workshops at Kripalu. She has been the recipient of various diversity grants providing Yoga instruction to economically disadvantaged children in various urban settings. Her work with children of diverse cultural background has been recognized in the KYTA Yoga Bulletin and the National Tides Foundation Publication. She holds an Elementary School Teacher Certification and Masters Degree in Counseling. She recognizes student-learning styles and teaches postures and relaxation techniques in a variety of ways. On the other end of the spectrum, Laura also greatly enjoys teaching floor and chair yoga to seniors. 


Sara Van Doren

Sara began her yoga practice almost 30 years ago with an Iyengar instructor in 1988. After moving to CT in 1996, she discovered Woodbury Meditation & Yoga Center and immediately felt at home here. Sara completed Yoga teacher training with Kripalu in March 2013. She incorporates yoga and meditation into her work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Nicole Morley

Nicole grew up in Watertown, CT and moved to Manhattan at 18 to attend the School of Visual Arts. She graduated with a BFA in Photography and began working as a photo editor for a popular lifestyle website in New York. After two years with the company, Nicole decided she needed a change and left her job to travel through Europe for 4 months ending in Bali, Indonesia where she spent another month obtaining her 200 hour Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga Certification. She currently teaches classes around the Litchfield Hills area. You can learn more about Nicole and see her schedule on her blog, www.theunicornlife.com.

Jackie Hornak

Jackie Hornak's love for honoring and strengthening the physical body began early with gymnastics and diving, then triathlons. After a successful career as a personal trainer focusing on corrective exercise and general fitness, she wanted to help people on a deeper level. Jackie received yoga teacher training with the Pranothan School of Yoga, graduating in 2014.  By teaching the science of Yoga, Jackie is discovering the value of reaching the human being within the physical body and the importance of creating a supportive, encouraging environment to allow that being to shine through. To Jackie, yoga is the art of presence. Her goal in teaching, is to provide the environment in which we can each discover our divine essence.

Michelle Wenis

Having taught previously at WMYC, Michelle is a Lotus Gardens, LLC trained yoga teacher who has specialized in prenatal yoga training with Rose St. John Bergen, author of Fathers at Birth.  Also certified through children's yoga via Karma Kids Yoga in NYC, she founded Green Woman & Your Childbirth in 2004. Soon after, she developed the LITTLEseed® Program to combine her childbirth training, years of dance, yoga, movement, fitness and, as a singer/songwriter/recording artist, her original songs and instrumentals.  With roots in service to the "new mother to be and mother/parent" community, her practice is now also bearing fruit in guiding adult classes for all ages.  Michelle feels fortunate to have taught hundreds of students for over a decade in Fairfield, Litchfield counties & NYC with her babies in tow, through this present time.  Her website is: www.greenwomanyc.me

Lisa Mahon

Lisa Mahon attended her first yoga class in 1991 at WYC and has been practicing various forms of yoga on and off the mat since then.  She became a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher in 1995 and continues to attend advanced training workshops through Kripalu, Omega and Sanctuary Power Yoga.  While her classes focus on physical alignment, core strengthening and coordinated breathwork, the true essence of each class is for every student to discover the physical, mental and emotional possibilities of being in the present moment.  She is currently finishing a degree in Exercise Science and Wellness.

Marianne Chapin

Marianne started teaching in 2002 after she completed her first teacher training at Woodbury Yoga Center.  She then studied with Baron Baptiste Hot Power Yoga. She completed Level 1 & 2 as well as  several Assistant trainings and Immersions with Baron.  She fell in love with Hot Power Yoga and decided to open her own Hot Power yoga studio in 2003; eventually outgrowing the space and moving to her current location in Southbury in 2008.  She has taken teacher trainings with Seane Corn, Rodney Yee, and Todd Norian.  She  is teaching Vinyasa style here at WYC.  “Yoga has taught me to stay calm and experience the practice of inner peace.  Yoga  helps me live an empowered life and the courage to follow my heart.”

Tim Groen

Tim Groen has been practicing yoga since 1999, and teaches Hatha and Raja Yoga. (Raja Yoga is the study of the millennia-old Yoga Sutras of Patanjali). He was trained in Rishikesh, India, and at Integral Yoga Institute in New York City. His classes have been described as "uplifting and soothing". Tim likes to introduce his students to postures, breathing techniques or other yoga elements (like the occasional Yoga Sutra!) that are new, fun and  interesting. He is registered with the Yoga Alliance (RYT200) and the Integral Yoga Teachers Association. 


Alisa Wissell

Alisa Wissell received her Yoga Alliance 200 hour teacher training through Sacred Rivers Yoga in East Hartford, CT. She is also certified to teach children’s yoga and mindfulness through ChildLight Yoga. Alisa founded One Love Yoga and One Love Kids Yoga to nurture adults and children’s mind, body and spirit. She lives in Southbury with her husband and daughter.

Alisa’s yoga journey began 16 years ago by recommendation of her chiropractor to help her bad back and instantly felt at home at WYC. She immediately fell in love with yoga and will always remember a special experience she had in one of her first classes with Janaki which moved her to tears. She realized at that moment that yoga is a journey inward to her true self and she couldn’t help spilling over with emotion at this realization. She discovered that yoga is so much more than the physical postures and that it was touching her spiritually. She deepened her practice by studying yoga philosophy which resonated within her. She feels passionate about weaving yoga philosophy into her daily life so she can help nurture people, animals and nature.

Alisa Wissell is also a NYS Certified Teacher and has several years experience as an English teacher for Carmel Central School District in NY. In addition, she earned her Master’s Degree in Reading and Literacy.

Alisa feels honored to teach at The Woodbury Yoga Center since it is where her journey began and has led her to her true purpose. Each step Alisa took up the path to the beautiful studio nestled among nature, melted away the stress of daily life and she felt such deep peace and a sense of connection to everything around her. She is excited to walk that same path she took so many years as a student but now as a teacher sharing her love of yoga.

 Her goal is for ALL people, no matter what your age is, physical limitations or abilities are, to feel welcome and comfortable in her class and leave your mat feeling more peaceful than when you walked in.