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Meet The Teachers of Waynesville Yoga Center

(staff photo credit: Amber Kleid)

Jay MacDonald


Jay is a Yoga Alliance E-RYT (Experienced registered yoga teacher) and a YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) and has been teaching yoga classes for over 16 years. She started practicing yoga over 30 years ago after a back injury in her college days and has never stopped because yoga has kept her healthy and sane!

Jay is also a certified Barre Above instructor, a certified Fusion instructor and A Matter of Balance coach. She is the Owner of WYC and teaches a variety of classes.

Jay believes that all of us stay healthier and happier by staying mobile and active as much as we can in whatever form that takes! Come visit her in one of her classes anytime!!

Sara-Lewis-teaches-yoga-in-Waynesville-NC Sara-Lewis-teaches-yoga-in-Waynesville-NC

Sara Lewis

RYT-200, Certified Holistic Health Coach

Sara has practiced yoga for over 15 years and has been teaching yoga since 2014. After a 25-year career in international public health, Sara began a second career as a Certified Holistic Health Coach. Her passion for food led her to yoga when she began studying the connection between mindfulness and stress eating. Sara emphasizes alignment and posture in all her classes. 

Her flow classes, which are fun and energetic, focus on lengthening the spine and improving balance and strength. Sara’s yin classes focus on pranayama (breath work) and deep relaxation. When she’s not on the mat, Sara can be found in the kitchen creating new recipes from locally sourced ingredients, or out exploring the hills of Western NC on a bicycle. 

Candra Smith

RYT 500, LMBT 7236, Ayurveda Wellness Counselor

Candra Smith has been teaching yoga since 2006 and practicing massage since 2007. She has over 500 hours of yoga study and blends classical yoga with a vinyasa flow. Candra’s classes are fun, creative and slightly challenging with a focus on a deep inner journey to Self discovery. Candra is inspired to teach yoga for so many reasons but simply put, yoga helps people become better people. Candra currently owns the Maggie Valley Wellness Center.

Michael Edwards

E – RYT-200

Michael was born and raised in Asheville, NC and has a deep love for our beautiful mountains. Michael discovered yoga in 1995 and developed an immediate affinity with it. He got his first teaching certification in 1997 with a Kripalu style teacher. Extended holds and detailed attention to alignment. His last two certifications were in 2011 and 2014 at the Asheville Yoga Center which added an element of lightness and fun. He would like to honor all of his teachers by teaching yoga as a way of life rather than as a form of exercise. His yoga philosophy is “Every yoga pose, and by extension every second of our lives, deserves our full attention, our full awareness, and our full effort. I do yoga to remind myself to live life like that.”

Amber Kleid

Amber is a yoga teacher that loves getting yummy with her poses, and her sense of humor will make you feel at ease and welcome. Her style of teaching allows students to find their own expression in each pose. Sometimes challenging but always allowing time for breath, mind and body to connect. Amber has been practicing yoga postures since the mid 90’s; but her journey didn’t really connect until a few years ago when she was met with some hefty health challenges. Gradually, while practicing mindfulness and patience, her health improved and she took her first teacher training in hopes that sharing her story would helps others overcome obstacles.

Melissa Rodriguez


Melissa completed her Yoga Teacher Training at MBody Yoga in Jacksonville, Fl in the style of Baptiste Heated Power Yoga in 2012, and is now E RYT 200 certified. 

She has been practicing yoga for 15 years, loves teaching Slow Flow classes, with a focus on alignment, and prefers to incorporate meditation, breathwork and self massage.

Melissa is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of North Florida. She has a background in teaching group fitness, including TRX Suspension Training,  Aqua Fitness, Athletic Conditioning, Indoor Cycling, Kids Skills and Drills, and Senior Fitness classes.

Melissa was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2013 and has been on a deep journey learning the importance of sometimes being gentle, sometimes pushing out of comfort zones, accepting the moment and self as is, and curiously listening to what the body needs.

She spends much of her time outside with her son, organic gardening, learning about and attending ceremonies that stem from indigenous roots.

Come take Melissa’s class and leave feeling more peaceful and connected in your spirit, mind and body.

Tara Scarborough

RYT-200 + LMBT 20125

Tara has been a student of yoga for almost 25 years.  She studied and has been influenced by the Iyengar, Anusara, and Ashtanga lineages. Tara completed her RYT 200 training at Anahata Yoga Center in Mason, Ohio.  

Her style now includes mindful alignment cues that focus on opening and releasing to leave you relaxed, aware and free. On her days off, you can find her up in the mountains hiking, in her boat kayaking or mountain biking the local trails.

Tara is a register nurse having worked in pediatric ICU, now pre and post operative care, and is also a licensed massage therapist here at WYC. Tara is also a John Barnes trained myofascial release  (MFR) therapist and specializes in this gentle modality of freeing fascial constrictions. Click here to learn more.

Jake Gilmore

Jake Gilmore was Born in Springfield, Missouri. Growing up in a small town, like many other folks he felt the pulling notion of “more”. Feeling the pull of wanting more knowing and information, he enrolled in college at Drury University and majored in English and Writing, with a minor of Psychology in the study of archetypal symbolism. During his studies, he took a Yoga and stress course elective and his life changed direction, as he found asylum in the practicing of Yoga, an introduction of Body, Mind and Soul practice.  After graduating with honors, Jake went on to live in Palm Springs, Santa Rosa, Bodega Bay, and Modesto, California, all the while practicing Yoga, privately and in studios, up and down the west coast. He has come to rest in the mountains in Western North Carolina. He completed his 250 hour Yoga certification with eagerness to teach, to share his passion of Body, Mind and Soul

Jake values the practice of Yoga more than just the physical poses. It is the promotion of self reflection and awareness of self and others, the pathways and thoughts we all have that help or hurt ourselves in our daily being. It is to be present in the practice and not meddling in the past or future thinking, just the moment. He uses his love of making music and music in general to enrich the Yoga experience, as he knows the power of sound and intent. Exercising a 10 year relationship with Yoga, he is always ready to share Yoga with anyone willing to practice… to share pathway ideas of life longevity, self love, acceptance, Body, Mind and Soul awareness.

Trish Ann Ward


TrishAnn was born in the Appalachian mountains of W. Virginia, but has lived all over the Eastern  part of the country, landing in Asheville 19 years ago and making WNC her forever home.

She recently graduated from Asheville Community Yoga Center’s 250 hour yoga teacher training program.  She is a registered, licensed Nutritionist with a Master of Public Health and a passion for helping others find their path to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.  Her focus is to blend science, with the breath of yoga, to shine a light on this path of wellness and wellbeing.

 As someone over 50 and still very active, she believes that she can guide and role model others who want to remain active and vibrant no matter what their age.  She firmly believes yoga is a practice that can help everyone age gracefully and have an improved quality of life as they do so. 

She is currently doing self-study on the science of Ayurvedic and concepts for healthy eating and has plans for formal training next year. She also performed belly dance for 10 yeas and taught for 5, combining lots of belly dance styles into her classes.

TrishAnn is continuing her own studies of teaching yoga, the Sutras, breath work and the spiritual aspects of yoga so that she can weave these all into her yoga classes. 

Amber Russo

RYT200, Kripalu +Yn Yoga trained instructor

Amber began practicing yoga in 2009 in hopes of a graceful transition in her 40th year, and from that practice grew a longing to teach yoga. After many grueling years in the corporate world, Amber left it behind for a more fulfilling lifestyle to help her husband start a successful business.  Then in 2018, she finally decided it was time to make her dream come true and signed up for yoga teacher training at Discovery Yoga in St. Augustine FL. That training helped Amber become “open to change” and that change has brought her to become a new resident of Waynesville NC.

Amber is looking forward to guiding classes in her new hometown and sharing her love the of the physical as well as mental aspects of the practice of yoga. Her mission is to provide a loving, welcoming and accepting environment to offer the practice of yoga and to help students nuture self- love in a judgement free environment. She believes ALL bodies can do yoga.

Kirstin Batchelor

Kirstin first came to yoga 2007, when a friend invited her to a class, convincing her she didn’t need to already know how to do it in order to start. As she and her husband moved around the country with his Army career, Kirstin worked as a minister and a hospital/hospice chaplain. In 2018, they moved to Waynesville, and Kirstin was thrilled to participate in WYC’s first 200-hour Teacher Training last year.

In the various roles she has held as a chaplain and as an Army spouse, Kirstin’s joy has been in being with people in the ups and downs of real life. Yoga has been a source of resilience for her and she enjoys sharing with others that same strengthening of body and deepening of spirit that comes with a yoga practice. She likes to focus on the drawing inward that yoga invites and the ways that different poses can help us understand our physical and emotional selves.

Off the mat, she loves to be hiking with her husband and their dog Artie, or writing, with cat Max sitting helpfully in her lap.

Lynda Saffell

RYT-200 & PYRT

A yoga instructor for 30 years, Lynda has mentored under numerous yogis, and she received her YTT200 from The Yoga & Ayurveda Center.  Lynda’s class is a fusion of styles: Kripala Yoga for the mind-body-soul connection, Iyengar Yoga for proper alignment and form, and Vinyasa Flow for building strength, focus and true balance.  Lynda loves the spiritual aspect of connecting with the self through yoga, strengthening body and mind through regular practice, and addressing individual physical challenges.

Lynda completed her 600hour certification in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT), a holistic and integrative approach to yoga therapy that serves as a bridge to help us connect our minds with the innate wisdom of our bodies.  She works with students in group settings and in private sessions for a deeper connection with them-selves, inspiring clarity and empowerment.

Karen McGovern


Karen’s unique teaching style keeps her students motivated, captivated and engaged. Her passion is “Helping everyBody live better in their BODY.” additionally, her background teaching dance, judging, coaching and choreographing gymnastics gives her an astute perspective, knowledge and understanding of body movement. Throughout her life she practiced yoga and in 2009 she was certified to teach chair yoga through SilverSneakers, and later her 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification in 2016; that opened the flood gate. Her thrust to learn more and more persisted and she immediately perused her 500 hour Yoga Alliance Certification.

Karen’s area of yoga concentration is Therapeutically-Oriented. Her Yoga Tune-Up certification is a bio-mechanical approach to learning yoga and she is also certified as a Myofascial massage ball practitioner. She is currently studying Anusara Yoga. Anusara classes are presented with a corresponding theme. Each classes begins with a dharma talk (a talk about the best way to live our lives). The yoga practice is centered around the talk. Don’t miss this unique yoga experience.

Danielle Vaeth

RYT 200

Energetic, spirited, fun and authentic! Danielle brings her love of the outdoors, the appreciation for the small nuances and opportunities of gratitude to her practice, where she wants to create a space for people to authentically explore from the inside out

Don’t let Danielle’s fun and playful spirit let you think you won’t find strength and engagement in her classes. She loves to start with several minutes of centering, meditation and breathwork, abs, a full body warm up, followed next by a flow that begins with cueing for activation, turning into dynamic movements and fluidity to explore your own body / mind connection. Closing out, you can typically expect a grounding and reflective savasana that will last a few minutes so you leave feeling a cross between strong and floating.

Danielle is a 200 RYTT from Authentic Movements, where she has training in vinyasa flow, moving in a dynamic, mindful and activating way. When she isn’t on her mat or working in medical sales, you can find her in the garden, putting up food or hiking with her husband and two sweet Leonbergers.

Lisa Manning

E-RYT-200 + RYT-500

Lisa grew up in Dunedin, FL.  She went to Florida State University and majored in Physical Education Sports Medicine.  In 1992, she moved to Atlanta, GA to live with her college roommate after graduation.  She worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer for many years and had 3 children.  Lisa has always loved working out and has always been a gym rat.  She never considered yoga until the unthinkable happened in 2017 when her middle child at the age of 18 passed away.  For health reasons, she discovered yoga.  Yoga helped her bring her blood pressure down and she was able to avoid medication.  She loved yoga so much that she took the teacher training and became 200RYT in 2019.  In 2020, she decided to try bodybuilding and realized how much yoga had helped her with her training. She completed her 300RYT in 2021.  In 2020, she decided to try bodybuilding and realized how much yoga played a part in her training and competitions.  She is certified in Yin, Nidra, Bioenergetic Healing, and Barre.

Lisa moved to Maggie Valley in October, 2021 and absolutely loves the mountains. She likes to tell her story so that others will realize the importance of yoga and how much it helps the mind, body, and spirit.  She fully believes that yoga saved her life and wants others to experience a “New Love” in yoga like she did.  She encourages students to keep working on their practice, whether it be yoga for your mind, body, or both, as you never know where yoga will take you.  We are all strong.  We are all worthy.  We are all warriors. 

Elizabeth Katin

RYT- 200

Elizabeth has been practicing and studying yoga for over 20 years.  She became a certified yoga teacher through the Asheville Yoga Center in 2015.   Since then, she has instructed at traditional studios, senior facilities and YMCA’s  throughout the WNC area.  Elizabeth can teach basically any style of yoga but her main expertise is in restorative yoga. She shares her extensive yogic education through her teaching of the anatomical and mental benefits of restorative asana and philosophy. Her aura is gentle and positive and her classes are truly a delight.

Hannah Stout

RYT- 500

Yoga entered Hannah’s life when she finished her high school dance team career. She was feeling burnt out from the competitive atmosphere and searched for a new way to stay active. That is when Hannah came across power yoga. She fell in love with the personal challenge and growth of the practice and it quickly became a huge part of her life and identity.

Hannah became an RYT 200 in 2017 and an RYT 500 in 2020 through the yoga school Wild Abundant Life. Hannah enjoys teaching various types of classes to people from all walks of life. You can expect her classes to have amazing playlists, a fun/non-intimidating atmosphere, and thoughtful movements that will have students leaving the class feeling successful and connected to their bodies and minds once again.

Her goal is to facilitate a positive experience for her students so that they can fall in love with their very own yoga journey.

Hanna Arrington

RYT – 200, RPYT

Hanna has been a student of yoga since 2010 with a love forRestorative Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and Slow Flow. Hanna used yoga as a regular form of mental and physical healing and continued her practice through college, attending regular classes led by many instructors she has looked up to over the years at various places around the world. Hanna became a member of Waynesville Yoga Center  while she was pregnant with her son to practice yoga in a safe space that gave her peace of mind and the tools she needed to achieve her goal of a healthy and natural birth.

Hanna became an RYT 200 through Waynesville Yoga Center and a RPYT 85 (Registered Prenatal and Postnatal Yoga Teacher) through the yoga school Island Ayurveda Prenatal. Hanna enjoys teaching various types of classes with her main focus being slow flow and prenatal yoga sequencing. You can expect her classes to have mindful movement that connects mind, body, and breathing, as well as fun playlists to keep the mind light and engaged. Currently, Hanna is studying and working towards her 300RYT, 95 RCYT, and a Nutritional Certificate in Ayurveda.

Hanna is a native to Waynesville and in her spare time you can find her gardening, hiking, fishing, cooking and baking with her son, capturing light with her camera, or reading a history novel or health study.

Suzanne Berryhill

RYT – 200

Suzanne Berryhill began her yoga journey in 2008, when she took a yoga class in college for her PE credit. However, her love of yoga didn’t really take off until was looking for a way to fill time while job hunting after graduation. At first, yoga was all about the physical challenge and learning the different asanas (shapes), but slowly, Suzanne began to realize that she just felt better after a yoga class, mentally and physically. 

Suzanne began taking different yoga workshops to learn about different styles of yoga, especially restorative, and yin. In 2015, Suzanne realized that yoga was her coping mechanism for life and started research on different yoga teacher training programs. In 2019, Suzanne graduated from the Asheville Yoga Center’s 200 hour training and became a certified yoga teacher! 

Suzanne is a high school science teacher, and offers free classes to her fellow teachers at work, as well as sponsoring a student yoga club at her high school. She is excited to join the Waynesville Yoga Center as a teacher, as she has been practicing there since 2017. Suzanne believes yoga should be accessible to all people, and that the benefits of yoga extend beyond the mat. She loves incorporating this philosophy into all of her classes. All people can practice yoga.

(staff photo credit: Amber Kleid)