Teachers

Meet The Teachers of Waynesville Yoga Center

Jay MacDonald

E-RYT, YACEP, CERTIFIED BUTI YOGA® INSTRUCTOR

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 12 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!!

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Leigh-Ann Renz

RYT-200, LMBT 9076, all-around bad ass

Leigh-Ann has been practicing yoga since 1997 and teaching since 2005. She attended the Asheville School of Massage and Yoga in 2008 and has been practicing massage + bodywork since 2009.

As a yoga teacher, Leigh-Ann prefers to teach flow, basics - and classes that access the connective tissue, such as yin or ball rolling. As a bodyworker, she incorporates a variety of modalities (such as Swedish, deep tissue, Thai, reflexology, craniosacral, polarity + energy work, myofascial techniques, and more) into an intuitive, customized session for each client.

Having previously been the manager of both Asheville Yoga Center and Black Mountain Yoga, Leigh-Ann is honored to now manage Waynesville Yoga Center and facilitate wellness services to her local community. When not working, she can be found in the woods - or by the ocean - with her family.

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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. 

Kendall Graham

Kendall took her first yoga class while in college at UNC Chapel Hill. She was immediately hooked by the way yoga calmed her mind and allowed her to surrender to the present moment. This began a daily practice that she continues to love six years later. Trained in vinyasa yoga, Kendall's classes are playful and accessible to all, linking movement with breath. Kendall embraces the lightheartedness in yoga, so laughter and self-acceptance are always present even in challenging flows and holds. She is a firm believer that each time we come to our mat we are nurturing our souls. Kendall is excited to be teaching in the mountains that she loves, and looks forward to leading you through a slow, fun, powerful class.

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

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.

Ann Kline

Yoga + Pilates Instructor Extraordinaire

Ann has a nursing background, which has really helped her in the fitness world as a instructor of Yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, land aerobics, strength, step, stretch, Yogalates and other classes since 1999. She has been practicing yoga since 2000 and teaching since 2002.

Her expertise is in osteoporosis fitness, and she's been teaching Pilates since 2003. Having been with her husband during his 30 years of navy service, she's grateful to settle down in our community and excited to help students overcome challenges and reach goals, especially those with osteoporosis.

Aja Kennelly

LMBT 10714

Aja has been working as a massage therapist since 2004. Her massage certifications include Hawaiian Lomi-Lomi, Swedish, Deep tissue and Reflexology. Aja incorporates each of these into her unique flow to encourage relaxation of the body, mind and spirit. Through massage therapy she hopes to help people find peace within themselves. 

Maura Finn

RYT-200

Maura began her journey with yoga long before she knew what it was called. As a collegiate athlete, she was aware of the body-mind connection and used breath and visualization to aid her in her sport. After years of experimenting with other modalities, she came to her asana practice in 2007. It was the medicine that helped her heal on many levels. She trained in Hatha yoga, with emphasis on children’s yoga and teen yoga through Integral Yoga, and has her 200 HR training through School Yoga. She loves bringing people home to their breath and their bodies through yoga. She looks forward to guiding you along your personal journey of connecting with your true Self.

Bill Muerdter

Bill has been practicing and studying Qigong (ancient Chinese practice combining breathing and movement for health and healing) along with Tai Chi since the 80’s as well as the Yoga breathing tradition of Pranayama. In addition, he studies the present day breathing programs of Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. G. Hendricks and the recent Harvard Medical studies. 

Bill's recent teaching venues include UNCA Asheville, Haywood Regional Fitness Center, Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong at Asheville YMCA, Casting for Recovery- Breast Cancer Survivors, Asheville Family Fitness, Town and Mountain’s Asheville Training Center - and he's excited to join the Waynesville Yoga Center team!

Anisha Desai Fraser

E-RYT 200, M.Ac, L.Ac.

 

Anisha is a thriving Acupuncturist, Qi Gong energy healer, Yoga teacher, and co-founder of Pangu Yoga. Anisha received a Masters of Acupuncture from the Academy for Five Element Acupuncture in 2006, a Certification in Medical Qi Gong in 2007 and completed her Yoga Teacher Training from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in 2008.

Her passion for offering healing through many avenues, with her deep love and experience of both Yoga and Qi Gong, lead Anisha to co-create what is now known as Pangu Yoga. She has since authored a portion of a web-based alternative textbook for Yoga I and II classes for NC State University, and has produced her own Pangu Yoga instructional DVD.

With a nurturing heart and soulful warmth, Anisha hopes to guide students toward a renewed quality of life through education, awareness and spiritual integration.

Anisha was born in Melbourne, Australia to Indian parents and moved to Raleigh, NC at age 10. Since graduating from Appalachian State University, she felt a magnetic pull toward the Blue Ridge Mountains and made them her home with her husband, Paul, and dog, Jade. Her favorite pastimes are writing, photography, singing, and jewelry making. She loves to explore the mountain dulcimer, hike and play outdoors. Anisha is an avid world traveler and adventure seeker.

She is delighted to teach at Waynesville Yoga Center, offering this vibrant mountain town her contribution and commitment to quality, beauty and substance. Learn more about Anisha and what she offers at sunandmoonhealing.org.

Katie Schomberg

Certified Wellness Coach + CF Level 1 coach

Katie...aka, Holistic HOPE Doula, is here to bring healing, open-ness, purpose, and embodiment for women.  She is the founder/creator of The Scared Space Retreats & Workshops (online & in-person), The Sacred Space Podcast, and The Sacred Self...an individual healing experience.  She is HERE to help women "return home" and find that sacred space within.

Katie's mission is for each and every woman to live and breathe from a connected, peace-filled, WHOLE-heart space.  She knows that when women begin to show up for themselves, in a real way...choosing to WAKE UP, they heal, the people around them find healing, and the world begins to change.    

Katie is also a certified wellness coach, chef, CF Level 1 coach, photographer, and yoga instructor.  She believes in a holistic approach to your personal healing & wholeness, and when needed, pulls from these aspects of her experience as well.

Alex Moody

Ortho-Bionomy® Practitioner, Yoga Instructor

As an Ortho-Bionomy® practitioner and therapeutic yoga instructor, Alex Moody is passionate about providing these tools to help foster comfort, ease and self-awareness for her clients. She specializes in acute + chronic pain management, meeting her clients with empathy and intuition. In her Ortho-Bionomy sessions, she provides self-care exercises that integrate therapeutic yoga and Ortho-Bionomy techniques; this allows clients to see longer-term results - as well as empowers them to understand and be in relationship with their pain.

Alex has lived in North Carolina for 14+ years and completed her 500 hr yoga therapeutics training at Asheville Yoga Center. In her previous life, she majored in creative writing at Appalachian Sate University, achieved her master's in higher education administration from the University of Virginia, and was a career counselor for over 5 years.

Hanna Mathis

RYT-200

Hanna is a native and local of Western North Carolina. She received a Bachelor's in Spanish at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. After graduation, her passion for yoga began to flourish and became a lifestyle. In 2017, her love for yoga, the Spanish language and travel brought her to the Mystical Yoga Farm on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala where she spent 22 blissful days becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher. Her time spent in this magical place brought an indescribable change to her life and to her yoga.

Hanna's training brings a unique style to the studio. A mixture of vinyasa flow and indigenous shamanic practices, her classes focus on the meaningful union of mind and body, bringing yoga to a personal level.

Kayla Vreeland

CERTIFIED BUTI YOGA® INSTRUCTOR
Kayla started practicing yoga in 2013 and has found it to be a constant and source of peace and  focus while navigating life's challenges. She attended her first Buti Yoga class in 2017 and immediately fell in love; not only with the great workout, but with the supportive and empowering atmosphere the practice embodies as well. Her degree in music performance and background in dance helps her bring a fresh and soulful take to the  evolutionary yoga practice. Having always enjoyed being active and finding new ways to challenge herself and others, Buti Yoga has helped her find art and creativity in her practice and elevate exercise to something vibrant and ever changing.

Tara Scarborough

RYT-200

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 also a register nurse having worked in pediatric ICU, and now in pre and post operative care.  Follow Tara on her FB page here.

Jillian Pagan

Jillian Pagan is a massage therapist that specializes in neuromuscular therapy, which is a combination of acupressure points and deep tissue massage specifically designed for chronic long-term pain. She is also a yoga teacher and her practice focuses on slow and strong therapeutic asana. If you haven't had neuromuscular work before and are in chronic pain please come and see her.

Joe Taft

Joe Taft believes in the power of Yoga to transform oneself physically, mentally and spiritually. Joe has been teaching in Asheville, North Carolina since 2001. He offers weekly classes, workshops and is a member of the Asheville Yoga Center’s teacher’s training faculty. His teaching style is a synthesis of dedicated hard work, deep study and a unique fusion of various schools of yoga, which culminates in a powerful system of yoga that is easy to grasp and practice.

Abbie Wilkins

As a Registered Nurse (WCU ‘01- Go Cats!) and mother of three active children, Abbie values the importance of physical, as well as emotional and mental health. Abbie’s yoga journey began 12 years ago as a way to get back in shape after the birth of her oldest child, but she quickly realized the overall wellness benefits of yoga. In taking some time away from her nursing career to raise children, she was able to realize one of her long-term goals and receive her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from Asheville Yoga Center earlier this year. Abbie hopes to share her love of yoga and wellness to ALL people and she firmly believes that in taking care of ourselves, we are able to better nurture others. 

Melissa Rodriguez

 

Melissa went through her Yoga Teacher Training at MBody Yoga in Jacksonville, Fl in the style of Baptist Heated Power Yoga in 2012. She has been practicing yoga for 10 years. She loves teaching Power and Flow Yoga, and prefers to encorporate meditation, breathwork and self massage into her classes.

Melissa is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist with a B.S. in Exercise Science from the University of North Florida. She also teaches a variety of classes at the YMCA's in Asheville, including TRX Suspension Training,  Athletic Conditioning, Indoor Cycling and Kids Skills and Drills classes.

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

New to Waynesville, she spends much of her time exploring the outdoor beauty of this area with her 3 year old son, Gus. Come take sweet Melissa's class and leave feeling peaceful and reconnected in your spirit, mind and body!

 

Sierra Hollister

Sierra has been sharing Kundalini Yoga in Asheville, at the behest of her Maha Guru, Yogi Bhajan, since 1995. Sierra, named Ong Kar by her teacher, considers herself to be a Yoga Universalist, one who loves all the paths of Yoga. Blessed and inspired by many wonderful teachers and traditions, the truth is that her children and husband are her greatest teachers.

While daily time on her yoga mat is essential, Sierra also believes very strongly in the yoga of action on behalf of the health of our Earth and feels there is no greater calling. As long as the planet is in jeopardy, there can be no true spiritual evolution for any of us. As much as yoga is time on our mat, yoga is also about how we live our lives, how we treat others and the choices we make. Sierra’s classes will not only make you feel wonderful, inside and out, they will restore, revitalize and inspire you for life off the mat.

Martia Rachman

C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, LMBT
Martia is the author of the book “Yoga’s Touch: Hands-On Adjustments, Alignment and Verbal Cues”, co-founder of Black Mountain Yoga, the director of Black Mountain Yoga’s Therapy & Teacher Training and was featured in the New York Times article, “36 Hours in Asheville,” for the innovative one-on-one therapy sessions she offers through the studio.

Martia was a dancer in her earlier life and began studying yoga and holistic education in the early 1990’s. A severe lumbar back fracture brought her onto her yoga mat and from there, made her a believer of not only the psychology of yoga, but also the therapeutics. She was born with a remarkable relationship to her own body and deep belief in her own intuition and its power of healing and communication.

Martia has cultivated a unique, therapeutic approach to yoga instruction by integrating her bodywork background and Ayurvedic training into a well-rounded exploration of a diverse style of yoga. Her comprehensive understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathology in relationship to yoga, has empowered both students and teachers of yoga to connect with a deeper awareness of their authentic nature.

Katie Tartick

NC LMBT #10705

Katie has been a licensed massage and bodywork therapist for eight years and continues to expand and grow in her profession. She has much training in multiple modalities of massage, including Swedish, therapeutic, deep tissue, reflexology, lymphatic, sports massage as well as the use of hot stones to work tension out of the muscles and ease away aches and pains.

Katie uses her knowledge of the body to create an experience that is fitting and unique to each person she works with in order to promote health and well-being in both body and mind.

Her goal is to make sure every guest leaves feeling that their needs were addressed; whether that is general relaxation or a more specific issue that needs attention, Katie will work to provide a massage that is catered to you specifically!

  • “After my first private session with Amber my body felt so good! Because of her guidance and personal assisting I highly recommend working with her.”

    – Barbara B.

  • “Jay takes time to answer questions, to give help when needed in performing movements and is a gentle, calm person which helps my yoga experience.”

    – Anita S.

  • “I highly recommend Leigh-Ann as your massage lady. She is wonderful and keeps me feeling good. I am 86 so you are never to old for one. I get them weekly. Give her a try. You will like it.”

    – Yvonne M.

  • “Jay met me prior to class to help me polish my yoga teaching skills. I really appreciate her willingness to meet and teach me to make me a better instructor.”

    – Brooke H.

  • “Since I started taking classes at Waynesville Yoga Center, I can now go down the stairs ‘normally’, instead of one foot at a time. I’m really pleased with how these classes are helping me.”

    – Carol L.

  • “Getting a massage from Leigh-Ann has been an important part of my life for the past several years. Her professionalism and many accomplished skill techniques combined with her intuitive understanding of my needs on any given day have made her an invaluable part of my health care. I would highly recommend her to anyone, from a first timer to an ‘experienced’ user.”

    – Gail M.

  • “Jay is an always-patient, highly skilled teacher who makes everyone feel welcome and able to participate. Her class is always a joy and rewarding.”

    – Barbara S.

  • “Leigh Ann gives the best massages I have ever had! She mixes it up so no two massages are exactly alike and I like that. And on top of that she is a warm caring person and I consider her to be a dear friend.”

    – Jeanne B.

  • “Amber is an incredibly gifted instructor, particularly when it comes to yoga. She is calming, thorough, and provides that extra-added touch of essential oils, gentle adjustments, and themed practices. I love that Amber’s yoga classes are dynamic and she’s taught moves in her classes that I’ve never done in 15 years of practicing yoga. She’s a breath of fresh air in the yoga scene. I highly recommend her!”

    – Christine G.

  • “Jay is a wonderful yoga instructor; has great variety in classes; is always dependable (there and on time); is kind and understanding; and always available to answer questions and give additional instruction if necessary. She is calm and classes are enjoyable no matter the challenge.”

    – Myndie S.

  • “It is the most relaxing therapeutic treatment that works for me with my arthritis condition and I have a session with Leigh Ann every month.”

    – Bob T.

  • “Leigh-Ann is awesome. She used a variety of techniques with me and they all helped. She also provided more information to help me with my issues. She is warm, compassionate and friendly.”

    – Susan S.

  • “Leigh -Ann has worked on me for the past five years. She skillfully eased the aches and pains out of my body and left me feeling relaxed. Her intuition guided her to where I needed the most attention, which always surprised me because I hadn’t realized I was hurting there.”

    – Lydia Mason

  • “Leigh-Ann is my favorite massage therapist. She uses techniques that produce terrific results for me. I so look forward to my monthly massages!”

    – Ginger H.

  • “After my massage with Leigh-Ann yesterday, I could sleep without pain meds for the first time in years! I finally have hope that I might not need surgery!”

    – Barbara M.

  • “Leigh-Ann is highly trained in many massage techniques and will work with you to assess your needs and desired outcome. She encourages your feedback to make sure that your treatment goals are being met.”

    – Helen S.

  • “Amber, you’re an incredible teacher! You are a natural at creating flows that challenge and inspire your students.”

    – Michelle G.C.

  • “Leigh-Ann’s fingers magically find the spots that are ‘ailing’ you! She intuitively knows where you are having pain and how to relieve it. I leave each and every time rejuvenated and refreshed. There are not enough words to express how much I appreciate her therapeutic touch!”

    – Ginny E.

Our mission is to provide a safe and accepting space where students can learn, heal, grow - and have fun! We work to create peace in our world, communities and families by first creating peace within ourselves.

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Waynesville Yoga Center
274 S Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786

828.246.6570

hello@waynesvilleyogacenter.com

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