Each alleyCat Yoga Teacher is professionally trained through a Registered Yoga School at the 200 or 500 hour level or above.
Susan Mathis, E-RYT 500, RCYT, YACEP
Director and Owner, alleyCat Yoga
Susan loves to explore energy, breath and movement in life and in her yoga practice. After discovering the Kripalu Yoga Center in 2001, she found a home at alleyCat. Deeply committed to the practice of yoga and pranayama, she studied intensely at the Kripalu Center for 15 years. A Professional Level Kripalu Yoga Teacher, Susan brings the elements of Kripalu Yoga to each class, inviting students to use yoga as a means to explore the space on the inside. Susan’s classes emphasize using yoga poses and breathwork to access deep layers of awareness. Susan enjoys teaching yoga to all students, those new to yoga and those who are looking to deepen their practice of asana, pranayama and the application of yoga off the mat. Her classes offer a unique combination of meditative movement through pranayama, postures, and exploration of subtle energy. Each class is designed to bring students to a deeper understanding of inner awareness and conscious living. Listen to Susan talk about yoga here.
Ken McRae, E-RYT 500
A nationally-registered professional-level yoga & iRest Yoga Nidra teacher, Ken’s teaching combines the precision of the Iyengar system with the powerful heart-centered, meditative aspects of Kripalu Yoga. Known for his meticulous good-humored instruction, he has been studying, practicing and teaching yoga and meditation for 30 years. Ken draws from a repertoire of over 80 poses that are accessible to beginners and challenging for more experienced practitioners. All are welcomed into his classes. Ken’s journey to Columbia included living and teaching at the Kripalu Yoga Center for five years as well as a journey to the origins of Kripalu in Kayavarohan, India. He currently has a keen interest in non dual philosophy – “we are not two”. His favourite teachers are Richard Miller, Jean Klein, Pari Laskaritis, Osho, Mooji, and Adashanti. He also organizes and leads week-long yoga retreats in exotic locations around the world. For many years Ken was involved in training teachers at the advanced level as they worked toward their 500 hour certification.
Amber Sparks, RYT 200, RCYT
Amber believes yoga provides us with the method and tools to arrive in the present moment with grace, acceptance, and truth. She took her first yoga class in 1997 and practiced sporadically for a number of years to balance long distance running. After becoming a mother, she leaned more into her yoga practice as a way to heal emotionally and to cultivate stillness within. From yin to vinyasa, pranayama to meditation, Amber fell in love with the practices of yoga both on and off the mat. She holds an RYT 200 from Yoga Source in St Louis, RYTG for children’s yoga from Yoga to Grow with Susan Mathis, and completed a Mommy and Me Yoga Teacher Training program in Boulder, CO with Katie Wise. Her classes, from parent/baby to gentle yoga, focuses on the deep healing benefits of yoga physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In her classes, Chelsea helps her students foster a deep sense of self-love so they can be the best versions of themselves in this world. Her classes focus on physical alignments while bringing awareness to the breath in order to build strength, flexibility, and find balance. Chelsea believes that we can practice all lessons of life on and off the mat, and we can begin by healing our bodies. Her classes are a space to flow through a disciplined, yet creative expression of our bodies, minds, and hearts.
Chrissie discovered in yoga in 2006 in a college course in her last semester at Indiana University. What was meant to be an easy one-credit class turned out to be the beginning of a life-altering journey. To Chrissie, practicing yoga is about creating openings to life’s possibilities through breath, a quieting of the mind, and intrinsic movement. While it is true that yoga creates strength, stamina, and flexibility in the body, her experience has been that it does the same for the mind. Chrissie’s intention in class is to offer a supportive environment for people to explore their individual potential. She does this by guiding students through sequences of invigorating effort and calming ease. Being new to Columbia from Chicago, Chrissie genuinely looks forward to growing in this vibrant yoga community alongside wonderful teachers and practitioners.
As a licensed psychologist, in addition to being a certified yoga teacher, Jan brings to the yoga mat a keen understanding of how the mind affects the body. Her teaching style is warm and down-to-earth, inviting you to be more truly you. Jan’s warm and gentle style and is welcoming to all students. Jan has trained extensively with Richard Miller in iRest Yoga Nidra and received her 200 hour training at Shoshoni.
A member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT), Keeley Michael is 200-hour Yoga Alliance Certified through Yoga Well Institute. She has been a committed practitioner of yoga since 2010, and has dedicatedly studied under Yoga Therapist, Laura Jane Murphy, since 2012. Keeley most recently served as a Yoga Therapist for Dan’s House of Hope, using the tools of yoga to help cancer patients and their caretakers manage pain and stress. She believes in the power of healing through movement – and is centered in the idea that yoga ignites a renewed relationship with the healthiest self.
Luna discovered yoga over 10 years ago. Having always enjoyed athletics she was impressed with the strength, flexibility and stamina that yoga develops, however, she was most delighted by the serenity she felt after practicing. In order to better understand how to intentionally cultivate this inner peace, Luna entered the Life of a Yogi Teacher Training with Sri Dharma Mittra. Luna teaches Dharma yoga which blends a strong physical practice with pranayama, relaxation and meditation to bring about self-transformation. Her classes emphasize healthy form, improved focus and a joy of movement.
Liz has been practicing Yoga for 13 years, teaching for 4 years, and brings a grounded presence of awareness to the practice. She continues to experience the healing benefits of posture practice and loves to share this with students of all levels. Liz witnesses and believes in the deep connection that threads through life, both individually and collectively. She is inspired to create space for connection and awakening in all of her classes and offerings.
Lynn completed her yoga teacher training during a three-year residency at the Kripalu Yoga Center. During her time at Kripalu she fell in love with the practice of chanting which she includes in her classes and occasionally leads at alleyCat Yoga’s monthly kirtan. As an acupuncturist, she is fascinated by the power of yoga to heal our bodies and cultivate awareness and cultivation of personal energy (called prana or qi). Lynn’s classes focus on pranayama, restorative yoga and meditation.
Sarah creates an environment in which students learn how to express their highest selves in a passionate, safe and authentic way. She combines meditation, breathing practices and challenging sequences in all styles of classes, from Yin to Vinyasa. Sarah offers the practice of yoga in a variety of settings and places, from elementary daycares to high school physical education classes, from the studio to homes, in the United States and all over the world. The heartbeat of her mode of offering yoga is to teach others to learn how to teach and heal themselves. Off the mat, Sarah can be found in nature with her dogs, expressing herself with art and music, traveling around the world, and bonding with her loved ones.
Lynn is a frequent substitute teacher at alleyCat. She obtained her yoga teacher certification at the Kripalu Center and has taught and researched the MBSR Program for over ten years. She has trained extensively at the Center for Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Sady is trained in Hatha Vinyasa. Originally enticed by yoga’s promise of increased flexibility, she found something much more precious and elusive: an ineffable peace and joy. She now shares this profound experience with others. Sady enhances her classes with literature and philosophy, which illuminate yoga’s true purpose: growth of the spiritual self. With love, humor, and patience, she cultivates a supportive environment for students to practice and explore.