Jo Bot has been a personal trainer for 15+ years and recently discovered yoga as part of her own training to address the instability caused by scoliosis which began to affect her more and more as she aged. The improvements that she saw both physically and mentally inspired her to delve deeper into this journey. She finished the 250 hour Fast Track Yoga Teacher Training program with Yoga Sanctuary and is excited to share all the knowledge gleaned from this wonderful program. Joanne completed the 100hr Teacher Training program with ACROYOGA 360 as well and now she finds joy sharing the benefits of a regular yoga practice and the playfulness of acro yoga with everyone –including her mother and her grandmother
Learning and teaching is what moves Fernanda. Yoga has been part of her life for almost 15 years. Teaching yoga for more than a decade has made her embrace life and people in a more profound, compassionate and resourceful way.
Fernanda has been to several different countries in order to enhance her teaching methods and offer the best yoga experience to her students. Her passion for Yoga pushed her to study in Brazil, The USA, and India. She has completed 500hr of Teacher Training, 300h in Yoga Therapy/Ayurveda, and has studied and taught Meditation Fundamentals for over 12 years.
Fernanda also holds a Bachelor in Literature and Languages, and uses her communication skills to adapt and to create the right energy for the style she is teaching, anything from a dynamic and energetic class, to a soothing, relaxing experience.
Fernanda sees life as an opportunity for growth and yoga is her foundation for developing and spreading heath, strength, balance and peace of mind. Allow her to take you with you on this journey in one of her classes.
Jacob is a graduate of Kranti Yoga School in Goa, India. A lifelong practitioner of many different movement disciplines, Jacob found Yoga in early 2013 and instantly became enchanted by the practice and philosophy.
Rooted in ashtanga’s 8 limbs, Jacob believes in a diverse, creative and playful practice focused on his ever-expanding anatomical knowledge and his passion for movement.
Jacob aims to offer students and fellow yogis a chance to assimilate a practice that offers them an opportunity to feel grounded, to play, and to meditate.
Shaun originally started practicing yoga in 2006 to complement his martial arts practice and improve his flexibility. He was immediately hooked to the physical challenge and soon after discovered the mental and spiritual benefits of the practice. What started as a hobby became a daily passion and eventually his profession. Shaun has completed a 200-hour teacher training in Germany in 2012, as well as a 500-hour advanced teacher training in New York City in 2014. Shaun teaches Hatha, Hatha Flow, Vinyasa, Budokon, Restorative and Yin Yoga classes. His classes are genuine, supportive, fun, and tailored to the needs of the students of the class. Shaun focuses on correct alignment and creative, thoughtful sequencing of postures, combined with conscious breathing.
Instructor / Teaching Faculty
Kai has always had a passion for movement as well as a keen interest in health and wellness. He was introduced to yoga as part of his modern dance education at The Etobicoke School for the Arts in 1998. Asana practice has been a continuing theme throughout his training and was used as a training tool during his time studying at The London School for Contemporary Dance in London, England. Ever seeking to challenge himself, Kai has gone on to become an avid cyclist, participating in long distance bike tours, as well as taking part in triathlons and marathons. Coming back to yoga has helped him to balance vigorous strength training with flexibility. Yoga has also allowed Kai to connect with his breath helping him to find the balance of sthira (strength & stability) and sukham (comfortable, relaxed lightness) within his body and mind, both on and off the mat. The decision to teach yoga has been a natural evolution for Kai. He is excited to share his knowledge and passion for physical movement and awareness, and strives to help others balance strength and grace in their lives.
Robyn’s yoga journey began 5 years ago when her mother brought her to her first yoga class. Little did she know it would be the beginning of the most incredible life changing path she’d take. Robyn’s love of yoga led her to take the 500 hour YTT at Yoga Sanctuary and she is thrilled to express her passion for teaching through many different styles of yoga.
Robyn also works with children with disabilities and incorporates yoga into their daily lives by helping them physically, mentally and emotionally. Being greeted with a big smile, sharing a few laughs and leaving feeling completely centred and balanced is what you can expect from attending Robyn’s classes. Even as a teacher, she will forever be a student eager to learn and study the amazing and enormous world of yoga. She just can’t get enough!
*Trained in Pre-Natal Yoga
Paula Tseng has been studying and practicing Kripalu, Hatha, Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga for many years. She assisted classes at Yoga Sanctuary for seven months prior to completing the Teacher Training Certification Program at the Kripalu Center in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Her dedicated yoga practice is supplemented by an eclectic background in modern and traditional dance, and a keen interest in photography as a vehicle for self-expression.
Paula holds a degree in Environmental Resource Management and Comparative Development from Trent University. Her immersion in the theory and inner practice of yoga is, she believes, a logical extension of her previous work in the fields of ecology and public health, through which she arrived at the conviction that the integrity of humanity’s social and physical environment is inseparable from the mental and physical integrity of each individual.
Paula’s teaching is fueled and inspired by her own recovery, through yoga, from asthma, stress and chronic back pain, and she considers it a privilege to be able to guide others on their own paths to healing and self-discovery.
Valerie Wint has been teaching Hatha Yoga since 1999. She is a certified Ananda Yoga™ teacher, and has also trained with teachers from other traditions. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) with the Yoga Alliance (USA), and is certified with the Yoga Network Canada. Following a back injury, Valerie started practicing yoga regularly. She eventually became a certified instructor, left her freelance communications business, and has taught steadily in Toronto since 1999.
Ananda Yoga™ is a gently challenging, classical style of Hatha Yoga. It helps awaken the subtle energies within you, using those energies to harmonize body, mind and spirit. Ananda Yoga™ uses positive affirmations to take you deeper into the essence of each posture, allowing you to fully experience all its subtleties. This is an inwardly-focused, meditative practice, and is not a strenuous workout – though it can be as challenging as you make it.
Brenda McMorrow is a Canadian Devotional Kirtan artist who has had a rich and diverse musical career (from folk to jazz to bluegrass). Now, with a deep devotion to the unveiling and celebration of our true beings through the power of sound, she is invited to travel worldwide to share her unique blend of original folk-inspired melodies, world beats and sacred Indian devotional chants. It was when Brenda participated in her first Sanskrit chant while attending a Yoga workshop in 2004, that she had a profound knowing her musical journey was leading her to places more expansive and heart-opening than she had ever imagined. Brenda remembers: “It was a very simple chant (Om Namah Shivaya), and at the time I had no idea what it signified: all I knew was that every cell in my body started vibrating, and I felt absolute joy”. While in India soon thereafter, Brenda began combining her own songwriting with ancient Sanskrit chants – and she has been flowing with this divine wave of Bhakti energy ever since.
Brenda is a featured artist on the White Swan Records roster, a Colorado label well known for it’s high-profile yoga-inspired artists like Deva Premal. She has accompanied Grammy award winning cellist David Darling and esteemed Kirtan musicians Jai Uttal, Wah!, David Newman, Girish and Dave Stringer, and has been invited to Bhakti Yoga festivals and events across North America, Europe and Asia as part of her most recent tour schedule. When not on the Bhaktiroad, Brenda calls beautiful Guelph, Ontario home.
Sought out by studios around the globe, Angela Jervis-Read E-RYT 500, leads international teacher trainings, retreats and workshops in both the yin and vinyasa traditions. Known as a cutting edge practitioner that treats PTSD and chronic pain through movement therapy, Angela’s seamlessly weaves together Eastern insights with Western science to manipulate the relationship between mind and body. Her inquisitive nature and passion for study has culminated in an eclectic approach that draws on many traditions. She is quick to laugh and always has time for students questions and curiosities. She is honoured to be a part of the Teacher Training faculty at Yoga Sanctuary, Spirit Loft and at the Sampoorna Yoga School in India. Angela’s work takes her to beautiful places but she is happiest when she is at home with the love of her life and her two sweet dogs. Inspirations both and on and off the mat are: S.M. Goenka, Hali Schwartz, Sarah Powers and Rishi Sudhir.
Ian MacDonald has studied a variety of styles of yoga since 1980. His enthusiasm for yoga led him to the Kripalu Centre in Lenox, Massachusetts in 1994 where he became a certified Kripalu teacher. Soon after he became interested in Ashtanga Yoga, started practicing it, and received Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training at Downward Dog Yoga Centre in Toronto in 1999.
Ian is known for his soothing, meditative voice and a teaching style that is focused and concise. In the last 12 years he has taught hundreds of classes in yoga studios and health clubs, and has also worked specifically with cancer patients. Since 2000 he has taught yoga in Europe with Travel With A Twist Tours. He currently teaches Ashtanga and Hatha Yoga, encouraging students to work at their own pace and discover what this ancient discipline has to offer.
Georgia believes that the path of yoga is the search for freedom; that we are all on a journey, and if it leads you to the mat…then you will find yourself there.
Georgia’s goal is to hold a space of purity and authenticity; a place where students can respectfully explore their bodies in asana, and ultimately bring stillness to the mind.
For the past 25 years Katherine has combined her love as a Primary School Specialist, with her joy of movement, which includes, swimming, Gymoboree, camps, aqua fitness and YMCA specialty programs. As a recent graduate of Yoga Sanctuary teacher training, Katherine now engages children of all ages in the practice of yoga.
Travelling the world Courtney discovered her love for yoga was more than just a hobby, it was a way of living. Diving right in Courtney trained intensively in Thailand and Cambodia, cultivating a strong yoga and meditation practice. Having completed a 6 week student program at Hariharalaya Retreat in Cambodia, Courtney returned home to Canada where she completed her 250 hour Yoga Teacher Training at our beloved Yoga Sanctuary.
Lynda Myler has been teaching meditation for 8 years at the Yoga Sanctuary. She has also brought health and healing to inmates through yoga and meditation practices.
Angela has been a devoted practitioner of Hatha Yoga for over 15 years, and completed her formal training at Yoga Sanctuary in 2009. She also holds advanced certifications in Restorative Yoga, Therapeutic Yoga and Chair Yoga for Seniors. Her inspiration is drawn from her continuing and advanced studies in meditation, yoga philosophy, pranayama, asana, and all aspects of yoga. She brings to her classes her enthusiasm and love of yoga, while creating a safe, mindful and breath-centered practice for all abilities. Her intention is to provide a fun, challenging and compassionate space in which to deepen your journey inwards.
For over seventeen years, Christopher “Bodhi” Batista has been motivating and educating people of all ages, leading them toward more balanced lives by building stronger, healthier bodies.
Bodhi’s formal training began with studies in Sociology and Kinesiology from The University of Western Ontario, combined with several fitness consulting certifications, including the American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) and the International Institute of Medical Qi Gong. Bodhi’s patients have come to trust and depend on his diverse wealth of knowledge on all subjects from nutrition, flexibility, muscular conditioning, meditation, and martial arts.
Bodhi has developed a program that stresses the importance of regular exercise, muscle building and nutrition. His approach includes the most effective ways to achieve a physically fit body, a healthy mindset, and self confidence. He has been privileged to work with several celebrities including Valerie Pringle, Michael Lansberg, Leslie Jones, and Camilla Scott.
After 10 successful years at Peak Physique, Bodhi decided to close the doors to embark on a new challenge, creating and marketing the Zen Stretch program.
Lyndsey has been inspired with a love for all things yoga since she first began practicing asana in the late 1990s. What started out as enjoyment for the physical benefits of yoga, quickly transformed into a deeper appreciation of the truly transformational aspects of the practice. In 2010 Lyndsey completed her first teacher training at Yoga Sanctuary in Toronto, and this became the foundation for her commitment to share this wondrous practice with other like-minded individuals, looking to discover the magic of yoga. Lyndsey is a devoted student as well as teacher and has a particular interest in the meditative and philosophical aspects of the practice. Lyndsey’s asana classes are typically challenging, but always kind. She aims to bring together elements of strength, breath and movement to facilitate the flow of positive energy and create space, within and without. ~Amaram Hum Madhuram Hum – Pure, Free, Forever.
Deva has been practicing yoga for over 20 yrs. Having an Ashtangha background, he has cultivated a deep respect for the ancient art of yoga.Completing his teacher training in 2009 he continued to develop the craft through practise and workshops in India.Deva has been fortunate to be a participant in yoga with: annual, Yoga Meltdown festival, Lu Lu Lemon, Casa Loma, and both UofT and Ryerson universities.His hope is to share with others the enrichment of practicing yoga with integrity.
Instructor / Yoga Teacher Training Faculty Member
Having been blessed with a “difficult body”, Anne-Marie Hood has spent the last two decades exploring the sources of restriction in the bodymind and the means to release it.
Her journey has taken her through a degree in Dance from York University, the professional training program at the school of the Toronto Dance Theatre and a very successful career as an interdisciplinary performing artist.
Always looking for more ways to move, express and share the turnings of a poetic mind, Anne-Marie has studied the Alexander Technique, BodyMind Centering, and is a certified Pilates, Kundalini Yoga teacher and Ayurvedic practioner. She completed her Ashtanga/Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga Sanctuary in April 2006 and has received certification as a Master Reiki practitioner.
Anne-Marie currently teaches Yoga for Artists at the Ontario College of Art and Design, a senior’s class at Women’s Health in Women’s Hands and Yoga for Trauma Survivors at the Barbara Schlifer Clinic. She is the founder of Brown Girl’s Yoga, a yoga program for women of colour and the Ebony Yoga Circle initiative to bring yoga into the Afro-Caribbean community through peer training. Anne-Marie also maintains a private intuitive energy healing practice in Toronto.
Founder, Yoga Teacher Training Director / Faculty Member / Instructor
Cynthia offers a warm, open-hearted, dynamic and experiential practice, sprinkled with humour. She combines physical and energetic alignment along with insightful meditation. Fusing her passion for athletics and yoga Cynthia has been sought after by CEO’s, young athletes, pro-athletes as well as Canadian Olympians, engaging them in yoga practice to maintain their high-level competition. She continues to engage in teacher training, to further her skillset each year. Her passion for yoga inspires and motivates her students to reach their goals, whether it be inner peace, body awareness or building self-confidence.
Cynthia began practicing yoga in 1985 in a clear cut. She began teaching in the GTA in 1997 and opened Yoga Sanctuary with her sister in 1999. In 2001 Cynthia became a teacher trainer, creating and teaching the 250 hour Yoga Teacher Training course. She has taught hundreds of people to become exemplary yoga teachers who teach around the globe. Her continued exploration of yoga led to her create and teach in the Advanced 300 hour Yoga Therapeutics Teacher Training and she is the Co-Founder of HypnoZen Yoga. Cynthia is also a certified Reiki Master, certified Hpynotist and Trauma-Informed Yoga Therapist and she produced an instructional yoga CD of the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga.
Cynthia grew up in the small town of Milton Ont. Always active as a child, participating in any kind of sports activities offered by her schools, it is a natural continuation to explore physical activities as an adult. She attended Queen’s University and the University of British Columbia, to support her education she planted trees each summer and graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Arts. After returning from attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in LA, she focused her attention on both acting and yoga as a way of engaging authentically with herself and those around her.
She counts among her teachers Diane Bruni, Mark Darby, Dr Kausthub Desikachar, Maty Ezraty, Shri K Pattabhi Jois, Leslie Kaminoff, Hart Lazer, Judith Hanson Lasater, Mark Lilly, Chuck Miller, Jill Miller, Eddie Modestini, Esther Myers, Ramanand Patel, Erich Shiffmann, David Swenson, Doug Swenson, Amy Weintraub and Cora Wen
Yoga has been a constant part of Shehla’s life for as long as she can remember. Watching her Grandfather help others using Ayuerveda and yoga as well as heal her childhood shoulder injury made her a true believer of yoga and its therapeutic benefit.
After experimenting with different styles of yoga and ranging from hot yoga to Sivananda, Shehla stumbled upon the doorsteps of Yoga Sanctuary. It was here that she completed her Yoga Teacher Training in the spring of 2007. She feels she had the opportunity to learn from some of the most talented teachers and that Cynthia Funk and Karusia Wroblewski gave her a truly amazing experience.
Shehla is grateful to all her past and present teachers for helping her on this journey. Most importantly, she is grateful for the support of her family and her most enlightened teacher, her son who teaches her something new everyday.
*Trained in Pre-natal Yoga
Karen has dedicated her life to both the practice and teaching of yoga. She combines an advanced understanding of anatomy and sequencing with a deep compassion for her students. Her classes are designed with precision and attention to detail, but her immense love of yoga creates an environment that is fun and welcoming. Karen completed her first yoga teacher training at Yoga Sanctuary and has gone on to complete other teacher trainings, including, with Hart Lazer. She has been assisting Yoga Sanctuary’s Director, Cynthia Funk, with the studio’s teacher training program for since 2008 and is a part of the faculty for the Advanced Yoga Teacher Training program. “At the end of it all, what matters is if we have been present and as kind as possible.” (Anonymous)
Jefferson attended his first yoga class in 1998 and was immediately inspired to one day become a yoga teacher. Fourteen years later it was that same first yoga teacher, Karusia Wroblewski, who encouraged him to do just that!
Having graduated from Yoga Sanctuary’s Evolving Spirit Yoga Teacher Training in May 2013, Jefferson feels extremely blessed to have had the amazing opportunity to study with Cynthia Funk, Karen Cove, Sue Ravazzolo, Janine Woo, and Orlando Batista.
He continues to expand his knowledge, attending master classes with Bo Forbes, Leslie Kaminoff, and Tiina Veer at the Yoga Conference in Toronto, and looking forward to furthering his studies at Yoga Sanctuary where he is enrolled in the Advanced Teacher Training.
Jefferson is passionate about making his classes accessible to people of all shapes and sizes. His goal is to create a welcoming safe space, and a class that builds confidence, inner peace, and a desire to return to the mat.
Yosh discovered yoga 15 years ago and has been immersed in it’s transformative practice ever since. He completed the teacher training program at The Yoga Studio in 2004. Since then, ever inquisitive, Yosh has continued with advanced training in meditation, Hatha yoga, Restorative yoga, pranayama, yoga philosophy and Sanskrit.
Yosh has also been blessed with two trips to India, the latter lasting three months, where he studied at the International Meditation Institute. Yosh brings humour, compassion and playfulness to his teaching coupled with a rare and wholistic knowledge of all things yoga.
Yoga Teacher Training Director and Faculty Member / Instructor
Cynthia began teaching in the greater Toronto area in 1997, teaching in public schools, hospitals, private and public gyms, as well as leading retreats on Ward’s Island and in Northern Ontario. Cynthia received her Yoga Teacher Training Certificate at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, studying under the tutelage of Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller, Eddie Modestini and Erich Schiffmann. In 2000, Cynthia studied with Ashtanga guru, Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. That same year she completed an Ashtanga Teacher Training with David Swenson. As well, Cynthia studied extensively with Toronto teacher Esther Myers. She has been blessed to have studied with many of the other senior Ashtanga Yoga teachers in North America including Judith Hanson Lasater. For the past 14 years Cynthia has both created and taught Yoga Sanctuary Yoga Teacher Training 250 hour courses. Cynthia also teaches many different modules for Continuing Education modules including Pre-Natal, Restorative, Seniors, Chair, Kids and Teens Yoga Teacher Training. Cynthia has an instructional yoga CD of the Primary Series of Ashtanga Yoga. Cynthia brings love, light and the insights of many teachers to her classes. Her passion for yoga inspires and motivates her students to reach their goals, whether it be inner peace, body awareness or building self-confidence.