Sumeda Madhuri

  RYT 200 Yoga Instructor 

Sumeda is a certified yoga instructor and certified in stress management. Raised in Bangalore, India, she brings the eastern perspective and an authenticity to her yoga. As a scientist and a chemistry teacher by profession, she is able to attain a good mix of both the western and eastern perspectives of bodily forms. She is also able to get old ideas to the west with her understanding of Sanskrit and Ayurveda. She has experience practicing Hatha and Ashtanga forms of yoga. Come join her for the relaxing and stress relief salutations.

Elaine Chapman

 Certified iRest Yoga Nidra Teacher


She trained with Richard Miller and Stephanie Lopez at Integrative Restoration Institute, in San Rafael California.  Elaine has had a dedicated yoga and meditation practice for many years. Over the last eight years she has offered iRest Yoga Nidra in different settings. She offers Yoga Nidra and Sacred Writing to Yoga Teacher Training (300 level). Yoga teachers have invited her to add writing and journaling as a companion to yoga classes and workshops. Also, she has collaborated with yoga teachers, combining Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra. She is the author of a volume of poems, Hunger for Salt published by Saint Julian Press.She is an (Adjunct) Assistant Professor in English at Old Dominion University. She worked on staff at The Bennington Writing Seminars, Bennington College in Vermont for 18 years where she also completed her MFA in Writing and Literature. In 2005, she founded The Writer’s Studio where she teaches On Keeping a Journal, poetry and nonfiction, provides editing services and organizes Poetry Readings and Crossing Over Writing Retreats on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  For the last 38 years she has worked as a therapist in private practice. She has poems forthcoming in Cloudbank and 8 Poems.Her poems have been published in Rabid Oak, The Tishman Review, The EcoTheo Review,The Cortland Review, Connotation, The Sun, Calyx, PoetLore, 5AM, Salamander,and others. She was guest blogger on The Best American Poetry Blog and The Solstice Literary Magazine blog. Green River Press published her letterpress chapbook, Double Solitude. She now lives on the West side of the Chesapeake Bay near the James River in Newport News, Virginia. She also spends a great deal of time in the San Francisco Bay area.Trailer and Poetry Videos for Hunger For Salt:www.vimeo.com/elainefletcherchapmanor www.elainefletcherchapman.com

 

Audrey Smiddy

RYT 200 Yoga Instructor

Audrey is a York County local with serious adrenaline issues (skydiving, anyone?), and a passion for serving others. Diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of eighteen, Audrey was determined to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits and natural remedies into her treatment. A few months later in January of 2009, she began her first yoga class. Originally intending to use yoga as not only a compliment to her medical treatment, but also as a way to stay fit as an aspiring airline stewardess, she was surprised to instead find her niche in the serenity and incredible journey that was yoga. 

Trading in her travel aspirations in for an RYT-200 (Registered Yoga Teacher through Zenya Yoga Academy) in the Spring of 2013, Audrey has committed her life to serving others through yoga. Additionally, she has since enjoyed five years of health far exceeding the grim predictions of her doctors, and is entirely confident she has yoga combined with a healthy lifestyle to thank for her success in combating Crohn's disease. 

When Audrey is doing something other than lounging around in Scorpion Pose, you'll most likely find her afloat in her kayak, playing fetch with Aziza (the mystery mutt), or seeking out local adventures with her loved ones. She couldn't be more excited to be a part of the Garden of Zen family, and sincerely looks forward to traveling through this yoga journey with you. 

​​Joe Charsagua

            E-RYT 200, RYT 500 and YACEP Yoga Instructor
 
“Yoga is a light, which once lit, will never dim.” This quote from B.K.S. Iyengar exemplifies how yoga can impact your life. Joe Charsagua is a retired military veteran who was exposed to yoga toward the end of his military career and was immediately attracted to its physical aspects as a way to complement his physical training regimen and provide alternative forms of physical fitness. Through his yoga practice, Joe enjoys a holistic approach to living and enjoys its many aspects to include meditation and yoga philosophy. In 2011, Joe became a registered yoga instructor through Zenya Yoga Academy and shortly after became a certified meditation teacher with the American Meditation Society.  Joe is enthusiastic to share the gifts and benefits of yoga and meditation with others and help them progress along in their respective journey to improve themselves and better their lives.

OM Shanti - Namaste

     Becky Waters

                E-RYT 200 Yoga Instructor

YWI – Yoga Warrior International Certified Instructor


Becky is a retired educator who taught elementary education and special education preK-high school, worked as a building level administrator, and ultimately became a teacher educator.  As a consultant trainer for ETS, she trained teachers and administrators in 43 of the 50 states.  Being married to a career Navy man allowed her the experience of living and traveling many places across the U.S. and Europe and provided her with a tremendous awareness and appreciation for diversity and multiculturalism.  She has been a Yorktown resident for the past 30 years.  

Becky discovered the benefits of Yoga several years ago as she was searching for relief from chronic back pain.  She quickly found that yoga is much more than contorting the body into poses – it is a way of life blending mind, body, and spirit.  She completed her 200-hour training at ZYA in Newport News and has recently completed the YogaWarriorsInternational™ training, hoping to take her Yoga practice to a higher level working with wounded warriors and caretakers.  Becky adapts her classes to meet the needs of her students, focusing on helping students find their center and improve their strength, flexibility, and balance.  

© Garden of Zen Yoga Studio, LLC  2013

Meet our team of

Yoga Instructors

Cully Thieman

RYT-200 Yoga Instructor, 



Cully received his RYT 200 from
Samma Karuna School of
Awakening & Healing
in
Koh Phangan, Thailand
He is also helping at Garden of Zen with our Social Media post.


Lee McMillan

RYT 500 Yoga Instructor

Lee is active duty with the U.S. Coast Guard having served as a Health Promotion Coordinator where he experienced his first yoga class.  He has always enjoyed health sciences and fitness including various outdoor activities such as running, bicycling, and kayaking.  He returned to a regular practice of yoga after traditional rehabilitation failed to produce results following a skiing accident in 2016.  Lee is a graduate of 200-hour teacher training at Zenya Yoga Academy and 300-hour teacher training at Swami Satchidananda Ashram – Yogaville, and has specialized teacher training in meditation, restorative, adaptive/chair, and trauma sensitive.  He is also a registered EMT, and certified first aid and CPR instructor.   He completed his BBA at Averett University (Danville, VA) and MAEd at Argosy University (Honolulu, HI).  His yoga journey is representative of a passage from Yoga Vasistha, “Who am I who speaks, walks, stands, and functions on this elaborate stage known as the world?  I should find this out.”


​​​Del Snyder

E-RYT 200, PRYT(Prenatal), YACEP Yoga Instructor, Studio Owner

Del has been teaching Yoga for 14 years and has been a student of yoga for over 18 years. She received her 200 hour RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher certification with Yoga Alliance) from the Institute of Health and Healing in Newport News in 2006. In August of 2010 she received her E-RYT (Experienced) Certification through Yoga Alliance.  She is also an RPYT (Registered Prenatal Teacher) through Om Mamma Prenatal School in Richmond as well as through a Yogafit training in Maryland. Del is also a Certified Booty Barre Instructor.

  Beginning in 2011, she was one of the lead teachers in a local 200 hour yoga teacher training.  As Del specializes in Prenatal/Postpartum Yoga, she has also taught in a 300-hour level training in the local area.
In June of 2013, Del opened her own Yoga Studio here in Yorktown, VA – The Garden of Zen Yoga Studio! A lifelong believer and practitioner of natural medicine, the welcoming and healing environment fostered by the GOZ community is a natural fit for Del’s desires to merge yoga and herbal healing.
As such, in March of 2018, Del completed a six-month Apprenticeship in the Art, Science and Ceremony of Herbal Medicine at Sacred Plant Traditions in Charlottesville, Va., A Center of Herbal Studies. Del has also completed a two-year program, Whole Living 1 and 2 (2018-2019) at Forrest Green Farm, Louisa, Va. This program focused on organic gardening, wildcrafting ethically and safely, harvesting and preserving herbs, integrating herbs for food and medicine, nutrition, and eating with the seasons to support us in our everyday life.
Del is passionate about yoga and living a life connected to the earth. She hopes to share the gift of yoga and its many benefits in her community.  Continually seeking to grow as a teacher, a student of yoga, and as a Community Herbalist - she is committed to teaching with both safety and body awareness. 
Del is a wife and mother of three; she is also a proud grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters. 
Since opening the studio in 2013, it has been Del’s dream to open a heart-centered and earth-honoring yoga teacher training. This dream is now coming true!!!  The school website is
www.gozytt.com


Del's mantra –“I dream my painting and then I paint my dream” _ Vincent Van Gogh 

Heather Johnson

Group Fitness YMCA 2008
Booty Barre 2014
Group Exercise YMCA 2016
Ballet Barre SCW 2016
CPR BLS/BFA 2017

I love encouraging others to attain their fitness goals. During my career in electrical engineering (automotive, fossil fuel power generation, ABS and Traction Controls, and Naval Nuclear Instrumentation), I began to realize that our personal whole-package needs daily care. This whole body care includes not only mental, but our emotional, spiritual, and physical health; Each of which is interrelated and equally important.
I ran track in High School and returned to running, eventually coaching 7 years of Couch to 5K YMCA programs and the 5K and Beyond Program. I also taught Deep and Shallow Water Aerobics for 7years. Once we relocated from NY to VA, I recertified and presently teach Powercut, Abs, and Barre Classes. I run one to two half marathons a year.

My philosophy for fitness is to set new goals, challenge yourself beyond what you believe you can do, have fun, make and deepen friendships by helping others along the path to improved health, and to keep it fresh. 


 Kim Thompson
  RYT-200 Yoga Instructor

Kim was born and raised in Yorktown, VA and now resides in Poquoson, VA with her husband. She grew up dancing (ballet, tap, jazz, and many more styles) and has always had a passion for movement. So when Kim attended her first yoga class in college, it was a natural fit. She continued to develop her personal yoga practice throughout college and graduated from Liberty University with a degree in accounting in 2013. Seeking to deepen her practice and find balance in both her career and lifestyle, Kim began her yoga teacher training in 2016 and became a RYT-200 Yoga Instructor in 2017. After years of nurturing a passion for yoga, meditation and mindfulness, Kim is eager to share this passion with the community in her hometown. Kim enjoys teaching Vinyasa style yoga classes that focus on both building strength and clearing stress. She believes that a yoga class should generate positive energy and cultivate a strong connection between the mind, body, and spirit.

CHRISTINE GRIGGS

                                        E-RYT 500, YACEP
Christine Griggs was born and raised in France. She traveled the world with her husband John and their three children before settling down in Virginia in 1998. She is a multilingual translator and has used her skills throughout her travels to volunteer with refugees, work as a foreign languages teacher, a Virginia Court interpreter and a freelance translator.
When she discovered yoga in 2006, she found the universal language that would help her on her mission: to empower others to find the magic within them and share it with the world. Her trainings include Yoga Fit, the Swami Satchidananda Integral 200-hour training, and Rolf Gates' 500-hour Advanced Vinyasa training. She learned Vipassana meditation at the Theraveda Buddhist temple of Wat Pasantidhamma.
She is an ERYT-500, YACEP Yoga teacher and is constantly sharpening her skills with trainings and independent studies. 
She is passionate about the Truth of Yoga and has developed those 3 Core beliefs:
Yoga is much more than a physical exercise, it is a practice of wholeness. In her classes, you will be guided into awareness and transformation of all the parts of your being.
We don't just practice yoga on the mat, we take it into our lives. It is very important to her to teach her students practical skills that they can USE in their everyday lives
ANYONE can do Yoga. She is very passionate about making yoga available to everyone and designed her Chair Yoga classes for that purpose.
All her classes reflect and integrate those 3 core beliefs: they are inspirational and provide a safe caring environment, as well as a mindful rejuvenating practice interwoven with yogic principles that empower her students to live the lives they are meant to live.
She teaches yoga classes and workshops in her community in Virginia, as well as during her travels. She is a founding faculty member of Zenya Yoga Academy, where she has been training hundreds of teachers since 2011. Her specialties are Vinyasa, Yin and Chair Yoga. She also specializes in Yoga Fundamentals, Yoga Nidra, Chakras philosophy, Methodology of Yoga, Class Sequencing, Mindfulness and Meditation, Lifestyle and Ethical principles of Yoga and Buddhism and how to incorporate them into our lives.
She is the author of Yoga with a French Twist; a Journey through the Chakras. Within hours of being live, it was a #1 New Amazon Release!
She is still traveling the world, enjoys running, hiking, reading, writing, talking and learning about spirituality, spending time with friends and family, watching British shows, sitting in her meditation garden listening to the sounds of nature. She also deeply believes in Spiritual Activism, taking care of our environment, protecting animals and fighting for justice for our children and those who don't have a voice. Follow your heart!
She is modeling her life to the rhythm of Rumi's quote: Allow the beauty of what you love to become what you do."
You can find more on her website www.yintraveler.com

Kate Genton

RYT 200 Yoga Instructor,

Thai Bodywork, 

Studio Assistant Manager

Kate began her exploration of yoga and massage in college, where she studied psychology and took courses in dance and dance therapy.

After graduation Kate started taking yoga classes with an amazing teacher and mentor who suggested she get her 200-hour certification in Vinyasa yoga at CorePower Yoga in Falls Church, VA.
She graduated from her program in December of 2014 and at the beginning of 2015 started teaching for CorePower and 24 Hour Fitness. Within a year Kate was teaching at several locations in the DC metro area. In 2017 she went on to earn her 100-hour certification in Yin yoga.

In 2017 Kate also dove into her massage interest and traveled to Kripalu in Stockbridge, MA, to obtain her certification in Thai Yoga Massage from Lotus Palm.

Kate moved to the Yorktown/Hampton area in 2018 and started offering private sessions for yoga and Thai Bodywork. Now she has found a great community with Garden of Zen and can't wait to see what else the future holds.​

MARY SNYDER

B.S. Exercise Science, Ace, AFPA, YogaFit, TRX, R.I.P.P.E.D., and MadDogg, BootyBarre Certified

Studio Manager


Mary has always led an active lifestyle, though moving back to the States after four years Overseas to begin Middle School in Yorktown, VA, was a bit of a culture shock. Throughout the following years, Mary could not quite seem to find her niche and bounced from recreational sport to sport, until finally during her Freshman Year of high school she took up Tae Kwon Do and long distance running. After obtaining her Black Belt and logging hundreds of miles, Mary decided that the physiology and even psychology behind exercise and well-being was just too alluring to ignore, and before long, she was enrolled at VCU in Richmond, VA, in order to earn her B.S. in Exercise Science and Minor in Psychology. In 2006 while still at VCU, Mary was certified as a Personal Trainer and Yoga instructor and has been training clients and teaching classes ever since.
Prior to and upon graduation in 2009, Mary has served in various commercial, corporate, private and even medical wellness facilities, training individuals from all walks of life; at-risk youth, individuals recovering from injuries and even teaching yoga classes geared towards endurance athletes. Her passion, however, is working with clients to maintain physical and emotional balance and well-being.
​With her background in yoga and her own personal experience with running, backpacking, and climbing, Mary’s expertise revolves around functional training – for everyone. Mary works with clients to pinpoint muscular imbalances and helps them to develop more body awareness – because to Mary, developing body awareness and strength geared towards functional movement is essential to avoiding injury and staying fit. Mary was also recently certified as a Lifestyle Educator through FirstLine Therapy, and works with clients wishing to make lifestyle changes through engaging in healthier eating and increased physical activity.
Certifications
B.S. Exercise Science, Virginia Commonwealth University, August 2009
TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise) Group and Private Instructor Certification, September 2012
R.I.P.P.E.D (Resistance, Intervals, Power, Plyometric, Endurance, and Diet), May 2012
FirstLine Therapy Lifestyle Educator, March 2012
ACE Personal Trainer Certification, December 2009
AFPA Personal Trainer Certification, March 2006
Adult and Child AED/CPR and First Aid,  December 2011 
MadDogg Indoor Cycling Certification, November 2010
YogaFit Level 1 Certification, June 2007
 BootyBarre Certification,  February 2015

     

    Frances Uhrich

    RYT 200 Yoga Instructor


    Born in Fife, Scotland, Frances has traveled across and lived overseas for many years through her career with the British Government. Some 20 odd years ago in Scotland, Frances attempted her first yoga class in order to find an alternative exercise option for running outside in the rain. Upon recognizing the challenge of a yoga practice and the various limitations she experienced (Touch my toes -is that a joke? Hold a Downward Facing Dog? I don't think so!) a newly humbled and inspired Frances began to seek as much knowledge for her own personal yoga practice as possible. Upon moving to Washington D.C. where she met and married her husband, a move to Newport News, VA granted the opportunity to take the next step and enroll in the RYT-200 Teacher Training at Zenya Yoga Academy. Her motto? Forever a student of yoga, on and off of the mat, you can take your practice with you wherever you go - at home, in a studio, or just sitting outside in quiet meditation!

    Nancy Geary

    500-ERYT, YACEP, Tai chi for arthritis,
    Silver Sneakers certified
                         CLY - ChildLight certified, Prenatal certified
     
    Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Nancy settled into Hampton Roads in 1994 with her husband and two sons. She discovered yoga in 2008 after two years of physical therapy due to a back injury from a car accident. She quickly realized the many benefits of yoga for the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga was the answer to her life-long interest of being health conscious and physically active but not competitive. Her interest evolved from practicing locally to exploring yoga techniques in studios worldwide while traveling with her husband, always packing her mat wherever the destination. Nancy's passion and belief in yoga shines 100% and her energy comes from teaching yoga and being of service to others by making a difference in others’ lives. 
     Accomplishing 200- and 300-hour yoga certification, Nancy also is certified to teach child, prenatal, and senior yoga as well as tai chi. She is certified in Silver Sneakers, which is a free health benefit for those 65+ with insurance. Her most recent certification is for Parkinson's through the Brian Grant Foundation. Always remaining humble on the yogic path, Nancy is invested in learning more about the ancient practice knowing what light of knowledge she soaks in, she radiates out to others. 
    "Inspiring yourself through the yoga physical practice and the emotional link is a human connection we all seek. We're using our bodies and breath to find the common ground of the human language of love and compassion for ourselves as well as others, and nothing is lost in translation. By the end of class, something is different. We're no longer strangers. We see that despite any differences that we're just the same." - by Robert Schware, Huffingpost. 
    Nancy likes to meditate, listen to Kirtan music, connect with nature, and travel. Along with staying active with yoga classes and workshops, she is on the York County Senior Board and stays busy with her family.  


    Maureen LaMar

    RYT- 200 Yoga Instructor

    Studio Assistant Manager


    Maureen was introduced to Yoga in 2008 as a complement to her running program. She immediately fell in love with the physical practice. The peace and beauty of connecting breath to movement was an unexpected surprise and a welcome benefit. She completed her 200-hour training at NLY in Navarre, FL. She has also completed certifications in Yin and SUP yoga.
    Maureen loves to share the energetic connection of yoga. She brings positive energy, joy, and laughter to her classes. She believes there is grace in every pose as you connect breath to movement.
    Maureen is originally from North Pole, Alaska. She has recently relocated to Virginia after many wonderful years in Navarre, Florida. She loves all things outdoors. Running, paddle boarding and hiking are some of her favorite activities along with her yoga practice.
    “When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace” Unknown


    Vanessa Johnson

    E-RYT 500

    Vanessa was introduced to yoga in 1997. She has practiced many different styles of yoga, but kept her practice at a casual level until her move to Tucson in 2009.There she enrolled in a 250hr Hatha yoga teacher training. Vanessa has since completed her 500hr certificate with certified Ashtanga teacher Melanie Fawer in New Orleans, LA. Vanessa has certificates in Hatha, Ashtanga

    Vinyasa, Prenatal, Chair and Yin Yoga. She is registered with Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT 500.
    Early in 2013 Vanessa was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer which gained her more compassion and patience in her own personal practice as well as her teaching style. Every day since has been a constant test of patience and acceptance. Yoga has helped her find balance between being the mother of 4 boys, a military spouse, cancer survivor and life. Vanessa credits her yoga practice for empowering her to be healthier and stronger, for easing the side effects of treatment and speeding her recovery. Vanessa keeps an upbeat, positive attitude toward her wellness plan and loves to share the gift of yoga with anyone who is interested.
    My husbands’ military service has given me the opportunity to travel and teach in several different states, and to a diverse population of people on and off base. I have enjoyed sharing in the growth of my students physically and emotionally.
    Vanessa teaches a traditional Ashtanga class focusing on a specific sequence of postures (Asana) linking breath (pranayama) and focused gaze (drishti). The continuous linking of the postures with the movement of the breath (vinyasa) balances structural and mental patterns resulting in strength, flexibility and radiant health. Vanessa teaches Ashtanga with the blessing of her teacher Melanie Fawer, of New Orleans, LA who is certified in the lineage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This practice is modified for all levels.
    Vanessa also teaches a Yin style yoga class which is slow paced and accessible to all students. Yin focuses on long held postures mainly done on the floor that apply moderate stress to the connective tissues of the body, increasing circulation and flexibility in the joints. This style of yoga is intended as a complement to more active yoga and exercise classes. Vanessa's yin classes have a meditative approach to help cultivate awareness within the body while finding stillness and silence. The magic happens when we find stillness in the pose.
    Vanessa credits her many teachers and students over the years for influencing her practice but especially Lisa Schrempp for teaching her the Ashtanga Lineage which continues to strengthen and heal her physically and emotionally.


    Martine Hutton

    RYT- 200 Level Yoga Instructor


    Martine has a passion: restoring physical and mental balance to all her students through therapeutic yoga exercises led by a warm and caring instructor.  Since her earliest years growing up in France, Martine has always enjoyed sports (aerobics, tennis, Jazzercise, and fifteen years of yoga), but when her daughter was diagnosed with cancer, she found her calling.  As her daughter slowly recovered, Martine was drawn to therapeutic yoga, taking her 200 hour yoga certification at the Glenmore Yoga and Wellness Center in Richmond, focusing on a gentle yoga designed for students recovering from illness, surgery or other health considerations.  Martine adapts her classes to ensure that all of her students can safely practice poses that develop strength, increase range of motion, and enhance self-esteem and wellbeing.  Martine strives to ensure that all her students leave her class stronger, both physically and emotionally.  

    Valerie Hollar

    RYT 200 Yoga Instructor


    Valerie Hollar, a registered RYT200 certified teacher with the Yoga Alliance, found her love of yoga after looking for a way to relieve stress when life dealt her some crazy curve balls back in 2013. Air Force wife, and working mother of 4, she needed to find something to create time for herself. She visited a local studio for an intro to hot yoga class, and the rest is history. Initially starting a hot yoga practice, she found her love for all types of classes and all things yoga. Yoga helped her learn to manage and overcome PTSD and anxiety without the need for medications, as well as helped her find a better way to deal with her crazy day to day routine. Completing her 200 hour certification was a no brainer after that.
    Valerie wants to share the joy of yoga with each person she meets through invigorating vinyasa style classes, linked with fun upbeat playlists that will challenge both the mind and the body. When not teaching yoga you can find her around town taking classes whenever and wherever she can, working as a paralegal during the day, and playing super mom. She looks forward to helping you find your love of yoga whether it’s the first time rolling out a mat, or you are a seasoned yogi. Her specific areas of interest include vinyasa, yoga for kids, restorative and yin, yoga as a treatment for anxiety and PTSD, and yoga for stroke recovery.
    Valerie’s philosophy is “Get on your mat every day, even if for only 5 minutes, and let the magic find you.” She looks forward to meeting you and practicing with you soon!