Kristin Fiore, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, Director of Down Dog Yoga Center
Kristin is the owner and managing director of Down Dog Yoga Center and is registered through Yoga Alliance at the Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher level, distinguishing herself with significant teaching experience since completing her first teacher certification in 2009. Kristin's 200 hour training with 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, AZ was a unique month long immersion that combined a teacher training program and healing spiritual retreat with the study of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Vedic Astrology in an ashram inspired setting. She has since returned to Sedona to further her studies with an Ayurvedic Apprenticeship and a Chakra Yoga Intensive. Kristin has also diversified her practice by studying Vipassana Meditation and completing a 6 month Thai Massage Diploma Program. In 2016, Kristin completed Lotus in the Flame's School of Yoga & Healing Arts year long, comprehensive 300 hour training under the direction of Melissa Spamer, her most beloved teacher.
Kristin's teaching is influenced by her many wonderful teachers including Melissa Spamer, Sraddhasagar (Ruth Hartung), Rama Vernon, Angela Farmer, Kirsten Lyon, and life itself. Her yoga classes encourage students to let go of judgment and be fully present in the exploration of body, mind, and spirit. Kristin continues to find joy and connection through her own practice and continued studies and is passionate about sharing Yoga with others. She is committed to Down Dog Yoga Center's mission- connecting people to healthy living, creativity, and community through Yoga and the healing arts- and invites you to join in and explore the center's programs and services.
Cynthia Hoss, LMT, E-RYT 500, AYS
Cynthia is a master bodyworker of 25+ years with specialized training in Therapeutic Massage, Myofascial Release, Integrative Bodywork, and Touch for Health. She also holds certifications in Advanced Kripalu Yoga, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist trained by the Kripalu School of Ayurveda. Cynthia has been studying and teaching yoga for over 15 years and is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level with Yoga Alliance. She also founded and co-owned Awake and Aware, a yoga and bodywork studio in Kalamazoo from 2004 to 2014, before merging with Down Dog Yoga Center.
Cynthia's teaching style and bodywork practices focus on taking you to your inner wisdom by opening the flow of energy to enhance health, vitality, and balance. Cynthia's intuition and strong multidisciplinary background in holistic health add a rich flavor to all of her offerings. She is an inspired student of these masterful teachers: Swami Kripalu, Yoganand Michael Carroll, Sarah Powers, Paul Grilley, Angela Farmer, Melissa Spamer and Scott Blossom. Visit Cynthia's website
Judy Huxmann, LMT, E-RYT 200
Judy is a Licensed Massage Therapist and an established bodyworker. Since completing her training at the Kalamazoo Center for the Healing Arts in 2003, Judy has continued her education with the Upledger Institute, John Barnes Myofascial Release training, Access Consciousness training, Tuning Fork and Tibetan Bowl therapy, and numerous workshops and classes to holistically broaden and support her practice. As time goes on, full-on Sound Healing sessions will be offered to her clients.
Judy is also a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance. She completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2008 with Melissa Spamer through Lotus in the Flame School of Yoga and Healing Arts and has continued to further her education with additional training and workshops since. Most recently she has trained to become a Certified Sound Healer in the ancient tradition of Tibetan bowls and other sound instruments, as well as Tuning Fork therapy. Tibetan bowls and Tuning Forks have been added into her yoga classes to bring in the Nada Yoga approach of sound a vibration during class.
Combining her love of yoga and bodywork with her knowledge of anatomy and the mind/body response, Judy provides therapeutic-like yoga classes with humor and compassion and helps students develop awareness, strength and flexibility, ultimately bringing peace and ease to body, mind, and spirit.
In 2004, Judy opened and managed Awake and Aware Yoga and Bodywork in partnership with Cynthia Hoss. Located in the Parkview Hills Shoppes in Kalamazoo, Awake and Aware provided yoga and healing practices until closing and merging with Down Dog Yoga Center in February of 2014. Visit Judy's website
Jeremy Blair, RYT 500
Jeremy has been practicing yoga for ten years. His somatic path began in college and developed in tandem with his dance career in Chicago. He completed his 200-hour teacher training in 2008 at Global Yoga Center in Chicago, under the guidance of Rhonda Kantor and Rita Knorr. Their philosophy, deeply rooted in the sutras, took an interdisciplinary approach to teacher training which Jeremy draws upon to this day.
While in Chicago, Jeremy taught yoga while working as a professional dancer, choreographer and dance instructor. In 2014, he completed an M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Iowa. Between his first and second year of graduate school he traveled to India to meditate, practice, and develop a better understanding of the ancient texts and lead by Krishna, Roshan and Fraaz, he completed his 500 hour certification at Rishikesh Yog Peeth. Jeremy caters his class to the needs of the students and follows the Hatha tradition by fluidly integrating physical and mental yoga practices in a creative, invigorating, yet restorative flow. In addition to teaching yoga in Kalamazoo, he currently teaches yoga philosophy and asana workshops for the Hothouse Yoga teacher training in Iowa City and is on faculty in the Department of Dance at Western Michigan University.
Suzi Batdorff, RYT 500
Suzi is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance, completing her first teacher training with Melissa Spamer here in Kalamazoo in 2008. She has since finished additional training in Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley and a second teacher training in 2012 with Behnje Masson in Anusara Yoga, and a 300 hour program with Melissa Spamer. She has had the pleasure of attending workshops with amazing teachers as John Friend, Desiree Rumbaugh, Moses Brown, Angela Farmer and Victor Van Kooten, Rama Jyoti Vernon, and Kali Ray. Suzi’s lighthearted and easygoing approach is a welcoming light to our fast-paced world.
Christine Peckels, E-RYT 200, RYT 500
Christine began studying yoga in 1999 and completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2008 and her 300 hour training in 2016 under the guidance of Melissa Spamer. Christine is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has taught multiple weekly classes since her accreditation and continues to take workshops and trainings to keep her skills fresh and advance her knowledge. She has worked with cancer and stroke patients and believes that yoga is a great tool to keep us healthy. Her classes offer gentle yet powerful insight into the infinite nuances of the body, mind, and breath with opportunities to explore a personal experience of joyfulness, peace and balance. Christine loves to work with everybody and modifies poses to fit any ability. Visit Christine's website
Kara Aubin, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, AYS
Kara was called to the path of yoga in 1998 and has been a dedicated student and practitioner since. A lifelong lover of movement, she was drawn in by the intention and pranic wisdom of yogic movement, and the profound and challenging nature of yogic stillness. As a ParaYoga Certified teacher and NAMA Certified Ayurvedic Heatlh Counselor based in Kalamazoo, MI and Albuquerque, NM, she weaves the teachings of yoga and Ayurveda into group classes, private sessions, workshops and retreats. Her mission is to guide students toward their bright inherent potential, as well as their right to radical wellness and balance.
Kara began studying with senior ParaYoga teacher Karina Mirsky in 1999 and continues her studies today with Yogarupa Rod Stryker, Kathryn Templeton, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, and Dr. Vasant Lad. Kara is an Initiate of the Sri Vidya tradition and an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist trained via the Himalayan Institute. She completed her Ayurvedic Practitioner certification under Dr. Lad at the renowned Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. You can find her sharing the love of asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation and Ayurveda through her teaching. Join her on the mat to for a journey back to Self. Visit Kara's website
Jenny Lee, E-RYT 200
Jenny has been studying Yoga for over 12 years and has been a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance since 2010. She loves the power of Ashtanga Yoga and the gentleness of Restorative Yoga. As Jenny watched her mother battle and lose a long fight with cancer, her understanding of life, love and the mind/body/spirit connection became different, profound, and very real. Today, her focus is on healthy living with her family and two active toddlers. Her path is to bring wellness to all people who hope to better their body and mind through Yoga, Breath work, and Aromatherapy. She has helped establish Yoga in schools and loves teaching specialized classes including Corporate Yoga, Prenatal, and Vinyasa Yoga. She teaches with a multi-style and lighthearted approach including smiles and lots of breath! Jenny is inspired by the lineages of Krishnamacharya, T.K.V. Desikachar, Sri K Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar, and many of their direct students and she gives profound thanks to her direct teachers PJ Heffernan, Larissa Heffernan and Debra Hennessey.
Kyle Thompson, E-RYT 200
Kyle has been practicing yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2003. He was first introduced to yoga by his mother-in-law and has since been inspired by many teachers from several yoga and Buddhist traditions. He is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level and received his teaching certification from the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. Kyle teaches traditional hatha yoga and incorporates asana, pranayama and centering/meditation into every class. As a licensed professional counselor, he is very interested in the psychological and therapeutic benefits of yoga and believes strongly in the mind-body or mind-heart connection. Kyle teaches yoga and meditation to promote health, wholeness, and personal empowerment and encourages everyone to breathe, relax, feel, watch, allow and experience each moment exactly as it is. He believes that everybody can benefit from yoga and enjoys teaching beginning students and those who do not believe they can "do yoga." Visit Kyle's website
Patricia Plasko, RYT 200
Patricia has been studying yoga since 1999. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level and completed her teacher training in 2008 under the direction of Melissa Spamer, E-RYT 500, LMT and Founder and Director of Lotus in the Flame, School of Yoga and Healing Arts. She has also studied with Kali Ray, Rama Jyoti Vernon, and Rod Stryker. Bringing into the classroom 30 years of experience observing the body in motion as a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, Patricia’s classes utilize clear anatomical and technical description, imagery, and the uniting of breath and movement to bring freedom and openness to the body.
Johanna Potter, RYT 200
Johanna began her journey with yoga in 1999. Curious about the physical challenge it provided, she soon became drawn to yoga as a practice that provides connection to Source, acts as a guide, and helps one gain a deeper understanding of self and purpose. In 2007, Johanna began teaching in Indiana where she developed a yoga ministry program. An interest in anatomy and hands on connection also led her to study Thai Bodywork. She returned to Kalamazoo in 2010 and completed her 200 hour yoga certification under the guidance of Karina Mirsky.
The path of yoga has seen Johanna through a variety of stages in her own life, including motherhood, and fuels her passion to teach and celebrate all of life’s seasons. After taking a short break from teaching as she settled into motherhood, she is honored to return to the teacher role and share her experience with new mothers and those with growing families.
Jen Claus, MA, LPC
Jen earned her Bachelor’s of Science with a Major in Family Studies from Central Michigan University and her Master’s in Counseling from Spring Arbor University. She began her exploration of the deeper realms of humanity when she moved to Song of the Morning, a yoga retreat center in northern Michigan. There she learned the practice of meditation, the healing benefits of food, and was introduced to a variety of healing modalities. In addition to her work as a full time counselor, Jen is also a certified yoga instructor and completed her 300 hour training with Melissa Spamer in 2016. She devotes extensive time to continuing education and is currently working on her advanced yoga teacher training. Her work, both in yoga and counseling, seeks to unite mind, body, and spirit and bring awareness to the present moment where healing truly begins.
Aubrey Butts, RYT 200
At the age of 12, Aubrey began a dedicated exploration of yoga as a way to attune to her body and develop a more compassionate relationship with herself and the world. Throughout the fluctuations of adolescence, her yoga mat became a saving grace. At the age of 21, Aubrey completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training through the well-known, Yoga Alliance certified program at Kripalu, where she is currently taking an additional 300 hour program. Using a nurturing and humorous approach, Aubrey loves to share yoga, especially with those who may not normally find themselves in a yoga studio for a multitude of reasons. Her fun and uplifting classes help students connect to the breath, develop more awareness in the body, and experience peace of mind.
Jaime Gram, RYT 200
Jaime began practicing in 2006 and quickly developed a love for the vinyasa style of yoga. She completed her 200 hour teacher training under Carolyn Freeman and Katie Moskalik in February of 2016 and continues to evolve her practice and teaching with time, experience, and a variety of teachers as her guide. Her fluid style of teaching allows students to connect to ease while they explore strength and simplicity. Off the mat, Jaime loves to spend time with her husband and children, soak up the sunshine in the great outdoors, and read books. She enjoys connecting with people and is excited to be a part of the Down Dog community.
Bridgett Blough, RYT 500
Bridgett started her journey with the body as a collegiate volleyball player and went on to pursue a career in the health and wellness industry as a personal trainer, boot camp coach, Pilates instructor, yoga instructor, and personal chef. Bridgett studied yoga under Larry Schultz- a direct student of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, yoga instructor to the Grateful Dead, and founder of It's Yoga in San Francisco, CA- where she completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2009. Bridgett believes in the importance of listening to your body and staying connected to the breath, the giver of all life. Her teaching style has softened from the rigorous ashtanga practice to attuning to the subtle body and softening the drive to push and effort through yoga practice. Opening the energetic and physical body through breathing, asana sequences, and dissolving the stress from the day are part of Bridgett's class. In 2016, Bridgett completed her 300 hour teacher training with Melissa Spamer. Bridgett is also a Certified Natural Chef and owns a popular food truck in Kalamazoo called The Organic Gypsy. Visit The Organic Gypsy's website
Erin Tonda, RYT 200
Erin began her yoga journey in 2008. Initially using yoga as a form of physical exercise and stress relief from her busy life as an attorney, she dedicated herself to a consistent yoga and meditation practice and began to experience the concepts of self-love, acceptance, and awareness firsthand. This experience aided her decision to leave the practice of law and devote herself full-time to the study and practice of yoga. Erin completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Michele Fife of Seva Yoga in April of 2014. She loves to make yoga accessible for everyone and inspires her students to have compassion for themselves both on and off the mat. Visit Erin's website
Chelsie Downs-Hubbarth, RYT 200, RPYT, RCYT
Chelsie received her yoga certification from the Sivananda Ashram of Paradise Island, Bahamas in 2004. At the same time she was pursuing her parallel passion in nutritional health at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City, where she completed her Holistic Health Counseling certification. With double undergraduate degrees in Environmental Science and Anthropology from Western Michigan University, Chelsie emphasizes a sociocultural approach to yoga and nutrition for sustainable living and integrates these concepts into her classes. After the birth of her son, Chelsie is especially fond of working with expecting mothers and children. Chelsie is a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200), Registered Children’s Yoga Teacher (RCYT) and Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher (RPYT) through Yoga Alliance.
Our Helpful Front Desk Staff: Aubrey Butts, Kimberly Hutchinson, Megan Lawrence, Melisa Schultz, and Audrey Meyers