Meet Our Teachers
With a background in Biochemistry, Public Health and Dance, Chacarra's approach to yoga is one that honors the need for individual self-study with the aim of improving physical, mental and spiritual health. Chacarra has studied yoga since 1999, inspired by teachers such as Baron Baptiste, Iyengar, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa and Pattabhi Jois. She is an E-RYT 200, RYT 500 Yoga Teacher and Certified Reiki Practitioner, and received her training at the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine. Chacarra's teaching experience has brought her through a wide range of environments from teaching poetry in the slums of Kibera, Kenya to mentoring in a juvenile detention facility in Kalamazoo, MI. Whether it was teaching dance, science or poetry, the goal was the same: to enlighten and broaden students’ perspective on what was possible. Her yoga teaching follows a similar intention to help students connect mind and body. By combining asanas, meditation and pranayama, Chacarra provides an opportunity to explore the spiritual through the physical. She is a firm believer in the idea that you practice on your mat what you practice in life. "I teach for my students and tailor each class towards their needs. In this way, students can come as they are to their mat to be free, release and enjoy."
Theresa Abell was first introduced to yoga in 1974 in West Lafayette, IN, and she has loved it ever since. Over the years, she has taken classes from many teachers, in many styles (including a Yoga Boot Camp in Costa Rica with Baron Baptiste). But she hadn’t considered teaching until the summer of 2015, when she attended a colleague’s lunchtime yoga class and was moved by the magic it worked with her cohort of desk-bound baby boomers. She began her yoga teacher training at Mind the Mat Studio in Alexandria, VA, in the fall of 2015 and earned her 200-hour certificate in February 2016. Since then she has done a mentoring program with Marianne Meyers, an IAYT certified yoga therapist, and she has studied yoga therapy with Gary Kraftskow (Viniyoga, Yoga for Special Conditions), Jenny Otto (Body Balance Yoga, Yoga Therapy Workshops), and Dr. Ganesh Mohan, MD (Svastha Yoga Therapy Program). In December 2016, she completed the Body Positive/Yoga for All training with Diane Bondy and Amber Karnes. Theresa also has a Yin Yoga teaching certificate from Beloved Yoga in Reston, VA, where she is continuing her studies in Beloved Yoga’s 500-hour yoga teacher training program and in the Svastha Yoga Therapy Program. Theresa’s yoga-passion is helping people discover the many ways that yoga can support, help heal, and nurture the body, mind, and spirit – especially people with larger bodies, people who are older, and people with limited mobility, injuries, or other conditions that might make a traditional yoga class seem inaccessible.
From her very first Savasana in the late 1990’s, Cathy Valentine has felt compelled to share the transformative powers of Yoga. Every time she teaches a class, that same simple intention to “just show them how Yoga can make them feel” is in place fueling the creative content of each and every class. For Cathy, Yoga is not just a practice, but a lifestyle. Yoga means to “unite” or “create balance”. Practicing Yoga every day provides her with the tools to create balance in her everyday life. “When my body and mind are balanced, optimal health and creativity flow into this amazing life I’m living!” Cathy earned her RYT-200 from Columbia Yoga Center in MD.
Karen has been teaching yoga since 2000 and practicing since 1992. She considers herself a lifelong student of yoga. Karen has learned from a variety of luminaries in the fields of holistic wellness, meditation, yoga philosophy, Qi Gong and Ayurveda. Also, a Usui Reiki Master and Oneness Blessing Giver, Karen uses her honest, creative approach, rooted in generosity, compassion and a touch of mysticism, to inspire her students to find their unique selves and to experience the liberating joy of expressing their truth. Karen has Bachelors degrees in Fine Arts and Education from Buffalo State. In addition to her devotion to yoga, Karen is a local artist, a mural painter and a certified art teacher. Her current artistic focus is on the spiritual art of mandalas.