Our Teachers

Donna Kramer Merritt RYT 200

Donna Kramer Merritt RYT 200

As a massage therapist, I often tell my clients to do Yoga as a way to maintain stress relief and flexibility between appointment.  After too many times of hearing them say “I am not flexible enough” or “I feel to intimidated to take a yoga class”,  I decided to become a yoga teacher to share my joy and passion for yoga with those who have felt it was inaccessible.

As the owner of the The Gentle Place Wellness Center, I was overjoyed when after my Yoga Teacher Training, a beautiful room opened up down the hall from my massage studios.  Just large enough for 8 to 10 students, my dream was to create a safe haven for yoga student new and old to discover their own personal yoga practices.

I teach Yoga Fundamentals, a beginner’s course to give people the confidence and the tools to be safe in any yoga class.  Welcome to Yoga @The Gentle Place…. Where we offer yoga for every body.  Namaste’

Elizabeth Shapiro

Elizabeth Shapiro, CYT

Elizabeth is a spin teacher, a self described gym addict, and has been practicing yoga for about 20 years.

Her foray into yoga began as part of her treatment for and rehabilitation from severe degenerative arthritis. Over time, however, she became more and more aware of not just the physical benefits of yoga but its ability to help her in her response to physical and emotional pain.

Elizabeth became a certified yoga teacher in 2015, with a vision towards a specialization in yoga and pain management.

“It brings me great pleasure to pass on my love and knowledge of yoga and its benefits to others”. “It’s not about how bendy you are or how well you balance- it’s the process- yoga is a process.”

Kathy Finn

Kandace Matzker, RYT 200

A little over three years ago I was suffering from the very common running injury known as plantar fasciitis. While researching ways to heal myself without the use of orthotics, my girlfriends had found a “groupon” for yoga and naturally I decided to join them, thinking it could help with my injury. That was the beginning of my interest and love of yoga. Yoga has strengthened my body, mind and soul. The Plantar fasciitis quickly healed, and in addition I enjoyed the added benefit of improved running performance.

With a background in exercise, becoming a yoga instructor seemed like an organic progression. I have a degree in kinesiology (the study of human movement), spent the years following college working in a hospital doing injury rehab and teaching many different exercise classes (spinning, kickboxing, stretching, conditioning, chair aerobics for arthritis) as well as personal training. My life these days consists of my love for the great outdoors in all activities of all four seasons. Enjoyed with family and friends. You might also find me at REI or teaching yoga for REI Outdoor School. Yoga has made all aspects of my life more accessible and enjoyable.

Yoga has the ability to create transformation. It provides necessary time to align, reflect and find inner strength. Like many, I was first attracted to the physical aspects of Yoga, but I soon found the rhythmic movement connected to breath soothed my mind and spirit. My goal is to bring all of this to my students in each and every class I’m blessed to guide. I encourage you to let your yoga practice be a journey of self-discovery and your inner teacher be your guide.

Karen Fishman

Karen Fishman has been teaching muscle, Pilates, and Yoga classes at area gyms in the MetroWest since 2003.

She is certified as a Group Fitness Instructor by Fitness Resource Associates (FRA) and holds several fitness certifications from the American Aerobic Association International and International Sports Medicine Association (AAAI/ISMA). By day, Karen works as a Probation Monitor for the MA Dept. of Public Health.

When she’s not working, Karen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Kathleen Carland

Kathleen Carland, CYT

KC has been a certified teacher for over 20 years. She is a yoga therapist with specialized training in teaching those with serious health conditions such as cancer, heart disease and fibromyalgia. In addition, she incorporates tai chi, pilates and mindfulness into each class.

“I love teaching yoga, it changed my life, helped me to feel like I was at home in my body for the first time.”

kathy finn

Kathy Finn, RYT 500

Kathy began practicing yoga to bring peace and balance to her mind. She discovered that the practice had a profound effect not only on the mind but on the body as well. Kathy believes yoga is the opening to new possibilities; it is the opportunity to create a healthier body, clearer mind and sense of peace that translates to the outside world.

She began sharing this practice with friends and coworkers, and in 2012 completed her 200 hour teacher training through Finding Inner Peace. In 2014, Kathy earned her 500 hour yoga teacher certification through The Yoga Studio, focusing on the therapeutic aspects of yoga. She is a Reiki Practitioner and is certified in Thai Body Work Level 1.

Kathy is grateful for the opportunity to share the joy that yoga brings to her life with her students. She teaches Restorative, Gentle, and All Levels Yoga offering a safe space where students can let go of tension in the body and mind and find peace and vitality.

Lauren Turner, RYT200

As an instructor, Lauren looks to get students tuned into their bodies, encouraging them to explore their edge while honoring their limitations. She believes that when we turn our focus internally and become intimately connected to how we feel and who we are, we can experience life more deeply and fully.

Lauren has a steady, grounded presence that has been strengthened through her own personal practice of yoga. She first tried yoga in 2012, looking for low-impact workout, but over the years she realized that yoga had a tremendous impact in other aspects of life off the mat. Her practice helped her reduce stress, increase her health, create more balance in her life, and cultivate her own intuition.

In her classes she looks to guide students through graceful and deliberate movement paired with breath, building postures from the ground up for an embodied yoga experience. She takes an all-levels approach, helping beginners create a solid foundation for their practice, while allowing more experienced practitioners dive deeper into their own practice.

Laurie Tosti

I discovered Kundalini Yoga more than 15 years ago when my kids were babies and I was looking for a little break to get some exercise. I quickly realized that I was responding to it on many levels- physically, spiritually and mentally.   I continued to take classes and workshops until I decided to become an instructor myself, and took the 200 hour teacher training to become a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga Instructor.

Over the years I have deepened my practice and have met some amazing people along the way.   I am a married mom of 4, a practicing Attorney, and I have many years experience working in the field of Hospice. Kundalini Yoga has been a wonderful tool in my life and I love sharing it with others.

Learn more about Kundalini Yoga HERE, and sign up for Laurie’s classes HERE!

Lisa Campbell

Lisa Campbell is a certified Meditation and Mindfulness Instructor, Course Advisor for the McLean Meditation Institute, US Air Force veteran, and founder of Mindfulfilled Meditation, LLC, and she loves that peace is her profession.  

Having cultivated a daily meditation practice, Lisa experienced a truer, happier, and healthier life and now uses her valium voice to guide others toward a more authentic and happier life.  

A graduate of the McLean Meditation Institute and certified by the Warriors at Ease Organization to teach trauma-sensitive meditation, Lisa is a peaceful warrior meditating with all ages and abilities, civilians, active military, veterans, and first responders.  Learn more at www.Mindfulfilled.com.

Sarah Hofschire

Sarah Hofschire, RYT 200

I took my first yoga class 16 years ago and it has been a part of my life ever since. I have slowly become more connected to my yoga practice and its positive effect in my life over the years.

I enjoy helping others find an appreciation for yoga in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. My approach is gentle with an emphasis on nurturing the body.

Traci Ward, CYT

I took my first Yoga class when I was 19 years old, during a time of transition in my life when I was unsure of myself and struggling with depression. Over time, through the practice, I developed a perspective I had never had before.

For me, Yoga is like an invisible bandage that wraps around your wounds and heals them from the inside out. Yoga consistently helps me successfully navigate many life transitions; it is my foundation of support in difficult times, as well as a reminder of the joy that lives deep within me. I live in the Metro-West area with my two sons, and yoga is an integral part our lives. Even my son says, “It’s like magic, mom!”

The practice of Yoga continues to fill me with awe. I have witnessed its restorative effects both personally and professionally.

It brings me joy to offer this practice to others. I love working with students of all ages and abilities to help them reclaim and maintain the joy in their lives through the practice of yoga.

Vanessa Fede

Vanessa Fede, CYT

The first yoga class I took was in high school, but I didn’t really immerse myself in yoga until the end of college.

Then, a few years back, my boss had me attend an Ayurvedic workshop at a local studio. That was the first of many experiences that brought me deeper into my practice.  It wasn’t until I was scared by a personal experience that it shook me up to pursue my passion.

It was then that I realized that I needed to share with others the amazing feeling that yoga brings to me.  So I bought a one-way ticket to travel to South America and took my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification. I haven’t looked back once since!

Try Vanessa’s own unique yoga fusion class, Hatha Power Flow, and get INSPIRED!

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