Our Online 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.

Although our studio is closed due to Covid, I  have begun to love teaching online, with a focus on gentle beginners yoga to give people the confidence and the tools to be safe in any yoga class.  I am now also teaching a Vinyasa class and enjoy the variety, while still focusing on alignment and safety.

Welcome to Yoga @The Gentle Place…. Where we offer yoga for every body.  Namaste’

Emily Yandl, CYT-200

After following magazine “exercises” as a teenager and dabbling with yoga DVD’s in her 20’s, Emily finally fell in love with yoga after her first studio class in 2012. Since then, she’s practiced in a variety of styles including Vinyasa, Restorative, Svaroopa and Ashtanga. Before training through One Voice with Dima Bosko and Metrowest Yoga with Shawn Shaw, she spent a few years as a yoga class assistant

Emily sees yoga as a great way to practice “on the mat” more of what you’d like to embody “off the mat”. In her classes, she strives to combine a meditative atmosphere, opportunities to cultivate awareness and an invitation for safe and challenging physical exploration.

Emily loves learning about the body/mind/spirit connection and is excited to share! Besides yoga, her current interests include developmental movement, somatics, maintaining mobility thru the lifespan and anything “neuro” related.

Come try a class with Emily!


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.

Karen Zelinsky, CYT

Karen Zelinsky began practicing yoga in 1999 and did her 200-hour yoga teacher training through Finding Inner Peace Yoga in 2005. In 2006 she left her job as a high school teacher to focus on supporting women during pregnancy through teaching prenatal yoga and HypnoBirthing.
In addition to Prenatal Yoga at The Gentle Place, Karen currently teaches Prepared Childbirth and HypnoBirthing at Newton Wellesley and Mt. Auburn Hospitals and supports growing families both as a birth and postpartum doula.

Kat Suwalski

Kat Suwalski is a FXP Fitness Master Trainer, Yoga Instructor, certified Hoopnotica teacher, Russian Kettle Bell instructor and a personal trainer. As a trained opera singer and actor, she incorporates all aspects of posture, breathing, and movement into her classes.

She believes life should be lived with passion and to embrace every moment. Movement has been her active meditation. It has been her mission to bring  joy, release and freedom to everyone she meets.

Her playful personality and caring demeanor makes all her students feel confident and eager for more. She encourages students to explore and be creative within the framework of the practice.

Kat is currently teaching one of our most popular classes:  Hatha Yoga with Yoga Nidra on Sunday nights.  Be sure to add it to your schedule!


Prenatal Yoga Teacher Lisa Diebold

Lisa Diebold Smith, RYT 200

Yoga has been a part of my life for over 10 years. I love yoga because it helps me feel centered and allows me to eat more chocolate.
I completed my RYT 200 with Sonic Yoga in NYC and added my Prenatal Certification a few years later. I will always be a student of the practice and am deeply grateful for the wisdom every teacher has shared with me.
When not teaching, I’m busy chasing around two tiny humans. I also enjoy hiking, swimming and eating delicious food.

Michele McLaughlin, CYT 200

Michele has practiced yoga on and off for over 15 years. She has been a stay at home mom for the past nine years. In 2017 she was finally able to find the right moment in her life to complete her first 200 hour yoga teacher training. Certified through One Voice Yoga Teacher Training in May 2017, her love of yoga reaches beyond just the benefits it brings physically. With an emphasis on mindfulness and connecting to your inner self, Michele brings a peaceful and grounded experience to her class.

Sarah Clift, CYT 200

Sarah practiced yoga on and off for several years before realizing the connection between mind, body, and spirit. After feeling the connection first hand she began to dig deeper into yoga. Her personal journey led her to Kripalu, (a center for yoga and health) for a weekend retreat. She immediately fell in love with the connection made that weekend. Her desire for a deeper connection led her to the 200-hour Kripalu yoga teacher training in the fall of 2019.

Sarah did an immersion program living at the center during her training. Living in a yoga community while training allowed a deep connection between the mind, body, and spirit to blossom. During her stay she knew that she wanted to reach others through practice on the mat. Sarah is grateful to all the wisdom shared with her along the way, and she hopes to have a positive effect on everyone she comes in contact with on and off the mat.

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