Jonni-Lyn Friel has been teaching Yoga since 2006 and is a E-RYT-500, E-RYT 200, RPYT and Jivamukti
teacher who recently returned to Canada ,after many years of living in Athens Greece. She is pleased to
call Victoria , B.C home and looks forward to exploring how life will unfold here.She first was exposed to
Yoga as a child in Canada through her first teachers, her parents, and joined in their practice by watching
and following along. Yoga was always a self practice that took her through years of competitive
swimming, University and backpacking around the world.
In 1999, she stepped into her first Yoga class and discovered the joys of having a teacher and being
taught from another person's experience and knowledge. In 2006 she completed her first teacher training
in Athens, Greece. With a strong background in alignment and Anusara, she began to explore the world of
Vinyasa, completing a teacher training with her wonderful teacher Rusty Wells. In 2013 she completed the
300 hour Jivamukti Yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and found new teachers in Sharon Gannon and
Now a 500 hour RYT, she has taught numerous 200 and 500 hour trainings, where her love is to share the
Bhagavad Gita and to teach service and compassion as a way to happiness and self realization. In 2016
she founded Namaha Yoga School, a collective of teachers from around the world from different
traditions who share the common belief that teaching Yoga is a path of Seva, or service. Jonni-Lyn knows
Yoga to be sacred, healing and powerful. This is how it has affected her life and spirit. Her greatest joy is
to share her knowledge and pass on the teachings of her beloved teachers to others, in hope that it serves
them in their lives.
Sarah Holmes De Castro
My lived experience as a survivor as well as contemporary trauma theory, attachment theory, neuroscience and a commitment to justice inform my work and I’ve been sharing yoga in diverse settings since 2004.The majority of the people I’ve worked with over the years have been impacted by trauma in its myriad forms. Places I’ve worked include Vancouver Coastal Health Mental Health Teams, the Vancouver Women’s Health Collective, Pacifica Treatment Centre, the BC College of Psychologists, New Dawn recovery home for women, PHS Community Services, YWCA’s Munroe House (Canada’s first second-stage transition house), Burnaby Mental Health & Addiction, Spirit Way (second-stage housing for Indigenous women), a women’s prison and more.
As the Director of Programs at Yoga Outreach I oversee delivery of yoga programs in a wide variety of venues across BC with clients living with the impacts of trauma as well as develop, deliver and oversee trainings in trauma-informed yoga and yoga for chronic pain. I began studying Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) at the Trauma Center, Boston, MA in 2010 and am a certified TCTSY facilitator as well as a training faculty member. I’m also a certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT). I live as a guest on the ancestral, traditional, and unceded Indigenous territories of the Lkwungen , Wyomilth, and WSÁNEĆ Coast Salish Peoples, a.k.a. Victoria, BC where I offer pre-registered one-to-one and group sessions both in person and online.
I hear from so many clients about the greater sense of embodied safety and wellbeing they receive from their practice. In my own recovery, yoga was hugely helpful with self-regulation, re-connection and recovering from a sense of mistrust – of my own embodiment, of other people and of the world around. I’m committed both to increasing access to the benefits of yoga and to understanding and addressing the wider societal injustices that create obstacles to health & wellbeing.
Emmy was introduced to yoga as a child through her grandmother and mother, and was lucky to grow up practicing kundalini, hatha, and restorative yoga. Her ancestors are from the north of India and the practice of yoga connects her deeply to her heritage. She has been teaching yoga since 2012 in a variety of settings internationally (universities, schools, studios, corporate and privately) and is particularly interested in: the healing potential of yoga, incorporating trauma-informed approaches, decolonization, and embodied pedagogy.
Emmy holds a BA in Cultural Studies, minor in Gender and Women’s Studies; and has previously worked in schools as a violence prevention workshop facilitator. Throughout her studies in yoga and the healing arts, Emmy has trained in hatha, pre/postnatal yoga, teen yoga, trauma-informed teaching, and has led her own research at UBC on yoga in the university classroom. You can read more about that research here: https://embodiedpedagogies.wordpress.com/Emmy’s passion lies in educating about how yoga is a site for intergenerational healing through the lens of cultural awareness training. As a South Asian woman working in the North American yoga industry, her voice is dedicated to sharing the complexities of social inequity, decolonization, and avoiding cultural appropriation. Emmy seeks to help others understand their role in dismantling old systems of power and unpacking how privilege operates in the yoga world – and how we can build new ways to be as inclusive, just, and equitable as possible. For more about Emmy, visit her website: https://emmychahal.com
I am a graduate of Shiva Rea’s renowned Prana Flow teacher training program and have been studying closely with her since 2006. The roots of all my asana teachings flow along the veins of this lineage.
In 2019 I completed the Yoga Studies Summer Program at the University of London with leading researchers on from the Hatha Yoga Project, including Dr James Mallinson, Dr Jason Birch, Dr Mark Singleton and other luminaries. My research paper outlined the connections of pre-modern practices of tapas, and the influence it had on the development of medieval Hatha Yoga. I continue to pursue my academic studies part time with Seth Powell of Yogic Studies.
Most years, I travel to CVN Kalari, in Thiravanantapuram, Southern India to continue my traditional studies in Kalarippayat. I have also been studying with Frey Faust and Fransesca Pedulla and the Axis Syllabus community in non-linear movement modalities and functional anatomy in recent yearsAlongside this, I have completed thousands of hours of studyin the practice of Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Restorative, Yin, Therapeutics, Anatomy, Philosophy, Sanskrit, Mahayana and Vajryana Meditation, Ayurveda, Thai Yoga Massage, Yogic history, and Social Justice. I have a passion for teaching pre and post natal yoga, and support my clients as a Birth Doula.
2004 – 2009: Founder, Breathing Room Yoga in Saigon, Vietnam
2010 – 2017: Manager, Teacher Training Director of 889 Yoga in Toronto
2017 – 2020: Co-owner, Teacher Training Co-Director of Octopus Garden Yoga in Toronto
Summer 2020: Co-Founder Leelapod
Founder + Creative Director
The first time Heather connected with yoga she knew she had stepped onto a new path. Yoga became a practice that led her back home to herself. The focus she experienced when fully surrendering to movement brought her unexpected gifts of peace and presence.
Over the last 12 years she has watched in awe as this community of students, teachers, staff and volunteers took shape. In 2014, Heather opened a second yoga studio in Westshore, with her business partner Darci Nyal. Over the course of the last decade Heather has grown her community and together they have created a culture of wellness (and fun!!) that continues to carry forward today.
As an owner, Heather advocates for the needs of the students. She is passionate about building community and creating opportunities to link students together. Heather values acceptance and strives to create a space that is accessible for bodies of all different sizes and experience levels to explore movement and bridge connection between mind-body-spirit.
Heather is a mother to her daughter and son! In this chapter of her life, she relies on the off-the-mat practice of yoga more than ever to support her in parenting with mindfulness. She loves to connect through nature and understands first hand the challenge of balancing family with work and self-care.
Heather continues to be inspired by the leaders on her team that help to inspire our exceptional teaching faculty and ensure the studio is a warm and welcoming space for students. She appreciates that it takes a village to build two studios of this calibre and size! Heather is beyond grateful for the role every person plays to make Yoga Lab Victoria and Yoga Lab Westshore feel like home for so many people.
Victoria Instructor, Lead YTT Faculty
Tara Heal landed in beautiful Victoria in 2017 from a 14 year stint living in NYC, and couldn’t be happier. Her teaching has spanned NHL teams, teens, Broadway performers, office groups – always offering classes that are powerful, soulful, and dynamic, while incorporating innovative, intelligent sequencing and functional alignment. She aims to encourage body awareness, agility, and strength, while illuminating the peace and power that comes from mindfulness.Tara fell in love with this practice in 2001. By 2008 she began formal training with Rod Stryker’s Para Yoga Vinyasa Certification (Mary Bruce and Johnna Smith), and has continued with trainings, immersions and inspiration from The Iyengar Institute, Laughing Lotus NYC, Kula Yoga NYC, Moksha/ Modo Yoga, Sivananda, Janet Stone, Carly Forest (Yin), Christine Price Clark, Ryan Leir, Dina Tshouluhas, Witold Fitz-Simmons, Ted Grand, Jessica Robertson and will be a student for life. Tara is honoured to share the practice that has brought so much courage, resilience and joy into her own life, and intends to bring light, humor, patience and authenticity into her teaching. Alongside Yoga, her work as a performer has taken her to stages all over the globe. She feels endlessly grateful to continue sharing her “why” through movement and music.For info on events, special offerings, privates, and mentorships, connect with Tara via Instagram DM.
For info on upcoming events, workshops, and teacher trainings visit www.tarahealyoga.com
Tracey has dedicated herself to the practice, study and teaching of yoga since discovering its joys and benefits during her first pregnancy in 2001. She was fuelled by the inspiration of Shiva Rea, and has further trained with teachers around the world combining elements of dynamic and inspiring alignment-based flow. Her teachings blend the traditional Eastern philosophy and asana with todays desire for physical practice, while integrating the mind body connection.
Tracey completed her RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification through Shiva Rea in 2005 with an emphasis on Prana Vinyasa training. She earned her RYT 500 certification with Janet Stone in 2018 specializing in philosophy, intuitive sequencing and the devotion of unified breath and movement. Being a lifelong leaner, she graduated from McMaster University in 1988 with a degree in Physical Education. She credits this early start as her catalyst to a diverse, and blossoming thirty years in the health and wellness industry.
Tracey initiated the Global Mala Project for Peace now running in its 12th year. She is the co-creator of Binds and Beats, a local project that unites the yoga and music world, and has taught workshops at the Victoria Yoga Conference for six years. She has led retreats, workshops and immersions in New York, Mexico, Greece and Thailand. She is currently working on Teacher Training Programs in Victoria and Vancouver, while offering mentorship and one on one training.
Tracey creates a safe, non-competitive space for her students to dive beneath the surface of their daily lives to find deeper meaning and clarity. She leads from her heart, stirs emotion and infuses joy while honouring the teacher within. She is known for her creative sequences and intentional themes, emphasizing the importance of proper alignment and the ability to pause and honour time shared on the mat.
She is a devoted mother of two and offers yoga as a way of life, a practice of being in the moment and savouring every breath!