Our teachers have been rigorously trained over many years in a broad and in-depth curriculum that encompasses studies in eastern philosophy and yoga history, biomechanics, anatomy, detailed postural alignment, therapeutics, and the art of teaching yoga.
“Beauty is whatever gives joy.” ― Edna St. Vincent Millay
Yoga invites you to engage life fully to become skilled at being yourself. I was born a seeker and a bit of a renegade. I first came to my yoga mat in 1994 as way to unite a dedicated physical discipline with a spiritual one. Having earned a degree in Art History, I understood the universal experience of Beauty as Joy. For me this implies that when we experience something in life that inspires indescribable wonder, awe, delight…be that through art, music, nature, relationships, yoga…then we are more connected (yoked) to this precious day, to each other, and to our vital essence: our Bliss. A yoga mat is a mirror of who we are--and yoga, like life, asks for devoted practice, a quest for integrity, and a healthy dose of self–reflection.
I have had and continue to study with numerous respected teachers, to whom I am most grateful, but my greatest teacher has been life itself. The deepening of my own practice impelled the spiritual explorer in me to undertake a “heroine’s quest” to Nepal in 1996 and, with my young family, to India in 1997 to study where the yoga tradition began. I learned a lot from those many months of challenging travel, but mostly, I grew into myself and appreciated the power of yoga as a daily practice on and off the mat. This experience inspired me to pioneer yoga in Columbia, SC by teaching classes for several years in kindergarten rooms, ballet schools, gyms, and church basements until our community grew to such a point that I opened City Yoga in 2003. With further in-depth and rigorous study, I became certified in Anusara Yoga in 2006 and, simultaneously, embarked upon the practice and study of philosophy, meditation, and Ayurveda. In 2017, I produced and hosted the first season of Yoga in Practice for South Carolina Educational Television. This 30-minute show is broadcast in several national markets including NYC, LA, SF, Baltimore, Minneapolis, Tucson, Austin, and several more.
My classes, workshops, and trainings encourage the inquisitive student to step into his/her own empowerment through a vigorous practice firmly rooted in the evocative philosophical teachings upon which yoga grew. Over my years of teaching I have seen all types of students, bodies, and issues…and I have come to appreciate that we ALL wish to be healthy, content, free, and fulfilled. My own yoga journey helps me to get up when I feel knocked down, to bring clarity to confusion, and to cultivate courage when I feel I have none. I want this and much more for my students no matter where they may be on the path of self-discovery.
"Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking."- Antionio Machado
I found my way to yoga in June 2007 when I intuitively knew I needed it, even as I didn't really know what it was. As former ballet dancer and current psychologist, I was quickly hooked by the rich teachings at City Yoga that synthesized mind with body, effort with ease, individual with community...who knew all that could be packed into an exercise class! Through the asana, I steadily grew to understand how much yoga provided "off the mat," and I continue to love the work and play of finding healthy alignment in poses and life itself. I often fail spectacularly, but I have the rest of my life to keep trying.
In 2016, I completed the 200-hour teacher training through Rasika Yoga School. The process strengthened by foundational knowledge, expanded my community of friends and deepened my capacity to find equanimity. When I take the seat of the teacher, my goal is to help you meet yours, a little bit more with each practice.
I started practicing yoga during college to counter my gym crazed workouts. It was always a way for me to find a little bit of myself every time I stepped on my mat – so important during the hectic years of my early young adulthood. I still find comfort on my mat – and laughter and tears. In my years of teaching, I’ve taught a wide variety of people, from those in wheelchairs to athletes. My biggest joys in teaching come from not only sharing the practice itself but also a bit of who I am with the world. I hope people walk out of my classes feeling better, with a broader perspective, and actually apply what they learn on their mat into their lives.
Now the formal stuff: I’ve dedicated my life to helping others find healthy balance. I received a Master’s Degree in Public Health from USC. I am a formerly licensed and certified Anusara Yoga Instructor. I also have specialty training in adaptive yoga. As a former YogaFit master trainer, I’ve travelled all over the east coast teaching and sharing the practice of yoga.
When not on my mat, I enjoy the usual – friends, food, wine, good conversation, and a great movie (sometimes all at once). I’m always down for dancing around my living room in my pajamas. My cat runs my house. I’ve been known to “talk” to my television when my favorite shows are on. I LOVE good music. Finally, my dry sense of humor extends into everything that I do…be forewarned.
I began my yoga journey out of curiosity. Piqued by yoga's place in popular culture, I took my first class at the University of South Carolina over 10 years ago and was hooked. When I met my teacher, Stacey Millner-Collins, I became committed. My first workshop was with Sommer and Paul Sobin, and I found it so fulfilling that I wanted to learn more. I started to attend workshops, and I’ve studied with John Friend, Christina Sell, Desiree Rumbaugh, Douglas Brooks, Betsey Downing, and Martin Kirk.
Feeling pulled to share yoga with others, I completed the 100-hour Anusara Immersion of the Carolinas in 2008, and Carolina Yoga Teacher Training Program in 2010 and received my RYT-200 status, spending two years as a mobile yoga teacher, primarily at USC’s Green Quad. In addition to Stacey, I have to give a big shout out to Sarah Faircloth and Kelley Gardner – all three were instrumental in my becoming a teacher. In terms of my practicing and teaching yoga – backbends are my favorite, and I enjoy teaching students of all ages and abilities, but especially those with a sense of humor – I love to make my students laugh!
Outside of yoga, I am a Gamecock junkie: I am an administrator at the University but also an alumna, having completed both my bachelor’s degree in print journalism, and my master’s degree in higher education at USC. I love working with college students and use my understanding of yoga philosophy at work. My husband is Scott, a United Methodist pastor, and my daughter is Kate.
Jemme has been contributing to the field of mental health for over 40 years. Jemme's classes at City Yoga incorporate psychotherapy interventions with asana, meditation, pranayama, and yoga philosophy. In addition to teaching Gentle Yoga classes at City Yoga and developing yoga psychotherapy workshops and series with fellow instructor Dr. Annie Wright, I am a Psychiatric Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist who is Board Certified by the American Nurses Association and a Licensed Professional Counselor. My love of yoga and commitment to its healing possibilities permeates my life and work and culminated in 2012 with my opening, along with a colleague, UPSTREAM of Columbia: A Center for Mindfulness Practice and Holistic Mental Health.
I began studying yoga with my teacher and mentor Stacey Millner-Collins in 2005. She continually inspires me with her knowledge of and commitment to the path of yoga, and I am humbled to be part of City Yoga, a true community of the heart. I am a graduate of the 200-hour RYT Carolina Yoga Teacher Training Program. I am also certified in the Yoga Warrior method and teach yoga for military personnel and their families. Other studies and trainings include workshops and courses with John Friend, Betsey Downing, Professor Douglas Brooks, Professor Bill Mahony, and Professor Paul Muller Ortega.
“Yoga does not choose the qualified, but qualifies the chosen.” – Christina Sell
I often say that I’m an “accidental” yoga teacher. After 10 years of teaching fitness classes, my path to yoga started in 2000 when my Columbia YMCA supervisor convinced me to take a weekend teacher training program. I am so grateful that the hand was extended, the invitation to the dance given, and that not knowing what I was in for I said “yes,” because that weekend program sparked my passion to learn more about yoga and share what I had learned with others.
Since then, I have had the great fortune to study with many amazing teachers and have completed teacher certification programs with Holy Cow Yoga in 2003 and Carolina Yoga in 2009. I held an Anusara-Inspired certification from 2007 until April 2012, and am now a Yoga Alliance, RYT-500 certified teacher.
I teach an alignment-based yoga practice with an emphasis on taking the body through a full range of motion to find freedom and an enhanced sense of well being. I’ve successfully used yoga to minimize the effects of my own scoliosis and I am passionate about teaching others how to use yoga to feel good in their bodies. I have studied therapeutic yoga extensively with my primary teacher, Stacey Millner-Collins, as well as with Doug Keller and Martin Kirk. I have also trained with Elise Browning Miller on yoga specifically for scoliosis.
I have been a military family member as a child and an adult and never lived anywhere longer than three years until I was in my 50s. This life instilled in me a sense of wonder, adventure, and love for travel. It prepared me to be flexible and accepting of change not as torture but as a grand adventure.
I began my yoga journey 25 years ago in a boutique Yoga Studio in Tennesse. Never would I have believed my loyal mat would become my constant companion, packed last and unpacked first with each move. I always looked for a yoga studio first and then a hairstylist at every new place.
In 2015 I decided to share my love for yoga and become a yoga teacher. I completed the 200-hour teacher training with Rasika Yoga School. My primary teacher is Stacey Millner-Collins, who taught and inspired me to look for the good. I also have received training with Mind Body Solutions for Adaptive Yoga and Asheville Yoga Center for Restorative and Senior Yoga.
I first came to my mat in 2012, drawn to yoga by a simple desire for increased flexibility after having spent the previous twelve years a competitive swimmer. As I walked out of my first class, taught by Stacey Millner-Collins, I realized I had stepped into a rich spiritual, mental, and physical tradition that would allow me freedom from chronic anxiety and ultimately change my life. In 2016, I completed my 200-hour teacher training through Rasika Yoga School, led by Stacey Millner-Collins, Sarah Faircloth, Kelley Gardner, Sari Weston, and Allison Modafferi Brewster.
Outside of yoga, I'm a total nerd! I hold a Bachelor and Master's degrees in Marine Science, work as a technician in an ecology lab, and often have my nose stuck in a fantasy or sci-fi novel. My class themes are often inspired by ideas found in nature, literature, science, art and music. My hope is to blend an informative teaching style with a playful atmosphere to create classes that challenge and nourish the mind, body, and spirit.
I have been practicing yoga at City Yoga since 2005. I began practicing for the physical benefits but soon discovered that yoga had much more to offer. Yoga has helped me develop balance, strength, and flexibility both on and off the mat. It has has taught me to slow down, notice my breath, and appreciate life. It has been an invaluable source of support to me in my career as a lawyer.
In 2014, I completed the 200-hour teacher training with the Rasika Yoga School, co-founded by my primary teacher, Stacey Millner-Collins. I decided to teach because I wanted to share the empowering properties of yoga. My hope is to be a good steward of this practice and to help students experience the many benefits of yoga.
Yoga is a way of life for me, because to me yoga is life. I see the mat as a playground and asana as an opportunity to explore balance, humility and possibility...and to have fun doing it. I'm a playful teacher and student of yoga and love to laugh with my students even as we bring a focused intention to each practice.
I bring almost 20 years of practice to my teaching, as well as my experience as a professional speech coach and public relations consultant. My more distant background of teaching and dancing ballet, tap and jazz also influences how I look at yoga: as a life-long dance that constantly reminds me that I don't always lead... my husband, Walker and sons Walker and Mitchell might like for me to remember that a little more often! Stacey Millner-Collins has always been my primary teacher, and watching her grow City Yoga over the last decade has been a particular pleasure for me. Thanks to Stacey, I have been exposed to and practiced with many other teachers from around the country and have been teaching for 17 years.
I often ask students why they practice yoga and encourage them to revisit that question each time they come to the mat. I've learned over the years that the "why" of my practice is far more significant than simply maneuvering my body into different shapes. The poses are a beginning, not an ending, and it is with that mindset that I approach every class I teach.