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 began practicing yoga seeking relief from anxiety. Becoming a regular student at City Yoga has taught me to pay attention to the mind/body connection which has nearly eliminated my lifelong anxiety-induced digestive issues. And now, I am able to savor the richness of life more fully. Yoga helped me discover that the ability to improve my life was completely within me and I’m so grateful to be able to help students use yoga to discover within themselves what they need to become more whole.
Outside of the yoga studio, I’m a piano teacher and have been teaching both privately and in the classroom for a decade. I feel a deep calling to teach, to connect with another’s heart, and it is such a gift to continue my teaching journey sharing yoga.
My RYT-200 hour training with Rasika Yoga School was completed in 2019. I have a BA in music education and a master’s degree in saxophone performance. Besides playing music and being on my mat, I feel most alive in nature; hiking, kayaking, backpacking and putting my feet into the ocean. I also enjoy reading, cooking, traveling, concerts and savoring this beautiful, fleeting life with my husband, family, and friends.
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.
When someone asks me how long I have practiced yoga, it is an easy answer since my first class was at 8 a.m. on an icy Saturday morning in Indianapolis a few weeks before my son was born over a decade ago. The more that I do yoga, though, the more it feels that I’ve practiced it for much longer. From breathwork as response to my asthma to physical therapy as response to my flat feet, I have come to learn and preach that yoga is simply about sitting with ourselves—mind and body—and breathing, observing, listening, and remembering that the word practice should not be underestimated. My practice is a blend and balance of routine and experiment, meditation and body awareness, silence and music. I did my 200 hour RYT in mindful vinyasa at Mission Yoga in Charleston and am eternally grateful for the warmth and welcome that space provides whenever I return. Other loves of mine include food, film, tea, the water, hiking, slam poetry, music of many kinds, and any travel I can get with my super cute family.
Heather studied yoga and wellness at the Niroga Institute in Oakland, CA. Her 500 hours of yoga trainings through Niroga were all therapeutically-based and trauma-informed. She also holds certifications in teaching Yoga to Youth (Niroga) and Pre & Postnatal Yoga (Mama Tree SF, Jane Austin). Her classes are for all levels and include pranayama (breath control) and mindfulness practices. Heather firmly believes in yoga and meditation as powerful tools in aiding emotional regulation and stress reduction. Outside of yoga, Heather enjoys being in nature, dancing and metal-smithing.
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.
Jessica completed her 230hr Yoga Teacher Training in May of 2012 through the Asheville Yoga Center under the guidance of Stephanie Keach. Jessica is currently pursuing her 500hr certification through Asheville Yoga Center. Jessica began teaching yoga to children in 2011 after she attended two yoga for children trainings. Jessica is also a mother of two girls, an early childhood educator and an artist with a BFA from Winthrop.
“Yoga inspires self discovery and it is fun! I was drawn to yoga in 2000 after a knee injury. Yoga helped to transform my body back to my pre-injury state but it also transformed much more. Yoga allows a space to explore movement in a beautiful way as well as permission to find the stillness that is necessary to explore the deeper layers of self. My hope is to share what I have learned in order to light the path of self awareness for others.”
“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.
"When at peace and content with oneself and others (santosha), Supreme joy is celebrated." ~Yoga Sutra II.42
Yoga is an invitation to blossom and flourish in awareness of a physical and mental connection that includes strength, balance, grace, ease, and clarity. One of the many beauties of the practice of yoga is that it can guide us to be mindful, not only on our mats, but also throughout our days. My love of yoga creates an opportunity to guide my intentions toward goodness while in the midst of movement, thus allowing me to virtually pause in the peace of a centered heart.
Living a fitness-based lifestyle has continuously been paramount in my life. As a practicing Physical Therapist, I have been given the opportunity to help others with physical challenges reach their goals. The completion of the rigorous 200-hour alignment-based Rasika Teacher Training in 2018 was a wonder-filled, life changing experience that provided me a wealth of knowledge, enlightenment, and joyful friendships. As a yoga teacher I hope to inspire students along their yoga journey by teaching proper alignment cues, imparting an experience of moving with breath, mind, and heart connection...and to inspire students to find their yoga off the mat as well.
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 came to yoga and meditation seeking more clarity and connection. I had no idea it would change my life. My yoga journey has been progressive, fascinating and one that I hope will continue to grow my whole lifetime. I graduated from Rasika Yoga School in 2018 and learning from my teachers and others around me has fueled my passion for this discipline. I have always had an excitement and wonder about life and I hope to infuse that into my teaching.
Outside of yoga my passions are mountain biking, traveling, scuba diving and being in nature as often as I can.
“If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself.” Eubie Blake (1883 - 1983).
A mid-life detour to graduate school led me to look for an alternative to martial arts, which I had been practicing and teaching for years. Fortunately, I discovered yoga. It not only helps me to deal with the stress of working full time, raising kids, and going to school, but it was also the therapy my body needed to rehabilitate old injuries acquired during years of strenuous training. Like Eubie I just didn’t know I was going to live this long! I’m now thankfully retired from a career in Information Technology and slowly getting used to the ‘wisdom discount’ at the grocery store. I was certified to teach through a program at Holy Cow Yoga Center in Charleston, SC (Yoga Alliance 200 hour) in May 2004, and continue to be a teacher and a dedicated student.
The body-mind is endlessly fascinating, and I love yoga’s breadth and depth, its power to heal, its ability to reconcile the body-mind and spirit, and its essential message of surrendering to what is. I have a special interest in anatomy and am constantly intrigued by how we are all amazingly alike and yet anatomical variations abound. This is a physical practice supported by some very old philosophical ideas which resonate with me and yet you don’t have to study yoga philosophy to benefit. Just show up on your mat with an open mind and willingness to explore. I try to offer classes that challenge everyone who shows up while encouraging each student to honor and respect their boundaries and have some fun. I especially love introducing yoga to people and seeing the positive effects that come from a steady practice. Yoga is for everyone. It is highly therapeutic when practiced with attention to good alignment, and it can help you to know yourself a little better. It’s a great way to take better care of yourself (just in case!).
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.
In my practice and in my teaching, I am most interested in how yoga can deepen and heighten our experience of being in the world, and help us live more fully in the present. It believe strongly that the time we spend practicing yoga reverberates into our daily lives—helping us cultivate self-reflection, find joy, and carve out spaces to pause, reflect, and be still.
My classes are taught primarily in a vinyasa style, composed of a flowing sequence of poses. I emphasize the synthesis of mindful movement, breath awareness, and precise alignment. I am also trained to teach restorative yoga, and I often incorporate ideas from this more restful practice into even my most vigorous vinyasa classes. I strive, in my teaching, to nurture a light-hearted and compassionate atmosphere, and I embrace the opportunity to learn from my students.
I have been practicing yoga for the last fifteen years, and teaching for the last five. I completed my first teacher training at Om Yoga Center, in New York City, and have since taken workshops with many wonderful teachers, including Rodney Yee, Ana Forrest, Schuyler Grant, Dana Flynn, Sadie Nardini, and Rolf Gates. I love exploring each of the many styles of yoga. I am grateful to my original teachers—especially Kirsten Collins, Cyndi Lee, Joe Miller, Heidi Sormaz, Sarah Trelease, and Margi Young—whose example continues to guide and transform my own practice.