Our Teachers


Emily Ridout  

Emily Ridout

Emily is a Toronto-based, Mamma of 3, Wife, Sister, Daughter, Aunty, Friend, Leader, Co-Founder of the 889 Community, doTERRA Wellness Advocate, Teacher and lover of nature and spiritual life. Emily is passionate about finding simple and effective ways to thrive in your everyday life. Emily is also known for her unique relaxation classes, infused with essential oils, giving students practical tools for self-love and self-care in an easy, light and simple way. Emily Co-Founded the 889 Community in Toronto with her sister, Christine in early 2007. Together, they have been infusing joy and lightness into the lives of their customers for over 10 years through the practices of yoga, pilates, meditation and through their uniquely curated wellness boutique – The 889 Shop.
Christine Russell  

Christine Russell

Christine Russell is a mother to two girls, a teacher, an entrepreneur, a leader and a visionary. She believes in miracles and the limitless possibilities arising from the magical journey inward. In 2007, with her sister Emily, she co-founded our beautiful home, the 889 Community, and 889’s collective mission to inspire happy, healthy, peaceful lives. 889 is host to nearly 100 yoga, pilates and meditation classes weekly, The 889 Shop (889yoga.com/shop) curated for your mindful lifestyle, and is a powerful community of high-vibe, radiant humans. Christine is a compassionate and loving teacher of Yoga, Meditation and Essential Oils, teaching to those ready to up–level and elevate the way they think, feel and live in the world. She also leads a tribe of women around the globe educating on Essential Oils. Christine graduated from the 889 Living Yoga School, The Richard Ivey School of Business, and from the MIT EO Entrepreneurship Program. Mama Earth is her favourite playground with her girls and husband, her true loves. Her passions include self-leadership, sparkles and the greenest juice she can get her hands on. It is Christine's personal mission to ignite your inner sparkle to brighten your vibration and the vibe of those around you.

Community Director


Kerry Heming

Kerry Heming is a certified Pilates Instructor and is the Community Director at 889. Kerry has high energy, and a bright spirit which she weaves into all she does at 889. Kerry's joyous personality especially shines through in her fun + uplifting Pilates classes. She is as much fun on the mat as she is in life! Kerry has always been passionate about health and wellness and from a young age her interest and enthusiasm for all things movement-based was apparent. Kerry's healthy, active lifestyle led her to obtain her Honours Degree in Outdoor Recreation at Brock University. Following her formal studies she spent several years working with children and adults in the Outdoor Education field in various leadership roles. In 2011 Kerry decided it was time to shake things up and moved to Toronto to pursue a new career in the fitness industry. She started her journey as a personal trainer and fitness coach before landing at 889 Yoga where she tapped into the wondrous world of Pilates. Kerry quickly became enthralled by this practice and the importance it plays in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It was this recognition that drove Kerry to obtain her Pilates teacher-training certification from Body Harmonics. Through her practice, Kerry knows firsthand how effective Pilates can be at transforming the body’s shape and structure while establishing a powerful mind/body connection. With her safe approach to a controlled and effective practice, Kerry’s students are sure to share in her passion as she guides them towards becoming their most mobile selves. Assisting others in becoming the best version of themselves through Pilates is Kerry’s true passion. It is her mission to help you thrive. Her classes are focused, upbeat, challenging and fun – and you are guaranteed to feel the burn! As a compliment to her Pilates practice, Kerry is furthering her education through 889’s Living Yoga School and is currently studying to become a Nutritional Therapist.

889 Pilates Teachers


Chivon Bielawski

  This Certified Pilates Instructor is madly in love with mobility. She brings her passion to the mat with unique sequences that keep muscles firing, joints moving, and blood flowing. Connect to stabilizing muscles for better alignment and a strong, functioning bod. Experience a different, powerful kind of flow. Able body.  Able mind. Full heart.  
Aniela Kurylo  

Aniela Kurylo

Aniela flawlessly couples her high-energy vibe and love of making people smile, with her integrative understanding of anatomy and movement. Her classes focus on mindfulness and alignment, and are inspired by functional movement, yoga, and other modalities. After unhappily and unhealthily working as a professional model in her early 20s, and in search of a more passionate presence in her life, Aniela fell in love with the practice of yoga. She began studying various facets of the practice, including Kundalini yoga with Sat Dharam Kaur, Restorative, Pre/Postnatal and Yin Yoga. She received her Hatha/Vinyasa yoga certification from The Yoga Sanctuary and in 2013 completed her Pilates training at Body Harmonics. She is currently working towards a reformer certification with Leslie Parker at Mindful Movement Center. Aniela is honoured to work with a varied community including beginners, advanced athletes, lovers of movement, those on a healing journey or those just looking for a good burn. Teaching, learning and connecting with her students is where Aniela finds joy and passion. She attests to the statement that “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.” Aniela believes that above working hard, and staying focused and present, our time here is to be enjoyed.

Rebecca Yakimowski

Born in the prairies with adventures on the west coast under her belt, the east coast vibe, pace & culture claimed Rebecca’s heart. With a creative background & intrinsic love of movement she built her teaching base in TO with a following in the city’s uptown core focusing on Pilates, Yin, Restorative & Reiki. She is inspired by empowering students to redefine their own definition of personal strength & prioritizes classes that emphasize quality movement, grace, balance, support, depth, humor & community.

Taya Griffin

Taya has been obsessed with all things baby since she was a young girl. She is in awe of the capability of a woman’s body as she moves through pregnancy, birth and the discovery of her unique mothering instincts. After leaving the corporate world in 2002, Taya received her Yoga Teacher Training Certificate in Cape Town, South Africa and the following year she received her Classical Pilates Certification in Hong Kong. She began teaching pre and postnatal yoga and pilates in Hong Kong and has not looked back. Furthering her education, in 2007, she graduated from the Ontario College of Homeopathic Medicine with a Professional Diploma in Health Sciences and Homeopathic Medicine and practiced as a Homeopath focusing on pregnancy, pediatrics, and women’s conditions. Realizing her passion lay in helping mothers reach their breastfeeding goals, in 2011 Taya graduated from the International Breastfeeding Centre / Newman Breastfeeding Clinic’s Lactation Medicine Program. During her education she achieved over 700 hours of clinical experience and worked as an intern directly under Dr. Jack Newman and Edith Kernerman. She has a private practice teaching prenatal breastfeeding classes and seeing clients postnatally in their homes and in hospital. Taya combines her love of the surrender of yoga and the power of pilates to her breastfeeding consultations. Taya is also mother to two little munchkins. Amelia Grace who is 4 years old and Mabel Mackenzie who is 1. Both love yoga and breastfeeding!

889 Yoga Teachers


Carolina Carvalho

Carolina started practicing yoga in 2000, while still living in Brazil. The inner peace found on the yoga mat sparked her ever growing curiosity to learn more. She took her first hatha yoga teacher training program in Toronto in 2006. In 2008, Carolina began studying yoga therapy in a clinical setting in South India and since then has been working one-on-one with individuals of all walks of life, dealing with specific needs and conditions to help them achieve optimal health and overall well-being. Carolina creates a safe practice environment focused on the subtle exploration of body and mind. Through her own journey and teachings, she hopes to inspire people to live from a place of love and acceptance, realizing their fullest potential. Ongoing studies and practice, combined with a compassionate heart make her classes a soothing experience for mind, body and soul. Most treasured source of inspiration: the ocean. Being in the ocean nourishes my soul. I feel supported, one with creation. Observing the waves, the agitation and the stillness makes me feel connected to the pulsation of life, aware of the infinite possibilities. The cleansing, healing power of the ocean never fails, carrying away all that is non-serving, creating space for fresh beginnings.  
Jaffer Hussain  

Jaffer Hussain

Jaffer combined his love of athletics and yoga in 2010. Since being introduced to yoga, he can no longer imagine a life without it. He feels yoga brings a unique combination of mindful awareness, spiritual enlightenment, and physical strength. What he learns on the mat will often be a reflection of himself off the mat. Alongside this, his passion for music and hands-on assists combine for a truly unique experience. Jaffer's teachings are accessible and community-based. What this means is classes are all levels and designed to embrace a sense of belonging to a larger, more powerful community. @jafferyoga
Josh Cohen  

Josh Cohen

Meditation derives from the Latin word meditari which means to contemplate, prepare, and practice. Along Josh’s journey of self-discovery, these cornerstones of regular practice – taking care of the body with nutrition and exercise and equalizing the mind through contemplation/observation have been instrumental in cultivating the experience of wholeness and health.
Shortly after being called to the Bar in 2001 and while traveling through India Josh enrolled in a 10 day silent retreat that deeply resonated and was to greatly influence his understanding of the mind/body connection. Then in 2003, after completing his teacher training at Downward Dog, he began to share the principles of yoga and meditation to a vast student body (ranging in age from 12 to 101 years old) through workshops classes and discussions at studios, athletic clubs, hospitals and retirement homes throughout Toronto. He is particularly proud of his work at the Baycrest/Wagman senior community and with war veterans and psychiatric inpatients at Sunnybrook Hospital Albert Einstein once said that you only truly understand something if you can explain it to your grandmother and Josh has taken this to heart as he focuses on simplifying the teachings of various mindfulness meditation based methods he has encountered in his studies. Josh explains the meditative process through the concepts of physics, philosophy, and psychology illustrating the principles involved from all three viewpoints in an effort to give students a broad spectrum for reference. Josh specializes in teaching beginners the principles of establishing a meditation practice and he deeply cherishes the opportunity to share from his own direct experience how these techniques have better equipped him in balancing the challenges of life. Josh currently practices Family, Civil Litigation and Estate law in Hamilton, ON and teaches Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness Mediation in Toronto, ON. Instagram: @joshcohen44 Facebook: @maimonides Twitter: @joshcohen

Adam Bolton

Adam leads classes designed to quiet the mind and inspire the body through music, movement, and breath. His goal is to provide a supportive and inclusive space - safe for students to awaken the body’s vitality, and to release stress patterns. To develop an intelligent, and satisfying yoga practice, Adam integrates conscious alignment and proper breathing techniques into engaging and challenging sequences. To support the constant evolution of realizing your potential, Adam’s classes are an opportunity to clear the slate - physically and emotionally to make space for the connection to spirit.  

Corrie Teahen

Corrie Teahen began a journey of integrating her passion for body and movement through yoga in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her engagement with instructors at Semperviva Yoga brought Corrie to a place of self-discovery, spiritual growth, and reunion with one of the most sacred energies - breath. Corrie completed a 200-hour yoga certification with Semperviva and began to contribute her unique blend of teachings and synthesis of form to Vancouver’s yoga community. Corrie has studied with Yoga Works, where she uncovered her ardor for the Vinyasana flow practice, and has completed intensive training with Shiva Rea in Los Angeles, California. She also has studied with Tracey Sogharti and is a certified Yin Yoga teacher, incorporating the chakra theory and traditional Chinese medicine into her classes. Corrie has completed a Masters in Social Work at the University of Toronto, with a specialization in Mental Health and also works as a therapist.  

Jaya-Leigh Bowen

Jaya-Leigh is a deeply knowledgeable leader in a vivid range of healing arts and yoga. She has a sincere following in the Toronto area, and has been facilitating classes, workshops, and sold out retreats for over a decade. Jaya-Leigh brings a unique and welcome combination of humour, relatedness, and an intuitive understanding of individual needs. She weaves together powerful techniques acquired from her own training and depth of experience working with people from all ages and walks of life. As a spiritual coach and channel, Jaya-Leigh performs shamanic reiki sessions and channeled Readings. These reveal and clear old, and often past life impressions that keep people stuck in patterns that limit joy, flow and the true expression of the soul’s purpose. Jaya-Leigh teaches reiki, meditation, yoga nidra, kundalini, yin, hatha, and restorative yoga. Her calling is to help people remember and experience their true essence – that we are all a limitless spirit having a human experience in an amazing body. www.jayaleighconnects.com @jayaleighconnects

Jodi Fischtein

Jodi has practiced the methods of Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow yoga, and has studied with Shiva Rea within her methodology of Prana Flow. Her practice has included a wide range of disciplines ranging from Yin Yoga to Thai yoga massage. She is currently engaging in MBSR method studies at the University of Toronto.
With a solid foundation in her own practice, Jodi encourages her students to soften the edges in asana practice to open the door to a truly embodied practice. Through the dedicated work of Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh, Jodi practices deep listening, to better understand the global community. Travelling alone through India and leading yoga retreats in North Africa has shifted her world view and increased her capacity for compassion and understanding. 
"Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth." ~Rumi

Justin Haley

Just in Haley is a graduate in Yoga Education and Yoga Therapy. Justin sees Yoga as a universal health care system that can create a harmonious balance in one’s life. Justin believes yoga to be a continuous therapy that allows us to deepen, strengthen and heal the inner relationship with ourselves, with other human beings and our planet at large. Although Justin has been a student of Yoga for nearly a decade it wasn’t until his own personal experience with cancer in 2007 did his relationship to the practice transform into a profoundly passionate connection. This experience led Justin to India where he studied over the course of a two year period, allowing him to really explore and deepen his bond to this ancient tradition. Seeing and experiencing the transformative qualities of the practice first hand, Justin now dedicates his life to helping others evolve, explore and discover the miraculous and exhilarating health benefits of practicing yoga. Justin always approaches his classes with joyful energy, humour, a skilled touch, and with a compassionate light-hearted approach. His steady pace, balanced sequencing, and attention to detail encourage students to move slowly, deeply, and mindfully. Justin creates an environment for his student’s that is warm, open and very nurturing. Justin offers immense gratitude to all his teachers that have shared their love and light so that he can bring passion, warmth and knowledge to every class: Mr. Vishwas Vasant Mandlik, Kate Woodworth, Yogi Amit, Seane Corn, Hali Schwartz, Jesse Enright, and, currently with Pat Harada Linfoot, Scott Davis and Alix Bemrose at Octopus Garden.  

Lana Sugarman

Lana was introduced to yoga ten years ago and has been practicing ever since. A certified Jivamukti and Yin yoga teacher, she has been graced with the teachings of many inspiring yogis, including Sharon Gannon, David Life, Tracey Soghrati, and the wonderful women of Jivamukti Yoga Toronto. She has found yoga to be a wonderful tool in her life, opening her body, heart and mind to the world, and is eager to share the joy with others. Her classes are a mix of expressive asana, music, and philosophy. Also a performer, Lana merges her love for song and yoga through kirtan (call and response chanting). She leads workshops and kirtans with her harmonium spreading the magic of mantras!  

Lisa Mitchell

Lisa has been a student of yoga for fifteen years. She undertook her first training at Esther Myers Yoga Studio and then completed a 300 hour advanced teacher training at the Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. Additionally, she has completed two restorative yoga trainings and is certified to teach Yoga Nidra. Lisa has also achieved her Level 1 Reiki certification.  Before making yoga her full time vocation, Lisa worked in public health. She holds a Masters of Education in Adult Education, Community Development and Counseling Psychology. She is engaged in a Relational Somatic Psychotherapy program through the Helix Healthcare Group, where she offers private yoga to individuals dealing with mental health, trauma and addiction. Lisa is drawn to the psychological and emotional benefits of practicing yoga as a way to ease suffering. Throughout Lisa's years of teaching, she has taught yoga in community centres, churches, schools, workplaces, treatment centres, hospitals, hotels, parks and studios.  Lisa believes yoga is accessible to all. Her teaching is described as clear, mindful and kind. Lisa is a mother of two girls and credits yoga and mindfulness with keeping her present and mostly grounded. Her intention is to share with others what has been healing and transformative in her own life.  www.lisamitchellyoga.com 
michelle karkic  

Michelle Karkic

Michelle attributes much of her desire to delve into her yoga practice to her years of ballet training. Having had to connect to the body at a very young age, it was refreshing to start a practice that was rooted in, not only, connecting to your body, but also your breath, mind and self. For Michelle, practicing yoga is all about connecting to oneself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Integrating her training from Kripalu, Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative and Yoga Therapy, Michelle works to create classes that inspire students to explore these aspects in an intuitive, relevant, invigorating and fun environment. “I believe that practicing yoga is all about connecting to yourself both physically and mentally. Yoga and your practice is constantly evolving along with all other aspects of your life. In the same way that it is sometimes essential to alter you pace of life due to circumstance beyond your control, for example when you get sick and must slow down, it is also important to adapt your yoga practice to meet these different paces. Sometimes a more active, vinyasa flow style is called for, and at other times we need a more restful, restorative practice. I believe that by connecting to your own rhythm and it’s cycles it is possible to achieve and maintain balance and health. I am filled with gratitude for the entire community of 889. This has been a place of tremendous, learning, healing and growth for me on many levels and I look forward to practicing with you!”
Nora Benian  

Nora Benian

Nora loves to share the wisdom found in the teachings of Yoga. She is a practitioner of yoga for over 20 years, and teaches classes to a wide range of people with a wide range of challenges whether physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual. Nora's knowledge of anatomy, physiology and Yoga Therapy guides students safely through yogic postures and practices. She is a Certified Yoga therapist with IAYT and E-RYT 500 Yoga Alliance. Nora is a compassionate teacher who helps students to release stress and tension, strengthen the body and mind, and learn to relax deeply. Modifications and adaptations are used when necessary making yoga class experience positive for all. Nora inspires students to grow and helps to motivate them through challenging at times, self-development with joy and ease. Instagram: @yogaaah_onsite
Facebook: @nora.benian
Sara Moncrieff  

Sara Moncreiff

Sara's yoga journey started while working at Rama Lotus Yoga Centre in Ottawa, Ontario. Her passion grew daily to the point where she turned down an acceptance to a master’s program in Positive Psychology to go to Bali and enroll in her first 200 hr yoga teacher training. This amazing, well rounded teacher training had many influences, Vinyasa most of all, but also covering things like, basic nutrition, NLP, Pranayama chanting, etc. Coming back to immediately start teaching, she was quickly pulled back to the east to continue to pursue becoming a Raw Food chef and to get her 500 hour Yoga teacher training. Sara's main teachers include Daniel Aaron, Gabrielle Whitewolf, Edward Clark, Alanna Kaivalya and Dave Stringer. My most treasured source of inspiration is by an unknown author: "Life isn't about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself."    

Sunny Smith

Sunny has always been delighted with the art of movement. A dancer from a young age, her passion for dance was stopped short after a serious car accident. After years of physical therapy and other forms of healing modalities she happened upon yoga. Yoga transformed Sunny's physical body and she knew this information must be shared with everyone. Sunny has over 1000 hours of teacher's training, and is a graduate from the Chakra Yoga school in Victoria and Downward Dog Yoga Centre. Sunny continues to study with master teachers Rachelle and Paul Gold, recently completed Tracey Sograhti's yin teachers training, and has completed Levels One and Two at the Toronto Thai Massage school. Sunny strives to create a welcoming environment where students feel safe, inspired and cherished. Guided through intuition and knowledge, Sunny's classes are filled with music, mediation and metta. Sunny encourages her student's to evolve all aspects of one's being, from body health to self realization. “Spiritual practices are the means. They keep this glowing light in the foreground of your mind and allow you to see by its rays.” - Gurumayi Chidvilasananda  

Tara Good

Tara believes that yoga is a practice of wholeness and love. In 2006, after 16 years of formal dance training and a degree in Psychology, Tara began her yoga practice, little knowing at the time that what would ensue would be a life-altering commitment and journey. Inspired by the philosophies and movements of Shiva Rae, Sara Powers, Seane Corn, and influenced by key experiences within various studios in the Toronto yoga community, Tara set out to attain her 200 hour teacher training certificate and has not looked back since. In practices Tara incorporates pranayama and ahimsa techniques, focusing on establishing an intuitive connection with every class in constant search of a flow in balance with the moment. She teaches vinyasa, hatha and yin classes and prioritizes fostering a safe atmosphere for students to venture inwards towards self-acceptance and sustained healing. Tara strives to practice with compassion, joy, and consideration. Her belief is that yoga can be anywhere at any time, and aspires that the balance and peace we discover on the mat blends into our everyday motions and being.    

Tasha Rooke

Tasha takes a holistic approach to yoga, stemming from her first training in Reiki healing in 1995. She has moved and inspired thousands of people through her teaching practices for over a decade. Students have been touched by Tasha’s heartfelt work and many are inspired to be the change in their lives. It was in Northern India and the Himalayas where she received a wealth of wisdom in the ancient vedic tradition. Tasha’s meditation training was acquired directly from the source in the India.

Tasha is a U of T graduate as a Religion Specialist, successfully completing studies in Buddhist Psychology and Mental Health. Tasha brings forth a playful and experienced presence in her yoga classes. She is highly intuitive, empathetic and a compassionate and gifted healer. Instagram: @rookeyoga  Facebook: @yogatasha
Tiffany Merritt  

Tiffany Merritt

Tiffany is a naturally creative person who has always craved a career where she can express her passion for helping others. In 2008 she completed the Jivamukti Yoga 300-hr certification with David Life and Sharon Gannon. This challenging, flowing style richly entrenched in yoga philosophy permeates all of her teaching. Through graceful asana sequences, and the integration of words, music and mindfulness into her yoga classes, Tiffany creates a calming, yet challenging environment for all levels of students. Tiffany has also completed a prenatal yoga certification and birth doula trainings with Doula’s of North America and Birthing from Within. She is passionate about supporting new parents and feels incredibly grateful to have worked with dozens of families as a birth doula, pre/postnatal yoga teacher and childbirth class facilitator. In her private Art Therapy practice, Tiffany seamlessly combines psychotherapy, creativity and mindfulness within the context of a therapeutic relationship to support children, youth and adults who are experiencing from a wide range of concerns. Tiffany regularly facilitates yoga, art therapy & combined yoga and art therapy workshops throughout the city of Toronto. During her “me time,” Tiffany enjoys photography, gardening, stand-up paddle boarding, drawing & painting, cooking yummy food, walking her dog & many other soul nourishing activities. www.tiffanymerrit.ca

889 Supporting Yoga Teachers


Anna Hardwick

Anna is a Certified Interdisciplinary Yoga Teacher, teaching in studios, offices and homes across Toronto since 2008. She recently started teaching internationally, leading yoga retreats in one of her favourite places on earth, Costa Rica. Her love of yoga began at the age of 13, when she attended a yoga class with her entire family. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training in 2008 at The Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica, studying with Don and Amba Stapleton. She has continued her studies in Toronto in prenatal yoga, yoga therapeutics and restorative yoga. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer Specialist and brings a knowledge of strength training and athleticism to her classes. Anna is passionate about the transformative potential of yoga, and is in awe at its ability to bring awareness, balance and peace to life. The relationship between creativity and yoga is integral to Anna’s practice and is a perfect balance to her career as an actor where she works in film, TV and theatre across the country. Influenced by dance, Alexander technique, sports and fitness, Anna creates a powerful, fluid, meditative experience in her classes, with an emphasis on breath, rhythm and linking the poses. She enjoys creating classes that inspire and support each students' experience.

Nore DeBora

Nora DeBora is a Certified Yoga Instructor, Holistic Nutritionist, Live Blood Microscopist and Personal Trainer, who embodies everything Wellness related. From physical activity to meditation and healthy nutrition, Nora strives to live a balanced life through her connection to her body, mind, and spirit. Her earlier years of competitive dance training set the stage for her love and passion for physical movement and breath work, which motivated her to pursue the discipline of yoga. Nora continued to pursue her education in Ayurveda and Holistic Nutrition and now runs her own business building healthier and stronger individuals and communities through her holistic health guidance and programs. Nora is inspired by the growth and development of others and strongly believes in educating her students and empowering them with the knowledge, tools, and skills to pursue a wholesome, sustainable life. On her personal time, she loves to travel, read, and spend time with family and friends. When she isn’t working or spending time with loved ones, she's challenging her body and mind through various activities such as Yoga, Meditation, Muay Thai, Strength and Conditioning training, Plyometrics, and Calisthenics training.

Blythe Sheppard

Blythe knows yoga to be a feeling of calm in the mind and an ease through the body. The goal of her practice is to continuously arrive in that peaceful state. Yoga has taught Blythe the value of self-care through both thought and action. She has completed over 300 hours of teacher training including studying Hatha Yoga through Sivananda in Kerala, India and Restorative Yoga with Pat Harada Linfoot and Scott Davis through Octopus Garden in Toronto. She has completed further training with Sarah Powers, Eion Finn, Elle Scott, and Nicky Poole that have influenced and enhanced her teaching. Blythe has experience in many styles of yoga but she is known for her beautifully balanced classes, that combine strengthening, stretching and breathing. Outside of yoga, Blythe exercises her creativity through photography and most joyously, experimenting in the kitchen. Blythe believes that yoga is for everyone and encourages students to practice mindfulness each day.

Nina Taylor

Nina's journey with yoga started 20 years ago on Salt Spring Island, BC. It swiftly became the love of her life. Providing her with the opportunity to deepen her mind-body-spirit connection, and develop an inner awareness that continues to enrich her life to this day. As a teacher, Nina brings a lighthearted, playful quality to the mat. Her intention is to provide classes that are both empowering and therapeutic. She values yoga's ability to strength the body, create inner stillness, and improve flexibility, both on and off the mat. Nina has studied with a wide variety of teachers all over North America for the past 20 years, but has only recently decided to step into the role of teacher. Nina did her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with Diane Bruni in 2014 and has since completed advanced training with; Sadie Nardini, Seane Corn and Elena Brower. Nina continues to be an avid student and enjoys teaching from a place of joyful curiosity.

Ariel Whitaker Brown

Ariel was born and raised in downtown Toronto and spent most of her childhood involved in competitive gymnastics and ballet. She found the practice of Iyengar Yoga in 2002 and was instantly motivated by the sense of structured movement, correct alignment and meditative qualities. A few years later, Ariel went on to complete the Ashtanga Vinyasa Flow Yoga Teacher Training with Downward Dog Yoga Studio in both Toronto and Mexico. In 2012, the experience of motherhood inspired Ariel to study with Kundalini Yoga teacher Gurmukh in Vancouver, becoming a Certified Khalsa Way Prenatal Yoga Teacher. Ariel feels immense gratitude for the experience and to be able to share these teachings with women on their journey through pregnancy and childbirth. Ariel teaches a variety of classes, which focus on a creative flow, precise alignment and pranayama. She aims to bring her students a sense of connection and balance both on and off the mat.

Ashley McEachern

Ashley discovered yoga after completing her MA in International Development and working with some of the world’s most at-risk populations. It was during a Yoga Teacher Training in the Sacred Valley of Peru that she realized how self-awareness, mindfulness and higher consciousness is the path towards truly eradicating disease, poverty and exploitation, both in Canada and across the globe. It was there where she realized that the journey to peace begins with each individual. Ashley believes that yoga is part of a greater path to inner and outer strength, patience, play and peace. Her classes are taught with compassion for each student’s individual situation and are often described as inspiring, challenging and awakening experiences. She honours alignment, adjustments and mindfulness, and can’t resist a ten minute savasana. She is grateful for her Anatomy Teachers- Thomas Myers, Bryon Brewster and Leslie Kaminoff; her mindfulness teachers- Sarah Powers and Chaitanya Nitai Das; and the women of www.bareallretreats.com for being a constant source of knowledge and inspiration.

Ella Isakov

Ella discovered yoga over a decade ago while living in Japan working as a school teacher. Upon returning in 2007, she completed her teacher training at Downward Dog Centre where she continues to practice under the guidance of Ron Reid. Ella also received her restorative yoga teacher training with Judith Lasater whom she continues to assist, advanced teacher training with Ana Forrest, and she is a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. Ella is also grateful for the wisdom of Seane Corn, Suzanne Sterling, Ashley Turner and Rod Stryker. Ella feels that yoga found her and is incredibly grateful for the beautiful gifts she continuously discovers and cultivates on her journey that guides her through the ebb and flow of life. Her passion and purpose in life has always been to inspire others to uncover their inner knowing and light within. Ella provides a warm, and attentive environment, giving special attention to individual needs and empowering students to go within and move to their edges through breath and movement. Her classes are challenging, yet inclusive, exploring sequencing and themes to grow and cultivate inner wisdom and connection between body, mind and spirit. Ella has continued with her love of children by establishing a kid’s yoga company, Stellar Kids Yoga. She also started Prana Retreats leading wellness retreats that combine yoga, meditation and education on mindful eating. She is also a published writer and the editor for the Parvati on-line magazine. To find out more about Ella check out www.ellaisakov.com

Erin Wilbur

Inspired by modern Vinyasa sadhana, Erin approaches yoga like she approaches life – with a sense of humour and a desire to experiment. Classes with Erin are playful, challenging, unifying and calming. Erin completed her 200 hour certification in Vinyasa and Hatha in Toronto in 2009 and since that time has followed some of the modern world’s most celebrated teachers across the earth to continue her yoga education. She is continually invigorated by practicing with beloved teachers Maria Garre, Les Leventhal, Sadie Nardini, Seane Corn, Danny Paradise, Rodney Yee and Eoin Finn. In 2011 Erin began studying with her teacher and inspiration Shiva Rea towards completion of her 300 hour advanced Vinyasa certification at the renowned Samudra School of Living Yoga. Erin draws from the Prana Flow teachings in her classes and considers it her personal mission to bring her students “into the flow”.

Hutch Morton

Hutch has been practicing mindfulness meditation since 2007. He was introduced to the practice by his first teacher Kevin Griffin in San Francisco and later spent 5 years practicing in Los Angles with the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society and Insight LA. Since moving to Toronto in 2011, Hutch has continued to stay connected to the teachings, writings, and dharma talks of his teacher Noah Levine. He started a Vipassana meditation group in his home in California for his local community and was part of the group of teachers that launched the meditation classes and community at 889 Yoga in 2013. Hutch is married to 889 Yoga co-founder Christine and is the proud dadda of 2 daughters Waverley, Winslowe, and 889 community hound Fernie.

Jayme Selazek

Jayme fell in love with yoga after her very first class. Initially attracted to yoga for its physical benefits, she quickly realized that the practice has so much more to offer. Through work with the breath, the movement of the body, and letting go of ego one can cultivate strength and an inner peace. In her teaching she hopes to provide creative yoga sequences, blending spirituality with playfulness and emphasizing body awareness to promote alignment and balance.
Jen Hauer  

Jen Fazari Hauer

When Jennifer discovered the practice of yoga, she had already spent years as a gymnast. Although similar, yoga embodied a new understanding of the mind-body-spirit connection which further inspired her to study. In 2006, Jennifer completed her formal teacher training in Toronto and then spent the next few years studying anatomy, the Yin tradition and the meditative & spiritual elements of yoga. Jennifer’s practice reflects the best of the Yang traditions of yoga, as in vinyasa flow, ashtanga, as well as the Yin practice, to deeply stretch connective tissue and facilitate a meditative mood. During the past two years, Jen has lived and taught Karma yoga in Sedona, AZ while immersing herself in the spiritual writings of Dr. David R. Hawkins. She is excited to have returned to Toronto and is currently teaching in a number of studios throughout the GTA.       Inspiration Dr. David R. Hawkins is my true source of inspiration. A modern day mystic and sage, drawing on his own deep spiritual experiences, he presents a clear understanding of spiritual Truth. His work re-contextualizes the human condition; by working to understand rather than judge, we become more compassionate, more forgiving and thereby begin to open ourselves to experiencing the joy and peace of Divinity.  

Joanna Morrison

A Trauma Informed Yoga Therapist from Yoga Therapy Toronto, a certified yoga teacher, practitioner and educator, Joanna teaches many styles of yoga, including Ashtanga, Restorative and Yin and has trained with Diane Bruni, Hali Schwartz and Tracey Soghrati and Felicia and Ante Pavlovic. She has received specialized training in trauma work and has certification in Trauma Sensitive Yoga through the Justice Research Institute in Boston and Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health, where she has studied with renowned trauma expert Bessel Van der Kolk and JRI Yoga Director David Emerson. She encourages students of all ages to honor their bodies, to find contentment in any pose without judgment, and to listen to one’s inner teacher. In her teaching, Joanna places great emphasis on the breath as a means to deepen and enrich your yoga practice and enhance your awareness of the connection between mind and body.  Joanna is currently pursuing a certification and training in the Gestalt method of psychotherapy.

Kitti Gombos

Kitti Gombos is a Yoga Alliance certified teacher who lives and teaches Vinyasa Flow Yoga and Chair Yoga in Toronto, Canada. She received her instructor's certification in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga at Downward Dog Yoga Centre, Toronto. Kitti first started yoga in London, England, where she lived for 7 years before moving to Canada. Following her bliss Kitti travelled around the world in 2009 and practiced yoga in Thailand, Bali and Vancouver, Canada. Always desiring to know more she has attended workshops with world-class instructors: Clair Missingham (Vinyasa Flow Yoga), Yogeswari (Jivamukti Yoga), Simon Park (prana flow yoga), Eoinn Finn (Blissology Yoga) and Dr Frawley (Yoga and Ayurveda).
Kitti's aim is to teach a safe and enjoyable class to her students. Her style is a blend of traditional Ashtanga yoga and Vinyasa flow yoga. On her classes she links the postures together through the movement of the breath, creating a moving meditation which helps to release stress and tension from the body. She inspires her students to live their life to its full potential. Through yoga, she believes she can guide people towards a happier life.
"Yoga changed my life and it became a way of living rather than just a physical exercise. Yoga helped me to find peace and it makes me feel at home wherever I am in the world. Through Yoga I have grown as a person and my body has learnt how to relax; I became stronger and healthier than ever. Yoga taught me how to find balance on my mat and in my everyday life. I became more "present" and am therefore able to enjoy every moment of the day. We are continuously changing and learning as individuals and yoga is a great guide on this amazing journey called life."

Lena Hamilton

Lena came to a Vinyasa yoga class in 2008 and immediately felt the wisdom and power of yoga.  She has completed her 200 hour teacher training at 889 Yoga in Toronto and continues a life long journey of learning and sharing her teachings. She looks forward to sharing the tools that have brought her a sense of peace, inner strength and self love on and off the mat.  Lena weaves reiki, yoga nidra, and yogic philosophy into her classes.

Lisa Messina

The yoga practice provides a space for discovering our capacity for personal transformation. Thoughtful, insightful, and inspiring, Lisa Messina creates a safe place for deep listening and courageous exploration. A dancer from the age of three, Lisa’s life work has been exploring and sharing her passion for movement through a broad range of modalities, including dance, Pilates, and yoga. A persistent seeker, she unites a deep understanding for the ancient traditions of the yoga lineage with her research in progressive movement modalities. Lisa supports her students in their greatest expression of health and wellness so that they are empowered to engage harmoniously in the world. Lisa is a international teacher trainer, presenter, and retreat host. Yoga certifications include Svyasa Yoga University in Bangalore (200 hours) and Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre (300 hours). Lisa has privately trained in injury prevention and rehabilitation with Master Pilates Trainer Miriane Taylor and participated in hundreds of hours of continuing education with senior teachers around the world. Lisa is currently studying Relational Somatic Psychotherapy with Dr. Michael Sieck founder of The Three Fold Way. Founder of Drishti Yoga Centre, Lisa is currently leading open classes in Toronto at Octopus Garden, and Yyoga as well as working with private groups and individuals at Helix Heathcare Group, a wellness facility specializing in mental health, addiction and trauma. She also loves traveling, leading retreats and teaching specialized workshops in other communities.

Louise McDonald

Louise has been practicing yoga for 20 years, and teaching since 2001.Currently enrolled in Shiva Rea's 500h certification program,  Shiva’s methodology is what most influences Louise's teaching today.   A certified Thai Massage practitioner since 2003, Louise enjoys incorporating thai techniques into her classes.   Also a flight attendant,  Louise can attest to and appreciate the incredibly grounding effects of a yoga practice, and it is her great joy to share this with her students.   Before becoming a flight attendant , Louise exercised racehorses at Woodbine Racetrack, and would be remiss not to mention her racehorses as her greatest teachers,  in life and in yoga.   "Let yourself be silently drawn to the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray". Rumi
Megan Gates  

Megan Gates

Megan Marie began her yoga exploration in Vancouver after graduating from theatre school where her passion for playfulness, movement and creative expression fuzed together with asana, pranayama, and meditation. She has been delving into the vast world of yoga practices ever since. Her classes draw on everything from dynamic vinyasa flows, renewing restorative postures, free-form movement, music, mantra, meditation, and spirituality/philosophy; always encouraging her students to find their unique organic expression of movement, breath and energy. Megan Marie is a graduate of Octopus Garden's 500 hour Teacher Training program, and 30 hour Restorative training with Hali Schwartz.

889 Supporting Pilates Teachers

Amy Brown  

Amy Bodden Brown

Amy has been sharing and introducing people to Pilates since 2000. From 2003-2011 she opened Pilates for Life - a beautiful Yorkville studio - and has created 17 fitness DVD's. She is certified on the equiptment: Reformer, Cadillac and Stability Chair and is certified as a pre-natal and post-natal instructor. Deepening her passion for Pilates, Amy became a Master Instructor in 2006 and began teaching the Pilates for Life Instructor Training Program.  After a session with Amy clients feel taller, leaner, healthier and happier.

Danielle Shoom

Danielle is a Certified Barre and Pilates instructor. Her classes have an influence from both of these disciplines to create the ultimate core and full body workout. She is consistently continuing her education in fitness and loves learning about health and nutrition. Her passion is helping others reach and exceed their fitness goals to transform their bodies. Danielle always keeps her classes fun, positive and motivating! She loves to stay healthy and strong by practicing Barre, running outside, and staying active throughout her daily life.

Laura Wood

Laura has been teaching yoga in Toronto for nearly 10 years. After completing her 200 hour certification at YogaSpace, Laura quickly discovered that her primary passion focused on working with pregnant women and new mothers. Laura has spent much of the last 8 years dedicated to learning how to best support mothers and families during this important time. Complimenting her pre-natal yoga training with Sasha Pardon, Laura received her Pilates certification through Body Harmonics and has trained and worked as a doula with CAPPA and Birthing from Within. As the mother of 2 energetic boys, Laura personally experienced the powerful and important nature of yoga and pilates as tools to foster intuition, remain present and practice self love. Laura infuses her yoga practice with elements of pilates to help students feel more aligned and supported yet open and grounded at the same time. She believes that a strong practice starts in the core and creates classes that help students connect deeper and move with a sense of ease. Her sense of humor, honesty and welcoming attitude create a space in which students are invited to explore their own paths of self discovery, compassion and loving kindness.

Marianne Carmen

Marianne began practicing pilates over 20 years ago and was amazed by pilates ability to access deep muscular tissue and create a strong core foundation.  She also was impressed by pilates continuous mental stimulation through its mindful movement and its diversity of fundamental exercises.  Hence, she never looked back. She found that as a recreational dancer, pilates also enhanced the elongation of all muscles and provoked a greater understanding of anatomical structure and its relationship to movement.   Marianne received her graduate M.A. degree in art therapy and spent 15 years working in this field helping others use creativity as a form of coping.  However, after leaving this career to raise children, Marianne decided it was time to follow her passion and teach others the power of pilates.  She became a Stott certified instructor in both mat and reformer and today thoroughly enjoys teaching group classes.  Marianne strongly believes in the ability of pilates to bring awareness, transformation, integration and rehabilitation to every single part of the body, resulting in a happier and healthier life.

Monique Ducharme

After many years of being disappointed by one exercise program after another, what a turning point it was to discover Pilates. I have experienced first hand the many benefits of this mind-body approach to fitness ... improved posture and muscle tone, increased strength and flexibility,  heightened body awareness , focus, and concentration, to name a few. After several years of being a committed and loyal Pilates student, I received my certification (Mat and Reformer) from Body Harmonics Pilates. With a degree in education, a teaching certificate and years of experience in that field, I feel very fortunate that I can combine two of my passions: teaching and Pilates. As a Pilates Instructor, I look forward to continued learning opportunities in movement education, and I am especially keen to accompany others in working toward their wellness goals.

Robyn Breen

Robyn has dedicated her life to movement with parallel careers as dance artist and movement instructor. Robyn holds certifications in Pilates and Fusion. She is graduate of both York University's Dance (BFA) Program and The Professional Training Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. At York, Robyn had the privilege to study with dance science master Donna Krasnow in areas such as Conditioning with Imagery Training, Dance Kinesiology, and Prevention and Care of Injuries. Robyn is constantly taking classes and courses to further her education as both a mover and movement teacher.

Shari Zitsow

With an honours BA in Communications and Sociology, followed by a challenging career in integrated marketing, I knew that my professional goals were not yet satisfied. I needed to incorporate something more personal, meaningful and FUN! Pilates was the answer. Teaching since 2003, I am still inspired daily. Making strong personal connections and helping people live with less pain while enjoying life more fully is a privilege. I structure my classes and privates so clients feel stronger, taller, happier, healthier and more energized. Each hour is taught with humour and flow accompanied by great tunes. I am one of the lucky ones that can help bodies do what they are built to do: move easily, purposefully, efficiently and often. My classes give tools to allow students to move better both inside a studio environment and out in their daily lives. Pilates certified in mat, chair, cadillac and reformer; Zen-ga, MELT method.

Vanessa Layne

Vanessa became interested in the world of Pilates after reoccurring lower pain back resulting from her job.  After experiencing positive rehabilitative results and back strengthening she decided she wanted to help others overcome injuries induced by daily activities. Her classes include traditional exercises incorporated with modern movement to create a fun and challenging environment.  Vanessa hopes to continue introducing people of diverse backgrounds to Pilates by demonstrating the health benefits and how fun it can be!  

889 Teachers on Sabbatical


Audrey Gentile

Audrey Gentile is a yoga teacher, culinary arts graduate, wife and bulldog mom. Hailing from northern Quebec, her yoga journey began in 2002. As she deepened her discipline for the practice, learning and travelling with Lyne St-Roch, pioneer of francophone yoga, she discovered its broader spectrum and the self-exploration gifts it offers. Audrey’s teaching is infused with authenticity and vulnerability. Skillfully arranging asanas to ease the journey from the physical to the subtle body, her emphasis is on what the practice feels like and what it evokes. Compassionately unambiguous around taking a 'non-guru' approach, she focuses on empowering her students to connect with their own wisdom and strength. Today, calling Toronto home, Audrey can be found teaching in local studios, in private at-home classes, in satellite workshops and as part of her immersive retreat experience, L’Anima, in Italy. Audrey’s love for yoga is matched by her passion for slow and ethical food. Her attention being on the quality of both these sacred practices, the essence is ultimately feeding the body and soul in a true holistic sense and as a way to celebrate life. For more info www.audreygentile.com
jackie odette  

Jackie Odette

Jackie O was born and raised in Toronto, ON. Her love for movement and mindfulness brought her to Pilates and she never looked back. Her classes are energetic, challenging and fun! She can always find the humour in a little bit of hard work! After taking her class you will be sure to feel stronger, leaner and more connected to the way your body moves.

Melissa Blair

Melissa has studied yoga around the world, from India to California, Costa Rica to Massachussets under world renowned teacher Shiva Rea (Prana flow) and the Kripalu School (Kripalu Method). Her teaching is a blend of the two styles: Prana Flow - an empowering, transformational, and evolutionary-edge blend of hatha, tantra, ayurveda, and Vinyasa Flow yoga. Kripalu Method - an inquiry-based yoga methodology that promotes the awakening of the life force (prana) using classic asanas, pranayama, meditation, and relaxation techniques. Melissa encourages her students to embrace their practice fully and with an open and compassionate heart, asking them to always trust their inner voice, the greatest teacher within. Melissa enjoys teaching all types of students, offering classes that range from beginner to more advanced and vigorous vinyasa flow. It is her passion to share yoga with the modern city dweller and her firm belief that Yoga offers the modern person a multitude of health benefits from weight loss and increased strength/flexibility, to heightened mental clarity and reduced anxiety. Yoga is bound to have a positive impact on your life.

Taryn Diamond

Taryn is an energetic and inclusive instructor, drawing from experience in facilitation, gender analysis and a commitment to social justice. Having practiced yoga for nearly a decade, Taryn began sharing her love of yoga upon completing over 500 hours of Yoga Education at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre in 2012. She draws from her training in yoga, restorative yoga, and meditation to offer students a balanced practice. She is especially grateful for the ongoing mentorship she receives from instructors, Pat Harada Linfoot, Scott Davis and Jeff Warren. Taryn believes yoga allows one to express their true nature, first through movement and then through cultivating a deeper connection with oneself and with each other. She loves the creativity yoga has sparked in her life and utilizes this 'spark' to ensure that yoga is first and foremost fun! Taryn aims to empower students in their own practice by providing a safe foundation from which to explore. With light and love, she embodies compassionate and holistic approaches to individual and community learning.