Theresa May – Owner / Director – E-RYT 500/Mindfulness & Meditation Teacher
I found yoga in 2001 (or yoga found me) when I was looking for a way to deal with the craziness and the stress in my life. I discovered a spiritual awakening and contentment that has enhanced every aspect of my life on and off the mat. I needed to learn more about “this magic” of the breath, body and mind and took the 200 hour teacher training in 2005, followed by the 500 hour yoga teacher training , both with Michael Johnson of North Carolina, and I have been teaching ever since.
We opened Santosha Yoga in October of 2009 and the community has truly embraced us. I realized that in order to keep the blessings that I have I needed to share this magic with others, to help them find their own path to contentment as they discover their own strength, flexibility, courage and wisdom.
My journey continues as I deepen my knowledge in order to continue to pass it on to others. Along the way I have been fortunate to have studied and practiced the Anusara and Ashtanga styles of yoga, as well as a student of Jason Crandall, Seane Corn, Doug Keller, Nancy Candea and Dharma Mittra. I am currently studying and practicing with Alan Haras (Bhaktadas Om).
Christie Cairo – E-RYT 200
Yoga, which means to “yoke” or the union of the body, mind, and soul, has become such a beautiful word to Christie. When she first started practicing yoga it was all about sweating, the poses, and getting a better body. Those benefits are wonderful, but she found herself enjoying the time on her mat to get to know “herself” a little more. As a result, she feels more calm, happy, and very much alive. Taking this practice she started to incorporate this mind- body connection with her career as a personal trainer and then decided to become a full time yoga teacher because of the lasting benefits of peace in the mind.
She completed her 200 RYT with Michael Johnson in 2007. In December 2011, she had taught over 1000 yoga classes and qualified for E-RYT under the Yoga Alliance. Her lineage includes teachings under Michael Johnson, Alan Haras, Brian Granader, Geshe Michael Roach, and countless other teachers and friends.
She wants her classes to provide a space where someone can come in and just “breathe” and enjoy the present moment. Whether it be for the physical benefits of the postures or for the positive messages for your mind and personal growth, she is honored to help others improve the quality of their lives. Namaste’
Grace Buffa – E-RYT 200
Grace first practiced Yoga in Ferndale and Royal Oak in 1998 and felt at home on the mat. Life at that time had become very busy with completing college for Physical Therapy and getting married. Yoga was then pushed off to the side. After working and having a child 10 years later, she wanted to pursue a career in teaching Yoga. Little did she know her passion and whole life would change. Grace took her teacher training with Brian Granader at Red Lotus Yoga. Brian has not only been a trainer, but a mentor too. My teachers also include my husband, son and students.
Yoga filled a void for me spiritually and made me more compassionate, tranquil and a happier human being. I am blessed to have found Yoga and love to teach others and share all of the wisdom and freedom it brings. My classes come from the heart and I hope to inspire others through these teachings on the mat so they can use them off the mat.
Andee Lafferty – E-RYT 200
While Andee began teaching primarily Hatha, Vinyasa and Ashtanga styles of yoga, she realized while practicing throughout her pregnancy, that she had a passion and calling to help other future mothers understand the benefit of how a regular practice can positively impact pregnancy and birth.
In order to allow other women to understand the benefits of yoga and mindfulness during pregnancy Andee sought out Laurel Hicks of Mindful Mamas Prenatal Yoga, to further her education and training. In addition to her 200 Hr Registered Yoga Teacher Certification, Andee completed and additional 85 hour program specializing solely in teaching expectant women.
Debbie Kowalski – RYT 200, PT, CPI
I became inspired by Yoga and Pilates through a commitment to rehabilitation and wellness. I developed a passion for mind/body fitness which provides tremendous benefits to students of all levels. Through self-awareness and internal focus one can find healing, growth and transformation. Classes instill motivation and challenge for students to reveal their full potential in a compassionate and non-competitive atmosphere.
I have been a licensed Physical Therapist since 1995. I became a Certified Pilates Instructor in 2003 and began YogaFit trainings in 2005.
Cindy Neville – E-RYT 200/RYT 500
Yoga has changed my life in so many ways. I found a regular yoga practice when Theresa May opened Santosha Yoga Studio in October 2009 when I was at a crossroad in my life. I had practiced sporadically before then for about 10 years. Santosha Yoga Studio became a place where I felt safe and able to explore and deepen my yoga practice. No ego or worries are words that are on the wall at Santosha and it is true. I completed my teacher training at Santosha Yoga receiving my certification as a RYT 200.
Yoga has deepened my compassion for others and helped me realize that each day is a gift. I am so grateful each day to be alive and able to not only practice yoga but share it with others. I want to help my students realize the physical, mental and spiritual benefits of yoga, both on and off the mat.
Penny Carroll – E-RYT 200/ RYT 500
Inspired in how yoga and meditation help to quiet the mind and allow for an inner reach to the deepest, most authentic self, I have been practicing since 2000 and teaching since 2012. It is in my heart to share yoga to help others deepen their relationship with their own bodies, heart and minds. In my classes you can expect a strong safe space to explore your practice. We will set intentions, focus on asana alignment, practice breath work, and possibly chant. We will experience movement and stillness together in balanced classes that are intuitively offered for every body.
I feel so blessed to share the gifts of yoga and meditation in this community and for the wonderful offerings of my teacher Theresa May, with whom I studied for my RYT-200. I have completed YogaFit teacher trainings, and I am currently completing certification with the Warriors at Ease Program studying with Robin Carnes and Karen Soltes, focusing on yoga and meditation for veterans and others with PTSd. I have also practiced and studied with the alignment-focused Jason Crandall, and the beautiful story-telling of Sianna Sherman.
There is so much to learn in this life! Yoga is a powerful journey that helps us remember the ease that is in each of us.
Amanda Hodge – RYT 200
I had no idea how the Journey of Yoga would change my life… I always thought I couldn’t do yoga… I wasn’t the right size, I didn’t have the patience for it, I wasn’t flexible enough, and how can someone teach me how to breathe?
I dabbled in yoga class here and there but I kept going back to it. In April of 2011 I was drawn to it again knowing I needed to do something for myself and make some must needed changes. I found Santosha Yoga and that’s when I found ‘’home”. After I took my first class at the studio, I knew I had to learn more and continue this journey for myself as well as teach this to others. That’s when I decided to take the Teachers Training course at Santosha Yoga with Theresa May. Since then I have earned my 200 hour teacher certification. And now have the honor of teaching others how great this journey can be, I look forward to meeting the littlest of Yogis to the oldest of Yogis and teaching you and learning from you all at the same time.
Yoga to me means Journey… a journey of Health, physically and mentally. Yoga has brought my smile back, on and off the mat and has given me a path that I was longing for. Yoga IS for everyone and I look forward to sharing my journey with you as well as sharing in YOUR Journey!
Jill Mazure – RYT 200
When I took my first yoga class, I had no idea I would find a hidden beauty in the practice of connecting breath and body. It was magical and mystical at the same time. Being curious to the euphoria I got from doing yoga, I signed up for YTT with Theresa May. Yoga is a way of life now. It grounds me. Yoga connects me to the peaceful energies of the universe. I strongly believe that yoga has the potential to bring wellness to everyone. I am blessed to have the opportunity to weave the knowledge of all my teachers together and pass it along to my students. I am a student first, every day. Learning never ends in life’s journey connecting mind, body and spirit. Namaste.
Jennifer Martin – RYT 200
The smallest step begun along a path can change your life in so many seen and unseen ways. It is astonishing to realize that the
thing you need most in your life always comes back around to find you. I first started practicing yoga many years ago while attending the University of Chicago. Life was very busy and although I looked forward to coming to my mat on a weekly basis, for what I thought at the time was simply “exercise”, my practice was eventually pushed to the side. Many years, three sons, a degree in Romance Languages and Translation, and a move back to Michigan later, yoga once again found me.
I first came back to my mat as a way of healing from persistent running injuries. What I didn’t foresee was healing spiritually and emotionally, as well as physically. I have now been practicing consistently for over 7 years and completed my 200-hour teacher training at Hamsa Yoga with Certified 800-Hour Dharma Yoga teacher Alan Haras, who I continue to work and study with to deepen my knowledge of this beautiful practice of Yoga, as well as Ignatian Spirituality. I have also been greatly influenced by Sri Dharma Mittra and Mark Whitwell in my pursuit of the wisdom to be gained from Hatha Yoga. My teaching style takes its inspiration from all of this knowledge, from the classical yoga tradition, with a special emphasis on the profound wisdom and healing potential contained within the practice. It is my great wish to pass this on to my students.
Kathy Sweeney – RYT 200
Kathy grew up in the world of yoga. Living this way has truly helped Kathy make the connection of mind, body and spirit. In the past, Kathy was a fitness instructor. Kathy truly understands that yoga is so much more than just the physical practice. It is a pathway to our inner selves, a doorway to the Divine, a means of connecting to the entire universe. Kathy embarked on yoga teacher training to explore in greater depth the sacredness and philosophy of yoga. She is excited to bring this same feeling of peace, acceptance, and unconditional love to others.
• Yoga Alliance RYT 200
• Reiki Master
• CPR Certification
Amy Kayy – RYT 200
In January 2016, I came to Santosha to explore yoga as an option for stress and anxiety relief during a very difficult time in my life. While reading and meditation had begun my spiritual path, finding yoga took it to a new depth. Through regular practice my self-awareness, compassion and optimism grew. Attending classes under Theresa May, Cindy Neville, and other wonderful teachers, I started to feel connected to something much larger than myself. In that same year, 10 months later, I began teacher training at Santosha.
This journey has enhanced my life in so many ways and being able to share this gift with others is an honor. As a teacher, my goal is to provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where students can learn, grow, and explore their extraordinary potential.
Gail Sobczak – ABMP Certified Massage Therapist
Licensed Massage Therapist and member of the ABMP. Graduated from Irene’s Myomassology Institute in 1999.
Gail’s experience ranges from physical therapy and in-patient hospital care to working in a full service spa.
Her mission is to help relax and de-stress her clients, whether it be from an injury or day to day stress. Nothing is impossible.
Marlena Fraser – ABMP Certified Massage Therapist
Marlena is a licensed, ABMP Certified Massage Therapist and a 2012 graduate of Healing Hands Holistic Health Center School of Massage. While knowledgeable in several techniques, her style is an intuitive fusion of Swedish, Trigger Point Therapy, Myofascial Release, and Reiki. She is a firm believer in the healing process that massage and energy modalities can offer when combined! They work to bring balance & harmony to mind, body, spirit!
She is experienced in Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point Therapy, Shiatsu, Myofascial Release, Warm Bamboo Fusion, Cranial SacraI, and Reiki. She continues to pursue her education in the holistic field to keep her skills and knowledge fresh.
Dani Wade – ABMP Certified Massage Therapist
ABMP Certified Massage Therapist since 2013. Graduated from “The Ann Arbor Institute of Massage Therapy,” a COMPTA accredited school. The 800 hour program consisted of training in many different modalities, but focused mainly on Neuromuscular Therapy and Myofascial Release.
Dani’s goal is to help you with your chronic pain patterns or through an injury. Using a combination of techniques, she will tailor the massage to your specific needs. Dani has worked with clients who sought out massage therapy as an alternative to medication or surgery. She has also worked with clients before and after surgery to promote a quicker and healthier healing process.
She is dedicated to helping others understand more about their own bodies and believes this knowledge will lead to healthier future generations.