Karuna O’Donnell is a Certified Level 3 Forrest Yoga Teacher and a recognized educator in New England. Additionally, she offers private instruction, yoga classes and teacher training throughout Greater Boston. Karuna is a graduate of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She is also an educator profoundly committed to a mission of social justice in community initiatives and a professional committed to delivering consistent, high quality, research-informed learning experiences, which cultivate a culture of respect and dignity. Karuna is a highly motivated and enthusiastic person with experience in professional business management. She is highly trained in the art of yoga with an extensive repertoire and rich career history. Karuna is independent and original in her thoughts. Furthermore, she is an individual with an exceptional ability to turn theories into solid plans and transforming those plans into actions. Among other things, she highly values knowledge, competence, and structure. Karuna thrives positively by being a long-term thinker with a high expectation for performance.
Christine Rose, the co-founder of Four Corners Wellness & Yoga, has brilliant entrepreneurial skills and a desire to become a prominent brand name in the service industry, Christine Rose will be leading from the front. Christine Rose has shown her potential, always striving to set the bar higher. Her drive to get things done will ensure that 4 Corners Wellness + Yoga thrives and instills a culture of dedication to wellness in the community.
Christine Rose is a graduate of Boston University and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Her passion is helping people. Christine is committed to volunteerism. She has volunteered with a number of organizations throughout her lifetime beginning with Big Sister Association in 1995 and most recently as a compassionate touch volunteer at Hebrew Senior Life Nursing Home. Christine’s professional career spans from the food service industry to financial services to the not for profit sector and service based industries (hair salon & floral shop).
CarmenLeah Ascencio, LICSW, MPH, RYT, CPC, is a bilingual (Spanish-English) public health social worker, therapist, radical life coach, trauma-sensitive yoga instructor, educator and proud Boricua queer. She loves supporting people to dismantle their ideas about what can’t be done in order to focus on a vision that will be achieved. CarmenLeah integrates artistic, spiritual and body centered practices into her therapeutic and transformative work. CarmenLeah is also a novice surfer, outdoor explorer and is learning to build sustainable tree houses.
Like many, I first came to yoga hoping to address chronic aches, pains, and stiffness. I was blessed early on to experience classes with the amazing Becky Thompson, at the Dorchester YMCA, as my first inspiration to deeper practice and the fuller range of yoga's gifts, including its capacity to help us heal and grow.
Through Becky, I met our wonderful friend, Karuna O'Donnell, who further inspired me, and later guided me to Akasha Yoga School. Their ongoing work helping trauma survivors heal through yoga continues to inspire me. I have had the good fortune to receive training from Karuna in teaching trauma-informed yoga classes.
In my classes, I strive to assist people in listening to their bodies, focusing as much as possible on whole-body awareness, informed by my ongoing learning with the Alexander Technique under the expert tutelage of Cecile Raynor. I do my utmost to make each class an accessible and welcoming experience for everyone who attends.
Karen Shanti Caizzo
My mom brought me to my first yoga class when I was a teenager. I wore umbros. It was a Bikram class. I had no idea what I was doing, I was sweating buckets, and was by far the youngest in the class. From that point on, though, yoga was always something I wanted to do and learn more about. I came to the mat regularly to help with physical pain and anxiety. Like many others, I found myself and my life unfolding and opening up the more I delved into the practice. By my mid-twenties, I was producing for educational and public broadcasting, and burning out. I went to Kona, Hawaii in 2008 for my first Yoga Teacher Training at the Konalani Yoga Ashram, and have been teaching in Boston area ever since. Since then, I have completed my RYT500 with the Shambhava School of Yoga. I have trained in teaching Kids Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Ayurveda, Restorative Yoga, and Meditation.
My classes are creative, fun, and playful with focuses on strength, alignment, and mental clarity. I am always reminding my students about their breath. I enjoy getting advanced yogis into crazy postures just as much as I love sharing the magic of tadasana with beginners. I shifted my career because my objective in life is to be of service. While I revel in the looks on your faces when you come out of savasana, my genuine wish for my students is to breathe more, to realize their own strength, to carve out time for themselves as a priority rather than a luxury, and to ultimately feel strong, free, and empowered in their bodies and their minds. www.shantiyogaboston.com
Liz Elia is a holistic health and wellness practitioner who is committed to guiding her clients and students to their own inner source of health and happiness. Her yoga classes are explorations where students can safely be challenged physically, find their center mentally, and feel rejuvenated in their spirits. She creates a supportive and fun environment where all people are met exactly where they are, regardless of ability or experience. Liz is committed to making yoga accessible to everybody. She offers weekly classes to senior citizens, and also teaches chair yoga classes to people with mobility issues. Liz became a yoga teacher in 2011, completing a 500 hour certification in Myofascial Yoga Therapy and Bodywork with David Vendetti and Todd Skoglund. Liz is also certified to teach Yin Yoga, Yoga for Brain Disorders, Pranayama, and meditation.
In addition to teaching yoga, Liz works as a Brain Integration practitioner at her office in Cambridge. She works with children and adults to address learning difficulties, attention and memory problems, physical imbalances, and emotional trauma using this powerful and completely natural healing modality.
To learn more about Liz please visit: wholemindedhealth.com
Jacqui found her way to a yoga class when she was 18 because she heard it was supposed to “help reduce stress.” After stumbling her way through her first few classes she became enraptured with the way yoga asks you to come as you are and to accept all parts of yourself. This practice helped ground her after her mother passed away and has since been a medium for healing she hopes to share with everyone. When Jacqui found Forrest Yoga through a dear friend, Darin Volwiler, she finally found a style that met all of her needs in a practice while also delving deeper to get to the heart of the healing process. She began to understand how thought and physical patterns in her practice also showed up in her life and that she could use the practice to safely work on new skills in a controlled environment. She completed her 200-hour Foundation Teacher Training with Ana Forrest, creatrix of Forrest Yoga, and has since started her yearlong mentorship with senior teachers and Guardians Kiki Lovelace and Michelle Cordero Myers.
In Jacqui’s classes you will learn to move intentionally with breath so that each moment is grounded in truth and you can begin to discover the full breadth of your abilities. You will work with careful attention to safely get into postures and illuminate what shows up in the practice to move towards healing and growth – whether that means in flexibility, strength, or personal development. What Jacqui loves about this practice is that it gives you to the tools to stand fully in whom you are and the confidence and strength to live your most authentic self. With laughs, hard work, and full breaths, she hopes to guide each of her students to this point.
Fitness to Amy is a way of life, some might say she's been active since birth. She believes it brings people together from all walks of life to focus on themselves and bettering themselves. It allows you to live, to breathe. Fitness has always been a way to destress for Amy, it is therapy. After a great class with great tunes you want to leave smiling. That time spent you are focused, on the beat and on the poses...you leave your thoughts at the door. Yoga lets you let go of the chaos of everyday life. It allows you to live, to breathe.
Finding the right music and beat is so conducive and empowering for a soulful and inspiring class. No matter where someone is in life they step into a class and are focused on working on one goal together. Amy wants her riders to feel lifted and inspired as they leave, to continue to be their best selves inside and out of the studio. The classes are a journey together and she can not wait for you to join her!
Amy is so excited to join the 4 Corners Yoga + Wellness team and help to build a supportive community for all.
Her Mantra: "We Rise Up to Lift Others"
Brenda Hernandez began practicing yoga to find personal growth and community. Her passion for the unity of mind, body, and spirit that yoga brings, led her to yoga teacher training at Akasha Yoga School in 2015. She is a higher education diversity professional and a feminist activist. Her work influences her approach to yoga as a means of creating a safe space for explorations of identity and acceptance. Brenda's classes offer gentle movement, restorative postures, and energetic hands-on assists.
Majidah is from Orlando, FL and began taking yoga classes at the age of eighteen. After her first asana practice she noticed a sense of peace in her mind and relaxation in her body. Intermittently, she began dabbling in yoga as a physical form of fitness.
She moved to Boston in 2011 for a career in hospitality management. After years of long hours and perpetually putting herself second, she was burnt out. She took a leap of faith and left her job. In 2013 she began to attend yoga classes at North End Yoga and rediscovered her love of yoga - nourishing her mind, body, and soul.
Majidah completed her 200-hour teacher training certificate at the Boston Yoga School in March 2015. In January 2017 she completed her Yin Teacher Training with Josh Summers. She is grateful to her teachers Ame Wren, Brenna Matthews, Joanna Benevides, Josh Summers, Lindsey Blake; and her mentor Nicole Clark.
In her classes, you can expect educated alignment cues, a sense of mindfulness, and light-heartedness. Her hope is to make yoga accessible to everyone and inspire her students to feel a sense of patience and awareness within their own mind and bodies.
In 2006 Tara started taking yoga classes at Boston Sports Club in an effort to gain more flexibility. As she deepened her practice over the years it occurred to Tara that, just as yoga had benefitted her, it could also positively impact the children under her charge as a professional babysitter.
By 2014 Tara was so dedicated to yoga that she decided to deepen her practice by completing a 200-hour yoga teacher training at Boston Yoga School. Upon graduation, she began seeking out ways to bring yoga to kids and went on to earn her children’s yoga teaching certification through Coolidge Corner Yoga. It is Tara’s hope that through yoga her young students, including everyone from toddlers to preteens, will gain insight and learn to turn inward while having fun on their mat.
Susie Lovett is a licensed clinical social worker, certified K-8 classroom teacher, registered 200-hour yoga teacher and 300-hour yoga therapist. She is certified to teach Yoga for 12 Step Recovery and Yoga for Children and Teens and is one of only 100 Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitators world-wide. Susie is the founder and director of Hands to Heart Center - Yoga for the People, a nonprofit yoga service organization that shares the healing practice of yoga with people affected by addiction, poverty and trauma in Boston. She has worked with low-income youth and families as a social worker in Boston's communities of color for over 25 years . Susie considers herself primarily as a student of yoga, wholeheartedly embracing the concept of "beginner's mind" and is honored to meet other beginners on the mat.
I am a truth seeker, a student of life, and a world traveler.
Born and raised in the north of Spain (Asturias), I got my yogic education in Barcelona, where I studied for four years with some of the best yoga teachers of the country, and taught for two years to all kind of students, including children and elderly. I also learned Buddhist Zen meditation in the first Zen temple of Spain in Valencia, as well as Vipassana meditation in the tradition of S.N. Goenka in the Dhamma Neru center of Cataluña. Over the years, I have continued participating in many Vipassana and Yoga retreats around the world, in England, India, and the United States, deepening my own understanding of the self-transformation process that the paths of Yoga and mindfulness bring about. Now, I study Western and Eastern philosophies from an academic standpoint, as well as South Asian religions, and Sanskrit language in the pursuit of a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy.
In my Yoga practice, I try to incorporate all these channels of knowledge into a base of classic Haṭha Yoga. My aim is to make Yoga available to everyone through slow and gentle movements, with a special emphasis on mindful breathing and meditation techniques, stretching, and relaxation. I believe that Yoga is an embodied spiritual practice, open to all, whose most profound mission is to unfold the mystery of who we are.
I first was introduced to yoga at a young age when I was visiting my grandparents in Chennai (India). My sister and I diligently practiced the asanas and pranayama that our teacher passed on to us. At that time, yoga was a form of play that I enjoyed everyday. As I grew up and became entrenched in the day to day rat race of life, those teachings faded in the background.
Fifteen years later, when i went back to India to live, it was the practice of vipassana meditation that brought back the memory of yoga. I have had the fortune of completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training program with Danial Orlansky and Liz Owen whom I continue to derive inspiration from. For me, yoga has evolved from a physical practice to a spiritual one that goes beyond the mat. I carry yoga into my life as a nurse and an artist as well.
It continues to amaze me how much yoga has the ability to center and ground me in times of stress.
As a teacher, I am interested supporting people where they are in their yoga practice and helping to cope with stress in everyday life, which affects us both emotionally and physiologically. While I may have come a long way from that first experience of yoga i had many years ago, I still have not forgotten that essence of play and experimentation which I aim to incorporate into my class and my daily practice.
Theresa began practicing yoga in 2006 when she decided to join the Peace Corps. She was not in great shape, so she joined a gym figuring that Peace Corps Volunteers probably needed to be fit to climb volcanoes and paddle canoes in the Amazon to get to their mud huts. Unhappy on the elliptical machine, Theresa wandered into a yoga class, and fell in love. She continued to practice in her new home in Ecuador (in an apartment in the city of Guayaquil …since not all Peace Corps Volunteers live in the jungle), and this continued when she returned to the States and eventually moved to the Boston area. Theresa completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Open Doors Yoga in Weymouth in 2014, always with the goal of finding a way to teach yoga as a response to trauma. In 2015, Theresa completed a 100 Hour Trauma Informed Mind Body Facilitator Training with yogaHOPE in Boston; and in September 2015, Theresa was named the Kip Tiernan Social Justice Fellow with Rosie’s Place and founded her program: LEGIT.yoga. With LEGIT.yoga, Theresa teaches trauma informed yoga at Boston area shelters, low income housing communities, substance recovery programs, hospitals and schools serving low-income and at-risk communities. In 2016, Theresa joined the faculty of a 200 Hour trauma informed and social justice focused Yoga Teacher Training with 4 Corners Yoga + Wellness in Dorchester.
Theresa believes in a yoga practice that is as intense as it is relaxing, where you learn to appreciate and understand your body and your breath for exactly what it is today. Theresa’s approach to teaching yoga is that YOGA can teach YOU to use the power and good energy that your body creates to transform your own life and the lives around you.
I first found yoga in college when I began taking the free classes offered at my university and I quickly became hooked. The practice allowed me to connect with my own body in ways that I never had before. My practice is where my strength, passion, and fire are ignited. I always feel confident and beautiful on my mat. I want to share this practice with others to promote healing and compassion within our world that so desperately needs it. I work in the social work field and see so many connections between yoga and empowering others to live more peaceful lives. Yoga has completely changed my self-concept and feelings of my own self-worth. I am inspired by the entire community at Universal Power Yoga in Norwood, MA, where I completed my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training. In both teaching and practice, I strive to slow down from the fast pace that often defines life. I value a balance between softness and strength, effort and ease- on and off the mat.
I create challenging and evolutionary Vinyasa sequences that flow like a dance to celebrate the grace and beauty of the human body. I stay within proper alignment and use pranayama breathing techniques to help students connect to their practice. Heightened engagement allows students to focus, connect, and listen to their bodies. This connection creates strength, balance, increased flexibility, and clears the mind. I create a positive and supportive class environment with my students to help them cultivate their practice. I teach students to honor their bodies by respecting where they are on their personal yogic path and give students ways to safely advance their practice when ready. My style of Vinyasa flow encourages freedom of mind, body, and spirit.
“When we remove limitations, we explore possibilities”- Kimberly Washington
Linda N. Wells is the Wellness Warrior. Before pursuing a career in promoting wellness Linda was a Program Director, Youth Worker and community organizer. She spent nearly 10 years giving more to others than she did to herself; limiting her ability to create positive change for herself and her community.
Linda has since transferred her skills as an educator and activist to become a well known health advocate and Wellnesspreneur in the Boston area. She works with individuals to release toxic habits and identify the precursors to their burnout. She continues her activism by working with community-based groups to raise awareness of health and wellness through free and low-cost programs. Linda's teaching recognizes that stress may be unavoidable part of our lives but also that wellness is our birthright and we owe to ourselves to make healthy choices.
She is an experienced registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. Holding an M.Ed. specializing in Curriculum and Instruction from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA and BA in Political Science and Economics from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. www.lindawellnesswarrior.com
Kathryn is a 500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher, certified Pilates Instructor, and Balanced Body Faculty member teaching private clients, continuing education workshops and group classes throughout the Boston area. In addition to her Pilates certifications, Kathryn is a certified Personal Trainer from AFAA, and a level 1 Thai Massage Therapist.
Kathryn’s continuous study of anatomy helps to keep her students safe and inspired to learn more about their bodies. This former NFL Cheerleader (Pats) and choreographer, draws from her love of movement to create exciting classes focusing on proper alignment using breath, rhythm and flow. As an incessant student of Pilates, Yoga and the mind body connection, Kathryn is forever grateful to all of her amazing teachers and the students that continue to teach her.
Elise has been practicing yoga for 9 years. She has a foundation in ballet. Her yoga life journey began in senior high with Marie Forcuat at Dartmouth. Elise strives for her students to be empowered, sharing the connection of breath to a strong, open release when mixed with daily activities. She teaches yoga at the meditation center, various gyms and community centers around Boston, two wellness and behavioral health centers, and public school health events.
She loves to encourage and work with people to exercise at any level.
As a life long athlete, Aisha came to yoga unexpectedly. Aisha readily admits her addiction to cardio workouts and adrenaline rushes, and was originally apprehensive about yoga as a physical practice. Fast forward to a persistent back injury and high levels of stress, Aisha found herself with a friend in a power yoga studio in Los Angeles. Since then, she was hooked! First joining a Black woman owned fun and energetic studio in Oakland, to moving across the country (again) and finding a place where she could continue her practice in the north east.
Frustrated by the lack of teachers of color in the yoga community, Aisha was led (really pushed by an instructor) to purse teaching. As a new teacher, Aisha is so excited to help others realize how strong their bodies really are, how focused their minds can be, and how deep our spiritual connection to ourselves really is. Researcher by day, yogi by night, Aisha is excited to join the yoga teaching community. Hoping to bring her love for athleticism and a light hearted approach to yoga practice, full of focus, laughter and energy.
Shawn is a graduate of the Cortiva Institute in Boston, where he learned the underlying science and philosophy of a therapeutic massage. Also a graduate of Duke University, his first experience with massage was in one of his drama classes, where the teacher incorporated relaxation techniques into warming up for scenes. Driven by a sense of helping others relax, Shawn has volunteered with organizations around Boston, such as the Pan Mass Challenge and the Walk for Cancer, to help those who contribute to make the world a healthier place. Shawn has explored various styles of massage and healing, including cranial sacral therapy, myofascial release, reiki, and shiatsu. He incorporates these modalities into his work with clients to deepen relaxation, raise energy levels, and assist recovery from pain and injury. He looks forward to each client as an opportunity to learn something new about how massage helps people unlock their healing potential.
Clayton M. Sandiford
Clayton M. Sandiford, LMT, MMP, is a licensed Massage Therapist and a Medical Massage Practitioner. He has been providing Massage Therapy to the Boston Community since 2011. During that time he has developed the CASIM treatment (Compress & Stretch Injured Muscles). His therapy has helped in facilitating the healing of injured muscles, stress and trauma, including the maintenance of mind body and soul. In addition, to working at 4 Corners Yoga + Wellness, Clayton also owns Medical Massage-2-Health where he developed CASIM.
Jay Tonge is a recent graduate of The Massage School in Boston's South End, where they learned multiple modalities and techniques including trigger point therapy, shiatsu, and Thai massage, among others. Jay regularly utilizes shiatsu stretching, myofascial release, and intentional touch in their sessions. They believe that massage is a tool, a force for good that they might utilize to heal, nurture, and improve the lives of others. This is their mission - to establish in the world a sense of well-being, healthfulness, rest, and composure.
In particular, Jay is focused on the specific needs of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals and is committed to providing the highest possible level of care for their community.
Jay approaches massage with a philosophy based in water - your treatment is shaped to your needs. Water possesses great transformative properties - it has immense strength, but can also be used to heal. It inhabits myriad forms and shapes, and it is immeasurable and invaluable - Just like our own bodies. Jay invites you to recognize the ocean inside of you!
Fascinated by the art and challenge of the asana, Ciara’s initial journey into yoga was sparked by the meditative and holistic aspects of the practice. A consistent yoga practice has proven to be one of the few experiences in physical movement that felt pleasurable, nourishing and facilitated awareness through meditation. Allowing her to operate from a still place of needing nothing, versus seeking abundance in the material form, Ciara has found yoga to be an amazing holistic approach to achieving mental and emotional clarity. The feel of the yoga space was much different than that of a gym; she was able to re-connect and relate to her body in a new way, punctuated with gentleness, humility and self-love.
As an advocate of wellness and community building, Ciara’s intention as an instructor is to motivate her students to connect with their healing abilities and expansive potential to do great things beyond asana. Her background in the biological sciences and clean eating encourages her students to work consciously and intelligently with their physical bodies. Ciara thoughtfully combines breath work and asana to help purify the body of both physical and emotional toxins. With a sharp focus on proper alignment and a deep connection to the breath, her classes will inspire her students to open up the body, quiet the mind and connect within. She strives to offer a dynamic, challenging, and judgment free experience for all levels of practitioners, accompanied with compassionate adjustments and an energizing vinyasa flow.
Ciara is a Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Instructor who received her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification through South Boston Yoga. Supplemented with additional training through bodhi & mind yoga, she provides one-on-one yoga and meditation sessions to individuals during all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery. Ciara continues to grow as a student and an instructor, finding joy in sharing the journey of the practice with others.
Keyona’s belief in the body as crucial to well being and healing lead her to be formally trained by Lesley University at the Masters Level in Holistic Clinical Mental Health Counseling (2006), as well as multiple fitness professions including Group Exercise (2006), Vinyasa Yoga (2009), and Thai Yoga Massage (2014.)
“In my family music/movement/dance was how we praised our God, how we expressed our deepest emotions, how we shared ourselves when words failed. So when vinyasa yoga came to me, a practice that joins breath, movement, and creates reflective space, it felt both foreign and very familiar. It was a way to access the healing available within myself; a way into mySelf through simple body movements. The way I teach is heavily influenced by the shapes, sizes, and flows found in my large family, the many forms of water around our New England and island homes, and my own body. I am grateful for gifts gained from learning with Rolf Gates, Micheline Berry, Leslie Salmon Jones, Carrie Tyler, Sue Jones, Tom Myers, Antigravity/Aerial yoga and my students.” ~ Keyona Aviles, LMHC
See Keyona’s offerings at www.inspiredrelease.com
Sharon (RYT-500) has been a dedicated Yoga practitioner since 2012. She studied and continues to study with the renowned Natasha Rizopoulos whose teaching disciplines combine the Iyengar and Ashtanga methods at Down Under School of Yoga in Brookline MA, where she received her 200 and 300 hour certifications. Her teaching style is slow flow alignment and breath based Vinyasa yoga. Her teaching philosophy is that the powerful healing practice of yoga is for everyBODY, including those who disagree, and especially those who have limited access to it for whatever reason.
Sharon is also an experienced Oncology Nurse at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center where she teaches Yoga to fellow staff members, and is working towards implementing a Yoga Therapy Program for Oncology patients there in the near future.
Always a student, she is currently enrolled in the Ayurveda Certification Program at Down Under Yoga as well. Ayurveda is considered the "sister" to Yoga, and is one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems based on the balance of ones mind, body, and spirit.
Melanie completed the social justice, trauma informed 200hr yoga teacher training at 4 Corners Yoga and Wellness in June 2017. She first heard of Y12sr from her teacher Karuna O’Donnell and is honored to be practicing and holding space for Y12sr at 4 Corners Yoga and Wellness. Melanie is passionate about recovery, both personally and professionally, and is thrilled to be a part of a holistic healing community that values inclusivity and accessibility.