A good teacher is like a
candle – it consumes
itself to light the way
for others.

– Author Unknown

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The heart of Yoga for Life is our people. Please take a minute to get to know us. If you have any questions or need to learn more about what makes us special please contact us or just stop by to say hi!


The Shiva energy of yoga is of peace along her knowledge of Bhakti Yoga and other healing modalities.  More to come.

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“The sanskrit word Namaste holds several definitions, one being: I honor all that is true and the light that glows within you where respect and kindness dwells. This is the energy that I have experienced in Mary Ellen’s class.”
– Student of Mala

Mala’s love and tranquility for yoga is what inspired her to become a yoga teacher. She has been practicing yoga for the last several years at Yoga For Life and considers the teachers and students at YFL to be her mentors and teachers. She believes the opportunity to teach at YFL is both a gift and an honor that has enriched her practice and study of yoga.

Her desire is to extend the healing benefits she experiences to her students, inspiring them to breathe, relax and allow the gifts of yoga to embrace them. She helps guide students to become truly aware of the beauty and magnificence of their body, mind and spirit; bringing them closer to experiencing the miracle that they themselves truly are… both on and off the yoga mat.

Mala Mary Ellen is a Professional Certified Yoga Alliance Teacher and a Certified Reiki Practitioner.

As yoga continues to be Mala’s, she invites you to come and take her class. She hopes to help guide you to your sanctuary.

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In 1999, Lois began her yoga journey when her youngest child entered kindergarten.  She began taking classes at North Shore Yoga, in Port Jefferson, lead by yoga instructor Gina Sheridan.  As her yoga practice progressed, Lois started studying the practice and philosophy of yoga.  She also entertained the idea of teaching yoga herself.

Lois came across a home study program offered by Integrative Yoga Therapy, based in North Carolina and founded by Joseph and Lillian Lepage.  This program gave her the opportunity to study at her own pace and in her own space while raising a family.  Lois started taking a variety of workshops by other well-known instructors, such as, Beryl Bender Birch, T. Krishnamacharya, M. Desikachar, Sri Dharma Mittra, Shiva Rea, Seane Corn, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman Yee.

As she began to sub for other instructors, Lois slowly overcame her shyness and developed confidence.  In 2008, she enrolled in a 200-hr yoga teacher training program, which also happen to blend nicely into her family life.  In 2009, she registered with Yoga Alliance as a certified yoga instructor and found her home at Yoga for Life, in Setauket.  Lois is completed her 500-hr advanced yoga teacher training program in yoga therapy.

Lois is a Reiki II practioner.

According to Lois, “Words cannot express what Yoga for Life and yoga mean to me.”

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Sunshine yoga


Jacqui Leviton began her professional career as a pediatric nurse. After 15 years she decided to stay home with her two children.

She began her own yoga practice and loved it so much she became a teacher completing her 200 hours with YTTI, the Yoga Teachers Training Institute. It was a life changing experience and she continues to learn and grow by attending conferences and workshops studying with Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Rodney Yee and many others. The joy of yoga for Jacqui is the movement and flow, having fun on your mat and being open to all that your practice brings to you. Both physically and spiritually.

Jacqui’s classes are a blend of vinyasa yoga with a big emphasis on chanting, inspirational music, laughter and friendship.

Jacqui feels it is the blessing of community, of sharing something so wonderful with others who feel the same that makes Yoga for Life such a special place. She is also a Reiki Practitioner and a certified Reflexologist.

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Kate began her yoga practice over a decade ago and has been teaching at Yoga For Life since it opened. Kate received both her 200 and 500 hour certifications from the Yoga Teacher Training Institute (YTTI) in Queens and Northport. She received additional certifications in Ashtanga Yoga from David Swenson, Vinyasa Flow from Shiva Rea, and in Pre- and Post-Natal Yoga. Kate is also a Level I Positional Therapy Body Worker and Thai Yoga Massage practitioner. She synthesizes all these experiences, together with her own personal explorations of yoga in all its forms, into her unique brand of instruction.

Kate is known for her down-to-earth style, funky playlists, and philosophy that marries the wisdom of the ancient sages with the immortal words of Bridget Jones’ Diary, “you’re perfect just as you are.” Kate is indebted to all the wonderful teachers who have crossed her path, especially Marianne and Mokshapriya and the YTTI and Yoga For Life communities. Kate extends her gratitude to Scitta and Salvatore for endless encouragement and love.

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Toni Ann Riedel, RYT 500

Living a healthy lifestyle has always been an important value to me.  In 1987, my journey began  living a healthier lifestyle when I became certified as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer.

In 2005, I found myself moving (or being moved) toward wanting to learn and teach Pilates and yoga. I enrolled in several trainings and workshops to learn the teaching methodologies and philosophies through AFAA (Aerobic & Fitness Association in America). It wasn’t until 2008, I enrolled in a 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified school. By taking this step into the world of yoga, the transformation within me began. The decision to become certified as a yoga instructor involves much dedication and time for study. The learning process is more than showing someone how to do a posture (asana), it is learning and building a strong foundation of the yoga philosophy – the Eight Limbs of Yoga: Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras – and living it.

I continue my professional yoga continuing education to help a variety of populations including: women, men, seniors, veterans, youth-at-risk and people with special needs – Anxiety, Depression, Grief, PTSD, Back Pain, Scoliosis, Heart Disease, and Multiple Sclerosis to name a few. In 2010, I enrolled in an intensive workshop entitled Mindful Resources for Youth-At-Risk and PTSD with YogaEd. This training is especially good for working with youth who live in under-resourced or high-needs school districts and veterans.

In 2014, I achieved my 500-hour Advanced Teacher Training in Yoga Therapy which includes learning therapeutic and adaptive teaching methods for a variety of special populations including: children with special needs (Autism, Cerebral Palsy, etc.), Teaching Adaptive Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Scoliosis, Back Pain, Cancer, Thai Body Work, and healing the heart, body, mind and spirit due to grief and trauma.  I’ve studied and taken workshops with Shiva Rae, Dharma Mittra, Sean Corn and Amy Weintraub.  To me, it is the breath, movement and pause that bring me into a state of peace.





In 1997 yoga found me at summer camp in Pennsylvania. Then, I didn’t know what “yoga” was, but I knew intuitively that it was something sacred and powerful. It graced my life periodically throughout my teenage years, gently initiating me.

In 2005, as a college student in Canada, yoga invited me to pursue its graces in further depth. I began to practice weekly at the gym and I loved how I felt inside: strong, playful, clear, and capable.

In 2007 I began practicing at Yoga for Life, where I was consciously introduced to the spiritual teachings of yoga. My relationship with my practice began to deepen. I became more aware of the virtuous teachings of yoga, and my practice on the mat became more consciously transferable to my life off the mat. Yoga had embraced me!

In 2009, I began training at Yoga for Life to become certified to teach. That same year I traveled to Kripalu to become certified to teach Yoga Dance (I love to dance). That same year I became certified in Reiki and Hypnotherapy. And that very same year I began working as a Birth Doula. My yoga practice has taken me to further depths of growth and meaning than I ever considered when this journey began years ago.

Teaching yoga is a sacred gift life has given me. Each time I teach, I learn about my own practice and my own character. My journey into and throughout the world of yoga has been enjoyable, informative, enriching, challenging, rewarding, liberating, encouraging and more. I gladly embrace the secrets that this yogic path holds, because each step on this path is a gift.

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Yoko’s journey into yoga began when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010.  Even though she ate well and was overall healthy, the cancer diagnosis came as a complete surprise to her.  She underwent the full course of cancer treatments including a double mastectomy, chemo and radiation.   After the mastectomy, Yoko had minimal movement and felt as if her body and mind were separate.  Her body would not move in ways she wanted, she couldn’t lift her arms overhead and her whole body was just plain cranky.

Yoko found a physical therapist who gave her exercises to do at home, which didn’t work well for her.  It was then that Yoko found that the Stony Brook Cancer Center was offering a series of six free yoga classes for breast cancer patients.  After the series ended, Yoko continued her yoga practice at Yoga for Life.  It was the yoga that Yoko noticed helped improvement in her physical body.  She was also enjoying that she could now move and stretch her body as well as raise her arms overhead.  Yoga also helped her mentally to stop asking herself, “Why me?  What could I have done to cause the cancer?”  Through yoga, Yoko learned to accept it, without reasons, and let it go.

It was during this crisis that Yoko was moved to become a yoga teacher.  She wanted to share her journey and experience of learning to live in the present moment.  Yoko enrolled in the 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training, at Yoga for Life.  Her goal is to help others learn the tools of yoga that will help them through their journey, especially those struggling with cancer and its recovery.

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