A good teacher is like a
candle – it consumes
itself to light the way
– Author Unknown
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WE ARE ALL ABOUT OUR PEOPLE
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!
In 2001 I was craving a different form of physical exercise after years of walking and exercise videos. When I came across the opportunity to take a Yoga class through an adult education course I just felt this was what I was looking for and signed up right away. Immediately I knew that this was bigger than any other physical exercise I had experienced. I felt a rapid connection to the process of slow movement and deep breath. The transition for me was smooth, exciting but, more importantly, natural. In just a few years I considered teaching which only expanded my deep appreciation for this beautiful practice. I obtained my 200 hour Kripalu Yoga teacher certification in 2004 and hope to expand my teacher training.
Sat Kirpal Kaur Darlene Attard
“A small child shall lead them.”
It was my son who started me on my yoga journey, while I was 5 months pregnant back in 1999. My
friends invited me to a tarot card reading party, and the reader told me to do something with stretching and movement, to prepare for this birth as it was going to be difficult. So, I went online and purchased Gurmukh’s video for prenatal yoga and practiced it daily to get ready. It was a Kundalini prenatal video. I was in labor for 20 hours on September 25, 1999, and the long deep breathing and yoga music playing, over and over again, provided a calm, loving vibration that made all the “work” graceful and wonderful!
After my son was born, I bought the Gurmukh’s post natal video and Kundalini Yoga video and practiced them every day. In 2002, I went to NYC for an all day intensive with Gurmukh at an Omega Conference. After I shared my story with her, she toldme, “You should be teaching.” She invited me to get my prenatal certification with her in LA, California. In February of 2003, I was with her for 10 days and received my Prenatal Kundalini Certification. In August, I went to New Mexico for to become Kundalini Yoga Certification and studied with the master, Yogi Bhajan. He gave me the name of Sat Kirpal Kaur which translates into princess of compassionate truth. I went from being a CPA with Citibank, to being a yogi. What a blessing as my training under Master Bhajan, Masters Touch
Teacher Training was his last as he passed the following year on October 6, 2004. This year, I am completing my Level 2 Kundalini Yoga/Meditation Certification. I am also a Master Teacher in Magnified Healing.
LAKSHMI LINDA GOTTLIEB
Always a spiritual seeker, while in college, I enrolled in a call called “Japanese Tea Ceremony.” Since Zen Buddhism was the primary influence in the development of this beautiful art form, I was hooked. The teachings of Zen Buddhism led on a path of self discovery. I attended several workshops on mindfulness and meditation, and eventually, became a Reiki Master in 1997.
In 2013, I studied The Reiki System of Natural Healing, at the Open Center in New York, with Joanna Yuan Crespo (a student of the great Margaret Ann Case). I, once again, completed the REIKI levels 1, 2 and 3; and, earned a second Reiki Master Practitioner certification.
My interest in nutrition began in college and didn’t formally study nutrition until 2012 when I attended the Integrative Nutrition Health Institute and became a Certified Nutrition Health Coach. Since graduation, I have worked with numerous clients and offer workshops focused on how food can be our greatest medicine. I, also, talk about the importance of healing the “whole” person – in mind, body and spirit.
Through this journey, I was guided to Yoga for Life and given the opportunity to present nutrition workshops to students and teachers. While I had taken yoga classes prior, I experienced something new at Yoga for Life – the beauty, devotion and tranquility that lives and breathes in this studio. The owner/director Sita and her husband, Sal, have created a space that embodies the true essence of yoga. This is a place where we can bring mind, body and spirit to the mat, fill our hearts with loving energy, and take that energy off the mat and into the world. It was at this moment, I realized I was destined to be a yoga teacher.
In September of 2014, I enrolled in the 200-hr teacher training program and registered with Yoga Alliance in May of 2015. I have also completed two other yoga teacher trainings – (1) for children with Lil Yogi’s NYC, and (2) with Nikki Meyers, of the Y12SR: The Yoga of 12-Step Recovery. In January of 2015, I became certified to teach Y12SR.
It is a blessing to teach at Yoga for Life! I have found a home where I may continue my journey, learn and grow on and off the mat. I, also, have a home where I can share, inspire and be of service to others. Namaste!
MALA MARY ELLEN
“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.
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.”
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.
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.
GINA MORIN, 500 RYT
When I was 14, I had my first panic attack which consisted of trouble breathing and severe stomach pain. Of course, at the time, I never heard of panic attacks and just thought I was sick. After lots of hospital and doctor visits and testing, I was diagnosed as having anxiety. I was confused and scared and didn’t know what to do to help myself. So over time, I became very fearful of participating in anything that might bring on an attack. My life seemed limited at that point.
One day on a friend’s recommendation, I decided to try yoga. My first class was at Yoga For Life and after that one class, I was hooked. Almost immediately, I felt a shift occur in my nervous system – my chest felt lighter, I was calmer and my thoughts were now hopeful. I continued to practice and to learn more about Pranayama (breathing) which I now know was the key to healing me. Simply focusing on my breath and noticing my breathing in stressful situations truly opened my eyes that the ability to heal myself was in my power. As my journey began, it wasn’t long before long I registered for the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga for Life. During the training, I learned there are many aspects to yoga and as I continued the training saw how my life was changing. I never had that “I know what I’m here to do” feeling before, but after taking the training, I finally found “My thing, My path, My purpose.” The following year, I registered for the 500-hour Yoga Teacher Training, again at Yoga for Life.
The second Yoga Sutra of yoga is Citta Vrtti Nirodhah which means yoga is the stilling of the changing states of the mind. I feel honored and blessed that the yoga path found me and look forward to spreading the light of this knowledge to my students.
“Our true home is in the present moment. To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now. Peace is all around us – in the world and in nature – and within us – in our bodies and our spirits. Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed. It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Life Prayers
Toni Ann Riedel, RYT 500
Living a healthy lifestyle has always been an important value to me. In 1987, my journey began to 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.
Growing up, I was always intrigued by yoga…the peacefulness, strength and flexibility, yet was far too shy to walk into a yoga studio and take a class. My yoga practice began at home about 12 years ago. Eventually, what started with a single yoga VHS, grew into quite the library of DVDs. In 2008, I bought a Kundalini Yoga DVD, fell in love with it and began a regular at home yoga practice. The combination of breathing, chanting, movement, and the peace I felt afterward, drew me in and it was then the yearning to learn more began.
In 2010, I began reading more about spirituality, learning more about myself and studying Reiki. In 2011, I studied holistic health and began coaching others. Next, it was time to focus on yoga. I wanted to learn more about the practice… the breathing and meditation. I also needed to find some balance and reduce some stress in my life. I researched studios and teacher training programs (even though I had never attended a single class in person) and kept coming back to Yoga for Life. I signed up and graduated in May 2013 from the 200-hour yoga teacher training program. This journey has become an amazing life changing experience for me. I am blessed to have found such a supportive studio and honored to learn from wonderful teachers and students. Every day, I learn something new in every class I take and teach.
Bio coming soon.
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.