Vancouver School of Yoga Faculty

The Vancouver School of Yoga boasts a faculty of experienced and professional instructors who bring diverse skills, abilities and knowledge to the art and science of teaching yoga. Our instructors are highly respected in their fields of expertise, providing excellence in education and training.

They actively practice the work they teach, creating a learning environment that is current and practice-oriented. Our faculty has combined experience on every level in the yoga industry – not only as practitioners and teachers, but also in management, marketing, administration and training.

In sharing their knowledge, wisdom, enthusiasm and compassion, the staff and faculty of VSY endeavour to create an experience that is enriching, both professionally and personally. We are pleased to introduce our qualified staff and faculty to you.


 

Rebekka Walker

E-RYT 500: Creative Director

Rebekka has been working in groups and one on one as a Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher Trainer and meditation guide for over 16 years. She holds a Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 certification, and was formerly accredited as a CYT 1000 with The International Association of Yoga Therapists, utilizing a background in Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative, Anusara Yoga, & over 2500 hours of teacher training in these methods.

Touring to teach everywhere from Canada’s north and west coast, to Europe and Asia, Rebekka can attest firsthand to the life changing alchemy of yoga and meditation. She has developed and worked up programs for the everyday yogi; elite national team and world cup athletes; NHL teams; cancer survivors; physically challenged persons; and those working with addiction, severe trauma, anxiety and depression.

As the Creative Director of Vancouver School of Yoga’s 200 & 300 hour advanced programs; and internationally through her unique trainings; Rebekka has developed a reputation as a teacher of teachers for over a decade. Her lifelong study and exploration of tantric and buddhist philosophy, Ayurveda, holistic healing and therapeutic bio mechanics, informs all aspects of her life and her teaching. With a focus on alignment and inspiration, the alchemy of Rebekka’s programs is relevant and revelatory.

rebekkawalker.com


 

Rebekka is also contributing writer for various publications. When she isn’t at VSY or travelling to teach, write or practice you can find her at home in Birken, BC with her beloved, and their dog Hemingway.


 

Chelsea Lee

C-IAYT, E-RYT 500: Program Director, Foundations of Yoga Therapy

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Growing up as a contemporary dancer, Chelsea has always been drawn to the sacredness of movement. Her yoga journey began with the intention of healing a hip injury; however, she quickly discovered that the practice runs much deeper than the physical postures and aligns much more than your physical body. Yoga helped Chelsea heal both physically and emotionally, uniting her body, mind and heart while developing a more intimate connection to not only herself but also her life and community.

With over 1500 hours of training in Yoga teaching and therapy, Chelsea believes in yoga’s capacity to empower and transform every layer of your being. She is passionate about helping others hold a sense of playful curiosity as they experience this transformation with grace and courage. Her approach to Yoga Therapy and teaching involves a deep exploration into body, breath, heart, mind and spirit. As a Yoga Therapist, teacher, lover of life and adventure and perpetual student of life, Chelsea strives to live authentically and playfully both on and off her mat, while empowering others to breathe fully and move freely.

chelsealeeyoga.ca


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With extensive studies in yoga and yoga therapy, Chelsea believes in yoga’s capacity to empower and transform every layer of your being. She is passionate about helping others hold a sense of playful curiosity as they experience this transformation with grace and courage. Her approach to yoga therapy involves a deep exploration into body, breath, heart, mind and spirit. As a yoga therapist, teacher, lover of life and adventure, mover and shaker, and perpetual student of life, Chelsea strives to live authentically and playfully both on and off her mat.


 

Lila Rasa Brown

E-RYT 500

Lila has been immersed in the yoga industry and culture for the better part of two decades. In her youth she expressed her passion for movement as a dedicated student of ballet, however her years of dance led to injuries and restriction. When she discovered that yoga could not only liberated her from her former discomfort, but also open a door to a whole new universe of sacred embodiment, Lila was hooked for life. The practice of yoga and meditation led her to what is clearly her calling – helping others to awaken their own authentic nature and find freedom in body, mind and spirit.

After deep and devoted study with a long list of renowned teachers including John Friend, Desiree Rumbaugh and Doug Keller, Lila became a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher in 2005. The following year she opened Gateway Yoga in Raleigh, North Carolina which she operated for more than 5 years.  Although she has stepped away from Anusara, she continues incorporating skillful alignment and action in the body with yogic myths, philosophy and evolutionary astrology to create a rich, profound and soulful experience for her students both on and off the mat.

As the Teachers’ Teacher, one of Lila’s greatest joys is to guide her students into a space of radical transformation, empowering them to truly embody their own potential as teachers of yoga. Her training programs connect aspiring yoga teachers with their capacity to gracefully lead yoga classes from a well-informed place. Students embark upon a remarkable journey that offers deep and extraordinary transformation on many levels. Each participant travels through the many different facets of what it means to be a yoga teacher, and how to fully answer this deep calling of the Heart.


Lila moved to Vancouver from North Carolina, but brings a flavour with her…

The South is a place of thick, humid air that sounds like the jungle when it’s nighttime in the summer. The cicadas, crickets, and frogs sing constantly, humming life like Shiva’s 2-headed drum. This infinite rhythm creates a pulse that is life-giving, that is the background upon which the rest of life can dance, move, and expand. This heartbeat is palpable, felt in the Heart of each person, regardless of how awake they are…for each person is intricately tapped into this Heart, their speech sweet, melodic, and slow like molasses. The Heart penetrates everything, and can be felt within each and every experience. This Heart is overflowingly full, vibrant, rich, and deep. The Heart of the South is alive and penetrating, powerful and soft. It lives in me!!”

www.lilarasa.com


Chantal Russell

E-RYT 200, RHN: Principles of Practice and Prenatal Yoga

Chantal is passionate about sharing the teachings of yoga, as a daily practice which invites us to embrace life as a sacred gift. Having studied yoga for over a decade, she graduated from the Vancouver School of Bodywork & Massage Yoga Teacher Training and has been teaching since 2005. She has since studied with some of the world’s most senior and influential yoga teachers and has completed 600 hours of teacher training, including extensive studies in prenatal yoga, therapeutics and tantric philosophy.  Her classes invite you to move your body in a nourishing way, and infuse loving awareness into every moment. As a mama, wife, yogini, nutritionist and cancer survivor, Chantal knows on a very intimate level how beneficial the teachings of yoga are to skillfully show up for the many challenges and opportunities that life presents.

chantalrussell.com



When not teaching in Vancouver, she can be found playing with her son Ben, gardening, exploring the many trails of Bowen Island where she resides, reading by the fire, sharing her love of healing foods, writing or taking surf trips with her family in search of good waves.



Christina Niven

Restorative Yoga

Christina NivenChristina has been teaching yoga for over 16 years and has completed yoga teacher training in Ashtanga Yoga (300 hours, Ron Reid), Bihar Tantric Yoga (360 hours, Dharmanidhi Saraswati), Yoga Therapy (800 hours, Leila Stuart) and Restorative (150 hours, Judith Lasater, Swan). She has also done considerable study with Gioia Irwin (Vijnana yoga) and Susie Hatley (Anatomy).

Christina says that yoga has been a great teacher for her. Due to a chronic SI injury that developed from pushing too hard in her practice, she had to learn how to let go of her “egoic attachment to fancy asanas and of looking a certain way”, and instead she came to appreciate the deeper teachings and inward journey. She says her practice has evolved from intense physical exertion to one of inner sensing, restoration and rehabilitation.

Christina has also been a student of Shamanism for over 15 years and has studied other healing modalities such as Ayurveda (50 hours, Dharmanidhi Saraswati), Reiki (30 hours), massage (150 hours), aromatherapy (30 hours) and transformational breath work (30 hours, Robin Clements). Christina considers yoga and these other approaches all to be forms of healing that helps us to come into right relationship with ourselves and the world around us.


“I feel honoured and grateful to teach at the Vancouver School of Yoga. It is true a pleasure to teach those wanting to go deeper into the path of yoga. It truly can be a path of transformation and healing.”


Christine Price Clark

E-RYT 500: Principles of Practice & Teaching Methodology

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As a mentor to teachers near and far, Christine is regarded as a warm and steady guide to her students to achieve their own full, authentic voice and more confident inner ground. Believing we all have a necessary part in the evolution and conversation of yoga, Christine credits yoga for helping her heal her heart, rise her voice and bring her back home, again and again. Her teaching reflects a deep embrace of the heart, a playful delight for the body, and a clear commitment to keeping the teachings of yoga alive and accessible. Christine holds certifications in both Hatha Vinyasa and Anusara yoga, and celebrates through practice, and her friendships, a variety of lineages and modalities. She is considered artful at blending storytelling, mythology or philosophy into the fabric of a strong, rhythmic practice of creative, purposeful sequencing and grounded, clear, instruction.


As author of the Advanced Teacher Training and core faculty member at VSY, Christine has been indispensable in curating our teaching team – some of the most authentic and knowledgeable voices in the industry who generously share their tools for deepening practice, innovative career-building, and above all, superior teaching. She lives in East Vancouver with her husband, Greg, and their three daughters, Olive, Uma and Elle.

www.christinepriceclark.com


Diane Lee

BSR, FCAMPT, CGIMS, RYT-200: Physical Assessment Skills

diane-leeDiane graduated with distinction from UBC with a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation in 1976.  She has been a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy (CAMT) since 1981, completed her certification in Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS) in 2001 and became a registered Yoga instructor in 2013.  She was an instructor and chief examiner for CAMT for over 20 years. Diane is also the owner, director, educator and a practicing physiotherapist at Diane Lee & Associates, a private multi-disciplinary physiotherapy clinic in South Surrey, BC, Canada.

Diane has been a keynote speaker at many conferences including The World Congress on Low Back and Pelvic Pain, has contributed chapters to several books and self-published the book The Thorax – An Integrated Approach.  Her book, The Pelvic Girdle, was first published  in 1989 and has been translated into multiple languages. She is currently investigating the behaviour of the abdominal wall in women with diastasis rectus abdominis and has received a grant from the Clinical Center of Research Excellence from the University of Queensland to further these studies.


Diane provides both online and in-class courses throughout Canada and internationally. She is also a Professional Associate for the School of Rehabilitation Science at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.


Mark Finch

KMI: Fascia & Myofascial Lines

mark-finchMark Finch has been a bodyworker since 1996. He has completed training in Therapeutic Massage, Neuromuscular therapy, Kinesis Myofascial Integration (KMI) and most recently, Visceral Manipulation. He has successfully treated in a variety of therapeutic settings, from touring with the Riverdance troupe to maintaining a busy practice in Vancouver BC.

Mark teaches “The Anatomy Trains” and “Fascia, Its Structure and Function” in numerous international venues. He brings a deep foundation of clinical skill to his teaching, and this combined with his passion for learning and manual therapy make him a dynamic presenter.


Natalie Rousseau Horscroft

E-RYT 500: Principles of Practice, Teaching Methodology, and Philosophy, Lifestyle, & Ethics

faculty-natalie-rNatalie is a full time yoga nerd who is passionate about living a life of practice and inspiring others to do the same. She has been immersed in her study and practice of yoga since 1999, and has been teaching since 2002. She has received wisdom from many great teachers and trained extensively in a number of traditions, most notably Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Anusara. Natalie is particularly lit up by the philosophical foundations of yogic practice and the mythology of the Indian traditions. She is also a committed student of Ayurveda.  When not on the mat, or in the classroom, you will find her in the kitchen or lost in a book.

natalierousseau.com


Nicole Marcia

MA, C-IAYT, ERYT-500

Nicole MarciaNicole Marcia, Yoga Therapist, has conducted therapeutic yoga classes and individual sessions for trauma survivors and trained yoga teachers and clinicians in trauma-sensitive yoga theory and techniques since 2008. In 2009, she was awarded a master’s degree with a specialization in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA.

Since then, she has been with the Provincial Health Services Authority at their Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions. She is the director of training at Yoga Outreach a faculty member at Ajna Yoga, and an instructor and project coordinator at Langara College Continuing Studies.


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Nicole is also the Yoga programming coordinator at Onsite, the treatment arm of North America’s first safe injection site.

www.finebalanceyoga.ca


Nicole Schlemm

RMT: Anatomy

Nicole is a VSBM alumnus who graduated from the Spa Therapy Program in 2006. In 2010, she graduated from VCMT as a Registered Massage Therapist. Nicole has practiced in many settings around Vancouver including Absolute Spa, Vida Wellness, Deserving Thyme, Gaia Rhythm Organic Bodywork and Oceana Massage. Nicole gained valuable teaching experience as the personal tutor to a visually impaired RMT student. She was involved in virtually every aspect of his education for 2 years. She is now a successfully practicing RMT.


Shivani Wells

E-RYT 500, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist: Subtle Body and the Chakras

faculty-shivaniAs a yoga therapist using holistic, body-oriented practices that integrate gentle yoga, embodied mindfulness, neuroscience, and humanistic psychology, Shivani’s goal is to help people be more consciously embodied beings. She has been in private practice since 2008 and specializes in trauma recovery, anxiety, depression, empowerment, and self-discovery. Shivani recently developed the Mindful Brain Yoga intervention for people with brain injury, and is currently conducting research with Dr. Will Panenka of UBC Neuropsychiatry on the effects of yoga on post-concussive syndrome.

Shivani is a course director, and currently the only faculty member in Canada, with the Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) school based in Vermont. She leads Level 1 and 2 PRYT trainings, and is currently developing trauma-informed protocol with a group of colleagues. Certified as a Chakra Yoga Teacher by author Anodea Judith.

Always a student herself, Shivani is engaged in full-time studies at UBC, focusing on neuropsychology and counselling. She has presented at numerous festivals and conferences, and her online classes are featured on DoYogaWithMe.comYogo.tv, and YouTube. Shivani has been studying Sanskrit and yogic philosophy under the loving guidance of her spiritual teacher Manorama, founder of Sanskrit Studies in New York, for over a decade and continues to be profoundly inspired and influenced by this relationship.

shivaniwells.com



Shivani has been a yogi-in-training for over a decade and has acquired various certifications in Hatha/Vinyasa, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and has completed a Chakra Yoga teacher training with Anodea Judith. She has been dabbling in Sanskrit since 2005, and continues to be a dedicated student of yoga, psychology and yoga therapy.


Sjanie McInnis

E-RYT 200, RYT 500:Teaching Methodology and Principles of Practice

Sjanie McInnisSjanie has been blessed with yoga from all sides:  still+moving, hot+cool, reverent+unattached.  From her first Ashtanga Vinyasa practice at Downward Dog in Toronto, through the process of Anusara Yoga Certification, and now her home-work with Iyengar’s 300-week Light On Yoga program, she knows many faces of this bright and complex process.

Sjanie began teaching in Vancouver in 2004 and was a part of the YYoga Teachers College Faculty from 2009-2011.  She currently instructs public classes at many Vancouver studios as well as offering private instruction and mentorship to her fellow teachers.  In addition to her RYT-500 designation, she is a CrossFit Level One trainer and is passionate about finding healing and vigour in all types of movement, from dance to martial arts, to keep the body healthy and the heart open.

sjaniemcinnis.com


Sjanie raises her twins Hannah and Robert in East Vancouver with her partner Morgan, an artist and musician.


Tova Payne
Business of Yoga

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Tova Payne is a writer, teacher, and consultant based out of Vancouver. She works worldwide with holistic, soulful entrepreneurs, seekers, and creative businesses teaching meditation, mindfulness-based yoga, and via personalized consulting.  Over the last 10 years Tova’s entrepreneurial endeavors have included leading retreats, classes, workshops, creating the curriculum and leading yoga teacher trainings, creating several online courses, publishing her first paperback in 2013, and consulting privately in the wellness and business sector. These days her focus is igniting innovation from the inside out: teaching meditation as a tool to harness the inner CEO of your creative and business pursuits. Tova’s latest book is Soulful Entrepreneurship available on her website.

www.tovapayne.com


“What I love: Freedom, Adventure, Road Trips, Nature, Discovery. And to me,  Business is all of these things.

What I believe: I believe our business and creative projects have the power to set us free. I believe when we work on the projects that matter to us, we experience deep freedom. And to me, that freedom is just as liberating as gallivanting across Central America (which I’ve done several times).”



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