Meet the Teachers
Mary Connor MS, ERYT-500, Ayurveda Practitioner
I started yoga 12 years ago taking a short level one, YogaFit training. This was just to add CEU for my Fitness Leader Certification. I realized at that first class that yoga was my calling. Being one of the early teachers in the Upper Peninsula and in the Marquette area, introducing Yoga to the community took hard work and lots of classes at a real discounted rate. I held classes in the Sports Rack LTD for about 5 years, eventually running out of room it was time to open up the Marquette Yoga Center. The studio was for myself and other certified teachers to have a nice quiet space to teach.
I then finished my ERYT-500. ERYT-500 is a high level, but realizing yoga is a long journey, I will continue to get education in as many of the faceted branches of Yoga. In the year 2013-2014, I returned to school to learn the sister science of Yoga, which is Ayurveda. Ayurveda is the East Indian form of medicine which is considered the oldest continual form of health care. Ayurveda is about identifying when the body gets out of balance and then try to correct it with diet and lifestyle. These small imbalances lead to a production of ama or “Toxic sludge” that can move through the body and cause “dis-ease”. My role to to help identify when you are out of balance and form a plan to bring you back and feel great again.
My love for teaching yoga as a form of the mind body fitness and wellness, will help, heal, work, strengthen, stretch, balance peoples lives, and just feel good.
Julia Kettle RYT-200
Yoga has been a part of my life since I moved to Marquette, MI in 2008. After 2 years of diving into my own personal practice to balance the mental and physical stressors of being a college student I started to read various yoga books and began to teach yoga classes at NMU’s Physical Education Recreational Facility where I found my love for teaching and healing. I began to teach free community classes on campus for the hearts of yoga student organization and taught individual and group classes from my own home for free. Yoga also came into my work where I taught mediation within a group home setting for adults struggling with mental illness. It soon became a part of my everyday life.
After moving from the Marquette area to downstate metro Detroit after college, I finally enrolled in a 200 hour teacher training at Body Language Studio in Commerce, MI. There I learned the true nature of the mind body connection and how truly important the breath is. The breath is our guide and it was there where I truly experienced how to be gentle with ourselves through our practice and to honor our body and mind on and off the mat.
After my training and the birth of my daughter, my partner and I decided to move back to the heart of the UP. Being a new momma with another little being on the way, has truly allowed me to see life in full bloom. I believe we are all on a path of healing in some part of our life and I am beyond blessed and grateful to be a part of the journey!
Mantra: “As I breath in, my heart expands with love and as I breath out, I let go of fear.”
Cat Stenberg (Dandelion Sunshine) RYT-200
In January of 2015 I received my 200RYT in the practice of sādhana yoga (the spiritual practice of yoga) through SchoolYoga Institute at the Mystical Yoga Farm in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. Yoga came into my life when I was in need of something more. The stillness and beauty within the simplicity of breath is so profound and I want to share that connection with as many people as I can! As I have been surfing though my own wave of life thus far, I have come to know that when the waters are feeling gnarly or seem so gentle, that the wind that guides them is home.
I am currently an undergraduate student at Northern Michigan University studying marketing with a minor in sustainability. Some of my passions are yoga, rock climbing, sustainability, playing my ukulele, poetry, dancing, hugs, painting, and enjoying the great outdoors!
My favorite mantra is “Om Tat Sat” meaning “It is what it is”.
My goal is to provide guidance to my students both physically as well as mentally. I want to give people a break from everyday challenges so they can reflect, purify, and become inspired. I wish to provide people with a stillness in this reality in order to reach inner peace.
Peace, love, and light. Namaste
For me yoga is so much more than the physical practice, it is an entire lifestyle, and I couldn’t imagine where I would be without it. It permeates every aspect of my life. And I hope I can share my love for the yogic practice and lifestyle with you too.
Yoga began to be very important to me at age 16 when I first started seriously attending yoga classes. I soon after found Song of the Morning Yoga Retreat in Vanderbilt, Michigan and discovered the joy of the yogic lifestyle. This spiritual home (and many times, literal home) helped me through my teen years and continues to help me in my 20’s. I learned what service and dedication means as a yogi and how rewarding it can be for everyone.
I graduated from The Evergreen State College in Washington State focusing in holistic health, women’s health and movement modalities. This education experience left me with a deep desire to help people on their individual journeys towards healing in any way I could. So, off I went to Crestone, Colorado to become a certified massage therapist. Little did I know I would also find yoga teachings that truly pulled me to share them with the world: Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
My goal as a teacher is to tap into the ‘golden chain’ of Kundalini Yoga. This links me to my teacher, their teacher, and every teacher before, so that their wisdom may flow through me. I hope to offer you dynamic, challenging, yet nurturing, and rewarding classes that uplift you.
Alex Mckeone RYT-200
Alex has been traveling the yogic path for ten years now, starting with a regular asana practice that she established during her freshman year of college in order to deal with the stresses of working and attending classes as a full-time student in the Writer’s Workshop program. Her yogic path eventually led her to complete a 200-hour RYT certification with Susi Amendola at the Omaha Yoga & Bodywork Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Over the course of the 10-month training program, Alex’s practice deepened to involve daily asana, pranayama, and meditation.
For Alex, yoga is a deeply healing and spiritual practice—not a “work-out”, but a “work-in.” Her classes are designed around the principles of Hatha yoga and Ayurveda, helping students to restore balance to body, mind, and spirit through attention to diet and food choices, season, weather, and individual constitution. Most recently, she completed her mindfulness and meditation certification with Carole Westerman and is excited to share her knowledge and passion for yoga and meditation with the beautiful students of the Marquette Yoga Center.
In her free time, Alex enjoys reading, writing, and exploring the natural wonders in and around the city of Marquette. She particularly loves adventuring with her partner, Jerrod, and their dog-child, Kobe.
For more information on workshops and classes Alex is offering in the area, you can find her online at www.facebook.com/alexmckeone.yoga.
Kora Mills RYT-200
My passion for yoga developed after my first class in 2001. I felt such an amazing shift of energy in my body and mind, I wanted more. In 2007 I went to a 200-hour teacher training in Baja Mexico. Learning Iyengar and Hatha branches of teaching gave me tools and inspiration to bring to my own practice. I have also been inspired by the Kundalini and Vinyasa branches.
Yoga has been a healing journey for me, ever since my first day in class. I feel that the more we move, breathe, and connect to our bodies and internal healing system, the better we will feel, and the better the world will become. This internal healing system is cultivated through the gifts that Yoga has to offer.
In 2009, I became a mother, and now have 2 amazing kiddos. I am so grateful for yoga, as well as the many amazing roads I have been on and continue to travel through. I look forward to sharing the many gifts of yoga with you.
Dara Susini ERYT 200
I was first drawn to yoga in college, as a way to work out and condition my muscles. I had always been athletic, and took easily to a Hatha Flow practice. Early on, I read about some of the spiritual aspects of yoga, but my primary investigation at that time was in the physical experience and asana.
Things changed entirely about ten years later, when I started having severe panic attacks. With that challenge, I reconsidered my yoga practice. I recalled that the yogic teachings had more to offer then physical exercise. I started to focus on the sitting and on the breathing. Eventually I came to equate this sitting and breathing with meditation and pranayama. That mindful, mental practice became something that I could take off of my mat, out of the studio, and into my life. From my yoga practice I drew the tools I needed to deal with panic attacks, as well as the more mundane challenges of daily living. Within a few months, with the condition under control, I realized I was doing what books and teachers had always been saying – I was living yoga!
Drawing inspiration from many teachers over the years, I completed my 200 hour Teacher Training at Yoga Yoga in Austin, TX. I then completed my 500 hours as a student of the first International Teacher Training program at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India. (KYM.org)
In 2012, along with Steven Ross, the owner of East Side Yoga in Austin, TX, I co-created the Sacred Roots Yoga School in Austin, TX. http://sacredrootsaustin.com/. Going beyond a traditional yoga teacher training program, we opened the classes to all students seeking a deeper understanding of the ancient tools of yoga. During this time, I served as the committee chair of the member benefits committee of the Yoga Alliance and represented the school at the National Business of Yoga Conference in Washington, DC where I moderated a discussion on how to start a yoga school.
I teach Private Therapeutic Yoga, Hatha, Hatha Flow, Gentle, Restorative, Vedic Chanting, Beginner’s Yoga, and Deep Relaxation (Yoga Nidra) classes, following in the tradition of Krishnamacharya. In this tradition, the appropriate application of yoga is taught for each student. I believe that everyone can benefit from a yoga practice. To me yoga is a place for all to be, to sit and to live in compassion, an open door that can be easily walked through.