Our Instructors

Brenda Norris

RYT-500 and owner of Uplift Yoga

Brenda believes EVERYONE needs yoga in their lives, and seeks to guide every individual in her class toward building a practice that works for them. A modern dancer in her past life, she immediately felt a connection to the yoga practice the moment she stepped on the mat, pleasantly accompanied by a change in her physical body, and a transformational shift in her thinking. She completed the Charm City Yoga 200-hour yoga teacher training at YogaWorks, and immediately began teaching. Years into her teaching, she completed her 300-hour Advanced Studies yoga teacher training program at the Bhagavata-Sevaya school of yoga. Brenda’s approach to class is lighthearted, positive, and fun, and she welcomes all who step into her class to share in an ever-moving, music-driven, and breath connecting Vinyasa style flow, and begin moving toward discovering their own transformations.

Angelique Raptakis

RYT-500 Yoga Teacher, certified Reiki Master and certified Community Herbalist

Angelique looks to nature for inspiration, weaving its lessons into her classes. She believes that through the practice of yoga, we can more easily come to the connection between our body, our breath, our mind, and the universe we find ourselves in.

She came to yoga in 2009 and found a sense of lightness and length in her body, less chatter in her mind, and heightened senses, allowing a blissful connection to the world around her. Yoga has helped her recover from injuries, work through grief, and manage anxiety.

Angelique enjoys working with people in group classes and private sessions to facilitate a state of balance and connection between mind body spirit (physical/material body to the energetic subtle body), through the use of asana, pranayama, and meditation, guiding you and creating the space to allow you to do deep work.

Angelique offers Hatha, Restorative, and Yin yoga classes, as well as Reiki sessions. She has completed a 50 hour Restorative Yoga training, Surviving Assault (Yoga Essentials as Early Intervention Following Assault or Trauma), and numerous Ayurveda immersions.

She will always be a student of yoga and is deeply grateful for the continued loving guidance and wisdom of her teachers.

Dana Pupkar

 

Dana Pupkar has been an avid fitness, equestrian and golf enthusiast for much of her life. When her golf training group started offering weekly Yoga classes she fell in love with the practice after seeing the benefits to her performance mentally and physically. After suffering several injuries in her active lifestyle, Dana was advised to include more Yoga in her rehab program. Seeing the benefits to the body as well as the mind, the practice became a way of life for her. Her passion for Yoga lead her to complete a Yoga Teacher Training Program to become a Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT 200 and continue to dive into other trainings. She strives to help other active (and non-active) individuals discover the amazing mind-body benefits of Yoga to enhance their life as well as elevate their performance. Dana has had training in a variety of Yoga styles but has a special love for teaching empowering, strength based Vinyasa flows, emphasizing mindful alignment.

Jayshree Surage

MYT, C-IAYT, E-RYT 200

Jayshree Surage is a long-standing member and instructor of the yoga community located here in Olney, MD.  She finds peace and joy in connecting/serving the community in hopes of uniting, educating, and supporting all physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Jayshree is a Yoga Therapist attending her final year at Maryland University Integrative Health and has a B.S. in Biological Sciences specializing in Neurobiology and Physiology.  Jayshree has a passion for research, education, and serving/connecting through the integrative lens of healing/healthcare.  She finds value in Eastern and Western practices of healing/healthcare, and she works to bridge the gap in knowledge/understanding between the two traditions for both the patients/clients and the health care providers. Jayshree is also the co-founder of GroundRoots Healing which is a collective of change agents committed to building a community rooted in connection and healing.  We were founded by four Women of Color that came together in the spirit of solidarity during a time of profound violence in our community, society, and government systems to imagine and create a new way. We seek to empower the voices of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and offer tools for inner resilience including centering, connection, breath, and radical compassion to confront the deep wounds of injustice and remember our shared humanity.  Jayshree continues her work in providing safe, inclusive, and supportive spaces/practices to support all those exploring their unique paths to healing, growth, and transformation.

Wassa Lakkham

 

A  former office worker who suffered from multiple office syndromes until she discovered yoga over 10 years ago. Yoga changed her life in many aspects and introduced her to the balance of life: body, mind, and spirit. Through a decade of practice, she have met and studied with several experienced yoga teachers from across India. Each of them introduced her to different techniques and principles of yoga, inspiring her to take a yogic path. After years of practice, she travelled to the heart and the world capital of yoga: Rishikesh, India. There, she underwent advanced training that included over 500 hours of intense practice earning expertise in Hatha and Ashtanga Vinyasa, and became a pupil of a famous Hindu monk, Swami Omkaranada, who taught her a yoga philosophy of life. After completion of her practice in India, she was motivated to introduce a change and promote better health in herself and others. Wassa works to inspire students to practice the middle way principle and guide them on the path to the cessation of pain and suffering through yoga. The Vinyasa class is designed to be fun and energetic ,and introduce a various set of asana (yoga postures) for balance and improvement of self-stamina, flexibility, and strength. You will find both sweat and love joining Wassa’s class.

Colleen Long

 

Colleen started practicing yoga more than twenty years ago! What began as an interesting new activity soon put her on a life long path of self inquiry and discovery.

Her passion for yoga blossomed and while she attended workshops, festivals and practiced various styles of yoga, Colleen still had a deeper desire for more learning.

Recently she spent the winter fully immersed in the study of yoga and philosophy and has completed her RYT-200 hour with Amy Ippoliti at 90 Monkeys Studio in Boulder, CO.

Colleen’s classes are fun and dynamic combining the authentic teachings of yoga with alignment based vinyasa sequences and restorative flows. She invites students onto the mat and into a deeper relationship with themselves and their own potential through awareness, vitality and their connection to breath.

She is a self employed jewelry designer and graduate from the Gemological Institute of America. Her passion for rocks and minerals and anything pertaining to the element earth has kept her amazingly happy, grateful and fulfilled.

Tanya Proffitt

 

Tanya is a former competitive tri-athlete, and long time Vinyasa Flow yoga, Mat Pilates, and suspension (aerial) yoga instructor who believes passionately in the transformative power of yoga. By combining movement, meditation, and breath work to gain self-knowledge, she supports each student in creating an environment to deepen their connection to the intuition, strength, and love to be found within. Her style of teaching is fun and flowing, and always aims to evenly distribute the body’s energies throughout the body, eliminating mental, physical and emotional blockages. Tanya’s hobbies include cycling, going to the beach, reading, cooking, being with friends, being with her dogs, 2 children and being outside.

Smita Khatri

 

Smita Khatri is a lover of movement, and enjoys sharing her passion for dance with others. Smita began learning and performing Indian folk dance at the age of 5. Since 2007, she has taught Bollywood dance and Bhangra (Indian folk dance) at a variety of dance studios, fitness centers, holistic retreat centers, non-profit organizations, large festivals and events in California, Hawaii, New York, Colorado, Maryland, Greece, Scotland and India. Smita has also taught NIA — a holistic cardio-dance fitness practice that combines modern dance arts, martial arts, and healing arts — since 2018. Some of the venues where she has taught include the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, Findhorn Foundation, Honolulu Museum of Art, and Boulder community recreation centers. She also taught dance as a volunteer in India, through an organization connected with the Gandhi Ashram. Smita completed a NIA white belt training in 2017, a 200-hour Hatha Yoga teacher training in 2016, and a 30-hour Yin Yoga training in 2019. She has practiced yoga, Hanna Somatics, and Feldenkrais movement for many years.

Kristin Cook

 

Kristin began practicing yoga over 15 years ago as a form of exercise and stress relief. After being diagnosed with a chronic pain disorder in 2016, she recommitted herself to a regular yoga practice and discovered that through yoga, she was able to help heal her body, declutter her mind, and nourish her spirit. She received her RYT-200 and then an additional advanced Yin Yoga Certification. Being able to share yoga with others so that they too may discover the healing properties of yoga quickly became her passion. A former teacher with a Master’s degree in Education, Kristin brings clear instruction, inclusivity, warmth, and playfulness to her classes. She believes in providing students with options and encouragement based on what feels best in their bodies.

William Drew

 

William leads meditation class with an emphasis in creative visualization (sankalpa), breathing (pranayama), and posture (asana) for those seeking assistance. Feedback and questions are always encouraged to create and sustain a community based meditation group focused on growth, healing, and experimentation.

Experience includes his MA in Health & Wellness Coaching from the Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH), being a 200 Hr Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance and Certification in Clinical Hypnosis with the National Guild of Hypnotists.

By tailoring services with each client, he aims to establish powerful relationships that support lasting change by emphasizing individual needs. Above anything else, William aims to help his clients move toward their goals in order for them to live comfortable, balanced, and successful lives. Clients may also benefit from knowing that William is a lifelong learner, who continues his education through schooling. Currently, William is pursuing an MS in Yoga Therapy from MUIH in addition to 800 Hrs from the International Association of Yoga Therapists, 300 additional Yoga Teacher Training Hrs, 200 Teaching Hrs with this year’s 200 Hr YTT Class, and a certification in Biofeedback from the Board of Advanced Natural Health Sciences.

Teresa Rubio

 

Teresa has been teaching various forms of fitness classes since the age of 19, and believes that movement can do wonders for what ails us, either physically or mentally. She discovered her love for yoga several years ago when diagnosed with a brain tumor, which she managed to cope with through the help of the healing powers that yoga can provide. Teresa would describe her style as calm, flowing and grounding. A resident of Brookeville, Teresa loves spending time with her 2 beautiful boys, baking bread, camping, and morning yoga practices on beaches near and far.

Christa Sperry

RYT-500, RMP, Yoga of 12 Step Recovery Community Leader

Christa was raised on a steady diet of green chile and sopapillas in the shadow of the Sangre de Christo mountains in New Mexico. Her yoga practice has spanned the better part of 18 years, yet she feels she is just now beginning to scratch the surface of how deep this ancient gift goes in terms of what it has to offer mentally, physically, and spiritually. As a teacher, Christa incorporates Yogic philosophy, science, movement, and humor to create a well-rounded experience. She loves to teach many styles of asana (sometimes bundled into a single class), from gentle to Yin to vinyasa. She believes EVERYONE – regardless of ability, age, or circumstance – can benefit from a multifaceted yoga practice. Yoga is a gift she is forever grateful for, and it is in that spirit that she comes to my mat as a teacher and as a student.

Christa graduated the Advanced Studies yoga teacher training program at the Bhagavata-Sevaya School of Yoga, and also holds certifications in Yin Yoga, the Yoga of 12 Step Recovery, and trauma informed yoga and massage. She is the co-creator and co-educator of the School of Philosophy and Movement 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training program. By day, she is a massage therapist with a focus on rehabilitative, restorative, and Thai massage. When not neck deep studying or teaching yoga philosophy or anatomy, she can be found cooking, fire dancing, trekking through the desert, and staring up at the stars with her daughter and husband.