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PYB Instructors
Jamie Pearsen
Jamie Pearsen

I was a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader. This practice is a dance for me. A dance between learning and unlearning, knowing and being completely unsure, figuring it out and getting lost, struggling and surrendering. I could say that yoga saved my life but what is truer is that yoga (and my parents), have taught me that I already have exactly what I need to save my own life, right now. As a recovering ‘over-thinker,’ my practice reminds me, it’s not about what I THINK (and overthink). It is about feeling and flowing rather than forcing, it’s about connecting to what is real and right here, so I can live and give from my heart, the part of me that’s really me.

I get on my mat to remember all of this. I teach to hold space for others to experience their own dance and discovery. Few things truly excite me the way someone finding something new on or off the mat excites me! The love I have for this practice and for the Power Yoga Buffalo and Baptiste Communities is beyond what I can put into words. I am thankful and beyond excited to share this work with as many people as I can!

Julianne Aquino
Julianne Aquino

Yoga has been a pivotal part of my life for the past 5 years. Once I started practicing at PYB, I was hooked! Yoga has made me physically and mentally stronger throughout many aspects of my life. It has given me the tools to calm the craziness of raising 4 daughters and has been beneficial to me in my professional career as a Pediatric Operating Room Nurse. You may find me using my Ujjayi breath and standing in Tadasana during surgery.

I love the mental clarity Yoga brings after stressful day. I have a zest for learning, and enjoy sharing my knowledge with my students. Moreover, I enjoy being inspired and motivated by my teachers and fellow yogis.

I tend to think of myself as a perpetual learner. As I will always be a student of the practice, I am humbled to have the opportunity to share my passion and practice with others.

Cole Bailey
Cole Bailey

In 2012, I came to my first Power Yoga class with a friend. I was at a curious place in my life and wanted to have some new experiences. My first class was quite the experience – I had never sweat so much in my entire life, I had never done anything so challenging, and I had never observed such a large concentration of happy people once it was all over. I was not part of that concentration but i could tell that they were up to something. It was then that I decided that I was all in.

My love for this practice of yoga led me to the decision to share it with others. From my mat, my practice moved to assisting classes, to teaching at a church for free, to being welcomed into the Power Yoga Buffalo teacher family, to leading workshops. I want to inspire and be a part of that same growth in others, whether it’s sharing the Baptiste Methodology with a student, giving feedback to a fellow teacher, or treating a patient as a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Kate Boyd
Kate Boyd

I came to Power Yoga Buffalo because the website said it was “hard.” I had a running injury and wanted to supplement my workouts with yoga but I did not want to “waste my time” with something soft or gentle.

The more I practiced, the more I realized that the physical benefits of yoga were immediate and tremendous. I also started to realize that the benefits of this practice far exceed the physical. In this practice I have found community, peace and a sense of unity with my body. I have never felt more energetic or vital.

I came for “hard” but I have been left with a profound sense of ease. As a teacher I want to share the joy and love that yoga has brought to my life.

Amber Breen
Amber Breen

I attended my first yoga class at PYB in early 2013. Having done competitive gymnastics and cheerleading for most of my life, I was excited to be challenged with movements and poses I was familiar with. It was a hard class and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the physical challenge alone that made me want to come back. It was the moment in savasana, when tears were streaming down my face that I knew I was hooked. I left that class with a sense of peace and calm, and a connection that I’ve never had before.

Yoga is so much more than the poses we practice. Each class continues to bring positive changes on and off my mat. Most importantly, it has helped me become a better wife and mother. Having 3 young kids at home, life gets pretty hectic and overwhelming at times. Yoga is my outlet, my stress reliever and keeps me grounded. I’m learning to be less reactive and more responsive (most of the time!). Learning to embrace the mess and find humor in the craziness. This practice continues to teach me what is possible and allows me to open my mind and heart. I am so thankful I have found this practice, and excited to continue this journey and share the transformative power of yoga with others.

Lauren Chmielowiec
Lauren Chmielowiec

The day I took my first Baptiste yoga class, my life changed. I was still recovering from having major back surgery; one year prior I had my L4-S1 fused and was still having pain as a result of the new hardware that had been put in my back. It was a pretty tough time in my life because I had never been physically limited or had chronic pain. To say I was desperate for a solution was an understatement. Someone suggested I try yoga, and as fate would have it I ended up at a Baptiste studio.

Not only was the class physically demanding, the mental challenge of meeting myself where I was had me hooked. I was initially drawn to class because my competitive nature wanted to be able to do all of the beautiful poses and the practice itself helped my back pain. However, I stayed because of what it did for my mind. This practice finally taught me that strength isn’t creating walls and going it alone, it’s found in stepping outside of myself and being open enough to share my life and my practice.

To have the opportunity to share what I have learned through teaching is humbling and inspiring. I am so grateful for Power Yoga Buffalo and the people I have met there. Jamie and the other teachers constantly inspire me to be the biggest and best version of myself that I can be.

Jennaya Cannata
Jennaya Cannata

I was a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader. This practice is a dance for me. A dance between learning and unlearning, knowing and being completely unsure, figuring it out and getting lost, struggling and surrendering. I could say that yoga saved my life but what is truer is that yoga (and my parents), have taught me that I already have exactly what I need to save my own life, right now. As a recovering ‘over-thinker,’ my practice reminds me, it’s not about what I THINK (and overthink). It is about feeling and flowing rather than forcing, it’s about connecting to what is real and right here, so I can live and give from my heart, the part of me that’s really me.

I get on my mat to remember all of this. I teach to hold space for others to experience their own dance and discovery. Few things truly excite me the way someone finding something new on or off the mat excites me! The love I have for this practice and for the Power Yoga Buffalo and Baptiste Communities is beyond what I can put into words. I am thankful and beyond excited to share this work with as many people as I can!

Audrey Carlson
Audrey Carlson

Power Yoga Buffalo came into my life at the perfect time. In July of 2014 I had recently watched the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carey and decided to try that philosophy on in my own life. I was committed to saying yes to everything that created opportunity to be up to something bigger. So when a friend asked me to go to a power yoga class I said YES! Right away I discovered that I was capable of far more than I had ever let myself think possible. Here my journey began and my life opened up to endless possibility….

The combination of focus, grounding, and intention that we practiced on our mat started to show up off my mat. I learned to clear my mind by focusing on my body and breath, embracing intention and purpose in the smallest of movements, and the smallest of tasks. Most of all I started to enjoy getting out of my comfort zone. To me, being out of my comfort zone means embracing the constant state of change that we are all in. Not resisting, rather opening to the possibility.

I LOVE this practice, and nothing makes me happier than share it with you and our wonderful community!

Meghan Chadsey
Meghan Chadsey

A permanent tension headache and ever-growing sense of failure landed me on a yoga mat. I wanted to “get Zen” and manage my Excedrin intake. My first Baptiste yoga class was a sweaty, cranky mess. I was not Zen and my head was the least of my pains. I barely made it through. But I came back. Again and again. Yoga did not save me from the big, hard world. But it did carve out a space that allowed me to be with the sweaty, cranky mess in and around me. Learning to be – and letting it be. That was a choice.

I believe you can shift your world from this practice because I have experienced it. I feel it every time I hear a room of students exhale together. It’s why I teach. PYB offers a place and space. The rest is your choice.

Candice Cinquino
Candice Cinquino

I was a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader. This practice is a dance for me. A dance between learning and unlearning, knowing and being completely unsure, figuring it out and getting lost, struggling and surrendering. I could say that yoga saved my life but what is truer is that yoga (and my parents), have taught me that I already have exactly what I need to save my own life, right now. As a recovering ‘over-thinker,’ my practice reminds me, it’s not about what I THINK (and overthink). It is about feeling and flowing rather than forcing, it’s about connecting to what is real and right here, so I can live and give from my heart, the part of me that’s really me.

I get on my mat to remember all of this. I teach to hold space for others to experience their own dance and discovery. Few things truly excite me the way someone finding something new on or off the mat excites me! The love I have for this practice and for the Power Yoga Buffalo and Baptiste Communities is beyond what I can put into words. I am thankful and beyond excited to share this work with as many people as I can!

Catherine Cook-Cottone
Catherine Cook-Cottone

Long before I took my first yoga class, I loved the idea of yoga- the integration of body and mind in service of the soul. What is not to love about that? Yet, much like my relationship with ballet, yoga was for those with flexibility and grace. It was, most certainly, not for me. Despite my certitude, a good friend dragged me to a yoga class many years ago. I was afraid of being embarrassed, falling, and being the only one in the room who could not reach her toes. I went anyway. As the class ended, I was lying in savasana with an amazing sense of what I can only call a big-hearted feeling of love and happiness.

You see, yoga was for me and my tight hamstrings. It turns out that you don’t need to be perfectly graceful and flexible. You just need to be. And so, this is why I teach. I want to show you the way to that big-hearted love and happiness. And maybe somewhere along the way, your hamstrings will let go a little bit and you will find your toes.

William Cragun
William Cragun

When I walked into Power Yoga Buffalo on Elmwood Ave I could barely handle the fire of my emotions. My meditation practice brought up many buried emotions and patterns and I couldn’t find a place for them. I had done yoga in the past and I knew that it could help me. I was apprehensive to go to a studio. I have always kind of felt like I was from outer space and I didn’t think I was going to fit in. I was extremely nervous. I thought a bunch of “normal” people would see me as some weirdo.

PYB was nothing like I expected. I signed up for the new student special. I found a lot of peace in my yoga practice. I realized yoga was the missing component in my life. Whenever things were extremely challenging, and I didn’t know if I could continue to deal with so many difficult emotions, I knew I could count on my yoga practice. Being able to rely on 60-75 minutes of peace a day gave me strength to continue. A lot of trying experiences came up, but I could turn towards them thanks in part to my yoga practice and PYB.

In Buddhist practice, we take refuge in the three jewels. One of the jewels is Sangha, it is a Pali word that roughly translates as community of practitioners. I feel the community at PYB is part of my Sangha. I don’t know if maybe I am a “normal” person or everyone a PYB is bunch of weirdos, but I know I found a place where I feel like I belong.

Erin Curtin
Erin Curtin

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2012, 3 months after my back surgery. I was terrified to exercise and move. My sister in law, Jody, who is also a teacher at PYB, brought me to the 9:30 class. We put our mats down in the front of the room on the right hand side. The front ?!? Are you kidding me? I began to move, move in ways my body had never experienced. I was a rower, a soccer player, a runner. The types of sports where one has to push fast and hard. I surrendered and allowed my body to just move. I remember standing in my first tree pose, tears streaming down my face, not because I was sad or hurting, but because I was, for the first time, able to be present, to feel, to experience a practice that combines mind, body and SPIRIT!

Yoga is just that, you will have good days and bad on and off your mat. Yoga gives you the opportunity to say it’s OK to just be. I swear and sweat on my mat with my PYB family, but I laugh and smile more. Get on your mat, move, sweat… we got you! Be a yes for yourself and the change will be extraordinary!( PS. I still practice in the front.)

Carolina Delaney
Carolina Delaney

I started at PYB around my 28th birthday when they opened their new Main St. studio. I vividly remember laying in savasana as the entire class began singing “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. I immediately felt that this was where I belonged. It was a celebration for the studio, but more than that it was a celebration of life, community and of me, when I needed it the most. From that day on I was hooked.

The physical and mental aspects of the practice have taught me countless lessons that I have been able to take off the mat. From being less reactive to being more present, yoga at PYB has helped me become a better mother, wife and teacher.

I always say I wish I would’ve found yoga younger which is why teaching kids classes is so important to me. There are so many benefits to children and as I guide them in breath, poses, and visualizations I am so happy that they are experiencing this great practice at a young age. What I love about this practice is that there is always room to grow and as I continue my yoga journey I know that there is so much more possible out there for me if I just keep at it.

Nicole DeSimone
Nicole DeSimone

I began my yoga journey in the Fall of 2011. After my first class I felt so complete. I left feeling completely lit up, inspired, and like I could do anything. I felt an instant connection with the practice and I simply desired to learn more. My practice has been an incredible act of self-care, which allows me to move my body in a way that is powerful, grounding, nourishing, and mentally and physically challenging. My yoga practice is a catalyst for personal growth, which continues to propel me further along my physical and spiritual journey.

I recognize that we are all more alike than we are different, and Baptiste yoga truly creates a space for people to get out of their own way so they can re-discover their inner light. I teach Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga proudly because of all of the gifts I have received from this beautiful practice, and I wish to serve others by sharing the practice that I love.

Jen Gress
Jen Gress

You know how you remember your first yoga class so distinctly? The room, the atmosphere in the class, the teacher? Twelve years ago (!) I took my first Baptiste class at the YMCA in Charlotte, North Carolina and I have never looked back. That was a game changing moment in my life without question. It was a killer combination of sweat, physical challenge and words that resonated for me on a level I hadn’t experienced in any of the other fitness classes I’d tried.

What I’ve learned most from my practice over the years is to keep asking more from myself while at the same time accepting where I am right now as OK. Classic yoga teacher talk, right? There was nothing to ‘fix’ about myself when I first started (even though I had zero yoga game, by the way) but there was a huge amount of growth possible on and off the mat which has enriched my life so much! I feel better about who I am as a mom, wife, friend and human being through taking on this practice.

Jennifer Hastings
Jennifer Hastings

I stepped into my first class at Power Yoga Buffalo in November of 2012. It was a Tuesday night, and the studio was buzzing with energy and smiles. I had taken a few yoga classes before, but had never experienced anything quite like this. The practice was both challenging and reenergizing. I knew I wanted more of this. My body and soul needed more of this!

I love this practice because each time I come to my mat, I have the opportunity to fully express myself and create a practice around what my body & soul need that day. For me, it feels like art in motion. This is the kind of practice I want to create with my students. This is the reason I teach: to create and continue to share yoga with others.

I love teaching kids because they constantly create a yoga practice based around how they feel and what they need. Walk in with a plan and be prepared to throw it out the window because they have a different idea of what the class should be that day. This is something I constantly tell myself when it comes to teaching kids.

The same is really true for adults, too. Working with the energy in the room is what truly creates the class: co-creating together. I feel so blessed to share this practice and to be in creation with the PYB community!

“Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” Brene Brown

John Hastings
John Hastings

It was 2010 and I had decided, due to numerous surgeries, that my collegiate career as a football player was at an end. Gone were the days where I needed an extra 20lbs and heavy lifts to prepare my body for the gridiron. Also, with surgically repaired knees I was seeking to lose weight, add stabilizing strength, and transform my body. I began my journey in my college apartment with a yoga mat laid out right next to my bed. That is where it all began for me.

Three years passed, I had continued my “bedroom” yoga practice. Then, I met a friend of my sister’s who had just moved back to Buffalo. She was practicing at a studio called Power Yoga Buffalo and her excitement over this style of yoga had me interested. She brought me to my first studio class with Jamie and I fell in love with the practice, the sweat, the feeling you get when you’re flowing with everyone in the room, all of it. I also fell in love with my sister’s friend, Jennifer. We married in 2016.

Up until walking into PYB, yoga was not something I shared with many people. Yet something about this style had me wanting to share it with everyone. The practice gave me the physical release and the mental clarity I sought. I made a promise to myself that I would seek the training and do the work to become a yoga teacher. Here I am – in it, doing it, and loving it. Seeing this community of yogis on their mats, doing the work, struggling, stepping up to their edge and breaking through gets me fired up and reminds me why I believe in this practice. It works if you do the work.

Haley Huntress
Haley Huntress

I was in waist deep with diapers and bottles and I knew I needed something, something outside of being a mom. For some reason I thought of yoga. I thought that Yoga might be a place where I could find a peaceful escape, a place where I could go to find a quiet stillness from the inevitable insanity of three small kids. I didn’t know anything about yoga so it didn’t occur to me that ‘Power Yoga’ was anything more than some gentle stretching and meditation. I remember leaving my first class…. it looked like I just jumped in a pool, I felt weak and shaky but, strangely, so invigorated and I couldn’t wait to go back! As I started to gain strength, I started to see my own progress and I was hooked.

As my children got a little bit older and my love for power Yoga grew. I decided that I wanted to deepen my practice and go to Level 1. Then a year later, Level 2 plus some weekend trainings. I didn’t attend these trainings to become a yoga instructor. I never thought of myself as a teacher plus I HATED public speaking! With some gentle encouragement from our yoga community I decided that instead of living my life in accordance with what I feared, I should live my life open and free from anything that may limit me. Yoga has led me down a different path than I had once planned and I’m so grateful for this journey and the life that I live. Every choice I’ve made has led me to where I am today, every obstacle I’ve overcome has made me a better more whole person. Yoga continues to challenge me mentally and physically and I’m so thankful to be able to share the gift of yoga.

Paige Hurley
Paige Hurley

My yoga journey started just like many others: I wanted to get a work out in and my friend invited me to go to yoga with her. I accepted the invitation and what came to follow was 90 minutes of me trying not to fall and some of the hardest physical work I have ever done. After the class I showered and went home, but then it hit me that was I was completely present in that room. I was not worrying or thinking about anything that happened before I got there or what was to come next.

That realization is what got me hooked. Baptiste yoga brought me to another level of my practice. The connection between my breath, body, and mind started to form things that I thought were impossible to become possible. Examples of that range from being able to do head stands and push-ups to having tools to help me with my anxiety to becoming someone that will wake up at 5AM to work out and be with my community. I understand everyone that walks into a yoga room is there for a different reason, but I believe once you are there you will start to find your true purpose for being on your mat and then the work will begin. You may even surprise yourself of the person you will become like I have. It all just starts with showing up and being a yes!

Rihann Iacobucci
Rihann Iacobucci

Power Yoga Buffalo and Baptiste Power Yoga instantly became an integral part of my life after my first class in April 2012. It was an unforgettable yoga class. It was challenging, and empowering. It was encouraging, and inspiring. I was learning lessons and practicing skills I had never practiced in my life prior to yoga. I practiced being present and being a yes, which eventually began showing up in my life off my mat. Nearly six years later, I continue to practice, value, and appreciate the lessons I have learned on my sweaty yoga mat. Many things have changed in my life since my first yoga class, but now as a wife and mother, this practice continues to be an important part of my life.

Baptiste Power Yoga has had such an everlasting positive impact on my life that I wanted to share the practice with others. I have participated in several workshops including, Art of Assisting, Advanced Art of Assisting, and Truth North Alignment, and I have been a student at both Level 1 and Level 2 teacher trainings. As a middle school teacher, I realized and understood the importance of yoga and mindfulness for children and I participated in a Rainbow Kids yoga teacher training. I have been teaching Little Pretzels Yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo since October 2014. Throughout the years, this practice has become more than just practicing and achieving poses for me. I most appreciate being a part of an incredible community that I love so much!

Ashley Kney
Ashley Kney

I was a dancer, gymnast, and cheerleader. This practice is a dance for me. A dance between learning and unlearning, knowing and being completely unsure, figuring it out and getting lost, struggling and surrendering. I could say that yoga saved my life but what is truer is that yoga (and my parents), have taught me that I already have exactly what I need to save my own life, right now. As a recovering ‘over-thinker,’ my practice reminds me, it’s not about what I THINK (and overthink). It is about feeling and flowing rather than forcing, it’s about connecting to what is real and right here, so I can live and give from my heart, the part of me that’s really me.

I get on my mat to remember all of this. I teach to hold space for others to experience their own dance and discovery. Few things truly excite me the way someone finding something new on or off the mat excites me! The love I have for this practice and for the Power Yoga Buffalo and Baptiste Communities is beyond what I can put into words. I am thankful and beyond excited to share this work with as many people as I can!

Kelly Kubiak
Kelly Kubiak

Searching for physical healing, I was guided to yoga in 2012. Physical benefits were only a small portion of what I received from beginning a yoga practice. Through asana, I find strength and courage. In practicing intentional breathing, I find openness in my heart, body, and mind. And meditation, this is where I learn to just BE.

As a teacher, it is my honor to lead the practice that I owe so much to. I hope to create a space of endless possibility, and a place for my students to discover these miracles within themselves!

Christina Liberto
Christina Liberto

I grew up dancing well over 25 hours a week – it quite literally consumed my life. Transitioning to life outside of the studio and into a professional corporate career, I felt a huge sense of disconnect with my body. While having lunch with a coworker, I mentioned how I was feeling lost without dance in my life and bored with weights and cardio at the gym. She mentioned three magical words that I am forever appreciative to her for – Power Yoga Buffalo.

I vividly remember my first class, laying in Savasana and thinking that there was something magical about this space and the practice. I jumped head first into the practice, attending Level One training only 6 months into practicing.

This practice has continued to open doors for me that I never thought were possible in my life. Before coming to this practice, I was in a constant dance of trying to get everything in my life ‘right’ – the stereotypical Type A perfectionist was at my core. While I still find myself as always trying to get it right, I continue to learn so much about myself through this practice. I have learned that I am stronger than I will ever give myself credit for, to not be afraid of making mistakes, taking risks – and yes, fall both on and off my mat, only to get back up and try again. I learned that life so closely resembles the practice on the mat. There are difficult poses and times in your life, but by finding breath, believing in yourself, and surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded people, anything is possible.

I am humbled to share this practice with others and constantly look forward to share the pure joy and love that yoga has brought into my life.

Anastasia Malagisi
Anastasia Malagisi

I walked into PYB on Saturday, April 4, 2015 for a 6:45am power hour. I wore the wrong clothing, knew nothing about yoga, and really went to support my friend Steve. I had been a runner for years, worked out consistently, and thought I was in the best shape of my life entering this class. Yet, I could not balance on one foot, I was struggling through the entire practice, and I found myself very frustrated by the time we got to heart openers. It was time for full wheel (something I used to do all the time as a kid). I went to go up, but I was stuck. I could not get up! I was so mad. Then Steve assisted me into full wheel. I looked at him with bewilderment. I felt so supported that my frustration dropped in an instant. There I sat, in a puddle of my own sweat, with so many thoughts going through my head. That was the start to my yoga journey, and the journey inward to my self. Since beginning, I have healed multiple injuries, and consider myself to now be in the best shape of my life – physically, mentally and emotionally. To sum up my experience in a bio does not do this process justice. All I can share with you is to begin. Begin now, and allow your story to unfold. I am amazed every day by the gifts I receive with this practice. THIS yoga has made me a better person and allowed me space to heal from my past stories to find inner peace, and open up to possibility. Yet, it is continuous work – the journey is never done. This studio and this practice can unleash magic if you are up for the challenge. I began teaching in July 2017 and wholeheartedly say there is no better gift than sharing the gift of THIS yoga. I’m proud to say I’m a Tier 1 300-Hour Certified Baptiste Yoga Leader. I have found service to others to be the most rewarding. I currently teach a community class with the WNY Pride Center through Yogis in Service and volunteer with Africa Yoga Project. When I’m not practicing or dreaming of yoga, I enjoy traveling, hiking, running, spending time with my family and friends, and squeezing my dog Dante.

Lauren Martin
Lauren Martin

In 2011, I was lucky enough to stumble upon yoga and started to practice at home. A few months later I went to a studio and I will never forget my first class. It was the first hour in a long time that I can remember not worrying about anything. Not if I sent that work email, not what errands I had to run- I was fully present in both my body and my breath.

That stillness in both my mind and body had immediate effects. I was transformed and as much as I knew I would continue to practice, I knew I would teach. It was challenging, sure, and continues to be, but that is what keeps bringing me back and that is what allows me to see what is possible. I hope to do that for as many people as I can and am honored to share this practice.

Colleen O’Neil
Colleen O’Neil

I first went to Power Yoga Buffalo seeking out the new Yoga “trend” I kept hearing about. I wanted to see what all of the hype was about. I was content with my gym routine and spin classes but I was curious about the physical workout that I could get from Yoga. At the end of my first class I left drenched in my own sweat, my heart beating and my breath flowing freely and even though I hadn’t mastered any of the
poses, I felt physically challenged but more than that, I felt a mental clearing that I hadn’t felt in a very long time. It was like a weight had been lifted from my chest.

From that first class I kept going back to PYB and each time I left I felt like a new person, a new version of me – my best self. Each class left me letting go of insecurities and emotional baggage that I had been carrying around for so long. It was through the words of my mentors and teachers and through DOING THE WORK that these changes within me were happening. There was no turning back. I am forever grateful for this studio, for this practice and for this community. I teach in hopes to give back to others the gift and freedom that Yoga has brought to me.

Julie Perna
Julie Perna

I was bribed with a pair of yoga pants to my first class by my mom. I had recently finished undergrad, and my career as a college athlete ended. I loved an intense trip to the gym that was full of sweat, reps, music, and feeling sore. It was clear I knew nothing about PYB!

Yoga has enhanced my life in so many ways. Most importantly I have become fearlessly present in my practice, teaching, and life. I take the lessons I’ve learned to the grocery store, driving down Main Street, and to my little students at school. I have found the courage to do things that make me uncomfortable, truly see and purely listen, and to always be up to something bigger than myself.

Now is the perfect time to put on your favorite pair of yoga pants and join us on this incredible journey that will change your life. If not now…when?

Marie Phillips
Marie Phillips

A competitive athlete from a young age, Marie spent her childhood swimming and rowing, and grew those skills to become a nationally competitive elite level snowboarder. Through her athletic experiences, she found herself drawn to a major in Health Care Studies with a focus on strength, conditioning and wellness. This path pulled her to start exploring the more subtle movement of yoga, and she eventually got trained to teach Baptiste Yoga, followed by an advanced 300-hour training at Green Monkey Yoga in Vinyasa yoga (E-RYT500 hr). In addition to her vast asana knowledge, Marie’s no stranger to movement and self care – she’s a NASM certified personal trainer and certified in Reiki Healing Levels I & II, and a certified Stand Up Paddle Yoga Teacher. Movement is her touchstone, and this practice brings her back to herself over and over again in her wanderings of the world.

In 2014, she started SUP Yoga Buffalo, bringing her passion for yoga and boards together. She splits her time teaching yoga and SUP yoga here in the Buff, and leading retreats and classes at her home-away-from-home, the RipJack Inn in Playa Grande, Guanacaste, Costa Rica. She uses yoga and SUP yoga as her outlets to get connected and give back to the world with an annual fundraiser called SUP for Pups.

Amy Popadick
Amy Popadick

I grew up playing sports and going to gyms. Yoga was not in my rotation. If I wasn’t sweating and  pushing myself, it wasn’t worth my time I thought. Boy was I wrong. I remember walking into my first Power Yoga Buffalo class. We were mat to mat but, magically, everyone made it work. After 75-minutes, I was lying in a pool of sweat, heart racing, humbled yet invigorated. I will never forget the energy in that room from the teacher and students. We were strangers but we were  for each other and I had never experienced that on the treadmill.

My type-A personality kept coming back partly to get the poses “right” but also to experience the joy and gratitude that each class exuded. The more I returned the more I realized the physicality was only part of it. I learned to listen to my breath, slow down, and soften around certain poses which allowed me to go somewhere new. That somewhere new was usually in millimeters but that’s what’s great about one’s yoga practice! There’s never a finish line, it’s constantly evolving – like life.

Every time I get on my mat, I am grateful for the opportunity to move my body with this  community. This practice has given me so many tangible and intangible gifts and it lights me up to be able to share this practice with others.

Steve Procknal
Steve Procknal

Power Yoga is like the first time you watched your favorite movie, played your favorite sport, and travelled to your favorite place in the world. Once it happens you wonder how you lived without it, but you’re stoked to have it now. The rest is history – get to class. I was born and raised in Buffalo. I’m a Baptiste Certified teacher and Baptiste upper leadership training program F.I.T. November Project co-leader, and a recipient of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership young professional award 2018. Division one Athlete, Boston marathon and World Triathlon Championships qualifier, competed in World’s Toughest Mudder and Spartan Race World Championships. Yogis in Service board member and Albright Knox Art Gallery Convergence Council board member. Lululemon Ambassador.

Jody Quinn
Jody Quinn

Letting go of my old stories and being vulnerable enough to really be seen are some of my most powerful experiences practicing at Power Yoga Buffalo. Prior to completing Baptiste programs Level 1 and 2, I spent a lot of time comparing myself to the physical breakthroughs of others and was literally standing in my own way of happiness and progress. When I began to focus on the person on my mat, practice and life became more joyful and breakthroughs come at the most unexpected times. I love creating fun and playful kids classes with activities, music, and stories while leaving space for them to lead the practice. I teach adults as though they are moving from their inner child with curiosity, joy and playfulness!

Sierra Rapone
Sierra Rapone

My love for yoga came to me as a surprise. I was that person that said “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible, it’s too boring,” and all of those thoughts were quickly eliminated after I left my first class at Power Yoga Buffalo. I left the class not only very sweaty but also with a feeling of empowerment and gratitude. I loved the physical aspect of the class, but what I loved even more was the ability to connect my mind and body. I was very into other forms of physical fitness before I went to PYB and
while I enjoyed them, I never knew what I was missing until I stepped onto my mat.

Through this practice I was learning that I am in control of my own thoughts, and I can make things happen because of them! Another thing that kept me coming back was that every time I got on my mat it was unlike the last. I was doing the same poses, but each time it was different. I would feel something new in my body that I didn’t feel before or a shift in my thoughts would happen. I was starting to change both physically and mentally. A transformation was happening right before my very Eyes!

I am filled with so much love and gratitude from this practice that I want to give back and share it with everyone in the PYB community!

Kara Sanchez
Kara Sanchez

I walked in to my first class at Power Yoga Buffalo on January 11, 2011. It was the middle of winter, so when a co-worker suggested I join her for a yoga class in a 90-degree room, I was game. It was the perfect blend of sweat, stretch and soul and I was immediately hooked. I wasn’t sure what would surface from this, I just knew to “Do my practice and all is coming” (–Sri K. Pattabhi Jois). Over the next few months, the transformations started to appear – subtle, but noticeable in my mind and body. Through the mysterious blend of breath and asana, my mind was gaining clarity, and my soul had never been more grateful for all the blessings in my life.

In January 2012, I attended a Foundations in Action program with Baron Baptiste. There were over 300 yogis converged in a hotel ballroom. This is when I realized that it wasn’t just me! This practice truly is transformational. That weekend I knew I had to share this secret with others. After countless hours in the studio learning everything I could, I attended Level One and Level Two training with Baron Baptiste and Paige Elenson. Since then, I’m blessed and honored to have the opportunity to share this practice with you.

“Before you’ve practiced, the theory is useless. After you’ve practiced, the theory is obvious.” – David
Williams

Rob Savarino
Rob Savarino

Yoga has been a part of my life for over 10 years, and my practice has helped me grow stronger, more flexible and fearless, both on and off my mat. And, as a busy entrepreneur, having balance in my life is really important to me, and yoga has been at the forefront of this.

I also find joy and ease in teaching, a natural extension to share the connection within a real community of like-minded people of all types. I have been teaching at Power Yoga Buffalo for over three years. As a Baptiste certified teacher, I continue to expand my knowledge through Baptiste training and being an active part of the Baptiste community.

You may find my classes have a slower than usual pace with a soulful flow and messages that hope to help you find your own power and clarity. I hope to see you on your mat!

Michelle Schwach
Michelle Schwach

I came to the practice of yoga looking for something I could not define. For many years, my mind and body were disconnected from each other and I spent a lot of time unconsciously trying to figure out how to get away from myself. However, months into the practice, I began to realize that the years I spent feeling down about how my body looked or worked were wasted time, because my body was actually strong and flexible and powerful. I learned that it was possible to be in my body and not run away or feel badly about it. In short, I started to trust. I learned that it is possible in each moment to be both perfect where I am, but also to strive hard for what is next.

The practice that started as mostly a physical challenge to myself continues to show me I am capable of way more than I believe. As time went on, I gained strength, balance and flexibility, but more importantly, I gained patience with myself, with others, and found a beautiful community. A whole world has opened up.

My journey in the practice has been the greatest gift because it works to cultivate steadiness, ease and unconditional love. It has given me so much that I have no choice but to share it.

Erin Silvestri
Erin Silvestri

When I began practicing yoga at Power Yoga Buffalo several years ago, it did not take me long to realize that part of the magic was the experience of being truly seen. Something about this practice clicked for me as a psychologist but also appealed to me as a historical non-athlete. I love the message of this practice, which is that it is ok to be the lovely mess that you are – but at the very same time – that you can get lit up to be your most amazing self. Not from a place of less than, but from a place of abundance.

The physical practice of yoga is what allows me to strip so much away, allowing me to find split seconds of a quiet mind I have never experienced before. The hours of sweating onto my mat became a peeling away of emotional and physical things that do not need to be there. I learned that I do not need discomfort to leave in order to be happy. It holds up a mirror, to let me know what my work is. It reminds me to be brave, accepting, and to have compassion. If I can be with the discomfort, rather than focusing my energy on getting rid of it, I can get someplace new.

Sharing this practice, especially with young people, is an honor and a joy. Helping guide people to find something inside themselves they never knew was there is an amazing privilege for which I am very grateful.

Alex Smith
Alex Smith

I took many yoga classes and tired other styles of yoga before my first Baptiste class. Initially my perception of yoga was focused on the physical aspects. My intention was to try yoga as a compliment to my other exercise routines. Being an athlete for most of my life I would worry about my performance. I would worry about what I looked like and wonder if I was doing the pose correctly.

Coming to Power Yoga Buffalo has shifted my perception. Now, yoga for me is much more than the physical.  Yoga has taught me to view the body and mind as one inseparable whole being. I have been able to see beyond physical to discover a deeper connection from within. To be able to access the this has lead me on a beautiful unfolding journey of self growth, expansion, and possibility.

Because of my eagerness to learn and grow, I chose to complete the Kids Baptiste Certification and the and the 200-hour Trauma Informed Yoga Certification from Yogis in Service. I absolutely love teaching kids yoga and it brings me joy to share with my community!

Casey Sotland
Casey Sotland

I grew up playing sports. As an athlete, my body was used as a line of defense for many years, and I was willing to bare scars and bruises for the sake of winning, for the sake and thrill of competition. I entered my first yoga class with the mindset of “this will be easy.” Humbled doesn’t even begin to describe the way I felt as walked out of class that day. And so began my yoga journey. A journey that began by hiding in the back of the room, continues through Baptiste training and has led me to stand firmly at the front of the room to teach and share all that I have to offer.

When I teach I challenge, I give, and I show up to encourage students to continue to strive to be the best possible version of themselves. The version that loves who they are, where they are and the body they possess. I am blessed with the opportunity to teach and share this practice with such an incredible community.

Julia Spitz
Julia Spitz

My husband was in a catastrophic ski racing accident and life came to a screeching halt for over a year as I focused solely on his recovery. By the time his health improved, Power Yoga Buffalo had opened a studio in the Elmwood Village, where we live. Yoga was one of the only activities my husband was cleared to do, so we started taking classes together on Saturday mornings. After a few months, we decided on a whim to do the 40 Days to Personal Revolution. That is when everything changed.

Doing this practice six days a week was incredible. I was flexible. I had energy. I was rocking poses that previously looked impossible. I was sleeping like a log. I was part of a community. And most meaningfully to me, I witnessed my husband come back to life. Sharing this practice with others is the only way I can adequately thank this studio, its teachers, and my fellow students for what they have given me.

Brendan Spitz
Brendan Spitz

Following a life-changing skiing accident, I learned I would lose the ability to ski, water-ski, run, or partake in any physical activity which involved the slightest impact on my leg. The activities which put the biggest smile on my face were gone in an instant. For the following year I tried, unsuccessfully, to figure out how to come to terms with how my life had so dramatically changed. I wished I could just strap on my shoes and go for a quick jog to “let off some steam.” In the process I had become the least healthy, least emotionally and mentally calm version of myself I could have ever imagined. My wife, quick to notice the change, asked me if I would like to join her for a yoga class. I begrudgingly agreed, thinking the entire time, “How hard of a workout could it be? I’m a DUDE! And DUDES workout with weights, racks, running and heavy stuff!” I. Was. Wrong. I found in one blissful hour on my mat what I thought was taken from me forever; the ability to sweat and breathe as though I had just run 8 miles. In that sweet, hot hour, not only was I challenged physically but I was able to share my practice with my wife and closest friends around me! Each and every time I touch my forehead to my mat, I am reminded of how much yoga, my practice, and the PYB community has given back to me. I cannot wait to share my practice, and in turn give back to everyone in our community!

Sarah Tobias
Sarah Tobias

I walked into my first Power Yoga Buffalo class in 2012 at the old studio off of Main Street. The room was packed, it was hot, and I was completely clueless and overwhelmed. After the 90-minute class I was hooked. At first, the practice was mostly physical for me and a great work out. As I dug deeper, it became not only physical but mental and spiritual as well. This practice has taught me so much about myself. Showing up on my mat over and over again has been a source of comfort and stability
in the craziness of life.

I attended Level One training in 2015 and Advanced Art of Assisting in 2016. I began teaching in 2016 and then moved to Boston, MA. In Boston, I tried all different types of yoga but was always drawn back to Baptiste. I am so glad to be back home in Buffalo and teaching with such a great community of people. I can’t wait to share this amazing practice with you!

Carrie Wert
Carrie Wert

I am a runner. I live to run. When I can’t run I live to run again. When I can run, I live to run again. Post second child, before I was cleared to run again, I went to yoga class. I went because someone suggested I give it a try. I hoped that my second post-partum journey would feel better than my first. I was captivated as I learned quickly that yoga is so much more than a workout. It is a lifestyle. I learned that you can’t take care of others until you take care of yourself. I found a new peace.

I am also a teacher of small children. I found myself going to work with a new sense of presence and patience with my students. I learned how to listen and realized that for so many years I had been doing it so wrong…always rushing around caught up in getting the material covered and worrying about getting to the next lesson on time. I learned to slow down to go fast and appreciated my students in a new way.

I quickly realized that if this is good for me, it will be good for my students too. We began doing yoga in my classroom along with mindfulness activities. I was amazed at how my students responded and at how they found new calmness in themselves. I was also amazed at how much they loved knowing the yoga language as I heard stories from parents of their children bringing yoga into their homes. I feel so lucky to be able to share my love of yoga with the children of  Power Yoga Buffalo. I am a yogi.