Meet our circle of passionate and authentic teachers with many talents, beautiful practice and eagerness to share yoga with all students including: families, kids, and adults.
Aleksandra found yoga in 2001 during her first visit to Maine from Poland and she was drawn instantly into this transformative & healing practice. She completed her initial 200 h vinyasa teacher training with Jennifer Cooper and Sandra Pleasant in Virginia and since then studied with many teachers including Sean Corn, Shiva Rea, Patricia Walden, Jacqui Bonwell, Amy Wren, Nicole Clark and many others. She also holds 40 h Prenatal Training with Still Point Healing Method and Kids Yoga Teacher Training through ChildLight Yoga. Additionally she has a strong background and certification in Pilates, Ayurveda and is a Usui Reiki Master. Aleksandra completed her 500 h advanced Yoga Teacher Training with Yoga of Energy Flow.
Her teaching style is heart driven and based in alignment while allowing for creativity and intuitive sequencing. She encourages students to breathe into their space on the mat and educates them about ways of incorporating the practice of mindfulness and holistic health into their daily lives. She strives to create a safe space for healing to occur across all ages.
She is constantly grateful to all her teachers and students for endless inspiration and wisdom. She is passionate about bringing yoga and mindfulness to all ages and has a strong vision for Spiral Tree Yoga & Wellness within the community. When not teaching Aleksandra enjoys being in nature with her two children Natalia and Konrad and her husband Brian, dog Luna and cat Koko. To read more about her and the story of Spiral Tree click here.
Susan loves to share her passion for movement with people of all ages. In addition to teaching adult classes in her home studio, Mat Madness, she volunteers in a local elementary school teaching focus and self-regulation skills to children through practicing yoga. She is also excited to be working on a mindfulness movement project that will be delivered via live telepresence to middle school students in South Burlington, VT. Prior to moving to Maine in 2010, Susan developed after-school health enrichment programs for elementary school children, taught yoga to middle-school children as part of their physical education curriculum, and delivered Yoga/Pilates fusion classes in high schools and colleges throughout the Capital District of NY. As a yoga-pilates instructor for students and faculty at Sage Colleges, her fondest moment was being asked to introduce children participating in the Autism Spectrum Community Project to the abundant joy of yoga. Susan brings with her an intense passion for the overall health and well-being of all the people whose lives she touches. It is with gratitude to her many teachers that she is able to carry the work forward. And now that she is joining the sangha of teachers at Spiral Tree Yoga & Wellness Studio, she wants to know: “Would you like to come out and play?”
When I was about 20 I took my first yoga class and was smitten. As some people say about their partners- we met and it was as if we had known each other all our lives. It was only natural that somewhere down the road I would end up being able to share this great tool with children. Prior to teaching children's yoga, I had been an educator in many senses for children of all ages. From a nanny to the director of an all-girls program, I felt like I'd done it all except for yoga, which changed after receiving my certification from ChildLight Yoga in early 2010.
I have a BFA in Art Education, and moved to Portland from Massachusetts 7 years ago to jump into change with my then fiance so he could attend grad school. Seven years later we're still here and have grown our family to 4 with an almost 5 year old son and almost 2 year old daughter. I greatly appreciate the gift I've been given and what I am able to pass on to the aspiring souls of the present and future!
While working as a substance abuse counselor with the homeless, incarcerated and mentally ill populations in San Francisco, Nicole was introduced to yoga. Nicole was inspired to continue her practice after seeing how the benefits of a regular practice affected her work, as well as her clients in a positive way.
Nicole has studied with Master Teacher Alice Riccardi at Portland Power Yoga, where she completed her 200 hour teacher training. In October 2012, she also completed her Childlight Yoga training. Since becoming certified, Nicole has shared her love of yoga and taught adults, kids and teens.
Nicole continues to use her knowledge of yoga to reach out to communities and people who may not have access to or knowledge of the healing and growth that is possible through a regular yoga practice.Nicole lives in Portland with her husband, two kids, two dogs, rats, one hamster, a cat and fish.
Melissa Ferrigno began practicing yoga when looking for an outlet to help with balancing all her day-to-day tasks, while reducing stress and countering her other work out activities. After her first vinyasa yoga flow class she was hooked. Melissa had found a place where she could let go and focus on her connection of mind, body, and spirit while toning and strengthening her body. Wanting to deepen her practice and learn more about the history and philosophy behind yoga, Melissa completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Breathing Room in South Portland Maine in 2013. She began teaching regular classes shortly after which helped her to develop her own authentic voice and style when practicing and teaching classes, and enjoys sharing her passion and knowledge with others. Melissa holds space with the hope that each student is able to come to class, let go of their busy lives, and become reconnected to their breath and body. She also holds certifications in Restorative Yoga, Prenatal, and Children’s.
Off the mat, Melissa enjoys running, hiking, and snowboarding. In warm months she enjoys relaxing at the beach and being in the sunshine. Melissa received an Undergraduate Degree in Communication with a minor in Holistic Health and Education, and a Master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education both from the University of Southern Maine.
Tania Neuschafer Zuckerman has been a Therapeutic Breathwork practitioner for over 10 years and facilitator of groups for over 15 years. She trained as a yoga instructor with the Breathing Room in South Portland. Through gentle, restorative and all levels flow classes, she offers new students opportunities to learn the physical postures and helps advanced students connect more deeply to the depth of their practice. Tania's yoga teaching style emphasizes the origin of working with an asana practice by incorporating both pranayama and meditation in all of her classes. Tania's classes provide every student the chance to explore for themselves the benefits of yoga- increased strength and flexibility, reduced mental stress, and greater sense of ease and clarity. Tania is also a minister through the Earth Circle School for Ministry since 2007 and has over 3 years supporting wilderness quests and ceremonies. To learn more about Tania visit www.spiraldancebreathwork.com.
Jen started practicing yoga over ten years ago when she discovered a restorative class that helped her manage chronic neck pain. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Bhava Yoga School in Portland, Maine. She enjoys creating a class in which students feel empowered, centered and lets them honor the strength of their mind, body and spirit. Jen is also an improvisor, actor, ukulele player and certified Laughter Yoga Leader. Yoga helps her remain grounded and in the moment both on and off stage.
Christine grew up in a household where her parents practiced yoga regularly and she was lucky enough to have gym teachers who taught it, but she still avoided yoga because she thought she wasn't flexible enough. When she finally discovered her own practice, she fell in love with yoga's soothing, transformative powers.
Yoga has since helped her through good times and bad, made her stronger physically and mentally, helped her become more confident, and opened her eyes to a new beautiful, magical, grateful perspective on life. She is so honored to be able to share these and yoga's countless other powers with students.
She completed her 200 hour teacher training through Radiant Life Yoga School's program in Nicaragua and has studied Reiki with Joanna Scaparotti at The Healing Center in Beverly, MA.
Diane began her yoga practice in 2000 when she tried a home video because she had read that yoga was the “new” exercise trend. She was hooked. Not only did she find that the physical practice made her body feel amazing but she also noticed that it had an effect on her mind and spirit. She had a home practice for a number of years and studied all she could find about yoga. Her practice took on a much deeper level when she experienced multiple losses. She found that focusing on the 8 Limbs of Yoga helped her to stay strong, grounded and able to cope more effectively. Since that time she has trained with Amy Weintraub (author of Yoga for Depression and founder of Life Force Yoga) and received certification as a Life Force Yoga Practitioner, Level 1. This type of yoga uses asana, mantra, mudra and specific pranayama to help manage anxiety and depression. She also received her Yoga Nidra certification through Shiva Shakti Yoga School in 2014 and her 200 hour Vinyasa certification in August of 2016 with Lily Dougher and Margo Rosingana at The Breathing Room. Additionally, she has had training with Mukta Kaur Kalsa using Kundalini Superhealth yoga techniques to help manage addictive behaviors and does online trainings with Tommy Rosen founder of Recovery 2.0. She is currently completing an online course with Francesca Cervero on teaching private yoga lessons.
As a mental health and substance abuse nurse with over twenty years of experience, Diane’s focus is on bringing the beautiful and deeply healing aspects of yoga to people of all ages and abilities. Her classes are filled with humor, love, playfulness, compassion, encouragement and are suited for all levels. She believes that no matter where a person is on their life’s journey, there are always new and precious opportunities for learning, healing and growth.
Elizabeth has been teaching and playing with children for more than 20 years. She has taught them ceramics (92nd Street Y, Breakwater); drawing (Metropolitan Museum of Art); math and reading (NYC School Volunteers Program), and has spent countless hours happily playing with them.
Elizabeth incorporates mindfulness, yoga, storytelling and art into her Discovery Room sessions with children, and leads fun and innovative yoga classes for tweens. She moved to Portland, Maine, in 2007, after 27 years in Manhattan. She is a studio artist
My yoga journey began over a decade ago when I took my first power Vinyasa class in 2007. I was recovering from a running injury and seeking an alternative way to manage stress and remain active. I had no idea that yoga would become so much more to me over the years than a regular workout routine. Class after class, I began to appreciate how yoga has the ability to create strength, flexibility and transformation of our mind, body and soul. It aligns us with gratitude for the present moment and inspires us to lead healthier more purposeful lives. Over the past 11 years, I have practiced many styles of yoga in various studios throughout the country. I completed my 200hr teacher certification with Leslee Clark of Well Heart Yoga School in Falmouth Maine in 2015 and Yoga Assistant Training with Sue Jones and Ray Mucci of Prana Power Yoga in Cambridge Massachusetts in 2011. I am a Physical Therapist and practice locally with a specialty in pelvic floor, oncology and perinatal rehabilitation. I utilize my passion for yoga in a holistic approach to healing injury. My teaching is authentic and playful drawing from my knowledge of anatomy and biomechanics to create a safe and intentional practice for my students. I believe yoga is truly a gift and I feel incredibly grateful to share it with this community.
Katherine’s love of yoga began in 1994 in Boulder Colorado where she studied Iyengar style yoga at the Naropa University. She Received her teaching certificate as a Hatha Yoga Instructor from The Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, Illinois, in 2006. She has been teaching yoga in The United States and internationally for over eight years. Katherine’s work has included Private & Group yoga instruction as well as guided retreat. She designed and directed a teachers training program for her community in Belize and has run travel retreats though out Central America. Over the years, Katherine has also worked extensively with special needs clients in private as well as group settings. Under the guidance of Padit Rajmani Tigunsit, Katherine is currently pursuing her 500Hr advanced teachers training through the Himalayan Institute.
Katherine’s exceptional style of teaching is both refreshing and effective. Her classes emphasize the dynamic interrelationship between breath awareness, mindfulness, and posture alignment. With clear and consistent instruction and a special focus on the logic behind the teachings, Katherine encourages her students to find dynamic and creative solutions to the challenges they face in their practice, on and off of the mat. Each class focuses on greater self-awareness, inner resilience, emotional wellbeing, and joy-filled living.
I took my first yoga class over 20 years ago when I moved back home during a hiatus from college. Since then I have studied in the Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Svaroopa styles in Philadelphia, Western Massachusetts, and Maine. I completed my 200 hour Vinyasa teacher training with Lily Dougher, Margo Rosigana, and Ethan Somerman at Breathing Room in South Portland in 2015. I have continued my studies at Breathing Room since then, completing my Restorative Yoga teacher training with Margo Rosigana, and my teacher mentorship (with a focus on alignment-based yoga) with Ethan Somerman.
I hold a Masters degree in Elementary Education from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, and spent 15 years as a teacher of children, from Pre-K through 5th grade. I am now a school administrator at a charter school in Gray, Maine, where I mentor teachers and help with curriculum development.
I am also a mom to a seven year old boy who teaches me more about living my yoga than any pose ever could.
Daniel Drenetz Counslor, Meditation Teacher
Daniel has been practicing meditation within Buddhist traditions for over 13 years, including Theravada (vipassana), Zen, and Tibetan Buddhist lineages. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and is a disciple of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche. Daniel holds a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and practices locally as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor for teens and families.
Daniel describes Buddhist mindfulness meditation as a saving grace in his life, and he is delighted to share the profound practices that he has learned from his teachers in order to promote greater peace, love, and well-being in the world. Please note that Daniel’s classes are meant to only teach meditation, and that he is not offering mental health counseling at Spiral Tree Yoga and Wellness Studio.