Centering Youth Teachers

HolleHolle Black is an E-RYT 500 certified Pranakriya Yoga Therapist who studied under the guidance of master teacher Yoganand Michael Carroll, and Marlysa Sullivan MPT, E-RYT.  In addition, Holle is a certified prenatal yoga teacher, certified kids yoga teacher, and has completed a 20 hour training with David Emerson at the Trauma Center in Brookline, Massachusetts, as well as trauma sensitive yoga training with Pranakriya Yoga and Street Yoga. Holle designed and directs the Trauma Sensitive Yoga, 20 hour training module for both the 500 professional and 500 therapeutic Pranakriya Advanced teacher certifications.  Holle has completed a 5 week victim’s advocacy program through Agnes Scott College and the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence., and is currently co-teaching weekly yoga classes at the Veterans Administration in Atlanta, working with Emory University and the VA on a research study of the benefits of yoga for women with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from sexual trauma while in the military.

Steffanie HagginsSteffanie Haggins has been a student and member of CSA (Center for Spiritual Awareness) since January 2001 and has been teaching yoga as a certified Iyengar teacher since 2012.  She also practices Hatha, Vinyasa, and Kundalini Yoga styles.  She strongly believes in people taking care of themselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.  As a certified life coach, master trainer, and yoga teacher, she has weekly classes that cater to people who want to balance their work/life routine, senior citizens, mentally challenged, and the youth.  She is also the author of the self-help book, “Image Is Everything!” What Does Your Image Say About You? to help facilitate her workshops that cater to ladies’ uplifting their self-esteem.


Maggie Leonard For Maggie, yoga has become an important practice that helped her to experience grace, self-acceptance, emotional and physical flexibility, and peace in the midst of this busy city. She seeks to share this gift with others in the classes she leads.  Maggie’s warm and inviting personality helps set the tone for a class in which students can explore their own practice  without judgement and surrender into a sweet savasana.  Her classes are thoughtfully sequenced with attention to alignment and breath awareness. In addition to having completed her 200-hour teacher training under Joe Palese, she has taken trauma sensitive training with The Center for Integrative Yoga Studies.  When not on her mat, Maggie works in the Poncey-Highlands as a pastor for a congregation that, while diverse, consists mostly of folks experiencing homelessness.  She has been leading meditations and teaching yoga to her congregants since 2011.

Veronica 2Veronica Lewinger – On Veronica’s 21st birthday, her friend took her to a yoga class.  Since taking that first class, Veronica has been steeped in education.  She believes that teaching is not something you do – it’s something you are, and she has spent years cultivating her craft.   Veronica loves watching people fall in love with yoga, and encourages students to attune and focus on their inner wisdom.
Veronica completed yoga teacher training in fall 2009 at Miami Yoga Shala.  This led her to become an AFAA Personal Trainer to enrich her knowledge of injury prevention, creation of symmetry in flexibility and strength, and reduction of chronic pain.   Veronica loves working with children and moms, and this inspired her  to complete Karma Kids Yoga Teacher Training, Get Grounded: Level 1, Yoga Gangsters Outreach & At-risk Certification, Prenatal Yoga for Conscious Birthing Training, and Oh Baby! Fitness Prenatal and Postpartum Certification.  Veronica has participated in workshops and immersions with Seane Corn, Rod Stryker, Heidi Sormaz, Tias Little, Bryan Kest, Kino McGregor and Tim Feldmann.  Her exploration of varying styles informs her views of alignment to work for many different bodies.  She has practiced Hatha, Ashtanga Vinyasa, Iyengar, Power, Forrest, and Viniyoga. Her vinyasa classes will include emphasis on alignment and breath awareness, self-acceptance and investigation.  Belief in the power of yoga for healing, empowerment, and transformation is at the core of her teaching philosophy, and her hope is that she can provide guidance for her students on their own path of yoga.

Stephanie Miedema – In 2007, Stephanie took a yoga class to fulfill a school P.E. requirement. It was hard and she didn’t understand why everyone was so obsessed. Deciding yoga wasn’t really “for her,” Stephanie went on her way.   

Years later, a series of injuries left Stephanie with a lot of back pain, a large dose of fear about her future mobility, and very little confidence. Then, she took a therapeutic yoga class. That was the beginning of a love story with yoga and its ability to support healing.  

Stephanie completed her yoga teacher training in therapeutic and meditative yoga in December 2015 with the Center for Integrative Yoga Studies in Atlanta, GA. She values yoga for its healing qualities – strengthening the ability to listen to the body without judgment and work with (rather than against) the body to heal from the inside out. When not teaching yoga, Stephanie is a PhD student at Emory University, where she studies the health effects of social stress. She uses what she knows on and off the mat to bring a permissive and exploratory approach to yoga as a tool for resilience, self-efficacy and empowerment.

Ian Moore Originally from Newark, New Jersey, Ian has been dedicated to serving people. At the age of 25, he start a not for profit organization and LLC entitled The Noble Truth Project, devoted to transcending children, communities, and corporations through compassion and mindfulness.

Ian is a life coach and spiritual advisor. He also serves as a certified Georgia educator, with several years of classroom experience and a certified RYT-200 Kemetic yoga instructor. A current candidate in the Masters of Educational Leadership Program at Kennesaw State University and awarded a Bachelors of Arts degree in Philosophy at Morehouse College. Ian has served locally and globally as Vice-President of Psi chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. and selected as a college ambassador for service projects in both South Africa and Haiti.

Ian looks forward to continuing his pursuit in transcending others through compassion and mindfulness. His goal is to awaken consciousness and help one grow spiritually. Through education, mindfulness, and persistence one will realize their self-worth and the impact that they have on the world.

Amelia Reiser – An Oklahoma native, Amelia headed down south to complete her BFA in Dance Performance at The University of Georgia. After spending some time creating, performing, and exploring internationally, she found home in Atlanta. Originally thinking of yoga as a way to stay fit during performance off-season, she stumbled into Decatur Yoga and quickly realized there was so much more to this practice. Amelia completed her 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification in Pranakriya yoga under the instruction of Yoganand Michael Carroll and Marlysa Sullivan. She has also completed Yin Yoga training with Douglas Johnson, and Trauma Sensitive training with Holle Black. Amelia aims to share with her students the many ways that yoga has helped awaken and connect her; body, mind, and spirit. Drawing from her knowledge of the body from many years of studying dance and practicing yoga, Amelia’s classes focus on alignment and introspection in a creative and playful way. In addition to teaching yoga, Amelia is a professional contemporary dancer with Atlanta based company Staibdance and is passionate about sharing movement with others. Amelia worked closely with her mother (Dr. Joan Phillips PhD,LMFT,LPC,ATR-BC) until her passing this year (2017) in crisis relief offering creative movement sessions while Joan offered art therapy, poetry therapy, private and group sessions to devastated populations of tornado victims in Oklahoma and Missouri. Amelia hopes to continue bringing movement, yoga, and mindfulness to those who need it most in honor of her mother.

megMeg Scalise – Meg first introduced herself to yoga as a teenager with her mother’s old VHS tapes in order to cross-train for dance and ballet.  It didn’t take long for yoga to capture her interest, and she truly fell in love with the practice and meditation in her early years of college where she studied Community Psychology and Theatre.   She earned her Bachelor of Arts, and in 2014 she completed her Pranakriya Yoga 200 hour certification.  She is also a Level 2 Reiki practitioner, studies Ayurveda, and loves 5 Rhythms. 

Her passion for yoga is complimented by her passion for travel, and she has taught in New Zealand, Australia, and England.  Meg is also hugely inspired by arts and performance, and is a singer in an Atlanta-based wedding band.  As her father has always told her, “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  She currently teaches patients with chemical dependencies at Anchor Hospital.

Vlad Bio PicVladimir Tchakarov discovered yoga  at age 7 when he opened his mother’s yoga books and found that he could do all the postures inside with ease. Both his parents practiced yoga and meditation and attempted to pass on to him different techniques but as a young boy Vladimir showed more interest in martial arts. He spent the next 17 years practicing various traditional styles obtaining a black belt and winning numerous tournaments in his country of birth Bulgaria. He stepped back on the yoga path when in his early twenties he lost his father to colon cancer and began to practice yoga to heal his grief and to fulfill his father’s wish that he developed spiritually. After a few months into the practice Vladimir was attending classes and meditating every day sometimes spending a whole day at the studio and taking up to 5 classes. Since then Vladimir has completed his 500 hour certification with Yoganand Michael Carrol and has studied closely with him assisting both 200 and 500 hour trainings and working to become a senior teacher in the tradition. Vladimir teaches yoga full time and he has a broad spectrum of experience. He’s taught classes to students, seniors, advanced practitioners, beginners, disabled military veterans and individuals with mental disabilities. Vladimir’s goal as a teacher is to pass on the tool of transformation that is yoga to everyone in his path in need of physical, mental and emotional healing.

Cee Cee Weeks graduated with a B.A. in Women’s Studies from Agnes Scott College in 2014 and began her yoga journey when she got her first job post-college at Solstice Yoga + Barre. Through beginning her personal practice of yoga, Cee Cee was able to realize how she could help provide space for others to heal from trauma, connect back to themselves, and find contentment. She trained under Holle Black, Tra Kirkpatrick, and Marlysa Sullivan at the Center for Integrative Yoga Studies and received her 200 hour certification in 2017. Teaching in the style of Tantra Hatha provides Cee Cee tons of room to adapt classes to meet her students needs. She teaches weekly classes in a variety of places–schools, non-profits, and studios–ranging from family yoga to trauma-informed classes. As a feminist, Cee Cee strongly believes in making yoga accessible to more communities and to making each class an inviting space for everyone.

Sumayya‘s primary teaching style is power vinyasa flow where students are encouraged to be playful, creative and explorative, but to most importantly be mindful of their bodies and respect where they are, at that present moment, on their mats.

She loves teaching because she believes in the transformational power of yoga to unify body, mind, heart and soul. Sumayya is continually inspired as a teacher to be part of her students’ journeys in becoming more tuned in and connected to themselves, as well as in discovering their inner strength and fire to rise above self-imposed limits and to shed away fears and doubts that may hold them back.

Sumayya received her 200hr certification from Hotlanta Yoga in vinyasa and athletic power yoga. She has been teaching full time since March 2017 and has experience teaching basics, power, hot vinyasa, intermediate/advanced flow, and even athletic yoga for a youth basketball camp. She also teaches yoga to refugees at the International Rescue Committee through a program with Centering Youth.

Certifcations:  200RYT, 20HR Trauma Certification