Teacher Profiles

Maria Mendola, RNMS, C-IAYT, IYT, e-RYT 500

Professional Yoga Therapist (IYT) and Ayurvedic Health Practitioner.   My work helping people overcome dis-ease started in the world of Western medicine as a nurse. However, when I saw and experienced just how powerful the breath is in healing, I knew it was time for me to more fully integrate past learning while seeking  a more holistic direction.   I sought out and studied with experts in Ayurveda including Dr. Vasant Lad, Dr. Robert Svoboda, Dr. Carl Rogue and Dr. Paul Dugliss. I learned Structural Yoga Therapy from Mukunda Stiles, and LePage’s Integrative Yoga Therapy. I also studied trauma release, dance therapy, kinesiology, and homeopathy. For two years, I lived with the Cherokee tribe and studied in depth their shamanic ways.  I have been a presenter with Integrative Yoga Therapy (IYT) since the late 1990’s and offer a Functional Yoga Therapy training at my studio here in Tucson twice a year.                                           

Patricia Hillyard, C-IAYT, IYT, e-RYT 500

Professional Yoga Therapist (IYT), Trauma Sensitive Yoga Teacher and Integral Yoga Instructor. I became a certified Integral Yoga teacher in 1975 studying under Swami Satchidananda and continued my studies of Eastern Philosophy  experiencing two (2) spiritual journeys to India with my family.  I have chosen the path of natural healing to honor the body as a Temple of God. My background as a Yoga Instructor allows me to help you create a healing place within yourself with visualization and relaxation so that you may tap into that unlimited energy source and enjoy life to the fullest. My compassion for people and desire to nurture others brings me to this present space of service.  My approach to a yoga practice is to create a sacred space to honor the body and listen to the teacher within. I offer each class as a prayer.                       

Sunanda Bruno, C-IAYT, IYT, e-RYT 500

Sunanda has been practicing, studying, and teaching yoga and body awareness for 10 years. She received her 200-hr Yoga Teacher Training certificate in 2008. In 2012 she completed her 500-hr Integrative Yoga Therapy training with Joseph and Lillian LePage. She continued her studies and received her Trauma Sensitive Yoga Certification with Genevieve Yellin, followed by NeuroKinetic Therapy®  training in 2015. Having a keen interest in the somatosensory nervous-system-movement, sensory processing and reflexes, she specializes in somatic education and integrates both somatics and yoga into her approach to yoga therapy. 

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Torrey Postal, e-RYT 200, YACEP, Neurogenic YogaTM Teacher, BA, MLS

Torrey comes from a classical ballet dance background and has 13 years of experience teaching Yoga.  Her classes are an eclectic, easy-going experience; weaving yoga poses, release work and breath to address the needs of the whole person. Her Functional Yoga Therapy training allows her to address physical imbalances and to create more ease within the body; improving posture, balance, strength, flexibility, circulation and the ability to breathe more deeply.  She is one of 13 people, worldwide, certified to teach Neurogenic YogaTM(also known as Tremor Yoga).  This specialized form of yoga allows students to let go of everyday stress patterns as well as physical and emotional trauma in a safe, controlled environment..

Meara Bielle, e-RYT 200

Meara is a passionate Yogini and Holistic Healer. She has been a student of yoga since 1996 and leading practice since 2011.  Meara is well known for offering deep practices with an emphasis on modifications and making yoga accessible for everyone, regardless of limitations. Her intuitive teaching style guides students on a journey of self exploration as they discover the uniqueness of their physical and energetic bodies through anatomical acceptance, stillness, and movement. Meara completed her 200 hour Teacher Training at The Yoga Connection in Tucson, received her Yin Yoga certification with Joe Barnett, and has studied with a variety of instructors in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest. She currently leads classes at Canyon Ranch and Om Yoga Studio in Tucson.

Frank Jude Boccio

Frank is a Certified Yoga Teacher and Ordained Zen Buddhist Teacher, I am the author of 'Mindfulness Yoga: The Awakened Union of Breath, Body, and Mind', integrating the movements and postures of hatha-yoga with the Buddha's essential mindfulness instructions. He teaches at Tucson Yoga, where he also is the Guiding Teacher of the Tucson Mindfulness Practice Community. While he has studied with many yoga teachers in a variety of styles and approaches, including Iyengar, Anusara, Astanga, Integral and Kundalini, he received formal certification as a Preventive and Rehabilitative Yoga Teacher/Therapist through The Bateman Institute in New York City. He was also certified through the 750-hour program of the Yoga Research and Education Center, under the direction of Georg Feuerstein. 

Sanjay Manchanda, MA, PhD LMFT

Sanjay has been studying meditation and yoga for over twenty-five years. He studied Vipassana with Shinzen Young for many years, and then with other teachers in traditions such as Zen, Advaita Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhism and Devotional Hinduism. He left my job as a Computer Science professor in 1991 and went back to my native India for my own spiritual journey. There he was initiated by Poonjaji, a disciple of Ramana Maharishi in the Advaita (Non-dual) tradition. He came back to the US and studied Process Psychology with Arnold Mindell. He responded to an inner calling to work with people by becoming a psychotherapist and meditation teacher. His teaching employs both mindfulness and active inquiry to help students gain insight into the true nature of self and world. His teaching methods are characterized by a confluence of various wisdom streams of the East and West. It is an integral approach to spirituality that includes all aspects of lived experience. He has a private practice in integral psychotherapy in combination with neurofeedback training for the brain.

Anthony Tribe, PhD RYT 200

Anthony has been practicing yoga since the mid 1970s and teaching yoga since 1979. A published author, He also has a doctorate in Indian Religion from Oxford University. He leads Yoga Sutra workshops and teaches Sanskrit. Sanskrit has been called the “language of enlightenment” and is said to be transmitted to humans from the gods. - He believes deeply in yoga’s power to promote human flourishing. I studied with B.K.S. Iyengar in India, and has received certification as an Iyengar teacher in London in 1979. He taught in England and Europe for seventeen years before moving to the United States. More recently, he has been studying the tradition of T.K.V. Desikachar and have completed the 250-hour Yoga Teacher Certification at the Providence Institute, Tucson. 

Nancy Bower, e-RYT 500, YACEP, IYT

Her yoga journey began in 1971, using a small book with pictures and few instructions.  In 1998 she began teaching yoga in Virginia and Arizona.  Her studies led her to Yoga Therapy and Ayurveda.  She is qualified as E-RYT500, YACEP by the Yoga Alliance, certified in Yoga for Stress Management with Integral Yoga at Yogaville, VA., certified as a yoga therapist with Integrative Yoga Therapy and has studied Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy at the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque, NM.   She also studies somatic movement modalities. She currently practices yoga and lives life informed by Ayurvedic guidelines and neuro-muscular movement modalities.  Her teaching style is gentle, thorough and therapeutic

Cynthia Russel, e-RYT 200, RYT 500, DMA in music education

Cynthia has a DMA in music education. She began teaching yoga in 2011, when she transitioned from a 30 year career in music education and vocal performance. She received her 200 and 300 hour teacher training from the Yoga Connection and specializes in the exploration of sound in yoga, traditionally called Nāda Yoga.


Donna Goodhart, e-RYT-500

Donna has been practicing yoga since 1970.  The greater part of her training since 2002 has been in the T. Krishnamacharya lineage through his son T.K.V. Desikachar, and family.  Donna was one of few worldwide to become a certified yoga instructor in 2006 by Mr. TKV Desikachar in their inaugural certification of non-Indian teachers at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram – a Yoga Education and Healing Center in Chennai, India. She then participated in their first international 5 year coursework for Yoga Therapist Training. The focus of her study, practice and teaching is to maintain the integrity of the ancient teachings while availing the myriad tools of yoga as healing and transformational paradigm to individuals in their everyday modern lives. Donna also developed and directed the former Providence Institute’s yoga teacher-training program.  Currently she teaches primarily with at-risk youth in a charter school setting, and privately she offers Vedic chanting. She has also worked with populations that range from addiction recovery, sexual trauma victims, women and teens with eating disorders, and at the Southern Arizona VA to aid veterans suffering from PTSD.

Jaimie Perkunas, DPT, e-RYT, C-IAYT

Jaimie has been working in Physical Therapy since 1998 and has been practicing yoga since 2000. Jaimie graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Des Moines University in 2005. She did her first yoga teacher training in June 2006 with Manju Jois in Ashtanga yoga. She then started to incorporate yoga and physical therapy into outpatient and inpatient settings. Jaimie is a Relax and Renew Trainer for restorative yoga with Judith Hansen-Lasater. She has completed a 100 hour Happy Back Certification and 100-hour mentorship with Rachel Krentzman. Jaimie’s passion is to share her deep understanding of the body with her unique therapeutic approach to yoga. She wrote a book Therapeutic Answers to Common Yoga Pose Questions. Jaimie owns a yoga studio called Yoga is Therapy in Tucson, AZ 

Amy Weintraub, MFA, e-RYT 500

Amy is the  founding director of the LifeForce Yoga Healing Institute, the author of Yoga for Depression (Broadway Books, 2004) and Yoga Skills for Therapists: Effective Practices for Mood Management (W.W. Norton, 2012), has been a pioneer in the field of yoga and mental health for over twenty years. I offers the LifeForce Yoga Practitioner Training for Depression and Anxiety to health and yoga professionals and offers workshops for every day practitioners. The LifeForce Yoga protocol is being used in residential treatment centers, hospitals and by health care providers around the world. I am an invited speaker at conferences internationally and is involved in ongoing research on the effects of yoga on mood. I lead workshops and professional trainings at academic and psychology conferences internationally at such venues as the Boston University Graduate School of Psychology, the University of Arizona Medical School, the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, the Integrative Mental Health Conference, the Cape Cod Institute, Kripalu Center, Omega Institute, Sivananda Ashram, Yogaville, Esalen, Patanjali University in Haridwar, India and Yoga studios throughout the United States. 

Rev. Teresa Cowan Jones

Sacred Space director Teresa Cowan Jones is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ and serves as Executive Director of the Breakthrough Leadership Institute, a transformational leadership and community development initiative. She is also an executive and personal coach, spiritual director, owner of TC Jones Coaching, instructor at the Center for Integrative Medicine, faculty for the Hesychia School for Spiritual Direction, a fellow in the Public Voices Fellowship, and founder of The Compassion Coalition. Author of over one hundred tools for effectiveness, Teresa holds a B.S. in Psychology and a Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt University (1996). A professionally trained coach, Teresa has served as coach and faculty of the Center for Progressive Leadership, a national nonpartisan leadership organization developing high-potential political leaders who can affect policy-making. Teresa also developed and taught university courses in sociology and has twenty years of p

Tomas Mendola, RYT 500

Tomas is an instructor for over three decades, He is a certified yoga teacher who has presented at yoga festivals, teacher trainings and workshops around Arizona. He is president of the Tucson Peace Center and CEO of Harmony and Health Foundation that is currently engaged in sustainable community models based on the yoga precepts. He believes humanity is evolutionary inclined to awaken. The yoga tradition has provided one clear pathway to that awakening.

Amanda Freed, LMT, RYT, CMT

What's something exciting your business offers? Say it here. Amanda is a licensed massage therapist and certified yoga and meditation teacher in Tucson Arizona. After graduating from the Swedish Institute of NYC in 1988 Amanda found herself drawn more deeply to eastern studies including yoga and meditation with Native American tribes, academic scholars and world renowned yoga and meditation experts. She has been a highly respected yoga instructor for over 10 years and is a  senior member of an esoteric meditation community and is certified to teach meditation through the Mclean Institute in Sedona. Amanda's passion is assisting students and clients in living a fully aligned life. Her method of teaching meditation is fun, easy to learn and honors each individual as an active, thinking human being capable of exploring higher states of consciousness

Debbie Barnett, RYT-500, e-RYT-200

Debbie became a certified yoga instructor in 2001 and began teaching yoga. Today, she holds the following Yoga Alliance certifictions: e-RTY 200, RYT 500, and YACEP for continuing education credits. She's shared her love of yoga with diverse groups, from physicians at Kaiser Permanente, sharing the benefits of mindfulness and breathing, to patients in alternative sentencing chemical dependency rehab centers. For 7.5 years, she taught a weekly class to male minors in juvenile detention as my seva (yogic principle of selfless service). No matter what the circumstances, she conveys her mission of “Serving the world through yoga, one breath at a time.”

Come to our free class and informational gathering on September 16th to meet our alumni and staff.