Meet Your Teachers
All have a minimum 200 hour Teacher Training Certification
Kate Denton is the owner and director of Amsa Yoga. She received her 230-hour teaching certification through Asheville Yoga Center, and she is currently enrolled in their advanced studies 300-hour training. Kate believes the power of yoga extends to all aspects of life, far beyond just a physical practice. She enjoys exploring the connections between things that “come up on the mat,” and experiences in everyday life. These links have led to positive and powerful changes in Kate’s own life, and her goal in teaching is to provide such opportunities to her students. Kate compassionately teaches yoga with an emphasis on the empowering and meditative aspects of mindfulness, movement, and breath. Kate brings a fun, positive, and warm energy to class that she would love to share with you! In addition to teaching yoga, Kate is a Speech-Language Pathologist who works with children with special needs.
Jessica Barnes Smith is a RYT 500 has been teaching yoga since 2011. She earned her 230hr yoga teacher training as well a 300hr advanced yoga studies certification through the Asheville Yoga Center. Jessica is a mother of two girls and an artist with a BFA from Winthrop University. She began practicing yoga in 2000 while recovering from injuries from a car accident. She discovered that yoga provided a space to enjoy movement and find stillness that is necessary to explore the deeper subtle layers of self within the comfort of community. In that space and stillness she found joy. Jessica hopes to facilitate that space for others.
Elena Colmenares-Hancock began her yoga journey in her hometown of Maracaibo, Venezuela. She further developed her practice when she came to the United States and experienced an overall change in her well being, due to yoga. What had been an alternative fitness activity, eventually became a way of life. Encouraged by her teachers, she immersed herself in a teacher training at the Asheville Yoga Center, where she received her 230h Yoga Teaching Certification in 2014. Elena still enjoys being a student, so you might find her taking a class too. As a wife, a new mom and a school teacher of French, yoga provides balance in her life. She would love for you to share your yoga journey with her.
Heather Hahn teaches yoga to share a practice which connects mind and body, experiences on the mat to everyday life, and yogis to one another. She received her advanced certification (300-hour) through Asheville Yoga Center after her initial 200-hour training with Rasika Yoga. Her teaching includes alignment-based flow, bhakti flow, mixed-levels, yoga for athletes, yin, and restorative yoga. As a full-time philosophy professor, Heather often weaves philosophical themes, as well as music and mindfulness into the practice. Influential teachers form a long list, representing a variety of styles of yoga and lineages: Vishnu Dass, Doug Keller, Leslie Kaminoff, Michael Johnson, Stephanie Keach, Kimberley Puryear, Janelle Railey, Shala Worsely, Stacey Millner-Collins, Kelley Gardner, Sarah Faircloth, Sari Weston, and Allison Modafferi Brewster. Heather is especially grateful for her first teacher, Dara Brown, whose cues she still hears in a high lunge. Additionally, Heather has attended workshops taught by John Friend, Christina Sell, Desiree Rumbaugh, Taylor Harkness, and George Mahoney.
Jami Hawkins is a certified yoga instructor through the Asheville Yoga Center, and has a certification in Children’s Yoga from Holy Cow Yoga and Holistic Center in Charleston. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, she is a piano teacher at Carolina Music Academy and grandmother of two. She is a master gardener, storyteller, and a master naturalist.
Howell Hensel – Over the last few years Yoga has evolved into an everyday practice for me to live fully. I practiced for a few years before I felt India calling me. I traveled there in 2016 to complete my 200 hour training at Sattva Yoga in RIshikesh, India, and I recently returned for my 300 hour training this past April. “Sattva” in Sanskrit means whole. The Sattva practice combines asana, pranayama, tantric kriyas, mudra, mantra, and meditation to create a transformative experience. Sattva allowed me to experience Yoga on all levels of being, beyond just a physical practice. My intention is to take you on a journey into the self using movement, breath, and mantra to help you experience your authentic power and create space in the mind, body, and spirit.
Susie Morales – I received my 230-hour teaching certification through Ashville Yoga Center. I also received a certification in Yin Yoga through the Holy Cow Yoga Center and have taken a 6 week course for conscious living through Upstream Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, A Center for Mindfulness Practice & Holistic Mental Health. I started my practice 15 years ago by chance. In the beginning, yoga was only something I did physically. As I journeyed along, it somehow became much more; Yoga became a meditation in motion which taught me to see beyond the mat. As one yogi to another, I plan on teaching with a loving, kind heart with emphasis on the breath. Outside of my practice I work in the medical field, enjoy my 2 sons and a little ShihPoo pup named Luna who has blessed my life beyond words. She has taught me the true meaning of being in the moment and to be okay with letting go.
Josh Odom – As a 15 year Air Force Security Policeman, former Kickboxing sparring partner, and former Powerlifter, I’ve “beaten” my physical and mental body through the ground; and from the ground I’ve risen to become a Yoga Teacher from Asheville Yoga Center and Licensed Massage/Bodywork Therapist from Midlands Technical College. After enduring many injuries it was time for me to make a change and listen to my intuition. I’ve learned to facilitate healing through massage and yoga, which has benefited my body and mind fully. The gift of living in the present moment gives purpose and through breath we are the light that shines through. My philosophy in class is almost always about tapping into your feelings (good or bad), listening to your heart and being in the “here and now.” Hope to see you on the mat, my friends.
Heather Parsons recently returned to Columbia after six years in the Bay Area (CA), where she studied yoga and wellness at the Niroga Institute. Her 500 hours of yoga trainings through Niroga were all therapeutically-based and trauma-informed. She also holds certifications in teaching Yoga to Youth and Pre & Postnatal Yoga. Her classes are for all levels and include pranayama (breath control) and mindfulness practices. Heather firmly believes in yoga and meditation as powerful tools in aiding emotional regulation and stress reduction. Outside of yoga, Heather enjoys being in nature, dancing and making jewelry.
Madhan Raj– Madhan grew up in India, in a humble home, with his parents practicing yogic values, in-grained in the Hindu culture. As a child, he would wake up to his dad practicing Hatha yoga in the early hours of the day. Vedic mantra chanting would follow Hatha yoga. His father grew up in a Gurukulam, in South India, during those formative years. However, Madhan’s calling for ‘yoga’ came only in 2006. Going through years of depression and in search of healing, Madhan attended his first couple of yoga classes in Kansas. Very soon, the regular practice of yoga became a habit. In 2009, Madhan went to the Sivanada Ashram in Kerala to study the timeless ‘Vedanta’ and ‘Hatha Yoga’. In 2012, through the guidance of his guru, he was initiated in ‘Kriya Yoga’, an ancient technique of spiritual evolvement, brought to the West by Sri Pramahansa Yoganada. Later, Madhan became a certified Hatha Yoga teacher to serve people, and to learn through the practice of serving.
Johnny Stowe got into yoga about 8 years ago as a path toward inner peace. Under Bren Schell, his first yoga mentor, he began recognizing and embracing profound parallels between yoga and his life as an ecosopher, author, lecturer and lover of wildlands. Johnny is a Certified Wildlife Biologist, SC Registered Forester and Wildland Firelighter specializing in human ecology and restoration of endangered species in longleaf pine savannas and other imperiled ecosystems using human’s oldest tool — prescribed fire. Amsa has been his “home” studio for many years. Many of the pan-disciplinary ideas he shares in his yoga and meditation classes — here in the Southland, in the Canadian Rockies and on the West Coast — sprang into his mind while lying on his mat at Amsa, under the soothing influence of Kimberley Puryear. His sahyinidra yoga involves guided imagery centered on deep-time eco-cycling through sacred landscapes.
Helen Summer – After turning to Yoga for pain relief, Helen quickly became interested in all aspects of the practice. She appreciates connecting the body, breath, and mind for an experience of well-being and peace. Having discovered her practice later in life, Helen has compassion for those beginning their Yoga journey and those with physical limitations. It’s a practice, not a perfect. Helen completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Holy Cow Yoga Center, Charleston, South Carolina. She is enrolled in the Advanced Studies Program at Holy Cow and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.
Teresa Welsch – I began my yoga journey my home town, Plymouth, WI. I developed a love of yoga as it helped me with anxiety and health issues. Yoga became a place to explore what life is like when you live in the now and release stress. I completed my 200-hour training through Yogaloft, Sheboygan WI, and currently enrolled in the Asheville Yoga Center advance studies 300-hour training. My background is mixed with teaching Gentle yoga, Restorative, and Vinyasa. I enjoy sharing yoga with everyone. We are all beautiful, unique and deserve to feel joy and happiness. I am thankful to share yoga with you.
TEACHING OPPORTUNITIES: We simply love sharing the gift of Yoga with others and are committed to cultivating a diverse and supportive Yoga community. This begins with love and compassion and a desire to help folks relax and become healthier, happier human beings.
If you share our love of Yoga and are a compassionate, caring, and well-trained Yoga instructor we would love to meet you! Come take some classes and introduce yourself. We welcome all Yoga disciplines, but a minimum 200 hour certification is required of our instructors.
For more information please contact Kate at email@example.com.