Leena fell in love with yoga at age 13, and has been sharing her passion for yoga in Kitchener-Waterloo since 2008. She stepped into the role of owner and director of Queen Street Yoga in 2012. Leena's teaching melds therapeutic alignment principles with dynamic flow and invites students to befriend their bodies, and cultivate more clarity and compassion in their lives. Her mission is for Queen Street Yoga to be a place that supports practice, grows community, and helps students cultivate more vibrant lives.
If you need to contact our director, Leena, with feedback or issues of a confidential nature email please email us at info[at]queenstreetyoga.com and request her address, or use one of our confidential feedback forms at the studio.
Leena is registered with the Yoga Alliance as an E-RYT-500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher). Since 2008 Leena has completed over 1000 hours of teacher training in Anusara Yoga and other alignment-based and vinyasa styles, and has done in depth training in yoga therapeutics, Ayurveda, and pedagogy. Leena continues to be supported in her practice and teaching through her ongoing studies and mentorship with senior teachers, including Darren Rhodes, Christi-an Slomka, Matthew Remski and Robin Golt.
"To me yoga is both an inward journey and a means of connecting more authentically with the world. My practice helps me to befriend my body, notice the patterns of my mind, and listen more closely to the soft voice of my heart. Yoga is always reflecting the complexity of life and the world to me. My practice is both joyful and challenging, deeply personal and passionately political, empowering and humbling. My time on my mat helps me find more strength and spaciousness to be in the moment, to listen, and to repsond with greater kindness."
Leena loves living in vibrant downtown Kitchener neighbourhood with her husband Scott, and a backyard full of bird feeders and vegetable gardens. She is involved with the Downtown Kitchener BIA and she volunteers with MCC's program Circle of Friends supporting women in the community as they transition back into independent housing after being in Mary's Place women's shelter.
Photo by Girl Crimson ::: Alt Portraiture
Emma began practicing yoga in 2004 and has been teaching since 2010. Emma’s classes are active, playful and encouraging of students to practice in a way that makes deep sense for them. She draws on her background as a performer and a writer to bring a focus of creativity and individual expressiveness to her classes. Emma teaches regular workshops and special event classes at Queen Street Yoga and loves the opportunity to dive into the details of alignment and anatomy with students.
Emma has completed over 500 hours of training with local and international teachers and continues to feed her own practice and zeal for teaching with ongoing study. In the past few years, she has been expanding her movement paradigm by studying the Axis Syllabus, Contact Improvisation, and Functional Movement. Her teaching aims to empower students with her best understanding of biomechanics and healthy movement while honouring each student's unique experience of embodiment. Emma is a certified Yoga for Round Bodies™ teacher and is passionate about creating body-positive contexts that celebrate a diversity of abilities and sizes. Emma co-directs Queen Street Yoga's 200-hour Teacher Training Program and oversees the mentoring of new teachers.
Listen to and download Emma's Savasana Songs for free on Soundcloud!
"Yoga is the way that I create myself new, every day. It is the way that I shape my experience of the world, by remembering myself back into my body and expressing myself out into the world. Yoga is play and prayer, art and science, a deep well of presence. Yoga has been integral for me as an artist, to keep me fed and connected so that I can continually give myself to the creative process. My desire as a teacher is to support students to fuel their inherent creativity through yoga. I believe living is the most creative act, and that yoga can be play and prayer for people to live their most creative lives."
Emma loves gardening, biking, reading poetry and visiting thrift stores. She has had past lives as an activist, an actor, a novelist and a maker. Emma self-published a short novel several years ago, called Split Light (there is a copy in the QSY community library if you want to read it!). She writes semi-regularly on her blog which is called Thinkerpoet.
Listen to or download recordings of Emma's savasana songs on Soundcloud.
Photo by Girl Crimson ::: Alt Portraiture
Andy keeps track of all of the little details at QSY – especially when it doesn't occur to anyone else to think of them! As Operations Wizard, Andy loves nothing more than finding/creating solutions (ideally before the problems arise) and communicating simple, clear procedures to the rest of the QSY team so that everything runs like clockwork at the studio. And when it doesn't, Andy is ready to jump in and figuratively disentangle the knots.
Andy first joined QSY as a work-trade in the winter of 2013, mere weeks after moving to Kitchener from Toronto. She was looking to join a community in her new city and quickly felt at home in the studio. Now in formal role at QSY, Andy brings her experience with psychology research, environmental non-profits, and marketing communications consulting to grow the studio.
When not at her standing desk in the office, you can find Andy on her purple mat in the studio (relishing the experience of someone else doing all of the thinking for her). The rest of the time, Andy can be seen with a laptop and double americano in an indie café, walking/biking around Kitchener, tending to her veggie garden, or curled up at home with a book, her two cats, and tea.
Monica has been exploring yoga since 2007 and completed her 200-hour Teacher Training at Queen Street Yoga in 2014. Queen Street Yoga’s focus on Alignment Based Hatha yoga, in combination with her previous massage therapy education has allowed her to create classes that explore the depths of safe foundational alignment alongside strong expansional breath.
Monica is a safe-skeletal-alignment enthusiast and promotes strength before stretch in every pose, coming back to that concept in each class. She loves to garden, and often ties tactile themes of grounding into the soil or reaching toward the sun into her teaching. Monica creates a warm, open environment in her classes and encourages questions and discussion with students to promote ongoing learning for everyone present.
"Yoga is a path of transformational, personal evolution: mental, physical, and emotional. I trickled into this practice to fulfill an ache for slow and sweet movement, and my life has grown far beyond what I expected. Through breath and mindfulness, my practice has evolved from a shaky, physical flow to a more dynamic mindset full of compassion and awareness to my body, community, and planet."
You can always find Monica on Friday mornings behind the desk at Queen Street Yoga, ready to answer any and all of your questions about being a student at the studio. She loves to garden, and enjoys deep conversations about plants, the Earth, and sustainable agriculture. She is also a tattoo collector, with many more to come.
Amanda’s classes offer students a challenging yet nurturing experience of connecting more deeply with their bodies, minds, and hearts. Her classes incorporate clear alignment principles with full-hearted themes that help each individual student cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness, both on and off the mat. Amanda’s classes are welcoming, fun, and engaging. They include meditation and pranayama (yogic breathing) to offer students a well-balanced and grounding practice.
Amanda started practicing yoga in 2002 with Shraddha Schaner in the Anusara method. Her love of the practice and her commitment to deepening her own experience of yoga led Amanda to complete her 200 hour Teacher Training with Shraddha in 2009. She also completed her Radiant Child Teacher Training Level 1&2 so that she can share yoga with children and teens.
In her own words
For me, Yoga is an evolving and transformational practice. It is an ever-deepening understanding of myself, my experiences, and the world around me that is empowering and meaningful. Yoga helps me to embrace the challenges of life as opportunities for new growth and learning, and it helps me to celebrate more fully the richness and abundance that I am so fortunate to be a part of.
Amanda is the mother of three awesome, busy children. She has taught yoga in schools, and is currently seeking out opportunities to share yoga with more people in her community.
Photo by Girl Crimson ::: Alt Portraiture
Carin is an arts professional and Hatha yoga teacher who recently moved to Kitchener from Toronto. She has been studying yoga since 2001 and teaching since 2007 following her first certification under Michael Siddall and Cynthia Cooperstone. To date, Carin has accumulated over 400 hours of teacher training and continues to cultivate the craft of yoga through ongoing study. Her teaching draws on various Hatha yoga styles and is strongly influenced by her long-time study of Anusara yoga.
She encourages a playful and intense yoga practice and teaches with great authenticity, enthusiasm, and care for her students. Her classes are theme-based, heart-centered, and always an adventure. Her hope is that when you meet yourself in your practice, it will be a time of insight, creativity, and celebration that will ultimately inform and enrich all aspects of your life off the mat. Carin is continuously moved by yoga's potential for teaching empowerment, dignity, grace and awareness.
Julie has been practicing yoga since 2002. Julie began her teaching career in 2008 at QSY, where she instructs Prenatal Yoga. In 2007 Julie received her 200 hour Teaching Training through Yoga Alliance, under the guidance of Hart Lazer. She also completed a Pre & Post Natal Teacher Training in 2006 with Michelle McCormack of 5 Elements Yoga and Pilates.
Julie's classes flow gently and promote spiritual, mental and physical development for you and your growing baby. You will also experience a deeper connection to your child.
I am a busy mother of 3 young children and I enjoy my yoga practice as a means of bringing balance into my life. I understand the positive effects it has on the body and an overall sense of well-being. I credit my regular practice for preparing me mentally and physically for the birthing process. My passion is to share my love of yoga and to help others achieve these benefits.
Julie works part time at TD Financial and finds time to volunteer on the Board of Directors at St. John's Nursery School.
Photo by Girl Crimson ::: Alt Portraiture
Kris began practicing yoga in 2006 while an undergrad at the University of Waterloo. During her first year at graduate school, yoga played an integral part in her personal growth as her practice deepened. She completed her teacher training with Pranalife Yoga in 2010. Having always been a teacher of some sort (piano, math, science), relaying the yoga she was learning came naturally to her. Since then, she has taken her practice from Toronto to Europe and has studied with numerous teachers. She completed a secondary training with Sadie Nardini, and is now certified to teach Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga.
While her background is in the Ashtanga yoga lineage, her practice and teaching have evolved from these roots to become more alignment-based vinyasa. She believes deeply in the powerful effect of the breath as a centering tool. With creative sequencing and a carefully selected music playlist, her classes flow seamlessly and the breath guides the practice. This results in a practice that leads you to your edge, and challenges you to find peace there.
Outside of her yoga practice, Kris has recently completed her PhD in chemistry at the University of Waterloo. She is in love with live music, particularly at outdoor music festivals, and has been playing and teaching piano since she was a child. She eats clean, blogs about it, and is happy to make others curious about her lifestyle.
She volunteers her time to run the Waterloo Yoga Club, a non-profit organization at UW designed to help students develop a yoga practice. She has also recently become an ambassador for the Power of Movement, a yoga fundraiser to help raise money for the Arthritis and Autoimmune Research Centre.
Find out more about Kris on her website www.layakariyoga.com
Marg has been practising and loving yoga since she first experienced it on a sandy, salty beach in 1974. Since then, she has studied a number of styles, including Ashtanga, Sivananda and Iyengar. A classically trained singer, Marg found yoga principles invaluable as she performed and taught voice for many years, experiencing the empowerment of the body-mind-spirit connection. She found a home at QSY in 2007, and completed her teacher certification with Hart Lazer in 2010.
Marg is fascinated with human growth and potential. She has spent years as a core, music and physical education teacher in the elementary system, and has completed a Masters in Theology: Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.
Ever a “morning person,” Marg is thrilled to share the joy of yoga with friends in QSY’s Sunrise Practice.
Photo by Girl Crimson ::: Alt Portraiture
Aimée Morrison began studying yoga in 2005, while pregnant with her daughter. She has studied primarily in the Anusara style, and was certified in alignment-based hatha yoga in QSY’s 200-hour teacher training in 2014. Following her initial training she went on to become a certified Yoga for Round Bodies™ teacher with Tiina Veer. A full-time university professor, administrator, and researcher, Aimée’s practice is focused on bringing steady effort to find balance and flexibility in the midst of the challenges of daily life. Her teaching aims to build strength, self-compassion, and joy by linking heart qualities to focused engagement while still holding onto a sense of humour. Aimée fell over every single time she tried Half Moon pose for, like, 2 years, and it was hilarious every single time.
In her own words
"Yoga has been a part of my daily life for more than seven years now—as my life has changed over that time, in the expected and unexpected ways it does, my practice has both changed with me and remained constant. Yoga grounds me and helps me reconnect with my essential self, while at the same time challenging me to grow (or encouraging me to slow). It’s a practice, not a perfect, and I love to share the process with students."
Aimée is a prominent academic feminist blogger, one of the editors of and a weekly contributor to Hook & Eye: Fast Feminism, Slow Academe. She also keeps busy talking to journalists about culture and new media. Aimée is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Waterloo, where she sometimes encourages her students through a couple of seated postures.
Lisa is a graduate of QSY’s 2014 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training. She began practicing yoga in 2007 to fulfill a New Year’s resolution. She was drawn to the alignment-based details and heart-centered themes of Anusara yoga and studied for many years under Joann Shraddah Schaner. Lisa’s goal is to bring her life experience and knowledge of alignment to her classes. She uses her gentle humour and genuine encouragement to empower each student to realize their full potential. Lisa radiates a warm-hearted, quiet confidence that creates a welcoming environment for all of her students.
"Like many people I initially came to yoga expecting gentle stretching and mild physical activity. What a surprise my first class was! From the first beautiful Aum through a sweating and shaking class to resting at the end covered by a cozy blanket, I was hooked. After a few weeks not only was I feeling stronger but I started to notice that chronic injuries that had accumulated over a lifetime of living no longer bothered me. My practice of yoga has enabled me to connect to an inner strength and peace that help me to more gracefully navigate life’s challenges (except writing bios!). Yoga has encouraged me to live life more mindfully and to appreciate and cherish each and every moment."
Amanda Ingall discovered the world of mind/body healing over 25 years ago, beginning with her work as a Registered Massage Therapist and Craniosacral Therapist. Her mindfulness meditation practice has spanned 20+ years with many teachers and traditions, including Jack Kornfield and Ken McLeod. She is also a Certified Holotropic Breathwork Practitioner. Recently, Amanda completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training through Queen Street Yoga, and she is enrolled in Anodea Judith’s training for Sacred Centers Certification. Amanda's greatest joy is to inspire and empower her students to explore the deeper layers of themselves through yoga and meditation.
Amanda is also exploring conscious eldering (she recently became a grandmother!) and mindful motorcycling. She is travelling through Canada in sections on her motorcycle with her husband.
Madison Martin is a registered kinesiologist and lover of movement. Madison works in the community as a therapist for those with neurological injuries or mobility limitations, reconnecting rehabilitation with meaningful movement. Maddi has been running for over 15 years, and her running practice has changed as her outlook on life has changed. She is currently running from a place rooted in self-exploration, expression, and connection, and is looking forward to sharing this with others.
Beyond the pavement, Maddi finds love in exploring nature, yoga, improv dance, and earthing in bare feet with her golden retriever, Flo, while continuing to nerd out her learning in all things anatomy and neuroscience.
Kristina has been practicing yoga since 2009, and completed a 200-hour teacher training at Queen Street Yoga in 2014.
An ecologist by day, Kristina strives to see the natural connections between things, and finds yoga to be a perfect tool in this effort. Kristina is constantly amazed by the connections found within the body, and between the body, mind and heart. She believes one of the greatest things about practicing yoga is that each person’s practice can be adjusted and developed to give them exactly what they need, at any particular moment. She sees deep value in laughter, and hopes to spread it as much as possible by cultivating a lighthearted and playful yoga practice.
"As someone who has always dabbled in many hobbies, I am no stranger to accepting both the pleasure and disappointment of being a 'Jack of all trades, Master of none.' I love that the practice of yoga invites a life-long learning process – I may never become a 'master' yogi, but I adore the fact that I can keep learning about it for the rest of my life. My yoga practice has helped me to connect better to myself and to others, and it brings me so much happiness. I would love to help other students build those feelings of connection and joy within themselves."
Danette has had an engaging and evolving relationship with meditation for over two decades and is grateful to be able to share her passion for the practice of ‘sitting’ as resilience itself as opposed to a necessary stop on the path to resilient living. When facilitating meditation classes, Danette uses focused sensory awareness, breath work, and gentle stretches. She chooses to see the body as a primary teacher and has 200 hours of yoga teacher training with Hart Lazer.
Danette is delighted to come home to Queen Street Yoga, where her love of yoga was first nurtured by incredible teachers, and to share in the power of group meditation where mutual support and vibrant community can be cultivated.
You can follow Danette's blog at www.danetteadams.com.
“My interest in meditation began as a way to manage overwhelming stress and to reduce the physical and mental toll the stress was having on me. To my surprise, meditation has become an evolving practice of self-discovery through the joy, agony, bliss, challenge, or even numbness of choosing to sit regularly. To me, ‘sitting’ is the heart-opening, mind-calming, and body-aware practice of resilient people.”
Danette is a Guidance Counsellor and Grade 10 Teacher at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate in Kitchener, where she walks daily with students, encouraging them to embrace challenge and acknowledge their own resilience on the winding path of lifelong learning. When not at school, she practices yoga and meditation, offers support as a Resilience Coach, reads widely, and blogs on the many aspects of self-responsible living and navigating the bumpy road to making elegant life choices.
Leslie began to practice Yoga in 2007 and finally had the guts to pursue a 200-hour teacher training at Queen Street Yoga in 2015-2016. She initially came to yoga out of curiosity and soon discovered the deep peace of embodiment that the practice offered her. Leslie’s classes include generous detail and imaginative imagery, invite careful attention and steady effort, and offer the chance to play, explore, and notice: what happens if...? Her wish for her students is that they have fun getting to know their bodies and minds and learn to enjoy and take care of them.
Leslie’s most valuable studies have been under QSY teachers Leena and Emma, and she has been inspired by snippets of study with Christi-an Slomka, Matthew Remski, and Trudy Austin, who collectively taught her to respect her limits and to work steadily from a place of self-compassion.
“To me, Yoga is a relief from the static existence of everyday life, like the pleasant wringing out of a soaked cloth. It’s about the presence and pleasure of physical experience. And it’s also the opportunity to tune deeply into my somatic experience in any given moment, be it upside-down in a handstand or surrendering in constructive rest.”
Off the mat, Leslie loves to spend her time moving in lots of ways other than asana: walking, cycling, rock-climbing, and her newest obsession of slack-lining. She also dabbles in creative endeavours, and is proud to be QSY’s artist-in-residence and chalk-artist-extraordinaire. A school teacher by training, she likes finding new and alternative ways to guide and teach others to explore and create.
Natalie has been exploring yoga on and off the mat since 2008 and completed her 200-hour teacher training at Queen Street Yoga in 2016. QSY's focus on alignment-based hatha yoga was a solid compliment to Natalie's practice of hatha and restorative yoga, and more recently, her studies with the vibrant and impassioned Tiina Veer, of Yoga for Round BodiesTM. In April 2016, Natalie completed a 2-day intensive with Portland's Street Yoga to offer trauma-informed yoga practices to youth and other underserved populations. In addition to these studies, Natalie's years of work as a community and youth worker have led her to pursue further training and certification in the areas of: trauma-informed counselling; working with queer and trans-identified children, youth, and families; harm reduction; disordered eating; fat-phobia; body acceptance; and anti-oppressive practice.
Natalie strives to facilitate safer spaces for students who may not see themselves represented in mainstream yoga spaces or those who may be questioning whether yoga is really for them. Her approach is gentle and permissive, and she invites students to consider a practice of gratitude and self-compassion.
In her own words...
"As a queer-identified person living in a larger body, I often felt like an anomaly, meeting with little support and at times ridicule for attempting to engage with or maintain a yoga practice. Befriending my body within a culture that tells me I would be healthier, smarter, and more attractive if I manipulated, modified, or otherwise denied my body as it exists, is a radical (if not exhausting) act. Yoga has been an essential part of my self-care. I believe that yoga can be truly transformative and if taught critically and compassionately, can play a significant role in supporting our health and wellbeing. I strive to use a trauma-informed, anti-oppressive framework to create spaces that are more accessible, more inclusive, and ultimately, safer for ALL bodies."
Julie has been practising yoga for over a decade and knew very early on this was something she wanted to share. She believes strongly that yoga is for everyone, no matter their age, shape, or ability. There is something special everyone can take from coming together in this practice. Julie works to create a nurturing and inclusive space where people can explore their bodies without judgement.
Julie’s classes strive to help balance work and reward, she believes life moves quickly and you need take in all the beauty you find along the way, having balance in your life helps you keep your eyes open so you can take it all in.
In 2016, Julie completed her 200-hour certification in alignment-based hatha at Queen Street Yoga and her Yoga For Round Bodies™ certification with Tiina Veer. She is looking forward to more asana and movement explorations in the future.
Jen has been teaching yoga since 2010. Her home is in the hot room, but she teaches a wide variety of styles ranging from high energy acro to slow paced yin and restorative. She strives to learn as much as she can, with nearly 800 hours of training completed across various styles and subjects. Her classes are a balance between working hard and hardly working with a focus on fun.
Between yoga practices, Jen completed a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, raises four children and four cats, and tries to find time for good books, good food, and good friends.
Meaghan Johnson founded of Queen Street Yoga in 2005 based on the principles of community, mindfulness, and joy. After Sevens years as director, she left in order to pursue her dream of becoming a psychotherapist. She finished her BA at Concordia University in Montreal in the spring and was chosen to be the valedictorian for her graduating year.
You can check out her speech here.
Her undergrad was a great books curriculum at the Liberal Arts College, covering philosophy, literature, and art, as well as the history of science and the history of music. Her honours thesis explored the intersections of faith and trauma through comparing Soren Kierkegaard's text Fear and Trembling with the research of Bessel van der Kolk's as presented in The Body Keeps The Score.
She is currently enrolled in the Couples and Family Therapy Program at the University of Guelph and is pleased to be back in Southern Ontario. Her main passion for teaching is mindfulness in reference to experiencing art and music, as well as the therapeutic effects of embodiment practices for healing trauma.