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Teachers

Leena Miller Cressman

Leena fell in love with yoga at age thirteen and has been sharing her passion for yoga in Kitchener-Waterloo since 2008. She became owner/director of QSY in 2012. Her mission is for QSY to be a space that supports practice, grows community, and helps students cultivate more vibrant lives.

Leena's teaching blends functional and dynamic movement, strength building (even in muscles you didn’t know you had!), careful alignment, and mindful breath work. She believes yoga practice can help us befriend our bodies and cultivate more calmness and compassion on and off the mat.

One of Leena’s passions is building a rich learning community and training new teachers through QSY's Yoga Teacher Training Program. Leena is registered with the Yoga Allianceas an E-RYT-500 (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher). Leena has completed over 1,000 hours of training in Anusara Yoga and other alignment-based and vinyasa styles, functional anatomy, Ayurveda, and teaching pedagogy. She is grateful for her many mentors, including Christi-an Slomka, Meaghan Johnson, Darren Rhodes, Matthew Remski, Trudy Austin, and her co-teachers at QSY.

To contact Leena with feedback or issues of a confidential nature, email us at info@queenstreetyoga.com to request her direct contact.

Emma Dines

Emma began practicing yoga in 2004 and has been teaching since 2010. Emma is the Creative Director of Queen Street Yoga, overseeing the studio's programming with Owner/Director Leena Miller Cressman.   

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 600 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.

Have you heard Emma sing at the end of her classes? Download recordings of Emma's songs on Soundcloud!

 

Andy Chan

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's focus is on finding/creating solutions (ideally before problems arise) and communicating simple, clear procedures to the rest of the QSY team so that everything runs like clockwork at the studio.

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 a formal role at QSY, Andy brings her varied work and volunteer experience to grow the studio.

When not at her standing desk in the office, you can find Andy on her purple mat in the practice room (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 americano in a café, walking/biking around Kitchener, making subversive cross-stitch art, or curled up at home with a book, her three cats, and tea.

Monica Sheridan

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.

Carin Lowerison

Carin is an arts professional and Hatha yoga teacher who moved to Kitchener from Toronto in 2014. 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 the potential of yoga for teaching empowerment, dignity, grace, and awareness.

Leslie Stokman

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.

Amanda Ingall

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.

Visit Amanda's website amandaingall.ca to learn more about Legacy, her conscious eldership program for women, starting in September 2017.

Kristina Lekin

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.

Marg Hull

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 is currently completing a Masters in Theology: Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.

Ever a morning person, Marg is thrilled to share the joy of yoga with friends in Sunrise Practice class at QSY.

Julie Zettel

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 and Post Natal Teacher Training in 2006 with Michelle McCormack of 5 Elements Yoga and Pilates.

Julie teaches gently and promotes spiritual, mental, and physical development for you and your growing baby. You will also experience a deeper connection to your child.

Nicole DeNoble

Nicole first tried yoga as a former competitive dancer who was looking for a new movement practice. A consistently on-again and off-again practitioner, she dabbled in various yoga classes and styles throughout the years. This exposure fuelled her curiosity to gain a better understanding of the underlying principles of the practice and alignment-based movement.

A Kitchener-Waterloo local, Nicole discovered Queen Street Yoga and enrolled in the Intro to Yoga course as a way to brush up on the fundamentals. This course was a turning point for Nicole, introducing the concepts that she would later explore in more depth as part of QSY’s 2016 teacher training program.

Today, Nicole’s yoga practice is a mix of slow & steady with a hint of vigorous and a healthy dash of finding mountain pose while brushing her teeth, waiting in line at the grocery store, and standing at her dynamic desk at work. Nicole enjoys engaging with students and facilitating a class that accommodates varying needs. Her classes develop at a steady pace with clear cues, and she encourages students to participate at the level that makes sense for them on any given day.

Neman Syed

Neman began playing with yoga around 2001 with the hope of being able to deliver a roundhouse kick to the head like Chuck Norris. He left martial arts behind but continued on and off with yoga. Queen Street Yoga’s 2014 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program awakened the body geek within. Now he’s almost always listening to podcasts and reading blogs to expand his understanding of movement perspectives but not get trapped in any downward dogma.

Jeff Clarke

When Jeff began practicing yoga in 2008 he believed that he had found some secret key to life and happiness. He began practicing almost every day and decided that he absolutely had to become a yoga teacher, so he headed to Palm Desert CA for Bikram yoga teacher training in 2009. Jeff practiced Bikram exclusively for years before eventually finding the need to branch out. That’s how he found his way to Queen Street Yoga. After practicing and being a work trade at QSY for several years, Jeff completed the QSY yoga teacher training in 2015-16, followed by the first ever Tensegrity teacher training at QSY in 2017. By the time the summer of 2017 rolled around, he had been teaching yoga full-time for 8 years (in a really hot room) and feeling seriously burned out. After taking some time off and doing some soul searching (sleeping), he stumbled into the next phase of his life, which has Jeff teaching yoga part-time and studying at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy.

Even though he's training for another profession he plans to always teach yoga, as there has been nothing in Jeff's life that has so consistently brought him joy. He loves connecting with the students, forgetting about his life, and having some fun. Whether it's yoga, meditation, dancing, going for long walks, or just rolling around on the floor, learning to experience life in a more embodied, open-hearted way drives much of Jeff's personal practice and life choices. As the saying goes “the toughest journey is from the head to the heart” and that really embodies (pun intended) how he approaches his yoga practice and teaching. At the risk of sounding cliché, the more Jeff practices, the more his physical, spiritual, and emotional journey becomes one of learning to listen to his body and coming to terms with implications of what that means in the broader context of his life.

In Jeff's words: "The foundation that has been laid by the students and teachers over the years at QSY really supports the kind of learning and growth that I want to see in my life. There is something very unique happening in this yoga community, I’m not sure I know exactly what it is, but I’m excited to be a part of it"

Elisa Colantonio

Elisa started practicing yoga in 2007 as a way to complement her competitive swimming and running training. She moved to Kitchener in 2014 and immediately fell in love with the alignment based yoga teaching style at QSY.

As a Kinesiology graduate and a Massage Therapist, Elisa is passionate about the anatomy of the human body. She enrolled in the 200 hour YTT (2015-2016) at QSY to further both her academic and personal passions.

As an instructor at QSY she hopes to further her students' understanding of their bodies with the mindful practice that yoga provides.

Lynn Elias

Lynn Elias is a graduate of The Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in Cambridge, Ontario. As well as treating clients, Lynn works for the College as an instructor. Lynn is pleased to be back at Queen Street Yoga, joining the wellness team as a registered massage therapist. Massage therapy is key for stress reduction, repair and maintenance of soft tissue and joints, and of course, relaxation.

Lynn treats all types of clients: office workers with sore shoulders and necks, athletes who are recovering from injuries or trying to maintain flexibility, pregnant women and new moms who are dealing with changes in weight-bearing, lifting, sleeping, etc. Her approach is holistic and she believes in looking after her clients’ well-being on many different levels.

Jessica Smith

After being chained to the desk for 10 years, Jessica started back at square one to change careers and now she's making up for lost time with dedication and passion. She brings this energy to each client with comprehensive and accurate assessments, a full toolbox of methods for treatment, and support for self-care after you leave her office. Jessica believes that every body, every ache and pain, every treatment is unique and should be granted the utmost focus and care.

While each treatment is tailored to your body and your needs, Jessica does have the standard tools at her disposal, such as myofascial release, deep tissue treatment, trigger point therapy, facilitated stretching, and many more.

A graduate from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy, Jessica is excited to continue her education every day in her treatments with you. She is also pursuing a dedicated practise of kung fu to maximize her strength and effectiveness during treatments.

In her spare time, Jessica enjoys being outside, practising kung fu, yoga, and reading.

Allison Purdy

Allison graduated from the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy in September 2015.

Allison is enthusiastic about massage therapy and its role in overall wellness. She is passionate about working with clients with chronic pain and illness, as well as clients who struggle with depression and anxiety. Allison uses a variety of relaxation and Swedish techniques as well as using myofascial release and trigger point therapy to aid in decreasing pain and increasing relaxation in every person she treats.

She believes in providing a safe space for her clients and is able to tailor each treatment to meet their needs.