WHO ARE YOUR POSER YOGA INSTRUCTORS?
Jenny Stewart Houston
(Studio Director & Yoga Instructor)
From childhood, Jenny’s training began with dance. She performed as a professional dancer for many years, in a career that was competitive and physically demanding. When she was first introduced to Yoga, it was a fun and challenging avenue for fitness and rehabilitation. As time passed, the internal awareness she was experiencing made it evident that Yoga was transforming her life. She traveled to India where she was certified as a teacher, and soon she was sharing her passion of Yoga with others. With a Sivananda background, Jenny is trained to teach Hatha, Vinyasa, Yin/Restorative and Heated Yoga. But, no matter the style, or who she’s teaching, she is continuously amazed at how Yoga’s lessons are so intricately woven into everyday life. Practice with her, and you’ll be invited to let go of expectations, at a pace that’s comfortable for you. You’ll be given an opportunity to go inwards, to truly ‘be’ with yourself, and to create an experience of Yoga that’s personal — an exact reflection of who you are, and who you care to be on any given day of your life.
Arranged in alphabetical order…
Alexia Zbaraschuck (Yoga Instructor)
Alex has lived in Sequim almost her whole life. She graduated from Sequim High School and left for a short time, but after college she decided to move back because the Peninsula is one of the most peaceful places on Earth! Yoga came a little while after her return. Six years ago, she started going to yoga classes as a way to cross train for her running, and a few years later, she began looking for a teachers’ training program to help deepen her practice. That is what lead her to find Devoted Yogi on Bainbridge Island. She graduated in December 2018 from Devoted Yogi’s YTT program with a new understanding and appreciation of her body/mind connection and a desire to share this with others. Teaching at Poser YOGA is full of fun learning experiences, and she has heaps of gratitude for the community and friends she’s meeting. Alex is excited to continue her yoga journey and share what she’s learning with others.
Ann Carlson (Yoga Instructor)
Ann Carlson started her formal training in 2014 obtaining her 200-hour certification under well-vetted vinyasa teachers Gina Caputo (Colorado School of Yoga) and Kathryn Budig. She started teaching for Poser Yoga shortly thereafter. Longing to experience the motherland of Yoga, she travelled to India in 2016 to study and obtain her 300-hour certification under Anand Mehrotra, founder of Sattva Yoga, in a powerful and holistic Himalayan Kriya Yoga tradition. There, through her experience with kriya yoga, her curiosity deepened to that of the profound mind-body connection and the ways we can use our physical body to tap into deeper levels of ourselves and move through life with greater awareness, purpose and presence. As her journey with understanding the importance of physical movement developed, she began to search for more ways to better understand the body and this led her to study with Lara Heimann, a long-time physical therapist and yoga instructor based in Princeton, NJ. Ann credits Lara with seriously up-leveling her understanding of human anatomy and the ways in which we can move most optimally on the mat and in life, with emphasis on longevity and sustainability. She mainly teaches Lara’s LYT (Lara’s Yoga Training) method, whilst still pulling threads of knowledge from her earlier trainings, weaving them into her own variation and style of practice. She sees her offerings just as she sees life, ever-changing and evolving; always rooted in love and gratitude. Ann also enjoys moving on water and is a certified Stand Up Paddle yoga instructor through Yoga On Liquid (YOLI). In 2016 she co-founded the Outdoor Yoga Project, leading yoga/backpacking retreats on the La Push coastal beaches in Olympic National Park for two summers. She’s been teaching for Yoga Behind Bars at Clallam Bay Corrections since 2015. In her free time you can find her walking in the woods with her dogs taking in the beauty of our PNW home.
Chad Segars (Yoga Instructor)
Chad is a former college athlete, wildland firefighter, and backcountry ranger who was initially attracted to Yoga as way to heal injuries and deal with stress. As his practice grew more consistent, he began to notice that yoga made him more patient, calmer, and self aware. After years of working for the National Park Service throughout the west, a move to Charleston, SC allowed him to complete a 200 hour teacher training program at Holy Cow Yoga Center. After graduation, he was asked to remain at the studio as a substitute teacher and assistant to Holy Cow founder, Trace Sahaja Bonner. During this period he not only deepened his study of the physical practice, but began to focus more on the importance and role of meditation and breath work in developing a holistic practice. Chad’s classes build strength, balance, and flexibility while also challenging you to be aware of the mind and the breath. He aims to serve others by creating a class environment in which everyone feels accepted, safe, and confident to challenge themselves. He is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Poser YOGA community and hopes to help others to cultivate a more meaningful experience on and off the mat.
Diane Urbani de la Paz (Yoga Instructor)
Diane moved to Port Angeles 10 years ago to work as a reporter and photographer at the Peninsula Daily News. She covered arts, entertainment and community events there until January of this year, when she moved on to pursue freelance writing, teaching yoga and travel. She is a native of San Francisco, an alumna of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley and a lifelong student of yoga and dance. She earned her 200-hour certification with the Lighting the Path school at the Yoga Tree in San Francisco’s Mission District. Diane’s passions include Latin dance, Latino/a cultures, fitness and yoga — especially sharing it with people who might not have had access to the practice.
Dina Finta (Yoga Instructor)
Dina was first introduced to yoga 15 years ago during her first move to Port Angeles. She began practicing with fellow Poser YOGA instructor, Sher Cappa, at her PA studio and fell in love with Sher’s calm, approachable style of teaching yoga. She noticed how her body felt so much better—flexible and pain free—after regular sessions. Dina left PA but continued to explore various styles of yoga, including Vinyasa, Bikram and Yin yoga while living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2017, Dina and her family returned to the Pacific Northwest and she committed to achieving her 200 hr YTT so that she could spread the joy and love of yoga with practitioners at all levels. She especially enjoys working to make yoga accessible to all experience levels and body types. When not doing yoga, she is exploring the beauty of our area via kayak or on a hike with her family and dogs. Dina is dedicated to continued learning and education and is working toward her 500 hr YTT certification.
Jonna Winger (Pilates Instructor)
Jonna is passionate about movement – she believes you feel the best in your own body and mind when you can move and play with ease. Pilates does just that, it strengthens and stretches the body through functional exercises rooted in anatomy and physiology, intentional breathing, functional alignment, core control, and movement integration. After completing her studies at the University of Victoria, in Victoria, British Columbia, Jonna left the coast to explore inland, landing in Utah, Idaho, and Central Oregon. She completed her Pilates training and apprenticeship in Salt Lake City at Pinnacle Performance through Polestar Pilates in 2010. After finishing her training she continued to work and study at Pinnacle. Thriving on variety, Jonna’s background in therapy-based Pilates has given her the training and experience to work with students ranging the gamut of physical fitness levels. From everyday movers, to professional athletes, to those suffering from physical ailments such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, post stroke, to the expectant mother and post natal recovery. Pilates is for everyone. Originally from Port Angeles, the allure of family and friends drew her back to the shadow of the Olympic mountains. She is excited to be back exploring the gorgeous peninsula!
As a human that has thrived when her body is in movement, Julie grew up competitively running and playing soccer. During her time at UC Davis, she found yoga through a local gym class and discovered that intentional breath and movement supplemented her running nicely. After graduation, she went on to share her love for running by coaching her alma mater high school’s cross-country and track & field teams for three years. In 2009, Julie attended a hot vinyasa yoga class in San Francisco and was instantly hooked on the idea of sweaty yoga! She began to dive deeper into yoga and it’s benefits while attending various styles of classes from Bikram to Yin to further explore the different ways in which breath, heat and movement could benefit the body. In 2011, she and her husband moved to Florida by way of the Coast Guard for her husband’s aviation training, and during this time they also had their first child, Sam. Julie continued to regularly practice yoga and attend hot vinyasa classes within the Pensacola area, enjoy being a new mother and also train for her first marathon. In 2013, the Coast Guard sent her new family to Savannah Georgia where her husband flew on the H-65, they welcomed their second child Isla and Julie taught Stroller Strong classes at local parks with an amazing community of strong, active mothers. It was also during their time in Savannah that she finally found her favorite form of yoga – Baptiste Power Yoga at Savannah Power Yoga after attending her first class in 2013. A fascination was ignited by the idea of strength building, yet calming consistent sequencing of the Baptiste practice as well as the idea that this empowering form of yoga can be practiced by anybody, regardless of capability. She loves the intrinsic flow that is created by breath and movement, grown from yoga and is very excited to share her practice as she completes her 200 YTT Power Vinyasa Teaching in September 2020.
Kristina Wight-Leininger (Yoga Instructor)
Kristina Wight-Leininger grew up in the Tri-Cities area of Eastern Washington. She found a passion for art and movement from an early age, and began studying classical ballet. She received her degree in Dance Pedagogy from Brigham Young University-Idaho and has performed extensively in both Washington and Idaho since then. Kristina found her way to yoga while living in Texas. What started as a desire to stay in shape for dance soon led her to discover a love for both the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. Under the guidance of her guru Wendy Bone, she became certified as a YTT200 teacher through Yoga Alliance. She loves sharing what she has learned with everyone she comes into contact with. In her free time she enjoys painting, reading, and hiking.
Kate Hall (Yoga Instructor)
As a lifelong soccer player and hiker, Kate thought yoga might be a way to extend her passions and prevent injuries. It did not take long before Kate realized she found a new fascination in yoga. Wanting to learn more about her new found interest, she decided to take the next step and obtain her 200 hour teaching certificate (RYT200) through Colorado School of Yoga. There, Kate was immersed in Integrated Vinyasa™ which is defined as being “rooted in intelligent, natural evolutionary patterns and emphasizes the subtle inner work we access via our physical bodies and movement and illuminates our relationship with Nature, our interconnectedness and an energetically sustainable approach to living fully.” As a self-proclaimed introvert, Kate originally signed up for teacher training simply to extend her education with no intention of teaching. However, through her training, Kate felt a transformation and was motivated to share what she had learned. Soon after earning her certificate, Kate was welcomed into Poser YOGA as a substitute teacher. Kate believes there is no end to learning and therefore continues to study the world around her. This is accomplished through continuing education, contact with students, fellow teachers, and time in nature. Kate considers herself a teacher and lifelong student.
Nadine Dekema (Yoga Instructor)
Nadine is dedicated to changing the world and creating a lasting legacy by a continued commitment to helping others, working hard and laughing every day. Nadine discovered Anusara Yoga, a system of yoga based on the principles of alignment, back in 2005. It was perfect for her being an ex-athlete, she quickly paired this school of yoga with her massage therapy training and took her first yoga teacher training with internationally well-known yoga teacher, Ross Rayburn. Following the natural progression of a physical practice, Nadine wanted to dive deeper into the silent and restorative side of yoga. She began studying Breathwork with David Elliott. The Breathwork, based on pranayama yoga, is very powerful and brings rapid transformation which enhances intuition and creative expression. Nadine became a certified practitioner in 2014. Also in 2014, Nadine completed a second yoga teacher training with yoga teacher and visionary empowerment coach, Amy Lombardo. Nadine has taught many yoga classes, workshops and Breathwork circles in the Los Angeles area and is excited to bring her passion for this work to her new home in Port Angeles, WA. She also enjoys mapping out a farm life future and making soap and bath products for her site, fourgoatsandadonkey.com.
Sher Cappa (Yoga Instructor)
Sher came to yoga in her early 40’s having suffered from chronic fatigue and generally poor health for many years with the hope of improving her physical condition. After a year of attending Ashtanga classes and experiencing a significant improvement in her health, she decided to become a teacher. She attended Pacific Yoga School in California where she obtained her first certification. Later, she moved to Port Angeles, where for the next year, she taught yoga at the YMCA while attending the Boditree Pilates School in Vancouver, BC; there she received her Pilates Mat 1 certification. Shortly thereafter, she opened her own studio where she conducted 14 classes a week teaching both yoga and Pilates for approximately 5 years. During this period, she attended Yoga for Life Teacher Training in Seattle, which consisted of a 10 month course concluding in her second yoga certification. She furthered her exposure to the discipline of yoga through seminars in Seattle, with Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers in the study of Yin Yoga. In recent years, Sher’s journey has consisted of teaching Yoga, spending oodles of time with her grandchildren and having both knees replaced so she could return to the active life she enjoys. Her class structures reflect both her studies and her continuing efforts to overcome challenging life experiences.
Sica Schmitz (Yoga Instructor)
Sica turned to yoga as a way find balance throughout her over-worked careers as a Hollywood Costume Designer, founder of the sustainable fashion company Bead & Reel, and creator of the non-profit Fair Trade Fashion Show. Practicing on (and honestly, quite a bit of off) since 2005, she recently moved back to her hometown of Sequim after (too?) many years in Los Angeles. Sica has studied under Ana Forrest and is especially focused on sharing yoga as a form of self inquiry and healing from loss, trauma, and activist burn out.
Steve Saunders (Yoga Instructor)
Steve grew up in Minnesota where he enjoyed sports and the outdoors, including running, swimming, gymnastics and wilderness canoeing. He relocated to the Pacific NW in 1975 and pursued his interest in the outdoors through studies and employment in the environmental sciences. His interest in Yoga took off in February, 2012 when he purchased the Wild Grace Arts yoga and dance studio in Olympia, followed by his retirement from Washington DNR in July, 2012 after 33 years of employment with local and state natural resource agencies. Steve took a 200 hour intensive teachers training course and started teaching at the studio in June of 2012, gaining experience with a range of Hatha yoga classes, including gentle/back care, cancer survivors, senior, restorative/yin, and beginning through power level classes. He has also developed and taught several specialty classes, including for runners, bikers and golfers. Following closure of the studio in 2015 due to a lease issue, he continued teaching noon classes at state agencies and started teaching at the Lacey Senior Center. In April, 2018, Steve ended his Olympia yoga journey in order to move to Port Angeles where he found a new yoga home with Poser Yoga.
Stepping in to Substitute:
Audrey Abshire (Yoga Instructor)
Audrey comes from a military family, first growing up in Colorado and California, then moving to Italy at the age of 7 and then settling down in Washington, DC at the age of 10. After playing in a competitive traveling soccer league for more than 4 years and being exposed to various workouts from her mother (a fitness instructor), she always found great value in releasing stress through workouts such as running, spinning, swimming, & hiking. However, when she was first introduced to yoga in college at the age of 20, she found an even better way to release stress through movement & breath, flowing through asanas. At first, she saw it as a great workout, with a lot of diversity, trying out different types of yoga classes: Bikrum, Hot Power, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, and Aerial. While working various corporate jobs in the DC area, she found yoga as the only source to be within herself, especially after a busy 9-5 job. Once she realized she was unhappy running the rat-race lifestyle, she let go and traveled to Costa Rica to gain her 200-hour Hatha Teaching certification. Once liberated, Audrey decided to backpack around the world, traveling through 17 countries over 9 months, volunteering teaching along the way at various yoga retreat centers. The yoga mat was her magic carpet ride. After finding her true self through yoga and travel, Audrey realized she wanted to move to a different part of the country. She’s now settled in Port Angeles for the time-being, happy to join a community of like-minded people. She strongly believes that the closer we can all get to our True Self, the happier we will be individually and together as a community!