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All of our teachers are educated, trained, and certified in their field!

Stephanie Shepard, CYT, Level III Reiki Master

I began practicing yoga as a teenager more than twenty years ago, in Southern California. Yoga has transformed my life many times and in many ways, and the purpose of my practice has evolved over the years. When I began practicing in my teens, it was for the sole purpose of physical fitness. A serious, life-threatening injury in my early twenties brought me back to yoga as a means of physical therapy and rehabilitation. In my late twenties, as my adult life took on new responsibilities, and with them new pressures, I found yoga to be a boundless source of renewal and stress relief. Most recently, when my family faced great tragedy and difficulty, yoga became my saving grace. The strength and serenity I found on the mat carried me throughout my day and the arduous journey I faced, and my practice finally reached a spiritual level. I have found this to be the greatest gift of my practice.

Realizing the tangible benefits of yoga, I understood that I was ready to give back and help others to realize the benefits of this age-old method of self transformation. My background in hatha yoga includes Vinyasa, Kundalini, Bikram, and children’s yoga, and I have recently completed Sandra Carden’s phenomenal 200 level Teacher Training Program at Union Yoga in Lake Leelenau, Michigan. I am also insured and registered with Yoga Alliance.

Having gained so much from yoga throughout my life, I am a firm believer that there is no “wrong” reason for coming to the mat. I see yoga as a method for personal transformation in body, mind, and spirit, and I am excited to share it with my students in a positive, open, and energetic atmosphere.

Valerie Hayes, Certified Zumba Instructor

The Secret to keeping fit is finding the style of exercise that is fun and easy to learn. Zumba is just that! Zumba is dance fitness that incorporates repetitious movements that sculpt your body and burn unwanted calories. The hour just flies by and all you remember is how much fun you had! No dance experience is necessary to learn Zumba so ……. leave all your expectations at the door and come have fun with Valerie.

Lara Ruddy, CYT

Lara is a local, having grown up on a farm in Kingsley. She first discovered yoga while attending college. She says, “It was a relief to put aside everything and find a piece of myself.” She continued exploring and found yoga branches into many aspects of her life. After losing her Grandmother, the 200 level teacher training became her biggest savior. She values her roots and finds comfort with nature and friends. “I always try to see the upside of things, yoga helps tremendously with this. I am able to find peace amongst the craziness.” Lara loves that she can grow everyday on the mat. “There is something new to learn about my practice or myself, and more often than not they are connected.”

Lara proudly studied under Sandra Carden at Union Yoga in Lake Leelanau, and graduated on November 20, 2010 with her 200 level training. She is very excited to be a part of Blooming Lotus and hopes she can share this gift with all.

Naomi Cole, CYT

Naomi was first introduced to yoga at the age of 8. As a child, she learned the benefits to using yoga to calm the body and mind. Naomi’s peaceful demeanor compliments her love for yoga. She believes in all the ways yoga helps to restore our lives, it is very healing to the mind, body and the spirit. Naomi is passionate to teach others and have them personally learn the benefits of practicing yoga. Helping others to find their balance and peace is her goal in teaching. Naomi has been trained in Hatha Yoga under Jenny Lintvedt and Heidi Dietrich through Yen Yoga in Traverse City. She has Earned her 200 hour Yoga Certification and is registered with Yoga Alliance. Naomi is grateful to be able to share, a peaceful and natural lifestyle with the students of Blooming Lotus. When Naomi is not practicing yoga, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs. Loves being outdoors, hiking, camping, traveling, volunteering and making arts and crafts.

Krista Nieto

Krista has always been active, growing up in a family that spent vacations hiking and exploring the outdoors. She started practicing yoga in 1999 as part of her off season training when she was rowing competitively and it slowly became an integral part of her life. Yoga has provided physical and emotional healing and helped Krista find her passion and purpose.
Krista is a 200 hr certified yoga teacher registered with the Yoga Alliance and a certified Bellyfit instructor through Bellyfit International. She believes that yoga and fitness are ways to empower women and build community in addition to cultivating over all health.

Terri McDermott, CYT

The initial seed of “yoga” was planted for Terri at age 12 spending Saturday mornings with a local Mom teaching a small group yoga. Her love of this practice and the continuous search for a spiritual connection stayed with her throughout her life. In training for, what she thought would be a career in the medical field, studying human anatomy and what “makes us tick” continued to fascinate her. High school, employment  and continued studies in the medical field, marriage, raising a family…. Terri found her way back to yoga needing to, once again, find that connection she had found long ago. Filling the desire to continue the path to her true passion, she completed yoga teacher training and earned her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification. The intention to, “learn more” , soon became a strong desire to share her passion with others. The peacefulness brought to Terri throughout this transformation has left her excited about sharing the practice with others as she continues her ever changing journey. The ability to guide others to an inner peace and guide them on the path to wellness physically, mentally and spiritually brings her the greatest sense of well-being. “to hear a student find their breath and inner power leaves me speechless and overcome with emotion I just can’t quite explain. Being healthy is not only a physical aspect for one to attain, that is just the seed, the beginning. True health and wellness, to me, is defined by one’s ability to be physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually connected. There is such peace to be found when these four components are realized.”