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Our Teachers


Kathy Donnelly:  Kathy Donnelly, eRYT500, is the Director and Owner of the Yoga Center of Columbia and has been teaching since 1999. Kathy's teaching style is welcoming, nurturing and encourages transformation from the inside out.


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Catherine Baugh:  A lifelong wellness aficionado who has always led an active lifestyle, Catherine found her calling sharing the joys and benefits of wellness with others. With her technical background as an engineer, it is natural that Catherine emphasizes the principles of biomechanics as a means of "engineering bodies" through yoga and fitness. Catherine's yoga classes embody a well-balanced practice. She will encourage you to challenge yourself, while finding new self-awareness and having fun. This yogi is also an avid athlete who engages in strength training and competes in triathlons and in races from 5ks to marathons. Catherine completed her 200 hour teacher training at the Yoga Center of Columbia. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT 200 and Certified Personal Trainer, NASM-CPT.


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Darlene Bergener:  Darlene Bergener, E-RYT500, RPYT, LMT, CPMT, CD(DONA) completed her 500hr training through the Himalayan Institute in traditional Hatha Yoga and holds an additional 200hr certification in prenatal & postnatal yoga through Colette Crawford of the Seattle Holistic Center.  She is a Licensed Massage Therapist, specializing in Myofascial Release, prenatal, postnatal & pediatric massage, and is a Certified Birth Doula though DONA International.  Darlene began her journey in 1998 during her 12 year career as a mechanical engineer, turning to yoga to maintain her health and well-being. After experiencing the profound benefits for herself, she is honored to share it with others.  With a strong knowledge of anatomy and a sense of humor, Darlene encourages students to have fun while maximizing their physical, mental, and emotional health.  Darlene teaches “yoga for life”, not just for in the classroom! For more info: www.yoga-massage.com


Karen Best:  Karen Best, an ACE certified instructor, was first exposed to Pilates in 1985 as a dance major at the Philadelphia University of the Arts. She has been teaching fitness and movement since 1986 and continually deepens her Pilates, dance, pedagogy, injury prevention and sports conditioning knowledge through workshops, training and research. She also publishes articles and provides fitness expertise under her cultural dance name Samira Shuruk. (samirashuruk.com) She is passionate about clearly presenting proper technique and combines that with humor and enthusiasm. Her dedication to health, fitness and wholistic well being results in classes that are both physically and emotionally effective and rewarding. Her classes all combine consistent exercises and technique with new movements, to keep your body working and your mind-body connection growing.


Bonnie Cassels:  Bonnie, RYT 200, continues her training and will complete her 500 hr certification by early Dec. 2013. She also completed training courses in Therapeutics Yoga, Flow Yoga, and Children's Yoga. A competitive gymnast for 12 years, an active educator and education administrator since the 1980's, she began teaching yoga in 2008. When teaching, she focuses her years of training and personal practice on how yoga cultivates more self awareness which helps to enhance overall physical, mental, and spiritual well being. All of her classes are an experience of meditation in motion and emphasize the importance of breath awareness, good alignment, calming the "monkey mind", and having fun.


Barbara Day:  Barbara Day completed her RYT-200 certification training at the Yoga Center of Columbia in 2011, and is currently enrolled in the RYT-300 advanced training program. Barbara teaches alignment principles applied to breathing, poses, and meditation building on strong foundations, joyful expression, and peaceful hearts and minds.


Tracy Devine:  Yoga and birth will be forever linked for Tracy, as she studied to become a teacher while pregnant with her son. Now a certified, registered, 200-hour (RYT200) and pregnancy (RPYT) yoga teacher, Tracy's classes allow her to share and celebrate the miracle of new life again and again, as seen through her student’s eyes. Her teaching style is uniquely personal – creating a positive, nurturing, and empowering community of and for women.  Tracy is energized and inspired when she meets a newborn baby, whose soul she knew long before he was conceived, when he was just a dream in his mother’s heart.  An avid gardener and chef, Tracy has two children, Keller (born June 2013) and Maya (born September 2010). When she is not teaching, she works as a freelance consultant, advising non-profit organizations on fundraising, event planning, and communications. 


Kelly Fisher:  Kelly Fisher, E-RYT 500, YACEP, teaches a grounded style of yoga that is both challenging and calming at the same time. Her instruction is rooted in her many years of meditation practice and her multidisciplinary study of hatha yoga, tantric philosophy, and ayurveda. She is a certified Yoga Therapist from the International Association of Yoga Therapists and she emphasizes proper alignment so that her students can efficiently release tension while also building energy and strength. The human body contains an innate wisdom that we each have an ability to access if only we have the right tools to unlock it. Through practice of yoga asana and breath work, her students are gently guided to deeper and deeper places within their own hearts, bodies, and minds so that underlying knowledge can manifest in their daily lives. The subtlety of creative power is enchanting, and in Kelly's classes, thoughtful sequencing enables students to open to new poses as well as new levels of awareness within themselves. It is at once empowering and fun. This embodiment is a gift of the universe and in Kelly's classes, students have a safe space to celebrate that gift.


Melinda Frisch:  Melinda Frisch, MS, MS, C-IAYT, E-RYT500

 An educator for 35+ years, including teaching at Loyola University Maryland for 11 years, Melinda began her own yoga practice in 2004 in a therapeutic class when seeking help for a debilitating genetic autoimmune disease. She went on to study with Jenny Otto to earn her RYT 200* and RYT 500*, as well as her Body Balance Yoga Therapy Teacher Certification. Then after earning two Master of Science degrees in 2014 and 2016, one in Nutrition and Integrative Health, and the other in Yoga Therapy (both from Maryland University of Integrative Health), she continues to study weekly with Jenny Otto, as well as attend her yearly series of Body Balance Yoga Therapy teacher trainings. As a certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT)*, Melinda teaches how to incorporate yoga into everyday life and wants her students to know that anyone can do yoga and benefit from the never-ending possibilities it offers.

*The Yoga Alliance has no relationship to the International Association of Yoga Therapists.


Carol Gralia:  Encouragement from friends and the Yoga Center's Free Week led Carol to try a class. She knew nothing about yoga other than it might be a little "out there." She couldn't tell a Down Dog from Savasana and was worried that she would be totally embarrassed because she wasn't as nimble as she was in her 20s or even her 40s. Carol tried Debbie Jensen-Grubb's Gentle Yoga class during Free Week and was amazed at how tall and how nurtured she felt. It didn't take long for the Yoga Center to become her home away from home and her haven from work-week stress. In late 2012, Carol retired from her day job as sports editor of the Columbia Flier and Howard County Times. That freed her up to enroll in the Yoga Center's 200-hour yoga teacher training program. Her intent was to learn more about yoga, but she also learned more about herself.

Carol is in the 300-hour YTT program and is focusing her study and her teaching on Therapeutic and Gentle Yoga. They say you should teach what you know.


Julia Greiwe-Martínez:  Inspired by her teachers from a variety of traditions, Julia Greiwe-Martínez, RYT 500, infuses her classes with a blend of challenge and playfulness to assist her students on the path of discovery and well-being. A High School World Language teacher, Julia has a passion for teaching and learning, and also draws from a background in massage therapy and the healing arts. Currently Julia is pursuing her certification in Pranakriya yoga therapy.


Jeri Hemerlein:  Calling both Columbia and Qigong home, Jeri has had a dedicated personal Qigong practice for over twenty years which includes teaching for a good number of them. Her emphasis is on women's health and wellbeing sharing knowledge influenced by ancient feminine traditions. Jeri is a cooperative health care professional, blending cranial sacral, energy balancing and flower-nature essences, most recently studying the art of apitherapy deepening her understanding and appreciation of the hive. Jeri practices biodynamic and resilient gardening providing a chemical free environment for honeybees and a flock of chickens at her home. 


Jeanne Holden:  Jeanne Holden began her yoga journey searching for peace of mind and discovered complete joy. A student for ten years under owner/director Kathy Donnelly, Jeanne is a 2007 graduate of the Columbia YTT program. Her approach to teaching emphasizes proper alignment techniques. She encourages students to develop a deeper understanding of the body as it unfolds within the yoga practice using breath and mind awareness. Jeanne brings enthusiastic spirit to class and enjoys having fun with her students.


Katie Huber:  Katie Huber, E-RYT 200, RCYT, began her yoga journey in 1999 and has practiced various styles of yoga. In 2007 Katie became certified to teach yoga to children. She enjoys exploring yoga through the eyes of children including her own three children. It 2010 Katie completed the 200-hour yoga certification at the Yoga Center of Columbia and began teaching adults. She noticed the way her personal yoga practice enabled her to live an active lifestyle including participating in triathlons, half-marathons, and 10 and 5ks. Katie's curiosity of yoga continues and she is currently enrolled in The Yoga Center's 300 teacher training program. Katie is also a certified cycling and group exercise instructor.


Bita Jenkins:  Bita’s approach to yoga is intelligent, playful, and heart-based. She emphasizes awareness, the breath, core principles, alignment, and integrating both movement and stillness to access our true nature. Cultivating a sacred space to open the body, free the mind, and connect with spirit, she aspires to ignite the magic of our existence and the bliss of living this presence.

Bita can appreciate all of the stress we accumulate in our fast-paced lifestyles. Her intention is to offer down to earth techniques and ways to incorporate them into our daily lives to help minimize stress, heal our bodies, and focus our minds. Practicing and teaching yoga open our hearts, minds, bodies and spirit. Self-transformation and awakening within has guided Bita to teach from a place of love, respect and integrity.


Susan Kain:  Susan Kain, RCYT, e-RYT, CPT became Pilates certified through the Physical Mind Institute in 2000 and yoga certified in 2001. She is Radiant Child certified through Shakta Khalsa and is the developer of Fitastik Kids. Susan has also been a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise since 1992, specializing in programming for senior citizens. In 2010, Susan became part of a pilot program through the Alzheimer's Association of Maryland to teach yoga to those with early detection memory loss.


Karla Kettler:  Karla Kettler, RYT 500, has been practicing yoga regularly since 2002, and received both her 200 and 300 hour training certificates from the Yoga Center of Columbia.  She has also completed training in Yoga for Round Bodies and Divine Sleep Yoga Nidra.  Both her personal practice and her classes focus on stress reduction, and in increasing strength and balance in body and mind.  Previously, Karla was a practicing massage therapist, and taught anatomy and physiology at the Baltimore School of Massage.  Her extensive knowledge of the body, her informative teaching style, and her sense of humor all contribute to a wonderful class experience.


Nancy Kochuk:  Nancy Kochuk is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level (RYT500) with Yoga Alliance; a certified Relax and Renew® trainer; and she has completed the Yoga for Seniors professional training at Duke Integrative Medicine. In addition to teaching classes in traditional settings, Nancy is a volunteer teacher in three Maryland correctional facilities for the Prison Yoga Project. Besides teaching yoga, Nancy is a freelance writer and editor for nonprofits.


Anne Lamberty:  Anne Lamberty grew up doing backbends on the front lawn and flipping in cartwheels wherever she could without getting into trouble. It was only natural that the playful spirit of yoga drew her to her first class in 1998. The profound feeling of both strength and peace that yoga instilled in her practice and life inspired her to want to teach others to experience all that yoga has to offer. Anne completed her teacher training in 2005 at The Yoga Center of Columbia and is registered with Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level. Anne combines enthusiasm, attention to alignment and playfulness in her classes while encouraging students to observe and honor how they feel on the inside as well as the outside. She helps to guide and empower students to build strength and flexibility in classes that are gentle as well as challenging.


Melissa Lindon:  Melissa Lindon, E-RYT 500, approaches yoga as an opportunity to find balance and stability in a busy life, cultivate flexibility of body and mind, and reconnect to our innate joy. A student of yoga since 1989 and a teacher since 2003, she is a graduate of teacher trainings at The Yoga Center of Columbia and Golden Heart Yoga. She has studied with ParaYoga founder Rod Stryker since 2007, completing the ParaYoga Master Training program and becoming a ParaYoga Level I Certified Teacher in 2013. She seeks to bring traditional yoga practices to life in an accessible way, with compassion and light-heartedness, and she has a special affinity for yoga nidra. Also a professional flutist, Melissa invites you to tune into your body, breathe deeply, and be present to the perfection in each moment.


Lucy Lomax:  Lucy Lomax, E-RYT500, RPYT, YACEP, C-IAYT, certified yoga teacher and yoga therapist, began meditating and practicing yoga in the 70's and teaching yoga in 1999. After 32 years as a financial policy analyst (BS Organizational Behavior, Masters in Public Financial Management) Lucy became a full-time yoga teacher. Her yoga background includes 18 years study and practice in alignment-based yoga and more recently, trauma-sensitive yoga, and continuing studies in practical applications integrating therapeutic yoga with Western approaches to healing. Lucy is a Certified Yoga Therapist, C-IAYT, a Certified Warriors at Ease teacher, a Certified iRest® Yoga Nidra meditation teacher, and a Cancer exercise Specialist. She focuses on trauma-sensitive yoga and meditation, and adaptive yoga for injuries, illnesses, special conditions, and recovery.


Debbie Martin: Debbie Martin, E-RYT 500, Ayurveda Yoga Specialist has extensively studied ParaYoga with her main teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker.  His ability to clearly transmit the complex and vast teachings of yoga inspires her own teaching as she provides practical ways to incorporate the ancient healing techniques and transformative wisdom of yoga and Ayurveda into everyday life. 

Forever a student herself, Debbie continues her advanced studies with the Himalayan Institute and has been practicing yoga for almost 30 years. She started teaching yoga in 2006 and is also indebted to her previous Kripalu and Anusara teachers. Their teachings helped her establish a methodology to safely instruct students.

Having personally benefited from her dedicated practice she is enthusiastic and passionate about sharing the gifts of yoga and Ayurveda with others so they can improve the quality of their lives, reach their fullest potential and experience greater joy and inner peace.  

What to expect in class:

Debbie teaches alignment based hatha yoga and uses the energetics of the postures to achieve a specific and balancing effect.  She incorporates breath work, yoga philosophy, and chanting into her classes and provides hands-on assists (if welcomed) helping students deepen their asana practice.  She offers plenty of adaptions and modifications recognizing each student’s unique capabilities. Using explicitly clear and detailed alignment instructions, her classes focus on coordination of breath with movement and deepening of one’s inner and outer awareness. Debbie provides students a supportive yet challenging practice within a caring and lighthearted atmosphere. 


Betsy Mayotte:  Betsy Mayotte, MS, RYT500, completed her teacher training at the Yoga Center of Columbia and has studied over the years with teachers from many traditions. She also is certified as a fitness trainer with a specialization in corrective exercise. She began her practice of postural yoga in the early 1970s and is a life-long student of yogic philosophy. She is especially interested in the transmission of yoga from east to west and loves to share discoveries of science that shed light on the transformative power of yoga. She enjoys teaching students of all ages and abilities, with outreach to special populations. She directs the yoga program for junior tennis players in the regional USTA training program at College Park and she teaches young people with autism through the support of the Yoga Center of Columbia, the Howard County Autism Society, and the Hussman Institute. She seeks to awaken the teacher within each of her students, helping each one feel grounded on the field of yoga.


Chris McCloskey:  Chris McCloskey RYT-500, offers students an alignment based yoga practice designed to create spaciousness in the body, mind, and spirit.  Chris has been practicing yoga since 2008, is a graduate of the Yoga Center of Columbia teacher training programs, and has been teaching yoga since 2012.  As a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, Chris shares with students methods for reducing stress, enhancing well-being, and bringing peace into their daily lives.     An avid walker and hiker, Chris is inspired by the awesome beauty of nature and mother earth and is continuously seeking ways to combine the healing practice of yoga with the practices of mindfulness and walking.


Colleen Palmateer:   Colleen found her groove when she began teaching hatha yoga in 2008, and is certified and registered with the Yoga Alliance at the E-RYT-500 level. She is passionate about teaching others how yoga can help relieve physical and emotional pain and enable them to live more fully. She offers an inviting, alignment-based practice in a wide range of classes, with an emphasis on bringing balance to body, mind, and spirit. When she’s not teaching at the Yoga Center, you’re likely to find her working at the front desk.  Colleen is certified by Yoga Alliance as a Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) -- a teacher to teachers. 


Donna Querido:  Donna Querido, RYT500, started her yoga journey in 2000, and completed yoga teacher trainings 2005, RYT200 and 2013, RYT500.  She learned early on that the practice of yoga is transformative – a path to find healing, a way to access joy, and a place to feel connected.  A student of Zen meditation and Anusara Yoga® taught her the power and beauty of ancient wisdom and the benefit of alignment in a modern yoga practice.  She has found that yoga is an inner practice that radiates far beyond the yogi.  Her guidance leads her students playfully with proper alignment through a yoga practice that is joyfully led from the heart.


Cathy Rees:  Practicing yoga with the belief that yoga is a way of life, Cathy intertwines her knowledge of yoga over the past 18 years with her nursing practice, and her 30 year nursing practice with her yoga. As a Master's prepared critical care nurse for years, Cathy recognized the detrimental effects of unhealthy lifestyle behaviors on the body, and as a yoga teacher, she acknowledges the amazing healing benefits of yoga. Her gentle yoga classes emphasize calming breath work as well as form and function of movement so that yoga can be practiced safely and effectively on and off of the mat. A registered yoga teacher since 2013 (RYT200), Cathy is currently in the 300 hour teacher training program at the Yoga Center of Columbia. Last year she completed training at Duke University Integrative Medicine, Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors. She is also a certified Lakshmi Volker Chair Yoga teacher and has assisted with teacher training. When not teaching at YCC, Cathy is teaching at a residential senior community teaching gentle mat and chair yoga, as well as teaching yoga for students suffering from moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease and Dementia.


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Rimmi Singh:  Rimmi Singh, E-RYT500 and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) has been teaching yoga for over 14 years. Rimmi spent the first 20 years of her life in India, surrounded by Indian philosophy. She extensively studied the Yoga Sutras, Sacred Hindu scriptures, Buddhism, meditation, Ayurveda and Sanskrit. For Rimmi, yoga is more than a series of physical movements; it is the science for physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

With wit, wisdom and an eye for alignment, Rimmi guides students through a practice centered on Sankalpa (intention) and Svadhyaya (self-study). Her class offers a rich blend of different yoga styles with a strong emphasis on meditation and alignment. Weaving Sutra philosophy and wisdom for everyday living, Rimmi encourages students to balance strength, power, sweat and laughter – both on and off the mat. Rimmi is a forever student, a lover of life and a strong believer of living fully.


Linda Stevens:  Linda has been practicing yoga for 16 years and has been studying it for the last four. She received her 200 hour certification from the Yoga Center of Columbia in 2011, and her 15 hour certification with YoKids in 2012. She spends her weekends taking classes and workshops at area studios and tries to instill in her students of all ages a sense of curiosity and a desire to explore and study the many layers of a yoga practice.


Heather Thamer:  Heather Thamer, E-RYT500, M.Ed and CES (Cancer Exercise Specialist) has been teaching yoga since 2004 and has trained with teachers from various yoga backgrounds over the years. Her classes reflect these influences, blending asana, sequenced movement, breathing techniques and meditation. Heather uses a mindful, caring approach to teaching yoga and takes a keen interest in each student. She continues to further her learning of chronic conditions and yoga therapy by taking workshops and classes with wonderful teachers and specialists whenever she can. With a profound appreciation for the effects of yoga, Heather aspires to bring an empowering experience to her classes at the center.