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.


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, and a certified Sports Conditioning Specialist, was first exposed to Pilates in 1983, while in high school, and taking dance classes at The University of CT. She further developed her knowledge 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, and happily incorporates her cultural expertise into helping students who originate from all over the world. (samirashuruk.com) 

Karen 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.  

Karen's students give her a consistent 5 star rating in reviews, while nothing thrills her more than them thanking her for helping them improve their lives and their health. Her classes all combine consistent exercises and technique with new movements, to keep the body working and the mind-body connection growing.

Karen Pilates at The Yoga Center of Columbia www.columbiayoga.com


Barbara Day:  Barbara Day, RYT 500, inspires students to express joy through alignment-based movement, breath awareness, and meditative stillness.   Offering practical applications for experiencing all aspects of yoga in daily life as a means of fully enjoying being alive, she aspires to teach with precision of language and detail while encouraging individual freedom of expression. Barbara completed yoga teacher training at the Yoga Center of Columbia and teaches hatha yoga.  She is certified in Lakshmi Volker Chair Yoga.


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, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, YACEP, believes in the physical and spiritual healing power of yoga, and aims to empower her students to strengthen their bodies, hearts and minds through her challenging yet calming instruction. Her style is rooted in her many years of meditation practice and her multidisciplinary study of hatha yoga, tantric philosophy, and ayurveda. She was one of the first in the country to earn her Yoga Therapist certification from the International Association of Yoga Therapists. In 2017 she earned her certifications as a Yoga for Healthy Aging teacher from Baxter Bell and as an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist from the Himalayan Institute.

In Kelly’s classes, she emphasizes proper alignment so that her students can efficiently release tension while also building energy and strength. Her thoughtful sequencing enables students to increase flexibility and achieve new poses. Through practice of yoga asana and breath work, her students are gently guided to deeper awareness of their own physical and spiritual strength. Kelly’s goal is to guide her students in unlocking their innate knowledge and power to help transform their daily lives.


Jacqueline Fitch:  Jacqueline Fitch, RYT 500 took her very first yoga class out of sheer curiosity and was immediately drawn to the graceful practice of uniting conscious movement with breath. While traveling extensively for many years, working and resort-hopping; she attributes the practice to keeping her grounded and open to all the wondrous opportunities that life presented along the way.  Once settled in Maryland, she completed both her initial and advanced teacher certifications at the Yoga Center of Columbia.    

Jacqueline is passionate in her teaching of yoga as the ancient art of self-care and as a touchstone for our daily lives.  Hence in 2016, when she was introduced to the methodology of Eden Energy Medicine, she was fascinated by the power of being able to direct the energy flows of the body to promote self-healing.  Through a serendipitous concurrence of events, she has been immersed in the study of Energy Medicine Yoga, under the creator, Lauren Walker.  Sharing the magical union of these two healing traditions is now her greatest passion!


Kim Flyr:  Kim Flyr, RYT500, LCPC, found yoga 15 years ago because she wanted relief from stress!  She now loves to share with students what she continues to learn about how yoga can calm and restore the mind, body, and spirit. Kim completed both her 200 hour (2008) and 500 hour (2017) teacher training at Yoga Center of Columbia. 

Kim is also a mental health counselor who spent many years in HCPSS and now works in private practice. She has (almost!) raised three children. She recognizes the stress that comes from caring for others and the busy pace of our lives. Kim’s style is warm and supportive, and she infuses her classes with wisdom, humor, and practical suggestions for living with greater connection, ease, and well-being. 


Linda Gousis: RYT200. Linda teaches yoga that enlivens the body, uplifts the spirit, and settles the mind. Her approach to teaching yoga is step-by-step, practical, and inspiring. She encourages her students to tap in to their inner strengths and use them to fully explore yoga poses - and life! She has practiced for more than a decade and graduated from the Yoga Center of Columbia’s teacher training program in 2017. She is very thankful for her teachers at the Yoga Center of Columbia and Unity Woods.

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. Julia is bilingual in Spanish/English.

Jeri Hemerlein: Calling both Columbia and Qigong home, Jeri has had a dedicated personal Qigong practice for over twenty years and is certified to teach numerous forms for both women and men. Her emphasis is on women's health and wellbeing sharing knowledge influenced by various ancient feminine traditions. Jeri is a cooperative health care professional, blending cranial sacral, energy balancing and flower-nature essence including the art of apitherapy. 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, RYT-500, E-RYT 200, RCYT, began her yoga journey in 1999 and has practiced various styles of yoga. Katie completed both her 200 & 500 hour trainings at the Yoga Center of Columbia.  Katie holds certifications for teaching yoga to babies, toddlers and children and enjoys practicing with her own three children. Katie loves the way her personal yoga practice enables her to live an active lifestyle, she enjoys bringing this energy into her classes. 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.


Eric Krimmel: A native of England, Eric (RYT500) has lived in the United States for over 30 years (although some say he maintains his English accent) He calls his teaching style Brit Wit Yoga - the pursuit of grace with a smile on your face.

Eric's yogic journey began in 2003 when he attended his first yoga class at a local gym. After the class he realized that he had all these body parts he didn't know he had ....... AND ...... was expected to be able to control and move them! Eric's practice expanded quickly and before he knew it he was taking five classes per week. His practice was changing him in ways he hadn't expected. Changes on the inside and the outside. He wanted to share that experience with others and in 2011 Eric was compelled to enroll in the 200 hour teacher training program at the Yoga Center of Columbia. The training exposed Eric to Anusara yoga. He soon saw how this heart opening style enhanced his practice as he incorporated it into his yoga. Eric has also been inspired by Prana Kriya yoga which focuses heavily on prana yama (conscious breathing). His teaching pays particular attention to the breath.

In 2017 Eric completed the 300 hour teacher training at the Yoga Center of Columbia.


Melissa Lindon:  Melissa creates sacred space for students to rejuvenate, get inspired, and cultivate a vibrant, healthy body. With a clear style, playful sense of humor, and sensitive guidance, she nurtures a supportive class environment. She weaves mindful alignment, breath awareness, intelligent sequencing of yoga poses, deep relaxation, and guided meditation through each class, so students feel stronger and more at ease in body and mind.

Through years as a professional flutist and a mama, Melissa has gravitated to ParaYoga and the teachings of the Himalayan tradition for their unique ability to foster vitality and serenity. A senior student of Rod Stryker, Certified ParaYoga Teacher, and E-RYT500, she is honored to pass on the gift of these accessible, powerful techniques. Learn more about Melissa at www.melissalindon.com.

Lucy Lomax:  Lucy Lomax, Certified Yoga Therapist C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP, C-WAE, C-iREST®, C-Y4A:Yoga for Amputees, began meditating and practicing yoga in the 70's and teaching yoga in 1999. After 33 years as a financial policy analyst (BS Organizational Behavior, Masters in Public Financial Management) Lucy became a full-time yoga teacher. In 2017 she became a certified yoga therapist. Her yoga background includes 20 years study and practice in alignment-based yoga, and since 2011, specialized training in yoga for seniors, the military, and those dealing with cancer, amputation, stress, trauma, and PTS (post-traumatic stress).  Her teaching is based on anatomy, posture, movement, and integrative body/mind principles and she focuses on trauma-sensitive yoga and meditation, and accessible and adaptive yoga for injuries, illnesses, special conditions, and recovery. Her teaching style is light-hearted and practical — she believes that the yoga you do in class should support everyday life, and that yoga should be modified to meet you where are on life's journey. Lucy is a yoga teacher trainer for both entry and advanced level yoga teachers, and serves as a faculty member of both the Sensory-Enhanced Yoga Institutem, and Marsha T. Danzig's Y4A: Yoga for Amputees program where she is a Master Trainer. She also is the former Director of Business Development for the Retreat Center of Maryland. Lucy teaches public classes, workshops, retreats, and private yoga therapy sessions. Learn more about Lucy at www.lucylomax.com.

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. 

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.


Jodie Molchany:  Jodie is an RYT-200 graduate of the Yoga Center of Columbia and has been teaching yoga since 2015. The path to yoga came after ten years of training, and teaching, in martial arts. Jodie was looking for something less strenuous on the back, and joints, and more calming to the mind. Practicing yoga has fostered a strength of body and mind.  Jodie’s practice is fun, filled with laughter, a little bit of core work and with an emphasis on proper alignment.  

Teaching, and inspiring, young people is what Jodie does daily as a high school Chemistry teacher. Jodie been trained as a children’s yoga instructor through ChildLight Yoga. Currently Jodie is pursuing additional ChildLight Yoga training, as well as RYT-500 certification.


Colleen Palmateer:  Colleen is an experienced, advanced yoga teacher (E-RYT-500) and is a certified Barre Above instructor. Colleen teaches an inviting, alignment-based practice in a wide range of classes, with an emphasis on bringing balance to body, mind, and spirit. She’s especially passionate about helping people find the practices that enhance their lives on and off the mat. When she’s not teaching, you might find her at the Cross Fit box, in a kayak, playing with a cat, or reading a book.

Jennifer Randle:  Jen found her practice when she suffered a serious back injury that required emergency surgery. During her recovery, she felt blessed and energized by the healing benefits of daily meditation and yoga which were critical to her physical and mental improvement.  She began teaching in 2007 and in 2013 she completed her 500 hour advanced certification at the Yoga Center of Columbia.

In addition to yoga, Jen holds Balanced Bodies certifications in Pilates Mat I and II, and a Moms in Motion certification in Prenatal Fitness. Jen is passionate about offering modified yoga and Pilates to those who may have lost core power or flexibility due to pregnancy or other special conditions.  Holding a postgraduate degree in Modern Studies, she also enjoys incorporating the modern relevance of yogic texts and principles into her classes.  Jen teaches a free class for autistic children and their caregivers at the Yoga Center through the Howard County Autism Society.  

Jen is devoted to creating a safe and experiential environment for her clients that honors awareness of the breath during moments of movement and stillness.  She encourages an appreciation for the importance of alignment through core strength, balance and flexibility — both on the mat and in life.  A lifelong student, Jen relishes time with her teachers and enjoys her journey as she refines and evolves her practice and teaching. 

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. Cathy has been a registered yoga teacher since 2013 (RYT500).  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.


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, has specialized yoga training in working with the military community through the Warriors At Ease program and has adaptive training through the Yoga for Amputees (Y4A)program. Her classes are mindfully structured, blending asana, sequenced movement, breathing techniques and meditation. Heather uses a caring approach to teaching yoga and continues to further her learning of chronic conditions and yoga therapy by taking workshops and classes with wonderful teachers and specialists whenever she can. A lifelong student of yoga herself, Heather is passionate about continuing to learn ways to make yoga accessible and enjoyable.  With a profound appreciation for the benefits of yoga, Heather aspires to bring an empowering experience to her classes at the center.