Meet the Teachers
At VegaYoga & Movement Arts, we bring together a wide range of trained teachers with a wealth of knowledge and a desire to make yoga accessible to all people, no matter what age or skill level.
VegaYoga & Movement Arts’ co-director and instructor, Aaron Vega (200 RYT), brings his “yoga for the people” philosophy to every class he teaches. From his yoga in the chair to his signature vegaflow class, Aaron incorporates a deep understanding of movement and yoga with a dash of humor. The passion and joy he shares with his students is intertwined with tradition and innovation. Creating a fun and safe atmosphere either with his music mixes or dynamic sequences, there is always something new happening in Aaron’s classes. At the ready to give a modification or an invitation to explore deeper, Aaron’s classes leave students strong in their body and feeling good about themselves.
Debra Vega (RCYP, level 1), Vega Yoga & Movement Arts’ co-director and instructor, brings her 12 years of yoga practice, combined with her 30+ years of dance training and over 25 years of teaching experience, to all of the classes she offers. She is currently seeking additional training which emphasizes using yoga in a safe, approachable and therapeutic way, by completing a 250 hour certification in Structural Yoga Therapy (SYT).
Coming from a dance background, Debra approaches yoga with a strong awareness of the body and with the knowledge of ways to keep the body safe during practice. She is sensitive to the needs of her students and is happy to offer modifications in order to allow students of any skill level to practice with confidence. With a positive attitude and a smile on her face, Debra’s gentle way of “allowing you to practice where you are today,” encourages each student to leave her classes feeling good about their practice and good about themselves.
Lorraine Brady, RYT 500, received her 200-hour certification at Karuna Center for Yoga and Healing Arts in Northampton. She completed her 500-hour embodyoga® teaching certification at the Yoga Center Amherst, and currently serves as an assistant in ongoing teacher training programs. Lorraine has also completed a teacher training in yoga therapy for veterans coping with post-traumatic stress, and is registered with the Yoga Alliance.
Lorraine's classes focus on basic alignment principles with an emphasis on coordinating movement and breath. She provides students an opportunity to improve flexibility, gain strength, and clear the mind. The connection and integration of body, mind and spirit through yoga creates the ability to move with greater harmony and grace through the rhythms of life. Lorraine is committed to sharing the many benefits of yoga with others.
Kim is a 200/hr Certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and is currently attending Graduate School at the University of Massachusetts studying Art Education. She was introduced to yoga over 15 years ago and her passion for it brought her here to VegaYoga. She has been teaching adults, teenagers, and children with metal illness and special needs in private schools for over 7 years. She truly believes in the benefits of yoga, art and all pursuits that lead towards a deeper understanding of the self.
Body and breath awareness, along with meditation are important parts of her personal practice, as well as her teaching. She strongly believes that yoga is for everyone and is always willing to make adjustments and assist her students in any way to make yoga work for them and their bodies. Kim seeks to cultivate a lighthearted, comfortable atmosphere that gives room for the growth and exploration of each individual's yoga practice.
Krista ThompsonKrista Thompson (RYT 200) became interested in yoga through her practice of belly dance. She initially wanted to increase her flexibility for dance, but after taking her first class she noticed a change she wasn’t expecting, a profound feeling of peace. After years of suffering from anxiety she began to use certain yoga exercises to help her in her everyday life. She became interested in teaching so that she could help others take back control of their body and mind. Her classes offer students a warm, safe and welcoming environment to explore, love and accept their bodies. She is committed to helping her students feel both physically and mentally healthy. Krista has a BA in Natural Resource from UMass, Amherst and is currently working toward a degree in Physical Therapy. She has been a student of belly dance since 2005. She also enjoys hiking, cooking, reading and spending time with her friends, family and dog.
Michelle is interested in the connections between intuitive wisdom, movement and artistic expression. She has studied Classical Indian Dance, Ballet, Modern/Post-modern dance, Pilates, Gyrokinesis and of course, yoga. After completing her Teacher Training in Classical Yoga in 2001, Michelle went on to study Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Anusara yoga. Her classes are somewhere between a meditative experience and a playful adventure. Currently, Michelle is adjunct faculty at Springfield College where she teaches yoga to dancers, contemporary dance technique, improvisation and choreography.
Carol ClarkCarol Clark has been practicing Tai chi since 1979 and QiGong since 1995, and began sharing her practice in 1996. Her journey has been one of growth and expansion using Tai Chi and QiGong as tools for focusing, refinement, and anchoring in the higher vibration that comes with transformation. Keeping one's balance, especially during deep change, is challenging ~ and essential ~ and we are ALWAYS changing.
Check out her facebook page www.facebook.com/papercityfitness
And her website www.papercityfitness.com
Katrina Hawley, C.M.A., PMA-CPT, co-owns and co-directs The Pilates Studio located in Hadley, MA. She is Certified Pilates Teacher by the Pilates Method Alliance. She is also a graduate of the Polestar Pilates Rehabilitation Program.
From 2005-2010, Katrina was on the Board of Directors for the International Somatic Movement Education & Therapy Association (ISMETA) and now continues to be an ISMETA Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME).
Katrina teaches Laban Movement Analysis and Pilates at the University of Hartford's Hartt School in the Dance Division. Previously, Katrina was the co-dirctor of HawleyMartin Dance (2001-2006) and she holds her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Temple University.
She is happy to have made her home in the Holyoke area. She applauds the community's support of the arts, local business and local agriculture. The community created by the people of Western Massachusetts makes it easy to come to work each and every day!
Lamar Moore (Certified Personal Trainer) spent most of his youth on a small farm eight miles off the pavement in rural Mississippi. Lots of time spent farming corn, herding cattle, riding horses and training hunting dogs.
His first negative impression of fitness was being embarrassed in front of his classmates by an obese high school football coach. His first positive impression was his discovery of martial arts at the age of 15 and the revelation that team sports were not for everyone. He still trains and has learned that he must stay in shape to train as he gets older.
Lamar's dad died when Lamar was only 16 (his dad was 39); he had previous heart attacks and one finally did him in. Lamar learned about his families’ predisposition for heart disease and has been training ever since; it helped him delay the onset of his first heart attack until 45 years of age.
Lamar's attitudes toward fitness can be best summed up as:
• Those people who cannot find time in the present for regular bodily exercise will most certainly have to make time in the future for illness.
• Any kind of fitness training/exercise is better than none at all. Bodyweight training is challenging, adaptive to all fitness levels, easy to learn and (obviously) portable.
• It is vain to do everything, when only what’s necessary is needed. That’s why his half hour bootcamps are so effective. You will exercise one set of targeted muscle groups to another, with a little setup in between. Fatigue does set in over time, but no one set of muscles is exhausted to the extent that injuries may occur.
Veronika KrutaVeronika first discovered her love of Argentine tango in 2005. After taking one class, you could not keep her off the dance floor. She has travelled to tango festivals all over the country and studied with many world renown instructors, learning both traditional and modern tango techniques, and how to lead as well as follow. In 2008, Veronika decided tango was just too exciting to keep it all to herself, and began teaching. Her approach embraces a wide range of styles that inspire a continuous exploration of the tango's many facets. To further build the tango community, Veronika is also a tango DJ and milonga (tango party) organizer. In March of 2010, Veronika started the Boston Alternative Milonga, the first milonga in Boston where tangueros could be found dancing to both traditional tango as well as pop, hip hop, electronic and other contemporary music that is totally "tangoable." The world of tango is a deep, often mysterious yet enlightening and vibrant one, that Veronika can't wait to welcome you into.
Claudia Johnsen, RYT 200, holds an MS in Microbiology and is a 2007 graduate of Mama Nirvana's Teacher Training. Claudia is a certified hatha yoga instructor and devoted yoga student whose energetic spirit and passion for yoga are revealed in her detailed instructions and joyful approach to classes.
Beginners perform poses to reduce stress, improve joint fluidity, and build strength and flexibility. Advanced students concentrate on form and prana as a way to unite the mind, body and breath, and find a sense of ease while sustaining deep physical challenge. Claudia's core focus class draws on her knowledge of yoga and Pilates mat exercises to maintain a healthy spine; discover the profound influence of core strength on your own yoga practice.
A lifelong joy of sewing led Claudia to design clothing, quilts and costumes, while current projects integrate the artful creative assistance of Ellie and Martin, two feline fabric enthusiasts.