Many of Shakti Yoga’s experienced instructors are trained by Linda and share her approach while our other instructors have joined Shakti offering their talent and skills from other styles.
Linda Lalita Winnick
Linda Lalita Winnick’s focus is the cultivation of Shakti or Inner Power. A certified yoga teacher, with an M.A. in Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga Philosophy, Linda’s teaching of yoga integrates her twenty-eight-year experience as a yoga practitioner and teacher with the principles of exercise physiology and the energetics of Ayurveda. Her classes reflect the attunement of time, place, season, and group dynamic. Unbound by a single lineage, Linda has developed creative sequencing of pranayama (breath work), Vinyasa Krama and Shat Karmas (cleansing techniques). This sequencing and her masterful demonstrations promote the growth of flexibility, strength, and efficient alignment. Classes are challenging and at the same time punctuated with laughter at her whimsical commentary. They can be adapted to all levels of ability and individual limitation. Shaping her offering with joy, Linda creates an inclusive space that challenges each person to feel free to do what they can to foster their own strength and wellbeing through the art of yoga.
Linda Lalita is owner of three Shakti Yoga Studios in the Hudson Valley New York. She was a popular workshop instructor at the Omega Institute for a decade. Linda trains yoga teachers in her methods. (200 Hour and Advanced 500 Hour) She is invited to teach in programs around the country and in Europe.
Where: Ava lives in Woodstock/ West Saugerties and is currently teaching weekly classes at Shakti Yoga Woodstock, Shakti Yoga Saugerties Saugerties and IXL Saugerties. Before relocating to Woodstock, Ava owned and operated Lucky Lotus Yoga in NYC.
Training: Ava is Yoga Alliance certified at 500 hours and has taught yoga for well over a decade. She is an Ordained Shamanic Minister, a Master Breathwork Facilitator, and a Level 2 Reiki practitioner and Ayurvedic Consultant as well.
Offerings: Ava infuses her weekly vinyasa flow and restorative classes with wit and wisdom. She also offers Breathwork and Sound Healing workshops at Shakti Yoga Woodstock and other local venues. She has led countless retreats as well as being invited to participate in healing conferences such as Mysteryland and East Meets West.
Fun Fact: Ava has danced the ritual dances of Africa and Haiti for over two decades and has worked with Bablows and Houngans. She has also studied Tibetan Buddhism extensively and is initiated into Vajra Yogini and Medicine Buddha.
Connect with Ava: www.breathworkmedicine.com
Where: Barbara lives on the outskirts of Catskill in Kiskatom which means the Land of the Nuts (literally). She currently teaches a “Relax and Unwind from the Week” 9:30 am Level 1 Friday morning class at Shakti Saugerties and a Thursday 10:30 am chair yoga class at the Washington Irving Senior Center in Catskill.
Training: She is an official “newbie” in Yogaland completing her 200 hour Shakti Yoga Certification July 2017; however, Barbara has a lifetime of movement experience that she delights in sharing with others. She is currently enhancing her knowledge base in Lakshmi Voelker’s “Get Fit Where You Sit “ Chair Yoga Program.
Why Barbara Teaches: Barbara has often used the body vehicle to smooth the wrinkles in the inner landscape and Journey towards a more harmonious union. Her passionate belief is that we are all in this together and yoga is for everybody. Her secret joy is to open that yogic door for the person that might have previously been too shy to step into a yoga studio and support that journey one building block at a time!!
Favorite Pose: Anjaneyasana – crescent or half moon pose named for the god Hanuman’s Mom, Anjani . It is a powerful deep lunge reflective of the strong feminine energy of the mother and the intelligent monkey servant energy of Hanuman. Barbara was born in the Chinese Year of the Monkey which marries with yoga’s mission of service to others.
Fun fact: Barbara has had a deep connection with the plant beings and Mother Earth which began as a very young child in Prospect Park Brooklyn, spending hours walking round the protruding roots of a hilltop maple and seated amidst these rooted anchors weaving clover necklaces.
Favorite Quote: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama
Who: Bethany Hamilton
Where: Bethany lives in Saugerties, and teaches a Level I class at the Shakti Saugerties studio at 6pm on Wednesdays.
Training: Bethany completed the Shakti Yoga Teacher Training with Linda Lalita Winnick in 2016.
Why Bethany Teaches: Teaching is Bethany’s passion. Whether it’s middle school English (her day job), or yoga, she loves to share in the learning process with people. Bethany was introduced to yoga as a teenager at a community class in a local hospital, and returned to the mat as a way to heal a back injury in her mid-twenties. When she realized that yoga was healing more than her back, she wanted to study the practice more deeply and share in its beauty with others through teaching.
Favorite Pose: Ardha Kapotasana, also called Half Pigeon Pose, is her favorite. Bethany has been found in this pose in the kitchen while she waits for dinner to cook, and in the driveway on sunny days.
Fun Fact: Bethany asked her 8 and 9 year old step-sons about which fun fact she should include. The best they could come up with was, “She doesn’t like gravy.” Although this is true, a more fun fact is that Bethany has 2 dogs – Atticus, a 7-year-old goofy and sweet Plott Hound, and Naya, an 8-year-old gentle, loving, and loyal Pit Bull Terrier.
Favorite Quote: “Yoga is not about touching your toes. It is what you learn on the way down.” Jigar Gor
Who: Christina Steen
Where: Christina lives in Phoenicia, NY, and teaches at both Shakti Yoga Saugerties and Shakti Yoga Woodstock, as well as The Emerson Place, and The Yoga House of Kingston.
Training: Christina completed her 200 Hour certification with Shakti Yoga Studios in July 2017.
Offerings: Christina teaches Very Beginner, Level 1, Prenatal, and Kids classes.
Why Christina Teaches: She is inspired by yoga to live each moment more mindfully while keeping her body healthy and strong. Her introduction to yoga was a prenatal class she took when she was pregnant with her daughter 18 years ago. Christina has since fallen in love with yoga and she wants to share it with anyone interested in giving it a try. She is committed to making her class engaging and nurturing for all, and more challenging for those up for the task. She finds yoga to be a very personal, non-competitive practice. Instead of looking for a perfect pose, she hopes you leave the mat feeling more nourished and balanced within.
Erick is an accomplished dancer and choreographer and former member of the prestigious Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,where he practiced yoga for 12 years with director Janet Wong. He is a modern technique dance teacher, the director of Erick Montes/Danceable Projects, and an international professional dancer of 22 years. He is a graduate of the 500-hour program from Three Jewels in NYC. His teachers include Michael Hewett, Gina de la Chesnaye, Allison Joy Phillips, and Hector Marcel. His fun, practical asana classes teach self-empowerment while building strength and self confidence, lifting the spirit through a blend of yoga and dance.
Who: Jennifer Bradley
Where: I live up on top of the mountain in the quaint little town of Haines Falls, about 10 minutes from Hunter Mountain Ski Resort. I offer classes at a few different locations, in a few different towns; the life of a traveling yogini…. On the mountaintop; in Tannersville (Pure Mountain Yoga), Hunter (Scribner’s Lodge), Windham (Eastwind Hotel; High Ridge Club) and pop-in classes in Ashland (Mountain Breeze Yoga). I teach in Saugerties at our sweet little Shakti Studio settled in the heart of the village. I also offer privates, both group and individual.
YTT/Teaching Experience: Completed 30 Hour Certificate (Part 1) of the Yogapalooza: Kids Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training. I completed the first part of this certificate in December of 2018, and plan on continuing on and completing all 3 parts of the certification.
Completed the 200 Hour Shakti Yoga Teacher Training in June 2019. Future plans include completing the Shakti Yoga Advanced Teacher Training (500 Hour)!!
In the summer I also offer Water Aerobics and Water Yoga at the High Ridge Club in Windham. Combining my knowledge of yoga, breath, movement, anatomy, and fun.
Offerings: I offer a few different types of classes, including Very Beginner, Level I/II, Kids yoga, “pop-up” classes, and privates (both individual and group).
Why: I actually started teaching yoga with the thought that I really wanted to teach yoga to kids. The reasoning behind this was that I first found this practice in my early 20’s, but didn’t become a regular practitioner until my later 20’s. As my practice started to develop, I began to notice how much I was benefitting from yoga- and it was so much more than physical. Yoga changed my life; I consider the practice to be almost magical. I started to wonder how my life might be different if perhaps I had been introduced to yoga at a younger age. I believe, especially today, that beginning a mindfulness practice as a kid is only incredibly beneficial; something that can stay with them and can be practiced always.
Now that I have started teaching, I realize I love teaching all different types of people, all different levels, and all different ages. I love working with kids; their energy, their innocence, their humor. Kids are great, and really, they’re always doing yoga! We can learn a lot by watching the way that children move. I have learned that I find Very Beginner Yoga so much fun to teach. I absolutely LOVE introducing people to yoga, helping them to enjoy their first class, helping them feel light, comfortable, and aware in their body. I bring a sense of humor to my classes, reminding us all (including myself) not to take any of this too seriously. No matter what I’m offering, I can guarantee that we’re going to have a good time; that’s really what it’s all about.
Favorite Yoga Pose: Pigeon Pose: Eka Pada RajaKapotasana (and variations). First of all, I love the hip release. I also love the different variations that you can advance up to. One-legged pigeon, (where you bend your back leg and hook your back foot in your elbow crease as you turn your heart forward), took a lot of time, practice, breathing, and shifting to get into. It was the first pose that I set a goal to get into, and had to work in order to achieve it. I learned a lot in that practice; I had to remove my ego, that told me to advance faster, even if I wasn’t ready. I had to bring my awareness deep within myself to feel the small shifts inside of me, as I started to move slowly forward. I learned that with repetition, perseverance, and a belief in myself…I probably could achieve anything that I really set my mind to. It’s like that old saying, “everything I needed to know, I learned in pigeon.”
Fun Fact: When I’m not on my yoga mat, you can probably find me somewhere on a mountain. I’m a born and bred skier, I think it’s some kind of a requirement for living in a ski town; you must be in skis by 2 years old. At least I was anyway. I raced alpine downhill in high school and still love to go fast, (I’ve cut back on the reckless though).
In the spring, summer, and fall; I change downhill to uphill, as I have become an avid hiker in my adult years. I can let myself get lost in these mountains (literally and figuratively), I can clear my head and find my center. I have always felt connected, whole, and at home in nature. Sometimes when the mountains are calling I have no choice but to answer.
Favorite Quote: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” –Anais Nin
I have this quote tattooed on the inside of my right arm, it resonates with me that much. I remember when I connected deeply to this quote. I was going through something in my life where I knew that I needed to make some changes, but I was scared of the unknown. I can clearly remember feeling a shift, when the time came. Where I was, was no longer serving me. The only option was to blossom. The risk it took was entirely worth it. I never want to forget that even though it may be scary, nothing is more frightening than staying stuck somewhere that I no longer belong.
Where: For nearly the past 30 years, Kirk has had the honor and pleasure of dividing his week between the bustling metropolis called Manhattan and the energizing and serene Hudson Valley. He teaches at Shakti Yoga Studios in the Hudson Valley.
Training: Kirk has completed the 200 hour Teacher Certification with Linda Winnick at Shakti Yoga Woodstock. Having taught aerobics many years ago following some dance training and performance arts experience, Kirk is happy to be able to offer his insights regarding all that yoga has to offer to learners of all backgrounds.
Offerings: Kirk teaches Beginner Yoga and is particularly interested in meeting learners where they are to help them meet their goals. With his background in and keen interests/passions with exercise of many forms, Kirk is also interested in helping athletes leverage all that yoga has to offer to help them succeed in their favorite forms of exercise.
Why: Yoga empowers us to help ourselves with a cadre of tools to align the mind, body and soul. We can practice yoga anywhere, anytime and without any peripheral stuff. All we need is ourselves: our body, mind, heart and soul. Yoga is a personal and internal practice that supports us to excel in our own minds and bodies and can help us relate more successfully to the many external forces in the very busy world we live in.
Favorite yoga pose: Virabhadrasana II- Warrior II. We all have a warrior within us – a guide and protector to keep us alert, safe and prepared to succeed in spite of life’s many challenges. Yoga helps us keep in touch with and exercise our inner warrior and Warrior II pose activates it.
Fun fact: Apart from exercise, two of the greatest joys for me include cooking/entertaining and music. I enjoy feeding the soul with food, wine and music.
Favorite quote: The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be. —Ralph Waldo Emerson. I would add to that, aim big!
Melanie Toth (Mel)
Who: Mel Toth
Where: Living in Saugerties and teaching in Saugerties, Kingston and Woodstock.
Training: I completed the 200 hour Shakti Yoga Teacher Training in 2013 and have been involved in SYTT ever since. During my training, I made a commitment to say YES to every teaching opportunity I could and have worked with a variety of populations (prenatal, toddlers and their parents, elementary school children, hearing and visually impaired, students who can only practice in a chair).
Offerings: Beginner/Level I and RESTorative classes are my main focus. My classes focus on understanding the fundamentals of asana (poses) through the use of props and movement exploration, while emphasizing the discovery of personal alignment, balance and relaxation.
Why Mel teaches: I practice yoga because I want to feel better; I teach because I want to help other people feel better, too! My personal practice and the practice of teaching stem from my belief in the transformative power of self-inquiry and self-care. Yoga helps me know and understand myself so I can better care of myself and others; it helps keep me grounded and connected to something bigger than me.
Favorite yoga pose: Forward folds are my daily medicine. Standing or seated, I love forward folds because they calm and ground me physically and emotionally. The spinal extension and release of tension in my legs are necessary ingredients for keeping this body vehicle happy!
Fun fact: Living with a curved spine (scoliosis) has been one of my greatest teachers. The ongoing process of working with asymmetry and chronic pain in my own body has taught me that modifying poses and practicing supported reclined poses (as in RESTorative) are powerful tools for changing physical and mental patterns.
Favorite quote: “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and in too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
What Mel’s Students say:
“Peace in my heart is not always easy for me to maintain as I continue to adjust my sails after life events redirected my journey. But when I receive a hug from Mel, absorb the spiritual words she offers at the start of class, and channel her positive energy into my practice, peace in my heart is what I always leave the studio with. Mel gracefully acknowledges — but reserves judgment and never intrudes on — the release I often experience during class which allows my tears to flow. I know that it is the infusion of her gentle soul and her way of instruction that are at work, helping to mold the new me.”
Who: Nicole Buono
Where: Nicole is born and raised in Saugerties, NY, but is now living a town over in Woodstock. She travels often for her job, but feels extremely lucky each time she returns home to the beautiful Hudson Valley. Nicole teaches at Shakti Yoga Saugerties and Pure Mountain Yoga in Tannersville, NY.
Ytt/teaching exp: Nicole completed her 200-hour teacher training at Shakti in June 2019.
Offerings: (Tuesday 6p Level 1 at Shakti Saugerties) Very beginner, Level 1, and Children’s yoga classes at the YMCA of Ulster County.
Why: “It was love at first Sun Salutation” Nicole came to her mat 10 years ago at Shakti Saugerties, and was hooked instantly. Coming from an athletic background, Nicole was always looking for a challenge and yoga offered up that challenge for both her body and mind. Through her practice, Nicole worked through the challenges that arose and was able to connect her body and mind, something she strives to help her students achieve. Nicole hopes to spread love and happiness within her classes and show the world that yoga is truly for everyone. She likes to offer creative sequencing, with a touch of playfulness and a dash of inspiration. Her hope is that her students always step off of their mat feeling refreshed, nourished and balanced.
Favorite yoga pose: My favorite yoga pose is Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, bridge pose. In bridge, I feel grounded and connected to both the earth and my body. I could stay in the pose forever, especially with a block in the restorative version. This pose helps me to feel energized and is a great heart opener.
Fun fact: I am a crazy dog mom, to my very own recuse pup, Della, a German Shepard/American Foxhound Mix. I always say she was the one who rescued me!
Favorite quote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who: Patricia Laufer
Where: Patricia divides her time between Woodstock, NY, and Tarrytown, NY. She currently offers a monthly Saturday 4pm Level 1/2 Class at Shakti Yoga Woodstock. Patricia also teaches at Yoga Shivaya in Tarrytown, and offers workshops and private instruction.
Training: Patricia completed her both her 500 Hour(2013) and 200 Hour (2011) trainings at Shakti Yoga Woodstock.
Why Patricia Teaches: Patricia began practicing yoga 15 years ago in New York City to quiet her mind and find some peace within the chaos. Her anxiety was high and she immediately felt relief in yoga. She practiced yoga as she built a career in the non-profit sector working with men who were formerly incarcerated and homeless. She continued exploring the limbs of yoga and started a meditation practice as well. Her search for peace eventually brought her to the Woodstock area 10 years ago for a weekend get-away and she kept coming back. She fell in love with the Shakti Yoga philosophy and with Linda’s dynamic classes! Patricia loves teaching and feels blessed to be able bring all that yoga has to offer to her students.
Who: Patricia Ferris
Where: I live in Saugerties and teach at the Shakti Saugerties studio on Wednesday mornings.
Ytt/teaching exp: I have been practicing yoga for twenty years, and finally decided to take the plunge and become an instructor. I finish my 200 hour yoga teacher training in June 2019. I am learning from none other than Linda Winnick.
Offerings: Level I class at Shakti Saugerties
Why: I tried yoga on a whim and fell instantly in love. It was a way to calm my mind, stretch my body, and feel connected to the world and the people in it. I want to share the joy and sense of peace that yoga provides to me with everyone who needs a little more joy and peace in their life.
Favorite yoga pose: Sirsasana (headstand) It’s my favorite pose because it’s fun to look at the world from a different angle. My dad used to do it all the time when I was little and I always thought it was so cool. It took me a long time to learn this pose. When I do a headstand now, it almost feels like I’m paying homage to my father.
Fun fact: I grew up in the South, as one of twelve children. As a result, I have a slight accent and not much need for personal space. I’m also a big crossword nerd.
Favorite quote: Live and let live.
Who: Patty Mooney
Where: I have lived in the area for 20 + years. Like many, a transplant that was chewed up and spit out from the Brooklyn / NYC grind awhile back. At Shakti, in particular I am one of those cogs in the chakra wheel that help machine run smoothly. When another bolt or belt is broken or a match doesn’t have the muster the spark to fire; I step in.
Training: I completed the 200 hour Teacher Certification with Lalita in 2015 and I have been practicing at Shakti for the past 12 years consistently; that’s a lot of sun salutations! I have been teaching since 2015 at Shakti Yoga and do fundraising classes with the Saugerties Teachers Association, where the money goes to people in the community who are in need.
Why Patty Teaches: I practice and teach yoga because I believe in it, all components – physical, mental and spiritual. There is always another place to investigate. I try to emphasize this in my classes, offering the smallest piece of information to inspire students to take yoga off the mat and into their everyday lives. Yoga is a practice and life as well; we are never done.
Favorite yoga pose: My fave asana is Trikonasana, triangle pose. I love its structure and always find its dynamics satisfying with its potential to help me expand and explore the micro movements that create that structure. It inspires me to explore internally and not feel like a square or a circle.
Fun fact: I have been teaching art at Saugerties High School since 1998. I am also a practicing artist and when opportunity knocks, show work in the local galleries. I work with sculpture in wood, clay, metal, you can check out my artwork at www.pattymooney.net and feel free to buy something …lol. I also have a cool husband and cool dog and a cool motorcycle. I feel truly blessed.
Favorite quote: “When you have peace in yourself and accept, then you are calm enough to do something, but if you are carried by despair there is no hope.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
What Patty’s Students Say:“dynamic” – “inspiring and attentive”
Who: Rick Mumma
Where: After decades of working in book publishing, Rick is now living full-time in West Hurley and attending and teaching as many Shakti Yoga classes as possible. When not at Shakti on Sawkill, he prefers to be outdoors.
Ytt/teaching exp: Rick completed his 200-hour teacher training with Linda Lalita Winnick at Shakti Yoga in 2019.
Offerings: Rick is teaching Level I Fundamentals at 6pm on Monday in Saugerties and at 4pm on Tuesday in Woodstock; he is also teaching Level II Mixed Level Vinyasa at 9:30am in Saugerties. Check the current schedule for updates.
Why: The combination of the private interior practice in a welcoming community space is something that I value immensely – whether I’m in the studio as a student or a teacher. The challenge of the physical practice speaks to me, but I’m also more and more interested in Yoga from historical, philosophical, spiritual, and psychological perspectives. It is a deep tradition that can be studied over many lifetimes from many angles.
Favorite yoga pose: My favorite pose is always changing. Rather than a pose I can do relatively well, my favorite tends to be the latest inversion or arm balance that I am in the process of learning but have not yet mastered.
Fun fact: Having grown up in Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, and New Jersey, I have never felt more at home than I do in the Catskills. Since moving here in 2010, I can’t picture myself leaving voluntarily.
Favorite quote: “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” –Thomas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow)
Who: Selena Reynolds
Where: Selena lives in Mt. Tremper, NY and teaches at Shakti Yoga Woodstock, Shakti Yoga Saugerties, and Menla Mountain Retreat. She also offers private instruction for both individuals and groups.
Training: Selena completed her 500 Hour training at Shakti Yoga Woodstock with Linda Lalita Winnick in July 2015, and her initial 200 Hour training through Woodstock Yoga Center with Alison Sinatra, Linda Lalita, and Barbara Boris in June 2012. She maintains a dedicated personal practice and continues to study all aspects of yoga both through personal study, her brilliant teachers, and staying involved in Shakti’s Teacher Training Programs!!
Offerings: Selena has been teaching locally since June 2012. She offers Vinyasa flow classes, Community classes, and Hatha, Beginner, and Vinyasa private instruction to support her students’ individual goals and levels of experience. She has also taught Kids Yoga series at local schools and studios. Her practices aim to help students develop stronger connection and cohesion within themselves through movement, breath awareness, concentration, and release of tension.
Why Selena Teaches: Through her practice, Selena is gradually becoming more able to make sense of life on this planet and the intricacies of being human. She finds that the practice of yoga teaches her to stay balanced, open, and joyous, as she strives to act with love in every situation. (These situations usually involve cookie dough, handstands, and her three rapidly growing children.) Selena hopes to be an agent of joy, optimism, and reverence for life. Her classes are designed to leave students feeling nourished, balanced, rejuvenated, and empowered. She believes wholeheartedly that yoga is a vehicle through which we can embody our fullest potential in all areas of our lives, and contribute in an increasingly positive way to the healing of our relationships, our communities, and ourselves.
Favorite Pose: Adhomukha Vrksasana- Handstand!! Because she is a human who likes to play, and to feel her strength.
Fun fact: Selena has a black market vegan and gluten free cookie business called Mountain Baby Bakery.
Favorite quote: “Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion. ” Rumi
Bio Coming Soon!
Where: I teach at Shakti and The Yoga House, available for private sessions as well.
Training: 200hr YTT, Certified in Ayurvedic Principles, Colon Hydrotherapy. Before I did the YTT, I did the 5 month Sadhana program with Linda Lalita Winnick.
Offerings: Shani currently teaches a Monday 9am Level 1/2 @ MAC Kingston.
Why: Yoga and Vedic philosophy changed my life. I am a completely different person than where I started from in life. Yogic philosophy coupled with my desire to truly change, gave me the tools. I fell in love with yoga and I hope to help you do the same.
Favorite pose: It changes. Right now I’ve been really into Standing forward folds. I really like the idea of surrendering to yourself. When I really surrender in this pose I can feel my spine decompress and often times it cracks in that spot you can’t ever quite reach on your own.
Fun fact: I’m a natural dancer at heart and always want to dance as soon as music comes on, even while I’m teaching.
Favorite quotes: “My feet are my only carriage and I got to push on through”, “Everything’s gonna be alright” – Bob Marley