Yoga Instructors

Michael Alex


Michael found yoga over a decade ago when it was suggested as a way to heal injuries incurred through sport. But it was the mental and emotional impact of practice that kept him coming back to the mat. Michael loves yoga because it is a learning practice—one that offers a limitless number of teachings about body, mind, and spirit.


Maura Amadea


For Maura yoga is an exploration of movement and stillness. By using the body and breath we dive deeper into the present moment. Yoga can be deeply introspective and yet at the same time can help us to draw out curiosity, playfulness and understanding of the world around us.


Niki Ainslie


Feeling rather disillusioned and seeking something more, Niki walked into her first yoga class some 20 years ago. She was immediately enticed by the practice. The feeling of being calm, grounded and at home in her body was a great pleasure. Honing skills to be more adaptable, practicing the art of letting go, learning to listen and pay attention—it was all too much for her to resist.


Kathrin Brunner


Kathrin began practicing yoga in her early twenties to balance her work in a high-demand role with an environmental NGO. Under strict orders from her boss to get on a mat, Kathrin began her yoga journey and now she cannot thank her boss enough!


YuMee Chung


YuMee Chung (Padmani) is a former securities lawyer who left a busy practice to engage more deeply with life. More than a decade later, she is an Advance Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher who also offers classes in the Yoga Tune Up method.


Heather Cracower


Heather was introduced to yoga in 1997 following a back injury, when it was recommended as a way to manage her symptoms. What began as an intervention to heal the body eventually also became a way to calm the mind and nurture acceptance for what she was capable of on any given day, physically and mentally, on and off the mat.


Taryn Diamond


Taryn is an energetic and inclusive instructor, drawing from experience in facilitation, gender analysis, and a commitment to social justice. Having practiced yoga for a decade, Taryn began sharing her love of yoga upon completing over 500 hours of Yoga Education at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre in 2012.


James Fraser


Studying Peace and Conflict, and International Relations led James to work with the medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in some of the most difficult conflicts in the world. After leaving MSF, determined to bring HIV treatment to the most vulnerable populations in low-income countries, James co-founded Dignitas International. Witnessing overwhelming suffering over decades left him with a heavy heart.


Ian Gardner


Ian Gardner has been practicing yoga since 2001 and completed the 200-Hour and 300-Hour Teacher Trainings at Octopus Garden. He is also a Thai Massage practitioner and instructor with the Lotus Palm School of Thai Yoga Massage.


David Good


David Good believes yoga is a way to discover your hidden potential and find the truth of who you are, on and off the mat.

David’s classes range in intensity and focus, from vigorous sequencing to supportive restorative work. Offering rich alignment cues and heartfelt humour, David aims to create an inclusive environment that nurtures the soul and leaves students feeling like they’ve learned something about their bodies in the process.


Pat Harada Linfoot


Owner, Program Director, E-RYT 500

Pat sees the practice of yoga as an opportunity for physical, psychological, and spiritual inquiry. With compassion, generosity, and humour, she encourages students to maximize their potential. Themes from eastern philosophy, psychology, and everyday experience have been informing Pat’s teaching for the past 20 years.


Jennifer Helland


Jennifer discovered yoga as a dancer in her young twenties. At her very first yoga class, the experience resonated so deeply within that she knew then how meaningful and important yoga was going to become in her life.


Krista Hunt


Krista’s approach to yoga is to create space to cultivate strength, empowerment, and empathy. Krista started seriously practicing yoga after a health issue temporarily limited her ability to engage in her regular physical activities. The safety and freedom she discovered on the mat led her to expand her diverse teaching practice to include yoga.


Marshal Linfoot


After an injury ended Marshal’s martial arts practice, he sought a healing practice that would keep him strong, mobile, and active through the rest of his life. He found yoga.


Lisa Messina


Lisa Messina creates a safe place for people to deeply listen and courageously dive into the true nature of being. A dancer from the age of three, Lisa’s life work has been exploring and sharing her passion for movement through a broad range of modalities, including dance, Pilates, and yoga.


Glenda Myles


As a ballet dancer for over 16 years, Glenda developed a strong relationship to her body through movement. Starting in a small class at a gym in the early 90s, her study and practice of yoga evolved over the ensuing years and has spanned many teachers and styles including Iyengar yoga, Jivamukti, Kundalini, and Hatha. It has been a consistent, yet ever-changing, relationship in her life.


Lucy Panko


Lucy was introduced to yoga in her early teens and what started as a recovery tool for her training as an elite triathlete quickly became so much more: a creative outlet and healing modality. Inspired by yoga’s ability to balance both strength and restoration, she enrolled in Octopus Garden’s Teacher Training and completed over 500 hours of Yoga Education while attending high-school. Shortly thereafter, Lucy began sharing her passion for self-inquiry and intelligent movement—the ability to trust breath and allow one’s body to find its natural alignment.


Nicky Poole


Nicky Poole, a mother of two originally from New Zealand, has been enmeshed in the study of yoga since 1999. She founded the first yoga studio in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2004 and cultivated a unique community on the banks of the Saigon River until moving to Canada in 2009. Calling Toronto home, Nicky has established herself as a highly sought after teacher trainer and pre and post natal specialist in the city.


Rose Riccio


Yoga's ability to challenge the outer form and transform the inner, while expanding and evolving life and relationships, drew Rose into the practice and continues to inspire her today.


Kristy Scime


Kristy has been practising yoga off and on for over ten years but became truly devoted after she found aerial yoga. The playfulness and whimsy of aerial yoga combined with fleeting moments of fear (often immediately followed by moments of exhilaration) keeps the mind completely present with the body leading to a practice like no other. She believes the beauty in aerial yoga lies in the ability to connect with the inner child, to be playful, to be curious, to be silly and unafraid of the unfamiliar; qualities as adults we often as deny ourselves.


John Veiga


John believes that learning is an exchange, and he endeavours to treat all those who practice with him with respect and equanimity. Drawing on more than 15 years of practice and teaching, John derives inspiration from the many layers of yoga. He is most energized and excited when philosophy, psychology, and anatomy swim together in an engaging practice. Diligent but playful, his unique classes reflect his insatiable curiosity about the “whys” of practice, and he encourages lively dialogue around all aspects of yoga.


Maddy White


Maddy White was introduced to the practice of yoga at a young age by a physiotherapist who recommended it to help with her scoliosis. Like many people, she started practicing as a way to stay active in a lifestyle that didn’t involve much movement, but soon she began to see the other benefits of yoga. Yoga became crucial to managing the stress that came with attending university and it provided a means for self-inquiry and self-acceptance.