Teacher Training Alumni

Victoria Chin

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Victoria completed her 200-hour teacher training with Yogaworks and her 300-hour at Octopus Garden. Some of her most memorable learning experiences also draw from studying with renowned restorative teacher, Judith Hanson Lasater and internationally loved, Prasad Rangnekar. Victoria now shares her passion for yoga by teaching mostly at Goodlife Fitness Clubs. Yoga is her life!

Victoria can be reached at:

Taryn Diamond

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Taryn has made her way through both the 200-Hour Fundamentals and 300-Hour Advanced teacher training at Octopus Garden. She has also been trained in Restorative Yoga with an emphasis on Ayurvedic principles. She left her work in the activist world with Oxfam Canada to co-manage Octopus Garden and pursue her yoga studies and teaching. Taryn teaches weekly classes at Hart House.

Taryn can be reached at:

Karen Duffy

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Karen left the corporate world in 2003 to pursue studying yoga as a result of finding answers to anxiety in a yoga class. She received yoga certifications from Sheridan College, followed by years of study through the KYM lineage of Krishnamacharya, and in 2011, completed 500 hours of study at Octopus Garden. Located in south Mississauga, Karen specialize in creating customized private yoga classes for groups and individuals. She also conducts workshops on the relationship between the body, mind, and breath and mental and physical health.

Karen can be reached at:

Scottie Fech

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Scottie Fech is a graduate of the Octopus Garden Yoga Education Program, completing both the 200-hour and 300-hour programs, as well as the Restorative Yoga teacher training. He has gone on to work at the studio as an integral part of the admin team and teaches around the city when he is not at Octopus Garden, helping out or attending workshops and events.

Scottie can be reached at:

RJ Fleck

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Robert “RJ” Fleck holds advanced degrees from several universities, is an accomplished pianist, teaches music, and has managed a small digital audio research lab from his home in Toronto. Recently, he has been devoting time to embodiment practices such as the Alexander Technique, Pilates, Tai Chi, and Vipassana meditation, completing certification programs at the Susan Sinclair Alexander Technique and Pilates Centre. RJ completed the Restorative Yoga, 200-Hour, and 300-Hour teacher training programs at Octopus Garden.

RJ can be reached at:

Lisa Freeman

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After many years as a criminal defence lawyer, Lisa discovered and fell in love with Ashtanga yoga. Eventually, she enrolled in and completed both the 200-hour and 300-hour teacher training programs at Octopus Garden. Lisa enjoys teaching fun, vigorous, and grounding classes with an emphasis on sequence and sound. In the context of a busy litigation practice, Lisa relies on yoga to help her remain calm, find balance, be compassionate with difficult people, and breathe. As much as she loves the physical practice of yoga, the best yoga ever has been parenting her two children, now teenagers.

Lisa can be reached at:

David Good

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David is a graduate of the 200-hour, 300-hour, and Restorative Yoga teacher training programs at Octopus Garden. After graduating, David bust out of the gate knowing that sharing his passion for yoga was his calling. He teaches full time in studios throughout Toronto and travels to teach classes/workshops around the world. He particularly enjoys teaching the fundamentals of yoga to beginners and intermediate yogis, bringing a down-to-earth, fun twist to his classes. He is a proud Lululemon Ambassador who shares yoga at many free community events throughout Toronto and NYC.

David can be reached at:

Elizabeth Harvey

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Elizabeth completed the 200-hour and 300-hour programs at Octopus Garden, as well as three teacher trainings in Restorative Yoga. She is now integrating yoga into her university teaching in an undergraduate course that yokes philosophical, poetic, and experiential engagements with yoga. She also takes her continuing study of yoga therapeutics and her training as a psychoanalyst into her private practice in psychosomatic therapies.

Elizabeth can be reached at:

Liz Huntly

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Liz completed 200 hours of teacher training at the Yogaloft in Cologne, Germany, and has been teaching there since 2009. After a brief hiatus in Toronto to complete her 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training at Octopus Garden, she is back at the Yogaloft and working toward an M.A., Culture and Environment in Africa, at the University of Cologne.

Liz can be reached at:

Lisa Mitchell

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Lisa completed her initial teacher training at the Esther Myers Yoga Studio, and took both the 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training and Restorative Yoga training at Octopus Garden. She has taught yoga at a women’s drug treatment centre, currently offers yoga in a hospital setting to people managing anxiety, teaches women in a community centre who have experienced violence, and also teaches yoga classes, workshops, and private yoga at 889 Yonge and the Four Seasons Hotel. Lisa is a mother of two daughters and credits yoga, meditation, and mindfulness with helping her to co-parent and manage the demands of a busy life.

Lisa can be reached at:

Shaheen Sayed

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Shaheen’s passion for yoga was ignited as a new mother living in India under the loving tutelage of Mamta Arora and Prasad Rangnekar. Her initial training and teaching experiences began in Mumbai. Upon returning to Toronto, she joined the Octopus Garden community completing 500 hours of teacher training with loving encouragement from renowned Scott Davis and Pat Hardada Linfoot.

The process of unlearning sparked a desire to introduce yoga to natural yogis – children. She joyfully teaches in the public and private school systems inspiring young yogis to reach for the stars.

Shaheen can be reached at

Andrea J. Sirrs

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After completing the 200-Hour program at Octopus Garden, Andrea J. Sirrs took some time to focus on her own practice and heal her own heart. Later, after finishing the 300-Hour program, she moved to Calgary Alberta, to be closer to her family. She now teaches at Yoga Mandala, The University of Calgary, and numerous corporate classes. She specializes in working with privates and smaller groups in an interactive and playful manner. Andrea has also taken Teaching Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater and is currently completing her Thai Yoga Massage training with Shawne Klassen.

Andrea can be reached at:

Karen Spear

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Karen, a practitioner of yoga for over a decade, received her first training with Moksha in Kerala, India in 2009. Her next step was to integrate twenty-five years of working with older adults in retirement communities through training with individuals such as Monica Voss and Monica Cordes. Karen considers herself fortunate to have learned from inspiring mentors such as Pat Harada Linfoot and Scott Davis during the 300-Hour Advanced Teacher Training at Octopus Garden. Here, Karen learned to make her classes more accessible to those who find coming to the mat a challenge. She remains forever grateful to her daughter and her students, the original seeds of her personal growth.

Karen can be reached at:

Tiago Varella-Cid

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Inspired after completing his 300-Hour teacher training at Octopus Garden, Tiago now strives to teach yoga with an emphasis on alignment, energy flow, and breathing. He is currently studying Traditional Chinese Medicine and seeks to blend TCM with yoga when teaching yoga privates. Tiago offers each client a custom designed routine to optimize health, well being, and harmony.

Tiago can be reached at:

Bryonie Wise

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Bryonie’s teachings are rooted in the belief that when we come from a place of love, anything is possible. She completed the 200-hour, 300-hour, and Restorative Yoga teacher training programs at Octopus Garden, as well as an additional prenatal yoga course. When she’s not editing or writing for Elephant Journal, she can be found on her mat, teaching, at Octopus Garden and Breathe, as well as other places around the city.

Bryonie can be reached at: