Kristin Fiore, E-RYT 500, Director of Down Dog Yoga Center
Kristin is the owner and managing director of Down Dog Yoga Center and is registered through Yoga Alliance at the Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher level, distinguishing herself with significant teaching experience since completing her first teacher certification in 2009. Kristin's 200 hour training with 7 Centers Yoga Arts in Sedona, AZ was a unique month long immersion in the study of Yoga, Ayurveda, and Vedic Astrology and she has since returned to Sedona to further her studies with an Ayurvedic Apprenticeship and a Chakra Yoga Intensive. She has also diversified her practice by studying Vipassana Meditation and completing a 6 month Thai Massage Diploma Program. In 2016, Kristin completed Lotus in the Flame's School of Yoga & Healing Arts year long, comprehensive 300 hour training under the direction of Melissa Spamer, her most beloved teacher. Kristin is currently enrolled in a 300 hour Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Certification Program through the Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI in Brookline, MA.
Kristin's teaching is influenced by her many wonderful teachers including Melissa Spamer, Sraddhasagar (Ruth Hartung), Rama Vernon, Angela Farmer, David Emerson, and life itself. Her yoga classes encourage students to let go of judgment and be fully present in the exploration of body, mind, and spirit. Kristin continues to find joy and connection through her own practice and continued studies and is passionate about sharing Yoga with others. She is committed to Down Dog Yoga Center's mission- connecting people to healthy living, creativity, and community through Yoga and the healing arts- and invites you to join in and explore the center's programs and services.
Cynthia Hoss, LMT, E-RYT 500, AYS
Cynthia is a master bodyworker of 25+ years with specialized training in Therapeutic Massage, Myofascial Release, Integrative Bodywork, and Touch for Health. She also holds certifications in Advanced Kripalu Yoga, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Restorative Yoga, and is an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist trained by the Kripalu School of Ayurveda. Cynthia has been studying and teaching yoga for over 15 years and is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level with Yoga Alliance. She also founded and co-owned Awake and Aware, a yoga and bodywork studio in Kalamazoo from 2004 to 2014, before merging with Down Dog Yoga Center in 2014.
Cynthia's teaching style and bodywork practices focus on taking you to your inner wisdom by opening the flow of energy to enhance health, vitality, and balance. Cynthia's intuition and strong multidisciplinary background in holistic health add a rich flavor to all of her offerings. She is an inspired student of these masterful teachers: Swami Kripalu, Yoganand Michael Carroll, Sarah Powers, Paul Grilley, Angela Farmer, Melissa Spamer and Scott Blossom. Visit Cynthia's website
Kara Aubin, E-RYT 500, C. AYUR, AYS
Kara Aubin is an Ayurvedic Practitioner, ParaYoga teacher, Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist, and Holistic Health Coach with 20 years of experience and training in the sciences of Yoga & Ayurveda. Kara weaves the teachings of Yoga, Ayurveda, and holistic living into her clinical practice, group classes, workshops, and private sessions to share radical wellness with you. Her mission is to guide students toward their bright inherent potential, as well as their right to radical wellness and balance. She finds the practices of Yoga & Ayurveda harness our capacity for self-healing, empower us to do our dharmic work in the world, and help us experience the beauty and bliss that is essential in each of our lives.
Kara completed her Ayurvedic Practitioner certification, with over 1500 hours of training, under Dr. Vasant Lad at the renowned Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. She currently travels to Pune, India annually to continue her studies and support the clinical programs at the Vasanta Institute of Ayurveda. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500-hour level with Yoga Alliance, and has completed the rigorous ParaYoga Level I Certification under Yogarupa Rod Stryker. Kara continues her studies today with Dr. Vasant Lad, Rod Stryker, Sonia Masocco, Amruta Athale, and Pandit Rajmani Tigunait. She is also an Initiate of the Sri Vidya tradition, and an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist trained via the Himalayan Institute. Visit Kara's website
Indira Kate Kalmbach, E-RYT 500
Indira Kate has been practicing yoga since childhood and was first certified to teach in 2004 through the Nosara Yoga Institute under the expert guidance of her teachers Don and Amba Stapleton. She went on to work as faculty with Don and Amba for their Interdisciplinary yoga teacher training programs for many years before founding Pavones Yoga Center for Mindfulness in Costa Rica, where she is the director of all 200-hour and 300-hour yoga teacher trainings. Indira is registered with Yoga Alliance at the distinguished E-RYT-500 level and to date has undertaken thousands of hours in yoga training with Elise Browning Miller (Yoga For Scoliosis), Colleen Gallagher of the Iyengar Tradition, Neurokinetic Therapy, Restorative Yoga Therapeutics with Jillian Pransky, and Bandha Yoga Anatomy with Ray Long, MD, to name a few. She is greatly influenced by her time studying metta meditation with Stephen Cope, open awareness practice with Ram Dass, and contemplative studies through the lens of Zen Buddhism with Roshi Joan Halifax.
Indira brings her background in Philosophy and English Literature and a love for poetry and writing into her classes. Through a seamless weaving of physical alignment, emotional attuning, and a deep understanding of the human psyche, Indira creates inspiring yoga classes that invite students to practice radical self-acceptance and leave class feeling present, grounded, and awakened. She is also passionate about teaching yoga one-on-one yoga and offers private sessions for teenagers and adults with scoliosis using a sequence, based on the Scroth method, for S-curve scoliosis that she developed with professional surfer Leilani McGonagle. Indira is currently residing in Kalamazoo, MI and offers weekly classes, workshops, and private yoga sessions out of Down Dog Yoga Center.
Jeremy Blair, RYT 500
Jeremy has been practicing yoga for ten years. His somatic path began in college and developed in tandem with his dance career in Chicago. He completed his 200-hour teacher training in 2008 at Global Yoga Center in Chicago, under the guidance of Rhonda Kantor and Rita Knorr. Their philosophy, deeply rooted in the sutras, took an interdisciplinary approach to teacher training which Jeremy draws upon to this day.
While in Chicago, Jeremy taught yoga while working as a professional dancer, choreographer and dance instructor. In 2014, he completed an M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Iowa. Between his first and second year of graduate school he traveled to India to meditate, practice, and develop a better understanding of the ancient texts and lead by Krishna, Roshan and Fraaz, he completed his 500 hour certification at Rishikesh Yog Peeth. Jeremy caters his class to the needs of the students and follows the Hatha tradition by fluidly integrating physical and mental yoga practices in a creative, invigorating, yet restorative flow. In addition to teaching yoga in Kalamazoo, he currently teaches yoga philosophy and asana workshops for the Hothouse Yoga teacher training in Iowa City and is on faculty in the Department of Dance at Western Michigan University.
Suzi Batdorff, RYT 500
Suzi is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance, completing her first teacher training with Melissa Spamer here in Kalamazoo in 2008. She has since finished additional training in Yin Yoga with Paul Grilley and a second teacher training in 2012 with Behnje Masson in Anusara Yoga, and a 300 hour program with Melissa Spamer. She has had the pleasure of attending workshops with amazing teachers as John Friend, Desiree Rumbaugh, Moses Brown, Angela Farmer and Victor Van Kooten, Rama Jyoti Vernon, and Kali Ray. Suzi’s lighthearted and easygoing approach is a welcoming light to our fast-paced world.
Christine Peckels, E-RYT 200, RYT 500
Christine began studying yoga in 1999 and completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2008 and her 300 hour training in 2016 under the guidance of Melissa Spamer. Christine is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance. She has taught multiple weekly classes since her accreditation and continues to take workshops and trainings to keep her skills fresh and advance her knowledge. She has worked with cancer and stroke patients and believes that yoga is a great tool to keep us healthy. Her classes offer gentle yet powerful insight into the infinite nuances of the body, mind, and breath with opportunities to explore a personal experience of joyfulness, peace and balance. Christine loves to work with everybody and modifies poses to fit any ability. Visit Christine's website
Kyle Thompson, E-RYT 200
Kyle has been practicing yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2003. He was first introduced to yoga by his mother-in-law and has since been inspired by many teachers from several yoga and Buddhist traditions. He is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level and received his teaching certification from the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. Kyle teaches traditional hatha yoga and incorporates asana, pranayama and centering/meditation into every class. As a licensed professional counselor, he is very interested in the psychological and therapeutic benefits of yoga and believes strongly in the mind-body or mind-heart connection. Kyle teaches yoga and meditation to promote health, wholeness, and personal empowerment and encourages everyone to breathe, relax, feel, watch, allow and experience each moment exactly as it is. He believes that everybody can benefit from yoga and enjoys teaching beginning students and those who do not believe they can "do yoga." Visit Kyle's website
Patricia Plasko, RYT 200
Patricia has been studying yoga since 1999. She is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance at the 200 hour level and completed her teacher training in 2008 under the direction of Melissa Spamer, E-RYT 500, LMT and Founder and Director of Lotus in the Flame, School of Yoga and Healing Arts. She has also studied with Kali Ray, Rama Jyoti Vernon, and Rod Stryker. Bringing into the classroom 30 years of experience observing the body in motion as a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher, Patricia’s classes utilize clear anatomical and technical description, imagery, and the uniting of breath and movement to bring freedom and openness to the body.
Johanna Potter, RYT 200
Johanna began her journey with yoga in 1999. Curious about the physical challenge it provided, she soon became drawn to yoga as a practice that provides connection to Source, acts as a guide, and helps one gain a deeper understanding of self and purpose. In 2007, Johanna began teaching in Indiana where she developed a yoga ministry program. An interest in anatomy and hands on connection also led her to study Thai Bodywork. She returned to Kalamazoo in 2010 and completed her 200 hour yoga certification under the guidance of Karina Mirsky.
The path of yoga has seen Johanna through a variety of stages in her own life, including motherhood, and fuels her passion to teach and celebrate all of life’s seasons. After taking a short break from teaching as she settled into motherhood, she is honored to return to the teacher role and share her experience with new mothers and those with growing families.
Erin Tonda, RYT 200
Erin began her yoga journey in 2008. Initially using yoga as a form of physical exercise and stress relief from her busy life as an attorney, she dedicated herself to a consistent yoga and meditation practice and began to experience the concepts of self-love, acceptance, and awareness firsthand. This experience aided her decision to leave the practice of law and devote herself full-time to the study and practice of yoga. Erin completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Michele Fife of Seva Yoga in April of 2014. She loves to make yoga accessible for everyone and inspires her students to have compassion for themselves both on and off the mat. Visit Erin's website
Dr. Kate Antoniotti, DC, RYT
Kate is passionate about holistic and preventative healthcare. She has a degree in Exercise Science & Kinesiology from Miami University and a Doctor of Chiropractic from Logan College of Chiropractic. During her college years, she discovered her love of yoga and completed her 200 hour yoga certification from Yoga Source in St. Louis in 2011. Drawing from her background in chiropractic, yoga, nutrition, pediatrics and women’s health, her practice is tailored to specifically address the needs of Moms. Her classes integrate functional movements to build strength and balance with support, connection, and community. Kate also enjoys spending time with her family and considers herself a student of life.
Aubrey Butts, RYT 500
At the age of 12, Aubrey began a dedicated exploration of yoga as a way to attune to her body and develop a more compassionate relationship with herself and the world. Throughout the fluctuations of adolescence, her yoga mat became a saving grace. At the age of 21, Aubrey completed her 200 hour and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings through the well-known, Yoga Alliance certified program at Kripalu. Using a nurturing and humorous approach, Aubrey loves to share yoga, especially with those who may not normally find themselves in a yoga studio for a multitude of reasons. Her fun and uplifting classes help students connect to the breath, develop more awareness in the body, and experience peace of mind.
Elli Baartman, RYT 500
Elli first experienced yoga at the University of Wisconsin. Enjoying reduced stress and anxiety, and empowered by the strength she was discovering on her mat, Elli continued to study yoga and completed her 200hr teacher training in 2016 under the guidance of Carolyn Freeman and Katie Moskalik. After teaching Hot Yoga for a few years, Elli felt it was time to dive deeper. She graduated in 2018 from a 300hr teacher training with Jonny Kest, whose unique style of Vinyasa, rooted in the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, is the greatest influence on her teaching. Elli believes when each person is guided toward their breath in a thoughtful and energizing way, everyone can find and live their infinite potential. When she isn't teaching or practicing yoga, Elli loves to read, spend time outside with her husband Jack and dog Lucie, and cook vegan meals.
Jen Claus, RYT, MA, LPC
Jen earned her Bachelor’s of Science with a Major in Family Studies from Central Michigan University and her Master’s in Counseling from Spring Arbor University. She began her exploration of the deeper realms of humanity when she moved to Song of the Morning, a yoga retreat center in northern Michigan. There she learned the practice of meditation, the healing benefits of food, and was introduced to a variety of healing modalities. In addition to her work as a full time counselor, Jen is also a certified yoga instructor and completed her 300 hour training with Melissa Spamer in 2016. She devotes extensive time to continuing education and is currently working on her advanced yoga teacher training. Her work, both in yoga and counseling, seeks to unite mind, body, and spirit and bring awareness to the present moment where healing truly begins.
Jaime Gram, RYT 200
Jaime began practicing in 2006 and quickly developed a love for the vinyasa style of yoga. She completed her 200 hour teacher training in February of 2016 and continues to evolve her practice and teaching with further study and reflection; she is currently studying with Melissa French. Jaime's fluid teaching style allows students to explore their strength with a sense of simplicity and ease. Off the mat, Jaime loves to spend time with her husband and children, soak up the sunshine in the great outdoors, and read books. She enjoys connecting with people and is excited to be a part of the Down Dog community.
Mia graduated from Oakland University with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition, Health and Psychology. She began her career in the wellness industry in 2015 as a certified YogaFit instructor, group fitness instructor, spin instructor, and personal trainer. She is currently continuing her yoga studies in a 200 hour program with Eric Paskel and Rina Jakubowicz at Electric Soul Yoga in Studio City, California. Mia believes in a holistic approach to wellness and is passionate about assisting others in finding effective ways to reduce stress and take control of their health . She creates space in her classes for both physical and emotional support and inspires students to find their inner strength and leave each practice feeling motivated and at peace.
Stephanie Wiley, RYT 200
Stephanie began practicing yoga as a teenager, first learning out of a book and developing a home practice of movement and meditation. Because of the joy and steadiness this practice brought her, Stephanie decided to pursue additional studies and in 2017-2018 completed the 200 hour RYT program at PeaceLab Yoga in Grand Rapids. This gave her a chance to learn and focus on an alignment-based Hatha yoga system. Since then, Stephanie has been teaching a yoga practice that combines physical alignment with emotional wellness. Stephanie is also our Office Manager at Down Dog Yoga Center.
Matu became certified through the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi and is a certified Meridians 12 Qigong teacher (Chi Gung is like the parent of Tai Chi). A student of martial and meditative arts since 2000, after several years of traditional self-defense training and a whole lot of bumps and bruises along the way, he decided to pursue the longevity aspects of the arts such as Tai Chi and Qigong which retain the practical uses but focus on health and restoration. Matu has studied several styles of Qigong and Tai Chi including Yang style, Daoist, Tai Chi Chuan and Tai Chi Jeung (Cloudy Hands) and is excited to share his experience and love of these ancient practices.
Our Helpful Front Desk Staff:
Steph Wiley (Office Manager), Kimberly Hutchinson, Sydney Kruggel, Alyssa Dunn, Aubrey Butts, Gina DeGraaf, and Carrie Phillips