Our Teachers

" When you're inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations; your consciousness expands in every direction; and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive and you discover yourself to be a greater person than you ever believed yourself to be." -Pantajali,

 

Nerissa%C2%A9NSparkman-5313.jpg
 

Nerissa Sparkman

I’m a little bit gypsy, a little bit hippie, and a little bit rebel. For the past twenty years you could usually find me with a camera in one hand, my passport in the other and yoga mat strapped to my back. In fact I never intended to be a yoga teacher and I definitely didn’t plan on founding a yoga studio. I first got into yoga in my late teens/early twenties. I suffered from insomnia and for whatever reason was drawn to Eastern Philosophy. The books I read late into the night kept referring to yoga and meditation, and I thought, “So where do I get some of that?” And so my yoga journey began.

I’ve practiced all over the world, with a ton of different and wonderful teachers, for many years. I’ve played with a number of styles and explored everything from Iyengar to Mysore, but Skanda Yoga is my yoga tribe and Anand KF von Roenn III and his partner Sadhana are my teachers. Yoga has changed my life.  I am lucky and fortunate to be able to share my love for yoga with others. I never planned on being a yoga teacher, but I'm really am thankful that I am. Come practice with me. Come play. There is a very good chance that we will do things that you’ve never done before, that you’ll feel pushed and possibly even uncomfortable, but you’ll leave feeling empowered and stronger and lighter in both body and spirit. Skanda isn’t for everyone, and I don’t expect it to be. Some people love arm balances and inversion and handstands, and if you’re one of those people, YOU WILL LOVE SKANDA. Iyengar once said, “Yoga releases the creative potential of life. The light that yoga sheds on life is something special. It is transformative. It does not just change the way we see things. It transforms the person who sees.”


EmilyHeadshot.jpg

Emily Stalmack

Emily has been studying and practicing yoga since ending her career as a diver at the University of Louisville over three years ago. She immediately fell in love with the practice because of it's non-competitive atmosphere, especially when she learned she could truly just be on her mat, with no one watching and judging her for once! She decided to take her practice to the next level and complete her first 200hr training with Breath for Change when she learned their training was designed specifically for schoolteachers (her day job). After a two week intensive in Austin, she began integrating mindfulness into her daily practice and classroom. Eventually, she decided to complete a second 200hr training with Tiny Buddha Yoga in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, she studied Ashtanga and Vinyasa, learning to incorporate "flow on your own" time into her classes: a chance for students to explore the connection between breath and movement in a moving meditation. Emily strives to create a safe space for students to "work into” their bodies, try new alignment and postures, and to play with new edges, both on and off the mat.


LeeSchardein%25C2%25A9NSparkman-5643.jpg

Lee Schardein

Lee first discovered yoga in 2005 while completing her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Dance at Indiana University, Bloomington. After being in a serious car accident in September 2011, Lee’s yoga practice began to deepen as she practiced Bikram yoga for two years, as a way to combat back/neck pain and anxiety. Her passion for yoga increased even more when she started to study Vinyasa Flow. Through Vinyasa Flow, Lee discovered a way to pair breath and movement into a dancing, moving meditation. Lee completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Yogaia in Fall 2015. Lee loves being a student and has studied many styles of yoga including: yin, Kundalini, restorative, Bikram, Skanda and power vinyasa. Lee is a licensed professional clinical counselor working in the community mental health field with children and adolescents. Yoga and meditation have become Lee’s primary source of self-care, and she encourages her students to find a consistent practice to combat stressors and improve their overall well being. She also encourages students to take the lessons from the mat and into into their daily lives. Lee is the proud mama of two pugs and a cat.


MeghanB6.19%C2%A9NSparkman-2.jpg

Meghan Bektasevic

Meghan's journey began 10 years ago at home pulling inspiration from a strong background in dance. Authentic movement was a way to release, and silent reflection grew roots from within the soul.

In 2017, Meghan began the transformational yoga journey and completed her 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher Training. While offering yoga classes and workshops, Meghan remains a student by consistently studying the practice. She is currently training with Asheville Yoga School working towards her 500-hour Yoga Teacher Certification.

She believes in kindness and compassion, and strives to help ALL humans to explore the body, mind, and soul.


RachelV6.19%C2%A9NSparkman-32.jpg

Rachel VerValin

Rachel is a yoga teacher and energy healer from Ithaca, New York. She has lived all over the country and decided to call Louisville home in May 2019. She has taught yoga for eight years and has conducted many national and international retreats, yoga teacher trainings, and workshops.

A lifelong athlete, Rachel originally came to the mat in 2002 because it was an incredible workout. In 2009, her practice became more intentional as yoga helped her through personal crises. She began to practice every day and was amazed at the results. She developed a new-found love for herself, clarity around her relationship, and calmed her anxiety. As her mind began to shift, Rachel was inspired to share the gift of yoga with others.

In January 2011, she moved to Brooklyn, NY where she received her 200-hour certification from Yoga People. Rachel furthered her studies at Integral Yoga Institute in New York City and received her 85hr Prenatal Yoga certification in May 2013. With the inspiration and support of her community, she created Heart Thread Yoga in May 2014.

Rachel has practiced with Anusara, Jivamukti, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Svaroopa, Restorative, Yin, and Vinyasa teachers all over the country. After practicing many different styles with many different teachers, she loves being able to blend all of the class styles together, creating the perfect mix for whoever is in her class that day

Rachel seeks to create a nurturing environment where students can learn and practice in a caring and accessible way. Her classes are often filled with funny quips, laughter, hard work, and great music. She aims to create a space where EVERYONE can feel comfortable and empowered through connection.


Amberly©NSparkman-2-32.jpg

Amberly Fox

Amberly has studied and practiced yoga for many years but decided to transition into teaching in 2012. She has completed studies in Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Kundalini, Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga, and Reiki. She trained in Yin yoga with Bernie Clark in Vancouver, BC and went on to complete her 300hr training there at Semperviva Yoga School. Her teaching style incorporates the gentle and nurturing aspects of Hatha and Reiki healing as well as strong breath work to build internal heat and help bring balance back to the body. She creates a calm, safe space for students to flow deeper and more thoughtfully, incorporating proper alignment and breath in creative ways for a stronger, more balanced practice. She resides in Crescent Hill with her significant other and a menagerie of cats and dogs.


KCYoga10.18©NSparkman-10-2.jpg

KC Coninx

KC has treated people suffering with pain and movement dysfunctions with her doctor of physical therapy degree since 2011. She began consistently practicing a variety of styles of yoga after a hip injury in 2007 and found beauty and effectiveness in combining physical therapy and yoga for her own rehabilitation. In 2017, she wanted to better learn how to use yoga in the healthcare field and decided to pursue her certification through the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute. This education opened her eyes to the value of all the limbs of yoga and how they effect our nervous system, gastrointestinal system, memory, respiratory and cardiovascular systems, as well as our strength, flexibility and postural control. Her goal through teaching classes is to dive a little deeper into the full spectrum of yoga with her students, in order that they may learn more about their own unique body and circumstances and develop the knowledge and capacity to heal and thrive in our community.


ErinClark6.19%25C2%25A9NSparkman-31.jpg

Erin Clark

Erin started her yoga journey with Nerissa a little over 5 years ago. Initially she came to help relieve pain in her shoulder and hip, and to help her deal with the stress from unsuccessful fertility treatments. After her first class, she says, "I left feeling like my whole body was vibrating. So I went back, and then I kept going back." Very shortly after starting she had a regular practice of 3-4 days a week. But after several months she underwent another fertility treatment, that ultimately didn't work. Devastated and depressed she left her practice for 8 months. During that time she adopted a daughter, but soon again the stresses of life drove her back to her practice. She jumped right back in and was practicing 5 days a week, sometimes more if she could squeeze it in. Her practice was her therapy, her release, and her daily mental break. After engaging in a dedicated Skanda practice for over a year focusing, on her body and where she tends to hold stress she tried two more rounds of IVF. The second round took. She continued her 5 day a week practice through her entire pregnancy and now has a healthy little boy. But after giving birth, she found it difficult to get back to classes. That's what inspired Erin's Baby and Me class. Always inspired to help others on similar paths she is a beacon of light. Erin believes strongly in the power of yoga and that it can help others as it helped her.


Becky8.19%C2%A9NSparkman-10.jpg

Rebecca Burnett

Rebecca began yoga in the late 90's and completed her teacher training with 502 Power Yoga in 2015. Super open about her recovery, because it is the essential element in her life on which everything else rests. During my teacher training my mentor introduced me to Nikki Meyers founder of Y12SR, and the rest is history. She has opened her life to helping others, that are struggling down the same path. This October Rebecca will celebrate 10 years of sobriety. It was only by developing new ways to help deal with life’s chaos that she has been able to accomplish such an amazing goal, and yoga is a daily part of that. Like she says, “Yoga is the place where I go to feel clear, to get my head right and to check in with myself and what is important to me. Yoga gives me the head change I need to cope with my mental disease of addiction.”Rebecca Burnett began yoga in the late 90's and completed her teacher training with 502 Power Yoga in 2015. Rebecca is super open about her recovery, because it is the essential element in her life on which everything else rests. During her teacher training her mentor introduced her to Nikki Meyers founder of Y12SR, and the rest is history. Since 2015 she has opened her life to helping others that are struggling down the same path of addiction that once upon a time defined her own life. This October Rebecca will celebrate 10 years of sobriety. It was only by developing new ways to help deal with life’s chaos that she has been able to accomplish such an amazing goal, and yoga is a daily part of that. Like she says, “ Yoga is the place where I go to feel clear, to get my head right and to check in with myself and what is important to me. Yoga gives me the head change I need to cope with my mental dis-ease of addiction.”