Meet Our Teachers
Alex is the owner of Sangha Studio. When she's not in her garden or loving on her new baby, Emilia, you can find her running the shoppe, teaching a Yoga class or giving an Ayurvedic consultation. Her Yoga practice began after struggling with a foot injury which caused her to slow down from a daily running routine. Through Yoga and Ayurveda she learned how to listen to her body's true needs. Alex is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher and a 650-hour Ayurvedic Health Counselor. With her studies of Ayurveda, she works to infuse its science into each class. With Alex's class, you'll feel rejuvenated and restored.
Kari Schlak, RYT500, RPYT has practiced and studied Yoga for a decade and has been teaching for several years. Motivated by motherhood, and the unique stresses, challenges, and sometimes isolation that comes with the pathos of parenting, she pursued her first teacher training with Beth Spindler of Teach to Inspire Yoga education. Through deeper study, Kari dove into a path focused on bringing the amazing benefits of yoga and community to those at any stage of parenting and pregnancy, as well as to children and those who seek a playful approach to deeper the understandings of Yoga.
Cheryl studied Tibetan Buddhist meditation on the Big island of Hawaii at the Nechung Temple in Wood Valley where she lived for 13 years before moving to Springfield. In Springfield, she took her first Yantra Yoga class with llama Lobsang. She also trained in Theraveda Buddhist meditation with Aya Dipa, Tantra Yoga at Teach To inspire with Beth Spindler and most recently Kundalini Yoga with Ana Brett and Ravi Singh.
You can expect Chery's classes to incorporate rhythm and sound by chanting, playing singing bowls and through the use of her symphonic gong.
Jes is an Ozarks native, aerialist, rock climber, and crazy cat lady. She began her Yoga practice in 2012 in her living room after stumbling upon a photo series of Yogis in beautiful poses, and was automatically drawn to the idea of creating art with the body. She decided to enroll in an RYT 200 training focusing on Vinyasa style yoga at Essential Yoga and graduated in 2015. During her training she sustained an injury, limiting her physical practice. During this time she shifted her focus inward to the mental and spiritual aspects of Yoga. Since graduation she has taken multiple workshops focusing on the deeper, slower, practice of Yin yoga. Jes enjoys the quiet solitude that a Yin practice brings and often mixes those elements into her classes.
Dallas is an RYT 500 instructor with a passion for family, dogs, and yoga. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan she experienced a dramatic decline in her health and was diagnosed with three autoimmune diseases after moving to Springfield in 2011. Her physical therapist, a yoga instructor herself, introduced Dallas to the inspiring world of yoga. Following a year of practice she realized how much healthier and happier it made her, especially when it came to making peace with her body. Since chronic illness would be a permanent part of her life, she knew yoga would be as well.
Dallas attended school at Essential Yoga and graduated with her RYT 200 in 2015. Her style emphasizes strength building, flexibility and intense stretching. She focuses on Vinyasa and Yin yoga and completed her RYT 500 certification in July 2017.
My yoga journey is a day to day exploration, a continued chance to better understand myself and my purpose in this world. Since I was young I have been troubled by the seemingly unanswerable questions of, who am I? And why am I here? My restlessness to find the answers to these questions is what eventually led me to the mat. When I first began exploring yoga I was struggling with severe anxiety issues. I will never forget my first in-person, instructor-led class for the simple fact that while I was doing the asana practice, connecting my movements with my breath, I was anxiety free. I was able to think of nothing for that blissful hour but my body, my breath, and the moment I was presently in. This was a life changing experience, and from that moment on my path was made clear.
To me, yoga represents the flow of life and can teach practitioners how to understand and deal with pain, pleasure, success, failure, and all the changes that may come our way. When I practice I lose myself in the best way possible. I feel an unmatched freedom and clarity. When I teach I empty myself so that the creative intelligence of the universe can flow through me to give the students what it is that they need at that moment in their journey. I practice yoga to better myself for the service of others, to rid myself of that which holds me back, and to become acquainted with my true self. I teach yoga so that others may understand who they really are and see what the practice of yoga has to offer them. BKS Iyengar explains this beautifully when he says, “When I practice I am a philosopher, when I teach I am a scientist, and when I demonstrate I am an artist.” For me, yoga gives me the answers that I seek, the peace that is inherently mine, and the chance to assist others as they navigate their path in this life.
Yoga has always been a way to heal and take care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. I am a yoga student of six years, and an RYT-200 teacher for two. As a mom of two young boys my practice is simple. My mat is my place for me time, to take care of my body, to find stillness, and to allow myself rest. With an Iyengar background and formal anatomy and physiology training my emphasis in class is always safety. We will use props to ensure a safe practice for every-body and experience level, and engage in active feedback throughout class so you can get the most from your practice.
Ingrid Benecke, RYT-200, RPYT found yoga as a way to become more comfortable and at home in her own body and mind. In class, she encourages each student to embrace their own unique experience of yoga and individual reason for getting on the mat. Her classes are informed by her Hatha yoga training and refined by her therapeutic Prenatal Yoga immersion. With an emphasis on alignment and safety, she strives to create an accessible space for growth and expansion in students of all levels.
Jennifer moved to Springfield a little over 20 years ago and decided to stay and start a family. After almost 10 years of personal practice she discovered the wonders of Kundalini yoga and meditation in 2014. She was so moved by the Kundalini practice thaat she took the plunge and decided to become a teacher studying under Ravi Singh obtaining her 200-hour certificate. New to the teaching scene she is very excited to share her strong meditative practice with others. Lives by the motto "Breath is life."
I discovered yoga at a time in my life where direction was lacking, at best. Like so many of us, I had become so consumed with the daily grind that I had truly lost focus of myself and my life. I found myself having doubts about my choices and the path I found myself on.
When I found Yoga, all of that changed for me. Yoga allowed me to finally understand and accept who I was. It gave me the fortitude to begin a path of self discovery and realization.
After a few years of practice, I decided to embark on a 200 RYT Program in the hopes of deepening my understanding of this life altering thing I had discovered. I have since continued my yoga education with a 300 Hour RYT, an Ashtanga Certificate, and a Level 1 Yin certificate.
As a six year practitioner, and three year teacher of yoga, I have established a very personal style of teaching. My love for Ashtanga and Yin, give me an eclectic mix of strong vinyasa, accompanied by mild moments of zen. Come and join me. I will happily hold space for you.