Board of Directors
Audrey Brooks has loved yoga since since first discovering Lilias Folan on PBS way way back. She received her 200 Hour yoga teacher certification from YogaWorks and is a graduate of the Yoga and Jewish Spirituality Teacher Training Program.
In her work as the Senior Communications and Development Associate for The Mental Health Association of Westchester, she helped create Get On Your Mat for Mental Health, the annual mega-yoga event held outdoors on Court Street in White Plains on the summer solstice.
She is honored to work on behalf of the Board of the YTA and grateful to all who have given so much over these many years to build and grow YTA into the rich resource it is today for all students of yoga.
Steven Cownie is YTA's technical wizard and friend of the organization, supporting YTA by keeping the financials straight and the workshop participants organized. He does all of this out of the goodness of his very big heart!
Lorraine Burton took her first yoga class about 20 years ago through the Croton-on-Hudson Rec Department and loved it. She's been interested in yoga since then and began practicing regularly in 2012. She was very happy to find the Yoga Teachers Association as a way to enhance her yoga practice, knowledge, and connections. She is pleased to serve as communications and marketing chair in support of the YTA's goals and mission. Lorraine is also a managing editor in the book publishing industry.
Susan Edwards Colson began practicing yoga during law school in the 1970s. She learned-as beginners do-that yoga is about the relationship between body, mind and spirit. But it took a dedicated practice to teach her about its deep rewards, about how it creates comfort, space and release. Several years ago she carved time out from her Wills, Trusts and Estates practice for teacher training with Yogaworks. This intense period of yoga focus grounded her in practice once again and reminded her of the joy of group practice and teaching. She leads a (very dedicated) yoga group on Monday nights and facilitates a daily telesangha (a virtual meditation practice) based in Washington, DC. Susan is currently in the 500-hour training at Kripalu.
Paula Heitzner, R.Y.T. has, during the past 35 years, trained others to teach the time-honored principles, practices and philosophy of yoga. She currently provides a Yoga Teacher Training and Certification Program through the New Age Center in Nyack, N.Y. and is recognized for the 200-hour training by Yoga Alliance.
Paula is a certified advanced Kripalu Yoga teacher and is skilled in Iyengar, Siddha, Integral, Kundalini, Sivananda, Bikram and Ashtanga Yoga. She has studied, in-depth, western mind/body modalities including Reichian work, Alexander Technique, Ido-Kenesis, Polarity, Bio-Energetics and Continuum. Her classes are a synergy of East and West. In addition to teaching yoga, Paula has taught dance for more than 50 years and developed a Fitness Dance Program based on jazz that is as unique and original as her yoga classes and presentations. She still dances and choreographs.
Robin Laufer, M.S. Ed, RYT 500 is a professional level Kripalu Yoga Teacher. She completed the 200 hour teacher training program with Paula Heitzner. She has studied Mind/Body Integration and the Chakras with Anodea Judith, Energy Medicine in Donna Eden's Program and Shamanism with Ray Crist. She uses an eclectic mix of hatha yoga styles, energy awareness and humor to help her students achieve self awareness ease and joy.
Robin has been a yoga practitioner of yoga for the past 20 years and has been teaching at the New Age Center and the YMCA, in Nyack, N.Y. since 2000. Robin is also an Education Coordinator for the Head Start Program in Westchester County. She brings her passion and joy of yoga into all aspects of her being.
Lisa Sloane, M.A., R.Y.T. began her yoga teaching journey in 2004 when she taught a few yoga classes when the teacher was unavailable. She fell in love with teaching and went on to train with Tao Porchon Lynch at the Westchester Yoga Institute in Hartsdale, New York. Sloane received her 200-hour certification in 2005 and has been teaching ever since. Her training draws from several styles of yoga including Iyengar, Vinyasa, Viniyoga, Meridian-based yoga and Yin Yoga. Ever a student, she continues to amplify her yoga teacher training with workshops and ongoing study. Sloane is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. An artist and graphic designer by profession, she contributes her graphic skills to the design and layout of the monthly YTA newsletter.
Terry Fiore Lavery, RYT, is a certified yoga teacher through the New Age Center in Nyack with Paula Heitzner. In addition, she has a 200-hour certification in Kundalini yoga from Kundalini Yoga East in Manhattan. She is interested in many styles of yoga and enjoys exposing her students to all that she has learned. Terry has been teaching yoga in various locations throughout Rockland County since 2003. Other certifications she has obtained are in Integrated Energy Therapy and Pilates, as well as in senior fitness from the SilverSneakers Fitness Program and in water aerobics from the Aquatic Exercise Association. She also teaches English as a Second Language at Westchester Community College and is a medical editor. Terry is grateful for all that she has learned from her many teachers, including the Yoga Teachers Association and her students.
Yoga Teacher Triad Director
Gina Callender, E-RYT 200, RYT 500 and CEP, has been practicing yoga over the past 15 years, and completed the YogaWorks 200 hour teacher training in Westchester in March 2013. She has a 1st degree level Reiki Certification in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition and is looking to progress further in those studies. In 2014, Gina started her 500 hour OM yoga teacher training (YTT) with Cyndi Lee and recently completed that training in June 2015. This training included OM Meditation YTT levels 1 & 2, Pranayama YTT and Restorative YTT modules, as well as any additional 18 hours in anatomy with Jason Ray Brown. In February 2015, Gina completed 30 hours of Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Corina Benner. She is always looking to learn and is constantly taking workshops to better understand the practice and share what she learns with her students.
To Gina, yoga is a transformative philosophy that goes beyond asanas, or poses, that the Western world associates with “yoga”. Yoga teaches us to slow down, be more conscious of our bodies and the world around us and can have huge physical and mental benefits when practices regularly. Some of these benefits include: lower blood pressure, more relaxed, greater flexibility and balance. Gina puts a heavy emphasis on the importance and benefits of Savasana, Yin and Restorative Yoga as a way to relax the parasympathetic nervous system.
Tao Porchon-Lynch, E-RYT, IAYT Member is one of the original organizers of the YTA, Tao served as president and has, for the last 29 years, been its Program Director. She founded the Westchester Institute of Yoga in 1982 and has trained and certified more than 200 teachers. Taos remarkable teaching style reflects the many great masters such as BKS Iyengar, Mataji Indra Devi and many others with whom she has studied. In 1968, Tao studied with BKS Iyengar in Bombay as well as in Poona, Mysore and Pondicherry. She has been a member of the Ramakrishna Vivekenanda Center in India since 1939 and was a disciple of Swami Prabhavanda from 1952 until his death in 1999. Remarkably, Tao marched for peace with Mahatma Gandhi and has taught yoga in France, India, California and the East for the past 35 years.