JOANNA CHIPI
Owner of Zen Den Yoga

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Jo was first introduced to yoga after suffering many physical injuries from being a successful, high level gymnast. At the age of 12, her lumbar spine fractured meaning her gymnastics career came to a screeching halt. With a loss of identity, she was eager to find something that could supplement the discipline, awareness, strength and flexibility that the gymnast lifestyle once offered. Jo was hooked after her first yoga practice. For the years to follow, she sustained a consistent Bikram and Vinyasa Yoga practice, only to realize that there was much more to yoga than the heat, sweat, and physicality. Once the transformative magic of yoga surfaced, she knew it was something she had to share with others. Jo has been teaching around the seacoast for over 6 years now and offers an accessible class that's balanced between movement and stillness; challenge and rest; body and breath. With a belief in love, karma, abundance, and community she encourages others to "take that leap" towards one's dreams and desires. Trusting in the process has proven to be most pivotal in her life thus far. Jo leads many intensive style classes that make challenging "advanced" poses easily accessible to everybody.

MANDY DESRUISSEAUX

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Mandy is a Zen Den OG teacher; she has been with us since day 1. Mandy started practicing yoga to help with stress and anxiety, also to stay active and fit. She quickly found relief from those things and felt stronger every time she practiced. She quickly began to see her life changing due to the practice; she had more patience, more presence, she became more aware of how stress and other things affected her body and felt more grateful. She felt that everyone is in need of more of these things and quickly decided she wanted to share the magic yoga with everyone.

 

HOLLY PELLETIER

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Holly was first introduced to yoga during her undergraduate studies when some of the girls on her soccer team encouraged her to check out some free classes. She still remembers that first class like it was yesterday and recalls feeling like the least flexible and weakest person in the room. Even though the first class was intimidating, to say the least, Holly stuck with it and quickly developed an ongoing passion and drive to practice more and more. Having an active mind, it was the first time she was actually able to slow it down; yoga gave her a sense of stillness she could not find anywhere else.

It was about 10 years after that first class that Holly took the plunge and decided to study Chinese medicine and acupuncture. After spending years in acupuncture clinics observing people’s tendencies, their complaints, their pain-  she found an entirely other level of depth that she wanted to bring to her yoga classes. She wanted to guide people to feel better longer, more grounded, and more capable off their mats. She began combining acupuncture theory, points, meridians, and adjunctive techniques in her yoga classes, and her classes seemed to come alive. The two go together seamlessly and add so much to the practice.

Holly is extremely passionate about what she does, and feels that being an “acupuncturist by day” allows her to deeply know the intricacies of the body. She guides people to open up mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually through careful and well thought out sequences. She incorporates seasonal change and other Chinese medicine principles that strengthens the body’s natural health and strength. It is not uncommon for Holly to use essential oils on key acupuncture points during class, or to give her students a little acupressure during savasana.

 

NIKI FLOROS

Niki first explored yoga as a transition from competitive figure skating. She spent eight months immersed in intentional community as a seva volunteer at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. This experience was a strong foundation and inspiration for diving deeper into yogic practice and philosophy, and she completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2013. Niki travelled to southern India to earn her 500 hour certification through Sacred Lasya. Niki trained in restorative yoga with Erin Elhers, and most recently studied yin yoga and meditation with Sagel Urlacher. Niki shares her passion for mindful movement throughout the NH and ME seacoast and international yoga retreats. She too is a Zen Den OG; she has been with us since day 1. Treat yourself to her relaxing classes.

 

LIANA GRIEG

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Physical motivations bring many of us to the practice yoga, but our reasons to pursue the path are abundant. Liana is originally from Maine, but globe trotting became her tireless passion since youth. Yoga fits the lifestyle to ground while constantly moving. If you want to chat about international yoga culture, she's your girl.

As a lifelong competitive athlete and a NYC finance gal, it was only a matter of time before Yoga became more than a physical and mental outlet. Liana realized that the deep benefits of yoga reveal themselves when your least favorite poses become the ones you love, the postures that used to leave you exasperated now give way to moments of suspended space and healing. 

Transitioning from a high-speed life in the Big Apple meant checking out from the traditional career oriented life and heading towards a more heartfelt lifestyle. Liana discovered the Kula Collective at the Yoga Forest in Guatemala, later she completed 200 hour YTT in Costa Rica under the guidance of Jiya Randall and Mindy Batson. Training included permaculture, plant medicine, Thai massage, Ayurveda, expression, detox counseling and meditation.

Music plays a big role in the personal expression of Yoga for Liana thus you can expect funky playlists. She enjoys including different genres to motivate and inspire Yogis to move their bodies in a natural and playful way, embodying the true essence of yoga; union of body, spirit and mind. 

 

Amanda kovalcheck

Amanda first discovered yoga when a new studio opened a block down the road from her college apartment. Struggling to figure out her identity in the world she decided to see what the yoga hype was all about, and that was one of the best decisions she ever made. Quickly turning to yoga as a way to escape from chaos, Amanda became a dedicated Vinyasa practitioner where she began to cultivate strength, confidence, patience, and a sense of belonging. It still amazes her how much there is to learn, grow and discover within the practice of yoga; there is never a finish line, and that is what makes her keep wanting more. It is with that passion of growth and exploration of your own body and mind that inspires Amanda to teach others to find their own path to the practice.


Amy Ferreira

Amy came to yoga in 2009 in an effort to stay active, increase flexibility and build strength. Yoga quickly revealed that the study had much more to offer than just the physical asanas. As Amy grew as a practitioner she noticed the shift in her study, becoming more mindful and reflective. Yoga offered a way to slow down and find presence in a culture that values constantly being busy. Her practice brings her balance, a calmer mind, and more gratitude in her daily life. In recent years, Amy has been practicing Iyengar style yoga in addition to her Hatha study. This has brought her a renewed sense of discipline and attention to safe alignment and mindful movement. Amy considered teacher training to deepen her study for a few years. When she met Jo and the Zen Den community she knew it was the right place and time to finally take that leap. Amy studied under Jo, completing her 200 hour teacher training in June 2019. Although her original intent for enrolling was to focus on her own study she quickly felt drawn to teach and share her practice with others. No matter what brings you to yoga, Amy will guide you to see all that yoga has to offer and will help you deepen your appreciation for the life long study of connecting mind, body, and spirit


Caroline alaimo

Caroline discovered yoga and the Zen Den a few years ago, after moving back to her hometown on the Seacoast. Growing up a competitive dancer, constant back injuries resulted in the end of her dancing career. Caroline decided to take up yoga as a physical practice, hoping it would be a transition from her dance background. She quickly realized that yoga was not only a physical practice. The emotional healing, and ability to relieve daily stress captivated Caroline from the start. She instantly connected with the practice and philosophies that the Zen Den has to offer; that yoga heals. Our bodies and minds store stale energy and blockages. Through yoga, that blocked energy is brought to the surface to be released through pranayama and asanas, creating room for light to fill those spaces. Caroline completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Joanna Chipi, founder and owner of the Zen Den. Having a degree in counseling, Caroline's personal and professional life is centered around healing; through the mind, body and spirit. Yoga is a life-long learning and healing practice. Caroline's thirst for knowledge means her classes are constantly evolving based on her exposure to new teachings and workshops that she immerses herself in. Each person will have a unique experience when they come to Caroline's classes, because she believes that yoga offers something different to each person. Her practice and classes are centered around intention setting, the charka system, pranayama work; all while in her collective vinyasa style classes which are accessible to all levels