Teachers

Lisa Alexander Lisa is the director and founder of Soluna Yoga Studio, who brings many years of experience as an educator to Soluna.  She has been a practitioner of yoga and a teacher combined for over twenty years.  Her passion for teaching and learning has motivated her towards the art of teaching yoga as well as continuing the path of yoga education to better serve her community.  Lisa holds a Master’s degree in Education and received her 200 hour certification from Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She is an Experienced Registered Yoga Alliance teacher and opened Soluna Yoga School in 2013.  She has studied with David Swenson, Shiva Rea, Todd Norian, Seane Corn, Suzie Hurley and Sarah Powers.  She received her certification in Yin Yoga from Paul and Suzee Grilley in 2009.  Lisa also attended Breathing Deeply Yoga Therapy School and is a Certified Yoga Therapist through the Breathing Deeply program. She finds this work extremely rewarding as she helps individuals with their pain and suffering. She enjoys learning as much as teaching and continues to study so she can bring a higher level of knowledge of yoga to all her students and clients. Melissa Bartlett A graduate of Colgate University with a B.A. in Psychology, Melissa worked for 19 years as a Human Resources Manager. After leaving the corporate world and while raising her two children, she began studying yoga with Lisa Alexander at Soluna Yoga Studio in 2006. Through the ups and downs of life, her yoga practice has helped her and given her strength and joy. She was inspired to share the benefits of yoga with others and in 2013 studied with Jennifer Yarro to obtain her 200 hr teacher training certification at Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams, Massachusetts. She received certification in both Hatha and Vinyasa styles of yoga. Melissa is always looking for opportunities to learn more about yoga and will be attending a week-long training at Kripalu in January 2016 on “Yoga for Athletes” with Sage Roundtree. Sarah Cole RYT-200 Sarah is a New Media Manager at the Creative Advantage in Schenectady, NY. She has a wide range of responsibilities, all revolving around CA’s core of Event Services and New Media production. She has been involved in all of their live-event productions since starting with CA in 1995, from the graphic communications industry. In addition to managing CA’s project teams and event activities, Sarah has traveled worldwide producing presentations and programs for some of the world’s largest corporations. Sarah holds a degree in advertising design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Sarah is an RYT 200, having completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training through Lotus Gardens Yoga, LLC at Soluna Yoga in 2009. She is also certified through Growing Lotus Kids to teach yoga to children ages 2-10. She is enjoying teaching the basics of yoga to people of all ages who are new students, or the student who wants to build upon the foundation of the basics.  Laurie Galish, B.S., RYT Two years after graduating from St. John Fisher College with a degree in Human Resource Management, Laurie joined her sister, Diana Galish-Frasier, D.C., in opening Niskayuna Life Chiropractic. They will soon celebrate almost 30 years of bringing health and wellness to their community. In these 30 years, Laurie has learned much about the human body, and its amazing ability to heal itself and be well. She has seen that health and wellness are truly one of life’s greatest assets. Laurie began practicing Yoga 15 years ago in Albany, N.Y. Having been an athlete all her life, Laurie recognizes that exercise and movement are key factors in wellness, along with proper nutrition, a healthy nervous system, and a positive outlook on life. Yoga not only enhances a healthy lifestyle, but promotes a positive attitude and instills a feeling of peace and contentment that can transfer to daily living off the yoga mat as well. Laurie is an RYT 200, having completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training through Lotus Gardens Yoga, LLC at Soluna Yoga in 2009. She is also certified through Growing Lotus Kids to teach yoga to children ages 2-10. Laurie is a certified SUP (Standup Paddle Board) Yoga teacher, owning her own business, PeaceSUP Yoga. She is also a Level III Reiki practitioner with her own private practice, Sweet Reiki. Inspired daily by her forearm tattoo which reads “Ancora Imparo” (I Am Still Learning), she approaches life as a continual learning experience, and regards each experience as an opportunity to grow. Sarah Manzi Sarah joins us from RI with 9 years of teaching experience and over 15 years of dance training. She found Yoga while studying Psychology in college and has been deeply committed since.  Practicing and teaching has always been a natural fit for her.  She completed her 200 hour Vinyasa and Hatha certification in 2009 at Frog Lotus Yoga in North Adams, MA under Jennifer Yarro and she has an additional 100hrs+ of training in the (former) Anusara Yoga tradition under Sara Davidson Flanders.  Sarah also teaches Barre and Meditation classes.  She is certified in Balancepointe Barre Method levels 1 & 2, Reiki 1, and holds a BA degree in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island. When she is not teaching or practicing, she is selling vintage jewelry and resale items online.  She is excited to share her knowledge, passion and creativity with the Soluna Yoga community. Helen McCarthy, Ph.D. E-RYT200, RYT500. Helen has been a yoga practitioner since the 1970’s. She is a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher and a certified Integrative Yoga Therapy teacher. She studies with Judith Lasater and is certified to teach Relax and Renew® Restorative Yoga. Helen has been teaching yoga for over 20 years. In addition to teaching yoga Helen also is a Tai Chi practitioner and teacher. She is certified to teach several of Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health programs including Tai Chi for Arthritis, Tai Chi for Energy, and Tai Chi for Balance and Fall Prevention. Helen has a Ph.D. in the nutritional sciences and is a chemist by training. Before retiring she taught for over 20 years at the high school and university levels, spent several years in the Peace Corps and worked in an analytical laboratory. Helen believes that yoga is both a multidimensional and transformative art and science. Her teaching philosophy is to provide participants the opportunity to experience yoga as an integrated system that uses asana poses as a place to begin the process of self awareness and discovery. To this end her classes include other techniques for delving deeper into the transformative process. These methods include, but are not limited to, breath work, meditation, visualizations, affirmations, mudras, and mantras. Jude Pagano Jude began her professional career as an English teacher and later worked in government relations in the cable television industry before taking time to raise her three children. She completed her yoga training through the Soluna Yoga School. Life has brought her full circle, as she has rediscovered her passion for teaching – this time as a yoga teacher.  Jude brings her training and experience as an educator to the practice of yoga.  Having discovered yoga later in life, she is sensitive to the challenges that yoga can present for new students and strives to make yoga accessible to young and old alike.   Jude’s classes feature slow, deliberate stretches; fluid, dynamic breath connected movement as well as an emphasis on balance, mental focus and overall strength. She endeavors to design classes that leave the students feeling stronger, more limber, and more relaxed than when they entered the studio.  Jude has been practicing yoga for ten years and remains committed to expanding her knowledge and experience and has completed a week-long training “Yoga for Athletes” at Kirpalu. Joanne Pisarski Joanne began her yoga journey nine years ago. When first starting out she was asked “how long this yoga thing was going to last”. She has come to realize the impact of yoga will last a life time. Joanne completed her 200 hour yoga training in 2009 through Lotus Gardens Yoga. She teaches with a fun-loving, gentle spirit and with gratitude for her students and their commitment. Joanne sees yoga as a gift to herself that she is grateful to share with others. Marcus Rogers Marcus is Assistant Director of The Dance Program at Union College, where he also serves as a professor of dance. Growing up, Marcus studied in New York City on a full scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet School, Studio Maestro, and Peridance Center. Some of his professional credits include the national tour of Sesame Street Live, the national tour of Bear in the Big Blue House Live, touring Europe with Jean Ann Ryan Productions on the Norwegian Dawn (Norwegian Cruise Lines), and performing many principle roles with the Northeast Ballet and the Albany Berkshire Ballet Company. He has also worked as a guest artist, teacher, and choreographer with the Schenectady Light Opera Company, Park Playhouse, Saratoga Performing Arts Center, the National Museum of Dance, R.P.I., the Dance + Festivals, Proctors Summer Broadway Camps, CRC Irish Dance Camp, Sun King Dance and Spotlight Management. In 2013, Marcus had the great honor of serving as a judge for the 2013 Distinguished Young Women New York State Scholarship Program. Marcus is currently working as choreographer of a brand new musical “Cassandra, The Musical”, which will take place on Proctors Stage in September 2014. Marcus is a recent graduate of Soluna School of Yoga (a registered school with Yoga Alliance) where he received his 200 hour teaching certification. Marcus feels honored and blessed to be on staff at Soluna Yoga and would like to thank his mentoring teachers Lisa Alexander, Laurie Galish, Karol Augspurger, Mena Zarelli, and Nancy Polachek for all of their guidance and support. Mena Zarrelli Mena began her Yoga practice over 15 years ago when she spontaneously walked into an Ashtanga Yoga class at Soluna Yoga Studio! After this first yoga experience, she immediately felt the call to include yoga in her life, forever. Mena received her Yoga Alliance 200 Hour Training in Hot Warrior Yoga. She has had the opportunity to practice, study and teach many different styles of yoga including prenatal yoga. Her style of teaching includes a strong, power-centered asana practice coupled with a mindful, meditative flow. Mena’s goal is to challenge her students both mentally and physically while still allowing for a motivating and energizing practice. She has taught Yoga classes in many places in the Capital District. In addition to Yoga, Mena is a Foreign Language, Art Teacher and owner of a local tutoring service.She is also Mamma to three beautiful and active children; one boy and two girls and Stepmom to a beautiful and active college-aged daughter. Yoga has been the center to balancing family, work and play!