Hello! Thanks for taking the time to read about our teachers.
The vision for Toula is a yoga studio dedicated to offering yoga to the whole family.
Toula means “divine light” in Greek. (Just watch, or watch the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” and see for yourself!)
Yoga has been a light in my life! Just getting on my mat and moving my body mindfully, and using my breath as my guide helps me see clearer when things get dark and confusing in life. It’s a way to connect back to my true self despite any distractions that might come my way.
Our intention at Toula Yoga Studio is to open up the practice of yoga to more people; all 8 limbs of yoga which also includes focus and meditation.
Toula Yoga studio offers quality instruction for individuals of all ages and abilities to develop strong, healthy bodies; calm, content minds; and receptive, open hearted spirits, which will help them become fully present in their lives and the world around them.
I’ve been doing yoga since 1999 while living in Dubuque, IA, where I was a High School German teacher & coach, and in graduate school. I still hold an Iowa teaching license and you might catch me subbing once in awhile in many of the school districts in the Cedar Rapids/Mount Vernon area. Yoga was a life changer for me and gave me the courage to create a completely different life for myself. I moved back to Cedar Rapids, where I grew up, in 2002 and have been caring for my three daughters full time ever since. Deciding to do something for myself, I found Marsha Nieland in 2004 and started to immerse myself in every yoga class, workshop and training I could. Marsha has also led me to many other wonderful yoga teachers and I’ve been lucky enough to have accumulated over a thousand hours of formal classes, workshops and trainings; plus hundreds of self-directed yoga studies. But who's counting! This is just the beginning! Marsha is my main teacher and I’ve also studied with Mathew Sanford (Adaptive Yoga), Dana Robinson (prenatal & baby/tots yoga), John Friend (Anusara & Sridaiva), Moses Brown (Philosophy & Therapeutics), Desiree Rumbaugh, Amy Ippoliti, Martin Kirk (Anatomy), and many others. I'm a licensed teacher through The Anusara School of Hatha Yoga and have been teaching public yoga classes since 2008. I specialize in private & corporate lessons and have taught at many businessses including Cargil, Lil' Drug, VanMeter, Raining Rose, and Schneider Electric. I’ve designed classes especially for people over age 60, Men Only, Athletes, Kids and Expectant mothers. I'm happy I found yoga and its benefits when I was in my 20’s, but I would have loved to have found it even younger! I aspire to lead the youngest and the oldest, and the most “non-traditional” students into the healthy habit of a regular yoga practice. Namaste.
I have been a student of yoga for many years and while the physical practice is what brought me here it is the mental and spiritual that keeps me. I had been a yoga student for several years when life changing events made me realize I needed and wanted more from my physical practice. Yoga gives me more LIFE on and off my mat that I crave. With a desire to grow and share I completed a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training through Power Life Yoga in May of 2014 and Level 2 training in September of 2014. I teach a physical, light hearted, upbeat practice that will drive your passion for yoga and life. Taking my “breath” off my mat and giving the people around me my presence continues to be my practice, making the biggest impact in my daily living. I have found great comfort and a passion deep inside that I can’t wait to share with you!
Namaste everyone! I am a dental hygienist and a yoga instructor. I spent years as a runner, an aerobics instructor, and have studied martial arts. After discovering yoga over twelve years ago, I was thrilled with the physical benefits and found that it also unveiled great mental and spiritual rewards. As a result I began to reevaluate the way I exercised and the way I viewed life. Being over 50 I’ve learned that age creeps up and can be unforgiving on the physical body. I invite you to join me on this journey to embrace and defy aging with ease and grace, and to enrich your life through the revitalizing movement of yoga.
My training consists of three Yoga Immersion courses and a 200+ hour teacher training program through Marsha Nieland. Other renowned teachers I have studied under include John Friend, Moses Brown, Desiree Rumbaugh, Amy Ippoliti, Martin Kirk, and Ayurvedic specialists Cate Stillman and James Tennant.
My teaching experience consists of intermediate, advanced, and gentle/beginner yoga classes. I have taught introductory courses to ease beginners into learning poses, proper alignment, and breathe work so they will feel more comfortable joining a class or practicing at home. I also created a yoga workshop that focuses on managing hand and wrist pain.
I continuously attend workshops and retreats to bring fresh energy and new ideas to share. My first yoga retreat was in Greece with Andrea and several other wonderful yogis! I strive to provide inspiring, challenging, and uplifting classes. I encourage students to flow at their own pace in an attempt to build strength, flexibility, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned about the revitalizing practice of yoga with you!
I have tried various styles of Hatha yoga over the years before finding “seriously fun” Anusara yoga. The principals of alignment to enhance poses and the playful attitude resonate strongly with me. Taking what I learn on the mat through my own practice has enriched my life off the mat; physically, mentally, and spiritually and I want to share that experience with others.
I graduated from Marsha Nieland’s Teacher Training Program in January 2010. I have participated in workshops with John Friend, Martin Kirk, Moses Brown, Desiree Rumbaugh, Amy Ippoliti, and Betsey Downing. I am also a RYT 200+ through Yoga Alliance. I encourage my students to have fun and experience the joy in their own yoga practice.
After lovingly teasing my husband about his “stretching routine” in 2002, I decided to get on a his mat and give yoga a try. It was love at first down-dog! Since that time, I have been on my own mat for countless hours, and with a leap of faith, took my interest in yoga to the next level with immersing myself in Anusara yoga immersions and teacher training with my world class instructor, Marsha Nieland. My journey has led me to enjoy anatomy lessons with Martin Kirk, to study Yoga for the Mind with Dr. Betsy Rippentrop, and has given me the honor of studying under Dr. Judith Hanson Lasater, earning my certificate in Relax and Renew(R).
Welcoming and super supportive, I invite my students to a challenging, yet uplifting practice as a way to encounter their being wholeheartedly. When I am not practicing yoga, you’ll find me offering my hands gardening native plants of Iowa, quilting, playing chess with my three children, and dreaming of visiting my family in Greece.
In search of a workout to compliment running, yoga was suggested and after one class, I was hooked! With a dance background, the flow of vinyasa was very natural, but the idea of working to explore the mind, body and spirit connection was new and quite a challenge! I love all there is to know about the body’s mechanics and have a degree in health sciences so yoga teacher training drew me in easily. I completed my 200 hour certified yoga teacher training at a local MN yoga studio in 2010. During my yoga journey I ran across many pregnant mamas, myself included, and felt there was much more to know about the woman’s body during this time of change and growth and wanted to explore more. I landed at the steps of Blooma’s Prenatal Yoga teacher training in 2013 and Birth Doula training in Minneapolis, MN. My passion for teaching and alignment is a full body experience; beginning with yourself, nurturing and loving you first and embracing all the changes that life may bring. Prenatal yoga offers this wonderful mind, body, spiritual AND baby connection. It is an honor to be a part of the mama’s journey into mother hood! Come visit me with baby on board or after baby arrives in a Baby and Me Yoga class. I love watching little ones grow!
Jessie is by design an encourager who loves baring her soul in the written word, her two wild and crazy sons, her high school sweetie, Jesus, yoga, and training for the zombie apocalypse.
Jessie found herself on a yoga mat after experiencing two miscarriages and had a sudden intense need for stillness, reflection, and prayer. She found grace and peace on the mat which led her towards her certification in Holy Yoga.
More than anything, Jessie loves to dream with people, hearing their passions and spurring them on to living them out. She works towards helping others discover the balance of inner strength and self-giving grace. She is your biggest cheerleader and advocate.
I was drawn to yoga for the physical practice (asana). I soon realized greater benefits such as the mind body connection. There is so much more to yoga than the poses. After witnessing the positive impacts of yoga first hand, I decided to take the next step to become a certified yoga teacher. I received my 200-hour certification in July 2014 from Amy Ippoliti at 90 Monkeys in Boulder, CO. The training focused on yoga lifestyle, alignment, anatomy, well-being, and philosophy. My goal is to inspire more people to embrace yoga! Off the mat, I enjoy spending time with my family and continue to be a lifelong learner.
My yoga practice started 8 years ago- invited by a good friend to attend a yoga class, I wasn't sure what I had signed up for, but was super excited after my first hour in practice and I was "all in". The classes I attended really encompassed the full philosophy of yoga and that resonated with me.
In the summer of 2015, I took a deep dive into studying yoga. Colleen Yee and Rolf Gates were my inspiration and I started learning more about all 8 limbs of this ancient, beautiful, time tested practice. In the winter of 2016, Andrea Parks, a long time friend, and someone I consider family and an inspiration, asked me if I would like to do a 200 YTT. The timing was perfect and with the noted enthusiasm on my part, my family and friends gave me the support I needed to start my training. I graduated as a Cloud Nine Yoga Teacher in July of 2016 under the careful instruction of both Andrea and Erin McGuire. I also had the most amazing benefit of being mentored by both Sarah Cram Driscoll and Maria Dummermuth during my time in training. Cloud Nine Yoga is new to Iowa and based out of California with studios located in the western United State and Hawaii. Erika Faith is the founder and she is an amazing soul!
I teach a variety of classes at 3 different studios in Cedar Rapids and Mount Vernon. My classes are Hatha yoga based, and include Hatha Flow, Beginner's Yoga, Yoga and Mindfulness, Restorative Yoga, and Yin Yoga. Excited to announce that "Bed Head" yoga is back- 6am on Wednesday mornings at Rolling Hills! I love morning time- always up early to rejoice in the quietest part of the day.
I most recently, started my own business called "Many Masters Yoga". An avid photographer (nature and yogis) , Boho yoga jewelry designer, and yoga instructor, it has been a super fun start up business!
On a more personal note, I am the very proud mother of 2 amazing and creative children- Julian and Grace. We are a close knit group of that love to create, cook, travel, and just hang together.
I began practicing yoga in 2009 and received my 200-hour certification in July of 2016 from Cloud Nine Yoga School at Toula. I balance my body and mind through yoga and love to share and teach these benefits with my students. I have found that a regular yoga practice brings a sense of grounding and peace to life. I hope to share the many benefits of yoga with others looking for balance too.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, I moved to Maine in the late 1970s to attend Nasson College. Completed my studies in Public Health at UMass – Amherst, and then returned to Maine until 2011 when I returned to Central MA. I have a varied background in Community Health Education, Medical Laboratory Technology, Teaching (aerobics, personal fitness, CPR, Childbirth Education, Phlebotomy), Horticulture, Restaurant Management, Catering, and the study and practice of Yoga and Meditation.
My husband, Glen Gardner, and I have a long relationship with Cedar Rapids. Glen lived in this area many years ago, and we’ve been doing contract work here for the past several years. After getting to know the community, we decided to make it our home. One of the attractions of the City of Five Seasons for me is the “fifth season” which is the time to enjoy all that life has to offer. From bike trails to a wide variety of parks, there is plenty to explore and enjoy.
Iowa is considered “the heartland” and to me opening the heart is an important concept in my yoga practice.
About My Yoga Studies
I am certified as a Kripalu 200hr instructor and credentialed with Yoga Alliance RYT-200. In November of 2016 I became Iowa's first certified Let Your Yoga Dance® instructor. I have also studied Transcendental Meditation, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Iyengar Yoga, Bikram Yoga, Tibetan Yoga, Embody Yoga, Anusara-based Yoga, and Kripalu Yoga. Currently I am teaching Sit and Fit: Chair Yoga, Start Where You Are: Beginner Basics Yoga, Let Your Yoga Dance®, and help with Prenatal Yoga.
With an open heart, I look forward to practicing with you!