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 Chris Acosta

As the founder of St. Petersburg Yoga, Chris Acosta began a daily practice almost 30 years ago while in a full body brace (for 4 years and 23 hours a day) to first heal his extreme scoliosis.  The degree of scoliosis consisted of two curvatures with the largest at almost 50 degrees, multiple herniated discs, pinched nerves and spinal arthritis.   Freed from the severe pain, deformation of the body, and armed with these successes, he focused on the greater liberations in which Yoga was originally designed.

Due to his hands on experience, Chris has become one of the area’s most admired and prolific instructors.  Mr. Acosta was showcased in, “Best [Yoga Instructor] of the Tampa Bay” by DuPont Registries (July 2007).   He is known as a teacher's teacher and has taught tens of thousands of classes over his career.  Although Chris primarily instructs one-on-one, he also teaches a large number of group classes, corporate classes, workshops, lectures, retreats and is the primary instructor of St. Petersburg Yoga’s 200 and 500 level certifications offered in the Yoga Teacher Training Programs.

Mr. Acosta aspires to demonstrate the true power of authentic Yoga and the amazing abilities it has to transform any area that binds and limits, from the pain and handicaps of the body to the mental traps that cause seemingly inescapable cycles of suffering. Chris holds an E-RYT 500 educator level certification from Yoga Alliance and is also honored to be a part of the distinguished faculty at the Omega Institute in New York.

Known for developing Yoga Traction Therapy, he instructs from many influences:  Iyengar, Therapeutic, Restorative, Ashtanga, Power, Vinyasa, Pranayama, Mantra, Meditation, Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Sutras, Upanishads and the Bhagavad-Gita. He specializes with the injured and very beginner to the intermediate and most advanced students. Chris's open group classes are geared to accommodating

all levels. 

Monday 7:00 - 8:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday 7:00 - 8:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic


Jill Voorhis Yoga Instructor
Jill Voorhis, Director, E-RYT 500

Know your body...Observe your mind.

When I first stepped onto the mat over 15 years ago I knew I had discovered something special.   After a few months of practice, I realized yoga would be a lifetime journey for me.   As a triathlete and distance runner, I saw the value in the softer side of movement, knowing it would bring balance, strength, flexibility and mental focus to my busy life.


My slow flow classes mix a blend of stress relieving breath work, energizing strong postures and tension releasing flexibility postures. Many of my classes also incorporate traction therapy and creative use of the yoga swing for building core strength and harnessing the benefits of hanging upside down in full inversion.

As an active triathlete, I also work with endurance athletes, teaching the benefits of muscular balance: muscles strong enough to do the action and long enough to cover the distance faster, without injury.

Monday  4:30 - 5:45 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Tuesday 6:30 - 7:45 PM

Swing / Power

Wednesday 4:30 - 5:45 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Thursday 6:30 - 7:45 PM

Swing / Power

Friday 5:30 - 6:45 PM Swing / Power


Doug Warner

LMT (MA 18608), E-RYT 500,

"Each one of us is a pilgrim, embarking on a sacred journey."
Doug's journey brought him to the study of Yoga, which has been a life changing experience.  He believes that Yoga can be this kind of experience for everyone.  Through his teaching of Yoga, Doug strives to facilitate and enrich each student's personal journey.

Doug completed both his RYT 200 and RYT 500 training at St Petersburg Yoga. He has been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 18 years, specializing in Traditional Thai Massage and is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Doug's teaching combines his knowledge of anatomy and body mechanics with his on-going study of the wisdom of Yoga.

Monday 3:30 - 4:40 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Monday 6:30 - 7:45 PM Swing / Fundamentals
Wednesday 3:30 - 4:40 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday 6:30 - 8:30 PM Meditation / Philosophy Applied
Friday 9:30 - 10:45 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Friday 4:30 - 5:40 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Friday 6:00 - 7:00 PM Meditation / Nidra / Relaxation
Sunday 9:00 - 10:15 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Sunday 11:00 - 12:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic


Julianna Stoll, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

Julianna came to St Pete Yoga seeking relief from acute anxiety and panic attacks, which became a daily struggle for her when she was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer in 2010. After finding limited relief in other interventions, Yoga not only temporarily relieved but fundamentally healed these disorders.

With the guidance of founder Chris Acosta and the Yogi training program she began a dedicated practice, centered on using the fundamentals of Yoga to systematically dismantle her anxiety.


With discipline, she saw the frequency and intensity of her symptoms decline. Over the course of the first year she experienced the liberating power of Yoga on her own life, as her panic attacks dissipated and strength began to be uncovered.

Driven by her initial successes, she is now actively using the fundamental teachings of Yoga across all aspects of her life; working to find opportunity for growth when challenges present themselves, and seeking ways to keep moving towards balance so she can explore her potential in all areas.

Her first-hand experience using Yoga for transformation is strong motivation to be involved in helping others use Yoga to tackle their unique mind/body challenges as a path to discovering potential.

Tuesday 4:00 - 5:00 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Tuesday 6:00 - 7:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Thursday 4:00 - 5:00 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Thursday 6:00 - 7:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Saturday 9:00 - 10:15 AM Restorative / Therapeutic


Melanie Ulrich, E-RYT 200, RYT 500

Melanie's journey with yoga began 11 years ago when her brother encouraged her to attend her first yoga class.  She was hooked from the start.  Yoga was an enlightening experience creating balance and fulfillment in her lifeMelanie has always wanted to pursue a path in helping and healing others, and like many, was torn between a successful corporate career and following her heart in the science of Yoga. 

Now, she has found a way to combine her worldly corporate experiences with her passion for facilitating the Yoga experience

Melanie completed her 200 and 500 Hour RYT Training with St. Petersburg Yoga, which was a gift that led her into following her dreams of becoming a teacher.

Her strong practices include Vinyasa Flow and Ashtanga.  After sustaining a neck injury, Melanie realized she would like to help others who encounter similar circumstances.  She has since broadened her practice to incorporate a Gentle Restorative approach as well.

Monday 9:30 - 10:45 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Monday 11:30 - 12:30 PM Power / Core / Lunch
Monday 5:30 - 6:45 PM Power / Ashtanga
Tuesday 7:30 - 8:40 AM Swing / Power
Tuesday 9:00 - 10:15 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday 9:30 - 10:45 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday 11:30 - 12:30 PM Power / Core / Lunch
Wednesday 5:30 - 6:45 PM Power / Ashtanga
Thursday 7:30 - 8:40 AM Swing / Power
Thursday 9:00 - 10:15 AM Restorative / Therapeutic
Friday 8:30 - 9:40 AM Power / Ashtanga
Friday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Swing / Fundamentals
Friday 11:30 - 12:30 PM Power / Core / Lunch

Rob Howland, RYT 500

Rob Howland tried to look like everyone else in yoga classes at the gym for years until he discovered the principals of more authentic yoga as practiced at St. Petersburg Yoga.

Through an exploration of the fundamentals of authentic yoga, such as balance and edge, Rob has developed his practice, knowledge, and transformed liabilities into strength.

A disability in his right arm has lead him to the belief that yoga is a potent therapy for physical limitations, but through seeking greater awareness he also found space and understanding on mental, spiritual, and emotional hang-ups.

Teaching yoga with exploration and observation has revealed to him that every system of the body and mind can benefit from the technology of yoga. He teaches from the perspective that yoga classes should be simple, nurturing, and challenging to our dispositions.

Friday 3:30 - 4:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Sunday 11:30 - 12:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals

Shawn Overcast
Shawn Overcast, RYT 500

Shawn was introduced to yoga soon after the birth of her first daughter. Postpartum practice healed her mind and body through a combination of power and mindful flows. She has gone on to graduate from St. Petersburg Yoga’s 200 & 500 Yogi Teacher Trainining.

Shawn’s classes are based on Ashtanga yoga, which combines breath and movement to create a strong body, focused mind, and balanced breath.

Her series are accessible to all levels of practitioners, as each student is encouraged to find the pose and practice that is perfect for them. Shawn strives to create the right environment for students to develop their strength of body and of mind, to address habit patterns of thinking, judging, competing and attachment, and finding Self patience, Self kindness and Self contentment.  

Halaya LeMaire
Halaya LeMaire, RYT 500

“Yoga is not about touching your toes, but what you learn on the way down.”

I initially came into yoga wanting relief from chronic physical back pain. However, through the authentic teachings of St Pete Yoga I came to understand that yoga was not just an incredible physical practice but, more importantly, yoga was a powerful tool for personal self- transformation.

My life long struggle with severe depression and a close personal loss had lead me on a journey of self- searching. I came to a point where I was ready to be out of suffering both physically and emotionally. There were many failed attempts at overcoming my bleak state of existence. Most of what I found and tried was at most a temporary band-aide. Only when I found and commited to a genuine yoga practice was I able to find my true inner self that had been buried under years of suffering. Through yoga and meditation I was able to learn how to quiet my mind so my soul could speak. In that a lightness and liberation began to replace the heaviness and pain. My practice has freed me and allows me to continue to develop an unshakable strength of mind, body and soul. I am extremely grateful to have found St pete yoga. Yoga has changed my life and I feel strongly about teaching others the tools to do the same. Namaste.
Monday 7:30 - 8:45 PM Classic Fundamentals
Wednesday 7:30 - 8:45 PM Classic Fundamentals
Sunday 10:00 - 11:00 AM Meditation / Awakening


Megan Moyer
Megan Moyer, RYT 500

“In our fast paced world, we forget to take care of ourselves. Yoga teaches us to slow down, be present, and move toward growth in all areas of our lives.”

Megan came to St. Pete Yoga seeking balance from the stress and pressures of the high tech corporate world. She immediately found relief by slowing down to restore her body, and her mind and life benefited along the way.

Yoga has become a way of life for her now. With practice and commitment to a healthy mind and body, she uncovered her interest in helping others to bring balance into their lives.

Expect a mindful and balanced approach to Megan’s yoga classes and workshop instruction. She teaches meditation, Restorative/Therapeutic, and Classic/Fundamentals of yoga.
Tuesday 9:30 - 10:45 AM Classic / Fundamentals
Thursday 9:30 - 10:45 AM Classic / Fundamentals
Saturday 11:00 - 12:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic


Vicki Sofranko
Vicki Sofranko, RYT 500

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step."

Two years ago I came to St. Petersburg Yoga to help find relief from severe back pain and hip bursitis. Little did I know this would lead me back to my journey of Self discovery that I had started years ago.


Through my RYT 200 and RYT 500 training at St. Petersburg Yoga, and daily practice of the five fundamentals - Balance, Edge, Mindfulness, Breath, and Beginners Mind – I uncovered a lifelong pattern of bullying myself and allowing others to do the same. On or off the mat, I'm now armed with a "toolbox" that I can pull from to help guide me on my journey.

The physical, emotional, and spiritual growth I've experienced, and continue to experience, is immense! So is the realization of obtaining relief from back pain and hip bursitis; and my longtime dream of sharing my practice with others. I invite you to join me as I continue this transformational journey.

My students can expect a combination of classic standing and restorative release postures.

Saturday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Outdoor Yoga @ Treasure Island Beach (Classic Fundamentals)


Wendy Whitescarver
Wendy Whitescarver, RYT 500

St Petersburg Yoga’s Training Program allowed Wendy the opportunity to dive into her yoga practice and find the ability to seek balance in both work and personal life.

She says, “I am now ready to play it forward and share what I've learned with grace, honesty and inspiration to others and guide them in their journey at any age or stage."


Wendy had a pedal to the metal attitude of go, go and go, living hard on the Edge at work and play. Then she realized she needed to relook and take action on her life. She uses the Fundamentals of Yoga, both on and off the mat, to gain the lightness that arises from Mindful practices.

You can expect a mix of Classic Yoga styles using form-based standing as well as Restorative postures. Breath and Mind Yoga are also mainstays of all her classes. Wendy’s teachings are very non-intimidating. She uses multiple methods for guiding you through the process of meeting yourself just where you are and growing from there.

Saturday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Outdoor Yoga @ Treasure Island Beach (Classic Fundamentals)


Mai Huynh
Mai Huynh, RYT 500

When I first enrolled in St. Petersburg Yoga’s Teacher Training Program, my objective was to pursue my dream of being a yoga teacher. What I didn’t realize was how much the program would teach me about myself.

I have learned that due to my previous fast-paced job and constant multi-tasking work, I had lost my ability to focus and steady my mind. St Pete Yoga has provided me with the tools and techniques to not only restore my over-active mind, but it also has helped me cope with the loss of my dad.


I would like to share my experience with my students and teach them how to find a heightened awareness of their body, mind and breath.

Mai’s Sunrise Park class will be a mix of Classic Standing and Restorative Postures, infused with the elements of nature, sunrise light and bay breezes.

Wednesday 7:00 - 8:15 AM Outdoor Sunrise Yoga @ North Straub Park (Classic Fundamentals)


Heather Siegel, RYT 500

Coming into Yoga with physical pain from scoliosis and a hard-pushing lifestyle, Heather quickly began taking the advice of her teachers and started applying what she was learning in the classroom to the bigger classroom of her life. Though difficult, she couldn’t help noticing the same transformative effects happening in her body and her life.


Like so many of us today, Heather found herself overwhelmed in a high-stress life of perfectionism and self-bullying, spurring a process of anxiety and depression.

In contrast to this physical and mental drain, authentic yoga directed her towards balance and the peace that organically arises in its place.

Heather teaches a variety of classes, all of which you can expect an accessible approach that both helps and inspires anyone to meet themselves where they are and encourage growth.

Monday 8:30 - 9:40 AM Power / Ashtanga
Tuesday 4:00 - 5:00 PM Kids Yoga (ages 5ish to 9ish)
Tuesday 7:00 - 8:15 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Wednesday 8:30 - 9:40 AM Power / Ashtanga
Thursday 4:00 - 5:00 PM Kids Yoga (ages 5ish to 9ish)
Thursday 7:00 - 8:15 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Saturday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Swing / Power
Sunday 10:30 - 11:45 PM Power / Ashtanga

Paola Kontrick, RYT 500

A native of Mexico, yoga therapist, licensed massage therapist and mother of two, Paola was first drawn to Yoga for pain relief. She used yoga therapy to heal her chronic shoulder and neck pain and even more importantly, used the process to tackle the underlying causes: poor posture, unmanaged stress and lack of self-awareness. Armed with this training and a thorough understanding of anatomy, Paola found relief from her pain and starting helping others. But she sensed there was more, something bigger, something that could mean life-changing solutions, rather than temporary patches.


In her search for solutions, Paola found Yoga to be effective for managing pain in the body and perhaps more importantly, Yoga seemed to highlight the patterns of behavior that often are at the root of the pain, discomfort and disease.

Paola is now not only pain free but has also found harmony in all aspects of her life and feels better equipped to deal with life’s ups and downs.

Her classes are designed to provide a safe atmosphere for self-exploration through the fundamental teachings of yoga: breath, stillness, edge and beginner’s mind. Suited to all levels, her students are guided to use the practice to meet their individual needs and create an awareness of how those needs change each and every day.

Tuesday 3:30 - 4:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Tuesday 7:30 - 8:45 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Thursday 3:30 - 4:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Thursday 7:30 - 8:45 PM Restorative / Therapeutic
Saturday 10:30 - 11:45 AM Classic / Fundamentals


Alissa Phillipoff, RYT 500

Alissa, a mother of two, was encouraged to start practicing yoga when she faced some of the same body-image and anxiety challenges that many young women struggle with today. Soon she began to feel a shift which encouraged her to explore yoga further.

Combining her degree in psychology with the self-looking tools she learned in Yogi Training, Alissa developed a healthy perspective on her body image, as well as powerful techniques to manage her anxiety. Though the work was not easy, she has found peace and gratitude on her journey.


Alissa nurtures her students in their journey through restoration and strength, physically and emotionally, passing along the tools yoga has given her. Her classes are designed to welcome novice students as well as encourage those with an established practice.

She teaches a wide assortment of classes that are mind and body oriented. In her stronger classes, expect a high challenge with low risk. In her moderate classes, there is a nice balance of stretch and strength.

Monday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Swing / Fundamentals
Tuesday 10:30 - 11:45 AM Power / Ashtanga
Wednesday 10:00 - 11:15 AM Swing / Fundamentals
Thursday 10:30 - 11:45 AM Power / Ashtanga



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