Our Instructors

All instructors at St. Petersburg Yoga are certified at the highest level (500 RYT) with the Yoga Alliance. In addition to teaching group classes, most of our instructors are also available for private one-on-one sessions.

Interested in Teaching?

Have you fallen in love with what Yoga has done for your mind/body/life, and want to help facilitate others on their journey? St Petersburg Yoga offers 200 and 500 hour Yoga Alliance certified teacher training programs.

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Chris Acosta

Founder, ERYT 500

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.

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Jill Voorhis

Studio Director, E-RYT 500

Know your body…Observe your mind.

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

Her Classic Fundamentals classes mix a blend of stress-relieving breath work, energizing strong postures and tension releasing flexibility postures. Her Power Swing classes 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, she also works 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.

View Jill's Schedule

Monday 4:30 - 5:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Tuesday
5:10 - 6:10 PM Strengthen / Flow / Swing
Wednesday
4:30 - 5:40 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Thursday
5:10 - 6:10 PM Strengthen / Flow / Swing

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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.

With the guidance of the St. Petersburg Yogi training program she began a dedicated practice, centered on using the fundamentals of Yoga to understand and then 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.

After finding limited relief in other interventions, Yoga/Mindfulness tools not only temporarily relieved symptoms of anxiety, but helped her discover and transform the roots of her anxiety.

Julianna’s 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.

View Julianna's Schedule

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

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Halaya LeMaire

RYT 500

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

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

Her life long struggle with depression and many close personal losses had lead her on a journey seeking a more balanced state of being and a higher quality of life. She was ready to be out of suffering both physically and emotionally but had tried many things that proved ineffective. When she found and committed to a genuine yoga practice she was then able to find movement away from pain, a liberation of being and sense of lightness. Halaya states her practice has freed her and allows her to continue to develop an unshakable strength of mind, body and soul. She is extremely grateful to have found St PeteYoga.

“Yoga has changed my life and I feel strongly about teaching others the tools to do the same. Namaste.”

View Halaya's Schedule

Monday6:00 - 7:10 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Monday
7:30 - 8:45 PM Classic / Fundamentals
Tuesday9:30 - 10:45 AMClassic / Fundamentals
Wednesday6:00 - 7:10 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Wednesday 7:30 - 8:45 PM
Classic / Fundamentals
Thursday9:30 - 10:45 AMClassic / Fundamentals
Sunday9:00 - 10:15 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Sunday 10:30 - 11:30 AMMeditation / Awakening
Sunday 4:00 - 5:15 PMMeditation / Restore & Sound

Paola

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.

View Paola's Schedule

Monday9:30 - 10:45 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Monday3:30 - 4:40 PMRestorative / Therapeutic
Tuesday3:30 - 4:40 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Tuesday7:30 - 8:45 PM
Restorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday9:30 - 10:45 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday3:30 - 4:40 PMRestorative / Therapeutic
Thursday3:30 - 4:40 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Thursday7:30 - 8:45 PMRestorative / Therapeutic
Saturday10:30 - 11:45 AMClassic / Fundamentals

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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.

View Heather's Schedule

Monday 4:30 - 5:40 PM
Kids Yoga (ages 8ish to 11ish)
Monday 7:00 - 8:15 PMRestorative / Therapeutic
Tuesday4:00 - 5:00 PMKids Yoga (ages 5ish to 9ish)
Tuesday7:00 - 8:15 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Wednesday4:30 - 5:40 PMKids Yoga (ages 8ish to 11ish)
Wednesday7:00 - 8:15 PMRestorative / Therapeutic
Thursday4:00 - 5:00 PMKids Yoga (ages 5ish to 9ish)
Thursday7:00 - 8:15 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Friday9:30 - 10:45 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Friday11:30 - 12:30 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Friday3:30 - 4:40 PMClassic / Fundamentals
Friday5:30 - 6:45 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing

Alissa

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.

View Alissa's Schedule

Monday 10:00 - 11:15 AMSwing / Fundamentals
Tuesday10:30 - 11:45 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Tuesday12:00 - 1:00 PMClassic Fundamentals
Wednesday10:00 - 11:15 AMSwing / Fundamentals
Thursday10:30 - 11:45 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Thursday12:00 - 1:00 PMClassic Fundamentals

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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.

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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.

View Megan's Schedule

Saturday11:00 - 12:15 PM Restorative / Therapeutic

DanielleByrd

Danielle Byrd

RYT 500

A couple years ago Danielle found herself feeling lost, experiencing self-doubt and feeling unfulfilled in her job. Through her journey in finding a new path she discovered the authentic yoga teachings in St. Petersburg Yoga’s Teacher Training.  She registered for the program and found powerful life changing practices that she is now able to passionately share with others.

Danielle brings 14 years of experience to her practice, using the yoga fundamentals in her teachings as well as her personal life. She brings great energy to her classes, encouraging students to honor themselves as they move towards growth.

Depending on her student’s needs, Danielle teaches Strength/Flow/Swing and Restorative/Therapeutic classes as well as one-on-one instruction and mindfulness workshops.

View Danielle's Schedule

Monday8:30 - 9:40 AM
Strengthen / Flow / Swing
Monday11:30 - 12:30 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Monday5:30 - 6:45 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Tuesday7:30 - 8:40 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Tuesday9:00 - 10:15 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Wednesday8:30 - 9:40 AM
Strengthen / Flow / Swing
Wednesday11:30 - 12:30 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Wednesday5:30 - 6:45 PMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Thursday7:30 - 8:40 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Thursday9:00 - 10:15 AMRestorative / Therapeutic
Saturday9:30 - 10:40 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing

AnnaAyers

Anna Ayres

RYT 500

Anna discovered St. Petersburg Yoga while searching for transformation on chronic stress, general anxiety and chronic back pain.  Her training taught her to master tools that do more than treat the surface of these difficult issues but rather dive deep into the root causes behind the imbalances.

She teaches mindful practices of life simplification that focus on what is fundamentally necessary and nourishing for the whole being. Anna helps her students build well-rounded lives, filled with creativity and present moment focus, using a range of physical, breath, mind and life teachings.

Expect her to share from her own experience as an athlete working through injury, to working with an anxious mind with self-patience and acceptance.

Anna is incredibly grateful for the guidance offered at St. Petersburg Yoga and strongly believes that the teachings are uniquely valuable to each one of us.

View Anna's Schedule

Monday6:30 - 7:45 PMSwing / Fundamentals
Tuesday6:30 - 7:45 PMSwing / Fundamentals
Thursday6:30 - 7:45 PMSwing / Fundamentals
Friday8:30 - 9:40 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Friday10:00 - 11:15 AMSwing / Fundamentals
Sunday9:30 - 10:45 AMStrengthen / Flow / Swing
Sunday11:30 - 12:40 PMClassic / Fundamentals

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Pegie Stark

RYT 500

Pegie found yoga and meditation as a natural way to expand her creativity and bring calm to her life, which had encountered some challenges and unexpected changes. Having had a long career as an artist and designer she found herself at a place searching for more meaning in her work as well as in life. Yoga and meditation were discoveries that cultivated major changes allowing her to become calmer and more balanced in her mind and spirit. Her journey in yoga is guiding her to discover deeper meaning in life along with better health and a clearer perspective.

With more than 25 years teaching art and design, yoga and meditation, Pegie’s style invites her students to observe what holds them back from moving more freely in body and mind. With that as a start, she instructs each practitioner to grow. Her classes will help her students  find the right balance between patience and self-discipline. She is grateful to be among the yogis at St Petersburg Yoga and teaching both Restorative/Therapeutic and Meditation classes.