Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts


Megan Affonso. Megan discovered yoga at the age of 15, because of her involvement in dance and theater. After the birth of her first child, in 2004, she fell in love with yoga's connection of body, mind, soul. She received her 200 hr Yoga Alliance certification in the spring of 2008 from Atmananda Yoga in NYC under the instruction of Jhon Tamayo. Megan's teaching focuses on alignment, pranayama, and mindfulness. She encourages her students to look within and find their strength, while cultivating a warm atmosphere that is accessible to everyone. In addition to being a yoga instructor, Megan is a personal chef and a mother of two beautiful children.  Visit Megan's website at www.meganaffonso.com.

Sarah Appelhans loves traditional Ashtanga yoga for its cultivation of discipline and focus, and for its continual challenges.  From time to time, she enjoys cooling off her fiery practice with soothing yin or slow flow vinyasa.  She believes yoga should be fun, practical, and accessible to all.  She has studied with many talented teachers, and his been most influenced by Kino MacGregor's emphasis on working hard to achieve the impossible and David Swenson's easy-going attitude.  She obtained her RYT-200 Hour Certification in 2009 at Siva Power Yoga in Wichita KS. 

Adam Buck, RYT, provides a welcoming environment for all students to explore and learn about the art and science of Yoga. His classes incorporate a blend of asana, breath work, and meditation, to help foster physical, mental, and spiritual health. Adam strongly believes that with consistent daily practice everybody can – and should - experience the transformative power of yoga.

Preeti Bavdekar.  Preeti, means “Love” in Sanskrit, the language of yoga.Glimpses into the place within herself of THAT unconditional love has inspired Preeti to share the knowledge she has acquired with anyone who is open to receive  the teachings of yoga. Since training with Senior Para Yoga teacher, Lauren Jay Toolin in her 200 hr. teacher training program,  Preeti has since been teaching at the Albany Hindu temple, NY and Heartspace Yoga and Healing Arts studio in Troy, NY. Preeti was honored and humbled when her teacher Lauren invited her to become a part of her Yoga Vidya Teacher Training Faculty to teach Anatomy for yoga teachers after her graduation in 2012. Preeti brings her solid foundation in Anatomy from being a 1996 graduate of a Master of Science program in Physical Therapy from Mumbai University in India with an elective in Neurology.  Finding her passion in pediatric physical therapy when working with children with special needs, Preeti was introduced to the world of energy medicine through craniosacral therapy by the Upledger Institute and pediatric myofascial release by John Barnes. She realized that holistic care brought about by the integration of the knowledge of our own body, mind and spirit is the only complete answer to a deeper healing and lasting wellness.  An avid reader, Preeti also enjoys canvas oil painting, music, photography and traveling.

Kathi Burke is a graduate of the 200-hour teacher-training program with Eileen Muir of the Karuna Studio for Yoga and Healing Arts in Northampton, MA, and is enrolled in the 300-hour advanced teacher training. Kathi’s love of learning and the rich heritage of both the philosophy and therapeutics of Iyengar yoga are a perfect match. Kathi brings her ability to organize, execute and plan remediation and instruction from her career as a speech pathologist and adjunct faculty member at the College of St. Rose. Her training in anatomy, dance and certification as a NIA teacher bring her to an appreciation of the detailed intricacy the Iyengar Method affords. Enlightened by the study of the yoga of loving kindness and compassionate living, she pursues ways to share the experience of the union formed with the body, mind, and spirit through the path of yoga with her students.

Ashley Colloton Loescher has explored a variety of training: 500 hour teacher training at YogaVermont, Elissa Cobb's Phoenix Rising 650 hour yoga therapy training, Manju Jois' Ashtanga teacher's training and most recently, the 650 hour Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant training at the Kripalu School of Ayurveda. She invites all levels to join her, as students will be encouraged to adjust the practice for their own personal needs. To find out more you can visit www.ashleycollotonyoga.com

Lacey Cukier discovered yoga as a college student in 2010 during a study on campus about mindfulness meditation. As she progressed in her path to self-discovery, she found that the eight limbs of yoga had helped her live more fully, finding direction and clarity. Completing 200 hours of intensive training under Lauren Toolin, Lacey received her RYT-200 in Spring 2014 from Yoga Vidya in Albany, NY. Lacey is known for her breadth of knowledge about yoga philosophy and anatomy, her original sequencing of physical postures, and her ability to start where the student is. Her classes provide a welcoming, accepting environment to people of all shapes, sizes, and abilities. Wherever you are in your practice, expect to be challenged to find out how yoga can help you become more fully and completely you.

Sasha Dmochowski:  Over the course of an 18 year ballet career with Boston Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, Sasha Dmochowski discovered the value of possessing a strong core, as well as the injury prevention benefits of the Pilates method. With the notion that injecting fun and creativity into abdominal strengthening is a necessity, Dmochowski enjoys teaching group classes as well as working one-on-one with clients, honing in on their individual strengths and needs. She holds a masters degree in Psychology from NYU and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Psychology in the Anderson Weight & Eating Disorder Lab at University at Albany, SUNY.

Lisa Ginsburg-Battisti MS, RD, RYT completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Empowerment Training through HeartSpace and is a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance.   As a Registered Dietitian she does nutrition counseling and nutrition seminars in the area.  She believes that yoga, fitness, and healthy eating can help improve quality of life and help one reach their fullest potential. In addition, she is a Certified Personal Trainer and certified in PiYo and Turbokick.www.Get-Fit-with-Lisa.com

Amanda Gyves, RYT, began her yoga practice in 2005 as a way to find balance to a busy work schedule and recovery from a vigorous running and lifting routine. While the challenging physical aspects were rewarding, it was the mental peace and calm she experienced that helped her fully enjoy her yoga practice. Certified in Vinyasa Flow by Stephanie Keach, of Asheville, NC, Amanda enjoys the creativity, strength and grace of synchronizing breath with movement. Having completed her 200 hour certification at Heartspace with Lauren Toolin, she strives to provide an intelligently sequenced class that takes you on a purposeful journey in a welcoming atmosphere. Students are encouraged to start where they are and grow through practice.

Meghan Hogan In this age of information, Meghan believes it is beneficial to press pause, tune into the breath, and allow one’s inner awareness to be that which informs for a while. Meghan supports her students in connecting to this core of stillness as they build mind-body strength, balance and flexibility in each class. Classes are geared toward beginners and are appropriate for anyone seeking to explore their edges in a safe and judgment-free environment. Meghan is ever-grateful to her teacher, Lauren Toolin, with whom she completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Heartspace Yoga and Healing Arts.

Andrew Kasius offers a blend of asana, pranayama and meditation to help strengthen mental focus and awareness, a sense of peacefulness, enhance physical and energetic vitality, and foster an improved sense of connection within ourselves and with the world around us.   Andrew draws from his experience with diverse teachers and styles of yoga and seeks to offer classes that suit the needs and capabilities of each student.  Andrew completed his 200-hour Yoga Teacher Empowerment Training™ in 2008.  He owns and manages Heartspace Yoga and Healing Arts. 

Sat Kriya Kaur is a KRI Certified Instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan having completed her 200-hour teacher training program in 2008 at Goldenbridge Yoga NYC.  Sat Kriya has had the privilege of studying with Master Teachers Hari Kaur Khalsa, Mahan Rishi Singh Khalsa, Nirbhe Kaur Khalsa and Sat Kirin Kaur Khalsa. She currently studies with these & other Masters at various Kundalini Yoga centers throughout the US.  She is a caring and down to earth teacher who ensures every session is deeply healing, challenging and fun. Inspired by years of study with passionate & authentic teachers, Sat Kriya gracefully serves all with kindness and compassion.  For more information, please visit satkriyakaur.com.

Jennifer Hathaway (Jyoti) has been practicing yoga since 2007. Having a background in dance and movement, yoga came very naturally to her. Delving deeper into the practice and gaining strength, flexibility, and inner peace, she decided to become a teacher to share the many benefits of yoga with the community. Jyoti received her 200 hour TTC in spring of 2012 from the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley, CA. Captivated by this ancient art, she is a firm believer in the well being yoga has to offer to anyone who actively integrates it into their life.

Suzanne Martin "In 2001 I began my yogic journey by studying Buddhist art and philosophy in college. It wasn’t until years later that my physical yogic journey began - one that came naturally with my background in dance (13 years of ballet and modern dance). I discovered the asanas (postures) of yoga in 2010 and later completed the 200 hr. Hot Warrior Yoga Teacher Training with Jennilee Toner along with Yoga Across America training. I am constantly amazed at the number of positive ways yoga has changed my life and the life of my peers, I look forward to sharing these pearls of wisdom and happiness with you. Namaste. www.suzannejunemartin.com"
Bruce (Viveka) McEwen, RYT, PhD. Bruce has practiced yoga and meditation daily since early 1972. He has taught yoga and meditation classes continuously since 1997 and has organized and led numerous weekend yoga retreats. Bruce is a co-founder and faculty member of Ananda Marga Yoga Teacher Training, a Yoga Alliance accredited program that has trained over 100 yoga teachers. Bruce’s training includes intensive study in India that has qualified him to give personal instruction in a progressive series of meditation lessons that incorporate the 8 limbs of Astanga Yoga. Drawing on his professional background as a research scientist with the New York State Department of Health and a faculty member of SUNY- Albany, Bruce takes a rational yet devotional approach to the spiritual science of yoga.

Martha Moscowitz has been practicing yoga since her teen years in Western Massachusetts, where her first yoga-love was Kripalu. Always a fan of exertion, she has since been drawn to the more fiery side of practice through vinyasa-based approaches, but still cares very much about pausing, analyzing, and letting individual poses evolve with the breath. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in March of 2011 at the former Bliss Yoga in Woodstock, NY, where her teachers came from the Jivamukti and Om schools. Martha continues her efforts to reach past the athleticism of yoga and into the energy and consciousness of the Self.

Emilia Pawlowski.  "I received my BFA from The School of Visual Arts in 2009. Feeling stifled by an office job at an art agency in NYC, I moved to Alaska to work aboard a commercial fishing vessel. Once the season ended I decided to travel and spent a couple of years abroad exploring and working in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. A friend recommended that I try yoga after sustaining a back injury from snowboarding and the healing aspects were undeniable. Wanting to share the practice with others, I completed a 200 hour certification under Nancy Candea at Purple Om Yoga in New Jersey. Yoga has become a playful escape from the rigidity of my graduate school work and a way to reconnect with my breath. I love guiding students through a lighthearted practice that builds strength, flexibility, and focus."

Tracy Pearce is a 200 hour certified Hatha yoga instructor trained under the teachings of Lauren Toolin, and currently working towards her 500 hour certification.  Studying advanced meditation, and therapeutic yoga, Tracy incorporates decades of yoga awareness, having practiced on and off since the age of 13, with the social awareness that comes from bartending for 15 years.  She helps bring peace to anyone who seeks it, and has a dynamic way of presenting it.  We all have tough times, having yoga to turn to in these times make a huge difference in the quality of life.

Nancy Polachek has more than 600 documented hours of yoga teacher training. Her certifications include: 300+ hours Jivamukti Yoga, 200+ hours Kripalu Yoga, and 100+ hours Ashtanga Yoga. She has been practicing yoga since the early 1980's and teaching since 1995. As the Capital District's first teacher of Ashtanga Yoga, in 1999 she founded and directed Albany's Washington Park Yoga, now Heartspace Yoga. In 2008 she received the great blessing of acceptance into the Jivamukti lineage by her luminous teachers David Life and Sharon Gannon. She shares the wish of her beloved teacher Lady Ruth Lauer Manenti in hoping to be "a link on the chain of all teachers who have inspired students to be kind."  Visit www.facebook.com/nancy.polachek

Nola Royce is a certified Yoga Teacher, registered with the National Yoga Alliance.  She has an extensive background in Iyengar Yoga and studied with Robert Cuozzi and Lauren Toolin, during her teacher training, gaining an appreciation and love of Vinyasa.  Nola is also a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor, with a background in education. She brings all these skills and interests to her teaching.  Her classes focus on postural alignment and using the breath to move the body.  With Nola, the beginner series will take you through basic yoga postures, let you experience how using the breath can help you achieve freedom and ease while working your muscles, and discover ways to relax and rejuvenate

Diane Simpson completed her 200 hour certification with Yoga Vermont in Burlington in 2009. Since then she has received certification in Trauma Sensitive Yoga from the Boston Trauma Center and Chakra Yoga with Anodea Judith. In addition Diane has trained with Shiva Rea, Sharon Gannon and David Life. Diane is a Licensed Massage Therapist with a strong working knowledge of anatomy, injury recovery and wellness.

Toni Smith, MFA, serves on the dance faculty at Skidmore College, Russell Sage College. Toni Smith choreographed and performed as a professional dancer in New York City with the Vanaver Caravan, Debra Wanner, Jeff Slayton, Joyce Morganroth and others. She is a choreographer and the Artistic Director of Toni Smith and Dancers from 1979 to 1986. She is a founding member of the NYS DanceForce and Partners in Dance: a Consortium of Capital Region Dance Sponsors and was the Artistic Director of the National Museum of Dance. Toni regularly directs dance residencies as the Faculty Advisor for Summer Dance in the Office of the Dean of Special Programs of Skidmore College and is on the continuing education faculty of Hudson Valley Community College. She serves on committees for the Body-Mind Centering Association and the Honest Weight Food Coop. Toni Smith is the originator of Adaptive Yoga for persons with special circumstances at the Center for Disability Services. She maintains a private BMC practice and teaches fundamental BMC workshops in New York State’s capital region with Anna Witt. Toni teaches Yoga at the Troy Family YMCA and the Susan Odell Taylor School for all ages. Toni Smith is a Body-Mind Centering Practitioner, and an Infant Development Movement Educator.

John Smrtic, J.D., RYT, is the Capital Region’s first 300 hour certified Jivamutki Yoga teacher.  Since 2007, John has spent a rare 500+ hours studying directly with his teachers, Jivamukti founders Sharon Gannon and David Life.   Soaked in this direct transmission, John is passionate to convey their teachings and method as purely as possible.  Using these teachings and traditional yogic scripture as a foundation, John blends wit, humor, music and challenging, intelligently sequenced asana from a vinyasa format to make each class a unique experience.  John was the assistant at the 2007-2008 Yoga Teacher Empowerment Training (YTET) at Heartspace Holistic in Albany, NY, and the Assistant Director of the YTET in 2008-2009 under Senior Para Yoga teacher Lauren Toolin.  He also ran a yoga program for at-risk, homeless youths through Safe House in Schenectady, NY.   John currently practices law part time around the Capital Region, in addition to teaching Jivamukti Yoga

Lauren Toolin, RYT, has been teaching for nearly twenty years and is the fourth person to be certified as a Senior ParaYoga Teacher by Yogarupa Rod Stryker. She was also a long-time apprentice to Rodney Yee. She is an initiate of an authentic Tantric tradition, with wisdom passed from teacher to student for millennia. She is on the editing staff of Yoga Journal and has contributed to other national publications, including as cover model for Yoga International. She travels nationally, offering ParaYoga workshops, and as guest faculty for many teacher training programs. She has trained or mentored much of Albany’s teaching community and will lead the next teacher training at Heartspace Yoga & Healing Arts, beginning January 2011. Find out more about her at www.laurenjaytoolin.com

Carrie Will has been practicing yoga on and off the mat for several years. An artist by profession and nature, she finds comfort in expressing her creativity through yoga. Carrie received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from The Kripalu Center for Yoga and health in Massachusetts. She is a compassionate yoga teacher who believes that the gifts of yoga can be found by anyone who seeks them no matter what age or body type one happens to be in. Through yoga, Carrie has found a deeper sense of compassion, confidence and love and finds it an honor to be able to share that practice with others. www.carriewill.com/yoga

Beate Viggiani understands yoga as a system of practices that balance, strengthen, and open practitioners physically, mentally and spiritually. She delights in sharing the joy and benefits of yoga with clear and light-hearted instruction and guidance. As a certified Hatha yoga teacher, Beate is passionate about facilitating a process of self-discovery and self-care that is available and accessible to every body.  She teaches with heart, humor and an unwavering commitment to the wellbeing of all.  Over the years, Beate has been inspired by several teachers and varied styles of yoga. She is particularly grateful for the opportunity to complete her 200-hour teacher training at Heartspace with Senior Para Yoga teacher Lauren Toolin.



Albany Heartspace:

747 Madison Avenue
Albany, NY 12208

located in rear of building
on lower level

Troy Heartspace:

10 2nd Street
Troy, NY 12180

located at the corner of 2nd St and Broadway
2nd floor - entrance next to Lucas Confectionery & Wine Bar

Contact Us:

(518) 512-3390

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