About Us/Ediquette

OUR MISSION

At Simply Yoga, our mission is to provide a serene, safe and welcoming space where students can develop their very own personal yoga journey of self-transformation. When we opened the studio in 2012, we created a non-intimidating and non-competitive environment where people could go to find peace and unity.  Yoga isn’t about the ego or finding the perfect pose, it’s about practicing all limbs of yoga and that’s what we bring to our classes. Our teachers teach traditional yoga and most of them have gone through advanced training studying over 500 hours of Yoga. Teachers are encouraged to bring their own teaching style and voice, allowing for a unique experience every time. We believe consistent yoga practice will leave students feeling rejuvenated and inspired, ultimately creating a calm and peaceful mind, an open and compassionate heart, and a strong feeling of self -acceptance. View our instructors below…

EDIQUETTE

Walk-ins are welcome,

Please be on time. Doors will lock at start of class.

No cell phones in class.

Please remove shoes before entering studio. We have cubbies in the lobby for them and your other items.

Minimum age is 13.

INSTRUCTORS

Sarah Benson, 200 CYT

Sarah has been practicing yoga for over 15 years, but about 10 years ago it became a part of her daily lifestyle. She started her teaching journey in 2017 while living in TN and working as a Nurse Practitioner. She was practicing yoga several times a week at a studio when they began offering yoga teacher training and she decided to give it a try. She had seen how yoga benefitted her total health including physical, mental, and spiritual and she wanted to be able to share that with her students as well as the patient’s in her practice. She loves to teach her students about the benefits of a regular yoga practice and how to take them off the mat and into their daily lives. She also loves that anyone at any age can practice yoga and likes to teach to all levels and ages of students.

Teresa Cordes, 200 RYT

Teresa began her appreciation of yoga more than 15 years ago when she came upon an obscure cable network channel with a 60 minute yoga practice that opened her eyes to the varied benefits of yoga (physical, mental, spiritual). “I still carry a question with me that the instructor asked the students/viewers in one class…..’can you see beauty everywhere you look?’….it’s amazing how that simple question can reframe one’s mind and outlook whether it’s during a yoga practice or just getting through the day.” She was drawn to the flow of a vinyasa practice and the way it calms the mind and strengthens the body. With a regular yoga practice from those early days forward, she felt called to take her practice deeper by becoming a yoga teacher. Teresa retired in the Fall of 2021 from a 30+ year career in the corporate world and completed her 200 hour teacher training in January 2022 at Simply Yoga. She splits her time between Fort Wayne and Marco Island, Fl., where she has formed a community yoga practice offering an all levels class attended by a group of beautiful yogi’s ranging in age from 25 to 75. Teresa loves adapting her classes to varied experience levels and physical abilities. Honoring one’s body and recognizing when to go deeper into a pose or back out or modify is central to her teaching. It’s not about how we look in the pose, but how and what we feel in the pose. She’s passionate about creating practices that flow slowly with gentle postures as well as building practices that generate heat, strength and allow the class to play with their edge.

Jacqui Follett, 200 CYT

Jacqui stumbled onto to yoga at first for the physical benefits of improving her flexibility and muscle strength, but fell in love with the mental and spiritual benefits of quieting and calming her mind and spirit. Yoga provided the physical, mental and spiritual therapy she needed in her life. She realized when she left the studio after a class that her mind wasn’t racing from thought to thought or trying to solve some problem, but was actually calm and content. The peace she discovered in her mind was life changing. She quickly wanted to learn more and share this experience with others. Yoga not only provides physical benefits, but helps us deal with anxiety, stress, and can bring control back to life when things seem out of control. Whether taking an energetic vinyasa class, a slow steady flow class, or a meditative yin or restorative class her body, mind and spirit are nourished and restored. The benefits of yoga seemed limitless and practicing quickly became a necessity in her life. Embarking on the journey of teacher certification happened because of her desire to share these wonderful discoveries with others.

Kristen Gandolfo, 500 CYT

Kristen Gandolfo has been teaching group exercise classes for 16 years. She fell in love with yoga in 2005 after taking her first class and began her journey to gain her 200-hour teacher training with YogaFit in 2007. Kristen enjoys the physical challenges of yoga but is always amazed at the mental and spiritual benefits her practice brings as well. After experiencing a scary medical diagnosis and surgery in 2013, Kristen is even more aware of how yoga has helped heal her body and become stronger but also helped to give her peace of mind. “My favorite type of class is a vinyasa flow with a focus on strength and balance. I try to give options every time I teach so if one day you have a little more energy, you can take it up a knotch but if not, that’s okay, too. When I feel myself start to become stressed, I go to my mat. It’s incredible how yoga can calm the body, mind, and spirit.” Kristen lives in Fort Wayne with her husband and twin daughters.

Samantha Kosakowski-Beck, E-500 RYT

Samantha Kosakowski-Beck has been teaching in the fitness industry for the last 12 years. She has been a student of yoga on and off for around the same number of years, finding her yoga journey consistent in the last few years. She is 500 Yoga Alliance certified, Silver Sneakers certified, and Reiki certified. She also helps lead Simply Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training program. Aside from these ventures, she is a local photographer and stay at home mom. Her teaching style consists of breath work (pranayama), helping others make asanas (postures) work for their body, and of course making that journey inward with meditation, even if only for a few moments in their day. As a mother of three little boys, she understands the importance of the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects yoga brings. She hopes to connect with all of her students and invites them to find their sweetest light.

Laura Murphy, 200 CYT

Laura Murphy began her yoga journey in 2010 while living in St. Petersburg, FL.  She was immediately drawn to the physical benefits from her practice, and quickly developed an appreciation for the benefits that yoga provided mentally.  Laura’s teaching style focuses on building both physical and mental strength.  Her classes tend to build in intensity through a flowing practice in which there is one breath matched to one movement.  She believes in making yoga accessible to everyone and will provide modifications for all levels in her classes.  Laura completed her Yoga Alliance 200-Hour Certification though Simply Yoga in 2015.  Laura is also a licensed mental health counselor in Fort Wayne, and has devoted her life to helping others achieve both physical and emotional well-being.

David Ryan, 200 CYT

David’s yoga practice began ten years ago. Over time he became increasingly drawn to his teachers’ mention of elements of yoga other than the physical postures. At the end of 2019 he enrolled in Simply Yoga’s 200 hour teacher training with the intention of learning more about yoga’s ethical underpinnings, concepts of breath and energy, and meditation. David’s classes are informed by his belief that, while sometimes striving for ever more ambitious postures is what we need, yoga’s greatest contribution to our well being is always available to us if we remain mindful about respecting and nurturing the body and the mind we have minute by minute, breath by breath. David’s emphasis in any type of class is less on what we do than on how we do it. In every type of class, he hopes to inspire in students awareness, curiosity, freedom from judgement and trust in their intuition. When our physical practice is influenced by those attributes yoga is best able to deliver mental clarity and calm through both movement and stillness.

Amber Sewell, 200 CYT

Prior to starting yoga, Amber tried many different types of fitness classes, but she couldn’t find something that felt right to her. Amber started exploring yoga in 2009 and began experiencing the benefits of the physical postures and the mind/body/spirit connection pretty quickly. She began practicing regularly around 2015, which led to her completing her 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2017. In a busy world with so many external pressures to perform and be productive, yoga offers a necessary respite from demands and expectations. Amber enjoys yoga as a ritual, an invitation to slow down, explore and be curious about one’s body and tune in to one’s inner landscape while allowing oneself to be where they are without judgment. She believes yoga is unique in its ability to simultaneously nurture, build strength, and develop flexibility in the body and mind. She enjoys teaching gentle, slow flow, and yin/restorative classes to people of all ability levels.

Christa Smith, 500 E-RYT

Christa Smith, E-RYT 500, MBA is the founder of Simply Yoga in 2012. She began her yoga journey after her first class where she knew  yoga would be a part of her life from that day forward. She fell in love with the physical challenge of yoga as well as the mental benefits it gave her.  Christa had been a dancer for most of her life and a dance instructor, so the transition to yoga was natural for her. Her passion for yoga inspired her to share that passion with others through teaching.  She truly enjoys watching students transform during their yoga practice.  Christa’s teaching style focuses on alignment and making sure people are safe.  Her classes tend to gravitate towards Vinyasa incorporating breath and movement with a lot of flowing sequences – almost like a dance.  She believes in teaching to all levels in the room where everyone leaves feeling challenged and refreshed.  Christa received her Yoga Alliance 200-hour certification from the Himalayan Yoga & Mediation Center in Palatine, Illinois and her 500 at Hilltop Yoga in Lansing, Michigan.

Sarah Smith, 500 CYT

Sarah Smith began learning about and practicing yoga 20 years ago when she attended yoga classes with her father. Over the years, they continued taking classes together, and Sarah enjoyed the challenges, both physically and mentally, along with learning breath control (pranayama), asanas (poses), and meditation practice. Two years ago, she began teaching yoga sessions to teachers in the school district she works for as a 5th grade teacher. Seeing how much others were learning during the after school sessions, inspired her to learn more about yoga and become more focused in her own practice. Since, Sarah has completed her Yoga Alliance 500-hour Certification through Simply Yoga in 2017. She finds the physical and mental aspects of yoga, at different times, to be calming, challenging, invigorating, and most of all, positive for the body, mind, and spirit. She enjoys teaching yoga classes with Vinyasa, flowing standing poses, and balancing postures. While teaching yoga, she loves looking out at the group and seeing the beauty of a class together in any posture, knowing that each one is at his/her individual level while continuing to gain flexibility and strength, focus and balance.

Meggan Testin, 200 RYT

Meggan Testin obtained her 200-hour Yoga Alliance certification from Simply Yoga in 2014. She started practicing yoga off and on starting in 2010, and has been consistently practicing since 2012. Originally starting yoga for the physical aspect, she has learned to find the mental benefits to balance out her everyday life. During her pregnancy, she had to scale back her practice, which allowed her to focus on breath work with the movements. It’s about meeting your body where you are that day. Everyday we meet different challenges off the mat, which can affect our practice. She will start the class with flows to get the body warmed up before moving to standing postures. Meggan will give modifications for poses according to the students in the room. Meggan is also certified in Prental Yoga and teaches our prenatal series.

Teresa Voirol, 200 RYT

Teresa’s interest in yoga began years ago in junior high at a time when yoga was not as mainstream as it is today. She dabbled in hatha and yin style yoga at home for years and followed yoga videos in her living room before taking her first vinyassa flow style class in a studio 8 or 9 years ago. The mental and spiritual benefit of yoga became increasingly apparent to her and is the part of yoga she is most drawn too. In addition to the physical benefit of gaining strength and flexibility, Teresa sees yoga as a lifestyle and as a tool to calm the anxious mind in a way nothing else can. She also loves the rich history and philosophy of yoga. Teresa completed her teacher certification training here at Simply Yoga and is passionate about sharing the experience of yoga as well as its benefits with her friends, family and students in her classes.