WINTER 2020 LEADERS
We are super excited to have an amazing line-up of talented instructors and teachers to lead the Winter 2020 Big Om Yoga Retreat. Read below to learn more about the wonderful humans who will be leading each experience.
Nicole Peltier Hall, Owner of The Yoga Room
Nicole Peltier studied at Mount Madonna Center in the Santa Cruz mountains of California in 2000. She and Tom Tobias opened The Yoga Room in 2001. Her classes are creative and inclusive, all students seem to benefit and enjoy her style of teaching. She enjoys combining music of all kinds with her flow yoga classes and has been using live music to take her class experience to the next level. She also loves teaching beginners and mellow stretch classes. Most of her classes are powerful and energetic, so be prepared to go the distance.
Amy Jenkins, RYT 200, Level 2 Reiki
Amy is a fun loving woman who is passionate about all things related to healing and spirituality. She's a level 2 reiki practitioner, tantra educator and life coach. She has been teaching yoga for 6 years and became certified in a 200 hour program through Yoga To The People in New York City. Immediately after becoming certified she opened a studio out of her Brooklyn home called Castle In the Clouds. Donation yoga, mediation circles and Sunday brunch were offered 6 days a week. A wonderful community was born that evolved into a new space called the Body Actualized Center. Amy was a founding member of the space and helped coordinate the yoga curriculum. In addition to yoga classes 4 times a day, the space offered lectures, raves, raw food dinners, live music, performance art, workshops and the best boogie dance parties in Brooklyn. Over the course of 3 years the Body Actualized Center changed the lives of countless people and was written about twice in the New York Times. The space pioneered a Sunday event called 'Cosmic Yoga' which combined yoga with live music and offered a raw foods meal after class. Being a part of this space is one of Amy's greatest joys and accomplishments. She created an all women's class called Women's Rejuvenation that continues to be taught all over the country. She moved to Austin, Texas to open a holistic body healing center and continued to teach yoga and lead moon ceremonies out of her home. She created a class called Goddess Girls for young teens attending an alternative high school for young people in the drug court system. Amy is thrilled about joining the Be Love community and hopes to bring her magic to all people in Oklahoma. Her classes are intuitive and fluid, you will always experience something new and discover another aspect of who you are. Her intention is for every student to explore their inner depths in a safe and positive environment while experiencing optimal health and balance. Amy loves life and is grateful for the opportunity to share her love of yoga and promote peace in the planet.
Joe Picorale, Owner of Be Love Yoga Studios
Joe began practicing yoga in 2010 and is a RYT 200. He was one of the original founders of the I AM Yoga Festival in the fall of 2011 and opened the first Be Love Yoga Studio in 2013. With the help of the growing #belovecommunity at Be Love Yoga Studio Joe has since expanded with a second studio in to Broken Arrow Oklahoma and a third in Downtown Jenks America. Joe's passion is connecting people and creating the framework for a community that will change the world. Joe is the creator of the Big Om Yoga Retreat and led the opening yoga class at the first ever retreat.
Sara McCullough, Manager of Yoga Deza
Sara is a leader in the Northwest Arkansas yoga community, actively teaching classes and developing others through trainings in Fayetteville and worldwide through the Sivananda Institute. In March of 2016 she became the studio manager of Yoga Deza and is a faculty member of in-house programs with Integrated Yoga Studies. Trained in Sivananda, Vinyasa, Power and Yin styles of yoga, Sara embraces the many facets of dynamic practices that contribute to living a healthy and authentic life.
Megan Spears, RYT 500
Megan found her love for yoga and the yoga community at the first I AM Yoga Festival in 2010 practicing with those who would become her mentors. In the summer of 2012, she made a 1.5 year goal of earning her yoga teacher certification. She stuck to that goal and earned her 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification in the spring of 2014. In February 2015, she completed her 300 hour training with Live Love Teach and will have accumulated 500 training hours. In this time, Megan has learned (and is always cultivating) the practice of truly seeing, with love and not fear. Megan has studied under Alexandria Mero, Jennifer Skaggs, Phillip Urso, and Stacy Dockins and has also been inspired by the great teachers and students in the Tulsa community. Megan's drive and passion can be felt the moment you walk through the door. Her strong and fluid class - in combination with breath- will help to ground and empower you. Megan is inspired every day by the practice of yoga - the breath, body awareness, and the practice of love, compassion, and surrender. She wants to share and continue to learn.
Andrea Caitlin Neil, RYT 200 and Author
With over 20 years spent in corporate environments, Andrea first came to yoga as a way to alleviate anxiety and stress, but soon realized that yoga can also have a way of changing almost every aspect of one’s life – for the better. A self-professed overthinker, she soon discovered that there is no better way to live in the present, than to be with oneself on the mat.
Andrea has received her 200 hour RYT certification from Everyone Yoga School and knows that this is just a drop in the bucket – there is so much in the world of yoga to explore, from asana practice to philosophy, and everything in between. She’s very thankful to Joe Picorale and Sonia Marshall for their encouragement and assistance with the beginning of the life-long journey that is yoga.
A native Southern Californian, Andrea has lived in Tulsa for many years. While not practicing or teaching yoga, she works as a freelance writer and blogger. She considers herself a daughter of the ocean, and often pretends that there is a beach in Bixby.
Ana Berry, RYT 500
Ana first discovered her love for yoga with a Rodney Yee VHS yoga video at age 12. That discovery helped her through the tricky teenage years and has continued to guide her through the constant vinyasa of life.
She has studied many forms of yoga with leading teachers in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York but while living in LA, she was fortunate to find her teacher; Mark Whitwell, founder of The Heart of Yoga. Rooted in the teachings of Sri Krishnamacharya, the Heart of Yoga principles hit home with Ana more than anything else. Yoga is many things but its essence is simply the relaxation and participation in our own life. It is about embracing what we already have and starting from there. Studying with Mark for 4 years in LA, she received her 500 hour teacher certification on a spiritual pilgrimage and training in India.
Ana’s approach to teaching starts with the heart, is centered around the breath, giving each student a full mind/body work out. Tapping into the hidden emotions and stagnant energy stuck in the body, in class we have an opportunity to become our own alchemist and transform that which does not serve us into energy that does. To facilitate that shift, Ana uses guided meditation, world music, affirmations and chanting along with strengthening, lengthening and sometimes challenging asanas to create a well rounded class that welcomes all.
Elizabeth Barlow, Founder of RECESS +
Elizabeth Barlow, has been practicing yoga for 35 years, and has been teaching for 17 year. As a yoga therapist, Elizabeth is passionate about guiding students to learn how to self-adjust with yoga, allowing students to find their way through injuries, pain management, structural issues, neurological challenges, and body/mind stress.
She is trained by Namaste’ International, a program that teaches yoga in the style of Vanda Scaravelli, and studied with Esther Myers. In the past 17 years, she has studied with Gary Kraftsow, Judith Hanson Lasater, Mukunda Stiles, Doug Keller, Tias Little among others. Elizabeth is co-founder of Tulsa Yoga Therapy along with Stephen Saunders.
Elizabeth has been teaching movement to children for many years and is Founder/Director of Resource Education for Calming, Energizing, Self-awareness and Self-regulation (RECESS+). RECESS+ has been teaching self-regulation using yoga techniques to both children and adults in schools, shelters, and residential programs since 2007.
As a Certified Massage Therapist of 17 years, Elizabeth is trained in and practices many bodywork modalities to complement the use of Therapeutic Yoga, including, Naturopathic Manipulation, Craniosacral Therapy, Touch for Health, trigger point therapy, and rehabilitative movement. Get in touch with her: elizabethbarlow.net 918-200-9642
Melissa Joy, Owner of Cherry Street Yoga
Melissa is a serial entrepreneur and has been working for herself since 2003. Once the owner and operator of Natural Lullabies, a retail store and community center that opened in 2003 in South Tulsa. Melissa also developed and still teaches a holistic childbirth education curriculum called Pure Birth which incorporate mindfulness into birth. She has been teaching childbirth classes and attending births as a doula since 2003 with over 160 births and over 1,500 childbirth classes. Melissa has also been invovled in many other projects and has opened two different yoga studios.
Melissa also has enjoyed sharing yoga in many different capacities since her teacher training in 2005 and has taught over 2,500 yoga classes. Melissa Melissa is a single mother of four sons ranging from 14 years old to a one year old and graduated from the University of Tulsa in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration (Finance).
She has been a Director of the I AM Yoga, Art + Music Festival since 2011. Melissa also teaches Mindfulness and Empowered Living Classes in many different environments such as companies, schools and a prison work release program. Melissa currently owns and operates Cherry Street Yoga.
Tiffany Ann White, Retreat Chef, RYT 200
I take a practical approach to yoga, and I enjoy learning about the physiology involved with the movement and breath work. I used to be obese in my adolescence and yoga has really helped pull me out of the slump of self-doubt and anxiety. I enjoy teaching restorative yoga and beginners’ yoga classes because it affords me the opportunity to talk about blood pressure, heart rate, the nervous system, the lymphatic system, and other unseen movements of the body. I want to share that this practice works when you get out of your head to really inhabit your body and move with intention.
Tracy Dawn Espinosa Checotah
Introduced to Yoga principals at the age of 5, Tracy Dawn has been practicing for over 15 years and teaching for 12. The broad contrast of being born into a superstitious Hispanic Catholic family, her own father an atheist and her first visit to a Krisha Hindu temple at the age of 6 sparked an intense passion and desire at an early age to experience and understand "spiritual practices and traditions" and why people were drawn to them. Captivated and transformed by the beautiful rituals and practices she encountered on her journey she knew this was her calling, to teach. Tracy's teaching draw on her lifetime of intimate experience of movement, Yoga and practices such as traditional Christian worship, Bhakti chanting, study of the Torah and Jewish Feast, Native American Sweats and medicines, learning the dances of the Messianic Jews, Hispanic Shamanic rituals, Buddhist practices, many Hindu celebrations and other observances into one final understanding that they all serve a purpose very similar to that of Yoga, Union.
Accumulated over a thousand hours of Yoga training, Pilates, Dance and Movement, Tracy Dawn's intent is to give each person tools they can use to find their personal EDGE (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) and dive deep into touching the sacred in a profound and life changing way. Known to some as Tirzah (spiritual name) she is also the Director of Yoga in the Park-Downtown OKC. Owner of The Mat's Edge Yoga, Founder of Sage Goddess Circle and Sherpa Mama. She is a doula and has taught Prental and Postnatal yoga for over 8 years. She lectures on Women's topics such as Sacred Feminine, Goddess Studies, Moon Rituals, Wisdom Practices and Shakti. Tracy teaches in several locations in Oklahoma City and in Taos, New Mexico.
Melissa Smith, RYT 200
Melissa has been teaching various forms of fitness and dance since 2009. She feels the study and appreciation of human movement has been one of the most lasting blessings of her life. When Melissa realized that she could make a career out of helping people change their lives by supporting their journey of health, she knew she had found her purpose. Yoga has been a positive transformative force for Melissa. After seeing the physical, mental, and spiritual impact yoga made on her life, Melissa was compelled to share it with others. Her practice has allowed Melissa to attain an uplifting energy that carries through into everything she does. To Melissa, yoga brings sweet peace and refreshing balance all while inspiring her to expand the limits of compassion she has for herself and those around her. Off the mat, Melissa delights in spending time with her husband and silly girls, volunteering at the soup kitchen and kid's pantry at Iron Gate, being a cooker and eater of delicious food, watching Auburn football (WAR EAGLE!), and soaking in the love of family and friends. Melissa has received her 200hr yoga teacher certification, is a licensed Zumba instructor, NASM certified personal trainer, YogaFit certified, and has LesMills BodyFlow certification. Melissa encourages everyone to find the practice that is right for them in order to realize their own path to self-discovery and personal transformation.
Kris Wyatt, Owner of Kristine Wyatt Yoga
The first time I stepped onto a yoga mat, I was looking for a new form of exercise. An hour-and-a-half later, I found myself on a new path. I had been physically active as an adult; I ran my first marathon for my 40th birthday and completed 10 more before I turned 50. I then began competitive bodybuilding, and enjoyed the challenges of training and the precision required for the competition preparation. Sadly, though, the months of preparation, whether for a 26-mile run or flexing on a stage, always felt rather anti-climactic on the actual day of the event. I was unfulfilled. Yoga took the competitive edge out of me. I began to see I didn’t need to measure or compare myself to anyone’s standards. I found myself looking forward to my time on the mat and the opportunity share that experience with others. I enrolled in The Yoga Spirit Academy and began my 200 CYT, studying with Janet Parachin. I teach at my studio in Bristow, where I offer what I have called “zero intimidation, super- fun Yoga”: a breath-based vinyasa flow class with endless opportunities for students to explore their potential. I encourage yogis to find the edge of their comfort zone and “hang out there.” I love being able to create the space for students of any ability to be curious, to be mindful, and to learn to see the world without judgment.
Beverly Vaughn, Be Love Yoga Teacher
Turning 50, Beverly chose to drastically change her lifestyle. Working with horses and not using her body correctly put her in the position of requiring back surgery for disc repair and later still for shoulder surgery. Back surgery had left her stiff and out of shape. Fate brought her to the Yoga Barn at The Canebrake where she began to experience the benefit of having a regular yoga practice. It was only a matter of time before she began to study and set out to help others achieve the pure energy and calm of yoga. Completing her 200-hour RYT program, at the Arkansas Yoga Center in October of 2012, yoga is solidly incorporated into Beverly’s life. Her training continues as she eagerly attends workshops and clinics. In January of 2013 she went to Watsonville, CA for 22 hours of training with Judith Lasater. She is committed to continued education and the well being of each of her students. Her intention is to serve students through her unique and personal perspective. Because really, everyone needs yoga.
Sonia Marion, RYT 200 Yoga Therapy
Sonia began practicing yoga to manage severe chronic back pain, and found that it not only helped to strengthen the core and alleviate pain, it also exponentially improved the quality of her life. Weight began to drop off, she became stronger, and stress was alleviated. Sonia began her career as a yoga instructor in 2011 when her teacher, Stephen Saunders, asked her to sub for him in his absence. She is honored and amazed by his constant generosity, guidance, and deep understanding of yoga. Soon after, she began her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification in Hatha Yoga at Yoga Spirit Academy in Tulsa with Janet and Victor Parachin. Studying with these gifted and knowledgable teachers has greatly expanded her understanding of the whole of yoga. She is currently focusing her studies on Yoga as Therapy with Doug Kellar. Sonia teaches with a gentle approach, encouraging everyone to practice at their own level, and believes yoga is for every-body, for any age.
Other Certifications Include:
Anatomy for Yoga, Yoga for the Upper Back and Neck, Yoga Body, Yoga for Osteoporosis, Yoga for Anxiety, Master class on The Principals of Alignment and Myofascial Fitness, Yoga Therapy, Yoga for the Feet, Yoga for the Hips and Lower Back, and Pranayama