Our Team

The Leading Yoga instructional team is committed to optimizing your yoga experience. Our instructors teach Zoom sessions, meet individually with students, and conduct off-site at corporate events. We offer teacher training certification coursework for those interested in becoming an instructor.

Team members include advanced practitioners in Hatha yoga, meditation, Vinyasa yoga, and much more. Review our team to see who you would like to come out to your next corporate event or to teach you a private lesson via Zoom or in person.

Leading Yoga Our Instructional Team

Leading Yoga team members are here to assist you with your yoga journey. Looking for a private one-on-one lesson? A corporate event? An in-service day for your team? The Leading Yoga instructional team is here if you have questions so just ask us.

Leading Yoga Instructional Team

Jennifer Smeddy

Director, Lead Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Jennifer Smeddy began her yoga journey looking for a way to quiet her mind and assist with her anxiety. She found solace in yoga and has a thirst to help others learn the benefits of yoga; helping your mind, body and spirit. Her formal yoga training occurred in India where she received her YTT. While living in India, she studied traditional Hatha yoga and the yogic sciences. Jennifer has experience teaching Hatha, restorative, yin and chair yoga asanas, pranayama, and meditation. Yoga has shown Jennifer how to approach life in an open and honest way. With yoga in her life she is able to achieve a sense of ease and acceptance she never thought possible. Choosing this yogic path has changed her life completely and left her more accepting of herself and the nature of reality than she ever thought possible. Her life has transformed because of her daily yoga practice and she is excited to help others on their yoga journey with Leading Yoga.

Shalyni Paiyappilly

Yoga, Meditation & Reiki Instructor

Shalyni is a NY State Licensed Psychotherapist, Certified Life Coach, Registered Yoga / Meditation Teacher, Sound Vibration Facilitator, Reiki Practitioner, and a Singer.

Shalyni felt a calling at a young age to share her presence and her voice to help those in distress. She believes it is her mission to inspire peace in others. She currently works full time providing psycho-therapy at a private practice group. Additionally, she offers meditation, yoga, and sound vibration sessions in various NYC locations.

Kevin Allen

Kevin Allen

Yoga Instructor

Kevin Allen has been a Certified Iyengar Yoga Teacher since 2013. He first began studying Iyengar Yoga in 2006 as part of a New Year’s resolution. As a teacher, Kevin helps students gain insight into poses with crisp demonstrations, clear instructions, and straightforward corrections. Kevin also works as an actor and writer. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Dartmouth College.

Viramarie

Viramarie Witiuk

Yoga Instructor

Viramarie is an RYT200 Hatha and vinyasa yoga practitioner and instructor. Having left the corporate world, she returned to her athletic roots and continued her journey toward health and fitness by obtaining certifications in Yoga, Pilates, Barre Ballet, Core Conditioning, and becoming a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. She finds joy in staying healthy herself and also encouraging others to join her on a path of overall well-being, incorporating the mind, the body and the soul.

Atieh Sahraei

Yoga Instructor

Atieh Sahraei is a 200-hour Certified Yoga and Meditation Instructor and a Nutritionist on the path to becoming a Registered Dietitian (RDN). She started passionately practicing yoga during her first year of college and when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Atieh felt the urge to take her practice to the next level and begin sharing the amazing Mind, body, & Breath experience with the world. Practicing Vinyasa Yoga flow has led Atieh to reach her perfect body goal, while at the same time, it has been a great method to balance and relax her mind. For the past two years, Atieh’s lifestyle has been all around Intuitive living and eating - exercise is just one element of a healthy life.
Atieh teaches all levels of Vinyasa flow, Power, and Yin Yoga; and has instructed all types of classes from private to large classroom sessions.

Sojourner Walker Williams

Yoga Instructor

Sojourner Walker Williams (she/her) is an energy healer, ayurvedic practitioner, and yoga teacher/trainer. Sojourner draws from her experiences as a Reiki Master, Akashic Records reader, Thai Bodywork practitioner, Reyad Sekh Em practitioner (Kemetic Alchemy Healing), and 500+ hours of yoga teacher trainings, to integrate a variety of healing modalities during her sessions depending upon the unique needs of each person in her care.

Alexis J Alvarez

Meditation & Sound Healing Facilitator

Alexis J Alvarez is a Metaphysical Provider, certified as a Spiritual Life Coach, Meditation Teacher, Sound & Color Healing Facilitator, Reiki Practitioner, and Teaching Artist.

Alexis' unique approach to mindfulness & meditation combines modern technologies, ancient practices & intuitive guidance. She currently services companies, non-profits & school organizations offering art & mindfulness workshops, meditations & sound baths. Additionally, she offers private intuitive readings, crystal reiki sessions & sound baths both virtually & in various NYC locations.

Tessa Ramsay

Meditation & Yoga Instructor

Tessa Ramsay (200-RYT) has been practicing yoga for eight years and appreciates its transformative powers both on and off the mat. In her decade of teaching English and leadership in New York City, she has learned how important calm, control, confidence, reflection, and expression are to developing minds. She finds creative ways to embed poetry, curiosity, and exploration and celebration of self into her classes with the hope that participants get one step closer to their happiest, healthiest selves.

August Evans

Meditation Instructor

August Evans began meditating at the age of 16 and came to study four meditation techniques—Transcendental Meditation, the Kabbalistic meditative tradition, Kundalini Yoga, and Vipassanā Meditation—and merges these traditions with her fourteen years of teaching Writing in higher education to create original curriculum as an instructor of Breath & Meditation at Syracuse University. Her unique approach is geared to guide people of all ages refine their focus, approach life from a space of equanimity, and non-reactively handle the inevitable stresses of daily life.

Chanelle Patrick

Zumba, Toning/Conditioning & Meditation Instructor

Chanelle Patrick started her journey in dance at the early age of 3. She loved to dance in church and bring people joy with her dynamic movement. She began taking professional training classes from her mentor Myah Mckinnie at the 4. She learned ballet, Jazz, African, Hip-Hop liturgical, and a host of other types of expressive movement. Chanelle decided that she wanted to continue her education in the Arts. Hence, she attended Columbia College Chicago and got her Bachelor of Arts in Theater with a minor in dance. In 2012 she became a certified Zumba Instructor. She went on to continue teaching dance education in the Chicago Public and Private school sector. Christmas of 2019 Chanelle sang on Broadway for the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. In 2020 she became a certified instructor in Zumba for kids, an Aqua Aerobics instructor, a Zumbini instructor, Zumba Step, Zumba Pro, and Zumba Strong.

Astrid Kusumo

Zumba and Zumba Toning/Conditioning Instructor

After the birth of her 2nd child, Astrid was looking for a way to lose weight, and get healthy and fit. She started trying Zumba workouts at the gym and after 1 year, she fell in love and find a passion for it. She then decided to become a certified Zumba Instructor. Astrid has been teaching for over 6 years and has loved every second of it. Astrid truly believes in helping all people feel welcome to work out and have fun in a judgment-free environment. She is also licensed to teach Zumba toning and certified AFAA-GFI.

Angela Pang

Zumba, Zumba Toning/Conditioning & Zumba Kids Instructor

Angela is a mom of 3 kids. She gained a lot of weight after her last child and was looking for a fun way to lose weight. She joined her local gym and attended a Zumba class and instantly fell in love with Zumba. After joining 1 year in the gym, she lost over 40 lbs. Zumba is her favorite group fitness class, not only did it help her physically, it also helped her mentally. Angela gained a lot of confidence and feel so much happier since. She gets to meet amazing people around her in her classes. So she decided that shewant to bring this happiness to others. After she got her Zumba license 2 years ago, she also obtained her Zumba toning, Zumba gold, Zumba Kids licenses. She is also an AFAA certified group fitness instructor.

Myrena Sint Jago

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Myrena has been teaching Hatha Yoga since 1996, is Experienced 500 (E-RYT) from Yoga Alliance. She has multiple Teacher Certifications from the Integral Yoga Institute in NYC, Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and from the Yogaville (Satchidananda Ashram); plus a Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition and Wellness Coach. She has taught individuals, groups, couples, in a variety of settings, like yoga centers (16 years at the NYC Integral Yoga Institute), corporations, birthing centers, health clubs, to pregnant women and their partners; including to women (some men) also who have survived breast cancer; and ovarian cancer at various hospitals.

Ethel Tally

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Ethel is a yoga and meditation instructor with over 700+ hours of yoga training under her belt. She is also a certified doula, prenatal yoga, art and dance facilitator. Ethel loves to be creative in her offerings incorporating a variety of styles of yoga, meditation and movement. She empowers everyone through her teachings to nurture that precious mind-body connection.

Malathi Raghavendra

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

As a means to balance professional and personal life, Malathi took to Yoga. She fell in love with the art of yoga and further went on to become a certified yoga teacher from The Yoga School NY and advanced training from KYM, India.

Ann Qin

Yoga, Zumba & Meditation Instructor

I have been very passionate about sports, exercise, and fitness for almost all my life. I had received gymnastics training for eight years since I was a kid. I am an avid marathon runner, I had done the NYC marathon 9 times and numerous other distance races. I have been a member and pacer of the New York Running club for many years. In 2019, I won 4th at NPC Eastern USA Championships Bikini Novice Class A, and I won 5th at NPC Brooklyn Grand Prix Novice Class A.

My true passion is Zumba and Yoga practice and teaching, they both have a big impact on me mentally and physically. I have been a certified Zumba instructor, hold Zumba basic license and a Zumba gold license since 2016, and I absolutely love teaching Zumba classes. I am also certified 200 (E-RYT) from Yoga Alliance. Back in 2011, I had been a practitioner for the Virtual Yoga health program “Yogaxpress” at the studio of Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and a producer of this program at Queens Public Television for several years.

In the past and up to now, I have been spending a lot of my time and energy coaching, motivating, and inspiring others to work out, I have a lot of experience in coaching and instructing kids, adults, and seniors in dancing, yoga, exercising since I have been as a group fitness consultant for a private fitness for many years.

I am a very highly motivated and energetic person. I have a passion for helping others, improve their lives through fun workouts, strength training, and fitness. I am friendly, and willing to learn and I have confidence in supporting and building relationships with all levels of customers. I love fitness, I love people, and I want to share the enjoyment that fitness bring to me with others.

Andrea Baykir

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Andrea Baykir is a 200hr Yoga Instructor, Chopra Center Certified Meditation Instructor, and Revelation Breathwork Facilitator. She currently teaches Meditation, Yoga, and Breath to women online who are experiencing overwhelm, impatience in their relationships with their children and partners, self-judgment and criticism, and disconnected from what it is that their hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits need. Andrea is also a former Elementary School Teacher and also supports children in building emotional resilience through mindfulness, breath and meditation.

Azure Lilliana

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Azure started practicing yoga as a child and has been certified to teach yoga and meditation to adults and children since 2014. She is passionate about helping students connect to their inner peace and power. Azure has taught mindfulness to children in public and private schools across all 5 boroughs of NYC. She has organized classes for adults in workplaces and community centers as well as taught in studios and private homes. Azure believes that powerful benefits and big changes can come from simple beginning steps.

Mariia Jones

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Mariia has practiced yoga since she was fourteen. She has been teaching for more than two years and has created unique programs and experiences for her participants. She has taught group, individual classes, and corporate yoga. Besides yoga, she also teaches stretching, meditation and breathwork. I received my teacher certification (200 hours), and intermediate teacher certification (175 hours) in Integral Yoga Institute, NYC. I am an instructor accredited by Yoga Alliance.

Dianne Galliano-Grigsby

Yoga & Meditation Instructor

Dianne Galliano-Grigsby is a certified yoga therapist, student advisor, and mentor, and has a Master of Science degree in Yoga Therapy. She is a highly experienced yoga teacher and educator whose expertise is informed by more than 15 years of teaching with over 5000 documented teaching and continuing education hours with the Yoga Alliance. Maintaining healthy and ethical relationships with faculty, students, and clients is of utmost importance. Her attitude of non-judgment, adaptability, and inclusivity fosters a safe space for those to explore and find their balance between effort and ease. In 2015 Dianne was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. Gathering greater agency through her studies, her inspirations, and, of course, the teachings of yoga emboldened her to find and redefine the importance of Yoga and resiliency. Cultivating values of adaptability, empathy, and a non-judgmental attitude for herself has given her the skill in fostering health and wellness for individuals that guides them toward improved balance, resiliency, and overall well-being.