The Menla Family

Yoga Instructors

(click on the link after each instructors name to view their classes)


Áine Pierandi McCarthy - Classes Workshops


    I received my B.A. from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where I studied Religion and had the chance to spend four months in Bodh Gaya, India studying meditation and Buddhist traditions. I am a graduate of the Buddhist Chaplaincy Training at Upaya Zen Center and now serve as co-director of this program.  A longtime yoga practitioner, in 2016 I completed the 200-hour Yogic Study & Teacher Training Program at YogaSource in Santa Fe and I have been teaching since May.   I am also a certified Labyrinth Facilitator through Veriditas, an organization dedicated to sharing the labyrinth as a contemplative tool and work with the Labyrinth Resource Group of Santa Fe.

Aine@menlacenter.org


Jodie Pagett - Classes Workshops



    A recent transplant to Santa Fe from the Midwest, I am a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, certified by Yoga Alliance.  I began a self-study of yoga asanas in 2001, began teaching informally in 2010 and completed my teacher training in 2011.  I continue to supplement my yoga education by attending classes and workshops.  My classes provide a focus on safety, strength and flexibility with an inward, non-judgmental attention to the body.  Classes end with a deep relaxation and meditation, sending the student out the door feeling de-stressed and more tranquil.  I live in Santa Fe with my husband.

Jodie@menlacenter.org


Michou Landon - Classes Workshops


    I blend my background in Iyengar and other forms of Hatha Yoga
with my studies of Asian healing disciplines, psychology and the fluid elements of nature, sound and breath.  My approach is to bring mindfulness, curiosity, playfulness and compassion to asana practice, so that these may express in our lives beyond the mat.  Having seen first hand both the power and the perils of yoga, I encourage a practice guided by internal wisdom, not external ambition, focusing on deepening a quality of presence, friendliness, and body awareness that naturally cultivate universal connectedness and compassion.

I specialize in Principle Based Partner Yoga, which teaches us how support for, and from, another profoundly deepens our practice, on the mat and in all relationship.  I have led children’s classes called Yoga Safari, and also incorporate principles of Yin Yoga into my classes.  I am also a writer and poet, a singer, and a clairvoyant counselor.

Michou@menlacenter.org 


Sue Schmitt - Classes Workshops


      I am a Certified Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist and have over 2500 hours of teaching and am experienced in alignment based yoga.  I study Ayurveda through the Himalayan Institute in Pa. and am working toward my Ayurvedic Health Counseling Certificate.  I am experienced in teaching all levels but my specialty is working with special conditions.


    I have been in the health and wellness field since 1973.  I began my career as a Clinical Medical Assistant, moved onto becoming a Health & Fitness Professional, and now currently teach Yoga, Ayurveda, and an integrated blend of fitness and yoga.  I have created a program called MindBody Fitness where I blend yoga, mindfulness, and fitness components.


    I recently moved to Santa Fe, relocating from Annapolis MD, to be nearer to family.  I am founder and owner of Shakti Studio in Annapolis, a boutique yoga studio.

Sue@menlacenter.org


Monique Von - Classes Workshops


    I grew up in the lake countryside of Central Minnesota where my mother raised my brother and me as vegetarians.  My mother had been practicing yoga since she was a teenager and I would often try to imitate the poses. This influenced me to start taking yoga classes as a teenager and my senior year in high school, when I had a life-threatening digestive illness, I turned to yoga to help me cope with my chronic inflammation and metabolic issues.  After practicing regularly for quite a few years, I was inspired to get my teacher training certification.

     I have been teaching since 2006 and have offered staff yoga, studio yoga, and gym yoga, as well as volunteering in an outreach program.  In addition to the typical yoga students, I’ve worked with kids, abused women, the elderly and athletes.  My practice is based on Pattabi Jois’s Ashtanga Yoga Primary Series in which I mainly studied Beryl Bender Birch's “Power Yoga” and David Swenson's Primary Series.  I have incorporated my own blend of different flow poses from various dance classes and workshops I've taken through the years.   They mainly have an Ashtanga, Iyengar and deep meditative focus with an emphasis on proper alignment, modification and a deep understanding within the yogic practice.

      I have a certification in Health Coaching and Nutrition and offer consultations.  I live in Santa Fe and am currently in school in pursuit of a licensure in Acupuncture hoping to be a D.O.M. By 2020.

Monique@menlacenter.org  


Ruby Renshaw - Classes Workshops


I blend my training as a Kundalini Yoga teacher with intuitive movement and music to explore the territory of relaxing into the amazing, expansive beings we are.

    I was introduced to Kundalini Yoga thru a random DVD purchase in 1994 and practiced at home on my own before discovering the yoga studio and small community of the ashram in Houston, Texas where I was living at the time. There I met a teacher, who gently guided me into the depth, breadth and potential of Kundalini Yoga & Meditation in 6 a.m. yoga classes.

    Moving to Santa Fe in 2011, I participated in the yoga teacher training at Yoga Santa Fe primarily to deepen my own personal practice and understanding; secondarily I discovered an interest in teaching and a desire to dive more deeply into the integrative aspect of the yoga.

    I truly enjoy experiencing the “lightness” that unfolds in the community of class.

Ruby@menlacenter.org



 

Tai Chi Instructor


Wendy Singer - Classes Workshops


    I have been studying natural self-healing for thirty five years concentrating on the oriental arts of Tai Chi and Macrobiotics. I continue to improve my own
muscular skeletal deficiencies using Tai Chi principles and practice. With my husband of 32 years, I have raised three children, following the laws of yin and yang and the principles of the five transformations of energy to cultivate health and happiness. I have used the lessons of illness to deepen my understanding of universal energy. I enjoy exploring how yin and yang are at play in the culinary arts, frame drumming, sumie (Japanese ink painting), dance and prayer. In my Tai Chi classes we study the applications of universal energy principles to the human condition, seeking to create health and the power to manifest our dreams. 

Wendy@menlacenter.org


QiGong Instructor


Ellen Shapiro - Classes Workshops


    I am a Morning Medical Qigong Instructor, energy healer and counselor, and empowerment and prosperity coach.  My focus as a Qigong teacher is on awareness, grounding, compassion and self-reverence.  With a deep love for the human body and psyche, the Earth, the Divine Feminine and Masculine, I offer Qigong as a body-centered prayer and spiritual practice.


        My wake-up call came after intense overwork and alienation in my NYC corporate career in finance, which led eventually to becoming a transformational coach, Reiki Master and bodyworker.  I know firsthand the stresses of modern life—both in urban life and even here in New Mexico - and the need for healing and ongoing self-care.  My certifications include Resonance Repatterning ®, Polarity energy therapy, Body-Oriented Gestalt therapy, and Kripalu Dancekinetics. As a “Tapping into Wealth” coach.  I mentor practitioners and conscious business owners around their money, income and ability to receive.  I also help women reclaim their aliveness, find hope and purpose after loss, and to believe in themselves and their essential goodness—to create a fresh start and a flourishing life at any age.

Ellen@menlacenter.org



Jonathan Gimbel - Classes Workshops


    I am a practitioner of Oriental medicine, and have been in practice since 1995. I earned a Master’s of Acupuncture from Northwest Institute of Oriental Medicine in 1994 and a Masters of Science in Oriental Medicine (M.S.O.M.) from Southwest Acupuncture College in Santa Fe, NM, where I am currently an Associate Professor of Oriental Medicine. I opened Pinon Community Acupuncture in hopes of making acupuncture, particularly Japanese Meridian Acupuncture, available to those without access to health insurance in the larger Santa Fe Community.  I also has a long time passion and practice of Tai Chi and Qigong and am the current Qigong instructor at the Genoveva Chavez Community Center.

Jonathan@menlacenter.org




Mindfull Pilates Instructor


Neela Richardson - Classes Workshops


    I have been passionately working in the Alternative Health and Fitness world for over 20 years. I primarily teach Pilates and Pilates/Yoga Fusion classes. I love to assist my students in empowering themselves with tools for self care and healing. Regardless of what I am teaching all of my classes have and emphasis on deepening the Body/Mind awareness.  I have a degree in Holistic Nutrition and practice Nutrition and Aromatherapy for wellness, and I have a private practice in Craniosacral Therapy and Somatic Polarity bodywork. 

Neela@menlacenter.org




Substitute Yoga Instructors


Barbara Metzdorff - Workshops


    I began studying yoga in 1994 and incorporated Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga into my daily life for 10 years before I changed careers to become a yoga instructor.  I opened my first yoga studio in 2004 and my most recent yoga adventure (Yoga For Life - Santa Fe) in 2010.  I have been a member of Yoga Alliance since 2004 and is an ERYT-500, Teacher/Trainer at the 200 hour level and CRYT (Children's Registered Yoga Teacher).  My membership with the International Association of Yoga Therapists began in 2012 and is awaiting her approval of their designation of Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT).


My study of Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, Chakras, Chanting, Meditation, anatomy and physiology, adaptive yoga and Yoga Therapy continue to inform my teaching philosophy.  My passion is teaching yoga in a caring and supportive way that encourages my students to build upon their own yoga experiences to deepen their practice with education, safety and health at the root of all learning.  My teaching style is relaxed and focuses on teaching my students to become aware of how their bodies feel engaging with the practices of yoga.  I bring over 27 years of teaching experience and 22 years of personal yoga experience to her classes and students.  I live in Eldorado with my husband, daughter and 2 cats.


Chrissie Bednarek - Workshops


    Through a 3-year quest and impactful time learning and practicing as a Registered Nurse, I determined that my fuller path to serving others was through yoga. I bring to my practice and teaching an enthusiasm for the physiology and anatomy of the body and their direct relationship with the deeper, more subtle layers of self. Through inquisitive, knowledgeable self-care, I believe fully that the body, mind, heart and spirit have an unlimited capacity for healing and wellness. It is my passion and joy to share the practice of Yoga with others and I am profoundly grateful for the wisdom offered by the natural forces of the world and for the many teachers that have guided me on my own path. I teach with a focus on breath integration into structural alignment to create freedom in the inner body and encourage students to cultivate a reflective attitude that is guided by their own inner observations for inspiration and insight.


Grace McWilliams - Workshops


I first experienced  yoga in 1986, and since have developed a deep personal practice. I have found Yoga to be a way to safely explore the concept of acceptance and self-love. Through yoga, I have been able to find ground, and release excess energy back into the world in a flowing creative cycle. I received my RYT200 from Prajna Yoga of Santa Fe, studying with Tias and Surya Little.  I am also an Energy Practitioner who enjoys practicing yoga with a variety of music, aromatherapy, and laughter.


I teach a variety of classes in the Santa Fe County area from Warm and Gentle to Chair Yoga. I've been told I have a light-hearted and upbeat personality and my goal is to inspire my students to embrace self love through movement exploration and meditative stillness.


Jacci Gruninger -  Workshops


   I strive to use yoga and all its tenets, on and off the mat, to be fully awake and alive every day.   I am a Senior Pranakriya and Kripalu yoga instructor and lead a variety of yoga teacher trainings around the country including:  200 Hour Pranakriya Teacher Training, Prenatal Teacher Training and Restorative Yoga Teacher Training.  I attribute the start of my yogic path to the Masters in Health Science program at The George Washington University.  There I was able to devise a program that emphasized wholeness.  After graduation, I went on to create and manage wellness programs for The George Washington University and Arlington County Government.  My work introduced me to the practice of yoga and I haven’t looked back.  I  have continued my studies with my teacher Yoganand Michael Carroll, completed my Yoga Therapist Certification and also practice Thai Yoga Therapy.  Both modalities give me an opportunity to work one-on-one with clients during their healing.  I hope to help students see the reflection of their own possibility by guiding them in compassion, permission, acceptance and patience as they move through postures, breath work and meditation.  I live in Eldorado with my son.


Kristia Burlae - Workshops


  I started doing yoga in 2002 on a yoga and writing retreat in a
rural village in Mexico.  Several hundred pages later, I found that yoga opened channels for writing and I’ve since embarked upon a career as a writer, using my handy creativity inducing tool of yoga.  I trained under a gentle, teacher in Portland, Oregon learning the nuances of the Iyengar style that create meditative, deep stretches and enduring foundations in which alignment is profoundly important.  I later learned Yin Style Yoga in Chapel Hill, NC.  I offer a non-competitive environment in which students learn to honor the needs of their own bodies within each pose.  Iyengar and Yin Yoga work in incremental stages so that over time, the student feels a drastic difference in flexibility and strength as well as the mind-body integration that allows for bodily awareness.  I also offer workshops in which I use yoga to open creative channels in writing.


Owners/Managing Partners


David McDonald - Groups

    I am a long time meditation practitioner and a practicing
Tibetan Buddhist who has been doing yoga since 2010.  I have a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and over 15 years experience in non-profit and school administration.  An avid guitar, bass and marimba player, I have lived in Eldorado for 12 years and am active in the ECIA on the Architecture Committee and the Solar Energy Group.  I raised a son (who inspired me to take up yoga and whose input on this website has been invaluable) and live with my wife, 2 dogs and 2 cats.

David@menlacenter.org 



Sandy Szabat

    I am a 15 year resident of Eldorado and a community-builder with experience in non-profits both as a program director and board member.  I have worked in public relations, event planning and social work and have a Bachelor of Arts in Public Communication. I am now enjoying the art of raising teenagers, and have been a substitute teacher with Santa Fe Public Schools for 5 years. I am a new but passionate student of yoga, which invigorates my mind, body and soul.  I live with my husband, son and daughter, and two dogs. 

Sandy@menlacenter.org