Meet the team

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Nancy Deville

Nancy Deville

Founder, Executive Director

Nancy began practicing yoga in 1997 and has studied Hatha, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikrim. She began meditation in 2008 and has become a student of Dr. Joe Dispenza. In 2014, as a guest teacher, she felt a deep connection to the people incarcerated at Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Her vision in founding PY+M is to teach yoga and meditation with love, compassion and shared humanity to those who have endured trauma and incarceration so that they can cope with PTSD and Post Incarceration Syndrome and realize the full expression of their lives. Nancy is a novelist, memoirist, designer, painter and author of books in the health genre. She lives on the beach with Mike and their whippet, Scarlett.  

Ana Cristina Nery

Ana Cristina Nery

Certified Senior Instructor

Tina is grateful to bring trauma-informed yoga & meditation to a wide array of audiences from recovering gang members and formerly incarcerated men & women at Homeboy Ind. and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition to her colleagues at Disney. She recognizes the soul transformation we all are seeking whether it’s your first or four hundredth class. By reconnecting to our home in the heart, we heal from within, transfer our wounds into motivators for self-discovery, and gain compassion for each other’s suffering. This enables us to share our unique gift to help others heal and thereby heal the Earth.

Mike Averill

Mike Averill

Certified Senior Instructor

Mike was born and raised in Colorado. Having been a gymnast for much of his young life, investigating the mind-body connection has long been a passion. Yoga cemented a place in Mike’s life initially as a way to manage stress, but grew into a much deeper exploration of the human experience. Mike hopes to inspire this same curiosity for life in others.

Mike completed his 200 hour Yoga Alliance certification under the guidance of Francesca Asumah, is in the process of receiving his 500 hour certification. Mike also holds a certification in breathwork.

Greta Ronningen

Greta Ronningen

Certified Senior Instructor

Sister Greta is an Episcopal priest and member of the Community of Divine Love, a monastic community in Central California. She was the Co-Director of PRISM Restorative Justice a ministry of spiritual care in the Los Angeles County jails for over 13 years. She is an advocate for those living behind bars and seeks to raise awareness of the injustice of mass incarceration. Greta currently facilitates restorative justice programs and Victim Awareness classes in the California state prison system. A yoga practitioner with over 40 years of experience, she co-founded Yoga Works in Los Angeles and Yoga Zone in New York City. She is the author of Free on the Inside: Finding God Behind Bars.  

Chris Spurrell

Chris Spurrell

Director of Meditation

Chris came to meditation practice in 2010. Chris practices insight meditation (also known as mindfulness), this is one of the oldest forms of meditation and is fundamentally a secular practice that seeks to connect with experience in the present moment and so achieve liberation from greed hatred and ignorance. Chris came to practice in San Francisco, meditating at San Francisco Insight and multiple retreats at Spirit Rock before moving to Los Angeles in 2103. Chris is training as a meditation facilitator with Insight LA, and plans to graduate in October 2018. Chris currently teaches at Silverlake Meditation in Los Angeles.

Meet our instructors

De Jur

De Jur

Certified Senior Instructor

De Jur is a Los Angeles based, Loyola Marymount University certified Yoga Therapist under the guidance of Dr. Larry Payne. Her interest to teach Yoga off of the mainstream path was sparked by an article about prison yoga. She’s a certified Accessible Yoga Teacher and Ambassador by Rev. Jivana Heyman. De Jur recently added Julian Walker and Hala Khouri’s trauma-informed 200-hour certification to her resumé. She teaches trauma-informed, accessible Yoga Therapy to the sensitive needs population, maximum-security males, and women in California jails and prisons. She also holds classes with youth in the juvenile justice system, juvenile halls, probation camps, and staff around LA County.

Wendy

Wendy

Senior Certified Instructor

Wendy grew up in the lush countryside of Sussex, England, and loves to bring the feeling of misty mornings and sunlit meadows into her classes to convey the healing spirituality of yoga. In 1976 she trained with Swami Vishnu-Devananda, founder of the Sivananda Yoga Centers. She has also studied with Swami Muktananda and Swami Chidvilasananda (Gurumayi), and Joseph and Lilian Le Page, founders of Integrative Yoga Therapy. Wendy has taught for over twenty-five years, led retreats in five countries, taught in the Kinesiology Dept. of CSUN, and worked with chiropractors doing therapeutic yoga for people with chronic injuries.

Janelle

Janelle

Certified Instructor

Janelle first began practicing yoga for its many health benefits, but soon realized the impact it was having on her personal evolution. Yoga has contributed to her greater awareness of authenticity, gratitude, self-love, and patience. Janelle realized she wanted to share her passion for yoga with others, and completed her 200-Hour Teacher Training with Corepower Yoga in 2017.  Her goal as an instructor is to provide a safe space for participants of all backgrounds to practice and discover the transformative benefits of yoga for the mind, body, and soul. She is always looking for ways to deepen her yoga practice both as a teacher and a student.

Jan

Jan

Certified Senior Instructor

In 2009 Jan could not hear her yoga instructor telling her “yoga will transform you.” After being urged by a friend, she joined a 200 hour RYT class in 2014. She has continued her yoga education since, committing herself to trainings and certifications every 6 months. Jan taught yoga in a county minimum security prison that houses women (including pregnant women) from 2016 to 2020. She teaches at a Pasadena area mental health program and to women attending a literacy program at South Central Los Angeles Ministry Project. Jan is also honored to be the organizer of two Yoga of 12 Step Recovery groups.

Shaun

Shaun

Instructor

Shaun’s passion for Yoga began in High School. While studying theatre at the University of Vermont, she discovered her physical yoga practice allowed her body and mind to reach full creative potential. After graduating from UVM, Shaun relocated to Los Angeles. After her 200-hour teacher training, in 2019 Shaun graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Master of Arts in Yoga Studies where she was exposed to Sanskrit, Buddhism, Jainism, Samkhya, Anatomy & Physiology, and a two-month adventure in India. Shaun’s studies allow her to create inclusive, authentic, and rich classes that use ancient and classical yogic texts. She teaches many populations, including homeless and incarcerated.
Erin

Erin

Instructor

Erin lives in Los Angeles and is a chief investment officer of a private entity. She grew up in Seattle and graduated from Harvard University in 2009. She is a registered yoga teacher of vinyasa and nidra, and has taught in various studios in New York as well as worked in the field of trauma-informed yoga. She is a practitioner of Vipassana meditation.
Tom

Tom

Instructor

From his younger years in a small town of Eastern Ohio, to global military deployments, and a myriad of professions and life experiences, the central theme that gets Tom out of bed each day is to spread compassion and understanding by guiding himself and others deeper into themselves, not to fix or to change who we are, but simply to remember. 

Stephanie

Stephanie

Instructor

Stephanie is a 300RYT certified yoga + meditation teacher and breathwork facilitator focusing on restorative and traditional yoga. After living and studying in India with her spiritual masters, she knew she had to answer her calling and work back in the west! Stephanie’s classes focus on deep healing and calming the body, mind, and spirit during challenging times. She work with individuals affected by cancer with UCLA Health Simms Mann Center and also those coping with addiction, alcoholism, and PTSD by way of neurophysiological practices providing stress management. 

Molly

Molly

Certified Senior Instructor

Molly was dragged to her first yoga class 20 years ago by a friend. It was not love at first sight for her and yoga but her teacher suggested she keep coming back. Thankfully, she listened. Through a regular yoga practice, she realized she could choose to react to everything on her path or simply observe it, breathe and learn from life experiences. Molly has made 6 pilgrimages to India to study yoga and meditation, and to volunteer and visit holy cities. She’s studied with many teachers in Los Angeles and taken trauma informed yoga courses. A certified Kundalini teacher of 8 years, Molly is passionate about bringing yoga to underserved communities.

Jana

Jana

Senior Certified Instructor

Jana was introduced to Yoga in 2011 and is delighted to continue sharing this practice with so many others. She loves the idea of us all living out, moment by moment, the expression of “Namaste” where we first recognize the Love, Divine, Light in ourselves . . . and then we can recognize it others in others, and let that be the basis in which we acknowledge all forms of life.
Sarit

Sarit

Certified Senior Instructor

Sarit was introduced to yoga as a young girl, practicing with her mom on Santa Monica beach. She holds a 200-HR certification from Julian Walker and Hala Khouri’s Awakened Heart, Embodied Mind. Sarit has trained with Street Yoga, Uprising Yoga, Hatha-Dharma, Yoga for All Ambassador, and an Accessible Yoga Ambassador. Sarit’s focus is self-regulation using breath and tracking of the felt sense to create trauma-sensitive awareness.She is a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, NeuroAffective Touch practitioner, and currently assists Somatic Experiencing (SE™) trainings. Sarit integrates SE™ into her yoga teaching through raising awareness to the felt sense and nurturing embodiment. Sarit encourages her students to look for Pockets of Peace as they practice, a term she created to refer to the high stress environments she teaches in and the inability to fully self regulate. Finding a Pocket of Peace reminds us that we are able to experience presence and calm in a single moment. 

Aparna

Aparna

Instructor

Aparna is originally from Dallas, TX and took her first yoga class towards the end of high school with an introductory month at her local studio. It wasn’t until moving to NYC in 2015 that she became serious about her practice to complement her training in Bharatanatyam, a form of Indian classical dance she has been practicing since childhood. Aparna works in film and TV production, and usually you’ll find her in a dance/yoga studio or community organizing in some way.
Sharrỏn

Sharrỏn

Certified Senior Instructor

Sharrỏn found her connection to yoga after developing back problems when she was 22 years old. After just 10 days of practice Bikram, her back problems were gone and she knew she would be a yogi forever. After graduating from her first teacher training, she created Sharrari, natural and locally sourced line of yoga wear. Sharrỏn has continued her yoga teaching education and practice with Tony Sanchez Yoga, Jill Miller, Ana Forrest, Dan Ward and Esak Garcia. She hopes to help students to achieve a better quality of life, and to create a positive attitude from within the self through consistent yoga practice.

Abbie

Abbie

Instructor

In 2011, Abbie found yoga and yoga found her. She was in a time of struggling to find who she was and her place in this world. In more ways than one, yoga saved Abbie, it gave her a purpose. In the 8 years she’s been teaching, she’s had the blessing of teaching individuals of all ages and seasons of life. The practice continues to amaze her with its harmony of strength and grace. Abbie has a Kinesiology background and her teaching tends to be anatomically influenced, while merging the mind and heart of the practice.  
Cecile

Cecile

Instructor

Cecile is an Emmy award-winning seasoned Production Executive who lives in Los Angeles. In 2022 she became a certified sound healer through Love & Alchemy and has been collecting instruments and spreading healing through sound and reiki ever since. Cecile joins our yoga instructors  by providing sound and vibrations throughout class, helping inmates get into a deeper state of relaxation and meditation.
Michelle

Michelle

Instructor

Michelle began her yoga journey as a teenager in Northern California and later earned her 200-hour teaching certification in South Africa in 2018, where she taught in a studio and in several of South Africa’s Maximum Security Prisons as part of a restorative justice initiative. Michelle’s yoga is trauma-informed, drawing on her experience as an academic working on issues of human rights and justice, and with individuals involved in conflict. She has over 12 years of experience working with incarcerated or formerly incarcerated folks in various contexts including San Francisco, Northern Ireland, the Palestinian West Bank, and South Africa.
Fitzjoy

Fitzjoy

Certified Senior Instructor

An internationally traveling music industry tour manager, Fitzjoy found yoga in 2007 after lower back and knee surgery stopped him from running and practicing martial arts. Fitjoy’s training includes a 500 hour Hot Yoga certification, Tony Sanchez’s master core 40, Trauma Informed Training with Uprising Yoga and Street Yoga, Restorative yoga L1 with Judith Lasater and 200 hour Wanderlust Vinyasa Training. He is currently completing Noah Maze’s 300 hour Vinyasa Training. Fitjoy’s passion to help people achieve greater bodies, stronger minds, long vitality and better health takes him into LA’s downtown juvenile detention hall, as well as instructing artist clients and touring crews. He teaches inrandom places around the world.

Serenity

Serenity

Senior Certified Instructor

Serenity Tedesco grew up in a family of yogis, philosophers, and academics; yoga has been an essential part of her whole life. She lived and studied yoga all throughout India as an exchange student through Rotary International for a year. She is currently studying in the Master of Arts in Yoga Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Yoga Therapy Rx program with Larry Payne, and Satvatove School of Transformation as a life coach. Her research specialty focuses on social justice, the role of emotion in yoga philosophy, spirituality for minority groups, samkhya philosophy, and intersectional feminism. Her dream is to become a published author, speaker, and conduit for self-realization for all.
Rachel

Rachel

Instructor

Rachel began teaching as a substitute teacher in the Alternative Education Program in Santa Cruz County, supporting students in juvenile hall and TAPP (Teenage Pregnancy). She earned her Master’s in Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She relocated to Los Angeles after co-creating a television series that she co-executive produced for the Fuse network. To balance the speed of the entertainment industry, Rachel began to practice yoga, eventually becoming a RYT-200 and Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher and has supported hundreds of pregnant women, new mothers/babies, teens and seniors. Rachel earned her RYT-500 under Noah Maze. She believes that yoga and meditation have the power to radically transform. Rachel lives with her husband and their two wily preschoolers.

Lydia

Lydia

Instructor

Practicing yoga since 2004, Lydia began the deep dive into yoga philosophy, meditation and clinical therapy 3 years ago. Since then, she became a 200HR certified yoga instructor through LMU, and currently studies with a yoga teacher/death-row exoneree. Lydia brings a warm, relatable, and sensitive approach to her teaching.  

Cicely

Instructor

Cicely Nelson is a certified instructor of Pilates, yoga, and Thai massage. She has been teaching for 18 years. She started teaching after a career as a dancer and remains rooted in the arts world as a violinist and teaching artist with the LA Phil’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles. As a movement teacher, she has taught in studios and physical therapy offices to populations ranging from professional athletes to sufferers of neurological disorders and everyone in between. She is currently certifying as a practitioner of somatic experiencing, a modality that addresses the fact that emotional trauma manifests physically.
Amanda

Amanda

Instructor

Amanda reluctantly stumbled into a Forrest Yoga class in 2007 and from there, she set herself a goal of completing the teacher training one day. In 2012, Amanda completed the 200-hour training with Ana Forrest and began teaching Forrest Inspired Vinyasa classes at studios and gyms in Chicago. She stepped away from teaching public classes but her passion for healing, body movement, and criminal justice reform remains strong. Her goal is to bring a voice to the voiceless and make the world a little more just. Originally from the east coast, now she soaks up the sunshine in Los Angeles.
John

John

Instructor

John is a certified yoga instructor with multiple 200 hour certifications and an MA in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He teaches a variety of styles and classes, but each class with John takes a special focus on oneself and one’s own practice, encompassing breathwork, physical exercise, and mental focus. He is also a professional musician, touring internationally with The Brevet, an independent rock band out of southern California. 
Katherine

Katherine

Instructor

Katherine believes yoga, a tool for transformation, is for everyone and can be accessed anywhere. She infuses her vinyasa classes with mindfulness practices, self-compassion practices, and yogic philosophy. Her seamless style of assisting students into the body-mind connection, while keeping movement flowing, results in inspiring classes and an integrative healing experience. Her technique focuses on harmonizing the inner and outer worlds, leaving students feeling grounded, relaxed, and open. Katherine has been teaching in places of incarceration since 2015.

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