Meet the team

“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself.”

— John McCain

Meet our 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.  

John Hartmann

John Hartmann

Author, educator and music industry veteran Hartmann began his career in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency. He later served as the Morris Office liaison to Colonel Tom Parker the manager of Elvis Presley. A veteran agent, personal manager and record executive, Hartmann provided career direction for such luminaries as Chad & Jeremy, Sonny & Cher, Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Eagles, Jackson Browne, Peter Paul & Mary, Crosby, Stills & Nash, America, Poco, and Ringo Starr. He was honored to receive the Talent Manager’s Association’s 2015 Heller Award for Lifetime Achievement in artist management. Hartmann lectured for ten years in the School of Film & Television at Loyola Marymount University where the students voted him ‘Professor of the Year’ three times.

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.  

Tina Nery

Tina Nery

Certified Senior Instructor

Tina is grateful to bring the practices of Mindfulness and Yoga to a wide array of audiences including yogis, recovering gang members, incarcerated men and women, and The Walt Disney Company. She recognizes the soul transformation we all are seeking whether it’s your first or four hundredth class. By working with the body, mind, and breath we heal from within, transfer our wounds into motivators for self-discovery, and gain compassion for each other’s suffering. Tina’s own soul journey continues as she remains grateful for the mud from which we all grow and leads us to share our unique gifts in service to our communities and the Earth.

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

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.

Katherine

Katherine

Instructor

Katherine likes to say that yoga found her when she was 11 years old. She wandered into a studio down her street and has been down-doggin’ since. At 17 she signed up for her first teacher training at Santa Monica Yoga where she was introduced to her beloved Ashtanga Yoga. At Sarah Lawrence College, she found ballet and modern dance. With confidence to choreograph and create, vinyasa started flowing through her, and they’ve quite a pair since. She learned to ride a bike in 2015 and can’t get enough of those canyon trails!

Diane

Diane

Instructor

Diane is a seasoned writer, digital content marketer and a lifelong do-gooder. Her first experience with yoga was more than 18 years ago in a small yoga studio in Brooklyn, New York. After vowing “never again,” it was her battle with chronic stress, insomnia, hip bursitis and sciatica that prompted her to give yoga another try 15 years later. The once skeptic immediately discovered that a regular yoga practice did wonders for her physical and emotional well-being so she became a yoga convert. Diane went on to obtain her 200 hour Hatha Yoga certification from Wanderlust Hollywood in 2017. She is pursuing her yoga therapist certification at Loyola Marymount University while also teaching public and private yoga classes in South LA. 
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.
Kristin

Kristin

Instructor

The art of movement has been at the center of Kristin’s world as early as she can remember. As a collegiate athlete she strived to perfect rhythmic breathing and step pattern in running; as an aerial contortionist she committed to telling a character’s story through intentional movement in her performances as principal villain in an LA-based theatrical circus. It wasn’t until a spinal injury awakened Kristin to the power of healing and rebuilding mind-body connection through ancient principles and techniques of Yoga and movement repertoire in Pilates methodology. She became a certified instructor to share wisdom on breath and movement her mentors passed down to her, with hopes that individuals awaken more deeply into their greatest potential.
Erin

Erin

Instructor

Erin Fortune Riley lives in Los Angeles and works in private wealth management at a large financial institution. 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. 
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

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.
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.
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. 

Peter

Peter

Instructor

Peter found his practice less than two years ago but felt so inspired by the growth he felt, that he took the leap into a 200-hour teacher certification, which he completed in June 2018. Peter believes that yoga is for everybody in any body. The greatest gift that he has received from yoga and meditation which he hopes to share with others is a deeper integration of his own lived experiences, (positive and negative) that has opened him to new levels of self-love and self-understanding. When he’s off the mat he digs coffee, comics, and public radio.

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.

Cameron

Cameron

Instructor

Cameron believes that yoga is therapeutic. Cameron completed her 200hr yoga teacher training at Moksha Yoga in Chicago, IL in 2012. She taught at Moksha Yoga and Yoga Cares (a non-profit organization which brings yoga to underserved communities in the Chicago area) before moving to Los Angeles to attend graduate school. Cameron studies in the Iyengar tradition and trained with Gabriel Halpern at Yoga Circle. Cameron shares the tools of yoga that have helped her discover herself in hopes that they can help others to be their own teachers.
Taina

Taina

Instructor

Taina (she/hers) is a scholar-practitioner of yoga’s history, philosophy, traditions, and Sanskrit texts. She holds a Master’s degree in Yoga Studies from Loyola Marymount University where her research focused on the culture and customs of modern transnational yoga at their intersection with social justice movements and activist communities. Taina integrates embodiment practices, movement therapeutics, modern health science, and trauma-informed wellness to create equitable and accessible yoga classes for people of all ages, sizes, shapes, abilities, and backgrounds. Taina truly believes that yoga can be beneficial for everyone and endeavors to create a holistic experience that engages the entire mind/body/spirit complex for all her students.  
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

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.
Jennifer

Jennifer

Certified Senior Instructor

Jennifer’s 16 year practice began after a ski accident that resulted in a low back injury. Jennifer is a RYT-500 Certified Instructor through YogaWorks. To round out her skills, Jennifer is also a certified MELT Instructor as well as a Reiki Practitioner. Jennifer teaches public classes several times a week, in addition she offers one-on-one private sessions and workshops through her DBA Be True Yoga. She also volunteers her Reiki skills at Senior Centers in Los Angeles. The central message of her teaching is showing others how to Be True to their body, Be True to their practice, and Be True to themselves.

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.

Brian

Brian

Instructor

Brian has been leading meditation around the globe for seven years. He combines his Christian faith with ancient eastern practices and modern neuroscience giving him a unique modern voice for his students. Currently, Brian leads destination retreats around the world as well as coaching at his home base LA where he leads world class athletes, business people and artists in the practice of meditation. He believes generosity is a privilege and he is grateful to be serving the City of Los Angeles with Prison Yoga and Meditation.
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.

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