Get to know your instructors ... Each one of us brings something special and unique to our community just like all of you!  Learn about our passions, styles of teaching, interests and more.  We look forward to meeting each one of you in class!

 
 

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Annie Talarico

Annie has always had fitness and healthy eating in her life since she was a teenager. Between step aerobics and leg warmers (yes, she is a 80’s girl!), Yoga has been a part of Annie’s wellness routine. After marriage & divorce, moving out and in state, a life changing accident and grief, she rediscovered yoga. This time it was a holistic way to deal with her broken mental and physical state, after being diagnosed with Post Trauma Syndrome. She found using yoga provided coping mechanisms and healing beyond what modern medicine could provide. Annie knew she had to share this secret with everyone willing to listen, which has ignited her passion to teach beginners. Her passion, patient and gentle (and silly side) ways have won students over.

Annie has completed her 200-Hour Yoga Teacher training and Life Mastery Coach Certification at Bloom Yoga Fitness and will be furthering hereducation in 300-hour teacher training with Lotus Gardens Yoga School. She has had the honor to be trained in Restorative Yoga with Jillian Pransky and Yin Yoga with Biff Mithoefer. She is a forever student and looks for any opportunity to gather information to share with her students. Her goal is to help people learn the importance and skills of self-care to overcome, stress, anxiety, and coping skills for the unforeseen changes in life.

Outside yoga, you can find Annie working, spending time with family and friends, walking, hiking, canoeing, paddle boarding, digging her toes in the sand, taking care of her house, feeding the birds (even those pesky squirrels!!) and her hugging her big ol’ kitty Buddy.


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Brianna Zegzdryn

Brianna started practicing yoga to find balance as a new mother.  Yoga resonated with her quickly, as she soon realized and was amazed by the powerful healing and calming qualities that result from linking the breath to movement.  Coming from a background in teaching kindergarten and first grade, it felt natural to link her love of yoga and teaching together. She brings her open, compassionate nature and nurturing style to her yoga classes.

Brianna completed her 200 Hour Yoga Teacher training at Bloom Yoga and her Prenatal level 1 training through Pranakriya.  When not practicing Yoga you can find Brianna solving the world’s problems with her 5 year old son Ben (AKA “the Mayor”) or chasing her beloved and very energetic dog Bodhi (AKA “the Mascot”)  and on a rare occasion spending time with the love of her life and the best husband any Yogi could ever ask for Don (AKA “the Saint”).


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Cynthia Griffin

E-RYT, LMT

Cynthia’s journey toward wellness started after years of resistance training and cardio workouts. Cynthia found herself strong but out of balance physically and mentally.  She decided to educate herself in Eastern modalities like Thai Chi Chuan, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Eastern Philosophies and Exercise.

Wanting to add bodywork into her portfolio, she became a CT licensed Massage Therapist in 2003 and quickly specialized in Traditional Thai Massage which has a base in Yoga, Ayurveda and Buddhism. She has and continues to study Traditional Thai Massage with different teachers in New England, Canada, Northern Thailand and Bangkok.

Practicing yoga and becoming a yoga instructor was a natural transition.  In 2010 she got her 200 hr. certification through Embodyoga with Patty Townsend. She has also studied with Rodney Yee, Seane Corn, Partner yoga with Elysabeth Williamson, Yoga 12 step Recovery with Nikki Meyers among others.

Cynthia works full time in the Health and Wellness field offering, Yoga Instruction, Massage,  Corporate /Community Wellness Workshops and International Yoga and Transformational Retreats.

And the journey continues...

 


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Gina Breen

Gina has always had a strong passion for Nutrition and Wellness.  She holds a B.S. in Health Education and has worked in the Health and Fitness field for over 17 years. She has worked in both the Corporate and Commercial Fitness Industries and taught various fitness and nutrition classes.  She most recently obtained her 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training from Bloom Yoga and enjoys teaching a variety of yoga classes. 

Gina works as a math tutor during the day and enjoys teaching yoga to some of her students at the school.  Gina believes that yoga can help kids learn how to stay calm and focused, which in turn helps them to learn.  She also has a passion for teen yoga and has run many series to help teens practice mindfulness.

When Gina is not teaching or training or driving her kids around, she enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 kids and dog swimming, hiking, biking, cooking, spending time at the ocean, and hanging out!  In an ever-changing, fast-paced world, Gina has felt truly grateful for the role yoga has played in her life and her family’s life.  Sharing her love of a healthy lifestyle and yoga principles is truly what drives her everyday.


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Gina Levesque

Gina has always been active by playing soccer throughout early childhood and high school. After high school, a love of fitness developed because she was diagnosed with high blood pressure after gaining some weight, and knew that changes to her heath and fitness needed to be made. She started off taking many different types of fitness classes, but really enjoyed Zumba and indoor cycling. She eventually got certified in both.

Wanting to continue her career in the fitness world, she then became a certified personal trainer and weight loss specialist through NASM. She has also completed countless road races including half marathons and full marathons. She truly enjoys helping others along their fitness journeys and loves to see others reach their goals, both mentally and physically. Her passionate attitude will inspire you to push yourself to be happy and healthy.

 


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Gina Papa

Gina found her way to a yoga mat in the fall of 2009 while enrolled in graduate school. She was in search of a new way to navigate stress and looking to discover means of mending her unhealthy relationship with exercise and redefining her relationship with her body while recovering from an eating disorder. Gina instantly fell in love with the mind-body connection she uncovered and developed a new-found sense of feeling at home in her body. After several years, she sought to deepen her understanding and ability with the hope to share her passion with others.

Gina found a strong connection with Kripalu’s roots of compassionate, non-judgmental awareness towards self and embarked on the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training course through the Kripalu School of Yoga. Gina also completed their restorative yoga teacher training in July of 2014. She is extremely passionate about helping others to strengthen their relationship with mind and body, particularly through yoga, and is eager to help guide her students towards incorporating yoga into life, on and off the mat. To better serve her students she has also become a certified Eat Breathe Thrive facilitator.

When she is not teaching, Gina works as an occupational therapist providing therapy to children who have special needs. She holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology and a Master's degree in occupational therapy from Sacred Heart University. She enjoys writing, reading, walking, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and son.


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Kerry Doolan

Kerry has always had a passion for fitness, nutrition, and overall wellness.   Being a competitive gymnast her whole life, and currently a gymnastics coach, she turned to yoga 10 years ago looking to ease muscle soreness that came along with working a physically demanding job.  She quickly realized there is more to yoga than just the physical benefits and loved the sense of peace the practice brought to her anxious mind. She believes you can take yoga off the mat and incorporate it into everyday life.  After the birth of her daughter in May of 2016, she turned to yoga yet again to regain that mind body connection and completed her RYT 200 hour training through Bloom Yoga and Fitness.   

Outside of teaching she is loving her new role as a mother, and enjoys spending time with her supportive husband, family and amazing friends. She loves getting outside in nature, hiking with her rambunctious dogs, visiting new places, and trying delicious foods.  She believes that life should be fun, and laughter is the best medicine. 

 


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Kimie Allen

Kimie found yoga in 2005 to help cope with the daily stressors of life, a demanding job and motherhood. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at Bloom Yoga and Fitness Studios and a 40-hr restorative yoga training under Jillian Pransky. Her passion for yoga and fitness is evident when you take her classes.

Always leading an active lifestyle, Kimie has found that taking both yoga and fitness classes helps not only to strengthen her body, but also to foster the mind, body and spirit connection. As an instructor of both fitness classes and yoga, she is excited to be able to share her passion with others, to help them find their own balance, while providing a safe, positive and upbeat environment.

 When she is not sharing her love of yoga and fitness, she enjoys spending time with her family, her adorable dog, friends, working on her own wellness goals and traveling as much as she can. It is her hope that one day she will have the opportunity to travel the world and study yoga in exotic places. Above all else, she believes in following your own personal path to joy.


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Lara Foldvari

Lara has been dancing for over 45 years. At the age of four, she began her training in classical ballet at The Boston Ballet. This was followed by The New Haven Ballet (née The Connecticut Ballet), where she performed in productions including The Nutcracker, Firebird, and A Midsummer Night's Dream. She is a Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer through ACE (American Council on Exercise), with additional certificates in yoga, Pilates, senior fitness, and Ballerobica; and is a licensed Zumba®instructor.  Lara is one of the IBBFA (International Ballet Barre Fitness Association) Barre Certification®Master Instructors.

Lara loves barre because it is calming while being energizing, it strengthens and tones, and has a side effect of smiles.

When she isn’t teaching, you can find Lara floating around her pool (weather permitting) with her nose in a book, cooking mostly plant-based meals, making friends with dogs, bird watching, or traveling.


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Marilyn Sargent

Teaching yoga is a natural extension of her love affair with the practice, and even as a teacher, Marilyn believes it is important to continue to be a student of yoga. Marilyn is just as likely to be next to you in yoga class as she is to be in front of you.

Marilyn completed her RYT 200 training in May 2016, when she graduated and became registered with Yoga Alliance. She became certified in the practice of Yin Yoga in April 2017 with Travis Eliot. She believes the quiet practice of Yin is a perfect complement to an active yoga practice. 

Marilyn is a preschool teacher and licensed child care provider. She has cared for children in her Southington home for over 30 years. When not down-dogging or diapering, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and hiking. Each summer, she visits one of our country's beautiful national parks and practices yoga there and at nearby studios.

More than anything, Marilyn believes in bringing a sense of humor to the practice and to life. She has written and taught many fun-themed yoga classes, such as Harry Potter, Halloween, Dr. Seuss, Birds of Yoga, Full Moon, Disney Prince/Princess and even goat yoga. As she says at the end of many classes, Marilyn believes you should "Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live."


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Melissa Pytlak

Melissa strives to incorporate the balance of health, wellness and mindfulness into family and professional life.

Yoga has accompanied Melissa through her life's challenges and endeavors and the scope of her practice has transformed in response to practicing the yoga appropriate for the current moment.  From Kundalini to hot vinyasa, Melissa has practiced and studied the art of yoga and its sister science Ayurveda to address the needs of herself and others in seeking the path of yoga to support them. 

Melissa has been teaching yoga since completing her 200 hour teacher training with yogaspirit Studios in 2014.  Since then, she has begun coursework towards her 300 hour and Yoga Therapy studies as well as Ayurvedic Wellness Counseling.  She is trained in Reiki as well and believes in a holistic approach to create health of mind, body and spirit.  She has trained with Yoga Warriors International to better understand how yoga can help with processing grief and emotional disorders associated with trauma, anxiety and depression.  According to Melissa, yoga is a rich tradition that helps us meet the demands of modern life.  Melissa believes that there is a yoga practice for everyone that honors the moment and the authenticity of the individual, encouraging her students to listen to their inner voice as they practice and find peace, healing and love through their yoga


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Nicole Cari

 

Nicole is a graduate of Bloom Yoga School's 200 hour yoga teacher training program. Initially being introduced to yoga in 2002, it wasn't until 2010 that yoga became an integral part of Nicole's life. After being drawn back into her practice to rehab a running injury, she soon learned yoga's power to heal much more than physical injuries. Nicole's classes will be a strong flow, mixed with core work, and long holds to loosen up tight muscles and build strength.  When not practicing yoga Nicole can be found being a MRI technologist, running and volunteering with Hartford Marathon Foundation, traveling, visiting breweries, and enjoying life.


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Sandy Massey

Sandy was first introduced to yoga by attending a small class practicing out of a beautiful old historic barn in Cheshire, CT taught by one of her future mentors and Sandy was instantly addicted.

Throughout her life, Sandy has always been involved in some type of physical activity including long distance running, aerobics, and Pilates.  But it is a regular yoga practice that has provided her with a well rounded activity that promotes both the physical aspects of stretching and strengthening, breath control, and balance, with the often elusive but much needed mental aspects of meditation, mindfulness and positive energy.  Yoga has provided Sandy with a powerful and ever evolving method to balance the body, mind, and spirit while helping to heal injuries and prevent illness through movement of the body and the practice of mindfulness.

Sandy is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) through Yoga Alliance.  She completed the 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Bloom Yoga & Fitness Studio and will always have a special appreciation and admiration for their selflessness, passion, encouragement, support and guidance.

In her yoga classes Sandy’s goal is to offer a well rounded class to all students in a welcoming, encouraging, safe environment, where each student is motivated and inspired to explore their abilities, to reach for their edge, and to achieve their own personal goals.

In her free time you will often see Sandy and her husband Pete taking yoga classes together.  They are also avid cyclists and they love to travel.  Sandy’s ultimate goal and challenge is to get all four of their children to embrace yoga now as young adults so that they too can live long, healthy, fit, and positive lives.


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Shannon Gagnon

 Hello yogi’s! My very first yoga class was taken at the age of 23 in my hometown of San Diego California. I knew after that very first class that I had found something very special. A few years later, my son Dylan arrived. Motherhood changed my life forever, and I longed to be closer to family, so I moved across country to Connecticut. (YES, I miss it!)

When I am not working, you can find me at the football field cheering on my son, and his teammates. I am truly his biggest fan! Go Knights! Another more recent passion of mine is helping those with (PD) Parkinson’s Disease through Yoga. The mind body awareness that yoga encourages and helps self-correct the brain and muscle memory is undeniable. Results I have seen make me a believer and love yoga a trillion times more!

 I took my 200 hour YTT at Bloom Yoga and Wellness. I will always be a student of the practice, and deeply appreciate the loving wisdom my teachers have shared with me. Yoga has helped me grow stronger, more flexible and fearless on and off the mat.

In my classes, I love to combine creative sequencing, a spirit of playfulness and a dose of inspiration to help you deepen your practice. I seek to help others thrive in life by nurturing body, mind and soul with yoga, and my hope is that you step off the mat feeling refreshed, nourished and balanced. Namaste. 


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Stacee Schnurr

Stacee started practicing yoga in 2003 and immediately fell in love with the mind-body-soul connection. She completed her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at Bloom Yoga Fitness. She finalized her certification and became a Registered Yoga Teacher through Yoga Alliance in May of 2017. She believes everyone can benefit from yoga and find what they need: calm, confidence, courage, love, peace, positivity, power, presence or strength.