A native of Northern Virginia, Lauren attended Emory & Henry College nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains and so began her love affair with Southwest Virginia. Unable to resist the call of the mountains, Lauren and her husband settled in Abingdon where she took her first ever yoga class at Whitetop Yoga in 2014.
A true homegrown Whitetop yogi, Lauren completed her 200-hour certification with Vira Bhava under the guidance of Julie Rutherford in October 2017. She believes that yoga is a journey inward and homeward. Yoga provides an opportunity to connect to the divine that resides in all of us, underneath the layers of "stuff" from our everyday lives. It is a practice that connects mind, body and soul.
Elissa Wolf Blank
Elissa Wolf Blank has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. It has been the only constant thread in her life since she began. She found Vira Bhava yoga and resonated with it deeply enough to go through her first training in 2018. She is an herbalist, a doula, and a wellness specialist. She has a broth company, Blum and Bru Broths, that makes different formulas of herb and mushrooms to add to your broth and stock to make them more medicinal.
I come from a strong background in athletics and the outdoors with a passion for trail running, growing food, and building relationships. With many years of movement in the natural environment, the growing call to define my purpose of my actions led me to deepen my practice and studies to receive my 230 Hour RYT with Vira Bhava Yoga in Abingdon, VA in 2017. I enjoy teaching dynamic flow while developing elements of pranayama and meditation to better understand the self and connection to one’s surroundings.
I practice balancing discipline with playfulness to create a foundation to move forward with intention in daily life and higher aspirations. I hope to engage, inspire and learn from others’ to explore in breath, movement and mindfulness.
E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, TRMM®, YTU®
It is the intrigue of the human body and passion for yoga that fuel Shari’s desire to teach. Her yogic journey began over 35 years ago with spiritual study & meditation as well as asana and athletics. Shari’s presentation of instruction is firmly rooted through her education of kinesiology, Yoga Therapeutics, Neuromyofascial Release therapy, Yoga Tune Up®, and she’s profoundly inspired by Anusara, Sri Vidya Tantra, & Iyengar. Shari’s offerings are alignment and strength oriented and include myofascial release, neurological challenges, and corrective applications of Yoga Asana. All is suffused with the philosophy of yoga.
Shari’s work in the world is to serve and help humanity achieve a richer experience of their time here on earth. To assist students to feel better in their body, with their past story, or situation whatever it is. Shari holds unconditional space for all beings, and all feelings are welcome.
I have been practicing yoga since 2010. Early on, I enjoyed yoga as a nice class that helped with flexibility and introduced me to the awesomeness of savasana. Then, one of my first teachers let me in on a secret: there is more (much more!) to yoga than just asana practice. Since then, especially with the opening of Whitetop Yoga in 2014, and becoming 200 hour RYT certified in 2017, yoga has shown me a way to discover and celebrate the best me I can possibly be.
When not on the mat, I enjoy riding and messing around with my horses, fly fishing, hunting, gardening, hiking, and just being outdoors. I also enjoy art in many mediums, reading and cooking, especially with ingredients I or my husband Jerry have harvested, plant and animal. My wish in teaching is to help others explore and discover the best in themselves, and how to gracefully let go of the stuff that does not help you in any way. Whether you are just looking for an asana class that makes you feel good, or wondering about what else yoga can do for you, join me! I’m still learning and exploring myself (I’m starting the RYT 300 hour training in 2018!!), and I welcome you along on the journey.
I have been practicing yoga for about 8 years and have recently completed VBY's 200 hour teacher training. I started practicing yoga while in high school and haven't been able to stop since. I enjoy restorative, yin and slow flow yoga to help bring movement to my body and also feel at ease and peaceful within my mind. I am living in Asheville, NC and love being outside and being in the mountains, especially with my dogs. I work at a local legal aid in town and use yoga as a way to de-compress and find peace. When I am not working or doing yoga I find joy through singing and being with friends.
Cory Scott is a therapist, homesteader, and mother of two. Cory first fell in love with yoga early in life. Since then, yoga and meditation have become an integral part of her personal growth and self-care. She and her partner Nathaniel moved to Abingdon, VA in 2009 to explore homesteading on her grandfather's farm. She works full-time as a therapist and holds a MSS with a specialization in Child and Family Well-being from Bryn Mawr College's Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training with Vira Bhava Yoga in October 2017 at White Top Yoga Studio in Abingdon, VA where she teaches a weekly vinyasa class. She is currently enrolled in the 300 hour Vira Bhava Yoga training. Cory feels blessed to have the opportunity to teach a practice that enables students to embrace and explore their true nature and embody their inherent power.
Nina Simone Declama
Outside of yoga, and meditation, Nina is an educator at The Garden School of Marietta where she also teaches the kids yoga and facilitates sound therapy meditations 5-6 times a week. Nina initially started her teaching journey as a Qi Gong and Meditation instructor until she found yoga and has been a student of yoga for 6 years. She also studied at Johnson & Wales University for Business Management and Marketing and received a degree in Communications.
She currently is the resident Yoga instructor at Elite Health & Fitness in Marietta, Georgia and loves teaching her students ever changing ways of accepting themselves, and exploring the different aspects of yoga.
Ashley completed her YTT in 2017 at The Breathing Tree in Canton. She is currently the studio owner of Little Yogis, a kids yoga studio in Macomb, IL. Ashley is passionate about encouraging children to realize the light that shines within and build lasting self-confidence through breath, movement, and mindfulness. She is also creating heart-led, yoga and camping retreats for women. Rise Up Rooted Retreats will be an invitation of connection, restorative yoga, slow yoga flows, mindfulness, journaling, rest, hiking, reflecting, and campfires.
Kelsey is a yoga instructor and practitioner devoted to sharing the transformative power of this practice with every life she touches. She has been practicing yoga since 2007, and began teaching yoga in 2013. In 2014 Kelsey completed her 200 hour training in the Para Yoga style under the guidance of Katie Silcox. Currently, she is studying in a 300 hour level training program with Kelly Golden of Vira Bhava Yoga.
Entrepreneur, community member, lover of woods and water. I enjoy spending my days between working hard and relaxing hard. I thrive off one on one interactions with dear friends. Slow mornings and sunrises bring me great joy!
Don Durrance is a graduate of The Yoga Seed Collective's 200 hour teacher training, and is currently working on his 500 RYT in their 300 hour trauma-informed training. He has experience teaching in the studio as well teaching traumatized population in outreach settings. In a short time, yoga has had such a positive impact on Don's mental and physical health that he finds it compelling to share his experience.