Meet the Troupe
I have always danced to the beat of my own drum, and my biggest goal in life has always been to help people. I studied Psychology at Auburn University, and I obtained my Master’s degree in Education from AUM shortly thereafter. I fell into yoga, and it forever changed my life for the better.
I was an awkward teenager, and I am an even more awkward adult. I am clumsy, and I have never been exactly graceful. Anyone who knew me in high school can confirm that I was not flexible – at all. The fact that I am a yoga and aerial yoga instructor still amazes me sometimes. I came to the mat with few expectations. I wanted to lose a little bit of weight, and I wanted to be happier. I never thought that I would dive head first into yoga the way that I did. I am living proof that there is hope for anyone! Trust me.
I am a certified yoga teacher (200 E-RYT), and I hold a 65-hour certification in Unnata® Aerial Yoga. I also recently completed teacher training at the Circus Arts Institute in Atlanta, and I am now certified to teach the silks!
I strive to enrich other people’s lives. My entire education path has been a product of my desire to help people. My classes are built around enthusiasm, encouragement, and acceptance. I love making people smile!
My own yoga practice began with an interest in cultivating sharper mental clarity, as well as an interest in and curiosity about the physical benefits. Never could I have imagined what I would find with this sacred, beautiful practice using the body and the breath– myself. Yoga and meditation continue to bring me closer to myself each day and allow me to be a better, more authentic version of myself. I am absolutely overjoyed to share yoga with others so that they too may experience the magic it has to offer. As a teacher of yoga, I am blessed to work directly with students seeking to heal themselves, physically, emotionally, and/or mentally. Many lessons learned on the mat, overflow into daily life off of the mat. To be a part of that process is truly a great gift.
I am brand new to the Montgomery area; please come check out a class and introduce yourself! I love meeting new people, and I love hugs. : )
I have been developing my personal practice over the last 8 years and am a 500 hr. RYT, specializing in Ashtanga and Kundalini yoga. I also have a degree in Psychology and am currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Mindfulness Studies. When I am not immersed in a yoga or contemplative practice of some sort, I am most likely walking out in nature with my dog, Stella, reading, running, cooking, or schooling my boyfriend in basketball.
As a young woman if anyone would have told me I was going to grow up to be a yoga teacher, or even practice yoga, I never would have believed it! Who knew? I was very involved in all kinds of activities, but yoga was nowhere on my radar!
However, all that changed for me when I was diagnosed with a degenerating neuro muscular disorder in 2007. Hence began my yoga journey! As I sat in the Kirkland Clinic at UAB waiting to be seen by a Neurologist I found an article in a neurological magazine that was reporting a research study. It demonstrated how doing yoga 2-3x a week not only prevented deterioration in M.S. patients, but participants in the study actually improved. Three years after the study concluded, the M.S. patients were still receiving the health benefits they saw during the duration of the study. This spoke hope to my heart. I truly believed that I had stumbled upon something that may be able to help me. I can now say, with absolute certainty, that if I had not listened to my heart that day and began to practice yoga, I would be a knot on the floor, and would likely be wheelchair-bound today.
I am a wife and a mother of three very active young daughters, so dropping out of life was not an option! I was in bad shape and very sick when I started my practice. Yoga was the only relief I got from the brutal hammering my neuro muscular system was taking day in and day out. The benefits were so immediate that I went to every class I could find, and on days yoga was not offered I started doing my own practice at home. I saw more and more improvements and LOVED it! I decided to get my teacher certification in 2008, just one year after I started practicing. I believed that God had given me a gift that had transformed my life in all of the best ways possible, and I wanted to share that gift with others.
Prior to my Yoga Training I received a BA in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Philosophy. I worked as a counselor, and I taught Successful Life Management Classes for Women, coupled with effective communication skills.
In 2008, I received my 1st yoga certification from YOGA FIT, and later received level 2,3, and 4. I then found Asthanga Yoga and fell in love. I completed my 200RYT certification in Asthanga yoga in 2011. Just before completing my 200RYT I opened a small Yoga Studio Called “The Yoga Room,” where I taught and practiced for the next four years.
As you can see, I am a Yoga Mutt! There are many different kinds and/or schools of yoga, and I love them all! I study and try to learn from as many different sources as possible; it’s all good! I like to mix it up in my vinyasa classes by drawing upon my knowledge in order to give my students whatever it is they are needing that day. Never the same class twice!
“PRACTICE AND ALL IS COMING… “ -Sir K. Pattabhi Jois
Pinpointing the origin of Clayton’s psychospiritual journey would require far more expansive vision than that of this humble bard. Barring retrospect into the beginningless cycle of births, deaths, and rebirths, we can only look back to a high school epiphany, when longstanding discontent with various health problems coalesced into a resolve to change for the better. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and though he had no definite sense of direction, Clayton dared to take it.
Over the next few years, Clayton underwent a remarkable metamorphosis. His kith and kin are ever astonished, and those who have beheld only his present majesty can scarcely believe a description of his former self. Verily, though, the glorious yogic butterfly was once a timid, acned, and corpulent caterpillar. He shattered the cocoon of the average American lifestyle through adamant devotion to practice. The best teachers teach by example, and Clayton is living proof of the transformative power of yoga.
His path has had many twists and turns. He began with simple walks through his native Southeastern Woodlands. The Romans may have thought that they crushed the druidism of his Celtic forebears, but the old way lived on in dormant form, like an acorn sheltered for centuries in the cracks of his heart. Now, the spirit of the oak called out to Clayton, causing this seed to blossom, and reawakening a profound reverence for Mother Nature. She nurtured his soul, giving him strength for the more arduous stretches ahead.
Clayton had a newfound interest in spirituality, but no systematic way in which to explore it. He knew, though, that the body is the temple of the spirit, and decided to get his temple in order. He joined his high school football team and underwent a period of intense physical exercise with a focus on weight training. He shed pound after pound until he reached a healthy weight, but didn’t stop there. One friend, a lifelong athlete, found it difficult to keep up with The Viking Lord, a nickname he bestowed upon Clayton for his stout stature and long, flowing locks. “When you work out with Clay,” he famously said, “you can eat anything you want, because you’re just going to puke it up afterwards.”
Though physically he felt better than ever, Clayton was yet haunted by a feeling of incompleteness. A turning point came in December of 2012, when his eldest brother, who was visiting for the holidays, gave him $100 for a massage. Clayton was unable to find a massage therapist with whom he vibed – but he did stumble upon MJ Yoga. He didn’t think his brother, who had jumped aboard the Hot Yoga bandwagon in Berkeley, would mind if he spent the money on a yoga class.
Clayton’s first yoga experience, then, was a Bandhe Barre class at the original MJ Yoga location. He knew instantly that he had found his sanctuary. After lifetimes of wandering through existential deserts, he fell to his knees in tears, and gulped unabashedly from the waters of this dharmic oasis. Not only did yoga leave his muscles sorer than any weightlifting regimen ever had, but his intellect found stimulation in the myths of the Hindu tradition, and his spiritual void was finally filled. Body, mind, and soul were truly yoked together.
Clayton, who has since cut his locks in a selfless act of charity, often wears a pendant depicting Hanuman, the Hindu deity to whom he most relates. Hanuman is known for his devotion, and Clayton exhibited such devotion that MJ gladly accepted him for teacher training after only a year of practice. He now teaches Beginner’s Yoga, Yoga for Athletes, and Power Yoga. This soft-spoken giant, like Hanuman, often forgets his own power, but those who attend his classes see it quite clearly.
I started practicing yoga my Freshman year while attending the United States Air Force Academy. It was my stress reliever and place to get away and focus on just me. Yoga helped with my flexibility as a cheerleader at USAFA. I graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Systems Engineering Management and have a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing.
I was pretty deep in my practice and upon college graduation decided it was time to deepen my knowledge and share it with others. I completed my teacher training through CorePower Yoga in December 2011. I am a 200 hr RYT through YogaAlliance. I specialize in Hot Yoga (traditional 26 poses by Bikram), Hot Power Fusion, and Yoga Sculpt.
I have taught yoga classes at each of my assignments as an officer in the United States Air Force around the world. I love teaching and practicing with others. I am passionate about all of the benefits of yoga both physically and mentally.
I took the last couple years off from instructing and focusing more on my practice and starting a family. I have four boys ages 1, 1, 2, and 4 who keep me constantly active and on my toes. Now that life is a little more stable, I am eager to start teaching! I love challenging myself and others through yoga and am very excited to lead classes in Montgomery.
Sensei Bob Harris is a 4th degree Black Belt with over 40 years experience in Isshin-ryū karate. He is also a retired Major from the US Army. He is a supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and has earned his Wood Badge. Bob volunteers with the local animal shelter by being on the Board of Directors and helping with fund raising. Sensei Harris enjoys wood carving with his wife, Betsey; and he’s an active photographer with the Capital City Camera Club. Spending time with the grandchildren makes his life complete.
HIs interest in the martial arts began as a child. His dad was a career airman in the US Air Force. His father’s travels would frequently take him to Japan, Okinawa, and Korea. His father would tell him stories about the amazing fighting skills from the people of the Orient. Earning a black belt was the pinnacle of achievement. This became his dream.
As a child, Bob studied judo at various bases. When his dad retired, there were no judo schools in his area. He started taking karate from Sensei Pete Peterson in 1972 in eastern Tennessee. Watching Sensei Peterson move was a flash back to the stories his father told him about – he was instantly hooked! Of course, the surge of martial arts movies on the big screen in the early and mid 70s fueled the desire. Back in the day, there was only white, green, brown and black belts and no protective gear when fighting. You had to be tough to survive! Sensei Harris made it to Green belt with Sensei Peterson.
College studies and moving a lot while on active duty got in the way of his growth. Eventually, Bob would find an instructor at a new location. The instructor would tell him, “We do things differently than the way you were taught.” He would have to surrender the belt and start again as white. He’d move again and the cycle repeated. He was eventually promoted to Brown belt.
After leaving the Army, he needed something to help him find balance in his life. Bob found a karate school in Columbia, SC. He worked with Sensei Boyd Bolte until he was promoted to Black Belt in 1999. Bob finally made it! Little did he know that his martial arts training journey was just beginning!
Prior to moving to Wetumpka in 2006, Sensei Harris had a school in Monroe, NC with 40 students. A long-term medical issue prevented him from teaching, but did not stop his learning. The issue appears to be gone and he’s feeling better, and he’s excited to be getting back into teaching and growing. His instructor is Grand Master Mitch Kobylanski from Charlotte, NC.
Sita began her Yoga journey over 5 years ago while looking to change up her workout routine and address some of the physical pain she was dealing with. Not only did a regular yoga practice add balance to her normal aggressive styles of fitness, but it allowed her to find relief from her chronic pain and provided skills that made her better at managing her stress. Through yoga Sita found balance in many aspects of her life, and she found her life begin to shift in amazing ways. She quickly fell in love with the practice and has been obsessed with it ever since.
Sita is a certified yoga instructor (200 RYT), and has taught Hatha, Yin, Ashtanga and Hot yoga styles. She has continued her yoga education with Ashtanga and Kundalini trainings in Guatemala, and has also attended White Tantric events in New Wales, Florida, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Sita is certified to teach aerial yoga, having learned under renowned instructor Leisha Knight. In order to broaden her education she regularly attends a variety of workshops throughout Alabama and Georgia giving her tools to use on and off the mat as both student and teacher.
Sita believes that yoga allows individuals to embrace their own sacred space. It is her goal as a yoga teacher to bring students to a deeper level of understanding that gives them the tools they need to begin exploring the Self. She believes one’s practice isn’t about where you’ve been. And it’s not about where you’re going. It’s about the present moment on your mat —for everything it is, and everything it is not. She loves reading about the metaphysical and anything involving yoga philosophy. Sita is also a student and practitioner of Reiki and has a love of essential oils that she incorporates into her teaching and personal practice.