Tina Russo Lancey – Publisher / Editor
E-RYT, R-AYF, R-CYAMT, YACEP
Tina first came to yoga in 2006, in her home state of Connecticut. By the end of 2008, she was a certified yoga instructor with a 220-hour certification from The Bodhi Tree in Charlotte, NC. Since then, she has been certified through Warriors at Ease and Veterans Yoga Project, where she was able to study under Dr. Dan Libby. She is currently finishing her Master Trainer certification (500 hours) through YogaFaith. Her specialties include trauma-informed yoga and yoga for all body types.
Tina is a member of Christian Yoga Association. She holds a certificate in Professional Writing from TTC in Charleston, SC.
When Tina is not writing, she is hanging out with her two children and three dogs. As a family, they enjoy hockey, baseball, camping, reading, and traveling.
Michelle Waugh Brinkley – Executive Editor
As a mental health and movement advocate, my passion is to see lives restored by the power of the Holy Spirit, through meditation, body awareness, and intentional movement. Feel more confident living in your body, excepting the skin you are in, and increase your tenacity to live a physically, mentally, and spiritually abundant life. Through years of practice, I have learned how to feel better in my body, heal from trauma, and accept Godâs overwhelming goodness and grace. Yoga, as well as talk therapy, is part of my ongoing personal anxiety and depression treatment.Â
As a Registered Christian Yoga Association Therapist, I lead Christ-centered group classes, small group workshops, and create specialized programs for my one-on-one clients. My goal is for each student to embrace their given identity through Movement Worship and Breath, regardless of their skill level, abilities, or age. Â Â Â
Being a bold disciple, I evangelize to strangers, friends, and students alike. My Alongsider Mentorship Program is an opportunity for me to walk with individuals seeking to deepen their faith; classically trained yoga instructors looking to weave the Word, and serve as a tutor for instructors working through their education programs. I am also a Lead Volunteer with a local equestrian discipleship program, using horses and Scripture in a unique horsemanship experience to share the hope and love of Christ.Â
I am the proud mother of two teen children, a nurseâs wife, and a do-it-yourselfer. In my spare time, I enjoy sewing, being outside, and reading. Â Â
âFix your attention on God and you will be changed from the inside out.â
Michelle Thielen – Staff Writer
Called the Yoga Pastor, Michelle Thielen, R-CYAMT, C-IAYT, is a speaker, author ofÂ Stretching Your FaithÂ and traveling yogi who has been teaching somatic movement through dance and yoga for over 20 years. A student of Peter Levineâs Somatic Experience (SE), and Eric Walrabensteinâs therapy for psychological wounds, Michelle is passionate about helping the world heal from trauma to live a life of purpose.
As a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Therapist and meditation expert, Michelle has been instrumental in aiding with the restoration of those who suffer from trauma, intense anxiety or depression into healing and freedom. She travels around the world aiding in the rescue efforts of human trafficking victims as well as raising awareness about the epidemic. She holds certifications with theÂ American Council of Exercise, is a Yoga Therapist with theÂ International Association of Yoga TherapistsÂ and founded theÂ Christian Yoga AssociationÂ in 2018, to build a bridge between faith-based yoga practitioners and educators.
She has 3 200-hour Certifications, 3 500-hour Certifications, Certified in Yoga Therapy with the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and a Minister through Christian Global Outreach Ministries. Michelle has been the lead trainer of almost 200 Teacher Trainings.
Chelsea Washington- Staff Writer
Dr. Chelsea D. Washington, a Licensed Christian Counselor, Certified Life Coach, and RYT200 Yoga Instructor, brings humility, compassion, wisdom, and spiritual awareness into every space she is called.Â
As a successful entrepreneur, consultant, and leader, Chelseaâs meditation and yoga journey began nearly 15 years ago when she was diagnosed with Lupus. Uncertain of what her life would become and how she would continue to care for her young children and husband, Chelsea leaned on the only thing she knew, her faith. It was this faith that brought her to her mat and deepened her relationship with the Divine. Chelsea experienced years of limited mobility in a wheelchair and on oxygen; amid chronic pain, hospital stays, and numerous experimental treatments. In every aspect, the life she once knew was gone. It was only through a consistent wellness program of spirituality, meditation, yoga, healthy diet, and environmental changes that she gradually improved her overall well-being. At the center of all these things, Chelsea firmly believes that love saved her life and brought her to where she is today–the love of friends and family, the love of self-acceptance and healing, and most importantly, the love of the Divine.
After years of sharing her experience with others, Chelsea felt the whisper of the Spirit that it was time to share the lessons she learned to empower others on a larger platform. In 2021, she founded My Ohm Wellness, LLC, a virtual wellness studio that aims to provide people with accessible wellness resources in a multitude of formats.Â
Through her acclaimed podcast Divine Centered Meditations, small group mindfulness/meditation sessions, mindful yoga classes, one-on-one coaching, books, and organic products, Chelsea meets participants wherever they are in their wellness journey and invites each person into a healing space of love and acceptance.
Chelsea firmly believes that our journey in life is never a singular endeavor; each of us, intertwined in the tapestry of life- a life where the wisdom and the love of the Divine are always present. We must simply be still enough to listen to invite the energy of peace and the power of calm into our lives.
Chelsea and her husband currently reside in Virginia with their three children and three furbabies. And as recovering Type A (who is not so recovered… lol), she believes laughter and love are the cure for everything!
Sara Tynan- Staff Writer
Sara Tynan is a passionate yoga teacher and Christ follower. She teaches a variety of yoga styles such as yin, power, and gentle. One of her passions is using sound healing as a way to honor Christ. Her main goal in her business is spreading peace, positivity, and the accepting love of Christ. She is a mother, wife, and writer. Her passions are yoga, her family, and serving at her church and within the community. Sara is also dedicated to bringing awareness to mental health and wellness by utilizing tools such as faith and yoga.
Dr. Donna Jagielski – Staff Writer
Dr. Donna Jagielski holds a doctorate in education from ASU. She has been an educator, educational administrator and currently works in educational programming for a nonprofit organization. She is actively involved in her church in Phoenix and Flagstaff where she maintains dual residency. She is a RYT-200 and RCYT-95 and is a member of the Yoga Alliance. She currently leads Christ-centered yoga for the Women on the Move program she facilitates at her Phoenix church and also leads yoga at a juvenile detention center in Phoenix.
Kristi Hardy – Staff Writer
Kristi began her yoga journey in 2001 when she checked out a yoga video at her local library. A studio opened in her hometown shortly after and the peace and connection she felt on her mat was deep from that point on. She began formal teacher training but didnât finish when she became pregnant with her first son in 2009. In 2019, she felt the urge to teach again, began training, and became RYFT 200 certified in 2021 through YogaFaith. She is also certified in Xen Strength Yoga under Danielle Diamond. She teaches elementary music full-time to over 550 kindergarteners and lives in Crosby, Texas with her husband and 2 sons.
Leah Lynn – Staff Writer
Leah started practicing yoga a few years back at the local rock-climbing gym, and quickly discovered her love for the practice. After years of chronic pain and autoimmune inflammation, yoga has been transformational.Â
Public speaker and author of Surrendered and Free, Leah holds a Masterâs degree in Human Services,Â and is currently training with Yoga Faith with hopes of one day opening her own studio forÂ yoga ministry.Â Leahâs heartfelt cry is to inspire people toward a deeper relationship with Christ through surrender.Â
Born and raised in Central Florida, Leah eventually moved to Alabama with her husband and son to embrace all God prepared for them in Alabama the Beautiful. On any given day, you may find them outdoors hiking or rock-climbing if not cuddling up together with their pup at home while enjoying freshly roasted organic lattes and homemade low carb banana bread.Â
Joshua and Jennifer Mickahail – Staff Writers
Yoga brought Josh & Jen together and has remained a foundational practice for all their outdoor adventures just as their Christian faith is a foundation to their relationship. Josh is a climber who discovered the synergy of rock climbing and power yoga. Jen is a yogi who learned that climbing is like taking vinyasa vertical. After meeting in a yoga studio in Arlington, Virginia, they decided to officially become faith and fitness partners for life, and got married in a small âCOVID weddingâ in an outdoor ceremony in the Blue Ridge Mountains in fall of 2020. They live, work, and serve their church in the Northern Virginia area and venture out into the mountains whenever they can!
Yoga on the Rocks was started as a desire to cultivate a mutual appreciation of two disciplines, yoga and rock climbing, with the realization that the practice of yoga is not limited to a mat in a studio. Both Josh & Jen are RYT-200 certified and lead climbers, and are continually inspired by the spiritual lessons demonstrated in Godâs creation. The vision verse for Yoga on the Rocks comes from Psalms 18:33, âAnd who is a rock, except our God, He makes my feet like hindsâ feet, and sets me upon my high places.â
As yogis, Josh & Jen focus on dynamic movement to produce power and balance and although they dabble in many yogic traditions, their personal style is power vinyasa with spicy transitions and a love of practicing outdoors. As they continue to grow the Yoga on the Rocks platform, they hope to spread their love of the great outdoors through guided instruction and nature retreats, empowering yogis to #PracticeUnplugged.
Follow Yoga on the Rocks on social media (@yogaontherocks.va) and #FlowtoSend!
Dr. Andrea Cunard – Staff Writer
Dr. Andrea Tackore Cunard is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and CYT200 in Orlando, FL.Â Andrea benefited from her own personal yoga practice for more than five years, finding it beneficial in combatting the effects of fibromyalgia.Â During this time, her clinical specialty in the mind-body connections of her clients with chronic illness drew her to somatic psychotherapy techniques. This expanded to her work with clients who had experienced trauma and it was not long before the lightbulb went off regarding the benefits of pairing yoga principles with her clinical work.Â
Andrea began her yoga teacher training in January 2020, blissfully unaware of what was about to unfold across the globe.Â As a Christian whose faith had seen her through many losses: including the death of her daughter, and a difficult marriage; it was important to Andrea to study the spiritual implications of this practice.Â She chose to focus on this integration, as well as the newly developing guidelines around trauma informed yoga, for her teacher training.Â Despite the challenges, she completed her certification on schedule eight months later and has been utilizing yoga with clients ever since.
Andrea runs Phenix Counseling, a group psychotherapy practice, with her fellow-therapist husband Justin.Â She regularly produces mindfulness meditations and specialty yoga videos for her clients.Â She has also offered live, online restorative yoga sessions.Â She is currently developing yoga-infused psychotherapy retreats to address chronic grief, loss and trauma recovery. Her life focus is gratitude and legacy and she can often be heard reminding herself and others that everything is a process.Â
Dr. Amanda Brees – Staff Writer
Ed.D, RYT, RMT
Pastoral Counselor & Meditation Researcher
Born to a Lutheran family on a farm in Minnesota, Amanda discovered her passion for complementary therapies (CT) during her own healing process with Jesus. She began practicing Christian-adapted yoga and meditation in 2003.Â Amanda launched her ministry in 2013 in Stillwater, MN as a small yoga, reiki, and massage practice.
Today, Amanda lives on 15-acres of the family farm she grew up on. She recently graduated from Liberty University with a doctorate in Pastoral Counseling. She capstoned her personal and professional journey of Christian spirituality and healing by writing a dissertation via meta-synthesis with the aim of developing a working theory of Christian alternative medicine for complex and attachment trauma Her dissertation topic was,Â âThe New Age of Christian Spirituality and Healing: A Meta-Synthesis Exploring the Efficacy of Complementary Therapies for Adult Survivors of Familial Trauma.”Â Her research focus is contemplative neurotheology, meditation, and Christian healing and spirituality. She’s currently a Yoga Therapy and 500hr RYT student at Soul of Yoga, and offers an assortment of Christian-adapted natural healing products including an in-person and remote wellness studio, healing ministry & apothecary. Visit www.AmandaBreesMinistries.com to learn more.
Amy Iverson – Staff Writer
Kate Shipp – Staff Writer
Kate Shipp is a Christ-Centered yoga therapist, certified with the International Association of Yoga Therapy, and a 500ERYT and YACEP with Yoga Alliance. She holds a B.S. in Marketing from Arizona State University, and has taken thousands of hours in training in integrative somatic therapies. For the past decade, Kate has specialized in seeing clients for mental health and trauma recovery. She uses the teachings of Jesus, the philosophy and practices of yoga, combined with the neuroscience of trauma, to help clients overcome painful pasts, remember their wholeness, and live a life of peace and joy. Her passion for Jesus and yoga was fueled by her own recovery from Complex PTSD, using the teachings of both to support her on her recovery journey.Â
Kate works with clients privately, online and in-person, as well as offering group mentoring and various training programs. She is the creator of The Shipp MethodTM of Christ-Centered Trauma Recovery, a training program to teach others a 7-step process for Remembered Wholeness. Kate also offers various events, workshops, retreats, and presentations to educate, embody, and empower radiant living.Â
She is a mother of two and a wife of 18 years. She loves traveling with her family, and fresh, hot coffee. Her favorite place to visit is the Southern Oregon Coast, while the desert of Phoenix is her home.Â
Yoga found Kelsey as a twenty something looking for a way to serve her community. Young and naive, she had a romanticized view of the life of a fitness instructor, so when an organization called Street Yoga came to Portland, OR she jumped into the training thrilled to find a way to yoke two passions together.Â She was quickly discouraged by a viewpoint that believed yoga would deter people from Jesus.Â Insert dramatic halt.Â Fast forward to 2018 where Yoga Faith came up in a google search and gave me the faith that yoga can not only be used to worship Jesus, but a way to reach others searching for a type of spirituality..Â Â Â
Kelseyâs passion is to inspire people toward a deeper relationship with Christ through whole health.Â She firmly believes that we need to take care of the vessels God has given us in order to do the most we can do for God.Â Health is not a number on a scale or what you eat or donât eat, it is being free to worship God without hindrance or barrier.Â