Meet our team of Yoga Instructors

Amy "Dechen" Zezulka
Senior Teacher, Director

amy paddle board.jpg

Dechen is the founder and owner of the Mystic Yoga Shala and currently a grateful Baptiste Yoga Teacher who has been training and practicing since 1992 and teaching for over 22 years.  She got into yoga for anger management after taking on the job harassment literally into her own hands by slugging a co-worker in the jaw getting her immediately fired. She is a student first and continues her studies with the Baptiste Institute and practices meditation under the guidance of Kamlesh D. Patel, affectionately known as "Daaji," the president of the Sri Ram Chandra Mission. Her first teacher training was completed in 1996 at a Sivananda Ashram after studying yoga previously for four years at Jivamukti Yoga under the guidance of  Sharon Gannon and David Life in Manhattan. She started teaching in 1996 on the east end of Long Island while working on an organic farm. Soon after she opened up "The Studio" for the Arts and Education in Greenport, NY while also working for The Association for Resource Conservation-encouraging vineyards and farms to use organic methods of farming through on site composting. In 1997 she completed her first ten day silent Vipassana Meditation Retreat and in 1999 she lived, worked and studied at Pema Osel Ling in California, home of the Vajrayana Foundation and the late great Tibetan Rinpoche Lama Tharchin who gave her the name Dechen. She credits the success of her school to the support of her family, her teachers, the Baptiste Methodology and Institute,  and all of the dedicated people who work at the shala. Dechen was also the official yoga teacher for the WNBA Connecticut Sun Womens Basketball Team from 2009-2011. Her current favorite quotes are "Love cannot exist without discipline," and "love grows through service, " by her late teacher Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari.


Elizabeth Johnstone
Senior Teacher

elizabeth purple dress warrior 1 low rez for email.jpg

Elizabeth is a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga teacher. She is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance.  Elizabeth enjoys sharing her passion for yoga with the community. She believes yoga is for everyone. She enjoys helping athletes gain greater strength and flexibility through Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga. Her love of yoga and her commitment to her true path inspires her to be a passionate and caring teacher, ongoing student, and devoted practitioner. "Be who you really are and go the whole way." (Lao Tzo)  Elizabeth is a graduate of Spirit Tree Yoga school with Director Cathy Cesario. Elizabeth has completed training for Level One Thai Yoga Bodywork with Ed Cardinal. Elizabeth is the founder of Recovery Yoga, a non-profit service organization dedicated to healing and personal empowerment through yoga programs in Southeastern CT and Southwestern RI. Recovery Yoga's mission is to establish, develop and maintain yoga programs in residential, rehabilitative and other facilities, primarily for women and teens working to recover from substance, physical or other abuse, or who are at risk or otherwise in need. Elizabeth is a 500 hour RYT and 200 ERYT. Elizabeth is trained in Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans Coping with Trauma by Suzanne Manafort and Daniel Libby.


Krista Gamble


Krista recently moved to the Mystic ~ Stonington area from New York City where she lived for seven years. She received her 200 hour RYT from Sonic Yoga, NYC. Currently, Krista is a Baptiste Certified Teacher. She completed Level One training with Baron Baptiste in Sedona, Arizona as well as Art of Assisting, Advanced Art of Assisting, and Level Two with Paige Elenson, founder of Africa Yoga Project. Krista also got the opportunity to train with Baron in Tulum, Mexico this past spring at Personal Revolution Bootcamp.

She loves what the Baptiste methodology stands for: being in alignment with your true, authentic self creates abundance for all you desire in life! Besides teaching, Krista is the Shala manager and delights in serving and expanding the Baptiste community. When she’s not on the mat she loves exploring New England! 


Courtney DeBlasio


Courtney has been practicing Yoga for more than ten years.  She is honored to be able to share her passion and enthusiasm for Yoga with her students.  A 200-hour RYT, she began teaching in 2010 in New York after completing her certification through Conquering Lion Yoga.  She is in the process of completing her Tier One Baptiste Yoga certification, having completed LEVEL 1, LEVEL 2 and Art of Assisting with the Baptiste Institute.  Courtney LOVES watching people transform through the work of their Yoga practice.  In her classes she aims to inspire and empower students to keep showing up, keep doing the work and keep believing in themselves so they can take their practice off the mat and into the world. "Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat.”  B.K.S Iyengar


Rebecca DePoala


Rebecca DePoala is a 200-hour certified yoga teacher trained by the Mystic Yoga Shala in the Baptiste methodology. Rebecca was first drawn to yoga after the birth of her daughter in 2014. Rebecca has 20 years of training in classic ballet, as well as tap, jazz, and hip hop. Movement has always been destined to be in her life. When she isn't chasing around her 3 and 4 year old, you can find Rebecca teaching yoga or taking a class herself. The first time she stepped on her mat and took a Baptiste Power Vinyasa Class, she instantly fell in love with not only the physical aspect but also the mental. emotional, and spiritual effect it has had on her life.



Lydia Kenny


Lydia is a certified 200 hour yoga teacher who trained at Mystic Yoga Shala under the guidance of Dechen and loves teaching Baptiste style yoga classes. She found yoga in her early 20's and practiced over the years alongside with long distance running. She hopes to bring the strength, independence and focus that she discovered in her yoga practice to each person. The student will discover that the breakthroughs you explore on your mat will open up your life off of your mat!

Lydia strives to deliver a challenging class that allows each student a chance to strengthen the body and mind. Her class provides a detoxifying and exhilarating experience. Each student will have the chance to empower themselves physically and mentally, and carry this exciting new clarity and confidence out of class.


John Longinidis


John began his yoga practice in 2010 when he was searching for something to compliment his martial arts discipline. What he discovered in his yoga practice exceeded his expectations. Within a few months he noticed major improvements not only his flexibility and strength but focus, breathing, and the ability to become comfortable in uncomfortable situations. He was hooked! His initial motivations were mostly to improve his physical self yet the tools he required to manage mental clutter and build from within has motivated John to dive deeper into his practice. John completed his 200 Hour RYT from the Mystic Yoga Shala in May of 2016 and continues to be a student as he teaches. He is inspired to bridge the gap and educate those who may have little knowledge or a misconception to what yoga is really about! He hopes that his students find his classes to be challenging, educational, and uplifting! John enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, boating, and running and still enjoys playing baseball, basketball, football, and martial arts. He also loves traveling to different countries to experience diverse cultures! His family and friends are his world and the beach is John’s sanctuary! 


Vanessa Lazine


Vanessa Lazine is a 200-hour certified Mystic Yoga Shala Teacher. Vanessa was first drawn to Baptiste Power Vinyasa ten years ago because of the healing effects on the mind. She loves the balance of strength and grace in Baptiste classes. Vanessa currently teaches 3rd Grade, where she incorporates yoga as part of her students’ daily routine. She is excited to further her own learning and share her passion by teaching and assisting yoga!





Dylan Gardner


Dylan first discovered Yoga as a winter cross training activity when it was too snowy to ride his bicycle. He quickly discovered however, that there was much more to Yoga than just the physical aspect. The mindful, “meditation in motion” that Yoga provided was enough to hook him. He has been practicing regularly since 2006. Dylan received his 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) certification from Mystic Yoga Shala in May 2017. Dylan also holds a 2nd degree black belt in Renshinkai Aikido that he received while living in Tokyo, Japan.Dylan’s classes will challenge you to do your best. You will find the space where you think your limits exist and push beyond them in a safe environment.

When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.  -Lao Tzu


Sue MacClain

new shala bio photo sue mcl.jpg

Sue believes that  a good day is any day she gets to step onto her mat. In describing her connection to yoga, she says, “Yoga is my peace, my inspiration, and my refuge. It has become part of who I am. It is my connection to earth and my space to be. It is infinitely patient, elegantly simple, and immeasurably expansive. My relationship with it is much like any other. It has seen highs and lows, has taught me patience and compassion, and continues to evolve, showing me that the more I give, the more I receive.” In 2010, Sue received her 200-hour certification through the Mystic Yoga Shala & Lifeline Power Yoga, and is now a certified Baptiste Teacher. “I teach because it shows me who I really am. Much of what I am learning about myself and how I move through life, I am learning on my yoga mat. Teaching, learning, and conveying the experiences of my own living yoga practice inspires me to inspire others.” Sue’s teaching style follows the principles of Baptiste yoga, incorporating alignment, mindfulness, flow and breath. 


Patty Serraro

patty s dancer left web rez.jpg

Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga meets you where you are at... In this moment; whether it be your first class or your thousandth, class to class, pose to pose, breath to breath it brings you back to yourself.

For the last seven years, Certified Baptiste Teacher, Patty Serraro, has taught Baptiste Yoga with a focus on making it accessible and empowering for each and every body. In her challenging, free flowing, heated classes, Patty offers the tools and modifications needed to craft each posture in a way that deeply nourishes and supports you - in whatever you are up to - on your mat, or in your life, so that you can compassionately create each moment as the deepest expression of your strength; and also, of your freedom! Patty is now a 750-hour certified Baptiste Teacher.


Nicole Oliver


Nicole received her 200 hour registered yoga teacher (RYT) certificate at the Mystic Yoga Shala. Starting her practice in 2015, Nicole fell in love with the Baptiste methodology. She has completed Level One and Level Two Training with the Baptiste Institute and is on her way to becoming Baptiste certified. Nicole is committed to her growth as a student and teacher of yoga and is deeply grateful to have the opportunity to continue learning from her teachers. No matter how much yoga experience you have, in every one of her classes you will be challenged, empowered and leave feeling energized! Yoga has given Nicole the tools to enjoy the things she loves most in life which include her family, friends, dog, music, and sunshine!