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 a 500 ERYT and RYT Baptiste Teacher. She is a student first and continues studying withBaron Baptiste and her meditation master who was the late Sri Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari and who has now been succeeded by Kamlesh D. Patel, the president of the Sri Ram Chandra Mission. Her first teacher training was completed in 1996 at a Sivananda Ashram afterstudying yoga previously for four years at Jivamukti Yoga under the guidance of the Venerable 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 a 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 Khandro, dakini of great bliss.  She credits the success of her studio to trusting in God and the Dharma, her family, her teachers, the Baptiste Methodology, her meditation practice, and all of the wonderful beings who work at the shala.   Dechen was  the official yoga teacher of the WNBA Connecticut Sun Womens Basketball Team from 2009-2011. She is proud that the Mystic Yoga Shala has hosted an accredited class for the Coast Guard Academy and continues to serve the Navy, active duty military and veterans of war and the armed forces. Her current favorite quotes are "Love cannot exist without discipline," and "love grows through service, " by Parthasarathi Rajagopalachari. She lives in Mumford Cove with her daughter and teacher Akasha Ikaika Marie and her partner James Conlan. 


James Conlan
Senior Teacher, Self Empowerment Coach

side plank tree cropped james conlan bio pic.jpg

James Conlan is an E-500RYT with Yoga Alliance and the Baptiste Yoga Institute. He is a full time instructor and a community leader at the Mystic Yoga Shala. James is also the creator of Yogatomics Training and Wellness, a center that provides specialized yoga education including Yoga Teacher Training Programs both in-house and around the world. Massage therapy, hand drumming, and meditation instruction are also offered at YT&W. James' dedication towards his personal development is easily felt when he shares his passion and experience in the classroom. James has a true understanding of Baptiste Yoga Methodology and brings lightness, compassion, and discipline when sharing it with others.  James is inspired by his son Tyler, and the lineage of Master teachers he is honored to be of service to...  Sri Baron Baptiste,  Sri B.K.S Iyengar, Sri Tirumlai Krishnamacharya.


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.

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 the practice with her students.  A 200-hour RYT, she began teaching in 2010 in New York after completing her certification through Conquering Lion Yoga.  She continues to participate in workshops and trainings under various teachers and styles.  Currently, she teaches Baptiste-style power vinyasa and plans to complete her 200-hour Baptiste teaching certification in 2015. Above all, Courtney maintains that the most important part of the Yoga practice is to have fun and play!  When you practice with a strong intention, compassion in your heart (and a smile on your face) the yoga practice can cultivate more healing and more joy than one ever thought possible.  "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


Terry Garret

Terry aims to help her students access the joy and freedom she has found in her own yoga practice. She first began practicing yoga at home as a young mom almost thirty years ago. She became a certified yoga teacher when she completed her RYT 200 at a Baptiste inspired studio in Houston, TX. Having then completed extensive and amazing yoga intensives with Baron Baptiste, she found the yoga practice that inspires and nourishes her journey. She is in the process of becoming certified as a Baptiste instructor. This fulfills a lifetime dream of sharing her passion for this celebration of uniting mind, body and spirit. Terry is committed to growing as a student and as a teacher of yoga. She promises you a challenging, joy-filled sweaty practice that will leave you rinsed, renewed and ready to face your life off the mat. Terry enjoys spending time with her husband, grown children, grandchildren and dogs, traveling, reading, hiking and living near the ocean.


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 completed Level 1 Bootcamp Training with Baron Baptiste. “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!