Meet our team of Yoga Instructors

Amy "Dechen" Zezulka
Senior Teacher, Director

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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

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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

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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
Teacher

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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 in the process of completing her tier one Baptiste certification. 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
Teacher

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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
Teacher

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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.

 

 

Terry Garret
Teacher

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 a tier one Baptiste certified instructor which 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.

 

John Longinidis
Teacher

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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
Teacher

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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
Teacher

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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
Teacher

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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
Teacher

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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!

 

Nicole Oliver
Teacher

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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!