Teachers

 

Owner/Instructor

I was first introduced to yoga around 2005 when my dad was diagnosed with cancer. This was a huge blow to my family and me and it sent us into a tailspin. My dad, the most beautiful, compassionate, man I had ever known, was given a brutal diagnosis. During this time my family and I started to seek out alternative treatment to complement the medical care he was receiving. We ended up at a holistic facility in Evanston, Illinois where my dad, along with the rest of my family was introduced to yoga and meditation.

After my dad died, it was difficult to do yoga but eventually I made my way back to the mat, this time for my own healing. I have always been very active, running two marathons, biking, playing soccer and beach volleyball. I find that yoga enhances all of these activities and helps greatly with injury prevention. The physical benefits of the yoga practice have always been obvious. What came as a surprise though, were the mental benefits. The more I practice, the stronger I feel as a mother, friend, daughter…human. Yoga is truly healing.

In the summer of 2015, after being an elementary school teacher for many years, I bought Muskegon Yoga Center and really committed to both my practice and myself. I received my RYT 200 Level Yoga Alliance Certificationn after completing teacher training the summer of 2015 from Hilaire Lockwood and I am currently working on my 300 level yoga teacher training. Hilaire, one of my many teachers, taught me alignment, yogi philosophy, tradition, lineage, and above all a passion for the art of yoga. I am inspired by the people I have met at the studio and I am honored to practice alongside them. I look forward to many years of both teaching and learning as I continue on this amazing journey of life!

Shanti

I have a long history of teaching a variety of fitness classes. I discovered yoga in 2005 and quickly realized the “complete-ness” of it; that while practicing yoga is a great way to achieve physical fitness, even more importantly it results in health and wellness of the total self. My life literally changed through yoga. I was inspired to leave a successful but stressful executive corporate position to complete certification through the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Program in 2013 and have received my RYT 200 Yoga Alliance Certification. I have been guiding yogis, newbies and experienced, in their practice since then and am honored to share classic yoga poses, philosophies, breathing and relaxation to promote calmness, reduce stress, achieve life-balance and connect to the quiet space within.

I have been practicing, teaching and studying yoga and meditation since 2001. I completed several certifications within the YogaFit system and received my 200 hour teacher training through Sangha Yoga in Kalamazoo, MI with Para Yoga® Senior Teacher, Karina Ayn Mirsky. My study with Karina is through the classic yoga tradition of Tantric Hatha Yoga in the style of Para Yoga®. My desire is to help people discover what they are capable of in the practice of yoga. I enjoys watching students find a mind-body connection through movement and attention to their breath. “The breath is the ultimate guide, encouraging us to find a deeper connection to ourselves.” Students will discover the bountiful benefits of the breath, the nurturing space of relaxation and the calm surrender of meditation. I am dedicated to bringing authenticity, creativity and fun to the practice of yoga in a way that every - body can safely enjoy.

I am also certified in Level One Thai Massage and have received my Reiki Master attunements by Lisa Lee in the Traditional Usui Reiki Healing Method.

Like so many others, I found yoga by accident. I began doing yoga for the physical benefits as a complement to my sporty lifestyle. I was very fortunate to encounter some truly inspirational teachers along the way who showed me that yoga is so much more than flexibility, strength or asana poses. I became a teacher to share my passion for yoga. I took my teacher training with Jonny Kest and am RYT certified in Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It is my honor and privilege to share every bit of knowledge I have with every single student, no matter what their age, level or experience.
I began my practice in my late teens, discovering and learning how much more Yoga was than just partaking in asana (postures). During the summer of 2015, I participated in a 200 hour teaching program though Hilaire Lockwood, and am currently enrolled in a 300 hour training. I have since invited an intention to maintain a sense of contentment not only on the matt but off of the mat and into daily life. I hope to help share this yogic knowledge with others. Through the teachings from Lockwood, self study, and many instructors along the Lakeshore, I hope to offer a service through my teachings that provide an opportunity to heal the mind, body and spirit from within. Shanti (peace)!
Hello, My name is Melissa Olinghouse. I found yoga in January of 2014. I had driven by the  “hot yoga” sign hundreds of times. Finally, in an attempt to beat the winter blues I stopped in to check out the studio. I decided to try the 30 for $39 special. I attended one of Mary Fahy’s classes my first day and I was hooked. During my first Savasana I realized that relaxing was something very difficult for me. My mind was not used to having an opportunity to slow down. I knew then that this was something more than exercise and something my body, mind and spirit needed. Muskegon Yoga quickly became a home to me. I could feel something changing in me each day with each class. I was more relaxed, I felt healthy and energized and my nerves were calmer. The results were not just physical. I felt myself becoming more aware of my actions and reactions in all areas of my life. Yoga is a journey of self study. Yoga makes me want to be a better me. In the summer of 2015 I decided to pursue teacher training with Hilaire Lockwood of Hilltop Yoga right here at Muskegon Yoga. Hilaire offered a training that was traditional, holistic and alignment based. I am currently working towards my 300 hr certification. During my training with Hilaire I found that many of the things I was experiencing through yoga could be explained and studied in The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. I am forever changed through the amazing experiences and individuals I met during teacher training here at Muskegon Yoga. I hope to share yoga with as many people as I can along my journey.
I began my study of the human body through martial arts when I was around ten years old. When I was 16 I assisted my instructor in teaching Taekwondo and Filipino Martial Arts at his studio in Fowlerville, MI. After graduating High School, I moved to Muskegon to further my learning in movement and the human body. I attended Baker College of Muskegon and graduated with a degree in Massage Therapy. During that time I also took Yoga Teacher Training (RYT-200) with Hilaire Lockwood and started teaching yoga at Muskegon Yoga Center. I look forward to continuing to learn and grow and further my yoga practice, as well as guide others on their own path in whatever way I can.
Yoga found me in 1997. And in the summer of 2015, I decided to further my understanding of the eight limbs of yoga and embark on teacher training at Muskegon Yoga with Hilaire Lockwood. This journey was one of the most rewarding and challenging educational experiences I've ever encountered. It pushed me beyond my mental, spiritual and physical boundaries - sweat, tears, joy and a deep soul awakening brought me to where I am today not only in my own personal practice but as a teacher. As Hilaire said, "You only need to be flexible in your mind to do yoga." As a licensed massage therapist, Holy Fire Reiki Master and RYT 200 level yoga instructor, I assist people in finding that flexibility. Because yoga isn't about doing the perfect posture, but coming to your mat and finding a safe place to release your worries, fears and discover the best version of you - which is the light being that you are - peaceful and bright.
I grew up in North Muskegon and moved to Colorado in 1996. It was there that I discovered the benefits of practicing yoga. I practiced consistently, made the move back to West Michigan and, as my practice deepened, I pursued my RYT  200 Yoga Alliance Certification, through Third Coast Yoga Studio in 2010. I found Muskegon Yoga Center in 2008 and have been there ever since.  Having experienced how yoga transformed my life in so many ways both on and off the mat, I seek to empower my students to connect with their breath and body and seek balance and change in their own lives.
I have been devoted to yoga since 2002, and completed my certification through the Sivananda Yoga Teacher Training Course (RYS 200) in 2005. I have since guided yoga practitioners of diverse backgrounds, ages and levels throughout the Americas in English, Spanish and Portuguese. I am honored to share my experience with yoga as a pathway to enhanced vitality and personal and collective transformation.
I feel deeply blessed as the owner of Hilltop Yoga to be heading into my 25th year of practicing yoga and guided meditation. My passion for it started internally at age 18 when I began studying the Yoga Sutras, to find focus and to relieve stress in my life. Three years later, my practice opened up to the physical practice of Iyengar yoga. Spiritually, I had already found my home in practice and at age 21, the picture was complete – my body loved it. I continued to explore the many different avenues of this practice, all based on the same principles of uniting the mind, body, and spirit through breath. I began to practice Ashtanga, which I found to be exhilarating and fluid. After coming through second series Ashtanga, I began exploring my options further. I trained to teach yoga at the original Yoga Works in Santa Monica with Maty Ezraty, Chuck Miller, and Lisa Walford, where I began my process of learning how to teach from a deeply spiritual as well as physically-aligned, safe place. We moved back home to Michigan in 2003, as I was pregnant with my second son. Concurrently, I was diagnosed with metastatic resistant thyroid cancer. Metastatic lymph spread and resistant to its only cure. I have since had five radical neck dissection and lymphectomies. Each time my practice continues to come back, reassuring me that it is always there regardless of my physical or emotional state. They say I will never be in remission as I live with my cancer. I found my cancer through meditation and continue to find it every time it is back or revisiting in my meditation sit time, which is crucial. Not only did this experience provide perspective for my practice but has also allowed me to teach yoga as a healing modality. Between my third and fourth surgeries, my baby brother went missing and was found murdered in the Grand River. We all have a story, and I am open about mine because what I know in the deepest pieces of me is that this practice is the reason I am still alive. Physically, emotionally and spiritually, it is my lifeline. Medically I have baffled them. I am literally in the 1% and on paper, I shouldn't be alive. We learn through this practice to come through absolute adversity with grace and gratitude. I believe all I have come through in practice has allowed a cleaner house for healing in all aspects. I am determined to live my life to the fullest each and every day I can. I honor and thank my family, my friends and students, and my wonderful teachers. Deepest Namaste, Hilaire
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