Teacher Bios

Nancy Allen, E-RYT 200 and E-RYT 500, YACEP – Alignment Based (formerly Anusara Inspired) Yoga 

Nancy Allen is a long time yoga practitioner and a 2005 graduate of the Willow Street Yoga Center teacher training program, 200 hours (Takoma Park, MD), and 2016 graduate of Sun and Moon Yoga program, 500 hours (Arlington, VA). She continues to study with Desiree Rumbaugh, Andrew Riven, Doug Keller and other wonderful yogis. Nancy is a student of Thich Nhat Hahn and has attended a number of retreats with him, both in this country and abroad. Nancy provides clear direction and individual attention to students so they can discover their own capacity for alignment and joy in every pose.  She receives regular referrals from area doctors, chiropractors and massage therapists because of her reputation and her attention to the individual student. Nancy continues to inspire and be inspired by her students, and is always in the process of learning herself.

11170309_10204104683157369_2089950420427672656_oAnne Alfieri, E-RYT 200 and E-RYT 500, YACEP.  Anne has been practicing yoga for many years.  She completed her 200 hour OM Yoga Teacher Training with Cyndi Lee in 2015, at which time she began teaching at James River Yoga Studio.  She graduated from the Asheville Yoga Center 300 Hour Advanced Yoga Studies in 2020, specializing in working with older adults and people with injuries and chronic pain.  She has also completed yoga teacher training in Yin Yoga and Pranayama (breath awareness and manipulation) and continues to study with many wonderful teachers across the country.  Anne subscribes to the notion that “motion is lotion,” and offers classes that incorporate safe, gentle movement and careful sequencing in conjunction with a focus on the breath.  Her clear instruction is designed to help students find flexibility and strength in every pose, while giving them the space to trust their own inner teacher.  Anne continues to be grateful for and amazed by how nourishing and transformational the practice of yoga can be, both for herself and for her students.

Jeanne Pribble, RYT 200. Jeanne began her yoga journey at the beginning of 2018 with primary teachers, Paul Webb and Nancy Allen.  Shortly after, she recognized the growing importance of self-care in her life and knew yoga was for her. The relaxation, strength, and sense of accomplishment fed her soul. Once she established a regular yoga routine, she noticed a huge change in her self-esteem and inner peace. The next step was learning how to share this feeling with others. She completed her  200 hour Yoga Teacher Training through Mandala Wellness in 2019.

Jan Gray, STOTT Pilates.  Jan started practicing Pilates at the suggestion of her husband, who had just taken a beginner class.  After a few years of participating as a student, Jan enrolled in a comprehensive STOTT Pilates Mat and Reformer Training program, with subsequent classes on the Stability Chair, Cadillac, and Barrels, along with an Injuries and Special Populations course.  Her certifications date to 2006 and she does continuing education every year; in 2009 she became a NASM Certified Personal Trainer.  In 2020, Jan certified as a Polestar Pilates Studio Trainer after a year of study, practice, and testing with Brent Anderson and Shelly Power.  When she’s not teaching at JRY, Jan teaches privates and duets in her home studio, and weaves kitchen linens by hand.

.Marisa Freeman, RYT 200.  Marisa attended her first yoga class out of curiosity and kept going back because of how amazing it made her feel. Falling in love with the practice, she began to notice the benefits not only in her body but in her mood as well. She enrolled in a 200 hour teacher training course so she could share those benefits with others. She teaches a mindful vinyasa style with an emphasis on smart sequencing and careful alignment and modifications.  Marisa’s classes are suitable for all-levels and tend to place importance on mobility and range of motion in the joints.

Becky Dimond, RYT 200. Becky is a lifelong student of movement who initially came to yoga as a more mindful way to care for her body. When she began studying yoga in depth in 2013, she started to see the beauty of yoga as a daily body/mind/spirit practice. In 2018, Becky graduated with her RYT-200 yoga certification from Rasa Yoga School of Ayurveda Yoga (Houston, TX) and also completed two levels of Ayurveda Certification through Rasa Yoga in 2016 and 2021. Becky is a dedicated remote student, continuing to work towards her RYT-500 certification with Padma Shakti and Gracie Alcocer. She also studies Sanskrit and the yoga sutras with Kristin and Randall Brooks of the Bhakti House Band. Becky teaches her classes at all levels because she believes that every student has their own divine wisdom and can practice any posture at their stage. Mindful staging and moving with the breath are the core focus of each class Becky teaches. In order to bring awareness to the rhythms and patterns of nature, all of Becky’s classes are ayurvedically influenced based on the season, time of day, and individual constitution of the students. She moved to the Lynchburg area in August 2021 and is thrilled to join the James River Yoga community!

Kassie Gada, Certified iRest® Teacher. While suffering from years of debilitating anxiety and insomnia following cancer treatment, Kassie was first introduced to iRest at a workshop led by Dr. Richard Miller in 2011. Dr. Miller, the founder of the Integration Restoration Institute, is a clinical psychologist and yogic scholar. Kassie is a nurse and CASA in Lynchburg with a passionate interest in the integrated science and applications of meditation in health and resilience. As such, she has pursued further training and certification in trauma informed care, iRest in trauma, and the Safe and Sound Protocol® based on Dr. Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory.  Kassie has contributed Meditations for an iRest app for teachers called JabuMind®.

Leesa Williams E-RYT200 and RYT500 and 300+hours of Kaiut Yoga Training.  Leesa is a former educator with LCS and taught Conscious Relaxation at Lynchburg University. She’s been teaching yoga for over 20 years, completing much of her training at the Asheville Yoga Center. She has also cultivated a strong meditation practice, attending retreats on several different continents and leading several area meditation groups. Finally, she feels she has found a yoga method that accentuates her love of meditation. She’s done several trainings with the Kaiut Method founder, Francisco Kaiut, and enjoys seeing students utilize the body’s natural healing capacity when the nervous system begins to work in a more coherent manner.

Dr. John Franklin, DVM graduated from a Feldenkrais® Professional Training as a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner TM in 2003, an 800 hour program that takes four years to complete. John taught Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement® classes at Healing Arts by the James in downtown Lynchburg, the Midtown Wellness Program at the Orthopedic Center of Central Virginia, Liberty Ridge Independent Living, and Whole Health Physical Therapy, John also offers individual Feldenkrais Functional Integration® lessons to restore and improve movement mechanics, posture, and balance—enhancing performance for runners, hikers, golfers, and others who desire an active lifestyle. For more information on how Feldenkrais can help you improve, please visit the Feldenkrais website at https://feldenkrais.com and see how improvement is possible at any age! You may contact John directly at 434-426-8612 or at drjohnefranklin@gmail.com for information about classes and individual lessons. Please note: contact John directly regarding this class and price. drjohnefranklin@gmail.com.

Dr. Matthew Miller, MB (China), LAC, teaches Tai Chi at James River Yoga and practices acupuncture next door in his private acupuncture clinic, East West Acupuncture.  Matthew lived in China for nine years, where he studied Tai Chi with Master Chen Longxiang (see picture), a fifth-generation heir to the authentic Yang Family Tai Chi lineage.   Before leaving China to return to the U.S., Matthew was authorized by Master Chen to teach Tai Chi in the West.  In China, Matthew also earned his medical degree from the Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, specializing in acupuncture.  A fluent Chinese speaker, Matthew took all of his medical courses in Chinese, alongside the regular Chinese medical students.  After graduating in 2002, he returned to his hometown of Lynchburg to set up his medical practice and teach Tai Chi.  Please note: contact Matt directly regarding this class and price. laowai1965@gmail.com