About Big Island Yoga


Though previously certified in other styles of yoga, Amanda finally gained courage to earn an Introductory II certification in Iyengar Yoga under the guidance of Chris Saudek and Francie Ricks of The Yoga Place in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She has studied the Iyengar method since 2003 and is currently working toward Junior I assessment.

You can find her teaching around her new home, South Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, while she continues to operate her traveling yoga studio, Root River Yoga, in rural SE Minnesota where she grew up. Her passion for providing community yoga classes ignited in 2008 after finishing a month in drug and alcohol treatment. It was then that she experienced profound transformation from starting a daily yoga practice. As friends gathered to practice in her living room, Amanda witnessed the infectious enthusiasm that developed in the group and realized her own ability to connect with others through teaching. She became committed to inspiring others to discover the healing power of yoga.

Amanda writes: “Yoga’s light is a safe space to shine in awareness of my inner struggles. The practice gently guides me through tough challenges and gives me tools for positive change. Each day’s yoga practice inspires me to help others with the new energy found through my recovery. The practice has saved my life. Yoga calls me to be more present, more accepting of my body and mind, and more engaged in the pursuit of wellness for all beings. Opening my heart and story to others brings hope. I am dedicated to sharing yoga's healing.”

What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Contact: : 507.459.6700 - griggsamanda1@gmail.com
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Throughout her life Grushenka has been an active person, initially with dance classes, then as a competitive ice skater, ice skating coach, and more recently with yoga practice. As a graduate student in Pharmacology and Toxicology and as a practicing toxicologist for 25+ years Grushenka gained knowledge and appreciation of the body’s ability to function and repair. As a scientist, she has been particularly drawn to the precision-based teaching of traditional alignment-based yoga at Big Island Yoga Center.

Having been introduced to yoga at BIYC and having had the opportunity to attend workshops with well-known Iyengar instructors, Grushenka decided to study Iyengar yoga with Ray Madigan (Intermediate Senior III Iyengar Teacher) and is currently certified at the Introductory I&II level. From her years of coaching ice skating and more recent yoga training, Grushenka discovered that a major part of the learning process is overcoming fear and having someone to challenge you in a safe environment.

She is committed to sharing the many benefits of yoga with her students at BIYC.

Contact: 808.345.4377 - ghiw@hawaii.rr.com
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Joan emphasizes alignment and inner focus in her teaching and uses the practice of yoga to bring balance and stability into her life.  She sees Yoga as a perfect tool to draw us into the Present moment.

She has completed the 200 hour Purna Yoga Certification course and is currently studying with Senior, Certified Iyengar Instructor, Ray Madigan, in the Iyengar Teacher Training course being offered at BIYC. She also serves on the Board of Directors and is the Treasurer for BIYC.

Contact: 808.769.0772 - jhughes.hwrs@gmail.com
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A native New Yorker, Joanne was drawn to Hawaii through her love of surfing; and her home has been on the Big Island since 1972. She began her Yoga studies in 1993, with certified Iyengar instructor Darina Archer, the founder of BIYC. As she saw her own health, spirit and well-being benefit from her practice, Joanne began attending teacher trainings with Aadil Palkhivala in 1996. She has also graduated from the 200 hour teacher training at BIYC with Jennifer Weinert, in 2010.

Joanne feels privileged to share with her students her dedication and her love for her practice, experiencing the practice itself as a continual process of personal growth. She is particularly interested in Yoga philosophy. Joanne also focuses her talents in agriculture on Hawaii Island, considering as her “earthly dharma” the raising of queen bees for export worldwide.

Contact: 808.315.2933

Julie’s university training was in art education. After living in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada, Julie has been in Hawaii since 1990, where she maintains a private practice as a licensed massage therapist, incorporating John Barnes Myofascial Release. With some previous experience in Yoga, her commitment deepened in 1996. Under the guidance of her mentor, Marcia Carman, she attended the first of many teacher trainings with Aadil Palkhivala in 2001. She also went to Aadil’s studio Alive and Shine in Bellevue, Washington for three therapeutics teacher trainings.

Julie has been teaching since 2002 and loves sharing the practice of traditional alignment-based Yoga with her students. She has been inspired by the teachings of the Iyengar teachers Julie Gudmestad, Janet MacLeod and Marla Apt. She is a certified SATYA teacher, through studying with Tias Little of Prajna Yoga.  Julie served as Director of BIYC 2009-2013.

Contact: 808.960.3310 - kalaoa@hawaii.rr.com
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Born in Southern Illinois to a Japanese Filipino coal miner and an Italian mother, Yuki was raised in South Kona on a coffee farm. She graduated from Konawaena High School and then received her Bachelor of Arts in Japanese Studies from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. She first experienced yoga at Willamette as an elective class during her freshman year. Six years later she made yoga a regular practice while she was training to become a licensed massage therapist in Kona.

This regular practice began in the Ashtanga tradition of Pattabhi Jois and for that time in her life it was appropriate for keeping the body strong and the mind trained on the rhythm of the breath for vinyasa. Having done gymnastics as a child, her body had been conditioned to strength and flexibility. In 2008 Yuki first experienced the Iyengar tradition of yoga, at BIYC. Awareness expanded her practice. Engaging muscles with intention, feeling the body and its capabilities became a meditation of different sorts.

Yuki has completed two 200 hour yoga teacher trainings in Purna Yoga—the first with Jennifer Weinert of Purna Yoga Centers Hilo, Hawaii and the second with Aadil Palkhivala at the Alive and Shine Center in Bellevue, Washington. Yuki realizes joy in her practice and is blessed to be able to share that with others. Her teaching centers on developing awareness for and intelligence in the body and spirit which translates into life off the yoga mat.

Yuki has experienced a number of adventures apart from yoga. She has hiked to the summits of all the mountains on the Big Island. She has run the 200 mile Hood to Coast Relay from Mount Hood to Seaside in Oregon and twice completed the Lavaman Triathlon in Waikoloa, Hawaii. As a paddler, Yuki has twice paddled the Kaiwi Channel with a crew of ten other women in the Na Wahine O Ke Kai (the women's Moloka'i to O'ahu outrigger canoe race). Yoga makes it possible!

Contact: 808.640.1544 - yuki.agoot@gmail.com - Yuki's Website
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Yvette has loved physical movement all of her life. The study of ballet and flamenco dancing as a young girl laid a foundation for her pursuit of the mind-body connection. It resonates deeply with Yvette to "feel rather than force," during asana practice, as well as in the rest of life. Yvette began to learn numerous life lessons “from the mat,” even before she understood that this could happen in Yoga. You may not see the following definition in any books on Yoga, but Yvette believes Yoga is magic!

After a successful 16 year career in the food and beverage industry, Yvette embarked on a quest to find a lifestyle which would promote health of mind, body and spirit. In 2009 she took two big leaps in her quest. She began training to become a licensed massage therapist; and she now maintains a private massage practice in Kailua. Secondly, she enrolled in the first 200 hour teacher training offered by the College of Purna Yoga in Hawaii. After graduating in June of 2010, she continued to practice and study until the second Hawaii Purna Yoga 200 hour teacher training was offered, from which she graduated in May of 2011. Her instructor for the 400 hours was Jennifer Weinert. Whenever she is asked why she completed the training twice, Yvette replies by saying that she believes repetition is the master of all teachers. After graduating again in 2013 and 2014 Yvette feels committed to mastering the basics.

Having now married all the passion, grace and energy required to drive a successful food and beverage operation with the necessary knowledge, patience and support for the teaching of Yoga, Yvette offers students guidance and assistance along their yogic journeys. A former staff member of Yvette's told her that she embraces the essential qualities of a Yoga teacher by telling her, "You're calm but enthusiastic. You love people. You're passionate and you have lovely energy." Yvette, her husband Josh & their fur babies live in Kailua-Kona, where they embrace Living Aloha!

Contact: 808.895.8216  - yvetteminear@gmail.com
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I believe that we are powerful beings capable of creating our own state of wholeness and healing. Yoga has been one of my most passionate and transformational tools. It has brought me deep and meaningful levels of awareness, has afforded me a healthy lifestyle, and has provided answers. My path has been about a return to self love and the study of why we get sick and how to heal.

 I began doing yoga at age fifteen and have been practicing steadily since 1984 and teaching since 1994. I have studied with many certified Iyengar instructors over the years, completed many training courses, and am currently in training with certified senior yoga teacher Ray Madigan. In addition, I am a certified Integrative Life Coach and a trained clairvoyant, venues which have enriched and developed my spiritual foundations and have allowed me to see beyond what meets the eye. It is my honor and privilege to assist others on their path.

Contact: 808.896.8956 - reaganmbreen@gmail.com
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