Meet the Teachers

Kristine Zakarison

Founder of Aloft Studios, Instructor, Yoga (E-RYT, 200 level), Nia (Black Belt), Move I.T. Instructor, certified

Kristine first began studying yoga in 1984 with Dr. Ravi Kapur of Punjab, India, while he was a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School. For the next 10 years, Kristine continued her training in yoga at the BKS Iyengar Center in Cambridge, MA with Senior Iyengar teachers Patricia Walden and Karin Stephan, as well as continuing her study of yogic philosophy. The study and practice of this integrated path of yoga continues to be her personal passion.

When Kristine discovered Nia, it felt as if she had discovered a long lost twin to her yoga practice. She is a licensed Nia Instructor trained at the Black Belt level. She is grateful for the many Nia mentors she has had along the way, including Carlos Aya Rosas and Debbie Rosas, the founders of Nia and Kristine’s teachers.

Kristine is a 3rd generation “daughter of the Palouse.” After some years on the east coast, she moved home to Pullman in 1995. She is the owner and a teacher of Nia and yoga at Aloft Studio in Pullman.

 

 

Sarah VanGundy

Instructor, Yoga (certified, RYT 200 level)

Sarah has practiced many different styles of yoga since she first fell in love with the practice on a trip to India in 1996. After moving to the Palouse, she found her yoga-home studying with Kristine in 2012, and in 2016 she completed yoga teacher certification at Aloft Studios. She is excited to now be “officially” qualified to explore yoga with the Aloft community as a teacher as well as a student. In her non-studio life, Sarah works as a librarian at the University of Idaho Library and she is also working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at UI. She lives in Moscow where she enjoys walking, talking, people, animals, and words of all kinds.

Cill Richards

Instructor, Meditation

Cill first meditated as a teenager in the Transcendental Meditation tradition. She stuck with it for about 6 years and then life got kind of busy so she took a hiatus for a number of years. She started meditating again a little more than 10 years ago — this time in the Buddhist Theravada tradition. She read a lot of books, watched YouTube videos, and managed to develop a consistent and dedicated daily practice. She went to her first silent retreat five years ago and the experience changed her life. Since then she has spent more than 150 days on silent retreat. Her most influential teacher has been Leigh Brasington.  When she isn’t on retreat or teaching meditation, Cill is a Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.

Christine Dopke

Instructor, Asleep/Awake-Aware (Therapeutic Movement in the Style of Moshe Feldenkrais)

After earning a B.S. in Physical Education from Northern Illinios University, Christine graduated from massage school in Eugene, OR in 1996 and went on to graduate from Bend Oregon Feldenkrais Training in 2009. She moved to Moscow in 2013 to foster a big change after 17 years in Corvallis, Oregon. Christine sings in the Palouse Choral Society and loves yoga and biking. Her husband Matt is a hockey player with a day job. They have one cat named Ivan.

Jeehee Heo

Instructor, Zumba (Certified basic )

A life-long love of music and dance led Jeehee to major in Vocal Music in college, but twenty years ago, she left the stage to follow her husband from Korea to the United States. About ten years later, she was exercising at a rec center and she heard music. She followed the sound until she found a Zumba class in progress. Jeehee joined in the class and her new dream began to take shape; she knew she wanted to share her love of Zumba with others. Now, she is a certified Zumba instructor and ready to share her passion for Zumba with the world. She wants to help others experience the joy and energy it can provide. Currently, Jeehee lives in Pullman with her husband.  They have two kids, one in high school and one attending college. In her free time, Jeehee enjoys swimming and skiing.

 

Leah Haak Beck

Instructor, Zumba (Certified Basic)

Leah first tried Zumba in fall 2010, and has been hooked on the fun ever since. Zumba is an activity that invites friendship, fun, and healthy physical activity into her life, and she loves to share the joy of Zumba with her students. Leah moved to the Palouse in 2015 from her native state of North Dakota. She lives with her husband in Pullman, WA and works as a registered dietitian nutritionist in the community. In addition to Zumba, Leah enjoys cooking, yoga, and tea.

Janet Keeney

Certified yoga teacher and Tai Chi teacher.

Janet’s yoga journey began in 1994, with the intention of rehabilitating a severe injury that she sustained, while training for the Olympic Trials Marathon. She studied yoga under John Coon, in Houston, where she met her teacher from India, Sri Raghuram.  Sri Raghuram conducted many 2 week long seminars through John’s yoga studio. Although Dr. Keeney was a practicing physician, specializing in biomechanics and sports medicine, she was determined to also immerse herself in yoga, since she realized that yoga offered a holistic approach to healing and well-being, as well as a means to peace. Janet took a sabbatical to travel to and live in Sri Raghuram’s ashram, yoga training center, as well as yoga research center, near Bangalore, India, called the Vivekananda Prakus’an Kendra. Here, Janet received training.

Janet is also a certified Tai Chi instructor, by the Tai Chi for Health Institute.  She meticulously incorporates qigong, (energy work), into her personal Tai Chi practice, as well as her teaching.

 

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