Melanie McQuown (ERYT500, Owner/Director of PeaceLab Yoga Shala) is a teacher’s teacher who has been practicing yoga for almost 18 years, and teaching for over 13. She received her ERYT 500 certification in October 2015, and currently has logged over 4100 hours of teaching time and over 900 hours of studies in asana, anatomy, physiology, therapeutics, and philosophy. For Melanie, the mat is a place for experimentation and wonderment. Foremost a student, she is inspired by and grateful to the many teachers she has studied with, including Christina Sell, Gioconda Parker, Darren Rhodes, Desiree Rumbaugh, and John Friend. She continues to be inspired by her students daily, and loves to see the transformation that arises from their time on the mat. Melanie leads dynamic classes, informative workshops, and individualized instruction. She is also the Program Director for the 200 Hour PeaceLab Yoga Teacher Training and the 300 Hour Advanced Teacher Training, whose aim is to provide the communities in and around West Michigan with world-class yoga instructors. Feel free to contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leigh, RYT200, LMSW, has been practicing yoga for 10 years and began her practice at a local YMCA with Melanie McQuown. Through her yoga practice Leigh has been able to connect her physical practice with her spiritual beliefs. Leigh credits her Yoga practice with helping her deal with some health issues and with helping her find health and balance in her life. On her mat, Leigh's practice is dynamic, building strength, flexibility and balance. Leigh's classes are designed to empower students to help them find balance and connection with their bodies along with the belief that anything is possible and any obstacle can be overcome. Leigh enjoys learning and expanding her yoga practice and has studied with teachers such as Mimi Ray, Desiree Rumbaugh and Christina Sell. Leigh is excited and honored to have been a part of both the first PeaceLab Yoga Shala 200 hour and 300 hour Teacher Trainings. You may contact Leigh at email@example.com or on her facebook page: Leigh Moerdyke Yoga.
Heather Ernsberger, BSN-RN, RYT 200 was curious about yoga throughout college and nursing school. She began exploring and practicing yoga in 2007 while pregnant with twins, under the guidance of Kathy Peterson at the Grand Rapids YMCA. Heather also first met Melanie McQuown at the YMCA, and was immediately drawn to the explorative, playful yet challenging, dynamic and intelligent practice of alignment-based yoga.
Heather began teaching in 2013. She completed PeaceLab Yoga Shala's 200 hour Teacher Training program with Melanie McQuown and was delighted to join the teaching staff of PeaceLab in 2015. Along the way, Heather has enriched her studies with a variety of teachers, including Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Noah Maze, Gioconda Parker, Michele Fife and Mimi Ray. Heather continues to learn from her teacher Melanie, and is delighted to be a part of PeaceLab Yoga Shala’s 300 hour Teacher Training program.
Heather designs her classes to be fun and playful, while safe and informative: you will breathe, move, sweat, play, learn, grow.
Heather enjoys warm weather, being near the beach and in the sunshine. You may connect with Heather after class or firstname.lastname@example.org, @heathererns on Instagram, Heather Erns Yoga on Facebook
Kate began her yoga journey in the summer of 2007 when she stepped into the local YMCA and met Melanie McQuown for her very first yoga class. She was instantly drawn to the way that a steady yoga practice could be both energizing and calming and quickly began a diligent practice attending as many yoga classes (and doing as many handstands) as her schedule would allow. In addition to the several years of practice with Melanie, Kate has studied with several local teachers including Behnje Masson, Rick Powell, and Mimi Ray and continues to deepen her knowledge with teachers such as Christina Sell, Darren Rhodes, Desiree Rumbaugh, Betsey Downing, Sianna Sherman and Noah Maze. Kate is both thrilled and honored to have been one of the first graduates of the Peacelab Yoga Shala Teacher Training Program.
Annie is an avid enthusiast for movement medicine and holistic health. A Grand Rapids-based teacher, she finds her roots in alignment-based yoga and expresses her spirit through vinyasa flow and dancing on and off her mat. In 2016 Annie received her 200 RYT through PeaceLab Yoga Shala. She has been studying with Melanie for over a decade, and has learned from Kacee Must, Christina Sell, Gionconda Parker, and Todd Tesen. Annie aims to inspire others to find their true authentic selves through the healing powers of movement and self love. When not in the studio practicing or teaching, you can find her exploring nature with her dog, Charley.
Michelle has been practicing yoga on and off since college. In 2014, she walked into PeaceLab and has been on her mat ever since. Along with establishing a consistant practice, Michelle found the balance in her life and the community she had been searching for. Her quest in the further knowledge of yoga led her to complete the RYT 200 with Yoga Alliance at PeaceLab in 2017. She is grateful to her teacher, Melanie McQuown, for sharing her knowledge and encouragement along the journey. Michelle is thrilled to be teaching at PeaceLab and hopes to pass the same teachings and encouragement to her students.
Michelle is also the Studio Manager, and can be reached at email@example.com
Darcie’s love of yoga started in 2014 when a friend invited her to her first yoga class. She loved and was pleasantly surprised how yoga made her feel, and how it was so much more than just exercise. In the summer of 2016, she found herself craving more, more knowledge about yoga and how to deepen her own practice. So, she began a search for studio that would fit her needs to obtain the RYT 200hr, and came upon Melanie McQuown, owner of PeaceLab Yoga. She knew immediately that this was the yoga community she had been longing for. Melanie McQuown has been a huge inspiration and influence in her yoga journey. Darcie is forever grateful to her teacher and is beyond excited to share with everyone what she so passionately loves about yoga!
Tom Stavrou, RYT 200, first started practicing yoga in the fall of 2015 and has not stopped since! Tired of treadmills and the gym, Tom randomly stepped into PeaceLab Yoga and found a great physical workout and eventually, mental and spiritual balance. Being a student first, Tom decided to deepen his knowledge of yoga by enrolling in the 2017/18 PeaceLab Teacher Training Program. Tom aims to share his love of yoga through his studies with Melanie McQuown, Christina Sell, and Darren Rhodes. Tom's classes are energetic, alignment-based, lighthearted, and fun....and might involve a little bit of sweat. Tom continues to learn by practicing yoga as much as he can in the kind and nurturing environment of PeaceLab Yoga.
Jill Johnson first found her yoga practice in 2015 and fell in love with the physicality of the vinyasa style. Soon after, Jill realized that yoga aligned with her life coach training in that how you show up on your mat is how you show up in other areas of life as well. Inspired and eager to have another tool to teach people about themselves, she signed up for teacher training and received her 200 Hour certification in 2016. In 2018, wanting to learn more about yoga and desiring to become a more knowledgeable teacher Jill completed her 500 Hour RYT at PeaceLab Yoga with Melanie McQuown. She has currently logged almost 450 hours of teaching and credits her growth to Melanie, the teachers at PeaceLab, Gioconda Parker, Darren Rhodes, Manorama, and Christina Sell.
Although Jill loves a good vinyasa sweat, these days she’s leaning more towards a practice and teaching that unites people with their inner selves. She believes that in order for asana to not become another coping mechanism, we need to be mindful of why and how we are practicing and have a sense of humor about our bodies and our humanity!
When Jill is offer her mat she loves spending time and laughing with her husband, daughter and friends, and also has a passion for life coaching, organizing and planning. You can connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org, @jillianj on Instagram, Jill Johnson or Jillian J Coaching on Facebook or her website www.jillianj.com
Akia first discovered yoga when she decided to embarked on a quest to become more healthy, physically and mentally, through fitness and exercise. She was invited out to take a yoga class with a friend on Lake Michigan and has loved yoga ever since. Akia quickly found out that she could do anything on the mat that she put her mind and practice to, causing her to feel empowered both mentally and physically off the mat. Akia discovered with a little time, practice, persistence and patience that anything is possible on and off the mat. Since then, Akia's primary mission has been to encourage others that it's okay to be your "authentic self" while dancing to the rhythm of life that was purposed specifically for you! Akia completed her 200 Hour Certificate with Melanie McQuown at PeaceLab Yoga in 2017.