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Faculty and Staff

The Vancouver School of Healing Arts boasts a celebrated faculty of instructors who bring diverse professional skills, abilities and knowledge to the yoga therapy programs.

Our faculty is comprised of a diverse group of healthcare and wellness experts, including yoga therapists, physiotherapists, registered massage therapists (RMTs) and manual therapists.

They actively practice the work they teach, creating a learning environment that is current and practice-oriented.

In sharing their knowledge, wisdom, enthusiasm and compassion, our instructors endeavour to create an experience that is enriching, both professionally and personally.

Rebekka Walker Yoga Program Director

Rebekka is the Program Director for VSOHA’s Yoga Teacher Training and Yoga Therapy Programs. She has been working in groups and one on one as a Yoga Therapist, Yoga Teacher Trainer and meditation guide for over 20 years. She holds a Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 certification, and is accredited as a C-IAYT with The International Association of Yoga Therapists, utilizing a background in Iyengar, Vinyasa, Restorative, Anusara Yoga, & over 2500 hours of teacher training in these methods.


Chelsea is the Director of Education at the Vancouver School of Healing Arts. She holds a Master of Management and Bachelor’s Degree from the University of British Columbia and a Diploma of Yoga Therapy from Pacific Rim College. As an educator and Certified Yoga Therapist (International Association of Yoga Therapy), she strives to empower students and clients with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their goals. She believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to live a life that is filled with purpose, connection and growth and understands this takes dedication, strength and the support of a compassionate and caring community. She is grateful to be a part of such a community at the Vancouver School of Healing Arts. Growing up as a contemporary dancer, Chelsea has always been drawn to the sacredness of movement. She began practicing Yoga in 2006 to heal a dance-related hip injury and quickly discovered that the practice of Yoga runs much deeper than the physical postures. As a Certified Yoga Therapist, Chelsea strives to empower her students & clients with the education and skills necessary for creating a change in their own experience. Her classes feature creative sequencing with a focus on therapeutics & optimal alignment.


Amanda Kingsmith is a 500-hour RYT, a yoga business coach, a yoga studio manager, the host of Mastering the Business of Yoga (M.B.Om), and a world traveler.

She blends her background in business with her love of yoga and is passionate about helping yoga teachers create careers that they are passionate about and that are thriving & sustainable. Amanda is also the co-host of The World Wanderers, a podcast on travel and travel as a lifestyle. When she’s not practicing or teaching yoga, you can find Amanda traveling the world with her husband, Ryan, hiking mountains, or curling up with a cup of tea and a good book.

You can learn more about Amanda at

Cheryl Uphill With Cheryl’s passion for lifelong learning and focus for well-being, she started her yogic journey in the early 90’s after a physical way of life in martial arts for 25 years. In search for balance in the daily stresses of life, and managing chronic pain from many injuries, she discovered yoga, meditation and energy awareness training. The melding of these disciplines created a more balanced Mind Body & Spirit approach. With the internal balance & focus that she acquired through karate, her transition to Hatha yoga was a natural progression that led to her incorporating yoga into her daily life. Just as Karate was a way of life for Cheryl, then so became yoga and many certifications to follow;

200hr Hatha in Anand Praksh, Rishikesh, India and 500hr Yoga Therapy, Hot, Yin, Restorative, Advanced Chronic Pain Management, Thai Yoga Massage, Dermo Neuromodulation, Marma Therapy, 10-day Human Dissection training, and is a as a Certified Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapy (C-IAYT).

Cheryl prides herself on being a Holistic Educator no matter the genre she teaches. As a survivor of overcoming severe long-term chronic pain, Cheryl’s love of learning led her to heal her Body and Mind with the power of knowledge and surrender. This led to her obtaining her Provincial Instructional Diploma, (PIDP) and a Masters in Adult Education (MEd) at SFU, specializing in Curriculum Development & Self & Spirit instructional design.

She plans on sharing her creativity in teaching and inspiring healing education through her accumulated Yoga Therapist tools. Her energy of infectious enthusiasm and positive light will hopefully shine the way for the students to learn, grow and heal into the integrated Yoga Therapist they wish to be. She is honored and humbled to be part of the educational faculty of the VSOHA team.

Please visit for more info about her intuitive bodywork.

Emmy Chahal

Emmy was introduced to yoga as a child through her grandmother and mother, and was lucky to grow up practicing kundalini and restorative yoga. Her ancestors are from the north of India and the practice of yoga connects her deeply to her heritage. She has been teaching yoga since 2012 in a variety of settings internationally (universities, schools, studios, corporate and privately) and is particularly interested in: the healing potential of yoga, incorporating trauma-informed approaches, decolonization, and embodied pedagogy. Emmy holds a BA in Cultural Studies, minor in Gender and Women’s Studies; and has previously worked in schools as a violence prevention workshop facilitator.    Throughout her studies in yoga and the healing arts, Emmy has trained in hatha, pre/postnatal yoga, teen yoga, trauma-informed teaching, and has led her own research at UBC on yoga in the university classroom.   You can read more about that research here:

Emmy’s passion lies in educating about how yoga is a site for intergenerational healing through the lens of  cultural awareness training. As a South Asian woman working in the North American yoga industry, her voice is dedicated to sharing the complexities of social inequity, decolonization, and avoiding cultural appropriation. Emmy seeks to help others understand their role in dismantling old systems of power and unpacking how privilege operates in the yoga world – and how we can build new ways to be as inclusive, just, and equitable as possible. For more about Emmy, visit her website:

Julia is also a member of VSOHA’s Yoga Teacher Training faculty. To read her bio, please visit here.

Michele Denis Faculty VSOHA Mind-Body Integration

Michèle has been involved in the Healing Arts throughout North America for over twenty-five years. She is the founder and former director of The Westcoast Reiki Centre and a graduate of Matthew Fox’s leading edge Master’s Degree Program in Culture and Spirituality. Michèle has been a Seasonal Meditation Faculty member at Omega Institute for Holistic Health in New York State since 2002 and has taught Yoga Nidra, Restorative Yoga and Reiki in their catalogue programs.

She holds a 200hr YTT Certificate and a 500hr Yoga Therapy Certificate from Integrative Yoga Therapy. She is also a Usui and Karuna Reiki® Master Teacher and has been teaching Reiki since 1996. Michèle combines her extensive experience in meditation, yoga and Reiki to deliver classes and private sessions that care for the soul and create conditions for profound life changes.

Tianne’s passion for health and well-being began in competitive sport. As a high performance athlete and coach for over 20 years, she learnt first-hand the rewards of training the body and mind.

After a serious injury, she turned to yoga for rehabilitation and was surprised to discover that yoga not only offered everything she needed to physically strengthen and heal her body, it also offered the opportunity to cultivate a deeper connection and understanding of herself and of finding peace within the trauma.  The experience was so powerfully transformative, Tianne now devotes her time to teaching yoga and offering yoga therapy. She specializes in restorative yoga, restorative yoga therapeutics and pain care yoga.

Mary-Jo began her formal training in Iyengar yoga in the mid Mary-Jo Fetterly 80’s, while raising children and studying psychology. In 1996, she received a “Body Centered Therapy” diploma in Re-balancing massage and Somatic based bodywork. She went on to train and become certified with Dr. Carolyn Myss a leading educator in the field of ‘Energy Anatomy’ and ‘Intuitive Healing’ and then David Swenson, Tim Millar, & Ana Forest in the early rise of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.

On January 25 2004, Mary-Jo had a skiing accident that crushed her C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae and left her paralyzed from the neck down. She was diagnosed with Quadriplegia-complete, a “worst case diagnosis” predicted by doctors. Her journey back to health and coping with her current situation – defied odds, Mary-Jo has continued her studies in Psychotherapy at the University of Waterloo along with Coaching, Mindfulness, Yoga therapy, Somatics, Continiuum and advanced teacher training. She has been a long time student of Yogarupa Rod Stryker the esteemed North American Tantra master, with whom she is currently completing her advanced teacher training with.

The devastation, difficulties and challenges of the spinal cord injury haven’t held her back as Mary-Jo continues to mother, teach and inspire others to engage in their own personal journeys of healing and transformation.  In 2010 she published her course Adaptive & Therapeutic yoga training, spoke at SYTAR, International Association of Yoga Therapy’s convention, Accessible Yoga Conference and Mount Royal University. “I am compelled and moved by what yoga can do for all people in every different physical or mental capacity & As the great yoga Therapy Master Krishnamacharya says “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.”

Nicole Marcia Yoga Therapy Faculty
Nicole (she/her) is an Ashkenazi Jew of mixed European descent. She is a clinical counsellor, yoga therapist and educator. In 2009, she was awarded a master’s degree with a specialization in yoga therapy from Lesley University in Boston, MA and in 2023 completed a second masters degree in Counselling from City University.

For 9 years, she served as the Director of Therapeutic Yoga Programming for the Provincial Health Services Authority at their Burnaby Centre for Mental Health & Addictions and Riverview Psychiatric Hospital. From 2007-2018 while working as a yoga therapist at Onsite, the treatment arm of North America’s first safe injection site in Vancouver’s downtown eastside. In 2016 she became certified by the Trauma Centre at the Justice Resource Institute in Brookline Massachusetts as a Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga facilitator (TCTSY-F). She served as the Director of Teacher Training and Mentorship with Yoga Outreach from 2007 – 2023.

In addition to training yoga and healthcare professionals internationally, Nicole has facilitated therapeutic classes for women fleeing situations of human trafficking and worked extensively with teens living with mental health challenges. She is a member of the Breathe Network which connects survivors of sexual violence with healing arts practitioners and has received her BCPFFA Silver Seal of Endorsement for completing Level 1 & 2 of the BC Professional Fire Fighters Associations Occupational Awareness for Treating First Responder Trauma. She currently teaches the Introduction to Addictions course in the First Responder Trauma Prevention Certificate Program at Simon Fraser University Continuing Studies.

To learn more about Nicole, please visit here.

Nicole Marcia Yoga Therapy Faculty

Vaishnavi has been immersed in the practice of Yoga for the past 20 years and the journey is ever expanding. She has a deeply internal focus in her workshops and sessions and shares yoga for all its spiritual connections with the Earth and the Universe. She’s spent her life living her yoga off the mat, which involved her journeys travelling, working, learning, adventuring, talking to nature and everything in between. She isn’t the serious yoga teacher one would imagine her to be outside of session. She’s silly and goofy, full of dark humour coloured with lots of Love. She was born and raised in India where she was introduced to this ancient spiritual practice set in a cultural hotpot of everything one could find. She was eager to explore the world and find herself as a citizen of the world instead of one country. This inspired the leap of faith she took in moving to Canada in 2019. Through her practices of yoga and the deep dives she have taken into learning about mental health, she found a way to view obstacles as challenges and steppingstones for growth. She is driven to empower people to find their inner truth and find their own true path. Through this path she has come to find peace with experiencing a whole spectrum of emotions and states of mind. It is her absolute honor to spread the knowledge and teachings she has received to help those seeking to find their own voice, their own truth, their own empowerment through the practices of Yoga.

Nicole Marcia Yoga Therapy Faculty

Richelle turned to yoga and embodiment practices in her late teens to support her through some very traumatic experiences in her life. This led her desire to help others and complete her 200hour yoga teacher training certification in 2015 and then a Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Core Training™ through Yoga Outreach in 2016. After some time teaching classes, she eventually felt motivated and inspired to become a yoga therapist so she could refine her skills in working 1:1 with folks living with trauma and chronic stress. Richelle graduated from the VSOHA Advanced Yoga Therapy program in 2020 and has completed additional continuing education trainings and studies in the
field of trauma, neurophysiology and embodiment and is currently in her third and final year of becoming a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner. Today Richelle works 1:1 at a private integrative clinic offering body-mind support for people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, grief, post-traumatic stress and/or post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSD). Along with working 1:1 in her private practice, she is the Site Coordinator of the Squamish Pain Program that is run out of a centralized facility that is part affordable supportive housing, shelter, food hub and service provider for folks who face barriers to accessing care, are substance affected and/or live with mental health struggles. Within the pain program, she co- facilitates a pain education and management group created by Pain BC and offers 1:1 yoga therapy as a part of the multidisciplinary clinical services offered. She also teaches a weekly trauma-informed yoga class at a local drug and alcohol treatment centre, and has taught with first responders and held retreats for women who’ve experience the death of a loved one(s). Richelle is extremely passionate about this work and supporting humans in accessing themselves in embodied ways. She loves to blend yoga-informed mindful movement, breathing, restorative, meditation and mindfulness practices with neuroscience and trauma-theory to offer integrative support so folks have personalized tools and education to feel more possibility and meaningful change in their lives. You can find out more about Richelle at

Nicole Marcia Yoga Therapy Faculty

Melanie Lynch-Major is a C-IAYT Yoga Therapist and has been teaching weekly classes since
2015. Her yoga journey began in 2009 when she stumbled on her first yoga class searching for
movement that didn't have an end goal. Looking for movement that isn't a competition and
where students could come as they were was something she didn't know was possible. From
then on, she knew there was something magical about the layers of this mystical yoga practice
so many already seemed to know the secrets too. And the journey began with her first teacher
training in 2010, then her second in 2015 where she hasnt stopped since. Doing training every 2
years, her knowledge has deepened and she has had to apply her own tools on her healing
journey when diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and always battling with anxiety and
many other human experiences.
When she discovered Yoga Therapy, everything she had done now made sense and she knew
the next steps to take. Working primarily with private clients, she loves and will never stop
teaching in a group setting as community and connection are important pillars in healing and co-
Her classes, small and large, always come with intentions, usually revolving around the
elements we can see and feel or the Chakra system of energy. Her style is designed as
approachable with plenty of options for all body types, movement patterns, injury prevention and
healing. She weaves in natures' elements and embodiment practices to help her students
reconnect and be in the present moment. Find out more about your teacher and colleague at