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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.


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

With Cheryl’s passion for lifelong learning and focus for well-being, Cheryl Uphillshe started her yogic journey back in 1992 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, mediation and energetic awareness trainings. 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 into 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.

Cheryl prides herself on being an educator, especially in Yoga Therapy and Chronic Pain Care Management. As a survivor of overcoming severe long-term chronic pain, Cheryl’s love of learning led her to heal her Body and Mind by the power of knowledge and surrender. This led to obtaining her Provincial Instructional Diploma and is currently a Masters student at SFU in Adult Education.

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.

Lauren has been a teacher trainer since 2008 and assumed the role of Program Director, for both the 200-hour Immersion and 240- hour Enriched yoga teacher trainings, at the Vancouver school of yoga from 2012 – 2016.

Lauren has a deep and personal connection to the healing benefits of yoga. After being hit by a car and enduring many surgeries and complications, she discovered yoga and immersed herself in the practice, changing her life forever.

Lauren’s warrior-like devotion to the practice of yoga has led her on many diverse paths, all of which have supported her endless curiosity for all things Yoga. Along with her dedication to then practice, Lauren is a level 2 certified fascial stretch therapist through the Stretch to Win institute in Arizona, USA. FST is a table based assisted stretch that can help with many different conditions.

Michele Denis Faculty VSOHAMind-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 midMary-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 is also a member of VSOHA’s Yoga Teacher Training faculty. To read her bio, please visit here.