EMMAUS YOGA INSTRUCTORS
Erica has been teaching yoga in the Lehigh Valley since 1998. She was drawn to Ashtanga after experimenting with other styles and classes for several years. Erica completed her first teacher training with Larry Shultz, who was very influential on her teaching style. She has also taken workshops or trainingswith Beryl Bender Birch, Kathy McNames, David Swenson, Nancy Gilgoff, Manju Jois, Richard Freeman, Patthabi Jois, and her current teacher, David Williams.
Erica believes that we are always students, we should never stop learning and trying new things, and that any type of yoga is all part of that path. When taking an Ashtanga class with Erica, students can expect some fun changes worked into the traditional practice. One of the reasons she loves to teach yoga is to help others manage stress through the movements and breathing during practice and believes that this benefit of yoga can be carried into other parts of life. Erica started teaching 40 hour teacher trainings in the mid 2000's which has evolved into the 200 hour Yoga Alliance Registered training that she currently offers through Emmaus Yoga.
Chris MoDavis was introduced to yoga in 1999, while recovering from a serious back injury, after falling from a tree. The realization of the mind-body experience through his practice has helped him to heal and bring out his “inner child” again.
Chris enjoys an active lifestyle and has a passion for the outdoors, which he incorporates into his classes. His classes can range from calming and meditative to challenging and playful, and his humorous but caring personality is evident while teaching. He is passionate about what this practice has done for him and is honored to share all the yoga practice has to offer.
He completed his teacher certification with Melanie Smith, Seane Corn, Anodea Judith and Matthew Sanford and also has studied with David Williams, Richard Freeman, Dharma Mittra and David Swenson.
Favorite things: Jalapeño peppers, floating in water, observing awkward situations, and Wes Anderson movies.
Britt Tagg has been practicing yoga for over 11 years. Her first introduction to yoga was in her living room where she stumbled upon an hour-long television program taught by a teacher named Steve Ross. These ‘classes’ were playful and fun and the music made you want to shake your butt and the teacher encouraged that. Britt believes that allowing people to enjoy their practice and to be comfortable with themselves is an essential way to foster a long-term yoga experience where the benefits are an evolution of physical and mental self- improvement. Yoga has given her a quality of life that she is enthusiastic to share. Her classes emphasize the importance of practicing safe alignment, body awareness, and deep breathing, but she also tries to keep her classes light-hearted and creative. Britt is a life-long artist and painter and her style of teaching yoga is clearly informed by the fluid stroke of a brush on canvas. Britt has been a RYT certified since 2005 and has amassed a wealth of knowledge studying under internationally-known yoga teachers, as well as, many esteemed local instructors throughout her travels. She believes that education never ceases and that wisdom can come from unlikely sources and this compels her to continually engage in new workshops and classes. Though rooted in Ashtanga, Britt has found a niche in the limitless dance of Vinyasa where she truly feels anything is possible!
Michelle Cilmi currently teaches Ashtanga Basics at Emmaus Yoga. She has been practicing yoga for over 20 years, and has studied the Ashtanga tradition under Erica McHugh for 6 years. Michelle graduated from Emmaus Yoga's 200-hour teacher training in 2017. Michelle's compassionate style of teaching is inspired by Ashtanga legend, David Swenson, who she hopes to practice with someday. Her Basics class is centered around the fusion of a calming breath linked together with mindful movements. Michelle strives to give her students a safe, attainable practice that can be incorporated into the home environment. When she's off the mat, Michelle spends her time with her 3 daughters and her husband Michael. Together, Michelle & Michael enjoy traveling the world and scuba diving whenever possible. Michelle tries to live by Mother Teresa's quote: "Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love."
Sue was introduced to Raja Yoga by a friend in 2009. Two years later, she became immersed in her yoga practice to regain focus after experiencing a personal loss. Sue felt the need to acquire a more in-depth understanding of yoga philosophy, movement and benefits. After the completion of her 200-hour teacher training in Ashtanga-Vinyasa Yoga at Emmaus Yoga, she was drawn to the concept of a yoga practice that would cultivate a longer hold while in a yoga pose. This concept inspired the completion of a 40-hour teacher training program in Yin Yoga from the YogaLife Institute. She is registered with Yoga Alliance and a member of Yoga International where she continues ongoing CEU hours.
When not in the yoga studio, or working on IT projects at Lutron Electronics, Sue cherishes time with her two daughters, family and friends.
Join Sue in a Yin practice that allows the mind, body and spirit to: “Connect to inner energy as you surrender and release, Learn the benefits of micro-movements, and Grow into soft awareness."
Brittney Billman was introduced to yoga in 2010 at the ripe age of 11 and began to explore different styles to figure out which fit her personality the best. She took it upon herself to study consistently and get her Registered Yoga Teacher Certification under the Yoga Alliance. She received this training with Jo-Anne Stuaguarrd Jones*, yoga instructor and author as well as another reputable teacher, Irum Naqvi. During this training, Brittney discovered that her goal in sharing yoga is focused on therapeutic strategies for the physical and emotional body. Brittney teaches Hatha yoga for beginners as well as mixed level classes that focus on each student’s ability and experience. She molds each session to the students comfort level to achieve maximum benefit. Her classes are often targeted to increase stamina, energy, metabolism, strength, flexibility, and awareness for a balanced mind and body.
*The Anatomy of Exercise and Movement, The Vital Psoas Muscle, and The Concise Book of Yoga Muscles
Laura was born and raised in the Lehigh Valley and loves engaging with the community. Her love of fitness started at a young age in which she was constantly playing sports including soccer, basketball, softball, golf, track, and skiing. While attending Gettysburg College, she began teaching spinning and group fitness classes and fell in love with fitness, which later led her to pursue her certification in personal training. She then found the link between fitness and became a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She believes that food is medicine and, with proper knowledge, food can heal the body, mind and soul. She completed her 200-hour teacher training program at Emmaus Yoga and also has certifications in meditation, group fitness, barre, megaformer and spinning. She also trained under the Men’s Health THRIVE program in which functional movement fitness was the emphasis of the program. She believes that health and wellness is an all-encompassing journey of nutrition, physical fitness and spiritual balance and practicing all of these components is the secret to living an overall healthy well-being. Laura’s passions include being outdoors, reading, cooking and her dogs.
Loretta Dodson, an avid runner, started practicing yoga in 2006 to compliment her training program. The experience was humbling, but the practice of breath awareness was very energizing and empowering. Loretta completed her 200-hour RYT certification in 2014 at The Yoga Loft of Bethlehem. She completed a 100 hour Yin Teacher Training with Sally Miller in July 2015. Loretta will complete the 300 hour Advanced Teacher Training & Certification program at The Yoga Loft January 2017. She is also a Level 1 Certified Distance Running Coach with the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA). Loretta enjoys attending a variety of classes and workshops to expand her knowledge of yoga. Her 20+ years working in healthcare has been beneficial for her yoga practice and studies. Loretta is the Head Coach for the Boys & Girls Cross Country teams at Parkland High School. Loretta believes yoga is for you whether you are an athlete or an individual working to improve your range of motion and balance to manage your daily activities. Loretta’s classes emphasize breath & body awareness, safe body alignment and core strength to create the mind / body connection. She hopes to encourage and inspire students to explore outside their “comfort zone” whether it be by trying a new pose, using props to enhance a pose or setting your mat up in a different spot for class. The possibilities are endless and can carry over to your daily life. As always, give gratitude for the amazing things your body and mind can do today.
Gina was originally introduced to Vinyasa style yoga during college. She quickly became hooked after realizing it's psychological benefits. While practicing at various studios, she gravitated towards Ashtanga and recently completed her 200hour RYT training at Emmaus yoga.
As an artist, she feels any form of creative expression and an active lifestyle are key components to a balanced mind, body, and spirit. She lets the freeing properties of movement help her create more space. Her practice provides a warm, fun, and challenging experience by incorporating both the flow of Vinyasa and the discipline of Ashtanga.
Bio coming soon...
In 1998, Erin fell in love with yoga at her very first class, which happened to be with Erica McHugh, and she has practiced ever since. Yoga has complimented her other pursuits of running and weight lifting perfectly. She credits her ability to recover from hard training to her consistent yoga practice.
Besides the physical benefits of the practice, Erin believes deeply in the emotional healing and restorative power of yoga. Purposeful breathing, combined with thoughtful movement, have helped to center her thoughts and heal her spirit. Combining her RYT-200 with almost 2 decades of public school teaching experience, Erin is a teacher who highly values and supports each individual. She meets each student at his or her personal level of ability and helps them grow from that point. She firmly believes that no one is "too inflexible" or "too old" or "too uncoordinated" for yoga. She encourages each individual to practice yoga in a way that is most beneficial for him or her. Helping students to find the right balance of effort and ease in their practice is of main importance to her.