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 trainings with 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.
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
Deborah’s passion and dedication for teaching are evident in her 35-year career as a music educator and her 27-year career as a fitness instructor. Following multiple knee surgeries, she decided to “listen to her body” and turned to yoga. Studying Ashtanga Yoga with David Swenson and Power Yoga with Baron Baptiste, Deborah completed her teacher training in 2000 at Yoga Zone in New York City. She has taught yoga internationally to a diverse clientele and is also an ACE-certified personal trainer. Off the mat, she enjoys traveling the world with her husband, cooking, golfing, hiking, and playing piano.
Often dubbed the “queen of modifications”, Deborah loves inventing ways for her students to feel comfortable in their bodies. Students in her classes can expect a welcoming smile, a calming voice, an enthusiastic personality, and detailed direction to help improve form, movement, and breath. Each practice will feature a varied and unique, rhythmic flow of poses specifically designed to suit the needs of the participants in that class. Deborah hopes each student will find joy and experience an “aha!” moment as the benefits of yoga practice carry over into everyday life.
Maureen’s first yoga teacher, at the turn of the century, was Erica McHugh. She introduced Maureen to Ashtanga, and to the Mysore practice, with Manju Jois, son of Pattahbi Jois, who taught in Philadelphia at that time. Erica taught Maureen’s first teacher training, and several others along the way. Erica is the only reason Maureen ever started teaching, because you could never say no to Erica! After teaching at LV Yoga for several years, Maureen moved to NYC, where for eleven years she had a daily Mysore practice with first Guy Donahaye and then Greg Tebb. She did several teacher trainings with Guy and his then wife Lori Brungard, and taught led classes at their shala. She also did a 300 hour training with Greg Tebb, and subbed for him in his Mysore classes. During this time she commuted back to the valley each week to teach both led and Mysore classes at LV Yoga, as well as teach in the TT program. She has studied Ashtanga internationally with Rolf and Marci in Goa, Petri Raisenen in Thailand, and twice yearly with Eoin McCarthy in Melbourne, Australia. In 2010 Maureen was introduced to Iyengar yoga at the Institute in NYC. She has been a serious student of Iyengar ever since. She is a Yoga Alliance 500 hr RYT.
Maureen’s dream is that the idea of a Mysore practice expands to include everyone interested in finding a self-practice that works for them, whether their heart is in ashtanga, flow, vinyasa, gentle, or any other flavor. It’s all yoga, right? A girl can dream.
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.
Nicole took her first yoga class one day after work as an elementary teacher at the urging of friends and fell in love immediately with everything about the practice. After two years of practicing Ashtanga yoga she trained with Erica (Sulzer) McHugh in Erica’s first teacher training. That knowledge enhanced Nicole’s own practice as she began raising a family and she believes yoga made her a more mindful and better parent. She is trained in yoga for children as well as mindfulness for all ages. After years of practicing different styles of yoga, Nicole mostly practices and teaches Vinyasa flow yoga with attention to correct alignment and an attention to the flow of energy through the body. She studies Ayurveda and shamanism and is a Reiki master. Her goal is to help people find a connection to themselves, their light, and each other. She is also the organizer of All One, a mindful triathlon being held this September in Emmaus.
RYT - 500, RCYT, Certified ChildLight Yoga 95-hour Instructor, Certified ChildLight Yoga & Mindfulness for Children and Teens with Special Needs, Trained Mindfulness Instructor, PMA® Certified Pilates Teacher and Balanced Body Qualified Comprehensive Pilates Instructor.
Having been a professional dancer, it was only natural for Lynn’s mind and body to appreciate the benefits of yoga. She came to yoga in her 20’s, through a consistent practice of concentration, meditation and breath in order to calm her mind from the hours in a rehearsal studio. Her 25+ years teaching experience with children, athletes, and adults combined with her knowledge of proper physical alignment and anatomy allows her to work with individuals from all walks of life. Creating balance mentally and physically in order to lead a more satisfying, calm, and focused life is her ultimate vision for her yoga instruction. Lynn emphasizes enhanced body/mind awareness through breath, strength and balance, and healthy muscle memory. As a practitioner of both yoga and pilates for many years, she feels the combination of pilates, yoga and dance creates the ultimate cross modality for a joyful mind and body. In addition to teaching Yoga and Pilates in the Lehigh Valley, Lynn is also an Adjunct Lecturer in the Theatre and Dance Divisions of Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College and Lehigh University. She is also honored to be a member of the faculty of the Pratyush Sinha Foundation providing Yoga and Mindfulness education to inner city youth. Lynn resides in Allentown, PA with her husband, four children, and their golden-doodle,
Matt came to yoga after developing a sudden obsession with handstands. A friend noticed this and suggested that he try some yoga classes. Realizing it would be a great way to balance out the pulling strength being built from his climbing hobby, Matt gave it a shot. After taking a few classes with Chris MoDavis in Hellertown, it was immediately apparent just how much his whole body needed yoga as a result of our seat-based, screen-locked modern lifestyle. He began to relish the way asana was helping his whole body move better and the ways in which yoga teaches us to be calm and mindful during uncomfortable moments.
Diving deeper into the practice, Matt completed his 200 hour certification with Erica McHugh in December of 2018 at Emmaus Yoga. Now you will find Matt bopping between two worlds: the meditative, repetitive, and breath-driven flow of Ashtanga in the Emmaus studio...as well as his ever-curious, expressive, and often-inverted home practice. Matt believes that both are extremely valuable. His teaching attempts to strike a balance between the two.
In 2009 I took my first yoga class one day after work and fell in love immediately with everything about the practice. After a few years of practicing yoga I then decided to pursue teaching yoga and got my teaching certification. Yoga has become my passion and my goal is to spread it those who seek, search and desire self consciousness. My classes will introduce you to Vinyasa flow postures using breathing techniques. Learn to use props and enter postures slowly and carefully to increase balance and strength. I am excited to bring in the love, calm and challenge of yoga into my class.