Our Teachers

Danielle Goldstein, MS, NCC, E-RYT-500
Director of Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness

Danielle is the founder and owner of Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness. She has had a dedicated yoga practice for over seventeen years and has studied many traditions of classical yoga, particularly the Ashtanga Yoga Method, developing a respect and appreciation for yoga and its life changing possibilities. Her classes are motivating, inspiring and compassionate.

Her training includes both a 200 and 500 hour yoga teacher training from the Yoga Teacher Training Institute under the guidance of Ma Mokshapriya Shakti and Marianne Mitsinikos. She has an additional 500 hour certification in Classical Ashtanga Yoga with Beryl Bender Birch of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. In addition to being a faculty member of Beryl's teacher training, she has assisted Beryl at various workshops and trainings around the country. She is forever a student and continues her study of Ashtanga Yoga locally with senior Ashtanga teacher Christine Hoar. Danielle is a compassionate teacher who teaches in a way that helps the Ashtanga Yoga Asana practice become fun and accessible to all.

Danielle is also a parent and child counselor with over twenty-two years of experience in the fields of education and counseling. She holds a Master's Degree in Counseling and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. She also serves of the board of The Morgan Center, a preschool for children undergoing chemotherapy.

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Laura Berland

As an antidote to the chaos of an "always-on" digital life, Laura found peace in a daily yoga practice in 1999. By 2003, she was sharing the teachings of this remarkable methodology, and now continues to be a devoted student, yoga activist, and teacher in NYC and the Hamptons. Laura is a 500 Hour graduate of Beryl Bender Birch's Hard and Soft Yoga Institute, and a 300 Hour graduate of Yoga Shanti's Teacher Training with Rodney Yee and Colleen Saidman. In addition, she has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath Jois during their annual visits to the US.

Laura's classes let you put the world on pause and find your inner strength and bliss, regardless of your level or experience. Come enjoy a flow of Ashtanga based vinyasa, attention to safe alignment, and the joy of creating space for the breath to move throughout the body. Mindful Turtle is a proud sponsor of the Yoga Service Council. Laura recently attended the second annual conference, and you can read her round-up of the event on Elephant Journal.

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Lizzy Breitkopf

Bio coming soon...

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Debbie Charych, RYT-200

A retired elementary school teacher from the Three Village Central School District, Debbie received her 200 hour certificate from Yoga as Medicine with Lori Gentzlinger in August, 2010. In 2015, she completed an additional 100 hour Advanced Yoga Shanti Teacher Training with Rodney Yee and Colleen Sandman which focused on creating classes that are intelligently sequenced and balanced, meeting the needs of all individual bodies, as well as hands on assists, restorative poses and meditation. She also holds certifications in Chair Yoga from Karen O'Donnell Clark and Yoga Nidra from Jennifer Reiss.

Her classes provide an eclectic experience, created around a theme. They including a general warming up of the body, breath work, alignment, some vinyasa flow, a restorative pose and are followed by a short meditation and ending with a sweet savasana, all while enjoying a playlist to compliment the practice. Debbie is a master at offering creative variations for each pose, making her classe suitable for all levels — beginners and seasoned practitioners alike.

Forever a student, Debbie continues to take workshops from todays leading yoga instructors which continue to influence her personal practice and teaching.

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Kristen Cochran

Kristen is a 200-hour graduate of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute Teacher Training at Mindful Turtle and working towards her 500-hour certification under the same.

As in the zen saying, "Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water... after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water" - so too is our practice. Come join me wherever you are in your practice so we can stoke that inner fire and go to the deep well of joy within our hearts. You will be encouraged to explore, discover, and look for the light deep inside your heart so you can let peace flow into all aspects of your life.

In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, Kristen loves music, writing, nature, and hoopdancing.

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Cody Drasser

With an emphasis on pranayama and raising energy, Cody Drasser's teaching style could be referred to as an intensive study in energy ecology. A professional yoga therapist, Cody has completed 500+ training hours with his teacher, Yoganand Michael Carroll, in the Pranakriya Yoga tradition. Cody taught asana and meditation workshops for over three years at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts before moving to Austin, Texas to teach at several yoga studios. He recently moved back to Long Island with is wife and parrot.

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Amy Ellis

Bio coming soon...

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Valerie Fontana, E-RYT-200

Valerie's background as a certified medical assistant led her down the path to studying the healing properties of Yoga. With a strong foundation of anatomy and a respect for the human body, her classes span all ages from teens to seniors, with a focus on healing.

Certified at the Kripalu Institue 200 hour and working toward her 500 hour, Valerie is also certified in Yoga Nidra (meditation and relaxation) and holds sessions regularly. She is also certified in Children's Yoga and is a member of KYTA and LIYA.

Valerie has studied with such masters as:

  • Tias Little - The Chakras
  • Gary Krafsto - Yoga for Wellness
  • Todd Norian - Flying, Balancing and Inversions
  • Seane Corn - Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training, Detox Flow: Purification of Body, Mind and Spirit
  • Shiva Rea - Foundational Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training
  • Amrit Desai (Kripalu Institute and Amrit Yoga founder) - Yoga Nidra workshops

With the support of her family and friends, who continue to inspire her, Valerie brings to her classes a passion and commitment for the healing and well-being of her students.

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Theresa Gaenzle

Theresa Gaenzle has been practicing and studying yoga for over 16 years. She received her certification in 2002 from The White Lotus Foundation located in Santa Barbara, California under the guidance of Ganga White, Tracey Rich and Kent Bond. She has continued to study extensively over the years with many of today's leading teachers, increasing her knowledge and expertise. Theresa teaches a dynamic vinyasa flow class as well as a sivananda style class. She has also obtained a Lakshmi Voelker Chair Yoga certification (LVCY) and teaches Chair Yoga locally. She uses hands on adjustments to facilitate her students abilities and is enthusiastic and energetic, infusing fun and laughter into her classes!

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Allyson Gelfand

Bio coming soon...

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Lori Gentzlinger, E-RYT-500

Lori has studied yoga since 1995. Her passion for yoga led her to extensively study many different traditions, with some of the world's most respected teachers. Lori has certifications in Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative, Ashtanga, Barkan, Yoga Therapy, Yoga for Scoliosis and spinal health and Yoga Nidra. Lori is currently finishing up her 1000 hour Intergrative yoga Therapy training and is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists. With a focus on Alignment and using yoga as a tool for health and healing at all levels, Lori offers classes for students at all levels. Lori's philosopy is "The pose should be altered for the body as opposed to trying to make the body fit into the pose."

A deep respect and passion for the body has led Lori to study anatomy and movement in great detail. In addition to offering group classes, Lori has run Teacher Training programs since 2006. Specializing as using Yoga As Medicine, Lori has a passion for helping students to use the tools yoga offers to enjoy a better quality of life at all levels.

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Lisa DeVine

Lisa began practicing yoga 2009, when she was laid off from her job as Marketing Manager with The Hearst Corporation. Her yoga practice was sporadic at best. With time on her hands, she began to practice yoga every day and immediately saw how yoga can transform your mind, body and soul. Within weeks her lower back pain disappeared and she began to notice how her body was becoming stronger and more flexible.

Lisa's teaching style focuses on self-expression and flow. Her classes focus on instilling feelings of empowerment and fostering the belief that yoga can enhance each student's life. Lisa invites students to come to class with an open mind and heart, experience the journey of yoga, and find peace on and off the mat.

Lisa received her 200-hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification from The Yoga Darshana Center in West Babylon, NY and is currently working towards her 500-hour certification at Mindful Turtle, through The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. You can follow Lisa at www.LisaDevineYoga.com. She lives on Long Island, NY.

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Megan Harrison

Bio coming soon...

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Lisa Iacono ERYT, AYS, AHC

Lisa has practiced various styles of yoga and Martial Arts for 17 years and has been teaching creative Vinyasa Flow classes for 10 years. She has developed Flow Into Yoga from her extensive background and unique passion for blending science, philosophy and creative yogic arts. Lisa has continued her education at The Himalayan Institute in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The Living Tantra program taught by Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD., spiritual head at The Himalayan Institute, introduced Lisa to many exceptional teachers.

Lisa began her Ayurvedic studies 3 years ago. She completed the Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist under Kathryn Templeton, a registered Ayurvedic practitioner and senior Para Yoga Teacher. Lisa graduated as an Ayurvedic Health Counselor in November 2015 from The Himalayan Institutes AYS Graduate School. This is one of the 15 recognized Ayurvedic Health Counselor programs by NAMA, the National Ayurvedic Medical Association. Her teachers Kathryn Templeton and Dr. Rosy Mann inspired Lisa to empower herself and others with the ancient practices of Ayurveda.

"When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need" -- Ayurvedic Proverb

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Lisa Meléndez, RYT-500

Lisa began practicing yoga regularly about ten years ago as a means for dealing with asthma. After experiencing yoga's many benefits, she deepened her studies with the Healing Yoga Foundation's 500-hour teacher training program. Continuing to study and practice in the tradition of Krishnamacharya, Lisa takes Vedic chanting classes with her teacher and mentor Danielle Tarantola, and in 2012 completed the Healing Yoga Foundation's Cancer Support Program. Committed to sharing yoga's tools for developing awareness and a calm mind, Lisa also offers workshops on stress management at the local college where she is a librarian as well as in local libraries in both English and Spanish. Krishnamacharya's words that "Breath is central to Yoga because it is central to Life, and Yoga is about Life," sums up Lisa's approach to teaching yoga and other contemplative practices.

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Jaysun Melia, MS, RYT-200

Jaysun has been practicing yoga for about 8 years and first found his love for it while traveling for a living. Constantly living out of a suitcase and being in foreign cities he was searching for a way to incorporate exercise, relaxation and stress relief into a demanding schedule. He began his yoga practice by watching DVDs in hotel rooms and visiting new studios whenever possible. He believes that yoga finds the person (not the person finds yoga) and when an individual is ready they will be drawn to the mat. Jaysun received his 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certification in June of 2009 from an Ashtanga based studio here on Long Island. He had the pleasure of training under Misty Curreli.

Jaysun has a Master's Degree in School Counseling and is working on finishing up his course work and internship hours to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Jaysun is also a Certified Professional Stunt Performer.

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Danielle Tarantola, E-RYT-500

Danielle Tarantola, director of The Yoga Foundation, is a teacher certified by the Krishnamacharya Healing and Yoga Foundation. She also trains teachers and offers Yoga Therapy. Through continued, extensive training in India and across the United States with the Desikachar family, she labors to ensure that yoga's profound wisdom comes through clearly, simply, and with total relevancy for our modern times and conditions.

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Chris Urban

Chris is a 200-hour graduate of The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute teacher training at Mindful Turtle Yoga & Wellness and is currently pursuing his 500-hour certification. He is an avid practitioner of the Ashtanga Yoga Method and cultivates a daily asana practice. Chris is also an undergraduate student at Stony Brook University studying Psychology and Mathematics.

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