Our certified instructors have the skills and training necessary to guide you in your individual yoga practice. Yoga Alliance certified, this diverse group of yogis brings a unique set of experiences and interests to their teaching. We encourage you to find a teacher you connect with and a class style that fits your needs and goals, whether you are just beginning your yoga journey or have already developed an appreciation for yoga’s place in your life.
Jen Schaefer, RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training
Jen’s own yoga journey has been transformational and she hopes to assist others in finding relief from stress, improving their health and mindfulness, and gaining spiritual fulfillment along their own yoga path. Jen founded Gulfport Yoga in 2013 after completing her 200 hour yoga teacher training at St. Petersburg Yoga. She had not previously taught yoga and had no prior plans to open a yoga studio, but she saw a need in the community for a studio dedicated to helping people enhance their lives through daily yoga practice and meditation and wanted to bring a studio to the downtown Gulfport area. An entrepreneur with prior small business experience, Jen knew she should trust her intuition that was leading her towards this new life purpose. She saw the space that would become Gulfport Yoga and knew it was meant to be a yoga studio. Carefully selecting a staff of dedicated yogis from all different backgrounds, whose combined experience and knowledge could help create a thriving yoga community, Jen started Gulfport Yoga with big dreams and a small budget and has watched the studio begin to blossom into what it is today. Jen is currently furthering her yoga training in a 500 hour certification program at St. Petersburg Yoga.
Brenda McMahon, RYT 200
Brenda has been a practicing Yogi for more than 13 years. She began her personal practice in Upstate New York, under the guidance of a Hatha Yoga Instructor & Auyverdic practitioner, Judy Wyle. In 2007, Brenda continued her practice in Florida at St. Petersburg Yoga, where in 2011 she received her RYT 200 yoga teacher certification. A full time ceramic artist, Brenda’s vision is to combine her love of clay with her love of Yoga. She teaches classes at Gulfport Yoga and Clay/Yoga Workshops in Italy and across the U.S. Brenda likes to bring strength-building and meditation to her classes, as her practice has always been rooted in the traditional guiding principals of yoga as a force for deep transformation.
David Ambush, RYT 200
David completed his 200 hour Yoga Teacher certification at St. Petersburg Yoga in 2012, but it wasn’t until Gulfport Yoga opened its doors that he decided to begin teaching and sharing yoga with the community. David’s earnest teaching style and calming nature makes him a natural as an instructor, while his in-depth personal knowledge and dedication as a yogi has made him a huge asset to the studio.
Kim Chaffin, RYT 200
Kim is a native Floridian who moved to St. Pete 9 years ago to find her perfect, laid-back beach town. She began her yoga journey as a child when she would imitate her father’s yoga practice. She continued her yoga pilgrimage throughout the years and in 2012, she found herself at St. Petersburg Yoga, where she enrolled in their teacher training. As a yoga instructor and athlete, Kim hopes to help others heal themselves through movement. She finds balance in teaching everything from restorative to power yoga.
Lydia Smith, RYT 200, LMT
Lydia is a Licensed Holistic Therapist, a Licensed Massage Therapist and a Certified SomaVeda™ Thai Yoga Therapy instructor, in addition to her RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification. Her journey toward healing and vitality started at a young age growing up in Ivory Coast, West Africa. There, the depth of poverty, mingled with the rich and vital culture, instilled a sense of wonder and excitement to not only help those around her see life from a different perspective, but also engage others to live to their fullest potential in a joyful way.
Lydia discovered yoga while attending college, and soon after decided to complete her 200HR yoga teacher training in 2007 at the world re-known Yandara Yoga Institute in Todos Santos, Mexico. She took her studies further with the New Mexico School of Natural Therapeutic, and later traveled to Plant City, Florida where she worked full time at the SomaVeda™ College of Natural Medicine. After teaching 200 hour intensives in Thai Yoga Therapy for over a year in Plant City and with over 3000 hours of experience in natural healing under her belt, she decided to start her own full-time practice of Holistic Health and Wellness, with a special emphasis on Yoga Therapies in 2012. She currently has a practice in St. Petersburg, FL. Lydia has been teaching at Gulfport Yoga since May 2014 and is excited to share her passions with her students and clients alike!
Paola Kontrick, RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training, LMT
Paola is a Licensed Massage Therapist who completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher certification at St. Petersburg Yoga to complement her massage therapy practice. Paola specializes in restorative therapy classes that focus on proper alignment and caring for the body. Her special one-on-one attention to each of her students’ individual needs and her love for what she does ensures that her restorative classes are always full. Paola also works as a massage therapist at The Art of Massage, below the studio. Paola is working on her 500 hour certification at St. Petersburg Yoga.
Shannon Mainhart, RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training
Shannon came to yoga after her mother became a certified yoga instructor. Shannon found yoga to be a healthy way to honor her body and remain committed to a healthier lifestyle, and decided to pursue this passion with the 200 hour teacher training. She received her certification at St. Petersburg Yoga in 2013 and is currently enrolled in a 500 hour certification program.