Meet Our Faculty
Yoga and Cancer Program
Michelle has been practicing yoga since 2003 and teaching since 2006. She is an ERYT yoga instructor and is Yoga 4 Cancer teacher certified. Michelle is the Founder and Director of Yoga and Cancer, a program of Yoga in Action and is currently serving on the Board of Directors as President.
Michelle believes that yoga is a powerful healing modality that can bring positive change for people who consistently practice yoga. She is known for her creative sequencing with focus on alignment and breath. Michelle has a compassionate approach to teaching seeing the individual needs of her students so she can deliver thoughtful instruction that will enhance their practice and healing. Michelle’s passion is to share the gifts of yoga so that participants can deepen their connection to self and find peace and well being in their everyday life.
Deana Aulisio Cavan, RYT200
Deana took her first yoga class with Kimberly Dahlmann in a little cabin in Barrington, NH in 2000. As the years passed, her practice grew roots through consistency, perseverance, and the tried-and- true methods of the Ashtanga lineage. Her teachers would provide her great ability, humility, and the courage to become a teacher herself. Admittedly, Deana's greatest spiritual teacher came into her life on April 27th, 2014 - her son, Everett Thomas. Over the course of ten months, it became clear the reason why she had practiced so diligently for the last 15 years – to prepare her to take care of a child with cancer and to move through the devastation of losing him. Yoga had taught her how to accept suffering with grace and strength and to let go of being in control. From this harrowing experience, Deana has decided to pursue teaching children and adults with cancer, their caregivers, and grievers the yoga, breathing, and meditation techniques that gratefully kept her heart wide open. She also continues to enjoy teaching the lovely students at YogaEast in Kittery, ME.
Andrea has called the Seacoast home for over 25 years. After being sidelined by autoimmune issues, Andrea embraced Yoga as a way to keep in shape and focus on the mind-body conneciton. Having practiced several methods of Yoga, Vinyasa was the one that spoke to her. Yoga has transformed her life physically, mindfully and spiritually.
Andrea received her RYT 200 through Barre & Soul in Portsmouth, NH, holds her Reiki Master Teacher certification and serves as a Hospice volunteer. Andrea was inspired during her first Seacoast Yoga Mala to teach cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers. She is looking forward to holding space for her students in a loving and supportive environment. Andrea aims to have her students leave her class feeling grounded, strong and inspired.
She is very grateful to share her practice with the Yoga and Cancer community.
Marissa McAleer is a RYT-500, earning her 200-hr certification in 2011 at the Integral Yoga Center of Highland Park, NJ, and her 500-hr certification at YogaLife Institute of NH in 2020. She is a Personal Trainer certified through American Council on Exercise (ACE), a Certified Senior Fitness Specialist (ACE), a Cancer Exercise Specialist (Cancer Exercise Training Institute) and is certified in Yoga and Mindfulness for Diverse Abilities through Childlight Yoga. She has also received training in Yoga and Cancer with Michelle Couture, Director of Yoga in Action's Yoga & Cancer program.
Marissa's approach to yoga and fitness is both functional and fun - always with a sense of humor - and she encourages participants to come to come just as they are, with love and patience, curiosity and courage. Marissa is the owner/manager of Empowered Movement LLC, a personal training and private yoga business.
Kim Dowling is a 200 hour Registered Yoga teacher, trained at Vishuddha Yoga School. She is also a certified ChildLight Yoga instructor. Kim began practicing yoga about 20 years ago for the physical benefits. However, in 2010 after being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, her practice deepened. Yoga and meditation have been integral in complimenting her healing journey. She has additional training in Positive Psychology, Food as Medicine, Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra. She has also studied Meditation at Insight Meditation. She has a Masters in Medical Science from Yale University with over 15 years of experience working as an Orthopedic Physician Assistant. Kim has experience working with patients requiring a wide range of needs, from injured, young athletes to seniors after joint replacement. Kim’s passion is combining her medical knowledge with yoga and meditation to share the healing benefits of yoga with people of any ability and health status. Kim has been leading a Cancer Care yoga class since its inception at Good Karma Integrative Yoga in Newburyport. In her free time, Kim enjoys being out in nature with her husband and three
Michelle James, RYT-200 has a degree and background in early childhood education. In 2012, after 20+ years working with children and families in various settings, she discovered the benefits and joys of sharing yoga with children. This marked the beginning of her yoga journey. She is an experienced, certified ChildLight Yoga Instructor for babies through teens, as well as Studio Coordinator at ChildLight’s home studio in Dover, NH. She is a student at heart, always eager to continue her own education through experience and discoveries. Michelle completed her 200hr in January 2019 with Yoga Muse School of Yoga at Bridge Studio at Art, South Portland, ME. Her training is grounded in a trauma informed, empowerment approach to Hatha/Raja Yoga. She now looks forward to sharing all that yoga has to offer, both on and off the mat, with students of all ages. Off the mat Michelle enjoys crocheting, softball, spending time in nature - kayaking, fishing, hiking and most of all laughing with her husband, three grown children and one precious grandson.
Ann Biese, ERYT 500, RCYT, MBSR-T, REIKI MASTER, is an international Yoga Instructor and Teacher Trainer for ChildLight Education Company. She is a certified yoga for cancer instructor for both adults and children since 2012. Ann has also worked as a Meditation and Mindfulness Specialist in pediatric and school settings, including Tufts Floating Hospital for Children in Boston for Lucy's Love Bus. Ann has taught MBSR and yoga to various youth groups and teen athletes across the country. She has been a featured speaker on meditation and mindfulness in schools across the country. Ann is also the author of the award-winning children's book Worry Bee and Mindful
Moon. She enjoys volunteering as an instructor for Go Give Yoga and was featured in NorthShore Magazine for her volunteer work in Massachusetts. In her time off the mat, Ann enjoys her family and pets, as well as volunteering at an equine rescue farm.
In memory of Kathy, who blessed our Yoga in Action community and beyond with her gifts of love, compassion and generosity. Kathy’s desire to teach to the Yoga and Cancer community was sparked by her genuine calling to make a difference in the lives of others. We have so much gratitude for her kindness and beautiful way of teaching- a gift to her students and to everyone around her. Kathy’s spirit will forever be in our hearts.
Trauma & Recovery
Rochelle Jewell, E-RYT is the founder of Yoga in Action and a certified Kripalu Yoga Teacher. Long before she envisioned the creation of a yoga service organization, she recognized the importance of creating a safe and sacred space for students. She believes it is important for yoga teachers to recognize that students bring their history into the yoga room and to understand the many things that can trigger trauma responses. The idea of introducing trauma sensitive yoga classes in the seacoast came long before the creation of Yoga in Action. Rochelle is so pleased to have brought this goal to fruition and to be teaching one of Yoga in Action’s trauma-informed yoga classes.
Rose's interest in yoga began as an exploration in another modality of exercise, but has since transformed into a sacred practice for connecting deeper with herself and others. She received her RYT200 from Soulfire Power Yoga in Greenland, NH, and has years of experience as a health and fitness professional. Early on, Rose knew her purpose was to support others in living a happy, healthy and empowered life. She earned her B.S. in Physical Education and holds certifications as an American College of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and Health and Wellness Coach. One of her most rewarding roles was working as a Supervisor and Health Mentor of the In SHAPE program at Riverbend Community Mental Health in Concord NH, assisting individuals with adopting a healthier lifestyle. Rose brings: playfulness, empathy and compassion to her teaching, and a passion for guiding people to their ultimate physical and mental strength. Rose’s greatest joy comes from time spent with her husband, Hugo, and son, Leif.
Mindy Miller Muse
Mindy Miller Muse YA-CEP, E-RYT500, C-IAYT, Mindy has been practising Yoga for approximately 20 years and teaching for over 14 years. She has a background in clinical social work (MSW) and a special appreciation for Hatha Yoga’s potential to strengthen the mind/body/ heart connection. Mindy blends an appreciation for and an in depth knowledge of anatomy and an alignment based approach to asana with the importance of inspiring each individual’s unique and innate wisdom through facilitating curiosity, creativity, and choice. Mindy has more than 40 hours of specialized training in trauma-sensitive yoga with Dave Emerson of the Boston Trauma Institute. She is a Certified Yoga therapist and teaches Yoga full time with practitioners of all ages in a variety of settings including schools, libraries, community centers, mental health programs and Yoga Studios. In her yoga classes and teacher training programs, Mindy aims to create a welcoming environment for each person to enhance their Mind/Body/Heart connection with an emphasis on accessibility, personal choice and creativity.
Annie Wagoner studied Psychology at Connecticut College and knew all along that she wanted to interconnect her passion for counseling with movement and mind-body nutrition. She started practicing yoga and Pilates in 2001 to help aid in her training as a field hockey player and rower in college. Yoga brought balance and healing to her body, and Pilates helped her tap into deep core power and discover greater strength. Annie’s classes explore this powerful fusion of yoga and Pilates, offering dynamic flowing sequences that move from the core and invite vitality, mindfulness, flexibility, balance, strength and playfulness in. She strongly believes in preventative medicine and feels that consistent stretching, strengthening, and self-care can heal and restore the body and mind.
Annie is also a Mind/Body NutritionCoach, owner of Core Nourishment, mom of 2 amazing kids, a foodie, a runner, prenatal and postnatal yoga teacher, motivational speaker, writer, and podcaster. Annie is deeply passionate about educating and empowering others to make positive lifestyle choices so that they can fuel their bodies, work, relationships, passions and dreams. Annie has her 200hr Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) certification through the Yoga of Energy Flow teacher training at Dover Yoga, her 40hr Still Point Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training certification, and she holds a certification in Pilates through the Boston Bodyworks/Power Pilates Studio. She is enormously grateful to be a part of the incredible spiritual and healing community along the Seacoast and honored to share her passions and be of service through Yoga in Action.
Kimberley, 200 YTT through Soulfire Power Yoga in February 2018. She has been working at Exeter Power Yoga since the summer of that same year. Kim is half way through her 500 YTT certification, to be completed December 2019. She also worked her first yoga retreat in South Africa. She hopes to continue to combine her love of travel and yoga on more retreats over the next year. She is also certified as a barre instructor, trained at The Dailey Method in San Francisco CA. Kimberley was raised in New Hampshire and moved to California in 2000 where she worked, had three children and lived for 15 years. Kim started practicing yoga after her children were born, she found the practice to help ease postpartum anxiety and exhaustion. After her family moved to Stratham she started practicing heated power yoga, loved it and wanted to get certified and start teaching again. Kim’s favorite part of teaching is helping people feel better, seeing how much this practice can make a difference in people’s lives and honored to be able to bring yoga to the communities within Yoga in Action.
Maria Cousins is a 200 hour RYT, since April 2014 and has practiced yoga for over 16 years. She has received certificates in teaching yoga to adults with disabilities and trauma sensitive yoga. Maria is on the Board of Directors Yoga in Action and is excited to be a Program Teacher for Yoga for All Abilities. Maria is a wife, and mother to two grown daughters, one with a developmental disability. She loves to cook new recipes, eat, read, walk her mini labradoodle and spend time with friends and family. Maria has found great comfort in her mind and body daily, and during life's challenges, through yoga. She believes that yoga is for everyone and hopes to be able to help others be comfortable in their mind and body through yoga. Maria teaches a basic yoga class focusing on asana and slow flow, utilizing breath and movement, helping to bring balance, strength and calm to your mind, body and spirit.
Marie strives to help all children embrace their full potential and live their lives with joy through the practice of yoga and mindfulness. Following a 33 year career as an early childhood/special education teacher, Marie began an exploration of yoga. While completing her RYT 200 at Prasada Yoga Center in her hometown of Hampton, NH, Marie developed a unique conflict resolution workshop for children called Peacing. The desire to combine these two practices led Marie to ChildLight Yoga, and eventually to Little Flower Yoga, a yoga and mindfulness program where she is now a certified member teacher. Marie discovered tools to help children overcome physical,
mental and emotional barriers to learning, including skills to improve focus and concentration. As a kinesthetic learner herself, Marie loves to share this style of learning, and combines techniques for breathing, focusing, and relaxing with age-appropriate yoga. Committed to promoting feelings of safety and enjoyment for her students, Marie believes that encouragement and positive reinforcement in the practice of yoga and mindfulness can positively impact the student, family, classroom, community and society as a whole.
My pronouns are she/her. I am a daughter, sister, spouse, mother, doula, and educator. I love teaching yoga to folks who don't fit the description of what the media leads us to believe yoga is supposed to look like. I believe if you have a body, and if you breathe, you are a yogi!
My yoga practice started in 2001 and has taken many forms throughout the years. In 2011, I completed my Master's degree in Secondary Education for Special Ed. In 2015, I completed a 200hr yoga teacher training with Yoga District in Washington, DC. Since then, I've taught Hatha classical sequences, vinyasa, prenatal, and yin yoga, in classrooms, in studios, in gyms, and breweries to a wide variety of students ranging in ages from 15-95, and to those who present with a disability (physical or cognitive), and those who don't. I identify as being a member of the LGBTQ community, and welcome all pronouns, genders, and radiant beings in class.
Sue came to yoga in her late 30s seeking low-impact physical exercise, but she soon found herself drawn to exploring the deeper aspects of the practice. She began teaching regularly shortly before completing her 200-hour yoga teacher certification (at YogaLife Institute of NH) in early 2015. The experience of yoga, as Sue imagines it, includes developing new perspectives, experimenting with the unfamiliar, opening up beneficial paths of communication, and cultivating light-heartedness as one moves through life. Sue has taught yoga at all levels to students ranging in age from adolescents to nonagenarians. Sue has a particular interest in making yoga accessible to those who come to yoga later in life. In her spare time, Sue enjoys cooking, reading The New Yorker; walking her dog with friends, and doing jigsaw puzzles.