Meet our team!
Angie Gifford is a Helena native and is proud to be part of the first graduating class of the Lotus’s 200 hour teacher training in 2017. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and recently delved deeper into the philosophy of the asanas. Angie loves living in Helena and believes being in nature is just as important as time on the mat. Angie’s goal is to bring yoga to individuals intimidated by the perception of the practice. She teaches a slow-flow class that allows students of all levels to honor their bodies and find the balance between breathe and movement, body and soul.
April is a Montana native who began her love affair with yoga 6 years ago. What began as a tool for better health and mobility became a practice of the heart. And with this background, she began exploring other movement practices. She was introduced to Oula.One last year and immediately knew she had found something special. The connection between her yoga background and the body/mind/soul choreography of Oula.One was instantaneous. She became certified this summer and is thrilled to be sharing heart space on the mat with her students.
Barbara has been an active practitioner of asana and meditation for 16 years. She has been teaching yoga in Helena for 9 years and owned a popular $5 studio. Barbara loves to play with functional and natural movement within the framework of a flow yoga practice. Using biomechanic principles to challenge the traditional yoga “script”, she aims to create a sustainable, life long practice for herself and her students. Classes include gentle movement, flow, supported poses, and meditation. Be prepared for a challenging class, in body and mind, to uncover your movement behaviors.
Caitlin oversees and consults on the educational and programming aspects of The Lotus. This includes providing support and vision for class schedule, series, retreat, workshop, and teacher support and training.
She joins us after managing The Lotus and informally being a part of the development of our offerings and shaping our yoga program. She spent five years managing a thriving studio in Washington DC, is an E-RYT, ran her own yoga and wellness non-profit and is highly trained in using yoga for mental health. She continues to provide offerings at The Lotus in conjunction with this role and is so excited to see this Lotus blossom and will continue to focus her efforts on supporting The Lotus’s mission.
Deb moved to Helena in October 2010 and discovered Dancing Lotus Center and Oula in January 2013. She hasn’t looked back. Never one for indoor activities, Deb couldn’t believe how hard she fell for Oula. While it’s an amazing workout, it was the people that kept her coming back. She soon found she wanted to deepen her connection with Oula and the Tribe, so she became a certified instructor in November 2016.
Deb is a fierce advocate for women’s and LGBTQ issues. She is on the board of The Friendship Center and volunteers many hours each year supporting causes she cares about.
When not volunteering or Oulaing, Deb spends her time hiking, camping, backpacking, or snowshoeing with her four-legged kids and her fabulous husband (who has often called himself an “Oula widow”). You can also find her enjoying a local beer at the Blackfoot or a glass of wine at The Hawthorn. If you see her, ask her about Oula. She’d love to recruit you!
Emilie is passionate about cultivating ease and enthusiasm in her own life and the lives of those around her. She adopted Pilates as a practice to create a healthier, happier relationship with herself and her body, and has since developed a deep respect for the body’s wisdom. Pilates has been a part of Emilie’s life as both a student and instructor for over three years, and she regards Pilates as cross-training for all of life. Pilates has been a friend to Emilie through big and small emotional and physical challenges, marriage, pregnancy and childbirth, and mama life. Her classes revolve around creating a supportive core foundation by working from the inside out, breath work, and creating a helpful dialogue between the body and the mind. Emilie feels she’s only at the beginning of a life-long movement journey. She’s excited to keep learning and grateful for those she’s able to help along the way.
Emily Clewis began her yoga journey in a tiny Texas studio owned by a friend and was immediately drawn to the practice. After diving a bit deeper and committing to a 200 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), Emily had fallen in love with every aspect of what she’d learned: movement, tradition, philosophy and self-love. She and her family moved from Texas to Montana just one week after completing the training and “there’s no looking back.”
Emily was immediately taken with the beauty and lifestyle of Helena and she and her family knew that this was the place they wanted to plant their roots and grow. They are filled with gratitude here in the heart of Montana. Connecting with The Lotus was like the cherry on top of an already very delicious sundae.
“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this community. I truly believe yoga holds so much value to physical and mental wellness, which leads to a fuller and happier life. I believe there is power in the breath, mindful movement, living with intention, exploration, good coffee, and a quiet walk through the woods. As I continue to grow in the practice, I am excited to share all I learn along the way.”
Movement Therapy, OULA
Jamie rediscovered her love of dance while in graduate school for counseling and has been teaching dance and movement therapy for over 15 years. Jamie is currently in private practice at The Lotus and teaches OULA, Oula.One and Movement Therapy. I have always been a dreamer, a dancer, a poet. My journey has been about remembering the symbolic language of old, the language of the psyche, the spirit, the soul. “If we begin to get in touch with whatever we feel with some kind of kindness, our protective shells will melt, and we’ll find that more areas of our lives are workable.”-PEMA CHÖDRÖN
Karen discovered Nia in 2006 when a serendipitous occurrence brought a Nia class to the studio next door to her daughter’s ballet class. She heard the joyful noises and knew she needed to be part of the fun. She has been moving, dancing, laughing, learning, and spreading the Joy of Movement ever since. In September 2015, Karen completed training to become a Nia Black Belt instructor. Karen’s passion is to help others fall in love with themselves through the gifts of the Nia Technique.
Kathryn was born and raised in Helena, MT. After graduating, she spent time in Washington and Oregon, but eventually moved back to her hometown, Helena. Kathryn discovered the Dancing Lotus Center shortly after returning to Helena, where she took her first Nia class. It was a breath of fresh air in the fitness world. Having grown up with dance, primarily classical ballet and jazz, she knew it was something that needed to be in her life on a regular basis and that she needed to share it with others. Kathryn completed her Nia white belt in 2010, and her OULA training in 2011. She has also completed her Nia Green Belt (October 2011) and Nia Blue Belt (April 2013). She teaches both Nia and OULA classes weekly. “I love to move! Dance is a total mind-body-spirit conditioning, which keeps us whole and in the present.”
Kathy Schiffman has been practicing Pilates since 2002 and received her certification in Mat through Physical Mind Institute in Great Falls MT, and Reformer, Cadillac and Chair in 2004 from Core Dynamics Pilates in Santé Fe, NM. Pilates Mat classes can be tailored to meet each student’s fitness level allowing for progression at your own pace. Small props, such as therabands, small and large fitness balls and weights are often used to enhance the workout. Kathy enjoys helping people set and reach their fitness goals in a fun, challenging and safe way.
Megan finished her 200 hour teacher training in 2017. After over a decade of dedicated practice, she found herself turning frequently towards yoga as a mode of healing, exploration, and insight which lead her to the teachers seat. With a geographically varied background in conservation, youth development, and emergency response, she enjoys working with diverse populations and learning from life experiences. Her classes focus on linking mindful movement with breath and provide space for students to build their own practice based on self reflection and discovery, utilizing the mat as a life laboratory. As an avid climber, runner and writer, she loves the offerings of the Helena area and is excited play an active role in the yoga community.
Micah is a Montana native who found The Lotus through OULA in 2015. Micah teaches OULA and Oula.One and works behind the scenes making sure the space is clean. After being a part of the Lotus community for 2 years she is very excited to expand her involvement in making sure the space is at it’s very best. She will now work on special projects like coordinating events, updating the space, and replying to the general email. If you see her around the studio she is available to answer questions or help with technical assistance. She believes deeply in our mission to support the entire being, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual through movement and therapy.
Michelle calls Helena her home. She is a Montana native moving from Plentywood to Helena at a young age. Michelle gives Oula a lot of credit for getting her out of her shell she so desperately wanted to break. She discovered Oula the summer of 2016. She loved it from the start. In November Michelle discovered The Lotus. She ventured in for the first time to participate in another instructor’s certification class. She instantly fell in love with the tribe and the supportive and nonjudgmental atmosphere.
She had been contemplating on becoming a certified instructor but did not take the leap until her husband had told her he liked to watch her in class. He said she looked so happy and carefree. After hearing this, she knew what she needed to do. She received her certification in May 2017 and cannot wait to share the joyful experience of Oula with you.
I am a Montana girl to the core! Born and raised right here in Helena, outdoors is where I want to be! I love hiking our amazing local trail systems, camping, and most importantly, spending some good quiet time fly fishing during the warm spring and summer months. Winter brings good skiing opportunities with my lovely little family. Other than that, I love to spend time in all of the little local shops throughout downtown Helena.I started dabbling in Oula in October of 2017. The first thing that elicited me into coming back was the “tribe” vibe that everyone in the room put off. It was so welcoming and accepting! But I must say, once I tried Oula Power I was HOOKED! With the tag line “find you inner warrior”, it allows you to do just that. Meeting my body where it’s at in the moment, tapping into beast mode, and digging deep to find my warrior, for me is the ultimate release. Every day I walk into class I can feel that I am a little stronger, both physically and mentally. There is no judgement, no comparison when you walk through the doors of the studio. If there’s competition it’s against yourself, pushing yourself to be at your best, just trying one more push-up or one more squat than the last class. Talk about some healthy competition!
Sue Dostal is a new 200 hour RYT. She began her yoga practice 19 years ago to learn how to breathe, find peace, and enjoy the physical practice. Finally, teacher training called her heart and has exposed her to the many facets and benefits of yoga that she would love to share with you, through breath, meditation, philosophy, and asana.
Tyler Setlock, RD made the journey from Colorado to Montana a little over two years ago and has been a Helenian ever since. He holds a 200-hour certification in power yoga which he attained in while pursuing education in the field of nutrition. He presently practices in the field of health as both a Registered Dietitian and a yogi. Though spreading knowledge of good health and wellbeing is no small task, teaching yoga to all those willing has been a joy. It is his goal to continue to foster and share a sense of balance and contentment both on and off the mat.
Claire Bachofner is a writer and witness. She loves wordsmithing, walking barefoot in her neighborhood, feeling the elements on her skin, practicing yoga and other soulful movement, reading, traveling, and authentically connecting with others, especially her two girls. Claire lives in Helena, Montana and swears by espresso, lipstick, self-care, hearty laughter and keeping it real.
Terri is a native Montanan who loves sharing her grateful heart with those around her. She resides in Helena with her husband, Eric and black lab, Cabbi. Terri loves to be active in the outdoors, running, hiking, biking, and paddle boarding. As a recent graduate of the Lotus 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, she is thrilled to begin the journey of taking her practice to the studio to share with others.
Spiritual Life Coach
Barb’s passion is mercy. Helping people apply a merciful framework as they learn more about themselves is one of her strengths. She’s raised a daughter as a single Mom, experienced trauma, surgeries, life threatening illnesses, stressful jobs in private and public sectors and even understands groups that have possible cult like systems. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Relations from Westminster College and moved to the Bay Area of California for 10 years where she studied breath and body work, while working in the private sector managing construction. She’s also worked in adult probation and parole and intensive case management for people with severe mental illnesses. Barb’s lived in Helena for 22 years with an interruption to live in Boulder Colorado for a year, studying meditation. She also has trained in “Hakomi”, an approach emphasizing mindfulness during sessions and includes the body as well as the unconscious systems during each session.
Clients are supported during appointments to slow down so that their sensations, feelings and thoughts can be noticed and gently acknowledged and embraced. She calls this (from one of her trainings) “Inner Disarmament”. Anyone doing 12-step work will find that Barb has a rich knowledge of that paradigm as well. Drawing on her own trauma recovery path as well as her spiritual practice, Barb takes great care in making sure her clients find their own inner and outer resources as they explore their emotional, mental and spiritual worlds.
Spiritual Life Coaching is inclusive of the whole person. Clients have opportunities to gently become aware of how their bodies speak to them, and how their thought patterns may be influencing them in productive or counter productive ways. Combining these helps people gently examine their inner belief systems and try on new ways in a safe, resourced and merciful setting. Once people have a merciful understanding of themselves and their unconscious, healthy choices and life affirming beliefs begin to emerge and give rise to an increased resilience that can become the new “normal”.
Nia instructor, creativity and writing coach and workshop presenter, and Life Stories video biographer. She creates video and written memoirs for elders and cancer patients nationwide. Author, filmmaker, activist, non-profit consultant with a long career in social justice working with LGBTQ equality, she is the Director and Co-executive Producer of the documentary From Selma to Stonewall: Are We There Yet? She has a Master of Divinity from SMU Perkins School of Theology and is the co-author of We Were Baptized Too: Claiming God’s Grace for Lesbians and Gays, foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Yoga, Health Coaching
Anna has received over 500 hours in the art and science of yoga instruction, and has taught over 1,000 of yoga classes in a variety of styles since 2012. She believes that a well-rounded yoga practice helps us live more authentically as ourselves. When we learn to take our yoga with us off of our mats, we can develop a lifelong support system and grow to our full potential as individuals and community members. She also holds a Masters of Science in Health and Human Performance, and is a certified Community Health Education Specialist.
Dr. Liz Cavin
Dr. Liz Cavin is a naturopath who listens and specializes in women’s healthcare. You can expect exceptional help with hormonal issues, thyroid imbalances, insomnia, hypertension, digestive issues, anxiety and conditions unique to being a woman. Dr. Liz uses a multi layered approach employing herbal medicine, vitamins, labs and dietary advice to treat ailments and help you achieve balanced health. She loves assisting you with managing stress and creating a lifestyle that promotes health for you and your family. Prior to becoming a doctor, Liz Cavin studied clinical botanical medicine and practiced massage therapy for many years. She takes her naturopathic oath, “doctor as teacher” to heart and really enjoys teaching a variety of classes.
Jay Dufrechou is a certified facilitator of Holotropic Breathwork and has been on facilitation teams in the United States, United Kingdom, India and China. With a doctoral degree in transpersonal psychology from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (now Sofia University), Jay has worked as adjunct faculty at ITP/Sofia and the California Institute of Integral Studies. Jay is the author of Moving through Grief, Reconnecting with Nature, which includes stories from people around the world who experience grief, weeping or other deep emotions in response to intimate connection with the natural world. Jay lives in Helena, where he works statewide as an attorney-mediator in addition to facilitating transpersonal workshops in a variety of settings.
Certified Advanced Rolfer™ and Educator
Lisa received her Rolfing® Structural Integration training at the Rolf Institute and has been in practice in Helena since 1998. Lisa draws from her studies, teachings, and practices of Rolfing® Structural Integration, Rolf® Movement Integration, Iyengar yoga, dance, and mindfulness to create her classes and her workshop series “Movement Intelligence”. Lisa is a guest instructor at the Rolf Institute in Boulder Colorado and is a substitute teacher for local yoga classes. She’s very excited to be part of the Dancing Lotus Tribe and to share with you her latest explorations and interests in the world of movement, wellness and vitality.
MS, ATC, CHES, Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist
Emily is one of the facilitators for the monthly Child Loss & Inferility Support Group, a group she helped form after losing her first child in 2016. She and her husband have lived in Helena almost six years and love adventuring with their son Miles and dog Greta. Emily is also a small business owner, a fitness instructor, and is passionate about health and helping people find their passion.
Doula & Childbirth Educator
Sheri is a former nurse with over 20 years experience including obstetrics. After being a stay at home mom for a few years until her children were in school, she certified as a birth doula through Doulas of North America (DONA) in 2013. She has been working as a birth doula, childbirth educator and birth/newborn photographer since then. Her passion is informed and empowering choices in childbirth with the understanding that pregnancy and birth being a normal physiological process are unique to each individual and each birth. Recently, Sheri completed a lactation course which now allows her to provide breastfeeding support. Sheri’s objective in providing these services is to minimize the fear in childbirth so that birth memories will be precious. Along with her husband and two children, Sheri moved to Helena from Alaska in 2016. When she is not witnessing the miracle of birth, Sheri can be found gardening,
Justin Whitaker, Ph.D. is a Certified Meditation Teacher with a doctorate in Buddhist Ethics from the University of London. He is a Helena native who has lived and taught in Missoula, England, India, and China. Dr. Whitaker first discovered meditation in 2000, when he was studying philosophy and religions at the University of Montana-Missoula. He has taught meditation in various contexts since 2003 and has been offering mindfulness courses in Helena since the spring of 2016.