All our Speakers confirmed for this Conference
Suzanne was born and raised in Pittsburgh's South Hills and The Om Lounge is a dream 46 years in the making. Growing up, Suzanne was either reading a book, writing, or dancing. After taking dance and gymnastics classes, Suzanne would go home and choreograph ‘sequences’ for the neighborhood kids . From dancing to gymnastics, Suzanne loved movement. Now as a yoga instructor, Suzanne is known for her creative sequencing and transitions on the mat.
Straight out of college, Suzanne worked as a television news producer. Her love for writing and creating continued and Suzanne eventually moved away from TV news and into marketing. Throughout her years as a working mother, Suzanne depended on her yoga practice to sustain her physically and mentally as well as ground her. Her interest and love of yoga led her to become a teacher. Suzanne completed her 200 hour yoga training and continued her advanced training with her mentors, Kate Duyn and Mary Dana Abbott in Los Angeles. Suzanne continues to study all things yoga as well as teach and train others.
In Suzanne's class, you can expect soulfulness and insight, yet her inner feistiness and playfulness are always present. Her classes are based in the style of Vinyasa Krama, a step by step progession into something, or to a certain goal, whether that be a posture or theme. Suzanne hopes that the practice of yoga, through finding awareness, will support her students as its has supported her throughout the different phases of her life.
When not at the studio, Suzanne currently resides in Pittsburgh’s East End with her two puppies, Pippa & Pepper.
Leslie is absolutely thrilled to be a part of the vision that is now the Om Lounge. Born and raised in the Steel City, she spent her childhood as a competitive dancer and baton twirler. Performing on stage for hundreds came easy for her and something she truly enjoyed. Over the years, staying physically fit has always been a priority, but she discovered yoga when the gym just wasn't enough anymore. She needed that creative outlet that balanced the mental and physical aspects of overall health. One day she walked into a yoga studio to change things up - and it was the attention to the fluid yoga breath and focus on lengthening muscles with purpose and direction that really attracted her to the practice. Over time, she became aware of the many positive benefits that made themselves known... and as the love for her yoga practice grew, becoming a teacher was simply inevitable. Leslie completed her 200 hour Teacher Training and has workshopped under the tutelage of Kino McGregor and Chrissy Carter.
Leslie's love of music has molded her teaching style into a new and exciting experience. She takes pride in cultivating her playlists, which are all available on Spotify! In her classes, you'll get nice and sweaty with challenging sequences focusing on strength and extension. You will become stronger, physically and mentally - all the while making the practice your own.
When not working as an Account Manager for a Corporate Housing firm or hanging at the Om Lounge, Leslie enjoys live music of all kinds, traveling with her sister, happy hour with friends and snuggling with her fuzzy black kitty cat, Tyrion.
Meredith Gottschalk was born and raised in Pittsburgh. She has been teaching yoga for two years and practicing for over a dozen, defining herself as both a yogi and a yinzer. She spent her childhood riding horses and playing soccer, a tough competitor always trying to move as fast as possible. At the age of eighteen she had the chance to do an intensive three week yoga program that ultimately changed her life and perspective. Afterward, she began to slow things down permanently and yoga has been her physical focus ever since.
Meredith completed her RYT-200 hour training in 2016 and was thrilled to take her years of practice to the next level and begin instructing. All those years of running on and off the soccer field left Meredith with a body that does not always twist and bend the way she might like it to. Because of this she has been inspired to elevate her own practice and to develop a teaching style that is exacting, yet accessible to all bodies. She brings her sense of humor, eccentric music taste, and humility to her classes. Her hope is that her students build not just strength, but confidence.
Since she began practicing yoga, Meredith has earned an English Literature degree and a Biology degree from Loyola University of Chicago and the University of Pittsburgh respectively. She previously worked in corporate banking and now splits her time between the yoga studio and her family’s business. A lover of fiction, curling up with a good book or movie would be her favorite activity other than taking a good vinyasa class. The love from her heart chakra typically comes out in black and gold and she prides herself on her Steelers tattoo. Meredith currently lives in Pittsburgh’s East End with her boyfriend, Levi, their sheepdog, Olaf, and fat cat, Simba.
Alexi was lucky enough to discover yoga at the sweet age of sixteen, when her friends thought it would be something fun to try. From that very first class, she was hooked. A dancer her entire life, the fluid movement of vinyasa flow resonated with her, and also built strength in her body and mind that she didn’t know she needed. It wasn’t until Alexi graduated from Penn State in 2013 when yoga took an even bigger role in her life. Newly working in the banking industry, it was the perfect stress relief that she needed and looked forward to every day.
As her love and passion grew, she took the leap and completed her 200 hour teacher training in 2014. As a teacher, Alexi wants her classes to be an escape for her students. No matter how busy and crazy life gets, your time on the mat is your safe place to breathe, move, feel good, and have it all be about YOU. You can expect to be challenged, moving through poses that are thoughtfully connected, with arm balances and challenge poses always incorporated. Alexi has taught at yoga retreats in Tulum, Mexico, as well as yoga festivals and various workshops in Pittsburgh. She loves learning and always looks for the opportunity to take workshops with world renowned teachers.
When not on her mat or working at the bank, you can expect to find Alexi trying out new restaurants with her friends and family, or cheering on the Steelers and Penn State football with her fiancé.
Lauren continually surrenders to a life that is filled with unconditional love, fun, laughter, family, friends, knowledge, grace, the teachings and the practice of yoga, time well spent, meaningful connections/relationships, vitality and endless opportunity.
Lauren’s first yoga experience in 2008 was uncomfortable, foreign, but also pleasantly indescribable. It has been said you’ve got to lose your mind to find your heart so she returned back to her mat in 2009 when she knew she needed something. She began meditating. Meditation inspired breath work, breath work inspired the physical practice. The physical practice inspired love; love inspired the desire to share. Lauren began teaching in 2011 after completing her 200-RYT through Studio Oxygen in Ohio. Although she was trained Baptiste Power, she integrates her interest of psychology, psychophysiology, Buddhism, self-discovery and life’s questions and offerings into her classes.
You can expect a challenging, awareness-provoking, powerfully peaceful experience. Lauren also holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Anthropology from Youngstown State University, enjoys the outdoors, live music, cooking, crafting and spontaneity in any & all forms!
Levi Bastian Redcross first found yoga at a Bikram studio during his years as a student in college. In his very first class, he found that he was unable to touch his toes, control his breath, and stand on one foot for longer than a few seconds. Instead of finding defeat, Levi found fascination in his shortcomings. He began practicing regularly and researching more about yoga. When Levi was unable to make it to a studio, he would learn yoga from books that would teach him how to stand, breath, and think more efficiently. Books became his gateway to all different forms of yoga including Hatha, Iyengar, and Pranayama. This is how Levi developed his home practice.
After practicing at home for quite some time, Levi sought out a proper yoga studio. He loved the student teacher dynamic that all studios had, but missed the demanding quality of Bikram. Eventually he found Ashtanga. The perfect mix of a demanding asana practice with a focus in intentional awareness.
Flex Yoga Wooster found Levi. In August 2016 Levi received his 200hr RYT certificate. He now teaches yoga full-time. He loves to develop creative and challenging sequences that help students recognize stiffness and/or openness in their own bodies and minds. His goal is to give his students the tools they need to further their own yoga practice and improve self-awareness.
In 2012, Tiffany quit her DC non-profit job in suicide prevention and moved to rural Ghana for a year. While there, she came to live with a meditation teacher for three months who changed her life. When Tiffany came back to DC, she was looking for a way to continue her practice outside the quiet village and in the hustle and bustle of city living. This is when she decided to dedicate herself to an asana practice to accompany her sitting meditation. She fell in love with the physical side of yoga and the discipline, strength, and vulnerability that accompanies it. It became clear that this was going to be a lifelong practice.
Tiffany moved to Pittsburgh in 2014 for her Master's degree in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, all while finding her place in the yoga community in her new city. The connection between the need to be present and empathetic while serving people through social work and the mindful awareness required in yoga was strongly linked in her mind. Yoga allows Tiffany to be emotionally calibrated and energetically balanced to do her daily work consistently and without burning out. Her dream is to bring yoga to the people she works with in her day job, other social workers, and share the practice with as many people as possible. As a way to deepen her practice and explore teaching, Tiffany completed a 10-month 200-hour teacher training at Vital Glow Yoga. She fell in love with teaching and is excited to hold space for people as an instructor. Tiffany is hungry to learn more about the eight limbs of yoga to be a better teacher to anyone who walks through the door.
In Tiffany's classes, you will find a mindful flow with unexpected sequences that explore complexity and simplicty all led with lots of love. When Tiffany is not working her day job at Landforce or in the studio practicing yoga, you will find her with her adorable husband and supportive dog (the reverse also applies) hiking through the woods or nestled in their couch.
Cassie began her yoga journey in 2011. Yoga became a weekly ritual of self care and a way to find metal clarity. After developing a consistent practice she realized a deep love to share yoga with the community around her. In 2014 she completed her 200hr teacher training through South Hills Power Yoga. With a deep curiosity and strong belief in life-long learning she has taken a variety of trainings and workshops. She finds her greatest inspiration from Baron Baptiste, Elena Brower, Erica Jago, Mari Sierra.
She believes yoga should be made accessible for everyone. Inspired by her mentors she helped organize a free yoga program at her local Carnegie Library as well as taught “pay what you can” classes in the community. Cassie has recently collaborated alongside Frequency-528 creating a weekly pay what you can Silent Disco style yoga experience. Her classes often incorporate an inspired playlist and creative sequencing. A strong believer in the transformative power of breath and mindful movement, She seeks to uplift humanity through her meditation and practice of yoga. It is her intention to honor the ancient wisdom of yoga in her classes by focusing on breath and presence.
When Cassie isn’t on her mat you can find her exploring the beauty of nature most likely traveling the world with her fiance Brandon.
A lover of music, movement, and health, Meredith has been practicing yoga since she was little. She was introduced to yoga by a Yoga for Dummies VHS tape in elementary school, pausing and rewinding to learn each pose. Through high school and college, yoga became a creative outlet, a favorite workout, and a healthy way to manage stress and anxiety.
After college, her wedding, and a move to Pittsburgh in 2014, Meredith wanted to continue her practice and explore the city through class passes to local studios. Her desire to teach was sparked by consistent passion in her instructors, she completed a nine month intensive 200 hour training in December of 2017, and is ready to serve Pittsburgh with compassion and humility through yoga and meditation.
Her classes are well-rounded, strength- based, and energetic flows set to carefully curated playlists. Dancing is encouraged. Get ready to be grounded and encouraged to push past your doubts and appreciate all that your body can do when your mind allows. All are welcome.
Derrick Tint was born and raised in California, where he surfed up and down the coasts of Orange County and San Diego as a teenager. He has been practicing yoga and meditation since 2012. His spiritual journey started in December 2015, after a monk instructed him to read the Discourses of Buddha. Since then, his curiosity in the inner journey has led him to meditate and practice with monks and yogis around the world. This summer, he found himself in India, an experience that has opened his mind to the meaning of meditation. This inspired him to complete a 100hr Meditation teacher training in Rishikesh.
Outside of his spiritual journey, Derrick recently moved to refine his skills as an ear surgeon at Allegheny General Hospital. Prior to this, he cared for the underserved population of North Philadelphia. Throughout his busy schedule, he maintains his practices in both meditation and yoga. Balancing both the mind and the body continues to be a learning experience that helps guide him into deeper layers of meditation.
Traditional forms of meditation are important. However, sitting with one self in silence for an extended period of time can be daunting for many. With our busy schedules and never ending list of obligations, it can difficult to find time to sit alone. Derrick brings a sense of open mindedness and tools to help guide students into a relaxed state of meditation.
Hannah Poulson recently relocated to Pittsburgh to attend the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University. Living in Washington, D.C. for the past four years, Hannah first came to yoga as a new way to work out in a new city. In addition to exercise, yoga became a necessary way to de-stress in this challenging, hectic world. It's not surprising to find Hannah in a headstand when she's dealing with a particularly difficult task and needs a new perspective yoga clothes not required).
In February 2018, Hannah completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Past Tense Yoga Studio. She enjoys making every class challenging and interesting. Through a focus on alignment and individuals' needs, she strives to bring her students new perspectives and opportunities to lengthen and strengthen. Hannah works to develop a sense of community through humor and fosters a shared understanding that yoga is a constant process of growth which is never perfected. A former cheesemonger, when not practicing yoga Hannah can be found eating all the cheese.
Sara first stepped foot onto a yoga mat in 2003, but began practicing consistently in 2007 after a marathon left her with a knee injury. She became intrigued by focusing on alignment and one breath per posture during that transition, developing a deep love for yoga and for what it did for her health, mind and body. She soon became a regular practitioner using yoga to clear her mind, alleviating the stresses of daily life. Yoga offered safety, focus and repose. As she deepened her practice and began to recognize all of its benefits, she knew one day that she would teach yoga. A teacher by nature, Sara was inspired to expand her efforts outside of the foreign language classroom and into the yoga studio. When the perfect training scenario presented itself, she decided to become certified so that she could share yoga and its advantages with others. She completed her 200 HR RYT in June 2017 and is grateful for the experience and the vast knowledge she received.
As a native Pittsburgher, Sara enjoys dog walks in city parks, swimming in the summer, riding her bike, traveling, immersing herself in other cultures and being active in the community. She is fluent in both Spanish and Portuguese.
In her class expect a creative and mindful flow focusing on alignment with one breath per movement. Experience pranayama, or breathing techniques and their energizing and calming effects on the body. Plan to move around the entire mat with mandalas for different perspectives. Expect to let go, have fun, flow with music, release negative energy and fill up with contentment.
Meeraj is originally from Mechanicsburg, PA Which is where she received her 200 hour training from Om My Yoga Academy. She is currently in the process of getting her 300 hour training at the same Academy. Meeraj is also Childlight yoga certified. What brings Meeraj to her mat is the sense of stillness when things are hectic in her life, the feeling of accomplishment after dedicating time to a challenging asana or meditation, and how this practice keeps her humble and eager. Meeraj enjoys teaching yoga because she learns just as much from her students and shares their pure joy for deepening their practice. Meeraj became a Reiki Master in 2018 and has started to deepen her practice by working not only on herself, but providing Reiki to clients in a one on one setting. Meeraj says, "What I truly love about Reiki is that I am just a channel for the energy and all the healing that is happening is coming from within yourselves and from the universe."
Born and raised north of the city, Maggie grew up being chased by her four bothers and playing competitive soccer. After the stress of college and the rigors of playing soccer became too exhausting, she recognized the need for a quiet space to allow her mind to slow down. Maggie loved the change of pace that yoga offered, along with the physical, emotional, and mental benefits that followed from a regular practice. Yoga has allowed her to let go of (or see beyond) the little things that once consumed her and recognize the importance of taking life day by day.
Maggie wanted to gain the knowledge and experience required to share yoga with others, while also deepening her own practice. She completed her 200 HR teacher training through Flex Yoga, Wooster in 2018. You can expect Maggie’s classes to have a blend of creative and powerful movement linked with the breath.
Outside of the studio, you can find Maggie exploring coffee shops around the city with her boyfriend, or in the kitchen figuring out what she should make next.
Looking for a new way to exercise, Erin decided she would try yoga. She didn’t ever think it would make the impact in her life that it has. Erin has been hooked ever since taking that first class. She loves the movement, the breath, and that euphoric feeling post savasana. Erin has learned to take her practice off the mat and into her daily life to help cope with daily challenges and stress. In 2018 she completed her RYT200 and is thankful for the knowledge learned. She looks forward to sharing the gift of yoga to others. Erin hopes her classes will help students feel grounded, calm, and free. Expect to let go of negative energy, and replace it with positive energy.
When not teaching, you can find her hanging with friends, walking her pups, or at home binge watching tv.
Amie DiTomasso born in Massachusetts, rooted in Pittsburgh, and transplanted to Washington D.C. is a yoga teacher, a scientist, a wanderlust, and wellness advocate. As a young girl, she moved around a lot and quickly learned ways to connect with new people and seek adventure in new places. She spent ten years living in Pittsburgh, on and off attending the University of Pittsburgh where she completed her Bachelor’s in Science studying Psychology and Neuroscience and later completing two Master’s degrees in Public Health and in Social Work. Her yoga asana practice began over 14 years ago but her yoga philosophical practice has been with her since a young girl. It was in college where she developed a deeper passion and commitment to the practice. Influenced mightily by her science background, Amie is drawn to exploring the link between the physical and mental aspects of the practice. In 2013, she completed a 200hr RYT training program in Pittsburgh and in May 2018, she completed a 500hr RYT training program in D.C.
Amie has collectively spent more than a decade studying the brain with a more recent interest in holistic health. She currently works full time as a neuroscience researcher at Georgetown University, teaches part time at Epic Yoga DC and Flow Yoga Center, and serves as a yoga educational mentor and teacher. She is constantly seeking out educational opportunities and is greatly inspired by some of her amazing teachers such as Matt Giordano, Gopi Kinnicut, Chelsey Korus, and her mentor, Alicia Moyer, among others.
Amie creates playful, creative, vinyasa and fusion (yoga, Pilates, sculpt, etc.) classes with intentions of offering opportunities for her students to grow, explore, let go of ideals, and practice self-care. She designs thoughtful sequences intended to thread throughout class. As a hands on and anatomically attentive instructor, she provides extra good feels and guidance on alignment, all while trying to take her students just a little deeper in their practice. She has taught at yoga festivals, on yoga retreats, donation classes and a variety of workshops. Amie serves as a lead teacher for Epic Yoga DC and the Om Lounge’s 200hr teacher training program. She resides full time in D.C. with her partner, Dave, and their energetic kitten, Cup (because “we want the Cup, LGP!”).