Kim Saunders

Owner and Founder
M.ED., LICENSED PROFESSIONAL COUNSELOR
E-RYT500, RPYT, CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL YOGA THERAPIST AND Teacher Trainer

As a native Californian, Kim began practicing yoga at 12 years old when her sister gave her a book on Iyengar poses as a gift. 

Now as a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, yoga therapist and teacher of teachers, she loves to create a joyful, uplifting experience whether in a vinyasa flow, a restorative yin practice, a strengthening barre class…she wants you to feel great when you walk (float!) out the door. 

She believes that through moving the body we move the emotions and stir the soul.  Yoga, meditation and breathwork have helped her to navigate life’s major challenges of losing her brother, infertility and breast cancer and says “it has been my lifeline through the turbulence.  It helped me to take the meaningless into meaningful.   Yoga has been a source of strength and serenity and I vow to help others tap into these powerful resources too.”  

She has completed thousands of hours of study with some of the finest teachers including Bryan Kest, John Friend, Susan Hopkins, Seane Corn, Deepak Chopra, Dharma Mittra, Robert Steinbacher and many others.  She is the first Certified International bodyART Instructor in Georgia.

Her undergrad was in finance and she worked in National Accounts at a Fortune 100 company for over 10 years.  This gave her skills in communication, negotiating and understanding.  From there she became a Licensed Counselorto help people to heal on all levels.  Whether teaching in the studio, at a corporation, or an international retreat, she comes to the mat with authenticity and a vows to keep practicing and learning so she can keep giving and growing.   She created and founded Lift Yoga in 2010 and is honored to see it’s continual growth in the community.

DEBRA HIGHLAND

FITNESS WELLNESS COACHING

Debra is a 23 year veteran to teaching and presenting Group Fitness classes. She began her career as a sophomore on the campus of Penn State University in the summer of 1993 when thong unitards and puffy socks were "rad." Now, she has a waiting list for woman and sometimes men wanting to borrow them for 1980s day and Halloween.

She is a 21 year member and certified instructor with AFAA and over the past several years, holds certifications in Zumba, Turbo Kick and
R.I.P.P.E.D.

Debra loves helping others reach their own personal and fitness centered goals. She is thrilled to be on board with the Lift Team!

Marie-Ann Cassee

200ERYT

Born and raised in the Netherlands in a very holistic lifestyle, her early careers included nursing and a flight attendant before moving to the U.S. and raising three sons.  She took her teacher training with Jonny Kest of LifePower Yoga feeling grounded, balanced, connected and euphoric.  Marie has also trained with leaders such as David Regelin, Annie Carpenter, Taylor Harkness, Sara Ivanhoe and Jill Miller.  She is currently nearing completion of her 500RYT through Etowah Valley Yoga and is very interested in Yoga Therapeutics to help people to restore balance and improve quality of life.  “I will challenge you and honor you, I will hear you and connect with you, just be yourself and I’ll guide you with love, compassion and healing energy.”

Gail Ries

200 RYT
Chopra Center Primordial Sound InstructoR
Certifications in Somatics, Mindful Yoga Therapy for Veterans, Yin Yoga Teacher Training

As a Chopra Center meditation instructor, Gail brings a special quality of intention and focus on consciousness to her Yin Yoga classes. She completed yoga teacher training at Lift in 2015. Through injury, she found her specialty practicing Paul Grilley's style of Yin Yoga. This quiet, but challenging practice is a beautiful balance to today's active lifestyle and for her, opens space to the present moment. The long, still holding of poses addresses the joints, fascia and connective tissue, allowing time to connect mind, body and spirit. Meeting whatever arises in a long held posture with an aware, accepting and quiet mind teaches us to live our challenges in a new, relaxed way. Gail's hope for all students is that they experience a deeper level of connection to their own hearts that serves them beyond the mat.

 

 

LANA LAYTON

200RYT

Lana has found joy in movement of the body since she was a child. Growing up in Chicago she studied ballet with the Chicago Repertory Dance Ensemble before dancing and choreographing on a dance scholarship at Southern Methodist University. Feeding a desire to help others, Lana attended Law School at University of North Carolina and now works as an Administrative Judge. However, the joy of movement drew Lana to yoga six years ago and turned into a passion. Trained in the Ashtanga Style of yoga with John Meredith, 200HR RYT certified, she incorporates Ashtanga, Jivamukti and Lotus Flow styles into her classes. Through her training, Lana continues to explore the mind, body and spirit connection found in yoga creating classes that are playful, as well as mentally and physically challenging, for it is in those moments of challenge, and stillness of the mind, that we find our true selves.  When not on her mat, Lana is most likely whitewater kayaking (or dreaming of whitewater kayaking) or hiking the mountains in search of waterfalls (or a great waterfall for kayaking!

Jason Anderson

500 ERYT

Jason Anderson is a former University of Florida Gators and Professional Basketball athlete (Europe & S. America)  turned yoga instructor, who has been teaching yoga full time for over 7 years.  

Jason has trained with Shiva Rea and teaches her Prana Flow and a  Vinyasa style that emphasizes establishing a solid foundation of security and stability upon which fluidity of decision, action and expression can take place.

 An experience of poetic movements guided by your ballad~like breath flow's teachings of self respect and courteousness. 

Jason is both beautiful inside and out.  Come see for yourself!

KEMBER GRIFFITHS

200RYT

A native Georgia peach, Kember found yoga the first time while attending Georgia Southern University in the early 2000s.  After graduating with a degree in Writing and Linguistics, she moved to Atlanta and didn’t pick yoga back up until she became pregnant.  After falling in love with prenatal yoga, then rebuilding strength after the birth of her son, Kember dove in to the yogic world head first.  Having completed her 200-hour teacher training with Kim Saunders and Sue Hopkins, from Lift Yoga and Etowah Valley, Kember enjoys teaching nice yoga flows, encouraging students to hold and breathe into the postures to build strength, balance and focus.  She also incorporates the beauty of yoga as a whole by including, not only the physical, but the mental, emotional and spiritual parts of yoga.  In the future Kember hopes to combine her love of yoga, energy therapy and writing by opening a facility embracing holistic healing.

SARAH ROSE

200RYT

Sarah, a native of Roswell, Georgia, grew up an only child and learned at a young age the true meaning of getting to know yourself.  She carries this wisdom into the present day in her personal practice and each of her classes. She completed her 200-hour teaching training though Etowah Valley and Lift Yoga, with Kim Saunders and Sue Hopkins. Her classes are based on getting out of our minds and into our bodies, and she encourages closed eyes throughout the practice. She incorporates Crystal Singing bowls and gentle touch in each of her classes. Sarah graduates from Kennesaw in May 2016 and has visions of one day opening a yoga studio in Atlanta to continue her mission of serving and sharing yoga with the community.  

Minna Polhemus.jpg

Minna Polhemus

200RYT 

Minna earned her certification with Sue Hopkins and Kim Saunders at Lift Yoga in 2015.

Originally from the New England area, where she was first introduced to yoga almost 20 years ago. It was love at first breath... Truly! Minna loves to share all aspects of yoga, but especially using the breath as an avenue to movement and deep release and opening of the body, mind and spirit. She offers a deep, yet approachable class, for anyone and everyone who has the desire to experience their own personal and transformative practice. 

Paige Dunford

200RYT

Paige began practicing yoga in 2008.  She was interested in building strength and flexibility (and perhaps learning how to do some cool tricks)!  Little did she know, yoga would take her on a journey, increasing her self-awareness, enhancing her health, and inspiring her to connect with her true self.

Paige is originally from Salt Lake City, UT.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science and Physiology.  She moved to Alpharetta, Georgia in 2015 and found herself feeling uprooted and discombobulated.  When she found Lift Yoga, she found a place that felt like home.  Once again connected and grounded, she aspired to teach the practice she loves.  Paige studied at Asheville Yoga Center and received her 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher Certification.

Paige inspires her students to connect within and move in a way that serves their unique needs.  She thrives on continuing to learn from not only her mentors, but also from her students.  She loves to share the ancient practice in ways that nourish each individual present.  Take her class and go on a journey that strengthens the union between body, mind and soul. 

Leila Taylor Jankowski

200RYT
Core Fusion Barre Certified
ACE & AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor
AFAA Certified Personal Trainer

Influenced by her teachers, peers, life experiences, the environment, and her travels throughout the world, Leila's desire is to empower people through yoga and fitness.

Whether the advanced practitioner or the student taking their first class, her goal is to have each student leave class having deepened their yoga and fitness practice and strengthened their mind and body.

Through intention setting, breathing techniques and carefully sequenced postures and exercises, Leila teaches in a way that provokes thought and meaning which allows the student to create their own unique experience in each class.

Her classes are physically challenging (with enough modifications for every level of practitioner), delivered with uplifting music, lots of motivation, and many hands on assists (if desired).

Yoga and fitness has changed Leila's life personally in a profound way and she brings this sense of awe, wonder, and gratitude for the healthy way of life path – both in and out of the studio – to every class.

ANISSA DEARBORN

ACE & AFAA CERTIFIED GROUP FITNESS INSTRUCTOR
AFAA CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER
COMPETITIVE BODY BUILDER

Thirty years ago, Anissa followed her mother into an aerobics class. Just minutes into the warm-up, she looked her mother in the eyes and declared that teaching fitness was to be her destiny! Now, thousands of classes and hundreds of certifications later, she is still certain that sharing fitness is her journey. Her greatest joy and peace come from the mat in yoga practice. As a cancer survivor and advocate for the abused, she believes movement is medicine that heals.  Beyond motivating and inspiring her students and clients, she is currently enrolled in the 200hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification at Lift Yoga.

Dabney Stevens

200RYT

Dabney Stevens embraced the beautiful practice of yoga in 2008 and a love story was born.

Her sister bought a yoga studio in 2009 in Nashville, and as the studio grew and expanded into more locations, she completed her 200-hour YTT through Hot Yoga Plus in Nashville. 

In addition to her love for her practice, Dabney has equally grown in relationships formed through yoga. "There is a connection that can only be known through the practice of yoga," she says. "There is a trust that is understood, though the word may never be spoken. There is a bond that is strong enough to weather anything. We cross a range of ages, backgrounds, beliefs, and experiences. But the practice of yoga binds us tightly together. I know they've got my back." It is with gratitude, humility, and belief in the hearts and souls of people as individuals that she approaches her teaching.

KATE ANDERSON

Kate has taken/taught ballet for the past 30 years. She attended James Madison University where she majored in Health Science and minored in dance.

While there she began teaching group fitness classes. She is a certified Barre and ACE group fitness instructor and loves combining her love of ballet and fitness into a fun class atmosphere.

As a former Occupational Therapist Kate realizes the importance promoting functional strength training and flexibility within her classes. Kate has recently moved to Atlanta from Virginia and is thrilled to join the Lift family.

Becky Geisel

200RYT

Becky began practicing yoga 15 years ago while recovering from a sports related injury. In order to deepen her practice and be able to share yoga with others, she completed her teacher training with Graham Fowler at Peachtree Yoga in Atlanta. Becky is passionate about all things related to good health: from yoga to nutrition. When not on the mat, she can be found hiking with her family or with the hiking group she founded: Sole Sisters of Milton, kayaking and working on balance on the stand up paddle board or just being Mom to her (almost) grown up 3 daughters. She says “I love what yoga does for the body, but even more; what it does to the mind. I am thrilled to be part of the positive energy Kim has created at Lift Yoga!”

CLAUDICET PENA

Claudi became a committed yoga student since 2011, when the gift of yoga was first shared with her. As her practice expanded, so did her desire to share the gift of yoga with others. In 2014, Claudi became a devoted yoga teacher, sharing the gift of empowerment and healing through the practice of yoga with trainings and certifications from programs directed and lead by Johnny Kest and Alanna Kaivalya. “My purpose is to provide an experience of a guided yoga practice constructed to soothe, balance and repair by connecting breath, movement, stillness, sensation, meditation and self-exploration. “