Self Awakening Yoga Studio's Blog

Yoga, Breath, Light, Love


I could write a book about Self Awakening Yoga Studio – my studio, my passion, my “baby”.

I could write about this beautiful space, tucked away on the 2nd floor of a nondescript building, on a busy retail strip in Salem NH.  A strip littered with tall signs and cars occupied with people who are in too much of a hurry to take notice of their surroundings. Missing this calm oasis  — a place where you can work at bringing balance to life…your life.

I could write about what makes us different; about why should you begin, continue or restart your journey with us ; in fact, those who know me well wouldn’t be surprised if I went on and on about this lovely space that I was fortunate enough to purchase in 2009.

But I would rather introduce you to the teaching staff because these bright lights make the studio what it is….a welcome space filled with light and love  that can be felt when you cross the threshold each and every day.  Without these selfless and passionate yogis, it would simply be a room.

Thank you friends for honoring me with your grace and presence and for the lessons you teach me every day.

allynewAllyson Debrocke

Allyson Debrocke started practicing yoga in 1997 when her doctor suggested it after a back injury and was hooked immediately.

Allyson is now a 100 hour certified teacher of Rasamaya yoga. This method works on expanding your skeletal and joint structure using a balance between flexibility, core strength, muscle tone and stability. Being a busy mother of two beautiful girls and working full time in the financial industry, yoga has taught me to find the true balance in my life.

Yoga is the practice of quieting the mind. Its the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.

tjnewTJ Mokkosian

TJ Mokkosian began his journey as a Yoga practitioner at Self awakening yoga studio over 3 years ago.  Very soon after his feet touched the mat it was undeniable that he was on the path to teach the practice. Inspired by the deep rooted tradition of Yoga he decided to journey to India to train and become certified in Traditional Hatha Yoga education.

This foundation gave him a strong base to grow and infuse his teachings with his love for Ashtanga lineage as well as various Vinyasa Flow and restorative techniques.  TJ has spent time teaching at studios in Los Angeles and studying and teaching at the Kripalu Yoga Center to continue his growth and increase his offerings as a dynamic instructor.

TJ is also a certified personal trainer and has experience working with the body on many different levels and is known for his gentle yet purposeful hands on approach and loving care for all of his students.

barbnewBarbara Sterling, Studio Owner

Barbara started practicing yoga in 2004 as a way of healing from back surgery and overcoming challenges in her day to day encounters. So sure she would love it the moment she stepped on her mat, Barbara bought a 7-week membership to a local studio.  Imagine her surprise and disappointment when she left the first class with the opposite reaction! It wasn’t the physical aspect as much as the learning to breathe at the beginning and end of class that was more of a challenge.  Actually sitting/lying still for more than a second and being in the moment was much more difficult than she could have imagined.

However having been raised in a large family who understood “bang for buck” Barbara returned for the remaining 6 classes and never looked back. It was, as it turned out, exactly for her! The physical challenge that yoga offered was what Barbara was looking for to work through the kinks and healing of surgery.  But the breathing and being present in each pose and moment went beyond anything she could have imagined and has continued to be her favorite part of the experience.

Barbara has continued practicing all forms of yoga including a home practice and meditation.  She joined Self Awakening as a student in January of 2009 when she entered the studio to purchase a gift certificate for a friend.  The energy, teachers and overall first impression were so positive that she bought herself a monthly unlimited pass and never looked back.

In July of 2009 Barbara was laid off from her high-level, high-pressure Human Resources position and purchased the studio in October of 2009. Barbara started teaching in December of 2009 and continues to learn , grow, and genuinely be honored by all that come to the studio.

jullianewJulia Finnegan, RYT

Julia’s practice began in 2002 and has been teaching yoga since 2005. She obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education, but deviated from this path due injuries she picked up during her years in college playing Rugby. Gym workouts furthered her imbalances to injuries and were far too mundane. She discovered amazing weight management and strengthening through Vinyasa yoga and has furthered her studies since then to discover incredible flow and lightness, and depth that is truly all around us and especially within.

Since 2002 she has practiced various styles ranging from Restorative yoga to Ashtanga to Vinyasa to Power, but she has found her passion to be in her eclectic style with the desire to bring the student into his or her own body. When this awareness is activated, many wonderful things can and do happen. She has realized the calm and peace yoga brings after a continued practice and wants to share this magic with as many as she can. Each class is based on the energy of the moment, and Julia enjoys bringing fun and lightness to her challenging class. Sometimes music is included only to enhance a particular class, but always there is emphasis on the breath. Although her class may be challenging, the intention behind them is to encourage the students to honor their body by resting when they need, and adversely pushing when they feel they should. She always teaches to the beginner…. as we are always just beginning.

Julia’s Yoga education includes training and Study with Taylor and Phillipe Wells, Sara Meeks, Gurmukh, Ana Forrest, David Vendetti, Shiva Rea, and deeper anatomy and movement study  with Julie Gudmestad. She has been certified with the Yoga Alliance since shortly after teaching and is now delving into her 500H certification.  As a Reiki Master and teacher, she brings energy work into the classroom (perhaps from a distance if not on contact). She also now practices Thai Yoga Massage and LOVES the beautiful massage dance of energy, compression, and lazy-mans-yoga that it is. During Thai Yoga Massage, Julia practices Metta (loving kindness energy work- standard for Thai Yoga Massage) and Reiki

loisnewLois Parker Carmona

Lois went to her first hot power vinyasa class at the Baptiste Cambridge studio in 2000 to stop the incessant pleading of a close friend who insisted she would love it. Sure enough, that first class was all it took to open up a new world to her. Always an athlete, this particular style of yoga offered benefits that other workouts had not touched – something beyond physical, something stripped of competition, something amazing on many levels. Lois continues to run marathons and credits her ability to endure the distance to her yoga practice.

Lois is a certified Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga instructor. She completed Levels I, II and III Baptiste Power Yoga Institute (BPYI) Teacher Training, as well as their Assistants Training Program, and assisted at the studios for two years. She continues her studies with Baron Baptiste and the community of Baptiste teachers. She finds there is something more to learn every day from her own practice, from her teaching and from her students. Watching her students transform themselves and their lives through yoga practice has been exciting and powerful for her. Her goal in teaching is to help guide people at all levels of experience to find what they need to live their fullest and most satisfying lives through exploring their body, breath and mind.

“I feel honored to come and share what I love with the students of Self Awakening Yoga Studio, a studio I hold a very special place in my heart for.

The studio has such positive energy – I can’t wait to fill the space with breath, being, and the beauty of personal transformation.” Lois

samanthanewSamantha Dyer

After months of urging from a friend, Samantha reluctantly took her first yoga class in January of 2010. All it took was that one class and she fell in love. Since then, her love of the athletic aspects of vinyasa yoga quickly grew into a much deeper appreciation of the depth and wealth that yoga has to offer. Samantha graduated with her RYT-200 certification from the Yoga of Energy Flow program with teachers Daniel Orlansky and Dana Lincoln in March, 2012. As a teacher, Samantha’s goal is to not only strengthen and tone the physical body through the asanas (postures), but also to guide her students into a deeper awareness and relationship with themselves and the world around them.

Samantha’s classes are ashtanga-based vinyasa yoga. No yoga experience is required, and modifications can be offered for injuries and all levels of physical fitness. However, the class does flow from pose to pose quickly, so expect to breathe, move and maybe even work up a sweat!

siennanew Sienna Creasy

Sienna is a Certified Prana Flow Instructor and assistant to Shiva Rea, she began her studies in 2003 with Kripalu Yoga and has been integrating the flow of Yoga into the flow of life.  Sienna first came to Yoga in college at the University of New Hampshire and fell in love with the ability to just let go, soon that same teacher asked her if she would like to be trained to teach and the rest is history.

Her practice and karma is life-long service.  A Peace Corps Volunteer in both Bangladesh and Jamaica, Sienna has committed herself to Living Yoga, bringing the practices into everything she connects to. Sienna has been teaching Yoga in Jamaica for the past 6 years with the last 3 years living in Kingston, and bringing Yoga to inner city youth, and downtown outreach programs. She has journeyed to train in India, where she has studied Ayurveda and meditation techniques.  She is also a certified Thai Yoga massage practitioner who studied in Thailand.  Sienna’s Vinyasa Flow, Restorative, and Trance Dance practices embody the flow of life with amazing music and energetic connectivity.  She believes that you must find your ‘groundation’ to reach liberation and her classes create that powerful balance.

gailnewGail Gendron

Gail Gendron is a Certified Yoga Instructor and Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner. She began practicing Yoga in 2004 because of Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease.

 Having been a dancer through her teenage years, to barely being able to move proved very challenging to deal with. She tried a gentle yoga class and never looked back! It had such a remarkable impact not only in her body by lessening chronic pain, but more importantly created a sense of well-being in her mind, body and spirit – something she had not experienced in a long time.
This inspired her to become a teacher so she could share the healing power of yoga with others. Gail received her 200 hr certification at the Zarnay School of Yoga, her Thai Yoga Massage Certification through Triple Gem School of Thai Massage and a Prenatal Certification through YogaFit.
Gail considers herself to be an eternal student of yoga because it is a practice not a destination. In her classes, she aims to empower her students by educating them about the powerful benefits of yoga. Why is deep breathing so good for me? Come find out!

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