Our Teachers and Staff

Uriel MacGillivary- Founder

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Founder of Shanti Hot Yoga Uriel has spent most of her career life in management and coaching people. She is the founder of Shanti Hot Yoga Studios and is passionate about the countless benefits that Yoga brings to students of all ages. An entrepreneur at heart she is thrilled to be building a Yoga School in Atlantic Canada that is innovative, interactive, and raises the bar on how we develop our students to become great teachers. Uriel has completed over 1000 hours of study and practical training. She has a deep interest in the academic research of Yoga and has embarked on a 3-year/800 hour adventure on the History, Literature, and Philosophy of Yoga with the late Georg Feuerstein’s School of Traditional Yoga Studies. In June of 2014 she completed an advanced teacher training with inspiring international teacher, Ana Forest. Uriel looks forward to sharing her knowledge and love of Yoga during the Teacher Training! E-RYT 200, RYT 500

Taylor MacGillivary- Co -Owner

Teacher- All Levels/ Vinyasa/ Vinyasa 2

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Taylor’s curiosity of Yoga practice came quickly after doing his first Teacher Training with Moksha Yoga in 2011. Taylor feels a close connection with the traditional practices of Yoga, practicing and teaching with Sri. T. Krishnamacharya’s lineage as his guidelines, approaching Yoga practice as medicine for your body and your mind. Staying true to Yoga’s origins while keeping practice light and accessible is what he strives for in his classes. Taylor draws on 700+ hours of study, ranging from contemporary Canadian teacher Ryan Leier, who has served as Taylor’s main teacher over the last 4 years, to his latest study with traditional Indian master Srivatsa Ramaswami, a 30+ year student of Krishnamacharya.

Kyla MacKinnon

RYT 500 / E-RYT 200 Hr.
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Kyla is inspired by the act of leading others and empowering them to live their truth. She believes in the power of connecting breath and movement with those around her. Throughout her life, she has enjoyed coaching people and creating a space where they feel comfortable and confident in order to reach their full potential. From her 800 hours of training, she vows to keep the tradition of Krishnamacharya’s yoga lineage alive thanks to one of her great teachers, Ryan Leier. Kyla will incorporate a balance of strength and serenity into her teachings during the program.

Emilie Fabre

E-RYT 200 Hr.
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Over 8 years ago Emilie engaged in her first yoga practice. It was then, she expresses, that her journey began one breath at a time, one movement at a time, and, for the first time, with stillness as an ally not an enemy. Yoga has naturally became a part of Emilie’s everyday life; the day is not complete if she doesn’t practice in one way or another; whether at a studio or in a home practice, the energy that comes from integrating breath with movement and from challenging herself to be still in mind and in body never ceases to amaze her. In Fall of 2009 Emilie completed a 200 hour, Yoga Alliance certified teacher training in Edmonton. She believes the person she was then was broken down into many pieces and re-sculpted. The new insight and perspective gained, also brought acceptance of who she is and the desire to guide others on this path of self-awareness, acceptance and compassion. Emilie has completed certifications in Pre-natal yoga, kids yoga, senior’s yoga, & Trauma Sensitive Yoga. She completed a 300 hr Yin Yoga certification with Paul & Suzee Grilley in June 2015. She loves sharing this functional approach to yoga to help students tune into their own unique needs as well as sharing meditation practices learned and encouraged to help one tune inwards daily.

Emilie has been on the management team at Shanti since January 2013 and enjoys incorporating her passion of yoga with her business skills into one career, it is truly a dream!

Michelle Robinson

E-RYT 200/E-RYT 500 Hr.
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Michelle happened upon her first yoga class in 2006 when she passed by a local studio after registering for a Joints In Motion marathon. Life was very busy at that time with lots of training and conditioning. Plus, her recent decision to step away from a secure but unfulfilling job, relationship and home had her feeling completely run down. She had read about the benefits of a yoga practice and thought the guidance would be great for her stressed out body and mind. Little did she know the impact one class would have on the rest of her life. Since then, Michelle has immersed herself in various intensive yoga and meditation programs and workshops, travelling to India and across North America, to explore the profound teachings yoga has to offer. Having studied with world renowned teachers Manju Jois, Nancy Gildoff, Shiva Rae, Seane Corn and Anodea Judith, Michelle brings a beautiful and playful mix to all of her yoga classes. As a student, teacher, wife and new mom, her regular physical and mental practices help to keep her balanced and strong, as well as flexible in more ways than one. Her vigorous, yet purposeful sequences, will help you feel refreshed, powerful and wonderfully balanced for living your life to the fullest.

Moriah Rose

Teacher – All Levels
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Back in the day I was a pretty serious competitive volleyball player and so maintaining my physical fitness has always been a priority. In 2009, I decided to give yoga a try thinking it was just going to be a new way to exercise. Of course what I found was so so much more. Over the years yoga has become a way of life. What we learn on the mat, we then take into our regular lives. Through my practice I have learned to approach challenges with courage, relationships with compassion… and work, well, who knew work could be so fun if you just approach it with a light heart? Yoga gives you so much perspective, it’s like a process of uncovering hidden truths, about yourself and about life. I know now the power of self forgiveness. I know that nothing counts as much as showing up. And most of all, I know now that life is supposed to be hard work, and that hard work is supposed to be fun ☺I started out with Shanti as a Trade, and throughout my teacher training I received so much love and support from the whole community – I feel so grateful to have such a solid group of people around me to learn and grow with now as a teacher. It’s been a swell ride so far and I’m really looking forward to sharing everything I learn with you, Namaste.

Ashton Verge

Teacher – All Levels
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Ashton spent the majority of her life involved in competitive athletics. In University she played Varsity Women’s Soccer for the SMU Huskies, and in the summers she played in the Senior Women’s NSSL. It wasn’t until a very serious ACL injury in her fourth year, that she would discover her passion for Yoga.

Ashton always knew that she had a strong passion for working with others from a young age, because when she wasn’t competing; she was coaching or leading summer camps for kids. Ashton pursued a Bachelor of Education degree and when she returned to Halifax in 2011, to start her profession in the HRSB as a High School Teacher she was able to narrow her focus on her Yoga practice. In 2014 she was thrilled to finally be able to complete her 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training through Shanti Hot Yoga.

Ashton is delighted to be able to share her passion and knowledge of Yoga with students in our community. “I believe that Yoga has the ability to provide all people with an outlet for self-exploration, both physically and mentally. Yoga to me means a consistent practice of patience, mindfulness, growth, love of self and respect for others. Yoga is never static, but ever evolving and I want to help guide others on that path of growth and learning.”

Stefanie Winters

Teacher – All Levels, Vinyasa
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Having had parents involved in the fitness industry Stefanie has been physically active from a young age, and has been a certified personal trainer for several years. However, it was not until she met Coeli Marsh and was introduced to Baptiste Power Yoga that she found her true passion. After a weekend workshop she was compelled to travel to Hawaii to train under Baron Baptiste, a transformational experience. Stefanie later completed another 200 level vinyasa training with Coeli Marsh and was an assistant in her 200 HR RYT training. Stefanie has continued to diversify her training by studying yoga for PTSD ( post traumatic stress disorder) with the Warriors at Ease programme at Kripalu in Massachusetts. Also her interest in the healing practice of Reiki lead her to become a level 2 Reiki practitioner. Her most recent training was with Ana Forrest for a nine day intensive advanced teacher training in Ottawa where the group delved into many traditional Native American ceremonies and broke down advanced postures, sequencing and assisting.

Kevin Dougall

Teacher – All Levels
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A yoga nerd at heart, Kevin brings his genuine passion for yoga to every class. He started his yoga journey at Shanti in 2011, and has since had the pleasure of training with Ryan Leier, Srivatsa Ramaswami (vinyasa krama), and Manju Jois (ashtanga), and holds a RYT 200, and RCYT (registered children’s yoga teacher) certification with Yoga Alliance. He shares his dynamic style of practice which is fun, inspirational, and focused on the core traditions of yoga.

Brian Stever

Teacher – All Levels, Vinyasa
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Brian completed his yoga alliance 200hr teacher training in Rishikesh, India during the summer of 2013. Brian has taught weekly classes in Dubai and is looking forward to sharing his passion for Yoga & Yogic Philosophy with students at Shanti Hot Yoga in Nova Scotia, 2015. Check out his yoga and real estate website at brianstever.com

Andrew Murray:

Teacher – All Levels
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Andrew was born at the fresh age of 0 and continues to lead a relatively human life, ever since. Raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Andrew was active from the get-go, starting tai chi in the third trimester of utero. His passion to move is obvious, as he launched a career into the abyss of yoga, after experiencing the residue of empowerment and introspection the practice leaves behind. Andrew wishes to share this passion on a community level, and spark a sense of curiosity for your own practice. Brining a sense of play and lightness, Andrew feels we can all shed a few layers, overcome barriers, laugh, and even cry, one breath at a time. Inhale. Exhale. Liberate yourself. This is your yoga.

Don

Teacher – All Levels, Vinyasa
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Don moved to Dartmouth in 1989 and has been a mainstay in the Dartmouth community ever since. Don has been heavily involved in coaching throughout the Dartmouth minor hockey system, coaching both Taylor and Holly, his children, throughout their minor hockey years. Don played Major Junior hockey in Regina in his younger years, and has always been a fixture participating in a variety of sports.Encouraged to give yoga a try by Uriel, Don immediately began to realize the benefits of a regular practice. Having lived with chronic lower back pain for over 25 years, Don experienced relief from his ailment after only 2 months of practice, and says his back feels like it did when he was 20 years old again. “I feel like I have been given a second chance at living a pain free life”, since adopting a regular yoga practice. Passing along the benefits, and encouraging students to experience their own wonders with a regular yoga practice, is what motivates Don, in both the Dartmouth and Bedford communities.

Leslie Bishop:

Teacher – All Levels
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Leslie Bishop has been teaching yoga for more than 15 years and with an ERYT-500 designation spends her time teaching others interested in the practice and lifestyle of the 8 Limbs of yoga. Certified as a yoga teacher trainer and yoga life coach, Leslie leads exhilarating and unscripted Vinyasa yoga classes that are both challenging and heart pumping, while staying true to the ease and grace of the inner intention of the practice. With a background in performance and communication, Leslie is currently ending a one-year sabbatical for where she examined the yoga of relationship.

As a relationship coach and facilitator, Leslie uses the Yogic philosophy of Ahimsa (non-violence) to help individuals and couples investigate habitual patterns in relationship behavior. Known for her passionate and enthusiastic pulse, Leslie shifts the paradigm of our traditional approach to the relationship from a “power against” strategy to a “power with” blueprint.

Leslie holds a private practice in Halifax, N.S. and leads retreats for those looking to reclaim curiosity, connection, and passion inwardly through physical movement while taking a deeper look at the wisdom of emotional intelligence for the purpose of outward connection.

Guylaine Williams

Teacher – All Levels, Vinyasa
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“Just learn to have fun with the practice…whichever style suits you as there’s no one size (i.e. teacher/style) fits all and that’s a good thing…you need to make it work for you.” 

In 1999, after a year of practice at The Yoga Sanctuary with great teachers like Michael Stone, Janine Woo, and John Carson, Guylaine decided to take their first ever yoga teacher training. The instructors were Cynthia Funk, Hart Lazer and Jonathan Austman. Guylaine feels it was Austman who has had the greatest effect on her understanding of the practice and the role of a teacher. The 250-hour YTT was by far the most committed she had been to anything in her life. Shortly after finishing this YTT, she returned to Halifax and was blessed with the opportunity to teach in Halifax at various locations.

During the summer of 2008, Guylaine was invited by Tim Miller to go to Encinitas, CA to study and deepen her practice. She took Tim’s Second Series YTT in Ashtanga and stayed on for two months after the training was done. Shortly after returning from California, Guylaine was offered the chance to help open and manage a studio in Oakville, ON. She successfully opened the Flying Monkey Yoga Studio as studio manager and a senior teacher. Before returning to Halifax, she spent 3 months studying at Shri K Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in Mysore, India.

Guylaine has trained with talented teachers like Richard Freeman, Michael Stone, Tim Miller, Erich Shiffmann, Matthew Sweeney, Chuck Miller, Maty Ezraty, Diane Bruni, Hart Lazer, David Swenson and Ron Reid. She has taught 15 years of Hatha Vinyasa, prenatal, postnatal and kids’ yoga, participated in a 500-hour YTT and acted as faculty for 200-hour YTT and prenatal YTT’s.

As well she has hosted yoga workshops and events in Halifax with Tim Miller, David Swenson, Michael Stone and Krishna Das.

“My yoga mat is my best and most honest friend!”

Katie Whitlock

Teacher – Yoga for Youth
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Katie began her practice of yoga during those fantastic awkward high school years; she was constantly searching for a way to improve flexibility and bring calmness to an ever racing overactive mind. As her practice developed deeper, the allure of aggressive, competitive sports lost their appeal entirely. Since that time Katie has traveled throughout the world studying, practicing, and teaching yoga as an effort to be forever growing. As important as travel is, Halifax will always remain home to Katie, and she considers each and every Haligonian her big extended family.

A volunteer at Out of the Cold Emergency Shelter and Big Brother’s Big Sisters Halifax, Katie has found opportunities to introduce yoga programs to both of these organization.

What is she up to now? Inspired by her students at the shelter, Katie is now the creator of Street Yoga Halifax, a program that brings yoga to the homeless population within the HRM. Katie has a passion for teaching not only yoga but also the importance of community, empathy, adventure, silliness, passion and overall, SELF LOVE. If you see her boppin’ around Halifax, always feel free to stop and say hi!

Katie has been a part of the Shanti family for many years; she is so excited to teach and have fun with our Yoga for Youth program. Katie’s classes incorporate art, music, stories, and games to inspire and nourish her student’s creative sides.

Holly MacGillivary

Teacher – All Levels
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When I first started practicing yoga my intension was to exercise, burn calories, and tone my body. It has become so much more to me over the years. My yoga practice has taught me to approach everything with love, compassion, and understanding. After taking my 200hr YTT at Shanti, I have learned so much more about myself, and still have so much more to discover! I am so grateful that I get to surround myself with such amazing people everyday, it is truly an honour.

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Niki Smith

Teacher – All Levels
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I would like to send out so much love and gratitude for the Shanti community and all the teachers who helped guide me in my path and resulting in me falling in love with yoga. I get excited thinking about how much support I get as a teacher and previous trade. So much love.

I began my journey after the birth of my first child looking to shed some baby weight. Who knew what I gained internally would out weigh everything. After my second child I knew that going back to work was not an option. If I had to be away from these beautiful souls it would be something meaningful. Which was my inspiration to take my YTT.

I believe there is such beauty in people breathing, sharing space and connecting in a peaceful manner. I love that I get to share my experiences with toddlers, children, Tweens,teens, mamas, men and women of all ages. I am blessed and truly grateful for these connections.

The gift of yoga is powerful
Namaste
Niki

Diane Bellefontaine

Teacher
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I found yoga in the year 2000 and I fell in love with it- the practice, the way it made by body feel, and how calm and at ease I felt during and after the classes. I believe that Yoga has helped me to slow down, to be more present and to get more grounded.

I have completed both the 200 hr and 500 hr yoga teacher training program with TAYS (Therapeutic Approach Yoga Studio) and continue to take as much training as I can. There is so much to discover.

It is my passion to guide, to teach, to share, and to learn from each other.
Yoga is all about presence and connection. And it is an absolute joy for me to share this beautiful thing we call Yoga.

Megan Hatt

Teacher
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Megan stumbled upon her love of yoga in 2011 when her mom brought her to her first class at Shanti. Megan has been a part of the Shanti community ever since and completed her 200 RYT through Shanti Hot Yoga in 2014.

Megan strongly believes in the transformative effects yoga can have on the body and mind; after a serious injury overseas in 2013 Megan turned to her practice to heal spiritually, emotionally and physically. This experience gave her the drive to share her yoga practice, and help others explore the positive effects that a yoga practice can provide.

Megan loves to travel and seek adventure and will bring her sense of curiosity and playfulness into her teaching. Through integrating a balance between strength and softness, her classes are challenging and accessible for all levels.

Nikki Martin

Teacher – All Levels
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Nikki came to yoga in 2012, craving an activity to get her out of the house and drawn by both the strength, grace and challenge of arm balances and inversions, and a desire to finally forge a path to peace and happiness in her life. She quickly fell in love with the practice of yoga as a whole and how it enriched all facets of her life, and though she still loves the physical challenges, it presents she has come to appreciate the mental, spiritual and philosophical aspects of the practice as well.

She did her 200hr training with Shanti Hot Yoga the same studio where she was inspired by her teachers to deepen her practice and eventually follow her dream to become a yoga teacher full time.

As a writer and storyteller she loves the idea that a yoga class can lead you somewhere, that you can tell a story with body and breath. As a teacher and student, she is passionate about yoga not as a practice of doing, but rather as one of trying, experiencing and feeling. And whether it’s a couple of people or a crowded room, as a teacher she tries to pass along the greatest gift this practice has given her, “Ultimately this is a practice of connectivity. It connects us with the world. It connects us with ourselves. And it connects us with each other.

Dorothy Spence:

Teacher
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Dorothy’s longtime love affair with yoga started with her first downward facing dog over 12 years ago. She is a “yoga geek” and is constantly studying, talking and integrating yoga’s wisdom and philosophy into her everyday life. She is a 200, 500 hour and Level 1 Parayoga certified yoga teacher. She continues her tantric hatha yoga studies with Yogarupa Rod Stryker of ParaYoga and is an Ayurveda Yoga Specialist through The Himalayan Institute. With an engineering degree and a Masters in Business Administration, Dorothy is a business adviser with Shirlaws Canada.

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