Meet Our Teachers

Our teaching staff comes from all over the city to bring you a variety of class offerings and teaching styles. Each teacher brings their personality and energy to their class, giving you options to try out new styles and find your new favorite class.

Kim Alexandrescu

Kim Alexandrescu is the owner of Sacred Space Astoria. Born in Michigan with noticeable midwestern friendliness, she’s made Astoria her home since 2006. A chakra yoga teacher since 2012, Kim is also a reiki master, Urban Zen Integrative Therapist and intuitive reader. Her scientific background and clinical research experience gives her a uniquely grounded approach to yoga and energywork.

Kim’s work in nursing homes and end-of-life companionship through integrative therapy has been life-changing and magical. Urban Zen Integrative Therapy (UZIT) utilizes mindful movements (done in bed, laying on the floor, or in a chair), body awareness meditations, breath awareness, reiki, essential oils, and contemplative care to alleviate symptoms of pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, constipation and exhaustion. These modalities were created specifically for use in sick, elderly, or dying patients, as well as all forms of caregivers. The UZIT work and training is such a unique and purposeful fit to Kim’s background, as well as her love for yoga, mindfulness, self-driven healing, and self-care. UZIT training helped Kim identify her personal need for self-care as a mother; she learned the importance in taking care of your needs so that you may serve others. She was also introduced to the concept of contemplative care and bearing witness, which has changed and expanded her ability to be present with her loved ones, clients and the world at large. She opened Sacred Space Astoria to create a spiritual home where you feel held, supported and empowered in your body and can carry those sensations to all areas of your life.

Alex Skaliotis

Alex Skaliotis received his 200-hour teacher training certificate 5 years ago from The Giving TreeYoga Studio.He came to yoga at 35 years of age after taking a class with a close friend.Instantly he appreciated the mindfulness of the movements even though the physicality was more than he bargained for. He is a student first and still finds time to roll out his mat at every opportunity. This student first approach informs his teaching style. Alex believes that yoga needs to be accessible to every student that walks into his class. “Most everyone comes for a workout, and that’s great but people come back because yoga is a chance to connect to something deeper inside each of us.”This connection makes the work out better but also allows the practice to become a moving meditation. When practitioners experience presence, that is magical to witness. Alexis a student first and this always has him evolving his teaching style to challenge his students. He recently sat his first silent retreat. The yoga practice was his meditation even before he knew what these words meant. He lives in Astoria with his beloved children Nicholas and Stefania.

Sharlota Kay Small

Sharlota is a yoga instructor and movement educator. Beginning her yoga journey as a dedicated Ashtangi, she traveled to study with worldrenowned senior Ashtanga teachers. She completed two Ashtanga Primary Series teacher trainings and weaves Ashtangaprinciples into her classes. Sharlota’s curiosity about a more alignmentand anatomybased asana led her to YogaWorks where she eagerly undertook her entire 500hr training. Thanks to her amazing teachers, Sharlota brings and blends Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, dance and various movement techniques into her work.I like to think of my class as an alignmentbased playground were you rediscover yourself and the power of your breath over and over againFor more info, and to connect, please visit www.sharlota.comSee you on the mat!

Emily Casey

Emily Casey is so thrilled to be part of the Sacred Space Astoria community. Emily’s yoga practice has served as her touchstone, teacher, and an overall catalyst for connection the past 15 years of her life. During this time period, Emily has lived in Chicago with brief stays in Boston, Cleveland, and Louisville while working as a performer. Emily moved to New York in 2016, and she’s held her 200 hr training certificate for the past yearin which time she’s taught in studios and private homes around Manhattan and the Hamptons. With an emphasis in mindful challenge, Emily loves to connect with students where they are and help encourage them on their path. Emily is also a musician and a songwriter and loves to incorporate great music into her powerful Vinyasa classes. She hopes to see you on your mat very soon

Kelly Kaso

After years of playing competitive sports, Kelly was drawn to yoga by how amazing it felt to practice accepting her perfect imperfections while still challenging her mind and body. This lesson served her greatly while battling cancer and dealing with the stress and shifting body image that can accompany healing treatments. She has been enthusiastically practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching it for five to children, teens and adults alike. She completed her RYT 200-hour training at The Giving Tree Yoga Studio in 2015 and her classes are characterized by mindfulness, anchoring to the present through breath and radical self-acceptance.

Melissa Avalo

Melissa started her yoga journey to support trail running in college back in 2013. She knew that there was something exciting and profound about yoga from the start, and she loves how yoga helps connect to herself and others in a deeper and more multilayered way. She found inspiration in the way her teachers carried themselves with empowerment and soulful authenticitywhich led her tocompleteher200hr YTT and50hr Restorative Yoga Certification at Laughing Lotus Yoga Center in 2017. Melissa believes that everyone has the ability to create more expansiveness and peace in their lives. In her experience, yoga has an incredible way of equipping us to handle life’s challenges with more ease. Students can expect to feel grounded and spacious after taking her class. She strives to help students experience themselves with more presence, compassion, and curiosity.

IRIS VAZQUEZ-RAMOS

Iris VazquezRamos, raised in Astoria Queens, began her yogic journey with the desire to deepen her experience with movement and expression. Having completed her 200hr ChakraYoga training and now pursuing a career in Massage Therapy, she strives to connect her passion for movement and the study of the body in her yoga teaching. She understands that the union of awareness and embodied movement creates space for healing and balanced practice. Her classes offer gentleness and pinpointed awareness in support of the body’s innate strength, resiliency and being

Kyle Dupree

Kyle is a yogi/performing artist living in Astoria, NY. He fell in love with yoga several years ago and has not looked back since. After graduating college with his BFA in Jazz Dance from the University of the Arts, Kyle began to perform and travel all over North America and the world. Recently Kyle earned his 200-hour certification in Dharmasala, India. Using his knowledge of dance and yoga Kyle builds dynamic fluid flows while focusing on alignment and pranayamas. Kyle’s goal is to show individuals that yoga is for everyone and that we all are able to grow both physically and mentally.

Catherine Kapphahn

Catherine Kapphahn began her yoga adventure many years ago on a visit home and she’s been practicing ever since. She completed various trainings, including Om Yoga’s Vinyasa YogaTeacher Training and Jason Brown’s Zenyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Catherine has taught yoga to adults and children, expectant mothers and new mothers and babies. As a yoga teacher, she values the community of a class and enjoys helping students play energetically with the shapes and lines of the poses. Her dance background allows her to see yoga as an art form, a place to experience movement, rediscover play and lift the spirit. Catherine is also a writer and has received two grants from Queens Counsel on the Arts. Her memoirImmigrant Daughter: Stories You Never Told Me received the Christopher Doheny Award from Center for Fiction. Her writing has appeared in Astoria Magazine, the Feminist Press AnthologyThis is the Way WeSay GoodbyeCURE Magazine, andSalonZine. She earned an M.F.A. in writing from Columbia University and B.A. from Hunter College. Catherine is also an adjunct lecturer at City University of New York at Lehman College in the Bronx, where her students’ brave stories continue to inspire her. She grew up in near the mountains in Colorado and now lives between two bridges in Queens, New York with her husband and two sons.

Lisa Barelli

Lisa has practiced yoga in New York City most of her adult life and began teaching in 2010 after training in both the physical practice and meditation at the World Yoga Center on the Upper West Side for many years. She has lived in Astoria even longer than she has practiced yoga and is happy to be teaching in her own neighborhood again.

Lisa is certified by the Yoga Alliance at the 200-hour level and has continuing education credits in anatomy and yoga alignment and prenatal/postnatal yoga. With a full-time job in book publishing and a young daughter at home, she relies on her yoga practice, including teaching, to navigate life in this city. Lisa endeavors to create a nurturing environment in all her classes, both in the precision of her alignment instructions and the care with which she addresses her students’ inner experience. Teaching allows her to actively and regularly engage with the light of Awareness that lives in all of us, and for this, she expresses deep gratitude, for all her teachers, in all their forms.

Asia Wolf

Asia Wolf is an Astoria-based yoga teacher focusing on accessible yoga for all. Through breath-focused movement and mindful meditation, Asia leads classes that release stress while building confidence. Asia believes that yoga has the power to change your life both on and off the mat, and hopes to help others grow their practice, no matter their experience level.

Kim Amoroso Schaefer

Kim has been a student of yoga for over 15 years. She received her 200 hour Chakra teacher training from the Giving Tree Yoga Studio in 2012.Kim went on to study at the Kripalu School ofYoga and graduated in October 2018 completing 500 hours of teacher training.A forever student of yoga, she hopes to share the joy and wisdom of yoga with everyone.Kim works as a cancer genetic counselor and feels blessed to bring all she learns from yoga to her work. Her own experience with cancer has left her keenly aware of the sacredness of every breath.

Leya Van Doren

Leya is a creative artist and yogi. She’s been practicing yoga for the last 10 years after growing up on an ashram and completed her 200 HR teacher training in Rishikesh, India. She is passionate about using yoga as a healing modality to bring ourselves to the present moment, connect with ourselves and the world, tune into our body’s intuition, and drop into the creative flow. She is a writer, seeker, storyteller, and creativity coach. You can find her on Instagram @the_modernmermaid

Jenn Triplett

Originally hailing from Virginia, Jennifer has been practicing yoga since the early 2010’s. She completed her 200 hour Teacher Training and a Vinyasa mentorship from the Om Factory. She is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine and has completed Sadie Nardini’s Yoga Shred Part 1.

Yoga is Jennifer’s passion and she strongly believes that the practice is for everyone. She provides progressive variations and fun flows to not only challenge her students but to enhance understanding of the body and of yogic principles. Her favorite part of teaching is watching students grow and achieving or learning a pose for the first time.

Brittany Dorazio

Britt Dorazio is a multi-hyphenate artist, vibrational guide and certified meditation teacher dedicated to healing and liberation. She received her meditation certification from Sarvaguna Yoga Institution in Dharamshala, India under the wisdom of Dr. Keshava Murthy. She holds tarot sessions with her clients and creates customized visualization meditations. From a young age she has always been intuitive as well as passionate about connecting with the people in her life. Over the past 8 years she has done deep, personal development work that has greatly shifted her life. Brittany guides her life through meditation, Buddhism, tarot, the lunar cycle, affirmations, feminine movement, womb healing and different forms of journaling. She is dedicated to helping people take an active part in their healing under the principle of connection with self, other, and the Source that connects us all.

Leslie Cottle

Leslie Cottle is a Certified Meditation Teacher and Sound Practitioner. While receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication at Pennsylvania State University, Leslie had her first profound experience with meditation. After years of practice and having the office reputation as the “zen coworker”, she began to pursue her passion for mindfulness as more than just a hobby. With 600+ hours of training, Leslie has studied closely with many wellknown innovators and teachers in meditation, integrative hypnosis, and coaching, granting her a unique skill set to create highly informative and powerful experiences for individuals and groups.

Sacred Space

Sacred Space Astoria was created to offer a place for healing and connection – to your body, to yourself, to your relationships and to the world around you.   As you explore your relationship with your physical body through asana (physical yoga classes), students often become aware of the more subtle experiences of the body.  As mindfulness and awareness of your physical, emotional, mental and energetic sensations increase, the studio provides a wide variety of educational opportunities to support the exploration of your experiences – meditation, sound healing, restorative practices, breathwork, energetic bodywork, intuitive readings, manifestation tools, intuitive and creative development.  Sacred Space Astoria is a place to gather and be curious. We can’t wait to meet you!

With a wide selection of classes, workshops, healing arts sessions, and intuitive readings, the teachers and practitioners are a highlight of Sacred Space Astoria. Each member of our team has been personally vetted, ensuring a quality experience for our students. There’s no need to worry about whether you’ll have a “good” experience, as the energy behind all of our offerings is supportive, positive, and welcoming. Our teachers and practitioners have varied experience and training, allowing you to find the right match for your needs and growth.

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Teachers & Practitioners