Our Yoga Instructors
Lisa Tokarz, Wellness/Ayurveda Coach, E-RYT
Lisa is the Founding Director and Senior Teacher at the Studio. She loves an organic Pinot & dark cacao. Lisa has been a professional adult educator for over 30 years & after college, she trained & supported upper management & brokers in Investment & Finance during the great Bull Market of the 1990s. During that time she became interested in the question of “where true happiness and peace of mind come from.” This hunger for knowledge lead her directly to yoga. Her study of yoga, philosophy and dharma began in 1993. She retired from corporate life in 1999 to raise a family with her spiritual partner and husband, Drew and began teaching yoga in 2000.
Over the last 23 years, she has studied with the foremost teachers from around the world, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She has studied with, and the works of, Geshe Michael Roach, Lama Christie McNally, and Lama Sumati Marut from Yoga Studies Institute in Arizona. She completed a 2-year study (100 hours) of the Yoga Sutras, the main book of yoga (2007-09) with her teacher Mira Shani, also a Senior Teacher at the Yoga Studies Institute, and received a certificate for 200 hours of training from Clearlight Yoga Shala’s, Michael Johnson in 2005. During the last five years, she has spent 50 hours with the founder of Anusara Yoga, as well as Desiree Rambaugh, Sara Davidson, and Heidi Peters, Anusara-Inspired Teachers. Over the last two years enjoyed the inspirational/spiritual teachings of Alan Haras of Hamsa Yoga.
“Yoga isn’t just a physical exercise, it’s a lifestyle, with (for me) an emphasis on the subtle body (intuitive energy body, etc.). This kind of authentic teaching requires a live teacher. I believe that ethical living, combined with the physical and mindful practices of yoga, everyone can receive the many benefits yoga has to offer. All you need to get started is your ability to Breathe.”
The Yoga Studio in downtown Utica was the first yoga center in Macomb County. Here, people always come first. Our students and teachers love the compassionate atmosphere, which is always candle-lit, and humming with good vibes. Students have come from all over World and say their experience here is “one of the best they have ever had.”
Phyllis Dabiero, RN, RYT
Phyllis found her way back to her yoga practice after having spinal surgery in 2011. Both her and her family/friends were amazed at the benefits yoga brought her both physically and spiritually. She is a dedicated student; wanting to share her practice with others she studied under Lisa Tokarz and earned her RYT-200.
Phyllis truly enjoys caring for others and is a Registered Nurse. She brings a strong medical background and compassion to her yoga practice.
Phyllis is a mother of a teenage daughter.
Daniel Carpenter, E-RYT, RYT500
During his teenage years, Daniel developed a thirst for knowledge and self-discovery leading him to pick up his first copy of the Bhagavad Gita and learn Transcendental Meditation. The seeds planted from these and other experiences have since blossomed into a lifelong passion for yoga.
Daniel’s passion for Yogasana took root in the Ashtanga Vinyasa practice. He deeply appreciates the practical and proven method of Pattabhi Jois’ sequence. Since completing teacher training Daniel has dedicated himself to broadening his teaching capacity to include a greater variety of methods, including Yin and Kundalini.
Daniel sees yoga like a diamond whose beauty can be appreciated by everyone from every angle. Each method of practice and path of study make up a different facet that all reflect the light of one truth. Daniel has the dedication and spirit to be a truly inspiring teacher. His classes are taught from his heart and he has the skills to help his students take their practice as far as they’re willing to go.
Julia Laity, RYT
Julia became a dedicated yoga student in 2010 while searching for a way to find inner peace. She found that yoga not only toned her body, but it also calmed her mind and eased her anxiety. Within a few months of attending classes at The Yoga Studio, she knew she wanted to become a certified yoga instructor so she could share the power of yoga with others.
Julia completed RYT-200 training with Lisa Tokarz at The Yoga Studio in 2014. She and her husband realized they were expecting during her training and Julia had her baby girl in February 2015. During her pregnancy, she became passionate about prenatal yoga and began teaching that as well. She loves yoga and strives to give students a break from the demands of day-to-day life and remind them how important it is to take time for them. Now a mother, she realizes now more than ever that one needs to pour into their own cup before they can pour into others’.
Kelsey Gronowski, RYT
Kelsey began her yoga training at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago in 2015 and was gifted the opportunity of studying under master teachers, Ana Forrest, Gary Kraftsow, Leeann Carey, Gabriel Halpern and Aadil Palkhivala. She has been practicing the life-changing art since 2007 and completed her 200-hour Yoga training in 2016. In the winter of 2017, Kelsey traveled to Asia to study with Rishikul Yogashala in Kerala, India, where she completed an additional 300-hour Yoga Training. In May of 2017, she completed an 85-hour Prenatal Yoga Training through Mindful Mamas Prenatal Yoga.
Kelsey’s focus as a teacher is to explore the harmony between body, mind and spirit. Yoga is so much more than just the physical practice. It is the combination of the physical body working in sync with breathwork and finding your Self. The root of her classes rises from Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, And Ashtanga and inspires students to make the practice their own. Students can expect a safe, creative space to practice and flourish physically, mentally, and spiritually in their own unique way.
Kaity Morelli, CYT
As a dancer of 25 years, yoga first found Kaity through the physical practice of asana. The postures brought about a sense of grounding and tranquility she was desperately seeking in her early college years! Once the seed of yoga was planted, the desire to dive deeper into the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the practice took root.
After completing her master’s degree in Dance/Movement Therapy and Professional Counseling, Kaity knew it was time to deepen her connection to mind, body & spirit further by diving into the journey of yoga teacher training. With a strong focus on Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Yin, meditation, chanting, and Ayurveda—her practice deepened in ways that would influence her personal and professional life forever. Since then, she has been able to successfully teach yoga from a holistic place, while also implementing aspects of her yoga education into the therapeutic framework of her private practice.
Throughout Kaity’s life, she has always felt the inherent joy that comes from teaching others. The privilege of guiding another in their practice, to be invited on their journey–is truly an honor. As a dance/movement therapist and professional counselor, it is Kaity’s mission to guide in the healing of others. Teaching yoga is no different! It is an incredible gift to witness the growth of human potential within her students, and to experience the divine bliss of following her life’s purpose.
Andrea Rose, RYT
Andrea Rose is a passionate yoga student and teacher who believes we are all here to learn from one another. She completed her RYT-200 certification under Christie Cairo, Director of Yoga Teacher Training at Bodhi Seed Yoga & Wellness Studio, and credits Christie with instilling in her a strong sense of yogic spirituality and a whole-self approach to wellness. Andrea’s goals as a yoga teacher are to make people feel more comfortable in their own skin, to inspire peace and strength, and to give back to the world by sharing the many gifts of yoga and meditation. In her classes, Andrea Rose brings creative asana sequencing mixed with a series of inspirational messages, with the aim to inspire her students both physically and spiritually.
Andrea describes her path toward teaching yoga as “a series of non-decisions”, events that fell into place with divine perfection. She began her yoga practice at home, enjoying the chance to move mindfully as in her past, with ballet and gymnastics. Inspired by this momentum, she took her practice to the studio, attending classes and finding a sense of community and spiritual connection there. Next, she attended a women’s retreat, where she was struck with the inspiration to pursue teacher training. Almost immediately after returning home, she took those first steps to pursue this new dream and has not looked back since!
Aside from teaching yoga, Andrea Rose is involved in many things, including marketing, freelance journalism, bird watching, photography, reading spiritual texts, journaling and spending time out in nature. She is one of four recipients of the 2018-19 Emerging Leaders Scholarship at The Cardoner Institute, led by Alan Haras, Director of the Hamsa Yoga Center. Andrea is excited for the opportunity to continue to learn and grow alongside you as both an individual and as a leader.