Our instructors are the heart of our studio, their passion makes us who we are - and when they shine, we shine. With healthy lifestyle knowledge that comes from learning to live abundantly with intention, and the life lessons earned through experience, they will guide you in how to explore a vibrant, vital, joy-filled practice...and life.
Michelle & Anne
Together they've found a beautiful energetic partnership, fulfilling a sacred contract to ensure our students are well-cared for and the studios are thriving. Michelle takes care of all the behind the scenes tasks of running the business side of things, while Anne walks the teaching path with grace, guiding our students at the studios, mentoring new instructors, and directing our Teacher Training program. Both working in service to our local yoga community...and beyond.
DIRECTOR OF YOGA TEACHER TRAINING PROGRAM + studio manager + Yoga instructor
Anne is our studio manager, the director of our Yoga Teacher Training program - Amalam School of Yoga at Outer Banks Yoga, and the heart & soul of the studio.
She has been practicing Yoga for more than 15 years. She began her journey in France when she was traveling often between Europe and Indonesia and felt she needed a nourishing practice that she could bring with her anywhere. After she moved to the US she pursued her 500-hour yoga teacher certification.
A beloved teacher, she leads classes that are truly dynamic and challenging, yet balanced with softness, relaxation and humor. She also instructs and trains teachers in pre-natal and kids yoga.
Michelle Madden Smith
Owner + Yoga Instructor
Inspired by earth medicine and sufi poets, sitting amongst the trees and dancing in the rain with her daughter, Michelle finds yoga in the day-to-day of slow living. Her physical yoga practice began nearly 15 years ago and it has proven to be an unexpected and tender journey - not unlike a relationship with a partner - with all the exhilarating highs and defeating lows. Yet her mat has remained steadfast and at the ready. She enjoys leading restorative yoga classes that allow you to linger and examine some of the deeper questions held within.
She is a mama and wife, and spends her days nurturing her family, the yoga studios and the creative voices of a global community of women through her sister endeavor, Animyst.
OWNER + YOGA INSTRUCTOR
Balance is the position many of us are looking for on our life path. Tanya began her yoga practice five years ago while in search of this mysterious concept and discovered that yoga was the venue that created more balance in her life. By honoring the body and acknowledging where we are at this particular moment, she believes yoga can provide physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual gifts to increase and sustain overall well-being. She acknowledges that her own yoga practice has guided her through some of the most significant storms in her life and brought her through them with acceptance, forgiveness and gratitude. She completed her teacher training here at the Amalam School of Yoga. Tanya is also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who works in private practice.
Joy Anandi Bressette
Joy has been teaching yoga since 1998 when she was certified as an Integral Yoga Instructor at the Satchidananda Ashram near Charlottesville, Va. She began taking yoga classes in 1992 on the advice of her physician to strengthen her lower back after a scuba diving injury. Not only does her back no longer “go out”, but she also discovered that yoga can be an inward journey to inner peace. Being a “large” middle-aged woman with arthritis, she has discovered that working with her own imperfections and limitations has helped her guide and encourage others on their own individual journeys towards better health and inner contentment. Her classes have a meditative flow that includes asana, pranayama, relaxation, and meditation. The emphasis is on individual inner awareness rather than perfect alignment.
I began practicing yoga almost 20 years ago as a teenager. I found myself drawn to the practice, but with no classes available to me, I learned from books and videos. Jane Fonda and Ali McGraw were my first teachers! Several years later, I finally made my way to my first real class while traveling in Mexico. My teacher didn't speak English and my Spanish was rusty, but luckily I found that we had a common language in yoga.
I was so blessed to find a yoga home and participate in teacher training at Outer Banks Yoga. Initially, I enrolled in the teacher training solely to deepen my own practice, believing that my crippling fear of public speaking would prevent me from teaching a single class beyond those required for training. Much to my surprise and amazement, I found that I fell in love with teaching, and with the breadth of knowledge I received from Anne and Michelle, I couldn't feel any less than 100% confident in front of a class.
It is with tremendous awe and gratitude that I teach today, and with the hope that I can help my students experience the peace, joy, and freedom that yoga has brought to my life.
All human emotions are derived from fear or love. By studying the yoga philosophy with Anne, and through my own daily practice, I've learned to develop a silent awareness. I use my heart's innate intelligence to find a balance between survival and happiness: the logical mind and loving soul. Anne has shown me that through compassion and contemplation when at a crossroads, you can act dynamically without reacting on charged emotions, expectations, and circumstances inflicted upon us. Contentment can be found in any moment of our journey. It's about working towards what we choose to become and not being a victim of what happened in the past. The path of love and light. It's bringing the gOd light within us to the outside world. When teaching I can only hope to inspire students as Anne has done for me. Namaste.
Beverly has been practicing yoga since 2001. While she had toyed with the idea of becoming a certified yoga teacher for years, it became a reality for her right here on the Outer Banks at the Amalam School of Yoga. She has long had a passion for yoga for many years and maintains a strong regular practice as well as teaching. Her strong faith and regular yoga practice has helped her through major life changing events. She wishes to share with others the many benefits of a regular yoga practice no matter what age you may be!
YOGA + T'AI CHI INSTRUCTOR
Julia is an eastern North Carolina native with an early background in ballet and martial arts that led her to T’ai Chi. A recent graduate of the Cayce Riley School of Massage as well as a graduate of the Asheville Yoga Center and the Pilates Certification Center, Julia’s classes take you through an energetic flow of postures and movements that calm the mind and invigorate the body. These routines are designed to achieve maximum circulation through movement with a serious emphasis on pranayama and special attention to the lower back. Each of her classes ends with a beautiful meditation which combines inspirational messages through yoga nidra and not-to-be-missed soothing massage. With an ever-present interest in pain relief and rehabilitation, Julia is currently studying various forms of yoga therapy. You may see her on various Outer Banks bike trails, kayaking in Kitty Hawk Bay.
Craig is a lifelong musician who has explored the connection between creativity and the physical arts. A recent 200 hour RYT graduate under the tutelage of Anne Follenbach-Howard here at our Amalam School of Yoga, he brings many years of yoga practice and Aikido training to his teaching style. He has traveled extensively as a performer around the world, and in tandem has also had the opportunity to practice yoga.
It is his passion to share the simple clarity and healing properties of the practice of yoga, as well as to help grow the positive community around this ancient practice.
After practicing for several years, Colleen was drawn into the heart of her practice by the dynamic, creative power of Vinyasa yoga. She brings her passion for music and ecstatic dance onto the mat, and hopes to inspire and empower students of all levels to experience the joy of their authentic breath and movement, to find their own groove!
“You do not need to seek freedom in a different land, for it exists with your own body, heart, mind, and soul.”
It is the transformative and healing power of regular yoga practice that brought Amy to complete yoga teacher training with Anne here at OBY. It is the light and joy that yoga practice ignites within that inspires her to share what she learns with others.
Dr. Jim Layton
Jim has practiced meditation for over 30 years. He has participated in trainings and retreats under many different teachers: notably Sharon Salzberg, Tara Brach, Christina Feldman and others in the Theraveda tradition as well as Tsoknyi Rinpoche in the Tibetan method. Jim, a Licensed Professional Counselor, has practiced as a therapist for 35 years. He has had extensive training in Gestalt Therapy. For the past 6 years, Jim has utilized meditation and Eastern Psychology in “mindfulness” therapy. Jim and his wife, Margie Dinger, have lived on the Outer Banks for many years. They currently live on The Woods Road with their three dogs (who also have a limited meditation practice utlizing the chew toy method).
While chasing after that elusive present moment she’d always read about in parenting books, Patty was introduced to Anne Howard’s Ashtanaga Yoga classes in 2011 and was surprised to find that her yoga mat was just the place she’d been searching for.With degrees in Western Philosophy and an active Catholic faith, Patty has always plumbed the depths of everyday life for deeper meaning. Her yoga practice embraces that quest for wisdom and enriches her faith experience.
Patty earned her 200-hour yoga teacher training right here at the Amalam School of Yoga at Outer Banks Yoga in 2014 and offers her students a robust and well-balanced practice for the body, peppered with some food for thought. She challenges her students to grow in their practice while nurturing self-acceptance.
Other pursuits that bring a smile to her face are coordinating 211 in Dare (a 24/7 social services information and referral hotline), kiteboarding on the ocean and sound, and being a mother of three children and wife to her husband Matt.
"Yoga has made my life whole."
Anja's passion for teaching goes back as long as she can remember. She started her teaching career in her native Germany where she attended Leipzig University to become an English teacher. Back then she would have never imagined that 20 years later she would look back at a life here in the United States where she is teaching languages to high school students, where she raises her teen-age daughter and watched her son become a US Marine.
When yoga entered her life about eight years ago, she fell in love with the practice and noticed how it transformed her into a happier, kinder, more patient person - flexible beyond the physical domain. Influenced and inspired by Anne Howard-Follenbach's dynamic yet meditative style, Anja recently studied under her guidance right here at our Amalam School of Yoga to deepen her knowledge and understanding of the art, and to earn her teaching certification. Yoga has had such a profound and healing influence on her life that Anja wants to share her passion and teach others the amazing benefits of asanas and pranayama. She hopes to make yoga available to a broad population with the understanding that "yoga is for everyone".
A life of martial arts training helped Susan appreciate the quiet gentle strengthening benefits of yoga flow and restorative yoga. She found that yoga healed her body, mind and spirit in a successful fight with breast cancer. Yoga works in harmony with other physical and mental activities to bring inner peace, focus and strength.
Yoga is a wonderful way to pause the busy demands of every day life. It is a way to stay in touch with your spirit and heart and stay connected with your body. An hour of serenity and bliss within a day promotes peace of mind.
Proven physical benefits of yoga are plentiful. The slower mindful breathing tends to reduce stress. Asana poses decrease lactic acid in muscles to help reduce joint pain. A regular practice over time will increase arm strength, muscle tone, improve posture, increase flexibility, improve focus, increase metabolism, help digestion and increase lung capacity. But the real gift of Yoga is the calming of mind, body and spirit while it builds inner and outer strength by connecting breath with movement.
Susan received her 200-hour Yoga Teacher Certification from Anne Follenbach-Howard here at the Amalam School of Yoga at Outer Banks Yoga. She is continually fascinated by how yoga combines breath, movement, loving kindness and insight; bringing balance between work and life. She teaches classes with emphasis on internal awareness and self-acceptance. She believes you can change anything about yourself you wish to change; your shape, your outlook, your experiences, your life.
YOGA + pilates INSTRUCTOR
Kerry believes core strength is the base of all fitness. Always physically active, she competes in triathlons, is an avid cyclist, runner and now explores a new sport – paddle boarding! In addition to teaching with us, she has been the Fitness Coordinator for the OBX YMCA since they opened in 2000, teaching numerous fitness classes.
This year she received her 200-hour yoga teacher certification with us here at the Amalam School of Yoga under the direction of Anne Howard. She is very excited to begin a new journey instructing Yoga! Kerry has also been teaching Pilates for more than a decade, with certification from the Physical Mind Institute under the direction of Cynthia Clark in Charlottesville, Va.
Kerry teaches all levels and loves to challenge her students by taking them a little further then they would push themselves alone. Her style has more of a physical approach with a keen attention to detail towards form – as she always says “an exercise executed with proper form in one rep is worth 5 half hearted reps!”
Having been an athlete her whole life, she has also had her share of injuries and surgeries, which has merely reinforced her belief in the importance of a strong core that can be your basis for strength. These experiences also make her a terrific ally for those recovering and in need of thoughtful modifications.
Having graduated with a BA in Communications Arts & Design she is also a fine artist showing her work in local galleries. She has been in the fitness world for 20 years, is mother of two, and part owner, with her husband, of a local restaurant.
Marty started practicing yoga in 1992 after having a serious surgery. Looking for a way to rebuild her strength and find an inner peace, yoga was the perfect solution. After many classes of various forms of yoga, and the guidance of some amazing instructors, Marty realized that her yoga journey was just beginning. Wanting to share her love of yoga, in April 2005, she spent an amazing month studying Integral Yoga at the Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville in Buckingham, Va. She started teaching at Outer Banks Yoga and Pilates in May 2005. She has also taught classes at College Of The Albemarle, for the Town Of Nags Head and other fitness centers along the Outer Banks.
Marty teaches a gentle class with an emphasis on pranayama, mindfulness, and deep relaxation. In every class Marty teaches, you are reminded that yoga is not a competition, not even with yourself. So if you are a beginner, or you have been practicing as long as you can remember, perhaps a gentle class would be just what you need.
Linnea took her first yoga class 15 years ago and fell in love with it. She revisited yoga off and on over the years and then really got the yoga bug in 2012 once her four children were all in school. Her passion for yoga led her to Outer Banks Yoga Studio where she studied with Anne Howard Follenbach and graduated RYT 200 in 2016.
Always eager to learn, explore, and share, Linnea's classes pay close attention to alignment and breath. With a free spirited teaching style influenced by her study in vinyasa. She encourages students to embrace their unique flow in life on and off the mat.
Jennifer practices yoga for physical strength, fitness, and health, as well as for its transformational powers of increased mindfulness, awareness, and as a highly effective tool in stress reduction. Her focus in teaching is lighthearted, mindful awareness of one's own body and the foundations of each posture, while practicing acceptance, non- judgment, and self love. She gently invites exploration of the boundary just outside of one's comfort zone, which is where all growth and transformation occurs.
She has been practicing since 2008. She received her yoga teacher certification after completing her 200-hour training from Village Yoga and Wilmington Yoga Center in 2015. Jennifer's primary teachers are Brandon Compagnone, Naima Workman, Jess Moody, Katie Kennis, Kristen Cooper-Gulak, Macy Johnson, and Noelle Cavanaugh.
Jennifer is also been a licensed esthetician since and offers facial services at Lovie's Salon and Spa in Corolla's Historic Village. She believes true beauty is achieved through vibrant health, self acceptance, and love.