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.
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.
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.
Sharing energy, movement, stillness and laughter with yogis of all levels makes me smile! I don't take myself too seriously and hope that translates in my teaching style - we are all learning together.
Yoga has come in and out of my life for the past 20 years, mostly for the more obvious physical benefits. Soul searching kept bringing me back to class, not for a great beach body, but for the inner strength that stayed with me afterwards. I completed my teacher training here at Outer Banks Yoga's Amalam School of Yoga.
Outside of the studio I'm mama to two beautiful little souls, wife to one sweet husband and personal chef for many Outer Banks visitors. Lots of time spent outdoors in any way, shape or form, travelling and seeing live music makes for a full life.
Jennifer is a native of North Carolina and moved to the Outer Banks in 1987 after successfully completing a 1200-hour cosmetology course. Jennifer has been a licensed Massage and Bodywork Therapist since 1993. This occupation assisted her not only with the anatomy segment of the teacher training course but also with asana adjustments which she will now utilize as a yoga instructor.Jennifer’s extended family now includes her teacher training classmates and her students.
Being a long-time breeder and handler of Saint Bernards is one of the reasons Jennifer’s calm demeanor shines through, but her patient husband takes “First Place” in fueling her calm demeanor.
Like many other former students of yoga teacher training, Jennifer truly believed her main objective was to deepen her asana practice not to actually teach. However, after learning to connect with her true self in a more mindful way and gain confidence in her yoga abilities, Jennifer decided she wanted to share what she learned. She is hoping to inspire other yoga students to participate in the teacher training course like Anne Howard inspired her.
Jennifer enjoys all of the challenging aspects of her busy lifestyle but spending quality time with her husband and 4-legged children is what she always looks forward to.
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.
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.
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.
Karen Karuna Bachman
Karen’s yoga journey began in 1995 on the Outer Banks, a beautiful place-where heaven and earth mingle together on a thin strip of sand. With a path varied yet focused, Karen is a published author, has worked for the good of the Nature Conservancy, and along with her hang-gliding, surfer, contractor husband, has raised two beautiful young souls who look forward to making positive contributions to humanity in their lives. Karen graduated from the Amalam School of Yoga at Outer Banks Yoga in 2019 and looks forward to continuing learning and practicing.
Connecting the body mind and spirit to movement and consciousness gives joy to Karen’s practice. She specializes in: Loosening tight muscles, Improving body awareness, Moving out of apathy, Moving away from self doubt ... and into the Yes!
Kathy is a long-time resident of the Outer Banks moving here from Northern Virginia 33 years ago. Her connection with yoga began while living in Virginia, and she reconnected with the practice 3-4 years ago after attending a yoga retreat in Corolla. Family and friends claim that Kathy “marches to the beat of a different drummer,” and she is just grateful that she marched through the front door of Outer Banks Yoga!
As a health enthusiast Kathy claims that, “In addition to a healthy diet and well-rounded exercise program, ‘laughter is the best medicine' so she lives and works in a fun-loving but hard-working environment... and with laughter, the end result is a higher quality and faster completion of tasks.
Kathy lives with her husband and two dogs who are her biggest contributors to her laughter and every day support. It was her husband who insisted that Kathy attend the yoga retreat that reconnected her to yoga. Even though she thought she would be retired by now, after 18 years Kathy continues to work as an administrative assistant with an environmental consulting firm in Kill Devil Hills.
Outside of yoga some of Kathy’s interests include: "all creatures great & small,” writing, dancing, and observing (everything).
In 2016, I came for the stress relief and to touch my toes. And stayed because I discovered so much more in a world I truly didn't know existed. I was hooked. Separate from the physical, I began to see the mental, emotional and spiritual benefits of the yoga practice, and I wanted to learn more. Two years later, I registered for the 220-hour yoga teacher training program here at Outer Banks Yoga’s Amalam School of Yoga and never looked back. Studying under the wise sage Anne Howard has been uplifting and inspiring, a testament to her kindness and grace. Through this training, I overcame some of my own fears (headstands, kale, and Sanskrit terms, to name a few). I enjoy encouraging my students to overcome their own fears and self-doubt, to stretch their bodies and minds further than they thought possible, and to leave the practice with a feeling of satisfaction and contentment. When not on the mat, I run a management business with my wonderful husband, have raised three kind young men, love to play tennis, dig in my garden, and search for beach glass.
And yes, I can now touch my toes.
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).
Roxie Valdivieso has been practicing Reiki since 2005. She received her Master/Teacher certification in October 2012. She has participated in numerous Reiki shares over the years as well as seeing private clients. In 2016, Roxie began teaching Reiki l, Reiki ll and Reiki Master/Teacher classes.
It had always been a dream of hers to hold a Reiki Healing Circle. This dream became a reality in October of 2017. She was thrilled when musicians Maestro and Luminara of The Bohemian Song Society musical group joined her. Their multicultural influences, artistic improvisations, and unique blend of ethnic instruments create a musical style all its own. The live healing vibrations they produce are magical along with Reiki energy.
Together they are excited to bring this experience to Outer Banks Yoga. On the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7 pm, they hope you will join them for a night of healing. The Reiki Healing Circle offers the opportunity for you to experience Reiki, which is a non-invasive healing technique that aids in stress reduction and relaxation. It promotes healing on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. Anyone wishing to benefit from a healing session is welcome. The evening is by donation.
Scott Lawlor - “Pickles”
Born and raised on the beaches of the New Jersey Shore, and a proud and devoted Dad of three beautiful, smart and inately kind kids. Scott is a Long time board member and coach here in Dare County. He is also the owner/operator of Hatties Wholesale Produce and Culinary Specialties.
I am so completely grateful and dedicated to my yoga practice, everyday absorbing more and more knowledge of the practice and of myself, that I’m driven to share, if I can stimulate even the tiniest spark of desire in someone or make even the smallest improvement in how someone feels on or off their mat, then I’m complete. I'm honored to be a member of the Outer Banks Yoga family,.
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.
As a single mother and entrepreneur running an event design business on the Outer Banks, I decided one day to drag my exhausted, “Bad Mom” mess to Anne’s class. I didn’t think I could afford the time to do this. I didn’t have a mat. I could not understand what Anne was saying. I moved like Frankenstien on crack. It was awful.
But… I really, really liked it.
It just seemed to be everything this busy mom was missing….thought provoking, simple, physically challenging, humbling.
Happier now more than ever, I completed my teacher training in 2017 and I am grateful for for the opportunity to share with my students, and other “Bad Moms” all the fabulous tools yoga has to offer.
Sharon Roderer is an elementary school teacher who was born and raised on the Outer Banks. She received her bachelor’s degree from East Carolina University in 2013 and soon found herself back on the beach diving straight into a career in education. During this time she also developed an interest in yoga and began practicing. Her hobby quickly advanced into a lifestyle as she felt herself being drawn to the mat more and more. She began to feel a sense of power, grounding, openness, and balance- both on and off the mat. Her desire to strengthen her personal practice and deepen her understanding of yoga drove Sharon’s decision to enroll in Outer Banks Yoga’s teacher training program in 2018. After earning her RYT 200-hour certification, she was eager to combine her love of teaching with her growing passion for yoga. Sharon views teaching yoga as an opportunity to further cultivate her own experiences as well as a platform to share the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits of yoga and meditation with her students. Her wish is to shed light on the hidden gifts we all carry within us and to help others discover a sense of harmony and wellness in their lives through yoga. Yogis of all skill levels are invited to join Sharon on the mat to move, breath, and explore with her playful, relaxing, and slightly challenging vinyasa-style flows.
CHANTING & MEDITATION INSTRUCTOR
Shweta has always been drawn to chanting, yoga and meditation ever since she was a child growing up in northern India. But this passion really developed greater after leaving her job at Yahoo in California and returning home to India where her spirituality further developed as she became an entrepreneur starting her own web startup. As a mom of a two small children, and a busy working professional; Shweta finds meditation and chanting go hand in hand to create a well-balanced and powerful mind that can tackle all that life brings your way. Shweta feels that chanting is very powerful and healing and its one of the ways to connect with her soul and this universe. She frequently find herself chanting subconsciously. Shweta has mediated regularly for over 8 years, and has attended several 10-day mediation retreats (Vipassana) both in India and USA. She has also done regular group mediation and chanting sessions at her home for almost 2 years. She would like to give back little of her time by helping to make a difference in people’s lives by introducing them to chanting and meditation or helping them improve if they are already regular in mediation and chanting. Shweta believes that her purpose in life is to do something worthwhile, she has not yet discovered what that exactly is, but believes that mediation and chanting will help her in this quest