Billie Lynn Hillis Founder & Director of Gaia Wellness, Senior Yoga/Mindfulness InstructorBillie (Jugat Joti Kaur) is a Certified Yoga Instructor, trained in Kundalini Yoga, Hatha and Yin Yoga as well as Yoga for Addictions. She is passionate about Yoga, Mindfulness & Energy Healing and is a certified Reiki Therapist and Meditation Coach. As the Founder & Director of Gaia Wellness Retreat, Billie has a vision to create an environment that can support and inspire guests on their journey towards personal freedom. Gaia Wellness has been a life-long dream for Billie and she is very excited to share this dream with you. Billie is known for her authentic, non-judgmental teaching style and compassion-centered philosophy. Availing herself to continuous philosophical education from various spiritual disciplines, Billie weaves thought-provoking meditations throughout her classes, applying ancient wisdom to our contemporary western world in a useful and understandable way. She encourages growth of the physical and spiritual self, citing the interconnectedness to each other, to the world and to the universe at large. Billie is a student of Insight Meditation and Nuero-linguistic Programming. She is presently studying with Jack Kornfield & Tara Brach to become a Certified Meditation Instructor as well as studying NLP on her way to becoming a registered Master Nuero-linquistic Programming Practioner and Life Coach. It is Billie's hope that our community will benefit by bringing these transformational teachings to Gaia Wellness. Billie is available for private consultations, meditation coaching, reiki healing and yoga therapy. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
John Armstrong Founder & Director of Gaia Wellness, Vegan/Vegetarian Chef, Corporate ProgrammingJohn is a graduate of Carleton University with a BA Honours in Social Science. In addition to academic studies, he was introduced to Buddhist meditation practices in the mid 1980s and has been following this spiritual path since. Over the course of his career in consultation, management and quality assurance John has succeeded in evolving and developing business models while maintaining a strong client service based structure. His primary interest is in combining client experience with enhanced customer service in a stimulating and rewarding environment From 2003-2017 he has been self employed as owner/operator of two restaurants - co-founder TRIO Bistro (Westboro) and founder JAKS Kitchen (Centretown). He possesses 20+ years of experience in business development, communications, marketing, recruitment, training and team leadership. He is comfortable with public speaking in both French and English and has substantial experience in developing and delivering training sessions to adults and youth.
Chantal St Amour Executive Assistant/Senior Yoga Instructor
Chantal chose to fully devote herself to her passion for yoga, mindfulness and wellness after working as a teacher for more than twenty years. Her personal and professional realities have proven to her that life’s challenges have a direct impact on the individual on psychological, spiritual, physical and emotional levels. Passion, joy, peace, love and gratitude are her priorities every day. Yoga and mindfulness are her antidotes to her daily challenges. After discovering yoga in 2002, she pursued her passion for yoga by taking teacher training courses in yin, hatha and flow yoga. She is also certified in Reiki, Thai Yoga Massage, first aid, CPR and in mindfulness techniques.
“Yoga and meditation give me balance of mind, body and spirit,” says Chantal.
Calista Haggarty Manager/Aromatherapy Consultant
Calista is very passionate about aromatherapy and all natural products. She is working on becoming a certified aromatherapist and has already started creating beautiful blends for all the mind's needs. She also makes her own beauty and cleaning products. You'll be able to smell them all when we introduce the Gaia Aroma line in 2018. Along with offering her products and blends Calista will be offering Aroma-Massage in the new year. Her focus will be on freeing the mind through smell and touch. We are excited to have such a passionate person on our team.
Lori Morrison B&B Manager/Senior Yoga Instructor/Youth-Family Programming
Lori is a Registered Yoga Teacher 235+ registered with Yoga Alliance, she has 60+ hours of specialized Children’s yoga teacher training. With a background in psychology and early childhood education she has a passion for introducing children to yoga and fostering movement, body awareness and creativity. Lori offers classes for children, families, prenatal and restorative classes. With her background and her personality, she offers a whimsy and lightness to her classes. There is always room for humour and after one of Lori’s classes participants walk away feeling restored and rejuvenated. Lori’s training includes Yanumoja Yoga through Energies of Aliveness, Little Feet Yoga and Club Yoga. She is also a certified Doula and offers pre-natal care and wellness including pre-natal yoga classes.
Gopika Dahanukar Expressive Arts Co-ordinator
Gopika Dahanukar is an expressive arts therapist and mantra yoga teacher. Born and raised in India, she lived and worked as an arts facilitator and mantra teacher in the international community of Auroville, India for 16 years. She has many years of experience in leading groups in creative experience and is an advocate of wellness through the arts. She has also been a speaker at corporate events for the Young Presidents Organization that were held in India. Gopika has a Master of Fine Arts from PNCA, USA with her thesis in therapeutic art installations, a Diploma in Expressive Art Therapy from the Vancouver School of Expressive Arts and training in Vedic chanting from the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram in Chennai, India. Currently she is in the Advanced graduate studies program in Expressive Arts at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. She is also a singer and has performed worldwide with her family in a group called 'Ragamantra'.
Andrea Prazmowski Nature Programming Co-ordinator
Andrea Prazmowski is a Forest Therapy Guide, certified with the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides & Programs, based in Santa Rosa, California. Andrea creates opportunities for people to connect more deeply with the natural world and, often, to re-awaken wonder and see with a new perspective. She is a certified Hike Leader with Hike Ontario, and is trained in Wilderness First Aid. She is a writer and a skilled facilitator who has studied Permaculture Design and Reiki and has practiced yoga for 15+ years.
Christopher Hnain Yoga Instructor
Chris’s yoga journey started around 2007, when Chris was going through a difficult period and a close friend brought him to hot yoga class. From then on, yoga has been part of his life, and his journey has helped him grow stronger, more flexible and more confident, both on and off the mat. Chris completed his 200-hour yoga teacher training with Smiths Falls Yoga and Wellness Centre. The training furthered his yoga knowledge, and has deepened his practice. Chris also works as a mental health counsellor. Having an academic background in psychology and psychotherapy has enhanced how he teaches yoga, especially with students who are coping with various mental health issues. In his classes, Chris aims to balance pranayama (breathing exercises) and asanas (poses) in a way that allows students to discover their own connection to yoga, and also gives them the opportunity to challenge themselves in an environment that is peaceful and free from judgement. Yoga is a gift that inspires Chris to live each moment more mindfully and with balance. Ultimately Chris hopes to share this gift with his students.
Brittany Smith Corporate Yoga Instructor
Brittany is a lover of all things yoga. The study, the practice, and the teachings of yoga have offered her the most challenging and yet rewarding adventure she has ever undertaken! She came to yoga as a self-described desk-jockey looking for ways to reduce stress and get exercise, drawn to the beauty of the physical asana, and discovered that she would leave each class feeling as if the universe was aligned in time with every footstep!
Seeking ways to sustain and deepen the benefits of the practice, in 2013 she completed her 200hour teacher training in the UK. Now, after years of study, practice, and deeper self-inquiry, her practice has changed into a study of the connection between breath, movement and stillness: what she likes to call the trifecta of self-inquiry.
Brittany has taught all over the world, from the UK to the jungles of Thailand. Her classes offer insight into anatomical alignment and functions, ways of using the breath to deepen the mind-body connection, and elements of mindfulness movement and meditation, creating a practice that will ignite the magic within you to create space, change, and overflowing abundance of love not only for yourself but for every being.
“I truly believe that yoga has the ability to change lives, and that is why I teach,” says Brittany.