Team

Jacky Challenger

Studio Owner | RYT 500 YACEP | Co-Lead Trainer of the CBY 200hr YTT

* Currently taking parental leave

Jacky believes that yoga strengthens the relationship both with oneself and with the natural world. As Owner of Coastal Bliss Yoga, she is passionate about building community and holding space that is inclusive and supportive. Yoga has supported Jacky’s belief in her own innate wholeness. She guides students towards this understanding through compassionate and accessible teaching. 

Jacky has been practicing yoga and meditation for over a decade, and began teaching in 2013. Her ongoing studies in Vinyasa, Restorative, Yin, Ayurveda, Prenatal Yoga and Meditation with her primary teachers, Natalie Rousseau & Rebekka Walker, bring a rich spectrum of experience and knowledge to her offerings. Inspired by earth based wisdom and a curiosity for the everyday magic of life, she offers weekly classes, private instruction & retreats through Coastal Bliss Yoga and co-leads the studio’s 200hr YTT. Jacky produced and designed Coastal Bliss Yoga Online in March 2020 alongside her team of teachers, you’ll find her pre-recorded classes there.

When not in the studio teaching, practicing, or running the business, Jacky enjoys spending time outdoors with her family. Nature brings her back to wholeness and belonging. She loves to sit fireside with a journal in quiet moments of reflection, here she connects with her core values that inform the way she balances teaching, personal life and her business.

Heidi MacPherson

Studio Coordinator | E-RYT 500 YACEP | Co-Lead Trainer of the CBY 200hr YTT

Heidi believes that each living being holds a unique resonance that expresses individual sound, harmony and rhythm. This resonance is a result of infinite variations in skeletal structure, muscles, and soft tissue as well as a multitude of ranges of motion and patterns of movement.  Accompanying this network is a beautiful concerto of life experiences and learning styles. Her teaching experience began more than 25 years ago in piano pedagogy as a classical piano teacher and clinician and she brings this experience to yoga. She has been teaching at Coastal Bliss Yoga since 2016. 

Heidi first discovered yoga in the late 80’s as a student attending the University of British Columbia. Meditation was something she grew up with throughout her classical music studies, supported by her Father’s career in theology and philosophy. Although Heidi experienced yoga in the 80’s, she describes her “official” call to yoga 15 years ago when she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. She attributes her relationship with RA as the catalyst that unravels the mysteries of life. 

Heidi is an E-RYT 500 with the Yoga Alliance and has over 1000 hrs of supplemental training in Yin, Anatomy and Biomechanics, Vinyasa, Meditation, and Philosophy. She co-leads the Coastal Bliss 200 hour teacher training and coordinates the studio’s continuing education offerings. Additionally, Heidi leads the yoga programs at Pacific Sands Beach Resort and the Wickaninnish Inn and is proud to be part of the 55 or Better Yoga Program with the District of Tofino. 

Heidi teaches with a full and embodied intention. She believes in distilling the yoga process by finding pedagogical ways to inspire students to practice with compassion, self-inquiry, and interoception. Expect to move with attention, work with intention, and learn something new. With glimpses of live harmonium or harp, perhaps you, too, will experience the resonance of your innate rhythm and experience how your unique physical structure inspires and supports your emotional, mental, energetic, and intuitive expression.

Leah Morgan

Plant Medicine & Community Coordinator

Leah is proud to be an employee of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation and serves as their Records Officer and provides other administrative duties. She says “yoga defines my mind and ability to tap into my body, mind and spirit. To me, this is a dream come true.”

 

Shireen Banaee

Shireen teaches with earth-based intention, grounded in her exploration of her roots, yogic traditions and the earth wisdom of the Tla-o-qui-aht territories. In her learning and teaching, she honours the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life.
Shireen started her journey as a student of yoga while attending the University of Victoria. She gravitated towards her practice during her time working alongside a group of Indigenous youth supporting land defence for Wet’suwet’en.

Shireen completed her 200-hr YTT at Coastal Bliss Yoga in 2020/2021 with teachers Jacky Challenger, Heidi MacPherson, Rebekka Walker and Natalie Rousseau. She has continued her studies in Yin Yoga Level 1 & 2 with Jodi Dodd, and Nervous System and Mental Health with Julia McCabe.

Shireen is Métis on her mothers side and Persian on her fathers side. She supports the Minister’s Advisory Council on Indigenous Women (MACIW). MACIW provides advice to the provincial government on how to improve the quality of life for Indigenous women by offering guidance and direction that is rooted in Indigenous worldview.

Shireen is grateful for the grounding gifts of Mother Earth. She enjoys exploring and being on the land – walks along the beach and the soulful experience of surfing support her connection to herself and the natural world. For Shireen, community is the foundation of everything. Community is where we can find beauty in the diversity of our individuality, while developing meaningful connections as we learn from one another.

Stefan Candelaria

Stefan’s classes are energizing yet grounding, simple yet challenging. Stefan believes that through the commitment of focused breath and attention to your body, the studio and your mat become your sanctuary. Stefan encourages lightness and humour on and off your mat and brings this sentiment to his teachings. His aim is for his students to leave his class feeling lighter, relaxed and rejuvenated.

Stefan was first introduced to Yoga in 2006 and it was love at first practice. He witnessed an experience in his body like no other. After a steady and varied practice, Stefan enrolled in a 200-hour Hatha training at Semperviva in Vancouver B.C in 2015. This humbling experience reinforced and led him deeper into the mysteries of how and why yoga heals.

Stefan began teaching weekly classes shortly after his initial certification, while also continuing his studies. He has completed his advanced training in Yin with Bernie Clarke. In addition to Yin, he has trained in Hatha, Vinyasa and Restorative. Stefan loves to explore the fusion of Hatha & Yin and the unique balance these practices bring to the body and mind. When he is not on his mat you might find him out in the water surfing, on the driving range, or pursuing his passion for food and beverage. For Stefan, community means having a space where you can be as you are, without judgment and trust and embrace the support of one another’s energy. With an open heart, Stefan looks forward to welcoming you to the Coastal Bliss family.

Steph Benton

Marketing Coordinator | E-RYT 200

Steph guides mindful movement with the intention of leading her students to a place where they feel more connected to their body and breath. Steph aims to create a space that we can listen inward and accept ourselves as we are moment to moment. She believes that by raising the awareness and connection we have to our bodies, breath and the present moment, we can better connect to the earth, our community and our truest self. Steph finds inspiration from the natural world, yogic philosophy and the rhythms of daily life.

Steph completed her 200hr YTT at Coastal Bliss Yoga with Jacky Challenger, Heidi Macpherson, Rebekka Walker and Natalie Rousseau. She dove deeper into facilitating meditation with Carolyn Budgell and studied Yin Yoga with Jodi Dodd. With a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, Steph is excited to incorporate anatomy, physiology and biomechanics into her class planning. She plans to continue deepening her knowledge by prioritizing studentship for the rest of her life.

When Steph isn’t practicing at the studio, you’ll find her active in the forest, on the beach or in the ocean.

Amanda Pozzobon

* Currently taking parental leave

Amanda teaches from the heart and is most fulfilled by community connection. In 2012 she enrolled as a student in her original 200hr teacher training, never setting out to become a teacher. As her knowledge and love for the teachings grew, and she continued to weave the practice through new phases of life, she was called to share these teachings with others. Amanda believes that wellness is a collective journey. Through her teaching she hopes to promote self love and contentment, and contribute to a positive ripple effect for her community and beyond.

Amanda is a life-long learner and student of yoga. She continuously expands her knowledge through a wide variety of advanced trainings in Pain Care (Neil Pearson), Pre and Post Natal, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa (Natalie Rousseau), and has recently completed her 300hr RYT Certification (Rebekka Walker). In 2017 she travelled to India with friends and teachers to explore the birthplace of yoga and better understand it’s cultural roots. The ways in which she witnessed the simplicity of ritual and joyous devotion in daily life had a profound impact on her outlook.

Amanda’s teaching style is authentic and heart based. She is a fixture in the Tofino yoga community, and has been holding space for Sunday morning Vinyasa for many years. Amanda seeks to empower students as she draws from an understanding of both functional anatomy and the age old teachings of yoga. Students can expect a playfulness throughout practice and to leave class feeling connected and at ease.

Amanda enjoys a good adventure, loves making road trip playlists and can often be caught singing along to songs without realizing it. She spends much of her personal time incorporating grounding practices into her daily life. She wears her heart on her sleeve and she loves deeply; particularly her partner Allan, and her home; the pocket of paradise that is Clayoquot Sound.

Tracy Crocker

Meditation Lead

Tracy Crocker believes that everyone can benefit from meditation. He has been holding space for meditation by donation at Coastal Bliss Yoga since the studio opened in 2010. Tracy came to yoga and meditation later in life. Yoga got him out of his head and into his body. Meditation taught him how to turn his mind into an ally, and he wishes to support others on their meditation journey.

In 2007, Tracy began his journey with a 10 day Vipassana Meditation Course as taught by S.N. Goenka. To date, he has completed 8 courses. In 2015 he became a student of Geshe Yong Dong in the Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition. Tracy expanded his practice technique in 2020 when he began practicing Deep Meditation as taught by Nathalie Kieler and refined his leading skills with Carolyn Anne Budgell.

Tracy uses experiential knowledge and practical techniques to support students regardless of where they are on their meditation path. Tracy leads meditation at Coastal Bliss Yoga on Sunday mornings and offers several guided meditations on the CBY Online platform.

Also knows as “Yoda of the Dough”, Tracy spreads the good word one loaf at a time at a local bakeshop. He believes that at Coastal Bliss Yoga, we are “Preparing the soil to nurture the blossom in the garden that we call community.”

Dawn Batenchuk

RYT 500 YACEP

Dawn teaches yoga because she believes it has the capacity to facilitate healing and transformation on all levels. Building a greater relationship with self cultivates a more authentic relationship with the world and the environment. The practice is a way to hold steady through all of life’s fluctuations and is a starting point for right living.

Dawn began teaching yoga in Tofino in the late 90’s inspired by the ashtanga and power yoga styles. As life unfolded with family life and injuries her practice shifted along with those changes and she began to study meditation, restorative and yin to better suit her changing body and mind. This, and a growing awareness of human suffering led her to study pain science, pain care yoga and trauma informed yoga with the intention to reach a broader community and offer accessible yoga to all. She hosts workshops and retreats within the community and was a co-creator and facilitator for a movement and relaxation pilot project for persistent pain which is now available in local communities for free.

Her teaching style is fun and energetic, mindful and poetic combining creative, intelligent sequencing infused with bits of wisdom. She teaches regular classes at Coastal Bliss Yoga and hosts local retreats annually.

When not in the studio or shuttling her daughter around, she can be found bobbing in the great ocean waiting for her next ride.

Jenny Henderson

RYT 200

Jenny believes that yoga is a curious exploration inwards. As a student and teacher, Jenny’s curiosity guides her towards healing, understanding, and compassion. Through practice, she discovers layers of awareness which open blockages, unravel patterns, and release resistance. Jenny applies these teachings on and off her mat. She believes that yoga gives her the skills to navigate challenges and it is within these moments that she witnesses growth, change, compassion and even more curiosity.

Jenny first discovered yoga in 2010 while living in Australia. She stumbled upon a free weekend workshop that introduced her to meditation, pranayama, asana, and Ayurveda. Jenny experienced the power of yoga and its benefits. As a dedicated practitioner at Coastal Bliss Yoga, it was a natural decision for Jenny to complete her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training at her home studio. She has also studied Meditation with Carolyn Budgell and delved into Endocrine and Energy Anatomy with Julia McCabe. As a dedicated student Jenny is looking forward to completing Breath as Medicine with Julia McCabe this summer and Yin Yoga Training with Jodi Dodd in the fall.

Jenny’s practice and teachings move through foundational shapes that offer time and space to observe and tune into the inward experience beyond the physical asana. She invites curious attention with a healing intention.

Away from the studio, Jenny wanders the beaches and rainforests of the West Coast with her partner and dog. Her daily explorations of the natural world offer a moment of pause, connection, and healing.

Amorita Adair

Amorita Adair (she/her) is a Coastal Bliss Yoga Instructor who believes that yoga is an Alchemist, with the power to transmute hardship into healing. Yoga is a container for tears, sweat, laughter and pain. A practice for the curious who want to explore connection to their body, soul and mind.

Amorita connected deeply with her yoga practice after the birth of her first child. She transformed her postpartum depression into her dharma – a purpose in life – to support others in weaving yoga into their mental health journey. Amorita has been teaching yoga for seven years and has studied the practices of Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Pre and Post Natal and Trauma Informed. She currently teaches Hatha and Community Yoga at Coastal Bliss Yoga Studio.

When you come to Amorita’s classes, you can expect agency over your body. She does not offer manual adjustments or physical touch. Each class begins with an invitation to explore the sensation of asana (shapes) that the body can potentially create. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the proprioceptive system in the body.

Outside of teaching at Coastal Bliss Yoga Studio, Amorita owns and runs Gaia Grocery, the local organic health food store. She is also the Chair of Surfrider Pacific Rim, has two lovely children, a dog and chickens. For Amorita, community means providing a safe space to explore and she looks forward to welcoming you to her classes.

Meghan Roe

Meghan’s teaching philosophy is accessible and mindful, where she holds space for students to cultivate a relationship to body, breath, and their truest self, on and off the mat. Meghan hopes that by integrating yoga and mindfulness practices into daily life, students will experience a greater sense of ease, contentment, joy, and present moment awareness in all areas of their lives. Meghan is passionate about sharing how yoga has changed the way she receives the world, and all the beautiful ways the practice moves and merges into each passing moment.

Meghan was inspired by yoga in 2018 after her first class at her home studio, Modo Yoga Nanaimo. She immersed herself into a steady practice of asana, philosophy, history, anatomy and more and was in awe of the benefits and positive changes within her and around her as a result. This led her to complete a 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Modo Yoga in 2020 so that she could take part in sharing the wonders of yoga with others. Since then, Meghan has continued her studies as a teacher and lifelong student of yoga.

Meghan is also a school teacher and learned early that she is most fulfilled when in service to others. Her classes are warm and welcoming. Meghan encourages you to come as you are, and to explore freely within your individual experience. When she is not practicing, teaching yoga, or teaching school children, you can find her frolicking at the beach or in the surf, and enjoying a balance between quality time with friends, and quality time recharging and unwinding at home. Meghan’s loving soul has faith that collectively, we can make the world a better place with simple acts of kindness that will create a ripple effect towards a more loving world.