At Upper Valley Yoga we honor the ancient origins of the yoga practice while at the same time building a meaningful framework for doing the practice today. We work hard in the practice on the mat so we may meet the demands of the rest of life with integrity, honesty, and compassion for ourselves and others.
While yoga is a serious practice and takes great effort, we believe in making the practice fun and enjoyable. It’s our goal to meet each student where they are, to create a welcoming environment for every student at every level, and to have each student leave feeling more connected with themselves, even a little closer to bliss.
Yoga is constantly evolving. It is both a science and an art, and even a means of transformation. While many students come for the transformation of body–to be more flexible, to gain greater strength, to have more ease—yoga is also a transformation of the mind and the spirit.
The practice of yoga challenges us to attend to the continual dialogue between body and mind, thought and feeling, awareness and action.
In addition to developing strength, ease and health in the physical body, through the practice of yoga we learn to deepen our awareness moment to moment, to develop a quiet mind, a vibrant and energetic body, and to awaken love, compassion, and intelligence.
Please join us, and “do yoga!”
Our instructors are highly trained and have many years’ experience in a variety of Hatha Yoga traditions. The word Hatha means a balance of opposite forces in the body and, is usually used as an umbrella term that refers to any style of yoga that focuses on Asana, or physical postures. Most of the Hatha Yoga styles practiced in American studios today combine ancient form and contemporary innovations. Our classes derive primarily from the lineage of Krishnamacharya and styles developed by two of his students–BKS Iyengar (Iyengar Yoga) and Sri Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga).
Most of our classes are taught in a Vinyasa form. Vinyasa is a flowing, athletic style of yoga that links breath with movement. It is often described as a moving meditation. This style allows teachers a great deal of flexibility and creativity in our teaching, and still brings great focus to the alignment principles taught in Iyengar and other yoga lineages.
The breath is the foundation of our yoga practice and teaching; the very source of movement. We move with the rhythm of the breath the way we move to the rhythm of music.
Cultivating this awareness of the breath allows us to move into stillness, quieting the constant chatter of the mind and bringing us back again and again to the present moment.
Instructors offer both verbal and physical adjustments. We are sensitive to individual issues of touch. Please let your instructor know if you object to hands-on adjustments.
Classes are offered in a variety of levels. Please come to a class that is appropriate for your level of experience, so that you can derive the most benefit and healthy challenge from the class without overdoing it.
If you are not sure if a particular level is appropriate for you, please contact us. We’d love to help you find the right class.
Upper Valley Yoga originated in 1999 in a drafty, uninsulated barn when Kathy Frorer gathered together a group of friends to “do yoga.” Cheerfully they practiced through the New England winter, using ujjayi breath, bandhas and vinyasa to keep in the heat and keep out the cold. In spite of the less than ideal conditions, the group continued to expand and formalize over the following three years.
When Leslie Carleton moved to Thetford from San Diego in 2002, together she and Kat launched Upper Valley Yoga more or less the way it is today. While we now have a lovely (warm!) space in downtown White River Junction, the original commitment to “do yoga,” regardless of the circumstances, remains. And though Kat has since moved to Philadelphia with her family, she pops in now and again, and the enthusiasm she brought to her practice and teaching is felt keenly in the yoga community that she helped create.
Kathy Frorer and Leslie Carleton
Our instructors are highly trained and have many years' experience in a variety of Hatha Yoga traditions. The word Hatha means a balance of opposite forces in the body and is usually used as an umbrella term that refers to any style of yoga that focuses on Asana or physical postures.
Leslie Carleton has been teaching yoga since 1991. She trained first as an Iyengar instructor with Gabriel Halpern in Chicago (Yoga Circle), and over the next several years worked with many senior Iyengar teachers including Roger Cole, Manuso Manos and Jo Zukovich. In the late nineties she found herself in an Ashtanga Vinyasa class with Tim Miller and was ecstatic with how liberating it felt to move! She continued to teach, blending Iyengar Yoga’s attention to alignment and safety, with Ashtanga Yoga’s breath guided movement. She completed Ashtanga teacher training with David Swenson in 2003 and later studied also with Shiva Rea, Beryl Bender Birch, Schuyler Grant and other “innovators” of classic form. What she teaches is essentially a form of Vinyasa yoga that blends influences of Iyengar and Ashtanga traditions to create a balanced and creative flow practice. In July of 2011, Leslie had brain surgery to remove a tumor, and lost her right side balance nerve and much of the hearing in that ear. In the wake of this experience and its aftereffects, she has felt her own practice deepen and ripen into something sustainable and deeply personal. As a teacher, Leslie strives to offer her students a practice that is meaningful within a contemporary and personal context—the joy and fire of challenge tempered by intelligent alignment and our unique circumstances. Leslie lives in Thetford with her husband Greg, dog Suki, and has two mostly grown sons, Liam and Dylan.
Sharon Comeau has been practicing yoga since 1999 and teaching since 2005. She started as an apprentice under Leslie Carleton’s fine tutelage, and received certification from Yoga Alliance in 2010, after studying with Deb Neubauer and Todd Norian. Sharon came to yoga from her interest in movement, as an athlete and dancer for most of her life. She started with Bikram Yoga, moved to the Upper Valley and in her yoga practice into vinyasa yoga, and her teacher training was in Hatha Yoga, focused on the Anusara School of Yoga. Known for her attention to detail, kind teaching, and heart-centered themes, Sharon is pleased to welcome yogis of all traditions and levels into her classes.
While studying dance at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Jenny had the opportunity to study Pilates with a first generation Pilates teacher, Kathy Grant and got hooked! After college she moved overseas to teach, and began suffering from daily back pain. Returning to her roots, she decided to leave that job and re-organize her life around health and wellness, which brought her back to Pilates and yoga. Jenny received her Intermediate Reformer and Matwork Certification from STOTT Pilates in April of 2007, and has been teaching ever since. She has been incorporating yoga into her own practice since college and just recently completed the Anusara Immersion with Deb Neubauer. She enjoys seeing people connect more deeply with their bodies, helping them to feel stronger both in their favorite physical activities and in their daily lives. Having experienced the benefits of Pilates and yoga in her own life, she is excited to explore the combination of these two techniques with others!
Angie Follensbee-Hall has been practicing yoga and meditation since 1996. Angie studies with many great teachers of various lineages in between making Handmade Paper Wall hangings, and raising two beautiful daughters! In 2005, her eldest daughter suffered a serious illness. During her daughter’s recovery, Angie began to seek ways of finding peace and a sense of wholeness, and she returned to the practice of Yoga with renewed vigor. In 2007, she graduated from Yoga teacher training with Linda Lalita Winnick, of Shakti Yoga and The Ayurvedic Enrichment Institute, of Woodstock, NY., and she is currently enrolled in Linda’s 500 hour Advanced Teacher Training. Angie’s training is unique in its application of Ayurvedic principles and practices. In each class, asanas are chosen in accordance with Ayurvedic principles of seasonal balance. Angie’s classes are vinyasa based, and incorporate alignment elements of Anusara and Iyengar Yoga, as well as the deep soul connection from the Kundalini Yoga practice. Angie has studied with top teachers in all these styles. Angie lives in Cornish, NH with her husband Joshua (who sometimes accompanies Angie’s classes with live music) her two daughters, and her many animal companions.
“I started practicing Ashtanga yoga with Leslie at Upper Valley Yoga when she opened her studio in 2003. I am graduating from a Hatha Yoga Teacher training course in August 2014, taught by Angie Follensbee-Hall, which has greatly broadened and enriched my own work on and off the mat. I believe in a yoga that is accessible and adaptable to the individual, and have tried to maintain a practice that I can sustain through the many transitions life offers. Yoga has brought not only strength and flexibility into my mind and body, but also a capacity for acceptance, patience and commitment to the process of mindful living. I also bring a sense of humor to every class.”
“I came to yoga ten plus years ago as simply a way to warm up my muscles before dance and to stretch after my long physical days, studying primarily with Michele George, (completing her teaching training in the spring of 2014), Leslie Carleton and Deb Neubauer. My practice has evolved to become part of my everyday and I continue to find myself journeying deeper – exploring various forms, meditation, Ayurveda, and philosophy. It is a full and fascinating world. Coming to my mat settles my mind, challenges my body, opens my heart and allows me to move forward into the world a little more centered. That is what I hope for my students. Classes thoughtfully combine proper body alignment and attention to the breath with the pure joy of moving.”
Christina has been practicing yoga since 2006 and has completed her 500-hour RYT training with Todd and Tamara McLaughlin, ERYT, LMT at Native Yoga Center in Juno Beach, Florida in 2013. Since this time her practice and learning has been focused on the Ashtanga yoga tradition. Since completing graduate school in 2006, yoga has risen to play an important role in her everyday life. Initially, she fell in love with the physical practice of yoga but soon learned the practice was something more than just increasing muscular strength and flexibility. It evolved into a practice of moving meditation that serves her both on and off the mat. Regular yoga practice has brought her many gifts that she loves to share with others. In addition to her passion for yoga, Christina is a board certified Adult/Geriatric Nurse Practitioner. She works full time in family practice where she provides care for adult patients in the Upper Valley area.
“I’m a middle-aged Baby Boomer who returned to yoga when my hips started to ache & get stiff. Little did I know that it would lead to my becoming a yoga teacher after seeking to deepen my practice just a little bit more. I've taken training with Myriad Yoga Teacher Training & will complete a total of 500 hours in December 2016. I have a special interest in Restorative Yoga, having trained with Sudha Lundeen at Kripalu. When I’m not teaching or working I’m on my small farm tending to my sheep, chicken, dogs, and cats."
Justine Fahey has been practicing yoga since 1998, first in Cambridge, MA at Baron Baptiste’s studio and then in the Upper Valley since 2000. Mainly focusing on Astanga and vinyasa practices, she believes yoga is integral to both physical and emotional well-being. Justine lives in the Upper Valley with her husband, three kids, dog and cats.
Erin Tunnicliffe began practicing yoga in 1996, and has been teaching since 2002,when she completed David Swenson’s Ashtanga primary series teacher training. She credits local teachers Stephen Leslie and Chris Buhner with igniting her love of yoga as well as instilling the importance of a daily practice. Erin has completed Sarah Power’s Insight (yin) Yoga and Meditation teacher training levels I and II, and has incorporated this highly complementary style of yoga to her personal as well as teaching practices. Erin has also studied with Sage Rountree in her Teaching Yoga to Athletes program. Yoga has become a platform for broader study into the Eastern contemplative traditions, and Erin regularly attends workshops on these subjects at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, where she serves as a member of the board of trustees. Erin’s day job is with her MBA alma mater, the Tuck School.
Katie (RYT 200) discovered her deep and profound passion for yoga in 2013 while living in Asheville, North Carolina. From there, she took her personal practice on the road; making her way through several countries before completing her training with Rishikesh Yog Peeth in Rishikesh, India and beginning her journey as a teacher. After six months of teaching in Cambodia, she is happy to be teaching back at home in the Upper Valley. Katie strives to include elements from various styles of yoga to create well-rounded, judgement free, alignment and breath-based classes. She believes that the practice of yoga is beautifully unique for every individual and she strives to explore that with her students, encouraging and guiding each person in truly making their practice their own.
Deb Heimann has been practicing various styles of yoga since 2000, and chiefly Forrest Yoga since 2008. She completed her 200-hour certification training with Ana Forrest in 2014 and a year-long mentorship with Forrest Yoga Senior Guardian Erica Mather in 2015. Deb has a deep passion for connecting yogis to their authentic selves. Her focus is on building strength and tenacity through deep breathing, centering, and grounding in each asana. Deb’s home studio is located in Woodstock, VT, where she has regular weekly classes. Deb is a clear and compassionate communicator, a professional freelance book editor, and an amateur gardener. For more information, see http://www.forrestyogawithdeb.com/
I fell in love with yoga as a pre-teen, enjoying the challenge of the poses and the meditative, grounding effect that they had on my body and mind. Throughout my teens and 20's I dabbled in yoga at home and in gyms but didn't get serious about my practice until I was about 30. I completed my 200-hr teacher training with Angie Follensbee-Hall in 2015 and will complete a 300-hr training in Dec 2016. My goal in teaching yoga is to help students find a physical path that helps them develop greater strength, balance, and flexibility, as well as a mental/spiritual path that may bring clarity and sense of playfulness. I bring elements of Kundalini, Ashtanga, Vinyasa into my Hatha yoga classes - usually with music and gentle hands on assists. Outside of yoga, I am a professional muralist and painter. My work can be seen in both public spaces and private homes, and usually reflects the natural beauty of the environment. Doing service work and volunteering is another source of fulfillment for me. In the coming year, I'll be combining my love of yoga, travel and volunteerism to create service-based yoga retreats.
A passionate, enthusiastic person, Lisa is a natural-born teacher, with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music education. With many years of public school teaching experience, she has expanded her repertoire to teaching yoga. Lisa began her exploration of yoga over a decade ago and completed her RYT-200 through Om My Yoga Academy. Her music and yoga students have ranged from toddlers to seniors, and she enjoys learning from her students as much as guiding them. Lisa teaches with compassion and dedication as she strives to make you feel welcomed, inspired, and challenged within each class. Lisa currently leads the daily yoga and mindfulness program at Confluence Behavioral Health and serves as a mentor to participants. When she’s not on the mat, she teaches private voice and piano lessons and directs the Martha’s Vineyard Children’s Chorus.
Brian Peront has been practicing yoga for over ten years. It all started with a friend who invited him to a yoga class at Upper Valley Yoga in Norwich, Vermont. He’s been hooked ever since. In taking it further, Brian graduated in August 2014 from the Myriad Yoga Teacher Training program taught by Angie Follensbee-Hall. Since then, he has taught in various places and venues throughout the Upper Valley. Along with teaching and practicing Yoga, meditation has become a very important part of Brian’s life. Currently, he shares his knowledge by teaching mindfulness techniques to grade school children in the hope that they will use these tools to cope with the stresses of day to day life. Other passions in Brian’s life include rock and ice climbing, tele mark skiing, and mountain biking. He feels fortunate that he’s able to combine his love of yoga and meditation with his appetite for the great outdoors.
Stacey has been practicing yoga since 1990. She has studied with many teachers over the years, including Richard Freeman, Beryl Bender Birch, and Deb Neubauer in the Ashtanga and Anusara traditions. Stacey has enjoyed practicing yoga with Leslie Carleton for more than fifteen years.
Miriah Wall fell in love with yoga asana in 2009 and has been practicing with enthusiasm ever since. Miriah came to yoga with humble hopes of rehabilitating an injured knee but became a devoted practitioner as she began to see the ripples of positive change the practice inspired in all aspects of her world. Miriah has completed a 100-hour teacher training in the hot yoga series through Core Power Yoga as well as a YogaWorks 200-hour training with Natasha Rizopoulos. Miriah’s classes combine intelligent alignment, awareness of breath, and mindful movement with philosophy, playfulness, and laughter. While her love of asana is unwavering, Miriah nevertheless remains committed to the notion that the real yoga is found in how the lessons on the mat translate into life outside the studio.
Trained as a fitness instructor, I first stepped onto the mat in 1995.
From “power” yoga/exercise I gravitated to a quieter, more inward
practice. Here I experienced subtle benefits beyond touching my toes or
standing on my head. I had a sporadic practice until a neurological
problem began to affect my balance and then I re-dedicated myself to
regular yoga practice. Recently I completed the Ashaya Yoga® 200hr
teacher training with Todd Norian, who is now my primary teacher. His
focus on connecting the heart to the physical alignment brought change
to my life. I am currently enrolled in his 300 hr teacher training as
well as assisting Todd at 200 teacher training sessions.
In addition to Todd Norian, I have had many great teachers including Sharon, Leslie, Michele George, Charlet Davenport and Shannah Greene; but my husband Jeff and my three boys are my greatest teachers. Through them I remember that yoga is more than a physical practice; it is a spiritual practice that is meant to be lived off the mat. Being on my mat practicing and teaching makes me a stronger, happier and more sensitive human being.
Bri Schreiner was introduced to yoga by her (now) husband as an athlete in college. Over the past 13 years, she has come to appreciate yoga in all its forms. She completed her teaching training in Connecticut in 2008, and her very first teaching position was at Upper Valley Yoga in 2009. She loves teaching a strong, powerful flow class with attention to alignment and safe transitions. She welcomes the opportunity to provide modifications for all levels of students in her classes. Her sequences weave energetic flow with mindfulness and encourage a steady marriage of the body and the breath.
Kyla has been an avid yoga and meditation practitioner for ten years, exploring how different styles open new avenues for strengthening and reconnecting the mind and body. She has been particularly influenced by Baptiste power yoga, Shri K. Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga yoga, and Vipassana meditation. To deepen her practice, she decided to complete her 200 HR RYT training in Ashtanga and alignment-focused vinyasa in Dharmasala, India. Her teaching reflects the power and discipline of Ashtanga, the playfulness and creativity of vinyasa, and the self-inquiry and mindfulness of meditation. She continues to be inspired by the dynamic ability of yoga to serve each person what he or she needs in that moment—either physically, mentally, or spiritually. As a doctoral student at Dartmouth, she deeply appreciates the balance that yoga brings to her life and hopes to share that with her students.
“If you touch one thing with deep awareness you touch everything. The same is true of time. When you touch one moment with deep awareness, you touch all moments.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Nicole (Coley) Hapeman’s mission is to help others heal their bodies and minds through creativity, mindfulness based counseling, and holistic health practices such as yoga and meditation. She has been practicing yoga since 1998, when she asked angrily in the middle of her first Bikram (a form of hot yoga) class, “Is anyone hot?! Can we open a window?!” Due to the patience and dedication of a number of shining teachers who met her where she was, Coley stuck with yoga and has been both inspired and healed in body, mind, and spirit while on this path. Coley teaches heart-centered, alignment based classes with the goal of helping others feel safe and seen so they are able access the benefits of yoga regardless of their experience level. Coley holds a BA in biology from Skidmore college and a MA/Ed.S in Counseling from Seton Hall University. She is a trained .b Mindfulness Instructor, Ashaya Yoga Instructor, and Nia teacher. Coley uses yoga in her counseling practice to help individuals manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, complex trauma, and PTSD.
Our space is a beautiful, well-lit studio about 1000 square feet in size, located on the second floor of the Dreamland building in White River Junction, with large windows looking out across the "cityscape" (yes, there is one!) of WRJ.
Our "kula", or yoga community, is welcoming, friendly, and always open to newcomers and visitors. We look forward to seeing you on the mat!
Questions? CONTACT US
58 N. Main Street #206
White River Junction, VT
Our Thetford studio address is 72 Library Road, in Thetford Vt. From 91 heading north, take exit 14, make a left and go about a mile up 113. Go left on Library Road; we are on the right, 2 doors past the library. Please park in the driveway and pull all the way to the car(s) in front of you. If the driveway is full, pull past the house and park on right side of Library Road. If those spaces are full, you can park in the Latham Library parking lot, close to 113. The yoga space is second floor of the barn. Please keep in mind that you must pre-register for Thetford classes as the space is limited.
The building itself was renovated to be energy efficient, and the room is moderately heated in cooler seasons to promote a good, healthy sweat, but not heated to an excessive or wasteful degree. There are cubbies in our large office to store your personal belongings, a spacious changing room, a comfy sofa and a water cooler (please bring a water bottle to fill, to cut down on paper cup usage). Two nice, clean bathrooms are located just down the hall. There are also cubbies in the studio itself for valuables, which students are welcome to use. We have a full lending library of yoga books, and encourage students to borrow freely. Gift certificates are available for purchase in any amount.
Please do not wear perfume or any strong scent
People with allergies can be very sensitive to scent. Also, lots of people sweating in a closed space is less stinky than lots of people all wearing different brands of perfume or deodorant.
Wear comfortable clothing
Not so tight it binds, not so loose it gets in your way. And please do not wear clothes that “gap” and are inappropriately revealing.
Practice on an empty stomach
If possible, don’t eat at least three hours before practice. If you know that this isn’t possible for you, eat easily digested food one hour before class.
No food or outside beverages inside the studio
If necessary, bottled water is okay, but remember we are trying to generate internal heat; constant sipping cools the body. After practice, drink plenty of pure water.
Bring your own mat
Shared mats are not hygienic; you may borrow one from us if one is available, until you are able to purchase your own, but please clean it afterward with the mat wipes provided. Please understand mats may be borrowed on a first come basis….we have only a few to borrow, and do occasionally run out of them.
Keep your eyes on your own practice
The practice is richer when it happens from the inside out. It’s not about comparing yourself with the person next to you. Be present with your own experience.
Be kind and loving to yourself
Rest when you need to. Honor where you are in your practice. Use the energy of those around to inspire, not diminish, you. Remember: you are perfect just as you are now, and yoga is meant to enhance that understanding and let that perfection shine. Have fun!
If you are new to Upper Valley Yoga, you can purchase a 3-class pass for $30! (For our first-time guests only, package expires 15 days after purchase)
Drop in to any regular weekly class
*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+
Expires after one year
Expires after one year
*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+
Expires after 6 months
Expires after 6 months.
*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+
Unlimited yoga. 6-month commitment is required; early cancellation fee of $50 applies if the auto renew is canceled before 6 months. This is the best value if you plan to attend at least 2 classes per week.
Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.
Unlimited yoga with no commitment required.
*Full time high school and college students, Seniors 60+
Unlimited yoga, 3 months
If you don’t yet have a mat, borrow one from us and please clean it afterward with the mat wipes.
We have a limited, need-based scholarship fund available for those who are struggling to pay for classes; please email or call us to inquire. We also gratefully accept donations for that fund in any amount. In addition, there are occasional work/study opportunities. If you are interested in being on the work/study list, please let us know!
Upper Valley Yoga requires the use of your personal information for record-keeping and payment purposes only. We are committed to safeguarding your personal information, and will do so by using state-of-the-art digital technology and encryption services. We will not distribute your information to third parties.