Melanie – HappyTree’s Founder and Director
Founder and Director of HappyTree Yoga Studio in Montreal, Melanie leads Hatha, Yin and Gentle Yoga teacher trainings. She was recognized as an outstanding citizen by CTV’s The Power of One for her work in the community with cancer patients and underprivileged youth, and is the winner of a Quebec Notable Award for social entrepreneurship. Melanie is a passionate speaker and writer (TEDx Montreal Women, RVH Foundation’s Youth Movement, MUHC NRIP Nurses Conference, Montreal Natural Magazine) on the topics of yoga and health. You can follow Melanie’s personal blog at melanierichards.yoga.
Alli has been practicing yoga for over 10 years and teaching for 8 of these. Alli describes her first experiences with yoga as a “waking up” as she became aware of the benefits of yoga: physical benefits, such as toning, strengthening and increased flexibility, but also mental and emotional shifts; her practice engendered a sense of clarity and freedom that she had never felt before. This connection and deep love for the practice of yoga made it a natural step for Alli to begin her yoga teacher training. Trained in Hatha vinyasa and yin yoga, Alli loves to connect with people and share the teachings of yoga. She is a firm believer in spreading love and helping to build community inside and out of her practice. Her classes aim to encourage students to form a relationship with their experience, with the exploration of movement with breath, stillness and meditation to tune in to the language of the body, mind and spirit. Alli’s classes are energetic and playful, while remaining calming and nurturing. Approaching practice with loving kindness and compassion, Alli believes that everyone can practice yoga.
Anna has dedicated herself to the practice and study of yoga since she first discovered its immense healing potential in 2005. Having suffered with anxiety issues in her formative years, Yoga transformed her approach to and understanding of life in a fundamental way. She began her training in the disciplines of Kundalini Yoga (2010) and Hatha Yoga (2013), and along with a deep appreciation and love of Yin and Restorative Yoga, she combines elements of these different traditions in her classes to create a dynamic and inspiring flow. Her goal is to bring students into a deeper awareness of their breath, body and personal practice, with the focus on promoting a curiosity in her students to their own unique body alignment and mechanics. The therapeutic power of deep relaxation is also cultivated and infused in each of Anna’s classes, as it is seen as one of the main pillars to living a full and harmonious life.
Passionate yoga educator and seasoned seeker on the path, Barrie has been immersed in the teachings and practices of yoga for more than two decades. Her teaching weaves together technical precision with an ever-present awareness of the great wisdom of yoga philosophy. Barrie has lead retreats, teacher trainings and workshops throughout Canada and internationally since 2004. Barrie has been a student of Iyengar Yoga since 1993 and was a certified Anusara Yoga teacher and teacher-trainer from 2003 – 2012, as well as member of the Anusara Yoga Teacher Certification Committee. She is the creator of The Skilful Yogi, a unique online professional development program for yoga teachers. To learn more, visit her website at www.barrierisman.com.
From Assam, India, Bhaskar was born into the yogic tradition. He comes from the lineage of Vasishtha, who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of this ancient practice. He has been trained at the Transcendental Meditation school of Assam in India, by Yogacharya Nandakumar in Kuwait and by Siromani Sriram and the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta in Canada. His 10-year international engineering career provided him with a strong understanding of work-life balance. In 2007 he founded BODHI, a company dedicated to offering wellbeing to people in workplaces and schools. That same year he won the Quebec Entrepreneurship Contest and the Accolade 2007 – Recognizing Business Excellence, both for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’. He is an acclaimed speaker, a certified Naturopath and has released a professional yoga practice CD with two-time Grammy nominated artist, Adrian Carr. In 2014 he co-founded daana a non-profit organization offering pay-it-forward wellness worldwide.
Brian came to yoga from a business and law background. After over 15 years of fitness and boxing experience, Brian tried yoga and was awed by the metamorphosis he experienced and continues to experience through his yoga practice. Brian truly believes that the practice of yoga can inspire both mental and physical transformation through the development of strength, balance, flexibility, focus, stamina and body awareness — enabling each of us to tap into our true inner potential. One of Brian’s favourite quotes by Sri T. Krishnamacharya affirms that, “yoga makes the impossible possible, and the possible easy”.
Christine, a certified hatha yoga teacher, has been practicing yoga for over 16 years. With a background in massage therapy, she possesses an extensive knowledge of the mechanics of the body, anatomy and alignment. Her knowledge of yoga and massage compliment each other and allow her to offer a special integrated class, sure to increase alignment, flexibility and strength. Her classes are full of fun and spunk and guide her students through an experience that transcends into every area of their lives. As a Lifestyle Coach, Christine’s mission is to help you overhaul your life, one sustainable step at a time. To learn more, visit her blog at apaleoyogi.com.
Dave Sullivan’s focus is on helping people increase their mental and physical health and wellbeing through yoga and meditation. Dave’s teachings have been greatly influenced by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, and his experience with Vipassana meditation. He is a graduate of the HappyTree Yoga 200-hour Hatha training program, and Dr. Bali’s 200-hour Therapeutic Yoga training program. Follow Dave’s yoga and wellness tips at facebook.com/yogadave514 and learn more about his yoga, reflexology and mentoring services at davesullivanyoga.com.
Since she was very young Jade had an interest and curiosity of the body and how it functions. Training in Contemporary dance and then moving to Montreal, Jade found the importance of yoga in her life. Instead of simply using yoga as an accessory to aid her dance; yoga became her life. Through her Hatha & Yin yoga trainings and studies under Melanie Richards, Albert Bissada and later Carina Raisman she learnt more and more about spirituality, health and how to both live a life and teach from a heart centered approach. Jade currently teaches from under the vast umbrella that is Hatha yoga, with a strong training and command of Yin yoga. Jade also continues to perform dance regularly which is still informed by her self work and teachings of Yoga.
After her second child and a postpartum depression diagnosis Jenny turned her back on her thriving journalism career and started training to be a yoga teacher. She is now a certified yoga therapist, yoga teacher, doula and birth educator with 500hr+ Yoga Alliance training, including Hatha Yoga and Yin Yoga at Happy Tree. She’s studied with Carina Raisman and privately with Sonya Bedouin. Jenny brings a therapeutic approach to the various styles of yoga she teaches and her passion is helping new and expectant moms connect with their breath, body and baby. Here at HappyTree Jenny leads our Family Yoga program as well as teaching Hatha yoga.
Manon Lacroix has dedicated herself to a regular practice since discovering yoga in 2004. Now a certified Yin and Hatha yoga instructor (both trainings completed at HappyTree), she also teaches restorative, corporate and chair yoga for seniors. She encourages her students to go at their own pace, do what they can, and most of all listen to their own body and breath. She is especially interested in how yoga can be deeply therapeutic to improve one’s physical and mental wellbeing. Her classes are sure to leave you feeling extremely calm, relaxed and focused.
Sonya – Currently on maternity leave
Sonya began teaching yoga in 2002, and has completed the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training with teachers Barrie Risman and Robin Golt. She holds a B.Sc. in Exercise Science from Concordia University, and has a strong understanding of bio-mechanics which she infuses into her classes. Her classes are inspiring, uplifting, and lighthearted. Sonya joyfully encourages her students to learn the wisdom and benefits of yoga, and to awaken to the enlightening beauty in their own hearts. Sonya is on maternity leave and will return to teaching in 2018. We wish her all the best on her new journey.
Sylvain began his yoga practice in 2004, after which he received his Yoga Alliance North America Masters certification from Ashantga Yoga Montreal. His training is based in the styles of Hatha and Ashtanga yoga and also incorporates principles from ayurveda, anatomy and kinesiology. He continues to expand his knowledge through further trainings on the dynamics of the body as well as restorative, yin and acro yoga.
Having taught over 3000 hours, his teaching style blends elements of hatha and ashtanga vinyasa. Sylvain believes in creating safe spaces in which to practice, always respecting the alignment of the body, and taking into considération the strengths and capacities of each student to better guide them in their practice. His classes focus on breathing and its fundamental role, not just in the practice of yoga, but in daily life.
Trish has been avidly practicing yoga for 8 years and has completed both her hatha and yin teacher trainings at the beloved HappyTree Yoga in Westmount. Her love affair with yoga began as a graduate student at McGill University. She felt an immediate affinity to the discipline and challenges of the practice. She loves to share all of the aspects of the practice that promote and foster well-being in body, mind and spirit with her students. Her classes are fun and lighthearted, with great music; a real party on you mat! Her style incorporates the best of both vinyasa and yin yoga.
Véronique completed her Hatha teacher training in 2011. She earned her certification in kids yoga through the Radiant Child Yoga program, a Kundalini yoga inspired approach. She has taught in a variety of environments such as corporate, schools, pre-schools and cultural events. In 2012, she completed a yin yoga training at Happy Tree. Veronique holds a BA in political science and is currently pursuing her Masters in geography at UQAM.
Special Series and Workshops
Certified in Hatha Yoga, Brian offers a fusion of different styles he has learned over the years, and blends tradition with the physiology of the body. He believes yoga is for everyone and makes it accessible by breaking down the postures into specific steps to build a strong foundation. His teaching style balances alignment with freedom in the poses, working with each student’s unique structure to help deepen their practice. Incorporating discipline and playfulness into each class, he believes life is about balance and intention, on or off the mat.
Author of The Examined Life and A Year in the Light: Daily Spiritual Life Hacks, Intentions & Reminders, Bram Levinson is an internationally acclaimed author, blogger, mentor, yoga and meditation teacher, based in Montreal. He is a certified yoga and meditation teacher and continues to be on the faculty of multiple conferences and festivals. His yoga vacations and retreats travel the globe twice a year, with past destinations including Istanbul, Mljet in Croatia, Berlin, Bali and the Greek islands of Santorini and Paros. 2016 will see him return to Paros (September) as well as Prague (May). His insights and observations can be followed on his blog at bramlevinson.com.
Claudelle started practising yoga 6 years ago and immediately fell in love with this beautiful practice! Through her studies under Melanie Richards, Sonya Beaudoin and Bram Levinson, she learned to teach yoga with a heart open to truth and joy. Certified in Hatha, Yin, Gentle Yoga (all undertaken at HappyTree) and Kids Yoga, she uses her diverse knowledge to help her students to reconnect with their inner light and to shine brightly. She is a strong advocate of using yoga to heal from trauma, body image issues, and other mind/body concerns.
Naomi is a fun-loving, silly, explorative, and nurturing yogi. She believes that there is an inner child within each of us that when tapped into can bring us closer to our creativity, curiosity, and pure joy. She believes that yoga can allow us to tap into that inner child and that it provides us with an opportunity to exercise the mind as well as the body.
Naomi completed her 200-hr Hatha Yoga Teacher Training at HappyTree, as well as obtaining her Yoga for Children Teacher Training certificate with HappyTree and Little Lotus Yoga. Naomi has previously worked as an animator for the summer time and afterschool programs at the Dawson Community Center in Verdun. This summer she spent her Saturdays doing yoga with the children who attended Verdun Storytime.
Kat, Studio Manager and Teacher
Kat started practicing yoga nine years ago during CEGEP and immediately fell in love as soon as she stepped on her mat. Now, she couldn’t imagine her life without yoga. Not too long afterwards, she discovered HappyTree and joined our reception staff in 2011. Kat is now the Studio Manager and has a regular Candlelight Yin class at HappyTree on Tuesday evening, as well as regularly filling for other teachers. Kat absolutely loves working at the Tree and it has truly become her home away from home! Kat has a B.A. from Concordia University in Human Relations. She has also completed her 200-hour Hatha Teacher Training and Gentle Yoga Teacher Training at HappyTree with Melanie Richards, and 50-hour Yin/Restorative Training with Mark Laham in Ottawa. What she really enjoys most, as a teacher and as studio manager, is sharing her love and passion for this holistic practice, which has sincerely transformed her life in so many ways.
Lisa, Staff Coordinator
Lisa first came to HappyTree as a student in the winter of 2013. She graduated with a B.COMM in accounting in 2012 however knew that it was not her path. She began practicing yoga as positive way to fill up her time. She immediately fell in love with the studio’s atmosphere and teachers and discovered that yoga was reducing her anxiety and bringing out a much needed awareness. She decided to do the karma yoga program in order to keep her new found passion in her life and stay grounded. After two years as a karma yogi and upon completion of the HappyTree Hatha and Yin teacher training programs; Lisa is now teaching private group classes, corporate classes and is our Staff Coordinator. She is in charge of scheduling all shifts; hiring and training Karma yogis to ensure the studio is organized, clean and running smoothly. Always smiling, Lisa brings love and light to the studio and aims to bring that out in others.
Wendy, Marketing and Social Media Coordinator
Wendy first came to HappyTree Yoga as a Karmi in the spring of 2015, having recently moved to Montreal. Wendy began practising yoga in her early 20s and understands the importance of yoga for physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. As a runner Wendy especially enjoys Yin yoga as a chance to slow down and (re)connect. After working with HappyTree for some time as Karmi, Wendy first took on Social Media Marketing, and then expanded into Marketing Coordinator . Wendy has a background in community development, having worked with marginalised communities in Manila, Philippines and Indigenous Australia. Wendy is passionate about connecting with and growing the HappyTree community through social media and traditional marketing. Wendy has taken part in HappyTree’s advanced postures workshop and the