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 is a passionate speaker, writer and workshop leader (TEDx Montreal Women, RVH Foundation, MUHC Conferences, Cirque du Soleil, Wanderlust Tremblant, Expo Yoga blog) on the topics of yoga, mindfulness and health. 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. You can follow Melanie’s personal blog at melanierichards.yoga.
Anastasia Polito is a renaissance woman who shares her life’s passions through teaching! She is a certified yoga instructor, triathlete & triathlon coach, aromatherapist and Thaï (Ayurvedic) massage practitioner to name a few of her raisons d’être. Anastasia runs EnergiFit Triathlon Club, teaches yoga at Studio Moksha Griffintown (formerly Studio Breathe) & Yoga Vieux Montreal, developed Energi Bath aromatherapy, and you can find her working with open water swimmers and teaching SUP yoga during the summer as well! Coach for the international expedition “Swim the World,” Anastasia recently traveled the globe with her swimmer Normand Piché who successfully bridged the gap by swimming between the 5 continents.
Anastasia’s sports career boasts Junior National level swimming as a teen, and International Triathlon Union World Rankings as an adult with multiple top ten podium finishes. Anastasia also finished in 9th place at Ironman USA and qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii. She has been practicing yoga since 2001 and teaching yoga since 2013. Thrilled with her path in all disciplines, Anastasia is always eager to share her wealth of knowledge and experience!
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.
As a HappyTree student for many years, yoga has played a big role in Michelle’s life, both on and off the mat. In 2016 Michelle graduated from the HappyTree 200-hour Hatha Training Program and she has also taken teacher trainings in Yin, Gentle, Kids, Pre & Post Natal all at HappyTree. Michelle is also currently studying McGill University to become a high school teacher, with a goal of bringing yoga and mindfulness into schools. In her classes, she emphasizes the importance of the breath, and uses the physical practice of yoga as a meditation in movement. With a big smile, lots of energy, and enthusiasm, Michelle likes to be playful, while encouraging her students to find and respect their limits.
Details coming soon!
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.
Special Series and Workshops
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.
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.
Since the opening of HappyTree in November 2007 Marie-France has been our faithful and passionate translator . She is interested in everything happening at the studio and translating allows her to keep up to date with all its dynamic activities. Practicing yoga herself she has a good knowledge of this domain and happily keeps our French content of our website up to date.