Our Yoga Teachers and Staff

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.




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.


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.


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.


ina’s effortless humour, generous nature and deep connection to her yoga practice make her the kind of approachable and genuine teacher you’ll love to learn from. She will make you work hard and test your limits within the fun and loving atmosphere of her classes. Nina’s gift for community building, creative sequencing and carefully curated playlists will have you coming back for more!


Sonya BeaudoinSonya 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.


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 is sharing her love and passion for this holistic practice, which has sincerely transformed her life in so many ways.


Lisa ShebathLisa 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. Always smiling, Lisa brings love and light to the studio and aims to bring that out in others.

Marie-France, Translator

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.