Shirlee – Studio owner and director – E RYT 500
Everyday Shirlee is reminded of how remarkable this life is. She is truly blessed to be surrounded by her husband Simon and her boys Ethan and Oliver who support her on this journey. They are truly her greatest teachers. When one of Shirlee’s sons, Oliver, was born with Cerebral Palsy, she began to search out alternative treatment for children with special needs. She discovered “Yoga for the Special Child” a book by Sonia Sumar. After reading the book, she completed Yoga For The Special Child Training, Levels l & ll, and started working with children of all levels and abilities through a program she designed called Yoga Bear. This was just one of the many fascinating and life-changing landmarks on an exciting and ongoing path of yoga.
21 years ago Shirlee began her yoga journey on the mat. She quickly realized that the benefits she was experiencing were more numerous than just being able to touch her toes, she went on to complete her Hatha Yoga training with Esther Myers in Toronto, Ontario. This 750-hour course changed her life. Being on the mat made her a stronger, happier and a more sensitive human being. When she began to align with nature, life opened up and began to flow for her. In June 2004, Shirlee attended a weekend workshop with John Friend, founder of Anusara Yoga. She was hooked! After countless hours of training with some of the best teachers in the world, Shirlee received her Anusara certification in 2011. Through a variety of life changing events Shirlee found her way back to Todd and began to study Ashaya Yoga in 2014. Watching her life unfold once again Shirlee decided to dedicate her energy and time into Ashaya Yoga. The Ashaya community quickly became her family and she is honoured to be part of the growing community at large. Shirlee brings her own unique style and approach to make yoga readily assessable to everyone. She brings a real lightness and joy to the practice.
In 2006 Shirlee became a certified Spinning instructor. 7 years ago Shirlee took up road riding and describes the experience as meditation in motion.
Shirlee is the owner of Buddha Rider. You can find her teaching a variety of different classes at the studio or running local and international yoga retreats.
Her teachings are playful, dynamic and full of heart. She tries to inspire people to reach their true potential by rediscovering the very essence of their beings.
And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”. – Anais Nin
Simon is one of the founders of Buddha Rider. He plays an active role in running the studio. Simon is a certified Schwinn cycle instructor and a Can Fit Pro Personal Training Specialist. He brings his love of mountain biking and road riding into the studio.
His classes are filled with inspiring visualizations and anecdotes. Simon loves to motivate his clients to achieve their goals while having fun. His love for fitness shows through in all his classes. He is a competitive tennis player and avid yogi! In 2010 Simon participated in the Sear National Kids Cancer Ride. This ride is a 15 day event that saw 40 cyclists ride from Vancouver to Halifax and raised 2 million dollars to send children with cancer to camp.
He brings all these experiences to his classes. They will challenge you, inspire you and leave you wanting more.
Fovorite quote- You have to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight. – Bruce Coburn
Kim – Studio Admin
Before joining the Buddha Rider team Kim worked as an Office Administrator in Employment Resources. For 25 years she enjoyed working in an environment of people helping people.
After joining a weekly yoga class she developed an interest in bringing yoga in to her life. Kim experienced unwinding the chronic pain she was accumulating after long periods of sitting in front of a computer. After establishing a regular practice it wasn’t long before she was hooked!
In 2008, Kim pursued Yoga Teacher Training and began her transformation from an office desk jockey to a Yoga Teacher. After being displaced from her career in 2013 she started a new one by opening her own yoga studio, Willow Creek Yoga. After some time of feeling isolated in her home based business she began to search for her new work family at Buddha Rider. Kim can be found at the studio part-time providing administrative support, teaching Therapeutic Yoga classes and providing private Yoga Therapy sessions.
Kim is passionate about helping individuals explore yoga with a special focus on reducing and eliminating chronic aches and pains. Currently, she is continuing to expand her knowledge by advancing her studies in Therapeutic Yoga through Functional Synergy.
Her other life passions include her loving husband, pets, hiking, biking, and relaxing by her creek.
Favourite quote: Peace, Love and Eternal Grooviness ~ Kim Ball
Amanda comes from a very athletic background. She started dancing at the age of three and danced for 18yrs before acquiring The British Academy Teachers of Dance Certification. She has been involved in competitive sports most of her life which included swimming, rugby, cross country skiing and cross country running.
Amanda received a certificate in homeopathic medicine from the Homeopathic College of Canada and sampled many avenues of wellness before finding a new passion and direction for her life in yoga. After practicing yoga and pilates for over ten years, she earned her Yoga Alliance Certification under Authorized Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga teacher David Robson.
Amanda has also completed her Pre-natal Yoga Teaching certificate with Cynthia Funk as well an Advanced Pre-Natal Yoga certification for The Yoga Birth Method with Dorothy Guerra. Amanda has also completed Living Your Yoga Teacher Training Program with Shirlee Williams and her passion to practice and learn continues daily.
She is also a certified Birth Doula with world recognized Dona International and has attended many births to date. It brings her great joy to help women have a natural, mindful and enlightened childbirth experience.
After teaching yoga since 2001 and managing three of the largest Yoga Studios in downtown Toronto Amanda has relocated to Collingwood where she and her husband along with their 3 miracle babies enjoy the quiet pace of country life.
Favorite quote – Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
Sarah Heipel is a certified personal trainer, holistic lifestyle coach, and the owner of Good Energy Personal Training & Nutrition. She is a Keiser certified spinning instructor with 8 years experience motivating participants towards a fun and safe workout on the bike. Sarah incorporates elements of speed, power, and endurance in each spin class and encourages participants to challenge their own fitness level.
Sarah Heipel is passionate about empowering others towards a healthy, active lifestyle. After Graduating from Cambrian College in 1999 with a diploma in Fitness & Leisure Management, she became a Certified Exercise Coach and Level 2 Holistic Lifestyle Consultant with the CHEK Institute for corrective, holistic, exercise, kinesiology. She is also a Keiser Certified Power Pacing instructor with 9 years experience leading participants through challenging intervals rides on the bike.
Sarah enjoys hiking and biking the rolling hills around Georgian Bay with her husband Matt and their dog. You can catch Sarah filling in when needed at Buddha Rider.
Favorite quote “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than by the ones you did. So take Action. You’re worth it.”
Rochelle is a graduate of the yoga program at Georgian College. She completed her training in 2009 and has been teaching for 8 years. Rochelle is a dedicated teacher who teaching a beautiful Gentle Vinyasa class.
She is a mother of two fantastic children and has been happily married for the past 18yrs. Rochelle has volunteered with the Georgian Bay Humane Society for the past 7 1/2 yrs where she was responsible for the strays, surrenders and adoption of the dogs.
Rochelle is excited to be joining the Buddha Rider team and looks forward to meet all of you.
Nicole will continue to always be a student of yoga and is so grateful for the wisdom and learnings her teachers (Ann & Shirlee) have shared and continue to share with her. Nicole truly looks forward to the opportunity of expanding her practice and her teaching with you at Buddha!
Kaely fell in love with yoga when she took her first class in 2010, and has been practicing ever since. Her journey and experiences have transformed her life, inspiring her to share the gift of yoga with others. At the start of 2016, Kaely completed her Moksha Yoga teacher training In Nicaragua, and is now a certified instructor.
Kaely strives to help others develop body awareness and a balance between flexibility and strength. Most importantly, she sees yoga as a form of connection with our most honest selves.
“Our lives are so busy, we are constantly under pressure, feeling stressed and sometimes out of control. Yoga has become my place of peace; it allows me to slow down, breathe and regroup.”
Kaely hopes to inspire people both on and off the mat through her yoga experience – whether in Barrie or her hometown of Collingwood. Her free spirit is emulated in her love for nature and being active outdoors – she is often found hiking through the woods with her dog Finnegan.
“I am so thankful to the individual who introduced me to Yoga, it has allowed me to be me and showed me that I am enough. I wish to share this energy with others in hopes of changing the world in a positive way, one downward dog at a time.”
As the song goes, “Don’t worry, be happy!”; words Kaely lives by every day.
Jennifer is an RN with a background in OR nursing at The Hospital for Sick Children. After moving with her husband Scott and three children to Collingwood in 2005, Jennifer began work as a Clinical Research Coordinator for Population Health Research Institute through McMaster University. She also completed course work in Women’s Health Care at McMaster. Jennifer was a competitive gymnast for many years which eventually lead to coaching. In 2003 she began practicing yoga and found it was the perfect fit for her athletic background and desire to stay fit. She has been a constant and devoted student of Shirlee’s since the day Buddha Rider opened and feels blessed to be part of the Buddha Rider community.
When practiced in an intelligent and mindful way with emphasis on strength building and functional movement, yoga was the answer in helping Jennifer rehabilitate from various athletic injuries over the years. This inspired her to complete her 200 hour Ashtanga yoga teacher training at Downward Dog Yoga Studio in Toronto.
When not practicing yoga, Jennifer can be found downhill skiing at Craigleith Ski Club or snowshoeing/hiking with her dogs.
Jennifer is very excited for the opportunity to blend her background in healthcare with her passion for fitness into creating strength and functional movement based yoga classes.
Favorite Quote: Strong is the new skinny.
Peg is an RYT500, PRYT, C-IAYT, has been teaching, coaching, mentoring, counselling and facilitating growth and change in others since she taught her first Learn-to-Swim class at the age of 17. Since then she has gone on to discover many new interests and passions, and often dives deep to be able to share those passions with others. Peg began practicing yoga in the mid 2000’s and realized very soon that what she first thought was just another form of exercise, was in fact a window into herself and a means of connection with Spirit. The posture that changed everything was Pigeon, during which she experienced a wave of overwhelming sadness she couldn’t then explain. Many postures and over 2000 hours of training since then have led Peg to be able to offer that mind-body-spirit connection to her students and clients through Gentle Yoga and Meditation, Restorative Yoga and Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy. When not in the studio, Peg can be found on the ski hills, hiking trails and golf courses of the Collingwood area, as well as in the kitchen creating recipes and offering Real Food cooking workshops as a culinary nutrition expert.
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