Yoga Synergy Instructors are certified, registered yoga teachers with Yoga Alliance; each with their own unique styles and insights to share, and all who are trained to keep you safe and hold space.

Annie Leeks began her journey into yoga while in college looking for an alternative way to exercise. It wasn’t until 2012 that she seriously began to explore yoga both as a student and as a teacher. She began teaching in 2012 as a 200 RYT. It wasn’t until 2015 that she decided to leave her full time engineering career to focus on teaching yoga. She received her 300 RYT in 2017 and teaches at numerous yoga studios in Connecticut. Her classes are creative, fun, and challenging. Classes focus on Vinyasa flow with build up to peak postures. In her spare time she enjoys traveling, dining out and practicing hot yoga daily.

Kara Peters has recently completed her 200 hour teacher training at Kaia Yoga. In her classes you will find a devotion to teaching focused, intelligent sequences and medicine for the soul with her hands-on adjustments, proper alignment cues and eclectic music.

Kara first explored mindful movement during her Shakespearean acting training at RADA in London. For the past eleven years, she has practiced abroad with influential teachers such as Cat Alip-Douglas (Jivamukti London), Shiva Risi (Dharamsala, India) and Lara Roux (Yoga Shala in Cape Town) and she is delighted to be able to share all she knows and continues to learn with other practitioners in this Fairfield County community. She believes that beyond the grace of the meditative movement, the depth of the breath and pure joy of practicing with intent, that it is the soul connection one can experience on the mat which is the essence of yoga, and it is from this sacred place that she intends to teach.

She continuously encourages her students to recognize their own limitations and work towards deepening their Asana practice in a safe way, developing both the physical and energetic body. With her strong background in dance, drama, and teaching high school English, Kara strives to ensure that each yoga class is a joyful, playful, and soulful experience.

Lisa began practicing Bikram Yoga in 2008 and fell in love with the detoxifying element of the heated room. In 2009, Lisa first tried Vinyasa yoga, and was drawn to its creative flow and strength building. Shortly afterwards she developed a regular practice. The benefits of yoga in its entirety, the asana, meditation and pranayama practice, began to manifest in ways on and off the mat for her; where yoga becomes a lifestyle. Lisa’s classes have a focus on strength building with a balance of flexibility, and are often sprinkled with more challenging balancing transitions, as well as, mindfulness and breathwork. She is a hands-on teacher, offering adjustments and verbal cues throughout class. Lisa completed her 200hr teacher training in 2015 at Kaia Yoga in Westport, and has recently finished her 300hr teacher training there as well.

Matt Smith

Matt started his yoga journey as a form of cross-training for a half ironman triathlon in 2011. When knee surgery sidelined him from running, he rehabbed his injury through yoga and began to experience the holistic benefits that the practice brought to his body, mind and spirit.

In 2018, Matt completed his teacher training at Kaia Yoga in Westport, CT and focuses on teaching an alignment based, breath-oriented Vinyasa practice. As a former college DJ, Matt infuses his classes with upbeat music and wraps them with introspective philosophical themes, while leading a fun, creative and challenging flow.

Over a decade ago, Sarah’s yoga journey began overlooking the Andes Mountains. Since then, her practice has evolved in many ways, but what has remained consistent is her desire to be forever a student, and forever learning.

Sarah’s classes are soulful and sweaty. Linking breath (pranayama, or life force) with movement, in a challenging yet mindful approach, she will take you through an alignment based vinyasa practice. Expect to hear bumpin’ beats to help you tune out and turn in.

“To me, yoga is moving meditation. It is athletic poetry. It is also a way for us to “yoke”, to join, to unify, body and soul. I think what yoga really helps me to do is to connect more deeply to myself so I might be able to better connect to the world. But my practice continues to grow and develop, and I think that is what makes it so nourishing and exciting. Yoga is a life’s work, it is a life practice.”

Having lived abroad, travelled to various corners of the globe, and rich personal experiences, she grounds her teaching in wisdom of a closely observed life. Some of her most profound lessons and reflections come from her work as a literature teacher at Fairfield Ludlowe High School.

Her 200-HR. YTT from Saraswati’s Yoga Joint, a Masters Degree in Education and the incredible teachers she continues to meet along the way, have had a profound impact on her asana and philosophical approach. In both the high school classroom and the yoga room, she truly believes that the best teachers are life long students, and she continues to learn some of life’s most poignant lessons through her students.

Stephanie was introduced to yoga as a child by her mother, a follower of Paramahansa Yogananda, sparking a lifetime interest in spirituality. Stephanie grew up in New York City attending Sivananda, Jivamukti, and Iyengar yoga classes throughout high school and continuing her studies while at Columbia University, concentrating in Psychology and Eastern Religion. Beyond college, her passion for yoga and rock climbing, along with her French and Russian roots, led her to travel to over forty countries, including living in India, attending several yoga teacher trainings, and spending time with various teachers including Mata Amritanandamayi, Swami Bua, and Guru Nitya.

Her yoga classes are guided by her personal practice of staying positive and present in each moment and her desire for students to find their edge and fulfill their own intentions and goals on and off the mat. She considers herself to be a lifetime student constantly looking for opportunities to challenge herself and collaborate with others. When not teaching yoga, you can find her in her day job of guiding students in the college process, sweating it out with her daughters in a yoga class, or concocting her latest plant-based creation.

Rebekah Patton is a firm believer that mindset, movement, and nutrition are the pillars of health, and providing tools to strengthen these pillars will structure a resilient body. Rebekah graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. While in undergrad, she worked as a group fitness instructor and quickly realized that nursing was not the right outlet for her to help others, and found solace in the proactive approach to health and wellness that exercise offered. She then went on to work as a personal trainer at Boston’s Equinox Dartmouth, and fell in love with biomechanics and the interwoven connections within the human body. She found that her specialty was not just in structuring workout programs, but in understanding the whole person before her from the perspectives of both nursing and personal training. Rebekah is now attending University of Bridgeport School of Chiropractic to continue the journey of improving health from a truly holistic approach.

Since becoming a personal trainer, Rebekah has trained hundreds of clients and studied several advanced certifications on injury prevention and rehabilitation. Within sessions, Rebekah aims to improve joint range of motion and neuromuscular control and expand on your body’s ability to perceive and respond to the world. She emphasizes overcoming previous injuries, fear-avoidance of movements, and progress plateaus through thoughtful programming and habits training. Clients will leave sessions filled with knowledge and support.

Degrees and Certifications
Bachelor of Science in Nursing
NASM Certified Personal Trainer
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
Functional Range Conditioning Mobility Specialist
PROnatal Pre/Postnatal Training & Pelvic Health
Integrated Kinetic Neurology

Meet Yoga Synergy’s newest addition, seasoned yoga instructor for Olivia Anselmo.
Olivia gives precise instruction, spoken with simple words, using clear description and imagery for the most successful experience practicing yoga, try Olivia’s class. Olivia attended her first yoga class in 2001 and attended her first training (500 hour) in 2004 and has been teaching group classes since then. She has subsequently completed Pure Yoga’s 200 hour TT and is also certified in Yin Yoga and Yoga Nidra.

Josie Smith lets radical self-love guide her teaching, with emphasis on creative sequencing and detailed alignment (with some fun arm balances along the way). She began her yoga practice at just 10 years old by sneaking into yoga with her dad when he couldn’t find a babysitter, and has since then grown to love the sweat, breath, and deep flow that yoga has to offer. Josie earned her RYT-200 from Kaia Yoga at age 13, one of the youngest to ever achieve the certification. Josie balances yoga teaching with an active high school varsity lacrosse, volleyball and academic schedule, and strives to integrate yoga into every aspect of life.

Stephanie has always enjoyed living a healthy and active lifestyle.  She began practicing yoga 15 years ago and fell in love with heated vinyasa flow.  Yoga became a form of physical and mental therapy, a place to clear her heart and head. After years of teaching fitness, cycle, barre and personal training, she decided to switch her focus to Yoga, her true passion.

In 2019, she completed a 200-hr RYT at Kaia Yoga.  Stephanie enjoys teaching to all levels and helping guide her students to grow.  She believes that Yoga is a journey not a destination, a true passion you can continue to develop for a lifetime.

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