2020 ambassadors

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2020 Ambassadors

Basha Nemeskeri's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Basha Nemeskeri

VYC LEAD AMBASSADOR

Nanaimo, BC

Yoga is my passion! My goal is to create an open, safe, patient environment which enables people to grow. I have been studying yoga for the last 14 years, and have always been guided to serve and to share my passion with others. I live and love in Nanaimo, where I spend my days playing with my family, hiking, adventuring, and learning all the ways I can incorporate yoga into life.

Yoga is truly a gift that enables us to never stop learning. I have done almost half a dozen teacher trainings and can’t see myself stopping anytime soon! It’s a never ending University of ME! and it’s magical to see the lessons that are unearthed year by year. The wisdom that I hold in me is the same that we all have. We’ve just sadly forgotten how to access it. My hope is to help people remember how incredible they were designed to feel, and to begin to use the wisdom and healing that is within them to strengthen their minds, bodies, and spirits!

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Cassi Starc's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Cassi Starc

Victoria, BC​

I am happy to call myself a Yoga Teacher (& Student!), Occupational Therapist, and Outdoor Enthusiast! Originally from Ontario, I moved to BC to live and play in the wilderness this amazing island has to offer. I found yoga about a decade ago, but didn’t connect with the practice until a couple years later when I found a studio who introduced me to all aspects of yoga - meditation, asana and pranayama. Yoga has offered me a playful physical practice and the space to come back to myself in silent meditation. My practice has helped me to better understand myself and as a result, create a life I love around me. In my teachings, I aim to weave a spirit of playfulness and intention throughout; challenging my fellow students to take their intentions off the mat with them. I strive to be involved in events which offer ongoing learning, new perspectives, and connection with community, and so I am very excited to be an Ambassador for the 2019 Victoria Yoga Conference!

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Jacky Challenger's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Jacky Challenger

Tofino, BC

In 2009 I attended my first yoga class in hopes of finding some peace amidst the stress of being a university student. I moved to Tofino the following summer where I met my primary teacher & mentor, Natalie Rousseau. After spending a couple of years travelling and building a consistent yoga practice along the way, I took my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training in Spring 2013. After a few years learning and growing with an inspiring and close community, I took ownership of Coastal Bliss Yoga in Tofino, BC offering daily drop in classes for all levels, beach yoga, private & group yoga, workshops & retreats.

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Nina  Zettl's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Nina Zettl

I live in Saskatoon with my husband and four beautiful children. I am the owner of Freedom From Within. I am a Registered Yoga Teacher, Registered Prenatal Yoga teacher, Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider, Birth Doula and Reiki Master.

My journey with yoga began as a young girl. My mother practiced asana and meditation with me as a way to help decrease asthma symptoms. Over the past ten years, I have been practicing, studying and teaching yoga throughout Saskatoon and Saskatchewan.

Yoga to me is a sacred journey of exploration, connection and unity. Each time I hit the mat, I gain a deeper awareness and understanding of myself and the world around me. I become more present, more in touch with my truth, more compassionate and more connected.

As a teacher, my goal is to hold safe space for my students to explore their physical, emotion, mental and subtle bodies, to encourage them to find self compassion and self acceptance and help them to connect to their innate wisdom, inner strength and divinity. I believe we come into this world as enlightened beings and along our journey, we build up barriers against our true self. Yoga allows us to find our way back home. It is a beautiful gift we can access anytime and anywhere. We do not need a yoga mat, a specific place practice in, to be a certain body type or be flexible, we just need ourselves. And that is an amazing thing!

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Candace Soderberg's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Candace Soderberg

Fort St. John, BC​

I have been a student of yoga for about fourteen years, and a teacher for five. I have been fortunate to have trained with Randelle Lusk, Ryan Leier, and Srivatsa Ramaswami. I am a mom of two girls, and live in Fort St. John, BC. I own a yoga studio, Cornerstone Yoga Collective where I teach full time.

The path of yoga has been a path back to self. Unpacking, and unlearning to realign back to truth. This path has shown me my greatest strength and grace.

I teach to hold space for people to explore themselves in a safe place. To get to know themselves on a more intimate level. To move closer to the deep wisdom within you, and me.

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Deanna Deacon's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Deanna Deacon

100 Mile House​

There once was a time when I disliked yoga. I found it slow, boring, and unimpactful.

This was a time in my life when everything moved at a very fast pace - something I now know as a pattern to keep me from truly feeling & evolving.

When I lived in New Zealand for a year, living amongst the rolling hills, the simple lifestyle and the incredible skies, something inside of me opened up. I was suddenly able to slow down, to feel, to breathe, to experience life in the present moment, and thus, my love for yoga began.

Many years later I now incorporate the healing power of yoga asana into my intuitive life coaching practice through intimate 1:1 sessions, small group classes and international retreats. The physical difference you can see in a person when they have dropped from their thoughts into their bodies is simply beautiful.

I am grateful for my personal journey that has brought me deeper into my myself, my intuition, my wisdom and my health.

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Elizabeth McIntyre's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Elizabeth McIntyre

I have been studying Yoga both on and off the mat since 2007. Yoga became particularly significant to me as a University student, and then in my travels abroad, and work as a Kindergarten teacher. Through Yoga I feel closer to my higher self and the natural world.

A new Yoga instructor; I have taught for only the last year but have the great privilege of guiding classes and workshops for a range of different folks, and the unparalleled joy of pioneering the Young Yogis Summer Camp at my home studio, Oxygen Yoga & Fitness Nanaimo. I have so much gratitude for this!

What are some examples of taking the practice off the mat?

My Yoga is reflexive and reflective; I am forever a student (Svadhyaya)

My practice is intersectional, inclusive, and body positive; I utilize trauma informed teaching practices and strive to reify a culture of consent (Ahimsa), especially in bringing yoga to kids!

I honour my Teachers’ lineage and cultural history, especially as white and English -speaking person offering a Vedic Indian cultural practice (Satya)

I endeavour to include meaningful land acknowledgment, as a settler scholar practicing on traditional Snuneymuxw territory (Asteya)

I received my practical Yoga training in “Traditional Hatha Asana, Pranayama, Meditation and Yogic Philosophy” at Ayur Yoga Eco Ashram (google for swoon- worthy wanderlust ) in Karnataka, India. I also studied Teaching Yoga to Children with Jacqueline Maloney more recently at Semperviva in Vancouver (my home town).

Check out my website for ways we can connect through traditional Hatha Workshops, Family Yoga Pop- Ups, partnering with classroom teachers, one on one or small group practice, and my full time regular teaching schedule.

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Livi De Rooy's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Livi De Rooy

Port Alberni, BC

My journey with Yoga started at a young age, when my mother sought out alternative health methods to assist challenges I grew through as a child. Some of my first introductions to meditation and breathing techniques were led by her, and that I still hold dear in my own practice today. I’ve had the pleasure of many guides and teachers in my life since, gently guiding me to be of service in holistic offerings.


My path lead me to opening Twisted Willow Studio in 2014, when I took on instruction as a 200hr Yoga Instructor, from Red Door School of Yoga in Lantzville, British Columbia.

Since 2014, I’ve had the pleasure of growing, as has our offerings in the Alberni Valley. Currently I am finalizing both my 500Hr Ayurveda Yoga Training, and BCRPA Personal Fitness Training: While offering Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, and Botanical creations.

When leading community classes I look to create intimate and safe space for individuals to make connection between the many layers of our being and begin to work through the lessons on our path in small pieces: nourishing their self-growth, and compassion for themselves and others.

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Stella Panagiotidis's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

Stella Panagiotidis

Vancouver, BC

Ten years ago, I sustained an injury that landed me in the examination room of a hand specialist. My test results revealed that I had advanced premature arthritis and that surgery was inevitable. Fastening the buttons on my coat that winter was a challenge. I felt helpless and lost in a haze of gloom.

Countless miracle stories about the healing power of yoga rang in my ears and I knew that this might be the solution to my suffering. Intuition kicked in and I found myself in a yoga studio, fumbling my way through my first downward dog. Pain and doubt consumed my body and mind, but I was determined to keep on trying. Over time, the discomfort decreased and the mobility in my joints increased.

My yoga practice has now evolved into a yogic way a life. Multiple injury recoveries and stress management have been some of the benefits to my regular practice, where there is always something new to discover.

This past summer, I met Carolyne Taylor, Founder of the Victoria Yoga Conference (VYC) at international learning centre Hollyhock, tucked away on Cortes Island. Together, we participated in Mara Branscombe’s Summer Solstice: Yoga, Ritual, Meditation Retreat. As a regular yoga practitioner, I was thrilled to further expand my practice with this world-class instructor who fuses body, mind and soul with earth-based rituals and shamanic tradition. I’m equally thrilled to welcome the return of Mara to VYC 2019.

I like to think of myself as a self-guru advocate who defines wealth not in a quantitative context, but rather in a qualitative context. I define wealth as living YOUR life of purpose and doing whatever it is that makes YOUR soul feel happy, alive and free. For me, yoga contributes to that happy equation. Nothing pleases me more than witnessing droves of yogis and yoginis rolling out their mats collectively, in order to breathe, meditate and set into motion an exhilarating yoga community.

My yoga practice has been my best medicine. It’s kept me off painkillers and out of the surgeon’s room. The best part however, is the yogic journey, where the learning and growing never stops.

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DAwn Titus's Profile Photo
VYC 2020 Ambassador

DAwn Titus

Dawn Titus RYT200. BEd, retired Educator

I’ve lived in Whistler BC since 1983 and continue to be full of Gratitude that my path brought me to such an incredibly beautiful place, access to nature in limitless locations, and a community of vibrant and caring people.

I look back now and realize I have been a Teacher my entire life…. Coaching many sports over the years and finalizing my career as an Educator with Kindergarten children in 2015. Since then, I have been practicing Yoga and refining my skills as a Yoga Instructor. I met my first teacher Lesley Young in 1992 in Whistler and was intrigued immediately by the ancient wisdom she shared along the Iyengar lineage.

What is most important to me is ensuring that yogis understand how to move their bodies safely with a focus on functional fitness. Remaining present in the moment on their mats and simply learning to let distractions flow by as they develop a deeper connection to the movement of the breath guiding their practice. Keeping it simple .... Practice ~ practice ~ practice

It is an honour to return to the Victoria Conference where so many are supported in a very inspirational and informative gathering . Namaste

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