We’re both mamas of two young kids, obsessed with the great outdoors, in love with Tacoma, and passionate about service.
Casey Hubbell, E-RYT 200, is our co-founder and Director of Yoga and Community Engagement. She is either teaching, taking care of #TeamYW, or setting up classes and series. Casey is passionate about bringing yoga into places that need it most, offering inclusive classes and styles, and encourages students to cultivate their inner wisdom. Fun facts: she is a Potterhead and bibliophile. Prounouns: she/her/hers
Kelsey Alshememry, BSBA - Project Management, is our co-founder and Director of Operations. She is mostly behind the scenes doing all things not yoga. Kelsey handles our social media, web development, graphic design, photography, finances and day-to-day operation of our company. Fun facts: she and her family eat plant-based and live in a tiny house on wheels. Prounouns: she/her/hers
MEET THE TEAM
INSTRUCTORS, NANNIES AND A MUSICIAN
ALISON OLT KERR, N.D., RYT 500
Alison first arrived on her mat 30 years ago, began teaching in 2014, and remains in awe of the healing power of this practice. She honors both the science and spirit of yoga, leads with curiosity, and endeavors to help students rediscover their personal agency and rhythm. Outside of class, you'll find Alison walking her talk and in the woods - usually with her people and funny pup in tow.
Learn more: pranavismedicine.com
ALLI EWING, E-RYT 200
Alli Ewing is a yoga teacher and trainer passionate about empowering people to discover their own ability to find healing and connection from within. She was inspired by her background in Special Education, her Peace Corps service as a Health Education Volunteer in Tanzania, and work with youth in foster care to integrate methodologies that promote and empower individualized healing and address harmful power dynamics. She completed her 200-hour teacher training in Taoist Yoga and has completed her 300-hour advanced teacher training in Trauma Center-Trauma Sensitive Yoga - an evidence based methodology developed specifically for facilitating yoga with individuals who have experienced chronic abuse, neglect, and treatment-resistant PTSD. She has been offering trainings in the States and internationally since 2010. Alli has additional experience facilitating yoga with children with special needs, refugees, pre/postnatal/birth trauma, LGBTQ+ youth, and youth in residential treatment and foster care.In addition to yoga, Alli loves to travel, bake chocolate chip cookies, see live music, attempt to keep indoor plants alive, and spend time with her family.
Learn more: safespaceyogaproject.com
Anna joined Yoga Wild after moving here from Syracuse, New York in early 2019. Before the birth of her son Ocean she served as a labor and postpartum doula and also provided childcare for families in the community. She loves cooking, baking, running, and crafting. Fun fact: Anna’s lived in all four corners of the continental United States, and says the Pacific Northwest is by far the best!
Learn more: besobabyboutique.com
AUDREY GINGER, RYT 200
For Audrey, Yoga is an ongoing practice in honoring our bodies' truths and recognizing our interconnected nature. In class, she invites us to be authentic, body-affirming, and playful in what can sometimes feel like an all-too-serious discipline. She received her 200 hr RYT in Yoga for Health and Wellness through Maka Movement, and has since taken trainings through Child Light Yoga and the Yoga Prison Project. She has experience teaching at various community-focused spaces and currently teaches Vinyasa Flow and Chair-based Yoga.
CASEY HUBBELL, E-RYT 200
My yoga path began in 2000 in a college-town in North Texas. Initially I was drawn to the physical challenge. The strange shapes and newfound strength in my body was exhilarating. Over time, the appeal of my yoga practice shifted. I'm drawn to the silence and stillness when feeling overwhelmed. I feel creative and energized after a challenging flow. I am connected and find community when traveling or moving some place new. There are so many styles of yoga. So many shapes and ways to practice. As a student, I love learning how to study and care for my self (body and mind) which allows me to care for those around me and beyond.
In 2012, I completed a 200-hr Anusara TT with Silvia Mordini's Alchemy of Yoga and a 200-hr Power Yoga TT with CorePower Yoga. The former embraced creativity, flow, and the healing and transformative powers of yoga while the latter offered structure, form and technique. In my classes I blend these styles. I teach heart-centric, intentional flows using clear cues and offering many ways to personalize. I also completed Next Generation Yoga's kids training so a little silliness and play can be expected as well.
EMMA PIORIER, RYT 200, MCT L1
Emma found yoga her senior of high school through an eating disorder recovery program where she fell in love with the grounding and empowering practice. She firmly believes in cultivating a yoga practice that is gracious towards the body, appreciate of oneself and others and accessible for all bodies and minds. When she's not teaching or doing yoga, Emma works as a natural movement and strength coach and is pursuing a degree in Spanish at the University of Puget Sound. In her free time Emma loves baking bread, playing ultimate frisbee writing poetry and reading outside in the sun.
FRIDAH WAWERU, RYT 200
Hi. My name is Fridah. I am from Kenya and was introduced to yoga over five years. Even though I practice most of the yoga styles out there, I love a powerful Vinyasa flow. I did my first 100-hour Baron Baptiste yoga training in 2017 in Menla, New York. I also did trauma-informed outreach training with Connection Coalition. I just completed my 200-hour YTT in Sampoorna Yoga in Florida at Yoga Hari Ashram in April 2019. I want to make yoga accessible to everybody, especially the minority groups wherever I am. I practiced and volunteered at Africa Yoga Project in Nairobi, Kenya where I saw how yoga has transformed lives and I want to pass that on in my own ways. I love chai, good food, dancing, good music and reading. I also like traveling. I am a minimalist and enjoy the simple things in life.
KARA O'TOOLE, RYT 200
Kara O’Toole brings over 30 years of dance teaching experience to her yoga classes and is devoted to sequencing aligned poses with a joy of movement and breath. Her love of yoga has been building for over 20 years and her practice has been fueled by the restorative and centering power yoga has had in her life. Kara has studied with many inspirational yoga teachers, most significantly Shiva Rea, Troy Lucero, Djuna Mascall, and the amazing teachers at her Yoga Tree San Francisco teacher training. Kara holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and moved to Tacoma from Orcas Island with her family and dogs. Along with yoga, Kara teaches dance at the Tacoma Urban Performing Arts Center (TUPAC) and TAM and is a teaching artist for Dance for Parkinson's and Keeping the Faith prison arts program.
KAYLEE CASTILLO, LMT, RYT 200
Yoga found me in 2006, in my hometown Bremerton, WA. Initially for me it was part of a weight management and body acceptance struggle that started very young. It helped me to stretch and move easier during running and other high intensity work outs.It wasn’t until 2012, that some hard life lessons had me seeking a 200-RYT. Yoga was a part of my solice and peace in an uncontrollable world. I practiced on and off through life’s up and downs.
I’d been working as a massage therapist since 2010, and the two went hand in hand for me. My passion to connect people with their bodies has only grown over time and I now also maintain a sports performance certification in Olympic Weightlifting.Now movement is so much more to me than trying to look good, it’s about being with the machine I live in, and delighting in its strength while also having peace about what is or is not. In addition, Yoga to me is also so much more than the movements, it’s about the breathe, the state of mind and the lifestyle.
I moved to Tacoma in 2014, opened my own business in 2017, and was connected with Yoga Wild in 2018.I’ve been inspired and touched by the YW mission, and I’m so honored to be apart of this community of passionate and compassionate teachers.
To me Tacoma has proven to be “the city of destiny”, it’s where I’ve found my people, served a community, where I’m still growing and deconstructing my spirituality, where I’m learning to be a better human, and where I’ve learned to find gratitude wherever my physical abilities are currently at.
When I’m not teaching, or providing body work, I’m connecting people, hiking, swimming, or biking, with my partner, dogs and friends. See you in the Wild! 🌱
Learn more: mandalamountain.com
LESLIE WHITECROW, E-RYT 500
Leslie first came to yoga in 2007 thinking it would be relatively boring and not challenging enough for her physicality. Boy was she wrong! After that first Bikram class she was humbled, worked-out, opened up and hungry for more! Thus began her yoga journey, learning and teaching all around the greater North Seattle area. Leslie has studied in a variety of different styles of yoga and completed her 200hr RYT in 2013, through YogaWorks.
Ever the enthusiastic learner, Leslie pursued deeper and deeper lessons in Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Baptiste styles of yoga which now incorporate themselves into her classes. Leslie completed her 500hr RYT in 2015 through Twist Yoga, studying independently with many teachers.
Leslie was honored to be asked to be adjunct faculty in a 200hr Teacher Training program where she taught yogic philosophy and then in 2017 was the Lead Teacher Trainer for the program.
Leslie and her partner recently moved to Tacoma and are happily finding their way around, connecting with great people. Leslie teaches in the traditional way she was taught with a flair of playfulness, knowing there is room for both tradition and fun.
Learn more: lesliewhitecrow.com
MANDI JO MURTAUGHT, PT, DPT, WCS
Mandi was first introduced to yoga in high school, through a VHS tape in her friend’s living room. She found the physical practice vital to countering stress through college and graduate school. She was so fascinated by the human body during her freshman Anatomy & Physiology class, that she decided she wanted to work in a field where she got to talk about the human body every day. That led her to a career in Physical Therapy, where she gets to teach patients about their bodies every day.
When she learned there was a Women’s Health specialty within the PT field, she blazed down that trail. Teaching women about their bodies, in all shapes and sizes, and all the parts and functions people don’t openly talk about has been such a rewarding vocation.
She always dreamed of teaching yoga on the side, but “career” always seemed to win out—until recently when she made a change, moved to Tacoma, and finally took her first 200-hour yoga teacher training with Synergy Yoga School in Seattle. Through her training she discovered the depth of yoga, beyond the physical postures.
She has taught various workshops in yoga studios around Portland and Seattle combining Pelvic Floor and yoga over the years, and is thrilled to bring her passion about both topics to Tacoma.
She is a Montana native who spent time in Portland and Seattle before falling in love with the City of Destiny. When she’s not with patients or on her mat, she can be found quilting, wandering the woods at Point Defiance, or playing with her new rescue pup Reba.
Learn more: drmandimurtaugh.com
SARAH MATIK ANDERSON, LMT, RYT 200
PRONOUNS: THEY/THEM OR SHE/HER/HERS
Sarah is an activist, artist, educator, and self & community care advocate who recently landed in Tacoma from a hidden gem in Northern California where the forest meets the ocean. Sarah has practiced yoga for over 12 years and has been touched by its effect on depression, anxiety, and trauma. They completed their 200 hr RYT training from Jai Yoga Arts in Brooklyn, NY in 2012 as a way to dive deeper into this practice that had already provided so much healing, after a particularly rough year. The joy and desire to share this practice came later while volunteering at a Domestic Violence program in California and again witnessing the powerful coping tools that yoga can bring to the body, mind, and spirit. Sarah has continued their studies in trauma-informed and accessible teaching with Hala Khouri, Jivana Heyman of Accessible Yoga, Yoga Behind Bars and others, finding a voice in the gentler, slower practices and started a yoga service project in Humboldt County, CA in 2017.
Sarah enjoys sharing ways to bring yoga to each individual body, using props, chairs and creative modifications to build strength, flexibility, and of course, access deep relaxation and stress relief! Sarah currently teaches at Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy, is a massage therapist, Reiki practitioner, and community event organizer.
When Sarah is not teaching yoga, you may find them teaching environmental art classes, leading self/community care workshops, hunting for hidden hot springs, writing poems at the ocean or lounging around with their family and very large loveable cat.
Learn More: heymoonhealingarts.com
SARAH LOW, RYT 200
Sarah was exposed to yoga for the first time in a fitness center in Massachusetts. As she walked past a dark room filled with quiet people sitting in rows, she wondered what is happening in there. That moment of curiosity sparked an interest, not just in yoga, but also in the possibility of a different way of being. After dabbling in yoga for many years, Sarah found herself needing something more, needing a way to cope with stress, and needing a way to heal. At that point, yoga was no longer a class that Sarah took; it was a practice. From this practice came some peace and a greater ability to be present in the moment. Being in the moment more of the time gave Sarah clarity and gratitude, which inspired her to become a yoga and mediation teacher. Sarah teaches from a place of compassion knowing that each one of us is on our own path and yet we are all in this together.
Sarah has completed a 200hr RYT, the UC San Diego Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Teacher Training Intensive, Mindful Schools Educator Essentials Training, and is soon to complete the Mindful School One-Year Certification Training. Sarah also has a Bachelors Degree in Fish and Wildlife Conservation and a Masters Degree in Watershed Science and Management. Sarah is a certified arborist and a long-time community forester and urban ecologist.
When she is not doing yoga, she can be found gardening with her daughter, planting trees with Tacoma Tree Foundation, or looking for seals with her family at Owen’s Beach. And now after many years of being one of the quiet people sitting in a row, she still wonders what is happening in there.
Learn more: tacomatreefoundation.org
SONA DESAI BUCHANAN, E-RYT 200
I was born in Australia to Indian parents and moved to North Carolina at age 5. My young life emphasized the philosophical teachings of yoga, the Bhakti (devotional) practices of yoga and the lifestyle practices of yoga's sister-science Ayurveda. At 18, I moved to NYC to attend New York University, graduating with a dual BA in Anthropology and Psychology. I began a regular yoga practice 15 years ago to balance my fast-paced existence (aka city life) and the vigor of being a college dancer in NYC. After years of striving, yoga offered a place for me to still my mind, to breathe, and to truly be present and aligned with the flow of divine intelligence. In yoga, I found a framework to life and a path to come home to myself.
In 2009, I completed a 200-hr Anusara-Inspired TT from the North Raleigh School of Yoga and a 200-hr Kripalu Yoga TT from the Kripalu Center, as well as a Trauma-Informed TT through Yoga Warriors. I will complete my 500-hr TT from 8 Limbs Yoga in Seattle in Dec 2019. I have taught weekly classes regularly for the last 10 years. Through Yoga Alliance, I am an E-RYT with over 2,500 hours of teaching experience and a Continuing Education Provider (YACEP). I have completed ample further studies with many inspiring teachers and in many styles of yoga over the years - Hatha, Vinyasa, Iyengar, Restorative, Yin, Viniyoga, Pre/Post-natal, Baptiste.
My yoga classes range from challenging, playful and dynamic to fluid and restful but ultimately weave together exploration and self-study. My teaching practice is about holding space and encouraging people to a deeper knowing and acceptance of ALL parts of themselves, guiding them to a higher capacity for love in the world. In 2014, I opened the doors to LOOM, a cozy studio in Raleigh, NC, offering private yoga and a unique blend of Thai Yoga Bodywork and healing Qi Gong. In 2017, LOOM relocated to Tacoma, WA, where I continue to serve as a yoga instructor, teacher-trainer, student, nature dweller, military spouse, graphic designer + dog mama.
Learn more: loom-wellness.com
STORY GILMORE, RYT 200
Beekeeping🐝, belly-laughing and boxer dog loving are a few things I do best. Out side of those, I’ll take you up on any offer that brings smiles and time outside connecting and playing. I hike, trail run, dabble in rock climbing and I’ve been recently been initiated into the mountain biking “club” (gnarly falls required😉). I’ve been doing big work around body-positivity and acceptance for years and yoga was my shift in learning the power of owning and re-writing my STORY.
Before: I came to yoga when I needed it in a very reactional way; I used the physical practice and release of yoga asana to heal hurts and get to a point of, “ok, I’m good,” then moved on again and away from my mat until the next emotional battleground. Eventually the cycle became tiring and I had the thought, “why do I have to keep starting over? Why does the sense of peace and contentment keep slipping away?” I sought my teacher training experience as a way to deepen my own practice and understand more of what yoga offers.
Now: I’m stoked there’s always more to learn, but having been exposed to such depth and gaining such powerful tools for living- I knew immediately I wanted to teach to share what I’ve learned.With so many competing roles and associated responsibilities vying for time day-to-day… coming back to my practice again and again, both on and off the mat can help me to feel grounded, more collected, and calm. Yoga offers a way and a place to hit pause- I hope to offer others a moment to breathe and pause, a moment to feel ease and grounding. ✌️
TERA BUCASAS, RYT 200
Tera is endlessly curious and loves to constantly be learning. She is fascinated and inspired by the interconnection between all things. Tera believes yoga allows us time to connect to ourselves and others in a sacred way. An opportunity to not only take care of our physical, mental and emotional selves, but a time to connect to our shared humanity. She believes in the power of exploring yoga in and out of postures. What she loves about teaching is the opportunity to connect to people, in person, to create a space that is safe to show up, be real and continually grow together.
Outside of instructing yoga you may see Tera thrift shopping, climbing or exploring public lands with her partner in their camper van. She loves to nourish people with tasty food, to have deep meaningful conversations and go to drag shows. While she is wants to get back to reading fabulous works of fiction, for now you can usually find her with a book on nature/environment, social justice, personal growth, yoga, anthropology, the human body or women's studies.
Learn more: terabucasas.com
VANESSA BARRIOS JUDGE, RYT 200
Vanessa started her yoga journey in 2013 as another form of exercise but it slowly became a part of her own healing journey back to self. She received her Kid Yoga training and level one Urban Zen Therapist certification through YogaWorks in Los Angeles in the spring of 2014. In 2015 she official completely her 200 hr teacher training at Liberation Yoga. Vanessa's passion for trauma informed care has led her to train with Zabie Yamaski through her Transcending Sexual Trauma through Yoga teacher training. Vanessa has led yoga as healing classes at the University of California and at the East Los Angeles Women's Center a non profit agency that works with Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence survivors. Vanessa's love for social justice and healing has bought her up to Washington to complete her Masters degree in Social Work and is currently enrolled in the Somatic Experiencing Professional Trauma Training program. Vanessa is falling in love with her new home in Tacoma and is looking forward to building wonderful memories in the City of Destiny.