Meet the Team

Our Team

Ellen Connell

Director/Owner
Teacher & Student

Ellen came to hot yoga 11 years ago after sustaining neck and shoulder injuries in a Motor vehicle accident. Her physiotherapist suggested it as a great way to heal her body...little did she realize it would offer her so much more! Meeting herself on the mat and in the mirror started to teach her acceptance and compassion for herself.

Outside of the hot room Ellen is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with over 30 years experience working with individuals who have had catastrophic injuries and multiple, complex trauma. She has long dreamed of incorporating the gifts yoga has given her into her therapy practise. She took the Moksha Level 1 training in Kelowna in July 2015 and is grateful to have found a Moksha home at MYW.

Ellen’s background in mental wellness work gives her a unique perspective on how yoga can heal beyond the purely physical. With a view to integrating her 2 passions of supporting folks who have experienced trauma and yoga Ellen completed her 300 - hour Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga training in March 2018. She is excited to offer TCTSY classes and continues to offer trauma informed classes and individual sessions.

Ellen approaches all of her teaching with a trauma informed lens and enjoys sharing mindfulness, compassion, body positivity, breath awareness and humour with her students. Ellen completed her Moksha flow training in North Vancouver in May 2018.

Alana Babcock

Teacher & Student

My name is Alana and I have been a yoga instructor for five years. I began my journey practicing yoga as an outlet for managing my anxiety. I quickly grew to appreciate the peace and joy I found from yoga and decided to enrol in an RYT-200 teacher training to further my practice.

I love how yoga creates a space where you can cultivate a true relationship between your body, mind and breath. My goal as an instructor is to give people the tools they need to find happiness in connecting with their bodies.

I like to keep my classes lighthearted and balanced between strength and flexibility. I combine both strength and mobility work in a grounded, Vinyasa Flow style.

Helen Purden

Teacher & Student

I found myself in my first hot yoga class downtown about 15 years ago. I remember wanting to run out of the room, but stayed and fell in love with the challenge and serenity of it.

For a few years I left my practice and got caught up in the business of life - children, running a business etc. I knew I was unhappy and missing something in my life. It was yoga and the peace I felt from it, the balance that it helped me strive for.

I found my way back to HYS once again, and began practicing as often as I could and started to feel a shift within. I started doing desk shifts at the studio to get a feel for studio life as a career and spent time thinking about becoming a teacher.

By October 2017 I had enrolled in Moksha Level 1 Teacher Training and attended training in Nicaragua in March 2018. Currently I am practice teaching and excited to continue learning yoga living on and off the mat. I am ecstatic to be a part of the management team at HYS while enjoying a fulfilling shift in gears. 

Amy C Cox

Teacher & Student

Amy has been practicing yoga over 10 years, and completed Bikram Yoga TT (9 weeks of study) in 2014. Since then she has completed workshops with Craig Villani, Gianna Purcell, Benjamin Sears, Siri Om Khalsa, Christine Price Clarke, and a 50 hour Yin Yoga TT with Bernie Clarke. She is excited to study Vinyasa TT with Ryan Leier in July.

By bringing a healthy dose of gentleness, play and compassion to her classes, Amy aims to hold space for body sizes, shapes, abilities, genders, ethnicities, and ages to grow their practice. She is interested in mediation, self study and weaving together traditional teachings with everyday common life.
 

Wendy Debeck

Teacher & Student

What drew you to teaching?What can I as a  student expect in your classes?Name one passion outside of yoga
 I knew it were time to start down the dirt path of teaching yoga when I realized that my absolute fave place to be - was the yoga space.

If you find your way into my class, you’ll likely feel equally motivated and rejuvenated. You will be challenged yet supported. My hope is that by class end, you’ll feel bittersweet- happy you’ve done it, a little sad that class is already over.

Other than yoga?
I’m devoted to my husband, my cats, and to the preservation of all other species - large and small.
 

Peter S Schreurs

Teacher & Student

Hello, my name is peter, and I am a certified athletic therapist and yoga instructor. My goal as a professional is; to combine my knowledge, and skillset in athletic therapy, with the practical experience in yoga, in order to offer my clients/students the best care, individual to their needs.
The practice of yoga came as a natural avenue for me to finally find a bit of quiet in my thoughts. My mother, who is Buddhist, tried to teach me meditation when I was young. I didn’t realize until I began the practice of yoga, that I had to move my body to find stillness in my mind.

To me, yoga is a system of techniques we use to increase the mindbody connection. I believe that a well sequenced and well taught class can offer benefits to anyone regardless of their ability. My style of practice and teaching is very much influenced by my formal education in athletic therapy, and years on the mat.
 

Bianca Rufiange

Teacher & Student

Bianca undertook the Modo teacher training in Montreal 2016, and completed a Flow certification later in Vancouver. Having come to yoga through recovery from substance abuse, it was the power of breath that began her pilgrimage toward her Self.

Through the practice she cultivated a relationship with her body; learning to feel through things that had previously kept her stuck and afraid. She aims to bring lightness to the task of getting to know one’s Self, by creating a safe space to feel whatever arises.

She guides her students away from their thinking minds, encouraging them to ride their own waves of feeling. She believes that the practice allows us to step out of our way; creating the space for change and newness to enter.

Meagan Welch

Teacher & Student

I started practicing yoga as a means to move and stretch my body in a new way outside of the gym. It didn't take long for the physical benefits to start layering with mental and emotional benefits and my practice became deeper and more spiritual than in any other form of movement or exercise I had previously known. You can expect to move from the heart in a grounded, slow, and steady way in my classes. 
My yoga journey soon led me to continue studying holistic medicine through the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine. I am now an Acupuncturist as well as a yoga teacher. I often weave the two together in my classes.
 

Laura Butler

Teacher & Student

Laura has been practicing yoga since 1998, and teaching in Saanich and the WestShore communities since 2006. Studying and practicing with Yin pioneers like Bernie Clark, Sarah Powers, and Paul Grilley, Laura has been specializing in Yin Yoga for over a decade. Her approach is one that is blended and well rounded, bringing knowledge and a sense of humour to lead classes that are physically and mentally beneficial to participants of all ages and abilities.
 

Melissa Nock

Teacher & Student

Melissa is a nature loving adventurous type of gal. When she’s not in the hot room, you’ll probably find her at the beach, in the bush hiking with her dogs or at a concert.
Since Melissa completed the 500 hour Moksha level 1 training, she’s also completed Moksha Level 2, a 200 hour hatha/vinyasa training, advanced vinyasa, trauma sensitive and yin. She most recently returned from the Moksha Flow Training.

Melissa loves the freedom and expression that yoga unfolds. Her classes are energetic, playful, supportive and nurturing. She’s looking forward to seeing you in the hot room! 

Kirsten Dibblee

Teacher & Student

I'm a nature loving, adventure seeking, yoga enthusiast who is excited to share my love of yoga with the Sidney Hot Yoga community this year.

I came to yoga as a way to move my physical body and avoid injury in all my other activities and grew to love it for what it did to my mind and my life off of my mat. I've been a student of yoga since 2004 and completed my 200 Hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in 2012.

I am also fortunate to teach yoga as part of my day job as a teacher at Parkland Secondary School where I created and now teach a Yoga PE course.

Students can expect my classes to have a lot of cueing (I'm passionate about alignment and anatomy), a focus on using your own breath and body as a guide, and some fun variations of your favourite postures and sequences.

Mackenzie Clark

Teacher & Student

Yoga has been a major part of Mackenzie’s life since age 11, entering the yoga space as a preteen girl with anxiety and physical ailments such as chronic neck pain and scoliosis, yoga provided not only physical release, but mental clarity, emotional ease, and spiritual acceptance.

Growing deeply passionate at age 16, she began to explore yogic philosophy and branched out in various styles and practices and then discovered hot yoga. After high school Mackenzie travelled around the world visiting countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and India where she felt deeply inspired by cultures, traditions and the influence that yoga had on them. She completed her first 200 hr YTT in Goa, India in 2017.

Since then she has become a full spectrum holistic Doula in Victoria supporting her clients through pregnancy, birth and postpartum, a breath work facilitator, and has studied at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Yoga keeps her embodied, compassionate, and inspired about life and it's offerings, sharing that with her students is an absolute gift. You can expect to be held in a safe warm welcoming setting in Mackenzie’s presence: peaceful yet energized, gentle yet powerful.