by Tara Malouf of Red Thread Photo
A mental health professional with more than 30 years of experience serving individuals with serious mental health challenges, Julie began exploring yoga in 2010 as a way to improve her own holistic health and wellness. She completed the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction series at Three Trees, and is also a graduate of the 2012 Three Trees Teacher Training Program. Through establishing a personal yoga practice, Julie has found a new way of approaching life, and has experienced the joy of finding a “steadiness and ease” in daily life situations that is truly transformative.
In addition to a long-standing daily meditation practice, Julie uses asana, mantra, pranayama, and basic guidelines of Ayurveda, for supports on her own path. These are also what she offers to students in her classes, with particular emphasis on reducing stress and anxiety, building self-confidence, and enhancing general well-being through learning to access the place of groundedness, compassion, and deep peacefulness within themselves.
Since 2005 yoga has brought consciousness, connection and compassion to Karissa's life. She started practicing with her sister in Federal Way and since then has studied yoga in five countries, recently finishing a 500 hour Yoga Teacher Training with Agama Yoga in Thailand. She is happy to be back in the northwest after almost three years in Asia teaching, studying, and exploring yoga intellectually and experientially. During her two years teaching English in South Korea, she offered weekly community yoga classes and also taught yoga to parents, students, and teachers. Karissa has explored many different styles along the way, from hot yoga to restorative, traditional Thai yoga, Tantra, Vinyasa, Kriya, and many styles of meditation. Through yoga Karissa has found a deep sense of peace and hopes to share this in her teachings. Her focus is helping students explore the three different dimensions of being - body, mind, and spirit - for positive growth and transformation in every area of life. She teaches yoga to kids and adults with a focus on developing an internal calmness, a constant place of stability and quiet surrender that they can always return to. She is grateful for all the support and love in her life, for the myriad of teachings and Grace she receives, and for the opportunity to join the beautiful community of yogis in Federal Way!
Dhaval Dhru, MD
Dr Dhru is a certified Yoga teacher approved by Yoga Alliance having undergone yoga teacher training at White Lotus foundation, Santa Barbara, CA and also at Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque. He teaches at Three Trees Yoga and provides individual and private yoga classes incorporating Ayurvedic principle so as to come up with appropriate yoga practice for an individual.
Dr. Dhaval Dhru MD, retired ENT Surgeon, now provides Ayurveda and Yoga Consultation and Education by appointments. He teaches Ayurvedic seminars at various locations nationally as well as internationally including teaching assignments at Ayurvedic Institute, Albequerque, NM and Kerala Ayurveda Academy, Seattle, WA. He studied Ayurveda with Dr. Lad, the world renowned Ayurvedic educator, practitioner, author and founder of Ayurvedic Institute, Albuquerque. Click here for more information about his Ayurveda and Yoga Consultation services.
I first fell in love with yoga in 1991 during a
ski holiday in Vail, CO with childhood friend Fenella
Zimmern. Fenella had just returned from India, was
in the midst of her teacher training in London and
happy to share her new passion.
Fenella went back to England to become a fabulous
teacher and eventually to develop the Yoga Bugs program (seeYogaBugs.com).
I went on to have a couple of babies and forget
about yoga in an effort to stay on top of the laundry.
When I realized it was time to find a interest outside
of being a wife and mother, I made a very clear
intention about finding my lifes passion.
After a friends repeated encouragement to
join her yoga class-I was finally ready to make
room for it. During that first class it all came
back to me-how much I loved yoga in every fiber
of my being. I began signing up for classes wherever
I could find them including week long conferences
in San Francisco and Orlando.
After moving to Federal Way I made another intention
(feeling very successful at the whole intention
thing) to find a Hatha yoga teacher not more than
5 minutes from my house that could challenge me.
Two weeks later at a school auction I bid on and
won a life changing series of yoga classes from
Jeni Martinez who became a dear mentor, teacher,
friend and now partner.
Do you know how you are on the right path? The most
amazing teachers keep taking your hand and helping
you with your footing down that path.
It is my hope to be able to provide a hand for others.
I began practicing yoga in 2003 and was immediately taken with the wonderful affects I received. On my mat I felt challenged physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, but I also had a sense of connection I’d never felt before. Since that first class, I began to face life’s challenges differently, coming back to my mat, sometimes after long absences, where I’d find a calmness, steadiness, comfort and a connection to self. In a recovery program since 1995, I absolutely love the way these two entities enhance each other in my life! I became a certified yoga instructor in July of 2012, completing an intensive training at Konalani Ashram in Kona, Hawaii. I love the practice of Ashtanga Yoga, and I encourage all who attend my classes to honor exactly where they are on their own yoga journeys! I look forward to sharing the magic of yoga with you~ Namaste
Lawrence is a martial arts practitioner and teacher with 35 years of experience. His roots are in Kajukenbo kung fu, for which he holds the rank of black belt, but his passion and joy is Tai Chi. Lawrence has been tested and certified to teach Tai Chi by two separate martial arts organizations: The International Tum Pai Association, a branch of Kajukenbo, and the Chen Style Xinxi Hunyuan Institute in Beijing, China, through his current teacher Harrison Moretz. Lawrence has been with Harrison, the founder and director of the Taoist Studies Institute in Seattle, for 20 years. Lawrence is Harrison's senior disciple. Harrison is a close personal disciple of Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang, Beijing, China. Feng Zhiquiang is the 18th generation Grandmaster of Chen Style Tai Chi and founder of the chen Style Xinyi Henyuan Taijiquan system.
Melissa Lundsgaard, RYT
Melissa discovered yoga through an Intro Series at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers Seattle in 2001. As a dancer and choreographer, she immediately connected to the idea of breath leading the flow of the body through movement as not only beautiful and strengthening, but as healing. It was as though someone had opened the door to the world she had been waiting to discover. She has since studied under various teachers and styles gathering a mix of ingredients that fuel her passion for creative, playful and dynamic flow. Coming full circle, she graduated from the 200HR Teacher Training program at 8 Limbs Yoga
Centers in 2012. Melissa intertwines her background in dance and more recent endeavors as an aerialist, to create a liberating, explorative and graceful practice.
In addition, from a young age Melissa has had a fascination with the miracle of
motherhood and has felt drawn to work with pregnant women in a supportive
capacity. One reason for attending yoga teacher training was to focus on pre and
postnatal yoga. Her desire is to provide a supportive environment, empowering
women with knowledge, strength and a healthy connection to their bodies
through this cycle of life.
For all students, Melissa provides a safe space to honor the humility of curiosity
and welcome the thrill of discovery in the potential of each individual human
body, no matter what phase of life is being expressed. She is inspired daily
by the body’s physical capabilities, the mind’s profound power and the spirit’s
If not flowing on her mat, you may also find Melissa and her husband, Rob,
leading Kirtan or devotional chanting around yoga studios, festivals and retreats.
Find them at www.lundsgaardmusic.com.
I have been teaching Hatha yoga since 1990.My first teacher, Renee Taylor, was in her late 90’s and lived in Redondo Beach, CA. I was so inspired by her work and her wisdom that I agreed to do a teacher training program with her. I had absolutely no intention of ever teaching yoga at the time. (Why would I give up a stressful management job that gave me stiff necks and migraines?) With her encouragement, I discovered that I loved teaching yoga as much as I loved doing yoga. My teaching style is best described as playful, yet challenging and is based on the Kripalu and Iyengar influences that have shaped my own practice.
After 14 years of teaching, I attended another teacher training program, this time at Pacific Yoga in Seattle. Suzy and Karen were also in the program and it was during our year of commuting that the idea to open a yoga studio together was born. In June 2005, Three Trees Yoga & Healing Arts Center, Federal way’s first yoga studio opened its doors. I am grateful to the incredible community of teachers, massage therapists, healers and students who have been drawn together at Three Trees Yoga.
My son, Cody, recently asked me what dharma was. When I told him it was his life’s path or purpose, he responded, “Well, your dharma is to teach yoga, be my mommy (and his twin brother Devin’s) and to be Daddy’s wife! “ I couldn’t agree more.
Underneath Dylan's casual demeanor lies a deep respect
for the tradition of yoga. He is grateful for the
inspired teachings of Kathryn Payne and Teresa Elliott
of Pacific Yoga Teacher Training. Dylan uses yoga
to gain a greater awareness of the body and mind.
His teaching emphasizes proper alignment and clear
intentions to realize our full potential one breath
at a time.
Dylan Noebels blog
Rebecca Ray, RYT
Rebecca came to yoga as an avid runner searching for ways to keep her body flexible, strong, and injury free. But, what she discovered was a process for unfolding and connecting with her true Self. In 2009, she completed the 200-hour Teacher Training program at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers in Seattle and is a RYT with the Yoga Alliance. Her classes focus on meditation through movement, creative flow, strength building, focused balance, and seeking stillness amidst the chaos of life. Rebecca works to create a safe and inviting space for all to experience the benefits of yoga in their own bodies and mind.
Sack-Ory, CNM, ARNP,RYT
Janice Sack-Ory began her studies of yoga and mindfulness meditation in 2005 and has been integrating the two ever since. She is a registered yoga teacher with the Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level and an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner/Certified Nurse-Midwife. Janice completed both her basic yoga teacher training and her Integrative Movement Therapy Certification at the Samarya Center for Integrative Movement Therapy in Seattle with Molly Kenny and Stephanie Sisson. In addition she holds Certifications in Insight/Yin Yoga from Sarah Powers and Paul Grilley and in Phoenix Rising Yoga. She is a teacher of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Saki Santorelli. She further deepened her meditation practice by attending numerous vipassana retreats, especially with Dharma teacher, Heather Martin, and in training in Insight Dialogue as developed by Gregory Kramer. Janice is currently enrolled in an 18 month long program in Mindful Yoga and Meditation Training at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She is committed to the process of compassionate inquiry and listening to one’s inner wisdom as a means to self-discovery and to enhance the quality of one’s life. Janice is honored and truly grateful to all of her amazing teachers for their knowledge, compassion, and support as she continues to explore this human experience!.
Renee Sanelli, RYT
I started practicing yoga out of a deep desire to learn more about this seemingly “alternative” workout. Yoga has since helped me in such an unexpected way. It has helped heal my physical body, it has helped me find a balance between pushing a workout to the limit and actually listening to my body (not the almighty Ego), and it has brought me peace by teaching me how to quiet my mind. When you find something like that you want to share it!
I was introduced to yoga in 2000 when
my 80 year old Grandmother asked me to come to a
free class at her church. Yoga resonated in my
body and mind from that first night and since then
I've found it to be a constant source of joy, challenge
and learning. Although I had practiced meditation
for over a decade, I found that yoga had an equally
powerful ability to quiet the mind while simultaneously
nurturing the body.
I received my Master Yoga Teacher Training in 2005
from Pacific Yoga Teacher Training in Seattle and I gratefully continue to learn
from my teachers; Kathryn Payne and Theresa Elliott. A full circle moment came for me when I completed a 7 day professional training program for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction under the direction of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and Dr. Saki Santorelli. I had read Jon Kabat-Zinn's book on that subject 18 years earlier and it was the seed that very slowly grew into the fulfilling work I do now.
To me, yoga is a moving meditation. Its less about finding the perfect pose and more about being curious about how it feels to move in certain ways and listen to the messages our body sends us. Yoga gives us an opportunity to watch our own habits of thought and reaction and find a place of stability and ease in both mind and body. At the same time, we usually manage to laugh at least once in class and never take ourselves too seriously.
Wayne Schwisow still considers himself new to Tai Chi by ancient Chinese standards. He began his practice in 2005 at Three Trees Yoga, moving from the beginner short form through the traditional long form. He began teaching Tai Chi as a substitute for Coach Xu, his instructor, and has valued the rewards that teaching brings.
Tai Chi has brought him a sense of peace and tranquility that is much needed in his demanding life as a graphic designer, father of 2 girls, soccer coach and husband to the demanding woman pictured above (she is known to occasionally mess with his bio).
Louise started practicing Yoga with Jeni Martinez in 1999 as a safe way to exercise and to counter a high stress work environment. After a Yoga retreat, she decided to take teacher training with Kathryn Payne and Theresa Elliot at Pacific Yoga in Seattle and she graduated in 2008. Yoga has solved the chronic back issues, which dated back to 1992 and prematurely ended her dance career. Consequently what is important to her and what she teaches is stability and integrity of alignment, never moving into pain and stilling the mind, with the occasional helping of bliss.
I started practicing yoga at home as a junior in high school as a way to manage the stress that school too often brings, but it wasn't until I took my first class in college that I really began to develop my love of yoga and meditation alike. I continued to practice yoga at home until in February of '08 when I was hired on as the Office Manager at Three Trees Yoga. I absolutely love my job and enjoy the wonderful community of people I am able to help everyday. It might be finding them the right yoga class, helping them get set-up for a class, or just being someone they can talk to. In addition to being an administrative support to Three Trees Yoga, in '09 I received my Kids Yoga Certification thanks to the wonderful encouragement and support from Karen, Suzy, and Jeni after hearing the many stories about my son and yoga. My passion for yoga has always been something I loved to share, so naturally I was excited after having my son to see him try and mimic my yoga poses from a very young age. Gradually he began to practice yoga by my side on a regular basis and it has been a wonderful bonding experience for the both of us. We regularly use breathe work and simple postures during our daily routine to help us deal with the overwhelming emotions that come with the trials of growing and learning. Yoga has been such a wonderful tool for my family and I am thankful that I have been given the opportunity to share it with other children as well as their parents.
Allison Whiteley, RYT
Allison began her Yoga journey in 1998 when a dear friend invited her to a yoga class as a guest. She has never stopped being a student of yoga since. Her love of the practice continued to evolve as she sought to find herself and her true purpose in life.
In 2001 she listened to her soul's voice and began her training as a teacher with World Renowned Yoga Master Aadil Palkhivala. Allison has continued her education and growth through many hours of class time as a student and teacher, as well as numerous retreats, trainings and apprenticeships over the past 11 years.
Allison is a graduate of the College of Purna Yoga 500 hour teacher training program and is an Affilitate Purna Yoga Instructor. She teaches safe, joyful, alignment based classes infused with love and compassion so each student feels deeply cared for. It is from this place that students can explore and receive wisdom to unify their body, mind and spirit. She is so excited and grateful to be a part of the Three Trees community.
“Yoga is much more than a physical exercise. It gives us the tools find our true selves so
we can live happy and fulfilling lives.”
Coach Xu attended four years of college at the Shanghai Institute of Physical Technology where he majored in Physical Exercise with an emphasis on coaching. From 1972 to 1985 he was the head swimming coach at the Shanghai Culture and Sport School. In 1973, he was selected as the head coach for the Chinese National Swimming Team for the First International High School Sports Games at Wiesbaden, West Germany. Several young students that he trained earned positions on the National Team of China, breaking world swimming records and winning national awards. Between 1985 and 1989, he coached High School and University students. In 1986, Coach Xu was named the "Best Swimming Coach of the Year" in China. In 1989, he was invited to the University of Tennessee Knoxville to be a "visiting coach" for the women's swim team. During his two years at the University of Tennessee, the team went from 10th to 4th place in its division. In 1991, he became the head swimming coach for the Richmond Department of Parks and Recreation in Virginia. Between 1991 and 1996, under Coach Xu's guidance, the Richmond team improved their poor record and became Virginia Swimming League Champions.
During a serious illness in 1971, Coach Xu began studying Tai Ji Quan under the legendary Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen. He found that Tai Ji Quan helped speed his recovery, made him less reliant on medication and improved his general health. After seeing what a difference the study of Tai Ji Quan made in his recovery and his life, he decided to help others experience the benefits of Tai Ji Quan. In 1975 he became a qualified Tai Ji Quan instructor and has been teaching it ever since. Coach Xu has been an instructor with the Yong Nian Tai Ji Association both in China and in the United States. In Knoxville, Tennessee, he taught at the Koryo Traditional Martial Arts Center and St. Catherine's school.
His continuing interest in health and helping others led him to begin the study of Qi Gong with master Yuan Zheng Ping, a well known Qi Gong teacher and a student of the founder of the Guo Ling Qi Gong style. He founded the Shanghai Rehabilitation Club for Cancer Patients, using Qi Gong to aid the patients in their recovery. From 1980-1989, Coach Xu was a Qi Gong instructor at the Shanghai Qi Gong Institute while simultaneously teaching Qi Gong to patients at the Shanghai Rehabilitation Club for Cancer Patients. He found that Qi Gong helped their attitudes and outlook as well as their physical recovery. In the United States, Coach Xu taught Qi Gong at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and at the China People's Friendship Association. After moving to Richmond, Virginia, Coach Xu taught through the Chinese School, the Richmond Parks and Rec and the Coach Xu Tai Ji Institute. In 1994, he participated in the Sino-Japanese Conference on cancer patient rehabilitation. Today, he continues to assist cancer patients and others with illnesses to learn Qi Gong, to improve the quality of their life and to help in their recovery.
In America, more than 1/3 of people aged 65 and older fall each year, and those who fall one are 2-3 times more likely to fall again. Fall injuries are responsible for significant disability, reduced physical function, and loss of independence. Direct medical costs for fall injuries total $19 million each year.
In the last five years, Coach Xu has worked in cooperation with Oregon Research Institute to explore the use of Tai Chi in improving physical performance in older adults. Results indicate that for adults over the age of 65, practicing Tai Chi regularly improves balance and decreases their risk of falling by 55%. The findings from this research have also been included in a compendium of effective community-based interventions published and disseminated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for general consumption.
Coach Xu continues his partnership with Oregon Research Institute aby creating and providing training courses for Tai Chi instructors targeted at the needs of older adults in the prevention of falls and the improvement of overall quality of life.
Coach Xu and his wife recently relocated to Seattle to be closer to their daughter.