Staff List

(Showing 1 - 25 of 42)

Melanie Allison
Melanie’s journey into yoga began in 2002. She immediately noticed there was more to it than just the physical postures and the “workout” she expected. Drawn initially to the intensity of power styles of yoga, she has since developed a great appreciation for the richness to be found in slowing down, moving mindfully and finding both strength and comfort in stillness. Melanie has found that when we slow down and pay attention to how we move and breathe, we create the space to get to know ourselves and empower our life through our practice. She believes firmly that the more space we take up in our body, the more space we take up in our lives and in our relationships…and the happier we are. Her classes focus on creating a space for the body, mind and spirit to meet through conscious breathing, focused awareness and positive guidance. Since completing her 500 hr teacher training in India Melanie’s experience of yoga as a means of personal growth, healing and empowerment has been enhanced. It is her intention to gently thread those insights into her classes so that her students may experience firsthand the power of their own body, mind and spirit.
Jo-Ann Oosterman
JO-ANN OOSTERMAN first discovered yoga on a camping trip in the mid 90s. Alongside her growing interest in yoga, in 1996 she obtained her BA in Psychology, and spent several years working with people who were marginalized due to poverty, mental illness and addictions. Jo-Ann became a certified Hatha yoga instructor in 2001. Her sincerity and compassion shine through in her yoga classes as she encourages her students to not only explore the postures but to look inward to discover more about themselves. Concerned with the environmental impact of outsourcing and the proliferation of sweatshops, Jo-Ann created her home-based yoga clothing company, in 2002. Each item is designed and sewn right here in Ottawa. The Upward Dog Centre is proud to support this initiative by carrying Jo-Ann’s incredibly comfortable eco-friendly clothing in house.
Nathalie Gagnon
Nathalie Gagnon became interested in yoga to enhance her speech pathology practice. Nathalie is drawn to the transformational aspects of yoga: learning how to connect to the body and breath, letting go of those things that no longer serve you and creating space for healing and the positive things life brings. She has a passion for yin yoga as it embodies all if these aspects. Nathalie understands that the real yoga is the stuff that we can not see!
Alexis Given

Alexis was introduced to yoga and meditation at a young age by her parents. Over the past decade she has become more intensely involved with her own practice and loves being able to share these experiences as a teacher. She feels that yoga provides a time when you can leave stress behind, focus on yourself, and be in tune with your mind, body and breath. Alexis has found that yoga promotes self-awareness, acceptance and confidence, along with increased physical strength, flexibility and overall health. All of this leads to a person feeling more comfortable in their skin, an invaluable benefit. She hopes that her students will find this comfort in their lives through their own practice. Having a background in neuroscience, Alexis believes that a healthy body and immune system are intimately linked to a healthy mental state, keeping you happy and thinking clearly.

Caroline Brousseau
Caroline Brousseau grew-up in Rivière-Loup, Quebec. As a child, she was already enjoying expressing her artistic & sunny personality through diverse forms of arts : painting, music, dance. With her open & soft spirit and her desire to help others, she decided to come to Ottawa to study Philosophy & Social Work. After her graduation from the University of Ottawa School of Social Work, she was a Mental Health Counselor in several organizations of the region for years. She then discovered Yoga at the Rama Lotus Yoga Centre, where she felt in love with the feeling of freedom and serenity that emerged from the practice of this alternate healing strategy.

Caroline discovered her mission of life, “freeing people from what prevents them to be authentic”, while being trained in Yin, Hatha Yoga and Kids Yoga at the Rama Lotus Centre. She has been working in the field for 2 years now, spreading her “self-acceptance” message with diverse populations (kids, teens, adults, aging people), in diverse settings (community centers, schools, corporate organizations, etc.), while teaching diverse styles (Yin, Yin-Yang, Hatha, Yoga-Dance). Whenever teaching, Caroline attempts modeling authenticity by inserting diverse artistic and restorative elements in her sequences (live music, creative dancing, therapeutic visualizations). She enjoys giving numerous options to express the yoga moves. Every client leaves the room with a deep sense of freedom, a profound feeling of self-admiration for one’s uniqueness and an increased ability to express oneself.

Sadie Webster
Sadie's roots are in dance and it was her love of movement that sparked her curiosity about yoga. Within a year of beginning her yoga practice she had graduated from her first teacher training and began teaching. As a Queen Size lady (the term plus-size is so drab!) she had had experienced some adversity in the dance world and was prepared to face the same in the yoga community. Being truly of the belief that everyBODY should have equal access and opportunity to practice yoga in a safe and nurturing environment she was disappointed to discover that bigger bodies were simply not present in many classes and studios. She was inspired to change this reality and began to teach her signature Voluptuous Vinyasa™ classes. With over 700 hours of training and nearly a decade of experience practicing yoga in a bigger body, Sadie is on a mission to super-size yoga!
Katie Laferriere
Katie first found yoga in her late teens, and practiced on and off throughout university. After several years of dabbling, she began practicing consistently while completing her master's degree as a way to deal with stress. She quickly realized that she wanted to deepen her knowledge and understanding of the ancient practice. In Spring 2015, she left her job to travel and then returned to Ottawa to complete her 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training with Megan Campbell. Katie loves to practice and teach yoga that is fun, fluid, and intelligently sequenced, yet safe and accessible for all levels of students. She is passionate about living a healthy, balanced life, and inspiring others to find wellness, acceptance, and balance in their own lives.
Instagram: @katielaferriere
Crystal Chan
Yoga has been an integral part of Crystal’s life for the past ten years. Her yoga practice started in university as a means to increase flexibility and reduce stress. From there, it has been a journey of love, compassion, and self-discovery. In July 2015, she completed her 200 hour hatha yoga teacher training at Upward Dog Yoga Centre. Crystal is passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga. She finds great joy in helping others develop mind-body awareness for optimal wellness.
Kilee Mercuur

Kilee’s sequences are unique and uplifting, just as unique as her background. She grew up on the beautiful tiny island of Sint Maarten. Her Caribbean roots inspire her to create a class that is both welcoming and challenging for each level. The use of visualizations of warm sandy beaches and clear blue skies are frequent, giving everyone a taste of the Caribbean life. With a love for passing on practical life tools, she often discusses breathing techniques that can be utilized on and off the mat. Her classes are warming and strengthening. She works to engage all muscle groups including the brain, with long peaceful Savasanas.

Chantale Plante
Chantale first discovered yoga in 1996 while attending Studio 58 professional theatre school in Vancouver. After her first sun salutation she was hooked and has been an avid practitioner ever since. She primarily used it as a tool to help strengthen and help her lower back pain that she had had since she was very young as well as a means to warm up the body prior to performing on stage. It was a great way to get connected to the breath and to keep grounded and relaxed while acting. She soon realized that the effects ran much deeper than the physical. After many years of wanting to take the teacher training, she graduated in the spring of 2016 from the Upward Dog Yoga Teacher Certification with Roxanne Joly. She has also studied many times with Rod Stryker of ParaYoga. Yoga has been there at those precarious times and has kept her balanced and centred. Chantale's goal is to bring balance and happiness to those that she meets from holistic hatha practices.
Tatiana Eremina
Tatiana started her yoga journey a couple of decades ago. It was just a new form of fitness at first but eventually it turned into a real passion and became her way of life.
Tatiana has been teaching fitness for more than 10 years, doing personal and group training. In 2015 she completed her Yoga Teacher Training with Megan Campbell at Sacred Movement School and has been teaching yoga ever since.
Tatiana had been teaching at retirement homes, corporations and at home but in July 2016 she joined Upward Dog Yoga Center team and found her new family here.
Cassie Love
Cassie Love was blessed by being introduced to yoga at a young age; she has been embracing a yoga practice for more than twenty years as a core part of her life. This practice solidified her interest and eventually motivated her to become a certified instructor.

Cassie sees her yoga practice as an excellent avenue to share wellness tools. As part of Cassie’s wellness education she also studied with a Shaman (U.S. Virgin Islands, 2008), lived at a mediation centre (Tuscany, Italy, 2007), and finally, earning her Honors BA in Psychology and Women’s studies at Ottawa University (2015).

Cassie is honored to participate in the yoga community. Her teaching style is aimed at empowering the individual with clarity and techniques to strengthen the body mind spirit. Cassie teaches Power, Hatha, Hot, Yin, and Restorative yoga. She also leads meditations and presents art workshops.

Emilie Tobin
Thirteen years ago, Emilie walked into her first yoga class at the original Upward Dog Yoga located on Mackay Street. She was looking for a new pastime amidst a time of significant change and quickly fell in love with the physical part of yoga. It took a decade of consistent practice for Emilie to accept and embrace that yoga is so much more than the physical body. Yoga has allowed this mind-racing extrovert to pause, reflect and find grounding both on and off the mat.

Emilie completed her 200 hour Hatha Teacher Training in July 2015 and has been teaching ever since. She originally enrolled for teacher training as a way of deepening her own practice, but the minute she sat in her teacher’s seat, she felt a true sense of belonging.

Emilie has a true passion for teaching and takes great joy watching her students grow and flourish. She is excited to be joining the Upward Dog team as her yoga journey has come full circle!
Carley Hatt

Originally from midcoast Maine, Carley has been practicing yoga since 2002. Her first exposure to yoga was as an undergraduate student in Massachusetts, and found it was beneficial on both a physical and mental level. After moving to Victoria, British Columbia in 2007, she expanded her practice and completed her 250-hour teacher training at MokSana Yoga Center. Carley is pleased to have the opportunity to teach and share her practice with others here in Ottawa.

Ana Maria Pontiroli
Hello, my name is Ana Maria Pontiroli and I have been a Pilates and fitness instructor for 11 years now. I specialize in teaching progressive Pilates for all ages, at all levels. I have a passion for health and fitness, and I truly enjoy helping and guiding people through their fitness journey.
Stuart Bell
Stuart Bell is a long term Ottawa resident and Massage Therapist. He graduated from the 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at Upward Dog Yoga Centre in the spring of 2013, under the knowledgeable teachers Roxanne Joly and Mike Dynie. 
In the form of Hatha Yoga, Stuart uses his playful and calm approach to establish a soothing effect on the body's nervous system. Stuart has a keen interest in postural function and yoga for any age and body. His method of yoga class planning will be with careful intent to guiding subtle energy leaving the student feeling physically and emotionally open, relaxed and rejuvenated.
Natasha Moine
Natasha Moine, RYT 200HR

Natasha Moine has been a student of yoga, nutrition and energy since 2004 when she fell in love with the possibility of feeling great in mind, body and soul. Natasha's passion and purpose is to guide students to reconnect with their bodies through movement and breath.

Having recently fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a yoga teacher, Natasha is thrilled to now be able to guide you through your next practice at Upward Dog Yoga Studio. Experience a powerful Vinyasa class with Natasha and she will share with you this ancient healing art and all it's powerful benefits. Yoga is 'food for the soul' and will not only strengthen your body and improve flexibility it will open your heart and leave you craving more.

Natasha is also a photographic artist, having previously owned a small business in Ottawa for over 10 years. She still enjoys taking beautiful photos but mostly while travelling or spending time with her 13 year old daughter. Some of Natasha's travel photography can be found at the studio.


Rupinder Kaur Khalsa
Business Administrator and Kundalini Yoga Teacher certified by KRI since 2010 at Narayan Yoga School in Santiago, Chile. She is currently in the process of becoming a Lead Trainer at the KRI Academy and has a specialization in Yoga for Women, Mental Health, Sexual Abuse and Resilience.

She is the founder of the FATEH program for Female Victims of Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse, the SHAKTI program for Yoga and Conscious Sexuality, the PREM program for Yoga for Couples, the INVINCIBLE SOUL program for Yoga for Fears and the CONSCIOUSNESS & COMMUNICATION program for Yoga and Harmonious Communication. She has been teaching through South America and she moved to Ottawa to keep teaching the important tools of Kundalini Yoga to create a space for self knowledge, healing and conscious lifestyle.

Afnan Khan
Afnan first discovered yoga in the Summer of 2015 while exploring body-based movement systems, and the following summer took his first training in Yin Yoga, followed by a 200 Hour training at Astanga Yoga Ottawa, and then finishing off the summer of 2016 with a Yoga Philosophy Program with Eoin Finn in Tofino, BC. Since then, he's been running barefoot about the town, exploring animal type movements and spreading the gospel of body awareness in his communities.

Actively involved in the activist community in this city, he has advocated and organized in initiatives around sustainable food systems, reproductive rights, and social equity.

Born in Illinois, raised in Ottawa, and hailing originally from the Hindu Kush mountains, Afnan will awaken your inner animal!

Karine Hallé

Since a young age, Karine has had a passion for movement and exercise. She trained and coached competitively in gymnastics and dance. After having suffered ankle injuries, which led her to quit training, she realized the importance of safe practice and healthy movement. Karine took her first yoga class in 2013, and quickly fell in love. After attending weekly classes, exploring her personal practice, as well as being engaged in the beautiful community of yoga on social media, she quickly realized she wanted more and could not get enough!

In January 2017, Karine finally followed her dream, and enrolled to Upward Dog’s YTT200hr program with Elizabeth Whissell and Garrett Plumley.

Karine enjoys the beauty of rhythm and flow by linking breath with movement. She incorporates movements for strength and flexibility in her classes, all while offering many options for variations and freedom to be creative. Coming from a background of faith, she invites her students to practice open minded, open hearted, and free of judgement. She wishes to share her love for yoga with her students by incorporating both the mental and physical benefits of yoga throughout practice.

Learn to fall in love with taking care of yourself: Body… Mind… and Spirit.

Ashley Parker
Ashley, a creative, compassionate, soul holds a Bachelor of Psychology with Honours and a graduate certificate in Human Resources Management, with Honours. She is the Culture and People Manager at Novotel Ottawa here in the downtown core, and began practicing yoga 8 years ago in an effort to tone-up for an upcoming vacation. While the practice did the intended, what Ashley found in her committed practice was so much more:

She found was a deep sense of calm upon leaving each class; a decrease in the amount of anxious thoughts and feelings she had throughout the day; and, if they did crop up – a new means of coping - breathing - acknowledging, accepting, and, as appropriate, releasing.

After 7 years of a committed practice, Ashley felt complied to be able to share this sacred gift of yoga with others in the community. As such, she attended 200 hr training here in Ottawa, under Megan Campbell and Tiffani Harris, and began teaching immediately following.

Ashley’s style of yoga is inclusive while creative, she provides detailed anatomical cueing, as she values a creating a safe space and sense of belonging for anyBODY and everyBODY in her classes. She also strives to empower others to connect to, honour and live their truth, whatever that may mean for the individual. Ashley believes in continuous learning, and giving her best self in her teachings, so you can be yours.

Meet Ashley on the mat every Tuesday and Friday at 6:30AM for an all-levels Hatha flow class, to check-in, breathe, and set yourself up for the day ahead, knowing you can handle whatever may come your way

Svetlana Logigan
Being originally from Russia, Svetlana’s teaching is based on Russian School of Piano teaching.

One of the most important features of the School is the development of the piano apparatus based on a serious foundation of musical knowledge.

Svetlana began playing the piano at age of six, studying at the Children’s Music School in Saratov, Russia, where along with a piano lessons she had additional courses such as solfeggio, music theory and literature, piano ensemble, accompaniment, harmony and choir. After studying there for 9 years, in 1995 Svetlana continued her professional studies in Music College and graduated with highest honours in 1999 as piano teacher, accompanist, artist of chamber ensemble. In 1999 she continued studying Piano and Pedagogy at the Saratov State Conservatory, which she graduated with distinctions in 2004. She was taught by Prof. Lolita Angert, whose musical lineage goes back all the way to the legendary Russian pianist Anton Rubinstein, who taught Horowitz and Neuhaus.

Since 2004 she had been working in Saratov Pedagogical University as piano teacher and accompanist, and Music College as accompanist for vocal, conductor and ballet classes. She took part in many festivals and competitions, including concerts with orhestra as a soloist, and also as piano accompanist with her students.

Svetlana's students range from preschoolers to seniors. Beginners and advanced pianists keen to learn are welcome to join. Lessons are fun and customised to suit student's interests and needs. Focus areas of my tuition include development of healthy technique, sight reading skills, aural awareness and performance confidence.


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