NICOLE NICHOLS – Director
Nicole Nichols (Narayani) is an internationally accomplished yoga teacher with over 20 years of professional teaching experience. She was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio and received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. After 24 years in New York City, Nicole relocated to North Carolina and in 2013 founded Republic of Yoga, in Cary.
An advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher at the 800-hour level, Nicole served as a teacher and mentor at the Jivamukti Yoga School in Manhattan for 11 years. Additionally she completed a 6-year course of studies in Tibetan Buddhism in 2012.
She has been a presenter at Yoga Journal Conferences in New York City and Estes Park, Colorado, and has taught internationally in London, Prague and Munich, Spain, Greece, Mexico, and Costa Rica. On the Summer Solstice of 2011 she had the privilege of guiding over 2,000 yogis to stillness amid the hustle and bustle of New York City’s Times Square.
Featured in Vogue, the LA Times, The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal, Nicole is proud to serve as an Ambassador to the Durham, NC lululemon athletica store. Her classes incorporate meditation, mantra, breath and alignment awareness, choreographic sequencing and hands-on assists, with a modern spirited take on ancient yogic philosophy.
Originally from Brooklyn, NY, Alexis came to North Carolina via the military over 20 years ago and considers it her second home.
Dance and fitness have been two of her greatest passions since beginning ballet as a child. Alexis became certified as a personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine in 2009, and eventually left her job at Duke to train full-time. She has always been amazed at how one can shape the body with (the right effort), determination, and will. She believes yoga is the perfect complement to training, both mentally and physically.
Alexis brings creativity and sincerity to her classes through fluid choreography, set to an inspired soundtrack. Expect a well-rounded experience that balances effort with grace.
Alisha Nissenfeld 200 E-RYT, MSW began exploring yoga in her early twenties and in 2001 became a certified teacher through Sonic Yoga in NYC. During that time, Alisha also completed a Masters in Social Work, and has worked with individuals in treatment facilities utilizing Talk and Behavioral Therapy (primarily yoga) as a form of empowerment/motivational therapy, relapse prevention, and detox. Alisha regularly attends Continuing Education Workshops with renowned teachers to develop her skills as a professional. Alisha began playing The Gong in 2014, after being introduced to the sound vibration experience by Don Conreaux, as a means of healing the parasympathetic nervous system — the resting, digesting nervous system.
In May 2014, Alisha and her family moved to North Carolina where she directs her energy building and merging communities of conscious living individuals who celebrate farm to table living and the love of the outdoors.
Alyson Colwell-Waber, E-RYT 200, is a professional dancer, educator, and passionate yoga practitioner. She holds a BS in Physical Education & Dance Education and a MFA in Dance. Alyson founded the dance program at Meredith College where she teaches dance technique, functional anatomy, mind-body integration and yoga. She is trained in the EmbodiYoga teacher training method led by Lisa Clark, David Beadle, Julee Snyder, and Gauri Johnson. EmbodiYoga merges the Iyengar tradition with an understanding of movement development and functional anatomy. Alyson has deepened this training with advanced studies at Asheville Yoga Center where she will complete her 300-hour certification in the fall of 2018. In addition to a specialization in functional anatomy, Alyson has developed an approach to teaching yoga that integrates breath, supportive alignment, extension, the joy of movement, and an appreciation for the unique body wisdom we all have. Her aim is to create a class environment where students can explore, deepen, and expand on what they love about yoga.
MA ERYT-200 first found refuge in spiritual practice in her late 20’s when she attended a 10 Day Vipassana Meditation course, out of curiosity. After the course, Ashley’s entire life path shifted as a result, and she committed to a daily meditation practice. Shortly thereafter, she made plans to travel to India where she spent a year. Upon returning to the states, Ashley began practicing yoga with Larry Schultz, while completing her masters degree. In her final semester, she also received her yoga teacher training. Ashley was then hired as an equine-assisted and yoga therapist at a residential treatment program in northern California. Since that time (2004), Ashley has founded and taught yoga and meditation programs in multiple clinical settings, including Childhelp, Remuda Ranch and Sibley Memorial Hospital- Johns Hopkins Medicine.
IN 2007, Ashley purchased Stephen Levine’s book “A Year to Live,” intrigued by the practice, however it sat on her shelf, unread, for almost ten years. In 2015, Ashley got the nerve up to read the book and do the practice. She invited some friends to do the practice as well and they faced their last year, together. Shortly thereafter, Ashley began facilitating an A Year to Live Book Club and Practice at Evolve Movement and then was asked to offer the course she designed, based on the book, at SAS Analytics.
In addition to teaching A Year to Live courses, Ashley is Director and Lead Instructor of Awakened Heart Yoga School, a program that trains and certifies yoga teachers. She also teaches standup paddleboard yoga, is a yoga therapist, an art therapist, a meditation and mindfulness instructor and an equine-assisted therapist. She offers destination yoga and mindfulness retreats and will be leading a Sacred Journey to India in the February/March of 2018. She also works as a Yoga Therapist at Carolina House, an eating disorder facility with locations in Raleigh and Durham.
BETHANY RENEE RANTFI
Bethany (RYT 200 & RPYT) is a free spirit who specializes in taking the road less traveled. She began seeking union with the universe early on through rock music and photography, which led her to New York City. There, Bethany was introduced to the Jivamukti Yoga School where she studied on and off for over a decade until she met her teacher, Narayani (Nicole Nichols). While practicing with Nicole at Jivamukti, Bethany experienced a significant spiritual evolution. Her true self began to awaken. She detached from her career as a photo editor and life as she knew it to travel independently through India for several months. Upon returning to the U.S., Bethany chose to continue her spiritual journey with Nicole Nichols at Republic of Yoga where she received her 200-hour teaching certification. Bethany completed her 85-hour prenatal teaching certification immediately thereafter.
Camilla was born and raised in Taos, NM. While she did take some kids classes as a child, where she studied the merits of standing like a tree (which she references to this day), Camilla truly started her dedicated yoga journey in 2003 in New York City. She discovered the yogic stylings of Nicole Nichols shortly there after, and has remained a devoted student ever since. Like many who serendipitously find a true education in these practices, she found them to be among the most transformative, logical, and transcendent systems ever to be encountered. Camilla received a 200-hr certification in yoga philosophy from Sarva Yoga Academy in NYC in 2010, and graduated from the Republic of Yoga 200-Hr Teacher Training in 2016. She teaches Vinyasa classes that are joyful, accessible but still vigorous, and most importantly, rooted in the integral way she learned them herself.
Originally from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Cristina came to North Carolina in 2001 via IBM. Like many, Cristina’s first experience with yoga was not a blissful one but after giving it a second chance and trying various styles of Hatha Yoga she found her home in alignment based and therapeutic yoga. A Certified Yoga Instructor through the Asheville Yoga Center with Stephanie Keach, the Triangle Anusara Teacher Training Institute with Lila Brow and Sommer and Paul Sobin, as well as adjunct training with Desiree Rumbaugh and Marc St. Pierre in New England, Cristina has over 530 hours in training. Having studied with world renown teachers Sean Corn, Sarah Powers, and John Friend, she is dedicated to broadening her understanding and practice of Yoga.
Cristina began a devoted yoga practice over 14 years ago and has been teaching yoga for over 10 years. She is eternally grateful for the life transformation she has undergone through her yoga practice. It was through her practice that she realized her passion in life was not Corporate America, but to follow her heart’s calling of inspiring personal growth in others through spreading the light of Yoga – both on and off the mat.
Cristina inspires her students to awaken their innate freedom and radiance by breaking through limitations and discovering new possibilities through their yoga practice. Off the mat, Cristina operates a thriving personal taxi service for her 6 yr old son, James and 3 yr old daughter, Lorna. She enjoys everything creative – cooking, coloring, jewelry making, knitting, and home design. You can often catch her delighting in a book or outdoor activity with the little ones and her husband David near Sunset Beach.
Raleigh native Diala was introduced to yoga in 2011 while earning her B.S. in Nutrition and Dietetics. After a few classes, she noticed a shift in her mind and body. This shift sparked her curiosity about the philosophy of yoga, and lead her to complete her 200 hour YTT in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. In an immersion program, she studied the practices which ultimately help us become our most humble and content selves. She has since taught and participated in yoga across the globe in over 10 countries, including Europe, Asia, and Australia. She spent ten days in silent meditation (Vipassana) in New Zealand to better understand her mind.
Yoga has taught Diala to ride the waves of life instead of trying to fight them. She believes wherever you are in your practice is always enough, but when you’re ready she’ll give you the extra push you need to pass your expectations.
Erin is a west coast transplant to NC from the mountains of northern Nevada. She relocated to North Carolina in 2007 to study molecular biology at UNC-Chapel Hill. She came to yoga in quite an ordinary way, hoping to gain some flexibility and strength, but quickly discovered yoga as a way to manage anxiety and depression. After years of developing a daily practice of asana and meditation, she has come to understand yoga as a path to freedom through healing of the body, mind, and spirit.
In 2016, Erin received her 200-hr teaching certification from Republic of Yoga under the guidance of yoga fairy and disco queen, Nicole Nichols. Erin guides a rigorous, flowing asana supported by playful, uplifting tunes and a shared intention to connect to our highest potential. She is grateful to all of the teachers who have held sacred space for her in their yoga rooms, including her very first teacher, Hollie Sue Mann.
Jaime began practicing in Arizona more than 15 years ago. Yoga has been and is an integral aspect of shaping the person she is today and the person she continually strives to become. Jaime teaches a Vinyasa based practice connecting breadth with movement. Music is an integral part of her classes and she would describe her practice as meditation in motion. Jaime is a proud graduate of Nicole Nichol’s 200-hour teacher training.
Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, Jane moved to Cary, NC with her family at age 10. As a middle schooler, she suffered from chronic tension headaches, and as an alternative treatment solution began practicing Kundalini yoga at the age of 12. As she got older, Jane enjoyed practicing yoga as a form of exercise for many years until her first trip to India where she began to think maybe there was more to yoga than being flexible and doing handstands. She stayed in India to complete a 200-hr training in Hatha Yoga. She has since received training in Gentle and Restorative yoga, as well as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Most recently, Jane became a certified Level 1 Yoga Tune-Up instructor, which revolutionized both her personal practice and teaching style. As a yoga teacher, her passion is to empower practitioners to become students of their own bodies. Her classes emphasize alignment, thoughtful muscle engagement, and increased mindfulness. Jane’s favorite yoga pose of all time is lying with her legs up the wall, and she’s been known to fall asleep regularly in this position.
E-RYT 200, RYT 500, YACEP earned his RYT200 at Arhanta Yoga Ashram in Khajuraho, India in August 2012. His training was in Classical Hatha Yoga, with a strong focus on yoga’s Hindu culture and philosophy, in the lineage of Swami Sivananda. He also has a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Masters in Divinity.
With over 1,400 teaching hours in studio and private settings, earning both his E-RYT200 and YACEP designations, John brings a great deal of attention and precision to teaching the physical practices of yoga, interweaving each session with yogic philosophy and spirituality in an engaging, conversational manner.
John received advanced training in Adaptive Yoga for injuries and disabilities, and specializes in promoting integration and growth for those who would be physically unable to practice yoga in a studio setting. He has worked with many people with various limitations, and taught them a wide range of techniques that have vastly improved their quality of life.
John has taught the meditation and yoga philosophy component of two yoga teacher trainings. He has also led retreats on The Depth Teachings of Yoga and Meditation. He returned to Arhanta Yoga Ashram in November 2017 to receive his RYT500. The unique characteristic of his teaching is its in-depth focus on the ancient principles and philosophy of classical yoga as developed and handed down by the ancient sages of India.
Karen relocated to NC in 2016 from New York City, has been practicing yoga and meditation for about 18 years. In search for ways to befriend the body, balance the mind and soothe a restless spirit, she recognized instantly Yoga’s ability to re-connect us to a place of peace and grounding within.
With a background as a dancer and dance instructor, and a Masters in Transpersonal Psychology, Karen approaches Yoga as a Moving Meditation – a flowing together of body, breath and being; an empowering pathway towards integration, healing and transformation. Her classes guide students through embodied journeys of self-awareness, self-care and self-expression.
Born and raised in the sultry, southern culture of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Kellye’s personality clearly reflects her heritage—she is a unique blend of sweet charm and Cajun spice! She has worked as a Human Resources professional for nearly 20 years, moving to North Carolina in 2010, when her employer relocated its Louisiana headquarters to Raleigh-Durham.
By virtue of innate skill and many years of experience, Kellye has a gift for working with people, effortlessly sensing their needs and feelings and working as a quiet force for positive change. She helps others find and release their inner calm with understanding and a sense of humor.
In the fall of 2017 Kellye completed her 200 hour teacher training at Republic of Yoga under the guidance of the esteemed Nicole Nichols. Once inclined to avoid the unfamiliar, Kellye has freed her inner “yes” response and is fully embracing life and all its new experiences. Her joy shines most brightly when she is on the mat practicing and teaching yoga and on her much-loved early morning runs.
Lindsay came to Raleigh from Northern California with her husband and three children. She completed her 200-hour Teacher Training with Lila Rasa in 2012. In her classes, you’ll find a playful, lighthearted vibe and a room filled with joy! Lindsay offers thoughtful, easy to understand alignment cues that make yoga accessible and enjoyable for everyone from brand new beginners to seasoned practitioners. With intention, she weaves a heart theme into each class to uplift and inspire students and loves to create the perfect playlist to accompany the flow.
Lindsay offers the deepest gratitude to her family for their love and support, and her teachers Kerri Marchionni and Lila Rasa Brown for encouraging her to shine bright and abide in her abundant heart.
Lisa McCaskill, RYT 200, has been practicing various forms of meditation for the past 25 years. She discovered the physical practice of yoga in 2001 and Yin yoga in 2006 when she was working to recover from Chronic Fatigue. She fell in love with Yin for its still, quiet, meditative aspects. Lisa participated in a Yin Yoga teacher training in 2010 and has had the privilege of participating in workshops with master Yin teachers Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. In 2012, Lisa completed a 230 hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training at the Asheville Yoga Center that included a weekend with Viniyoga founder, Gary Kraftsow. Currently, Lisa teaches Yin, Restorative, and Gentle yoga classes as a way of offering relaxation and meditation techniques to others in hopes of helping everyone have a healthy lifestyle and peace of mind. Lisa is also a trained Life Coach who offers Life Coaching sessions to women who want to incorporate a more Mindful approach to living.
Miriam (RYT 200) has received her teaching certification through the guided talent of Nicole Nichols at Republic of Yoga. She took her first yoga class over ten years ago on a whim in York, Maine. As she continued to practice, the on-the-mat/off-the-mat correlation began to unfold, and she continues to learn every day. She honors the many teachers that she has practiced with and continues to offer gratitude to her very first guides, Rae Lynn Stackpoole & Jeff Peltz of Yoga on York.
Today, Miriam sees yoga as a powerful methodology that provides physical, mental, emotional and spiritual opportunity. Her classes offer you a practice that is safe, light-hearted and fun; while fostering the possibility to embed lasting effects.
Prarna is honored to share the ancient system of yoga as a path to wholeness with the community in the Triangle area, a place that she’s been proud to call home with her family for over a decade. Her classes intend to give students a combination of gentle, breath-guided asana (movement), meditation, pranayama (breathwork), yoga philosophy and chanting. Prarna (RYT 200) is a graduate of the 2016 Republic of Yoga teacher training under the guidance of the esteemed Nicole Nichols. She is grateful for all of the teachers and teachings that have inspired her path.
A seasoned E-RYT 500 Yoga Alliance® Instructor, Ronen has been teaching Yoga and Meditation since 2005. Aside from Yoga, Ronen continues to explore and practice various spiritual paths and philosophies, including the Tao, Tai Chi and Qigong, as well as South American traditions.
In his classes, Ronen stresses relaxation and elongation, as well as breathing techniques. The classes and workshops Ronen offers include various classic yogic asanas, as well as short yoga flow sequences. Ronen’s Yin Yoga sessions focus primarily on work that is more internal in nature; discovering the deeper aspects of the practice.“My aim,” explains Ronen, “is the individual’s personal exploration of the body, mind and soul.”
Ronen is very approachable. If you have any questions, you may reach him via the various social networks, as well as through his www.NCYogi.com website.
Ryan came to yoga from a background in martial arts. In 2013, he hesitantly
stepped into a yoga class that had replaced the Tai Chi class he used to take.
He found himself taking two classes the next week, then three, until the
practice became an integral part of his life.
He received his 200 RYT training under the guidance of Nicole Nichols at
Republic of Yoga in 2016. His classes feature flowing asana sequences, attention to alignment, music, and meditation.
An artist by profession, Susan has witnessed the many connections between the practice of yoga and the creative process. “As an artist, I know that beauty abounds in the simplest of things; and as a yogi, I know it very much resides in each of us. If I can help someone see and experience this, well…. What better gift could I give? “
In 2014, Susan took her first training at the Yoga Garden with Dharma Richards and is a recent graduate of Republic of Yoga’s 2017 200-hour training program under the guidance of Nicole Nichols.
Through breath and movement, Susan’s classes focus on finding balance, strength, and connection to self. Susan hopes to inspire peace and promote happiness both on and off the mat.
Terri’s journey with yoga started in 2008 when she popped in Rodney Yee’s – Power Yoga DVD in her own living room. From then on, she continued practicing at home and at local studios. After each practice, Terri always felt amazingly refreshed and renewed and she knew there was much more to the practice. Not only did she see benefits from practicing on the mat, she knew it was doing so much more for her ~ body, mind, and soul.
She studied under the guidance of Nicole Nichols at Republic of Yoga in Cary, NC and received her RYT 200 hour teaching certification in 2017. She also holds Reiki and CPR certifications. Terri’s classes offer a well-structured Vinyasa flow with attention to subtle body energies, spirituality and meditation alongside a complimenting playlist.
Zora Savage completed her 200 hours yoga teacher training with her first yoga teacher Dharma Richards in 2010. She continues her study of traditional Ashtanga yoga, and has 200 hours of intensive study with David Garrigue, one of the few US Yoga teachers certified by world-renowned master Sri K. Patthabi Jois. She also studies with Tim Feldman and David Keil, and is currently working on Ashtanga Advanced A Series.
Zora is passionate in her teaching about alignment, strength, fluidity and the individuality of each student. She frequently integrates pranayama (breathing practices), yoga philosophy and meditation with her classes, and loves to work with students in one-on-one settings, making yoga accessible to any level of practitioner.