Yoga Teacher Training Faculty

YuMee Chung

YuMee Chung (she/her) E-RYT-500 YACEP is a former securities lawyer who  left a busy practice to engage more deeply with life. More than 20 years  later, she is a card carrying yoga nerd, movement educator, writer and mother of cats.

Known for her uplifting, breath-driven classes and intelligent, organic  sequencing, she is a kind-hearted and relatable teacher who communicates about the most subtle and nuanced parts of the yogic journey with  clarity and grace. Students can expect an impeccable practice that  strikes a sweet balance between spirit and sweat.

YuMee is the Toronto Star’s resident yoga columnist and creator of The Moves, a weekly yoga video series. She is the founder of Passport to Prana, the original multi-studio yoga passport. She has also opened and co-directed two Toronto-based yoga studios, Jivamukti Yoga Toronto and Octopus Garden Yoga Centre, as well as serving as Modo International’s Director of Studio Development. She regularly leads workshops, trainings and retreats around the globe, with a focus on Europe, Asia, and South East Asia.

Taryn Diamond

Taryn (she/her) will forever call herself a ‘new mom’, despite having a five year old.

Her entry to yoga was through movement, but her passion ruminates in studying its roots in Eastern philosophy.

She is unabashed in her commitment to cheesy jokes and not taking this thing called ‘life’ too seriously.

Taryn is most passionate about teaching movement that breeds self-inquiry and compassion. Her classes purposefully amp up the agency of her students because, ultimately, we all have the best teachers within us.

If she had to pick one modality to be monogamous with, it would be Yoga Nidrā. Through nidrā, Taryn is able to express the golden nuggets embedded within the philosophy of yoga, while also facilitating some meaningful rest for her students.

Taryn holds the Yoga Alliance’s highest certifications, ERYT-500 and YACEP. This program can be counted as continuing education credits within the Yoga Alliance.

Diana Harpwood

Diana began her journey with yoga in 2003 while completing a degree in Contemporary Dance at York University.

Yoga helped her build strength and balance in her body and also helped her to become more mindful and aware of her breath and the connection it has with her movements.

After many years of practice and the urge to pass on her knowledge and passion, Diana decided to become a yoga teacher and then a Comprehensive Pilates teacher.

Diana’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Dance, the 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training at Yoga By Sarah in 2010 and a 475 Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training program at Movement Unlimited.

Her students will feel strong and agile in their asanas, graceful as they flow with their breath, and peaceful as they become connected body, mind and spirit.

April Janzen

April is known for her creative and compassionate teaching style. Looking to bring real life onto the mat and the mat into real life you can expect to be challenged, supported and have your imagination awakened in her classes.

Being a social worker in the field for almost 15 years, April started to see a need for body based trauma treatment and this began her journey to become a yoga teacher. Wanting to merge her faith with her love for yoga and trauma treatment she completed 500 hours of Christian faith based yoga and another 300 hours of Trauma Centre Trauma Sensitive Yoga under the leadership of David Emerson at the Centre for Trauma and Embodiment

After teaching for several years April decided to take her training further and enrolled in a 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program through YogaSpace in Toronto. Here, she found herself gaining a deeper understanding of the practice and finding the intersectons between her faith and yoga in a new and profound way. It was here that she truly found her voice as a teacher.

Lisa Messina

My passion for movement studies began when I was called to dance at the age of three, and has been growing ever since. My earliest years were spent studying a multitude of dance forms, which led to a professional career in the performing arts. After years of struggling with the stress that came with a bustling career in the arts, a re-occurring dance related injury, and chronic illness, I decided to change paths to explore the healing arts of yoga and Pilates.

Lisa is a fully certified Pilates teacher and has completed 500 hours of Yoga Teacher Training between YYoga and Octopus Garden. Building on this work, she recently completed the Functional Range Conditioning® Certification Program with Dr. Andreo A. Spina and obtained the title Certified FRC Mobility Specialist.

I am passionate about teaching because it allows me to weave all of my education and life experience together into something I can share with others who have an interest in holistic movement-based healing. I am committed to providing a safe, innovative, and integrated space for students to explore their own truth, and to engage in the process of healing. The goal of my work is to enhance quality of life through greater awareness, understanding, resiliency, and compassion.

Katie Pearson

At a young age I knew that God was real, that He loved me, and that He loved all of His creation, including every soul whether they knew it or not.  I entered adulthood committed to running, writing, and finding myself elected to leadership roles that I wasn’t confident in fulfilling. I even quit a few, only to label myself a “failure” – at least for a time. There were a few key women, including coaches and pastors, who saw in me what I couldn’t see in myself. Their influence is truly where “Be New” began to take shape and I began to the shed the layers of my false self and discover who God made me to be.

As an E-RYT-500, Katie has occupied many senior leadership roles in the yoga community both as a studio owner, on faculty for Yoga Teacher Training Programs and the Director of Leadership for  large international ministry.

In terms of certifications, I am a Certified Professional Life Coach (CPLC) through Christian Coach Institute and Associate Certified Coach (ACC) through the International Coach Federation, with additional training in Group and Team Coaching. I have an M.A. in English Literature, am an E-RYT and YACEP through Yoga Alliance. 

Nicky Poole

Nicky (she/her) was born in Aotearoa (New Zealand), and has now settled Tkaronto (Toronto) where she lives with her two sons and husband.
Her embodied movement practice flows through the veins of the Prana Flow lineage created by Shivea Rea whom she has studied with since 2006. Alongside two decades of yoga training, she enjoys studies with the Axis Syllabus community in non-linear movement modalities and the indigenous martial art of Kerala.
To better understand “modern yoga”, her focus has shifted over the years towards the emerging academic field of yogic studies. In 2019 she completed the Yoga Studies program at the University of London and she continues part-time through the Yogic Studies platform with ongoing research into the diverse historical traditions of yoga.
She has worn many hats over the past twenty years: as a studio owner in both Vietnam and Canada, and lead teacher trainer for hundreds of students in teacher training programs. In 2020, she sold her shares in her brick and mortar studio and began a new yoga adventure with the creation of Leelapod – a digital yoga platform, alongside YuMee Chung and David Choy.

Heather Wallace

Heather began her yoga journey as a young teen, looking for a healthy outlet to spend her time. Initially it was the physical benefits that sparked her interest to yoga, but she quickly began to feel the effects yoga had on all areas of her life.Heather used her yoga practice to keep herself feeling balanced; as she struggled with anxiety, depression, self-harm and her father’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease. Yoga always felt like the “light at the end of the tunnel.”As she fell deeper in love with her practice, she knew that yoga was meant for her, and was something that she eventually wanted to be able to share with others.

Heather started her Pilates journey after a surgery left her feeling estranged in her own body. She loved how it complimented her yoga practice, and when the opportunity arose for her to become an instructor she didn’t think twice about saying yes!

Her goal is to help others see their potential, and never to shy away from who they are. Her classes focus on turning inwards, and learning to find the beauty in the imperfections in life. She wants to continue to take more training and continue to learn and grow as an instructor.

Heather’s qualifications include the 200 Hour yoga teacher training at Yoga by Sarah and Teaching Yoga to Seniors as well as a 475 hour Comprehensive Pilates Teacher Training Program from Movement Unlimited. Heather is a Nationally Certified Pilates Teacher through the Pilates Method Alliance.