Heartwood strives to be a place of healing, discovery, and wonder in an environment that celebrates nature, art, self sustaining lifestyles, and the human potential. We are committed to offering the best yoga oriented programs and personal growth experiences in an enriching atmosphere, so we pay attention to even the smallest details to create an uplifting, sacred space for learning, sharing, and connecting. Our hope is to offer comprehensive educational programs that are also joyful pleasure, and to keep these programs affordable so everyone can enjoy time with us to gain empowerment, wisdom, new skills, and inspiration .
Heartwood Yoga Institute was originally called Heartwood Retreat Center, an outreach facility of a yoga studio in Sarasota called Reflex Yoga & later, Heartwood Yoga that opened in 2010. The retreat center property was acquisitioned as a place for hosting yoga education programs & teacher certification programs to provide a more inspirational training experience than can be had in a studio setting. In 2017, the owners gave the studio in town to one of their esteemed students to better focus on the development and goals of the retreat center. As Heartwood went through the process to become IAYT accredited and expanded to offer additional advanced training programs, the school's role as a quality yoga education facility became recognized as it's primary purpose.
Ginny East Shaddock is an ERYT-500 yoga teacher, RCYT (Registered Children's Yoga Teacher) a certified yoga therapist with IAYT (International Association of Yoga Therapists), a Reiki Master and a trained Ayurveda Counselor from the Kerala Institute, India. She has a BA in Business Management from Eckerd College and a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Lesley University.
Her extensive background in dance, yoga and the healing arts have helped her create a multi-faceted school with an educational program that combines arts awareness, physical training and mind-body awareness for ever-broadening learning experiences. She is the director Heartwood Yoga Institute, and the founder of the Florida Reiki Association, as well as Yoga for the Balanced Child, a YA certification program designed to qualify teachers to share yoga with children ages 3-teen.
Ginny has long been an advocate of the mind body connection. Formerly, Ginny had an extensive career in dance. After a few years performing and choreographing in NY, she taught at the Broadway Dance Center, Steps, Raoul Gelebert Studios , Steps, New York University, Vassar College and other facilities in New York City and was named one of the top ten teachers in NY in 1989 by Dance Pages Magazine. She traveled the country teaching for Dance Masters of America and other dance organizations, and created Kiddance, a newsletter and training program for youth dance education which was featured in Dance Magazine. She was the director of FLEX Dance in Florida for 17 years until she felt it was time to retire from dance. Ginny transitioned to yoga and holistic practices in 2006, focusing her natural aptitude for teaching and program development to creating Heartwood Yoga Institute and associated programs.
David Shaddock is an ERYT-500 yoga teacher and Reiki Master, as well as Thai Chi and shamanism enthusiast. Currently, David is in school to become an LMT and Cranio Sacral therapist. He is our "science guy" teaching anatomy, physiology and the science of crystals, energy, and more. David is a licensed Professional Engineer in both mechanical and electrical fields, as well as having a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. He is also an airplane, seaplane and hot air balloon pilot, a master gardener, a former paramedic, a musician (guitar sitar, piano), wood crafter, champion canoe racer, writer, gourmet chef, and more - which defines his love of learning and passion for exploring life in all its diversity.
David's love of teaching shines as well, and he brings a great deal of that love and his omnipresent creativity to each of the classes he teaches. His medical background (he was one of the first five Certified Emergency Cardiac Technicians in Illinois, and one of the first privately registered paramedics there as well) allows him to lecture yoga teacher trainees on anatomy and physiology, with special attention to inversions and prānāyāma. He has a particular affinity for Aerial Yoga and his anatomy of inversion course is insightful thanks to his experience in medicine, flying and yoga. We thank David for is hard work and ingenuity, as his creative mind and muscle is the reason we have a medicine wheel, labyrinth, amazing meditation areas, koi ponds and so much more at Heartwood.
Denver is a certified ERYT-500 teacher and RCYT (Children's yoga teacher) with Yoga Alliance and an LMT currently studying to become C-IAYT Yoga Therapy Certified. She previously owned and operated Blue Mountain Yoga studio in Blue Ridge Ga from 2009-2016 and is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Sarasota as director of the Yoga teacher's training programs at Heartwood.
Denver is also the resident Massage Therapist offering customized sessions utilizing aromatherapy, reiki, hot stones, sound healing and more for the ultimate healing experience.
The discovery of yoga has offered Denver the opportunity to connect with her mind, body and breath at a spiritual level that has transformed her life from the inside out. As a life long full bodied woman, yoga has helped heal Denver's relationship with body image and self esteem and her classes resonate with lessons of self awareness and acceptance. Denver's goal as a teacher is to share yoga with people of all body types and experience levels and she believes that yoga has the power to change everyone's life for the better. She is the creator of Full Bodied Yoga, a program that uses yoga, breath work, journaling and self-love practices to encourage body positivity.
Denver spent many years studying dance and voice. She attended the BFA program at UCF before turning her passions to yoga. She is a devoted mother, vocalist, creative silversmith jewlery artist and spiritual advocate. She is also Ginny Shaddock's daughter, and most likely, the successor of Heartwood Yoga.
As a yoga instructor, Kim is passionate to share the healing benefits that yoga has brought to her life. Through her years of personal practice she has witnessed the absolute serenity, stress and anxiety management, as well as the beautiful physical benefits of yoga. She contributes yoga as the catalyst that has guided and supported her through some of the most difficult and tragic times in her life.
Kim completed her training at Heartwood Yoga Institute and holds both ERYT-200 & RYT-500 certifications and she is currently studying Yoga Therapy. She maintains an active registration with Yoga Alliance and abides by its governing standards and practices.
Kim offers a calm and supportive atmosphere in her classes which include but are not limited to: Restorative Aroma Yoga; Yoga Nidra, Gentle Yoga, Vinyasa Flow and Chair Yoga. She encourages open communication with her students so they can receive the most benefit from their yoga experience. She offers the gift of healing touch and aromatherapy in her classes as well as inspirational quotes and poems.
Angela Castillo is an RYS-500 certified yoga teacher, having taken her 200 & 300 training at Heartwood. The Venerable Upaśānti Geshema (Layname: Angela Castillo) is fully ordained Gelongma (nun) in the Vajrayāna lineage of Buddhism – more specifically the Tibetan Gelug school. Ven. Upaśānti first met her root guru, Ven. Sudhárma, in 1989 at Chuang Yen Monastery in Carmel, NY. At the request of Ven. Sudhárma, Ven. Upaśānti received full bikshuni ordination in the Theravada lineage of Buddhism in 1990 under the Buddhist Association of the United States (BAUS). It was with their guidance that Ven. Upasanti ultimately made her most profound connection, studying sutra theory and dissemination of sutra with the world renown peace advocate, environmentalist and lifelong monastic, Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, from whom she continues to study with today.
In 1991, Upaśānti received her B.A. from Western Connecticut State University in Medieval Literature with a minor in Critical Literature Theory. Having been awarded a Scholarship of Excellence for Underprivileged Future Achievers in 1993, Upaśānti went on to receive her Graduate Degree in Theological Studies and Philosophical Sciences from Harvard University Divinity School - Online. Upaśānti went on to take full ordination in the Gelug school of Vajrayāna in 2009 in Ithaca, NY, and found her Lotus Guru in His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai A valued member of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions, Upaśānti Geshema also served as a Junior Representative to the UN Commission for World Affairs to eradicate poverty, United Nations Commission for Human Rights and Ethical Treatment, and worked in collaboration with Columbia University’s Institute of Religious Studies, the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch, World Food Programme and The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as The UN Refugee Agency.
Bonnie is a RYT500 Certified Yoga Instructor, focusing on integration of Yoga principles to support overall health and wellness with advanced certification in Chair Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Yoga for Seniors, Yin Yoga. She is currently working on certification in Yoga Therapy. Bonnie’s focus is on safe and effective yoga practices and principles. Bonnie is also our resident glass artist who created the chakra stained glass windows that adorn the studio. She hosts a monthly introduction to stained glass workshop where students can create their own sun catcher with yoga inspired designs.
In addition to her contributions to our yoga trainings, Bonnie is a leader of our monthly Women's Circle.
Pauline Dimitry has been a student and teacher of yoga for 45 years. Her teachers have included Donna Farhi, Judith Hanson Lasater, Roger Cole, Eric Schiffman, Rodney Yee, Angela Farmer, Elise Miller,Victor Van Kooten, Leslie Kaminoff and Francois Raoult.
This eclectic group of teachers has informed Pauline's personal approach to classic Hatha yoga,which is an underlying belief that yoga poses and breathing should be adapted to fit individual needs. Early in her teaching career, she taught at a community college as an alternative to Phys Ed, at the YWCA, churches, continuing education and at a psychiatric ward. For the last 25 years, her interest has been primarily working with students over 50 with an emphasis on improving balance, range of motion, flexibility, increased lung capacity and relaxation of mind and body. In New York State, she has taught in senior and recreation centers, at a Chiropractic College and Chiropractic Clinic, and at the Empire State Senior Games.
She has taken both the RYT-200 & RYT-300 at Heartwood Yoga Institute.
Rachel Belle ERYT-500, received both her 200 and 300 hour certification at Heartwood and also has an a degree in Surgical Technology form Southwest Florida College. Currently she manages a operating room team at Gulf Coast Surgery Center in Sarasota where they specialize in Orthopedic surgery. However, that high stress environment must be balanced out. Rachel came to yoga after a spiral through addiction which left her empty and reaching for more to life’s purpose. This was motivation for her to get to know herself on a deeper level through yoga. Her studies have brought her to a place in her life that she says is unimaginable. “It’s almost like I have lived two separate lives now”. Her classes relieve stress and anxiety, improve balance and flexibility and increase an overall sense of calmness. She is a natural flyer, inviting beginners and advanced practitioners to enjoy the benefits of aerial yoga.
Roberta Rosenthal is an RYT-500, Certified Children's Yoga Instructor and is currently pursuing her yoga therapy certification at Heartwood Yoga Institute. She specializes in yoga on the wheel and holds certifications in Aerial, Senior, Chair, Yin, Restorative, and Meditation… She is a life long learner immersing herself in new studies as well as refreshing her coursework. Inspired by how yoga helped her address her own physical and emotional issues (we all have some), she feels her purpose is to help others by uncovering personal strength, courage, and balance as we navigate through our obstacle course of life. She is a teacher, primary care-giver, mother, and medical advocate.
Mary Ann is a Heartwood Certified RYT-200 yoga teacher and is currently working towards her RYT-500 certification. She maintains and active registration with Yoga Alliance.
Mary Ann fully believes what we need is already inside us. Through yoga and breath, we discover what serves us and what doesn't. Yoga is a way to let go and fully be present and enjoy the journey of life. She is committed to creating a peaceful, restorative and welcoming yoga community that will inspire, encourage and empower every body to feel better. Mind, Body and Soul!
Jen Brown “Zen Jen” is a Certified Yoga Instructor, RYT 500, Registered with Yoga Alliance. She is currently attending advanced teacher education to become a Certified Yoga Therapist at Heartwood Yoga Institute and is a proud member of the Alternative Balance Professional Group.
Jen specializes in the 50 Plus population, she has extended training in Balance, Flexibility & Trauma Informed Yoga. She is additionally Certified in Restorative,YIN, Senior & Chair Yoga. She also holds a Certification for Meditation Instructor and is an Energy Healing Reiki Master. Jen Brown brings Awareness to the Service of others as a Teacher of Presence and is a true Self-Love advocate.
Jens classes are Gentle, Restorative & Healing.
After recovering from back to back car accidents and having some stress as growing family and a working mom Jessica turned to yoga to bring more peace into the household and help heal her body. In the summer of 2017 she received her RYT 200 hour training and the summer of 2018 completed her RYT 500 hour training at Heartwood Yoga Institute. Yoga has also transformed her personal journey in recovery by deepening her meditation practice, expanding upon Spiritual principles, and becoming more mindful of physical health through Asana and Ayurveda. She is continuing her education at Heartwood Yoga Institute and plans to become a Yoga Therapist.