JoAnn Lyons 4 2016 small


Teacher for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Yoga for People with Special Needs

JoAnn Lyons began taking yoga classes in the very early 70's and finally began teaching yoga to people with Disabilities in October of 1996 at the Cerebral Palsy Center (now known as Ability Now Bay Area) in Oakland, California as part of her Advanced Studies Program training at Piedmont Yoga Studio. She had no idea what she was doing, but figured that she should just teach yoga. That philosophy has served her well it seems, as she now teaches four classes at the CP Center as well as classes for people with special needs and disabilities at You and the Mat, Piedmont.  JoAnn believes that everyone can do yoga and has dedicated, well-trained assistants and volunteers who help her make the classes really special, fun and accessible to all. She has a unique ability to imagine the possibilities of asana (yoga poses) for her students and to see just where a student needs support or when she needs to get out of the way and let her student find the perfect pose.

Through PYC, she also offers an annual workshop on Teaching Yoga to People with Disabilities in Oakland as well as offering this workshop outside the Bay Area. She recently taught workshops at Balance Bethlehem, Bethlehem, New Hampshire, The Yoga Seed in Sacramento, California and Yoga Fitness Center in Missoula, Montana.

Contact: (510) 261-8165 or Email JoAnn

cheryl headshot 2015CHERYL FENNER BROWN, PYT

Director of the Yoga for Cancer program, 2010-2015
Principle Investigator of the Healing Yoga for Cancer Research Project

As a yoga therapist with over 500 hours of experience, Cheryl has trained with master teachers from Piedmont Yoga Studio and the Integrative Yoga Therapy schools and she blends both traditional Hatha teachings and alignment principles with subtle energy work and intuitive healing.As a teacher, she has taught over 4,000 hours of public classes, workshops and retreats in studios and cancer centers nationwide, and serves on the faculty of teacher training and yoga therapy schools. As a researcher, her Healing Yoga for Cancer Survivorship study on the benefits of yoga for reducing side-effects of cancer treatment has been presented at IAYT's Symposium on Yoga Research and the Society of Integrative Oncology's annual conferences in 2015 and highlighted in Yoga Journal. Cheryl is also a published author with three Yoga Nidra CDs and a companion DVD to the cancer research available in her discography. Please visit for more information.

Contact: (510) 290-2641 or Email Cheryl

Bethany Hobbs1BETHANY HOBBS  

Director for Yoga for Cancer program 2016-


Bethany Hobbs is a California native who discovered yoga as a means for deep healing in 2004. She has worked closely with and accumulated many hours of study under Alice Joanou of Oakland, is trained in Restorative Yoga and has a background in bodywork and holistic wellness. Bethany began teaching in 2009.

A lifetime of passion and curiosity around spiritual well-being led her to discover the work that Cheryl Fenner Brown was offering through integrated yoga therapy and research at Cancer Support Community in Walnut Creek. Bethany completed 100 hours of mentorship and study with Cheryl in 2015 and now teaches Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra at CSC. Bethany also teaches integrated Hatha classes at Mountain Yoga in Oakland, as well as chair yoga and meditation for older adults at The Lake Merritt Independent Senior Living. For more information, visit


Teacher for Yoga for People with Developmental Disabilities

Lin believes in the transformative power of yoga! She's dedicated herself to the study and teaching of yoga for the past 14 years after leaving a career in corporate marketing. Lin is a 2001 graduate of Piedmont Yoga Studio's intensive teacher training program under Rodney Yee. She also apprenticed with senior Iyengar teacher, John Schumacher in Washington, DC, studied for a month with the Iyengars in Pune, India, and completed a 400+ hour continuing education training with Mary Paffard at Yoga Mendocino in 2009. In her classes, Lin emphasizes the coordination of movement and breath, guiding students in building strength, flexibility and endurance, as well as reducing stress.

ValJew 1


Teacher for Yoga for People with Disabilities

Valerie Jew brings to the community a wealth of experience as a doTerra Wellness Advocate, Reiki practitioner and Urban Zen Integrative Therapist. She believes in "any amount" for any body, encouraging each person to do their own self healing through a variety of modalities that are integrated together. Visit her at BORP on Tuesdays from 1:00-2:30 pm

Contact Valerie at

michi clementsMICHI CLEMENTS                                  

Teacher for Yoga for Cancer

Michi is a Niroga Institute trained Yoga Therapist and Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher. As the daughter of a Buddhist priest in Japan, she was taught from an early age to be humble and gracious. Michi felt an instant body, mind and spirit connection when taking her first yoga class in 2003 and began teaching in 2005. She believes that we can find true happiness and contentment free of illness through an integrated yoga practice.

Michi has taught the "Healing Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors" class at Alta Bates Hospital. and is currently teaching at the Cancer Support Center in Walnut Creek.



Assistant for Yoga for People with Special Needs

Rushina Patel discovered yoga while visiting family in India in 1992. Upon returning to Oakland she started taking classes at Piedmont Yoga Studio and has been learning, practicing, and rediscovering yoga ever since. In 2003, she completed the Piedmont Yoga Studio Advanced studies Program at Piedmont Yoga Studio. While primarily studying with teaches in the Iyengar tradition, she's also explored other hatha yoga methods and loves how there is a yoga practice to meet the needs of every body. Rushina has been fortunate to have studied with several wonderfully gifted teachers over the past 19 years and she's happy to share what she's learned.

Firat Yener1


Assistant for Yoga for People with Special Needs

Firat Yener, E-RYT 500, Yoga Alliance, graduated from Piedmont Yoga Studio's Advanced Studies Program led by Rodney Yee in 1996. He has since taught weekly classes and workshops at various studios, health clubs, and schools in the San Francisco Bay Area, most notably, San Francisco Bay Club Tennis, Environmental Protection Agency's Federal Fitness, and Kaiser Permanente. His students ranged from day-care aged children to adolescents at middle schools, senior citizens to members of the special needs community.

He first began working with JoAnn Lyons in 2008, teaching a weekly class at the Providence House in Oakland. He recently joined PYC's popular Saturday afternoon classes led by JoAnn as a permanent assistant and substitute teacher. 

Firat has studied with Donald Moyer of Yoga Room, Berkeley, from 1998 until Mr. Moyer's retirement in 2014. He has a daily practice of asana, pranayama and Vipassana meditation and continues his studies with various senior teachers. 

Aileen KimAILEEN KIM                                    

Assistant for Yoga for People with Special Needs

Aileen was bitten by the yoga bug in 2008. She is a graduate of the Piedmont Yoga Deep Yoga Teacher Training Program, and continues to study with Richard Rosen, Vickie Russell Bell, and Baxter Bell, Since 2013, she has been assisting JoAnn Lyons' class for people with disabilities and continues to learn how yoga can be accessible to all.


Charis Moore2015CHARIS MOORE                                  

Assistant for Yoga for Cancer

Charis is a 2013 graduate of the Deep Yoga Program, a 225 hour advanced study course of traditional and modern yoga at Piedmont Yoga.  She was drawn to the healing power of yoga after surviving breast cancer twice, followed by lymphoma.  In 2011, Charis retired from the practice of law where she spent many years representing and advocating on behalf of people with disabilities.  When she began to work with JoAnn Lyons in her classes for people with disabilities, she was excited to see how yoga brought peace and strength to the students.  As a survivor, Charis knows from personal experience how yoga can make people feel more connected and positive about their bodies.  She continues to study with Vickie Russell Bell and Cheryl Fenner Brown, with whom she recently completed a yoga therapy mentorship.

Zoe SheldonZOË SHELDON                                  

Assistant for Yoga for Cancer

Zoë is a graduate of the 200-hour teacher training at Namaste Yoga & Wellness in Berkeley and 
has done additional training in restorative yoga with Vickie Russell Bell and SmartFlow with 
Annie Carpenter. 

A native Vermonter, her professional background is in environmental conservation and nonprofit 
work, though she has also worked in journalism, editing, and veterinary medicine. She’s hugely 
enthusiastic about the growing presence of yoga and mindfulness practices in healthcare. Zoë 
sees yoga as a path to self-knowledge, profound connection, and joy, and is delighted to be part 
of the Yoga for Cancer team.  


elle 2808 yogapicELLE VAYERS-JOHNSON, MA                                

Assistant for Yoga for People with Developmental Disabilities

Elle graduated from The Yoga Room, Berkeley, CA Advanced Studies Program, 500 hours. She has practiced yoga for over 30 years. She teaches beginning level Iyengar style yoga at East Bay Judo Institute in El Cerrito. She's led several weekends for 4 years at Wilbur Hot Springs. Elle assists JoAnn Lyons at the Cerebral Palsy Center & Lin Maxwell at Clausen House. Elle first taught yoga with her Montessori students, and since 2009 with mostly young moms at the Judo Institute. She enjoys the challenge of teaching yoga to people with varying disabilities and needs. She particularly enjoys the great divergency of the people including gifted teachers. It's a joy to see what a positive, helpful influence yoga is for so many. Elle continues learning from Master teachers Donald Moyer and Ada Lusardi, and is dedicated to on-going study, trainings and practice. Elle has particular gratitude for yoga in working with grief, loss, physical challenges, and for supporting her spiritually and holistically as an artist and in whatever life brings.
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