JoAnn Lyons 4 2016 small


Teacher for Yoga for People with Disabilities Chronic Conditions

JoAnn Lyons began taking yoga classes in the very early 70’s and finally began teaching yoga classes for 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 to the students who showed up.  That philosophy has served her well it seems, as over the next 20+ years, she was asked to add three more classes at the CP Center and teach two public classes weekly for people with disabilities and chronic conditions at Nest Yoga Studio in 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. 

In this time of COVID19, she immediately started teaching classes on Zoom and has been rewarded by being able to see, talk with, and still teach many of the students who faithfully attended classes at Nest Yoga Studio.  And a surprising reward was being able to connect with many students who used to come to the class, but have moved away, students who came once or twice to the class, but found it very difficult to get there again because of parking or transportation, and to meet some new students who found their way to the classes online.  She’s looking forward to the day when classes can safely be held in the yoga studio again, but in the meantime, she is grateful to be able to provide yoga classes and reminders to all her students to breathe!

For many years, through PYC, she has offered an annual workshop on Teaching Yoga to People with Disabilities in Oakland as well as offering this workshop outside the Bay Area at: Balance Bethlehem, Bethlehem, New Hampshire; The Yoga Seed and It’s All Yoga, both in Sacramento, California; Yoga Fitness Center in Missoula, Montana; and Calm Collective in Sidcup, Kent, UK.

Contact: (510) 318-1913 or Email JoAnn


cheryl headshot 2015CHERYL FENNER BROWN, PYT

Director of the Yoga for Cancer program, 2010-2015 & Teacher Training Programs
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




Teacher for Yoga for People with Developmental Disabilities

Lin believes in the transformative power of yoga! She's dediated herself to the study and teaching of yoga for the past 20+ 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, where she trained in adaptive yoga with JoAnn Lyons and has worked together with her teaching people with disabilities for almost two decades. 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. 
Lin is currently Wellness Director and Head Yoga Teacher at Ability Now Bay Area, serving people with Cerebral Palsy and other developmental disabilities. She has taught at Clausen House for over 10 years and also teaches classes for able bodied students at numerous locations in the East Bay.




Assistant for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

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 Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

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 Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

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.



BETHANY HBethanyHobbs 2626OBBS                                    

Assistant for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

Bethany Hobbs has taught yoga for over a decade, and has an extensive background in holistic health.

She has trained with both JoAnn Lyons and Cheryl Fenner Brown, among other pillars of the Oakland adaptive yoga community, and her work has largely been centered in older adult communities. Bethany is honored to assist JoAnn’s Saturday afternoon classes.

Bethany holds a BA from Mills College. She also leads yoga nidra classes and is a private hire health advocate and care manager. Integrated community building is a high priority in her life, as well as her commitment to learning. She loves reading novels and hiking.



elle 2808 yogapicELLE VAYERS-JOHNSON, MA                                

Assistant for Yoga for People with Developmental Disabilities

Elle began teaching yoga with her 3-6 year old Montessori students. Since graduating from The Yoga Room, CA Advanced Studies Program, 500 hours, elle has been dedicated to ongoing study through trainings and workshops to fine tune and grow her practice and teaching. Over the years elle’s taught yoga with adults in weekly & weekend classes in several locations. She assisted and taught at ABNA & in recent years has focused on working with Developmentally Disabled students @ Clausen House, where she assists Lin Maxwell & substitute teaches. She is currently developing her yoga/art home studio. Elle has particular gratitude for yoga in working with grief, loss, physical challenges, and for supporting her holistically and spiritually as an artist, teacher, and in whatever life may bring.




Katherine LindbergKATHERINE LINDEBURG                                 

Assistant for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

Katherine discovered yoga in 2001 and immediately felt its transformative power. As a teacher (RYT-500), she has been sharing her passion for movement, self-exploration, and self-compassion since 2012 and working with PYC since 2016. She has studied and taught a wide range of styles, including Iyengar, alignment-based vinyasa, children’s yoga, senior yoga, pelvic floor yoga, yoga for people with disabilities, and restorative yoga. Ultimately, however, Katherine is drawn to the compassionate curiosity that all types of yoga encourages, and she remains committed to making yoga accessible for anyone who has an interest, regardless of age, physical or mental abilities.





laura quidatoLaura Quidato                                  

Assistant for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

Exploration, learning, and play are the shared factors in Laura’s two passions- travel and yoga. After years of experiencing different styles of yoga while exploring the world, followed by several years working to help others plan their own travel adventures, she is now excited to lead and support others through the journey of their yoga practice. In teaching and assisting classes (Vinyasa, Hatha, Restorative, and Yoga for People with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions) she motivates each student to tune into their own body, mind, and energy to deeply connect to the body’s wisdom and find their own unique practice. She is happy to be home in the Bay Area and honored to have found a yoga community of warm, openhearted students and some of the most respected, transformative yoga teachers in Nest Yoga.

Vanessa PrattVanessa Pratt                                  

Assistant for Yoga for People with Disabilities & Chronic Conditions

Vanessa (she/her pronouns) has been practicing yoga since 2003, instructing since 2018, and serving as a Piedmont Yoga Community assistant since 2019.  She came initially to yoga because of a $30 for 30 day deal, then again some years later to nurse a heartbreak, and knew she had entered a long-term relationship with the practice when she found herself doing yogic breathing during a particularly hard meeting one afternoon at work.  She completed a 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2014 at Barefoot Movement in Oakland, and has accrued about 100 additional hours of continuing education since beginning to teach in 2018, including PYC's Teaching Yoga to People with Disabilities and Chronic Conditions workshop.  

These days, Vanessa is grateful for how yoga serves as a mirror; a mirror of her embodiment, her self-compassion, and her presence that day.  She looks forward to practicing together some day soon!