Meet the UPY Team

Our team of highly experienced yoga teachers work together with a unified passion for helping people of all levels learn and practice yoga. Our classes include mindful movement and postures to improve flexibility, mobility, strength, balance, focus, relaxation and peace.

We are so excited to welcome you to our community! All are welcome here!

Jen Palmer

Jen Palmer, Owner and Founder of Universal Power Yoga, is a 500-Hour E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher) with Yoga Alliance. She has over 3,500 hours of teaching experience. Jen is also the Director of UPY’s 200-Hour and 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Programs, which have graduated over 250 yoga teachers.

In 2007, Jen found yoga at a time when she was stressed and working a lot of hours in the corporate world. While training for a marathon, Jen hurt her knee and yoga was recommended. She tried her first class and never looked back. The experience was so incredible, she knew immediately that yoga would be a meaningful part of her life.

A few years later, in 2013, Jen followed her passion and her dreams and opened UPY as a way to share the healing benefits of yoga with as many people as possible. In 2019, UPY expanded and opened a second location in Wrentham.

Jen and her team of highly experienced UPY instructors conduct teacher trainings,...


Sue Bonanno

Sue is our expert in Meditation, Energy and Yoga Philosophy. The founder of SoulSpace Meditation, Sue is passionate about teaching and sharing her wisdom. She is also an expert in Ayurveda, having studied at the Chopra Center and leads us all on the path of peak health. Sue specializes in helping yoga students establish a balanced lifestyle including hot power yoga, meditation and other healthy rituals.

Sue is a 500-Hour E-RYT, YACEP and one of our instructors for UPY’s 200-Hour and 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification Programs!

Take class with Sue!



Cheryl Baumhauer

Cheryl is our in-house anatomy expert with over 20 years of experience working as a Personal Trainer and Yoga Teacher. She is passionate about teaching people to move their bodies with functional movement and awareness of the muscles and bones working together to hold you in a shape. Cheryl is devoted to helping her yoga students with good posture, healthy movement and a focus on making sure that they get the advice that works for them in their particular situation. Cheryl has comprehensive knowledge of how yoga can help prevent and heal various injuries in conjunction with physical therapy.

Cheryl is a 500-Hour E-RYT, YACEP and is our anatomy & sanskrit expert in the 200-Hour and 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification Programs.



Gale Giacobbe

Gale is an alignment expert who uses her 20+ years of yoga experience to share best practices and principles to help her students learn their postures and integrate good form within every class. Gale found yoga when she was in the corporate world. She leverages her skills and experiences to create a yoga class experience of precision, integrity and alignment to help yoga students feel confident in their practice.

Gale is a 500-Hour E-RYT, YACEP and is our alignment expert in the 200-Hour and 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification Programs.

Take Class with Gale!



Lisa Howard

Lisa is a 500-Hour RYT with 15+ years of experience. She loves teaching hot power yoga and building our UPY community! She is dedicated to creating transformation in people’s lives through the power of community, yoga and breathwork. Lisa teaches a class which will have you feeling energized, focused and challenged.

Lisa teaches the power yoga segment of our 200-Hour Teacher Training Certification Program. She is also UPY's Community Lead!

Take class with Lisa!

Sign up for Teacher Training with Lisa!


Mary Walek

Mary is a 500-Hour RYT with 6 years of teaching experience. She teaches All Levels Vinyasa, Slow Flow & Restorative and Yoga Nidra (Yoga Sleep). A former English Teacher, Mary is a natural teacher with wise words to share with her classes about how yoga philosophy can apply to your life. She completed her 200-Hour Teacher Training with UPY in 2016 and her 300-Hour with UPY in 2018. Mary’s classes are known for helping you feel relaxed and ready for a good night's sleep! Sometimes Mary even shares her beautiful singing at the end of her classes!

Mary is a part of our faculty for our 200-Hour and 300-Hour Yoga Teacher Certification Programs. She is also our Client Services Manager!

Take class with Mary!



Eric Palmer

Eric has been practicing yoga since 2010 and took his 200-Hour Teacher Training with Universal Power Yoga in 2018. Eric’s classes are great for anyone who is looking for an all levels, energizing flow with a core focus. You will finish class feeling stronger and more confident!

Take class with Eric!

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Jackie Atencio

Jackie has been teaching yoga since 2015 and has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. She first fell in love with yoga sculpt, as it combined the focus of weights with the focus of yoga. Soon followed her love for heated vinyasa flows, and she now enjoys teaching both! In Jackie's classes, you can expect to be challenged but also know that her priority is that you leave feeling refreshed, supported and encouraged. She believes in meeting yourself where you are at each day both in your physical practice and off of your mat. When Jackie's not at the yoga studio, she enjoys walks with her five-year-old Shiba Inu and spending time with my family and friends!


Julie Atwood

Julie A took her 300-Hour Teacher Training at UPY in 2020, making her a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher. She teaches Power Yoga, Yoga Sculpt and Advanced Yoga Classes. She has been practicing yoga for over 10 years. Don’t blink during her classes, because if you do you might find yourself in arm balances and jump throughs you never thought possible! You can expect to feel strong and energized during Julie’s classes!

Take class with Julie A!


Jill Barry

Jill is a 500 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher with 7 years of teaching experience. She found yoga during a stressful time, and at the recommendation of a cardiologist. After experiencing the overall health benefits and realizing how important a regular yoga practice can be, she decided she wanted to be both a student, and teacher! Jill teaches our All Levels Vinyasa classes and often incorporates the soothing sounds of a chakra drum, gong, and singing bowls to her classes. She loves to see people walk through the door and take well deserved time for themselves.

Take class with Jill!


Rhianne Berardi

Rhianne is a 500-Hour Yoga Teacher...and a powerhouse! She teaches our Power Yoga classes. She took her 300-Hour Teacher Training with UPY in 2020. Rhianne is sure to bring the heat and great music! Her classes are for those who like dynamic movement and energy. Show up, enjoy the challenge and have fun! Off the mat, Rhianne is also a Health Coach.

Take class with Rhianne!

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Carly Blais

Carly is a 200-HR CYT who completed her training at Universal Power Yoga. She came to yoga 8 years ago to manage external stressors but stayed because the teachings inspired internal change and the ongoing pursuit of self-acceptance! Carly is also an artist and enjoys the sensation of the body creating a renewed version of itself each time it leaves the mat.

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Dana DeShiro

Dana DeShiro is a 200-Hour Registered Yoga Teacher and has been practicing yoga for over 15 years, helping her to grow stronger, more flexible, fearless and authentic both on and off the mat! Yoga inspires Dana to be present and live each moment with intention, passion, fun and connection.

Dana’s yoga practice is influenced by Ayurveda, the ebb and flow of the seasons and the chakra system. She teaches an all-levels accessible flow class with a gentle and extended warm-up. Her classes are trauma-informed, fun, light-hearted, inclusive and community focused. Dana likes to emphasize the important connection between breath and movement in her classes. On the mat, Dana brings her playful, warm, joyful spirit and sense of humor to her classes. Off the mat, you’ll find Dana riding her bike and spending time in nature with her two young children!



Courtney Dutch

Courtney is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches our All-Levels vinyasa classes, with a special focus on how yoga works! She has been teaching and practicing yoga for over 10 years. Come to one of Courtney’s classes to learn about the systems of the body, unplug & unwind. She is sure to make every class worthwhile!

Take class with Courtney!

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Julie Elpus

Julie E is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. She teaches All-Levels Vinyasa Yoga and Meditation. Her classes are for everyone who ever thought about wanting to take a yoga class. She will be sure to ease you into poses while offering modifications. Julie's classes are fun, supportive, nurturing and balanced. You are sure to leave with a smile on your face!

Take class with Julie E!


Julie Hall

Julie H is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches All-Levels Vinyasa classes with us. She got her 200-Hour Certification with Universal Power Yoga in 2014 and has been teaching with us ever since! Her classes are fun, balanced and mindful. For Julie, yoga is about self-care and giving yourself time to reset and recharge.

Take class with Julie H!


Carlos Hernandez

Carlos is a 200-Hour RYT and has been teaching Yoga for 7 years. He’s a certified Reiki master, personal trainer and a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. He draws on this diverse background to help his students become more in tune with their bodies by focusing on alignment and the breath. Carlos’s classes are creative and challenging while being accessible to all levels! He is honored and humbled by the opportunity to inspire others to use yoga as a tool to help connect and move inward.


Esther Hogan

Esther is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches Hot All-Levels Vinyasa at UPY. She has been teaching yoga for over 7 years! Esther is great at helping you stay fully present on your mat. Her calm voice and creative sequences will have you feeling contentment and gratitude for your practice!

Take class with Esther!


Katie Kourtis

Katie received her 200-Hour Certification in 2015 and has been teaching ever since. For Katie, Yoga has become not only a practice, but more of a way of life. Katie teaches a fun all levels class, combining a traditional vinyasa practice with an updated twist by using music and creative sequencing. Putting love into preparing for her classes, creating a space where people can come, breathe and just be free is what means the most to her. She hopes that you leave class feeling, refreshed, balanced and more at ease. Teaching and sharing the benefits of yoga is one of Katie’s most favorite things to do… “Just trying to spread some love, one yoga class at a time. “

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Kayla Jones

Kayla is UPY's Operations Coordinator and has been with us since 2017. We also call her our Studio Caretaker, since she helps to keep everything running smoothly! She loves working for UPY because of all the amazing people that it has brought into her life!

Kayla is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who graduated from our UPY Teacher Training in 2021 and is also a Certified Children's Yoga Teacher.


Gigi Kim

Gigi is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches All Levels Vinyasa yoga classes. She took her 200-Hour and 300-Hour Teacher Trainings at UPY in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Her classes are balanced and calming, with smooth sequences that flow and awaken your body and create space for your mind. You will feel that you got your work out in as the challenge slowly builds throughout class! Gigi will take you to where you are meant to be at that moment. You will leave her class feeling strong, grounded and relaxed!

Take class with Gigi!


Paula Leeds

Paula is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches our All-Levels Vinyasa classes, with a special focus on alignment! Her flow and her calming voice are sure to have you feeling relaxed and serene!

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Amy Orsini

Amy did her 200-Hour Teacher Training with UPY in 2019 and has been regularly teaching since then! In addition to a moving meditation (yoga flow), she loves to offer inspirational words of wisdom from the ancient yoga teachings that we can apply to real life during her classes. With a different theme and fun playlist each week, you will build strength by holding poses and tone our abs. You will leave Amy's class with a renewed mind and body!

Take Class with Amy!


Shweta Patel

Shweta is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who graduated from our UPY Teacher Training in 2020. She has been studying yoga her whole life and loves to learn and teach. She teaches a slow, mindful yoga class as well as all levels vinyasa flow classes. Shweta has a calm, steady presence and a compassionate heart!


Danielle Piccarini

Danielle P. is a 200-Hour Certified yoga teacher who dabbled in the world of yoga for many years. Her experience as a dancer and former dance instructor led her to believe that yoga was simply a good way to stretch. During a particularly stressful time in her legal career, she turned to yoga and the lightbulb finally went off! Yoga truly changed her life. She completed her training at UPY in 2020 and quickly discovered her love for teaching a powerful, slower flow that allows you to settle in the pose and truly notice what’s happening in your body, breath, and mind. Her creative flows may leave you wondering what’s coming next and the playlist will never disappoint. You’ll finish class feeling stronger, grounded, calm, and peaceful.

Take class with Danielle P!


Dawn Richardson

Dawn is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher who teaches All Levels Vinyasa Flow and Power Yoga. She took her 200-Hour Training at UPY in 2019. Dawn's passion is health and wellness including yoga and non-toxic skincare! Dawn is always studying yoga and curious to learn more and grow as a teacher!

Take class with Dawn!

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Shannon Rolston

Shannon is a 500-hour yoga teacher with 10 years of teaching experience. She aspires to teach the kind of class that she loves to take – challenging, fun, fluid and balanced, with room to explore and get a little messy! The challenge and inspiration for each practice is to show up, step out of the box, and trust that the practice will lead you where you need to be.

Take class with Shannon!

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Sam Scarafone

Sam is an all-embracing 500-RYT who teaches an energetic and revitalizing class! Her overall goal for her students is to be able to provide an open space to find joy and mindfulness on the mat. Her intention as a Yoga teacher is to guide others towards awareness in self-love, as well as providing a meaningful asana practice based on inner calm, happiness and overall growth!

Sam completed her 200 - Hour Yoga Teacher training in November 2020, and her 300-Hour Advanced Yoga Teacher Training in June 2021...both at UPY!

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Danielle Sciotti

Danielle S is one of our All-Levels Vinyasa yoga teachers. She has been practicing yoga for 9 years and is a 200-Hour RYT. Danielle likes to work a little bit of everything into her classes…creative sequences, detailed alignment cues and upbeat playlists! You will leave her class feeling strong and ready for your day!

Take class with Danielle S!


Rachel Smoller

Rachel is a 500-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher, specializing in Prenatal Yoga & All Levels Vinyasa Flow. Her classes are well-balanced, safe and calming, the perfect way to take care of yourself during busy times.

Take class with Rachel!


Erin Wachtendonk

Erin took her 200-Hour Certification at UPY in 2013 and she's been teaching with us ever since! We love her fun classes, creative practice and focus on breath. Erin balances her corporate career with yoga and skiing in VT!

Take class with Erin!

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Kim Whalen

Kim completed her 200-Hour Teacher Training in 2015. A calf injury led her to her yoga journey which helped to speed up the recovery. Over time, her practice evolved, and she found herself connecting both mind and body with a strong passion to dive deeper and become a teacher!

Kim teaches a playful vinyasa fusion that incorporates both stretch and strength movements for all levels. Each class focuses on listening to your body and honoring your own inner teacher. Kim hopes you leave her classes feeling powerful, more mobile and at ease!

Take class with Kim!

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Robin Wilson

Robin is a 200-Hour Certified Yoga Teacher with 3 years of teaching experience. She teaches a physically powerful, meditative and spiritual vinyasa flow designed to strengthen and nourish the whole self. Robin welcomes yogis of all levels and enjoys playing with props in class to find more space, freedom, stability and confidence in any posture for beginner modifications or to intensify a more advanced practice! While her sequences are creative and challenging, they are always grounded by a strong emphasis on breath, connection and mindfulness.

Take class with Robin!