Our Teachers

Sanctuary is home to some of Nashville's most experienced teachers.

Interested in becoming a teacher?

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Daphne Larkin / Founder
Director of Teacher Training

Daphne Larkin is an inspired vinyasa yoga teacher and industry leader based in Nashville, Tennessee.  Her work and her life are based in a deep trust in the flow.   In 2004, she co-founded Sanctuary for Yoga where she directs Sanctuary’s Teacher Training programs and has been training teachers since 2008.  Over her 20-year teaching career, Daphne has created 2 popular instructional yoga DVDs, an online studio featuring 21 Days of Yoga, and most recently released her new book A Curated Life: Creating Space for the Life You Crave.  In 2021, she took another bold leap and rebranded Sanctuary, and relocated the studio to the heart of West Nashville. 

 

Always inspired by the creative process, Daphne’s life has included extensive work as a performing artist and a vibrant 12-year music industry career.  Committed to fully immersing herself into her studies, Daphne dedicated a decade-plus to traveling and studying yoga, finding inspiration in many teachers. Her most profound influence has been Shiva Rea, with whom she spent more than 10 years studying and assisting around the world.

 

As a teacher, she is known for the fluid grace of her practice and her skillful balance of alignment and flow.  Her teaching is clear and authentic -  fueled by her passionate curiosity about both the shapes and alignment of poses, but also transitions and the powerful potential of the space between.  Her classes are fluid journeys through an intentional sequence of poses that lead us deeper into ourselves.  The effect is grounding, spacious and balanced.

 

She is most grateful for her wife Stephanie - her partner in the flow of life.  There is nothing greater than love.  

To learn more visit Daphne's personal website.

Cameron Clark

While Cameron’s journey to yoga isn’t particularly exciting, what has unfolded since she walked through the studio doors in 2006 is an incredible journey of healing, hope and joy!

 

Cameron’s teaching is an invitation to her students to move inward and get curious. She believes in the power of gentle movement and supported stillness to deepen our connection to the wisdom of the body.. and most importantly learn how to be with ourselves lovingly.  

Cameron extends her gratitude to her teachers and mentors Kay Kay Clivio, Yogi Caru of Pure Yoga, Dana Slamp of Prema Yoga Therapeutics, Sarah Powers of Insight yoga and numerous other teachers in the practice of vinyasa, yoga therapeutics, yin yoga and Insight meditation.

 

Cameron has additional advanced studies in Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY) and Somatic Experiencing which inform her teaching. 

May all beings be happy and free! 

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Shelby Baxter

Shelby grew up in Connecticut and bounced around New England while starting her family and landing in Nashville in 2013. A retired runner, active mother of two, and avid cook she enjoys creating whether that be in the kitchen or on the mat. Her journey is steeped in self-study and discovery, something she loves to share with others looking to go a little deeper into human beings rather than human doing.

Shelby began studying yoga in 2015. She came to the mat looking to move and found so much more. She received her 200 RYT in 2017 and has been teaching since. In her classes, you will find more than just asana, or the physical limb of the practice. Pranayama (breathwork), Mudra (symbolic hand gesture), Yama (self-study), and Niyama (spiritual discipline) are all carefully curated throughout her challenging but welcoming classes. Movement is measured and challenging, cues are meticulous and the goal is connection; the true function of yoga is to “yoke” or “unite” the facets of the self in search of a connection to source. Her hope is that when you leave her classes you will feel challenged, empowered, and balanced.

Holly Garcia

Holly was first introduced to yoga 12 years ago by a friend who suggested she try it to relieve her constant migraine headaches. She found healing through At One Yoga in Phoenix, AZ. Healing her body and growing to love yoga was easy, but being consistent was not. Never forgetting the practice and its foundations, Holly found her way back onto the mat shortly after moving to Nashville in 2008. She began to realize the benefits of making yoga a constant part of her lifestyle and decided to take it a step further by becoming an instructor. In 2009, while pregnant with her second son, Holly completed her 200-hour RYT Yoga Alliance certification.

Since then, Holly has been on a quest of continued education through her daily practice and by attending numerous workshops. Having been blessed to have many teachers with different styles, Holly’s class is a varied mix of Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Hatha with a heavy emphasis on the breath and alignment. Although there will be similar elements, each class will be a unique blend of Holly’s influences which like life is ever-changing. She has learned to allow the energy of the students and the moment to guide the flow of her class. Her goal is that students leave with an awareness that will help them become their own best teacher on and off the mat.

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Page Hart

Page is fueled by the beautiful integration of mind, body and spirit that exists in yoga and believes this connection is the essence of the practice. Page consciously creates the space within her classes for students to awaken a sense of empowerment that gracefully guides them to an open mind and open heart.  In the process of discovering the fluidity and strength of their own bodies, Page’s desire is that students begin to realize the true beauty that exists within themselves and All others.

Over 25 years ago, Page’s passion for yoga emerged but was refueled when Sanctuary opened their doors.  Her experience and time practicing yoga at Sanctuary cultivated a strong passion for Vinyasa Flow Yoga.

Combined with her practice at Sanctuary and her work with Daphne and Tom Larkin, Page began studying with Shiva Rea in 2006 and completed Shiva¹s Samudra Global School for Living Yoga Teacher Training program. In 2011, she completed Dharma Mittra¹s 500 hour Life Of A Yogi Teacher Training. Dharma’s training focuses heavily on the classical teachings of yoga with a strong emphasis on the spiritual dimension of yoga, as well as the physical discipline and pranayama practices. Page is also strongly influenced by the teachings of Seane Corn, Simon Park, and Annie Carpenter.

She has a devoted passion and deep gratitude for the Sanctuary for Yoga community, the gift of friendships and the of her beautiful family (including 2 legged and 4 legged members)!

Christy Lynn Hicks

Christy was born and raised in Nashville, TN, and is a Holistic Yoga Teacher, Mentor, Coach & Guide.

She was led to Yoga back in the 90s because of chronic low back pain and stayed with it for the profound transformation that she experienced in her everyday life and in her relationships.  

She has been teaching Yoga & Meditation for over 25 years and loves to blend the practical with the spiritual & the discipline with a sense of humor and a lightness of heart.  She encourages a practice that is the embodiment of both steadiness and ease in body, mind, and breath. Her classes are intentional, inclusive, and relaxed.

After 16 years of owning and operating a Yoga Studio in Burbank, CA, and training others to become teachers at the 200-hour and 300-hour level, Christy has recently relocated back to her hometown outside of Nashville and is excited about being a part of the Yoga Community in the city where her practice began many years ago.

Some of her favorite practices to explore and teach are the Chakra System, Energy & the Elements, Meditation, Pranayama, Mantra, Mudra, Yoga Nidra, Yin Yoga, Visualization & Manifestation, Ritual, Ecstatic Dance, Effective Communication, Ayurveda, Yoga Asana, Yoga Sutras, Philosophy & Positive Psychology.

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Meghan D’Amico

Meghan is a former competitive gymnast, who was forced to retire after a knee injury requiring surgery. Through her recovery, she found yoga and began to develop a practice. Falling in love with the breath and movement, she found yoga not only filled a physical space but a creative, and spiritual space that she had not experienced before.

 

In 2009, she received her RYT 200 in Ashtanga Yoga (the philosophies and practice of Sri Pattabhi Jois). Since then she has been certified in Hot 26 +2 and The Hot Barkan Method. Meghan's exploratory teaching style encourages students to practice with humble confidence and strength. Her passion is to bring mindful movement to all bodies and to create a safe space for them.

 

Her hope is that you feel welcome, and leave feeling empowered and accomplished with a strong sense of self-love.

Whitney Korman

After finding yoga in 1999, Whitney Korman knew she had found 'home' when she realized that yoga was so much more than a physical practice. It quickly became her therapy. No matter what class she is leading, her inspiration comes from real-life - epiphanies of both heart and mind, intertwined with yogic philosophy. The spiritual path within teaching is to reveal practices that others can use to heal themselves. Teaching yoga and meditation feeds her intention to inspire others to truly love who they are and then share that love with the world.

Whitney's passion is teaching Vinyasa, Yin and Yoga Nidra. She has earned her 500-hour certification through Franklin Yoga Center and Sanctuary for Yoga. She has had the pleasure of training with Rod Stryker, Tiffany Cruikshank, Daphne Larkin, Tom Larkin, Jessalynn Hakanson, Liz Stewart, Kathi Perry and Shannon Paige. Whitney is so blessed to be married to her soul mate, Mother to a wild and mighty little boy, and 2 lively pets that run the household. We are all here to connect. We are all here to love and be loved.

That is life's greatest joy. Namaste and beyond.

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Shannon Hillenmeyer

Shannon discovered yoga 16 years ago as a means of physical fitness during her college days. As she transitioned to the "real world," she quickly found that yoga provided so much more than physical strength and flexibility.

She knew she wanted to take her practice deeper as she began to notice how it sparked her overall energy, sense of connection, and gratitude "off the mat." In 2009, she completed her teacher training. Shannon is grateful for the unending journey and continual challenge that yoga provides. Her classes combine vigorous vinyasa with warmth and acceptance. She hopes her students will meet new challenges with curiosity and ease, always leaving room for exploration and new horizons, on and off the mat.

In addition, Shannon graduated from the University of Chicago with a Masters's in Social Work in 2012. She is in awe of the way yoga continues to inform her counseling work outside of the studio. In 2017, she moved to Nashville with her husband Hunter, and their three daughters, Harper, Brynn, and Lyla.

Durden Napier

At some point, you may just want to try. My first class was comical. I was not flexible nor strong and sitting on the floor was excruciating. And I savor the fact that I came from this initial feeling (to note: I still do on one or more tried asanas). One day, it all comes together by simply, showing up for yourself. I began my yoga through a 5-week Kundalini workshop where I learned more on how to make mung bean soup. (In addition, my adoration for turmeric began here as well). Years later, I went to an Ashram in Oregon and my love for Sanskrit Mantra took root. It was nearly 6 years later that I decided to become a teacher after finding such support in a practice after the passing of my dad. My body was holding on to all the sadness. Goodness knows a body can shut down at will. From Los Angeles to Connecticut and then to Nashville in 2011 is where my yoga home was found…and at Sanctuary nonetheless.

 

I became certified in 2014 and enjoy teaching around the city. I created a wonderful class at Adventure Science Center called Yoga Under the Stars and it ran strong for three years prior to 2020. I teach on the westside and one on one. I’m so dang happy to be back at the place where I found my true self: whole, broken, mendable and joy-filled. My classes are structured with alignment integrity: the belief that strength will come in time if the foundation is ideal. Also, it’s yoga…a place of movement and getting out of your own way, (you’ve got this, just give it a go).

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Heather Maki

Heather grew up participating in competitive sports and dance. She always enjoyed pushing through her limitations. Never thinking of yoga as anything other than ‘stretching’, she was surprised in 1999 when she tried Bikram yoga once just to mix things up and, from that very first series, couldn’t get enough. It has been a fun and winding journey from teaching step aerobics and body sculpting in the ‘90s to a deeper focus of yoga.

 

Delving further into vinyasa with roots in Iyengar, and a heavy emphasis on alignment and anatomy she earned her 200 RYT certification in April of 2019 and Yin Yoga Teacher Training in 2020. She is completing her 500-hour certification and also holds a Level One Baptiste Power Yoga Instructor credential. Heather is always open to continuing to learn and work with her students.

Tina Ventrella

I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe there was a greater force at hand, guiding me to take my first yoga class ever, after consistently saying “I will never do yoga!” for a few decades. My yoga adventure began more than 20 years ago and changed my life forever. That class was the first time in my life that I felt anything significant inside or out. I actually spent the first few decades practicing the art of numbness! Since that moment, my yoga and meditation practices have been an exciting invitation to embrace my body, my truth, and to empower others to connect with their bodies and their innate nature, their Inner BadAss!

I blend life experience, intelligence, acceptance, authenticity, breath, alignment, giggles, and love to create a challenging illuminating experience which I am passionate about and that I wish is of benefit to all beings. My desire and clear intention is for people to leave my class empowered with an openness to truth, recognizing a spark in themselves that had been quiet or ‘lost’. I am not an asana (posture) teacher, I am a yoga and meditation teacher, and assure you will definitely feel your body during and after each class (insert big smile here).

I remain a seeker of truth and knowledge so that I may be of service to myself and others. Along with nature, my kids and this life, some leaders and teachers that have inspired me along the way: Doug Swenson, Shiva Rea, multiple Anusara Yoga teachers, Erich Schiffman, Janet Stone, Adyashanti, and most recently, Gina Caputo. I began my seeking as a Registered Nurse in 1996 and evolved into a Yoga Teacher, acquiring acronyms and accolades along the way such as RN, BSN, E-RYT 500, and YACEP.

The truth, plain and simple, keeps me coming back to my mat, again and again. Not always what I want to hear, but it is extremely empowering and well worth the work. Sounds like quite an adventure, doesn’t it? See you on the path!

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Liz Stewart

Liz is Yoga Alliance certified at the 500 hour level through the Asheville Yoga Center, with an additional 50 hour certification with renowned Yin Yoga teacher Bernie Clark in Vancouver, BC. She has also completed Sarah Powers' Level I Yin/Insight Yoga teacher training. Certified in Katherine Roberts' Yoga for Golfers, she completed her first 200 hour level in Ashtanga Yoga through the Franklin Yoga Center.

Liz's teaching embodies an extensive knowledge of Yin Yoga with its passive, deep, restorative and meditative combinations of poses. Varying levels of intensity and creative use of props are the basis for a practice that students of all levels can enjoy. Her emphasis on the cultivation of body and breath awareness, and the re-establishment of health and harmony, offer benefits to students both on and off the mat.

In her time off the mat, Liz plays the double bass in the Nashville Symphony, enjoys reading, playing golf, and spending time with her husband, violist Jim Grosjean and their Spinone, Wally.

Gabby Diakon

Gabrielle grew up with a passion for horses, she was a very nervous rider but still loved it. Gabrielle began riding when she was 3 years old. She got her very first job at a horse farm and continued to work from there. After attending the University of Tampa Gabrielle realized she just wanted to ride and teach horseback riding. From there she started to ride professionally in Florida. She loved helping her students work through their fears because she could truly empathize with not feeling confident in the saddle all the time. 

 

She started using mindfulness techniques to help her students connect more to the horses and themselves. At 23, she had to move home to help her Mom who got sick. Only 3 months later her Mom passed and that is when yoga truly took form in Gabrielle's life. Using yoga and mindfulness to navigate grief really took Gabrielle on her yoga journey and she is grateful for it every day. Getting certified at HeartWood Yoga Institute for her RYT 200, and then get certified to teach Yoga Nidra. Gabrielle understands that everyone's reasons for coming to yoga are much different and does her best to meet everyone where they are on their mat. She loves attending all types of yoga classes, her passion is teaching restorative and meditation-style classes and holding space for people to simply be. 

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Grace French

Grace’s introduction to yoga was unexpected. As a company member with Nashville Ballet, she was required to take a yoga class to help get ready for the upcoming season. Daphne and Tom Larkin came to the ballet studio to lead this class and Grace was mesmerized. In the same room that she had spent countless hours dissecting her exterior appearance to entertain and impress others, she found that the yoga class moved her inwards, even with movements often similar and complementary to dance. She was intrigued and inspired and has chosen to spend time on the mat ever since.

Three children later with an itch to deepen her practice, Grace earned her 200 hr YTT through Sanctuary in 2019-2020. She enjoys offering a nonperformance-type space by linking movement and breath in a dance-like flow. Grace loves and understands that in yoga, one is always learning and that we are all on our own individual paths of acquiring new understandings of ourselves. She is grateful to Sanctuary as it has truly acted as a consistent sanctuary throughout the many chapters of her life.

Valerie Martin

LCSW, RYT-500 

From the moment she was walking, Val could often be found in a leotard and tiny legwarmers, trying to keep up with her Mom doing The Body Electric on PBS. Since then, she has always found power in movement in various capacities— and discovering yoga felt like an alchemical swirling together of her passions for movement, spirituality, psychological growth, and community care.

 

As founder and psychotherapist at The Gaia Center for Embodied Healing (a stone's throw from Sanctuary), Valerie is drawn toward the deeper layers that the path of yoga can unfold in our personal and collective healing. She graduated from Sanctuary's 200-hour YTT in 2016, and has taught in a variety of settings prior to gratefully returning to her original Nashville yoga home. She has completed (and continues to seek out) numerous specialty yoga trainings, and in 2021 graduated from the inaugural cohort of Michelle C. Johnson's 300-hour Skill in Action YTT.

 

Valerie's teaching style is invitational and exploratory, with a balance of both reverence and levity. Regardless of the type of class, she always teaches from a trauma-informed, body-inclusive perspective. She loves trees, Ted Lasso, animals, and delicious vegan food.

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Tammy Wilson

Finding her way to her first yoga class in 2000, Tammy unknowingly found a new path to follow in life. Always interested in the movement of the physical body, Tammy graduated with a B.S. in Fitness Management and is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant. As she traveled her path of yoga, Tammy realized there was so much more to the physical and mental body that housed her soul. Beginning to notice the correlation between her practice on the mat and life off the mat, she began to knowingly find compassion and love for her inner self.

Moving to Nashville in 2013, Tammy fell in love with practicing at Sanctuary and completed their 200hr YTT program in 2015. She actively continues her education by attending workshops and enrolling in the 300 hr YTT program at Sanctuary. Her classes focus on alignment, strength, and movement with the breath while encouraging a balance of surrender and compassion for the Self.

Tammy is filled with enthusiasm and gratitude to guide her students on their own, unique journey of self-discovery through the practice of yoga. She lives this amazing life in Brentwood with her husband, Rob, daughter, Tatum, and two dogs.

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Vanessa Paletta

Vanessa Paletta is a Vinyasa Yoga Teacher living in Tampa Bay Area with her husband, Stephen, and their two rescued hound dogs, Lucy and B. In 2018, Vanessa took the leap into becoming a yoga teacher and earned my 200hr certification from Sanctuary for Yoga Nashville. Her focus as a teacher soon became centered on PTSD, trauma, and the profound impact yoga can have on healing. This led her to become certified in Trauma Informed Yoga through Sacred Roots Wellness and soon after, she followed her heart to Goa, India where she received a 300hr certification in Vinyasa Yoga from Sampoorna Yoga School. Discovering a profound connection between physical alignment and nervous system regulation, in 2020, Vanessa continued her studies under physical therapist, Lara Heimann, earning an additional 200hr certification in LYT Yoga Method. She recently finished the LYT Yoga 300hr program keeping her understanding of anatomy and functional movement.

 

Vanessa’s classes focus on core integration, mobility, postural alignment as well as nervous system regulation. Her classes are heart-based and intentional, intelligent and intuitive helping you move better, feel better, and live more compassionately. She opened her own virtual studio called The Yoga Room during the height of Covid and enjoys teaching and connecting students from all over the country via Zoom. Vanessa is dedicated to holding inclusive spaces and thoughtfully guiding each student as they explore movement, strength building and the mind-body connection. You can catch Vanessa in Sanctuary’s virtual class options and in-studio when she shows up in Nashville to see us.

Carlisle Hodges

Carlisle attended Stephanie Keache’s 200hr Vinyasa Flow teacher training in 2013 at The Asheville Yoga Center and is also a certified Reiki I + II practitioner. Carlisle found her cadence as a teacher during her time leading classes on Nantucket Island. She works locally in Nashville with one on one clients and offers a variety of yoga, energy work, and guided meditations. 

 

Carlisle designs her sequences with simplicity, vibrancy, and depth. Yoga is a roadmap through the body.  She guides you in bravely moving through subtle sensations to open the spaces that feel blocked. In Carlisle's classes you will build strength in vulnerability and find grace in flexibility. Every time we arrive on the mat we have the opportunity to create a new edge for ourselves.