Prairie Fire Yoga Instructor Bios
Mike Phillips - Studio Owner & Instructor
Mike’s yoga journey started in 2009. His professional career brought him in contact with the owner of Inner Fire Yoga Studio. He found out very quickly just how powerful a regular yoga practice could be.Yoga allowed him to focus on managing stress and weight loss in addition to helping heal injuries from other athletic activities. In 2013 a new job opportunity moved Mike to Sauk Prairie. Missing the power of a regular practice, Mike and Lori kept their eyes open for the right space to open Prairie Fire Yoga. He became a 200 HR. certified yoga instructor in 2015 through IFY. Mike’s classes focus on breath (pranayama), strength, and focus. He is very excited and passionate about bringing Prairie Fire Yoga to this community.
Lori Anderson - Studio Manager
Brian came to practice yoga, after having a second ACL surgery, on a recommendation from a friend. He needed to regain his strength and balance, and figured….why not?!? Through the past 3 years, yoga has remained a constant presence in his life. He completed his training with Scott Anderson in the Alignment Yoga Program at Mound Street Yoga Center in Madison, Wisconsin. He is foremost and always a student of yoga and secondly, an instructor. He continues his yoga education through studies in the ancient yoga texts, participating in trainings, workshops, and a daily personal practice. His style envelopes the dynamic flowing movement of vinyasa yoga, while incorporating a more detailed approach to alignment (often through the use of props) and exploration through modified postures. He offers an opportunity to connect to yourself and to the universe, to feel alive, to simply breathe and to truly inhabit your body.
Yukiko’s yoga journey started when she went to her first class with friends just to try it. After a couple of classes, she decided to try Hot yoga and it was super challenging! Yet, something inside of her wanted to go back in the room. After her first Power flow class, she fell in love with yoga. Yoga, for her, became more than just wanting to be physically healthy. It makes her feel like she is taking care of herself. She has found that it's helped her find the "real me", building confidence and a strong heart. And she is still growing. Yukiko received her 200 HR certification through Inner Fire Yoga’s teacher training program in Madison, WI in 2015. She is honored to share her experience and knowledge.
“Let's grow and shine together!”
Ren LaDassor began her yoga practice seriously 10 years ago. Thru different phases of her life she has taken an interest in different types of yoga, from Hatha to Bikram, finding the yoga that best suits her needs for whatever life is handing her. Thru that discovery she has found a power flow practice that fuels her desire for mind body connection but also gives a strenuous work out called Strala Yoga. She did a 200 hour teacher training with Strala Yoga in NYC 3 years ago, and has been teaching it ever since. For the last 7 years Ren has been working in New York City as a Broadway Costume Design Assistant. After achieving a childhood dream of working on Broadway, she set her sights on a calmer life and in 2014 relocated to Madison and hasn't looked back. Strala Yoga is a Power Flow Vinyasa style class. The class includes no fancy yoga terms, no unimaginable yoga poses only seen in magazines. It focuses on visiting poses multiple times, giving the opportunity to check in with them, then move on to the next. Using the one breath one movement flow, the class is set to upbeat music, and doesn't give you the chance to get stuck on a pose, but instead keeps you moving and exploring what your body has to offer you today.
Barb has been practicing yoga for over five years. She was introduced to yoga by brother-in-law, Mike Phillips, as an alternative to treating severe and chronic back and neck pain. She found that yoga not only relieves the pain, but also helps to reduce stress and improve energy for the busy life she leads. Barb received her RYT 200 certification in 2015 from Dragonfly Yoga in Madison. Barb is continuing to learn and develop in her own yoga practice and strives to help those who feel limited in their activities as a result of pain. In addition to teaching yoga, Barb is a school teacher. She has been teaching young children for 27 years. She uses yoga in her classroom with her students on a daily basis. Barb has both her BS and masters degrees in education. Barb enjoys staying active with her husband, Dave, their 3 children, and their dog.
Michael has been a student of yoga for over 30 years. In 1988, he completed teacher training at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Nassau, Bahamas in a program integrating the spiritual and physical aspects of yoga. In 2002, he began a regular and ongoing practice of the original “hot” yoga series of Bikram Choudary, a style emphasizing a challenging physical discipline. In 2015, he completed 200 hours of hot yoga and power flow training with Inner Fire Yoga in Madison. Michael has also been learning the somewhat revolutionary Sri Daiva alignment system of Desi Springer. Elements of all three of these traditions are blended in his teaching. Michael is also a physician in Rehabilitation Medicine and an Associate Professor Emeritus of the University of Wisconsin Medical School.
Brenda loves working with people and has a passion for wellness and education. She worked as a Registered Nurse for many years and then became an Elementary School Teacher. Her fourth grade students experience mindfulness, breathing exercises and yoga during the school day. Practicing yoga has been a part of Brenda’s life for many years. She has learned from a variety of teachers in different places and spaces, from the bank down the street to a silent studio in Thailand. She appreciates the positive benefits found with regular yoga practice including strength, flexibility, and balance, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Brenda received her certification through Dragonfly Teacher Training in June 2015.
Hannah Smith was born in Sauk County, just north of Plain, WI. She moved out west at the age of 18, where she joyfully dove into African dance and swing dance, rock climbing, and yoga while attending massage school in Salt Lake City. Upon completing school, she commenced exploring the mountain west, seeking adventure via skiing, mountain biking, hiking and climbing, fighting wild land fire, surfing, and long, long road trips. Yoga was always present during this period of discovery, and in 2005 she sought to broaden her yoga practice by learning to teach, at Soma Yoga in Salt Lake City. Hannah has now been teaching for twelve years, spanning Utah, Northern California, and Wisconsin. Nestled back into her homeland, she has settled with her husband and dog on the banks of the Wisconsin River, and enjoys being a part of the Prairie Fire Yoga community. Hannah brings a deep interest in anatomy and awareness of healing touch to her classes. She looks forward to continuing her studies and teaching for the rest of her life.
Her innate athleticism, poet’s soul, and profound respect for the power of alignment and rest coalesce into an overall therapeutic experience.
Alyssa Ploessl is a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Certified teacher, trained in the Vinyasa style, which involves linking breath with movement. She first discovered yoga at the age of 16, and received her teaching certification from DragonflVal’s yoga journey started in June of 2015. She was looking for a compliment activity to add to her daily workouts to increase her strength and flexibility. She was immediately hooked and yoga has become a true passion of hers. Val teaches 2nd grade and loves incorporating mindfulness practices in her classroom. In April of 2017 an opportunity to be trained in PiYo came along. She had been doing PiYo in her basement for a few years and was intrigued. She completed her training and has now started the journey of teaching PiYo to others. She loves how PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. Val and her husband Casey live in Sauk City with their two children, Lola and Adler.y Hot Yoga in the spring of 2015. Alyssa loves the smell of old books, the texture of the earth, the sound of laughter, and the feeling of being fully alive! Her mindfully crafted yoga sequences, as well as her use of aromatherapy in classes, will leave you feeling balanced and serene. Yoga gave Alyssa the insight to find her true self, and helped her learn to live life with passion and zeal! She hopes to inspire others and to bring more positivity to the world through this wonderful practice.
After dabbling in yoga on and off for years, Tami joined a hot yoga studio in the fall of 2013 and within one month, knew that teacher training was on her horizon. Tami believes that life is about choices and that every day we have the opportunity to try something new, to explore and learn, and not take ourselves too seriously, both on and off the mat. She enjoys a fun, challenging class that helps people explore their strength and find some humor in their yoga practice. Little known fact about Tami, continuous improvement is in her blood. Not only does she strive to learn and develop personally, in her professional life she is a certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt and Lean Sensei. Every day offers each student the opportunity to meet themselves just as they are, and is a reason to smile, laugh and celebrate! Come celebrate with Tami!
Laura has been passionate about movement and activity since she was young. As a competitive figure skater and dancer growing up, the daily hours of practice and workouts have taken their toll on her body. Since Prairie Fire Yoga opened its doors, Laura fell in love with Yoga. She is extremely enthusiastic and energetic about life, and loves sharing that energy with everyone she meets. She did take some time off after finding out she had arthritis in her hips. After some rest and rehabilitation, she is extremely happy to be back into her regular practice at PFY. Laura feels it’s important to figure out what’s best for you, what modifications you need to make for your body, and how hard you can push yourself to keep your competitive edge, but also making sure not to overdo anything. She is currently an elementary teacher with the Sauk Prairie School District, and will complete her yoga training this summer in Madison with “Breathe For Change” program for educators. Laura loves spending time outdoors and traveling with her three kids Helena, Spencer, Marin, and their dog, Lucy.
Lisa began practicing yoga regularly almost twenty years ago, as a way to alleviate the various aches and pains caused by years of running. While it was the unexpected physical benefits of yoga that drew her back to the studio after that first class, it was the meditative aspect of yoga that inspired her to become a dedicated practitioner, and ultimately, a teacher.
The following quote captures the spirit of yoga for Lisa, and has deeply informed her teaching: "Stand in your own space and know that you are there." Understanding the alignment principles of yoga postures can help us stand more firmly in the space that is uniquely our own. As we learn how to approach our bodies with deeper compassion and awareness on the mat, we can live with greater mindfulness off the mat. In keeping with that belief, Lisa gives ample attention to alignment in her classes. You will also be encouraged to attend to the breath in her classes. Breath control, or pranayama, helps anchor the flighty mind and brings us into the present moment. As we stand in our own space, it is the union of breath and movement that brings us to the knowledge that we are here, and nowhere else. This simple realization has transformed not only her yoga practice, but her life.
And finally, Lisa believe that our space does not have fixed dimensions. We can expand our definitions of “our space” and our selves if we dare to step out of our comfort zone from time to time. In that spirit, she strives to make room in her classes to explore poses that may be new to some, or to approach familiar poses from a new angle, in order to keep expanding our ideas of self and what we are capable of.
Val’s yoga journey started in June of 2015. She was looking for a compliment activity to add to her daily workouts to increase her strength and flexibility. She was immediately hooked and yoga has become a true passion of hers. Val teaches 2nd grade and loves incorporating mindfulness practices in her classroom. In April of 2017 an opportunity to be trained in PiYo came along. She had been doing PiYo in her basement for a few years and was intrigued. She completed her training and has now started the journey of teaching PiYo to others. She loves how PiYo combines the muscle-sculpting, core-firming benefits of Pilates with the strength and flexibility advantages of yoga. Val and her husband Casey live in Sauk City with their two children, Lola and Adler.
Judy’s first yoga class was a 90 minute Bikram Hot Yoga class in November of 2011, and she just fell in love. Although Judy had been active through running and various sports for many years, Yoga is where she found her true passion. Her love of yoga grew so much that she finished her 200 hour yoga teaching certificate in Spring 2017, and began teaching immediately. Judy says, "Yoga is as much mental as it is physical. It has taught me to let go of things that don't matter and forgive. Through being a teacher and student, I've learned so much about the connection of breath and letting go the things that don’t serve us. Prairie Fire Yoga has become my second home. I have met new friends and reconnected with old ones. Practicing yoga continues to challenge me every day, and I love that. Yoga is a great stress reliever from being a Nurse, but when I'm not taking or teaching yoga classes or working I can be found spending time with my boyfriend Alex and my dog Marshall. We love going on the WI River soaking up some sun, down-hill skiing and traveling the Caribbean. My newest adventure is paddle boarding. My family is very important to me and I love spending time with them. I have 16 nieces and nephews and 6 great nieces and nephews. Looking forward to meeting more new friends and sharing the beautiful space Prairie Fire Yoga has created for us!"
Jamie was born and raised in Prairie du Sac, WI. Her interest in fitness began 7 years ago when she was looking to make some lifestyle changes and find balance. She soon fell in love with all types of fitness, pushing her limits, mediation and self-growth. That led her to become a Certified Personal Trainer in addition to teaching self-love and empowerment classes in the community. With her passion for health on all levels this has helped Jamie find “wholeness” within herself and she is now devoted to helping others achieve the same, Mind Body and Spirit.
When Jamie is not in class or with a client you will likely find her volunteering for something self-empowerment related or at one of her children’s sporting events. Jamie still resides locally, with her husband, Paul, their 4 children Blake, Ethan, Ashlyn, Wyatt and 2 nephews Cade and Aidan. Not to forget the guy who holds a big piece of her heart, Gibbson, their family dog.