Group Exercise Instructors
Shana Schneider Shana N. Schneider is the founder of FitStyle by Shana, a fitness approach that helps you find time for fitness where you didn’t think it existed. With over a decade in the fitness industry, she is passionate about sharing the tips and insights she has learned along the way to help anyone who struggles to find the time for exercise. As a fitness expert, Shana has been featured in national magazines, websites and fitness blogs and is seen regularly on WTNH News 8. She is an AFAA certified group fitness instructor and is licensed to teach Zumba, Zumba Gold, Aqua Zumba, and Pound. Shana holds a B.A. from Yale University. She’s known for doing leg lifts in line at Starbucks and working on her abs while getting a mani pedi.
Judy Phelps Judy Phelps trained as a modern dancer before starting to study and teach Argentine Tango in 1992. She studied with many respected teachers both in New York and Buenos Aires including Pablo Pugliese and Noel Strazza, Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo, and Luciana Valle. She emphasizes clear communication between the leader and the follower to create elegant and smooth dancing on the dance floor that is both passionate and fun. She has taught Argentine Tango at the Yale Payne Whitney Gym since 1999.
Lexi Hopkins Lexi Hopkins is a senior here at Yale, studying Neuroscience and History of Science and Medicine. Lexi has been spinning for five years and teaching for one. Certified through MadDog Spinning, all of Lexi’s classes expect to be pushed to your limits, while jamming out to all sorts of music. In every spin set she tries to incorporate throwbacks and the latest rap and hip hop. When not teaching spin class you can find Lexi in yoga or running around New Haven.
Harry Harutunian Henry Harutunian is the head fencing coach at Yale. Harutunian has produced numerous All-Americans and an NCAA men's foil and women's sabre champion during his tenure. He was the 1996-97 USFCA Coach of the Year and has had a distinguished career as a fencer and coach in his native Armenia. He was named eminent coach of the Republic of Armenia in 1963, while serving on the coaching staff for the Soviet national team from 1962-1966. Harutunian came to the United States in 1966 and coached at Brandeis for three years prior to joining the Yale staff. He has also choreographed stage fencing for both theater and the screen, and has acted in films. Harutunian's philosophy of fencing is guided by the following passage from The Works of Moliere: "The eyes which watch and warn, the brain which evaluates and decides, the hand which executes the decision must harmonize precision and speed to give real life to the sword."
Alisa Bowens-Mercado Alisa Bowens-Mercado is the Artistic Director/Choreographer/Performer/Instructor/Owner of Alisa's House of Salsa. She started her dancing journey at the age of 3 years old. Alisa has taught thousands of people how to dance Salsa. Mrs. Bowens-Mercado is classically trained in ballet, tap, and Jazz (16yrs) and a Professional Latin dancer for 18 yrs. Alisa obtained her Dance Masters of America (DMA), Professional Teaching Certificate.
Dianne Terrace MS, CPT, CYI, teaches Pilates on the Ball. She is the clinical trainer for the United Methodist Homes and works with private clients with disabilities. Dianne holds multiple certifications through AFAA as well as a 200-hour yoga certification through Lotus Gardens Studio, she studied Mat Level I APPI Pilates and taught Pilates and Yoga for 10 years at corporate gyms before coming to Yale. She received a CALA award for her balance and strength programs for seniors and is a clinical instructor for the Exercise Science and Physical Therapy students at Sacred Heart University.
Ann Cowlin , MA, CSM, CCE, teaches ballet and pre/post-natal fitness. She danced with several ballet and modern companies in the U.S., Europe, and on NBC television’s Today Show and Omnibus. Ann received her M.A. in Dance from UCLA and a postgraduate certificate in Sports Medicine from Phoenix General Hospital. She taught at UCLA and Arizona State University before coming to Yale. The author of Women’s Fitness Program Development and chapters in various textbooks, she founded ‘Dancing Thru Pregnancy,’ is the expert consultant in Pre/Post-Natal Physical Training for the U.S. Army, and is an international presenter in dance medicine
Matisse Madden Matisse Madden is a professional Ballerina and professional and college level Ballet instructor. Matisse hails from the island of Kauai, where she was lucky enough to study under a wonderful Teacher who dancer with the Royal Ballet in England. Matisse has a B.S. in Zoology and B.A. in Dance, and holds an MFA in Ballet teaching and choreography. Matisse has danced with many Ballet companies including Ballet West, Connecticut Ballet and currently dances with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet and Dimensional Dance. Matisse has performed and toured internationally and enjoys a vigorous guest teaching schedule. Matisse loves teaching the Ballet students at Yale, and is so happy to open her class to those who love to dance, but have taken some time off. When Matisse is not dancing, she loves to play outside with her two sons, ages two and five years old, and love to see opera and go to Bikram Yoga with her husband.
Craig Elkin has been practicing karate with the Japan Karate Association since 1979. He is a 5th degree black belt, a certified instructor, judge, and examiner. Shotokan karate is a traditional Japanese martial art stressing physical conditioning and character development. Craig has been the chief instructor of the Yale University Karate Club since 1996, as well as a self-defense instructor for Yale for many years, specializing in women’s self-defense. Craig is a retired Police Sergeant, having served with the Middletown Ct Police Department for 27 years, and has served on the Department’s SWAT team for 15 of those years.
Andy Lipsner has been a certified Spin/Studio Cycle instructor since 1996. He has led many thousands of classes since and currently leads 21 classes a week. He is an avid Road & Mt cyclist and applies many of these techniques in his class format. He is also a ride leader for Marshall 100 mile ride and he coaches outdoor bike boot camps.
Amy Kennedy Valente Amy Kennedy Valente started out as a dancer as soon as she could walk, and has continued that journey throughout her life as a performer, choreographer, and teacher throughout New England and New York; she has been teaching Dance here at Yale for 13+ years. She started practicing Yoga about 6+ years ago and found Yoga to be a wonderful complement to Dance. She received her 200-hour certification, went on to Let Your Yoga Dance certification, and Deep Play for Kids as well. Amy is passionate about sharing the gifts of Yoga with all ages, and believes that everyone will benefit from this practice, not only physically but also mentally! Amy has also started her own studio in Wallingford, Ct., and has been assisting trainings to certify people to teach children mindfulness through Yoga and Play!
Lyn H. Baumgartner is a certified yoga instructor trained in the Iyengar style of Hatha Yoga. Lyn received her certification after a yearlong intensive study at the Center for Yoga and Healing Arts in Amherst, Ma. As a teacher her intention is to create a class where each student is able to build a safe and satisfying practice regardless of ability or experience. Lyn challenges her students to explore possibilities and to bring passion and play into their lives through yoga. Lyn has been teaching at Payne Whitney Gym since 2005.
Hari Gopal Kaur has been studying and teaching Kundalini Yoga and Sat Nam Rasayan (Deep Relaxation in the True Identity, Healing Technique derived from Kundalini Yoga) since 1997 in New York and abroad. She is a certified K.R.I Level One and Level Two Kundalini Yoga Teacher and a Member of IKYTA. She was under the tutelage of Sat Jivan Kaur Khalsa and Sat Jivan Singh Khalsa of Kundalini Yoga East, New York for her Level One Training and for her Level Two under Karta Singh Khalsa, the Founder of the International Aquarian Academy Amrit Nam Sarovar in Le Martinet, France. Her commitment to practice and pass on the teachings in their authentic way as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is steadfast and sincere. It calls upon a tradition of discipline of a lifelong process of studying and excelling. She is trilingual, French, German, Italian and English and grew up in different cultural settings in Europe. She has been teaching Kundalini Yoga classes and workshops @ Yale University, New Haven, CT, at the UN in New York City and at the Teacher Training Program for “Yoga for the People”. She teaches weekly at Kundalini Yoga East in NYC as well as Corporate and Private Kundalini Yoga Classes.
Emma Shansky began practicing yoga as a means to cope with the stress of graduate school. She found the physical challenge of yoga to be a welcome distraction from long hours of studying and collecting data in the chemistry lab. Having been a dancer all her life, she discovered that this “distraction” was, in fact, a passion for movement that she had held her entire life. This discovery led her to quit school and chemistry altogether to begin performing and teaching dance again, as well as becoming a certified Pilates and Yoga instructor. She now has a new career teaching dance, Pilates, and Yoga and loves to find creative ways to blend these methods. She has not set foot in a laboratory since and has never been happier.