Instructor – Host – Teacher Trainer
Cher Aslor is a Yoga/Pilates teacher & practitioner, business owner, traveler, creative spirit and inspiring connector in her community. She is a PMA Certified Pilates Instructor and also holds certifications in Power Yoga (200 hr Core Power Yoga), Yoga Sculpt (40 hr Core Power Yoga), and Forrest Yoga (240 hrTraining). After attending CU Boulder for a BA in Dance and Spanish, Cher danced professionally in the Los Angeles area for 10 years before moving back to her native Colorado. In 2013 she graduated from the Kathy Grant Heritage Training led by second generation master teacher Cara Reeser and continues to study with and assist Ana Forrest at her workshops and Yoga Journal Conferences around the United States. Cher has a heart for leading retreats for over 8 years including Surf Yoga retreats in Costa Rica, meditation retreats at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, NM, Gratitude Retreats in Todos Santo MX, and beyond. Her passions is sharing adventure and travel with others through retreats.
Cher’s yoga classes are seeped in the Forrest Yoga, Pilates, and Vinyasa traditions, focused on movement that feels good, challenging and safe. Her Forrest Yoga foundations bring intelligent core work and holding poses for many breaths. This is a very physical practice but not just for the sake being physical – it’s a tool to awaken the senses and access the emotional body.
Instructor – Host – Teacher Trainer
Elizabeth Cramond, 200 eRYT was introduced to the yoga practice while spending the summer visiting her uncle in Italy. Upon arrival back to the states, Elizabeth and her mother began practicing together. A former competitive swimmer through the collegiate level, Elizabeth enjoyed the non-competitive aspect of her yoga practice, and found that it brought balance to her life.
Her mother was also her inspiration for becoming a yoga teacher. Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of NCWilmington, with a double major in International Business and Spanish. She completed the 200 hour teacher training program at the Wilmington Yoga Center in 2007. She also served as an assistant in the 220 hour program in 2008. Since then Elizabeth has had opportunities to deepen her practice by studying with Shiva Rea, Krista and Brock Cahill, Kathryn Budig, Rodney Yee, Ana Forest, Richard Freeman, Baron Baptiste, Dharma Mittra, Seane Corne, Maty Ezraty, David Swenson and Tiffany Cruikshank. She is currently working on her 500 hour advanced teacher training under the keen eye of Tiffany Cruikshank. Elizabeth believes in encouraging and inviting students to push past perceived limits and explore new, more powerful paths. Her yoga classes are based on Vinyasa yoga where the breath is synchronized with the movement. Attaining full body connectivity is paramount in Elizabeth’s philosophy of teaching where the student is linking the breath, the movement and the mind for an overall sense of strength, energetic power and wellbeing.
Elizabeth also serves as an ambassador for Manduka, bepresent & Beyond Yoga brands. Elizabeth’s deepest passions are world travel and yoga, and you can find her leading international yoga retreats around the world.
Instructor – Host
Hillary Hollman moved back to San Juan del Sur in April 2016, and has been teaching at Zen Yoga since then. Before her move, she lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and taught yoga classes and workshops at a local studio, where she also worked as the Studio Coordinator. She is a YA certified teacher, and completed her 200hour yoga training here in San Juan del Sur under the instruction of master yogi Peter Sterios. She is also certified in Restorative Yoga, and enjoys teaching Power Yoga, Yin/Restorative, and Slow Flow classes.
Her teaching style is derived from Hatha, and uses creative, fun, and challenging sequencing and poses to soften and strengthen the whole body during each practice, and to develop a stronger connection between the mind and body. She also uses alignment, breathwork, and hands on adjustments to help students access poses and different areas in the body that they might have thought were challenging or even inaccessible. She believes yoga should be fun, explorative, and challenging for both mind and body, but most importantly that yoga should be, and can be, accessible to every person.
She is grateful to be able to be teaching and living in such a beautiful place in the world, and enjoys getting to teach and connect with so many interesting people that are living and traveling through Nicaragua.
Julie Speier is a mother of three young children, the director of San Juan del Sur Day School and a yoga teacher at Zen. Julie has been practicing yoga since 1998 and became a certified yoga teacher in 2007 through Radiantly Alive in Bali, Indonesia. She has been a teacher with Zen since we opened our studio in 2011. She loves teaching a good powerful flow class or a calming restorative class. She applies the teachings of yoga to her daily life, especially Karma Yoga (service to others). She loves assisting her students in attaining the “aha moments” on their mats or in the classroom. Julie is full of gratitude for her life and the fact that she gets to teach Yoga at Zen!
Instructor – Host
Sally is a registered yoga teacher originally from Vancouver, Canada where she taught full time for 5 years before setting her sights elsewhere. Incorporating her love of adventure and yoga, she traveled the world for a year, teaching and exploring until finally settling in Nicaragua late 2015. Sally originally found yoga to compliment her various athletic endeavors, but soon discovered the effects of the practice reached far beyond physical benefits which eventually inspired her to become a teacher and share her passion. Dynamic, creative, sweaty and sweet, her classes range from Vinyasa to Restorative and are designed to leave you feeling lovingly rinsed out, mentally clear and physically stronger and longer. With importance on alignment and safety, she encourages her students to continually investigate the physical body and mental state with each breath with the hope that students leave each class feeling happier, healthier and fully equipped with tools to take their practice off of the mat and into every day life.
Ingrid Collado was born and raised in the beautiful town of San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. Ingrid has a BA in Business Administration and uses those skills with Zen Yoga Studio and Nicaragua Yoga Institute. She loves the peaceful and spiritual atmosphere of Zen Yoga and working to create and coordinate yoga retreats and yoga teacher training programs alongside Vanessa Pattison owner of Zen Yoga Studio and co-founder of Nicaragua Yoga Institute. Ingrid hopes to inspire the values of respect and love promoted at Zen Yoga Studio to her beautiful 4 year old daughter.
Retreat/Trainings Bookings Manager – Host
Michelle Clark is an Oklahoma native who has found her current paradise in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua for the past 2.5 years. She moved with her husband and two young boys to simplify life and learn to “give back” in many various ways. Currently, in addition to her titles as Booking Retreat Manager and “social guru”, she spends her spare time volunteering at a feeding center in Tola and writing her family travel blog at www.abroadperspective.net. She recently discovered the beauty of yoga to beat the anxieties of daily life and to boost her mood. She has grown to love escaping into meditation and yoga and loves even more “hosting” the various groups retreating to Nicaragua for their “escape” as well. With more than 12 years previous experience in marketing, hosting, and event-planning/management, she is a perfect fit for our NYI team!
Owner – Host
Vanessa Pattison is the founder of Zen Yoga Studio which she opened in 2011 after the vision popped into her head one evening while talking to a friend. They sketched the studio on a napkin, broke ground a week later and never looked back. Beyond running Zen Yoga Studio and sister retreat business Nicaragua Yoga Institute, she still loves to get in the studio and lead a class or two a week. Vanessa is also a doula to many expats and local women who live in the San Juan del Sur area.
Originally from California, Vanessa moved to San Juan del Sur with her husband in 2005. Disenchanted with the rat race pace of life and her occupation as a Real Estate Appraiser she pursued her passion of yoga. In the past decade Vanessa has become highly trained with over 500 hours of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga as well as anatomy and Aryuveda. Her teachers are many but she attributes Peter Sterios and James Bailey as two of the most influential. Her most important role is that of mother to her three young boys; Max, Dante and Leo, all born in Nicaragua.
People ask her all the time how she made the transition? They comment on how ideal this easy pace of life must be. Her answer is always the same. She says, “wherever you go there you are!” It means to her that happiness is not determined by physical location but is deeply rooted within. Happiness ebbs and flows. Vacationing to and living in SJDS are two different realities. It is still a third world country complete with power outages and many other frustrations. Living your “dharma” what you are meant to do on this planet is key and she feels fortunate to have found that and to be able to share it with others.