Our Instructors

Our certified instructors have the skills and training necessary to guide you in your individual yoga practice. Yoga Alliance certified, this diverse group of yogis brings a unique set of experiences and interests to their teaching. We encourage you to find a teacher you connect with and a class style that fits your needs and goals, whether you are just beginning your yoga journey or have already developed an appreciation for yoga’s place in your life.


Jen Schaefer

Founder and Owner, RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training

Jen’s own yoga journey has been transformational and she hopes to assist others in finding relief from stress, improving their health and mindfulness, and gaining spiritual fulfillment along their own yoga path. Jen founded Gulfport Yoga in 2013 after completing her 200 hour yoga teacher training at St. Petersburg Yoga. She had not previously taught yoga and had no prior plans to own a yoga studio, but she saw a need in the Gulfport community for a studio dedicated to helping people enhance their lives through daily yoga practice and meditation. An entrepreneur with prior small business experience, Jen knew she should trust her intuition that was leading her towards this new life purpose. She saw the space that would become Gulfport Yoga and knew it was meant to be a yoga studio. Carefully selecting a staff of dedicated yogis from all different backgrounds, whose combined experience and knowledge could help create a thriving yoga community, Jen started Gulfport Yoga with big dreams and a small budget and has watched it begin to blossom into what it is today. Jen is currently furthering her yoga training in a 500 hour certification program at St. Petersburg Yoga.


Aiyana Baida

RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training, LMT

Aiyana found herself back on her mat after a series of life-changing events left her feeling lost. Yoga was the light that guided her out of a period of grief, anxiety and depression. Realizing the profound positive impact yoga had in her life, she decided to deepen her practice with teacher training.

Through her flow and meditation classes, she now guides her students to discover their inner strengths. Her practice aims to inspire others to live their truth, help students step fully into the moment and empower them to face their challenges on the mat. Her calm presence coupled with her passion for yoga will lead you through a practice that is rewarding, heart opening and altogether your own.

Aiyana’s practice includes vinyasa flow, restorative yoga, yoga nidra and meditation classes. She is a licensed massage therapist with over 10 years experience and a certified yoga instructor who received her training at St. Pete Yoga.[/zee_column][/zee_columns]


Paola Kontrick

RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training, LMT

Paola, a Licensed Massage Therapist, completed her 200 hour Yoga Teacher certification at St. Petersburg Yoga to complement her massage therapy practice. She specializes in restorative therapy classes that focus on proper alignment and caring for the body. Her special one-on-one attention to each of her students’ individual needs and her love for what she does ensures that her restorative classes are always full. Paola also practices massage therapy at The Art of Massage, below the studio. She’s currently enrolled in the 500 hour Yoga Teacher certification program at St. Petersburg Yoga.


Shannon Mainhart

RYT 500

Shannon came to yoga after her mother became a certified yoga instructor. Shannon found yoga to be a healthy way to honor her body and remain committed to a healthier lifestyle, and decided to pursue this passion with the 200 hour teacher training. She received 200 hour and 500 hour certifications at St. Petersburg Yoga.


David Ambush

RYT 200

David completed his 200 hour Yoga Teacher certification at St. Petersburg Yoga in 2012, but it wasn’t until Gulfport Yoga opened its doors that he decided to begin teaching and sharing yoga with the community. David’s earnest teaching style and calming nature makes him a natural as an instructor, while his in-depth personal knowledge and dedication as a yogi has made him a huge asset to the studio.


Brenda McMahon

RYT 200

Brenda has been a practicing Yogi for more than 15 years. She began her personal practice in Upstate New York, under the guidance of a Hatha Yoga Instructor & Auyverdic practitioner, Judy Wyle. In 2007, Brenda continued her practice in Florida at St. Petersburg Yoga, where in 2011 she received her RYT 200 yoga teacher certification. A full time ceramic artist, Brenda’s vision is to combine her love of clay with her love of Yoga. She teaches classes at Gulfport Yoga and Clay/Yoga Workshops in Italy and across the U.S. Brenda likes to bring strength-building and meditation to her classes, as her practice has always been rooted in the traditional guiding principals of yoga as a force for deep transformation.


Julie Price

RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training

Julie Price has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. She started exploring yoga after being involved in a car accident and having a lot of neck and back pain. Yoga helped to bring her body back into balance and become pain free. She was inspired to become a Yoga teacher to help others on their path and completed her 200 hour teacher training at Kripalu in August of 2007. Since then she has been teaching yoga classes in Clearwater and the St. Petersburg area. She’s currently participating in the 500 hour teacher training program at St. Petersburg Yoga to further her knowledge and experience of yoga. Julie’s classes focus on developing awareness of the body and mind so that imbalances may be easily detected and corrected through Yoga practice. She also incorporates breathing techniques and meditation in her classes.


Albert Risemberg

RYT 200, Level 1 Reiki Practitioner, Apitherapist, Permaculturist

Albert completed his 200 hour Empath Yoga teacher training with Erika Boucher after a number of years of personal practice. A resident of Gulfport, Albert enjoys a relaxed life of growing food and sharing his healing modalities at his modest home, dubbed the “Moon Landing.” His nourishing Yoga style captures the true essence of getting in touch with the inner self through light, intuitive Hatha style Yoga.


Halaya LeMaire

RYT 200, RYT 500 in Training

“Yoga is not about touching your toes but about what you learn on the way down”

Halaya originally came into yoga to find relief from chronic back pain due to scoliosis. She soon discovered that yoga was not only a powerful tool for bringing balance to the body but balancing for all aspects of life and self as well. Through her authentic yoga practice, Halaya began a life- changing journey that allowed her to truly find herself. Where once she had been just surviving, she now lives fully, with enthusiasm and a passion to guide others along their own unique journey to themselves. She currently uses her yoga training to work with individuals and groups going through bereavement and similar emotional heaviness. Halaya obtained her 200 hour certification at St. Petersburg Yoga and is currently working to complete her 500 hour certification.

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