ॐ Meet the Owners ॐ
Michelle DeNicola (Owner & Teacher)
Michelle is a 500hr Certified Yoga Instructor and Reiki Master. After a few years of working as a Radiation Therapist at NYU, she started her yoga journey- looking for a way to clear her mind, and instantly fell in love with the practice. She is married to her best friend and has 3 children, 2 dogs and 2 cats. She loves adventures, music, the beach, surfing, spicy food and being barefoot.
Michelle has Certifications in Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Restorative, Stand Up Paddle board Yoga & Karma Kids Yoga. Her creative playlists compliment her upbeat, laid back, friendly, positive attitude. You are sure to get a class that will make you feel safe, welcome, and relaxed. She is certainly not afraid to live life and run head first into any opportunity. Her motto is “jump and the net will appear.” Michelle has learned to stay present by letting go, optimistic by never giving up, and the importance to share these values with her students. Favorite Role Models: Mister Rogers, Bob Marley, Anais Nin and Mother Teresa
Cindy Valentine (Owner & Teacher)
Cindy started her yoga journey in 1999. She has 2 children and is married, with 2 cats “Samadhi” and “Chip”. Cindy has her masters in education and taught 6th grade for 5 years until she made the switch to teaching kids and teachers yoga full time. She created and implemented a yoga program in the Syosset school district and taught in service yoga trainings to educators. Her yogic path has always been organic; having full faith it was always what’s meant to be. She soon completed 4 teacher trainings to teach kids yoga to preschool through teenagers, mommy and me, and family yoga. She completed her first 200 hour teacher training for adults and this is where she met Michelle. Over the next 12 years, she has continued to study with many incredible teachers.
She has also received the following training certifications:
500 hour yoga teacher training, Yoga Tune Up level 1 and 2, Yoga Tune Up Advanced Anatomy, five 18 hour trainings under Jonny Kest, two complete Yin teacher trainings with Joe Barnett, Kickboxing, Barre Classes, Strike Indoor Cycle (Spinning and Jonny G certifications), & Warrior Sculpt/ Yoga Sculpt. She has also studied extensively with, Sean Corn, Bryan Kest, Baron Baptiste, Jacqui Bonwell, among many others. Out of all of her experiences, nothing prepared her for owning a yoga studio but she wouldn’t change a single thing! She loves every second of working with her best friend and partner in crime. The Yoga Shack was born out of her absolute love and devotion to the practice of yoga.
ॐ Meet our Teachers: ॐ
Brittany’s goal is to help others build up their physical strength by focusing on principles of alignment, while also taking that time to connect to the heart center. Driven to teach after discovering that yoga was so much more then just a physical practice. Brittany is a spiritual and compassionate yogi who lives yoga on and off the mat, inspiring others to do the same. Fun Fact: Brittany works for locally brewed Coastal Craft Kombucha. She also has a huge passion to raise positive awareness in all dog breeds.
Peter is a hairstylist by trade. A lover of nature, adventures, travel, puppies, gardening, home renovations, fitness, nutrition & food. He began practicing yoga as a fitness outlet and over the years, it morphed into much more than a physical practice. He enjoys a strong vinyasa flow, but has also come to enjoy slowing down at times. Music, chanting, and vibrational sounds permeate with him.
Kimberly loves to teach invigorating flows that explore the balance between strength and mobility. She is continually inspired by yoga’s ability to help people transform and connect deeper into themselves while doing something positive for their physical body as well. Kimberly has a passion for building a healthy lifestyle. When not practicing yoga you can find her out in nature (hiking, kayaking, paddle-boarding, you name it!), teaching dance and barre, and even taking classes at the local crossfit gym.
A self proclaimed rule breaker and proud societal black sheep, Lauren thinks outside the box when it comes to this thing called life. After struggling for years trying to fit into molds and tick off “necessary” benchmarks, she realized that life wasn’t just about checking boxes. Lauren shifted her focus in 2012 and has spent a great deal of time and effort crafting her best life that is filled with sparkle, pleasure, and magic. Lauren strongly believes in the empowerment of the self and liberation of the mind through the development of strength and trust in the physical form. As such it was only natural that Forrest Yoga and Aerial practices have become ingrained in her DNA. Lauren is a deeply compassionate human and it can be witnessed in all of her classes as she shares her gifts with her students. Lauren has completed 200hr Forrest Yoga training, Forrest Yoga Mentorship Program with Guardians Erica Mather and Leslie Pearlman, Antigravity Fundamentals 1&2 and Restorative Trainings and continues to study with Forrest Yoga Guardians, as well as senior teachers in the tri-state area to keep her proverbial spiritual cup full.
Trish has practiced yoga on and off for many years. After finding the Yoga Shack as a place of community and love, she decided to commit to doing something extraordinary for herself and signed up for their 200hr Teacher training and Restorative training. Upon completing the trainings, she found the practice she loves to do- helping students learn to take a moment, a breath, for self-love and self-care through yoga. Practicing and teaching yoga has become an important part of who she is and part of her journey to better herself and help those around her. When not at the Shack, Trish loves to hang out with her kids, family and friends. She loves the beach, creating, gardening and learning.
After 30 years of exploring many different paths of the fitness world, divine intervention brought Michele's starving soul into Gritty Buddha in October of 2017. When her teacher and mentor, Regina Smith, began to speak something inside her broke open and she thought the tears would never end. Michele clearly saw the next right step for her - A 200 hour Enrichment and Yoga teacher training. The experience set her soul on fire. Since graduating in May 2018, as her yoga and meditation practice continues to evolve, she has committed herself to holding this sacred space for others. In sharing these practices, Michele wishes to offer her fellow light seekers a safe place to surrender and nurture their spirit while empowering them with tools to support them on their journey.
Hi I’m Lindsey and I am so grateful to be a part of The Yoga Shack Community! I have been practicing for 4 years now and a teacher for two. Yoga has been so healing and transformational for me in my life and I am so excited to share, learn and flow in this sacred space with you.
Michelle has been practicing yoga since 2003. Although she’s tried many different types of yoga, she has the strongest affinity for an Ashtanga/Vinyasa-based practice. This style gives her joy, peace, and a sense of playfulness, all things reflected in her teaching style. She has a great knowledge for modifying poses to suit any body and its needs, and is keenly able to balance ease and intensity.
Michelle’s first teacher training was in Ashtanga in 2005 and has been teaching ever since. To deepen her knowledge and her practice, Michelle completed teacher trainings and is E-RYT 500 and YACEP certified through the Yoga Alliance. Michelle has been blessed with the opportunity to study with Jabari Hakeem, Michael Aronoff, Beryl Bender Birch, and many other wonderful teachers.
Michelle enjoys teaching yoga and finds it rewarding sharing her knowledge with others. She is always willing to learn more and is constantly trying to increase her knowledge through workshops, readings, and trainings.
Michelle is a proud mother of three beautiful daughters who keep her busy with their many sports, music, educational and social activities. She’s a dog lover & is a very active member of the Farmingdale Schools PTA.
Practicing for almost 10 years, Gina’s love for yoga really began when she followed her heart and moved to Puerto Rico, six years ago. She has since completed 200 & 300hr teacher trainings.
Gina always knew there was something missing from her life and yoga filled that void. The practice simply makes her feel whole, connecting her to the body-mind and spiritual benefits which help her through life, her health issues and transforming into her holistic lifestyle. The introduction to the traditional, spiritual side of yoga, so often lost in the West, is perhaps her biggest influence. You can often find Gina sharing ancient yogic wisdom and her love for Kirtan (traditional, singing meditation with Indian instruments such as the Harmonium), during her classes .
Gina loves to share her knowledge and passion for the practice through her teaching, while creating safe and fun classes for all!
Deanna is a Reiki practitioner, RYT 200 and certified Stand Up Paddle Board yoga instructor. Before she fell in love with yoga she began teaching Kickboxing classes and assisting in women’s self defense programs at 17. She is currently keeping busy with 3 active boys.
Starting a meditation practice in 8th grade, River found very early on the importance that healing plays in cultivating love for the Self and in divine connection. Coming from an eclectic background, including shamanism, reiki, yoga, dance, and art, River loves to learn and to give back those lessons to the communities they work with. As a gender non-conforming person, one of their many passions is to make healing modalities all-inclusive and accessible to all walks of life. With trainings in trauma sensitivity, River focuses on the integration of ease and compassion into every class. Some things that River loves to do is hike, make music, paint, play with their gecko, make candles, learn and hug trees. They believe that this life has whatever meaning we make of it and their meaning to is explore consciousness, love unconditionally, and live freely with curiosity.
Erin has been with The Yoga Shack since 2017, starting as the office manager and then taking the plunge into the Yoga Shacks 200hr YTT. She is also certified in Children’s yoga, restorative yoga and has completed reiki levels 1 & 2.
Erin says the absolute best part of being at the yoga shack is definitely the STUDENTS and getting to know each and every one of them, “we have become almost like a big happy family while at the studio,which I absolutely LOVE.”
When shes not at the studio, she is busy with her four kiddos and two rescue fur babies. Erin also loves refinishing furniture, building pallet walls, and reupholstering chairs.
Looking to alleviate back pain from her long commute, Brittany found Ashtanga yoga in 2011. It was then she fell in love with both the physical and mental practice yoga offered. As a dancer of 18 years and former instructor, Brittany felt right at home moving her body in this new (and challenging!) way. In 2013, Brittany was inspired to enroll in 200HR Teacher Training. Through this program and mentorship, she sharpened her skills, but most importantly discovered her authentic voice and found the confidence needed to help others inspire themselves!
After completing her foundational training, Brittany went on to continue her education in Reiki 1, AntiGravity Fundamentals 1 & 2, AntiGravity Restorative, AntiGravity Pilates, AntiGravity Just Kids, and 300HR Advanced Teacher Training. Brittany's knowledge of contemporary movement combined with her passion for uplifting others create a high spirited experience that will elevate your practice. Her goal is to bring the practice of yoga to each of her students in a way that is both accessible and joyous.
Liri got her 200hr in Rishikesh, India studying Ashtanga in 2015. Her approach to teaching is soulful and healing. Her classes are centered around strengthening the mind through strengthening the body. Along with teaching yoga, Liri is a writer, farmer, herbalist, tarot reader and energy healer.