U Team

    Melissa Troast

    U-Flow and U-Hatha Fusion InstructorMelissa's first experience teaching yoga was with her pre-k and kindergarten students, incorporating poses into stories and using gentle breathing and restorative poses after lunch time to encourage relaxation. She completed a Children's Yoga Teacher Training through Naturally Yoga and developed a children's yoga program that she brought to a number of local preschools and after-school programs. Melissa's passion for yoga grew, and she went on to complete a 300hr Yoga Teacher Training at The American Yoga Academy in 2013. She also completed additional trainings in prenatal and restorative yoga, as well as becoming a certified IM=X Pilates instructor. Melissa holds a B.A. in History from Ramapo College, and teaching certificates in Social Studies and Elementary Education. She recently left classroom teaching to pursue a full-time career as a yoga and Pilates instructor, sharing her passion for healthy living and fitness. Melissa is excited to join the U Yoga team, teaching U-Hatha and Flow classes.

    Susan Barber

    Staff InstructorSusan Barber began her yoga journey 20 years ago when she fell in love with classical Ashtanga yoga studying with her first and primary teacher Beryl Bender Birch. She spent 5 years training to become a teacher of yoga, travelling to India to immerse herself in the culture of the ancient tradition and spending time at Swami Satchidanandas Ashram. Susan spent several years in Germany working with Wounded Warriors and those healing from Trauma as well as having taught internationally for the past 18 years in Singapore, Bahrain and Europe. On staff at the Frankfurt International School, Susan taught yoga to the parents, staff and her favorite littlest yogis in the 3-5 year old classes. Susan and family recently settled in Ridgewood NJ and she is excited to share yoga with the local community. Her classes are traditional and alignment based while encouraging students to adapt the practice to their own bodies and unique needs – and have some fun!

    Helaine Kay

    U-Core and U-Strong InstructorAfter retiring from her career in Advertising, Helaine decided to turn her passion for fitness into a career. Helaine has been teaching group fitness at various health clubs for almost 8 years, providing great motivation and knowledge to her spin and pilates' clients. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to bring her talent and passion now to U-Yoga. Helaine is the mother of 3 children ages 14, 11 and 7. She is also the Fitness Editor for Bergen Mama, an online blog for all things "cool and hip" in Bergen. Helaine brings her positive energy to every class she teaches. Her motivation to "spark a lifelong addiction to fitness" is what motivates her everyday to give her students the best possible workout, leaving all participants feeling strong and energized! Helaine joins the U-team teaching both U-Core and U-Strong classes.

    Tommy Coombs

    U-Yoga ROCKS! and U-Flow InstructorTommy was introduced to Hot Yoga after a car accident in 2004. Little did he know that this would forever change his life. At first, Yoga was for pain management and rehabilitation, but with consistent practice the deep healing began and he became stronger and pain free. In 2011, he completed his first 200 hour teacher training program led by Jody Domerstad at Hot Yoga NJ and he completed his second 200 hour training with Raji Thron at Yoga Synthesis In 2013. His studies continued in 2014 focusing on alignment with Todd Norian and Rolf Gates at Kripalu and with Darlene Vanderhoop for Yin Yoga training. Forever the student, he continues his journey by attending trainings and workshops to share the benefits that come from the practice of Yoga. Tommy also plays the drums and has performed, traveled and recorded with many bands that helps bring his love of music into his teaching style. He joins the U-Team teaching U-Yoga ROCKS! and U-Flow classes.

    Lori Brophy

    U-Flow InstructorLori took her first Yoga class over 15 years ago when she was looking for strength and flexibility to enhance her running. She came away with a much greater gift and learned to integrate the practice of Yoga into her daily life on and off the mat. She approaches yoga as an opportunity to find relaxation and balance in a busy life, cultivate flexibility and reconnect to innate joy. Completing her 200 hour certification through Yoga Mountain in 2011, she earned her E-RYT 200 in 2 years through Yoga Alliance. Continuing her education through workshops and retreats, she applies this knowledge to grow as both teacher and student. She holds a Level II Reiki Certification in the Usui tradition. It is her desire to give her students a deep understanding of asana, alignment and anatomy so they can learn the needs of their body. Cultivating movement through breath, allowing the mind-body-breath connection to strengthen, enables them to take this awareness off their mat and into their life. That is the yoga!!!! "Yoga is the artwork of awareness on the canvas of body, mind, and soul." Lori joins the U-Team teaching U-Flow classes.

    Allison Felderman

    Customer Service RepresentativeAllison began her career in the fitness industry back in 2003 teaching kickboxing after the birth of her daughter. She has many years of customer service experience both in her native homeland of New Zealand, England and her in the U.S. She loves to meet and serve people and is excited to be part of the inspirational U-Team as a customer service representative. Allison has lived in the U.S. for 16 years and enjoys the outdoors, traveling, Rugby, Cricket and sailing. She currently resides in Ramsey with her husband and daughter.

    Jen Edleson

    Customer Service RepresentativeJen has always been passionate about health education and body awareness on all levels. She worked for almost 10 years in healthcare public relations in NYC, and then co-produced a TV show on diabetes for an NYC-based independent film-making studio. Jen is also a certified reiki master. She lives in Ramsey with her husband and 2 children. Jen joins the U-team as one of our customer service representatives.

    Patti Lewis

    U-Flow InstructorPatti began her journey taking yoga as a senior in high school. She became a group fitness instructor during college at a gym chain. Although there were detours allowing for growth as an artist, art therapist, and dancer, she found her way back to her yoga practice after the birth of her children. Patti has studied Bikram, Vinyasa, and Hatha Raja yoga. Her teachers have found form in her teaching style. The combined experience as an artist and love of dance shows in the stylish imagery, strength, and flow of her class. She is a 500 hr. ERYT, receiving her training at Bamboomoves Yoga and HOMe Yoga. She continues to add to her training through workshops and intensives. Moving from a place rooted in the philosophy of yoga, the poses carry not only form but focus on transformation inside and out. Patti joins the U-YOGA team teaching U-Flow classes.

    Amy Pressman

    U-Core and U-Strong InstructorAmy’s passion for fitness goes back to the early days of teaching aerobics! Teaching group fitness classes lead her to a lifetime dedication of running and strength training. Recognizing the need for further growth, Amy looked to add the all important component of “core” training to her fitness routine. In 2012 Amy became certified in Pilates matwork and immediately began training clients on the importance of Pilates style training for the core muscle groups. With over 25 years of education and experience, Amy joins the UYOGA team teaching both U-CORE1 and U-STRONG classes.

    Daniela Bianco

    U-Core Flow and U-Strong InstructorDaniela has had a love for fitness ever since her first gym experience at the age of 13. As she grew older, she realized she wanted to change lives through health and fitness. She began coaching girl's softball and cheerleading at the school where she currently teaches 5th grade. Her fitness career started off with boot camps in the park for the locals, to in home personal training, to teaching yoga, kickboxing, strength training, and core classes in various facilities. She soon fell in love with yoga and began to add her own unique practice to her classes. Daniela also teaches yoga to children at schools for summer programs. She is very excited to join the U Yoga team! Daniela is committed to giving her students the best possible workout while making them stronger physically and mentally.

    Raechel Lutz

    Athletic by nature, Raechel first attended a hot yoga class shortly after graduating from college. Yoga quickly became the most challenging and fulfilling athletic adventure of her life. Raechel was trained in 2011 and has since studied at Laughing Lotus NYC and the Breathing Project with specializations in yoga anatomy, hand-on assisting, restorative yoga, and vinyasa sequencing. She is also certified as a Core Strength Vinyasa teacher. She is driven to inspire students to live more fully and presently in their bodies by using the tools of asana.

    Lisa Podesta

    At first, her mat was a place she went to escape life’s challenges, but over time, Lisa’s mat became the place she returned to confront them. Lisa has been practicing yoga since 2008, received her 200HR RYT certification from Raji Thron of Yoga Synthesis and earned her 30 hour Chakra Yoga Teacher Training certificate studying with Anodea Judith, the authority on all things Chakra. Lisa is also a Health Coach, certified through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been singing since she was 15. Forever a student with a passion for people, holistic health and self-actualization, Lisa continues to embrace opportunities to advance her education and experience. Yoga continues to show Lisa more of her authentic self every day, constantly reminding her to meet and accept herself where she is, while always challenging her to push her limits. As she continues to connect with and nourish her natural self through her own practice, Lisa wants to share the gift of yoga with as many people as she can in an effort to inspire authenticity in body, mind and spirit. You can expect a fun, accessible, dynamic and mindful flow from Lisa.