Our Heartland Yoga Therapist Team
We are dedicated yoga therapists deepening our education and exploring the therapeutic uses of yoga!
Nancy Schalk Connor, BA, C-IAYT
Nancy found yoga in the mid 70's and it has been an integral part of her life ever since. She began teaching in 1984 and now holds advanced certifications in Hatha Yoga and Yoga Therapy.
Nancy's main influence has been the Sivananda tradition and she was fortunate to study directly under K. Pattabhi Jois in his Ashtanga Vinyasa method, as well as many other teachers and traditions through the years.
Nancy helped establish the Indiana Yoga Association in 1998 and served on the board for 4 years. She trained yoga teachers from 1999 to 2011, and in 2000 opened and directed All People Yoga Center through 2005.
Nancy has been a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists since 2007. She now has earned her C-IAYT, an international certification as a yoga therapist.
Nancy developed the yoga therapy program at the IU Simon Cancer Center in 2008 and is currently a part of a team conducting research through the Indianapolis Roudebush VAMC, demonstrating the efficacy of adapted yoga for those with stroke and traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, pain syndromes, PTSD and other challenges.
And, seeing the need for continued yoga classes in the community for veterans after their research is complete, Nancy founded YES to Vets - Yoga Education and Service to Veterans. (learn more about our YES to Vets program here)
Shawn Holtel, C-IAYT
Shawn attended her first yoga class in 2005 hoping it would help alleviate the "inevitable" loss of flexibility that was creeping in with age. After just a short time practicing she noticed other benefits: a quietness in her mind and a peaceful calm that lasted long after the yoga class had ended. Interested in learning more, she took her first yoga training in 2011 in Cincinnati OH, and thoroughly enjoyed it! Shawn realized these ancient tools could benefit anyone who was willing to learn and practice them, regardless of age or physical and mental capabilities. Yoga is much more than a form of exercise, but a road map to living a more easeful life. In 2013 Shawn began training with Nancy Schalk as a Yoga Therapist. She currently assists Nancy with yoga research conducted at the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. Working with the Veterans is humbling and so rewarding for Shawn.
Shawn is a member of the International Association of Yoga Therapists and has earned her C-IAYT!
Letitia Haywood, LCSW, LCAC, RYT-500
The connection between mind, body and emotions has been a constant focus in Letitia's life since her teenage years. Letitia is well studied in the field of mental health, having received her master's from Indiana University. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Addictions Counselor and an advanced yoga teacher having received her 500 RYT through Nancy Schalk and Heartland Yoga Therapy in 2010. She has practiced yoga since 2000 to help relieve chronic knee and hip issues from college track and field and completed her initial 200 hr yoga teacher training in 2008. Teaching yoga complements Letitia's full time career as a psychotherapist. As a result, Letitia brings a unique point of view to her yoga teaching style as she guides students to experience the relationship between their physical and emotional selves. She believes that personal suffering can guide us to the source of healing that is already present within oneself. Letitia embraces life, her daily practice and the belief that peace can be achieved regardless of the circumstances.
Alli Steinke, E-RYT
Alli started with us the very first "YES to Vets" class held on the northeast side at "Breathing Space", September 22, 2014, and has been with us weekly ever since. As a skilled and experienced yoga teacher Alli is a huge help in our classes and is well-loved and appreciated by all.
Alli discovered yoga during her first pregnancy in 2008. After completing her 200 hr yoga teacher training with Flourish Yoga + Wellbeing in early 2013 she continued apprenticing there for over 5 years. She is the founder of the Fishers YMCA Water Yoga Program. This is an innovative practice combining yoga in the comfort of a heated pool allowing people who normally might not be able to practice on land to enjoy the countless benefits of yoga. In addition she teaches prenatal, yoga for kids, and offers Mommy & Me classes.
Carol is a valued member of our teaching team on Friday mornings in our Speedway "YES to Vets" classes. She has been a part of our group there since August 2015.
Carol is a former English teacher, a professional, award-winning writer and an active community volunteer. She received her yoga teaching certification in 2102 from All People Yoga Center. Partnering with Rosa O’Connor, Carol has led “Introduction of the Chakras” workshops.
Carol views yoga’s practices, values and wisdom as the underpinning of her life and is committed to sharing the benefits.
Sally has been a serious student of yoga and meditation for over 40 years. Aspiring to pass this gift on to others, she became a yoga teacher through Amrit Yoga and then completed Ananda Seva’s yoga therapy program in 2013. Now retired, Sally is enjoying her time exploring new places – within and without – through meditation, traveling, hiking, studying, and precious time with her family and Bodhi, her dog.
Sally is on our Monday "YES to Vets" teaching team as well as our VA Hospital research study for relief of PTSD symptoms. We are so grateful to have Sally's expertise and her obvious care and heart-felt interest in those she serves.
Gaynell shares her skill, experience and compassionate heart in our Friday-mornings-in-Speedway "YES to Vets" classes as well as in our VA research study to relieve symptoms of PTSD.
Gaynell has been teaching Vinyasa yoga and Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR) in Indianapolis and Cozumel, Mexico in English and Spanish since 2009.
She is the mother of three grown children, eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild. She and her husband Ken live in Irvington.
She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and practiced as a community organizer, addictions counselor, medical social worker, training and technical assistance coordinator for Legal Services Corporation and a program coordinator for parenting programs. She has owned her own landscaping business, Growing Connection, for over twenty-six years, and has been a scuba instructor.
Gaynell says "I am humbled by the opportunity to teach and see the gifts of yoga come alive in students: the light in the eyes, calmness of mind, vibrancy in the body, and the experiential realizations of the connection of body, breath, mind and spirit in the present moment that can be used in everyday life. I love helping create not just a class, but a community."