Our Heartland Yoga Therapist Team 


Nancy Schalk Connor, BA, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500  

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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 helped conduct 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.  
Then in 2014, 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) YES to Vets offers 3 classes weekly in the community at no charge for veterans, active military personnel and their families.

Alli Steinke, E-RYT 200

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.  She completed her 200 hr yoga teacher training with Flourish Yoga in 2013 and continued apprenticing there for over 5 years.  She is the founder of the Fishers YMCA Water Yoga Program. In addition she teaches prenatal, yoga for kids, and Mommy & Me classes.

Jim Connors J.D. Mathys Bill Biggs Sally Sando, instructor H.D. Bales, Navy, Alli Stienke, instructor

Jim Connors J.D. Mathys Bill Biggs Sally Sando, instructor H.D. Bales, Navy, Alli Stienke, instructor

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Carol Weiss, BA, MS, RYT 200

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 Sando

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.

H. D. Bales, Sally Sando and Alli Stienke after a north Binford class, October 2016

H. D. Bales, Sally Sando and Alli Stienke after a north Binford class, October 2016

Gaynell Collier-Magar, E-RYT 500

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." 

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Kathy Sheek, RYT 500

Under the guidance and teaching of Nancy Schalk Connor, Kathy Sheek received a Hatha Yoga certificate in 2005, and Yoga Therapy certificate at the IU Simon Cancer Center in 2008.

She loves working with students privately or in small groups, helping them modify their yoga practice according to individual needs. Kathy joined the YES to Vets Nora team as an assistant in the spring of 2018, after the loss of her father, a WWII veteran. She’s passionate about developing a sense of community and giving back to those who serve.

Janine Cochran, RN, BA, BFA, BS, RYT-200


Janine holds Bachelors of Arts degrees from Purdue University in Psychology and English, Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interior Design and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Janine pursued her yoga teaching certificate from Peace Through Yoga in an effort to draw together her background with the treatment of mental health disorders and the life-changing effects of yoga practice in our daily experience. 

Janine began her journey with YES to Vets after observing the program during her yoga teacher training to more fully understand trauma-informed yoga practices. She felt such a profound sense of community in the class that she never left, transitioning to an assistant for the Friday class in Speedway. Janine strives to honor the memory of both her Grandfather Edward and Uncle Ed, who served proudly in the Armed Forces during WWII and Vietnam.

Elizabeth Casalini

Claudine Samanic

Claudine was always an avid fitness enthusiast, but discovered yoga after a bad motorcycle accident in college which badly injured her right leg and hip. The yoga asanas and stretches helped her regain pain-free movement and flexibility, and the mind-body-breath connection helped her find a new peace of mind. She pursued her yoga teaching certificate from Peace Through Yoga so she could share the healing powers of yoga with others. Claudine came to YES to Vets after observing a class during her yoga teacher training to learn about trauma-informed yoga practices. She holds a PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University, and has worked in public health for 25 years. As an active duty Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officer, she is honored to serve as an assistant for the Tuesday classes at VA Hospital.