Winston Salem Yoga Studio Staff

Valerie Kiser

Valerie is the owner and director of Sunrise Yoga Studio and the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Program. She has been teaching yoga since 1999 and is a 500-hour experienced registered yoga teacher (E-RYT500) and YACEP (Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider) through the Yoga Alliance. Her first teacher training was completed with Cindy Dollar, an Iyengar-certified teacher in Asheville, NC. Valerie has completed a 1200-hour Advanced Teacher Training and Yoga Therapeutics certification from Sun and Moon Yoga Studios in Fairfax/Arlington, VA with JJ Gormley. Valerie is also a Certified Prenatal Yoga instructor, a Relax and Renew Advanced Trainer ® (Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater), an Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor, an Elise Browning Miller Yoga for Scoliosis Trainer, a certified Y4C (yoga for cancer) teacher, and an iRest Teacher-in-Training Level II (Yoga Nidra).  She is an IAYT-certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) and the co-owner of East Coast Yoga Therapy (an 800-hour program that certifies yoga therapists).  Valerie believes that yoga is a practice that allows us to take charge of our own lives through growth, balance, and peace. Yoga is an exploration that leads us to greater awareness in mind, body, and spirit. Yoga brings union, harmony, and joy; it renews our energy and restores our spirit.

Winston Salem Yoga Studio Staff

Cathy Howe

Cathy began her yoga practice by attending a free class at Sunrise Yoga in 2004. Over time, she slowly expanded her interest in yoga from a once-weekly practice to enrollment in the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program. Cathy believes that, when it comes to her own practice, “slow-and-steady wins the race”, and that persistence and honest effort do in fact deliver remarkable results regardless of age and physical ability. Yoga helps her stay fit, feel young, and maintain a sense of peace and well-being.
She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is registered with the Yoga Alliance at that level (RYT500).


Elaine Round

Elaine was initially drawn to yoga in 2007 when a gym director gently prodded her to join a class. Physically humbled by the experience, yet left with an unexpected feeling of calm, she decided to explore this yoga thing further.
Two years into her practice, she enrolled in the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training Program as a way to deepen her knowledge of yoga. After completing the program, she pursued an additional 40 hours of training with Roger Cole in Restorative Yoga, which is currently her main teaching focus. With this training (and influences from many others), she brings to Sunrise a class designed to allow the body and mind to let go.

She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher.

Winston Salem Yoga Studio Staff

Gwen McLaughlin

Gwen started practicing yoga at home. It wasn’t long before she realized that this form of movement would be a part of her life on a daily basis for the rest of her life. With its ability to engage the mind as well as the body, she feels yoga creates a balance which is calming and regenerative. At Sunrise Yoga Studio she found she was able to practice yoga to a more fulfilling degree. Gwen wanted to become a teacher to deepen her knowledge and to be able to share the joy and insight yoga brings. She believes that practicing yoga allows a person to be fully present in the moment, something to which we can all aspire.

She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is a RYT500.


Jessie Rymarchyk

Jessie grew up in a small suburb of Syracuse, New York and attended SUNY Cobleskill, Cornell University, and SUNY Dehli where she received degrees in Animal Science and Veterinary Technology. Since 2000 she has been employed full time in the field of veterinary medicine as a licensed and registered veterinary technician. Shortly after starting her vet tech career, she began practicing yoga. She has graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is a RYT500.

Jessie’s interest in teaching has grown as she has deepened her own practice. Yoga has benefited her in ways both expected and unintended. This has inspired Jessie to share her experience with others by encouraging them to begin and helping them to enhance their own yoga practice.

Winston Salem Yoga Studio Staff

Karen Fitzgerald

Karen has been practicing yoga for 10 years. She began her practice as a physical exercise program. She quickly realized the benefits of yoga were much more than a physical exercise program. Yoga has had a positive effect on her life helping her stay balanced and centered especially through tough situations. Yoga allows Karen to do something for herself, each practice is different and leaves her feeling relaxed, energized and grounded. Karen wanted to share her positive experience with others as a yoga teacher. She completed the 200 hour teacher training program at Sunrise Yoga Studio (and is RYT200) and is currently enrolled in the 300-hour Teacher Training Program at Sunrise Yoga Studio. Karen believes that everyone can benefit from a yoga practice and have fun doing it.

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Karen Hoglund

Karen became a student of yoga in 1999, eventually receiving her 330-hour yoga teacher training certificate from Triad Yoga Institute in 2004 and her 500-hour certificate from Triad Yoga’s Vidya program in 2008. In January of 2017 she began her 1000-hour certification program to become a certified yoga therapist with East Coast Yoga Therapy. Karen’s challenges with her back (scoliosis) have taught her how important good alignment is and how yoga can strengthen the body while reducing pain. She is inspired by music and ancient traditions so her flow classes often have playlists geared to the sequence, sprinkled in with the occasional myth, and all classes are interwoven with pranayama, asana, and short meditations to hopefully bring us into balance and add a little peace into our lives. Karen is registered with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level (RYT500).


Kim Crawford

Kim came to yoga hoping to improve range of motion after breast cancer treatments. She found that yoga brought her so much more than physical flexibility and strength. The awareness and peacefulness that she found with yoga encouraged her to deepen her practice. Kim completed a 330-hour teacher training program at Triad Yoga Institute and began teaching in 2008. She graduated from the Sunrise Yoga Teacher Training program as a 500-hour Certified Yoga Teacher and is now a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT500) with Yoga Alliance. Kim believes that anybody in any body can benefit from yoga and she enjoys sharing the yoga experience.

lisa kushner

Lisa Kushner

Lisa was drawn to yoga while working on her bachelor’s degree at UNC-Chapel Hill. After earning a master’s degree, raising a family, and working 31 years as a public librarian, she began to focus on her yoga practice. She completed the 200-hour teacher training program at Sunrise Yoga Studio in 2013 and the 300-hour program 2017. Lisa is enthusiastic about working with beginners and helping students find a calm, supportive space on their yoga mat.

Sandra Wells

Sandra Wells

Yoga has brought balance to her life as well as the ability to honor time for herself. Sandra shares those with all her students through her teaching. Sandra is a former triathlete, marathoner, and competitive cyclist who still enjoys running and cycling. As such, she found that Yoga brought balance to her body as well as her mind. Her particular interests are for sharing her love of yoga with kids and families. Sandra says she teaches yoga because she wants to share the tremendous benefits yoga has to offer for the physical body and for the mind. She wants students to have fun and to enjoy the sense of community during her classes. She is a Level 2 Radiant Child Certified Instructor and has completed the 330-hour teacher training program at Triad Yoga Institute. She has also completed a Certification program for Prenatal Yoga. She has completed the Triad Yoga’s 500-hour teacher training program.

Colleen Weiss

Colleen is our Receptionist weeknights and weekends. She is a former sales and marketing executive in the music, art publishing and sports arenas. About a decade ago she transitioned into nonprofit work at the Forsyth Humane Society and the SECU Family House. Colleen is a passionate animal advocate and an avid reader. She tries to incorporate the wisdom of Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodron into everyday life and looks forward to developing a yoga practice that will complement her meditation practice.

Sandra Eng

Amber Eng

Amber is our Office Manager who works weekday mornings. Amber completed her college education at Western Carolina University with a degree in Early Childhood Special Education (BK). She taught preschool special education in the North Carolina County Public Schools from 1998 until 2015. She loves the beach and the mountains, spending time with friends and family, writing and taking pictures of landscapes, especially sunrises and sunsets. Amber began taking yoga classes at Sunrise Yoga in March of 2016. Practicing yoga has helped guide her on her journey to live mindfully in the present and with a grateful heart. Yoga is an important part of her overall health and well-being. She is very excited and happy to be a part of the Sunrise Yoga family!

Sandra Eng

Kayla Taddeucci

Kayla is our Receptionist on week-nights. She moved into the area from Greensboro in April 2017 with her husband and dog. Kayla started practicing yoga in 2014 and is excited about continuing to grow her own personal practice. She is enthusiastic about being a part of the yoga community and is grateful to be a member of the Sunrise Yoga family. In her free time, Kayla enjoys walking her dog, reading blogs, spending time with her husband, and listening to podcasts.