Our Teachers & Staff

Lynn Olexy
Lynn Olexy
Owner

Lynn Olexy is the co-owner and operator of Downtown Yoga. She comes to the mat with over 30 years of experience in health and wellness and her B.S. in Exercise Science, Dance Education and Business. Her passion for fitness took a turn when she discovered yoga 15 years ago and realized that “beating her body up” was not necessary to achieve her goals. She has a long history in the Carroll County community of establishing and managing a successful yoga studio. She has her 200 hour yoga certification through Charm City under the guidance of Kim Manfredi and in 2019 completed her 500 hour CYT at Downtown Yoga through Yoga Works.

Her classes are athletic yet authentic in her combination of flow with breath. Off the mat you will find her spending time with her family and 2 basset hounds, enjoying the outdoors or spending time at the beach. Her motto is…be kind to everyone along the way, as we all have our own stories.

Jamie Schneeman
Jamie Schneeman
Owner

Jamie Schneeman is the co-owner and operator of Downtown Yoga. She earned her BS in Exercise Science and Sports Coaching and obtained her MA in Administration. She began teaching group exercise in Westminster, and was trained by Kim Manfredi of Charm City Yoga in 2012. She earned her 200 hour CYT from Michelle Allen at Downtown Yoga in 2017 and in 2019 completed her 500 hour CYT through Yoga Works at Downtown Yoga. She enjoys teaching classes where you challenge and strengthen your physical and mental capabilities.
Jamie, Chadd, and Lynn opened Downtown Yoga in 2016.


Amy Budzynski
Amy Budzynski

Jillian is a wife and mom of 3. There is never a dull moment in her life. Her family is energetic, fun, compassionate, and full of spunk. Yoga creates the state of balance in her life.
Jillian found yoga in 2014, or perhaps it found her. She quickly learned that it was not something simple. It made her work physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Though she takes the asana practice seriously, her practice extends far off of her mat. Yoga has calmed her. Yoga has strengthened her. Yoga has made her live in the present. Yoga has healed her. Yoga has balanced her. She embarked on a teaching path in 2017, when she was given the opportunity to share her passion with others. Jillian trained for her 200-hour certification through a Charm City curriculum, under the guidance of Michelle Allen, at Downtown Yoga. In 2018 she furthered her training, becoming a certified Childlight Yoga and Mindfulness Children’s Instructor. She wants to help children learn to be calm, strong, and brave; believing that they could benefit from learning to listen to their inner voice early on. Her purpose in life is to help those around her heal, laugh, and be the best version of themselves. Join her in a well-balanced class, one that will make you sweat, laugh, and be still.

Austin Brown
Austin Brown

Austin is a laid back athlete with a love for music and an appetite for compassion. He got into hot-yoga with no expectations, just a bit of curiosity. Yoga has helped him replace ego with confidence, and given him enough curiosity to never stop learning. If not on his mat, he’s probably under a barbell or in a kitchen. Join him on the mat for a workshop on inversions, learning about plant based nutrition, or in class for a heated Vinyasa.

Chris Fuste
Chris Fuste

Chris Fuste has been in the health and wellness industry in many differing ways since 2000. In addition to being a 500 hour certified yoga teacher, she teaches fitness classes of all kinds and is also a Professional bodybuilder. As an athlete, Chris understands the importance of flexibility and mobility as a way to enhance athletic performance and has found yoga to be a welcomed addition to her fitness routine. As a former massage therapist and personal trainer her appreciation and fascination with the human body is evident in the way she teaches while her passion for helping others find their best selves motivates her to keep growing as an educator. Chris prides herself on making her classes fun and accessible to everyone, making certain to give plenty of modifications for yogis of all levels, from beginners to advanced.

Colleen Bollinger
Colleen Bollinger

Colleen practices yoga because she can’t hide when stepping onto the mat. It allows her to be vulnerable and empowered at the same time. She learns something that can be integrated into her life off the mat and it often allows her to find balance in chaotic times. Yoga brings her back to who she want to be and who she is working on becoming. The connection and energy Colleen feels with her students inspires her every time she teaches. She is in awe of their presence and commitment to showing up, which is often the hardest part, and is deeply honored that they allow her to be part of their journey. The highlight of teaching for Colleen is the transformation that occurs; every class is unique and everyone contributes to the flow, feel and rhythm creating an authentic unique experience, creating space for change. Teaching all that is related to mind and body has been her passion for 3-decades. Colleen is RYT-200 hour certified, a 600-hour trained Massage Therapist and certified Group Fitness instructor. Colleen is a firm believer in the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing that scares you every day” and she feels yoga embodies this expression every time we step onto our mat, allowing us the opportunity to melt away the layers of armor we wear in hopes of finding our true selves. Namaste!

Erica Chesnik
Erica Chesnik

Erica Rai Chesnik discovered the beauty of yoga in 2006 seeking variety in the same ol’ gym workout routine. The practice brought mindfulness and inspiration and eventually evolved into sharing the practice, becoming a certified teacher in 2013 and eventually an advanced 500 hour teacher. Erica found restoration and empowerment in maintaining a consistent practice and loves to help others along the yogic path of mindfulness. Classes are thoughtfully designed to provide a fun, safe, anatomy based yoga class with a strong emphasis on harnessing the power of your breath! Erica holds additional certifications to include Certified Prenatal Yoga Teacher and FLOYO Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Certified.

Heather Thomas
Heather Thomas

In 2019 Heather received her 200hr RYT, along with her Advanced 500hr RYT certification through Yoga Alliance. Trained in New York City, she received her certification as a Yoga 4 Cancer Instructor in 2019.
She is passionate and energetic about sharing the benefits of yoga while making a difference to the health and well-being of others. She aims to provide students with the ability to quiet their minds and open their hearts while mindfully introducing a yoga practice that is skillful, intelligent, and enjoyable. She focuses on intelligent yoga, which is a practice that is not just physically safe but also conducive to emotional and spiritual growth. She wants them to benefit from the sense of relaxation and stress relief that yoga can provide.
She gracefully weaves a mixed level flow in her teachings. Her classes cover beginner asanas, sun salutations, standing poses, hip openers, twists, back bends, and basic inversions. Her students can build a strong base while gaining flexibility, strength, and stamina. As a teacher, she expresses herself in a way that makes her students feels safe, confident, and accepted exactly as they are. Judgement and self-criticism are left at the door and she strives to create a supportive community that is inclusive and compassionate for all.
Her professional career in clinical research has helped transfer her caring and compassionate attributes from her patients to her students. Her favorite thing to do is to spend quality time with family and friends.
By spreading kindness on and off the mat, she nurtures her students in discovering their abilities to be in tune with their body, mind, and spirit.

Jill Grubb
Jill Grubb

Jill is a mother of four and a lover of yoga and exercise. She was introduced to yoga in college, as a means to complement running and other activities. While skeptical at first, she quickly became a lover of the practice and the way it made her body and mind feel. She continued to practice on her own, sometimes regularly, sometimes not, until she was given the opportunity to become certified and teach yoga at Center Street Yoga, in 2012. After her initial training at Charm City Yoga, she decided to further her training and completed her 200 hour yoga training. She enjoys teaching a variety of yoga styles, including vinyasa, restorative, children’s yoga and power yoga, and feels there is a type of yoga for everyone! She has seen, first hand, the ways in which yoga can bring balance, strength, calm and healing into the lives of others.

Jillian Shepard
Jillian Shepard

Jillian is a wife and mom of 3. There is never a dull moment in her life. Her family is energetic, fun, compassionate, and full of spunk. Yoga creates the state of balance in her life. Jillian found yoga 4 years ago, or perhaps it found her. She quickly learned that it was not something simple. It made her work physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Though she takes the asana practice seriously, her practice extends far off of her mat. Yoga has calmed her. Yoga has strengthened her. Yoga has made her live in the present. Yoga has healed her. Yoga has balanced her. She embarked on a teaching path in 2017, when she was given the opportunity to share her passion with others. Jillian trained for her 200-hour certification through a Charm City curriculum, under the guidance of Michelle Allen, at Downtown Yoga. In 2018 she furthered her training, becoming a certified Childlight Yoga and Mindfulness Children’s Instructor. She wants to help children learn to be calm, strong, and brave; believing that they could benefit from learning to listen to their inner voice early on. Her purpose in life is to help those around her heal, laugh, and be the best version of themselves. Join her in a well-balanced class, one that will make you sweat, laugh, and be still.

Kristin Tucci
Kristin Tucci

Kristin has actively been instructing classes for over 20 years. Athletics have always been a passion of hers through her school years and she decided to start as a group fitness instructor at the age of 18. She loves good food, good music, and good wine! She also loves to show her passion for a healthy lifestyle to her two children. She is a certified Les Mills Bodycombat instructor, and she teaches freestyle yoga and cardio conditioning.  She recently took a newfound passion in cycling, and is super excited to share her passion for the bike with others.  She feels at home when she can bring her passion and drive to her students to create a killer class!  She is looking forward to teaching to the amazing community at DTY.

Laura Pollard
Laura Pollard

Laura has been teaching cycle since 2002 at various clubs in Westminster, Annapolis, and Baltimore. Her fitness certifications include Reebok Cycle, AFAA Cycle, Barre, and Group Ex. She loves teaching freestyle classes that include HIIT, Tabatas, Powerzone, and endurance training. These classes allow her to focus on members different fitness goals, offer a challenging workout and an awesome calorie burn! Coaching you with motivational music and creating a workout that fits your style, will have you coming back for more! Bringing the outdoor ride indoors. #yougotthis

Marie Triplett
Marie Triplett

Marie Triplett is a fun loving, light-hearted yoga teacher who enjoys creating space for her students to engage in a playful and joyful exploration of this physical and spiritual practice. Expect to laugh, sweat, be inspired, and challenged in equal measure. Marie’s mission is to provide a well-balanced class that helps her students find tools through yoga that can transcend beyond the mat. Marie found yoga in 2002 and after practicing a variety of styles of yoga for more than 10 years, she trained in Baltimore, MD under the guidance of Kim Manfredi, founder of Charm City Yoga in the 200 and 500 hour teacher training programs. Additionally, she has taken workshops with many leaders in the yoga world to include Kathryn Budig, Dharma Mittra, and Rodney Yee. As an avid food lover, she is also passionate about sharing delicious recipes and the spirit of family through her blog.

Melissa Paine
Melissa Paine

Melissa found yoga while she was a student at UMBC in 2016 and has had a daily practice ever since. Learning yoga in a classroom lecture setting, there alongside a physical practice helped her understand the benefits of each pose and how to move with her breath from the very beginning of her practice. As a teacher, Melissa’s focus is on helping her students cultivate and develop a deep connection between their mind and body in order to better understand themselves.

Her wish for the world is to see everyone find true happiness, no matter what it looks like for them. By teaching yoga, she hopes to help people let go of their fear of judgement so they can step into a life that is truly fulfilling for them. The Downtown Yoga community has inspired her by creating a sense of acceptance for everyone to truly be themselves while moving around on their mats.

Melissa grew up in Westminster and currently lives in Mount Airy. She is a 500hr RYT, and at UMBC she studied anatomy and physiology extensively in order to better understand how our bodies function. She is passionate about both learning and teaching — Melissa is also an English foreign language teacher and is always teaching herself another language (currently Arabic!).

Melissa Salazar-Goon
Melissa Salazar-Goon

Yoga has been a part of Melissa’s life for 16 years. Yoga has taught this mother of three how to be more flexible and mindful both on and off the mat, as well as how to find forgiveness for herself as a human. Melissa’s motto is “Yoga is a practice, not perfection!”
Working with Well Advantage of Sykesville, MD, Melissa began teaching onsite at corporations to facilitate healthier, happier employees. She enjoyed teaching at Toyota, Wachovia and The Baltimore National Aquarium. She went on to complete her 200 RYT with Leslie Coombs at Avalon Yoga Studio of Catonsville, MD. She is forever grateful to all of her teachers along the way, in the studio and life.
In her classes she offers the foundation for the student to explore and challenge their personal expression of yoga while joining the breath with movement.

Michelle Ament DeFeo
Michelle Ament DeFeo

Michelle is a mother of 4 with over 20 years experience in group fitness. Besides studying Interdisciplinary Studies at UMBC, she holds multiple certifications in Barre and Les Mills programming. Michelle remains fueled and inspired by the positive impact she has on the participants in the classes she leads, as well as our community.

Rebecca Ballantine
Rebecca Ballantine

Rebecca Ballantine began practicing yoga at the age of nineteen to add flexibility and relaxation into her workout routines. Learning more about the incredible benefits of yoga; both physically and mentally, she began incorporating it more into her regular fitness schedule. In 2017, Rebecca embarked on her yoga journey to obtain her 200-RYT certification through Charm City yoga/YogaWorks at Downtown Yoga in Westminster, MD. She continued her educational yoga journey in 2019 to complete her advanced 500hr RYT certification through yoga works, hosted by Downtown yoga. She has additional training in Restorative yoga and Yin yoga. Rebecca believes that we are forever students, always learning!

Rebecca provides a holistic approach to yoga; as she is also a registered nurse, and will provide a caring and safe environment to ensure that everyone has a fantastic practice. Rebecca has a loving yet joyful disposition, welcoming to all.

“Escaping onto my mat provides me a sense of belonging and purpose, along with personal time to challenge my body and mind.” -Rebecca Ballantine

Sarah Huezen
Sarah Huezen

Sarah Huezen started practicing yoga regularly 2 years ago wanting to bring a different level of wellness to her life. She found that not only did she love the strength building benefits but more so the calm, balance, mindfulness and sense of community that it brought to her life. In 2017 Sarah received her RYT 200 hr certification through charm city yoga/yoga works under the guidance of Michelle Allen at downtown yoga in Westminster. Sarah believes yoga can be loved and practiced by all bringing a sense of peace and mindfulness, strength, flexibility and sunshine into your life. Being able to teach and spread the benefits of coming to your mat alongside others and take that feeling out and share it with your community is what she hopes to achieve, knowing that passing on something as simple as a smile can brighten anyone’s day.