YTT Faculty (200hr and Advanced)

Advanced YTT Faculty

Benders Yoga is thrilled to include these amazing teachers as part of our YTT and Advanced YTT faculty.  Check out the WORKSHOPS, ADVANCED YTT and upcoming 200 HOUR trainings offered by these beautiful souls.

Michele Barnes: E-RYT200, YACEP

Additional Certifications:  Certified Restorative & Pre/Postnatal Yoga Teacher, Kripalu YogaDance, Yoga for Seniors, Hons BA-English & Theatre Arts

Biography:     Since she began teaching in 2003, Michele’s practice and teaching has undergoneMichele Barnes pic much transformation. Her inquisitive nature has inspired her to continuously research the history and benefits of yoga. The physical, emotional and mental benefits of yoga have been abundantly documented. While many of the poses that make up the asana practice can have far-reaching benefits, how they are practiced makes a big difference to whether they can be helpful or harmful. The over-abundance of forward-bending poses and hip openers in Western yoga have taken their toll on loyal practitioners, many of whom are women. In Michele’s classes, you will be taught how to practice yoga in ways that acknowledge the biomechanics of the human body and honour the sacred design of the spine…while developing core strength and overall stability and mobility.
In addition to the physical asana practice, Michele also enjoys guiding her students in meditation and breathing practices that encourage loving reconnection with the wisdom of the body and emotions. Michele encourages her students to stay in the present moment, honour their experiences and challenge themselves to step outside of their comfort zones…all while ‘preserving the curves’ of the spine.

Michele is the Director/Lead Trainer of Benders’ 200HR YTT program (certified with Yoga Alliance).

You can learn more about Michele and her offerings on her website.


Brenda Dowell: E-RYT500, YACEP

Additional Certifications:  Certified Level 2 Myofascial Release Therapist, Certified Myofascial Unwinding Therapist, Certified Level 2 Fascial Stretch Therapist, Certified Thai Yoga Massage Practitioner, Certified Hawaiian Lomilomi Practitioner, Karuna Reiki Master, Certified Ancestral Clearing Practitioner

Biography:     I am a lifetime student – constantly curious and wanting to learn more about life, living and about myself. My philosophy is:
‘The more I learn, the more I have to share’ and I want to guide people to know themselves better

I’ve been adventurous my entire life and I live to travel and explore.

I enjoy life and I have a profound love and understanding of the human body. I believe in the vast potential and possibilities of living passionately.
I practice many bodywork modalities including Myofascial Release, Fascial Stretch Therapy, Thai Yoga Massage and Hawaiian Lomilomi.

After many years teaching yoga publicly, and teaching yoga, anatomy and specialty courses to teachers, I am continually uplifted. I want to continue to inspire and empower others to come home to their hearts through their bodies and live their true passion.

You can learn more about Brenda and her offerings on her website.  


Leslie Heisz: E-RYT200, YACEP

Additional Certifications:  Yoga for Longevity, Hands on Assists, Reiki Master

Biography:   My passion for yoga began over a decade ago.  As I have evolved over the years, my practice has gone from a full-out, pedal-to-the-metal kind of sweat-fest to a more introspective mindful movement exploration.  Through it all, though, some things have never changed:  my dedication to play, my fascination with anatomy, and my devotion to meditation.  I am constantly wowed by the miracle of the human body and it’s ability to change, grow and overcome.  I am additionally wowed by the power of meditation to facilitate spiritual, mental and physical whole-life changes.   We are all the guardians of our own souls.  It is my aspiration to help others along their journey as they seek peace, self-love and fulfillment.  




In addition to Michele Barnes (Director/Lead Trainer) and Leslie Heisz, both listed above, Benders is proud to have the following beautiful souls as part of our 200HR training faculty:

Rachel McGarry

Sophie Hawkins