Our Instructors

We are pleased to feature a variety of instructors who each bring an individual style and unique talent to the classes offered at Northern Life Studio.


Allie Brawley, RYT 500, Yin certified

Despite numerous transitions over 20 years, Allie Brawley’s yoga practice remains the constant that teaches her to embrace opportunity rather than fear uncertainty in every transition…and to find peace amidst the chaos of life.  Always looking on the bright side, Allie infuses her classes with her sense of gratitude, optimism and enduring strength as she strives to help students develop a strong body, peaceful mind, and healthy spirit. Any yoga experience with Allie will leave you refreshed, resilient and empowered by your own amazing mind-body connection.

Nancy Larsen, RYT 200

Nancy was first introduced to the practice of yoga as a student of Northern Life Yoga. In addition to yoga poses, she was particularly drawn to the breath work. Nancy says, “It has taught me to slow down and focus on breathing in nearly any situation, whether there’s a need to be energized, calmed, or centered. Remembering to return home to my breath has never failed to be one of the simplest, yet profound, ways to take care of myself.”

Nancy’s personal asana yoga practice is quite gentle due to some physical limitations in her body. She has learned to listen to her body and honor its wisdom, no longer trying to push beyond its limits. Although her practice is gentle, she is still able to enjoy the many health benefits - body, mind and spirit - that yoga has to offer. It's wonderful to know that yoga is truly available to "every body"! Nancy shares the practice in a safe, restorative environment.

Jennifer Villarreal, RYT 200

Jennifer embarked on her yoga journey 6 years ago. At the time she was a full time nursing student seeking a means to de-stress and replenish her body and mind. She immediately fell in love with the practice and the many benefits it provided her. Over the next several years, yoga became a part of her daily routine that she practiced at home and Northern Life Yoga. With the desire to deepen and enrich her own practice, Jennifer completed the Be The Love 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2017. With a strong passion to share the healing and transformational benefits of yoga, she embraced the opportunity to become an instructor at Northern Life Yoga, where her journey began. She places a strong emphasis on breath work and strives to provide a safe and comfortable space where students of all ages can cultivate a strong mind, body and spirit.

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Maxx Anderson

Maxine (Maxx) Anderson has been a fitness professional for nearly 30 years. She has been the owner of several fitness businesses in Sault Ste. Marie – including the Max-Out Gym, and Fit by Design personal Training & Yoga Studio. Maxx has also served as an adjunct fitness instructor at Lake Superior State University for over 10 years. In 2014, she retired from LSSU in favor of moving her path back to a more personalized setting. Maxx often combines her marketing mind with her years of fitness expertise to create fun events, such as Yoga Glow, as fundraisers to benefit various organizations in our community.

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Lola Kennedy, RYT 200

Lola Kennedy has been belly dancing for seven years, also performing with the Zaghereets since the belly dance troupe formed in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. Lola has also studied voice, acting, tap, ballet, jazz, and theater dance at American Musical and Dramatics Academy in New York City. She has performed in several leading roles and numerous other performances at the Soo Theatre. Lola thoroughly enjoys teaching beginners and sharing the joy of belly dancing at Northern Life Studio. She completed her 200 hour teacher training with Be the Love Yoga School.

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Barb Rogers, RYT 200

Barb Rogers is a self-proclaimed “late bloomer" in yoga. She has always flirted with the idea of yoga, but began a serious practice when an injury made it no longer safe to practice long distance running. At the age of 36, she attended her first yoga class, and with her “do the things you love with great passion” attitude.  She knew yoga was an amazing gift and was determined to help others find it. In 2015, she began the journey to become a registered yoga teacher (200 hour) through Be the Love Yoga School. In 2017, Barb attended specialized training to teach children’s yoga though Kidding Around Yoga (30 hrs), and Radiant Child Yoga (30 hours). 

Kristi Cleary, ASFA Certified Pilates Instructor

Kristi has been in the fitness industry for 20 years. Her journey started when she worked in a nursing home and saw how immobility can affect one’s quality of life. She became a certified fitness instructor and worked at Big Bear prior to opening her own studio, Kristi’s Hip-Hop, and she also owned Curves. Recently, Kristi served as Club Manager for Anytime Fitness. Her passion is to motivate and inspire others. During a workshop training, she signed up for "Pilates." Kristi was amazed with the variety of levels and how the strength gained applies to our everyday functional movement by focusing on alignment, breath, core strength and stabilization. With one class, she was hooked and found her passion, which shines through all her positive energy!

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Lauren Paitson

While an avid practicing yogi at her local studio in Montgomery, Texas, Lauren was intrigued by a new course offering of T’ai Chi Chih. After 2.5 years of practice and then a move to Sault Ste.Marie, she was determined to study further in Albuquerque, New Mexico to earn her accreditation, which she completed in Fall 2018. Lauren is now the fourth accredited T'ai Chi Chih teacher in the state of Michigan with the closest teacher being downstate in Elk Rapids and within the Province of Ontario, the closest T'ai Chi Chih teacher is in Toronto.

Although new to teaching T'ai Chi Chih, Lauren has been a teacher and coach for many years. Lauren is a certified Montessori teacher and has taught Montessori in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. She was an ice skating coach for over twenty years and took her synchronized youth skating teams to ISI Nationals and World Championships where they earned 2 Gold Medals at both championships.