Kassi McGivern- Owner
Hello! I want to personally thank you for your interest and support of Desert Sun Yoga.
A Florida native, I moved to Scottsdale AZ in June of 2017 with my husband to be near family and create this community at DSY. I am a certified yoga instructor and continuing education provider (Yoga Alliance). I also have certifications and background in Aerial Yoga, Yoga Sculpt, Bhakti Yoga, Hot Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Ayurveda, and Yoga for Cancer Patients and Survivors.
I find that a yoga studio provides an uplifting environment that keeps me grounded in the practice, year after year.
My first yoga experience was at an LA Fitness class that my mom dragged me to. I was a senior in high school at the time and coached a middle school cheerleading squad on the side. I was so excited that the next day I attempted to lead my group of cheerleaders through some of the breathing exercises and poses I had learned. It wasn't until I started my graduate program in neuroscience at Florida State University (go Noles!) that my life changed forever. Within weeks of taking my first class at Hot Yoga Tallahassee I was hooked! It wasn't long before I finished a teacher training program and teaching 4-6 classes a week.
What I love most about teaching is that I get the opportunity to see students transform right in front of my eyes. The introduction of aerial yoga to HYT took the benefits of yoga I had seen before, and magnified them 2 or 3 times over. I was fortunate enough to become a lead aerial yoga instructor and develop a strong understanding of aerial yoga in Tallahassee. Since then I have taught hundreds of hours of group and private aerial yoga classes, run several aerial teacher training programs, hosted numerous aerial and yoga workshops, and crafted several aerial manuals. The possibilities of aerial yoga are endless, as long as you are safe and considerate. It is my extreme joy to bring my style of aerial yoga to Scottsdale and I hope to see you in the swing soon!
Emily Grout- Aerial Instructor
Emily has been a practicing yogini since 2005. Fascinated with human-body movement she has completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training, 450-hour Pilates teacher certificate, and holds a BS in Exercise and Wellness from ASU. In her exercise classes she creates a fun experience exploring the movements of the body.
Margo Pawelski - Aerial Instructor
Margo stepped into the yoga world in October 2012 with tight muscles and a busy mind. She quickly transitioned from her typical high intensity, weight lifting based workout routine to solely focus on yoga for both physical fitness and mental wellness. Originally falling in love with the feeling she had when leaving the studio after a 60+ minute class where she did did not think about anything but breathing and moving. Over the next several years Margo deepened her practice, explored different studios, found several inspirational teachers, attended many workshops and traveled for yoga festivals. In 2017, she had a curiosity for new ways to practice yoga which led her into an aerial class and she was quickly hooked. In 2018 she completed a 200hr YTT with John Salisbury at Modern Yoga. Followed shortly after by a 50hr Aerial YTT certification at Desert Sun Yoga. Margo’s yoga passions are Vinyasa, Aerial, Restorative and Nidra.
Brittany Dolkowski- Aerial Instructor
It took her over two years to get the courage to attend her first yoga class on her own, but finally in 2017 Brittany began her journey on the mat as a way to help with the stress of her job as a middle school teacher. A few months later she enrolled in a 40 hour Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program, and quickly saw how Mindfulness and yoga connected, and how unbelievably beneficial they were for her well being. She attended her first Aerial Yoga class a few months later, and she soon realized this was a passion of hers and that she wanted yoga and aerial to become more than just a hobby, but to become a lifestyle. This prompted her to start her 200 YTT (completed in April of 2019), and during that time she completed her 50 hour Aerial Yoga Training and was an apprentice at DSY for four months. Brittany is so excited to be able to share her passion with others, and to be able to guide them in a practice that will help with their own well being and growth. She knows how difficult it can be to get the courage to try something new, so she strives to make sure all students feel welcome, comfortable, and safe.
Carlee Graves- Aerial Instructor
Carlee Graves was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and discovered Yoga when she was 14 years old to help recover and condition for hockey. Being big into watersports such as wakeboarding and surfing led her to start a business with her husband called SUP Yoga AZ. Standup Paddleboard Yoga combined their love for music, water and Yoga. Wanting to bring the element of air into her life, Carlee stepped into the world of aerial yoga and aspires to create unique experiences meant to heighten the senses while connecting with the elements, relaxing the mind and challenging the body.
Ben Irons- Meditation Instructor
Benjamin Irons, CHt, CMI is a professional musician, advanced meditation instructor, hypnotherapist, and Sound Healing Artist for Dragonfly Percussion. He has performed throughout the United States, Europe, and China; working, most notably, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, Hawai’i Symphony, and Phoenix Symphony orchestras. Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Irons integrates Atma Buti techniques into his sound therapy practice, Zen with Ben, LLC.
Michelle Heller- Hot Yoga Instructor
I discovered yoga on a VHS tape back in the late 90s while working 3 jobs and commuting to college. I practiced from time to time and though I can do a headstand like it’s my job, I didn’t consider myself athletic nor did I have any idea how much of an impact yoga would have on my life.
My first non-VHS tape teachers (and eventually the teachers I trained with) were John Salisbury, Anton Mackey and Desiree Grobstein circa 2008. It was then that I saw arm balances and became hooked. Initially, my type A (go go go) personality loved the physical workout and challenge of maintaining steady breathing whilst contorting my body and flowing with the energy of the room, and over time, my practice, my appreciation for, and my understanding of yoga deepened.
On December 10th 2017, the same day my brother had a stroke, I decided that in my next 365 days on the earth I would become a certified yoga instructor to share the joy of yoga with others as a teacher. To date, I have taught privately at several corporate offices, publicly at a few yoga studios as well as private lessons for individuals and groups in the Phoenix metro area.
For me, yoga is about the balance between focus and letting go, breathing through the tough stuff and becoming stronger and more flexible because of it. My classes combine both strength and mobility, positive affirmations and humor. Expect to move, sweat, smile and breathe.
Yhara Quiroz- Hot Yoga Instructor
I believe that an authentic yoga practice has the capacity to transform people’s lives for the better and assist in experiencing life in all of its richness and beauty. A trained medical doctor, I left the career I had worked so hard to obtain in order to pursue and share my greatest passion with others- yoga. In the past 8 years since I discovered yoga, my own personal practice has continued to evolve and shape the person I am today.
Always a student first, I have an active daily yoga practice, and my thirst for yogic knowledge and self-realization is insatiable. I received my 500-hr level yoga teacher training at Authentic Yoga Teacher Training (AYTT), under the tutorship of Cheryl Oliver & various other remarkable teachers, and have done several trainings since 2015, including children’s yoga, yoga nidra, sound practitioner training, and restorative yoga teacher training with Judith Lasseter.
I have been sharing yoga since 2016, to incarcerated students though the Prison Yoga Project, students with special needs at the Mohamad Ali Parkinson’s Center and at Ironwood Cancer Center, in private classes, at my home studio, AYTT, for teacher trainings and classes open to the public, and I have elaborated and executed a couple of yoga retreats with friends.
My unique teaching style is derived from knowledge gained throughout my life, infused with love and playfulness, executed from a place of grateful authenticity, and designed to help individuals feel more peace, more joy, and more love. My sincerest intention in sharing yoga with others is to help support and guide individuals to rediscover the innate love, peace, and joy, within us all, so that they may become better at living and cultivate the ability to share their love, peace, and joy with others.