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.
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.
Vivianne Swart- Aerial Instructor
Vivianne Swart completed her 200 hour YTT and 500 hour YTT at Sun Moon Yoga studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 2013 and 2015, respectively. She has taught a variety of classes over the years including hot flow yoga, restorative/yin yoga, yoga involving a ballet barre, and hatha flow. After moving to the Valley, she quickly became enthralled with the beauty of aerial yoga and became certified to teach it in 2018. She has more than 1000 hours of teaching, giving her the E-RYT distinction. Vivianne has also participated as a teacher trainer for 200 hour YTT programs.
Vivianne's classes are a combination of fun, upbeat sequences and playlists, along with soothing savasanas and bits of yoga philosophy. Expect a light-hearted class to uplift you, sequences to help you connect with your body, and focus on the breath to promote inner calm. She is also a full-time Registered Dietitian, so don't be surprised if she tries to talk to you about how much she loves food.