Meet your instructors
“Blackbird Yoga Studio has provided me with a place to go to clear my head, move and find my center. The teachers are talented, non-judgemental and accepting - always helping students reach their full potential, both physically and mentally. Blackbird is one of my favorite places to go and I feel grateful to have stumbled upon it. It has changed my life.”
Nicole D’Andrea, E-RYT-200, YACEP, is the proud owner and lead teacher of Blackbird Yoga Studio. She graduated from the Garden State Yoga teacher training program in the spring of 2013 under Jody Domerstad and has been teaching wholeheartedly ever since. She came to yoga as a means of reducing stress and tension in her life during college and quickly found so much more. She learned that the regular practice of yoga not only transformed her body, but allowed her to start a conversation with herself that continues to reveal the nature of her soul.
Nicole holds a deep love for the human form and is formally educated in movement science and therapeutic exercise. She has worked professionally with the body since 2007 and she is passionate about helping others feel better in their bodies. She has been invited to lead yoga teacher trainings on the anatomy of yoga asana and has been praised for her easy manner and accessible approach to a complex subject.
In April of 2014, she completed an advanced training in bhakti yoga at Laughing Lotus NYC during which she learned to merge her two great loves: movement and sound. She often leads kirtans, workshops, and teacher training programs on bhakti and chanting across New York and New Jersey.
Nicole is honored to share her knowledge and lead a class that's full of creativity, music, healing, and heart. Follow her whereabouts and learn more about her personal story at www.nicoledandrea.yoga.
One of Steve’s earliest encounters with these sacred practices came at a very young age. As a child, his favorite movie was the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In it, there are scenes when the Turtles sit and meditate, and although the movie is full of action and adventure, these scenes captured a deeper part of his attention and curiosity. Seeds were planted, and only when he began practicing meditation almost 20 years later, did he realize that he’d been storing them in the depths of his mind since childhood, and now was the time to cultivate.
After a few months of meditation practice, sitting comfortably was, well…not so comfortable. At this time, Steve’s study of eastern philosophy was burgeoning and through this study, he noticed that yoga was also mentioned quite frequently along with meditation. It was clear that this was the next step and before long he began taking classes at Naturally Yoga in Glen Rock, NJ.
Since then, he has studied in the traditions of Intergral, Iyengar, and Ashtanga yoga, infusing all three into his personal practice and always keeping meditation as the cornerstone. In 2016, he completed his 200 hour teacher training at Naturally Yoga and considers Veronica Yacco, Neil and Sheryl Edsall, as the springs from which he has been blessed with these teachings. Steve believes that in this life, the body and mind are the instruments with which we’ve been given to perform, and yoga is how we tune them.
Kaelyn has been practicing yoga for since 2007 and her love for both the physical and philosophical practice has been a defining element in her life since she first sat in a yoga class. Kaelyn specializes in weaving proper alignment into steady flows with a focus on sequencing. Each class will be challenging, encouraging, and always playful. Yoga has created a space in Kaelyn's life for courageousness, honesty, trust and love both on and off the mat. She received her yoga certification in 2012 from Yoga Mechanics. She has immense gratitude for all of the amazing teachers who have taught her along the way.
When Ina was 18, she attended a free 2 1/2 hour yoga class. At the time she thought it was “super weird” but couldn't believe how good she felt afterward. Ten years later, she began to take prenatal yoga classes to help her through the discomforts she felt during pregnancy. Ten years after that, she signed up for a yoga membership at a local gym, almost on a whim. As she began to notice how significantly yoga was impacted and transformed many areas of her life, her practice became steadier and something she learned to depend on as an anchor. Yoga, along with the support from her teachers and other students, has helped bring healing and self awareness to her life.
Ina believes that a focus on alignment and maintaining a feeling of softness allows the breath flow freely through the body to maximize healing. She also incorporates elements from her practice of Tai Chi into her classes. It gives her great joy to be able to share the tools that have helped her through her life journey with others.
Lauren began sporadically taking yoga classes in college but became more dedicated to her practice during grad school as a way to combat the stressful academic environment. She was drawn to the movement and flow of vinyasa yoga after years of studying dance as a young girl. Learning to trust her body and surrender to the practice created more confidence and self-acceptance than she could have imagined.
Lauren completed her 200 hour teacher training through the Powerflow School of Yoga with Stacey Bell and Carrie Parker Gastelu. Beyond practicing asanas, through study and self-reflection Lauren believes yoga has the power to transform your mind and body in a powerful way. Lauren's classes infuse thoughtful sequencing with fun music (and maybe a witty comment or two) to create a challenging yet playful flow. Lauren hopes to instill in her students a love of yoga, the passion to continue the practice, and the confidence to try new things both on and off the mat.
As a practicing psychotherapist for many years, Dana has always drawn upon physical activity to stay healthy and maintain positive energy. Years ago she accidentally walked into a yoga class in a gym which changed the course of her life. Unable to do many of the poses in class due to stiff joints from years of long distance running, she returned to class each week upon the gentle encouragement of the instructor. In yoga, Dana found the blend of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual liberation which no other activity had provided before.
Dana is a certified yoga instructor at the 200-hour level and is working towards her 500-hour certification. Her teaching style reflects her love of the devotional and meditative aspects of yoga while providing a light-hearted environment to grow and explore. "For all of my teachers and to the Great Teacher within...I am truly thankful."
Jaclyn received her B.A. in Anthropology and Archaeology from Montclair State University. During her studies she had the opportunity to conduct digs throughout New Jersey and Hawai’i which further developed her leadership capabilities and management skills. When Nicole asked her to be part of the Blackbird team, she knew these were qualities that would help her manage efficiently.
Managing Blackbird Yoga Studio has become a passion rather than a job for Jaclyn. Between getting to know the clients, working with such a talented team of yoga instructors and coordinating events for the community - it’s allowed her to flourish in many ways as well as bring her closer to yoga in the process.