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Our Teachers


Teaching yoga has been a practice and a privilege for Jennifer for over a decade. She has been a student for twice that long. A life long commitment and appreciation to the study and teaching of  Yoga has been a gift, allowing her to feel more at ease, alive and connected with others.

Jennifer first tried Yoga as a way to mix up her regular exercise, but found that what she was returning for was the sense of clarity and peace she felt in the aftermath of a class.

“I remember there would be times in those early days, when resting in Savasana, that I would just cry and cry, not even knowing what for or from where it was  all coming, but experiencing so much relief afterwards. It was virtually the only place I could feel truly present and at peace, and it ultimately made me fall in love with the practice.”

Her classes draw from different styles and influences but will always include flow, strength, opportunities to be gentle, invitations to be present and a healthy dose of humor and lightheartedness! Jennifer is  most grateful to the students who come to Shanti and roll out their mats in her classes, as they provide her with the opportunity to do the thing that has enriched her life so beautifully—to teach, to relate, and to  connect to others in a real and honest way.

Jennifer is also grateful to her primary teacher, Rolf Gates for his early guidance
and continued influence.

Jennifer is a devoted mother to her son Tanner, and wife to her husband Alan, and feels blessed to be able to wake up to the incredible journey of life with these two beautiful beings, day after day.


Neil, 200 RYT, is an experienced yoga teacher, musician and a life long committed student of both disciplines.  He is fascinated by the potential we uncover through intentional placement, steady breathing and the development of awareness. He emphasizes these tools in his teaching to help students empower themselves to heal and live well both on and off the mat.  
Being a musician most of his life, Neil found Yoga the way many people do; looking for some exercise.  By the end of his first practice he not only felt better phyiscally but also experienced a deep feeling of peace.  This pleasant suprise was the beginning of his journey with Yoga.   
Neil has trained extensively with Master Baptiste teachers Gregor Singleton, Claire Este-McDonald, and Coeli Marsh and has also had the opportunity to be mentored closely by Masaaki Okamura.  Neil has also served as a classroom assistant to his teacher Natasha Rizopolous, and has deepened his understanding of the craft through his apprenticing with Chiropractor and Yogi Dr. Tom Alden.  Neil is an active member of the Boston chapter of the Teacher’s Study Project and in his steady commitment to teaching has completed additional trainings with David Nichtern (meditation), Theresa Murphy (yoga and anatomy), and Johnny Gillespie (Balanced Athlete). Today Neil continues to mentor closely with Tom. 
Off the mat he enjoys being outside, seeking creative expression through music, and quiet time with family.

Neil Taylor, LMT, EYT-500, MMT is a Yoga Teacher, Licensed Massage Therapist and Meditation Teacher. His classes blend the Western science of bio-mechanics with the Eastern Wisdom of the Yoga tradition to share a practice that is both grounded in the roots of Yoga and still relatable to the modern Western mind. He draws on his knowledge of the body to help students understand the nuances of the postures and uses his experience in meditation to help illuminate the nuances of training the mind. Neil's classes aim to bring about ease, clarity, stability & resilience to the body and mind.

LEANNE Belmore

Leanne grew up with a passion for movement. From a young age, she played almost every sport offered, with a particular focus on dance and gymnastics. After deciding that the competition of the sport was too demanding, Leanne began seeing a personal trainer along side her mother. The trainer they saw always finished sessions with a short yoga flow, so beginning Leanne’s love affair with yoga.

From early middle school through high school Leanne became increasingly more dedicated to her practice, eventually enrolling in a yoga teacher training led by Jennifer Houghtaling and Alex Amorosi. Teacher training confirmed her passion for teaching yoga. She hit the ground running following training, teaching multiple classes a week beginning her sophomore year of college; taking on teaching as a full-time career immediately after graduating.

Leanne loves an intricate yoga flow with plenty of strong arm balances and inversions; matched by bendy backbends and forward folds. She describes her style as dynamic flow with a hearty portion of healing restoration and focus on self-care and compassion.


Esther has been guiding students in yoga for ten years, and has been astudent of the practice for over 20. She was first introduced to hatha yoga but found her way to heated vinyasa after the birth of her three children. Feeling isolated at home, a neighbor reached out and asked her to attend a heated class at a local studio. The combination of physical movement connected to breath and the heat of the class made her feel invigorated and alive.

She knew she had found a lifelong practice. At the suggestion of friends and yoga teachers, Esther took her 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2011 and is currently completing her 300hr advanced yoga teacher training at Shanti Yoga in Hopkinton. Her teaching is grounded and focused on allowing the student to explore the practice at their own pace and experience level.

In the warm summer months, you can find Esther teaching SUP(stand up paddle board) yoga classes as well. This new expression of the practice combined with the peace of the outdoors and the calming effect of being on water has been a wonderful and exciting journey for her and her students. Esther draws inspiration for her classes from local teachers such as Jennifer Houghtaling and Kevin Gale, as well as more well-known teachers Rolf Gates and Sean Corne.


Molly graduated from her 500 hr. RYT out of Shanti Yoga in May, 2021 and completed her Yoga Nidra Certification in 2022. At the beginning of 2023, Molly will have her Certification in Restorative Yoga from Judith Lasater. Molly started taking yoga classes to complement her marathon walking, strength training, and sprint triathlons. She soon realized the practice was not only about the physical postures themselves, but that there was something deeper happening.

With every class, she felt more present and relaxed and the level of stress in her life lessened. Inspired by these changes, Molly enrolled in her first Yoga Teacher Training. After completing her 200 hr. power yoga teacher training in 2014, Molly began teaching to spread the word about a practice that had given her so much. After several years of committing to one school of thought, Molly began
investigating styles that allowed more freedom in movements and included mobility. She also began to explore mindfulness in her daily life and teaching. Some years later, an unavoidable surgery that could’ve been seen as a setback, turned out to be another learning opportunity. It was during her recovery that Molly finally met her body where it was at.

Gradually, Molly’s meditation and restorative practice helped her return to her mat, and while her movements were slower, she grew stronger, day by day. Molly’s classes have a lightness to them, are welcoming and inclusive to people of all shapes and sizes. She has worked with students of all ages and ability levels and will provide students with accommodations and options so that no one is excluded. Her classes are strongly rooted in Vinyasa Yoga, Restorative Yoga and Mindfulness. Molly graduated from her 500 hr. RYT out of Shanti Yoga in May, 2021.

Colleen Cecchi

Colleen’s teaching is rooted in the power of a movement practice to
rehabilitate the body, mind, and spirit, and the potential of the ethical
teachings of yoga to be a gateway for the quest for meaning and connection.
Striving for the time you set aside for your yoga practice to
simultaneously soften and fortify, her classes encourage observation, and
provide opportunities to step into, or out of, challenge. With over fifteen
years of experience teaching movement to students ages two to ninety two,
Colleen’s instruction leads with the heart and encourages a yoga practice
to be just that...a practice.

Influenced by her studies in Dance and Health and Wellness Education, many
years coaching competitive and recreational gymnastics and teaching dance,
dancing and choreographing professionally, and as a student of yoga herself
for over a decade, Colleen’s classes welcome everyone through the offering
of modifications and the opportunity for students to find autonomy in their

Colleen has studied movement at the American Dance Festival, the Trinity
Laban Conservatoire, Ursinus College, and at various festivals and programs
across the United States. She completed her yoga teacher training with
Boston Yoga School under the guidance of Amy Wren and Susannah van der

Linda Fitzgerald

A group fitness instructor/personal trainer/cycling teacher for over 20 years who dabbled periodically in yoga, Linda formed a steady relationship with the practice of yoga in 2010. She found it gave a much-needed balance to all of the fitness classes she was teaching. Linda began her teaching journey in 2012 with Yoga Fit, completing their Level 1 and 2

Desiring to go even further, Linda next completed her 200 hour teacher training at a local power yoga studio the following year. Inspired by this style of yoga, the next stop on her journey was the completion of Baptiste Yoga Level One training with Baron Baptiste, in 2016.

Most recently she achieved her 500 hours under the guidance of her friend, mentor and teacher Jennifer Houghtaling, at Shanti Yoga in Hopkinton. This training brought her teaching journey full circle, yet she steadfastly continues to be a student first and always, inspired by her mentor and teacherJennifer, as well as her fellow teachers everywhere.

In addition to the above, Linda has also attended workshops on hands on
assisting, the chakras, as well as a Yin Yoga certification. Her style of
teaching tends to be creative, powerful, yet has a balance of both strength
and ease. Linda seeks toalways challenge her students to explore their
edges yet still embrace space.She loves her family, teaching cycling (yes
for 25+ years and still going strong!), sewing, her road bike and her two
adorable cats.

Jennifer russo

Jen's classes are rooted in alignment and strength but also flow beautifully and resonate with the deeper yoga/life teachings. As a lifelong competitive athlete, yoga became a permanent part of her life soon after becoming a mom. Yoga gave Jen permission to slow down while still stimulating her need to move through strength. Through practice she found more functional strength and mobility, as well as a more focused, compassionate balance to her competitive fire. Originally drawn to the physical benefits of yoga, it eventually led her to a path of greater inner perspective. The ability to focus movement and stillness around the quality of the breath has been a gift. Yoga also became a place she could find both solitude and connection to others around her. 

After nine years of devoted practice, Jen enrolled in her first Yoga Teacher Training with Shanti Yoga and has been teaching since with the intention of guiding students through the experience of being human. If there is one thing she’d like students to take away from her classes, it’s a sense of coming home to their very own, unique, human experience rooted right here on earth. 

Outside of the yoga studio, Jen is a mother, wife, artist, and lover of anything that makes her feel alive. She spends most of her time with her family traveling, kayaking, snowboarding, being at soccer, creating, and being human.

Gina Mandella

Gina Mandella is a passionate yoga and meditation instructor with over 20 years of movement and alignment experience.  Gina offers an embodied vinyasa yoga flow, sprinkled with elements and influences from many other styles of yoga. Each class she invites students to have an inner relationship using intention, breathwork, mantra, and sweet juicy movement. She considers every yoga class she teaches a moving meditation. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance/Psychology from Roger Williams University and has intently studied yoga for over 6 years. She finished her 200hr teacher training in 2016 at Metrowest Yoga and is an ERYT. Gina continues to grow as a student and expand her knowledge of yoga through trainings, workshops, classes, and a deep somatic home practice. Her deepest intention is to open hearts, evoke growth and acceptance, and to provide guidance to others as they journey into the exploration of self-discovery through the practice of yoga.  Gina believes there are immense healing powers within yoga and meditation and is dedicated to sharing and inspiring others to live in their truth, and from their hearts. 

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