Village Yoga Center

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Debbie Wolski ERYT 500


Founder / Member


Debbie discovered Yoga in 1971, as a remedy for back pain due to a condition called Scoliosis. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine. “My doctor assured me that by the time, 

I was 30, I would be riddled with arthritis and possibly confined to a wheelchair,” she recalls.That was nearly 40 years ago! Thanks to a consistent Yoga practice, Debbie’s condition has improved rather than declined.

A fitness professional since 1980, she launched Yoga programs in every fitness facility and health club in the Modesto area. In 1997, Debbie filmed 12 episodes of “Yoga Magic”, a television show that aired on Modesto’s public access station on cable. In 2000, she opened Modesto’s firstYoga studio, Village Yoga Center, in McHenry Village, offering over 30 classes a week.
In 2001 she created The Art of Yoga, a school registered with Yoga Alliance offering 200 and 500 hour
Teacher Training and certification programs. She is a certified personal trainer, as well as a
certified Yoga and Pilates instructor.

Her mentors include Swami Ganesh Nand of New Delhi, India, Charles Schoelen
aka Yogi Shalom of Fresno, and Lilias Folan of Ohio. Debbie focuses on positive, empowering imagery and restorative Hatha Yoga to enhance the body’s natural ability to heal.



Cynthia Christensen ERYT 500



Cynthia came to yoga later in life, at the age of 50, through an extreme grief process that had turned into unmanageable depression. Over time, through yogic practices, Cynthia overcame her grief and her depression. She committed her life to the study and practice of yoga, becoming a yoga therapist and teacher. Her specialties in therapy are psychological and structural, with an emphasis on overcoming psychosomatic pain. Cynthia is a former elementary/reading/TESOL teacher with an MA in English. She considers yoga asana to be her third language.


Tammy E. Pinheiro RYT 200



On my journey through life I have been led to learn different methods to teach, heal and guide. A lifetime commitment to education has marked out my path and has brought me to a place where I can share my love for yoga, sound healing and guided meditation. I share my ongoing passion for Yin Yoga, Hatha, Sound Healing and Meditation with my highest and best intentions. My personal passions for the study of Yoga, Philosophy, Mythology, and Science allows me to help my students engage in their personal pursuit according to their wishes rather it be physical, mental or spiritual. A lifetime of gathering knowledge is simply magic but wasted if not handed down to those who are always searching for more.


Rosemary Mendes ERYT 500


Rosemary first experience with yoga came at age 4 , upward dog, downward dog, and wheel were her first poses. As the years passed, life brought stiffness, stress, insomnia, depression, and hormonal difficulties. Not willing to accept the medical professionals' solutions, her search for alternative relief began!
In 2000, she walked into a yoga class in a dimly lit theater. Debbie Wolski, the instructor, led the class with such effortless ease, resulting in immediate calmness and an improved sense of well-being for Rosemary. Immediately, the light came back on for Rosemary. The course of her life was changed in a new and unexpected direction. Debbie was preparing to begin a teacher training, which, Rosemary joined. She devoted the next 6 months to Yoga training, receiving her first certification in Hatha Flow and her journey into Yoga was launched.
Dr. Ping Lou was her next mentor, as she studied Ashtanga Yoga. She entered her second teacher training. The next three years were filled with workshops and more study, eventually gravitating to Iyengar Yoga, another mentor, Leslie Howard, and yet another teacher training program. Rosemary aka Meso, brings an open heart, comic relief and an eclectic blend of Yoga styles to the mat. Attending her classes, you’re guaranteed to find your “humerus bone .“


Dennis Hill B.S.

Dennis Hill has taught meditation and yoga philosophy (Samkhya, Advaita, Vedanta, Shaivite) for 20 years. Education in the sciences has brought a measure of empiricism to the appreciation and teaching of yoga philosophy and the discipline of meditation practice. He received extensive training by Buddhist, Sufi and Siddha masters in India and the United States.





  • The Inner Yoga of Happiness: Essays on meditation and yoga philosophy.
  • Yoga Sutras: The Means to Liberation. Translation from the Sanskrit, and sutra commentaries.



  • Sanskrit - English Lexicon: Encylopedic dictionary of Sanskrit terminology.
  • Abridgement of Valmiki's Yoga Vasistha: Vedic era compendium of Yoga Philosophy.
  • Hastamalakiyam: Essence of Vedanta in Twelve Verses. Introduction and commentary.



These books are available from the author or the Village Yoga Center Retail Store.



Sharrie Newmann ERYT 200


Sharrie has been practicing Yoga for 9 years and teaching for 5. She finds with her gentle nature and friendly personality, that she excels teaching restorative classes. Although she prefers these classes she is skilled in other types as well. Her style can often be described as eclectic, because she likes to incorporate Hatha , Vinyasa and Iyengar styles into one unique class. Making it a very fun and stress relieving experience. She is also a big hit with the kids and teaches many of the Children Yoga classes in the area.



Alexander Wolski  RYT 200


Alex has had a relationship with Yoga since a very early age. In his earliest years he was 

an observer of his mother’s yoga classes. Alex would watch and learn, quietly absorbing 

all of the information. Once he discovered sports ,mainly tennis, in his early teens, Alex approached a more active lifestyle. Workouts and healthier eating were naturally supplemented with regular yoga classes and eventually yoga studies. Immediately, he could feel the change that yoga was bringing about in his life. When he was eighteen,

 Alex attained a certification in personal training.   Currently, the young 20 year old has 3 years teaching experience. After completing his 200 hour Certification, Alex has decided that yoga would be a wonderful environment to stay in for the rest of his life and hopes 

to make a career in the fitness industry.



Mj Misailidis RYT 200


As a 17 year practitioner of Aikido (meaning the Path where Energy Blends), she received her San Dan; 3rd degree Black Belt and Teaching Certificate with New School Aikido and Open Circle Aikido. She started Yoga 3 years ago and was drawn to the parallels between Aikido and Yoga. Both allow peace, harmony and ability to quiet the thinking mind of an individual if one is open to this wonderful path. The body receives health by doing both arts. She says

 “"I am lucky to be a part of Village Yoga Center and teach Aikido with Yoga sprinkled in on Tuesday evenings @ 7:30 pm.“







Jan Smith RYT 500


Jan began practicing yoga in 2010 in order to gain flexibility and relief from knee pain due to a skiing injury. She noticed marked improvement in her symptoms after taking a weekly yoga class, so began practicing yoga more frequently. This eventually led to her completing the 200 hour Advanced Studies Teacher Training Program at Village Yoga in 2012. In addition to the physical benefits, Jan finds that yoga brings mindfulness and harmony to her everyday life. Currently, she is pursuing her 500 hour Advanced Certification at Village Yoga. She believes that yoga is beneficial for every person, offering a stronger mind-body connection and improved strength and flexibility to practitioners. Jan holds a Master of International Management degree and has recently retired from public education. She is grateful to be part of the local yoga community and feels fortunate to have made many friends through yoga. Away from the studio, Jan enjoys dancing and traveling both locally and internationally. In January, she spent three weeks in Bali, and integrates the peaceful energy of the Balinese culture into her yoga classes.


Barbara Gill Salerno RYT 200



Barbara Gill Salerno has been an enthusiastic participant at the Village Yoga Center since it opened in 2000. She studied with Debbie Wolski and Dorothy Sturtevant before starting her teacher training. She completed her 200-hour RYT training in May 2012 at “The Gift of Yoga” school in Sonora, operated by Dorothy Sturtevant. Barbara is a member of Yoga Alliance, and she substitutes frequently for local yoga instructors. She is also a watercolor artist and teaches painting in the Modesto area. “Strength and Flexibility” is a beginning to intermediate class that focuses on attaching the breath to the movement. The class begins with deep stretching and bringing flexibility to the spine and lower body.  Core strengthening progresses with seated and standing poses. Barbara cues on positioning the body in the pose and explains the benefits to the body. 





Victoria Martell RYT 200


Victoria first fell in love with yoga through the art of meditation which she discovered during her third hospitalization for anorexia nervosa. As she continued her journey through recovery she found that yoga was the key to fulfilling her wish of helping others who struggle with similar difficulties. After joining the teacher training at Village Yoga Center she realized that her passion of helping others and her yoga practice made a greater impact than any therapy session she had attended before. The 20 year old has been trained specially for kids yoga and restorative yoga. Her true love of yoga however is yin and strongly believes in mind over matter. Victoria currently teaches the kids classes and a yoga lite class here at Village.


 "Be the change you wish to see in the world." -Gandhi





 Brittnie King  



Originally a ballet dancer for a professionally trained ballet company and training in the art for over twenty years. Ballet mistress, head of the ballet program and instructor of the higher ballet levels at a local top competition dance studio in Modesto. Although ballet has always been a passion, yoga has been a part of Brittnie's training since she was very young. Because of her constant practice of yoga, it improved her as a ballet dancer and a professional, physically and spiritually. She also worked as a vision therapist,working with children ages 3 to 18, creating neurological pathways to the brain with vision therapy exercises weekly.Brittnie has a vast knowledge of the power of mind, body and mastery. When her time to retire as a ballet dancer started to draw closer,she knew she needed an outlet to feed her love to move. That is when she decided to devote the time to become a yoga instructor, teaching vinyasa flow similar to the rhythm and movement of dance. She also enjoys yin, which she believe is necessary to compliment the practice in vinyasa flow. Iyengar is another practice Brittnie enjoys,to pursue her studies,as it involves much commitment and structure, as does the commitment of studying the art of ballet. Brittnie understands the journey and passion of having a consistent connection with the mind, body and spirit.