About Mookshi Practitioners
The practitioners at Mookshi come from a wide range of experience and are well trained and skilled
in their respective healing art modalities. Each of our practitioners bring something unique to their
practice, adding to the diverse range of bodywork services we are able to offer you!
Owner & Director of Mookshi Wellness Center
E-RYT Hatha Yoga Instructor, E-RYT Kundalini Yoga Instructor, Bodywork/Ayurvedic Therapist
Cara Freidheim is the Owner and Director of Mookshi Wellness Center, which she birthed into existence nearly six years ago. She has been studying Yoga for 16+ years, and teaching for 10+, she is dedicated to her thriving Bodywork Therapy practice specializing in Ayurvedic Healing Treatments. Cara is currently continuing her Ayurvedic & Yogic studies with Dr. David Frawley through the Vedic Institute. Compassion is key in her practice, Cara strongly believes in the evolution of self and encourages her clients to embrace the thought that we are all on a path of healing and have great potential to feel more whole.
Ali started practicing yoga in 2001 and is certified therapeutic yoga teacher through Integrative Yoga Therapy. She also has her Pelvic Floor Yoga Teacher certification through Leslie Howard, RYT. Ali works with her students to help relieve stress, bring attention back to the breath, build stability and strength through yoga poses and to find healing relaxation for the mind, body & spirit. Her special areas of interest are women’s health, postpartum health, digestive disorders, stress and anxiety management, recovering from trauma and providing help to the healing body. In Ali’s classes she uses all types of yogic healing techniques to gain a better understanding of our physical, emotional and energetic self. She hopes to always create a safe and encouraging environment for her students … where everyone can feel welcome. Ali offers private therapeutic yoga sessions for those who would prefer individual, tailored classes or are new to yoga. Prior to a private session, you will have a phone consultation to discuss any current health challenges and your desired goals. Private yoga sessions are a wonderful way to check-in with your body, mind and spirit and gain some guidance as you move forward with your yoga practice and healing.
Through her work as a non-profit community organizer Alyssa Jurewicz-Johns has been engaging local, regional, and international residents in the collaborative creation of healthy, vital communities for over 15 years. A practiced and skilled facilitator, Alyssa’s expertise rests within her ability to listen, connect and communicate. She collaborates with individuals, as well as collective groups, working to provide supportive platforms for interpersonal engagement and self-exploration with the universal goal of creating pathways for people to communicate with and nurture their bodies through movement, rhythm, breath-work and self-care. In the classroom, Alyssa serves curated recipes of movement, breath-work and sound that pull from a variety of yoga studies and creative movement platforms. Judith Hansen Lasater, B.K.S Iyengar, Shandor Remete, Ido Portal, Ana Forrest, Gabrielle Roth and Anodea Judith are major contributors to Alyssa’s unique style of yoga offerings. Alyssa Dore’, MSW, RYT – moondancer. rhythm heart. lucky lotus.
Iktya Certified, Chakra/Yoga Practicioner, Sound Healer and Musician
Brooke Smokelin is an experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT), IKTYA certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher, Yoga Therapist, Sound Healer and Musician. For over 15 years she has studied with teachers in the Kundalini, Sivananda, Ashtanga, and Kriya Yoga traditions. Through these various studies and an ever-blooming inspiration and fascination with the yogic chakra system, “Chakra Yoga” has become the cornerstone of her practice and her teaching. “Chakra Yoga is ‘Applied Yoga’, otherwise known as Yoga Therapy, in that we learn and apply specific therapeutic yogic tools of asana (postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), mantra (repetitive sounds), and meditations to specific issues and imbalances in our lives and through regular practice bring the body-mind-spirit into better health and harmonization.” Brooke developed her Chakra Yoga as a creative and experiential medium to inform and ignite others with a knowledge of and techniques to embody their full-spectrum selves. Her Chakra Yoga empowers students, clients and practitioners with the yogic tools to transform their lives. Brooke offers Chakra Yoga classes and Chakra Yoga workshops and Trainings (CEUs available) as well as private or semi-private yoga sessions, Yoga Therapy, and Chakra Balancing sessions. Additionally, Brooke has worked with doctors and leaders in the Integrative Mental Health field to develop her Embodiment Program, a mind-body protocol specifically for Pervasive Developmental Disorder Spectrum, ADHD, PTSD, and other anxiety/mood afflictions. Brooke has been a practitioner of various forms of Sound Therapy for over 10 years. Working with the voice, drums, tuning forks, and quartz crystal bowls she integrates the healing qualities of rhythm, vibration, harmony, and deep listening into both group and private sessions. Yoga Instructor, Private Yoga Instruction, Yoga Therapist, Sound Healing, Energy Medicine, Musical Medicine, Chakra Balancing, Energy Activation and Embodiment Techniques, Chakra Yoga Classes. Contact Brooke directly at email@example.com or visit www.facebook.com/pages/Chakra-Yoga-Sacred-7-Yoga for more information about Brooke’s practice and availability. You may also contact Mookshi Wellness Center at 412.407.7829 for more information.
Registered Yoga Teacher
“Enjoy your body; embrace it! Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own!” —Kurt Vonnegut
Cathie’s joyful adventure of yoga is a continuing path of self-care and self-awareness, which she delights in sharing with all who seek the same. Influenced and inspired by yogis in her life—teachers, friends and co-workers who continue to support her as she grows day by day—Cathie feels blessed with the opportunities she has to share movement presence and breath presence with others. Cathie has earned a Registered Yoga Certification through YogaFit (RYT-200), and a 500-hour RYT certification through EmbodiedYoga with Lisa Cark, where she grew tremendously in her experience of whole body integration. Cathie also holds a Registered Children’s Yoga teacher certification (RCYT), working with students of all ages, including through the nonprofit organization, Yoga in Schools. “My hope is that everyone attending a class will be able to experience being present right in that moment, inside and outside of their body, their mind, and their spirit. To ENJOY being with their Body present and their Breath present. To tap into their own awareness for calming and restoring, energizing and inspiring, for their own life adventure—to inspire us all to connect to each other, to take care of each other and the world around us. Practice is Presence.”
Deirdre Amos has been practicing massage therapy for ten years. She is a member of the American Massage Therapy Association and licensed to practice massage therapy by the State of Pennsylvania. After completing massage therapy education and training at Great Lakes Institute of Technology, Deirdre received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Gannon University.Deirdre takes a uniquely therapeutic approach to massage combining her undergraduate and graduate work in human biology with her experience working in the physical therapy setting. The result is consistently goal oriented sessions focused on increasing functionality and decreasing pain. She enjoys the challenge of working with a variety of disorders and injuries and frequently coordinates with local physical therapists and physicians. A USATF Certified Running Coach and marathoner herself, Deirdre also enjoys helping athletes recover and reach optimal performance. CLICK HERE to book with Deirdre.
Elizabeth has been practicing yoga for 10 years. Her journey has led her from classes at Cyndi Lee’s studio in NYC to years of steady learning from accomplished instructors of Ansuara yoga. She has also traveled to India and visited the ashrams of the Bihar School of Yoga and studied with teachers of this philosophy. Elizabeth completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at the Himalayan Institute in Mt Lebanon.
In addition Elizabeth has been a dedicated student at Mookshi for two years since her move from NYC.
Tai Chi teacher ,Chinese Medicine Therapist & Herbalist
New to Pittsburgh, I arrived with my wife to pursue her Phd at CMU, I am 32 years old, graduated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Chinese Medicine. Tai Chi My journey with Tai Chi, a non-violent martial art, began in my first year of Chinese Medicine studies. It was a method for me to embody the theory I learned in class about the meridians and energy and bring it into real life experience. Tai Chi for me is a way of being. How do we feel inside our body? How do we move and interact with others in our everyday lives? How can I connect deeply to myself, to the earth and to others? Tai Chi has the potential to teach us new ways of being: More open, relax, alert and present. In the same way it builds within ourselves more power, boldness and resilience to be and to deal effectively with the stressors of our everyday lives. This way we can be more authentic and have better influence on the world around us. Doing Tai Chi is working with the intelligence of the body-mind. We’re learning to listen to our deep wisdom to help us navigate in the world with more creativity and ease. I Invite you to join my class.
Women’s Health Specialist
Francie Desmone is an expert in women’s health specializing in Mastering Menopause. Working with women over 40 she treats hot flashes, insomnia, and weight gain. Clients have travelled hundreds of miles for her kind, compassionate care healing physical, mental, and emotional stress. Credentialed by UPMC, clinical faculty since 2013 at Magee Women’s Hospital, Francie is a graduate of the New England School of Acupuncture and Duquesne University where she studied Philosophy and Art History. She studied the Balance Method with Dr. Tan and Sports Medicine with Matt Callison. Previously certified as an EMT and Wilderness First Responder.
Licensed Massage Therapist
Gabriel Cantillo is a PA licensed massage therapist. He is a graduate of The Pittsburgh School of Massage Therapy and is trained in Craniosacral therapy through the Upledger Institute International. He customizes each session based on the uniqueness of the individual, specializing in Craniosacral, Therapeutic Swedish, Neuromuscular Trigger Point, Myofascial Release, and Reiki. He is also a member of the American Massage Therapy Association, the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners, and owner of Pittsburgh Therapeutic & Wellness Massage. Gabriel has experience working with a wide range of clients of all ages and conditions. He has worked on professional musicians and athletes, including the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a practitioner, Gabriel’s focus, through intention and touch, is to facilitate awareness and healing, helping one’s own body heal itself from within. Book a session with him today!
Shiatsu, Thai Massage
My studies of massage and the human body began in 1992 while living in Oregon. I attended the Cascade Institute of Massage and Bodywork and after completing my training I was granted a license to practice massage. Only I never did. I was side-tracked by a photograph. In 1993 I traveled to Thailand to study traditional massage. My interest was kindled by one photograph in particular of a single Thai massage stretch performed on the rocks overlooking the beauty of Hawaii. One year later I was in Chaing Mai and my journey had begun in earnest. After three months of intensive training I returned to Pittsburgh where I began to share my new found knowledge by introducing people to the sacred bodywork known as Nuad Bo-Rarn or ancient massage. I have spent the past 18 years dedicating myself to bringing this dynamic form of bodywork to the Pittsburgh area, it would be my honour and privilege to share with you the sacred art of Traditional Thai massage.
Brennan Energetic Healing Science Practitioner, Holistic Health Coach, AADP
Heather received her Holistic Health Coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City where she studied over 100 different dietary theories. Instructors consisted of health and wellness visionaries such as Deepak Chopra, Sally Fallen, David Wolfe, Andrew Weil, and Arthur Agatsto. Heather graduated as a certified Holistic Health Coach, Licensed Drugless Practitioner by the American Association for Drugless Practitioners since 2010. After a vigorus four-year program with over 2,000 hours of extensive study and practice, Heather graduated from the Barbara Brennan School of Healing (BBSH) in Miami, Florida in 2014 with a Diploma in Brennan Healing Science. BBSH is one of the most highly regarded schools in the field of energetic healing and holistic healthcare today. In addition Heather completed the four year Anatomy & Physiology certification also offered through BBSH. She is continuing her education through PsychoEnergetic, a body-mind approach to depth and process facilitation. Heather has a deep love for natural health and the body’s intuitive ability to heal. This work brings a light and warmth to her that she truly loves to share with her clients through joy, education, and humor. In healing ourselves we contribute directly to global healing. Visit heatherbenek.com for more information.
Registered Yoga Teacher
Holly received her 200 hour certification in 2012 from Yogaworks in New York City. Focusing on healthy alignment, body awareness and self reflection, she helps her students create a practice they can apply on and off the mat. A life long cyclist, she works with runners and other cyclists to prevent injury and create balance and space in the body. She is certified in Restorative and Therapeutic Yoga. This healing modality uses breath, mindfulness, and gentle movement to help manage cancer, MS, and other chronic and debilitating conditions. She is deeply grateful for the opportunity to share this practice.
Registered Yoga Teacher
My yogic journey began at the turn of the century, as a college student at Pitt. Yoga changed my life and brought me relief from migraines, depression, and injuries sustained from a lifetime of physical activity. After fifteen years of practice, I arrived at a place where I was ready to share my experience with others. I completed my yoga teacher training in 2016 at BYS, under the disciplined tutelage of Lynn Rescigno. I practice a classical vinyasa style of yoga. My sequences are lively and dynamic, yet balanced and accessible to all skill levels. As my teaching journey continues, I look forward to sharing and learning with all of the yogis in the Mookshi community.
Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Fertility, Prenatal, Postpartum & Labor Massage Specialist, Birth Doula, Reiki Master, Craniosacral Therapist
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Fertility, Prenatal, Postpartum & Labor Massage Specialist, Birth Doula, Reiki Master, Craniosacral Therapist, and Mama. From a very young age I was aware of my empathic gifts and intuitive abilities. My love of the human body & how it works came during my senior year of high school during my first anatomy class. This is when I realized just how amazing we all are! After graduation, I went on to pursue a career in Massage Therapy. I graduated from CTA in Monroeville in 2000. During my time there, I took an introductory course in Prenatal massage and fell in LOVE!!! I knew from that moment on this was what I was meant to do. Nurture. Over the last 17 years I have taken classes in a myriad of modalities that have helped me to grow my knowledge of the body, which has helped my clients from all walks of life. It has also helped me to specifically learn how all of these different techniques can benefit women in their childbearing years. So, not only have I taken classes specific to Certifying me in Fertility, Prenatal and Postpartum & Labor massage, but I have been driven in every other class to ask & learn how that particular therapy would help my Mamas. As I learned more about the body I became more and more aware of how much energy played a vital role in the healing process. A whole different level of touch! Amazing!!! It was then that I started working toward my Reiki Master level training. Since learning about energy work, I realized how very specific yet gentle therapies have profound effects on the body. Lymphatic Drainage, Reflexology & (a personal favorite)Craniosacral Therapy are modalities that I have taken great care in learning and am continuing to broaden my expertise with as well. I not only feel that a clients energy is a factor in the healing process but my own as well, which is why I practice a technique called Healing from the Core. It is a form of meditation/awareness that helps me keep healthy boundaries with my energy, while also allowing it to be a full & grounded presence that acts as a buoy to help me support my clients. Aside from all of my knowledge & trainings, I truly believe learning how to work with & trusting in my empathic gifts and intuitive abilities have been the driving forces that guide me to help my clients to heal. Crystals, stones and essential oils are also a great passion for me, but nothing is more special to me than my family. I am happily married to my best friend and we have 2 amazing little girls who are the light of our lives. I enjoy spending spare time creating items out of yarn (Crochet or Knit, I love them both), playing hide & seek with my angels and spending time outside. If you have any other questions about me or my services~ you can visit my website at www.heavensenthealing.weebly.com
Kundalini Yoga Instructor, “The Yoga of Awareness.”
I started my personal Journey with Kundalini yoga in 2008 after seeing a reoccurring ad in a local health and wellness magazine. This ad was intriguing and immediately caught my attention.
Clearly it was an advanced class, not what I would recommend for a beginner but this was my experience. I fell in love and began to cultivate my practice. Kundalini yoga has been at the forefront of managing my life with grace and sense of calm even in the most trying and challenging times of my life. In the spring of 2017 I received my KRI Yoga certification under the guidance of my yoga teacher, Guru Purkh Sing M.D. and lead instructor Kartar Singh Khalsa founder of the Golden Temple Academy in Barcelona Spain Organized by Mookshi Wellness Center. Kundalini yoga will give you the ability to tap into an energy you may not know you have. We all have this energy you just need to know how to awaken it. Kundalini Yoga is also beneficial in detoxing the body, which will assist in improving the working of your glands, organs, blood circulation, immune, and nervous system. Physical benefits you may receive from this practice will be an overall improvement in your wellbeing, stronger joints, muscles, and spine. I am pleased to share such a beautiful yet powerful practice with my students. As a teacher I am here to give you the tools you need to tap into your infinite self.
I am a licensed massage therapist, reiki master, doula, and long-time student of yoga. I also actively study a variety of folk healing modalities including traditional midwifery, herbalism, and dream work. Moving through life’s transitions with dignity and ease, while acknowledging the emotional and spiritual components alongside the need for physical pain reduction, is central to my work. I also help people to create and maintain effective self-care routines and rituals, and empower them to tap into their innate ability to heal. I work with all kinds of caregivers, creators, healers, artists, organizers, visionaries, makers and more to help them perform their meaningful work in the world with ease. My style is nurturing, intuitive, and precise. Please click HERE to book with me. Find out more about me on my website: www.lacunahealingarts.com.
Registered Yoga Teacher
Leslie Wright has earned an RYT-500 certification from the Himalayan Institute, as well as a second 500-hour certification through EmbodiYoga with Lisa Clark. An academic by training (and inclination), Leslie has continually supported her yoga practice with deep reading and ongoing participation in workshops of widely ranging topics: meditation, yoga for MS, yoga for middle schoolers–to name a few. She simply trusts and follows her curiosity. Teachers of particular inspiration have been Judith Lasater (Relax and Renew); Susi Hately and Doug Keller, who are clear, good-humored teachers of anatomy; Tom Meyers and Jill Miller, who are reverent lovers of fascia; and all of the faculty at the Himalayan Institute. Leslie’s classes are fun and creative and full of joy. She strives to teach her students to develop awareness of the structures of their physical bodies through movement and touch, but she also uses–and encourages her students to learn–the sometimes exotic-sounding names for these structures–femurs, meniscus, acetabulum. . . . She does so because she herself remembers her initial fear of these terms; they sounded so alien, so not her. (At times she felt as if being in her body was like attending a crowded party of complaining strangers.) Leslie discovered, however, that taking the time to learn the names of these complainers was a good step toward befriending them. Please join Leslie in her classes and befriend yourselves.
Moriah Ella Mason
Licensed Massage Therapist
Ella began her massage therapy career in 2010 after graduating from the Finger Lakes School of Massage in Ithaca, NY. With over 1,000 hours of formal training and 6 years of practice, Ella has experience helping clients with a wide range of goals: everything from sciatica to bursitis to post-traumatic stress disorder. Ella is also an experienced professional modern dancer and movement educator. She brings her knowledge of movement studies to each session, helping clients craft a treatment plan and self-care strategies to support long-term healing and a deep mind-body connection.
Registered Yoga Teacher
Rachael, RYT, completed her teacher training in 2010 with Pittsburgh’s Third Street Yoga. She has a long history of martial arts and study of Western Buddhism, which she brings to her practice. She works closely with Joanne VandenHegel to train aspiring teachers and plan bi-annual retreats. Her teaching is most aligned with Hatha Yoga, but she infuses an element of “Mindfulness Meditation” and “gentle flow” to her classes.
Licensed Massage Therapist, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher
Sarah Bauer is a PA Licensed Massage Therapist, Reiki Master, and Yoga Instructor. She graduated from the Pittsburgh School of Massage Therapy in 2007 with a dual focus in Medical Massage and Asian & Energy Therapies. She became a Reiki Master in 2009 after studying for years with Timothy Kocher-Hillmer and will soon begin taking on Reiki students. Sarah was a staff member at The Pittsburgh Center for Complimentary Health & Healing for three years. Upon the birth of her second child in 2010 she opened Samadhi~ Massage, Reiki & Yoga. She completed her Yoga Teacher Training coursework with Joanne Vandenhengel of 3rd Street Yoga in 2010 and currently teaches classes and workshops at Schoolhouse Yoga. Sarah trained and worked as a professional dancer before turning toward a healing profession. She is a long-time student of mystical traditions as well as a practitioner of yoga and meditation for over 10 years. All of these life experiences give a unique form to her work, melding a fluent knowledge of anatomy and body movement with the grace of a dancer, and incorporating her view of the body’s energy system to induce deeper levels of healing. She enjoys working with these different approaches harmoniously in a session depending on a clients individual goals. Sarah lives in Regent Square with her artist husband, martial artist son and sweet toddling daughter. She is a fluent Spanish speaker. In her free time she enjoys being in nature, breathing, knitting, being up-side-down…and getting a massage! Call 412.407.7829 or visit www.samadhi.massagetherapy.com for more information about Sarah’s practice and availability. To book an appointment with Sarah online click here!
Yoga and Meditation
Shawna Ferguson (Shakti Kaur) has been practicing yoga and meditation since 2012. When the Kundalini practice introduced itself into her life, she fell in love and was eternally grateful. Shawna uses the technology of Kundalini Yoga to ease the symptoms of her anxiety and help bring her closer to the infinite “Truth”. She has grown to perceive and understand everyday life with more love and light. Shawna completed her 220 hour Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training at Mookshi Wellness Center in spring of 2017 under Guru Purkh Sing M.D. and head teacher, Kartar Singh Khalsa. She has dedicated part of her life to teach the technologies of Kundalini Yoga, through the Golden Chain, to students who are struggling with anxiety, depression, anger and mental illness. Although, Kundalini Yoga is a wonderful tool for mental stability, it holds immense benefits for all facets of the human body and soul. As a teacher, Shawna helps students realize their infinite true potential. Kundalini Yoga is the Yoga of awareness and experience. She teaches sets of Kriyas (exercises), meditations, and breathing exercises to help students create a healing experience of their own. “The human mind is potentially Infinite and Creative. But in practical reality it is limited. So a technical know-how is required through which one can expand his mind to bring about the equilibrium that enables him to control his physical structure and experience his infinite self.” – Yogi Bhajan
The pursuit of an answer to the internal still small voice – “there must be more” set Susan on a healing path over 30 years ago. Since then, she has taken a leadership role in her spiritual community – Phoenix Institute/Pittsburgh, Inc., graduated from the Earth Walk School of Personal and Planetary Evolution, completed training in Cellular Expansion and Healing as well as many other healing modalities that support the evolution and healing of the mind, body, spirit integration. In 2013 she completed her training as a YogaWorks certified yoga teacher (200 RYT) trained by Breathe Yoga Studio’s gifted Anna Gilbert Zupon. Along with her passion for teaching yoga and meditation Susan is a holistic and intuitive counselor, energy healer, and public speaker. Using her skills of working through the energy field of the body, mentoring and compassionate listening, she assists and supports the healing journey of her clients and students alike. She has a vision and deep commitment to supporting the evolutionary process of consciousness that leads to a healthy, vibrant and joy-filled life.