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
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.
Licensed Massage Therapist
My journey to holistic health began as a teenager working in a small-town health food store. Eventually, I found myself studying nutrition with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition from which I graduated in 2012 as a Certified Health Coach. In 2015, I graduated from the Pittsburgh School of Massage Therapy and attained my license to practice professional massage therapy in Pennsylvania. Since then, I have worked in some of the most highly rated spas in Pittsburgh, served professional athletes including the San Jose Sharks, and have been honored to witness and participate in small and large transformations in people from many walks of life. I continue my training in many modalities of bodywork and natural health. In my bodywork practice, I offer customized sessions based on client needs. This typically includes a combination of therapeutic Swedish massage, Neuromuscular/Trigger Point Therapy, gentle Myofascial Release, and energy work, and occasionally incorporate what I have learned as a Health Coach when appropriate.
Alyssa Jurewicz-JohnsThrough 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.
Tai Chi, Chinese Medicine Therapist & Herbalist, Acupuncturist
New to Pittsburgh, I arrived with my wife to pursue her Phd at CMU. I graduated at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Chinese Medicine. 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.
Chakra Activation Yoga & Kundalini Yoga E-RYT, Chakra Balancing, Sound Therapy & Vibrational Healing
Brooke Smokelin is the creator of Chakra Activation Yoga, a unique fusion of classic, static hatha asanas and rhythmic, dynamic kundalini kriyas, that aims to awaken, explore, and balance the physical, metaphysical, emotional, psychological, energetic, and vibrational elements of each of the 7 chakra-energy centers. Brooke’s students and clients utilize various yogic tools and techniques of pranayama (breathing), asana (posture), mantra (sound forms) and yantra (visual forms) to imagine, visualize, express, love, will, feel, and EMBODY their full spectrum selves. Practitioners generate an abundance of vital energy via different kinds of pranayama and then they move this energy throughout their bodies via kriyas and asanas specific for each chakra, "IGNITING THE LIGHT" within. Awareness and energy moves from the Root Chakra up the spine to the Crown Chakra, leaving each chakra activated, vitalized, and harmonized, the glands and organs nourished, and the skeletal system aligned. For more information about Brooke and to purchase her Chakra Activation Deck, a user's guide to the chakra system visit:
Licensed Massage Therapist
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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth BarbaroElizabeth 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.
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.
Erin Movement and metaphysics have always been a part of Erin’s life, making it a natural fit that she finds herself teaching yoga. A dedicated dancer and performer since childhood, Erin was equally fascinated with concepts that can take lifetimes to fully grasp, such as the knowledge that nothing in our physical reality is actually solid (what?! how interesting… ) Her coinciding theater experiences and lifetime devotion to metaphysical studies led her to begin practicing yoga and meditation in 2009. By 2012, desiring to delve more deeply into the art of healing, Erin embarked upon three years of consecutive yoga teacher training to study multiple branches of yoga. Along the way, she deepened her decades long personal journal writing practice with more poetry and philosophies surrounding the metaphysical world.
Acupuncturist, Women’s Health Apecialist
Francie DesmoneFrancie 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.
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.
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.
Licensed Massage 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.
Kundalini Yoga Instructor
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.
Leslie came to yoga initially for a physical practice but found so much more. She has practiced different types of yoga (Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Kundalini) over the course of 7-10 years. She completed a 200+ hr YTT through Illume Pittsburgh yoga studio with Instructor/Owner, Jennifer Ferris-Glick. Her approach to yoga is meditative and Hatha focused. She has traveled nationally and internationally to different yoga retreats and festivals to get a better understanding of her path to yoga. This eclectic background let’s her students experience a broad range of methods and techniques for each unique class. She also enjoys sharing the universal healing energy of Reiki in her classes upon permission of her students. “The attitude of gratitude is the highest yoga.”-Yogi Bhajan
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.
Moriah Ella Mason
Licensed Massage Therapist
Moriah Ella MasonElla 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.
Kundalini Yoga + Meditation Instructor
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.
Susan Rupani Yoga Instructor
Susan RupaniThe 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.
Licensed Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor
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. 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. 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. 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.
Licensed Massage Therapist
Eve is a graduate of The Pittsburgh School of Massage Therapy. She is a licensed massage therapist in the state of Pennsylvania and a member of the American Massage Therapy Association. Her practice includes Swedish massage, neuromuscular therapy and sports massage as well as myofascial release.
Eve has dedicated a portion of her training to working with athletes of all levels, from weekend warriors to some of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Her focus on sports massage served to expand her knowledge of anatomy and physiology and her continued work in a physical therapy environment has helped refine those skills.
Reiki Master + Reiki Instructor
Katlyn is a certified Reiki Master and Teacher and is a member of the International Center for Reiki Training. She became a Reiki Master in 2013 and studied under Alicia Fronczek from Level I to the Master Level. Katlyn first learned Reiki in forth grade, on a Girl Scout field trip, and was instantly connected to and intrigued by the practice. She has worked as a practicing Reiki Master at The Healing House in Cusco, Peru and has been doing freelance treatment in Pittsburgh since her Attunement. Katlyn has also spent extensive time in South America working with and studying Amazonian plant medicines and energy healing techniques, which she also incorporates into her healing practices. She has also studied and administered Kambo, an Amazonian tree frog secretion, for the past three years.