Faculty

Over the past twenty years, Yoga Haven has established itself as a welcoming community for all bodies. Our studio, offers a mindful yoga experience accessible to anyone who walks through our doors. Our students see the studio as a “Haven” to help them combat life’s inevitable stresses, allowing them to return to life off the mat with a greater sense of grace and ease.

Our team of experienced teachers are the backbone of our studio. They fortify their passion with continued studies beyond the required, introductory 200 hour teacher training. Areas of expertise include: osteoporosis, pre/postnatal, pelvic floor, scoliosis, kids and fertility. Their breadth of knowledge is how we offer over classes to fit a variety of needs and interests.

Yoga Haven founder and director, Betsy Kase, RYT-500, C-IAYT, has been practicing yoga since 1991. She began during a time when her work and personal life were considerably stressful. Almost immediately, she found a simple yoga practice unlocked a layer of peacefulness she had been searching for since she was a teenager. After a couple of years of practice she finished her teacher training at Integral Yoga, and then continued with prenatal and postnatal trainings. Since then, she has studied with some of the most accomplished teachers. Realizing that her need to connect with and help people was more successfully accomplished as yoga teacher, she changed careers. After moving back to Westchester from NYC, she found herself somewhat lost trying to meet people, practice yoga and find a like-minded community. So, as the saying goes, “If you build it, they will come”… Yoga Haven opened its doors in 1997, starting as a one room space in Tuckahoe. It worked! People showed up and kept coming. Yoga Haven then expanded significantly, offering 70+ classes a week, taught a variety of levels and styles by highly qualified teachers. In January 2012, Yoga Haven 2 opened its doors in Scarsdale. Many of the students who attended one of our first classes in Tuckahoe back in 1997 continue to practice.  In 2020, Covid unfortunately made it impossible to continue the studios.  Both studios closed mid-March and never re-opened.

Betsy’s passion is finding ways to affect student’s lives in a positive way. She has witnessed yoga’s profound ability to reduce a student’s pain, whether it be physical, mental, emotional and/or psychological. Over and over she sees the results of her work and is thrilled to be intertwined in a community who deeply cares for the studio, herself and each other. Her most profoundly satisfying work is Yoga Haven’s annual 200 hour teacher training program. Directing this program, she is able to share her own 20 year experience and enable new teachers to have the tools to reach their beginner students as they start their own journey.

Shannon is a certified yoga instructor and has her 200-hour teacher training certificate from Kripalu Center for Health and Healing. She is also certified with Yoga 4 Cancer, a leading program in specialized oncology yoga. A former professional dancer and studio owner, Shannon has taught dance for over 30 years. Her passion for yoga and movement comes from many places. As a dancer, Shannon found movement to be an uplifting form of expression. She started with yoga to heal physical injuries and found that yoga can also help with balancing the mind.

You can find out more about Shannon on her website www.mindandmoveyoga.com.

Haven has been Shannon’s yoga home for the past 17 years, and she looks forward to being part of this special community as a teacher.

Jill Ganassi has been studying and teaching yoga for over 25 years.  She is a Certified Iyengar Yoga Instructor and is a Certified Yoga Therapist.  As well as teaching online, and in person at various locations around NY, she has her own small, peaceful center, The Lake House, where she teaches group and private yoga and stress management.  Jill is a NY State Licensed Master Social Worker and is certified in Ericksonian Hypnosis.  She also teaches workshops on yoga and stress management around the tri-state area.  She taught the philosophy portion of the Yoga Haven Teacher Training for over 15 years and has a passion for incorporating the philosophical aspects of yoga into all yoga practice.  She wants to invite everyone to explore this wonderful new collaboration between Haven Yoga and Steffi Nossen Dance!

Melissa is a Senior Instructor and has been teaching Pilates since 2003. She comes from a dance background and holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Akron.
She taught dance in the NYC public schools for 6 years before becoming certified in The Classical Pilates Method.

She received her certification at Power Pilates under the instruction of Bob Leikins, Susan Moran and Dr. Howard Sichel.

Melissa teaches clients of all ages and abilities. She has a deep understanding of the Classical Pilates Method . Her extensive knowledge and experience as a dancer is an asset to her teaching. She has an eye for alignment and form. She loves to focus on the details. Tailoring her classes and Private sessions to personalize each client’s experience is the most fun for her.

She works with a wide range of students including dancers, athletes, Hollywood stars, pre/post-pregnancy and those rehabilitating an injury or dealing with chronic pain to help them achieve whole body wellness.

Melissa is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She also holds a certificate in Kids Mindfulness and Yoga Teacher Training through Yoga Haven and a Restorative Yoga certificate through Jillian Pransky.

Jen’s yoga journey began many years before setting foot on a yoga mat. At the age of 14, she went through major spine surgery to halt the progression of scoliosis. Many years later, suffering from chronic back pain as well as anxiety, Jen felt drawn to yoga. She immediately fell in love with yoga’s physical and mental benefits and came to realize that yoga offered her a path to both understanding her complicated spine and quieting her busy mind. Jen teaches with a focus on healthy alignment, body mechanics and breath. She approaches her students with the belief that each body is unique and carries with it its own history, limitations, strengths and weaknesses. Jen received her teaching certification at Yoga Haven under the direction of Betsy Kase. Jen has also studied with Elise Browning Miller, completing her training to become a Certified Yoga for Scoliosis Teacher.  Jen is excited to be a part of this collaboration and celebration of movement between Steffi Nossen School of Dance and Haven!

Cara Kronen firmly believes that yoga practice should be fun and uplifting, and therefore offers students an upbeat but accessible approach to asana practice. Cara has been teaching since 2007. She trained with Betsy Kase at Yoga Haven and is certified to work with children, adolescents, as well as pre and post natal people. Cara credits her yoga practice with helping her keep sanity in an ever changing and seemingly tumultuous world.

I went to my first yoga class in NYC in 1997 when I was bored with the workout options at my gym. I liked it enough to return, although I always ducked out before savasana and my attendance was spotty. After a hiatus to have my three children, I found my way back to the mat and this time I was much more interested in the attention to alignment, the relaxation and the philosophy. So much so that I decided to enroll in a teacher training in 2012 at Yoga Haven. I’ve been hooked ever since. I know everyone says this, but yoga is for everyone, and my goal is for students to feel welcome, able and content in my classes. In addition to the
calm, supportive yoga community, I am in love with the endless learning that is available in all facets of yogic study: philosophy, anatomy, breath, consciousness. Left unattended for too long, I’m a type-A perfectionist nut. Yoga helps me relax, tune inward and release a bit of control. My hope is to help others find that sliver of peace that I experience every time I practice. Since my initial 200-hour training I’ve delved deeper into numerous areas of study including Restorative Yoga with Tiffany Cruikshank and Trauma- Informed Yoga with Tara Tonini of Exhale to Inhale. I am ecstatic and grateful to be able to teach and learn with my students.

Clare Mottola draws on her background in acting, directing and producing to work with trainees to find their teaching voice. Clare is the chair of the theatre and dance department at Fieldston, where she also teaches the school’s mindfulness curriculum. Clare received her 200 hour certification from Yoga Haven in 2004.

Deirdre O’Connor, originally from Dublin, Ireland, completed her 200 YTT with Betsy Kase at Yoga Haven in 2005. She has studied many different styles of yoga over the years and she draws on these styles as inspiration to teach a playful yet intentional class with the goal of getting herself and her students out of their heads and more into their bodies. Deirdre teaches a dynamic vinyasa style class that combines creative sequencing, a spirit of lightheartedness and a dose of inspiration to help deepen the connection to your practice and yourself. She teaches group and one on one vinyasa style classes and is also a skilled Thai Massage Therapist (also referred to as lazy man’s yoga!).

Michelle is a yoga + movement educator and teacher trainer.  She has been teaching yoga for ten years and called Yogaworks in New York City her home for many years.   Her mindful approach invites inquiry into movement and she is skilled at demystifying complex postures into smaller, digestible pieces.   She is deeply interested in how the body moves and enjoys making yoga feel accessible to beginners and advanced practitioners alike.  Her yoga classes are open to all levels and explore building strength, awareness, grace and resilience in the body, not only through traditional asanas, but through playful movements as well.   In her classes you can expect thoughtful sequencing and natural movement that you can take with you into your daily life, and practice is always followed with an opportunity to restore the body.