UYATT Instructors

MEET OUR STAFF

GraciaHeadshotSMGracia Gimse McKinley – Gracia radiates warmth and acceptance. She acts as a mirror to reflect the pure goodness and beauty that exists at the core of your being. Her students learn to rely on themselves as their own authority and trust their own experience as the ultimate source of information.

With over 2 decades of experience teaching yoga therapy, meditation, and yogic spirituality, Gracia empowers students to attune to their own inner wisdom in order to live authentic, happy and meaningful lives. Her teacher trainings support yoga teachers and other helping professionals to grow into confident mentors capable of inspiring and facilitating awakening in their students and clients.

Gracia teaches in a variety of venues, including yoga studios, conferences (Sedona Yoga Festival and Minneapolis Yoga Conference), and corporations, such as Microsoft and Amazon. She is an ordained swami and initiates sincere seekers into the Kriya Yoga Lineage. She is a C-IAYT, E-RYT 500, YACEP, Somatic Yoga Therapist, Certified Hanna Somatic Educator and Certified Adaptive Yoga Teacher. She and her husband, T McKinley, are the co-founders of My Spirit Community in Northfield, Minnesota.

Richard Gartner – Richard’s style is paradoxically both unique and universal. His instructions allow for any student to approach the practice, embracing all levels of experience and ability. This allows for anybody to explore their own unique structure and make every practice their own.

This philosophy is carried over to Onward Facing Yoga, an app Richard released in September 2015.  The eleven sequences on Onward Facing Yoga playfully explore various aspects of yoga philosophy, anatomy and breathwork, at various levels of challenge. This results in a robust yoga curriculum that allows anybody to listen inward and choose a practice that’s right for them.

Richard’s approach is influenced by his primary teacher, Tias Little. Tias developed Prajna Yoga, which means ‘the yoga of deep insight.’ Tias describes Prajna Yoga as a ‘style-less style’, where the yoga should fit the student and not the other way around.

For Richard, this ‘style-less style’ means a yoga practice should be vibrant, in-the-moment and multi-disciplinary. His teachings fuse traditional posture and breathwork with contemporary anatomy and bodywork. He draws from many forms of yoga, fascial release, mindfulness techniques, and common sense.

Jill-headshot-3Jill Loftis – Jill began practicing yoga as a way to make peace with her body after childbirth. Her true spiritual evolution began when she discovered the teachings of Goswami Kriyananda and the Temple of Kriya Yoga. Through the profound impact of extensive training through the Temple, she was able to find meaning, purpose and healing in her life, while still being fully engaged in her dharma of mothering three children.

 While still in training, she began teaching at Bethany Hall, a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. In 2008, this work inspired her to open Uttara Yoga Studio in Roanoke, VA, with the vision to create a safe and sacred space to share the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of the practice. The Uttara community has blossomed beyond her dreams into a diverse group of yoga practitioners and seekers. The Studio now includes 200- and 300-hour yoga teacher training programs, and a program to mentor new yoga teachers.  Jill radiates a fierce, nurturing presence that will challenge you to explore the limits of your body and mind, and yet feel supported and held in a safe space so you can meet yourself with honesty and an open heart. Her yoga classes weave together Kriya Yoga with her studies under many gifted yoga teachers, particularly Kim Schwartz, Gabriel Halpern, Andrea Boyd and Jeffrey Cohen.

Jill teaches yogis of all ages ,and has brought the practice to local preschool, elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as a number of local colleges and universities.  She is a Barratt Breath Institute individual and group Breathwork practitioner. In addition to yoga classes, she leads workshops and weekend trainings on a variety of topics, including meditation, stress reduction, life transformation, and astrology. She leads retreats locally and internationally, and is looking forward to hosting her next retreats in India in March of 2017, and in Scotland in 2018.  She writes the Astrology column for THIS! magazine, and is Adjunct Faculty at Roanoke College, teaching a course on yoga.  Keep up with Jill via her blog.