Group Fitness Instructors
Amber fell in love with yoga in 2006 while studying abroad in Costa Rica and she has been practicing ever since. Besides the fact she was in a foreign country and her Spanish was quite poor, she found that first class both physically and mentally challenging.
Finding the stability and strength to embrace stillness while surrounded by movement is always a humbling challenge for Amber. She enjoys intertwining playfulness with mindfulness throughout practice to allow students to reflect on their flow with a new perspective. Amber is also an avid adventurer and traveler and is always exploring ways to intertwine yoga with outdoor activities, especially rock climbing and paddle boarding.
Ami’s love of dance and movement is an integral part of every class she teaches. As a lifelong dancer, she knows the joy, passion, and freedom that comes from moving the body in a way that makes her students feel successful and empowered. Her Zumba classes are an energetic celebration of world rhythms that are accessible and challenging for all fitness levels from beginner to the more advanced student. Ami’s Barre classes are structured to build strength and flexibility, emphasizing quality of movement and proper alignment. Her extensive knowledge of fitness, structural alignment, and how to build strength in a safe and supported way elevates every class she teaches. Connecting with her students and helping them find success, wherever they are on their fitness journey, is what makes her most happy.
If you have ever been to one of Cara’s classes, you know that she wears many hats. She is the friend that pulls over when she sees you in the parking lot to see how your day is going. She is the mom that races to her son’s school because he forgot that Wednesday is violin lesson day. She is the spouse that picks up her husband’s favorite pot stickers from Trader Joes. Cara is also your fitness coach!
After Cara’s son was born, she was looking to get back in shape. She had a laptop and ordered some workout DVDs. She jumped around to the routine in her living room and had no idea (at the time) she was planning her future. Strength takes time and that’s exactly what I Cara gave herself: the gift of patience. Working out is a mindset and hard work will pay off. You will become stronger and you will learn the importance of beauty of rest. Committing to fitness is understanding when to push and pull back. Cara knows this because she walks this talk every day. What was jumping around in my living room is now training for road and obstacle races, managing/teaching a Kids program at her son’s school and cheering on her friends and family as they find their fitness paths. Join Cara in a upcoming class – all you need to do is show up and together you will figure out the rest from there.
“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
This a motto Dawn Wessman has embraced over the last 16 years of leading group exercise. “I love people and I learning new things. Incrementally improving at each fitness discipline has shown me anything is possible, at any age, especially when you’re surrounded by great people who are trying their best.” She began by leading yoga and Pilates classes in Salt Lake City, becoming a master trainer, then adding cycling, weightlifting, barre, boot camp, personal training, Zumba and five children into the mix.
-Working out makes me a kinder mother.
-I taught college level Russian, religion and am a professional photographer.
In 2003 Deb was helping dear friends open a fitness center for seniors and physically challenged individuals. There was an evident need for Yoga at the club, but she had never taken a yoga class in my life. Her friend was adamant that I would enjoy it and should teach it. It was then that Deb decided to take a ViniYoga training program. The philosophy of ViniYoga is anyone can practice. Surprise – she loved it – from the very first class. Deb taught yoga there for 3 years and became a “sub” yoga teacher at Waverley Oaks Athletic Club.
Yoga is a union, combining the inside and outside, being mindful and in the present. The most meaningful lesson for Deb in her ViniYoga journey has been learning to be in the present and not expending a lot of mental energy ruing the past or worrying about the future. She believes it is important we make our lives with what we have, not what we do not have. Practicing yoga is key to keeping that balance in focus.
Anyone can practice yoga – tall, short, overweight, underweight, young, old – and Deb’s classes are about doing what you can. If your fingers do not reach the floor in a forward bend, that’s ok – you can still reap the benefits of a forward bend to your own ability. Moving through the postures is only one element of the yoga experience. Deb is there there as your yoga guide, the hour is your own personal yoga experience. She offers posture adjustments and alternatives to meet differing ability levels. Deb aims to have the participants in her classes leave feeling more relaxed, centered and in the present moment.
Once upon a time there was a curly haired girl named Dory who had a two-pack-a-day cigarette habit. A smoker for 13 years at age 23, she realized her lifestyle HAD to change. A friend dared her to join a health club, which was a big deal since she had always ridiculed health clubs, viewing exercising indoors as a complete waste of time. A few months into her membership, Dory reluctantly joined an aerobics class. After a lot of struggling, as most do, with the moves, directional changes, and generally keeping up, she eventually got the hang of it. More importantly, Dory saw an incredible change in her body, her attitude, and her energy. Six months later Dory became a certified aerobics instructor.
Dory has been teaching group exercise for nearly 29 years. She loves all forms of group exercise, but is most passionate about water aerobics. Join Dory for a spirited, joyful water workout at Waverley Oaks. Or attend BodyPump with Dory as she leads you through one of her favorite Les Mills programs with energy and enthusiasm. Come find out why Dory loves what she does so much!
Emily (CYT 500) received her B.A. in Dance and Human Development, summa cum laude, from Connecticut College. She has been practicing yoga for 15+ years. Emily completed her 200-hour certification in 2016 and her 300-hour certification in 2020. She also danced professionally in Boston for several years. Emily’s yoga classes intend to empower practitioners to feel grounded and joyful.
Erika brings her wealth of knowledge, outgoing personality and collaborative spirit to the Yoga practice while inspiring others to improve their physical, mental & emotional wellbeing.
She received her 300-hour yoga teacher training certification in 2017, and is trained in Vinyasa Flow, Yin Yoga, Meditation, Restorative Yoga & more.
Jamee’s earlier education includes study at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in NYC and Berklee College of Music. Jamee’s past work as a documentary filmmaker won an award for the film “How it All Began, Origins of the Universal Tao System”. Along the way Jamee became a Senior Instructor and teacher trainer with the Universal Healing Tao system, (UHT), teaching qigong, ancient meditation techniques and tai chi; the Yang style tai chi short form, long form and sword forms. Jamee’s been part of a team of instructors involved with Tai Chi studies with Harvard and Brown Universities. Jamee is also an Internationally Certified Alexander Technique Instructor and teacher-trainer at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where Tai Chi is a principle activity to explore dynamic integrated movement.
Jamee uniquely synthesizes ancient Taoist practices, Alexander Technique principles and spiritual healing opening the way for deep personal transformation and self empowerment as people learn and experience these self healing techniques. Over the years Jamee has shared her knowledge and experience with numerous institutions in the Boston area. Jamee also has a private practice around the Boston area where private lessons are available in all disciplines. Nowadays, Jamee also holds live and recorded classes online where she can reach people globally.
After a 35-year career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Joanne is living her dream and teaching yoga. She has been practicing yoga for 23 years and has experienced a changing practice change over time. Joanne practiced hot power yoga and Ashtangha yoga for many years, but as she got older, she began listening more to what her body needed so she slowed her practice down. She believes there is a place for all types of yoga, including hot power yoga and Ashtangha practice, but listening to what felt best for her was a priority and this is how she teaches her classes. Joanne encourages folks to always listen and pay attention to how things feel: we are all different and it is not about how flexible we are or if we can put our head to the floor. It’s about paying attention to how your body feels in a pose and meeting your practice where it is without judgement and with compassion. She believes that if you can breathe you can practice yoga – there is a pose for everyone.
Joanne is a 500hr Registered Yoga Teacher through Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, MA. Kripalu has been training yoga teachers for over 40 years and is the largest training center in North America. Kripalu translates to “compassion” or one who is compassionate. It is with this legacy of compassion that Joanne teaches and guides her classes. All are welcome in her class – from brand new practitioners to experienced yogis – and all body types can join Joanne in a practice of mindfulness, meditation, and learning.
From athlete to coach, student to teacher, crossing the finish line of a marathon, to doing a headstand in yoga, Joanie has always fed off the energy of “do what you love, love what you do”. Being able to support other’s fitness journeys is an absolute privilege for Joanie. She loves seeing the hesitant look of “what am I doing in a 6am spin class?” to then coming twice a week. Or having a first time yoga student say “I’m not flexible” to finding their breath and moving their bodies into poses they never thought possible. Mornings begin with her daily intention of “GRATITUDE, MOVEMENT & LAUGHTER” and being able to share that in a community makes her day that much better.
Julie Montalto is a graduate of Boston University Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. After spending several years working in the fields of benefits and education, she took her anatomy and physiology education and applied it to becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in 2000. Having taken her first Les Mills BodyPump class in the mid-nineties, she enthusiastically became an instructor in that program.
She truly values the science behind Les Mills programs and the energy, challenge and FUN that comes with the workouts. She encourages her training clients and class participants to achieve their personal best in each and every workout and class. She hopes to inspire participants to appreciate the challenge of the workout and to especially have a great time during class. Taking her training to the next level, she received a certificate in nutritional counseling and guides people in viewing food as fuel and understanding that calories are their energy, not their enemy. She is also a certified Indoor Cycling instructor.
Julie is thrilled to bring her love of fitness to Waverley Oaks Athletic Club and is inspired by the members’ efforts and participation. She is truly honored to be an instructor and is thoroughly enjoying the enthusiasm and passion for fitness that the members have. Her favorite part of the workout is the smiles of the participants as they sweat it out and take their fitness to the next level. Julie has lived in Natick, Massachusetts for over 25 years with her husband, daughter, and beagle.
Kali first came to yoga as a young, hi-tech professional with an interest in exercise who was also looking for a way to handle work-related stress. She enjoyed (and still does!) taking Baptiste-style power yoga/flow classes, which challenge her to become present in her body in a way that settles her wild mind. After years of corporate life culminating in insomnia and burnout, Kali completed Kripalu’s 200-hour yoga teacher training program as a way to reboot her life. Years later—when suffering with chronic pain/illness—she discovered Yoga Therapy and received her 500-hour teaching certification in the tradition of Viniyoga (as taught in the lineage of Chase Bossart/T.K.V. Desikachar).
Kali brings a methodical, yet lighthearted approach to her classes and workshops. She encourages students to stay present and adjust their practice based on feedback from their own mind and body experience. Her yoga-related workshops (including those about Meditation, Yoga for Insomnia, Yoga for Depression & Anxiety, etc.) and series (including “Yoga for Beginners over 40”) have been popular all over the country.
In addition to teaching yoga classes in many different styles and levels of physical difficulty, Kali is also a Nationally-Board Certified Health & Wellness coach who incorporates Yoga philosophy and practices to help busy adults reclaim their sleep, energy, and enthusiasm for life. In early 2023 she self-published her first book, called Mastering Your Sleep Puzzle.
When she’s not teaching or coaching, Kali enjoys writing & reading books, visiting amazing restaurants, and cheering for the Boston Bruins. She’s a long-time resident of Waltham where she lives with her partner and two cats.
Ken started his fitness journey in 1985 when he started running as a way to finally quit smoking. At first, running a block seemed like an impossible goal, but soon running became part of his daily life, with training runs of up to 12 miles several times a week and regular 5 Mile and 10K races. He joined Waverly Oaks Athletic Club to add weight training to his routine, but running remained his primary sport.
Alas, twenty years of running took a toll, and after suffering repeated chronic injuries, Ken had to give up running. When his physical therapist recommended spin classes, Ken wasn’t convinced…how could a group fitness class replace running? Finally he gathered up enough courage to take that first step into the dark, loud, scary room and was hooked! He became a certified instructor shortly after.
Ken works at Education Development Center in Waltham during the day. He has a BA in Music from the University of Delaware, as well as a Master’s in Education from Harvard University. He often travels internationally for work, and says the wildest spin classes he has taken were in Manila, Philippines and Maputo. Ken also sings with Boston Jazz, an a cappella group based in the Boston area.
Kim Clements has worked in the fitness industry for over 30 years as Instructor, Program Director and Studio Owner. During this time, Kim’s focus has gravitated more and more towards focusing on woman’s fitness … for women of all ages! Her classes emphasize strength, balance and alignment borrowed from her training in Stott Pilates, Vini Yoga, Stretch, Strength Training, and Classical Ballet. Kim believes exercise, in any form, is a way of life, and should be approached in the safest and least-stressful way possible. Humor and fun are a big part of Kim’s Zumba classes, … likewise,… focus and control play a big part in her Barre Basics and Body Conditioning classes.
Kim received her classical training at Boston Ballet, and in her spare time, competes around the country as a Ballroom and Latin dancer.
Melissa & Sheila MacDonnell (The MAC ATTACK)
Melissa and Sheila love group fitness. That is probably because they come from a family of 10 children and two very active parents. They would often workout together and that is why they love co-teaching cycle classes! Their favorite part of teaching is picking out fun and motivating songs to ride to and creating challenging terrains ranging from fast sprints to heavy climbs. Cycle is a perfect way to get a vigorous cardiovascular workout and great strength training in a low impact way. It allows athletes of all fitness levels to participate in class and get an amazing work out. As sisters and best friends, they always encourage each other to hit their own individual fitness goals, and they love helping others do the same! Melissa and Sheila also have a lot of fun and build great friendships in the process. If you’ve never tried cycle or their class before – they would love to meet you!
Nicole has been a dancer since she could walk! She found Zumba in 2011 and has not looked back. Since she became licensed in the Latin dance fitness format in 2012, Nicole has found a true passion for exercise and wellness. It ignited her confidence and desire to help others. Now she is licensed to teach a variety of formats, including barre, spin, and Strong Nation, a favorite of hers at the club. While fitness is her passion and side hustle, Nicole is a social media manager with Beth Israel Lahey Health. When she isn’t teaching or working, she is bingeing on Netflix shows or trying out new restaurants!
Her fitness motto? “There are two rules to be successful in my class: Sweat and Smile!”
Nicole von Rekowsky
Literally the last one to be picked in gym class and a complete failure at the 1970s, Presidential Fitness Awards, Nicole started loving exercise in the early ’90s taking Jazzercise and step aerobics classes. Nicole believes that exercise has always gotten her through the inevitable ups and downs of life. She started teaching exercise classes in 2009 because it gave her something uplifting at the lowest point in her life (loss of a parent, divorce, and changing family life). Other than being a mom, fitness instructor is the best job she’s ever had.
Nicole enjoys working with all different age groups and has coached preteen girls to people in their 90s! Because she loves doing all sorts of at-home exercise workouts, she always brings a fresh perspective to her classes. She constantly incorporates the latest findings that exercise is good for both the body and the mind.
Her newest fitness passion is working with people who have Parkinson’s to lessen some of the side effects through certain types of exercise.
Patty has been involved in the fitness industry since she can remember. Trained in ballet and modern dance while growing up, her dance experience evolved to teaching popular group fitness aerobic dance, step, slide, and muscle/sculpt/strength conditioning classes. She expanded her fitness repertoire by training as a cycling instructor when the genre was first introduced in the early 1990s (in the Boston area) and has been hooked ever since. She enjoys matching music to destination rides and invites her fellow cyclists to sing along, and challenge themselves through her interval training classes that include climbs, jumps, flat roads, sprints, and drills to further build upon strength, endurance, and fitness levels and to have fun doing it. Patty would love to meet you and work on reaching and maintaining your fitness goals while enjoying the ride to get there.
Patty holds certifications for group exercise and cycling from the Aerobic Fitness Federation of America and Mad Dogg Athletics (Spinning). Her interests include hiking, walking, running, and travel.
Pia has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years and she won’t stop until she’s in a retirement home and by then, she will probably still be teaching chair aerobics or line dancing. Some of her career highlights are being an IDEA presenter at the National Fitness Conference in Las Vegas, choreographing a flash mob in Florida, and being in a few videos with Denise Austin and Tamilee Webb. Her fitness career has given her the opportunity to be a sports model for Reebok, Cybex, and Rockport. She even danced for Mikhail Gorbachov with her dance company, The Hip Hop Fun Shop, for a special leadership conference.
Pia started working at Waverley Oaks in 2012 and she has never felt more excited to go to work than she does now. It really is a community here and the members are a second family to Pia.
Sandra calls Pilates a FUNCTIONAL FITNESS program. Over time it has expanded from a basic concept of enhancing core muscles into a complete low impact workout. This will improve both the body and mind.
During the past twelve years of teaching, Sandra has expanded her training skills to include the latest techniques including Barre and other Pilates equipment, all of which she is certified to work with. Her workouts are all about precise and controlled movements while maintaining proper alignment. Sandra’s low-impact approach has been proven to sculpt strong, lean bodies, improve muscular imbalance, flexibility and posture, as well as help release tension. What more can you ask for? Plus, your body will thank you.
Sara received her 200-hour certification through CorePower Yoga in Newton, MA. While using yoga as a way to build strength in the body, it also enabled her to find clarity and strength of mind. The balance of the physical and mental practice cultivated in yoga inspire her on and off of the mat. The entwinement of the individual and the community, strength and fluidity, body and mind, encourage her practice and her teaching style. Her classes focus on the unity of breath and movement, flowing through thoughtful sequences aimed to strengthen and deepen each student’s practice. Her teaching style is accessible and a variety of modifications are always offered. Detailed cues are given to ensure proper form and safety.
Shannon grew up dancing competitively and riding her bike everywhere she went. She fell in love with group fitness, yoga, and cycling in college and spent the summer after graduation biking from Rhode Island to California. Despite her degree in engineering, Shannon has a passion for connecting with people through movement, music, and good vibes. She is a certified indoor cycling, yoga, Zumba, and group fitness instructor with over a decade of combined experience teaching at a variety of different studios and gyms. She always strives to find balance in everything in life, especially her fitness routine and offerings. You can almost always find Shannon either singing, dancing, or both while moving throughout her day.
Sinceree has been working in the fitness industry for almost 10 years both as a group exercise instructor as well as a personal trainer. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Exercise Science from Quincy College and is a Certified Personal Trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF). She also holds her Group Fitness Certification through the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA).
Sinceree enjoys working with all ages and fitness levels but particularly enjoys working with those looking to lose weight, improve strength/flexibility/balance, pre and post-natal women as well as those conditioning for basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis and obstacle course racing. In her free time Sinceree enjoys doing all things life has to offer with family and friends from sky diving to reading a book on the beach. Quite simply, Sinceree looks at each day as a chance to live life to the fullest.
Teri’s journey in the fitness world began many years ago during her college years. She was captain of the dance team – think Celtics dancers, but with cassette tapes for music, vinyl knee high boots and red-hot pants! During this time Teri also joined her first health club and before she knew it, she was working there teaching classes and selling memberships.
Zoom ahead to today and while a lot has changed, her love for leading classes has never changed. She is a Fitness Professional with certifications ranging from Pilates to PiYO, Zumba to Body Pump, and Personal Training to Specialization in Corrective Exercise. The industry is always growing, and she is a dedicated, lifelong student. Skiing, biking, swimming, golf, hiking, dancing, and an award-winning actress, these are some of Teri’s passions. However, teaching group exercise remains at the center. She loves encouraging a new member, helping them feel a part of the group and providing the guidance to help them feel successful and wanting to come back. Teri also love the camaraderie of teaching to a member for many years, knowing they keep coming because the class is fun, packed with variety and continual physical challenges. Having great music, a warm smile and being just a little bit silly are Teri’s trademarks.
Tricia is a personable and passionate teacher committed to empowering students with fundamental movement, meditation and breathing practices. These practices are geared towards enhancing function in both the physical body and the mind, and teaching people how to mindfully move their bodies in a safe and more integrated manner. She completed her 200-hour yoga training at Empowered Wellness in Wilmington, DE and her 300-hour program at Down Under School of Yoga in Boston, MA. She is also certified in BALANCED ATHLETE® (levels 1 & 2), a functional fitness training program that helps people mindfully move their bodies. In her free time, she enjoys practicing yoga, cycling, hiking, and being creative in the kitchen.
Vielka is originally from Dominican Republic. She started at Waverley Oaks as a substitute Zumba Instructor in 2017, and shortly thereafter took on a regular class. She is an upbeat and positive person, and her class reflects her personality. What members enjoy most about her style of teaching is her selection of Latin music, and the contagious moves and energy in every class. She puts in a lot of time and effort preparing for each class with a new playlist and choreography, and every Sunday she hosts a real Zumba party that boosts our members’ energy for the rest of the week. Vielka also teaches TABATA every Friday, where you can challenge yourself, get in great shape and feel awesome. Vielka loves interacting with members and the beautiful connection that fulfills her soul and spirit while she does what she loves most – Teaching.