Meet Our Yoga Instructors
Hello Yogis! My name is Lauren Fox RYT 200 and I am a Naples, FL Native and the Director of Donation Yoga Naples. In 2007, during my freshman year of college, I took my first 90-minute yoga class and fell in love with both the physical and mental aspects of the asana yoga practice almost immediately. Prior to trying yoga I was a competitive dancer and found joy in expressing myself to the combination of movement and music. I found happiness and freedom in the yoga classes that I took because I found mental peace and clarity through movement with breath and music. This was similar to dance, but I could also work on letting go of ego, competitive nature, and self-judgment during the process.
After practicing different yoga styles with different teachers for 6 years I decided to become a teacher myself because I wanted to help others find the physical and mental happiness that I felt. During the training, I was told by my teacher that it was pretty much impossible to make a living as a yoga instructor, but after completing my 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training in 2012, I was determined to teach yoga full-time because it made me so happy. I started teaching at various studios and gyms and I saw just how costly classes were for the Naples community. I always wondered, "Could I afford these classes if I was not a teacher here?" I would ask my friends to come to my class or to join me for a class and constantly was told, "I can't afford to do yoga right now."
Today my teaching intention is to still bring mental and physical joy to every student that I teach, but also to see peace signs over dollar signs. This led me to create Donation Yoga Naples which gives students the freedom to pay what they can afford for their practice but also gives us the opportunity to donate half of all proceeds to local non-profits. I feel so passionate about giving all students the chance to practice their asana and karma yoga together! I create a different intention behind every class that I teach, create new music playlists that match the theme, and give hands-on adjustments/massage to every student on both sides, left and right! I always am still the first to admit, "I don't know what I don't know," but I do know that teaching yoga is a career that brings me joy and that everyone deserves the opportunity to practice yoga!
Lokah Samastah, Namaste ॐ
Hello! My name is Cheryl Pfaus RYT 200, and I began my yoga journey after years of working in healthcare, assisted living, youth faith development and currently, corporate insurance. I was raised with a foundation of serving others, and in every area of work and personal life, my soul has always felt deep joy in connecting with the world around me. I’ve consciously nurtured the awareness that we can all bring a beam of positive light to every place we go. It has become very clear that my life’s purpose is to share that light with as many souls as possible!
In 2016, I met Lauren Fox, creator of Donation Yoga Naples, and was so moved by her mission to bring light and peace to our local community through generous donations and sharing a collective yoga experience. While I had been practicing yoga for about five years, Lauren truly helped me unlock the power of being in the present moment and using my gifts to serve others. Amazing!
Like most, I too have found my life out of balance at times. For me, it was the balance of work/personal time that took the most significant toll on me. To balance those scales, I knew I needed to let go of stress and the idea of perfection and find the present moment each day…so I ran off to Australia in early 2018 to immerse myself in learning about how yoga helps us achieve this by exploring the Eight-Limbs of Yoga. While studying at BodyMindLife in Sydney, Australia, I earned my RYT 200-hour teaching certification. Upon my return, Lauren invited me to start teaching classes with Donation Yoga Naples and am thrilled to be expanding the DYN mission to new locations around SWFL! I hope that when we meet, you feel as encouraged as I did when I first started exploring yoga – and that journey continues!
Shining my light to you!
Susie Birchenough, E-RYT 500, is a yoga teacher that teaches from her heart and vast experience. Susie has a gift to verbalize intricate, minute adjustments that make a profound difference in alignment and sense of feel.
With over 40 years of experience in teaching yoga, Susie Birchenough is certified with Yoga Alliance at the highest level. She honors her teachers, Rodney Yee, Colleen Saidman, Erich Schiffman, Sharon Gannon, and David Life, and holds immense gratitude for the pearls she has learned from these teachers and many others.
Her style of yoga is diverse; each class will be different, yet is comfortable for all levels.
She teaches with clarity, lightness, and a sense of fun.
Besides yoga, Susie is certified in Pilates and Barre.
Her passions are movement, meditation, living life to the fullest, travel, nature, and clean water.