Yoga Instructors

Our Certified Yoga Instructors

Pattie Dwyer

Head Yoga Instructor

Pattie Dwyer completed her 200hour Teacher Training with the Sivananda Vedanta Centre in Kerala, India, and received her 500hour Advanced Sivananda Teacher Training in Rudraprayag, India based in the Himalayas. Pattie is also an a active performing artist, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Lethbridge and a Visual and Performing Arts Diploma from Keyano College. “When Prana pulses through the body, creativity awakens, You Awaken.”

Andrea Jordan

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Andrea Jordán started her Yoga practice in 2001 and she has been sharing her passion for Yoga as a teacher since 2006. Andrea completed her Ashtanga Primary Series teacher training at ‘It’s Yoga’ studio in Puerto Rico, her hometown.
She is also a member of Yoga Alliance (E-RYT 500). Her journey as a Yoga instructor in the Fort McMurray area has been amazing…giving her an incredible opportunity to meet wonderful people in the Yoga community.

Heather Oneill

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Heather O’Neill stumbled upon a hot yoga class five years ago and was intrigued. The sweat, the air, the energy, the flow. All of it was a much needed relief from day to day stressors. In finding yoga, she found the ability to meditate, to embrace the body for both tough physical fitness as well as working on tapping into the simplicity of the present moment in her mind. She began to find what she believes is the true balance of life. Physical exertion with a still mind. The deeper the practice the more balanced the outcome. And eventually, you begin taking your mat practice out of the studio and bringing it into your day to day life.

Becoming a yoga teacher was a natural path in Heather’s journey and she enjoys creating dynamic classes for studios and workshops wherever she goes. Heather is RYT200 certified with Ananda Yoga Studios located in the Greater Toronto Area and has additionally completed workshops run by Sadie Nardini of “Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga” . She is the Head Doula at Higher Health Clinic and the founder of “Yoga Doula”.

Heather completed her prenatal yoga training through Dorothy Guerra’s “Yoga Birth Method” program of Streetsville, Ontario. She loves deepening her knowledge for yoga and expanding her practice through highly choreographed visits to the mat. Join her on the mat weekly for challenging hot hatha, soothing warm mellow flow or meditative and gentle prenatal yoga.

Heather Thomas

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Heather Thomas is a mom, a wife and the joyful owner and operator of Fort McMurray’s Ananda Center for Balance. The Ananda Center is a home-based business specializing in Yoga Instruction, Reiki Energy Healing and CranioSacral Therapy. A South Okanagan Yoga Academy 500hr TTP graduate (RYT500), Heather is an Experienced Yoga Teacher (ERYT500) with the Yoga Alliance in the Unites States and a recognized Teaching Member of the International Yoga Teachers’ Association in Australia (IYTA). Recognized as a Teacher of Teachers, Heather’s yoga credentials and intense passion have allowed her to partner with the South Okanagan Yoga Academy to offer the SOYA Yoga Teacher Training Programs right here in Fort McMurray. In addition to the yoga, as a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and a Reiki Master/Teacher, Heather enjoys a busy therapeutic practice specializing in CranioSacral Therapy and Energy Healing. Heather’s heart and soul are poured into everything she does. She especially enjoys sharing her passion, knowledge and experience with others who can benefit either one on one or in a larger group setting. She always available for workshops and presentations in the areas of self-care, stress reduction, breathing and meditation, yoga and energy work.

Shantal Heskett

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown:Swift Current, SK
Shantal has been instructing group classes for over 20 years and still remains energetic and passionate every minute she is instructing and training her clients. She has held her Fusion Yoga, Sports nutrition, Crossfit and Olympic lifting specialty certifications for over 5 years. Shantal has the ability to blend Hot Fusion Flow classes with incorporating the technical training from the Olympic and Crossfit specialized training techniques. Shantal also holds an Assistant AFLCA Trainer certification.
After receiving her Fusion certificate through Helen Vanderburg, , Shantal immediately took the challenge to blend the hot, humid atmosphere and Zen with Fusion, to create a well balanced, flow class, called Hot Fusion Flow!
Shantal grew up on the farm near Swift Current Saskatchewan, picking rocks and helping her parents around the farm. She has relocated to Fort McMurray late last year to continue sharing her love for educating others on the importance of all aspects of health and fitness to achieve balance, peace and acceptance of one’s body, spirit and mind.
Shantal’s true passion is spending family time with her husband and two sons. The ability to maintain a true balance with her dedication to fitness and family unit is where Shantal finds her true peace.
Shantal’s other passions include competing in bodybuilding competitions, and is currently training for her third Figure competition. Her first two competitions took her to place very well in both FAME and ABBA provincials in 2009. Her dedication to her own training and nutrition allows her to become an even stronger Fusion instructor and Trainer/nutritionist.
“I love to see my clients achieve their own personal balance through mindful awareness in their own training whether its in a Hot Fusion Flow class or being consistent in their own fitness goals.”

Amanda Paulson

Certified Yoga Instructor

Amanda has lived in Fort McMurray over 30 years, and though she was not born here, she has always called it home. She began her journey with yoga in her late teens after a random meeting with a yoga teacher on a bus on a college trip to Jasper. She hung on to her business for two years, with the intention of contacting her one day. After her first trip out of the country and realizing that she needed to be able to undertake a different pace, she began the journey towards calming the mind through the practice of yoga. She started teaching over 15 years ago under the supervision of that teacher, studied philosophy, and took in workshops through the South Okanagan Yoga Association. She finally realized her dream of becoming a certified yoga teacher in 2012, taking a month off of her work as a power engineer to live at the Sivananada Ashram in Val Morin, Quebec.
She believes strongly in the power of breath as the key to the union of the mind, body and spirit. The balance created by yoga is unparalleled.

Jennifer Toutant

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Jennifer is RYT200 and RPYT Certified and was born and raised right here in Fort McMurray. While pregnant with her second child, Jennifer found herself taking weekly prenatal yoga classes at one of the local gyms. She quickly realized the positive influence her weekly practice was having on her life so when she happened upon a prenatal teacher-training program offered by Mamata Yoga in Edmonton, she decided to take it simply so she could compliment the work she did as a birth doula (or so she thought!). It turns out that yoga training program would change her life as it set her on the path to dig deeper into yoga’s teachings.

Investigating her passion a little further, she decided to complete her 200HR yoga teacher training and graduated in May 2014 from the South Okanagan Yoga Academy (SOYA). She has slowly been learning and evolving as a yoga teacher ever since and is excited to share her wisdom and kindness with people who might not necessarily think they’re “able” to practice yoga (much like she thought of herself for a very long time). Jennifer is also one module away from completing her Curvy Yoga Certification and is excited to inspire women (and men) of all shapes and sizes to have the courage to walk into the yoga studio, get on their mat and just breathe…because that’s a great start – and we all gotta start somewhere!

Denise Evans

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Labrador City, NL
Denise and her family made Fort McMurray their home in 2009. She moved from Dartmouth,Nova Scotia where she had previously been employed as a professional firefighter for 22 years. Her Yoga journey began in 2010 when a close friend brought her to a hot yoga class in Whistler,B.C and from that moment on she was hooked.
Her love of yoga continued to grow as she continued her practice at Moksha and in 2013 decided to expand her yoga knowledge by taking her 200HR Teacher Training through SOYA. Under the direction of Mugs MacConnell and Helen Mikuska a spiritual connection began and a new love of yoga was born.
What started off as a physical practice became so much more,connecting body,spirit,and mind. Healing past injuries both physical and emotional,Denise is now passionate about bringing yoga to all who wish to practice. Emphasis on proper alignment ,form before depth,and self-acceptance are key to her practice and classes.

Brooke McMillan

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Fort McMurray, AB
Brooke was born and raised in Fort McMurray and began her yoga journey as a young dancer 13 years ago. She initially fell in love with yoga as a form of expression through movement, and as a chance to pause and turn the attention inward. She deepened her love of yoga by practicing with many gifted teachers while living in Edmonton, AB for five years. In the spring of 2013 she returned home to begin her career as a Foods teacher. Teaching, food and yoga are her passions, and she feels blessed to be able to guide others on their paths to wellness through these three disciplines. Her goal is to create a space for her students to discover and cultivate their own potential.

Brooke became a yoga instructor in June 2014 through the In Balance 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and completed her 500hr Yoga Certification in May 2015. To Brooke, yoga is not only a physical practice, but also the foundation for personal growth, greater compassion, balance, and peace. Every time you step on your mat is an opportunity to discover something about yourself, and Brooke’s classes focus on creating space for self-care through joyful movement and breath.

In the summer of 2017, Brooke completed her 25hr Yoga For All Teacher training specializing in yoga for larger bodies and diverse communities. Brooke is a passionate advocate for diversity and body positivity within the yoga community and media. She teaches classes that are accessible and inclusive to people of all shapes, sizes, abilities, and backgrounds.

Laura Conway

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Marystown, NL
After completing her criminology certificate at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Laura set out west to Alberta in search of a new career and life experiences. Discovering her practice and love for yoga at a studio in south Edmonton it was Fort McMurray where Laura became one with her mat. Looking up to her yoga mentors and instructors with great admiralty she vowed that someday she would be guide and mentor to someone’s practice. After given the opportunity to complete her CYA-RYT 200 with ‘In Balance’ she wasted no time after graduation to eagerly beginning to teach others. Laura dubs herself the unconventional yogi from the east coast: believing in laughing, smiling and never taking yourself too seriously throughout your practice. Practicing watch she teaches with her daily mantra: ‘Life is practice-Practice is life’.

Aurelie Smith

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Laval, QC
Aurelie began her practice in Montreal, you might notice the accent when attending one of her class, and she continued to deepen her love for yoga once she moved to Fort McMurray. She completed her 200 and 500 hour Teacher Training through ‘In Balance’. When pregnant with her son Liam, she completed Prenatal and Postnatal Training through ‘The Yoga Studio College of Canada’ and her Doula Certification via ‘Dona International’. Aurelie teaches and speaks her experience. Aurelie loves the outdoors, traveling, essential oils, Reiki and is a lifelong learner. She enjoys having fun and sharing a few laughs during her classes as she believes in empowering others to find their true self .

Cat Downie

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Halifax, NS
Cat Downie began practicing yoga over 7 years ago in search of a physical challenge and an excuse to practice handstands. But it wasn’t until she travelled to India for a research project that she truly began her yoga journey. In 2010 she completed an Ashtanga Yoga Immersive Practicum and Indian Religion & Philosophy course in the Himalayas of India. The seed was planted and for the next 5 years Cat continued to practice with a focus on Ashtanga yoga and completed her 200hr Yoga Teacher Training with In Balance. Her background in gymnastics and dance influences her practice and her work in anthropology and religious studies continues to inspire a deep appreciation for yogic philosophy and spirituality. She still loves to play upside down but now it is with mindfulness and appreciation of the ancient tradition.


Shari Dale

Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown: Toronto, ON
Shari Dale is a Certified Registered Yoga Instructor at the 500 HR level with specialty training in Hot Yoga, Prenatal and Children’s Yoga; she is an active member of the Yoga Alliance since 2009.
Shari is the owner of Yoga Temple Yoga Teacher Training School right here in Fort McMurray AB. Offering Yoga Teacher Training Certifications for RYT 200 HR, RYT 500 HR as well as specialty 85 HR Prenatal and 95 HR Children’s Yoga Teacher Training Certifications.
Shari is very excited to be a part of the Higher Health team and looks forward to guiding you in your yoga practice.

Dan Hnatiuk

Certified Yoga Instructor

Dan was raised outside of a small town in central Alberta and moved to Fort Mcmurray in 2013 to chase a dream of working for the fire department, never imagining he would play a part in helping to combat the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016.  Since moving to Fort McMurray he has stayed busy with many activities such as training and competing with the Fort McMurray Firefit team travelling around Canada, playing hockey (his first passion in life) and snowboarding whenever he can squeeze it in.  Dan grew up playing hockey (midget AA for 3 years & Junior B for 3 years), but these days you would more likely find Dan in the yoga studio. Dan started doing yoga in 2011, looking for more flexibility in his body. Very rapidly yoga became a bigger part of his life.  Dan recognized the benefits of yoga are greater than just flexibility. In 2015 he took his 200 hour RYT training here in Fort McMurray with Kaitlin Armstrong and Pattie Dwyer and has been teaching Yoga ever since. He believes yoga is a life long practice that presents an ever evolving physical and mental challenge and does so in a mindful and healthy way. This all sounds serious but ultimately Dan believes that having fun and being playful throughout will encourage you to come back to your mat as often as you can.

Samantha Poff

Yoga Studio Manager, Certified Yoga Instructor

Hometown:Lethbridge, Alberta
Samantha moved to Fort McMurray from Victoria, BC to join the Higher Health team in February 2014. After attending Yin Yoga: A Foundation Training & Experiential Intensive with Marla Ericksen at the 2016 Toronto Yoga Conference Samantha realized she wanted to instruct yoga.
During the city wide evacuation in May 2016 Samantha enrolled in teacher training in Victoria, BC. In June 2016, Samantha graduated with her 200 Hour Brahmanda Yoga Teacher Training from the Fernwood Yoga Den. The 5 week intensive training covered Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Chanting, Anatomy and Physiology, Yogic Lifestyle, Ethics, Philosophy, and Teaching Practice with a special focus on teaching Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, and Trauma Sensitive styles of Yoga.
Samantha is passionate about practicing and teaching Vinyasa and Yin Yoga. Her classes will leave you feeling nourished and invigorated. You will often see her practice at the studio in Sivanada, Hot twist & detox, Masala Ashtanga as well as any & all restorative and yin classes.
Samantha recently attended Tina James’ The practice of The Wild 70 hour Ashtanga intensive in October 2017 and is excited to incorporate all that she has learned into her classes.