Our Staff 2020-03-10T09:25:44+00:00

The American Yoga Academy Staff

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Claire E. Diab
Claire E. DiabFounder and Primary Lead Educator

Claire, founder of the American Yoga Academy, is an internationally renowned Yoga Therapist, Health and Wellness Expert, Fitness Specialist and Inspirational Speaker with over 25 years of experience. She is a Chopra Master Educator and Vedic Master and serves on the Advisory Board at the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California. Claire teaches throughout the United States and internationally with Deepak Chopra.

Claire is a Professor of Asian Studies at Seton Hall University teaching one of the most popular courses on campus: Zen and Yoga. Claire has written yoga manuals and workbooks on Health and Wellness and has produced, directed and starred in 7 Yoga DVDs. Her lectures are inspiring, life-transforming, fun, and informative!

Shannon Reilly
Shannon ReillySchool Director

Shannon has been practicing, studying, and living yoga for over 10 years. She is The American Yoga Academy School Director and also a Lead Educator in the topics of Children’s Yoga, the Philosophy of Yoga, and the History of Yoga. A registered member of Yoga Alliance, Shannon received her 200 Hour training in Ashtanga Yoga from Ajarya Yoga Academy in Rishikesh, India, Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga Certificate from Bliss Paddle Co in Laguna Beach, California, Usui Reiki Certification from Om Shanti Belize, Belize, and completed with honors the 500 Hour Yoga and Meditation Teacher Certification from The American Yoga Academy. Shannon graduated Cum Laude from Seton Hall University with a Bachelors Degree in Anthropology. Her passion is teaching people of all ages and backgrounds the disciplined practice of yoga and meditation on and off the mat will benefit your physical, mental, emotional, social, athletic and academic life.

Justyna Dziekanska
Justyna DziekanskaStudio Manager and Instructor

Justyna is a Lead Educator at The American Yoga Academy. She was certified by The American Yoga Academy in the 200 Hour and her 500 Hour programs. Born in Poland, a former Gymnast and Judge for the National Gymnast Association in Poland. She has been living in the United States for the past 15 years and is proud mother of three. She specializes in Partner Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Private Yoga Lessons, and Meditation. Her classes are fun and informative!

MaryAnn Gebhardt
MaryAnn GebhardtInstructor and Workshop Presenter
Maryann has been studying yoga for 25 years. She is a Lead Educator for the Yoga Teacher Training. A registered member of the Yoga Alliance, Mary Ann received her training from The American Yoga Academy, The Chopra Center for Well-Being, Mary Barnes Pre-Natal Yoga for Two, Sarah Tomlinson “The Ancient Ayurveda Yoga Series at The Yoga Ayurveda Institute, Sue Dumais Yoga for Fertility. She also holds a certification in Primordial Sound Meditation.

Mary Ann’s deep respect for yoga comes in part from her experience working in hematology and open-heart surgery as a Medical Technologist, where she witnessed first-hand the powerful connection between mind and body in the healing process. Her classes are a blend of movements that encourage strength, balance and relaxation.

Grant Clark
Grant ClarkAnatomy and Physiology Instructor

After I developed back problems at a young age playing tennis and other sports, I sought help and was introduced to the world of corrective and connective fitness. After relieving myself of back pain, I became a certified personal trainer and yoga instructor to help and share with others what I learned from my experience. My qualifications include an American Council of Exercise (ACE) personal trainer certification, an American Yoga Academy 500-hour Yoga Alliance teacher certification and a Functional Movement Screen certification from physical therapist Gray Cook. I am also Yoga Tune-Up® certified and include their techniques in all of my classes.

Jo Marie Steinel
Jo Marie SteinelInstructor and Workshop Presenter

Jo Marie grew up in a world of competitive sports and dance. She began teaching fitness classes while she was in college. Her mission is to provide an encouraging environment where students can safely push themselves to their own personal edge. Jo completed her first Barre Training in 2012 and the Intensity Training Program in 2018. She received her 200 hour Meditation and Yoga Teacher Training from The American Yoga Academy in 2016 and the 500 Hour Training Certificate from The American Yoga Academy in 2019.

Francine Ling
Francine LingInstructor and Workshop Presenter

Francine Ling is one of The American Yoga Academy Lead Educators. She specializes in Meditation and Mindfulness. She received both her 200 Hour and 500 Hour Certificates from The American Yoga Academy.