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6840 S. Macadam Ave. Portland, OR 97219

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Our Team

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JULIE GUDMESTAD, PT, E-RYT 500, Certified Yoga Therapist

Founder, Yoga Instructor

Julie has devoted her career of 40+ years to helping people ease pain and live their best lives through the integration of physical therapy and yoga. She founded and directed Gudmestad Yoga, making yoga classes and individual therapy sessions available to people of all ages and abilities. The studio has now become Paxson Yoga Center, and Julie continues to be involved by teaching classes and guiding the ongoing evolution of the studio.

Julie teaches intermediate level classes; levels 3-4, 4 and 5 and travels across the US and internationally teaching workshops. She also teaches the Anatomy Awareness in Asana week-long workshop in Portland each August.

It all began when Julie started taking yoga in high school, back in the 1960’s. She began teaching a class while studying at Reed College, and went on to achieve Iyengar certification in 1988. As her students reported that yoga helped resolve various pain problems, Julie enrolled in physical therapy school, and became licensed in 1977. Now mostly retired from seeing patients, her career included work with orthopedic and sports injuries, as well as chronic pain and stress-related problems.

Julie has shared her knowledge in workshops throughout the US, Canada, and Europe, as well as writing the “Anatomy of a Yogi” column for Yoga Journal magazine for several years. She has taught her methods and healing philosophy in countless teacher trainings, and every year teaches a 5-day Anatomy Awareness in Asana intensive here in Portland, attended by teachers and students alike.

Committed to making the healing benefits of yoga accessible to all, Julie’s philosophy is deeply embedded in the studio classes. If a class moves too quickly, students may get frustrated and quit without ever receiving the healing benefits of practice. She prefers that students take progressive steps, starting with gentle poses in a beginning class. It is Julie’s belief that the ability to slow down and stay present is an important aspect of healing, and that yoga encourages a mindful state that can heal people emotionally and spiritually, as well as physically.

Beth Paxson

BETH PAXSON, LMT, E-RYT 500

Owner, Yoga Instructor

Beth is a licensed massage therapist with a focus in Western structure/function and Eastern movement arts. A committed athlete, Beth has studied Iyengar yoga with Julie Gudmestad since the late 1990s, learning how to integrate yoga into her athletic training program.

Beth teaches all levels of classes including the Athletes classes. Her massage training and a love of anatomy shine through her teaching.

Beth was first introduced to Julie in 1997 when she began experiencing pain in her feet. As an athlete, Beth had always incorporated stretching into her training regimen, but had never practiced yoga. After Julie helped Beth successfully overcome her injury, Beth wanted to become more involved in the practice of yoga. She began taking classes with Julie, subsequently joining Julie’s teaching program as a way to take her yoga practice to a deeper level.

A former Olympic Nordic skier with a passion for movement, athletics and the outdoors, Beth enjoys coaching and teaching technical skills in her sport whenever the opportunity arises. Currently an avid runner, cyclist and skier, Beth blends her athletic/artistic background and knowledge of anatomy, kinesiology and bodywork with her yoga teaching, helping her students to develop and integrate keen body awareness into their daily lives and activities.

Hope Fyfield

HOPE FYFIELD, PT

Yoga Instructor

Hope took her first yoga class ever from Julie in 1979, and was immediately inspired and intrigued. She began working toward a physical therapy degree not long after, attaining that goal in 1985. She worked at a skilled nursing facility for years. This has made her good with fragile, aging populations.

Hope teaches levels 1, 2 and 3 classes. She is a wonderful, supportive teacher, especially good with beginners. She teaches private sessions to those who need to customize practice or learn to modify poses.

Hope has been teaching yoga since 1988 with Julie’s gentle but firm encouragement. Other teachers that have inspired and instructed Hope include John Schumacher and Judith Lasater. She has also assisted Julie at various yoga workshops, including the well-known “Anatomy in Asana” series, and at the Yoga Journal Convention in Estes Park, CO.

Hope is married and has three daughters and 2 grandchildren. An understanding of the demands of work and family inform her teaching style, which is both nurturing and challenging. Hope especially enjoys and appreciates the way yoga balances apparent opposites, simultaneously providing playful seriousness, radiant grounding and a calm joy.

Stuart Stark

STUART STARK, PT

Yoga Instructor

Stuart’s association with Julie Gudmestad began when he was referred to her for physical therapy following an injury. He quickly learned that her yoga-based exercise approach to physical therapy (PT) was not only successful to his own healing, but also inspirational in his physical therapy career.

Stuart teaches levels 2, 3 and 3-4 classes. He is a great story teller and shares his sense of humor along with his deep knowledge of anatomy with his students.

In 1990, shortly after recovering from his back injury, Stuart became a yoga student of Julie’s as well as a co-worker, incorporating yoga into his private physical therapy practice. His specialties include sports-related injuries, low back and neck problems as well as knee and shoulder problems, both acute/post-surgical and chronic.

Stuart graduated from physical therapy school in the Netherlands in 1979, and began teaching yoga at Gudmestad Yoga Studio in 1993. His energetic nature, keen eye, and New York sense of humor not only keep his students entertained while working on perfecting their poses, but eager to learn more.

An avid European traveler, much to his students’ delight, Stuart has led an annual (since 2006) weeklong yoga retreat to Tuscany.

To find out more about Stuart’s Physical Therapy practice and to schedule an appointment go to www.stuartstarkpt.com.

Betsy Allen

BETSY ALLEN, PT

Yoga Instructor

Betsy has been devoted to yoga since taking her first yoga class at Lewis & Clark College in 1971. She graduated from the University of New Mexico Physical Therapy program in 1987, writing her thesis on “Integrating Yoga with Traditional Physical Therapy.” She still enjoys promoting the benefits of yoga thirty plus years later.

Betsy is subbing for us now, inspiring and educating her students with her love of the anatomy of the body, enhancing their knowledge about the body and their practice.

Betsy inspires students to “make friends with your body” – respect it and find comfort, strength and ease living in it. There is an emphasis on the importance of breath to physical, emotional and spiritual health. She regularly teaches “Healthy Breathing” workshops to both students and yoga teachers. She also enjoys teaching workshops such as Yoga for: insomnia, headaches, gardeners, dragon boaters, the overly flexible, for healthy shoulders, and strong core. Betsy was the readers choice for “Best Yoga Teacher for Beginners” in the Portland area when the Oregonian/Oregon Live.com did polling in 2012.

Betsy’s Physical Therapy practice specializes in the treatment of chronic pain. She develops and monitors individualized home exercise programs for her patients. To a great extent they are based on the asana/breathing of yoga. She also incorporates the teachings of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, the use of kinesiotape, foam rollers, Theraband and physioballs into her treatment approach. As a trained biofeedback therapist, she teaches stress/anxiety management and last, but not least, she uses manual therapy – specifically craniosacral, myofascial and trigger point therapy to help her patients find comfort and relief from symptoms.

To find out more about Betsy’s Physical Therapy practice and to schedule an appointment go to www.betsyallenpt.com.

DeeAnn Dougherty

DEEANN DOUGHERTY, PT, OCS, CMPT

Yoga Instructor

DeeAnn is a Physical Therapist. She began studying yoga with Julie in 1989, and teaching at Gudmestad Yoga in 2000. The flexibility, strength and balance work in yoga has helped her achieve her athletic goals, as well as helping her manage the inevitable changes that occur as an athlete ages. She wishes to impart to her students a greater sense of body awareness, assisting them in reaching their personal goals, athletic or otherwise.

DeeAnn teaches a level 2 class that would also be considered as an Athlete’s 1-2 class. Her teaching is rich with her knowledge of anatomy. She is methodical, measured and supportive. She shares her wisdom with her students.

DeeAnn grew up in Madison, Wisconsin, where at age 13 she began her athletic career as a competitive distance runner. She received her BS degree in Physical Therapy from Mankato State University, and a certificate in Physical Therapy (PT) from the Mayo School of Health-Related Sciences in 1981. As an Orthopedic Specialist certified by the American Physical Therapy Association and a Certified Manual Physical Therapist through the North American Institute of Manual Therapy, DeeAnn currently specializes in the biomechanical evaluation and treatment of distance runners. She is also a USA Track & Field Level II Long Distance Running Coach, with a coaching certification from the Road Runners Club of America.

Laila Deardorff

LAILA DEARDORFF, MSPT, Iyengar Certified

Yoga Instructor

Laila believes that Iyengar yoga with its roots in alignment, coupled with yoga’s emphasis on breath work and relaxation, truly allows the body, mind and soul to transform. Her Physical Therapy training becomes evident in her teaching and as a bonus students learn more about their anatomy.

Laila teaches levels 2, 3, 3-4 and 4 classes. Her approach is athletic yet, supportive, encouraging students to be both strong and flexible. Her sequencing is very well thought-out.

Laila was guided to Julie Gudmestad while rehabilitating a chronic low back injury. After spending two years mentoring with Julie, Laila adopted Julie’s approach to healing by integrating this style of yoga with her physical therapy. Laila has been teaching yoga since 2002. Wanting to learn more she became a Certified Iyengar Instructor in 2014. With a teaching style that is relaxed and supportive, Laila merges her knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics with specific yoga poses, creating an effective atmosphere for change and healing.

Laila received her Master’s degree in physical therapy from Pacific University in 1998. Prior to this career change, Laila enjoyed all the stresses and postural faults a CPA in corporate America could experience. A former competitive U of O swimmer, Laila also enjoys biking, skiing, rock climbing, and just being in the great outdoors. She is married to a Norwegian and has a grown daughter. She travels annually to Norway to visit her family.

To find out more about Laila’s Physical Therapy practice and to schedule an appointment go to www.lailadeardorff.com.

Rachel Lundberg

RACHEL LUNDBERG, E-RYT 500, YACEP

Yoga Instructor

Originally trained as a dancer, Rachel is passionate about body movement in all forms and brings that love of movement into her teaching. She took her first yoga class after the birth of her third child and instantly fell in love. Her yoga training has focused extensively on proper alignment, detailed instruction, anatomy, and yoga therapeutics.

Rachel teaches levels 2 and 3 at Paxson Yoga Center and is the creator of the Lundberg Yoga Teacher Training (200 and 300 hour RYS), an alignment-based Yoga Alliance teacher training. Her teaching is clear, concise, and playful. Rachel is truly in her happy place when she is teaching and interacting with her students.

Rachel feels fortunate to have studied yoga with wonderful teachers such as Julie Gudmestad, Carolyn Belko, Rebecca Learner, and John Schumacher, as well as her very first teacher and inspiration, Carlyn Sikes. She also feels very grateful to have studied yoga in Bangalore India with Yana Lewis, a student of BKS Iyengar and creator of the Bangalore Ballet. It was in Bangalore that Rachel was able to meet BKS Iyengar, a definite highlight in her yogic journey.

Rachel has an E-RYT 500 designation with the Yoga Alliance. She is also the creator of the Lundberg Yoga Teacher Training Program which has been in operation since 2015. She offers yearly training programs at the 200 and 300 hour levels and Lundberg Yoga School carries the RYS designation with the Yoga Alliance. For more information about her teacher training and online offerings go to www.lundbergyoga.com.

Caroline Klug

CAROLINE KLUG, PTA, RYT 200

Yoga Instructor

Caroline took her first yoga class in Eugene in 1991 and remembers holding Virabhadrasana II for what seemed like a very long time while the morning sun streamed in through high windows of a beautiful old gymnasium. And she was hooked. After moving to Portland in the late ‘90s, she signed up for a Level I class at Gudmestad Yoga on the recommendation of a friend. She is grateful to have been taught by almost all the teachers at Gudmestad Yoga over the years.

Caroline teaches level 1 and 3 classes at this time. She strives to work her knowledge of the body and enthusiasm for body mechanics seamlessly into her teaching.

Though Caroline explored yoga at other studios, she always returned to Gudmestad for the consistent focus on anatomy and alignment, and found herself developing a love of kinesiology – the study of the mechanics of body movements. This inspired her to leave a career in software in 2008 and enroll in a two year Physical Therapist Assistant program. Since graduating in 2010, Caroline has worked in an outpatient physical therapy clinic where she gets to spend her days teaching patients about body mechanics and safe movement as they work to get back to doing the things they love.

In 2017 she took the next step on her yoga journey and completed the 200-hour teacher training through Lundberg Yoga. After graduating, Caroline spent a year teaching Yoga Basics at the physical therapy clinic where she works and was delighted to join the yoga teaching staff at Gudmestad in the Spring of 2019.

Originally from Wisconsin, Caroline spent much of her childhood outside – tending the gardens and feeding animals on their small farm, skiing in the winter, sailing in the summer, and identifying plants and birds year round with her bird watching botanist (and now yoga-practicing octogenarian) mother. Caroline’s current pastimes include trail running/hiking/walking with frequent stops to smell the flowers and take pictures of mushrooms/trees/ferns, stand-up paddle boarding (and SUP yoga!), kayaking, getting creative with beads, yarn, or fabric, gardening, or curling up with tea and a good book.

Denise Jones

DENISE JONES, RYT 500

Yoga Instructor

Denise’s yoga practice began in Berkeley, CA at a climbing gym. She had to search for a while before finding Gudmestad Yoga, and once here, she knew she was “home.” When Denise started her first teacher training program, she just wanted the knowledge for her personal yoga practice. But she went on to earn her 200-hour teaching certification in 2018 at the Lundberg Yoga School teacher training program, and continued there to receive her 300-hour and Alignment Based Yoga certifications in 2020.

Her teaching experience includes volunteering with Living Yoga to teach trauma-informed yoga, which is just one of the ways she enjoys giving back to the community. She has also taught at her local gym, an assisted living unit, and private clients. Denise began teaching at Paxson Yoga Center in Fall 2020, after several months of internship here.

Denise shares her enthusiasm for learning with her students, along with her interest in alignment which she expresses with clear instructions. She cares deeply about the experience of each of her students, which is reflected in her warm and inviting teaching style. She believes everyone can do yoga, and is passionate about creating classes that are accessible to students with a variety of abilities.

When Denise isn’t practicing yoga or studying anatomy you might find her hiking, gardening, snowshoeing, biking with her husband, or spending time with family and friends. She loves getaways to the coast as well as international travel. That being said, a quiet pizza-and-movie night is her idea of a perfect way to end a busy week.

Christina Bernunzio

CHRISTINA BERNUNZIO, CPT, RYT 500

Yoga Instructor

Christina is a native Portlander and has been practicing yoga for 10 years.  Upon arriving in her first class at Gudmestad Yoga with Beth Paxson, she knew she had found the right place to study yoga, and she’s been a regular student here for since 2013. Christina has been practicing in Julie’s Level V class since 2016.

She graduated from the 500-Hour Lundberg Yoga teacher training program in 2020. Christina sees alignment-based yoga as the beautiful practice of maintaining the architecture of the body. Her teaching style is light and straightforward, and incorporates the technical and alignment-based style found at PYC. With a background as a coach and trainer, Christina values the system set in place by the teachers in the Paxson Yoga community, which allows students to continue to grow and develop safely at their own pace.

Christina started teaching at PYC in Fall Term 2020, where she wants to help empower students to manage their bodies with optimism and discipline.

Amelia Michaels

AMELIA MICHAELS

Office Manager

Amelia is the friendly face at the front desk. She is passionate about creating a space for students to practice, learn, and enjoy the many benefits of yoga.

Amelia took her first yoga class at age 14 and was hooked. A lifelong dancer, she first came to yoga as just another outlet for movement, but she has since discovered the endless benefits for her physical and mental health.

When not at the studio, she can be found hiking, reading, or drinking tea and doing jigsaw puzzles.

Amanda Clark

AMANDA CLARK

Office Assistant and Social Media Coordinator

Amanda loves the idea of yoga for all bodies and is excited to join Paxson Yoga Center in her role as office assistant and social media coordinator. In that position, she will help publicize and support PYC’s mission to make yoga more accessible to all. She first discovered yoga for fitness, but quickly came to enjoy how it made her feel more connected and in-tune with her body.

When not at the studio, she can usually be found onstage or behind-the-scenes in the theatre, seeking a new hike to explore, or curled up in front of the fireplace with a great book.