Meet Our Team
Eliza is the Co-Founder and Director of FlyDog Yoga. She found yoga, initially, as a cross trainer for her post collegiate athletics but it was not until her husband deployed for a year in 2004 that yoga figuratively and literally showed her that she could hold herself up on her own. Eliza wants every student to feel that same possibility on and off of their mat as well.
Eliza has been teaching for over 13 years, she is an E-RYT- 500 Teacher as well as a 1200-hour, Tier 3 Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher and graduate of Baptiste Fit to Lead Training Program. Eliza leads transformational 200 and 300-hour Yoga Teacher Trainings, Youth Resiliency Trainings, personal empowerment programs, workshops as well as regular classes. Anyone who has taken class with Eliza has felt her passion for what the practice of yoga can give to us all- clarity, empowerment and inspiration to lead our best life. She speaks on relatable life challenges that apply in all aspects of our life. She allows her students to feel welcome, no matter their experience or ability level, but she will ask you to fully show up and embrace what you CAN do. In building FlyDog Yoga, Eliza wants her students to find the studio as a second home, a place where someone can find roots to grow wings.
In 2017, Eliza was the winner of the Tory Burch Fellowship for Small Business Women Entrepreneurs along with 9 other Fellows. She won a grant and the opportunity to take part in a week long event in NYC at Tory Burch Headquarters which culminated in a pitch competition with Tory Burch, investors and magazine editors. This pivotal event sparked a desire to inspire other female entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams. As a former military spouse, Eliza is also also passionate about helping support other military spouses cultivate their talents has worked with the MilSpo (Military Spouse) Project in conferences and speaking engagements. In 2019 Eliza collaborated with 48 other wellness leaders in writing Practice: Wisdom of the Downward Dog which shares vulnerable stories, wisdom and reflections on how yoga and meditation are portals into deeper evolution of their best self. Eliza has also launched the Fenom Podcast to spotlight stories and journeys of phenomenal woman living their best life.
Eliza’s commitment to service is evident beyond her immediate yoga community and includes international, national and local non-profits such as Africa Yoga Project, Veterans Yoga Project, VETOGA, and various local military and first responder organizations.
You can catch Eliza in her downtime with her husband Brad trying to keep up with their 4 children: Ava, Ethan, Cara and Dylan and their Great Dane, Baby.
Brad discovered yoga through his wife, Eliza. Despite her repeated efforts to have him make yoga part of his regular routine, he initially only made the occasional appearance in her classes to support her and her career as a yoga teacher. It wasn’t until injuries sustained in his Army career and his continued participation in the sport of Rugby began to catch up with him that Brad finally started to listen to Eliza and began practicing yoga 3-4 times per week. The physical benefits of yoga were felt almost immediately and as his practice continued, he found his general demeanor and temperament were affected in a positive way as well. Brad is committed to sharing the positive physical and mental benefits of a regular yoga practice with service members, veterans, and first-responders in the local community.
Brad was a member of the first VETOGA 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training, specifically designed to certify current and former military service members as Yoga Teachers. He has also completed Mindful Resilience for Trauma Recovery with the Veterans Yoga Project and is their regional director for Virginia. Additionally, Brad has attended Baptiste Level 1 & 2 training and Baptiste Art of Assisting.
Brad is a US Army Special Forces officer who served ten years on active duty and continues to serve in the Army National Guard.
Ashley Rydeen was first introduced to yoga by her sister and quickly fell in love with the practice. She was drawn to the mindful, healing spirit of yoga while always maintaining a “Let’s play!” attitude. She graduated from from FlyDog Yoga’s 200 hour Power Vinyasa Program in 2017 studying under Eliza Whiteman and MaryAnn McIvor. Her flows encourage students to focus on cultivating strength, stability and balance while bringing awareness to the breath and alignment.
Ashley teaches vinyasa and Yin to Flow.
Caroline started practicing yoga and barre in 2013 in an effort to bring more reflection and variety to her exercise routine, and has loved finding new challenges in both ever since. Since joining the FlyDog family in 2017, she has been delighted to be involved in this community’s growth on and off the mat! She completed 200 Hour YTT under Eliza Whiteman in 2019 and in addition to yoga, she also teaches Barre & Power Sculpt. Caroline is enthusiastic about engaging her classes in a challenging variety of sequences intentionally selected to elicit thoughtful movement. Expect a playful, fresh approach and the opportunity to intuitively build on your alignment in each class!
Caroline teaches vinyasa, barre, and power sculpt.
Emily has been practicing yoga for over ten years. Initially, she viewed yoga as merely a complement to her ballet training, maintaining a somewhat inconsistent practice until finding FlyDog in 2017. At the time, she was in grad school at UVA and yoga became an outlet for the stresses that accompany student life, allowing her to slow down, become more present, and focus. Inspired to empower others, as she has been, to do more than they ever imagined possible on their mats, she completed FlyDog Yoga’s 200 hour Power Vinyasa teacher training in March 2019, studying under Eliza Whiteman. Emily’s flows focus on overall strength and alignment, with an emphasis on linking breath with movement.
Emily teaches vinyasa and barre classes.
Kelsey Gillan has been practicing yoga since 2007. She is a graduate of James Madison University, where she studied Public Health which gave her the foundation to build a life dedicated to holistic living. As her practice rooted, Kelsey recognized an opportunity and desire to expand her health degree by teaching yoga. Kelsey studied under Eliza Whiteman and graduated from Fly Dog’s 200 hr Teacher Training in February of 2015. Kelsey blends her health knowledge and personal experiences to develop yoga classes accessible for all levels. Kelsey teaches yin and vinyasa to the rhythm of music, with the use of props, gentle assists, and personal attention. She hopes to inspire her students’ growth in their yoga journey, and to find courage that transpires off the mat.
Lucy found yoga in high school as a way to maintain flexibility with her ballet practice and dancing for theatre. When she found aerial at FlyDog in 2017, she loved the tricks in class and the benefits she found from practicing aerial along side her traditional mat practice. She jumped at the opportunity for teacher training in October 2017. She strives to create a playful class for her students. You can expect a great work and a playlist that includes Fleetwood Mac and Cat Stevens in her classes!
Adam had been practicing yoga for three years before deciding to take FlyDog Yoga’s 200 hr Power Vinyasa Teacher Training. He is an RYT 200 with the Yoga Alliance. Adam finds motivation in his fellow students of yoga. Some of Adam’s inspirations include Baron Baptiste, Eliza Whiteman, Mary Ann Mclvor, and Patrick Gibson. Adam teaches heated Power Vinyasa with fast paced transitions and strength building static postures.
Caroline took her first barre class 5 years ago and was hooked immediately! The hour flew by, every class was incredibly challenging and it was the most effective, low-impact exercise she’d ever tried! As a practicing yogi, too, she found the two exercises complimented one another well. Caroline uses her strength and self-discipline to challenge, inspire, and invite curiosity into her students. Expect a tough, but fun class.
Courtney Cohen began practicing yoga over 15 years ago to prevent and recover from injuries related to running and lifting weights. She quickly realized that not only her body, but also her mind craved yoga. In 2015, Courtney completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification with Virginia Gallagher at Hot Asana in North Carolina. In 2018, she completed her yin yoga teacher training with FlyDog Yoga. In 2019, she completed the Baptiste Assisting Course hosted by FlyDog. She has attended workshops with Rolf Gates, Bryan Kest, and Jason Crandell. Through teaching, Courtney hopes to guide students through a challenging yet inspiring class that allows each person to deepen their physical practice and their mental, emotional, and spiritual resilience.
Courtney teaches heated vinyasa and yin yoga classes. As an active duty Army officer, Courtney also teaches members of the military, veteran, and first responder community as part of FlyDog’s Honor Our Heroes program.
Courtney graduated from FlyDog Yoga 200-Hour Vinyasa Teacher Training in July of 2016.
Elizabeth first found yoga in a tiny room attached to a children’s gym in Lynchburg, VA. She was instantly hooked, but it wasn’t until moving to Charlottesville that she found a community of yogis where her study of yoga could flourish. She received her 200hr certification in 2016 and has been teaching ever since. Elizabeth has also completed 27 hours of Thai Yoga Massage training and incorporates many of these techniques into her hands-on assists during class. Elizabeth’s mantra: “May you be happy, healthy & strong!”
Yoga has always intrigued Heidi, but she let it intimidate her for many years. DVD’s, “church basement” classes and pre-natal yoga were low-pressure ways to try it out, until a high-pressure career sent her searching for work-life balance. The athletic and inspiring Vinyasa classes at FlyDog became her go-to outlet for twisting out stress, sweating out toxicity and creating space for inner calm. Heidi loved joining a room full of yoga practitioners at different levels, learning from the advanced folks and feeling welcome as a newbie.
Heidi completed her 200 hour Power Vinyasa teacher training in 2019 under Eliza Whiteman. She believes yoga is for everyone, no matter their athleticism, flexibility or level of experience.
She knows you come to FlyDog to sweat (!) so expect inspiring music and energetic sequencing in her classes.
Ingrid began practicing yoga at FlyDog in 2015 and graduated from FlyDog’s 200 hour Power Vinyasa training in 2018. She wholeheartedly believes in the energizing, transformative and restorative power of yoga, whether in a challenging Power Vinyasa class or a calm Yin flow. Ingrid encourages her students to appreciate their bodies and all that they can do wherever they are in their practice. She aspires to create an environment free of self-criticism and a place where students can find joy, strength, equanimity and possibility. With music playlists to complement the sequences, Ingrid’s classes will make you sweat, smile and breathe deeply. Ingrid teaches Power Vinyasa and Flow to Yin.
Jennifer found her passion for yoga as an undergraduate student at James Madison University. What started as a primarily asana practice became a pathway to healing and self love. She practiced under mentors Keala Mason and Amanda Saccone while working for JMU’s group fitness program. Her other inspirations include Eliza Whiteman, Mary Ann McIvor, Kathryn Budig and Amy Ippoliti. She graduated from Fly Dog Yoga’s 200 hour training in 2016. Inspired by creative sequencing and humor in her practice, expect to sweat, laugh, and work hard in Jennifer’s vinyasa and power classes.
Jessica is a 200-hr RYT with Yoga Alliance. She completed her 200-hr training in Power Vinyasa Yoga with Flydog Yoga and Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Bernie Clark and Diana Batts with Semperviva Yoga in 2018. She has taught classes in hatha, vinyasa, yin, and children’s yoga since 2015. Jessica is also a full-time public school teacher with 15 years of experience at the elementary level.
Lisa is a Charlottesville native who rediscovered her love for yoga both on the mat and in the air when a friend convinced her to “try” an aerial yoga class at FlyDog with Eliza Whiteman. She was immediately drawn to the balance of both fun and strength in the hammock. The incredible support of the FlyDog community inspired Lisa to complete her certification in Aerial Yoga training at FlyDog in 2017. Lisa’s classes will focus on building strength and confidence while still having fun and feeling like you are playing in the air.
A Virginia-born girl who went off to see the world, Lorraine Sanders began practicing yoga in the early 2000s. She studied Ashtanga at Stanford University before practicing Forrest Yoga at San Francisco’s Yoga Tree, Power Yoga at Red Dragon and other yoga formats at Bay Area studios during her 16 years on the West Coast. Despite her interest in yoga, practicing felt “boring,” her mind wandered. She preferred high-impact, bootcamp-style workouts instead. It wasn’t until a back injury and subsequent surgery unexpectedly and suddenly changed her ability to exercise, as well as how she could move in day-to-day life, that she grudgingly accepted yoga as a regular practice. She truly fell in love with Power Yoga while practicing at FlyDog after moving to Charlottesville in 2016. Lorraine completed 200-hour Power Vinyasa Training at FlyDog during the summer of 2018, the Baptiste Institute Art of Assisting at Baptiste Power Yoga Boston and the Baptiste Power Yoga Teacher Course at FlyDog in October 2019. During a class with Lorraine, you can expect to move, sweat, laugh (full disclaimer: it helps if you get her sense of humor, which might be an acquired taste) and have fun with the practice while exploring new ways to build the mental and physical strength it takes to recover, heal and move forward on the mat and in the world.
Mary Shea W.
Positive energy, enthusiastic encouragement and an abundant love of life are the foundations of Mary Shea’s strength-building power sculpt classes. Influenced by each of FlyDog’s powerful teachers, Mary Shea graduated from FlyDog’s Power Sculpt teacher training in 2018 and FlyDog’s 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2016. During her Sculpt classes, Mary Shea brings her love of leaving comfort zones, creating strength-based movement, and building community through connection and self-love. She focuses on simple, yet challenging and dynamic movements to build strength, stability and focus. Expect a lot of pushups, squat variations, planks, burpees, and of course, sweat! Bring your heart, get ready for some sweet beats, and you’ll definitely leave with something to smile about.
Najwa had been practicing yoga on and off for years until she took a class at FlyDog Yoga Summer of 2018. Najwa was in need of a mental and physical practice that could help her manage her stress and that is what she found in her first Power Vinyasa class with Eliza Whiteman. Najwa completed her 200 hour Power Vinyasa teacher training with FlyDog Yoga in 2019 as well as Unstoppable Youth and 20 hour Yin teacher training. Off the mat, Najwa is a school counselor who incorporates yoga and mindfulness into her counseling lessons for school-aged children. Najwa guides her classes to connect to a deeper self by embracing the discomfort with breath and movement. Come practice with Najwa to embrace stillness, ease and self-compassion.
Rachael discovered the mental and physical benefits of yoga in 2002 and has been practicing ever since. After welcoming her daughter Penelope in 2016, Rachael needed a practice that would challenge her and help her reclaim her postpartum body. She attended her first PowerSculpt class at FlyDog in December 2016, and she was hooked. After 18 months of practicing at FlyDog, Rachael took the PowerSculpt Teacher Training in April 2018 and finally fulfilled her lifelong goal of adding this element of fitness and teaching to her life.
Rachael has lived in Charlottesville since 2004. Besides practicing and teaching at FlyDog, she loves spending time with her husband, daughter, and their hound-mix pup Harry. Rachael also works part-time as an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields, is the communications coordinator for Hospice of the Piedmont, and volunteers regularly for local nonprofits.