Kelly Wulf is Comeback Yoga’s Program Director. Her job entails doing a lot of everything to keep a fledgling non-profit moving forward with focus, enthusiasm, energy and attention. Kelly is a Colorado native with deep attachment to the military derived from the service of her grandparents and husband. She has interviewed veterans for an award-winning film, has a Master’s Degree in European History, has traveled widely and is joining us from her position as Assistant Director at a small non-profit organization in Denver. When Kelly is not keeping Comeback Yoga running smoothly, she is volunteering her time to animal rescue efforts in the Denver metro area, spending time with her own pet family and practicing yoga to keep it all in perspective.
Elaine is a Comeback Yoga Board member and the initial underwriter of the Marcus Bateman Scholarship Fund. She is a Colorado native, yogi, semi-retired businesswoman, mother and grandmother. Her contributions to the Board and its Committees are numerous.
CO-FOUNDER, BOARD MEMBER, TEACHER
Yoga is Margot’s first choice for integrating brain function and body action for the health and vitality of both. She teaches integrated, moving vinyasa flow yoga to all ages and experience levels. Her students often comment on the quality of her voice and how it helps them find a peaceful space for their yoga practice. Her gateway to yoga was recovery of whole body fitness after a significant ski accident and subsequent surgeries. Recovery is not linear and she had many stops and begin again moments on her path to having a regular yoga practice – this makes her very understanding of others with similar stops and starts to their exploration of yoga. Margot brings her scientist curiosity and knowledge with her to the yoga mat and uses brain research and trauma informed yoga practices to help her students find relief, confidence and calm in their practice. Margot is the daughter of a veteran and teaches to this population out of appreciation for their service. She is a co-Founder of Comeback Yoga, has been teaching since 2014 and is active on the Board of Comeback Yoga in every imaginable capacity.
CO-FOUNDER, BOARD MEMBER, TEACHER
Ned is Co-founder of Comeback Yoga. He started teaching yoga at the Denver VA Hospital and has loved his involvement there ever since. Ned is also a student of yoga and is interested in the topics of trauma informed yoga, neuro-plasticity, brain research and imaging and attachment theory in early childhood development. After becoming a Yoga Alliance certified teacher and completing more than 200 hours of additional yoga and related continuing education, Ned has taught more than 300 trauma informed yoga classes at the Denver VA Hospital facilities. Yoga classes taught by Ned are inviting, easily done by a variety of physical abilities, and fun. He strives to provide a safe, relaxing and open environment in which to practice. Students appreciate his emphasis on breath practices, body to mind connections and movement with breath poses. His classes focus on the student’s attention to the present moment, becoming aware of one’s physical body, and practicing choice.
Amy is an eternal student of yoga, and is inspired daily by the notion that self inquiry and education lead to personal evolution. She believes that a strong, sweaty, challenging physical practice, with great tunes provides the opportunity for piercing introspection. She also believes that yoga is to be shared with all with no prerequisite. Each yoga practice is different and it is Amy's goal to create space and modifications for all. She teaches from a place of personal experience and wisdom, but asks that her students discover their own truths. In classes she brings a contagious lighthearted humor and a wonderful charisma to keep things flowing. There is no pretense; no judgment... leave your expectations at the door and come laugh, play, and take the opportunity to look inward with each class and discover what makes you come alive so that you can go out into the world and do just that.
Being a veteran himself and understanding the discomfort some people feel walking into a yoga studio, Bret is a natural fit for teaching to veterans. His belief that yoga is a gift that should be taken to and shared with people make his class a welcoming and safe environment for people who otherwise might not try yoga. Bret’s classes offer a challenging yet not too strenuous combination of breath and movement that is easily adapted to all experience levels. Combining his knowledge of yoga, military lingo and humor make his classes a fun and enjoyable experience. Bret currently teaches regularly at the Golden VA and VFW Post 1 and he is always looking for new places and new faces to teach.
Dan is a Navy veteran who served in the Gulf War. After active duty, and a short time in the private sector, he began a career in federal law enforcement. If you told him at that time he would enjoy yoga, certainly his reaction would not have been positive. However, one morning while lifting weights with a friend, they put a yoga program on in the background. In between sets, he tried a few poses and couldn’t believe standing still could be so challenging. Due to chronic back pain, he decided to give yoga a try. Dan practiced yoga off and on, primarily on his own, for about fifteen years. After moving to Denver two years ago, he joined VFW Post 1 and began practicing yoga there. He discovered an inviting and fun atmosphere. Over time, he decided to become a teacher and serve his fellow vets. Dan’s spirit of yoga is enjoyment and celebration, so his classes are lighthearted and relaxed. He invites you to try yoga a few times like he did. Perhaps you will experience the many benefits as well.
Glenna is a respected and long-time contributor in the Colorado community with a focus on education and not-for-profit service. Most recently, Glenna served as the President and CEO of the Colorado Education Initiative, whose mission is to accelerate educational improvement and innovation throughout Colorado. Glenna led the organization through strategic alignment and planning ensuring a strong founda:on from which to continue the organization’s position as a leader in the Colorado education community. In addition, under her leadership, the organization secured a 3-year $9.75mm grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Glenna is a respected and long-:me contributor in the Colorado community with a focus on education and not-for-profit service. Most recently, Glenna served as the President and CEO of the Colorado Education Imitative, whose mission is to accelerate educational improvement and innovation throughout Colorado. Glenna led the organization through strategic alignment and planning ensuring a strong foundation from which to continue the organization’s position as a leader in the Colorado education community. In addition, under her leadership, the organization secured a 3-year $9.75mm grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Jannell relocated to the Front Range area in2014. She has taught a variety of styles of yoga for more than fifteen years. She has been trained in medically-based yoga therapy. She works with people who have experienced trauma and injury who are now in VA hospitals and other healing facilities. She strives to obtain the state of mind, including thought, action, feeling and speech that is totally dedicated to others. Teaching yoga is a passion and a calling which is one pathway to achieving this. When you meet Jannell on or off the mat, you know that you have met someone who has suffered and survived and she offers that determination and inner kindness to her students.
Jarell is a Marine Corps veteran, student, father and yoga teacher. He co-founded the VFW Post 1 yoga program that was eventually adopted by Comeback Yoga. You often hear students talk or post on social media about leaving a Jarell class feeling re-grounded and centered. You will find him at VFW Post 1 – check out the calendar.
A kind and gregarious former athlete turned into a too-much-sitting and overworked lawyer who longed to reconnect to his spiritual roots, J.R. began his yoga journey in earnest on the eve of his thirty-sixth year. Although the physical asana practice was not as easy as he first imagined, healing flourished in the nourishing environment of love, discipline and positive thinking. JR first studied yoga at a Sivananda Ashram, where he deeply connected with the principles of Karma Yoga, since completing multiple yoga and meditation trainings. It’s never too late to start. Yoga is for everyone!
9-11 affected Kelly greatly. Watching first responders run toward the danger and having been married to a firefighter, she knew the toll those actions were going to take. Watching young men and women go off to war in response to that attack gave her that similar feeling in her gut - it was going to take a big toll on those serving. Kelly knows what long term exposure to traumatic experiences can do to a person because she is a survivor of chronic childhood trauma. While those battles are not similar, some of the results seemed to be.
Sometimes life sends messages in the strangest forms and Kelly's came in a short series of seemingly unrelated events. They all pointed her in the same direction - teaching yoga to those who had experienced traumatic events. Kelly wants to share her knowledge of how yoga can help heal the seen and unseen wounds of trauma. Her classes are a mix of slow flow yoga, yin yoga, breath work and iRest yoga nidra. If it's the right time and life is sending you a message, Kelly hopes you will join her in your yoga journey.
Laura first began practicing yoga in 2005 after moving to Boulder, CO to study psychology at the University of Colorado. As a lifelong dancer, the physicality and flow of Vinyasa yoga drew her in but the benefits for her mind and spirit keep her coming back. Yoga is her medicine. Forever a student, she is dedicated to learning about this ancient practice and the many ways it can offer ease to the body, mind, and spirit in our modern world. Laura's approach to teaching is grounded in her clinical degree in Somatic Psychology from Naropa University, earned in 2013. She believes in the inherent wisdom of the body and the powerful healing properties of awareness, movement, and breath. Laura uses clear direction to support students of all levels to access this wisdom by directing their attention to their inner world. Laura facilitates a safe class using thoughtful planning informed by trauma research and the science of yoga. She believes that the transformative power of yoga is for every body and designs her classes to fit the unique needs of her students. Laura has been teaching yoga since 2011. She currently teaches a full workload at CorePower Yoga in Boulder and at the VA CBOC in Golden.
Somewhat new to Colorado by way of Alabama, Laurie came to yoga after years of being competitively athletic. She needed a place to nurture her body after having been so hard on it. Only after loss and the experience of grief did she find the therapeutic benefits of yoga. Her training through Integrative Yoga Therapy has been a way of combining her knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of yoga postures with her experience and wisdom of pranayama, meditation, mudras, and the body’s natural flow of energy. She is a 500-hour registered yoga teacher. Laurie also recently became certified in Trauma Informed Yoga Therapy. Laurie’s background includes work in behavioral health, chaplaincy, and a continued part-time work in education, with a B.A. in psychology and a Master’s in education. Her first book, Journal to the Center of the Soul, was published in 2009. She has written and published smaller pieces through various mediums. Laurie lives in Castle Rock with her recently retired husband, a Green Beret.
LeRoy has practiced yoga a long time. He was drawn to teacher training with Amy Baker and joined Comeback’s corps of teachers in 2015. LeRoy is a veteran of the National Guard, a cyclist, former business owner and a calm, practical presence in the role of teacher in his yoga classes. LeRoy is currently teaching in the PTS(D) Residential Rehab Therapy program at the VA Hospital in Denver.
Melissa is an artist who expresses life as a dance through massage from several ancient modalities and practice in yoga, mantra, music, and meditation. She seeks to create a space where people feel comfortable to deeply feel and express themselves. Her journey to her center began with yoga. She started practicing in high school finding personal growth and healing. She continued on to massage school and fell in love with Thai Massage in part due to its yogic roots. Traveling to follow her teacher, Melissa studied near and far for the past ten years, developing her skills and practicing as a massage therapist. Her path led to further study in Yoga and Ayurveda at Naropa University, earning her Bachelor’s degree in Traditional Eastern Arts. She now teaches in the PTS(D) Residential Rehab program at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s facility in Denver as well as in the VA’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit. Her studio classes are at Soul Tree Yoga in Boulder and Lafayette. Melissa’s Yoga Nidra practice (relaxing yoga sleep) is in the Online Practice section of our website.
Life can be our greatest teacher- the good, the bad, and the otherwise. That is why Michelle has dedicated much of her time sharing her passion for yoga with people in need. Her experiences teaching yoga to those who have lived through traumatic or stressful situations in the Canadian prison system as well as in Africa continue to fuel her desire to share her practice. She is a Wife, Mama-to-be and Yogi who loves movement and music. She has trained with many prominent yogis over the last 13 years and has plans to further her training in India in 2018. Michelle loves spending her free time on adventures with her husband, Matt and their French bulldog, Obi.
Phyllis has been practicing yoga since 2002. She has been teaching since 2011 and has been working specifically with veterans since 2015. Her father was a veteran and she grew up in the military community. Sharing yoga with veterans allows her to honor her father, his role in her life, and his legacy as a Naval officer. In her classes, Phyllis offers peaceful instrumental music and gentle breathing guidance to both begin and end class. During the more active parts of class, she provides a combination of posture demonstration and verbal cues. She offers modifications on poses, to allow for differences and variations in each of our bodies. The class atmosphere is generally relaxed and fun. She supports and encourages each student, whether brand new to yoga or experienced with his or her own practice. She understands and appreciates that yoga feels different in every body, every day!
Sarah Plummer Taylor, MSW, is the owner of Semper Sarah®, author of Just Roll With It, and co-founder of the yoga program at VFW Post 1. Sarah received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and her Master's in Social Work from the University of Denver. Previously a Captain in the US Marine Corps and five-time Military Olympic athlete, today Sarah is a speaker, consultant, behavioral health researcher, resiliency coach and trainer as well as a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher. She leads wellness and yoga retreats, runs a private holistic health counseling practice, plays Aussie Rules Football at the national level and teaches a regular slate of yoga classes. Sarah originally began practicing yoga sporadically in college to deal with overtraining injuries from sports and ROTC; it wasn't until her second deployment to Iraq that the life-saving and healing qualities of the practice most deeply impacted her. From that deployment forward, Sarah knew one day she wanted to offer the option of yoga to as many fellow military members and veterans as she could. You can find Sarah out in the world at www.sempersarah.com and in the Online Classes portion of our website.
Shaun joined the Army at the malleable age of 17 and was in basic training at Ft. Banning, GA on September 11th, 2001. His first deployment, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, was less than 30 days after graduating from the U.S. Army Infantry school. He spent 2005/2006 in Iraq on a direct action deployment. In 2008, in an attempt to supplement his intense physical training regimen, he began practicing yoga at home with a video he got from a buddy. However, he didn’t actually step into a studio for an entire year. For several years he practiced yoga only as a means to an end. But in 2011 he broke his back in an air assault training accident that effectively ended his military career goals. After leaving active duty and medically retiring from the service, he was forced to face the things that he had ignored for years and in 2015 he completed the Denver VA’s PTSD rehabilitation program where he encountered trauma informed yoga led by Comeback Yoga. Through Kindness Yoga and Comeback Yoga Shaun was awarded a scholarship to become a certified yoga teacher, and during that training Shaun found something within him, or within the universe which further deepened his curiosity about yoga and it’s many benefits. Immediately after graduating YTT he began teaching community classes as well as volunteering at the VA teaching yoga to veterans in need; and after his son was born in May, he began teaching Baby & me yoga as well. He will tell you that above all, yoga has been the most helpful for him in his physical recovery from traumatic injury, and the recovery from the mental toll war can take on a soul. When you come to Shaun’s class you can expect an authentic personality with nothing to hide, and everything to share. Shaun’s life experiences and training in vinyasa yoga, trauma informed yoga, and postnatal yoga has helped him form challenging, yet achievable classes that will connect breath with movement in a safe environment.
Tiffany Shocklee has been a yoga teacher and bodyworker since 2004. While she has studied many different approaches to health and movement throughout the years, her passion has always been rooted in a physical practice that offers wider- reaching mental and emotional benefits. Her fascination with the adaptability of the human mind and body has inspired her to work specifically with people who have experienced significant challenges. She is not a veteran herself, but has witnessed the effects of combat on several family members and friends. In her private practice as a massage and craniosacral therapist, she has been privileged to accompany many veterans on a path of healing and presence. She believes the most effective methods are often the simplest. Her teaching style incorporates breath work, meditation, and coordinated movement with an emphasis on exploration and self-expression. She looks forward to the learning experience Comeback Yoga offers both teachers and students.
Tim Murray has been studying and practicing yoga for 30 years. His Mom introduced him to yoga to help him deal with injuries sustained from being a National Level competitive gymnast in high school. Tim started teaching yoga publically in health clubs in Southern California in 1994, has owned his own studio, and often uses yoga to help his clients in his personal training practice. Tim recently completed his second 200hr YTT in Rishikesh India. Tim was "raised by the Marine Corps", following his Dad around to different bases around the world for the first 21 years of his life. Both of Tim's grandfathers served in the Navy during WWII, and his uncle is a Vietnam Veteran as well. "I feel more at home, teaching yoga to Veterans, than anywhere else. I look forward to meeting you on the mat.”
Vanessa Mahoney, L.Ac joined the Marine Corps at 17, 17 days after Desert Storm ended. The Corps was a fast ticket out of her rural South Texas town and easy money for college. After her four year enlistment and college, she taught elementary and jr high before going to grad school for Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. She had the good fortune of attending Sarah Plummer Taylor's Just Roll with It Retreat in Costa Rica in 2013 and moved to Denver in 2014 to be a part of the veteran yoga community. Comeback Yoga generously supported her yoga teacher training through Kindness Yoga in the summer of 2016, and she began teaching classes that fall. You'll find Vanessa's classes authentic, peaceful, and grounding. Don't be surprised if she sings you into relaxation (or to sleep) in your savasana with a beautiful mantra. She's passionate about helping people find their path to heal and navigate the craziness of life.