yoga * pilates * wellness arts * living foods cafe
rise up to your full potential
elevation studio 

elevation studio

rise up to full potential

“There is a certain kind of action that leads to freedom and fulfillment,” Krishna begins. “A certain kind of action that is always aligned with our true nature.” This is the action that is motivated by dharma. This is the action taken in the service of our sacred calling, our duty, our vocation. In dharma, it is possible to take passionate action without creating suffering. It is possible to find authentic fulfillment of all human possibilities.” 
― Stephen CopeThe Great Work of Your Life

photo credit: Lesley Ulrich

danielle duffy

Danielle is the founder and director of elevation studio since 2005 and owner of elevation cafe (2012). She creatively and classically teaches both pilates and yoga. She received pilates certification from The Physical Mind Institute for both mat (1999) and apparatus(2011). Registered with Yoga Alliance, Danielle completed both her vinyasa and yin yoga certifications in NYC. She believes a blend of both pilates and yoga is a beautiful and essential combination to one's life, at any level. Combining yin(connective tissue strengthening) with yang(muscle strengthening) for a more balanced  body approach is also necessary in today's modern culture and lifestyle. Core strength, flexibility, fun, and mindfulness are all elements present in her teaching. She is a resident of Block Island, and has enjoyed traveling and teaching in Costa Rica, California, and NYC, during her winters. Danielle can also be found djjing around the island each music is life and celebration. Try a paddleboard yoga session with her and take your practice on the water!

gwendolyn alker

Gwendolyn began teaching in New York City in 2000 and at Elevation Studio in 2007. A 200-hour registered Yoga Alliance teacher, she holds certifications from Kripalu and White Lotus and has done additional advance trainings and workshops with a plethora of teachers including Jonathan Fitzgordon (Fitzgordon Method), Amy Ippoliti (formerly Anusara), Elena Brower (Virayoga), John Friend (Anusara), Ana Forrest (Forrest Yoga), Genny Kapuler (Iyengar), Stephen Cope (Kripalu), and Judith Lasater (Restorative Yoga) among others.  She has also studied kinesthetic anatomy with Irene Dowd. Through her fifteen years of practice she has sought to blend an eclectic, compassionate style that encourages exploration of the physical and mental self.  Her classes are playful and inquisitive and seek to guide each student to learn more about their bodies and themselves. A supporter of precision and alignment, Gwendolyn’s classes are suitable both for beginners with injuries, and the experienced practitioner looking to deepen their practice. Since the birth of her son in 2010, she has enjoyed teaching exclusively at Elevation. While not teaching on Block Island, Gwendolyn is a full time faculty member in the Department of Drama at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

cindy kelly

Cindy Kelly is a Blue Belt level Nia instructor and has lived on Block Island since 1989.  As a visual artist, she extends her commitment to “Life as Art”, sharing her longtime dedication to a healthy body, mind and spirit with her island community.

 Nia is a holistic workout that combines nine different movement forms including Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, jazz, modern dance, Duncan dance, yoga, Alexander technique and the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais.  While specific steps are demonstrated, the philosophy of Nia is to move in your own body’s way, and to be conscious of the signals of pain and pleasure that occur, tweaking any movement to stay in comfort.  The steps are easy to follow and can be executed as gently or as strenuously as you choose; the music used will motivate you to move at your level of intensity and in your own unique way.   

julia collins

No matter where she found herself in the world, Julia has always sought solace in her breath. A life-long Block Island girl and a believer in compassion and continual transformation, she was taught by Randall O'Leary in traditional hatha yoga in Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua. O'Leary comes from a background of Viniyoga and the B.K.S. Iyengar tradition, having studied under Gary Kraftsow and many others. The lighthearted "reggae yoga"  stems from Julia's passion for reggae music and the ultimate goal of universal harmony. She has long been working to balance all facets of life and is deepening this practice on the water with Paddleboard Yoga. The ever changing surface of the water causes more instability--a challenge for even the most practiced Yogi--requiring mental focus and fluid movement. Both on the water and on the mat, Julia seeks to guide her students to their true path through steady cultivation of positive energy. Ideally moving towards deeper self realization and unity of mind, body and spirit.

winnie binda

Winnie came to yoga three years ago, and since her first class a strong yoga practice has carried her through the ups and downs of life and the challenges of attending law school. She will complete her 200-hour teacher training with West Hartford Yoga in June of this year. Her teaching is primarily influenced by Forrest Yoga and Ashtanga, along with the unique styles of her teachers Barbara Ruzansky and Nykki Poole. She has taken workshops with a variety of teachers, including Heather Tiddens, Dharma Mittra, Ryan Cunningham, and Goldie Kaufenberg. Her classes are designed to be enjoyed by those who are newer to yoga and those with more advanced practices. Winnie believes that yoga truly begins when we step off of our mats and into the reality of day-to-day life, and a strong asana practice is the best way to prepare for all the challenges we face. “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move.” — Osho

jess curto

Jess began doing yoga five years ago while on a surf trip to Bali.  She was suffering from a reoccurring back injury, which led to her introduction to yoga and natural medicine.  After many years of physical therapy, yoga was the first thing to actually heal her injuries.  While Jess began practicing yoga to heal her body, yoga has given her much more.  Yoga has taught her to slow down, be present, breathe, and enjoy each moment with gratitude.  Yoga has become a way of life for her and teaching yoga has become a new passion.  She recently completed her RYS 200 with School Yoga Institute at Mystical Yoga Farm in Guatemala.   After completing her training she began teaching yoga and surfing at a hostel in Nicaragua, while running an afterschool program for local children and teaching English.  Jess has always loved working with children and believes that children practice yoga every day.  The purpose of yoga and meditation is to live in the moment and be completely present.  This is the natural experience of being a child.  She is super excited to combine her love of working with children and yoga!