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.

erika mehiel

Erika is a Yoga Teacher and Holistic Wellness Coach. She is passionate about personal transformation and embodying the vibrant life that awaits us all.

She began her yoga practice over ten years ago, following a healing path that interwove studies in herbal medicine, personal transformation and health & wellness coaching. She earned her Yoga teacher certification at the Nosara Yoga Institute and teaches private clients and small groups in the Vinyasa and Hatha styles, as well as Self Awakening Yoga. She has earned advanced Yoga trainings in Ayurveda, Grief & Trauma processing, and Transformational practices. Erika also works with clients to bring Yoga off the mat and into the everyday.

Erika is certified in Holistic Health Coaching by the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, having studied over 100 dietary theories, plus the "primary foods" of relationship, career, physical exercise and spirituality. She offers her clients Holistic Wellness Coaching — a personalized combination drawing from yoga practice, supportive herbal medicine therapies, nutritional and dietary guidance, transformational support and lifestyle recommendations.

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

jessica filkins

Jessica Filkins grew up on Block Island. She started practicing yoga 5 years ago while at college in Colorado. In 2012 she completed her 200-hr yoga teacher training in Bali, Indonesia. As she traveled and taught around the world, Jessica found that yoga transcended language and cultural barriers. She is also a level 2 Reiki practioner, a certified lifeguard, an artist, and an avid surfer. Her lifetime of experience in the water has made Jess a natural paddleboard yoga instructor. The practice of yoga had benefited Jessica in countless ways, and is happy to share this gift with others.

megan mary mitchell

Inspired by her love for clothing, movement of the body, and living a healthy and mindful life, Megan uses yoga and meditation as a way to channel all of her energy and ground herself in the present moment. Megan earned her 200-hour Hatha Yoga, Yoga Nidra, and Pranayama certification from the Yoga Therapy & Training Centre in Dublin, Ireland. Megan is a Block Island native, and a rising senior at Rhode Island School of Design for Apparel, where she volunteers her time to teach both Brown and RISD students during the year.

molly devins nolan

Molly fell in love with yoga while living in New York City. Her practiced transformed her mind and body so greatly that she knew yoga had to become a permanent part of her life. Upon leaving her corporate job and relocating to Colorado in the fall of 2012, Molly obtained her 200-hr RYT from Fred Busch Yoga in Bailey, CO. Through vinyasa flow sequences, her classes aim to address the mind, body, and overall spiritual awareness that yoga can prompt. She is very happy to be back on Block Island, a place she has always considered home, and is super psyched to be part of the elevation yoga team!

katie and caitlin: LuLu Hoops

Katie and Caitlin met on Block Island while working with children in the summer of 2012. It is no coincidence that they connected given their shared playful, light hearted and kind personalities. They quickly realized a shared admiration and passion for hula hooping. Katie introduced Cailtin to the hoop, and Caitlin deepened Katie's interest in hooping. Over the winter they met up for hoop jams and dreamt up the idea for LuLu hoops. Together they completed their Hoopnotica Teacher Certification and were able to turn their dream into reality. They are both excited to be on Block Island again this summer spreading the hoop joy and helping people build confidence, smile and get fit!