Ami is the owner and founder of Embody Health and Wellness Studio. She is a Holistic Health and Fitness Coach, AFAA Certified Personal Trainer and a TRX, P90X Live, Barre Above, and Core de Force Live Certified Instructor.
Health is not a destination, but a process that is ever evolving, growing and changing. Having fun with the process and pushing out of our comfort zones brings enhanced fulfillment, generates amazing results that surpass expectations and ripples out to greater satisfaction in all areas of life. I struggled with my weight since elementary school — beginning an obsession and addiction to trying every new diet and weight loss fad. Years and years spent trying to “fix” myself – drowning in my own negative self-worth and body image. In a repetitive, negative, dangerous pattern of extreme, “all or nothing,” binge eating, “I’ll start on Monday” mentality that left me depleted, frustrated and uncomfortable in my own skin.
I gained more than 50 pounds during my second pregnancy and with a newborn and toddler, did not prioritize my own self-care and continued to feel sluggish, relying on food for comfort and sugar for energy. Digestive issues, fatigue, acne, asthma, anxiety and a weak immune system were constant struggles. I finally reached a turning point – the nearly daily comments about my due date (I wasn’t pregnant and nearly 24 months post-partum) led me to a host of traditional doctors’ appointments. I left each one without any concrete answers or a plan to feel better and felt greater and greater discouragement. It was time to seek a different way. I began to reach out for support and research on my own. It was a journey with a lot of feedback, but by removing processed foods, refined sugar and gluten from my diet and crowding in lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts/seeds, I experienced dramatic results! My bloated stomach lessened, my skin cleared up, I no longer had to use my inhaler on a daily basis and I rarely got sick. My energy skyrocketed, and my moods improved.
Food is medicine. Plain and simple. Beyond powerful. It was at this point that another mom introduced me to the world of P90X. I remember doing the first workout in my living room, feeling uncoordinated, unfit and completely out of my league. But I was persistent and kept at it. I began to develop strength, endurance and definition. And the confidence to try new activities – I started running, something I would have never done before. I have completed a marathon, many half marathons, trail runs and obstacle course races. I love trying new fitness challenges and the feeling of empowerment it creates. No perfection, only progress….
In my 40s, I can honestly say that I am more fit and energetic and have entered into a different relationship with myself, one where I listen and tune into my needs more regularly. I am dedicated to helping others achieve their own health goals, supporting them in nourishing themselves, physically and mentally. This is my passion and life’s work. After experiencing the dramatic effects of food and fitness on my own health, I decided to finally pursue my long-term interest in the wellness field and achieved my holistic health certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2012. I began seeing one-on-one clients, teaching workshops, leading small group classes and coordinating challenge groups. In 2015, I pursued the fitness side to compliment the work I was already doing. I received my P90X Live certification, completed my personal training certification through AFAA and have received two separate TRX certifications as a strong believer in the power of this tool. in addition, I am certified in Core de Force Live and Barre Above.
In June of 2016, I saw one of my dreams come true, opening Embody Health and Wellness in Lewiston. A wellness studio dedicated to supporting and guiding individuals in their own self-care journey. We not only focus on the fitness and yoga aspect, but believe in a truly synergistic approach to wellbeing, offering workshops, wellness forums, special events and more to encourage, educate and motivate our clientele. I could never have imagined the community that would have developed. It is beyond special, and I am so grateful to be surrounded by strong, dedicated, determined people each and every day. Love my job.
- What is your favorite exercise/pose?
I know this will shock all, but the push up. It is one of those moves that develops over time and feels empowering with every repetition. Plus, there are so many varieties and progressions, it constantly leaves you challenged.
- What is your fav fitness/yoga class?This is like asking, “Which one of your boys is your favorite?” I love them all, recognizing that each fitness class offers different opportunities to challenge and feel success – both for body and the mind. Strength training with dumbbells and bodyweight is definitely more my comfort zone.
- What is your fitness/yoga mantra?
My latest obsession: Every moment is a choice between the desire to be comfortable and the desire to be GREAT.
- What is your go to healthy snack?Currently, a diced apple topped with a chopped up Epic or Rx or homemade protein bar, dried mulberries or raisins, raw cacao nibs and if I am feeling extra sassy, a drizzle of almond butter and hemp seeds.
- What is your best fitness/yoga tip for others?
Enjoy the journey. Modify to stay in it. Recognize your strengths as they are today. Stay consistent. Find a community of support. Have fun. Be badass.
Tani is a transplant from sunny Hawaii to snowy Western New York! She earned her degree in Exercise Physiology from Oregon State University and is certified through ACE and licensed for several class formats. She also recently completed certification as a Health Coach — a lifestyle-based, knowledgeable wellness advocate! A fitness instructor for almost two decades, Tani believes exercise should be fun, challenging and that there’s something for everyBODY.
Q & A with Tani:
- Favorite Exercise: Any squat variation!
- Fitness Mantra: What doesn’t challenge you won’t change you.
- Go-to healthy snack: Greek yogurt and berries
- Best Fitness Tip: No one “has time” to eat right and exercise, we must make these a priority if we want them to improve.
Brandi has been attending classes at Embody since we opened and has recently received her personal training certification through ACE. She offers personal and small group training sessions at the studio to further support our community in unleashing their best, most confident selves! Brandi is passionate about living a balanced life that connects mind, body, and spirit – focusing on regular workouts, proper nutrition, meditation and healthful lifestyle choices. She has personally experienced the power of fitness and the numerous benefits it provides in all areas of life. She loves to share her enthusiasm, knowledge and training with clients to build foundations that will enhance overall wellbeing and self-care.
Q & A with Brandi:
- Favorite Exercise: Squats! Not only do they give us toned buns and awesome legs, they are an extremely functional movement. We bend and lift constantly throughout our daily lives and squats help us improve, which is very important as we age.
- Favorite Class: Bootcamp. It forces me to challenge myself and you never know what to expect!
- Fitness Mantra: “A body in motion, stays in motion….” -Sir Isaac Newton
- Go-to healthy snack: Hands down, hummus and veggies! I carry a small cooler everywhere I go.
- Best Fitness Tip: Keep moving! Even though life can challenge us at times, it’s important to maintain your self-care. Whether it’s a quick walk after dinner or doing some work in the garden, get yourself moving every day!
Stephanie is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) with Yoga Alliance and an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist (AYS). She began practicing yoga in 1996 as a way to decrease stress and alleviate insomnia. What she found was more than the physical & mental benefits, but also a way of life. After obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Science in Student Personnel Administration, she worked in higher education for 18 years. During that time, her desire to teach yoga grew strong, leading to her enrollment in the Teacher Training program at the Himalayan Institute in 2012. She returned to the Institute in 2015 for the Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist certification to learn how ayurveda can assist people in finding a balanced state of health. Stephanie is now teaching yoga, meditation, and ayurvedic lifestyle classes locally while raising three kids with her husband Michael.
Q & A with Stephanie:
- What is your favorite pose? Tough choice- I love so many of them at different times of day and in different seasons. But overall, Child’s Pose is my “go to” for grounding and feeling centered.
- What is your favorite yoga class? I’m trained in traditional Hatha yoga which I tend to gravitate toward, though I enjoy trying out many different styles and instructors.
- What is your yoga mantra? Peace, peace, peace.
- What is your go to healthy snack? Dates or raw almonds
- What is your best yoga tip for others? Listen to your body… and your breath. They will tell you when to soften a pose, when you can push yourself harder, and when to rest.
Jessica started practicing yoga for the physical exercise in 2010. While the physical benefits were wonderful, she found that it wasn’t just her body that felt stronger after yoga. Her practice helped her to heal and deal with the stresses of life. On the mat, she could be present and alive without constant worry and anxiety. When she realized how much yoga had changed her life off the mat, she wanted to deepen her understanding and learn to share the practice with others. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo in 2018. She believes that yoga is for everyone and aims to create classes that are welcoming and accessible to all. She loves hiking, making art, her family, her husband and her cats.
Q & A with Jessica:
- What is your favorite exercise/pose? Changes all the time, but lately? Pigeon!
- What is your fav fitness/yoga class? A mix of hatha & slow flow yoga
- What is your fitness/yoga mantra? Every pose is an opportunity to be present.
- What is your go to healthy snack? Sun-dried tomato hummus
- What is your best fitness/yoga tip for others? Make time for your practice and yourself.
Sue began her yoga journey in 2010 when one of her closest friends took her to a Heated Vinyasa yoga class. She had no idea what to expect but she showed up, grabbed a mat, and quickly fell in love with the demanding physical practice of heated Vinyasa Flow.
When she first started yoga she was very focused on the physical practice; trying to “do it right” and make the “perfect” pose, constantly comparing herself to others. But as her yoga journey continued she began to focus more on using the breath to calm the mind, letting go of judgment and letting her practice unfold as it was meant to be each day.
Sue is a firm believer that yoga can be accessible for “every body”. She believes that postures should be modified to fit our beautifully unique bodies and that there is no “perfect pose.” Since beginning her yoga practice, Sue has enjoyed increased mindfulness, body awareness, strength, flexibility, and self-compassion. She loves helping others discover yoga and the process of self-discovery that is offers! Sue has been teaching yoga since 2012. She has taught Heated Power Yoga, Gentle Yoga, All Levels Yoga, and Kids’ Yoga. She is currently undergoing her 200 hour RYT training through YogaFit.
Q & A with Sue:
- What is your favorite exercise/pose? Eagle pose. It challenges me every time I take it, and makes me feel strong, Powerful, and grounded.
- What is your fav fitness/yoga class? I absolutely love Ami’s Bootcamp class. I am constantly challenged by the exercises that she presents. I love the creative combinations and kick a** routines!!
- What is your fitness/yoga mantra? “Perfectly Imperfect”
- What is your go to healthy snack? Right now I am really into raw pecans…. for a mini meal I absolutely love the Bulletproof collagen protein bars 😉
- What is your best fitness/yoga tip for others? Find what you love to do and do it!!! Let go of “I should” and do whatever activities that make your heart, mind, and body happy.
Megan, Owner of One Yoga, RYT200, TRX Certified, Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor. Megan’s yoga practice began in 2003 in Burlington, VT shortly after moving to the area after college. She quickly noticed that the practice of yoga had many benefits both physically and mentally. Those benefits of yoga were fully realized after going through the traumatic birth of her second child. It was yoga that helped pull Megan through the depression and physical pain from the birth. The stillness of yoga allowed Megan to drastically reduce the amount of anxiety and worry in her life. In 2014, Megan’s yoga journey led her to begin exploring the possibilities of sharing the gift of yoga with others. The Himalayan Institute of Buffalo, NY graciously accepted her into their Yoga Teacher Training program. Megan enjoys the outdoors through gardening, hiking, skiing, paddle boarding and snowshoeing. Her practice and instruction reflect her love of nature. She strongly believes that yoga can lead to social change. It is her goal to help others find compassion within their own self, which in turn leads to compassion for others and the earth. Megan has practiced Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Hatha styles of yoga. Her teaching is influenced by the flow of Vinyasa and the deeply rooted traditions of Hatha.
Q & A with Megan:
- Current Fav Exercise – any single leg work for balance and stability. Adding weights and bands in various ways ups the challenge!
- Current Fav Class – Yoga Detour
- Fitness/Yoga Mantra: Movement is Healing. Oh and “Save your knees for future use”….. in my current role as the “knee police”
- Favorite go-to healthy snack: Currently loving anything dipped in cashew butter – with some coconut and cacao nibs added for crunch.
- Fitness/Yoga Tip: Always honor your body. If you are in pain, take the time to break down your movements and learn ways to recover. Recovery is just as important as your workout. And of course, breathwork is key!!
TJ brings 20+ years of Martial Arts experience to his badass cardio kickboxing class and HIIT kickboxing class! He is a 3rd degree black belt and is eligible to test for 4th degree. As a certified AFAA group fitness instructor, a certified Les Mills Body Combat instructor and a professional wrestler, TJ makes his classes challenging, fun and appropriate for all levels!
Q & A with TJ:
- Favorite Move: Jumping knee
- Favorite Class: Body Combat
- Go-to healthy snack: Granny Smith Apples
- Best Fitness Tip: Treat fitness as if it was your best friend and it’ll have your back.
Kristen is a wife, mom of 2 active kids, elementary school teacher, certified health coach, PiYo Live and TRX instructor, as well as a Norwex Consultant! Yes, she wears many hats! But she is passionate about supporting others create a lifestyle of health and wellness. When she is not on the sidelines watching her kids in hockey, baseball and cheerleading she loves being at home with her Havenese dog, Charlie, and her husband, Scott. In addition to spending time with family and friends, she enjoys time outdoors in the sunshine and traveling. Kristen has a Masters in Elementary Education from Buffalo State College and has been an elementary school teacher for the past 16 years. After losing her mother in 2014 to cancer, Kristen decided to take a year long course to become a certified health coach through the Integrative Institute of Nutrition and graduated in July of 2016. Shortly after, she decided to take health into her own hands and change her lifestyle for the better. Kristen started doing PiYo and other fitness DVD’s at home. PiYo was more than a workout, it was a total mind/body connection! You use your body to sculpt your body choreographed to music! She feel in love with her “soulmate” workout and a few years later in October of 2016, became certified to teach PiYo Live and has been teaching ever since. In February 2018, Kristen became TRX Certified and has been teaching TRX Yoga/ Pilates classes as well. This total body resistance training inspired by Yoga and Pilates offers core strength and flexibility exercises using the resistance straps. A truly amazing workout. Since then, Kristen has been teaching PiYo and TRX Yoga in different studios in the area and is excited to bring her passion here to Embody Health and Wellness!
Q & A with Kristen:
- What is your Favorite Exercise/Pose? So many!! I love half-moon pose! I also love pigeon stretch! Plank variations and burpees too… crazy I know!
- What is your Favorite Fitness/Yoga Class? Another tough question… PiYo of course! I do like a variety of classes… Yoga, TRX classes, Zumba, Barre.
- What is your Fitness/Yoga Mantra? “Progress…. NOT perfection!” “It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger!”
- What is your go-to healthy snack? I love homemade trail-mix! You can mix any raw nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and of course dark chocolate chips! Great for any time of day!
- What is your best fitness tip for others? “Yes, you can!” People say, “I need a beginner class. I can’t do that!” Yes you can! Start somewhere and progress from there. I show progressions and modifications, so take it where you are that day. Fitness is accessible to everyone! Your mind is so much more powerful than you think!
Christina fell in love with fitness after taking her first group fitness class (P90X Live) and has never looked back. Before that, she viewed exercise as a mandatory daily task but didn’t find any joy in it. Being a part of the welcoming community at Embody inspired her to see fitness and wellness is a whole new light. With a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and a full-time career as a psychology professor, Christina began to see the connections among her passion for psychology, her new passion for wellness and her desire to help people change. She began offering workshops (on willpower, mind-body reset) leading Embody Connections forums and facilitated a personal development group, Women’s Wellpower group (women powered by wellness and harnessing the willpower to be well). She leads the mental and emotional wellness realm at Embody.
- What is your favorite exercise? Tuck jumps and burpees and tuck jump burpees.
- What is your fav fitness class? That’s tough one, I love them all but Core de Force might be my most favorite- who doesn’t love to kick and punch?
- What is your fitness mantra? You can do hard things.
- What is your go to healthy snack? I’m all about convenience- Rx bars (PB and chocolate PB), kale chips, and matcha (can’t live without the matcha).
- What is your best fitness/yoga tip for others? “Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” Find your why and you’ll find your how.
Our body doesn’t know the difference between yoga asana and Pilates or dance or CrossFit. Our body registers all of this as movement. So while my interest is in traditional yoga, I’m also interested in movement in general and filling the gaps that traditional yoga doesn’t necessarily fill. When you combine the training that yoga gives you in terms of your nervous system, your mind, your body, and your heart and apply that to other forms of movement, it becomes a limitless exploration.
The practice of yoga to me seems to be a never-ending journey of self-discovery, of confusion that leads to clarity, that leads to more confusion to more clarity and I’ve learned to embrace that mysterious journey. In my life before yoga, it was easy for me to fall into the cycle of never feeling like I was good enough and I remember the first time I ever practiced yoga. I felt so accomplished. It helped me feel real acceptance and satisfaction with myself that I really hadn’t experienced probably ever in my life. And what kept me going back to yoga is that feeling of having done something well, it kept me in harmony with this intelligent and dynamic intricacy of movement that is life.
It’s interesting to see things from as many different angles as possible and yoga gives us the opportunity to participate in that level of exploration. Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in the pattern of doing the same thing every day in life and in our yoga practice. I hope to inspire people to try new things in new ways. Not just in their bodies but in their mind, their heart and in the way they digest life.
Alive-ness is magnificent and I want to explore this whole experience in the most skillful way possible, which is an always moving target. So it’s most logical to me to start with me; my body, my mind, my heart, my energy. We forget that we are an intelligent and intricately coordinated being and when we can combine our conscious experience with the innate wisdom that flows through our body, I think life becomes richer. My hope is that I can share what I’ve learned from various sources and from my own inner exploration, and give it away. If the teaching is successful, you map the movement in your body, then you own it and it’s yours to enjoy and explore.
I am a certified yoga teacher through the Himalayan Institute of Buffalo. I am currently studying Primal Movement Yoga and am studying to become an Ayurvedic Counselor. I have been on my yoga journey for 15 years and learning something new every day.
- What is your favorite yoga pose? Savasana (corpse pose)
- What is your favorite yoga class? Traditional hatha yoga and yoga therapy based classes
- What is your fitness/yoga mantra? “I am” or “I am enough”
- What is your go to healthy snack? I don’t snack, but if I’m feeling ravenous, I’ll eat peanut butter with apples.
- What is your best fitness/yoga tip for others? Explore your health and fitness from a place of curiosity and non-judgment. Have an honest understanding of your own biomechanics, range of motion, strengths and limitations. Build your body from the ground up, listen to subtleties, build your health starting with a strong and sturdy foundation, and the rest of your fitness and life practices will become immensely more enjoyable.
Monday-Friday: 6am – 7pm
Saturday: 7am – 11am
Sunday: 7am – 10am