04 November 2015
Namaste, my name is Michelle Rene and I am honored to be a part of this uniquely awesome retreat! Phil and I met while “Kloofing” in South Africa some 15 years ago, cliff jumping down a river after we hiked up a mountain for the better part of a day, so it is very fitting that we have merged our passions and talents for travel, photography, and yoga to bring you this special experience. He is one of my best friends and a compassionate soul that will no doubt leave a similar mark on your heart as he has on mine.
I discovered the practice of Yoga on the same trip where I met Phil, travelling the globe by ship, in the spring of 2003 on Semester at Sea. I have had a lifelong affinity for meditation and transcendental teachings and have been an athlete my entire life, so the practice of yoga felt a lot like coming home to me. After 6 months at sea and some 16 countries later, I returned to the island of O’ahu where I was a student of English and Spanish languages at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The natural humidity of the islands was a beautiful introduction to the practice of “hot yoga” though my early teachers and teaching style was very much the safe and alignment-based teaching of BKS Iyengar. The best place to start!
I moved to Fort Collins, Colorado to pursue my Master’s in English Literature with a travel-inspired emphasis on Post-Colonialism at Colorado State University. I met the most extraordinary Vinyasa teacher and followed her to her primary school of yoga and studied under her at CorePower Yoga in 2009. I was hired to teach at CorePower Yoga in the North American yoga capital of the World, Encinitas, California and have been a “Professional Yogini” ever since. I regularly attend Yoga Journal Conferences, teach yoga full time, and a YOGO Mat Ambassador for the best travel yoga mat on the market.
I have led fifteen 200-Hour Yoga teacher trainings, certifying hundreds of teachers through CorePower Yoga’s registered Yoga school, known for its caliber of anatomical cues, active language, and accessible teachings style. I have managed 2 yoga studios (+/-3 years) and currently teach at two of the best Yoga resorts in the country – if not the world! I am honored to be a part of the Rancho la Puerta and Rancho Valencia families and cannot speak highly enough about each of these resorts. I have studied yoga for over 12 years now and have shifted my studios habits from the literary field to the study of yoga with the same vigor I pursued my degrees. Beyond the philosophy, I have studied a bit of Ashtanga and Anusara, but felt more compelled to teach Yin, Restorative, Hot, Vinyasa and Viniyoga Therapy styles of yoga in my classrooms and private sessions.
My style is a unique blend of all the styles of yoga I have been exposed to – I call it “Hatha Flow” because my roots are in the safety and alignment of Iyengar’s legacy, with a Vinyasa breath-to-movement spin, offered in the layer-based healing modality I have learned from restorative and therapeutic teachings. I so look forward to meeting each of you and being a part of your yoga journey and lifelong memories.
19 October 2015
Hello! My name is Phillip Van Nostrand and I love traveling and taking pictures. My very first camera came to me at the age of 21 on my first trip abroad (on Semester at Sea, where I met Michelle, the yoga instructor!) It was on that trip that I learned every button on my camera, became obsessed with photography, and started a hobby that ultimately turned into a passionate career that has taken me all over the world many times since.
I live in New York now. I moved here two years ago to further my photography career and shoot more for magazines and commercially. Since I moved to New York I've been published in the New York Times twice, Dwell Magazine, San Diego Style Weddings, Huffington Post, and more. I recently accepted a speaking position at the top wedding convention in America in Las Vegas this year. I love teaching and mentoring and was a middle school math teacher and tutor before I was a professional photographer.
The thing that keeps me coming back to photography over and over again is the connection I make with my clients on a shoot. It's truly like magic, and impossible to explain unless you've been on a shoot with me. Through my lens and that experience, whether it's a one hour portrait session or a 13 hour wedding, I make friends for life. And it always comes back to the human connection for me.
Looking forward to meeting you and taking the best pictures of our lives together.