Meet the Grow Team!!
The roots that keep our community grounded and strong
Tara Van Ness: Owner/Operator/Co-founder
Tara started her journey of yoga and service back in 2007 while attending school in Philadelphia at the The University of the Arts. She explored more styles of yoga than she could count, trying to find one that she connected with and set off twice to South America volunteering and learning what service and perspective really meant to her. Knowing she needed a big shift she went on to obtain her Masters in Drama Therapy from New York University and attended her first 200 hr teacher training in therapeutic yoga in 2009. Time for another change, she journeyed back to her hometown in South Jersey and settle into creating her life exactly as she saw it.
After falling in love with Baptiste Yoga while teaching and working as a Clinical Drama Therapist, she followed her dedication to education and building community and became a Certified Baptiste Yoga Teacher and completed her Advanced Teacher Training with Mark White. She is captivated by the healing power of yoga and was inspired to create an opportunity to generate big change through her work. Tara co-founded Grow Yoga Studio in the winter of 2014 . She teaches from a place of love and truth and is excited to create a space full of creativity and growth! Her vision for Grow Yoga is that it becomes a place where everyone feels that they are part of the family and is inspired to create the lives they want to live.
Jessica-Rae left her first Baptiste yoga class feeling more powerful than she ever felt before. She also had a renewed sense of purpose in her future career goals - she wanted to be a yoga teacher! These empowering feelings and future career goals started to flourish when she began working at Covenant House. Jessica-Rae wanted the youth to experience the same sense of purpose and groundedness she felt when doing yoga. In the summer of 2013, Jessica-Rae attended a workshop at Omega Institute entitled "Yoga and Mindfulness for At-Risk Youth".She welcomed her little happy baby, Delilah, into the world in September 2014. Jessica-Rae was very grateful to be given the opportunity to stay at home to raise her daughter while taking a break from her career. However, she never forgot about her career goals and was happy to find her second home at Grow in December 2014. You can also find her teaching kid's classes, community classes, assisting classes and part of the Youth Yoga Initiative.
Born and raised in southern California Dana is fun loving, laid back and crafty with an optimistic attitude towards life. She moved to New Jersey with her husband in 2010 after he joined the Coast Guard. Feeling welcomed in South Jersey, together they bought a house and DIY’d their way through remodeling the inside and out. She has two wonderful little boys that keep her busy, but grounded. She enjoys getting her hands dirty in her garden and a nice glass of wine (or two) around the fire pit at night. Yoga has always called to Dana, but it wasn't until 2014 that she fell in love with it. The peace and lightness Dana felt after her first Baptiste class was what drew her to practice regularly. When she found Grow and joined the community, she felt like she was home. Yoga is a deeply personal journey for Dana and has transformed her life in many ways. She is very excited to be a part of Grow Yoga Teacher Training in the Fall 2016 and she is dedicated to being of service to this community and growing with it.
Feeling lost and desperate for a change, Morgan wandered into her first Baptiste class in 2013 and proceeded to fall in love with the practice. Since then, her practice has enabled the creation of a deeper connection to herself and others and the desire for a more engaging, purposeful life. That drive and passion led her to Grow Yoga in 2015, where she committed to being part of the community as a student, Fair Trade team member, and a participant in the fall 2016 200 Hour Teacher Training program. Morgan also attended Art of Assisting in 2016 and plans on attending Advanced Teacher Training and Level 1 in the future. As a teacher, Morgan’s goal is to continue to spread the love, support, and authenticity that she has discovered through her practice with her classes and the community.
Off of the mat, Morgan is a graduate of Stockton University with a B.S. in Business Marketing and Master’s in Business Administration. She currently works for an advertising agency in EHT. She loves exploring new cities, recipes, and good books.
After receiving her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and her Master’s degree in Social Work, Liz started her career where she started kindergarten- right here in Galloway! She has been the School Social Worker at Reeds Road Elementary School since September 2010, and loves working in special education. Liz discovered Baptiste Yoga in January 2015 thanks to her good friend and coworker, Allie Stern. She fell in love with Baptiste Yoga from her very first class, and took 23 classes in her first month as a member at Grow Yoga! Through completing the 200 hour YTT at Grow Yoga, Liz discovered her passion for teaching kids yoga. Teaching kids yoga and working in school social work allow Liz to practice what she loves every day: supporting and encouraging others, growing, learning, and above all- having fun! Liz is a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher and she is dedicated to continuing her education with attendance of Baptiste Yoga's Art of Assisting in July 2016 and the Baptiste Yoga Kids Yoga Teacher Training in August 2016.
"Local" Lou was born and raised in Cape May and migrated north to Atlantic County as an adult. Lou's love of skateboarding and surfing paired with his commitment to service has paved the way for many community based projects including co-creating Skate AC and becoming "Director of Stoke" of the Heart of Surfing nonprofit organization. Lou is extremely creative and artistic; he is the sole owner and operator of The Keep Pushing Gallery and co-owns L&L sign co. Lou specializes in reclaimed (drift) wood painted signs and home decor which tend to have a heavy surf and skate influence.
Lou's quest for connection and aided by a suggestion from his wife, Lisa, led him to his first yoga class. After witnessing such great shifts in every aspect of his life Lou was convinced that yoga was a step in the right direction. After longtime friend, Jason Forslund, came home from Level 1 Baptiste training Lou knew that teaching was the next step on his journey and he immediately enrolled in Grow Yoga's first teacher training.
Yoga has led Lou to lead a life full of gratitude, passion, love, and stoke. Lou is committed to continuing on his journey of stoke and intends to motivate other to do the same.
Dawn completed her 200 teacher training December 2015 at Grow. She immediately followed that with a certification in Matrika Prenatal Yoga which she completed in June 2016. The yoga training whirlwind of 2015/2016 also included the completion of Baptiste Level One in Sedona, Arizona with Baron Baptiste. As a Nurse Practitioner certified in Family Medicine, Psychology and Addiction Medicine Dawn Values the sense of peace and joy that she feels after a session of yoga asana or meditation and loves to share that feeling with those around her through her teaching. In the practice and teaching she has found a mind/body/breathe connection that has changed her relationships, career and world view to a more mindful, attentive place. Sharing these endless possibilities with other students of yoga is one of her life's most valued opportunities. As such, opportunities to Grow never end and Dawn Looks forward to her Baptiste Level 2 training in 2017.
Jill has lived all over the country and is currently residing in her 11th state and 19th home. The one thing that she brings with her around the country is her passion for growth. While attending Texas Christian University in Fort Worth she started on her teaching journey teaching ballet to non dancers. Having taught ballet and modern dance for over 30 years she brings her knowledge of alignment and form to Grow.
Jill started practicing Baptiste yoga a few years ago to alleviate her arthritis and knee pain and continues to practice to strengthen her body and nourish her soul. After completing 200 hr YTT at Grow in June she attended the Baptiste Level One program in August. Future goals are attending Baptiste Yoga's The Art of Assisting and Level Two in 2017.
William "Bill" Haggerty
Bill was born and raised in the greater Philadelphia area and now resides in Absecon, NJ with his wife and two daughters. With degrees in computer science and finance from DeSales University, he works as a business consultant having advised numerous Fortune 500 companies. Bill's love of yoga started during a surf & yoga retreat he attended in 2014. He came home with a curiosity, started a daily practice, and continued to pursue this new interest by completing the 200 hour yoga teacher certification at Grow Yoga in 2015. Bill loves the community aspect of yoga, connecting with his students, and sharing experiences in and out of the studio including teaching stand up paddle board (SUP) yoga on the water. The connection between yoga and surfing is a constant reminder for him to be in the moment spontaneously and go with the flow of life smoothly. His future goal includes creating surf & yoga retreats to share his experience & love of yoga and the ocean with others.
As a lifelong learner, Heather believes in continual growth and connection. Heather attended Stockton University for a BA in Literature then continued her graduate studies at Rowan University, where she received her Master’s degree in Elementary Education. Heather first came to yoga as a way to stretch outside of the gym atmosphere. After her first class, she realized Baptiste yoga had much more to offer than stretching. Heather completed her 200-hour Teacher Training at Grow Yoga. In addition to teaching yoga,Heather is also a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor. When not in a yoga studio or classroom, Heather enjoys music, working out, traveling, cooking, and always finding something new as a creative outlet. She feels that her daily yoga practice helps to cultivate her teaching and create a deeper connection with the Grow Community. Her future goals include attending Art of Assisting in July 2016 and Baptiste Level One training.
bio and headshot coming soon!!!
Beth started practicing at grow yoga in July 2015 as an adjunct to physical therapy following knee replacement surgery. She has found yoga has given her so much more than physical strength. She has since completed Grow Yoga Kids Teacher Training, Baptiste Art of Assisting and Grow Yoga first YTT intensive program. She brings to Grow 35 years of experience as a physical therapist specializing in pediatrics and adult home care. She is excited to integrate her knowledge of child growth and development, anatomy and physiology into her yoga practice and teaching. When not in the studio Beth can be can be found enjoying time at the beach, cooking, sewing, and spending time with her family.
Angela is passionate about being of service and sharing her love of yoga of yoga with the world.
Her practice began in 2008 while teaching first grade at an inner city elementary school in Philadelphia. Since then she has studied yin, prenatal, alignment-based yoga, kids yoga and completed two 200-hour vinyasa trainings, including Grow Yoga’s first YTT. She also married a Jersey guy. Angela is mama to Max, an energetic preschooler you will see running around the studio building yoga block towers, and new baby Alena. She is thrilled to raise her children in Grow’s welcoming, family-friendly community. Angela holds a M.S. in childhood education and co-created Grow’s 30 Hour Kids Yoga Teacher Training. She also created and leads Grow’s 30 Hour Yin and Prenatal Yoga Trainings and serves as a mentor to new teachers. Aside from yoga, her passions are holistic health, exploring the world, spending time in nature and laughing with good friends. She is originally from Florida and visits her family there frequently. She tries to live every day in her core values of joy, gratitude, kindness and authenticity.
Allie grew up in Voorhees, NJ and attended Stockton University. After graduating in 2011 with a Bachelors Degree in Literature and Elementary Education, she received a teaching job in Galloway. Allie started her yoga path in September 2014 to relieve stress and meet people once moving to a new area. Her love for yoga grew stronger as she found more and more reasons to come to her mat. It was only 6 months into practicing Baptiste yoga that Allie committed to 200 hour teacher training at Grow. Currently, Allie teaches Kindergarten, lives in Margate and practices yoga regularly. She enjoys her time at Grow yoga because it provides her the space to step out of her comfort zone and meet new people. It was Grow Yoga’s teacher training that motivated Allie to leave her summer job of 17 years and try something new. Allie traveled the West Coast for the month of July; seeing and experiencing things she has none done before. Allie is a lover of laughter, peanut butter and Full House. She is excited to be teaching yoga and connecting with the community on a different level!
Steve grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania and moved to Southern New Jersey in 1988. He has a degree in environmental biology and works as an environmental consultant. He has obtained certification both as a Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and volunteers at many projects throughout the area.
Steve has been practicing yoga since 1996 and completed his 200 hour teacher training under Laurie Greene at Yoga Nine in 2007. He has practiced many different forms and styles of yoga throughout the years. Steve brings his light hearted nature and sense of humor to his playful and eclectic teaching style.