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.
After graduating from high school, Tarin went on to volunteer in children's homes and women's prisons across the USA, in Kenya, Africa, and in India, with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). She was also a surfer and surf instructor sponsored by Rusty. After settling back home in South Jersey and starting a family, Tarin pursued her passion of becoming a birth doula and lactation counselor. She completed her training through DONA and The Healthy Children's Project Intl in 2013. She still enjoys a good wave in between yoga and kids events. Tarin is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher.
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.
Ryan is a nature loving adventurer who enjoys spending her time with family, friends and sightseeing. Born and raised in the South Jersey area, Ryan loves going to the beach, hiking, camping and just being in the sun. She stumbled across a yoga studio in Linwood, where she fell in love with the style of Baptiste yoga. It was not until Ryan found Grow Yoga in Galloway that she discovered her passion for teaching. For Ryan, yoga was the gateway to discovering herself. This style of yoga has made a huge positive impact on her attitude and outlook on life. It has helped her to mentally unwind along with becoming more aware of how her body and mind work together. Ryan attended Art of Assisting this July and is planning to attend a Level One program in 2017. This is just the beginning for Ryan, for her dream is to have her own yoga studio one day in hopes of positively impacting others like the Grow Yoga and the Baptiste community has impacted her.
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.
Nicole, born and raised in South Jersey, discovered Baptiste Yoga in 2013. She graduated from La Salle University with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education. When she’s not attending yoga, Nicole is a 5th Grade Special Education Teacher and loves to incorporate what she’s learned through her yoga teacher training to her students. Spending time with family and friends holds a strong importance in Nicole’s life. She enjoys cooking, music, running, outdoors, exploring new places, being of service, and the beach. Throughout Nicole’s life, she has always been active with sports and outdoor activities. After college, Nicole started getting involved in running half marathons and 5ks to do two things she loves: being of service to others and physical fitness. Nicole originally explored yoga to expand her physical fitness and to become a better runner. When she found Baptiste Yoga, she found out Yoga was much more than a sweaty workout. Nicole found connection, ease, belonging, possibility, empowerment, fun, community, and joy. She is a 200 hour Grow Yoga Certified Teacher. Nicole wants to continue to grow and will be attending Art of Assisting in August.
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.
Ashley is originally from Doylestown, PA, and now resides in Absecon, NJ with her husband and two daughters. While looking to stay physically active and compliment her commitment to proper nutrition, she started practicing in 2013 and quickly discovered a new found passion stemming from the combination yoga brings in movement of the body and stillness of the mind. As a personal health & wellness coach, Ashley communicates the value of nutrition, fitness and mindset to her clients, and her yoga practice is a reflection of all three. For Ashley, yoga is joy, presence and ease. Inspired by the spirituality, connectedness and relationships of the Baptiste yoga community, she pursued and completed her teaching certification from Grace & Glory Yoga in Philadelphia, PA. Extending her yoga practice to her husband and daughters, Ashley has led the transformation of the lives of her own family, and is committed to share the passion of living a healthy, active lifestyle with others in the community. She's dedicated to continuing her education starting with attendance of Baptiste Yoga's Level One training.
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.
After being in a car accident Kristen was left with chronic back pain that made going to the gym very difficult. In 2012, she decided to try yoga with hopes of relieving her lower back issues. What she found was that yoga not only helped to reduce her pain, but it also created an overall calm and balance in her life that she hadn’t known was missing. Yoga provided the physical and mental practice that helped her to strengthen her body and her mind.
Outside of the studio you can find Kristen teaching time’s tables and frequently repeating directions as a 4th grade teacher. Besides working with children and yoga, her passions include hiking, the beach, and finding new adventures.
Kristen completed her 200 Hour Teacher Training at Grow Yoga in Galloway this past spring. She also completed Art of Assisting through the Baptiste Institute and plans on continuing her growth by completing Advanced Art of Assisting and Baptiste Level 1 in the near future.
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.
Emily Lewis is a current student at Rowan University studying Theatre and Dance. She fell in love with Grow Yoga in 2015 and has barely left her mat since. Through her yoga journey, Emily has developed her personal practice to help ease the gap between yoga and theatre, as well as everyday life. She is deeply passionate about Kids Yoga, and she believes that yoga is truly for everyone. As a part of Kids Yoga, Emily is in the process of creating a program for grieving children to help them understand their individual grief process, and develop ways that they can free themselves of any burdens this loss might bring. After losing her father in 2008, yoga has been the biggest relief for Emily, and she strives to share that relief with as many people as she can. Emily attended Baptiste Kids in Summer 2016, and plans to attend AoA and Level One in the next year.
Desiree loves to laugh! Her core values are founded in faith, compassion, and family. She came to yoga because of chronic back pain. After spending countless hours in various doctors’ offices, she decided to try yoga. What she found was it not only offered the physical restoration that she was looking for, but it also opened up space for healing and growth in other areas of her life. In this way, yoga gave her back some life that the pain took away. Beyond what it has done for her pain management, she loves that this practice encourages her to meet herself where she is and to approach every day as having the potential to be something new and exciting. Desiree is drawn to teaching in the yoga studio and the classroom as an opportunity to extend compassion, service, and learning new things. She has an ever-growing list of things. She completed her 200 hour yoga teaching certification from Grace & Glory Yoga and attended Baptiste Level One in February 2015 and Level Two in July 2015. She is committed to finishing her dissertation and being a constant student. She acknowledges that there is always something to learn and this is what brings about the transformation that inspires growth. Desiree truly loves/values her relationships with: God, her family and her friends.
Sam is rooted in the essence of the ocean having been born and raised along the South Jersey beaches. The beaches carry many of Sam’s favorite memories; especially the day she married her husband, Chris. She attended the University of Delaware for a BS in Education and achieved her MAED in Special Education at Stockton University. Sam’s yoga practice began in college as a way to get together with friends. It was unknown to her at the time how yoga would evolve into much more. Sam completed her 200-hour training as part of Grow Yoga’s first class of teacher trainees! It was within those ten weeks she discovered her own power within the practice. Sam aspires to bring passion and compassion to the Grow community. She is the lead for the SUP team. Off her mat, she is a middle school teacher in Wildwood. Having now completed the 30-hour Yin training, Sam wishes to only continue growing and learning from this dynamic community. Her future goals include attending advanced teacher training.
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.
Jamie, above all else, values the connections she makes both on and off the yoga mat. Her family, husband and two daughters, serve as a constant reminder to be present and find joy in life's smallest moments. A Massachusetts native, Jamie travels the country as a "coastie wife." While yoga has given her the tools to know her body and mind better, Grow Yoga has given her the beautiful connections that have made South Jersey "home."
Her exuberant personality, positive outlook on life, and pure love for the practice are qualities she brings as a student and teacher. As a dancer for 20 years and now a passionate yogi, she knows the value of feeling connected to her body and mind. Those are the gifts she hopes to bring to her teaching. She completed her 200-hour yoga teaching certificate through Grow Yoga and has goals to go on to Art of Assisting and someday Level 1. The future is bright for Jamie and she is thrilled to share it with the community.
Maria was raised in the Poconos and earned her Bachelor's in Elementary Education from East Stroudsburg University. She moved to South Jersey after graduating college and has been teaching in Northfield ever since. Maria earned her Master’s in Reading Education from Rowan University and is certified as a Reading Specialist. A lifelong learner, she enrolled in a second graduate program and became certified as a Teacher of the Handicapped. Maria turned to yoga in 2008 as a way to relieve stress and discovered so much more! She fell in love with the practice and completed her first 200 hour yoga teacher training at Yoga Zone in 2011. Teaching Beach Yoga in the summer became her passion because she loves the serenity of practicing in nature. Maria started practicing Baptiste yoga in 2013 and found her way to Grow in 2016. The strong sense of community and belonging here is what made her commit to her second 200 hour teacher training as part of GYTT04, the first week long intensive training in the summer of 2016. Maria attended Art of Assisting and plans to attend Kids Yoga training and Level 1 in the future. When not in the classroom or yoga studio, she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her husband and their 4 daughters. Maria says all of her life experiences have molded her teaching of yoga to come from a place of love, compassion, and acceptance.
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!
Sabina was born and raised in North Jersey. Sabina relocated to South Jersey in 2012 to begin her journey at Stockton. Sabina graduated in May 2016 with her BS in Health Science and will graduate in May 2018 with her MS in Communication Disorders. Sabina found Grow Yoga shorty after their doors opened in search of finding a regular yoga practice and a way to de-stress from classes. After beginning her yoga practice back in high school, it was comforting and encouraging to finally find a studio that was so welcoming. After a year into her practice at Grow, she wanted to create deeper connections and begin to share the relief that yoga has given her. Sabina completed her 200-hour Teaching Training with GYTT03, the first class to graduate at Glassboro! Sabina attended Art of Assisting in July 2016 and her future goal is to attend Baptiste Level One training.
Regina was born and raised right here in South Jersey. She attended ACCC and Stockton College and teaches science at a local middle school. Regina sought out Baptiste yoga as an addition to her regular workout regimen and got so much more than she bargained for. Baptiste yoga gave Regina not only a physical outlet but also a newfound outlook on life. The practice changed her life so much she committed to a 200 hour teacher training with Grow Yoga. Emphasizing connection, love, faith, integrity and not being afraid to come apart yoga made Regina a better mother, friend, teacher and all around better human. Regina looks forward to sharing her knowledge of yoga with the community and continuing her own self-inquiry by attending additional Baptiste training.
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.