Teacher Spotlight: Kacey Davy

Name: Kacey Davy

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Practicing yoga since: 2005

1) Tell us about the first yoga class you took. I had taken a class or two at the gym a few times but I started practicing regularly in 2005. My first class was a really advanced ashtanga class that was way over my head, but I didn’t let that scare me away. I was immediately drawn to the calming and grounding nature of yoga and loved the community environment as opposed to a gym.

Teaching since 2012

2) What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? My teacher training program was actually an apprenticeship program that was ongoing for several years and so I don’t recall the “first class” I ever taught. My apprenticeship consisted of assisting with my teacher on a weekly basis and after about 9 months I began to sub classes, and then earned my own weekly class. What I remember most is supporting and being a part of our community on a daily basis and getting to know each student and their needs.

3) Who/what are your teachers? Why? My teacher is Zoe Mai, from Trishula Yoga in Collingswood, NJ. Trishula is a unique yoga school that offers traditional Ashtanga Mysore practice, yoga philosophy, Sanskrit and meditation practices.  I feel blessed to have the exposure to many aspects of yoga and a teacher who is established in these practices. I never imagined myself to be a teacher, yet Zoe saw something in me and for her faith, I am forever grateful. 

4) In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life?  Yoga has completely transformed my life. I worked in the fashion industry and began practicing yoga as a way to balance out the stress from my hectic work life. Ultimately it’s because of the yoga that I transformed my goals and aspirations and ended up living in Tahoe! The practice of yoga brings awareness to your thoughts and behaviors and brings you closer to, or brings you back to who you really are. When I started to pay attention to my fast paced, stressed out lifestyle I started to change my career goals and eventually gave it all up to pursue a simpler, more active life in a community of like-minded people. Yoga supports everything that I do, it keeps me happy and healthy as well as strong and flexible to pursue all of the outdoor adventures Tahoe has to offer.

5) What does your current yoga practice include? Why? I practice Ashtanga Mysore style 5-6 days a week. I’m currently working on the third series – called sthira bhaga, often translated as strength and grace. Sthira means strength and the practice cultivates strength not only in the body but also the in the mind. It’s a challenging practice but it’s not about the poses. Every day is different and the practice is about keeping the energy moving so at least one or two days a week I practice the primary series. 

6) What currently inspires you? The students who tell me how yoga has changed their life inspire me. I often hear that the practice has given them clarity, or has helped to heal years of pain in the body. For some it helps to calm their minds and make them feel grounded. For others, it makes them strong and feeling good about themselves. I’m honored and humbled to be part of the process.

7) What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? My daily yoga practice keeps me healthy! Also, a short meditation at the end of my asana practice keeps me balanced and feeling grounded. 

8) A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I’ve walked over hot coals, twice! I participated in a couple of empowerment seminars that included a fire walk. I got burned pretty badly the second time and remember telling people at work that I cut my foot while walking barefoot outside for fear that people would think I was crazy walking over hot coals!

9) What do you want to share with the Shala community? I’d like to share that my teaching comes from a place of love. Love for each student in the moment, as you are, without expectation or judgment. I often hear that students are intimidated to try the Ashtanga Mysore method, because they ‘don’t want to think’ and rather be ‘told what to do’, the idea of having to memorize a set sequence seems like ‘too much work’. I’d like to share that there is empowerment in moving, breathing and learning the sequence on your own. Ashtanga also tells you exactly what to do, when to inhale and exhale and what comes next. You just need to memorize a little bit each time. And you’re not alone, we as the teachers work with you individually and help you to learn every step of the way. Every student has begun the same way, with learning the sun salutations and slowly adding on poses once they commit to showing up. Whether it’s once a week or more, the only way to progress is to actually show up and do the work. When you look at other students flowing, what appears to be ‘effortlessly’, through the vinyasas, what you don’t see is that they show up day after day, after month, after year and have committed to the practice.  They’ve struggled and persevered and keep showing up despite the challenges. This is a challenging practice however we modify and make it approachable for every age, and every body type. The Ashtanga method is a system for healing and transforming the body and the mind. The asana practice is a tool to quiet the mind and the stories that we tell ourselves. However it only works if you are willing to take that first step! Come try the Mysore method, there are no expectations, only love and support.

Teacher Spotlight: Andrea Snyder

Tahoe Yoga Shala Teacher Spotlight


Teacher Name: Andrea Snyder

Practicing Yoga Since: 1999 

1). Tell us about the first yoga class you took? My very first yoga class was through the University. The instructor was young and I think overwhelmed. We didn’t do much, but I remember the first class she had us sit back to back and do breathing exercises where we had to sink our breath and concentrate on drawing our navels towards each other. I remember being so sore the next day. I haven’t done anything like it in a class since. Unfortunately, the college class didn’t end up leaving a good impression on me and my experience with yoga for the next 10 years was spotty and inconsistent. I “refound” yoga in my early 30's and then I fell in love with it. I was looking for something to help replace the feeling of peace that I got from running. Yoga allowed me to shut off my “monkey mind” and allow my body and mind to completely connect in a way that was magical and powerful. Through my new found practice, I felt strong for the first time in my life. Both mentally and physically. I took that first class, and have been practicing almost daily since. Every time I get on my mat, I learn something new about myself and my body.

Teaching Yoga Since: 2013

2). What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? I taught my first class to my boyfriend. He had done yoga regularly for years before we’d met and had decided eventually that it wasn’t for him. I knew this going into it. The class I attempted to teach him was way too advanced and the experience was awful. I could tell he was miserable and I asked several times if he wanted to stop. His response was “if you want to quit and give up, that’s up to you”. I kept going and got through the entire sequence and have pretty much considered him as my most difficult student.

3). Who/what are your teachers? Why? Every person who I have ever taken a class from has been my teacher. I love taking yoga to this day and I look at it as a constant opportunity to be a sponge and absorb everything that they have to teach me. My students are also very much my teachers. Because I teach so many level 1 classes, I am constantly faced with new faces and bodies who are trying this moving thing out for the first time. Every new body is a challenge for me. Every question they ask is an opportunity to look at movement in a whole new way.

4). In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life? I have a degree in Archaeology. At the time that I made the choice to go to teacher training, I was in the process of getting my Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology and I was miserable. I was managing a yoga studio at the time and found myself wanting to be there and be on my mat all the time. School had always been fun to me, but it had become a duty. I was lying in bed one day feeling sorry for myself because I had a 25 page paper to write and the thought, “what if I could do yoga all day” popped into my head. It stuck there. I turned the idea over and over for weeks. I finally brought up the idea of teacher training with my boyfriend and his response was “I was wondering when you would finally do it”. I dropped out of school two days later and started teacher training within 2 weeks. I haven’t regretted my decision a day since. I am in love with teaching and my new life.

5). What does your current yoga practice include? Why? My current practice is a mixture of taking classes when I can, doing my own set sequence, and working through my classes for the week. I try to never teach anything that I haven’t done myself. Sometimes that means doing the class that I am teaching you five times in a row until I feel I’ve worked out what I need.

6). What currently inspires you? People who have passion. Passion for anything whether it’s yoga, or dance, or music. I love watching and being around people who are doing what they love.

7). What is your favorite season? Why? I’m weird. I like all seasons, but Spring. I love Summer because I like to hike, swim, canoe and just be outside in the sun. I love the Fall for the colors, for boots and comfy sweaters, and for the smell of fall. I love Winter because I love, love, love the snow. I learned to downhill ski for the first time this year and now I love winter even more!

8). What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? Yoga! Yoga keeps me balanced. I definitely can feel a change both mentally and physically when I don’t get to practice regularly. My dog also keeps me balanced. He keeps me in the present.

9). A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I was a line tech for the cable company for 10 years. I climbed telephone poles with nothing more than 2 inch spikes on my feet. I also lived in Peru off and on through my undergrad degree. That’s much more fun to talk about. It’s my favorite place on earth, other than Fallen Leaf Lake!

10). What do you want to share with the Shala community? I think that what I’d like to share is something that nobody ever told me when I first started yoga. At some point you might fall deeply in love with yoga. It might be what gets you through the day or helps you overcome a break-up or hardship. Like everything else, you might wake up one day and feel like yoga is no longer there for you. Like this thing that was there is no longer working. Just know, that the feelings will come back. It might mean that you take a break for a week or so. It might mean that you need to try a different teacher or style. Know that this practice of yours, wherever it’s at, will always be there for you waiting right where you left it.

Teacher Spotlight: Tara Hostnik

Tahoe Yoga Shala Teacher Spotlight Teacher

Name: Tara Hostnik

Practicing Yoga Since: 2005

 1). Tell us about the first yoga class you took. I was in college and signed up for a yoga class through our student intramural program. I wanted to try something new and never expected the practice to become a lifelong passion. I remember feeling awkward and struggled through a lot of the postures. Some of the postures just felt so uncomfortable. What hooked me was the savasana. I’ll never forget how relaxed I felt and I almost didn’t get up!

 Teaching Yoga Since: 2014

 2). What do you remember of the first yoga class you taught? It was so scary! We had to teach to peers in our training program and I wanted everything to be perfect. I remember planning the class and struggling to figure out how to build something to accommodate a diversity of bodies, abilities and preferences. During my training I learned there are so many reasons people do yoga- for strength, relaxation, socialization, building confidence or to lose weight to name a few. How could I possibly impress everyone? The best part was building my playlist and playing DJ. When the moment came to teach, I was so nervous and it took me about halfway through class before I found my voice and felt comfortable. In the end, it was a huge rush and like most things, I impressed myself for taking a risk and trying something I didn’t think I was qualified for or capable of doing.

3). Who/what are your teachers? Why? As a seasonal outdoor educator and traveler for the past ten years I have moved around a lot or lived in isolated places far away from a traditional yoga studio. Thus I never had a consistent teacher outside of DVDs and online trainings. I have visited many studios in my travels, trying different styles and teachers and spent a lot of time practicing on my own. I am inspired by the outdoors and I suppose the natural world plays a large role in my practice (I am always willing to practice outside)! However, my favorite teachers are Shiva Rea and Stephanie Snyder. Shiva’s classes always felt like a dance and I loved her movements. Stephanie’s classes are heart-centered, rigorous and dedicated to building strength which has improved my abilities as an outdoor athlete. Additionally, Troy McPeak of Peak Beings has been a huge inspiration and teacher of mine. He is one of the most compassionate, thoughtful and non-judgemental people I know and my style is highly rooted in his teachings.

4). In what ways has yoga supported or impacted your life? Yoga has been the center for my spiritual growth, emotional health and physical wellbeing. What started as a means for physical health and stretching turned out to be so much more.  I remember while taking my yoga teacher training in Hawaii I was given the chance to try ecstatic dance. In the middle of the vibrant, dynamic and sweaty experience I started to cry. It had been so long since I had danced and was feeling empowered by the training. I was so happy that crying just felt like a huge release, like I was free.  I walked out of the dance hall to journal and process my feelings. I had a few epiphanies that day but one was that I need to aim for joy every day of my life. Yoga has helped me do this and I try to live by this message every day, knowing that some days will ultimately be better than others. But we aim for joy either way. Just like we aim towards a forward fold, crow or into a headstand. It’s all a process.

 5). What does your current yoga practice include? Why? After arriving to Tahoe Yoga Shala I have begun practicing Ashtanga yoga. I am interested in incorporating more breath work, chanting and philosophy into my personal practice and am thrilled to be a part of the Shala’s Ashtanga community. Additionally, I consider teaching as a part of my practice, to share what has helped me in so many ways. I hope to inspire not only a larger yoga community but a healthy one that is rooted in both self-love and love for others.

6). What currently inspires you? To be completely honest, I am absolutely inspired by Tahoe. This place is special in so many ways and I can’t wait to spend more time playing in the mountains and finding little nooks to practice my yoga. I love the community and hope to inspire a devotion to spiritual growth, physical and emotional wellbeing for the people I meet and interact with, either through yoga or other vehicles for health.

 7). What is your favorite season? Why? Mmmm, that is a hard one. I have always loved fall. Growing up in New England, I looked forward to cooler temperatures, fall colors, football season, the start of the school year and falling into a new routine. I was a nerd and loved organizing my new school supplies and being a student. I have yet to experience summer and fall in Tahoe so I suppose I will find out!

8). What secret helps you to maintain balance and stay healthy? I think it’s important to understand what makes you happy. Sometimes being happy means practicing yoga, eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep while other days it might be letting loose at a party or dancing to live music with a cold IPA! Other days it might be going on a solo outdoor adventure or visiting with a friend and engaging in conversation. You are the only person who understands your physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing and you can’t allow the pressures or judgements of society to interfere with following what makes you happy. Don’t feel bad about your needs and pay attention to how certain activities, people or things make you feel. That is what I believe yoga teaches us. It teaches us to pay attention to ourselves on multiple levels and to love ourselves without judgement. If you can integrate what makes you happy into your lifestyle, focus on things that also make you feel good and try not to follow somebody else’s rules, I think you have found your balance.

9). A fun fact most people don’t know about you? I am a huge science nerd and nothing makes me happier than when I get to talk about forest ecology, astronomy or wildflowers to somebody willing to listen.

10). What do you want to share with the Shala community? I am so grateful to be welcomed into this incredible community and hope together we can maintain and grow our compassionate, healthy, inviting and heart-centered group. Namaste.