We have a great group of talented instructors who help create
the most amazing yoga experience you will have!
Click on their photo to find out more about each one.
- Kacie SteinmetzNEW OWNER!
- Robert Sturt
- Karen Babcock
- Suzanne Toone
- Tessa Price
- Gretchen Alexandria Allen
- Jackie Sawyer
My vision for Shine Yoga is to be the kind of studio where everyone feels safe to practice and open themselves up to the kind of healing that comes from self-awareness, stillness together with movement, shared community with other warm and accepting souls. We know that doing yoga has nothing to do with your body type, flexibility, or previous experience. In fact, our previous owner used to often say, “If you can breathe, then you can do yoga.”
Armed with a degree in music theatre and a heart for helping others, I blindly set out into the big world in the late 90’s with very little direction and no plan. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted and my path unfolded very slowly. I took my first yoga class at the Hampton Family YMCA in 2000 and I was hooked! I finally gave in to the burning desire to pursue yoga as a teacher in 2005 when I was pregnant with my son. There are few things that have fit me so well. I love the physical practice of the asanas and the yogic principles of lovingkindness and simplicity and stillness, just for starters.
After a daughter in 2008 and a divorce in 2010, I decided it was time to define who I was and what I really wanted to do with my life! I received my life coach certification in February 2013 and moved to Virginia Beach in July the same year and became a new bride at 38! There are few things that teach you more about yourself than a second marriage. It’s been a huge blessing.
My experience in helping to run a small business varies from a yacht broker to a small site design firm to my own relationship coaching practice! These experiences have prepared me for some of the more challenging aspects of small business ownership. But I am much more at home in a yoga studio! This transition has felt very much like coming to center for me since yoga and meditation have been such a big part of my life for so long.
Matt and I live practically right around the corner from the studio with our four middle and high-school aged children and our two dogs. In a transition to a world geographically 45 minutes from my home but a world away from the culture, I feel so much like I am where I am supposed to be. It is so important to me to share that level of joy and peace with others through the practice of yoga.
Robert, I look so forward to Tuesday’s and especially your class. Yours was the first yoga class I attended and remains my favorite- always leave feeling love and light- Namaste. — Jen Z. Va Beach, VA
Karen fills the room completely with the heart of yoga. I always leave feeling full of bliss. Thank you Karen!” – Tessa
Karen first found yoga in 2004 after the birth of her second son, shortly after leaving corporate America.
Karen holds specialties in yoga therapy, back therapeutic yoga, restorative yoga, prenatal yoga, yoga for the larger body, seniors yoga, chair yoga, kids, yoga for eating disorders and Pilates. Karen has had many and nearly countless inspirational teachers along the way.
Her philosophy is that yoga should be accessible and safe for everybody. We should each be honoring our bodies where they are on any given day. Each time we step on our mat it’s a new opportunity to transform mind, body and spirit. And on a grander scale, that gives us opportunity to transform the world around us on our journeys to be the best version of ourselves that we can be on each given day.
Yoga is a practice, enjoy the journey.
Suzanne's candlelight yoga class is amazing and the perfect end to the work day and the middle of the work week; relaxing and reinvigorating. My husband and teenage son attended with me last night and both loved the class and Suzanne. Shine has such a welcoming and warm vibe. I'm so glad I found it!!! —Lawren Williamson
Suzanne Toones Story
I started my yoga journey about 8 years ago when I stepped foot into a beginner yoga class after reading a sign that said “life begins at the end of your comfort zone, do something outside of your bubble every day” Yoga changed my life. Meeting yogis of different backgrounds, ages, and body types inspired me to move forward and take my teaching certification at the age of 41. I knew I wanted to share the gift, and inspire people by showing them that yoga is for any body no matter what type of body or limitation we may have. Allow the yoga to change to meet the individuals needs.
I truly enjoy teaching the softer side of yoga, keeping it gentle and beginner friendly, with modifications utilizing yoga props. Since graduating teacher training, I have studied yin yoga and chair yoga. I have also studied up to 2nd degree Usui reiki, chakra therapy and crystal healing therapy. My favorite hobby is painting.
Tess- Great way to start an amazing day! You have a spectacular way to relax anyone. Thank you! —Jordyn & Arlene, Va Beach, VA 2018
Tessa grew up in the hill country of Texas. A Navy wife, very happy to currently be setting roots and opening her heart in Virginia Beach.
She discovered yoga in 2008, finding her mat as a place to “tune in” during her busy life as a tired college student, waitress, and musician. Experiencing the profound impact of yoga in her own life for over 10 years, Tessa took her study deeper and became a certified yoga teacher through Yoga Alliance.
Tessa enjoys holding a light-hearted space to share the joyful exploration of yoga. By focusing on the foundations, she emphasizes breath-work, alignment, and quieting the mind. She encourages her students to pause and listen to the integrity of the mind body connection and honor their unique strengths.
Tessa believes that yoga is a place to be made safe for every body, she remains open to continuously learn new styles and techniques to support every student that steps into the class.
Gretchen Alexandria Allen
I started practicing yoga in 1990. As a wife, a stay at home mom of 3 teenagers and attending college full time, I felt the need to participate in an activity that would fulfill my needs on a physical and mental level. Yoga was the best fit plus a yoga studio had just opened near my home.
I can account from experience, the healing powers of yoga as a 16 year cancer survivor. I meditated through chemo and visualized my daily practice which got me through the ordeal. My physician recognized my positive perspective and resilience that came from my practice. My husband witnessed how my practice worked, he started going to yoga with me in 2005 and hasn’t stopped. I may not be able to do the perfect physical poses but mentally and spiritually I’m there.
My Sankalpa is to be teaching and helping individuals that may be going through a trying time regardless of their situation, that they can be present, breathe and heal.
New to teaching at Shine, Jackie is a perfect fit for our team of easy-going and compassionate instructors. Having practiced at Shine for three years, it was a natural choice to have Jackie officially join the team.
Jackie and her husband have a small cottage in Kill Devil Hills where they like to occasionally escape and enjoy the great outdoors. They have two daughters and four grandchildren plus three large granddogs. Jackie’s currently an early childhood special education teacher’s assistant at Kempsville Elementary and when she’s not wondering if we’ll ever be back in school, Jackie loves to play golf, ride her bike and go kayaking.