• Our Teachers

  • Welcome to StarFish Dance & Yoga (formerly Yoga & Nia For Life). We have been sharing yoga, dance and body-centered ways of being in West Concord, MA since 1995.  As teachers, we are here to share the practices that help keep us centered, grounded, connected to our healthiest selves and thriving in our bodies. We look forward to meeting you!

  • Maria Skinner

    BeSoul™ Dance, Dance Spells™, Ageless Grace

    Maria's Blog

    Maria Skinner is the owner of StarFish Dance & Yoga (formerly Yoga & Nia For Life) in West Concord, MA. She is a BeSoul™ Dance Practitioner, Nia Black Belted, former Nia White Belt Trainer,  creatrix of Moga and Elements in Movement, MoveMyWay, and Embodied Astrology. She is also a Certified Ageless Grace® Educator. Maria co-authored the Spanish translation of Our Bodies, Ourselves; Nuestros Cuerpos, Nuestras Vidas, and contributed to My Hungry Head by Marybeth Sherrin. 

    I’ve devoted most of my life to learning to love being in my body and in a human body. At some point, I realized that the only time I felt completely happy to be embodied was when I was dancing. So I dance and danced a lot! My earliest memories are of being at Playa Hermosa in Uruguay and sensing the warm air on my skin. I was at the beach and the sea grass was between my toes, the waves were crashing, the sun was setting. And I had a wonderful erotic experience of the earth and my movement in it.  At that moment, 3 or 4 years old, I was in my body, I felt truly ALIVE as I was dancing with the earth. What happened between then and the time that I realized I was not in love with being me anymore, I am not sure, but the path back to that sensation has been long, delightful and often painful.  In 1997, I dscovered Nia, which game me a vessel through which to share what I love, dance and music, with others. This journey regain my ANIMAL body, my body that is part of the earth and enjoys the pleasures of this planet as such, has brought me so many gifts, including the development of Moga and BeSoul Dance. Recently, Ageless Grace has connected me back to the playful child that loved to explore movement for its own sake.

    As an astrologer, I bring the journey of embodiment to bear. My readings will help you ground and use the things that are already in you and in your life to rise to a higher potential. The patterns that live through you are here for your unfolding. I can help you hone your map!

  • John Calabria

    Styles: Peaceful Mindful Yoga, Beginner Yoga, Yoga & Meditation


    I've been practicing the journey inward for much of my life. I've studied for thousands of hours, with all the living masters. I'e taught thousands of classes to many thousands of students… But what and why I teach is so much more about you, and your experience of Yoga. Still interested in where I come from? Okay, then here's the obligatory bio:

    Read more about John.

  • Ana Ayvazian

    Styles: Gentle Yoga, Nia

    Ana has been teaching Yoga since 2010. She studied at the Arlington Center with Daniel Orlansky and Liz Owen and received her 200 hour training in the Yoga of Energy Flow. Since then she has studied under Gary Kraftsow in the Viniyoga tradition.  In 2003 she began teaching the Nia Technique founded by Debbie and Carlos Rosas. She brings warmth and joy to her classes.

  • Suzanne Gainer

    Sub for BeSoul

    Suzanne is a Nia White Belt Instructor, a classically trained dancer, a visual artist, a professor and a self-proclaimed salsa fanatic. In college, she started out as a dance major, but finished with a degree in Communication and went on to receive her MFA in Photography from RISD. This led her to her current position at Worcester State University where she is a professor of photography and design. And while she hasn’t given up her day job (yet), you will find her most days dancing at YNFL. Suzanne’s first love is dance. Be it nia, hip hop, jazz, ballet or salsa, moving her body is where she believes she is her most authentic self. 

  • Holly Kania

    Sub for BeSoul, Nia & Ageless Grace

    A certified Brown Belt instructor in Nia Technique and a Certified Ageless Grace® Educator, Holly has taught Nia classes in Metrowest Boston for four years. She teaches weekly at Yoga & Nia for Life (Tuesdays at 9 a.m.) and Lumina at the Longfellow Club in Wayland (Wednesdays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m). When she’s not undulating and shimmying, Holly is a writer who also dabbles in graphic design. In her spare time, she is a vocalist with the women’s a cappella group “BroadBand.” She is passionate about sharing the joy of movement through Nia technique, and can’t wait to dance with you. 
    Holly has a great blog called A Body Story. Read and follow for some great inspiration and deep rumination.

  • Kathy Lubar

    Mindfulness Meditation

     Kathy Lubar, Co-author of the best selling book, Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach out, Motivate, and Inspire, offers her clients the experience of coach, teacher, leader, and actress. Kathy co-founded The Ariel Group, a global leadership development company, and served as its President for twenty years. As an educator, Kathy has worked with a wide variety of students, including business professionals, lawyers, teachers, actors, and women prisoners. Kathy has been practicing mindfulness meditation for over forty years.  She has taught mindfulness to adults, primarily to leaders in the corporate setting, but also to students on meditation retreats and to students and teachers in schools. 

  • Robyn Maltz

    BeSoul™ Dance & Nia

    I have been teaching Nia for twenty years. I enjoy teaching more with each passing day. Nia has been a deep source of authenticity for me and has provided me with  deep connections with amazing people that I am grateful to call my friends. I also have used the principles of Nia in my psychotherapy practice. As a result of my Nia experiences my psychotherapy practice became  body centered and deepened the healing for all of my clients and for myself. Besides being a Black Belt Nia Instructor and Clinical Social Worker in private practice, I am also a Licensed Timbo Facilitator, and a BeSoul Dance Practitioner. Timbo is a mindfulness based program designed to help people recover from trauma. I am hoping to start a program at the VA in  Bedford for women veterans this October 2015.  I am also proud to say that I have created many mind- body workshops to help people live more fulfilling and embodied lives.

  • Lisa Pearl

    Sub for BeSoul, Nia, Ageless Grace

    Discovering the artistry of the teachers in this welcoming studio was the inspiration that brought me to teaching Nia. While every class at YNFL is an exceptional experience in healthy integration of mind, body and spirit, I loved Nia for the playfulness of movement and music. And bonus…no experience or training needed. Just step right in! Every body is welcome!

    Lisa Pearl, Brown Belt Nia instructor, is delighted and honored to be a part of the YNFL faculty offering workshops and pop-up Friday night Nia jams.  

  • Amy Podolsky

    Sub for BeSoul, Nia, Ageless Grace

    Amy Podolsky is a Brown Belt Nia Instructor who has been teaching since 2009. She is at her absolute best when moving with Community!  In January 2015, Amy became a Certified Ageless Grace® Educator and an Ageless Grace Trainer. "Ageless Grace kind of snuck up and rocked my world. I love teaching these classes because everyone is smiling and laughing - it's a joy to be a part of!  I've noticed that my thinking is quicker and clearer since I started practicing AG, but what has surprised me most is how connected I feel to both my body and mind. It's the perfect complement to my Nia practice."  Amy's classes are fun, upbeat and deeply soulful as well. She is the self proclaimed "Cruise Director" who adores YNFL's thriving community, and is always up for a good Nia jam, workshop, retreat and/or party. Come aboard - she's expecting you!