Meet our Teachers

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Sue (Greenwood) Nesler M.S., M.A., E-RYT 500,
C-IAYT, NCC, PLPC, Owner

Sue (Greenwood) Nesler is a registered yoga instructor with Yoga Alliance and a Certified Yoga Therapist who has been teaching yoga for over 25 years. Sue holds degrees in psychology, rehabilitation administration and mental health counseling. Sue is a nationally certified counselor and practices in Missouri. Sue weaves yoga and mental health therapies together to create a holistic, safe, and brave space for students and clients to explore the deepest and greatest parts of themselves. She specializes in yoga Therapeutics and traditional flow practices on the mat; and healing trauma, decreasing anxiety, and life transitions in the chair. Sue also specializes in women’s health across the board.

Sue is the owner of Yoga East Healing Arts Studio, LLC in Cape Girardeau, MO. Yoga East offers yoga, Qi gong, Tai Chi, and meditation classes, offers yoga teacher trainings at the 200 and 300 hour levels as well as an accredited meditation teacher training. The studio hosts yoga events and retreats and further specializes in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, Yoga Nidra, Sound Healing, and energy work.

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Kelly Downes RYT-500

Kelly Downes grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, and moved to Cape Girardeau in 2015. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Humanities (Fine Art/History) from Michigan State University, and is now pursuing a second Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Southeast Missouri State University. Kelly is also a RYT 500-hour trauma-informed yoga instructor, with additional training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. She is passionate about the cross-section of art and activism, and is particularly interested in the ways that the Humanities can be utilized to create self-sufficient economies, and sustainable prosperity for all living beings. She is very excited to be a part of the arts in the Cape Girardeau community, and hopes that her enthusiasm for all of the arts translates into community participation with the Arts Council. Her life’s greatest work is her son, Bob.

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Judy Grier RN, LMT, E-RYT 500

Yoga has been an ongoing practice and integral part of my lifestyle for the past twenty years. I continue to be an active student as well as teacher and love exploring the journey within. I completed both my  200 hour and 500 hour professional level yoga teacher training at The Kripalu Center for Yoga .  Kripalu Yoga emphasis is on self discovery, personal inquiry , and connecting mind, body and heart through the practice of yoga. It is often described as a “meditation in motion” .  My intention is to offer the teachings of yoga as a transformational process to develop a healthy and strong body, an open and caring heart, and a peaceful and focused mind.

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Maggie Salem RYT-500, Administrative Assistant

Maggie Salem has practiced yoga since 2017. She completed both her 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings here at Yoga East and has been teaching since July of 2020.  Maggie is also a school teacher and brings her knowledge of yoga to the classroom on a regular basis. Her passion is making yoga accessible to anyone who thinks they can't do it. She is known for using props and modifications, making her classes unique, and bringing out her bubbly personality in her teaching style. Her goal as a teacher is to help guide every student toward feeling empowered in their body, mind, and soul. 

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Jennifer Gardner, RYT-200

Jennifer Gardner has practiced yoga since 2011. Her practice has helped her grow stronger and more flexible, both on and off the mat. She completed her 200 hr teacher training at Yoga East Healing Arts studio, in Cape Girardeau, MO. She continues to learn about the many aspects of yoga to enrich her personal practice and that of her students. She feels blessed to have had so many wonderful teachers share their knowledge, wisdom, and love with her. 

Jennifer is an open-hearted teacher, known for her authentic, mindful, and compassionate teaching style. To her, yoga means cultivating a relationship between the body, the mind, and the breath. And in that cultivation, finding peace. The ultimate goal for her is to leave you feeling refreshed and ready for the rest of your day.

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Missy Phegley RYT-500

Missy Phegley is a professor of English at Southeast Missouri State University, and enjoys teaching writing to all levels of students. To balance her academic work, she has been teaching yoga for over 20 years, and continues to be surprised at how often the subjects of her teaching intersect. Missy completed both her 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings at Yoga East Healing Arts. In her spare time, she regularly participates in mountain bike races and gravel bike endurance races. Her motto is "it’s all about balance," and she strives to practice this in her teaching and all other aspects of her life.

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Robin Drury E-RYT 500, YACEP

Robin’s yoga teacher journey began in 2009, when she received her first Yoga Fit certification. She has been teaching yoga in the Cape Girardeau area for more than ten years. In her own words, “Having enjoyed the many benefits of a yoga practice personally, I had a deep desire to share those benefits with others. That’s what motivated me to become a yoga teacher.” She has more than 3,000 hours of experience teaching yoga classes, workshops, and trainings. She invites every student to breathe, relax, and bring the mind and body back to balance. Robin has focused her advanced yoga education on a subject matter close to her heart, helping those suffering with depression and anxiety as well as those dealing with trauma. She has completed 40 hours of training in Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TSY) with Dave Emerson and special guest Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She is in the process of completing the 800-hour yoga therapy program offered by Inner Peace Yoga Therapy. She is also an accredited Level I trainer in Restorative Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater. Robin Drury also works as a lead trainer for Yoga East Healing Arts Studio’s 200-hour yoga teacher training program. 

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Sara McNeil E-RYT 200, YACEP, RYT-500

Sara E. McNeil, E-RYT 200, YACEP, and RYT-500 completed her RYT-200 training with certification in 2014-2015. McNeil was certified as a Relax and Renew® Level 1 trainer in May 2017 by Judith Hanson Lasater. On December 15, 2019, McNeil was awarded her RYT-500 certificate after graduating from Yoga East's 300-hour RYT program, which she attended from August 9, 2018-December 15, 2019. Her teachers were Sue Nesler, MS, E-RYT 500, C-IAYT, PAS II, Judy Grier, RN, LMT, E-RYT 500, and Robin Drury, RYT-500.

McNeil enjoys working with private clients and teaching Yoga Philosophy, Lifestyle, and Ethics in the 200-hour YTT program at Yoga East Healing Arts Studio. Areas of interest include but are not limited to philosophy, ethics, Hindu mythology and cosmology, Sanskrit, Tantra, Hatha yoga, Yin yoga, Chakra and subtle body yoga, Restorative yoga, the neuroscience of yoga and meditation, Taoism, Buddhism, religious studies in general, and all of the above as they appear in artistic representation, both ancient and modern.
McNeil also teaches in Yoga East's 60-hour Meditation Teacher Training program, where she provides an eight-week, 20-hour introduction to Eastern meditation history, methods, and techniques. Yoga East's Meditation Teacher Training is accredited by the International Mindfulness and Meditation Association (IMMA). She is a certified Usui Reiki I practitioner.

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Casey House RYT-500, Program Director

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Leah Sparks RYT-500

Leah Sparks is a 500 HR Registered Yoga Instructor and practitioner. Born and raised in Southeast Missouri. She has spent years working on Spiritual Development and has brought new ways of practicing yoga to the Cape Girardeau Community. Leah is passionate and creative about sharing her knowledge of Yoga and Meditation. Leah has extensive training in many different styles of yoga, Including Hatha, Yin, Restorative, Vinyasa, Trauma Informed Yoga, and Yoga for addiction and behavioral health. Leah has also spent years studying the healing vibrations of Sound. She loves to incorporate Healing instruments in all of her classes. She also offers sensational Sound Healings with Gongs, Singing Bowls, and other instruments. She believes in the power of Yoga, Sound and Meditation and its ability to promote mental, emotional, spiritual health and well-being. Her favorite style of Yoga teach/practice is Kundalini Yoga. She has spent years studying Kundalini Yoga in El Paso, TX and continues training and learning new ways to conscious awareness to the community. Her Kundalini journey has transformed her spiritually, physically, and mentally. In her classes you will experience a dynamic mixture of Movement, Pranayama, Mantra, Meditation, and Sound. Leahs purpose is to facilitate a sacred space for growth and contemplation of all facets of the self.

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Janet Cannon RYT-200

Janet Cannon is a former school teacher turned personal trainer and group exercise instructor. She is certified to teach tai chi, yoga, Les Mills BodyPump, BodyFlow, RPM, and also has certifications in Barre Above. Her specialization is in corrective exercise (flexibility, stability, and balance). She lives with her husband Mike and a wide variety of musical instruments.