Kelsy Timas Board Certified HHP, MBSR, ERYT500, YCEP, iRest® Level 1, Warriors At Ease Faculty
CEO/ Founding Director
Kelsy Timas is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Author, Therapist, Educator, and Speaker/Coach assisting the world in discovering and recovering a life in balance. A lifelong yoga practitioner with a professional background in Quality/Risk Management and Emergency Medicine, Kelsy is on a mission to serve humanity in their journey and return to holism through evidence based mind body practices that support effective performance, resilience and recovery in a life well lived.
Recognized as an industry leader and sought after as a subject matter expert, Kelsy invests her time and talents in people, organizations and communities looking for wellness solutions that move us toward a more productive and integrative world. Her 20+ years of clinical experience, evidence based holistic strategies and vision for the future of collaborative health care is the driving force behind the growth and development of her national Health and Wellness company, Guiding Wellness Institute Inc. Kelsy’s drive and success can be attributed to her deep desire and commitment to creating accessible and sustainable solutions that serve performance, resilience and recovery; pillars of support that allow people to create and live their best life. A natural entrepreneur and pioneering spirit that has never been afraid to create solutions needed in order to find “a better way”, and the sincere belief that she is in service of her life’s calling, Kelsy has blazed a trail that will support many generations to discover, recover and maintain their balance in an ever changing world.
Kelsy serves as the Program/QM Director and Lead Faculty for Warriors at Ease (WAE), was awarded the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year by Reeves Business school in 2019, the Owner and Director of GWI’s Registered Yoga School (RYS) and the Author of LIVE WELL Magazine and BE WELL Podcast.
Devoted to her role as a military spouse and her military family, Kelsy serves, directs and advises many non-profit organizations serving those who serve and their families that sacrifice so much. When she is not teaching or at work running her national operation, Kelsy spends time with her six dogs, her family and close friends, living the message of “Be well” she shares with the world. She is a connoisseur of coffee and french wine, loves cooking from her home potager and taking time for regular sunshine in nature and the outdoors, her favorite people call her “naynay”. Kelsy also enjoys reading, writing, pottery and house projects along with her deepest passions of yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
Director of Food Education
Marsha Howe has always been committed to a healthy lifestyle and to sharing sustainable living skills and whole food nutrition. Learning the principles and the wisdom of nature’s living systems and the miracle of the human body has been a lifelong pursuit and focus of her education.
In addition to her role at Guiding Wellness, Marsha is Founder/Director of Sustainable Neighbors, a Certified Permaculture Eco-Social Designer, MRC Farmers’ Market Consumer Education Outreach Coordinator, Community Emergency Response Team Certified (CERT), and an urban farmer. She teaches and facilitates whole food nutrition presentations, facilitates hands-on organic gardening classes, seasonal cooking from scratch, canning and preserving workshops, and urban farmer trainings and events.
She is committed to the development of sustainable, resilient, food secure neighborhoods that support local urban farmers and other local food chain entrepreneurs to grow a local food system for healthy economic growth. Her work builds relationships that inspire positive action for local food security.
Coral Esparza, LMBT
Since a young age, the health care field has always been Coral’s calling. She started off as a Veterinary Assistant, then went back to school to become a Dental Assistant. Although she enjoyed the knowledge, compassion and understanding she gained in both fields, she felt it was not where she was meant to be. In 2013, Coral was involved in a car accident that caused significant neck injury. She decided to pursue a chiropractor for treatment and it was during this treatment that she met a massage therapist that helped her reduce the pain and tension from her injury.
Amazed at the results, Coral decided to go back to school to became a massage therapist. Her new goal was to make an overall impact on people who, like her, had suffered some form of trauma. She started working for a spa, which she enjoyed, but soon found that deep tissue massage was a more effective form of treatment rather than a relaxing massage, which just reduced stress. She found a chiropractic office that was hiring and thus began her to wellness.
Deep tissue and myotherapy is crucial in order to break down scar tissues adhesion to the surrounding injured area. A holistic approach to treatment with this type of therapy produces amazing, life changing results. Coral has always been able to gain a deeper understanding of massage in general but continues to look for new way to improve her techniques to provide the highest level of care for each person. She feels beyond blessed to have the opportunity to work for yet another team whose goal is to make a difference for every person that walks in the door. She looks forward to meeting each one of you to help you live your best life!
Rolfing Structural Integration
Mike’s 20+ years of unique bodywork experience allows him to view each unique client’s body as a puzzle of relatable intricacies waiting to be solved. He began with getting curious about his own body and wound up joining a martial arts class. He was hooked and quickly realized how moving in non-linear ways often reduced pain and began integrating a new sense of wholeness in his own body. A short time later he needed to learn more and applied to National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL to begin a career in massage therapy. This gave him an extensive background in anatomy and physiology. Having a massage practice brought about a dual sense of integration; his techniques began helping people reduce pain and he was feeling better in his own body while doing the work. Mike continued working on clients and also began developing stretching and exercise protocols clients could use to further their healing.
That still wasn’t enough! Mike found Rolfing Structural Integration™ when a visit to his Rolfer fixed chronic mid-back pain; by working on his ankle! He was so intrigued he found a way to make it to the school that year. A career in Structural Integration has allowed Mike to view your body in many connected dimensions. He can watch you walk and he sees why you are compensating, even if that is not the area that hurts. He blends soft and firm techniques to bring about profound changes in posture and movement. Sometimes this is uncomfortable and it should never hurt. Mike will find a way to deactivate your nervous system and help you let go of patterns which may not suit you anymore. He also practices Rolf Movement™ which is just as integrative as the table work and gives you tools you can use at any time.
Mike uses his integrated body to enjoy yoga, mountain biking and hiking throughout forests, mountains and beaches.
Member Services & Facility Manager, RYT® 200
Mimi has worked closely with the military for 10 years as an overseas contractor. In 2011 she began her yoga practice and fell in love with all of the physical and mental benefits that it created within her own life as well as the lives of the military community around her. When she returned stateside she decided to pursue a Yoge Teacher Training certification and earned her RYT® 200 Certification through The American Yoga Academy in 2019. She is currently engrossed on a journey to expand her knowledge base by working towards her 300 Hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training at Guiding Wellness Institute. Mimi is dedicated to sharing pranayama, movement and mindfulness with diverse and underserved communities in order to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Assistant Program Director, RYT® 200, WAET
Julia comes to us from a very eclectic background. Her first love was always teaching and sharing her passions. Her life’s path had quite a few forks and curves in the road before landing at Guiding Wellness Institute as a Yoga Instructor and Assistant Program Director. Her love of educating, mentoring and learning range from singing (she’s an opera singer!), to business management, to training facilitation, to motorcycle safety. Her passions come alive when she leads a yoga class and shares the benefits of a holistic wellness practice. This midwestern girl loves to belt out a good tune, snuggle with her three fur babies, go on motorcycle rides with her husband, and feed people with her culinary creations.
MS, M.A.P. Advisor, Certified Personal Trainer and Holistic Life Coach
Guanina Palermo-Pinckney is a Holistic Life, Executive and Career Coach with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, a Master’s in Counseling Studies and has completed “All But Dissertation” for her PhD in Community Counseling. A disabled Air Force Veteran and an entrepreneur of a health and wellness business that promotes guided awareness (TeamPPLLC), a Warriors At Ease Level 1 Trained Teacher with certification and experience in Personal Training and Sports Nutrition. Married with three children, a champion for health, wellbeing and supporting her military community, Guanina is determined “Not to Lose ” when it comes to creating a consciousness alignment between one’s mind, body, and soul.
Mary Paige Kurilla
RYT® 500, WAET
Mary Paige began practicing yoga in 2010 and instantly recognized the countless healing benefits yoga has to offer. She completed her 200 RYT Yoga Alliance Certification through YogaFit in 2014 and her 300 RYT with Guiding Wellness in 2021. She is an Army brat and has been an Army spouse for over 25 years. She understands the added stressors of military life and loves serving this community. She is a Certified Warriors as Ease Teacher, specializing in trauma sensitive principles and military culture.
With over 20 years as a group fitness instructor, she has a wealth of understanding of how the body moves and safety is always a priority in her classes. Her classes offer creative sequences with intentional themes, emphasizing the importance of proper alignment, pranayama breathing techniques, and mindfulness.
Modification and advanced options are made available for new students and experienced yogis so that all can reach their potential. She is honored to teach yoga, helping to bring awareness, health, and happiness into other’s lives.
RYT® 200, iRest® Level 1
Lorna Ricotta is an experienced singer, former small business owner, nonprofit leader, and higher education administrator. Her musical experience includes earning a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance, recording artist on solo and group projects, performing on cruise ships in Hawaii and the Caribbean as a cabaret and ensemble artist, and soloist at three NC Governor’s inaugurations, the UNC System President inauguration and at the Carolina Panther’s game. She also earned a Master’s of Business Administration from UNC Pembroke.
Lorna found yoga before 2005 and her personal practice led her to pursue professional training to guide others. She received her designation as an RYT200 in October of 2017 after graduating from a comprehensive program at Guiding Wellness Institute. Lorna’s training included 320 hours of Yoga Theory and Instruction in the areas of Hatha, Ashtanga, Adaptive Yoga for Military and Special Populations, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Pranayama. Her program included specialized training from Warriors at Ease for Trauma Sensitive and Adaptive yoga which supports her ability to provide adequate instruction to a diverse group of students in a variety of environments. With mindfulness as a core value, Lorna enjoys supporting the return to balance with a teaching style full of grace, intention and the power of the breath. She is certified in Stand up Paddleboard Yoga and level one iREST meditation. When she is not working, teaching or practicing, Lorna enjoys being with her family and community, which are her heart’s greatest joys.
Joseph Adames - Shifu(師父)
Northern Fist Kung Fu and Yang Style Taijiquan
Adames Shifu has a very strong background in traditional martial arts and traditional training. He has studied external and internal Chinese Martial Arts for most of his life. He specializes in traditional methods and forms that hail directly from the Shaolin traditions. He has trained in a wide variety of weapons and open hand styles. He has spent over 25 years studying and practicing a variant of Northern Shaolin Mantis combined with Tam Tui (a family style originating in northern China) and is currently studying Tang Quan and application of T’ai Chi for Health as a therapeutic practice.
Adames Shifu serves as 老師(Lao Shi – Senior Instructor) of the Rou Long Ma School of Chinese Martial Arts Kung Fu program. He continues studying and developing his skills while maintaining the traditions of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts.
Adames Shifu has spent considerable time studying the internal art of Taijiquan(Tai Chi) as well. He continues to study it and its health benefits as well as its martial applications. He currently teaches the 8 posture, the simplified 24 posture, Cheng Man-Ch’ing 37 posture, Sun Style 73 Posture, and Tai Chi Weapon Forms. He also teaches Ba duan Jin (Eight Pieces of Brocade), 18 Lo Han and Swimming Dragon Qigong as well as standing and seated meditation techniques. He continues training in the 88 posture Yang family application form and is now certified through the Tai Chi for health Institute.
Adames Shifu combines his extensive knowledge with a patient and reflexive teaching style that motivates children through seniors to do their best and improve their health and fitness.
Alainya teaches a variety of classes.
RYT® 200, WAET, iRest® Level 1
After 25+ years of service, Chris recently retired as an Assistant Chief of Police from the Fayetteville (NC) Police Department. In his last assignment, he served as the Investigative Bureau Commander and supervised over 150 employees. Chris has worked in patrol, investigations, internal affairs and the training division. Prior to law enforcement, he served 3+ years as a U.S. Army officer and served in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield.
In addition to his law enforcement career, Chris has worked as an adjunct criminal justice professor at Methodist University, Fayetteville State University, and currently at North Carolina Central University.
He is a certified yoga instructor and has a passion for improving resilience and operational performance via yoga. In May of 2019, Chris started Yoga911 to enhance the delivery of Yoga / Mindfulness practices. The first Yoga911 YTT was taught in November 2020. Chris has completed the following yoga training: Yoga for First Responders (Level 1 & 2), Warriors at Ease (level 1 & 2), iRest (Level 1), Currently working on his 500-hour certification at Guiding Wellness Institute.
Over the last 3-years, Chris has taught yoga at the following agencies / organizations: Fayetteville Police Department (NC), Fayetteville Fire Department (NC), NC State Bureau of Investigation, NC Justice Academy, Inner Armour, The Station Foundation (Bozeman, MT), Fraternal Order of Police (National Wellness Summit 2020), The Mindful Badge (Portland, OR), Raleigh Police Department (NC), Lone Survivor Foundation (April 2021), Harnett County Sheriff’s Office (NC) (SWAT Team)
Chris has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Dayton. He is also a graduate of the 118th Session of the Officer’s Administrative Course (Southern Police Institute / University of Louisville) and the Senior Management Institute for Police (Police Executive Research Forum).
Currently, Chris works for North Carolina Central University as an Adjunct Professor and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) as a contractor for the VALOR Program, which focuses on police officer safety, wellness and resilience.
E-RYT®200, WAET, iRest® Certified Teacher
Stephanie brings a style of yoga developed from years of studying and practicing different modalities of yoga and healing arts. This comes through in her classes by creating an atmosphere of self- acceptance with the element of fun. Her teachings invite you to explore your limits, physically and mentally, while offering compassion in a safe exploration. Students experience movement in vibrant new ways through breath, strength, flexibility, grace, and relaxation.
She continues her studies in a variety of yogic fields with a focus of yoga as medicine. Married to a former Navy Seal and a retired Army Aviator she has witnessed firsthand how yoga can transform a warrior.
After working with the 3/85th WTU in Fort Drum, N.Y. she continues offerings to separated and active duty soldiers. Stephanie is a Kripalu Yoga certified teacher, a Trauma Sensitive Yoga Instructor, Warriors at Ease Teacher, Ashtanga, Chakra Vinyasa and is an iREST teacher.
Alyssabeth is a writer, educator, and lover of travel. She was lucky enough to be introduced to yoga in middle school, through a family friend who opened a yoga studio; she began practicing restorative yoga and became fascinated with the way breathwork, particularly ujjayi pranayama, could have such an immense impact on reducing stress and anxiety. While living in Southern California, she developed a love for hot yoga, particularly hot vinyasa and yin. She earned her RYT-200 certification at Hot House Yoga in Richmond Virginia. She is currently furthering her yoga education, pursuing her 300 Hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training through Guiding Wellness. When she’s not practicing yoga or teaching writing, she’s likely camping, hiking, and enjoying nature with her husband and puppy, any chance she gets!
Lola is one of our most recent graduates of our 200 Hour Therapeutic Yoga Teacher Training and has decided to join our teaching staff here at GWI! Her passions lie in yin yoga and vinyasa. She recently was transplanted in Fayetteville as a military spouse, but grew up in Savannah, GA. In 2018 she earned her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Armstrong State University. Currently she is working toward earning her nursing degree at Fayetteville State University. Lola is interested in multiple modalities of health studies and recognizes the balance of mind, body, and soul to reach equilibrium and wellness. She aspires to one day use her yoga training to further support patients in the medical field. Until then, she looks forward to growing here as a teacher as well as a student, devoted to learning!
Blandina joined the U.S. Army right out of High School. Boot camp was at the Women’s Army Corp, Ft. McClellan, AL. Her entire cadre and leadership were all women except two male Drill Sergeants. She graduated thinking the rest of the Army looked like that. She had a surprise in store for her! She worked in Human Resources and held multiple leadership positions (Drill Sergeant, Platoon Sergeant, First Sergeant, and Sergeant Major), including being a Paratrooper and Training Instructor. Before military retirement, she earned certifications in Group Exercise Instructor specialties (Aerobics, Yoga, Aqua Aerobics, Kickboxing, Group Cycling [Spinning]) and taught those classes at several fitness facilities (military and non-military) for about five years. Post retirement, she entered the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Federal Civilian career field and achieved a dual Master’s degree in Human Resources and Leadership/Management. She recently graduated from the Guiding Wellness Institute’s 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and began their advanced 300 hour Yoga Teacher Training Program. She intends to teach Yoga and share it with the world through teaching and art. Life, for her, would not be complete without spending lots of time enjoying her family (9 children and 16 grandchildren) and friends.