About Your Teachers at Swan River Yoga

Michele Baker:
Founder of Swan River Yoga and Co-Owner of all 3 locations

--- Michelle Baker is the Founder of New Orleans' based Swan River Yoga (with 3 locations) and has been teaching yoga full time in the entire Gulf Region, NYC & Internationally since her first certification in 1998.

   Her primary trainings & certifications are with Jivamukti Yoga, Anusara & Ashtanga. She has studied in Mysore, India, the birthplace of Hatha Yoga as we know it today. Having started with severe scoliosis as incentive, she is also a Reiki Level III Master, working with the fine tuning of Subtle body and has a certification in Ayurvedic Thai Yoga Massage from Thailand for optimal therapeutics of the body's unique forms.

   Her deepest passion also lies in Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. This has lead her to numerous trips to India to experience the ecstatic in the form of mantra & bhajan chanting, harmonium, Sanskrit & sargam scale studies, feeding others through her inspired seed of Good Karma Prasad Cafe (the first veg cafe in New Orleans of it's kind) & Seva, selfless service.

   She is a member of the mantra group Bhakti Caravan with many Krishna Devotees, leading vocals, dance, crystal bowl concerts & gong. She offers lessons in mantra & harmonium from her training in India. She is also working on recording a c.d.

   Michelle loves to travel and has lead numerous retreats around the world including Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Thailand, India and Bali.

   Michelle heads the Swan River Yoga Teacher Training, the very first one in the history of New Orleans since the year 2005 and offers Advanced studies, Meditation Classes, the Art of Assists, Reiki & Bhakti Workshops.

   She honors all of the beings that have influenced her deeply & of whom she has studied with personally, including Ram Dass, Sharon Gannon, Radhanath Swami, Shri K Pattabhi Jois, Geshe Michael Roach, Jaya Shree, the trees, the ocean, the stars & the elements as well as the many deep retreats, ceremonies & Shivananda ashrams she has gone to in continuing the service of offering authentic yoga, community, integrity, music, art, selfless service & Love with a capital L.

Read Michele's Blog here.

Contact Michele: Michelle@SwanRiverYoga.com


Keith Porteous: Co-Owner of all Swan River Yoga Locations

--- Keith is grateful everyday for the teachings of yoga and for the Swan River community. Her greatest teachers are her family, including her children Arthur and Louise, her teachers Geshe Michael Roach, Lady Ruth Lauer Manetti, Lama Marut, Sharon Gannon, David Life, and the Swan River teachers and students themselves. A graduate of Princeton University, Keith studies the philosophy behind the physical practice and loves to share with interested students. She is currently studying the Lam Rim with Geshe Michael Roach (and will be for the next 15 years). Her favorite social activity is the SIX TIMES A DAY BOOK CLUB, a funny and friendly way to empower your practice off the mat. For more information on the 6 x a Day Book Club, please click here. Trained as a singer, she sings in every class and hopes you will join in, too! Every Friday at 10:30 AM she meets with fellow students and teachers to discuss the dharma. For 2012, the class is taking a slow walk through the Yoga Sutras. Beginning in 2013, we will read The Garden, be Geshe Michael Roach. All are welcome. May your practice bring peace to you and everyone in your world.

Six Times a Day Book Club

Contact Keith: Keith@swanriveryoga.com


Aaron Lind

Aaron Lind is a certified Hatha Yoga and AcroYoga instructor based in New Orleans, LA. His greatest joy has been sharing music and movement in ways that bring people together in a celebration of life. 

Aaron's yoga journey began in 1999 when he found an old book on yoga and tried every pose in the book. His background as a childhood gymnast made most of the poses accessible and a fun and wild exploration of his capacity to embody many shapes. His first yoga teacher training under the skillful tutelage of Michele Baker at Swan River Yoga was an invitation and a challenge to continue this joyous adventure of human potential while creating beautiful and lasting friendships. 

Aaron has several hundred hours of study and practice in the lineage of Anusara Yoga and is steadily progressing towards Anusara-Inspired status. His teaching reflects this beautiful lineage of yoga.

Aaron moved to New Orleans in 2002 to complete music school at the University of New Orleans. He ended up falling so in love with the culture-it's music, history, people, and tendency to make every day possible a celebration and invitation to play. Aaron completed a Master's Degree in Jazz Studies and continues to play jazz and funk gigs in New Orleans and around the world. He incorporates his musical experience into yoga in the form of kirtan, which is singing in Sanskrit and Hindi, with his current project Pratibha Kirtan. 

Aaron offers tremendous loving gratitude to all his teachers along the way including his parents and sister, Jason Nemer and Jenny Sauer-Klein for sharing this beautiful practice of partnership, John Friend for giving Aaron's passion for yoga and philosophy intelligent and progressive direction, Douglas Brooks for unfolding the Srividya philosophy in rich and entertaining ways, Michele Baker in New Orleans for amazing unconditional love and support, Kelly Haas for being an incredible and inspiring mentor, to his community in New Orleans for helping him to grow, to all of his friends everywhere for being such great mirrors, and to the Universe for providing so many fun and amazing possibilities to experience being alive!

You can find more about Aaron on his website www.aaronlindyoga.com

Contact Aaron: Aaron@swanriveryoga.com


Lindsey Crow

Lindsey Crow, Swan River Teacher and Manager of Swan River Yoga to You:
Lindsey is a New Orleans Native and recent Law School graduate who found yoga shortly after Hurricane Katrina. Lindsey was most inspired by how the practice of yoga removed stress and created a sense of personal rhythm through intense situations. Lindsey was certified in the first Swan River Yoga teacher training in New Orleans in 2008 and has been teaching regular studio and private classes ever since.  Lindsey’s passion for vinyasa flow has led her to study a wide range of styles as well as the age-old philosophies which lay the foundation for the art yoga.  As a teacher, Lindsey believes in thoroughly integrating principles of alignment with principles of movement into creative, fluid, and truly fun vinyasa classes.

Contact Lindsey: Lindsey@swanriveryoga.com


Jim Baird:
Building Manager of Swan River Yoga Feelings, our Marigny Location

Jim first fell in love with Hatha Yoga many years ago, but it took the events surrounding Katrina to ignite his passion.  Under the watchful eye of his teacher, Michele Baker, hi practice blossomed and he realized his path was to share his joy with others.  With his recent training from Swan River Yoga he is determined to bring his knowledge and enthusiasm to those beginning or renewing their practice of Hatha Yoga. Jim co-owns a popular New Orleans restaurant, making him mindful of the difficulties and benefits of making Yoga a part of your daily regimen.

Contact Jim: Jim@swanriveryoga.com


Stephanie Smith

Steph is both a Swan River Yoga certified Yoga Teacher and Kundalini Yoga Teacher. She deeply understands the transformational aspects of Yoga and brings this awareness into her classes. In many of her flow classes (Jivamukti style) she interweaves breathing exercises (pranayama) from her Kundalini training to offer additional benefits to the class. Steph's background is diverse and covers a range of experiences, such as: collegiate athlete at Michigan State University, Masters Degree in Coastal Ecology from LSU, designed and developed the West Nile Virus Surveillance System for the Louisiana Office of Public Health, which has won international and national recognition for Louisiana. Her passions include film making with an emphasis on educational DVD’s, environmental/social issues, and herbal medicine. The goal of her flow class is to blend metaphysical themes with the physical experience to encourage perspective shifts for a joyful and steady connection to our environment, community, self and beyond. Her flow class primarily focus on the Chakra system to bring insight to areas that need liberation. The flow class runs as a continuous series with each month focusing on a different Chakra. The Kundalini classes are based on the teaching taught by Yogi Bhajan. She organizes these teachings to physical health, Chakra system, Ten bodies and energetic bodies in the design of her Kundalini Classes.

Contact Steph: Stephanie@swanriveryoga.com


Cassie Segal

Cassie Segal is a yoga teacher in Swan River Yoga style developed by Michele Baker. She has also studied alignment and body mechanics extensively with Cat McCarthy, Laura Flora, Scotta Brady, Zhenja LaRosa, Kelly Haas and Jordan Bloom of Anusara Yoga.  She has 50 hours of Anusara level one teacher training.  She began to practice yoga in 2003 with Kelly Panus, Cheryl Golich and Sean Johnson.  In 2008, she began studying with Michele Baker, ERYT.  She has 16 total hours of training in Thai Massage from Michael Buck (aka Mukti) and Saul David Raye.  "I am incredibly grateful to all my teachers for sharing this incredible healing wisdom that has brought me much joy and for their love and support throughout my budding practice.  I wish to share this wisdom as a teacher."  She strives to provide students with a skillful blend of intelligent alignment, flowing vinyasa, and deep yogic philosophy. 

Contact Cassie: Cassie@swanriveryoga.com


Haiyan Khan

Haiyan’s first introduction to yoga was through an old raggedy book in the library of a dusty Chicago building in 2003.  The book titled “12 Lessons in Raja Yoga” engulfed him and he spent the next few months meditating on the first lesson. Though he never went past the first lesson, the book changed his life direction! (wonder what would have happened if he had read the rest of the 11 lessons!)

It was not long after that he was introduced to Hatha Yoga.  While he initially struggled with this aspect of yoga, over time a sweet harmony was created between the physical and meditative aspects of yoga
While continuing the study of meditation, through various Buddhist traditions and recently through self Inquiry, he joined the Swan River Yoga Training in 2009. Under Michelle’s guidance he has learned the basics of yoga and embodying the teachings. He is very grateful for the opportunity to share the gift of yoga with anyone who is interested.
Curious by nature, Haiyan loves to play in and explore this crazy, lunatic, illusary and yet adorable experience called life.

On January 20, 2011
Haiyan opened the Swan River Community Center: Yoga and Seva in Arabi, La
in conjunction with Michele and Keith. He continues to serve from the heart.

Contact Haiyan: Haiyan@swanriveryoga.com


Kelly Haas

Kelly Haas is a Certified Anusara Yoga Teacher, RYT-500, avid Spanish-speaker, lover of life, music, and nature, with thousands of hours in intensive yogic studies and trainings and over a decade’s teaching experience. She had the great fortune to manage the world tour for John Friend, Founder of Anusara Yoga, for the past 6 years, managing all aspects of his events, while receiving countless hours of philosophy, asana, therapeutics, and hands-on adjustment training with John. Kelly has taught yoga and travelled widely across the US, Latin America, and Asia.

Kelly’s connection to the New Orleans yoga community began 6 years ago, when Michele Baker invited her as a guest teacher in the annual Swan River teaching program. It has been a great honor for Kelly to teach the yoga therapeutics portion of this integrative training, and support the growing community of teachers and students in New Orleans. She is excited to spend an extended time in New Orleans, offer regular classes, and be an integral part of the Swan River Yoga family.

Contact Kelly: HaasKelly@yahoo.com


JackSUN (Jackie) Slaughter

Jacksun's (Jackie Sumell) classes infuse a sense of play with strength, her classes construct a space where you work really hard with out realizing it-- where you leave feeling complete & claiming victory through laughter. Jacksun's classes remind us that 8 of the 9 letters of slaughter are laughter. She believes love, light, & happiness can triumph all, and passes that message through her creative sequencing and true to life dharma. Since 2004 her teachers have included 120-years young Swami Bua and his student Angela Caruso from NY, her Jnana guru's Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox, Robert King, Mwalimu Johnson, Malik Rahim, geronimo jijaga & all those who continue to struggle against an unjust and oppressive prison system. She is grateful for the powerful inspiration of Dana Flynn, Keith Porteous & Libby Love, the great teachings from her life in the 7th ward, the gardens that grow between the hardship and of course the Morpheus guidance of Michele Baker. Since early 2011 Jacksun has been developing a supplemental healing program that pairs yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy called Schema Yoga in collaboration with Schema Therapist Jena Frederick. Ms. Slaughter's Swan River classes embody her commitment to community, laughter, strength, struggle and the magedy (magic tragedy) that only a city like New Orleans could host. All Power to the People!

Contact Jacksun: Jackie@swanriveryoga.com


Mary Glackmeyer

Mary Glackmeyer is an artist, performer, and adventure seeker. She began dancing at the age of 6, received a B.F.A. in Modern Dance Performance from UArts in Philadelphia, and has toured nationally and internationally with numerous dance companies.
Mary is a graduate of the 350 hour Swan River Yoga teacher training directed by Michele Baker and a recent graduate of the Jivamukti Yoga 2012 Teacher Training. She has studied with Sharon Gannon, David Life, Manorama, Jules Febre, Lady Ruth Lauer-Manenti, John Friend, Kelly Haas, Jordan Bloom, Noah Maze, Douglas Brooks, Lama Christie McNally, Kelle Eli, and Jeremy Simon.
Mary’s mentors, Michele Baker and Keith Porteous, have led her into a deep love of music and bhakti chants, meditation, pranayama, and philosophy. These accompany an asana practice and remind us that everyday is an artful practice of creativity combined with skillful alignment. Mary’s unique yoga classes incorporate these passions with the musicality, rhythm, and dynamism acquired from years of dancing and performing.
Mary is also a student of AcroYoga, a professional fitness model, an Artistic Collaborator and performer with Tsunami Dance Company, and a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Yoga instructor. She is eternally grateful to all of her teachers, and especially to her mentors, friends, and peers in the Swan River Yoga Family. She hopes to be integral in the continuous growth of yoga and dance in the Gulf Coast Region. 

Contact Mary: MGlackmeyer@gmail.com


Karla Marie Cochran

Karla Marie, originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, has been dancing since childhood. Classically trained in Ballet by Marcelle Bonge, one of Guatemala's most recognized Ballet instructors, founder of Ballet Guatemala. Karla Marie found her passion for dancing at a very young age, studying both Ballet and Jazz throughout childhood and most of her teenage years.

After moving to New Orleans, her passion for dancing brought her to study many Latin styles, including Salsa, Cha Cha Cha, West Coast Swing, among others.

In 2005, a new transplant to Miami (Post-Katrina) she began her Belly Dance studies at the amazing MidEastern Dance Exchange in South Beach (Miami). MidEastern Dance Exchange and Belly Dance opened a whole new world of dance. Through the inspirational belly dance instruction by Tamlyn Dalal and Bozenka (both world renowned Belly Dance Superstars) among others, she was transformed. In New Orleans, she continued her belly dance studies with Marci Selena and other recognized and accomplished belly dancers. She has been shimmying, shaking, and undulating, ever since. "Art is my passion... dancing is another form of expression, a way to discover, to play, to be joyous, to recognize our own spirit and unique energy, and be inspired. I dance because I have to."

A Photographer and French/Spanish Art Instructor by day, Karla Marie enjoys the creative energy that comes from dancing. The love for her culture and appreciation of other cultures allows her dancing to be versatile and tactile.

Karla Marie teaches Belly Dance and Latin Dancing. She is the proud mother of two gorgeous, handsome boys, Gian-Carlo (15) and Stefan Armando (9), a miniature dachshund named Gucci, and she is deliciously married to the love of her life, Charles Johannes Cochran. Life is good.

For more information on Karla click here.

"Dancing is not raising your feet painlessly, Like a speck of dust blown around in the wind.
Dancing is when you rise above worlds, Tearing your heart into pieces and giving up your soul." --Rumi


Jessica Tzur

Join Jessica for our Aerial Silks class each Monday night. Please pre sign up for Aerial.


Rachel Durston

Rachel Durston has been on a spiritual quest since she was a teenager. The daughter of two Divinity School graduates, she was always encouraged to find her own meaning and joy in life. After studying theatre and liberal arts in Atlanta and outside Chicago, she found an immediate home in New Orleans and a spiritual home at Swan River in 2008. In 2012, she completed the 350 hour Swan River Yoga Teacher Training with Michele Baker and many beautiful teachers. During the day, she teaches math to middle school students. She hopes one day to be able to share the study of drama, yoga and math with students of all ages.


Catherine Burke

A student of yoga for 15 years and a Swan River certified teacher for 4, Catherine Burke considers yoga both the most treasured gift she has received and the one she is most honored to share. Having discovered yoga at an early age has given her a deep and intuitive understanding of the physical practice and a holistic approach to it as a way of life. Her classes combine skillful and creative instruction of vinyasa flow and physical alignment with greater awareness of the breath and mind.
She is thankful to all the wonderful teachers in her life and the inspiring places she has studied, including the Jivamukti Yoga Centers in NYC and Berlin; the Istituto Lama Tzong Khapa Buddhist Center in Tuscany; Rishikesh, India; and of course, New Orleans. At the start of 2013, she returned home after a year away in Barcelona, where she was pursuing an advanced degree in design, teaching yoga, and hanging out in the Pyrenees any chance she got. Her travels and studies have shown her that yoga is about being a lifelong student, and "the more you know, the less you need."


Thomas Q. Sims

New Orleans began calling to Thomas from the moment he was born in
small-town Mississippi. By 1997, he could resist no longer, and NOLA
has been his home ever since. He’s lived in pretty much every historic
neighborhood, bartended in the French Quarter, studied Media Arts at
Tulane University, owned a boutique on Magazine Street, and sniffed
out all the best vegetarian eats (not easy in the Big Easy).

Yoga became his passion in 2006, and when he discovered Swan River
Yoga two years later, he immediately knew it was the perfect place to
deepen his practice. Michele Baker, Keith Porteous and the entire Swan
River community were and continue to be endless sources of inspiration
(and pretty cool human beings, as well).

Guided by Michele Baker, Thomas graduated Swan River Yoga Teacher
Training in 2012. And he is thrilled to take an even deeper role in
the community that has become family. He is both proud and humbled
(with yoga these can happen at the same time) to be able to serve the
city he loves in such a fulfilling way.


Stuart LeBlanc

Stuart is commited to empowering every student to tap their teacher within -
the upaguru. Embracing a wide spectrum of practice and theory, he strives to
meet every individual according to their abilities and needs, providing a
diverse and integrated approach to yoga study.

Stuart was introduced to yoga in the fall of 2000. Reading a magazine
profile of K. Pattabhi Jois and the Mysore community, Stuart was intrigued
by the devotion and discipline of the Ashtanga practice. At that time he was
performing concerts with kirtan singer Séan Johnson, and it was a lucky
coincidence that Séan was also preparing to teach a course in Ashtanga Yoga.
Ever since attending that course, he has practiced regularly and continued
the exploration of yoga and the Self. Since 2008 he has made regular visits
to Encinitas, California to study and train under Tim Miller at the Ashtanga
Yoga Center, and commenced teaching in 2009.

As a musician, Stuart performs in various ensembles and solo, and teaches at
the Loyola University College of Music and Fine Arts. He is a graduate of
the Peabody Conservatory of Music and Florida State University. Stuart also
maintains a career in data network design and engineering, and is currently
employed by Xerox Corporation.


Tracey Duncan


Sughosh "Goshi" Berg

Sughosh Berg was born at the Krsna farm in Carriere Mississippi. Growing up in the temple he was surrounded by the art of Indian music, cooking, and meditation practices. As a small boy he would spend much time in the kitchen helping all different kinds of cooks prepare vegetarian meals for the lord. Having a natural talent for this art, it wasn’t long before he was preparing the meals himself. His love for music and the enchantment of the holy land of India soon captured his mind. When he was 15 he took his first of several trips there. During these several years in India he stayed at different ashrams mastering the art of Kirtan (call and response chanting), Harmonium, and drumming (specifically the Mrdunga Drum of West Bengal shown in the picture). After returning he spent several years travelling and performing with The Mayapuris and Gauravani in such places as Bhakti Fest (California), Panama, Canada, South Africa and Russia.

He is now spending most of his time in New Orleans working with Michele on the Good Karma Café project as co-owner, traveling with Bhakti Caravan performing, and offering music lesson at the Mandir.