Yoga Teachers & Therapists

FOUNDER, DIRECTOR
YOGA TEACHER & THERAPIST

Margi Clifford

Margi Clifford yoga teacher | Yoga for Mental Health

MS: Master of Science, Counseling Psychology
LPC-S: Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor
E-RYT 500: Experienced – Registered Yoga Teacher 500 Level
C-IAYT: Certified – International Association of Yoga Therapists
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider

Margi Clifford is an outdoor enthusiast and yoga teacher with more than 20 years of experience as a holistic healthcare provider and educator. She’s based in Anchorage, Alaska, and has traveled extensively hosting international yoga retreats, providing health education, speaking at wellness conventions, and offering mindfulness consultations for healthy workplaces.

Margi founded Yoga for Mental Health in 2006 to build a heartfelt community interweaving evidence-based counseling with positive psychology, neuroscience, and optimum wellness practices, including yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. With decades of experience under her belt, Margi now helps coach the next generation of healthcare providers by offering yoga teacher training and clinical supervision for licensed counselor candidates.

In the yoga studio, Margi’s students will tell you that she’s an “acutely aware and patient instructor” with “a gentle touch.” Her classes are “fun, lighthearted, and encouraging” with a “sophisticated style.”

Margi stays grounded through mindfulness practices, by nourishing friendships both new and old, and by spending time in nature, with her husband, Scott, their flock of backyard chickens, and with their sourdough baby. She’s a mindful and curious explorer, adventurer, and athlete who finds inspiration in new experiences, sacred rituals, and simple pleasures. Follow Margi on Instagram or Facebook to stay in touch. 

MEET YOGA FOR MENTAL HEALTH’S BELOVED TEAM OF COMPASSIONATE
YOGA TEACHERS AND THERAPISTS BASED IN ANCHORAGE, ALASKA.

Our Team

Teachers

Margi Clifford
Margi Clifford
MS: Master of Science, Counseling Psychology
LPC-S: Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
C-IAYT: Certified – International Association of Yoga Therapists
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider

Margi Clifford is a licensed professional counselor and yoga therapist who integrates yoga, insight meditation and psychotherapeutic techniques to promote well-being in individuals and communities. She founded Yoga for Mental Health in 2006 and has since offered training opportunities to students and professionals and, direct therapeutic care to individuals, groups and organizations. Lynne Minton from the Iyengar tradition has been her primary teacher and mentor since 2003. Margi offers consultation and training, retreats and classes in Alaska, online and abroad. You can learn more about her and her practice by following on Instagram: @yogamargi.

COURSES

Yoga for Mental Health
Essential Postures
What’s My Type
Special Populations: Trauma
Equinox Course
Yoga Immersion
Teaching Practicum

Lynne Minton
Lynne Minton
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider

Lynne Minton has been a student of yoga since 1975. She was certified to teach yoga by BKS Iyengar in 1984. Her primary teachers have been BKS Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, Judith Lasater, Donald Moyer and Fr. Joe Pererira. She learned precision and discipline from the Iyengars, humor, inspiration and depth from Judith and Donald, and compassion for all from Fr. Joe. In 1982 Lynne became a full time yoga instructor. She founded and became the director of Inner Dance Yoga Studio in Anchorage, Alaska for the next 26 years. From 1999-2010 Lynne developed and oversaw the Inner Dance Yoga Teacher Training Program from which over 150 graduates received their 200 hour RYT. Lynne loves to collaborate and continue to learn from other masters of their art. She believes that yoga is for everybody and is passionate about inspiring students to discover new abilities through the practice of all of the 8 limbs of yoga. Lynne particularly loves to incorporate the Yoga Sutras and functional anatomy into her classes. Her students consistently describe Lynne’s classes as inspiring, fun and deep. For an in-depth bio go to Lynne’s website: lynneminton.com

COURSES

Anatomy and Physiology
Foundations of Yoga: Philosophy

Leigh Lubin
Leigh Lubin
MAT: Master of Arts in Teaching
Alaska Teaching certificate in Science
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level

Leigh Lubin is an exceptional teacher dedicated to exploring, practicing, and moving from the inner body. She has found that the inner expression of a yoga pose is the most powerful and effective path towards personal growth and a strong and healthy asana practice. Leigh has a special gift for teaching people how to access their subtle body and inner teacher through classes that create space, ease, stability, play, and appropriate challenges for all bodies. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching and is a 500-hour Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT). Leigh has been practicing yoga for over 25 years and has been certified and actively teaching yoga since 2008. Leigh has well over 1000 hours of training in various forms of yoga including; Iyengar, Anusara, Flow, Hatha, Bhakti, and Embodiment Mediation. Additionally, Leigh is an Alaskan Certified Science Teacher. She brings this diverse background to her offerings to create authentic learning and lasting integration in her students.

COURSES

Foundations of Yoga: Posture

Diane Ziegner
Diane Ziegner
RYT 500: Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
C-IAYT: Certified – International Association of Yoga Therapists

Diane arrived in Talkeetna, Alaska in 1997 for a two week visit and never left. When she first came to town, the local yoga classes were being “taught” at the elementary school by a few old video tapes. That was when she decided the community could use a live teacher, and in 2001 she got a 200 hour certification from Lynne Minton in Anchorage. A few years later, she bought a 24 foot yurt and Studio Z Yoga got a permanent home. Diane says that her students have taught her more than she will ever teach them. One of the things she has learned is that yoga should be accessible and beneficial to students of all abilities, not just the young and athletic. Her approach to teaching yoga has changed over the years. It’s less about body alignment and more about balancing the heart, mind and body. It’s about creating a welcoming yoga community and giving something back to it and the world.

COURSES

Essential Postures

Heidi Weiland
Heidi Weiland
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
Ayurvedic Health Counselor
Certified Life Coach

Heidi is a holistic life coach. She use a mind-body-spirit approach to help women reconnect to confidence and joy, so that they can move forward in their lives with ease. She focuses on all kinds of problems from stress and exhaustion to relationship issues to chronic procrastination and self-sabotage. Her clients learn how to overcome self-doubt, overwhelm and anxiety and how to create empowerment for themselves. She’s studied many aspects of the healing arts and am a certified life coach from The Life Coach School, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor and an RYT200 Insight Yoga teacher. She loves backcountry skiing in the mountains of Alaska and dabbling in creative activities of all kinds.

COURSES

Ayurveda

Carolyn Hitzler
Carolyn Hitzler
MS: Exercise Physiology, specialization in rehabilitation
Teaching certificates in Adapted Physical Education and Physical Education
RYT 500: Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level

Yoga For The Special Child, Relax and Renew, Yoga for Cancer Cardiac and Other Diseases, Opening Yoga to All- Adaptive Yoga, Accessible Yoga, Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease, Yoga for larger bodies, Buddha Body, Yoga for Scoliosis, YCAT, Yoga Therapy for People with Cancer and Chronic Illness, Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga For Healthy Aging, Yoga wall straps and ropes, Yoga chair, Yoga ED Tools for teachers, Yoga Calm, Yoga for Amputees, Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Trauma Informed Yoga

Carolyn Hitzler, the owner/founder of YOGA MATters, is an educator, Exercise Physiologist, Adapted Physical Education Specialist, and Registered Yoga Teacher. Carolyn advocates for all students regardless of ability, size, physical limitation, or injury. Students who use a wheelchair, walker, or cane should be able to have a full personal yoga experience in the same studio as other individuals. Students who have pain or are recovering from injury should also have access to yoga classes. And students with larger bodies should also feel comfortable in a yoga class. Carolyn at YOGA MAtters is passionate about opening yoga to anyone who wants to experience its benefits. This means breaking down physical barriers and helping students recognize that if they want to experience yoga, there is a teacher willing to teach them. Carolyn’s classes are rooted in Hatha and Iyengar style yoga and are taught in-the-moment, tailored to the students that day. “Yoga reminds me how subtle and powerful movement and the breath can be. I enjoy teaching group classes as well as 1-on-1 private sessions.”

COURSES

Special Populations: Differently-Abled

Kira Rafuse
Kira Rafuse
ERYT 200: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
RPYT: Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher

Kira Rafuse has been studying, practicing and teaching Yoga for 16 years. Kira first found yoga in college and was instantly hooked. She started saving right away to study yoga in India. During a year in India, Kira completed her Yoga Teacher Training Course at the Sivananda Kutir Ashram in the Himalayas in 2004. Kira attended the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque NM (06-07), where she studied under Dr. Vasant Lad and is now a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (CAP). During her studies with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute she was immersed in ancient language of Sanskrit and began her journey as a serious student of Sanskrit during this time. Kira continued her studies with an Ayurvedic internship under Dr. Sarita Shrestha at the Devi Ma rural hospital (09) in Nepal where she focused on pregnancy and postpartum. Most recently she has studied Sanskrit with Dr. Katy Jane as well as courses with The American Sanskrit Institute, and Sanskrit courses at Yogic Studies. Kira is originally from New Mexico and has lived in Anchorage Alaska most recently for the last 8 years.

COURSES

Foundations of Yoga: Language

Marlie Hall
Marlie Hall
BS: Bachelor of Science – Journalism
MBA: Master of Business Administration – Management

Marlie Hall is an award-winning Journalist and media personality. As a News Anchor, Reporter, TV Host and Voice Actor, she has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious media organizations. She covered history-making headlines as a correspondent for CBS News. She Co-anchored NBC’s Early Today show. And hosted her own show on the Food Network called “Recipe for Success”. Marlie is an avid world-traveler, a Brown Belt in Shotokan Karate and a proud Haitian-American. You can keep up with all of Marlie’s endeavors and adventures on all social media platforms at @marliehall.

COURSES

Voice, Presentation and Purpose

Maria Belozertseva
Maria Belozertseva
MS: Master of Science, Counseling Psychology
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
Stacia Thomas
Stacia Thomas
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
RN: Registered Nurse
Allison Koos Fox
Allison Koos Fox
MA: Master of Arts, Contemplative Psychotherapy
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
Maggie Laufenberg
Maggie Laufenberg
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level

Maria is a pre-licensed mental health therapist, a yoga teacher, and Yoga for Mental Health’s Practice Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from Alaska Pacific University. Maria completed an Insight yoga teacher training program with Margi Clifford in 2018. She offers students and clients an authentic, respectful, and non-judgmental teaching style. She seeks to help others (and herself) thrive in life by nurturing body, mind, and soul. Maria says, “I will always be a student of the practice and am deeply grateful for all loving teachers in my life.”

Stacia graduated from nursing school in 2006 and found the career to be very rewarding but also very demanding. After some exploration, she found yoga to be the perfect practice to rebalance body, mind, and spirit. In 2017, Stacia decided to further her yoga practice by completing an Insight yoga teacher training program with Margi Clifford. Since graduating from the yoga teacher training program in December 2018, she has enjoyed incorporating asana yoga practices with mindfulness meditation in her daily life and as a yoga teacher. You may also find Stacia playing outside in the Alaska backcountry: skiing, hiking, and biking with her husband and dog.

Allison Koos Fox received her master’s degree in Contemplative Psychotherapy from Naropa University in 2011. She moved to Anchorage in the summer of 2012 and was delighted to find that it felt like her true home. She co-founded Mothering Wellness in 2014, which has evolved into the Alaska Chapter of Postpartum Support International (PSI). Serving as board co-chair, she is so proud of the work PSI is doing to advocate for Alaskan families. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2016 and loves offering classes and workshops as the opportunities arise. When she’s not camping or traveling with her partner and children, you can find her in her garden, fishing, playing her bass, or walking her dog Toutou.

Welcome! My name is Maggie and I am grateful to share my practice with you. I grew up in a small, farming town in Wisconsin before launching my professional career in healthcare which ultimately took me to the corners of the United States. I was introduced to yoga in my early 20’s but only started practicing on a more regular basis over the past 5 years. I was honored to be accepted into Margi’s Insight Teacher Training and graduated in Spring of 2020 despite the pandemic! My practice focuses on working with the beginner yogi through foundational courses. Like all humans, I am on a continuous path of growth and learning and looking forward to meeting you.

Margi Clifford
Margi Clifford
MS: Master of Science, Counseling Psychology
LPC-S: Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
C-IAYT: Certified – International Association of Yoga Therapists
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
Lynne Minton
Lynne Minton
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
Leigh Lubin
Leigh Lubin
MAT: Master of Arts in Teaching
Alaska Teaching certificate in Science
ERYT 500: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
Diane Ziegner
Diane Ziegner
RYT 500: Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
C-IAYT: Certified – International Association of Yoga Therapists

Margi Clifford is a licensed professional counselor and yoga therapist who integrates yoga, insight meditation and psychotherapeutic techniques to promote well-being in individuals and communities. She founded Yoga for Mental Health in 2006 and has since offered training opportunities to students and professionals and, direct therapeutic care to individuals, groups and organizations. Lynne Minton from the Iyengar tradition has been her primary teacher and mentor since 2003. Margi offers consultation and training, retreats and classes in Alaska, online and abroad. You can learn more about her and her practice by following on Instagram: @yogamargi.

COURSES

Yoga for Mental Health
Essential Postures
What’s My Type
Special Populations: Trauma
Equinox Course
Yoga Immersion
Teaching Practicum

Lynne Minton has been a student of yoga since 1975. She was certified to teach yoga by BKS Iyengar in 1984. Her primary teachers have been BKS Iyengar, Geeta Iyengar, Judith Lasater, Donald Moyer and Fr. Joe Pererira. She learned precision and discipline from the Iyengars, humor, inspiration and depth from Judith and Donald, and compassion for all from Fr. Joe. In 1982 Lynne became a full time yoga instructor. She founded and became the director of Inner Dance Yoga Studio in Anchorage, Alaska for the next 26 years. From 1999-2010 Lynne developed and oversaw the Inner Dance Yoga Teacher Training Program from which over 150 graduates received their 200 hour RYT. Lynne loves to collaborate and continue to learn from other masters of their art. She believes that yoga is for everybody and is passionate about inspiring students to discover new abilities through the practice of all of the 8 limbs of yoga. Lynne particularly loves to incorporate the Yoga Sutras and functional anatomy into her classes. Her students consistently describe Lynne’s classes as inspiring, fun and deep. For an in-depth bio go to Lynne’s website: lynneminton.com

COURSES

Anatomy and Physiology
Foundations of Yoga: Philosophy

Leigh Lubin is an exceptional teacher dedicated to exploring, practicing, and moving from the inner body. She has found that the inner expression of a yoga pose is the most powerful and effective path towards personal growth and a strong and healthy asana practice. Leigh has a special gift for teaching people how to access their subtle body and inner teacher through classes that create space, ease, stability, play, and appropriate challenges for all bodies. She has a Master of Arts in Teaching and is a 500-hour Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT). Leigh has been practicing yoga for over 25 years and has been certified and actively teaching yoga since 2008. Leigh has well over 1000 hours of training in various forms of yoga including; Iyengar, Anusara, Flow, Hatha, Bhakti, and Embodiment Mediation. Additionally, Leigh is an Alaskan Certified Science Teacher. She brings this diverse background to her offerings to create authentic learning and lasting integration in her students.

COURSES

Foundations of Yoga: Posture

Diane arrived in Talkeetna, Alaska in 1997 for a two week visit and never left. When she first came to town, the local yoga classes were being “taught” at the elementary school by a few old video tapes. That was when she decided the community could use a live teacher, and in 2001 she got a 200 hour certification from Lynne Minton in Anchorage. A few years later, she bought a 24 foot yurt and Studio Z Yoga got a permanent home. Diane says that her students have taught her more than she will ever teach them. One of the things she has learned is that yoga should be accessible and beneficial to students of all abilities, not just the young and athletic. Her approach to teaching yoga has changed over the years. It’s less about body alignment and more about balancing the heart, mind and body. It’s about creating a welcoming yoga community and giving something back to it and the world.

COURSES

Essential Postures

Heidi Weiland
Heidi Weiland
RYT 200: Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
Ayurvedic Health Counselor
Certified Life Coach
Carolyn Hitzler
Carolyn Hitzler
MS: Exercise Physiology, specialization in rehabilitation
Teaching certificates in Adapted Physical Education and Physical Education
RYT 500: Registered Yoga Teacher 500 level
Kira Rafuse
Kira Rafuse
ERYT 200: Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher 200 level
YACEP: Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider
RPYT: Registered Prenatal Yoga Teacher
Marlie Hall
Marlie Hall
BS: Bachelor of Science – Journalism
MBA: Master of Business Administration – Management

Heidi is a holistic life coach. She use a mind-body-spirit approach to help women reconnect to confidence and joy, so that they can move forward in their lives with ease. She focuses on all kinds of problems from stress and exhaustion to relationship issues to chronic procrastination and self-sabotage. Her clients learn how to overcome self-doubt, overwhelm and anxiety and how to create empowerment for themselves. She’s studied many aspects of the healing arts and am a certified life coach from The Life Coach School, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor and an RYT200 Insight Yoga teacher. She loves backcountry skiing in the mountains of Alaska and dabbling in creative activities of all kinds.

COURSES

Ayurveda

Yoga For The Special Child, Relax and Renew, Yoga for Cancer Cardiac and Other Diseases, Opening Yoga to All- Adaptive Yoga, Accessible Yoga, Yoga for Back Pain, Yoga for Parkinson’s Disease, Yoga for larger bodies, Buddha Body, Yoga for Scoliosis, YCAT, Yoga Therapy for People with Cancer and Chronic Illness, Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga For Healthy Aging, Yoga wall straps and ropes, Yoga chair, Yoga ED Tools for teachers, Yoga Calm, Yoga for Amputees, Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis, Trauma Informed Yoga

Carolyn Hitzler, the owner/founder of YOGA MATters, is an educator, Exercise Physiologist, Adapted Physical Education Specialist, and Registered Yoga Teacher. Carolyn advocates for all students regardless of ability, size, physical limitation, or injury. Students who use a wheelchair, walker, or cane should be able to have a full personal yoga experience in the same studio as other individuals. Students who have pain or are recovering from injury should also have access to yoga classes. And students with larger bodies should also feel comfortable in a yoga class. Carolyn at YOGA MAtters is passionate about opening yoga to anyone who wants to experience its benefits. This means breaking down physical barriers and helping students recognize that if they want to experience yoga, there is a teacher willing to teach them. Carolyn’s classes are rooted in Hatha and Iyengar style yoga and are taught in-the-moment, tailored to the students that day. “Yoga reminds me how subtle and powerful movement and the breath can be. I enjoy teaching group classes as well as 1-on-1 private sessions.”

COURSES

Special Populations: Differently-Abled

Kira Rafuse has been studying, practicing and teaching Yoga for 16 years. Kira first found yoga in college and was instantly hooked. She started saving right away to study yoga in India. During a year in India, Kira completed her Yoga Teacher Training Course at the Sivananda Kutir Ashram in the Himalayas in 2004. Kira attended the Ayurvedic Institute in Albuquerque NM (06-07), where she studied under Dr. Vasant Lad and is now a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner (CAP). During her studies with Dr. Lad at the Ayurvedic Institute she was immersed in ancient language of Sanskrit and began her journey as a serious student of Sanskrit during this time. Kira continued her studies with an Ayurvedic internship under Dr. Sarita Shrestha at the Devi Ma rural hospital (09) in Nepal where she focused on pregnancy and postpartum. Most recently she has studied Sanskrit with Dr. Katy Jane as well as courses with The American Sanskrit Institute, and Sanskrit courses at Yogic Studies. Kira is originally from New Mexico and has lived in Anchorage Alaska most recently for the last 8 years.

COURSES

Foundations of Yoga: Language

Marlie Hall is an award-winning Journalist and media personality. As a News Anchor, Reporter, TV Host and Voice Actor, she has worked with some of the world’s most prestigious media organizations. She covered history-making headlines as a correspondent for CBS News. She Co-anchored NBC’s Early Today show. And hosted her own show on the Food Network called “Recipe for Success”. Marlie is an avid world-traveler, a Brown Belt in Shotokan Karate and a proud Haitian-American. You can keep up with all of Marlie’s endeavors and adventures on all social media platforms at @marliehall.

COURSES

Voice, Presentation and Purpose

FOUNDED IN 2006

Yoga For Mental Health

For nearly 15 years, Yoga for Mental Health – with our founder, Margi Clifford, at the helm – has been a leading voice in Anchorage’s holistic mental health community. Our practitioners are therapists and yoga teachers with degrees from accredited universities and alliances. 

We’re proud to offer therapeutic counseling, wellness coaching, yoga classes, and mindful workplace consulting – both for small groups and large lectures. We’re also passionate about educating the next generation of yoga teachers and therapists by offering continuing education for professionals, yoga teacher training, and clinical supervision for licensed professional counselor candidates. 

We believe wholeheartedly in the positive power of generosity, kindness, and sincerity in practice. Yoga for Mental Health is committed to social justice and equal rights, along with increasing the accessibility of healthcare and education to underserved populations. Classes and groups are always available by donation to clients without adequate healthcare, insurance benefits, or the ability to pay. 

Still curious? Check out our FAQ page for additional information about services and offers.