Our elite instructors are dedicated to providing accessible and impactful pulmonary rehabilitation classes for people with COPD. With a variety of specialties and unique styles, Lift Members can find the right class to help them continue to make progress each day.
DeLana has worked over 30 years as a registered respiratory therapist in a hospital setting with the last 20 years focusing on pulmonary rehabilitation. She is a certified asthma educator and has completed the COPD educator and pulmonary diseases educator courses. She passionate about helping people with chronic illness improve their quality of life and encourages them to be active participants in their healthcare. DeLana got involved with Lift Pulmonary Rehab to help people with COPD achieve a better life through better breathing.
Melissa Leidner has been a registered respiratory therapist since 2006. She has worked with patients with both acute and chronic lung disease at Barnes Jewish Hospital since becoming in respiratory therapist. In 2014, she began working in the pulmonary rehabilitation department to help people with respiratory conditions breathe better. Melissa became the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Department’s Lead Therapist in 2016. The most rewarding part of Melissa’s career has been helping people set and achieve their goals and watching their quality of life improve through pulmonary rehabilitation.
Universal access and design are at the forefront of every class Natasha teaches. Natasha combined her certification as a yoga teacher with master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling and special education to develop a new approach that brings the practice of yoga to anyone. She specializes in helping students work with their individual strengths and weaknesses providing multiple options and modifications for anything she teaches. A native of St. Louis Missouri, Natasha has been teaching yoga and mindfulness to students of all ages and abilities for nearly five years. She is usually seen out and about with her Seeing Eye® Dog at her side.
Jamie Austin is a yoga studio owner, teacher, and practitioner. Jamie has been teaching for the past 2 years and practicing for the past 20 yrs. As an instructor, Jamie strives to make yoga more approachable and creates modifications so anyone can practice. Her work with Lift is an effort to make breath work and movement more accessible to people with respiratory conditions. Jamie is passionate about creating inviting classes and supporting a community of encouragement and growth. Outside of teaching, Jamie can be seen leading a GirlTrek walk, hanging with her dog, or just enjoying nature.
Donna has been practicing yoga since 2008. She immediately realized the significance her yoga practice brought to her life. Her classes invite us to attune ourselves to the needs of our bodies and to experience the magnificence of being. As a yoga teacher, her goal is to empower others to be gentle with themselves and build emotional strength. She aims to inspire self-love, self-acceptance, and self-confidence in every class. Donna is excited to be a part of Lift because of the passion and mission to support people to be more active and live happier lives despite having COPD. In addition to yoga, Donna enjoys taking naps, reading at the library, riding her bike, and eating Vietnamese food.
Shelley Shray has been practicing T’ai Chi Ch’uan (Tai Chi) since 1983 and has been an instructor in the art since the early 90’s. She began practicing the Cheng Man-Ching Yang Style Short Form in 1985 with the St. Louis T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association, where she is currently an instructor and member of the board. Shelley’s training has included many workshops with internationally renowned Benjamin Peng Jeng Lo and several of his senior students. She has conducted workshops with middle school students, high school students, and adults of all ages and abilities. Her classes have taken place at community centers, senior living centers, and workplace wellness programs. Shelley enjoys sharing the art of Tai Chi with people of all ages and abilities while helping them access the many health benefits that Tai Chi has to offer.
Mike Hess is the Chronic Lung Disease Coordinator at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. A respiratory therapist for over a decade, Mike’s passion is improving COPD education, awareness, and management in the outpatient setting. He was a group leader during the development of the first-ever COPD National Action Plan, is a COPD Foundation advocacy captain for the state of Michigan, and also received a Young Investigator Award from the Foundation in 2015. He currently manages a first-of-its-kind COPD clinic in Kalamazoo, Michigan, working to ensure patients get connected with the care they need when they need it. You can catch him on Facebook every Friday at noon Eastern time for COPD Navigator LIVE, a weekly look inside the world of COPD featuring news, tips for living well with COPD, and an interactive question and answer session.
Jon Seskevich RN, BSN, BA, CHTP, is a nurse clinician and certified stress management specialist at Duke University Hospital. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Nursing and has a BA in Religion from Goddard College in Vermont. Since 1990, this trailblazer in integrative healing has provided a stress management education service for more than 40,000 patients in the hospital.
He is an award winning nurse including: Great 100 Nurses in North Carolina, UNC School of Nursing Alumni of the Year, and the Friends’ of Nursing Award. He has authored chapters, presented hundreds of talks, recorded six CDs, has participated in and published research on stress management approaches, and was even in Reader’s Digest Magazine.
Yoga Buzz Founder Elle Potter (ERYT-500 and YACEP) has been teaching yoga since 2008. She has accumulated over 1000 hours of training, taught over 1000 yoga classes and continues to find new ways to get excited about the practice. Her classes are accessible and empowering, and she is able to teach a room with brand new students as well as seasoned yogis without leaving anyone feeling left behind.
After years of feeling like her needs were not being met in public yoga classes, April decided to take matters into her own hands. April graduated from the Yoga Buzz Teacher Training program in the fall of 2016, with a mission of shaking up the perception of what yoga looks like. Aside from all the work she does as the now Executive Director of Yoga Buzz, you will find April “chair-terpreting” at yoga classes to show how chairs can be used to adapt conventional yoga poses to be more accessible to every level.