Lisette Hart - Owner

It is an honor to teach and serve as the Owner of Yoga Branch. I am devoted to the well-being and vibrant health of our community of students. I teach several public yoga classes per week and train promising student teachers in my Annual Yoga Teacher Training Program, ‘Roots and Wings’ which is a nationally registered school with Yoga Alliance.

Since 1999, I have gathered more than 10,000 hours of experience teaching yoga and have loved every minute of it! Teaching students to understand and benefit from yoga is my passion.  My enthusiasm is contagious so look out... if you come experience my class, you'll be glad you did.  My teaching style incorporates inspiration from nature & the beauty of the outdoors, poetry, daily life experiences as well as from years of studying eastern philosophy and various styles of Hatha Yoga with many renowned teachers.  The gratitude I feel towards all of my teachers is immense. In addition to my degrees in Education and in Political Science, I have completed many yoga trainings including an Ashtanga program with Master, Tim Miller in 2001 and I am officially designated an Anusara-Inspired instructor by founder, John Friend with whom I have studied for 9 years.

I am the founder of Vista’s first yoga studio which I ran from 2001-2006 and then sold in order to spend more time with my new baby son. It is a pleasure to now share the responsibilities and joys of running a successful studio with all of the wonderful staff and teachers who share their talents with our cherished students at Yoga Branch.

Current Class Offerings: Teachers are listed in alphabetical order by first name

Carolyn Pedersen-Howard

Carolyn is half Danish half Brazilian and grew up in the Philippines. She loves people, cultures and food and of course yoga! Yoga has been a part of her life since she was 18 when she first discovered the practice. After a career as an Executive Recruiter, she took a leap of faith and embarked upon her first teacher training in 2012. Then, following several corporate moves, she finally took the seat of the teacher in 2019 after an intensive 1.5-year yoga mentorship.

Carolyn has been a part of the Yoga Branch community since 2013! In her own words, Carolyn says: "It is truly an honor to take the seat of the teacher alongside the wonderful teaching staff at Yoga Branch many of whom have been a huge source of inspiration for her!" Carolyn believes that yoga makes the world a better place and that is her intention every class. She empowers her students with lots of options leaving them feeling stronger and rejuvenated after each class. When she not on her mat, you can find her hiking with her two beloved dogs, as a soccer mom and enjoying coffee with friends!

Jonathan Richard

Jonathan Richard started his yoga journey in 2005, exploring meditation and basic asana. His passion for his practice, tapas, was rekindled when moving back to California in 2012 and has maintained a daily practice since. The universe lovingly led him to Lisette Hart’s Teacher Training through Roots and Wings, where his practice blossomed into a desire to teach. He strives to bring his passion for yoga into every class. Jonathan firmly believes that yoga is accessible to everyone, no matter what age or physical capability.

Whether through a strong vinyasa flow or a gentle restorative practice, Jonathan wants every one of his students to feel better leaving their practice than when they walked in; feeling free and open, both empowered and relaxed.

Louise McDougall

Growing up on a small Island off the coast of England instilled in me a lifelong love for the beauty of nature, simple living and handstands.  I took my first yoga class at 19, and in my twenties travelling through South East Asia I became influenced by Eastern philosophies. After having my children I re-discovered my Yoga practice, and this eventually led me to Lisette Hart's Roots and Wings Teacher Training. I am happy and honored to be an Instructor at Yoga Branch.

I love sharing the many gifts that I have found through my Yoga and Meditation practices, the awareness of mind, body and spirit, that comes with the connection of fluid movement and breath, and the peace and calmness of journeying inward. My aim is that you leave my class feeling better than when you walked in. I am blessed to have had many incredible and inspiring teachers throughout my life and I am currently studying Yoga Therapy with Alana Bray Barrey in Carlsbad.

I am a Gardener, Pranic Energy Healer and long-time Meditator. I am also married, the mother of two crazy wonderful teens and mama to an assortment of even crazier, wonderful four-legged beings.

Lori Officer

Lori Officer has 29 years of experience in the Fitness and Wellness industry specializing in corrective exercise, injury recovery and massage therapy. Her professional profile and certifications can be viewed here. Additionally, she is a state and nationally certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Massage Therapist and owns her small business, EmBody Strong Wholistic Fitness. Lori began her fitness career teaching hi-low impact and step aerobics.  In the mid-90’s she began training older adults and people with known illness/injury and found a passion for sharing her love of exercise and movement with individuals who had physical/emotional challenges to exercise. Based on her own experience of healing from physical injury and managing depression since early childhood, she realized that movement is a vital component to healing and nurturing the mind-body-spirit interconnected triad of complete wellness.

In addition to her background in corrective exercise, fall prevention, pilates, and massage therapy, Lori joins our Yoga Branch team as an additional MELT Method instructor. Attending a workshop in 2007, taught by Sue Hitzmann, on the new science of connective tissue, Lori realized this new information created a seamless connection of her two careers, fitness and massage therapy. She began practicing MELT and observed the undeniable benefits of pain relief, improved sleep, increased mobility, decrease in recovery time from sport training and decrease in healing time from injury to name a few. MELT enhanced the recovery experience for both training and massage clients. Lori is thrilled to teach MELT to anyone and everyone, as it is the most comprehensive, extensive, and adaptable, pain-free self treatment in existence at this time. Lori is thrilled and grateful to have become a part of the warm-hearted and welcoming Yoga Branch community and is looking forward to offering new Melt, Pilates, strength/coordination, posture/gait classes and workshops.

Rebecca Dennis

Rebecca Dennis’s (E-RYT 500) joyful, non-dogmatic approach to yoga appeals to students of all backgrounds and skill levels. She developed a welcoming, accessible teaching style over a 40-year yoga practice that includes the styles of Ashtanga, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Integral, and Bhakti yoga, and has maintained a professional career in yoga for more than two decades. Rebecca practices meditation under the guidance of her beloved mentor and guru, Jivanmukta Swami Ganapati, and traveled twice to India to study with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, Ashtanga master.

Her yoga career began in New York City yoga studios. She then owned and managed an award-winning yoga and Pilates studio in rural Tennessee for over 10 years. Rebecca currently resides in San Diego, where she offers her Yoga Alliance certified Teacher Training, has a full-time private clientele practice and offers a variety of workshops in yoga that include practical anatomy, teaching methodology and the history of asana culture.

“I very much enjoy being a part of Yoga Branch as the studio offers a variety of classes with highly skilled instructors. Huge gratitude to my mentor Mary Pafford, and to all the wonderful students whose passion and devotion have sustained me for the past 25 years.”

Shelly Scott

I began my Yoga practice in 2001 when my kids were young and in pre-school. Physically it was fun and challenging, mentally it was a way to turn down the volume of my busy life. My passion and practice grew and in 2006 I completed Roots and Wings 200 hour teacher training with Lisette Hart. I started teaching regularly in studio and privately. I have had an opportunity to work with High School and Middle School athletes, both boys and girls. I love to see them expanding their minds and bodies to something new and different and to step away from the competitive side of things for a while.  I also like to bring the practice to people in their workplace having taught school teachers on campus and nurses and staff at several hospitals. Most of my teaching has been in studio teaching Yoga Flow/Vinyasa style classes. I pride myself in sequencing a class to offer safe options for all students. Currently an E-RYT, I am expanding my teaching through a wonderful Yoga Therapy internship taught by Alana Bray Barrey.

I have enjoyed expanding my mind and body through many workshops with many different teachers. My passion in teaching comes from my own practice. Down to earth real life on and off of the mat. I have experienced the benefits myself and love to see or hear students experience the same in their own practice. Our practice on the mat teaches us it's not about accomplishing the most challenging pose but how we approach it. We can then take that practice and use it in our daily life.  I believe that our practice not only effects us but all of those around us. When we connect with that quiet place within and leave our mat a more calm and centered person we can't help but effect others.

Susan Martin

As former business owner and accounting manager for three family-owned companies, I learned early that exercise was a big key to relieving the stress in life for me.  My first yoga class was about 25 years ago and I loved it from the beginning.  The poses were challenging and fun, but the biggest benefit was those precious moments when my thoughts were quieted and I seemed to be peaceful.

In 2014 I embarked on the 9 month journey of the Roots and Wings Yoga Teacher Training with the goal of learning more about Yoga and deepening my personal practice, never thinking that I would actually teach yoga.  Well….here I am.  Now “retired”,  I love guiding others through their practice as they discover the wonder of uniting the mind, body and spirit that is Yoga.  I hold a specialty Certification through Yoga Vista Academy for “Gentle Yoga for the Low Back”

I also enjoy golf, bird watching, and spending time with my husband and our Labrador Diesel.

Vanessa Wolverton

(RYT - 500) I love all forms and styles of yoga. I love how our practice can change and evolve depending on what we are going through at any time in our lives. Yoga is always there for us to practice moving, breathing & living. I discovered yoga over 25 years ago as a physical practice. As time moved forward, I  began my adult life...married and became a mom and began to experience heart breaking loss, yoga became an emotional and spiritual practice for me. I can turn to my practice for anything I need. I was called to teach yoga and found my roots here at Roots & Wings School at Yoga Branch. I love learning from all of the amazing teachers here at Yoga Branch. I love to practice all over and learn from different places and teachers. I love bringing my playful fun to my classes! I’m not the bendiest yogi in the bunch but I love to try, play and modify my classes to make them fun and accessible. I have taught many beginners and also people in recovery. I am trained in Yin & Restorative yoga as well. Anyone can do yoga is my mantra.

Additional Teachers

Amelie Archer

Yoga Branch has been Amelie’s yoga home for a long time. Amelie was originally introduced to yoga in 2013 when her high school water polo team started practicing at Yoga Branch every week with fellow Yoga Branch teacher Shelly Scott. Amelie knew there was something special about yoga but stopped practicing when the water polo season ended.

In 2017, Amelie was going through a rough patch, so she reached out to the studio manager to see if she could start volunteering at the studio in exchange for some classes - this is when she really began to fall in love with the practice of yoga - sometimes taking 3 classes per day because of how good she was feeling after each class. Her body not only felt strong and flexible, but she was working through emotional pain and past trauma. After years of being a regular Yoga Branch student and lots of healing, Amelie enrolled in Lisette’s Roots & Wings 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2019. Now, Amelie has been teaching all over North County San Diego since 2021, but still considers Yoga Branch her home. When you attend one of Amelie’s classes, she hopes to create a sense of peace and union within your mind, body and breath. She highlights the sensuality of yoga and encourages students to focus on what it really feels like to be in their bodies and to move intentionally.

Jennifer Frechette

Jennifer is a Registered Yoga Teacher and Certified Reiki Master. She lives in Vista, CA and has three children (2 daughters and 1 son). She was introduced to yoga through a knee injury, where it was first a source of physical therapy, and soon became a place to find authenticity of being and an endless journey of self exploration. Her passion for yoga deepened when she became a Reiki practitioner, finding similar healing effects they both have on the movement of energy through the body and chakra system.

Erich Schiffmann sums up how she feels about Yoga:

Yoga is a way of moving into stillness in order to experience the truth of who you are. The practice of yoga is the practice of meditation, or inner listening, in the poses and the meditations, as well as all day long. It's a matter of listening inwardly for guidance all the time, and then daring enough and trusting enough to do as you are prompted to do.

"I have always had a passion for health, fitness and personal brings me all three...for whatever reasons you may come to yoga, I joyfully look forward to seeing you on the mat." ~ Jennifer

Jennifer Wilson

I first found yoga in 2009 and was drawn to yoga as a way to strengthen my body without punishing it. I quickly discovered the additional benefits of yoga, mentally and spiritually, and believe yoga provides us with the tools to manage the ebbs and flows and continued stresses of daily life. I received my RYT-200 certification in 2015 through the Roots and Wings Teacher Training under the guidance of Lisette Hart and have been a member of Yoga Branch and committed to personal growth ever since.

As a licensed and practicing Doctor of Physical Therapy since 2011, I love to incorporate tips and tricks from my training as a physical therapist into my yoga classes. My classes focus on improving body awareness and bringing greater balance to the body to help prevent injury, so you can continue to live a full, active, and vibrant life. I enjoy developing creative flows and offering plenty of options, so you can benefit from your time on the mat regardless of your experience level. I invite my students to bring a sense of joy and playfulness to your practice and to use the time on your mat as an opportunity to breathe and create space in your body.

In my free time I enjoy classic rock, swimming, spending time with my dog Strider, and reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. I look forward to seeing you on the mat!

“Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.”

~Bruce Lee

Jessica Murray

Jessica's yogic journey began in New York City as a way to bring stillness in the mind, cope with the loss of her father, and the stressors of working in the Fashion Industry as a Stylist. From the moment she found relief from the hustle and bustle of the city, yoga has grown to be one of her deepest passions and continues to evolve with the ebb and flow of life. She believes that yoga has a magical healing power in which she wishes to share its abundant gifts with everyone around her. She completed her 200-hour teacher training at Yoga Branch in Vista, California where she currently lives and teaches. Jessica's overall intention for her classes is to create a safe space for students to explore and find expansiveness in their bodies, hearts, and minds through movement, attention to breath, patience, and love that will in turn bring about a meaningful life, beginning on the mat and beyond.

Lisa Shaw

Life is an adventure with many surprises along the way.  I found yoga and fell in love with the healing benefits of the physical practice and came away with so much more.  Yoga found me after a horse-riding injury and helped put me back together again.  Becoming a teacher was a wonderful, unplanned adventure that connects my passion for yoga with the beautiful students at Yoga Branch who continue to teach me as well.  I am honored to be a graduate of Roots and Wings and humbled to be a part of such a loving, compassionate yoga community.  Off the mat, my other passions include family, Stand Up Paddle-boarding, water-skiing, the outdoors and whatever planned and unplanned adventures await.