Founded by a psychologist, Healthwise Studio offers a fresh approach to self-care, one that brings focus to your mind, body and spirit. Our services are simple, yet powerful and are appropriate for all; to awaken the body, uplift the spirit and quiet the mind.
Kristin Dahl, PsyD., LP, RYT
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Registered Yoga Teacher
Dr. Dahl is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and owner of Healthwise Behavioral Health & Wellness Clinic and Healthwise Studio. Although current evidence-based practices are the foundation of her work she values a mind-body connection and offers a holistic and integrative approach to care. Through mindful conversation and a strong belief in the importance of a compassionate relationship with oneself, she supports others by offering encouragement and fresh perspectives to patterned thinking.
“For me, my yoga practice is a very personal experience. Years ago it was curiosity that brought me to my first class. Slowly, as I learned how to connect my breath to the movement of my body I began to experience a sense of inner calm and restful awareness. A welcomed change that helped to buffer the very human experiences of insecurity, self-doubt and worry. Now, my time on my mat has become the foundation of my relationship with myself. It is where I go to quiet my busy mind and to connect with the wisest part of myself. The part of me that can accept my imperfections and my growing edges, and reminds me that taking time for me is not selfish, but self-loving. Yoga and meditation have positively influenced my everyday life and I am very grateful for the opportunity to share it with others."
Patty Hlava, Ph.D., AWC, C.MI., RYT
Ayurveda Wellness Counselor, Certified Meditation Instructor, Registered Yoga Teacher
Dr. Patty Hlava views meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda as guiding practices, noting that meditation in its various forms has woven through her life since her childhood. She approaches her practice and teaching styles with a desire to both learn and share, with the aim of cultivating deep healing and growth. Holding a compassion-centered perspective, she works with individuals and groups in a non-judgmental style weaving insight, metaphor, and gentle humor throughout each class session.
Dr. Hlava holds a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a doctoral degree in Transpersonal Psychology. She completed her training in Ayurveda Wellness Counseling through the Sevanti Institute. She has spoken at conferences and events on the topics of meditation, mindfulness and psychotherapy, and gratitude.
“I came to yoga and Ayurveda through the door of meditation, which is one facet of these sister sciences. Yoga offered me a way to engage with my body in way that felt simultaneously challenging and nourishing. The experience has never been one of exercise, but rather of feeling supported somehow—recharged and centered. I’ve always struggled with the term “exercise,” and generally find the idea of exercise daunting and intimidating. Yoga is more gentle—more welcoming. On my mat, I feel like I’ve come home. Through yoga, I discovered Ayurveda, which helped me develop a new relationship with food and with my body. There is kindness to these practices, and I am constantly surprised at how transformative Ayurveda and yoga have been, and continue to be for me. I don’t always notice the immediate benefits; however, I always notice the difference in how I feel both emotionally and physically when I don’t practice. Yoga and meditation truly center and ground me. Ayurveda gives me balance and helps me to see things in my life clearly.”
Heidi Kopacek, PsyD, LP, RYT
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Registered Yoga Teacher
Dr. Heidi Kopacek is a licensed psychologist. While earning her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, Heidi specialized in the study of mindfulness and meditation and how these concepts impact well-being. Heidi deeply values the mind-body connection in her approach to health, believing the body to be an invaluable resource for managing challenging situations and emotions. While Dr. Kopacek knows most people are doing a pretty great job managing and balancing all of their complex modern-day stressors, she suspects many either don’t have time, or are confused about how to approach their inner world. Her yoga classes, based on the principles of yoga and mindfulness, are designed to explore and clarify the laws of emotion, insight, vision, and values.
“I admittedly started practicing yoga because I liked that it was exercise where you get to be barefoot and wear comfy stretch pants. And yoga was a wonderful workout, but over time, my awareness of why I enjoyed yoga started to shift. I realized that, more than feeling the physical invigoration that I feel with all forms of exercise, I was experiencing a deepening awareness of my body and what it needed. And instead of the emotional high one taps into from all forms of exercise, I was experiencing a deep and rich sense of calm, as well as unexpected bursts of insight and clarity that continued well past my yoga class. Now, rather than thinking of yoga as a fitness practice, I experience it as a wisdom practice (I still love being barefoot and wearing stretchy pants though!)”
Shannon Whealy, RYT
Registered Yoga Teacher
Shannon holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in Psychology and Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She’s a graphic designer and business owner, and has provided her entrepreneurial clients with a variety of creative services for 20 years. As her yoga practice has deepened over the past 8 years, she's developed a better understanding of herself and discovered new ways to use her creativity to serve on a greater level. She became a certified yoga teacher in the Spring of 2016 to help others experience the physical, emotional and spiritual benefits of yoga that are continually transforming her life.
“For years, I used running as a tool to cope with stress, anxiety and mood. I was drawn to the physical practice of Vinyasa yoga, hoping it could provide the same benefit. It did, and so much more. I quickly found that by linking breath with movement, I could get out of my head and into my heart and spirit. My yoga and meditation practice helps me focus inward, feel the physical capsule of my body and be in the present moment. The mission of my teaching is to inspire students to connect to their hearts and bodies through breath and movement so they can live more fully and find peace within themselves.”
Kristin Cromie, CYT, Reiki Practitioner
Certified Yoga Teacher
Kristin spent 15 years in Corporate America in the quality industry in Atlanta. After a running injury lead her to yoga, she quickly realized the physical, emotional and spiritual healing aspects of yoga. She balances her love of running, CrossFit and backpacking, grown twin girls and two stepchildren with a daily yoga practice. She has particular interest and training in Hatha/foundational yoga, anatomy, and yogic philosophy.
Soon after moving from Georgia to Minnesota, she began practicing Reiki and offering Energetic Healing. Reiki has been an integral force in her life, allowing her to connect with the depth of the spirit in a therapeutic environment.
“Yoga has been my journey through healing and forgiveness. After suffering for many years, I’m reminded each time I step on my mat how soul-drenching and compassionate yoga is. Unlike traditional exercise, yoga is the mind-body-spirit connection which allows everyone the space to be curious, heal and grow. It is my honor to guide and teach in a manner which provides a soft place to land, move mindfully, breathe intentionally and just be.”
Kimberly Plessel, MS, RD, LD
Registered & Licensed Dietitian
Kimberly views mindfulness as a key component of nutritional well-being. In 2000, she was first introduced to this concept through yoga. To deepen her awareness, she has participated in several trainings related to mindfulness-based strategies for wellness and intuitive eating. She enters into partnership with her clients to explore the positive and nourishing opportunities of food in their lives. Mindfulness provides a framework to raise awareness of personal motivations, actions and insights into the roots of ones’ health. With this awareness, each of us is empowered to trust our own intuitive wisdom, preferences and internal cues to guide our food choices.
Kimberly Plessel holds a master’s degree in nutrition. She is a registered and licensed dietitian. She holds several certifications that include intuitive eating, adult weight management and chronic disease self-management. Kimberly is currently completing a certification program to become an “Integrative and Functional Nutrition Certified Practitioner."
Kimberly provides clinical nutrition counseling and speaks at local women's health conferences for Oakdale ObGyn in Maple Grove. She has written several articles for local healthcare organizations, including Minnesota Health Care News. Kimberly has served as a content expert for the Star Tribune, Minnesota Magazine, Minnesota Statement and Club Business International magazine. She also appeared on KARE 11 News to share strategies to combat emotional eating.
"I started practicing yoga over 15 years ago as a way to ground myself and quiet my mind. I found incredible value in the group environment – practicing with and inspired by others that are striving for an inner balance. As time has unfolded, I have been impressed by the subtle messages and overlays that yoga has also had in my professional life. Yoga inspires mindfulness both on and off the mat. This state of awareness is directly linked to how we relate to our plates – not only our food choices, but the active process of how we eat. This has inspired me to take a functional, personalized approach to health and well-being."
Bridget Vargas, CYT
Certified Yoga Teacher
Bridget has been working full-time in administrative roles in the corporate world for the last 25+ years and in experiencing corporate stress she in turn found the benefits of yoga. In 2014 after years of practicing yoga, she obtained her certification through the Yoga Center of Minneapolis. In addition, she is the founding Director of the non-profit; Forever Loved that is dedicated to the rescue and rehoming of abused and abandoned dogs of Puerto Rico. “I am truly blessed to have found my purpose and to be able to combine my passions to make a difference in the lives of others through both rescue and yoga.
“I started practicing yoga about 16 years ago and at that time I was looking for a new way to exercise. Once I started I realized that there was so much more to yoga and the practice itself then just the physical benefits. Yoga and meditation have changed my life for the better. It brings much needed nourishment to my mind, body and spirit. It has also allowed me to give myself permission to let go and to be compassionate to myself. I am grateful and eager to share my love of the practice with others.”
Laura Stephan , PsyD, LP
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Stephan's interest in meditation and yoga practice began early in life. Throughout her career she has seen how these practices can help individuals access well-being in ways that traditional psychotherapy sometimes cannot. Her doctoral degree in psychology, as well as specific training in the integration of mindfulness and yoga with therapy, give her a unique ability to help people cultivate these skills.
“I am passionate about helping individuals develop skills for balance and awareness. I think we can lose these abilities in our modern lives, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and stressed. My focus is on teaching others the skills to help them develop mindful awareness and calm. These abilities assist ones’ emotional regulation and attunement, which allows a person to live more intuitively. My teaching approach is genuine and light-hearted and meant to help individuals integrate these techniques into their busy lives. I recognize the fact that not everyone has time for lengthy, intense practice, and I focus on helping individuals find small and creative ways to integrate well-being practices into their lives.”
Britta Lundberg, PhD, LP
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Lundberg earned a PhD in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She specializes in working with individuals with chronic health conditions and disability. In her psychotherapy practice, she empowers clients to utilize the body’s self-healing resources to reduce distress and improve physical functioning and quality of life. She has taught mindfulness meditation classes to active senior groups across the Twin Cities. She brings a practical, real-world approach to incorporating mindfulness meditation practice into everyday life.
“Although mindfulness meditation originated in ancient Eastern religious traditions, similar practices (e.g., contemplative prayer, self-reflection) exist across cultures as means of reducing suffering and cultivating inner peace. I approach meditation from a neuroscience perspective and was first introduced to mindfulness meditation as a research assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I observed brain imaging research on Tibetan monks. This ground-breaking research led by Dr. Richard Davidson showed that meditation has a powerful impact on how the brain and body function, which helped to bring meditation to the forefront of health and mental health care. Inspired by these experiences at UW-Madison, I completed training in mindfulness meditation and mindfulness-based psychotherapy.”
Stacey Allen, MA, LMFT, CCLS
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Stacey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with Healthwise Behavioral Health in Maple Grove. Stacey is a Certified Child Life Specialist and has experience teaching mind/body techniques for relaxation and pain control in pediatric hospital settings. Stacey specializes in medical issues, chronic illness, and the psychological effects of cancer, and she is devoted to helping kids and adults through grief. Stacey works cooperatively with children, high school age kids, and adults to bring awareness to negative patterns and explore new techniques for success. Stacey enjoys working with the whole family because she believes the entire system contributes to both happiness and chaos.
"Many times in my therapy sessions with couples, clients say, 'I wish I would have learned this stuff when I was a kid, Why don’t they teach this to the kids in school?' 'If I would have known some of these things sooner, I think I would have been better at relationships.' So, here we are! A chance to teach our kids not only what psychology has taught us about relationships and behavior, but how philosophies in mind/body balance can help us mindfully respond rather than mindlessly react. I love to hear kids teach others their new mindfulness skills, and to show they can use these skills daily to self-calm, show compassion, and positively participate in life!"
Tracey McCabe MA., LPCC, RYT
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Registered Yoga Teacher
Tracey received her Master’s degree in Forensic psychology in 2012. She became a registered yoga teacher (RYT 200) in 2013 and has since received specialized education in Yoga Calm, yoga for depression and anxiety. Tracey’s passion lies in teaching adolescents mindfulness practices along with yoga to develop well-being, self-compassion, and connection between mind, body, and soul.
“I began my personal yoga practice in 2012 and have experienced firsthand the positive impact that meditation, mindfulness, and yoga has on my life. I sought out yoga as a way to complement my athletic lifestyle and my comfort zone of participating in sports. However, I have found the calming aspects of connecting movement with my breath to have helped to bring more balance to my life. I have since begun studying how mindfulness can be integrated into therapeutic aspects with both children and adolescents. My focus is on creating a non-judgmental environment that supports and promotes self-exploration and personal growth."
Kenzi Allen, RYT
Registered Yoga Teacher
Kenzi is a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance. She is the faculty yoga teacher at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists where she teaches self-care through yoga to high school students. Kenzi has volunteered teaching yoga to children at People Serving People, a shelter in Minneapolis. Her job as the mindfulness program assistant at the Center for Spirituality and Healing helps strengthen her own personal connection to mindfulness. Kenzi is a theatre artist and actor in the Twin Cities interested in work that blends mindfulness, yoga, movement, and performance.
“Yoga has been a part of my life since I was very young. My theatre training goes hand in hand with yoga because they are both about the mind-body connection and presence. Growing up, I experienced challenges that impacted my life and I found yoga to be the most helpful path to healing. I want to help young people discover the power of yoga on their journey to a quiet mind and healthy life.”
Lorilee Virnig, MA, RYT, CC
MA Counseling & Psychological Services, Registered Yoga Teacher
Lorilee holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling and Psychological Services, she is a 200-RYT, a certified instructor of Yoga Calm® for Children, and a certified life coach for teens and young adults. Lorilee has completed Module One for Eat Breathe Thrive™ program facilitator. Eat Breathe Thrive™ combines yoga, a supportive community, and service to foster a healthier body image and relationship with food.
Lorilee completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. The word Kripalu means compassion. Kripalu Yoga is a hatha yoga practice designed to adapt to all body types, ages, fitness levels, and interests. Lorilee’s goal as a yoga teacher is to help each student bring greater ease, strength, flexibility, and focus into their life. While adhering to alignment principals for safety, she invites students to foster self-awareness by mindfully connecting movement to the breath. Yoga Calm® for Children skillfully fosters social and emotional development as well as increases balance, focus, strength and flexibility for children ages 3 to 18 through the practice of age appropriate, fun, mindful movements and breath awareness.
"I have practiced a variety of types of yoga throughout my adult life. Practicing Kripalu Yoga provides me with a sanctuary for clarity, focus and joy both on and off my mat. My personal yoga practice helps me nurture a healthy mind, body and spirit, and live with grace and compassion for self and others. With the gentle guidance of an intuitive teacher, yoga can be a wonderful catalyst for personal growth at all ages and stages of life. I look forward to having an opportunity to share in your yoga journey in the beautiful Healthwise Yoga Studio.”
Betty Christensen, RYT
Registered Yoga Teacher
After both of Betty's boys left home for college, a friend invited her to attend her first yoga class. It helped her to adjust to this new phase in her life and she soon realized the many benefits of practicing yoga - from calming the mind and body through movement and breath, to learning to live in the present moment through meditation, to understanding the importance of restful awareness through a restorative yoga practice. Betty has always been physically active - from biking, swimming, teaching step classes, and keeping active in her garden - as well as working in the corporate world. But yoga was an entirely new form of "exercise" that engaged mind, body and spirit - it fulfilled her desire for physical exercise and at the same time helped to ground her for the changes life constantly offers us. In 2010 Betty's desire to share yoga with everyone she met, resulted in becoming certified to teach yoga - and thus the journey to share her passion began. She currently teaches hatha, restorative, healing, and chair yoga. Guided by compassion and an inner spirit, Betty seeks opportunities to serve others in a heartfelt and mindful manner through a yoga practice.
"Healthwise Studio's philosophy of offering opportunity to learn mind body skills to help better manage difficult emotions, ward off stress, calm anxiety and boost your mood is a perfect fit for my style of teaching yoga. I am excited to be a part of this yoga community and honored to be able to guide students to a more mindful, compassionate, and sustainable lifestyle through a yoga practice."
Nasa Mitchell, RYT
Registered Yoga Teacher
As a child I grew up watching my grandfather, who was a monk and ayurvedic healer, meditate,
chant mantras, and do his spiritual ceremonies. This heritage has inspired me to become a yoga teacher.
As a mother of two sons, living in a fast moving, noisy and turbulent world, I knew that something had to be balanced. In 2013, I began training with YogaWorks in San Francisco, CA. This experience changed my life and has helped me understand that there are many tools to use for physical, mental, and spiritual health. I have also completed Reiki Healing.
Through the practice of yoga I am able to manage my stress to be more patient with the world
around me. My focus of teaching yoga is to use the asana-postures, pranayama-breath techniques, and meditation practices as a bridge to greater connectivity with yourself, mental clarity, and a more empathetic awareness of the world around us. Together we can connect, grow, and share.