Our Teachers

ready. set. grow.
Mandy Roush

Mandy Roush

Founder/Teacher

Yoga has helped me learn how to focus my attention on what is real and right now. That may be the sensation I am feeling in my body while I am in a pose, the conversation I’m having with a loved one, or the beauty of my surroundings. This practice has helped me manage reactivity, impulsivity and my fear of the unknown. By learning how to access what is real and let go of what might be or what was, I experience more ease and joy. I think the most important gift yoga has given me is a reconnection with my own inner knowing.

I love learning and I love teaching! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share this practice! My classes are strong and steady with an emphasis on breath and body awareness. I draw from my own experiences and the great teachers I’ve had the honor of studying with including Stacy and Dave Dockins, Live Love Teach, Baron Baptiste and Deborah Adele. I see each class as a practice, as teacher and student, to stay connected to what is needed moment by moment and respond accordingly.

My husband Nick and I are the proud founders of Root Down Yoga Studio. This studio and practice are central to our lives. We feel so fortunate to be surrounded by this incredible teaching team and our community of students. When I’m not at the studio, you’ll probably find me on my horse, in my garden or hanging out at home with Nick and our cat.

Nick Roush

Nick Roush

Founder/Teacher

Like so many of us, as I found more professional “success” in my life, I gave myself less and less time to move my body and calm my mind. Before I knew it, I was an overdoing, overstressed, “professional sitter” desperately in need of a change. Thanks to my lovely wife Mandy, I started practicing yoga! After just a short time I noticed my strength return, but most of all, I just felt so much happier. I was calmer, more focused and less “knockable” by the life challenges we all face.

Yoga practice has touched and shaped every facet of my life. My relationships, my mental state, my body, the way I do business, everything! I think it comes back to “how yoga works”. The practice works because it gives you a venue to see what’s possible for you. As you are physically and mentally challenged, you learn the tools to help you grow and flourish in the midst of that challenge. Soon, what you previously viewed as a road block is now just a tiny speed bump. What would have previously taken you out is now just another chance to learn and grow. The practice creates so much more space for joy in life.

My yoga practice has led me to my life purpose: To live an inspired life and inspire others to what’s possible for them! I teach yoga because of my most sincere hope to share this life changing practice with you. I invite you to come practice with me and all the teachers at Root Down Yoga! Don’t worry, the practice will meet you right where you are today, no judgement, no expectations. Let the practice work its magic and reveal what’s possible for you!

Jessie Fortuna

Jessie Fortuna

Teacher

Yoga entered my life in 2009, as a simple invitation from a new friend. It was a fun way to move my body in a way that didn’t cause pain. It led to another invitation to join a small group of yogis practicing hot yoga in a garage. I now call these people my dearest friends. Through my practice and training over the years, I now know who I am and I love that person. I am JOYFUL! Yoga has helped me find the best version of myself. It reminds me when to take a pause-perhaps in a single breath. Yoga has pulled me out of autopilot and has given me tools that help me choose my own reactions. Yoga will meet you where you are at. Yoga is a gift that has been given to me and I look forward to sharing it with you!

Lori Freit-Hammes

Lori Freit-Hammes

Teacher

As a busy mom of three with a full-time professional career, I turned to Vinyasa Yoga as a way to help me manage my stress, offer an element of cross training to my exercise routine, and provide me with relief from chronic pain in my neck, back and hips.  It’s done all that, plus so much more.

As a student, yoga has created a space within me to see life differently – to see the possibilities.  I’m the typical Type A, driven, overachieving perfectionist.  I push myself, push some more, and then wonder why I become overwhelmed, frustrated, resentful, or injured along the way. Yoga has taught me to slow down, to accept, forgive, and to be gentle with myself and others.  It’s helped me quiet the voice of my inner critic, get out of the way of my self-imposed limitations, and begin to love and accept myself for who and what I am.

I teach yoga because I love and believe in the power of this practice.  I’ve been blessed to be part of this growing community and I want to offer that same opportunity to you.  Throw out any preconceived notions you may have in your mind about “yoga” and give it a try.  I hope to see you on your mat!

Julie Hatlem

Julie Hatlem

Teacher

From my first introduction to vinyasa yoga I fell in love with the grace and power of the practice. What I have come to love and respect even more, is the powerful connection of breath, movement, and community. Every breath, every movement, is a gift to connect to what is happening right now … and a choice to respond with intention and awareness. Life will always have a rhythm and cadence to it and my yoga practice gives me the opportunity to respond to life’s ups and downs with a pace that keeps me grounded. Not reacting, judging, or creating story.

I will always be a student of this practice and I am grateful for the opportunity to share it with you. I believe that yoga, just like life, is filled with moments of curiosity, change, inspiration, problem solving, and self-acceptance. Join me for a class. Be curious, have fun, and discover the grace and power of yoga!

Stephanie Hein

Stephanie Hein

Teacher

An avenue to live full and love well. I began yoga a month after my dad died. I was 24, fresh out of college and reluctantly back in my hometown, La Crosse, Wisconsin. I felt angry, bitter, lonely, and trapped; I carried sadness and my heart was empty. A friend recognized this void and recommended yoga. As I began to practice more regularly, I experienced brief pockets… moments of space, where my mind wasn’t fixated on the thoughts of wishing my dad was still here or wondering what life would be like without him. I began to tap into, a sensation, a deeper calming breath; a new awareness of my body as it moved on my mat. The more I practiced, the more I felt present in my daily living. I noticed a greater ability to take joy in whatever it was that was happening right in front of me. Yoga has been, and will always be, a continuous journey of shifting myself to THE moment. It is with a joyful heart that my commitment to yoga has equipped me with the tools to live full and love well. Namaste!

Jennifer Hyer

Jennifer Hyer

Teacher

I started practicing yoga years ago on accident and I’m so thankful for it. Yoga has helped me become more aware of how I’m feeling not only in my body but in my heart and mind as well. With each practice I gain something spiritually, emotionally, mentally and/or physically. The community at Root Down Yoga and my mat have been a safe place for me to just be, to learn, to explore. I’m really excited to bring this element of teaching into my practice as well. I know there is so much more to gain. I’m so looking forward to getting to know you as a student and learning and growing together. Can’t wait to see you on your mat!

Avis Johnson

Avis Johnson

Office Manager

Avis is the beating heart of the Root Down Yoga community. Nick and Mandy were blessed to meet her many years ago and before she was officially hired, she was a dedicated student who always wanted to lend a hand. We had to pull the laundry out of her hands! Her smile will light up any room and she embodies this practice we call yoga. She is the first person to arrive and the last to leave, she knows when to offer a comforting hug or a listening ear, and her fantastic sense of humor keeps us all on our toes. She makes sure all of the staff and students have what they need, when they need it. She is the welcome wagon and warmly and willingly offers her guidance and support. She does so much for all of us and yet never wants any recognition or attention for it. Which is why we had to write this for her. If Avis did write this, she’d say she loves her yoga practice, she loves her job, and she loves sharing the Root Down community with each of you.

Amber Moesch

Amber Moesch

Teacher

My grandma Marion lived to be 98 years old, and I often wonder if I will follow in her footsteps, perhaps even passing a century!  More than anything, what motivates me and shapes the way I practice yoga is the humbling thought that I might have more than 50 years to live in THIS body!  I am passionate about keeping my own human body working well and helping other people to do the same.  Through teaching yoga, I hope to be able to inspire you and give you skills to inhabit your body with more joy, strength, balance and ease, through all your years and in all that life brings you!

Pam Popp

Pam Popp

Teacher

Somehow yoga found me. It all started with a simple invitation from a friend and from then on, it was LOVE ! Right away I realized that yoga touched me very differently. Was it the breath? Or the physical challenge? Maybe it was the peace that I felt on the mat or simply the love of hanging out with a group of awesome yogis? All I knew was that each time I practiced, it was a new, incredible experience in my mind and body. True awareness was found, so I kept going back.  Yoga has created a transformation in my life, it continues to remind me to let go, to stay in the present moment, to meet challenges with compassion and to just… breathe. One of the greatest things about yoga is that it is always a practice, both on and off your mat.  Lately, combining nature, water and yoga has sparked a new passion for me! SUP(stand up paddle board) yoga . After spending many hours on the water and receiving training, I am so lucky to now fill my summers paddling and teaching SUP yoga classes. How amazing it is to soak up the beautiful surroundings while practicing and teaching yoga on a floating board! Come join a class and play! This special yoga journey is so inspiring, evolving and exciting, I look forward to sharing, teaching and experiencing it with you!
Joanna Drazkowski

Joanna Drazkowski

Teacher

For several years, I had been wanting to try yoga, but my need for intense, sweaty physical activity had me putting off what I thought was “just stretching.” When plantar fasciitis completely sidelined me from running in 2015, I had my opening. I started with a beginner workshop at Root Down. I can’t quite recall if it was the warm room, the movement with breath, or the “stretchy” poses (maybe all of it!), but I was hooked from day one.

There is so much that I love about practicing yoga. I love that it is for everyBODY. I love that it meets you where you are day-to-day whether you are needing an intense practice or something more restorative. I love that yoga is a place where you can tune everything else out and just be present in the moment, in your body. I love that yoga is a continual journey and not a destination- there are always new challenges, or things to explore, or “ah-ha!” moments to be had. And this is what had me drawn to become a yoga teacher. When you are passionate about something, you want to share it! I’m excited to see you in the studio!