Meet Our Staff

Here’s a Bit More About Us

Sandra Kaplan, RYT 200
I have been teaching yoga for four years. I specialize in Iyengar yoga and embrace Dianne Bondy’s Yoga
for All practice and (body positive/empowerment) philosophy. Like Ms. Bondy I know that yoga benefits
all bodies, regardless of their shape, size, age, ethnicity, or ability. “The divine resides in all of us”.


Jassmine, better known as Jazzi, loves Vinyasa Flow styles of yoga!  Jazzi was certified through Core Power Yoga and has been teaching for 6 years.

SARAH GORHAM, E-RYT (Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher)

Sarah is a member of LAYA's board of directors.   She has been teaching since 2006 and specializes in gentle and  restorative practices.

Say Hello


I completed teacher training with Mary Beth Nehl at the Yoga Loft in Willmar.  I began my yoga practice in 2000 and love the strength of​ body and mind that comes from a powerful vinyasa practice.  Yoga has been my tool for calming my busy mind and helping me find gratitude and peace, both on and off the mat.  I also have additional training in yoga therapy and appreciate a good yin class to balance out the energy of Ashtanga.

Lakes Area Yoga Association was founded in 1995 as a not-for-profit association dedicated to bringing yoga to the Lakes area. LAYA, and the late Healing Center,  were the first organizations offering yoga in the Brainerd area. As yoga has grown in popularity, so have the number of places to find yoga in the area.  We remain dedicated to what we are doing and teaching, providing an authentic and sincere slate of classes rather than a "fitness-model-one-size-fits-all" style of yoga.  As a non-profit organization, we depend entirely on class fees to operate.

Our classes are generally eclectic and vary with each teacher’s background. Our teachers respect each individual’s abilities and needs, and offer appropriate variations and props for the asanas (poses) when needed. We make yoga accessible to all, regardless of age, size or abilities.  As yoga has proliferated in the Lakes area, and throughout the country, we have begun to specialize in gentle, restorative and therapeutic styles of yoga.

LAYA offers classes year-round in Brainerd, with a variety of levels and experiences available.  Our studio is in the Franklin Arts Center, studio 228 on the second floor.  Our address there is 1001 Kingwood, and is found approximately four blocks east of the historic water tower in the heart of Brainerd.

​Our Board of directors is currently made up of 3 community members with diverse backgrounds and expertise in their fields. They work together to make decisions to encourage the growth and integrity of Lakes Area Yoga. 

JESS mcMullen, RYT 200

I completed my training with the Yoga Center of Minneapolis in 2017.  I initially found Yoga 15 years ago as a form of pain relief from scoliosis and fell in love with it for the mind-body-spirit connection. Yoga is my way to make sense of the world and bring balance to this life.  I see yoga as a holistic tool to stay young and healthy, inside and out. 

Rob Rasmussen, E-RYT

I have been teaching yoga for over 20 years and began my training in the Iyengar method in the early 90’s. I attended multiple teacher training in Estes Park Colorado sponsored by Yoga Journal Magazine and was exposed to a variety of advanced teachers and styles from all over the world. Eventually, I gravitating towards a more therapeutic approach to Yoga. I have also been an instructor at various yoga teacher trainings.

I encourage my students to explore their limits in a safe and supported environment. This allows you to listen to your body and inner guide, your heart, so as to practice at a level appropriate for your current ability and existing range of motion. And most of all, to enjoy the practice!