Board of Directors

As we work to build a strong and diverse board of directors that is representative of our region, FLYA is managed by a small Advisory Team of teachers, students and studio owners.

Consider joining the FLYA Board. Board Members join monthly conference calls and a face-to-face annual meeting. Please take a few minutes to fill out the form here so we can learn more about you.

FLYA Advisory Team:

Avi Baumgold has played with yoga for the last 10 years but has only deepened and become dedicated to Avihis practice since 2008. Acroyoga and yoga have woven together since then to inspire Avi to find an intense acrobatic play and a soft subtle awareness that help him bring Yoga to everyday life. As a Licensed Massage Therapist, Avi is continually striving to understand the dynamic nature of yoga Asana as tool for supporting therapeutic bodywork.


Liz Falk is the founder of FLYA and is dedicated to creating a yoga community where knowledge is shared and supports her continuous desire to grow as a student and teacher. Liz has been teaching Vinyasa Flow since 2005 and recently received her certification in Ashtanga and The Rocket from David Kyle and It’s Yoga. Liz teaches at Mighty Yoga in Ithaca. Off the mat she is a garden educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Garden-based Learning and an aspiring permaculture farmer.

Jody Kessler has been practicing Yoga for over 30 years and is a Kripalu Yoga Teacher (CYT 500). She is also a performing songwriter and recording artist, a devotional chant leader, and an ordained Interfaith Minister. Jody regularly leads Kirtan and devotional chanting with her band, ONE LOVE.



Gina Newlin is endlessly fascinated by yoga as both an internal journey and a pathway to greater connection with the world. As a member of FLYA she is committed to supporting the growth of an inclusive yoga community, honoring all style and forms, and to exploring what it means to be a yogi in the modern world. She lives and works in Ithaca, NY teaching Vinyasa & AcroYoga & raising two amazing sons.


Astrid Jirka is an RYT certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor, who draws both information and inspiration for her practice and teachings from well known instructors such as Dharma Mittra, Shiva Rea and Seane Corn and her local instructor Steven Valloney, not to mention many ancient and modern yogic texts.  Freedom and Expansion, Introspection and Relaxation, Strength and Flexibility are some of the main words that Astrid uses to describe yoga and which she aims to incorporate into her practice and teachings. As a member of FLYA, she hopes that the yoga community in the Finger Lakes can become more informed of opportunities happening in the region so that we can all learn more about this wonderful practice and broaden our connections with each other. She currently teaches at the Sunrise Yoga Center and Cornell University in Ithaca.

Linda Schaar is a certified Yoga Teacher and Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor. Linda lindacombines her passion for these two natural systems of well being, as the owner of Vibrant Life Yoga and Ayurveda in Horseheads, NY. Over the years many teachers, yoga styles, and ayurvedic principles have inspired her practice and teaching style. Linda and her husband David also own SleepRite; a business that provides Sleep Disorder Testing.


Jessica Shurberg was introduced to yoga in 1998 and reunited to Vinyasa and JessicaAshtanga by way of AcroYoga (AY) in early 2009. Community has always been an important facet of her life, mainly through gardening and food as well as (public)art. She has been a part of the AcroYoga community, where there is a very clear understanding that without community, you can not grow as a Yogi. This can be taken for granted in other forms of Yoga where the necessity is not so direct. Jess wants FLYA to be a way to connect us; to remind us to support and inspire as well as hold ourselves accountable when need be. Together we are taking action to be a community of Yogis: spreading the strength and flexibility in our hearts, bodies, spirits and minds and in concordance with our surroundings.

Zainab Zakari has been teaching yoga since 2007. Zainab’s teaching style draws from several yoga styles and her teachers – Charles and Lisa Bennett Matkin, Prana Flow creator Shiva Rea and her senior trainers Twee Merrigan, Simon Park, Maria Garre & Coral Brown. When she is not on a yoga mat, Zainab also spends her time as a freelance writer and editor. Visit her blog BeZainy.

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