Meet the Team

Melanie Needham,FCIP, CRM

Owner of The Personal Empowerment Studio
Yoga and Meditation Certified Instructor
Empowerment Youth Program Instructor

oliver needham

Hi there! It’s great to meet you! My name is Melanie, and I’m thrilled to be the owner of The Personal Empowerment Studio. 

I’m originally from Whitby, Ontario, but I’ve called this area home for over 10 years now. I live in Southgate with my husband Andrew, our two boys Oliver and Emmett, and a whole zoo of furry friends. 

I didn’t always practice yoga, but a few years ago, I went through tough times and turned to yoga to deal with my anxiety and overcome my challenges. I found inner peace and tranquillity that I had never experienced before, and I started practicing yoga regularly. 

I’m proud to say that I recently earned my 200-hour yoga certification and received a certificate in Kids Yoga and Meditation. My goal is to teach and share this amazing practice with our community, and I’m excited to open up our space and provide a safe and welcoming environment for everyone.

Reece Steele


oliver needham

I’ll be the one you’ll see most often at the studio, don’t be afraid to say hi!

I’m the studio manager and will be the one taking care of all your needs 🙂
I dipped my toes into Yoga when I did some placement work at Pine River Institute & I found myself loving every minute of it; I can’t wait to encourage others to do the same!
I’m very much a mental health advocator and love helping those around me become a better version of themselves for the future!

Fun Fact!
I hold an advanced Child and Youth Care diploma and have over 12 years of experience with children & youth. I have also worked with the Needham family for a couple of years now and love every minute of it!

Addison Needham

Front Desk

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We told you this was a family affair and Addison is part of that. Addison is Melanie and Andy’s niece and she will be working at the studio when the rest of us can’t. Addison loves baseball and yoga and is amazing with kids 🙂

Ashley Smith

Health and Fitness Instructor

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Hey everyone, my name is Ashley. I am a proud owner of Health and Fitness with Ashley in Hanover.

I have been married to my best friend for the past 12 years with 2 amazing boys.

A few years back, I started my journey of discovering me.   I was honestly a very depressed, overweight person, but I knew something had to change not only for me but my family.  That is when I found a love for exercise.  I loved it so much that I started my business so I can teach and show everyone else how much it can change your life.  Not only physically but mentally.

So please join me Friday evenings for a shaking, rocking good time!!

XO Ashely

Atrielle Andara

Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy

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Atrielle is an Akashic Soul Journey Quantum Healer, Spiritual Coach and Mentor. She is certified as a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy. Atrielle has mentored with a quantum healer learning about quantum physics in its relation to spirituality and has also worked with a Shaman for a year doing Stargate work and planetary grid work. She writes specialized mantras for individuals and helps them to clear energy blockages from the Physical, Mental, Emotional, and Spiritual layers of the body, restoring the original angelic human blueprint and balancing the chakra system.
Atrielle is certified to teach a special Children’s Integrated Energy Therapy Class and has created classes specifically for children. She has an educational background in psychology, sociology and animal care. She is a mental health advocate and has the knowledge to offer from all walks of life with their unique challenges. Atrielle lives in Mount Forest with her daughter.

Jayden Needham

Front Desk

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We can’t have one without the other!! You already met Addison and this is her sister Jayden who will also be working at the studio when she isn’t working at another amazing local establishment. 

Jayden loves to play sports ( baseball/volleyball) being active, hanging out with friends and going to the cottage/beach. She is also incredible with kids and of course she also loves yoga too because who doesn’t!

Jenn Gowan

Yoga Instructor

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Yoga invites us to integrate the body and mind through the breath. We tap into our strength and vulnerability as we observe and redefine our relationship to our bodies. Buti Yoga and its related modalities (Buti Sculpt, Buti Bands, and HotCore) share these opportunities while also focusing on empowerment, freedom, and fun. So much of our lives are spent in our heads; Buti Yoga frees us to literally shake out the stress, worries, and trauma of our lives and tap back into the strength and intuitive movements of our bodies. Jen has been leading Buti Yoga classes since 2019, and became certified in HotCore in 2020, with Bands & Sculpt the following spring. Jen is honored to bring this movement medicine to her home communities of Bruce and Grey. Whether you join her for Buti Yoga, Sculpt, Bands, or HotCore, you will feel the encouragement and energy that Jen brings into every space.
All of Jen’s offerings provide a chance to get out of your head and into your body – taking what you need and leaving the rest on the mat.

Jenna Kleinsteuber

Reiki Practitioner

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Hey everyone! My name is Jenna, and I am super grateful to be apart of this team at The Personal Empowerment Studio!

I was born and raised here in Mount Forest and after moving around a bit for some post secondary education, I have settled back into my home in town. I live with my wonderful boyfriend in our cozy little house with all 5 of our adorable pets!

I have dove head first into a couple different career paths over the last 6 years, obtaining as much education and life experiences as I could in that short period of time. My experiences are ranging from firefighting to plumbing, but it wasn’t until last year that I discovered the path I feel I am truly meant to be on.

Once I found this, the amazing healing modality that is reiki, I knew shortly after that this was what I was meant to be doing. Reiki has helped me through some seriously difficult times in my life and provided me with the clarity that I always found myself searching for. Not long after I started The Cosmic Healing Hive, my reiki practice.

I was certified in the summer of 2022 as a Usui/Holy Fire Level I & II Reiki Practitioner by an absolute earth angel and Reiki Master, Purnima Chaudhari. I am thrilled to say that this summer (2023) I will be completing my Reiki Masters certification under my very own reiki practitioner, Sarah McDonald.

I have been diving more into meditation, different techniques and practices I can use alongside reiki and I am super excited to bring all of my ideas to life with you at The Personal Empowerment Studio!

Oliver Needham

Kids Class Assistant Instructor

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This is Oliver and the youngest member of our team. Oliver is Melanie’s son and has been an avid yogi since birth. Oliver loves people and is a natural leader and is beyond excited to assist Melanie in the kids classes while he deepens his own practice. Oliver is an equestrian and loves his ponies. He competes in the Hunter class and loves riding.

Santana Nickerson

Fitness Instructor

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I’ve been a group fitness fanatic for years, especially in dance fitness. Taking Zumba for more than a decade, when I stumbled upon Turn Up™️ – I finally like I found a format that felt like home! My love for hip-hop dance and music, mixed up with the elements of group fitness- I knew there was no turning back!

I believe everyone needs to find something they LOVE to do when it comes to moving our bodies- something that brings out a bit of playfulness sprinkled with a lot of self-love. I look forward to dancing with you and watching you Turn Up™️ for yourself and your life xo.

Sophie Doney

Personal Trainer

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Meet Sophie!!! She is one of the class instructors and personal trainers at the studio!

I developed my passion for resistance training when I first took ‘supergym’ in high school. After years of working out myself, I wanted to share the love I had for fitness with others and become a personal trainer. Watching my clients become the best version of themselves is the most rewarding accomplishment in my job. I want my clients to be able to walk away from our training sessions with more knowledge than they had coming in and feel confident working out by themselves.

You will find me doing mobility before every workout session with myself and my clients, as I believe it is essential to function through daily activities with ease and pain-free.

Stacey Bell

Yoga Instructor

Stacey Bell

Stacey has been a yoga teacher for 5 years, having a background in nursing and an interest in wellness. Stacey loves to offer fun and creative transitions to help improve your relationship with your body. Stacey offers a fast-paced buti yoga class which incorporates tribal dance, cardio bursts, of course, yoga and primal movements. Music is the GPS in buti yoga, so you’ll definitely have a good time in this class. She also offers a Yin Yang flow where we move to slow things down, breathe and connect.



I began practicing yoga at the age of 18, using it as a tool to de-stress and exercise throughout university studies. Now a full-time Registered Nurse I find I need yoga more and more. With a busy, fast-paced career, I naturally gravitated towards the vinyasa and beat-driven flows, eventually leading me to Buti yoga! Having completed my 200 hours in November 2018, I have not looked back.

Yoga is a huge creative and releasing outlet for me. Often I come to my mat with a lot of emotions and a lot of weight from the day. I take my practice as a time to release negative sensations, to really let it go and create new, light positive space. I hope to bring you all a new way to move, that feels natural and “like home”.

Our bodies are capable of so much more than we even know and it’s important for us to nourish that creative side. My favourite thing about my own classes are the seamlessness of moving Asana to Asana. I want my students to develop confidence in sequencing their own practice, loving their bodies and listening to their intuition to serve their self-care needs. I have not always had a great relationship with my body, but it’s something I work at daily, with yoga being the most positive impact on my self image. For me, that should be the ultimate goal from a yoga practice. Developing a beautiful self-awareness and positive attitude towards your body. I hope my classes reach you and leave you feeling better than when you started.

Teresa Viana

Fitness Instructor

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Hi! My name is Teresa Viana, originally from Toronto ON, I moved to the Minto area 20 years ago. I have an 18 year old Hailey and twins Octavia & Sebastian who are 5. Health and Fitness has always been in my life since my early 20s when I turned to exercise to deal with stress and anxiety. Since then I was bit by the wellness bug and have always been striving to show others how to use food and exercise to feel great about themselves.
I recently became certified as a Pre & Post Natal Coaching Specialist and am working on becoming a Health and Fitness Coach as well as a Pre,Post & Peri Menopausal Coaching Specialist. I want to help empower women in all stages of life feel their best!
Hope to see you in the Studio XoXo


Vanessa Lius

Pilates Instructor

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My name is Vanessa and I am a former ballet dancer and currently an elementary school teacher. In my practice, my goal is to create a space of mind and body wellness to whatever level that is for you. My focus is on The Pilates Affect Method (created by Lo Koehler), which is an approach inspired by the traditional classic mat pilates. We will work through a range of different series with an emphasis on core and includes back, legs and arms, along with music and equipment. These exercises aim to support spinal health, mobility, flexibility, strength and endurance. I can’t wait to move together!


Yolanda Yott

Yoga Instructor

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Hi, All!

My name is Yolanda and I have been involved with YOGA my whole life!  My grandmother had a regular YOGA practice well into her 80’s and my mother has been teaching YOGA since my childhood.  I myself have been teaching YOGA for a number of years.  My background training is in Vinyasa Flow, Hatha and Ashtanga.  I’m trained to teach special populations such as Seniors, Yoga for Runners, Neurodiverse children and pre-natal to name a few!   
I believe that everyone can reap the benefits of practicing YOGA. 
I’m excited to be a part of this new and innovative studio and to have the opportunity to help others in the community through YOGA.
I look forward to meeting you!