Nirvana Yoga Instructors
anyone can call themselves a yoga instructor. Pretty scary - huh?
Yoga Alliance® is the national education and support organization for yoga in the United States. They work in the public interest to
ensure that there is a thorough understanding of the benefits of yoga, that the teachers of yoga value its history and traditions and
that the public can be confident of the quality and consistency of instruction. At Nirvana Yoga you can be assured that your yoga
instructor has completed a Yoga Alliance approved teacher training program at the minimum 200 hour level. Additionally, Nirvana
Yoga is a Yoga Alliance registered Yoga School.
Studio Owner & Instructor since 2009
Melissa Cugini, E-RYT
Owner of Nirvana Yoga, Melissa R. Cugini has been a student of yoga since 2004. She began her practice when she and her
husband relocated out of state. She found that yoga provided much needed stress relief as she adjusted to living in a new city.
Melissa has studied with various teachers in Chicago, Illinois, Asheville, North Carolina and the Cleveland & Akron communities and is
an Experienced 200-hour Yoga Alliance Registered Instructor, as well as the Director of the Nirvana Yoga Teacher Training Program.
In addition to classes at Nirvana Yoga, Melissa teaches private yoga classes, Nirvana at Work on-site corporate yoga, Yoga in the
Galleries at Akron Art Museum, Yoga within the Summit-Akron Library System and has served as the assistant yoga instructor for the
Cleveland Indians minor league players and instructed Yoga for Cancer at Stewart's Caring Place in Akron. Prior to becoming a yoga
instructor, Melissa worked as a Corporate Recruiting Consultant within the fields of banking, manufacturing and media communications.
Melissa is grateful for the opportunity to connect with people through yoga, she strongly believes that yoga has something to offer
everyone, no matter what place they are in their lives and feels honored to assist her students on that path of discovery. Her classes
are designed to accommodate students of all levels, encouraging them to expand their mind / body awareness and make the practice
Elaine Hullihen, E-RYT
Elaine got her first taste of yoga ten years ago as a teenager whose best friend's mom taught yoga in her backyard. Through many
great local teachers since then she has been introduced to the lifelong journey of yoga. Elaine completed her teacher training through
Brahmrishi Yoga, which was inspired by Brahrishi Vishvatma Bawraji and is now taught by Margot and Bill Milcetich. This tradition
aligns breath and movement to bring the mind and body together. Asana and meditation are tools to develop awareness of the body
that blossoms into personal discovery, growth and strength.
Elaine's teaching style is one that encourages students to grow from within - finding their own breath, light and life in practice.
Dunya Khaleq, RYT
Dunya is a 200 hr certified Yoga Instructor, having studied under Melissa Cugini at Nirvana Yoga. In addition to her yoga experience
Dunya is also a ISSA certified personal trainer.
Not only a personal trainer, Dunya has competed in marathons and bodybuilding. This athletic lifestyle left her with uncomfortable stiff
joints and muscle tightness. In her search for relief she discovered yoga and discovered not only more freedom of movement in her
joints and muscles, but also a bit of peace and tools to help deal with everyday stress. Duyna most enjoys Hatha, Vinyasa, Restorative
and Yin Yoga practices and believes that yoga will always be a part of her daily life. She aspires to help others discover the rewarding
benefits of yoga.
Maria Varonis, RYT
Maria began practicing yoga while studying in Athens, Ohio in 2008. During the challenges of college she discovered through yoga
and rock climbing that cultivating strength of both body and mind were the keys toward building a healthy life for herself and projecting
that positivity toward those around her.
From that discovery, Maria journeyed to Akron to study creative writing and fell deeper into her yoga practice; she received her 200-hr
Yoga Alliance certification in 2013 and has been instructing yoga ever since. She most enjoys linking breath and movement with music
in her yoga classes. Her classes focus on growth, and cultivating joy and strength and awareness through breath and the art of yoga
Jen Griest Hayes, RYT
Bio coming soon
Cyndi Milluzzi, RYT
Bio coming soon
Rebecca Rentz, RYT
Bio coming soon