Nature Studio Yoga COVID-19 Protocols

Questions?  Email us at

Our mindful procedures are designed to help keep YOU and our staff safe and well.

BEFORE LEAVING for Nature Studio, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a fever?
  • Do I have a dry cough?
  • Do I have a sore throat?
  • Do I have a runny nose?
  • Have I lost the sense of smell or taste?
  • Have a traveled on commercial transportation domestically or internationally in the last 14 days?
  • Do I live with anyone who is sick or quarantined?


If you answer yes to any of the above, you are welcome to take a virtual class but “in studio” class participation is prohibited.

If no, here’s what you can expect in studio:

  • Pre-registration is required for all classes (either via MINDBODY or below) as space is now more limited due to COVID space requirements.  If you are having difficultly accessing your pass or purchasing a new pass, please reach out using email above or call 716.714.9347.
  • Safety and cleanliness are our top priority.  We have always maintained a clean and safe studio environment.  Whenever you enter our building, you have always enjoyed ozone in our ambient air, halotherapy and an Austin Air Purifier system.  However, we have upped our game by using hospital grade disinfectants on all surfaces and sanitizing high-touch surfaces after every class.  We also close the studio and run Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UV-C) during the overnights.  This process reaches all hard and soft surfaces within the yoga room.  Sanitation stations are located throughout the building.   Note:  Nature Studio meets or exceeds the NY Forward Safety Plan and CDC cleaning guidance and you are welcomed to review our protocols at any time while in studio.
  • Once in the studio, your teacher will ask you to complete our health screening form, take your touch-free temperature and discuss the safety protocol for your class.
  • Mat spacing requirements are indicated on the floor and teachers can assist you with placement, if necessary.
  • Masks must be worn unless an open air / outdoor class.
  • Staff wear masks in the common area of the studio and other areas of the building.
  • Props – while we recommend bringing your own props (mats, etc), props are available for usage during class.  You may bring a pillow case or towel from home to cover bolsters, etc during class.  If you borrow any props, they must be disinfected after class with supplies provided by teacher.  Leave the props out after class so they may be properly dried and subjected to the UV-C germicidal irradiation that evening.



  • Cancel more than 8 hours prior to class – no charge
  • Cancel 2-8 hours prior to class – $10 charge if unable to fill spot
  • No shows will be charged at their normal rate

Yoga Class Schedule

Cardea Health Integrative (CHI) and Nature studio were mindfully designed from a science-based perspective.

Our Goal.

Our goal was to place emphasis on as many healing modalities in the design as we could. Many patients state they feel different energy as they walk through the beautiful wooden arched doors (ca. 1910’s architectural salvage from Spain). If you study closely, you will see the attention to detail, eco-friendly materials, reusing and reinventing items form the stable’s past. You may feel calmer, just by being here, immersed in nature. Studies show that hospital patients exposed to nature actually experienced quicker recoveries and that spending time in nature can even be a predictor of longevity. Just 5 min in nature can improve self-esteem and mood, reduce anxiety and depression and can even decrease symptoms of dementia.

The design is based on the concepts of “Biophilic Design”,

which draws in nature, resets your circadian rhythm, and studies show can elevate your mood and even lower you heart rate and blood pressure. In our fast paced world, we wanted to offer a space to S L O W down and be present, grounded, and in touch with mother earth.
From heated cork floors, healing crystals, happy sunshine lightbulbs (simulate sunshine and affect neurotransmitters), NASA approved Filtration plants, air purifiers and therapeutic grade essential oils; the healing modalities are endless. The natural light and forest views, enables one to escape reality and watch the birds, deer, “Otis and Frieda” (our peafowl), and free range chickens. Perhaps you choose to stroll through the medicinal garden and feel the energy released from the living plants or sit alongside Stonehenge (Elmhenge). We also felt passionate about adding halotherapy- our 16 sq. ft. salt lamp panels. They have a calming & detoxifying effect and can support the nervous/lymphatic systems. Additional benefits are reduced stress and headaches, increased energy and improved sleep patterns.

We welcome you to our mindful, therapeutic; health infused home-let your healing journey begin.

Meet our Nature Studio Team

Amy Aubrecht

Amy Aubrecht, MDiv, RYT-200

A yoga practitioner since 2010, Amy completed her 200-hour Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training in Portland, Oregon in 2015. In 2017, she completed an Adaptive Yoga Training with Mind Body Solutions in Minnesota. She has taught in diverse settings, from backyards to chapels to rock gyms. As her journey on the mat has continued, she values the groundedness and awareness that the practice enables off the mat. Amy emphasizes supportive, strength-building alignment and active breathwork, with classes focused around a theme. With a background in psychology and theology, Amy invites students in her classes to care for their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. She is committed to opening yoga to people of all abilities, drawing on her decade of experience supporting people with diverse abilities. In addition to yoga, Amy rock climbs, cooks with produce from her CSA box, creates cards and lingers in nature.

Sikhona Banko - Yoga Lead

Sikhona is a warm and engaging Yoga Instructor with advanced training in Hatha Raja, Alignment and Restorative disciplines. She has a passion for leading others to explore the inner workings of the body and guiding students to the feeling of the practice through breath and offering.
Education and Certifications:
- Reiki Master: Your Light Within, 2012
- 200 hour Hatha Yoga: Yoga District, 2013
- 50 hour Restorative Yoga: Yoga District, 2014
- Advanced Alignment Workshop: Bernie Wandel- Yoga District, 2014, 2015
- 500 hour, Hatha Raja Vinyasa, Sri Dharma Mittra, 2017 (in internship process)

Rachna Clerici

Rachna brings her peaceful and nurturing spirit to the studio, guiding students through a motivating, revitalizing, and inspiring practice. Her classes focus on integration of breath, alignment of body and quietude of mind. She concurs that this practice becomes essential to balance the whirlwind of life.

For Rachna, teaching and practicing yoga is pure passion. She loves to share the practice of yoga with children, teens and adults alike. With over 20 years of practicing and 13 years of teaching, Rachna continues to learn, share, and connect with others. Rachna enjoys many types of yoga but her top picks are Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative Yoga. Outside the studio she enjoys wholesome cooking, time with her family, traveling, hiking, reading, poetry, creating mandalas, and other free forms of art.

“Yoga is the emergent light that shines into your soul and radiates out into the world. It is a sacred dwelling inside your heart where mind, body and spirit become the essential harmony of your soul. Yoga is a promise of beauty blossoming every day. “-Rachna

Certifications & Training:
-200 hour Essential Yoga Open Sky 2006 (Iyengar-Inspired Hatha)
-200 hour Essential Yoga Open Sky 2016 (Iyengar-Inspired Hatha)
-Relax and Renew Restorative with Judith Lasater 2008
-Rainbow Kids Yoga 2011
-Para Yoga Nidra 2020
-Continuing Yoga Education and Workshops

Nikki Dukarm

Nikki Dukarm began her work in the fitness industry to help others achieve health through movement and self-awareness. Her experience as a functional fitness trainer allowed her to work with a wide variety of clientele whose needs all differed, but these individuals all benefitted from work on mobility and breathwork. Nikki also found that through the practice of yoga, her own stress and tension was eased.

To supplement her knowledge as a National Council on Strength and Fitness CPT, and her studies at Buffalo’s D’Youville College for Exercise Science and Chiropractic, Nikki chose to pursue further education in yoga. She is in the midst of completing her RYT 200 through Sacred Paths Yoga, with a focus on Hatha and restorative yoga. It is Nikki’s belief that movement can be both medicine and meditation, and she hopes to share her love of nature, yoga and other fitness modalities with her community.

Shahirah "SJ" Gillespie

SJ holds a Master’s in Public Health, trained in trauma-informed care, and as of 2017, she’s a trauma-informed RYT-200, trained by Yogis in Service, aimed at making yoga accessible for all. She writes her yoga classes and guided meditations with thematic intention, evidence-informed yogic principles, and emphasizes support on students’ journey inwards, towards mindful embodiment and integrated peace. She’s rooted in Buffalo, New York and has been on her yoga journey for over 15 years, starting in boarding school in Farmington, CT. With heavy Taurus astrology placements, SJ loves gardening, generating guidance from nature, teaching outdoors, and grounding on walks with her yorkie terrier, Sage.

Justine Nadherny

Justine attended her first yoga class alongside her mother who bravely fought Breast Cancer in 2009. On the mat, she found a new sense of strength and a source of clarity during a time when the world seemingly fell apart around her.

Certified in Iyengar Yoga, Justine has a deep understanding of alignment and a solid foundation in technique. As a snowboarder, surfer, and outdoor enthusiast, she brings dynamic athleticism and energy to every class. Her uplifting energy and detail in crafting each class, creates an open environment full of healing, learning, and growth.

Mara Neimanis

Coming from a background as an Aerial Theater Artist, Yoga Instructor and Personal Trainer, Mara integrates these disciplines together to provide a unique perspective in her Feldenkrais practice. Mara works with a variety of issues as well as auto immune disorders including Parkinson's, MS, and ALS. She also works with dogs. She is the founder of Buffalo Feldenkrais and In-Flight Theater. She conducts ongoing Feldenkrais Workshops at Nature Studio CHI.

Nancy Noud

Nancy has had a love of yoga for many years, based on it’s supportive and healing properties, both physically and emotionally. She is a graduate of the 200 Hour Shine Yoga Teacher Training, in Hamburg, NY. Nancy’s interests lie in slow yoga, Restorative and Myofascial Release classes. Her desire in teaching is to share ways of getting in touch with our bodies, pairing breath with gentle movement. She encourages the use of a variety of props and supports in efforts to improve our overall mobility.
Nancy is a pediatric Occupational Therapist who specializes in working with children with developmental delays and those with autism spectrum disorder. She is certified in Pediatric Yoga through Radiant Child, and sees the daily benefits of incorporating yoga in her treatment sessions. Yoga assists her students with coordination as well as to become aware of their bodies. Through the use of controlled breathing exercises, Nancy observes a significant increase in her students’ focus and attention.
In her free time, Nancy’s interests include gardening, making jewelry, spending time with her husband and dogs, and traveling to California to visit family.

Lena Novack

Lena discovered yoga in her early teens. She began to read and talk about the practice in her middle school health class. She began to quietly meditate in her room during difficult times to find a little peace. In high school, as an alternative to other strenuous fitness classes being offered that semester, Lena selected yoga. Although her plan was to avoid sweating in front of her peers, she instead discovered a practice that left her feeling strong physically and mentally and well prepared for challenges to come.

One such challenge came in the form of a major car accident leaving her badly injured and, with the help of a medical team and family, yoga guided her steps towards recovery.

She renewed her love for her practice again years later while pregnant. From the physical health benefits to the mental clarity and focus she gained towards childbirth, yoga once again supported her journey through life. Following the birth of her daughter, she began to formally train in the Hatha style of yoga. She is 200hr Certified, but will always approach life with a student’s perspective.

As an Instructor, she hopes to suggest safe movements by providing anatomy based cueing. She incorporates breathwork in an effort to find focus within the mind. Lena values guided and silent meditations in practice to help harness an ongoing train of thought, learning how to work with and perhaps, accept it.

Aris Otminski

Aris’ passion for wellness has been her driving force over the last 10 years. It is what led her to pursue an education in Exercise Science and Nutrition. She holds a BS Exercise Science, and MS Nutrition, she is CPR/First Aid Certified and FMCHC (Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach) in progress, expected completion June 2017.
While in college, Aris developed a love for yoga, and is a RYT Registered Yoga Teacher. It was a way for her to move, release stress, and tap into a peaceful place in her mind that she hadn’t experienced before. Her relationship with yoga began with the Bikram practice, but has expanded to many other areas, including Hatha, Flow, Vinyasa, Yin, and many others. Aris began her Yoga Teacher Training in 2015 and received her certification in 2016 in Hot Yoga (similar to Bikram) and Hatha Yoga. She has an appreciation for all forms of yoga and is always eager to learn more.
While on a yoga retreat in Bali, Indonesia, Aris was inspired to dedicate her life to the health and wellness of others. She decided to quit her full-time job so that she could focus on sharing her love for yoga through teaching. She also began her training to become a Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach at this time, where she is learning how to be a guide for others to become the healthiest versions of themselves – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
In Aris’ classes she encourages a focus on the breath throughout the asanas – seeing the practice as a breathing, moving mediation, and approaching your practice with love, patience, acceptance, and gratitude.

Ashley Petit

Ashley has dabbled in yoga for years, even teaching prenatal yoga for two years in a birthing home in Nicaragua. She has a 200-hour yoga teaching certification through Yoga Alliance as well as a prenatal, postpartum and kids yoga certification. Her regular yoga practice started when she was seeking refuge from the chaos of being a full-time working mom. She came to the mat to find quiet, not just on the outside, but on the inside. Yoga began to strengthen her relationship with her children, family and most importantly herself.

Ashley holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education and an undergraduate degree in Health and Wellness. Ashley owns her own small business as a Certified Birth Doula and continues to seek her true passion of inspiring women in her community through yoga and birth advocacy.

Sashi Racho

Sashi has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. Her love of the practice led her to complete her RYT-200 hour teacher training in 2012 at Shakti Yoga in Geneseo. She believes that the practice of yoga can lead us to connect more closely with our physical and emotional selves by using body and breath. With a strong focus on alignment, her classes are filled with compassion, humor and support to encourage her students to feel safe, comfortable and strong. In her free time Sashi enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling and watching cooking shows.

Rebecca Sophia Strong

Rebecca Sophia Strong, MA, LMHC, RYT200 is a Contemplative Psychotherapist, Social Artist and Yoga Teacher. Rebecca holds a master’s degree from Naropa University in Contemplative Psychology/Psychotherapy; is a trained systems-based group-facilitator; and is trained in the Hakomi method of body-centered psychotherapy. Rebecca has studied with Kira Sloane of Yoga Anytime and is a graduate of the Asheville Yoga Center for Hatha Yoga. Rebecca’s personal training in mindfulness began in 1995 with Hatha Yoga and overtime has grown to include the practices of; Aikido, the 5 Rhythms, Contact Improvisation dance, Shambhala meditation, the New Cosmology, Animas Valley Nature-Based Soul work and Tibetan-Buddhist meditation of Shamatha and Vipashana. Rebecca has been leading and teaching groups since 1997 through her Movement as Medicine body of work. Rebecca works full-time as a Mental Health Counselor and teaches yoga in Niagara and Erie Counties. Rebecca cherishes time in nature, loved-ones, laughing, dancing, coffee with nutmeg, and sharing mindfulness practice with others for the sake of creating a more peaceful, just, sane and happy world.