Jeff Emerson - Director - Teacher 


Jeff is a Reiki Master with an E-RYT500 and is the author of Unfolding the Lotus, Working the Fourth Step through the Chakra System. Jeff is the founder of True Freedom Recovery Yoga, one of the world's first 200-hour teaching programs for people in 12-Step Recovery. Jeff is a member of long-term recovery with over 25 years clean. Jeff has taught meditation in halfway houses, prisons, homeless shelters, 12 step conventions, and juvenile detention centers.


Jeff is the co-founder of , A Policy for Caring Inc., the parent organization of True Freedom Recovery yoga - dedicated to yoga, meditation, and the recovery process. Jeff has been practicing yoga and meditation for over 30 years and has been  imparting his wisdom and sharing his gift with people from all walks of life for the last decade.

Lara Rice - Co-Director - Yoga Teacher - Restorative


Lara has been with True Freedom since the beginning,  she has supported the studio not only physically, but also spiritually. She has studied yoga from around the world and is now bringing her talents as Co-Director of True Freedom helping with training programs and fundraising efforts for the non-profit. 


Lara's classes are always filled with warmth and love as she brings her perspective on the recovery process as a member of Nara-non, which promotes self love and personnel growth. Lara's restorative class is like taking a mini vacation from the stress and challenges of the world. 

Kate Paytes - Yoga Teacher - Hatha


I am a mother, daughter, sister, friend, partner, worker, yogi, plant and animal lover, hiker, culinary genius (at home), and the list goes on. I am an enthusiastic lover of life! I love excuses to use the word 'super', and I always laugh at my own jokes.

I completed my 200-hour training at Cincinnati Yoga School. My yoga journey started with DVDs in my living room when I was expected my first child over 13 years ago. My yoga certification and dedication to my practice has taken me awhile - being the eternal student excites me! I am constantly growing and changing in life and in my practice.

My class is playful and fun - never too serious! The message is Light and Love. My class is perfect for any degree of yogi, never to be intimidating, but will still get you to push to your limits. I have  love/hate relationship with core work, too! Come join me, let's breathe, bend, balance, and ground ourselves.

Jessica Yeager - Yoga Teacher - Empowerment


Yoga was the last class I thought I would ever teach. I had always been interested in becoming a fitness instructor at some point in my life - but yoga has definitely become my calling. Being a part of the 200-RYT training at True Freedom has taught me that asana is only one part of yoga. Before, my practice was focused on relaxation and Vinyasa. After my first Empowerment class, it was revealed to me that I can take my strength and focus to a new level and is now my favorite way to practice.


Today, my yoga practice is about coming inside myself, listening to my body and being mindful of my breath while in a posture (asana). With this concentration, there is a break from the constant mental chatter and I can just be in that moment. This is just one of the many gifts of yoga! One of the best things I have learned is that yoga is not a competition. Looking at your neighbor and wishing your arm was as straight as theirs - is not yoga. Accepting where you are with your body and working towards your personal goal is the essence of yoga.

When you come to Empowerment, you can expect to sweat and push yourself to the next level you are trying to reach. We hold postures to create strength and balance. My goal is to create a peaceful environment where you can use your strength and grow in your practice.

Matt Ionna - Yoga Teacher - Mighty Flow


Matt began his adventures into yoga only by accepting an invitation of what could be called Divine Intervention, Synchronicity, and Universal Conspiracy.  Speaking up one evening at a 12-Step Recovery meeting, sharing about his physical trauma , multiple back surgeries and seemingly relentless chronic pain, only to be heard by his now good friend and teacher, Jeff Emerson, was invited to try something different, something that might help him accept and heal the pain - Reiki and Yoga. Being intrigued and attention caught he began attending classes and healing sessions. It wasn’t easy; the pain persisted, as did he, many nights only able to lay on his mat and breath. Seeing and feeling his hard work beginning to pay off, he began to increase the regularity and frequency of his practice. No longer needing the use of a walking cane he found himself playing again with his children, enjoying the smell and texture of dirt between his fingers in the garden, began experiencing serenity, the peace of the present moment. 


Moving forward with almost five years in long-term recovery, Matt has recently completed his 200-RYT yoga training at True Freedom Recovery Yoga School, has been attuned in Shinpiden Level III Reiki, continuing to study this healing modality from teacher Jeff Emerson. Matt has also completed 16 hours of Thai Yoga, Thai Traditional Massage as well as attending and practicing yoga workshops locally and abroad.


Matt has three insanely wonderful children, married for over twenty years to an extraordinary woman, one dog and some cats. He enjoys digging in the gardens, cooking meals, hanging with family and friends, traveling, being silly and loud belly laughs. He believes in living a life full of raw beauty and passion on purpose, cultivating integrity, invoking spirited emotions, staying vulnerable and humble, digging deep and living in our assets, our own treasure boxes, and sharing them generously with the world, in compassionate forgiveness, in experiencing the power of Grace, and above all LOVE!


In this class we will start out with a brief meditation, reading and or poetry, scanning our mental, physical, and spiritual condition before working into gentle movement. As movement unfolds, rising in intensity with modified Sun Salutations, staying active before leading us on our way to soothing the body and soul with down regulating postures and final meditation. This practice will give us the opportunity to connect with our source, our own higher conscience, possibly igniting passion and purpose as we offer ourselves a different perspective as we gather and create. 



Jessica Runge - Yoga Teacher - Gentle Flow


I started my journey into yoga when I noticed the profound difference my practice was beginning to have in my personal life. My relationship with my children, others, and ultimately myself was beginning to unfold in wondrous ways. Essentially I was being taught how to enjoy the NOW. I decided that I enjoyed being taught so much that I would in fact teach, completing my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training at True Freedom Recovery Yoga. In my class, my students are invited to except the now. Allowing oneself to be exactly where they are at in each moment. Gently creating a safe place within themselves to feel and grow whether it's good, bad or indifferent. I enjoy being the student so much that I invite my students to teach me by suggesting what they are interested in each week and incorporating those ideas into my sequence so we all learn and grow together while deepening our practice. Each week we practice being gentle with others, gentle with ourselves, and most importantly gentle with our natural flow through life.

Anne Minter- Yoga Teacher- Kundalini 



Anne has been practicing kundalini yoga for over 15 years. She has been teaching hatha and kundalini yoga for 5 years at various colleges and universities, medical centers, and non-profits. Anne is also an adjunct instructor at Miami University (OH) where she teaches Human Anatomy & Physiology and evidence-based Yoga & Meditation through semester-long courses. Anne has received grants to teach yoga and meditation from Interact for Health, the Tristate Trauma Network, and The Haven at College. Anne teaches in various teacher trainings throughout the nation, including the True Freedom Recovery Yoga Teacher Training (200 HR /300 HR) here. Anne has extensive yoga training (500RYT) and has been certified and licensed through Yoga West Los Angeles (Kundalini Research Institute (KRI) Level 1 certified), Radiant Body Yoga with Kia Miller (200RYT- Hatha) and RaviAna Yoga with Ravi Singh and Ana Brett (500 RYT). Anne has also studied and served with the Liberation Prison Yoga program with Anneke Lucas and Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery with Sat Dharam Kaur N.D. and Gabor Mate M.D. Anne continues her yoga training in Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) and in yoga therapy at the Guru Ram Das Center for Medicine and Humanology. She is committed to elevating the practice and science of yoga by merging the best that eastern science and western science has to offer in her classes, and in the workshops and trainings she supports and holds. She currently lives in Ohio with her partner, Davi, and their white mutt-terrier, Berkeley-  teaching here at True Freedom Recovery Yoga Monday evenings from 6pm -7:30pm.