Our Fitness Instructors

Thorin Hanna

RYT 200

Thorin is a certified yoga teacher, mother and adventurer on a mission to share the happiness yoga has brought to her life. She completed her 200 hour training in 2017 with Yoga and Wellness of Blue Ridge and is currently working towards her 500 hour certification at the Asheville Yoga Center.

Thorin studied Business Management, concentrating on Marketing, at the University of Massachusetts and spent almost a decade in the Boston area. After recovering from an injury, a shift occurred and Thorin decided to travel. She spent 7 years traveling, surfing and living in Central America, where she began a sort of internal journey. Thorin had the pleasure of working with yoga retreats while managing a remote boutique resort in Bocas Del Toro, Panama. Though she had practiced the physical postures of yoga since she was 17, this was where she began a deeper understanding of the practice and truly fell in love.
The interplay between yoga practice on the mat and life off the mat, is what keeps Thorin fired up about yoga. She’s curious about the ways that yoga can help people to find greater peace, self-acceptance and joy in the rest of their lives.

Thorin teaches a range of classes from Yin to Power Vinyasa and is adding new skills to her tool bag with every training she completes. She hopes to, one day soon, organize retreats around the world focused on yoga, culture, adventure and connection.

When she is not teaching or practicing yoga, you can find her at their shoe store, Ballard’s of Blue Ridge or outdoors with their two children. Thorin also enjoys cooking, researching everything about health and wellness, and doing all the outdoor activities; like mountain biking and whitewater kayaking, in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains.

Alicia Gibson

Alicia Gibson is a native to Blue Ridge. Her fitness journey stated in 2012, and it has not stopped. She began teaching fitness classes in 2013 teaching Zumba, Dance Fitness classes and HIIT. When she is not teaching, she enjoys spending time with family and friends.

Rita Newton

Rita has been a certified yoga teacher since 2012. She still enjoys continuing her study through online classes, intensives and workshops. She likes to bring a fun, relaxed energy to her classes she wants her yoga classes to be easily accessible in order to enhance the life of each individual who shows up for practice.

She loves to share time with her family and friends. Her favorite pass time passions include traveling adventures and almost any outdoor activities including, seeing wildlife, mountain biking, hiking, trail running and kayaking. Rita lives in Morganton with her two beautiful furbaby cats, attends Temple Baptist Church and serves as Fannin county tax Commissioner.

Lauren Darnell

Lauren graduated from the University of North Georgia in 2006 and pursued a career in marketing for a couple of years before finding herself managing her father’s physical therapy business. It was through this exposure that she found her love of helping people find strength in their body and gain mobility and function. A few years ago she stumbled upon Pilates and decided to pursue an education in STOTT PILATES®, which combines the original teachings of Joseph Pilates with modern principles of exercise science, biomechanics and rehabilitation. Lauren has a deep understanding of the body, alignment and movement with an approachable and adaptable teaching style for a wide variety of client needs.

She has been teaching Pilates for 3 years and is a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor in Mat, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels and has completed the STOTT PILATES® Injuries and Special Populations course. She is currently working towards her athletic conditioning and post-rehabilitation specialty tracks.

Valerie Messer

Valerie, better known as “Val”, found her love for fitness during her time in the Air Force. When she found herself always helping her fellow airmen train for their PT test, she realized she wanted a career in fitness to help others get in shape and find happiness within themselves.

Val moved back to Blue Ridge to raise her son, Maddox. In 2018 she began instructing Reformer Pilates. A year later when she got certified in Buti Yoga she fell completely in love with this form of movement. People always say everyone has a soulmate workout- Buti Yoga is hers! Shortly after she also became certified in Barre which is another fun workout for the body.

She has a true passion in encouraging people to be confident with their bodies and lift them up to succeed in their own unique fitness goals.

Dorothy Pecoraro Bertram

Dorothy “Dee” is an avid workout enthusiast. She has taken Pilates for over 13 years and taught for about 3 years. She has studied various methods, including classical Pilates and Lagree. She is certified in and teaches cardio kickboxing. Her unique brand of kickboxing is fast paced and fun.

Dorothy grew up on the east coast between Buffalo, New York, and Orlando, FL. She got her degree in Italy, and studied film and screenwriting at UCLA and NYU. Her other gig is screenwriting, which she is extremely passionate about.

Dorothy, her husband, and their two rescue Yorkies moved to the Blue Ridge/ Copper Basin Area from the San Diego, California in 2018. They absolutely love the area and the fantastic community!

Katalin Freckmann

Katalin has been a lifelong ballet and dance enthusiast starting at the age of 6 years old. It was a passion and a lifestyle at the same time, until she had an injury that heavily challenged her biggest dream of becoming a dancer. In the early 2000’s Katalin heard about Pilates. She completed her comprehensive training with STOTT Pilates Mat at the N.Y. Training Center in 2004. Alongside that, a couple of years ago she decided to continue to educate herself at Club Pilates as a Teacher Trainee in Atlanta. This allowed her to transition from the classical Pilates to a more contemporary approach, as it fits into today’s needs.

Her goal is to help others feel and function at their best because she firmly believes the majority of groundwork of happiness is good health. Spending time outside, and soaking up sunshine is truly a part of her essence; cannot go with out it. Her dearest loved ones will always hold priority number 1 in her heart.

Sue Dodsworth

Sue is a native of the UK and has been a US citizen for 16 years. She danced from an early age, joining London Contemporary Dance Theater at 18 and danced professionally for 3 years. Her career as a dancer ended after a severe injury at 21.
She then went to University, studied Medicine and after 30+ years retired from hospital and corporate life in Jan 2020.

Sue found her 2nd chapter in yoga, completing her Registered Yoga Teacher Training 200 hour, and currently progressing through her 500 hour with Asheville Yoga Center, to complete in the fall this year.
She currently teaches live stream to the UK, Chicago and New York as well as with local yogis.

Sue believes that yoga should be accessible for everyone , creating a supportive, motivating and inspiring environment. She is passionate about the mind body connection.

Christy Stockton

Christy, wife and mother to 3 wild boys, is no stranger to the fitness scene as she has experience in weight lifting, HIIT training, and running dating back to her high school days.

Christy’s newest passion in fitness is Pilates and SRT, as this method was life changing in her own weight loss journey. It is important to Christy that women feel empowered, uplifted, and encouraged that they absolutely CAN do anything they put their mind to!!! She hopes to share her love of resistance training on the reformer with everyone that she can.

In her spare time, Christy enjoys being outdoors and working with her hubby on their new home. She looks forward to making new friendships and helping to positively influence the lives of others.