Ken Banwart – Founder/Executive Director
Certified Kripalu & Yin Yoga Instructor
Ken has studied and practiced a wide range of yoga, nutrition, general health, exercise and indigenous spiritual practices for over 30 years. He has been able to fully demonstrate the results of this training in his personal health practices and vibrant lifestyle. He was Founder and served as Managing Director/Chairman of the Board from 1981 to 2013 of Aspen Partners, Ltd., a successful investment management and financial services business.
Ken received his Yoga Teacher Certification from Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, one of the largest and most highly rated international yoga educational and retreat centers. He has also studied and trained with other recognized yoga instructors including Sarah Powers in Yin Yoga. He moved to Blue Ridge, Georgia in 2007 and built his own yoga studio to focus his energies on teaching yoga and other health practices. He teaches and conducts international yoga retreats with his Daughter, Magen Banwart. Magen is Founder and CEO of MB Fitness in New York and was voted One of NYC’s Top 20 Most Popular Yoga Instructors.
Ken is one of the founding members of the Heartwood Community. This community is dedicated to living a more sustainable supportive and intentional lifestyle in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He Founded Heartwood Development LLC, which is constructing more affordable and environmentally friendly smaller homes for Community Members.
Christina Law – Managing Director, Health
Resident Certified Yoga Instructor, AYURVEDA Practitioner , Certified in Thai Yoga Bodywork, Pranic Healing & Faster EFT
Christina received her 200 hour Yoga certification in Vinyassa Yoga at PYC (Peachtree Yoga Center) in 2000, Prenatal Yoga certification in 2003, Thai Massage certification in Thailand in 2005, 100 hour Yin Yoga and meditation intensive with Sarah Powers at the Kripalu Institute in 2007, and Advanced 500 hour Yoga certification at PYC and Pranic Healing in 2008. She is currently in training for certification in Faster EFT , Living Ayurveda, and Taste of Herbs courses.
Christina offers a range of experience & modalities to meet the unique needs we all face in a world full of complexity. She changes her teaching styles according to the larger cycles of nature through Yin and Yang practices and Ayurveda to help balance her students. In the slower practices she loves to weave in all kinds of spiritual teachings that have helped her along the way and plays the guitar and sings during class. She loves working one-on-one to get to the root of challenges whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or energetic. Christina uses a diagnostic tool called a Veda Pulse that reads the imbalances in the body from the Ayurvedic perspective and gives the lifestyle, foods and yoga poses to get back into balance. She does Thai Yoga Bodywork and Faster EFT in private (also via Skype) and offers Body Thriving programs to individual clients and groups to help detox, lose weight and restore vitality through hardcore self-care and habit changing practices. She cooks healthy local foods for the retreats and offers her multiple healing modalities to the participants. Read More about Christina
Karen Dorfman – Managing Director, Yoga
Licensed Massage Therapist
Certified Yoga Teacher
Karen’s passion is to connect people to their own joyful potential through wellness. She believes in stretching the boundaries, moving beyond the mind and feeling what is true from the heart. She practices therapeutic massage, is a yoga teacher and is also the co-director of the annual ChantLanta Sacred Music Festival.
In 1999 Karen found herself on a yoga mat for the first time and knew she had found something special. Coming from a dance background, she has always had a love for soulful expression through movement. Yoga became her unexpected life journey. In 2006 she received her 200 hour teacher training certificate from Peachtree Yoga Center. Karen teaches vinyasa flow and yin yoga as well as classes that are accompanied by live music. Her vinyasa classes are dynamic, playful and always flowing. Her students enjoy her creative sequencing, attention to alignment, hands on adjustments and encouragement to have fun. Her yin classes are sweet, restorative and nurturing.
In 1995 Karen completed her studies at The Swedish Institute for Massage Therapy in New York City. Soon after, she relocated to Atlanta and in 1998 she opened the Firefly Studio. She offers many different massage modalities including Neuromuscular Therapy, Swedish Massage, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Post Injury/Post Surgery rehabilitation and Prenatal Massage. Through bodywork and yoga, Karen helps people to live life pain free, to inhabit their bodies more confidently, and to enjoy the benefits of wellness! Read More About Karen
Lynn Marie Dwyer – Managing Director, Art
Originally from the cliffs of Massachusetts, we are happy to host an accomplished artist, offering workshops, ongoing classes for children and adults, as well as her own private collection. For several years, Lynn has taught hand-building with Clay to children and adults, passing on her passion, introducing new perspective, inspiring, and simply having the experience of creating with other people, brings a great inspiration to her work as well as spreading another way to communicate to those who have yet to try art as a viable form of emotional release and expression.
She has studied under a variety of accomplished sculptors, illustrators, jewelers, carpenters, metalsmiths and fiber artists. Over twenty years experience working with different mediums… Former Executive Director: Gilmer Arts & Heritage Association, Ellijay GA, Former Resident Clay Artist: Summit Studios – Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center , Current Resident Artist: Heartwood Health, Art & Yoga
Awarded the Fannin County 2009 Grassroots Grant working with a disabled adult population in rural North Georgia at the Mineral Springs Center, where we made hand made tiles and made a mosaic sign outside for the center. See More about Lynn at http://morethanmudpies.com and http://lynnmariedwyer.com
‘Aumdoc’ Rick Clofine, D.O. – Managing Director, Ceremonies
Sharing peak, and sacred, experiences with others threads through Aumdoc’s life path. He practiced medicine for 22 years dual board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology (ABOOG) and Holistic Medicine (ABIHM), retiring in 2011. His deep connection to Mother Earth, and the rhythms of nature, is rooted in the 5 years he spent organic farming as a young man (1972 – 1977). His current passions are serving others through eclectic shamanic ceremony, teaching, healing sessions and the creation of personal ceremonial tools.
Aumdoc’s study of cross-cultural shamanism was initiated by his introduction to the Medicine Wheel as an young organic farmer. While practicing an eclectic cross-cultural approach to ceremony, he has been most deeply influenced by Peruvian traditions. His training includes work, and initiations, with Alberto Villoldo (The Four Winds Society) and don Oscar Miro Quesada (The Heart of the Healer Foundation). He traveled to Peru (2007) with James Williams, OMD for teachings with Qero’ elders. He has been a mesa carrier for over 20 years. He most enjoys serving others through shamanic healing sessions, and ceremony that celebrates life and life passages (births, deaths, weddings, home & business blessings). Read More about Aumdoc
Magen Banwart is the founder of MB Fitness based in New York City. For more than 20 years, she has blended her experience as a competitive athlete, fitness instructor and wellness consultant to help her clients create meaningful lifestyle shifts from managing stress and recovering from chronic back pain to achieving personal goals, including weight loss and maintenance. Magen has been voted among “New York City’s 20 Most Popular Yoga Teachers” by Rate Your Burn and her signature MB Yin Yoga class was voted “NYC’s Best Fitness Class” by Manhattan Magazine.
The unique style of coaching and her unwavering spirit and energy have inspired many to change their lives – and as a result the lives of many around them. Her followers are ageless, ranging from late teens to those in their 80’s, all having shared values focused on optimizing their lives.
Active in competitive sports since childhood and a distance runner who completed the Boston, New York City and London marathons, Magen understands what it takes, both mentally and physically, to achieve personal goals and to achieve optimal mind and body fitness at any age. A long time student of anatomy, physiology, Pilates™, yoga, and meditation for over 25 years, she has received her Yoga Teacher Certification in Interdisciplinary Yoga from the Nosara Institute in Costa Rica and completed the Yin Yoga Teacher Training with Paul Grilley and Sarah Powers. Magen assisted Sarah Powers in her week-long Yin Yoga teacher training at Kripalu Institute as well as one of her weekend Yin Yoga workshops at Exhale Spa. Magen is an avid learner and continuously furthers her education, evolving her transformative programs which include one-on-one customized offerings, as well as group sessions.