Meet Our Co-Op Instructors


Heather is a mom of two little ones, a families/pre-postnatal health coach and certified children’s yoga & mindfulness teacher. Her classes are engaging and interactive!

The benefits of children’s yoga and mindfulness are: increase self awareness and confidence, improved social and emotional skills, improved focus and concentration, and skills to manage stress and anxiety.

She believes that mind body movement/work is the key to well balanced children.
In good Health


TREE OF WISHES – Valerie Raggio

Valerie has been taking YOGA classes since the mid 70’s. She has found Yoga, a means of creating balance, and peace in her life as well as helping to build strength and recovery from a herniated disc. Valerie is a LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social worker, and has worked as a social worker for over 30 years. Sharing the healing power of yoga with clients and colleagues has provided so much joy and inspiration. Her heart is in teaching folks the importance of self -soothing with active relaxation, with gentle yoga, restorative classes with YOGA NIDRA. Restorative yoga helps us to enhance our capacity to regulate our stress response and rebalance our nervous system.

After her initial certification with YOGA FIT in 2011, she offered free gentle yoga classes for colleagues at The Institute of Living from 2011 to 2019. In the Fall of 2018, Valerie completed YOGA teacher training at Sacred Rivers in East Hartford, and is a RYT 200. Valerie has been teaching Yoga for the past three years at South Congregational Church in Granby, CT. and as a sub at Roots, Yoga in Tarrifville, CT. She is thrilled to join Maryellen Sutton/Cheemah on South Main Middletown, Yoga Coop. When Valerie is not working or doing yoga, she is hiking with her dogs and spouse, riding her bike with friends, and yes you will see her doing YOGA on mountain tops.

“Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations. One Simple step at a time. One breath at a time.”

HALF MOON YOGA – Jennifer LaRue

Seasoned yoga instructor Jennifer LaRue encourages people of all ages, shapes, sizes, skill levels, and stations in life to experience the joys that even the simplest yoga practice can bring — and to consider continuing their yoga journeys to discover hidden strengths, be they physical, emotional, psychological, or simply human.

Jennifer started her own yoga journey more than 20 years ago, when she began taking evening classes in her hometown library, wearing sweatpants and a t-shirt and helping move the library tables before and after class.

Soon after, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which prodded her to rethink many aspects of her life. She came to more fully embrace yoga as a means of maintaining her own health and mental well-being — and to connect with other, love-filled, like-minded people.

Along the way, Jennifer came to learn that yoga is a great source of FUN and can be filled with laughter, often at oneself and always gentle. She also believes that each of us who practices and enjoys the benefits of yoga has an obligation to share that gift with all other beings through such simple gestures as lovingkindness, equanimity, and goodwill.

As a means of sharing that discovery with others, Jennifer — a freelance writer and museum professional living in Hartford, Connecticut — began teaching, first at Braveheart Yoga in East Granby, CT, then at Granby Yoga in Granby, CT and at the Farmington Valley YMCA. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she taught many virtual classes; she is excited to return to the studio (under safe and controlled circumstances) and to continue sharing her love of yoga and her fellow yogis through shared practice.

Jennifer specializes in vigorous vinyasa flow and yoga for strength, but she offers many modifications for less-challenging postures throughout every practice.

“Frog pose is my favorite,” Jennifer says. “But ‘Frog’ is not a very inspiring name. So I went with my second-favorite, Half-Moon pose. I love Half-Moon because it represents perfect balance, limbs reaching in all four directions, one hand floating toward the sky, one foot grounded in the earth; one hand connecting with the future, one foot acknowledging the past, all of that combining to create a liberating, empowering sensation of floating, growing, and centering.”

Jennifer’s Half-Moon Yoga is currently open for private lessons at Cheemah on South Main, where she is honored to be teaching with beloved friends in a beautiful, nurturing, inspiring space. To schedule a session ($75 per person per 60-minute session), contact Jennifer at

Namaste, and peace be with you.