Meet the Teachers
Vanessa Braun, Storyoga Founder & Program Director
Vanessa is an island girl and nature lover by heart. She was born and raised in Sidney, BC and has always had a real love for the outdoors. Vanessa developed a yearning to teach at a young age and has experience teaching in many different settings.
Strongly inspired by the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, Vanessa entered into the Early Childhood Care and Education Program at Capilano University in 2006. After completing the program, she was presented with a unique opportunity to work alongside one of her mentors in a school specialized in children’s literature and art. Not long after, Vanessa completed her 200-hour yoga alliance teacher training which sparked a life-changing trip to India that continues to inspire her teachings to this day.
Over the past ten years, Vanessa has worked with both the Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland communities. In Vancouver Vanessa taught in both preschool and Montessori settings as well as shared Storyoga with nearby communities. While Vancouver was where it all began, it didn’t take long for her to take root back where she belonged, on Vancouver Island.
Storyoga Preschool has since become the home of Storyoga and is exactly where she is meant to be. Vanessa feels blessed to be anchored in such an incredible community of families and is grateful for the ongoing support. “It takes a village…” and she is thankful for everyone who continues to be a part of the Storyoga village.
Erin Houston, Storyoga Educator
Erin was born and raised in Victoria and shares a strong love for yoga and the outdoors. She started practising yoga at a young age and has always had a desire to work with children. After entering into the Early Learning and Care Program at Camosun College in 2012, Erin had the opportunity to student teach at Storyoga Preschool as a third practicum placement. It was a natural fit for Erin having grown up exposed to a yogic lifestyle and she quickly became part of the team. After graduating with a Diploma in Early Learning and Care and completing her Infant and Toddler as well as Special Needs Certifications, Erin was offered a position at Storyoga and has become an integral part of the teaching team.
Erin is also in the process of completing her Iyengar Yoga Teacher Training which is a three year dedicated program. In addition to teaching in the preschool environment, Erin co-teaches in the Parent & Toddler classes, After School Storyoga and Goddess Girls classes and retreats. Erin also has a passion for photography and art both inside and outside of the classroom.
Susi McMillan, Storyoga Educator
Born and raised in Germany, Susi has had an artistic flair since childhood. She entered the workforce in Germany with a BA in Economics and Marketing as an events manager and remained in this field for 10 years. Sensing that there was more to life than working in the corporate world for a mega-company she took a trip around the world to see what she could see. The result of the trip was, she met her future Canadian husband and moved to Canada. Starting in Vancouver, Susi was a very active member of the German Children’s Playgroup and created unforgettable family events for the community’s families. She also helped create a weekly German Kindergarten.
After her move to the Island she initiated environmental activities at her daughter’s elementary and middle schools, which still run to this day.
Now, with 2 teenagers, Susi searched for the perfect fit to share her energy and enthusiasm for nature, art and children. This led into working as an Early Childhood Educator assistant and has recently embarked on the adventure of becoming a Forest School practitioner.
Susi has worked with infant toddlers, pre-school aged children, elementary and middle school children. Her passion to support the child’s connection to nature, sense of wonder and imagination is her magic touch.
Susi met Vanessa when she signed up her youngest daughter at the age of 4 to Vanessa’s Storyoga classes. Now her daughter is 14 and participates in Teenage yoga retreats.
Through the years it became clear that Susi and Vanessa’s path will cross one day. When Susi started working as an Early Childhood Educator Assistant, it was just a matter of time.. that Vanessa and her worked together.
What Kids are saying
- “Once upon a time there was a little girl named Mattea and she always liked to go to Storyoga. The little girl had so much fun at Storyoga that she even didn’t want to leave.” ~ Mattea, 4
- “She reads us stories and we colour. I love drawing inside the shapes – and about Vanessa, I love her!” ~ Darien, 4
- I like doing the downward dog and the pom – pom blessing. I like yoga because it is good for your body and we learn about nature.” ~ Lucas, 6
- “I like the stories Vanessa read to us, and I liked doing Namaste Mountain.” ~ Renee, 6
What Parents are saying
- “I heard about your classes and camps from several of the Sidney Preschool moms. I’ve talked to quite a few people about your classes at Strongstart, Preschool, and in Logan’s Kindergarten and I have never heard a bad thing. You should be really proud of the strong reputation you have built in your small community.” ~ Joscelyn, Sidney BC
- “Kaylee absolutely loves the class and you also. We have tried a few after-school things before and she has never been enthusiastic about them. With this yoga she comes home and can’t wait to show us what she is learning. Thanks for all the energy you put into it.” ~ Sarah Paulson, Sidney BC
What Teachers are saying
- “Hi Vanessa. Thanks so much for having me. I felt so comfortable… a sense of coming home or at least inspiration for the type of environment I want to be involved with. Out of all the centres I visited, yours was the most beautiful in so many ways, especially the vibration of peace.” ~ Yvonne MacKenzie, Pender Island BC
- “Vanessa’s interactive storytelling, wide use of colorful, playful props and the brilliant way in which she engages children in yoga poses was a hit with the children in our program! Thank you Vanessa for exposing our children to yoga in such a fun, positive way.” ~ Lori, Victoria BC