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Meet Our Staff

Meet the women who give their all so you can enjoy an incredible and unforgettable retreat experience. 

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Theresa Polley - Founder of Retreat in the Pines

Theresa Polley Retreat in the Pines

Theresa – Founded Retreat in the Pines in 2004

Theresa believes ALL women should be able to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women the space to find their authentic self. Even though she faced struggles as a single mom combined with working several jobs, Theresa’s lifelong passion for empowering women gave her the strength to keep the dream of Retreat in the Pines alive during the early years. 

Theresa’s soothing voice and calm presence allow her students to find peace, healing and self-acceptance in every practice. Women of all ages, sizes and abilities feel welcome. 

Theresa remains close with her three adult children and is now raising her infant grandson. She loves to spend her time away from the retreat enjoying all things yoga, cycling and traveling. Theresa’s shares her thoughts in her monthly blog on how to stay healthy and sane, despite the  craziness of life. Check out the popular All Natural Self-care after 40.

Experience a truly life changing weekend when you sign up for a retreat with Theresa.

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Heather Perdue - Chef and Hostess

Chef - Yoga Retreat

Heather prepares delicious meals, creates recipes and supervises our cooking staff. Heather fell in love with cooking at an early age; while watching Yan Can Cook, Justin Wilson and Julia Child on PBS. She pours her heart and soul into every meal she creates. Heather believes that food is what connects us; providing us with love and comfort. Guests enjoy Heather’s easy going personality, as well as her skills in the kitchen.

Heather finds happiness in the simple things. Her dogs bring her great joy, as does being in the Piney Woods of East Texas. She loves sharing her passion for cooking with the guests of Retreat in the Pines.

She attended her first retreat in 2008 and has been part of our community ever since. Enjoy Heather’s delicious cooking at an upcoming retreat.

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Christina Sandlin - Chef and Hostess

Christina Sandlin

Christina enjoys preparing nutritious meals for our guests and ensuring that everyone feels welcome.  She worked in the beauty industry for fifteen years before deciding to stay home with her children.  She fell in love with Retreat in the Pines the first time she visited and knew that she wanted to use her talents to serve women who were feeding their souls.  

Christina lives just outside of Dallas with her husband and two young children.  Yoga and meditation are her favorite ways to nurture herself.  She also enjoys refinishing furniture and antiquing.  Downtown Mineola is one of her favorite spots to hunt for treasures.

Christina believes that self care is sacred and feels fulfilled taking care of women who are cultivating a practice of self care.  Let Christina cook up some delicious food while you take time for yourself at an upcoming retreat.

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Kaycee Turner - Property Manager

Kaycee - Property Manager - Retreat in the Pines

Kaycee is committed to making the retreat center feel like home for all of our guests. She insures the houses are sparkling clean and ready for guests’ arrival and also assists with repairs and decorating projects. 

Kaycee is married to Michael and between the two of them, they have seven children, lots of chickens, cows, dogs and an exotic cat. 

Kaycee’s talents really shine in the kitchen. She bakes delicious rustic bread (such as Rosemary Bread and Jalepeno Cheddar Bread) for our dinners and creates amazing breakfast breads (including Pumpkin Pecan Mini Loaves and Rosemary Bluberry Scones). We also serve her homemade granola – which many guests refer to as the best granola ever. Find her at  First Monday Trade Days in Canton every month, where you can purchase the deliciousness.

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Tonya Cauduro - Social Media

Tonya Yoga Retreat Social Media

Tonya has been active in social media since 2007.  As a single mom, Tonya chose to venture out as a solopreneur in 2014 so she could be close to home for her two daughters.

When she attended her first retreat in 2008, Tonya fell in love with the healing energy and, after several more retreats, a wonderful new friendship with Theresa. The retreats have helped Tonya transition through difficulties in her life. 

Help Tonya spread the word on social media when you follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Google Plus. We’d love to have you share your stories and photos with us!

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Michelle Brazell - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Michelle Yoga Retreat Instructor

Practicing since 2008, Michelle fell in love with yoga as a way to manage stress. At first she struggled to relax in poses, now she can’t imagine her life without yoga. Michelle, teaching since 2011, shares the healing power of yoga with guests.

Michelle, an accountant by profession, enjoys time outdoors – walking and fishing, and she loves cats. Through Ayurveda, she discovered the importance of living a balanced life. Michelle lives in Tulsa and enjoys her drive to the retreat center.

Retreat in the Pines holds a special place in Michelle’s heart, ever since her first visit in 2010.  She looks forward to sharing the amazing experience with guests at her next retreat – June 6-8, 2018

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Lisa Coyle - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Lisa Coyle Yoga Retreat HostAfter discovering self-compassion and acceptance from her practice, on and off the mat, Lisa turned her passion for yoga into teaching.  She guides students of all levels to experience their own authentic practice. She includes Ayurveda, yoga philosophy and alignment cues in every class. Lisa has been a student of yoga for over 34 years and a teacher for over 15 years. As a Holistic Health Coach. she helps clients find a balanced way to feed themselves – physically and emotionally. Lisa is certified as an Ayurvedic Yoga Specialist. 

Lisa and her husband are empty nesters. After years of being a hands on mom to her three boys, she’s looking forward to her new adventures.

Explore Ayurveda and Yoga as a path for wellness at Lisa’s next retreat, Revitalize: Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat in November of 2018.

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Leila Cranford - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Leila began her practice with something as simple as a new year’s commitment to “just try something new” – the same kind of quiet inspiration that provokes change in all of us.  She is now an experienced yoga instructor (ERYT500) with certifications earned locally and in India.

Leila, a researcher by trade, is a mother of two men-to-be, and loves the outdoors and traveling.

Through her teaching, Leila hopes to cultivate mindfulness, discipline, empathy and a light heart. She has an affinity for working with beginners and those managing illness or injury.  Leila hopes to inspire all students by sharing her knowledge of yogic and Eastern philosophy, literature and history; as well as the wisdom passed on by “anyone who has ever rolled out a mat or sat on a cushion next to my own.”  Her specialties include Gentle Yoga and Slow Flow, Yoga Nidra, Meditation and Yoga for Better Sleep. Share Leila’s passion for all things yoga at her January Yoga Nurture Retreat in 2019.

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Michelle Erby - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Michelle Erby Yoga InstructorMichelle, teaching fitness for over 30 years, teaches all levels and a wide range of styles at the Arlington YMCA and Diana’s School of Yoga. She also teaches at retreats worldwide. Michelle is passionate about helping students of all ages to better their lives through wellness.

Michelle and her husband have three children and three grandchildren. Michelle loves yoga retreats, cruises, cooking, reading, hot yoga and spending time with her family.

Michelle, along with her two sisters, enjoyed the bonding at our Detox & Yoga retreat and she is so grateful to share yoga with our guests. Michelle believes our community makes Retreat in the Pines unique among retreat destinations. Join Michelle for a weekend of relaxation and connection, July 13-15, 2018. 

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Kenny Kolter - Musician and Sound Healer


Kenny Kolter Sound HealerKenny passionately creates a live soundscape through his musical instruments to allow students to find a quieting of the mind and a releasing of the body. Since 2008, he has facilitated over 1,400 Sound Therapy Workshops throughout the country using gongs, drums, rattles, Tibetan bowls, chimes and  other instruments to provide an energetic and sonic backdrop for deep relaxation and meditation. Kenny’s unique work allows participants to escape the wanderings of the mind to meditate, pray, rest or go within.

Kenny, originally from the Chicago area, currently lives in Dallas with his lovely wife. They travel as often as possible to visit their adult children and grandson.

Kenny uses a gong for meditative healing work, a particularly soothing backdrop to a yoga practice and Savasana. As a recording artist Kenny has released four gong meditation CDs.

Enjoy Kenny’s unique healing soundscape and energy, along with Theresa’s calming yoga practice, at  Honoring Grief: Sound Healing and Yoga Retreat October 19-21.

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Tara Kristof- Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Tara - Yoga Retreat InstructorA Dallas native, Tara is a long time student of yoga, practicing since 1999 and teaching since 2005. Tara was introduced to Yoga as a life-path and loves sharing her passion with others. She leads workshops, teacher trainings and retreats. Tara’s teaches alignment based Vinyasa with specialties in Restorative and Prenatal Yoga. She guides her students to find intelligence in their bodies, as well as inner awareness and connection to their true self. She is especially skilled at guiding students to a restful and healing Savasana.

Tara takes her practice off the mat and into her life. She is a happy wife, proud mother of a daughter and seeks to live an authentic and mindful life.

Tara hosted her first retreat at Retreat in the Pines in 2013 and is thrilled to be a part of our healing community. Connect with Tara at her upcoming retreat, October 12-14, 2018.

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Laura Beth Lopez - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Laura Beth, a high school teacher and a licensed counselor before she discovered her true passion teaching yoga, now teaches yoga full time.  Practicing for five years and teaching for two, she noticed a shift in her practice when her life changed and she became more intentional and consistent in her practice. Students love Laura Beth’s informative but playful teaching style. Laura Beth skillfully guides students through their practices in a safe and non-threatening manner.

Laura Beth is mom to a three year old daughter, who is already a blossoming yogini.

In addition to teaching yoga, she works as a translator and interpreter. Her favorite things are reading, wine, travel, moving her body and live music. Join Laura Beth for a lighthearted weekend of Yoga Wine and Laughter June 15-17.   

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Julie Maldonado - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Julie Maldonado Retreat Host Yoga InstructorJulie has been practicing yoga since 2000 and is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion. She believes yoga reduces stress while creating a strong body and calm mind. Julie owns Cypress Yoga where she encourages her students to challenge themselves to improve their strength and flexibility while honoring their bodies. She combines Vinyasa, Hatha, Inyengar and guided meditations to make each class unique.

Julie lives in Cypress, Texas with her three active boys and husband.

Julie attended her first retreat at Retreat in the Pines in 2010 and fell in love with the energy and the space. She was inspired to lead her own retreats and she is grateful to have the opportunity to return to the home of her inspiration to lead a retreat. Bask in the spring beauty of the East Texas piney woods, April 27-29, 2018 when you join Julie for a retreat.

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Jackie Marshall - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Jackie Marshall Yoga Retreat Instructor

Jackie found yoga as a last resort 12 years ago when she was struggling with knee pain and was told she needed knee surgery on both knees.  Through Yoga, Jackie began to understand and honor her body and its needs and limitations. The power of Yoga allowed Jackie to release stress and negativity. By letting go of control, she has discovered peace. She’s found she’s able to respond with compassion to whatever situations life has in store for her.

Jackie is the proud mama of Lexi, and while she spends a lot of time on the road for work, her favorite moments are when she comes back home.  

Jackie first discovered Retreat in the Pines in 2015 and is excited to share the experience with our guests. You’ll discover the power of being true to yourself and find compassion and balance in Jackie’s classes. Treat yourself to a weekend of fun and healing April 20-22, 2018.

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Chris Mayhan - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Chris Mayhan Yoga Retreat HostChris stepped on her yoga mat in 2006 and fell in love with the mind and body connection, and discovered inspiration and peace. In hopes of sharing the magic of yoga with others, she became certified to teach. She is honored to help others grow in their yoga practice and she believes movement with breath is key.

Santosha (Contentment), is an important part of her life and practice. She teaches Yoga with a Sip!, which combines movement and breath with wine and chocolate. In addition to yoga, Chris enjoys dancing, running and music. Chris has two children and one amazing grandson.

Chris fell in love with the peaceful healing of the Retreat in the Pines when she attended her first retreat in 2010. It was at that moment she discovered yoga as a key to self acceptance. Find exactly what you need when you join Chris at her next retreat May 11-13, 2018

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Lisa Rose-Michalski -Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor

Lisa Yoga Retreat InstructorLisa began her yoga journey in 1993 and began teaching in 1998. Lisa credits her teachers for their inspiration in developing her yoga style, which students describe as a “powerful and graceful flow.” Lisa enjoyed her first retreat in the Pines in 2010 and returned to lead retreats with her students.

Lisa, working in health and wellness since 1989,  holds a M.S. in Exercise Physiology and has developed programs for special populations. Lisa teaches at the Mansfield/Arlington YMCA and conducts workshops at Premier Yoga and Fitness. Lisa and her husband live in Mansfield with their two active and talented children.

Lisa encourages her students to connect with their breath to discover inner strength, truth, and peace. Find your inner truth when you join Lisa for a Yoga Nurture Retreat September 21-23, 2018.

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Krystle Sangillo - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Krystle Yoga Retreat Insturctor

Krystle’s yoga practice began as a physical practice when she was struggling through a challenging season in her life. While the postures challenged her, there was something deeper about yoga – she discovered she felt stronger and more balanced – physically, emotionally, and mentally.

When she isn’t practicing or teaching yoga, she works from home as a copywriter and editor. She and her husband are devoted to creating the best possible life for their five-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with autism at age three. 

Yoga is a daily reminder to Krystle of the acceptance of self and appreciation of the present moment. Krystle received her certification in 2015 from CorePower Yoga, and teaches at several studios in the DFW area. Discover the magic of Krystle’s teaching at her next retreat. Details coming soon. 

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Debra Simon - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Debra Simon, Yoga Retreat Instructor

Debra, teaching since 2007, came to yoga out of a need for balance in her life and fitness habits. She is certified through Blue Anjou’s Breathe into Awareness teacher training and Yoga Bridge Yoga for Cancer training. She is passionate about learning, and recently began an Ayurveda training.

Debra and her husband are recent empty nesters of two college boys and though she misses them, she is enjoying new found freedom to travel…and a lower grocery bill!

Debra teaches gentle, hatha, yin, Kundalini and believes meditation is the cornerstone of yoga. Debra led her first retreat in 2012 and is thrilled to be part of the Retreat in the Pines family of instructors. Join Debra August 3-5, 2018 for a beautiful retreat experience. 

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Dorsey Standish- Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Dorsey Standish

Dorsey’s discovery of yoga and mindfulness in college allowed her to stay mentally and physically fit during those challenging times. Her mindfulness practice has helped her succeed at a Fortune 500 tech company, overcome mental illness and connect more deeply with those around her. Her passion is to share science-based yoga and mindfulness with a broader audience. 

When she’s not teaching mindfulness and yoga,  Dorsey loves cooking vegetarian meals and spending time with her kitten Zed. 

Known for her gentle vinyasa flows, meditative deep stretch classes and heart-centered mindfulness offerings; she hopes to share self-compassionate yoga with you at a Mindfulness & Meditation Retreat, April 6-8, 2018.  

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Jennifer Wu-Ho - Retreat Host & Yoga Instructor 

Jennifer Wu-Ho

Jennifer started practicing yoga to add variety to her gym workouts and running.  Soon, yoga took hold and she found herself returning back to the mat more and more frequently.  With yoga, she found strength, stress relief and new depths within herself.  The practice allowed her to slow down, honor her body, and find peace within, especially during her pregnancy.  

Outside of yoga, Jennifer works in corporate finance and enjoys excel spreadsheets.  She is a foodie and can be found eating her way through Dallas with her husband.  She is the proud mom of a baby girl, her newest boss!

She loves introducing newcomers to yoga and helping experienced yogis deepen their practice. Join Jennifer for the May 4-6 Yoga Nurture Retreat.


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Jan Hauk - Massage Therapist

Massage Therapist - Yoga Retreat

Jan has been providing guests of Retreat in the Pines with the ultimate in relaxation since 2011. Guests love Jan’s soothing touch and calm energy. After a massage with Jan, most guests agree “That was the best massage ever!”

Jan, a Registered Massage Therapist since 2005, loves the connection with guests, and enjoys visiting with guests at dinner after a day of massages. Jan loves the ocean and moved to Galveston in 2013. She is truly dedicated to our community; she makes the drive up for the retreats, most weekends.

Book a retreat here to enjoy the ultimate massage on our screened in back porch.