Vanessa J. Cafiero, LMT, HHC, E-RYT500
Vanessa found yoga in 2001 at a tiny non-for-profit ashram offering classes for teens. Being an avid practitioner of kickboxing & martial arts, she had to be dragged by a friend who wanted to explore this “hippie stretching exercise.” Anticipating a solid hour of attempting to touch her toes in dire silence, she was quite surprised at the physical and mental challenge yoga provided. After her 1st class, she was hooked. Growing up with scoliosis, she found yoga was a great way to manage chronic back pain, while simultaneously providing a challenging workout that “magically” left her feeling… calm.
In 2007, on an “art-school sabbatical,” Vanessa enrolled in a 7-month intensive program at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. To her surprise, the program ending up being way more than a course on giving a back rub, but an in depth exploration of the body, mind, and integration between the two. Both allergy & pain free for the 1st time ever, Vanessa saw that she had a choice in how she would experience life, and was empowered by the possibility of feeling something greater than she had allowed herself before. Driven to learn more, while in massage school, she also earned certifications as a Reiki Master & in herbal medicine, in addition to becoming a New York State Licensed Therapist.
After massage school Vanessa immediately went into private practice, staying connected to the lifestyle changes she made while away. It was at that point she began to delve into the more subtle aspects of the yoga practice and was grounded by the balance it brought. Thirsty to learn more, she enrolled in her 1st teacher training at the Yoga & Polarity Center in 2009.
The weekend after Vanessa graduated her 1st 200HR YTT, she was in a severe car accident that not only left her unable to down dog, but with a traumatic brain injury that required intensive treatment to learn to read & write again. She was told by neurologists that she should see a psychologist to learn to cope with her “permanent leaning disability.” Dissatisfied with that answer, Vanessa sought out holistic methods of treatment. Unable to partake in much physical activity, Vanessa embarked upon a dedicated meditation practice, studying with various teachers from lineages ranging from Kadampa to Vippasana. Through meditation (and learning to breathe), Vanessa realized that yoga wasn’t something we DO as much as a state of BEING.
Since her “wake up” call, Vanessa has not only made a COMPLETE recovery, she also stayed constantly engaged completing various trainings & certifications, including: B.S. in Exercise Physiology through Hofstra University, Holistic Health Counselor Certification through Institute of Integrative Nutrition, Star 1 Trainer Certification with Christopher Harrison’s AntiGravity, Myofascial Release Therapy Seminars with John F. Barnes, Craniosacral Therapy through the Upledger Institute, and several other yoga certifications, including 500HR Training with Alan Finger (ISHTA Yoga), Yin Yoga with Corinna Benner and both the Fundamental (200HR) & Advanced Forrest Yoga Teacher Trainings with Ana Forrest.
Through her continuous studies and experience, Vanessa learned that journey to optimal wellness is an introspective process, that starts within us and eventually expresses itself outwardly. Being personally touched by the transformational power yoga & holistic health provides, Vanessa was compelled to share with others, and in a greater way than she could do as an individual practitioner. In 2012, she opened Emerge Yoga & Wellness, in Bellmore, NY, with the simple intention of creating a safe space for self-discovery and inspired expression in a community based environment.
In 2014, Vanessa partnered with Jennifer Nelson. Together, they have been able to expand their mutual vision of community wellness. In October of 2016, Vanessa & Jen moved to a 5,000+ sq foot facility in Massapequa where they offer fitness & wellness services to adults & kids of all ages & abilities!
Her light hearted yet “unconventional” approach applies the wisdom she’s learned through yoga & bodywork in a real world and grounded way. Through her personal journey, Vanessa has felt the power of introspective connection and discovered that spirituality wasn’t “checking out” as much as tuning in! In every class, bodywork or coaching session with Vanessa, she creates intention to meet her student’s | client’s individual needs, supporting them on their unique journeys toward physical, mental, and spiritual inspiration.