About Us

photoWe created our Yoga Shelter community beginning in West Bloomfield in 2004. Since then we have added locations in Royal Oak, Birmingham, Grosse Pointe, Midtown Detroit, Rochester Hills, Southfield, Studio City, CA and Woodland Hills, CA.

At Yoga Shelter, our goal is to create a welcoming place where yoga is accessible and affordable for everyone. We offer an introductory membership to allow new students to get to know us without a large financial obligation. Each class is open to all strength and experience levels, and we offer a variety of affordable class packages to suit your needs.

It is said we are all works in progress; this is only true if we are doing the work! At Yoga Shelter the work is fun, exciting, innovative and inspiring. Our classes will help you create a healthier you because our teachers are experts, friendly and real. Yoga Shelter has changed the face of yoga from rigid, dogmatic and exclusive to flowing, personal, and inclusive. Everyone deserves Shelter and it’s yours for the taking.

Don’t wait another day, start taking classes now! There are over 267 (including all studios) classes to choose from. Enjoy the infinite benefits Yoga Shelter has to offer. There is nothing more important than you being at your best and there is no better place that can help you make that happen than Yoga Shelter… that is why so many people are shouting “Give me Shelter.” We all look forward to meeting you today and helping you in any way we can.

Leadership Team

Eric Paskel – Founder / Owner / Chief Guru

Eric Paskel

Eric Paskel is a licensed marriage, family and child therapist, a certified sports counselor and a certified yoga instructor. He has taught tens of thousands of yoga classes, trained hundreds of people to teach yoga and leads retreats and workshops throughout the world. Eric began a life of introspection in 1986 when he committed to overcoming his addictions and personal challenges.

Simultaneous to creating a widely healing, popular, and unique style of yoga, Eric spent nearly two decades in private practice as a marriage and family therapist, speaking at academic and religious institutions, hospitals and treatment centers. He guides people toward breaking addictions, building effective communication skills, treating anxiety and depression, and strengthening families and relationships.

In 2004, he opened the doors of the first Yoga Shelter in West Bloomfield, Michigan and has continued opening a studio a year ever since – serving more than 1 million students and counting. Yoga Shelter offers real teachers and real people – dealing with real problems and real life. People that flock to Yoga Shelter don’t pretend to be better than they are; they don’t shy away from greatness, and they aren’t embarrassed by character flaws. “What’s different about us is that we admit we have issues, we know we have work to do – if you can relate to that, you’ll love this place. If you’re perfect, you’re not going to like Yoga Shelter.” EP

Eric is the founder of Sanga Yoga, which he describes as “the practice of improving our relationship with the world, so that we may carry ourselves through life with peace and prosperity.” He describes Sanga Yoga as a communal yoga practice in which members encourage and nurture one another’s growth. Through the practice of Sanga Yoga, students learn to quiet the chatter in their minds and activate their body so they are restored to their original, divine state by developing their intellect.

Eric has taught stress management courses for Chrysler Corporation, has been featured on national news and TV shows like CNN, and has been featured in national magazines. He was also the inspiration for the book Real Men Do Yoga. Eric was the first yoga teacher to remove Sanskrit from class, teaching entirely in English and the first to play mainstream music in class. He is the first (and only) person to lead classes from a place of mental alignment, not physical, and is the only western yoga teacher to be blessed to lecture on Vedanta philosophies by the great Indian philosopher, Swami Parthasarathy.

Eric created Xflowsion™, a unique program combining yoga, martial arts and dance, which has been featured in Shape, Fitness and People magazines (to name a few). The Xflowsion™ DVD series has sold worldwide.

Eric currently lives in Los Angeles where he teaches at Yoga Shelter in Studio City – a shelter in the chaos of Hollywood.

Eric can be reached at eric@yogashelter.com

Hannan Lis – CEO

Hannan LisHannan’s career is built around companies and services that promote health and vitality. He has spent over 20 years helping run and grow Weight Watchers in the USA and Canada. His venture fund, Lis Ventures LLC was an early investor in Yoga Shelter back in 2006 enabling Yoga Shelter to expand from a single location into multiple locations in Michigan and California. Lis Ventures invests in services and technologies which are transformational and ethical. In Yoga Shelter Hannan is involved in finance, strategic initiatives, affiliate development and long term planning. His life philosophy is simple: do the right thing and do it like you really mean it with thoughtfulness and respect.

Hannan can be reached at hannan@yogashelter.com

Nicole Yoder – COO

Nicole YoderNicole began teaching aerobics on the banks of the Red Cedar at MSU in 1998. From there, she expanded her knowledge base to including teaching anything from cycle, to step aerobics, bootcamp classes, strength classes, kickboxing and so much more. It was ultimately her love of yoga that brought her to Eric Paskel’s Life and Teacher training in 2005. While holding a full-time job as an Account Manager for an automotive sales and product training agency, Nicole was able to pursue teaching yoga at various clubs and expand upon her yoga training as a Yoga Shelter student. From sitting at her desk working the day job, to teaching a motivating aerobics class, to then a personal committed and dedicated practice, Nicole has been creating her own destiny. In 2010, Nicole joined Yoga Shelter’s team as General Manager to help oversee all studio happenings, assist in trainings and events, manage all finances, establish soundproof processes, create all outside marketing and ultimately to help increase the success of the business. Combine strong organizational skills, with a business background and an unwavering passion for yoga, helping people, great team, amazing community, and voila…it’s her dream job. Nicole is doing what she loves for something she truly believes in and she is living the life she wants and has always wanted to live.

Nicole can be reached at nicole@yogashelter.com

Heidi Cooper – Controller

Heidi-CooperIn 2011, Heidi Cooper joined Yoga Shelter as the Controller. As holder of the purse strings, Heidi is responsible for the oversight of the financial management systems, strategic budgeting and planning, as well as all internal and external reporting. Prior to joining Yoga Shelter, Heidi was a Relationship Manager working with high net worth individuals to manage the fundamental needs of their portfolio. Heidi started her career in public accounting working with mid-sized privately held companies in the personal services and mortgage banking fields. Heidi is a graduate of Western Michigan University.

Heidi can be reached at heidi@yogashelter.com

Michelle Meek – Director of Studio Operations

Michelle MeekMichelle Meek comes to the Yoga Shelter with 30 years of experience in the Health and Fitness Industry. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge both as a manager, business owner and professional as well as a Group Fitness Instructor and Yoga Teacher. Michelle began her journey in the fitness world on the campus of Central Michigan University in1984. She was a collegiate cheerleader for both the football and basketball teams. She has a bachelors in Applied Arts majoring in Health Fitness Programming and Promotion with a minor in nutrition. She began teaching group fitness classes in the basement of her dorm finding that this is what she was born to do. She did her internship with S.C Johnson and Sons in their corporate wellness division. Upon graduation in 1985, she began at Fitness USA as a Group Fitness Instructor/ Sales associate, and quickly rose to the top of the leader board as the number 2 sales rep. From there she went to the Beverly Hills Racquet and Health Club as the Assistant Fitness Director and Group Fitness Instructor. Switching gears in 1986 she was hired at the Washtenaw County Public Health Department as a Health Educator and was there for 13 years – leaving after being promoted 2 times, as Chronic Disease Prevention Director with over site of 4 federally funded Health and Wellness programs. Not wanting to give up teaching Group Fitness, she also began teaching at Vic Tanny, soon to Bally Total Fitness in 1987. In 1999, Michelle decided to stay at home with her children and resigned from Washtenaw County. She then was hired at Life Time Fitness as a part time Group Fitness Instructor. This was the perfect way for her to stay in the industry but be able to stay at home with her 3 children. In 2005 Michelle decided to start her own business and opened Fit Diva, Inc a Brazilian fitness and activewear company. Michelle grew this business on her own in 3 very short years representing several lines of Brazilian fitness clothing. In 2007, due to some life changing events, Michelle re-entered the workforce and began working at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor as the Health Specialist and Wellness Coordinator which was a part time position. She taught yoga, group fitness and was a personal trainer for the hospital fitness program as well as provided community education in collaboration with the medical staff at St. Joes. Needing to be employed full time, in 2009 she became the Group Fitness Department Head for the Shelby Life Time Fitness club and in 2010 transferred to the Novi Life Time Fitness as their Department Head there. Michelle’s passion is leadership, coaching and developing new talent and managing “her people” and of course teaching group fitness and yoga. She also became a Life Time Academy Faculty instructor for the Group Fitness Instructor Training program and Master Instructor Trainer for Life Time. Michelle is thrilled to start a new chapter with the Yoga Shelter as Director of Studio Operations in Michigan! Her plan is to also become an RYT200 Certified Teacher, teach at the Yoga Shelter and assist in the management, growth and development of the Yoga Shelter as a whole.