With an MFA in Education and certifications in Pilates, Yoga, Yamuna Body Rolling, Stand Up Paddleboard and Holistic Nutrition, Melia first began her wellness teachings in an old converted barn with a wood stove. In 2013, she claimed a building and sacred space for the Ascend Center (formerly a Masonic Lodge circa 1864) in the Hudson Valley.  

Through its programming – daily yoga and pilates classes, workshops, festivals and access to the healing arts – Ascend is realizing the holistic vision of its founder to build an inspiring brand to elevate one’s mind, body and spirit.

JESSICA ANDUZE, Studio Manager

Jessica, the newest member of the growing Ascend Center team, is a certified Ayurvedic health counselor and yoga instructor. Her training helps clients to realize optimal health and whole-hearted living through diet and lifestyle practices.  

Acting as a studio manager, it is her smiling face that will greet guests and as she assists with the day-to-day management of the Ascend Center. A freelance business consultant and analyst, Jessica holds a BSc in Psychology with a minor in Business.

AMANDA AMADEI, E-RYT 500, Yoga Director

With a BFA in theater and more than a decade of experience teaching yoga, Amanda also holds certifications for personal fitness training, perinatal fitness and extensive training in dance and stage combat choreography (a self-declared ‘sword fighting nerd’).

Her vinyasa teaching empowers yoga students of all abilities to cultivate freedom and strength in their bodies, creating an experience that goes beyond physical aptitude to one of true self-study and integration. It’s this integration of self compassion, body awareness and breath control that brings power and clarity.

MASHA SCHMIDT, Healing Arts Director

A NYS licensed acupuncturist, Masha has also trained as a yoga instructor, herbalist, and aromatherapist.  She creates custom aromatherapy blends and essential oils for use with facial rejuvenation techniques and facilitates the Ascend Center’s monthly Goddess Circle.

She holds a BA in psychology, a MSAc in Acupuncture and employs Advanced Esoteric Acupuncture utilizing sacred geometry in conjunction with tuning forks, crystals and herbs in session.


After 20+ years as an HR executive, Britta launched her own consulting practice to help company founders better realize growth, profitability and employee satisfaction. With a BSc degree in business and organizational behavior, her background includes fashion, lifestyle brands, advertising and a keen interest in wellness.

Not only has Britta been practicing yoga for a decade, she was previously The Omega Institute’s Head of People & Culture and a volunteer staff member at Omega’s Wellness Center. Seeking to expand her own yoga practice, Britta received her Yoga Teacher Training Certificate in 2014.