Ken Banwart - Founder/Executive Director

Certified Kripalu & Yin Yoga Instructor

647_1061943637429_1451_nKen has studied and practiced a wide range of yoga, nutrition, general health, exercise and indigenous spiritual practices for over 30 years. He has been able to fully demonstrate the results of this training in his personal health practices and vibrant lifestyle. He was Founder and  served as Managing Director/Chairman of the Board from 1981 to 2013 of Aspen Partners, Ltd., a successful investment management and financial services business.

Ken received his Yoga Teacher Certification from Kripalu School of Yoga in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. He has also studied and trained with other recognized yoga instructors including Sarah Powers in Yin Yoga. He moved to Blue Ridge, Georgia in 2007 and built his own yoga studio to focus his energies on teaching yoga and other health practices. He teaches and conducts international yoga retreats with his Daughter, Magen Banwart. Magen is Founder and CEO of MB Fitness in New York and was voted One of NYC's Top 20 Most Popular Yoga Instructors.

Ken is one of the founding members of the Heartwood Community. This community is dedicated to living a more sustainable supportive and intentional lifestyle in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  He Founded Heartwood Development LLC, which is constructing more affordable and environmentally friendly smaller homes for Community Members.

Christina Law - Co-Founder/Managing Director, Health & Yoga

Resident Certified Yoga Instructor, AYURVEDA Practitioner,  Certified in Thai Yoga Bodywork,  Pranic Healing & Faster EFT,  Massage Therapist.

Christina is co-owner of Yoga and Wellness of Blue Ridge.  She received her 200 hour Yoga certification in Vinyassa Yoga at PYC  (Peachtree Yoga Center)  in 2000, Prenatal Yoga certification in 2003, Thai Massage certification in Thailand in 2005, 100 hour Yin Yoga and meditation intensive with Sarah Powers  at the Kripalu Institute in 2007, and Advanced 500 hour Yoga certification at PYC and Pranic Healing in 2008. She is certified in Faster EFT , Living Ayurveda, and Taste of Herbs courses. 

Christina offers a range of experience & modalities to meet the unique needs we all face in a world full of complexity.  She changes her teaching styles according to the larger cycles of nature through Yin and Yang practices and Ayurveda to help balance her students.  In the slower practices she loves to weave in all kinds of spiritual teachings that have helped her along the way and plays the guitar and sings during class.  She loves working one-on-one to get to the root of challenges whether physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or energetic.  Christina uses a diagnostic tool called a Veda Pulse that reads the imbalances in the body from the Ayurvedic perspective and gives the lifestyle, foods and yoga poses to get back into balance.  She does Thai Yoga Bodywork and Faster EFT in private (also via Skype) and offers Body Thriving programs to individual clients and groups to help detox, lose weight and restore vitality through hardcore self-care and habit changing practices.  She cooks healthy local foods for the retreats and offers her multiple healing modalities to the participants.  Read More about Christina 

Lynn Marie Dwyer- Marketing Director/Resident Artist

Lynn is our IT Specialist, Web Designer and Marketing person, and has been with The Heartwood Retreat Center  from the beginning.  Lynn is also an accomplished artist, offering seasonal workshops, as well as private series offered exclusively through Heartwood.  For over two decades, Lynn has taught handbuilding with Clay to children & adults in the North Georgia region.  She has studied under a variety of accomplished sculptors, illustrators, jewelers, carpenters, metalsmiths and fiber artists.   Former Executive Director: Gilmer Arts & Heritage Association, Former  Resident Clay Artist: Summit Studios - Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Center, Current Resident Artist: Heartwood Health, Art & Yoga - Awarded the Fannin County 2009 Grassroots Grant working with a disabled adult population in rural North Georgia at the Mineral Springs Center.  Read more about Lynn at 

Kathleen Lamar - Massage Therapist

Kathleen has done therapeutic bodywork for 20 years, with experience in chiropractic, spinal surgery rehab and prevention, world class spas, and other wellness venues including private practice.  She offers a structurally therapeutic session with Deep Tissue, while keeping the experience well balanced with relaxing Swedish style and other modalities utilizing an intuitive sensitivity.  Available by appointment. Ask your Retreat Director about these additional services. Read More about  Kathleen

Samantha Stokes- Sound Healer and Jewelry Artist

Samantha is a divinely inspired, intuitively led sound healer practitioner. She has been gifted almost every instrument she has and was called into the service of being a sound healing. She tunes into the music of the moment and allows herself to be a conduit, an instrument with healing sound. Samantha plays crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, unity harp, chimes, drums, rattles, and didgeridoo. Her voice is her most refined instrument, singing comes very naturally. She has collected many healing songs on her journey. These songs are medicine, sung from her heart to the heart of the listeners. When she plays, the room fills with the frequencies of divine sister/mother; full love, acceptance and surrender to what has been, what is, and what's to come.

Samantha is also an accomplished artist in the creation of her jewelry. 


Erica Glass - Crystal Healing Therapist