Vanessa CafieroMassapequa, New York, United States
Forrest Yoga Associate


About Vanessa:
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.

However, the sweetness of savasana seemed like a mere fairytale back in everyday life. At 19 years old, Vanessa was living in Brooklyn, going to art school by day for creative writing, supporting herself as a bartender at night, all while living on a diet of black coffee & cigarettes. She figured drugs were a great way to “check out” when she couldn’t “afford” or “find time” to make it to class, and for a while knew that things could be different, but wasn’t sure exactly how.

Looking for a change, in 2007, Vanessa enrolled in a 7-month intensive program at the Finger Lakes School of Massage. It would be romantic to say she was inspired to live a healthier and more expansive life, but honestly, she simply was tired of working for other people and thought doing massage from home would allow her the ability to focus on her writing without struggling as a “starving artist.” Regardless of her reasons for going, Vanessa was raised on the notion that “If you do something, you do it right,” and with that turned in her cigarettes, coffee, and pepperoni for a “straight-edge” semester of kombucha, essential oils, and vegan epicure – figuring if she was going to explore this massage thing, she might as well go all the way.

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. Through meditation (and learning to breathe), Vanessa realized that yoga wasn’t something we DO as much as a state of BEING. Thirsty to learn more, she enrolled in her 1st teacher training in 2009 and went on to complete a 500-hr program at ISHTA Yoga in NYC.

Constantly engaged, Vanessa has since completed various trainings & certifications, including: B.S. in Exercise Physiology through Hofstra University, Holistic Health Counselor Certification through Institute of Integrative Nutrition, AntiGravity Yoga Intensives, Myofascial Release Therapy Seminars with John F. Barnes, and several other yoga certifications, including 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 on her own. In 2012, she opened Emerge Yoga & Wellness, in Bellmore, NY, with the simple intention of creating a safe space for self-discovery and expression in a community based environment.

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 process, Vanessa has felt the power in connecting to humanity and discovered that spirituality wasn’t “checking out” as much as tuning in! In every class (or bodywork 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 rejuvenation.