Elira Benavari

Director of Communications and Education

Elira’s 25-plus years of immersion in yoga studies and two international yoga Master teacher’s certifications has provided Elira a master level of expertise to share with you for better health, happiness and peace of mind. Since 1992, Elira has facilitated 1,000’s of classes taught to all walks of life from age 4-months to 104 years-old. Elira offers our EAP clients, and those in recovery participating in HIC’s aftercare program a deepened understanding of client needs.  

In 1991, Elira began studying Raja and Hatha Yoga practices in Boca Raton, Florida. While completing college studies at Florida Atlantic University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications in 1994, she became adept at various styles of yoga practices including studying Iyengar Yoga at the Yoga Room in Lake Worth, FL, Bikram Yoga at the Yoga College of India in Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Kripalu Yoga, also in Lake Worth, FL.

In 1992, Elira began conducting in-home private and group classes. In 1995, she began studying in-depth with Bharata at Yoga & Inner Peace in Lake Worth, FL who specialized in yoga for golfers, paraplegics, seniors, as well as beginners. In 1996, Elira enrolled in a month-long residential teacher training program at the Sivananda Yoga Forest Academy,in Val Morin, Quebec, CA, receiving an international teacher’s certification. In 1997, she returned to Canada to complete the advanced teacher’s certification course, also a month-long residential course, in which 

studies included learning the Sanskrit language from Sri Doshi, who at one time was imprisoned with Mahatma Ghandi.

After relocating from tent-living in Canada to Mount Dora, FL, Elira was employed as a staff writer, communications specialist and news correspondent for area newspapers, government agencies and educational institutions and continued home classes. In March 1998, she opened Yoga Central in Tavares, FL, with her business partner and close friend, Shata Ben-Avari, who now owns SamaCore Yoga & Barre. Yoga Central was the first yoga center established in Lake County, FL and was open for 13 years. Outreach programs grew from the establishment of the center, which included conducting yoga, meditation and fitness classes at Lake-Sumter State College, Mission Inn Golf School, 14th Street Athletic Club, Anthony House Homeless Shelter, Camp Challenge Easter Seals Camp, Sunrise ARC, Boggy Creek Gang Camp, Triangle Elementary E.S.E Program, City of Clermont Parks and Recreation Program, City of Mount Dora Martin Luther King, Jr. After School Program, senior classes for the City of Mount Dora. Elira and Shata were invited for numerous appearances at Lake County’s Health Fair and gave countless speaking engagements at public libraries, civic organizations and area clubs and still often co-instruct classes together. From 2008-2012, Elira was the fitness coordinator at Lake Port Square, a 400-plus occupant senior residential community in Leesburg, FL, where the average age of students was 87!

Still teaching group and private Hatha Yoga classes, Elira also specializes in Nada Yoga, or Sound Yoga, sharing the healing effects of soothing music therapy and ancient relaxation techniques, Sanskrit classes, Mantras, Mudras and more with practitioners in her Mount Dora location and throughout the state. With her band Elira-Hari, two full-length music CDs have also been created which are contemporary adaptations of ancient Sanskrit Mantras and sacred healing prayers from many ancient traditions. See www.cdbaby.com/elira to listen and for reviews.

Michael Flynn

Mike Flynn retired after 20 years serving as the Director of Occupational Safety & Health and Apprenticeships for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union (IAM) since 1996. Concurrently, Mr. Flynn served as the President of IAM CREST (Corporation for Re-Employment and Safety Training).

Mr. Flynn was the principal Investigator for both state and federal grant funded programs in which he was responsible for the submission of grant applications, identifying subject matter experts and professional staff which carried out the goals and objectives of the programs and who ensured that all regulatory requirements both fiscally and administratively were adhered to.
Programs and Grants which Mr. Flynn was responsible for include:
U.S. Department of Transportation – Airline/ Railroad Worker “Train the Trainer” program.
U.S. Department of Labor – Placing people with disabilities in gainful employment.
U.S. Department of Energy – Hazardous worker training program
Environmental Protection Agency – First Responder Training.
National Institute of Environment Health Science – Hazmat “Train the Trainer” program.
State of Washington, Labor and Industries – Small business safety consultation program.
State of New Jersey, Depatment of Education – Pre-apprenticeship for auto/truck mechanics.
State of New York, Worker Comp. Program – Driver Safety Training for Limo drivers.

Mr. Flynn served as Vice President of the Labor Division and member of the Board of Directors for the National Safety Council. He served on the AFL-CIO’s Department for Professional Employees; National Visiting Committee for Space/Tec; the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council and the Maritime Advisory Committee for Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health.

Mr. Flynn volunteers part-time as an Associate Life Coach for the Farming 4 Hunger Organization, a non-profit that feeds people both physically and mentally. Farming 4 Hunger annually grows tens of thousands of pounds of fresh vegetables and delivers them to dozens of local food banks for distribution. In addition, the organization sponsors numerous life-sharing initiatives, helping to build a better Southern Maryland Community.
Through the farm’s “Second Chances” program, Mr. Flynn provides his services to the farm and their partner, the Maryland Department of Corrections, in coordinating workforce preparation and training to inmates who are transitioning from incarceration back into the community.

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