Our Teachers

Alonso Corrales began practicing yoga about seven years ago while looking for a change in his exercise routine. He took his first class at High School and was instantly addicted. He quickly discovered that yoga was begining to "cure" his nagging soccer injuries. Alonso recently became Yoga Sculpt Certified through Yoga by Degrees and when he's not teaching he is usually either working as a Studio Attendant or studying for his class at IIT.  He enjoys teaching classes that are intense yet playful. He strives to incorporate peace and serenity in to his challenging Yoga Sculpt routines. Alonso encourages his students to be present. He loves humor, hamburgers, pizza and low sugar drinks.  He likes to incorporate a playful spirit into his classes and at times, can even be caught commemorating Ali G with a  spontaneous" "Boo-Yah-Ka-Sha"! 

 



 

Amanda Kellman found yoga in 2008. She discovered the physical practice of yoga to be an amazing, beautiful, yet challenging journey, and fell in love with the flow and grace of Vinyasa and Ashtanga yoga. Her studies gave her inspirations in Anusara, Kripalu, and Kundalini. With a blend as unique as they come, each of Amanda's classes takes shape with 4 core elements breath, movement, meditation and fun to create a fun and inspiring Vinyasa practice. She believes yoga should be serious but you should not. Amanda is thankful for the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by the many amazing yogis she practices with daily.

 


Bonnie Smith began practicing yoga in 2002, but it wasn't until she took her first Bikram class the next year, that she fell in love with yoga. She enjoyed the intensity and athleticism associated with Bikram and was delighted to see her practice change and evolve the more she practiced. In 2007, she began practicing Vinyasa and was immediately drawn to how challenging and athletic the practice was, but how much less regimented Vinyasa was compared to Bikram. In 2010, she completed her 200-hour teacher training in Vinyasa at Yoga to the People in New York. Her classes aim to be challenging, but accessible, with a strong emphasis on breath and alignment. She attempts to create a safe space for students to tap into their deepest, truest selves. An avid music fan, Bonnie's playlists provide an ambiance which promote a challenging flow and rhythmic cadence. In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, she is in medical school training to be a physician.

 

 



 

Brandon Cleek Brandon has been practicing yoga for 6 years. His yoga journey began by practicing with his mom on the living room floor at age 6. He continued to be physically engaged with other activities throughout his youth. He discovered his love for yoga after his college English professor hired an instructor to teach at the school. From that first class he created his own 30 minute sequence, which he would practice on his own 3 to 4 times a week.  He realized he had a natural ability to sequence and teach. He decided to venture into a hot yoga studio, where he continued to practice for 9 months until he decided it was time to take his practice a step further and sign up for teacher training and he hasn’t looked back since. Yoga has helped him through the ups and downs in his own life and he is passionate about sharing the joy of yoga with his students. 

 


Brenda Temme is thrilled to be teaching yoga and to have the opportunity to pass on the joy and freedom that she found in her own practice. Brenda's teachings draw from the intention that breath-synchronized movement becomes an expression of what makes you feel alive inside and out. She will encourage you to discover a new edge both physically and mentally by moving your body in effort to free your mind and most importantly to have fun. Brenda has been influenced and inspired by many incredible teachers including, Shiva Rea, Janet Stone, Max Strom, Seane Corn, Anna Forrest, Andrey Lappa, Kim Schwartz and Tias Little. Brenda also studied with master teacher Jonny Kest, director and owner of Center for Yoga in West Bloomfield, Michigan and has completed an extra 200 hour Ashtanga/Vinyasa teacher training. She continues to gain insight from her students, and learns daily lessons about love, light, and devotion from her boyfriend, Ron.

 



 

Bridget Basta began her yoga journey while seeking change. She spent a decade teaching creative arts in museums until she reached a point where she felt she needed a change. In December 2011, she began practicing yoga and discovered she was able to do things she never thought possible and felt more grounded than ever. She enrolled in a 200hr Power Yoga Certification program and began teaching yoga shortly after graduating. Bridget's goal for her students is to enable them to cultivate kindness and strength and incorporate it in to their lives.



Carole Witteman  used to play tennis competitively and needed ‘something’ to soothe her tennis elbow and growing tightness in her shoulders and hamstrings. A friend recommended trying hot yoga and after her first class, she knew she was hooked. Soon after she began practicing Yoga her tennis elbow went away, she became increasingly more flexible, and started to take her yoga practice off the mat and into her daily life. After trying her first yoga sculpt class, she fell in love with the class because it combined everything: flexibility, strength training, and cardio. She was thrilled with all of the benefits she was getting from a regular yoga practice and wanted to inspire others to make yoga a part of their lives. Outside of yoga, Carole works full time as a business analyst and enjoys spending time with her family.




Christy Landschoot discovered yoga when she took her first class in 2012, and she immediately fell in love with it.  She is a longtime athlete who found yoga to be a peaceful continuation of her wellness.  Christy enjoys the accepting nature of yoga, and she appreciates that everyone brings personal intentions to the mat.  Since beginning her yoga journey, Christy continues to be reminded of the opportunity yoga offers to strengthen the body and reset the mind. The ability of yoga to balance strength and awareness of the body and breath is something that Christy is enthused to share with her students in each class.  She looks forward to facilitating, seeing, and experiencing the growth with fellow yogis. 

 



 

Colleen Taylor first went to a yoga class seeking an active outlet and stress release. She was instantly hooked. Colleen loved the physical practice of yoga and its benefits, but as her commitment deepened she realized the mental, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment that comes along with dedicated focus. She studied Psychology in college so her yoga classes incorporate the benefit of tuning inward and becoming mindful about oneself. When she's not doing yoga, Colleen teaches nature programs at a forest preserve and enjoys hiking, gardening, and spending time with loved ones. 



Diana Piedra has dedicated her life to self expression through yoga and dance. She has studied with dozens of master teachers over the past decade and was certified in YogicArts by Duncan Wong in 2002. Diana has trained men and women's collegiate teams to utilize regular yoga practice, increasing range of motion, flexibility, and engagement of the still awakened mind. Diana feels her calling is to be a humble and lifelong student. Her energetic, compassionate, and sometimes humorous approach allows students to learn, grow, laugh and smile even in the most difficult of poses.

 

 


Elizabeth Brooks started practicing yoga in 2011 and is extremely excited to be teaching now. She started practicing yoga daily at Yoga by Degrees looking for a way to de-stress and gain a different work-out variety other than running. Once she found out about the opportunity to teach she just couldn't say no. To Elizabeth, teaching yoga is a way to connect with others through breath, movement, and inspiration. She can't wait to help bring the benefits of yoga to others!


 



 

Eugenia Skourletos began her yoga endeavor after feeling bored, tired, and sore from repetitive circuit and strength training workouts. In search of change to her workout routine, she ventured to a hot yoga class.  After just one class, she was hooked! She was absolutely amazed at her increased strength, flexibility, and concentration. She finds Yoga Sculpt to be an invigorating blend of strength training incorporated with the essential vinyasa yoga element. Yoga has brought forth a heightened sense of physical and mental balance to her life. The energy and harmony yoga has given her has been life changing and she hopes to share her enthusiasm, genuineness, and love of yoga with her students class after class!


Fiona Jenkins was introduced to yoga while vacationing with her family and immediately felt a connection. She fell in love with how she felt after practicing yoga.  She felt strong, flexible, confident and compassionate toward herself and life. On her return she immediately began taking classes and began her journey towards her certification, which she earned in 2012.  During this journey she explored different types of practices as well as other virtues provided by those practices. Fiona is certified in both Yoga and Sculpt Yoga.


Geraldina Vaicekauskiene is a former lawyer and real estate agent.  She discovered yoga at a local gym in 2002.  Since then she has dedicated her life to yoga.  Geraldina completed a 200-hour teacher training in 2008.   She is originally from Lithuania and has traveled the world teaching yoga in three  different languages.   In her classes Geraldina invites her students to seek freedom in their bodies, minds and hearts so they can experience life to the fullest.  She believes that regular yoga practice helps to keep the body supple and creates a feeling of vitality and happiness.

Hazel Lezondra Hazel Lezondra, E- RYT, originally hails from the tropics, but has lived in the Midwest with her loved ones since 1991. With an already strong practice in 2007, she decided to up the ante by signing up for a RYS training in 2010. Hence, a love affair with her yoga practice began and there was no looking back for this Manila native.

Since her successful completion of a 200-hr training in 2010, she has moved on and gained other certifications in Power Sculpt, Power Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, and PreNatal. Most recently, she became an INSANITY certified instructor and now looks ahead towards a 500-hr advanced teacher training by year end. Her classes are challenging, accessible, and fun to yogis of all potential shapes, ages, and interests. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2007 with a dual degree in Business Management and Culinary Arts & Nutrition.

Off the mat, Hazel gives back to her community teaching to seniors and/or cancer patients of all ages. She has also branched out with specialized teaching in Kids Yoga, PreNatal, Yoga for Athletes, and Trauma-Sensitive. 

Hazel is grateful not only for the inner gift that yoga offers and exudes but also the various opportunities that has opened and has continued to open for her. She hopes to lead you through an invigorating practice of self-discovery one special session at a time.




Heather Avery was certified in 2008 and continued her 500 hour advanced studies in 2010.  She also works as a massage therapist so alignment is an important element to her classes to avoid injury as well as preparing for more advanced postures.   Heather strives to challenge her students while taking a light hearted approach to make her students feel comfortable and empowered.  Heather believes "The most important posture is the one from ear to ear.  Bringing more joy to our practice brings more joy to our lives".

 


 

Jacque Arnold is a Certified Yoga Sculpt Instructor. After many years of fitness classes, weight training, running and triathlons, she hit a wall and was looking for something new and invigorating. Nervous about her lack of “flexibility,” she began pushing herself to new limits she did not even realize existed. Within a few weeks she was addicted to Yoga Sculpt and felt healthier than she had in years. She also began to notice a sense of mental clarity which helped calm and focus her mind & thoughts. The practice has allowed Jacque to bring more positive energy into her home and family life. As an instructor she tries to use her experience from her Second City training in Chicago to make each class fun and challenging. She says she has found Yoga Sculpt to be healing for the mind, body and soul and she strives to share these amazing benefits with her students.

 

 




Jacqueline McBride began her yoga journey 23 years ago.  She always felt that it would be a good counter practice for all the running and triathlon training she did.  However, being a consummate adrenaline junkie made the flow and tranquility of a yoga practice difficult for her. Then one day she discovered Yoga Sculpt and ended up taking teacher training. She has been enjoying teaching Yoga Sculpt to others.  Jacqueline is grateful for the growth of her yoga practice and the ability to share the practice with others.  She looks forward to learning more about yoga and furthering her knowledge and practice.

 

 



 

 

Jenni Antonicic, RYT came to Yoga through asana practice at her fitness center, and got hooked on the transformative powers of this multi-faceted discipline that continues to enrich her life. She completed her teacher training with Vinyasa master Rolf Gates in 2009 and has been looking forward to every teaching opportunity since. Jenni celebrates how Yoga teaches us how to cultivate and then wisely and skillfully apply our energy, whether towards improving our downward dog, or scattering joy to all beings. Her asana practice emphasizes anchoring to the breath (and our sense of humor!), building strength and stability as a foundation for flexibility and expression, and the self-illumination attained through brave and honest reflection. The wise words of Rolf Gates, to do “a little yoga a lot”, instead of a lot of yoga every now and then, catapulted her personal practice and has become the foundation of her advice for all students.   Breathe, Focus, Intention, Expression is her mantra.

Jennifer Mayerik began her yoga journey in June of 2011 when she was looking for a new form of exercise.  Jennifer had played softball through and after college then became arunner and completed a sprint triathlon.  She instantly fell in love with the different type of exercise that yoga was giving her.  She found that Yoga allowed her an hour to herself that she otherwise wouldn't give herself.  Jennifer is trained  and certified in Yoga Sculpt. Jennifer's goal for her students is to come to each class excited to sculpt and to leave their mat with a sense of accomplishment.  Off the mat, Jennifer is a high school math teacher and softball coach.  She continues to run, spend time with her dog Sparky, hang at the pool, and read.  She values time spent with family and friends, including all of her students at Yoga by Degrees.

Jenny Bergold, is no stranger to the beauty of yoga and the art of teaching. Jenny has been practicing yoga since 1999 and taught multitudes of students about the dynamics of television studio production. Now, she has combined her two greatest talents – yoga and teaching – to provide students a revolutionary form of yoga, meditation and relaxation. A 2009 graduate of the Heaven Meets Earth Yoga Studio in Evanston, Illinois, with an emphasis in the Radiant Child Yoga Program, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa, Kundalini Yoga, and Meditation, Jenny's teaching style is uplifting and motivational. Previous to her yoga instructor training, Jenny worked at BATV (Batavia Access Television) where she also taught television studio production to Batavia High School students. A 1996 graduate of Ball State University, Jenny also worked at WTTW Chicago Channel 11 as an associate producer on such well known programs as Handy Ma’am, Trinity Irish Dance Company, and Art Safari.

Jenny Theide fell in love with yoga while completing her student teaching at Arizona State University. She began teaching yoga classes as part of physical education curriculum in high schools. During the summer of 2011 she studied and earned her 200-hour yoga teaching certificate on the beautiful Big Island of Hawaii. She loves sharing the powerful beauty of yoga with others and strives to create a comfortable, focused, and fun yoga class. 

 

 



Jill Keuhn began her journey into yoga 12 years ago when she took her first class looking for a way to release stress and find some quiet time for herself.  Yoga turned out to be just what she was looking for.  Then in 2010 she decided to get her teachers certification, wanting to help others discover the benefits and healing power of yoga she had experienced.  Believing you should find joy every time you step on your mat she strives to make her classes fun, encouraging and challenging for all levels. 



Yoga By Degrees

Julie Lomax found hot yoga in 2005 after moving back to the Chicago area. Knee and back pain forced her to stop running. Yoga not only provided a low impact workout, but actually alleviated the pain that had plagued her for many years. While initially a physical exercise, yoga became so much more. Yoga became an oasis where Julie could relax, rejuvenate, and refuel – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Besides alleviating the aches and pains, yoga has been instrumental in maintaining hormonal balance and dealing with depression. Julie has been on a journey to wholeness and wellness for nearly 10 years. Yoga teacher training was the next step in the path. Julie wholeheartedly believes something as amazing as yoga needs to be shared. She likes to set her students up for success by encouraging her students and providing the proper alignment for each posture, as well as explaining the benefits. Julie lives in Naperville with her husband and daughter. She can often be found walking or biking (sometimes even snowshoeing) at the Morton Arboretum. Julie is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher and has also received certifications to teach Yoga Sculpt and Yin Yoga.  



Kara Pluth began practicing yoga in 2005 and instantly fell in love!   She says the most rewarding part of practicing yoga for so many years, has been seeing how her personal practice has grown. Her passion to teach was sparked while attending school in Colorado. Kara completed her 200 hour training in the summer of 2012.  She says her practice extends off of her mat and in to her entire life. She says her teaching style challenges her students both physically and mentally and she is constantly growing and learning with them.  
 

Kara Thompson is a child psychologist by training.  After taking a year off work, she was searching for something spiritual, physical, and intellectual and discovered yoga.  She practiced for a year before she found heated yoga, after that, she was hooked. The physical and mental benefits were so significant, she felt she needed to learn more so she could share it with others.  Her classes are spiritual, energetic and physical.

 



Katie Kobilca began her yoga  journey as a means to cross-train and add flexibility to her body 12 years ago.  As a lifelong athlete, yoga was the perfect compliment to an active lifestyle.  Focusing on mind, body and spirit seemed to bring everything together. While studying various types of yoga, she completed a 200 hour hatha yoga certification in 2012.  Katie teaches a light-hearted, well-rounded class with a focus on alignment, breath, flow, and inner connection.  As an instructor she hopes to share her passion for yoga, and to inspire others to find the physical and emotional benefits of a regular yoga practice.

 
 

 



Katie Shannon has been active her whole life.  She was a swimmer and water polo player from the age of five through college.  After college she felt burnt out with all water related sports and took up running.  Katie fell in love with outdoor running and progressed from 5Ks to marathons.   All of the running was taking a toll on her body so a friend suggested yoga as a way to keep flexible and avoid injury.  One time on her mat was all it took.  Katie immediately saw the unending physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of yoga and began to broaden and strengthen her practice.  She considers her mat a sacred space and she credits it for her good physical health. It has also enabled her to learn to “breathe through” challenges in her life including raising her four children.  If Katie could, she would put yoga into a box, wrap it up and give it to everyone she knows. 

 

Yoga By Degrees

Ken Jones took his first hot yoga class in the winter of 1997 in New York City. But it wasn't until a friend invited me to try out Yoga by Degrees in 2011 that something stuck, and he felt like he had come home. Ken grew tired of his gym workouts and came to yoga to strive for a healthier, happier body and mind. He enjoys the results of Yoga Sculpt in order to strengthen his asana practice. Being an avid runner Ken seeks the benefits and sweet release that yoga provides. He is certified in both Yoga and Yoga Sculpt. Off the mat Ken is a Pianist and Music Director for Theaters and is an Adjunct Faculty member at Roosevelt University. He hopes to bring awareness and harmony to his student’s life one song at a time.




Lara Devine completed her certification through the Chicago Yoga Center and is a registered teacher with the Yoga Alliance. As a distance runner, Lara turned to yoga as a means of cross training. Yoga instantly touched her soul, allowing her to reconnect with the gymnast/dancer of her childhood. As a mother of four, business owner, and athlete, Lara relates to the many different reasons people turn to yoga. She is passionate about helping her students find the strength & peace within. 

 

 



Laurel Williams has been into fitness since her many years as a gymnast. After becoming a mother of twins she needed a little something extra to keep busy, because apparently the twins weren't enough. Yet she wanted to be able to continue her workout regimen.  Laurel first became certified in Pilates. She then discovered barre classes. After she trained and taught for more than five years, a close friend introduced her to Yoga By Degrees. Laurel started at YBD in November 2012 and was immediately hooked. She quickly knew that this is where she wanted to be.  Yoga and Yoga Sculpt have helped strengthen her mind and body, as well as brought back some flexibility. YBD classes have also helped Laurel immensely with running. In fact, Laurel will be running a couple more half marathons later this year.Laurel received her yoga sculpt training from YBD and is thrilled to be sharing her energy and enthusiasm in her classes with all of you.



Lisa Brennan fell in love with yoga in 1997, while pregnant with her second child. Even though her big belly got in the way of most poses,  the healing and restorative power of yoga got her hooked. She continued to practice for the next 15 years, eventually becoming a teacher herself, completing YBD's Teacher Certification Program in Jan. 2014, after being inspired by the amazing teachers here! Off the mat, Lisa spends her free time embarrassing her three teenage children and unsuccessfully attempting to get them to unload the dishwasher. She is also owner of a private Counseling practice in Western Springs, "Harmonious Healing," specializing in Women's issues (Anxiety, Stress Management, Divorce), & Family Therapy. For fun, Lisa also loves to bike outdoors, sing & play the guitar...which does not embarrass her teenagers at all.

Lisa's passion for Yoga, coupled with her Counseling background, and training as a Music & Sound Healing Practitioner, provides her with a unique perspective and set of skills as a Yoga teacher. She enjoys combining the use of Yoga, music, sound, meditation & psychological concepts to help promote healing the body, mind & spirit. Lisa also believes laughter is the best medicine...so if this Yoga gig doesn't pan out, look for her on the stand-up comedy circuit, or pursuing her dream of writing skits for Saturday Night Live. But for now her dream is to just get a good night's sleep, and to get that darn dishwasher unloaded.

 

 



Loreta Medoniene has been practicing yoga since 2002. She completed Prairie Yoga’s 200 hour Teacher Training certification program in 2010. She has been teaching yoga in Lithuanian World Center for over a year. Pursuing her dream and following her spiritual path, Loreta traveled to India in 2009 to deepen her knowledge in meditation, selfless service (seva) and sanskrit chanting while living in an ashram setting.

Currently Loreta lives in Downers Grove, IL with her husband, two of three children, ages 18 and 17 and a cocker spaniel. She holds a BA in Linguistics and Pedagogy from the University of Vilnius. She worked as a teacher and TV journalist in her prior career.

 

 



Margaret O'Mullen has been practicing yoga for most of her adult life.  Her teaching style reflects her interest in many styles of yoga.  With grace and ease, Margaret guides her students through breath-synchronized movements that promote self-discovery, personal growth and a feeling of satisfaction.  With her positive and uplifting personality, she encourages her students to embrace their abilities as well as their disabilities and is inspired by the courage and humour her students bring to their mats. She delights in the way yoga has infused all parts of her life and is excited to share the benefits of yoga with everyone.  Margaret enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons, reading and playing tennis in addition to furthering her education and volunteering in her community. 

 

Maria Atanasova was first introduced to yoga when she was a child.  Her mom planted the seed of interest but it was not until Maria moved to the states in 2008 when she took her first class.  Being already naturally interested in a healthy lifestyle and diet, in the deeper layer of consciousness, and in our connection with Mother Nature, she knew that her yoga path would be a life time journey.  What she was yet to find out was the magical effects the physical practice had on her entire being.  Maria took her training in 2012.  She strongly believes that our nature and the factors that define what we need from the practice are ever changing.  Therefore her classes are an ongoing experiment, a constant search for the door to our true selves and a mix of all the styles and approaches she finds inspiring as a student of yoga. 


 

Yoga By Degrees

Meghan Rohde was first introduced to Yoga during her college career at University of Wisconsin, Madison. With an intense schedule as a Dance major Yoga was consistently used by her Professors as a tool to open the body in class and focus inward before performances. After graduating college in 2009 she took her first HOT yoga class and she instantly became addicted. Yoga became the perfect complement to her dance career. Yoga has become an inspiration in her personal life as well as in her dance choreography and teaching. After moving to the Chicagoland area in March 2011 she decided it was time to further her love for Yoga and decided to pursue her Yoga Certification at Prairie Yoga in Lisle, IL where she studied with an amazing faculty.
Meghan is continually amazed with how Yoga has strengthened her body while helping her find more inner peace and gratitude for all of life’s moments. She is passionate about sharing this with her students in a comfortable and rewarding environment. She believes Yoga is a gift that is truly for everyone. Believe her when she says your mind, body and soul will love it!




Nadja Lalvani took her first yoga class in 2005 and has been obsessed with it ever since!  When her duties as the spokesperson for the City of Naperville began to interfere with her yoga practice, she knew it was time to follow her passion and take a leap of faith, boldly ending a 15 year career in politics and government.In June 2012, Nadja completed her 200 hour teacher certification under the direction of Jonny Kest and Victoria Sturenfeldt-Rowell. She is qualified to teach ashtanga, vinyasa and slow flow. Nadja's teaching style is fun-loving, heart opening and healing. She believes the three most important elements of her class are connecting with students, helping them to connect internally with their authentic selves and to challenge and guide them to their edge for maximum growth and transformation. She believes in the amazing inner journey that yoga facilitates and is thrilled to share yoga's life changing powers with her students and fellow yogis and yoginis. Nadja is a first generation Pilippindian or Indopino. (Her dad is from India and her mom is from the Philippines.) She lives in Glen Ellyn with her other obsession, her spectacular son Julian. She currently serves as president of the PTC board for Glen Crest Middle School. 




Yoga By Degrees

Richard Krzyzanowski believes that yoga finds you when you expect it least and need it most. And so, in August of 2010, yoga hit Richard like a ton of bricks. With his current state of feeling unhealthy physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, Richard needed an overhaul. Luckily, he has an inspiring little sister who got him a yoga mat and a couple of classes for his birthday. That's how Richard’s love affair with yoga began. He started practicing twice a week, which quickly turned into three or four times a week, which turned into six days a week. Richard can distinctly remember the first time he made the decision to forego a Friday night of drinking so that he could attend a Saturday morning class. He walked out of the class and said out loud, "That is way better than booze."

In May of 2011, Richard decided to take his practice further. He wanted to teach. Richard signed up for a 200 hour teacher training at Yogaview in Chicago where he studied under the direction of Quinn Kearney, Tom Quinn, Geri Bleier and Claire Mark. Once again, yoga had changed Richard’s life. Richard has come to realize that yoga changes him in some small way every day of his life. In teaching, Richard would like nothing more than to allow his students the space they need to find the space they need.



Yoga By Degrees

Samantha Raphael has been practicing Yoga for over a decade and teaching for many years. She's registered with the International Yoga Alliance and has trained with several Masters and teaches in a variety of yoga styles. Samantha strives to lead a yoga class that makes the practice a truly inspiring adventure. She offers a unique and pragmatic approach to teaching that focuses on nourishing your mind, body and spirit while leaving you feeling energized and uplifted. She says: “I believe working towards the strongest, flexible body possible for ‘you’ helps you feel more ‘at home’ in it.”

Through movement and breath, Samantha guides her students on a journey of self-discovery where they're encouraged to let go of past judgments and criticisms, and learn to cultivate mindfulness that transcends to living each moment to its fullest, both on and off the mat.

 




 

Yoga By Degrees

Sarah Yerkes has always been an avid runner, loves fitness and new challenges. After taking her first yoga class, she realized the amazing health and mental benefits of various types of yoga. She was immediately drawn to the profound healing aspect of yoga and feels it has truly helped her become stronger in all arenas of her active life. As a high school teacher and yoga sculpt teacher, Sarah loves sharing her passions with others and helping others discover the powerful benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is a gift and inspiration which helps all of us find stillness and peace throughout this crazy journey we call life.


 


 

Savannah Short took her first hot yoga class five years ago, but didn’t become hooked until she moved to Chicago and started practicing at Yoga By Degrees. A former long distance runner, Savannah has always enjoyed exercise and made it a part of her daily life. However, she didn’t realize how dynamic and fun daily exercise could be until she started taking Yoga Sculpt and Vinyasa Yoga classes at YBD.  She loves the combination of cardio, strength training and flexibility that Yoga Sculpt provides, but just as importantly, she loves how much fun she has in Sculpt class. Outside of teaching and practicing at Yoga By Degrees, Savannah works full time as a marketing professional

 


Stacey Zagortz began practicing yoga in 2000.  She initially came to the mat for yoga’s physical benefits and to break up the tedium of a normal exercise routine. After several years of practicing, she began to incorporate yoga’s breathing techniques into her practice which allowed her to enrich her practice, on and off the mat. She credits yoga for helping her be calmer and to be a better wife, mother, and person. A former school teacher, she is a registered yoga teacher (RYT) with Yoga Alliance and has a Master’s of Education. Married with two sons and two cats, Stacey recently moved to Glen Ellyn from Dallas, Texas. 

  

Sue Grace Lee is a cardio junkie. She was running, stepping, kickboxing, and hip-hopping thru life until four pregnancies started to wear her body down. Half-heartedly, she went to her first hot yoga class and stumbled her way thru all the poses. In spite of that inauspicious beginning, something clicked and she was hooked. Through many awesome teachers who debunked all her misconceptions about yoga, she was able to attain all the awesome benefits and grow in her personal practice. Sue felt led to become that kind of teacher to others and finished her yoga sculpt training in Feb 2012, followed by a 200 hr power yoga, hot power fusion, and ryder training. She strives to create the kind of classes that she loves...challenging, energetic, and filled with a good dose of humor and inspiration.

 



 

Suzanne Fickle fell in love with the practice of Yoga while taking her first class over 10 years ago.  Her desire to share that love and passion led her to complete the 200-hour Yoga teacher training program in 2011 at Moksha Yoga Center Chicago. Suzanne’s philosophy for teaching Yoga begins with a foundation of compassion and respect for the student’s individual practice.  She believes in creating a safe and warm environment for the physical practice of Yoga so that the benefits can occur.  The physical benefits of a practice include building strength and flexibility.  The spirituality/mind benefits of a practice are many, including inner awareness of YOUR true nature and purpose for being (dharma). With this awareness the student opens to experience LIFE in a more joyful way!



Tomek Bilan has been a yoga student and teacher for over three years. A main focus in his classes is proper breathing so that students can push themselves beyond what their minds perceive as limitations, thus building strength in their practice. His classes offer options for advanced postures while at the same time offering modifications for beginners. Students will learn how to use breath control, which will not only help them during asana practice, but also during everyday life and especially during stressful situations. Each class is designed to be different, challenging and fun. Tomek blends the physical asana practice with the spiritual yoga tradition, leaving you with new insights to examine your life. He stresses the importance of getting into the experiences of the class and leaving your outside world behind.