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.
Anya Powers began her yoga journey while searching for something to compliment her active lifestyle. She discovered hot yoga and fell in love. It has provided her with a way to prevent injury and increase her flexibility both of which are incredibly valuable as a runner. Yoga sculpt was the perfect way to cross train and condition to improve her running as well as strengthen her other yoga practices. Anya hopes to share her love and enthusiasm for yoga and all that it offers physically as well as spiritually as she continues to teach. She also teaches figure skating and someday hopes to go in to the ministry.
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.
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.
Cherri Fuller is a busy Mom of an active, eight year old daughter and loves to travel and meet new people. She has a degree in exercise physiology and has been teaching and coaching clients in health, fitness and wellness for over 20 years. Cheri’s yoga journey began with a free week of heated yoga classes in Chicago and she quickly fell in love with the challenge and mind/body focus. Before trying heated yoga, Cheri felt that yoga was not really for her, as her typical workouts consisted of running and strength training and yoga just seemed too slow and quiet for a “fitness person.” Coming from a group fitness, Pilates and personal training background, Cheri gravitated towards Yoga Sculpt and completed Yoga Sculpt teacher training in 2010. She brings a positive attitude along with fun and encouraging energy to all her classes. From an early age she has been passionate about helping others reach their health and fitness goals. In the past eight years she has focused her classes and clients toward a more holistic, mind/body approach that includes weight loss and wellness coaching. With the addition of a yoga practice, Cheri has significantly increased her flexibility and feels better equipped to focus her mind and guide her students toward their own mind/body connection.
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.
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!
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.
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 originally hails from the tropics, but has lived in the Midwest with her loved ones since 1991. In 2007, not really knowing what to expect from her initial yoga class, she came to yoga with an open mind, a willing heart, and the need for some daily structure. Hence, a love affair with her yoga practice began. In 2010, she took a leap of faith and decided to do teacher training, quickly made the leap from student to teacher, and has not looked back since. Her classes are challenging, accessible, and fun to yogis of all potential shapes, ages, and interests. Hazel is certified in Hot Yoga, Power Sculpt, Vinyasa, Yin Yoga, and PreNatal. She also graduated Magna Cum Laude with a dual degree in Business Management and Culinary Arts & Nutrition from Robert Morris University, Illinois.
Off the mat, Hazel gives back to her community teaching to cancer patients of all ages. She has also studied and branched out to teaching Kids Yoga, PreNatal, Yoga for Athletes, and Trauma-Sensitive Yoga. Hazel is grateful not only for the inner gift that yoga offers and exudes but also the various opportunities that it continues to open up for her. She hopes to lead you through an invigorating practice of self-discovery one special session at a time.
, 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.
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.
, 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 maker classes fun, encouraging and challenging for all levels.
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.
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.
Katie Hochberg is a former high school physical education teacher and cross country coach. Physical activity and wellness have always played a major role in her life. She spent 8 years motivating and educating students on how to take better care of themselves physically and emotionally. In 2011, Katie took her first yoga class and her teaching and outlook on health and wellness changed immediately. Finding that stillness, softness, and compassion that was needed in that yoga class was far more challenging than any marathon or triathlon that she had completed. It required a special awareness and connection to oneself that was not necessary in the typical workouts, trainings, and races that she was used to doing. The concept of using effort with ease was completely mind blowing to Katie but has been the foundation of her new approach to fitness as well as life. Katie completed her 200 hour yoga certification in 2011 and completed sculpt training in 2012. She is eager to share her love of yoga, fitness, and life with all those around her and is honored to part of the Yoga By Degrees community.
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.
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.
Lori Glazebrook started practicing yoga in 2000 while living in Colorado. The first time she stepped on her mat, she was hooked. In her roles as a single mother, teacher, and student, It didn’t matter how busy, stressed, or tired she was, her practice kept her going. Yoga has given Lori the strength and resolve to navigate the turbulent waters that are life. As a teacher Lori is deeply committed to spreading yoga to the masses and sharing this wonderful gift to every willing soul. Her classes are inspiring, challenging, and nurturing all at once. She teaches her students to take their yoga off of their mats and into their daily lives. Lori not only teaches this philosophy, she practices it herself.
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.
Martina Grey became "addicted" to yoga in Denver in 2005. After a particularly dynamic class where her body felt challenged, her spirit warmed, and her mind expanded... she was hooked! Becoming a teacher in the Chicago area was the latest step in her evolution as a yogi. Off the mat, she’s a fine art photographer, a music lover and an avid traveler. Martina is married with one sparkly little girl. Be prepared, she fully expects students to grow, find balance and discover inner harmony.
Maureen Fogerty With a type A personality and a job as a bank vice president, Maureen was drawn to high-impact, fast and furious workouts. But when her scoliosis started limiting her range of motion, she started doing research on alternatives and yoga was the obvious choice. "The practice makes total sense from an intellectual perspective, and physically the results were almost immediate. Yoga, especially Yin, is a very important part of my life. That path also led to becoming a vegan and rescuing dogs." Maureen has just returned from additional teacher certification in Yin Yoga with Paul and Suzee Grilley. "As we age, yin yoga becomes so essential in maintaining or (if we lost it) redeveloping our joints' flexibility. This practice has literally saved my spine; it's the perfect complement to a vigorous hatha routine". Maureen has a private practice in Oak Brook teaching business executives how to use yoga to reduce stress and maintain their competitive edge.
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!
Motomi Naito has been practicing yoga since 2004. She earned her 200 hour certification in 2009, and completed Forrest Yoga Advanced Teacher Training in 2011. She enjoys practicing different styles of yoga including Vinyasa. She continues her practice and study with the senior teachers in the western suburbs and Chicago with much gratitude for their guidance and inspiration.
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.
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.
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.
Sarah Richelle Starnes grew up with meditation and chanting from a very early age (thanks to her mom) and began exploring a physical yoga practice when she was 12. She has been teaching yoga since 1999. Sarah has received certifications from Anusara Yoga and the White Lotus Foundation, and has been leading Yoga Teacher Trainings in Illinois since 2004. Her deep, passionate connection to the practice of yoga fuels her passion as a yoga teacher. Sarah is also a certified Reiki Adept Master Teacher and Nomena Healer through the Mystical Sciences Institute in Evanston, IL. She has taught yoga in the city and suburbs of Chicago, as well as in Kauai, Indonesia and Italy. Sarah's teaching explores the energetic subtleties of a yoga practice, interwoven with optimal, anatomical alignment principles. The celebratory nature of her teaching style reflects her love for the practice and helps her students learn how to find the courage within to be themselves, while expanding their hearts to reveal the divine joy that is their deepest nature.
Sarah brings a fun, blissful and compassionate energy to her classes, providing a safe, and empowering environment for students of all ages and levels of experience. She has extensive experience teaching pre/postnatal yoga, and has worked with many children and adults with special needs. Sarah’s other passions include handling and caring for raptors (birds of prey), essential oils, kirtan mantra and music, partner/acro yoga, Thai massage and other bodywork, tap dancing, hiking with her chihuahuas in the woody bush, rock climbing, horseback riding, traveling the world, writing songs and poetry, painting and exploring anything new to create, or learn and grow from.
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.
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.