Alison Moore began her yoga journey in 2011 by practicing with YouTube videos at home. At first, yoga was just a way to stretch on “off-days” from the gym. What started as a once-a-week exercise grew into an everyday practice. Alison found her Yoga Home at YBD in early 2018 and has been absolutely hooked ever since. Practicing with real people in a heated candle lit studio with a community of likeminded people was worlds away from her home practice (but they both have their place!)
As an avid reader with a lifetime love of learning, Alison deeply appreciates that yoga always has something new to teach you, no matter how long you have been practicing. Alison recently completed her RYT 200 training through Yoga By Degrees and is eager to share her knowledge as a teacher and learn from students.
Allie Beyer is an E-RYT and has been teaching hot and vinyasa yoga since 2015. She enjoys challenging her students to grow in their practice and explore their power by experimenting with familiar movement in unfamiliar ways. Allie likes to remind her students (and herself!) that it’s just yoga – have fun with it and find playfulness on the mat!
Alyssa began her yoga journey in 2014, the same year her mother passed from a 5 year cancer battle. What turned into an outlet for her grief and anxiety, quickly became an incredible learning venture about the inner workings of herself. She jumped into teacher training in 2015 and completed her 200 HR RYT that same year and has been teaching ever since. Alyssa is so grateful to have the opportunity to share her love of yoga with others. She truly believes yoga is for any BODY and that yoga can peel away the layers to your authentic true self, with some laughter and tears in between. She invites all to their mat to begin or continue their inner journey of adventure, healing, and self love.
Amanda Rhodes still stands by what she has said for many years: “I owe everything to yoga.” Being a proud professional SAG-AFTRA film, television, and theater actor, she uses yoga as a way of solitude, and acknowledges it as a safe space free of judgement. She began her yoga journey when she was just nineteen, looking for a place to simply relieve stress and gain flexibility. Within over a decade of practice, without knowing or expecting, she captured so much more. Yoga completely changed her life, in every sense of the word. Just as she is extremely passionate in her work as an actor, the same goes when she plays the role of a teacher. Amanda completed the 200-hour teacher training program at Yoga By Degrees in early 2019. She would like to thank all the teaching staff and fellow teacher trainees for their encouragement, support, and love.
Andrea Leppert found yoga in 2014 soon after leaving her orthopedic surgeon’s office with a brochure on knee replacement. Having been a fitness enthusiast most of her life she now found that pain limited daily physical activities and felt defeated. After a week of trying yoga, “I found it met me at my level, it embraced me and I felt empowered, strong and graceful”. Vinyasa yoga felt familiar, energetic and inspiring as a former gymnast and restorative Yoga revealed a spiritual connection she had been longing for. Five years later yoga became not only a space to build physical strength, but evolved to be a solace for grief as her mom passed away in 2018 from breast cancer. In 2019, Andrea completed the 200-hour teacher training program at Yoga By Degrees and during the training was herself diagnosed with breast cancer. Yoga again shifted to meet her needs and offered some therapeutic benefits during treatment.
Andrea holds heartfelt gratitude for good health and hopes to inspire others to discover how yoga can meet them at their level and reveal it’s ever-evolving beautiful benefits and gifts.
Andrea Munoz discovered yoga when she took her first class in 2011 at Yoga by Degrees and has never stopped practicing since. The mind, breath and body connection discovered in yoga was something special that brought a change to her everyday corporate job. In 2018 Andrea completed her 200 hr teacher training through YBD. She would like her students to feel a sense peace as they challenge themselves during class in hopes they will find that mind to body connection that brings her so much joy in her practice.
Angelique Anguiano has been a yoga teacher for almost 6 years certified in 200+ as well as the Sculpt format. She loves to be active as much as possible and mostly do yoga, strength training, cross fit, roller skating and swimming. She loves it all!
Her goal is to connect with students to help them fuel their passions through their practice and help them grow.
She started practicing yoga as a teenager as part of playing club volleyball and knew it would continue to be a part of her life.
Join her on your mat and bond through sweat, movement and dedication!
Angella Kanger has been teaching Yoga Sculpt for two years, and loves to bring an element of fun…Always up for the challenge, she has created classes that invite students to bring out their inner child to play…costumes, glow sticks, and mouse ears are always welcome in her class! She believes that music is imperative to helping students push themselves to their limit, and the right beat can inspire to push even further.
Angella discovered how healing yoga can be for the heart through a personal tragedy. Two years ago, she lost her husband and home in a fire, and lost everything but the clothes in her back. “I kept telling myself, ‘I’m a Phoenix’ and I’m going to rise from this.” A friend suggested she try yoga to help ease anxiety and depression, and Angella believes that was a pivotal part of her emotional recovery. “Teaching yoga, for me, is my way of paying it forward. I know what it has done for my mental health, and I want to share that benefit with as many people as possible. In this new world we find ourselves in, we need yoga now more than ever.”
Ashley Rae Swanson
Ashley Rae Swanson began taking classes in 2009 and loved pushing herself physically. In 2011 she took her first Vinyassa class at YBD and added the spiritual side of yoga that changed her life. Through yoga she found a patience with herself & gratitude for those around her. In 2013 she completed the first YBD Teacher Training. She is now in the studio full time and believes you are only as good for others as you are to yourself. Ashley’s classes encourage students to take time to be kind to themselves. Follow your dreams to live the life you have always imagined;Yogi Mom, Yogi Wife, Yogi Life!
Ava started her yoga journey in 2019 with various styles of yoga. She enjoys how playful, fluid & creative Vinyasa can be and fell in love with the stillness, discipline & cleansing aspect Traditional Hot Yoga can offer. She received her RYS 200 hour and Traditional Hot Yoga teacher certification in 2022.
Being in the beauty industry as a stylist for the past 10 years, she believes in shifting your focus on the shape of your mind rather than the shape of your body. That the most valuable changes really come from within, striving for purer intentions, being more patient with yourself, cleaning out your negative thoughts— overall creating a more comfortable and welcoming place for yourself.
She considers this practice the highest form of self respect and when you show up for yourself, you can show up for your loved ones.
Becky Leonard began practicing yoga in 1997 while in dental school as a way to balance her running with flexibility. She regularly continued her home practice and discovered the physical practice helped her recover quickly from her pregnancies while maintaining strength. She worked as a dentist with her husband while raising their 6 kids together in Elmhurst.
Becky took her first class at YBD in 2014 and was immediately hooked on the benefits of the heat and energy of the group practice. Over time she noticed the benefits of a regular yoga practice weren’t just physical, but brought with it a deeper sense of peace, calm, focus, and spiritual clarity. Since completing her teacher training at YBD in early 2022, she hopes to share her love of living a yoga lifestyle with others and help them develop their practice beyond the mat.
Brian started doing yoga about ten years ago when a friend gave him some P90x videos. He enjoyed the aspect of flexibility and heart rate work that he received from it. As his practice grew so did his love for it. He enjoys putting in the work at the studio and the calm and peace he feels after a class. He began the traditional hot 26 seven years ago. He loves the heat, the sweat, the breath work, and heart rate training he receives from it! He decided to do the teacher training when he thought he could help expand this practice to others and help them experience the benefits of traditional hot yoga.
Caitlin Coan began dancing at seven years old. At 10, she tried cheerleading as a way to get more involved at school. She took fitness classes in college, ranging from spin to pilates to kickboxing, and then in 2012, she found yoga and instantly fell in love with the practice. She says it changed her life and it was a natural fit for her mental and physical health. Caitlin graduated from Dominican University in 2014 with a BA in Rhetoric and Communications. She wasn’t sure what to do next so she took the plunge and became a 200 Hour Certified Yoga Instructor in 2015. Two years later she became certified to teach Aerial Yoga. Caitlin is forever grateful that she has been able to make a career out of her passion. She loves that she can share the boundless benefits of yoga with others.
Carla Ammons began her yoga journey in 2006. Carla is 200-hour certified through the Yoga by Degrees Teacher Training program and has been a Yoga Alliance registered teacher since 2015. Carla’s enthusiastic approach to meeting students where they’re at and her ability to cue the body makes her classes a balanced combination of both challenging and accessible. Carla is a local mom of 4 boys, and manages social media in addition to teaching and practicing yoga. She enjoys frequenting local hotspots, traveling, and spending time with family.
Catherine Bertini began her yoga journey over 14 years ago with the help of her oldest daughter who invited her to join a class. Yoga quickly became Catherine’s passion and provided a much needed outlet during a difficult time in her life. It continues to provide meditation, spirituality and relaxation in both her Vinyasa and Yin practices. In 2012 she fulfilled a dream of earning her 200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher certificate from Prairie Yoga in Lisle, Illinois. In her life outside of the yoga studio, Catherine works as a Visual Merchandiser at a wellknown Swedish furniture store where she enjoys using her fashion design degree. Her creativity is evident in every area of her life. As an instructor she hopes to help her students enjoy the benefits of yoga giving them another avenue in which to enrich their lives. This is her mission.
Colleen LaConte 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 enjoys being outside in nature, hiking, gardening, and spending time with loved ones.
Cynthia Morel-Pence has always been active. She was a college tennis player and then a USPTR certified tennis pro teaching tennis to children and adults of all ages She fell in love with yoga in the 90’s as a great workout for the mind, body and spirit. Cynthia decided to take her practice to a new level and deepen her knowledge by getting her Yoga Sculpt certification in June, 2014. Shortly after she received her 200 Hour Certification in Power Vinyasa and also Hot Power Fusion. Cynthia has combined her love for teaching (a former teacher) and yoga as she goes into the schools teaching pre school, elementary, high school, adults and sports teams. Deep breathing, flexibility and mental focus are just a few of the many benefits of yoga. She is the mother of three grown children, Tyler, Miranda and Madison and wife to Tom. She says her family is everything to her and yoga makes her a better person. Cynthia says it’s so important for mom’s to take care of themselves without feeling guilty. She says yoga has brought her peace, calm, gratitude & compassion for herself and others. She says she absolutely love sharing yoga & giving back to others!
Daisy Lopez came to the Yoga by Degrees community in 2013. Sometimes willfully nonconformist and full of whimsy; she lives a full life…staying home, watching TV under a blanket with her furry loves: Toast (cat) and Sourdough (ferret). She enjoys playing Minecraft, Don’t Starve and Assassin’s Creed. She also loves to read and do crafting activities like sewing and knitting. She enjoys fishing, camping, an occasional romp through a renaissance faire and gardening. Musically, she likes melodic tunes from most genres including bluegrass, indie, punk, and alternative rock. She approaches her practice with discipline and great humility for this life-long journey. Having completed her 200-hour training in 2015 at YBD, now this RYT endeavours to share her love for the only physical activity that will get her to leave her house. Ultimately, she seeks to be a witness to her students’ practice while guiding them and providing them with a little bit of assistance.
Deania Macak has been practicing yoga on and off for years, but once she decided to make it a priority, she became “obsessed,” as some would say. She believes it is the best way to start the day both physically and mentally, but any time of the day is the perfect time to practice. After becoming interested in more than just the physical practice, she decided to dive into teacher training to really immerse herself in the world of yoga. She completed her 200-hour teaching training in early 2022 at YBD and couldn’t believe how amazing the experience was. She is excited to share what she has learned and her love of yoga with others who find their place on their mat.
Elizabeth Nesler started going to YBD almost 5 years ago and made the decision to teach in January 2019. She loves the combination of vinyasa, high intensity, weights, cardio, and stretching. She believes yoga works miracles for the mind, body, and soul. Yoga has helped Elizabeth with stress, anxiety, and the strong belief that living in the present moment is crucial to overall well-being and happiness.
When Elizabeth is not in the studio she is busy working downtown in property management. She also enjoys spending time with her 5 year old son and husband.
Elizabeth is originally from Saint Louis, MO and moved to the CHICAGOLAND area 12 years ago. She and her family live in Brookfield and enjoy going to the zoo on weekends.
She looks forward to meeting and seeing you all on your mats very soon!
Erin Annarella-Kreidler has been practicing yoga for nearly 20 years. Graduate school and pursuing a theater career took her all around the country; she is a former professional actress and singer, and a member of Actor’s Equity Association- the professional stage actors union. While living and working in New York City, Erin found yoga through a good friend and attended her first yoga class. With that first class she was hooked, and knew yoga would be a part of her life. Through the generous help of 105F Chicago, and after over 6 years of nearly daily practice, Erin attended the rigorous 500 + hour teacher-training at The Yoga College of India. Since becoming a certified teacher in 2008, Erin began practicing and studying other styles of yoga such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa and Power Vinyasa. Erin additionally certified in Power Vinyasa yoga, and has attended seminars and workshops with such well-known teachers as Day Christensen, Tim Miller, Kino MacGregor, Tim Feldman and others. After over 10 years of teaching, managing, and running other yoga studios, Erin opened and owned her own studio outside of Pittsburgh, The Yoga Folk.
In addition to teaching yoga, Erin has taught voice, public speaking, dialects, and acting at the college/conservatory level since 1998, teaching at Columbia College in Chicago, and the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (AMDA) in New York City. Erin has worked as a professional theatrical voice-coach regionally and on Broadway, still teaches voice, speech, and acting independently.
Yoga changed Erin’s life and set her on a path that once seemed unimaginable: getting married, running a yoga studio, having a child, moving all over the country, and finally settling near family in her second home of Illinois.
Erin’s mission is to make yoga accessible to all types and ages of people- it is all possible!
Erin Busse has been teaching yoga since 2016 and is 200+ certified as well as the Sculpt format. She started practicing hot yoga when she was in graduate school as a stress reliever, and it quickly turned into one of her life’s passions. She loves incorporating new exercises into her Sculpt classes and creating amazing playlists to motivate her students!
Erin Dameron recently completed her RYT 200 training through Yoga By Degrees. She was first introduced to yoga in college while studying theatre at NIU, and continued her practice while studying acting in Los Angeles. After a long hiatus, Erin returned to her mat with a strong will to learn everything about the physical practice of yoga along with its amazing philosophies. Most days of the week, she can be found managing the usher team at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. Erin is thrilled to join the YBD team, to continue learning and growing in this amazing community, and she can’t wait to meet you on your mat!
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.
Gizel Schwartz fell in love with yoga at a small Power Yoga studio in the city after the birth of her oldest son. After trying out and falling in love with different yoga styles including Hatha, Ashtanga and Iyengar, Power Vinyasa spoke to her need to move dynamically, while simultaneously turning within. As a Pilates teacher for over 13 years in the Chicagoland area, her classes are a by-product of her experience and focus on alignment, safety and core strength. She loves creative sequencing, theme weaving and fun, uplifting music to keep her students energized and coming back for more. After eight years and an almost daily yoga practice, she finally decided to obtain her 200-hr Yoga Alliance Vinyasa Yoga certification in 2014 during her third pregnancy – she didn’t want to wait another moment! Her hopes for all her students is to have a vibrant experience on their mats and to radiate the healing power of yoga to themselves and others once they are off their mats.
Gretchen Daumen began practicing yoga in high school and found it was a great way to reduce stress from the pressures of school, extracurriculars and competitive sports. Later, when her career took her to new locations, yoga was the link to a like-minded community with a common appreciation for the benefits yoga has to offer. Gretchen works in sports medicine as a Clinical Athletic Trainer and has her 200 hour RYT, Sculpt and Hot Yoga certifications. She loves to connect her sports medicine background to her yoga teaching to create a solid, invigorating class that leave students feeling strong and energetic. When she isn’t on her mat, she loves reading, baking, and spending time with her husband.
Heather Buege became a certified group exercise instructor in 2008 and has taught a wide range of formats ever since. Making a career in fitness, she is inspired by what the human body is capable of. It wasn’t until 2014 however, when a family member invited her to a Yoga class at a studio near her home, that she became serious about her own Yoga practice. She fell in love with the combination of physical, mental and spiritual connection she found while practicing Yoga. In addition to being nourishing to her mind and spirit, Heather finds the practice of Yoga to be healing. Healing to her physical body after teaching intense classes or running and healing to her mind and soul during stressful periods in her life. Heather decided to pursue 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training so she could share her passion with others and completed her certification at Yoga By Degrees in December of 2019.
Jen Briguglio is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, instructor, and coach… but most importantly, she is passionate about inspiring others to achieve their goals in health and fitness! Jen has been in the fitness industry for over 30 years. She exudes a love for Pilates, Yoga Sculpt, fitness and health. Jen’s quick wit, contagious sense of humor, and can-do attitude fits perfectly with her bold, bright teaching style which boosts the energy and mood of the room. Jen brings a multitude of skills and experience to the table. Her cardio, cycling, HIIT, and tabata experience combined with her yoga knowledge makes her an all around fitness expert. She enjoys challenging her students to a heart-pounding fun format and pushing them to the next level.
“Yoga has taught me to harness my wild mind, and to let go of self-doubt. In my life, I have become the person I am on my mat. Courageous, fearless, dedicated, patient, and compassionate. I want to share this with my students.”
Jen is passionate about helping others live healthy lives and is grateful to share the benefits of yoga, along with good playlists and a sense of humor, with any level and age of student. After experiencing the benefits of yoga in her own life, she obtained her 200 RYT in 2019 and her 500 RYT in 2021. A lifelong learner both on and off the mat, Jen is certified in multiple yoga formats, including traditional hot, sculpt, restorative, and yin. She looks forward to practicing with YBD members and hopes they can take the peace, mindfulness, and strength they demonstrate in class into their daily lives.
Jenni Antonicic, is E-RYT 500 hour certified through Yoga Alliance. She 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.
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 Thiede 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 and went on to develop a training for fellow teachers to learn to do the same. 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. She is currently part of YBD’s 200 hour teacher training facilitator team.
Jill Lansu has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. It has become her primary form of exercise for the last seven years after knee and hip surgery stopped her from running. While she has always enjoyed the practice, she didn’t fully experience its benefits until 2007 when life drastically changed and left her feeling completely out of control. Jill found strength through the practice of yoga. In addition to discovering physical strength, she also found a mental and emotional clarity which allows her to accept any life challenge with the confidence that she can overcome. Jill completed the YBD 200 hour certification in 2016 and will soon complete her Yoga Sculpt and Sculpt Fusion certifications. She looks forward to helping her students find their own inner strength.
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.
Juliet Low, 500 RYT, began practicing yoga roughly 20 years ago casually as a way to stretch and recover from intense endurance training as a competitive triathlete. After moving to Singapore in 2012, Juliet cultivated her yoga practice as it challenged her in new and exciting ways. She definitely didn’t have the flexibility of other students but she learned with patience and consistent practice her body began to open allowing a new fluidity of movement. The family moved once again in 2017, this time to Shanghai, China and she received her 200 hour teacher training. Juliet absolutely loved their 7 years abroad having learned from so many teachers from around the world. Her family moved back to Glen Ellyn in 2019.
Her passion is strength based yoga, having fun with inversions and arm balances. It’s not about the end result, it’s all about the journey of self discovery.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (not the legendary Basketball player) has been in the fitness industry for almost 50 years. His love and passion for helping others realize their fitness goals continue to motivate him in instructing, coaching and stepping out of his comfort zone. Since he loves being in the hot room himself and realizes the opportunity to reach another group of health enthusiasts, Kareem has added the 26&2 hot yoga and hot Pilates to his resume, recently returning from teacher training in Czech Republic. Kareem is very excited to be a part of the Yoga by Degrees team and looks forward to some fun motivating classes!
Kate Harris began attending YBD in 2018 while going through some major life changes. She instantly fell in love with yoga sculpt because it helped her feel strong, empowered and focused. In early 2020, Kate completed her yoga sculpt training while she was pregnant with her second child. Though the pandemic put a delay on her teaching plans, she is thrilled to be back at YBD as an instructor! Currently on her own wellness journey, she is excited to share her passion for the practice with her students. Kate is a junior high music teacher. She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, singing and playing bass in a 90’s cover band.
When Kathleen O’Donnell was first introduced to YBD in 2016, the balance between calm and challenge instantly drew her in; the spirited teachers and beautiful practice environment made it a perfect fit for her. Kathleen is passionate about helping others grow, and spends her days teaching, coaching, and empowering others to help themselves. Bringing those skills into her “yoga life” through teaching has been an inspiring and fulfilling learning experience.
Katie Diederichs has been practicing yoga for over 20 years. The gateway started in 1998 at college with a meditation class, which then lead to various yoga practices and finally, to teaching. Katie has always been intrigued with health, fitness and holistic healing methods. She understands the importance of maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle and encourages others to do the same. It was the Bikram Hot series that impacted her the most, helping her with anxiety, overcoming Graves Disease and self discovery. She maintains that yoga, or any challenge being presented, is the beginning of a journey, one with many twists and turns, but ultimately as positive return. Her motto, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
Katie is constantly researching to add variety to her classes and continues to expand her education as a teacher. She considers herself a forever student.
Katie holds a certification in 200HR RYT, LEVEL I IHP, trained in Kettlebells, Taoist Yin and Thai Body, started practice in the Bikram Series in 2006, has participated and lead in teacher training and workshops, and has had the privilege of taking Master Classes with Bryan Kest, Mary Jarvis and Gabby Walters.
Katie’s passion for yoga started in a high school gym class where she was introduced to vinyasa style yoga. Her interest grew from there and in 2017 she decided to expand on her yoga journey and become an instructor. Katie loves how yoga helped improve her gymnastics, which she did competitively for 8 years as well as coached while she obtained her degree in Dietetics from the University of Northern Colorado. Yoga has helped her find both mental and physical balance in life and she wishes to share that with others.
Katie Martin began her yoga journey in 2010 practicing Bikram Yoga. She fell in love yoga’s physical and spiritual benefits. As a busy mom, she knew she needed to tend to herself so she could give her best to others. Katie took her first vinyasa class at YBD and instantly was hooked. The beautiful flow reminded her of her days as ballet dancer. Katie has been teaching ballet for 20 years and yoga has helped her to remain strong and flexible, especially after pregnancy. Katie resides in the south western suburbs with her husband and six children. She is thrilled to be sharing her passion for movement and self care with her students at YBD!
Katie Mesha began practicing yoga in 2008. Yoga creates a true mind, body, and soul connection for Katie. Throughout undergraduate schooling, corporate roles, and earning her MBA, yoga became her anchor. She took her relationship with yoga to the next level in 2018 and completed the YBD 200 hour teacher training. Yoga has taught Katie to meet herself where she is, rather than where she “should” be, and she encourages her students to do the same. Off the mat, yoga helps Katie be a better mom, colleague, writer, and human.
Kelly Kabialis first started attending yoga in college and has been hooked ever since. She can remember walking into the 105 degrees and feeling perfectly at home. This started a yoga fever! She continued on to study and train in 4 styles of yoga, the 26&2, power vinyasa, restorative, and sculpt. After much work and consideration she landed on just teaching them all. Her strongest belief is that yoga is for EVERYONE. Whether your vibe is simple breath work or 100 chaturangas, she has a class for you. Kelly cannot wait to be a part of your yoga journey! Come say hi and share your goals, so we can grow together.
Kelly McNulty started practicing yoga as a way to stretch after her strength training sessions. She would feel amazing after every class and her anxiety levels started to decrease, so she began practicing habitually. Once she learned how to control her breath and the power of her mind, everything clicked. She began to experience her spiritual practice. Yoga has given Kelly the tools she needs to live a more fulfilling life. Yoga has taught her the importance of self-care, the value of being present, and the courage to follow her intuition. Kelly graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and works full time as a corporate wellness specialist and health coach. She hopes to inspire others to explore beyond the physical practice of yoga and to help stimulate more happiness in her student’s lives. She believes yoga is the core of health and well-being.
Kelsey Bogdan first began her yoga journey when she attended a sculpt class with her best friend in 2016, and has been a devoted student ever since. Kelsey played college basketball, and initially took exclusively sculpt classes to try and stay in shape over the summers before the season. However, as her practice deepened, she started trying out other forms of yoga, and began to understand that yoga was so much more than a good workout. Kelsey is passionate about using yoga as a method of presence, connecting the mind and body in ways that are unattainable elsewhere. She also believes in the healing power of yoga and the yoga community, and respects the mat as a sacred space where we can put our problems aside and just be. Kelsey views herself as a lifelong yoga student and is excited to continue her journey as a sculpt teacher! She has always been passionate about exercise, and is so grateful to be able to help her class attendees become stronger inside and out.
Kirsten Garwood began practicing yoga in 2010. She was initially drawn to yoga as a means of staying active during the winter months, and as cross training for other types of exercise. As she continued to practice, she began to appreciate the mental and spiritual aspects of yoga as much as its physical benefits. She decided to complete a 200-hour yoga teacher training course in 2018 in order to deepen her practice. To her surprise, she discovered that she loves teaching because it allows her to share the benefits of yoga with other people. She went on to complete a 300-hour yoga teacher training course in 2020, and teaches Bikram, Fusion and Power Vinyasa. Kirsten lives in Naperville with her dog/running companion Luci.
Krista Syrup started taking vinyasa yoga classes at a local gym in January 2014. She loved that it was a great workout and a “therapy” session all in one. She quickly became addicted to the yoga high; a strong connection of mind, body and spirit. Shortly after, she found Yoga by Degrees and that became her home away from home.
Krista branched out and started trying new classes. She fell in love with Yoga Sculpt in July of 2016 and began taking up to 5 sculpt classes a week. Yoga Sculpt not only changed her body, but it resonated with her soul. She loved the combination of gaining strength while maintaining flexibility. The next logical step was YBD sculpt teacher training. She wanted to share those feelings of strength and energy to other people. Krista teaches a fun, high energy class. She will work your whole body and get you sweating!
When Krista is not taking or teaching yoga you can find her teaching geology at a local college, traveling with her son or getting all of her energy out at a Zumba class.
Kristin Brindle is a mother of 4 and an elementary school teacher who began her yoga practice more than 10 years ago as a way to enhance her running, but she quickly fell in love with the rigor and discipline of Bikram Yoga.
It wasn’t until she faced her first major health challenge that she truly found the depth of the benefits her yoga practice. One of her yoga instructors once told her -“You never know what your yoga practice is preparing you for.”-
In some of her best dreams and even her worst nightmares, she could not have imagined what hers was preparing her for. But it not only prepared her to survive, it held Kristin gently until she was strong enough to move forward again.
Now that her 4 children are older, she chose to follow this passion and she hopes to share her love and trust in the practice of yoga with others. She completed her 200 hour Original Hot Yoga Certification with The Hot Room in Indianapolis in June 2019.
Kristin Sassi is a Yoga Alliance E-RYT 200, a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider (YACEP) and is also a graduate of YBD’s 200 hour teacher certification program. She began yoga in 2001 at a time when everything in her life needed to change. Seeking ways to overcome a health crisis, yoga became a key part of her physical, emotional and spiritual recovery. As her health recovered, she became a holistic health advocate, counselor, and colon therapist in Lincoln Park for 12 years. The meditative side of yoga helps her to stay calm while raising two high-spirited boys with her husband who also is a supportive and avid yogi, or “bro-gi.” Music has been another channel of creativity for her; she spent years on the Chicago indie music scene as a singer-songwriter. She now channels a lot of her creativity into her vinyasa sequencing and brings her love of music to her classes with diverse playlists, singing crystal bowls and sacred sounds. She looks for ways where she can inspire and encourage healing and provide an experience that students take with them when they roll up their mats and leave the class.
Kyle Quarto first came to yoga during her student teaching experience in college seeking a fun, stress relieving outlet. As a former gymnast, she instantly connected with the strength and grace of yoga. Now, her practice helps her find balance among the many facets of her life. Kyle loves to bring the mindfulness she harnesses from yoga into her daily life as a special education teacher. In 2015, she took her practice one step forward by completing the YBD 200 hour teacher training. Kyle believes all yogis are perfect exactly where they are on their mat. She hopes to empower her yoga students by linking the mind, breath, body and spirit to find peace in the present moment.
Lara Devine is passionate about empowering her students to live their best lives on and off the mat. She teaches a fluid, powerful Vinyasa Flow and is also known for her nurturing Yin and Meditation classes.
She graduated from Illinois State University with a B.S. in Communications, enjoyed a career in management with Procter & Gamble and eventually left to raise her four children.
As a distance runner, Lara found yoga while searching for a way to cross train. The movement felt intuitive, due in part to her years as a dancer & gymnast. Her soul felt at home in the quiet of each breath. Lara fell deeply in love with the peaceful practice. It became her way of life and something she knew she had to share. She completed her teacher training at Chicago Yoga Center.
Beyond her role as Senior Teacher, Lara works with Africa Yoga Project as a Mentor to aspiring teachers in Kenya and Tanzania. She is a Certified Reiki Master and a Legacy Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica. Lara was also featured on the January 2016 cover of Suburban Life Magazine.
Laura Lusson, E-RYT 200, RYT 500, RPYT, YACEP, FRCms, is passionate about people and drawn to yoga for its many benefits, including balance, perspective, contentment and strength. In 2009 she discovered hot yoga, which she found challenging and cleansing. A few years later, she stepped into YBD and instantly felt at home. She grew up with dance and music, which she still loves, along with writing, nature, sports, psychology, learning and teaching. Laura practices with others in hopes she can help them look inward, find peace, and shine brightly.
Lisa Bremner began practicing yoga in 2003, at first simply to deal with tight hamstrings after a skiing holiday. She started out with Rodney Yee DVDs, practicing alone in a dingy basement in Spain. She graduated to a group practice in a real yoga studio class while living in San Francisco a year later. She has been lucky enough to practice yoga all over the world including Edinburgh, Scotland; Oxford, England; Sydney, Australia and even at an animal sanctuary in New Jersey among the cows and the turkeys! The serenity and pure calm that came from a group practice was like nothing else she had experienced. Lisa found that the more she practiced, the more she appreciated the benefits of a regular yoga practice. Yoga became her escape route to quiet her mind and de-stress from her demanding corporate job.
Liz Axelrod attended her first yoga class in 2005 after a friend encouraged her to give yoga a try. Although reluctant, she found it to be the perfect balance to her running schedule. Over the years she realized that yoga is more than the practice of asana and she has witnessed the power and benefits of a consistent practice both on and off the mat. It has carried her through, lifted her up and at times has been her saving grace. She believes the practice and teachings of yoga allow us to love more, embrace each day, live in the moment and welcome every experience. She hopes her classes will help others to uncover and embrace their true selves to find peace, love and self acceptance.
Lizzie Blaszak found yoga in early 2017 when she was looking to supplement her 23 years of intensive dance training. What started as purely a physical practice, soon flourished into a journey of growth and self discovery on and off her mat. She unveiled a true love for yoga, and has committed herself to all of its physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Lizzie completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training in the spring of 2018, and soon thereafter acquired her yoga sculpt and hot yoga certifications. Lizzie’s fine tuned style of teaching provides a class that inspires students to dive deep into themselves through a multi sensory yogic experience. As a passionate creative, she carefully weaves musicality into her sequencing and theming. As a yoga instructor, she is honored to brighten the lives of her students with health and happiness while providing a medium that allows students to lose themselves while finding their truth.
Margaret O’Mullan 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.
Meg Febel began practicing yoga in the early 2000s just as another option in her exercise routine, but when she started to experience benefits beyond fitness—better sleep, more energy, a greater feeling of peace, and a calmer mindset—yoga became her central focus. She spent the next decade or so taking as many classes as possible and reading every book about yoga that she could get her hands on. Finally she decided to take the plunge and signed up for teacher training here at YBD in the fall of 2017. Meg is incredibly excited to be sharing her love of yoga and all of its benefits!
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!
Melissa Voetberg started practicing yoga while living in Colorado as a way to find balance and calm her mind. When her family was relocated to Illinois in 2014, she stumbled on YBD in Western Springs while on a house hunt. She knew right away that she’d found a home. In 2015, Melissa enrolled in YBD teacher training program to deepen her practice. She now finds balance between her family, managing the Downers Grove YBD studio, teaching, practicing, and learning something new every day.
Michelle was first introduced to yoga in 2017 as a way to help work though anxiety and stress. She quickly experienced many of the benefits yoga offers including calming the mind and moving the body in intentional ways. She instantly fell in love with the community, teachers, and vibe at Yoga by Degrees and only wishes she had started her yoga journey sooner! Michelle received her RYT 200 Hour Certification through Yoga by Degrees in 2022. She strives to continue learning about and sharing her passion for yoga with others.
Mike Colagrossi discovered yoga in his youth, it has since become a lifelong passion and vehicle for spiritual attainment and physical strength. After practicing on and off for years, Mike finally decided to get serious about his practice and dive into teaching. It’s a place for him to integrate a love for physical fitness and spiritual practices into one discipline, so that he can help heal people’s bodies, souls and minds through fun and insightful instruction.
Nikki Bergman discovered Yoga by Degrees back in 2014 as a way to beat the winter blues. Nikki always struggled to keep motivated with a fitness regiment but after her first sculpt class, she was hooked! She never realized that working out could be fun yet challenging! It took a little longer to muster up the confidence to take a yoga class but once she did, there was no looking back. She realized that everyone could reap the benefits of yoga no matter their athletic ability or flexibility. In the fall of 2017, Nikki decided to take the next step and completed Sculpt Teacher Training followed by 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training in 2018. When she is not on her mat, Nikki works as a Registered Dietitian and encourages a mindful eating approach, which has strongly been influenced by her yoga. She is also the mother of one amazing, high energy daughter!
Nikki Perley found yoga 4 years ago after some physical health issues. She needed something with less impact on her joints. No more running and heavy cardio and lifting. Yoga helped her mentally and physically. It became the highlight of her day. She started with Power TT and immediately completed Sculpt training. She loves both formats and connecting through music. She loves offering the benefit of both vinyasa and sculpt to students and sharing a lot of positivity and acceptance.
Pamela Rogers says her yoga journey began as a student in 2002. She says yoga helped bring her body and mind back into balance after the birth of her second child. Pamela believes through a steady, mindful practice you can resolve your fears, anxiety, and find inner peace. She is 200 hour certified and is an enthusiastic and inspired teacher of vinyasa flow yoga. Her true desire is to help students express their potential by feeling the poses rather than forcing their bodies. Pamela believes this can be achieved with the right alignment and breath work. She says she is currently enjoying hot style yoga because she loves the way her body feels after class and days after. Pamela says her yoga journey is continuously changing and she finds herself exploring new classes, teachers, and studios. She says letting go of expectations and being in the present moment, helps her stay humble.
Parna Mazumdar is a dedicated teacher who began her practice of both yoga and meditation in her childhood. She believes that we all have the power to mold our future into something worth living. Her desire to grow led her to a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Master’s degree in Sociology. The intersection between the study of life, society, and Yoga was enhanced in 2010 by an “Advanced Anatomy and Physiology” course. The beautiful thing that yoga teaches us is that the life is about more than being perfect or competitive. Life is truly about working towards our goals while accepting our true selves and allowing them to blossom. She strives to create an anatomically and emotionally safe atmosphere where all students find joy and peace. To that end, she completed the 200 Hour Power Yoga Training at Core Power Yoga in December 2014 and has since added Core Restore, HPF, and Yoga Pilates to her repertoire. She recently added another 200 Hour Yoga Instructor course consisting of Asana, Pranayama, Meditation, Kriyas, Chanting, Yoga Philosophy, and Teaching Methodology. This Yoga Instructor course had an emphasis on teaching patients with Diabetes Mellitus and was conducted by Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana – Houston. Parna truly believes that the peace yoga can bring into any life is something that should be shared. She meets her students wherever they are and offers gentle encouragement when she sees opportunities to expand their practice. Parna is driven to share beauty and joy with others, she loves music and teaching piano to children.
Rosa Phipps received her 200hr Certification and has been teaching Yoga since 2018. She teaches Bikram, Fusion, Restorative, and Vinyasa. One year later she received her Yoga Sculpt Certificate. During Covid she acquired one more certificate, Kidding Around Yoga, online. This last training has really brought the playfulness into her practice. Yoga is truly a passion for her, even when not teaching, she attends workshops, organizes Yoga events, and practices with her family at home. Rosa has been married for over 20+ years to her College sweetheart, has 3 kids, all still in various grades and schools. In her spare time she offers Natural Wellness guidance with Tranont, a plant-based company that offers various supplements to nourish our bodies. She loves music, dancing, and traveling. She has lived in four other countries and speaks three different languages. Rosa loves making everyone feel comfortable and at ease in her classes, she believes Yoga is for everyone and every ‘body’, it just takes that one great experience to fall in love with it.
Ruth Day was transplanted from Southern Ontario to Naperville 13 years ago, with three, now grown and somewhat sassy, children. A famous dabbler she has tried everything from meditation to martial arts, from warrior dashes to Greenland stick kayak rolling, but Yoga has remained her physical, emotional and spiritual refuge and the only thing that slows down her ‘madly off in all directions’ brain. Having completed her 200hr Yoga training she then became certified in Yoga Sculpt, Fusion, Yin Yoga and level 2 Vinyasa sequencing. She also leads teacher trainings in multiple formats. She is currently working towards her 500hr certification and has completed training in Yoga as Integrative Medicine, Advanced Yoga Assists, and Advanced Vinyasa teaching. She has a wicked cool crystal singing bowl and an equally cool ocean drum and she’s not afraid to use them. She is also an avid artist, photographer, writer, and editor, and has been known to dabble in Improv comedy, you know, on the side, in her spare time.
Ryann Pazar has always been interested in creating a mind, body, soul connection, but did not find yoga until her friend took her to a Bikram class in 2010. She began taking Vinyasa classes in 2011, but did not fully commit to a consistent practice until she found YBD. What began as more of a physical practice, her journey with yoga has allowed her to find the mental and spiritual connection that she has not otherwise found in traditional exercise. After going through personal struggles and realizing the powerfully positive impact yoga had on her life, she decided to get her 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher certification through YBD in 2015. As a yoga instructor, she hopes to help others discover and express their true self on and off the mat.
Sara Hoshell started practicing yoga in 2010 and found YBD shortly after and absolutely fell in love with the studio! Sara started practicing yoga regularly and found that yoga was the only thing that didn’t make her feel limited having been born with one hand. Every instructor was more than happy to help Sara when she would struggle and she found a sense of community with these lovely yogis! After practicing on and off for several years, Sara started working as a Studio Attendant to dive deeper into her practice and finally took the leap of faith and went into teacher training shortly after. Sara is an Esthetician and Makeup Artist full time and believes in taking care of ourselves from the inside out. She wants everyone who takes her class to feel as confident and as empowered as she does when she takes a yoga class.
Sarah majored in Health Education in college and strongly believes in investing time in exercise for the health of the mind and body. Once she tried Yoga Sculpt, Sarah found the perfect blend of intense cardio and strength training – along with the yoga benefits. Her certification as a Yoga Sculpt Teacher allows her to bring her love of fitness and the mind/body wellness connection into her classes.
Sarah lives in the western suburbs of Chicago along with her husband, two daughters, and cuddly goldendoodle.
Serafina Barnes discovered yoga through her mom when she would come home for Christmas break from college. Serafina is a longtime athlete who played basketball and soccer from the age of five through college. She was skeptical of yoga at first, questioning its intensity, but once she took her first yoga sculpt class she instantly fell in love. Serafina was hooked on the challenge sculpt gave her, that incorporates flexibility, stress/tension reliever, strength training, and cardio. Serafina’s classes are an amazing fusion of a yoga class and a gym session. Serafina loves the relationships formed with her students, and loves that YBD has turned into a place safe place after recently having a baby.
Stacee Raber Nault (200 ERYT, BFA Dance) began practicing yoga in 1996. At the time she was a professional dancer performing eight shows a week on Broadway in NYC. Coming from this highly charged, competitive and often critical dance world, yoga provided her with a much needed body holiday. She learned to treat her body (and eventually her whole self) with kindness, patience and gratitude. What followed was a profound healing in all aspects of her life. She has been a devoted yogi ever since, studying with notable teachers throughout the US including John Friend, Naime Jezzeny, Amy Ippoliti, Shiva Rea and Richard Freeman.
Stacee began teaching yoga in 2001. Forever a student, she continues to learn something every time she unrolls her mat whether guiding a class, practicing solo or taking a fellow yogi’s offering. Stacee loves sharing her passion for yoga, meditation, health and nutrition. She hopes to empower people to love themselves and live their best life.
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.
Stephanie began her yoga journey in 2004. An initial love for the physical benefits developed into an essential nurturing of her mind and spirit. With three young kids at home, and the beautiful chaos life brings, the time she spends on her mat provides her with essential grounding and reset. She understands that for many students, yoga offers space and gives them the gift of time. And she knows that this time on their mat affords them the ability to remain present and turn everything else off, often providing students with their only calm for the day. In class, Stephanie aims to bring a fulfilling, balanced experience, focusing on strengthening both body and mind. She is 200 hour certified and currently working towards her 500 hour certification.
Susan Jacobs has always had a passion for fitness, nutrition and wellness. Working in the corporate world, 5:30 a.m. Group Fitness classes and early morning runs jump started and energized each of her days. In 2017, her body was taking a toll from her frequent high impact workouts and her spirit was craving something more. At the encouragement of her close friend who had just completed yoga training, she began practicing yoga at Yoga By Degrees and immediately became hooked. The mind/body connection was something that she had not experienced before and it quickly became an outlet for releasing stress and gaining perspective on what’s truly important in life. She loved the variety of classes – Vinyasa, HOT, HIIT Pilates and Sculpt – that provided a well-rounded fitness routine for both her body and mind. In 2019, she decided to take the leap and became 200 Hour Certified, and soon after in early 2020 added her HOT, HIIT Pilates and Sculpt Certifications. Susan has grown so much from the many wonderful fitness and yoga instructors that she had practiced with, and now she wants to be able to give back to her students providing them with the encouragement that they need to create their own personal health and wellness journey.
Teresa Rizzo initially practiced yoga for the physical benefits but was surprised to discover, that after consistent attendance, yoga had changed not only her body but also her outlook on life. She soon realized that by doing yoga ,she not only was stronger physically but she was much more content, fulfilled and more herself than ever before. Teresa completed her 200 hour yoga teacher training at Yoga By Degrees in June 2014. She says she found her purpose in life as a yoga teacher. She encourages her students to find confidence and self awareness in her classes by challenging themselves both physically and mentally.
Tony Gulley took his first yoga class in 2017 and was obsessed ever since. Growing up always being inflexible, he started practicing as a means to try to help heal chronic pain and improve his overall well being. After practicing for a few months, he started to notice positive changes in his mental and physical health that radically changed his quality of life. He then decided to become a teacher to help people heal themselves and to find more peace in their lives. Currently he is teaching around the Chicago area as well as training for the Midwest division of the USA yoga competitions.
Wendy Dunlap was first introduced to yoga decades ago in college as part of her dance curriculum: the afternoon before performances her Modern instructor would forgo a regular day of technique to lead a “yoga” session to help the performers relax. Fast forward twenty five years and Wendy finds herself teaching a dance routine to a large group of first grade girls and the stress of their collective energy leads her to lash out at a dear friend and fellow mom. That friend invited Wendy to a YBD class and the rest, as they say, is history. She originally pursued teacher training in order to deepen her own practice, however through that process found out that she loves talking about yoga almost as much as she loves practicing it! Wendy has been drawn to the spiritual exploration of the practice as much as the physical expression and strives to incorporate both elements into her teaching.