Welcome to the Yogi Class of 2019!
We are absolutely thrilled that you are a part of this very special teacher training. To our knowledge, it is the first of its kind in focus, scope, and integration. We will train you to be leaders in making yogic and contemplative practice psych-sensitive and accessible to so many more. Here we go!
Calendar of Training Events (details being added daily)
Join us on Facebook for discussion with your classmates!
Wondering what to expect in the training? Watch these pre-training videos and get ready to learn and explore and connect.
Meet Your Fellow Trainees (in no particular order)
Terri Mandell I have been doing yoga for about 15 years. When I first tried yoga it was a healthy outlet for stress. Now it is an incredible tool to maintain focus and balance in my life. Practicing yoga on and off the mat has made me a grateful person who seeks to share my joy with others.
Suzette Hammond Suzette is the founder of Being Tea, offering education-based programs and project consulting within the tea industry. She is a professional taster and trainer, and has traveled extensively nationally and internationally as a tea educator for 15 years. Her connection to yoga began in 2008, when severe repetitive stress injury from work left her unable to function in the way that she knew. Through diving into yoga, Alexander Technique and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, she began to experience connections in these teachings with both her tea work and her personal practice as a tea ceremony student. In the years since, she has realized her clear passion is shepherding personal sensory connections, utilizing tea as her vehicle. In addition to her work under Being Tea, Suzette collaborates with several professional trade organizations, and she is also the 2018 World Tea Award recipient for Best Educator. Suzette’s goal through the psych sensitive teacher training program with Room to Breathe is to gain deeper training and perspective on yoga and movement therapy in the healthcare industry, as a hopeful collaborator herself.
Sara Freund: I'm a journalist and currently the editor of Curbed Chicago (we cover architecture, design, transportation, development). I've worked as a breaking news reporter at the Sun-Times and a news photographer at the Irish Times in Dublin, Ireland. I was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida and moved to Chicago four years ago. I live in Ukrainian Village, bike all time, cook all the time and love plants, nature and traveling. I recently finished a 200-hour teacher training at Nature Yoga and, while I loved that, it made me realize I want to keep learning. I came to yoga as a way to heal and so I'm really interested in focusing on the psych-sensitive approach. I've struggled with eating disorders in the past and yoga was the first time I felt comfortable + happy in my body. I feel really strongly about introducing yoga to those who might not feel comfortable in a typical class but are interested in practicing. Can't wait to meet you all in October!
Tory Morris: Born and raised in California, I was introduced to yoga at a very young age by my hippie mom and grandmother. I’ve had an on-again, off-again relationship with yoga for most of my life, but it became an essential, daily practice after participating in the Yoga for Female Survivors of Sexual Trauma series at Room to Breathe. I am thrilled to be a part of this teacher training program and learn more about R2B’s psychologically sensitive approach.
I have worked in nonprofit management my entire career: I currently work at Deborah’s Place, and previously worked at Rape Victim Advocates and the American Cancer Society. I do volunteer work with LGBTQ seniors and youth, and I am a certified rape crisis counselor. Because of these experiences, I plan to use my training to facilitate affirming and trauma-informed yoga classes in the community.
When I’m not working or practicing yoga, you can usually find me baking, swimming, or hanging out with my spouse and our chosen family. I can’t wait to meet all of you, and I look forward to learning with (and from!) you!
Hello! My name is Michelle Jarzebowski and I am a native southside Chicagoan. I live in the city with my husband and two children. During the day, I am a stay at home Mom to my 7-year-old son and my 4-year-old daughter and, during the evening, I am a Clinical Psychology graduate student.
My yoga journey began around 20 years ago when I was in high school. I was always a high-achieving student--running cross country, playing soccer, participating in many academic extracurriculars while maintaining a high GPA. I was used to pushing myself, but I hadn’t learned to how to reconnect to myself until yoga came into my life. I will never forget the feeling that I had after I finished my first yoga VHS. My body felt challenged but calm and, rather than deriving satisfaction from successfully pushing my limits, I felt grounded and deeply connected to myself. It was a completely new feeling that I was drawn to, so I kept practicing and never stopped. I began to actively pursue the mental calm and physical fluidity that I felt after my practice. I researched the philosophy of yoga and my physical practice lead me to meditation and various lifestyle changes. As I developed into a young woman, yoga and meditation were my constants. My yoga practice has been largely private—practicing with various videos in my living room and researching any questions through books and online resources. However, recently, I have understood that I am ready to evolve and deepen my personal practice and connect with other like-minded people!
I am preparing to go back to work as a therapist and my ultimate goal is to open a private practice where I combine traditional talk therapy with yoga and meditation. With that in mind, I am pursuing my yoga teacher training to offer another therapeutic foundation to help support my future clients in their journeys to wellness.
When I am not spending time with my family and friends, studying psychology, or practicing yoga, I love cooking, reading, hiking, and watching movies.
Hi, my name is Sarah Yockey and I have been practicing yoga on and off for about 4 years. I can’t really think of an area of my life where yoga has not made a visible impact. In my mental health, physical well being, relationships and connection to the Divine, my yoga practice has shown up for me time, and time again. Since the beginning of my practice, the yogic idea that we exist as merely a story created by the mind has helped me to make sense of my life in terms of the dichotomy between individuation and a connection to a collective. Through a look into western psychology’s toolkit, I hope to learn more about this dichotomy so that in the future I may be better able to know and let go of my stories and help others do so as well.
Also since the start of my yoga practice in 2015, I received a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The beautiful and dynamic nature of the tradition brought me much solace in the two times I have been hospitalized and in recovery due to the disorder. One of the reasons I like this program so much is the focus on yoga in healthcare settings. With my understanding of what it’s like to be cognitively and energetically sensitive, I hope to bring my knowledge to healthcare environments in need.
Hello, fellow trainees! My name is Karen Luciana. I am a mother of two adult girls, a sister to 5 siblings, a girlfriend to a wonderful man, and a teacher of 26 years. After teaching for almost 3 decades (and frankly feeling a lack of enthusiasm regarding academics), it is exciting for me to notice a much needed spark to start a new type of learning in the yoga community. I am excited to combine my yoga practice with learning how I can guide others in teaching this precious practice of mind and body health. I believe that yoga helps center the mind, leads to holistic good health that includes physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental wellness. I feel peaceful, focused, and grounded while practicing on the mat. I want to learn how to use my practice to experience those feelings out in the world and to ultimately share that sense of peace and well-being with others.
Hi there! My name is Elizabeth Webb and I’m a Public Health professional who is currently working as a Health Educator at the University of Chicago in the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness. There, I manage several student-facing health education programs and teach Mental Health First Aid and Mindfulness Meditation classes. I’m originally from Wisconsin but I’ve lived and worked in various cities and countries around the world and am hoping to make Chicago my home (at least for now!). I enjoy being creative and working with my hands, I love to cook and bake (only in the winter!), I am obsessed with traveling (mostly so I can eat new foods), and my family is more important to me than anything else in this world (including my cat, Dracula). …Can you tell I like parenthesis?
I’m relatively new to yoga with only a little over a year of consistent personal practice, but it has truly transformed my life and has really helped me become more in tune with my body and my mind. I am working really hard to love and trust myself more and yoga is slowly but surely helping me do this.
Upon completion of this training, it is my hope to have the skills necessary to teach my students that anyone can do yoga and help them learn how yoga can be used a tool to improve their minds as well as their bodies. It is my goal to offer various restorative and mindful yoga classes that can help students reduce stress, calm their anxiety, and release the tension they are constantly up against.
I am beyond excited to be a part of this training and I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.
Grace Bishop: I am excited for this opportunity to deepen my practice, and to learn to use yoga as an avenue for sharing my Nonviolent Communication practice. I have been practicing yoga for 5 years. Initially, yoga was reconnecting me to myself. Now I find my practice is always inspiring me to strive toward deeper and deeper self love. I'm have another very complimentary practice, NVC (Nonviolent Communication). I host practice groups and events on NVC. I have dreams of offering some fun yoga + NVC infusion workshops after our training.
Outside of these two practices, my work is sales & marketing consulting. I founded a company called Lead Love, and we help businesses turn more contacts into clients. I spend a lot of my free time cooking. I'm in the middle an exciting discovery period with plant-based nutrition. My friends and I love getting out of the city for weekend camping trips, and going to EDM shows (huge Bassnectar fans).
Evelin Gomez: About 15 years ago I began suffering from an anxiety disorder. It was a terrifying and often debilitating experience. Medication offered some relief but the side effects proved to be nearly as in tolerable as the affliction. A good friend of mine who was a Doctor suggested that I stop taking the medicine I had been prescribed and try to control my anxiety through yoga. I trusted him and already had an interest in eastern philosophy, so I decided to take his advice. The first time I tried it I felt great physically and mentally. I continued to practice at home until I found my first teacher. Fortunately, through yoga I was able to subdue my symptoms. I became very dedicated to my practice and my interest in learning more about yoga philosophy grew stronger. Throughout the years I've tried many different styles and eventually gained my 200 hour teaching certification through Moksha. I've also completed teacher training for Breath Walk at Kundalini in the Loop and children's yoga through Rainbow Kids. Over the past five years or so my practice has become more internal with a focus on the breath & meditation versus asana. I notice my mind calmer, clearer and more focused. My goal is to continue to foster this aspect of yoga in my life and learn to better serve my students, family and friends. Serena has been the best mentor I could hope for and one of my most influential teachers. When I learned that she was starting a teacher training program focused on a more mindful and therapeutic approach I couldn't wait to be a part of it.
Current Assignments (Pre-training, Module 1)
Read he Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga, ei and Groves, pages 1-100.
Read ind Through Quiet Tension by Adam Grossi. Purchase:
Establish a personal practice of at least 10 minutes per day.
Bring a journal that you will use to record your thoughts/experiences during training.
Look over the schedule for the first module and make appropriate arrangements with
work/school/home so that you can attend fully and take care of yourself too.
Write a short response paper to submit to the teachers regarding what you’re hoping to
learn in this training.
Prepare a short (few minute) talk on what yoga means to you. You’ll present this to the
group during the first module.
Bring at least 3 questions to our first session. Could cover anything about training or
Meet the Faculty!
Serena Roschman (lead trainer): I have studied yoga and several traditions of meditation for over a thousand hours with some of the most renowned teachers throughout the world. My teaching is primarily informed by my studies with Gary Kraftsow, Leslie Kaminoff, and Pema Chodron. I consider myself a lifelong student of yoga and continue to train extensively to keep my classes intelligent, fresh, and inspired. I have completed rigorous advanced teacher training in Viniyoga with Gary Kraftsow. I have taught yoga in studios, boardrooms, retreat centers, and one on one settings. In 2015 I cofounded Room to Breathe, a public yoga studio within Center (psychotherapy). I work with therapists and other healthcare providers to ensure that programming is compassionate, clinically supported, evidenced based, and accessible to all. In addition, I am now a graduate student at Northwestern University studying how yoga can be integrated into the US Healthcare system.
Natalie McGreal: I am a teacher who specializes in trauma informed yoga, yoga for addiction recovery, and restorative applications of yoga. I have logged thousands of hours as a teacher and even more as a forever student of yoga. I currently teach full time, and maintain a regular schedule of group classes and long standing private sessions. Along with receiving my advanced 500 hour certification, I was trained in clinical massage therapy at The Soma Institute in Chicago in 2007 and in the art of Thai massage at The Sunshine School in Chiang Mai, Thailand in 2011.
Sara Buxton Sara is the owner of Room to Breathe and Director of Center. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Sport Psychology Consultant. She works with adolescents and adults, athletes AND non-athletes. She specializes in solution focused work to help individuals overcome obstacles, gain personal strength and clear vision of their goals and plans for attaining them. She believes in the healing power of connection between mind and body. Her work involves cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, mind-body work, acceptance and commitment therapy as well as many other solution-focused skills. Sara is recently certified in Yoga-Informed Therapy, and is currently training to become a certified Yoga Teacher. She is a graduate of Adler University, where she earned her Masters in Counseling with a Specialization in Sport and Health Psychology. She is a 2010 graduate of University of Vermont, where she played four years of lacrosse. She pursued the field of Sport and Health Psychology driven by her experience as an athlete, working through injury, developing leadership skills, and forming great compassion in creating a space for athletes to meet their full potential mentally, physically and emotionally.
Adam Grossi's passion for yoga emerges from his experience of being deeply calmed, healed, and transformed by its techniques and philosophy over the course of his adult life. Adam teaches vinyasa yoga and pranayama as practices which weave physical sensation, mental focus, and poetic imagination into a tapestry capable of supporting, healing, and transforming the entire person. He is grateful to be an avid student of Jim Bennitt and James Tennant and is strongly influenced by their approach to vinyasa krama (intelligent sequencing) and the application of ayurvedic principles to hatha yoga techniques. Adam's teaching is informed by and evolved through his daily experiences on his own yoga mat.
Adam teaches throughout Chicago and also maintains a rigorous creative practice in painting, drawing, and writing. The second edition of his book Wind Through Quiet Tensions, a memoir about his experiences with mental health and the therapeutic potential of yoga, was published by Candor Arts in 2015. As a teacher Adam’s intention is for students to walk out the door with increased energy, focus, and inspiration for whatever challenges life might hold for them. Learn more at http://adamgrossi.com
Steph Bour: I'm Stephanie, a french-native, Chicago-based yoga teacher. Yoga found me 10 years ago when I was working in the corporate world in Paris, my home-town. The practice of Vinyasa and Integral yoga in the lineage of Satyananda Saraswati, helped me to offset stress, find balance in my daily life, and connect to my deep intuitions. Deeply moved by the practice, I felt the need to share the incredible benefits I've received. I truly believe Yoga and Meditation are powerful tools for healing transformation and sparking the creativity we all have in us. With over 500 hours of training, including 200-hours certified by Moksha Yoga Chicago, and 95-hours certified Prenatal Yoga teacher by Amala School of Prenatal Yoga, both certified by the Yoga Alliance, I keep my passion and curiosity drive with inspiring teachers such as Uma a-Tuli, Tias Little, Gabriel Halpern, Leeann Carey, Mia Park and many more. I also have completed additional training in Restorative Yoga and Yoga Nidra, a powerful ancient Tantric technique of guided, progressive relaxation. As a teacher, I strive to establish a safe, nurturing and loving space to support my students on their own journey to awareness, empowering them to feel good in their body and mind, and find their inspiration to grow.
Amber Cook Amber is a yoga teacher who creates a safe environment for students to discover their bodies physically and emotionally. To begin, Amber guides students mindfully through intelligent physical alignment and breath awareness in strong vinyasa and hatha classes. By cultivating this exploration in the classroom her students discover deeper vitality and happiness. By sharing her own evolving story, Amber next guides her students to honor their personal authenticity and to feel more present, free, and confident. Then, grounded in your body and breath you are free to travel beyond the physical into your profound truth. Amber is there to support you on your journey to the truth and joy that lie within your heart.
Having taught yoga now for 10 years she still feels she is learning all the time. With over 2,000 hours of trainings with many amazing teachers, leading 200 hour teacher trainings herself, and facilitating numerous retreats around the world she believes it is important to always be a student. She walks into every classroom, every conversation, every experience with humility.