Welcome to the Yogi Class of 2020! We will Meet Starting in September 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 Regularly)

Join us on Facebook for discussion with your classmates!

Room to Breathe YTT Fall 2019
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Pre-Training Assignments

Pre-Training Assignments for Module 1: Going Deeper---Introduction to Psych Sensitive Yoga

  • Read The Harvard Medical School Guide to Yoga, Wei and Groves, pages 1-100.

  • Read Healing Trauma Through Yoga (Emerson).

  • Establish a personal practice of at least 10 minutes per day.

  • Acquire the textbooks for the training (see below).

  • 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 yoga!

Required Reading

Recommended Reading (don’t worry too much About this for now!)

Yoga for Transformation (Gary Kraftsow)

Goddess Guidance Card Deck (Doreen Virtue)

Attached (Levine and Heller)

Self-Compassion (Neff)

Yoga Anatomy (Kaminoff)

The Secret of the Yoga Sutra (book 1) (Pandit Rajmani)

The Practice of the Yoga Sutra (book 2) (Pandit Rajmani)

Mudra Deck

Awakening Shakti (Kempton) * note that there is a separate audio for the guided meditations

When Things Fall Apart (Pema Chodron)

Fail, fail again, fail better (Pema Chodron)

The Body Keeps the Score (van der Kolk)

Waking the Tiger (Levine)

Your Body, Your Yoga (Clark)

Yoga of the Subtle Body (Little)

The Hero with a Thousand Faces (Campbell)

The Hero Within (Pearson)

Bhagavad Gita (trans. Mitchell)

Meditations from the Mat (Gates)

Book of Awakening (Nepo)

Ayurvedic Home Remedies (Lad)

Yamas and the Niyamas (Adele)

The Heart of Yoga (Desikachar)

recommended Sources

Yoga International

Yoga Glo


American Viniyoga Institute

International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT)

Meet Your Fellow Trainees (in no particular order)


Samantha Allweiss, LCSW, is a social worker and therapist in RefugeeOne’s Wellness Program. She obtained her Master of Arts in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago, specializing in mental health care with international populations. As the Manager of Clinical Operations in the Wellness Program, Samantha provides trauma-informed and strengths-based individual and group therapy services for youth and adult clients, oversees daily operations of the program, and engages in research projects to understand best practices with trauma-exposed populations. She also coordinates psychiatric appointments, offers culturally-sensitive psycho-education sessions, and provides medical case management to clients with complex health and mental health needs. Samantha has also served as a part-time faculty member at a local university that focuses on non-traditional and first generation students. Aside from regular yoga practice, Samantha enjoys reading, writing, climbing, and running with her energetic mutt, Madison. She looks forward to deepening her understanding of the mind-body connection as a strategy for healing from prior traumas and using this knowledge to better serve new immigrant populations from the Middle East, East Africa, Eastern Europe, Central America, and Southeast Asia as they adjust to life in Chicago.

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Originally from Milwaukee, Lindsey Powell (she/her) is currently the Marketing Manager at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology and does contract graphic design work for the Ukrainian Village-based yoga studio, Create Your Space. Previously, Lindsey has worked in marketing and communications roles at Resilience (formerly Rape Victim Advocates) and TEKLYNX International. In June 2016, she returned from Peace Corps-Indonesia where she taught high school English for two years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a master’s in nonprofit management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service. Lindsey is the youngest of four amazing women who all live in Chicago along with her five niblings (the gender-neutral word for nieces and nephews she hopes gains popularity). Outside of work you can find Lindsey with her family, in the yoga studio next door to her apartment, meandering around the city with Dark Matter Coffee in hand, or on the couch watching movies and cuddling with her two cats.


Mrs. Ávila-Triviño is a bilingual psychotherapist at a private practice and mental health consultant with a DUI center and Chicago Public School System. She earned her master’s degree in Professional Counseling at Illinois School of Professional Psychology and completed 60 credit hours of coursework in a Doctorate in Counselor Education Program at Argosy University- Chicago. In addition, Mrs. Ávila-Triviño has experience in restorative practices especially with Peace Circles addressing trauma and healing circles for clinicians. She is DUI Certificated by Illinois Department of Human Services-Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery & University of Illinois Springfield. She has clinical experience working inpatient, outpatient, and nontraditional settings.  Mrs. Ávila-Triviño works with children, adolescents, adults, couples and families as well as conducts an array of therapeutic groups through a  trauma-informed person-centered, family system and cognitive behavioral approach. She works with a variety of chronic mental illness, conduct and behavioral disorder, addictive behaviors and substance use issues, criminal thinking and behaviors, grief and bereavement issues and parent/child relational issues. 


Meredith Stockton is a psychotherapist by day, storyteller by night, and a 24/7 proud cat mom. Her favorite meditation practice is walking mindfully through curated gardens like Queen Elizabeth. She’s super excited to learn restorative yoga practices she can incorporate in her personal and professional life through Room To Breathe.


As a writer and Chicago tour guide, Molly Page found a way to turn her passion for living life as a tourist into a career. She’s a devoted consumer of culture and a perpetual student of Chicago’s history and architecture.
After years of dabbling in yoga fitness classes, she began a more disciplined and regular practice three years ago. In that short time, yoga has become so much more than just exercise - it's a time for respite and repair. She wandered into a Yoga Nidra class (at Room to Breathe!!) a few years ago, and it inspired her to explore meditation. She’s experienced its therapeutic benefits and looks forward to digging deeper and learning more.
Though not 100% sure where this YTT journey is leading, she looks forward to learning more about the roots of the discipline and seeing how that knowledge might shape her future!


Jenna Jo Pawlicki (she/her/hers) has historically defined herself as a theatre/dance/video artist with a passion for community. As a dancer, she has always believed in the healing power of movement and has added yoga to her personal practice for the past five years. Particularly in the past year, she discovered just how helpful a yoga and meditation practice could be for managing her own depression and is thrilled to learn more at Room to Breathe! In the past she has worked as a teaching artist, bringing theatre to under-served communities including children with disabilities and people within the prison system. Although learning is her main goal for this teacher training, she is excited about the possibility of utilizing knowledge gained in future community-based endeavors. When she isn't making art or on the mat, she can usually be found desperately carting groceries around town on her bike, walking her rescue dog Luna, or at her day job at Northwestern University that pays for her multitude of interests.


Candice Tindell is a training coordinator with a Chicago-based rape crisis center and does her best to dismantle oppressive systems one training at a time. In 2010, she earned an undergraduate double major in Social Work and Women’s Studies from Hope College and completed her Master's in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University's School of Public Service in 2017. She also holds her 40-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Intervention certification in the state of Illinois. She has been practicing yoga in various forms for over ten years and is excited to eventually teach yoga as a means of healing from trauma. Learning more restorative and inclusive forms of yoga has always been a passion of her's as are creating safe spaces for mind-body connection and healing. In her off time she loves to read, bake, go to concerts, and sing with her band.

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Gabriela (Gabi) Miller identifies first and foremost as a mother of two beautiful toddlers, Bea Phoenix (2.5yrs) and Kairos Theia (16 months), with her partner Adrian Rosete. Professionally, she is a nonprofit professional with over 10 years of experience in the Chicago community. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago and has completed graduate coursework in Seminary (Christian Formation) & Nonprofit Management at North Park University. In 2003 she founded Ascension Performing Arts (dissolved Dec. 2018), a radically inclusive ministry with the mission to "bring faith to the center of art." She's a dance instructor who incorporates trauma informed yoga and spiritual disciplines into her practice of using art as a bridge between Eastern & Western spirituality. Currently, she supports the development team at Make-A-Wish Illinois, raising $10.5M annually to grant life changing wishes for children with critical illnesses, and is a Prayer Mobilizer and fundraiser for Love Justice International, an NPO Ministry working to intercept human trafficking. She is obsessed with reading books, and so excited to be on this journey with all of you! 

Sierra Buffum is a theatre artist and performer originally from St. Louis. Currently her focus is on creating and producing events, as the Events Coordinator for the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, a Virtual Assistant through Satiated Artists, and co-founder and producer of the neo-burlesque company Harlequin Girls. She discovered yoga as a way to deal with her mental illness, and hopes to eventually use this training as a stepping stone to teaching yoga to others who struggle with mental illness. Sierra loves learning, baking vegan goodies, running and fitness (always looking for a run buddy!), EDM shows, dancing, and reading in bed with never ending cups of coffee. She can't wait to meet and learn with you all! 


Lindsey Streamer took her first yoga class during graduate school in Buffalo, NY and was immediately hooked. Not only did the practice help alleviate her ongoing lower back pain, it gave her tools to cope with the stress of completing a social psychology Ph.D. program. After moving across the country twice and settling into Chicago, she found that yoga was essential to maintaining physical and psychological balance and well-being. She loves sharing yoga with others and has been known to create “mini yoga retreats” for friends visiting from out of town. Through the yoga teacher training program, Lindsey wants to learn techniques to enhance her practice and to share it with others - whether that’s just her friends and family or the community. She lives in Logan Square with her loving husband, beautiful golden retriever and two sassy cats.

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Fiona Baqai is a Canadian born US-German citizen who has grown up in 7 cities around the world before the age of 16; Vancouver Canada, Mukilteo Washington, Yokohama Japan, Munich Germany, Vienna Austria, Brussels Belgium, and Seattle Washington. Her parents, both immigrants to the US, opened her eyes to the beauty of dichotomies and similarities amongst tradition and various cultures. At 18 in 2010 Fiona relocated to Chicago to pursue her bachelor's degree at Loyola Chicago and to explore this new international hub. Feeling fraught by the blistering winter of the Windy City, she recognized her need for heated physical exercise, personal identity, and spiritual enhancement. She ventured into her first hot yoga class in 2012, completely enamored by the practice of breath to movement and gained a holistic understanding of what it means to connect to the self and to be in service others. In 2014 she enrolled in her first hot yoga teacher training to continue the journey of un-layering the ego and helping others in the world around her. Fiona holds six yoga certificates: 200HR-RYT Hot Power Fusion, 200 HR-RYT Power Yoga, and a Yoga Sculpt certified by CorePower Yoga Chicago's Bucktown and Streeterville locations. An 85-hour prenatal/postnatal from the Amala School and has completed an 18hr- Yin Level I certification at Eb and Flow Yoga with Dar Vander Hoop. She currently volunteers as a yoga trainer at Salt & Light Coalition, a grassroots movement aiming to eradicate human and sex trafficking; and helps to heal, empower, and job train female survivors. In addition to yoga Fiona is a color coach graduate of Dougall Fraser, a professional intuitive and author of Your Life in Color, to help others connect and visualize conscious or unconscious desires through the power of color. Connect with her @fiyogi on Instagram. 


Ava Hernández is a proud Florida native turned Chicago dweller. She is currently completing her B.A. in Applied Psychology at Loyola University Chicago and plans to attend law school in the Fall of 2020. Ava also works as a Litigation Paralegal for a Chicago law firm. As a full-time student with a full-time job, Ava discovered yoga several years ago as a source of peace and stillness and has held on tightly ever since. She is grateful for this opportunity to both deepen her practice and gain the necessary tools to share the power of yoga with others. Having experienced the effects in her own life, Ava is passionate about bringing yoga to the average person and making this practice radically accessible to everyone. In her spare time, Ava enjoys cooking, biking, and spending quality time with her cat son, Enrique. 


Laure Tobiasz Veltz is a partnership manager for a large Chicago-based Fortune 500 corporation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the European Center for Economics and Management (Strasbourg, France) as well as two Master’s Degrees in Business Administration (from the Institute for Business Administration, Caen, France and Baylor University Hankamer School of Business, Waco, Texas). 

She started her career as a corporate finance manager and quickly realized that this very intense lifestyle was taking a huge toll on her health. Having first encountered yoga nidra in the very small village where she grew up in the heart of country-side France, she longed for a place where she could, once again, find her inner peace. That’s when she opened the door of Room To Breathe!

Laure has been practicing at the studio for several years and is excited to grow her skill set through the teacher training. She is especially interested in the psychologically-sensitive aspect of the training and understanding the neuroscience behind the many benefits of yoga practice. She hopes to eventually leverage this new skill to help others on their journey to inner balance.

In her spare time, Laure’s passion for the environment takes her outdoors and she is a Global Goal Ambassador for Climate Action at the United Nations Association (Chicago chapter). In addition, she loves learning new disciplines, reading books on various thematics and traveling to broaden her view on the world.

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.


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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.


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.

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Renee Zambo My name is Renee Zambo, and I am a Registered Yoga Therapist through the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I work with the patients at WholeHealth Chicago, in community centers and work spaces throughout Chicago, and in the homes of my private clients. My goal is to help people feel better through movement, awareness, breathe, and meditation.

I began teaching in 2010, and fell in love with meeting students from all walks of life and with different needs. My interest in Yoga Therapy began almost immediately, as I felt the need and desire to make the benefits of Yoga accessible to a larger population. In 2013 I started my three year training with Integrative Yoga Therapy. Training with IYT has provided me with an immense toolbox of Yogic practices that I use frequently while teaching and within my own practice.

Today, I teach patients and students with chronic conditions such as Fibromyalgia and Lyme Disease, Musculoskeletal conditions including Osteopenia/Osteoporosis, past or recurring injuries, functional ailments such as digestive disorders, migraines, or blood pressure, as well as conditions involving anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression.


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. 

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Nicole Vitale Nicole’s intention as a teacher is to meet her students where they are and guide them through creative practices that help cultivate mindfulness and connection. In particular, she believes that simple, evidence-based practices, such as slow movement, deep breathing, and sensory meditation, can be a wonderful adjunct treatment for stress and anxiety. Nicole loves to bring people together and her classes foster a sense of community and support. Nicole specializes in adapting yoga to the individual, and she is grateful to have witnessed the physical and emotional transformation that occurs when students practice regularly.

Nicole has studied yoga and meditation for thousands of hours, completing advanced teacher training with Rich Logan in 2014. She has done specialized study in the therapeutic application of yoga, in particular for those with chronic anxiety. Nicole continues to study and practice extensively to keep her practices well-rounded and intelligent.


An artist and designer who initially came to the mat to relieve tension, Adam Grossi has personally experienced the miraculous range of therapeutic effects yoga offers, while also coming to understand his practice to be a vehicle through which he can inhabit the world more fully and express himself more deeply. Adam’s teaching comes directly from his daily experiences on his own yoga mat. 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 the physical practice. He has also studied intensively with Richard Freeman and Mary Taylor. 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. In 2015 Adam released Wind Through Quiet Tensions, a book that chronicles his experiences with mental health and personal healing through yoga practice.