200 hr Teacher Trainers

Sharon Wentz, Lead Trainer

E-RYT 500

From her parents’ basement in the apple orchards of Washington, Sharon discovered her love of yoga. Practicing with her mom and sisters as a teenager, she was drawn to its challenging yet tranquil nature. Yoga has been a helpful aid in keeping a grounded perspective, learning to enforce self-compassion, and practicing the art of letting go. Awakening to her path in yoga has not only allowed her to find balance, it’s been a great healer and source of inspiration in all aspects of her life.

Sharon has been teaching yoga in Chicago since 2004. An Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher, she graduated from Eight Limbs Yoga Center in 2004, and The Temple of Kriya Yoga in 2006. Passionate about yoga she continues to pursue a deeper knowledge of the eight limbs of yoga. Though Sharon is a Classical Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga Teacher, her style is one that gathers intelligence from many schools of yoga and is non-dogmatic. She enjoys building heat in her practice, facing fears, and cultivating deeper mental and physical awareness.

Yoga has been by her side through both challenging times and the happiest of times; it has been a source of strength, and celebration. Its non-judgmental philosophy receives you as you are, and lifts you to your truth. Sharon aspires to share all that yoga has meant to her with each of her students.

Jessie Novak, Lead Trainer

E-RYT 200

Jessie Young-Novak is a Registered Yoga Teacher E-RYT 200, and a Certified Prenatal Yoga Teacher RPYT 85. She received her teaching certification from Bloom Yoga Studio in 2013 and 2014 respectively after performing, teaching dance and Pilates, choreographing, and practicing yoga in Chicago since 2002. She also trained at the University of Iowa where she was first exposed to yoga, Pilates, kinesiology, Laban, Bartinieff, and Feldenkrais, in addition to dance technique, and uncovered her passion for observing the human body in motion from an analytical and postural perspective. She continues to seek out teachers and opportunities to further her knowledge of anatomy, bio-mechanics, and healthy, functional movement for people of all ages.

While rehabilitating several common and not-so-common dancers' injuries, Jessie discovered the benefits of integrating yoga and Pilates into an overall strength and conditioning program. After retiring from the professional dance world, she received Pilates certification in 2009 from the Pilates Method Alliance with an idea for pursuing yoga training in the back of her mind. Jessie's yoga practice deepened after the birth of her first child while attending Mom & Baby Yoga classes at Bloom. The mental benefits of practicing prenatal yoga as a new mom were invaluable, and she deeply appreciates the nurturing yogic community of this special population of moms and families seeking balance in their new roles. Recently welcoming her second child, she is deeply grateful for the tools and strength her prenatal yoga practice has provided, allowing a space to practice self-compassion and non-judgment..

Whether working with groups or individuals, Jessie is a passionate, engaged teacher, applying a holistic and functional approach, while using creative imagery with a love for anatomy and physiology. She believes movement, music, and breath benefit every body, every age, in every stage.

Catherine Lewan, Anatomy & Physiology Instructor

PT, DPT Yoga Teacher

Catherine has been teaching movement and practicing Yoga for more than 20 years. She holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and works at Andersonville Physical Therapy, where she specializes in Orthopedic and Pelvic Physical Therapy. Catherine earned her 200 hour Hatha Yoga Teacher Training in the Shambhava Yoga tradition, completed her 85 Prenatal Yoga Training with Amala Prenatal School of Yoga, and has also trained in Vinyasa and Restorative Yoga.

Catherine enjoys taking yoga “off the mat” and into the world, and has found that doing so makes every aspect of life more rewarding. She is honored and grateful to bring yogic tools into healthcare as a licensed PT and as an educator. Catherine is on faculty for Amala Prenatal School of Yoga and she tours nationally as an instructor for Summit Professional Education. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the International Association of Yoga Therapists, and the Chicagoland Pelvic Floor Research Consortium. She teaches regular classes at Chi-Town Shakti, and when she isn’t working can be found practicing headstands on her paddleboard (weather permitting!)

Dee Davis, Expectant Yoginis module Instructor

E-RYT 200, RPYT

Dee received her teaching certification at Global Yoga Center and has been teaching since 1997, specializing in Hatha Flow, Prenatal, and Postpartum Yoga. She is certified to teach pelvic health through the Women’s Health Foundation as well as Resist-a-ball Yoga. Dee has spent years studying with a Clinical Nurse Specialist & Perinatal Nurse to further educate herself regarding the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and delivery, including the psychosocial implications of pregnancy, as well as the postpartum recovery period. Dee has attended workshops in various yoga disciplines, including Ashtanga, Anusara, and Viniyoga, and currently teaches Hatha and Prenatal yoga in studios across Chicago. Her classes encourage students to become in tune with their bodies while they strengthen, align, and most importantly, have fun. She brings imagination, gentle understanding, humor, and love to all her students—both in and out of the womb!

Francine Kelley, Yoga for Trauma Sensitivity module Instructor

LPC, SEP, and Yoga teacher

Francine was introduced to yoga as a pre-teen growing up in Jamaica (a most unusual occurrence in the early 1980s) and has been in love with yoga ever since. She was certified to teach yoga through the Temple of Kriya Yoga in 2004, and feels blessed to have studied with many wonderful teachers since then. In addition to teaching yoga, Francine also support clients and students in recovering from trauma and having a richer experience of life through the use of yoga, Somatic Experiencing® (body-centered psychotherapy), Reconnective Healing® and the Akashic Records. Francine’s classes encourage mindful, yet relaxed, self-awareness. It is her hope that while developing flexibility, strength and body awareness, students will also find the self-acceptance, peace and well-being that yoga can help us uncover. In addition to working with students and clients, Francine also enjoys reading, blogging, butterfly gardening and spending time with her most cherished spiritual teachers - her husband and two energetic children.

Mira Binzen, Intro to Teaching Children & Families module Instructor

E-RYT 200, RPYT

As a developmental therapist traveling through India in the mid-nineties, Mira Binzen was exploring Yoga for her own interest when an ‘aha’ moment changed the course of her professional work.

She discovered the practice of Yoga to be an exquisite way for both children and adults to integrate their sensory experiences while cultivating a sense of balance and openness in both body and mind. This initial insight sparked a passion that continues to burn brightly as she shares the timeless teachings of Yoga with students of all ages and abilities.

Mira is a registered Yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance at the 500-hour level and a professional Integrative Yoga Therapist (1,000-hour level certificate) with a degree in Child Development. She is co-founder of Global Family Yoga - a Yoga teacher training program focused on teaching Yoga to children and families. She continues to pursue the path with Yoga luminaries Richard Miller, PhD, Yogarupa Rod Stryker and through her “spiritual home”, the Sivananda tradition. Her blend of playfulness and professionalism provides an engaging, safe and joyful experience for all.

Carol Horton, Modern Yoga and the "Yoga Body" module Instructor

Ph.D. and Yoga teacher

Carol Horton, Ph.D., is a writer, educator, and activist working at the intersection of mindful yoga, social science, and social justice. Author and co-editor of two books on contemporary North American yoga, Carol contributes to a wide range of online and print publications and is a popular yoga blogger. She offers yoga workshops, teacher training units, and public lectures on topics including modern yoga history, yoga psychology and ethics, yoga and social change, and trauma-sensitive yoga. An experienced teacher dedicated to yoga service and outreach, Carol has taught yoga in a homeless shelter, foster care facility, and jail, as well as several Chicago-area studios. She serves as a Board member with Yoga for Recovery, and as a program development consultant for yoga service organizations.

Lisa Sandquist, Restorative Yoga module Instructor

Advanced Relax and Renew® teacher

Lisa Sandquist has been practicing yoga since 1997 and teaching since 2004. She has studied extensively with senior teachers in the hatha and Iyengar traditions and has received over 1,000 hours of training in teaching techniques; asana; pranayama; anatomy; physiology and kinesiology; and yoga philosophy. Lisa specializes in restorative yoga and is the only certified Advanced Relax and Renew® teacher in Chicago. She has been assisting Judith Hanson Lasater, one of the founders of Yoga Journal and a leading voice of restorative yoga in the world, in workshops across the U.S. since 2007.

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