About our Yoga Instructors

NancyNancy McGourty, RYT 200, Studio Manager

Nancy began her yoga practice in 2010. After about two years of “dipping her toes in” she began to practice more regularly. She was originally  interested in yoga as a way to increase strength and flexibility, but soon began to appreciate the mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits of a regular yoga practice. In 2016, Nancy received her 200-hour certification through Prairie Yoga, and is Reiki Level 2 certified. Nancy encourages students to listen to their bodies, and focuses on alignment to create a safe space for students to grow in their yoga practices. Nancy is a mother of two, and enjoys traveling, music, art, cooking, and exploring the many wonderful restaurants in Chicago.


Jackie Braggs, RYT-200 

Jackie is a yoga and dance educator for all ages. She holds a 200-hr yoga  certification from Yogaview in Chicago, crediting her training to Tom Quinn,  Geri Bleier, Claire Mark, and Quinn Kearney, and a BA in dance from Columbia  College Chicago. She has been an instructor since 2011, teaching many yoga  styles from flow to restorative, from children’s yoga to chair yoga. Her classes  blend her love of dance and yoga, including both flowing sequences and longer holds that test strength and balance, but that also leave time for stillness and settling. In Jackie’s classes, you will breathe, build strength, and test your limits. Jackie believes that yoga is empowering, uplifting, and is a continuous journey towards discovering our unlimited potential.


Monica

Monica Bright, E-RYT 500

Monica’s passion in life is to teach. She holds an M.A. in Elementary Education and has spent a career of over 15 years teaching young students, thus acquiring the skills to disseminate information in a clear and concise manner. With a dance background of more than 20 years and studying extensively in the area of biomechanics in movement and anatomy, Monica has a passion for the human body and understands the human form on a considerably deeper level found in the intelligent sequencing of her classes. Her love of yoga and movement and a desire for continued education led her to Kerala, India, where s he participated in advanced training in the Tantric lineage. As a life-long student she is committed to traveling across country to train exclusively with master teachers in the industries of yoga, biomechanics, functional movement and physiotherapy. She continues to intensify her knowledge by visiting various movement studios and has acquired 2000+ hours of continuing education and recently completed another 300hr training in biomechanics & pain science. She has co-led multiple Yoga Teacher Trainings, continues to facilitate workshops and leads anatomy trainings at studios in Chicago. Her classes are infused with reflective theming; challenging, yet accessible, balanced sequences; and soulful music. Monica invites you to come to your mat, tune into your breath, and create a moving meditation within your own body.


Grace Manning, E-RYT 500

Grace is a yoga teacher, licensed massage therapist, and a mother of three. She started teaching yoga in 2008 and completed her 500 Hour Yoga Certification from Tejas Yoga Chicago in 2015. Grace practices and teaches yoga with alignment and light-heartedness in mind, bringing awareness to habitual movements and unnecessary tension. Her classes take a playful approach because she understands peak postures can be the source of great ecstasy as well as disheartened despair. Her classes can challenge the body as well as the mind’s attachment to what it perceives as a necessary engagement.


EricaErica Rose, RYT 200

Erica Rose began teaching yo ga and meditation in 2011 pursuing  her passion for integrating creativity, art, intuition and body/mind  wellness. As a student she has trained in a variety of styles of yoga,  meditation and energetic techniques focusing primarily on Vinyasa, Hatha, Resorative, Yin Yoga and Reiki. She has studied with Sarah Powers, Ty Powers, Paul & Suzee Grilley, Gerhard Gessner and many other influential teachers in a variety of disciplines. She uses a multidisciplinary and sensory focused approach as a guide to opening channels of inner creativity, authenticity and healing from within. Erica is a mother of two, and works as an artist, creative empath coach, and adjunct for DePaul University. She leads workshops and retreats that focus on unveiling, unfolding and expressing authentic inner creative energies through movement, meditation, intuition and art. She enjoys hanging out in nature, music, art, collaboration and connection. Erica Rose is a Reiki Master and certified meditation instructor.


Esther

Esther Robson, RYT 200 

Esther started practicing yoga in 2002 in a fitness center and knew that there had to be more to yoga then just a mat on a gym floor. She began to practice yoga with a private instructor who transformed her life, her mind and her body. She was encouraged to pursue her teacher certification and completed her RYT 200 in 2004 and began teaching Hatha Flow and immediately fell in love. Esther has practiced many yoga styles from Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Hatha, Bikram to recently taking a more gentle approach with a focus on mindfulness and breathe. When not on the mat, Esther has worked in the hospitality industry for over 20 years and appreciates the perks of discounted hotel rooms, as traveling is one of her passions.  Originally from Little Italy in Chicago, Esther has lived in Evergreen Park for 21 years with her husband and 4 year old lab, but she will always be a city girl at heart. She didn’t know when you marry a South Side boy you never leave the South Side.


Maria

Maria Lanier 

Maria attended Barat College obtaining a BFA in Theater & Dance. She pursued dance with several Chicago-based dance companies, then returned to her childhood dance studio, Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts where she enjoyed a 30 year career serving as a dancer, choreographer, instructor, Production Manager, Assistant Director and Artistic Director. Maria has pursued her love of the spiritual healing arts by studying the art of metaphysics at the Johnnie Coleman Institute, and with Shamanic Astrologer Kelly Beard, where she fined tuned her skills in astrology and its impact on the body's and soul's vibrations. Maria has worked to awaken, accept and manifest her ability to share and teach her spiritual gifts, by studying at various workshops. She maintains a personal practice at various yoga studios in the Chicago area, is a certified Reiki Master, and has participated in full moon ceremonies and community Reiki events at SoderWorld in Willow Springs. Maria says, “I have had the privilege of sharing my healing gifts of Reiki light, compassion, enlightenment and encouragement with many. I look forward to the opportunity to share my special healing light with you."


Kenya

Kenya Butts, RYT 500

Kenya began practicing yoga in 2006 as way to find peace and calm in this hectic world. She found peace and patience on the mat.  Kenya found herself always in a yoga class. She enjoyed the challenge of yoga and how it made    her body and mind feel. In 2009, Kenya decided that she wanted to spread    her  love of yoga to others. Kenya completed her first 200-hour yoga teacher  training at Corepower Yoga. As a lifelong learner, she decided to continue her thirst for knowledge and completed a second 200-hour yoga teacher training through Pure Yoga lead by Allison English and Jim Kulackowski, and a 500-hour teacher training through the Darshan Center lead by Jim Kulackowski. Kenya loves everything about yoga, and knows that when life gets hectic she can always get on her mat and everything will begin to make sense.


CarolCarol Martinez, RYT 200

Carol found her love for yoga when she started practicing in 2012. She found that yoga helped her feel better, gave her more flexibility, gained strength and found her chronic hip pain lessened as she practiced. After practicing yoga for about five years, she felt a strong desire to share her knowledge and help others feel better with similar aches and pains of everyday life. She attended SoderWorld Wellness Center & Academy and became a 200 hour Registered Yoga Teacher at the age of 63. She truly believes it is never too late to find your passion in life. Carol has always been a teacher at heart and she feels she finally found what she wants to be when she grows up…A Yoga Teacher! Carol teaches yoga to cancer survivors and she specializes in gentle Hatha yoga. She eases her students into gentle poses that help them find what works for them. Movement with breath is her ‘Motto’ as she takes her students through a gentle, mindful practice of balance, stability, strength and flexibility.


Gail

Gail Morales, RYT 200

Gail is a Reiki Level 2 practitioner, is certified in Yoga Nidra, Sound Vibrational Healing, and Chair Yoga. She loves the serenity and peacefulness of a good walk in the woods, camping, or a restorative yoga class, but also loves the adrenaline of zip lining in a cave, rock climbing or riding a horse. She lives sort of a yin/yang way of life, and to the very fullest.


Dani

Dani  Sittloh, RYT 400

Dani has been on the yogic path for over twenty years.  Her journey began as she traveled the Midwest with a Reebok Master Trainer to help facilitate Flexible Strength Workshops in 1998. Her love for yoga as a physical activity, stress relief modality, and a necessary stretch after long runs has continued and taken on many forms over the years. In 2012, Dani received her Hot Power Fusion 200 hour and Power Vinyasa 200-hour Certifications through CorePower Yoga. She has been facilitating teacher training programs, workshops and teaching classes ever since. As a Reiki Master and Teacher and CranioSacral Therapy Practitioner, she incorporates the combined philosophies of the practices into her classes.  Dani’s biggest loves as a teacher are to incorporate mindfulness, authenticity, compassion and acceptance for the self in the present moment to each class. She looks forward to meeting her students on their mats with a smile.


Deanna Spear, RYT 200 

Deanna started her yoga journey shortly after becoming a new mom. She struggled with anxiety for years and began suffering from anxiety attacks while pregnant with her daughter. Devoting time to her mat allowed her to overcome her attacks and learn different ways to calm the mind and body. In February 2018, she completed her 200 hour teacher training through Chicago School of Yoga. With a background in dance, Deanna brings a firm understanding of the human body and how to easily modify, allowing yoga to be accessible to all. She also has experience teaching children, and believes yoga can serve for any age and body. In her classes you can expect a fun, upbeat, and safe space where any and all are welcome. 

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